by Southy

© July 2005


Jim was in the process of emerging from his apartment building and pulling on his left glove when a wet stinging sensation flared on his upper left cheek and lower eyelid.

He looked up into the gray morning air.

Blair stood about twenty feet away, his own gloved hands covering his mouth in shock.

Then Blair lowered his hands and laughed. “Oh man, Jim, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to actually hit you.” He laughed again.

Like anyone would throw a snowball with the intent to miss.

Jim ground his teeth, having managed to pull the glove on. “You are so dead,” he said under his breath, and then wiped the cold moisture from his face.

Blair’s face went blank. Then he whispered, “Oh, shit.” He turned and started running.

“You little coward!” Jim called, starting after him.

Goddamnit. He had sentinel sight. Sentinel hearing. He should be able to find the little shit.

He was doubly mad now, because Sandburg had made him late for work. Give the guy a roof over his head, and this is what you get in return.

Jim grinned wickedly to himself. He’d retaliate later. Let Blair think he’d blown off the incident.

It gave him satisfaction that Blair was going to have to find his own ride to the PD.

Well, fuck. There was Blair, sitting at his desk, oh-so-engrossed in a file. The quick-thinking coward must have grabbed a bus. No wonder Jim couldn’t find him.

Jim put on his cheerful face, matching an equally cheerful stride, as he approached the bullpen. After coming up behind Blair, he grabbed a few strands of hair and tugged sharply.

“Ouch!” Blair said, swatting at Jim’s hand. He looked up. “Oh.”

“Nice to see you, too.” Jim sat with an aggressive motion.

The grin was back. “Oh, Jim, I’m so sorry. There was some graffiti right next to the doorway. That’s what I was trying to hit.” An uneasy chuckle. “I missed, just as you were coming out the door. I’m so, so sorry.”

Jim grabbed the file as he casually said, “For somebody proclaiming their innocence, you sure took off in a hurry.”

“You looked like you wanted to kill me.” 

“Uh-huh.” Jim shrugged elaborately. “But hey,” he said in a low voice, “to sentinel senses, what’s a little ice cold water running down the side of your face – after an impact that feels like little knives stabbing into your skin.”

Blair’s mouth fell open. “That’s what it felt like?” He sounded both guilty and fascinated.

Jim became engrossed in the file. “Doesn’t matter. I can handle it.” He made a point of glancing at Blair’s hair, where he had tugged it.

Blair reached up to that same spot. “Easy on the hair.” But he sounded relieved.

Jim grinned to himself. Let the kid think that pulling his hair was all the retaliation he needed.

Revenge was a goddamned pain in the ass. It took so much effort, so much planning. It was hard to believe that only two days had past since the original incident.

But this was a matter of masculine pride. And war.

“Stay behind me,” Jim cautioned as they prepared to enter the rundown building.

As if Blair would do anything else. Jim had him primed to be cautious – to the point where he would trust anything Jim told him. After all, Blair was convinced that this informant – Jonesy – was a true nut case; albeit, a delicate one that Jim knew from his Vice days and who required special handling to get any necessary information.

They entered the dark one-story structure and found themselves in a dusty old room. “There’s no light,” Jim said, “so I’m using my senses.”

Blair’s hand was clutched to the back of Jim’s jacket.

“Oh, damn,” Jim said as they approached a closed door.


“He’s in one of his paranoid phases. He’s left a red handkerchief on the door.”

“What does that mean?” Blair whispered.

Jim released a heavy sigh. “We have to strip down, completely naked.”

“What?” Blair squeaked.

“I’m sorry, Chief. But he won’t talk to us unless he’s absolutely certain that we aren’t wired.”

“Is he going to do a body search too?” Blair sounded genuinely worried.

“No. At least, he never has before. It’ll be okay, Chief. I’ve done this before. He’s not into men, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Blair seemed offended at the idea he was “worried”. “I just don’t like the idea of stripping down just because some nut wants to know if I’m wired.”

“I can handle it from here. If you want to wait in the truck, that’s fine.” Jim pulled off his jacket.

“No, no. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Then let’s get to it.” Jim turned to face Blair and crossed his arms to grab the lower edges of his sweater.

He made a motion of pulling it over his head, hoping Blair’s eyes hadn’t adjusted to the darkness yet.

Blair started undressing. “It doesn’t feel like there’s any heat in this building, does it?”

“Nope.” Jim noisily messed with his belt buckle, and then made a motion of stepping out of his pants. 

“Will he let us get dressed again once he’s sure we aren’t wired?”


“Are you sure anyone is even in there? I don’t hear anything.”

Jim’s perused Blair’s pale form. “Even your socks, Chief.” Then he said, “I can hear him back there. He knows we’re here.”

With a sigh, Blair straightened, and then tightly crossed his arms over his chest. “Okay, let’s get this freak show over with. I'm freezing."

Jim paused, hesitating to go through with this part. What the hell. “Uh, Chief?”


“I just remembered something. It’s me he trusts. I’ll need to handcuff you – just for a moment – so he doesn’t have to worry that you might try anything.”

“Try anything? I’m stark naked! What, he thinks I’m going to pull a loaded gun out of my butt hole?” His voice was breathless.

Jim made his own voice remorseful. “Maybe I should have had you wait in the truck.”

“Nah,” Blair said. “I’m already undressed.”

“Okay, let me cuff you.” Jim knelt down, pretending to draw the cuffs from clothing on the floor. “It’ll just be for a couple of minutes.”

“It had better be.”

Jim moved behind Blair and felt a stab of guilt as Blair so trustingly held his hands together, behind his rear. 

The cuffs were secure. “Okay, ready?”


Jim took a camera out of his jacket pocket. He used his enhanced sight to find the light switch, which he’d checked out early this morning. He flipped it on. “Hm, the light works, after all.”

Blair stood in the center of the dusty room, completely naked, his hands cuffed behind him. 

He watched, dumbfounded, as Jim put the camera to his eye, pointed it toward him, and started clicking. “What are you doing?”

“Taking pictures.”

“Why?” Blair demanded. Then, “How come you’re still dressed?”

Jim took a few more shots. Then he lowered the camera and allowed a grin to spread across his face. “Remember the snowball, Chief?”

“Snowball?” Blair seemed genuinely confused. 

“Never hit Jim Ellison in the face with a snowball. At least, not without risking life and limb.” Jim turned the knob with the red handkerchief and pushed it open. The back room was completely empty. “Nobody here, Chief. But us.”

Blair’s eyes grew wide. “Jim, you – you –you – ” 

Jim started laughing. “Yes?” He brought the camera back up to his eye.

Blair yanked a knee up in a vain attempt to cover his groin while still keeping his balance. “I’m going to kill you! Get me out of these!” He started pulling frantically at the cuffs.

“Easy, easy.” Jim pulled out his key as he moved toward Blair.

Blair's hands stopped fighting the cuffs, but he still threatened, “I am going to kill you. I mean, kill you. I can’t believe you!”

Jim quickly stepped back as soon as the cuffs were free. Blair whirled around, but only to grab the camera out of Jim’s hands. 

“Kill you, kill you, kill you,” Blair muttered as he ripped the back off the camera. Then he froze.

Jim smoothly said, “No film. I was just teasing.”

Blair’s eyes flared and his fists balled. “Jim, I swear.”

Jim didn’t move back this time. He only made a half-hearted attempt to ward off Blair’s fists as they grabbed Jim’s upper arms and unsuccessfully tried to shove him back. Then Blair shoved on Jim’s chest and abruptly turned away. 

He started dressing with his back to Jim.

“Ease up,” Jim said, though, inside, it felt more a plea. “It could have been worse. I could have had some people here behind that door. You know, some old girlfriends, the guys from Major Crime….”

“Oh, great,” Blair snorted as he pulled on his jeans, “that makes me feel tons better. Only you got the peep show.”

“Like I’ve never seen you before,” Jim countered, inwardly denying that he felt guilty. Blair seemed really mad. “You should have let me pelt you with a few snowballs instead of running away like a coward.”

Now Blair was shaking his head, grinning, as he pulled on his t-shirt. “What a wuss you are, Jim. One little snowball and you act like the whole world has attacked you. If this is what it takes to make you feel better, to reclaim your pride… well, what are friends for?” He pulled on his sweater and turned around. “I forgive you for being an asshole.” Snort. “After all, you can’t help being what you are.” He stood there, grinning with his hands on his hips, as though daring Jim to get back at him for the insult.

It was all right now.

Relieved, Jim indicated his upper arm, where Blair had gripped him. “You really hurt me.”

Blair raised his fist, looked Jim in the eye, and toughly said, “It really would have hurt if I’d wanted it to.” He headed for the door.

“Yeah, right,” Jim said, following. “Mr. Pacifist.”

Blair laughed.

They got in the truck. After buckling in, Blair turned toward Jim. “Once and for all, scout’s honor, are we done with this macho retaliation pride bullshit?”

Jim started the truck. “You mean, are we even?”

“Yeah, are we?”

Jim shrugged casually. “As far as I’m concerned, we are.”

“Scout’s honor?”

Jim grinned at him. “When were you ever a scout?”

“I was for four years. So answer the question.”

Jim pulled away from the curb. “Scout’s honor.” He paid attention to his driving for a few moments, then chuckled softly under his breath, “Your dick is really small when you’re freezing.”

Blair looked at him. “What did you say?”

Jim shrugged and fought against a widening grin. “Nothing.”


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