The Favor 4
Sitting on the couch, flipping through TV channels in a seemingly vain attempt at finding something to watch, Jim was impatiently waiting for Blair to come home so that they could go get something for supper. "This is just great," he complained. "A homicidal doll named Chucky, a dead lunatic with knives for fingernails named Freddy, or two guys named Jason and Michael Myers who both just happened to have a propensity for killing teenagers, not to mention being extremely difficult to kill."
Turning off the TV, he tossed the remote onto the coffee table. "Why couldn't there be a Jags game on tonight or some other ordinary show? Is a sitcom too much to ask for? Hell, I'd even settle for Martha Stewart. After all, last time I watched her show I did get some cleaning tips that finally got rid of that stain Sandburg left on the couch. Though I still don't want to know how it got there. A mixture of honey, chocolate sauce and strawberry flavored massage oil. I swear, that's the last time he has a date over here when I'm on an all night stakeout."
Standing up, Jim stretched and luxuriated in the feeling of tight, tense muscles finally loosing after a long, stress filled day spent filling out paperwork. Looking at the clock on the VCR, he said, "Where are you Sandburg? I'm starving here." Hearing sounds out in the hallway, Jim instantly became on alert. Smiling as he recognized Blair's familiar tread, he said, "Well, it's about time."
Hearing Blair reach the front door, Jim was puzzled when his partner didn't immediately unlock the door and come into the loft. Worried, he started for the door. Stopping when it finally opened, Jim took a look at Blair and started laughing. Shaking uncontrollable, Jim barely made it over to a chair and plopped down. Gasping, he managed to ask, "Sandburg, what..." Not able to finish, Jim wiped at his eyes as another round of laughter overcame him.
Standing in the doorway, fist firmly planted on his hips, Blair watched on in irritation as his so-called friend enjoyed another hilarity inducing bout of amusement at his expense. "Yuck it up, man," he said.
"What the..." Jim began, laughter finally subsiding enough for him to speak. "I mean... Aw hell, Chief, what have you done now?"
"Me?" Blair asked. Hands gesturing to his body, he continued, "This has nothing to do with me, Jim. This is all your fault."
"You just had to have this... this get up delivered to my office, didn't you?"
"Hey, the Halloween party is coming up tomorrow night and I just wanted to make sure you had your costume." Seeing the deadly glare directed his way, Jim said, "I told you that I was gonna pick out your costume. Why'd you wear it home anyway?"
Turning sideways to get in the door, Blair scowled when he heard Jim emit further annoying brays of laughter. "I didn't want to wear it home," he explained, "but I didn't have any other choice. Unless I wanted to get picked up for public nudity or indecent exposure, that is."
"I was here when you left this morning, Sandburg," Jim replied. "I think I would have noticed you going out the door buck naked and since I didn't pass out from the shock of seeing your bare ass retreating out the front door, I know that you were definitely dressed."
"Yes, Jim, I was," Blair patiently replied as he finally maneuvered through the front door and shut it behind him. "But that was before..."
"Before what?" Jim asked when Blair didn't finish. Seeing the faint red blush creeping up from beneath the collar of Blair's shirt, Jim said, "Oh, this is gonna be good, isn't it?"
"Forget it," Blair said. "I'm gonna go change and then we can go get something to eat."
Following after Blair as he tried to make a strategic retreat to his bedroom, Jim pleaded, "C'mon, Chief, tell me what happened. Please. You know you want to. Pretty please."
"God, Jim, how old are you anyway?" Blair grumpily asked. "'Pretty please?' Man, you sound like a five year old asking for a toy they saw on TV."
"I do not."
"You do too."
"I do not."
"You do too."
Switching tactics, Jim said, "I do too."
"You do n..." Groaning as he shook his head, Blair said, "I can't believe you did that."
"I can't believe you fell for it."
"I did not," Blair protested. "I didn't finish the sentence so, technically speaking, I did not fall for it."
"Now who's acting like a five year old?"
"What can I say?" Blair replied. "I guess you're a bad influence on me. If you don't believe me, then just ask Naomi."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Whirling around, nearly falling over as he almost overbalanced, Blair exclaimed, "Take a look at me! Before I met you, stuff like this never happened to me. You... You're a... You're like contagious or something. You've infected me!"
"Infected you?" Jim asked. "With what?"
"That stubborn, pig-headedness, rush-in-before-thinking, nothing-can-hurt-me-cause-I'm-freaking-superman-so-excuse-me-while-I-go-rush-into-the-nearest-phonebooth-to-change-into-my-red-cape-and-tights mentality that never ceases to end up with me suffering some form of bodily injury not to mention extreme, and all too often public, humiliation," Blair yelled.
"First off," Jim replied, "I have never and will never wear tights. And second, would you just cut out your usual histrionics and tell me what the hell happened? And you accuse me of being a drama queen? Isn't this where you're supposed to put the back of your hand up against your forehead before swooning and falling to the floor?"
Spluttering, Blair said, "You... I can't... You are... AHH!" Turning, Blair stormed off to his room.
Wincing as Blair slammed the door behind him, Jim yelled, "Are we still going out or what?"
"Yes," Blair yelled back from inside his room. "And you better have a lot of cash 'cause you're paying."
"And don't even think of taking me to Wonderburger," Blair interrupted. "After the day I had, I want... I want lobster. And beer. Lots of it."
"Lobster and beer," Jim grumbled.
"That better not be complaining that I hear," Blair warned.
"Just hurry up and get your ass out here," Jim yelled. "Or else I'm going without you."
"Don't you even think about setting foot outside this loft without me," Blair threatened. "I'm mad enough as it is and, believe me, you don't want to piss me off any more than I already am."
"Fine," Jim replied. "But if I'm paying then you better tell me what happened."
Coming out of his room, Blair said, "Not until I've had a beer first."
* * *
Sitting in the restaurant, beer in hand, Blair said, "Okay, I'm ready."
Mid-chew, Jim looked up and replied, "Talk then."
Grimacing, Blair said, "Jim, don't talk with your mouth full. That's just so disgusting."
Grinning, Jim swallowed and said, "Well, it is seafood. Get it? See food?"
"Like I said, man, five year old," Blair replied. Sighing, he continued, "Anyway, I was in my office having a meeting with a student when that... that thing you ordered arrived. After finally being able to speak again, I asked the guy what he was doing. Needless to say, as soon as he mentioned your name I got over the surprise. And have I told you about some new sensory tests that I want to run? We'll be conducting them this weekend."
"Like I was saying," Blair cut in, "the guy delivered the thing and left. Luckily, my meeting with my student ended shortly after that and I was through for the day. I got my stuff together and let the building. Unfortunately, I had a little mishap on my way home, which kinda ruined my clothes, and I changed into that truly remarkable costume you picked out for me so that I wouldn't have to make the rest of the drive naked."
"Whoa, wait a minute. Just what was this little mishap?"
"Nothing," Blair replied, refusing to meet Jim's eyes.
"Just tell me something," Jim requested. "Was it worse than having to wearing the costume home?"
"You know," Blair said, "I really like this place, don't you? We should come back here more often."
"I mean they've got good food here, not too spicy or anything," Blair continued in his attempt to evade answering Jim's question. "The music is nice and soothing. And the service is good."
"Yeah, I'm so glad that you managed to get a date with the waitress," Jim sarcastically replied. "Now cut the crap and tell me what happened."
"If you tell me, I won't make you wear the costume to the party at the PD," Jim bargained.
"Absolutely," Jim insisted.
"I don't believe you," Blair stated.
"C'mon, Chief, would I lie to you?" Seeing Blair's skeptical look, Jim added, "Well, I'm not. I'll even pay for your costume rental. We can go out tomorrow and pick something out."
"On Halloween?" Blair asked. "Are you nuts? We'll never find anything. Besides, I've already got a costume. Two of them as a matter of fact."
"Two?" Jim asked. "Why... Oh no, Sandburg, I'm not wearing something that you picked out. No way. And don't even try... C'mon, Chief, that's not playing fair. This is just great. You know what? I'm not falling for it this time. It's not going to work. I am immune. I am immune. I am..." Seeing the pleading puppy dog look his partner was currently using against him, he said, "I am a complete and total wuss." Rolling his eyes, he said, "It had better not be anything stupid and this story had better be worth it."
"It's not and it is," Blair replied.
"Now I know that I've been hanging around you too long," Jim remarked.
"That made sense," Jim explained.
Looking puzzled for a moment, Blair then grinned and said, "Oh."
"Talk, Sandburg," Jim demanded.
"Oh, okay," Blair replied. "You see, I made it to my car and was on my way home. I was stopped at a red light by the park when I thought I heard crying. I looked out the window and saw this woman standing underneath a tree. Well, when I noticed the tears on her face, I pulled into the parking lot after the light turned green. So, I get out of my car and go over to her and ask her what's wrong. She points up into the tree and said that her... her pet is stuck up the tree."
"Please don't tell me this is going where I think it's going," Jim interrupted.
"You're the one who wanted to hear it," Blair said. "So shut up and let me finish. Anyway, I climb up the tree and I come face to face with this..."
"What's the matter?" Jim asked when Blair didn't answer. "It was a cat, wasn't it? Sandburg?"
"Oh yeah," Blair said. "Just like you said, it was a cat."
"Oh all right," Blair exclaimed. "It wasn't a cat. It was... Well, it was..."
"What?" Jim yelled causing several people to look their way.
Smiling and waving at the people staring at them, Blair leaned forward and hissed, "Would you just keep it down?"
"Then quit screwing around and tell me what it was," Jim demanded.
"It was a..."
"What was that?" Jim asked. "Even my hearing couldn't catch that mumble, Sandburg."
"A ferret," Blair answered. "It was ferret okay. It had gotten away from the woman and climbed up the tree. She was afraid it would get hurt."
"Okaaay," Jim replied. "So you decided to climb up and rescue the little guy, huh? Play the hero and all that."
"That was the plan," Blair said.
"Well what happened?"
"I got up the tree fine, after all the times you've made me climb one I didn't have any problems, but when I got up to where the ferret was..."
"What happened?" Jim growled.
"He like snarled at me," Blair mumbled.
"What?" Jim asked with a laugh.
"I'm serious, Jim," Blair replied. "This was like a feral ferret or something. Believe me, that panther spirit guide of yours has nothing on this guy. If it came down to a match up between your panther and this ferret, the panther would be running away with his tail between his legs."
"Okay, so this fearsome, growling beast of a ferret snarled at you," Jim said with a laugh. "What happened next? How did your clothes get all messed up?"
"Well, um... You see when this absolutely ferocious, savage animal almost attacked me, I um... fell."
"He jumped at me," Blair insisted. "I swear, I thought I was a goner. So, I kinda jerked back and I kinda lost my balance and I kinda..."
"Fell," Jim finished.
"Yeah," Blair confirmed. "And it would've have been such a bad thing since I wasn't all that high, but unfortunately I happened to land in the thorn bush that was by the tree. And on top of that I was wearing my jeans with the holes, which happened to get snagged on said thorns when I stood up. About that time, the ferret decides to climb down on his own. Meanwhile, I'm standing in the thorn bush valiantly attempting to hold my pants together since I couldn't find any clean underwear this morning and had to go commando. So I'm standing there in the bush, trying not to be arrested for flashing everyone in the park, while the woman is cooing at that vicious animal. She wanders off, without even a thank you, and I race over to my car. After a quick glance around, I wiggle out of my destroyed jeans and ripped shirt and manage to get into the hideous outfit you so thoughtfully provided."
Taking a drink as Blair finished, Jim began to laugh uproariously which caused beer to come out of his nose. Grabbing a napkin, he wiped at his face. "Only you, Sandburg, only you."
"Just tell me why you had to pick that costume," Blair said.
"I thought it was perfect for you," Jim replied.
"Perfect for me?" Blair asked. "Jim, I had to dress as Cupid!"
"Well, why'd you put on the wings anyway?" Jim asked.
"Do you seriously think I'm going to walk around dressed in nothing but a diaper?" Blair asked. "I do have my dignity, ya know?"
"Yeah, I do," Jim replied. "And I got a real good look at it tonight."
"Just keep laughing, man," Blair said. "Well at least until we get home and you see the costumes that I picked out."
"Sandburg, what did you get?" Jim asked as Blair stood up.
"Get the bill, Jim. I'll be waiting outside."
Pulling out his wallet, Jim watched after Blair's retreating form. "Whatever it is, it had better have pants," he grumbled.
Looking over his shoulder, Blair said, "Don't worry, Jim, your um... dignity will definitely be covered." Laughing he added, "It's everything else that you should be worried about."
Still laughing, Blair walked out of the restaurant.
* * *
The next morning Blair was standing by the counter, in the process of taking the first and extremely blissful taste of his coffee. Pausing with his mug in mid-air when he saw Jim come slinking down the stairs, Blair proceeded to raise his mug all the way, using it to hide his smirk. "What's the matter, Jim?" he asked. "You look like you didn't get much sleep last night."
"I didn't," Jim replied. "But then again, you already knew that since you're the one who's responsible for my tossing and turning all night long." Joining Blair in the kitchen, he added, "And by the way, you can lower the mug now 'cause I already know you're standing there with that irritating smirk on your face."
Pursing his lips, Blair blew on his coffee before taking a sip. Lowering the mug, face expressionless, he said, "I don't have any idea what you're talking about."
"Yeah, right," Jim sarcastically replied. Grabbing his mug, Jim elbowed Blair out of the way and then reached for the coffeepot.
"Hey, watch it," Blair complained. "You're in a lousy mood this morning, aren't you?"
"Yes, and I have you to thank for it."
"What did I do?"
Stepping close, trying to appear his most threatening, Jim growled, "Tell me, Sandburg!"
Not affected in the slightest, Blair grinned and said, "Tell you what?"
Sighing in frustration, Jim asked, "How come that works on the most hardened criminals, and I'll have ya know that I've had guys in tears before, Sandburg, yet it never makes any kind of impression on you?"
"Simple," Blair replied. Then, waiting until Jim was taking a drink of coffee, he added, "It's because I know that underneath that gruff, tough exterior, you're really just a big old soft, cuddly teddy bear."
Spewing coffee, Jim spluttered, "You..."
Throwing Jim the dishtowel that had been lying on the counter, Blair said, "Clean up that mess, will ya? Gee, I don't know what's the matter with you this morning. Are you sick or something?"
"Or something," Jim answered as he cleaned up the coffee. "Look, you've kept me in suspense long enough, Sandburg. Tell me what you got."
"Um, killer good looks and a charming personality?" Blair guessed.
"No, a ticked off roommate with a gun," Jim replied.
"Jim, c'mon, I was just playing with you," Blair said. "Look, I'll go get them right now, okay?" Going over to his room, Blair noticed Jim walking over to the stairs. "Uh, Jim, I'll be right back. Why are you going up to your room?"
"Oh, to get my gun," Jim answered. "I figured after I saw whatever it is you picked out, I'll probably want to shoot one of us. Either I'd shoot you for picking it out, or I'd shoot myself to put me out of my misery. But I got to tell ya, after that teddy bear remark, I'm definitely leaning towards you."
Turning to walk over to the couch, he ordered, "Go get 'em, Sandburg."
Grumbling a derogatory comment about a certain balding, grouchy, anal-retentive cop having a whacked out sense of humor, Blair went into his room.
Watching Blair, Jim chuckled. "I knew I still had it."
A few minutes later, Jim heard Blair come out of his room. Glancing over his shoulder, Jim took one look at what Blair was carrying and said, "No way."
"Aw, Jim, c'mon," Blair pleaded.
"Sandburg, if I show up at the PD dressed like that, I'll never hear the end of it," Jim said.
"Cut it out, Jim," Blair replied. "Besides, it's not like you'll be alone. I mean, you haven't seen my costume yet."
"Oh no," Jim complained. "All right, let me see it. But if it's what I think it is then..."
"C'mon, Jim, where's your sense of humor?"
"I think I lost it right about the time a certain annoying, irritating, long-haired, grad student moved in here," Jim retorted.
"And here you said you lost your sense of humor," Blair sarcastically replied. Grinning he said, "Okay, are you ready?"
"Just show it to me and get it over with all ready," Jim grouched.
Transferring Jim's costume to his other hand, Blair revealed his costume, which he'd been hiding behind Jim's. "Ta da," he exclaimed.
"Now I know you're nuts. Hell, if you wear that thing, you'll never hear the end of it either. You know how those guys are so why are you setting us up for all the crap that you know will be coming our way?"
"Because it's Halloween, Jim," Blair said. "It'll be fun."
"Trust me, Chief," Jim replied, "the last thing we'll be having is fun."
"C'mon, they're the perfect costumes for us."
"I'm not going to wear that thing," Jim insisted. "No way, no how. Besides, you told me it'd have pants. And correct me if I'm wrong here, Sandburg, but I don't see any pants there."
"I didn't say it'd have pants," Blair protested. "I said that your um dignity would be covered."
Giving the costume another once over, Jim said, "Then, Sandburg, you have definitely underestimated the size of my... um... dignity. And for another thing, didn't I tell you that I'd never wear..."
"Jim!" Blair interrupted. "Please. For me. Pretty please."
"No!" Jim exclaimed. "I am not wearing that. I'm serious this time. There's nothing you can do to convince me to wear it. This time, not even that puppy dog look of yours will work."
"Fine then," Blair sulked. "Looks like Simon was right."
"What?" Jim asked.
"Oh nothing," Blair innocently replied.
"What was Simon right about, Sandburg?"
"Well, we just happened to be discussing costumes, he was telling me what Daryl had picked out, and I just happened to mention my idea about costumes for us and he said that..."
"He said what," Jim asked when Blair didn't finish.
"Okay, he said that there was no way that you'd ever wear it..."
"And he'd be right."
"...because you didn't have the nerve to show up at the PD dressed in this." Holding the costume up, Blair continued, "But I defended you, Jim. I mean you are my partner and best friend after all. I told Simon that you were the most courageous, daring, adventurous guy I know and that you wouldn't think twice about showing up in this."
"And exactly what kind of wager did you and Simon make anyway," Jim asked.
"I'm shocked," Blair replied. "Do you honestly think that I would make a bet on something... All right, if you show up in this, I'm a hundred bucks richer. C'mon, we'll use the money to get some Jags tickets or something. Please, Jim."
Grumbling, Jim walked over and took the costume from Blair. "Hell, Chief, why couldn't you have chosen something with pants?"
Grinning, Blair said, "Look at it this way, Jim, just think how popular you'll be once all the ladies get a good look at your... um... dignity."
* * *
Later that evening, Jim and Blair, now costume-clad, were on their way to the station. "If just one person says anything, Sandburg, I'm leaving."
"Jim, no one will say anything," Blair assured. "After all, tonight is for the kids. Ya know, a safe alternative to going door-to-door. Relax, it's a party. There'll be food, drinks, music and candy. Lots and lots of candy. Chocolate candy, Jim."
"There had better be kisses, Sandburg," Jim warned.
"Hey if none of the ladies there oblige ya, then I can..."
"Hershey's kisses, Sandburg," Jim quickly interrupted. "You know, chocolate."
"Oh, right," Blair replied. "But you know if you had meant the other, I would have been glad to help you out. After all what are friends for?"
"I was just asking myself that same question," Jim retorted.
"Good, we're here," Blair stated as Jim pulled the truck into the parking garage. After Jim parked the truck, Blair started to get out. Pausing when Jim didn't move, he asked, "What's the hold up? Let's go."
Turning his own variation of the puppy dog look on Blair, Jim asked, "Do we have to, Chief? How about we just go home and order in some food, my treat of course, and just watch some of those scary movies that you like? A nice, quiet, relaxing night at home."
"Where's the fun in that?" Blair asked. "C'mon."
"I'll give you the hundred bucks," Jim offered. "Two hundred even."
"Thanks, but no thanks," Blair replied.
"Three hundred and you can have the first shower in the mornings for the next month," Jim countered.
"Tempting, but no."
"Okay, three hundred, first showers for a month and next time we go camping, I'll let you drive the truck."
"Let me think about the for a minute." Remaining silent for a few seconds, just long enough for a hopeful look to appear on Jim's face, Blair said, "NO! Now get your ass out of the truck and let's get going."
Climbing out of the truck, muttering his own derogatory remark about his pushy, know-it-all, ungrateful roommate who had an even more whacked out sense of humor, Jim said, "You're gonna owe me for this one, Sandburg. Big time."
"Yeah, yeah," Blair impatiently replied. "Just c'mon, will ya?"
Once in the elevator, Jim immediately began to fidget.
"What's wrong?" Blair asked.
"Let's just say that my... dignity is feeling kinda cramped right about now," Jim complained. "I told you this thing wasn't big enough. And let's just say, it's riding up in places that I don't want to talk about."
"Look, I'm in the same situation and you don't hear me complaining, do ya?" Blair replied. "Now who's gonna start to swoon any second?"
"If this thing rides up any more, then that swooning thing is a definite possibility," Jim said as he adjusted his costume, among other things, once again.
Seeing the movement, Blair said, "Um Jim I mean, it's okay to do that in front of me. After all, we're roommates and I've seen you walking around in the morning with bedhead, nothing on but your boxers, scratching your butt with one hand while pouring yourself a cup of coffee with the other. So, I'm not particularly offended when I see you um re-arrange um things. But, I don't think Simon and the guys, not to mention a room full of kids and their parents, would feel the same way."
"You're definitely going to pay for this, Sandburg," Jim warned. "Live in fear."
As the doors opened, Blair said, "Oh, I'm shaking. Now behave yourself. And Jim?"
"Dial down your sight, like now," Blair advised as they walked out of the elevator and into Major Crimes.
"Why should I "
Jim was interrupted when Simon suddenly appeared with a camera and quickly took a picture of the two new arrivals. Hearing some very familiar music begin to play, Jim turned to Blair, "Well don't just stand there," he said, "let's get this over with."
Following after Jim, Blair laughed and said, "Right behind you, man. And by the way, Jim."
"Yeah, Chief?" Jim asked as he looked over his shoulder.
"Adam West has got nothing on you, my friend."
"You don't look so bad yourself, Robin," Jim replied as he walked off in the direction of the candy table.
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