The hall was bedecked with glittery baubles, streamers and the tackiest Santas' known to man. No attempt at bad taste had been spared.
Every law enforcement officer who'd ever dropped a gun, bungled a stakeout, or screwed up a covert operation was there. It was the Annual Law Enforcement Christmas Party, or as a particularly crude British colleague had put it, the Annual P.D piss-up.
Simon Banks stood up on the stage, attempting to bring order to the chaos that was abounding. It was Cascades turn to host the proceedings, and despite the inclement weather and general danger levels of living, working, or even existing in Cascade, everyone seemed to be having a good time. Though, most people were deeply grateful when a guy named Wolfe had volunteered his department to host next years bash in Hawaii.
"Okay, people," Simon Banks shouted, "I would just like to welcome everyone to Cascade, and say that I hope while you're here you have a good time. A few words before we kick off. Please make yourself at home and anything you need to know don't be afraid to ask one of my officers. You'll know who they are, if a guy is walking around looking like he knows what he's talking about, then he's probably a terrorist about to take over the building. My people are the conspicuous by their absence of brain cells. All except the cute little guy with the curls, but he's not a cop! Thank you."
A rapturous applause met Simon's exit from the stage. As he stepped from the platform, Cascades finest, Jim Ellison grabbed him, "Simon, you seen Sandburg?" he asked nervously.
"No, Jim. Thirty seconds ago, he was standing with you in front of me. You didn't slip his leash did you?" the big man grinned.
"He said he was going for drinks, that was seven minutes and twenty six seconds ago. It only takes three minutes to walk to the bar," Jim grabbed Simon's shirt, pulling him close, "Simon, he's one minute twenty six seconds late. What could have happened to him? Do you think he's okay?"
"Jim, my friend," Simon clapped his hand on Jim's shoulder, "You gotta get yourself laid at this party!"
"Hi, I'm Fox Mulder," Mulder smiled at the Cascade cop hungrily.
"I'm Rafe. Hey, you're the Fed who chases aliens, right?"
"Yeah, that's me."
"Ever catch any?" Rafe smiled.
"Oh, I've caught lots of things in my time," Mulder grinned, "But most of them were curable with antibiotic treatment."
"So, what you investigating here?" Rafe asked seductively.
Mulder smiled, slipping his arm around the handsome young cops shoulder, he leaned in to whisper, "Why don't you let me tell you about the time I met a race of shape changing aliens who swapped sex after they copulated."
Rafe whistled, "Now *that's* a chat up line!"
"But, Simon," Blair whined, "I shouldn't really be here, I'm not a cop!"
"Sandburg, no one cares. You and Jim are joined at the hip...or maybe it's some other damn place, I don't know," Simon shrugged, "so just go and enjoy yourself, and quit complaining."
"Fraser," Vecchio said with a grimace, "Just promise me you won't lick any foreign objects tonight?"
"Well, Ray. *You* are, strictly speaking, a 'foreign object' to me!" Fraser replied with his usual air of innocence.
Vecchio considered it for a moment, "Good point."
"I'm warning you, mate," Michael said with a sigh, "Behave. I'm stretching it a bit bringing you at all this year."
"Hey, they never actually recalled my warrant card did they?" Jack grinned.
"Well, no. But I suppose with you being dead, they didn't think they needed to."
"Ah, this is what I mean. It may be only a little detail, but it's an important one. *Officially* I'm still a copper, ergo, I get to go to the piss-up. I've never missed one of these," Jack licked his lips as he glanced around the room hungrily.
"Anyway, what good is a piss-up to you now? You can't drink?"
"Doesn't stop me enjoying the general ambience of the place, does it?" he grinned, sweeping the crowd with his pale blue gaze.
"Jack," Michael warned, "You promised me you'd eaten already."
"I have," Jack grinned, "Relax. Oh look," he smiled, spotting Benton Fraser apologising his way back from the bar, "Canada dry!"
"Oh, he's a little moody and he gets lost in his own world, sometimes," Scully sighed, "But I guess my life would be kinda dull without him."
"Yeah, I know the feeling," Blair empathised.
"Of course, then there's the unnatural obsession he seems to have with this guy named Krycek we've been chasing. He seems to bring out the worst in Mulder."
Jim Ellison had over indulged to the point of severe inebriation. He sat on the floor in the corner singing a sad little song to himself, about lost love and missed chances. Diefenbaker eyed him warily, a half eaten chicken leg still lay in the big cops lap. The wily wolf decided to go for the sympathy vote, the full frontal attack. In other words, sit in front of the dumb human and drool.
Jim blinked twice as he noticed that a wolf had come to sit before him. It's intelligent and understanding gaze was trained on *him* and him alone.
"Blair?" he slurred. The wolf cocked its head to the side as if waiting for him to continue, "Is that you, buddy?"
<Feed me> Diefenbaker demanded.
"Oh, Blair, what are we going to do?" Jim said sadly, "You'll never leave me will you?"
<Feed me> Diefenbaker demanded again.
" Because, you know, I couldn't handle life without you," Jim said, struggling to form coherent words, "I mean, I know I've never actually been able to tell you before, because...I'm a macho, all American hetero-cop, and you, well you're a cute, bouncy little anthropologist,"
<For Christ's sake *FEED ME *> Dief said throwing back his head and howling, <this guy is *so* depressing, he makes Vecchio look like the life and soul of the party!>
"Hey, Detective Knight, how are you?" Blair called.
The good looking cop smiled, "Blair, good to see you again, and I told you last time, call me Nick."
"Nick. Hey, thanks for those books you sent me, man, they were like *so* cool! They must have cost you a fortune. You have to let me pay you for them. They must be over a hundred years old," Blair enthused, his big blue eyes shining with excitement.
"No, they were a legacy, left to me by a relative. I guessed that they would be of more use to you than to me. And they're nearer a hundred and fifty years old," Nick smiled.
"Oh man, that is incredible."
Suddenly, a hand appeared on Nick's shoulder, "Ah, Nicholas. I wondered where you'd disappeared to," LaCroix smiled with all the warmth of a tiger about to eat. He looked Blair up and down with slow deliberation, drinking in the young mans beauty greedily, "Mmm," he said licking his lips, " I see you've found the party snacks!"
"He throws himself on top of trains, hurls himself through windows, *never* does as I tell him," Walter Skinner sighed heavily.
"Yeah, I got a Mountie that does that," Vecchio said with a shake of his head.
Scully sat miserably at the table, her fourth glass of vodka in her hand. She knew coming here was a mistake. This was a cop party, and Feds were definitely not welcome. She had seen Mulder slope off with a good looking young guy about an hour ago, nothing she'd exactly kick out of bed herself, all sweet faced, dark hair and sparkling eyes. Still, lack of interest in women seemed to be a theme around here.
"Hi," a soft Australian accent said from the side of her. She looked up to see a tall blonde woman, pale yet stunningly beautiful, "you look as bored as I feel. Mind if I sit?"
"No, be my guest," Scully motioned to the chair beside her, "So which penis on legs dragged you here and dumped you then?" she said bitterly.
"Oh, my 'friend' Michael. Y'see, we're not *exactly* cops, but he doesn't get out much. I'm Nikita, by the way," the blonde held out her hand.
"Scully. Dana Scully."
"So y'see, Blair, It'snot tha' I don' love you," Jim slurred heavily, "I's jus' tha' I have a hard time wrestl..wres...fightin' my inner demons."
<AWOOOOOO FRASER!> Diefenbaker cried.
"Hey, guys," Megan Connor said with a puzzled smile, "Where is everyone?"
Rafe bit his lip nervously, shooting a furtive glance at Fox Mulder, "Oh...around," he said casually.
"Oh. You having a good time?" she said, a little confused by Rafe's reluctance to enter into conversation.
"Oh yeah, I..er..I'm having my..er...moments," the good looking detective's voice broke into a squeak.
"Great," she smiled warily, "well, I'll go see who else is here."
As they watched the Australian woman walk away, Rafe let out a sigh, "Don't you think that it would have been *polite* to take your hand out of my pants while I was talking?" he hissed.
Mulder grinned, "Yeah, but not so much fun!"
"Aliens?" Blair whistled, "No shit! What kind of social structure did they have?"
"Yeah," Ray Doyle said with a grin, "Don't talk to me about partners, the worst thing is when they're always off pretending to chase skirt."
Ray Vecchio thought for a moment, "Nope. Don't have that problem," he sighed, "Climbing *into* a skirt, yes."
"Ah, Diefenbaker, there you are," Benton Fraser smiled.
Jim Ellison gathered the wolf up in his arms possessively, "He's mine," he growled.
<Get me the hell OUTTA HERE!> Dief pleaded.
"Er...well, actually, Detective, Dief doesn't *belong* to anyone. He is still, officially speaking, a wild animal," Fraser said politely.
<Tell him I'm dangerous, Fraser. Call animal control!> Dief's eyes flashed.
"I know," Jim hiccuped, "S'what I love 'bout him, so untamed and free spirited...and such a very fine ass," Jim gaze down into the wolf's eyes and planted a kiss on his muzzle tenderly, "Oh, Blair..baby."
<That is IT!> Dief shot Fraser a dangerous look, <get this demented cop off me, before I rip out his throat!>
"Er, Detective, his name is Diefenbaker. And he's with me," Fraser said.
Jim staggered to his feet, swaying violently, still clutching the hapless wolf to his chest. Diefenbaker hung there, a stormy expression on his face. "My Blair," Jim snarled at Fraser.
The Mountie had to stop himself smiling at the sight of a drunken detective clutching desperately to a pissed-off wolf, "But?" he tried to interrupt.
"My partner, my guide, my soul-mate," Jim almost fell on his face, "my lover..."
"Still can't find him, huh?" Simon grinned inanely, draining his sixth bottle of beer. The handsome cop in front of him merely gave a puzzled smile. "You know, you gotta get that kid a dog whistle," Simon slung his arm across the younger man's shoulder, pulling him in close, "Course, you could always find yourself a *real* man," he leered.
"That's a very kind offer, Captain," the man said with a heart-stopping smile.
"Hey, Jim. It's been on the back burner for a while now, but,er..if you're okay with it, you wanna come an' look over my weapon collection?"
"An offer I can't refuse," he smiled, "By the way, who *is* Jim? My name's Mack."
"..all men are bastards, simple as that!" Scully hiccuped.
"I'm with you on that one," Nikita grinned clinking her glass against the red heads glass loudly, " I wanted to kill Michael when I first got to know him."
"Oh, I still feel that way about Mulder all the time," Scully sighed, "I shot him once you know?"
"Oh wow!" Nikita grinned, "I'll drink to that," she downed another vodka and orange juice easily.
"I didn't do a good enough job though," the miserable Fed grumbled, "Tried to put a bullet through his brain, but I think I aimed too high."
"Personally," Mulder said in a soft, seductive tone. Eyeing the pretty young man before him, "I don't like men with too many muscles," he smiled stroking a finger down the elfin face.
"No," Scully shouted, "Just one big one!"
"Yeah, well, " Reg Hollis said with passion, "a collator's job can be very exciting. I quite miss the challenge sometimes. But I remember one day we had this important fraud case going on.."
Walter Skinner regarded the whining Brit with a grim fascination. Is boredom an art form in that country? he wondered.
"Hi, have you seen a good looking Mountie with a wolf around here?" the scruffy looking blonde man asked.
"Oh, Fraser? Yeah, er...he was talking to Jim Ellison last time I saw him," Nick Knight smiled, "But, his partner's over there, why don't you ask him."
"What do you mean, I *am* his partner!" Ray Kowalski growled, storming off into the crowd.
"An' I...I e I..will always lurv yooooou.. oh I..e..I," Jim Ellison yodelled, painfully off key.
Diefenbaker still hung limply in his arms. <I will *never* ignore Fraser again, *never* steal doughnuts from the station house again and *never* *never* again piss up Vecchio's desk!>
The sounds of singing coming from beneath the table had intrigued Blair. Allowing his natural curiosity to get the better of him, he moved closer.
"Sisters are doing it for themselves!" a chorus of female voices sang.
Blair lifted the long tablecloth, to see Megan and two other good looking women sitting in a circle, arms linked, singing at the top of their voices. Grinning broadly, he greeted them, "Hey, ladies. Having a good time?"
"Sandy!" Megan said with a slight slur to her voice, "Do come in."
"Isn't that a guy?" Scully belched.
"Yeah, but I'm willing to make an exception for this one," Nikita said licking her lips.
As Blair's legs disappeared beneath the table, all that could be heard above the music was the remnants of a blood-curdling scream.
"So," the dark and dangerous looking man said, "You're Canadian?"
"Yes, I am," Fraser smiled.
"Me too. I'm Michael by the way," he said, his soft voice laced with a French inflection that sounded like honey dripping from a warm spoon, "Interesting party, don't you think?"
"Yes indeed," Fraser said with a cheery smile, "My partner is under that table with a very large F.B.I man, and I've lost my wolf!"
Michael raised an eyebrow, "And I thought I had problems."
"Oh man," Simon sighed, "I always knew you'd be good, but, hell!"
"Why thanks, flattery will get you everywhere," Mack Wolfe said gently kissing along Simon's jaw line.
"Oh, Jim," Simon moaned.
"I told you, gorgeous, my name's Mack."
"An' I always thought you had no sense of humour. Jim, I'll call you Alexander the Great if it turns you on!"
Mack Wolfe glanced down at the writhing vision beneath him, "Okay!"
"Excuse me?" Michael said politely.
Nick Knight turned to see a tall dark Englishman looking concerned, "Yes?"
"You haven't seen a shortish fair-haired, English bloke have you?"
"Don't think so, have you tried over by the buffet?" Nick suggested.
"Oh no, he won't be there, doesn't eat anymore..." Michael said somewhat distracted.
Nick glanced at him warily, "Oh?"
Suddenly realising what he'd said, Michael back peddled furiously, "Er, I mean..he's on a special diet..er..for an allergy!"
Nick gently put his arm around Michael's shoulders, "Why don't you come outside with me and tell me all about it?"
La Croix leaned lazily against the bar, sipping gently on a vintage red. Well actually he'd been blonde with muscles in places that defied description, but the stuff in the glass was most definitely red. He scanned the room for Nicholas, <Ah, let the child play, he always comes 'home' in the end,> he thought with a smile. Suddenly his gaze was drawn to a worried looking young man with fair hair. "You look troubled, friend, can I help?" he said with a predatory smile.
"I'm looking for my partner," the young man replied.
"Aren't we all, dear boy," La Croix said wistfully.
"Have you seen him? He's a big guy in a red suit."
"You mean like Santa Claus?"
"No I mean like a Mountie. He has a deaf wolf with a doughnut fixation and he's probably with his partner, Vecchio,"
"I thought you just said that *you* were his partner?" La Croix frowned.
"I am. Oh sorry, Ray Vecchio," the young man held out his hand.
"But you just said that your Mountie's partner was name Vecchio?"
"He is. So am I. Well, actually, between you and me, I'm not really Vecchio, but everyone thinks I am,"
"Even the Mountie?"
"Oh yeah. Well, I mean he *knows* I'm not, he just pretends I am. But the other one...the one he's with tonight? He really *is.* And to be honest, I'm real pissed at the thought that he came with *him* instead of me!" Kowalski said with a grunt.
"Of course you are," the bewildered vampire smiled weakly.
"So you haven't seen him then?"
"I...er ..No, I don't think so."
"Damn, I'll keep looking, thanks!" Kowalski smiled before disappearing into the crowd.
La Croix regarded his drink sickly, "Humans," he said putting down the glass, "really do ruin my appetite sometimes."
"Li.. k..e a bri..dge over tr..ou..bled..wate..rr," Jim Ellison sang at the top of his voice.
Diefenbaker lay limply in his arms, all will to live having deserted him on Ellison's fifth rendition of 'Everything I do.' <This must be what it's like to die of cold in a snowstorm> he thought, < a slow creeping death that you welcome after a while...> Dief glanced up at the cop desperately,<Oh god, I never want my pups to know I died this way...screwed then crushed to death by a crazy American Cop...the shame..this could never happen in Canada!>
"Fuck," Nikita sighed, "the little guy got away!" She watched as Blair's feet disappeared under the tablecloth, out into the world beyond and freedom.
"Men," Scully drawled, "Who needs 'em!" she grabbed the leggy blonde and drew her into an earth shattering kiss.
"I'll go Sandburg hunting," Megan grinned, "but, save some of that for me!"
Blair blindly made a run for the door, hurtling headlong into Michael.
"Hey, mate. You okay?" the Brit asked seeing the young man's obvious distress.
"I am now. Oh my neck," Blair rubbed the angry red marks on his throat.
"Let me see," Michael said with growing concern. He pulled the young man's hand away sharply to see several large impressive bites, "JACK!"
"Hey. You Vecchio?" Kowalski asked.
"Yeah, who wants to know?" Vecchio replied.
With an almighty punch, Ray Vecchio sailed through the air, "I'm Frasers partner!" Kowalski growled rubbing his knuckles. "And I want my Mountie back!"
"Jim, man. What are you doing with that...wolf?" Blair asked nervously.
Jim Ellison glanced up at his partner lovingly, "Blur!" he hiccuped.
"Yeah, partner. That's me, " Blair smiled, bending down to look into his Sentinels face, "Now come on, put the nice wolfie down and I'll take you home," he gently pried the indignant animal from Jim's arms.
<Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. You can have pick of my next litter..anything..it's yours,> Dief sighed.
"Come on Jim, time to go," Blair slid his arm around his partner's waist and attempted to lift him to his feet.
"When did you stop being a wolf?" Jim asked suddenly puzzled, "'cause I kinda liked your muzzle all furry," he giggled.
"Well,...thanks," Blair smiled, "Come on let's get you home and into bed."
"Oh yeah," Jim grinned tightening his grip on the little anthropologist, "You coming too?"
Blair shifted uncomfortably as Jim's hands began to roam across his body, "Probably sooner than you think, man," he smiled.
"Ah, Dief. I see you're friend has finally left," Fraser grinned.
<Laugh it up, red-boy. I'm going hunting tomorrow for fleas the size of polecats to inhabit *your* bed,> Dief thought sulkily.
"Never mind, old friend. Come on, let's go home. Our bed awaits us," Fraser said with a gleam in his eye.
<Ah, you always know how to sweet talk a gay old wolf, don't ya, Fraser> Dief grinned, <there's only ever been you for me.>
"Oh my God," Scully sighed, as the beautiful blonde slowly kissed across her shoulder stopping to nuzzle her neck softly, "That was *incredible*. A kiss that actually led to sex and you never mentioned aliens *once*!"
"You stay here and I'll go get us another bottle," Simon smiled. Mack grinned and lazily leaned back in the chair to await his lovers return.
Simon pulled the office door closed behind him and wound his merry way down the corridor in search of another bottle of good bourbon.
"Hey, Simon!" Blair's voice called after him, "We're going now. I've gotta get Jim home, he's had a little too much to drink," the young man struggled past with his partner hanging limply around his neck, still singing to himself.
"Fine, Sandburg. See you Monday," Simon said continuing his journey.
Disappearing into the elevator with a final rendition of 'Someone to Watch Over Me', Jim Ellison waved weakly to his Captain and friend before the doors slid shut.
It took a few alcohol soaked moments for the realisation to hit Simon and a further few moments for Simon Banks to hit the floor with a resounding thud.
The hall was almost deserted. Bottles and cans littered the floor and a few rather dubious sounds could be heard emanating from beneath the tables.
Walter Skinner lay on the floor, wishing beyond hope that death would take him soon.
"..And of course," Reg Hollis continued unabashed, "statistically speaking, the Metropolitan Police force uses more paperclips per person, per year than any other force in the UK," he looked down at the groaning figure, "Fascinating, don't you think, Walter?"
<In a normal working day with Fox Mulder, so *many* people try to kill me...where are they when I need them?> Skinner thought, praying for a comatose state to release him from this torture.
So, another party over. Another year in the hectic life of law enforcement officers draws to a close.