A Sentimental Sentinel


Jim was sitting in his favorite overstuffed chair quietly reading his book while Blair recited the blessings and lit the next candle on his menorah. The menorah was sitting on a small table near the glass balcony doors, the warm glow of the candles reflected off the glass. Jim remained silent until Blair’s ritual for the evening was finished.

When he was done, Blair looked up, giving his Sentinel a serene smile. Blair took off his yarmulke, carefully placing it on the table. His mother, Naomi, had given Blair the yarmulke when he was a young man just before he went off to college. It was one of the few things Blair took with him whenever he moved on. Blair took a deep breath then went to sit on the arm of Jim’s chair.

“Done for tonight?” Jim asked.

“Yes,” Blair replied as he leaned down to give Jim a kiss. Jim reached up to bury his hand in Blair’s long curly hair then guided the younger man onto his lap. The lovers gently kissed for some time.

“So, what do you want for Christmas?” Jim asked with a twinkle in his eyes as the younger man snuggled onto Jim’s warm lap.

“May I remind the great Senior Detective James Joseph Ellison, that I am Jewish and therefore do not celebrate Christmas?” Blair countered with mirth.

“And may I remind the Junior Detective Blair Jacob Sandburg that as the senior detective in this partnership, I have used my vast powers of detection and have arrived at a conclusion,” Jim responded, his ice blue eyes flashing a smile.

“What is your conclusion, oh great senior detective?”

“That although Blair Sandburg is Jewish, it is he that picks out our Christmas tree every year and decorates it. It is Blair Sandburg that does most of the Christmas shopping, picking out the best gifts for our team and friends. And that it’s Blair Sandburg that demonstrates the true meaning of Christmas through his generosity of thoughts and deeds better than many proclaimed devout Christians. So I repeat, what do you want for Christmas?” Jim asked sincerely.

“Jim, I...” Blair was momentarily stunned. “You know for a man who has a reputation for being uncommunicative, you can be very eloquent,” Blair said with a demure smile. He laughed when Jim pretended to scowl trying to maintain his hard-ass rep. “All right, all right,” Blair surrendered. “Anything I want?”

“Anything within reason. I am only a mere civil servant.”

“Aren’t we all,” Blair quipped while he pondered the question. “There is this new computer program I’ve been looking over; it...”

And Blair was off, explaining to Jim all about the program, it’s great reviews and relevance to their work. Jim understood little of what Blair was saying but he ‘a-hummed’ and grunted in all the appropriate places. After a while, Blair stopped his rambles.

“I lost you after, ‘there is this new computer program,’ didn’t I?” Blair asked Jim who had the good grace to blush.

“Sorry, Chief. You know I zone when you start talking computer stuff.”

“Yes, your lack of computer skills is quite legendary in the bullpen.”

“I could give you cash or a gift card but that seems too impersonal,” Jim thought out loud.

“We could go shopping together,” Blair suggested. Jim made a face; he hated shopping especially around the holidays. It was too noisy for the Sentinel who, at best, had a short fuse in crowds. “Or we can let my fingers do the walking on a keyboard and order the program online.”

Blair was rewarded by a rarely seen Jim smile.

“Now that we’ve solved the case of the Christmas present for the Jewish man, what do you want for Christmas?” Blair asked.

“I honestly don’t know, Chief. I have all that I want right here,” Jim replied without hesitation, patting Blair’s hand. Jim was gifted with a 100-watt Blair smile.

“I have to put something under the tree for you to unwrap on Christmas morning,” Blair insisted.

“Anything I want?”

“Anything within reason. I am only a mere civil servant,” Blair parroted back.

A few weeks later on Christmas morning, Jim woke up alone in his bed. He stretched and scratched then opened his senses in search of his Guide. The Sentinel was comforted by the steady and familiar cadence of Blair’s heartbeat, the aroma of coffee and fresh cinnamon buns. Jim rolled out of bed and trotted down the stairs to share Christmas morning with his lover.

“Merry Christmas, Jim!” Blair announced. Jim stared for a moment, not sure if his eyesight had spiked or he was truly seeing what he was seeing. Jim took the mug of coffee from Blair’s outstretched hand and enjoyed a healthy sip.

“Merry Christmas. I guess you’re my present?”

“Very good, detective. Your powers of deduction are remarkable. What was your first clue?”

“The bow. I have to say that the bow stuck to your forehead is a dead giveaway.”

“And your next clue?” Blair asked cheerfully, his deep blue eyes twinkling.

“The fact that you’re lying under our tree. Yep, gifts are traditionally under the tree.”

“Wonderful, Jim. And your next clue?” Blair maintained a straight face.

“The wrapping paper. Blair, why did you wrap yourself up in all this wrapping paper?”

“Come on, Jim, get with the program. It’s Christmas. Gifts are wrapped!”

Jim bopped himself in the head. “Of course, why didn’t I think of that?” he said as he sat on the floor next to his present. “I guess that’s why I need a partner, to help me with those little details.”

“And not so little details,” Blair said with a wink.

“Not little at all. So, can I unwrap my present?”

“Have you been a good boy this year?”

Jim leaned back on his elbows, seemingly pondering the question. He thought about the past year, all the bad guys he and his partner and team helped to put away. The charitable work he and Blair did on the side. And the little extras the Sentinel and Guide couldn’t help but do for their tribe. Yes, Jim thought to himself, he was a good boy. He deserved his Blair present.

“Yes, I’ve been good,” Jim announced.

“Then unwrap as you will, Jim!”

Jim dove in with gusto like a big cat fighting his way in and out of a paper bag. Within minutes the floor was covered with brightly colored shredded paper and Jim had his present in his arms. Said present was the type of gift that kept on giving and giving, and Jim was a most appreciative recipient.

Hours later, amidst the paper and bows, the lovers laughed as they peeled away the bits of wrapping paper stuck to their skin.

“I was right,” Jim declared, kissing Blair’s nose.

“About what?”

“You do give the best gifts,” Jim said as he wrapped his arms around his Guide and lover. Then Jim demonstrated the true meaning of Christmas by reminding Blair that it was often much better to give than to receive.


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