“So are you ready for the big day, Chief?” Jim asked as Blair walked into the loft. Blair was spending much of his spare time in the local library doing some independent research for his new PhD thesis.
“What big day is that, Jim?” Blair asked as he carefully stowed away his ever present backpack which Jim suspected held the answers to all of mankind’s mysteries.
“Uh, you know, the day that brings fear to most men’s heart and anticipation for most women. The day where most of the known universe is draped in red, pink and white lace.”
Blair stared blankly at his Sentinel. Jim gave him more hints.
“The day that wreaks havoc upon florists and restaurants everywhere.” Getting no response from his Guide, Jim became blunt. “Valentine’s Day, Chief. The bullpen is looking rather bland. Not a speck of red other than perhaps blood.” Jim left out the part where he noted that their loft was also conspicuously devoid of the appropriate decoration.
“Oh, that day,” Blair replied glumly.
“Yeah, that day. What gives? You’re usually the one that rallies the troops into decorating.”
“I figured I’d give you all a break this year.”
“A break?” Now Jim was really concerned. His usually bubbly enthusiastic buddy was rather subdued.
“Well, the holidays seemed to go on and on this year. It kinda feels like we just took down the Christmas tree and that Naomi just left.”
Jim nodded at Blair’s last comment. Blair’s mother had decided to stay with the guys for the month of December. Jim could swear he could still smell sage in the drapes and sofa cushions no matter how many times they’d been laundered.
“Oh, okay, Chief. Whatever you say.” Jim decided to quickly change the subject to something safer. “Dinner.”
“What about it?”
“Um, I kinda have a craving for your latkes. Would you mind making some for dinner?” Jim asked innocently.
Blair smiled warmly, pleased to do something for his best friend and
Sentinel. “I don’t have all the ingredients to do them justice so I’ll run to
“Great, Chief!” Jim said with a big smile, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. “You do that while I clean the counter for you. I know you have a process to make them.”
“Okay, Jim. I’ll be back in a while,” Blair said getting his jacket and keys, sparing a glance at the already immaculate kitchen counter. He pitied the foolish microbe that had dared to land on it. It was about to die a horrible death at the hands of an anal Sentinel who was going to scrub another layer of formica off the counter.
Jim waited until he heard his Guide run down the stairs of their building and out toward the store.
“Simon?” Jim said into the phone when his call was answered. “You were right. Something’s up with Sandburg. I’m not sure but I think we grumbled a little too much this year about his decorating. I agree he does goes a little overboard sometimes but this time we really hurt his feelings. I just sent him to the store. So what’s the plan? A stakeout? No, that won’t work he’ll want to come with me. An emergency meeting with the commissioner? Yeah, that might work. I’ll tell him I have to sign some stupid form. Okay, call the guys, I’ll be there in a couple of hours. I’ll see you later. And Simon? Thank you.”
Arrangements made, the Sentinel of the Great City breathed a sigh of relief then scrutinized his kitchen counter. With weapons of mass disinfection in hand, the Sentinel went to work.
“Jim, it’s Simon!” Blair called out holding the phone in his hand.
Jim was sitting at the table rubbing his full and satisfied belly. Jim
groaned for effect. “What does he want,” Jim groused.
“Not sure but he sounded pissed. What did you do this time?” Blair asked with a smirk.
Jim grumbled something very rude. “Nothing!” Jim retorted, playing his
part well as he stomped his sock clad feet to the phone. “Yes, Captain. Oh come
on, it’s my day off. Oh, hell. I’ll be there in twenty minutes, Sir.” Jim
slammed down the phone in frustration.
“Sooo?” Blair asked as Jim found his shoes.
“The fucking commissioner is coming down on Simon. Seems I forgot to sign something and they need it for some damned meeting tomorrow morning. I have to meet Simon at the station.”
“Want me to tag along?”
“Nah, no need to ruin your day off. It won’t take too long unless they find an “i” not dotted or a “t” not crossed. Besides, I can see you’re twitching to type something up on your laptop. I’ll call if I’m going to be very late.”
“Okay, Jim. But behave yourself. No need to piss Simon off anymore than he already is.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jim answered. As he grabbed his own jacket and keys then left the loft, Blair was already booting up his laptop.
When Jim got into his truck he made a quick call. “Simon, I’m on my way. Commence operation Sandburg.”
Simon notified every radio car between the loft and the precinct to keep cars and citizens out of the way of Jim’s 1969 truck. The Sentinel was on a mission and no person or traffic light was going to get in his way.
A few hours later, Jim crept into the loft grateful for his Black Ops training. Blair had gone to bed. The Sentinel’s keen hearing zeroed in on Blair’s regular breathing. Stealthily, Jim went to the little room under the stairs to peer through the doors. Yup, Blair was fast asleep, books strewn all over his bed, the glasses on his nose, skewed. Jim resisted straightening out his friend lest he waken him before he could initiate the second part of his plan.
Another hour passed before the satisfied Sentinel went to bed. As he lay there in his big bed, alone, listening to his Guide’s breathing, Jim reflected on the years he and Blair had been together. For ten years the partners in practically all things lived together and worked together. Something was missing that neither of them dared to say out loud. The unspoken ‘thing’ that was ever present. The ‘thing’ that many of their friends and acquaintances assumed was already going on.
Jim rolled over then punched his pillow. Maybe it was time to address that ‘thing.’ Jim’s spirit guide paced the floor near his bed, growling in agreement. Jim concentrated on his Guide’s steady heartbeat then fell asleep.
Blair woke up early still surrounded by his books. At some point Jim must have come in because his glasses were sitting on his desk and a blanket had been placed on him. Blair smiled. His Sentinel always took care of him. He sighed. His Sentinel, his best friend was currently snoring away upstairs. Blair didn’t need to have enhanced senses to hear the snoring or maybe he should say, the sawing of a mighty redwood. Blair chuckled. No wonder Jim never remarried. What woman could possibly put up with that racket. What woman could possibly put up with Blair? He admitted to himself, he was a slob. If it wasn’t for Jim’s rules and constant nit picking, Blair would be happily living under a ton of stuff. Blair loved women and yeah, maybe that humping a table leg crack had merit, but ever since he partnered with Jim, women no longer held any fascination for Blair. And maybe it was Blair’s imagination but it seemed women held little fascination for Jim.
Blair got up to put on the coffee and start his day.
“Where are you off to, Sandburg? We have a meeting with the D.A. later this morning,” Jim reminded Blair as he slowly sipped his morning brew, watching the whirlwind known as Blair Sandburg pack up his backpack.
“I want to be the first one in line at the bakery this morning before they sell out the good stuff,” Blair replied as he rummaged through his pack. “I’ll meet you at the station.”
“You know the D. A. hates to be kept waiting, Chief,” Jim growled.
“I know. I promise I won’t be late,” Blair said as he donned his jacket. He was halfway out the door when Jim’s voice called him back.
“Keys, junior,” Jim said as he tossed said keys at the shorter man. Blair caught them with an embarrassed smile. “Got your phone?” Blair was momentarily panicked as he patted himself down. He breathed a sigh of relief was he felt his phone in his pocket. Jim chuckled. “See you later, Chief.”
“Okay, Jim,” Blair said as he finally left.
Jim tracked Blair out of the building and waited till he heard the sound of his car engine turning over. Jim went to work.
“We ready?” Jim said as he stormed into the bullpen.
“Ready, Jimbo!” Connor said from her brightly decorated desk. Connor was wearing a deep red turtleneck sweater. And Jim didn’t think he had ever seen that many cupids all in one place before.
“All set, Jim!” Brown and Rafe replied from their desks. H was wearing a bright red tie that his current girlfriend had given him as a joke. The tie was covered with little pink hearts.
“Rafe, where the hell did you find a red Armani sports coat?” Jim asked almost blinded by the bright shade of red.
“Hey, you just gotta know how to shop,” Rafe, the young handsome detective replied.
“Uh huh,” Jim mumbled. Jim went to his desk to settle in. He looked around the bullpen which was covered from stem to stern with all manor of Valentine decoration. Rhonda, the Major Crime Unit secretary, was wearing a very fashionable red dress. Joel, the transplanted bomb squad captain was wearing a nice red shirt under his suit jacket.
“Ellison!” Simon, the captain of the unit bellowed from his office. Jim rolled his eyes as he got up to do his captain’s bidding. The guys snickered.
“Yes, Sir?” Jim said as he walked into Simon’s office. Taped to Simon’s desk was a very large red heart trimmed with lace. The only concession the captain would make since he indeed had several meetings with the police commissioner and district attorney.
“Where is your partner?” Simon growled. “We didn’t do all of this just for ourselves, you know.”
“He’s on his way, Sir.”
“And why aren’t you wearing anything red?” Simon asked as he scanned the man standing front and center at parade rest.
“Oh, I am but I’m just a little more subtle about it,” Jim grinned. Jim looked off to the side where he thought he saw his spirit guide, the black panther, looking rather smug. If he listened, he could almost hear the big cat purring.
Simon noticed the look. “Do I want to know?” Simon asked suspiciously.
“Uh, no, Sir. It’s a Sentinel thing.”
“OUT!” Simon pointed toward the door, shaking his head.
“Sir, yes, Sir!” Jim snapped to attention, gave his captain a lazy salute then retreated to the safety of the bullpen.
As Jim sat at his desk and turned on his computer, a familiar cadence caught his attention. Jim cocked his head to one side. “Heads up, people, he’s on the elevator!” Jim said to his fellow detectives and co-conspirators.
The detectives of the Major Crime Unit all went back to their desks to look very, very busy.
“Hey, Jim!” Blair began when he burst through the doors carrying a very large sack.
‘3-2-1,’ Jim said to himself.
“Holy Valentine!” Blair exclaimed as he took a good look around the room. For once their resident know-it-all was speechless and making guppy faces. “What the hell happened? It looks like a Hallmark factory blew up in here!”
The detectives laughed.
“Do you like it, Chief?” Jim asked when Blair sat down in disbelief. Jim smiled, very pleased with himself and their friends.
“Like it? I love it. But why?”
“We figured it was the least we could do since you always take charge of decorations for every holiday, Sandy,” Connor responded for all of them. The rest of the members of the bullpen nodded in agreement.
“Gee, guys, this is so great,” Blair said in awe.
“Um, Sandburg, what’s in the bag?” Jim asked, his nose twitching with delight and his mouth watering.
“Oh, man, I almost forgot. I kinda felt bad that I wasn’t getting into the Valentine spirit so I picked up some treats at the bakery.” Blair cleared off his desk then carefully took out the large box that was hidden in the bag. Everyone gathered around ooo’ing and aaa’ing at the sweet confections Blair revealed.
“Help yourself guys,” Blair said then jumped out of the way of the inevitable feeding frenzy.
“Thank you, Blair! That was very thoughtful of you,” Joel said for the whole group who had their mouths full of all manner of cupcake, muffin, cookie and anything else gooey, sweet and creamy.
“I don’t remember authorizing a party,” Simon bellowed as he flung his office door open. “Sandburg, what have you done now?” the tall man asked as he loomed over the young detective. Ignoring the huff and puff, Blair took out a special éclair and offered it up to the beast.
“Hi Simon!” Blair said sweetly, waving his captain’s favorite treat under his nose.
Simon took the offering, nibbled at it then swallowed. “Carry on!” Simon strode back into his office, éclair in hand then slammed his door shut to enjoy his treat in the privacy of his office.
“Only you, Hairboy,” H said with a big smile as he patted Blair’s back. He took another pink iced cupcake back to his desk to enjoy.
Within the hour all that was left in the box were a few crumbs. Blair and the detectives were all standing around the empty box laughing and extolling the virtues of their favorite treats.
“Have the criminals of Cascade taken the day off?” Simon bellowed as he opened his door, a stack of folders in his hand ready to meet with the commissioner.
“No, Sir!” was heard as everyone scurried back to their respective desks eagerly getting back to work.
“That’s what I thought,” Simon growled as he slammed his way out of the bullpen. Jim smiled at his best friend, and gave Blair a wink as they both prepared for their own meeting.
Later that night Jim let Blair open the door to the loft and enter first.
Sitting conspicuously on the table was a large bouquet of red roses in a vase.
“What’s this?” Blair said as he made a beeline for the flowers. Next to the flowers was a heart shaped box filled with chocolate.
“It came after you left. I think there’s a card,” Jim said, casually sifting through their mail.
“Oh,” Blair mumbled as he ran his fingers over the velvety petals. Jim watched and hoped as Blair read his card. “It says there’s another gift. Maybe it’s the chocolate,” Blair murmured as he picked up the heavy box.
“I don’t think so, Chief,” Jim said. Blair turned to see his Sentinel standing right behind him wearing only a pair of red boxers.
“Uh, Jim?” Blair stuttered as his eyes traveled over the well muscled body. Jim was an Adonis. Blair unconsciously adjusted himself. The movement did not go unnoticed by his Sentinel.
“Do you like your gift?” Jim asked hoping he hadn’t make a big mistake. The box hit the floor with a thud as Blair launched himself into Jim’s arms. After a heated exchange of spit, the boys came up for air. “I guess that means yes?”
The whirlwind known as Blair Sandburg briefly released his Sentinel to lock up then grabbed the fallen chocolates and Jim’s hand, then proceeded to guide his man up the stairs to bed.
Several hours later after the Sentinel and Guide ‘bonded,’ Jim and Blair snuggled together amid the remnants of chocolate. Jim saw their spirit guides cuddled together at the foot of their bed. The big cat was purring as he licked the top of the grey wolf’s head. The wolf nuzzled the cat’s neck, content as a large black paw held him close.
“They’re happy,” Blair murmured sleepily.
“You can see them?” Jim asked.
“Yeah. The cat’s purring,” Jim chuckled. “I know just how he feels.”
“This feels right,” Blair admitted.
“Yes, it does,” Jim said then yawned. “Sleep.”
“Mmm,” Blair murmured then drifted off into a happy sleep, safe within his lover’s arms.
That ‘thing’ successfully addressed, Jim joined Blair in sleep. Their spirit guides ever vigilant, guarded the Sentinel and his Guide as they slept.
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