Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Everyday Life Series

Summary: Jim and Blair catch a glimpse of each other's childhood via some home movies.

To Becky, my beta, who likes pineapple pizza and wouldn't stop bugging me until I finished this thing. ~grin~
Warning: Jim and Blair streaking.

Pineapple, Rubber Duckie and Superman
by Robyn
October 1999

"....shhhhh...."

A dim light glowed from beneath the blanket draped over two of the wooden dinner table chairs, barely strong enough to silhouette two figures sitting cross-legged -- one with longish curly hair, and one smaller with a ponytail -- under the makeshift tent. A whispered, low voice spoke dramatically from under the blanket, the only noise in the evening sunlit loft.

"....shhhh....Uncle Jim and I had to be very, very quiet so the bad guys wouldn't find us in the jungle. After Uncle Jim put the fire out, it was very, very dark and all we could hear were insects chirping and leaves rustling once in awhile. Shhhh...." Blair flicked off the flashlight pointed at his face to indicate the sudden "darkness." The five-year-old girl sitting across from him stared at him with wide blue eyes, her mouth hanging partially open in suspense. The anthropologist fought back a smile, thinking how much her facial expression reminded him of his partner's.

"Uncle Blair?" a little voice whispered.

"Yeah?" the young man whispered back.

"Did the bad guys find you and Uncle Jim?" she asked worriedly.

"Shhh... you have to listen to the rest of the story, Kimberly," Blair smiled before continuing. "We lay down on the ground and tried to go to sleep, but I knew Uncle Jim was still awake. He was listening very, very carefully in the dark for any danger."

"Were you scared, Uncle Blair?" Kimberly breathed, looking at him with awe.

"Me? Nah," Blair shook his head. "Weeeelll... maybe a little. But only a little." He grinned at his confession. "See, when I'm with Uncle Jim, I know I don't have to be scared. He looks out for me and I look out for him. Just like good friends do."

She nodded solemnly, satisfied with the explanation. "Then what happened?"

"Oh yeah." Blair resumed his whispered voice. "I stayed very still on the ground next to Uncle Jim. Then -- suddenly -- he sat up! He must've heard something! Uncle Jim didn't say anything, but he touched my shoulder to let me know not to make any noise. Both of us were very, very quiet.... Shhhhh...."

<<RING-RING!!!>> The high-pitched electronic ring sounded deafening in the silent loft.

"Aaaaaaahhhhh!" screamed Kimberly at the unexpected, loud noise.

"Aaaaaaaaaaahhh!" Blair screeched almost simultaneously, though it was questionable as to whether the phone or the little girl's scream had been more startling.

Jerking back, Blair bumped his head on the edge of the dining table and cried an indignant "Ouch!" In the next instant, Kimberly leaned back against one of the chairs serving to hold up the blanket tent, and the soft material collapsed on top of the two bewildered figures, who then proceeded to struggle underneath their unexpected trap, intermittently yelling and screaming and giggling.

The phone continued to ring amidst Blair's "lemme outta here!" and Kimberly's "help me, Uncle Blair!" Finally, Blair managed to stand up and grab the blanket he'd donned, yanking it down from his head. The little girl still seated on the floor collapsed in more giggles at the sight of Blair's indignant expression, mussed hair, and his "Hmph!" Laughing, the anthropologist looked around for the phone. He frowned when he realized it wasn't the cordless phone on the coffee table which demanded to be answered. Recognition dawned on his face, and Blair scrambled around the couch and unzipped his backpack which leaned against the piece of furniture, reaching in for his cellphone.

"H-hello?" he panted. "Oh, hey Jim....yeah, I'm okay, man. Sorry, I had to find my backpack and get the phone out..... I'm at the loft. Yeah, she's here. Steven's wife dropped her off just after I got back from the university.... YES we're behaving ourselves! Geez.... Okay, that's great, Jim. Don't forget the English muffins, okay?... See you in a few."

Blair clicked the cell phone off and crouched down to replace it in his backpack. He looked up, aware that someone stood next to him.

"Is Uncle Jim coming home soon?" the little girl bounced, excitement in her eyes and voice as she spoke.

Blair grinned, plopping down on the couch and patting the spot next to himself. "He sure is, sweetie," watching fondly as Jim's niece clambered up on the sofa and latched onto his arm, looking up at him. "He just got out of the meeting and he's gonna stop by the grocery store before he comes home. He said he'd be here in about 15 minutes."

"Oh, goody!" Kimberly enthused, looking up at her Uncle Blair with an adoring gaze. Uncle Blair and Uncle Jim were her men, and she'd become quite an expert at convincing her parents, Steven and Anna Ellison, as well as the said uncles, to let her spend afternoons at the loft with the two men from time to time. Bouncing in anticipation, she tugged on Blair's sleeve. "Let's play hide-and-seek until Uncle Jim gets home!"

"I don't know, Kimberly," Blair answered solemnly, though his eyes still twinkled. "Last time we kinda messed up the loft. Uncle Jim doesn't like that."

"C'mon, Uncle Blair -- pleeeeeease? We can fix it before he gets back. Just a little bit? Please?" she pleaded, her blue eyes searching the anthropologist's for understanding.

Blair chuckled. "Well.... all right. But no hiding under the kitchen sink this time. It's yucky under there, remember?" Cleaning up the bottle of spilled Comet powder had not been fun, and he had no intention of repeating that.

Kimberly nodded vigorously. "No sink, Uncle Blair. Okay, you go over there and count," she ordered, pointing to the far corner of the room between the stereo and the balcony windows. She watched to make sure that Uncle Blair obediently shuffled over to the proper corner and turned to face it, covering his eyes with both hands. "Remember, no peeking!"

"No peeking," promised the voice from the corner.

Blair took a deep breath, then commenced the countdown. "100... 99... 98... 97... 96..." The sound of little footsteps tiptoeing around the loft drifted to his ears. Shower curtain being pushed aside in the bathroom -- "65... 64... 63..." The french doors to his bedroom swinging open and closed -- "44... 43... 42... 41..." Footsteps pattering quietly on... the stairs? He paused. Uh-oh. "Kimberly?" he called.

"NO PEEKING!"

"But --"

"YOU PROMISED!" the voice reminded him firmly.

"No peeking," Blair responded meekly. Something about that kid's voice made it impossible for him to explain how he really wasn't peeking, but only hearing where she was. Jim doesn't keep Comet in his room. I hope. "40... 39... 38... 37..."

"... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...Ready or not, here I come!" Uncovering his eyes, Blair headed for the bathroom, pushing aside the shower curtain loudly, opening kitchen cabinets, and inspecting his room. Every once in awhile he paused, listening for any noises, but he never heard as much as a giggle. Finally, he finished inspecting the downstairs portion of the loft and proceeded to climb the stairs to Jim's room. When he reached the top of the stairs, a strange feeling of chagrin and suppressed laughter filled him as he looked at the room's newly acquired feature. His body started to shake with silent giggles and he covered his mouth with one hand in an attempt to contain himself.

A lump -- albeit a very still lump -- had appeared beneath the comforter on Jim's usually very neatly-made bed.

Forcing himself to stop giggling, the anthropologist cleared his throat and tried to speak normally. "Hmmm! Looks like Uncle Jim didn't make his bed very well this morning..." Blair started to shake again at the irony of his words and he had to pause. Finally, he pulled himself together. "I -- I'm gonna have to f-fix it..."

Blair lunged for the bed, pulling up the covers and sliding his head beneath them, reaching out with his arms for The Lump and grabbing. The Lump screamed and giggled, proceeding to thrash the bed covers even worse than Jim could have done during his worst nightmare, but Blair held on. "Gotcha!" he yelled above the screaming. If Jim's bed was going to be messed up, they might as well do a good job of it, he reasoned, laughing to himself.

During a fortuitous moment when both of them were catching their breaths between laughing fits, the door opened. Immediately, The Lump stopped struggling, sitting up on Jim's bed and yanking the covers off her head, throwing them on Blair. "UNCLE JIMMMMMMMM!!!!!!" Kimberly squealed, leaping off the bed and tearing down the stairs.

Jim? Oh man... thought Blair, frantically untangling himself from the comforter and sheets and trying desperately to straighten and smooth the covers back into place and pat the two large pillows so they'd look semi-smooth. He peered cautiously over the railing and caught Jim coming through the door in his khaki field jacket, blue plaid shirt and jeans, brown grocery bag in one arm, looking up at him with a suspicious expression. It took only a few seconds for Blair to realize that Jim's bed was going to look rumpled to his roommate's critical eye no matter what Blair did to it, so the younger man decided the most logical course of action at the moment was to attempt distraction instead of explanation or repair.

Assuming his best high-pitched 5 year-old girl scream, Blair tore down the stairs in a perfect imitation of Jim's niece, his arms outstretched as he ran toward his partner. "UNCLE JIIIIIIIMMMMMMM!!!!" he squealed. Blair decided that his partner's rolling eyes were definitely worth the strain on his vocal cords.

It was all Uncle Jim could do to hold onto the bag of groceries in his arms as a shorter 5 year-old girl flew toward him and attached herself to one of his long legs with both arms. She was followed in rapid succession by a certain long-haired partner, curls flying out behind him, enveloping him and the little girl with both arms in a huge bear hug. Jim's facial expression crinkled into a big grin.

Laughter and silly smiles filled the loft as Blair and Kimberly hugged the tall detective and the tall detective tried to mutter something about the parasites attached to his leg and chest. As Jim handed Blair the bag of groceries, removed his jacket, and dragged his leg parasite (still attached) into the kitchen, he leaned down to whisper into Blair's ear, above Kimberly's squeals. "Uncle Blair is going to fix Uncle Jim's bed so it doesn't look like a tornado hit it, right Sandburg?"

"As long as I get to call you Uncle Jim," Blair answered sweetly, his eyes twinkling.

The detective growled. "Sandburg..."

***************

Several minutes later, Kimberly stood on a step stool behind the kitchen island between Jim and Blair as the threesome made English muffin pizzas for dinner.

"Would you pass me the pineapple please, Kimberly?" asked Blair.

"Yes, please do," grunted Jim, pushing the glass container away from himself in an exaggerated gesture of distaste.

"You sure have a strange sense of taste, man," said Blair, shaking his head as he took the container from Kimberly. "You don't know what you're missing."

Jim concentrated on arranging the shredded mozzarella cheese exactly the way he wanted it on the small muffin halves. "I'll have you know that I tried pineapple before and I just don't like it, Sandburg," he said defensively, looking up to glare briefly at his partner.

"Daddy told me why Uncle Jim doesn't like pineapple," piped in Kimberly.

Blair paused, looking down at the girl. "And why is that, Miss Kimberly?"

"Kimberly dear, that isn't very important, sweetie," Jim hissed.

"Why not?" asked Kimberly.

"Yeah, why not?" demanded Blair.

The detective only grunted again.

Blair stifled a chuckle and said calmly, "Why doesn't Jim like pineapple, Kimberly?"

Kimberly took one more glance at her taller uncle, then proceeded to explain.

"Daddy says that when he and Uncle Jim were little, one day Grandpa brought home a big pineapple from Hawaii. Sally cut it up and put it in a big bowl. Daddy ate only a couple pieces, but Uncle Jim kept eating more and more pineapple, even after Sally told him to stop. Then his tongue swelled up really big and he couldn't talk anymore. Daddy says his mouth puckered up real bad, just like this --" Kimberly puckered her own lips into an amazing contortion, causing Blair's lips to twitch. "Ever since then, Uncle Jim has never liked pineapple." Kimberly paused. "Uncle Jim -- why is Uncle Blair shaking?"

The detective continued to arrange the pepperoni pieces on his pizza, purposely ignoring his roommate. "Just ignore him, sweetie. He's fine," he said calmly.

"Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!!" Blair blurted out, no longer able to contain his laughter. "I -- I'm sorry, man," he choked between laughing fits. "The thought of you with this big fat tongue.... I can't take it anymore! Hahahahahaha!!!!"

"Put your pizza down before you make a mess, Sandburg," growled Jim.

"Okay, man. Really, I'm calm now..... Hahahahahahahaha.!!!!...."

***************

After a supper of English muffin pizzas, Jim headed upstairs to assess the damage done to his room and make appropriate repairs. The taller man crouched to straighten the corners of the sheet and blankets so they would fall perfectly, the way he had done so many years in the military. He was about to pull to a stand when an object peeking from beneath the bed caught his eye. He reached for the object and pulled it out. It was a small, round, flat gray metal case. The paper label was slightly discolored from age and the writing was faded, but the handwriting was easily readable: "Blair -- 1972." Naomi must have accidentally left this yesterday when she was here and was showing me her other albums of Sandburg. Slowly, a smile spread across his face. Sandburg wants to play dirty with our childhood pasts, eh? We'll see about that.

The small case safely in hand, the detective made his way downstairs again. "Kimberly! Sandburg! Wanna watch a movie?"

A few minutes later, Jim was dusting off the clumsy metal case he'd retrieved from the basement as Kimberly watched eagerly over his shoulder. Blair stood to the side, obviously curious about what old movie his partner possibly could have found.

"What IS that?" Kimberly demanded as Jim pulled the old fashioned movie projector from the casing.

"This is what people used to play movies before VCR's were invented," Jim answered as he carefully set the unwieldy thing on the coffee table and motioned for Blair to set up the small portable white screen for viewing.

"You mean the olden days."

A stifled snort came from behind the white screen and Jim rolled his eyes. "Yes, Kimberly. The olden days."

"Ohhhh," she said in comprehension.

"You lived in the olden days, Jim?" Blair teased as he emerged from behind the screen.

"You'd better watch it, Sandburg -- so did you," warned Jim, smiling to himself as he opened the round metal case, pulled out the film and began threading it through the projector. "This movie's starring you, not me."

"ME? How did you get a movie of ME?" demanded Blair. There was a hint of fear in his voice.

"There, that should do it," said Jim, ignoring his friend's questions. "Get the lights, Chief. Let's see if this works."

The lights dimmed, the projector whirred to life when Jim flipped the switch. After some adjustment of the tracking, the picture came into focus. Frequent dust particles flickered on the screen, but the scene was visible as a small bathroom with an old-fashioned white bathtub. The bathtub had little feet and relatively low sides.

A woman's voice spoke. "Just hold the camera steady, Hannah. Aim it at the bathtub."

"Got it, Naomi."

Then a woman with long red hair wearing a green gingham dress trimmed with red rick-rack stepped in front of the camera, carrying a naked toddler boy with a curly mop of hair who was giggling uncontrollably. She set him down in the tub and the child began splashing immediately, giggling with delight and grinning. "Here you go, sweetie," the woman said as she handed him a yellow rubber duck and then pointed to the camera. "Look at the camera, Blair. Sing for mommy. Sing, Blair."

Little Blair looked at the camera and laughed again, squeezing the duck several times so it squeaked. Then he began to sing in a baby voice, his mommy singing softly along. "Rubber duckie, you're the one. You make bath time so much fun..."

The rest of the words were drowned out by the howling from a certain detective and his niece as Kimberly repeated pointed to the screen and giggled. Jim was simply sitting on the couch, doubled over with laughter. "Oh MAN! You really were cute back then!"

"Yeah, yeah," mumbled Blair, who couldn't help but smile sheepishly at the image of his much younger self. Privately, he was glad the room was dark and it was harder to see that he was blushing. "Obviously I'm gonna have to have a talk with my mom."

"Aw, Chief, give her a break -- she left it here on accident."

"You're pretending to be Ernie," observed Kimberly. "Does that mean Uncle Jim is Bert?"

Just then, the phone began to ring. "I'll get it," Blair said quickly, jumping up from the couch. "I'll let you answer Kimberly's question," he whispered.

Jim turned his attention back to the movie, watching the younger version of his partner sing and splash in the bathtub. He shook his head in amusement. This was WAY better than he had hoped.

"Steven and William are coming over to pick Kimberly up," reported Blair after the short phone conversation. The anthropologist seated himself on the couch, now seemingly resigned to watching himself.

"Good," said Jim in a mischievous voice.

"Don't even THINK about it, man," warned Blair.

Ten minutes later, a knock on the door signaled Steven and William's arrival and Blair welcomed them into the loft.

"Ready to go, Kimberly?" asked Steven.

"I made pizzas with Uncle Jim and Uncle Blair, Daddy," said Kimberly as she ran to greet her father. "Hi Grandpa!"

The elder Ellison handed Blair a stack of gray circular cases. "I brought the home movies you wanted, Blair," said William.

"You what!?!" said Jim, standing as soon as he heard his father's words.

"Easy, big guy, I just asked William to bring over some home movies so I could watch them for my thesis, you know," said Blair. He turned back to William, his eyes twinkling. "So which one is the good one you told me about?"

"The top one."

"Lemme see that," said Jim, taking a swipe at the film case. Blair quickly yanked it away and began threading it into the projector. "No way, man. Fair is fair."

"Dad, that isn't --"

"I don't think you've even seen this one before, Jimmy."

"I don't like this.... Dad, come on -- whose side are you on!"

"Blair told me that you've already had your evening entertainment. Fair is fair, son. Besides, I haven't seen these old movies in a long time."

"DAAAAAD!"

The projector whirred to life again and five pairs of eyes turned toward the screen, one pair more reluctantly than the others.

The scene was the Ellison living room, and baby Steven was taking his first steps.

Jim relaxed. This was just a tape of Steven...

Then he heard Sally's voice floating into the background. "Jimmy! Jimmy, time for your bath!"

The detective watched in horror as a certain older brother streaked down the stairs and across the living room in full view of the camera, wearing nothing but a red cape flowing out behind him. Jimmy was also yelling at the top of his lungs.

"SUPERMANNNNNNNN!!!!!"

~ The End ~