Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Humor

Summary: What happens in the loft when rain cancels a fishing trip.

A short everyday life story to tickle your fancy <g>. Written especially for MegaRed (she asked for this back story), RedSoprano for her huuuuuge lungfuls of air and arias on IRC, and everyone else who enjoys Becky and my everyday life stories and doesn't mind a little Jim-pick-on-Blair.

Warnings: In this story Blair screams a lot and Jim sings.

Additional note: This story is the back story implied in the last Traffic Jam piece (Traffic Jam VII) when Blair remembers being stuck in the loft with Jim and Jim finding out all his -- well, just read on if you don't remember <g>. Also, this story contains two very small references to Richard Burgi's character Mack Wolfe from One West Waikiki and assumes that Jim and Blair have already met him (it's written in the same universe as Becky's OWW crossover, Dose of Confusion, Murder on the Side, but you don't have to have read it for this story.) Thanks to Becky for helping me with some of the flea dialogue.

My Guide Has Fleas
by Robyn
January 1999

"Hmmm," Blair murmured sleepily as he rolled from his back to his side. The bed was soooo nice and warm, and he felt extremely comfortable at the moment, nestled underneath the thick blankets. Eyes still closed, his mouth upturned in a slight smile as his still-foggy brain remembered vaguely that today was a day off for him and his partner, Jim -- a day that was going to be spent fishing. But something prompted his eyes to flicker open for a moment, and he found himself squinting blearily at the clock on his night stand. It read -- 8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.!?!? Oh, man...

Blue eyes flew wide open as Blair sat straight up in bed, realizing that he and Jim had planned to leave the loft that morning in typical crazed-fisherman fashion -- very early, by 3 a.m. What happened? he wondered fuzzily as he knuckled his eyes and ran a hand vainly through his rumpled curls, feeling confused and semi-panicked at the same time. Jim never slept in accidentally, especially not when a day of fishing was ahead of him.

<pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter...>

<drip-ping! drip-ping!>

The roof's drippy drain pipe superimposed on the familiar background sound had finally made its way into Blair's consciousness, and he realized that the weatherman must have been wrong again. Turning his head just enough for a quick glance out the back door confirmed that the gray sky was indeed pouring rain. Blair felt himself relax as he finally understood why Jim hadn't awakened him earlier. Peering through the closed french doors from where he sat in his bed, the younger man noticed that the kitchen light was on. Sniffing, the anthropologist also detected a rather delicious smell sneaking between the cracks of his bedroom doors.

Already beginning to shiver as the upper part of his body protested its forced emergence from beneath the blankets, Blair took a deep breath and pushed the covers aside, swinging his legs off the bed and slipping his stockinged feet into the sheepskin-lined slippers Jim had given him for Christmas two years ago. Grabbing his plaid flannel robe from the chair, Blair pulled it on as he headed for the doors and the undoubtedly warmer part of the apartment. The anthropologist inhaled appreciatively as he closed the french doors behind him to prevent the heat from escaping into the bedroom. Jim had obviously been up for awhile, and the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls wafted about the loft, mingling with the wood stove's heat and creating a positively cozy environment. The fire burning in the wood stove had already heated the loft to a very pleasant temperature, and Blair simply let his robe hang loose instead of tying it snugly around himself as he shuffled toward the kitchen, following his nose.

The empty oven's door was cracked open, allowing its residual heat to contribute to the apartment's warmth. The delicacies in question perched on top of the kitchen island's stove, still in the gray non-stick pan and all twelve of them fully intact -- Jim hadn't had one yet.

And Jim was nowhere to be seen.

All thoughts of his daily algae shake vanished as Blair looked longingly at the rolls, which had even already been frosted, their white sugar coating dripping down into the circular swirls and cracks between each roll. Maybe Jim went down to get a newspaper or something, he thought absently. His stomach rumbled. Jim wouldn't want me to let them get cold or anything, he rationalized, and before he could stop himself, a hand (apparently connected to his body) slowly reached out toward the tempting culinary delight. He could feel the heat still rising from them.

Closer, closer....

"Sandburg..." a familiar voice growled.

Blair guiltily jerked the offending hand back at the sound, his eyes darting around the room as he tried to locate the source of his roommate's voice. It hadn't come from the balcony of Jim's upstairs bedroom -- too far away -- and the living room was empty as far as he could tell. The bathroom? He was about to go look when he heard the voice again.

"Sandburg..." came the disembodied voice. It echoed a little, as if it were coming from outside the loft; yet it was close enough for Blair to hear it clearly.

Blair answered in a little voice, still looking around for his friend, "I -- I'm sorry Jim, I didn't mean to -- I mean, I was gonna wait for you, but I couldn't help my--"

"Chief! Will you please hand me that wrench, sleepy head?" This time the voice sounded more amused.

"Jim?" Blair stepped around the corner of the kitchen island, and a smile spread across his face as he saw a pair of long jean-clad legs and feet covered with familiar white socks stretched out from underneath the kitchen sink. The only part of the detective's chest that was visible was a few inches of gray tucked-in t-shirt.

"It's on the top tray of the tool box," the echoey, hollow voice said again.

"Yeah, yeah," said Blair, springing into action as he spotted the red tool box in question on the kitchen floor next to a small pile of soaked old towels. "Here you go, Jim." He grabbed the wrench and shoved it underneath the sink, where a larger warm hand took it from his own.

"Thanks," the detective answered. Clinking noises started coming from beneath the sink as Jim spoke above them. "Go ahead and have a cinnamon roll, Sandburg." Soft chuckling followed. "You were gonna eat one without me, weren't you?" More chuckling.

A cinnamon roll, warm gooey frosting sticking to his fingers, was already half out of its spot in the pan when the young man paused uncertainly. "Uh, well..." Blair blushed before he had time to think about whether he really should feel bad or not, since Jim had obviously expected him to eat a roll.

"You're probably turning red now. I can feel the heat radiating from your face down here," his roommate's muffled voice commented.

Blair's eyes widened as he paused in the middle of chewing a big bite of the soft, warm pastry, and he unconsciously reached up with his other hand to feel his face. "You just wanted to tempt me at my weakest moment, man, when I'm hungry and only half-awake," he chided between bites. "OR maybe you were trying to make me forget about making my algae shake."

"Darn," the voice grumbled. "Now you're gonna ruin that wonderful smell."

"Ha-ha, Jim." Blair grinned as he peeled off another few inches of the sweetened bread and stuffed the piece in his mouth. "Why'd you get up so early, man? You knew we couldn't go fishing this morning."

"This crazy faucet. It started dripping around 4 a.m., once every five minutes and 10 seconds to be exact. Kept me awake, and I couldn't block it out no matter how hard I tried," the sentinel muttered as he continued to fiddle with the pipes. "You would think that with the rain it wouldn't have bothered me, but nooooo..."

"We're gonna have to work on that, I see." The guide licked at one finger, not wanting to lose any of the frosted coating.

"Please, Sandburg, I've had enough Chinese water torture for one day already."

"Then what am I gonna do with you all day?" Roll in one hand, Blair leaned down and tried to peer into the area beneath the sink, the hem of his long robe sweeping the kitchen floor, but it was too dark for him to make out Jim's features, and this repairman didn't need a light to see what he was doing. Blair straightened, still chewing on the last of his breakfast.

He eyed Jim's stockinged feet again. The detective's feet were seldom this exposed, this... vulnerable. Blair slid his own foot along the smooth linoleum floor...

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

On his back and with pupils dilated, Jim scrutinized the kitchen sink's pipes carefully, inspecting each connection for tightness and any tell-tale dripping using his sensitive hands and enhanced vision. The sentinel smiled to himself. Although he had never admitted it out loud, doing little unexpected things for his partner -- like baking cinnamon rolls from scratch -- brought Jim no end of warm-fuzzy feelings. As for what he and Blair were going to do all day, well, he honestly didn't know. For someone with an obsessive-compulsive temperament as excessive as his, it was a miracle the lack of plans didn't bother him like it used to -- before he'd met Sandburg. Now, a free day with his partner, even a rainy one, seemed full of potential. Jim sighed contentedly. No matter what they ended up doing today, he knew they'd have fun.

"Ah-ha," the detective mumbled to himself as he found a loose ring and reached up with the wrench to tighten it. While he did so, the light coming from the kitchen faded, and Jim knew his curious roommate was probably leaning over to try to get a look inside. His eyes automatically dilated a little more to compensate, but the action proved unnecessary when the transient darkness disappeared a couple seconds later. Ellison could still hear Blair chewing on the sweet, sticky roll. His own stomach growled in response, protesting that his plumber activities could surely wait until the more important digestive system had been satisfied. Ever since Jim's senses had reawakened, previously inaudible gastrointestinal noises sounded so loud to him that he sometimes wondered if deaf old Mrs. MacKenzie could hear the thunderous racket all the way down the hall. A small grunt escaped his lips as his strong arms tightened the pipe connection one last time.

Jim's stomach growled again. All right, all right, Ellison grumbled to himself. I'll feed you! Just let me get out of here. He was about to scoot out of the space under the sink when a very light, unexpected sensation caused his left foot to reflexively jerk away, but the stimulus was gone as quickly as it came. The taller man's mouth formed a frown and he paused, waiting for the sensation to recur.

Nothing.

"Chief?" Jim said hesitantly.

"Yeah, Jim?" Blair's voice answered, mouth still half-full, tone completely innocent. "Something wrong?"

"Uh -- no, nothing," said Jim. The sentinel sighed. Maybe his feet's tactile sensors were on overdrive today. Setting down the wrench just outside, Jim was about to move again when he felt it again -- and this time it definitely wasn't his imagination. His right foot jerked away defensively.

"HEY!" Jim exclaimed. With a powerful shove from his arms, he scooted himself out from underneath the sink and stood up abruptly, blue eyes flashing. He ineffectively scuffed his foot on the smooth linoleum like a Spanish bull, trying to get rid of the annoying residual ticklish sensation. "Sandburg!...." he growled, glaring at the younger man who was now conveniently leaning with one elbow on the counter on the other side of the kitchen island, trying to look nonchalant as he licked his fingers one last time. Somehow he must've managed to silently skitter away to a safer position. However, the younger man refused to make eye contact and his heart rate thumped along at an abnormally rapid pace.

"Yeah, Jim? Problem?" said Blair casually, still avoiding eye contact with the taller man whose glare he could've felt in the other room had he been there.

A slight smile formed on Jim's face, but his eyes still held the glint of an indignant sentinel wronged and considering the necessity for revenge. "Yeah, Chief, as a matter of fact, I do have a problem," Jim said in a lowered voice, all the while slowly approaching his partner around the other side of the island.

Blair's blue eyes widened, and he desperately tried to look as innocuous as possible and suppress the giggle threatening to escape his lips. He backed away around the island as slowly and steadily as Jim approached him.

"My problem is about 5 foot 8, long curly brown hair, dressed in a t-shirt, boxers, and wearing a blue and green plaid flannel robe," continued the detective. He extended both arms out in a defensive stance as the two men circled each other slowly around the counter as if doing some primitive animal dance, never taking their eyes off each other. "Yessir, my problem --" he paused.

"-- is YOU!" Jim shouted, as he suddenly sprinted forward after the younger man, arms outstretched.

"Aaaaaahhhhh!" Blair screamed, laughing at the same time. He spun out a little at the beginning of his getaway sprint, but somehow managed to barely escape his partner's long arms and end up on the other side of the island. Man, right now I'm really wishing I had those rubber traction things on the bottom of these slippers, he thought. Blair also counted his blessings that they had a kitchen island between them at the moment instead of the couch, which Jim could easily jump over and end the chase before the smaller man had a sporting chance to escape.

"C'mon, Chief!" Jim said in a good-natured, very patient voice as he assumed the slower stalking mode again as they crept around the kitchen island. "You can run but you can't hide. I mean, think about it -- I've got these senses, and I'm not so old I can't catch you. Eventually, you're gonna have to face the music. So why not make it easy on yourself, eh?" Jim chuckled as he smiled brilliantly and his eyes danced like one who knows he will eventually be victorious.

"Uh-uh, no way, man," Blair shook his head as he continued to back away from his roommate. "Besides -- I -- I'm innocent!" he stammered defensively.

"Innocent? Ha! You're killing me, Sandburg," chortled Jim. "You don't think I'm actually going to believe that tickle was all in my imagination? I know what I felt."

"Yeah, innocent," Blair repeated. "How was I supposed to know your feet were ticklish?"

"I don't know, Sandburg -- one of those sixth sense guide things? Look, all I want is to even the score," Jim smiled as he explained.

"Yeah, right, Jim. By my count, you're way ahead on the tickle count," Blair retorted, still grinning. "You manage to count my ribs all the time. It's just not fair, man."

"Hey, it's not my fault when you go out of your way to provoke me," argued Jim.

"Why does everything around here always have to be my fault?" demanded Blair.

"Call it an amendment to the House Rules, Chief."

Blair rolled his eyes, but had little time to be disgusted when his partner charged again. "Ack!" he screamed as he bolted again, feeling something being pulled from the back of his robe.

"Ah hah!" Jim said in a pleased tone, admiring the long flannel tie of Blair's robe in his hands. "It won't be long, Sandburg. You should just give up now."

"I think not. You still haven't caught me," Blair reminded, eyeing his taller partner as he circled the island with one hand on the ledge for added balance.

"We'll see about that," said the detective. "My legs are longer than yours, kid. Yaaaaaagh!"

"Aaaaaahhh!" Blair screamed in response to his friend's battle cry and bolted again. But this time the anthropologist felt his pursuer latch on to the edge of his bathrobe and begin to reel him in. "Yikes!" he cried.

"Now I've got y--" Jim frowned as the robe containing a certain partner of his abruptly went limp.

In a flash, Blair was on the other side of the island again, laughing at his successful escape attempt and the taller man's bewildered look as he was left holding the robe without its recent wearer.

Jim growled. He was getting no closer to revenge. Maybe you're going about this in the wrong way, Ellison. You're letting Sandburg get his wind every time you stop. That endurance training from the army and the police academy should be good for something... Then a change of expression came over his face, and his blue eyes twinkled. "You think you're so smart, Sandburg, so agile. Well, maybe you are," Jim mused. Then he broke into a broad smile. "But I've got two words for you, Houdini."

"What would that be?" Blair said suspiciously.

"Floor wax. Yaaaaaaaagh!" Jim yelled as he bolted after his partner again.

Blair's face blanched in a satisfying manner for Jim in the split second before he took off again, remembering with a sinking feeling how Jim had thoroughly done the floors yesterday.

Two sets of feet pounded the linoleum as the anthropologist slipped and slid around the kitchen island's corners and the detective followed in hot pursuit, both men laughing and yelling every time they almost lost their balance.

Ellison was the first to slip enough to lose his balance completely. As Jim grabbed the island's tiled corner in an effort to save himself, Blair howled as his friend's long legs splayed in opposite directions. "Take this, man!" Blair laughed.

As Jim pulled himself back up to a standing position, something soft and brown hurtled through the air and beaned him on the forehead. Sandburg's slipper bounced off the detective's head and landed with a satisfying plop on the counter. Needless to say, the look on Ellison's face was not amused, though his blue eyes still twinkled. "That does it! Your cup of wrath is full, buddy. C'mere, you little --" The taller man lunged after his partner.

"Noooo!" The beaning turned out to cost more than Blair had anticipated, for his one sock-covered foot turned out to have even less traction than he'd had with both slippers on. Blair screamed as he felt Jim grab on to the back of his t-shirt, causing him to run in place like a hamster in a wheel and finally lose his footing altogether. The younger man fell backwards into Jim's waiting arms.

The detective chuckled satisfactorily as he caught his yelping partner. Blair felt Jim's muscled arms enclose his entire upper body from behind in a vise-like grip. The taller man then proceeded to haul his struggling prey over to the blue couch -- Jim's preferred spot for inflicting the upcoming torture. "Stoppit, Jim! Jim? Help! Aaaaaah!" Blair screamed again, wiggling in vain against his captor.

<<PLOP!>> Both men landed unceremoniously on the couch, both laughing. "Lemme go, Jim! Lemme go!..."

"Lemme think about that," answered the detective, tightening his hold on the wiggling Blair and pasting a deeply contemplative look on his face. Then he grinned. "Um, no. That was easy!" he laughed as he wrapped one of his long legs on top of and around Blair's legs, further impeding any possible escape attempts off the couch.

"Aaaaaaah! Get your tentacles off me, man!" demanded Blair as he felt the edge of his t-shirt being edged up to reveal bare skin.

"Did you just call me a crustacean?"

"No, you blue-eyed cephalopod! I swear, sometimes you have more limbs than an octopus!"

"All the better to tickle you with. <shhthwick!> <shhthwick!>," the taller man imitated. His voice changed to the monotone articulation of a computer. "Suckers activated. Prey cannot escape."

"HELLLLLP!"

"You're wiggling again, Chief. You know what that means," said Jim. "How does that song go again? Ah, yes." He hummed four particularly dreaded notes and inched Blair's shirt up a little higher.

Blair's face blanched again. "Oh, no. No, man -- not that song -- anything but that!" he begged, renewing his ineffectual attempts at struggling.

"Nope, sorry, Chief -- you're wiggling and you know what that means," proclaimed Jim solemnly.

"I do NOT have fleas, man!" Blair protested.

"You sure? Maybe we'll have to run over to PetCetera and get some of that Sentinel flea dip just to make sure they're all killed," reasoned the detective.

"You do NOT know how much I regret the day Mack taught you how to tune a ukelele," Blair grumbled.

Jim laughed and hummed the notes again, flexing his fingers above Blair's vulnerable ribs. "Practice makes perfect, Chief. And since I don't own a ukelele, I just have to settle for you. Eh-heh-hem!" he cleared his throat. "My -- guide -- has -- fleas..." sang the detective, plucking at the younger man's exposed ribs with each note.

"Yaaaaaaaaghhhhhh!" Blair howled at the tickling sensation. "Stoppit, Jim! P-please, stoppit, man! HELLLLLLLP!"

<<ring-ring! ring-ring! ring-ring!>>

"Thank you!" Blair cried, looking up at the ceiling toward whatever higher power had just heard his plea for mercy.

"I'm not done with you yet, junior," Jim laughed, tightening his hold on Blair with one arm while he reached for the phone on the end table with the other.

"Ellison."

"Jim, this is Simon," said the voice on the other end.

"Yeah, Simon," answered Jim

"SIIIIIMONNNNN!" Blair yelled in the background. "Help me, Simon! PLEASE!!!" he screamed.

The captain's forehead furrowed and he frowned as he held the phone away from his ear and paused to looked at it incredulously. "Jim?" he continued when he pressed the phone to his ear again. "What's wrong with him!?!"

"Never mind Sandburg, sir," Jim shouted into the phone over Blair's calls for help, his voice quavering the detective struggled to hold the phone still while retaining control of his victim. "Trust me, he's fine."

"I AM NOT! SIMONNNN! TELL JIM TO LEMME GO! HE'S GONNA --"

Simon rolled his eyes, deciding he'd better ask his question and end this phone call ASAP. "Look, Jim, I know it was supposed to be your day off and you were gonna go fishing today, but since it rained -- do you think you and the kid could pinch hit on stake-out for a few hours this afternoon? We're short on help and something just came up in the Houston case."

"Sure, sir, I think we could do that," yelled Jim.

"CAPTAIN BAAAAANKSSSSSS! HELLLLLP MEEEEE! PARTNER ABUSE! PARTNER ABUSE!"

Simon's eyes narrowed even more. "Are you sure the kid's okay, Ellison?" he demanded. "He sounds like he needs to be tranquilized!"

"Yes, sir. It all started with this drippy faucet --"

"I don't even want to know," interrupted Simon. "Look, I'll call you back later with the stake-out details. I'll just leave you two alone right now." The captain shook his head again as he gave his phone receiver one last suspicious look before he hung up.

"SIMONNNN! DON'T LEAVE ME! SIMONNNNNN...."

<click> Jim reached over and hung up the phone.

"Oh, MAN!" wailed Blair as he watched himself get cut off from his only hope for rescue. "SIIIIMONNN!"

"I think you scared him," laughed Jim, glad that the phone call was over so he could use both arms to hug his prey again. His one arm was beginning to get really tired trying to restrain Sandburg all by itself. "Now where was I? Oh, yeah." He hummed the four tuning notes again. "My -- guide -- has -- fleeeeeeaassssssss....." he crooned, passing sensitive fingertips over Blair's ribs again.

"Yaaaaaaaaaagh! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Stoppit, Jim, stoppit! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I swear I -- ha-ha -- do -- not -- have -- fleas! Lemme go! JIIIIIIIMMM!"

"Then why are you wiggling again?"

"Because some BRUTE is tickling me!"

<pause>

"What did you just call me?"

"A BRUTE, man. If the shoe fits, wear it."

<pondering silence> "Hm....well, there's only one thing to do about that. Hmm -- hmm -- hmm -- hmmm..."

"Next time I see Mack I'm gonna kill him," whispered Blair under his breath.

Jim inhaled a huge lungful of air before attacking his partner's vulnerable ribs again. "Myyyyy guiiiiiiide has fleaaaaaaaaaas..."

"Yaaaaaaagh! No! JIM! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME! Yaaaaaaaaghhhhhhahahaha!...."

~ The End ~