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

Summary: A lazy after-dinner walks leads Jim and Blair to an ice cream store and the wonders of Kahlua Fudge.

Evening Treat
by Becky
February 1998

Life is good.

That thought was uppermost in Detective Jim Ellison's mind as he strolled leisurely down the sidewalk. He smiled and nodded at a few passers-by, responding to their greetings of 'good evenings' with mild pleasure. The day had been quiet for once, which had continued on through the evening. His city was safe and still, the residents protected and at rest.

My city.

Jim chuckled to himself. He didn't know exactly when he had started thinking of Cascade as 'his city', but he did.

Sandburg would probably have something to say about it...if I ever told him. Actually, knowing him, he probably already knows. Sometimes, I think he knows more about me than I do.

At the thought of his partner, friend, and roommate, he glanced to his side where Blair walked next to him, quiet for once, hands stuffed into his jacket pockets, eyes brightly lit as he smiled quietly at the people who passed them. Normally, Blair would be talking about something, anything, no matter what was going on. Jim had to wonder if it was because there was too much information stored in his head and it had to spill out somewhere or explode. But not tonight. Tonight Blair was quiet, simply walking, saying little other than to respond to greetings every now and again. Tonight was filled with the companionable silence of friendship.

Blair cocked his head to look up at him, feeling Jim's eyes on him. Jim smiled softly and shook his head at the raised eyebrow and implied question. Blair smiled back, his eyes crinkling in amusement. He leaned to one side, nudging Jim's arm with his shoulder once before continuing on. Jim laughed under his breath, but didn't say anything in response to the unspoken 'you're acting a little strange tonight, Ellison' comment that had been dancing in Blair's eyes.

Good to have some time off. Good to relax and regroup, remember what it's like to simply be.

After catching the suspect in their most recent case and finishing the paperwork at the station late that evening, they had gone out for supper to celebrate, neither wanting to cook and then have dishes to clean up. Italian had been the first and only choice for both of them. So they'd gone home to change clothes as the suspect had lead them through a good long chase through the park and various mud puddles left by the day before's downpour, then decided to walk to the restaurant. It wasn't far and Jim wanted to work out the kinks before they turned into knots.

An hour later, they were now heading back to the loft, both pleasantly mellow and relaxed. Jim inhaled deeply, then breathed out, closing his eyes for half a second, feeling the last of the tension ebb away and disappear.

Blair quietly spoke up. "Hey, Jim, you okay?"

Jim looked down, nodding. "Yeah. How about you? You seem awfully quiet tonight, Chief."

Blair shrugged. "Seemed like it was supposed to be that way. What? You missing the chatter?"

"You? Chatter? Is that what it's called. Here I always thought you were trying to educate the rest of us lowly peons with your great stores of knowledge."

Blair rolled his eyes, laughing with Jim. "Funny, Jim, real funny."

Jim reached over and tugged at Blair's hair, which hung loose around his neck. "I thought so."

Blair sighed and looked away. "The things I put up with..." He paused, his eyes latching onto a shop a few doors down. Then he grinned back at his big friend. "Hey, Jim, you got room for dessert?"

"Dessert? After that meal? Are you kidding? I may not even eat breakfast tomorrow."

"Oh, come on, there's always room for something more."

"How can you possibly still be hungry?"

"I didn't say I was hungry, just that I wanted dessert."

Jim rolled his eyes and gave in. "What did you have in mind?" For an answer, Blair pointed to the shop he'd spotted. Jim followed the line of sight, blinked once, then looked at Blair, then back at the shop as they neared it. "Ice cream? I thought you didn't go for junk food."

"Everyone has their exception. Ice cream is mine."

"Uh-huh. And just who is going to pay for this 'exception'? I seem to recall you muttering something about using up the last of your cash at that restaurant."

Blair's smile froze in place a second, then faded with memory. "Oh, yeah, I did, didn't I." He turned away, then shrugged as they began to pass the ice cream shop. "Well, no matter, I can always get some later. It's not going anywhere."

Hesitation didn't even enter Jim's mind. He simply placed a hand on Blair's shoulder and steered him toward the doors of the ice cream shop. "My treat, Chief. What do you want?"

Blair resisted moving through the doorway, shaking his head. "No, Jim, you don't have to . . ."

Jim raised a finger. "No, I don't, but I want to. Indulge me."

Blair stared a moment longer, then smiled. "Thanks, Jim."

Gesturing toward the door, Jim asked, "So we getting ice cream or what?"

Several minutes later, Jim was beginning to wonder if he'd made the right choice in pushing Blair into accepting his offer to buy him ice cream. He shifted in the little pink plastic swivel chair again, trying and failing to find a better way to sit, a more comfortable way. A bit later he decided with a grunt that it was impossible and resigned himself to just dealing with it. He'd been in worse places than a chair made more for his 6-year-old niece than himself.

How long does it take to choose a flavor of ice cream?

Settling back against the window, he watched with a small grin as Blair kept tasting the ice creams and flirting with the shy young woman behind the counter. Closing his eyes for a moment, he breathed out. He almost expected to feel impatient, but he wasn't, just amused at the antics of his partner who could switch, at a moment's notice, between a cop's partner, a Sentinel's guide, a teacher, a student, a roommate, a friend, and currently a flirtatious young man exchanging small talk over ice cream with a girl he'd never met before. Fortunately for both of them, they were the only customers in the shop.

"Hey, Jim, you gotta taste this."

"Taste wha--?"

A spoon was popped into his open mouth and his taste buds exploded with the rich tastes of coffee and ice cream. His eyes flew open and he sat forward, yanking the spoon out and swallowing down the ice cream, spluttering. Blair backed up quickly, eyes dancing with mirth.

"Sandburg!"

"Good stuff, eh, Jim."

"What on earth was that!?!"

"Kahlua Fudge. I just might have a winner. I just wanted to know what you thought."

Jim stared at him. "I'll let you know tomorrow after the taste had disappeared."

Blair blinked, then laughed, his cheeks pinking. "Oops, oh, yeah, I forgot about that." Turning back to the girl at the counter, he continued as he walked away from Jim, waggling his eyebrows. "He's got these really sensitive taste buds. Doesn't like anything too strong. Makes his jaw hurt."

"Sandburg..." Jim's voice reached the teasing/warning level. Blair threw him a cocky smile, then continued to peruse the ice cream tubs. Jim muttered under his breath, then worked on finding a neutral spot for his sense of taste which was still recovering from the shock of the tiny bite of Kahlua Fudge ice cream.

He had just reset the dial when the door to the shop opened, ringing the little bell. Before he even had a chance to look, a voice he recognized sang out.

"Blair!"

Daryl strode across the linoleum to Blair, who grinned at him, throwing an arm around the teenager's shoulders. "Daryl! What are you doing here?"

The boy gestured behind him. "Dad's taking me to a movie a little later and he said we could stop for ice cream first."

Blair's eyes went over Daryl's head to see Simon standing in the doorway, one eyebrow raised in curiosity. Blair just grinned. "Hey, Simon."

Simon smiled back, nodding in greeting. "Sandburg." Then he turned his attention toward Jim, walking over to sit across the small table in the other minuscule pink chair. "And what are you two doing here, may I ask? Or do I want to know?"

Jim watched with some amusement as Simon tried to find a good way to sit. He held back a laugh and responded to the question. "Blair wanted ice cream. We're on our way back from dinner, so we stopped."

"I didn't see your truck out front."

"We decided to walk. It wasn't that far and it wasn't too bad out, temperature-wise." He paused and looked back to where Blair and Daryl were huddled over the counters, talking excitedly, pointing at the various flavor names. "Of course, once he gets that ice cream inside him, Sandburg may decide it's cold after all."

Simon chuckled. "No doubt."

Daryl turned partway to face them. "Hey, Dad, did you know they have Cappuccino ice cream here?"

Simon nodded and pointed a finger at him. "Yes, I did, but you're not having any. Not that or any other coffee ice cream. You got that?"

Daryl made a face, looking like he was going to complain, but then only nodded and turned back to Blair with a muffled "yeah."

Blair looked down at Daryl, then over at Jim and Simon. Jim met his eyes expectantly, wondering what was going on in Blair's head. After another moment, he turned back to Daryl and started telling him about the great flavors that the shop had, that he was thinking of getting a scoop of vanilla fudge twirl.

I thought you wanted that Kahlua Fudge stuff, Chief. After another moment, when Daryl started to get excited again, Jim began to understand, realizing exactly what Blair had done. He smiled to himself, feeling a certain pride in his partner's empathy.

The door opened again, the bells jangling noisily as two men entered, talking and laughing, neither looking at the other customers. Simon and Jim exchanged a look and chuckled softly. Then one of the men noticed Blair watching them.

"Hairboy!"

Blair grinned. "Hey, Brown, Rafe. What brings you here? Come to join our little party?" He gestured behind him to where Jim and Simon sat at the windows. Rafe blushed and Brown cleared his throat, shifting on his feet.

Simon smirked at them. "Good evening, gentlemen. And just which one of you wanted ice cream?"

Immediately they both pointed at each other, answering in unison. "He did."

Everyone laughed, including the girl behind counter, who was scooping Blair and Daryl's choices of flavors onto cones.

Brown poked at Rafe. "I told you we shouldn't have come in here."

Rafe poked him back. "Hey, this was your idea!"

"I don't think so."

Rolling his eyes, Simon went to the counter, detouring around the partners, and paid for Daryl's ice cream. Jim joined Blair, eyeing the various tubs of ice cream for a moment. Then he looked at Blair's own as-yet-untouched cone before turning back to the girl with his request.

"I'd like a single scoop of Kahlua Fudge."

Blair's eyes bugged out and Jim could see him fighting down the urge to say something. The girl stared at him a moment as well, surprised, considering his earlier reaction.

"You sure, sir?"

Jim grinned. "Yes, ma'am, I am. I'd like a single scoop of Kahlua Fudge."

She nodded. "Okay, one scoop coming up."

Blair sidled over to him, ignoring the curious stares of the other cops. He hissed, "Jim! What are you doing?"

"Getting my ice cream. What does it look like I'm doing?"

"But...but...you said...I thought..." He made a face and waved his free hand. "Never mind. Get whatever you like, Jim."

"Thank you for your approval."

"Yeah, you're welcome."

A few more moments and Jim had his ice cream. He paid for it and Blair's, then the two of them, plus Simon and Daryl, walked outside. Brown and Rafe remained inside to buy their own ice cream, still bickering about whose idea it really was to go there.

Simon headed over to his car, Daryl tagging along behind him, half his ice cream gone already. He waved at Blair. "Thanks for helping me pick, Blair."

Blair smiled. "My pleasure, Daryl. Enjoy the movie. Bye Simon."

Simon waved a hand as he got into the car. "Bye you two. Try to stay out of trouble on the way home." Then he pulled shut his car door and started the car.

Blair laughed. "Us? Stay out of trouble? I don't know, Jim, is that possible?"

Jim shook his head. "Probably not. But let's try, just for tonight. I'd hate to waste a perfectly ice cream cone chasing more bad guys. And speaking of ice cream, give me yours."

"Huh?" Blair blinked, stunned. Before he could move, Jim snatched the single scoop cone of vanilla fudge twirl from his hand. "Jim, what...?" And then he replaced it with the Kahlua Fudge cone. Blair stared at it stupidly for a moment, then looked up at Jim who was already working on the vanilla fudge. "What? Why? Jim?"

Jim laughed, reaching over with his other hand to guide the Kahlua Fudge cone closer to Blair's mouth. "Here, you need to lick this before it drips down your hand and gets messy."

"What? Oh, yeah, right. But Jim..."

Taking pity on the younger man who was trying to eat, walk, and talk at the same time, Jim replied with a shrug. "I knew you wanted the Kahlua Fudge. And I realized you decided not to get it to make Daryl feel better. Daryl identifies with you better than the rest of us sometimes, sometimes even better than Simon. It was a nice thing you did in there. So I thought you should get what you wanted anyway."

"Oh." A pause. Then, "Thank you. I'm...touched."

Jim smiled and licked away a drop of ice cream. "You're welcome. Now eat that thing before it melts totally away."

"Yes, sir."

"And, Chief..."

"Yeah, Jim?"

"Try not to keep me up all night because of the caffeine in that thing, would ya?"

Blair laughed, eyes sparkling. "Whatever you say, Jim, whatever you say."

- The End -