By: Lyn


DISCLAIMER: Jim, Blair and all other characters from the Sentinel belong to others, not to me. This fic has been written purely for enjoyment, no money has been made from it.

Author’s notes: A snippet written in response to a challenge to write a story based on things Blair may have missed out on due to his upbringing with Naomi.

Story set approximately two weeks after Blair has moved in with Jim, one week past the infamous one-week deadline.

"Johnny come lately

There’s a new kid in town"

- The Eagles.

Jim Ellison grinned as Blair walked out of his bedroom dressed to the nines. "Whoa, Chief. Very smooth. Who’s the lucky lady?"

Blair grinned back, a trifle self-consciously. "No lucky lady, Jim. I’m just going out with a few of the guys from the University, that’s all."

"Come on, Sandburg. You’re going out with the guys to drink beer and play pool dressed like that?" Jim said, enjoying baiting his observer.

"Actually, it’s my birthday and I just wanted to make it feel a little special, okay? Is that all right, Jim?" Blair answered, sounding decidedly impatient.

"Oh, hey Sandburg, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize. Um… Happy Birthday, Chief. The clothes look good. Have a good night."

Jim felt embarrassed now, Sandburg had said nothing about his birthday coming up. "Look, if I’d known, I wouldn’t have offered to pull this all-nighter with Henri. I honestly don’t think the bad guy’s going to show, but I guarantee you if we don’t show up, he will."

"Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you, Jim? I mean your senses are nowhere near stable yet," Blair asked eagerly.

"I’ll be fine, Chief. It’s a stakeout, and I really think the guy’s in South America by now. It’s your birthday, go have a good time with your friends," Jim assured him. "I just wish I’d known, I’m sorry I didn’t get you a birthday present."

"Hey, it’s cool man." Blair grinned easily. "Birthdays were never any big deal for Naomi and me. Mom always hated the commercialism of occasions like birthdays, Christmas and stuff. We moved around so much anyway, we were never really in one place long enough for me to get to know people well enough to invite them to birthday parties. Naomi always said, we had each other and that was about the best gift a person could have."

"Can’t say I fault her sentiments, Chief, but there must have been times you wished for a party or gifts."

"Oh sure, man. You bet," Blair agreed. ‘I wanted the bike and the skateboard, like any kid." He looked at Jim and smiled sadly. "Most of the time, I just wanted to be somewhere long enough not to be the new kid."

Jim smiled back and spoke sincerely. "Happy birthday, Chief. Have a good night." He walked to the door, then turned back to his partner. "Wait a minute, Sandburg, I don’t know when I’ll be home. We’re not always going to be out together and I can’t guarantee to always be home when you get here."

He pulled something from the small basket set on the table by the door. "Catch."

Blair caught the silver key-chain and then looked questioningly at Jim. "Jim?"

Jim shrugged. "I know you’d be happy with a spare under the mat, Sandburg, but I am not going to have everyone at the precinct laughing at me when some thief doesn’t even have to break in to rob me blind. I also don’t want you sitting on the front doorstep looking like a homeless waif, if you make it home before me."

"Oh wow, Jim, thank you. This is so cool." Blair graced Jim with a smile that lit up his face. "I don’t know what to say. You mean I can stay?"

"Of course you can stay, Sandburg, I thought that was established already. I haven’t kicked you out yet despite all your disgusting habits, have I?"

"Well, no, I just thought… I just figured that I’d better start looking for something soon, and that’s no big deal, man. Me and Naomi used to pack up and be gone in an hour if she heard of somewhere else that took her interest."

Jim took a breath and tried again, this heart to heart stuff just wasn’t his strong point. "I like having you here, Sandburg, I don’t want you to leave. Look, it’s just a key, saves us both a hassle if you come home before me."

Blair’s enthusiasm however, would not be dampened. "It’s not the key, man. Hey, I was the original latch key kid. It’s the permanence; I’ve never had that before. It’s the best gift anyone ever gave me."

Jim nodded, finally understanding "Happy Birthday, Chief, see you in the morning."


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