Jim smiled, stretching out his legs and tilting his head back into the couch cushion. He'd had a good day.
It hadn't started well; Sweetheart had been making a funny noise so, as he'd finished the paperwork on a major case the day before, he'd taken the day off and run her to the mechanic. Who wasn't in.
Instead, Jim had to put up with his snot-nosed teenager of a replacement who'd tried to tell him the truck was running just fine, and what did he expect with a vehicle that old?
Jim had soon put him straight. And, when investigations were made, it turned out Sweetheart had needed a little fine-tuning. The apology he'd managed to get out of the little weasel had been nice too.
So, here he was; home early for once, relaxing, his feet up, Santana softly playing on the stereo, and, as Sandburg was going out on that hot date he'd been talking about for a week, Jim would have the place to himself for at least a few hours yet.
Jim frowned as he focussed on the heartbeat that was making its way along the hall. Presumably, complete with body, unless his life had just become a Stephen King novel.
It was Sandburg.
As his senses zeroed in on his guide, Jim frowned. The heart rate was faster than normal, and Blair was limping. Badly.
Bidding goodbye to his relaxing afternoon, Jim got to his feet and headed towards the door, opening it just as Sandburg was trying to put his key in the lock.
As the door swung open, Jim looked down into his roommate's face, and caught the hastily hidden look of horror. His being home was not a pleasant surprise.
"Jim! You're home!" Blair paused, then asked, "Why are you home?"
"I took the day off. Why are you home?"
"Had an accident."
As his roommate hobbled past him, Jim shut the door, clicking the lock automatically, and followed him, guessing the pain had to be bad from the way Sandburg was walking. "What happened?"
"Slipped on the steps at Hargrove and twisted my knee," came the short reply as the injured one rifled through the freezer.
"Sit down, I'll get that." Frozen peas in hand, Jim turned and regarded him. "Take your jeans off."
Sandburg stopped moving his leg, obviously trying to ease the pain, and stared at Jim in surprise. "Jim, this is so sudden. Don't I at least get dinner first?"
"Very funny, Casanova. Take 'em off; I want to check out your knee."
"Well, all right, Jim, but remember...I'm not that kind of a boy."
"Don't worry, Chief, I'll respect you in the morning."
As soon as the jeans were off, Jim took a good look at the injured knee. Sandburg was going to be feeling the effects of this one for a while. "I don't think you'll be going anywhere for a couple of days - not if you want this to heal up." Wrapping the peas up in a tea towel, he handed them over.
"A couple of days?! Jim..." Blair started shaking his head, "it'll be fine tomorrow."
"I doubt it. You've twisted your knee. It'll take at least a day for that swelling to go down. And the more you stay off it, the sooner it'll heal." Ignoring Blair's protests, Jim hauled him to his feet. "C'mon, let's get you on the couch."
"I can't stay in for a couple of days! I have things to do!" Big blue eyes stared up at him as Blair sank down onto the couch cushions.
Fortunately, Jim was immune. Plus, there wasn't anything he could do about it. "Well, they'll just have to wait."
The gaze grew more beseeching, and Jim wondered if Blair honestly thought his Sentinel abilities could do everything.
"But...I have places to be - people to see!"
So that was it. "And your hot date with Bianca to go on."
The eyes dropped and the heartbeat spiked. "Ah...no."
"No?" Jim sat down and watched as Blair's gaze avoided his. "What do you mean 'no'? I thought you and Bianca were going out tonight?"
Sandburg shifted in his seat and Jim was sure that, if he could have, the kid would have retreated to his room. "Bianca's boyfriend was at Rainier today."
"I swear I had no idea."
Jim was getting an idea, and it wasn't a pretty one. "So what happened?"
"What do you think happened, man?!" Blair demanded, indignantly. "I changed my mind."
"Okay. So what happened to your knee?"
To his surprise, Blair blushed as he answered, "I told you - I fell down the Hargrove steps."
Jim regarded him steadily as the blush deepened. "What aren't you telling me?"
The silence stretched then Sandburg caved. "I fell down the steps because I was standing at the top when Bianca's boyfriend invited me to join them for a threesome."
For a brief moment Jim was silent, then he burst out laughing.
"It's not funny, man - I was startled!" Blair threw him a furious glance. "She didn't seem like that kind of a girl."
Still laughing, Jim got to his feet, turned off the stereo and headed towards the kitchen. "Never mind, Sandburg. Maybe if you explain, they'll give you another chance."
Behind him, Blair muttered, "I don't think so. The guy's six foot six and built like a brick wall - he's a quarterback on a football team. If I wanted to date someone that size, I'd go and find a lost tribe of Amazonian women."
"No need to do that, Chief," Jim called over his shoulder, grabbing the kettle and turning on the tap. "I could find you a few policewomen like that right here in Cascade."
There was a huff of laughter. "Thanks, man, but I think I'll pass. I'd hate to have to take along a stepladder on a date."
Jim bit his lip and restrained himself from making the obvious retort.
"I heard that." The accusing tone in Sandburg's voice stood out a mile.
"I didn't say a word."
"You didn't have to, Jim; I know what you were thinking."
Jim grinned but didn't admit to anything. "What are you going to do now that your hot date has frozen over?"
"Study, I guess - or work on one of my assignments. I might as well seeing as I won't be going anywhere." Blair sounded annoyed about it all, and Jim couldn't blame him; he'd seen Bianca. "What are you doing tonight?"
"Ooh, I have a date." Jim hid his smirk as he carried a cup of tea over to the coffee table. This was another reason he was glad he was home early.
"A date?! You didn't mention having a date!" Naturally, Blair had perked up. "Who is she? What's she like?"
Jim paused, as if thinking it over. "She's six foot tall, passionately devoted to justice. And the way she dresses...." He shook his head as if in disbelief, then retreated to the kitchen, well aware of Blair's curiosity.
"She's a cop?"
"Nah...more of a...vigilante." Jim glanced over his shoulder as he filled a bowl with popcorn. As he'd expected, Blair was goggling at him over the back of the couch. Shutting the microwave door, he laughed quietly to himself. The kid was so easy.
"A vigi - Jim! Does Simon know?!"
"Hey!" Jim turned and leaned against the counter, blocking the microwave from view. "What I do in my off-time is my business!"
"But a vigilante?!"
"You'd like her, Chief, she's interested in history and artefacts."
Blair's face was a picture. "She sounds like an archaeologist."
Jim shook his head. "I've never seen anyone like her in a museum." The microwave pinged and he grabbed his coffee before carrying the bowl over to the coffee table.
"Popcorn?" It took a few seconds for it to sink in, then, "You're watching a movie?!"
"Yep, 'Red Sonja' and then 'Conan the Barbarian' - it's a double bill." Jim turned on the TV and sat down, almost laughing at the indignant look on Sandburg's face.
"Brigitte Nielsen?!" Blair almost spluttered in disbelief. "That's who you were - Jesus, Jim, I thought you had a real date!"
"And miss 'Red Sonja'?" Jim's disbelief was only half-pretend. "You've gotta be kidding me, Chief."
Blair stared at him. "This is a terrible movie! 'Tom and Jerry' has more depth than this!"
"'Tom and Jerry' doesn't have Brigitte Nielsen in a costume, Chief; think on that one."
There was a moment's silence, then, "That's true. Brigitte Nielsen does have legs up to here." Blair tapped his chin, a reflective look on his face. Finally, he added, "Pass the popcorn, man."
It wasn't until Sonja was on screen, flashing her assets in a well-designed costume, that Jim spoke again. "You know," he murmured, leaning over slightly so Blair could hear him clearly, "I bet she and Kalidor would invite you for a threesome too."
And the plastic bowl bounced off his head.
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