Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

A Bird in the Nest

by Leesa Perrie

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Jim came down from his bedroom, to see Blair standing on the balcony, looking towards…the planter that they'd put there last spring and filled with low growing plants.

"Hey, Chief, what are your looking at?"

"Hmm, oh Jim, you'll never guess what's in our planter. It's really cool!"

Jim walked onto the balcony, following Blair's eye to a….a nest! Not only a nest, but a nest with a….duck on it! A female mallard duck!

"What does it think it's doing?" Jim exclaimed.

"Well, duh, I think she thinks she's nesting." Blair replied with a grin. "Isn't it cool? We'll get to see the ducklings, maybe even get to see some of them hatch if we're really lucky. It'll be great."

"Yeah, great," Jim answered, unenthusiastically, "and how will the ducklings get down from here without plummeting to their deaths? And what about the noise? It's gonna drive me nuts!"

"Oh, come one Jim. You can use your earplugs and the white noise generator to block out the ducklings."

"That still doesn't answer how they are going to get down from here."

"Well, we'll just have to lower them down in a basket or something. Then one of us will follow them to the water to make sure they don't end up as road kill or eaten by a cat."

"What? Are you serious?!" Jim asked incredulously. "We'll lower them in a basket and then trail after them through the streets!! No way, Sandburg. No way am I doing that!"

"Fine, I'll follow them through the streets and I'll ask Henri and Rafe to help with lowering them down to the ground - I reckon they'll be willing to help out."

"I still don't like the idea of her nesting where she is."

"But it is safe from cats and other predators, well except perhaps from birds of prey, and even then, they're unlikely to get this close to the buildings. And what do you think we can do about it? She's already laid her eggs, I saw them when she rearranged them earlier. We can't remove her and her eggs now, that would be cruel."

Jim sighed. He knew he'd lost the argument.

"Okay, she can stay. I guess I'll survive. It's only for a few weeks, after all, I suppose."

Birds: Going Down

By Leesa Perrie

(with help from Jayne)

About 28 days later, the ducklings had all hatched and the mother duck was obviously wanting them to follow her to the local park. So Blair called Henri and Rafe over, and together they managed to rig a basket and rope affair that wouldn't harm the precious cargo inside it. Unbeknownst to them, a neighbour had seen what they were doing and had called the local TV station. The first they knew of it was when a news crew turned up outside the loft and started filming the 'lowering of the ducklings'.

Once they were lowered successfully, Blair was interviewed by the news crew and explained how the mother duck had nested on the balcony and that they couldn't bear to move her and end up destroying the eggs.

The three of them then followed the line of ducklings, who were following their mother, along the street. Henri stopped the traffic as the procession crossed. One of the news reporters was heard to mutter that he now knew why the duck crossed the road. To get to the other side, of course.

The procession of mother duck, nine ducklings, three 'mother's helpers' and the TV news crew slowly wound its way over a couple more streets - with Henri and Rafe taking turns at stopping the traffic where necessary, and eventually they reached the local park and the pond.

Watching the mother duck persuading the somewhat dubious ducklings to get into the water kept everyone entertained for a while, but eventually all nine ducklings were swimming along behind their mum. Job done. Success. And a nice filler for the local evening news.

The next day, Henri and Rafe entered the bullpen to find their desks covered in duck paraphernalia, and when Blair walked in later, he was treated to duck calls from everyone present, and was also bombarded with toy ducks. Blair noticed that Jim's shout of 'duck!' came suspiciously too late to help him.

Simon then gave the three 'heroes' a speech, which included many bad duck puns and several duck jokes. He also gave them a fake medal each, which was actually a duck-shaped soap on a rope, and everyone enjoyed a piece of cake - cut from a duck shaped cake, of course.

Jim was just glad that the noisy ducklings and mother duck were gone, and that he could finally clear the mess up that they had left in his planter and all over his balcony. At least it was over; no more ducks, no more ducklings, no more noise, no more smell and no more mess. Good riddance, he thought. Though secretly it hadn't been as bad as he had feared, and the family had been kinda cute, but he wasn't going to admit that to anyone. Especially not Sandburg.

And the Bird Came Back…

By Leesa Perrie

It was a nice warm and sunny spring day, and Jim got out of bed feeling refreshed and ready for anything. He smiled, looking forward to a day off from work. Maybe he'd go down to the park and feed the ducks - their ducks, as Sandburg called them.

He came downstairs to see Blair standing on the balcony, looking towards…the planter. No, oh no, please, not again, he thought, a feeling of deja vu washing over him.

"Hey Jim," Blair called, "guess who's back?"

The End

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