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.

Present Time

by Leesa Perrie

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It was 6am on a cold, rainy Christmas morning, and Jim was wrapped warm and snug in his bed, when he heard movement from his not normally early-rising roommate from down below.

"Chief, get away from those presents!" He shouted, just loud enough for said roommate to hear him, not loud enough to disturb the neighbours. He smiled to himself when he heard Blair give a small yell of surprise.

"Oh man, Jim, give me a coronary, why don't you?"

"I wouldn't have to if you'd just leave the presents alone!" He heard some indistinct, even for him, muttering, followed by footsteps heading up to his room. Blair stopped at the top, holding a present in each hand.

"What makes you think I was feeling the presents, anyway?" He smirked, not the slightest bit embarrassed to be caught, yet again, in the act of trying to work out what each present was. "Besides, just because I haven't caught you in the act, doesn't mean you haven't been checking them out as well. And using your senses too, no doubt!"

Jim tried to look indignant at the accusation, but couldn't hide the slight blush that rose at Blair's accurate assessment.

"Anyway, it's Christmas Day, can't we open them?" Blair asked.

Jim rolled his eyes.

"Fine. I'll get up, but we're not opening any presents until we're both dressed and had breakfast. And don't start with the puppy dog eyes!"

"Puppy dog eyes? I don't have any puppy dog eyes! They're all human, I can assure you!"

"You know what I mean."

Blair grinned, and then headed downstairs.

"First dibs on the shower," he said, rushing to the bathroom before Jim could argue.

"Damn neo-hippie punk…"

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Blair and Jim were both showered and dressed - Blair had been kind enough to leave enough hot water for Jim - and breakfast was eaten - bacon and the works, as even Blair decided an exception to health food could be made today.

Blair was busy gathering his presents into a pile near to the fireplace, which Jim had lit earlier. Jim chuckled.

"What?" Blair demanded.

"Oh nothing. Just that you remind me of myself….when I was a kid."

"Right," Blair rolled his eyes, "so, you're gonna get your presents then?"

"Sure." Jim gathered his own presents into a pile a little further from the fireplace, but still close to Blair.

"Let's open Naomi's first." Blair suggested. Jim nodded, they both started unwrapping their present; Jim carefully removing the paper, and Blair tearing it off with abandon.

"White socks?" Blair looked puzzled.

"Bright blue and red gloves?" Jim looked at Blair.

"I think she might have labelled them wrong." Blair suggested.

"Yeah, these gloves do seem a little, um, colourful for me." They laughed and exchanged gifts. "Much better," said Jim, looking at the socks. "Okay, let's open Naomi's next one. It's between us, which is rather worrying."

They opened the rather large parcel. It was a two man tent. Not just any two man tent, but a thermal insulated one, with extra storage space. A deluxe model, for certain.

"Nice," Blair said, awed that his mom would buy this for them.

"Very," Jim said, touched by Naomi's thoughtfulness.

They then proceeded to open presents from various workmates, friends and family, until there were three presents left.

"Um, Jim, there appear to be two parcels for me. Both from you."

"Yeah, Einstein, that's because I bought two separate items for you, duh!"

"Thanks." Blair tore the wrapping off the first parcel. It was a leather jacket. "Wow, Jim, this is so… so cool!"

"Glad you like it." Jim opened his present from Blair. It was six Bonanza video tapes and a Jags cap.

"Hey, thanks, Chief," Jim smiled.

"Yeah, well, I know how much you like Bonanza. Can't imagine why, though. Personally, I think The Magnificent Seven was a far better programme."

"Nope, not a patch on Bonanza." Jim disagreed. "Thanks for the cap as well. Though I already have one. Actually, come to think of it, I haven't seen it recently."

"Um, well, you see, there was a slight accident with your old one. Anyway, it was getting a bit frayed around the edges…"

"An accident, Chief?" Jim asked, trying to look intimidating.

"Oh, nothing to worry about. It just got, kinda, um…ripped."

"Ripped? And just how did it get ripped?"

"Um, that would be, when, erm…. Well, you know when Rainbow's dog, Star, was here? She kinda took a liking to your Jags cap, and, well, I tried to get her to let it go, and it kinda…got ripped. But hey, you've got a nice new cap, now. And the old one was getting frayed…" Blair smiled uneasily.

"You played tug of war with Star and my Jags cap?"

"Um, well, I wouldn't put it quite like that…" Blair said, smiling disarmingly. Jim scowled. Blair got up."Um, I think I'll just go…" Jim burst out laughing.

"You should have seen your face, Chief." Jim smiled. "Like you said, it was about time I got a new cap anyway. So, thanks Chief. But," he paused, "don't let this one anywhere near a dog, got it?"

"Yeah, got it Jim." Blair smiled in relief.

"So, you going to open your last present?"

"Um, yeah." Blair opened his last parcel from Jim. "What the…" He looked surprised, and then started to laugh. "Oh man, oh man, this is… just…soooo me!" He managed to say between laughs.

"That's why I had to buy it, Chief," Jim said, grinning. "I thought you could put it on the wall behind your desk at Rainier."

"Yeah, man. I think I will. Thanks." Still chuckling, Blair brushed his hand over the hand carved wall plaque. It read, 'Vital papers will demonstrate their vitality by moving from where you left them to where you can't find them.'

The End!

Author's Note - Rainbow and her dog called Star appear in 'Crash' by Jayne and myself.

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