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.

Strawberry Fields Forever

by Arnie

Dedicated to Snailbones.

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Jim cursed to himself as he slammed the bottle back into place. Damned kid with his weird concoctions and herbal bath stuff. The bathroom looked like a health food shop. If the lock ever slipped and Sandburg was trapped in there one day, he could keep himself alive by eating his shampoo (apple and mango), conditioner (seaweed) or body wash (strawberry).

Fuming, Jim rinsed himself off thoroughly, making sure that the scent had faded enough to be barely noticeable to his sense of smell. Just wait until he got hold of the kid. This was why they had two shelves in the shower - one for Jim's plain, no-nonsense, non-fruit-scented stuff, and one for Sandburg's eclectic collection of body washes that sounded like they belonged on a menu.

He turned off the water with an irritated jerk of his wrist, then grabbed for his towel. If the kid could just learn to be organised - that was all Jim asked. House Rule #57: Put things back where they belong. Had Sandburg done that? No. And Jim had paid the price.

He didn't even like the scent of strawberries that much!

The sound of a door slamming got his attention, and Jim took great delight in slamming the bathroom door behind him as he left the shower, towel wrapped firmly in place, then he followed his roommate into the kitchen.

"Hey, Jim." From the way Sandburg was looking at him, Jim could tell he was wondering what was so urgent that Jim had left the bathroom half dried. "You're dripping on the floor."

Jim's ire rose at the reminder of that house rule. "Forget the floor!" he snapped.

"Okaaaay...."

He could almost hear the silent "that's not what you said when I dripped on the floor," but Sandburg obviously retained enough sense to not piss off a guy with a gun.

"Remember the shelves in the shower?" Jim demanded.

"Yeah?"

"Remember how long I spent putting them up?"

"Uh...yeah?" Blair obviously wasn't seeing where this was going - Jim would swear the kid had no conscience at times - but he was smart enough to follow Jim's train of thought.

"And remember how I said that your stuff went on your shelf, and my stuff went on my shelf?"

"Yeeaah?" The confused look was deepening, so Jim took pity on him and dragged Blair into the bathroom.

"So why did you leave your strawberry body wash on my shelf?"

"Strawberry body wash - I don't have any strawberry body wash!"

As Sandburg reached out and his hand closed around the bottle, Jim suddenly remembered what it actually was and why it was there.

"This is cough mixture." For a brief moment Sandburg's face was blank, then he swung around and glared at Jim. "I told you not to buy any cough mixtures! They're bad for you - just check out the additives on the back! You know what this stuff does to your senses - you fell off a train, for God's sake! Jesus, Jim, I don't know why I bother!"

As Tornado Sandburg left the room, bottle in hand, Jim followed him. He remembered now. He'd bought the bottle of strawberry cough mixture way back when he had that cold and was supposed to be escorting Wilson to Cascade. Sandburg had found the bottle, flipped about the list of additives and Jim had finally hidden it from him in the bathroom. Of course, Jim had later found out the hard way why Sandburg was so against cough mixture, when he'd drunk the stuff on the train and his senses had gone nuts on him.

"I...bought that bottle months ago - I forgot it was there."

Rinsing the empty bottle out and putting it on one side, Sandburg turned off the faucet and turned. "And you thought it was body wash."

"Well, yeah - I figured it had to be yours because you -"

"You washed yourself with strawberry cough mixture?" Sandburg repeated it like he couldn't believe it, then held onto the counter top as he howled with laughter.

"Well, I -" Jim gave it up as Sandburg continued to laugh. Leaving his gleeful roommate behind, Jim returned to the bathroom and got dressed, taking his time until he heard Sandburg making dinner. It was too much to hope that the kid wouldn't refer back to it - and Jim knew that Simon would hear all about it the next time Blair saw him - but at least the laughter had stopped. For now.

"Hey, Jim!" There was a bang at the door then Sandburg popped his head in. "My optician's closes in ten minutes. Do you need me to make an appointment for you?" The head quickly disappeared as Jim threw a damp towel at him. "Only thinking of you, man!"

Ignoring him, Jim picked up the towel, put it into the hamper, then left the bathroom. He was not going to let Sandburg get to him.

"Awww, look on the bright side, man!"

Jim glared at the irritant but Sandburg was not deterred.

"It was better as a body wash than as a cough mixture - take my word on that."

As Sandburg grinned triumphantly at him, Jim returned to the bathroom and locked the door. Maybe he'd have dinner in the bathroom instead; apple and mango didn't sound that bad.

The End

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