|Juggling a huge bowl of popcorn and two beers, Blair set
the bowl on the table, plopped on the sofa next to Jim, and handed him a
He sighed, finally relaxing after a horrible day of chasing suspects through downtown Cascade and following them into a pool hall. He'd even managed to subdue two himself; one with a handy cue ball and the other with the pool stick. He grinned in remembrance, then rubbed the new assortment of bruises on his right shoulder. These new bruises would have matched the ones that adorned the opposite shoulder perfectly if they weren't almost healed.
"Shoulder still bothering you, Chief?" Jim asked, flicking a glance that way.
Blair looked over his own hand rubbing his shoulder to meet Jim's eyes. "Just a little sore, it will go away." He laughed a little. "Nothing I haven't experienced before."
Jim sighed, knowing that his partner put himself out there. "You did good today."
Blair paused in his rubbing to really look at Jim. 'Did good today' -that was a little odd. With a small shake of his head he found a response. "Um, thanks man. No problem."
Jim grinned and snagged a handful of popcorn, his beer, and the remote control all in one motion.
Blair decided not to delve into the praise he had just received, be that as it may. He was just too tired and sore to expend that much mental energy to discover the reason. "Hey, anything good on? I mean you have commandeered the remote." And after a short pause he added, "don't pick something that sucks man."
"The shows I pick don't suck, Chief," was his only response as the TV clicked on. Stations flickered as Jim flipped quickly through the choices.
Blair rolled his eyes. "You're full of it. Half the stuff you watch is so cheesy and brainless that your brain cells run screaming from your head!"
Jim just sighed and with his free hand, reached out and whapped his partner reasonably gently across the back of the head.
"Come on!" Blair complained as he tried to reach for the remote. "You flip too fast, you can't possibly tell what's on."
"Talk show…" Jim muttered. "Teeny bopper show… I'm whining cause my life sucks and I'm in high school show…"
As he rubbed his head, Blair continued to nag his partner. "Are you going to announce every channel as you speed by?"
Jim nodded without taking his eyes away from the sacred TV. "Yup," was the answer to Blair's question, and continued with his commentary.
"I'm whining cause my life sucks and I'm married with 2.5 kids show…"
"Not if I have anything to say about it." Sandburg set his beer on the table, missing the coaster on purpose and turned towards Jim. "Now let me have the remote, I can find something."
Blair moved towards Jim, his right arm braced on the back of the sofa for leverage as his left went for the clicker. The Sentinel, spotting the movement from the corner of his eye, turned and pinned his Guide with a cool blue stare.
"And just what do you think you're doing, Sandburg?"
The Guide, used to the man's glares and growls, continued in his mission. "I'm trying to gain control of the damn remote. Now give it to me. You always seem to be in control...my turn!" Blair realized he sounded like a petulant child but didn't care, it was fun.
"And why's that beer not on the coaster?"
Blair stopped his movements. "Coaster?" He tried to hide a grin he continued. "Whatever do you mean?"
"HAH!" Jim exclaimed not believing for one moment that his Guide was clueless. "If I give it to you we'll never find it again. I'll give it to you when you've proven you can find things again like - maybe the floor of your room? And you know perfectly well that all glassware in the living room must be placed on coasters..."
Blair took advantage of the distracted man and pounced, his left hand grabbing the little black box from Jim.
"It keeps the.... SANDBURG!"
Blair returned to his side of the sofa, feet tucked underneath, as he positioned his body into the corner. He rolled his eyes as he began to talk. "Yes I know it keeps the moisture from landing on the table top, therefore warping, staining, and/or ruining the piece of furniture. I believe it is House Rule 8 or something."
He waved a hand absently before he ran it through his long curls. "Chill. Here. See?" He moved to place the beer in its rightful place. "All better. Now to find something to watch." He cheerily added before resuming the search for entertainment, but at a much slower rate.
Jim glared stonily from his now vacant hand to his grinning Guide and back again, plotting revenge. Said Guide's flipping techniques left a lot to be desired. The slower rate was annoying to the Sentinel.
As Jim glanced between the progressing assortment of channels and Sandburg, he noted two things. A possible viewing choice and an opening.
Blair, who was trying to watch the TV and the man to his right, found what he considered a possibility. Course it was a documentary and the chances of Jim liking it was slim to none, but he had the power. That made him grin, again.
Jim gathered himself and noted the proximity of the beer bottles to the edge of the table, before he struck. In one smooth stretch bought his long arms and sensitive fingers into contact with the extremely ticklish bottom of Sandburg's left foot. The result was a shriek he considered a worthy price, an uncontrolled jerk into the air, and a loosening of the remote, which he smoothly plucked from Sandburg's hand.
Ellison flipped backward three stations to one of those older cop/detective shows with a small sigh of pleasure. "Now - there. That's what I'm going to watch."
Blair stared at his roommate. Not only did he get the all-powerful clicker, but now he expected Blair to sit there and endure.... 'The A-team'? The grad student was not about to let Jim off the hook that easily.
Sandburg turned so his back was up against the arm of the couch, his legs still folded under him and looked at Jim. Just looked, and continued to do so, eventually adding a small pout to his face. As the minutes dragged on, Blair's pout became worse. Sandburg knew that Jim was watching or at least aware, but doing a damn good job of ignoring the look. He decided to switch from, silent, to babbling.
"Hey Jim?" He questioned but barely waited for a reply. "Why is our TV so small?" He paused for effect but got nothing, he took a deep breath and continued. "I mean, we both work, well you do and I try to get by. But our TV is small man. I mean real small. It can't be over 15 inches or so, and I realize that you probably don't need a bigger one. But us normal folks can't use dials to make a picture bigger. So ignoring the whole Sentinel thing, do you have a reason for tiny excuse for a TV?"
Jim blinked. He'd seen the increasing puppy dog eyes on his partner and had been manfully ignoring them. But the size comment, well that was just... just... wrong. He slowly turned to look at Blair.
"EXCUSE me? Look that set was state-of-the-art at the time and I see no reason to replace a perfectly good TV just because you have size issues."
Blair blinked and hid the smirk by rubbing his face. "Size issues Jim? Come on man, we are talking TV here, not body parts. And I'm perfectly comfortable with mine; it seems that you are the one with the insecurity problem. I just brought up the fact that our TV is small. As in miniature!" Jim blinked but Sandburg didn't let up in his attack. "If you have to compare...yourself to the TV, well maybe you should get a new one. Bigger, it might make you feel better!"
Jim sighed, he decided to give up on the argument, as pointless as it was, after the day they'd had. "Fine. Fine, Junior. We'll go set shopping this weekend. Can I please watch my program now?"
The detective reached for his beer and scooped another large handful of popcorn, and munched happily.
Blair decided to allow his partner to think that he won, that he given up on the discussion. It was only a momentary pause until he realized that Jim was adamant about watching 'The A-team.' There was no way he was going to spend the next hour watching Mr. T and Face defeat bad guys.
Blair nodded, his thoughts all in order, as he shifted sitting facing forward, feet out in front on him. He also moved a foot closer to the little buttoned prize.
Finally relaxed, Jim slouched further into the sofa.
"So," Blair began, "A new and bigger TV, I'm surprised you were so quick to agree. I mean, I shouldn't have brought it up, since as they say, size doesn't matter." The observer was able to keep his face straight throughout the comment, but he was unable to hold it, so he masked the humor as he reached for some more popcorn.
"Chief, is there some point to this or are you just, what do you call it, transferring your own worries to inanimate object comparisons?"
With his hand halfway to his mouth, Blair paused, slightly surprised by Jim's words, but he was the master of words here. He shook his head and spoke, "No. I'm just looking out for you, that's all. I mean, I just mentioned the TV and you went into defensive mode commenting about "state of the art" at the time of purchase." Blair popped some more snack food into his mouth before he continued. "Plus, you were the one that brought it up in the first place. As they say, thou protest too much."
Jim frowned in confusion, "I brought it up? I don't think so, Darwin. I distinctly remember you asking about the size first. Besides, a new set might be nice. Stereo surround sound, larger explosions, more skin on the babes, surely you see the perks here?"
The detective turned back to the coveted program and eyed it critically. "And what is that? Don't these guys know that those types of bullets would in NO WAY produce that kind of damage? Sheesh." He shook his head.
Blair smiled again; Jim always did that, talked to the TV about the standards of arresting suspects, or the accuracy of ammunitions. With a sideways glance, the observer was rewarded with more critiquing.
"And why is it the bad guys never hit ANYTHING? And why don't those type of idiots ever come to Cascade?"
After he took a swig of beer and moved yet another foot closer to the Sentinel, Blair quickly brought his left arm around and swung a pillow towards Jim's face. The big guy was so engrossed with the antics on screen that he didn't have time to prepare for the attack. Jim brought his right arm up to block the blow to the face, however the remote was temporally forgotten. Blair quickly snatched his prize and landed himself back into his original corner. He laughed out loud at Jim looked down at his empty hand and narrowed his eyes.
"Sandburg...." The familiar growl was all he was rewarded with for his efforts.
"What?" Big innocent eyes stared back at Jim. Blair shrugged. "What'd I do?"
"Hand it over," Jim snarled, though the corners of his eyes were slightly crinkled in amusement ruining the, 'I'll kill you if you even breathe wrong' face he was trying to wear.
Blair had dropped the coveted piece of plastic and buttons down the side of the couch where it was safely wedged between the said side and cushions. "Hand what over?" He held up his empty hands and still wore the face of innocence.
"Shit," Jim muttered, running a hand over his hair. "Give me the remote back, Sandburg."
"No, I don't think so Ellison. Let's just watch..." He quickly glanced at the TV and noticed that the station had been changed during the previous struggle. He squinted and tried to discern which movie was playing. "Um... 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.' It is much better than that 70's crap that you had on."
"Oh come on! Steve Martin makes my teeth ache!"
"Your teeth ache? Come on, the man is hysterical!" After a moment Blair realized that Jim didn't hold the same appreciation of Mr. Martin as he did, so he tried another tactic. "How about the documentary on Egypt?" He began to get excited, he had wanted to see it again, and all the information that was revealed was fascinating. The mummies, the pyramids, the myths…
"Eygpt? Sand, dead people, more sand?"
"God man, you are so..." Blair took one look at Jim and decided to leave the sentence unfinished. He sighed. "Ok, fine. How about 'The Mummy'?"
The Sentinel flashed him a wounded look. "I am not so...." he murmured. "The Mummy? Have I seen that?" He thought for a moment. "The black and white one with Boris Karloff and the mummy is in rags lurching around and moaning?"
The grad student played dumb as he shrugged. "I don't think so. The one I'm thinking of is just sand, dead people, more sand." He paused for a moment. "Does that interest you?" Another pause. "Course there is a hot girl in it, and there are some fight scenes, and cool effects, I'm sure you could survive."
Jim grumbled, "There's always a girl in it, though hot's a matter of opinion. Fight scenes and effects sound promising."
Blair bounced a little as he dug the remote from it's hiding place and flipped the channel to the movie station where the feature film was just about to start. With a smirk he shoved the controller back into the depths of the cushions. He pushed a curl behind his ear and addressed Jim again. "Look, the movie will be great. I have it on good authority that the woman is good looking; that there are gunfights, sword fights, betrayals, and special effects. I mean, the sand becomes a face at one point! Plus there are a bunch of jokes, puns, and silly stuff. Right up your alley!"
Jim sighed, seeing that Sandburg had sandbagged him and what was a little more sand at this point anyway. "Okay Darwin, okay. I give. We'll watch the movie. Maybe your documentary about Tutenopteraken or whatever will be on again later... when I'm at court or something." He grinned, stood and stretched, flexing just about everything in bone cracking extensions. "You need another beer?"
"Uh, sure. Thanks." It seemed a little too easy, so Blair was on guard for whatever his Sentinel could throw at him.
Jim rounded the couch to walk behind it and paused, just briefly. Then an evil grin spread over his handsome face and with both hands he dug into the mop of curls in front of him, ruffling and stirring and draping a whole mess of the hair into Sangburg's face. Then, that quickly, he was into the kitchen for the beer.
By the time Blair realized he was going to be attacked, it was too late. He tried to shoo away Jim's hands, but the curls seem to have anchored the Sentinel's fingers for a second, allowing Jim to do some damage. Blair tried to calm his hair, but there were several curls that seem to have a mind of their own. He sighed very loudly, although it wasn't needed, what with Jim's hearing.
"Man, I can't believe you did that. Do you have any idea what a pain in the ass it is to get a brush through this? Or even tame it again?" To emphasize his point he grabbed a chunk of his hair and held it away from his head for Jim to see. He continued on and did not make eye contact with Jim as he reentered the room carrying the beers. "Well, of course you don't know, I mean you would have to have hair, huh?"
The Sentinel just grinned unrepentantly. He handed Blair his beer and paused, "Present for ya, Chief."
Blair smiled and reached for the beer. "Thanks man, now lets watch the movie."
"Hold on Chief. Don't you want your present?"
The grad student looked at his beer, now realizing that wasn't the present. "Um, not sure. Do I? Cause I'm thinking no."
"Are you certain? You might want to reconsider." Jim was almost smirking.
"Um, like I said, I'm thinking no." Blair cringed at the look in Jim's eyes; it did not bode well for the guide. So he turned on the puppy dog eyes and pleading look. "But if you feel you must."
With a flourish and a chuckle, the detective whipped Sandburg's brush from his back pocket. He handed it to the stunned observer with flair and then collapsed bonelessly into his seat to catch the opening of the movie.
Blair took the offered brush and stared at his partner and began to chuckle. "Oh man, thanks, but I think I'll wait till morning, if I brush it now I'll look like a walking frizz ball. But thanks."
Jim just laughed again and got even more comfortable as the movie started.
Blair rearranged himself again and reached for the popcorn. He glanced over at his roommate one more time and said, "Hey Jim, can we get a Picture-In-Picture set?"