QLHT2: Ruth I hope you enjoyed comming to the Jag's game for your birthday.

Terrijo02: Yeah, I'm really glad you came.

It was just the beginning of the fourth quarter and Lila, Ruth, and Teej were coming back from the concession stand with their arms full of junk food.

RFL: ::grin:: This has been great fun. And the seats ::WEG:: are wonderful. However did you get them, Lila?

QLHT2: Ooohh, I have my ways. ::wink::

The three friends sat down in their seats, which happened to be right behind a certain police detective, his partner, captain, and captain's son.

Terrijo02: Oh, I can just imagine your "ways". What did you do? Pull out that pointy stick of yours and poke somebody till they gave you their tickets?

QLHT2: I'll have you know that I was a gracious lady about it.

Terrijo02: ::snerk:: You? Ha! That'll be the day.

QLHT2: This coming from a Pirate and her garbage scow :-P

Terrijo02: How dare you insult the honor of The Scourge ::holds umbrella as if it's a sword::

QLHT2: I accept your challenge. ::picks up her own umbrella in an enguard position::

Terrijo02: ::clang thrust parry duck dodge::

QLHT2: ::Poke, swish, spin, twirl::

RFL: ::tucks hair under the Jag's cap that Teej and Lila got her, and pulls feet in so as not to trip the dueling combatants::

The two women made a few more passes, and then the release button on Lila's umbrella was somehow pushed, causing the umbrella to open and startling it's wielder. She accidentally knocked over Teej's box of popcorn. The popcorn spilled all over the person sitting in the row in front of them.

Teej and Lila ended the battle and tried to limit the amount of damage. Ruth simply pulled her feet up into her chair trying to stay out of the way.

QLHT2: Oh my gosh! We're soooo sorry.

The detective jumped up in an attempt to avoid the popcorn avalanche. "What the?" Seeing that the two women were cleaning up the mess, he simply grumbled something resembling, "Don't worry about it," and sat back down.

In her haste to help clean up the popcorn, Teej knocked over Lila's full glass of pop, washing the remaining popcorn onto the detective.

Terrijo02: Oh shoot, drat, dang. Sorry sorry sorry.

The detective once again jumped out of his seat. Lila and Teej reached over to help clean the pop and popcorn off of him. The detective backed away, growling and stepped out into the aisle heading for the restroom to clean up. His partner followed him.

The women turned to the police captain who was trying not to snicker. "We're so sorry." "Yeah, we didn't mean to make such a mess." "I hope he's not too mad."

The captain smiled, "Don't worry about it. That's just Jim. He's a bit grumpy at times."

The women had the mess cleaned up by the time the detective and his partner came back from the restroom and the rest of the game was uneventful.

Disclaimer: I don't own Jim, Blair, Simon, Daryl, or Capt. Mathis. PetFly created them. However, I do own the umbrella. Other than that, my only payment is, knowing that my friends enjoy my stories. Feedback feeds the Muse.

Chapter 7: Full Circle


Roars of laughter preceded the quartet across the yard. It had been one of those rare quiet weeks. No large cases had come up at the station. Thanksgiving and midterms were over, and finals hadn't started yet. Even the weather had been nice lately. So Simon decided to take advantage of the calm before the inevitable storm and asked Jim and Blair to go to the Jags game with him and Daryl. He figured it would be a good time for Blair to talk with Daryl about what college was really like.

"Oh man, if this is what the Jags are like a the beginning of the season, can you imagine what they'll be like in the playoffs?" Daryl was bouncing up the walk to his father's house, splashing around in the puddles in the process.

"Yeah, they were spectacular tonight," Blair bounced along side Daryl and turned around to address the older men behind him. "Did you see that pass play by the new rookie? Man, that was awesome."

Simon wisely remained silent when he heard Jim growl in response.

"Unfortunately, no, I did not see it, Sandburg. I was too busy getting popcorn and coke dumped all over me." To emphasize his statement, the Sentinel brushed a few kernels from his hair and pulled his still wet shirt away from his side.

Blair bit back the chuckle that threatened to erupt, "Aw, come on Jim. They said they were sorry. It was an accident."

Simon paused as he unlocked the front door, "But if those girls hadn't been goofing around, it never would have happened. What were they doing anyway?"

Daryl and Blair bounced off the front porch and took up an 'en guard' stance with imaginary swords. "I think they were having a sword fight," Blair explained.

"With their umbrellas," Daryl added as he and Blair began to demonstrate.

Jim couldn't help but laugh at the antics of his young friends. "Actually I feel sorry for their friend. Can you imagine having to sit between those two?"

Simon graced his friends with a full belly laugh, "I, for one, am glad she sat between them. I got the distinct impression that those two would be even more dangerous if left unsupervised."

As the group moved inside, Jim shifted uncomfortably in his buttered clothes, "Hey Simon, you wouldn't mind if I borrowed your shower, would you? The butter and salt from the popcorn is really irritating."

"Sure, no problem. You know where it is," Simon said, gesturing down the hall. "Just toss your clothes out and I'll put them in the wash."

While Jim showered off his unintentional souvenirs from the game, Simon started a load of laundry and found Jim some clean sweats that he could borrow.

True to Jim's army training, his shower was short and he was soon rejoining his friends in the living room. Simon had brought out some cokes and chips and Blair was just finishing one of his many tales of college life when Jim entered, still drying his hair.

Suddenly, Daryl jumped up and ran to his room, "Oh that reminds me." Before any of the others could question his actions, Daryl returned and handed something to his father. "I almost forgot to give this back to you. Thanks for letting me borrow it, Dad. I never knew you had an Army sweatshirt."

Jim and Blair exchanged knowing looks.

Simon just laughed, "Actually, Daryl, it's not mine." He turned to Blair and handed the shirt to the grad student, "I think this is yours. Weren't you the one who loaned it to Jim?"

Blair took the shirt and blushed slightly. "Actually, I originally borrowed it from Jim. It's his shirt." The guide turned and held the shirt out to his Sentinel. "I bet you never figured this thing would get such good mileage when you bought it did you?"

Now it was Jim's turn to blush slightly, as he accepted the shirt. "Umm, to tell you the truth, Chief, I didn't buy it." Jim hid his uneasiness by removing the shirt that Simon had loaned him and replaced it with the familiar Army sweatshirt. When he had situated the garment just so, he looked up at his friends. Each one made it clear by the looks on their faces that he wasn't going to get out of telling this story.

He moved over and sat down in one of the armchairs. The others followed suit.

After taking a few swallows of his drink, and with a deep breath, the ex-army ranger began his tale. "It was just after I got back from Peru . . ."

"Hey Ellison, how ya doing, today?"
Captain Ellison looked up to see Captain Mathis walk into the room. He just shrugged as the other man walked up and sat next to him on the hospital bed. Captain Mathis, in addition to leading the recovery team, had been the one person other than the doctors who came to see him on a daily basis.

Jim just shrugged, "They're supposed to be releasing me today."

Mathis eyed him suspiciously as he scratched absently at his arm. "Is that what they said, or just wishful thinking?"

Jim just shrugged again.

Before the other man could counter the move, Mathis reached out and grabbed his wrist, shoving the shirtsleeve up past the elbow. "Lord, Jim, if they see this rash they'll never let you out of here."

Ellison pulled his arm out of the other man's grasp and yanked his sleeve back down, covering the red blotches. "It's nothing. Don't worry about it."

"Nothing? Jim, you remind me of the episode of MASH where Klinger had a rash wherever his uniform touched him." Mathis's eyes grew wide as the thought occurred to him. "Don't tell me."

Jim just shrugged.


"Look, it's nothing. I'm probably just allergic to the detergent or something. No big deal."

Mathis looked like he was ready to deliver a dressing down to a new recruit. "No big..."

He stopped in mid-sentence and sighed. "If it's the detergent, then why don't you just wear some of your regular clothes? What's with the issued fatigues?"

Jim got up and paced over to look out the window before he answered. "They packed up all my stuff and sent it to my Dad. What he didn't get is in storage, somewhere."

The room was silent for a few moments.

Mathis moved up beside Jim and looked out the window as well, wondering what the other man saw. "How long until the doctors are supposed to show up?" he asked quietly, ignoring the fact that Jim was scratching again.

"About an hour, I think."

Mathis abruptly turned and headed for the door, "That's just enough time. I'll be right back."

Before Jim could ask what his friend had planned, he was gone. Jim just shrugged and turned back to the window.

Half an hour later, Mathis returned with a gym bag and handed it to his friend. "Here, these should fit."

Jim looked from Mathis to the gym bag and back again. Mathis thrust the bag into the other man's arms, "My wife uses Ivory laundry detergent. It shouldn't irritate your skin."

Jim just stared at his friend for a moment, then headed for the small bathroom.

"You'd better take a cold shower to help get rid of the redness," Mathis said as the door closed.

A few moments later the Captain heard the shower running.

". . . so the doctors came, gave me a once over, and signed the release papers."

Daryl was the first to speak, "Why didn't you give the clothes back to him?"

A haunted look shadowed the Sentinel's eyes, "I did, at least, most of the clothes. There was a mix-up with the shirt, then I went on R&R to Bali and by the time I'd found it Mathis had been killed in a training exercise. I went to return it to his wife, but she just told me to keep it. She said that she knew I'd get lots of good use out of it."

Blair looked around the room at his friends. "She was right, Jim. You have gotten lots of good use out of it. In fact, we all have."

This brought a smile to the room and they raised their glasses in a silent salute.

Chapter 8

Chapter 6


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