This was a gift fic for our wonderful ListMommie, Marianne. I wrote it for her in chat for her birthday last week.

Thanks go to TAE for the awesome beta. No matter how many times I read through a story she always finds bugs to fix.

Disclaimer: I don't own The Sentinel, Jim Ellison, Blair Sandburg, or Simon Banks. But I do own one of what Simon gets as a present. :-) Got it at Radio Shack and it was On Sale :-D

This is meant for fun and as a gift for Med. Hope you like it. Any and all feed back is welcome (hint hint)


The Perfect Present
Lila Kulp


Jim put his fork down and steepled his hands over his plate. "Chief, I think we have a problem." When he saw that he had Blair's attention, he continued. "What are we going to get Simon for his birthday? The party is the day after tomorrow and I have no ideas."

Blair hurriedly swallowed his bite of Chinese and answered, "I meant to tell you. I picked something up this afternoon. Anna and I were at the mall. I saw it and just had to get it for Simon."

Jim breathed a sigh or relief. "You did? That's great! What'd we get him?"

A mischievous look appeared on Sandburg's face. Jim always dreaded that look. It did not bode well for the Sentinel. Blair didn't say anything for a moment or two.

"I'm not telling." he said, then quickly took another bite of Chinese. He figured Jim was less likely to try and tickle it out of him if he had his mouth full of rice.

Jim tried to glare down his friend. "You know I am a Sentinel, Sandburg. You can't hide things from me if I want to find them."

The glare, of course, never worked on Blair. "Go ahead, Tough Guy. Find it if you can."

Jim put his plate in the sink and then stalked towards Blair's room. He stopped in mid stride, halfway there. "Oh, no you don't. Don't you think that I don't see what you're doing? Huh uh, Sandburg. Not this time."

Blair just took a drink of his beer and gave his friend his best 'who me?' look.

Jim wasn't buying it for a minute. "This is not going to be a repeat of the peeps thing at Easter. No free tests!"

Blair just quietly put his plate in the sink and began running water to wash them. "Then I guess you'll just have to wait until Friday to find out what it is just like everybody else. Now if you had gone shopping with me, you'd know by now. But nooooooo, you didn't want to go to the mall."

The two friends settled into a comfortable routine as they teased each other, washed the dishes and cleaned up after dinner. Jim started asking twenty questions. Blair answered with the most cryptic answers he could think of.

The only thing Blair would tell him was that it was a stress relief device. Well that was a big help.

By the time they went to bed, Jim was thinking they had gotten Simon some sort of mutant bugs.

*

The entire topic was subsequently forgotten until Friday afternoon, when Simon's party was scheduled.

Jim tried to sneak a peak at the present that Blair had brought, but the sneaky grad student had managed to get their present placed on the bottom of the stack.

Simon opened each of his presents, being sure to say something to whomever it was that gave it to him. There was the requisite tie, from Rafe. (It was a good thing the man had good taste in clothes.) Megan had arranged for some coffee from Australia. Brown had found some great classical jazz CDís. Joel gave Simon a box of his favorite cigars. There was a bouquet of flowers from Rhonda. (Hey guys like getting flowers too.) Simon just smiled and gave an appreciative sniff every time Jim sneezed. Finally Simon was down to the last box.

He eyed it suspiciously. "Joel, do you think I should have the bomb squad on stand by?"

This had the entire bullpen in riotous laughter.

Simon tore the wrapping paper off. Tearing wrapping paper was one of the few things that he and Sandburg agreed upon. They loved to see Jim cringe whenever they just ripped it off a present instead of carefully easing up the tape to save the paper for later, unlike a certain
anal-retentive friend.

Once the box was unwrapped and its contents revealed no one was sure of what to say. They had all expected something unusual from the partners, but they hadn't expected this.

"Um, thanks guys. I'm not sure quite what to say." Simon's uncertainty showed in his voice.

He held up his present for all to see. They all just stared blankly at the brown camouflage box with the picture of a tank on it. Of course there were only three people in the room aware of what the tankís name truly meant.

Blair just bounced as he pointed out the significance of the present. "Don't you get it, Simon?" At the blank look from everyone in the room, including Jim, he continued. Blair pointed to the name of the tank. "It's a Sentinel, Simon. A remote controlled Sentinel tank. You use the remote control to drive it around. You finally have a Sentinel that YOU can CONTROL!"

Simon thought about this for a moment. It didn't take a Sentinel to see the light of understanding in Simon's eyes grow from a dim spark to blinding. "This is great, Sandburg! I love it!"

They both just ignored Jim as he rolled his eyes and growled quietly.

"This is the best present yet. Thanks, guys."

As if by mutual agreement, everyone headed toward the break room for cake and ice cream. Blair bounced along side the taller Captain. "Hey Simon, I couldn't resist. I had to get one for myself too. You can bring yours over and we'll have fun with our Sentinels."

Simon just laughed as he gave the energetic observer a friendly whack on the head. Neither of them noticed the smirk on the Sentinel's face as Jim brought up the rear of the group.

He couldn't help thinking that now he was going to have to find something else for Blair's next birthday. He also decided that the brown camouflage box hidden under his bed was not going to be returned to the mall.

The End




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