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Blair's Birthday Surprise
a TSFF round robin by various listsibs
Completed 5/24/99

Disclaimer: We don't own, just renting them for the time being. No money is being made of the this story.
Just plain good fun for all to read.

Enjoyed it? Send feedback to ctlistmoms@yahoo.com

This was suggested on a Friday night during an on-line chat. The instigators of this little piece of insanity were: Stargazer, Graywulf, Ronnee, Impala. One of the four stated that it would be nice to have a round robin as a birthday present to Blair/GM and ourselves since Monday, 5/24/99 was the last first run Sentinel of the season. We decided that to get it done and posted by the deadline, each person had limited time. Whew! We made it! Talk about timing..... Additional contributors in order were: M. Edison, Dawn C., Otter, Hephaistos, Wolfshy, M. Edison, Impala, Ronnee, Stargazer and Graywulf, and Allison Witty.

Thanks go out to everyone who contributed. We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did creating it. Please forgive any typos, continuity problems, etc. Remember, this was just for fun and to see if it was humanly possible to achieve in less than 48 hours!

Friday, May 21, 1999 Cascade, Washington.

It was a typical day at Cascade PD, or so thought Blair, as he arrived from his classes at the University. Everyone was in Simon's office with the door closed. "Hmmm, wonder what's going on, even Rhonda's in there..." mused Blair as he tossed his backpack next to Jim's desk, and fired up the computer to check e-mails for Jim.

Blair was glad that his finals were over and he only had to correct final exams from his students. He planned his evening as he read the e-mails.

"Oh, well," he thought to himself, "they'll let me in on what's going on when they come out."

He scanned the bullpen to see what the day's events had been and he heard laughter coming from the office.

Just then Jim looked out into the bullpen and saw Sandburg sitting at his desk, with his back to the office. He motioned for everyone to tone it down.

"Okay, you guys, AND ladies," stated Simon, looking at Megan and Rhonda. "You all know what to do. Go do it! And don't come back empty handed! Now get out of here so I can get some work done... At least *I* have work to do today..." he stated, trying to look stern.

Blair looked up as the detectives came out of Simon's office. They were all trying desperately to hide smiles as they walked past him, but none of them spoke to him. He wondered what he'd done this time.

He jumped as Jim slapped him on the shoulder. "Ow!" complained Blair. "What the heck was that for?" Sandburg glared up at Jim.

"You're in my seat, Junior! Out! Now!" commanded Jim.

Blair looked at Jim warily, wondering what was up.

"Sheesh. Who died and made you god?" he muttered under his breath as he gathered his stuff.

"I heard that, Sandburg," hissed Ellison.

Blair threw his hands up into the air. "Okay man, okay. You don't have to get physical about it!"

Jim just shrugged impatiently as he grabbed the chair.

Blair began to wonder if he had missed something, "Is something up, Big Guy?"

"No. Nothing at all. Why?"

"Blair?" A soft voice made him look up. Rhonda stood next to him, her arms full of files. "Could you go to Personnel and deliver some files for me? I'm backed up and they have to be delivered now."

"Um, sure, Rhonda. That is, if it's *okay* with my keeper here?" replied Blair, gesturing to Ellison...

Jim grunted at them and nodded. "Go, get out of here, Junior. Take your time, but *stay away* from the ladies! No more phone numbers. You know Simon's rule about you fraternizing with the employees!"

"Who peed in your corn flakes this morning?" whispered Blair under his breath.

Blair took the files from Rhonda, groaning, "Aw man, you take all the fun out of everything!" He shrugged his shoulders at Rhonda and she grinned and blew him a kiss as she turned around and went back to her desk, a secret smile on her face.

Blair gave her a confused look as he headed out the door towards the elevator.

"Did you say something, Sandburg?" growled Jim.

Rhonda made a quick phone call to her friend in personnel. She was told in no uncertain terms to keep Blair there as long as possible...

Blair looked at Lily in surprise. Usually the woman ignored him, today she wanted to talk?

"My daughter is thinking about college and I wanted to ask you about Rainier."

He groaned. There was no way she was going to let him leave without an answer. And if he tried it, she WOULD get him back. Everyone knew better than to mess with this little shy lady. If she held up your paperwork, you never got paid. Or worse, every cop in the precinct went looking for your car because it was mistakenly filed as missing from the garage without a cop driving it. He'd heard about her. He'd heard enough to be terrified of just this situation. He was at her mercy.

With Lily waiting expectantly, Blair scrambled to come up with a really good reason as to why that conversation would have to wait. But for once, his list of obfuscations failed him. For the first time in his life Blair Sandburg couldn't think of a single thing to say.

"Umm... what in particular did you want to know?"

Rafe pulled back from where he was eavesdropping and hurried back up to Major Crimes.

When he walked in the detectives all stopped 'working' and looked at him.

"Well?" Ellison prompted.

Rafe grinned at his co-conspirator s. "He's down there for a while. Lily's got him trapped."

Jim grinned widely. "Great." He pulled out a notepad from his desk and looked at the list on it. "Everyone knows what they've got to do, right?"

The detectives all nodded.

"Good. Dispatch is in on this so when you finish your assignment, check in with them and they'll notify me or Simon," Jim said, standing. "All right, let's get to it. And watch out for Sandburg. He's down there now but he could get away sooner than we expect. And we all know how devious the kid can be when he puts his mind to it."

"Got it," the others chorused and hurried out.

Simon walked to the door of his office and watched his officers leave. "Think Blair has any idea what's going on?"

"Nope," Jim responded. "Not right now anyway. Right now he's confused. And we've got to keep him confused, otherwise he'll find out what's going on."

Simon grinned evilly. "Then I'll make sure he's confused."

Jim grinned as well. "Play nice Simon."

"I will," Simon said disappearing back into his office. "But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it."

"What about the Political Sciences department?" Lily asked, leaning on the counter and pinning Blair with an intense gaze. "She's also interested in that. Thinking about maybe becoming a lawyer, but she's not sure. Does Rainier have a good Political Sciences department?"

Blair suppressed a sigh, glancing at the clock on the wall before meeting the woman's eyes. "Uh, yeah. They've got Dr. Chapetti there, and he was just interviewed on CNN. He's also published quite a few books and articles. Oh, and I think he was a former advisor to President Bush."

Lily's eyes narrowed. "Bush?" she leaned back, her lips pursed into a thin line. "Hmm... well, I suppose every department has its bad apples."

Blair raised his eyebrows. "Well, uh..." He didn't quite know what to say to that. Now was NOT the time to get into a political discussion. Not that he disagreed with her. Bush was not his favorite president, but he DID have to get back to Jim.

"So, Blair," she said, leaning back on the counter, "what if she takes anthropology? Would she have you as a teacher?"

Blair swallowed, shrugging. "I don't know. Depends. I couldn't give special treatment though."

"Oh, please, please don't do anything bad to my personnel file," he prayed silently. At least he didn't get a paycheck for her to mess up. He glanced at the clock again. "Uh, look, Lily, I've got to..."

Of course, I wouldn't want you to give her special treatment," Lily interrupted, then her gaze narrowed even more and she looked at him almost suspiciously. "You don't fraternize with your students do you, Blair? She's a very attractive young lady."

Blair almost choked, his face growing hot. "No! Of course not! That would be a violation of University rules and a breach of ethics!"

She seemed to relax. "Good."

"Okay, then," he said quickly, "but, I really have --"

"Are there a lot of drugs at Rainier?"

"Uh, no, not a lot. Like any school." He started to hedge discreetly toward the door. "Well, it's been nice --"

"Oh!" Lily snapped her fingers. "Wait a minute, Blair, there's a form I need you to fill out." She waved him back. "It's to renew your observer's pass. Come on, it'll only take a second."

"A form?" Blair furrowed his brow. "I thought I took care of all that last week?"

She shook her head. "No. No. There's one you still need to fill out." She ducked behind the counter, and came up with a two inch stack of papers. Slowly, she began to rifle through the sheets. "Uh-huh... uh-huh," she said absently as she went through the pile. "Here it is!" She said finally, leafing through four sheets and handing them to Blair.

Blair groaned. "You said ONE form, Lily."

"This IS one form, dear. It's just four pages long," she grinned, leafing through another four pages. "Oh, and the copier's down, so I need you to fill it out in duplicate."


She handed him the other four sheets. "Here you go." She pointed to a chair by a small table in the corner. "You can fill them out over there."

"But --"

"Gotta be done as soon as possible, Blair."

"Can't it wait till --?"

"Nope. Now." She waved him toward the table just as her phone rang. "Go on," she prodded, snatching up the receiver and turning her attention to the caller.

"Great. Just great." Blair stalked over to the chair and flung himself into the seat. "Red tape strikes again." He glanced at the pen, then back at Lily as she talked on the phone. "This is ridiculous. I can fill this thing out anytime and just bring it back tomorrow. And I can use the copier on the fourth floor, or even at Rainier, and forget about this filling it out in duplicate crap." He glanced again at the clock. "The last thing I need is Jim in his foul mood hassling me about the delay. Probably thinks I'm flirting with some woman. Well, not this time, buddy."

He rose from his chair. "You know, I don't have my driver's license number memorized. I'll just pop back into the bullpen and grab my wallet," he said, ducking quickly into the hallway just as Lily lowered the receiver and opened her mouth to reply.

"Oh, heavens//," Lily thought as she saw Blair duck out on her. Quickly she picked up the phone and called Rhonda. "Rhonda, he did a bunk on me, the little skunk! He says he doesn't have his driver's license number memorized! Considering I heard him giving it out on the phone earlier this week WITHOUT looking at it at the time, I'd say he's headed back to your place."

She listened for a moment. "Okay, honey. If you can find a way to get him back down here again, I'll make sure he won't make it out for a week."

She smiled faintly, almost sadistically, at a pile of paperwork. "I've got just the thing for him to work on. Just have Simon ask him to help fill out the paperwork on a few of the guy's most recent cases. You know, fill in all the little stuff that everyone forgets." She nodded at the response. "Yeah. That's it. The one that drives everyone crazy at the end of the fiscal year when I have to send it all back around to have everyone fill in the missing information. The stuff that takes about three weeks to get taken care of. That's it. Just have Captain Banks send him down for it."

She chuckled. "No, Rhonda, I won't make him do it really. Just make him look a little cross-eyed at the pile. I'll only insist on him doing some of Ellison's old stuff. You know, the ones he did when Blair was out sick once and then again when Blair was away for that trip to see his mom. But, that's quite a pile. Blair may regret not following my instructions regarding filling out forms," she grinned slightly.

Blair sighed in relief as he rode the elevator back to Major Crimes. He released a bigger sigh of relief when the elevator doors whooshed open and Jim was nowhere in sight. In fact, except for Rafe and Rhonda, the bullpen was empty.

"Yes!" thought Blair, relaxing. He sat back down at Jim's desk and resumed going through the e-mails.


Blair jumped, accidentally bumping Jim's coffee cup which sloshed cold coffee all over part of the desk top and into the partially opened top drawer.

"Oh shit," Blair groaned quietly. He opened the drawer and saw coffee stains all over Jim's notepad and in the well that held his partner's paperclips and rubberbands.

"SANDBURG, damnit!" came the captain's voice again.

Blair looked up as Simon headed purposefully in his direction. "Shit shit shit," Blair repeated silently. "Yeah Simon?"

"I need you to go to Personnel and fill out the CPD-724As from January again. Jim screwed them up royally that week while you were gone."

"Aren't those the end-of-the-year forms?" Blair asked. "Why worry about them now?"

Simon's disagreeable expression became downright unpleasant. "Are you questioning my authority, Sandburg?"

"Well, no, Simon," Blair started. "It's just that --"

"When I give an order, I expect it to be obeyed."

"Of course you do," Blair agreed. "As an authority figure you need to --" Blair sighed. "Okay, okay. I'm on my way."

"Good." Simon smiled and clamped down on his cigar.

Blair stood up to prove his good intentions as he blotted up the spilled coffee with a Kleenex. He cringed when he saw that the ink on Jim's notepad was all running together. "By the way, Simon, what was going on in your office earlier?"

"Office?" Simon suddenly looked off-guard.

"You know, where your desk is? Windows? Jazz musician figurines? Picture of Daryl? Constantly ringing telephone? The place that --"

"I get it, Sandburg. We were just having a meeting about the, uh, Clemmons case."

"Clemmons case?" The name was unfamiliar to Blair.

"Yeah," Simon rocked on his heels and his face seemed to shine with the ghost of a smile. "You know, the one involving the eggplants and the baby carriage."

"Eggplants and baby carriage?"

"Of course," Simon continued, ignoring him, "who would have suspected that the dog had anything to do with it?"

"There was a dog?"

"But," Simon added, nodding, "you know how loyal Border Collies can be."

"Yeah, they're pretty loyal," Blair agreed absently. "When did this case happen?" He was just about to ask that out loud when Simon cut him off again.

"You know, I never even suspected that you could *do* that with an eggplant. I mean, considering that Mrs. Goldfinch is over 80."

"What did she do with the --?"

"Yes sirree," Simon smiled at some distant point over Blair's shoulder. "We had a good laugh over that one. Although, getting the paint out of the mayor's toupee will always remain a touchy subject." Simon suddenly turned a stern gaze back on Blair and shook his finger. "And don't you dare ever mention it to him, Sandburg!"

"Uh, no, sir!" Blair was completely confused.

"You shouldn't have even brought it up. Now don't you have somewhere to go?"

"Yes, sir." Blair swallowed and headed back down to Lethal Lily. Maybe *she* knew something about the Clemmons case. When Simon gripped his cigar that way, he knew enough to leave the captain alone.

Simon chuckled quietly as the elevator doors closed in front of the bewildered observer.

"'Keep him confused'," he said to himself. Damn that was fun.

As soon as he saw the doors to the elevator close, Jim came out of Simon's office. He looked at Simon and burst out laughing. He lifted his hands toward Simon and they did a high five. After Jim got his laughing under control , he stated: "Simon, you are down right evil."

"You don't think, I was too harsh on the kid. Do you?"

Simultaneously they said "Nah!" then laughed.

"Ok, Jim. The mayor has agreed to his part. He will call here around 4:00pm and tell me there's a robbery in process and need all available personnel on the scene. I will direct everyone and order that you and Blair go out to the scene. Jim, it's up to you to figure something else to keep your partner occupied."

"Don't worry about me. I have a plan. I don't have hyperactive senses for nothing. They tend to go haywire at the wrong time. If you know what I mean."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. Ok. Then, Brown and Rafe are getting the ballroom set up as we speak. Megan, is over getting the Cafeteria to fix the cake. Lily is trying to keep Sandburg, out of the way. Now, the only thing we can do is wait for the shit to hit the fan."

When Blair walked back into Personnel he was still trying to figure out what the heck Simon had been talking about. "Eggplant? Dog? 80 year old woman? The mayor's toupee? Is it just me or has everyone else gone completely batty?" He muttered as Lily looked up and spotted him.

"Did you get your driver's license?" Blair could've sworn there was a malicious glint in Lily's eyes.

"Uh...yeah. Turns out it was in my pocket." The anthropologist smiled sheepishly. "Sorry about that."

"Mmmmhmmmm..." Lily agreed with a raised eyebrow. "The reports are over there." She said, nodding towards a desk behind her. "Have fun."

Blair looked past her. "How the hell did Jim manage to screw up that many files?"

"Its a cop thing." Lily responded serenely. She handed him a pen and some whiteout. "Enjoy." Blair walked over to the huge pile of files and looked at the ceiling. "Did I rack up some serious bad Karma in a previous life or something?" He asked of no one in particular. The ceiling remained silent. "I don't have to do ALL of these do I?" He asked of Lily in a plaintive tone.

"Not all." Lily clarified sweetly. "Just get started and see how many you can clear up. It would be a BIG help Blair."

Blair looked at her for a moment than, sighing, reached for a file. "Why can I never say no to a nice woman?" He wondered aloud.

"Because your mama raised you right." Lily said, patting him on the shoulder as she went past with files in her hand.

"I'm seriously starting to doubt that one." Blair muttered. "Look where it got me. Paperwork hell."

Simon stood at the airport window intently watching the passengers exiting the plane. He fidgeted and looked at his watch for about the hundredth time. "I just hope I recognize her and we can get out of here fast." He shouldn't have worried. Simon's usually stern face broke into a wide grin as he saw Naomi walk down the long ramp and into the lobby. "Damn! Every time I see her I understand where the kid gets his charm."

Simon walked over to Naomi who greeted him with a beatific smile. Pushing aside Simon's outstretched hand she threw her arms around his neck and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"I am just so glad to see you again, Simon!"

Simon found himself chuckling like a fool and said earnestly, "Well, it's good to see you too, Ms. Sandburg." He grimaced at the stern look she gave him and corrected himself, "....ummm, Naomi."

Naomi instantly brightened and grabbed his hand, "Okay, where do we go now...I just can't wait to hear what you have planned for my little boy!" Again Simon found himself idiotically grinning and made a mental note to see if Naomi affected the other guys in the bullpen the same way.

"Let's go over and claim your luggage and I'll tell you the plan on the way. We do need to be out of here and back at the station before 4:00." Naomi smiled at him as he took her arm and escorted her out of the lobby.

Once inside the car, Naomi looked at Simon with a knowing smile. "What?" Simon asked as he glanced sideways at Blair's mother. It hit him again how much like Blair this woman really was.

"I just think it is so sweet how you officers take care of my Blair," she said softly.

Simon coughed uncomfortably and replied, "Well, Naomi, he has done a lot for the department and I wouldn't trade him for the world...but you cannot, under *any* circumstances, tell him I said that."

He looked at her and grinned, "And I'm going to make sure he has a birthday he will *never* forget!" At that, the two looked at each other conspiratorially and broke out into loud laughter.

Blair groaned to himself as he finished yet another of the CPD-724A's. He was going to enroll Jim into a remedial English class. He muttered furiously as he fixed another error. "You'd think that with a college education the man could fill out a form? No. Have to write like a 1st grader AND put in the wrong answers too!"

"Coffee?" Lily offered him a mug, looking contrite. A joke was a joke, but cruelty to helpless anthropologists was a bit much, even for her, obviously. Too bad he did not notice that she had schooled her face carefully.

"Thanks, Lily." He took a sip and nearly dropped the mug. SWEET ... was too gentle an expression. Was she trying to poison him with sugar? He glared at her back as she went back behind her desk. He had how many of these stupid forms to fix? He was going to die, from overuse of ink, too much sugar and pure dreariness. He had to get out of the station and fast. But how to get past Lily's eagle eye? She was keeping much to good an eye on him, fearing a repeat of his earlier escape.

"Dispatch? The package is ready for the move." Megan's cool voice came in over the radio.

A grin spread across everyone's faces as they checked the timetables. So far, so good. Everything was still on schedule. Even Sandburg's brief escape from personnel hadn't made a dent in their plans.

"Go ahead, the perp is in lockup." The dispatcher's voice nearly cracked as he spoke the prearranged code words. After all, if they wanted to play secret-agent-man, they had to use codes, didn't they? Around him, his co-workers, and fellow secret agents chuckled quietly. On days like this, they all really loved their work.

Naomi frowned at the words coming over the radio. "Is that...?"

Simon grinned, a huge, evil, and very, very self-satisfied grin. "Yep."

"Simon, my son is..."

"Being held by personnel with lots of forms to fill out." The grin was still there as he thought of Blair in Lily's clutches. The big man looked over at his much smaller companion. At her confusion and the dimming of her smile he sighed. "Keeping anything a secret from your son is nearly impossible, Naomi. He can ferret out the most rigidly held secrets, forcing close-lipped people to whisper the answers in their sleep. So, we took drastic measures."

"Oh. I see." Naomi thought for a moment and had to smile. In all her years she'd learned that her son was tenacious. To keep a secret from him, to plan something without him becoming aware of the plot, yes, that would take some drastic measures. These people, cops, pigs, whatever she called them were Blair's friends. They had proved it before and were doing so again. Her smile widened. "What can I do to help?"

Simon smiled and said, "You're doing it right now. I just need to get you over to the ballroom, and you can wait there for him to arrive. If they need any help there, I'm sure you'll know what to do. The cake is enroute, Blair's being kept busy, and even if he does manage to escape, I've got Taggart and Jim on the look out for him."

"We're expecting a call at 4 p.m. to which Jim and Blair be instructed to respond. Once they leave, the rest of us will join you at the ballroom. Then we wait for them to show...."

After he dropped Naomi off at the ballroom, Simon headed back to the office. It was getting close to 4 p.m., he needed to get back in time for the Mayor's call. There'd been no further word from Rhonda about Blair, so he assumed that Lily still had him in her clutches.

Minutes after he returned to his office, the call came in. Simon ducked out of his office, gave Jim a nod, and sent him off to rescue Blair from Lily and the dreaded CPD-724A's.

"Uh, Lily. I'll be back in a sec - I've got to take a few minutes down the hall, if you know what I mean. One too many coffee today." He gave her a grin, and hurried out of the personnel office before she could argue.

"But...but..." started Lily, standing up from her chair, realizing that he was a fast mover. She tried to come up with a good excuse to get him to stay but she was talking to air.

Blair ducked into the men's room, sighed a sigh of relief as he relieved himself. He thought about all the paperwork that had been forced on him.

She followed him out into the hallway, only to see him disappear into the men's room. 'Well, I guess he really did have to go."

"Man, this sucks. This totally sucks. Why me? Why should I have to do all the corrections?" he groused inwardly.

The phone rang at Lily's desk, and she ran back to answer it.

"Lily, this is Rhonda. Jim's on his way down to get Blair."

"There has got to be a way to get outta here," he thought as he washed his hands. He decided to forgo any excuses and just to boogey. He carefully opened the door and peaked out. No sign of anyone. He quietly opened the door the rest of the way, rubbed his hands together in glee, and made a hasty retreat for the elevator.

When the elevator opened, Blair quickly stepped in, and pressed the ground floor button. This couldn't be quick enough.

Almost the split second the elevator closed, Jim emerged from the stairwell and made his way to personnel.

Lily looked at the clock to see how much time had passed since Blair had left for the men's room. "Well, he couldn't be in there much longer, he didn't take any reading materials!" she said to herself.

"Lily? Where's Blair?"

"Blair stepped out to the men's room just a few minutes ago."

"Why am I not liking this? I'm going to check on him - to make sure he hasn't gotten away."

Jim hurried down the hall, and entered the men's room - no sound coming from inside except running water. He'd managed to elude them!

Blair whistled to himself as he rode the elevator to the ground floor. He went out to the parking garage to see if Jim's truck was still there. Sure enough, it was. He headed back for the elevator and waited for it to return.

He got on the elevator and noticed that one of the female uniforms must have gotten on in the basement. He said a quiet hello, and faced toward the doors, bouncing on his toes impatiently. He hated the elevator ride ever since he had been trapped in the elevator that kept dropping floors.

Meanwhile, back in the personnel office, Jim told Lily to call Rhonda and alert Simon to the fact Blair had given them the slip.

The female officer got off at the 4th floor, and two more officers got on. Blair sighed. Each officer got off at different floors with more people getting on at each stop. Blair fairly shot off the elevator when it reached his floor, rudely elbowing the few people who had remained on it. He skipped into the Bull Pen, feeling like a real truant.

"Sandburg, what the hell are you doing here?" demanded Simon. "Jim's just gone down to personnel to get you. You're supposed to be on your way to a robbery call."

"Um, sorry Simon...."

Simon glared at Blair and the younger man corrected, "Captain. I just needed a breath of fresh air. I was going stir crazy down there!"

"Fine, but the paper work can wait for now. You and Ellison are supposed to be responding to a robbery call. Now get on it!"

Rhonda, let Lily know Sandburg has shown up here, and she can direct Ellison down to the garage - Sandburg will meet him there, won't you Sandburg."

"You got it, Simon. Shall I take the stairs or the elevator?" he asked as he trotted to the doorway.

Simon shook his head. "Elevator!"

He waited until the Observer was on the elevator and turned to Rhonda. "Put the general call out that the subject is enroute." He looked at his watch and grinned. "Right on schedule...."

Blair traced his steps back to the elevator, and rode down quietly to the garage.

Jim was waiting there, and met him with a glare. "Sandburg..." he started.

"Yeah, yeah. I know. I shouldn't have skipped out on the paperwork. But, I was going cross-eyed with those forms."

"Well," started Jim, giving Sandburg another glare. "You can get right back to it after we investigate this robbery."

Blair gave Jim a nasty glare back and mumbled under his breath, "And when do I ever get a break around here? Here, Sandburg, you do the corrections. Sandburg, run to personnel. Sandburg run down to Forensics. Sandburg might just run away."

Jim opened the door to the truck and barked, "I heard all of that, Sandburg!"

Blair didn't even blush, since he had meant for his comments to be heard by his Sentinel.

You'll get yours soon enough, Sandburg," said Jim under his breath.

Jim picked up the radio mic and reported that he was enroute to the scene of the crime. He casually looked at his watch for the time. 4:05 pm. One half hour to go. He could do this.

Blair braced himself for the ride. Not only was this a robbery call, but rush hour. Knowing Jim, this was going to be quite the ride.

Lights and siren going, Jim rushed out of the garage with Blair hanging on for dear life!

Blair groaned as Jim just barely missed an oncoming car as he swerved around a double-parked delivery truck. Between gritted teeth Blair asked Jim where they were going. "Jim, where are we going? Where is the robbery?"

"The Cascade Ballroom. Apparently they were having an exhibit of the costumes worn by famous dancers in various broadway shows and movies. The entire collection is worth millions. The mayor has a personal stake in making sure the costumes are recovered as well. Seems his wife is a huge ballroom dancing fan. Go figure."

The truck screeched to a stop outside the ballroom, causing Blair to bang his head hard against the back of the seat. He frowned as he climbed out of the truck. "Jim, something's not right here, this place looks practically deserted. Where's all the security?"

"They're probably all inside already Chief. Come on, we don't want these guys to get any farther away while we waste time yacking." Jim drew his gun with one hand and reached behind him to grab hold of Blair's shirt with the other. Checking to make sure the coast was clear, the Sentinel all but dragged his Guide behind him into the seemingly deserted building.

"Jim, hey, watch the shirt! What do you think you're doing? I was following right behind........."


The lights were suddenly brought to life to reveal the entire staff of Major Crimes, Simon, Rafe, Brown, Taggart, Rhonda, even Debbie the Donut girl was there. So was Naomi and almost all of Blair's friends from the university, including his advisors, his dissertation commity and some of his professors. They were all wearing large black buttons that proclaimed:

Blair Sandburg - 30 years - Over the Hill?

The entire Cascade Ballroom was festooned with black balloons, black crepe paper streamers, black signs, even a bunch of black roses and a huge black cake in the center of the room. In one corner stood an easel with a huge picture of Blair caught in one of his few quiet moments, listening intently to someone off camera, with an intense look of concentration on his face. People had all signed the photo, jotting down their well wishes and smart comments on Sandburg having reached such a 'milestone' in his life.

Blair gaped.

Simon grinned around his cigar. "Well, Sandburg? Aren't you going to say anything?"

The chant of "speech! speech!" was taken up by the rest of the room and crescendoed in volume.

Blair blinked. "Um.......WOW?"

This brought a burst of hearty laughter, roars of approval, and shouts of "Sandburg's Speechless!" from the crowd.

Naomi stepped forward with a glint in her eye. "Would you like to have some of your cake sweetheart?"

Before he could reply Blair felt himself being propelled from behind by his Sentinel towards the enormous black cake in the center of the ballroom. He only had time to wonder "How the hell did they find black frosting?" before he found himself face to face with the massive confection. He had just accepted the cake cutter from his mother and was about to slice himself a piece when, without warning, the cake burst open, showering bits of cake and frosting over the assembled on lookers. Standing on the platform where the cake used to be was a dark skinned belly dancer. Blair's mouth fell open in shock for the second time that evening and his eyes became impossibly large as he heard his mother whisper in his ear "Happy Birthday Sweetheart. Enjoy."

This was a gift from his mom?! The dancer began to gyrate her hips slowly in a sensual dance as she slunk down off the platform towards Blair. When she had gotten within a few feet of him, she stopped and offered the hyperventilating anthropologist her cake spattered fingers to lick. A huge grin erupted on Sandburg's face as he accepted the proferred digits, to the uproarious cheers of the onlookers. Releasing the dancer's hand, Blair suddenly whirled to a near by table where he snatched up a strawberry, tearing out the leaves with his teeth and offering the red fruit to his 'gift' between his teeth. As she bit into the luscious berry, their lips met for an instant, causing another cheer to resound throughout the ballroom. Breaking the contact, Blair spun the woman around in an impassioned dip and pulled her forcefully to his chest as he proceeded to tango at a mad rate around the demolished cake stand, sending hooting on-lookers scurrying in all directions to avoid him. After several madcap circuits of the room, the anthropologist graciously stopped to allow his lovely partner to rest.

Next he was swept away to open his presents. From his colleagues and University friends he received various gift certificates and books on anthropological subjects. From his mom he got, besides the dancer, a star named after him. From the Major Crimes gang he got a full set of riot gear, with each member of the team contributing a different piece of the full ensemble. From Rhonda he recieved a set of fountain pens and a handbook of police codes and procedures "to help him with all that paperwork."

When everyone turned to Jim expectantly when his turn came to give his present he just smiled, "It's at home Chief, you'll get it later tonight."

The rest of the party was spent dancing and telling jokes, most of them at Blair's expense involving anecdotes from his early years of academia or from when he first partnered with Jim. Although Blair contributed a few good stories of his own, including what was unarguably the best story of the night, a hilarious anecdote about the various mishaps that had occurred on the one and only camping trip he and Simon had attempted alone together, for which Simon vowed revenge, though without much heat. The food was buffet style, and having been catered from Blair's three favorite restaurants in the area, was of course delicious and contained all his favorites. When the evening finally wore down and everyone had made their final well wishes, Jim and Blair headed back to Jim's truck laden with leftovers from the caterers, Blair's numerous gifts and the picture everyone had signed with comments that had made the anthropologist giggle uncontrollably. Even though it was three a.m. by the time they finally dropped Naomi off at her hotel and staggered into the Loft, Jim had one more thing he wanted Blair to do before they both crashed.

"You still haven't seen your present yet, Chief." Jim ran up the stairs to his bedroom and quickly descended with a piece of paper. Silently, he handed it to his Guide. Blair opened the proffered document and gasped.

"It's the title to the Loft. I had them put you in as co-owner. Now you know you'll always have a home to come back to. Happy Birthday, Chief."

Blair Sandburg looked up at his Sentinel with shining eyes, thinking that he had never felt so happy as he did right at that moment.

"Thank you Jim" he whispered. Then, words failed them both, and the Sentinel and his Guide pulled each other into a close embrace, savoring the love they felt in their hearts that night, and the wonderful feeling that comes with finding not just a place, but another person, to truly call 'home'. Neither noticed the few, slivery tear drops that make silent tracks down their faces as they held each other close, if they had, they would not have cared.

~ The End ~

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last updated 9/1/03