Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Everyday Life Series

Summary: Just a little touch of domesticity.

Note: Kimberly, Nathan, and Anna belong to Robyn (I'm only borrowing them).

Sense of Home
by Becky
October 1999

Jim dropped the duffle bag at his feet, punched the button for third floor, then leaned heavily against the back wall of the elevator as the car rose slowly. It had been a long week. Not a greatly tiring one, just long. He and Conner, as well as several others in the Cascade PD, had just spent a week at a police forensics and investigations conference. It had felt distinctly odd to be there without his partner along, but classes and a rather important meeting with his dissertation committee in the midst of the week had prevented Blair from attending, much to the disappointment of all concerned.

Pulling on his necktie again, Jim finally yanked the knot out and took the tie off to stuff into one jacket pocket. The elevator motor whirred and hummed and creaked a time or two, causing him to make a mental note to get the mechanism looked at before it decided to break down. At the third floor landing, it thumped to a halt and the door slid slowly open. Gathering up his duffle, Jim exited the elevator and walked down the hallway toward the loft apartment. Shafts of early evening light filtered through the high windows, creating a kaleidoscope of patterns in the air and on the floor.

As he approached the door, Jim automatically stretched out his hearing, tired as he was, to discern what Blair was doing inside. He knew his partner should be home since he'd seen the "classic" parked in the lot next to his truck when Megan had dropped him off, and a soft light had been coming from the upper story outer windows. After a bit of wobbly control, Jim managed to pinpoint the echo of Blair's familiar laughter rising above the sounds of music. A second later, the music came into focus and Jim paused outside the door, frowning to himself.

Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo? Huh? Isn't that from...Cinderella or something?

Another moment passed and then he heard the tinkling of childish giggles and he chuckled to himself as he recognized those giggles. Quietly pulling his keys from his pocket, he unlocked the loft door and pushed it open softly. Strains of Disney tunes echoed in the loft and he winced as he adjusted to the loud although welcome sounds of home. A moment later, the heavy scent of baking bread slammed into him, abruptly reminding him that he'd skipped lunch and dinner. He stepped inside, just past the doorway, and stood a moment, surveying the scene, grinning to himself.

Blair stood behind the kitchen island, with Jim's flowered -- and floured -- apron on over jeans and a t-shirt as he wiped a sponge over the counter. Jim squinted at the younger man, wondering at the strangely pale appearance of his face and hair. Shaking his head, he continued his survey of the kitchen, spotting the various containers of baking supplies scattered on the counter. A light coating of flour dusted the surface of one edge of the counter where Jim guessed that Blair had done most of the work. The oven was on and Jim was betting the bread was about halfway done. He let his eyes travel past his partner -- who still hadn't noticed him -- to living area where his niece danced in a circle to the beat of the Disney music pouring from the sound system.

And he had to laugh. Kimberly wore a very familiar grey t-shirt that dragged along the ground as she twirled around; her own apparel of a white butterfly t-shirt and red pants peeked out occasionally.

At his laugh, Blair dropped the sponge he'd been using on the counter and turned toward the door. "Jim! Hey, I didn't hear you come in. You're back early."

Jim nodded but didn't get a chance to speak as Kimberly stopped dancing and rushed across the room to throw herself at him.

"Uncle Jim!"

The uncle in question hurriedly dropped the duffle and crouched down to meet her, arms open wide. "Hey there, kiddo!"

Kimberly lunged toward him and threw her arms around his neck. Jim lost his balance and fell backwards, sitting down with a surprised oof, inadvertently hitting the half-open door and slamming it shut with a reverberating bang. Jim winced, Blair jumped, and Kimberly leaned back from Jim with wide startled eyes.


A second later, a baby's wail floated out into the main room. Jim shot a glance to Blair. "Nathan's here too?"

Blair tore off the apron and wiped his hands of flour and water on it hurriedly as he answered. "Steven's out of town and Anna got sick. She called. I didn't have any classes this afternoon, so I offered." He paused by the sound system long enough to turn the volume down, then disappeared into his bedroom and came out a few moments later holding a waking Nathan in his arms. "And here we are. Making bread and causing general havoc." He bounced Nathan a little as the baby blinked slowly, pacifier firmly fixed in his mouth again.

Jim chuckled and looked back at Kimberly. He tugged playfully at the grey t-shirt. "You know, this shirt looks like one of mine."

She giggled. "Blair said I needed to stay clean when I helped him."

"He did, huh?" He raised an eyebrow and looked up at Blair who met his gaze innocently.

"What?" Blair shifted the baby a little. "I offered her one of mine, but she wanted 'one of Uncle Jim's'. Who am I to say no to such a cutie?"

"And the apron?"

Blair shrugged, laughing. "The apron... Well, I decided to make bread for the Anthropology Department get-together this weekend and Kimberly liked yours better than mine and told me to wear it."

Jim laughed with him. "Must be that Ellison good taste." He returned his attention to Kimberly. "You gonna let me get up now?"

She pursed her lips in concentration, then released him, standing up and holding out her hands. "I help you up."

Somehow Jim managed to keep a straight face as he took one her small hands in his. He held out the other to Blair. "How 'bout I let Blair help too, huh?"


Blair shifted Nathan again, holding him carefully with one arm, then took Jim's hand. "Ready?"


Kimberly and Blair both pulled as Jim shifted his feet under him and stood up, careful to keep the hand that Kimberly held from clenching hers too tightly. Once standing again, he tottered a moment, then stretched. "Oh, man. I'm too old to sit on the floor, especially after a long car trip." He raised a hand to slide it over Nathan's head. "Hey, there, Nathan, how's my favorite nephew this evening?"

The baby gurgled at him and smiled, then reached out a hand to grab onto Jim's finger, holding it tightly.

Blair looked up at Jim. "So, what're you doing back so early?"

"Conner and I took a vote and it was 2-0 that we skip the last meeting and hightail it back to Cascade." He wiggled his finger around in Nathan's grasp. "We were both bored to tears anyway. Did I tell you I hate police conferences and workshops?"

"Many, many times."

Jim's lips curved into a grin. "I'll probably regret this, but I have to ask. Why do you have flour on your face and in your hair?"

Blair rolled his eyes. Below them, Kimberly giggled with abandon, putting both hands up to cover her mouth. Jim glanced down at her, then back up at Blair.

"I take it this is an interesting tale."

Sighing, Blair gestured briefly toward the kitchen. "After I put the bread in the oven, I decided to refill the flour container. However, the new bag was giving me a hard time. So I picked it up to get a better grip and pulled just a little bit too hard. The bag tore open, then slipped from my hands and hit the counter, and well..." He waved a hand toward his face. "Flour Cloud City."

The skin around Jim's eyes crinkled and he burst out in laughter. Below, Kimberly giggled harder and leaned against his leg.

Blair mock-glared at the two of them with a long-suffering look on his face. He exchanged a glance with the baby. "No sympathy, I tell you." He ran his fingers over Nathan's belly, causing the little boy to giggle and smile. Blair shook his head and joined the rest in laughter.

Jim carefully removed his finger from Nathan's grip, then put his hand on Blair's shoulder and squeezed it. Blair met his eyes with a smile. "Glad you're home, partner."

"Me too, Chief. Me too."

- The End -