Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Holiday stories

Written in response to the 1999 CT Christmas Challenge. Probably a somewhat unconventional route to take for this story, but it's what I felt like doing. The carol really doesn't have anything to do with the story bits other than there are twelve things for both the song and the challenge requirements.

Story had to include: an explosion, a cow bell, a shoe horn, a piano, a model airplane, a jar of black olives, a jelly fish, a sled with a real live oink-oink pig on it, Hermey the Elf from the Rudolph Christmas special, a Christmas tree with red and green chili pepper-shaped and colored lights, a train going around a Christmas tree, and presents for everyone.

Traditional Christmas
by Becky
November 1999

On the twelve days of Christmas, my dear friend gave to me:
12 Drummers Drumming

"Sandburg, where did you get these lights?"

"What lights? Oh, you mean, the chili pepper lights? Man, aren't these cool!?"

"I thought this was supposed to be a traditional tree."

"It is. They even blink. See?" <click> "Red. Green. Red. Green."

"I feel like I'm under a strobe light. What happened to my other Christmas lights?"

"Uh...well, you know how we had that freak heavy rain last month and it flooded the basement..."

"Yeah."

"...and how some of the boxes on the bottom sorta collapsed in on themselves..."

<pause> "Yeah." <pause> "Oh, don't tell me. The lights were on the bottom."

"Uh...well, let's just say those lights have gone to a better place..."

11 Pipers Piping

"Hey, Jim, why haven't I seen this box before?"

"Which box?"

"This one. It's got a complete train set in it."

"Oh, yeah, that one -- it's my old Lionel set." <sound of a toy train car being picked up> "Dad gave me the box a couple weeks ago. I didn't even know he still had it. He thought I might like to keep it. Don't know how it got with the Christmas stuff. Here, I'll go put it back in storage."

"We should put it under the tree."

"Huh?"

"You know, so the train goes around under the tree. Whoo-whoo! That'd be traditional enough for you, right?"

<soft chuckle> "I suppose it would."

"Hop to it, Engineer Ellison, we've got track to lay."

"Keep your pants on, Caboose Boy, I'm coming..."

10 Lords a-Leaping

"Chief, do you still have the Veloso file in your backpack?"

"Uh...I don't think so. Why?"

"Because this is a file of graded Anthropology papers with your red scribbles all over."

<chuckle> "Oops. Sorry. Let me check." <thunk> <zip> "And I don't scribble, Ellison." <rustle>

"Uh-huh. If you say so."

<thunk> "I think..." <rustle> "...I've got..." <swish> "...too much..." <crinkle> "...stuff in here."

"Whatever gave you that idea? Maybe the fact that you're piling the innards of your bag on my desk?"

<crinkle> "Funny, Jim." <thwack> "Real funny." <swish>

"Tissues. A stapler. Tape of Christmas carols. A half-eaten pack of M&M's. Your mini-tape recorder. A shoe horn... A shoe horn? Sandburg, why do you have this in there?"

"Never know when it'll come in handy."

"Riiight." <pause> "Pieces of tinsel. A very beaten-up pocket dictionary. Highlighters." <pause> "Mistletoe?" <chuckle>

"Hey, gimme that! Here -- here's your report."

<crinkle> <stuff> <thunk> <stuff> <zip>

"Do I want to know why you've got mistletoe in that bag of yours, Junior?"

"Um...tradition?...oh, hi, Megan, how're things with you? Care for some coffee? Here, let me get some for you...."

<receding footsteps> <pause>

"Something up with Sandy, Jim?"

<chuckle> "Nothing more than usual, Conner. Just Sandburg being...Sandburg..."

9 Ladies Dancing

"Jim, you okay?"

"I'll be fine." <forehead rubbing> "Just a little too much mall noise."

"Uh, here, we can duck into the music store for a bit. It's pretty clear. And probably quieter since it's got a separate door."

<glass door opens and shuts> <loud voices mute behind them>

"Better?"

<deep breath> "Yeah. Just give me a minute or two and we can rejoin the Christmas Horde."

"May I help you two gentlemen?"

"No, we're good. Just needed to take a break from the crowds. Ooh, wow, nice guitar... Jim, I'm gonna take a look. Don't wander off."

<snort> "I'm not the one who wanders, Chief."

"Yeah, yeah..." <receding footsteps>

<pause> <sounds of someone sitting down> <pause> <quiet plunk of piano keys> <moments go by>

<returning footsteps> "You play, Jim?"

"Hmm? No. Well, yes, a little. I took a few lessons a long, long time ago before my mom left. Never got very far. Chopsticks is about the extent of my repertoire." <chuckle> "Sometimes I wished Dad would've let me keep taking them, but, no, it wasn't a manly thing to do, so I quit."

"Scooch over."

<cloth sliding over a bench>

"You play what you know and I'll spice it up."

"Sandburg..."

"Just play, Jim."

<simple melody of Chopsticks, followed by harmony which continually grows in complexity> <quiet voices as a few children gather to watch and listen> <harmony dies off and melody plays once more before coming to a slow halt> <scattered applause>

"I didn't know you played piano, Chief. What other secrets do you have hidden away in that head of yours?"

<chuckle> "Wouldn't you like to know, Detective."

<answering chuckle> "C'mon, Maestro, let's rejoin the rest of the shopping world so we can finish and go home..."

8 Maids a-Milking

"Good morning, boys."

"Morning, Conner."

"Hey, Megan." <footsteps walking across a floor> "I've got something for you." <rustle, rustle> "Merry Christmas!" <plunk>

"Olives! How sweet. Thank you, Sandy." <sound of a hug>

<footsteps near them> "A jar of olives? Red bow or not, I don't see how that's a good gift, Sandburg."

"That's because you don't why I got Megan the olives, Jim."

"And just why is that?"

"Because it's tradition at Megan's house to share a jar of olives on Christmas Eve and she couldn't get back home for Christmas this year. So in that spirit, even though it's not Christmas Eve yet..." <rustle, rustle> "Olive forks anyone?"

<chuckle> "You are so thoughtful, Sandy." <pop!> <sound of jar being opened> "Mmm."

"Sandburg, these forks have snowmen on them."

"I knew there had to be a good reason you were a detective."

"Stop laughing and gimme the jar, Sandburg..."

7 Swans a-Swimming

"Daddy! Uncle Jim! Look! It's a jelly fish." <sound of nose being pressed against a glass>

"It sure is, Kimberly.

"Are jelly fish made out of jelly, Uncle Jim?"

"I don't think so, honey."

"Then why are they called jelly fish?"

"Uh...why don't you ask Blair? I bet he'd know. He's over there looking at the, uh, the orange fish."

"Okay." <sounds of pattering feet receding away> "Uncle Blair! Uncle Blair...!"

<chuckle> "That's one way of answering her questions I hadn't thought of before, Jim."

"Blair is a handy person to have around. And he probably actually knows the answer."

<shared laughter>

"Thanks for coming today, Jim. Kimberly was set on going to the Aquarium with her Uncle Jim for one of her Christmas wishes."

<sound of an arm being thrown over a shoulder> "Any time, little brother, any time."

"I thought you weren't gonna call me 'little brother' any more."

<chuckle> "I did say that, didn't I? Well, I guess I could call you Stevie."

"Only if I get to call you Jimmy..."

6 Geese a-Laying

"...and therefore the local indigenous tribes..."

<page rustling> <pen scratching> <muted mumbles>

<wind blowing> <distant voices and laughter>

<rustle> <stretch> <pen scratching> <rustle>

"Sandburg." <pause> <more pen scratching> "Sandburg!"

"Huh? What? Oh, hey, Simon, what're you doing here?"

"Daryl told me he'd meet me in front of the University Library after his...date."

<chuckle> "His date, huh. And why doesn't Father Banks sound too happy about that?"

"Father Banks thinks his son is too young still." <pause> <wistful chuckle> "But then I'll probably say that when he's 25."

"Have a seat, Simon."

<sounds of books and backpack being moved, then someone sitting down on a wooden bench>

"So, now that you know why I'm here, why are you outside? I thought you hated the cold."

"I'm soaking in the last few rays of sunlight before winter decides to stick around for good. Gotta store it up before I forget what the sun looks like. Figured I'd grade a few essays while I'm doing it." <pause> "Not terribly exciting essays, but better than reading police reports."

<chuckle> <pause>

"Oh, hey, look, there's Daryl. That his girl--, uh, date?"

"Girlfriend. They've been dating for a couple months, so it's more or less official. She's a good kid. Her name's Rose. Rose Nolan. I guess her mom teaches on campus."

"Nolan? Oh, Shari Nolan. Yeah, yeah. She teaches in the Biology Department, I think." <pause> "What's she pulling that sled for? Oh wait, is that...?" <chuckle> "Oh, man, that's a pig, isn't it?"

<sigh> "Yes, it is. Rose has a pet pig named Lolly. The girl couldn't have a regular pet, like a cat or a dog or fish, no, she had to have a pig. I've even come home once to find her pig sitting in my front hallway."

<chuckle> "Oh, man, she's even got it dressed up for Christmas."

"You should've seen what she did for Thanksgiving..."

5 Golden Rings

<BOOM!>

<ding of fork being dropped on counter> <crack of pencil lead breaking>

"What was that?!"

<hurried footsteps>

"I don't know."

<balcony doors opening>

"Do you see anything?"

<BOOM!>

<~ring~>

<footsteps retreat back inside> <cellphone picked up and opened>

"Ellison. Yeah, Simon, we heard it. What's up?"

<second set of footsteps>

"What's going on, Jim?"

"We're on it, Simon." <clack> "Simon said a couple of idiots decided to rob the bank a couple blocks away from here. Guess they must've decided to blow the vault as well. Since we're closest, he wants us on the scene."

<swish of apron being removed and click of stove being turned off>

"Great."

<quick sounds of shoes being put on, coats shrugged on, and keys fished from key basket>

"So much for lunch and our day off."

<door opening>

"Tradition, Chief."

<footsteps recede into hallway> <door closes behind them> <voices echo as they hurry down the stairs>

"Tradition?! How is this tradition, Jim? It's nearly Christmas. We're supposed to be schmoozing with family and friends, not chasing bad guys."

"It's Cascade. Normal rules don't apply."

<pause> "You've got a point there..."

4 Calling Birds

"Uh, Sandburg?" <clank> "What is this?"

"It's a cow bell, Jim."

"I know that."

"Hey, watch the hair."

"You're gonna make me ask, aren't you?"

"Ask what?"

<heavenward sigh> "Why me?" <pause> "Why do you have a cow bell? I don't remember it being part of the traditional Christmas decor, even with a red ribbon."

"Well, I thought about using it on Christmas Eve at midnight to let you know it was time to get up and open presents."

<pause> <blink> "Sandburg, if you even try..." <growl>

<laughter> "Sorry, sorry. Just kidding."

"Hmph. I think maybe I should make you wear it so I know when you're coming."

"Hmm....I think you've got it wrong here, Jim. You're supposed to bell the cat and since you're the one with the feline spirit guide...No, wait, ack! No, not the hair! Jim...!"

3 French Hens

"Now where did I put--?"

<knock-knock> <footsteps> <door opening> "Mr. Ellison. Uh, hi. Why don't you come in?"

"Thank you, Blair."

<footsteps> <door closing>

"Here -- let me take that box for you."

<sound of a box being set on the couch>

"Is Jimmy here?"

"No, he's still at the station, trying to finish up a few last minute items. Is there something I can do for you?"

"I..." <pause> "Well, actually, I just brought that box over for Jimmy."

"More childhood memories?"

"Hmm? Oh, the train. I noticed that under the tree."

<chuckle> "I always wanted a Christmas train, but Naomi, my mom, she's not really into traditional...traditions. Not that we didn't have great Christmases. But she tends to, uh, create her own traditions."

<answering chuckle> "Your mother sounds like an interesting woman."

"Oh, she is." <pause> "So, may I? I'm curious what goodies you brought Jim this time."

"Go right ahead."

<sounds of box being opened>

""Oh, wow! A model airplane. I had one of these once. It got stuck in a neighbor's tree. I went up to get it and we both fell out." <chuckle> "It was never quite the same after that."

"Jimmy and Stevie built these planes and then would blow them up in the backyard. I think this is one of the few survivors."

<shared laughter>

"Sounds like Jim."

<door opens behind them> "What sounds like me?"

"Hey, Jim. We were just talking about your, uh, propensity for explosions. Which reminds me...was Jim ever hit on the head with a toy car as a child, Mr. Ellison? 'Cause he seems to have this thing about wrecking cars...particularly our captain's."

"Sandburg...!"

2 Turtle Doves

"You ready to go, Chief?" <footsteps descend stairs> "The party starts in 10 minutes. And Simon said we have to be on time."

"Yup, I'm ready." <bedroom door opens> <footsteps> <jingle> "You have the gifts?"

"Yeah. Right here." <pause> "Isn't that the elf hat from last year."

"Yup."

"And you're planning to wear it? On purpose?"

"Yup." <jingle> "Christmas spirit and all, you know."

"I see." <pause> "And the shirt? It's, uh--"

"It's Hermey the Elf, Jim."

"Hermey the Elf. Riiight. Whatever you say."

"He's from the Rudolph Christmas special. You know, traditional Christmas program. Reindeer with the glowing red nose. Elves. Santa Claus. Lots of snow."

"I know who Rudolph is, Sandburg."

<chuckle> "Just checking. Anyway, Hermey was the elf with hair."

<snort> <chuckle> <loud laugh>

"Well, that explains why you identify with him."

<footsteps> <door opening> <receding footsteps>

<pause>

"Hey! At least I have hair..."

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

"You know, guys, we've got a huge pile of presents over here. Who's playing Santa this year?" <jingle>

<pause> <swivel of heads>

"Well, don't all look at me. I just asked. And I did a Santa gig last year."

<remembered laughter> <clink of silverware against plates>

"How 'bout you, Jimbo?"

<snort> "Dream on, Conner. Sandburg -- or should I say, Hermey -- will cut his hair before you get me to play Santa again."

"Don't you have an appointment next week, Sandburg?"

"For a trim, Simon, a trim. Definitely not a cut." <jingle>

"Fine. A trim."

"What about you, Rafe?"

"And what's wrong with a female Santa, Megan?"

"Yeah. What about that? I think that's a good plan, partner."

<soft laughter> "Somehow I don't think I would look very good in a beard, Henri."

<groan> "All right, all right. I'll play Santa. For pete's sake, we're just talking about handing out the gifts here. Sandburg, since you're the resident elf, you're helping me."

"Uh..."

"Don't argue."

"Was I arguing, Captain? I don't think I was arguing." <jingle> "Was I arguing, Jim?"

"Sandburg!"

"Okay, okay...geez...some people have no patience..."

"I can always return your gift, you know."

"What do you need me do to?"

"I'll read the names. You hand them out. Think you handle that?"

"Yes, sir, Captain Santa, sir." <click of shoes being tapped together> <jingle>

<sigh> "Why me?" <pause> "Here we go..."

Happy Holidays!

- The End -