The Spirit of Christmas PresentBy JudyL December 8, 2004
This is a sequel of sorts to "The Twelve Days of Christmas, Major Crimes Style." You can read it first if you haven't already, but it's not really necessary for things to make sense.
You should know that this takes place post TSbyBS and that Blair is a detective. Also the MC crew knows about Jim's senses.
It's also sort of a song fic. Don't know if it actually qualifies as one, but since lyrics are involved, I'm gonna claim it so<G>.
Small references made to 'Most Wanted' and 'Inside Man.'
Jim stood in the wings peeking out at the increasingly agitated audience. It was disgusting really. A group of normally intelligent, creative adults arguing over what they should do and whose suggestion was better. Ellison sighed. It had all started so innocently.
Four weeks earlier
"Okay, gang," Captain Simon Banks said as he came out of his office. "Gather round, I've got an announcement to make." With a deep sense of déjà vu, Simon scanned the room. When he reached Sandburg he rolled his eyes, but that only broadened the grin on his detective's face.
"All right, I'm sure you all know what this is about," Banks stalled. He knew how much his people loved this time of the year. "The commissioner sent out the memo requesting our participation in the annual Cascade Christmas Charity Pageant." He nodded grimacing at the 'aws' and 'do we have tos' that circled the room.
"I don't know why you insist on being so uncooperative every year," Simon growled. "It's a direct order from the top of the food chain. No one gets out of it. Deal with it." He looked at Sandburg. "Since you did such a great job organizing it last year, Sandburg, you're in charge again this year."
Blair groaned, ignoring his partner's broad grin and Henri's snicker. "But Simon…"
Banks held up his hand and shook his head. "No 'buts' detective, consider it hazardous duty if you must," he grinned. "And Brown, since you helped come up with the idea for this year's skit, you can be Blair's assistant."
"What?" H stuttered surprised to be singled out. "What skit?" His eyes flitted from Simon to Blair. The former anthropologist only shrugged denying any knowledge.
Simon grinned evilly. "You remember, don't you Jim?"
Ellison sighed and covered his face dramatically with both hands.
Simon's grin turned smug. "I believe the four of us were supposed to be involved?" he added, pinning Sandburg, Brown and then Ellison with his gaze.
"Uh, Simon," Blair stammered, "that was just a joke, man. It's not written in stone or anything. There are a lot of things we could do for the show."
"Yeah," Brown agreed, nodding rapidly.
"Nope," Banks replied, "I've kinda gotten used to the idea, and I rather like it now. Don't forget, I'm playing Dave and that means I still get to boss you three chipmunks around. So, Alvin, Theodore, take Simon there and get busy." He grinned at the grimace on Jim's face and the stunned expressions coming from the other two, then Captain Banks turned on his heel and strode back into his office.
Later Rhonda would swear he'd been singing.
Several days later at the Loft
"I am not wearing a chipmunk costume, Sandburg!" Jim growled.
"I have to agree with Jim on that one, Hairboy," H agreed.
Blair exhaled, frustration showing clearly on his face. "Okay. I suppose we can just do the turtlenecks, cap, glasses and hairstyles." He grinned rakishly. "That means a wig for you, Jim."
The Sentinel shook his head, glancing skyward for divine intervention.
Simon chuckled. "I think between the four of us we can scrounge up the right color turtlenecks and I'm sure Jim has a red baseball cap," he shot a teasing grin at his detective. "If not, a quick trip to a Salvation Army store should do the trick."
"Do you still have those horn rims, Simon?" Blair asked, referring to one of Simon's old pair of eyeglasses.
"Yeah," Banks replied, "somewhere."
"If you can find them, we can pop the lenses out and Jim can wear them with his costume," Blair grabbed a pad of paper from the kitchen and rejoined the others in the sitting area. "I'll go online tomorrow and get a picture of the Chipmunks and Dave from one of the fan sites. We could even blow up a photo to put on the stage behind us to help refresh everyone's memory about who we are supposed to be."
"Good idea, Blair," H encouraged. "What about our voices? It won't have the right effect if we don't sound like the Chipmunks."
"We could use helium," Jim suggested.
"No," Blair said in no uncertain terms.
"Why not?" Jim asked.
Sandburg stared at his partner in disbelief then shook his head. "A bottle of spring water with too much magnesium in it messed with your vision, Jim. Who knows what inhaling helium would do to you!"
Jim rubbed his hand over the top of his head, reluctant to admit that he hadn't even considered what it might do to his senses.
"Wouldn't work anyway," H said. "We'd sound more like Donald Duck than the Chipmunks, and it wouldn't last long enough to get us through a whole song, much less the entire skit we're planning to do."
"What about voice modulators?" Simon asked.
"Where would we find those?" Blair asked doubtfully. "Are they legal?" He recalled Harry Conkle had used them when he recruited people for his bank jobs.
The other three men chuckled.
"Yeah, Chief," Jim replied, "but we can probably get something cheaper at a novelty shop that will work just as well."
"I'll check it out," H offered. "I have a cousin who has a friend that works at one of those places."
"H," Blair teased, "you have cousin's who have friends who work everywhere, man."
Henri grinned. "Hey, it pays to be connected."
Blair grinned back then added a quick note to his list. "Okay, we still need the sheet music and then someone to play for us, or a recording of the song without the vocals." He looked expectantly at Simon.
"What?" Banks frowned.
"You're the one who insisted we do this song. I think you should get the music."
Jim snorted at the look on Simon's face.
The captain seemed a little constipated.
Simon closed his eyes briefly then nodded as he met Blair's gaze. "All right, Sandburg. But you're in charge of everything else."
"Gee, thanks, Simon," Blair said saucily.
The next weekend at the Taggert house
Everyone settled into a spot on one of the couches, chairs or the floor of Joel's basement den as Simon set up the equipment to play their theme song.
"Geez, Simon," Blair teased, "is that a record player? I didn't even know they still made them."
Banks sent a playful glare at Sandburg. "Of course they do Sandburg. Records didn't go out of style like eight tracks."
"Oooo," H moaned grabbing his stomach to indicate a direct hit.
"Got ya there, Hairboy," Rafe grinned.
Blair rolled his eyes. "I was only born in '69, Simon. I didn't spend my teenage years listening to eight tracks," he shot back with a grin.
Joel chuckled at Simon's frown of concentration. Banks obviously wasn't ready to let the younger man win.
"I may have listened to my fair share of eight tracks, Sandburg, but I grew up and moved on into the eighties. I'm not the one who seems to be stuck trying to recreate the sixties," he replied with a grin as he flipped his fingers at the bottom of Blair's hair.
"Not the hair, man," Blair said automatically. He ran his hands through it settling the locks back into place. "Now the eighties," he shook his head, "that was a scary decade."
The others chuckled in agreement.
"Where's your partner, Sandburg?" Simon asked.
"He's picking up some of our props," Blair answered with a dismissing wave of his hand. "He'll be here soon."
"Why don't we get started then?" Joel suggested. "Jim can catch up when he gets here."
Everyone agreed and Simon turned to put the record on the turntable.
"This is Daryl's old record of the Chipmunks. I didn't think we needed to get it on tape or a CD," Simon said facing the others again. "I listened to it and thought we might act it out like they do in the recording. It sounds more like a practice session than an actual performance. Let's listen to it and see what we can come up with." Simon started the record.
Everyone leaned in to listen.
When the song finished, Simon moved the record player arm back into the armrest and looked around at his people. They all had very serious frowns of concentration on their faces. He grinned. They looked like a bunch of kids trying to come up with a plan. This ought to be good.
Just then Jim came pounding down the stairs into the basement den. "Sorry I'm late," he grinned. "I think I got everything." He put down the box he was carrying and opened the top. "H," Jim said handing him a green turtleneck shirt and two small boxes. "Chief," he said giving Blair a red shirt and cap and two small boxes. A third pile was deposited on the table for Jim's costume. "I'll need those glasses of yours, Simon. And I figure your costume should be pretty easy, just black slacks and a white shirt."
Simon nodded. "What's in the boxes?"
Ellison glanced at his partner both of them grinning like fiends as they turned to watch H open his boxes.
Henri missed the exchange. He got the first box open and lifted out a small round, metal object with strings attached. "Cool," he held it up against his throat. "Do I sound like a chipmunk?" he squeaked.
"Neat," "let me try," and "too cool," were a few of the phrases that filled the room.
As the voice modulator was passed around, H opened the other box and frowned. He picked up a small white thing and looked at Jim and Blair confused. "What…"
Blair lifted his upper lip to expose his front teeth and mimed putting the object over them.
Henri's eyes widened then he grinned broadly and put the false incisors on. He grabbed his voice modulator from Megan and using the strings attached to it, tied it around his neck. "Now, I feel like a real chipmunk," H squeaked, his buckteeth adding a bit of a slur to his already distorted voice.
"Can you sing with those on?" Simon asked incredulously.
A different squeaky voice answered. The captain turned quickly to see Sandburg and Ellison wearing their prosthetics.
"Let's find out," Jim grinned.
"Cool!" Blair joined in. "Let's sing 'Jingle Bells,'" and without waiting for any consent, he started singing.
Jim and H exchanged a quick smirk but quickly joined him and soon had the others rolling on the floor as they went through several of the more whimsical Christmas carols. 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,' 'All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,' and 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,' were all butchered quite horribly by the trio.
Megan and Rafe leaned back on the sofa clutching their sides as the three men hammed it up for their friends. Joel tried to help get them back on key with the piano, but finally gave up because he couldn't see the keys through his tears of laughter. Simon and Rhonda were gasping for air and egging the jokers on.
Finally Megan called a halt. "Please… stop," she gasped between giggles. "I can't breath."
H, Jim and Blair turned to their friends, the picture of innocence.
"Something wrong?" Jim squeaked.
He had been looking at Megan, so didn’t see the pillow that Simon lobbed at him.
"Oooo," Blair squeaked. "Chipmunk abuse. I'm gonna call the cops."
"We are the cops," everyone said together, cracking up with more laughter.
"Okay, okay," Simon said still smiling, "let's try to get something done today. Any suggestions?"
Rafe spoke up. "Well, the song mentions hula-hoops and a toy airplane, we could probably use those as props too."
"Good," Simon said.
"I figured we could use the upright piano they have at the auditorium," Joel said, "you Simon, uh Dave, could pretend to play it while I do the actual accompaniment from the pit in front of the stage."
"Right," Megan agreed. "And Rafe, Dills, Riley and I can assist on guitar, woodwind, brass and drums."
Sergeant Pat Riley spoke up. "The theater graciously offered us the use of their wireless microphones, you know, the kind that have the power pack you clip to the back of your belt? The kind they use on talk shows," he clarified. "They have about a dozen of them, enough for most of the performers in each skit and the following skit. That will keep things from slowing down as we swap out equipment."
"The theater is donating a lot for the pageant," Joel commented. "The auditorium time, the banquet hall, quite a few of the instruments that are being used and now the mikes."
"It's all for the kids, Joel," Blair reminded him. "Now I have an idea about the plane and the hula-hoop. What do you think about this?"
The night of the Cascade Christmas Charity Pageant
"Okay," Fire Chief Whitley said as he handed out the microphones. "Major Crime is up next." He was the official backstage coordinator for the evening. "Make sure you exit stage left when your skit is done so the next crew can move in their props."
Simon and the others nodded nervously as they put on the mikes. Rafe, Henri and Jim were ready to move the piano onstage while Blair, Simon and Rhonda carried the other props. Once things were set up, Joel, Rafe and Rhonda would join Megan, Dills and Riley in the pit to play the instrumental part of the song.
Every time Jim, H or Blair spoke they got everyone's attention. Simon grinned as Sandburg whispered something to the others. Those voice modulators were hilarious.
"All right, gang," Whitley said. "Load 'em up."
The Major Crime unit went into action and was soon ready for their curtain call.
As the curtain rose, background music began to play. A life-size picture of the three chipmunks and Dave hung from the backdrop.
Simon/Dave stood holding a stack of sheet music in his hands, facing the other three. He cleared his throat. "All right, you chipmunks. Ready to sing your song?" he asked as he gave each of them a song sheet, then moved to sit down at the upright piano to the right of the chipmunks.
Jim, in his blue 'Simon' turtleneck, pushed his horn rim glasses up and replied. "I'll say we are."
Henri/Theodore bounced as he nodded. "Yeah, let's sing it now."
Simon/Dave plunked a note out on the piano. "Okay, Simon?"
Jim/Simon sang his response on key. "Okay."
Slightly off to the side so that it was obvious that Dave couldn't see him, Blair/Alvin picked up a hula-hoop and lowered it over his head.
Simon/Dave played another note. "Okay, Theodore?"
Henri/Theodore sang on pitch, "Okay."
Simon/Dave played a third note. "Okay, Alvin?" He frowned for the audience. "Alvin," Dave said looking around the piano. He saw Blair/Alvin trying to get the hula-hoop to spin. "ALVIN!"
Blair/Alvin looked up, startled. "Okay!" he shouted back as he tried to hide the hoop behind his back.
Dave rolled eyes dramatically and started to play.
The three chipmunks began to sing.
"Christmas, Christmas time is here,
Time for joy and time for cheer.
We've been good but we can't last.
Hurry Christmas. Hurry fast.
Want a plane that loops the loop."
Alvin sang solo, "Me, I want a hula-hoop," as he demonstrated the hula-hoop.
The other two joined back in.
"We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late."
Dave continued to play, but looked up over the top of the piano for a moment as he said, "Okay, fellas, get ready. That was very good, Simon."
Simon stood at parade rest with his hands clasped in front of him. At Dave's compliment he tilted his head and replied, "Naturally." Somehow, in spite of the buckteeth and the voice modulator, Jim managed to roll his 'r.'
"Very good, Theodore," Dave said.
Theodore giggled as he dug his toe into the ground embarrassed, but obviously pleased.
"Uh, Alvin," Dave said, still playing softly. "You were a little flat, watch it, uh Alvin."
Behind the piano Alvin sat on the floor doing something to his sheet music.
Dave leaned over to look around the piano. "Alvin?" Alvin continued to play with the paper. "ALVIN!"
Alvin jumped up and shouted, "Okay!" as he quickly put the paper behind his back.
All three chipmunks begin to sing again.
"Want a plane that loops the loop."
Alvin pulled the paper out from behind his back and threw a paper airplane that looped once and crash-landed on the stage. He sadly sang his solo line. "Me, I want a hula-hoop."
The others join back in.
"We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late."
The boys finished and smiled at each other.
"Very good boys," Dave said standing up and moving back to join the other three. The music from the pit continued to play softly.
"Let's sing it again," Alvin exclaimed rushing to peek over the back of the piano.
"Yeah," Theodore agreed enthusiastically as he picked up the discarded hula-hoop.
"Let's sing it again," Simon echoed as he sat down with his own sheet of music and began to fold it.
"No," Dave said heading for the edge of the stage, "that's enough. Let's not over do it."
Alvin scrambled around piano to look at Dave. "What do you mean 'over do it?'"
"We wanna sing it again," Theodore whined.
"Now, wait a minute boys," Dave said turning with his hands raised in a calming motion.
Simon stood up holding an airplane that was quite obviously not your run of the mill paper airplane. "I wanna sing it again," he demanded.
"Why can't we sing it again," Theodore asked holding the hula-hoop to his chest as he pouted.
Alvin flopped down on the piano bench and started to play. The music from the pit got louder.
"Alvin cut that… now wait…" Dave protested. "Stop…"
Theodore started the hula-hoop spinning and began to hum along.
"Theodore, just a min…" Dave began, stopping when he saw Simon climb up to stand on the piano bench beside Alvin. "Simon will you cut it out… get off..."
Just then Simon threw the plane and it magically sailed out over the audience traveling a path that was quite impossible. Besides which the plane clearly was not made of sheet music.
Alvin and Theodore started to sing again, and Simon joined in. The instruments got louder as Dave faced the audience and put his hands on his head in frustration. "BOYS!" he yelled in frustration.
The curtain dropped and the audience burst into applause.
The four men bowed their way off stage, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. The audience had loved the Chipmunk skit and the performers were feeling pretty darn good about themselves.
"Shut off your mikes," Whitley reminded them as they passed. "And give them to the 3rd Precinct guys, they're next." The four men nodded, shut off the mikes and went to drop their props off as they headed for the dressing room.
Blair, Jim and H worked on removing their 'costumes' in the crowded room. All of the performers were sharing a fairly good-sized room, but there were a lot of civil servants involved in the show.
Simon stood nearby, chuckling to himself. They'd done it again, two years in a row now that Major Crime had had a winning performance. Quite a change from the days before Sandburg. Wonder why we didn't think to have him help all those years he was observing?
His train of thought was derailed by the sound of multiple pagers and phones going off around them. Banks frowned as he surveyed the room. Apparently every firefighter, paramedic and a good number of the police officers were being paged.
"What's going on?" he asked Fire Chief Whitley as the man snapped his cell phone shut and started to round up his people.
"Five alarm fire at the Beckton apartment building down town," Whitley said shaking his head. "Three units are already there, but it's a high rise and they need help," he gave Simon an apologetic look as he squeezed past and headed for the door.
"Let us know if we can help," Simon called, but he knew the patrol officers would handle traffic and such. It was unlikely that Major Crime would become involved. He caught his people's eyes and tilted his head toward the stage. "I'm going to talk to the commissioner and see if he needs help with anything."
Simon found the commissioner talking on his cell phone. The man turned and nodded distractedly, acknowledging Banks as he continued to listen to the information coming over the line. Simon's people gathered about ten feet away to give their captain and commissioner some privacy, but still be close enough to help if they were needed.
"All right. Thanks," the commissioner said, finally ending the call. "Banks, it looks like your people and Homicide are about the only ones left. Vice headed out after their skit to wrap up an operation they've been working on, and of course the medical people took off in case there are casualties from the fire." He paused to gauge Simon's possible reaction. "Think your people can handle the last part of the show?"
Simon opened his mouth then closed it settling for an assenting grin. "It's for the kids, sir. We'll need a few minutes to prepare." He headed over to his crew, wondering how they were going to take this news.
"Simon," Joel said warily recognizing the look on his old friend's face. "What's up?"
"Well, Joel," he said draping an arm over the man's shoulders as he glanced around at his other friends and co-workers. "It appears that we have been elected to make sure that 'the show will go on.'"
"What?" "You can't be serious?" "How? What will we do?" and various other expressions of disbelief flew around him.
Simon raised his hand briefly. "The commissioner is informing the audience of the delay, so we have a few minutes to come up with something," he replied his eyes automatically landing on Blair.
Sandburg's eyes widened. "Why are you looking at me?"
"Ah, come on Hairboy," Henri grinned, "we know you can do it."
Blair sighed, sneaking a quick glance at Jim. His partner shrugged helpfully. Sandburg rolled his eyes. "Okay, okay, let me think for a minute. Can't believe these people," he mumbled to himself as he started to pace. "All these brilliant detectives and not a one of them can come up with something?"
Jim grinned, hearing Blair's soft ramblings, but merely shook his head when Simon sent him a questioning glance.
Blair turned to face his friends and coworkers. "Okay, we've seen the last few skits during the dress rehearsal, all the props are here. How about we just follow the schedule?"
"What?" "No way!" "We don't have time to learn all that!" were just a few of the numerous negative responses. Some of the more vehement replies were from the Homicide detectives. They'd just been informed of the change in plans and how they would now be assisting Major Crime.
"Come on guys," Blair wheedled. "None of them are that complicated, we can wing it. Besides, it's for the kids."
"What if we just sing Christmas carols," Megan suggested.
"Yeah." "That's better." "I can do that," the responses came.
"That's such a cop out, man," Blair charged. "Look. The lines are all written out here," he picked up several sheets of paper. "They left their skits. It'll be fun."
"Why can't you ever do anything the easy way Sandburg?" one of the cops from Homicide spoke up.
Blair glared in the general direction the voice had come from. "It's not about the easy way, it's about doing something nice for these children whose lives have been turned upside down."
"But Blair," Rafe said playing devil's advocate, "isn't it better to perform well, even if it is 'easy,' instead of going overboard and screwing it all up?"
"Ah, come on Rafe…" "I think we should pick a few songs and…" "We could take turns…" Everyone started to talk at once, either offering or shooting down ideas.
Jim sighed and moved away from the crowd. He made his way to the right side of the stage and peeked past the curtain. At this rate the show will be over before they decide what to do. He glanced back at his friends and co-workers arguing backstage. Jim shook his head refusing to be drawn into the fuss. This was what he'd always hated about Christmas. The commercialism, the false cheer, the bickering over the right way to do something. People pretending to wish you well, all the while envious of what you have that they don't. The Sentinel closed his eyes hoping to shut it all out. Even Sandburg was squabbling back there. What had happened to the Christmas spirit?
A voice caught Jim's ear and he automatically focused on it. It wasn't Blair's voice. In fact he didn't recognize the speaker at all, but that didn't seem to matter. The innocent quality of the voice had gotten his attention.
"I hope they come back out soon," the little boy said. "I just know that someone is going to sing it, it's my Momma's favorite." He continued with the utmost faith. "She sang it for me before she went to Jesus." A short silence, then softly, "Don't worry Momma, I know they're gonna sing it for you. They just have to."
Jim blinked rapidly to ease the stinging in his eyes. "What song?" he whispered under his breath. "What did your mom sing to you kid?" He concentrated his hearing on the child once more, ignoring the sounds of discord from behind the curtain. A soft humming brought a smile of relief to the Sentinel's lips. A song I know, and one that doesn't even need back up.
With a last glance at the commotion backstage, Jim grabbed the cordless microphone off the sound system and turned it on as he strode toward center stage.
Blair shook his head and sent a pleading glance toward his captain. Simon just shook his head in response. Blair could almost hear the big man's thoughts. You're in charge of this fiasco Sandburg. And it was so unfair. He'd done his part, gotten the Major Crime skit put together, practiced and performed without a hitch. Why were the gods conspiring against him now? And where was his partner when he needed him?
Sandburg frowned and looked around for the wayward Sentinel.
Just then Sergeant Pat Riley hissed from stage right. "Hey, you guys," he waved his hand in a 'come here' motion but kept his attention firmly fixed on the stage.
"What?" Blair asked, moving quickly with the others to join Pat. The auditorium lights dimmed and a spotlight shone onto the closed curtain silhouetting someone on the stage. "What's going on?" he repeated, pushing his way through the crowd as a sweet, pure tenor began to sing accapella.
"O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining," the hauntingly familiar voice sang, so clear and true that it brought tears to the eyes of everyone backstage.
"Who?" Blair whispered as he finally made it to the front. His question died on his lips at the sight of Jim standing alone on the stage.
"It is the night of the dear Savior's birth," Jim sang reverently.
"Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,
Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth."
A shiver ran down Blair's back. He had no idea Jim could sing. And with such a voice. He toggled the mike switch at his belt to the on position as he took several slow steps towards his partner not wanting to break the spell Jim had created.
"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn." Jim closed his eyes as he let the note trail off and he prepared for the next sustained crescendo.
"Fall on your knees," a voice joined in, harmonizing with him on the chorus. It so surprised Jim that he fell silent for a few words. He turned to see his best friend at his shoulder.
"Oh hear, hear," Blair sang, meeting his brother's eyes as he continued to sing alone.
"The angel voices."
Jim smiled joyfully and joined back in.
"O night, divine,
When Christ was born,
O-o night, o night divine."
Jim glanced at Blair who smiled back approvingly. They both started in surprise as the piano and then several other instruments started to play the chorus. Henri, Megan and Rhonda joined the pair center stage and the instrumentalists began to play the intro to the last verse. Jim, Blair, H, Megan and Rhonda picked up the vocals.
"Truly He taught us,
To love one another.
His law is love, and His Gospel is peace."
Blair caught Jim and Rhonda's hands, starting a chain reaction that encouraged them all to join hands as they continued to sing.
"Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy
In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us
Praise his holy name.
On your knees,
Oh hear, hear the angel voices.
O night, divine,
When Christ was born."
The others, voices and instruments, fell silent in unspoken accord, letting Jim carry the last part of the song.
O-o night, o night divine."
"O Holy Night," Blair, H, Rhonda and Megan harmonized softly beneath Jim's final line.
"O night divine."
The audience, almost as one, stood and broke into applause as the song ended, shouting 'bravo' and 'more, more.' The singers blushed as pleased smiles lit their faces.
Simon came out onto the stage and held his hands up to silence the audience. "Thank you. Our soloist," he waved a hand toward Jim. "Detective Jim Ellison."
Jim flushed at the unexpected gesture and the audience's positive response. He gave a little bow, looked around and realized that his 'friends' had backed away to give him the spotlight. Ellison moved quickly to rejoin the group as Simon continued.
"All right folks," the captain said, "any requests?"
The audience erupted with suggestions.
Jim gathered the others into a huddle then held up a hand to quiet everyone as he cocked his head and focused on his little friend in the audience. He smiled slightly.
"Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," Jim informed them, his tone daring the others to say anything, but they just grinned and shrugged. It was for a children's charity after all.
As Blair went to let their instrumentalists know the plan, Jim scanned the audience, looking for the little boy. He found him and kept watch as the song began. Jim couldn't help but grin at the awed wonder on the boy's face when he heard 'his' song start.
When 'Rudolph' finished, Jim noticed that the boy looked happy, but thoughtful.
Simon entertained the audience with the jokes the commissioner had prepared for himself while the rest of the singers waited for Jim to 'decide' on the next song. The Sentinel sighed. It didn't seem like the boy was going to offer another song. Then, just as Jim was about to choose something he thought might be appropriate, the boy spoke.
Jim told the others and made sure he had a clear view of the child's face once again. It was the best Christmas present Jim had ever received.
The rest of the show went quickly. The boy whispered his choice for the next song and Jim passed along the request to the others. Finally Simon announced the end of the show and invited the audience to get something to eat and drink in the banquet hall next door.
The group that headed for the banquet hall was boisterous and jazzed. Smiles graced everyone's faces as they bantered back and forth, alternately teasing and complimenting each other.
Everyone filed into the hall and lines started forming for the buffet. Jim, Blair, Simon and the others were able to commandeer a table and grab some refreshments before most of the audience arrived.
Once they were all seated, Blair stared at Jim.
"What?" Jim asked self-consciously. "Do I have something on my face?" he wiped his mouth.
"You never cease to amaze me, Jim," Blair said, awe clear in his voice.
"Yeah, Jim," H chimed in. "Why didn't you tell us you could sing?"
"That wasn't just singing, H," Megan added, "that was… well… I'm at a loss for words."
"Thank goodness," Rafe teased earning a soft pop on the shoulder from the Australian.
"Why didn't you tell us, Jim?" Simon asked softly.
Jim ducked his head and gave a half shrug, obviously embarrassed. "It wasn't a talent that I was ever encouraged to cultivate. I never really thought about it much."
"But Jim," Blair said emphatically, "I've never heard you sing before, and it's obvious that you do sing, especially after this little performance. You don't get control like that without practicing."
The Sentinel met his Guide's inquisitive gaze shyly. "You don't have to sing loudly to practice, Chief," he replied covertly tugging on his ear.
Blair's eyes widened as he realized what Jim meant. Simon started to chuckle and smiles appeared on the faces of the others who knew Jim was a Sentinel.
Jim was saved from any more questions by an insistent tug on his sleeve. He turned and saw the little boy that he'd been serenading all night. "Well, hey there, Tiger. What can I do for you?"
"Are you Santa?" the boy asked solemnly.
"Ah, no," Jim answered rather confused, "I'm not."
The boy frowned thoughtfully then nodded. "I didn't think so, you don't look like Santa. But how did you know what songs I wanted to hear?"
Jim grinned and pulled the boy up onto his knee. "What's your name, Slugger?"
"Well, David," Jim said seriously, though a twinkle sparked in his eyes. "A very special angel told me."
The boy's eyes widened. "Really?"
"Uh huh," Jim replied. "She asked me to sing your favorite songs, and well," he said with a shrug, "how could I resist such a pretty angel?"
David stared at Jim. "Did… did she tell you her name?" he whispered.
"No," Jim said, "but I got the impression that she knew you pretty well. She wanted you to know that she was thinking about you and that she loves you very much."
The little boy ducked his head briefly then looked up with a brilliant smile. "That was my Momma. She's with Jesus, but she told me before she left, that she'd always be with me."
Jim smiled and gave David a hug. "Well, she was right, David." He released the boy who then hopped off his lap and started to race back to his friends.
David slid to a stop and ran back to Jim. "Thanks," he said with a grin.
"You're quite welcome, David," Jim grinned back, then the boy darted off again.
Jim turned his attention back to his friends at the table, but they all seemed to have their gaze focused elsewhere.
"Got somethin' in my eye," H mumbled, rubbing one eye, though the other seemed overly moist as well.
"That was my line," Simon growled, removing his glasses to wipe away the moisture around his own eyes.
The others blinked furiously and glanced every which way to avoid making eye contact with each other.
Blair however met Jim's gaze as it finally landed on him. Tears made his blue eyes brighter and Jim couldn't quite tell whether his friend's smile was supposed to convey pride or affection. Probably both he decided.
"That was a really nice thing you did," Blair said softly.
Jim shrugged. "The kid deserved it."
Blair smiled fondly at his brother. "Merry Christmas, Jim."
Jim smiled back and threw his arm over Blair's shoulder. "Merry Christmas, Chief. Merry Christmas, everyone."
Happy Holidays to all!
Feedback is always appreciated, just consider it a Christmas present. JudyOn to next year's story. Back