To Angie...this one is all your fault, too. Because you asked.
It was a dark and stormy night. Real dark. And stormy. And night. The darkest and stormiest night of the year. Which wasn't saying much, as it was only the third of January. The previous day's storm had decided to hang around, only the temperature decided to drop, as well. It had been blowing heavy snow in true blizzard conditions all day.
They were out in the storm heading for Simon's house. Not even in the truck. Oh, no, they were in the volvo, and Blair was driving.
Simon was scrunched into the back seat, his knees up to his chin and his head folded in half and pressed against the roof of the little car. He was not-so-quietly bemoaning the fact that his beloved car had betrayed him earlier in the day when he drove in to work. It had decided to spin out as he attempted to stop at an intersection, and managed to flatten all four tires and break both axles.
Jim, sitting up front next to his partner, had pushed his seat as far back as he possibly could, adding to their captain's discomfort while maintaining his own, and had rolled his window down to alleviate the stench from Simon's cigars even though the heater in the Volvo didn't work.
Blair sat shivering, despite his twenty layers of clothing in every color of the spectrum and more. Even Simon was cold, huddled in the miniscule back seat in his heavy coat. Jim, of course, had the dials turned down and was comfortable in his skin-tight light-blue-like-his-eyes tee shirt, shorts and matching white socks.
"When you two go home tonight, I want you to take those two...those two...creatures back home with you."
"Creatures, Simon?" Jim asked innocently aiming a sly grin at Blair, his bestest friend.
"What two creatures would those be, Simon?" Blair added, just as innocently.
"You know very well what I'm talking about!" the tall man twisted like a sourdough pretzel snapped.
"Hey, they followed you home, so you get to keep them," Jim admonished.
"No way. I want them out of my house immediately, if not sooner!" Simon bellowed from behind Jim.
"But Siiiiimonnnnn," Jim and Blair whined in cacophonic two-part harmony, "They liiiiiike you."
"Besides, ever since Jim punished the jag for missing his litter box, and the wolf for marking his territory, they're just not happy at the loft," Blair complained.
"House rules," sniffed Jim, as Blair giggled at the salty language coming from the back seat.
It's snowing like crazy - though there's no problem for the guys (it's in 6 ft. snowdrifts elsewhere). Simon was feeling every bump on the road - and there are lots of them from the snow.
Without warning, they went into a spin as Blair tried to maneuver around the abandoned snowplow sitting in the middle of the street.
Simon was holding on for dear life as his life flashed before his enormous, saucer-sized eyes, clutching his clenched fists in what was left of Jim's hair.
"Hold on, Simon! But not to MEEEEEEEEE!" Jim shrieked.
Blair's muscles were rippling as he man-handled the steering wheel with his tiny delicate hands.
Simon turned to Blair and asked, "Do you know what you're doing?"
"Oh, yeah," Blair chortled back.
"Why don't I find that reassuring?" Simon shot back.
"I've watched Jim plenty of times."
"Oh, God," Simon moaned, gulping audibly as the car spun round and round in dizzying donuts through the snow, finally coming to a gentle stop, perfectly aligned in Simon's driveway, under a snowbank.
"How's that?" Blair asked, turning to grin at his terrified, whimpering companions.
Jim grinned and reached over to gently cuff his friend on the back of his head, knocking the smaller man's face nose-first into the steering wheel. "That's my partner," Jim said proudly, "I taught him everything he knows."
"That's what I'm afraid of," muttered Simon, mopping his brow with Blair's pony tail.
Jim tried to push his door open, but only managed to dump some snow on himself through the open window.
Blair reached into the back seat, brushing aside Simon's leg as he reached for his beloved, ever-present backpack and yanked it up and over the seat. The beleaguered captain complained as he was assaulted with the backpack smashing his knee into his nose.
Opening his beloved backpack, Blair dug deep, and to the wondrous eyes of his companions he pulled out not one, but two collapsible shovels.
"My partner - I just don't know what I'd do without him!" exclaimed Jim like a proud papa.
"Awww... thanks, Jim," Blair blushed, reaching out to give his friend a hug but coming back empty-armed as Jim began to gleefully shovel snow from outside his window and into the back seat.
"Hey!" shouted Simon indignantly as he attempted to throw the snow over into the front seat and onto Blair's head.
"Simon!" Blair screeched as the icy-cold snow went down the collar of his jacket, "That's cold!"
"Don't I know it!" he snorted back, continuing to dump snow on the freezing anthropologist.
"Don't you get my little guppy all cold and wet, sir!" Jim roared, as he threw another shovel full of snow into his superior's face.
Blair and Simon both gasped in amazement, as with Jim's powerful swimmer's physique, he simply swam through the snow, like a dolphin, arms flailing in a windmill motion, like a porpoise popping up like a breeching whale at the door to Simon's house. Sentinel eyesight and Marine conditioning allowed Jim to tunnel through the 60 feet to Simon's front door in less than fifteen seconds.
"Come on, you guys!" Jim waved, motioning them forward through the dark, cold, ice-filled, long, tunnel.
"Hey, guys? Guys! Help me out, here!" Simon squealed desperately.
Blair, feeling generous, popped the latch that released Jim's seat as he followed his partner out of the car, bounding after his partner like a puppy dog.
"Jim where are you? Jim, help me. I'M LOST, JIM!!!!."
"Just follow the sound of my voice, buddy."
"Keep talking Jim. Don't stop talking, Jim. I can't hear you, Jim. JIM!!!!"
Grabbing a shovel, Simon used it for leverage to unfold himself. His legs straightened unexpectedly, and he popped through the window and slid like an otter through the tunnel Jim had made, knocking Blair off his feet and sending him skidding along the tunnel before him.
"I've got you, Chief," Jim called, positioning himself in front of the slip-sliding man like a first baseman tracking down a foul ball hit down the line. Blair slid towards him at high speed, and with one flailing foot clipping him on the chin and the other catching him on his knee, Jim was knocked backwards onto his rear end.
Fortunately, the two fallen men provided a perfect landing for the skidding Simon, who plowed into the two fallen men, smashing them both into his front door.
From inside the twisted tangle of limbs, short and long, Jim wailed in pain. They had come to rest crammed against the front door, positioned like tangled and twisted pretzels playing a bizarre game of twister. Somehow managing to untangle his long, unclad limbs from his companions, Jim curled into a fetal position, crying in pain as he closely examined the tiny bump on his knee and rubbed the bruise on his posterior.
Scrambling to his feet and brushing the snow from the still lit and unbroken cigar in his hand, Simon glared down at his two detectives. "Dry up, Jim. What are you blubbering on about?"
"It huuuurrrrrrrts!" Jim wailed.
Blair looked up at Simon and raised his tiny foot and kicked him in the shin, "He's got a boo-boo, Simon," Blair explained, tenderly reaching out to examine the injury for himself. Seeing how minor the injury was, Blair got up and patted his partner on the butt, "It's OK, Jim."
"Owwwwwwwww!" shrieked the whimpering man.
"Get over it man. It's not that bad!" reprimanded his Guide, as he stepped on Jim's hand, as he worked to stand up.
Reaching down, Simon snatched up Jim's injured hand and jerked him to his feet, eliciting a new wail of agony from the battered and abused sentinel.
Disgusted, Blair kicked Jim in the ankle, "Grow up, man. It's not that bad."
Pouting, Jim kicked back and then hopped around on one leg and gripping his now sore ankle, Jim growled through his pain. "You... You MEANIE!" He yelled, now angrier than he was hurt.
Suddenly, Jim slipped on some ice, falling on his already sore behind, bruising the other cheek.
Grumbling under his breath, Simon managed to push between the two sniping partners and pulled his keys out and inserted the appropriate one into the deadbolt. Unfortunately, the loud thud of the deadbolt unlocking caused the snow on the roof to avalanche down on the three men with a roar. The three of them were buried in snow.
Jim and Simon were buried in snow to their waists. All that could be seen of Blair was his wide shocked eyes.
Grumbling, Simon pushed open the door, brushed the snow off of himself as best he could, and entered. He turned to look at his companions, shook his head and said, "Well? You two gonna stay out there posing as snowmen, or are you coming in?"
Blair, seeing his partner, began singing in a high falsetto "Frosty, the snow man, was a..." Jim, grunting in annoyance, smacked him upside the head and struggled out of the snow and stumbled into the spacious house, knocking Simon back and down on his butt.
"Sorry, sir," Jim mumbled, turning away and reaching back out and grabbing his partner and yanking him out of the snowpile with a distinctive 'pop' as Blair's feet pulled out of his shoes.
Ignoring the footwear left behind, Simon got to his feet and pushed his friends aside, slamming the door.
Crossing the foyer, the two friends followed their captain. Simon wandered down the hall to the living room and stopped dead. Jim collided with him, and Blair collided with both of them, sending all three of them sprawling into the larger room. Struggling out from the bottom of the pile, Simon rose to his full, enormous height and bellowed, "WILL YOU TWO STOP DOING THAT?!?"
Jim and Blair, still sprawled on the floor, eyed the room and allowed their mouths to fall open. The lights sparkling off the huge pile of snow spread across the room from the broken window caught Jim's attention, and he zoned.
Blair picked himself up off the floor, ignoring his unresponsive partner. "Simon, what the...?"
Standing still, frozen and unmoving, like a deer caught in the middle of the road as a huge semi approaches from the south, Jim's eyes were fixed on the intricate pattern of the snowbank.
Simon's face crumpled up in anguish, "My curtains! My couch!...MY CARPET!!! Those...those...ANIMALS! Look what your stupid animals have done to my lovely living room!" Simon wailed in despair.
Just then a chill went through the room, and Simon noticed not only shredded curtains, but a pile of snow beneath a broken window.
Blair, finally seeing that his partner had zoned, knelt down beside him and placed one arm around Jim's shoulders, "Jim? Buddy? Come on, Jim. It's OK, come back now, baby, come on, Jim...good boy, that's my gooood boy." Gasping in a deep breath, Jim shook his head and leaned into the comforting embrace of his partner, who stood up and let him fall on his side on the floor.
Puzzled, Simon approached the huge pile of snow and realized that the window had been broken from *outside*, not by the animals within.
"Hey, guys?" Simon asked, "I think we may have a little problem here. The animals couldn't have broken this window. I think I may have a burglar."
As if to prove that point, a noise was heard coming from down the hall.
"A burglar?" Jim repeated, fumbling for the gun at the small of his back.
All three swiveled around to look towards a sudden sound coming from somewhere further back in the house.
"Maybe it's just squirrels," Blair suggested thoughtfully.
Immediately going into 'commando mode' Jim motioned Blair to stay there and motioned Simon to cover him as they began to search the house.
Stuck in the living room, filled with snow and broken glass, a shoe-less Blair examined the remnants of the room.
"Call for back-up, Chief," Jim admonished as he followed Simon from the room.
Blair mumbled in a whiney voice, "Call for back up, Chief...call 911, Sandburg...do your thing, Phone Boy," as he pulled his cell phone from his backpack and savagely punched the buttons. "Yeah, this is Sandburg. I'm at Captain Banks' house. We think we have a burglar."
Listening for a moment, he shouted, "Simon! What's the address?"
"Shhhh!!! Sandburg, keep it down," Jim hollered back at his partner.
"Don't you shush me. First you tell me to call for back-up and then you tell me to be quiet. Which one do you want?" Blair yelled.
"Will you two be QUIET!!!! Both of you, keep it down!" Simon shrieked.
Muffled sounds came from a room at the end of the long hallway.
Looking at each other, Jim motioned for Simon to take up his position on the far side of the door.
The tiny hovel was quickly searched, leaving only one door to check. The bedroom door.
The two big, buff cops stood on either side of the closed opening, Jim tilted his head to listen and nodded.
"On three," Simon whispered, "Two, One..."
"Wait, I thought you said 'on three'?" Jim asked, confused.
"Yeah, oh, sorry. One, two, three!" On three, he flung open the bedroom door, smashing Jim in the face with it. knocking him backwards on his behind. Jim let out a howl worthy of his partner's spirit guide, his hands flying to his injured face and smashing his gun into his forehead and knocking himself out.
Blair rushed up and slid to a stop on his knees beside his partner, "Jim? Jim, baby? Jim, are you all right? Come on, man, say something!" Blair whined.
Blue eyes dazed, Jim dazedly looked up into his best friend's worried face. "Blair? Is that you? What happened?"
"Simon did it."
Simon snarled (sounding remarkably like an irate jaguar), "Will you two prima donnas get up here and help me? We still have a bad guy to catch!"
"He's been spending waaay too much time with your spirit guide, man," Blair whispered so only his sentinel could hear.
"I heard that, Sandbag. You two are going to take those those things home with you. I'm tired of the damage they do!"
Jim leaped to his feet and sprang through the open bedroom door prepared for anything! Anything but what he found, that is.
The men froze at the sight within. There, in the middle of what had been Simon's brand new, king size bed, sprawled the burglar. Flat on his back, the black panther's left hind paw in his mouth as a gag, the big cat's front paws and mouth wrapped around the poor man's right foot and ankle, playing 'tug-o-war' with the wolf, who had the man's other ankle in his mouth, jerking back, trying to split him like the after thanksgiving wishbone.
"Off the bed you two!" bellowed Simon. "Leave the poor man to us." Turning to Jim he complained, "That's the third bed in two weeks! You owe me. Bigtime!"
"Don't blame me, sir. You're the one who decided to take them home with him."
"I didn't have any say in that," replied the perturbed captain.
"Sure you did, Simon," Blair disagreed, "You could have left them behind, you know."
"They don't listen to me," he pointed out as the wolf and jaguar continued their game of tug'o war. "Do they listen to you?" Jim and Blair looked at each other, then at the animals, then at Simon, and burst out laughing. "That's right," he muttered. "They listen as well as you two do."
"Mwmphhh ammpf mmmmph?" The burglar cried around the paw clogging his mouth.
"Well, help me get them off their victim, er our perp," commanded the tall man.
"Suspect," corrected Blair.
Jim and Blair looked at the animals, then back at Simon, and started laughing again. Simon, getting more annoyed, smacked Jim on the back of the head. "Just get him!" he snarled.
"OOOOOWWWWWWW!!!" Jim wailed, dropping to his knees in agony, his hands flying to the back of his head, and smacking himself with his gun again.
Immediately coming to the defense of his Sentinel, and bestest-ever friend, Blair shook his finger at the tall, imposing police captain. "You better cut that out, you big bully," he shrieked, rushing again to his partner's side.
"Move your hands and let me see, Jim."
"No, I can't. Oh, the pain!" he moaned.
"Mphhhwy Mpmwooo? mwph mphbph mmmph?!" the trapped man again screamed through the paw that was not only stuck in his mouth, but had started to flex its claws... "EeeeeeeeEEEEEEEE!!!!! GMPH HMPH MMMPH!"
Ignoring the muffled sounds coming from the direction of the bed as well as the moans and groans coming from his detective, Simon gazed with horror at the state of his bedroom. Not one piece of furniture remained intact. The closet doors were off their hinges; the drapes were in tatters; and there on his brand new Sealy Orthopedic mattress, or what remained of it, were the two spirit animals and a man the animals were attempting to split like a wishbone.
"Simon, help me," Blair called, struggling to lift Jim to his feet. Simon stepped forward, bending to grab Jim's arm just as Blair bent down from the other side. All three heads met with a loud thunk. Stumbling back from the blow, Jim dizzily fell onto the bed beside the burglar.
Dropping his "toy" the jaguar went running over to his human and started nuzzling and washing his face trying to comfort him. The wolf, clearly dismayed at the end of a most interesting game, sighed heavily.
"You have the right..." Jim started to mumble dizzily...trying to push the large black cat away. The cat wouldn't move and decided that Jim needed a good face cleaning as he snuggled down into the warmth of the bed, with the jaguar snuggling down atop him. Blair started to giggle, his dainty little hand covering his mouth. Feeling left out, the wolf curled up beside them both, furry head resting on Jim's stomach.
The burglar, seeing his chance, bolted up and made a run for the door, forgetting that there were two other people between him and the opening.
Simon filled the doorway, so there was no escape for the bedraggled burglar. He simply bounced off the enormous captain's stomach, making Simon go "OOF" and landing on his ass by the bed.
The wolf got up from beside the fallen sentinel and sat on the burglar to prevent any future attempts at escape.
"Freeze!" Simon bellowed.
"I don't think he's going anywhere, Simon," Blair laughed while the jaguar jumped off the bed and began purring and winding himself around Simon's legs, knocking him down.
Finally able to sit up, Jim took in the situation. Just then, the distant sound of sirens registered on the sentinel's sharp hearing.
"Back-up is here," Blair announced. "I called them," he added proudly.
Jim smiled and patted him on the head, "That's my partner," he said, smiling proudly.
"Help me up," Simon ordered, not wanting to be found on the floor by the uniformed officers.
The wolf patiently sat on the burglar, taking it all in, tongue lolling to the side as he panted contentedly.
As Jim reached for handcuffs, Blair pulled Simon to his feet, dislodging the now-unhappy jaguar. The jaguar wandered over to the corner of the bedroom and sat balefully sulking in the general direction the humans who spoiled his fun.
Suddenly, there were voices in the front hall as the rest of the gang from Major Crime arrived.
"Put your hands behind your back," Jim commanded, waving the handcuffs in the air.
"Uh, Jim, I think the wolf's got to move first," Blair commented helpfully.
"Shoo!" Simon ordered, pointing at the wolf in question. The wolf looked at him quizzically and tilted his head, smiling.
"What's the magic word?"
Simon scowled, "What?"
"Oh, I know! I know!!!" Blair yelled, hand waving frantically in the air.
"It's please. You didn't say please, Simon."
Simon gritted his teeth together, finally forcing out, "Please."
Jim snorted, watching as the wolf immediately jumped up off their suspect and went to the corner by his friend, the Jag.
Suddenly, there were voices in the front hall as the rest of the gang from Major Crime arrived followed by several uniformed officers.
"Simon? Jim? Hairboy?"
"What the heck...?"
"Hey, Guys?" Joel called out in concern, "Are you OK?"
Red and pink hearts peeking out from between the shreds of his trousers, the perp was handcuffed.
"Don't worry, be happy!" Blair declared in amusement, seeing the smiley faces peeping out from between the shreds of the perp's slacks.
"We're back here!" called Simon. "And yeah, we're okay. Which is more than I can say for our 'guest'."
Seeing the uniformed officers, their prisoner lunged for them, screaming, "There's a big, black panther in there! I saw it with my own two eyes! A panther and a wolf!"
"Sure there is, buddy," the officers nodded, smirking at the teddybears peering through the shreds of his pants.
Joel, Rafe, and Brown looked around the demolished bedroom in shocked silence, exchanging horrified and confused looks with each other, wondering what in the world had happened.
"Uh, Simon? I hate to ask, but," started Joel as the uniformed officers started to take the perp away. "What in the world happened here?"
"Don't tell us that he did all of this damage?" Brown asked.
Scanning the destroyed room with his super-sensitive sight, Jim muttered, "Yep."
"IT WAS THE PANTHER!!!" came a scream from down the hall. "A PANTHER I TELL YOU!!"
Rafe suddenly sniffed and looked at the suspect, noticing the way that batman and superman stared through the shreds of his cords and realizing that the man smelled of...cat and dog urine? "And what happened to him?" asked Rafe as the petrified man was lead away. Rafe was holding his nose as he caught another whiff of the man.
"I have no idea," Jim said innocently.
Blair shrugged. "Beats me."
"Haven't a clue," replied Simon.
Simon, looking around his destroyed bedroom and remembering the snowdrift in the living room, sighed. He was going to have to find a place to sleep tonight...maybe he could convince Joel to take him home with him? After all, Joel had a nice, big house...wondering if he could convince the animals to go back to their proper place with Jim and Blair.
"It was a HUGE panther, honest, you got to believe me. And-and a wolf, biggest damned wolf you ever saw! Look what they did to me!" the suspect screamed as he was dragged through the snow to the waiting patrol cars, the little choo-choos flickering in and out of sight through the tatters of his jeans.
There, the patrolmen played 'paper-stone-scissors' to decide who got to transport the stinking suspect to the station. The loser got a DOA sheet from the trunk and wrapped the suspect in it before placing him gently in the back of her patrol car, still screaming about wild animals.
"So, Simon... are you going to tell us about it?" prompted Henri.
"You don't want to know," Simon growled in reply.
They all paused a moment as they listened to the patrol officers outside...The pair who got the job of transporting the perp were glancing at them and giggling. Jim tuned in and repeated their conversation to the others.
"You gotta admit that this is one stupid second story man," the woman said with a grin. Her partner nodded. "Yeah, the captain's only got a one story house."
"Wait a minute," the burglar whined from the back, "You mean that was a cop's house? What about those wild animals he's got?"
The two patrol officers exchanged knowing glances. "Hospital?" the one asked.
"Psych ward," the other one agreed.
As if on cue, the jaguar, followed by the wolf, got up and silently walked out of the room past those standing in the doorway to the bedroom.
"Hey, are we gonna play poker, or not?"
Simon sighed, looking around him. "Where?" he asked, miserably.
"Point taken. Maybe we can help you clean up, and then you can stay at my place until you get the furniture replaced?" offered Joel.
"We could play poker over there," Blair suggested, pointing to a small end table, nestled in the corner behind the shredded couch.
"No way," Rafe said. "We couldn't fit around that to play. Let's just get this place cleaned up. If you've got a shovel, I'll start on the snow drift," he offered.
"Good idea," Joel agreed. "We can clean up and then go to my house to play."
"Blair and I will start back here, and when we're finished we'll join you in the living room," suggested Jim.
Brown went into the kitchen for a broom and began sweeping the snow back out the shattered front window while Simon and Rafe headed to the garage for shovels and lumber to board up the shattered opening.
"I'll start with the closet," Blair offered, propping up the doors along the back wall.
"Sandburg, the closet is fine...or are you going to pack for Simon? He will need a few things until he makes this place livable again."
"Uh....well, OK, you gather up the bedding, and I'll ...figure out something to do..." Blair fidgeted, looking at the soiled bedding and the distinctive odor and color of animal urine.
Jim grimaced, realizing what he'd gotten them into, and quickly dialed down his senses.
Blair gazed inside the closet, finally pulling out several multi-colored flannel shirts and stuffing them into the duffle bag that was conveniently stored just inside.
Lifting a sodden pillow, Jim got an evil gleam in his eyes and flipped it to land heavily against his partner's back.
"Hey!" Blair squealed girlishly, turning around and glaring. "That's gross, Jim!!!"
Jim giggled and snickered, turning to gather up the rest of the soiled bedding.
Blair retaliated by returning the favor, gingerly picking up the sodden pillow and flinging it back, smacking Jim on the back of the head.
Jim grimaced at the odor of the offending pillow as he picked it up from the floor where it had fallen after striking him. With a smirk, he tossed it back at Blair, who, busy cramming a suit into the duffle bag, almost managed to duck in time.
With a liquid-spraying thud, the pillow knocked Blair into the closet, his hands accidentally grasping the folding doors and pulling them closed. "Hey, man, it's DARK in here!"
"Chief! Are you okay???? I'm coming!" Jim called out, rushing to his partner's rescue. "Keep breathing, buddy, just keep breathing!"
Pushing himself to his feet, Blair knocked the closet doors open to pick up the pillow. Seeing the approaching Sentinel, he flung the sodden lump into the air.
This was too much for the lump of feathers and damp cloth holding them together and yellow feathers rained down on them both.
Unfortunately, the feathers weren't originally yellow...
"Are you guys about done in there?" Simon bellowed wondering at the strange thumping noises.
Jim and Blair stood stock still, covered in feathers, with guilty looks on their faces.
"Uh, yeah, Simon, we're almost finished. I'm just getting you some clothes." Blair hollered back, winking at his partner.
"Uh-huh". Simon smirked, "Sure you are. Now, clean up the mess *you* made, please?" he ordered, his snarl belying his soft words.
"On it, Simon," replied Jim dutifully, blushing slightly at being caught.
"Yes, sir!" Blair added with a mock salute and a giggle. He quickly turned back to his task, tossing a tie into the duffle bag before zipping it up with a flourish. "Done."
"Come on, Jim. It's too cold for Simon to be wearing shorts."
Jim shook his head. "Not that kind of shorts."
Blair snapped his fingers. "Oh, you mean boxers."
"Briefs," Jim disagreed.
"No way, man. Boxers."
In unison, both men marched toward the large dresser. Opening the top drawer, two sets of eyebrows went up. "Oh."
Jim quickly left the room and returned with a broom, dust pan and garbage bag (and a dust mask, to help him deal with the smell). Before getting down to work on the mess, Jim donned surgical gloves to ensure he didn't have to actually touch the mess.
Blair giggled a bit maniacally and took the offered surgical gloves from his partner, blowing them up before putting them on to stretch them. Unfortunately, he blew a little too hard and they exploded, sending small bits and pieces of rubber across the room. One of the microscopic bits hit Jim in the eye, sending him screaming to his knees.
Realizing that he had to act fast to distract his Sentinel from the agonizing pain, Blair, seeing that his partner wasn't really hurt, snatched up another glove and blew it up (less than the last one) and quickly placed on his head as a cap.
Jim found himself at first crying in pain, then laughing so hard he was crying at the sight of his partner. Through his sniffles, Jim looked wide-eyed at his silly looking partner, and said, "Can you get *all* your hair into that thing?"
Blair, looking disdainfully at his partner, rolled his eyes and managed to stuff all his long, flowing locks under the 'cap' and fill the glove up nearly to bursting. "You mean, like this?"
Jim clapped his hands in glee and giggled. "More, Chief, More!" he chortled. Jim found himself laughing even harder, so hard that it was hard to breathe.
Realizing that his partner was hyperventilating, Blair looked around the bedroom for a paper bag. Not finding one, he tried to get Jim to breath into the surgical glove he'd whipped off his head.
Suddenly, Simon came back in. "Will you two get to work?" he shrieked, furious. "The rest of us have the whole rest of the house cleaned up and the window repaired and you two can't clean one little bedroom?"
Scrambling to their feet, the two men quickly finished cleaning the room, although they had a hard time getting the ruined king size bed into the trash bag.
As they worked, they kept casting surreptitious glances at their incensed captain, wondering if he was going to yell at them again. Finally finished, Jim hefted up the trash bag with his pinkie finger and carted it out to Simon's trash can. When he came back in, he looked hopefully at his captain. Seeing the expressions on Jim and Blair's faces, he grudgingly said, "Good boys."
Simon took the duffle bag from Blair, and hoisted it over his shoulder.
Megan smiled as she put the hammer she'd used to nail the boards over the front window down on what was left of the television. "Shall we go, then, gents?" she asked.
"I'll drive," Blair offered.
Suddenly, Joel looked over at the couch. "Hey Simon, when did you get that cute little puppy?"
There were three identical expressions of horror on Simon, Jim and Blair's faces as they saw the wolf lying on the remains of the couch.
"Puppy?" demanded Simon, wondering what his detective had been taking to cause the wolf to appear as a puppy.
Realizing that everyone else saw a 'cute little puppy', Simon got a calculating gleam in his eyes, "He's a stray. I was going to send him to the pound tomorrow."
Just then, the panther jumped over the back of the couch and began to wrestle with the wolf. Cringing in horror, Simon, Jim and Blair were shocked to hear Henri coo at the cat, "Awwww. Look at the itty, bitty, baby kitty. Here kitty, kitty, kitty."
"Simon, a puppy and a *kitten*?" asked Megan.
"Uh, yeah. I...uh, sort of found them last night and couldn't leave them out in the storm, you know. But tomorrow they go to the pound."
"Could I have the kitten, Simon? My little girl would just love to have a cute little kitten like that," offered Henri.
"I'll take the puppy off your hands then, Simon," offered Joel. "I just can't see a cute little guy like him go to the pound."
"Uh..." Simon cast a terrified look at Jim and Blair, who shrugged, "Sure, I suppose so." Then he hissed sentinel-soft, "I hope they won't hurt anyone."
Jim replied in a whisper, "Nah, they're harmless, really. Well, to people, anyway."
"Tell that to the guy that just got hauled out of here," shot back Simon in a whisper.
"Most people," Blair added with a smirk.
As the two happy men scooped up their new pets, cuddling them close to their chests, there suddenly came a knock at the door. Simon counted heads, realizing everyone who was supposed to be there was present and accounted for. He turned to the door and opened it.
There on the steps stood a familiar figure. Lee Brackett smiled and said, "My car broke down and I was wondering if I could use your phone?"
Joel and Henri, cuddling their new pets, dropped them immediately when they began to struggle upon seeing the stranger at the door.
Jim and Blair looked at one another in shock, recognizing him. In a hushed stereo they whispered "Brackett."