Greetings fellow tribal members. I had actually started this story just before the season finale. Somehow it in the light of our new-found tribal unity, it seems almost as if I'd planned it.

If anyone hasn't read the previous two (or at least the first one - Past Perfect, Future Tense) stories that introduced Kalabar, the one thousand-year- old soul of Blair Sandburg, it might be a good idea.

Anyway, enjoy the story; it's just for fun.

Standard disclaimers apply. The characters of Blair Sandburg and Jim Ellison are the property of Pet Fly and I am just borrowing them for a few short pages.

Thanks Tonya for beta reading and adding to your page.


PAST BIRTHDAY PRESENT

[Another story in the Kalabar series.]

marlene becker






"Hey, Man!! Listen up! Happy Birthday, Jimmy!!"

James Ellison, detective, Sentinel, and roommate, opened his eyes into the dreamworld of his subconscious to glare at the image of a long-haired, ancient wizard who was the original soul of his young Guide.

"Kalabar," Ellison grumped his recognition of the apparition and attempted to slide back into his sleeping physical body.

"Aw-w-w-w. Don't be that way, Jimmy." Kalabar bounced on the edge of Ellison's bed, his face glowing with excitement and his body so naturally animated he found it impossible to sit quietly. "It's your birthday!!"

"Is not."

"Is."

Ellison fixed his most intense no-nonsense stare at the one thousand-year-old soul who deceptively looked and acted like his present reincarnation of a young, exhilarated anthropologist/hippie. "Not," the Sentinel stated flatly. "I should know when my birthday is." Pause. "And get off my bed."

Kalabar bounded off the bed onto nothingness and floated cross-legged by his friend's side.

"I really wish you wouldn't do that," Ellison growled, finally succumbing to the fact that Kalabar was not going away anytime soon, and sat up in bed. His still sleeping physical self aware of the conversation only through the haze of an interesting dream.

"Man, you're grouchy as you get older." The ancient soul cupped his chin in his hands and cocked his head at Ellison. As the brown curls fell across the youthful face, the detective marveled again how his Guide and partner was the reincarnation of an ancient wizard who had lived at least a dozen times in the past millennium.

"I'm NOT older!" The detective fumed.

"Of course you are... I should know - after 50 years..." Kalabar stopped and grinned sheepishly. "Oops."

Ellison leaned forward. His interest immediately peaked. "Chief?"

"My mistake. Sorry. After a thousand years, one is bound to get a few birthdates mixed up." Kalabar shrugged and smiled broadly, looking so typical of Sandburg that Ellison momentarily forgot that this was not a 29-year-old, but rather a very old soul with a library of memories and experiences.

"Tell me," Ellison commanded, less sternly this time, "about this 50 years."

"Naw, boring."

"Please. I don't remember."

Kalabar picked at invisible threads on his invisible floating chair. "I really don't think I should. After all, Jimmy, I don't want to influence your own past life memories with those of mine."

"Why can't I remember them?"

Deep blue orbs, reflecting burning intellect and uncountable experiences, locked onto the bright blue eyes of his friend. "I can only guess, Jimmy, but it's probably due to your waking self. You don't believe. To you what is now, is all that is real." Kalabar grinned at his partner. "When I say that you haven't changed... believe me, that statement covers a much longer time span than most people would think."

"Then, I was always...practical?"

Kalabar looked to the heavens, his palms upturned in supplication, "Practical, he calls it." Leaning forward he stared directly into Ellison's eyes - sea blue locked onto indigo blue. "I occasionally called it: pig-headed, stubborn, straight-laced, tight-lipped..." He sighed heavily, obviously remembering. "And I loved every minute of it."

"Five hundred years ago, 50 years was a long time for a person to live." Ellison pressed ahead, knowing that Kalabar was as talkative a storyteller as his present-day incarnation. All he had to do was slightly encourage the ancient soul and chances were the entire history of their life together would unfold.

"True, true." Kalabar leaned back in his invisible chair, getting comfortable. "But we were childhood friends long before your sentinel abilities were discovered. It actually wasn't until the standard boy-turning-into-a-man endurance test that the elders decided you were the real thing."

"Were you younger than me?"

"Nope. Just the opposite. I was at least five years older." Kalabar uncharacteristically sobered as he became lost in a past that was, to him, so very real.

"What is it, Chief?"

A Blair Sandburg grin appeared, half hidden by brown curls falling haphazardly across a face resting in an upturned palm. "You. You don't even remember why you call me - Chief."

"Tell me."

Kalabar sighed and blinked slowly, gathering his memories. "I was being trained for my... job, when the elders discovered your sentinel abilities. You were... um, adamant about NOT being a sentinel. Do you remember what you were like at nine-years-old?"

A corner of Ellison's mouth turned up and he shook his head.

"Stubborn. It's part of your genetic make-up. You see, I was first-born son, being trained to take over for my father - the tribal leader. You were my... well, if it were medieval England, you would've been squire to my knight."

"My god! You were to be the tribe's chief!!"

Kalabar nodded. "My job. Not my destiny as it turned out. You wouldn't leave me to go with the elders. You were determined to stay by my side and protect me - eventually, you would've been a member of the elite guardians. In our tribe, personal guards were raised with the children of the ruling family. It bonded them, you see."

"I see," Ellison murmured softly.

"Our tribe had been without a sentinel since before I'd been born. They were desperate to find one." Kalabar slid off his floating couch and bounced onto Ellison's bed. Reaching out, he gently touched his partner's hand, hoping that contact would somehow trigger a memory or two, or at the very least, allow his sentinel to understand. "I had no choice, you see. I left my leadership training to learn to be a guide. Your guide."

"You gave up..."

"I gave up nothing. I accepted a far greater responsibility than that of a figurehead of authority. It was... is my job to protect the sentinel. Without a guide -- a good, responsible guide - the sentinel could die."

"Zone-outs," Ellison breathed, studying the smaller hand that rested on top of his.

"Yes. Every bit as dangerous in this time as in our past. The wild animals have been replaced by garbage trucks and warring tribes have been replaced by criminals of every type and description."

"Not to mention doctors who are ready to send a person to the funny farm when they say they hear voices from a block away."

"Yeah, well. You can never find a good medicine man when you need one. The HMOs are really lax in that area." Kalabar grinned and bounded off the bed.

"I've got a good shaman, though."

"Hum-m. That's another story."

"For another birthday?"

"Yeah, kid." Kalabar floated to the top of the stairs and began to fade into the darkness. "I've got more stories than you've got birthdays."

Ellison watched the image until it disappeared, then stared into the darkness, using sentinel vision to try and follow the invisible path of a spirit. He allowed a brief smile to cross his usually stoic features as he settled down into his sleeping physical self and reflected, "Not if you keep getting the dates mixed up."

not really the end


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