I was trying to work on another story entirely when my dearly loved and much missed Spring, Muffit, informed me that she wanted to get into a story. At which point Blair said that he wanted a dog just like her and a Yorkie would be nice too. Jim then decided that if Guides can have dogs, then he could have a cat. The resulting chaos is before you. Most of the antics before you are things that my dogs and friends' cats have in fact done. I hope you enjoy the story. The usual disclaimers go with this. I don't own them. As usual all things Sentinel are owned by Petfly. Special thanks goes out to TAE, for her usual excellent Beta, the ladies I chat with, who first read this and demanded that I post it, and to the wonderful people who have e-mailed me saying how much they liked the stories. Please continue with the feedback. It's the only pay I get.
Jim Ellison brought the last of the groceries up from his classic 69 Ford pickup and set them on the counter. Hitting the answering machine, he listened to the messages as he put the food away. Yes he remembered that the dry cleaning needed to be picked up. Red Cross was looking for blood donations; well he and Blair certainly used enough that they should give some back. Ah, Blair had already set them up and this was just a confirmation call. Yes, he knew about the dentist appointment on Wednesday, he had been trying to forget about it ever since he had made it. Library needed Blair to return some overdue books. Allen letting Blair know that if he hadn't found a buyer he had someone who would take the dogs, so call and let him know what to do.
The pasta box hit the floor. Jim went back and rewound the machine. Yep, it still said that Blair needed to call this Allen guy about the dogs. Plural, so more than one dog. Jim closed his eyes and took a deep breath like Blair had taught him to do. A misunderstanding. This was all a misunderstanding. Allen had called the wrong Blair. That was it. Jim would certainly know if Blair owned dogs. Jim answered the phone as it was about to ring.
"Ellison." Jim answered in his usual manner
"Oh yeah, Blair's roommate. I'm Allen; I was trying to get in touch with Blair about his dogs..." The man sounded a little timid.
" I think there must be a misunderstanding. Blair doesn't own any dogs."
" Um, Actually, Jim, he does. One of his rescues." Allen was chuckling nervously.
Jim suddenly had visions of Blair going to every park and pound in the city and adopting all of the dogs and cats that needed homes. Blair's big heart just wouldn't let him turn away if he could help. Every injustice that could be fought had to be, and even a few injustices that couldn't be fought had been because they needed to be. Jim couldn't complain, that same helping your neighbor spirit had once resulted in Blair saving a terrified Sentinel who had thrown him against a wall, threatening to have him arrested and his office searched for drugs.
"I'm sorry, Allen, I missed what you just said, could you repeat it, please?" Jim was resting his head on his folded arms, trying to imagine what Blair had gotten into this time.
"I was explaining that while I didn't mind Blair keeping his dogs here, my fiancee is allergic to dogs and cats. I feel really bad about not being about to keep them for him any more. It's going to break his heart to sell his little buddies. I really need him to call me about the buyer though."
Jim looked around him at the loft that suddenly seemed a little empty. "Actually, Allen, I think he may have a buyer lined up."
"Really? Great, have him call me. I'll be home all afternoon so it shouldn't be a problem." Allen seemed genuinely happy that his friend had found someone.
Jim got off the phone and began making a series of calls. There had to be a way to make this work. He would find a way for it to work. After everything his guide had done for him, the Sentinel was determined that he would do this for his guide.
Jim pulled his all purpose truck up to the front of a house that looked like it was right out of Leave it to Beaver. A blond version of Blair with shorter hair headed up the walk.
"You must be Allen. I'm Jim." Jim shook hands with the younger man.
"This is really cool. I know Blair would have hated to get rid of the kids." The two men headed for the house.
Inside, a Black and white Springer Spaniel met them at the door wagging her stump of a tail. Instead of the usual clipped coat, this one had medium length soft silky hair that gleamed with health and frequent grooming. She was constant motion, wiggling and squirming for them to pet her, but never jumping. Someone had taught her good manners. She let out one bark as she play bowed, pushing a ball at them.
"This is Muffit," Allen leaned over to scratch her ears, "She's the older one, and the one with the best manners." Jim leaned over to pet her; she promptly dropped on the floor and rolled on her back for a tummy rub. A brown blur shot past her and attacked Jim's shoelaces. Having untied them he gave them one last vicious shake, then looked up as if to say that he had killed the dangerous things and Jim was now safe.
If Jim had thought that the first dog was constant motion, this one was on hyper speed. It dashed around him, jumping up for better looks, sniffing every inch in reach, and bounced with every step. Blair to a T.
Jim picked the smaller dog up as the men moved into the living room. A black cat was perched on top of a bookcase, obviously the king of all he surveyed. Jim gave one of his half smiles; he had seen that look on panthers in the jungles, as they looked down from trees.
"That's Burton that you have there, Allen continued introductions, he's Blair's little terrorist. I mean terrier. When Blair moved into the warehouse, I think it took this little guy all of a week to send the rats and mice packing.
"Named for the explorer not the actor, right?" Jim smirked.
"Sounds like you've heard Blair's spiel, before." Allen was grinning as the little dog kept trying to reach the tall detective's face.
"Where were these guys when Blair lost the warehouse?" Jim was trying to talk around the dog that was checking out every scent on him.
"Blair wasn't certain how they would interact with Larry, so he sent them here while he had the monkey. Then after he moved in with you, he figured it was only a temporary thing so he asked me to keep the dogs until he found a new place. After Larry destroyed your loft not once but twice, Blair just didn't have the heart to ask you if he could bring the dogs over. He was certain you would throw him out after everything with Larry. And when you didn't, he really didn't want to push his luck. I think he was also afraid that you might be allergic. So, the kids ended up staying with me. Blair pays all their bills and visits almost every day. He's going to be ecstatic about the buyer."
"I'm just glad he hadn't sold them yet. I bet the cat will be relieved." Jim had seen how Muffit was parked at the bottom of the bookcase watching the cat.
"Actually the cat has to go to. Angie's allergic to both. Jaguar's going to be a mess without the dogs though. Muffit adopted him and he thinks she's his mother." Allan explained.
For almost the first time in his life, Jim's heart spoke before getting orders from his brain. "Why don't we take the cat too? He obviously gets along with the dogs; they can keep each other company while we're gone during the day. And it will be less stressful for all of them." Jim and Allen sat looking at one another while they both thought. Jag jumped down from his throne, landing in Jim's lap, and curled up for a nap on the new lap in the house.
"I think that settles it. I'll help you load their stuff up, and you can come by with Blair this afternoon to pick them up." Allen grinned knowing that all of the animals were going to a good home and would be able to stay together. It was perfect.
Jim and Allen loaded the animals gear in the truck with multiple trips and Jim commenting that Blair didn't have nearly all this stuff when he moved in. Allen just grinned. The carrier was left at the house for the trip with Blair when the animals would be moved.
The old Blue and White pickup was waiting outside the police academy to pick Blair up. Blair bounced out the door and jumped into the front seat, reminding Jim once more of the two bouncy dogs that were coming home soon.
"Hey, Jim! Have a good morning?" Blair buckled himself in as he greeted his friend.
"It was all right. Court let out a little early so I got the grocery shopping done over lunch."
"Cool, then the weekend's ahead and the chores are done! Nothing to do but lay back and relax." Blair stretched himself as he said this. Settling in the seat he looked out the window in shock.
"Uh, listen Big Guy; the police station is the other direction. So unless Simon has you working on the streets without me, we're going the wrong way." Blair smiled his big grin at the thought of his never lost Sentinel going in the wrong direction.
Jim never cracked a smile, but kept his eyes straight ahead on the road. "We have the afternoon off. Have an errand to run but then we might head out to the park, play some ball. Only thing missing in the park on a day like this is a dog." Jim smiled as he looked ahead.
"Yeah, a dog would be perfect on a day like this; too bad we don't have one." Blair said wistfully, looking out the window.
"Oh, by the way, Allen called. He may have found a buyer for your dogs."
"Okay. If he called then you know about my 'kids'." Blair was looking everywhere except at Jim.
"Why didn't you tell me about your dogs, Blair?"
"After what Larry did, I wasn't about to ask if I could bring two dogs in, and our lifestyle doesn't exactly work well for having to be home at regular intervals to let dogs out and exercise them."
"Do you want to keep the dogs, Blair?" Jim was suddenly wondering if this had been a good idea.
"Oh man, if there were a way to, I would do it in a heartbeat. With Naomi gone for months at a time those little guys became my family, at least until I met you." Blair looked at his sentinel and smiled.
"Well, I talked to Mrs. Harrison next door and she said that she would be happy to be on call as a dog sitter and walker. And we're both active people, so they should get plenty of exercise with us." Jim glanced at Blair to see how this was going over.
"You really think we could try this, Jim?" Blair was bouncing in his seat as his face lit up.
"As long as they get groomed everyday, Chief, shouldn't be a problem." Jim smiled; happy at the joy he was giving his friend.
"This is so cool! I'm calling Allen the second we get home!" Blair was back to bouncing like Tigger on speed.
"Too late, Darwin. We're on our way to pick them up now. I already hauled their stuff to the loft this morning. I swear you didn't come with nearly that much stuff." Jim laughed at Blair's attempt to look outraged. He reached over and mock cuffed the younger man.
The pickup pulled up in front of the house it had left that morning to be greeted by two hysterical dogs and Allen sitting on the doorstep grinning.
Blair leaped out of the car almost before it was parked. Jim shook his head and came around to join his rapidly expanding family. Blair was rolling around on the ground laughing as the two dogs surrounded him; wiggling and squirming they danced around him trying to get him to lower his arms so they could get close enough to lick his face and hands. Jim had never seen Blair quite this happy before.
Allen brought out the crate and a leash with a small harness. Blair got up, and still laughing, tapped the top of the travel kennel. Both dogs leaped inside of it ready for their next adventure, while Allen fitted the harness to the cat. The dog crate was put in the middle of the seat. Blair jumped in and belted himself; Jim handed him the cat and then got in his own side. Allen waved as they left.
The truck was a mile down the road when Blair felt sharp needles in his leg and the leash slip from his fingers. Jag hopped on top of the carrier, leaping to perch on the large detective's shoulder as a pair of hands almost recaptured him. Jim pulled over to the side, remembering to signal this time. Jim caught hold of the cat. Looking over at Blair, he took a deep breath. Blood. He smelled blood on Blair.
"Where did he get you Chief?" Jim was in blessed protector mode and heading towards concerned partner.
"Just nailed me in the leg as he launched, nothing to worry about." Dark blue eyes meet clear blue ones.
"Fine. We'll put some antiseptic on it at home." Both men smiled at how that simple item had become such a fixture in their home that they had considered buying stock in the company.
Jim looked over at his guide again. "Maybe we should think about getting him de-clawed."
"I don't think so Jim. If he were indoors all of the time I might agree, but he would really miss going to the park with the dogs." He smiled at the older man's confusion.
"The cat goes to the park? Loose?"
"Of course he isn't loose," Blair looked indignant, "he goes on a leash. Allen and I took him when we took the dogs. He had a fit if he got left behind. I think that's one of the reason's Allen never had him de-clawed."
"Fine, he keeps the claws for now." The sentinel frowned at the cat, daring him to hurt the guide again. Jaguar was handed back to Blair and the ride home continued. Blair decided to start praying that the critters wouldn't pick today to start acting up.
Pulling into his usual parking spot, Jim killed the engine and got out, pulling the dog crate with him. Blair got out on the other side and the men headed in with their respective burdens. The crate was beginning to thump, scratch and whine, as the occupants wanted out.
Blair went ahead and opened the door for Jim. Jim put the carrier down, Blair still holding the cat, caught the door and closed it. The dogs were released, as the harness was undone. Burton shot out as Blair set Jag down. The cat hit the floor, Burton hit the cat, and the cat decided that tall detectives were as good as trees in an emergency and used every claw available for Jim climbing. Jaguar, having made it as far as the human tree's shoulders, found his dignity and choose to live up to his name. Using Jim's shoulders as a launching pad, Jaguar launched himself straight at Burton, yelping the little dog turned and ran. Unfortunately the floor had been waxed just the night before. Instead of running, the terrier got tripped up in his own feet and then Jim's. Blair caught his friend as he came crashing down, so he landed on his butt rather than going all the way down. By this time Muffit had come out. Seeing her friends in range, she bounded over, knocking Jim the rest of the way down and started tongue bathing every inch of his face. Burton, seeing this, came over and started licking as well. While not a licker, the cat came over and sat on Jim's stomach.
Jim roared, the animals cleared out as fast as they could, and Blair answered the ringing phone. After assuring their neighbor that yes they would quiet down and no she didn't need to call the police for anything. Blair hung up and turned to his friend.
"Here, I think you need the antiseptic more than I do, Big Guy." Blair said, handing him the gel.
"Thanks Chief. Remind me again why we decided this would be a good thing to do?" Jim asked, looking up from the floor. The humor of the situation struck both men simultaneously and they were laughing until they had tears. Sounds could be heard from the loft area of the apartment. All three of the animals had retreated up there.
Jag and Burton were darting around like mad tops sent spinning. Every corner and inch of the bedroom was being investigated. Muffit had hopped up on the bed, rearranged it to her taste had fallen asleep. Jim stood open mouthed. His military neat bed was totally undone, not to mention that his hamper had been knocked over and emptied all over the room. Blair whistled from the bottom step and all three raced past Jim, nearly knocking him over again. Jim growled and started picking up his room.
"Hey Jim, ready to go to the park?" The younger man was at the foot of the stairs.
"You go on ahead, Sandburg; I'll catch up after I reconstruct my room," a voice growled at the younger man.
"Um, sure, Jim. See you later. Catch up if you can, but don't worry about it, OK?" Blair hurried out before the kids could get in any more trouble. He couldn't believe it. The dogs he had sent to live with Allen never would have acted like that. If they had, no landlord ever would have rented to him. Somehow he was going to have to convince Jim to give the guys another try, and obviously they needed to relearn their previous good manners, and fast.
As Blair left, the sentinel heard him talking to the four legged trio, telling them that what they had done was not allowed and that there were some house rules that where a bit different than the ones that Allen had evidently had. Maybe his guide was finally starting top get house broken. As he listened, though, Jim knew that Blair wasn't bouncing, he didn't even sound happy. The bedroom could wait. Grabbing his Jags cap, Jim raced out after Blair. Jim caught sight of his friend a block away from the loft. He was plodding along with his head down, one would have thought he was heading to the executioner's instead of the park. Picking up the floor could definitely wait. Jogging up to Blair, Jim put an arm around his shoulder and took one of the leashes. Jim waved him off when Blair began apologizing for the dogs.
"I'm sure it was just the excitement of the day and it won't happen again. Will it guys?" He looked down at the dogs as he asked the question. Four brown eyes looked up at him in perfect innocence. Both sets assuring him that they would never behave in such a manner. The cat merely graced Jim with a look of pure ice, informing him that no cat would ever lower himself to do those things.
As they headed the rest of the way to the park, Jim had to smile. His best friend and guide was bouncing again as he related some ancient dog training ritual that he was certain could teach the dogs to stay out of Jim's room. The two dogs raced along, chasing each other and getting Jim, Blair, and themselves tangled. The cat sauntered, as only a cat who thinks he is a jaguar can, occasionally stalking one or another of the dogs. All was right in the world.
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