Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters are completely the property of Paramount and Pet Fly Productions. I use them out of reverence, solely for fun and not for profit.

Author's Notes: A stress-relief fic for DawnC as she studies for the California bar exam.




"How did we let ourselves get talked into this again, Chief?"

Jim Ellison was growling, his eyes sparkling with lightning bolts, his body taut and tense.

Oh, oh, Blair Sandburg thought to himself. Sentinel Temper Tantrum ahead! "Well, we didn't have much choice, did we, Jim?" he returned. "The mayor, hey, even the governor, wanted us to take the case!" He busied himself looking from bottle to tube, trying to find the right cream or lotion.

"International diamond smuggling rings should be busted in Cascade, Chief!" The sentinel choked back a roar. "That's the way we've always done it before!" He looked around the scene. Warm weather. Cool breeze. People enjoying themselves.

Toto wasn't in Kansas, that's for sure!

"This is just—wrong!" Jim whined.

Blair sighed. A guide's job was never, ever done with a sentinel as uptight as Jim Ellison. "Jim, all the international diamond smuggling rings know about Cascade. They know about rain and snow and fog and bad weather. They also know that you bust them and send their butts to prison. What sane international diamond smuggling ring is gonna choose Cascade for a rendezvous?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Jim spat, whacking Blair's curls suddenly as he turned over.

"Hey!" Blair yelped, not in the least hurt, but playing along. "What was that for?"

"Just because," Jim muttered, but when Blair smiled that mischievous three-pointed smile at him, Jim couldn't resist and smiled back. He also whacked the curls again.

"Not the hair! Not the hair!" Blair reprimanded his sentinel, still grinning from ear to ear. "You're all lotiony!"

"Okay, fine," Jim groused. "But how did it end up being here?"

Blair sighed again. "Because Interpol's intelligence said it was going to be here. That's how. And they asked for us, Jim, or rather, for you. I just came along for the ride." He made a sliding motion with one of his hands. Zoooom!

Jim had to hide his grin. It didn't do well for a Colossus striding the strand to be seen grinning. Even if his unofficial partner could get away with it, and shoulder-length curls, and really strange tie-dyed fabrics.

"Shoulda said no." Jim wasn't ready to give up. He continued his surveillance though. "Shoulda gone fishing instead."

"Oh, come on, Jim. This is Club Paradise! We could only dream of ever making this place in our lifetimes! The membership fees are beyond elephantine! They're mammoth, mastodon, I don't know, huge!" Blair's eyes glinted like the water lapping the sand.

"Yeah, but how come you get the job and I got the membership?" Jim was whining again.

"Just lucky, I guess." Smug, very, very smug. Blair slapped some lotion on Jim's back and started digging strong hands into tight muscles. He babbled softly, only to keep Jim focussed without zoning, letting the sentinel settle into his senses of sight and sound.

"Picking anything up yet?" Blair asked as he finished the calf muscles.

"Nah, just chatter and goss... Wait! There! See that couple over there? The grey-haired guy with the blonde in the black sandals?"

"Yeah, got 'em, Jim! They them?" Blair was excitedly scanning the beach.

"Yeah. They're waiting for a man with a red towel and green sandals." Jim stared around in a frenzy. "He's not here yet."

"S'okay, you go undercover!" Blair gritted, pushing his best friend off the massage table. "Here!" He pushed a folded red towel into Jim's hands. They'd had suspicions that there would be a need for a variety of colours in towelling, sunvisors, and like accoutrements for identifying Jim as the buyer of the gemstones.

"What about the sandals, Chief?"

"Mine are green. Flip-flops. Take 'em. One size fits all!"

Jim looked dubious, but as the couple he had tagged began to natter nervously about not being met, he bowed to the inevitable. "Give 'em here!" Jim groaned. Oddly enough, he was able to force his tootsies into Blair's sandals without much pinching.

"Go, go!" Blair urged his partner on with a solid shove in the small of the back.

Jim turned around to stare him down and found flapping motions from two large hands in his face.

"I'm going, I'm going!" Jim complained.

"Geez, man, try to smile, willya? You're not on your way to an execution! You're going to meet people who are going to make you rich beyond all belief. Plus you just had the best massage of your life!"

Jim glared back, but flipped Blair a quarter and slipped into character with fair grace. He sashayed along the strand, nonchalant, apparently looking for a beach chair. There was an empty one next to the couple. Of course, there would be.

"Excuse me, but is this chair taken?" Jim asked. A line anyone would say. The password had to be initiated by the couple.

"It's reserved for the use of a friend of a friend." Password line number one!

"I'm the friend of a friend," Jim smiled tightly. "Do you know Mr. Cutter?"

"Yes, we do. We're M and Mme Point. And you are?"

"Mr. White."

"Ah. the gentleman we were awaiting," the blonde said, putting up a hand and drawing Jim down into the chair next to hers. She peered about carefully. "It would seem we are alone."

The meet went as expected, particulars of the buy worked out, and Jim stood to sashay his way down the beach toward the massage booth.

He no sooner got back on the table than Blair was repeating details to Interpol. M and Mme Point would be picked up at the buy. He and Jim exchanged carefully hidden high fives. Their work was done.

"There, see, it wasn't that bad, was it, Jim?" Blair asked, slapping a little more lotion on his sentinel's shoulders. "Whoa! Man, you are tense! Why the stress, Jim?" He was mining for gold, trying to work the kinks out of his partner's flesh.

"Why did I have to be the one to be the tourist, huh?" Jim muttered into his forearms. "Why couldn't I have been the masseur?"

Blair laughed. "Because you're the cop and I'm only the observer."

"Yeah, well, you got to observe more than I like," Jim muttered again.

"Hey, you can't say you didn't enjoy the scenery!" Blair chuckled and went to work on the neck and shoulders.

"Yeah. But the scenery got to enjoy me too." Jim was red all over, and not just from the massage. "So why'd it have to be a nude beach, Chief? Tell me, why?"

"Just lucky, I guess," Blair answered, and reached for the topical anaesthetic spray. Jim's reddest cheeks would need a little help from his chortling friend. They certainly weren't in Cascade any longer. Burn, baby, burn!

~ End ~

E-Mail Ismaro at ligela@sympatico.ca
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