The Sentinel
To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo

It was Sunday afternoon and Jim Ellison was enjoying a quiet afternoon in front of the TV. In the background he could vaguely hear his roommate singing from the bathroom along the hall. Ellison unconsciously dialled down his hearing a little,

“Don’t give up your day jobs Sandburg.” He said amiably.

“What was that Jim?” The younger man said as he came towards the living area, shirtless with a towel around his neck.

“You’re singing is a bit distracting Sandburg, and that’s being generous-keep it down will you.”
“That’s rich coming from someone who sounds like a frog with a sore throat-And I can’t even tune you out man.” Blair countered.

Ellison craned his neck so he could see his insulter; “This is my apartment chief, if you don’t like it, well tough.” He growled.

Blair grinned mischievously, “ Touchy, touchy…you did start this music appreciation discussion Jim.”

“Do you mind chief I’m trying to watch something here-and what’s with the half dressed look? Its November not June.”

Sandburg casually came around the love seat and moved to the far side of the coffee table, “ I do know what time of year it is Jim. I just wanted your opinion on something. What do you think?” He asked as he took the towel from his neck and indicated to a small tattoo on his chest.

Ellison’s eyes fixated on the small Cascade PD insignia tattooed on the young man’s chest. Then he rose from the couch and jabbed an accusing finger in Blair’s direction,

“What the hell have you done? What did I say about you getting a damn tattoo Sandburg?” Ellison ran a hand across his face, “ Damn it Sandburg, I can’t believe you went ahead and did that. What were you thinking?” He demanded.

Ignoring the disapproving looks that the older man shot at him Blair said,

“I hardly think what I put in or on my body falls within the scope of your Blessed Protector realm Jim. It’s my personal choice. Anyway man, I thought you military types went for the tattooed look Jim?”

Ellison spent the next few minutes ranting at the younger man; the threats he uttered would definitely have made one of his old Ranger buddies blanch-so why was the kid standing there with that goofy grin plastered on his face!

“Have you got some death wish Sandburg, for a dead man you’re way too happy?” He said as he slowly began to close the distance between them.

“Calm down Jim, I was just kidding with you-it’s a fake.” Blair said with a chuckle.
“A fake?” Ellison repeated not feeling particularly calm.
“Sure it’s a fake man, you don’t really think I’d put something like that on my body do you? Too painful anyway.” He grinned.
“A Fake?”
“Y-e-s Jim a fake-you know, a joke? You’ve heard of them surely?”

Ellison froze, “ Am I laughing chief?”

Sandburg studied his roommate,” Well, No. I guess not.” He added hesitantly.

“Am I generally someone who appreciates your so called jokes Sandburg?” Ellison said as he folded his arms and glared ominously at Blair. He was gratified to see that the kid wasn’t grinning inanely any longer. That was really starting to bug him!

Blair was slightly nervous; this was the point at which they were meant to be sharing a laugh and maybe a beer? He backed away from the table a little; Jim was a bit too close for comfort.

“ I’d have to admit that your sense of humour could use a little work Jim.” He said with what he hoped was a VERY endearing grin.

Ellison wasn’t about to let himself fall for the kid’s charm tactics; he was way too full of himself as it was. “ Consider yourself grounded for another month chief, along with the promised ass kicking of course.”

Blair waved his arms about demonstratively, “ Oh come on Jim, gimme a break here-how was I to know you’d act as though you had a bug up your ass over some dumb joke!”

An acute silence followed the younger man’s outburst.

“Was that meant to encourage me to go easy on you junior? Because if it was it hasn’t worked “ Ellison asked.

Shit! Blair thought, did I really just say that aloud! Man I am SO…what’s the word I’m looking for? Dead? It’s an over done cliché but pretty apt in this case Blair groaned.

“Is it too late to withdraw that last statement big guy and make a substitute? Something along the lines of pleading temporary insanity?”

“What do you think chief?”

Blair ran both hands through his unruly hair as he realised rather belatedly that this wasn’t turning into one of his better days. “ Its not too late to develop a sense of humour Jim-research is very much on the side of laughter being beneficial to well being.”

“We’ll see how that over used sense of humour of yours holds up when you find yourself closely examining the carpet.” Ellison said sarcastically.

Blair backed away a few more steps and kept a furtive watch on his roommate for sudden movement. “ Jim man you’re blowing this out of all proportion, if you want and apology I can do that-there’s no need to get physical here is there?”

Ellison walked around the side of the table blocking off any escape route, “ You don’t really expect someone with a bug up their ass to be reasonable do you chief?”

The younger man grimaced at the repetition of his own words, “ You’re never going to let me forget that are you? This is so not how this was meant to go, you gotta give me a break-this is so not fair. This sucks, my life sucks!” Blair finally came up for air and it was then he noticed that his friend was smiling. Correction he was grinning-He’s obviously looking forward to beating the crap out of me. He thought with a wounded pout, “This is not funny!”

“I guess I’m not the only one who needs to work on the old sense of humour junior?” Ellison said grinning as he gave his smaller companion a rap on the top of his head.

Blair gave an audible sigh of relief, “Jez man you really had me going there-who would have guessed, Jim Ellison all round funny guy!”

Ellison put a hand on Blair’s shoulder, “ decided that having you under my feet for another month of grounding would be too terrible to contemplate kid.”

“Wise decision Jim.” Blair commented as he started to relax again.

“ I think I’ll just make do with walloping your annoying little butt kid, that way only you get to suffer.”

It took about 5 seconds for the implied threat to his person to register with Blair; but by then it was too late.

Ellison dropped his hand from Blair’s shoulder and took a firm grip around the young man’s waist and lifted.

“Put me down!” Blair yelled as he struggled wildly to get loose.
“If you kick me junior you’ll be sorry.” Ellison warned as he headed towards the couch.
A sharp slap landed on Blair’ behind.
“That goes for biting too! Quit that now!” SLAP SLAP
Blair wailed in shock as the heavy slaps landed.

“Damn if Jim that hurts! Get off me you…Oow! “ Blair yelped some more as several more swats landed on his butt. “You can’t do this to me.” He whined.

Ellison sat on the couch and with little effort flipped his squirming burden over his lap. He ignored Sandburg’s protests and secured him firmly in place and began to let the little brat have it. There would be no lecture, no home spun homilies about this being for the kids own good-it was more along the lines of a pay back deal. He’d worry about getting Sandburg psychiatric help to get him over the trauma of a serious whooping later. Sentinel turned his attention towards warming the jean-clad butt unwillingly presented to him.

Blair couldn’t believe that his heartfelt pleas for leniency were being ignored,
“I said I was sorry!” the young man howled through a cloud of tears and the odd hiccup.

Unexpectedly the next swat didn’t materialise, “ What was that chief?”

Blair tried to get the hair out of his eyes as he whipped at his tear damp face, “ I said I was sorry-weren’t you listening? I’m sorry and I’ll never presume that you have a sense of humour ever again. Now will you PLEASE let me up?”

“Sorry chief I must’ a zoned out there for a little while. “ Ellison responded with a chuckle as he finally released his captive and helped Blair back up right on the couch next to him. Blair slid across to the furthest spot on the couch hissing in pain as the friction caused by the sideways movement made his sore butt sting that bit more.

“You did NOT zone out-man Jim you’re got ice water in your veins…”

Ellison scooted over to his partner and slipped an arm around his shoulders,” Don’t over do it chief I only gave you a little itty bitty spanking.”

Bristling with indignation Blair tried to elbow the older man away from him but Jim wasn’t cooperating and just hugged him closer.
“Get off me man.” Blair whined.
“I tell you what chief if I ever start to annoy the hell out of you, you have my permission to spank me-ok?”
“What do you mean if!” Blair spluttered
Ellison grinned and offered his friend an open gesture of surrender, which Blair ignored.
“Yeh, and I’ll have to wait until your old and feeble before I can push you around.”
“I can but offer chief.”
“Oh shut up…you still suck!” Blair mumbled.
Ellison ruffled his partners mass of hair, “Now might be a good time to go and put a shirt on-after you wash that off.” He added with a gesture towards Blair’s fake tattoo.

Stiffly the young man got up and rubbing at his butt he walked off towards the bathroom. Moments later a door slammed.

Ellison winced at the noise, “ I can foresee serious door slamming issues needing to be addressed in the near future.” He concluded.

The end