Light My Fire
Summary: Remember when Henri wouldn't sell the gift back to Blair that he'd originally bought for that Samantha? This is my take on what it got ol' Henri!
Disclaimer: I do not own the charcters of TS. If I did I'd take much better care of them!!! They are owned by Pet Fly and Paramount.
"Sorry, hair boy. But my window of opportunity closes in two hours," Henri Brown said, grabbing up the gift and his jacket. "If I'm late again the next homicide you'll be investigatin' will be mine. This gift is my back up if I'm late."
Henri wasted no time getting home, he had less than 90 minutes to shower and get over to his girlfriend Shelia's parents home. They had been dating for over 7 months and Shelia had finally said that if they were serious in there relationship then they should take the next step and meet the 'parents'. A frightening experience for any man!!!
He had put her off for several weeks; then he backed out twice because of work…so tonight was 'now or never', and he definitely didn't want to be late.
Henri arrived at his destination with 20 minutes to spare. He pulled up behind Shelia's car and sat for a moment, trying to calm his racing heart as he stared at the house. Finally, he took a deep breath, let it out, and climbed from his car.
"Henri. You're early, even." Shelia said happily, greeting him at the door with a big kiss.
"Uh, yea." He stuttered, pulling away from her, letting Shelia pull him into the house.
"Momma, Henri's here," Shelia called out to the kitchen, then led Henri into a cozy living room. There was a fire going in the hearth and soft jazz playing on the stereo, the rooms only other light came from a dim floor lamp next to a recliner. "Daddy, this is Henri."
The older man looked up from the book he'd been reading, putting it aside as he stood slowly, extending a hand. "Nice to meet you young man."
"Same to you sir," Henri said returning the handshake.
"Enough with that 'sir' crap, it's plain old Charlie," the older man said with a dry chuckle returning to his seat, and waving them to the couch. "My Shelia here tells me you're a police officer?"
"Yes, si..uh, Charlie. I'm a detective with the Major Crimes unit.' Henri answered, taking a seat.
"A detective. Impressive." Charlie said arching an eyebrow. "Major Crimes, that department sees a lot of action doesn't it. Seem to always be reading about them in the paper."
"That we do. Our team has one of the best solve rates in the state," Henri said proudly.
Further conversation was forestalled by a voice coming into the living room," Sorry 'bout that, I had to finish up the salad." The woman said as she wiped her hands on her apron.
Both Shelia and Henri stood to greet the woman, "Mamma, this is Henri."
Mrs. Trent reached over and gave her daughter a peek on the cheek then turned to Henri. "Glad to finally meet you Henri."
Henri took her hand, "You too, ma'am"
"Do I look that old to you young man?" she teased, tartly. "It's Louisa. We don't stand for that stiff formality around here. Now let's move this little gatherin' into the dinning room, supper's ready for the table."
Henri breathed in the aroma's coming from the dinning room and sighed contentedly. "If it tastes half as good as it smells I may never leave."
"Hear that Momma, now that he's followed me home can I keep him?" Shelia laughed.
"Only if you plan on takin' better care of him than you did that stray pup we let you have when you were twelve." Louisa said turning to Henri. "She always forgot to feed the poor thing."
"I don't think this one has trouble fending for himself," Shelia shot back good naturedly, as she reached over to pat Henri on the stomach.
"You wouldn't forget to feed me now would you," Henri pouted at Shelia, rolling his eyes.
"Like you'd let 'anyone' forget that." She shot back with a laugh.
Dinner was a pleasant affair. The Trent's were an easy-going, likable couple. Reminding Henri a lot of Joel Taggart and his wife.
Henri sat back in his seat and said," That was wonderful, Louisa. Please tell me you taught your daughter how to cook this good."
Louisa laughed. "Thank you much. It's so nice to cook for people who truly enjoy eatin'. How about coffee in the living room?"
Heading back into the living room Henri caught sight of the title of the book Charlie had been reading, then looked around and took note of all the books lining the walls on either side of the fire place. "Shelia tells me you used to teach at the University?"
"History and social sciences. Took early retirement about four years ago." Charlie answered, sitting in his recliner and taking up a pipe. "I guest lecture occasionally."
"I have a friend that teaches over their, anthropology, Blair Sandburg."
"Sandburg? I remember a Sandburg. A young one… hyper kid, never still, insatiable curiosity, always talking." Charlie was thinking out loud, "Long hair, ear rings…"
Henri laughed. "Yep, that's our Sandburg."
"How in the world do you know that long haired academic? He didn't get arrested did he? He was a pretty good kid as I remember." Charlie frowned.
"He's still a good guy, and no, he hasn't been arrested. He's an observer in our department; doing his thesis on 'closed societies' or some such thing."
The evening flew by and at 10 o'clock Brown said rising from the couch, "I'd best be going now. It's getting very late and I have to be at the station by 8."
Everyone followed him up and they headed to the door together. Henri gave Louisa a quick peek on the cheek, "Thank you again for the wonderful dinner." He then turned and shook Charlie's hand.
"Hope to see you again real soon Henri. Try not to let Shelia's cooking scare you away."
"Daddy," Shelia pouted.
"Hush you old coot," Louisa scolded, swatting playfully at her husband, she then turned to her daughter with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. "Now you walk this man of yours to his car and see him off proper then get yourself back into this house and help you Mamma in the kitchen."
Shelia rolled her eyes, "Yes mamma." She took Henri's arm and led him from the house to his car.
"It really was a great evening. Your parents are really easy to be around, and I think they like me." Henri said leaning against his car and pulling Shelia into an embrace.
"Of course they like you, baby. What's not to like?" She said returning his embrace.
"I could really get used to this…" he said quietly.
"I'm glad to hear you 'confess' that detective, because I could get used to this too."
He pulled back from the embrace to look her in the eye. "Is it to soon for 'I love you'?"
"I love you, too." Shelia said breathlessly, pulling herself up to him and giving him a passionate kiss.
Taking a deep breath Henri said, " I better be going before we get arrested for indecent exposure."
She smiled coyly, licking her pouty lips. "Rain check then?"
Brown drove away a very happy man: the gift, sitting in the backseat, forgotten.
FOUR MONTHS LATER
"Now, it was a jewelry box right…that gift I bought off you," Brown said excitedly.
"Huh…gift," Blair said in confusion. "What gift?"
"A while back, that gift you sold me…"
"Don't you remember what you gave her, man," Blair chuckled.
"She doesn't have it yet…"
"What! You bought that gift almost four months ago and you haven't given to her yet?"
"Tonight, Hairboy, tonight." Brown said somewhat distractedly as he rummaged through his desk drawers and then his jacket pockets, to pull out a small box and hold it up, "There, now she's got a reason for a new jewelry box."
"A piece of jewelry…"
"Not just any piece of jewelry," Henri said opening the box to reveal the ring inside.
Blair stared at the ring for a moment, before exclaiming excitedly. "You're gonna propose -- tonight? Wow, congrats man."
"She hasn't said yes yet," Brown said taking another look at the ring before closing the case and putting it back in his pocket.
Shelia and Brown sat quietly, staring into the fire glowing in the hearth, wine glasses in their hands.
Setting her glass aside, Shelia turned to look at Henri. "Is there something wrong, baby. You've been kind of distracted all evening."
Brown took a deep breath and looked at her, wondering if he could really go through with his plans, wondering if he could live if he didn't. "Just thinking."
She smiled at him mischievously, giving him a pat on the check. "If it causes you this much pain, baby, maybe you ought to stop."
"Cute. Real cute," He said making a face. "If you're going to be insulting I might just forget about the presents I have behind the couch."
"Presents?" Shelia said slowly, arching her eyebrows expectantly.
"Yea, presents…" He teased, making no move to get them.
She sighed heavily and stuck out her lip in a pout, swatting at him. "Henri!!!"
He laughed and reached behind the couch to pull out two boxes and shove them towards his girlfriend. "Two, and it's not even my birthday."
"You have to open the big one first," He directed.
Not waiting for a second invitation Shelia tore into the package like a kid at Christmas, and he helped her get it out of the box. "Its beautiful…you trying to tell me something here or are you planning on helping me fill this up?"
Without a word he handed her the second box and watched intently as she opened it a little less quickly. She gave a quiet gasp and stared quietly at the ring glistening in the firelight, tears stinging her eyes she looked up to meet Henri's expectant gaze.
"Yes, baby, yes." She said breathlessly.
Henri smiled broadly and took the box from her hand, removed the ring and slipped it on her finger. "I love you baby."
She stared at the ring intently for a moment more then looked at Henri happily, throwing her arms around his neck and pulling him into a tight embrace. "I love you too, Henri Brown."
Henri was grinning like a fool when he fairly bounced into the bullpen the next morning. "Good morning all," he called out to the room in general as he made his way to his desk.
Rafe sat back in his desk chair and eyed his partner, an equally big smile on his face, too. "She wouldn't happen to have said…yes!"
Brown just looked at his partner, the grin never leaving his face, as he bobbed his head up and down; causing Rafe to laugh so hard he nearly fell out of his chair. "Congrats, buddy."
"Share the joke there, Rafe," Taggart said as he was passing the partners desks, heading for his own.
Rafe looked at Brown who still didn't seem to be up to verbalizing the reason for his good mood. "Seems the lady said yes last night."
"She said 'yes' as in 'Yes, I Do'" Taggart asked slowly. Brown nodded.
"Congratulations," Taggart said happily, pounding the still grinning Brown on the back.
"What's all the fuss?" Simon asked, coming from his office to drop a file at Rhonda's desk.
"Brown popped the question last night, Simon." Taggart answered.
"I take it from that goofy look on his face, the young lady said 'yes'." Simon ventured.
Henri just looked at his friends, nodding his head.
SIX MONTHS LATER
"He's as nervous as a rookie on his first bust," Rafe reported with a grin. "His brothers' are with him, trying to calm him down. Sandburg, maybe you can teach him some of those breathing things you do before he collapses."
The men in the church lobby chuckled.
"Come in." Henri said breathlessly at the tap on the door.
"Hey, Henri, how ya' holding up man?" Blair asked as he popped his head around the open door before stepping the rest of the way into the room. "Rafe was right, you sound like you're about to hyperventilate."
Henri gave a weak smile and drew in a ragged breath. "I'm fine Hairboy."
"Is that why you're turning green?" commented one of the other men in the room, holding out a hand to Blair. "I'm Patrick, that's Danny…. Henri's brothers."
"He guys. I'm Blair."
"You a cop?" asked Danny, looking Blair up and down.
"Nope. I'm a consultant to the department."
Brown smiled. "You'd be surprised at the facts floating around this boys head that gives us the edge in a case."
There was another tap at the door. A voice called out, "Ten minutes, guys."
"Oh man oh man oh man…I am not ready for this…" Henri gasped out.
Blair knelt down in front of Henri, his tone low and steady. "Yes, you are. Come on, breathe in, breathe out, and breathe in, now out nice and slow. Picture yourself with Shelia, doing something together; something fun, relaxing, non-threatening. Come on, keep breathing."
Henri closed his eyes and followed Blair's instructions. After a few minutes his breathing was less ragged. "Thanks Blair." Brown said, opening his eyes.
"Glad to help buddy." Blair said, standing up. "What are you so afraid of, man? You are about to marry the woman you love, not taking down a warehouse full of perps…you'll be fine."
"Easy for you to say. You're not the one saying -- 'I do'. " Brown muttered
Blair just laughed and gave Henri a pat on the shoulder. "I need to get back out there. Jim was griping about his tie before we even left the loft…"
"Yea, Hairboy, go. Send Brian back here."
"Congratulations Henri and good luck." Jim said, grasping Brown's hand firmly, as he came down the receiving line.
"Thanks Jim." Henri beamed, returning his friends handshake.
"Good luck to you Shelia." Jim said giving the bride a light hug. "You've got your hands full with this guy…"
Shelia gave a mischievous grin, giving her 'husband' a pinch on the behind. "I certainly hope so…"
"Hey!" Brown yelped.
Jim nodded and gave a wry chuckle. "I think that's my cue to keep moving on down this line."