New Arrivals
Author-Sheila Paulson

The Christmas Tree
by Sheila Paulson

Summary: Poem. Jim and Blair on a stakeout a few days before Christmas.

Disclaimer: The Sentinel and its characters do not belong to me.

Once upon a midnight snowy, when the Christmas lights were showy,
And the season lent itself to warm tranquility,
Blair and I had lost the spirit of the season and, I fear, it
Just had nothing to endear it on a stakeout until three
That's when Rafe and Brown would finally come to set us free.
Just on that could we agree.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it had been a rough December
And each overworked team member here at Major Crimes could see
We were pissing off each other. Even though Blair's like a brother,
Soon we'd have to face his mother, whom I didn't want to see
Since the diss and my too-great exposure to publicity
Nearly screwed up Blair and me.

Sandburg, now a cop beside me, and the one who has to guide me
When my senses get too wacky, rambled on relentlessly.
I was growing agitated, and his diatribe I hated,
"Sandburg, quit it," I berated. "I can't take this litany."
He went quiet at the instant, and he sadly turned to me
And his face held misery.

'Twas the season to be jolly, but expecting that was folly
On a stakeout in the darkness when we simply can't agree.
Though I didn't mean to bait him, now he's thinking that I hate him.
And he said, "Oh, that's just great, Jim. I'll shut up and set you free
'Cause I know you're pissed that Mom is on her way to visit me,
And the loft's your property."

"Come on, Sandburg, yeah, you know me, and I'm pissed about Naomi
But it's Christmas time, the season that's reserved for family.
The loft is ours; we share it. I'll just have to grin and bear it.
She's a burden I inherit to insure your company.
So forget that I'm bad tempered and I hope you'll humor me."
And he grinned, but warily.

"But my Mom is not the only family, 'cause your dad is lonely
And it wouldn't hurt to visit him with Steven, don't you see?"
Then he shut up and he waited, knowing I was irritated
But the conflict, it was fated to delay indefinitely
For the subject of our stakeout, Mason, popped up suddenly
And he spotted Blair and me.

Moving quickly as a rocket, Mason reached into his pocket
And he quickly drew his weapon and he fired shots one, two, three.
"Get down, Sandburg, quick!" I shouted, ducking even though I doubted
He could hit us though he's touted to possess great accuracy,
For the darkness offered cover long enough for us to flee
Safe behind a Christmas tree.

Mason fired again at Blair and I was given quite a scare and
Sandburg yelled, "He missed me, Jim, look out. Just focus. Can you see?"
With my senses honed more clearly, I could hear him as he nearly
Blasted Sandburg but he merely put a bullet in the tree.
Then he ducked behind a trash bin in his struggle to be free
Hoping to elude both Blair and me.

"Jim," said Blair, "You have to focus. This is more than hocus pocus.
Concentrate upon his heartbeat and you'll hear its symmetry."
So I stood and concentrated, wondering if I was fated
To take down the guy we hated, listening so quietly.
There! I heard him, took my aim, and fired before he could get free
But he ducked and fired at me.

As I stood, my senses honing, I came far too close to zoning.
Sandburg gave a warning yell and leaped out from the tree.
"Jim!" His voice was filled with worry. It awoke me in a hurry
Then there came a firing flurry from the gunman and from me
And I think I must have hit him just before Blair tackled me,
Knocked me down behind the tree.

I was pretty sure I'd got him, and then Sandburg said, "You shot him.
Call for backup, get his gun." And then he faltered dizzily.
It was too late for prevention, and my body filled with tension
It was time for intervention. "Come on, Sandburg, answer me."
But he lay there still and bleeding with his life in jeopardy,
Underneath the Christmas tree.

Sandburg groaned and then he shivered, and at last his eyelids quivered.
As I bandaged him, he blinked and stretched and moved uncomfortably.
"It's a flesh wound," he insisted, though with pain his face was twisted
And I knew that my eyes misted, as he found a smile for me.
"I'll be fine in time for Christmas, Jim, I promise.
Wait and see." And I hugged him gratefully.

So on Christmas Eve, Blair's mother shared her eggnog with my brother
And my father, as they came to celebrate with Blair and me.
So we drank our punch united. Sandburg's face was so excited
And he hit the switch and lighted up our special Christmas tree.
For the first time in a long time, my entire family
Shared a Christmas unity.