Jim Ellison took a swig of his beer and leaned back in the recliner with a grateful sigh. He turned the TV to the game, settling the remote on his knee. He patted Chief on the head and watched in amusement as the Labrador gave his hand a lick and then promptly sprawled out on his side.
It had been a rough week for the private search & rescue company. First, they’d spent two days scouring the canyon for a missing hiker who turned out to have faked his disappearance. Jim had started doubting his abilities when his senses couldn’t pick a trace up until finally figuring out it was because the supposed hiker had never been in the area. They rounded out the week wishing for a similar frustration when they found a lost teen too late. Those were the ones that were hard to accept.
The house was quiet, just the way he liked it. The television was turned down low enough that it would have been impossible for anyone else to hear but was just right to Jim. Blair was back in the office catching up on lesson plans for the Res. All was finally right in Jim Ellison’s world.
He was in the middle of contemplating the merits of staying comfortable vs. going to the kitchen for a snack when Blair came bursting into the room. Even after all these years, Sandburg was still all kinetic energy, excitement, and sunshine. It was in direct opposition to Jim’s inclination towards calm, order, and quiet.
And he was still and always would be Jim’s guide, partner, and soul mate. Jim wouldn’t have it any other way.
Blair skidded to a halt in front of the chair. He said nothing, wearing a self-satisfied grin that oozed amusement.
Jim didn’t rise to the bait, merely looked up at him inquiringly, waiting.
“Guess what’s back in style?!” Blair asked after a beat.
“Bell bottoms? Flip phones? I hope it’s not sage; I thought Naomi gave that up once she realized it was cultural appropriation?”
“The Macarena!” Blair crowed, ignoring Jim’s prattling.
“Oh joy,” he responded dryly as Blair began making the dance moves.
“There’s a Macarena challenge on TikTok. Can you believe it’s been 25 years?”
Jim didn’t answer at first, distracted as always by watching his partner’s body move to the silent music. He still remembered vividly that day he almost lost Blair; it was burned into his mind. The long stressful negotiation with the psycho calling himself Galileo. How his stomach had dropped with the elevator and the terror and grief for that brief time he’d thought he might have lost Blair. How badly he’d wanted to drop Galileo off the building. Blair’s quick thinking getting everyone to do the macarena wasn’t his most vivid memory.
That was decades ago, and a lot had changed. They’d committed themselves to each other. Jim quit the force, and they left the loud, chaotic city for the desert, built a good life running a search and rescue operation that perfectly suited a Sentinel. Blair taught part-time on the Reservation.
He didn’t miss those days a bit.
“Never been a fan,” he answered, grabbing Blair’s wrist and pulling him closer.
“Of the Macarena or TikTok?” Blair said, sounding a bit breathless as Jim tugged him forward onto the chair with him.
“Gotta keep up on the pulse of the times,” Blair explained.
“I keep telling you; you’re too old for TikTok.”
“Oh, you’re gonna pay for that,” Jim warned in a growl, his eyes promising delightful punishment.
“Have to catch me first,” Blair responded before jumping off and dashing towards the bedroom.
Suddenly Jim wasn’t feeling so tired anymore. He tossed the remote onto the floor next to Chief and stood up.
“Let me know who wins,” he told the bemused Lab.
He had his mind on a different kind of game now, and dancing with Blair.