Play Nice by Greymowser

Play Nice - Greymowser

"Okay, enough is enough." He pulled on the door again, twisted and rattled the knob. "I'd like someone to come and get me now. This whole 'taking a prisoner' thing is getting old hat, dudes."

Blair grunted in exasperation and slid down the wall beside the door, knees up. "I should have known this was a bad idea." He huffed a laugh and leaning his head back against the wall, he rubbed his eyes, "Jim! Where the fuck are you?" he yelled. "This is so not funny, guys."

It was supposed to be a fun time had by all. A way to relax around fellow cops and associates while getting out into the country. A little 'on hands' education on survival, a little PT, a bit of sharing of knowledge, and then they'd all meet around the campfire pits to nosh heavily on the sumptuous food provided and boast about what they did that day. It was supposed to be about camaraderie. It was supposed to be a week long attempt of pulling the PD together. It was supposed to meld them into a cohesive group, people would acknowledge each other's views and horizons and become more of a family.

"Eeehnk! Not!" Blair pushed an imaginary button in the air. "Some of my 'family' doesn't like me," he muttered. If it was a joke, it was a shitty joke. His second night locked up in this broken down room/cabin/house, whatever, was coming up if he didn't get out of here.

"Jim!" he yelled again. His voice was getting hoarse. And he was thirsty. "Ellison! Where the fuck is everybody?" He slammed his fist down on his knee. "Should have known better than to go along with those two dipsticks. Norton and Wagner are two of the worst bozos in the PD."

He knew there was still some mumbling and grumbling going on behind his and Jim's backs at the station. It had been almost a year and a half since the dissertation fiasco and there were still little puddles of dissatisfaction here and there. There were the usual riffs: "fag", "had to be blowing someone to pass the academy", "barely a cop", "kidcop", and, of course, the usual "he's got some kind of hold on Ellison", and since it had become known that he and Jim were doing the deed, "if we could just separate them, Ellison would go back to being straight, poor guy".

It had been over six months since Blair started sharing the big bed upstairs with Jim. Blair grinned. A lot nicer, a lot warmer, and a lot cuddly. Oh yah, love those cuddles.

Rumors and hidden slurs persisted. Didn't matter that there were four other openly gay partners in the Cascade Police Department. Nope, this was Big Jim Ellison, had to be something going on there. He couldn't be gay. Must have been coerced into it.

Where Jim wanted to grab, smash, and injure, Blair had insisted that they just let it die down, act like nothing was wrong and let the idiots work themselves into a corner. Blair was well known for being a pacifist. His favorite statement to aggression was "be cool, play nice."

"I shouldn't have played nice with those two guys and let them drag me into this. I should have stayed on the trail." Blair snorted. "Shit, Jim! I need you to come and get me now." He slammed his fists on the floor. "Ellison, get your shit together and get me the hell out of here," he snarled.

One of the group survival games was Search and Rescue. Everyone had broken up into small groups of three or four. Bill Norton had been nice to Blair all the first day much to the amazement of Major Crimes' personnel. Said he was sorry that Blair and Jim were getting hassled. Said he knew a couple of the guys who were bad mouthing them behind their backs. That he would gladly give them the names if Blair wanted them. Blair had said 'no, that it would just make more trouble if he reported them. Just to let the whole thing work its way out. Play nice.'

When the S&R instructor started dividing people randomly up into groups, Blair didn't notice that Norton and Wagner hustled up to stand on either side of him. "Okay, you three are rabbits. Here's a map. Go to ground here," pointing at a mark on the map. "We'll loose the hounds in half an hour to try and find you. Make sure you take a jacket. You are probably going to spend some of the night out there." He handed them three tags. "These are your injury tags. Each of you is injured in a different way. Your rescuers will have to use whatever they carry and what is available to stabilize you to either be carried out or make you mobile. Got it?"

The three nodded and after much pointing and grumbling over the map took off for points unknown. At least to the rescuers.

"And did we follow the map? Oh, no, let's just head a little southward and see if they can still find us. God, I can't believe I went along with it. I'm such an idiot. Be nice, play nice, shit. I'm so going to get it from Jim. No nooky for weeks, well maybe days, well . . ."

Wagner must have gotten inside information on the maps because he knew where the cabin was. It had been too smoothly done. They had been walking along discussing a robbery case that had been open on the books for almost a month. Suddenly, a black plastic bag was thrown over his head. He was hauled roughly along, thrown into a room, and the door slammed shut behind him. By the time his fingers had shredded the bag from his head, all he could hear were howls of laughter and a 'have a nice rest of your life, Sandburg.' All he could see were the boarded up windows and an almost empty, detritus strewn room.

"I don't see how they could have arranged this unless some of the S&R guys were in on it," Blair muttered. "How could I be so stupid to trust assholes like Wagner and Norton? Geez."

Blair pushed himself up the wall and wandered around his prison again. "It's like those friggin' escape games on the internet. What is in the room that you can find to help you get out?" He moved to the opposite wall and started examining everything. "You click on everything to see if it is useful. Hmmm, what's this?" Blair picked up what looked like a key with the rolled up tin piece from a Spam can. He walked over and set it on the grungy table that sat in the middle of the room. Time to play the game.

~~~~~~~~~~

Jim stood staring off into the coming evening gloom. He felt off, a little itchy. His partner would have used the word 'hinky.' Jim grinned. Such big words from his little Professor. And a Professor he would be in a few weeks. Blair had redone his make-believe dissertation on 'Closed Societies - A Cop's Life in the Fast Lane' and managed, with the help of a long time university academic friend, to get it presented to a university in the Midwest. Strictly under the table dealings, but he had told Professor Stoddard that if he ever needed anything, Jim Ellison would be there.

Jim had overheard the slurs and covert conversations going on in the background of the Cascade PD. He hadn't liked it and figured that, like a sore, things were going to come to a head. The thing that tweaked Jim's ire was that his captain, Simon Banks, had heard the same rumors and knew they came from certain sections and officers. Banks had done nothing. He hadn't even mentioned it to Jim. This didn't sit well with Ellison. Simon was supposedly his friend and being quiet about the whole situation felt wrong. At first, Jim put it down to word from the higher ups, but now Jim wondered. As Blair would say, 'there was a play in progress.'

Unbeknown to his Captain and fellow PDers, Jim was making arrangements. The only two people who knew about Jim's preparations were one of the other captains in the PD, Joel Taggert and the Aussie cop trade-off, Megan Conner. Megan had been Blair's good friend from the day they first met, and Joel, since his wife's death, was a constant in the Sandburg-Ellison circle. They had also heard rumors and were afraid for their two friends.

Jim had discussed with them about leaving the force. He was worried. If anything went wrong in the PD, Blair would be the one to suffer and as far as Jim was concerned, Blair had suffered enough in the past. If Blair got his professorship, then maybe it was time to lay out a new life path. The Sentinel, this time, would follow the Guide.

This week long get-together was supposed to be a good idea according to the Police Commissioner. It wouldn't cost any of the personnel involved anything and it would let them learn about each other, and trust was a good thing for cops. Jim thought the whole thing was kind of juvenile, at least compared to what he learned in the Army during his BlackOps education.

He had gone along with it mainly because Captain Banks insisted all his officers and staff get involved. For three days it had been kind of fun. He didn't need to use his senses, which was a good thing since Blair was hardly ever around and Jim had breathed in the fresh air and relaxed. Blair was everywhere. Rushing from one event to another, helping out and making nice. The kid was one sought after helper and Jim was just waiting for him to hit the end of the line and crash. He had been excited and nervous the week before the event, going over and over what they could or should take. Jim got tired just watching him. Nothing to do about it, just ride it out and catch him when he melts.

"Jim? You okay?" Simon Banks walked up beside his detective. He placed his hand on Jim's upper arm. Jim almost flinched.

"I'm fine, Simon. Just trying to home in on Blair."

"The kid hasn't been around much has he? Even at work he's scarce it seems." Banks lit up one of his proverbial smelly cigars.

"And who's fault is that I wonder?" Jim kept his voice neutral.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Jim snorted softly. "At work you're the one handing out the assignments. Blair goes were you send him. Seems kind of odd that he has been loaned out to three different departments last month and one this month. As for here, didn't you think I would hear you telling everyone that if they needed help that Sandburg was available?"

"Are you getting at something here, Ellison?" Banks growled around his cigar.

"Am I?" Jim said, his voice cool.

"You don't seem to need him anymore anyway. Look at you, the whole time out here you haven't even come close to zoning. You haven't zoned for months." Simon Banks blew a smoke ring. "And if I was keeping him away from you at work, it was to stop you from leaning all over him at his desk. I told you to keep your PDAs out of the station. And look what happened the first night here, he was all over you at the campfire. Geezes, Jim, don't you have any self respect?"

Jim turned his head to stare at his captain. "It didn't seem to bother you that Rafe's girlfriend was all over him. Or that Downy's wife sat in her husband's lap half the night." Jim's eyes were cold. "Is it just the gay thing you can't tolerate, Captain Banks? No, wait, Officer Joanne Berlin and her girlfriend Vivian were holding hands. You never even batted an eye. Think maybe that tells me it must be Blair that bothers you." Ellison turned his head away from his captain. "Makes me wonder if some of those rumors weren't started a little closer to home. Now, if you will excuse me, I'd like to find Blair before the light fades any further." Jim strode off in the direction of the last returning S&R groups.

~~~~~~~~~

Blair leaned both hands on the table surveying his haul. Talk about worthless. He had walked the inside perimeter of the cabin twice to make sure he did not miss anything useful. His daylight was almost gone. The most useful things he had found were a piece of candle about two inches long, a small silver metal flask with two old time strike matches, a two by four about the length of a baseball bat, and a carpenter's nail. The items that didn't look so useful were a dried up tea bag, a grungy crusted pick-up-by-the-corner men's hanky (yuck), a broken safety pin, and a bug eaten paperback copy of 'Candy Rides Again'. The two things that he had left untouched in the room were the dried up remains of a tiny mouse and in the recess between the blackened fireplace and a built in shelf was a huge hairy spider that looked like it could have killed and ingested said mouse. Not going there.

"Damn, if only they had left me my backpack. I could have used the stuff in there. I had a bottle of water in there for one thing and I could have used my cell phone." Blair smirked. No one was supposed to bring firearms or cell phones. Both he and Jim had their cell with them and he would bet his last dollar that Jim had a weapon on him somewhere. Not only had they taken his pack, they had also rudely explored his pockets. "Those pissants took my Swiss Army knife. My mother gave me that you dickwads!" Blair raged.

"That was stupid. Now your throat hurts." He gripped handfuls of his hair staring at the mess on the table. "Do I try and light the candle now so I have light or wait until morning?" It was getting too dark. "Light. Light. Definitely light now. No dark, that spider now knows I'm here." He carefully slipped one of the matches out of its protective holder. "Crap, only two chances. Please . . .please . . . light." Holding the match against the rough bottom of the flask, repeating his mantra of 'light,' he struck. Sucking in a breath, there was sparks and flame. He edged over the candlewick. "Light." He breathed out softly. The candle flame wavered, held. "Thank you," he whispered to all his gods.

"Okay, what else can I do?" He picked up the candle and protecting it from his movement, walked over to the door. "I should have checked out this lock earlier in the day." He admonished himself. "Jim would have. Course, Jim wouldn't need the damn candle either, then again, he'd probably just kick the door down." He muttered to himself as he checked out the keyhole in the ancient door. The picture in his mind of Jim, tight t-shirt covering those noteworthy abs, lifting a leg to slam the door open, making his jeans tighten around his ass, made a certain body part of Blair's start to twitching. "Shit, not now," he growled. Blair noticed the space between the bottom of the door and the floor. "Not very winter worthy."

It looked like the key was still in the door on the other side. The shank twisted sideways to lock the teeth in place and left in the door in Norton's and Wagner's hurry to get away. "Hmm, just like in those old classic who-done-it movies. If I could push the key out onto a paper, I could drag it back into the room."

He went back and reviewed his hoard of finds.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim snarled at the Search and Rescue instructor. "Is this some kind of joke?"

The instructor cringed under the Ellison glare. "The group that was assigned to find and rescue them couldn't find them and came back. I presume that when no one shows up where ever they are, they will wander back in when they get tired of waiting." He stepped back and bumped into Captain Joel Taggert.

"Jim, what's going on?" Taggert asked.

"They aren't going to send anyone out to look for Sandburg." His eyes glared at the instructor.

"They have the map, they will come back when they get bored waiting. I have other activities to get going. Excuse me." The S&E instructor tried to edge by Taggert.

Joel gripped the man's bicep. "Hang on a sec. Who was Sandburg assigned with?"

The instructor glanced at his clipboard. "He was with Norton and Wagner."

"Shit!" "Fuck!" Came from Joel and Jim's mouth consecutively.

"Are Norton or Wagner back?" Jim spoke through gritted teeth. Those two were the worst on Jim's hit list of assholes.

"No, at least they haven't signed in yet. I'm sure they're fine and are just fooling around out there." The instructor grimaced as the hand tightened on his arm.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Ellison pressed in towards the man.

Rafe and his girlfriend Kira wandered up, drawn in by the loud contentious voices.

Taggert explained the problem while Ellison fumed quietly.

Kira cocked her head prettily to one side. "Is Norton that skinny blonde that hounded Blair's footsteps all that first day?"

"Yes. Why?" Jim asked.

"It's just that I saw him over by the food tent a few minutes ago." She pointed towards the large blue tent used for dining.

Jim stormed off in the direction of the tent followed by Rafe, Kira, and Taggert. "Do you think this is the start of what you were worried about, Jim?" Taggert inquired. "I know about Bill Norton and his pal Garry Wagner. Not the brightest bulbs in the pack. They are well known for their prejudices."

"If they've done something to Blair, I'll kill them," Jim growled.

As Jim and his followers rounded the tent corner, they almost ran over Norton and Wagner standing in line for leftovers from the evening's dinner. Both men tried quickly to get out of the way, but were efficiently detained by Ellison and Taggert. Rafe, playing the good cop, calmed nearby hopeful diners, and shooed them back to their line.

"Hey, what's up?" Wagner tried to extricate himself from Captain Taggert's tight grip.

"Where's Sandburg?" Jim snarled into Norton's face. He had his hand tightly wrapped in Norton's shirt front. Norton danced on his toes.

"Let go, you fag," he spat back.

"Where! Did! You! Leave! Him?" Ellison shook Norton with each word. He looked like a large cat shaking a mouse.

"He got bored with the whole thing and left. Said he was going home. That he'd had enough. Said we were all losers playing kid's games." Norton pulled at Jim's hand clutched in his shirt. "I can't believe that Banks puts up with him. Mouthy punk." Norton's eyes cut to the left for a second. Jim knew his captain was behind him.

He shook Norton again. "His car is still here."

"And maybe he caught a ride with one of the officers that had to leave early, Ellison." Banks spoke from behind Jim.

Jim swung Norton around and flung him at Captain Banks. Banks caught and steadied the man.

"He would have told me he wanted to go home," Ellison said, his voice hard.

"What, are you his mother now, Jim?" Banks questioned. Norton couldn't hide his smirk.

Jim Ellison stepped one step closer to his captain. Banks stiffened. Jim stared into his boss' eyes. "You think I don't know what is going on in the PD, Banks?" Jim's voice was like ice. "You don't think I haven't noticed that you seem to be jealous of Blair. That you have been deliberately separating us. Using idiot excuses to try and get us to disagree with each other. Deliberately being quiet when you could have put a stop to certain machinations going on in your own department." He pointed his finger at the captain. "You think I haven't heard your comments to higher ups about wanting your pit bull back. That Ellison doesn't take the chances he used to now that the little hippie cop wannabee has latched onto him." Norton squirmed his way out of Banks' grip. He didn't get far. Rafe stood in his way, eyes never leaving him.

Jim snarled at his captain, "You think I'm just a big stupid cop, your enforcer, someone you can send out to get the job done." He stepped up to Banks, chest to chest. "You don't think I haven't heard you discussing me with your cronies. How I always used to get my man no matter what. How Blair was turning your pit bull into some Labrador retriever." Banks paled.

"I'd be careful what you say, Detective Ellison. Or do you forget who you're talking to?"

"Oh, I most definitely know who I'm talking to," Jim snorted. "Someone who has been using me to his advantage all this time. Someone who I thought was my friend. How many other bodies have you climbed over to get what you want, eh?"

"That's enough!" Banks shouted. "You're on suspension as of right now. Go home. Get the hell out of here."

There were indrawn breaths from the gathered crowd. Angry murmurs drew Captain Banks' eyes away from Ellison.

"You'd like that wouldn't you, Banks? Leave Blair out there?" Jim snapped.

"Geez, Ellison get a grip. I told you, the little fag went home. Said he was tired of playing cops and robbers." Norton smirked.

Wagner snorted from behind Jim, "Yah, the kid whined about it the whole time we were out there. Said he was leaving. Going to find some place sunny this time. Find himself a sugar daddy. He'll probably be gone by the time you get home."

Jim Ellison's face went blank for a minute. Then he turned ice blue eyes on his Captain and snarled. "Give me the emergency key to the loft I gave you, Simon."

Banks swallowed. "I didn't bring it with me." He blanched at the feral look on Jim's face.

"You always have that key with you. It's in your wallet. A safety measure you said."

"Look . . . Ellison . . ."

"What's the matter, Simon? Is someone in my loft right now packing up all Sandburg's property, hmm? So I would think he had left. You think you'd get your pit bull back then? You don't think I would try to find him?"

Jim's hands clenched and unclenched. "You want to tell me who has my key, Banks?"

Taggert wrenched Wagner closer. "You better tell us what's going on, Simon."

Rafe nudged Norton back into the angry circle he'd slowly been trying to withdraw from. "And there are a lot of PD people here who will be very angry if you don't tell us where Sandburg is, Captain. Very angry," Rafe ground out. His eyes boring into Norton's.

~~~~~~~~~

Blair dripped spots of candle wax onto the overlapping edges of the sheets of paper ripped from the paperback. Blowing gently on the wax spots to cool them. "Can't say watching all those MacGyver reruns didn't pay off. Course I wouldn't admit that to Jim. Him and all his cop shows."

He had carefully unwound the tin from the Spam can, then twisted the malleable tin lengthwise to make it stronger with the nail securely wrapped tightly at the end. "Damn, those edges are sharp." He now had quite a length of metal with a serviceable shank to hold on to. He took the broken pin and straightened it out. "Ow, ow, shit, that hurts. Could have used some pliers, that's for sure." Sucking on his thumb and finger, he tested the drops of wax with his other hand. "Okay, let's see if it will hold together." He lifted the edge of the melded paper gently. He carefully slid the enlarged square under the door, keeping an inch to hold onto. "Plan is now in progress."

Holding the elongated nail key in his left hand and the unbent safety pin held between thumb and pointer finger of his right hand with the small candle squeezed between his ring finger and little finger, he began to manipulate the old lock and key. He had to turn the key's teeth with the pin just far enough to let the nail push the key out. Sweat beaded on his upper lip. The flame of the candle kept waving back and forth and he realized he was panting. He couldn't afford to lose the flame, so he slowed his breathing. Just when he thought he was going to pass out from lack of oxygen, the key gave and the nail went in. A small thunk was heard from the outside. Blair slumped to his knees in front of the door. Carefully he released the manic squeeze on his metal instruments and placed the dripping candle on the floor.

He stared at the edge of paper sticking out from under the door. "Oh God, what if it missed the paper? What if it bounced off?" He gulped and gripped the edge of the paper. Closing his eyes he slowly dragged the paper back in. When his hands touched his knees he opened his eyes. There, perfectly aligned in the middle of the paper was a silvery antique looking key. For a minute he couldn't do anything. Surely the key was going to disappear any second. He let out the breath he had been holding and picked up the key. It felt good in his hand. Cold, but strong.

He stood up and eased the key into the lock, turned it, twisted the knob and pushed the door open. A waft of fresh air blew in, extinguishing the candle with a huff. Blair walked outside two steps and stood there shaking. It suddenly hit him that someone had done this deliberately and with malice aforethought.

Didn't they think Jim would find him? Had something happened to Jim? Surely Banks would have sent someone looking for him. Suddenly a picture came to mind of seeing Simon talking to Bill Norton in the garage of the PD. They were behind the dumpster and Blair had gone to dump their Wonderburger refuse from Jim's truck. He hadn't really paid attention. It had only been a glimpse.

"What have you done, Simon?" Blair whispered. "And where is Jim?" Could Banks have been able to prevent Jim from looking for him? There had been no big arguments between the two that he could remember. But then he hadn't been in Major Crimes for awhile. He had been popping, it seemed, from one department to another.

"Shit!" He grabbed handfuls of his hair. "It's been some kind of set up. You've been trying to split us up haven't you, Banks?" Suddenly numerous happenings and overheard conversations made a lot of sense. "You bastard. You want me to leave or disappear so you can have Jim all to your self. That's what you meant when you said that it was about time Jim got back on the horse when we were at the PD picnic. I thought you were talking about the problems he was having with the injury to his shoulder. Shit, you were both checking out that batch of women off to the side. I should have clued in. You were trying to tell him it was about time he should try women again. What, you thought he was just trying me out? Testing the waters? I can't believe you haven't shown your homophobia before this. Captain Banks, you are an idiot. If you've done something to Jim, I'm going to kill you."

Blair lunged forward and then stopped. He stuffed the key in his pocket. It was too shiny and new looking to be an old key. He bolted back into the cabin and picked up the two by four. "Good," he said as he swung it experimentally. He also picked up the used match stick and placed it back into the silver match box. He slid it into his back pocket. It could be that that match had saved his life. At the door he rescued the candle, pin and his makeshift key. It would be bad karma to leave his thankful tools lying on the ground. He ran out into the night.

Sliding to a stop, he looked around trying to remember which way he had come. Nothing looked familiar. The moon was out so seeing wasn't too much of a problem. "Which way, which way?" A soft breeze ruffled his hair. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a pale movement. Walking over, he bent and picked up a crumpled piece of paper. "Yes!" It was the map the S&R guy had given them. "So, you didn't need the map eh, Wagner? You knew all about this cabin." He unfolded the map carefully and tried to straighten the creases. "So, if that is that and those mountains back there are these." He tapped the map. "I should go that way." He could almost hear Jim telling him to 'focus' and 'get your bearings.' "Geeze, get lost one time . . ." Walking backwards away from the cabin to get his bearings he stumbled into a pile of brambles. "Watch it, Chief,"he heard in his head. "Yadda, yadda," Blair muttered as he pulled brambles away from his shirt. Pulling the last bramble out, he looked up and almost squealed with delight. There was his backpack almost hidden under the brambles edge.

A few seconds for more bramble warfare, a chug-a-lug of cool water, and he was set. "Okay guys, here I come. You better be prepared for one pissed off Guide if you've hurt my Sentinel."

~~~~~~~~

Jim stared at Captain Simon Banks. Letting the man sweat.

"I told you you're on suspension. Get out of here." The Captain stuffed his cigar back in his face. He started to turn away.

Jim slipped his cell phone out of his pocket. Flipping it open he pushed a number.

"Always the one to disobey orders, eh, Ellison?" Banks noted.

Jim only smiled. "Mrs. Lebowitz. I'm fine. Have you seen anyone going into my loft? You have. Four of them. Thank you, Mrs. Lebowitz." His eyes still on his Captain, he punched in another number.

"You going to report a robbery, Ellison?" Norton laughed. Jim didn't take his eyes off of Banks. Banks smiled slightly.

Jim heard the telltale click as someone picked up the phone. "Sandman? Guardian here. Four bogeys my place. Armed. Dispatch. " He waited for an answer, his eyes never leaving the Captain. Simon looked startled. "Good. Go to Black Friday." He glanced at Taggert. Joel nodded. "Four for sure. Possibly six. Guardian, Shaman, Tank, Oz. Contact Red to bug out. Possibles? Straight man, Sidekick, Contact Blackdog and Phd. Shipment pending. No holds. Give Greylace the go. Contact Pencilpusher for funds." Jim heard a soft 'Shit', behind him. He waited for confirmation. "Good. I'll contact Doberman and Pieman. Better coming from me. Okay, do it. Black day. Bolt hole. Secure line and buzz. Guardian out."

Jim punched another button. "Guardian here. Bugging out. Secure line. Strategic move. Password Blue Dike. Take action ASAP. Contact Flying Ace and Pieman. Will do Doberman. Guardian out." Jim slipped his phone back into his pocket.

"You think all that mumbo-jumbo scares me, Ellison?" Banks lit a new cigar.

Ellison just snorted. "Up to you, Banks. My resignation will be on your desk and the commissioner's desk before you get back to your office. Everything is signed, sealed, and I'm out of here. Find yourself another pit bull. Joel, let's go see if we can find Sandburg before he falls into a lake or something." He glanced at Megan. He nodded at her. "Go see if you can get a copy of the map they gave Blair from the S&R guy. Play nice now."

Behind him Jim heard Rafe shout, "Look Out!" Jim ducked sideways, turning in time to catch Banks' leg on his thigh. Pain streaked up his side and he tried desperately to dial down his pain dial. Snarling, he brought his arm up and grabbing the Captain's shoulder, he used centrifugal force to take the man down. An ululating scream startled them all and around the side of the tent came a bedraggled, red-faced, enraged Guide. Two by four swinging.

Blair slammed his board into Norton. Wack! "That's for locking me up, you pissant." Wack! "That's for stealing my bar mitzvah present from my Mom." Norton went down. Blair advanced on Wagner. Wagner tried to retreat, but for some reason no one would get out of his way. Wack! "That's for putting a plastic bag over my head, you dickwad." Wack! "That's for calling me a fag." Wack! "And that's for the brambles I had to go through to get my backpack." Wagner went down.

Blair Sandburg stopped, and panting from his exertion, looked around. His eyes lit on Captain Simon Banks. A low growl came from his throat. He stomped forward. "And you, you're the biggest fucking dickwad of them all, you . . you . . . urk!" He was grabbed around the waist and swung around. A big wet kiss was planted in the middle of his forehead. He looked up at a grinning Jim. "My hero," Jim crooned. His smile lighting up his face.

"Jim, Jim, Jim." Blair curled in against his man. Jim removed the two by four from his hand, tossing it to Joel.

Ignoring the fuming Captain Banks, Jim pulled his Guide towards the public tent area. "Come on guys, nodding to Megan and Joel. It's time to bug out." Blair raised his eyebrows. "We've gone to Black Friday, Sweetheart." Jim said.

"No shit?" Blair's eyebrows couldn't get any higher. Jim grinned, hugging his Guide. "Shit!"

Joel laughed beside them. Jim slung his other arm around Kira in passing. "We need to talk," he nodded at Rafe. "Banks isn't going to take this lying down. He can make big trouble for you and Kira."

Rafe grunted. "Yah think?"

"I've had this arrangement in the works for awhile. You're welcome to get caught up in it. We're moving out, lock, stock, and Blair's barrels of books."

"Hey!" Blair muttered.

"Taggert and Conner are coming with. Won't be a bother to pack you guys up also. Our own place, our own business, be our own bosses. Could use a skilled detective."

"Is it legit?" Kira asked. She took Rafe's hand in hers. "Would I have a job?"

"You're one of the best admin people the PD has, how could you not have a job with us?" Joel snorted. "We'll need someone to keep us dug out from under mounds of paperwork."

"Okay, we're in, "Rafe nodded.

"Hey, mate," Megan turned around in front of them and tossed something at Blair. "Here, I searched through Norton's pockets. Funny," she chuckled, "he didn't seem to keen on a lady hunting around about his privates. "

Blair caught the flying object. He grinned on seeing the initials BJS inscribed on the Swiss Army knife.

"Yes! Thank you, Megan!" He grinned up at his Sentinel. "Time for a new path, Sentinel?"

"Time for a new path, Guide."

The end

Back to Index

Acknowledgments: Thank you to Patt for the cover art and to Lisa the quick beta and for housing my first piece of fan fic.