Surprised by Jim's voice, Blair stopped typing and turned his head to look at Jim, who stood in the doorway, breathing harsh, a hardcover book in his hand.
"You're him, aren't you?" Jim asked. "You're Jake Sands."
Blair's hands dropped to his lap. Wow, their Shangri-la hadn't lasted long, but they had a deal and he was going to hold Jim to it.
He took a deep, courage-instilling breath, and said, "Now Jim, remember our deal. It's a given that we'd screw up, remember? I don't leave, you don't leave. I know I should have told you, but I didn't lie, not really. I was going to tell you, but you know, you never really asked what I did, and well, it was so easy not to say anything, and honestly, writing was the only thing that kept me going. I lived in that world, needed it, and...."
He paused mid-sentence and asked, "Hey, how did you figure it out, anyway?"
Jim held up the book. "This is me, isn't it? This is Connor's copy. She was reading it in the lounge. I just kind of…it kind of slid together in my mind." At the look of disbelief on Blair's face, he said sarcastically, "Hell, I'm a detective, remember?"
"Ah, yes, that deductive reasoning of yours."
"You're Jake Sands," Jim said again, in the same awestruck voice.
"We've established that."
"You're Jake Sands."
"Yes, Jim, I am. And I'm - John Sanderson too."
"Who's he?" He immediately held up a hand. "No, let me guess; John Sanderson's a screenplay writer, right? No, wait, he's a famous artist."
Blair took comfort in the fact that Jim was snarky and sarcastic as opposed to angry as he said patiently, "John Sanderson is the name I took when I left Cascade. Robert got me a new driver's license and social security card so I could-"
Blair looked down at his hands. "Yeah."
"You're Jake Sands."
"Aw, Jim, come on, get over it, already."
"You're writing another book now, aren't you?"
"Well, you know how it is. I sort of…kind of… I have a contract, Jim. A five-book contract."
"A five… Dear God," Jim said incredulously.
"You're famous, Chief."
"No, Jake Sands is."
"So no one knows who he really is?"
"Well, Lori, of course. She set everything up, made it all possible when my book was accepted. But other than her…no, no one knows and they never will."
Jim's eyes softened as he said, "They should."
Jim moved to Blair's side and, as Blair glanced up, Jim cupped the back of Blair's head and kissed him, tonsil-deep and commitment thorough.
When he was done, he asked with a grin, "So I'm Joe Elliot?"
"Yeah," Blair answered, his breath still catching, eyes glazing over.
"And you? Are you in them?"
Giving himself a little shake, and trying not to look smug, he said, "Just wrote me in. Joe's inherited a sidekick."
"Poor Joe," Jim murmured between nibbles.
"Lunch hour," he said absently. "Oh, hey, you do have both books here, right? This one belongs to Connor."
"Yeah, I've got them…somewhere."
Jim sighed happily and went back to nibbling.
"So, what, I'm lunch? After all the trouble I went to-"
Jim kissed him silent, something Blair was really beginning to enjoy.
They were on the floor, shoulder to shoulder, backs against the bed.
"How much of your lunch hour is left?"
"Probably should head out."
"Made it here in six - have six minutes left. Legs won't work right now."
"Your fault, Chief."
Blair just grinned.
"Hey, just how good is that contract?"
"Oh, that. Well, it's…pretty good."
"Blair, how good?"
"Uhm...is this going to bother you? Mess with your male sense of superiority? Futz with your macho side, or something?"
"I don't know, you haven't told me yet."
"Well, how good would it have to be in order for it to make you question your maleness?"
"I might have a slight macho, male chauvinist pig kind of problem if you were, say, a millionaire."
"Oh, okay, then. We're safe - for a while, anyway."
"For a while?" Jim squeaked.
"Well, come on, it's a five-book deal. Oh, and I got this fax today, from Lori, and it appears that Castle Rock wants to buy the movie rights to 'Track of the Cat' and my agent-"
"Wait, you have an agent?"
"Well, yeah, of course. You can't just do this without one, you know. Anyway, she says it's a good deal and wanted to know if she should push for final script control but I don't know, what do you think?"
Jim shook his head helplessly. Book deals, movie deals, déjà vu.
"Jim, man, none of it matters because I'm where I want to be. The only place I want to be. With you, on the streets, working our city-"
"Gathering material for your next book-"
Blair grinned. "Gathering material for my next book."
"So you're back to studying me?"
"Hey, yeah! Cool! But I've got to study me too. I'm a sidekick now."
"Am I going to like this Joe Elliot character?"
Blair turned around in Jim's arms and, lips brushing over Jim's, he said, "You're going to love him, man, just like I do - just like the whole world."
He stared at his partner, listened to his words - and got it. The books had not only been the way Blair had survived, they'd also served to make Jim known. Not the sentinel Jim, but the detective, the man.
The man he'd had to deny at the press conference.
He captured Blair's face between his two hands and said, "Damn, I love you."
Jim glanced over at his partner who was wedged into the corner of his seat, staring out the window. "Relax, they're all dying to see you, Chief."
"So you said."
They'd been training for days, working hard, and Jim had decided, after fielding the constant questions from the squad, that it was time for Blair to join him at the station. He'd thought Blair felt the same way, but apparently Blair wasn't as comfortable as he'd believed.
"You going to make it through this?"
"Hey, I handled weapons training, didn't I? I guess I can handle seeing the gang again."
"You did great during training, by the way. I was impressed."
"I never said I didn't know how to shoot, you know."
"I could use some meditation right now."
Jim started to hum.
Blair punched him in the arm.
Blair grabbed Jim and said, "No, wait."
"Blair, those are your friends up there. It's okay."
"Wrong, technically, they're yours."
They were in the underground garage and approaching the elevators. Apparently, in spite of their discussion in the truck, Blair still didn't get it, so Jim stepped in front of him and gripped the younger man's forearm. "Chief, those men and women are your friends too. You have no idea what they - what we all - went through when you disappeared. Joel was a walking zombie, Connor had no one to talk to, Henri didn't crack wise for weeks and Rafe felt miserable because he'd never had the chance to apologize. Now, do I really need to say more? Do I need to tell you about Rhonda, Pete, or Wes? Or how about Simon?"
Stunned, Blair looked over Jim's shoulder at the elevator and mumbled, "I…I…didn't-"
"No, you didn't."
Blair watched the elevator count up the floors and groaned inwardly. Didn't it just figure that this one time, the damn thing wouldn't stop even once? It blinked seven, gave that little lurch he'd forgotten about and then, with no fanfare, no rumbling drums, the doors slid open just as they had for years. And there, in front of them, the double doors leading into Major Crime.
Blair was just behind Jim and as they approached the doors, he could see his reflection in the glass. Short, dark hair, blue shirt, black leather jacket, jeans…eyes a little wide, probably in horror, and one very pale face.
He really shouldn't be this scared, but he was. And while Jim's words had gone some distance in helping him believe that the men and women beyond those doors really wanted to see him - it had been so damn long.
He glanced sideways, at Jim, and almost smiled. Jim looked like the Cock of the Walk as he strode through the doors. He walked in a very casual, nonchalant manner to his desk, slipped out of his jacket, hung it up, then pulled out his chair and sat down. Blair didn't miss the smirk that teased his lips. Jim gave a slight nod toward the new desk that now sat kitty-corner to his own, indicating that Blair should sit down. Feeling somewhat uncomfortable at the idea of sitting at someone else's desk, he nevertheless realized there was no other choice.
When nothing happened, when no one said anything, Blair started to relax a bit and even gazed with some interest around the room, looking for changes and, yes, admittedly, hungry to see the faces of the people he'd come to consider family.
Henri and Megan were both on the phone, but he noticed that Megan gave Jim a small wave. Rafe wasn't at his desk, nor was Joel, which saddened Blair. He'd really been looking forward to seeing Joel. He noted with a small grin that Megan had changed her hairstyle. Where it had been long and curly, it was now medium length and straight. He suspected she now ironed it, or whatever women had to do to straighten their hair these days.
Two men Blair didn't recognize sat at the back desks and, looking at them, Blair felt that stirring of nervousness again. It was one thing to see his old friends, to be accepted by them, but new detectives? He glanced over at Simon's office, noted that the blinds were drawn so he was either gone or in a meeting, which was also disappointing.
Gee, was he having fun yet?
Just then, Jim reached for a file in his in-box, opened it and started reading. Blair didn't miss the smirk that was still in place and decided right then and there to kill him later.
Suddenly Blair felt like lifting his feet and spinning around in the chair. Woo-hoo. He almost did, but at that moment, Henri put the phone down the phone, rolled his eyes and spotted Jim. He grinned - a grin that Blair realized he'd missed - before getting up and sauntering over in that hip-hop John Wayne walk of his.
"Ellison, you finish with Hairboy yet?"
"Yep, all finished. He actually kicked my butt today."
Blair frowned and thought, "Hello? Hairboy's right here."
"Have you been in Simon's office lately? He has the kid's latest target sheet tacked up on his wall."
"No way, man. And I thought you were-"
"Hey, Jimbo, I thought you said you would bring Sandy in today? What happened?" Megan asked as she walked up.
Jim smiled, shrugged, turned to Blair and said, "Gee, I don't know. Why don't we ask him?" Eyes twinkling, he added, "Chief?"
Both detectives followed Jim's gaze and immediately gasped in surprised delight, with Megan the first to recover.
"Sandy?" she asked in disbelief. She hurried over and immediately reached out to touch his hair. "My God, you cut it, you actually cut it."
Realizing at that moment that no one had recognized him, Blair felt his face heating up as he said, "Uhm, yeah, yeah, I did."
Henri, struck dumb, was just reaching out to touch the short curls when Joel burst in. Spotting Jim, he smiled broadly. "Hey, you're here." He looked around the room and frowned. "I thought you'd be bringing Blair in today?"
Laughing, Megan walked up to him, reached into his inside coat pocket and pulled out a pair of glasses. "Here, these might help." She slipped them on his nose, stepped behind him and then pushed him gently toward Blair. "See Joel," she intoned. "See Joel spot Sandy. See Joel grin."
Once again Blair had to watch someone's eyes bug out as their mouth dropped open in shock. This time he compulsively raised his hand to his hair, nervously tucking some behind his ear. A moment later he found himself engulfed in Joel's embrace, his face shoved against rough tweed as Joel rumbled his name.
That was all it took for Henri to do the same and then Megan. He was hugged, kissed and hair tousled, spiked and stroked.
Who knew everyone had such a hair fetish? Not him.
Eventually Rafe walked in with Simon and Rhonda and everyone had to cover their ears when she caught sight of Blair. She squeaked so loudly that Blair immediately looked at his partner to make sure he was all right. He got a thumbs up gesture for his worries. Rafe looked embarrassed, but that didn't stop him from touching Blair's hair after Rhonda hugged the stuffing out of him. And during it all, Simon and Jim just grinned and enjoyed the show.
In thirty years, Blair was fairly certain that he'd never been hugged this much or this hard - and damn, Joel was actually crying.
Emotions that he'd walled up and buried deep, even in the last days, now gushed up and out, playing over his face, lighting his eyes and sending him bouncing. His grin grew like a weed, spread, reached out and tugged everyone in close.
He was back, he was home, and he was wanted.
Blair dropped down onto the couch and ran the small towel over his face. He was hot and sweaty from his workout and, while he wasn't done by any means, he'd found that his nerves hadn't been assuaged by the strenuous exercise. All he wanted to do was check on Jim who was now reading "Lair of the Cat" having just finished "Track of the Cat."
While pumping iron (a 'maintain your sanity' task that was now a required 'kick Jim's butt' task for his badge), he'd heard the occasional bark of laughter and hoped that was a good sign, that Jim was laughing in all the right places.
Now he watched Jim and realized with a start that the man was completely unaware of his presence. Now that was a good sign. Or not.
He tried to check the number of pages Jim had to go…and decided there was time for a shower. He got up and, with an amazed shake of his head at Jim's immersion in the book, walked into the bathroom. He turned on the water, stripped and climbed in. Not as much fun as a shared shower, but hey, sometimes life was tough and a man just had to shower alone. He grinned. Two years of showering alone and now - hell, all he had to do was whisper and Jim would be there in an instant. His grin multiplied.
Blair soaped up, then down, washed his hair, rinsed and as he stepped back under the spray, he found himself wondering about hair. He still couldn't get over the fact that no one had recognized him last week. Not one single detective. He'd sat at a strange desk, one that Simon later told him was his, supposedly a complete stranger, and not one nod, not one look, and okay, that was, well - weird.
Okay, he'd come in with Jim, but that alone should have triggered something, right? As he turned his back on the steamy water and let it sluice over tense and tired shoulder muscles, Blair closed his eyes. Was it some kind of 'under the radar' thing?
His anthropological mind took the Rubik's cube of a puzzle and twisted it. Maybe a kind of subconscious, "Oh, hey, that's Sandburg but not" thing? He'd spent years observing human behavior - ancient and modern - but what happened at the station fell under the category of observing how people observed him, which was another kettle of fish. Obviously, their brains registered the sight of Jim with a short guy glued to his side and just naturally accepted it. He chuckled at that thought.
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
Old Don could go anywhere as long as the short guy was there. Or should that be, the short guy could go anywhere - as long as good old Don was there? Actually, he realized with a start - it was both.
He turned back to face the spray of water and let it cascade over his head. He was just reaching for the faucet when a cold breeze blew over his heated skin and a shadow darkened the plastic shower curtain. A moment later, Jim was behind him, arms were wrapped around his waist.
Blair leaned back into the broad chest and said, "Ming?"
"Who else? That fool Ellison is sound asleep and I can now have my evil way with you."
Laughing, Jim whipped him around and, with mock horror, asked, "Did you actually say la-de-da?"
"To be accurate, no. I said, la-de-da."
"Oh, well then, that's okay. I would have been seriously worried about your fragile masculinity if you'd said, la-de-da."
"Yes, well, the emphasis on the 'la' denotes a man with a strong masculine bent but on a first name basis with his feminine side and has a big dick. The emphasis on 'de' denotes a man with a strong masculine bent who is heavy into denial of anyone having a feminine side, probably because of his woefully small dick."
"And if the emphasis were to be placed on the 'da'?"
"That would be Melissa Etheridge."
"A well-balanced female who knows exactly what she wants, and a damn fine singer to boot."
"Now that denotes a man who is uncertain about his masculinity, wears a flowered apron because he thinks it's cute, looks to his short, hairy partner for guidance, loves Melissa Etheridge, and has a so-so dick."
"Did you know that 'so-so' is Chopek for, 'Don't come near me with that thing, I won't be able to walk for a week'?"
"Well, there's only way to handle that problem," Blair said as he moved down Jim's body, hands gliding over slippery hips and down the lean, muscular legs until he was on his knees before Jim.
Looking at the full erection, he cocked his head, one eyebrow rising and said in awe, "well, la-de-da and come to Papa."
Dry, relaxed, and in sweats, the two men lay on the couch, Blair between Jim's legs and half wedged against the back. Jim's fingers were playing with still damp curls as Blair sighed contentedly.
"Don't you want to know?"
"Know what?" Blair asked sleepily.
"How I liked the books?"
"Hey, Jim, how did you like the books?"
Jim pinched one firm ass cheek and, after a swift punch in the arm delivered by his indignant partner, said simply, "Thank you."
Blair grinned and nestled in. "So you liked them."
He was just drifting off, his body in that warm, safe cradle of cozy when Jim's voice tickled his ear. "What happens in the other three?"
Blair cracked open one eye and stared at Jim's chin. Nice chin.
It was late, they were in bed, the moon was hiding behind a cloud that threatened rain, and tomorrow - he was going to be sworn in by Simon. So why, at…he glanced blearily at the clock…two in the morning, would Jim want to know about the other books?
"Dare I ask why you would need to know that now?"
"I want to know what happens to them, that's why, you goof."
"Okay, well, in number three, which, as you know, introduces a devilishly handsome young man by the name of Gary-"
"Right, my quirky sidekick."
"Exactly. So, in book three, the primary focus will be the burgeoning relationship between them. There will be heinous crimes committed, all with the aim of humiliating the police, who, by the end, will find themselves indebted to the two men. Book four will be called 'Shadow of the Cat' and book five is 'Blood of the Cat.' And you, my friend, will just have to wait with everyone else to read them."
Jim bit Blair's nose and whispered, "But I have an in with the author - special privileges, you know."
"An in? You have an in?"
One hand crept under the blanket to lovingly smooth over Sandburg's warm, bare ass. "Oh, yeah, I've got a great in."
Jim stood in front of the mirror and fiddled with his shirt. He ran a hand over the back of his hair and sighed. Big day and he looked like shit. Five hours sleep will do that to a man.
Blair's swearing in and no fanfare as requested. A quiet ceremony taking place behind cin Simon's office, behind closed doors, with only Jim and Joel present to witness Blair's repeating of the oath. The badge and gun would be presented to him by Simon…and then, finally, Blair would be official, would be Jim's honest-to-God partner.
He smiled as he remembered catching a naked Blair in the bathroom earlier, arms outstretched, hands gripping the squeeze bottle of Soft Soap, legs spread wide as he'd said, with an appropriately fierce sneer, "Freeze, sucker, Cascade PD!"
Jim had immediately held up his hands and begged, "Don't shoot, I'm unarmed!"
Blair had whirled around, the bottle of Soft Soap flying up as Blair's face went a delightful shade of red. Actually, his face hadn't been the only thing that had gone red. But he'd recovered quickly, chuckled, then pointed down to Jim's groin and said in a perfect imitation of a Brooklyn cop, "Unarmed? I so don't think so. Up against the wall and spread 'em or I'll be forced to get tough."
Grinning, Jim fiddled with the tie a bit more before finally heading downstairs to find Blair already at the table, a cup of coffee and a pile of toast in front of him, his suit jacket tossed casually over the back of his chair.
"How you doing?" Jim asked as he sat down next to him.
Blair glanced up and favored him with a small Cheshire grin. "I'm fine, Jim. Stop worrying." He pushed the toast forward. "Have a piece, sit down and shut up."
One eyebrow shot up, but Jim found himself obeying. They sipped hot coffee, munched companionably on the toast and grinned at each other.
They'd come a long way in a few.
Word had been spread that Blair didn't want anything done for his swearing in ceremony. No celebrations, no party, just the oath and then work. But Megan had a different idea about welcoming their newest detective and made sure the gang of Major Crime was behind her all the way. When Jim and Blair arrived, the detectives managed to look busy, bustling about, smiling, grinning, giving Blair quiet thumbs up, a few pats on the back, but basically looking like business as usual. There was no hint of Megan's plan, nothing to clue Blair in that things weren't going to go exactly as planned.
Simon was standing in his doorway, a huge smile plastered on his face as Jim and Blair walked in. "Well, gentlemen, you ready?"
Jim nodded and, with his hand on Blair's back, they both entered Simon's office, Simon shutting the door behind them.
Eight detectives immediately scrambled to the closed door to listen.
Jim stood at Blair's left shoulder, Joel at his right, Simon in front of the younger man. Blair's right hand was raised and his voice, low but strong, repeated the oath.
"I, Blair Jacob Sandburg, do hereby swear, as an officer of the court, to uphold the laws of this city, to serve and protect the citizens of Cascade, and to faithfully discharge my duties with honor and courage."
Simon turned and picked something up from his desk before turning back to face his newest detective. "It is with great honor and respect, Blair, that I present you with your badge. You are now, officially, Detective Blair Sandburg. Welcome aboard, Detective."
He handed the badge to Blair, who opened it carefully, almost reverently, to see the Cascade Police Crest, the royal blue center and his badge number - 4112
He was Detective Sandburg - #4112
Blair glanced back up at Simon and his brow creased as he caught the expression on the Captain's face. Pride mixed with affection. Behind the lenses that did so much to hide Simon Banks' feelings, Blair also spotted the sheen of moisture in the strangely kind brown eyes that stared back at him. The lump in his throat that had been threatening to suffocate him, grew. With some difficulty - he swallowed. "Thank you, Captain."
It was all he could say - it was enough.
"Don't forget this."
Simon handed him his holstered gun and, as the leather slid into his hand, he felt a strange tingle in his palm. A badge and a gun. An anthropologist of the world and he now stood in Simon Banks' office, holding a gun and a badge, Jim by his side.
In a haze, he realized that Simon was holding out his hand and, clumsily, Blair transferred the gun and badge into his other hand so that he could accept the handshake. Then his hand was sliding away and he found himself engulfed in another bear hug by Joel.
When Taggart finally released him, Blair faced Jim. "Hey."
"Yeah," Jim said, dazzling Blair with his smile.
The detectives crowded around the door suddenly scrambled away to their desks. Drawers were raided and knowing looks exchanged with Megan, who nodded.
Simon's door opened and all four men came out. Jim and Joel immediately stepped aside so that Blair could precede them, both men trying hard to hide their smiles. As Blair stepped forward, his hand already going to the tie, finger pulling it away from his neck, he happened to glance up to find every single detective holding a book in front of their faces, each detective completely absorbed in their reading.
"Track of the Cat".
Eyes going into the awake version of REM, Blair turned back to Jim and found him, Joel and Simon with copies of "Lair of the Cat" held up in front of their faces.
"Aw, man," he whined.
From behind him, Megan quipped, "You know, guys, the only thing wrong with Joe Elliot is that he doesn't have a partner. He really needs one, you know?"
Rafe put his book down and nodded. "I couldn't agree with you more, Connor. The man needs a permanent and official partner."
Brown waved his copy in the air and said, "I can't help but wonder who's going to play the quirky but lovable street musician, RJ. Personally, I see Chris Rock in the role."
"What about Lieutenant Simmons' partner, Ticker? I'm thinking…Denzel," Joel said thoughtfully.
Jim looked at Simon and, rubbing his chin, asked, "What about Simmons, Simon? Who do you see playing the gruff, loud, cigar-smoking Lieutenant?"
Simon closed the book and said, "You left out lovable, Jim. Gruff, loud and lovable, cigar-smoking Simmons, and isn't it obvious? Samuel L. Jackson, naturally. Sam's the man."
Jim held up his hand and the two men high-fived as Jim said, "Oh, yeah."
"Anyone want to know who's going to play Joe?" Blair asked, his own eyes now gleaming with humor.
Everyone in the room yelled at the same time, "Who?"
With a grin to beat the band, Blair waited for the count of ten before saying, "Joe Pesci."
That did it. The books were dropped, chairs were scraped back and Blair was surrounded by detectives, all congratulating him, exchanging hugs, handshakes and tears.
Four weeks later
"So when's she coming?"
"This is good, Chief. You and Naomi need the time to talk. But I'm telling you now - no sage."
"Don't worry, Jim, she knows."
The two men sat in the truck, inconspicuously parked around the corner from a pool hall. They were running a stakeout on two young men suspected of dealing at the local junior high school, a school attended by the Mayor's daughter, which explained why Major Crime was involved.
"Heads up, Chief, Carter's coming out."
"What about Meyer?"
"He's still inside. Let Rafe know that he and Brown need to remain."
Jim started the truck as Blair spoke into the small mike. A moment later, Jim pulled out into traffic as on foot, Carter headed north on Fairview.
They followed him as only a sentinel could, until the dealer stopped on the corner of Fairview and Raitt and entered a 'mom and pop' store frequented by young teens. Jim pulled in and parked several cars down from the entrance. The two men watched for several minutes before Carter came out and lounged against the wall. It took another twenty minutes before two teens approached their suspect.
"This is it, let's go, Chief."
They climbed out and started for the three men.
Carter was taking money and handing over small white packages as he glanced up, his beer-bleary green eyes fastening on Jim. Intuition born on the streets kicked in and he immediately pushed the two kids away and took off.
"Shit, man," Blair muttered even as they both took off after the guy.
Jim yelled into his mike for backup and, gun out, ran hard, Blair right next to him. Carter was clearly under the influence himself, but he still managed to give them a run for their money.
He rounded the corner of Raitt and Sullivan, dodging pedestrians, knocking people over, darting in and around bicycles, mail boxes and trash cans. Blair moved slightly ahead of Jim when Carter turned onto a dead end street. At the end of the block a wall separated the street from the junk yard on the other side.
Carter jumped at the wall, his hand clamping down on the top and he started to haul himself up. He pulled his legs over, sat on the top, feet dangling, and made the mistake of looking back to see how close his pursuers were. What he found was Blair running full tilt toward the wall. Energized, Carter disappeared over the side just as Blair hit the wall.
Panting, Blair leaned back against the wall as Jim bounded up, out of breath and sweating. Jerking a thumb up, Blair said somewhat breathlessly, "He went over."
Jim rolled his eyes and said, "Of course he did. So why aren't you?"
"What, you can't hear the dogs?"
"So? You going over now or waiting for Hanukkah?"
"After you, fearless leader."
With a snort, Jim gave a good jump, his hand connecting with the top. He started to pull himself up, closely followed by Blair. At one point, Jim's foot slipped, causing him to slide a bit and his butt hit Blair's head. "Sandburg, this is no time to cop a feel. You're supposed to watch my back - not my backside."
"Hey, you're the one who said a good backside was crucial to being a good partner. Well, I'm just following Buttman, a man with," he pulled himself up alongside Jim on the top of the wall, "a really great butt, as he makes his appointed rounds and saves the city from the evildoers of the world."
"Just jump, Sandburg."
"Jim, I repeat - there are dogs. Vicious, growling, hungry dogs."
"Sandburg - jump."
"Fine. On the count of three, we go together."
"Oh, all right, already. But you're going down in my book as an official wuss." He lifted his hand and started counting off, " One - two - three-"
And discovered that they needn't have worried about the dogs - they were busy with Carter.
The uniforms were putting Carter in the back of the squad car as the team of Ellison and Sandburg cleaned themselves up. It seemed that when they jumped - they'd picked the dogs favorite dumping ground.
As the car turned out of the junkyard and headed back to the station, Jim turned to Blair and, wrinkling his nose, said, "Buttman not happy. Buttman's partner stinks."
"Hey, I've got news for you: Buttman stinks."
Picking some dirt and mud off of Sandburg's shoulder, Jim asked, smiling, "So how do you like being a detective, Chief?"
Lifting his dirty face to Jim's, sparkling blue eyes crinkled with laughter, he said, "I love it, Buttman."
"So let's go get cleaned up, Penis Breath, partner to Buttman."
"God, I feel so grown up."
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