Fifty Cents on the Dollar
Notes: Thanks to Moonglow for the beta and for getting me into this fandom. This is the result of boring car journeys to work.
"I bet he will."
"I bet he won't"
"I bet he will."
"I bet…no, I am not getting in a childish tit for tat argument with you, Rhonda. Sandy will not do it, and you know why he won't do it? Because Ellison won't let him do it."
"Megan, Blair is a free agent, he can do anything he wants to without having to get permission from Jim Ellison."
Megan let out a very inelegant snort.
"Right, you keep on thinking that."
"Jim Ellison is not that controlling." Megan shot her a sceptical look. "Okay, I'll concede that he likes to keep a handle on things."
"When he hears what you want Sandy to do he is going to come down on you like a ton of bricks. Not only that, he will piss the Captain off so much with his attitude that you'll be stuck filing for the next six months."
"You wanna bet?"
"What on, Sandy doing what you ask or Ellison letting him?"
"Blair will agree to what I'm asking so the bet will have to be that Jim doesn't find out and stop him, and no tipping him off, Megan."
"Fine. The usual fifty?"
They shook and Rhonda went off to look for Blair.
Henri Brown stopped Megan when she passed his desk.
"Hey Connor, overheard you and Rhonda, what's the deal?"
"Rhonda's going to ask Sandy to baby-sit for her cousin. I bet her that Ellison will find out and stop him."
"Her cousin the stripper?"
"That's the one."
"You going to tell Ellison?"
"Not allowed to, and keep it to yourself, H, Ellison will find out without us saying anything." Henri nodded but the wheels were turning in his head. It was really in his interest to help Rhonda win the bet, she was more generous than Megan and fifty dollars could buy quite a few coffees and doughnuts.
With that thought in mind, he got up and knocked on Simon Banks' office.
"Chief, you okay for stakeout tonight?" Jim knocked on the French doors of Blair's room.
"Oh, hey Jim. Sorry, promised to baby-sit for Rhonda tonight. I should be finished by midnight though if you want me to join you later." Blair poked his head out.
"No, no need, Connor'll be with me. You need a ride?"
"No, the Volvo's running okay so I'll use that."
"See you later then, Chief." And Jim was gone.
Blair pulled over to check the directions written on a piece of paper by Rhonda and found that he was where he was supposed to be. He looked at the glowing neon sign and thanked all the gods he knew that his Sentinel roommate didn't know where he was. Then he made a note to strangle Rhonda when he next saw her. He got out of the Volvo, locked it and shouldering his backpack walked into the club. It wasn't too busy as it was only seven thirty so he was able to catch the bartender's attention.
"I'm looking for Leslie. I'm Blair Sandburg."
"Leslie said you'd be coming, go on back, third door on the right." The bartender lifted the bar flap and motioned him through. Blair followed his instructions and knocked on the third door. It was flung open and he was dragged inside.
"You must be Blair, I'm Leslie and this is Louis." A tall blond introduced a small boy and Blair crouched down.
"Hi Louis, I'm Blair." Blair held out his hand and Louis shook it, giving Blair a shy smile.
"You have no idea how relieved I was when Rhonda said she'd found a babysitter. I wouldn't normally bring Louis to work but the person I'm squatting with while our apartment is being renovated doesn't like strangers in his place. Louis's pretty easy to look after."
A tugging on his chinos distracted Blair.
"Do you play Go Fish?" Louis asked.
"Well sure I play Go Fish, I've also got a couple of games in here to play." Blair patted his backpack.
"Cool." Louis took Blair's hand and dragged him over to the far corner where a small table with two chairs had been set up.
"Hot chocolate's in the flask and cookies are in the Tupperware. There's a cot over there so tuck him in around nine, he should drop right off." Leslie called before being hustled out of the door to do the first set.
Blair and Louis played several games of Go Fish then Blair taught Louis how to play Dominos and then Mancala enthralling both him and the strippers waiting to go on with the history of both while drinking hot chocolate and eating the cookies.
Sure enough, by nine Louis' eyes kept closing and Blair called a halt to the games. Louis went without protesting to the cot and managed to finagle a story out of Blair after being tucked in.
The stakeout ended earlier that both Jim and Megan expected and by ten thirty Megan was in her apartment and Jim was on his way home. He was debating whether to stop by Lo Ming's for a takeaway when he spotted a green Volvo parked by the side of the road.
"What the…" He pulled over behind it and got out. He checked around but could see no sign of his roommate so opened his hearing. He winced when raucous screams and catcalls assailed his ears and immediately dialled down. Cataloguing and then disregarding the unwanted sounds, he eventually found what he was searching for.
"Have you ever thought about stripping yourself, Blair? You can make up to five hundred a night if they really dig you."
"I was railroaded into doing it once, for charity, you know? But my Mom found out and put a stop to it before the big night."
"You're kidding, right? Your Mom?"
"Well I was only fifteen at the time." Jim could hear the smile in Blair's voice. "She was a bit pissed at my girlfriend for talking me into it."
"Ever try again?"
"Nah, I soon learnt that I prefer to have an audience of one when I strip off now."
A particularly shrill screech made Jim dial down his hearing again so missed the rest of the conversation. When he tried again Blair was talking to someone called Leslie.
"That was my last set for the night, Blair. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you stepping in at the last minute. I wouldn't normally bring him to work but as it's a Friday…"
"I had nothing else planned for tonight so it was no hardship, and Louis was great."
"He really seemed to love that stone game, Mancala is it?"
"It's great for teaching children to count; he's very bright."
"Thanks. How much do I owe you for tonight?"
Jim heard money change hands and Blair get his backpack ready.
"You need a lift, Blair?"
"No, my car's outside. How will you and Louis get home?"
"One of the other guys lives nearby, we normally alternate rides. It's his turn to drive tonight."
"Well, any time you need a babysitter just let Rhonda know. If I'm busy I can always recommend a reliable sitter from Rainier, we have a register there."
"What a great idea, I'll keep you in mind."
"Say bye to Louis for me."
"I will. Thanks again."
There was a chorus of goodbyes to Blair and Jim straightened up from where he was leaning against the truck. He was the first thing Blair saw as he came out from the club.
His "Oh shit." Could only be heard by a sentinel and oh look, one just happened to be waiting for him.
"You said you were babysitting for Rhonda, Chief."
"Rhonda asked me for Leslie."
"You also didn't tell me you were babysitting in a male strip club."
"I didn't know, okay man? What happened to your stakeout?"
"You want Chinese?"
"I'll meet you back at the loft."
"Your audience of one is waiting."
"Well, who won?" Henri couldn't wait for Megan to take off her coat before asking.
"So, you owe her fifty." Henri rubbed his hands together.
"Yeah, I only hope she has change for a dollar."
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