How Does He Walk?

By Polly


Story Notes : Part three of the Beau Geste series.

Rating: PG, language warning

Summary: William Ellison puts the pressure on and starts getting results.

Notes: Still at least one more part to come...


Anderson Mitchell, President of Rainier University, audibly ground his teeth and then glared at his visitor, one hand irritably shaking a sheaf of papers stapled to a blue cardboard backing.

"Damn it, this is the last thing Rainier needs after that crap with Brad Ventriss and Suzanne Nadine."

"Be grateful I'm giving you a heads up. You've got a shot at settling this thing out of court." Comfortably seated on a lush leather sofa, William steepled his fingers and regarded Mitch steadily. "It's simple quid pro quo. Marie Edwards is out, Blair Sandburg is back in, no publicity required."

"This sounds suspiciously like blackmail."

"It's not blackmail. I'm merely pointing out facts. Edwards is responsible for this lawsuit. She's had it in for Sandburg since her fundraising efforts with Norman and Henry blew up in her face, and when she should have stood up for Sandburg she left him twisting in the wind. More than that, she took advantage of the situation with Berkshire and added to the media circus against his express wishes. I'm actually surprised she hasn't been charged with obstruction of justice, considering the effects of all that publicity on the police department."

"Look, Bill-"

"I'm not finished." William rose, planted his fists on Andy's desk, and loomed; an aging but still deadly predator. "You want to talk blackmail? How much scholarship money do you think comes to Rainier from Ellison Industries, both directly and through our subsidiaries, employees, and their dependants? How much is our corporate endowment worth to this university annually? Or our sponsorship of the athletic department?"

"You son of a bitch, I thought we were friends."

"We are friends. That's why I'm coming to you personally before I advise Blair Sandburg to proceed with the lawsuit."

"You'd do that?"

"I will do that. I'll even pay his legal fees. Judging from the facts of the case, it'll be a good investment."

"He said his thesis was fraudulent."

"He said it was a good piece of fiction. He never submitted it as his dissertation."

Andy Mitchell sighed and shook his head. William knew the gesture for what it was; a sign of surrender.

"Everything Edwards has done in this case has been against university policy," Andy allowed grudgingly. "I'll handle her termination personally and take care of the rest."

"Good. Maybe you should be a bit more attentive to what your staff is doing in the future."

"Bill, I'm surprised you don't walk bow-legged," Andy said with rather fond exasperation. William grinned at him, pleased to know his friend was willing to forgive his admittedly ruthless expectations.

In a move that would have shocked the life out of his sons, William reached down and adjusted himself.

"Who says I don't?" He asked, and swaggered out to Andy's laughter.


"How are we doing?"

"Great, Dad. Berkshire's lawyers couldn't back down fast enough. Graham's finished and they're cutting Blair a check right now that ought to provide for him financially even after he pays off his student loans."

"Good job, Steven. Andy's taking care of Edwards tonight and the press conference is scheduled for noon tomorrow."

"Wish I could see their faces," Steven said wistfully. William squeezed his shoulder.

"I suspect we're going to hear all about it soon enough."

"You think Jim's going to be mad when he finds out we meddled?"

William shrugged. "It's possible- no, probable. I'm hoping he'll let it go since it's for Sandburg's benefit." And for his own, William admitted to himself. It had occurred to him to wonder if the irate phone call he'd made to Jimmy some days earlier, complaining about the media coverage, had contributed to Sandburg's desperate action. It had also dawned on him that if Sandburg's sacrifice wasn't mitigated in some manner that allowed the young man to stay in Cascade, Jimmy just might end up leaving Cascade, too... which wouldn't be William's first choice of outcomes.

"Whether he does or not, Dad, I think you're doing the right thing."

"Thanks, son, and thanks for your help."

Steven smiled, and William thought that even if Jimmy ended up furious with him, he couldn't regret the way handling this problem with his younger son had made the two of them a team.

No, family.



"I'm still not cutting my hair."

"Ho-ho-ho," Jim mocked cheerfully.

"I'm not going to do it," Blair insisted.

"That's what you think" Jim said as he hauled Blair over to him with his cane and gave him a noogie, which Blair tried to accept cheerfully although he hated that gesture. "They're going to love you at the Academy. Captain, I'm going to make a little Blairskin rug for you here."

"You're not going to scalp me! Forget it!" Blair squirmed, trying to hold onto his temper. He really did appreciate his friends, despite their macho-ritualistic-bullshit ways of reassuring him that they still cared.

Especially since he'd never expected to be invited to stay on at Major Crime; something that didn't seem even remotely possible, given everything that had happened.

He had to wonder what Jim, Simon, and Naomi were thinking.

"We got to go down to the woods-" Simon intoned threateningly, interrupted when Rhonda handed him the phone.

"It's the Commissioner's office," she murmured.

"Yes, Sir?" Simon's look of surprise drew everyone's attention. "Yes, Commissioner, they're both here... Yes, Sir. I understand. Yes, Sir, we will. Thank you, Sir, I'll pass that along. Goodbye." He looked up at his best team. "The Commissioner is about to give a press conference that he says we'll want to see."

It didn't take sentinel sight to see the way Sandburg's face paled, but Sandburg said nothing as Simon, Rhonda, Rafe, Brown, Taggart, Jim, and Naomi preceded him into the break room. Rafe, looking a little pale himself, switched on the TV, setting it on the channel Simon quietly requested.

Recognizing Anderson Mitchell at the Commissioner's side, Blair let out an involuntary gasp and took a step back. Jim grabbed him by the arm and gave him a little shake.

"Whatever they say, Chief, we'll work it out together. Do you understand me?"

Blair stared up into blazing blue eyes and took a shaky breath.

"Jim, that's the President of Rainier with the Commissioner-"

"Together, Chief," Jim insisted, having learned all kinds of lessons about loyalty over the last few days. He might be a slow learner sometimes, but he did learn, and he wasn't going to let anything or anybody fuck up his relationship with Blair again.

Blair eventually nodded.

"Okay, Jim. Together."


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