Notes: sunglow66 wanted a follow-up to Outside Edge, and persuaded me to write this. Thanks for the help.
The new temp's no Rhonda, but she seems to be working out okay. There haven't been any major disasters so far; unless I count the way Jim's been acting towards her.
I don't know what's got up his ass about her, but you'd think she was a perp the way he watches every move she makes. I wonder if he even realises that he actually growled at her the other day?
Rhonda must have said something to her, because she completely ignored him. I'll have to make a note of her name and make sure she's available the next time; temps who don't scare easily are as rare as a silent Sandburg.
Speaking of which… ah, there he is. I wasn't sure if he'd turn up today, what with Jim being in court.
When he first attached himself to Jim I thought he was a complete flake, but after watching him help Jim with his senses, and then getting to know him, I realised he was one of the most focused and responsible people I know. I wasn't going to tell him that, though. Sandburg and I have an understanding between us when it comes to Jim; I don't ask and he doesn't tell. It's a lot easier on my ulcer that way.
Simon looked out through the slats of his door blind and saw Mary leave the break room, followed by a stunned-looking Blair. Now what the hell happened to put that look on his face? Simon looked at Mary who was back at her desk typing and then back at Blair who had managed to sit down at Jim's desk. He was staring blankly at the papers stacked there and Simon wondered for a minute if zone outs were catching.
Then Blair shook himself and started sifting through the reports. Simon sighed in relief; at least he wouldn't have Jim whining to him about all his paperwork.
Mary closed down her computer and switched off the screen. Blair was still going through the files on Jim's desk and she hesitated after putting on her coat. Making a decision, she went across to him.
His "Yeah" was distracted until he looked up and saw her. "Oh, sorry Mary."
"That's okay, Blair." Mary smiled. "I hope I didn't offend you this afternoon."
"What? Oh! No, not at all. Just gave me something to think about."
"It's my last day tomorrow; Rhonda's back. I thought I'd say goodbye now in case you aren't in tomorrow."
"Have you enjoyed working here? I know I felt a bit isolated when I first started riding with Jim."
"A temp doesn't normally worry about fitting in, Blair."
"I'm sorry about Jim."
"Don't be. You obviously have a very special relationship."
"Yeah, we do." Blair didn't realise the wealth of feeling that was in his voice. Mary smiled indulgently.
"It probably wouldn't hurt to give him a hint, Blair."
"Hint? He'd have to hit him with a two by four." For a big man, Simon sure could move silently.
Blair nearly fell off his chair and Mary jumped in surprise. Blair looked around at the nearly deserted bullpen, relieved there was no-one around and that Jim was going straight home from the courthouse.
"What? You think I'm as deaf and blind as Jim? Go home, Sandburg. Take Mary's advice and see if you can get the man to see the light."
"I don't think Jim's going to get religion at his age, Simon."
"Just go, Sandburg."
"I'm going, I'm going." Blair shut the computer down and grabbed his coat.
Mary and Simon watched as he whirled out of the bullpen and waved from the elevator at them.
"He's a good kid, but if you tell him that I'll deny it."
"Your secret's safe with me, Sir."
"Call me Simon." He held the door open for her to pass through and they waited for the elevator to come back up.
"Do you think Detective Ellison realises how he feels about Blair?"
"No, he doesn't have a clue. But I gather you've set Blair straight?"
"I didn't mean to. It's just that I thought it was common knowledge here but no-one mentioned it."
"I don't hold with gossip. Everyone here knows that."
"So if they're not together now, how will it work out when they are?"
"You're assuming that they will be."
"Pu-leeze!" Mary rolled her eyes at him and they grinned conspiratorially at each other. Simon suddenly cleared his throat and took a step back as the elevator pinged, the doors sliding open.
Just as they were getting in, they saw Jim coming through the doors of the stairwell. He nodded in greeting and walked towards the bullpen.
"Blair's gone, Detective Ellison." Mary pressed the hold doors button and called after him, seeing his shoulders stiffen at her words. "You've only just missed him."
"Thanks." Jim managed, with an effort, to sound civil. He couldn't wait until tomorrow, when Rhonda would be back and everything would be back to normal.
"'Night Jim." Simon removed Mary's finger from the button and the doors slid shut.
"I haven't thanked you, have I?" Simon said as they rode down.
"I don't expect thanks, Simon, but they are appreciated all the same."
"You want to go for a drink tomorrow night?" Simon thrust his hands into his coat pockets.
"Why not tonight, Simon?" She smiled slightly.
"What about Blair and Detective Ellison?"
"Sandburg isn't paid by the department, so they can fraternize as much as they want." He hoped this was one time that Jim had his hearing turned up; it would have the same effect as a virtual two by four.
Upstairs in the bullpen, Jim sat at his desk, unashamedly eavesdropping on their conversation; Simon's clumsy efforts at flirtation making him smile. He sat back, feeling the residual warmth from where Blair had been sitting. He must have only just missed him, and he felt the tension of the day ease at the thought of going home to the younger man. A smile entered his eyes and they strayed towards the doors. What the hell was he still doing here?
And what exactly did Simon mean about Sandburg and fraternization?
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