Quid Pro Quo
by Caro Dee


When a pale, silent Blair slunk into Major Crimes, Henri noticed immediately and nudged Rafe. They both watched Blair sit down and stare at Simon's closed door. When the door opened and Joel came out, Blair jerked and sagged in relief.

"He looks terrified," Rafe said thoughtfully. The two men sauntered over to investigate. "Jesus, Sandburg. What's the matter with you?"

"Shhh!" Blair looked around frantically. "I dented Jim's truck."

Henri whistled. "Holy shit! What'd you do a dumb thing like that for?"

"It was nice knowing you," Rafe said sympathetically. He and Henri exchanged glances and snickered.

"Very funny, guys. I am in so much trouble here. My car died this morning and Jim let me borrow the truck. When I came out of class, somebody'd dinged the side. I've got a mechanic fixing it, but the side panel needs a new paint job and that's expensive, man!" Blair mourned the loss of his tiny discretionary income. No more books for months.

Still laughing, Henri and Rafe wandered off to start a betting pool on Blair's upcoming demise. Blair just huddled miserably in the chair and waited for his executioner.

When Jim wandered in half an hour later, one look at his grim face told Blair that he'd already heard the news. "I'm really sorry, Jim. It wasn't my fault...."

"How bad is it?" Jim's jaw muscle was working overtime.

"Just a tiny dent. The mechanic says he'll have it fixed and repainted by tomorrow," Blair explained miserably.

To his shock, Jim just nodded and said, "Okay."

"Okay? That's it? I thought you were going to kill me!"

"Well, it was an accident. The important thing is that you're not hurt. The truck..." Jim looked pained but continued, "...is just an inanimate object."

Blair slowly smiled. "That's very magnanimous of you, Jim."

"Well, we all need to understand that accidents can happen. To anybody." Jim sat down and shuffled the papers on his desk industriously.

"Oh definitely. Anybody," Blair agreed, happily. He wasn't going to die today. Jim was being reasonable. Hey. Wait a second....

"So, would this be a good time to let you know that I got a food stain on 'The Sentinels of Paraguay'?"

Blair's jaw dropped. "What?"

"Well, you had it out on the table. There was nothing on TV. I was bored and eating a meatball sub--you know how messy they are." Jim's words were getting faster and more desperate as genuine horror dawned in Blair's face. "There was this drop of tomato sauce... tiny really. Only a Sentinel could see it."

Jim watched, fascinated, as a red-faced Blair began sputtering in outrage. "Rare book... first edition... priceless.... Careless Neanderthal... defaced history.... Aaaaaargh!"

The entire precinct was startled by the sight of Ellison's frantic attempts to escape the enraged madman at his heels. Disgruntled cops settled bets with the few people savvy enough to bet on Sandburg. Cops are tough, but academia is vicious.

The End



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