By Rhyo

Blair closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and knocked on his captain's office door. "I am calm," he muttered under his breath. "I am calm, I am in control and Simon is going to kick my ass down to the garage for this."


As bellows went, it wasn't particularly loud or heart-felt, so Blair mentally crossed his fingers and entered. "Hey, Simon."

Simon Banks had been in the process of pouring himself a cup of coffee, but he paused when Blair called him by his first name. "Detective Sandburg," he replied, gesturing to the chair in front of his desk.

Blair stayed on his feet. "There's something I need to talk to you about, Simon," he said, stressing his superior officer's first name again: he needed to have this conversation friend-to-friend.

Simon noticed the emphasis and grinned. "Well, well. I've been wondering how long it was going to take you to come in here and talk about this. Close the door and sit down.’

"You know?" Blair was stunned; he'd managed to keep it secret from everyone, including Jim. Or so he'd thought. "How did you find out?"

"Oh, come on, Sandburg, everyone in this office knows."

"How could they? I mean not even---"

Simon rolled his eyes. "Did it occur to you, Detective Sandburg, that you both work in a police department filled with other detectives? So what do you know about this woman?"

"Woman? What woman?"

"The one that Jim's been seeing for a couple of months. The one he's taking to Seattle this weekend." Simon snorted. "Or is there more than one?"

"Oh, right!" Blair said with relief. "No, uhhh, just the one. Elizabeth."

"Blair, I asked you what you know about her."

"She's... nice. Smart. Outgoing. Her son, Ethan, is 8 and he and Jim really hit it off. We all went to a Jags game last week - he's a great kid."

"I didn't ask you what she was like, I asked you what you knew about her."

"It's not like I've run a security check on her or anything," Blair said sharply. "As has been pointed out to me before, that would be a violation of my powers as a detective in the Cascade Police Department."

"Ahhh, but I am a captain and you a mere detective." Simon opened the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out a folder, casually tossing it across the desk toward Blair. "I expected you to ask me for permission to run this. Not that I don't think the two of you are over-protective of each other, but..."

Blair picked up the folder and opened it to the cover page. Elizabeth Hawthorne, age 35, height 5'11", weight 127 lbs., dark brown hair, hazel eyes, current residence 4750 Bayside Drive, #510, Cascade, WA, vehicle registration for a leased BMW 740i, Washington license 790 MST. He flipped through the pages of the report. Daughter of one of Cascade's founding families; honors graduate, UW School of Architecture; partner, Reed, Gregson, Torvald, Greenwood, Chan and Hawthorn, Architects. Vice-president, Cascade Arts Council. Four speeding tickets, a no-fault accident, an illegal u-turn and a restraining order issued against her first husband, rescinded after the divorce decree was issued, five years earlier.

He glanced back at Simon. "I'm over-protective and yet you are the one who put together a complete file on her."

Simon shrugged. "Someone had to do it."

Blair closed the folder and held it up. "He's not going to be happy about this."

"He'd have to find out about it to be unhappy about it."

"You're starting to sound like me." He tossed the report folder back. "Don't you think Jim is entitled to a little privacy in his life? That maybe he doesn't need his friends looking over his shoulder?"

"Hell, I knew that, I wasn't sure you did."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Married couples don't spend as much time together as you two do. I don't think the two of you have spent more than a day apart since you graduated from the academy. And that was over a year ago. You work together, you live together, you take vacations together. How are either of you ever supposed to even have a private life?"

Blair blinked a few times. "That's... that's actually what I came to see you about."

Simon shook his head to clear it. "Do we need to start this conversation over again?"

"I'm thinking that would be good, Simon. Maybe it will make sense the second time around."

"All right." Simon cleared his throat, sat up straight in his chair and folded his hands together on the desk in front of him. "Now why don't you tell me whatever it is that's eating you. Am I supposed to believe it has nothing to do with Jim's new girlfriend?"

Blair sat down. "Well, not... directly." He took a deep breath. "I need a couple of extra days off."

Simon's eyebrows rose. "For?" he prompted.

"I'm moving to a new place."

"Does Jim know about this?" If anything, the eyebrows went higher.

"Not yet. I haven't had a chance to tell him; I just found the place."

"This is a little abrupt, don't you think?"

"I've been living under the stairs for 4 years now. It's time to... to..."

"Move on?" Simon suggested gently.

"Yes," Blair said through a tight-clenched throat. "To move on." He forced himself to smile. "Change is good, right?"

-- the end

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