by Sharilyn

EMAIL: Sharilyn

What's a frazzled guide to do with a sick, grumpy, pigheaded Sentinel who refuses to LISTEN to the aforementioned guide and who stubbornly insists on dragging his sick, grumpy, pigheaded Sentinel self to work while sniffling and sneezing and alternately running cold and hot with an on-again, off-again fever? Well, if the guide in question happens to be one Blair Sandburg, then THAT particular guide merely bites back his own frustrated, wearily concerned diatribe against idiot, super-senses-possessed ingrates and tags along behind his partner dociley enough into the Major Crimes bullpen, said guide even basking a bit in the looks of quiet sympathy directed his way behind Jim Ellison's surly back. From grim past experience everyone in the vicinity knows all too well just how IMPOSSIBLE Ellison can be when he isn't feeling up to par, and one look at his irate, dark-circled eyes and pinched, antagonistic mouth has Rafe and Brown and even Connor quickly directing their own gazes elsewhere, fingers flying to find some sort of busy work to hide behind in lieu of facing Jim Ellison's flu-induced wrath.

"Ellison! Sandburg! Get your butts in here!" The abrupt opening of Captain Simon Banks's door is followed almost simultaneously by his impatiently barked command, and from his spot a couple of feet behind Jim, Blair covers a weary sigh as his observant eyes take in the subtle but no-less dangerous tightening of his partner's broad shoulders in response to Simon's peremptory tone. Great, just great, Blair thinks morosely as Jim pulls himself up as stiff and tall as he can and powers his way to Simon's open office door; old Sore Paw Ellison is in a confrontational mood with EVERYONE this morn. NOT so smart, Jim; can we say CHILL OUT? As if reading his partner's thoughts, Jim stops abruptly and turns to level a scathing glare in Blair's direction, one eyebrow twitching ominously upward as Blair feels his cheeks heat with a rush of helpless, misplaced guilt. WHAT? his own eyes flash guilelessly back to Jim's in a feeble attempt to regain his composure and save face with his cold-eyed friend; but Jim merely snorts a snide snort of congested derision and flashes Blair a downright feral smile that says all too plainly: Don't even go there, Chief. I don't need YOU picking my mood for the day for me, so back off! And as the detective pushes his way into Simon's office, almost literally stepping on his superior's toes in passing, Sandburg adroitly slips in behind his bristling best friend with a quick, apologetic shrug of his shoulders in Simon's general direction.

"Um...morning, Simon," he murmurs placatingly, and Jim's low growl of displeasure at his partner's blatant suck-up attitude is all too audible, even over the grim, unnecessarily FORCEFUL slamming of Simon's door by the glowering captain. And here goes Daniel into the lion's den, Blair thinks ruefully to himself, grimacing slightly as he slides into his accustomed place at Jim's side and waits to see which of the two scowling, posturing alpha males glowering on either side of him will be the first to bite--either each other or one poor, innocent, beleaguered anthropologist who can feel that first, telltale tickling in his nose and throat that signals the imminent attack of at least some escapees of Jim's own nasty germies. Great, just great, Blair thinks mournfully to himself--could this day get any better? And receives his answer as Simon, hot coffee in hand, suddenly trips on a loose edge of the rug beneath his desk and bumps clumsily into Sandburg, sloshing VERY warm Colombian Supreme down Blair's left arm.

"Oh, God, I'm sorry, Sandburg! Are you okay?" Simon's apologetic exclamation is joined by Jim's terse "Are you burned, Chief? Quick, get that shirt off before the material sticks to your skin!" Both tall, well-muscled men leap to manhandle Blair into protesting submission, and as two sets of strong hands simultaneously roll up his long-sleeved overshirt and fumble to undo the buttons down the front, Blair merely sighs again--ALOUD this time--as a light tap precedes the inevitable opening of the office door to admit Rhonda's astonished intrusion.

"Captain Banks, I...OH! MY goodness!"

Jim's chagrined, ice-blue eyes meet Simon's mortified gaze over Sandburg's head, and both men stumble back from their frantic undressing of Blair's person, all the while uttering stuttered explanations about the spilled coffee. Blair, left arm throbbing mercilessly from the scalding coffee, merely stands in bemused quiescence as a gratifyingly concerned Rhonda bustles over and takes control of the situation. Tsking wordlessly in Simon's direction while simultaneously casting a disgusted glare at an abashed Jim, she wraps a careful arm around Blair's shoulders and walks her unprotesting charge toward the open doorway, all the while crooning reassurances and promises of 'fixing that poor burned arm right up for you, Blair."

"Oh, that's not necessary, really..." Blair begins faintly but then seals the deal with a sudden, vociferously enthusiastic spate of sneezing that has Rhonda glaring renewed denigration in Jim's direction.

"Doesn't even have the decency to keep his germs to himself, " she sniffs disparagingly. "Poor Blair, probably made yourself sick tending to that man and likely without a WORD of thanks, and don't we all KNOW how he is when he's sick..."

And as Blair allows himself to be led from the room and into the midst of a bullpen full of concerned, sympathetic coworkers, the battle-weary guide remembers the joint expressions of chagrin on Ellison's and Banks's faces and thinks wryly to himself: Well, I guess that's ONE way of defusing their alpha posturing. A guide's work is just never done. But a small, fond smile creases the corners of his eyes as he fights back another sneeze attack and contemplates the next few days ahead and all the gruff mother-henning he is most likely going to suffer at Jim's hands if he does indeed succumb to his roommate's 'bug'. Not many people in Major Crime know that underneath that formidable exterior, Jim really is a teddy bear at heart...well, maybe more of a big, stuffed grizzly bear. The mental image brings an amused smile to Blair's face, and he decides that he might as well soak up all the solicitous female attention he can get here in the bullpen before his overprotective Sentinel descends like the wrath of God to treat his slightly scorched guide's injuries himself.

And judging by the chagrined expression on the Captain's face, Blair figures Simon will be right behind Jim, blustering and apologizing and offering brusque medical suggestions which will most likely rile up all of Jim's protective, alpha male instincts, thereby starting up the whole macho male posturing bullcrap between the two again...Geez, Blair sighs wearily to himself as the first, competitive rumbles of his best friend's and his boss's voices sound from the office doorway behind him; could this day GET any better?

The End~