Optional Part II

By: Xasphie

FEEDBACK TO: Xasphie

Jim stomped back into the Major Crimes bullpen and dropped into the chair behind his desk. His weary colleagues slowly followed in dribs and drabs, exhausted from an extensive operation that had, on the whole, been successful. Uniform were busy on the floor below, going through the booking procedure for the eighteen men caught in the raid on the Downtown office building.

The call from Vice had come in so unexpectedly. The earliest anyone had thought a result possible, was the following week. As it was, they had all abandoned the office in a matter of seconds, leaving in their wake a disaster area of spilled coffee and half-eaten snacks.

Jim stared hopelessly at the drying stain of brown, which decorated the report he had just about finished off. He would have to redo it, and that was one annoyance for which he currently had neither the time nor the energy. He smirked as he considered handing it over to Sandburg in the morning – it was time the runt earned his keep.

That was an unfair comment, he chastised himself. Sandburg did more than his fair share, but there were some days when Ellison came to realize that he depended on the young anthropologist too much, and had become accustomed to using him for menial office tasks. He often forgot that Blair had his own career and any work done at Cascade PD was a bonus for the detective.

Jim yawned and stretched back in his chair, waiting for the tense muscles to allow his back to pop. That had been one helluva bust, and they were lucky that no one had been seriously injured. Officer Naylor falling down the staircase was unfortunate, but not a direct result of the raid. A bad sprain and bruised dignity were minor wounds compared to what could have taken place.

Thank god for Joel’s ever-efficient bomb squad locating the second timing device, or everyone present would have been adorning every street within a ten-block radius.

The box of donuts looked tempting and Ellison reached forwards to grab one of the sugarcoated heart attacks. Screw his cholesterol – the detective had expended more energy in the last two hours than he usually did in a week’s worth of sessions at the gym.

Where the hell was Sandburg, anyway? Hadn’t the kid promised to be here before 5pm to give him a ride home, while the truck was being fixed?

Not that the damage to the truck had, in any way, been Ellison’s fault. Street chases didn’t only occur in Starsky and Hutch, and the suspension didn’t always recover as easily in real life as it did on television.

Munching slowly on the donut, he acknowledged Rafe’s entrance. He suppressed a chortle as the younger detective retrieved a clothes brush from the drawer of his desk, and meticulously removed all evidence of their excursion that afternoon. Shame the same couldn’t be said for Brown who had gone home to change – the seat of his pants irrevocably ruined by the obstinate filing cabinet the last idiot perp had been hiding behind.

Yeah, Ellison mused as he finished off the snack. Everything was right with the world. Rafe was inspecting for lint; Sandburg was late; Simon was in his office, yelling obscenities at his son for not doing as he was told while at his mother’s; Rhonda was …

Rhonda was …

"Rafe?"

"Yeah?"

Ellison looked pointedly towards the vacant desk.

"Where the hell’s Rhonda?"

"How in hell should I know?"

They stared at the cleared area, glanced at each other, and side-by-side marched into Simon’s office.

 

"I’m amazed." Blair was shocked, and sat shaking his head in bewilderment.

"I know; we couldn’t believe it either, Chief." Jim poured his friend a second mug of coffee. "Transferring Rhonda across the city just so the Chief of Police’s latest plaything could be promoted. And with such short notice."

"Well, that too," Sandburg agreed.

"Huh?"

"I’m just amazed that you noticed." Blair idly stirred the contents with the pen he had been chewing. "You might be a detective but you aren’t so quick at picking up on the finer details of life."

"I’m pretending I didn’t hear that," Ellison retorted, rinsing out the glass coffee jug, and throwing the used filter into the trash.

"So, what’s happening?"

"Done deal, apparently." The detective sat back down at the kitchen table, opposite his longhaired roommate. "Simon tried to kick up about it, but was informed that he was challenging a senior officer and had no case. At the end of the day, it's purely circumstantial, I guess."

"And Rhonda?" Blair was going to miss her friendly smiles, and her high tolerance for any pranks he played on her.

"Told me that she didn’t want to work in a place that was prepared to do that to someone, and is tendering her resignation as soon as she finds somewhere else to go."

"Shame."

"Yeah."

The two brooded over the afternoon’s incident, and reflected on all the kind gestures Simon’s secretary had made to the pair of them over the years.

"I’ll miss her," Blair offered.

"That’s what she said, when I called her." Ellison placed the emptied cup back on the table and straightened his shirt. "She said that to lose one officer in the line of duty was one thing, but to lose a bevy of friends because of an asshole …"

"Oh, I’m so down with that." Sandburg drained his mug, grabbed up both and took them over to the sink. "So what time are we all meeting?"

"8pm, over at Harley’s. Simon’s picking up Rhonda on the way. She doesn’t have a clue!" Jim threw Blair’s jacket over to him, and picked up the keys to the Volvo. "You’re driving, Chief. I intend to drink this evening into oblivion."

Sandburg grinned at the bigger man. "You really do have a soft spot for Rhonda, don’t ya, Jim?"

"Hey, who doesn’t?" Jim shared the grin, as he flicked the switch and opened the door.

"She thinks you’re her friend?" Sandburg’s voice echoed in the hallway as they waited for the elevator. "I suppose someone has to like you." He ducked to avoid the swipe at his head, and pressed the button for the first floor.

"I’m just glad that she’ll get the chance to know who and where her friends are."

"Yeah. Me too."

Fin

copyright Xasphie 2nd April 2004

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