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Note:  In the Black Panther Production virtual fifth season, everyone in Major Crimes figures out that Blair's dissertation wasn't a fraud and that Jim really had heightened senses by the time Blair graduates from the academy.  This takes place after Blair has graduated from the academy and is now a detective with Major Crimes.  If you don't like stories with Blair as a cop then go no further.

 

Disclaimer: I make no claims of ownership.  This is the result of randomly selecting words from the dictionary and letting a group of muses arrange them as they see fit.


Thanks to:  As always my sister, ArmyKU, "If you're flying, I'm buying."  Also thanks to my Imzadi (for obvious reasons), Ronnee for the web space, and last but not least my beta, Kimberly.

 

The Game

Lila R. Kulp

 

Detective James Ellison sat at his desk clinching his jaw.  Had any of his friends and co-workers seen this, they would have grabbed the nearest piece of Kevlar and dove for cover.  The signs of frustration were well known to the rest of the people of Major Crimes and it didn’t take much experience to know that the Sentinel was about to reach his breaking point.

 

Letting out an exasperated sigh he put his pen down and slowly stood, forced himself to take a couple of deep breaths to regain some sense of control, then slowly walked over to Detective Brian Rafe’s desk.  As soon as he was close enough, he reached out to the source of his frustration. Without a word he picked up the musical birthday card that the other detective had gotten and closed it with a snap.  Rafe’s head snapped up in surprise.  Still not saying a word, Jim simply placed the closed card back on the desk with a pointed look and turned back towards his own desk.

 

"Um, sorry Jim.  I didn’t realize,” Rafe apologized, shaking his head.  He was still trying to get used to knowing about Jim’s abilities.  When he had realized that Blair’s dissertation hadn’t been a fraud, he had been a little uncomfortable around the older detective and his partner.  He had been self-conscious about almost every little thing.  He had worried that his typing at his computer would be too loud or that his after-shave or deodorant might be offensive to the other’s hyper senses.  Jim had finally confronted him about it.  He had been surprisingly understanding, not at all what Rafe would have expected.  Jim had simply explained to the younger man that he was still the same guy that he had been when Rafe had joined Major Crimes and that if Rafe’s choice of cologne had been that bad, he would have known about it by now.

 

The rest of the bullpen didn’t even acknowledge the incident.  They each understood what had happened and each was thinking about how they were also having to work through the revelations about their friend’s abilities.

 

 

Detective Henri Brown walked up to his partner’s desk and picked up the birthday card.  It was late and they were the last ones to leave for the day.  “So this is the culprit that caused Ellison’s little tantrum?” It was one of those musical birthday cards that played Happy Birthday when you opened it. 

 

“Yeah, it never even occurred to me that he would hear it and freak like that.”

 

“Well, I for one am glad to see you’ve stopped walking on egg shells around him.  We all thought you were going to bust a gut when you tried not to sneeze last week.”

 

“I nearly did this afternoon, man.  I wonder just how sensitive his hearing is.”

 

“How about we find out?” There was a mischievous twinkle in Brown’s eyes. Rafe saw that look in his partner’s eyes and felt the contagious twinkle appear in his own.

 

“What have you got in mind?”

 

“Oh, just a little test.  I once heard Blair telling about how some students had taken the little music box out of one of these and hid it in a professor’s office.  He tore the place apart looking for it and then blamed the first likely suspect he could find. I hear that he still teases his students about that,” the mischief now evident in his voice.

 

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

 

“I think so, but how do we get the gorilla in the tutu?”

 

 

Detective Blair Sandburg was, as normal, talking a mile a minute and didn’t notice his partner’s sudden halt until he walked into him.  Looking up, he noticed the familiar tilt to the taller man’s head indicating that he was listening to something.

 

“What is it Jim?  Is something wrong?” Blair braced himself for the worst, expecting to have to shout a warning about a bomb or something. Jim just sighed and headed towards Rafe’s desk, but halfway there he stopped and listened again.  He turned and headed for the far corner of the break room.

 

Blair, as always, followed his partner, confused as to what was causing the curious actions, but determined to help if needed.

 

Before his Guide could ask what he was doing, Jim grabbed one of the tables and dragged it over to the corner so that he could stand on it and examine the ceiling tiles.  He lifted one of the tiles and reached into the opening.  After a bit of feeling around, his face changed from one of concentration to satisfaction as he found the object of his search.  He pulled his hand back and showed his Guide what he had found.  It was Rafe’s birthday card.

 

“See I told you he’d be able to find it.  How long did it take him?” Rafe was standing in the doorway with a smile on his face.

 

“Thirty-five seconds,” Brown answered holding up a stopwatch, also smiling.

               

 

That was how the game had started.  It had become a challenge to the members of Major Crimes to hide something in the bullpen and for Jim to see how fast he could figure out what they had hidden and then find it.  At first, Jim and Blair had been a little irritated by the game and Simon had even asked if he should put a stop to it.  But, by then, they had realized that it would be a good way to help the most recent additions to their little club to become more comfortable with the Sentinel’s abilities and might even be a good way to help him keep his senses exercised. 

 

It had worked.  Megan, Brown, Rafe, Joel, and even Simon were enjoying testing their friend.  Each would try to one up the others by finding something quieter or with a subtler scent or a better hiding place.  They had even gone as far as to ask Blair for advice on how to stump his partner.  But Blair had refused to help, stating that he was on Jim’s team.

 

Soon, almost without conscious thought, the rules had developed and score was being kept.

 

1. Each member of the department would take turns devising a test for Jim and Blair.  They could work alone or in teams of two.

 

2. It had to be something that could be contained to the bullpen to prevent others from wondering what was going on.

 

3. If Jim and Blair passed the test in less then a minute, they got a point. More than a minute, a point went to the other detectives.

 

4. If there was an “outsider” in the bullpen when Jim and Blair entered, the test was void and no points would be awarded since Jim wouldn’t be able to demonstrate his skills until the “outsider” left and that would throw off the timing.

 

5. Simon reserved the right to end the game at any time if it seemed that it was interfering in them doing their jobs.

 

6. Jim and Blair reserved the right to end the game if it began to get too irritating.

 

 

“Just relax, Jim.  Take a deep breath and concentrate on finding what’s not supposed to be here.” 

 

The game was in its second official week and, so far, no one in Major Crimes had been able to stump the Sentinel and Guide.  Jim had easily found Megan’s potpourri, Simon’s new brand of cigars, and even the blinking light that Joel hid in the air vent.  He had passed every test that the gang had thought of.  That is, until today.

 

“I’m trying Chief.  I’m just not picking up anything.”  Jim ran a hand over his eyes in frustration.

 

“Five seconds,” announced Brown, the self-appointed timekeeper.

 

Jim tried scanning the bullpen one more time.  Besides the excited heartbeats of his fellow detectives there was nothing out of place.  No extra beeps or hums.  No strange scents.  Everything was where it should be.

 

“Berrr!  Time’s up.”  Brown declared excitedly.  “Any guesses?”

 

All eyes were on the tall detective who was shaking his head and running his hand through his short, dark hair.  “Nope, I haven’t a clue.  What is it?”

 

The room was silent as everyone turned to look at Rhonda, the captain’s secretary.  She quietly got up from her desk, where she had watched the morning’s events, and walked over to Jim’s desk.  She picked up something that was in his in-box, walked over to the group, and showed them what she held in her hand.

 

Everyone, except Blair and Jim, stared at the object in confusion.  Blair just smack his forehead as a smile spread across his partner’s face.

 

“A white noise generator in my in-box?  Rhonda, I never figured you to be one to play dirty.”  Ellison tried to sound upset, but his smile refused to leave his face. 

 

The quiet woman just smiled a devilish smile, “How do you think I keep all of you in line?”

 

The bullpen burst into laughter as they all realized that finally someone besides Ellison and Sandburg had won a point. 

 

The captain’s bellow could barely be heard over the riotous group.  “All right, that puts the score at Ellison and Sandburg six and Major Crimes at one.”  Cheers rang out as the victory was officially announced.  After what Simon thought was an appropriate amount of time he continued and a more commanding voice, “Now let’s get to work.  We have a city to protect, criminals to catch, and coffee to drink.”