Author's Note: Well, this is my second posted story. I think this one qualifies as a muse bash. It wouldn't leave me alone until I'd done something about it. I don't think it's my best effort, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Acknowledgements: Again, I wish to thank HMG herself for betaing this for me. And to my friend Barbara who's always amused by my indulgences. Thanks!
Warnings/Rating: Rated G. Missing scene for Foreign Exchange, another response to the Archive Elves missing scenes challenge.
Archive: Yes, please.
Disclaimer: You all know the drill by now. I don't own them, they belong to Bilson, DeMeo, Pet Fly, and grudgingly, UPN. I've just taken them out for a bit, and then I'll put them back completely unharmed.
Originally posted: 9-18-98
Blair had slipped out of the interrogation room, ostensibly to use the can. He'd done that. Now, he was inside Simon's office, waiting to be acknowledged. He regarded the big man intently. He was confused, disappointed, and a bit angry.
Finally, the captain registered his scrutiny. With an arched eyebrow, Simon looked up, setting aside the report he'd been reading. "All right, Sandburg. What's on your mind?"
"How long have I been an observer here?"
Simon frowned. "What do you mean, how long? You know how long. Over two years. Why?"
"And what's the real reason why I'm here?"
Banks' patience was quickly reaching its limit. "To study Jim's heightened senses."
"And, what? Is there a point to this, Sandburg?" Simon growled.
Blair ignored the growl. "And to be his backup--Guide to his Sentinel, Simon. Remember?" His voice now held a slight edge. Seeing the captain's darkening scowl, he continued. "What I want to know is how you could believe Conner's story about the surveillance being made, knowing what you know about Jim and how he works?"
"That's what this is about?" Simon asked in annoyance.
"Yes, that's what this is about!" Blair replied heatedly. "Jim was listening and watching the meeting from across the street, a half-block away. Our surveillance wasn't 'made', Megan took it into her head to go in there, after Jim told her it was too risky."
"Just a minute, Sandburg. Wasn't it you who pointed out Jim isn't above stretching the truth when it suits him?"
"Yes, but as far as I know he's never lied about another officer just to cover his own butt!"
Banks sat back in his chair, thinking about Conner's report of the fiasco at the Indian restaurant. He'd accepted the inspector's story, without much consideration for the team involved. At the time he'd still been upset over the damage to his new department car. The public and unprofessional shouting match he'd witnessed between Ellison and the visiting Australian had made him absolutely furious. He knew that was really no excuse. Simon sighed. Jim was the lead on this case, he shouldn't have been so quick to put him in the wrong, just because he was still upset with the man for wrecking his new car. The detective was sometimes reckless, just like a certain Aussie who had breezed into town. He did sometimes prevaricate when it suited him, but Ellison would never lie about the actions of another officer to cover his own mistakes. The captain was disgusted with himself. If he'd been thinking clearly he would have realized what she was doing. He did know Jim--about the man's abilities and just what he would have been doing on the surveillance. He sighed again heavily, and looked up at the younger man. "All right, Blair, I'll admit, I was wrong. It's kind of moot now, don't you think? You and Jim ID'd this Burnell character, and showed that Conner withheld vital information."
"Well, it may be moot, but I think an apology to Jim might be nice. He didn't appreciate your automatic assumption of poor surveillance tactics any more than I did. He just won't say anything about it, because you're his superior."
Simon studied the earnest grad student. Finally, he nodded. "All right. I'll talk to Jim. Satisfied?"
"Yes, sir," Blair said formally. "Thank you, sir." His expression was perfectly serious and respectful. A faint hint of a smile appeared, before he turned and quickly exited the office.
Banks was left staring after the anthropologist/police observer. He wasn't sure what had just happened, but he had the feeling he'd just been skillfully maneuvered into something that wasn't strictly necessary. One thing was obvious. Sandburg felt his partner had been slighted, and he was determined to have it rectified. As much as it disgruntled him to admit it, he agreed with the kid. Shaking his head, he went back to work. He would apologize to his best detective as soon as an opportunity presented itself.
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