The guys don't belong to me... make no moola and never will if I don't stop writing about other peoples characters.

Warnings: Blair's a cop, but it's really not an issue in the story. Much Guppy bashing ensues. PG (maybe) 13 for language.

Thanks to Shallan for her beta reading skills.


WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE



Crowswork






Rafe and Henri take care of Blair

The two young detectives watched as the 747 carrying Jim Ellison took off and disappeared from view.

The trip to the former Soviet Union had been too big an honor to refuse, and Jim had been ordered to go by the Police Chief. Blair, too, had insisted he go, although he was left behind. The new Detective was simply too junior to rate such a privilege and so much time away.

"Blair... I was wondering if you could help us out on this Corless case?" Rafe asked the question without turning away from the window.

"Come on, Rafe. Just because Jim asked you guys..."

"No. This doesn't have anything to do with keeping you entertained."

Blair rolled his eyes. So what he suspected was true, he thought as he groaned. "Jim asked you guys to look after me? Excuse me while I crawl under that rug over there."

"Aww, hell. I didn't mean it that way." All the guys had promised to keep mum about Jim's request and yet the kid got it out of him in record time. Rafe was fairly sure that Jim was going to kill him for this. "I really need your help. This case is turning to crap and I know nothing about archaeology."

"Sure, I'll help anyway I can. It's just that you guys don't have to invent stuff to keep me occupied. I have a ton of books and tapes that I want to get to while Jim is gone, and I won't be bored."

"This case is -- as you would say -- SO not invented." Rafe smiled at Major Crimes' newest detective. "Come on, I'll explain on the way."


They met Henri at the building site. He filled Blair in as they walked from the parking area. "Corless Construction is building a high rise apartment complex in what was once an old growth forest area."

"In a secondary excavation, the workers uncovered what appeared to be an ancient burial ground," Rafe added. "The bones were sent to Dan Wolf, but most of the primitive pottery shards have disappeared."

"The whole site was shut down until they determined it was no longer a crime scene." The unlocked gate was standing ajar, and Henri opened it wider so they could enter.

"We're here to meet the supervisor, Bart Glover." Rafe looked around, carefully scanning the area. "He said he had information about the theft."

Blair spotted the taped off area where the 'grave' was unearthed and went to have a look. Rafe and Henri went inside the shell of the ground floor, looking for Glover.

Kneeling in the dirt, the young detective sifted through the damp soil, searching for any remnant of the find. He knew there would be fragments of pottery, if this was a true archeological site.

It only took one tiny piece to tell the tale. The traces of color might have held on all these years, but the smooth, finely milled clay told a different story. Blair scratched at the edge and grinned. Whoever planted the pottery, probably stole it back before it could be proven fake.


Blair was right about the artifacts on the site being planted. And the fact that they were counterfeit. However, a construction worker had stolen them from the site. A worker who thought he'd struck it rich and was determined to hold on to his loot.

Right now, Charles Rollins was perched on a walkway, high in the tangle of steel girders and beams, a hunting rifle in his hands. And he was watching Blair through the high power scope.


Unable to find Bart Glover, Henri and Rafe separated and searched the huge structure. Rafe found Glover, barely conscious, bound and gagged. As soon as his mouth was free, Glover started to ramble hysterically. "Charlie... Charlie Rollins. He's up there with a rifle. He's nuts." As soon as his hands were freed, Glover pointed to the rafters overhead.

Rafe called for backup, then used hand signals to clue Henri in. He directed him to the entrance on the north side of the building. After stashing Glover in the comparative safety of the space between two dumpsters, Rafe raced to the south entrance, his weapon drawn.

Outside, both partners skirted the partially built walls; their attention riveted on Blair as he approached the southeast corner of the building.

From where he stood, Blair could see both men although they could not see each other. In the moment it took him to register their wary figures approaching him, a shot rang out. Dirt and grass exploded at his feet and he started running toward the only available shelter at the corner of the building.

Meanwhile, Henri and Rafe had only one thought. Save Sandburg.

As he neared the safety of the wall, Blair tried to stop as he saw two large blurs coming at him from different directions. Henri caught him and tried to cover him just as Rafe slammed into them both.

Blair collapsed into a semi-conscious heap. When he was able to focus, he saw Henri handcuffing a groaning, battered man in work clothes.

Rafe knelt next to him. "Hold still. The ambulance is on the way."

"What happened?" Blair asked blearily. "To him, I mean?"

"The idiot was trying to get a shot at us and leaned too far over the edge." Rafe's anger colored his tone and made his accent heavier.

"Oh." Blair tried to sit up and groaned, collapsing back onto the grass.

"You're hurt, aren't you?" Henri asked fatalistically.

"Well... yeah." Blair opted for honesty.

"Damn!" Rafe stood and looked for the ambulance.

"It wasn't your fault." Blair looked from one detective to the other.

"Damn!" This time they both said it.


"I don't need either one of you to stay with me." Blair didn't have a headache until after he spent an hour arguing with Rafe and Henri. "I don't have a concussion. Just a cracked rib and a broken wrist."

"And four stitches in your head." Henri looked down at the bandage nestled in the long hair.

"And you heard the doctor. He said to take my pills and rest." Blair looked around the quiet loft. "I'm going to lounge around in peaceful splendor. I'm going to rest." He urged the two partners from the loft and locked the door.

"We'll come by and check on you later," Rafe shouted through the door.

Blair closed his eyes and leaned back against Jim's fishhook poster. "Goodbye!" he answered firmly.


Megan takes care of Blair

"Damn-damn-damn!" Megan Connor paced outside of the ER and cursed under her breath. "That wanker Bosco is dead if I get hold of him."


She had hoped to cheer Sandy up, take his mind off the stitches in his head and the cast on his arm.

He had just been lying on the couch, reading, when she stopped by. "Come on, Sandy. Let's go out for a bit of fun."

"Megan, any other time I'd love to, but..."

"But nothing. We'll have a few beers and some snacks. Listen to some tunes." Megan was giving him that look. That look that said, 'I see you as more than a friend'.

Blair was off the couch before he realized he was moving. "So... are you driving?"

"I'm not riding in that piece of... uh classic, that you drive." Megan laughed, as she helped him put on his jacket over the bulky cast. "Even if your arm wasn't broken."

"I can drive with one hand tied behind my back." Blair pondered that statement. "You know... I think I've done that at least once since I met Jim."

"You're a sick pup, Sandy. Has no one ever told you that?"

"Just a little beat up at the moment."

"Little?" She watched Blair as he locked the door to the loft and joined her at the elevator. He was wearing a ball cap to disguise the missing patch of hair above his temple, but she could see him moving carefully to protect his damaged ribs.

No dancing tonight, and probably no beer either if he was still on the prescription painkillers. Still, Sandy was good company, and Megan was looking forward to spending the evening with him.


Eddie Bosco couldn't believe his luck. That big, foreign bitch was in the bar where he worked. He was out on bail and working with his brother Kenny, in the kitchen of his restaurant, The Grotto.

She had humiliated him during the robbery, taking him down without any apparent difficulty, despite the fact that he was armed. Now was his chance to pay her back.


"I've had their atomic wings and thank you very much, but I won't be having them again. My lips burned for a week." Blair changed his order to the extra spicy wings instead. Remembering how greasy they were, he added, "And make that the small order, please? With a club soda."

Megan ordered the mega-platter of atomic wings and a Fosters. She saw her companion's expression and gave him a defensive frown. "I didn't eat all day."

"I didn't say anything. Just remember... if you get sick... I can't carry you." He held up his cast-covered arm.

"That'll be the day." Megan laughed as the waiter left.


As he tossed his latest order over the counter, Kenny Bosco wondered why his brother was acting so weird. "Guy and chick over there want an Atomic... Mega... a Lady's... Extra-hot... a Fosters and a club on the side." He hurried away to wait on his other tables.

Eddie Bosco didn't bother to look at his brother's illegible handwriting. "Oh, the lady's will be extra hot, all right!" Trust that bitch to order the small size. Trying to impress the geek with how dainty she was, no doubt.

When the orders were ready, he discreetly lifted a spray bottle and let a mist of green liquid rain down on the smaller plate of wings. Then he handed the tray to his brother. The lady cop probably wouldn't die from that crap. But he hoped it would make her plenty sick.


Blair usually liked spicy food, but the Buffalo wings tasted odd. He even sampled Megan's at her insistence and they tasted fine, if very, very hot. So he pushed his half finished plate away and ate a few more of hers.

They were interrupted by a commotion coming from the kitchen. When they showed their badges and went into the kitchen, they saw two men who looked remarkably similar, rolling around in barbecue sauce.

One of the men was beating the other to within an inch of his life. Megan grabbed him and pulled him away. "Police officer! Stop it right now."

"You don't understand, Miss... er Officer. This stupid moron just poisoned you."

"What?" Megan and Blair shouted together. Then, Blair had his cell phone out and was calling for help. He added an ambulance to the list.

"I give my convict brother a job, and he uses it to poison a freakin' cop." Kenny kicked at the barely conscious figure on the floor. "Mom was right! You are an asshole!"

"Megan?" Blair's voice was oddly quiet. "I think... I think... I'm gonna be..." What happened next could best be described as an atomic eruption. He spewed. He threw up food he couldn't remember eating. And it all ended up on Eddie.

"Oh, man. You must really like her to get THAT upset over her being poisoned." Kenny looked at the young man who stood doubled over, clutching at his stomach.

Megan pushed him away and went to her fellow detective. "Twit! He's the one who's poisoned."

"He ate the Ladies... I mean small order?"

"Yes." Megan was holding the retching man upright when the uniformed officers arrived. "Is that where the poison was... on the small order?"

"Yeah. The little creep was bragging about it." Kenny held up a spray bottle and offered it to the police. "He used this."

The paramedics arrived and Blair and Megan were both whisked away, leaving the uniforms to take Eddie in.


Megan groaned when she saw what was left of poor Sandburg when the doctors were done. They'd pumped some sort of horrid black stuff (had the doctor said charcoal?) into his stomach, then pumped it back out from the look of things. He looked pale and terribly ill. "Sandy?" she whispered.

Jim Ellison was going to have her head over this. Right after he's killed Rafe and Henry, he's going to come after me. She sighed as she patted the cold fingers. "And I'm going to deserve it."

"Deserve what?" Blair didn't open his eyes.

"Whatever lethal thing your partner does to me... for letting this happen."

"It's not y'r fault." Blair lay motionless and tried to breathe evenly. "Grown man, for God's sake... Detective, even."

"But Jim..."

"Jim can obsess over my safety if he likes. It's genetic, I think. But he shouldn't bother his friends with this..."

"Oh shut up, Sandy. We'd worry over you, even if we'd never met your precious Sentinel."

"Never would'a met me then."

"Oh, go to sleep. The doc's say you should stay the rest of the night, so they can observe you."

"Observe the observer," Blair said blearily. "Watch the defective detective."

"What have they given you?" Megan eyed the IV hanging near the bed.

"Ohhh... good stuff." His black stained lips curved into a beatific smile as he went to sleep.

Megan sat down and waited. "I'll just stay then." She took his hand in hers and held it. "Not much point in going home, now. Might as well wait, and take you home in the morning." Yes, that was the most logical solution.

And Megan would have slugged anyone who suggested differently.


Joel takes care of Blair

"So this is the sweet boy that my baby brother is always talking about." Josie Ross gathered Blair into her arms and kissed his cheek. "I wanted to meet you in the worst way."

If his ribs hadn't protested, Blair would have enjoyed the motherly embrace. She was a beautiful and elegant lady in her early fifties, who smelled like Obsession and peppermint. She was perfectly dressed and coifed, with impressively long fingernails.

Josie was Joel's big sister, and in this instance, that didn't mean just older. She was almost as tall as Jim, and built along much the same lines as her brother.

Joel had asked Blair to come to the Gospel Music Festival at his church a week ago. While the broken wrist and cracked rib might keep him off work for a while, he figured that a quiet day spent in church and at a picnic was safe enough.

Joel's wife was out of town, so Blair spent the service seated between the brother and sister. The wonderful music made him forget about his aches and pains. Spiritual. This music was that in every sense of the word.

Later, he even joined in, albeit not too loudly, with the singing of the various choirs. His clear tenor blended with and complimented Josie's pure deep contralto. She grinned down at him and gently ruffled his curls.

Soon everyone was swaying and clapping along to the joyous music. Blair joined in cautiously, leaning away as Joel clapped and the big man's elbow got too close to his ribs.

In fact, he leaned so far toward Josie that his right eye became aquatinted with one of her long fingernails. Joel saw immediately that there was a problem, as did Josie.

The tall pair caught him under each arm and hustled him out of the church before anyone noticed that there was a problem. "Oh, Lord." Josie was in tears. "Blair... honey... are you badly hurt?"

"No." Blair covered his eye with his hand. He should have worn his damn glasses. "I'm ok, really."

"We're going to stop by the Urgent Care and have somebody look at that." Joel eased the young man's hand away and looked at the reddened eye.

"Please don't feel bad, Josie," Blair comforted the tall woman.

"All my life I wondered what it would be like to have long nails. I have them one day and I maim someone with them."

"I'm sure it's not..."

Josie interrupted him. "I'll just never forgive myself if I harmed one of those pretty blue eyes."


Simon takes care of Blair

Jim had been gone for six days.

The detective wasn't doing anything more dangerous than making the rounds of various government functions on the arm of an attractive former KGB agent. He promised to be careful and not overuse his senses.

Simon assigned Blair to desk duty. He should have been fine. If only Jim hadn't asked their friends to look after him.

Oh, it was all done with the best intentions.

Simon had long ago realized that the members of Major Crime knew about the Sentinel/Guide bond. They were detectives. Good detectives. And they knew Sandburg wasn't a liar. So when Jim asked them to look after his trouble magnet partner, they all promised to keep him safe and entertained until his friend came home.

It really wasn't their fault that, after a week spent in various activities and strenuous nightlife, Blair was a wreck.


Simon had planned this poker party for the last night before Jim came home. Blair had given up trying to win, he was just trying to stay awake. The pain medication for his broken arm and ribs was making him drowsy. And it was difficult to see the cards since the eye patch made it hard to wear his glasses.

The others were drinking beer, but he was sipping chamomile tea in an effort to settle his stomach, still queasy after the 'buffalo wings' incident days ago. He should have stayed at the loft, in his bed under his pile of warm, fuzzy blankets. But then the guys would have felt guilty.

They had insisted he come to the party. That he was the guest of honor. They were worried about him. Besides, what could happen at Simon's house?

Still, he breathed a sigh of relief when the party wound down and they left. Each bid him a fretful farewell, most apologizing yet again for the various hurts they had inadvertently caused. Blair assured them that it wasn't their fault and that he forgave them anyway.


Simon shooed the weary young man toward the couch as he cleaned up the debris from the evenings entertainment. By the time he was ready to drive the kid home, Blair was fast asleep.

"Sandburg!" Simon tried to find a spot that wasn't damaged so he could shake him. "Wake up, Blair."

The young man clutched at the tiny couch cushion and moaned. "Leemeeesleeep!"

Simon shook his head and sighed. "Aww hell, kid. I'll be glad when Jim gets home and takes over your care and feeding."

He thought about dragging him into Daryl's room to sleep, but Blair looked so comfortable on the wide, soft couch that he decided against it. He went to the antique chest his great aunt Belle had left him. Inside were a fluffy quilt and two plump pillows. He gently removed the sleeping man's sneakers, and covered him with the warm quilt.

Lifting the curly head (and being careful of the healing stitches), he eased the pillows under it.

Before Simon went to bed, he left a message on the loft's answering machine. It wouldn't do for Jim to get home and find his friend missing.


The scent of bacon frying normally made Blair rather hungry. This morning, it made him slightly ill. He lifted his face from the pillow and tried to take a deep breath. He couldn't.

"Simon... hinnhhhk." His in-drawn breath made an odd honking sound.

"Sandburg? What the hell?"

"Simon, I can't seem to... hinnhhhk... breathe in... hinnhhhk."

"What's wrong? You sound awful."

"My throat feels like... hinnhhhk... it's full of itching powder... hinnhhhk."

"My God, kid. Let's get you to the hospital."

"I don't understand... hinnhhhk... I haven't had an asthma attack... hinnhhhk... since I was ten. The only thing... hinnhhhk... that sets it off is... hinnhhhk... the mold on feather pillows... hinnhhhk..."

"Oh, hell! Aunt Belle made those pillows herself." Simon stormed into his room and pulled on a set of sweats. He was wondering if he should call Cascade General and tell them they were coming when he heard the front door of his house being opened.

"Oh, hi Jim... hinnhhhk..."

"What the hell happened to you?"

"I'm just having an... hinnhhhk... asthma attack."

"You're a... a mess!" Jim Ellison's voice got louder and Simon hurried out.

"I'll explain after we take him to the hospital."

"I don't need to... hinnhhhk... go to the hospital. Except for this... hinnhhhk... annoyingly huge tickle in the area of my vocal cords... hinnhhhk... I'm was fine."

"What did you do to him?" Jim was in shock at the sight of his thin, battered guide. "He's honking? Look at him!"

"He fell asleep on the couch. I put a pillow under his head." Simon grabbed Blair's upper arm and steered him toward the door.

"...sounds like you put it over his face." Jim took the other arm and pulled. "Why does he look like a train ran over him?"

"Guys! Let me... hinnhhhk... go." Blair pulled away and went to his backpack. He always carried Children's Benadryl for Jim. Taking a swig of the grape flavored liquid, he cringed. To think, Jim actually liked the taste.

"Calm down, Chief."

"Let's go Sandburg."

"NO!" Blair barked at the two tall men. "See... I'm ok... hinn... much better now, really." He didn't know if the medicine helped, but now that he was away from the killer pillows, it was much, much better.

Jim listened to his friend's breathing and nodded. There was no congestion in his lungs and he was breathing easier. "Still, I think we should run by the..."

"No!" Blair snapped as he walked to the door. "Let's just go home."

"Sure, Chief."

"Bye, Simon. Thanks for the... hinn... thanks." Blair waved as he left.

Simon stood silently at the door and watched as Jim herded his battered partner to the old pick-up. "Chief, are you ok? Can you talk?"

"Yeah... I can talk..."

"Good, then you can tell me..." Jim paused as he glared at his unruffled partner. "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOU?"

"Well it started with YOU telling the... hinn... guys to look out for me..."


Jim takes care of Blair

"Are you sure you're up to coming in today?" Jim glanced at his partner. In the week since he'd returned home, Blair had been pampered and coddled into some semblance of good health.

"I'm fine. I won't even do any paper work. Besides... Rafe promised to do all mine till this cast comes off. I think he feels guilty."

"He should."

"Jim, I told you. It wasn't their fault. Now leave them alone."

"But..."

"If you hadn't asked them to..."

Jim interrupted him before he could say it again. "OK! It's MY fault."

Jim waited for Blair to assure him it wasn't HIS fault either, but no such reassurance was forthcoming. "Sorry, Chief."

"Did I tell you Henri took my car to his uncles garage and they gave it a complete tune up?"

"That's nice."

"And Kenny Bosco was so relieved about me not suing him, that he offered to send us Buffalo wings every Friday night for life."

"Oh?" Jim perked up; he loved those wings.

"But I told him no. It wouldn't be right since I'm a cop now."

"Oh!" Jim frowned.

"He is sending a spread to the next poker party we have." Blair reassured his disappointed friend. "I didn't want him to feel bad."

"OK."

"Did you know that Joel's sister was a retired career Air Force officer?"

"No, Chief."

"She was a pioneer in the computer field. She sent me the new laptop her company is testing."

"And it was OK for you to accept that?

"I didn't want to hurt her feelings, Jim." Blair smiled blissfully. "Besides, she said it's a field test.

"What's Simon doing for his penance?"

"JIM!"

"Tell me."

"Well... he's going to be on that stake out with you. The one by the condemned salmon cannery." Wide blue eyes peered at him with pure innocence. "I thought my lungs might not be up to sitting in an old tug boat, down at the docks."

"And while we're doing that, you'll be...?"

"At home, reading."

THE END


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