This is PG -- barely a Pretender X-over (don't worry if you aren't familiar) -- and I guess you could say there is an OFC, though more maternal than romantic. Started its life as a Theme-fic. Thanks to Shallan, my beta most excellent. Any errors that remain are mine.
You could say this is the second installment of the (Caught on Video) series I started in 'Designated Driver'.
"No really Jim. This will be fascinating."
"Ah huh." Jim grunted as he piloted the truck through the grounds of the Advanced Institute for Simian Research.
Blair was obviously excited about this case and refused to let his partners lack of interest effect him. "No, REALLY. The scientists here are trying to insure that the gorilla survives into this century."
Most of the transplanted gorillas lived miles from the city, in a large habitat. It was made up of temperate Pacific Northwest rainforest that almost approximated their natural habitat in Africa. AISR was where the animals were brought and cared for until they could be released. Someone had broken in and stolen a baby gorilla, while he and his parents were at the Institute for medical examination.
"They're just animals." Much to Jim's dismay, Blair had volunteered to be on the investigating team. Simon just shrugged and said that Blair spoke the same language as the scientists, so why not.
"Jeez, Jim. I mean, you lived in the jungle. You must have interacted with simians."
"Monkeys make good eatin'," Jim grinned fondly.
"Jim!" Blair grimaced and tried to sound shocked. "This from a man who won't even eat tongue."
"I will when Naomi feeds it to me."
"Hey, that's my..."
"Mom. Yeah, I know." Jim parked and got out of the truck. "Why do you think I spent a whole afternoon in bed with her, and all we did was eat tongue and look at your baby pictures?"
"You have to admit... I was damn cute."
Jim's sarcastic rebuttal was cut off by the arrival of a tall dark haired man about Jim's age. "I'm Dr. Goodall. Please -- call me Jarod."
"I'm Blair Sandburg, and this is my partner, Detective Jim Ellison."
"Detectives." The man shook their hands and gestured for them to follow him.
"Goodall?" Blair asked as he quickened his step to keep up with the tall man.
"No relation." Jarod gave Blair a strange, thoughtful look.
"About the theft?" Jim asked.
"The kidnapping. Yes, we've been doing our own in-house investigation. Someone darted the mother and took the infant out of her arms. The dart gun used was the property of the institute. I'm fairly sure I've figured out who did it."
"So, Doctor, you have the case all wrapped up for us?" Something about Jarod Goodall set off all Jim's alarms. His speech patterns were precise like someone raised or educated abroad, and he moved with carefully controlled strength. The scientist's smile was warm and friendly, but something in his eyes reminded the former Ranger of the Dobermans that guarded the bases where he'd served.
"Jarod... please." The man grinned engagingly and the image faded. "I'm happy for the chance to meet Dr. Sandburg. And his... partner."
"Call me Blair." They walked off, like two nerds in a pod, Jim thought as he trailed behind and listened as his friend asked, "So who do you suspect?"
"Two contractors named Gerald Owens and Kale Burette re-did the wiring last month. I traced an offer to sell an infant gorilla back to Owens. I let it be known that the infant was in need of medicine to survive."
"And you have the drug supply under surveillance?"
"Brilliant." Blair nodded appreciatively.
"Thank you!" Jarod seemed quite taken with Blair, as they formed their own little mutual admiration society.
Jim tried not to gag.
"This is the holding area where the mother and father are being kept. Number 75 is an experienced mother and we hoped she would teach the younger females to care for their infants. She and the male were recently rescued from poachers, and were brought here for necessary treatment." Jarod waved toward a deep slope sided containment area. There was a wall and an iron rail at the top. There were also twenty or so children.
"Why are the kids here?" Jim scowled as he looked at the group.
"They are the winners of the sixth grade science fair." Jarod looked fondly at the students. "This trip was planned for some time. The medicine locker is on the other side of the compound, so there shouldn't be a problem. Besides -- they'll be leaving in a few minutes."
One of the kids was standing on a bench and trying to see into the enclosure. Blair stepped closer and was about to say something when all hell broke loose.
"Doctor Goodall!" A young man was running up the ramp toward them chasing another man. The man being pursued ran awkwardly and was carrying a gun.
"GUN!" Jim turned and drew his own weapon in one smooth motion. He knew Blair was urging the children to run, and so he focused all his attention on the...
"NO!" Jarod stepped between him and the armed man. "It's Jeff. He has a tranq pistol." Jarod lowered his voice and spoke to the young man who Jim could now see was mentally challenged. "Jeff, no one will hurt you. Just put the gun down."
The young man looked at the pistol in his hand and held it, like a dead rat, toward Jarod. "I didn't mean nothin' Jarod." Jim let his eyes dart toward his partner. Most of the students had -- on Blair's shouted orders - - run toward the parking lot and safety. The kid on the bench had fallen backwards and Blair was standing on the bench himself, lifting the fallen child back over the wall.
Almost like a monkey himself, the kid scrambled over Blair and jumped off the bench. He ran after his classmates and Jim could hear Blair's sigh of relief. He straightened and turned just as Jeff dropped the pistol. Jim watched the pistol fall to the concrete with a weird feeling of inevitability -- heard the 'spat' sound as it fired -- saw the bright red dart leave the barrel -- and followed it's trajectory as it arced toward his partner.
Blair let out a small yelp as the dart hit him above his belt buckle. He stepped back, which was unfortunate, because there was no back. His knees hit the wall and, with his arms wind milling desperately, he disappeared with a shout. "JIMMM..."
"Blair?" Jim raced forward and knelt on the bench, looking into the enclosure. Blair was about twenty feet down the almost vertical wall and sliding rapidly toward the bottom. Below waited two gorillas. The large female was sitting disconsolate in the corner. The huge Silverback male was pacing at the base of the incline, aggression apparent in his every movement.
Jim scouted around for something he could use to climb down. Not finding anything, he began to climb over the rail, determined to slide down the wall. He felt a strong hand grab his arm. "No, Detective. These are comparatively wild gorillas. Your presence could further agitate them."
Jim contemplated punching the dark-haired man in the face. "Can we get down there?" He pointed to an access door."
"This way." Jarod turned and ran down the ramp toward the doorway that led into the institute. Jim passed him and raced to the entrance to the habitat. Jarod opened the door and blocked the way as he turned to Jim. "Stay by the door. If you do anything they think is threatening, they might hurt Blair. Remember that their child has been stolen and they are very agitated." The young man, who had been chasing Jeff, came forward with two, loaded tranquilizer pistols. Jarod handed the detective one. "Last resort, Jim. They would still have time to kill him before the drugs took effect."
The two men stepped into the enclosure and Jim had to grimace. Blair had gotten to his hands and knees and was trying to stand. The Silverback male moved forward with blinding speed and cuffed him. The simple backhanded slap threw Blair almost ten feet and only Jarod's grip on his arm kept Jim from running to his friend. "He's going to kill him."
"He's just showing him that HE is the alpha male here," Jarod answered, strain making his voice hoarse. "If you rush in, he could kill you both."
The gorilla cuffed Blair again, this time whacking him in the chest, trying to get him to react. Blair groaned and tried to roll away. "Hold still, Blair." Jim hoped the kid could hear him over the angry grunts of the ape. There was a screech and a dark blur as the female raced over and joined in. She stood in front of the larger male and shrieked at him, giving his shoulders a sound thump with her fists. Then she latched onto Blair's right arm and dragged him to the far corner of the enclosure. Plopping down, she lifted the semi- conscious young man onto her lap and patted him gently.
"She seems to like him." Jarod's voice startled Jim.
"We could dart the male now?" The detective was already raising his weapon.
"No. Remember that it was a man with a dart gun that stole her baby. It might frighten her into injuring..."
"Well what the hell can we do?" Jim was careful not to raise his voice.
"Give her, her baby?" It was Jeff's voice from inside the lab. "I brought Charlie with me."
"What?" Both men turned to the frightened man.
"I brought him back. Him and that gun I found." Jeff held up an old-fashioned picnic basket and showed them the sleeping infant inside. "I was planting the ground cover out by the parking lot and when Jerry and Kale saw me, they dropped him and ran." The young man stammered and Jim resisted the impulse to yell at him to hurry. He watched the mother gorilla effortlessly lift Blair and snuffle his hair while he listened to Jeff's rambling. "I'd seen the mommy monkey and she seemed so rough. I thought she might hurt it, but then she was so sad. I was wrong. Babies need their mommies."
"Yes Jeff, they do." Jarod took the basket and checked the infant. "Jim, is Blair all right? Conscious?"
Jim listened and almost smiled as he heard Blair conversing in drunken baby talk to the female gorilla. "He sounds high as a kite. Are those darts animal tranquilizer?"
"Nothing harmful to humans. It's similar to twilight sleep."
"Hand me the baby." Jim held out his arms. The tiny gorilla latched onto his shirtfront and buried itself against his neck. "Keep the male in your sights."
Jim moved a couple of feet from the door and sat down. He stroked the infants back and made sure the mother saw it. Dragging Blair by the hand she raced across the grass that separated them, stopping about ten feet away. Then she sat and held out her arms, her fingers curling in a timeless gesture of entreaty.
Jim figured 'when in Rome'. Taking a deep breath, he rapped his knuckles on the ground and then held out his arms in an identical 'gimme' gesture, looking at Blair. He could almost see the mother thinking.
"Hey, Jim." Blair picked this moment to start crawling toward him. "This party sucks. Can we go home?" The silverback took exception to his moving and leapt off the structure where he had been sulking.
The female turned and made an angry sound that echoed inside the compound. Only the burning ache in his own throat made Jim realize that he too had shouted. The angry male turned back and cuffed the heavy tire swings in a display of strength and pique. Then he wisely returned to his seat and sullenly plopped down.
And Jim returned to the 'hostage negotiations'. The female hooked one arm under Blair's belly and lifted him like a rag doll. Jim winced as his partners head and feet bounced off the ground. She stopped just out of his reach and sat again, lifting Blair onto her lap.
"Don't grab at him." Jim could hear Jarod's voice, almost subliminally low, whispering to him. "Blair will be the loser in any tug-of-war."
Blair patted the hairy arm around his chest and gave his friend a loopy grin. "Jib... Jim! You have a baby. It looks just like you."
Jim gently unfastened the tiny hands from his shirt collar and held the baby at arms length. He could sense the mother's nervousness and indecision as she reached toward him. Blair wiggled out of her grasp and tumbled toward Jim as she took the infant. She gave the young man's curly head one last touch, then retreated to the safety of her corner, holding her baby tight.
Jim took Blair in his arms and let Jarod help him scoot backwards into the lab. Then he started to -- for what felt like the first time in hours -- breathe. Remembering the silverback's attack, he ghosted his hands over his friend's ribs and back, sighing in relief when he felt no deep injuries.
"Quit tickling me." Blair slapped at his hands and tried to sit up. He fell backwards, only Jim's hand between his head and the hard floor.
"There are paramedics outside." Jarod's deep voice sounded almost amused. "Shall I ask them to come in?"
At Jim's nod, the door was opened and Blair was strapped to a backboard and placed on a stretcher. Jim was about to follow him up the ramp, when he frowned and looked quizzically at Jarod. The man had whispered a continuous stream of helpful instructions during the 'negotiations'. Whispered much too quietly for any human being -- except Jim -- to hear.
From across the room Jarod whispered -- sentinel soft -- one last time. "It was very hard to find, but I read all of Blair's research. However, you should not worry. I'm very good at keeping secrets."
Jim gave him a nervous grin and followed Blair to the ambulance.
Blair was treated for a broken middle finger and bruises. He was given a commendation for saving the child.
Jeff was given a raise and a certificate for his rescue and return of 'Charlie' as he had named him. His brief attempt to adopt Charlie was forgiven.
Dr. Goodall disappeared mysteriously, right after a tall brown-haired woman turned up at the institute looking for him. When Jim checked the records more closely he discovered that Jarod Goodall never existed.
The family of gorillas was returned to their extensive habitat in the remote pocket of rainforest where they lived happily ever after.
The whole incident was recorded on videotape and turned up later that year on the Fox network special World's Wackiest Animals. When the guys in the bullpen asked which animal was the wacky one, Blair showed them all how well his finger had healed.
Jim occasionally drove to the preserve and dropped off a bushel of fresh fruit at the research station. He never saw the family again.
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