Signs - Kerensa
"Hi, guys," Blair croaked as he walked into the Major Crimes bullpen. "How's it going?"
Brian Rafe winced at the whispered voice and Henri Brown, his partner in crime…err, his partner, shook his shorn head. "Damn, Hairboy. You sound worse than you did yesterday."
And that was saying a lot. Blair had caught a cold a few weeks back, which had swiftly turned into bronchitis, and then hovered at pneumonia like a demented hot air balloon. The observer had been hacking his lungs out ever since. For the last couple of days, a lovely new dimension had been added to his illness repertoire; his voice had been fading in and out, as Sandburg battled laryngitis as well.
"It's not that bad," Blair protested. However, the last word of his sentence came out as a whisper and didn't really help his case very much.
Blair cleared his throat, trying to get his voice back, but that started off a coughing spell, which left the young man leaning against the desk as he rode it out. When Blair was able to breathe somewhat clearly again, he realized that H had hold of one arm, holding him up, and Rafe was supporting him on the other side.
"Why don't you sit down?" Brian's voice was strained. Blair guessed that hearing someone fighting for breath probably wasn't very pleasant. (No? You think?) The grad student obligingly sat down at Jim's desk.
"Yes, here you go." Joel Taggart's voice was as soothing as the hand rubbing the middle of Blair's back.
"Drink this, sweetie."
Blair smiled up at Rhonda, Simon's secretary, and took the cup of water that she was handing him. He glanced around and blushed when he realized that a crowd had gathered.
"I..." He had to stop and cough again. (He was down to one lung.) "I'm okay now."
The raised eyebrows that the guys gave him were indicative of their disbelief. Rhonda just ignored what he was saying and put a hand on his forehead. Blair had to admit that her cool fingers felt nice on his face.
"You have a fever," she pronounced accusatorially.
"What's going on here?" Simon's voice boomed out.
"Nothing good," Joel admitted.
"He is febrile," Rhonda pronounced. She winked at Blair and the anthropologist knew that she'd used such an obscure word for fever in an attempt to confuse the detectives. Blair smiled back. He sometimes used more difficult words himself, in an attempt to hold his own among the much larger and trained detectives.
"Hairboy almost coughed up a lung a few minutes ago."
Simon gave the detective a strange look and then turned back to his observer. "Aren't you supposed to be resting at home?" Banks asked. He stood up straight and crossed his arms. Blair was impressed with the sight. You have to admit that someone Simon's height was nothing to sneeze at, especially if you were a short(er) man who was sitting down at the time.
Blair sneezed, three times in a row, which didn't help his aching head one bit. He had to fight back the urge to laugh, because he had just sneezed at the imposing captain.
"I'm on my way back to the loft," Blair explained. "I just had to meet Jim here, because I'm supposed to write out my statement for the Roscoe Laurens case."
"Your statement?" Simon asked with a frown.
"I thought that creep was trying to pimp out automotive repairs for sex?" Joel looked at the others in confusion.
"Yeah, he was." Henri shook his head in disgust. "Laurens said he'd do the labor for free if his clients would oblige him."
"Actually, Roscoe promised labor and parts for free if I would have sex with him for six months," Blair clarified. He shrunk back at the stunned and angry looks on everyone's faces...especially Rhonda.
"Son of a bitch!" That exclamation was more startling than Blair's news. The blond secretary was known for her even temper. "He'd better be glad I didn't know that when he was being held here."
She continued to quietly mutter dire threats. Blair couldn't quite hear her, due to his stuffy ears, but the admiring looks that Simon was giving Rhonda showed how impressed he was.
Jim hurried into the bullpen. He'd been down in booking and heard Blair's voice. The awful coughing had prompted the Sentinel to race to the elevator, heading for Major Crimes. Ellison had cursed himself when said elevator had stopped on every floor, delaying his arrival.
The Sentinel had used his enhanced hearing to zero in on his young Guide. (Biiiiiig surprise there.)
Blair's lungs naturally sounded awful. They were full of congestion and he could hear Blair straining to catch his breath. The anthropologist's heart didn't sound much better. It was racing along, as it worked to keep up with the rest of Blair's laboring body. His kidneys sounded fine, as did his liver…and stomach…and intestines…
Sometimes, Jim wondered if he monitored Blair just a little too much.
Ellison was glad to see all of their friends surrounding Sandburg. It was nice to know that they cared as much as he did about the young man. Now...they needed to get the hell out of his way!
As if they could read Jim's mind (or more likely his scowling face) the crowd of people split in half and stepped to the side.
'They parted like the Red Sea,' Ellison thought with a snort.
The detective was surprised at the faint croak that used to be his partner's voice. "Damn. Your voice has gone from bad to worse," he commented.
Ellison sank to one knee in front of the younger man. Brushing aside the curly hair, he put a hand on Blair's forehead. Even before his hand made contact, the Sentinel could feel the heat radiating off his friend. He automatically adjusted Blair's temperature for the slight cooling factor that Rhonda's skin would have produced.
“Definitely a fever,” he added his two dollars worth. (What? You think two cents would buy anything nowadays.) “Now,” he held up one hand to stop Blair from commenting, “what did the doctor say?”
“I’m supposed to rest and avoid talking.” Blair glanced around and gave a sheepish look.
Ellison nodded. “Sounds good. Let’s go.” He took hold of Blair’s elbow and tugged him to his feet.
“But…” Blair was silenced by Jim’s look of doom. The observer made exaggerated gestures with his hands, like he was writing something.
“You need to sign your statement?” Jim asked.
Blair nodded. He sat back down when Ellison pointed at the chair and frowned up at the bigger man, flinging his hands out to the sides.
“Yes, I know, I know,” the Sentinel said, with a roll of his eyes. “I’m the one who just got you up. Well, park it while I round up Clayton.”
Detective Elliot Clayton was the one handling the extortion/pimping charge. The other detective looked at Blair and only saw the long hair and earrings, not the brilliant young man inside, so he was delaying the case as much as possible.
“What’s the matter with Clayton?” Simon asked.
The look on Ellison’s face told him there was a problem. That, along with Blair’s being there when he was sick, alerted the captain. Banks knew that the Sentinel would have been keeping an eagle eye on the younger man and had most probably told him to go straight home. Since Blair had obviously ignored the sensible advice, something was definitely up. No one defied the overprotective detective’s orders, least of all Blair.
“Why hasn’t Sandburg signed his statement before now?”
Jim scowled. “Because Detective Clayton is being a jerk about this. He’s been dragging his feet on this case.”
“Has he really?” The captain gave a predatory smile. “Leave him to me. You take the kid on home before he gets any sicker.”
“Good idea, sir.”
The Sentinel pulled Blair upright and tucked him against his shoulder protectively. Blair smiled in appreciation at Simon. He gave a small wave good bye, but didn’t try to use his almost nonexistent voice.
By the time they reached the elevator doors, Blair couldn’t hear a thing behind him. His stuffy head and ears were like the best set of headphones money could buy.
So he didn’t hear Simon growling to Rhonda for the blond woman to get Clayton on the phone. Not blessed with eyes in the back of his head (can we say ewwwww?) he also didn’t see the slightly manic grin that his friends all shared.
“Ji-im,” Blair started.
“I know you didn’t just say something,” the older man interrupted. “Not when your doctor, and more importantly, your Blessed Protector, told you not to.”
Blair’s eyebrows shot up at the last statement. Jim, who wasn’t as brilliant as Blair, was a smart man, and so he amended his statement.
“I mean, your Blessed Protector, who strongly suggested that you not talk.”
The younger man smiled and nodded his head in appreciation. He didn’t like being ordered around, even if it was supposedly for his own good.
He waited until Ellison had stopped for a red light and then made a motion with his hands. Naturally, the Sentinel looked over. Jim watched for a moment at the wild gyrations before grinning.
“Only you, Chief.”
Blair shrugged and raised his hands questioningly.
“Only you can have a long winded speech without saying a word.”
Nodding his head in agreement, Blair had to smile. He tilted his head to one side and raised up a hand, palm out.
“Okay, okay. We’ll stop by Papa Vittori’s and get some takeout on the way home.”
Blair grinned. He reached over, into Jim’s coat pocket, and started rooting around.
“Uh, Chief…not while we’re driving.”
The Guide smacked a snickering Ellison on the arm and pulled out the cell phone he’d been looking for. While Jim headed towards the restaurant, Blair dialed the number for him. Jim placed their order and then handed the phone back to the other man.
Blair closed the phone and frowned at his lover. He shrugged in confusion and Ellison grinned again.
“I thought you might put it back for me.”
This time Blair wasn’t confused.
Leaning closer, he slowly slid the small rectangle into Jim’s pocket. Naturally, his hand slid in with it…just to make sure the phone didn’t fall out, don’t you know.
The truck stopped at another light and Blair’s hand lingered for a while. When the green light appeared, Blair moved his hand and gestured for the Sentinel to drive on. With a glare, Jim drove off…not quite as smoothly as he usually did.
“I am not going to grade your papers for you and that’s final.”
Jim bit down on the chunk of orange flavored beef with gusto, like he was biting the head off a rabid perp…only not so disgusting. Blair looked at him innocently and gave a sad sigh.
“Uh uh. Don’t give me the sad, puppy dog eyes either. We are resting the whole weekend. I know for a fact that those papers don’t need to be finished for a week yet, so give it a rest.”
Ellison deliberately looked away from his enticing lover. The Sentinel hadn’t realized how much he depended on hearing Blair’s voice…or just how expressive Blair could be with just his hands.
“So, what do we want to do tonight?”
Blair slid his chopsticks into his mouth. The slender pieces of wood were loaded with a morsel of pork that was dripping juice. He then sensuously pulled the long objects out of his mouth.
Jim was mesmerized by the sight. He felt heat pooling in his lap and was strongly tempted to tackle his lover and take him on top of the kitchen table, among the take out cartons of Moo Shoo Pork.
“A-and we’re not having sex tonight either,” he managed to stutter out.
The look on Blair’s face was priceless. His eyes widened in surprise as he managed to look hurt, upset and worried at the same time.
The Sentinel smiled and reached out a comforting touch. As he placed his hand on Blair’s face, Ellison tried to explain.
“Chief, you are still running a fever, and every time you get excited, you start to cough. I really don’t want you to choke to death just because we want to have sex.”
Blair opened his mouth to reply and then closed it in resignation. He shrugged and slumped down, seeming to cave in on himself.
“Hey, I didn’t say we couldn’t cuddle.”
Blair sat up a little straighter at that. Standing up, he started to pick up the empty and semi-empty cartons.
“Leave that until morning.”
The anthropologist feigned grabbing his heart in shock and gave a silent laugh when Jim cuffed him on the arm. Blair ducked under Jim’s arm and placed a hand on the Sentinel’s head, supposedly checking for a fever.
“No, I’m not sick.” Jim pushed Blair towards the living room. “Go on, I’ll be right there.”
The picky, persnickety, anally retentive, neat freak did the fastest and sloppiest clean up he’d ever done before.
Empties were tossed in the trash and any leftovers were hastily shoved in the refrigerator. Jim even left the table with one or two smears of sauce on it.
Jim sat down on the couch beside Blair and pulled the younger man to him. Blair had already put the movie on, one that he and Jim both liked to watch.
The Sentinel ran his fingers through Blair’s hair. Blair slid down until his head was laying in Jim’s lap. The younger man smiled up at his thoughtful lover when the detective pulled the throw off the back of the couch and covered his sick lover up.
Blair made a few hand signals, ones that Jim could easily interpret.
“I love you too, Chief,” Jim answered back.
Who needed words?
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Author's Acknowledgements: A big thanks to my beta, Bobbie Turnbeaugh, who made several, very helpful suggestions.