What Did They Say? by Sammi M.Blair *knew* he shouldn't be doing this, but he couldn't help himself. There was a certain type of thrill with sneaking around and the young man was eating it up.
The bullpen was pretty deserted with everyone working his or her own cases. Those that were still there didn't find anything unusual about the anthropologist skulking around the captain's office. Whenever the kid was in trouble, he tended to do that to get the general feel of the larger man's mood before heading into the lion's den. Though no one had heard of Sandburg doing anything lately, they just shrugged it off as the same old same old and finished their work.
Of course, they had no idea what Blair was *really* up to. Plain and simple: Blair was eavesdropping. He had been a little perturbed when Simon had quickly rebuffed his move to join him and Jim in the office. It was pretty much a given that he was always welcome into these talks, but today had been different and he was determined to find out why.
*Thank goodness Jim still has that cold or else this wouldn't work. He's so stuffed up I don't think he'd be able to hear a train coming through the bullpen.* The anthropologist checked to make sure no one was paying him any attention and pressed his ear to the window. *Now, what was so important that I couldn't be in there? Come on, Guys. Talk to me.*
For a second, nothing was clear. But, then
"So, we still on for poker at your place, Jim?"
"As far as I know. I think it'll be great way for Sandburg to relax now that he has that article finished." He sneezed. "And it'll give him a nice break from having to look after me since I've had this cold."
"He did go above and beyond this last week because you are not an easy patient. I remember that time, before Sandburg, you had the flu and Daryl and I took care of you. My son swore he'd never have children after that."
"I'm not *that* bad."
Both Simon and Blair snorted.
"Uh huh and since when have colds made people delusional?"
"Well, since I'm such a horrible patient it's all the more reason why we should do something really special for the kid to make up for it." A pause. "Whadya think?"
"Okay. I can talk to the guys and Megan and see if they feel like a little impromptu party. I'm sure it won't be a problem and we'll be able to scrounge up a few snacks and such."
A few coughs and sniffles could be heard in the room and Blair unconsciously patted his pockets for the cough drops he'd been carrying around since this had started.
"Umm, I was thinking of something a little nicer; something to really let him know how much I appreciate him."
"Well, what do you have in mind?"
"I was thinking we could get him a woman."
Blair nearly choked - not just from what his friend had said, but also by the tone he'd used. It'd been so matter-of-factly.
"I don't know, Jim. They can be awfully expensive."
"That's not really a problem, is it Sir?"
*That's your *only* concern?*
"I suppose not if we all pitched in. But finding one this close to time is going to be near impossible."
"Not really. I have a little place in mind that could fix us right up no questions asked."
*Man, who says cops don't get perks.*
"Okay, but I'm still not really sure the kid could handle one by himself."
*I don't believe they're discussing something like this! And, what does he mean he doesn't think I can handle one by myself?! Who do I look like Michael Jackson?*
"Now that you mention it, you could be right. *Gee thanks, Pal!* "I still think he'd appreciate the gesture though." He snapped his fingers. "I know! We'll share."
If the grad student had been drinking something, it probably would have shot right out his nose. He was flabbergasted. *Share? Omigod, I've fallen into the Twilight Zone or worse, The Outer Limits! This can so *not* be happening!*
"Well, if you and Sandburg are going to have one, you know everyone else is going to want one too. It's only fair. I don't know about anyone else, but it's been a while since I had a good woman."
*Don't think that's too hard to figure out, Simon.*
"Shouldn't be a problem. I can call and tell them we need three? for tonight."
"Three, huh? That doesn't sound right. One for you and Sandburg; one for me and Joel we've shared before and now that he's keeping the weight off, I should be able to get an even amount; and one for Rafe and Brown. But, what about Megan?"
"Oh, I tend to forget about her sometimes. I doubt if she'd want one."
"Then you don't know Megan. I've had extensive talks with her and I think she'd enjoy the experience."
*What?! You have got to be kidding me! Megan? Who knew? I think I'm gonna have to sit down after this.*
"Yeah, but I don't think she could handle one all by herself any more than Sandburg could. I mean, think of what we're talking about."
"You're right. Okay, so how about Rafe and Megan share and Henry gets one by himself. I've seen the man in action; he could definitely handle the challenge."
"Or two or three if you know what I mean. Sounds good. I'll call and tell them to send over four tonight." A sneeze. "I just hope this cold will have toned down enough by then. I would like to enjoy this."
"I wouldn't worry about it, Jim. Most of your enjoyment will come from seeing the expression on Sandburg's face when he sees what we've done for him."
*Uh uh. Can't come close to my expression at this particular moment. I don't think I've been this shocked since I found out what *really* happened in the "Brady Bunch" house.*
"Yeah, tonight's going to be great. I almost can't wait."
*This *cannot* be happening.*
~~The day hadn't gone well for Blair after that. As the other detectives returned from their respective outings, he'd taken to staring at each one like he was looking for something to leap out at him.
He nearly jumped out of his skin when Megan pulled him aside. "What's going on, Sandy?"
Nervously, "With what?"
"With you. I've noticed how you've been skulking around 'watching' everyone like you've never seen us before. So, I ask you again: what's up?"
"It's nothing, Megan. I'm sorry. I umm, was trying to prove something for uh paper." Thinking fast. "You know, I wanted to see if the criminal element give themselves away when they watch you guys at the scenes and and stuff."
More confused than ever. "Whatever you say, but could you tone it down a bit. It's really starting to creep me out and I want to be in fine form for tonight."
"Tonight?" Blair squeaked.
"Yeah, the poker game. I've been working on my bluffing face and I have every intention of cleaning you guys out." She gave him a knowing smile. "But first, I'm going to show all of you guys that I can party just like the big boys do."
"Then, " he gulped, "It's true? Everything I've heard?"
"Well, I suppose it depends on who you've talked to, but probably. I have something of a reputation back home." Seeing Ellison waving at her from behind the young man. "Oh, gotta run, Sandy. I just remembered something I had to get from the lab. See you tonight."
~~Blair tried as hard as he could, but there was no way he could get away from what was waiting for him at home. He'd tried to beg off with Jim over some stuff he needed to do at the uni, but his partner had gathered the rest of the guys around him and they'd forced a promise that he'd be there after he finished up his work. With all those tall people looking down at him, there was no way he could say no.
So, there he was outside of the door listening to the laughter and general mayhem in the loft. *Come on, man. You can do this. You'll just go in, say 'thanks, but no thanks,' and then barricade yourself in your room. Not a problem.* And, with the confidence from that statement, he took a few deep breaths and entered.
Jim was the first one to reach him and he patted him on the shoulder in welcome. "It's about time you showed up, Chief. You had us worried you weren't gonna show."
"I sort of had a lot on my mind." He pulled his friend a little to the side. "Umm, Jim, could we talk? There's something I *really* need to get off my chest."
"Okay, but first let me do this." The detective clapped his hands to get everyone's attention and when they were all turned to him, he started, "As it's been pointed out to me, I am not a good sick person. I'm willing to admit that - because I don't like to be ill and we all are familiar with how I behave when I don't like something." He ignored the snickers and comments that temporarily filled the room. "But, even with my attitudes and grouchiness over being sick, Blair took care of me until I was better. I wanted you all here tonight to help say thank you to my friend and also congratulations for completing his article in the midst of dealing with me." He turned to the younger man and smiled one of his rare whole-hearted smiles. "Enjoy, Chief. You deserve it."
Blair tried to stand his ground as his friend gently pushed him towards the table, but he just couldn't get past all of that strength. Resigned, he turned towards the area. "Jim, I " And, stopped. He could not believe what he was seeing. The table was covered with four humongous, massive "Sandwiches?"
Simon was tickled. "Not just any sandwich, but a Womack special. Are you impressed or what?"
"Womack? You said Womack?"
"Yeah, so what? You know Stacy Womack in Robbery-Homicide? Well, it was named for him after he ate five of these babies in one sitting. The man is considered a god." The captain eyed him. "What's the big deal, Sandburg?"
All eyes turned worriedly on the grad student as he suddenly dissolved into a pile of laughing goo, which was interspersed with the oddest phrases. "It's a sand sandwich a sandwich oh man!"
As they listened to the laughter finally die down after several *long* minutes, Jim helped Blair who now had majorly sore sides stand upright. "Um, are you okay, Sandburg?" He watched as his partner nodded in between chuckles. "Well, umm isn't there something you'd like to tell everyone who came to your party."
Blair took a deep breath and looked at all his friends and nodded as he replied, "Yeah. For as long as I live, I promise *never* to eavesdrop."
The totally clueless looks from everyone around him caused him to lose control again and he never quite got it back for the rest of the night.
A sandwich, indeed!