Eavesdropping Down

by alyjude

Jim belongs to Blair, Blair belongs to Jim, both belong to PetFly, SciFi rents 'em, I just house them for free.

Originally posted as an obsenad to senad, but a certain someone, who shall remain nameless (LINDA) asked me to put on the archive, so here we go.

I don't do it much anymore. Oh, come on, I swear it. I don't. Well, on the job, when, according to Sandburg, I'm supposed to. But otherwise, no. I manage to resist the temptation to listen to Mrs. McGruder fart, or Simon coo to Amy, or Detective Humboldt making obscene phone calls to his girlfriend, who is almost always standing on the floor of the Exchange at the time. I definitely resist the urge to accidentally overhear conversations between Sandburg and his many conquests, or potential conquests.

And trust me, I definitely shovel down the urge to overhear my fellow detectives in the bathroom. It's hard, but I do it.

Now that we've established the indisputable fact that Jim Ellison does not... eavesdrop, we should move on to the fact that somehow I overheard something today that has changed my world. Turned it on its axis and inside out.

I'm not good with change.

I haven't changed the decor of my home in four years. I've changed vehicles, but not by choice, and in the last two years, I've been steadfast in my loyalty to the truck and in my ability to keep the criminals that gravitate to Cascade the way women slide toward my partner, away from my truck.

Change is not my favorite thing.

Sandburg tries to make me feel better by saying that this personality flaw is Sentinel-related. He talks about the need for a Sentinel's abode and life to be fairly predictable outside the parameters of being a Sentinel. He talks a lot, actually. But the point is, I don't care why I hate change, I only care that it doesn't come my way.

For the last four years, my life -- when you discount the criminal element and the nature of my job -- has been very dependable. A home I'm used to and comfortable with, a roommate who falls into the category of a `known quantity', routines that keep me in shape, well-read, rested, in touch with nature, and my resident known quantity.

I'm happy with my life. I know where I stand, who I am, what my purpose is in the grand scheme of things. I know who I can trust and that after Sandburg takes a shower, I will have no hot water and lots of hair around and in the drain. I also know that when he cooks, I'll eat good, healthy food, but I'll gripe about it anyway.

I am not prepared for any of the above to change. Do not want any of the above to change. But I overheard something today which has changed everything, ultimately, irrevocably, undeniably, and utterly.

//"Have you seen his ass?"

"Who can ever see his ass? Those long shirts covering everything, no way, Holly. Just no way."

"So you haven't seen him today?"

~ lengthy pause ~

"Um, no-o-o, why?"

"Two words -- No Long Shirts."

"That's three, and are you shitting me?"

"No. Look, he's in the break-room right now. Go, I'll guard your lunch, and make sure you get him to stand up, and if you can, bend over."

~ sound of running woman, door opening ~

"Oh, hi, Blair."

"Hi, Kira. What's up?"

"Up? Um, oh, well... nothing much. Oh, gosh, I... this machine, I think it hates me. Blair? Would you? Do you mind?"

"Not at all. Which one did you push?"

"Oh. Which one? Um, let me see... oh, yes, the Cheetos. Definitely the Cheetos."

"Oh, okay."

      ~ sound of hand hitting machine, 
      followed by sound of shaking machine ~

"Hey, there you go. One bag of Cheetos. Oh, and look, change."

~ sound of batting eyelashes ~

"Oh gosh, Blair, but you're wonderful."

"I... um, er. Yes. Well."

"Thanks a heap. Gotta go."

~ sound of footsteps running away from break-room ~


"Uh-huh. Told you so. I take it you saw that ass?"

"Holly... he's wearing... and it's tucked in... and those jeans... and he bent down

they're... he's... perfect. They're perfect. I... almost. And I wanted to. But --"

"But you didn't."

"No, but only because he straightened and put the fucking bag of Cheetos in my hand!"

"It's beautiful, isn't it?"



Now you know why my life has changed. Why it can never be the same again. Ever.

This is so damn unfair. All this time I manage to go without noticing.

All. This. Fucking. Time.

I've always been so good at denial and repression, you know? I'm the decathlon champion of denial and repression, the Gold Medal winner of denial and repression. But how do you deny and repress that ass once it's left the farm? It's out of the closet now, and like some dumb song you can't get out of your head, it's there.

I want that ass.

Big time.

No, what I'd really like is for that ass to go back into the closet and stay there for the duration.

"Hey, Jim, when did you get back?"

Well, if it isn't the ass man himself. I mean... fuck.

"About thirty minutes ago. Enjoy your lunch, Chief?"

"No lunch, waiting for you. Thought maybe Orleans?"

"Sounds good. Let's go."

I stand up and notice that next to my jacket on the coat tree, is Blair's short black leather jacket. I grab mine and hold it out to him. "Here, it's pretty cold, use mine."

He's staring at it as he says, "Then what will you wear?"

"I'm fine." I point to my heavy sweater even as I urge the jacket into his hand.

"Um, Jim, this is... well, it's going to be kinda big, you know?"

"But warm, Chief," I encourage. I refrain from batting my eyes.

He slips it on and I sigh in relief. Ass is now covered. I know he won't take it off until we're seated at the restaurant, so I'm safe. For the next hour, that ass does not exist.


Orleans is packed, but I spot a table in a corner in the back and herd my partner toward it. We sit down and sure enough, he takes off my jacket. He rolls up the sleeves of his Kelly-green shirt and the motion arrests me. I watch the nimble fingers rolling the soft material as each nicely-muscled arm is revealed.

Hell, I'm not even using Sentinel sight. Or hearing. Or smell. Or... fuck.

God, he just... tucked some hair behind an ear. He's opening the menu and ... and... oh god. He's biting his lip.

It's not just his ass.

It's... fucking everything.

"Sandburg, I can't do this." I'm up and out of the restaurant before he can blink.

Outside, the cold air hits me like a bucket of ice water. I take a deep breath, and it hurts. Everything hurts. The pain is blinding and all I want is for everything to go back the way it was before Holly and Kira.

"Jim? What is it? What's wrong?"

I close my eyes. I can't look at him, don't even want to hear him. Then he touches me, a hand on my arm.

"Jim? Come on, man, you're scaring me."

In a voice that sounds a million miles away, I say, "Go `way, Sandburg. Just... go away."

The hand drops from my arm.

"I'm gonna go back inside, order lunch to go, and call Simon, tell him you're sick. Then we'll head over to the loft and talk. Be right back."

His voice is gentle and doesn't sound a million miles away.

I can't be here when he comes back.


I smell the food first, then his voice crawls inside me.

"Okay, Jim, I've taken care of everything. If you'll give me the keys, I'll drive."

I hand him the keys. When he went back inside, I hadn't been able to move, and now, I can't not move.

He gets in and waits. I move old, climb in older. After I buckle up, Sandburg starts the truck and we're heading home.

When we get to Prospect, he actually takes my arm and guides me inside. He puts the food on the table, then steers me to the couch and sits me down. A minute passes as he puts on water and prepares two mugs of one of his special teas. Finally he's taking my hand and placing a not-too-hot mug into it.

"Drink, Jim. I don't know what's wrong, but this will help... a little."

I drink. He drinks and watches me. He's playing it cool, not talking, just letting me... settle.

If I settle anymore, I'll be underground.

Ten minutes of silence, and he cracks. I almost smile when the question comes.

"Jim? Can you tell me what's wrong?"

That's when I smell it.


I blink and look at him. Shit. He's as pale as a ghost, looks drawn, his eyes almost glassy. His hand is worrying the mug and I fear it won't survive.


I look into those frightened blue eyes, see the depth of worry, and find that I can only say one thing. "Your ass, Sandburg."

Okay, that stops him cold. He's frowning. Then he gives a surreptitious glance down and slightly back.

"Mm, my ass?"

"Yeah. It's perfect."

"Right. Of course. Makes sense. You wanna kick it? Out, maybe? Four years too long? Time to --"

"Don't be an ass, Sandburg. I'm talking about your fucking ass. It's perfect. Everyone knows it, with, until today, the possible exception of me. I've lived with you for four years and I missed this fact?"

Blair is whistling the theme to the Twilight Zone. The guy is going to drive me crazy.

"Look, this is really simple, Sandburg. You have a perfect ass, but I didn't notice until today --"

"Oh, you noticed, all right. You just decided to ignore it."


"Perfect ass."

"That too."

"We've established that I have a smart ass, that I'm an ass, and that I have a perfect ass that you've noticed, but relegated to a part of your brain that allowed you to keep things as they were... until today. Now you've acknowledged the perfect ass and the fact that change is in the air. Am I close?"


"Okay, I consider that vastly different from smartass, and I'll take it as a compliment, and that I'm right."


"That was code, wasn't it?"

Sandburg is bouncing back from his bout of fear pretty damn well. He's always been quick on his feet. Here's hoping that's the only place he's quick.

"Sandburg, can we take this upstairs?"

"So we can delve into my ass?"

"Well, so one of us can, anyway."

We stand up, put our mugs down, and as we head to the stairs, Blair says, "You know, I have other fine qualities; I'm not just a fine piece of ass."

I pat him on his very nice piece of ass. "I know, Chief. I know."

"Change is good, Jim. Very good. And while I called you in sick to Simon, we could just end up late?

"We'll just be late, Sandburg."

"It's already after two, Jim."

"We'll stay sick."



Side note: His ass is perfect.