"After what Sandburg did, I've got the mayor on my back and the brass breathing down my neck. And I'm still on sick leave recovering from a bullet wound, but do you think they care? You know I like Blair, hell, he grows on you. So does body hair where you don't want it, but let's say he's on top of my head and I want him to stick around. But that doesn't mean I'm prepared to risk my career to give him a job so you two can carry on being partners. He blew it big time with that fraud crap, playing the hero. If I back him, it's my ass on the line the next time he -- or you -- screw up. And you will. I know you two. You screw up all the time. You like screwing up. You like making my heart go pitter-fucking-patter with your fool stunts and your grandstanding. Taking Sandburg on is probably going to guarantee me a heart attack in a year. No, make that six months. No; I've been working out and cutting back on the donuts: a year."
"Mm-hmm," Jim said.
Simon frowned, warm and slightly out of breath from his eloquence. "Jim? Hello? Are you listening to me with those Sentinel-sized ears or just using them to create a cooling breeze?"
Jim looked shocked. "Of course I'm listening, sir."
Simon smiled thinly and closed the trap with a line that'd always worked with Daryl. "Then what did I just say?"
Jim smiled back with perfect trust and guileless, grateful eyes. "That you're going to get me my partner back, no matter what it takes."
"Oh, really? Anything else?" Sarcasm was slathered over every word.
Jim pursed his lips thoughtfully. "Something about wanting donuts? Though I couldn't help overhearing your doctor say you needed to lose a few pounds. Just a few."
Simon's stare rivaled Medusa's but Jim met it without flinching and Simon sighed and caved. You didn't split up a team that worked and against the odds, Ellison and Sandburg produced results. "Get out of here and go clear him a desk at the station. I'll make some calls."
Jim rose to his feet before Simon had finished speaking.
"Nice to see that came through loud and clear," Simon said. "Now, before you leave, I wanted to discuss the paperwork that's piling up. Joel's been doing a great job filling in for me, but he could use some help with the requisition forms --"
Jim shied away like a skittish kitten. "I think I hear my phone."
"I don't," Simon said coldly. "I'm in a wheelchair, but I'm not deaf, and I definitely don't hear your phone."
"Left it in the truck." Jim tilted his head to the side, an serious, intent expression on his face. Or maybe an acute attack of indigestion. Simon was praying for the latter. Jim deserved to suffer. "Yeah, definitely my phone. Got to go, sir; could be something important."
"You're not back on active duty either; how important could it be?"
Jim looked thwarted (served him right) for a moment, but then his face brightened. "Could be Joel. He said he'd call if he needed me. Maybe he's way ahead of you, sir and wants my help on that paperwork you were talking about."
"Mm-hmm," said Simon, forbearing to comment on a theory as weak as the breakroom coffee. "Well, what are you waiting for? Go and answer your phone."
He reached for his own phone as soon as the door had closed behind a speeding Jim. He'd make those calls, like he'd promised, but first…
"Joel? Simon here…Yeah, I'm fine. I'll be back soon. Listen, next time you see Ellison, I've got a little job I want him to do…"
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