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On the Cusp

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Simon stood at parade rest, seemingly staring, but actually deep in his own thoughts. The deep thoughts of the day involved Blair Sandburg, one-time observer of Detective James Ellison, and now ... cadet. Simon couldn't suppress a grin at that thought ... Cadet Sandburg. Well, Sandburg wasn't the kid prodigy in his Academy classes, but rather the old man. That had been a change for the kid!

The Academy had been keeping Blair Sandburg busy these days and his partner, Jim Ellison, was trying to be the good detective he was before Blair showed up to observe a closed society. Sandburg was doing fine. After all, he had his own outstanding intellect, his experience, as well as any number of tutors just waiting to be asked. While Ellison ... struggled ... grumpily.

Simon had been able to finagle an early entrance for Sandburg, which was good news for the team, and therefore for Major Crimes. But Jim hadn't immediately been able to have Sandburg's first choice for his temporary replacement because she, Inspector Megan Conner, was still on desk duty after Zeller's failed assassination attempt.

At that thought Simon snorted in disgust, Zeller had failed to kill Ellison, and had nearly killed Megan and Simon, himself. Well, Zeller had almost succeeded because Jim had nearly been destroyed in the end when the partnership between a sentinel and his guide had come unraveled.

Since then, Jim had been bouncing from one partner to the other. Simon's strategy had been to keep him partnered with Joel as much as possible, since Joel seemed able to calm almost anyone. That could be Joel's natural skill or it could come from years of working with excitable people when he was Captain of the Bomb Squad.

Simon turned to glance at Jim, deskbound for his own safety today. He knew Ellison would be back to his sentinel best when Sandburg could work with him again. But today ... it was best to keep the nervous man under close scrutiny since Blair was taking his exams today.

Simon had received regular reports on Blair over the past weeks, and he'd done superbly. He might even be at the top of his class. But that didn't matter to Sandburg, or to Ellison. He just had to pass with enough leeway that making him a detective in Major Crime wouldn't be seen as the blatant favoritism they knew it was. But the kid already had nearly four years as observer and consultant. Simon was glad he'd added that amendment to his official ride-along papers a couple of years ago. Blair had earned it, even though he thought it was a semi-joke by the real cops in the department.

Simon looked closely at Ellison, then quickly turned away again before his smothered chuckle attracted Jim's attention. He could imagine Blair's cheeky smile if he saw an antsy Jim after all the jokes about Blair being related to a certain overly energized pink bunny.

Still, Simon found himself fighting his own feeling of restlessness and turned distractedly to his angel collection. He adjusted them minutely. Ordinarily the regular cleaning people knew they weren't to touch them, but he'd been out on leave for quite a while from his injury, and his office had taken quite a beating during Zeller's attack. He still felt he hadn't quite gotten them back into perfect order.

Simon had been there that first day of Blair's ride-along when Jim had saved his son, and so many others, from Kincaid. He felt humbled when they both came to Peru to bring Daryl and him back, dead or alive. There were so many events that had gone from disastrous and nearly fatal, to miraculously redeemed. And it was all because of, well, Jim's sentinel abilities of course, but also Blair's help ... whatever that entailed! But whatever those two became involved in, it was always dangerous, surprising, and, well, miraculous was the word.

The worst, and most miraculous, had been that Day at the Fountain. Had it just been Jim's gift that had saved Blair or was it Blair's gift, too? He knew there was more to it than the senses.

There had been many nights when his thoughts had returned to that day, when he'd thought he was going to lose them both. Jim clearly had been falling apart, although there had been other times when he was clearly on the edge. But Blair had always managed to come through for him. He would come up with some gobbledygook, and like a medieval magician he would say the magic word or come up with a new potion and all would be well for another day.

Simon sighed as he remembered some of those other times, and not just with Jim. When Danny Choi had been murdered, Blair had confided to him about his own distress at Jim's outpouring of grief. And again, later, when Incacha died in the loft. Jim had known this man in Peru years ago, while on a mission for the Rangers. Yet Blair had come to him, too. When he'd told him that Incacha was a shaman, Simon had sensed immediately from his expression that Blair had unintentionally let that slip. It had been easy to see that there was more Blair held back, other things he had wanted to say, needed to say ... but Simon didn't want to know.

He regretted that immensely because Sandburg's contributions to Major Crime were many and varied, and not just related to Jim. He knew Joel would have retired long ago. Henri's colorful personality and Rafe's quiet steadiness would not have meshed so easily. Megan's introduction to the group was rocky, but her edginess was smoothed by Sandy, and the head-on confrontations between her and Jim were soothed by Sandburg's glib patter. Although, now that he thought about it, that may have been self-defense. Simon seemed to remember ordering Blair not to let them kill each other, which placed Blair squarely in the middle.

Simon finally had to admit to his own anxiety and wished the exams results would be posted today, but they'd all just have to survive the wait. Sandburg's own confidence tonight should tell them something. He was a good man. A man he'd come to trust. Steadier than he'd ever have believed at first, but he'd learned. But, damn, they'd made an incongruous pair. Yet, in the end, they'd all become good friends.

He sat finally at his desk and studied his angels. He snorted gently as he thought that Sandburg was no angel, but he was something special, unique ... in a way that complemented Jim and his uniqueness. Maybe he didn't want to know about the sentinel thing ... but he did believe in it ... because he believed in them.

End