Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Everyday Life Series

Summary: An easy day at the station gives Simon time for a lunch break with a friend.

Dedication: To Bruce A. Young and his wonderful marvelous portrayal of Captain Simon Banks, without whom The Sentinel wouldn't be same. Long live Simon!

Downtime
by Becky
December 1997

Sighing in relief as he initialed the last report in the stack on his desk, the tall black police captain laid down the pen and sat back in his chair, flexing his hand to stretch the muscles -- sore from their cramped position over the last few hours. He glanced at his watch and discovered it was way past his normal lunchtime. He rose and stepped over to the windows overlooking the streets below. Chilly looking, but not too bad, and no rain for once. Maybe I'll go out for lunch. Pasta? A hamburger? Cuban?

Smiling, Simon strolled back to the door and grabbed his long, dark trenchcoat from the stand next to the closed blinds covering the window that would normally reveal the bullpen to him. Today he hadn't wanted any interruptions or distractions as he finished catching up on paperwork. Closing his blinds and his door was his sign to Rhonda and his men to leave him alone unless an emergency came up, in which case it had better be good or whoever dared to intrude would only get a growl and probably a yell in reply.

With no heavy cases pending, most of the detectives in Major Crime Department either were catching up on never-ending paperwork or out doing lighter legwork in the field, tying up loose ends and such. But no one was going to complain. A little downtime was always good. I'm certainly not planning to complain. I need the break. I think we all do.

Shrugging on his coat and opening the door, he scanned the bullpen quickly, noting which detectives were in the office and which weren't. Rhonda wasn't at her desk as she had taken an extra-long lunch break today. His eyes drifted past the desks nearest the hallway and stopped on the desk of his best detective -- and resident Sentinel.

What's he doing here? I thought Jim was sick with that nasty bug that's been going around.

He strode over to the desk, coming up behind the man who was typing diligently away at the computer keyboard, back to Simon. He reached out and tapped a finger on the nearest shoulder, opening his mouth to say something, but he didn't get the chance.

"Hey, Simon."

Simon raised an eyebrow. "And just how, may I ask, did you know it was me? Or do I really want to know?"

The man turned toward him, dark blue eyes glinting mischievously, a smile tugging up the edges of his lips. Blair shoved back his hair, tucking it behind an ear. "You have this 'police captain' aura about you. Really easy to pick up on."

"Oh really."

Blair nodded, gesturing with one hand. "Yeah, really. You and Jim and the rest of the guys have this 'cop' aura written all over you. You and Jim especially, probably cause you're both so . . . big, I guess, is the only way to say it. Well, big compared to me, that is." He sat back in the chair further, swiveling it slightly from side to side as Simon watched. "And then, of course, since you're the captain, you have this 'I'm the boss' aura, you know. In charge, gets to give the orders, don't mess with me. That kind of thing, Simon."

Simon crossed his arms, successfully holding back the smile that wanted to appear on his face. "Uh-huh. So, if that's true, why can't I get you to call me 'Captain Banks'?"

Blair only grinned impishly at him. "Because authority and I have never really gotten along. And 'Simon' is easier and quicker to say."

Simon rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. "Never mind." He looked back down. "Just what are you doing here anyway? I figured you'd be at home taking care of Jim. Or at least attempting to, knowing him. He seemed pretty sick yesterday."

Blair motioned toward the mostly-finished report form on the computer screen. "I was just finishing up some stuff here for Jim. I had to get out of the loft before I went nuts or I killed Jim or he killed me. That man is no fun to be around when he's sick. I swear he turns into Scrooge's evil twin."

Simon chuckled softly at Blair's exaggerated shudder, knowing exactly what Blair was talking about. You should have seen him before you wormed your way into his life, Sandburg. Scrooge's evil twin is putting it lightly, considering that's what he was like most of the time. He wasn't sure if the younger man knew just how strong an influence he had on Jim and Simon wasn't about to tell him, at least not yet. We're all better for Blair's 'softening up' of Jim, I think.

Making a quick decision, he reached a long arm across to the coat rack next to Jim's desk and snatched Blair's jacket, handing it to him. "Here."

Blair took it in one hand suspiciously. "What? You kicking me out?"

Simon shifted once, then cleared his throat. "I'm going to lunch. Thought maybe you'd like to join me." I can't believe I just said that.

The younger man blinked, then smiled. "Sure, Simon, I mean, Captain, that'd be great. I'm starved now that I think about it. Being around a grouchy Jim sorta ruined by appetite earlier."

Grunting and stepping back as Blair came out from behind the desk, Simon said, "I don't promise not to be 'grouchy', Sandburg. And don't think I'm paying for your food or anything."

Blair pulled his hair out from the collar of his jacket, laughing softly. "Don't worry, Simon, I won't tell anyone you actually invited me to go along to lunch with you."

Simon glared good-naturedly and shoved Blair toward the door. "Don't push it, kid."

Laughing again, Blair led the way to the elevators, Simon alongside him, a slow smile stretching across his features even as he wondered if he should get his head checked. I hope I don't regret this later.

When they reached the elevator doors, Blair pushed the down button, then turned back to Simon, asking, "So, what do you think of Angie Ferris' newest album?"

"Haven't heard it yet."

"You haven't?!? Oh, man, Simon, you don't know what you're missing!"

"I assume you have it then?"

Before Blair could answer, the elevator doors opened and they had to step away to let Brown and Rafe, the only occupants of the car, exit. Blair entered the car, but Simon held back a moment, talking to the other two detectives. "I'm heading out to lunch. Be back in an hour or so. Try to keep things quiet, okay?"

They both nodded and exchanged a quick glance before Brown said with a grin, "Don't let Hair-boy lecture you too long." He and Rafe disappeared before Simon could comment. He heard Blair stifling a giggle behind him and shot him a look as he stepped inside the car, stabbing at the 'close doors' button and then the garage button. Blair only raised a hand in quiet defense, wiping the smile off his face, but not out of his eyes.

Simon sighed and went back to the earlier discussion. "So do you?"

"Do I what?"

"Have Angie Ferris' latest album."

"Oh, yeah, it's in my car. I like to listen to it when I drive by myself. Then I can listen to it loud and not bug Jim." He paused, then asked slowly, "You want to, um, borrow it, maybe?"

Simon hesitated, then nodded. "Yeah, if you don't mind, I think I would. You trust me with it?"

Blair smiled widely, but Simon also noted the intently serious look in those blue eyes. "Course I do, Simon. We're friends, aren't we?"

Simon met the younger man's gaze calmly, then smiled back at him, laying a hand on Blair's shoulder as he replied quietly, matching the seriousness he saw in that face. "That we are, Blair."

The moment stretched out and then ended, Simon pulling away his hand and retreating back into the secure distance of gruff chitchat. "So I was thinking maybe Cuban for lunch. Sound good to you?"

"Sounds great."

"Good, not that I was giving you options or anything, mind you. I am, after all, the captain, and I give the orders."

Blair was laughing as the doors opened onto the garage level. "Sure, 'Captain', whatever you say." He bounced out, Simon following, still smiling, feeling in an especially good humor. He nodded congenially at the various officers passing them, ignoring their startled looks at Simon's abnormally cheerful afternoon greeting.

Simon asked, "Where's your car?"

Blair pointed several rows away from them. "Over there."

"Okay, I'm parked just over here. Go grab that tape and get back over here before I change my mind. I'm hungry."

Grinning, Blair took off at a jog after throwing off a joking salute. "Yes, sir."

Simon chuckled and went toward his car. When, and if, Sandburg tells Jim about this, he probably won't believe him. He unlocked the car doors, then shook his head in amusement. Actually, I don't know if I believe it. I know I won't when I wake up tomorrow morning. He looked up as Blair came back toward him, a tape in one hand.

What am I getting myself into?

- The End -