Notes: Just read it to the end, it all makes sense by then.
Notes squared: Supposed to be funny.
Jim's Little Playground.
Jim Ellison put down his phone, finished with his last phone call of the day. He quietly put his badge on his desk and logged off his computer, then grabbed his jacket and headed out. It was time. As he drove away from the station, he thought about all that he would miss. But it was worth it. He had to believe that, or he was so very screwed. He rode out to the abandoned factory district to meet up with his partners in crime, his buddies from the Army. "Are we ready?" he asked as he walked in and locked the door. The other men grunted, standing at attention. "Let me change and we'll go through the plans one last time." He headed for his current bedroom, going to get into his new uniform. He looked at himself in the mirror, admiring the simple lines and blue/green color. "Much more tasteful," he said, tucking in his plaid handkerchief into his pocket. It was the sign of their true purpose, he had to be wearing it. Then he walked out to go over the plans. Cascade would be his, but more importantly so would his target.
Blair looked up and sighed as the power went out in his classroom. When it didn't come back on immediately, he groaned. "Make sure your names are somewhere on your test and we'll finish this next class time," he told them. "Even if you have to scrawl it wherever your pen is presently, put it on there." The class surged forward, tossing their tests at him as they left the creepy, dark room for the semi-bright sunshine of outside. Blair gathered the papers up by feel and headed up to his office. He stopped to talk to one of the maintenance people, asking them to please give him any tests that might have escaped, then went out into the sunshine himself. It was nice not to have rain this week, it was unusual, but very nice.
As he stepped into the grass in front of the building, the campus security people rushed up into it, baffling him. "Huh," he said, heading over to a bench. "Wonder what that was about." He sat down on a bench to watch, eating the sandwich Jim had pleasantly made for him that morning. The security people ran back out, all of them stopping to look at him. He waved and smiled. Then he got rushed. "Hey!" he shouted. "Easy! I'm still a fragile human being!"
"Sir, we were told to take you into custody for your own protection," one guard said as he hustled Blair and his lunch to the waiting cars. "Someone is on their way down to explain it to you, but until then, we're not to let you out of our sight."
"Then can someone please go get me my laptop and backpack?" he suggested. "And who's coming?"
"We don't know, sir, we were just told to keep you safe." The guard dispatched another guard to Blair's office, then they took off for the security office.
"This is so gonna ruin my reputation," Blair moaned, but he went back to eating. He probably wouldn't have time to do it later. "Was it Jim, Detective Ellison?" he asked the guy driving.
"No, sir, we know his voice. It might have been one of the other officers that worked with him though, it sounded familiar."
"Worked?" Blair asked.
"Sir, didn't you hear the report on the radio?" the guy doing the driving asked.
"Flip it on for him, Harry, he should know."
Harry flipped on the radio and waited, but not for long. "As of this last hour, Cascade has been taken over by a paramilitary operation," the announcer said boldly. "Calling themselves the Flannel Army, their demands have been personally delivered to the Captain of Major Crimes, who was upset enough to put his fist through a door. In related news, it has been reported by an anonymous source that Detective Ellison, one of Cascade's finest, may actually be part of the Flannel Army. This anonymous source stated that he left earlier without permission, leaving his badge on his desk. In other related news, Rainier University, and the two other buildings threatened with mass destruction, were emptied just a few minutes ago. Rainier, the last to shut down, is in the process of moving its students to a safer location at this hour. We have no idea why these three buildings were targeted, but we're sure Captain Banks will have quite a clue and will be sharing it with the rest of us soon."
Blair groaned and covered his face with the hand holding his sandwich. "Jim!"
"The other two buildings were the main library in town, and the Museum of Natural History," guard Harry reported.
"Yup, it's Jim," Blair said, finishing his sandwich. "And, boy, is he going to be sorry when I get hold of him." He rummaged through his pockets, coming up with a breath mint. "Anything else I should know?"
"No, sir," the guy driving told him. "Just that you're to remain here. Whichever person will be down shortly." They pulled up in front of the security office and got out, looking around before letting Blair out of the car. "Inside, please, Professor. We need you safe." They hustled him inside, into a room without windows and not much furniture. Blair sat down on the small couch, patiently waiting for someone to give him a clue. When his pack and laptop appeared, he grabbed them both, looking through them for something that might explain this. Jim made notes, surely he must have left something!
Not that it mattered, Jim was a dead man. The Sentinel who walked like a dead man to be precise.
Blair was led up to the police line, giving Simon a pat on the arm. "Hey, he did it again?"
"Yes, he did it again," Simon said gruffly. "Fix it, Sandburg!"
"Who's this?" the Captain of the SWAT team yelled as he ran over. "No civilians, back behind the line."
"Yay," Blair told him, giving him a smile. "Ellison will talk to me, I'm your only chance of getting him out of there. Your choice." He crossed his arms and waited the thirty seconds it took to make Simon slap the SWAT commander across the back of the head. "Megaphone or something?"
"He said not to use one," Detective Brown said helpfully. "We've got a phone though." It was handed over when Blair nodded. "You were one of his demands."
Blair shook his head and hopped up to sit on the hood of a police cruiser. "Jim, your butt is in deep this time. You *know* better than to threaten the library or the Museum." He frowned at the building. "Yay!" Long pause. "Bet me, man! Your ass is dead this time. I'm going to get you for hurting either of those buildings and you know it."
Simon leaned in. "Did he stop taking his medication?" he asked quietly. "Or is this one of his games?"
Blair listened and smiled. "Both," he said mock-cheerfully. He checked the SWAT commander, who was glaring and staring at him. "Listen, Ellison, you've got one choice. Come out or I'm going to torture your stuff." He laughed. "Really? Well, how about a pink truck for starters? Think I won't do it? Think about it, man, you know me. How many times have I made an idle threat?" he asked with a grin. He laughed. "Really! Cool! Yeah, I'll tell Simon, but you've still got to come out. No, I won't make you take a pill, we'll do the liquid herbal stuff again until you're clean, how about that?" He laughed and hung up, tossing the phone back to Brown. "He's agreed to go back on his medicine and he also said this was a present for you guys and a training exercise for SWAT, which is why the Governor isn't here already." He looked at the SWAT commander, who was turning purple. "Breathe, man, before you burst," he encouraged.
"This is a trick by Ellison?!?" he shouted. "How could he do this!?"
"Easily," Simon said with a shrug. "The Mayor told him to keep you guys on your toes. Maybe you should have taken the advice and talked to Joel Taggert." He put an arm around Blair's shoulders. "So, tell me about this present?"
"These guys are going to get you a commendation," Blair said proudly. "Oh, Jim," he called quietly. "We're ready when you are!"
The occupants, or most of them anyway, ran out of the building screaming and right into the wall that was Major Crimes. They voluntarily gave themselves up, apparently more afraid of what was still in the building.
"Ellison!" Simon called. "Come on out. No pills, I promise."
Jim stuck his head around the doorway. "Really?" he asked just a little too happily. Blair nodded so he walked out, smirking at the SWAT commander. "You got here twenty minutes after I had made my call, even though I knew you had traced it. You played around while you set up instead of deploying in any standard pattern, and your standard pattern isn't that great anyway, it's got big gaps. Your timing sucked, your orders sucked, and you almost turned away the one person who might have gotten you out of this sooner. C minus," he finished, smirking broader now. He laughed as Joel Taggert clapped. "You used to get A's, maybe you should teach him, Joel."
"I tried, he didn't listen," Joel said with a subtle shrug. "Sandburg, don't you think you should do something about this?"
"Yeah, maybe," Blair said, pulling his pack off so he could rummage inside it. He pulled out a small vial of purple liquid and handed it over with his last granola bar. "Here, take it now before the Mayor gets here for your evaluation." He looked at the guys who were cringing away from their little group. "What did you do to them?"
Jim glanced over at the prisoners before gulping the liquid. "I told them you were going to be joining us and your level of evil genius far outdistanced mine. But that they were more than welcome to come help us because you always had *big* plans for the city."
Simon shuddered as he stepped away from Blair. "Please, a little warning for your own team next time?" he begged Jim.
Blair shrugged. "Sure, but you can't spill it. I'll even get you in on it if you want." He thought about it. "Or maybe Joan. She's usually up for some breaking of balls." He smiled at the SWAT commander. "C minus on your first try isn't too bad," he advised. "Just think of this as a practice exercise leading up to the nationwide tournament in a few months." He clapped his hands together and slid off the car, but the SWAT commander grabbed him and spun him around, cuffing him. "Hey, man, it's your badge," he said calmly.
"You're going to jail," he hissed, glaring at Ellison. "Him too!" he ordered. Everyone stepped away from him. "Now! Or I'm going to start taking badges."
Simon laughed and pulled out his cellphone, dialing their Chief's office. "Here, talk to the boss," he suggested, taking Blair before Jim could break the man in half, like the vial he'd been holding, which was now broken. "Ellison, blood," he said calmly, handing over a handkerchief to his best detective.
Ellison wiped his hand off and listened to the conversation, both sides of it. He smirked just before the phone was slammed into the ground and jumped on. "Now, release Sandburg or pay," he told the commander.
The SWAT commander grabbed Sandburg and roughly removed the cuffs, shoving the young graduate student into the knot of detectives. "There, keep your happy little fucked up games out of my city."
"My city," Jim calmly corrected him, staring him down. "I'm under executive order to make your life a living hell, guess what I'm going to be doing after I get back from my well-earned vacation?" He ruffled Blair's hair and started them walking back toward the warehouse. "Simon, I'm taking a week off."
"Just like always," Simon said fondly. He smiled sweetly at the SWAT commander. "Get over it, it's only this bad when Ellison stops taking his court-ordered medicine, which he doesn't need." He and his detectives all walked away, heading to their cars to go back to work. As an afterthought, Rafe and Brown gathered up their prisoners and got them into cruisers.
"I always thought it was really nice of Jim to get us our ten or so most wanted," Rafe told his partner as they led their guys back to their car. "Saves us some trouble."
"Definitely," Brown said, nodding. He shoved his man into the back seat and hitched him in. "There, all snug," he said with a fond smile as he climbed in to drive. "Where do you think they'll go this time?"
"Jim had stuff for Hawaii," Rafe reported. "My bet's somewhere less crowded. Maybe one of the smaller islands."
"I wonder if I can get in on this game of his," Brown sighed, starting the car. "I could really use the bonus he gets."
"We all could," Rafe agreed, smiling at their prisoners. "Let's go, paperwork is starting to look like fun tonight."
"Did you ever think you'd see Ellison on happy pills?" Brown asked as they drove off.
"Nope, but I hear it was either that or his badge, the Doc downstairs said he couldn't function like he had been *forever*," Rafe snorted, "and got him screwed, I mean forced into it, by a judge." He thought for a moment. "That little man downstairs is too powerful. That's the only reason I won't ask to be part of his games, I might end up seeing him too."
"Amen to that," Brown said, nodding. "Those happy pills turned Ellison from a mildly annoying detective into some strange Ellison guy that I don't want to bother with."
"Yeah, but he gets that bonus and those extra vacation days," Rafe sighed wistfully.
"And we could all use that," Brown agreed.
Jim woke up sweating and panting, looking around his darkened bedroom. He saw a dark form with two glowing blue eyes sitting on the end of his bed and gave it a helpless look. "What was that?" he asked the Panther spirit.
"Hey, it could happen," the Panther told him. Then it grinned and left, fading slowly away.
"Sandburg, no more ethnic cuisine in this house!" he shouted down to his roommate.
"But, Jim," Blair protested from the stairs, "I was told to expose you to new things by the Spirit Guides. They said next time it's going to be a Greek feast." He grinned and stood up, heading back down to his room.
Jim flopped backwards and sighed. It was going to be very hard to fight this, very hard. But Blair would not win this one. By God, he would win this battle too! Even if he did have to get sneaky. "Hmm, flannel army," he said as he rolled onto his side and started to drift off again. "Not such a *bad* idea. The SWAT team could use some workouts." He fell asleep, dreaming of conquest over the stupid asshole that ran SWAT for Cascade.