This was written for the "House Rules" challenge on the Sentinel Thursday community on Livejournal. Many thanks to JoanDarck for sporking my anglicisms
Blair wiggled awkwardly in the tuxedo. It was a little too small in places, suggesting that merely replacing his breakfast with a blender chock full of nourishing algae wasnít having the effect on his figure he really wanted. But the algae was nourishing. That was the idea. His hair seemed to thank him for it, anyway. And that was his other issue with the case; his hair. The guy had wanted it off, chopped, deprived of its rightful place. Blair had had none of it. So the compromise was that he had the thing back in an almost painfully tight ponytail and he didnít even want to think about the amount of gel in his hair, or the potentially nasty chemicals the gloop probably contained.
The fact heíd never Sentinel-tested hair gels and sprays wasnít as big an issue as it probably would have been if Jim wasnít on the other side of the casino, standing at a door and looking dangerous. It wasnít as if he used them, well, he used some stuff Naomi had bought him, but it was all organic and had recognisable ingredients. The company had some policy on the lines of donít put anything on your body that you wouldnít put in it.
And his suit would get tighter if he didnít stop thinking those kind of thoughts, the ones he wasnít meant to be having. More to the point not about his best friend and cop partner. More to the point not about his best friend and cop partner in public. In his room, back at the loft would be dangerous only for one not versed in the ways of the Sentinel. Heíd accidentally washed the futon. The sort of accidentally you do on purpose. The sort of accidentally you do on purpose with some very strong floral scented detergent, which despite its gut churning horribleness has been established as unlikely to do any actual damage to Sentinel senses.
Blair Sandburg knew all about scent marking. He was an anthropologist. It wasnít as if he was Jimís spare extra brain all the time, so heíd study while the futon got a little top-up in the washer. And then heíd wash everything else he could find in the regular all-natural detergent, partly because trained observers tend to pick up on washer use and partly to make sure it didnít smell too bad should Jim get suspicious.
More pressing than his futon, however, was his suit. Not that he had any intention of pressing any kind of suit with Jim. It would be horrible, disastrous and would end horribly. What Blair didnít expect was for Jim to be the answer to his woes. What you eatÖ loathe as Blair was to admit it, there were many ways in which Jim was simply unattractive and smeared with lard and Wonderburgers was one of them.
Now he just had to pay attention to the head croupier as he briefed him on his temporary new job. He hoped Jim would find the jewel-thief soon, the costume was killing him.
And that was saying nothing for the house conduct rules. They were, in Blairís opinion a recreation of forms of outmoded servile behaviour intended to flatter the customerís personal vanity into spending more money. Something about it seemed strangely perverse to the level of a Wonderburger fetish, which thankfully, Jim didnít seem to have.
It would have been too much to come into the Loft after TA-ing his ass off to find Jim lounging with all his joints un-Jim-like and loose and reading a copy of Wonderburgerboy. Looking, not reading. Jim would be looking at the centrefold, holding the buns to her breasts as the oil trickled down the space between them.
And that wasnít sick enough without him realising that something was hot about it. Itís just Blair couldnít tell what. Was it that at least it would prove that Jim had some human needs, and that Blairís suspicions about Caroline and separate beds were a desperate attempt to queer Jim and make what he felt less perverse? Blair didnít know. He was pretty sure that it wasnít the centrefold, even if he liked breasts more than a little, and without the burger connotations, as a centrefold, it would be vaguely hot. In a two dimensional kind of way.
That was the problem, two dimensional. Itís not as if he didnít try. Suddenly the pretty pictures did nothing for Blair, whoíd learnt from close observation of the Sentinel that the best way to hide things (such as a dog-eared copy of Babes Busting Out) from the Sentinel was to put it away tidily. In a box. Under more tidy and heavy things.
And he was so trying to keep those thoughts in that box too. He hadnít opened it for weeks. None of it was doing it for him, even the one with buff looking guys in uniforms that werenít quite right and sure as hell werenít worn in the regulation manner. Heíd rather hoped that one would. Do it, he means. Tell him heís just developed a thing for crypto-military tough guys, who could bend his neo-hippie ass over anything they liked andÖ
Öokay, that was too much detail right now. Back to Jim and lard, before the head croupier, whom Blair already hates more than the guy who did the tutoring in the commune in Idaho (donít ask), notices the new tight spots and that he hasnít been listening.
And then he sees it, the flash; and he knows Jim saw it too. As an another detective in another time with another chronicler would say ďthe game is afootĒ and so are they, chasing through the crowd, with Blair slightly behind already and hoping that Jim doesnít look too closely at the diamonds.