Sweetcheeks X: Stiches

Debra Fran Baker


Chapter One

"Dave, what the hell is *he* doing here?" Blair tried to keep his voice as low as possible, but Jim noticed. Of course, Jim noticed. Jim looked straight at him with what Blair used to call his "honest" eyes and then tossed his head and bent down again, gesturing grandly to the medical examiner.

Dave Michaelson stared at Blair. "What do you think? This is the fifth gang kid killed in seven months. If it's not a major crime, I don't know what is." He rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, I guess. And it's not like we've made a whole lot of progress." Blair rubbed his hands over his eyes. "Look at him."

He hadn't really seen Jim since he'd asked for first a leave of absence to "finish writing a paper" and then a transfer to work with Dave on the same basis he used to work with Jim. The two weeks he and Jim had spent as work partners had been disastrous. Jim kept staring at him with that hurt look and he could barely bring himself to talk to him. Simon must have been relieved when he left. He didn't know. He hadn't spoken to Simon since - since the day he left Major Crimes.

That was two months ago. He had his own place now. He had his own life now. Except that everyone kept asking him if he had called Jim or Jim had called him. He'd nearly exploded at TJ Martin a couple of days ago for asking after "Auntie Jim, " who hadn't been around for a long time. Funny how they'd divided their friends since the break up.

Now Jim was here, and Blair could not keep his eyes off him.

Jim was - not thinner. If anything, his shoulders were nearly bursting out of his gray silk t-shirt, and his thighs were clearly defined under the matching wool pants. Gray. Jim hated gray, even though it did things to his eyes that Blair thought were close to spectacular.

Don't think about his eyes.

There was something wrong, besides the color. There was something off.

And why was he wearing the same outfit he'd worn to Club Purple that first night?

"We have to talk to him, Blair. He's clearly in charge of this for Major Crimes." Dave took a deep breath. "You want me to do the talking?"

Blair shook himself back to reality. "I don't know. If it were Brown or Taggert or Connor - I don't know." His mouth became dry at the very thought of speaking to his - to Jim. "Damn. You're right, man." Blair rubbed his hands through his hair and, taking a tie from his pocket, tied it back away from his face. He pulled at the sleeves of his tweed jacket, the one Jim had given him the day he'd gotten his doctorate so that he'd look "professorial."

"You look *fine*, Blair. Stop primping." When Blair turned to Dave, he saw an annoying twinkle in his new partner's eyes.

"I am so not...Let's get this over with." He strode over to the body and to Jim. He could hear Dave running to keep up.

What should he call him? Jim? James? "Good morning, J - gentlemen."

Jim, who seemed to freeze at Blair's first syllable, thawed, stood and turned to face him.

Perhaps "thawed" was the wrong word. Blair felt the temperature drop around them when he saw Jim's face.

"*Doctor* Sandburg." Once upon a time, Jim's voice had been warm with love and pride when saying those words. Blair told himself to get over it.

Anyway, Jim had solved one problem. "*Detective* Ellison."