Case 1099 on the Docket: Flopping in Public
"Okay, next case?" a young man asked.
"Ellison and Sandburg, disturbing the peace." Jim could hear a woman answer as he and Blair were escorted down the back hallway toward the courtroom.
Jim walked into the courtroom keeping his hand on Sandburg's back, especially since the bailiff who walked behind them would have made Simon look like a midget. Few men could physically intimidate Jim, but this guy could do it. He'd heard some of the guards down in holding calling the guy 'Bull' and Jim had no trouble understanding that nickname. Hell, Jim might have suggested 'Brick Wall' or 'Fucking Huge' as alternative nicknames. Unfortunately Blair wasn't even fazed.
"I can't believe we got busted. I mean, come on, it's a riot. Man, I am so telling Simon this whole story when we get back to Cascade."
While Jim knew Blair would definitely be telling all the guys this story, hopefully the kid would be smart enough to edit it. Jim quickly scanned the room. Pretty blonde standing next to a judge who didn’t look old enough to practice law, a man sitting at the prosecutor's table and a slightly younger woman at the defense. Bull escorted Jim and Blair to the judge and then went to stand next to another bailiff, an older woman.
"Hi there, I'm Harry Stone." The judge behind the bench looked about twenty, which seemed fair since the female bailiff looked about seventy so between them they averaged out to what Jim had expected to see in a courtroom.
"James Ellison and Blair Sandburg," Jim offered respectfully. He had stood in front of any number of judges, but this was the first time he'd been there as a defendant, and this was the first judge who played with a slinky while on the bench.
"Dan?" the judge asked. The prosecutor with a tailored suit and a condescending expression stepped forward while the defense lawyer took her place on the opposite of them. Standing behind Blair, Jim allowed his hands to rest on Blair's shoulders. They'd get all this explained and then go home early. They'd had about as much vacation as Jim could stomach.
"These two..." Dan looked Blair up and down salaciously before moving his gaze to Jim. "friends," the prosecutor smirked, "were found flopping around in a fountain in Central Park."
"I object, you honor," the woman said.
"Sustained. Dan, what people other people choose to flop around with are not our business," the judge chided Dan. "Well, when they do it in a fountain, it's technically our business, but the general nature of who is flopping with whom is off limits."
For a second, Jim couldn't even form an answer at the shock of what everyone in this room was assuming. Yeah, he'd had a thought or two about his womanizing partner, but no way were they involved. "We weren't flopping," Jim snapped. Not his best courtroom behavior, but then Jim was quickly running out of patience.
"If you were doing it right, you weren't," the female bailiff offered, her gravelly voice barely loud enough for anyone other than the group standing in front of the judge to hear.
"Doing what?" Bull asked.
"I'll explain later," she said, patting the big guy's arm affectionately.
"Your honor. This is highly prejudicial and not at all what this case is about," insisted defense who was now standing next to Blair giving Dan a cold glare.
"No way. No way are you just assuming something like that. What kind of assholes assume..."
"Mr. Sandburg!" the woman cut Blair's indignant tirade off before he could even get going good. "I'm Liz Williams, and as your Legal Aid attorney, I am officially begging you to shut up."
"Good luck with that," Jim said dryly. If Blair had an off-button, he sure hadn't found it yet. Blair glared.
"Hey, it's not prejudicing me." The judge held up his hands in surrender. "I firmly believe in a person's right to flop whoever they want," the judge smiled. Jim tightened his grip on Blair's arm, seriously considering just grabbing his guide and running for the door because the way things were looking right now, this whole thing was just some weird Sentinel hallucination. Maybe Blair had gotten him to eat some sushi and he was really in the hospital having a morphine-induced nightmare. Jim glanced at the corners of the room, just waiting for the blue jungle to appear.
"Let's just get on with the story, okay, folks?" the judge asked. "So, what happened?"
Jim paused as he struggled for a cover story that did not include spirit animals, strange Sentinels and territorial imperatives. Unfortunately, he paused too long.
"Oh man, this is all one huge misunderstanding. Jim and I were totally minding our own business, but ever since we got to New York, we've had this weird thing going on with this guy," Blair's hands came up and started gesturing as he got into the story. " I have a minor in psychology, so I totally get the concept of transference, but this guy... I mean, he takes it to whole new levels."
"This guy? We have another guy in the story?" the judge interrupted.
"The floppier the merrier," Dan muttered, and Jim and the defender both shot him evil looks, which he totally ignored.
However, it was Blair who verbally exploded. "You have serious issues. Serious. That part in the DSM where it says severe disturbance in the characterological constitution and behavioural tendencies of the individual... that has your picture next to it, doesn't it? I object to having someone with obviously impaired interpersonal functioning trying this case."
"Overruled, I think," the judge said with a bewildered expression. "But I'm impressed with the vocabulary. Confused but impressed. Lana, do you think you could dig us up a dictionary?"
"I'll see if I can find you one." Lana didn't actually move.
"Your honor," Jim interrupted before Blair got them sent to prison for the next ten years, either that or earned them a couple of tickets to Belleview. "We're on vacation, and we had a minor conflict over a parking space with a man who we don't even really know. He's mid forties, red hair, five foot eleven, and maybe 260 pounds. Since that day, he has attempted to assault us on three different occasions, and I filed a report with the local station after he tried to physically drag Blair out of a sandwich shop."
"Whoa. Kidnapping?" The judge's eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas. "Okay, that's a little less boring than disturbing the peace. Liz, you have the records from that?"
"No, your honor. I wasn't originally given the entire file because they were scheduled for tomorrow afternoon."
Tomorrow. No way would Jim have lasted another twenty hours in the holding cells. If he sat in that cage for two more hours, he was going to have to beat the shit about of every asshole who looked wrong at Blair. After putting up with another Sentinel trying to take his guide, Jim wasn't sure he was exaggerating.
"What, you two have a get out of jail fast card?" the judge asked as he put the file down. "Lana, see if you can pull up any complaints that Mr. Ellison or Mr. Sandburg might have filed."
"Yes, your honor." This time she actually headed for her computer.
"I have a badge," Jim answered the judge's question.
"A badge?" Dan demanded in an incredulous tone. "A real badge, or one of those things you get as a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks?"
"I'm a detective with the Cascade police department." Jim clenched his teeth and stared straight ahead. He tried to tell himself that he was overreacting after having the vacation from hell, but the more this Dan talked, the more Jim thought he wouldn't have liked this asshole under any circumstances.
"From the state with all the fish?" Bull asked.
"Oohhh. A cop from hicksville," Dan mocked. Jim might have done something except Blair grabbed his arm.
"We were at the park and we noticed this guy following us again," Blair went on with his explanation, subtly leaving out the parts with mystical animals. "Jim started chasing the guy, and I was following him. And then Jim tackled him into the fountain, but all these Japanese tourists had cameras, and he got disoriented. Back home we have documentation of photo-sensitivities. Flashes. Wow. Big time problem with the photo-sensitivities. Anyway, the suspect ran, and I got in the fountain to help Jim."
"And that's where the flopping comes in?" the judge asked.
"Yes, your honor," Jim agreed. "No matter what it looks like, Blair is my partner at work. We don't flop, and we certainly don't flop in public," Jim agreed.
"Your honor, I have pictures," Dan interrupted. "Many pictures. Many graphic pictures." Jim watched as the prosecutor slipped photographs from the Japanese tourists out of the file and dropped them on the judge's bench.
By the third photograph, the judge's eyebrows had climbed up into his hairline.
"I have to say, this looks like flopping." The judge handed over one photograph to the public defender. "Liz, this look like flopping to you?"
Jim watched the lawyer who was supposed to be on his side consider the photograph with wide eyes and a blush that made her already dark skin even darker.
"Yes, your honor, I have to admit that it looks like flopping, but I would point out they are both still dressed."
"Oh please, like you have to bother getting undressed for flopping," Dan snorted. Nearly the entire court stopped to stare at Dan this time.
Eventually the judge dropped the photographs and turned to the side where his assistant was working. "Lana, can you shed any light on this?"
"I have the records here, your honor. Detective Ellison is with Major Crimes in Cascade, and he filed an attempted kidnapping charge with the thirty-three. Mr. Sandburg is a civilian consultant attached to Major Crimes."
"Wow. You weren't lying," the judge said with just a touch of wonder.
"You mean... you mean they're just trying to help each other?" Dan demanded as he grabbed a photograph. "That's flopping. That's flopping and groping. I should know," he insisted.
"I was trying to help." Blair rolled his eyes. "Can't people care about each other without being sexually involved?" He looked from one member of the insane court to another until his gaze fell on the older bailiff.
"I gave up caring for Lent," she shrugged without much emotion.
"Hey, I'm a huge fan of caring," the judge offered, "but if another guy was flopping with me like this, I would probably be a little... concerned. So, if you two normally touch this much," the judge gestured to where Jim still had his hands resting on Blair's shoulders. A little voice in Jim's head, one that sounded a whole lot like William Ellison, told him to let go. Instead, he tightened his hold and dared the judge to make a big deal out of it with his glare. The judge shrugged. "If you touch this much and flop this much, you just might want to consider the options."
"Jim doesn't..." Blair laughed as he turned to glance back at Jim , but whatever expression Jim had allowed to creep into his face dried Blair's words up. The room fell silent. "Jim?" Blair asked.
"Blair." Jim stopped, not sure what to say, and certainly not willing to say anything in front of all these fruitcakes. Blair's confusion transformed into a huge smile that lit his entire face.
"Case dismissed. Just do me a favor and make sure any future flopping stays out of our fountains," Judge Harry T. Stone ordered as he banged his gavel.
"Yes, your honor," Jim agreed as he pulled his guide away. Private flopping sounded good right about now.
"Jim?" Blair asked again as Jim guided him out of the courtroom. The uncertainty might have worried Jim except for the fact that his normally girl-oriented partner was suddenly looking at him with eyes darkened by lust and pheromones leaked from his skin.
"Maybe we can wait until the hotel to talk," Jim suggested, his arm still draped over Blair's shoulder.
"Talk?" Blair's voice sounded higher than normal, and the flood of words had vanished.
"Or flop," Jim conceded. A little pheromone bomb went off, Blair at ground zero.
"Oh man," Blair breathed as Jim steered them toward an elevator. Maybe the whole vacation wasn't a waste, Jim thought with a smile. Suddenly, flopping seemed like a pretty damn good idea. Flopping with Blair sounded even better.