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"Jim?"

"Sorry, Simon." I sighed, pulled my gaze through the glass and looked at my boss concerned face. The image of Sandburg lingered in my mind for a few seconds longer though.

He was camped out at my desk, as usual. A flurry of papers scattered about which hed laid around in his own esoteric order. The computer was on and glazing the loose strands of his hair a blue/white where they straggled free of his loose ponytail. Behind his glasses, his eyes looked vaguely glazed and the normal color of his skin was wan and slightly sweaty. All in all, he looked like a man who should definitely have been in bed rather than dragging in here after me.

Blinking, I shifted gears to focus on Simon, rubbed my hand over my face briefly and gave him an Im-totally-here-with-you-now look.

He gave me an eyebrow in return and apparently decided to switch topics. "So, how is the kid anyway? Other than apparently wiped?"

"Wiped is a good description, sir. Hes managing. Or rather Im managing to keep him under control." I grinned a little. "The fever still comes and goes, but the coughs and sinuses are better, especially when I can get him to take the REAL medicine, which hasnt been as difficult this time around as Id expected." I chuckled, "I think the thing that really pisses him off is the ankle/knee thing."

Returning the smile, Simon glanced out the windows, probably taking note of the crutches Id carefully leaned out of everyones way. "What exactly happened there?"

I snorted, "Im not completely certain. I think hes telling me the truth but you never know Anyway, he says he was coming out of the library at Rainier, coming down the last couple of steps when his cold jumped up and bit him in the ass. A monster sneeze just out of nowhere, man!" Simon chuckled at my imitation. "So he sneezes, looses his balance, slips of some wet leaves and slides down the last couple of steps. Hes strained both his knee and ankle on the landing. It was probably a 6.8, points for speed and originality but a deduction on the dismount." I grinned and Simon actually laughed before wincing. "So hes on the crutches for another couple of days. I think its actually helped the cold. Its slowed him down long enough for the medicines to kick in."

"And hes here because?"

"You know Sandburg." I shrugged. "Hes not dying, hes mostly mobile, hes got no classes this week. Ive got paperwork, open cases and he can pick my handcuffs with his pocketknife and he broke the last set I used on him anyway." Rigid ranger control on my mouth kept me from laughing immediately at the look on Simons face before his brain caught up with his ears and laughing again, he threw a pen at me.

I snagged it out of the air and tucked it in my shirt pocket, laughing a little myself.

"Hey Ellison! That was my pen!" I was amazed at the amount of outrage he was able pull off there.

"Well sir, I see it like this. First, Sandburg says since I have all these skills, I should use them to keep in practice. Second, you threw it at me, therefore as recompense to an assault in lieu of filing charges, Im confiscating the weapon/evidence. Third, um I needed a pen sir, thanks so much."

He goggled at me for a moment before breaking out with a series of guffaws. "Shit, you have been living with the kid too long."

"No, sir, this was a previous talent. Sandburg has just helped my hone my skills, like the rest of them."

"Get out, getout getout getout!" Simon resettled himself in his chair and made shooing motions. "In fact, Jim, get completely out of my station! And be sure and take Sandburg with you. All I need is to have him in here too, giving me crap with a twinkle in his eye and the oh-so-polite tone in his voice. Especially if hes spreading germs."

"But Si-mon! We have work to do!" I mock whined at him as I stood and gathered my files.

"Nope- get out, go home and put him to bed."

Id taken a couple of steps to the door, paused with my hand on the knob, when my jaw dropped as that last statement caught up with me.

Simon held up a hand, palm towards me, "Ah, ah- not another word. I dont want to hear it, dont want to know. Take the rest of the day, see you tomorrow."

I sputtered and he just laughed, "Bye Jim. Have a nice afternoon."

Scraping my jaw up, I huffed good naturedly. I had started it after all and stolen his pen and Id gotten the rest of the day free. With dignity, I retreated and let him have the last word.

Back at my desk I dropped my files off in my inbox and noticed that poor Sandburg lost the fight. He was sleeping silently, head bent over the open folder in his lap, looking to the rest of the bullpen as if he were reading.

Bracing one hand on the desk and putting the other on his shoulder in case he startled, I leaned down, "Hey Chief? Chief."

His head snapped up, "What? What Jim?" Pausing he looked around and muttered, "Aw man, did I fall asleep?"

"Yeah- but its alright, no one noticed. Come on- were out of here."

"A scene?"

"Nope, were off off. Simon gave me the afternoon."

"Wow, thats unusual. What for?" Sandburg straightened up his file and the other open folders and stood, brushing back the flyaway hairs from his eyes.

I handed him his jacket and the crutches, which he accepted with a sigh. "Dunno, I think I put him in a good mood or something. Anyway- were outta here before he changes his mind."

"Absolutely!" He swung decisively out the doors and down to the elevators. I got him settled in the truck with a minimum of fuss, both of us used to dealing with crutches in the small space from previous encounters.

He fell asleep again on the ride home almost mid-babble. I grinned to myself, checking his body temp and listening to his breathing. Listening to him get better.