Sentinel Fan Fiction Page || Fanfic -- Humor

Summary: Megan needs to learn a new dance and Jim finds himself obliging with a live demonstration -- in the bullpen.

Another twisted installment from the Robyn humor mill. Watch out for splinters -- er, rose thorns.

Three to Tango
by Robyn
August 1998

The clock struck 11 p.m. on Thursday night in the darkened and deserted Major Crimes bullpen. Those lucky employees manning the department for the night shift on the very slow summer night had gathered in the breakroom for a late potluck luncheon in honor of one of the deputy's birthdays. The bullpen doors were locked so no lost stragglers or snooping souls would disturb the important files and other paperwork littering most of the desks. No noises filled the large room except the ticking of the wall clock.

Suddenly, three silhouetted figures appeared at one of the doors to the bullpen. A key rattled in the lock and one of the figures could be heard muttering. It was a masculine voice.

"I can't believe I let myself get talked into this!" the taller man grumbled heatedly as he argued with the sticky lock.

The shorter man tittered, his hand going up and sweeping down his lower face, as if trying to wipe away the smile. "After all, Jim, you do owe her."

"Thank you, Sandy," a feminine voice said righteously. "Don't worry Jimbo, it'll only take a few minutes. Then you can go home for your nap. It's past your bedtime, is it?"

The other man simply growled as he finally got the obstinate door open.

************************

Earlier that night...

The ballroom of downtown Cascade's five-star hotel glittered, elaborate crystal chandeliers casting bright lights on the jewels and sequined gowns of graceful women and the polished patent leather of tuxedoed men. In one corner of the large room a live band played as the guests of the Mayor's Ball danced gracefully to the music.

Simon grinned broadly as he looked at the woman seated next to him at the table, himself dressed in a dashing black tux. The woman wore a dark blue gown. The table covered with a fine linen tablecloth bore the remains of chocolate cake with raspberry glaze on small china plates, the last of a scrumptious five course meal. A certain tall male detective, a younger consultant to Major Crimes, and an Aussie inspector completed the group of five people sitting at the table.

"Amy," Simon said, leaning slightly toward the nurse who had cared for him in the hospital a few months back, "it would be a shame to let your lovely dancing skills go to waste. May I have this dance?"

The woman smiled shyly. "I would be honored."

As Simon and Amy rose from the table, the voices of the other tall man and woman rose in volume.

"Captain. Did I or did I not solve the ComTech robbery case before Jim did?" demanded Megan.

"Sir, I told you 20 minutes before Conner entered your office that Emory was responsible!" retorted Jim.

Simon rolled his eyes. "I'm off duty now," he said through gritted teeth. "Playing principal to you two is my day job only! Got it?" he said, looking stern.

"Yes, sir," Megan said meekly.

"Yes, sir," Jim mumbled.

"Next time I'll think twice before asking you two to be security detail at anything. What was I thinking?" the captain muttered. "Sandburg, you keep these two away from me the rest of the night so I can have some peace! Now, if you will excuse me, I have more pleasant tasks to attend to." The tall man turned his attention again to Amy, offering his arm as they walked to the cleared section of the room.

Blair lowered his eyes to avoid Jim and Megan's stare. Realizing that they might attempt to haul him into playing referee to their current petty argument, he decided to take preemptive action. Getting up from the table himself, he said cheerily, "What'd you say we go over to the drink table and fill up on some punch?"

Shockingly, the two "children" obeyed and followed the anthropologist to the cocktail and punch table.

After getting their respective refreshments, the three stood a few feet to the side of the drink table, surveying the blur of swirling dresses and tuxedos. Ellison wore a black tuxedo with a dark blue vest which brought out the intensity of his blue eyes. Sandburg looked quite handsome in his own black tux, his hair pulled back, emphasizing his aesthetically pleasing face and deep blue eyes. Megan looked stunning in a deep burgundy sleeveless column dress with a V-neck and a long side slit.

Megan was the first to break the silence. "So Jim, do you like to dance?"

"Uh, nah," answered the detective, sipping his drink. "I haven't in ages."

"So you used to dance?" persisted Megan.

"Yeah, Carolyn and I went dancing a few times when we were married," said Jim, surveying the ballroom for nonexistent party crashers or other threats to the event's security.

"Jim, I need a favor," said Megan.

"If you want me to admit that you beat me on the ComTech case, forget it," Jim declared.

"No, it's not that. See, I've got this date next Saturday night with David -- you know, the new British guy in Vice."

"Wow," said Blair, admiration in his voice. "I thought he didn't date anybody here! How'd you manage that?"

"Well," explained Megan, "I had nothing to do last Saturday night so I decided to go see The Mask of Zorro by myself down at the Cinedome Theaters. I got there just before it started and took an aisle seat without knowing that David was sitting in the same row a couple seats down! Turns out we like the same kind of movies. Anyway, he asked me out. He wants to go to tangoing." Megan blurted the story out in a rush of words, her expression dreamy.

"Wow," Blair mouthed, his eyes widening to show he was impressed.

Jim's face, however, remained totally unmoved. "So what does that have to do with me? I can see it now -- Tango and Crash. Or is it whiplash?" he said sarcastically, continuing his auditory and visual surveillance.

Megan rolled her eyes but ignored the comment. "I don't know how to tango, and I want you to teach me," she said simply.

Jim finally turned toward her, smiling slightly, his eyes incredulous. "What makes you think I can dance worth beans, much less tango? For all you know, I could have two left feet."

"Not according to Carolyn," said Megan, smiling mischievously.

"You talked to Carolyn?" said Blair, even more surprised than before.

"No, not exactly. The gods smiled on me yesterday when I happened to be in forensics to pick up a report Jimbo wanted," she looked meaningfully at Ellison, "and I overheard some of the techs talking about a certain forensics expert from the San Francisco P.D." Megan looked at Jim, savoring the strangely confused look on the detective's face. "We got to talking about, you know, womanly things, and I unearthed a few pearls. They remembered Carolyn telling them how you took her to Arthur Murray's Dance Studio for Valentine's Day because she wanted to learn how to tango, and you took lessons, too."

Jim shook his head after recovering from the shock and strange violation he had temporarily experienced upon realizing that the Aussie cop had some rather intimate information about his past marriage. "So what if I took an hour's worth of lessons? Doesn't mean I remember how, much less enough to teach it," Jim stammered defensively.

"Oh, no, I think that's highly unlikely," Megan said smoothly, her eyes twinkling. "I believe you took her dancing several times after that. Apparently you were quite good."

Blair let out a small cat call. "Jim! You sure do have many hidden talents," he said in a highly amused voice, clapping his partner on the back. Jim's upper body jerked forward from the blow.

"And, you owe me," continued Megan calmly, moving in for the kill. When I finished up the paperwork on the Grenwich case you said you would owe me a favor. Now I'm collecting," she said sweetly.

"Looks like you've got yourself a dance student, Jim," Blair laughed at the dumbfounded look on Jim's face.

"I want you to teach me tonight because my date is in two days and I can't do it tomorrow. We can go over to the P.D. after the party and find an empty room to practice in," continued Megan, sounding like she already had everything planned out. "I've got the dress on that I'm going to wear, and I want to practice in this outfit with these shoes."

The sentinel looked as if he'd been unexpectedly mauled without being able to defend himself.

**********************

The threesome entered the Major Crimes bullpen. Blair flipped on the rest of the lights.

"We can't do this without music, Conner," Jim said, trying the millionth excuse since they'd gotten into the pickup and drove over to the station.

"No problem there," said Megan, reaching into her purse and pulling out a tape. "I've got some right here." She waved the tape smugly, then popped it into the boom box on Brown's desk and disconnected the headphones.

Jim surveyed the maze of desks, pillars, and trash cans scattered throughout the room, wondering for the umpteenth time why he had let himself be talked into doing such a ludicrous thing. But he refused to take the chance of dancing in the hall where unwanted spectators could walk by at any moment. He growled, but appeared to have resigned himself to his fate. "Fine. Let's get this over with."

"Good. I'm glad you're finally cooperating," said Megan, walking over to face Jim in front of the detective's desk. "Start the tape, will you, Sandy?"

Blair bounced over to Brown's desk, settling himself on top of the desk so he could be comfortable and have a good vantage point for the upcoming quality entertainment. He pressed the play button and the slow, deliberate tango beat of the beginning of a sensuous piece emanated from the speakers.

Megan eyed the tall detective in front of her, her gaze stopping at his blue eyes. He makes a very handsome picture in that tuxedo, she thought, realizing that she hadn't fully appreciated Jim's good looks before in his usual casual outfits. "You look very dashing, detective. But do try to stop clenching your jaw." she said, still holding his gaze.

"You don't look so shabby yourself, inspector," Jim said evenly. "Just try not to stab me with those stiletto heels of yours."

Blair grinned to himself. He couldn't help but think that the two cops looked like two bulls having a staring contest, snorting smoke and stamping their hooves in the dirt right before locking horns.

"I am NOT wearing stiletto heels, Ellison," Megan said, keeping her tone of voice ultra-controlled. "These are nothing compared to the ones I wore back home when I was on Vice."

Jim was unfazed. "Let's get this over with, shall we?" he said drily. He grasped her hand, putting his other hand on her waist. "You have to stand closer, like this."

Megan blinked as she stepped closer to the detective.

Jim was wearing a black mask, his blue eyes still showing through the eye holes.

Suddenly, the tall man stepped back, flipping his black cape and yanking out a shining sword with a flourish. Trumpets blasted the Latin theme as the Zorro fanfare soared in the background. He brandished the sword in front of him with black leather gloves as the blade glinted from the lights overhead. A wind from somewhere blew his cape out behind him, revealing the rest of his black outfit and boots. The bullpen went dark and a bright red light shone suddenly behind him, accentuating his dark outfit and large sword.

Megan gasped at the magnificent display, the wind blowing her long curls around wildly. She realized vaguely that Blair was standing beside her, a shocked look on his face as well.

Dramatically, the detective slashed the air with his sword, spelling... an "S," the silver letter remaining permanently in the air.

Megan frowned, realizing that the letter was backwards. "What does "S" stand for?" she breathed, still astounded by the display.

"Uh, S stands for, uh, pSychic? Yeah, pSychic," answered Blair.

"Ohhh," Megan said knowingly. For some reason she didn't feel bothered by the misspelling.

The Zorro theme played again as the Ellison-turned-Zorroesque-hero approached her. With a swift sweep of the blade and a ripping noise of cloth, another long slit appeared on the other side of her dress. Megan inhaled sharply, her eyes wide. The masked man sheathed the sword, seizing her hand and waist tightly. The wind blew even harder...

"Conner! Hel-looo there? Do you want to learn this or not?" Jim spoke again, shaking her hand a bit.

"Huh?" said Megan, realizing Jim wasn't wearing a mask anymore. "Oh, uh, sorry, Jim," she stammered. "Okay, okay. Where were we?"

Jim rolled his eyes and sighed annoyedly. "First, let's go over the standard steps. Go like this," he said, leading her forward with one arm. Megan looked at his feet, trying to copy his movements.

"OW! No, no, NO!" Jim yelped, letting go of the inspector and clutching one foot. "Cut the music, Chief. Really, Conner, this is not martial arts!" he said, hopping around on the other foot.

"I -- I'm sorry, Jim," Megan apologized awkwardly. "These steps are kinda hard when you haven't seen them before," she defended.

Jim groaned, the throbbing in his foot beginning to wear off. "You mean you haven't even seen tango before, even on a movie or something?"

Megan shook her head.

Jim sighed. He paused as though thinking, then spoke. "C'mere, Chief," Jim said, gingerly lowering his injured foot to the ground.

Blair hopped down from the desk and walked over toward his partner.

"Sandburg and I'll demonstrate the moves for you, okay?" said Jim.

"I'm gonna WHAT?" Blair said incredulously, stopping in his tracks.

"C'mon, Chief. I know you've gone tangoing before, especially with that one flamingo dancer chick."

"I don't know about this, Jim," Blair said cautiously. "And that's flamenco, not flamingo."

"Whatever. At least I won't suffer bodily harm from your shoes. Look, Chief, it's the middle of the night. I'm tired. I wanna go home. And if you don't help me out here, this lesson'll take the rest of the night and I'll be one cranky cop tomorrow morning."

Blair put up both of his hands in a show of defense. "Okay, okay, Jim. Please, anything but that." It was still with some uncertainty that Blair stood in front of his tall partner.

All at once, the men grasped hands and tried to grasp each other's waist.

"I'll lead," Blair offered.

"No you don't. I'M leading, shorty."

"What do you mean you're leading?" retorted Blair. "I can lead as well as you can."

"Boys, boys," Megan interrupted. "Jimbo, you lead. Sandy, I need someone with actual finesse to watch for my part," she said meaningfully, glaring at Jim. Blair grinned at the compliment and moved his hand to Jim's shoulder.

Megan ran over and rewound the tape, then restarted the music.

Grasping Blair's hand, Jim pointed his and Blair's arms straight out in front of them and the two tuxedoed men did a slow, slightly crouched step between the desks in time to the music. Megan was amazed at how well the two moved together, as if they knew exactly what the other's movement would be, as if they had been partners -- forever.

The music began to pick up in intensity as the men reached a dead end in the bullpen and dramatically whirled, switching arm and hand positions so they were pointing the other direction. They crouched lower, their cheeks almost touching. Blair was grinning widely and trying not to laugh, and Jim's eyes were closed in a show of mock seriousness and melodramatic passion.

The men traveled by Rhonda's desk this time. Without missing a beat, Jim let go of Blair's hand briefly to snatch a red long-stemmed rose from the large bouquet on the secretary's desk, deftly sticking the stem in his teeth. The bud ended up in front of Blair's nose, which he wrinkled as it tickled him. The younger man tried to bat it away with his own nose, but that didn't work too well, so he moved his head back a little. Megan giggled.

Jim and Blair paused in front of Simon's office, Jim taking the rose out of his mouth and passing the flower slowly up Blair's pant leg, grinning stupidly at the younger man's wide-eyed expression.

The song was reaching its climax now, and Jim and Blair took one last pass, traveling a circuitous route between the desks to end up back in front of Ellison's desk. As the final trumpet fanfare played, Jim dipped Blair's upper body and head with a flourish. His partner's leg flew up automatically to balance himself and Jim thrust out an arm in the air, lowering his face close to Sandburg's. How the two men managed to keep a straight face, Megan didn't know.

The two men froze there for a second until Blair cleared his throat. "Ah-hem. Uh, Jim? I'm getting a major head rush here!"

As Jim raised Blair back up, faint clapping came from outside the bullpen, and the two men jerked apart, straightening their jackets. Several of the staff stood outside the windows, laughing and clapping.

"Jim, I say we're outta here," Blair declared, refusing to make eye contact with any of the people looking in.

"I'm with you, Chief," Jim agreed, flinging open the door. "If ANY of you people breathe a word of this, I WILL find you," he glared as the two men made a quick exit down the hall to the elevators.

Megan shook her head, still laughing. "Those two. I always knew there was something more to their partnership," she mused as she watched them escape down the hall amid hooting P.D. spectators.

Smiling, the inspector turned to scan the desktops for the spot where she'd left her purse. Then she stopped. A very displeased frown and narrowed eyes completed the thwarted expression on the woman's face.

She ran to the door, flung it open and took off running down the hall expertly in her high heels.

"JIIIIM! Wait! Come back here! You didn't finish my lesson!"

"WAIT!...."

- The End -