'The Sentinel' fanfiction story.

Warnings: none

Spoilers: set sometime during third season.

Endurance to Spare

by: Jennifer Ruth a.k.a MavenAlysse

Summary: Blair gets set up for a "few" runs.

A/N: I want to thank Aislynn Graves for all the help she's given me on this story. I started it nearly five years ago (yes, five!) when she and I were active 'Sentinel' watchers. Browsing around in her house, I came across an interesting anthropological book by Jonathon F. Cassel (see author's notes at end of story for a full work cited). Fascinated, I read it from cover to cover and instantly had a story idea that combined the information with our dear Guide, Blair Sandburg. Sadly, as I neared the end of the story, I lost my muse (as well as my writing partner who moved away to New Hampshire) and the story languished upon my computer until about three months ago when Ais returned for a lengthy visit. The muse returned, the juices flowed once more, and the story was finally finished! ::huzzah!:: I hope that you enjoy. 2/21/2011.

Endurance to Spare

Chapter 1: In the beginning...

"All right, people," Captain Simon Banks stood in his doorway, a sheaf of papers in his hand. "The department's annual charity track meet and long distant run is coming up. For those of you who don't know the drill, you sign up for a run, then get sponsors, the more the better. Half of everything raised goes to the Precinct and the other half goes to one of the local charities – all money donated to members of Major Crimes goes to the Barker Street Soup Kitchen." He dropped the papers on Rhonda's desk. "Date's set for three weeks from now. So come sign up, the Chief of Police wants these in by the end of the day." He sauntered back into his office to watch as the others tried to squirm out of it.

Two men exchanged sly grins as they huddled over the sign-in sheet that made its way around the department.

-The Next Day-

Simon Banks absently cast his gaze down the list of entries for the various track events. The Chief of Police had approved the list and the Captain wanted to ensure he'd have enough officers to fill the shift. A repeated name caught his attention and a frown creased his forehead. Annoyed, he picked up the phone. "Yes, sir. About that entry list. … No, sir, we have a problem. One of my people was listed several times. … Yes, sir, him. … No, sir, you don't understand, he wasn't here yesterday, there's no way he could have signed up for … No, sir, I don't think that … Yes, but … Yes, sir." He heaved a resigned sigh. "I understand, sir." He hung up the phone and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to stem a growing headache, his mood and stomach soured.

With reluctance, he rose from his seat and opened the door, scanning the bullpen. "Ellison, Sandburg. My office, now!"

The two partners exchanged puzzled looks before entering the Captain's office. "What's up, Simon?" Blair eased into a seat, eyes darting from Simon's exasperated face to the paper the taller man was tapping with agitation.

"We had the charity sign up yesterday."

"Yeah, Jim was telling me about that. Sorry I couldn't be here, Simon. Maybe I'd have signed up for an event."

Simon squeezed the bridge of his nose, a pained look crossing his face. "It appears someone signed up for you."

"Huh?"

Silently, Banks handed over the event list to the police observer. Ellison leaned over Blair's shoulder, his expression growing stormy. Sandburg stared at the list for a long moment, then looked up, faint disbelief in his eyes. "Am I reading this right?"

"Afraid so, Sandburg."

Blair looked back down at the sheet. "Ah, man. That sucks."

Jim's voice was tight with annoyance, "Oh, come on Simon. You've got to be kidding me. Five different runs? And they're practically one right after another."

"Look, I tried to tell the Chief of Police that it was a mistake, but he isn't having any of it. Seems the Mayor found out about it and he's ecstatic about our volunteers getting involved. Said something about being beneficial for public relations." Banks' voice was bitter.

"Ah, man," Blair repeated. He slumped in his seat, one hand over his eyes, massaging his temples.

"Don't worry about it, Chief. You don't have to do this. You never sighed up for anything." Jim grasped his friend's shoulder in support.

"No."

Both Simon and Jim exchanged confused looks and Jim's grip tightened slightly. "No, what, Chief?"

"No, I'm not backing out." Blair rose to his feet, pacing distractedly around the office. "One – my name's already on the list. A list, I should remind you, that has already been distributed throughout the Precinct. If I withdraw now I lose face, and I've worked too hard to gain any respect around this place to throw it away." His hands were waving, emphasizing his points. "Two – it's for charity. The soup kitchen on Barker, right?" At Simon's affirmative, the police observer continued. "They were always nice to me, anything to help them out." He had paused at the window, staring blindly out at the bullpen and missed the surprised looks on the older men's faces. Jim shrugged in confusion at Simon's raised eyebrow. "And finally –" Blair turned to face them, gazing steadily at the two, eyes bright with a combination of anger, mischief and a certain amount of smugness. "I've never been one to back down from a challenge. The gauntlet's been thrown, and whoever signed me up is in for one hell of a surprise."

Vice Officer Charles Stone glanced around the break room. Spotting Homicide Detective Marshall Weaver, he moved over to the counter and busied himself with pouring a cup of coffee. "Did you hear? Sandburg's going through with all the events we signed him up for."

Weaver leaned back in his chair, a surprised look on his face. "You're kidding. Huh, thought the little hippie would've backed off."

Weaver nearly fell out of his chair, and Stone choked on a mouthful of coffee at a low voice. "Guess you don't know him very well, do you?"

Turning, the two police officers could only stare. Detective Henri Brown stood in the doorway, tension and anger radiating off him. "Just what the hell do you think you're trying to pull?"

"Oh, come off it," Weaver snorted. "It was just a joke. We didn't think the kid would actually go through with it."

"Nah, you thought he'd back off, chicken out? Like I said, you don't know him very well." He crossed his arms, his eyes still boring into them angrily. "You had no right to sign Sandburg up for anything. Not without his permission. Sandburg's a civilian, a volunteer. He has a full time job at the University. There's no telling what he's going to have to cancel in order to fit your little joke into his exceedingly busy schedule."

Stone shrugged, though he looked a bit uneasy. "All right, so we signed him up. Hell, he's been able to keep up with Ellison for this long, a few runs shouldn't be any trouble."

"But you don't think he'll be able to complete all those runs." The statement was flat and the anger in the black detective's eyes finally took some of the smirk off of Weaver's face. Brown shifted his stance, relaxing as an edged smile graced his features. "There isn't much I can do. The list's been approved and Sandburg's agreed to do the runs. I won't tell him who signed him up."

Stone interrupted. "Why not?" he asked, suspiciously.

Henri looked at him blandly. "I don't want your deaths on my conscience."

The two conspirators exchanged glances. Weaver narrowed his eyes, angry over the overt threat. "What do you mean by that, Brown?"

"If I let Sandburg know who did this, how long do you think it will be before Ellison gets wind of it? And I can tell you, he is decidedly displeased with the whole affair." The two blanched at the thought of the legendary Ellison rage directed at them. Brown nodded sagely and continued. "So, this is what we're going to do. The two of you are going to sponsor Sandburg's runs. Anonymously, if you wish. Twenty-five dollars for each of the smaller runs, fifty for the long distance run."

Stone and Weaver nodded their agreement. Brown turned to leave. Stone muttered, "Only have to pay if he finishes the race."

"How about we up the stakes?" Brown was turned away from them, but had not left the break room. Stone flushed, wondering if he'd been heard.

Detective Weaver shifted in his seat. "How do you mean?"

Brown faced them, leaning against the door jamb. "Little friendly wager between the three of us."

Both men were suspicious. "What kind of wager?"

"For each race he places second or third in, you cough up twenty-five dollars in addition to the money you already sponsored. Fifty if he places first in any race."

The two men exchanged glances. Weaver spoke for the both of them. "Deal. But if he doesn't finish a race, you owe us each fifty."

"Agreed." Brown ended the discussion by stalking out of the break room.

Stone's voice wavered nervously. "You think he'll welsh on the bet?"

"No, Brown's a man of his word. If Sandburg doesn't finish a race, he'll pay up." Weaver rose from his seat and patted Stone's shoulder. "By the end of the event, we should at least be up fifty dollars. There's no way that kid is going to be able to run all four of the sprints and still have enough energy to run the 50 kilometer."

The next three weeks passed quickly. Simon Banks sorted through the list of sponsor donations each participant had turned in; checking off names, making sure everyone's was accounted for. He pulled a list constituting of several sheets of paper, glanced at the name of the participant, then picked up his phone. "Jim, send your partner in here when he gets in, will you? No, he's not in trouble. I just had a question about his list of sponsors. Thank you."

An hour later there was a knock on his door. It opened and the young police observer stuck his head in. "You wanted to see me, Simon?"

"Have a seat, Sandburg." He pulled out the sheaf of papers, centering them on the desk. "Can you explain this to me?"

Blair grinned sheepishly. He reached over, took the papers, unstapled them and handed back the first sheet. "These are all the people in the precinct who volunteered to sponsor me. They're mainly the office staff, Forensics, Major Crimes, and some from Homicide and Vice."

"They all think you can handle these runs?" Simon stared at the names; he couldn't believe how much money some of them were donating. 'If he completes the runs.'

Blair snorted, though his eyes remained bright with humor. "No. A good third on the list only put down so much on the 50 k because they don't think they'll have to pay. But the rest believe I can do it." He handed over another page. "These are some sponsors from my neighborhood. Almost everyone in our apartment complex, as well as some of the businesses Jim and I frequent."

"Yeah, I noticed that Jim had some of the same names on his list. What about those other two pages? There's a lot more written down than name and amount donated."

"These are from the University." He handed over one of the sheets. "Regular donations, mostly from some professors I know, as well as joint donations from some of the clubs on campus. That's what that extra writing is, name of the club as well as the treasurer who'll pay the donation after the events are done." He handed over the last sheet. "This one's a bit different. College students aren't very rich, you know." He flashed a grin at the taller man. Simon shook his head, but returned it. "A few did a straight donation. Others wanted to show their support, but can't afford to donate money, or are really, um … anti-authority. They don't want their money going to the police." Blair shrugged an apology. "So they're donating time."

"I'm not sure I understand, Sandburg."

"It's simple. If I finish a race, they'll donate said amount of time to the Soup Kitchen. It lets the students show their support without draining their limited resources and gives the Soup Kitchen the extra help it desperately needs. I already cleared it with both the Soup Kitchen and the Chief of Police, so there shouldn't be any problems."

"I'm impressed. All right, that's all I needed to know." He waved Blair out of the room.