Jim looked at Blair with long suffering contentment. The younger man had sailed through the required academy classes and even handled the self defense and firearms requirements without too much trouble. But Jim could tell it wasn't the same. Blair wasn't unhappy or dissatisfied with the results of the dissertation fiasco. William Ellison's top shelf team of lawyers had resolved the situation as completely as Blair would let them. He refused to allow any legal action that would return the spotlight to his Sentinel.
"I know your afraid of stirring the pot again, but how would you feel if you discovered Edwards did something similar to another student?" Jim wasn't above using guilt to protect his Guide from himself.
Blair had capitulated at that; just as Jim knew he would. And the resulting investigation had seen the Chancellor removed from office and an official apology to Blair from the university. They left the door open for him to submit another dissertation. Blair had initially declined, but Jim was still working on that decision. Blair had worked too hard, and it was too important to him; despite his assertions to the contrary. Blair was a great investigator and partner, but he was also a great teacher. Jim hated to see that part of Blair suppressed.
The Sentinel had put some thought into the problem when he overheard a discussion in the break room one day. He was down a floor from Major Crimes hunting an old case file when he heard some patrol officers griping. Tuning in to the discussion he learned that a couple were working on degrees and were having trouble. Apparently, a professor was known to hate cops and make their lives as difficult as possible. Unfortunately, it was a required class and he was the only teacher. Several patrolmen had taken the class together; hoping to help each other study and review notes if one student had to miss a class. However, their efforts were only partially successful mid-term grades had just been released and no one understood how the grades had been calculated since all had lower grades than they expected and several were struggling to maintain the C required.
"I don't know what else to do. I'm never free during office hours, and he won't make appointments to discuss anything outside that. There are never any real comments on the papers to explain why he marked something down." One bemoaned.
"I know, and the department won't pay for the class unless we have a C or higher. Not to mention we'll just have to take it again or drop out. It's totally unfair." Another answered.
By this time Jim was standing in the doorway of the break room. This was a perfect way to get Blair back into the academic world. Listening for a few more minutes he walked over to the coffee pot and looked around as he poured.
"I know someone who could help you pass the class."
The comment was completely unexpected and the young officers turned to the detective in shock.
"Who man. I can't afford a real tutor."
"I suspect he'd do it for nothing. He loves to teach."
By now, Jim had the complete attention of the entire room.
"I'll take any help I can get. Who is it?"
Jim just looked at them for a couple of minutes.
"You're cops. Who do you think would make a good teacher?"
With that he walked out of the room, unashamedly listening the entire way.
"What did that mean? What is he talking about?" The comments taking various forms but all with the same meaning. He smiled as one of the quieter men in the room sounded shocked.
"No way. He couldn't mean that could he? Do you really think he would?"
This time Jim stopped and listened to the entire conversation.
"Who man? Do you know what he means?"
"His partner doofus. Detective Sandburg. I heard he's a genius. Do you really think he'd help?"
"The fraud; what could he do?"
"Are you really that stupid Martins? You think Ellison would actually have a fraud for a partner? I don't know what's going on, but I've only been out of the academy six months and even I'm not that green."
The tension in Jim's shoulders relaxed. He'd have to make a note to bring the young man to Simon's attention. With seasoning and guidance he suspected the man would make a great cop. And it appeared his mission had been successful. With a grin Jim returned to the eighth floor.
That was how a shy patrolman made his way into Major Crimes after his shift. Hoping he wasn't being too presumptive he headed toward the desk Sandburg occupied.
"Um, excuse me Detective Sandburg. Would you have a couple of minutes?"
Blair looked up in surprise. He wasn't used to much interaction with anyone outside Major Crimes; the rest of the force seemed content to ignore him. "Sure Peterson." Blair read the tag on the young man's uniform. "What do you need?"
Peterson had caught the slight nod from Jim and felt better about continuing.
"Well sir, I'm having trouble with a class I'm in and I thought maybe you would have some time to give me some pointers."
"Call me Blair. I'm not that old. What class is it?"
"Criminal psychology. It's required for a CJ degree and no one seems to be getting it."
"You mean the whole class is having trouble?"
"No, only us." At the confused look Blair shot him he continued. "I mean us cops. Several of us took the class together hoping we could help each other. Everyone's really confused and no one is getting higher than a C. And Dr. Jenson doesn't seem to be willing to help us."
"Oliver Jenson?" Blair asked.
"Yes, he won't make appointments outside office hours and everyone is working during them. We don't know what else to do; we have to have a C and well..."
Peterson trailed off as Blair interrupted. "Okay, get me everyone's schedules and we'll find some time we can meet. Have everyone bring me their papers and tests. Jenson's notorious for his bias but no one's ever called him on it. I'll set up a schedule and study guides. Oh, and if you can email me a copy of the syllabus that would help."
Peterson looked around in confusion at the glee in Sandburg's face. He didn't even know how to respond to all this.
"Don't worry. You've just entered the Sandburg zone. He won't rest until you're all getting A's. And he just might wind up getting this Jenson fired if I know him." Jim took pity on him. "Get your friends together this weekend, and I'll make sure there are snacks and beer enough."
That weekend saw four young men gathered around the coffee table at the loft. Blair had gone over the papers and made several comments.
"Unfortunately, we can't get Jenson on unfair grading; these papers really don't rate much higher than they received." Blair started. At the looks he received he continued quickly. "However, that's not your fault. His directions are confusing, his comments aren't constructive, and the tests are ridiculous."
"So you can't help us?" one of the men moaned.
"With the papers definitely, and I can prepare you for the tests. I can give you some key words to look for and some clues on how to wade through his wording, but you'll have to take them. I don't know if I'll be able to get you all at a C or higher this semester. But I can promise to push this to a higher level. Be sure to keep all your tests, quizzes and papers;. we'll need them to build a case. I'll see if I can find out who his TA is this semester."
Jim watched from across the room. Blair was in his element with the kids. He loved teaching and he hated professors who abused their roles as educators. He believed anyone who truly wanted to learn deserved the best from their teachers. He smiled as he got up to replenish the snack bowls. It was worth the minor inconvenience of crumbs on his sofa, hungry young men and higher grocery bills over the next few weeks just to see the familiar Blair return. Jenson didn't stand a chance.