Author’s Note: Okay, so this is where the time jumps in the series really begin. Suffice it to say that Megan took Ariel in when she broke her leg and they became good friends as a result–she also abbreviated Ariel’s last name to a nickname just like she did with Blair, hence why she calls her “Jenny.” This is set while the leg is still healing. In terms of the series, Megan still thinks Jim is psychic.
Acknowledgments to Nancy Taylor as always.
Megan blinked, startled, as the door to the loft swung open before her hand reached it to knock. Jim grinned at her from the opening, raising a finger to his lips.
“Come on in, Conner,” he told her softly.
A little bewildered, she stepped past him into the apartment, which seemed strangely empty. “Where are Sandy and Jenny?” she asked in a low tone, imitating the quietness of his voice.
Still grinning, Ellison pointed towards the couch. Megan gave him a quizzical look and crossed the room on tiptoe. Reaching the sofa, she found Blair and Ariel sitting together on it, the redhead with her recovering leg stretched out along the cushions. Her head had lolled onto Sandburg’s shoulder, and his own curly head was rested atop hers. Both were sound asleep.
“Ah, I see,” Conner whispered with a trace of satisfaction in her voice. So, that would explain why he anticipated me at the door. “This must be one of those times when being psychic comes in handy.”
Jim got a peculiar expression on his face, the same half-amused look he almost always wore whenever she mentioned his abilities. Megan ignored it, since she knew her chances of getting an explanation for his reaction were slim to none.
She studied the pair on the couch again, smiling this time. “That’s sweet. What happened?”
“They were watching a movie.” The detective chuckled. “Apparently it wasn’t very interesting.”
“And I thought they were actually going to study,” the inspector exclaimed in quiet mock-indignation.
“They were,” Jim conceded. “The movie was for Ariel’s ‘film as literature’ class. Coffee, Conner?”
She nodded. “Sure, since I might be here for a while anyway.”
The detective smiled and she returned it, taking only a moment to marvel at the rarity of that. He turned away into the kitchen; she let her attention drift back to the pair on the couch. Red and brown curls tumbled together over the sleeping pair, so that she couldn’t have told whose hair was whose if not for the difference in color.
That thought caused a mischievous smile to creep over her face. Hmm…
Jim crossed back into the main room of the loft a moment later, only to find Megan bent almost studiously over the two curly heads on the back of the couch. “Conner, what are you doing?”
The inspector looked up innocently from her task, revealing two hands twined in Blair and Ariel’s hair, weaving the red and brown locks into a single braid. “I don’t suppose you know where Sandy keeps his hair bands?”
Jim couldn’t help it. He laughed. Loudly.
Blair and Ariel jerked awake and jerked apart. Or rather, they tried to pull apart, but didn’t get very far before the mutual braid resisted and inertia brought their heads back together with a solid “klunk.”
“What the hell?” Blair exclaimed as his fingers set out in search of the knotty problem he couldn’t see.
By this time, Megan was almost on the floor with laughter. Jim was also failing to keep a straight face. Finally, he gave up, beginning to chuckle through a broad, merry grin.
“Jim, what the hell did you do?” Sandburg asked as he and a groggy Ariel weeded through their entangled hair.
“Me? What makes you think I had anything to do with this?” the Sentinel protested.
“Right. All he did was watch,” Megan contributed a backhanded defense.
Jim glared at her. “Thanks for the help, Conner.”
“Give it up, Jim,” Ariel yawned. “Mischief loves compan–ow!”
“Sorry,” Blair apologized.
“‘Sokay. Just try to pull your own hair in the future.”
“I am trying–I’m just having trouble telling yours and mine apart right at the moment.”
“Hey, Megan,” Ariel called to the Inspector. “You got us into this mess–why don’t you come over here and help undo it?”
“What, and miss half the fun?” Conner retorted, her eyes still dancing.
The embraided pair grumbled in response and returned to their blind disentangling efforts.