Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Pet Fly owns The Sentinel. 
I don't intend to harm any of the characters, or profit from them, so 
please don't sue me.

I also don't own Bancoran, Maraich or Patalliro. They belong to Mineo 
Maya, and are characters in "Patalliro", published by Hakusensha's Hana 
to Yume manga line, and up to sixty-odd volumes so far.

Ahhh... Battle of the steely-eyed heroes. Battle of the curly-haired 
sidekicks/lovers. Sorry. I couldn't help myself. (And I *was* working on 
the next Spirit Guide story)

Diamonds and Marinera Sauce
by Lianne Burwell
July 1998

"Ellison, my office," came the shout from the room with a view. 
Wondering just what it was *this* time, Detective Jim Ellison got to his 

"You bellowed, sir?" he asked in a mild tone as he reached the doorway. 
His captain, Simon Banks, did not look happy.

"Close the door behind you." Simon waited while Jim did that, and sat 
down in one of the chairs in front of the desk. "I just had a call from 
the Mayor's office. It seems that the crown jewels of Marinera are going 
to be touring the States, and the tour is starting *here*, for reasons 
they didn't bother to explain. They want *you* to head the security for 
the opening gala, here. Their king will be coming, along with the jewels."

Marinera? "Excuse me, sir, but Marinera? Isn't that a type of seafood 

"It's also an island so small that you could search for it on a map for a 
week and still not find it. Unfortunately, it's also home to one of the 
world's highest quality diamond mines, so the crown jewels are going to 
be attracting all sorts of trouble. The mayor's office is sending over an 
information packet by courier."

"But Simon, why me? Couldn't someone else? Secret Service, the FBI, 
anyone?" Jim knew he sounded a little desperate, but he didn't care.

"Sorry, Jim, but you were asked for by name. They want to make a good 
show by having 'Jim Ellison, Cop of the Year' head the security. But you 
won't be in this alone. The king has sent someone to help with the 
security. He'll be here this afternoon."

"Yes, sir," Jim said with a sigh. They both knew better than to fight 
with the mayor. He just hoped that the 'help' would *be* a help. "I'll 
finish up the report of the Robertson bust, first."

Simon waved a hand, and Jim took it as a signal to get lost.

* * * * *

"Could you please direct me to Detective Ellison's desk?"

Jim looked up at the cultured tones. At the entrance to the Major Crimes 
bullpen, he could see Brown talking to a well-dressed stranger. Jim 
raised an eyebrow. The man was slender, with long black hair that dropped 
to below his waist, and hung loose. He could see the glint of an earring 
through the dark strands, but there was definitely *nothing* feminine 
about the man. Brown pointed in his direction, and the man thanked him 
before turning.

Jim froze in his seat, pinned by the gaze now directed at him. The man's 
eyes were blue, and commanded a laser-like beam that he knew he would 
never be able to duplicate.

"Detective Ellison?"

Jim took a moment to realize that the man had crossed the room, already, 
without him noticing and was now holding out his hand. He stood and shook 
it, noting the calluses that indicated that this man was very familiar 
with holding a gun. The grip was unusually strong.


"My name is Bancoran. MI6. I'm here to help with the security of the 
Marineran crown jewels."

Jim frowned. "MI6? Isn't this a little out little outside your job 

A flash of annoyance crossed the otherwise expressionless face. "A number 
of years ago I was assigned to protect the young king while he was in 
England. He decided he liked me, and since Marinera produces the largest, 
and highest quality diamonds in the world..."

"The politicians are willing to do anything to keep him happy," Jim 
finished for the man. "Been there, done that. So. Let's take a look at 
the security situation that's been dumped on us."

* * * * *

By the end of the day, Jim was feeling a lot better about the assignment. 
Bancoran was a man after his own heart (despite the hair), and they found 
themselves agreeing on nearly every point, and where they didn't agree, 
the dissenter was more than willing to be convinced. Their preliminary 
plans were set. They just needed to make final adjustments after walking 
the site in person.

Finally, at about six o'clock, Jim pushed away from the table in the 
conference room that he had commandeered for their brainstorming.

"Well, I'm sure that you've got a major case a jet-lag, so how about we 
pick this up in the morning."

"Actually," Bancoran replied, "I was about to suggest dinner, my treat. 
The restaurant at the hotel seems more than adequate. My partner has been 
napping all day, so he's probably ready to eat by now."

"Partner?" Jim asked, giving a quizzical head-tilt.

"Partner," Bancoran said firmly, as though daring Jim to comment. 
Instead, Jim just smiled.

"Well, *my* partner is probably finished up at the University, so how 
about we *both* join you?"

Bancoran gave a small nod, as though to acknowledge a touch in a fencing 
match. "Of course, Detective. Shall we say... eight o'clock? We're 
staying at the Cascade Cloisters."

Jim blinked at that. The Cloisters - although it was nothing like a 
*real* cloister - was easily the most exclusive and expensive hotel in 
the city, and its restaurant was touted as one of the finest in the 
Pacific Northwest.

"The king is paying, and the dinner will be going on my expense report," 
Bancoran said, answering the unspoken question. Jim grinned. Definitely a 
man after his own heart.

"Eight o'clock, then."

* * * * *

Jim was just starting to pull out his dress suit when his partner, 
roommate and lover, Blair Sandburg, got home. He could hear Blair all the 
way from the car, grumbling about University politics and unnecessary 
meetings. He grinned. Hopefully dinner would cheer him up.

"Chief," he called as the loft door opened. "Pull out the fancy clothes. 
We're going out to dinner."

Blair came up the stairs to their bedroom and stared at Jim, who was 
trying to figure out which pair of white socks to wear with his navy blue 

"Couldn't we skip tonight? Take-out will do me fine."

"If you want. But it's not every day you get offered dinner at the 

Blair goggled at that. "The Cloisters? Are you nuts? What did you do, 
take out a second mortgage? And what's the occasion?"

"Yes. No. No, since I'm not paying. And the occasion is that the person 
I'm working with a on a security setup is paying on his expense account."

Blair frowned for a moment. "The Marineran Crown Jewels. Has to be."

Jim shook his head in amazement. Someday he'd figure out how Blair 
crammed all that trivia into his head.

"Are you ever wrong? Don't answer that," he said quickly, as Blair opened 
his mouth. "Just pull out something fancy. After all, this is a chance 
that might not come again."

"Too true," Blair said, heading for the closet.

* * * * *

Bancoran was waiting for them in the hotel lobby. The elegance of his 
black suit and ruffled white silk shirt stood out in a room full of well-
dressed upper-class guest. Blair felt out of place in his slightly shabby 
dress suit. If he'd had a bit more warning, he could have rented 
something better, but that wasn't possible. He refused to let it bother 
him, though.

"Bancoran," Jim said. "I'd like you to meet Dr. Blair Sandburg, associate 
professor of anthropology at Ranier University and consultant with the 
Cascade Police Department. Blair, this is Bancoran, MI6"

Blair rolled his eyes. In the three months since he'd gotten his 
doctorate and new job at Ranier, Jim had delighted in introducing him by 
his full title and position. The smile, the way the words rolled off his 
tongue, they all spoke volumes of Jim's pride in him and his 
accomplishments. "Pleased to meet you," he said, holding out his hand.

"Likewise," Bancoran said, shaking his hand. Blair just about melted at 
the sound. What was it about British accents that just seemed to scream 
'sex appeal'?

Bancoran waved them towards the restaurant. "Maraich is holding our table 
for us. I should warn you, though. He is a little... unusual."

"Unusual?" Jim said, then stopped dead in his tracks. At the table they 
were obviously heading for was a very feminine-looking young man. Blair 
was willing to bet that this Maraich was not out of his teens yet. His 
red hair was a riot of curls, which fell across his face, obscuring his 
right eye.

And his clothes! Blair had seen some flamboyant dressers in his day, 
especially at gay pride parades, but this kid put them all to shame. His 
suit was silver lame. His shirt was a midnight blue silk, with a generous 
ruffle at the throat. The boots were the same color, in suede leather, 
and came to the knees, and had heels that were several inches. The boot 
buckles, earrings and brooch at his throat all glittered in a way that 
shouted 'real diamonds'. The ensemble was capped by a floor-length cape, 
draped over the back of his chair, in the same shade of midnight blue, 
and trimmed in pure white fur. Somehow, Blair didn't think it was fake.

"Bancoran," Jim said in a pained voice. "Please tell me he's over 
sixteen, so I don't have to arrest you."

Bancoran laughed.

* * * * *

Dinner lived up to the restaurant's reputation. Blair had winced when he 
saw the prices, but the promise that the meal was being paid for by 
royalty had squashed his immediate instinct to order the cheapest 
(relatively speaking) dish on the menu. Instead he had ordered one of the 
seafood and pasta dishes, and it was wonderful. He hadn't even protested 
when Jim's selection came doused a *very* rich (and unhealthy) sauce.

By unspoken agreement, nothing was said about the security job during the 
meal. Instead they had traded stories. Jim's experiences in Covert Ops, 
carefully edited of anything classified. Bancoran's MI6 stories, no doubt 
edited the same way. Blair's travels, and Maraich's.

Maraich was a surprise. Despite his appearance and obvious youth he was 
as well traveled as Blair, and told a very good story. For someone so 
young, he was also seemed a very old person, inside, and Blair worried 
about what had caused that. Finally he gave in to his curiosity and asked 
what Maraich's profession was.

"No matter," Maraich said with a wave of the hand. "After I met Bancoran, 
I didn't have to keep up my old occupation."

"What was that?" Blair asked, with a cold feeling in his stomach. He knew 
what he was going to hear.


And that wasn't it. Both Blair and Jim choked on the fine wine they were 
all drinking.

"Assassin?" Blair squeaked once his airway was clear again.

"Of course! That's how we met. The Diamond Syndicate hired me to kill 
Patalliro (that obnoxious little troll) while he was in England. Bancoran 
was assigned to protect him. He... stopped me."

"And you fell in love?" Blair asked, fascinated despite himself.

"Well, *I* did. Ban took a little convincing. I had to shoot him at one 
point." Bancoran gave the other man a fond glare.

Blair blinked, not sure if that was a joke. Somehow, he didn't think it 

* * * * *

Jim climbed into bed, wearing his boxers, and immediately found himself 
with an armful of cuddly anthropologist. He just wished he had the energy 
to *do* something with that armful. He settled for a nice long kiss.

"So, did you enjoy dinner?"

"Oooh, very much. It's not like I'm going to have another chance to eat 
at the Cloisters anytime soon. Mmmm. They deserve their reputation."

"They do. And the dinner guests?"

Blair gave him a speculative look. "An... interesting pair. Bancoran is 
sexy as hell. But Maraich. That bothers me a little. From the sound of 
how long they say they've been together, he couldn't have been more than 
fourteen or fifteen when they met. Still, it seems to work for them."

Jim gave a little shudder. "That bothers me too, but the kid is of age 
now, and like you say, it works for them. I'm just glad I *didn't* meet 
them a few years ago. I'd hate to have to arrest him. He's a good man, 
and *very* good at what he does. I'm going to enjoy working with him."

Blair was already falling asleep, and only gave a sleepy mumble in 
response. Jim smiled, and buried his face in his partner's curls. Then a 
piece of the conversation replayed in his mind.

"Why are you noticing how sexy Bancoran is?!"

* * * * *

Maraich waited until his lover was in the bed then pounced, landing on 
top of the older man.

"Ooof. Careful, love. You're putting on weight."

Maraich pouted at that. He kept in too good a condition to be putting on 
weight, and Bancoran knew it.

"So how much longer are we going to be here? It's beautiful, but it isn't 

Bancoran combed his fingers through the fiery curls. "A couple more days, 
until the gala will is over. After that, it's someone else's problem. 
Shouldn't be any problems here, though. Ellison is very good at what he 

Maraich gave a secretive smile. "I'm sure he does. And with all those 
muscles, he probably intimidates everyone out of trying anything."

Bancoran froze, then glared at him. "You're not supposed to be looking at 
his muscles."

Maraich grinned, inwardly. A jealous Bancoran was a fun Bancoran. "Why 
not? And that lovely smile. Of course, his partner has a lot of appeal. 
I'll bet he has a chest as hairy as his head." That was a low blow, he 
knew. Bancoran's body was nearly hairless, except for the nest of coal-
black curls around that oh-so-lovely piece of flesh between his legs.

Bancoran had obviously reached the breaking point. He rolled, until 
Maraich was flat on his back, with those beautiful black tresses falling 
down to shield their faces.

"You better not be planning to do anything more than just look, little 

"Why not. Perhaps they'd being interested in getting together for a... 

Maraich nearly levitated off the bed as his cock was engulfed by his very 
talented lover. Yes, a jealous Bancoran was *definitely* a fun Bancoran.

* * * * *

Three days later, the gala was on. Jim was very pleased with the security 
arrangements. He and Bancoran had covered every contingency. There were 
guards at all the entrances. The jewels were behind glass, laser 
detectors and ropes, keeping the guests at least four feet back from the 
priceless pieces. They had done an excellent job.

At least, that was what he thought until he arrived at the main ballroom, 
after a check through the back-rooms, making sure that they were locked, 
and found only three guards, the ropes gone and the lasers turned off. 
Furious, he went looking for Bancoran, Blair trailing along behind him.

He found Bancoran in a side-room, yelling at a boy who looked to just 
barely be in his teens, while Maraich split his attention between 
restraining Bancoran and glaring at the boy. Jim didn't waste any time 
with small-talk.

"Where the hell are all the guards? Not to mention everything other 
security measure that has disappeared in the last hour?"

"I told them to leave," the child said in a haughty tone. Jim glared at 
the tiny blond, dressed in some sort of military uniform.

"And you are?" he said in his frostiest voice.

Bancoran flashed a grimace, that might have been trying to be a smile, at 
him. "Detective James Ellison, meet Patalliro, king of Marinera."

The boy clicked his heels and gave a small bow. Jim didn't return it. 
"Listen, you might be king, but you do *not* have the right to start 
mucking with the security plan at the last minute!" Behind him, Blair was 
murmuring gentle suggestions for breathing exercises to control his 
temper. For once he ignored his lover.

The boy gave a small sneer, and replied, confidently. "No one would 
*dare* try anything." He turned and headed for the ballroom. "To try 
anything would be an insult to me, and to my country."

Jim snarled at the stupidity of VIPs, and glanced over at Bancoran. The 
handsome man was glaring straight ahead. "Does he do this a lot?"

"Yes." was the blunt answer. Bancoran's control was icy in its intensity. 
Beside him, Maraich was a burning fuse, an explosion waiting to happen.

* * * * *

A couple of hours later, Jim was starting to breath a little easier. So 
far, nothing had gone wrong. However, Blair had needed to pull him out of 
several mini-zoneouts as he over-extended his senses trying to detect any 

He gave a sigh. Maybe he would survive this evening in one piece, 
physically and mentally.

Then he heard a safety being released.

"Nobody move!"

Sigh. He obviously thought too soon.

It was part of the catering crew that the king had foisted on them. It 
was another last-minute change that he hadn't had the time to check out. 
He was kicking himself, now.

They were well-armed, with automatics. While everyone held *very* still, 
two watched their audience, while the third man collected the crown 
jewels. In his mind, Jim could already hear the Mayor yelling at him. 
Still, it could be worse.

"You're coming with us, too," one of the gunmen said, grabbing the young 
king. "They're going to have to pay *big* time to get their king back."

It was worse.

Jim watched as the three gunmen, and their hostage, backed out the 
kitchen door. As soon as the doors closed, he and Bancoran were already 

The bandits had already cleared the kitchen, but it was easy to tell what 
direction they had gone. Guns drawn, the two men were in the hunt.

They were led a merry chase through the bowels of the conference center, 
led through the service passages, first by the loud complaints from the 
indignant young king until he was ordered to shut up or be shot, then by 
Jim's sensitive hearing. He just hoped that Bancoran didn't get 
suspicious about how he was able to follow them. Somehow, he didn't think 
that Ranger tracking techniques would work as an explanation.

They were obviously heading for the service entrance, which was 
*supposed* to have a guard. As they neared it, Jim heard a commotion, and 
even Bancoran heard the shouts, and one lone shot. They put on one last 
burst of speed.

As they came around the last corner, Jim dreaded what they might see. 
What he wasn't expecting to see was his guard, unconscious on the floor, 
surrounded by the three would-be bandits. All three were breathing, but 
out like burnt-out lightbulbs. Standing over them, holding a broken broom 
handle and a metal tray respectively, were Blair and Maraich. Jim skidded 
to a halt, dumfounded.

"How?" he managed to ask.

"Well," Blair said. "We had both checked out the floor plans while the 
two of you were planning the security, and this looked like the most 
likely exit for them to go to, so we just came directly and waited for 

"They were so intent on the two of you behind them, that they didn't 
notice us until it was too late," Maraich added, hanging onto the red-
faced king who seemed intent on kicking one of his kidnappers.

"And the shot?" Bancoran asked in a mild tone. Maraich shrugged.

"One of them had an itchy trigger finger. Unfortunately, he was going 
over backwards as he pulled the trigger. His bullet is somewhere in the 

Bancoran nodded, then turned his attention to the ranting king. "*Next* 
time," he said in a cold voice, "leave security to the experts. If you 
*ever* do something like this again, I will call your mother."

Patalliro went white at the threat. Jim wondered, briefly, what the 
Marineran Queen Mother was like. Behind him, he could hear the king's 
personal guard coming. They sounded like they were... crying?

Maraich let go of the king, and Patalliro stood still for a moment. Then, 
he started... dancing? Jim blinked, but the blond boy in the military 
uniform was still dancing. And he was singing! It wasn't English, but he 
heard the words "cock robin" in the lyrics. Blair looked as flabbergasted 
as he felt. He turned to Bancoran, who was standing with one hand over 
his eyes. He opened his mouth.

"Don't ask. Just... don't ask." Bancoran said, before he could speak. 
Then he turned to start directing the guards and the police that were 
pouring into the area.

* * * * *

Two days later, Jim and Blair saw the Marineran party off at the airport. 
The State Department had bent over backwards to please the young king, 
even allowing the three gunmen be extradited to the island nation, 
despite the lack of extradition treaties. The three men were going to be 
spending a lot of time in the mine that produced the diamonds that they 
had tried to steal.

"It was... interesting working with you, Bancoran," Jim said, shaking the 
other man's hand.

"Likewise, I'm sure," was the wry reply.

Maraich finished hugging Blair, then hugged Jim, ignoring Bancoran's 
frown. Jim could see the royal pain-in-the-ass coming, and he decided to 
cut the good-byes short.

"Take care of yourselves. Hopefully we won't have to work together 
again," he said with a grin. While he liked the MI6 agent, working with 
him would probably involve Patalliro, and he *never* wanted to see the 
boy-king again.

As he and Blair headed for the airport exit, he heard Patalliro 
confidently saying that he knew Bancoran would protect him, he always 
did. Then he could hear Maraich snarling that Patalliro had better get 
his hands of *Maraich*'s man, or Marinera was going to need to find a 
*new* king. Jim chuckled.

"What's so funny, man?"

Jim shook his head. "Sorry. Can't tell you."

"Oh yes you will," Blair said, advancing with hands out and fingers 

Jim broke out into full laughter as Blair chased him back to the truck, 
trying to tickle the story out of him every step of the way. Life was 
going back to normal.

Then the stolen car cut in front of them as they pulled onto the highway. 
Jim sighed, then activated his pursuit lights, while Blair pulled out his 
cell phone to call it in.

Yep. Back to normal.

* * * * *