Think Outside the Box
|Title:||Think Outside the Box|
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Reactions and Reviews
Shortly after Blair joins Major Crimes, Jim starts acting strangely. To give Blair time to figure out what's wrong with Jim and fix it, Simon sends them both to a conference. Unfortunately, things continue to get worse until Blair is afraid that Jim is going to end up permanently broken. Having made a huge dent in the relationship side of the Sentinel fandom, I've started reading more gen and, in the process, am discovering some really awesome fic. Think Outside the Box is one of the best I've read so far with great writing, a fantastic plot, and brilliant characterization. You have mystery (what is wrong with Jim), one of the most unique and interesting police conference experiences I've ever read (I only wish that actual police were going to conferences this useful), a lot of hurt/comfort (mostly with Jim hurting, which is a nice change of pace), and a couple of really great OCs that I like enough that I'd love to see them in future fics. All in all, this is a perfect example of how great gen fic can be.
Hah, when I saw that you recced this via the TS Newsletter, I said to myself "OMG, she's recommending a gen story!"
Jael Lyn really does a fine job and, although I also tend to read more slash, I find I don't miss a sexual relationship at all in her stories. They are interesting and inventive and complete. She makes nicely rounded OCs and she treats canon minor characters with respect as well.Good choice for a rec and good author! 
This takes place after TSbyBS, and Blair has join to Major Crimes. Shortly after this happens, Jim begins to act in a strange way. He's more silent, lashes at people, and, what scares Blair the most: he has lost his self-confidence. In an effort to avoid to have to suspend Jim, Simon sends him and Blair to a task forces seminar. But instead of getting better away from job's pressures, Jim gets worse. Blair is at lost, he has no clue what's wrong with his friend, and he is getting more and more afraid that he will lost Jim. This story is a real thriller. We have a mystery, and lots of action. We have a wonderful characterization and a couple of OC very well done. And some nice hurt/comfort. *g* 
In this post TSbyBS story, "Jim's a little burned out, and Simon sends the partners out of town, hoping to give them a break." Of course, things don't end up being that simple -- but one can't even blame trouble-magnetism for what happens. This was a good roller-coaster ride. Jim isn't just stressed, he's post-traumatized, won't tell anybody, Blair and Simon are desperate, and the situation Blair and Jim end up in only makes it worse for Jim. There's good character stuff, good partner stuff, good detective work, and a likeable supporting character. Making the conference organizer possibly sinister was perhaps a bit of overkill, at least at the end, though during the middle it did add yet another source of worry to the story. I did like that the main stress was not the usual kind of thing one sees in a TS story. And I liked the way that this was thoughtful, the solution not easy to find -- and that Jim wasn't the only one under stress.
Summary: It's a few months after Blair has graduated from the police academy and become a detective in Major Crime. Everything should be terrific, but something's wrong with Jim. He's not sleeping well, brooding and losing his temper. Simon would like to send both partners on vacation, so Blair can figure out what's wrong with Jim, but Blair is too new on the job to have any vacation accrued.
Not for nothing is Simon the boss. He thinks outside the box and sends Jim and Blair to an unusual seminar. It seems the ideal way to take the pressure off Jim and give them the off hours needed to figure things out. But it does anything but--as they face each exercise, Jim gets more and more bent out of shape.Reccer's Notes: Jael's stories are always well thought-out and chock full of action and emotions. Her canon and original characters are well-served. But always, always the strong friendship between Jim and Blair are at the heart. Enjoy.