Which is not really much like being Beauty and the Beast.
Once upon a time, there was a Captain of the Major Crimes department in the Cascade PD, who had under him three Detectives, who were invaluable to him, since Cascade was a city much afflicted by Major Crimes. Now it happened that he had to go to a police conference in a distant city, and as he was just leaving he said to them, "Anything you want me to bring back?"
Rafe, the immaculately groomed one, wanted a new Armani suit; his partner Brown thought a weight-loss program which would allow him to eat as he liked without needing to exercise would be great; but his best detective Ellison, a Sentinel, only said, "Just get back here as soon as possible, Simon."
"It's on the expenses account, you know," remarked Simon cheerfully. "How about some good coffee?"
"No!" said Ellison a little hastily, then he thought for a moment. "How about white-noise generating ear-plugs?" For his hearing had been troubling him since his last check-up.
So the Captain went on his journey and slept through most of the conference, since much of it was irrelevant to Cascade, which was by far more dangerous than any of the normal cities involved. He bought the Armani suit and signed Detective Brown up for a reputable weight-loss program, but could not find white-noise generators of any type, much less in ear-plug form, and settled for rubber plugs instead, hoping they would satisfy Ellison.
When the conference finally ended, he set off on the long drive home, quite pleased with himself, until his car developed a flat tire, just as dark clouds covered the sky and thunder rumbled ominously. He sought for shelter, but all he could find was a dilapidated warehouse with a caged monkey in it watching television. He wandered around inside, calling for the tenant, but received no answer save for the snapping of mouse-traps, and made himself as comfortable as he could get, what with the dingy furnishings and boxes stacked all in one corner. As the threatened storm finally broke and temperatures plummeted, he went to the fridge and got himself a beer and some leftovers that still looked relatively fresh.
In the morning, he went out to change the tire, but found that it had already been done. "Thanks," he called to the monkey, feeling a little silly. But just as he was leaving, what should he see but an entire catalog of white-noise generators spread out on the bed he had used last night! Doubting the evidence of his eyes, but wanting very much to get Ellison what he wanted, for the Sentinel was given to denying problems as far as possible, and probably needed them desperately if he was willing to ask, he sorted through the little devices, and finally found a pair that suited Ellison's specifications (that is, they were in the form of ear-plugs). But the instant he picked them out, he was confronted by the most dreadful of sights: a little Neo-Hippie Flower Child, who had on a pair of glasses and a doctor's white coat, and was engaged in scribbling on a notepad.
"Hey," said the Neo-Hippie Researcher when he finally looked up and saw the Captain, who could only stand there, frozen in terror. "You're a cop, right? I'm Blair Sandburg, and I'm looking for a thesis subject; can I join your department as an observer? I've always wanted to study the closed society of the pigs-sorry, police force, you know the thin blue line, all that? It's for my doctorate in anthropology, you see, and I think it's only fair, since you've slept in my bed, drunk my beer, eaten my pizza and taken my white-noise generators - those are really expensive, by the way, and I've fixed your car up too, so when do I come in and get the paperwork done?"
By the time Blair finished speaking, the Captain's head was spinning, only half from the deluge of words, and he knew IA would have a field day if he took out his gun and shot the annoying civilian. All he knew was that he could not, under any circumstances, allow the Neo-Hippie Researcher into his Department. He already had enough trouble keeping his detectives in line as it was without adding this- this... this into the mix.
"I can't do that!" he protested as soon as he had found his voice.
"But-but," cried Blair, tears welling up in his big blue eyes as he drew the monkey out from its cage into his arms like a baby, "I need to find a subject for my thesis soon, or they'll withdraw my grant, and Larry and I won't be able to afford this place any more! And you did take my white-noise generators without asking too-"
Alarmed at the suggestion that he might be considered a thief, Captain Banks tried explain himself immediately. "I only took them because my Sentinel needed them urgently, and I would have paid for them, if only I could find someone to pay," he pleaded, but he'd lost Blair's attention by then, for the Neo-Hippie Researcher's eyes were now shining in delight.
"A real live Sentinel? You mean you actually have one? I've been looking for a Sentinel all my life! Could I borrow it to study, please?" begged the Neo-Hippie Researcher, and the Captain had not the heart to refuse him twice. So it was agreed that the Captain would leave without the Neo-Hippie Researcher, on the condition that he brought the Sentinel back with him, and they took leave of each other highly pleased with the arrangement.
When he got back to the bullpen, the detectives were at first delighted with their gifts, until they learned of the terrible bargain he had struck with the Neo-Hippie Researcher.
"You bartered Ellison to a Neo-Hippie Researcher for a pair of white-noise generators?" demanded Brown indignantly, as Rafe shook his head, quite aghast at the notion. "How could you? I mean, Captain-"
Ellison didn't hear a thing, being focused on enjoying his wonderful new ear-plugs.
"It was either that, or let him study us," sighed the Captain sorrowfully, hating the idea of having to lose his best detective.
"What?" cried Brown then, as Rafe's eyes widened in horror. "Let him have Ellison," he said, and with Rafe's help, he carted the oblivious Sentinel off to the warehouse where the Neo-Hippie Researcher waited.
Oddly enough, apart from a little initial friction as the Neo-Hippie Researcher and the Sentinel got to know each other, once they got accustomed to their new situation, they did get along quite well, and even grew to like each other. Nevertheless, because all good things must come to an end, Ellison began to miss his life of crime-fighting, the poker nights with his Captain and fellow detectives, and the junk food he used to eat whenever he wanted to. Especially the junk food. And so one night, over their usual round of tests, he declared:
"I want to go back."
Poor Blair was terribly shocked, and deathly afraid that the Sentinel would eat himself to a heart attack and never return, but unable to bear seeing him so grumpy, at last assented, after obtaining a promise that Jim (the Sentinel) would return in a week, and watch his diet in the meantime, at least a little. And the Sentinel set off for the PD, with his senses in much better control.
Alas! A week passed, and he enjoyed himself so much, and caught so many insane criminals, that when his fellow detectives begged him to stay just a little longer, he agreed readily, forgetting all about his promise to the poor Neo-Hippie Researcher waiting back at the old warehouse with Larry. A day passed, then another, but on the tenth night from his return, there came a tremendous explosion from the direction of the warehouse.
Quite beside himself with fear for his friend, Jim leapt into his truck and roared back to the warehouse, and words cannot express the relief he felt when he saw the soot-covered Blair and Larry standing outside the warehouse, watching the remains of their home burn. Chastising himself for not being there, and thus having failed to prevent the explosion, he decided to bring them back with him to the PD, and his own home, which though much smaller, had correspondingly smaller mice, much cuter than the ones which had infested Blair's former home. He got an observer position for Blair, so that the Neo-Hippie Researcher could continue to study him, as well as the thin blue line thing he had wanted to do at first, and once the other cops got used to him, they all became friends too, and worked together happily ever after, as long as they refrained from inflicting their more extreme food preferences on each other as far as possible.