The Gift Of The Ninja
(Nasty Boys)

by Monica M.

Disclaimer: The M7 characters in this story belong to MGM.
Challenge: The October Challenge 2004 (the Gift Challenge): offered by Tipper - One (or more) of the Seven leaves another one of the Seven a gift (i.e. the gift-giver doesn't hand it over, the receiver finds it left somewhere for him). It can be anything -- large, small, a joke, something meaningful, something scary (it is the month of Halloween after all), something smelly or even something sweet. Rules are: (1) the receiver is alone when he finds/receives the gift, (2) the title of the story must include the word "Gift" and (3) you must use one of the following words: pumpkin, witch, monster, candy, trick, treat. BONUS: I double dog dare you to try and use the words "googlism" (I dare NT in particular to use that in an OW fic!) and "abstruse" (just cause it's a cool word).
Universe: Guess I'm gonna have to call it the Nasty Boys AU. <g> For anyone who hasn't read the previous story, "Southern Accents", Nasty Boys was a late 80's television series about a special unit of the Las Vegas Police Department that worked fairly independently and wore "ninja-styled" hoods to hide their identities when making busts.
Acknowledgement: I guess I have to blame this on Jen and Debra M since after reading the other story in this AU they both demanded a chance to see the boys in their ninja gear. <g> And yes, again it's very short. But I've been working on another story and so haven't had much time. But once Meg made the challenge this crazy scene has been playing in my head, so I decided to finally write it down.

Still several strides away from the fencing that served as his office walls, Chris stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the very large cardboard box sitting on top of his desk. No one else was in the warehouse that was, as Buck and J.D. like to call it, their secret headquarters from which they, clothed in their trademark, ninja-styled garb so as to keep their identities secret, struck hard and fast at the criminal masterminds of Las Vegas. Chris was really going to have to get those two to expand their reading interests from just comic books.

The sharp green eyes of Lieutenant Larabee of the LVPD special unit that the media had dubbed the Nasty Boys because of their unorthodox methods were drawn away from the box to a note hanging from the fencing of his "door". It was only because the handwriting was all too familiar to him that Chris boldly strode over and ripped the note down to read it. Before he opened it up though, he glanced around the warehouse just to be certain that he was alone. He eyes lingered on the long couch that was the favorite spot of the man who had penned the note, Ezra Standish, but the warehouse was empty as far as he could see.

Good morning, Lieutenant Larabee,

I do hope this note finds you well. I have recently learned that today marks the one-year anniversary of the 'Nasty Boys'.

Chris could see the smirk on Ezra's face as well as the almost giggle of a chuckle that emanated from the younger man whenever the term Nasty Boys was used. And whenever Chris thought about Ezra laughing he remembered the young man's reaction to seeing the team as they prepared to leave on a drug bust last October. Dressed from head-to-toe in black, their faces covered by special hoods that only revealed their eyes, the five 'Nasty Boys' had strode out of the locker room and straight into the mocking laughter of their snitch. Ezra had laughed so hard he had sat down on the couch to save himself from falling down. The uncontrollable laughter had then had him laying down on the couch and rolling from side to side. He had made several attempts to speak but had only been able to gasp for air between chortles. Tears streaked his cheeks when he finally managed to sit up, but it was still several moments before he was able to speak to the five completely unimpressed and angry men who stood in their black outfits marred only by the bright yellow lettering of LVPD that would identify them to any other law enforcement officers that might happen upon their busts. Chris never dressed for the busts since he monitored things from a distance. "I'm afraid, gentlemen, that I do not happen to have any treats on my person at this time as it's a little early yet to be trick-or-treating. But if you come back a little later I'm sure I'll be able to find something suitable."

Standish had managed to keep his mirth under control for a time. But had lost it again when the five men had started to load up into their vehicles and placed black baseball caps, again with LVPD emblazoned upon them. As car doors slammed shut in anger, Ezra called after them, "You need to find four more for your baseball team. Then you could be the Ninja Knights or something of that nature. You could tour much the way the Harlem Globetrotters do. I would, of course, offer my services as your manager and agent. We could bill it as "East meets West" and infuses ninja fighting with good ol' American baseball." He had to pause then to gulp for air and cradle sides that were still sore from his earlier outburst of laughter. The men in the vehicles shook their heads at him as they drove out of the warehouse wondering why they put up with such a mouthy informant.

When they returned from the bust they found that Ezra had been true to his word as each of them had a king sized candy bar waiting for him on his desk. Chris had smirked to himself in his office as his men caught up with the paperwork from the bust. As they worked, outlandish ideas about what a ninja baseball team could do flew back and forth across the bullpen area. His favorite had to the be the one where the pitcher could mix throwing stars in between pitches to really keep the batter from crowding the plate.

Chris continued to read the note. I felt that there was a need to mark this auspicious occasion with a gift for you and your men. So there is nothing to fear from the box on your desk. Merely consider it as a token of my esteem.

Congratulations on surviving a year and may there be many more 'Nasty' years ahead.

Sincerely ES

The sarcasm was all too easy to read in the note. Chris crumpled it in his hand even though he had not intention of throwing it away. He unlocked the fencing and walked into his office. He had surprised the members of his team when he did nothing to stop Ezra's unauthorized forays into their warehouse. The truth was that Chris had given the southerner his own access code since he had decided that as their informant Ezra had proven to be reliable and trustworthy. He risked a great deal to get them information that they could not get on their own. The lieutenant thought it was only fair to show Ezra that he was willing to share some risk himself by trusting him with not only the location of their headquarters but also with almost unlimited access to it. Now that he saw that the snitch was taking advantage of that trust by breaking into his office Chris was seriously rethinking his decision.

Using his pocketknife Chris unsealed the box. He had absolutely no idea what to expect, but knew it would probably be best to open it up while he was still alone. He knew he would not be able to hide it from his team, the loud-mouthed southerner would see to that, but he could at least lessen some of the embarrassment if necessary.

Taking a deep breath he opened up the box and peered inside. Then he laughed. A true belly laugh would never issue forth from Chris Larabee but his loud chuckle was easily the equivalent for the somber man. Reaching into the box, Chris pulled out a black shinobi shozoko, the clothing of the ninja. The box also held tabi boots recognizable by the slit between the big toe and second toe. Showing more bravery or stupidity than Chris would have given him credit for, Ezra had also included several shuriken, the throwing stars of the ninja. Without a second thought, Chris removed all of those from the box and placed them in a drawer of his desk and locked it. The last thing he needed was to have to rush one or more of his men to the hospital due to throwing stars sticking out of their bodies.

Once all the guys arrived for work Chris called them into his office and presented them with Ezra's gift. There had been grumbles at first about the smart-assed snitch, but those had died away once the men saw the true novelty of the gift and realized the thought that had gone into it. The southerner was hiding behind jokes and teasing but was still managing to express his appreciation and even respect for the team of cops who had accepted him into their midst.

"I forgot today was our anniversary," Josiah admitted as he admired the boots that were just his size. Ezra had made sure that the clothing would fit them all perfectly.

"Wish we could wear these instead of the ones with LVPD on them," Buck laughed.

"Why? So you can get shot by 'friendly' fire?"

"Nah. Just 'cause these are so much cooler! Look at all these pockets. You could put all kinds of stuff in 'em," Buck continued to enthuse.

"You could always wear the LVPD jacket over these," Vin pointed out.

"What about the boots?" J.D. asked. "Why do they have this little slit? And hey, look! There are even socks that have the same slit!"

"They're for climbing ropes," both Vin and Josiah responded simultaneously. With a grin both men eyed each other and wondered where the other's knowledge came from. It was something they would have to talk about later.

"Wonder why he didn't include any of the weapons," Vin mused as he started to dig deeper into the box only to have his hands slapped away by Chris.

"Alright ladies, we do have work to do today," the lieutenant reminded them. "Let's get it done and we can knock off early and celebrate our anniversary with some burgers and beers at my place."

The men nodded their assent as they wandered out of the office, each clutching his outfit and boots. "Buck," Chris called out to the tall cop who was the last to leave, "if Ezra doesn't show his face here today, you and Vin go track him down and bring him to my place tonight."

A wide grin split Buck's face beneath his mustache as he nodded. "Sure thing, LT." Ezra had not been with them for a full year but he certainly felt like a full-fledged member of the team and deserved to be included in the celebration.

"Oh, and Buck," Chris again called out as Buck turned to leave, "just to make sure that people on the streets aren't beginning to mark him as a snitch, why don't you make it look like an arrest."

"Vin and I'll make it look real authentic," the tall cop promised with a glint in his blue eyes. Standish was about to learn about payback "Nasty Boys" style.


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