Relative Absurdity

by Marns
aka Bumpkin

Disclaimer: Not mine...
Description: A none too serious M7-ATF AU crossover with The Sentinel. While the Denver team visits Cascade they find an unlooked for relative of their most secretive teammate in the last place they would expect.
Rated: PG-13

‘Good Lord, Ah am tired.’ Ezra P. Standish, Team 7’s undercover agent might have been arguably the best in the world at what he did, but that didn’t preclude him from getting just plumb worn out like anybody else. He had been pulled off one exceedingly long and grueling assignment just to be unceremoniously dragged willy-nilly to yet another city and dumped, albeit with the rest of his team, in yet another strange place. To what end, he wasn’t sure - nobody had seen fit to inform him yet of why they were whereever they were - other than, of course, he thought glancing around, it being the ubiquitously standard conference room of police stations pretty much worldwide. There was no way he could be mistaken; he had spent altogether too much time in them, both before and after busts.

Deciding that he really didn’t care one way or another about the whys or what-fors, Ezra settled himself into his favored position for such circumstances - his back firmly against the wall, close to an exit and still able to clearly see all entrances. Yes it was paranoid, but it was a habit that had saved his life on more than one occasion and he wasn’t going to mess with it. Raking fingers through his thick dark auburn curls that were on the verge of rebelling from their careful coif, the southern agent relaxed a tiny bit of the iron control he wielded over his body and allowed himself to slump the tiniest bit in his exhaustion. His dark green eyes half lidded, he was still able to sweep the room with a glance and make note of what each of his teammates were doing.

JD was sitting in the corner of the room fiddling around with the old computer system there. The old system had been covered but it still had been coated with dust. It looked like it had just been parked, covered and forgotten. JD was having fun trying to resurrect it. Ezra mentally shrugged, he guessed it was better than the kid being bored at least. Plus it has the bonus effect of keeping the younger man quiet. Not something the team was used to - at times JD had talked so long at once that Ezra swore JD must have mastered the trick of cyclonic breathing Australians used for the Didgeridoo.

Buck and Nathan were over by the large windows. Nathan was there just because he preferred the natural light to anything manmade. Buck, on the other hand, was positioned by the glass in order to ‘see the sights’ as he called it - or girl watch as everyone else called it. Every so often he would see something that got him all ‘het’ up and he would say something while at the same time smacking Nathan in the arm to try and get him to look as well. Watching as Buck hit Nathan for the third time in under fifteen minutes, Ezra had to work hard to stifle the smirk he felt building as Nathan glared at the irrepressible ladies man. The smirk almost got away from Ezra when at the fourth bop to the arm and accompanying comment Nathan’s expression morphed into one of pained endurance you wouldn’t have found out of place on most martyrs.

His attention was drawn away from the suffering Nathan to the table in the middle of the room where Vin, Chris and Josiah were jostling each other. To the uneducated person, they looked like they were working diligently on something important, but Ezra knew they were probably playing that silly squares and boxes game. The brouhaha was no doubt caused by one of them getting a real coup over the other two. He allowed his attention to drift again while he thought that there were times he really had to wonder about the men he worked with. After a short while he became aware of a group approaching the room they had been asked to wait in. Ezra surfaced from the slight meditative state he had fallen into and looked over to the doors where they would be making their entrance.

When the door opened and the seven individuals entered, Ezra’s detail oriented mind began making observations, assessing and taking notes like always - until his eyes met another set among the new arrivals, causing what felt like a hiccup in time. The person those eyes belonged to - a short-ish, long-haired, hippy type - was not someone Ezra would have ever thought to see stepping voluntarily into a police station, let alone what looked like to be working amicably with ‘pigs’. From the expression on his face, Ezra could tell the surprise was mutual which meant... In a move so fast that the two watching groups could barely follow, Ezra leapt up from where he had settled and crossed to where the young guy with the long curly hair stood and slapped his hand over the other’s open mouth which had just barely began to form some name starting with the letter ‘P’. He hissed out, "N-ah-ah! Don’t even think about it, Ah go by Ezra now. Call me anything else and I will visit unending agonies upon your person as just retribution, understand?" Tension ran high in the room as dark green eyes stared into indigo over Ezra’s silencing hand. Fellow agents and detectives, not knowing what was going on between the two men, just stood on the sidelines blinking with utter bewilderment and feeling powerless.

Things changed quickly though when one bushy eyebrow arched drolly over a sparkling indigo eye shortly before the covered mouth did something that made Ezra pull his hand away exclaiming with disgust, "Ugh! Blair Sandburg, you miserable little barbarian, whichever tribe you picked that up from during your travels, I don’t think I have to tell you that you needn’t have brought the grotesque practice home with you."

"That had nothing to do with any kind of tribal lore, Ezra, that was just plain and simple immaturity. Something I know you are still well acquainted with thanks to your bombastic version of a threat." The younger man replied and then tilted his head before adding mockingly, "though that threat of yours really wasn’t up to your old par you have to admit."

"Substandard or not, I meant it," Ezra muttered darkly as he set about putting his clothing back to rights. Blair just laughed while everybody else in the room stood around looking pole-axed.

"I’m guessing here that you two know each other?" Jim said dryly once he had gotten his heart back under control. Since he had only really reacted to the agent’s leap and he’d detected no signs of distress at all from his guide at any time, he was pretty steady by the time Blair managed to get his mouth free.

Blair turned and grinned at his partner, his eyes twinkling with suppressed mirth. "You could say that, yeah. Ezra P Standish here and I go wa-a-ay back," he spun back to the undercover agent as he slyly finished with, "don’t we Ezra?" Making sure to stress the name he had been instructed to use, calling attention to the fact that he was used to calling the other man by another name.

Ezra just sniffed and said facetiously, "Keep it up Blair and your ~karma~ will suffer."

JD sidled up to Buck and whispered, "Did Ez really just say karma?" Buck nodded, equally as flummoxed. Ezra was acting really out of character as far as they were concerned. Chris, Vin, Josiah and Nathan also were feeling rather off balance. The man standing in the room with them was not their normally unflappable undercover agent. The man they knew would never act so... so... childishly. Petulantly - yes, childishly - no. It was just plain weird.

The Cascade contingent weren’t quite as off balance, they didn’t know Ezra from Adam after all, but they too could sense something was off. Even if they were used to Blair acting strange more often than not. They also wondered what the connection between their police observer and a government agent was.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

What an utterly shockin’ development, as dear old Ezra would say.’ Blair thought, chuckling to himself. Running late from commitments he had been unable to get out of at the Uni, he’d blown into Major Crime. He’d been scooped up with the crowd as they made their way to the conference room to meet the ‘Crack Team’ of government agents they were supposed to liaise with on some huge case just outside of their jurisdiction. He’d been totally and completely stunned to come face to face with his cousin - who he hadn’t seen in years - in the midst of the agents, obviously one of them. And judging by the look on his dear cousin’s face when their eyes had met, he’d been as equally staggered. For which Blair really couldn’t blame him, he guessed. The police station of any city was the last place Blair ever thought he’d spend any time in voluntarily, judging from things that had happened and other circumstances in the past. Mind you, Blair would have said the same thing of his cousin too, but that obviously was further off base than Ezra’s simply being there, since his dear cousin seemed to have actually joined the ranks of law enforcement.

That alone would have been mind boggling enough, but the speed his cousin had moved at to silence him - that was something else. Blair again had to stifle any audible sign of his amusement when he recalled the panicked look in his cousin’s eye as he had uttered that ridiculous threat - along with his directive to call him by his first name. ‘I can’t believe the nitwit thought he could intimidate me, he never could before so why on earth did he think he could now?’ Fighting the urge to roll his eyes, Blair gleefully remembered the look of disgust as well as the tirade his little palm licking trick had gotten him, ‘Hehehe, that was just too much fun.’ It called to mind other pranks played on each other from the time they were children. Ezra hadn’t always been so fastidious, Blair wondered what happened to him. Maude?

Now, Blair decided to get himself back on track, what did he know? Well, for one, he knew that his cousin seemed really disinclined to let his teammates know exactly what name his middle initial stood for, and secondly... after that little alpha display, his dear darling cousin really needed a comeuppance and Blair knew just how to go about it. A slightly wicked grin slowly spread over his face, as mischief sparked brightly in his draped indigo eyes.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Vin happened to look over and see the oddly familiar grin spread over the curly-haired man’s face and he had a powerful premonition that Ez might be in a spot of trouble. He elbowed Chris and motioned in the young fellow’s direction. Chris grimaced. Wasn’t he the one who was always being accused of being un-diplomatic? Smoothly moving forward, Chris did his best to ignore the fact that his undercover agent had even uttered the word ‘karma’ and tried for some clarification,

"So, you never did say how the two of you know each other, from however way back it happens to be. Care to share?" The deadly glare he normally wielded with such devastating results having absolutely no effect on either participant. ‘Oh great,’ Chris thought with some disgust, he knew Ezra was immune to his glare, but now it seemed he had to contend with another it had no effect on. Ezra for his part, merely sighed and threw a lethal glare of his own in the younger man’s direction as Blair snickered.

"I suppose introductions are in order all around in any case," he said dryly. "I’ll volunteer to do the honors for our party, then I can only hope Blair will still be able to properly do the honors for his party."

Blair stopped snickering and his eyes snapped with anger at the subtle slight. He didn’t bother saying anything verbally in acknowledgment though; he just regally inclined his upper body in a slight bow to indicate his acquiescence.

Indicating each in turn, Ezra introduced his teammates. "Chris Larabee, leader of Team 7, the unfortunate strategian who’s been tapped to keep our motley crew in line. Vin Tanner, our sharpshooter, tracker, and a part time undercover operative. Buck Wilmington, pilot of anything that can fly as well as a few things that are debatable, communications engineer and team second. Josiah Sanchez, profiler, anthropologist, and explosives expert - if it goes boom, he can figure it out... human or otherwise. Nathan Jackson, team medic, forensic pathologist and knifeman extraordinaire. JD Dunne, our computer and electronics maven - if it’s at all digital, he can hack it, if it’s in the least electronic, he can tweak it. JD is also our secondary communications engineer and I, as you all probably heard before, am Ezra P. Standish. I am the primary undercover operative for the team, plus I have a few other skills that I use to back the others up on occasion."

He strode to stand next to Blair and turned to face his teammates. "Gentlemen, I present to you my cousin, Blair J. Sandburg, B.A., M.A. and..." Frowning he paused and glanced at his younger cousin out of the corner of his eye, "Did you ever get that doctorate, or are you still working on it?"

"Still working on it," said Blair as he shrugged carelessly. "I got distracted."

"Ah." Ezra made a face like he wanted to say something, but then shook his head and said instead, "I believe, dear cousin, the proverbial ball is in your court, hmm?" Blair made a face of his own at Ezra, refraining from sticking his tongue out with only a great application of will.

Smoothing his expression, Blair began his own introductions. Only thing was, he was using a wicked mimicry of his cousin’s mannerisms and elocution to do it, "Simon Banks, Captain of Cascade’s Major Crime’s Unit, a man forever asking what he did to deserve those of us working for him. Captain Joel Taggart, Simon’s second in command and former leader of the Bomb Squad - the lateral move was supposed to reduce stress - sorry Joel. Detectives Henri, or ‘H’, Brown and his partner, Brian Rafe - don’t be fooled gentlemen, no slouches or just pretty faces in this unit. Inspector Megan Connor, our lovely loaner from New South Wales. The lady arrived here on the trail of a felon and for some reason just never wanted to go back home. Last, but not least is Detective Jim Ellison, winner of cop of the year for three years running now and my unofficial partner. I, Blair J. Sandburg, am merely a consultant to the Cascade PD, nothing very glamorous about that, and of course, Ezra’s dear cousin." He finished with a smirk in Ezra’s direction.

Jim couldn’t decide between a wince or just laughing outright, ‘Man is Blair in fine form today - ouch! Wonder what it was Ezra did to tick him off that bad?’ Neither Blair nor Ezra seemed to be in a hurry to elucidate on the matter either, they just sneered at each other. Everybody else had no clue what to do, so they just shuffled in place or milled around a bit.

The stalemate was broken by Simon striding to the middle of the room and barking, "Okay people, enough! We’re here to work, not play out some demented impromptu modern version of ‘It Could Be You’."

Unfortunately, the announcement seemed to have the opposite effect on the gathered personnel than intended. The floodgates opened. Everyone present converged on the hapless cousins. You could hear both sides, agents and detectives, clamoring to know all manner of private particulars about their friends. They were even questioning each other to find similarities between the cousins, to see if that might open up a line of questioning for later on. Simon looked heartily displeased at the display.

Chris started to chuckle ruefully and after making his way to the peeved Captain’s side said, "Simon, you don’t mind me calling you Simon do you?" The tall black man rolled his eyes but shook his head no. "You do realize that we’re fighting a lost cause here right?"

Simon sighed gustily and agreed, "Yeah." Then quickly darting a glance at his companion he added sotto voiced, "I gotta admit, I’m curious as all hell ‘bout them two too, what about you?" Chris just grinned and winked in answer, making Simon chuckle.

Simon cleared his throat and bellowed into the surrounding din with a voice that would have been right at home on a parade ground, "Alright, I think it’s obvious that we’re not going to get a lick of work done here today, so why don’t we take this down to Mickey’s and get to know each other. It’s early enough that I’m sure we can commandeer the back room for ourselves, make it a private party." Nobody there needed a second invitation, they were moving before the last syllable had cleared Simon’s mouth.

Chris stood shocked as his team blithely took off with various Cascadians, leaving him behind without a thought. "Hey!" he cried, indignant.

Simon grabbed his arm and said, "Oh come on, the bar’s in walking distance. You can obsess about your team abandoning you over a beer when we get there." Chris just muttered darkly, as he was dragged in the large black man’s wake.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Blair, beer in hand, unceremoniously flopped down in the chair between Vin and JD. He was grinning cheekily. He smugly held out his hand to the grumbling ladies’ man following behind him. "Pay up, I told you, you weren’t gonna get anywhere with the lady."

"Oh and you did?" Buck Wilmington wasn’t feeling too good; he was smarting from being royally put in his place by one very sexy lady. "Prove it." he challenged the young police observer.

Blair just grinned even wider and called out over the bar noise, "Hey Cassie, c’mon over here a minute." He scooted his chair back as she wandered over. The cute brunette took his unvoiced offer of a seat on his lap without a word, cuddling up comfortably with an arm curling over his shoulders.

"What’s up Blair?" she asked innocently enough to those watching, but with a quick wink to him.

"Nothing much Doc, I just wanted to know if you had met our guests yet? Vin Tanner, JD Dunne and Buck Wil-"

Cassie cut him off with an overdone nose-wrinkling pout, "Him I met, thanks, but the others, no. Hello, pleased to make your acquaintance." Vin and JD both managed to get out some semblance of a polite greeting while choking back the laughter they so badly wanted to let out at Buck’s outraged expression. Problem was, you couldn’t tell what had affronted the man the most. The second put-down in the same night by the same lady, or the easy way she had come over at Blair’s hail.

Cassie took pity on all three of the visiting men, and made her excuses to leave. "Well, I gotta think about heading out now, Serena’s got me on nights this week. So maybe I’ll see you guys around the station, later!" Flashing the table an impish grin, the young forensic technician extricated herself from Blair’s lap and left.

Blair pulled his chair back into the table and again held out his hand to Buck, this time wiggling his fingers suggestively. "Pay up, Buck-o. I got ‘something’ from the lady and you didn’t." Blair grinned wickedly as he remembered his intention to get back at his cousin, "You might have stood a better chance at winning the fair lass had you openly worn the antlers your name advertises y’know Buck m’man."

The Major Crime crew was used to Blair coming out with weird references and paid no attention, and the visiting ATF team just looked at the observer oddly. Ezra, on the other hand knew exactly what his cousin was up to and glared at Blair who just grinned back.

"What? You’re not making no sense at t’all. Fact is, you clearly know the gal, so how is her coming over when you ask and just cuddlin’ getting something from her?" Buck cried in concertation.

"You never specified what ‘getting something or anywhere’ with the lady actually was, so when I called her over here to us, I got her to do something for me, therefore satisfying the exact terms of the bet." Blair smirked knowing he had Buck beat. Mischievously he added just cause he could, "and as a bonus I got a nice little cuddle from her too."

Buck frowned, wanted to protest but couldn’t, Blair had gotten him but good. "Damn, you really are related to Ezra!" Buck huffed as he dug into his pocket for his wallet.

Blair laughed. "For some reason I don’t think you mean that as a compliment right about now," he said smiling as he accepted the money handed to him. Vin was snickering into his beer, obviously enjoying the exchange. JD was making no bones about finding Blair’s triumph over Buck funny by laughing outright.

A glance down table from where the four of them were sitting showed that Chris, Simon, and Jim also were amused by the little byplay being enacted up at their end. Ezra winked, according his younger cousin his due. Blair hadn’t lost his touch. Maude would be glad to hear that, she had always lamented Naomi’s peace and love ways would ruin Blair’s conning talents. From what Ezra had seen tonight, and heard through gossip from co-workers, Blair hadn’t forgotten anything that Maude had taught him. The fact that both he and Blair were using those skills in the service of law and order... it just might bring the long overdue reconciliation about between the sisters via their shared outrage. Stranger things had happened.

"Blair certainly knows a few of the same tricks you do Standish." Chris laughed. Ezra rolled his eyes, and huffed a sigh, otherwise not bothering with a reply. ‘Obvious much?’ They were related after all. Breeding will tell. Jim and Simon grinned at the mannerisms they were used to seeing on Blair being shown by Ezra, if a bit subdued than was Blair’s wont. Chris on the other hand was fascinated by how open Ezra was acting. The blond man had never seen his undercover agent so easy to read.

"If Standish here can talk himself in and out of situations, and trouble, like Sandburg can, then your team really must have your work cut out for you." Simon said dryly. He’d also said it loud enough to be heard the length of the table so he was expecting the cry of, "Hey!" full of wounded dignity from Blair.

Ezra’s own longer protest of, "I hardly think that’s an accurate assessment of..." was only a breath behind his cousin’s and was cut off by Chris, Buck and JD’s laughter and pleas for examples.

Joel walked up behind Blair and bopped him on the head, "You want an example? Meet Lieutenant Sandburg, Narcotics here. Bamboozled a roomful of terrorists into believing he was a cop, which kept them from killing him right off the bat and distracted them from any more retaliation from any of the other hostages until rescue arrived. This was after he took out two of their guys, one with a bathroom stall door and the other with a vending machine. All on his first day in the station, which of course was the day that it got taken over by terrorists." The entire table hooted with laughter. Blair, red-faced with embarrassment, laughing as well as he half-heartedly swiped at Joel.

"Sounds like your kismet hasn’t altered much over the years coz," Ezra grinned wickedly. "I can recall a few other instances in the past, where your arrival to the scene was rife with problematic happenings." Blair wadded up a napkin and with his usual impeccable aim, nailed Ezra with it.

"Shut up! Enough." Blair half glared, half smirked down the table at his cousin. "I think pot should really stop and think before he stops and says anymore about kettle." Ezra’s mouth snapped shut, but his eyes narrowed. You could tell that he was calculating the best possible way he could back at Blair later.

"Man, the two of you act more like brothers than cousins. The way you bicker and stuff." H said as he wandered up to the table with Nathan, Josiah, and Rafe. They scattered to find seats, Nathan by Simon and H beside Nathan. Rafe wandered down to the other end by JD and Buck. Josiah grabbed a stool and tucked himself into the corner between Buck and Rafe by the wall. While their friends were playing musical chairs, Blair and Ezra shared a considering look, then after each gave a minute shrug, decided to share.

Ezra said depreciatingly. "Depending on what your definition of a brother is, we just might be brothers as well as cousins. Not in any hillbilly ‘one boyfriend - two sisters’ way, but because our mothers would trade us between the two of them to care for. At other times, when it was not convenient for either of them to be burdened with a child, they would sometimes leave us with the same ‘foster’ families. We never knew who we would be staying with, if we would be together or apart, or where we would be from one month to the next."

Blair chimed in, "We use our mother’s given names for a reason, it was easier to keep track of one name than to remember ‘mom’, ‘mother’, or ‘aunt’ depending on who had us at any given time. Especially when we couldn’t even use landmarks as a way to orient ourselves seeing as both our mothers tend towards the nomadic."

"So, the reason we act like brothers is because in a way we are, seeing as in many ways we were raised much like siblings, albeit in a very strange family." Ezra finished.

"Strange doesn’t even begin to cover it mate." Megan said sitting down in the open chair between H and Vin. "It sounds to me like your mums didn’t have a bloody clue about how to raise a kid."

"Well to be fair, you have to realize both our mothers weren’t exactly ready for parenthood when they had us. Maude was 19 when she had Ezra, and Naomi had me when she was barely 18." Blair said reasonably. "They did the best they could for who they were and hey, we didn’t turn out so bad." Ezra dropped his head to the table and groaned as Blair winced; he’d belatedly realized he’d left one hell of an opening for both of them to be mocked.

The ball wasn’t dropped and the derogatory commentary flew thick and fast amid much laughter. Speculation again was bandied about, except this time it had a new salacious nature. Quips traded amongst the two got more and more ridiculous and outrageous as they went on. Finally, Blair couldn’t take it anymore and called out, "Man, enough! Jeez. What does it take to get you guys to let up?" JD grinned, looked around at his teammates, and said, "Well that depends, are you going to tell us what the ‘P’ stands for in Ezra’s name?"

"At the risk of ‘unending agonies’ being ‘visited on my person’ I can’t tell you, sorry." Blair responded dryly, shooting a look down the long table where Ezra was holding court. Blair was well aware their every word could be heard by all present. Ezra’s gaze caught Blair’s and the older cousin smirked as he gave his younger cousin a tiny two-finger salute. He soon realized his error when one of Blair’s eyebrows shot up in an, ‘Oh, so that’s how you want to play it eh?’, type of look. His smirk rapidly took on a sickly cast as he heard Blair say tauntingly,

"Well, I gave my word that I wouldn’t out and out tell you, but there is nothing saying that you can’t guess what it might be... Especially if I drop some hints here and there over the night. In fact, I may have already dropped one, if you were paying attention... But - I won’t confirm it if you guess right, that would be too much like telling..." Ezra sighs in relief and then tenses again as Blair adds, "verbally that is."

Ezra glared daggers at his cousin, to absolutely no effect. "I should sic Maude on you," he muttered loudly, disgusted that he had nothing better to threaten Blair with.

"I could send Naomi your way for a visit now that I know where you live..." Blair retaliated pleasantly and grinned as Ezra blanched. All of Major Crimes burst out laughing - with the exception of Megan - they’d all met Naomi and knew the damage one of her visits could incur.

Chris leaned forward and said in an aside to Simon, "Woman’s like a force of nature right? Sweeps into town and all you can do is ride it out until she’s gone, hope the damage isn’t that extensive, and then you’re left picking up the pieces?"

"Yeah, that pretty much sums it up." Simon muttered back.

Chris sat back into his seat grumbling, "Oh joy. One in this world was bad enough, but now I know there’s two? There is just no justice in this world."

Hearing Chris’ low voiced complaint’s, Jim started to snicker. He’d been thinking pretty much the exact same thing, but hadn’t wanted to voice it in case Blair heard him. He’d get no peace from his friend if that had happened.

Blair had heard Chris and saw Jim start to snicker afterwards and was pretty sure he knew exactly what his roommate was thinking. Grinning, he decided that this was probably a good time for the first of the hints he had actively promised.

"Alright, jokers! Keep dissing the moms and I’ll have to send you guys to the penalty box," Blair said mock threateningly.

Buck’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully. He leaned towards the end of the table and asked Rafe in a quiet voice, "He doesn’t strike me as a Hockey fan per se... would I be right?"

Rafe grinned knowingly and simply shook his head ‘no’. He did qualify his rebuttal with, "but remember, ‘Penalty boxes’ are used for Rugby and Lacrosse as well." Rafe’s softly accented voice lilted with a slight Afrikaans accent, telling them how he knew such trivia about the two more international sports.

Buck’s voice had carried though, and so both Vin and JD had also realized that Blair had given them their first clue. Something to do with Hockey, Rugby or Lacrosse... or time outs due to sports anyway. Or maybe it was just the sport if they could narrow it down with the other hints.

Simon, in the meantime, decided that he wanted to get a bit of his own back from his observer. Knowing that he had an appreciative audience, he started to tell the story of the first time they had met Naomi Sandburg.

Ezra had started to quietly laugh right at the beginning as the chagrined Captain had told of having his office phone co-opted for personal use (he still had no clue how she had gotten the number). He only laughed harder as the tale progressed through the woman’s sweeping descent on the Major Crimes office itself to protest her ‘sweet Blair’s’ involvement with the ‘pigs’. From there, he went on to describe her snooping which led to her finding out about her darling actually working ‘undercover’. Again, something Simon had no clue how it had come about - his getting talked into Blair being asked to do something so dangerous. Or even how the originally reluctant young observer had agreed to it (though he had to admit Blair handled himself remarkably well). Then how she was shanghaied in the end of the undercover operation, by both the police and then the criminals they were after. The admiration in his voice was clear as he recounted how surprised he had been at her cool under the circumstances (despite outward appearances of her being a total flake).

By the time Simon came to the end of his little narrative, Ezra was biting his tongue to keep from howling. Blair had really managed to keep a lot of himself back from his new friends; they had no clue what he was capable of even with all the things he had accomplished while working along side them. If he really wanted to, Blair could easily be as good an undercover agent as Ezra himself. They had learned all the tricks at the knees of the same women.

Vin and Chris shared a look, the way that Ezra’s eyes were dancing told them a whole lot more than anybody else would have guessed. They had always thought their undercover agent was one of a kind, but now they weren’t so sure. It seemed he was half of a matched set, both of which were now working for law enforcement in some way or another, and wasn’t that a thought to give them nightmares.

Simon and Jim watched the byplay between the sharpshooter and team leader and added up a few dots of their own. They resolved to have a few words with their observer/guide in the near future about just what he was capable of. With the way he had been dilly-dallying about with finishing his diss, they had already been toying with the idea of asking him to switch his topic to the police for real and then getting an official position with them after he had defended. Now it looked like they had even more reason to want him to work with them if he had the same skills as his cousin - one of the best undercover agents out there.

Josiah in the meantime had countered Simon’s tale of Hurricane Naomi with the story of team seven’s first meeting with Maude Standish. Blair shared a commiserating look with his older cousin as the tale was told, he knew exactly what Maude was like. The two stories prompted a flurry of odd-ball and strange case one-up-man-ship amongst the gathered law enforcers.

"And sometimes lurk I in a gossip’s bowl[1]..." Blair muttered to himself. A direct quote from the play he wanted to use for more of his hints and it seemed profoundly apt at the moment. A bit on the obscure side though, so he waited until one of Ezra’s team had finished a story of a particularly dumb gun-runner and said the more well known one loud enough to be heard by all, "Lord, what fools these mortals be![2]"

"You said it Hairboy!" H crowed as he laughed over the last story. "There are times I wish we cops could get paid for submissions to that ‘World’s Dumbest Crook’ show - from what I’ve heard tonight, the lot of us would clean up!"

Nathan was grinning too, but not for the same reason as the affable detective. "Very appropriate quote, Blair, and famous too - but I have a feeling that you’re not the type to drop literary quotes like that in regular conversation on average. I do believe it might’ve been another clue in the mystery of what Ez’s middle initial stands for, am I right?"

Blair just smiled. He had said that he wasn’t going to verbally confirm anything after all, and he wasn’t about to go back on his word.

"Waitaminute, I got it!" JD said looking up from his little palm computer grinning widely. "When Nate said it was a famous quote I decided to ‘Google’ it to find out who said it, and along with the other penalty box clue I’m pretty sure I know what the ‘P’ stands for!" Ezra looked sick, he hadn’t realized JD had that damned thing on him.


"Well boy, spill."

"C’mon JD, don’t make us hang in suspense here..."

"Puck! The ‘P’ stands for Puck, the mischievous trickster, otherwise known as the merry old elf himself."

Silence overlaid the room as this was digested. No-one bothered to ask Blair if JD had guessed correctly, the pained glower on Ezra’s normally unreadable face was more than enough confirmation. Then Chris said abruptly, "Well, it fits. Don’t know if it’s because of or in spite of, but it certainly fits - I’ve never met anyone who can cause so much trouble with so little effort as Ez here, or anyone who can get in and then out of as much hot water of their own for that matter."

Simon snorted and the rest of Major Crimes made choking noises as Jim said, "Hell, if that’s the case then I want to know why Blair here wasn’t named Robin or Goodfellow to match, cause from the sounds of things they match in everything else!"

Blair cried, "Hey!" in a voice full of righteous indignation as Ezra’s glower melted into laughter. Blair mock pouted and otherwise hammed it up to the amusement of everyone. Ezra rolled his eyes at his cousin’s antics but couldn’t help smiling himself, even if he did still have a minor urge to visit some rather nasty retribution on his cousin’s person for disclosing indirectly what his middle name was.

Except, seeing the way the cops and his teammates were all horsing around together, Ezra figured something out. Blair and he might be family by blood, but they had both managed to find and adopt another family each in the men they worked with. Another famous quote of the bard said it all for them,

‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.[3]


On to: Relative Absurdity 2: Wrangling

[1] Midsummer’s Night Dream, Act 2, Scene 1, line 47.
[2] Midsummer’s Night Dream, Act 3, Scene 2, line 115
[3] King Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3, line ???

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