ATF Universe (Seven)
Notes: February’s challenge offered by Yolande!! From time to time during the series we saw the guys acting a little bit childish or downright silly – Okay maybe not all, but I’m sure they did when we couldn’t see them. (G) They knew how to joke and muck around – Come on, they weren’t ALWAYS serious. I want you to write a story that shows us what the boys get up to when they’re not saving the town or off rescuing a village…when they’ve got far, far too much spare time on their hands. What sort of pranks, tricks, mischief and general mayhem do they get up to and who do they target? You can use any number of pranksters and victims - hehe. Any AU or OW. Go for it!
Please send comments and/or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
“And just how are my dwarfs?” she asked in a high pitched squeal, stepping off the elevator with her long black hair braided down the center of her back. She wore a long bright red flowing skirt with slits up to her mid-thighs, and a black turtle neck sweater. A large man followed her, looking casually around the room.
JD smiled: “Cordelia?” he asked, stepping up to give her a hug.
“Sneezy!” she teased. She looked around the room and pulled her big man forward. “Boys, this is my husband Levi Grant.” He looked more like a trophy with finely chiseled features, brazen blue eyes, and natural blonde hair. At six foot four, he towered over his wife.
“Good to meet y’all,” he replied, with a deep throated voice.
“Texan?” Vin asked with a smile.
“Damn straight,” Levi returned with a smile. “I’ve heard a lot about y’all…the wife thought this would be a good chance for us to meet…we’ve got a six hour layover here.”
Chris and Nathan stepped out of the far office after hearing all of the commotion, and Josiah and Buck soon followed. Introductions were quickly made and the usual small talk ensued. That was until Cordelia noticed a few sheets of paper sitting on the table outside the offices.
“What’s this?” she asked, picking up one of the papers while looking carefully at the detailed instructions.
Vin cleared his throat: “See,” he paused, “we’re trying to get Ezra back for all his ‘practical jokes’.”
“So you’re going to blow up an inflatable phalic symbol and glue it to his car?” She frowned, looking questionably at the group.
“It’s a good idea!” JD protested. “He hates shit like that, and he’ll be too busy trying to tear it apart to notice who did it.” He needed to get the Southerner good.
“Sneezy,” Cordelia smiled, “What’d he do to you?”
JD pressed his lips together and growled. “He painted all my posters with glow in the dark paint which caused all their eyes to glow when I turned off the lights.”
“Screamed like a girl the first night,” Buck added with a shake of his head. “Couldn’t figure out what had caused it—thought some boogie man had snuck in one night just to scare the shit out of him.” He tried to suppress a chuckle, but failed.
“It wasn’t funny, Buck!”
“Can you prove Ezra did it?” Cordelia asked, placing her hand on her hip while waiting for the reply.
“No,” JD snapped, “but I know it was him!”
“So where is he?” she asked, just to cover her bases.
“We’re supposed to meet him at the tavern tonight, he’s out on a case,” Chris answered, taking a seat next to the table.
“Who else has he supposedly ‘gotten’?” Cordelia elbowed her husband to keep him from laughing.
Josiah looked away, but not before she caught his movement out of the corner of her eye.
“What happened?” she pushed.
Josiah bit the inside of his mouth; he really didn’t want to talk about it. He rolled his eyes and slowly ran his fingers through his hair before he began. “I went undercover for a week as an elderly man—using a walker, cane, thick glasses—you name it, I used it. About a week later I get a delivery of 40 boxes of Depends undergarments.” He frowned.
“That’s not so bad,” she chuckled.
“I was at the barber at the time they delivered them to me…in broad daylight, unwrapped, and by four beautiful blondes.”
Buck snorted, and quickly covered his mouth. Ezra did have a sense of humor.
“And you’re sure this was Ezra?”
“This has EZRA written all over it!” Josiah replied confidently.
Cordelia nodded in understanding: “Anyone else?”
Five sets of eyes landed on Larabee.
Chris shook his head. “What happened to me was just a freak…thing.” He had no desire to get involved.
“You came in here for three months bitchin’ about that picture,” Vin replied.
“Six,” Buck corrected, “it was six months.” He looked at Chris and smiled.
Nathan snickered and took a seat at the other end of the table.
Chris shrugged his shoulders, trying to make light of the situation. “I had this ol’ poster that was in this cheap frame hangin’ above the fireplace at my place…simple picture of a cowboy an’ his horse. I’ll be the first to admit it was old, but it was a nice picture.” He looked around, knowing he was going to have to finish the story. “I get home one afternoon an’ that picture’s been turned upside down—so I turned it right again and forgot about it.” He shrugged. “Few days later I notice it was upside down again.”
“That went on for six months?” Cordelia asked with a smile.
Chris inhaled deeply and nodded.
“He’d come in here bitchin’ about not bein’ able to find anyone that would be ballsy enough to do it. Then he thought it was old man Depsy from down the road—crazy old man who used to be real good at art.”
“What happened to the poster?”
“I took it to the shootin’ range and used it for target practice.”
Levi and Cordelia both laughed and shook their heads.
“How’d you figure it was Ezra?”
Chris shrugged his shoulders. “I can’t prove that it was him, but I got this feelin’…?”
“So you all want to get Ezra back for all this?” she asked, wanting to be sure.
“Before he strikes again,” Vin interrupted.
“Well,” she started, “this isn’t going to work.” She tossed the paper she’d been holding onto the table. “And make sure you shred your evidence.”
“You got an idea?” Chris asked, raising an eyebrow.
Cordelia smiled: “I’ll meet you boys at the tavern in about two hours. I’ve got some news to share with my favorite Georgian anyway, so I’ll just turn it up a notch. Whatever happens…” she looked hard at them, “…keep your faces straight and don’t say anything.” She grabbed her husband’s hand. “If you want to play a practical joke on Ezra, you have to know his rules—one of which includes deception. He’ll never know who hit him, or from where.” She turned and headed back toward the elevator, turned once inside and waved.
“I’ll buy the beer,” Levi called out, just as the doors closed.
JD smiled, looking like a kid with a toy snake. “We’re goin’ to get him good.” He couldn’t help but squeal in delight.
As usual, the tavern was quiet with only a few patrons moving about and enjoying the game playing on the large screen TV located just above the bar. Inez wiped the counter tops and joked with a few of her regulars.
Ezra stepped in through the front door and headed toward the table in the back where his friends were seated. They looked tired, as though they’d had a long day, and were all looking forward to the weekend.
“How’d it go?” Vin asked, taking a long pull from his cold glass of beer.
“It’ll take four days at the most to finish the job, and then,” Ezra shrugged, too tired to get into it, “we’ll see.” He ran his fingers through his hair, wishing he’d just gone home and went straight to bed.
“You doin’ all right?” Chris asked out of genuine concern.
Ezra nodded. He looked to his right and his face lit up when he saw his old friend step into the saloon with a man behind her. Ezra stood and made his way to the entrance and quietly greeted her, and she in turned introduced her husband. They walked back to the table and seated themselves; everyone seemed more at ease and uncharacteristically less tired.
“The mister and I are only here for a couple of hours and thought it would be nice to hunt you boys down and share a little time with you.” She glowed when she talked, as though she hadn’t seen any of them for months.
“The mister?” JD asked, pulling a pretzel out of the small basket resting in the center of the table.
“More of her famous nicknames,” Levi replied.
“I had a cat named Toby one time—got run over by a snow plow that took his head clean off, so I figured it would be better to give everyone nicknames. I mean, what’s wrong with nicknames…regular names are just too plain, ordinary, constipated. You know, like having to wait twelve hours before you can take a…oh wait,” she paused and looked toward her husband with a grin, “that’s your line.”
“Are you both with the same music company?” Josiah asked, casually stretching his legs and crossing his ankles. He needed to change the subject.
“Yes,” Levi replied. “We met while playing in Philadelphia. She arrived to practice 20 minutes late while wearing—” he paused to collect himself as he remembered the day.
“What?” Vin asked, needing an answer.
“She showed up wearing this old brown tee shirt that read: ‘I got crabs at Fisherman’s Warf’, men’s boxer shorts, and combat boots. She had her violin case with her with a sticker plastered on the side that read: support the arts, kiss a musician.”
“I’d lost my luggage, and needed to borrow some clothes from a friend.” Cordelia laughed and held her husband’s hand tighter. “First impressions are always the most distinctive.”
“Crabs at Fisherman’s Warf?” JD questioned, unsure of the implication. “What’s wrong with crabs?”
Buck took a deep disbelieving breath and slumped back onto his chair. “Not the kind you eat, JD.” He wiggled his eyebrow in hopes the kid would get the jest.
JD pressed his lips together and nodded in understanding. He wasn’t stupid, but he’d never tied the two together…in that way before.
“It’s all right, JD,” Cordelia smiled, “I’ve had to explain that one to several people—most older than my—Josiah,” she quickly corrected.
Buck hid his grin with his hand. “How’s married life treatin’ you?” He needed to change the subject.
Cordelia leaned into her husband and gently squeezed his hand. “Beautifully.” Her smile grew and she looked at everyone at the table. “The mister and I want to have a baby.” She looked lovingly at Levi.
“That’s wonderful,” Ezra spoke up, pleased with the idea.
Chris closed his eyes; here it comes.
“Well,” she sighed, taking a deep breath, “we’re not there yet—thought, that’s not for the lack of trying.” She giggled. “The Mister here,” she sighed, trying to collect herself, “is shootin’ blanks. It’s just sad…he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in broad daylight from two feet back.”
JD snorted, and Nathan quickly took a pull from his beer, not wanting to lose face now. Levi seemed to take it in stride, even nodding in her support.
“The doctors say it’s from wearin’ tighty whities for so long. Which is probably a good thing he’s shootin’ blanks—better than endin’ up with a kid with 32 toes.” She couldn’t help but chuckle. “We’ve been talking about it, and both of us have decided—” she sighed and took a deep breath, watching as Ezra took a drink. She waited until the glass was touching his lips before reaching into her bag and pulling out a small plastic cup. “We want you to father our child.” She looked at Ezra and grinned.
The Southerner spit up his drink and quickly wiped his chin with his hand. “What?” His eyes grew twice their normal size and his eyebrows rose together.
“It’d be great, Ez. You’re good looking, talented—granted you’re not as tall as the Mister, but you’re green eyes make up for it. You’re musically inclined and smart—so the baby won’t be—you know—a sandwich short of a picnic.” She pushed the cup closer to him. “All you have to do is fill this sucker with a few of your boys and they’ll artificially implant—”
“I don’t want to know!” Ezra stood up, backing slowly away from the table.
“Look!” Cordelia added, “I even got you some eye candy.” She held up a handful of Playboy magazines. “It’ll help. The doctors say to do things…you know, as smoothly as possible, to avoid any—mishaps.”
Ezra stumbled back and fell into a chair. He couldn’t believe what she was asking.
“You do wear boxers, don’t you?” She ignored his disbelief. “I mean, if the Mister is shootin’ blanks there is no tellin’ how screwed up your boys might be if they’re cramped in skimpy little shorts—you used to wear boxers…silk ones, if I remember correctly.”
Chris choked back a laugh. He couldn’t look Ezra in the face. The Southerner looked as though he’d been sucker punched a hundred times over.
“There’s a clinic in Philly that’s going to do it for us,” she continued on, as though she’d expected this kind of a reaction. “I figured the Mister would have a hard time if we did it, you know, in the back of your Jag or something like that. This way, everyone’s clear of any real fun, except the results are the same. What do you think? I’m hoping for a girl…maybe twins.” Her smile grew in size and she played her part like an Academy Award winning actress. “Look,” she gasped, almost forgetting her first purchase. She pulled out a small baby dress with lace covering the skirt. Small frilly undergarments hung just below the hem. “Is this not the cutest dress you’ve ever seen in all your life? Damn, this kid will be gorgeous!” She rested the dark blue dress on the table and took a deep breath. She looked at Ezra, her eyes dark and full of innocence.
“So what do you think?” Levi asked, taking a handful of peanuts from the bowl in the middle of the table.
“Oh!” Cordelia gasped.
“Oh Gawd,” Ezra sighed, expecting something more to add to his ailing stomach.
“We’ve got to go.” She stood up and quickly shoved the blue baby dress into her bag. “Once you’ve made your…deposit,” she smiled and tapped the plastic cup, “you can drop it off with…” She pulled out a business card, “Doctor Bates—his clinic is right down the road. He’ll freeze those bad boys and Fed Ex them to us in Philly. Bates already has all the info so just…” she paused, pulling her purse strap over her shoulder. She handed Ezra the business card. “He’ll know what to do.” She smiled and patted his arm.
“It was good to meet y’all,” Levi said, shaking everybody’s hands.
“Levi,” Chris replied, getting to his feet and returning the firm shake. “Cordelia.”
Cordelia smiled and pulled on her husband’s hand, forcing him to hurry. “We’re going to miss our plane.”
Ezra half-heartedly waved, still trying to gather his thoughts. He’d look up and spot the plastic cup as though it contained every dirty secret in his life, and quickly averted his eyes.
Josiah wanted to roar with laughter. He could hardly contain himself. He’d finished off his beer, and was currently biting at a hangnail on his thumb, all to avoid the painful look on Ezra’s face. The same look they’d all had at one point in time over the past year, the look of getting…got.
Nathan could only chuckle, his cheeks feeling as though they’d been frozen in place. He couldn’t look at any of his teammates, knowing he burst into laughter if he did. He did his best to avoid any of them. How he wished he could have thought of the idea…it was truly genius.
“Ezra,” Josiah said, gathering his strength, “You look like a man who’s been shot at and missed, shit on and hit.”
The Southerner remained seated, looking as though everything he’d ever known was gone.
Buck picked up the Playboy magazines and started flipping through them. He smiled and pulled out the centerfold. “Damn, Ezra,” he whistled. “She’s hot…shouldn’t take you too long to…you know.”
Ezra leaned over and rubbed his hand over his face, feeling suddenly sick to his stomach. “Oh Gawd.”
“Do you have to fill the whole cup?” JD asked, failing to hide his grin.
“So what would your kids call you?” Vin questioned. “Uncle Ezra?”
“Kids?” Chris asked.
“Hell, Ez fills that cup up—he’ll be servicin’ more than just Cordelia.”
Ezra’s stomach did a quick summersault.
“They’ll have those puppies on ice for a long time,” Vin added for fun.
They all laughed.
Ezra took a deep breath, trying to still his quivering stomach. He sat up and looked tentatively at the business card still held between his thumb and forefinger. He read the name on the card and raised an eyebrow.
Vin saw Ezra’s face change from sullen and ill to—something was up. “Oh shit,” he sighed, keeping his voice low.
The chuckles stopped.
The Southerner tossed the business card onto the table, allowing the others to read the doctor’s name.
“Doctor Master…” JD paused, looking up and meeting Ezra’s knowing eyes. “Oh shit.”
Nathan stood up and headed for the door. He turned and waved, trying desperately to leave without being subject to the upcoming interrogation. Rain was waiting for him—she’d better be.
Josiah soon followed, his laughter quickly replaced with paranoia.
So much for Depends and glow in the dark paint…