Disclaimers: TS belongs to Paramount/Pet Fly. NCIS belongs to Paramount/Belisarius.
Laud and Tarnish -- TS/NCIS crossover
“Maybe we should’ve met at his office and driven here together.”
Head resting against the wall behind him, eyes closed, Jim only grunted in response to Blair’s impatient comment. A sudden vibration began echoing along the chair’s frame and without looking, he reached over and clamped a hand on the bouncing leg. “Settle down, Chief. We got here earlier than I thought, so he’s not late yet.”
“Sorry. I’m just...” He trailed off.
Jim sighed, patted and released his leg. “I know.” Every part of him felt exhausted, including his overtaxed senses. He’d half-expected them to be out of control but even the “dials” were muted and dull, and had graciously deigned to stay on low power, leaving him as average as the next guy.
However, Jim didn’t need any special senses to feel the tension and stress humming through and around his partner. Cracking open his eyes to peer at the others in the waiting area of the bank’s lobby and finding them eyeballing the two of them intently, he suspected no one else needed special senses either. He pushed himself up and turned towards Blair, taking a moment to study his friend and again try to find some words, any words, that would give him some calm.
Blair met his eyes for a moment, shrugged, then leaned his own head back against the wall, eyes closing as he tried to relax.
The last several weeks had been brutal for all of the Major Crimes unit, but as the leads on the case, the two of them had caught the brunt of it; though fortunately, Simon had handled the vultures, er, reporters that descended every time a new victim was found. At the end, the captain had given them a week off immediately following the completion of the various paperwork. More like banishment from the building. But one phone call had thrown into disarray their nebulous plans of sleep and camping and doing nothing.
At first, Naomi’s voice hadn’t done more than make him sigh and he’d continued on to the kitchen, leaving Sandburg to his mother. Twenty seconds later, Blair’s abrupt descent onto the couch coupled with the half-gasped query of “how?” and all thoughts of the barren fridge left his thoughts. Joining his partner in the front room, he sat on the coffee table opposite him and waited. Naomi’s voice continued, the tone a cross between frazzled and annoyingly calm that only she seemed to be able to accomplish. But Blair didn’t say anything more.
Finally Jim pried the phone from Blair’s hand and held it to his own ear, keeping his eyes focused on his partner. He interrupted the woman firmly, hoping she would realize that her son was not responding to whatever news she'd dropped on him. “Naomi! What is it?”
“Oh, Jim! Thank goodness!” Her voice echoed brightly over the line, marred by occasional static fuzz. “I was just telling Blair that I’m at a retreat in southern Mexico. I just found out the funeral already happened and I can’t make it back in time for the reading of the will. Do you think--?”
“About the-- For the-- What?!” Jim switched the phone to his other ear. “What funeral? What will? What’s going on?”
That conversation had led them here. One of the many “candidates to consider” that Blair had talked about years earlier was actually one of the few with which Blair and Naomi had kept in contact. Jeff Quint. Naomi’s relationship with him lasted for two years -- ages 6-8 for Blair. When the romance ended, the friendship among the three had remained, especially between Blair and Jeff, even with the immediate job-related move for Jeff out of Cascade to the east coast.
Watching his partner try to ignore his surroundings, Jim admitted to himself that he’d always wondered about Blair’s nonchalance regarding the lack of a father but that he’d also never asked. It wasn’t like he didn’t have parent issues of his own. However, on the plane trip over, one of the few things Blair had said told him just how close he and this man had been: “He taught me how to catch and how to build a model airplane. And spent hours with me at the library.”
Unaware or more likely uncaring of being watched by so many eyes, Blair took a breath and blew it out forcefully.
Jeff had been killed in a car crash two weeks ago. It has taken until after the funeral for his family to find the contact information for Naomi and Blair Sandburg. Although saddened he’d not been there for the funeral, Blair had understood -- such sudden loss left little time to remember a non-family member who was on the opposite side of the country and only had contact with Jeff a few times a year.
But then the lawyer had specified that Blair Sandburg was mentioned in the will. Attempts to reach Blair hadn’t worked due to the investigation -- neither he or Blair had been at home for the last several days of the manhunt. No one in the Quint family had his cell phone number and the family wasn’t aware of where or with whom he worked. Paradoxically, Naomi had been easier to find due to her large network of friends who had friends who had friends. Naomi gave them the name of the lawyer back east, a teleconference was quickly set up, and the pertinent section of will was read. And so here we are. Waiting.
*clop clop clop clop clop clop*
The odd noise permeated Jim’s meanderings and he glanced to the side to see... Both his eyebrows went up in bemusement. I’m not sure what I’m seeing, but she’s heading our way. The only empty chair in their section of the bank lobby/waiting area was on the other side of his pretending-to-be-not-here partner. And I think it’s safe to say she’s not a lawyer.
go to part two