Becky (elisabec) wrote,
Becky
elisabec

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Fic: Laud and Tarnish 3/?

More tale....

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previous parts:
{prologue} {one} {two}

Disclaimers: TS belongs to Paramount/Pet Fly.  NCIS belongs to Paramount/Belisarius.

Laud and Tarnish -- TS/NCIS crossover

{three}

The resultant conversation (“Does anyone else call you Chief?”  “That would be a no.”)  between Blair and Abby faded into background noise as Jim turned his attention back to the bank at large.  The large decorative clock on the wall above the far set of doors told him that now he could be as impatient as Blair regarding the lawyer.  Should’ve stayed in bed longer.  Or had more coffee.  He rubbed his eyes with one hand.  Definitely more coffee. Though more sleep might be better.  If I could only get my subconscious - and Sandburg’s - to shut up.  Sighing, he rested his head against the wall and let his eyes drift idly, people-watching for lack of anything else to do.

The bank, one of an east coast chain, was fairly large and busy for 10 in the morning with a typical assortment of customers -- young couples, moms with young kids or babies in strollers, parents with teenagers, and retirees.  Inoffensive music played softly over invisible speakers.  Large screen TVs hanging above teller windows displayed international news on ZNN and a close-captioned cooking show.  He could vaguely hear children’s laughter at a kids play area at the other end of the lobby.  The only out-of-the-ordinary thing he saw was the number of military haircuts.  But this was DC and the bank was near several military bases, so then again, maybe not so surprising.

Jim spotted one such military haircut on a man standing at one of the freestanding counters.  He was with two dark-haired girls, obviously his daughters by the interaction and the familiarity between them.  The man smiled at the younger girl and tugged on one of her braids before directing her older sibling, a girl fresh into her teens Jim guessed, to retrieve a paper from the counter.  From studying them without any special senses, Jim guessed the father was helping his daughter set up her first bank account.  She appeared caught between awe at being considered adult enough to have such a thing, excited at being able to spend money, and confused on what she was supposed to be doing.

Smiling, he remembered the first time he had money of his own to put into the bank.  Granted, the situation was entirely different considering who he was and what his life was like then.  But he could still recall those same emotions.

The cop part of him speculated where the mom of this happy family was.

“Jim?”  Blair’s voice and the familiar touch on his shoulder pulled him back.

“Hmm?”  He looked over - and then up when he realized Blair and Abby were standing.

Blair pointed to the same counter Jim had been staring at.  “Abby needs another form.  I need to ... move a bit, so I’m going with her.”  He then indicated the backpack resting at Jim’s feet.  “Keep an eye on that?”

Nodding, Jim waved them away.  “Yeah, I’ll watch it.  Go.  Don’t get lost.”  Blair rolled his eyes at the comment and leaned in towards Abby as they walked away.  Jim pretended not to notice the hand Abby had tucked through Blair’s elbow.  His partner was smiling and acting normal, if only in short bursts, and that meant Jim liked Abby who--

--Abby who glanced back at him and gave him a smile and a barely noticeable nod before refocusing her attention entirely on Blair.

Jim’s lips quirked into a smile.  Just what Sandburg needs - a pretty girl that needs help.  He knew the grief really hadn’t hit Blair yet; it really hadn’t had time to sink in considering the rapid flow of events.  However, they were planning to visit the cemetery later the same day.  He grimaced and stared at the large clock face again.  Assuming the lawyer ever gets here.

This time it was the panicked voice of a young woman calling “Stevie!  Stevie!  Where--?” followed by two tiny hands clutching onto his knee that snagged his attention away from the late lawyer.

Looking down, Jim discovered two clear hazel eyes under a mop of wispy light brown hair staring up at him.  The little boy giggled and gave him a gap-toothed smile before tottering and leaning forward to gnaw on the same clutched knee.  The young woman’s voice got closer and Jim leaned forward to eyeball the grinning child, ignoring the growing drool patch on the knee of his pants.

“You must be Stevie.”  Another giggle.  “I thought so.”  He slipped one hand down between the gnawing mouth and his knee.  “This is probably cleaner.”  One tiny hand shifted its grip to Jim’s hand and stuffed the knuckle of his forefinger into his mouth, aggressively gumming at it.  Jim chuckled.  “And evidently must taste better too.”  He had just moved to pick up the baby when the owner of the panicked voice appeared around the divider.

“Stevie!  Oh, thank heavens you’re okay!”  She nearly ran the last few steps towards Jim and the little boy.  “I swear I just turned my back for second and he was gone.”  A moment later, the still giggling Stevie was nestled in her arms.

Wiping his finger on his pants, Jim chuckled.  “I’ve heard they do that sometimes.”

She noticed his movement and flushed.  “I’m so sorry.  He’s teething and everything goes into his mouth.”

“It’s okay.”  He stood slowly, not wanting to scare the young woman by rising too fast.  Smiling easily, he waggled a finger at the little boy.  “Moms worry, Stevie.  Don’t wander off.”

Stevie just giggled and grabbed for his finger, trying to bring it to his mouth for more gnawing.

The woman blinked and smiled tentatively at the interaction between the two of them.  Over her shoulder, Jim saw Blair gesturing for him to come over.  Leaning to the side, he loosely gathered the straps of Blair’s backpack in one hand.  “Excuse me.  I’m being summoned.  Good luck with keeping Stevie close.”  With a quick nod, he stepped around her, heading towards Blair who had turned back to look at Abby.

As he walked, Jim pondered the woman's reaction to him.  Parents as a rule got really nervous with strange people around their children.  Sandburg claimed that Jim gave off a ‘warm aura of sentinel protection’ that people could unconsciously pick up.  Well, unless he sensed -- with either cop instincts or sentinel abilities -- a bad guy in the vicinity, then that said ‘aura’ tended to shift to the cool side and become much more ... intense and much less pleasant.

His pace slowed and he frowned.

Like he was sensing now.  Something felt off.  He just didn’t know what.

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tbc

go to part four



Tags: fic: laud and tarnish, ncis, ts
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