Becky (elisabec) wrote,
Becky
elisabec

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Fic: Laud and Tarnish 4/?

Finally found some time to work on this again.  Took me several tries to find what I really wanted to say since the muse wasn't quite as cooperative. 

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

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

Laud and Tarnish -- TS/NCIS crossover

{four}

After catching Jim’s attention and motioning him over, Blair returned his attention to Abby who was idly twisting the out-of-ink Rainier pen in her hands.  “I’m sure I’ve got another blue pen in my bag.”  The only working pen at this particular counter seemed to be the one in use by the teenage girl at the other end -- and considering she was being prompted by her father to fill in various information, it didn’t seem likely she would be finished any time soon.

Abby wiggled the pen in the air.  “So is this where you work?  Rainier University?”

Blair nodded.  “I teach part-time.  Anthropology.”  He tipped a thumb over his shoulder towards Jim.  “Mostly, though, I’m with him.”

Her eyes shifted past him and then back, curiosity evident.  “And what does he--?”  She broke off and her eyes swept back to where he assumed Jim was.  A uneasy frown tugged at her mouth.

“What is it?”  He twisted to look.  Oh!

Jim had frozen halfway to them.  Blair’s first thought was a zone, but he was moving his head slowly, very aware eyes scanning the bank, tension almost audibly humming through him.  His free hand twitched at his side and Blair realized he was exerting an effort not to reach for the gun tucked in the holster under his jacket.  While the bank guards knew he had it -- he’d had to declare it upon entry and was only allowed entry after a thorough check of his ID thus the early leave time from the hotel -- no one else in the bank knew he was a cop.  Suddenly revealing a gun in a crowded bank...no.

The sweeping scan ended and Jim’s eyes met Blair’s.  Blair raised his eyebrows in question.  Jim shook his head once as he strode towards him.

“Your friend’s a cop, isn’t he?”  Abby’s low voice startled him.  He’d forgotten for a moment she was there.

Before Blair could answer, Jim was standing next to him, dropping the backpack onto the counter, fingers still tangled in the straps.  “Something’s up, Chief.”  He hid another scan of the bank lobby by glancing at his watch, grimacing, and looking around as if trying to spot someone in the crowd.  “Can’t figure out what exactly, but it’s there.”

Aware of Abby listening to them, Blair chose his words carefully.  “You don’t sense anything in particular?”  The moments of distraction with Abby helped him ease aside the grief that still echoed hollowly within him and slide into the familiar role of guide to Jim’s sentinel.  Too bad I can’t shove aside the need for sleep as easily anymore.  My brain is as creaky as Jim’s truck.

“Nothing really ... tangible.”  His face tightened in a particular way that Blair identified as frustration.  “I can’t--  It’s like when I can tell someone’s been at my desk even though everything’s still there.  Very subtle.”  His gun hand twitched again.  “Too much so.”

“Like when someone rearranges your desktop icons?” Abby interjected.  “But only a little so they look like they’re in the right place but they’re really not and something about it just bugs you and you can’t quite figure out why because it all looks okay and everything works, but ... it’s really not okay?”

Jim blinked at her.  “Actually, yes.  Just like that.”

Abby flashed a quick smile, then tilted her head to one side, pursing her lips in thought.  “So what’s wrong here?”  She narrowed her eyes and pointed a finger at him.  “And why isn’t anyone else reacting?”  Her eyes shifted between the two of them suspiciously.

Now it was Blair’s turn to blink at her.  The flirty smart girl had disappeared, replaced by a highly intelligent woman who looked ready to mace whoever twitched first.  Man, I’m too tired for this.  And she’s too quick.  It’s been so long since I’ve had to explain how Jim does what he does to anyone.  Although his thesis was officially labeled fiction, all those he and Jim worked with at Major Crime knew the truth and had simply become accustomed to Jim’s abilities and simply accepted any new quirks that appeared. 

Before he could come up with something anything to say, Jim answered in that steadfast way of his that settled shaky victims.  “As you said, Abby, I’m a cop.  And former military.  I’m trained to notice the unnoticeable.”

Blair’s eyebrows quirked up at the military reference.  Not something Jim usually trotted out.  Oddly it seemed to relax Abby.

“Marine?”

Jim shook his head.  “Army Ranger.”  As if the mention of his long ago occupation sparked something, his eyes widened and flicked upwards to the large flatscreen panel TVs above the teller windows.  “It’s not ZNN anymore.  It’s a different station.”

Blair and Abby followed his gaze.  Abby confirmed Jim’s words.  “That’s a local station.  Why is that--?”

Several things happened at once, leaving her question incomplete.  A cellphone inside her purse rang.  A piercing feedback squeal echoed over the invisible bank speakers as the music cut off mid-note.  A baby cried out in protest at the intrusive noise.

Loud, angry voices yelled from the far end of the lobby.  “Everyone on the ground!  Now!”

Gunshots impacted the ceiling even as Blair swiftly dropped to the ground, tugging a frozen Abby with him, feeling Jim’s hand on his shoulder as he instinctively covered both of them.  In the chaos of screams and terror, Abby’s cellphone was ignored and the caller dropped unnoticed into voicemail.

tbc

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go to part five



Tags: fic: laud and tarnish, ncis, ts
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