September ’05 Challenge by KT: Take the title of one of the original episodes and write a fic that fits the title but isn’t a reworking of the original plot, any AU.
Moved to Blackraptor November 2009
“He’s got to be stopped. For all our sakes,” Ezra intoned darkly. “This situation is reaching a critical juncture, gentlemen, and if something isn’t done soon, I don’t believe I shall be able to tolerate working in this office anymore.”
Vin nodded seriously. “You’re right, Ez. This has just gone too damned far. It’s getting so I have a headache before the day’s an hour old, just from having him near me.”
“He doesn’t mean any harm, guys,” Buck cut in, looking a trifle guilty. “You know he’d never hurt anybody on purpose. I gave it to him as a gift because he was always wanting to borrow mine. I never thought he’d go this far trying to live up to my example.”
Chris shot him a disbelieving look. “Your example? Buck, if you ever do anything like this to me, I swear I’ll shoot you. The only reason we let him get away with it so far is that we figured he’d realize how obnoxious he was getting and stop.”
“Obnoxious?” Ezra repeated, scoffing at the word. “Try just plain noxious. It was so strong yesterday morning that I felt as if I’d been exposed to a canister of mustard gas. My eyes were watering, throat burning, nose running; why I had to go outside and mingle with the smokers just to get some fresher air!”
Nathan nodded. “He keeps this up much longer, I’m going to file a case of Worker’s Compensation for the unsanitary conditions we’re being forced to work under.” He shook his head, frowning at Buck. “You honestly trying to tell us that you don’t mind? If it’s this bad at work, I can just imagine what it must be like having him around all the time!”
“Uh, well, I haven’t exactly been home much this week,” Buck admitted sheepishly. “Been staying overnight with some lady friends, just to avoid being in the apartment.”
“I don’t blame you. It can’t be healthy to put up with this day in and day out,” Josiah agreed. “Toxic work environment, toxic home environment; you’ll be lucky to live out the year if he keeps this up.”
Just then, the office door opened and a cloud wafted in, causing a wave of coughing and groaning from the men. A moment later, the cloud was followed by JD Dunne. “Morning, guys!” he said cheerfully, not seeming to notice the black looks he was receiving. He frowned as the coughing continued. “What’s up? There a cold going around?”
“Jesus, kid,” Vin wheezed, vigorously fanning the air in front of his nose. “What’d you do, bathe in that shit?”
JD looked hurt. “What are you talking about? I just used a little extra splash this morning because I’m meeting Casey for lunch. Wanted to make sure it didn’t wear off before I saw her.”
Looking as though he were trying hard not to gag, Josiah stood and strode into the kitchen, returning seconds later with a damp rag in hand, which he slapped into the young man’s palm. “Son, the girl only lives six miles from here; she’s probably already smelled you. Now, if you’re the gentleman I think you are, you’ll wash some of that stuff off before she gets close enough for you to ruin her appetite.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he huffed.
“It means that our olfactories have gone into communal shock from the constant barrage you’ve been forcing upon them this week, and now that they’re shutting down, the assault has migrated to our taste buds!” Ezra spat, placing a handkerchief firmly against his nose and mouth.
JD frowned, more puzzled than offended by Ezra’s explanation. “What?”
“He said,” Chris told him slowly, a warning in his tone, “that you’ve become a menace to all of us this week by wearing so much of that goddamned cologne, and today it’s so strong that we can actually taste it. I’ve had it, JD. Either go into the men’s room and wash as much of that stuff off as you can or I’ll suspend you for creating a hazardous work environment.”
Josiah gave a satisfied smile at the echo of his earlier words.
A startled laugh broke from JD, cutting off quickly as he realized that nobody else was laughing. That, in fact, everyone was staring at him a most unfriendly way. “Is it really that bad?”
“Is it-?” Nathan stared at him in utter disbelief. “JD, remind me to check your sense of smell. I think your sinuses may be infected or something.”
Buck held out a hand. “Sorry to do this to you, JD, but I’ll have to take my gift back. I promise to get you something nice to make up for it.” JD gaped for a moment, then reluctantly reached into his jacket and pulled a 4-ounce rounded bottle, now depleted by almost a quarter, from the inside pocket. Buck gave him an approving squeeze on the shoulder. “You’re doing the right thing, kid. This stuff’s just too powerful for some folks to handle. Go on now, wash it off and we won’t say another word about it.”
“You’re sure it’s really bothering you?” he asked, looking around at the others with pleading eyes.
“YES!” six voices boomed as one, startling JD into taking a step backward.
With one longing glance at the bottle in Buck’s hand, JD turned and headed for the restroom, muttering, “Guess the stuff only appeals to women.”
As the door closed behind him, everyone looked at Buck.
“He was carrying it around in his jacket?” Vin asked in disbelief.
Buck squirmed a little. “Yeah, that’s kind of my fault. He’s seen that I carry a kit in my truck – aftershave, a change of clothes, stuff like that. You know, for those times when I have a date after work that I don’t have time to go home and get ready for.”
“Oh, naturally. We all have that problem, three, sometimes four nights a week,” Ezra said evenly, gaining a grin from each of the others. “So, you’re saying that our young colleague was simply trying to emulate your constant state of readiness for those times when unforeseen assignations may arise?”
Buck frowned as he processed the question, then a huge grin split his face. “Exactly! You know me, always prepared.”
Chris snorted. “Buck Wilmington, boy scout.” Taking a sniff of the air, he grimaced. “I’ll give you a merit badge if you can figure out how to get rid of this stench so we can get some work done.”
“I’ll go see if I can get the air conditioning turned up a little,” offered Vin. “Seeing as how these damn safety windows we got don’t open.”
Seeing an opportunity to escape, Buck immediately offered to help him. Just before he cleared the door, he stopped and turned back, tossing the cologne bottle to Chris. “Don’t be too pissed at the kid, huh? Guess this stuff just lives up to that old advertisement.”
Chris’ brow furrowed. “What are you talking about?”
Buck laughed. “Remember? ‘Between love and madness lies Obsession.’”
As he ducked out of sight, the remaining agents exchanged wry looks. There was just no arguing with that one.
Feedback always welcome: email@example.com
Note: Obsession for Men is a trademark of Calvin Klein. The quote is from their 1985 ad campaign.