Step Right Up

by Greta C.

Feedback: Please be kind!

Disclaimer. Sorry, but the guys only belong to me in my dreams.

Thanks to Mog for thinking up this playground. And a big thank you to Rhonda my most faithful beta. Without you, this would have never been finished, and it sure would be a lot shorter and more confusing! I owe you Big time! This is just a short piece of fluff that wouldn’t let me go! It is my first ever-posted story. I am just testing the waters until I get my serious story tweaked.

Wednesday, 2:15 PM
"You did what!" Chris Larabee’s bellow could be heard throughout the offices of Team Seven. The team leader fired a deadly glare at the grinning agent seated before him.

Buck Wilmington was not intimidated. "But, Chris, it’s for charity," he pleaded.

The other five agents remained in a stunned silence.

"How did this happen?" Chris asked, trying to calm himself a little.

Buck took a deep breath and began to explain the details. "Well, you remember a few weeks ago AD Travis came to us about setting up a booth for the charity bazaar for the children’s hospital?"

Chris nodded, remembering the incident clearly. "Well?" he asked.

"Well," Buck continued. "I ran into him yesterday in the elevator, and he pointed out you hadn’t filled out the form yet, and he needed an answer. I figured you were too busy, so I did it for you, you know, as a favor."

Josiah snorted, "Some favor."

Buck just waggled his eyebrows.

"But, Buck," JD whined, "it’s a kissing booth!"

Saturday, 11:00 AM

All seven agents were present and accounted for, and they were putting the finishing touches on their booth.

"I still can’t believe he signed us up for this," Nathan groused.

Ezra brushed a piece of imaginary lint from his sleeve. "But, Mr. Jackson, I was under the impression that selfless charity works was your forte," he drawled.

Vin stepped in before the exchange became too heated and said, "We should be starting in about a half an hour. I think since it was his idea Buck should go first."

"Me too!" piped in JD, who was looking decidedly nervous.

Buck grinned, "Sure, why not?" As he walked toward the front of the booth, he squirted a shot of breath spray into his open mount. "OK fellers," he said, "Watch the master at work."

Saturday, 11:30 AM

Buck Wilmington, Team Seven’s self-proclaimed ladies man, made his way to the front of the kissing booth that he that had set up to raise money for the children’s hospital. His parting words to his friends were, "Watch the master at work."

His roommate, JD Dunne, had to laugh. Looking at the rest of the men crowded in the tiny area he whispered slyly, "Just wait. The master is in for a surprise!"

"And what exactly do you have planned, Mr. Dunne?" Ezra drawled looking intrigued.

JD just hummed a little tune and tried to look innocent, "Lets just say, I know something about our first customer."

Buck was mentally patting himself on the back for this idea. Not only was he going to raise a ton of money and get to kiss all the beautiful woman around, but he had roped the rest of the team into it too! This out does any of the practical jokes that he had ever pulled. They were doing this for the children, so how could any of the others refuse to help! Stroking his mustache thoughtfully, he wondered which of those pretty ladies would be the first to step forward.

James Franklin walked around to the back of the booth that was covered with crape paper lips. He was looking for the young man Casey had described to him. He was told that her boyfriend had a small job, with pay, for the struggling acting student. Spotting the man he had come to meet, he introduced himself and was shocked to hear what was required of him.

Vin, Ezra, Chris, and the rest of the team were shocked, and a bit impressed, when they heard JD discussing his plan with the young man that had appeared at the back of the booth.

"Any questions?" JD asked.

"Um…" James hesitated. "It is just one kiss, and it is only on the lips right? No tongue?"

JD agreed, "Yes. I just need you to hold the kiss for a few seconds. Can you do it?" he asked and handed the young man a few bills.

James eyed the money and weakly agreed to the arrangement, before he turned and reentered the crowd milling around the area.

Vin could not resist and gave JD a high five.

Buck eyed the curious crowd that had surrounded the booth. He was ecstatic to see Inez buy the first ticket and take her place at the head of the line. Turning to his friends, he crowed triumphantly, " See I knew she couldn’t resist me!"

Chris choked back a laugh and said, "Sure, Buck, whatever you say".

Saturday, 12:00 PM

The Bazaar was officially open, and Buck was anticipating his first kiss with Inez.

As she approached the booth, the tall man wet his lips. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a strange man appeared and took her place.

James turned to Inez and said "Thank you Ma’am, for holding my place in line."

But, but!" Buck stammered as Inez smiled sweetly and turned to leave.

Calling over her shoulder, she said, "I think it is a wonderful thing you are doing for the children, Senor Buck."

Buck heard a snort behind him as JD gave in to laughter. "Oh, I will get you," he said.

He turned to the man on the other side of the booth and snatched away his ticket. Taking a deep breath, he tried to place a chaste kiss on James’s cheek.

The actor was having none of that. He was paid to make this look good, so he wrapped his fingers into Buck’s hair and turned his head enough so their lips met. He tried to hold it there until his signal that he was able to leave. At the sound of the camera, and the whoop of the other team members, Buck knew this was much more than an everyday setup. At the same instant, James knew that if he wanted to live to see another day he had better make himself scarce.

JD tucked his camera under his arm and took off across the grounds, with Buck in hot pursuit.

"Well, Mr. Tanner, I believe it is your turn." Ezra remarked grinning.

Vin let out a muffled, "Aw hell!" and took his place at the front of the booth.

Saturday, 12:15 PM

At the prompting of the other team members, Vin Tanner took his place at the front of the kissing booth. It was still early and the line was not too long yet.

Off to his left the astute sharp shooter noticed something that looked out of place with the jovial atmosphere that the bazaar provided. With a small frown, he watched the activity of a small group of teenage girls. What he saw reminded him of something he saw in the park when he was young. A flock of larger birds had pecked a weaker chick until it was nearly dead. The memory came flooding back, since that was the same kind of thing he was watching now.

Amy was sorry she had agreed to come. She should have known it was a trap when a group of popular girls from school invited her to join them. They had been there for less than an hour and already Amy had been the butt of way too many practical jokes.

Amy tried valiantly to hold back her tears as the girls crowded her and continued their taunting. "What’s the matter, fatty? Can’t you take a joke?"

"Yeah dummy, with glasses that thick you should be able to see we were only joking," another girl added to the torment.

With a small hiccup to choke back a sob, the awkward girl turned and fled her tormenters.

Looking around in a panic, Amy spied a booth close to where she was standing. ‘Maybe I can hide behind there until they forget about me. Then I can find a way to get home,’ she thought to herself.

Vin watched as the poor girl stumbled toward their booth. Tears clearly shining in her eyes. When she crossed in front of the men, she tripped over a support rope and fell into an undignified heap. The girls she had just fled greeted her fall with a round of applause and hoots of laughter.

Vin was at Amy’s side in an instant. He brushed her hair from her face and wiped away the tears that spilled down her cheeks. "Are you hurt?" he asked gently.," Amy stuttered, looking onto the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.

Vin helped the girl to her feet. Shooting a look of disgust at the group still laughing behind him. "Friends of yours?" he asked the young girl standing before him.

"Um, not really," she answered.

"Well, I say we get the last laugh," Vin said with a twinkle in his eye.

Amy just looked at him confused.

"This is a kissing booth you know," Vin informed her.

Amy smiled at him, but her eyes were still shining with unshed tears. "But, I don’t have a ticket," she said.

"That’s Okay," Vin answered playfully. "You don’t need one, and I like kissing pretty girls." With that, he pressed his lips to hers in a feather light kiss. He was pleased to hear the gasp of surprise from the girls behind him.

When he stepped back, Amy smiled. Her face was aglow with happiness as she lightly touched a hand to her lips. " Thank you," she whispered.

Vin smiled as she trotted away. She turned back once to smile at him over her shoulder.

"That was a real nice thing you just did for that girl," Chris said as he patted his friend on the back. "Real nice."

Feeling uncomfortable with the praise Vin shrugged him off. "Everyone needs to feel special," he said. Then with a grin he turned and announced, "Hey Nate, You’re up!"

Saturday, 12:45 PM

"Nate you’re up!" At the sound of his name being called, Nathan Jackson, the team chemist looked up from the pharmaceutical magazine he had brought along to pass the time. He was packing up his things and getting ready to take his turn at the window when Buck rejoined the group.

He was somewhat rumpled and out of breath. " Hey, buddy!" Buck said, draping an arm over Nathan’s shoulders. "Why didn’t you tell us your girlie was in town this weekend?"

Nathan’s eyes grew wide at this news. "Buck, what are you talking about?"

Seeing his friend’s distress Buck grinned and pointed. "Isn’t that her over there talking to Mary?"

Letting his gaze follow Buck’s pointing, finger Nathan saw the woman in question. There was no doubt about it; it was definitely his girlfriend. In a state of sheer panic, Nathan began to look around franticly.

Ezra could not resist a jab at the usually unflappable member of their team. "Why, Mr. Jackson, whatever has you so distressed?"

"Not now, Ezra," Nathan barked, denying the undercover agent the chance to bait him any further.

"Hey, Nate!" JD called as he entered the booth. "I just talked to Rain! Why aren’t you over there with her?"

Nathan quickly turned to JD. "Did you say you just talked to her?" he asked.

JD was startled at the panic he heard in the larger man’s voice, and he just nodded mutely.

"Oh, No!" Nathan cried. "She can’t know what I am doing here!" He punctuated this statement by waving his hand around the tacky little booth.

"Why not? It’s a good cause," JD stated.

"Noooo, you don’t understand," Nathan moaned. "Last week Rain and I had a huge fight. I accused her of being too jealous." He paused and cast another quick glance in the direction of the ladies. "I agreed that she could question my every move, but only if she ever caught me in a compromising situation." Nathan’s distress was growing by the minute. "Now look, here I am, kissing strange women!"

"Aw… Now, Nathan, Rain is a reasonable woman," Buck mused. "I’m sure she won’t hold this against you."

Nathan just shook his head. "No, you don’t understand, Buck. Things got real ugly!"

JD interrupted any further explanation. "Well, Nathan you had best think of some way to explain, and think of it quick, because here she comes."

Nathan looked up to see Rain and Mary making their way toward the booth. Without any thought about his actions, Nathan grabbed a mask off a nearby souvenir stand and yanked it over his head in a very feeble attempt at a disguise.

Ezra tried to hold back a laugh and remarked, " Ah, Mr. Jackson, I see you have mastered the art of subterfuge. I applaud your efforts," the undercover agent said through a huge grin.

To everyone’s amazement, Nathan replied by giving Ezra the finger.

Rain walked up to the booth, which was filled to the bursting point with laughing men. She was hoping that after their fight last weekend that her visit would be a welcome surprise. She could tell Nathan was the man standing closest to the front of the booth with his back to her. Rain tapped lightly on his shoulder to get his attention. When he whirled around to face her, she was shocked to come nose to nose with…. Scooby Doo.

It took only a split second for the shock to wear off. Rain then grabbed the mask by the ears and ripped it off Nathan’s head, while she forcefully pulled him forward by his shirtfront in order to greet him with a deep kiss.

She whispered in his ear after they finally broke apart, "We will discuss this a little later."

Hiding their giggles behind their hands, Rain and Mary left the booth to tour the rest of the bazaar.

Nathan was stunned. When he regained his wits, he called after the retreating women. "Rain. Rain? Rain!"

Chris laughed at the poor man’s expression. "Go on! Go after her, I will take it from here. I think it is my turn anyway."

Saturday, 1:00 PM

Chris Larabee laughed as he watched Nathan race off calling his girlfriend’s name. "Well, I guess it is my turn," he sighed, as he turned to take up his post at the charity booth that Buck had arranged for the team. ‘Note to self,’ Chris thought, ‘Give Buck more paperwork next week, as payback for roping us into this.’

Chris was surprised to see the length of the line that had formed. He sighed nervously as he stepped up to the counter. " I hope my turn goes smoothly," he told Vin who was standing nearby.

Vin just shrugged and gave Chris a lopsided grin. "Good luck, Pard," he offered.

The first few kisses went easily. It was just your standard stuff, comprised mostly a few giggling girls and matronly housewives who were looking for a thrill. But, Chris had to admit the high point of his day came when Mary stepped forward and handed him a ticket, as a small smile played across her face. The kiss that followed was all he expected, and more. That kiss held so much promise that he hated to see it end. He held the kiss as long a he dared, and when their lips parted he breathed in deeply, feeling slightly intoxicated by the scent of her. With longing, he watched her walk away until her form was swallowed by the milling the crowd.

Vin nudged his friend with his elbow. "Hey, Chris! You best come back down offa that cloud yer on. The line is starting to get backed up."

With great reluctance Larabee pulled himself back to reality, and then Chris saw her. She was a pretty little slip of a thing. She had long brown hair, velvety brown eyes, and she was shapely in all the right places. Yep, she was just the type Buck went for, and Chris had a plan.

When she slid her ticket across the board that served as a counter, Chris couldn’t resist stealing a small look over his shoulder to make sure Buck was watching. The jealousy he saw in the man's eyes was perfect, and Chris couldn’t help smiling at his good fortune. ‘This will bug Buck more than paper work ever would. I had better make this look good,’ the normally stoic man thought to himself.

Chris leaned slowly and dramatically toward the girl. He then touched his lips softly to hers. Gently, he touched his tongue to them trying to gain entry. When they parted under the slight pressure, he slid inside the warm mouth.

At the first touch of Chris’s tongue on hers, the woman drew back in horror. "You Smoke!" She stated accusingly.

"I…Um…Well," Chris stammered as he was caught completely off guard.

"Oh, gross!" She spat wiping the back of her hand roughly across her mouth. "I want a refund!" she hollered as her nose crinkled in disgust. "No one warned me I would be licking an ashtray!"

Chris shoved the woman her ticket back across the counter, just to shut her up. "Here," he growled and shot one of his famous Larabee scowls at her retreating back.

Watching what had just happened, Buck couldn’t resist a taunt. "What’s wrong Sport? Do you want me to give you lessons on how to make them happy?"

" I told you you should quit!" Vin chimed in.

The rest of the team howled at these remarks and pelted the astonished man with packs of gum. Their laughter escalated even more when they saw their leader blush in embarrassment.

"JD!" Chris bellowed, trying to regain control of his group. "Get your ass up there and take your turn."

Sheepishly, the youngest member of the team checked his own breath and walked toward the front of the tiny structure.

Saturday, 1:30 PM

JD checked his breath by blowing and sniffing into his cupped hand, before he took his turn at the window. He was nervous enough to be doing this, but if someone wanted a refund like that lady did with Chris earlier, he would just die of embarrassment.

In no time, he was starting to feel at ease. So far, this afternoon was pretty easy. Most of his customers were older women who took great joy in pinching his cheeks before bestowing him with chaste little peck like kisses. The only close call had been when a girl with a huge cold sore had walked up to the booth. JD heaved a heavy sigh of relief when she only asked for directions.

However, a little later when he heard Buck snicker behind him, JD knew he was not to be shown any mercy for the practical joke he had pulled earlier in the day. After a couple more nondescript kisses, a very pretty young girl with a string wrapped around her wrist stepped forward. JD grinned and thanked his lucky stars that Casey was at home studying for exams this weekend.

As the girl handed him her ticket, she smiled and asked coyly, "How do you feel about tongue?"

Trying to sound as worldly as Buck, he retorted "The more the better. What do you have in mind?" JD managed to sound confident, but he was practically shaking in his boots at the thought of French kissing a complete stranger. What if he did something wrong and made a fool of himself? Then he remembered the scene with Chris and decided that nothing could be much worse than that.

"This," she simply stated, as she bent over and picked up the ugliest looking little rat dog JD had ever seen. He recoiled instinctively when the dog was held up near his face.

"You see," the girl said, "Charlie here has been depressed ever since my boyfriend moved out. So, I thought this might cheer him up." She smiled sweetly as she hugged the dog too her chest and spoke softly to it.

Seeing the look of complete horror in his friend’s face, Buck called out, " Remember kid, it’s for charity." A wide grin split the big man’s face as he struggled to keep from collapsing and rolling on the floor laughing.

JD scrunched up his nose and gave in. He gave the dog a quick kiss in its fuzzy head and thought he had gotten off fairly easily. Then, without any warning, he was rewarded with a sloppy lick that started at his chin and ended at the top of his nose. Dunne pulled back and tired not to act as totally grossed out as he felt.

"See," the girl cooed. "He’s feeling better already." She hugged the squirming pooch and giggled as she turned to walk away.

JD wiped his face on his sleeve and tried to ignore the laughter from the men behind him. He muttered to the retreating girl, "Glad I could help."

The next person who stepped up to the booth was a total surprise to everyone. "Here you go querido," came a soft, accented voice.

JD was shocked to look up and see Inez standing there handing him a wet wipe. "Thank you," he said shyly and took the offered item. After he had cleaned himself up, Inez smiled and handed him her ticket. Looking at it in surprise, he asked, "should I go get Buck?" He could barely speak as he looked into her dark brown eyes.

"No, Senior. It is for you," was her reply.

Before JD could respond, she reached out and pulled him toward her. In a heartbeat, she had her soft lips pressed to his in a searing kiss that threatened to leave him weak-kneed and speechless. Inez took control of the kiss from the start, and she played her mouth across his closed lips. She licked out with her tongue and pressed for him to let her in. Instinct took over, and JD let his lips part to allow her tongue access to his waiting mouth. When the kiss ended, Dunne swallowed hard and looked shyly into her smiling eyes. With a conspiratorial wink, Inez trailed her finger across JD’s lips, turned and walked away, leaving a shaking and speechless young man in her wake.

The kiss had also left Buck speechless, which was her intention. She nearly laughed at the stunned, slack-jawed look on his face when she glanced at him after she kissed JD. She smiled to herself at the thought, and she was glad that she had decided that Dunne needed a little confidence builder. As it turned out, he was a really good kisser.

"Wow!" was all JD could say after Inez left. He stood there for several moments before he could manage to say any more. "Um… Who’s turn is it anyway?" he finally asked, as he reached up to lightly touch his lips, which still tingled from what had to have been the word’s best kiss.

Saturday, 2:00 PM

Josiah grinned at the stunned expression on the younger man’s face. Draping a paternal arm across JD’s shoulders, he laughingly told the younger man, "I will take it from here, Brother Dunne. I think maybe you need a cold drink."

The rest of the team laughed at Josiah’s reference to the fiery kiss they had all just witnessed. That is, everyone except Buck. The lady’s man was still reeling almost as badly as JD.

Josiah watched as the youngest member of team left the booth, with his roommate dogging his heels, and asking a barrage of questions. "Come on JD! Just a hint." The pleading voice of Buck faded into the crowd.

As the ex-preacher stepped forward, it was a different kind of laughter that reached his ears. It was coming from a group of teenagers in the front of the line

Looking quizzically at the motley group standing in front of him, Josiah shook his head sadly. It was obvious these kids were looking for some form of attention. What reached his eyes was a sea of odd colored hair, pink, blue, and green to name a few. Josiah didn’t even want to try to count the number of combined piercings there were. However, the one person who caught and held his attention was the young girl at the front of the group. She was looking at him sheepishly as she was roughly pushed forward.

With a quick flash and a grimace, she slapped her ticket onto the counter. Somewhere behind her there was a catcall, something about kissing a geezer.

Josiah tried to ignore the remark, but he knew the comment was directed at him. Gently, he placed his hand over hers, before she could pull away. He then softly asked, "what is your name my child?"

"T-T-T-Tammy, sir," this timid show of respect was met by a snicker from the group.

Keeping his eyes fastened onto her so as not to loose her attention. Josiah mentally evaluated her appearance. The girl couldn’t have been more than fourteen, and from her haggard appearance and slight frame he could only assume she was a run away. "Where do you live Tammy?" Josiah probed gently.

Tammy tried to break eye contact, but the pull of the older man was too strong for her to resist. There was something in his eyes that calmed the nervous girl. "Nowhere, sir," was her whispered reply, confirming Josiah’s suspicions.

Leaning over and cupping her face in his large callused hands, he asked gently. "Would you like to go home?"

Tammy nodded silently as the tears started to fall.

Taking the trembling girl by the hand, he looked sternly at the rest of the group that had started taunting his young charge. In a tone that left no room for discussion, he told them, " there is a shelter on the corner of Fifth and State streets. There will be beds reserved for all of you tonight, if you choose to use them."

With a little grumbling, the rag-tag band disbursed. Still holding her hand, Josiah led the girl toward his truck. "Brother Ezra? Would you mind taking your turn a little early? I have some business to attend to."

Ezra acknowledged this request by giving the larger man a small tip of an imaginary hat.

Two hours later, Josiah happily watched as Tammy rang the doorbell of a little two-story home in the suburbs of Denver. The large Bear of a man wiped away a tear as he watched when Tammy’s mother opened the door and saw her daughter standing there. After a moment’s stunned silence, she swept her daughter into her arms and clasped her tightly to her chest, as tears of relief and happiness trailed down her cheeks. Josiah pulled away feeling very grateful that he had had the privilege to witness the joyous family reunion.

Saturday, 2:30

Ezra responded to Josiah's request by raising his hand to his brow in a gesture that was becoming familiar to the rest of the team. The undercover agent then stretched and rose to his feet. "Hell," he thought to himself, "I am a worldly gentlemen. I am sure I can sufficiently charm the ladies for the next hour or so." He stepped forward and bestowed a dimpled smile upon the first woman in line.

"This is almost too easy," he thought, as he worked his charm on yet another matron who reminded him of his mother's bridge cronies. Soon Ezra noted the line was beginning to thin, and the surrounding booths were starting to pack it in for the day by dismantling their tents. He stopped for a quick drink of the diet soda JD had brought him, and then he turned and prepared for the last few women in line.

After what everyone assumed was their last patron, the men began to tear down their makeshift counter. Since he was a man who wouldn't debase himself doing the menial task, Ezra walked to the edge of the action and began to try to look busy by toying with a piece of rope. But, he was not fooling anyone but himself. The other members of the team tossed mixed glances his way, some amused and others slightly annoyed.

Ezra gave a slight jerk when he felt a light touch on his arm. When he looked, his eyes met and locked on a pair of seductive pools of blue. The southerner was surprised to see a beautiful woman who exuded class and refinement. Smiling to himself, the agent believed that he had finally found someone he could truly relate to, if she gave him half a chance.

He smiled a smile that he was well aware made women melt, being sure to flash a dimple and gold tooth for good measure. "May I be of assistance ma'am?" he asked, putting a little extra emphasis on his southern drawl.

The woman before him held out a ticket to him. "Am I too tardy for you to honor this?" she asked, a small smile played across her features.

"Most certainly not," Ezra answered, as he slipped the ticket from her fingers and in a fluid motion gripped her around the waist and pulled her closer.

"Much obliged," she breathed as their lips met.

Ezra couldn't believe how well their bodies fit together as he pulled her closer still and deepened the kiss. He reveled in the feel of her hand as it moved across his chest and down his sides. He slid his hands up her back and wove his fingers into her soft silky hair. He was rewarded with her pulling away slightly as she turned her face to trail her tongue across his knuckles before seeking his lips again. This time the kiss was deeper and more fevered than before, as her hands trailed across his wrist and up his arms again to snake their way back down to his waist. This time she did not stop at his flat abdomen. Ezra gave a start when he felt her fingers brush the front of his pants and then retreat to wind their way around his hips to message his backside.

Then, as abruptly as the earth-shattering kiss began, the woman stepped back and smiled. When Ezra opened his mouth to ask her name, she placed a well-manicured finger to his lips and shook her head and then turned away to melt into the crowd.

It took a moment or two for Ezra to regain enough composure to rejoin his partners, who had finished dismantling their booth and were all staring at him with a mixture of amusement and shock.

Buck just shook his head in disbelief. "Man, if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes..." he let the sentence end there as he grinned at the undercover agent with eyebrows raised nearly to his hairline, and a glint of amusement in his eyes.

Chris then asked, "Hey, Ezra, what time is it?" He had left his own watch on the nightstand at home. The team leader hated that feeling of not being completely dressed that forgetting such an item caused. He must have checked his bare wrist a hundred times that day, and each time when he discovered anew that he didn't' have his watch he had asked one of his teammates about the time.

Ezra sighed, rolled his eyes and looked at… his bare wrist. "Shit, I must have dropped it somewhere." He began to look around the area with the help of his friends "That was no normal watch gentleman; that was a Rolex," he stated when JD suggested they just give up.

It was then Nathan noticed something strange. "Hey, Ez, where is that fancy diamond ring you wear on your pinky?"

Ezra did a double take. There was no way he could have lost his ring and his watch in the same day. "No!" he exclaimed as a thought entered his mind. He began to pat himself down and take a mental inventory. He cursed with every new discovery. Wallet, gone! Cufflinks, gone! Car keys, gone! Cell phone, Gone! His face turned pale and his mouth dropped open as he looked at his teammates. "Gentlemen, I appear to have been robbed."

The rest of the team tried not to laugh as they gave him a ride to the police department to report his losses, but once Ezra had gone inside the station Buck began to laugh. When the others looked at him questioningly, he tried to explain. "I was just thinkin' about how he would describe her." His grinned as the mental picture took form. His smile grew as he saw the light dawning in the five pairs of eyes that were focused on him. In his best imitation of Ezra's southern drawl, Buck said, "Officer, She is one not only a pickpocket with skills far superior to my own, but she was a hell of a kisser, and she had hands that should have been declared erotic weapons."

The rest of the team laughed uproariously at Buck's observation. Little did they know that inside the police station, Ezra was having similar thoughts.

Monday, 8:30am

AD Travis was careful not to spill his coffee as he got out of his car and headed into the federal building, which housed the offices of the Denver ATF and the seven men he came to see this morning. He was pleased to be able to give them good news this time. It was amazing, but their booth had earned the most money for the Children's hospital during this weekend's charity Bazaar. Travis had to admit that he was skeptical when Buck approached him with the idea of a kissing booth, but it seems that the man knew what he was doing.

Taking a sip of his rapidly cooling coffee, the older man waited for the elevator to reach the ground level. Beside the elevator, a bulletin board had been erected to display highlights for Saturday's activities. Wandering toward it, he couldn't help but notice that the majority of it was covered with images of the antics of the ATF team under the heading: The magnificent Seven."

AD Travis almost choked on his coffee at some of the pictures. The funniest by far was the one of JD being kissed by the ugliest little dog he had ever seen. There was also a picture of Buck struggling to get away from the attention for some man. He decided not to even ask what that was about. There were also a few things that he didn’t understand, like the packs of gum, all with Chris’s name written on them, or the Scooby Doo mask. However, knowing these guys it was best not to ask.

There were also a few things that showed the team was not all play. There was a letter from a young girl’s guidance counselor. It seems that Vin had done something to help a young girl gain a measure of self-esteem. Travis was impressed, and he wondered what the quiet young agent had done. Another was a fax from a Denver congressman thanking Josiah for returning his runaway daughter. The AD's jaw dropped at that one. Just how the hell did Josiah happen to find a congressman's missing daughter at a charity bizarre?

There was one thing however that he found disturbing and decided it might need some checking into. At the very center of the display was a police report with a signature belonging to one Ezra P. Standish scrawled across the bottom.

The sound of the faint ding signaling the arrival of the elevator caught his attention, and the AD stepped aboard feeling a measure of pride in his men. He smiled to himself, knowing now that the rumors were absolutely true. These seven men were truly able to rise to any occasion.

The End!

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