~ Yolande  

Thanks to Mitzi for her beta-ing this story.

Story moved to Blackraptor in October 2009


Katherine's March Challenge IS :- 

Give any one of the seven a hobby the other six do not know about, until events conspire to bring it to their attention. Hobby must not be anything previously mentioned in other no working at a shelter for Josiah, no piano playing for Ezra, no working with neighborhood kids for Vin. You get the idea. In essence I want to know what one of the boys does with his down time, and the reaction of the others when they find out. They aren't always working.

This is my response...

Josiah Sanchez waited impatiently at the carousel.  He glanced at his watch; it was one twenty, Saturday morning back home.  He searched for a clock in the airport terminal and adjusted his watch to match the current local time.  He saw his suitcase added to the rim and strode toward it.  Sanchez was anxious to drop his luggage off at the hotel and be on his way to the site, as there was about an hour of daylight still available.  He was far too psyched to be concerned about jet lag, and he had far too little time in the country and wanted to utilize every minute to its fullest.  He could catch up on missed sleep when he returned to Denver. 

The grey headed man stepped through the automatic sliding doors and sighed with satisfaction.  He closed his eyes for a minute and breathed in a lungful of hot sultry air.   A full grin spread across his features as he allowed the throbbing ambiance to wash over him.  He stood motionless, content to listen to the traffic noises and the unfamiliar sounds that circled around him. 

 “Hey Mister, you okay?” a concerned voice registered behind him as a body bumped against his large frame. 

Sanchez turned around and smiled broadly at the smaller man.  “Couldn’t be better,” he gushed and headed to find transport to his hotel. 



Week One - Monday 

Buck Wilmington trailed behind JD Dunne, his gaze appreciatively following the receptionist that exited the elevator ahead of them. 

“Buck,” Dunne hissed, grabbing the taller man by the arm and towing him into their office space.  “It’s rude to stare.” 

“JD,” Wilmington sighed indulgently, “beautiful ladies love to be noticed.” 

“Well, that beautiful lady has a big mean SOB for a husband, and I’d guess he wouldn’t be too thrilled to find you leering at her.” 

Buck gaped at the younger man.  “How’d you know that?”  The receptionist had only started work that morning, and being a ladies’ man, he would have noticed her before now if that hadn’t have been the case. 

Dunne tapped the side of his nose and grinned knowingly at Wilmington’s confusion.  He dropped a duffle bag on his desk and looked around to see who else had arrived. “Hey, Vin.” 

“JD.  Buck,” Vin greeted, following the curious gaze of Dunne.  “Chris is already in.”  He nodded at the closed door.  “And Nate’s called in to say he’ll be late.” 

“Nathan hasn’t arrived?” Ezra questioned incredulously, only just now entering the room.  The Southerner was notorious for turning up late and had never arrived before any of the others.  Standish hid the sly grin that grew, fully intending to torment Jackson when he arrived.  He settled behind his desk and booted up his computer, but frowned, noticing there was still one person on their team unaccounted for.  “Where is Mr. Sanchez?” 

Larabee stepped out of his office; surprised to see his undercover agent here when Jackson was missing.  “Josiah’s taken a week’s annual leave.” 

Standish’s eyebrows rose upward.  “That’s a little sudden isn’t it?”  When they left on Friday there was no mention of Sanchez taking any time down.  Something must have occurred over the weekend. 

Larabee shrugged his shoulders unable to give out any further information.  Chris couldn’t pry that information from Josiah Friday night when he’d called to request the time off.  Sanchez had been most secretive and anxious to end the call.  Larabee had finally agreed to Josiah’s request, even though he’d had no prior warning.  Especially so after the older man had gruffly suggested that he was taking the time off whether Chris cleared it or not.  “Ask him next week when he gets back.”  He saw the mystified looks on all their faces and held up his hands to prevent the expected inquisition.  “I don’t know any more than you do…so you’ll all have to brave it out.  Patience boys,” Chris chortled.  “Now, do you think we can get some work done this morning?” 





“Where is he?” Chris dropped the phone back in the cradle and glared out into the bullpen.  “It’s ten…where the hell is he?” he shouted at nobody in particular. 

Tanner met his gaze across the room and they both turned to face the elevator as the bell rung, announcing it was going to open on their floor. 

Larabee launched through the office and rounded on his tardy agent as soon he stepped from the elevator.  “It’s ten!” Chris growled. 

Ezra heaved a tired sigh and lifted his arm to check his watch, confirming Larabee’s words.  “It is indeed,” he drawled sidestepping around his boss.  

Chris glared at the various men who deemed it funny enough to laugh.  Larabee strode after the Southerner and slammed both hands solidly on his desk.  “Standish,” he warned, drawing out each syllable of his name. 

Ezra sank into his chair and rolled his neck.  “My apologies for the delay, Mr. Larabee.” 

“Not good enough, Standish.”  He studied the Southerner and was puzzled by the tired façade.  His apology had even sounded sincere. 

“I received a phone call from Josiah, this morning,” he took a deep breath which smothered the yawn.  This garnered the attention of the entire group and they converged around his desk firing questions at him. 

“Where is he?” 

“Is he okay?”

 “He’s not in trouble is he?” 

“What did he want?” 

“Is he having fun?” 

“He didn’t say, but I could hazard a guess.  Definitely out of the country.  He sounded fine on the phone.  I don’t believe he is in any danger.  He requested I locate a digest of his and,” Ezra smiled for the first time that morning, directing it at JD.  Trust Dunne to ask that question.  “…It is only my humble opinion, but I’d wager Mr. Sanchez is enjoying his holiday immensely.” 

“What’s that got to do with your coming in late?” Chris grilled. 

Standish sighed.  “The book Josiah requested was at his place, not mine,” he emphasized.  “Once I arrived there the text was not where Josiah had identified and I had to spend some time searching it out.  He does have rather a large collection, I might add.”  Ezra glanced around the group, seeing that he’d captured their attention, he continued.  “It seems that Josiah is an avid archaeologist.  And in his spare time he attends digs, which is where he is now.” 

“Yeah?”  JD enthused brightly.  “Man’s that’s great!  I was reading this article in Time magazine the other day about buried tombs…wonder if Josiah’s seen it?” 

“You read Time Magazine?” Wilmington heckled, throwing an eraser at the younger agent. 

“So?  I’ve seen you flipping through the National Geographic…” 

“I hadn’t realised Mr. Wilmington read anything beyond the pin-up variety,” Ezra quipped, earning a scowl from the gregarious man. 

“You said that Sanchez didn’t confirm where he was…where do you think he is?” Larabee asked, curiously. 

“I don’t know positively, but there are a few possibilities, and bearing in mind the time zone difference…” he stated three different sites. 

Chris nodded.  He often wondered about all those reference books at the older man’s house.  

“What did he want with the book,” Dunne eagerly asked, sitting his hip on the corner of Ezra’s desk. 

Ezra yawned; squeezing closed his eyes in the process and finding that they felt gritty from the lack of sleep. He would have reprimanded JD for his familiarity with his furniture, but he couldn’t be bothered. “He wanted to refresh his knowledge regarding a particular artefact.  Unfortunately, by the time I located the text and waited for Mr. Sanchez to call back so I could relate the information, it was long past the hour to retire.  My apologies again, Mr. Larabee.” 

“If it was too late to turn in, then how come you still wound up being late,” Jackson asked, smirking at the undercover agent.  “Why didn’t you come straight here?” 

Standish rolled his eyes.  “I had to return to my abode, and,” he shrugged his shoulders sheepishly, “I succumbed while I was there…needless to say…” 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Chris grunted in understanding.  “Don’t let it happen again.” 

Standish saluted his boss, raising two fingers to an imaginary hat. 





Larabee stood half hidden from the others.  He watched as JD’s head jerked strangely once more, fighting the urges of sleep.  The younger man stared at his screen for minutes at a time, not appearing to move the document he was supposedly reading or typing anything on his keyboard.  Chris licked his lips and frowned as he glanced across to Buck’s desk.  Wilmington was not even attempting the pretence of work; he was sprawled asleep with his head on the desk, and a sign written in black ink stuck with tape to his back.  It read, DON’T DISTURB!  He wondered which of the clowns had attached the note.  And Standish didn’t appear any better. He was leaning back in his chair, head resting limply to one side oblivious to his surroundings.  

A sadistic smile came to his mouth and Chris turned back to his office.  Larabee was only gone a minute, but had picked up the blow horn that he’d confiscated from Tanner last week.  He covered his ears with a pair of ear protectors and depressed the horn.  The loud blaring noise startled the entire group, sleeping and awake.  Standish fell from his chair as he abruptly woke. 

Once all his agents looked at him with some degree of wakefulness he stepped to the centre of the room.  “Conference room.  Now!” He left, expecting the others to automatically follow. 

Chris paced in the small room while he waited for the five team members to gather. Tanner was last to enter and hung by the door.  It wasn’t him that Larabee was pissed with so Chris didn’t mind.  Buck and JD slumped in the chairs, but Standish sat bolt upright.  Nathan was still rubbing at his ears, and took a seat at the end of the table.  “So… what’s the deal?”  

Buck cleared his throat.  “Josiah called last night.” 

“Ah huh.  And?” 

“Well, Josiah didn’t want to bother Ez again, ‘cause he called him the night before…” 

Chris glanced at Ezra and figured there had to be more, but it was JD who continued. 

“Buck said he was only going out for an hour so I waited up…then I got worried ‘cause he didn’t return by the time he said he would,” Dunne scowled at his roommate. 

“That weren’t my fault!  Like I said, JD, the book wasn’t at Josiah’s…so I had to go over to Ezra’s.  And you know how hard it is to wake him up.” 

Ezra groaned.  “May I point out that I was already awake by the time you assaulted my front door.”  

“That’s only ‘cause Josiah called first to let you know I was on my way over,” Wilmington protested.  

“Well how was I to know that Josiah would send you after reference material.  I thought it prudent that I took it to my place so it was readily available.” 

“Guess Josiah thought he could trust me to read from the book and pass on what he wanted.  Only you pilfered it!” 

“Pilfered?  My my…been studying the dictionary, Buck?” 

“I just want to know why nobody bothered to call me?” Dunne complained. 

The three agents continued to banter back and forth.  Nathan shook his head, clearly amused by it all. 

Larabee looked at Vin and an unspoken message passed between them.  The sharpshooter put two fingers to his mouth and whistled.  The noise level dropped immediately. 

“Do you think you three can manage to put in a full day’s work?  Or should I send you home?” 

Wilmington’s eyes sparked up at the offer and he opened his mouth, but clamped it shut quickly as Chris amended his previous statement. 

“It’ll come off your leave, though.” 




“What’s going on?” Larabee leaned against the doorframe and sent Tanner a clearly befuddled look.  Four of his team were converged around Wilmington’s desk. 

“Don’t look at me, pard.  I just work here.”  Vin smirked at his boss’ less than friendly demeanour and decided to elaborate further.  “I went to the break room to grab some coffee.  Want some?” 

“What has Josiah caused now?”  His patience with the profiler was wearing thin and Sanchez wasn’t even here.  “JD?” 

Dunne waved a distracted hand and returned to typing madly at Buck’s computer terminal. 

“Hey, Chris,” the ladies’ man stepped back so his boss could see the screen. 

“You got a bug?” 

“Yeah, looks that way.  Opened an email from Josiah this morning then everything started going crazy.” 

Chris groaned, looking at Nathan and Standish who appeared to be waiting for JD.  “Don’t tell me…both your PC’s are down too?”  At the affirmative nods from his agents Chris shook his head.  “What about your’s?” he directed at Vin. 

“Dunno…nothin’ happened when I tried to turn it on,” he grinned. 

“Did you try plugging it in,” Standish drawled. 

“Hey!” Tanner punched the agent in the arm. 




Larabee exited the elevator with a certain degree of trepidation.  With everything that had been going on this week, he was beginning to have second thoughts about coming into the office on time himself. It was still early yet and normally he wouldn’t expect to find anybody in the office before him, but the proof was parked in the underground parking garage.  Standish had beaten him to work!  And it wasn’t yet seven in the morning.  Even Vin hadn’t arrived yet. 

“Ezra,” Chris called out the greeting, but the office remained quiet.  He flipped on the overhead lights and noticed the agent’s briefcase by his desk, but the Southerner wasn’t there.  Chris sniffed the air and followed the scent to the break room.  He poured himself a coffee and nodded appreciatively.  Standish knew how to make a decent pot of coffee, but he was not in the room.  

Larabee opened his door to find his agent lightly snoring on his couch.  He picked up the mail in his in-tray and closed the door behind him.  He could just as easily start work on this at one of the other’s desks.  He wondered if Standish’s unusually early appearance at work had anything to do with Sanchez.  How was he going to get any work out of his team if they continually fell asleep?  This hobby of Josiah’s was beginning to be irksome. 

When Ezra woke at nine he stumbled out of Chris’ office.  His hair was sticking up at an odd angle and his face was lined with crease marks where he’d been sleeping.  He glanced at Larabee seated behind his desk and winced.  The others immediately stopped their work and turned as one to face the Southerner.   Realising he’d fallen asleep, and in Chris’ office no less, while the rest of the team had arrived for work, brought a flush of red tinge to his cheeks.  “My sincerest apologies.” 

“Uh huh…what did Josiah want this time?  And I thought he was doing the rounds…wouldn’t it have been someone else’s turn?” 

Standish was momentarily stumped for words.  Obviously he was still in the process of waking.  “Josiah has a large collection of disks at his desk and he requested I copy them and pass it along through the Internet.” Ezra rubbed at his eyes and looked thoughtfully at the former medic.  “Ummm, he attempted to call you, Nathan, but you were… unavailable?” 

Jackson swallowed uncomfortably as they all turned to face him.  “I had Raine over last night,” he stammered guiltily.  “Guess we ummm unplugged the phones and forgot to plug them back in.  Sorry, Ezra.” 

“How long have you been here?” Larabee pressed. 

“Since three, I think,” Standish yawned.  Although he’d worked longer hours before now.  “Is there any coffee left?” 

“Made a fresh pot not long ago,” Tanner grinned; he knew Ezra despised the coffee the sharpshooter made. 

“Guess I’ll forgo it then,” Ezra mumbled and took his seat as Chris vacated it. 

“Go home, Ezra,” Chris ordered, he wasn’t going to get any decent work from the exhausted agent.




“Why are we here on a Saturday?” JD whined.  It was the weekend, after all.  He wondered if Josiah would mind if he borrowed the disks from his desk.  He could study them over the weekend and have them back in place by Monday before the profiler returned from leave. 

“’Cause Chris called us in,” Buck answered, hitting the computer expert’s head with the back of his hand. 

“He didn’t happen to mention the reason for this meeting?  Especially at such an ungodly hour.” 

“We all got the same drill, Ezra,” Tanner chuckled. 

“Then where is he?  It is uncommon for Mr. Larabee to be anything but punctual.” 

“Could be caught in traffic,” Dunne offered. 

Wilmington slapped JD on the arm.  “That’s one of Ezra’s excuses…Chris will have come up with something better.” 

Standish glared at the moustached man, which turned into a sly smile when Buck winced. 

“Hey!”  Buck grabbed his shin and furiously rubbed it.  

“Didn’t your mama’s ever tell you to keep yer hands and yer feet to yourself?” Jackson folded his arms and mockingly reprimanded both men. 

“I think I require a translation,” Ezra feigned ignorance. 

“He said - THAT IT AIN’T POLITE TO KICK!” Buck growled, shouting across the wooden table. 

“Who’s kicking?” Chris asked as he barged into the conference room.  “Nope, on second thoughts, I don’t need to know.” 

“What’s up, cowboy?” 

Chris sank to the only chair that was left.  “Got a call from Josiah early this morning.” 

“Guess you got the night off, hey Ezra?” Buck kicked under the table and applied a bruise of his own on the Southerner’s shin. 

Ezra’s poker face remained unchanged.  “What makes you say that?” 

“He called you again?” 

“Seems to be routine.”  He reached under the table and absently rubbed his leg. 

“He ring you before or after me?” 



“He needed your number…he lost it and couldn’t remember it off hand.” 

“Josiah wanted another week’s leave approved.  He’s decided to stay longer.” Larabee announced. 

“You give it to him?” Nathan stood up and wandered over to the window.  He glanced at the overcast sky that threatened to end in rain before the day was over.  May as well be at work if he was going to be trapped inside anyhow.  He bet Josiah had perfect skies where he was, otherwise he wouldn’t want to stay longer. 

“Sure.  Travis is going to be pissed, but other than that…” he trailed off.  “We need to do some catch-up work…seems like everything has come to a standstill this week.”  At the chorus of moans he added, “Just till one, then you can have the afternoon off.” 




Week Two – Monday 

Ezra Standish smoothly guided his Jag into the parking space reserved for him.  He whistled softly and rolled his eyes.  Nathan was going to be pissed.  For the third time in two weeks, the undercover agent had beaten Jackson to work.  He quietly thanked Josiah, and wondered what the giant of a man had requested of the former medic to precipitate his late arrival. 

With a cheeky grin he jauntily stepped from the elevator, belying any fatigue that over-rode his body.  “Gentlemen,” he greeted.  Standish glanced askew at the growing number of miniature dinosaurs that adorned the profiler’s desk.  He wondered whether it was Vin or Buck who was leaving them there. Probably Buck, he determined.  He’d seen the ladies’ man rearranging them on Saturday. 

“Hey, Ezra…You look like shit!” Dunne stared at the haunted features of the Southerner and the black circles that framed his eyes.  

Ezra glanced down at his impeccable choice of suit and polished shoes, expecting to find something obviously wrong.  

“He don’t mean yer clothes, Ezra,” Tanner drawled. 

“Josiah still calling you?” Larabee asked.  He actually thought it was hilarious that the profiler was making a habit of communicating with Standish every day, but he’d be glad when the amateur archaeologist was back in Denver.  

“Nathan’s not here,” Ezra stated, emphatically changing the subject. 

Buck chuckled, tossing a paper plane through the air.  It landed on Sanchez’s desk and knocked over two of the dinosaurs.  Buck immediately collected the model plane and returned the figurines to their original position.  “Josiah wanted Nathan to water his plants…said it was urgent, seeing as how they hadn’t been done since he left.  Made Nate promise he’d do it before work.” 

“Guess that leaves just you and me, Vin,” JD apprehensively predicted.  “Wonder what he’s gonna get us to do?” 

“You want me to make a suggestion to Josiah?” Ezra taunted. 

“NO!” both younger men howled. 




Chris Larabee had an early meeting with AD Travis and didn’t return to his floor until after eleven.  He searched out his team and assessed each of them.  He let out a breath he was unaware of holding as he counted five heads.  At least they all made it to work, sometime that morning.  “So who did Josiah call?”  Larabee raised a speculative eyebrow in the Southerner’s direction. 

“Reckon it was my turn,” Tanner lifted his hand and waved. 

“Why don’t you look like you’ve been awake all night?” 

Tanner smirked.  “He only called at six.” 

Ezra cleared his throat and grumbled under his breath.  “That’s because I held him off until then.” 

“What’s he got you to do?” Wilmington grinned, expecting some major expedition. 

“Nothing so bad,” he shrugged his shoulders.  “I just got to pick up a package from the post office.  Reckon I might take a bit longer for lunch,” he queried his boss, “so I can call in and take it straight over to Josiah’s.” 

“Sure, that’s alright.” 


Vin parked his bike in the five-minute pick-up zone and raced up the steps into the modern mail centre.  He hadn’t been here before, but Sanchez had given him the address and assured him the package would be there that morning.  “Name’s Vin Tanner, I’ve been authorized to collect a package for Josiah Sanchez.  It should have this address on it.”  Tanner handed over the profiler’s address and frowned at the relieved expression that crossed the clerk’s face.  He asked if Vin wanted to take it now and Tanner replied that he would. 

“You want to follow me,” the clerk signalled with his hand and disappeared through to the back room behind the counter. He turned back and rubbed at his chin thoughtfully.  “You bring someone else with you?” 

“No,” Vin drawled suspiciously.  He worriedly glanced at the packages that lined the room; some of them were as big as a fridge.  He swallowed apprehensively.  “Which one is from Josiah?” 

The clerk pointed out two wooden crates of similar size.  Vin’s eyes widened.  One crate alone was bigger than his TV, and longer.  There was no way he’d be able to get them to Josiah’s on his bike.   What the hell is inside them, he mused?  “Ah…I gotta make a phone call… and move my bike.” 

“So you won’t be taking them yet?” the clerk called after him. 


“Larabee,” Chris answered.  He waited a minute and then interrupted, “Where are you, Vin?” 

Buck watched as Larabee buried his head in his hands and slowly replaced the receiver.  “What’d Junior do?  He didn’t total his bike did he?” Buck asked anxiously. 

“Nope, nothing so simple,” Chris grimaced.  “Seems that Josiah’s package came in pairs and they’re the size of a God damn sarcophagus.” 

JD snorted.  “Guess he can’t balance ‘em too well on his bike.”  

“Hmmm.  I’ll be back in a few hours,” he grumbled.  “Try and do some work while I’m gone,” Chris instructed.




“Chris, you okay?” Jackson poked his head around inside his boss’s office.  He’d watched the blond walk stiffly across the room, not bothering to even acknowledge his team or the fact that he was last to arrive.  An occasion so rare that it warranted tackling. 

Larabee cautiously lowered his frame into the swivel chair.  “Must have pulled something yesterday when we were loading Josiah’s crates to and from the Dodge.  It’ll be fine Nathan, I’ve had a hot pack on it for most of the night.” 

“You want me to take a look?” 

“Nah…” he dismissed the former medic’s concern.  “It’ll be right.” 

“Whatever you say,” Nathan complied reluctantly. 


“You all won’t believe what I just found out,” Dunne’s voice held an odd note of awe. 

“What’s that, kid?” Tanner asked. 

“I was messing around, just looking up sites, when I came across a program for a seminar at that’s on in April.  One of the guest speakers is a J Sanchez…You think that’s our Josiah?” 

“You don’t say…” Wilmington drawled.  “Ole Josiah’s got a few more secrets stashed away in his closet.” 

“Is there a rundown on the speakers?”  Nathan’s curiosity peeked; he abandoned his computer and leant over JD’s.  He pointed at the screen and Dunne nodded avidly.  

Dunne moved the mouse around and clicked a few times.  “‘Josiah Sanchez is a respected veteran in the field of archaeology.  Being widely travelled and having attended major sites in the many countries, including China, Egypt and Palestine, the Amazon and Chile, Mr Sanchez is well renowned for his theories and thesis surrounding the Minoan culture’… it continues on quoting stuff he’s written and there’s a really ancient photo of him at the bottom.”

“Yeah?”  Wilmington whistled and jumped up, joining Nathan crowded behind JD’s shoulder.  “Reckon you can get an enlargement of that photo?” Buck chuckled.  “Man look at his hair!  Do you reckon it’s permed?” 

Dunne groaned.  “A child could do that, Buck.”  He only had to save the image and then resize it. 

“So do it…it can be a welcoming home present for him.” 

“You mean along with the collection of prehistoric creatures, Buck?” Ezra smiled. 

“Who says they’re from me?” 

“Well they ain’t from me,” JD sounded offended. 

“Or me,” Jackson stated. 

“And I can’t imagine Chris going in for that,” Tanner smirked.  “And I didn’t leave ‘em.” 

Ezra titled his head, a growing smile showing up his dimples.  “Sprung!” 

Wilmington shrugged.  “Want to see the one I picked up yesterday?”  He removed a stegosaurus from his pocket and stood it between the brontosaurus and the triceratops. It’s legs move; and he proudly demonstrated. 

“Good Lord.” 




The Southerner winced at the harsh tone that erupted from Larabee’s office.  He cast a speculative glance at Tanner, but Vin shook his head – he didn’t know what Chris wanted. 

“Standish!” Chris shouted again just as Ezra arrived at his door. 

“You bellowed?” 

Larabee shifted uncomfortably, rubbing at his strained back.  “When the hell is Sanchez getting in?” 

Ezra crossed his legs at his ankles and leaned on the doorjamb.  “Mr. Sanchez was considering asking for an extended break…” the Southerner tormented, knowing full well that that wasn’t the case. 

Chris jumped out of his chair and bit his lip as his back spasmed in pain. He straightened, deliberately ignoring the discomfort.  He pointed his finger accusingly at the undercover agent and shook it.  “You tell Josiah that if he isn’t back in the country and ready to resume his caseload on Monday, then he is fired!” 

Standish ducked his head, and smirked.  He hadn’t intended to cause Larabee any further stress, but it was too great a temptation.  Seeing the vein throb in Chris’ forehead, he decided to avail his boss.  “Mr. Sanchez is booked on the 8.40 flight into Denver Sunday evening.” 

Chris sighed thankfully.  “You sure?” 

“I checked the reservation myself.” 

Chris wondered whether he should have one of them pick up the profiler from the airport.  “You going to…” 

“I’ve advised Mr. Sanchez that I will meet him at the terminal,” Standish finished.  “Shall I call you to let you know when he has returned to us safely?” 

“Yeah…No!” he changed his mind…Larabee didn’t want to know if Sanchez had changed his plans once more.  He followed Ezra from his office and took a step backward in surprise.  “What the hell is going on?” 

“It was Vin’s idea,” Dunne blamed, pointing a white hand in the direction of the Texan.  


“Thought they might be nice for Josiah, seeing as he’s interested in…” 

Larabee curled his bottom lip.  “What…!?” 

“They’re moulds of our hands…reckon they’d make a great paperweight.  You could do feet as well if you want.”  Tanner picked up the heavy bucket full of plaster and tipped it for Chris to see inside.  

“I’m running a child care centre.  You planning on painting them too?” he asked sarcastically.  God he hoped Travis didn’t choose now for a visit. 

“Hadn’t thought of that,” Tanner grinned.  “Not a bad idea.  Thanks pard.  You gonna do one?” 

Larabee shared a look of horror with the Southerner and shot it back at Vin.  “Has he done one?”  When the sharpshooter shook his head, Chris sighed with relief.  “When you get Ezra’s, then I’ll consider it.” 

Ezra rolled his eyes.  “Don’t hold your breath, gentlemen.” 





“So, Ezra… what did JD have to do?” 

“I’m sorry, Vin, but I have absolutely no idea,” he repeated for the forth time. 

“Both Buck and JD are late…so it has to be something good…ah, come on,” he begged.  “Spill the beans.” 

Ezra glanced to Chris and back again to Tanner.  “I honestly don’t know.” 

“Go and get yourself a coffee, Vin.  Might calm you down until Laurel and Hardy show up.” 

Jackson chuckled.  If Buck and JD were Laurel and Hardy… “So what does that make Vin and Ezra?”  His grin widened at the scowl Standish threw at him. 

“The Hardy Boys,” Larabee grinned lecherously. 

“And Mr. Jackson and Sanchez?” Ezra quizzed. 

“They’d be…Batman and Robin?” Chris improvised, not having considered labelling them before now. 

“Why do they get to be crime-fighters?” 

Vin returned from the break room, coffee mug in hand and having only heard the last part of the conversation.  “I want to know which one of them is Robin?”  

“I’m Batman,” Nathan bagged.  

“I can’t imagine Mr. Sanchez in the red and green outfit… or the tights for that matter.”  Ezra laughed at the image that came to mind. 

“I reckon Josiah would make a better Batman,” Tanner opined.  “He is older.” 

“I ain’t being no Robin,” growled Jackson. 

“Anybody tried ringing the CDC?”  Chris interrupted. 

“Got the answering machine.  So I guessed they were on their way.” 

“How long ago was that, Nathan?” 

Jackson looked at his wristwatch as the elevator bell chimed in the foyer.  “Reckon that’s them.” 

“Boys,” Chris greeted questioningly. 

“Hi, Chris,” the moustached man loudly acknowledged. 

“Hi ya, Chris.” 

“Dare I even ask why you’re only now turning up for work?” 

Dunne bowed his head.  “It’s all my fault…I kind of figured Josiah would be calling last night, so we decided we’d just wait up…” he glanced to Buck.  “But he didn’t call.  We stayed up all night and he didn’t call.  You don’t think there is something wrong, do you?” 

“He’s fine, JD,” Ezra assured. 

“But, but…So why didn’t he ring me?  He called all the rest of you.” 

“Perhaps Mr. Sanchez was aware that he’d already caused you to lose a night’s sleep when you fretted over Mr. Wilmington’s absence.” 

“But that was last week,” he whined. 

“JD, if Josiah rang you, he would have woken Buck as well,” Tanner simplified. 

“But he was already awake anyhow,” Dunne persisted. 

“Mr. Sanchez didn’t know that,” Ezra smiled wryly. 

“Just that I found this neat site… and I thought Josiah might have wanted to know about it,” Dunne pouted. 

“I’m sure he will be thrilled to talk to you about it when he returns,” Standish assured. 

“So I gather you put off leaving the CDC in the hope that Josiah would eventually call,” Larabee presumed.  He sighed and shook his head in resignation when both agents nodded affirmatively. 


“Mr. Larabee, may I have a word?”  The Southerner hovered at Chris’ doorway. 

“Come on in.” 

Standish handed Larabee a form and stood behind the visitor’s chair to wait for the explosion.   

Chris looked up expectantly for an explanation.  “This is a leave application…” 

“That is correct.” 

“It’s for the beginning of next month.”  Larabee frowned wondering if his agent was as fatigued as he appeared.  “That’s only two weeks away, Ezra.”  Damn it was hard enough to manage Josiah’s leave with such short notice; leaving him with one man down on the team.  Now his undercover agent was planning a sojourn.  

“I should warn you that Mr. Sanchez will also be requesting leave for the same week.” 


“He has asked me to join him on the next dig…” 

“You’re going to, willing dig in the dirt looking for old bones and crockery?” Chris asked doubtfully.  Standish was of the belief that any manual labour was to be avoided at all costs. 

“It seemed like a logical solution, considering the past two weeks.  I can explore the local province during the day and discuss Josiah’s finds after he has returned to the hotel at night.” 

“I’ll see what I can do,” Chris sighed. 

‘That’s all I ask.” 

Chris relaxed back into his chair and thoughtfully stared after his agent.  A weary smile came to his lips.  His back was still recovering from the strain caused from carrying those crates.  He couldn’t wait to find out what was inside them.  Josiah had certainly involved them all in his passion for archaeology, he mused.  

Hell, he didn’t want to go through the past two week again.  Maybe Ezra had the right approach after all. Chris wondered what the chances were of getting the same time off for the whole of his team.   He glanced speculatively at the phone, eventually picking it and dialling Travis.  He could only try.


 the end

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