This fic was inspired Mel and Anna. While discussing writer's block, Anna told us her instructor used to say that when a plot gets stuck, just add two guys with guns. After some silly brainstorming, this fic was eventually born.
With only a little effort, he could easily calculate the seconds, but it wouldn’t change anything. It wouldn’t make the time pass any faster. Ezra Standish was on forced leave and no amount of arguing would change that fact. Even the famed Larabee temper had no effect on the edict that came from the powers that be.
Apparently, some FBI pencil pusher with more time on his hands than brains in his head had discovered that Ezra had accumulated an obscene amount of vacation time. Since he was still technically employed by the FBI, he had no choice but to comply. No matter how he tried to sell it, the powers that be would not buy the idea that any of the three weeks he’d taken to recover from the gunshot wound he’d sustained in the McMeyers bust six months ago could be considered actual vacation.
So, with orders to make the most of it and to not even think about work, Ezra suddenly found himself with a lot of spare time on his hands.
It was still only the early afternoon of the first day and Ezra was already bored. Bored, bored, bored…. He’d gone to the gym, dropped off his dry-cleaning, stopped by the grocery store to restock his severely-depleted kitchen cupboards, and was now preparing to tackle some spring cleaning.
Ezra stood at the large archway dividing the living room from the dining room and kitchen and sighed as he surveyed the rooms. His townhome was virtually spotless already, thanks to Sally who came and cleaned every two weeks, and the fact that he was hardly ever home for any length of time. If he wasn’t on assignment – or in the hospital – he usually spent his time with one or more of his teammates. He’d really grown to treasure the time spent with Vin at the Purgatory Youth Center, with Josiah at the soup kitchen, or spending a relaxing weekend at Chris’ ranch with his friends, riding the horses, barbequing, or just watching a movie. Heck, though he’d never admit it, Ezra didn’t even mind it when Buck talked him into a usually ill-fated double-date… much.
Standish quickly put an end to that line of thinking. No matter how badly he wanted it or how hard he wished, he was stuck on two weeks of forced vacation while his teammates tackled their current case with his temporary replacement, David Raton. Raton was a good undercover agent – second only to Ezra himself – and the case was considered time-consuming, but routine. Ezra had complete confidence in his team, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.
Taking a deep breath, Ezra began to move his living room furniture to one side of the room so he could polish the hardwood floors. He had just finished moving the last end table and was rolling the Oriental rug when a knock sounded at the front door. He couldn’t imagine who his visitor could be. His friends were all stuck at work – besides, none of them would bother with knocking anymore.
He began weaving through the maze of displaced furniture, but hadn’t yet reached the door when it was forcibly kicked in, scattering wood splinters and glass shards across the entrance way. Two large men dressed in dark suits and armed with semi-automatic weapons stepped through the now-ruined door, grinding glass beneath their shoes and cutting deep gouges into the floor. He didn’t have time to worry about it, though, as he found both guns quickly aimed in his direction.
Trapped within the cluster of furniture, Standish could only dive to the floor, squeezing as best he could between his leather recliner and sofa as bullets peppered the area around him. Bits of fluff sailed though the air as the bullets ripped into Ezra’s over-stuffed furniture. Glass from his bay window, grandfather clock, and various knick-knacks shattered, raining down on him, slicing into his palms as he crawled in search of better cover. Eventually, he managed to crawl around the edge of the sofa to reach the slightly better cover behind it, occasionally tossing the random throw pillow out of his way, only to have them reduced to so much fluff as they became targets to the intruders.
He allowed himself a few seconds respite to think. With his furniture out of place as it was, there was no way he could safely reach any of the weapons he had stashed around his home, nor would he be able to make it out the window or to the back door. Ezra Standish needed to improvise.
Between the rapid bursts of fire, he could hear the men slowly making their way across the now-open expanse of his living room and knew he had to work fast. He searched the area around him, taking note of the pathetically small arsenal available to him. Spotting a few possibilities just out of reach, Ezra decided he needed a distraction. He grabbed anything and everything he could get his hands on, throwing them haphazardly at his assailants. Cushions, books, picture frames, and even the shoes off his own feet sailed through the air, causing the gunmen to temporarily refocus their aim. The objects were shredded, but it allowed Ezra time to carefully crawl towards his goal.
After what seemed like an eternity spent dodging bullets and flying debris while belly-crawling across the floor, Ezra’s hand finally snuck out quickly to latch onto a nearly-full aerosol can of Pledge dusting spray. Leaning against the back of the sofa, clutching the can to his chest, Standish took a moment to catch his breath and solidify the plan is his mind.
A bullet pierced the sofa back, exiting mere inches from his head and spurring Ezra into action. Standish popped up from behind the sofa and threw the can of Pledge at his attackers before quickly ducking back behind cover. As he’d hoped, the projectile became the new target.
The aerosol can met with several bullets, exploding and releasing a thick, cloying mist that coated everything in the room, including Ezra and the armed men. Unprepared for such an attack, the two men slammed their eyes shut and all but doubled over coughing as their lungs tried to expel the waxy substance.
The undercover agent used the distraction to grab the closest weapon he could lay his hands on – his Swiffer Sweeper mop. Swinging it like a slightly awkward bo staff, he sprang forward, over the furniture, and brought the mop handle down sharply across the gunmen’s hands, sending the guns skittering across the slick floor. The second swing swept the legs out from underneath the first goon, sending him crashing painfully onto his back.
The second goon had recovered enough to deliver a powerful right hook to Ezra’s jaw. The agent twisted with the momentum of the blow, bringing his makeshift bo up in an attempt to strike at his opponent again. The move was predicted, however, and the Swiffer handle was caught before it could connect with the back of the man’s head.
The two men grappled for control over the handle in an intricate dance of give and take, neither able to gain the upper hand over the other. Sock-covered feet sliding in the Pledge residue coating the floor, Ezra knew he had to think of something quickly before he lost his footing entirely. When he noticed the Swiffer handle bending under the strain of the opposing forces, he knew he had only one option. With a glance heavenward and a silent apology to men everywhere, Ezra kicked out, his foot connecting with a sickening crunch with the other man’s groin.
Time stood still, neither man moving or even breathing but for entirely different reasons. Eventually, the intruder made an unnaturally high-pitched whimpering sound, then collapsed, unconscious, to the floor. The first man had recovered somewhat and was attempting to regain his feet. Ezra spun on him, bringing the mop handle crashing onto the back of his head, sending him back to unconsciousness.
Team 7, guns drawn and their usual impeccable timing off just a tad, stepped through the shattered remains of Ezra's front door and froze, all eyes locking on Ezra standing over the unconscious men. Their friend was uncharcteristically shoeless, breathing heavily, covered in a thick, sticky layer of Pledge, and and holding a Swiffer handle that now somewhat resembled the letter 'Z'.
“Ezra?” Chris questioned, everything necessary conveyed in the single word.
“I’m fine, Mr. Larabee.” Ezra took in the destruction around him, then seemed to snap out of his shock and threw the Swiffer handle down as he all but shouted, “Would someone please tell me what just happened here?”
Noticing the blood on Ezra’s hands from crawling across the glass-strewn floor, Nathan stepped forward and pulled out the remnants of one of the recliners. He settled Standish into it so he could assess the damage.
“I’m fine, Nathan,” Ezra tried to argue, but the team medic would not be dissuaded.
“I’ll get your bag, Nathan,” JD volunteered, before sprinting back to the vehicle.
“And Buck and I will see to it that these two sinners are taken safely into custody.” With that, the two large agents hauled the sluggish criminals to their feet. “Come, brothers,” he intoned as they ushered their suspects through the door, “let me explain the error of your ways.”
JD met the men at the door, Nathan’s bag in his hand. He dropped the bag at the medic’s feet then stepped back to stand unobtrusively by the wall nearest the door.
“Vin,” Ezra barked, frustrated that no one had answered him. Though usually a man of few words, the sharpshooter could generally be counted on to give a straight answer to a straight question.
“Martin Frieb,” Vin provided succinctly, referencing the case Team 7 had just begun working on. “He found out about us… well, he found out about you, anyway.”
“David?” Standish questioned, concerned for his fellow undercover agent.
“He’s fine,” Chris answered. “Never made it anywhere near Frieb. Turns out Frieb’s cousin was a guy we took down a couple months ago, Chad Holmes.”
Ezra easily remembered the small-time arms dealer. Though Team 7 had done everything possible to maintain Ezra’s cover through the bust, the undercover agent had been forced to reveal himself as an agent in order to prevent Melanie Stewart, a member of Team 3, from taking a bullet to the head. Holmes had sworn his revenge and literally spat in Ezra’s face.
When Chris didn’t seem inclined to continue, Ezra turned a questioning gaze back to Vin, who was now holding the ruined Swiffer and eyeing the room as if trying to piece together all that had happened over the last few minutes.
“Frieb was trying to step into his cousin’s place,” the Texan explained. “When Dave had his initial meet with a couple of his men earlier today, he was told his initiation would be to deliver your head – literally.”
“He offered to be their look-out,” JD piped in. “We ‘arrested’ him before coming in.” He made the quotation marks with his fingers.
“He was ready to rush in here when he heard the gunfire. Josiah had to deck him one to get him to listen to reason.” Chris shook his head, thinking about what could have happened not only to Ezra, but to David Raton as well. “We’re hoping to be able to salvage his cover. Maybe even the whole operation.”
Ezra winced in sympathy. He’d been on the receiving end of Josiah’s half-hearted punches while sparring in the boxing ring. He couldn’t imagine what the full force of the large man’s blows would feel like. He could only hope Sanchez had pulled the punch. Standish winced again as Nathan applied an antiseptic ointment to his hands.
“You’ll be fine,” Nathan stated with a pat to Ezra’s shoulder before repacking his bag. He stood, then, as if reading the other man’s earlier thoughts, added, “David will be fine, too. Josiah didn’t hit him too hard, and the black eye will add credence to his cover. It looks like you were able to take care of things here before any real damage could be done.”
Ezra shot to his feet, outraged. “Real damage? Are you implying there was no ‘real’ damage done here?” He threw both arms out wide to encompass the devastation. “Does this look like there was no real damage? My door, my windows, my furniture! It’ll take ages just to clean up this mess!”
“Calm down, Ezra.” Chris extended both arms, palms outward in a placating gesture, hoping to avoid the impending explosion. “Come on down to the office and type up your report. We’ll help as much as we can and you’ll have fourteen days to get this place up to snuff before you report back to work.” The man in black began urgently gesturing his remaining agents towards the doo
“Thirteen,” Standish corrected absently, still surveying the damage and imagining everything he’d have to do to put his home back to rights. Simple spring cleaning was suddenly looking a lot more appealing by comparison.
Chris edged towards the door, practically shoving JD out ahead of him. “Sorry, Ezra, but the agency was very specific. No work whatsoever. I’m afraid today isn’t going to count towards your two weeks vacation.” With that, Larabee ducked out of the townhome before his words had a chance to sink in.
“What the…? CHRIS!”