Putting the Pieces Together
Pairings: Speed/Wolfe, OW Vin/Ezra, ATF Chris/Ezra
Disclaimer: See Chapter One
Beta: Queen Sereya
Chapter Spoilers: This chapter takes place during the episode ‘Nailed’. So some of you may recognize a certain scene, which I rewrote to fit my story.
Warning: There is some slight swearing in this chapter.
Chapter 6: Putting the Pieces Together
Xander sighed and raised his arms, his entire body stretching in Chris’ comfortable armchair. After meeting the ATF versions of the original seven, Chris had insisted that Xander stay at his ranch and even let him use the printer for his research.
Chris had offered his PC, but Xander had declined saying his laptop was top of the line and more than enough. With the original old west seven not only out of his body, but also following their namesakes around, it was pretty quiet which Xander found refreshing. As for the ghosts, they loved that they could follow their decedents around and help keep them safe. And the best part was, only people who were related to them could see and hear them. It had shocked Xander when all the guys had been able to see all the ghosts, but it just proved how close the original group had been, to say nothing of the ATF group.
Xander’s stomach gave a small growl in hunger and he looked down at it in confusion. He hadn’t forgotten to eat lunch, had he? He wondered if he could sneak a snack. Chris had called earlier, warning him to have a good appetite for supper because they were having a barbecue. Xander looked at his stomach and then looked at the door to the kitchen. There was a small bag of chips in the kitchen. One bag wouldn’t hurt his appetite any. He was eyeing the kitchen thoughtfully when the front door banged open.
“Don’t even think it, kid,” Buck said as he carried a bag of steaks to the kitchen, JD following with the drinks. Their ghost counterparts trailing behind them.
Xander eyed them curiously, as Buck started the grill. When the old west seven had been freed, they had realized that it could quickly get confusing as to who was being addressed what with all the double names going around. So, finally, they all agreed, even the grudging Ezras, to call the Old West versions by their last name and the ATF versions by their first names. So when Xander asked his question, everyone knew who he was talking about. “Where’s Chris?”
“He and Ez had some paperwork to finish up,” JD said.
“Yeah,” Buck agreed, “And Vin went to get some sides to go with these Beauts. ‘Siah and Nate went with ‘im to make sure it was healthy and tasted good.”
“Oh,” Xander said, watching Buck preparing the steak. “Maybe, I could help. . .”
Buck glared at him.
Xander meeped. “Maybe not.”
JD wrapped one arm around the teen, escorting him to the living room. “Don’t mind Buck. He always gets like that when he’s cooking.”
Xander blinked. “Oh.”
“So,” Dunne asked as he peered at the open laptop, “How’s the family search coming?”
Xander opened his mouth, only to shut it as a translucent Wilmington stormed into the room. He plopped down on the couch, pouting. Although Xander wasn’t sure how he managed to sit on the piece of furniture. The man was a ghost, after all.
“You okay there, Bucklin?” Dunne asked.
“He kicked me out,” Wilmington pouted.
The group laughed. JD piped up. “That’s my Buck. Never get between him and his stove.”
“Well you’re just in time. Xander was gonna tell us ‘bout what he found,” Dunne said. All eyes turned toward Xander, including the newly arrived group.
Xander gulped. “Ah, well. . . I’ve found a lot of family spread out. Like, I’ve got another uncle on Ezra’s side.”
“Wow,” JD said, “Wonder what Ez will think of more relatives. What’s he do?”
“That’s the funny thing. It looks like most of the descendents are cops. . .” Xander paused to look at the laptop screen. “Well criminalists and profilers.”
“Crime-lists and Pro-files? What’s that mean?” Wilmington asked.
“Well a criminalist tells you how the crime was committed and a profiler tells you what type of person would do the crime,” Xander explained.
“Why would I need some profiler to tell me a bunch of low-lifes were doing bad things?” Dunne asked.
“It’s not that simple,” Vin spoke from the doorway. The others turned to see him leaning against the wall by the door, Tanner beside him. “The profiler can tell you what age the perp is, what his body looks like, and what he’s likely to do next.”
“Yeah,” JD said. “All that can help you catch the bad guy.”
“Wow,” Wilmington said. “Things sure have changed since we was alive. We didn’t care ‘bout none of that. If ya didn’t behave in town, ya either left or were kilt.”
Dunne nodded in agreement. JD just laughed. “If you go and shoot a perp now you have to show Internal Affairs you had no other choice but to shoot.”
The three ghosts looked at their descendents in horror as Vin nodded in agreement. He explained, “Criminals are a lot smarter now. If you don’t do things right, the courts may let the criminal go cuz you messed up.”
Wilmington shook his head in disgust. “That just ain’t right.”
“Nope, but that’s the way it is,” Vin said. He turned to Xander and asked, “You find a lot more kids?”
Xander nodded. “There’s over twenty of us if you include the seven namesakes.”
Wilmington whistled. “Phew-wee, that’s a lot of young’uns.”
Dunne nodded. “Sure would be nice to meet them all.”
“Why not?” JD asked. Everyone turned to look at him. “We could have a reunion. Have the whole family get together.”
Dunne and Wilmington shared a look and Dunne said enthusiastically, “That’d be great! Wait! Where would we hold it?”
Xander tilted his head. “Well most of us live on the east coast, in New York, Miami, and Washington DC. Though there is one in Vegas. . .”
“Not Vegas,” Vin said. “Ezra’s mom’s there and they’re at the not speaking phase in their relationship.”
The ghosts and Xander looked confused so JD explained, “Ez and his mom got a funny relationship. They’ll fight over his job and totally ignore each other and then a month later they’ll be all friendly again and having lunch at some fancy restaurant.”
“Oh. Okay. No Vegas,” Xander said.
“We could always hold it here,” Dunne suggested. “They could see the ghost town.”
JD shook his head. “Nah, it takes too long to get out there.”
“What’s going on here, boys?” Chris asked form the doorway one arm wrapped around Ezra’s shoulders.
Xander shrugged. “Not much. We were just discussing the family business and a possible reunion to meet everyone in the family.”
Ezra’s eyebrow rose. “Family business?”
Xander nodded. “Our family likes careers in law enforcement.”
Chris blinked in surprise. Beside him, Ezra’s eyes widened and his mouth turned into a small smile, the news pleasing him. Chris nodded his understanding as Ezra slipped out of his hold to look over the information on the open laptop.
“Where have you decided to have the reunion?” Larabee asked.
Xander chewed his lip thoughtfully. “Well, that’s what we were discussing. DC has all sorts of museums/monuments. So does New York for that matter. It could give everyone things to do.”
“Shoot, kid,” Wilmington complained, “I’m already dead. Don’t want my kids to wind up like me by being bored to death by some dusty ol’ rocks.”
“Miami’s got hot girls in bikinis,” Buck said from the kitchen doorway.
Everyone turned to look at him in his ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron. He wiggled his eyebrows and continued his suggestion, “And sun and girls and beaches and girls. . . .”
“What are we discussing?” Josiah asked as he and Nathan came in with bags of chips.
“Places for a reunion,” JD said.
“And where do you want to hold it?” Josiah asked.
Buck, JD, and Xander all exchanged a look and in one voice said, “Miami.”
Nathan snorted. “you know, guys, not everyone may be able to take time off for a reunion. When were you planning on having it? And what about where everybody will stay?”
The trio looked at each other. Finally, Xander shrugged. “Uhm. . . We haven’t got that far. . .”
“If you gentlemen are willing to wait six months,” Ezra said from in front of the laptop, “There is a CSI convention going on in Miami in May. I’m certain a good portion of our relations would be able to attend a gathering if they were already attending the convention for their profession as well.”
The trio blinked at Ezra and then turned to look at each other. Each of them slowly started to grin and they finally said, “Miami!”
Eric sighed as he watched the doctor hurry through the ER door. He couldn’t help but feel guilty. It was his fault Ryan was in the ER with a nail in his eye! But he couldn’t just leave his sister alone, not now. He turned around, only to see a fist flying at his face.
Sitting on the floor, he raised his hand to gingerly touch his nose. He looked at the blood on his hand before looking up to see an angry Speed, glaring at him and being held back by Horatio who was looking over his glasses at his CSI in disappointment. “What happened, Eric?”
“Yeah!” Speed growled. “Why don’t you tell us why Ryan had to come in on his day off!”
Eric stood up. “I’m sorry for what happened to Wolfe. I had somewhere else I had to be.”
Speed snorted. He shrugged out of Horatio’s hold, saying sarcastically, “Yeah, right.”
“I did!” Eric said. He rubbed his brow tiredly. He looked at his glaring friend and sighed. “My sister’s really sick. . .”
Horatio eyebrows went up, but Speed simply stared at him. “I know.”
“What?!?” Eric’s eyes widened.
“I ran into Marisol at the store a week ago and she told me,” Speed said.
“So, you can understand,” Eric said, “Mari has all these doctor’s visits. I don’t want her to be there all alone!”
“And she doesn’t have other family members who would be willing to be there for her when you can’t?” Speed asked sarcastically. He sighed. “Look, I understand you’re worried about your sister, but you gotta stop taking your frustration out on Ryan. It’s not fair to him.”
Eric jerkily nodded his head and looked down at the ground. “I know. And I’ll apologize to him.”
Speed humphed. “You’d better. Now, I’m going to see how my mate is doing.”
Eric watched as Speed stormed off to interrogate the nearest nurse.
“He’s right, Eric,” Horatio said softly.
Eric glanced at him. “I know. Wolfe just rubs me the wrong way.”
Horatio eyed Eric curiously. “Is that why you’ve been so hostile toward his relationship with Speed? I know you’re not homophobic.”
Eric shrugged. “I guess. You have to believe me, H. I never meant for this to happen.”
“I know,” Horatio said, “and so does Speed. He’s just worried about Mr. Wolfe.”
Eric nodded and watched as Speed came glowering back. Horatio looked at Speed. “Is something wrong?”
“They won’t let me be with him.” Speed sulked. “I’m his fucking ‘power of attorney’ and they told me I have to wait!”
Horatio placed his hand on the shoulder of his distraught friend. “Calm down, Speed. You’d only be in the way right now. Let the doctor look him over. Let’s go to the waiting room.”
Horatio led Speed to the room with Eric following behind them. Horatio sat Speed down and immediately sat down next to him. Eric found a seat a few chairs away. An oppressive silence seemed to descend on them and Eric found himself glancing at the clock almost as much as Speed. Finally, he couldn’t stand the quiet and asked, “So. . . Speed, how’d you meet Wolfe anyways?”
Speed turned to him, his eyes blinking in confusion. Why was Eric asking him that now? Oh, he was trying to distract him. It wasn’t working too well. His eyes turned to the clock again.
“I would be interested in hearing that story as well,” Horatio said.
Speed looked at Horatio and sighed. He closed his eyes and smiled as he answered. “It was an accident. A complete accident.”
Horatio raised an eyebrow.
“I was teaching one of those criminalist classes at the Uni,” Speed said softly, staring at the wall. “It was a nice day and it was time for lunch. So I had just sat down under a shady tree to eat my meal when it happened. . .”
Horatio and Eric stared at Speed, waiting for him to continue. Finally, getting tired of the soft smile on his friend’s face, Eric asked, “Well, what happened?”
Speed blinked and looked at Eric. Grinning, he said, “An angel fell on me.”
Eric’s mouth opened as Horatio asked in amusement, “An angel?”
Speed blushed and with a chagrined smile explained, “Ryan was getting his masters and apparently he was in a hurry that day. He didn’t see me or my bag until he tripped over the bag. So, he may not be an angel, but he did fall into my lap.”
“And into your heart,” Horatio observed.
Speed glanced at Horatio to see he meant it affectionately. He smiled and nodded his head before turning back to his constant clock staring.
“Alright,” Xander said as he nodded his head, listening to the person on the other end of the phone. “I’m almost done here. It should take about a week to get back on my bike. Or I can leave the bike here with Uncle Ezra or Vin and take a plane in two days. . . Are you sure Uncle Speed? Ryan’s family too.”
Ezra, JD, Vin and their ghostly counterparts all watched as Xander paced back and forth, as he talked to his uncle on the cordless. Xander finally sighed and plopped down in a chair. “Fine. But I’m coming straight back. . . Tell Ry to rest and I’ll see you in about a week.”
He hung up the phone and looked up to see six faces staring at him. “That was my Uncle Speed.” At the others nod, he continued, “His mate, Ryan, got hurt at a crime scene.”
“That is an unfortunate hazard of the law enforcement profession,” Ezra said.
Xander gave him a strange look. “Shot with a gun, maybe. But shot with a nail?”
“A nail?!?” JD asked, shocked.
Xander nodded. “From what Uncle Speed says, Ryan had to work a case because ‘Delko’,” the others could hear the disdain Xander felt for the man when he said his name, “never showed up for work and someone at the crime scene shot him in the eye with a nail gun.”
“Is he alright?” Vin asked.
Xander sighed. “Yeah. He was lucky. The nail didn’t go very deep; it went into his tear duct instead of his actual eye. There could be complications and they have him on antibiotics in case of infection, but the prognosis looks good.”
Vin looked relieved at Xander’s words.
Xander looked at the phone and then eyed the pile of empty envelopes on the desk. A stack of letters and smaller envelopes sat beside them.
“You wish to abscond at the earliest opportunity,” Ezra said.
Xander nodded. “Yeah, but it’s gonna take at least two days to finish all these letters. . .”
“We can do that,” JD piped up. Xander looked at him in confusion, so he continued, “All that’s left is addressing and stuffing. Anyone can do that. You, Vin and Ez have already done the hard part.”
Dunne nodded. “Yeah, I’d a never been able to write any invite so nice. And that thing about the family tree Vin came up with. . . Hell, there’s no way I’d of thought of that.”
JD nodded enthusiastically. “So, you see, Xander, you’ve done the hard work already. Pack you things and leave tomorrow.”
“Are you two done tag-teaming each other?” Chris asked form the doorway with an amused grin.
Jed blushed while his ancestor became more transparent for a few moments, the ghost’s equivalent form of blushing.
“Jokes aside, kid,” Larabee said. “They’re right. Family’s family. So, git outta here.”
Chris nodded in agreement. “Ya leave now that’ll shave two days off your travel time. You’ll get there in four days, three if you push it. So go already.”
Xander stared at the two Chris’s for a moment before bolting for his room.
Chris walked over and looked at the cluttered desk. The letters had been written, all they had left to do was send them. Then they would just have to wait and see who responded back.***Dear Sir/Madam,
This letter is to inform you of certain family histories. Specifically, yours. In order to explain the reason you are receiving this missive; a little information must be given. So please, bear with us.
Recently, a young man researching his family’s history found his ancestor was part of a group of legendary men that, while not related by blood, were closer than brothers. He subsequently, researched the line of each of the men and found a multitude of descendants, one of which is you.
This letter is to make you aware of said relationship. As such, an enclosed envelope with the name of your ancestor has been included. Within you will find your family tree.
This correspondence also serves as an invitation to an upcoming reunion. The reunion will be held May 20 – 25 at the Bitmore Hotel & Resort, Miami, Florida. In order to facilitate your ability to attend, the date and place was selected to coincide with the upcoming CSI convention at the same locale.
If you are interested in joining us, you may RSVP Ezra at 666-7235. However, if you have no wish to learn more about unknown relations, the family tree was placed in an envelope to insure you did not see something you did not want to and can be discarded without being opened.
We hope to hear from you soon.
Ezra P. Standish
Alexander L. Harris
Next time: You’ve Got Mail!