Disclaimer: Buffy, Mag7 & ATF AU, not mine
Silly plot bunny that started with a quote I read:
‘A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of.’ Burt Bacharach.
Chris shifted slightly so he could keep his undercover agent in view. The team had been shanghaied to take part in a PR event. If it had been anyone other than Evie Travis organising it he would have said no. They were all still on edge from their last bust.
A so-called simple case had turned into a nightmare. Instead of busting a gunrunner, they’d ended up extending the case to bring down a human trafficker who had been a customer of their original target. Unfortunately it had left Ezra under cover, alone, and unable to save three women. True, they’d saved a whole lot more and shut down a smuggling route, but Chris knew his man well enough by now that the loss of those three had hit him hard.
Ezra had shut down completely. He’d slipped back into his ‘professional’ persona, the one he’d first shown when he had transferred from Atlanta. The only person Ezra had spent any time with outside of the office was Vin, and he wasn’t talking either.
Once they’d arrived at the event, Ezra had inevitably gravitated to entertaining a group of children. Chris sighed as he realised that in this unguarded moment his man looked years younger. A quick visual sweep brought a smirk to his lips as he noted the rest of the team had arranged themselves around their teammate. Chris had little doubt the undercover man was aware, but he’d obviously decided not to make an issue of it.
Chris was drawn from his musings as a loud exclamation rang out.
“Oh. My. God. Sam?” Chris and the others moved as one as the stranger headed straight for Ezra.
“Sam! It is
you.” Ezra seemed to be stunned into immobility by the man’s presence. Before the others could make it there, Ezra was swept into a bear hug. “I never thought I’d see you again, Sam.”
Buck got there first and wrenched the man away from the still stunned Southerner.
“Back off, buddy.” Buck was joined by Josiah, forming a solid wall between the newcomer and Ezra.
“Whoa, easy. I come in peace.” The man moved away a step but didn’t back down. The stranger twisted as Chris approached, revealing the man wore an eye patch.
“Boys. Is there a problem?” Evie Travis had made her way over at the commotion. “Shall we take this somewhere more discreet?” she suggested, not wanting a scene in front of all the children.
“Hey, Mrs T.!” The stranger stepped up to Evie and gave her a peck on the cheek. “Sorry for disturbing things. It’s just that I haven’t seen Sam for years. I only wanted to say ‘hi’ and to thank him.” Evie waved off Team 7’s attempt to protect her.
“Who is Sam, dear?” Evie, who had missed the initial incident, placed a hand on the stranger’s arm as she asked the question.
“That would be me,” Ezra said shakily, staring at the young man in wonder.
“Hi. Sorry if I startled you. It’s just, well, you’re my hero.” The man gave him a wide grin.
“I was just doing my job,” Ezra muttered, showing his embarrassment at the man’s words, much to the surprise of his teammates.
“I don’t care. You saved me, that’s all that matters to me.” The words were heartfelt and Ezra’s cheeks flushed.
“Whoo-ee! I never thought I’d see the day: Ez speechless *and* blushing.” Buck slapped Ezra roughly on the back.
“A little decorum if you please, Mr. Wilmington.” Ezra’s drawled reply brought smiles to the rest of the team, as the note of teasing had been lacking over the past week.
“So, how do ya know each other?” Vin asked the newcomer.
“Well, my dad sort of tried to sell me to some Armenians, but Sam prevented it.” You could have heard a pin drop in the silence that fell after the plain-spoken words.
“Your dad?” JD’s horrified voice broke the moment.
“Yeah. He was pretty drunk most of the time, probably didn’t even mean to, but it was all getting a bit nasty when Sam came along. He was awesome, totally kicked ass and spirited me away.” The man smiled. “Went back home, but I gotta tell ya, you really made an impression, Sam. Helped make me the man I am today.”
Josiah smiled proudly at their undercover man. “See? You *do* make a difference.”
“Well, he certainly makes an impression,” Chris grumbled. “I didn’t catch your name?” he asked the one-eyed man.
“Didn’t give it,” the man said with a smirk.
“Oh yeah, definitely Ez’s influence,” Vin said with a grin. “So what’s yer name and why do ya keep callin’ him Sam?”
“Xander Harris, and that’s…” -- Ezra tried to prevent him from finishing but was shushed by the others-- “…my Secret Agent Man.”
A/N I know, I know, it’s an acronym but my brain’s weird. :)
Thanks to RevDorothyL for the beta.