Disclaimer: Belongs to many other people, not me
Summary: What moments mark a friendship, a love, a marriage, a lifetime?
Previous chapters: Lost Summer
Notes: A little bit of fluff.
Beta(s): The ever saintly irena_adler .
Pictures in a Wallet
Colby looked at the kid in the passenger seat of his car and felt old. Agent Philip Matheson looked twelve to Colby, and despite a perfect regulation haircut and suit, Colby had to resist the urge to pull out Esther’s old safety seat. They pulled up across from a generic looking house and waved off the previous arrest team. The young agent was practically vibrating with excitement. Colby cursed David, his promotion and transfer for leaving him with Skipper here, so fresh from the academy that his piss was probably green.
“Look it,” Colby said, “as long as there are six kids in the house, we will not be kicking the door in. The suspect will leave the house, then we will tail him to a better location and call for backup. Got it?”
“Right. Got it,” the kid replied with so much youthful energy it made Colby’s teeth ache.
“Good. I’m going to sleep. Wake me if anything happens.”
“You’re going to what?”
“I’ve got a kid and a mathematician with the flu at home. They didn’t sleep, so I didn’t sleep. They are not here, so I am going to sleep.”
“No. You are junior agent so you watch the boring criminals. I am old cranky senior agent, so I sleep.” Colby pulled the backup gun from the small of his back and put it in the cup holder then chucked his wallet on the dash board. Once comfortable, he closed his eyes and passed out.
Agent Matheson quickly got bored watching the birds peck about the suspect lawn and listening to his senior agent snore. He studied Agent Granger for a bit. He’d heard odd and occasionally unpleasant rumors when he got to LA and meeting Charlie Eppes had confirmed a few. Of course, watching Charlie pluck a killer from a list of equations had seemed more of a parlor trick than investigative work but no one argued with him.
As for the other rumors, Professor Eppes and Agent Granger hadn’t made out passionately in the middle of the war room, but there were easy smiles and discussion of babysitting schedules on the way out the door that the rest of the team seemed oblivious to or perhaps just to accustomed to warrant comment. Plus the matching plain gold bands had been a bit of a giveaway.
Agent Matheson looked at the still house again, then carefully lifted the discarded wallet from the dashboard, keeping one eye on Agent Granger and one on the house. He quickly flipped open the wallet. It had the usual. A bit of cash, ATM card, ID, but unlike Philip’s wallet all the little picture sheets were full. The first one was a group shot. It looked like it has been shrunk down on a computer, taken at some holiday. Professor Eppes was center holding what he guessed was a baby. Agent Granger was next to him with Agent Eppes and an older gentleman, their father presumably. Philip squinted and was fairly sure the only woman in the picture was Agent Fleinhardt, her arm around a shorter man who looked a little confused and quite a few years older than her. He had been told her husband was some kind of scientist and an astronaut but he had thought the man for her would be a scientist more in the Indiana Jones/Buzz Aldrin vein. Of course it was hard to think of these three hard-ass agents in this warm family setting at all.
Matheson shot a quick look at the house. Not even the birds had moved. He flipped through the next few pictures. A few were of Agent Granger and Professor Eppes but mostly they were photos of a little girl with brown curly hair, maybe seven or eight. She had a steel look in her eyes that put him in mind of his boss.
“She’s cute, isn’t she?”
Matheson’s head snapped up to find Agent Granger looking at him very much awake. “I...uh...um.” The young agent stuttered putting the wallet quickly back on the dash.
Hiding a smile at the agent’s terrified face, Colby picked the wallet back up and looked at the last picture. “She looks a lot like her daddy.”
“She’s got a mean streak, though. Must get it from her mother.”
“Really?” Matheson squeaked.
“There’s a little boy at school who likes her, keeps pulling her hair. She grabs him, twists his arm behind his back. Makes him scream uncle. They do this daily.”
“They’ll probably get married.”
Colby only gave a hum and looked at the picture of him and Charlie, and their family, taken at Megan’s wedding about a million years ago. He and Charlie were both drunk on Champagne, leaning easily against each other, ties undone. Colby looked at the young agent who was waiting for a telling off except Colby could feel the flu creeping in. Knowing it would lay him out in a couple of days, he just didn’t feel up to doing it.
“You don’t get it do you?” he asked instead.
“Most of them don’t. Hell, I don’t. It’s like the math. You don’t believe it, so you go nuts banging your head against the wall trying to understand it, then after watching it work time and time again, you just accept that it works, that 2+2 does equal 4 and there’s nothing wrong with that.” Colby looked at the very confused agent and sighed, “Go through my stuff again and I’ll break your thumbs.” With that, Colby closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep.