It’s All a Bit Absurd

The next part in my continuing Genre Stretch story.  For April, the challenge was to write something absurdist.  It was a real stretch for me, but I made the attempt, at least.

**

When Lachlan had first joined the department, he’d assumed that all the strange looks he got were because of the kilt.  He’d worn a kilt for as long as he could remember, so it was comfortable for him.  It didn’t take him long to realize that it was because he was a werewolf.

He couldn’t figure out if his co-workers expected him to turn violent any moment or if they were just surprised at how quiet he actually was.  The only person who treated him halfway normal was his partner.

Ezra was the sort that took a while to warm up to you no matter who you were.  He called everyone “Officer This” and “Mr. That.”  He kept a neat desk that had none of the personal touches that most people normally kept.  There were no photographs with family members smiling and waving at him.  There was no candy jar.  There wasn’t even a pen holder.  He kept his pens tucked in the top desk drawer, along with the paper clips and other odds and ends that littered desks everywhere.

Lachlan was the exact opposite in that regard.  He had all the things that Ezra didn’t.  Not only that, he had a growing collection of stuffed ducks.  He didn’t know who had brought him the first.  He’d simply found it on his desk one morning.  Since that day, five more had been added.

He gave Ezra a wry smile when his partner strode over to the desk and set a small yellow duck in the center of his blotter.  “My daughter made it,” he said, shrugging.

Lachlan lifted the little desk into his hand and smiled.  “Tis a cute wee thing,” he said, as he set it on top of his pen holder.

Ezra nodded and then began checking through his messages.  “Have you gotten word from Esther recently?” he asked as he set one of the papers on his desk.

“She called during breakfast,” Lachlan said, nodding.  “She’s settled back in with the pack all right, but she’s missing me something fierce.”  Truth be told, he missed her terribly as well.  However, he’d rather she was safe than close.

“What’s on the agenda for tonight?” Ezra said, as he finished sorting through his messages.  He tossed a handful of them into the trash.  The rest went on his desk, so he could follow up with them later.

“Chief wants us to go back to the crime scene and see if we can find anything we might have missed,” Lachlan said.  He grimaced.  “Can you do anything about the basal?  That stuff will ruin me for the night, and no mistake.”

“There’s a spell that I can try,” Ezra said.  He stood and grabbed his cloak.  “Ready to go, then?”

Lachlan nodded and moved to his feet.  He froze and then stepped closer to Ezra.  He sniffed lightly at his partner’s cloak.  “Who’ve you been near?” he asked, his voice faint.

“Peter Nowell,” Ezra said, blinking.  “We worked together when I lived in the States.  He moved to England a few years before me.  Why?”  His brows furrowed.  “You know his scent from somewhere?”

Shaking his head, Lachlan said, “Not his.  He was near someone and… they were at my apartment.”

“When it was firebombed?” Ezra said, his eyes widening.  When Lachlan nodded, his brows furrowed.  Lachlan could tell that they were thinking the same thing.

“It doesn’t mean that he was involved,” Lachlan said, shaking his head.  “It just means he was there long enough for me to still find his scent.”

“Right,” Ezra agreed.  He smoothed the folds of his cloak and said, “Let’s get over to the crime scene, then.”

As they headed out of the office, Lachlan noticed that people would stop speaking as they passed their desks.  At first, he thought it was because they were reacting to him being a werewolf.  Then he realized that his partner was getting tenser by the moment.  They were reacting to him?

“Want to talk about it?” Lachlan asked.  Ezra looked sharply at him and he smiled.  “I’ve gotten that nervous, suspicious glance enough times to recognize it, Ezra.  Thing is, now you’re the one as is getting it and that makes no sense to me.”

Ezra gave him a tight smile.  “I never mentioned why I left the States,” he said.  He fidgeted with his cloak as they started down the steps towards the main floor.  “There was an incident… Dark magic was detected at a crime scene and, somehow, it was traced to me.”

Lachlan’s brows furrowed.  “Let me guess: the boys that came to take care of the body detected your magic signature on O’Neill’s body?” he said.  He wasn’t surprised when Ezra nodded.

He chewed at his lip.  “I know you weren’t involved,” he said, his voice soft.  “You didn’t know O’Neill from Adam.  You’d have had no reason to kill him, using dark magic or otherwise.”

Ezra heaved a sigh and gave him a weak smile.  Lachlan blinked.  Ezra was seldom anything other than business-like when they were working.  The fact that he was looking for encouragement from Lachlan told him more clearly than words that the situation was bothering him.

“Are you a suspect, then?” he asked.

Shaking his head, Ezra said, “They’re going to re-run the tests.  The thinking at this point is that they were somehow contaminated.”

“Meaning that you did something wrong when you were trying to detect the sort of magic used,” Lachlan said.  It would be a problem, but far less of one than if he was actually suspected of murdering someone with dark magic.

“It just… It feels like, no matter what I do,” Ezra said, “nothing changes.”  Then they were outside and approaching their vehicle.  He stepped over to the passenger side of the car.  “No matter where I go, I end up making everyone suspicious of me, even when I don’t do anything.”

Lachlan didn’t quite no how to answer that.  Finally, he said, “I know exactly what you mean.  It’s all just a bit absurd, isn’t it?”  Ezra nodded and he smiled.  “I trust you and… you trust me, yeah?”

“With my life,” Ezra said, smiling.

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