Uncle Leonard

Standard Fanfic Disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters. I'm just borrowing them to say ave atque vale - hail and farewell - to a gentleman whose work I've respected and enjoyed for decades. In memory of Harry Morgan (April 10, 1915 - December 7, 2011) Based on characters and situations from Magnificent Seven, Blacke's Magic, She Spies, Three, Leverage, White Collar, Remington Steele, The Quest, NCIS, MacGyver, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, NCIS: LA, The Cape, Hustle, and as many other shows as I can squeeze in.

Uncle Leonard

Magnificent Seven (ATF AU)/Blacke's Magic

by Susan M. M.

Agent Ezra Standish sat at a computer keyboard, wincing at his colleague's spelling. His team mate, Vin Tanner, was dyslexic. Ezra and the other members of Team 7 assisted him with his paperwork. One of Ezra's cell phones rang. He had several at any given time, for his various undercover identities. The dark-haired ATF agent felt his pockets until he found the correct phone. "Agent Standish. May I help you?"

"Alexander! It's –" The tone of his voice changed from pleased to somber. "What? When?"

JD Dunne looked up from his computer search. He glanced across the bullpen.

"I'd be honored to be a pallbearer. When do you need you need me there?"

At the word 'pallbearer,' his team mates looked up. Then they looked away, trying not to look like they were eavesdropping, when of course they wanted to do nothing more than eavesdrop.

"I'll call my travel agent and arrange my flight out there right away, Alexander," Ezra promised. "No, don't bother calling her. I'll let Mother know."

Ezra listened for a moment. "Goodbye. Please extend my condolences to Mary and her lot."

An awkward silence fell over the bullpen. Finally, Vin asked, "Who passed on?"

"Uncle Leonard." His southern accent was stronger than usual. "Hardly surprising. The man was in his nineties." He rose. "If you'll excuse me, gentlemen, I need to speak to Mr. Larabee to arrange to take some of my comp time."

"I thought Maude was Ezra's only family," Buck Wilmington said quietly.

"I never heard her mention a brother." Josiah Sanchez was sweet on Ezra's mother. "Maybe his father's side of the family. If Uncle Leonard was in his nineties, probably he was a great uncle."

"Maybe," Nathan Jackson agreed. "Or an honorary uncle. When I was a kid, all my parents' friends were Uncle This and Aunt That."

/*/*/

"Albie, I thought you'd be here." A tall, dark, handsome man with an Irish accent extended his hand to shake with an older man.

Albert Stroller extended his hand. "Harry."

"Actually, it's Remington now. Remington Steele," he corrected.

/

Alexander Blacke leaned over and kissed the cheek of an elderly woman in a wheelchair. "Miss Addie, I'm so glad you could come."

"I'll miss Leonard," Addie Pray told the magician.

"We all will," Alexander agreed.

/

"Max, darling, you're looking well," coo'd Hetty Lange.

Max Malini looked down at the diminutive redhead. "I didn't know you knew Leonard."

Hetty smiled up at him. "There are very few people – worth knowing – whom I don't know."

/

Ezra Standish took the hand of an attractive brunette and raised it to his lips. "Sophie. Enchanté."

Sophie Devereaux smiled at him. "A pleasure to see you again, Ezra. I only wish it were under better circumstances." Despite her French name, she spoke with an English accent.

/

Jack Dalton eyed Cassie McBain, Amanda Webb, and Darcy Stafford. "Pretty blondes in black dresses. My favorite reason for going to a funeral."

His best friend, Angus MacGyver, elbowed him. "Show a little couth, huh?"

/

Captain Ted Byrnes, LAPD, leaned over and whispered to his wife. "Why do I have the feeling I should be checking most of the mourners for warrants?"

Dr. Mary Blacke-Byrnes whispered back, "This is Grandpa's funeral. Consider yourself off-duty, at least until after the luncheon."

/

"You're not officiating at the ceremony?" Tony Blake asked the middle-aged man in saffron silk Buddhist robes.

Kwai Chang Caine shook his head. "I am merely here ... to say farewell ... to a friend."

/

"Templeton, you're looking well," David "Dingo" Tyler complimented him. He spoke with a thick Australian accent. "Shame about Leonard."

Templeton Peck shook hands with his sometimes business partner, sometimes rival. "Damned shame," the Vietnam veteran agreed. "He was one of the best."

/

Laura Holt-Steele, an attractive brunette, eyed a handsome African-American man. Even a married woman can notice a good-looking man. He wore a red sash over his tuxedo, and a jeweled medallion on a ribbon around his neck. "Who's that, over there next to Patrick Jane, the TV psychic?"

"Sir Cody Villaire-d'Estanville," her husband replied. He discreetly didn't mention that he'd known the Glendoran knight back when he was plain Cody Johnson.

/

Ezra frowned as he saw his mother with Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. He had long suspected that Jonathan Miles Standish was a convenient fiction that his mother had created just to have a name to put on his birth certificate. Anthony DiNozzo was one of the men he suspected had a better right to that blank on the certificate. He glanced at the open casket. Leonard Blacke had been another.

/

Police Commissioner Bill Gannon greeted a man whose hair was as white as his own. "Harry! Staying out of trouble?"

"If I weren't, would I admit it to you?" Harry Danton retorted.

/

"Alex, I'm so sorry," Dr. Simon McKay told his old friend.

"He had a full life," Alexander Blacke conceded. "I'm glad you were able to come."

/

Peter Burke glanced around the crowd of mourners. He asked quietly, "Are all these people con artists?"

"Not all," Neal Caffrey replied. He nodded toward a large African-American man standing next to a man in a turban. "Leonard was a carny for years. Some are circus people. Some," he glanced at a middle-aged woman who was very, very short, "I don't know. In ninety-plus years you meet a lot of people."

/

The crowd mingled for a while, friends and acquaintances greeting those they hadn't seen in years, sharing memories of Leonard. Most remembered to give their condolences to Alexander or Mary, although some were so busy reminiscing about old scams that they forgot to speak to the bereaved.

Eventually, everyone was seated, and the service began. The pastor obviously hadn't known Leonard Blacke personally. He droned on generalities about a long, full life, about leaving a legacy of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. He threw out some scriptural references that had nothing to do with Leonard or his beliefs. Finally, the pastor came to a conclusion. Alexander, Ted, Mary, and her children and stepchildren came up to the coffin for a final farewell. Two men from the funeral home sealed the coffin shut and rolled it out on a gurney to the hearse.

The funeral cortege drove at a snail's pace to the cemetery. Ezra was glad he was driving a Ford he'd rented from Hertz. He'd hate to have to drive his Jaguar so slowly. Still, he took a certain childish delight in running red lights while the police escort did nothing to stop him.

When they arrived at Mt. Rest Cemetery, Ezra was forced to wonder at the logic of funeral logistics. Instead of using a gurney to take the coffin to the grave, he and his colleagues had to carry the box. It was easier to think of it as a box, rather than the mortal remains of his friend and mentor. He did wish, however, that he and the other pallbearers had had a chance to practice carrying the coffin over uneven ground. He was the shortest of the six, and their paces did not match. His hand grew sweaty and slippery; he grasped the coffin handle more tightly.

Ezra Standish, Sir Cody Villaire-d'Estanville, and Patrick Jane carried the left side. Neal Caffrey, Max Malini, and Remington Steele carried the right side. They stopped at the grave, and gently set the coffin down.

"Thank you, gentlemen," the pastor said. He rose to say a few final words.

Ezra nodded to the coffin before taking his seat. "Goodbye, Uncle Leonard."

/*/*/*

Author's Note: Blacke's Magic was a short-lived TV show back in 1986, about Alexander Blacke (played by Hal Linden), world famous magician, and his father Leonard Blacke (played by the late Harry Morgan), an ex-carny and semi-retired con man. Alexander's daughter Mary was a doctor who was engaged to a widowed police lieutenant with three kids. Just as all of us mourned the loss of Harry Morgan at the beginning of this month, I thought some of Leonard Blacke's friends would want to say goodbye to him. 12/31/2011

Mourners, alphabetical by TV show: (Asterisks indicate pall bearers.)

Templeton Peck: The A-Team

*Max Malini: The Cape

Bill Gannon: Dragnet

Harry Danton: The Feather and Father Gang

Dingo Tyler: FX: the Series

Albert (Albie) Stroller: Hustle

Kwai Chang Caine: Kung Fu: The Legend Continues

Sophie Devereaux: Leverage

Angus MacGyver, Jack Dalton: MacGyver

Tony Blake: The Magician

*Patrick Jane: The Mentalist

Anthony DiNozzo, Sr.: NCIS

Hetty Lange: NCIS: LA

Addie Pray: Paper Moon

*Sir Cody Villaire-d'Estanville: The Quest

*Remington Steele and Laura Holt-Steele: Remington Steele

Cassie McBain: She Spies

Amanda Webb: Three

*Neal Caffrey, Peter Burke: White Collar

Simon McKay, Darcy Stafford: The Wizard