*This doesn't belong to me - All the characters and plots belong to TNT except from Blair*
Season 1 Episode 4 Pt 3
What should have been 'covered' as her father had promised her uncle, was not covered, not in the slightest? However, none of the team realised that until Sophie called for an emergency meeting outside the church, bringing with her photos as she explained Grants grand plan.
Due to the fact St. Nicholas was now a miracle spot he was planning on building a 'Bibletopia'.
As soon as the word left her mouth Hardison shot her a look and repeated, "Bibletopia?" as if to make sure he had heard the words right.
"The man cannot be stopped!" Sophie let out a frustrated groan as Blair and Parker nodded their heads in agreement.
"It's like everything we throw at him just makes him stronger," Parker added.
"I kind of admire him, though. My nephew would like Bibletopia" Elliot contributed, causing Blair to look at him.
"You have a nephew you haven't told me about?!"
Before Elliot could respond more than let out a chuckle at how offended Blair was pretending to be Hardison had started up, "this is what happens when you mess with God. He raises up your enemies with his right hand, and he smites you with his left."
Nate rolled his eyes before he took over the conversation calming the chaos, "No, no, no, no, no. so I can – we can use this." He told them all, as he leaned against the brickwork.
Blair frowned as she turned hearing dad stutter about how they could fix things but her eyes were on the black cars pulling up in front of the church, "Guys we have a new problem. The Apostolic Visitation has arrived."
They all watched as several older priests stepped out the cars and from beside her Blair heard her father swear under his breath before answering the unasked question that hung in the air, "It's the Vatican.," was all he said before he shot his daughter a worried glance.
Blair hurried after her father as they all made their way towards the entrance of the church, all eyes on the priests. "It's the Apostolic Visitation" was all Nate muttered to them as he stepped into the church.
Blair decided for the sake of the team she would be best explaining what that meant as it was clear her father was too busy to even think about the idea they wouldn't know, "They are like the Popes CSI." Blair started, making sure to keep her voice low, "They come, and they investigate a miracle. They determine whether it's real or a hoax."
"If they find out the truth, they're gonna close this church down and blame Father Paul for fraud," Sophie whispered after a moment as what had clicked with the father-daughter duo finally clicked with her. From the back of the church, she turned to Nate, "I don't like this Nate. I mean, even Grant, okay? He was hooked. Ordinarily, we'd have him under control by now."
Blair bit her lip as she took in Sophie's words and glanced at her father, who was glancing back at the door a little preoccupied – though he did answer Sophie, "We'll get around him. We'll save the church and we'll take out Grant –"
"You screwed up." Sophie hissed, interrupting the man, "You're gonna have to undo your own con."
Before anyone else could say anything footsteps caused them all to look round. Father Paul was approaching the investigative priests, "Gentlemen." He started.
It only took a look shared between them before the father-daughter duo jumped into action, "Ah! Father, Father!" Nate yelled, approaching Father Paul, Blair on his heels pretending to look worried. "Excuse me –"Nate looked over to the investigative priests and add, "I'm having a big spiritual crisis. You guy can understand more than anyone." With that he turned to Father Paul and started to pull him away, "I need to talk to you right now. You are the only one..."
The moment they were out of earshot of the other priests Blair decided to chime in, "Please don't tell me you were about to do what we know you were just about to do?" she asked her Godfather.
"What tell the truth? You bet I was!" He told Blair before looking to Nate, "No more lies! The Vatican's here. You and I both know what that means."
"Yeah, break out the grappa." Nate couldn't help but add, not that it helped the situation.
"Does my getting defrocked amuse you?!" Paul demanded of his friend, Blair could tell he was getting more and more pissed off with them by the second.
"No listen, Listen" Nate started, looking around, "I just-just, let me explain this to you, okay? I just..." his eye caught the confessional booth and he gestures to Paul to enter it, "in here."
Blair knew not to follow the men as they entered the confessional, instead, she turned to watch Sophie as she approached the investigative priests. Normally she would have approached the woman and helped her with whatever she was up too, but something in her gut told her not to – and after 10 minutes had passed she was glad she hadn't because Grant, Tomas and some Photographer came bombarding into the church like a tornado.
Sophie noticed them at the same time Blair did as was quick to excuse herself from the priests before approaching Grant. Posing as an idle member of the public here for the miracle Blair wandered over to the group too so she could overhear what was being said, "Andy, um, there's a bit of trouble. Nothing alarming, it's just... the Vatican's here." Sophie told Grant.
"I know," the man said excitedly, "isn't it great?"
"If they think it's real, we go forward with Bibletopia." The name coming from Grant's mouth sounded worse than all the mocking ones Blair, Hardison, and Parker had been telling each other over their Comms. Grant said it with such love and devotion that Blair had to look away in fear her facial reaction would give the game away. "If they exposed it, well, then I get good press for closing this fraud parish. You see, when people say 'controversy' I hear 'attention'"
"You are shameless!" Where Blair could hear the worry in Sophie's tone Andy Grant could hear admiration.
"Oh, you get me so well." He muttered to Sophie in a flirty sort of way before Turing to the photographer he had brought in with him, "Hey, come on, get a picture with these guys." With that, the man turned and walked towards the priests. Sophie shared an uneasy look with Tomas before following after him. Blair couldn't help but feel everything was getting more and more out of hand and she had no clue how they were going to fix any of it.
Later that evening, when the church was empty and the team of priests had just left the team all came of the confessional booth they had squeezed themselves into.
Of course, Hardison was the first one to start talking, "As soon that Van full of Vatican CSI equipment gets here. We're crewed!"
"You know that was what I was trying to say, but you guys wouldn't let me talk while we were all in the closet!"
"Confessional booth." Nate and Blair spoke simultaneously correcting the girl.
"If we leave it here, they're gonna find out the statues isn't really crying and blame Father Paul for fraud," Sophie spoke up to bring them back to the issue at hand.
Elliot scoffed and crossed his arms, "Sophie, if we steal the statue, he's gonna get blamed for covering up a fraud."
This comment seemed to cause Nate to laugh. Blair looked up at her dad as she pulled Elliot's Hoodie around her body more trying to keep some heat in her as they stood in the freezing church. She knew the look in his eye, a plan was forming. A ridicules plan, but a plan.
"This ain't funny!" Hardison tried to explain to Nate who looked a little crazy at the moment, "As soon as they run a scan or a pH stick over that statue they're gonna see those ain't real tears!"
"You're right." Nate agreed with Hardison with a nod of his head, "It's only a matter of time,"
"Plus Father Paul, he won't help himself, he had to tell the truth and he will eventually," Blair added causing Nate to smile and nod at her. That was true.
Hardison looked between the Fords as if trying to find out why they were so happy even though they found themselves in a serious situation. "I hope this is the part where you suggest prayer..."
"No, the weeping statue of St. Nicholas is not gonna be stolen." Nate informed them all, "it's gonna miraculously disappear in the middle of tomorrow's mass."
It took a full minute before any of them could respond to the insanity of Nate's plan.
"I'm sorry?" Sophie asked as if making sure she had heard Nate correctly.
"In front of the priest, the Vatican, the entire congregation!"
"Have you learned nothing, Nate?"
A chuckle came from Nate as a response to Sophie's question, "How much does the statue weigh?" He asked Hardison.
"About 900 pounds."
"I'm sorry Nana" Hardison muttered looking up to the ceiling.
"I hope you know what you're doing Dad." Blair couldn't help but mutter, though Nate heard her and gave her a confident smile.
Blair honestly hadn't been to Church service since Sam's funeral, so she couldn't help but fidget as she sat next to her dad near the front of the church.
"The Lord be with you." Father Paul spoke to the congregation as a whole.
"And also with you." The congregation said as it got to its feet for the gospel reading.
"A reading from the gospel according to Luke."
"Glory to you, Lord." As Blair repeated the words and drew the crosses on her forehead, lips, and heart she looked around to see Sophie, Grant, and Tomas enter the church.
"A man had a fig tree in his Vineyard, but it did not bear fruit." Paul began to read, "So he said to the man who took care of the Vineyard, "for three years, I've been looking for fruit on this tree, and for three years, I've found nothing. It's a waste of my land. Cut it down." "Sir," the worker replied, "leave it alone for one more year. Let me dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, all is well."
Blair glanced at her dad then at her watch, she knew at that moment Elliot, Hardison, and Parker wherein the bell tower getting ready to do the impossible.
"If not, then cut it down," this is the gospel of the lord!" Paul finished
"Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ!" the congregation finished before settling down in their seats again.
"Repent or perish! That's Luke 13. Tough to swallow, huh?" Paul informed them all, "but like all parables, this one open to interpretation. Was the worker just being lazy? Stalling? 'I'll get to it, boss. Next year. Manana'
This caused the ripple of laughter to come from the congregation, from everyone but Nate, Blair, and Sophie who were all waiting with breath held for Parker to do the impossible.
"Or did the worker have a secret?" Paul asked. "a secret, that only our faith sustains us over time. The owner," with that he made a not so subtle gesture at the back where Grant was stood, "Only the worker is there every day in the dirt, with the tree. He had faith in his skills and faith that God will support that skill and maybe, in a year's time, the tree will bear fruit. He doesn't look for the easy way out. He doesn't say, 'Oh, why would the Lord do this to me? If only he would give me a sign. If only he'd give us a miracle'. But the worker doesn't ask for a miracle. He had faith in himself and Faith in God, and he only asks for time." with that Father Paul paused and looked over to where Nate and Blair stood. They knew this last section was for them and Blair couldn't help but look away under her Uncle's gaze. "Let us proclaim our faith!"
With that, the Congregation stood again and bowed their heads in prayer. As one they all say, "We believe in one god, the Father, the Almighty-"
Blair looked up and glanced at the statue to see Parker getting lowered towards the statue, "The maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen." Blair made sure to keep talking she watched her friend hug onto the statue, "We believe in one lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God." A small smile threatened to break onto Blair's face a she watched Parker make an 'shh' at a little girl in the back row who had seen her in the act, before the statue began to lift up – thanking Hardison once again for getting too carried away with the polystyrene statues that littered their office space that they had witched the real statue the night before. With that Blair bent her head again so no one would know she was watching, "Eternally begotten of the father. God from God, light from light, true God from true God. Begotten, not made one in being with the father."
"For us men, for our salvation..." Paul paused as he noticed the missing statue.
"I saw what happened!" The little girl yelled, moving out into the aisle, "an angel took it away!"
The whole of the congregation turned to see the empty place the statue had been in. A panicked wave of murmurs started. "Calm down, people! That's not what happened!" he turned and saw Nate and Blair sharing smirks before looking out a window to see Parker leaning on their van. "I know what's going on." With that, he stormed from the church, his congregation on his heels.
Heading straight for the van he said, "There is no miracle! Someone stole the statue!" with a dramatic flourish – or so Blair thought – he opened the back doors of the van to reveal the statue lying inside, "And I know who it is!"
Paul paused and turned to Nate and Blair both of whom winked at him, but before he could reveal it was them Hardison came round the corner holding the license plate details and spoke up, "Andrew Grant."
"Hey, that's the guy that bought the church!" Elliot screamed from the crowd.
"That is not my van!" Grant tried to defend.
Hardison wasn't having any of it though, "What kind of monster fakes a miracle for a profit? You sicken me!"
That's all the crowd needed to start throwing insults at Grant.
"The priest is desperate. Look, he hid the statue in the van. He forged the registration papers to frame me!"
Blair couldn't help herself as she yelled, "I don't believe you!" causing the crowd to yell the same things. Nate elbowed Blair as she let out a giggle.
"Look, look, Look," Grant started, grabbing Tomas as if to use him as a shield, "Right here. See? My Assistant, he was with me the whole time. Okay? Look now. We bought this property, we're gonna fix the neighborhood. Right?"
"No," Tomas spoke up softly.
"No?" Grant repeated looking perplexed
"No!" Tomas repeated looking a lot more confident, "he got the land under this church the same way he bought the rest, the same way he gets all his properties. By bribery, intimidation, and violence. It was Andrew Grant who sent a bunch of thugs to beat up Father Paul!" he told everyone causing a gasp from the crowd.
"You bully!" one man screamed causing Grant to back away as a police car pulled up.
"You're going to have to think very hard about this." Grant told Tomas, "We're gonna have a long discussion." Before he could say anything else cuffs got slapped onto his wrists.
"The cops got here fast," Parker spoke from beside Blair.
"It's almost as if an investigative journalist called them with a tip-off," Sophie muttered from next to Nate causing Blair and Parker to laugh.
"Kristi, save me, huh?" Grant demanded, "You can spin this, right? Instead of 'felony' maybe soften it?" before anything else could be said the cops started pulling him away and Sophie turned to him with a smirk, speaking in her normal accent.
"You know, when you say 'controversy,' I always hear 'attention!" giving the man a small wave as he looked at her in shock, finally realising he had been played.
Once the drama had died down a little the group all found themselves the only ones in St Nicholas Church. Nate feeling like he should talk to Father Paul about everything before they left.
"You used me," Nate spoke as the priest approached the Alter.
"Yeah, well, you used me too." Paul teased as Nate turned around.
"You broke the seal of the confessional and told everyone the statue was a fake."
"To save the faith of my parish."
Nate couldn't help but smile and shake his head at that, "Wrong act, right reasons." He looked at his friend, "End justify the means, father?"
Paul sighed before saying, "I'll count myself blessed and take my miracle, as I watch another develop before my eyes."
"Ah, but there was no miracle,"
"Nate, five thieves saved my church. And my goddaughter has a family – I'd call those miracles"
Nate turned and looked at him, before seeing where he was looking. Paul was looking at the group who were all sat in the pews waiting. Well, Sophie, Parker, Hardison, and Elliot were, Blair was leaning on Elliot with her phone out playing some game with Hardison on their phones, Parker leaning over the darker boy to watch the whole thing – Sophie's mothering eye watching over them with an amused expression.
A smile appeared on Nates face as he took in the scene, he had made a family for Blair, a strange one, but one he knew would never leave her, "it was good to see you, Paul." He told his friend holding out a hand.
Paul shook it with a smile, "You better plan on being here next Sunday. I've got a great sermon one making amends."
"You'll be back here one day." Paul looked over at Blair and both men knew Nate would be back. The day Blair chose to get married would be the next time Nate would be back, "I have faith in you."
With that, Paul walked away. Nate glanced over at the candles of remembrance and lit one, before turning and walking towards his team.
Hearing the boss come over Hardison tapped the teenager's leg and she rolled her eyes before putting her phone away as they got to their feet. Elliot deciding to give her a piggyback as they headed towards the door.
"Look at that. Saved a Church!" Hardison told them all.
"It's like Christmas!" Parker agreed before looking at the statue, "I told you St. Nicholas is Santa..."
"No, he's not Parker," Sophie told the girl.
"Well, who is he, then?"
Blair was happy to tell the girl, and she smirked, looking around at her family, "he is the patron saint of thieves."
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Love you all Sarah xx
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