Dead Man Walking

by Winter

Chapter 4

Vin walked cautiously over the dried leaves scattered across the forest floor. He glanced up to the sky but all he could see was the errie green outline of the trees through his night vision goggles. Vin tensed and dropped into a crouch when his partner stepped on a dried stick causing it to snap loudly. He glanced behind him and saw his partner shrug. Vin waited a few minutes before moving out again. It was unusual for two snipers to be sent for one target. Obviously this target was very important to the higher ups and they wanted to be doubly sure he was taken out. Vin didn't know why the death of this particular target was so important. He was never told and he never asked.

They moved through the forest for another hour when they reached their objective. Vin signaled his partner and they got to work setting up their rifles. Ten minutes later both men were looking through their scopes at a small house. A large window took up the front of the house. Three men sitting around a table talking. Vin was surprised at the amount of guards surrounding the house. The Russian guards patrolled close to the house and also out along the fence. Vin ignored them and concentrated on finding his target. He found him sitting at the right side of the table.

"Dragon, target acquired," Vin whispered into his mic.

"Confirmed, Falcon."

"On my mark," Vin said and paused. "Mark."

The silenced sniper rifles didn't make a sound. Vin couldn't believe what he saw through his scope. He'd shot the right target but Dragon hadn't. His partner shot the older man on the left. Vin didn't know what was going on when everything suddenly went black.

"NO!" Vin screamed as he sat up in bed.

The violent movement sent excruciating pain along his shoulder. The chest tube grated along his ribs and Vin fell on his left side curling into a tight ball. He was breathing fast and it hurt like hell. Vin never heard the nurse come in and flinched as she placed an oxygen mask over his face.

"It's okay, Mr. Tanner, this will help," she said.

"You okay, Vin?" Buck asked from his bed.

Vin nodded and tried to slow his breathing. The nurse got Vin some painkillers and in a short time he was starting to relax. She checked the chest tube to make sure he hadn't pulled it. When she was satisfied everything was fine she asked Vin if he was ready to sit up again. He nodded and she gently rolled him onto his back. She straightened the sling on his arm and replaced the mask with a nasal cannula. When she was done she left.

"Bad dream?" Buck asked.

He wasn't surprised when he didn't get an answer. Vin was a very private person and very rarely talked about what was bothering him. Buck could understand and said nothing. If Vin wanted to talk he would.

"Ever regret something you did when you were younger?" Vin asked.

"Sure," Buck smiled. "When you're young you can do some pretty stupid things."

"I reckon," Vin sighed. "Think they'll let us out of here tomorrow?"

"I don't thing you'll be going anywhere," Buck laughed. "Not unless they unhook you first."

"I hate it here," Vin declared. "Damned drugs keep making me dream."

"I know you hate it Vin," Buck sympathized. "Won't be too long."

"Sorry I woke ya," Vin said.

"Not a problem, Junior."

"Night Buck."

"Night Vin."

+ + + + + + +

Next morning Chris decided to stop at the hospital before going to work. He parked the Ram and walked inside. He made his way into the elevator and hit the button for the fourth floor. When it stopped on the floor he wanted he walked out and walked down the corridor to Buck and Vin's room. As he passed the nurses station he saw Dr. Griffin.

"Morning Dr. Griffin," Chris said.

"Mr. Larabee," he said. "I'm afraid Mr. Wilmington won't be going home today."

"Something wrong?" Chris demanded.

"Nothing to worry about," he assured Chris. "He has a slight fever and I want to keep him another day."

"I'm sure Vin is giving him a hard time," Chris smiled.

"No comment," the doctor said. "I don't see how those two can work together."

"Believe me if those two weren't teasing and picking on each other I'd be worried," Chris said with a smile.

Chris walked to their room and opened the door. He found the two injured members of Team 7 poking at their breakfast.

"I think it's already dead," Chris commented.

"I ain't even sure what it is," Buck said grimacing. "All I know is it taste awful."

"Least you got something solid," Vin complained. "Only thing good on my tray is what passes as Jell-O at the hospital."

"Let me guess, green?" Chris asked.

"Yeah," Vin nodded. "Think that's the only color they are allowed to serve."

"Hear you have to stay another day," Chris said turning to Buck.

"Yeah," Buck sighed. "They say I'm running a fever but I feel fine."

"Hell quit whining," Vin declared. "You get to flirt with the nurses for another day and drive me crazy."

"Buck!" Chris scolded. "You throw that fork full of, what I think is eggs, you're in trouble." Vin snickered and Chris turned on him. "And you quit picking on Buck."

"He started it," Vin said.

"Did not."

"Did to."

"Enough!" Chris yelled. "God I fell sorry for the shift that has to watch you today."

"Anything new on the shooter?" Buck asked.

"Stopped here first," Chris said.

"Don't think you'll find anything," Vin said.

"What makes you say that?" Chris asked curious.

"Just a feeling," Vin said. "He or she left nothing for you to go on."

"He's right," Buck agreed. "All you have are some shell casings that could have come from a number of different guns."

"I've got JD running a check on felons released over the past year that have a grudge for cops," Chris said.

"Jeez poor kid," Buck said. "The computer is going to spit out a shit load of names."

"When we left last night it was at 238," Chris smiled. "I know it's a long shot but you never know. I better head for the office."

"Hey, Chris," Vin called.


"You coming back for lunch?"

"Not sure why?" Chris asked.

"Well if you do can you sneak me in some Snowballs?" Vin asked.

"Yeah and I'll have some of Inez's beef burritos," Buck said.

"I don't think so," Chris said. "You'll have to live on hospital food for one more day."

"Aw hell," Vin sighed. "Just shoot me now."

"Yeah me too," Buck added.

Chris walked out and headed for his truck. He left the hospital and stopped at a deli for an egg sandwich. He pulled into the lot at the federal building and was surprised to see Ezra's Jag. Usually the undercover agent never made it in before ten. Chris parked the Ram then got out and walked over to the elevator. He hit the button for the eleventh floor. The elevator stopped on the first floor and a few of the members of Team 5 got on along with some FBI agents. They asked about Buck and Vin and Chris told them they were doing all right. The FBI agent got off on the seventh floor and they continued up. When the doors opened Chris went straight for his Team's area. Chris walked in to find JD staring at his computer as his fingers flew or the keyboard. Ezra was on the phone while Nathan and Josiah were going through the information they got from their snitches.

"Hey, Chris," JD said as he walked in. "So when do we pick up Buck?"

"Not today," Chris said. "He's running a slight fever so the doctor wants to keep him another day."

"It's not unusual," Nathan said. "With a trauma like that it sometimes takes a few days to develop a fever. It's the bodies way of fighting...."

"Off infection," JD finished. "We know."

"Get anything from your snitches?" Chris asked as Nathan threw an eraser at JD.

"We got nothing," Josiah said.

"They didn't knowing anything," Nathan added. "Whoever this guy is he hasn't been here that long."

"Well if he's a hired assassin he certainly isn't going to leave a calling card," Chris said as he sat on the edge of Buck's desk. "You got anything JD."

"Not really," JD hated to admit. "I've narrowed it down to 113 felons across the US. The computer is now eliminating anyone who's dead. But I don't thing we're gonna find anything."

"Keep trying," Chris said. "Well Ezra, do you have any good news for me?"

"I'm afraid not," Ezra said as he leaned back in his chair. "There are no contracts out on any of the men who were shot."

"Which leaves us with nothing," Chris sighed.

"Well we do know a couple of things," Josiah said. "The shooter only went for law enforcement members. The first target hit was Buck. But was he really after Buck?"

"Or was he after Vin?" Chris added.

"Third he left the shell casings for us to find," Josiah continued. "I think they were left as a message."

"A message for who?" JD asked. "Vin didn't recognize them."

"And neither did Buck," Nathan said.

"I was only listing the facts as I see them." Josiah smiled. "Doesn't mean I had an explanation."

"Alright, Josiah, find out what you can about the ammunition," Chris said. "JD continue with the list. Nathan you and Ezra...hell just do what you can."

Chris walked into his office just as the phone rang. He picked it up and wasn't surprised to hear AD Travis's voice. He wanted to know how Vin and Buck were. Chris told him then he got down to talking about the case. Chris told him they had absolutely nothing to go on. Travis wasn't surprised; he'd read the reports. He told Chris to keep at it something would turn up. Chris hung up the phone and leaned back in his chair he hope they got a break soon before this guy decided to strike again.

Chapter 5

Chris honked his horn as a car cut him off. He really hated driving around Denver. The traffic seemed to get worse every day. He was on his way to the hospital to pick up Buck and Vin. They got a call just as they were leaving work the two men could be released tomorrow barring any more complications. Buck's fever had gone down and Vin's chest tube had been pulled. Chris wanted them to stay together and insisted Vin stay at the CDC. JD thought that was great and ran home early to get everything cleaned up. Vin would sleep in JD's room and the Kid would sleep on a foldaway bed. Chris hadn't told Vin that he would be staying at Buck and JD's yet and knew he would argue. Chris pulled into the lot and wasn't surprised to see a few familiar cars. He parked the Ram and went inside. He'd stopped at Vin's place on the way in and packed him a bag and got him some clothes to leave the hospital in. Chris walked to the room and went inside.

" 'Bout time you got here," Vin complained. "Thought I'd have to walk out in this here gown."

"Hello to you too," Chris said.

"Sorry, Chris, I just want to get out of here and over to my place," Vin said.

"Uh oh," JD mumbled from over by Buck's bed.

"Uh oh, what?" Vin asked suspiciously.

"Vin I want you to stay..." Chris began.

"I ain't staying all the way out by the ranch!" Vin protested. "I'll go crazy out there by myself."

"That's why you'll be staying with me and Buck," JD said excitedly.

"Oh," Vin said. "That's alright then."

"Now hold on!" Buck protested. "You didn't ask me if Vin could stay. I've had enough of his whining."

"Yeah well I've had enough of you mooning over all the nurses," Vin countered.

"Maybe Mr. Tanner would be better off staying with me," Ezra suggested.

"No," Chris said. "I want them where I can find them both."

"Well we won't be goin' nowhere unless you give me my clothes," Vin said.

Chris walked over and pulled the sweat pants, underwear and button down shirt out of the bag. Chris pulled the curtain around Vin's bed and helped him into the clothes. When Chris went to take the sling off so they could get Vin's arm in the other sleeve he wouldn't let him. Vin had hidden the shell casing in the folds of the sling and didn't want Chris to find it. Chris pulled the shirt over Vin's bad shoulder and buttoned it. Chris tucked the empty sleeve in the shirt pocket. Vin sat down on the bed feeling better than he had in days. Chris pulled back the curtain to find Buck already sitting in a wheel chair and an empty one waiting for Vin.

"Well I see everybody is ready to go," Dr. Griffin said. "I've brought a small supply of pain pills until you can get their prescriptions filled. They might make them sleepy so make sure the take them somewhere where they can lie down."

"How long we gotta be on them?" Vin asked.

"Oh I think you'll want them for the next couple of days," he smiled. "Now that you're moving around those shoulders are going to hurt."

"We won't find me complaining doc," Buck laughed.

"Well good luck," Dr. Griffin said. "I want both of you back here in two days."

The doctor left and Wendy came back with the release forms for Buck and Vin to sign. Once all the paper work was finished they were ready to go. Chris took Vin in his Ram while Josiah took Buck in the Suburban with Nathan. JD followed on his motorcycle while Ezra brought up the rear in his Jag. It was a short ride to their condo and Chris pulled along the curb. He walked over to the passenger door and helped Vin get down from the truck. JD was helping Buck as they walked inside. JD opened the door and Buck stood there in shock.

"What the hell!" Buck exclaimed.

"What's wrong?" Nathan asked.

"It's clean," Buck said in shock.

"You didn't think I was letting the two of you recuperate in this pig sty without cleaning it did you?" Nathan demanded.

"Yeah he made me stay up all night cleaning my room," JD complained. "Felt like I was five and being told to do it by my mother."

"I appreciate it JD," Vin said. "You know I can sleep on the folding bed. You don't have to give up your room."

"With that bad shoulder you'll be miserable on the bed," Josiah said. "Besides JD's young he can sleep anywhere."

"I don't mind, really," JD assured Vin. "This is gonna be fun!"

"If you say so," Buck said as he sat on the couch.

"Alright you two, no funny business," Chris warned as Vin sat in the recliner. "The rest of us have to go to work, so behave."

"I don't know about you Buck, but I haven't been a kid in a long time," Vin said in a whisper to Buck.

"Hell it's been even longer for me."

"Fine," Chris said. "I better not come back and find the two of you lying on the floor somewhere."

"Don't worry Chris, We'll be fine," Buck said with a smile.

"Why does that scare me?" Chris asked Josiah.

"Scares me too," Josiah laughed.

Buck and Vin were given last minute instructions from Nathan. He told them he put the pain medication on the counter in the kitchen. If there was any problems they were supposed to call. They both nodded as Buck clicked on the TV. The rest of the team finally left and they were alone. They watched TV for an hour then started on video games. It was a little tough playing one handed but they managed. They had been playing for a few hours when the phone rang.

"How much you want to bet that's Chris," Vin said.

"Money says it's Nathan," Buck said.

"Five bucks?"


"Hello, you have reached the invalids home may I help you?" Vin asked as he picked up the phone.

"Just calling to see if you tried out the new video game I got last night?" JD asked.

"We were both wrong," Vin smiled. "Talk to JD while I get us something to eat."

Buck took the phone and watched as Vin got carefully to his feet and headed for the kitchen. When Buck was satisfied he be okay he started talking to JD. Vin came back a short time later with a plate of sandwiches he found in the fridge. He handed one to Buck and took one for himself as he picked up the playstation 2 controller. Buck finally hung up the phone and took a bite of his sandwich.

"That was quick," Vin said.

"Chris was coming," Buck smiled. "He didn't want him to know we were talking."


"Beats me," Buck laughed. "You know how JD is."

They played until about one when Vin said his shoulder was killing him. Buck said his was bothering him too and Vin offered to get their pain pills. Vin wasted sometime pretending to get stuff. He went back out carrying a glass of ice tea and the pills in one hand.

"Where's yours?" Buck asked as Vin handed him the pills and the drink.

"Took mine in the kitchen," Vin lied. "Couldn't carry two glasses. I'm gonna call Chris and tell him not to check on us for a few hours."

"Good idea," Buck said as he popped the pills in his mouth and took a drink. "Don't want him calling and waking us up."

Vin picked up the phone and dialed, while Buck stretched on the couch and got comfortable. The phone rang twice and was picked up.


"Hey Chris," Vin said. "Just want to let you know not to call for a few hours. We just took some of the pain meds and we're going to take a nap."

"Alright, Vin," Chris agreed. "We'll see the both of you after work."

"Right, bye," Vin said and hung up.

Vin looked at Buck and saw he was almost asleep. Vin went in to use the bathroom and came back to find the ladies man dead to the world. He waited a few minutes to make sure Buck wouldn't wake up. He knew he didn't have to worry about Chris calling and finding him gone. Vin just hoped Buck would stay asleep until he got back. When he was satisfied Buck was out he quietly went to the door and walked out. Vin walked down the street to the park and looked around for a pay phone. He saw one a little further down the street and started walking. He shoulder was killing him and he wished he could have taken the pain meds. When he got to the phone Vin punched in a code he had memorized. He waited for the peep then punched in a phone number Vin wished he could forget.

"This is Falcon I need to speak to the Colonel," Vin waited a few minutes and a familiar voice answered. "We need to talk...I don't care!...You know about the shooting?...I want a face to face...Why am I not surprised you're in town," Vin said sarcastically. "I'm on the corner of Fulton and Market."

Vin slammed the phone down on the receiver and went to sit on the park bench. When he left the Army he'd tried to put all this behind him. Some people had warned him that he would never truly be out and they were right. Vin leaned his head back and sighed. He wasn't sure how long he'd been there when he heard a car beep. Vin jerked up and cursed as the stitches pulled. Vin shook his head at the black stretch limo that waited by the curb. Vin got up and made his way to the door. He opened it and slid into the seat across from a man he hoped he'd never see again.

"Hello, Vin," said the older man.

Vin just stared at him. The Colonel hadn't changed at all since he'd been out. He was still muscular with short dark hair going gray at the temples. His tanned face was long and trim. He sat across from Vin in a suit the sharpshooter knew Ezra would kill for. Vin reached into the sling and wrapped his hand around the shell casing and without warning hurled it at the Colonel. Vin wasn't surprised when he caught it.

"You told me he was dead!" Vin accused.

"We thought he was," the Colonel said. "Later we found out the Russian sniper had only pretended to kill him since he was in the employ of a certain Middle Eastern country. It seems they wanted Dragon alive."

"So now he works for them."

"Afraid so," the colonel sighed. "We think he's here to kill a member of the royal family."

"Which royal?" Vin asked.

"There is a Prince of Saudi Arabia here to speak at the summit for energy here in Denver," he said. "We think Dragon is after this Prince because he's trying to bring peace to warring factions in his country. He's here seeking aid."

"Let me guess the opposite side doesn't want that," Vin scowled.

"Exactly, we think Dragon has been hired to kill the Prince."

"Then why leave his calling card?" Vin asked indicating the shell casing. "And shooting a bunch of cops."

"I don't know," the colonel admitted. "But you know how he is."

"Unfortunately," Vin sighed as he leaned back. "So what are you going to do?"

"Not much I can do. Dragon has gone in hiding. We haven't been able to find him anywhere. His target might have changed."

"You think he might be after me?" Vin asked surprised. "Why now?"

"You were supposed to die in Russia," the colonel pointed out. "You were always better than he was and he's always hated you."

"You want me to help you," Vin stated shocked. "Want me to be some fucking sitting duck!"

"No," the colonel said shaking his head. "I want you to use the resources of that "Magnificent" team of yours."

"No!" Vin yelled. "I won't pull them into this! I don't want them hurt."

"I think you'll be able to find him before we do. He wouldn't expect it. It's up to you."

The colonel pulled a CD out of his coat pocket and handed it to Vin. Vin reluctantly took the offered information. He knew the colonel would have everything about Dragon on the CD. The limo stopped and Vin was surprised to see they were back in front of Buck's condo. Vin opened the door to get out and the colonel put a hand on his arm.

"It was good seeing you Vin."

"Wish I could say the same," Vin said as he got out and closed the door.

Vin watched as the limo pulled away. He stuffed the CD in his sling and headed for the apartment. Vin quietly walked inside to find Buck snoring on the couch. He crept passed Buck and into the kitchen to get the pain pills. Vin gratefully drank them down then head back to the living room and sunk into the recliner. It didn't take long for them to kick in and Vin gladly sank into the darkness.

Chapter 6

Chris and the rest of the team had to face the fact that they weren't going to find the shooter. JD's search on the computer final gave them three possibles. After digging some more none of the suspects had any experience with high-powered weapons. This eliminated them and the team was back to square one. Chris was glad it was the weekend so they could get some time to unwind before they had to get back to the search. He just hoped nothing went wrong over the weekend.

"Those two better be taking it easy," Nathan said from the passenger seat.

"Don't worry Nate," Chris said. "Vin called earlier saying they took their pills and were resting."

"We'll see," Nathan said not convinced.

Traffic was heavy in downtown Denver. Chris was always glad he lived outside the city and didn't have to leave with this hassle. They pulled up in front of the condos and parked the vehicles. JD was the first to the apartment door.

"Hey Buck!" JD yelled as he stepped inside.

"Quiet, Kid," Buck scolded and pointed to Vin.

"Sorry," JD said when he saw Vin sleeping in the recliner.

"How long has he been asleep?" Nathan asked.

"Few hours," Buck answered. "So what's for dinner?"

Chris shook his head as the others 'discussed' what to order. The debate roused Vin and he tried to get out of the recliner.

"Shit," Vin cursed when he moved wrong.

"Hold on, Vin," Chris said as he pushed down on the footrest.

"Thanks," Vin sighed.

"Still tired?" Chris asked.

"No," Vin answered rubbing his eyes. "Kinda hungry though."

Italian finally won out over Chinese and JD took everyone's order. They ended up getting three large pies with different toppings. Ezra ordered Penne ala Vodka. Vin sat on the edge of the recliner fingering the CD hidden in his sling.

"Arm feeling okay?" Nathan asked.

"What?" Vin asked startled.

"You keep playing with your sling," Nathan said. "Thought maybe you shoulder was bothering you."

"No," Vin said shaking his head and standing up.

"Where you going?" Chris asked.

"To the God damned john, is that okay!" Vin yelled as he moved away from them.

Vin went into the bathroom and locked the door. He couldn't believe he just took Chris's head off for asking a simple question. Vin leaned against the vanity and pulled the CD out of his sling. He starred at it wondering what to do. Vin knew he couldn't go after Dragon alone, not in the condition he was in. But he didn't want to involve his friends in something from his past. Vin sighed and put the CD back in the sling and took care of what he came in for.

"Jeez Vin sure is grouchy," JD commented.

"It's been along day," Josiah said. "First day out of the hospital he has to be hurting."

"I know I am," Buck said. "Can't believe we both slept so long."

"And we're all familiar with Vin's dislike of being fussed over," Ezra said.

Vin walked out of the bathroom and over to the couch. He sat down next to Buck and stared at his feet. "Want to apologize," Vin said looking up. "Had no right to snap like that."

"That's okay Vin," Chris said.

"Thanks, Cowboy," Vin said with a smile.

JD turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels. He stopped on a news broadcast when he notices what they were talking about.

"Would you look at that," JD said as he turned up the volume.

"And the Denver police still have no leads on the shooter that terrorized a charity ball game last Sunday. The chief of police couldn't be reached for comment but public affairs assures us that everything is being done to find the felon before he strikes again."

"Turn it off JD," Chris sighed.

"Sure," JD said and went to another channel.

"So you found nothing?" Vin asked casually.

"Didn't really expect to," Josiah said. "We didn't really have anything to go on."

"Got nothing from JD's search?" Buck asked.

"No we didn't," Ezra said. "That was something I wouldn't have bet on working."

Buck whistled. "That bad huh?"

"I didn't think it would work either," Chris admitted. "But we had to try."

The doorbell rang and JD went to get it. It was the delivery of food and Josiah gave him a hand as JD paid the delivery boy. Josiah put the pizza on the table and handed the bag to Ezra. Chris came back from the kitchen with plates and napkins and a fork for Ezra. Nathan opened the pizza and aroma turned Vin's stomach.

"You okay?" Nathan asked when he saw Vin.

"Don't think I can eat that," Vin admitted.

"Mr. Tanner can't eat pizza?" Ezra asked shocked. "He must be dying."

"Funny Ezra," Vin said.

"I'll go see what Buck and JD have in the kitchen," Nathan said.

"I can do it," Vin said. "Don't want your pizza to get cold."

"Just sit," Nathan scolded as Vin went to stand. "I'll get it."

Vin sighed and did what Nathan said. Everyone else grabbed some pizza and started to eat. Vin had to get off the couch before he lost his lunch. Ezra let him have the recliner and joined Buck and JD on the couch. Nathan came back a few minutes later carrying a bowl. He handed it to Vin and the sharpshooter smiled.

"Thanks Nate," Vin said.

"I even put extra maple syrup," Nathan said as he grabbed some pizza and sat on the floor by the couch.

"Oatmeal?" JD said when he saw what Vin had.

"Sure, why not?" Vin asked as he mixed in the maple syrup.

They ate their dinner while watching Jeopardy. Ezra answered most of the questions and even got the final Jeopardy answer. Buck teased him about being the center of attention. Vin listened to their banter as he decided what he was going to do. He knew they had to catch Dragon and the colonel was confident Team 7 was up to the job. Vin still couldn't figure out why the colonel couldn't do it himself. He certainly had the manpower. Maybe the colonel couldn't get the military involved and cause an international incident. Vin put down the half-finished bowl of oatmeal and steeled himself for what he was about to do.

"JD can you turn the TV off?" Vin asked. "There's something I gotta tell y'all."

JD looked at Buck and shrugged as he turned off the TV. They waited patiently for Vin to begin but Josiah could see he was having trouble deciding where to start.

"Just tell us, Vin," Josiah encouraged. "We'll understand anything you have to say."

"Ain't so sure about that," Vin sighed. "Buck, remember I asked you if you ever regretted anything?"

"Yeah, Junior, I remember," Buck answered.

"Well there's a few things I did in the Army I wish I hadn't done," Vin sighed.

"Is this about being a sniper?" Chris asked.

"Sorta," Vin said. "Don't get me wrong I liked being a sniper for the Army just didn't always like what they had me do. But they were orders and I always followed them."

"We understand," Nathan said.

"Well I was recruited for a black ops team as soon as I came out of sniper school with a perfect score," Vin began. "There was this other guy who was sort of a rival but I thought we were friends. Was sent on a mission..."

"Vin should you be telling us about this?" Ezra asked.

"Not going to tell you everything," Vin smiled. "If I did I'd have to kill ya." Vin said it as a joke but they weren't sure if he was kidding or not. "Anyway went on this mission where I found out he wasn't my friend. Hell he wasn't even working for Uncle Sam any more."

"He betrayed you?" Nathan asked.

"Did a little more than that," Vin laughed bitterly. "Got me captured by the Russians for killing one of their high ranking officials."

"Whoa, Vin," Chris interrupted. "Maybe you better start from the beginning."

"We were sent out to kill one of the Russian Mafia. He was getting to powerful and the government wanted him gone," Vin said without batting an eye. "We were sent to take him out. Only Dragon took out their top official."

"Jeez, Vin!" JD declared. "I can't believe you're sitting here telling us you killed someone because you were ordered to!"

"It's what being a soldier means," Vin said defending himself. "I took an oath!"

"Enough JD," Buck said. "Me and Chris took that same oath."

"Yeah but you weren't a hired killer!" JD snapped.

"What the fuck did you think I did as a sniper?" Vin asked angrily. "Shoot targets all day? The hell with it I'll take care of this on my own!"

Vin got up and headed for the door. Chris intercepted him and held him in place. He suspected what Vin was trying to tell them and he knew Vin couldn't do this alone.

"Just tell me this," Chris said. "Is this Dragon our shooter?"

Vin looked into Chris's eyes and saw only understanding. He knew it wouldn't be easy to tell the team what he'd done. He just never expected JD to act like he had. Vin sighed and ducked his head.



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