by Brate

Disclaimer: MagSeven characters are the property of MGM, Mirisch, and Trilogy Entertainment.

Notes: Takes place between Redemption and Protection in the Haven AU. Inspired by a scene in Minority Report.

Vin Tanner looked around the corner of the trailer cautiously. Opening his telepathy wide, he attempted to sense anyone present. Once he was sure it was clear he motioned to his co-conspirator.

The clairvoyant, Ezra Standish, hurried past Vin, leaned against the van, and looked for himself that all was clear. Seeing it was, he climbed into the car and waited for Tanner to join him.

It had been a few days since the "incident" with Eli Joe, and Chris had yet to relax his guard on the two sentients. Both were feeling somewhat claustrophobic, needing to get away --just for a bit.

So they'd come up with a plan to escape.

Well, it wasn't so much a plan as the seizing of a forced opportunity. Although Vin and Ezra had taken every effort to appear harmless and inconspicuous, Chris had still kept an eye on them at all times.

Standish said, quite logically, anything they came up with to distract Chris would be met with extreme suspicion and well-deserved paranoia. So they decided to make their move through Buck, the telekinetic's oldest friend.

The telepath was loath to go snooping around in Buck's head, but tough times called for tough measures. On the fourth day of their confinement, Vin settled down on the sofa in the main room, pretending to take a nap. Ezra was seated at the table, playing solitaire and watching Tanner out of the corner of his eye. Buck was the only other person in the room, perfect for what they had planned.

Concentrating carefully, Vin focused his telepathic ability and eased his way into his friend's mind. Buck had nearly non-existent shields, so it was far too simple to "root around" in his brain without the pyrokinetic even knowing. Vin got past his feelings of guilt by assuring himself it was for a good cause -- his and Ezra's sanity.

He scanned through memories, looking for an innocuous diversion attached to the two old friends. Within a short time he'd found it -- the perfect distraction. Something so simple that Larabee wouldn't be able to catch on the fact it was a set-up: jogging. Digging through random memories, Vin "saw" various activities Buck and Chris had done in their years as friends. Now, if Buck suddenly wanted to do something as distinctive as riding a horse, Chris would certainly smell a rat. But who could be suspicious of jogging?

Tanner plucked the visual of the two men on a run and brought it to the ladies' man's consciousness. Heightening the image of the memory, he mentally shoved it to the forefront of Buck's mind.

Within seconds, Buck exclaimed, "Boys, I could go for some exercise!"

Vin was thankful he was facing the back of the couch because he couldn't prevent the smile of triumph that broke onto his face at Wilmington's comment.

Buck called over to Standish. "Hey, Ez, you up for a jog?"

"My dear sir, what in the name of all that is holy would make you ask such a ridiculous question? I see no one chasing me; therefore I can think of no reason to run."

Vin's smile grew at Ezra's seething tone.

"'Scuse me for asking," Buck snapped. He stood and walked into the foyer, meeting Larabee as he entered.

When Buck suggested a run to his oldest friend, Chris readily agreed. Then he seemed to hesitate. "I should probably stay and watch the terrible twosome."

"Let 'em be, pard. Ez is sitting in there, just as happy as can be. Vin is nappin' on the couch. You said yourself he could probably do with some rest. We'll be gone for an hour… what could happen?"

Tanner and Standish listened to the conversation, straining their ears to hear it all. When Chris finally gave in to his old friend's persuasion, Ezra chuckled. They patiently waited for all of three seconds after the two men left for their run -- then they took off.

+ + + + + + +

"We got away," Vin yelled in pure glee. He pressed down on the accelerator and revved the engine.

"We most certainly did," Ezra agreed with a grin.

"Now what?"

This seemed to take the gambler aback. "What?"

"Where we goin'?"

"I have no idea." The two men exchanged a look and started laughing. They'd been so intent on getting away, they hadn't thought of where they'd go once they'd succeeded.

Vin made a suggestion. "Let's drive and see if anythin' catches our eye."


On the outskirts of the city, Ezra pointed out a sign ahead. "I think I've found something we could do, Mr. Tanner."

Vin looked where his friend indicated and saw a billboard advertisement for a car show at the local civic arena. He nodded in approval. "Sounds good ta me."

Following the signs, Vin pulled the car into the large parking lot and looked for a place to park. He saw someone getting ready to pull into a spot close to the building. Directing his telepathy, he entered the surface of the man's mind, pushing him to think he'd be happier in another parking space. Vin chuckled as he slid the car into the deserted spot. He snagged the keys from the ignition and both men got out of the car.

Knowing what Vin had done, Ezra begrudgingly exchanged a high five with the telepath. Although he was pleased he wouldn't have far to walk, he knew better than indiscriminately use a psionic power in public. "You'd better make certain Mr. Larabee never catches you using your telepathy in such an unnecessary episode."

"What he don't know won't hurt me."

They walked inside the arena, paid the entrance fees, and started to look at the automobiles. Vin eyed the vintage models while Ezra headed toward the flashier high-end cars.

+ + + + + + +

Arriving back at the trailer after their run, Buck laughed when he saw Larabee rush inside to see if Ezra and Vin were safe and sound.

He stopped grinning a minute later when he heard Chris' shout. Taking a deep breath --more from reluctance than exhaustion -- he waded into the fray. He opened the door and saw Chris standing over Josiah and Nathan like a vulture. "Where are they?" the telekinetic demanded.

"I didn't know I was supposed to baby-sit anyone, brother," Josiah responded.

The empath's exterior looked calm as the large man replied, but Buck could see the storm beneath the surface. Wilmington moved to stop the situation before its complete degradation. "Look, pard, Ez and Vin are grown men; they can take care of themselves." At Chris' skeptical look, he added, "Most of the time."

JD chose that moment to enter the trailer and, not even through the door yet, asked, "Where'd Vin and Ez go?"

"What do you mean?" Chris switched his interrogation to the youngest of their group.

"They took the car." Dunne jerked his thumb over his shoulder.

Noticing that JD had made the comment before he'd seen who still inhabited the trailer, Nathan asked, "How'd you know it was Ezra and Vin who took it?"

"I bumped the van as I passed it and caught a fleeting picture of Ez sneaking to the car with Vin." As soon as the words were out, the psychometrist realized what he'd said. "They snuck out?" JD asked in a near-whisper as he sent a sideways glance at his leader's dark countenance.

"Apparently, yes." Jackson shrugged.

Josiah started to chuckle. "Now I know why I sensed so much self- satisfaction while I was meditating at the lakeside earlier."

"You could feel it from that far away?" Nathan was surprised.

The empath nodded. "It damn near knocked me over."

Wilmington asked in exasperation, "If you knew about it, why didn't you do anythin'?"

"I couldn't tell who it was coming from. I thought perhaps you'd finally beaten Brother Ezra at cards."

"We can't trust those two on their own," Chris said. "Look what happened last time -- Eli Joe almost killed them and they took Maude along for the ride!"

"How are we going to find out where they went?" Nathan asked.

Larabee asked JD, "Did you sense anything else when you touched the van?"

"No," Dunne said. "Just an impression of running away…. I'm not really sure if they even knew where they were going."

"Nothing to do but sit and wait for them to come back," Josiah said.

"Or watch the news for massive devastation," Buck added wearily.

+ + + + + + +

Ezra walked a bit ahead of Vin; the telepath was more interested in the inner workings of the cars than Standish. The gambler just liked to drive them. He stopped to look at a display in order to let his friend catch up. Reaching for a flyer, he was struck with a precognitive vision. Connection.

Startled, he stumbled into a table, catching Vin's attention. Tanner rushed to his friend's side. "Ez, what is it?"

"We need to leave."

Vin looked around, noting nothing out of the ordinary. "What's wrong?"

"There's a scanner here," Ezra said. "He must've sensed us, and I assume he has called for the Guild."

"Oh, shit." Vin looked around again, this time searching for an escape route.

They were about three-quarters of the way down the length of the building from the way they'd come in -- and from where their car was parked. Unfortunately, all the entrances and exits except for the main one had alarms wired into them, sure to attract plenty of attention if they were opened.

"I reckon we should stick ta the sidelines and make our way back ta the front," Vin said.

"All right." Ezra motioned for Vin to go first. He had only walked a few feet when Ezra grabbed the back of his coat and yanked him back.

"Not this way," Standish said in a harsh whisper.

"We jest decided--"

"It won't work," the clairvoyant replied.

"Then what?"

Standish scanned the area, trying to sense any sentients in the vicinity. He received a vague impression of one in the direction they'd almost taken. Just to the right was clear, along the center aisle.

"This way." The clairvoyant started along the middle, but was hit by another vision almost immediately. Guildsmen surrounding them with guns. "No, no," he told Vin, shaking his head to clear it, "not this way either."

At that, the telepath raised a brow, but the innate trust he had in his friend didn't allow him to ask any questions. Vin nodded and took the lead again, walking across to the extreme right, Ezra trailing close behind. Both men tried to remain inconspicuous, pretending to look at the cars and booths along their path, but still hurrying through the growing crowd. Another flash. Vin strapped to a table in the Dungeon receiving a lobotomy. "We need to leave this place immediately, Mr. Tanner," Standish gasped.

Vin saw the expression on his friend's face and made a snap decision. "Screw the alarms." He started toward the exit closest to them; Standish didn't budge.

Ezra was stuck in place. Every movement brought about a new vision. He was being swamped by images, struggling to examine and understand them all. Finally he found what he sought. He pushed aside Tanner's helping hands and stumbled toward the center of the arena. The telepath had no choice but to follow.

Looking at his friend's trembling form, Vin tried to convince him to move out of the wide open space. "Ez, we can't stay out here, we're too exposed."

"We have to. If we move we'll get caught."

"Let's jest hole up."

Ezra shook his head, groaning with the effort. "We'll get caught," he stated emphatically.

Tanner muttered under his breath. Then he saw them -- two Guildsmen. Even without uniforms, Vin had no trouble knowing. He surreptitiously pointed them out to Ezra who nodded. He'd already seen them as well. But Standish remained still, next to Tanner, smack dab in the center of the main aisle. Surely pictures of the Seven, the Guild's most wanted fugitives, were studied by all of its men; they would be recognized immediately.

Vin was clearly torn, fighting between his instinct and Ezra's word. It didn't take him long to decide to stay put, but he was chomping at the bit and shaking with adrenalized energy. He ached to move, but remained still, vibrating in place. He'd promised his friend he'd stay put, and he would do so, even if it meant capture by the Guild.

Just as they were about to be spotted, a worker pushed a tall display across the path of the men, blocking them from the view of the Guild members. The two Guildsmen walked right past them and continued to search the complex, not realizing they'd already missed their quarry.

As soon as Tanner saw they'd been passed by, he grabbed the clairvoyant and headed straight to the main exit.

Vin was practically dragging Ezra by this point. He could tell the influx of so many visions was draining Ezra's energy. Thankful he had parked so close, Vin threw Standish into the car and jumped in after him. He took off with a squeal of tires, attempting to put as much distance between them and the "scene of the crime" as he could.

A voice drifted up from the seat. "Perhaps you could draw a bit more attention to us, my friend. Do you have a siren, perhaps?"

"Shut up, Ez." Vin watched the traffic around them closely, stretching out his telepathy as well. "Don't think we're bein' tracked."

Ezra was slowly recovering his strength and he straightened up in his seat. "What the hell happened in there?" Vin asked once Standish was upright.

"I haven't a clue, Vin. I've never received such a deluge of visions before." He adjusted his shirt and smoothed his rumpled jacket. "And I dare say, I hope it doesn't happen again anytime soon."

"Uh-huh." They drove along in silence for a few minutes before Vin was prompted to speak. "Hey, Ez, next time I get the hankerin' fer a ride…"


"Ignore me."

"Not to worry."

+ + + + + + +

Driving around the bend, they spotted Larabee, seeing the rigid stance of their leader. As Vin shut the car off, the rest of the team emerged from inside.

"Play it cool," warned Vin under his breath.

"I assure you, Mr. Tanner, I'm a glacier."

They stepped out from the car and faced the firing squad.

Larabee stood, arms across his chest, head tilted to the side. "So what were you two doing?" His voice was a little too calm.

"We merely took the car for a scenic drive."

"Yeah, got ourselves some fresh air."

"Anything interesting happen?" Jackson asked.

"Nah," said Vin, shaking his head along with Ezra. "Not a damn thing."

"A boring outing, I must admit," agreed Ezra.

Nathan, Buck, Chris, Josiah, and JD watched the two men walk inside the trailer.

"Sounds like they had a completely innocuous time," said Buck.

"Yep." Chris looked at the car and then back to the trailer. "Hope no one died."

continues in Protection

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