A Life Not Lost

by Annie

Feedback: please do!

Warning/Rating: it's mild, implied sexual violence, language

Disclaimer: Nope, not mine

Note: I was in the mood for something angsty, kinda sad...but hey, look! It's finished! Thanks to Judy for reading through this first!

“…if you can’t afford one, one will be appointed to you," the voice continued to drone on, just a low buzzing in his head.

He nodded, not listening but answering anyway. “Yeah.”

“Get in. Watch your head.”

A hand on his skull guided him down and he found himself seated in the back of the squad car, staring out the window and shaking his head. What the hell. It wasn’t supposed to have been like this. It wasn’t supposed to have happened this way.

The next few hours were a blur; fingerprints taken…his picture taken. Mug shots. Jesus.

Now he stood in a holding cell. Two in the morning and full to the max. Cramped quarters made him nervous anyway, but take a 12x12 foot room and shove it full of bodies and he was close to crawling the walls.

A small open space against the far wall and he backed to it, sliding himself down and closing his eyes against the pounding in his head. How had things gotten so fucked up?

When had he lost all sense of who he was?

His arms ached and he rubbed his wrists, not so old bruises mixed with brand new ones. Sore, but at least free from the bite of the metal handcuffs. He was glad to be free of the feel of them...wished he was free from the confinement. Free from himself.

"Hey." A low voice spoke near his ear but he didn’t look to the owner. A hand nudged him and the voice persisted. “Hey. I wanna fuck.”

His head remained bowed over his knees, ignoring the slurred voice.

“You deaf? Said, I wan’ed a fuck, dude”

His eyes peered through slitted lids at the dirty boots next to him, and he followed filthy denim encased legs up to find a large man hovering over him. Unsteady. Greasy. Drunk. His eyes swung around the crowded cell. "You want t' fuck," he sneered with contempt. "Another man. Here." Unbelievable.

“Here, over there. Anywhere. Shit, y’ think any of these fucked up dickheads in here ‘re alive enough to care what we’re doin’?“

“Fuck off.”

"No. Fuck you.Y' think 'cause your fuckin' the boss y' got power? Bishop ain't here now, prettyboy. You ain't got shit."

His eyes shot to the face of the the man now hunkered down in front of him. Still large, but not nearly as drunk as he’d seemed. He recognized the heavy features. He'd seen the man ghosting around the estate.

“I know who the fuck you are," the man continued, his voice changing to a low hiss, "an' I know what it is you do up there at Bishop’s spread besides bein' his favorite bodyguard. Don’t act like you don’t take it.”

“Fuck off or I’ll cut it off and ram it down your throat.”

Their eyes held even then, and for a second he saw the brief flash of fury rise in the man’s eyes, sure the man was going to strike. He tensed, hoping nothing would come of it. He was just too damn tired. He sighed when the man moved away without a word.

It was hard to breathe. Too many bodies pressed too close for comfort. Christ, he wanted out.

No watch, he lost all sense of time. He had no idea if hours had passed or mere minutes. Felt like days. A man vomited next to him so he moved to stand at the bars, head pressed against their cold steel.

It was so hard to breathe.

His hands wrapped around the bars and he stared at them. Two fingers taped together, purple and badly swollen. They hurt. Broken, most likely. There was a drop of blood on them. Tiny, really. It stood out dark against the pale of his skin. He wasn’t sure it would ever wash away. His head hurt. The coughs, moans and other faint sounds of humanity behind him were making him ill. The cell was stifling, the stench of sweat, booze and vomit pervasive and nauseating. He couldn’t get away.

His eyes watered.

Lord, it was just so hard to breathe.

A hum and a clank and a door opened, the sound of a firm voice filled his head. “Stand away from the bars.”

He backed up.

“You. Let’s go. It's your lucky day.”

It wasn’t that he wanted to stay, it was just he couldn’t seem to get his legs moving in a forward motion. A hand shoved him toward the door.

“Go, bro’. What th’ fuck y’ waitin’ for? That’s freedom out there.”

Freedom. No, not freedom. He hadn’t felt free in months.

He signed for his things. Wallet, keys, beeper, cell phone…his weapon. Then he limped along following the officer who pointed to a man seated in a row of plastic chairs that lined a corridor.

“He’s all yours.”

He looked into cold eyes. Flat cold eyes. He couldn’t read them, didn’t want to.

“Mr. Bishop has taken care of this. The charges have been dropped. You are released.”

He nodded, turning away from the lawyer and heading to the door. Out. He wanted to get out, breathe fresh air.

A hand grasped his. “He has instructed me to tell you to take the rest of today off. Tomorrow morning you’re expected out at the estate. Early.”

“How early?”


He nodded again and left, standing outside the station house in the cool night air and watching the boss’s lawyer climb into the back of the white limo. Had it been offered, he would have turned down the ride, but it hadn't been. He'd rather walk the mile and an half to the rented luxury apartment he was calling home these days anyway. And though his body ached with every step, he enjoyed being allowed this much freedom. He savored the time to himself.

He could count on one hand the times he'd actually been left alone the past three months. It was becoming more of a struggle to get out the messages he'd needed to send.

The apartment that had been rented under his new name was a luxury he hadn't been allowed to enjoy. Three times the size of his and four times the rent and he'd slept in the place a total of twice in the last few weeks. Terrence Bishop had taken a liking to him almost too quickly. He sighed. Too much of a liking.

The streets were deserted yet he wasn't surprised when several blocks into his walk, a dark form fell in step with him.

“Takin’ a chance here,” he said, stopping and gazing at the face in front of him. He couldn’t take his eyes off it, this face he’d longed to look upon for the past three months.

“It’s okay. We’re safe,” the man, his boss, his friend, his lover assured him.

He knew that wasn’t true. Might not ever be true again. The past few weeks had left him constantly feeling on edge, never relaxing.

A finger brushed along his brow and he winced, quickly pulling back from the touch.

“Sorry. Hurts?”

“No. Yeah. Some,” he admitted, “not a lot.” His head ached and the stitches pulled, but the gash felt numb enough still. It wouldn’t bother him until tomorrow, and it wasn’t why he'd avoided the touch. “Chris, it’s late but still they might--"

“It’s fine, Vin.”

They walked along in silence, shoulders next to one another. Close, but not touching. The streets outside were quiet and still in the early hour. It had rained and he inhaled deeply. The air smelled…clean. New.

Could anything be new again?

“You’re limping.”

He nodded. “Yeah. Just bruised.”


A familiar truck was parked just ahead, his eyes traced over the black paint that gleamed softly under the soft streetlights. Easing into the high seat was hard. His body ached in places he’d rather not think about. He pulled the seatbelt over, locking it into the catch and hissing when it jarred his fingers.

“You going to be able to handle your gun like that?”

“It's fine.”

A pause, then: “Don’t look fine.”

“Well, it is.”

“Vin, I’m only saying--"

“I’m doing my job just fine, Chris.”

"That's not what I was getting to."

"It's fine, Chris. Everything's comin' along fine."

He felt the eyes drift over his face and the voice scoffed. “Apparently not.”

“If you have a problem, why don’t y’ come right out an’ spit it.”

Green eyes stared at him then. Not blinking, not flinching. He knew he was being an asshole. He flicked his eyes to Chris’s then looked away just as quickly, not wanting to read the look of concerned displeasure. He didn't want to aknowledge the questioning gaze. He couldn’t bring himself to offer up answers.

“The only problem here, Vin, seems to be yours.”

He shut up then, biting back the scathing words he wanted to let fly. Instead, he turned to watch the streetlights that sailed past the window and said nothing.

For weeks he'd ached for this man...wanted nothing but to be back with him. Have his hands hold him, touch him. Couldn't wait to be with him again. But now…

The apartment wasn’t that far, thank God. With no traffic, the ride took only minutes, though in the heavy silence of the truck's cab, it had seemed hours. As they drove past the front of the building without even slowing, he said nothing.

A few blocks away, the truck pulled over. He recognized the neighborhood. Ezra lived nearby.

“We havin’ a late night meetin’ I don’t know about?” He was tired and not in the mood for a third degree from his teammates right now. Not that he didn’t know it wasn’t coming. He had a lot to explain, information to let out…but not now. Now, he was tired.

Surprise gripped him when a hand took sharp hold of his shoulder, and his head whipped around in furious response, anger within him quickly rising, threatening to boil over. He was startled to see the green eyes staring so pointedly back at him.

There was anger there, as well.

“What? You ready to assault me now, too?” Chris fumed, eyes clearly showing Vin he did not understand the quick and heated reaction to his touch.

God, Vin thought. What was happening to him. He stared for a moment into those eyes of his friend. His lover. Eyes that knew him like no other. He dropped his gaze then, shaking his head. He was just so tired and confused. Ashamed.

“Sorry. I’m …sorry, Chris. I--" he started but couldn’t continue, words damming up in his throat.

“Forget us for right now. What happened out there tonight, Vin?”

“I don’t know.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He looked up, eyes flashing again, feeling as though he was riding the edge of a razor blade. Frustration and anger filled him and he couldn’t seem to let it fade. “It means what I said…I don’t know.”

“Great. Is that what I’m supposed to tell Travis, then? Is that what I’m supposed to tell the others? Vin?”

“Yes. No. Hell...I don’t know.”

“That’s not good enough.”

“It has to be."

"It's not."

"You can read my report then. It’ll all be in there when this is over.”

“Vin. They said you were flyin’.”

“And you believe this.” It wasn’t a question.

“I didn’t say that. But Bishop’s not just into selling weapons, the man also has drug ties out the wazoo. You know that better than anyone.”

“Yeah...so? What. You think because I've been undercover in there for so long that I'm playing in that? Jesus Christ, Chris. You know me better ‘n that.”

Silence so dead the blink of an eye could be heard. Had there been one.

“I heard you were out of control.”

“I had a few drinks and a lot of anger, Chris, and you ain’t exactly answered the question.”

“Jesus, Vin, You were charged with assault. You know how important this is!”

“I know that…you think I don’t know that? You think I’m going through this with my head up my ass?”

The hand rested on his arm again. He stared at it but didn’t shrug it off. Thirteen weeks ago the touch would have sent a thrill through him.

“Vin. This is going too far. You’re in this too deep.”

“No. I’m handling this. We’re close, Chris. I can feel it. Something’s about to break.” He didn't want to think he'd gone through all these weeks, suffered what he had suffered, to not close this case and nail Bishop, the fuckin' sonofabitch, to a tree.

Silence again, both men contemplating just what it was that was near the breaking point.

“It’s over, Vin.”

“Damnit, Chris--"

A hand raised. “No. Listen…you don’t know what else has happened tonight. While you were busy with this little party tonight and getting yourself arrested, Bishop’s third in command was trying to skip town with close to a half a million dollars of his boss’s money and a disk full of Bishop’s overseas contacts. Names, addresses, records of monies paid for illegal arms, planned shipment schedules. Josiah and Buck went along with the DEA guys and picked him up at the airport. The guy’s scared shitless and started talking. I just got off the phone with Josiah. It’s done, Vin.” He glanced at his watch and sat silently for a moment, letting the news be absorbed. “Police should be picking up Bishop and his entourage right about now.”

Stunned. He was stunned. “And Myers? Ed?”

“He’s…dead, Vin. I’m sorry.”

He nodded, already knowing the outcome hadn’t looked promising for the agent, now missing well over four months. The agent whose undercover position he’d moved into inside Terrence Bishop’s extensive operation three months ago. “Damn.”

“We all feel the same. Jesus, though, Vin. That could have been you, too.”

“It wasn’t.”

“No...it wasn't.”

“I’ve been careful, Chris.”

“And lucky.”

He nodded again. He was lucky. It had been Hell. Thirteen weeks of unholy Hell…and now it was over. Almost over.

His body sagged a bit, his energy draining away faster than he would have thought possible. Over.

“That guy you fought last night--"

Eyes snapped to front. He sat up straighter. “Bishop’s son-in-law.”

“You hurt him pretty badly, Vin, but he’ll make it okay. Bishop really must’ve thought a lot of you. A lot." Chris paused and Vin could feel his eyes searching his face, but he wouldn't turn to meet that gaze. He listened without comment, his face impassive as Chris continued, "Had his daughter drop her assault claims against you right away. ‘Course, she apparently hates you. Doesn’t take kindly to you beating up her husband. Ezra says this fight was long in coming between you and the son-in-law, though. Says you caused a huge family rift when Bishop let you advance so quickly into his organization. Says everyone was amazed how fast you made the climb.”

He nodded.“His son-in-law resented me for it. Figured I should've stayed just a bodyguard.”

“It was a good move for you. Access to much more privileged information."

“Yeah, but…Anthony, the son-in-law, he saw red. Kept at me whenever he could.”

“And last night? What? He took you on one too many times?” “It just got out of hand, Chris.”

“So Ezra told me.”

“Ez?” God, he almost forgot. Last he’d seen of his fellow undercover agent, he was disappearing out a side door. “He okay?”

“He will be.”

His head came up then and he did meet that cool, green gaze. “Will?”

“Dislocated his shoulder. He’ll be fine. Already complaining about the sling slowing down his dealing time. You know Ezra.”

“Yeah. After me ‘n’ Anthony got into it, everyone else kinda jumped in it, fists flying. I’m sorry, Chris.”

“Yeah, well, tell Ezra.”

He nodded again, his fingers reaching into his hair to rub the base of his neck. His head hurt so much. But it was over. He could have his real name back. His life, well . . . .

A hand slipped over his, warmth spreading into his own cold fingers. “Neck hurt?”

“Everything hurts. It was quite a fight.” He felt that hand. It was burning through him.

“I can see that.” Hands brushed his away and a twinge of something almost painful ran down his spine when fingers began to knead the back of his neck. “Here, let me,” Chris’s voice said in his ear.

What he wouldn’t have given just weeks ago to have those hands on his body, massaging his sore muscles. But now, now they just acted as a reminder of other hands roaming, gripping, clawing at his flesh. He shuddered. “No, it’s okay. I’m okay, Chris.” He pushed the hands away, then wrapped his own aching fingers around the door handle. “I should head home. My home. Get some rest.”

A sigh from Chris and then it was laid wide open. “I know what's been going on, Vin.”

He didn’t need to ask what. If there had been any question in his mind before of Ezra wondering what was happening up in the main bedroom suite of Bishop’s estate, there was none now. A cold dread filled him. God, not this, not now. Not with Chris. Not this way.

He didn’t want to think of all that had happened to him during the past several weeks. He could feel Chris’s eyes upon him, fixed on him. He didn’t turn, though. Didn’t—couldn’t—meet those eyes and the look of disgust and betrayal that would surely be there. He let loose a sigh of his own,“Ezra?”

“Some. Mostly just a feeling of my own, though. I could sense something. I knew there was something.”

At that, he did turn. “You don’t know shit, Larabee.”

“I know enough and I can sure as hell read the rest in your eyes right now.”

This was hard. God, this was hard. “You weren’t there, you don’t know.”

“Okay, Vin. I guess you did what you felt you had to do..."

Disgust. It was there. He could hear it. He wanted to scream but only managed to mumble, “Ain’t like I had much say in the matter.”

Eyes glued to his profile but he didn't turn at the quiet words. “He…raped you?”

No, this wasn’t hard. It was fucking impossible. “He didn't--rape--me.” And that was true. Everything else but, though. He shivered with the memory, still able to feel the hands that had traced over his flesh, making his skin crawl. He didn’t want to think of this right now.

“Threatened you, then.”

Eyes met this time. He held his own steady...steady as he could then broke away. Lord, this wasn’t how he wanted this to go. “Not ‘xactly.”

“No? Then how was it, exactly?”

He said nothing. There was nothing he could say out loud that wouldn’t make his head explode.

Eyes burned into his face. He couldn’t do it, couldn't turn and face this man who had been his lover. . . and that thought burned him, too . . . that he'd put Chris in the past tense.

“Tell ya what, Vin," Chris's voice spoke softly and he could hear the contempt mixed with confusion. Hurt. "You go all out for the line of duty, don’t you? Or maybe I should say, you put all out.”

“Fuck you.” He couldn't think of anything else to say and then he heard Chris’s chuckle of disgust. It made him ill.

"I didn't want--" he finally added softly. Painfully.

"So, you tell me how it was then.”

He couldn’t speak. Didn’t want to relive this right now. He didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t want to think of it, didn’t want to be reminded of Bishop’s hands all over him. Pawing him. Waking that first time in Bishop’s suite, tied spreadeagled to the bedposts and realizing he’d been drugged to the point of having no control over his body was misery enough for a lifetime. He didn’t want to relive that and every similar night that followed after. Not yet.

He turned then, blue eyes narrowed. “Said, I didn’t want it. You can think what you want.”

“Then, he did rape you.”


They sat in the dark, both staring out the windshield. Chris thinking the worst and Vin having no energy left to correct him.

He reached for the doorhandle, wanting to leave. Wanting desperately to leave.

A hand grabbed his arm pulling him roughly back in. Arms encircled him and he bucked backward to move away, failing as two strong hands then shifted to cup either side of his head, holding him firm. Holding him gently, he realized. His eyes opened wide as lips descended over his, opened wider when a firm tongue lightly licked over his mouth.

In a second it was over and he remained seated there, panting. Numb.

He found his voice then, a whisper in the silence. “Chris, I didn’t--"

“Shut up, Vin. Just. . . shut up for a minute.”

Green eyes looked away from him and he wanted to scream he was sorry…scream that he didn’t know how to say it…scream that he didn’t want to happen what had happened. He wanted to tell him of the shame he went through, how he wanted to quit and break cover and run and not endure one more night of pain and humiliation when those hands touched him, fondled him, forced him. . . .

“Okay. It’s okay, Vin. Whatever happened…happened. It won’t come up in the closing of this case, you have my assurances. And I won't ask. You can tell me in your own time, and in your own way. When you’re ready, I’ll be here.”

Vin nodded and let his hand fall away from the one that had warmed his heart. He opened the door and stepped out into the dark of the night.


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