Understanding the Other Side

by Kati


If this is drowning, this isn't so bad. Rather peaceful really. Could do without the cold though, but I guess I can't complain


JD had been fully prepared to accept his imminent death. He had lost Sidney a few minutes ago, and had no idea how he was going to get onshore. The voice calling his name had snapped him out of stupor state. He looked ahead of him. Evan Kestner was standing a few feet downstream. He watched as his friend reached out a large stick. He swam as to the right as far as his numb body would let him. The stick came up much faster than he thought. He grazed it with his fingers, but could not get a grip. He felt himself slipping past Evan.

"No, JD! " the young man yelled.

"I'm not ready to die yet!" JD yelled at the sky. With the little strength left in his body, he turned around and began to swim upstream. His muscles were about to let him down, when he felt his fingers touch the wet wood. This time he was ready and grasped hard. He felt his body being pulled laboriously towards the shore. He tired to help, but his body had given up on him. He had never felt so good when he felt his feet touch ground. He crumpled to his knees and gasped for air. His rescuer placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Easy, JD, just get your breath back. You're going to be fine." JD was content to just sit there, when a sudden thought crossed his mind. "Sidney!" He yelled, pulling himself to his feet.

"She's over here, JD," a heavily accented voice said. JD turned to see Liam holding his friend in his arms. She wasn't moving.

"Oh God," JD yelled and rushed up to him, expecting the worst.

"She's just unconscious," Liam informed him. The man was shaking in the absence of his coat. He had torn off Sidney's wet black one and put his own over the girl. JD looked down at his friend. Her skin was as white as a sheet. "We've got to get her warmed up," Liam said.

"Our car is parked a few minutes down the road," Kestner said. JD didn't realize how cold he was. The adrenaline was now pumping though his veins. He shook his head.

"I've go to get back to the Caddy."

"That's almost five miles away!"

"I don't care," JD said shaking his head. "I've got to get there just in case." He stated. He looked at Liam. "You guys take her to your car and wait for me."

"You aren't going alone," Evan said. "I'm coming with you."

"Fine," JD said, "but you better be able to keep up." He took off sprinting into the woods. Evan followed him and quickly caught up.

"What the hell were you doing at the end of the river?" JD asked as he kept running.

"We were almost out of the driveway when we heard gunshots. Liam turned the car around to see what happened. When we finally got back, we saw you guys jump into the river and Nathan in the hands of Royal's men.

"Nathan was caught?" JD asked.

"Yeah," came the reply.

"Damn, and Ezra?"

"I don't know, JD, I couldn't see him. He might have gotten away. All I know that we had to make a decision and your need seemed direr than Nathan's."

"Thanks for that," JD responded and ran harder. JD slowed down a few hundred feet away from the car. Evan almost ran into him. They quietly crept up, not sure if anyone was hiding and waiting for them. They didn't see anyone.

"Ezra?" JD called, but the only response was that of an angry crow, perturbed by its sudden visitors. They waited a few minutes, but the quickly concluded that no one was coming.

"Come on JD, we've got to get you and Sidney some medical help. Both of you gotta be pretty hypothermic by now. Then we'll figure out a plan to get Ezra and Nathan out of there."

"I'm fine," JD answered. "We're not going to be able to do this alone, Evan. Royal's is going to have security boosted up way too high now."

"We'll get everyone from the..."

'I don't think the Red Glove can help us this time, Evan," JD stated. A plan was forming in his head. "I have an idea, but you're not going to like it."

About a half an hour later, Liam and Evan watched as the black Caddy tear down the road.

"He's an idiot," Evan said shaking his head. "What if that cop turns on him? It's not worth spending the time in prison."

"You would do the same thing to rescue your friends, admit it, Evan," Liam smiled. "You would even go in with a cop to rescue me or any of our friends."

"Like hell I would," Evan answered. "That kind of behavior is dangerous for the leader of a group like ours." Evan was lying between his teeth and both he and Liam knew it. A flashlight beam caught their eyes. "Shit, someone's coming!" The two men rushed into the woods.

Two of Royal's men emerged from a path. One of them bent down and looked at the skid marks in the dirt.

"The boss isn't gong to be too happy with us," he stated.

+ + + + + + +

Three hours later, Chris finished his story and sat down in his overstuffed armchair. He took a long swig of his Coors, and looked at his friends, not sure about what their reactions would be. Looks of complete disbelief were written all over their faces.

"Didn't I just see a movie about this?" Buck asked. "Stuff like this doesn't happen in real life. Those rich bastards don't give a damn about anything as long as their taxes stay low and their yachts stay clean. I think you hit your head a little too hard, Pard."

"Do you realize what this means?" Vin asked, looking around the room "There is well funded, well organized vigilante group out there that works outside our corrupt law system. Men like Cortez won't stand a chance."

Josiah smiled at Vin. The twenty seven year old had seen a lot in his short lifetime and was wise beyond his years. Despite the hardships the man had experienced, he still had faith that people were generally good at heart. The older man knew better. He had seen things like this happen a hundred times. Rich politicians and businessmen claiming to help the poor and helpless, but always they had some secret agenda to benefit themselves. People just didn't care about each other anymore, and more than anything in the world, he wished he didn't have to admit it.

"Ezra Standish was tried by Cortez a few years ago on embezzlement charges, wasn't he?" He asked.

Chris nodded his head. "He was found not guilty, but Cortez definitely laid into him. I don't think the city ever thought of Standish the same again."

Josiah shook his head.

"There's always a motive behind everything, Vin. Standish wanted revenge on Cortez. This time it just happened that the bastard was guilty. Who's to say that they won't murder an innocent man next time. I would rather have a dozen Cortezes go free, than see on innocent man die."

"We currently do both," Vin answered angrily. He was furious as his mentor for having such a pessimistic view. "What did you think, Chris? What are Standish's motives?"

Chris sighed; this exact question had been running through his head all day. Who really was Ezra Standish? He had caught a brief glance at him today, but the veteran agent sensed there was much more that the strange man was hiding behind his mask, not unlike the hero of Gothem City that Sidney and JD insisted he was. Josiah did have a point, but he hadn't gotten that sense from any of the strange people he had met today. All of them had reason to seek revenge, but their real motive had appeared different.

"Ignore the damn facts," Vin hissed. "What does your gut tell you?' He asked when he sensed Chris's hesitation in answering the question. Delete He asked when

"They could easily have killed me and nobody would have suspected anything. Standish took me into his confidence today; something I knew was against his better judgment. I say we give them a chance. Find out more about this group." He paused, and looked into each of his friends' eyes. "But we are a team. We make this decision together. Either we turn them in now or wait and see what happens."

"You know where I stand," Vin stated, glaring at Josiah. Josiah sighed. He really did want to believe that what Standish said was true, it just seemed impossible.

"I will save my judgment until I meet them," Josiah answered.

"You've been real quiet, Buck," Chris said looking at his longtime partner. "What do you think?"

"I'm still trying to get over the idea that pretty, innocent; girl could really be a vigilante killer." He stated.

"She hit you in the head with a freaking crowbar, Buck. Obviously, she's not as innocent as she looks," Vin answered.

"Believe me, she's not," Chris answered with a shake of his head. "That kid who rescued her isn't as sweet as we thought either. Don't fall for those damn puppy dog eyes again."

"Hell, I say we wait." Buck answered. "I want the chance to a talk to these guys outside a jail cell."

"Then we all agree?" Chris asked looking around the room. He received no objections. "I'll go and call Standish now, arrange a meeting time between all of us." He was about to walk into the kitchen to make the phone call, but the flash of headlights on the living room wall caught his attention.

"You expecting visitors?" Buck asked, getting up to look out the window. "Umm, Chris, I think you might want to take a look at this." Chris walked to the window and stared out.

The dim light of porch light didn't have the illumination to reveal all the detail of his late night visitors, but Chris didn't need more to identify them.

"Shit," he swore, and basically leapt over the couch to get to the front door. JD was halfway to the door by the time Chris got to him. He was carrying his unconscious friend in his arms.

"What the hell happened?" Chris asked, looking at the girl in JD's arms. He had wrapped her in blankets, but it was obvious to see that she was sopping wet, and shivering uncontrollably. Even in the dim light, Chris could see how pale her skin was. JD didn't look much better.

"We-we went after the Sen-enator," JD answered between chattering teeth. "He caught Ezra and Nathan. The two-wo of us just managed to jump in the river."

"You were swimming in the Colorado River when the water was this cold?" Chris asked in disbelief. "That's suicide!"

"We didn't have a-a choice," JD answered, "Otherwise we would have gotten..." JD was going to talk more, but Chris interrupted him.

"Never mind now, we've got to get the two of you warmed up. You're both hypothermic. Get in the damn house now. I'm calling an ambulance!" He yelled, and took the unconscious girl out of JD's arms. She hung limply in his arms. He could feel how cold she was even through the blankets.

"No!" JD yelled, "He's gong to be searching for us. The hospitals are the first place he'll look! " A thousand questions were running through his mind, but now was not the time to ask them. He nodded his head and motioned for JD to follow him into the house.

Buck, Vin, and Josiah were on their feet instantly when Chris walked into the room.

"Buck, Vin, dry off the kid and put him in front of the fire," Chris demanded. "Josiah, I'm going to need your help with her. She's a lot worse off, and I'm not an expert when it comes to medical stuff like this."

Chris noticed a slight look of hesitation in the older man's eyes when he realized who it was in his friend's arms, but it disappeared just as quickly. It was replaced by a look of paternal resolve.

"Let's get her upstairs to the bathtub," Josiah answered, and the two of them rushed up the stairs. JD made a move to go after her, but Buck firmly grasped his shoulder.

"Don't worry about her kid, she's in good hands. Let's get you warmed up," He said in a kind voice.

"I-I'm fine," JD's teeth chattered uncontrollably, but didn't protest when Buck began stripping the wet jacket off of him. "And I'm not a kid." He managed to spit out. Buck just smiled. .

Upstairs, Josiah turned on the shower, adjusting the water temperature so it was lukewarm.

"Shouldn't it be warmer?" Chris asked, as he started to peel the blankets away from the girl. The kid had been smart enough to take her wet clothes off, but had left on her bra and underwear for decency purposes; he saw no reason not to follow it. He began rubbing her hands, surprised at how cold they were.

"She needs to be warmed up slowly. If the water is too hot, it could cause shock to her system. Bring her here."

Chris placed the girl in Josiah's arms and the big man stepped into the shower.

In a few seconds, Sidney began screaming in pain.

"It's all right," Josiah soothed. "It's really not that hot. Relax."

After a few minutes, Josiah stepped out of the shower and set the girl down on the ground. He reached for a towel and began rubbing the girl with them.

"Get some more towels," Josiah ordered. Chris grabbed some more, and began following Josiah's lead. Sidney's eyes closed again and her body went limp. Josiah caught her head before it slammed into the bathtub.

"It's all right," Josiah answered. "She'll be fine. Look, the color is starting to return to her skin." He was right, although her face looked incredibly pink. Josiah dropped to towel and lifted the girl up.

"Let's get her into a bed," he told Chris. Chris led the way down the hallway to his own bedroom. He pulled back the warm covers of his bed, and Josiah laid her on the sheets. Chris tucked the comforter around her body, and added a wool blanket for good measure. Josiah watched wondering if his boss at one time had done the same to his own son.

"As soon as she wakes up, we need to get something warm in her. Someone should stay and watch her just to make sure she's okay."

"I'll do it," Chris said firmly.

"No, I'll stay," Josiah answered. "You go find out what the hell is going from that young man downstairs. Send Vin or Buck up here with some soup as soon as possible."

Chris nodded his head and walked down the stairs. The grandfather clock rang eleven o'clock. He hadn't realized that it had been almost an hour.

He heard Buck's booming voice. There was huge blaze in the fireplace. The flames were at a dangerously high height. Chris could feel the heat even half way down the steps. He walked down the steps quietly, to listen to their conversation.

"I was raised by my mama, too. Never had much growing up either, but guess I had it a little better than you. Some might question what my mama did for a living, but she did have her standards. We had always had some sort of food on the table, and if any man tried roughing her up more than she wanted, she let him have it."

Chris couldn't hear JD's response. Buck just kept on talking.

"I reckon we've got a lot in common kid, you and I. Think I like you, kid." Chris walked down the steps all the way and walked to the other side of the couch. JD had fallen asleep and his head was leaning on Buck's knee. He was wrapped up in all the blankets Buck had been able to find. The familiar pattern of one of Vin's flannel shirts was peaking out of the corner of the blanket. A half empty cup of soup was sitting on the coffee table.

"Look how young he looks," Buck mused when he noticed Chris walk up choosing to ignore the fact that his friend had overheard him talking basically to himself. "How old you think he is, eighteen, nineteen?"

"He's twenty-three," Chris answered.

"Twenty-three?" Buck asked dumfounded, "and I though I was pushing it when I said nineteen. How's the girl?"

"Sleeping right now," Chris answered. "She should be just fine. Where's Vin?"

"Only way the kid would settle down was if someone went outside to keep watch. Seems to think that somebody's out there to get him, kept apologizing for coming here, and fretting about Standish and that doctor."

"I hate to wake him up," Chris stated, "but we've got get some answers. Is there any soup left?"

"There's a whole kettle of it still simmering on the stove. Want me to bring some up to Josiah?" Buck asked.

"Yeah, tell him to come down if he can. I'll go and talk to Vin. Kid can sleep for a few more minutes at least." Both men went to fulfill their tasks. Vin was sitting near the barn, his gun sitting in his lap. The Cadillac had disappeared.

"Where'd the car go?" Chris asked, walking over to his friend.

"I figured it wasn't a good idea to have a car like that out in the open in case someone is looking for them. Figured there aren't many of those things around this area, might look kind of suspicious. How is she?"

"Josiah thinks that she's going to be just fine. I'm going to wake JD up and find out what the hell is going on."

"You have any idea?" Vin asked.

"I heard whispers about Senator Guy Royal before I left," Chris told him, as Vin got out of his seat to walk towards the house.

"Why does it not surprise me? That bastard's been breaking the law for his campaigns for the last couple years."

"I have a feeling it goes much deeper than illegal funding," Chris answered, following Vin into the house.

His eyes refused to focus and the only thing he could make out was the fuzzy outlines in front of him. The sweet tasting blood made him feel sick as it dripped out his mouth and fell down his neck. He tried to pull himself to his knees, but was struck down by a hard blow to his stomach. The blurry images became painful flashes of light and he crumbled to the ground, gasping for the breath the blow had taken away from him. He could smell the foul breath and feel the hissing of the voice as his assailant whispered into his ear.

"I can keep going for as long as need be, Standish. Unfortunately, I don't think you will be as fortunate. Tell me what the hell you and that nigger are doing here."

"Do you really want to know?" Ezra whispered. "Fine, I'll tell you, just please stop the pain!" The man leaned closer so he could clearly hear his whisper. When the man's face was within inches of his face, Ezra opened his lips and spat the puddle of blood still remaining in his mouth. The man wiped the blood out of his face, and smacked Ezra with the back of his hand. Ezra's head slammed on to the ground. He didn't move.

Nathan cringed as he saw the tall, bulky man turn towards him. There was an oval shaped scar over his threatening blue eyes, but Nathan did not turn his head. He returned the glare.

"You're next, Nigger," the man growled. Nathan felt the sweat began to pour down his neck as the big man approached him. He closed his eyes, expecting a blow to his face.

"That's enough, Curly," an authoritative tenor voice demanded. The blow never came. Nathan opened his eyes to see that his assailant was no longer standing over him. Curly had been replaced by an attractive grey haired man; Nathan knew that he could have easily taken him if his hands weren't tied behind him.

"You bastard," Nathan hissed. "When Ezra told me what you were doing, I told him there was no way you would sell yourself to terrorists. I voted for you!"

"I do thank you for that. The African-American vote was the reason I have been elected for the last twelve years," he said with a smile. Nathan had seen that smile a hundred times during the senator's campaign. Only now did he realize that the sincere smile did not spread to his eyes.

"You're not any different than the rest of them," Nathan said. "I thought that you could actually make changes in Washington, but I was stupid enough to fall for lies. You're no different than the bunch of other power hungry snakes that are there right now." Senator Royal sighed and sat down next to Nathan.

"The first time I ran, I did want to make changes. I planned to hold true to everything that I promised during the campaign, but then I got to Washington. I learned some very important things. The age of doing well unto others is over, and probably will never return. If I had kept the mentality that I started off with, I would have gotten eaten alive. Humans have to live by the rules that Darwin created two hundred years ago. Only the strong survive. In this day and age, you must do what you can to stay on top even if it means using others to get there. They're the weak. They won't matter in the end."

Nathan could just stare at the Senator after he finished talking

"Is that really what you think this world has come too?" Nathan asked dumbfounded.

"I don't think, Mr. Jackson, I know so. Sometimes you have to use others to get achieve your own means." He paused. "You're in that situation right now."

Nathan turned to give him a questioning look.

"You tell me how much your young friends overheard before they escaped."

Nathan felt his heart leap. He had never been as scared as when he had seen their bodies being plummeted around in the raging water. His excitement must have showed on his face.

"Yes, Mr. Jackson, they got away in that expensive vehicle that that your boss enjoys driving. I have to ask you a question about Standish. Do you really think he cares about you? That he's simply not using you as a pawn for his own goals?"

"Ezra would never do that," Nathan said firmly.

"I beg to differ. I know a lot about Standish, more than you would care to. He's more corrupt than me. You're good at what you do, Jackson. Nobody can deny that you've got talent, excellent doctor and pathologist, plus you have resources into hospital records, a good tool. I can guarantee you he will drop you as soon as he's gotten what he wants out of you. Look at what he did to those kids, sent them into the most dangerous spot in this house, because he was too scared to risk his own sorry hide. You know that he didn't vote for me, and I cost him a lot of money in taxes this year. He had a motive to go after me; do you really buy this bullshit about making the world a better place? Come on, Jackson, you're smarter than that. Tell me what where Sidney Marks and JD Dunne could have went and what they know?"

"How do you know their names?" Nathan asked.

"A little detective work on my part. My men heard the first names of your partners and all we had to do was hack into a few public records. Just tell me where they are Doctor Jackson, and I can put you on the fast track to owning your own practice, maybe even get you a job in the government."

Nathan didn't respond right away. The decision to send Sidney and Ezra inside still irked him, but had Ezra really done it because he didn't want to risk himself? Nathan knew without a doubt that the answer was no. Ezra may be a lot of things that Nathan did not like, but he was not the monster Royal was making him out to be.

"I'm smart enough to know that every word you just uttered is complete bullshit," Nathan responded. His voice was so hard and his eyes so cold, that the senator took a step back despite the bonds on his captive's hands. "Ezra Standish is a good man, the best. I would rather die beside him than betray my friends and be in the debt of a scumbag like you!"

Royal's face turned white. He glared at Nathan, all signs of the fake smile and comforting voice gone.

"That can be arranged," he said in a low voice. "Fine, have it your way, but don't think that you're doing your friends any good. I've already got police reports out on them. Someone will see them and bring them in. This is a waste of your talent, Mr. Jackson."

This time Nathan wasn't prepared for the punch. Royal's swing wasn't particularly hard, but it was enough to cause Nathan's head to swing back and hit the concrete block.

By the time Nathan reopened his eyes, Royal was slamming the basement door shut.

"Thank you, Mr. Jackson, I think that's the best comment anyone has ever paid me. Well, unless of course you were lying between your teeth."

"I spent four years in prison for you, Standish. You better damn well believe I mean it." He paused. "And I don't regret one moment of it."

"If the lighting was not so poor in here you would see a very skeptical look on my face."

"Well, there might have been a few times I regretted being so rash when I was sitting in that jail cell. How are you feeling?"

"Much better now that I discovered our young colleagues have escaped. Nathan, I never would have sent them in there if I had thought there was any chance of them ending up....".

"I know, Ezra. They got away because you let them go inside. Let's just hope they are smart enough to avoid getting caught by the cops. They won't be able to wiggle their way out of trouble if the FBI gets their hands on them again."

"Royal never called this in," Ezra said firmly.

"What are you talking about Ezra? They heard everything. If cops like Larabee hear what...." Nathan caught on to Ezra's thinking.

"Exactly," Ezra answered. "If Royal had called the cops, he never would have bothered asking you where they were. He needs to get to them before they can get the word out about this meeting."

"I didn't think of that," Nathan answered. There was a long pause. "You think they've got a chance?"

"Sidney and JD are the most resourceful and intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing," Ezra started to say. "Still a little praying right now couldn't hurt. By the way, do you have any suggestions on how to obtain our own means of freedom?"

"Maybe God will give us the answer to that too," Nathan answered, leaning his head back against the wall.

+ + + + + + +

Sidney watched out the window as the Ram containing Chris, Vin, Buck and JD drove out of the driveway. She shivered violently and pulled the blanket tighter around her, although she knew that all the shivers weren't caused by the cold.

"Sidney, why don't you come and sit by the fire? You aren't going to do any good standing by the window freezing." Josiah said from his place on the coach. He was fiddling with a hand radio. Chris and others would use their control to keep in contact with Josiah and Sidney. Sidney turned and obediently sat down on the couch without a word. She stared into the fire, completely absorbed in the dancing flames.

Josiah put down the radio and watched her for a few moments. The deviant cold eyes that had glared at him only a few days ago had been replaced by tired, glazed look full of fear. He reached out and patted her on the shoulder. She jumped, turning her attention to him.

"Sorry," Josiah answered with an apologetic smile. "Penny for your thoughts?"

"You'd only get change," she answered with a smile.

"Quite the contrary, I believe there are lots of interesting things in that criminal mind of yours."

"You still think that JD and I are trouble?"

"Yeah," Josiah answered with a smile. "But not the kind of trouble I was thinking of. After meeting you and JD, I have to admit that I was wrong."

"A criminologist is never wrong," Sidney answered. "Only idiots take his assumptions for fact. His testimony should be used as a basis for future investigation."

Josiah laughed and felt slightly embarrassed. "You've read my books "My professor swears by everything you write," Sidney answered. "Marcus Sorkin, at the..."

"Yes, I know who he is, we're old friends," Josiah said with a smile on his face.

You're one of Marcus's students?" That means you're a..."

"Psychology major with an emphasis on deviant behavior and criminal justice." She answered. "I am in my first year of grad school." Josiah looked at the girl in a whole new light. Sorkin was the head of the psychology department and he only allowed the best students into the Master's degree program.

"Any idea what you're going to write your thesis on?" He asked. Sidney lowered her head to hide the embarrassed look on her face.

"I'm not sure yet," She answered, lying between her teeth.

"It's nothing to be ashamed about," Josiah answered. "Most kids don't pick a topic right away." Both of them jumped when the ham radio on the table started to cackle.

"Josiah?" Vin's voice said over the static. Josiah picked up on the metal piece and talked into it.

'I'm here, Vin," He answered.

"Just thought I'd tell you that we're about five miles outside of the Standish mansion right now. We're going to pick up some equipment and figure out what we're going to do about Senator Royal."

"Keep us posted," Josiah answered.

Vin put the radio back into the glove compartment. He could feel JD's fidgeting feet on the back of seat, but he understood. Buck noticed it too. He grabbed a hold of JD's shoulder.

"You're sure you're okay, Kid?" Buck asked "I really don't know if you're up to this right now, you should be back at Chris's sleeping by the fire next to your friend." Disgustedly, JD shrugged off Buck's arm.

"I'll be fine if you just quit mothering me," JD answered. "How else you plan on getting inside my house without me?"

"Still..." Buck began.

"Just let me be," JD answered. Chris laughed as he drove down the road. Buck had found another cub to look after. Uncle Buck was back.

"You better get used to it, JD," Chris said. "Buck's got a habit of acting like an old mother bear sometimes."

"I don't need anyone looking out after me," JD answered in a huff, but nobody had the chance to respond. Flashing red and blue lights greeted them as Chris drove down the long driveway.

"Damn." He swore, slamming his hand down on the steering wheel. "Royal's already got the cops here." He mind was racing fast, trying to think of a plan. "Vin, pull out those spare handcuffs and the gun."

Vin reopened the glove compartment and the radio dropped to the ground. He pulled out the gun and handcuffs.

"You know how to use the gun?" Chris asked JD.

"Well yeah, but I m not a very good..."

"As long as you can shoot it, you're fine," Chris answered as Vin handed JD the gun.

"Buck, put the cuffs on him." All three men gave him a questioningly look. "Just do what I say," Chris hissed quietly, as a short man in a blue uniform started to walk up to the vehicle. "Just follow my lead."

Buck put the cuffs on after JD put his arms behind his back. He patted the kid's shoulder when JD involuntarily shuddered. They were on a few seconds before the man reached the truck. Chris rolled down his window.

"This area is under investigation, sir. I'm going to have to ask you to leave." Chris pulled out his badge. "FBI Agent Larabee, the federal government has taken over this case. You and your partners have to leave now."

"Since when?" The officer challenged.

"Since we caught the criminals that Senator Royal reported," Chris answered. His voice sounded more like a growl than anything. The cop looked into the back of the vehicle. Complete surprise was written on his face when he saw JD.

"How did you catch him?" he asked.

Chris was stuck, but Vin was quick on his feet.

"We saw a black Cadillac driving down Highway 55.Those cars may be pretty to look at, but they sure are as slow as a freaking turtle."

"Where's the girl?" The cop asked. "I thought you said you caught both of them."

"He was the first one to talk," Chris answered. "He'll let less time in prison, if he shows us Standish's house."

"Oh, okay,' the cop said and waved the vehicle through. Once the Ram was out of sight the cop returned to his partner, a lean black man in his middle twenties.

"Royal never said anything about the FBI," the first agent said.

"We stick to the plan. We're supposed to kill the two of them and anybody that comes with them."

"The girl ain't with them," the first man answered.

"We'll worry about her later," The second man answered. "Come on; let's get into position to take them out."

"There's only two of us and four of them."

"So? We've got the element of surprise, and Dunne is handcuffed. Their brains will be blown out before they even know what hit 'em." As the two criminals began walking up the drive searching for a good hiding place, the FBI team was piling out of the truck. Vin had connected Josiah for a heads-up about possible cops. Chris reached over and unlocked JD's handcuffs.

"Nicely played," Vin said with approval. "For a while there, I was afraid you were losing your touch, Old Man."

"When this is over, I'll show you who's the old man, Tanner," Chris answered with an evil smirk on his face.

"You said you've got proof about the Senator's meeting?" Buck asked JD. JD nodded his head and opened the front door to the huge house. All of them gasped when they saw the living room. Coaches had been pulled over, picture frames had crashed to floor, and the horse sculpture was laying on the ground, shattered into a hundred pieces.

"Holy shit," JD answered. "What the hell where they looking for?" The three older men looked at JD with hidden smiles; they had never heard him swear before.

"Could it possibly be for two young vigilantes who like to masquerade as an Archives secretary and a FBI agent?" Buck asked, trying to lighten the mood, but it didn't help. I.

The four men walked into the room, looking over the damage. Chris could only imagine what the cost of all the broken things were. JD walked through the dining room and kitchen. He almost tripped over the baby grand piano lying on its side. He walked back into the living room.

"I hope this Ezra guy has got a good housekeeper," Buck said.

"The best," JD answered, heading for the steps. Chris stopped him by putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Doesn't pay to go up there, son. I'm sure it looks the same."

"No, I have to find Monty," JD answered. "Ezra will be devastated if anything happened to him. Monty!" He yelled

"JD," Chris started to say. If Royal's men had been inside looking for them, there was no way they would have let the dog survive, not one as protective as that German Shepard. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard a whine. He looked at the top of the steps to see a familiar face limping down the steps.

The dog made it to the fourth step before it collapsed. JD rushed up the steps and lifted the animal in his arms.

"He was shot in his paw," JD told Chris, but I don't think it's too bad." Chris saw the dried blood caked on the dog's left front paw "If only dogs could talk," Chris said. "He could sure tell us a lot." He patted the dog on the head, when Monty wagged his tail.

The two men returned to where Vin and Buck were still digging around in the living room. Monty growled when he saw the strangers.

"Relax, Monty, they're going to help us get Ezra back," JD told the dog. The dog perked up his ears at the mention of his master's name and relaxed in JD's arms.

"That dog needs a vet," Vin said.

"He'll have to wait," Chris answered. "JD, we've got to get downstairs now." JD nodded his head and walked towards the fireplace. He set the dog down and kneeled down next to the fireplace. He removed the stone wall with his free hand.

"Oh shit!" Buck yelled. "That's so cool!" JD led the men to the elevator and lowered them down into the basement.

"Why do I get the feeling that I've seen this in a movie before?" Vin asked..

"Batman?" Chris asked, smiling at JD.

"Yeah, that's it," Vin answered. "Hey, and Standish is just like Bruce Wayne. You know rich bastard by day, hero by night. What?" He asked when JD and Chris started to laugh.

"This whole lot nicer that any Bat Cave I've ever seen," Buck said when the elevator reached to bottom. JD didn't respond as he rushed to the table holding the large microphone. He motioned for the others to be quiet. He flipped on two switches on the piece of equipment and listened. Two voices blared through the speakers in the room.

"Damn, that is quite painful," Ezra moaned

"Quit trying to roll over," Nathan scolded.

"Unlike you, Mr. Jackson, I do not have luxury of being in a comfortable sitting position."

"You think being attached to a freaking concrete wall is comfortable?" Nathan asked.

"Can't you guys ever quit arguing?" JD's voice echoed in both their tiny ear pieces.

"JD?" Both of them yelled dumbfounded.

"Oww, not so loud. Yeah, it's me. Glad they didn't remove your microphones and ear pieces."

Both men started talking at once, each hearing the other's question from next to them and the ear piece.

"Shut up!" JD yelled, silencing them both. "I will explain everything -- just give me a chance. Sidney and I are both fine. A little hypothermic for a while, but now we're okay."

"Hypothermic? JD, that's serious. Are you dry? Do you have warm clothes?"

"Yes," JD answered with an exasperated sigh. "Chris Larabee and his friends took care of us."

Nathan and Ezra looked at each other. Even though they couldn't see each other, they both sensed the other's confusion

"Chris Larabee?" Ezra asked.

"I didn't know where else to go," JD answered. "Sidney was unconscious in the seat next to me, and I had a feeling that Royal would send people after us. I knew that I couldn't come back here alone and he was the only other person I could think of." Ezra burst out laughing. "What's so funny?" JD asked.

"I spent all this time worrying that you were going to get caught by the cops and you end up knocking on their front door," Ezra answered. "Where is Larabee right now?"

"I'm right here," Chris's voice echoed in both of the earpieces.

"What is going on?" Nathan asked completely confused. "Please give me some answers, Mr. Larabee, starting with the truth about JD and Sidney."

"Sidney's back at my place right now with one of men. She's feeling pretty sick, but she should be fine. JD should be there too, but we couldn't get him to stay."

"JD..." Nathan scolded.

"Look, you want help getting out of there or not?" JD asked. There was a loud creaking noise. "What was that?"

"Quiet, JD, somebody's coming down the steps," Nathan answered. All four men were silent as they listened to what was going on.

"I happened to hear voices down here, Mr. Standish," a voice on the other line stated. "Who were you talking to?"

"Royal?" Vin asked quietly. Chirs nodded his head.

"I was taking advantage of the situation, my dear sir, and carrying on a quality conversation with my associate here, one of that you were rude enough to interrupt."

"Is that so?" The senator asked. "Well, I think that I have prolonged your stay long enough. Curly, would you be so kind as to put these men out their misery?" The sound of a safety being clicked off echoed throughout the bat cave. Without thinking, JD opened his mouth.

"No!" He yelled. The senator's laugh sent a chill down JD's spine.

"I figured you were there, Mr. Dunne. It's a pleasure to finally talk to you. Who is there with you?" A quick glance from Chirs told JD to reveal nothing. "Oh, come on, JD, did you really think that I was going to kill them with you and your female friend still on the loose? I understand how dangerous such devotion can be. You will try to find a way to rescue your friends, and when you do, I will be ready. You have one hour to try and rescue your friends, otherwise I will shoot them. Seems a pity to have to step on this genius little communication devise, but what can we do?"

The microphone began producing static. JD hung his head.

"I screwed up big time," JD whispered. "There's no way I can get them out of there alone."

"Look at me, kid," Buck said. JD raised his head to look the agent in the eyes. "You aren't alone. You should never have asked for my help, JD, because now you're stuck with me."

"I think you're stuck with all of us, JD," Vin added, going over and turning off the microphone. "Right, Chris?"

Chris looked around the room and nodded. "I reckon so," he answered with a smile. "What we need right now is a plan."

"I reckon none of you will be around that long to think up this plan," a cold voice said from the top of the steps. The four men looked up to see the two "cops" standing above the elevator track with guns pointed right at them.

"Drop your guns!" the tall one yelled. None of them had any choice but to obey.

"What a day," the second man said cheerfully. "First we get to impersonate cops, than we get to kill some. This is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel."

"Tell us where the girl is and we might let you go," the first man stated.

"Not a chance," Vin answered. "Guess we'll die keeping that secret."

"Guess so," the man responded. He raised his gun, and pulled back the trigger. He heard a low growl behind him. The sudden force of solid muscle and fur hitting him in the back sent his shot wide. Monty was at his neck, before the man had a chance to react. The second man could only stare in amazement for a few seconds, before he aimed his gun at the murderous dog.

The lack of attention gave JD enough time to grab his gun and aim it at the man still standing. The shot was wide and just nicked the man in the shoulder. The man winced in pain, but turned the gun to JD. Vin saw what was going on. He reached down and came up firing. The bullet sailed through the man's chest and he collapsed to the ground.

"You okay, JD?" Vin panted.

JD didn't respond. He raced up the stairs behind the elevator. By the time he got up there, Monty's jaw was still clamped onto the man's neck.

"That's enough, Monty," JD said. The dog let go and limped over to JD, nuzzling his leg. All traces of the killer animal gone. The dog's victim just lay there fighting for the breath that had been denied to him. JD was so busy checking over the dog, he didn't see the man reach for his gun. His hand was almost on the barrel when he heard a snarl.

"Drop it."

He looked up to see the angry face of Chris Larabee. Sheepishly, the man drew his hand away. "Buck, lock this son of a bitch up. We'll deal with him later."

"My pleasure," Buck answered, roughly pulling the man to his feet. He led to the man to the kitchen.

"That's one hell of a dog," Vin commented. "What's wrong?" He asked when he was the young man's downtrodden face.

"I couldn't make the shot," JD answered. "I almost got all us killed." To everybody's surprise including his own, Chris kneeled down next to JD and looked him in the eye.

"You had the common sense to react when you saw the threat. Who knows how many shots he would have gotten off if you hadn't grabbed that gun? We all might be dead. Hell, accuracy can be taught. Instinct and fast reaction can't." Chris was rewarded with a smile. JD stood up.

"We've got to get back downstairs," he said. They followed JD down the stairs, the luxury of the slow elevator forgotten. As soon as they were down the stairs, JD grabbed a large suitcase off one of the shelves. He opened to reveal several ropes, carabineers, and other climbing gear.

"All right, here's my plan. We scale the building using this climbing equipment, go in through the front windows and rush down to the basement taking care of anyone who gets in our way." He looked at the raised eyebrows of the older men. "Or we could think of a different idea."

"You've been watching too many cartoons, JD," Buck said shaking his head.

"We've done it before," JD answered. "Ezra and I got into the Federal archives building this way."

"You and Ezra didn't have the law on your side," Chris said. "I think we should knock on the door and ask them politely to let your friends go."

"When hell freezes over," JD snorted. "That's all we're going to do?"

"I never said that. I want first shot at Royal if it comes to that." Chris winked at JD. "Well, let's get going. We've got ourselves a senator to arrest and some vigilantes to rescue." He shook his head when he realized the absurdity of his statement.

"Think we're making the smart decision?" Buck whispered in Chris's ear on the way out.

"I don't know about smart," Chris stated. "But this is a hell of a lot more interesting than what we've been doing at the office."


"JD, get in the back and cover yourself with one of the blankets." Chris hissed as he pulled up to Royal's mansion. There were at least four guards posted outside the closed gate.

"Looks like the bastard wasn't kidding about you showing up," Vin stated. JD slid open the window that led to the covered bed.

"What can I do for you folks?" One of the guards came up to driver's window.

"We are from the FBI," Chris stated. "It is important that we talk to Senator Royal right away."

"I'm sorry, sir, but the Senator is sleeping right now. He's got a very busy day full of speeches tomorrow. You'll just have to come by another time."

"Do you realize who we are?" Chris growled. "You don't just tell the FBI to come back at another time."

"But, sir, it's almost two o clock in the morning." The guard protested, cowering under Larabee's gaze.

"The FBI doesn't know what time is, son," Chris stated. "We make calls whenever we want to because we don't sleep. Now you are going to let me through that gate, or I will arrest you for obstruction of justice."

"Just a moment, sir, I will open the gate for you," the man stuttered. A few seconds later, Chris was driving through the open gate.

"We make calls whenever we want to, because we don't sleep?" Buck asked. "You working on lines for a crime novel, Larabee?" Chris just shrugged his shoulders. He parked along side the house.

"How many guards you see?" Chris asked Vin.

"I counted eleven on the way in," Vin stated.

"Damn, this is going to be harder than I thought. All right, just follow my lead. JD, don't move until I tell you to." The three agents got out.

"Yes, Mr. Larabee," came the muffled response. They got out of the truck. The door to the mansion swung open and a dapper looking Senator Royal walked out.

"What can I help you with, gentlemen?" He asked.

"You're looking awfully good for a man that just woke up, Senator," Buck stated.

"What I can say, a man in my position never knows when his talents might be called upon. I must always look my best."

"Senator, we have reason to believe that you are at the top of the hit list for the Red Glove," Chris stated.

"If that's why you came out here Agent..."

"Chris Larabee."

"Agent Larabee, then you wasted your time. I have managed to make many enemies in my career, terrorists included. Somebody who is trying to drastically change society must live with the threat."

"We have reason to believe that the Red Glove was on your property this evening, possibly even inside your house."

"Yes, my friends believed the same thing and a thorough search has revealed nothing."

"Senator, we captured one of the Red Glove leaders about two hours ago. "He told us about a meeting here at nine o clock this evening." The senator sighed. Chris couldn't help, but be impressed at how remarkably cool the senator stayed.

"All right, Agent, I did meet with the Red Glove tonight, but I had no choice. They were threatening to kill me. I had to do everything within my power to convince them to stay away from myself and the other politicians. My intentions were to turn them over after the election. Everything else that he had told you have been lies."

The hair on the back of Chris's neck bristled when he heard the obvious lie. He could see his teammates getting restless. He was amazed that the kid stayed in the back of the truck through the entire conversation.

"I understand perfectly," Chris lied. "But in an attempt to spare his life, one of the leaders revealed that he had planted a bomb inside your house that is set to go off at any moment." The statement had the effect that Chris had hoped for. He saw genuine fear in the man's eyes "But don't worry, sir, Buck here is an expert when it comes to sniffing out and destroying explosive materials."

"Then please have a look inside," Royal stated, motioning for the others to follow him.

"I'll be along in a second. I need to get the equipment" He waited until the three men had disappeared inside the house, than opened up the bed. Use a name here, not he.

"What do you want me to do?" JD asked.

"Can you get a hold of the Red Glove if I give you my cell phone?" Chris asked. JD nodded his head.

"How long will it take them to get out here?" He couldn't believe what he was doing. He was breaking just about every rule in the book right now.

"What are you planning to do, Agent Larabee?"

"There's no way in hell that the four of us can do this alone. Even if we manage to get Ezra and Nathan out of the house, there's at least eleven guards stationed outside.

"And you need somebody to take care of them," JD answered, understanding. Chris nodded his head.

"Do you think they will help?"

"Agent Larabee, many of the men and woman in the Red Glove owe their life to Ezra Standish and Nathan Jackson. Any of us would die for them. The entire organization will be out here in twenty minutes."

"Are they good shots?"

"You remember Sidney's shot on the roof?" JD asked. "She's not even considered one of the best." Chris took a black case out of the truck and clasped JD's shoulder.

"Don't you leave this truck until your friends get here. It would be an awful shame to loose you. You'd make a hell of a good agent, JD Dunne."

JD blushed. "Thank you Agent Larabee."

"One more thing, JD," Chris stated. JD looked at him. "Cut out all that Agent Larabee shit. Chris is fine. I'll see you when this is all over." He added before slamming the bed shut.

He walked towards the house, wondering why God had gotten him caught up in this whole mess.

Chris wondered how they were going to keep Royal busy for twenty minutes with the story of an imaginary bomb. He worried needlessly. Buck played his role perfectly. He spent extra time in closets and told horror stories to Royal about some of the explosions he had seen. He scared the senator so bad, that he wanted Buck to do another check of the house.

Twenty minutes later, every nook and cranny of the house had been checked except for the basement.

"I assure you gentlemen that no bomb was placed down there. My campaign managers have been meeting down there all afternoon."

All of a sudden the sound of gunshots erupted outside the window.

"What the hell is that?"

"Chris, I think that's the Red Glove. Looks like they want to kill you pretty bad, Senator," Vin chuckled.

"Well, we can't just stand here. Do something!" Royal demanded.

"I think the safest place for you right now is the basement. You said yourself that there was no bomb down there," Buck answered, his eyes glittering evilly.

"We can't go down there. There are top secret campaign plans down there!" Royal protested. .

"Would those top secret campaign things include an illegal supply of military supplies, Senator Royal?" Chris asked. On second thought, keep things.

"I don't know what you are talking about," the senator said, turning his back to them.

"I do believe that you are lying to us, Senator Royal," Buck stated, his voice dangerously quiet.

"I'll tell you what I believe Agent. I believe in the three Gs, God, Government and Get the Hell off my property!" He turned back around and found himself staring down the barrels of three guns.

"Oh, we'll get off your property Senator," Vin said. "Just as soon as we get what we came for. What do you say we take a look at the basement now?" The senator saw that he had no choice. He walked to the basement door and opened it up.

"After you." Vin motioned with his gun. The senator walked down the stairs. Chris took the time to turn on the light. He looked down the steps and saw boxes piled against the wall, probably the shipment of guns. Alongside the other wall, Ezra Standish was laying in the fetal position on the ground and Nathan Jackson was handcuffed to one of the beams. Both of them were squinting in the light.

"Agents, these men broke into my house earlier this evening. They need to be taken into police custody. Ezra Standish funds the Red Glove and has committed several murders. Two of his teammates are still on the loose. One of them is responsible for the Marcus Cortez murder!" He said triumphantly.

"That right?" Chris asked. The senator nodded his head up and down enthusiastically. "You all right down there, boys?" he called. Royal looked at him with pure terror on his face.

"I have been in better situations, Agent Larabee," Ezra answered, in a pained voice. "I would forever be in your debt if one of you would be so kind as to obtain our emancipation." Buck was already down the steps and pulling out his handcuff keys.

"Nathan," Buck said with a nod of his head, as he took off the handcuffs.

"Buck," Nathan answered hesitantly. The second his hands were free, he knelt down beside Ezra. Quickly, he undid the other man's bonds.

"I assure you I am fine," Ezra insisted pulling himself to a sitting position. "Well, just as long as the two of you stop spinning."

"Nathan! Ezra!" a voice called from the top of the steps. Before any of men in the basement knew what had happened, JD was by his friend's side.

"Good evening, Mr. Dunne. I would say we've had quite an adventure this evening."

"You sure you didn't get hit the hard a little too hard Ezra?" JD asked, looking at Nathan for confirmation.

"There does seem to be a throbbing pain erupting through my temples, but treatment can wait. I am very anxious to here what has happened since the time of my captivity."

"I will make sure none of you ever see the light of day again!" Royal howled. "I am a United States Senator!" He broke free of Chris's grasp and flew up the stairs.

"Going so soon sir?" an accented voice said from the top of the stairs. Liam and Evan started walking down the stairs forcing Royal back down.

"Who are you?" Chris asked

"Agent Larabee, may I introduce you to Liam Mason, the founder and current leader of the Red Glove."

"Pleasure to finally meet you in person, Mr. Larabee," Liam said with a smile. "Unfortunately, I have always had to leave when I heard of your presence"

Chris could only nod his head. He couldn't believe that we standing within a couple of feet of his number one target for the last few years. He was surprised that he had no urge to shoot the man.

"You are done for, Agent Larabee. Helping vigilantes and terrorist groups? The press will eat this up! My reelection is in the bag. The people do love a helpless victim, and I am more than happy to play the part."

"We go down, you go down with us," JD said standing up.

"What on earth are you talking about? Nobody will believe you!"

"No probably not," Vin answered. "But they can't deny a sound recording." He held up the pin that was attached to his jacket. "Somebody is at the Standish mansion right now recording everything. We may have a corrupt law system, but not even your lawyers will get you out of this one."

"Looks like we're going to be cellmates, buddy," Liam laughed maliciously. Royal's face paled.

"What do you want me to do?" He asked. "Please don't turn me in!"

"Resign from the campaign," Nathan answered. "And if you keep your mouth shut, so will we."

Royal opened his mouth to protest. Painfully Ezra pulled himself to his feet.

"I would advise you to listen Senator. You still keep your wealth and power, even though you don't have to sit in that dull Washington DC office."

The senator sighed. "Fine, just give me a moment to make some phone calls," he said in resignation Vin followed the man upstairs. Smart! Don't trust him out of your sight.

"Agent Larabee, I will forever be in your debt." Ezra stated, as he leaned heavily on JD and Nathan.

"We're partners, Ezra. Damn the day I let a snake like Guy Royal get the better of us." Chris answered. Five pairs of surprised eyes turned to look at him. "Why do I think I'm going to regret this?" He moaned. Even though the agent tried to hide it, he couldn't mask the smile on his face.

CHAPTER FOUR: Just the Beginning

"Senator Travis, can you believe it?" Buck said shaking his head. "Who knew the old guy had it in him?"

"He ain't corrupt enough to be a politician," Vin answered as the four FBI agent piled out of the truck. Chris had pulled up to Ezra's estate. They had been invited over for a little party celebrating the fact that Nathan had just passed his Boards. Ezra's green Jaguar had also just pulled up.

"Quite the contrary, I believe that your esteemed boss may be able to make some much needed changes. If he can whip the other congressmen around the way that he does you, I think we will have no reason to worry."

"You calling us trained dogs, Ezra?" Buck asked menacingly.

"Interpret it the way you see fit," Ezra answered, smiling sweetly.

"Congratulations, Nathan," Josiah said. "I bet it feels good."

"Yeah, it sure does," Nathan answered. "Been waiting a long time for this."

There was a loud crash from the living room.

"Dear Lord, what have they gotten themselves into now?" Ezra wondered, as everyone followed him inside the house. JD and Liam were sitting in the armchairs. Sidney was covered under several quilts on the couch. The loud noises were coming from the TV.

"Isn't that the new Harry Potter movie?" Buck asked.

"Yup," JD and Sidney answered at the same time.

"I thought it was still in the theaters," Buck continued.

"It is," Sidney answered, not drawing her eyes away from the TV.

"JD..." Ezra scolded.

"Aww, come on, Ezra, I won't do it again. Sidney just really wanted to see the movie and she can't go, on account of her being sick and all."

"Speaking of being sick," Nathan asked. "Did she behave for you today, Liam?"

"She sat quietly on the couch since I got here around two o clock," Liam answered guiltily.

"And before that?" Nathan directed the question at Sidney, his voice laced in suspicion.

"You know, I watched a few movies, took a nap. Just relaxed here on the couch all morning," she answered innocently.

"Oh really?" Nathan said, and picked up her boot. There were still chunks of snow dripping off of it.

"Hell, Nathan. Monty and I went for a walk. Both of us needed the exercise after being cooped up for the last few days."

"Sidney, pneumonia's not something that you can mess around with!" Nathan scolded. "You are supposed to stay inside."

"Monty gets to go outside," Sidney protested. The dog raised his ears, as Ezra checked the bandage on his paw.

"Sidney, Monty's got a coat made for this cold weather and doesn't hack up his lungs every time he sucks in cold air. If I hear that you've went outside again, I'm locking you in your room until you are completely healthy." You went or you've gone.

"Fine," she answered, sulkenly."Just because he's a real doctor now, he thinks that he can boss me around like that. He's more like Attila the Doctor than Doctor Jackson," She spat. "Quit laughing at me, JD!"

JD didn't stop laughing.

"Are you aware of what you are getting yourselves into?" Ezra asked.

"Hey, kid, you should listen to the little lady," Buck answered swiping off the kid's baseball cap, and ducking a punch.

JD leapt over the chair and landed on Buck. Vin sat there chuckling, until Buck grabbed his ankle and dragged him to the floor.

"I think I know exactly what I'm getting into," Chris answered. "Nathan, can I borrow Sidney for a moment? She'll only be outside for a second."

"If it's only for a little while," Nathan answered. Sidney leapt off the couch and began putting on her jacket. Nathan put her hat on.

"You want to zip me up too?" She asked. She saw the look on Nathan's face. "I'm kidding," she said and followed Chris out the door.

He stopped opened up his truck and pulled out a file.

"This is for you," He stated. Sidney took the folder and looked it inside.

"I am reopening you father's case. There isn't much to go on right now, but I promise you that I'll do my best to find his murderer. You will be there to help me?"

"Of course," Sidney answered, looking through the papers. "Thank you, Chris," she said quietly.

"I know what it's like to want revenge for someone you love and not know where to get it," he answered.

"Not just for this. Ezra and the others are all I have. I don't know what I would have done it anything had happened to them. I was wrong about you." Chris could see how hard it was for the girl to admit that she had been wrong.

"You're not the first person," he said with a smile. "Should we start over?"

"That sounds like a good idea to me," she answered returning the smile.

Ezra walked over and took a bottle of champagne out of the cabinet "I believe this call for a toast."

"To one of the strangest partnerships in the history of law enforcement," Josiah chuckled.

"Liam, can I offer you a glass?" Ezra asked

"No thanks, Ezra," The young man said standing up and stopping over the rolling mass of bodies. "I've got some work to do."

"Not planning on any more assassination attempts are you?" Chris asked as he and Sidney walked back inside.

"Well, you know our motto, Agent Larabee. When the cops are away, the Red Glove will play."

Liam said his good byes and drove out of the driveway, but he didn't intend on heading back to his home in the city. He drove down the road to a small cabin hidden by the tall spruce trees. An older man in his sixties was waiting to greet him.

"Hello, Liam."

"Hello, Senator, congratulations."

"People in the state were so confused over Royal's resignation that they didn't know who to vote for. I got lucky when I threw my name in last minute"

"Don't kid yourself. You will make fine Congressman. Maybe this is that start of the change we've been waiting for."

"I'm used to enforcing the laws, not making them. Not sure I'll get this whole bill thing right."

"Well, you got one thing right. Chris Larabee and Ezra Standish have finally joined forces. They are one hell of a threat. Everything turned out the way you wanted."

"Not quite, Liam. I'm glad the two of them united forces without much intervention of my own. I had my doubts the night Sidney was arrested, but I never been so happy to admit I was wrong.. Despite that, they've still got a long way to go. I don't want them as two separate forces working together. I want one bonded unstoppable team. Standish and Larabee are both too independent and stubborn for that just yet. No, Liam, this is just the beginning."