Magnificent Seven ATF Universe

by Amelia

They had spent the last three days here in Las Cruces, New Mexico, less than an hour from where the stated bordered on Texas at El Paso. And here it was their last day of competition for the Law Enforcement Title. Each area of expertise had competed, from sharpshooter to demolition and from undercover thinking quick on your feet to planning a case and bust. But it was their last day and all that was left was the awards for the winners of each area. Then they were catching a flight that evening back to Denver. Vin couldn't stand it. He was only miles from his native soil and hadn't stepped foot on it. He stared out the window at the sun that was only midway in the sky, shining on the land where his whole body desired to be standing.

“Mr. Tanner."

“Vin," Ezra called again having seen the look on his friend's face.

“Huh.. Oh what ya need Ezra?" Vin shifted from the window.

Ezra studied his friend for a moment, "Is there something amiss, Mr. Tanner? You seem.. well, you seem not quite your normal quiet self."

“I'm ok." Vin shrugged.

“What is it you see when you gaze out that window?" Ezra tilted his head.

Vin, his eyes drawn back to the glass once more, breathed. "Texas."

“Ahh, we are so close. The award luncheon isn't due to start for several hours. Why don't you take the rental car for a short drive across the boarder?" Ezra suggested.

“Ain't that easy." Vin's voice carried a sad note on the words.

Ezra heard something more, something he recornized. "Do you trust me Vin?"

Vin turned with a frown on his face. "Course I do, Ez."

“Then come with me, please," he requested.

The two men left the building and took one of the rental cars they had gotten at the airport. Ezra drove for only a short thrity minutes. Pulling over on the side of the road, there was nothing in sight but open land, desert and mesa.

Though Vin's hand was on the door handle to get out, he never pulled to open the door.

Ezra, hands still on the stirring wheel, stared out the front windsheild. "I do understand Vin,"

Vin shook his head. "Don't think so Ezra."

“I know what it's like to crave just to step onto the soil that was home to you. Where you have memories of old that you still hold dear. With me it was my aunt Louise in Macon Georgia. With you, it is those very few young years with your mother."

“That's part of it Ezra, but it's something else, too." Vin nodded sadly, looking back out across the land he still craved so deeply, but he couldn't force himself to open the door.

“Yes that's part of it. Just as part of it is all the dark memories we hold at bay, refusing to let them come out for fear they will destory the good we do have. Yours is Eli Joe, setting you up and having the good name of Tanner stained in your home state with the false charge of murder, and aving to face and deal with that alone. No one came to your aid, not even your fellow Marshals. With myself it was the stain of being called a traitor in the FBI after all the time I worked in that office. Instead of what I thought were friends, colleagues, standing up for me, they used me as a scapegoat. I do understand Vin. Holding tight to our good memories, craving to go back and just stand on the ground we called home that holds those times, but fearing if ever we did set foot again in what we call home, the dark memories will come out and taint forever our only memories we have of those we loved and held dear."

“Haunted by never standing there again, haunted by standing there again," Vin spoke.

“Yes, a haunting of our memories, the good ones and the dark ones," Ezra agreed.


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