ATF Alternate Universe
ATF Offices 6am
Ezra wiped his computer, then turned it off. He walked down the hallway to Chris' office and set the envelope in the in-basket on his desk. He walked slowly out of the offices and took the elevator down to the parking garage. He knelt down and pet Cuervo, then got into his car and drove away, fighting the tears that threatened to fall.
From the water cooler, JD yelled out to Buck, "Where the hell is Ezra?" Buck shrugged. "We were suppose to work on a new hacker program, and he was bringing some special coffee." JD was disappointed.
Vin heard the exchange, got up and paced around again. He had a bad feeling that he couldn't shake. He knew that Ezra had been acting off the last couple of days, but he hadn't gone to any of them with it. He paced a bit more, then headed for Chris' office.
Chris Larabee laid the letter on the desk after he finished reading it. He dropped his head into his hands, then got up and kicked the trash can across the office, trying to think of what to do.
Vin burst into his office, working on some sixth sense, "What's wrong with Ezra?"
Chris took the letter off his desk and just handed it to Vin.
Vin took his time reading, making sure that he got it right. He looked up at Chris, confused, "What shame?"
Chris took back the short letter and re-read it.
I am not running out. Later today you are sure to receive some information that if I continued to stay, rumor or fact, would bring shame to your team. I value each and every member too highly to allow that. So I depart in your best interests.
Ezra P. Standish
"Damn, Chris, doesn't he know yet that we don't think he's gonna run out? Doesn't he know that we'll help him?" Vin asked in a hurt voice.
"I thought he did," Chris was as baffled as the sharpshooter. He looked up at Vin, "Well tracker, track. Track!" Chris nodded the go-ahead and Vin rushed out of the office.
Vin explained to the others and enlisted their help. JD went to Ezra's computer, but he had to inform them that it had been wiped.
Buck and Nathan left to check his place, but could only report that it was deserted. Everything was in boxes and most of his clothes were gone.
Josiah made calls, looking for leads and found none. Vin knew he had to put the word out to his contacts, Ezra couldn't just leave without a trace. Vin had JD check all his financial records, ATM's, credit cards, scan travel agencies. He told JD, "Find a paper trail." JD nodded and got right to work, he was as worried as Vin, about his friend.
It was the last FedEx delivery of the day that brought the information that Ezra's letter alluded to. Chris read it with anger, directed at both Ezra and the asshole at the FBI that sent it. It was cc to Travis, so Chris knew this particular asshole was purposely trying to hurt Ezra and the team. He called Vin in.
He handed the sheet to Vin as he came in and closed the door. Vin read with fear, not knowing what to expect.
This is to inform you that your dirty agent is even more so. We have numerous allegations of homosexual behavior by this agent. There is no room for that at the FBI. Best clean out your lockers or he could victimize you all. Code of Conduct hearing upcoming.
Section Chief Gibbons
Vin was pissed, "Why didn't he come to me, I could of helped him with this," then quickly added, "We all would have seen him through this."
Chris muttered, "Oh, Ezra." He straightened, and looked Vin directly in the eye. "Locate him! I'll go talk with him, 'n bring him back!"
Vin nodded and turned to go, then paused, "Chris, does it matter if it's true?" He questioned softly.
Chris looked at Vin, pinning those blues with intense hazel eyes, and without hesitation, "No, it doesn't matter. Never did. Never will."
Vin nodded his one-bob nod and left the office.
+ + + + + + +
Vin received a few tips and with JD's help, they traced each and every one of them. Ezra had made a big withdrawal before leaving, so they didn't have an ATM paper trail. Vin was getting real frustrated, he couldn't believe that Ezra would just up and disappear. Vin put his head down on the desk, to think and hide the fear of not seeing Ezra again. He left his mind drift over the different conversations, "JD, what's his mother's current last name? He has a credit card from her, he'd probably only use it once. Look using that name."
"Okay, it was Von something or another." JD fingers flew over the keys, "Got it Von Hauken. Running the name now." JD instructed the computer to check all airports in the US, and all car rentals. "Vin, we'll find him. He thinks he's helping us. He still cares about the team, so when we tell him we need him, he'll come back."
Josiah walked in on the last part of JD's comment. He nodded at JD, "JD's right, Ezra never cared before how rumors affected him or the team he was with. Now he's working to safeguard the team. He may not realize it yet, but he's as much a part of this team as any one of us. The way to get him back here, is just to tell him that there is no team without him."
Vin said softly, "No team has ever fought to keep him before. He may not even recognize that."
"Oh, I believe that Chris can be a might persuasive when he chooses to be." Josiah said with a smile in his voice.
"Oh, I'm with Josiah on that one," JD nodded his head the whole time he spoke. "Member when he told Travis that we weren't going to anymore damn bureaucratic lectures where the speaker is just a pencil pusher. That man can be persuasive all right."
Vin did smile at that memory.
"Hey, I got a hit, a Von Hauken flew into Concord, New Hampshire. Okay, now I'm gonna check registration of all hotels and motels, using both names."
Josiah could sense Vin's worry and agitation, he put his arm about his shoulder, "Vin the family will be complete again soon, son."
Vin nodded, but he couldn't tell Josiah that his pain went far deeper.
"Found him. He's using his name. He's staying at a motel called, The Hideaway." JD was proud of himself. Josiah squeezed his shoulder, but it was the grateful look in Vin's eyes that had him feeling even better.
Concord, New Hampshire
Ezra Standish walked back to the motel with his coffee from Starbuck's. He walked slowly, aimlessly, along streets full of color that didn't register with the undercover man. He was heart sick, and he didn't know how to help himself this time. He cursed himself for becoming dependent on others, six to be exact, a liability in his line of work. Work, who was he fooling, he didn't have a job anymore. Well, once his thoughts quit running disconnected everywhere, he'd attend to it. He just didn't like this sense of . . ...loss. And he really didn't know how to fix that.
He unlocked his door and entered the room that had been home for two days, pretty much looked the same as when he had arrived, just a shaving kit on the bathroom counter. He called down for some clean towels and turned on the TV for the CNN news.
He listened as cars pulled up and left. He couldn't help himself, years of conditioning in self protection was a hard habit to break. He heard the knock on the door, and for a short moment in time, Ezra allowed his heart to hope, but the moment was over as he heard, "Room service."
He slumped just a tad, then called out, "Door's open."
He heard the voice before he saw the owner, "Shit, that's a stupid thing to do, don't know who'll just walk in." Chris Larabee stood in the door jam as the door swung open, with a bundle of towels in his hand. "Heard you were wanting these." He extended his bundle toward Ezra.
Ezra caught his breath at the sight of Chris Larabee, not realizing until that second how much he had wanted to be followed. To be shown that he belonged, he'd never had that, maybe now, he just might. He was appreciative that Chris had given them an easy ice breaker. "Yes, I am in great need of the towels. I didn't realize that was in your scope of your duties."
Chris smiled one of those, half secret, half sly smiles that no one could peg as he closed the door and took a seat uninvited.
Ezra placed the towels in the bathroom and took a deep breath before stepping back into the other room. He sat down on the bed as Chris sat in the only chair. He waited. He didn't want to assume anything, didn't want to read more into Chris' being here.
Chris studied his undercover man. He'd learned to look past the poker face expression of complacency, to the underlying man. Not many in life had made that effort, and Chris wasn't sure Ezra knew that he had done it. He saw loneliness, and that surprised him, for a man that spent so much time on his own . . ...well, actually it wasn't all that surprising, Ezra missed them. Chris almost smiled outwardly, he wondered if Ezra realized that himself.
Chris knew that Ezra was just going to wait, he had a great deal of patience. Chris could be patient when he chose too. Ezra wasn't unnerved, and Chris figured it was because Ezra really believed that he was doing the right thing by the team. Chris had to show him he wasn't.
"Ezra, I don't care what you or anyone else does behind a closed door. What I do care about is what you mean to this team, cause there ain't one without you." Chris paused, then continued in a softer voice, "Ezra, before Denver, you worked on teams, but that was all they were. Now you've gone and gotten mixed up in a family. In families, we don't let each other face problems alone. We all face them together. So, you're not leaving, see, cause together, we can fight anything and anyone."
Ezra bent his head so Chris couldn't see how much his words meant to him. But he shook his head anyway, Chris didn't understand. "The other times, when they asked if I was attracted to someone I worked with, I could always say no. It was always the truth, male or female." Ezra lifted his head and looked directly into Chris' hazel eyes, "Chris, if they asked me this time, I don't know if I could lie well enough." Ezra let his words sink in.
Chris raised one eyebrow, sighed and repeated himself, "Ezra, you're not leaving. I mean it, together we can fight anything. In fact, no one has noticed anything inappropriate. Not one member has ever experienced a moment of any awkwardness. They have only agonized over getting you to accept their friendship. All have been searching high and low for you, no one was going to give up. We all need you."
Ezra looked directly at Chris. Green eyes into hazel eyes and read the honesty of his words. Unable to resist that appeal and the fact that he never wanted to leave the team, he let Larabee persuade him. But the fear still existed that he would bring shame down on the whole team.
When Chris and Ezra walked into the offices the next morning, Ezra knew that Chris had spoken the truth about the team as well. It was an unusual experience, being wanted like this and Ezra was unsure how to react. He'd thought of using humor, but after looking at Vin's and JD's faces, he knew he couldn't, they had really been worried. Josiah said nothing, but gave him a hug. Ezra knew that Josiah needed to do that so he didn't resist, but he couldn't return it either.
Chris called for a meeting immediately, in the conference room. Nathan had Ezra's coffee ready for him and Buck held open the door for him. He smiled at both men.
Chris started right into the heart of the meeting, "Travis says that this, Section Chief Gibbons, is a nasty man. I personally don't give a hoot to anyone else's opinion about me or the team. I know we're outstanding. Travis knows that's how we feel, but he's asked us to do something minor, something that would allay suspicions without directly confronting these allegations."
"You should of just let me leave." Ezra felt compelled to remind them. He didn't want them tarnished this way.
Josiah smiled that fatherly grin, "Ezra we're family, we'll do this together." Ezra looked about the table and saw that the whole team was indeed in this with him, he nodded.
Chris looked proudly at group before him and nodded. "I have a plan." He had all eyes on him. "Quite frankly, I think it is difficult to maintain relationships in this line of work. Nathan's had the most success, but that's cause Raine is as busy as he is." Chris smiled over at Nathan. Chris continued, looking apologetically at Vin as he said, "Vin's fiasco with Charlotte had the most water cooler exposure."
Vin reddened and he looked over at Ezra, who was picking imagery lint off his jacket.
"I want to use that very aspect, the broad public knowledge of that affair." Chris saw that Vin was getting more embarrassed, "Vin, I don't mean to embarrass you, I just believe that you are the 'something minor' that will allay suspicions."
Vin looked at Chris and could see that Chris wasn't bringing 'that' up again to hurt him, so he kept his eyes on Chris to see where this was going. "How?"
"You move in with Ezra."
Ezra's head shot up. Vin straightened up. But it was JD that asked, "Why? What would that do?"
Josiah, understanding, answered, "All the folks in this building know of Vin's relationship with Charlotte. So, if he becomes Ezra's roommate, folks will know that rumors of Ezra are unfounded. Once this dies down, Vin can return to that hellhole he calls home."
"Exactly," Chris said. "A 'something minor' and Travis will back us all the way."
The rest of the team nodded and Chris ended the meeting, then asked, "Ezra, Vin, hang back a minute here." Doing as asked, they both sat back down. "Fellas?"
Ezra took a breath, "I will clear out the extra bedroom. I will be happy to have Mr. Tanner reside there."
Vin said, "Okay, I'll move in with ya for a while." Vin's insides were churning, he was hoping he could survive it. Exquisite torture.
"Good, this will work, just wait. The others are working the background for the Pitman case, so why don't we go get Vin moved. Two heads nodded at Chris.
+ + + + + + +
Vin knew he was going to lose it soon. He just wasn't getting much sleep. He could envision Ezra, lying in the next room, and Vin would have to spend half the night in the bathroom doing himself.
He thought back to this morning, the first Saturday in six weeks that they didn't have to work. They had omelets that Ezra had prepared. Coffee and toast. They shared the paper, it was so regular that it had Vin's breathing getting raspy again. They'd had their first real conversation, about exercise all of things. Vin couldn't believe how much effort Ezra put into running. But Ezra had confessed this morning how uncomfortable gyms made him. People would keep trying to talk to him or hit on him, and for a guy like that, who valued his solitary time, it was dreadful. As Vin felt the same way, he understood Ezra's feelings. He had hoped that Ezra would stay home this evening, but he had gone running again.
It was raining hard and Vin was worried that Ezra wasn't back from his run yet. He was disappointed, he thought that maybe he would have at least cut the run short, not extend it. He finally heard the keys at the door and rushed over to open it. Ezra was leaning against the door jam, barely able to stand. Vin reached out to lead Ezra in and could feel the heat his body was producing. Ezra had a fever, he was barely lucid.
Ezra let Vin led him to the bedroom, where he collapsed on the bed. Vin knew he had to get his wet clothes off. Vin pulled off the soaking t-shirt and couldn't help but admire Ezra's torso, lean and hard. He found himself gently running his hand across Ezra's chest, before he caught himself and bent to take off his running shoes and socks. Next, he pulled at the waistband of his running shorts. As they were lined shorts, he had on no other underwear. Vin sucked in his breath at the sight of Ezra's cock and balls. He had to force himself not to fondle him. He got a towel and rubbed Ezra dry. This procedure elicited little moans from a feverish Ezra. Vin rolled Ezra over and pulled the blankets back, then rolled Ezra back covering him with the blankets.
Vin threw the wet towel back into the bathroom and left his own shorts there. He crawled into bed with Ezra and spooned him close. He placed little gentle kisses on his forehead and cheeks. He tucked Ezra closer as he watched him sleep. Ezra seemed to relax as the night wore on. Vin awoke several hours later and left the bed to relieve himself.
After Vin left the bed, Ezra trashed about a bit. He awoke startled and sat up quickly. He looked about and found that he was alone. He turned his head into the pillows as he cried.
Vin heard Ezra awake and pulled on his shorts, then went out to Ezra, leaving the bathroom light on. He saw Ezra's shoulders shaking as he silently cried into his pillow. Vin sat next to Ezra and put his hands on Ezra's shoulders, "Ezra, what's wrong?"
Ezra turned toward the voice, tears fresh on his lashes, his green eyes glistened as he sought and found blues eyes to die for, "Dream." It was all he said.
Vin pushed the hair away from the green eyes he desperately needed to see, "Must have been a horrid dream to make you cry."
Tears filled Ezra's eyes again, "No," spoken in such agony, "crying because I woke up." Ezra turned his face away again and sobbed into his pillow.
Vin moved closer and pulled Ezra close and let him cry onto his chest. The sobs quieted as Ezra fell back asleep. Vin didn't want to disturb Ezra, so he stayed just as he was, supporting Ezra against his chest. After he made sure that his even breaths were of sleep, Vin kissed the top of Ezra's head as he drew the blankets around them both.
It was still dark when Ezra awoke, he went to move but felt arms tight about him. At this movement, Vin tightened his hold, murmuring sleepily, "It's okay, Ez, it's okay."
Fully awake, Ezra took stock of where he was. His bear chest was pressed firmly against Vin's bear chest, Ezra immediately hardened, lying his cheek back down on the chest. A hand began rubbing his back in a calming way as the other arm would not release his hold. Vin's hand against his back, had Ezra's cock fully extended.
Vin was awake now too. As he had his knees up, his sweat shorts hid his fully engorged cock.
Ezra whispered into Vin's chest, "Vin . . ."
"Vin, why . . .?" Ezra didn't even know what to ask.
"Ez, you had a dream that upset you, you had a fever, I'm just trying to help." He looked down at that moment, and caught an expression that he had waited two years for. He reached out and cupped Ezra's face, rubbing his thumb over the parted lips. Ezra leaned into the touch afraid to open his eyes, lest the dream ended again.
Vin licked the hallow of Ezra's throat, trailing up to his ear, gently wetting the entire area. He changed to kisses as he covered the closed green eyes and cheeks until he could stand no more and lowered his lips to Ezra's with no plan of ever leaving them. His tongue sought entrance into the mouth he had dreamed of invading. Vin's tongue tried to learn how deep the grotto went, when he found his tongue latched onto and sucked nearly out of his head. Vin moaned as delicious shivers traveled through his center and hardened even further, his already swollen member.
The desire held so long in check took control and he pressed himself as close as he could get. Feeling Ezra's answering hardness, he ground his cock into Ezra's and reveled in the moans and little squeals from his soon to be lover. He pulled the covers down and used his tongue to lick his neck, then rubbed his thumb and tongue at the base of his throat, eliciting even more untamed sounds. Vin continued his oral exploration of Ezra. His tongue licked his chest, weaving back and forth until he found an already erect nipple. He licked and flicked the nub until Ezra wiggled his body in pleasure. Vin captured the erect nub and sucked it till a cry burst forth from Ezra. Vin left that protuberance and attended the other, so it would not feel slighted. Ezra's cries were incoherent and Vin smiled as he let his tongue continue it's downward exploration. He licked his stomach and his tongue discovered the navel. He swirled around it and finally dipped into it, the sweet scent of Ezra shot desire coursing through his own body and made himself even harder, if that were possible.
Vin pulled the sheet completely off this man of his dreams. His hand reached across Ezra to rest at the top of his hip and Ezra looked into blue eyes with a need to understand. Blue eyes begged trust from the green and they gave it by closing the eyes and resting his head back.
Vin ran his tongue along the muscle lines from his navel to his hips and back. He traced the other side with equal attention. He traveled straight down, just stopping before touching the most beautiful cock he'd ever seen. Vin's tongue licked and skimmed along the pulsating penis, causing Ezra's hips to writhe around, searching for something to rub against. But Vin resisted the invitation, instead he spread Ezra's legs apart and licked his inner thighs, gaining further growls from his lover that yearned for more. He teased the tender flesh until he found his nose pressed against Ezra's balls. Vin slowly licked them, gently, tenderly until he housed them completely in his mouth. Ezra hardened more and Vin knew that Ezra was as close as he was. But he ignored his own condition as he made eye contact with Ezra, then engulfed Ezra's entire cock into his mouth. Ezra rolled back, hips bucking as Vin sucked and rolled his tongue along his shaft.
When Ezra thought he could go no further into Vin's mouth, Vin opened his throat and took him in completely. Vin's chin was resting on his balls. He brought up his fingers to touch and caress balls that would have liked to join the shaft in the velvet wetness of Vin's mouth. Vin could feel Ezra reach the edge, so he moved up and down the swollen shaft, sucking all the while, until Ezra erupted, pouring the entire contents of his fluid down Vin's throat. Who eagerly lapped it up, not spilling a drop.
Ezra laid there, not sure if he was still on the earth at all. If this was part of his dream, he had no intention of ever opening his eyes. Vin placed himself along Ezra's body, his own erection placed firmly against Ezra's thigh. He blew gently into Ezra's face and followed his breath with little kisses everywhere he imagined his breath landed. Still Ezra kept his eyes closed, savoring the delicious feelings that were still being created.
Vin smiled close to the luscious lips as he spoke on top of them. "Open your eyes Ezra. This is not a dream." Ezra only shook his head no, afraid.
"That'll only make me think you didn't enjoy that." Vin said idly, as he traced his pinkie across Ezra's chest.
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