by Kris

ATF Alternate Universe


Josiah's sharp intake of breath had Vin look up.

Chris said quickly, "He's still alive."

Audible sighs were heard by all. Josiah had thought the tears were because Ezra'd died.

Chris walked straight to Vin and took the seat next to him that JD had vacated. Chris looked at Josiah, and gave him a look to clear every body out.

Josiah understood, he said to JD, Buck and Nathan, "Let's go get coffee for all of us." His hand indicated to all that they leave Chris and Vin alone.

Knowing they were alone, Vin turned his face into Chris' chest and cried. Chris rubbed his back in slow circles as he tried to calm him, the same way he had for Adam. Finally a tear streaked face looked up and asked, "why didn't he want to see me?"

Chris brushed his hand down Vin's hair, "Ezra thinks you want to be released from your relationship to him. He asked to die." Chris stopped and took a ragged breath, "What happened Vin?"

Vin was frozen, he was still working on, 'he wanted to die', Chris took Vin's chin in his hand and turned his head up for eye contact. "Vin what happened last night?"

Vin tried to control his voice as he answered, "We had a great evening together. Honest we did. Alone and romantic." Vin tried to think of any tension.

Chris had hoped Vin would remember, he hated his friends knowing he knew their personal problems. "Ezra said you wanted to move back to Purgatory. That you don't want to live with him anymore. He's hoping to die to make it easier for you." Chris was overwhelmed at the poignant sacrifice, and the utter abandonment Ezra must be feeling.

Vin was silent, trying to bring into focus the last conversation before he fell asleep last night. He thought to their lovemaking and with just the thought, a bulge form. He remembered snuggling close, the words of love exchanged. Vin remembered, "He asked me to move all my stuff into his condo."

Chris looked into the sad blue eyes, "Vin what did you answer?"

Vin looked at Chris with a big slice of his heart gone, "I said, no, can't, always got to have my place to go back to." Hearing the words aloud, Vin knew what Ezra had heard and he dropped his head again and cried.

As his sobs quieted, Vin asked, "God, Chris, why is he choosing death?"

"Vin, he's giving you your freedom the only way he can." Chris explained.

"But I don't want my freedom, I want to be with him." Vin complained.

"Dammit Vin, it's his way of telling you how much he loves you," Vin stared at Larabee, Chris continued tenderly, "It's the ultimate sacrifice. Vin, he thinks you don't really love him, that he's just a diversion. You know, when I suggested you two live together, I had the impression you were crazy about him."

"Oh, god Chris, I am. He's my heart. I'm so scared he's gonna die, and now with him thinking . . .." Blue eyes filled with tears and Chris pushed his head gently down on his shoulder so no one else could see him cry as their friends returned with the coffee.

+ + + + + + +

Three and a half hours later the operating team left the emergency room tired and concerned. As the doctor told them, Ezra had made it through the surgery, but he lost a lot of blood. And as his blood pressure was so low, the doctor wasn't sure if Ezra would make it through the night.

After the doctor left, Helen, the head emergency nurse, came out to inform them of Ezra's location. "They're keeping him in the ICU and even though they all realize that you all want to be with him, only one at a time can stay in the room. These rooms are real small."

Josiah said warmly, "Thank you Helen, I know you set it up for us."

Helen smiled and told them the room number. "Room number 307."

Vin was on his way. The others followed at a slower pace. They waited in the nurse's lounge, as was customary these days in the ICU, customary for Team 7.

Refusing to let his emotions overwhelm him, Vin entered Ezra's room. He looked at the man that held his heart and his breath caught in his throat. He looked so small and frail. The pale complexion contrasted sharply with his chestnut hair. Vin went to his side and gently kissed his face. He stood there, not moving as the rest of Team 7 came into the room to see Ezra, making sure for themselves that he was still in the land of the living. Each man whispered their words of encouragement into his ear.

Chris was last and he whispered that he was needed by the feral cat that only he could tame. He looked at Vin, "If you want to go get some food, I'll stay."

"Thanks Chris, but I need to be here. Ezra needs me here, even if he don't think so. I'll jus' talk to him." Vin was firm. He wasn't leaving Ezra.

Chris nodded as he squeezed Vin on the shoulder.

Vin, the man of few words, knew that there was a small chance that Ezra could hear him, so he talked. He talked of remembrances of cases, of funny times, their times together. He talked of plans in the future. He told stories of some good moments in his childhood. He shared his hopes and dreams. He continued even when staff came in to check his vitals, or to change the IV bags. Vin never quit talking, feeling that may be his only link to Ezra. Ezra had to know he cared.

Vin's voice was horse, but he didn't stop. Nathan brought him juice. Chris brought him coffee. Vin drank it all. It was in the evening of the second day when Vin poured his heart out honestly.

"Ezra you're wrong, the greatest gift is to live, Ez, I ache to breathe your breath," he whispered atop his lips. "Your words keep me alive . . ..stay Ezra, I'll make sure you never regret it. I know your devils and demons, they're much the same as mine. And now that I tasted life with you, I can't go back, we need each other, you and I. I love you." Vin crawled into the bed beside Ezra. He was hoping Ezra's body would recognize him, know that he was not alone. He spoke softly into his ear.

"God Ezra, now that I finally gotten you, do you really think I could ever give you up? . . ..Don't ya yet know just how much I love ya." Vin placed his cheek next to Ezra's and rained tiny kisses there. Vin then shared a part of his life that most never knew. "My Ma died when I was five. God, Ez, I don't really remember what she looked like. I remember a smell, can hear a voice telling me she loved me and that I was Tanner, but not much else. Ez, after that time I've never had a place that I got to call home. Every foster home I'd been in had to give me up and I'd change to a different location. No where, I got nowhere to call home. So my place in Purgatory was really the first place that was mine. That's all I meant by it. I never meant that I was gonna go back there, just keep it. I like living with you. The weeks you were on assignment, those nights were so lonely without you. Couldn't sleep good. . . .After Chris told me what you said about . . .," Vin's voice wobbled on the next word, "..dying . . ..I figured out that it don't matter where my stuff is, I'm only home when I'm with you. So if you die Ez, I'll be homeless the rest of my life." Vin stroked Ezra's cheek with feather soft brush strokes, traced his lips.

"Can't let you become homeless," a throaty whisper announced through those lips.

"Ezra, oh Ezra," Vin rained even more little kisses on his face, "Love ya, no matter what, I love ya and never want to leave you."

Ezra gave a great sigh and fell asleep, this time it was a healing sleep. He slept with the knowledge that he was loved by Vin.

Vin laid his cheek on Ezra's and closed his eyes, the first time in two days. An hour and a half later, that was the way the nurse found them, cheek to cheek. She smiled at the devotion of Team 7. She figured that the only reason that some of these men survived their injuries was in how they willed the fallen to survive. Mr. Standish would live if it were up to Mr. Tanner. She put her hand out to check Ezra's pulse and was surprised when green eyes opened and he whispered lucidly, "Sshh, don't wake him, this is the first he's slept. He was talking all night."

Helen looked amazed, "You've been conscious that long?" Wondering how all the staff had missed that.

"No, but I could still hear him," Ezra smiled simply and Helen nodded, understanding.

Helen left them alone and motioned to Chris Larabee as she exited the room. The rest of the team tensed, afraid of what the news might be. They waited anxiously as the nurse guided Chris further away.

Keeping her voice low, "Ezra's has regained consciousness." Chris gave her the toe curling, Larabee smile.

The other's seeing Chris relax his stance, sat back content to wait for Chris to talk to them.

Helen continued, "He asked for quiet as Mr. Tanner had fallen asleep resting on his cheek. I know you all will want to go in, just do it quietly." Helen beamed, happy at being able to share good news with the team. Chris laid a hand on her shoulder, "Thank you, Helen, for caring." Chris walked back with a bounce that had been missing for days. Josiah and Nathan joined Buck and JD as Chris approached them. "Ezra is conscious and Vin's asleep." He smiled at his waiting friends.

Josiah murmured a quick thank you, as JD and Buck high-fived each other. Nathan looked at Chris and Chris nodded.

"Nathan and I'll go in first, then we'll trade with you all." Chris knew that Nathan needed to see that they were both all right.

Chris opened the door and his heart warmed at the scene in front of him. Ezra opened his eyes and raised his brows in question.

Chris smiled ruefully at Ezra, "He never left your side. You're stuck with him Ezra."

"It would appear so," but his smile told both men that Ezra was truly happy.


In one of the rare moments that Vin wasn't glued to his side, Ezra motioned to Chris, "Mr. Larabee, I need to ask a favor?"

"Sure," Chris leaned in closer as Ezra motioned him in. Chris listened and his face softened as he said, "Will do Ezra."

Ezra relaxed, JD sat next to him and started a story about his college days, Ezra smiled as he closed his eyes. The next time he awoke, he was alone with Vin.

Vin smiled at him and Ezra returned it. Vin picked up the hand that wasn't hooked up to monitors and kissed it. On the outside, and on the palm, he planted his trademark little kisses. Ezra used that hand to cup Vin's cheek.

Vin looked into green eyes that were mirrors to Ezra's soul, he said seriously, "Ez, I don't know what all you heard as I was talking to you, but I wanna make sure you know that I never meant what you thought, I have no plans to ever leave ya."

Ezra moved his hand to cover Vin's lips, "I know now, and I understand. I love you Vin Tanner."

"Ezra, I love you more than life itself." Vin leaned over and kissed him hard on the lips. He whispered, "Can't wait to get you home."

+ + + + + + +

When they finally moved Ezra out of the ICU, the others got to spend more time with Ezra also. Vin hardly ever left and each friend was able to see for themselves the tenderness between Vin and Ezra.

JD remarked to Chris as he sat next to him, "It sure seems that we're looking at somethin special there, Chris. It's like they're just meant to be together."

Chris smiled at JD's astuteness, "Yes, JD you're right about that. What they have is something special."

Buck just smiled, the ladies man had recognized true love when he saw it several months ago.

+ + + + + + +

"You know the others will arrive in little over an hour?" Ezra asked of Vin as he recognized the look. Ezra smiled as Vin nodded and still continued his forward approach.

"Don't seriously know how you'd expect me to look at that tasty naked body and then turn and leave the room, do ya?" Vin asked, his arousal obvious.

Ezra smiled enigmatically, but it was easy for Vin to see what Ezra really wanted as he too hardened quickly. Vin touched him gently as he pushed him back against the wall. He ran his fingertips through his hair, over his face, about his neck. Lightly pressing, massaging, teasing the skin. Ezra gave out throaty moans. As his fingers brushed by Ezra's lips again, Ezra latched on to them with his mouth. He sucked Vin's fingers as he looked Vin directly in the eye. Vin growled as he pulled Ezra close and licked his neck as Ezra continued to suck each finger.

Vin reluctantly pulled his fingers out of the warm, wet mouth as he continued downward in his fingertip hunt. He was hunting for all those special spots on his lover's body that left him breathless. Vin actually knew each one, it was just that the hunt was as much fun as the treasure. He licked Ezra's belly and it quivered under the special attention and Vin's cock trembled in desire. As Vin licked Ezra's hips he grabbed his sweet cheeks, brushing his fingertips along the crackline until he found a special treasure. He teased it, loving the sounds that his lover made just for him. His fingers teased, touching, then moving away. To further electrify him he took his engorged shaft into his mouth and Ezra nearly fell over. To add to his excitement, he could see Vin in the mirror, pressed against his balls, his cheeks in each hand. Desire rocked him and he thrust against Vin's mouth. Vin was ready, opening his throat so Ezra could fit deeper. That sensation was not lost on Ezra, and caused him to lose all control and he exploded into Vin's throat. Vin swallowed all of Ezra's offerings and planned on getting more. Ezra couldn't get over the smile on Vin's lips as climaxed in his mouth. He was hardening again at the look.

Vin reached for the cream and dipped his finger in and reached up into Ezra's ass, Ezra moaned as he bent against the wall. Using his arms to support him, he extended his cheeks toward Vin. Vin slipped out the one finger and replaced it with two. He moved them in and almost out, then pushed deeper, hitting the sensitive spot that had Ezra yelling out his pleasure. Vin removed the two fingers and added the third. Ezra shoved back on them as Vin wasn't fast enough for him. Ezra rocked against Vin's hand. Vin watched Ezra in the mirror and nearly came on the spot at the look of rapture on his lover's face. Vin took out his fingers, greased his pole and pressed against Ezra's welcoming opening. Again, Ezra just wanted it and impaled himself on the cock of his dreams. He thrust against Vin and Vin happily responded with strong, hard thrusts. He hit the nub on the up stroke and Ezra's cries of delight sent Vin's seed exploding into Ezra's waiting canal.

Ezra was all set to grab himself as he was so close, but Vin stopped him. Instead handed him the cream. Ezra quivered at the thought of being inside Vin. Vin traded places and pressed himself away from the wall as Ezra put a slick finger at the opening. Vin bent over more to make access easier. He welcomed Ez's exploration. Ezra moved it in and out until Vin growled, "more." Two fingers went in and Ezra found the sensitive nub on the first try and Vin purred and growled. Three fingers met with no friction and Ezra slicked his cock and pressed it against Vin's opening. Vin, watching in the mirror, didn't wait for Ezra to get there, he moved himself back and planted himself on the rigid shaft. Vin moaned as Ezra fit himself completely inside. Hitting the gland as he thrust, Vin growled out his joy as Ezra moved faster against him. Ezra could feel the build up and grabbed Vin's now erect cock and pumped him in time to his movements and as the moment for climax was there, both men looked into their lover's eyes, via the mirror as they spilled their seed together.

Ezra turned Vin around and nearly collapsed against him. "Now, I'm suppose to want people here, when all I really want is to curl up next to you in bed?" Ezra asked against Vin's lips.

Vin finished the kiss before answering, "What was the question again?" Vin then looked into green eyes, eyes that he didn't believe could show such emotion for just him. He was lost as he kissed again, the keeper of his heart.

Ezra stood back, trying to catch his breath and caught the time, "Shit, we have ten minutes, you know Nathan, he'll be right on time so he can help." They jumped into the shower together and as Ezra saw the water glistening off Vin he pulled him into a hard embrace, kissing the lips he was grateful for each day. Both their cocks responded as Ezra continued to grind himself against his lover, lost in the wet kiss. He sucked Vin's tongue and Vin purred deep in his throat and once again Ezra spilled his seed on Vin. As the warmth of Ezra's fluids hit Vin, it caused his creamy offering to hit Ezra. Both men spent, let the water clean their lovemaking off.

They were almost dressed as the doorbell rang, Vin smiled as he went to answer it. He knew that Ezra needed the extra time to finishing dressing.

Nathan had the utensils, plates and napkins. He helped set them out on the patio. As Vin went back into the kitchen, Nathan took out and taped up the banner JD had made; HAPPY SIX MONTHS TOGETHER.

The doorbell rang again and this time Ezra got it and welcomed Chris. Chris handed Ezra a package and nodded. He'd gotten everything. Before the door could be closed, JD and Buck were arriving, closely followed by Josiah. Chris put the steaks on the grill, but Josiah promised to watch them as Chris sometimes forgot and charred them all.

The barbecue celebration of Team 7's happy couple was a magnificent success and the cake that Chris ordered special said it all. It was inscribed with -a heart match-. JD chose that moment to give them the gift that the five of them had gone in on together. He handed it to Ezra and Ezra opened it next to Vin. It was a picture of the two of them that captured that special bond so obvious to them all. Both smiled their thanks to their friends. There was another present, on it was only the name Vin. Ezra smiled as he handed it to Vin. Vin opened it and the box contained an envelope. Vin looked puzzled as he opened that next. Inside was a paper, with a note. 'V, we both know that home is where the heart is, but it's nice to have a concrete one also. Love E.' Vin looked at the at the paper, it was a deed. It was for this condo, owner's in joint possession: Vin Tanner and Ezra P. Standish.

Ezra said aloud, "Now you'll have to pay half the mortgage." As he looked Vin in the eyes, he said softly, "I love you Vin."

Vin's heart swelled at the understanding this gesture meant, and said back loud enough for all to hear, "I love you too, Ezra."


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