Back From Baja
by Twyla Jane
The disclaimer is and always will be I don't own 'em and never made a plug nickel off 'em. Wish I did. This ain't betaed. All the mistakes are mine and mine alone. Thanks to Mog for this AU and to Silver Wolf for making the suggestion that inspired this, the sequel to my story Tijuana Jail.
With his head pounding Ezra Standish woke not at all sure where he was. What he did manage to ascertain with his muddled brain confused him. Laying face down against something comfortably warm he tried to figure out why he couldn't will his limbs to move let alone roll over. Standish felt wretched, his head was throbbing and the inside of his mouth tasted absolutely foul. The normally quick witted and sharp agent was genuinely stupefied when he heard a low groan in close proximity to his left ear. When Ezra finally managed to roll over the cast on his left wrist connected with something more or less solid sending a jolt up his arm that had him sliding off the bed howling in pain. His sediments were echoed from the bed as a string of slurred curses, that snarled drawl was unmistakable, Tanner.
"Aw Hell..." Standish bemoaned the rude awakening.
"Shut up..." Vin snarled out unable to decipher if was the massive hangover or the mild concussion, dehydration and maimed limb that was turning his guts into knots. Getting smacked in the head didn't help matters. At that moment he didn't care about anything except how he was going to get to the bathroom before his rolling stomach completely betrayed him.
Ezra wasn't much better off but at least he knew where he was now because after hitting the floor his eyes snapped open if only for a second. Long enough to recognize the walls of Larabee's guest room and was content to lie quietly on the floor. That is until Tanner after muttering a few stifled obscenities clattered across the room only to trip over him trying to make a mad dash towards the toilet. The pair ended up tangled on the floor, Vin struggled to get upright and after some rough manhandling from Ezra he thumped into bathroom. Loud retching soon followed. Standish might have winced in sympathy if he were having troubles of his own.
Somehow the urbane southerner managed to get himself wedged partial under the bed, actually his leg was caught on something and he couldn't readily extract himself. No matter how hard he tugged it became obvious he was stuck so he sank back on to the floor and gazed up at the ceiling. A quiet the sedate aura that had settled over the modest room was in stark contrast of the memories that flooded through his mind of the past few days, in which he had been caught in one long continuous hellish scene from a draconian nightmare. Beginning with the judge's order for the team to take some down time. Ezra's original intention was to slink off on his own but Vin had been waiting outside his condo when he returned home. Instead of dismissing Tanner, he had invited him in and somewhere during the course of the evening over some fine brandy and domestic beer the decision to journey to California was made. Standish had a few connections so that sometime after three in the morning he and Vin were aboard a chartered plane headed towards San Diego. The flight had gone relatively smooth and a rental car awaited them upon their arrival at the small airport. They even enjoyed a hearty brunch before a whim to see the Baja coast had them driving across the border into Mexico. Everything went to hell after that. He let loose a long pent up breath wondering if Shakespeare was correct, was all well that ended well? He wasn't so sure but there was little to do about it now. So instead he concentrated on freeing himself. No matter what he tried the limb remained entangled. Frustrated and having almost given up Standish gave his leg one last tug, this time it came free. Only then did he notice just exactly what had caught on the bed frame.
No way in hell...
Bold as brass, there it was an electronic anklet strapped firmly to his leg. And the memory of a chuckled threat surfaced.
The silence was broken as Vin lurched back into the room dropping heavily atop the bed, easing himself back into the pillows as he awkwardly pulled his braced limb up to rest on the rumbled bed sheets. A stolen glance at the irritated Tanner revealed volumes sent the Standish prone form into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. His fellow longhaired agent had a matching anklet on his good leg.
The crash had him running make sure the fools were okay but the laughter stopped Larabee outside the partially open door trying to maintain his composure as he listened to Vin and Ezra bicker.
"I can hear Marlin Perkin's narration now.... A tagged Texan... brought to you by Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom..." the words were drawled out. "Where's Jim when ya need him?"
"Least I didn't get stuck under the bed..."
Vin gingerly glanced over the edge of the mattress and down at Ezra, wondering silently if his rebellious stomach would ever settle though it would serve the cocky bastard right if he spewed on him.
"Ah but I still have my pants my dear sir...until like a certain individual who was paraded through the airport in broad day light clad only in his boxers and boots..."
"The biddy airport was mostly empty Ez from what I recollect an' least I was somewhat clean those fancy duds of yers stank worse than a cesspool on a hot day."
"I apologize for this entire misadventure... "
"Shut up Ez... ain't yer fault..."
"I invited myself along..."
"Shut up Ez..."
The two men were quiet for a moment watching as the sun's hues filtered through the curtained window as it was going down over the horizon. Vin had propped himself up on one elbow and was giving his friend a sideways glance when a mischievous grin spread across his grizzled sun burnt face.
"Chris is gonna have to pay for this..."
The two jumped a little when the door slowly swung open to reveal a very amused Larabee in a relaxed pose as he leaned in the doorway.
"You assholes are lucky I didn't go with plan 'B'."
"What may I ask was Plan 'B'?" The question came up from the floor.
"You'll find out if you do anything this stupid again. Oh and Boys I'm not taking those anklets off until you return to work."
A slightly feral grin came across Chris' face while he stood there watching them and chastised his men.
"You two are worse than a pair a mules..."
"Mr. Tanner I wonder what has got our illustrious leader so irritated?"
"He ain't mad he loves..."
"I wouldn't have thought the man was that familiar with livestock..."
"That is not what I said..."
The grim looking man shut his mouth and shook his head to say anymore would be futile the two were incorrigible.
"Ah a very astute observation Mr. Tanner, you've picked up on his well hidden passion. Rest assured Mr. Larabee your secret is safe with us."
"Fine have it your way, but those anklets stay on."
The man in black quickly turned on his heel and left them to their own devices.
"Can you get these off?"
"Without a doubt."
Neither man made an effort to move. The tendrils of sleep were tugging them away.
"We'll get 'im tomorrow."
Their resolve was only reinforced when they heard Chris chuckling as he went down the hall.