Rebuilding the Past

~ Yolande  

****Part 27 

“So yer starting to remember things?” 

“No!” Ezra retorted angrily, disappearing into the bathroom.  The taps were turned on and water sprayed from the faucet, when he returned his face and hair were damp.  “You don’t understand.  That man is…was, Clayton Standish.  And before you go jumping to any more conclusions, I’ve never met him, nor known him by any other monikers.  Maude showed me a picture of him once after the…” he couldn’t bring himself to say car accident, “incident, but insisted he had died when I was seven.  I had no reason to doubt her at the time.” 

Buck rubbed his jaw thoughtfully, taking a moment to comprehend what Ezra was saying.  “Clayton Standish is the same person as Vladimir Lukchenski?  Does that mean Maude is this…Leonie Boulay?”  Chris had spoken to Buck about the birth and death registrations for Ezra Patrick Standish.  “So if they both went under other aliases, doesn’t that mean Maude could be your natural mother?” 

“There’s one way to find out.  Why don’t I call my lovely mother?”  

Wilmington knew he should return to his room and give the Southerner some privacy while he spoke with his mother, but he couldn’t convince his legs to make the first move.  Instead, Buck chose to abscond to the balcony.  He dragged a patio chair close to he sliding doors he deliberately left open, and flagrantly eavesdropped on Standish’s one-sided conversation. 

“Mother!” Standish drawled.  “How are you?” 

Wilmington smirked.  Small chat with Maude was the last thing Ezra had on his mind. 

“Indeed.  You are correct,” he said after a brief pause.  “I was just curious about my twenty years prior to the car crash.  There seems to be some conflicting information, and I’d like some clear answers.” 

Buck leaned his head into the opening, wishing he were privy to the spiel Maude was giving Ezra.  He watched the intense concentration on the agent’s face while he impatiently listened, holding the cell phone to his ear. 

“Oh, I’m surprised after all these years you hadn’t refined your story,” he practically growled down the line. 

“No, I’m not being facetious.  Perhaps we could start with an summary of who Vladimir Lukchenski and Leonie Boulay are?” 

Buck leaned further from his seat, straining to catch all the words as Ezra had turned on his back.  He watched the subtle changes as muscles tensed in the undercover agent’s shoulders and the agitated steps as he paced in the room.  There was a long silence before Standish spoke again and then it was only a simple; “No.” 

Wilmington picked up the chair and placed it in the open doorway, giving up any facsimile of decorum.  He tapped his fingers impatiently on his knee and kept his gaze riveted on Standish; he didn’t want to miss a thing. 

“Why?” the single softly spoken word was charged with emotion.  He turned and faced Buck, their eyes meeting for a fraction of a second before Ezra lost contact.  His face was pale and the tight hold on his emotions was showing signs of crumbling.  

“Of course,” he agreed derisively.  Finally ending the call he dropped the cell phone on the bed and fell lengthwise beside it. 

“Ezra?  Buddy?” Wilmington drifted over to the bed and sank down on the corner. 

Standish sighed and rolled onto his back.  “What didn’t you hear?” 

“Aw, come on,” he protested in a whine.  “It weren’t as if I could hear both sides.” 

“Naturally.  How inconsiderate.” 

“Would you rather wait ‘til we get back to Denver and talk to Chris?”  Larabee had been the one Standish had originally confessed to.  

“You were wrong in assuming Vladimir Lukchenski and Clayton Standish are one and the same.” 

“They’re not?” 

“No.  Or so Maude assures me.  Although both couples knew each other.  If you were to believe what mother has to say, then Clayton Standish had left Maude after their son, Ezra had died in his sleep, to pursue a relationship with Leonie, my mother.  She claims it was only a marriage of convenience in any rate.  Clayton and Leonie Boulay Lukchenski were both coincidently killed in a skiing accident in Switzerland on the same day.” 

“Vladimir, my father, assumed the role of Clayton Standish and returned to America as the husband of Maude, with their son.  Me.” 

“So Maude is like yer step ma?” 

“Hardly,” Ezra drawled.  “Once Vladimir was on American soil, he deserted Maude, taking me with him.  She didn’t hear anything more from him until my so-called accident fifteen years ago, and she swears it wasn’t Lukchenski who orchestrated the cover up.” 

“Lukchenski still alive?” 

Standish shrugged.  

“Why did Maude show you a picture of Lukchenski, when you wanted to see your father?  Why not just show you a picture of the real Clayton Standish?” 

“That was one of the stipulations of the conspiracy.  She was given a set agenda, regarding my past life and claims she had to follow it implicitly.” 


****Part 28 

“I swear, the traffic on Mondays gets worse every week,” Nathan Jackson moaned as he dumped his briefcase on his desk.  

Tanner grinned, shaking his head.  “Ezra would loved to have seen this; Nathan Jackson arriving half an hour late,” Vin chuckled. 

“I’m not that late,” the dark-skinned man grumbled.

“You might consider leaving home that little bit earlier,” Chris stated smugly. 

“Morning, Chris.  You back from your meeting with Travis already?” Jackson attempted to shift the attention off himself. 

“I’m about to head up now.  Please behave while I’m gone,” he admonished. 

“Ya think he’d trust us more,” Dunne griped. 

“Yeah…what could we possibly get up to?” Tanner grinned devilishly and tossed a wad of paper hitting JD on the side of the head. 

“Hey!”  Dunne retaliated by flinging a rubber band at the longhaired agent, and ducking behind the desk for cover before Tanner returned fire. 

“You were saying?” Josiah Sanchez had the gall to ask 


Chris Larabee was the last to arrive for the meeting.  His eyes warily travelled around the unfamiliar suits that lined the wall.  He could feel the vein in his forehead begin to throb and indolently returned the intrusive stares.  He glanced at Travis, but the stack of files on the table held his attention.  The muscles around his mouth ticked as he recognised Ezra and Buck’s names on top.  He wondered if the other files were on the rest of his team and why Travis was sharing this information.  His spine stiffened and his eyes narrowed to a slit. 

“Chris Larabee,” a rough voice greeted, stepping forward from the group and holding out his hand.  The suit was approaching retirement, and his hard chiselled face was testament to a life long career of never smiling.   The frown lines were deep in his forehead and the crow’s feet clawed thickly from the corners of his eyes.  His hand was lined, but there was an undeniable strength in it as it was held out firmly.  Under the suit coat and white shirt, he suspected the man’s body was an armour of muscle, worked hard and fine-tuned over the many years. 

“Yeah.”  Chris refused to shake the offered hand. 

“We understand you are missing two agents from your team at the moment.” 

“Who are you?  And what business of this is yours?” he snarled. 

“Chris,” Orin Travis interrupted.  “These gentlemen are from the CIA.”  As one, the six agents displayed their badges.  “This is Agent Eugene Carmichael,” Travis introduced the older man and quickly ran through the names of the other men present.  “They say they are investigating a possible fraud.” 

“What’s that have to do with me, and my team?” 

“Where is Agent Standish?” Carmichael pressed. 

“Ezra is off on sick leave, as I’m sure AD Travis informed you.” 

“And Agent… Wilmington?” he consulted his notebook. 

“Buck is on leave.” 

“Please sit, Mr. Larabee…” 

“I’ll stand.” 

“As you wish,” Carmichael obliged.  “How much do you know about Agent Standish’s past?” 

“His file’s there,” Larabee pointed in disgust at the report on the table.  “I’m sure you’ve read it.” 

“Indeed we have.  But Mr. Standish’s file isn’t very complete, as you would well be aware.” 

“What is it you’re trying to say?” 

“We urgently need to contact your agent.  He isn’t at his home.  But I presume you know where he is.” 

“I’d advise you to assist however possible, Chris,” Travis warned. 

“If you can’t be any more specific as to why you want my agent, then you’ll have to wait like the rest of us.  Ezra didn’t leave a vacation itinerary and we don’t expect him back at the office until next Monday.  If that is all, I have a job to do,” he sneered at Carmichael and each of the other CIA agents. 

Chris seethed with anger.  He slammed the door of his office with an almighty bang and snibbed the lock.  He was getting some bad vibes from the CIA agents upstairs and his gut instinct said they weren’t here to recommend Standish for a commendation.  He picked up the handset and began dialling Buck’s cell, but quickly replaced the receiver back in the cradle and made the call from his mobile.  He’d have JD organise a search for bugs once he was through. 

“Buck…Where are you?” Larabee requested.  “Don’t go there, you won’t enjoy it.  I have a suggestion for you, why don’t you to take our young friend to Disneyland, I think he’ll enjoy the break.  Go on all the rides and I want to know if he throws up,” Chris laughed.  “Don’t forget Space Mountain, and bring me back a souvenir; you can drop it off at the ranch when you get back into town.  Tell the kid he’s not allowed to stay up and watch TV all hours of the night.  See you in a week.  Yeah…have fun.” 


****Part 29 

“Buck?  Who was that, and why are you wearing that ridiculous grin?” 

Wilmington chuckled.  “That was Chris.”  

“And what does our illustrious leader have to say?” 

“He wants me to take you to Disneyland.” 


Buck led Standish from the terminal, ignoring the peculiar looks Ezra bestowed on him.  “He doesn’t want us to fly back into Denver, so we’ll get a rental and drive.  You got much cash, ‘cause I’m about strapped?  Then we’re to go straight out to Chris’ ranch, since your place is being watched.” 

Ezra sorted through the message and finally asked; “What has going to Disneyland have to do with this?” 

Buck barked with laughter.  “It was just part of the code.  We haven’t used this set for years, not since we were in the SEALS together.  I’m guessing Chris reckons his office is bugged.  He also wants to know if you throw up on any of the rides, to ride on Space Mountain and not to stay up late watching TV.”  Wilmington continued to laugh at the rolled eyes and moan from Ezra. “Oh, he wants a souvenir, too.” 

“Good Lord.” 


****Part 30 

Larabee skidded the Ram to a halt and bolted from the vehicle.  He was pleased to find nothing amiss and happy to discover Wilmington had concealed the transportation they’d used.  It wouldn’t pay to advertise that he had company.  And it had been a harrowing two days, avoiding the grimfaced CIA agents that dogged his teams’ every move.  

Chris hoped he’d sufficiently fooled Carmichael by sending his men on wild goose chases after Vin, Nathan, JD and Josiah.  Larabee had shrewdly sent them out one at a time, and as usual, Carmichael accepted the bait and dispatched two of his agents after Tanner, who was the first to leave the building.  As per instructions, Chris had given each of his men a set of places to visit; trivial excursions, but necessary to some ongoing investigations.  The only proviso was to take their time.  There was only one CIA agent assigned to JD, Nathan and Josiah, leaving Carmichael to watch Larabee.  

Chris bristled; Carmichael and his team were becoming a nuisance and it irked him to know they had Travis’ blessing.  Larabee would go out of his way to protect one of his own, and there was no way in hell he was handing Standish over to the CIA agents.  He was the last to leave the office, and by all accounts showed no concern that Carmichael was single-mindedly on his trail.  Chris quickly lost his tail, with a few imaginative car swaps; it was unfortunate he had to leave Josiah’s Suburban unattended at a set of traffic lights. 

“Buck?  Ezra?  You guys here?”  Chris glanced in both directions quickly searching his ranch house for occupants. 

Wilmington waved a milky spoon from the kitchen.  “Yer out of ice-cream.” 

“Buck…oh why do I bother?” 

“He needs a fix, so don’t be too hard on him, Chris,” Ezra drawled.  “I think something along the lines of a red head…” 

“Shut-up, Ezra.” 

“When’d you get here?”  It couldn’t have been too long, because Chris noticed Ezra’s hair was damp, obviously he’d only recently stepped out of the shower.  “You look like shit, Ezra.” 

“So do you, but I wouldn’t presume to tell you so.” 

Wilmington guffawed.  “You just did, pard.” 

Larabee relaxed marginally, pleased to find Ezra and Buck on talking terms.  “How’s the head?” he pointed at the visible stitches. 

“It’s fine,” he dismissed easily. 

“You up for a ride?  We’ll take out a couple of horses and I can fill you in on what’s been going on while you were away.” 


“Could do with a ride myself,” Wilmington smirked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. 

“Does this man ever think of anything else?” Ezra questioned Larabee in mock exasperation. 

“Not while I’ve known him,” he grinned answering Standish.  “But I would like you to go home, Buck.  Check in with JD and the boys at the office.  I’ve got a few things I’d like to discuss with Ezra in private.” 

“No sweat, Chris.  I’ll drop off the rental and I’ll be seeing you.”  He waved and exited through the back of the house. 

“You two have a good time in Seattle?” 

“Marvellous!” Ezra groused 

“You can tell me everything shortly.” 


****Part 31 

Wilmington was stunned.  He couldn’t fathom how they could be cooling their heels in the Goddamned Hospital waiting room – again.  Josiah and Nathan appeared to be the most relaxed, though appearances were deceiving – he knew they both would be worried about the Southerner.  JD alternated between pacing and slouching in the lounge and pretending to read the two-year-old Sports Illustrated magazine from the coffee table.  Vin Tanner leaned against the wall, keeping an eye on the seven CIA agents, Chris and the aisle that lead to where Standish was being examined.  Chris just kept his peace.  After answering all their questions regarding Ezra’s accident, he had resorted to silence, but the looks he bestowed on the Federal agents intermittently were a thinly veiled and ominous threat.  Buck couldn’t find a comfortable space to sit and so he traced an erratic track up and down the corridor.  Each time he passed the blood-sucking leaches, said CIA agents; he scowled in their direction.  

Buck had only just made it to their office block when his cell rang informing him that Standish had been taken to the hospital.  He scrubbed his weary face and not for the first time wondered who had called Travis.  Surely Chris wouldn’t have bothered.  Orin was currently holding Carmichael’s crew apart from Larabee’s men, but the tension was rife between the factions.  It was only a natural conclusion to have Carmichael’s agents arriving simultaneously at the ER as they’d just followed in the wake of the team seven’s agent they were each assigned.  Wilmington had been ready to rip their heads off when Larabee had informed him who they were and why they were here.  He looked down his nose in disgust at the vultures.  So these were the watchdogs assigned to tear Ezra apart.  He couldn’t hold in the contempt he felt for these agents.  His hands clenched convulsively by his sides, and it was only with an enormous effort he restrained himself from addressing the Feds.  He could do Ezra no good if he was locked in the slammer for assaulting a fellow officer. 

“What the fuck happened?” Wilmington ranted, his face bubbled red with rage. 

“It was an accident, Buck,” Chris retorted.  “The horse spooked and threw him off.” 

“That what you told them?” he gestured over his shoulder to the CIA agents.  “There’s got to be more.  Just what is it you ain’t telling us, Chris?” 

“As if I’d tell them fucking anything!” Chris ranted, jumping from his seat, his eyes glowering as he spoke of Carmichael’s team. 

“Calm down, Buck.” Sanchez grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back a step.  “Chris.” 

“I ain’t gonna calm down,” he yelled at Josiah.  He rounded on Larabee, eyes flaring wildly and pushed his boss backward and slammed him against the plaster.  “Don’t this seem just a little suspicious to you?” he aimed the question at the five agents. 

“We’ve been friends for a lot of years, Buck, but I ain’t ever gonna take this shit, even from you.”  He glared meaningfully at the grip Wilmington had on his shirt.  When Buck released the hold, Chris nodded.  Larabee pointed with his chin in the direction of the Feds.  Although they were casually leaning in easy repose, it would go against their nature not to be straining their ears to listen to the conversation between his men.  He signalled for them to move deeper into the waiting area.  “Yer right,” Chris quietly acknowledged. “Standish was edgy, couldn’t seem to keep his mind in one place.  Reckons he saw something, a light flashing…” 

“Binoculars,” Tanner surmised.  

Or the scope of a rifle, Buck mulled over.  Maybe Chris hadn’t lost his tail after all.  Wilmington mentally replayed the scene at the ranch, he watched his six all the way to his house and then to the office – nobody had followed him from the ranch.  But Carmichael, or someone else, could have found a secluded spot to sit and hide out, until they had Standish in their range.  And riding out on the horses would have been ideal.  Buck tried to recall when Carmichael had arrived at the ER; he scowled in scrutiny at the older agent, but he couldn’t remember.  He hadn’t been paying any notice to the agents when they first started coming in, as he didn’t know whom they were.  

“Could be,” Chris agreed  “Might easily just have been the sun reflecting off an old bottle, but I didn’t see anything.  He took off, like a bull at a gate, really crazed.  And he was riding Warrior, you know how much trouble that horse can be Buck, if you haven’t got him on a tight rein,” he paused waiting for Wilmington to agree.  “He was heading back to the ranch, so I just followed as fast as I could.  By the time I caught up with him the damned horse had thrown him and he was knocked out.” 

“Dammit, Chris!  I left him under your protection. You knew he was in danger,” Buck chided.  “Did you even consider he’d be more of a target?  Have you considered your place might have been watched?” 

Chris held up his hands in anger.  “Fuck you, Wilmington!  You think I led the Feds straight to him? There was nobody tagging me back to the ranch,” he swore vehemently.  “And if I had thought for one minute that he wasn’t up to going for a ride, or that he’d be in any danger, then I would never have suggested it.  You couldn’t have been too concerned, ” he accused.  “You knew we were planning on taking a ride and you didn’t stop us!” 

“You’re turning this around onto me?” Buck wailed incredulously. 

“No one is blaming you, Buck,” Josiah intervened, planting himself between Chris and facing Buck.  “And Chris isn’t at fault either.  It was just an accident.  These things happen.”  He couldn’t understand why these two friends thought the CIA agents were somehow to blame for Standish’s accident.  There were parts of the puzzle that seemed to be missing, and Nathan, JD, Vin and himself were apparently on the outer, although Dunne was rather accepting of the whole situation.  And Josiah was not completely satisfied with the explanation Larabee had given them as to why Carmichael wanted Ezra.  

He scratched his goatee beard and attempted to draw some new insight into the incident.  They were obviously involved in some activity together and Chris, Buck and perhaps even JD were privy to this information.  It didn’t bother him that he wasn’t on the inside, but he hoped sometime in the future he and the others would be afforded the same trust.  What came as a total surprise was to discover Buck and Ezra had spent the past few days together.  Sanchez hadn’t realised the two were that close.  But as they were both off on leave at the same time, it was inevitable he surmised. 

“Josiah you aren’t listening.  Ezra saw something, and it could just as easily have been one of those bastards,” he glared pointedly up the corridor. 

“Why?  What brings you to that conclusion, Buck?” 

“Buck,” Chris growled in warning, sharing a message within his eyes.  “Let it be, Josiah.  But if we find anything to implicate them to this, then I’ll rip their hides apart and turn them inside out!  But for now I want to know how Ezra is.  What do you think, Nathan?  Shouldn’t we know something by now?” 

Jackson glanced grimly at the bloody shirt Larabee wore.  There was a lot of blood, and although head injuries tended to bleed quite a lot, Standish was still recovering from the last injury.  In Jackson’s opinion, Ezra shouldn’t have been out riding, if he was as distracted as Larabee implied.  Falling from a horse could have resulted in many assorted injuries, broken bones, bruising and internal injuries.  He’d be lucky to come out of this with a headache, seeing as how he apparently hit his head.  “How long was he unconscious for, Chris?”  

Larabee rubbed the back of his neck.  “He was out when I reached him and I had the devil’s own job getting him back to the ranch.  He didn’t come to and he was still out when the ambulance brought him in.” 

“Hell!” Nathan swore.  All team 7 turned their attention on the former medic.  “That’s not good,” he started to explain.  “On top of the head injury he already received last week, it’s not good,” he finished lamely. 

A white-jacketed doctor cleared his throat, and knowing the reputation of the seven he steeled himself to not take a step backwards. His resolve broke when he looked into the determined blue eyes of the blond-headed leader, Chris Larabee.  He swallowed, his Adam’s apple rising and causing his normally clear speech come out in a raspy croak. “Are you gentlemen here for Mr. Standish?” 

“How is he?” Larabee spun on his heels and practically growled.  

“There doesn’t seem to be any further damage since his last admission, other than reopening that gash on his cranium, which has been restitched, but it is a concern that he hasn’t regained consciousness yet.  We’ve done a number of tests and a repeat CT scan, but there doesn’t seem to be any significant swelling.  We will just have to wait now until he is ready to wake.” 

“But he’ll be okay when he does?” Dunne queried. 

“Well, at present his chances are good, so long as he regains consciousness soon.  Of course, the longer he remains unconscious the greater the probability there could be some permanent disability.”  JD gasped.  “Is there any family we could contact?” 

“We’ve already sent word to his mother,” Larabee interjected.  “Otherwise, we’re his family.” 

“Can we go in?” Buck queried, anxious to see his friend.  One of the others could update him, if there was anything else he needed to know. 

“Yes, I’d like to see Mr. Standish for myself.”  Eugene Carmichael separated from his group and nailed the doctor with a simpering smile. 

“You aren’t going anywhere near him!” Buck snarled at the CIA agent.  “He doesn’t need to see your ugly mug when he comes to.” 

“Mr. Wilmington,” Orin Travis reprimanded. 

“Keep them out!” he demanded and stalked to the curtained off cubicle. 

“Ezra’s hurt, Carmichael.  You will wait until I say he is ready to talk to you.  Then there will be at least one of us, and his attorney present when it happens.  Got that?” Chris jabbed an index finger into the agent’s chest, well aware that he had the whole team’s support, if not that of AD Travis.  He cast a fierce look at Ezra’s doctor, daring him to challenge the arrangements he’d established; Chris would not be dictated to by hospital routine and damned visitation procedures.


****Part 32 

Standish wrinkled his nose, immediately becoming aware of the starched sheets and disinfectant.  God he hated finding himself waking up in the hospital.  Something had obviously gone wrong.  He hoped none of the others had been hurt.  He lay quietly on the narrow bed, unavoidably listening to the intense argument that transpired between Buck and Chris – it had been going on for some time with occasional objections from Vin and JD thrown in.  He sensed the entire team inside the small-enclosed area and was rather surprised to hear Travis’s thick tones join in.  What the hell was Travis doing here?  The tension between his friends was causing his head to throb.  He turned his head to the side, eyes flickering and wincing as the light invaded the opened pupils.  He moaned audibly, calling a halt to the dispute. 

“Ezra…how you doing?” Josiah was the first to notice the Southerner waking.  So pleased, he forgot to temper his deep baritone and fairly shouted at the concussed patient. 

“Mr. Sanchez…” Standish rasped, squinting his eyes to block out the harsh light.  “Is it possible to lower your voice?” 

“Sorry,” he apologised contritely.  In a much lower voice he continued.  “It is good to see you have decided to share your presence with us, Ezra.”  Josiah patted the agent on the shoulder. 

Standish started to nod, but thought it prudent not to shake his head around too much, as it was riding on waves of pure agony.  Instead he lifted his hand to reach his bandaged head, but Tanner captured the rising limb and pushed it back to the sheets.  “Ya got some more stitches put in yer thick skull, so it’d be best not to touch them,” Vin smiled. 


“Hey, pard.” 

“Why is everyone here?” Standish asked, clearly confused and a little embarrassed.  “And what where you two discussing?” he glanced at Larabee and Wilmington. 

“Nothing for you to worry about,” Buck answered for them both. 

Standish shut his eyes, hoping to quell the dizziness and soften the blows that resounded inside his head.  “I was the only one injured,” he sighed in a depressed tone and pressed the palm of his hand over his face.  

“Sounds like he wanted one of us to get hurt also,” Dunne said in a wounded voice. 

Behind his hand Ezra replied, the words slightly muffled.  “No, never that, Mr. Dunne,” he quickly reassured.  “But it does divide the team and then I wouldn’t now be surrounded by six…ah seven,” he corrected, remembering Orin Travis was also within the curtained cubicle, “of you gentlemen.” 

“Well, iffen you didn’t go falling off yer horse, then we wouldn’t be fretting to see if you were gonna wake up,” Vin accused, but softened the claim with a grin.  

“Horse?” Ezra whispered, frowning and shaking his head in confusion.  Did Tanner just say a horse?  Surely he had misunderstood. 

“Yeah.  And I actually thought you were a better rider than that.  Reckon you shouldn’t have let Chris talk you into going for a ride if you weren’t feeling up to it.”  Should Tanner mention to Ezra about what he thought he’d seen, before the accident?  Vin could probably do some scouting around Larabee’s ranch, suss out if anybody had been hanging around.  It might put all their overactive minds at ease. 

Ezra stared blankly at the Texan, not considering that he with showing his bewilderment.  “Pardon?” 

“You took a tumble off one of Larabee’s horses,” Vin supplied, then chuckled.  “Warrior was too much for you to handle, huh?  He’s a beauty though, ain’t he?” 

Ezra continued to frown at Tanner.  His head was really beginning to pound in a most erratic rhythm.  “I have no idea what you are alluding to, Mr. Tanner.  What has Mr. Larabee’s steeds have to do with my current disposition?  I thought you gentlemen would be more interested with the outcome of the raid?  Would it be too precipitous to enquire how it concluded?”  He arched his eyebrows and they disappeared under the bandage.  

The group of agents surrounding the bed reacted slowly, each man stunned into silence. 


****Part 33 

“Which bust are you referring to, Mr. Standish?” Travis filled the gap. 

“The one this morning,” he responded in annoyance.  “Or was it yesterday?”  He licked his lips and turned his wrist to check the date on his wristwatch, but it had been removed.  “We did get them all, didn’t we?”  He passed a questing gaze in Larabee’s direction.  “Averill Torres and Hoi Chung Li?” he added helpfully, astounded at the thick-witted reactions he was receiving to his questions.  Arg!  This was worse than pulling teeth from a horse – not that he’d ever tried.  The raid must have failed miserably, if they were so circumspect about discussing it.  Lord, another reprimand!  Another black mark to add to his file.  Perhaps that was why Travis was visiting. 

“Ah, that was last week, Ezra,” Larabee announced. 

“Last week?  I’ve been in this medical facility for an entire week?” the Southerner muttered dumbfounded.  

“Nope.  You only stayed in for a couple of days and went home on Wednesday.  You’ve been off on sick leave since,” Sanchez helped. 

“Wednesday?” he scratched his head and frowned in consternation.  “And today’s date, please?” 

“Today is Thursday, the 25th,” Nathan replied. 

“And what exactly happened during the past week?  And why am I back here?” he thumped the edge of the mattress in distress. 

“Don’t go getting all excited,” Jackson placated.  “Trouble with head injuries is they can be real finicky.  Losing a week doesn’t seem so bad in the long run.  And it may come back at any given time,” he smiled encouragingly, “then again you might never recall those events lost.  Just don’t try and force it.”  

“And if it doesn’t return?” 

Jackson sighed.  “As with most cases, you’ll just have to accept it.  We could tell you what occurred during that time, but it would not be the same as your own memories.” 

The undercover agent squeezed the bridge of his nose, and rested back into the backrest of pillows.  “Would it be too much trouble to acquire some pain killers, my head is about set to burst?” he groaned. 

 “Why didn’t you say something sooner?” he admonished.  Jackson picked up the chart from the end of the bed.  “I’ll get someone,” he volunteered and vanished behind the curtains. 

“What is the last thing you do remember, Ezra?” Travis probed. 

Ezra remained silent for a moment, considering the last vivid memory.  “The crates at the warehouse were empty… there was a flash… and then waking up in here.”  He watched Chris and Buck share a look of…relief?  They were hiding something from him.  He swallowed; his throat was dry and raw.  Reaching for the tumbler, Vin anticipated the need and filled the glass and handed it to Ezra.  

“Anything else?” Orin persisted. 

Standish’s shoulders sagged.  “No.  Did something happen, that I should remember?  I didn’t perform some reprehensible act did I?”  Ezra opened his eyes and scanned the line of serious faces.  “Offended some VIP?  Or insult one of you gentlemen?”  He blanched as a sudden thought entered his mind.  “My mother?” he asked worriedly. 

“Maude’s fine…far as we know,” Chris answered.  “And no to all the above.” 


“It ain’t nothing to get concerned about,” Wilmington added.  

“Then there is something,” Standish guessed. 


****Part 34 

Returning to the bay, Nathan was still holding Ezra’s chart; Standish couldn’t have any analgesics until his doctor had reassessed the Southerner and he was busy attending an emergency at present.  “Hey, what are you doing here?” Nathan growled and his face contorted.  “You all heard what Chris had to say.  He doesn’t want any of you near Ezra!”  

“Keep your voice down, Mr. Jackson!” Eugene Carmichael ordered.  “There are some sick people in this unit.” 

Jackson took offence at the implied insult.  “You saying Ezra ain’t worthy of your consideration?  That he isn’t one of the patients in this ER?  I’ve got his chart here…You want to check this first to see if he is in need of medical attention?”  Nathan waved the thick file at the agents, but had no intention of handing it over.  They had no right prying into other people’s medical history.  He snorted in disgust and parted the curtains.  He was moderately surprised when Buck or Chris hadn’t come out to support him, but he felt confident handling the situation. 

“Is there some trouble, Mr. Jackson?” Ezra drawled curiously, attempting to catch a glimpse of the persons beyond the screen when Nathan had entered the cubical. 

The curtain was drawn back and Eugene Carmichael revealed himself.  His agents flanked his back.  He’d been brazenly eavesdropping on the conversation between Standish and his team, prior to Jackson’s interruption.  Wilmington took a step towards the federal agents, but Travis intervened.  

“Get the hell out of here!” Buck roared.  If he wasn’t allowed to throw them out, then he’d use whatever means were left to him. 

“Mr… Carmichael… isn’t it?” Standish inquired, recognising the CIA agent immediately, he sat up higher in the bed and rearranged the covers.  Ezra hadn’t seen the older man for many years; the last time in fact was when he graduated from the police academy.  “What brings you up this way?”  Standish wracked his brain to recall which division Carmichael had been assigned to, but in the prevailing years that could had changed any number of times.  And Ezra certainly hadn’t kept up to date with the older agent. 

“Eugene,” Carmichael supplied, reaching out to grasp Ezra’s outstretched hand, and shoving Buck aside as he did so. 

Chris physically had to close his mouth.  He watched in fascination as the CIA agent and his undercover agent greeted each other as old friends.  Ezra what the hell are you pulling? he inwardly screamed.  And why the hell hadn’t Carmichael made it clear to Chris that he knew the Southerner?  And Ezra’s reaction to the CIA agent was unusual; there was evidently some history between the pair and Standish thought there was no animosity between them.   Wait until Chris told Ezra what this bastard had been up to during his absence. 

“You two know each other?” Jackson glanced from the injured man in the bed to the CIA agent.  

Standish nodded, wincing as he did so.  “Mr. Carmichael and I shared the same hospital room for about a month, he was recovering from a broken leg while I was interned from an unfortunate car accident.  Eugene was instrumental to my joining the force,” he smiled smugly at Larabee.  Standish couldn’t help wondering why the federal agent was here in Denver.  It was fifteen years since that horrific car accident and he still had trouble recalling specifics regarding that time.  After all this time he assumed he’d never remember.  The parallels between then and now were staggering.  

“I can’t take the credit for that, especially as you’d already signed on the dotted line before the accident,” Carmichael countered. 

“Ah, but I might have changed my mind, if you hadn’t convinced me of the merits to be gained.”  Does Carmichael want to seconder him for an assignment perhaps?  Standish had never worked with the CIA; perhaps Eugene was on a headhunting expedition, recruiting new agents for his team? 

Carmichael shrugged.  “I hear you had a riding accident?” 

Standish deepened his frown, plainly confused by the switch in conversation.  How did Carmichael know this?  Was the hospital staff handing out information on patients to whoever wanted to know?  And why would Eugene Carmichael be in the slightest bit interested in an undercover ATF agent?  “So I’ve been informed, but it isn’t the last thing I recall,” he puzzled out loud.  


“Mr. Standish has no memories of the previous week,” Orin Travis interjected. 

 “I see.  You don’t recall anything?” Carmichael persisted, his tone clipped. 

“No,” he shook his head negatively.  “Oh… had we become reacquainted during the week?  I apologise if that is the case, as I have no recollections.” 

“This is the first time we’ve seen each other, Ezra.  And you don’t recall anything during the last week?  Nothing at all?” Carmichael prompted.  Ezra’s face stared blankly at the CIA agent not comprehending the message that was hidden in the question.  

Standish threw his hands in the air.  “I wish somebody would tell me, WHAT THE HELL I AM SUPPOSED TO HAVE DONE!” 

“Nothing happened, Ezra,” Larabee claimed.  “You’ve been off on sick leave, and spent most of that time in your apartment recovering.  You came into the office one day last week and some of the guys have checked up on you,” Chris lied, daring Carmichael to refute the facts. 

“And the reason I was out riding?”

“You turned up there this morning and felt the urge to ride.  You insisted that you were fine and would have no problems with Warrior.  I went with you.”  Larabee figured it was best to stick as close to the truth as possible.  

Ezra bobbed his head.  “Well that explains why I am here, I guess,” he added hesitantly.  “But why exactly are you are here Eugene?” he asked bluntly.  Glancing past Carmichael’s right shoulder, and noticing for the first time the other agents cordoned about the room – people he was certain he had never met or seen before in his life - Ezra nervously slipped down in the bed and pulled the covers up a little higher.  “Do I know these individuals?” 

Carmichael answered, watching the undercover agent carefully.  “Sorry, Ezra.  These are my co-workers…and they shouldn’t have followed me in here,” he paused and gave the group a telling look and they immediately took the hint and left.   “As to why I’m here…” again he paused, nodding once at Orin and finally at Larabee before continuing.  “I’m just visiting a friend down the hall, and heard you were in and thought I’d drop by and say hello.” 

There was a long pause following the revelation.  “That was… very thoughtful of you.”  What else could he say?  It seemed totally ridiculous to consider Carmichael had alternate agenda; they had known each other for a lifetime.  “Are you staying in Denver for long?  Perhaps we could catch up over drink before you head back?”  Maybe Ezra could pry out of the CIA agent what his real purpose for visiting Denver had to do with the Southerner. 

“Sorry, no can do…we’ll have to make it another time, under better circumstances,” he chuckled.  “But it was good to see you again after so many years, Ezra.” 

“Most assuredly.  And yes another time,” he agreed. 


****Part 35 

The hospital room was quiet, now that most of team 7 had gone home along with the CIA agents and Orin Travis.  The only two remaining with Ezra in his new room were Larabee and Wilmington. 

“I feel like it was only yesterday we were sitting in these same chairs waiting for him to come around,” the ladies’ man whispered.    “I know what happened to Ezra weren’t yer fault, I was just blowin’ off steam.  Could have still happened if I went riding with you.  I guess we were lucky he only split open his stitches and didn’t break his neck.  Think he’s gonna ever remember everything that went on?” 

“Carmichael seemed content to not press things.  I’d love to tap into his mind, find out what he’s got planned and how he ticks.  As for Ezra, I think it worked out for the best, don’t you?” 

Wilmington shrugged.  “After the road trip back to your place, I felt like I had finally broken through all his barriers.  We were working on the same wavelength.  It’s going to be hard going back to how we were before.” 

“So you’ve just got to work a little harder at the stubborn cuss.  If you got through to him once, then you’ll do it again,” Chris smiled in encouragement.  “And it should be easier this time round…” 

“How do you figure?” 

“You now know stuff about Ezra that he doesn’t know he’s told you.” 

Wilmington grinned, and finger combed his moustache thoughtfully.  He glanced smugly at the Southerner in the hospital bed.  

“Buck…would you do something for me?  Could you go over to Ezra’s place and collect anything that connected him with Venkov and take it out to my place.  I don’t want you to leave anything, so check everywhere, even the Jag.  Keep an eye out for Carmichael’s dogs.  We don’t need them to know what you’re up to.” 

“You reckon they’ll still be watching the townhouse?” 

“Wouldn’t put it past him.” 

“Yeah.  What’re you gonna do with all the documents?” 

“I’ll file them in a safe place.” 

“You don’t think after everything he’s gone through this past week that we shouldn’t tell him?” 

“Buck, you watched him.  You saw how he handled it - he was a mess! Let’s leave it for a bit, give him a chance first to see if he’s going to remember on his own.  But considering he totally forgot his entire life before fifteen years ago, remembering one week doesn’t seem likely.” 

“But you will tell him?” 

“Only if he brings it up.  Reckon you can put it all on the backburner?  Seems to me, that someone out there,” he waved at the world beyond the inner domains, “wants to keep Ezra from remembering his old life.  And if, or when he does, then they plan on causing him an awful lot of grief.  We might have to find an excuse to watch his back more often than just while he’s on a case.”  When Ezra was ready to discuss it, he’d have to highlight the necessity to play dumb.  Following up leads on this mystery was going to stir up the hornet’s nest; they’d have to be very discreet in any further investigations.  Whoever is, or was, behind this scam would, from now on, be paying particularly close attention to Standish’s every movement.  

“I hear, ya, pard.  I’ll get right on to it.” 


****Part 36 

“You satisfied with the arrangements?” Chris questioned the apparently slumbering agent. 

Standish blinked at the ceiling.  “Do you think it prudent to allow Buck to think I don’t remember?”  Wilmington had played a major role in the whole fiasco. 

“The less people who know, the better.  For the time being.” 

Standish sighed in resignation.  “And the others?” 

“Vin, Josiah and Nathan have no idea what was really going on.  They knew Carmichael was after you, but not why.  And JD…I’m not sure how much he’s grasped, but I’d guess after talking it over with Buck, he won’t mention it.” 

“Do you think they believed?” 

“For the moment.  No more investigating your past and don’t mention any Russian names for the time being.  They’re gonna be watching you closely, any slip-ups and they’ll be ready to rip you eyes out and eat them in one swallow.” 

“That’s rather gruesome.” 

“We’ll all be there to watch your back.  When you’re ready to discuss it with the rest of the Team, we’ll work out some form of Schedule.” 


“Don’t’ argue with me on this, Ezra.  It’s nonnegotiable.” 

Standish grimaced.  

“I can’t get over, you knowing Carmichael.  The bastard didn’t mention that he knew you.” 

“I’m not surprised.  I haven’t had anything to do with him since our incarceration together, and I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that he was playing a part even back then.  But I couldn’t have pretended to not recognise him, he would have jumped on that.  He probably didn’t even have a broken leg,” Standish added sceptically.  “I’d love to see the paperwork I supposedly filled out prior to my…accident.” 

“Ezra,” Larabee growled a warning.  “Leave it for now.” 

“Fine!  By the way, you’d make an excellent undercover operative.  You’re acting skills were very believable,” he congratulated.  “Although I was not privy to what occurred in the waiting room.  I thought Buck was going to throttle Carmichael, and then Nathan’s little spat with them was priceless.  He never did fulfil his promised to procure some pain relief, though.”  Chris grinned slyly and threw back his head and laughed. 

“You did a good job of convincing everyone too and I’d do it again.  That’s what friends do for each other.”     Ezra smiled wanly. 

“When can I depart this medical infirmary?” he moaned, screwing up his face in disgust. 

“Not until tomorrow.  After all, you did hit your head when you fell off the horse…”   

Ezra groaned.  “I have never fallen off any equine and I didn’t hit my head!  There is nothing wrong with me,” he hissed. 

Chris glanced apprehensively at the door.  “Don’t say that too loudly.  We went to a lot of trouble to convince them otherwise.” 

Standish grumbled under his breath.  “What exactly is that covering your shirt?  It looks suspiciously like blood.” 

“It is.”   

Standish raised both eyebrows incredulously.   “Dare I ask who’s?” 

Chris rolled up the sleeve of his shirt and revealed a badly bandaged wound.  “Had to make it look good.  And I didn’t think you’d appreciate bleeding on my shirt.” 

“You cut yourself?” he exclaimed in horror. 

“Well taking out those stitches with a pocket-knife didn’t do the trick,” Chris joked. 

“You ought to have it seen to, especially as you’re in the right place.” 

“I’ll be fine.  Don’t reckon I’d be able to justify how I came to be injured, when I already told them the blood had come from you.  Was quite effective really, it kept drawing the fed’s eyes like a beckon.” 

Ezra rubbed his chin, wincing at the slightly swollen jaw.  “Was it necessary to hit me quite so hard?” 

“You agreed,” Chris grinned in amusement.  “How was I gonna convince the paramedics to take you if you were sitting up and discussing politics with them?” 

Standish nodded in agreement.  “Point taken.  Thanks again, Chris.” 



Chris Larabee picked up the case file from his desk and headed for the bullpen.  He was happy to finally have his family back together.  Two weeks had flown and with Standish taking another week off he had only returned to the team that morning.  Chris smiled at the antics of Buck and JD as they tossed small projectiles back and forth across their desks.  Josiah and Nathan tapped industriously at their keyboards attempting to ignore the two juveniles and Tanner was pretending absorption in his work, but kept an interested eye on the proceedings.  It was good to have things back to normal. 

So engrossed in their tasks, nobody noticed where Chris stood watching them.  He cleared his throat and held the file aloft.  “Got us a case, boys.  Conference room.” 

Five agents loudly protested and filed into the large room.  Standish was still sitting at his desk, eyes wide and staring at the computer screen.  “Ezra?  You plan on joining us?” 

Larabee took three steps to follow the others when he noticed Standish hadn’t moved an inch.  “Ezra!”  He was stunned by the startled look that met his eyes.  “What?”  Chris stepped behind his undercover agent and read over his shoulder.  The mailbox was opened and a message was displayed on the screen. 

Time we Met. - V Lukchenski 

Chris swallowed hard.  So it starts.  “You gonna reply?” 

Standish licked his lips.  Without answering he deleted the message.  He wasn’t nearly ready for this.  “Shall we join the others?  That case isn’t going to solve itself.”  He pushed back his chair and slid from his seat.  

Chris watched the Southerner disappear into the conference room.  Leaning over Ezra’s desk he clicked on the deleted mail and saved the message to a floppy, tucking it inside his jacket.  One day soon, Standish will want to follow this up. 

The End


I do hope you enjoyed reading this.  I would love to hear your comments.


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