Yielding To It

by Gray

ATF Universe: Mog’s, not mine. I don’t really know who Mog is…but I think she’s neat and I’ve just have to tell her, ‘thanks.’

Disclaimer: also not mine…and if I’m sued they’ll get like…all three pennies that I have to my name. Oh yeah, and two pesos.

Rating: PG? Heck if I know…and that phrase should answer most of your concerns.

I was going to put this on one of my other posted stories, but I keep forgetting. This is a special thanks to Desertsage who was kind enough to send me nice notes about my first posted endeavor…and as a result I kept writing and posting what I write…and I hope I’m improving. Thanks again.

Notes: Assumes you are already familiar with the characters. Also, this is not usually how I picture Ezra, or Vin for that matter, but…here you go. It’s also just a short piece. I have a longer one to be posted soon but I got stuck on the ending so it may take a little longer than what I originally told people. Sorry.

Comments, tips, ideas, questions, whatever (all are very much appreciated): (gray_river@hotmail.com)

Vin Tanner, sharpshooter extraordinaire, pulled on his rusty brown leather jacket and slipped silently and stealthily toward the elevators. He would escape this time and not be noticed. At least that is what he hoped.

"Tanner." The cold voice stopped him in his tracks. "Where do you think you’re going, Cowboy?" Chris had caught him all three times that he’d tried to leave.

"Chris, I’m fine. I want to go home," he explained patiently. He was just going home to sleep, it’s not like he was going out to run a marathon.

"And I said no, not alone," re-exerted the leader. "You won’t be alone for at least the next three days. Now, take a seat." Chris led Vin back to the wheeled swivel chair he’d just left while glaring at the occupants in the room.

Josiah and Buck both simply shrugged. They’d tried to keep their eyes on the Texan but it was a lost cause. He’d escaped anyway, so they’d stopped trying. Besides, everyone was tired. It had been a rough week. Particularly for Vin—who’d been hit in the head for the second time that week during a bust—and Chris’s latest concern, Ezra.

The undercover agent had been forced out of contact with his own team back-up, had been picked up by the same FBI agents that accused him of being "on the take," and spent three hours lost in the system, unsure if his team was even looking for him—all that in a twenty-four hour period.

In the meantime the rest of the team had been so busy working on a separate case that by the time Ezra was "retrieved" no one had much time to get the details from him. Chris knew the signs though, and he knew Ezra was worried about the FBI’s version of events. Chris realized that the gambler was worried once again about whether or not the team would trust him.

Chris was stuck in this momentary thought process, his stillness counter-acting the buzz in the rest of the office, when he noticed Ezra enter with his rumpled suit.

"Ezra," he called, while simultaneously reaching out and blocking Vin from rising for a fourth time.

The agent in question nodded and slowly made his way over to them, dodging JD’s paper wad as it was tossed at the garbage can. His face was calm but Chris could read the apprehension in his movements. He sighed, hoping the easy rapport of the team could be re-established soon.

As Ezra drew within arm’s length, Chris reached out the hand that wasn’t resting on Tanner’s shoulder and put it on Ezra’s.

"Mr. Larabee," acknowledged the conman.

"Standish, you look terrible," stated Chris, noticing the tired eyes, and the deepened lines around his mouth.

"Don’t pay him no mind, Ez. He’s nasty tonight." Ezra’s face eased slightly at Vin’s cantankerous comment and Chris made the decision to kill two birds with one stone.

"Yes well, it has been a rather long day," Standish acknowledged.

"Right," began Chris, trying to sound stern. "And for some of us it ain’t over. We’ve gotta get this stuff done tonight." He noticed Ezra’s face start to tighten again but forestalled it as he continued, "So, I want you to go home, get out of our hair, and sleep, and for once I’m ordering you to sleep in tomorrow. Got it?"

Ezra’s face was easing even more but being adept at reading people, he knew there was more. "And?" he issued.

"And, take Vin with you. Lock him in your apartment so that he won’t get out." The order was typical Larabee.

"See, I told ya, Ez, nasty." Vin didn’t look well, Ezra noted, but he was smiling. Ezra smiled back.

"And don’t either one of you guys get any ideas. I’ll be calling to check up on you and I’ll be sending Nathan over in a few hours. Stay put and sleep…both of you."

"Yes, sir," replied Ezra, not entirely sarcastic, gratified that Chris was entrusting him with his best friend.

There was no reply from Vin so Chris tightened his grip on Tanner’s shoulder. "You better reply in the affirmative, Cowboy, or you’re going to be banished to my couch in the office until I send you home with Nathan."

"What’s the difference? You said you were gonna send Nate out to Ez’s anyway. Either way I’ll be getting grief."

"Okay, my couch it is."

"Alright. Reckon I’ll go with Ezra. Even though he’ll just lock me to the bed cause ya’ll think I’m a five-year-old."

"On the contrary, Mr. Tanner. We think of JD as the five year old and you as a rather mature seven-year-old."

"Gee thanks, Ez." Tanner said this as Chris and Ezra eased him to his feet again.

"Anything specific to watch for?" Standish directed this question to Larabee.

"Just keep him still. He has a slight concussion, so technically he should be woken up every few hours but I don’t want you to worry about that. That’s why I’ll be sending Nate." Chris paused, eyeing Ezra, then continued, "You gonna be okay to drive? You look really spent."

"We’ll be fine, Chris," claimed the gambler, uncharacteristically using his boss’s first name. Meeting Chris’s eyes, he gave a confident dip with his head—the two fingered salute without the two fingers.

Chris smiled tiredly as he watched them leave, Standish keeping his hand firmly under Tanner’s elbow.


During their time in the jag, Vin took the time to focus his pained eyes on the driver. Standish’s eyes were pinched, his sharp features pale and tight, his clenched jaw fighting an obvious need to yawn.

"Got a problem, Ez?" the Texan questioned. His voice neither too serious nor too flippant.

"Blunt as always, Mr. Tanner," deflected Ezra.

In reality, they both knew what the issue was. Vin pushed forward, undeterred by Ezra’s hint at his lack of tact.

"You worry too much Ez," said Vin, going right to the heart of the matter. "Chris will take care of it."

"Unfortunately, I don’t have the same psychic connection that you do with our aforementioned leader," Ezra all but snapped.

"You don’t have to Ezra. Just trust that he’ll take care of it."


"Yes, trust, you’ve heard of the concept, right?"

"Trust…Larabee?" Clarified the driver of the car, asking if that was what Vin was hinting at.

"Yeah, Ezra. Maybe it’s not about us trusting you this time. Maybe it’s about you trusting us. Maybe you should give into it for once."

Ezra knew he must be really tired to even be having this conversation. It was striking a nerve and he was starting to get irritated. He hated it when Vin called him on his weaknesses, because Vin always did. But, two could play at that game.

"Like you trust Larabee?" Standish allowed just enough skepticism into his voice to be convincing.

Vin was thrown by the question and responded with, "What’s that supposed to mean?" His voice wasn’t loud or angry, curious though, and perhaps a little defensive, playing off the irritation he’d caught in his friend’s intonation. Everyone knew Chris trusted Vin implicitly and vice versa. It was the only relationship Vin had in the last 20 years where he could honestly say trust was never an issue.

"It means that you’re hurt!" clipped Ezra. "You have a head injury and you’re trying to retreat into some corner like a wounded animal…and you always do that, especially with a head injury. Initially you show some modicum of common sense and you let Mr. Jackson, or whoever happens to be there, take care of it…and then suddenly you pull back like we’re the plague when all we’re trying to do is help you."

"That’s only because you all start to treat me like I’m six, especially when I have a head injury…I start to feel hemmed in with you guy’s asking me if I’m okay every hour on the hour…I just start to feel trapped," Vin explained, realizing how deep he was really getting. He didn’t usually talk so openly. Figuring he must have hit his head a little harder than he thought he continued, "And…cornered with you all just…watching me."

"You’re supposed to watch someone with a head injury! Oh…yeah…heaven forbid we watch your back," Ezra snapped.

Vin let a beat of silence pass before replying softly, "Yeah, Ezra, heaven forbid we watch your back."

Ezra had walked right into that one. ‘When did I lose control of this conversation,’ he wondered. He detected the sincerity in his fellow agent’s voice, but he also knew him well enough to catch the smugness in the background. He turned forward, his knuckles white as they gripped the wheel. Vin was staring at him…he could feel it. It was the ‘Vin look’ that they all knew so well. Tanner was waiting for a response.

Ezra pulled the jag up to a red light and let it settle. The stilled hum of the motor was suddenly loud in his ears, prompting him to come up with a response to feel the silence.

"You never try to con a conman, Mr. Tanner. Didn’t you ever learn that?" he muttered, still staring at the red light in front of him, feeling that it was amazingly long. Then he mumbled, "How did I not see that one?"

"‘Cause I wasn’t connin’ you Ezra. Just pointing out something that you already knew."

"Trust Chris, huh?" Ezra’s formality was sounding amazingly lax.

"Trust…all of us," responded Vin.

"Okay," he conceded, then continued, "And you won’t give us a hard time when you have a head injury and have to be…a…‘cooped up’ for a while." He shot the Texan a smile as he revved the engine and pulled through the stoplight.

"Deal," muttered Vin, "it’s not like I have much choice."

"Nor, I suppose, do I, Mr. Tanner."

"We might as well just give in now then…save ourselves the trouble."



Chris pushed his way into Ezra Standish’s pristine apartment early the next morning. He was met with absolute silence…and he hoped Vin and Ezra had the sense to not have left.

Suddenly he heard a small grown coming from the hidden side of the leather couch in the front room. He leaned over it to find Nathan struggling to wake up. He reached out a hand to stop the paramedic’s upward movement. "Go back to sleep," he whispered; now assuming the silence meant the other two were still asleep. He knew Nate couldn’t have gotten much rest yet. Not as much as he needed to make up for the last few days anyway.

"No, I should go check Vin again," muttered Jackson.

"He okay?" asked Chris, unable to keep himself from asking the question to the obviously rest-deprived medic.

"Yeah, but he started throwing up last night…er…well…earlier this morning." Nathan was whispering as well, confirming the fact that the other two were sleeping he deduced gratefully.

"Isn’t that serious?"

"Not really…not with Vin…migraine hit him…he gets ‘em anyway…knock to the head makes him more vulnerable to ‘em…his L.O.C. still hasn’t gone down…that’s what we have to watch for."

"English, Nathan."

"Level of Consciousness. He knows who he is, where he is, when he is and what happened. He ain’t gonna be feeling too good the next few days but he’s okay." Nathan was still sort of half muttering, trying to rub the sleep from his eyes.

With Vin throwing up in the night the healer must have gotten less sleep than he thought. Chris pushed him down onto the couch again. "Go back to sleep. I’ll check him. I know what to look for…more or less."

"Okay," mumbled Nate, already mostly asleep again.

Chris wandered into the back rooms, he peaked in to see Vin crumpled up on the large bed in the guest room, and surprisingly Standish slumped in the easy chair next to him, his head listing at an odd angle. ‘That can’t be comfortable,’ thought the leader.

He padded silently into the room and shook Ezra’s shoulder.

"I’m fine, Mr. Jackson," muttered Ezra; at least that’s what Chris thought he muttered.

"It’s me, Ezra," he tried again.

Suddenly the man in the chair seemed to snap out of his groggy state. He rubbed his eyes for a moment, and then squinted up at Chris, "Mr. Larabee?"

"I thought I told you to rest?" complained the leader; already knowing it was a lost cause.

"I did. Mr. Tanner started throwing up. I couldn’t sleep through that."

"Okay, okay," placated Chris. "We have the day off anyway. And tomorrow’s Saturday so…you’ll get lots of rest."

"Yes, sir." Standish let a little sarcasm grace his voice this time as he answered the subtle order.

"How is he?" asked Chris, flicking his chin toward Vin, and then deciding that he wanted to see for him self. As Standish gave the details of their night he carefully approached Vin and pushed back the hair on his head, where he thought his forehead would be. Vin had a tendency to try to bury himself away from all sensory input when he was struck with a migraine. After uncovering part of Vin’s face, Chris realized he still wasn’t feeling to well. His features were tight and drawn. He slipped into the guest bathroom and wet a washcloth, slipping back just as silently to ease the cloth over Vin’s eyes. He sat on the edge of the bed and massaged Vin’s back lightly with his left hand. He turned back to Standish, realizing he was watching him.

Pretending to not realize that his undercover man probably wanted to find out what happened with the feds. "You should go sleep in a real bed," he mandated.

Ezra glanced down at Vin and then stood to move toward his own room. As he got to the door Chris stopped him.

"By the way, Ezra, I took care of the FBI’s misinterpretation of events. I’ll give you the details when you wake up again." Chris was smirking, and Ezra could imagine that Larabee had great fun ‘taking care’ of the situation. He smiled back and tipped his imaginary hat.

"Thanks, Chris," he said sincerely.

"Anytime, Ezra. Sorry it took us so long to get you out of lock-up."

"That’s alright…I knew you would." And he realized as he said it, that in the back of his mind, he’d always known. He turned toward his room once more but he didn’t miss the soft voice that came from under the covers of his guest-bed. "Told ya, Ez."

The End

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