The Difference Of Time
Part of the A Good Honest Man series
Disclaimer: Well technically they should be mine... I mean I at least let them play with each other ;) <sigh> Okay, fine, They are not mine and never will be. No money being made from this.
Notes: This one is for The Magnificent Two and A Gambler's Lust lists. Ya'll want a resolution so here it is <g> Thanks to all of you for all the continued and unwavering support ya'll have given me. Ya'll are the best!!! Thanks KS for the help me with everything and the beta. Thanks to Jo Ann and her constant whip cracking <g> and her encouragement to continue. Hope this will satisfy the lynch mob ;)
Back to: Dishonorable Impersonation
He had always heard a person facing death sees their life flash before their eyes. Seeing everything they had done up until the point of near death. He lived with the threat of death on a daily bases. He was on first name bases with the grim reaper, himself. Why should this time be any different? How many times had he stood in front of a gun wondering if this was going to be his last thought? Would this be his last breath that he took? Would he never again see Vin in the throws of passion? Would he never have the chance to tell Vin how much he truly loved him?
No, this time it was different, he had told Vin he loved him and how much he needed him. He regretted to the depth of his soul, that it had taken Dakota Paske coming back to make him realize what a treasure he truly had in Vin, his soulmate. The one person above all others that loved him no matter what mistakes he had made in his past or might make in his future. The one person that would still love him when he grew old. The siren no longer called to his over burdened soul, urging him to end the pain for all eternity. He finally found the peace he had been searching for. He had found his soulmate.
"What makes you so sure he'll love you Ezra? Why should he? I'm sure he could find a good honest man to love and we both know that isn't you." Dakota grinned maliciously when he saw his barb had hit its mark.
Ezra flinched at the vicious reminder that he hadn't been good enough for Dakota. He felt his tracker tensing under his hand. He prayed Vin would do nothing to draw attention to himself. Ezra increased the pressure on Vin's neck as he felt his tracker moving to rise but Vin would have none of that. He knew Ezra was trying to protect him but all reasonable thought left him as he heard his nemesis tell his lover that he wasn't 'a good honest man'. He was going to make the asshole regret he ever said those words to Ezra.
"I do LOVE a good honest man, you Bastard!?!" Vin rose like an avenging angel behind Ezra. He put a comforting and possessive hand on Ezra's shoulder. Vin could feel his smaller mate's body trembling under his hand. Giving Ezra reassuring squeeze as he started to step around Ezra.
"Yeah? You really believe that? The fact we look alike doesn't bother you in the least?" Chuckling, Dakota was really enjoying the pain he was causing his old lover and his replacement. "I find that hard to believe. Surly you would rather have someone who can be trusted, reliable and honest with you? What could you possibly see in him? Well, besides being a good fuck, I mean." Dakota leveled the gun at Vin's chest as he took a threatening step towards him, "Ah..ah, stay where you are." When he was sure Vin was going to stay where he was, Dakota leaned against the wall "Now, tell me what you see in him?"
Vin knew what Dakota was trying to do but maybe he could use it against him, "No. I'm not going to tell YOU what I see in Ezra," he turned a loving sapphire gaze to met his lover's worried emerald eyes, softening his voice, "But I will tell Ezra."
"Oh, please, do enlighten us." Dakota sneered.
Vin continued as though Dakota had said nothing, putting all of his love and passion into his voice and his eyes conveying the same. "What I see, is a man that has been hurt so many times that he no longer trusts himself," Vin put his hand over Ezra's heart, "In here. He hides his heart behind a wall and presents a mask of indifference to the world. But slowly, one by one, brick by brick I have reached the real man behind that wall. A man that is caring. A man that is capable of so much love. A man that deserves to be loved. A man that needs to be told that he is a good honest man and that no one could ever replace him in my heart. That's what I see." Vin raised his hands to frame his lover's face, his thumbs gently brushing away the tears, "I love ya Ez. For now and always. You're a good honest man Ezra and I wouldn't want you any other way."
"Give me a break. That was the biggest load of shit I've heard." Dakota snorted disgustedly.
Vin had forgotten they had an audience and he had reached the end of his tolerance with the walking corpse. Giving Ezra a soft, quick kiss, "I love you now and always." He looked into his lover's eyes not only seeing the fear but sensing it on a deeper level but needing to neutralize the threat against his mate was foremost in his mind.
Vin started to turn around to face the enemy when Ezra grabbed his hand and in whispered desperation, "No, Vin remember you promised that you would never leave me and allow nothing to ever take you away from me."
Laying his hand over Ezra's, he meet the intense emerald gaze with what he hoped was a reassuring one, "And nothing will. I would never break my promise to ya but we need to settle this. Now." He quickly turned away from Ezra, facing the one who had nearly destroyed his conman and that now wanted him dead.
"So, Paske, are you such a coward that you have to hide behind a gun? Or will you face me one on one like a real man?"
Ezra's mind was swimming. He couldn't believe what Vin had said but he had seen the sincerity and love in his tracker's beautiful blue eyes. Now as he watched Vin confront Dakota, his heart twisted in fear. In his still weakened condition he knew he wouldn't be able to help Vin or protect him. Looking around he noticed that Vin blocked Dakota's view of him. Catching sight of the phone that was with in reach. He took it off the hook, laying it on the table and dialed Chris's cell number. He prayed that Chris would hurry before Vin was hurt.
+ + + + + + +
Chris Larabee had just entered the hospital on his way to check on Ezra. He hadn't heard from Vin all day, so, he wasn't real worried. As he was about to enter the elevator his cell phone rang, earning him a few glares from nurses that all pointed to the sign that said 'no cell phones allowed in the hospital'. He glared back but it didn't seem to faze them in the least. Sighing, he went back outside to answer the phone.
When he got no response he was about to hang up when he heard Vin's voice. It sounded far away and he sounded angry. Thinking something was wrong with Ezra, Chris ran to the stairs not having the time to wait for an elevator, if Vin's anger was any indication. He flew up the three flights of stairs, flinging the stairwell door open so hard that it bounced off the wall. He slowed down as he neared Ezra's room stopping for a moment to catch his breath before he entered the room. He sighed when he heard what sounded like a fight coming from Ezra's room. He had thought Vin had maybe disagreed with the doctor and it had escalated from there but he was totally unprepared for the scene being played out before him.
+ + + + + + +
Laughing Dakota shook his head, "What makes you so sure that I'm not man enough to take you? I took Ezra, didn't I?" His laughter bordered on maniacal. "Did he tell you about the first time I took him? Did he tell you that he was a virgin? Did he tell you he didn't want me to take him?"
Vin's temper rose to a dangerous level, "You raped him?" The disbelief showed on his face, "I thought you said you loved with him? How could you do that to someone you love?" Vin's heart broke at the anguished gasp coming from the man behind him.
Dakota leered and his grin grew wider, "I did fall in love with him or at least with his body. I knew of his insecurities and used them to keep him with me until I could decide if I wanted to kill him or not. Then he said he loved me and I knew then, that I couldn't kill him but if I was not going to fulfill my contract then I had to at least take him to make it worth my while."
Ezra had been quiet as he listened to Dakota telling Vin about the last night they had been together. His eyes closing as he realized the depth of betrayal he felt. Hot tears coursing down his cheeks at what he knew would be Vin's reaction to his shameful secret. In the end he had still lost everything. He had lost soul and in the end the siren's call had won.
His anger was white-hot as the feeling of loss became too great for him in his weakened emotional state. His anger took on a primitive form as the molten fire rushed through his veins giving him the strength he would need to kill.
Both men were surprised when Ezra came out from behind Vin and started to slowly walk towards Dakota. Vin tried to pull Ezra back behind him so he could protect his lover but his hand only grasped at the air where his lover had been seconds before.
"Ezra, no." His heart froze as he watched his conman stop in front of the gun.
"Why did you change your mind about killing me? Why come back now?" Ezra still had enough presence of mind to know he had to play Dakota's game but only until he could find the man's weakness and take the gun from him.
"Still trying to protect your white knight, Dear One? You can't, you know? Protect him that is." Dakota's leer made his flesh crawl, as he realized what he was going to do to distract him.
"He is going to die and I am going to take you with me for one last, good time. Then you will die. As for why now, well, you started to investigate the man who hired me to kill you in the first place. He was not happy to see you were still alive and has made it very clear it's you or me and I chose me."
Dropping his voice into a seductive whisper, hoping Vin couldn't hear what he was saying, "Then kill him so we can go. I have missed you and need to feel you inside of me." The words made him sick and he had to concentrate not to let his revulsion for the man before him show in his voice or his features.
A movement near the door caught his attention and he saw Chris there. He kept his eyes on Dakota never giving Chris away. He watched as Dakota brought his gun up, aiming at his heart.
"You shouldn't lie to me Ezra. It's not a smart thing to do. You just want to save your lover and it isn't going to happen, Dear One."
Vin had seen Chris enter the room and started to inch his way closer to Ezra. He needed to be close so he could pull Ezra out of harms way when Chris made his move. Vin had to crouch down some so he stayed out of Dakota's line of sight as he crept closer to Ezra. He looked to see if Chris was ready, at the black clad leader's nod, Vin tackled Ezra out of the way as Chris grabbed for Dakota's gun arm jerking up as it went off. The bullet shattered the window sending tiny rainbow sparkles of glass raining down over the men. Dakota stepped back into Chris using his body as leverage to flip the blond agent over his back. As soon as Chris was on the floor Dakota kicked him in the side, leaving him gasping for air and unable to protect himself as he was kicked again.
After tackling Ezra, the tracker shielded him with his body. He didn't want anything more to cause his gambler pain. He felt his lover's body tense at the sound of gunfire and then he felt the tiny shards of glass slicing and cutting into his exposed skin. He turned to see if Chris had Dakota subdued and watched as the man viciously kicked Chris over and over again. He had reached the end of his conscious tolerance, allowing a more primitive warrior to emerge out of the ashes of what had once been his self-control.
He launched himself at his look alike, knocking him to ground. Vin straddled his opponent, punching him in the jaw. Pulling himself back when Dakota took a blind swing at him, pulling his fist back and putting all his hate for this man into one punch. He heard a loud satisfying crack as Dakota's head hit the hard tiled floor. Hauling the dazed man up by his shirt front Vin pushed him into the wall face first. As he reached behind his back to pull his handcuffs out he glanced over to see how Ezra was doing. Dakota seeing his chance, rammed his elbow into the side of Vin's head causing him to stagger back under the force of the blow. Regaining his balance quickly, Vin pivoted on his right foot bringing his left leg around catching Dakota in the face, sending the startled man out the broken window. Rushing to the window Vin saw Dakota hanging onto the window ledge.
"HELP ME!?! I'M SLIPPING!?!" he pleaded desperately, not wanting to die, at least not without taking his replacement with him.
Vin knew he couldn't let the despicable bastard die, it went against his belief to allow anyone die without at least a fair trial. Reaching down he grabbed one of Dakota's arms in a steel grip. Concentrating solely on pulling the man up he didn't notice the knife coming towards him until a searing path of pain ripped through his upper arm. Seeing the knife aimed at his vulnerable neck, he jerk back away from the strike, letting go of the suicidal man, allowing him fall to his death.
Crossing his arms over the windowsill he leaned down resting his head there for a moment as he caught his breath. He didn't regret that his nemesis had died, in fact he couldn't have been happier about it. He did regret the pain that the bastard managed to inflict on his vulnerable lover.
Vin turned to see the doctor's checking an unconscious Ezra for any more injuries and people cleaning up the glass. Seeing Chris, he went and stood next to his closest friend and leader. He needed to know what was going on with Ezra.
"Chris, what's wrong with Ez?"
"He wouldn't let them check him because he was too worried about you. So the doctor gave him something to knock him out." Putting a comforting hand on Vin's shoulder he stopped as he felt the sticky wetness on his hand. Seeing blood and how pale Vin was, Chris called a doctor over, catching him as he started to collapse.
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