I Walk Alone, by Kayim. Graphic by Kayim

I Walk Alone

by Kayim

Disclaimer: Not mine. ATF AU belongs to Mog - long may she have great ideas!
Summary: Ezra has his own routine after a mission is over.
Rating: G
Author's Notes: The first time I heard the song "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day I remember saying to my husband that the lyrics reminded me of Ezra. Not being a Mag7 fan, he had no idea what I meant, but as I explained the character to him, especially the ATF version, he was forced to agree with me. Lyrics at the end of the fic.

The mission was over and, as usual for Team Seven, was a complete success. Bad guys captured, good guys uninjured, weapons secured away, reports written.

Then the routine began.

"Come on," JD was the first to suggest it this time. On past occasions it had been Buck, or Vin or, after one particularly horrific case, Nathan. "Let's go have a few drinks. Inez is always glad to see us."

One by one the rest of the group would agree. All except Ezra. They invited him every time, expressing disappointment when he wouldn't join them, but he never did. He would make up some excuse - he was too tired; he needed to see a friend; his mother was coming to visit. They would protest for a while, but eventually he would leave, heading back to his townhouse, alone.

He settled himself into the familiar seats of the Jaguar, leaving the CD player switched off. For a few minutes he sat in the car park, the engine purring, allowing himself to remember the day his mother had bought him the car. The others had ooh'd and ahh'd over it for hours, each begging to be allowed to drive it - all except Chris, of course, who would never beg for anything. Finally, Ezra had compromised, taking each one in turn for a drive. He had sworn that no-one else would ever drive his car, but somehow Chris' silent pleading had convinced him to hand over the keys and swap seats. They had driven in silence for ten minutes or so, Chris beaming like a child with a new toy the entire journey. When he handed back the keys, he had smiled at Ezra and said thanks, climbing out of the car and heading back to the office to gloat to the others. Ezra had remained behind, sitting alone on the beautiful leather seats.

Switching the CD player on, Ezra pulled out of the car park. He was only half listening to the music - "Valse Triste" by Sibelius, one of his favourite pieces of classical music - but still found himself humming along to the familiar tune. He drove home, the traffic clear, and pulled up outside the townhouse just as the music was coming to an end.

Once inside, Ezra began his own routine. The last mission had been a tough one. He had spent almost three months undercover, attempting to infiltrate the inner circle of a group of arms dealers. Fairly small-time dealers in the grand scheme of things, but for some reason it had been incredibly difficult to get to them. For three months he had been "Sean Armstrong" and had needed to be constantly alert to make sure that no trace of Ezra Standish had escaped. As usual he buried his own personality so deeply that when he finally dropped his cover, it took him an effort to remember who he really was.

Walking into the kitchen, he poured himself a large glass of whiskey. He took a sip, trying to recall when he had first tasted this particular brand. After a while, he gave up, regretfully adding that to the list of memories that were lost. Glass in hand, he headed to the bathroom and started to strip off the clothes he was wearing. Unceremoniously, he dumped them into one of the two washbaskets - one was for "Ezra" clothes and the other for "undercover" clothes. He switched the shower on, appreciating, not for the first time, the fact that he had opted for an open shower rather than a cubicle. He sat himself on the tiled floor, his back against the cold, wet tiles, drink in hand, and let the water wash away the traces of the person he had been. Hoping to find Ezra underneath.

He sat there for almost an hour, sipping at the whiskey that was becoming more and more watered down, trying to remember as many facts about his life as possible. His date and time of birth. Where he had gone to school. Who his childhood friends had been. His first job. His first kiss. Trying to piece himself back together.

He finally emerged from the shower, wrapping an Egyptian cotton towel around his waist - bought when he was back in Atlanta from a small shop across from his first apartment - and rubbed another towel over his hair quickly, drying it enough only to prevent it dripping into his near-empty drink. He walked to the kitchen and refilled his glass, returning the bottle to it's home at the back of the cupboard. He wasn't planning to get drunk, just to numb some of the loneliness.

The next part of his routine involved the box. A small cardboard box that was hidden at the back of his wardrobe, under his shoes. He carefully removed it, carrying it tightly in his arms to the living room. Sitting down on the leather sofa, he placed the box on the seat next to him, taking a large drink before opening it.

Inside were photos. Hundreds of them, mostly taken by him of other people, but a few - the most important ones - taken by someone else with him included in them. He pulled out the one on top, his favourite. It had been taken when Team Seven had all gone away for a weekend camping trip. As expected, he had complained about everything from start to finish, but the truth was that he had thoroughly enjoyed every moment, something which the others all knew but would never force him to admit. They had taken both Chris' Dodge and Josiah's Suburban, allowing room for the camping gear as well as all seven of them and spent two nights in the wilderness. Nathan, who had just bought himself a new digital camera and tripod, insisted on getting a photo of all seven of them together. They all crowded around the Dodge while Nathan and JD fiddled with the timer setting, until suddenly they shouted "pose" and ran to join the others. JD had jumped onto the hood and Chris had reached for him to pull him off, causing them both to lose their balance, just as the camera recorded the moment. Ezra couldn't help but smile as he looked at his copy of the picture, remembering how they had both ended up on the floor only seconds later with Chris muttering about no-one sitting on his damn car. A few minutes later, Ezra had feigned a headache and left the others to sit by himself for a while.

As he flicked through the other photos in the box, he remembered the occasion of every one, trying to convince himself that he wasn't alone. He knew that the others considered Team Seven to be an inseparable group, but the truth was that although they may think of him as part of that, he couldn't feel it himself. Fighting back the tears that had also become part of his routine, he wondered once again who Ezra Standish really was. Was he the laughing member of Team Seven from the camping photo? Was he the hard-assed ATF undercover agent? Was he Maude's little boy? Was he any of these things, or none of them? The others may think that they have Ezra's character pegged, but how could they when he himself had no idea who he was anymore?

He swallowed the rest of his whiskey and laid his head back against the coolness of the leather sofa, allowing the tears to escape. The only thing he knew for certain was that he was alone. Always walking alone.


"Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" by Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone, I walk alone, I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone, I walk alone, I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me


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