Sweet Recollections

by GemsPegasus

Disclaimer: The Seven don't belong to me. I'm only saddling them up for a 'ride' or 3. And will return them to MGM, Mirisch and Trilogy when we're done. No copyright infringement intended. Written for fun. No profit made. ATF universe was created by Mog. Thank you Mog for letting us play in it. A Huge Thank You to MAC and VampyrAlex for giving me permission to reference their riveting stories "Rule Number One" and "Right Before Your Eyes" into my "Sweet Recollections."
"Sweet Recollections" is an ATF AU story of RNO and RBYE combining elements of both of MAC's and VampyrAlex's stories. SR also takes place after Alex's "Easton Case" but before "Right Before Your Eyes." "Fabbio Zerbo is a character created by MAC. And she has graciously given her permission for his appearance in the story. "Graham and "Leeson" are characters created by VampyrAlex. And I also want to thank her for her graciousness in allowing me to use them in this story.
Chocolate-covered Ezras to these wonderful, talented authors for giving me the privilege to use their tales as a springboard for mine.
"The Magnificent Seven" theme song composed by Elmer Bernstein.
Pairing: Ezra & Chris
Warnings: Slash(male/male pairing) in a romantic/sexual relationship. Angst, Language, Pre-slash, Hurt-Comfort, Romance, Violence.
Rating: R for last chapter
Feedback: Yes please, at gemspegasus@yahoo.com
Author's Notes: 'Lal' means beloved in Hindu.
Thoughts: denoted by \\ \\
Dreams: denoted by { }
Flashbacks: denoted by +++++++

Agony ripped through Ezra's once again dislocated shoulder and through his entire body as he crashed spine-first into the concrete wall of the spa. The undercover agent shuddered as a vicious kick landed on his abdomen. A pain-wracked cough sputtered up blood. Ezra tried to curl up his legs protectively but iron hands clamped down on them as blows and kicks kept raining down upon him. Bonner's nasal voice filtered hazily through the auburn-haired man's anguished mind, "Erik, I don't appreciate traitors. Did you honestly think that I wouldn't find out that you're working for my rival, Malone?" The thin, explosives expert and criminal's slap stung Ezra's puffy cheek. Swollen emerald eyes slit open and gazed defiantly at the pale-faced, skeletal-looking man in front of him. 'Erik's' Southern drawl rasped, "It was misfortunate that your gargantuan henchman," At this the man paused and tipped his head at the massive man pinning his legs down. Then Ezra as 'Erik' continued "Dylan observed my meeting with 'Hunter' and learned of my association with the Malone organization." As Tyrone Bonner cackled about how smart he and his boys were, Ezra's head swam with \\Thank Heavens, that the last day they had been in Denver, the idiotic Dylan only saw Mr. Tanner from behind and mistook him for Mr. 'Hunter' Owens, the second-command of Malone's group. Bonner doesn't suspect whom I truly work for or who I really am.\\ Thoughts of Team Seven flooded the Southerner's synapses especially thoughts and images of him. Blackness overwhelmed the auburn-haired man's senses as he heard Bonner order his men to "Dump Erik's body into the river."


AD Orrin Travis's cell phone vibrated within his jacket pocket. He looked at the caller id and excused himself from the meeting he was having with the leaders of Team 7 and Team 3. The three men were coordinating last minute details of a major bust which should happen within 24 hours or so.

Chris Larabee and Graham exchanged a look then shrugged their shoulders and continued cementing their contingency plan.

In the room adjacent his office, Orrin listened intently to the news the caller relayed. An expletive fell from the usually reserved Assistant Director's lips, then he asked "Are you absolutely positive, he got on board?" At the response, Travis nodded his head sadly said goodbye and hung up the phone. Squaring his shoulders, he reentered his office and dismissed Graham while asking Chris to stay.

Tension coiled in the gut of the blond leader of Team 7. He knew it was bad from the look on Travis's face. "Travis, what is it? Tell me. " Chris's fear made his voice come out fast and harsh.

Orrin's sorrowful gaze as he gently told the dark-clad man to sit down scared the blond even more.

And when Chris Larabee became scared, he got angry.

So the hazel-eyed man directed his famous glare at his boss and growled, "Damn it, Orrin what happened?"

The Director swallowed and staring into Chris's glowering amber eyes said 'Erik Sullivan' and Dylan Conner were on board the helicopter "Free Bird" this morning when it crashed into one of the San Juan Mountains. It seemed they were flying too low and hit the side of one of the big mountains. There were no survivors as far as the rescue squads can tell."

The slim, blond man stared blindly at Travis, hearing the words but refusing to believe them. \\Ezra's not dead! He can't be dead! That ornery Southerner's a magnet for trouble but he always lands on his feet. Its been a long, hard two years but the seven of us are all family now. He wouldn't leave us, leave me...without a fight. And we're not letting him go so easily. He's just badly hurt that's all. We'll find him.\\ clamored Chris's mind. Larabee's dread blocked the ache in his heart that cried \\We have to find him. I can't lose him too.\\

Chris shook his fair head in denial as he rose stiffly and stalked out of Travis's office. "Ezra ain't dead. I would feel it. He's one of my men. We'll be flying out as soon as Josiah can get us a bird. And we'll find him." fell stiffly from the Team Seven's leader's lips as he prowled to 'the magnificent seven's' floor at the ATF building as the judge quietly acknowledged Larabee's words. Orrin knew that there would be no stopping the six men from looking for their seventh. And he would also join them, the undercover agent had gained a place in the judge's heart. Travis prayed that his contact had been wrong and that Ezra had survived the crash.


The brunette man finger-groomed the edge of his mustache reflexively as his dark blue eyes pored over the reports that Ezra had sent in on Tyrone Bonner. Buck was Team 7's resident explosive expert. "And boy was Bonner building up quite a cache of explosives. Hope Ez finds out why soon. I miss that Southern boy. And I'm not the only one. " whistled Buck to himself when he heard the ping of the elevator. Buck looked up expecting to see JD and Vin returning from a donut-run. Instead it was Chris storming off onto their floor, bellowing for Josiah.

Nathan and the big, gray-haired man calmly came in from the coffee break room and Josiah answered "Yes brother?"

The blond halted in front of the profiler and then spoke quietly for a few moments.

Josiah paled, his blue-gray irises widened as he nodded. The usually calm man ran through the office and hurried off to the field to prepare for Team 7's flight.

Josiah collided with Vin and JD at the elevator. Vin rolled to his right and JD to his left with donuts flying everywhere. Josiah didn't even to stop to apologize. Vin dusted himself off, then saw his friend and leader and froze. JD glanced at Buck who was staring intently at Chris.

Buck knew something awful had happened. He had seen that look of anger, despair and grief on Chris's face once before. Twelve years before to be exact, the day that the blond man had lost his family.

Buck ran a weary hand over a drawn face as he asked "Chris?" Larabee's hazel eyes snapped away from Ezra's empty desk. "Ezra was in an accident. The helicopter that he was in crashed into one of the San Juan Mountains. It appears there were no survivors."

Four men inhaled in disbelief as Chris continued, "But they haven't recovered a body. Siah's warming up the plane. We're going to find him and bring him home boys." Nathan, Buck, Vin and JD exhaled and started collecting what they would need for the trip. One of their own was down and missing. And the six men would turn over every rock to find him.


Two fishermen rushed into the emergency room of "Mercy Medical Center", shouting "Help. There's a badly hurt man down the road by Davis Lake." A few minutes later, an ambulance rumbled out of the hospital. The paramedics found the unconscious man next to a tree. It seems the tree stopped the body's descent into the lake. The chestnut-haired man was carefully strapped into the stretcher and placed into the ambulance which raced back to the hospital. Dr. White and his team were waiting at the Center's sliding doors.

"Think there's an epidural hematoma; dislocated shoulder; cracked ribs; sprained ankle and the spleen is bleeding." reported the first paramedic to the surgeon. The doctor and his team wheeled the unknown man straight into the scanning room.

There was no time for admittance paperwork. Every second counted. They could find out who their 'John Doe' was later. The Cat scan did indeed reveal a hematoma. Dr. White immediately asked for an operating room and called his friend, Dr. Michaels- a vascular surgeon.

Within an hour, two of the most skilled physicians in Colorado were in surgery. The tall, lanky, blond neurologist gently but hurriedly shaved a part of auburn hair on the back of the man's head. He then performed the procedure to relieve the pressure on Ezra's brain, as Harry worked to stop the undercover agent's spleen from rupturing. Ezra also had a couple of fractured ribs, dislocated shoulder and other injuries which the surgical team attended to.

Surgery took close to four hours but they did it. The patient survived the operation.

The chestnut-haired man was now wheeled into recovery, where he would be carefully monitored for the next 48 to 72 hours.

Meanwhile, the admitting nurse had gone through the man's personal effects but found no form of identification. 'John Doe' would have to tell them who he was when he woke up.


In the cockpit of the airplane, Josiah piloted the ATF airplane steadily to the San Juan Mountains. The only sign of his agitation was that his knuckles were clenched tightly around the navigation controls. The big profiler knew he had to be calm for the others but if it was true that Ezra was dead then his wrath would rain down on Bonner. Josiah also knew he wasn't the only one who would avenge the undercover agent. This thought caused the gray-haired man to smile grimly to himself.

Meanwhile, in the body of the plane, Nathan checked the medical supplies while JD who sat next to him read over notes on the Bonner case. Across from them, Vin and Buck flanked Chris on either side as the trio also reviewed the case.

Chris pinched the bridge of his nose as the words blurred in front of his eyes. A headache pounded through the slender man's temples. Buck handed his friend a cup of coffee and Vin put two aspirin in the blond's callused palm.

The Team 7 leader mumbled a weary "thanks" as he popped the tablets into his mouth then took a sip or two of the beverage. "Vin, you were the last one to see him. Tell me again what he told you." ordered the hazel-eyed man as he leaned his head back against the airplane seat headrest. The sharpshooter's Texas accent drawled "Cowboy, Ezra said that Bonner and his men were heading to Cortez for a few days to sound out some buyers then leave for Aspen this morning to talk to some more interested buyers and to get in some skiing. And he also said that he contact us when they got there."

Nathan spoke up, "Ezra emailed his doctor or me to ask about some allergy medications which was his code to let us know that they had reached Cortez." Vin continued, "Plus, Ez stated they would be back by the end of next week."

"So what the hell went wrong with that plan?" asked Buck as he stretched his six-foot plus frame. The Texan shrugged his shoulders as Chris with his eyes still closed responded "We're going to find Ezra. Then we worry about the damn case."

JD bit his lip and scratched the side of his nose as he concentrated on the flight log of the helicopter. "Uh, guys, If Ez was in Cortez today, how come the copter log of the helicopter he was supposedly in reads that it took off from the Aspen airport at 8:35am and was heading back towards Denver?"

Buck stepped up to JD and slapped him on the back, "Good work, kid." Vin smiled slowly and tipped his head. Nathan grinned widely. Chris jackknifed in his seat, shot up and strode over to the youngest member of his team. Hazel eyes glowing with renewed energy, the blond barked, "Repeat that JD." The computer expert did, while Buck twisted his body sideways and with a long arm grabbed the papers, he had been reading.

"This report says that the team 3 sharpshooter, Moore spotted Bonner and Ez in Cortez at 8:30am. "So how can Ezra be in Cortez at 8:30am and in a helicopter taking off from Aspen at 8:35am? Ezra's good but even he can't split himself to be in two places at nearly the same time." ground out Chris.

"And the team 3 sharpshooter positively identified Ezra? If Ez is still with Bonner, who did the Aspen contact see get on the helicopter? And why did they say it was Ezra? Why would they give the Judge misinformation like that? Who else is covering Cortez, maybe he or she also spotted Ez." Rushed out of JD's mouth.

Buck laughingly replied, "Breathe...JD...Breathe."

The tension in the cabin of the airplane dropped a few notches as the lean, fair-headed team 7 leader grabbed his cell phone out of his black jeans phone clip and punched in one of seven speed-dial numbers. Chris sat down on the other side of his youngest team member while he spoke.

"Judge, we just found out that there are two conflicting reports about Ezra's whereabouts this morning. Your agent in Aspen supposedly saw him within five minutes of the time that Moore of team 3 saw him in Cortez. Something clicked in Vin's mind as Chris made the call and he walked back to his seat, rifled through thephotos he had been studying and picked one up. He went back to join his three friends across the aisle and put the picture into the blond's free hand. Chris glanced down. Then his relief spilled over into a wink at his long-haired friend. Buck stole a peek over his old friend's shoulder as JD and Nathan leaned sideways to get a glimpse of the photo. They all stared at Ezra and Bonner getting into Bonner's Mercedes Benz. The picture was also dated and time-stamped; it had today's date on it and was stamped 8:30am. Here was proof that Ez was not on that helicopter that crashed.

The relief and joy was palpable in the cabin of the airplane when the team 7 leader told the judge about the photo but then ominous thoughts struck the lean, hazel-eyed agent. \\But if 'Erik Sullivan' had been reported killed in that helicopter crash, where was his Southern, green-eyed friend?\\ Larabee dropped the picture to the floor and absently rubbed the back of his neck still worrying about Standish. "Orrin can you get hold of Moore and find out if..." Chris's voice trailed off as Vin mouthed "Already on it, Cowboy." The blond spoke a few more seconds into his cell's mouthpiece and then hung up.

Vin and Shaun Moore were friends so the Texan dialed Shaun up on his cell phone and was waiting for the wiry brunette sharpshooter of team 3 to pick up by the time that Chris had started asking that last question. Moore finally answered, Vin calmly greeted him and then asked if he had seen Ezra and Bonner later in the day. Moore replied that he had seen Bonner but that he hadn't seen Ezra since he had gotten into the Benz earlier. The long-haired man's sapphire blue eyes narrowed at Shaun's reply, although he thought nothing of his fear was revealed in his goodbye to his friend. The ATF team leader had turned from staring blankly out an airplane window at the note in Vin's voice. Nathan, Buck, JD and Chris' own gazes sharpened at Vin's preoccupied look.

"Shaun hasn't seen Ezra since he got in Bonner's car this morning though he has eyed Bonner and some of his other men. " offered the Texan before Chris could ask.

"Shit." poured from the blond leader's mouth as he heard this news. Buck raked a hand through his dark hair as he too exhaled a curse word. JD, Nathan and Vin waited for Chris to pronounce what their next move was going to be. The team leader had JD find out what other agents were in Cortez and if they had heard anything from the undercover agent. JD hooked up his laptop and went to work. For the next twenty minutes, JD busily typed and talked to Moore and Mitchell team 3's surveillance expert. Quick fingers brushed ebony bangs aside as hazel-eyes looked up from the screen and found four sets of eyes focused on him.

"Well kid?" inquired Buck. JD explained that Watson had seen Ez and Bonner go into the Cortez spa about 9:15am but hadn't seen him come out yet. Suddenly JD's screen crackled. Mitchell's image appeared a bit fuzzily as he shouted "The FBI just busted Bonner but there's no sign of Standish. Has he contacted you yet?" At the team 7's computer expert's negative, the team 3 man cursed. His curse was overshadowed by Chris's terse, "Nathan go tell Josiah that we're heading for Cortez instead of the mountains.

Nathan nodded and continued on his way to the cockpit; he was more than halfway there since he was already on his way to tell Josiah everything that was going on. Before Nate finished; Josiah made the correction and they were on their way to the town where their friend had been this morning.

Less than half an hour later, the plane touched down. Six men rushed out and were met by their fellow agent Moore. "Any news?" Larabee asked and inwardly shuddered as Shaun replied "No."


Joey, the ICU nurse, changed Ezra's dressings. And then the young man began checking Ezra's vitals and stared down at the bruised and battered man lying prone in the bed. \\Its a miracle, he survived. He's a fighter which will stand him in good stead. It looks like he's dreaming from the way his eyelids are fluttering.//

"Having good dreams? Must be, if that smile on your lips is anything to go by. Enjoy it, then wake up for us soon, so we'll know who you are. Okay? " Whispered the man as he softly patted the chestnut-haired man on his good shoulder. And then left the room. He left the unknown man alone, unaware that his voice and touch had awoken his patient.

Ezra had indeed been dreaming.

{He saw himself and a tall, good-looking blond man in the bedroom of a luxurious hotel room. The blond man was kissing him on the neck and he forced himself not to cringe away from Fabbio Zerbo's touch when they heard a loud banging coming from the front door of the hotel room. Ezra and Zerbo were standing in the bedroom's doorway when a slender, black-clad, hazel-eyed blond crashed through the hotel room's door. This blond's eyes flashed amber fire as he glared around the room, growling for someone.} The green-eyed man yelped "Chris!" then Ezra raised IV-covered arms in an imitation of a hug. The unconscious undercover agent sighed blissfully as he kept on dreaming. {The black-clad blond crushed Ezra's more compact form against his slim one and possessively kissed the shorter man until they had to break apart to breathe.}

The slumbering auburn-haired man smiled at the hazel-eyed blond's kiss.

The wounded Ezra vaguely heard buzzing in his ears, then subconsciously realized it was someone's voice and then felt a warm touch on his pain-free shoulder. He struggled to open his heavy eyelids.

Ezra's jade irises slowly blinked open and blurrily took in his surroundings. He moved his shaven head cautiously to one side and then to the other. His head was still throbbing dully, even with all the medication he had been given so he moved about extra carefully. His sluggish brain searched for the black-clad blond of his dream but no one was in the room with him. Ezra's eyes closed tiredly and his thoughts whirled sadly. \\There's no real hazel-eyed, blond lover. He's just a phantom man you've conjured up. \\ and drifted away as sleep once again claimed the undercover agent.

Scenes once again danced through the man's brain. {Chris was sitting on a couch opposite Zerbo and he, Ezra was curled up in Chris's lap. His emerald eyes wide as his hands wrapped around the lapel of the blond's black leather car coat. Chris shot him a fierce glance that would have had others shaking with fear. Not Ezra though, he just flashed the hazel-eyed man a dimpled smile and laid his head against Chris's chest and shoulder. One of Chris's hands rose and circled Ezra's shoulder, pulling the chestnut-haired man even closer onto his chest and shoulder. The blond's other hand rested lightly on Ezra's thigh, thumb making small circles against the material of Ezra's pants. Jade irises closed as Standish's eyelids drooped down right before Chris settled more deeply into the couch. Ezra molded as he was to Chris just snuggled more firmly against the blond. The chestnut-haired man then fell asleep in Chris's arms. Fabbio Zerbo saw the unspoken tenderness between the two and knew how important the russet-haired man was to the blond man.}

Ezra shifted in his hospital bed while he dreamt, nuzzling the side of his face tenderly into the pillow, his hands bunched around the edges of his blanket.

Later that day, Dr. White and Dr. Michaels found him still slumbering in that same position.


Chris's frayed nerves were unraveling as his tense, whipcord body paced one of the interrogation rooms of Cortez's police building. Hazel irises glared at the FBI agent sitting next to Vin. Chris's menacing figure stopped and towered above the seated "Fed." "What do you mean that Bonner's lieutenant and a few of his other men escaped through the back door of the spa and you lost them? And you don't know if Ezra was with them or not?" angrily hissed Chris as he leaned down. His face inches away from the now fearful man in front of him.

Larabee's hands balled into fists and he gritted his teeth to stop himself from breaking the man's nose. Vin reached out and put a calming hand on his boss and friend's wiry but well-defined arm and whispered, "Chris let him go. He don't know anything more. Besides Travis is here and he can deal with the FBI." The ATF team leader knew the sharpshooter was right, so he stepped back and the FBI man scrambled to get out of the room. Buck slouched against the wall by the door, not even glancing at the man as the 'Fed' nervously sidled out of the room, giving the tall, mustached agent a wide berth.

Wilmington observed Larabee closely and he knew that the blond man was going to explode any moment now. A few minutes later it happened. Nathan entered the room, carrying a tray of sandwiches and some coffee/water for his three teammates. As he put the tray down on the table, Buck and Vin realized that it had been over 8 hours since Ezra had been seen and that they hadn't eaten in all that time. Vin and Buck reached for the sandwiches without comment.

Chris eyed the tray as he muttered "I could use a drink." The three other men heard him but Nathan was the one who responded. The healer's "Chris, ya know that isn't too wise right now. You got banged up pretty good during the "Easton" bust three weeks ago and your body ain't completely healed yet. You have to eat and drink healthy to get back to complete strength. I know we're all pretty worried about Ezra but he's the best undercover agent in the business. That's why Travis already had him undercover on the Bonner case by the time you got out of the hospital last week.." The African American man finished piling a few of the chicken salad sandwiches onto a plate and carried it over to Chris. Chris scowled at the medic and pushed the plate back into Nathan's hands, spilling the sandwiches to the floor. All the while snarling, "Don't want to eat. Want...need... to find Ez. " Chris swallowed the lump in his throat and shouted "Aw hell, Jackson, I know what you're saying is true but get out of my way. I want a drink." Then Chris's strong, blunt hands shoved a startled Nathan out of his path, so hard that the dark-skinned man lost his balance and almost ended up falling on top of Vin. Buck's arms caught Nathan before he did topple onto Vin.

Indigo blue eyes locked with sapphire ones and asked a question. After a few moments, the raven-haired man nodded as he sat Nathan down by the Texan's side then hurried out the door of the room. Buck skidded to a stop as he spotted JD and Josiah on the phones checking the local hospitals and clinics for information about their missing friend. The tall agent quickly filled them in and asked if they had seen Chris. Josiah pointed towards the front door of the police station as he and JD continued to man the phones. Wilmington waved his thanks and jogged out of the station.

Buck spied Chris stalking down the sidewalk at a fast clip. But Buck's long legs enabled the mustached man to catch up to his oldest friend in no time. "Ain't gonna stop me, Buck." Warned the blond irritably without breaking stride. "Wasn't planning to, Pard. Thought I might join ya." Replied Buck in a deceptively mild voice as he matched Chris's pace. They found a bar about four blocks away from the police station. Buck ordered two teas and two Turkey Club Sandwiches as Chris found a table in the back. The brunet brought the two teas and the food to the table and set them down, then sat down next to Chris and waited patiently.

Larabee arched a sandy eyebrow at Buck who just arched a dark-haired one back and slid both a tea and a Club sandwich in front of his friend. "You're still on meds, pard so no beer for you until you're cleared." then Buck crossed his arms and gave Chris his own version of the 'Larabee glare' which could be pretty effective too as Chris shrugged and picked up the sandwich and took a bite.

Wilmington knew what was truly bothering Chris but he couldn't tell the blond outright. His oldest friend had to sort it out on his own though Buck decided he could give Chris a push in the right direction. It had become apparent to Buck, JD, Nathan, Josiah, and Vin that Ezra and Chris had fallen for one another pretending to be a gay couple while undercover on the Easton case but while Ezra might have figured it out, Chris had not.

Buck took a sip of his tea as Chris put his glass down after his own sip. Hazel eyes stared at the golden liquid for long moments, as Larabee wrapped his palms around the clear glass. Amber orbs glanced briefly into understanding midnight blue ones before returning their gaze to the table. And whispered hoarsely, "Where is he, Buck? Why hasn't he called me to let us know he's okay? That Southerner cuss is a real pain in my behind but he's one of us. Ezra can't be dea...gone. Why the hell did Orrin put him under in a new case before we could talk?

The dark blue eyed man tried to answer the first questions but decided not to attempt a reply to the last one as Chris took another bite of his food. While Buck was talking, he thought part of the problem was just that, \\ That Chris and Ez hadn't had any real time to spend together after the team's last bust five weeks ago.\\


When Buck and the other team 7 members burst into an abandoned factory of the bomb-maker and gun-trafficker Easton, Chris had been going toe to toe with one of the goon's bodyguards because the bodyguard was trying to block Chris from reaching Ezra whom was across the wide floor, dealing with his own 'miscreants.' as Ez would say. Larabee but-headed the man in the stomach. The man finally dropped, but he had gotten in his blows. The blond staggered to his feet to find Ezra and was felled by a bullet in the back of his shoulder.

Wilmington remembered how Ezra's face had drained of color and the suave agent's pain-filled yell of "Chris!" As he saw the fair-headed man fall to the floor. The chestnut-haired man had then dashed across the floor and was the first one of Team 7 to reach their prone leader. Ezra cradled the unconscious man against his compact, muscular frame, until Nathan knelt down by their side.

The undercover agent had gently released the blond man to the medic's care. Chris's entire body was covered in bruises. As Nathan checked Larabee, the healer was grateful that the bullet had gone straight through Chris's body right under the clavicle though he thought that Chris might have internal bleeding in the liver because of where the bruise was situated and the coloration of the injury. The ATF team leader also had a concussion and the mass of bruises over all of his body.

Ezra had come out relatively unscathed. He just had a few scratches, cuts and bruises.

Luckily at the hospital, it was determined that Chris did not have his liver bleeding internally but he had gotten an infection and high fever because of the bullet wound and that's what kept him in the hospital so long. At least that's what the doctors had said . Buck thought Chris didn't get well as fast as he could have because his friend and boss was missing Ezra.

Chris had been in and out of consciousness the first few days in the hospital. So the hazel-eyed man had been unaware of the meeting between his team and the AD Travis on the second day of his hospitalization. Travis had gathered Team 7 together and explained that there was an explosives connection between Easton and this man Bonner. They needed a man in Bonner's organization and they needed him ASAP. Standish had reluctantly followed orders leaving Chris and the others' side by the next day. Ez had been gone two days by the time the blond, injured man had been fully aware of his surroundings. Vin had broken the news of Ezra's new assignment to Chris, because the Texan was the one sitting with him when Chris had asked about the auburn-haired man. The sharpshooter had later privately told the tall surveillance agent how their friend had woken up in the hospital room, had asked for Ezra; how Chris's hazel eyes had swept across the room searching for the Southerner; how the light in those hazel eyes had dimmed as Vin told him about the new case and where Ezra was.

Buck and Vin had been in the file room when this conversation took place. Buck had slammed a file cabinet drawer shut in frustration.


"You're probably glad of the peace and quiet, old dog but I just plain miss that fancy talking man." concluded Buck aloud. His oldest friend shook his head, denying Buck's words as he softly confessed, "Know it isn't his fault, Bucklin. He's only obeying orders but I wanted to see him. Make sure Ez was okay after the bust. " The dark-haired man chewed his sandwich as the blond muttered more to himself. "We got real close during the time we were pretending to be a couple during the last case. And I just have a really bad feeling in my gut about this Bonner. Want my man home, safe and sound." Chris then took a pull from his drink as Buck wiped the crumbs from his mustache with a napkin and wondered \\Did Chris realize what he had just said? \\ Taking the bull by the horns, Buck's blue eyes met Chris's stormy amber ones and asked the blond point blank, "Was it all just pretendin' Pard?"

Wilmington's words rocked Chris to his core as the ATF team leader realized what Buck was really saying. Shock widened hazel eyes as they met and held serious blue ones. Three years of memories swirled through Larabee's brain. A lean hand which was wrapped around his tea glass began shaking badly and knocked over the tea which shattered glass everywhere. Soon Chris's entire, lithe form was trembling violently as he sputtered quietly "Oh my Gawd."

While the blond had been lost in his memories, Buck had moved his chair closer to Chris's. When the brunet had seen the truth dawn on his friend's face causing Chris to drop the drink to the floor, the surveillance agent held Chris's hand and calmly checked Larabee's palm for embedded shards of glass. While at the same time he grounded the blond to him as Chris reacted to Buck's eye-opening question.

Before the two men could say anything, Chris's cell phone vibrated. It was Travis's secretary reminding the team that they had to be back in Denver by tomorrow morning, because Chris and Vin had to testify in court.

Buck squeezed Chris's shoulder as they left the bar, completely missing the news bulletin about an injured 'John Doe' in Pagosa Springs Mercy Medical Center running across the TV screen in the corner of the bar.


Dr. White and Dr. Michaels both smiled as Ezra slept peacefully, then frowned as the auburn-haired man began to thrash around on the bed, crying out "No, Mother. Don't leave me here. I'll do what you want. Please take me with you. Please..." then quieted as a tear trickled down the restless man's cheek.. Dr. Michaels fiddled with the IV drip as Dr. White carefully wiped the tear off of Ezra's cheek. The blond physician was putting two fingers against the patient's wrist to check the pulse when he suddenly found himself pinned by the wary emerald gaze of the now conscious patient. "Well. hello there young man. Glad to see you're awake." "Where am I?" rasped Ezra's Southern drawl.. "Before I answer you, how about some ice chips for your thirst?" responded the doctor.

At, Ezra's cautious nod, the doctor held the cup full of ice chips to the green-eyed man's lips. The undercover agent sucked at the chips for a few minutes then stopped. Dr. White gave the cup to Dr. Michaels who put it back on the dresser as the neurologist straightened and stood by the head of the bed. His aqua blue eyes stared calmly at into Ezra's green ones as he responded to the earlier question. "My name is George White, and I am a doctor and this is my colleague, Dr. Harry Michaels." The blond man tipped his head towards Harry's direction. The redheaded surgeon smiled and raised his stethoscope in greeting. The neurologist spoke again, "You're in Mercy Medical Center in Pagosa Springs Colorado. Two fisherman found you by the edge of Davis Lake. Do you remember how you got there? And would you mind telling us your name, since you didn't have any identification upon your arrival?" Then both physicians waited for the auburn-haired man's reply.

Flashes of disjointed images ran through Ezra's mind as the doctor was talking to him. \\An elegant blonde woman, a deck of playing cards, moving from place to place, a lonely little auburn-haired boy shuffling a deck of cards, fancy hotels and restaurants, the blonde woman with different men, ace of spades, college, shootouts, a townhouse, fights, explosions, guns, unpacked moving boxes, being chased, a briefcase of money, being beaten up, a handsome, hazel-eyed blond man, five other men, warehouses, unpacked moving boxes, donuts, an ebony horse, grenades, more explosions and shootouts, coffee, black truck, factories, a ranch, a fancy black sports car, a chestnut horse, He and the blond man riding the chestnut gelding and a black gelding respectively across a beautiful clearing. And then enjoying a glorious picnic.\\

"My name? I can't remember my identity. Or what occurrence led me to be found by a body of water." Responded an anxious Ezra. George and Harry soothed Ezra by saying it was understandable, that he had been assaulted and hit on the head so hard that they had to operate to release the pressure on his brain. It was normal for him to have amnesia which was more than likely temporary. Standish calmed down as the doctors told him this news. George asked the patient if he had a headache. Ezra slowly admitted to one. The doctor handed him a pain killer which caused Ezra to slip back into sleep before he could ask anything more.

Dr. White and Dr. Michaels, called the local sheriff to let him know that their assault victim was awake now but had amnesia. Sheriff Andrews said he'd be down at the hospital shortly and then contacted the TV station and asked the station manager to run the story about the injured man on the news and see if that turned in any leads. Luckily no photos were shown of the man just a bulletin about him being wounded.

The two doctors decided that if their patient's memory had not returned by the time they did their final rounds of the day, they would ask the patient if he wanted to travel to Denver's "Mercy" hospital and they would work with him there.

Ezra counted the tiles of the white ceiling until a mid-western voice booming from the TV distracted him. \\That sounds like Mr. Larabee. Who's Mr. Larabee?\\ blinked a bewildered chestnut-haired man. The movie ran on the small screen as Ezra recalled


Zerbo's luxurious hotel suite bedroom where serious hazel eyes and an Indiana tenor begged for a second chance. "Someone gave me a another chance. Can I do any less?" responded the Southerner. Relief and joy smoldered in Chris Larabee's eyes as the blond understood Ezra's answer. A callused hand dropped onto Ezra's shoulder and tugged the shorter man to Larabee's taller form. The russet-haired man's jade eyes transmitted that he was going to move into the embrace because he, the Southerner wanted to. Chris's long arms tucked the jade-eyed man close and whispered that Ezra wouldn't regret it. Then the lean, blond man brushed a kiss over the tip of Ezra's ear and finally rubbed his cheek against soft russet-colored hair before sighing and drifting off to sleep.


Dr. Michaels reentered the amnesic patient's room and found the auburn-haired man awake, staring blankly at the TV. Harry called for the man's attention twice before the patient noticed he was there. Ezra inquired about his other injuries and the doctor told him about his dislocated shoulder, the two cracked ribs, the spleen injury and his sprained ankle. The physician knew he was speaking with someone very intelligent and well-educated by the way the patient phrased his questions and responses. As the neurologist walked in, Ezra's attention was caught by Dr. White's dark-blond hair. \\It's almost the same shade as 'Lal's' hair.\\ thought Ezra to himself then frowned as he said out loud "Lal?" A startled Dr. Michaels queried "You know Hindu?" "Hindu? said Ezra. The redheaded man said "Yes, my wife is Hindu and she's teaching me the language. You just said 'beloved' in Hindu. "I did?" spilled out the green-eyed man.


Ezra saw himself in a University classroom reciting passages in French, Italian, Japanese, etc... to an awed set of classmates.


"Could that by your name?" asked Dr. White.

Ezra returned to the present and shook his head no. "I was studying the coloration of your hair and it reminded me of someone that I called Lal." The two doctors nodded their heads in understanding.

Suddenly Ezra squinted down at his hands.


Seeing the same hands carding through short, soft, strands of blond hair and messaging throbbing temples.

The green-eyed man was standing behind a maroon leather sofa as a blond man sat on the sofa with his fair head tilted back, resting the back of his head against Ezra's torso. The blond was purring "Ezra, don't stop. It feels so good. Thanks for taking my headache away."

The chestnut-haired man caught the reflection of a man outside the side door of the room through the mirror by the room's front door. The undercover agent's hands slid through Chris's hair down to the slim man's shoulders as the agent bend down slightly and appeared to be whispering 'sweet nothings' into Chris's ear but in reality was warning his teammate. Larabee's hazel eyes flew open as he once again tensed up, sitting up straighter on the couch, folding his arms Indian style. "Thought we were through for the night, Trent." grumbled the blond man.

The ebony-haired husky man laughed. "We are, but I need to borrow Summers here to help me with the figures or we'll never be ready for the deal day after tomorrow." Easton's partner waited as Chris stood up, turned around and brushed a soft kiss onto Ezra's cheek. The shorter man ghosted his fingers lightly over the taller man's jaw as Trent looked on indulgently before the criminal led the russet-haired man out of the room.


"Ezra...Ezra Summers is my name." cried the hospitalized, jade-eyed man as he joyously gazed from his hands to the doctor's kind faces. "Great, do you remember anything else?" responded the lanky, blond physician. "Ezra said no but he spoke about remembering some disjointed images of people and places when he woke up but he didn't know who they were or what they meant. Ezra knew the hazel-eyed blond man he saw in the flash of memory was important to him, though Ezra couldn't remember who the blond was or how close the two of them actually were. It seemed from the random memory that they were intimate but since Ezra was not absolutely certain of this fact, so he kept silent about the blond.

"Ezra? Interesting name you have there." grinned the redheaded vascular surgeon who was examining Ezra's spleen. Harry nodded in satisfaction stating that the spleen seemed to be fine. There was no sign of infection and it wasn't in danger of rupturing anymore. The patient was glad of this news and of the fact that the physician was no longer probing the wounded area.

As Ezra sighed in relief, his nurse, Joey entered the room with fresh bandages to change the Southerner's head dressing. All three medical personnel chuckled at the patient's soft groan of disgust. Ezra muttered under his breath, "I really detest being in the hospital." As the nurse gently but firmly undid the wrapping behind Ezra's left ear. Joey waited as Dr. White inspected the three, neat, side-to-side holes within the shaven area of the russet-haired man's skull. "Looking good, Mr. Summers. The swelling has gone done and the stitches are holding cleanly though you will likely experience strong headaches, dizzy spells and bouts of nausea occasionally within the next month or so as you heal completely." The jade-orbed man cleared his throat and then asked about his faulty memory. Dr. White was honest with Ezra and mentioned that there was a possibility that Ezra would never regain his memory. The neurologist also said that the amnesia could be only temporary and Ezra's memory could return at any moment.

By this time, the male nurse had finished taping the new dressing on the green-eyed man's head injury and headed out the door, promising to bring the patient dinner soon. Summers tiredly admonished Joey to bring him a decent meal and "Not the usual delicacies which pass for hospital food these days." The two medics hid their grins at their patient's comment when Sheriff Andrews entered the hospital room. Ezra sat up ramrod straight in the bed, his eyes narrowing as he assessed the heavyset man entering his room. "Sheriff Andrews at your service. The hospital calls me when there are apparent cases of assault, burglary, hit and run etc.." The big man extended a large hand to Ezra's slender one and shook it firmly.

The auburn-haired man nodded once and said "Ezra Summers." The lawman questioned the wounded man for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that Mr. Summers had been mugged and assaulted. Andrews told Ezra, George and Harry that if anything turned up he'd let them know. The officer of the law left and so did the doctors. Ezra had felt a prickle up his neck when the Sheriff came in but didn't know why. He'd just close his eyes for a minute then figure it out. A few minutes later, Joey came in with the man's dinner to find Ezra fast asleep.


Fourteen Days Later - Pagosa Springs

A preoccupied Nathan Jackson strode down the entrance corridor of Pagosa Springs "Mercy Medical Center. The African-American was at the hospital to attend a workshop although his heart and head was not really into this seminar, he had promised George he would come and so he was here. The healer's thoughts drummed restlessly \\It had been a nightmarish two weeks. It had all started when Ezra had disappeared while on a case. Most of the ATF higher-ups now presumed Standish was dead. Neither AD Travis nor the rest of Team 7 believed this. In fact, Larabee and the rest of Team 7 had torn Denver apart looking for their missing friend and teammate. So far they hadn't found any concrete leads, yet.

Vin and Chris had testified in court, the day after Ezra's disappearance. And Chris had caught the flu which the stubborn fool ignored as he and the others continued to look for their missing teammate. Midway through these two weeks, Larabee had collapsed in the office and was taken to the hospital where the blond was diagnosed with an acute case of bronchitis. The Team 7 leader was sent home to the ranch yesterday. Buck and Vin were keeping an eye on him. Hope we find Ez soon cause if we don't, we'll lose Chris too.\\

As Dr. White turned the corner, he spied his friend Nathan Jackson at the nurse's station asking for directions to his lab. George's long legs had him standing by Nathan's side within a few strides. The neurologist greeted Jackson warmly. The doctor invited Nate to come along and meet one of his favorite patients. Riding the elevator up to the pediatric floor, the doctor explained that the man was a victim of assault who had a case of retrograde amnesia caused by a traumatic head wound. George described how he had to drill three 'burr holes' in the man's head to relieve a hematoma. The doctor described the other injuries the man had suffered as well.

"Why we going to the children's floor, then? Shouldn't we be going to ICU?" asked the curious team 7 healer. "We would be normally but Ezra has a magic way with the children and they have been clamoring for his card tricks ever since he was well enough to wheel himself down a floor, a week ago." Quipped the lanky man over his shoulder as he stepped out of the elevator. Nathan stared speechlessly at the retreating man's back for a moment before he too emerged from the elevator. "George, Did you say this man's name was Ezra?" inquired Jackson breathlessly as Nate's strong hand on his fair arm halted the neurologist's stride. "Yes, all he can remember is his name...Ezra Summers." replied George in a puzzled tone. "Nathan are you all right?" said the physician as the relieved African-American's big frame slumped against a wall. \\Oh, Thank you God. Ezra's still alive.\\ Then Nate heard a familiar Southern drawl in the room ahead of him. The dark-skinned man indicated he was okay and mouthed silently to George "Is he in there?" And waved a hand towards the room. At White's nod, Jackson motioned the blond doctor to go into the room first and he followed.

Ezra was shuffling the deck of cards between his hands, coaxing his sometimes stiff fingers into more flexible digits as four children circled his wheelchair, eagerly waiting for the next card trick. The russet-haired man had positioned his wheelchair near the end of the room, facing the front entrance of the children's playroom. This way, his jade irises could observe everyone who entered. When the tall, dark-skinned man walked in behind Dr. White, Ezra smiled reflexively at the unknown man then frowned in surprise at his own action.

Nathan's chocolate brown eyes blinked back moisture as he saw his friend sitting in the wheelchair. The healer's sharp glance took in the brace on Ezra's right ankle, the fading bruises on the agent's hands and forearms, the IV still attached to one arm, the other arm's shoulder wrapped tight to his body, then the bandage dressing the back of the Southerner's head. "Dislocated your shoulder again, huh Ezra?" questioned the dark-skinned man.

Dr. White had shepherded the children to the other room so Summers and Jackson could be alone. He suspected that Nathan knew who Ezra was and wanted to give them some privacy.

Ezra's eyes speared the African-American with an urgent question in his jade irises. "Do You know me, sir?" "Ezra, you don't remember anything at all? Maude? The ATF? Team 7?" Said a concerned Nathan as he sat down next to the wounded man. The undercover agent focused all of his concentration on the dark-skinned man. Images of Nathan, himself and five other men spun furiously through Ezra's mind. "You watch my health. Help me when I'm injured but I don't remember your name or the name of the five other men occupying my thoughts at this moment." Impatiently whispered the chestnut-haired man. Nathan patted a tense forearm, reassuringly, " My name is Nathan Jackson and I'm your friend and we work together. Ezra, its alright that you can't remember my name. Its gonna take time. Its good you can recall some things, which means you probably will regain your full memory."

Nathan suddenly found his hands within an iron grip as emerald eyes drilled into his. "How are Maude, the ATF and Team 7 connected to me?" exhaled the Southerner.

The African-American was expecting this reaction and gently squeezed Ezra's hands as he replied patiently "Maude's your Mother. I think you said she was presently living in Monte Carlo. The ATF stands for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. We are law-enforcement officers. Getting gun-runners and other criminals off the streets. And you are the best undercover agent in the bureau. You and I are part of Team 7 of the ATF Southwest Division in Denver Colorado.

"There are five other men on this team?" Ezra rasped out. Nathan nodded once then asked the injured man to release his hands for a minute. Jackson wanted to show the auburn-haired man something. Ezra let go and Nathan reached for his wallet, pulled it out and extracted a picture of team 7 from a side pocket.

The picture was of the seven on a fishing trip. Nathan handed over the photo to a curious Ezra. An elegant finger traced over the picture slowly The auburn-haired man saw the team in front of a lake. A big, gray-haired man resting a fly rod on one broad shoulder on one end, followed by the dark-skinned man holding a fly box which a young ebony-haired man was playfully tugging on and then Ezra was next carrying an open basket of the fish that the others had caught in one arm, while adjusting the hat on his head with the other hand.

Ezra's heart thumped loudly as his irises noted who stood next to him in the photo. It was a handsome, hazel-eyed, dark-blond man lazily dangling a fish over the open basket. \\This is the man whose temples I was massaging.// flew through Ezra's mind. After long seconds of devouring the blond with his eyes, the Southerner moved on to the next person in the photo, a tall, mustached man proudly displaying a fish and besides him was a long-haired man with blue eyes twinkling as he reeled in his fishing line. Ezra began to ask the African American whom everyone was in the picture. "And this is Chris Larabee, our Team Leader. He's a tough son of a gun most times but we'd all follow him to hell and back." and Nathan waited to see if Ezra would react to Chris's name but all he saw was Ezra's eyes blink twice, like he had done with all the others.

Before Nathan could say anything more, Ezra became very nausea and started retching. Nathan and Dr. White who had returned to the room immediately tended to the jade-eyed man. Forty-minutes later, Nathan sat besides Ezra's bed reassuring the Southerner that he would be there when the undercover agent woke up. Ezra smiled and sleepily asked if he could see the picture again. Jackson nodded and placed it in the waiting hand. Ezra gazed at it for a while before whispering "Goodnight all." And then hugged the photo to his chest while heavy eyelids fluttered close. Jackson vowed to take care of his Southern friend and teammate. " I'll be here to watch over you Ezra besides Chris 'll shoot me if anything else happens to you." the EMT chuckled to himself.

Suddenly he exhaled, "Shit I'd better call the boys and let them know I've found Ez."



A barefoot Chris Larabee dressed in an old rumpled, midnight blue Denver PD tee-shirt and black sweatpants wandered aimlessly into the den at his ranch. The bone-tired blond heard off-key singing coming from the kitchen and realized Buck was scrounging up lunch. \\Vin's probably in the barn, seeing to the horses\\ thought Larabee as he plunked down on the old recliner. Amber orbs glanced dully around the room as Chris ran a callused hand over an unshaven cheek and then mindlessly turned on the TV. He ignored the wall full of photos behind him. The slim man wanted a beer but as he was still on medication he couldn't have alcohol right now. His hand kept flipping from channel to channel until he chanced across a rodeo. They were in the riding and roping part of the rodeo.

A happy grin slashed Chris's mouth as he fondly remembered how he and Buck had competed in such an event many years ago. Larabee's face fell as he mumbled "Promised Ez I'd take him to one too but it looks like I'm not going to be able to keep my promise." The blond tucked his chin against his chest and began to cry silently.

The shrill ring of the phone rang through the ranch. Chris hitched a breath before jumping up to get the phone but he was too slow, Buck had answered it. The hazel-eyed man heard the bang of the back door and Vin's footsteps in the kitchen. Chris wiped at his face as he strode in the direction of the kitchen. The blond had just entered the kitchen when he and Vin heard Buck whoop with joy. Both Chris and Vin arched fair eyebrows in Wilmington's direction. The mustached man covered the mouth piece and bubbled "Nate's found him." Vin rushed and caught Chris before the lean man completely slipped to the hardwood floor. The Texan helped Chris to a chair as his friend and team leader tried to snatch the cordless phone from Buck's hand. The raven-haired man shifted slightly and kept the phone out of the blond's grip. "Yeah, we'll see ya in a few hours Nate. Tell Josiah to get the plane ready again when you talk to him." Wilmington dialed the speed number for his and JD's apartment. JD was ecstatic when his roommate gave the good news.

Meanwhile Chris impatiently paced his kitchen until his oldest friend was off the phone. Vin sat patiently waiting. "Well?" growled the hazel-orbed man and stopped in front of the mustached man. Buck's dark blue eyes sparkled happily as he said "Old dog, ya wanna shave and get a mite more presentable before Ezra sees you. The way you look now ya'll scare him. "Buck." warned Chris's tone. The surveillance agent got serious. "He got hit bad on the head, which caused him to lose his memory." Vin winced. Chris blanched and curled his hands into fists while keeping his golden green eyes glued to his oldest friend.

"Though Nate is hopeful that Ezra 'll regain his entire memory. Jackson also said Ez has a busted ankle, cracked ribs, dislocated shoulder. And something about a spleen that was bleeding but its all under control now." Continued Buck as he lounged against the kitchen doorway. "Where's he at?" asked the seated sharpshooter. "Pagosa Springs. Don't know how he got there but the important thing is he's alive." Replied the brunet. The blond man sagged against Buck's shoulder at the same time Vin muttered "Yup. We bringing him home tonight." The raven-haired man anchoring Chris agreed "Uh, huh...as soon as Chris is human again and we pick up some of Ez's things." The hazel-orbed man snorted "Human? Wilmington, you're lucky I'm in a good mood." As the blond playfully swiped at Buck's shoulder on his way to his bedroom to freshen up.

Buck laughed until his cell phone sang. His long fingers quickly grabbed the cell off the kitchen counter. "Hey JD." Buck and JD spoke for several more minutes until the mustached man said "Great work, kid. We'll see you in a few." And shut his phone. Wilmington was about to yell when Chris appeared freshly showered, shaved and combed. "Let's roll, Pard. Tanner's already in the Ram." Chris nodded and the two men headed out.


Dr. White and his staff had been forewarned by Nathan Jackson on what to expect when Team 7 arrived. So when the five ATF men invaded Mercy a little later the medical personnel was ready.

Nate greeted them in the lobby and explained Ezra's situation in more detail as he walked them up to Ezra's room on the third floor. JD passed the overnight bag with Ezra's things over to the team medic as they got out of the elevator. "Thanks JD." Jackson rummaged around the bag until he found what he was looking for. His skilled hand deftly put the sunglasses in his shirt pocket. "Ezra will be needing these, his eyes are really sensitive to the light right now. You even remembered to bring the polarized fishing sunglasses that cuts down really well on glare instead of his designer ones. Good thinking JD." complimented the African-American as he ambled into the hospital followed by the others.

Ezra sat upright in the hospital bed, green eyes shining with hope and curiosity. "Good Afternoon, Mr. Jackson. Hello Everyone." drawled the Southerner. Then he flashed them a gold-tooth grin that had everyone smiling back. Ezra might not remember who these men were right now but he felt a sense of peace and family come over him when they entered into the room. Four men surrounded the bed all touching Ezra for a moment to let him know they were there for their wounded friend and teammate. Chris was the last one in to the room because he had run into Sheriff Andrews outside the elevator, so he missed the others' first minutes with Ezra. Then the others spread out about the room as they usually did when one of the seven was in the hospital.

The blond man marched into the room and inwardly melted at the sight of the man in the hospital bed.

Ezra was alive and it didn't matter that he looked like hell. Sharp hazel-eyes saw Nathan changing the bandages of the head wound and caught a glimpse of one of the holes the doctor had drilled into Ezra's skull. Chris's eyes instantly hardened into amber flint. \\ I'm going to shoot the ...Naw I'll torture the bastards who did this to my Ez.\\ sped through Chris's thoughts.

Ezra had locked his jade green eyes onto the blond man the moment Chris had entered the room. The Southerner quirked his lips into a shy half-smile and was about to say something to the man dressed nicely in soft black leather boots, black jeans, charcoal gray car coat with a lighter gray turtleneck sweater underneath the coat when Ezra observed the man's hazel-eyes darken.

Unfortunately Ezra thought it was because he repulsed Chris.

Vin was watching Chris and Ezra really close. He knew what his best friend was thinking but noticed Ezra shrinking away from Nathan's helping hands. The darn man was trying to make himself invisible. Vin shook his head frustrated and quietly mouthed "Cowboy, you're spooking Ez." Chris startled. The ATF team leader flicked his eyes from Ezra to Vin then back to Ezra.

"Ezra, ain't your fault you got hurt. You're just going to have a few new scars later on. I'm just really pissed at Bonner and his gang for hurting you they way they did. "You could've of died and I...the team wouldn't be the same without you." rumbled Chris sinking into the chair by Ezra's bed. A large, blunt hand engulfed Ezra's smaller one and the jade-eyed man felt warmth flow throughout his body. The undercover agent's mouth formed a perfect 'O' at the hazel-eyed man's words and action.

Jackson diffused the emotional moment as he stated matter of factly " I'm still changing his dressing and Ez needs his sunglasses. Because even with the blinds drawn, the sunlight is still coming through and causing Ez some pain if that wince is any indication. Chris, you're the closest, pull Ezra's sunglasses out of my pocket and put them on him so he can rest his eyes a bit." The blond stood and fished them out of the medic's shirt and gently perched them on the bridge of Ezra's nose. While the team leader adjusted the handles behind Ezra's ear, the pad of Chris's thumb unconsciously stroked the skin behind Ezra's ear. Chris's eyes were a soft gold as the injured man thanked him. Ezra wanted to ask the blond man about their relationship but decided to do it at a more private time.

Before Chris could reply, Buck cracked a joke about their boss waiting on their undercover agent. Larabee extended a long arm and swatted his oldest friend on the elbow. The tall, raven-haired man had his "Ow" shushed by five men because they noted that the Southerner's head had tilted forward slightly and Ezra's breath had evened out.


Joey roused Ezra an hour and a half later and told him they were going to unwrap his dislocated shoulder. Standish gladly complied with the nurse's instructions as the man removed the cumbersome wrap. Joey made Ezra rotate his shoulder and when the Southerner turned his head, he saw the slim man lying asleep in a hospital bed next to his own. The undercover agent wrinkled his nose in puzzlement. A deep baritone from the other side of Ezra's bed answered the unspoken question on the Southerner's face. "Chris had the flu which worsened into bronchitis last week so he's not at full strength. And after the adrenaline rush of finding you fizzled, his body needed to rest but he refused to leave this room. Larabee finally conceded to a bed next to yours." concluded Josiah Sanchez, the Team 7 profiler.

The jade-eyed man's reply was lost among the noise of the arrival of four other men. Ezra laid the sunglasses on his nightstand. The wounded man only recognized the dark-skinned man. "Mr. Jackson, who are these gentlemen?" queried the Southerner.

The noisy arrival of his team had awoken Chris from his slumber in time for him to hear Ezra's inquiry and the question made the blond's heart lurch painfully. "What if he never remembers the team? If he never remembers me?" grunted Chris under his breath as he swung his legs to the floor.

In the meantime, Nathan had reintroduced the men to Ezra and explained once again how they were friends and worked as a team. Ezra stared intensely at the group as Nate told the team it was common for patients with retrograde amnesia to forget people they knew before the traumatic event which caused them to lose their memory. Team 7 also learned that Ezra would more than likely remember who they were now because the Southerner had seen them a few times now, after the assault and usually retrograde memory loss only affected recall of the past.

Ezra's Southern drawl never sounded more honeyed than when he called each man by name, two hours later when Joey came in bringing the paperwork to dismiss Ezra under Nathan Jackson's care.


Ezra was secretly delighted as the man clad in the gray turtleneck and black jeans sat next to him on the flight back to Denver. The Southerner's heart thumped as Chris turned to ask him if he was up to seeing a DVD of JD's birthday party a couple of months ago. At Ezra's nod, JD on the other side of Ezra popped the disc into his laptop. Jade Irises stared enthralled at the images on the screen. The costume party was held at the Team 7's usual hangout, a wonderful restaurant and bar, "The Saloon" And people were dressed in Old West garb. The birthday boy whom was mingling with the guests, was wearing a brown bowler hat like Bat Masterson and a sheriff's badge. Mr. Wilmington made a nice-looking cowboy with whom all the ladies flirted. Mr. Sanchez wore a striped poncho over his shirt and pants talking philosophy with an older man. Mr. Jackson was dressed in a simple beige shirt and pants but had a wicked set of knives strapped to his back. Ezra glanced across the aisle in surprise. "Knives? Mr. Jackson." Nathan smiled as he said, "My wife thought they would be a good prop for me. I'm pretty fair at throwing them." JD pointed Rain out to the russet-haired man as her image floated across the screen as she served some men around a circular poker table. Ezra congratulated the medic on having a pretty wife when his attention was caught by a vivid red jacket. \\Goodness, Is that me attired in that elegant white shirt with the fancy red jacket over it? And playing poker like I'm a professional gambler?\\ Wondered Ezra. Chris saw the scene unfolding on the computer screen. "Graham, Leeson, and Harrison are still grumbling about the wages they lost to you." chuckled the blond man. At his undercover agent's blank stare, Chris continued "Graham, Leeson and Harrison are the leaders of Teams 3, 5 and 1 of our regional ATF and you challenged them to a poker game which they foolishly accepted." "Yup, everyone knew you were a good card player but ya showed them what a damn fine player ya really are. Thanks for giving the winnings to the 'KidsSafe' Shelter in my neighborhood." agreed Vin from the seat behind Chris's. The Southerner had turned his head to look at the sharpshooter. "You're welcome." fell from the jade-eyed man's lips as he returned his eyes to the image on the computer and saw himself raking in cash from the middle of the table to a nice, neat pile of currency sitting by his left arm.

The DVD disc moved on from the game to two men sipping their drinks at the bar, surveying the room. One was a long-haired man in a tan buffalo coat and pants next to a blond man dressed all in black. "You went as a gunslinger, Mr. Larabee?" Tumbled out from Ezra's mouth. Chris's lips turned upwards as he teased "Someone had to watch all of your backs. Ya all can get into a heap of trouble, even at a party." Four groans and a quiet "Ah" echoed across the plane. Strains of "The Magnificent Seven" theme song were heard as the birthday DVD ended.

Ezra cocked his head to hear the music better stating that he liked it and JD laughed then commented "Sure do. Its the ring tone for your cell." "My cell?" questioned a curious Southerner. "It's a miniature phone you carry with you." explained Chris as Josiah's voice boomed overhead stating that they were going to land. JD and Buck wanted to know if the DVD jarred any of Ezra's memories. Ezra regretfully replied with a negative answer.

A short argument had ensued as to where the Ezra was going to stay. It was decided that he would stay at Larabee's ranch because Chris still wasn't up to par either and Nathan could keep an eye on both men as he was staying overnight at the ranch.


3am Larabee Ranch

Returning to bed from a trip to the bathroom, Ezra groggily hobbled under the covers and burrowed into the lithe, lean body already sleeping in the bed. The chestnut-haired man's nimble fingers slid up a wiry arm to curl around a bicep as his ear pressed against a firm chest whose heartbeat soothed the Southern into a deep, restful slumber. A still sleeping Chris inhaled Ezra's scent and nestled his undercover agent into a more snug embrace.

A few hours later, Nathan rose to check on his recovering friends. An annoyed frown creased the EMT's forehead as he entered Ezra's bedroom and found it empty. \\Where is that man? He can't have gone far with that ankle of his."\\ thought the dark-skinned man as he went to check the bathroom. The worried man pivoted around the room and spied the bathroom door opposite the one he had entered ajar. The semi-open door led to Larabee's bedroom.

The bathroom connected both bedrooms.

"Could it be...?" whispered Nathan to himself before softly treading into Chris's room.

Jackson's chocolate eyes rounded slightly as he took in Ezra and Chris tightly tangled up on the bed. The African-American bit his cheek from chuckling out loud. He really would love to be a fly on the bedroom wall when those two woke up but he decided it would be more prudent to be making coffee in the kitchen.

The aroma of java rousing the blond from a delightful dream. Chris drowsily kissed the auburn curls nestled under his chin and his ribcage jolted as a butterfly kiss dusted his breastbone. Larabee gasped in pleasure and shock. "Ezra, I..." His hoarse voice sputtered out as Ezra trailed kisses up his slim throat and then kissed him on the lips briefly. Ezra's green eyes glowed as he whispered "Good Morning lal." The hazel-eyed man was dazed as he stared at the man in his arms. A bit of untangling, shifting and tugging later, Chris sat with his head pillowed against the backboard of the bed and Ezra sitting up within the circle of long arms. "Who the hell is lal?" scowled Chris jealously. Smoothing some stray strands of blond hair off of Chris's forehead, the Southerner chortled out loud "And I'm the one whom has a loss of memory though my heart always knew who you were lal. Why else would it palpate so fiercely every time I see you? Haven't I told you before that lal translates to 'beloved' in Hindu?"

Chris nearly swallowed his tongue at Ezra's words. Hazel eyes bored into Ezra's shining orbs then the blond crushed the russet-haired man to him while breathing "Oh God he's serious."

Then Chris began peppering kisses all over the undercover agent's face.

Chris stopped as two strong hands cupped his face. Ezra's face millimeters away from the blond's as the Southerner rasped "I am serious about you. About us. Unless you don't want..."

Chris hushed the jade-eyed man by putting an index finger against the soft lips of his Ezra. Larabee's "I didn't know you're were my heart until you were gone. And then Buck had to help get it through to my thick head. I don't ever want to go through any two weeks like these again. I wouldn't survive it." The blond shuddered for a long minute.

The auburn-haired man's skin tinged with color as he rocked the lean man against him. Ezra looked at Chris shyly and asked "So how long have we been together?" The hazel-eyed man locked eyes with jade ones before he swallowed hard and responded, "About ten minutes." "What?" sputtered a startled undercover agent as he scooted out of Chris's arms. The blond long-armed Ezra back next to him as Ezra cried "But I remember you and I in intimate situations." "We were undercover, Ezra." answered Chris. The Southerner hung his head dejectedly, jerking out of the bed to stand by the window saying heartbrokenly, "It was all pretense." The wiry blond man jumped out of his bed and wrapped up the compact muscular man in a ferocious hug. "No, Ezra, damn it, its not pretending. Maybe it was in the beginning but I fell in love with you, you ornery cuss. And you love me, you said I'm your beloved. You can't take it back now. Those memories you had us of undercover are sweet memories."

Ezra swiveled around in Chris's hold, jade eyes solemn as he agreed "Very sweet recollections indeed." Then Ezra sealed this precious memory by giving his lal a kiss.


Five days later, a happy Ezra hauled Chris into Team 7's empty conference room as soon as the blond returned from an all day meeting with AD Orrin Travis. The undercover agent then preceded to kiss his boss and lover senseless until the need to breathe became paramount. "Not that I'm protesting, mind you but what brought this on?" asked Chris huskily. "My memory returned. I had a blinding headache all morning with memories racing through my mind. Finally they coalesced and I have full retention of my memories once again. And before you inquire, yes Mr. Jackson has examined me. And I am fine." beamed Ezra.

Chris grinned then frowned, "You didn't say you were hurting before we left the ranch this morning."

"I didn't want to agitate you, besides I knew you had an important meeting with Travis."

"Nothing's more important than you, Ezra." replied Chris as he hugged the Southerner to him.


If you enjoyed this story, we're sure that GemsPegasus would love to hear from you.



This website is maintained by Donna and Barb
email us
with corrections and additions