by Kris

Disclaimer: Geez, I don't own them, cause if I did, I would treat them better. I'm nuts and don't want no profit... (hanging out with Vin too much). Giant thanks to Mog for this wonderful universe. Ryan Kelly used with permission from Heather F.
Comments: would like feedback:)
A gigantic thank you to Judy for the beta work and help... really, thank you!


ATF Offices 6am

Ezra wiped his computer, then turned it off. He walked down the hallway to Chris' office and set the envelope in the in-basket on his desk. He walked slowly out of the offices and took the elevator down to the parking garage. He knelt down and pet Cuervo, then got into his car and drove away, fighting the tears that threatened to fall.


From the water cooler, JD yelled out to Buck, "Where the hell is Ezra?" Buck shrugged. "We were suppose to work on a new hacker program, and he was bringing some special coffee." JD was disappointed.

Vin heard the exchange, got up and paced around again. He had a bad feeling that he couldn't shake. He knew that Ezra had been acting off the last couple of days, but he hadn't gone to any of them with it. He paced a bit more, then headed for Chris' office.

Chris Larabee laid the letter on the desk after he finished reading it. He dropped his head into his hands, then got up and kicked the trash can across the office, trying to think of what to do.

Vin burst into his office, working on some sixth sense, "What's wrong with Ezra?"

Chris took the letter off his desk and just handed it to Vin.

Vin took his time reading, making sure that he got it right. He looked up at Chris, confused, "What shame?"

Chris took back the short letter and re-read it.

Mr. Larabee,

I am not running out. Later today you are sure to receive some information that if I continued to stay, rumor or fact, would bring shame to your team. I value each and every member too highly to allow that. So I depart in your best interests.


Ezra P. Standish

"Damn, Chris, doesn't he know yet that we don't think he's gonna run out? Doesn't he know that we'll help him?" Vin asked in a hurt voice.

"I thought he did," Chris was as baffled as the sharpshooter. He looked up at Vin, "Well tracker, track. Track!" Chris nodded the go-ahead and Vin rushed out of the office.

Vin explained to the others and enlisted their help. JD went to Ezra's computer, but he had to inform them that it had been wiped.

Buck and Nathan left to check his place, but could only report that it was deserted. Everything was in boxes and most of his clothes were gone.

Josiah made calls, looking for leads and found none. Vin knew he had to put the word out to his contacts, Ezra couldn't just leave without a trace. Vin had JD check all his financial records, ATM's, credit cards, scan travel agencies. He told JD, "Find a paper trail." JD nodded and got right to work, he was as worried as Vin, about his friend.

It was the last FedEx delivery of the day that brought the information that Ezra's letter alluded to. Chris read it with anger, directed at both Ezra and the asshole at the FBI that sent it. It was cc to Travis, so Chris knew this particular asshole was purposely trying to hurt Ezra and the team. He called Vin in.

He handed the sheet to Vin as he came in and closed the door. Vin read with fear, not knowing what to expect.

This is to inform you that your dirty agent is even more so. We have numerous allegations of homosexual behavior by this agent. There is no room for that at the FBI. Best clean out your lockers or he could victimize you all. Code of Conduct hearing upcoming.

Section Chief Gibbons

Orrin Travis
Ezra Standish

Vin was pissed, "Why didn't he come to me, I could of helped him with this," then quickly added, "We all would have seen him through this."

Chris muttered, "Oh, Ezra." He straightened, and looked Vin directly in the eye. "Locate him! I'll go talk with him, 'n bring him back!"

Vin nodded and turned to go, then paused, "Chris, does it matter if it's true?" He questioned softly.

Chris looked at Vin, pinning those blues with intense hazel eyes, and without hesitation, "No, it doesn't matter. Never did. Never will."

Vin nodded his one-bob nod and left the office.

+ + + + + + +

Vin received a few tips and with JD's help, they traced each and every one of them. Ezra had made a big withdrawal before leaving, so they didn't have an ATM paper trail. Vin was getting real frustrated, he couldn't believe that Ezra would just up and disappear. Vin put his head down on the desk, to think and hide the fear of not seeing Ezra again. He left his mind drift over the different conversations, "JD, what's his mother's current last name? He has a credit card from her, he'd probably only use it once. Look using that name."

"Okay, it was Von something or another." JD fingers flew over the keys, "Got it Von Hauken. Running the name now." JD instructed the computer to check all airports in the US, and all car rentals. "Vin, we'll find him. He thinks he's helping us. He still cares about the team, so when we tell him we need him, he'll come back."

Josiah walked in on the last part of JD's comment. He nodded at JD, "JD's right, Ezra never cared before how rumors affected him or the team he was with. Now he's working to safeguard the team. He may not realize it yet, but he's as much a part of this team as any one of us. The way to get him back here, is just to tell him that there is no team without him."

Vin said softly, "No team has ever fought to keep him before. He may not even recognize that."

"Oh, I believe that Chris can be a might persuasive when he chooses to be." Josiah said with a smile in his voice.

"Oh, I'm with Josiah on that one," JD nodded his head the whole time he spoke. "Member when he told Travis that we weren't going to anymore damn bureaucratic lectures where the speaker is just a pencil pusher. That man can be persuasive all right."

Vin did smile at that memory.

"Hey, I got a hit, a Von Hauken flew into Concord, New Hampshire. Okay, now I'm gonna check registration of all hotels and motels, using both names."

Josiah could sense Vin's worry and agitation, he put his arm about his shoulder, "Vin the family will be complete again soon, son."

Vin nodded, but he couldn't tell Josiah that his pain went far deeper.

"Found him. He's using his name. He's staying at a motel called, The Hideaway." JD was proud of himself. Josiah squeezed his shoulder, but it was the grateful look in Vin's eyes that had him feeling even better.

Concord, New Hampshire

Ezra Standish walked back to the motel with his coffee from Starbuck's. He walked slowly, aimlessly, along streets full of color that didn't register with the undercover man. He was heart sick, and he didn't know how to help himself this time. He cursed himself for becoming dependent on others, six to be exact, a liability in his line of work. Work, who was he fooling, he didn't have a job anymore. Well, once his thoughts quit running disconnected everywhere, he'd attend to it. He just didn't like this sense of... loss. And he really didn't know how to fix that.

He unlocked his door and entered the room that had been home for two days, pretty much looked the same as when he had arrived, just a shaving kit on the bathroom counter. He called down for some clean towels and turned on the TV for the CNN news.

He listened as cars pulled up and left. He couldn't help himself, years of conditioning in self protection was a hard habit to break. He heard the knock on the door, and for a short moment in time, Ezra allowed his heart to hope, but the moment was over as he heard, "Room service."

He slumped just a tad, then called out, "Door's open."

He heard the voice before he saw the owner, "Shit, that's a stupid thing to do, don't know who'll just walk in." Chris Larabee stood in the door jam as the door swung open, with a bundle of towels in his hand. "Heard you were wanting these." He extended his bundle toward Ezra.

Ezra caught his breath at the sight of Chris Larabee, not realizing until that second how much he had wanted to be followed. To be shown that he belonged, he'd never had that, maybe now, he just might. He was appreciative that Chris had given them an easy ice breaker. "Yes, I am in great need of the towels. I didn't realize that was in your scope of your duties."

Chris smiled one of those, half secret, half sly smiles that no one could peg as he closed the door and took a seat uninvited.

Ezra placed the towels in the bathroom and took a deep breath before stepping back into the other room. He sat down on the bed as Chris sat in the only chair. He waited. He didn't want to assume anything, didn't want to read more into Chris' being here.

Chris studied his undercover man. He'd learned to look past the poker face expression of complacency, to the underlying man. Not many in life had made that effort, and Chris wasn't sure Ezra knew that he had done it. He saw loneliness, and that surprised him, for a man that spent so much time on his own... well, actually it wasn't all that surprising, Ezra missed them. Chris almost smiled outwardly, he wondered if Ezra realized that himself.

Chris knew that Ezra was just going to wait, he had a great deal of patience. Chris could be patient when he chose too. Ezra wasn't unnerved, and Chris figured it was because Ezra really believed that he was doing the right thing by the team. Chris had to show him he wasn't.

"Ezra, I don't care what you or anyone else does behind a closed door. What I do care about is what you mean to this team, cause there ain't one without you." Chris paused, then continued in a softer voice, "Ezra, before Denver, you worked on teams, but that was all they were. Now you've gone and gotten mixed up in a family. In families, we don't let each other face problems alone. We all face them together. So, you're not leaving, see, cause together, we can fight anything and anyone."

Ezra bent his head so Chris couldn't see how much his words meant to him. But he shook his head anyway, Chris didn't understand. "The other times, when they asked if I was attracted to someone I worked with, I could always say no. It was always the truth, male or female." Ezra lifted his head and looked directly into Chris' hazel eyes, "Chris, if they asked me this time, I don't know if I could lie well enough." Ezra let his words sink in.

Chris raised one eyebrow, sighed and repeated himself, "Ezra, you're not leaving. I mean it, together we can fight anything. In fact, no one has noticed anything inappropriate. Not one member has ever experienced a moment of any awkwardness. They have only agonized over getting you to accept their friendship. All have been searching high and low for you, no one was going to give up. We all need you."

Ezra looked directly at Chris. Green eyes into hazel eyes and read the honesty of his words. Unable to resist that appeal and the fact that he never wanted to leave the team, he let Larabee persuade him. But the fear still existed that he would bring shame down on the whole team.


Denver, Colorado

When Chris and Ezra walked into the offices the next morning, Ezra knew that Chris had spoken the truth about the team as well. It was an unusual experience, being wanted like this and Ezra was unsure how to react. He'd thought of using humor, but after looking at Vin's and JD's faces, he knew he couldn't, they had really been worried. Josiah said nothing, but gave him a hug. Ezra knew that Josiah needed to do that so he didn't resist, but he couldn't return it either.

Chris called for a meeting immediately, in the conference room. Nathan had Ezra's coffee ready for him and Buck held open the door for him. He smiled at both men.

Chris started right into the heart of the meeting, "Travis says that this, Section Chief Gibbons, is a nasty man. I personally don't give a hoot to anyone else's opinion about me or the team. I know we're outstanding. Travis knows that's how we feel, but he's asked us to do something minor, something that would allay suspicions without directly confronting these allegations."

"You should of just let me leave." Ezra felt compelled to remind them. He didn't want them tarnished this way.

Josiah smiled that fatherly grin, "Ezra we're family, we'll do this together." Ezra looked about the table and saw that the whole team was indeed in this with him, he nodded.

Chris looked proudly at group before him and nodded. "I have a plan." He had all eyes on him. "Quite frankly, I think it is difficult to maintain relationships in this line of work. Nathan's had the most success, but that's cause Raine is as busy as he is." Chris smiled over at Nathan. Chris continued, looking apologetically at Vin as he said, "Vin's fiasco with Charlotte had the most water cooler exposure."

Vin reddened and he looked over at Ezra, who was picking imagery lint off his jacket.

"I want to use that very aspect, the broad public knowledge of that affair." Chris saw that Vin was getting more embarrassed, "Vin, I don't mean to embarrass you, I just believe that you are the 'something minor' that will allay suspicions."

Vin looked at Chris and could see that Chris wasn't bringing 'that' up again to hurt him, so he kept his eyes on Chris to see where this was going. "How?"

"You move in with Ezra."

Ezra's head shot up. Vin straightened up. But it was JD that asked, "Why? What would that do?"

Josiah, understanding, answered, "All the folks in this building know of Vin's relationship with Charlotte. So, if he becomes Ezra's roommate, folks will know that rumors of Ezra are unfounded. Once this dies down, Vin can return to that hellhole he calls home."

"Exactly," Chris said. "A 'something minor' and Travis will back us all the way."

The rest of the team nodded and Chris ended the meeting, then asked, "Ezra, Vin, hang back a minute here." Doing as asked, they both sat back down. "Fellas?"

Ezra took a breath, "I will clear out the extra bedroom. I will be happy to have Mr. Tanner reside there."

Vin said, "Okay, I'll move in with ya for a while." Vin's insides were churning, he was hoping he could survive it. Exquisite torture.

"Good, this will work, just wait. The others are working the background for the Pitman case, so why don't we go get Vin moved. Two heads nodded at Chris.

+ + + + + + +

Vin knew he was going to lose it soon. He just wasn't getting much sleep. He could envision Ezra, lying in the next room, and Vin would have to spend half the night in the bathroom doing himself.

He thought back to this morning, the first Saturday in six weeks that they didn't have to work. They had omelets that Ezra had prepared. Coffee and toast. They shared the paper, it was so regular that it had Vin's breathing getting raspy again. They'd had their first real conversation, about exercise all of things. Vin couldn't believe how much effort Ezra put into running. But Ezra had confessed this morning how uncomfortable gyms made him. People would keep trying to talk to him or hit on him, and for a guy like that, who valued his solitary time, it was dreadful. As Vin felt the same way, he understood Ezra's feelings. He had hoped that Ezra would stay home this evening, but he had gone running again.

It was raining hard and Vin was worried that Ezra wasn't back from his run yet. He was disappointed, he thought that maybe he would have at least cut the run short, not extend it. He finally heard the keys at the door and rushed over to open it. Ezra was leaning against the door jam, barely able to stand. Vin reached out to lead Ezra in and could feel the heat his body was producing. Ezra had a fever, he was barely lucid.

Ezra let Vin led him to the bedroom, where he collapsed on the bed. Vin knew he had to get his wet clothes off. Vin pulled off the soaking t-shirt and couldn't help but admire Ezra's torso, lean and hard. He found himself gently running his hand across Ezra's chest, before he caught himself and bent to take off his running shoes and socks. Next, he pulled at the waistband of his running shorts. As they were lined shorts, he had on no other underwear. Vin sucked in his breath at the sight of Ezra's cock and balls. He had to force himself not to fondle him. He got a towel and rubbed Ezra dry. This procedure elicited little moans from a feverish Ezra. Vin rolled Ezra over and pulled the blankets back, then rolled Ezra back covering him with the blankets.

Vin threw the wet towel back into the bathroom and left his own shorts there. He crawled into bed with Ezra and spooned him close. He placed little gentle kisses on his forehead and cheeks. He tucked Ezra closer as he watched him sleep. Ezra seemed to relax as the night wore on. Vin awoke several hours later and left the bed to relieve himself.

After Vin left the bed, Ezra trashed about a bit. He awoke startled and sat up quickly. He looked about and found that he was alone. He turned his head into the pillows as he cried.

Vin heard Ezra awake and pulled on his shorts, then went out to Ezra, leaving the bathroom light on. He saw Ezra's shoulders shaking as he silently cried into his pillow. Vin sat next to Ezra and put his hands on Ezra's shoulders, "Ezra, what's wrong?"

Ezra turned toward the voice, tears fresh on his lashes, his green eyes glistened as he sought and found blues eyes to die for, "Dream." It was all he said.

Vin pushed the hair away from the green eyes he desperately needed to see, "Must have been a horrid dream to make you cry."

Tears filled Ezra's eyes again, "No," spoken in such agony, "crying because I woke up." Ezra turned his face away again and sobbed into his pillow.

Vin moved closer and pulled Ezra close and let him cry onto his chest. The sobs quieted as Ezra fell back asleep. Vin didn't want to disturb Ezra, so he stayed just as he was, supporting Ezra against his chest. After he made sure that his even breaths were of sleep, Vin kissed the top of Ezra's head as he drew the blankets around them both.

It was still dark when Ezra awoke, he went to move but felt arms tight about him. At this movement, Vin tightened his hold, murmuring sleepily, "It's okay, Ez, it's okay."

Fully awake, Ezra took stock of where he was. His bear chest was pressed firmly against Vin's bear chest, Ezra immediately hardened, lying his cheek back down on the chest. A hand began rubbing his back in a calming way as the other arm would not release his hold. Vin's hand against his back, had Ezra's cock fully extended.

Vin was awake now too. As he had his knees up, his sweat shorts hid his fully engorged cock.

Ezra whispered into Vin's chest, "Vin . . ."


"Vin, why...?" Ezra didn't even know what to ask.

"Ez, you had a dream that upset you, you had a fever, I'm just trying to help." He looked down at that moment, and caught an expression that he had waited two years for. He reached out and cupped Ezra's face, rubbing his thumb over the parted lips. Ezra leaned into the touch afraid to open his eyes, lest the dream ended again.

Vin licked the hallow of Ezra's throat, trailing up to his ear, gently wetting the entire area. He changed to kisses as he covered the closed green eyes and cheeks until he could stand no more and lowered his lips to Ezra's with no plan of ever leaving them. His tongue sought entrance into the mouth he had dreamed of invading. Vin's tongue tried to learn how deep the grotto went, when he found his tongue latched onto and sucked nearly out of his head. Vin moaned as delicious shivers traveled through his center and hardened even further, his already swollen member.

The desire held so long in check took control and he pressed himself as close as he could get. Feeling Ezra's answering hardness, he ground his cock into Ezra's and reveled in the moans and little squeals from his soon to be lover. He pulled the covers down and used his tongue to lick his neck, then rubbed his thumb and tongue at the base of his throat, eliciting even more untamed sounds. Vin continued his oral exploration of Ezra. His tongue licked his chest, weaving back and forth until he found an already erect nipple. He licked and flicked the nub until Ezra wiggled his body in pleasure. Vin captured the erect nub and sucked it till a cry burst forth from Ezra. Vin left that protuberance and attended the other, so it would not feel slighted. Ezra's cries were incoherent and Vin smiled as he let his tongue continue it's downward exploration. He licked his stomach and his tongue discovered the navel. He swirled around it and finally dipped into it, the sweet scent of Ezra shot desire coursing through his own body and made himself even harder, if that were possible.

Vin pulled the sheet completely off this man of his dreams. His hand reached across Ezra to rest at the top of his hip and Ezra looked into blue eyes with a need to understand. Blue eyes begged trust from the green and they gave it by closing the eyes and resting his head back.

Vin ran his tongue along the muscle lines from his navel to his hips and back. He traced the other side with equal attention. He traveled straight down, just stopping before touching the most beautiful cock he'd ever seen. Vin's tongue licked and skimmed along the pulsating penis, causing Ezra's hips to writhe around, searching for something to rub against. But Vin resisted the invitation, instead he spread Ezra's legs apart and licked his inner thighs, gaining further growls from his lover that yearned for more. He teased the tender flesh until he found his nose pressed against Ezra's balls. Vin slowly licked them, gently, tenderly until he housed them completely in his mouth. Ezra hardened more and Vin knew that Ezra was as close as he was. But he ignored his own condition as he made eye contact with Ezra, then engulfed Ezra's entire cock into his mouth. Ezra rolled back, hips bucking as Vin sucked and rolled his tongue along his shaft.

When Ezra thought he could go no further into Vin's mouth, Vin opened his throat and took him in completely. Vin's chin was resting on his balls. He brought up his fingers to touch and caress balls that would have liked to join the shaft in the velvet wetness of Vin's mouth. Vin could feel Ezra reach the edge, so he moved up and down the swollen shaft, sucking all the while, until Ezra erupted, pouring the entire contents of his fluid down Vin's throat. Who eagerly lapped it up, not spilling a drop.

Ezra laid there, not sure if he was still on the earth at all. If this was part of his dream, he had no intention of ever opening his eyes. Vin placed himself along Ezra's body, his own erection placed firmly against Ezra's thigh. He blew gently into Ezra's face and followed his breath with little kisses everywhere he imagined his breath landed. Still Ezra kept his eyes closed, savoring the delicious feelings that were still being created.

Vin smiled close to the luscious lips as he spoke on top of them. "Open your eyes Ezra. This is not a dream." Ezra only shook his head no, afraid.

"That'll only make me think you didn't enjoy that." Vin said idly, as he traced his pinkie across Ezra's chest.


Ezra's eyes flew open and encountered the real Vin lying next to him. Still feeling Vin's erection against him. The mischievous look in Vin's eye challenged Ezra to return the favor.

Ezra smiled up at Vin, a heart that's resting in his eyes smile, and Vin had to draw a breath so's to not combust at the explosive look of love that flowed from green eyes that promised more than Vin ever thought possible.

Ezra captured the lips that had driven all reason from his mind, and he wished to return the feeling. Ezra marveled at the sensuous feeling just touching those lips could evoke. And the taste, Ezra loved the taste that seemed to be as special as Vin himself. He paid homage to those lips until he extracted moans of pleasure from Vin. Ezra cupped one hand under Vin's neck, gently allowing the head to fall back so he could gain unfettered access to his neck. He kissed every inch of his face, then started on a neck that called out to be sucked and nipped. Sucking just below his adam's apple, Ezra could feel Vin purring and that one sound sent electrified desire through Ezra's body, making him harder than he'd ever been before. As he stayed at that place, enjoying the sounds that Vin produced, he let his hand roam across Vin's chest with a light, almost teasing quality. Never letting his fingers rest long enough to satisfy, it had Vin in a frenzy. His chest tried to follow the tormenting fingers, but Ezra wanted to keep Vin this way. He had his kisses follow his fingers, playing around the hardened nipples, breathing on them, just not touching them. As no relief seemed to be on the horizon, Vin growled aloud. A rumble that started deep and burst out with great force, still, Ezra did not relent. In fact he paused, bringing his face up close to Vin's, he whispered with little breathes into his mouth, "I believe you issued a challenge . . ." Ezra looked into eyes that held the same message that was in his own.

Vin let his body go boneless as he said, "I'm yours."

Ezra stopped in time, drawing a ragged breath, "A dream of a lifetime." He crushed Vin's lips in a soul sharing kiss. Their tongues caressed, explored, savored each other. Ezra renewed his efforts at pleasing Vin. He pulled his shorts off and Ezra ran his fingers about Vin's entire torso, not missing a spot with his feather light touches. He bypassed Vin's weeping organ and continued his fingers wandering down his thighs, knees, calves and feet. Vin moaned as Ezra caressed his feet, no one had even touched his feet. Ezra followed his nimble fingers with his tongue, his toes, ankles, the sensitive place behind the knee. Vin squirmed with the new sensations, yearning for more. He wanted Ezra's mouth on him and Ezra knew it. But still he ignored Vin's erection, giving his balls the attention instead. He licked them, then fondled them, then rubbed them with his whole hand, enjoying the feel of them himself. Finally the growls and writhing had Ezra taking pity and he slowly, teasingly placed his mouth near Vin's tip. Vin tried to thrust his way in but Ezra gabbed the luscious shaft and derived even more pleasure in Vin's growls as he stroked it, maneuvering his fingers to give the utmost pleasure. He let his tongue in on the fun and licked the swollen mass from the base to the tip. Once there, Ezra found he couldn't leave it and consumed the entire swollen arousal. He sucked and nipped lightly, then changed tactics and used his tongue to press against the rock hard cock as he suckled it. He could tell by the thrusting that Vin was close, so Ezra reluctantly withdrew his mouth from his personal candy. Ezra rubbed his body against Vin's, then whispered into an elfin ear, "Take me Vin."

Just the thought set Vin's blood to boil, his cock quivered in anticipation. But Vin took a second to check with Ezra, his brows showed the question. "Take me, I want to feel you inside me, no one has ever.." Ezra's words were silenced as Vin took his lips, treasuring the gift that Ezra was giving him.

Afraid that he would pop, Vin pressed a hard kiss on Ezra's lips then held one finger up, telling Ezra to stay there as Vin went to get a tube of lubricant from the bathroom. He laid down again, picking up where he left off, kissing lips that were to die for. He put lubricant on his fingers then let his tongue trail along Ezra's nipple line and his fingers played with the tender skin of his inner thighs. Vin's fingers traced the tender flesh until he found the hole he was seeking. He placed a lubricated finger at the opening and gently outlined the virgin ring. Ezra trembled at the sensations, little moans escaped his throat. Vin inserted one finger, then paused as Ezra naturally tightened at the unknown invader. "Relax, I won't hurt ya, relaxing will enhance the feeling." Vin leaned up and kissed his favorite lips and whispered into his mouth, "Trust me."

Ezra leaned into the kiss as he said, "With everything."

Vin paused at the joy that shot to his heart at those two simple words. He slipped his finger in as far as it could go, then drew it out slowly and repeated that again. When he heard the moan he slipped a second finger in slowly, pushing in, now searching for the way to give Ezra an unexpected pleasure. He located the walnut sized nub and prodded it with his fingers. Vin knew he was successful when he felt the shudder that shook Ezra's entire body while at the same time Ezra called out, "Ahhhhhh, Vinnnnn, oohhh, what was that?" The tingle had yet to subside. Ezra wanted more.

"That my love, is your reward, I think you could come to like it." Vin smiled at the look of ecstasy on Ezra's face. He pulled his fingers out and heard the grunt of complaint. He used more lubrication and inserted three fingers, spreading the opening, making it ready. Ezra pushed himself onto Vin's fingers as far as he could go. Vin knew that Ezra was ready, as he withdrew his fingers he rolled Ezra onto his side, "I want you to see me, what I'm doing, I want to see you. It can burn a bit as I first enter you, relax, Ezra, I want you to have the pleasure too." Vin shifted his body to meet with Ezra's and he pushed his solid cock at the opening that wanted this intrusion. Vin pushed in, almost coming at the sweet tightness of Ezra's anus. He controlled himself solely by concentrating on giving Ezra pleasure. He froze in place at Ezra's drawn in breath, but he could feel Ezra relax. Vin pushed himself in all the way, again hitting the gland that elicited growls, gurgles, and moans, all at the same time. Vin established a rhythm and worked it faster. He reached for Ezra's weeping shaft, but Ezra brushed him away.

"This is for you," Ezra said in a raspy, aroused voice.

Vin ignored the brush, "This is part of my pleasure." Holding the quaking member, he matched the rhythm to his thrusts, increasing them on each thrust. Each thrust hitting the gland, each thrust extracting another yell of excitement. Ezra could take no more as he trembled and bucked against Vin and shot out his seed into Vin's hand. Ezra's intense orgasm caused fierce contractions around Vin's cock and sent him over the edge as well. Vin growled out his gratification loudly. Spent, he curled himself all about Ezra's body, pulling the sheet about them. Purring into the chest of his lover. Vin's thoughts centered on the joy of calling Ezra, finally, his lover. Ezra wrapped his arms around Vin, drawing his as close as possible. The two men fell asleep.

Ezra awoke as the sun began to crack through the darkness. Ezra likened Vin to the sun, a radiance that cracked through the darkness in his life. He looked at the light brown hair sprawled about his shoulder, the keeper of his heart was entwined with both his arms and legs and Ezra had no wish to move from this embrace.

"Mornin Ez, I want ya to know somethin right off, I love ya. Have for the last two years." Vin didn't want Ezra to think there was any other reason for last night.

Ezra's innards tightened at Vin's words, afraid to hope that they were true. "Lordy, Vin, I've . . ." he reached down and lifted Vin's chin, he wanted to see his eyes, "I started loving you that second month. You are a man of incredible strength, and infinite gentleness. A combination that has grabbed and held my heart hostage. There are so many aspects to you, that daily I make a new discoveries." Ezra paused to allow his throat to untighten. He continued in a hushed voice, "I never thought . . .I never dreamed . . .and I know I don't deserve you, but I do love you with every inch of my being."

"Ezra, ya do deserve me, you are such a worthy person, only you don't see it. I'm just lucky you even looked at me."

"Oh, my god, Vin, you're beautiful, and you are so much more than I ever imagined."

Vin smiled a pleased smile that his lover liked the way he looked, "Had your thoughts on me, huh?"

Ezra blushed, "I haven't been with anyone in over two years, no one could compare to my imagined image of you. And that image didn't do you justice." Ezra was already rock hard just looking at his . . .lover.

Vin sucked in his breath at Ezra's words, the feelings behind them stole Vin's heart. If this man didn't already have it, he would have won it then. Vin was so full of emotion, that no amount of words would work, so he showed him instead. He took Ezra's lips and kissed them with all the tenderness he felt. Trying to convey the depth of feeling he had no words for. But when Ezra grabbed his tongue with his teeth, he lost control on his mounting desire and ravaged him. He sucked on nipples and he ran his hands all over Ezra's body. He recaptured Ezra's lips as he ground his cock against Ezra's. Ezra's desire matched Vin's and his tongue fought for control, then followed it owns path across Vin's body. Ezra got the upper hand when he swallowed Vin's manhood to its base. Sucking at first, getting the little moans he desired, then he changed tactics again, but this time he squeezed Vin's cock with his throat. Vin had never experienced a feeling such as this, he couldn't control a thing. He grunted his imminent orgasm and Ezra backed off only a tad, ready to swallow, but sucking as hard as he could to wring out every bit of pleasure and last seed.

Watching Vin orgasm was the most powerfully sensual vision Ezra had ever experienced. Knowing he caused that look of ecstasy on that beautiful face had him growling into Vin's stomach. Vin opened his eyes on that growl and gave Ezra the most delightful mischievous smile. He licked Ezra's stomach, causing contracting ripples wherever he dragged his tongue. Ezra purred and Vin reveled in how vocal a lover Ezra was. He sucked and nipped his way to Ezra's swollen balls and took them into his mouth. He rolled them with his tongue, and Ezra's hips gyrated in cadence. Vin let his balls escape only to take his fully engorged cock into his mouth. In Ezra's opinion, the only explanation was Vin worked magic. Vin's tongue stroked the shaft all the while Vin sucked it. Ezra's thrusts became erratic as he lost all his control and emptied every last seed into Vin's mouth. Vin looked like that cat that got all the cream. Vin loved the taste of Ezra's cum and savored every drop. He kissed Ezra, liking his taste in Ezra's mouth, as did Ezra. They snuggled close and just before they dropped off to sleep, Vin said into Ezra's throat, "I love you, my heart."

When Ezra awoke the next time, the sun was truly up. Vin was still asleep, and Ezra thought he would make a special breakfast for Vin, but first a shower. The jets of hot water felt good against his skin, but not nearly as good as the hands that started rubbing soap on his back. The lather was thick and frothy and after his back was definitely clean, the hands traveled to his buttocks. The lather found it way between his crack and brushed the sensitized opening, but the ministrating fingers only hesitated a second before continuing on their sojourn to the back of Ezra's thighs. This all made Ezra weak at the knees and they buckled slightly. Vin quickly pulled Ezra back to lean against him, placing his rear square on his hardened shaft. Vin wasn't finished wish his cleaning assignment. He placed great care into cleaning Ezra's penis.

It, of course, didn't know that it was just being cleaned, so it reacted with a full, hard core erection. Vin seemed to take advantage of this interesting phenomena, and cleaned this extended version as thoroughly as he had the smaller version. Vin seem to find a difficult to clean spot, so he continued to go over this spot, repetitively, up and down, with greater force in the hope of attaining full cleanliness. Vin became satisfied with his results as he was able to extract that creamy fluid out of the tip of the engorged organ, now it would be clean.

Ezra sagged as his seed exploded and hit the shower wall. Vin continued to support him with his body and Ezra could feel Vin's chuckles against his back. Ezra leaned his head back against Vin's shoulder, the spray hitting him in the chest and little droplets bounced and rested on his lashes. "What has tickled your fancy?"

Vin pressed a hard kiss on Ezra's lips, then licked the water spray off his throat before answering, "Besides you?"

"What were you laughing at?"

"At how a simple cleaning seemed to exhaust you." Vin's mischievous grin told the tormented, just how much fun the tormentor had.

Ezra turned around and pressed Vin against the shower wall. "Well . . .Vin," Ezra placed a kiss on Vin's lips between each word, "Seeing . . .as. . . .how . . .you . . .like . . . cleanliness . . ." Ezra first took the shampoo and put some in his palm, then applied it to the top of Vin's head. He rubbed it in with a gentle massaging motion. Making sure every pore on his head was touched. He kissed Vin's eyes as he told him to keep them shut as he rinsed the soap from his long hair. Ezra lovingly combed the long locks away from his face as he make sure all the soap was out. Vin's delicious sounds made it hard for Ezra to continue, and he had only just started. Ezra used the liquid soap and soap 'thingy' to lather up his neck and torso. He followed the 'thingy' with his fingers, rubbing his neck and back and spent extra time concentrating on Vin's chest. The little protrusions seemed to require extra care and Ezra willingly prolonged his visit there! to make sure they were tended well.

Ezra whispered, "Vin, it's hard to tell with all the moaning if you're actually enjoying this?" Ezra put enough of a question in his tone that Vin's eyes flew open in case Ezra was unsure. The extremely devilish look resting in the green eyes told Vin he'd been had. Vin just brushed his swollen cock against Ezra's and then pulled back. The twinkle in the blue eyes told the green that two could play. Ezra whispered into Vin's mouth, "but it's my turn now." Then kissed him with a loving tenderness that quickly changed into a passion charged kiss and Ezra forced himself away from the lips that threatened to undo all he was trying to build up to. His raged breaths were exact duplicates of Vin's. He looked into blue eyes that mirrored his own desire.

Ezra poured more soap, directly into his hand this time, and continued his cleaning of his lover's body. He washed his stomach with such tenderness that the skin quivered with the care. Ezra cleaned the lower back and had planned to just brush by the buns, but he didn't have enough will power and his hands stopped there, grabbing a cheek in each hand and pulled Vin flush to his body, rubbing their cocks together. Again the passion threatened to consume him, but somewhere, down deep, Ezra wanted to complete what he'd started and forced Vin back. Vin didn't want this at all and tried to fight it until Ezra began washing his testicles. Ezra had to hold on to Vin as his body went liquid and seemed unable to hold himself up. He leaned Vin up against the side as one hand took extreme care in continuing the bathing of the keeper of the seed. The skin was taught, that seed wanted out. Ezra's other hand washed Vin's thighs, calves, knees. He used both hands to wash Vin's feet. Going between each toe, the ball, the instep, Vin moaned anew with each place. Never realizing how erotic the feet could be.

Vin growled, "Please, I'm so hard it hurts, please Ez." Vin was begging and Ezra couldn't resist the plea.

Ezra poured more soap into his hand and coated Vin's cock then handed the container to Vin, Vin's eyes widen at the implied use. Ezra turned and rubbed his cheeks against Vin's weeping erection. Vin's cock jumped and thickened even more at the thought of taking Ezra. Vin slicked his finger with the soap and inserted the finger, Ezra wanted to feel Vin inside him so much that he impaled himself on it. Vin withdrew it and placed two inside, searching for the nub and knew he'd found it by Ezra's howl. Ezra pressed himself as close as he could get, but Vin again withdrew his fingers and placed three. Although Ezra felt slick, Vin wanted to make sure he didn't hurt his lover. Three fingers went in without trouble and caused Ezra now to plead, "Viiin, I need you."

Not being able to deny his love anything, Vin placed his cock at the prepared opening. Not really intending to tease, he pressed but hesitated, making sure that no pain was felt. Ezra couldn't wait and pressed back and impaled himself on exactly what he wanted. His outcry was a moan and growl combined. Vin almost lost it as Ezra completely covered him. Vin tried to take it slow, making the thrust long and smooth, hitting Ezra's gland, but he could feel Ezra's orgasm building and changed to hard, fast thrusts. He grabbed Ezra's cock and matched thrust for thrust and Ezra yelled Vin's name as he came hard, pumping his fluids against the tiles, his cries echoing off the tiled walls. This much reaction to his loving pushed Vin completely over the edge and he filled Ezra's cavity with his warm seed. Spent, he leaned against Ezra, holding on, to hold himself up. He stayed still for several minutes, then Vin stared chuckling again.

Ezra turned around and releaned Vin's body back against his, just facing each other this time. He raised his brows at Vin, wondering where his humor took him this time. Vin smiled at Ezra, kissing his throat. "Now I know you're clean, inside and out." Vin chuckled a bit more as he thought about which inside.

Ezra reached and turned off the cold water, and let the hot, that was just warm, run over their bodies, cleaning the last of their lovemaking off. Ezra towel dried Vin from top to bottom with infinite tenderness. Then he pushed him out of the bathroom, "Go get clothes on, or we'll never get any food and won't have enough strength to last through the next session." Ezra smiled, all his love shinning through.

Vin paused at the door, connecting with Ezra's eyes in the mirror, giving him a look that promised forever.

Ezra dressed quickly, pulling on clean sweat shorts and a plain black t-shirt. He headed for the kitchen, straight for the coffee machine. He quickly prepared Spanish omelets and toast. He brought it out to the patio, where Vin was reading the Sunday paper. Ezra kissed him on the head as he placed his food before him. He went back to the kitchen to get his food, when he was gripped by an intense wave of emotion. The simple act of kissing Vin on the head, the ability to share his love with someone, an act that was denied him most of his life, was a powerful feeling, one he'd never had before. On some intuitive level, Vin knew that Ezra needed him right now and wrapped his arms around the frozen Ezra and hugged him tight. His hug was returned instantly and Vin whispered, "Love ya, Ez." Tucking the shorter man's head under his chin, held him close until he was ready.

"Oh, and I love you too, Vin. I just can't believe how lucky I am." Ezra pressed a kiss against Vin's heartbeat on his neck. He sighed contentedly.

Vin grabbed Ezra's food, "Get moving, your food is too good ta waste."

The rest of the day was spent sitting together, sharing the little talk new lovers do. The first time you knew, the stolen looks, the fears when they were injured. Neither knew what they watched on the TV, as they were so involved in each other. This special of time of talking, holding hands, little kisses, sharing thoughts, separated their relationship from one just based on sex. Without knowing it, they both needed this, this simple affirmation that what they had was more. It was so new that both still had fears that only time together would lay to rest. Now they were just thrilled in the knowledge that two years of dreams could come true.


Driving to work together, Ezra commented, "We can't let on that our relationship has changed. I don't want this to hurt you or the team."

Vin hated the man that could cause this much anguish in the other half of his heart. "I'll play it as you want to. I get you at home, oh, and by the way . . . . .I hope you plan on cutting down on your running time."

Ezra smirked, "Oh, no problem there. I was only running to stop myself from jumping your bones."

"Great, so tonight, you can just jump my bones."

"Was already on the agenda." Ezra smiled at his lover. "Boy, I'm going to have to be a good undercover agent today," Ezra turned to look at Vin. Vin turned his head to the side, trying to track. "I'll have to hide my happiness."

"Don't ever hide it from me. You're mine now. I need to know you're happy."

Ezra thrilled at the ring of possession, "Vin, I 'm of the belief that you can always read me, that I am unable to hide very much from you." Ezra confessed honestly.

"Well, ya did manage to hide what you felt toward me for two years . . . don't do it again." Vin pulled his face over for a kiss.

They pulled into the parking garage. Ezra couldn't believe they were first. "Who'd believe that you've been able to get me to the office early."

"Oh, you seemed up pretty early this morning," Vin said with a swallowed chuckle.

Ezra pulled into his parking place, turned off the engine and faced Vin. "I'll have to make this one last for the whole day," with that pronouncement, he kissed Vin with his heart on his lips. Both men were purring when they separated. Desire lurked in both sets of eyes.

Ezra turned his head as he said, "I think Chris is here." His attention was shifted immediately back to Vin as Vin placed his hand over the bulge in pants.

"I really like it that I can turn you on like that." Vin's voice was husky with desire. He leaned over and kissed Ezra with that desire.

Ezra's groan of matching desire startled himself at how caught up in the feeling he had become, he had forgotten where they were. He looked over to see Chris enter the elevator.

Vin's voice still husky, said casually, "I think Chris knows, that's why he suggested our living together." Ezra turned his head. "Oh, he's never said a thing, just a feeling he won't be surprised."

Ezra felt a twinge of something and his expression went sad. Vin, extremely sensitive to Ezra, asked, "What ya worryin' on now?"

"I know Chris is your best friend, but . . ." Ezra didn't even know how to ask, afraid of the answer.

"Chris is my friend, my brother. You're my friend, my lover. That day that Chris found me, I knew instantly that we were kindred in spirit. The day you joined the team, I was drawn to you, recognized my heart."

"You never desired Chris?" Ezra had to ask.

"Never 'desired' any other man. Chris is my special brother. That won't change. The team is my family, my first family. But you Ezra, you rocked me off my axis. I never knew if I was gonna find real love, not like Charlotte, but the forever kind. One look at you and my heart called out to me through you. Now I'm happy."

Ezra never ceased to be amazed, this man could go days without saying a word. Then could come up with words that would rival the world's best poets. Ezra cupped Vin's cheek with his hand, "I love you. And Vin, you're mine. I can't go back."

Vin smiled the smile that only his lover would ever see.

Cuervo jumped on the car waiting to be acknowledged. Both men got out of the car and Cuervo received treats from both.

Buck and JD pulled in and life at ATF headquarters went on as usual.

+ + + + + + +

Later that morning, after Ezra had put some finishing touches on his cover for the Pitman case, he still had had too much time to think. Knowing that Vin was completely occupied, Ezra knocked on Chris' door. Chris bade him entry.

Ezra closed the door, and sat out of window sight. Chris waited, knowing Ezra would come to the point.

"May I assume that you set up the living arrangements on purpose?" Ezra asked forthright.

Chris nodded, no desire to lie. In an unguarded moment, Chris saw a wide gamete of emotions run through the undercover man's eyes. So much more than Chris had suspected.

"May I take it for granted, Ezra, that by the very nature of your question, that you and Vin have found each other?" Chris asked seriously, caring about both his friends.

Ezra nodded, but the happiness that Chris expected was not there, instead he saw loneliness and regret. Then Ezra spoke his fear, "Chris, what if being associated with me tarnishes Vin?"

At that moment, Chris' heart ached for Ezra. A man that had so much confidence in his work could have so little in matters of the heart. And at a time that should be filled with joy, that his thoughts should jump ahead to ramifications of a relationship with him, filled Chris with sadness. What had happened in his life, that he doesn't expect anyone to really stand by him. We all have our hells. Chris hoped he could lay the groundwork for a path out.

"Our Vin is special, and I've known from the day I dragged your ass here, that Vin cared for you. It wasn't till that asshole's accusation came in that I saw hope dawn in Vin. I did what I did cause it was what was best for the team."

"What if inadvertently, I ruin things for him? This job, his family, it's so important to him, I can't be the cause of his losing it." The fear of a lifetime rested in his eyes as he asked of Chris. "I can't leave him, I don't have the strength, but Chris, you could send me away, save Vin." A scared tremble started in the center core of Ezra's being just at the thought of leaving Vin, and this after just one weekend. He'll never have the strength later.

Chris smiled a sad smile, "Ez, I think you under play your importance, but irregardless, it's Vin's decision. He's not an innocent. Vin has seen and been through a lot in his years. He knows what's best for him. And Ezra, . . . you just may have to accept it's you."

Ezra stared at Chris, Chris was siding with Vin, when he should be helping Vin. This perplexion showed on Ezra's face.

Chris added softly, "I am helping Vin, matters of the heart are our first priority, to ourselves, and to our connection."

Ezra, while not convinced, nodded at Chris and looked out the window at the clouds floating by.


The Pitman Case was in its final stage and Ezra just had to complete the funds transaction. The money for the guns. The bust went down perfect, the criminals in handcuffs, and the guns in ATF possession. What the team was unprepared for was the teenage son that entered from the rear of the warehouse and saw the ATF with his father in cuffs.

Josiah's, "GUN," was not in time to prevent Vin from being shot in the back.

Chris whipped around and shot the young man, yelling, "You don't shoot nobody in the back."

But Chris' yell was drowned out by Ezra's scream of mortal agony.

Nathan was at Vin's side in a flash, relieved that it was in the shoulder and not the lungs or heart. Buck had the paramedics on the radio, guiding them in. JD cleared the path.

Chris had a frozen Ezra and pulled him along with him to his vehicle, "Let's meet Vin at the hospital." Ezra still had said nothing after his scream of terror.

+ + + + + + +

Six men waited for information on Vin. It was nothing new, the hospital expected it. The nursing staff had already taken out the extra coffee urn, and the doctors were prepared for the barrage of questions.

Nathan was at the door, trying to gleam any kind of information. Josiah was chanting a mantra. Buck was trying to calm the kid. Only Chris knew that two lives were in peril here and Chris still could not get a word out of Ezra. The usually wordy man was locked in his own hell. Waiting.

The operating doors opened and the surgical team exited. The doctor in charge made his way to the waiting men, they all stood as he approached. Looking at the men's faces, he was real glad he had good news. "Mr. Tanner will be fine. There was some muscle tearing, but with small sutures, we repaired it for minimal scaring. He will experience no loss of mobility. He lost a fair amount of blood so he will be tired for several days. He should be released in side of a week."

Chris asked, "Can we see him now?"

The Doctor nodded, "Room 510."

Nathan stayed and thanked the doctor, conveying the entire teams thanks. As Ezra was already gone and Chris followed soon after.

Ezra went straight into room 510. Vin was still under, but just seeing his chest moving up and down allowed Ezra to take his first real breath since the shot. He went to the side of the bed by the wall and picked up Vin's hand and held it to his heart. He dropped a kiss on Vin's head, then waited for the horde to descend. He still had Vin's hand in his, but they both lay on the bed.

+ + + + + + + +

Ezra never left Vin's side. The other's came and went. But Ezra was there when Vin opened his eyes. A smile exchanged. Two hearts beating as one.

Vin grumbled, Ezra smiled, Vin was feeling better. But he was in pain. In a sleepy voice he asked Ezra, "Ez, fondle me. You make me feel so special the way you do it."

Ezra leaned over and kissed Vin on the lips. "You are special, my lover, my life!" Ezra slide his hand up under the hospital gown and caressed his balls, fingers ever so gently brushing them. Vin moaned at the tingling. His cock reacted by firming slightly. Ezra eased the fingerplay, he just wanted Vin to feel good not aroused. He leaned over and rained little kisses over his lover's eyes.

Neither heard the door open, and it wasn't until Ezra was slammed up against the wall by Nathan that they realized someone was in the room. Nathan used one arm to push on his throat as the other hit his chest to cause great pain, but no real injury. "What in the hell are you doing, Ezra? Screwing it up for the whole team for a little feel . . ."

Nathan was interrupted by a steely, dangerous voice that commanded, "If you don't put Ezra down now, you'll wish you were dead." The danger, the grit, the flint-like uncompromising tone had Nathan immediately releasing Ezra. He expected it to be Chris behind him, not a weak from gunshot, blood loss Vin on his knees looking at him with a fierce predator stare.

Ezra dropped to the floor onto his knees, trying to drag in breaths, as a wobbly Vin sank to the floor beside him.

Nathan exclaimed aloud. "What was Chris thinking?"

Vin turned his head to look Nathan in the eye, "He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew that I had loved Ezra for two years."

Nathan's, "Oh," was heard as Vin turned and rained little kisses on Ezra's face as he spoke softly, "Ez, are you okay? Ez, can ya talk?"

Ezra just leaned into Vin's kisses, not thinking of the pain in his chest.

Nathan, feeling somewhat bad, reached out to help Ezra up, but the fear in his eye had Vin immediately shielding Ezra as he shrank even further into the wall.

"Nathan git out of here," Vin hissed. He then turned to embrace Ezra as he tried to fight the pain.

Nathan argued, "Look, I'm sorry, I didn't know, now let me help." Vin would not relinquish his hold on Ezra. Nathan was about to yell at them in frustration as Chris walked in the door.

Chris took it all in, Vin out of bed, on the floor, covering Ezra, Nathan looking angry and helpless. "What in the hell is going on here?" Chris hissed through clenched teeth. He put up one finger to Nathan to stay still and quiet. He went and crouched down by Vin and Ezra.

"Nathan hurt Ez." Vin's explanation.

He wished that Ezra would relay the incident, at least he'd get more words. "Okay, let me help you both. Vin, you up first." He got Vin up and helped him lay on the bed.

Vin moved over to make room for Ezra. Chris helped Ezra up, and he sat next to Vin. Ezra immediately turned to Vin, checking his condition. Vin cupped Ezra's face, looking for the pain he was hiding.

Chris walked over to Nathan and pulled him clear to the other side of the room. Nathan asked the same question. "What were you thinking?"

"Nathan, stand there and watch them, forget you know them, forget everything, just watch their faces . . . . .Nathan, sometimes, not often, one will become lucky enough to meet the other half of their heart. When that happens, it doesn't recognize the gender of those involved, it's a heart match. Very few ever get the chance, if it's discarded because of convention or religion, the loss is greater than imagined. I had it with Sarah, I may never have it again, but I know. They have it, they almost missed it."

Nathan looked at what Chris was seeing, the tenderness, the infinite caring. The looks that weren't about sex, but love. Nathan saw what Chris saw. One whole heart. He would do what he could to help them, but first he had to apologize. He looked at Chris for help.

He went to them first, "Ez, Nathan wants to talk to you." Vin looked feral, Chris shook his head, "Come on Vin, we all err."

Vin looked at Ezra, "Ez, I won't let'em hurt ya. Do ya want to talk to him?"

Fear and pain still rested in his eyes, but he nodded yes. His voice hurt to use, but he rasped. "Want to hear why."

Chris beckoned to Nathan. Nathan came over to the side of the bed. He looked at Vin, whose eyes were fierce and protective. This weakened man looked ready to take on the world to protect the man next to him. Ezra. Ezra's eyes looked hurt and guilt-ridden. And fear, of him? "I'm sorry, I misread the situation. I thought I was protecting Vin." Nathan looked at the reactions of both men. Vin looked feral, unforgiving, but Ezra relaxed, as though because it was in Vin's best interest it was okay.

Vin wasn't as forgiving, "Ya shoulda asked first . . .has Ezra ever done anything to hurt any one of us? Why would ya think he would? He made one mistake once . . .now you've made yours, shall I judge ya different now?"

Chris smiled at Nathan's shell shocked expression, he didn't expect all that from the calm, silent tracker. Chris also noted Ezra's expression, he didn't think Ezra had ever had someone fiercely defend him before. Right now, the love shinning out of those eyes was something to behold. Vin turned and caught the look and melted, laying his head on Ezra's chest.

Catching the silent exchange, Nathan was captivated, he met Ezra's eyes, "Vin's right, I've been worried about the stupid hearing and I let it affect my judgment. You would never hurt the team. Now, I will make you a promise I will not let anyone try to hurt you guys."

Ezra nodded and gave Nathan a small smile. Following Ezra's lead, Vin gave his one-bob nod. Nathan relaxed, so did Chris. The two of them left the lovers alone.

Outside of the room, Chris asked Nathan, "Hate to ask, but till after the hearing, can you keep this to yourself?"

"Chris I was serious, I won't let no one mettle on that in there. Don't worry." Chris squeezed Nathan's shoulder in thanks.


Ezra was like a little kid, Vin was coming home. He was having cheeseburgers and fries delivered and then s'mores, all of Vin's favorites. He was waiting impatiently by the front desk. Chris offered, but Ezra really wanted to be here. He could hear Vin, grumbling about having to leave in a wheelchair.

Vin saw Ezra waiting and relaxed, Ez was here. His world was already better.

Ezra went and took control of the chair. "Car's waiting outside." He turned to Helen, flashed her a happy smile, "Thank you Helen."

Helen watched them go, her heart full, at the love of Team 7.

+ + + + + + +

Vin was tucked in bed and Ezra was reading to him. He let Vin pick out the story, Jock Steele's Tales of the Magnificent Seven. He looked over and it looked as though Vin had fallen asleep. He went to turn down the light. When he got close enough Vin's hand snaked out and grabbed Ezra and pulled him down on the bed.

A sly smile was etched on Vin's face, "I've been without ya for a whole week, now I want ya in here with me now."

Ezra's pulse leaped at just hearing Vin desire his comfort. But he wanted to follow the doctors orders, "The doctor said not to over tire."

Beseechingly, Vin looked up at Ezra, "I really need ya Ez."

Ezra knew he could never resist that, he figured Vin knew it too. "Okay." Ezra peeled his clothes off as he turned off the lights and came to bed.

Vin noted that Ezra seemed pretty anxious to get in here with him as he just dropped his clothes on the floor. Vin smiled. He'd really missed sleeping with Ezra. Ezra crawled into bed and pressed himself close to his heart. Vin turned into Ezra's chest and nuzzled his neck. Ezra put his arms around Vin and hugged him, whispering into the ear he was nibbling, "I missed you." Vin purred, arching more toward Ezra. Ezra recognized that Vin needed relief. He was the caretaker, he'd caretake.

He kissed Vin with all the missed passion of the last week. He kissed the lips he'd been afraid of losing, he kissed the best part of himself. Vin was writhing with the kiss, it made him feel so loved. Ezra forced himself to leave the lips and started on the neck, nibbling and sucking. He made his way up to his ears, sucking on earlobes that seem to beg attention. He carefully trapped the injured side against him and caught his other arm and pinned it above his head. He then stared licking Vin's chest, not missing a spot. Taking time to pay great attention to the hardened nipples. He flicked them, loving the sounds that escaped Vin's throat. Vin wanted to bring his arm down, to touch Ezra, but Ezra shook his head. "Just you right now. Let me." Just as Ezra wasn't able to resist Vin, Vin couldn't refuse Ezra either. He desisted.

Ezra's tongue traced the hair line right up to the fully engorged cock. Already, oozing the pre-cum. Ezra knew that Vin was close, but he had a few other plans. One was to lick inner thighs that appeared neglected. Ezra felt it was a good call as Vin was wiggling as much as Ezra would let him. Then his tongue started on the swollen balls, tasting Vin, smelling Vin. Ezra took in a few breaths and nearly lost it himself. He took the balls within his mouth and sucked gently. Vin's growls were loud. He sucked a little harder. Vin bellowed. Ezra smiled. He caught Vin's eyes and released his balls to quickly take the pulsating arousal deep into his mouth. Not breaking eye contact, he opened his throat and sucked Vin in deeper. Constricting and releasing his throat muscles was driving Vin into frenzy. "Oh, please Ez, please . . now, real hard." Ezra did as he was begged, he moved his tongue and lips and sucked as hard and fast as he could. Vin arched as he began trembling, signaling the start of his orgasm, Ezra just sucked harder. Vin roared Ezra's name as his seed exploded and landed down Ezra's throat, who swallowed up every bit of it. Ezra continued to suck until each quiver and quake had subsided. He tucked a spent Vin inside his embrace and hugged him, his love over flowing in his joy to have Vin beside him again. His still erect arousal was pressed against Vin's thigh, begging it's own release. But in a choice of relieving himself or snuggling Vin, snuggling Vin won hands down. A sleepy Vin curled himself all around Ezra, causing Ezra to be even happier than he had been the previous minute. ---- Ezra stood at the window of the office, looking out, but not really seeing. Worried about the hearing tomorrow. He'd been trying to hide it from Vin, which had become increasingly harder each day. Now, tomorrow, he may become too tarnished to remain, and Ezra realized that he'd prefer death than to be without Vin Tanner. There was a knock at the door and Ezra schooled his expression, expecting Vin. But it was Chris that entered. He joined Ezra at the window, stood there, saying nothing.

Finally, after several minutes, Chris said, "Josiah's been subpoenaed. Only one."

Ezra drew a ragged breath.

Chris turned his back to the window and leaned against it. He didn't touch Ezra, just looked at him till he raised his eyes to meet his. "Together. We can survive anything, if we do it together. You can't forget that. I know you've not had that before, but the six of us will stand beside you, no matter what. Not because we have to, but because we want to. And, we need to. Don't deny us the chance. You always under estimate your importance to all of us. . . . . .Now, there is a feral cat outside the door, prowling the hall, waiting. Put it out of its misery." Chris gave Ezra a knowing glance.

Ezra gave Chris a grateful smile. Chris nodded to him as he left.

Vin was in the second that Chris left. He went straight to Ezra and wrapped his arms around him and kissed his neck. Ezra looked to the taller man, "Vin, what I need right now, more than anything is just to be held. Just held."

Some unnamed emotion in Ezra's voice tore at Vin. He gathered Ezra tight within his embrace, and together they stood at the window. Ezra's head tucked securely under Vin's chin. Arms that could hold him always.

FBI Headquarters, Washington DC

Seven men walked into Inquiry room 329. Five of them sat at the back, across from where Ezra would be sitting. Just so he could see them if he needed to. Ezra went to the panel table on the right where he was to be seated. Josiah sat behind him.

Albert Gibbons walked in with a spring to his step. He flashed Ezra an evil grin as he laid his briefcase on his table. He took out stacks of paper and his list of witnesses. He took in Sanchez sitting near Standish, he smiled at his trump card. Josiah looked through him as though he wasn't there. Gibbons wasn't perturbed, he'd have the last laugh.

Ezra Standish's years of training served him well. No sweat broke out, no expression of emotion to indicate that this wasn't a typical, normal day.

In the back, Vin wasn't having it so easy. Buck had chuckled after Vin growled at the appearance of Gibbons. Buck wouldn't want to be in a dark alley with Vin in this mood. Gibbons didn't really know who he was fucking with. Buck smiled even broader with that thought. He whispered down into Vin's ear, receiving a feral chuckle in return.

Chris looked across Vin into Buck's face after hearing that exchange, "Looks like our Vin is learning how to play nice." Chris was never surprised at how protective Vin could become, like the wolf they liken him too, he would protect his mate with his life, and tear into any enemy that threatens his family.

Buck just couldn't resist, he patted Vin's leg as he said, "Good wolfie . . .down boy." He received another growl, and he wasn't sure if he should start checking to make sure all his fingers were still intact.

The panel of three walked in and the room hushed. They sat in the raised area and opened the folders before them.

Gibbons went first and droned on about morality and decency. Finally calling his first witness, "Josiah Sanchez."

Josiah walked up front and sat in the chair provided. He was first asked to recite the oath, then state his name. "Josiah Sanchez, ATF Team 7." He was then connected to the lie detector equipment.

Gibbons began with, "Mr. Sanchez, I want you to remember that you are under oath . . "

He was interrupted by Josiah himself, "Before I answer any questions, I want to know why I was selected to testify?"

Gibbons answered easily, "Your reputation for the truth is well known, and you were willing to be hooked up to a lie detector."

"So then, why was it that the first thing you felt compelled to say, was to remind me that I was under oath?"

"Making everything clear, now, we will begin. Mr. Sanchez, have you ever seen that man, Ezra Standish, lust after another?"

Josiah looked over at Ezra and said clearly for the entire room to hear, "No sir. Never have I seen Ezra Standish lust after anyone."

The lie detector never beeped, Gibbons looked to the attendant, who looked up with a decisive face and shook his head no.

Josiah spoke the truth.

"Come now, Mr. Sanchez, that man became unglued when another man of your team was shot."

"I do believe that he wasn't the only team member to you put it. I believe it is a well known fact in all the hospitals of the greater Denver area that if one member goes down, the entire team is down. I also believe that it is a well known fact that we all stand a bedside vigil until that team member is out of danger. Not just Standish, every team member. Team 7 is not a group of men working together, but a family. Not of blood, but of love and trust. The men of Team 7 work as a single unit. That is our strength. If you are questioning that love, a love that is born from having each and every one of us stand at each others backs with our life on the line, I have seen that love. I have had Ezra Standish at my back and each time it was with full confidence that my life was in the best hands it could be. I will continue to put my life in his hands as I would with every member of Team 7." Josiah had shifted his eyes from Gibbons to Ezra and finally over to JD at the back, hoping these men would understand their true value.

Josiah now fixed his stare on Gibbons again, "If this love is somehow detrimental to the FBI, I need to see where it says that. What I do need to know is how you can stand there and try to defame this man, it is beyond my comprehension." Josiah turned to look at the panel members themselves. "That the justice system can allow for a personal vendetta against such a man as this is a sad commentary on the Judicial System itself."

"I object, I object," Gibbons was ranting.

The Chairman banged his gavel on the table several times before order was restored.

While the room was bathed in the ruckus Josiah's words stirred up, Vin leaned close to Chris' ear, "Josiah's one silver tongued devil."

Buck leaned over too, "Amen to that!"

As soon as silence reigned, Gibbons began again, "I object . . ." He was interrupted by the gavel banging again.

"Silence." The Chairman boomed. "As I see it, Mr. Sanchez has made a valid observation. This does seem to be a personal vendetta, rather than a case of misconduct. All charges are dropped, case dismissed." He banged his gavel again to stop the noise of celebration. The room calmed. The Chairman spoke loudly and forcefully, "Section Chief Gibbons, if you utter one more slanderous word against Mr. Standish, or any of the other members of Team 7 you will be brought up on charges of misconduct. Do I make myself clear?"

Gibbons nodded, but his face clearly showed his opinion of the whole proceedings.

A joyful pandemonium broke out. At the back of the room Ryan Kelly, leader of Team 8 nodded to Larabee. He had showed up in case they needed words from a respectable Denver team. For no one was allowed to talk trash about any Denver ATF team. Larabee nodded back with a smile for Kelly. He was a good man, his team just wasn't as good as his own.

Josiah hugged Ezra and this time Ezra hugged back. He was still trying to assimilate all that Josiah had said under oath and not once did he set off the lie detector. His mind was a whirl.

Vin and Chris waited at the back of the room. Buck, JD and Nathan waited outside to make sure they had a clear path out.

Ezra and Josiah joined Chris and Vin. Vin and Ezra connected eyes, reassuring themselves that all was okay. It was difficult not to rush into each others arms, so their eyes had to do all the comforting.

Chris looked inquiringly at Josiah, "Josiah, I'd always figured that you knew about Vin and Ezra."

"I have Chris, the fool asked the wrong question." Josiah said with a grin. He received the questions from their eyes. He looked at Ezra, "In two years, only twice did your eyes betray you. Both times there was no lust whatsoever, only love. Vin didn't hide it near as well. I'm only glad that now you've found each other."

Vin put out his hand to Josiah, Josiah took it the brought Vin in for a hug also. Vin said for his hearing, "Thanks for saving my heart."


Vin drove the Jag home from the airport, Ezra was so relieved and amazed at the turnout of the Inquiry, that he was emotionally drained. His head was back and eyes closed, but he kept his left hand on Vin's thigh the whole drive back.

Once in the condo, Ezra locked the door and turned to Vin with his own predatory stare. He fixed his green eyes on the twinkly blue that made life alive. His grin was hungry. He backed Vin up to the wall, Vin stopped, Ezra kept going until he was pressed so firmly against him, one couldn't tell where one body ended and the next began.

Ezra's hips gyrated against Vin's cock, two burgeoning erection's ground together, hard and straining. But it was the kiss, Vin was lost in the sensations. Ezra sucked his lips, his teeth, the inner cheeks of his mouth, his tongue. He was being tongue fucked and it was one of the best feelings of his life. So caught up in the passion, the grinding, it wasn't until he felt his release that he realized that he was close. Still the kiss continued, as though Ezra had plans on eating him. Without removing his lips from Vin, Ezra unbuttoned Vin's shirt, pulling it off him and tossing it across the room. Ezra let his hands roam over Vin's shoulders and chest, he then ran his fingernails lightly over the same area, circling the nipples several times. Vin was already hard again, thrusting his hips, moaning, lost in Ezra's world of touch.

Ezra broke his lips away and Vin groaned at the loss, but Ezra whispered in Vin's ear between licks, "Vin, I need to be in you. Feel you all around me, make you mine. May I?"

Vin's, "Oh, god, yes, Ez," was a plead of need for himself. In a flash, Vin went full-metal jacket with the thought of Ezra inside him.

Ezra gripped Vin around the waist, lips together, sucking his tongue for the entire journey, as he pushed him toward the bedroom. Vin was in ecstasy for Ezra was in complete control, and the possession factor was an intensive aphrodisiac. Vin was putty in Ezra's hands.

Ezra controlled the fall onto the bed, then Ezra started his exploration of Vin's body in earnest, starting with a second intensive tongue fuck. He licked and rubbed Vin's chest, paying close attention to his taut nipples, then following the hair lines to the brown curls surrounding the most extraordinary cock. Ezra loved how it pulsed and quivered under his attentions. Vin's throaty growls did indicate that Vin was pleased. But he ignored the steel shaft and licked his inner thighs instead. Vin chanted Ez's name, in an attempt for Ezra to provide the final relief, but again, Ezra had other plans. He reached for the baby oil and slicked his hand and began caressing a trail from the base of his fully erect penis, over the opening, up through the crack. He brought his hand back to Vin's opening, circling the outer edge several times before just pushing at it, not penetrating it. Vin growled, he wanted Ezra inside, "Ezra, I want ya there, inside, please."

Ezra leaned over and kissed the lips that had just begged him. He continued his prep. He lubed his fingers again and inserted one finger and Vin purred. Ezra moved it back and forth as Vin tried to push into it. Ezra withdrew the one and slicked two and placed both inside and was rewarded with louder purrs from Vin. He moved the fingers in as far as they could reach, searching for the nub that Vin was anticipating. Vin's shout of delight let Ezra know he had located it. He took out his two fingers and replaced them with three. He scissored them, truly preparing his lover. His lover was very impatient and was thrusting all he could against Ezra's hand. Ezra withdrew his hand and slicked his erection and pressed it to the hole. Vin could feel it and sat back on it as hard and fast as he could manage. Ezra's squeal electrified Vin's desire. Ezra thrust against him hard and swift. He grabbed Vin's cock with his greased hand and pumped him in the same fashion as he thrust. The build up began all too soon . Ezra couldn't slow down, but sped up instead. Vin all but screamed Ezra's name as he shot out every last bit of his fluids. The squeezing vibrations around Ezra's cock sent him spinning out of control and shouted Vin's name with equal fervor. Vin could feel Ezra's seed coat the inside and he trembled in joy. Ezra made sure he didn't land on top, but along side Vin in exhaustion. Drawing close to him, the man he planned on keeping beside him forever, Ezra kissed Vin's entire face with feather soft kisses. Vin sighed and completely relaxed against the keeper of his heart.

+ + + + + + +

Ezra had to go undercover. It was time in the Caulter case to send in a buyer, and Ezra was it. Eric Sinclair, for the next several weeks that would be his identity. As the team sat in the conference room, they built Sinclair based on their knowledge of Caulter. A mousy, hen-pecked looking man, that had master-minded one of the biggest gun thefts in Denver, all from private collector's. They'd already set up a house for Sinclair and now he needed to arrive back from Europe.

Vin sat back quiet. He'd seen Ezra operate before, he'd work on a character till he was that man. This full immersion had saved his life on several occasions. This was the first time since they'd been together that Ezra had to leave, and Vin was surprised at the mixture of feelings stirring inside. He was anxious and worried, which had happened on all previous cases. But he was already feeling lonely. Vin Tanner didn't get lonely. He couldn't put it on Ezra, he had too much to worry on, maybe he'd talk to Chris.

After a night of furious lovemaking, Ezra left for his undercover assignment. Knowing he wouldn't be back for several weeks, the two men stood looking at each other, memorizing, conveying, loving with their eyes. Then Ezra turned and left.

+ + + + + + +

Two weeks and the assignment was proceeding as planned. Ezra reported in on schedule and surveillance didn't pick up any thing to worry them. The FBI had muscled in on the case slightly, more that they wanted in at the arrest, for they were able to pin three murders on Caulter. But they had been ordered by Travis to let the ATF work the case.

Chris and Vin had the surveillance van for the night and Chris had almost laughed at Vin's desire to talk with Ezra. "You didn't have to on his last case, what's so different this time?" Chris knew but he wasn't sure the tracker did.

"I miss him." Vin said honestly. Then added, "When Ez, is undercover, I don't think he remembers that he's not alone anymore, he was a lot more lonely than any of us ever knew."

"So, you have a plan or what?" Chris asked.

"Yeah, just so happens I do." He picked up the cellphone and called the Chinese food place around the corner and placed an order. He grinned at Chris as he ordered enough food for three.

"Thanks for thinking of me," Chris said, checking to make sure.

"Oh, I'll eat with ya, just delivering some to Ezra, and of course, collect payment. Can't stay inside too long."

"Remember that the house is bugged." Chris reminded him at Tanner's expression.

"I remember." Vin then got out of the van and took the bike off the rack and rode down the street to get the food. Ten minutes later he arrived back and gave Chris the food for the two of them. He tucked his hair up under his cap and took out a kid's wild t-shirt and gave Chris a mischievous smile as he headed for Ezra's.

Ezra was flipping channels, ready for this assignment to be over. Hadn't even thought of dinner yet. His thoughts kept wandering to Vin. The knock at the door was unexpected and Ezra put himself back into character. He looked out the viewhole and saw a delivery boy. Ezra figured his thoughts must really be on Vin, as he thought that the delivery boy stood like Tanner.

He opened the door carefully as he didn't order any food. He smelled the Chinese food but his mouth went dry at the delivery boy. Vin. His big, knowing smile greeted him. He said, "Your delivery, sir, and I need to collect payment."

Ezra caught the message in Vin's words. He was truly happy to see Vin. His eyes conveyed that message easily. He closed the door behind him and led him to the study. "Let me get you the correct change." He pointed to the lamps, Vin nodded that he understood.

"Take your time, delivery is such a hassle." All the while he was talking, he was unfastening Ezra's pants and exposed his growing cock. "Hope ya plan to give me a big tip." He said, his eyes meeting Ezra's as he took his fully aroused shaft into his mouth.

Ezra stopped himself from groaning allowed. He did manage to say, "I only have ones, it'll take a few to count them out." His voice rose an octave as Vin sucked real hard. Watching Vin as he pleasured him, Ezra was lost in the sensations. He tried to keep his eyes open but the sensations created were hard to fight. All too soon Ezra felt the oncoming climax and tried to keeps his sounds contained. An "oomph," escaped and Vin chuckled.

Vin kissed the now flaccid cock and placed back inside his trousers and zipped the fly. He leaned over and gave Ezra a hard kiss and grinned at him. "I hope you believed that I earned my tip."

"Oh, indeed."

Ezra's breathy answer had Chris chuckling in the van.

Vin got ready to leave, the regret showing in his eyes, matched that in Ezra's. Aloud, he said, "Hope you choose to order from us again."

"Oh, I shall," was said with a smile in his voice. He kissed Vin's lips and whispered in his mouth, "I miss you."

Vin gave him a quick hug as he nodded his head. Then he left the residence.

Back in the surveillance van Chris gave him a knowing chuckle and handed him his carton of food.


Two weeks later saw the resolution of the case at hand and the bust was planned for the morning. As Ezra didn't want to be in contact with any of the players, he went home for the evening.

Vin and Ezra had a romantic evening. Dinner by candlelight. Soft music. Sharing s'mores, whipped cream and marshmallows, made for delicious sex. Ezra was as happy as he could ever remember being. Snuggled up in bed with a very satisfied and sleepy Vin they exchanged their I love you's. And Ezra asked a sleepy Vin, "Move in completely with me."

Drowsily, Vin answered, "Can't, always got to have my place to go back to." Vin snuggled closer to Ezra and fell asleep, never realizing how those sleepy words could be construed.

Ezra laid there in overwhelming agony as he realized that Vin didn't expect this to last. The commitment words they shared didn't include forever. With a frozen heart, Ezra got up, showered and prepared for the mornings undercover operation.

+ + + + + + +

Vin awoke feeling for his partner and found the bed empty. He sniffed the air for the smell of coffee and found none. He got up and checked the condo. Empty. Ezra was gone. No Note.

Vin checked the time and realized that briefing with the FBI was already in progress. Vin showered hurriedly and headed in to the office.

+ + + + + + +

Ezra met with the FBI, and Chris, gave them the name of the warehouse that was being used. Ezra had arrived early and the FBI was glad, for it gave them more time to work on the wire they'd gotten approval for.

Chris had been more concerned at the haunted look in Ezra's eyes. But before he could talk with his undercover man, the FBI commander was going over what they needed. Then Ezra was getting into character and Chris was going to have to wait. He headed to his office to meet with the rest of his team.

Chris tried to gauge Vin as he came in, but Vin seemed more perplexed than worried. Chris updated the guys on the FBI involvement and they all left for the warehouse.

Buck and JD had the communications truck. Chris had argued and won that their own team could read Ezra better if he were to experience trouble. It was true. Buck could tell that Ezra was stalling, he wasn't pleased with the show of weapons and relayed that Ezra was expecting more so Chris held the FBI in check until they got the sign from Ezra.

It wasn't until Ezra was going to walk that Caulter brought out the guns that would tie him to all the thefts and three murders. As soon as Ezra gave the go ahead word, all hell broke lose in the warehouse. Ezra had a bead on one of the snipers of Caulter's team that hadn't been planned on. He watched him. Ezra felt that the man had Vin in his sights and Ezra steeped into the line of fire. He fired and hit the man he saw, he didn't see the other sniper and that one hit Standish three times. One hit him on the vest, but one went under the vest at a downward angle and one bullet hit his leg.

Vin saw Ezra step out into the line of fire and saw him get his intended target. He also watched as Ezra was hit. Vin took out that man, but not before his bullets hit Ezra. Vin yelled, but he was too far away for anyone to hear him. He jumped out of the bucket he was in and started scaling the crane down to the ground. Impatient to get to Ezra. He hadn't seen him get up.

The FBI men were around the fallen Standish and had the paramedics coming in. They took the wire off and allowed Nathan to check Standish over. Nathan had hoped that the vest prevented severe injury, but Ezra was unconscious, laying in a puddle of his own blood.

As time was of the essence, Chris climbed in the ambulance with Ezra. Vin was still too far away. He looked to Nathan, who promised that he'd get Vin to the hospital.

+ + + + + + +

Nathan and Josiah brought Vin to the hospital. Chris was already pacing the emergency waiting room. Buck and JD were doing the final wrap up and would be joining them shortly.

A doctor came out and asked, "Mr. Larabee?"

Chris stood, "Yes, that'd be me."

"My patient won't let me operate till he has spoken to you. His life depends on being able to treat him as soon as possible." the Doctor said with great frustration.

Chris nodded, as he followed the doctor. He looked back at Vin crumpled in the corner, fear and hurt in his eyes. Chris knew that he had expected his lover to ask for him, he sighed. This had something to do with that haunted look he'd seen in Ezra's eyes early this morning.

Inside, the Doctor could tell that Ezra wanted to be alone, he looked at Chris, "Every second counts." He left them alone.

Chris looked down at Ezra, "Ezra, we got to get you fixed, what ya need so bad?"

A weak and dispirited Ezra looked up into caring hazel eyes, "Please, Chris . . .let me go. . . .Vin needs an easy way out of the relationship. Let me go quietly, best for him. Don't think I could let him go . . .so let me.." Ezra closed his green eyes trying to stop the tears at his loss.

"Ezra, I don't know what happened, But Vin's out there dying 'cause he can't be in here with you right now. Ezra, you're his life."

Hope filled Ezra's eyes for a second before Vin's words returned. Tear-filled green fluttered open and a small shake of his head brought Chris' ear closer to Ezra. "Said he was going back to his place, didn't want to live forever with me." Ezra whispered, then his voice broke, "Chris I love him too much, let me go, best for him . . ." Ezra's head lulled to the side as beepers went off.

Doctors rushed in and began the process of saving Ezra's life. Chris was forgotten as he stood by the wall, his eyes tearing, saddened that Ezra would die to release Vin. He worked to control himself as he stayed invisible as he watched the operating team try to stop the bleeding and keep Ezra in the land of the living.

Vin was inconsolable as he sat crying into his knees. He was flanked by Josiah, Nathan and JD. They felt helpless, they didn't know how to comfort their friend other than being there. The door opened and Chris joined them, his tears still evident on his face.


Josiah's sharp intake of breath had Vin look up.

Chris said quickly, "He's still alive."

Audible sighs were heard by all. Josiah had thought the tears were because Ezra'd died.

Chris walked straight to Vin and took the seat next to him that JD had vacated. Chris looked at Josiah, and gave him a look to clear every body out.

Josiah understood, he said to JD, Buck and Nathan, "Let's go get coffee for all of us." His hand indicated to all that they leave Chris and Vin alone.

Knowing they were alone, Vin turned his face into Chris' chest and cried. Chris rubbed his back in slow circles as he tried to calm him, the same way he had for Adam. Finally a tear streaked face looked up and asked, "why didn't he want to see me?"

Chris brushed his hand down Vin's hair, "Ezra thinks you want to be released from your relationship to him. He asked to die." Chris stopped and took a ragged breath, "What happened Vin?"

Vin was frozen, he was still working on, 'he wanted to die', Chris took Vin's chin in his hand and turned his head up for eye contact. "Vin what happened last night?"

Vin tried to control his voice as he answered, "We had a great evening together. Honest we did. Alone and romantic." Vin tried to think of any tension.

Chris had hoped Vin would remember, he hated his friends knowing he knew their personal problems. "Ezra said you wanted to move back to Purgatory. That you don't want to live with him anymore. He's hoping to die to make it easier for you." Chris was overwhelmed at the poignant sacrifice, and the utter abandonment Ezra must be feeling.

Vin was silent, trying to bring into focus the last conversation before he fell asleep last night. He thought to their lovemaking and with just the thought, a bulge form. He remembered snuggling close, the words of love exchanged. Vin remembered, "He asked me to move all my stuff into his condo."

Chris looked into the sad blue eyes, "Vin what did you answer?"

Vin looked at Chris with a big slice of his heart gone, "I said, no, can't, always got to have my place to go back to." Hearing the words aloud, Vin knew what Ezra had heard and he dropped his head again and cried.

As his sobs quieted, Vin asked, "God, Chris, why is he choosing death?"

"Vin, he's giving you your freedom the only way he can." Chris explained.

"But I don't want my freedom, I want to be with him." Vin complained.

"Dammit Vin, it's his way of telling you how much he loves you," Vin stared at Larabee, Chris continued tenderly, "It's the ultimate sacrifice. Vin, he thinks you don't really love him, that he's just a diversion. You know, when I suggested you two live together, I had the impression you were crazy about him."

"Oh, god Chris, I am. He's my heart. I'm so scared he's gonna die, and now with him thinking . . .." Blue eyes filled with tears and Chris pushed his head gently down on his shoulder so no one else could see him cry as their friends returned with the coffee.

+ + + + + + +

Three and a half hours later the operating team left the emergency room tired and concerned. As the doctor told them, Ezra had made it through the surgery, but he lost a lot of blood. And as his blood pressure was so low, the doctor wasn't sure if Ezra would make it through the night.

After the doctor left, Helen, the head emergency nurse, came out to inform them of Ezra's location. "They're keeping him in the ICU and even though they all realize that you all want to be with him, only one at a time can stay in the room. These rooms are real small."

Josiah said warmly, "Thank you Helen, I know you set it up for us."

Helen smiled and told them the room number. "Room number 307."

Vin was on his way. The others followed at a slower pace. They waited in the nurse's lounge, as was customary these days in the ICU, customary for Team 7.

Refusing to let his emotions overwhelm him, Vin entered Ezra's room. He looked at the man that held his heart and his breath caught in his throat. He looked so small and frail. The pale complexion contrasted sharply with his chestnut hair. Vin went to his side and gently kissed his face. He stood there, not moving as the rest of Team 7 came into the room to see Ezra, making sure for themselves that he was still in the land of the living. Each man whispered their words of encouragement into his ear.

Chris was last and he whispered that he was needed by the feral cat that only he could tame. He looked at Vin, "If you want to go get some food, I'll stay."

"Thanks Chris, but I need to be here. Ezra needs me here, even if he don't think so. I'll jus' talk to him." Vin was firm. He wasn't leaving Ezra.

Chris nodded as he squeezed Vin on the shoulder.

Vin, the man of few words, knew that there was a small chance that Ezra could hear him, so he talked. He talked of remembrances of cases, of funny times, their times together. He talked of plans in the future. He told stories of some good moments in his childhood. He shared his hopes and dreams. He continued even when staff came in to check his vitals, or to change the IV bags. Vin never quit talking, feeling that may be his only link to Ezra. Ezra had to know he cared.

Vin's voice was horse, but he didn't stop. Nathan brought him juice. Chris brought him coffee. Vin drank it all. It was in the evening of the second day when Vin poured his heart out honestly.

"Ezra you're wrong, the greatest gift is to live, Ez, I ache to breathe your breath," he whispered atop his lips. "Your words keep me alive . . ..stay Ezra, I'll make sure you never regret it. I know your devils and demons, they're much the same as mine. And now that I tasted life with you, I can't go back, we need each other, you and I. I love you." Vin crawled into the bed beside Ezra. He was hoping Ezra's body would recognize him, know that he was not alone. He spoke softly into his ear.

"God Ezra, now that I finally gotten you, do you really think I could ever give you up? . . ..Don't ya yet know just how much I love ya." Vin placed his cheek next to Ezra's and rained tiny kisses there. Vin then shared a part of his life that most never knew. "My Ma died when I was five. God, Ez, I don't really remember what she looked like. I remember a smell, can hear a voice telling me she loved me and that I was Tanner, but not much else. Ez, after that time I've never had a place that I got to call home. Every foster home I'd been in had to give me up and I'd change to a different location. No where, I got nowhere to call home. So my place in Purgatory was really the first place that was mine. That's all I meant by it. I never meant that I was gonna go back there, just keep it. I like living with you. The weeks you were on assignment, those nights were so lonely without you. Couldn't sleep good. . . .After Chris told me what you said about . . .," Vin's voice wobbled on the next word, "..dying . . ..I figured out that it don't matter where my stuff is, I'm only home when I'm with you. So if you die Ez, I'll be homeless the rest of my life." Vin stroked Ezra's cheek with feather soft brush strokes, traced his lips.

"Can't let you become homeless," a throaty whisper announced through those lips.

"Ezra, oh Ezra," Vin rained even more little kisses on his face, "Love ya, no matter what, I love ya and never want to leave you."

Ezra gave a great sigh and fell asleep, this time it was a healing sleep. He slept with the knowledge that he was loved by Vin.

Vin laid his cheek on Ezra's and closed his eyes, the first time in two days. An hour and a half later, that was the way the nurse found them, cheek to cheek. She smiled at the devotion of Team 7. She figured that the only reason that some of these men survived their injuries was in how they willed the fallen to survive. Mr. Standish would live if it were up to Mr. Tanner. She put her hand out to check Ezra's pulse and was surprised when green eyes opened and he whispered lucidly, "Sshh, don't wake him, this is the first he's slept. He was talking all night."

Helen looked amazed, "You've been conscious that long?" Wondering how all the staff had missed that.

"No, but I could still hear him," Ezra smiled simply and Helen nodded, understanding.

Helen left them alone and motioned to Chris Larabee as she exited the room. The rest of the team tensed, afraid of what the news might be. They waited anxiously as the nurse guided Chris further away.

Keeping her voice low, "Ezra's has regained consciousness." Chris gave her the toe curling, Larabee smile.

The other's seeing Chris relax his stance, sat back content to wait for Chris to talk to them.

Helen continued, "He asked for quiet as Mr. Tanner had fallen asleep resting on his cheek. I know you all will want to go in, just do it quietly." Helen beamed, happy at being able to share good news with the team. Chris laid a hand on her shoulder, "Thank you, Helen, for caring." Chris walked back with a bounce that had been missing for days. Josiah and Nathan joined Buck and JD as Chris approached them. "Ezra is conscious and Vin's asleep." He smiled at his waiting friends.

Josiah murmured a quick thank you, as JD and Buck high-fived each other. Nathan looked at Chris and Chris nodded.

"Nathan and I'll go in first, then we'll trade with you all." Chris knew that Nathan needed to see that they were both all right.

Chris opened the door and his heart warmed at the scene in front of him. Ezra opened his eyes and raised his brows in question.

Chris smiled ruefully at Ezra, "He never left your side. You're stuck with him Ezra."

"It would appear so," but his smile told both men that Ezra was truly happy.


In one of the rare moments that Vin wasn't glued to his side, Ezra motioned to Chris, "Mr. Larabee, I need to ask a favor?"

"Sure," Chris leaned in closer as Ezra motioned him in. Chris listened and his face softened as he said, "Will do Ezra."

Ezra relaxed, JD sat next to him and started a story about his college days, Ezra smiled as he closed his eyes. The next time he awoke, he was alone with Vin.

Vin smiled at him and Ezra returned it. Vin picked up the hand that wasn't hooked up to monitors and kissed it. On the outside, and on the palm, he planted his trademark little kisses. Ezra used that hand to cup Vin's cheek.

Vin looked into green eyes that were mirrors to Ezra's soul, he said seriously, "Ez, I don't know what all you heard as I was talking to you, but I wanna make sure you know that I never meant what you thought, I have no plans to ever leave ya."

Ezra moved his hand to cover Vin's lips, "I know now, and I understand. I love you Vin Tanner."

"Ezra, I love you more than life itself." Vin leaned over and kissed him hard on the lips. He whispered, "Can't wait to get you home."

+ + + + + + +

When they finally moved Ezra out of the ICU, the others got to spend more time with Ezra also. Vin hardly ever left and each friend was able to see for themselves the tenderness between Vin and Ezra.

JD remarked to Chris as he sat next to him, "It sure seems that we're looking at somethin special there, Chris. It's like they're just meant to be together."

Chris smiled at JD's astuteness, "Yes, JD you're right about that. What they have is something special."

Buck just smiled, the ladies man had recognized true love when he saw it several months ago.

+ + + + + + +

"You know the others will arrive in little over an hour?" Ezra asked of Vin as he recognized the look. Ezra smiled as Vin nodded and still continued his forward approach.

"Don't seriously know how you'd expect me to look at that tasty naked body and then turn and leave the room, do ya?" Vin asked, his arousal obvious.

Ezra smiled enigmatically, but it was easy for Vin to see what Ezra really wanted as he too hardened quickly. Vin touched him gently as he pushed him back against the wall. He ran his fingertips through his hair, over his face, about his neck. Lightly pressing, massaging, teasing the skin. Ezra gave out throaty moans. As his fingers brushed by Ezra's lips again, Ezra latched on to them with his mouth. He sucked Vin's fingers as he looked Vin directly in the eye. Vin growled as he pulled Ezra close and licked his neck as Ezra continued to suck each finger.

Vin reluctantly pulled his fingers out of the warm, wet mouth as he continued downward in his fingertip hunt. He was hunting for all those special spots on his lover's body that left him breathless. Vin actually knew each one, it was just that the hunt was as much fun as the treasure. He licked Ezra's belly and it quivered under the special attention and Vin's cock trembled in desire. As Vin licked Ezra's hips he grabbed his sweet cheeks, brushing his fingertips along the crackline until he found a special treasure. He teased it, loving the sounds that his lover made just for him. His fingers teased, touching, then moving away. To further electrify him he took his engorged shaft into his mouth and Ezra nearly fell over. To add to his excitement, he could see Vin in the mirror, pressed against his balls, his cheeks in each hand. Desire rocked him and he thrust against Vin's mouth. Vin was ready, opening his throat so Ezra could fit deeper. That sensation was not lost on Ezra, and caused him to lose all control and he exploded into Vin's throat. Vin swallowed all of Ezra's offerings and planned on getting more. Ezra couldn't get over the smile on Vin's lips as climaxed in his mouth. He was hardening again at the look.

Vin reached for the cream and dipped his finger in and reached up into Ezra's ass, Ezra moaned as he bent against the wall. Using his arms to support him, he extended his cheeks toward Vin. Vin slipped out the one finger and replaced it with two. He moved them in and almost out, then pushed deeper, hitting the sensitive spot that had Ezra yelling out his pleasure. Vin removed the two fingers and added the third. Ezra shoved back on them as Vin wasn't fast enough for him. Ezra rocked against Vin's hand. Vin watched Ezra in the mirror and nearly came on the spot at the look of rapture on his lover's face. Vin took out his fingers, greased his pole and pressed against Ezra's welcoming opening. Again, Ezra just wanted it and impaled himself on the cock of his dreams. He thrust against Vin and Vin happily responded with strong, hard thrusts. He hit the nub on the up stroke and Ezra's cries of delight sent Vin's seed exploding into Ezra's waiting canal.

Ezra was all set to grab himself as he was so close, but Vin stopped him. Instead handed him the cream. Ezra quivered at the thought of being inside Vin. Vin traded places and pressed himself away from the wall as Ezra put a slick finger at the opening. Vin bent over more to make access easier. He welcomed Ez's exploration. Ezra moved it in and out until Vin growled, "more." Two fingers went in and Ezra found the sensitive nub on the first try and Vin purred and growled. Three fingers met with no friction and Ezra slicked his cock and pressed it against Vin's opening. Vin, watching in the mirror, didn't wait for Ezra to get there, he moved himself back and planted himself on the rigid shaft. Vin moaned as Ezra fit himself completely inside. Hitting the gland as he thrust, Vin growled out his joy as Ezra moved faster against him. Ezra could feel the build up and grabbed Vin's now erect cock and pumped him in time to his movements and as the moment for climax was there, both men looked into their lover's eyes, via the mirror as they spilled their seed together.

Ezra turned Vin around and nearly collapsed against him. "Now, I'm suppose to want people here, when all I really want is to curl up next to you in bed?" Ezra asked against Vin's lips.

Vin finished the kiss before answering, "What was the question again?" Vin then looked into green eyes, eyes that he didn't believe could show such emotion for just him. He was lost as he kissed again, the keeper of his heart.

Ezra stood back, trying to catch his breath and caught the time, "Shit, we have ten minutes, you know Nathan, he'll be right on time so he can help." They jumped into the shower together and as Ezra saw the water glistening off Vin he pulled him into a hard embrace, kissing the lips he was grateful for each day. Both their cocks responded as Ezra continued to grind himself against his lover, lost in the wet kiss. He sucked Vin's tongue and Vin purred deep in his throat and once again Ezra spilled his seed on Vin. As the warmth of Ezra's fluids hit Vin, it caused his creamy offering to hit Ezra. Both men spent, let the water clean their lovemaking off.

They were almost dressed as the doorbell rang, Vin smiled as he went to answer it. He knew that Ezra needed the extra time to finishing dressing.

Nathan had the utensils, plates and napkins. He helped set them out on the patio. As Vin went back into the kitchen, Nathan took out and taped up the banner JD had made; HAPPY SIX MONTHS TOGETHER.

The doorbell rang again and this time Ezra got it and welcomed Chris. Chris handed Ezra a package and nodded. He'd gotten everything. Before the door could be closed, JD and Buck were arriving, closely followed by Josiah. Chris put the steaks on the grill, but Josiah promised to watch them as Chris sometimes forgot and charred them all.

The barbecue celebration of Team 7's happy couple was a magnificent success and the cake that Chris ordered special said it all. It was inscribed with -a heart match-. JD chose that moment to give them the gift that the five of them had gone in on together. He handed it to Ezra and Ezra opened it next to Vin. It was a picture of the two of them that captured that special bond so obvious to them all. Both smiled their thanks to their friends. There was another present, on it was only the name Vin. Ezra smiled as he handed it to Vin. Vin opened it and the box contained an envelope. Vin looked puzzled as he opened that next. Inside was a paper, with a note. 'V, we both know that home is where the heart is, but it's nice to have a concrete one also. Love E.' Vin looked at the at the paper, it was a deed. It was for this condo, owner's in joint possession: Vin Tanner and Ezra P. Standish.

Ezra said aloud, "Now you'll have to pay half the mortgage." As he looked Vin in the eyes, he said softly, "I love you Vin."

Vin's heart swelled at the understanding this gesture meant, and said back loud enough for all to hear, "I love you too, Ezra."


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