IN SPADES

By Sarah (winks7985)  

The Magnificent Seven / ATF AU

Rated R

 

 

Part 4

Vin walked into the Oak Falls Police Station and smiled at the deputy at the front counter.  He continued through the gate and back towards the conference room where he had left everybody.

He opened the door without knocking and quickly went inside, shutting it securely behind him.

The six men sitting at the conference table looked up as he entered.

“Vin, something wrong?” asked Buck from where he was leaning over Henderson’s shoulder looking at a file.

Vin’s eyes were wide and his smile was genuine.  “You’re not gonna believe this.”

“Believe what?” Nathan asked.  “Vin, you ok?”

Vin had been buzzing the entire ride back to the police station.  The magnitude of what Ezra had told him made him almost bounce in his seat as he drove.  

“Is Ezra ok?” asked Chris seriously.

Vin directed his gaze at the blond.  “Ezra’s fine.”  He took a breath to settle himself.  “Sheppard wants Ezra to take over this organization with the intention of expanding.”

Looks on the other agents’ faces ranged from incredulity to outright shock. 

“He what?” Josiah was the first one to break the silence.

“Wants him to take over the business.”  Vin sat down at the end of the table nearest him.  “Like a partner.” 

“A partner?” asked Henderson, somewhat suggestively.

“Not only that,” Vin continued like the seventh man in the room hadn’t spoken, “but the son of a bitch keeps books, like an honest to god accountant.”

“But we knew that, Ezra sent us that,” JD said, confused.

“The guy also keeps a little black book.”

The weight of that announcement hung in the air for a moment.  Chris was the first to speak.  “A book of names?”  There was a hopeful, yet incredulous tone to his question.

Vin ticked out on his hand as he spoke.  “Suppliers, Distributors,” he locked eyes with Chris.  “Customers.”

 “Oh my God,” Buck said in disbelief, straightening to his full height.  “We’re gonna get the whole damn ring.”

JD choked out a single laugh of disbelief.  Nathan slapped him amicably on the shoulder, a huge grin splitting his own face.

“As soon as he gets the black book, he’ll be comin’ home,” Vin added.  “He doesn’t know where Sheppard keeps it, but he’s determined to find it.”

Buck let out a whoop, and shouted happily, “Son of a bitch… I fuckin’ love that man!”

Even Henderson couldn’t help smiling. 

“Don’t get too cocky yet,” Chris said loudly, bringing the room down a couple of octaves.  “We still need to get that book.”

“And it needs to make it back here, to us,” Henderson added.  He received a glare from Larabee for his tone, to which the unrepentant man just shrugged.

“And if I know Ezra,” Josiah said, “he’s got a plan right now to do just that.”

7777777

Josh Nevins had been working for Benjamin Sheppard for more than ten years.  He had started out in Sheppard’s Moving and Storage Company, a workhorse who could move almost anything using brute strength, or at least was willing to try.  Eight years after Josh had begun working for him, Sheppard had segued into the shadier side of shipping and transportation, and Josh had segued with him.

So, when Sheppard had come up to him earlier in the day, asking him to accompany Eddie on a trip into Boulder, Josh hadn’t asked any questions.  Craig was going to meet up with a trucker cousin who happened to be in Boulder, and Sheppard had a separate errand for Josh.  Again, no questions were asked, as they would serve no purpose, and Josh had known Sheppard long enough to trust his judgment unquestioningly. 

While Craig had a late lunch with his cousin, Josh had gone to collect a payment for Sheppard.  He picked up $20,000 in cash, as well as a dozen handguns, converted to full automatic.  Everything was in the wheelwell in the trunk of the car.

But if Craig didn’t want to chat on this return trip, that was fine with him.  He could drive and remain blissfully unaware.  After all, Sheppard hadn’t asked his new golden boy to go on this errand; he went with old faithful.  Nevins smirked.

7777777

I can’t wait to be out of this town.

Ezra drove at a smart pace; not too fast and not too slow.  He really just wanted all of this to be over.  He missed his home, his friends… hell, he even missed his desk and the routine of the more mundane parts of his job.

Nevins wore some sort of queer smirk on his face, obviously content with himself about something.  Whatever.  Sit there and be pleased with yourself; you’re going down too.

The green Taurus complained as it started up the next incline, sputtering slightly once but picking up and powering on. 

“This car sucks,” Nevins said from the passenger seat, raising his voice over Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come.”

Ezra turned irritated eyes towards him.  “What?” he asked, either not hearing over the radio or because his mind was elsewhere.

“Nothing, I – “ Josh started, but stopped.  “Never mind.”  He held his hand up in dismissal.

“Speak up!” Ezra said, clearly annoyed with the passenger.

Nevins turned hard eyes on the driver.  He reached and turned down the volume of the radio so that the music was barely discernible.

“You don’t like me very much, do you Craig?”

Ezra furrowed his brow and shot a quick look to Nevins before turning back to the road.  “I don’t like anyone very much.”

“You like Sheppard.”

This was seriously the argument?  Hurt feelings?  “What’s your point?” he asked bluntly.

“I used to be you,” Josh replied.  “Special errands, special treatment.  Sheppard’s right hand.  And now, it’s you.”

Standish shook his head and shrugged, as if to say So?

“Don’t trust him too much.  Jon’s not the first missing person to end up missing forever.”

“Why are you telling me this?” he looked at Nevins, now facing front again.

“Let’s call it… a professional courtesy.  Dear.”

“Dear?”

“DEER!” he raised his voice and pointed front at the light brown creature bounding across the road.

“Fuck,” Ezra hissed as he pulled the wheel to the left to avoid a collision, then right in an attempt to correct the car’s path.  In doing so, he crossed completely into the oncoming lane, then in his pull right he overcorrected and the car spun around a hundred and eighty degrees, finally stopping on the left shoulder of the road, facing the wrong way back towards Boulder.

As the dust from the shoulder plumed and started to settle, the only sound from the inside of the car was the two men breathing hard.  Ezra’s hands were clenched tightly on the wheel in a white-knuckle grip, while Nevins’s hands were both braced on the dash, his eyes closed tightly.

Standish calmed his breathing as much as possible.  “Nevins?” he asked.  “Josh, you alright?”

The other man slowly opened his eyes, taking stock of his surroundings.  “Think so.  Did you hit it?”

Ezra shook his head, “No, I don’t think so.”  He took another deep breath, then exploded.  “Fucking back-woods fucking God’s damn shit country!  Fuckin’… wildlife!”

“About covers it,” Nevins said with a smirk. 

Both men looked at each other and let out short chuckles of amusement and disbelief.

“All right, let’s just get the fuck out of here,” Ezra said as he put the car in gear and checked both ways as he made a three point turn on the deserted road.

“No argument here,” Nevins supplied from his seat, keeping one hand on the dash.

They turned and started back for the shop.  Now within Oak Falls’ town limits, it should only take about another ten minutes until they would be out of the car and drinking a beer, relaying the story to Sheppard and the rest of the guys.  Sheppard would be rolling on the floor laughing, Standish knew.  That man found the strangest shit funny.

“Who does that fuckin’ happen to?” Ezra asked in disbelief, breaking the silence about a minute down the road.

Nevins chuckled.  “Only you, my friend.”

“Jesus, I guess –“ Ezra stopped in the middle of his thought.  His eyes were rooted to the rear view mirror.  “Shit,” he said.

“What?” Nevins asked, turning to look behind them.

“Cops.”  Ezra automatically adjusted his speed, even though he wasn’t going all that fast. 

“Maybe you did hit it.”

“What?” Ezra asked, confused.

“The deer.  Maybe you did hit it.  Maybe the fuckin’ thing is lying in the middle of the road.”

Ezra looked in the rear view again.  The blue lights were still about 2/10ths of a mile behind them.  “Maybe they’re going out on another call,” he said hopefully.

“Or maybe they saw you hit it?”

“Christ.”  He ran his right hand through his hair.  “All right, stick your gun under the seat in case they do pull us over.  Holster too.”

“I have a permit to carry concealed from the state,” Nevins said, not moving to comply.

“I don’t!”  Which wasn’t really the truth; Agent Ezra Standish did, but Eddie Craig would never have been able to get through the application process with his rap sheet.

“Eddie,” Josh said, eyes very serious all of a sudden.

Ezra looked at his passenger, panicky. 

“The trunk,” he said, as though that explained everything.

“What about the trunk?” he asked very slowly.

“Twenty K and fully auto handguns.”

Ezra let out a half chuckle, but it held no mirth whatsoever.  “You didn’t think to tell me this before now?”

He shot the driver a look that said Clearly not.

“Jesus Christ!” he yelled, then looked into the rear view.  The cruiser was coming up on them fast.  He had to think quickly.  “Is your gun registered?”

The question seemed to throw Nevins for a minute.  “My-“

“Is it?” he yelled urgently.

“Yeah.  Why?”

Thank god for dumb back-woods smugglers who followed the law.  Standish shucked out of his leather jacket, tossing it into the back seat and undoing his shoulder holster.  He handed the whole rig, gun and all, to Nevins. 

“Get that under the seat.  Don’t let one bit of it stick out.”

“Okay, but-“

“When they pull us over, they’re gonna run my license, they’re gonna see my warrants.  They’ll have to arrest me.  God, I hope they don’t know about last night,” he rambled a bit.

“Wait, what?”

“They’re gonna ask if we have weapons in the car.  You will show them your license to carry concealed, and that will be fine.  God willing, they’ll take me and let you go.  And if we’re lucky, they won’t insist on a search.  You have to act shocked when they find my warrants, like you had no idea whatsoever, or this isn’t gonna work.  No matter what I say, go with it.”

Nevins nodded once.  “All right, Eddie.”

Ezra started to slow the car as Josh stashed his gun and rig.  He signaled to the right, and the cruiser pulled up behind the car.

It was a gamble, he knew.  If they searched the car, they would find the illegal weapons and the whole case would be blown.  Hopefully, they would be more interested in him when they found out who he was, and that he had outstanding warrants in several states.

And if that didn’t work, he’d out himself as the one who roughed up the cop last night. 

Both cars rolled to a stop on the shoulder.

Ezra waited patiently, both hands on the steering wheel.  He had already rolled the window down, and had instructed Josh to do the same. 

He watched in the rear view as two officers got out of the cruiser.  Riding in pairs after last night, most likely.

An older man with a graying mustache walked up to the driver’s side window and shone his flashlight in at Ezra.

“Problem, officer?” Ezra asked in his most unassuming voice.  The second cop, far younger than the first and clean shaven, had sauntered up to the passenger side and was shining his light in at Josh.

“You know you hit a deer back there?” he asked.

“I did?  I thought I avoided him.  I’m sorry about that.”

“Left him right in the middle of the road.  On this stretch, that is a major hazard.  Cars or trucks could come upon it, and with the little bit of lighting… well, it could cause a serious accident.”

“Were either of you hurt?” asked the younger officer from the other side.  His voice was youthful, but his tone was that of experience.

“Just a little shook up, right?” Ezra nodded at Josh.

“Scared the hell out of me,” he agreed.

“You’re lucky,” the older cop said.  “People have been killed in accidents involving deer.  They’re plentiful in these parts, so people have to be extra careful.”

“Learned that the hard way,” Ezra said with a smile.  The cop didn’t look amused.

“I am going to have to cite you though.  Leaving the scene of an accident and leaving an obstruction in the road.”

Ezra nodded.  Josh was looking back and forth between the two cops.

“License and registration.”

Ezra dug out his wallet and produced his ‘Eddie Craig’ license.  Josh pulled the registration from the glove box.  Both were handed to the older cop.

“Jimmy,” the older cop said over the roof of the car, then nodded back towards the cruiser.  ‘Jimmy’ nodded and headed back.  The older cop looked down at Ezra.  “I’ll be right back.”

“Yes, sir,” he said compliantly.

When they were out of earshot, Ezra grumbled, “Leaving the scene of an accident.  Didn’t know there was a fuckin’ accident.”

“What are they gonna find when they run your name?  What kind of warrants?” Nevins asked.

“Well, it’s not for selling cookies, Josh!” he snapped.

The older cop returned to the driver’s side.  “Mr. Craig, there appears to be a problem.”

“Oh?”

“I need you both to step out of the vehicle.”

Ezra looked over at Josh and nodded.  They both opened their doors and exited slowly.  The younger cop was standing near the back of the passenger’s side.  His hand was on his gun, the safety strap undone.  Ezra shot a harsh look at Josh.

Thankfully, he understood.  “Officers,” Josh started, holding his hands wide out to his side.  “I have a license to carry concealed in the state of Colorado, and I am carrying a legal handgun registered to me.”

The younger cop removed his own gun from his holster.

From behind him, Ezra could hear the older cop doing the same thing.

Josh stood still at the back of the car, both arms fully extended out from his shoulders.  “It’s under my left arm,” he nodded towards his own armpit.

Even though it was obvious without his jacket that Ezra had no gun on him, he could feel the older cop holding his gun pointed directly at his back.

The younger cop moved forward.  “Dave?” he asked.

“I got them,” the older cop answered.

Josh was divested of his weapon, and then asked to lift his jacket and turn around so they could see that that was the only one. 

“Put your hands on your head, both of you,” the younger cop instructed both men, who complied.  The younger cop then moved in, putting his own gun back in his holster and grabbing his handcuffs.  He moved towards Josh, keeping his weapon side away from him.  He cuffed one hand and brought it down behind his back, followed by its partner a second later.

Ezra was then cuffed in a similar manner by the older cop.  Both Ezra and Josh were taken to the back of their vehicle and bent over the trunk as they were searched.  A small knife was pulled from Josh’s pocket, but other than that, nothing was found. 

The younger cop pulled Josh’s wallet and opened it.  “Josh Nevins,” he announced.  “He has a current license to carry,” he said to his partner, who seemed to relax a bit. 

“Run him,” the older cop said.  “The two of you, sit on the ground.”  He pointed to the gravelly earth behind the Taurus’s rear bumper.  Both men sat as instructed.

About a minute later, the younger cop came back.  “He’s clean.  No warrants, no record.”

“What are you doing hanging out with this guy?” the older cop asked Josh.  “He’s got a couple warrants out on him, and he’s got a sheet.”

“I uh, I work with him.”

“Where do you work?” the younger cop asked.

“Sheppard’s Moving and Storage.”  He looked back and forth between the two cops.  He gestured towards Ezra.  “He’s new.”

“All right,” the older cop began.  “You,” he pointed to Nevins, “are free to go.  Car is registered to Benjamin Sheppard.  Your boss?”

“Yeah,” Josh answered. 

“Ok.  Get up.”  The younger cop helped Nevins to his feet and uncuffed him.  “Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Nevins.  We had one of our own attacked last night, so it pays to be cautious.”

Nevins was handed back his wallet and gun, which he returned to their places on his person.

“You,” the older cop looked down at Ezra, still sitting on the ground.  “On your feet.”

Ezra worked his way to his knees, then was helped the rest of the way up by the older cop. 

He was guided into the hands of the younger cop, who took him and bent him over the hood of the cruiser.  He was very enthusiastic about it.

“You’ll have to tell Mr. Sheppard that Mr. Craig won’t be in tomorrow”

“It’s all a big mistake, Josh.  I swear,” Ezra spouted from the hood, playing his part.  “I’ll get this straightened out.  They got the wrong guy.”

Josh nodded to both officers as he walked back to the driver’s side.  “Do you need anything else from me?” he asked.

“No.  And again, please accept our apologies,” older cop said.

Josh nodded, looking at Eddie being held down on the cruiser hood.  He turned and got in the Taurus, the door screeching as metal rubbed on metal, setting Ezra’s teeth on edge again. 

The Taurus drove off into the dusk.

“Well, Mr. Craig… shall we?” older cop asked.

“Love to,” he answered flippantly.

He was brought to his full height, and his left eye was slightly closed, reeling more from the sting of the hood than the solid impact.  He could feel the heat of the impact start to burn and make itself known, but it wasn’t too bad.

“Before we go, I got a question for you, Craig.  Were you in the area last night?”

Ezra’s mouth opened and closed a couple times, knowing that he couldn’t say anything to defuse this situation.  Anything he said would just make things worse.  Both officers had knowing looks on their faces; clearly they had seen the tape and recognized him, probably right from the time they pulled him over and got a look at his face.

“No?” the younger cop asked when there was no answer forthcoming.  “Ok then.  Let’s go chat at the station.”  He spoke to his partner, “I’m willing to bet this asshole’s done more than his sheet says.”  The younger cop started to guide the cuffed man towards the cruiser, stopping him just behind the passenger back door to open it.  As he helped the cuffed man into the car, he jostled him ever so subtly so that his head smacked on the roof while getting in.  “Watch your head,” he added afterwards.

The older cop was already seated when his younger partner got in.  “Jimmy,” he said in admonishment.  He was typing Craig’s info into the on-board computer and didn’t look at his partner when he spoke.

“What?  I told him to watch his head.”  He looked into the backseat with disgust before turning back around.  “Son of a bitch didn’t watch Fred’s head, now did he?”

The computer kicked back the search on Eddie Craig, saving him from answering.  “Huh.  Looks like you got more than a few warrants for your arrest,” he spoke over his shoulder into the back seat.

Ezra sighed through the steady throb in his head.  JD’s ’Eddie Craig’ file, highlighting all his bad qualities and deeds, shone brightly from the computer screen.  Only question was, would it help him or hurt him?

He remained silent as the cruiser started for the station, resting his head back on the seat, staring at a spot on the ceiling, and sighed loudly.

Sheppard was gonna kill him.  If Larabee didn’t first.

7777777 

JD sat opposite the conference room’s window that looked out into the Oak Falls’ Police Station Bullpen.  He glanced up from his computer screen from time to time, as was his habit, scanning his surroundings.  He was going over the copies of the books Ezra had sent a while ago, looking for useful information. 

Henderson sat to his left, looking through the file he had been given earlier, obviously impressed with the amount of information that had been gathered by Standish to date.  Vin and Buck sat at the far end of the conference table looking over the DEA’s file intently.  Chris, Nathan and Josiah had left the conference room minutes before, not saying where they were going.  Not that it really mattered; there wasn’t much to the station other than the bullpen, a small interrogation room, the sitting area in front of the front desk and the holding cells next door to the conference room, which were all currently empty.

JD scanned through another page of entries that he didn’t fully understand, and started a search on some of the acronyms that Sheppard seemed to favor.  He had just hit ‘search’ when he looked up again, scanning his surroundings.

His breath caught in his throat and his brow furrowed in concentration as he glanced towards the front desk and waiting area, where two uniformed officers were leading a cuffed man through the doors.  Even JD could see from here that the man was sporting some sort of contusion to the left side of his face, near his eye.

“Shit,” he hissed quietly, immediately garnering the attention of the other three men in the room.  Vin and Buck were the first to look where the kid was staring, followed by Henderson, whose face remained a question as to what the problem was.

“Dammit,” Buck said, getting up from his chair.  Vin’s arm shot out to stop him from leaving the conference room.  When Buck shot him an angry look, Vin just nodded towards where Larabee was coming out of the Chief’s office.  The arrival of the new guest hadn’t escaped his attention.

“We’ll see how he wants to play this,” Vin said.

JD had come up to stand next to Vin and Buck.  “See his face?” he asked quietly.

“Yup,” Vin said.

“And so does Chris,” Buck added.

“Is that your man?” Henderson asked as he came to stand next to the other men.

Vin sighed.  “Yep.”  They better not have fucked this up by arresting him.

7777777

Ezra dragged his feet as he was led into the police station.  He’d be damned if he was going to make this easy for them.  Especially if they jeopardized this case by this arrest.

The two officers followed him in, stopping at the front desk.  They pushed Ezra into the counter roughly, but making it look like it was Ezra’s fault.  The two officers then relayed to the woman at the desk his name, where he had been arrested and what for.  She documented his arrival in the computer, which pulled in the info that the officers had entered in the field, keeping the record accurately and in real-time.  Standish would be processed shortly.

 His gaze was drawn to the blond man standing in a doorway to the right, off of the bullpen.  As their eyes met, Standish gave a small quirk of the eyebrow, partly in apology and partly in a question of ‘what now?’

With no immediate answer, Ezra broke eye contact as “Jimmy” escorted him through the bullpen and back toward the holding cells.

He saw three of his friends and a man he didn’t know staring at him through the conference room window.

Oh good, an audience.

7777777

Chief Owens came up behind Larabee as he watched the cuffed man being led away to the holding cells at the back of the station. 

She had recognized the man from his photo that had circulated, knowing that this was the man the ATF had specifically asked her and her force to lay off of.

“Oh, dammit,” she said from off to Larabee’s side. 

Chris turned to her and she shot him an apologetic look.  “I told them… I specifically told them to lay off of him.”

“Apparently, they didn’t listen,” the blond said as he turned away from her.

“Or he did something else they picked him up for.”  Without waiting for any sort of reply, she pushed her way past Chris and hollered, “Craine!  O’Connor!  My office, now!”  She turned and walked past the blond, who had moved out of the doorway.  “You’re more than welcome to stay and hear what they have to say.”  Her tone conveyed that she would rather he not be there, and Chris was sure there would be some sort of dressing-down of the two officers.

Chris smirked.  “You can tell me after you’re through with them.”

“You got it,” she said, and continued into her office, not looking back.

The two officers she had bellowed for followed her into her office, and as the door shut, Larabee could hear them begin relaying their story, but was cut off by the no-nonsense pitch of the Chief.

Chris made his way to the conference room where his men were waiting.  Josiah and Nathan had returned to join the group, apparently having gone out to the truck to retrieve a couple of files they had left there.

“Boys,” Chris said in greeting as he entered, leaving the door open behind him.

“What’s the story?” Buck asked.

“I don’t know yet,” he said, looking back over his shoulder to the empty bullpen.  “But I aim to find out.”  He turned and headed out of the room.  Vin followed wordlessly.

“Hey,” Henderson interjected.  “If you’re going to talk to him, I have to be there.”

“You’re turning out to be a bit of a pain in the ass, Henderson,” Buck commented.  The man turned and stared at the mustached agent, seeming about ready to offer some sort of rebuttal, when Buck simply said, “Go.”

Henderson caught up to the two men two steps outside of the conference room.  If Vin and Chris noticed that they had been joined, they didn’t let it show.

They entered the holding area, a space about the size of a studio apartment with three holding cells.  Only the far one was occupied; the other two stood empty with their doors open, ready for use.

The man sitting on the small cot in the far cell looked up when the three visitors walked in.  He shook his head once and let out a small chuckle.  “Gentlemen,” he said in greeting.  “Do forgive me if I don’t get up.”

“You still cuffed?” asked Vin, incredulously.

“It would appear so,” he replied impassively, resting his head on his knees.  Both of his feet were pulled up onto the small cot, close to his chest.  His arms were still bound behind his back, and he looked very uncomfortable.

“Why didn’t you pick ‘em?” Vin asked, motioning that Ezra should come to the bars to be freed.

Ezra sat up on the cot, feet flat on the floor and sighed.  He seemed about to say something flippant, then reconsidered and approached the bars where Vin was waiting with a handcuff key.  As he got to the bars, he sighed again, then turned around.

Vin reached for his bound wrists and stopped.  The cuffs had been closed so tight on his friend’s wrists that the fingers were swollen and bordering on discolored.  “The fuck is this?” Vin asked, hurrying to release his hands.

Chris looked over, taking in the sight, but saying nothing.

“I think the officer wasn’t too fond of me,” he said flatly.  He sounded tired.  “They recognized me from the video.”

“Is that what happened to your face?” Chris asked stonily.

Standish gave a half grin.  “I’m sure I was resisting in some way.”  His sarcastic tone relayed that he disagreed.  He rubbed his wrists as he moseyed back over to the cot and sat down, taking up a position much like before, only this time his arms rested upon his updrawn knees as he massaged his hands.

“Ezra,” Chris began.

Ezra cut him off.  “Is that it then?”  He blew out his breath and ran his hand down his tired face before looking at the third man, who had remained silent.  Pointing at the man, he said, “DEA, right?  You move fast… I only fucked up a half hour ago.”  His smile held no humor.  He tentatively touched the side of his eye, fingering the small swelling.  “I figured I would get at least an hour.”

“George Henderson, DEA,” the man announced.

“Pleasure,” he drawled, resting his head back against the concrete wall.

“I’m sure,” Henderson replied, his tone laced with contempt.

Chris and Vin exchanged a glance; this was not the same attitude as the DEA agent showed before.

Before anything could escalate, Chris took over the conversation and directed it where he wanted it to go.  “Ezra, what happened?”

Ezra chuckled from across the cell.  “Would you believe, I hit a deer?”

“What?” Vin asked.

“I know, right?  I hit a deer.”  He blew out his breath.  “Fuckin backwoods hicktown.  Left the thing there.  Didn’t know I hit it…”

“Left the scene of an accident,” Chris said knowingly, closing his eyes in realization.

Ezra nodded as he set his feet on the ground and leaned over, resting his arms on his knees. 

“Damn,” Vin said quietly.

“Whatever, it’s done,” Ezra said, waving his hand in dismissal.  He sat up, looking directly at his boss.  “So, what now?” he asked, holding his hands out in askance.

Chris took a breath to answer, but was cut off by Henderson.  “Was your cover still intact when you were picked up?”

Standish shot a glance at the man, and then back at Chris.  Looking at the DEA agent again, he shook his head and asked, “I’m sorry, what was your name again?”

“Henderson.”

“Henderson, yes,” he replied, his tone conveying that he had no intention of remembering this man’s name.  He stood and took a step closer to the bars.  “And are you running this op?”

“I-,” he began confidently, but wasn’t able to continue.

“I have been on this case for two months straight,” the southerner said, his voice calm but his displeasure evident.  “That’s two months that you were sitting at a desk, eating donuts and doing fuck knows what all else, while I was dealing with a man that, as proven recently, would kill his employees at the drop of a hat.”

“Ezra,” Vin hissed quietly, trying to derail his train of thought.

Chris just smirked from where he stood.

“Listen,” Henderson tried again.

“So, until you put in more than, say, a few days on this case, do not act like you know the ins and outs of it.  And do not presume that I will ever answer to you.”

Chris stowed his smirk.  “Ezra…”

“Of course my cover is intact you imbecile!” he snapped, looking only at the DEA agent.  “I was fucking arrested, wasn’t I?”  He held his hands out to his sides in a question.

Vin snorted.

Henderson said nothing.

Chris let out a sigh, and then turned to Henderson.  “Why don’t you wait in the conference room?  We’ll be back in a few.”

Henderson looked at Larabee, his eyes angry, but he kept his tongue.  He nodded once, then turned to Standish, shooting him his best glare before leaving.

When they were alone again, Ezra let his hands fall to his sides and leaned his head against the iron bars, closing his eyes.

Vin snorted again.  “Man, you’re a peach.”

“Shut up,” Ezra replied quietly, but with a smile.

“So,” Chris said.  “Was your cover left intact?”

Heaving a sigh, and not moving from his position leaning against the cool bars, he replied, “As far as I know.”

“Why couldn’t you have just said so?” asked the blond with a smile.

Ezra chuckled.  “Cuz… fuck him.”

Chris snorted in amusement.  Ezra looked up at him, shooting him a lazy half smile.

“It’s good to see you Ezra.”

A moment’s pause, then, “It’s good to see you as well.  You have no idea.”

“You look like shit though.”

“I don’t doubt it.”  He stood up straight and took a cleansing breath.  “So, now what?”




PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 5 | PART 6 

 

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