The Devil Inside
by VampyrAlex


Pairing: Ezra/Vin
Category: ATF
Rating: NC-17 for explicit m/m sex, bad words and violence.
Disclaimer: Not mine, I'm just letting 'em out for some fun. <g> I'm penniless, so don't sue.
Author's notes: Thanks to Mog for creating the ATF AU and to DarkCherry, Kris and Sherri for beta'ing this story.
Summary: Someone's obsessed with Ezra. The others have to find out who before it's too late.

Words are weapons
Sharper than knives
Makes you wonder
How the other half die
Every single one of us
The devil inside
~~ Devil Inside - Inxs ~~

It was always on a Wednesday. The first few times, he had thought it flattering. Then he had thought maybe Buck or JD were behind it; it was the kind of prank those two loved to play. The first week he had found a cute teddy bear with the words 'I love you' printed on an emerald green shirt by his doorstep. The second week, a beautiful red rose, also by his doorstep. Third week a small silver key chain symbolizing a couple of gambling dice.

Then on the fourth week, he'd known it was no prank when he had found a pair of handcuffs, this time on the Jag's windshield. Buck and JD wouldn't go that far. So he began to pay more attention to his surroundings, trying to catch a glimpse of the person he now knew was stalking him. But he found nothing, saw nothing.

It was Wednesday again. He had found nothing in the morning when he had gone to work; the day had gone relatively chaos-free. Now he was back at the townhouse apartment, almost afraid to reach the door and discover his new present.

There was nothing waiting for him this time. He opened the door, deactivating the alarm and walking in with a tired sigh. Maybe whoever it was had given up.

He knew that was not the case as soon as he walked into his room. The bed was unmade, the sheets soiled. He shuddered as he realized exactly what the light stains were. And there was a note on his pillow.

Trying to control his anger, he reached for the small piece of paper, careful not to ruin any possible fingerprints. He opened it and read it aloud, his voice echoing eerily in the empty house.


You're the star of my fantasies. I want to learn the taste of you, I want to know the feel of you as I press you down, holding you prisoner as I enter you, as I fill your body with my eager cock. I want to know what it feels like to thrust into your willing body, having you moaning and writhing beneath me as I fuck you into oblivion.

Soon, my love, we will be one."

Ezra took a shuddering breath as he finished reading the unsigned missive, "Good Lord..." he whispered softly. "Who is this person?"

Josiah watched Ezra's arrival at the ATF building with a wary eye. Something was wrong. For the last week, the undercover agent had been aloof, distant, even more so than usual. He looked thoughtful and worried, which in turn worried Josiah. Ezra had a potential for getting into trouble that never ceased to amaze him, especially because most of it could be avoided if he would only ask for help. Which he never did.

He followed Ezra into the break room, waiting silently as Ezra poured himself a coffee, without even bothering to check which of the others had made it.

"Couldn't find the time to go to Starbucks?" Josiah finally asked with a smile.

Ezra turned slowly, his expression blank as usual. "I needed a second cup of coffee, Mr. Sanchez. Surely there's nothing wrong with that?"

"No, nothing. Want to talk about what's ailing you, son?"

Ezra sighed gently, green eyes gazing down at the floor. "Why do you believe something is ailing me?"

"We've been working together for years now, Ezra. I can tell when there's something wrong," Josiah replied, not really expecting Ezra to open up, but simply wanting him to know he had someone to talk to if he needed it.

Ezra cleared his throat uncomfortably, "I do seem to find myself in an... unusual situation," he conceded softly. "I discovered this in my bedroom last Wednesday." He handed Josiah a small piece of paper. "There were no fingerprints. I had it checked with the lab."

Josiah gasped as he read the wanton message, "You know who wrote this?"

"Unfortunately, no. It was... This has been going on for some weeks now," he said, telling Josiah about all the other 'gifts' he had received. "That was the first time he was inside the house, that I know of. There were no signs of forced entry; the alarm was on. I have absolutely no idea how that person got in and out without leaving a trace."

"And tomorrow's Wednesday," Josiah realized, understanding Ezra's nervousness.

"Yes. I confess this has left me somewhat unbalanced. It's not easy knowing there's someone out there wanting..."

He seemed unable to finish, but Josiah nodded. Having someone stalking you, leaving you unwelcome gifts, and finally breaking in to your house, had to be an unsettling feeling. A man's house was his castle, his security, and this person had invaded and tarnished Ezra's in the worst possible way.

"How about I go to pick you up tomorrow? After work we can go to Inez' for a drink before I take you back home. It's been a while since we've been out together." He noticed Ezra was about to protest, so he moved closer, right into the man's private space. "Ezra, I'm your friend," he stated softly, but fiercely.

Ezra sighed anew, apparently willing to surrender without a fight, "So be it, Mr. Sanchez. But don't bother picking me up in the morning. The presents have always been delivered in the afternoon, and this way I can have some extra time in the comfort of my down pillow," he teased, his southern accent purposely heavier.

Josiah chuckled, "Fine. But I *am* taking you home after work and that's final."

The Southerner nodded, surprisingly serious, "Thank you, Josiah. And... uh, may I plead with you to keep this between us?"

"For the moment, yes. But if it gets worse, I want you to tell Chris, Ezra."

"Agreed. Now, let's get back to work, shall we? Or Mr. Larabee will have both of our hides."

Both men left the break room, failing to see the silent shadow by the wall. Once it was safe to move away, the man left as well, a worried frown marring his face as he recalled the conversation he had just heard. Trouble was brewing on the horizon.

It had been a boring Tuesday, Ezra decided as he unlocked his front door and deactivated the alarm. No pressing cases, no undercover work to prepare, no leads to chase. All in all, a too quiet day. No matter how stressing a case could get, especially if he had to go under, it was still better than having to spend a whole day doing nothing but paperwork.

He removed his Armani suit jacket, then his holster, stretching tired muscles with a contented sigh. His sixth sense -- honed by years of working undercover -- kicked in, telling him of an unexpected danger. He wasn't fast enough to heed its warning. As he began to turn around, the air shifted around him and a heavy object hit his skull hard enough to knock him to the ground. Just before he lost consciousness, he had enough time to realize something -- his stalker was a day early.

Chris looked at his watch for the hundredth time that morning. That damn Southerner would be the death of him yet. He was late for their meeting. Again.

He glanced around the conference table, seeing the other men fidgeting under his glare. They knew he had to be mad at Ezra's tardiness, even if he was used to it by now. It wasn't as if it was an unusual occurrence. Something caught his eye. Vin was staring at Josiah, frowning slightly, while the older man seemed lost in thought, eyes locked on the tabletop. He watched as Josiah suddenly looked up, right into Vin's blue eyes.

"Tell him," Vin said softly.

"You know?" Josiah asked surprised.

"I heard you talking yesterday in the break room. Something happened, Josiah, it's the only explanation for Ezra being this late."

"What are you two talking about?" Nathan asked, with a frown of his own.

"Ezra's being stalked by someone. For the past weeks he's been getting presents, like roses, teddy bears... Recently a pair of handcuffs. Last week someone broke into the townhouse, and left him a note. There was no forced entry and the alarm was still on when he got home. Ezra let me keep the note," Josiah replied, handing Chris the piece of paper.

Chris read it aloud, ignoring the startled gasps from his men, "You think this has something to do with his being late today?" he finally asked Josiah.

"Yes. He told me the presents always arrive on Wednesday afternoon."

"Today is Wednesday," JD said, stating the obvious. "But it's morning."

"Maybe the stalker decided to change his pattern," Buck suggested. "It wouldn't be the first time."

Chris nodded. "You're right." He reached for the phone, dialing Ezra's home phone number. He let it ring a few times. "He's not answering. Let's try the cell phone." He allowed it to ring until he was directed to the voicemail. "Same thing. Let's go. Suddenly I have a bad feeling about this."

They rushed out the door and into their vehicles. Chris hit the gas, breaking every traffic law in the state. He wouldn't admit it, but Ezra had gotten under his skin. He liked the man and was proud to call him a friend. There was no way he was going to allow some nut case to hurt one of his men. Whoever it was, he would have to go through him first. And by the look on the other men's faces, he wasn't the only one thinking that way.

Chris thanked every star in the sky he'd had enough vision to ask for a house key and the alarm codes from all of his men. They entered the townhouse silently, guns drawn just in case. They separated in order to better search the apartment, but JD's loud gasp drew everyone's attention to the main bedroom. And once there, the six men froze in shock.

Ezra was lying on the bed, tied spread-eagle to the iron railings. He was dressed all in black -- tight leather pants, and silk shirt opened mid-chest. The bed was covered in rose petals, the red making a striking contrast with Ezra's paleness and his dark clothing.

On the wall, written in bright red, was the saying, 'I want to lay you down on a bed of roses, for tonight I sleep on a bed of nails.'

"Isn't that from a song?" JD whispered, as if afraid to disturb the strange mood.

Nathan moved closer to the bed, his fingers resting on Ezra's neck, feeling his pulse. "He's alive, but his heartbeat's a little fast," he stated, relief clear in his voice. He raised the unconscious man's eyelids, checking his pupils. "He's been drugged. Call for an ambulance. And someone get me a knife to free him."

"I'm going to get who did this, and when I do..." Chris gritted through clenched teeth.

The others nodded silently. There would be hell to pay when they found whoever was doing this to Ezra. They were a family; whoever messed with one, messed with all.

Vin paced the hospital's waiting room nervously, inpatient for news that was slow in coming. They had been there for over two hours and they had yet to know how Ezra was doing. He knew something bad was going to happen the moment he had heard Ezra and Josiah talking. He had wanted to join in, to offer his help, his support. But he knew Ezra wouldn't accept it. He had been surprised enough when the undercover agent had opened up to Josiah.

Plus, he was afraid his feelings would show. When Ezra had first joined the team, Vin had been slow to offer his friendship. Maybe the rumors about Ezra being on the take weren't true, but the man didn't exactly reach out to people, just the opposite. He kept his distance, hiding behind a blank expression and making it impossible to know what he was thinking or feeling.

But little by little Vin began to understand and respect the other man, seeing the gamut of emotions lurking in the clear green eyes when he thought no one was looking. He had realized they were more alike than at first felt possible. Like Vin, Ezra had a hard time trusting, he was a loner by choice and destiny. And no matter how much the man tried to bluff his way out of emotional conversations, they had learned enough to know he hadn't had an easy life.

So understanding became respect, then friendship. And finally... Love. Vin had fought it; the last thing he needed in his life was a bad case of unrequited love, especially for someone he worked with. And someone as contrary as Ezra Standish to boot. But the feeling just kept growing stronger, until he gave up trying to fight it and just accepted it.

Sometimes he was sure Ezra felt the same -- he had caught the man giving him strangely intense looks. But Ezra had never made a move or said anything, and Vin was not about to risk their slowly building friendship -- and the team -- in order to find out. Better to keep quiet.

But when things happened, in times like this in which he had to wait to know if Ezra was going to be okay, it was hard. A feeling of helplessness settled over him, joined by the sorrow of never having spoken the truth, of never having said those three little words. 'I love you'. Could it really be that hard?

He had lost count on the number of times in which -- standing in that same waiting room -- he would strengthen his resolve to finally say the words. But he never did. His courage always deserted him as soon as he found himself under that green stare, afraid of the sharp wit, afraid of having his heart trampled by a harsh reply or a disgusted dismissal.

"Dr. Matthews! How is he?" he heard Buck ask suddenly, bringing him back to reality.

He moved to crowd the doctor, feeling the others join him. It didn't seem to rattle the man, but then again, having one of them at the hospital was nearly a monthly occurrence. He knew there was a pool among the staff on who it would be next and for how long the stay would be.

"Good morning, guys. Before you ask, he's going to be just fine. He's being moved to a room as we speak. I want to keep him overnight for observation."

"Why? What's wrong with him?" Vin asked, trying to keep his voice from shaking.

"Well, besides a large lump on the back of his skull, and raw wrists, we found traces of Rohypnol in his blood."

"Roofies?" JD exclaimed. "The rape drug?"

"Yes. He was given an unusually high amount of the drug. Obviously whoever gave it to him didn't care if it might kill him."

"Dr. Matthews," Chris cleared his throat, clearly uncomfortable. "Maybe you should... I mean..."

The doctor nodded. "As soon as I was told the type of drug in his system I ordered a rape kit, Chris. There was no sexual assault," he informed them, smiling gently at the six collective sighs. "He's in room #207, you can go see him. I believe you all know the way?" he teased. "If you need anything, have a nurse call me."

They entered the room silently, not wanting to wake their friend if he was sleeping, but as Nathan closed the door behind him, Ezra opened his eyes and gazed up at them.

"I suppose you're going to read me the riot act for not having mentioned this to you, Mr. Larabee?" he asked softly.

"When you're good and ready, yes," Chris replied, but he was smiling. "You remember anything about what happened?"

"Not much, I'm afraid. I remember going to my room and then realizing there was someone there. I was hit on the head and fell unconscious. That's about all."

Josiah placed his hand gently on Ezra's leg, "I told them about your stalker, brother. I thought it best when you didn't show up for our morning meeting."

The undercover agent nodded slightly, "I understand, Mr. Sanchez. I would have done the same in your position."

"You know who might have been doing this?" Vin asked.

"I haven't the slightest idea, Mr. Tanner. Unfortunately I wasn't able to see my attacker's face yesterday."

"Does this mean anything to you? 'I want to lay you down on a bed of roses, for tonight I sleep on a bed of nails'," JD recited, remembering the phrase on the wall.

The six men watched as Ezra grimaced before the blank face settled back into place. It was obvious that it *did* mean something to him.

"Too late for the poker face, Ezra," Chris admonished. "Talk."

Ezra sighed tiredly. "His name's Randy Dobbs. I came in contact with that particular gentleman -- and I use the term lightly -- during one of my first undercover jobs in Atlanta. Bottom line, he was interested, I wasn't. Nothing ever happened, although it wasn't for his lack of trying. When the job was done he was arrested. I never saw or thought of him again until now."

"What can you tell us about him? Why was he arrested?" Josiah asked.

"At the time he was involved with an arm's dealer, but had been in jail before for petty theft and attempted murder. From what I recall, he was extremely unbalanced. Enjoyed violence and thrived on pain, especially someone else's."

"Charming," Nathan muttered. "Any idea why he's doing this to you?"

"No. He did seem somewhat obsessed with me at the time, but to travel all the way to Denver..." Ezra shrugged slightly. "And I must admit to being confused. He had ample opportunity to either kill me or... uh, do as he wished with me. Yet he did none."

"He's playing with you, pard, trying to rattle you. And that phrase?" Buck asked.

"Comes from a song," Ezra replied, and they were surprised to see him flushing slightly. "He kept telling me he wanted us to make love on a bed of roses."

Chris nodded. "Okay. I want two of us to stay here with you until you're released, the rest of us will search for this Randy Dobbs. And for your information, tomorrow Buck will pack a bag with a few of your clothes. You'll be staying with Vin until we catch this guy. I don't want you anywhere near your townhouse. Got it? *Got it*?" he repeated when Ezra merely glared at him.

"Yes," Ezra gritted out, arms folded across his chest in a defensive way.

"Good. Nathan, Josiah, you stay with him first. Buck and JD will take over later. In the meantime, let's look for this bastard," Chris patted his arm lightly. "Rest, Ezra."

Vin let the others say their goodbyes first, then moved closer to the Southerner, his hand resting lightly on Ezra's shoulder, "It's going to be okay, Ez," he whispered softly, loud enough for only Ezra to hear.

He saw the surprise in the green eyes, then amazingly Ezra smiled at him. "I believe you, Mr. Tanner. I hope I won't be putting you through too much trouble when I stay with you."

Vin found himself grinning from ear to ear. "No trouble, Ezra. No trouble at all," he stated, winking at the other man before leaving the room to Ezra's warm chuckle.

Yep. Things were definitely going to be okay, he thought as he rushed to join the others in the elevator. Even with Dobbs on the loose, the thought of having Ezra all to himself for an undetermined amount of time, was enough to give his feet an extra bounce.

The next morning Vin drove Ezra from the hospital to his place on Purgatory. He watched as Ezra settled silently into the jeep, head leaning against the seat rest, eyes closed.

"You okay?"

Ezra didn't move, but his lips curled upwards in a small smile, "I'm fine, Mr. Tanner."

Vin cleared his throat. "Is this arrangement okay with you? I mean, if you want, I can ask Chris to move you to Nathan or Josiah's instead."

"I'd rather stay with you, if you don't mind. Nathan would only try to convert me according to his moral codes, and Josiah would want me to confess all of my life sins. I'm safer with you."

"Is that the only reason?" Vin asked, trying to keep his disappointment from showing.

His passenger turned to look at him, amusement clear in the green eyes, and he felt his breath catch at the beautiful sight. "No, Vin, that's not the only reason," Ezra spoke softly, and Vin felt his heart racing at the unusual sound of his first name coming from those tempting lips.

"What other reason could there be?" he asked cautiously.

Ezra remained silent for a moment, then told him, "I've noticed you watching me in a... rather intense way. Am I wrong?"

Deciding to take the plunge, Vin shook his head, trying to keep his attention on traffic and his companion at the same time, "No, you're not wrong. I... have feelings for you."

Ezra grinned. "Good. Because those feelings are definitely returned, Mr. Tanner. Perhaps we should have a talk after this is over?"

"You've got yourself a deal, pard," Vin confirmed, returning Ezra's happy smile. "We're here. Come on, let's go up."

He parked the jeep and followed Ezra up the stairs to his place, the others already there and hard at work.

"Good morning, Ezra," Nathan greeted as they walked in. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine, Mr. Jackson. I'd love a shower and a change of clothes, though."

"Buck already brought you some clothes, they're in the guest room," Vin told him. "I'll show you to the bathroom."

"Mr. Larabee, any news?" Ezra asked their leader.

"Dobbs was released on parole two months ago. We've managed to follow his tracks all the way to Denver, but he's gone underground. We'll find him, Ezra."

Ezra nodded, then turned to Vin, "Lead the way, Mr. Tanner."

Vin took him to the guest room, then showed him where the bathroom was located, trying to keep from imagining Ezra in the shower; water sliding down smooth skin, strong hands lathering the alluring body. He took a deep breath. Maybe having Ezra around wasn't going to be all fun and games after all. If nothing else, his libido was going to have a hard time settling down.

Vin gaped as the living room door opened and Ezra walked in. Gone was the Armani suit. In its place Ezra was wearing black -- and very tight -- jeans, and a green shirt that made his eyes sparkle brightly. Black boots finished the irresistible ensemble.

"Mr. Wilmington, I suppose this is your idea of a joke?" Ezra nearly growled at the other man.

"What are you talking about, Ezra?" Buck asked, expression too innocent to be true.

"You've only brought me casual clothes. Or worse, the ones I use for undercover work."

Buck grinned. "I know. It's about time we got to see you in some plain clothes. Besides, this is Purgatory. You can't be walking around in those Armani suits, you wouldn't last a minute."

"He's right, Ezra," Chris told him. "Stick to those clothes for now, you'll blend in better. The Armani suits will make you stand out like a sore thumb."

Ezra didn't seem too happy with that, but he obviously refrained from saying anything, for which Vin was thankful. The last thing they needed was Chris and Ezra at each other's throats.

"Any leads on Dobbs?" Ezra asked instead.

"Not yet. We're going to keep the same security system we had at the hospital. Two of us stay here; the rest will search for Dobbs. Sooner or later, we'll find him, it's just a matter of time."

Two days later Vin was beginning to think Chris might be wrong. They had completely lost track of Dobbs, none of their usual informants knew where to find the man or even knew of him. And to make it worse, he was never alone with Ezra; one of the others was always there with them. It was starting to grate on his nerves. To be so close to his heart's desire, and yet so far away at the same time. Not to mention he was in a perpetual state of arousal, seeing the other man in those tight clothes, Ezra's musky scent invading his senses at the worst of times.

Josiah's cell phone rang, bringing him back from his fantasy of Ezra naked and writhing in his bed, a cocoon of satin sheets surrounding them lovingly. He sighed tiredly as he tried to pay attention to the one-way conversation.

"Sanchez. Oh, hi, Buck. What? Oh, my God! Where? We'll be right there!"

"What's wrong, Josiah?" Ezra asked rising from the couch, obviously having picked up on the other man's panicked tone.

"Buck just got word that JD was in an bike accident, he's in the hospital. He doesn't know how serious it is."

"Damn! Let's take the jeep, it'll be faster." Vin watched Ezra moving to the door. "Ez, I don't think you should come with us."

"What? Why not?"

"You'll be safer here."

Ezra gave him a hard look, eyes spitting fire. "I'll be with you two gentlemen, I'll be more than safe. I'm not some Southern belle needing rescue, Mr. Tanner. This is JD. *I*. *Am*. *Going*."

"You screwed up, brother," Josiah chuckled slightly as they both watched Ezra storm out of the door. "He's mad at you now. Come on, let's catch up with him before something *does* happen!"

The three men left the building and climbed into the jeep. Vin gunned the motor and they were on their way. Their youngest was hurt; it was time to gather the troops.

"It's just a lump on my forehead, Buck!" JD snarled for the hundredth time, obviously tired of the other man's mother-hen routine. "The doctor told me I can go home as long as I have someone with me. We live together, remember? So, stop fussing already! Geez!"

"What happened, JD?" Chris asked, arms folded across his chest, glare in full force. Or as Vin called it, Chris' version of the mother-hen act.

"Some jerk hit me from behind then took off. I was at a red light, lost my balance and hit the pavement. The man must've been drunk or something. Hey, Ezra, what are you doing here?"

"Seeing how you're doing, Mr. Dunne," Ezra replied, his tone just hinting at a touch of sarcasm.

"You should've stayed at Vin's," Chris growled, turning his glare on the undercover agent. "Dobbs could be out there and --"

"Hold it!" Ezra spoke up. "If you're going to -- what's the expression -- rip me a new one, I will require a coffee first. Gentlemen." He gave them a two-finger salute, then walked out of the room amidst the men's chuckles at Chris' gaping expression.

Ezra sighed contentedly as he found the hospital corridor deserted. He knew he shouldn't have left the room alone, but when Chris was in that particular mood it wasn't easy dealing with him, and for once he wasn't in the right frame of mind to piss the man off.

Besides, the other men's constant concern was starting to sufocate him. He wasn't used to it -- even after working with these men for the last two years -- and didn't know how to respond, how to react. He knew he shouldn't feel that way, but it was still hard for him not to snap at them in self-defense. It was almost an ingrained mechanism; when someone got too close, he pushed them back any way he could. Usually with words, cutting to the bone.

He had been trying to control the devil within him, the little voice who caused him to do or say those things before he could stop himself. He honestly liked the six men and didn't wish to hurt them. But it was hard to break the habits of a lifetime. Still, things were better. No matter how many times he messed things up, the others kept pulling him into the fold, offering their unconditional friendship and support.

Life was good lately, even with Dobbs after him. He was now certain that Vin was also interested in him, and once Dobbs was out of the way they would finally have the conversation that had been long in coming. It was time they acted out on their feelings instead of behaving like two school girls in love for the first time. It scared him to feel so strongly about anyone, especially a man he worked with, but fighting had only made it worse. It was time to face his feelings and do something before either he or Vin got seriously hurt.

"Hello, Eric," a male voice purred suddenly from behind him, so close that he could feel the warm breath on his cheek. "Or should I say, Ezra? Ah, ah, ah! Don't move, or I'll be forced to shoot you," the voice admonished when he tried to turn. He allowed his weapon to be taken from its holster, offering no resistance as he felt what could only be a gun pressing into his back. "Let's get out of here. Move!"

Unable to think of anything to get out of his current situation, Ezra obeyed, moving slowly to the exit door, all the while praying one of the others would come looking for him before it was too late. He never saw Doctor Matthews frowning as he watched him, and the man behind him, walking out the door.

"What do you want, Dobbs?" he demanded, trying to appear calm.

The man laughed. "You know I dreamed about you every night in prison? About how it would feel to finally fuck that gorgeous body of yours?"

"You could have done it the last time."

"The time wasn't right, my beloved. I wanted to play with you first. How did it feel, to know that there was someone watching your every move, invading your house and jacking off in your bed, uh? And how does it feel, to know that I stood beside you for hours, just watching you and touching your body while you were unconscious? I could've done anything to you then, you wouldn't even have remembered it. But alas, all good things come to an end. You will be mine tonight. And tomorrow... All of your friends will die."

They reached the isolated parking lot, the night air chilling Ezra to the bone as he searched frantically for something or someone to help him out of his desperate plight. He threw himself backwards against his captor; a last -- but futile -- attempt at escape.

Dobbs merely laughed and strengthened his hold. "You're not going anywhere, cat eyes. Anywhere."

Chris sighed tiredly as he watched the door closing behind Ezra. "That man could drive a saint to murder! Vin, go after him; I don't want him alone. Josiah, Nathan, go with him."

The three men left the room, practically crashing into Dr. Matthews, coming from the opposite direction. "I was just looking for you," the doctor told them. "I saw Ezra with another man not a minute ago. He didn't look too happy, I got the feeling there was something wrong. Thought I'd tell you."

"One minute!" Nathan huffed. "We lost sight of him for one minute! How does he do it?"

"That has to be Dobbs," Vin stated. "Where were they, Doc?"

"Leaving the hospital. They were on their way to the parking lot."

"Thanks!" Nathan said, already running with Vin and Josiah to the exit closest to the parking lot.

It didn't take them long to reach it, or to spot Ezra. Dobbs was trying to drag him to a car, but Ezra wasn't making it easy, struggling against the bigger man's tight hold.

"ATF! Freeze!" Vin shouted, aiming his gun at the man and feeling his companions doing the same.

"You do anything and I'll kill him!" Dobbs shouted back at them, using Ezra as a human shield, gun pressing against his temple.

"You won't get away with this, Dobbs!" Josiah warned him. "Let him go!"

"I don't think so!"

Vin felt Ezra's eyes on him and looked back. He saw the other man gesturing slightly to the left, and understood his signal. "Keep your eyes open, pards. Ezra's going to do something. He'll move to the left."

"We saw his signal," Nathan said. "As soon as he's ready..."

Ezra acted quickly. Pressing one of his legs between Dobbs', he tripped the man, then elbowed him and jumped left, out of the way of any flying bullets. Caught without his shield, Dobbs' began shooting at Vin and the others, who immediately returned fire. Bullets flew, sparking as they hit metal and cracked windshields. Vin saw Dobbs fall to the ground, blood flowing freely from several chest wounds, his gurgling breaths reaching their ears before he finally died.

"Ezra, you okay?" Nathan asked, as they approached the dead man's body.

"Fine, Mr. Jackson. Gentlemen, as always... your timing was impeccable."

"Why, thank you!" Vin said, grinning. "Shall we?" He gestured towards the hospital's entrance, bowing slightly.

Ezra grinned back, ignoring Nathan and Josiah's startled looks at their playfulness. "By all means, Mr. Tanner, let's," he agreed, preceding Vin back to the hospital to face the music. Larabee was going to have a stroke when he saw the mess they had left at the parking lot. And what was better, this time he hadn't even done any of the shooting.

"I can't believe Larabee had the nerve to reprimand me for getting caught and for what happened!" Ezra grumbled, as he entered Vin's house ahead of the younger man. "I wasn't the one doing the damage for once. And still, he had to --"

He was unable to go on, as he was suddenly grabbed and pushed against the wall, a warm, hard body pressing him to the brick. Before he could utter a word, his mouth was taken in a ravishing, almost brutal kiss. The demanding lips finally released his, ghosting over the corner of his mouth, before moving to lick his ear and lay a series of butterfly kisses along his neck and throat.

"Vin..." he moaned, helpless under the other man's feral passion.

"Was so scared," he heard Vin pant. "When I saw him holding you... God, Ezra... I love you, I want you... I need you..." Vin bit him lightly in the sensitive juncture of his neck and shoulder, then kissed the spot he'd just bitten to soothe the pain, making Ezra groan.

"Vin, bed," he managed to breathe out. Vin dragged him into the room, working at shedding their clothes as they went along. Soon they were naked, rolling on the bed in near frantic desperation. "Vin, slow down," he moaned, as the whirlwind that was Vin swept over him, touching him everywhere, licking, nibbling, biting, until Ezra was drowning in pleasure.

"Can't," Vin moaned. "Need you, God, I need you..."

Pressing him down into the mattress, Vin moved on top of him, blanketing his body, fingers playing with his nipples until they were erect. Their bodies moved against each other, cocks grinding together as Vin's hands feathered over him, uncovering his secrets for future explorations.

The mouth was back to his neck, nibbling and licking at the sensitive skin, making him arch from the bed, wanting more, begging for more. His nipples were next, getting sucked on and nipped until they almost hurt. The moist lips journeyed down, licking his chest and stomach, tongue dipping playfully into his belly button until he was moaning continuously.

A hand slid down his flanks to his shaft, working him gently into full hardness. Vin grasped the base of his cock, licking the drops of precome from the slit, his tongue sliding from the head to the base, moving on to his balls. Each testicle was licked and sucked, then in one swift move Vin took almost Ezra's entire throbbing cock into his warm, moist mouth, causing the southerner to cry out in ecstacy.

He felt fingers trailing from his scrotum to his anus and back again, then a slick finger probing at his opening. He spread his legs further apart, enjoying the way Vin's blue eyes darkened at the sight. The digit slipped in and out of him in a slow, wet motion, disappearing for a moment, only to return with a second finger. The fingers moved around gently, loosening up his tight passage, stretching the ring of muscle for what was to come. Ezra pushed back wantonly, gasping and writhing as Vin brushed repeatedly against his prostate.

"Vin, do it... Lord, just do it!"

Ezra moaned in protest as the warm haven released his cock, but subdued as he saw his lover coating his shaft with the lube. He felt Vin grasping his hips and positioning his cock against his anus, groaning as the younger man slid inside in one long thrust. Then his mouth was taken again in a passionate kiss and he lost himself in the pleasure of being filled and possessed completely by the other man.

Vin began to thrust into his heated passage, long, slow thrusts that had them both moaning. A hand gripped his erection, fingers pumping slowly, prolonging the pleasure and setting him on fire. Ezra whimpered into the mouth still ravaging his and matched his thrusts to those of his lover, lifting his hips to allow Vin to move in deeper, causing him to brush against his prostate.

He squeezed his inner muscles, grinning into Vin's mouth as the other man's movements became quicker, more frantic, more demanding, pushing them both closer to the edge. Finally unable to resist any longer, he surrendered to his need, shouting Vin's name aloud as his cock spilled his seed over Vin's hand and their bodies.

The tightening of his body was too much and Vin exploded deep within Ezra's body, groaning helplessly as his pleasure was dragged out of him. Once Vin fell exhausted onto his chest, Ezra wrapped his arms around him, feeling the younger man snuggle up against him panting for breath.

"I love you, Vin," he whispered softly.

He felt the smile on the other man's face as Vin nuzzled his neck, "Love you too, Ez. Can't imagine my life without you around." He raised his head. "I didn't hurt you, did I? I know I was a little... intense," he admitted, flushing a little.

Ezra grinned. "I liked it. No one has ever wanted me in such a way. It was... flattering. What are we going to do now?"

"About what? The others, the future, work?"

"Either. All."

"We'll keep working as before, as a team. We'll tell the others tomorrow because they're more than colleagues, they're our friends. As for the future... How about we spend it together? How's that?"

"It won't be easy," Ezra told him seriously.

"No, it won't. But I think you're worth the gamble."

Ezra grinned. "In that case, maybe I should warn you that I'm somewhat of a wild card, Mr. Tanner."

Vin chuckled. "Oh, I know that. It'll just make the ride all the more exciting. Life with you will never be boring, Ezra." He brushed his lips over the southerner's. "Let's get some sleep. Tomorrow's a brand new day and I for one, can't wait to see the others' faces when we tell them."

They snuggled up in the soft bed, Ezra listening as Vin's breathing settled down into a sleeping pattern. He sighed wearily, trying to ignore the little voice within telling him he was making a mistake by letting someone get so close. Maybe it was time to fight harder against everything he had been taught all of his life. He had a job he enjoyed, friends who cared, and now a lover. He held in his hands the power to be happy. Lady Luck had finally handed him a winning hand, he wasn't about to throw it away. With Vin by his side he would fight the devil himself. Or the devil inside.





Magnificent Seven