continues on from Darkest Bond

 

The following is a work of fan fiction based on the CBS television series, The Magnificent Seven. It is in no way intended to infringe on the copyrights of CBS, MGM, The Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp, or anyone else who may have legal rights to the characters and settings. The Sentinel copyright is held by Paramount and Pet Fly Productions. 

With thanks to Antoinette for your beta reading, MAC for all your support.

C/V/E

 

Reaching a balance

 

Continues from The Darkest Bond.

 

Ezra Standish is a male guide in a world where only women are recognized as guides to sentinels. Males can only ever be companions, a paid escort that will mock bond with a sentinel to allow him to relax his senses, in a comfortable and safe place. Claimed as a guide while undercover with the FBI, by a predator sentinel Chris Larabee and feral sentinel Vin Tanner, he takes them up into the mountains of Denver after the mission finished to complete the darkest bond, an almost mythical ultimate bond between sentinel and guide.

 

The darkest bond had been exhausting, so it was late morning when Buck finally woke, still sleepy he didn’t open his eyes he just wrinkled his nose against the hair that tickled it, yawned and hugged the warm body that he was spooned up against his chest a little closer. He felt his bed mate move, the skin on skin contact made him give a satisfied groan, as their asses came into sweet contact with him, rubbing up against him,  and then reality came crashing down on top of him as memories of the night before came vividly to mind. Buck’s eyes flew open, and his growing erecting wilted,  the  darkest bond, oh lord, now he remembered it all, he had only been on the edge of it, as gamma his job had been to protect Chris, Vin and Ezra, not only from outside threats but from themselves, if needs be. Afterwards he had been drawn into bed with them, sharing the feeling of being one with them; he had never felt such a sensation of love and acceptance, since his mother.  

 

Feeling Vin beginning to wake, Buck stroked Vin’s side and hip soothingly him back to sleep, smiling gently as the younger man buried his face against Chris’s chest and snuggled closer to his alpha love. Chris, the leader of their unconventional pack was laid in the centre of the bed; with Vin and Ezra on each side of him, both men where snuggled up against him their linked hands resting on Chris’s stomach, bodies intertwined round him. Buck yawned and he settled back down again spooning against VIn, he wasn’t ready yet to leave the warm intimacy of the bed. It wasn’t as if a few minutes would hurt.

 

An hour later Buck carefully eased off the bed, bending he tucked the blanket back into place as he saw Vin shiver from the loss of his body heat, and then padded over to the chest of drawers and pulled it open, and took out a white noise generator, and with one look at the other still sleeping men, he put on his pants and went out onto the porch. He flicked the switch on the generator, and heard the pop in his ears as the generator created a silent bubble of sound round him. Tugging the cell phone from his pocket he hit the number on the speed dial and Josiah answered the older man sounded tired, his concern when he asked about Vin, Chris and Ezra was plain in his voice.

 

“Josiah, they’re bonded on the dark level, everything is okay they’re resting.” Buck reported knowing that it would put the other members of Team Seven’s minds at rest, the boys had been really worried about Chris, Vin and Ezra which said a lot about the team’s unity.

 

Even through Josiah couldn’t see him he still shook his head, as the ex-preacher asked how long it was going to take.

 

“Another couple of days for things to get back to normal and then were be okay, Vin’s a mite twitchy at the moment, so keep back until I tell you different.”

 

“Bucklin.” Buck started and spun round as the raspy voice said his name, to see Vin leant against one of the porch supports bare footed and wearing an old pair of sweats that Buck recognized as belonging to Chris, riding low on his hips.

 

“Now that’s not nice junior, creeping up on people.” Buck said as he switched the cell off knowing that Josiah would understand.

 

“Didn’t creep you had that crap switched on.” Vin nodded towards the white noise generator, he reached out and pressed the off switch and winced as the silence bubble collapsed round them.

 

Buck frowned as Vin closed the distance between them until he was right in Buck’s personal space; “how you do it junior, you couldn’t have heard me on the phone no one could not through the white noise bubble.”

 

Vin smiled “I’s the only fallen angel here Bucklin, that should tell you something.”   With a smile Buck wrapped an arm round Vin’s waist and pulled him closer, anchoring the younger man.

 

“I just had to put the boy’s mind at rest that everything was okay up here, didn’t want Josiah and Nathan crashing the party.  Well not just yet, I want some quality time with you and Ez first.”  Buck said as he lightly stroked Vin’s back pleased when the feral relaxed and leaned into him, trying to maximize their contact. Buck knew Vin’s history and how the younger man had been starved of a love, and he was determined to make up for it, making sure that Vin knew that he was loved and cherished.

 

“Chris is up.” Vin drawled and eased back with a soft sigh, his hand reached down to take Buck’s and gave it a tug so that that the gamma followed him back inside and into the large kitchen.

 

Chris  stood at the breakfast counter. He was fixing a pot of coffee and he didn’t even turn as they came in; his senses already tagged his mate and Buck from the moment he had woken up. As he waited for the coffee to percolate Chris sank down onto one of the chairs his head in his hand, one hand carding through his hair blond as it flopped down over his eyes, Buck’s grin widened, the  blond had serious bed head, he looked as if he had been ridden hard and put away wet.

 

“You look like hell stud, Ezra keep you up,” Buck chuckled as he saw the look his alpha shot at him, then just when Buck was about to hunt for a stormed shelter, he saw the smile tug at his friends lips, so he added “all night.” Chris cocked his head to one side, and the smile broadened, and Buck felt a jolt a pure joy that was a smile he hadn’t seen in a long time since the death of Chris’s beloved family. Vin and Ezra where doing the old dog a world of good. Chris opened his arms and Vin moved into them bending down so that he could kiss his alpha, it was that kiss and Chris’s body language that told Buck volumes.

 

 Chris called Vin his soul mate, but Buck had never realized the true depth of Chris’s feeling until now for the fallen angel. Vin was no substitute for Sarah, Chris’s beloved wife, he was equal to her, loved and revered. The possessive streak in Larabee was scary in its single minded intensity and he had seen it when Chris was courting Sarah, and now it was focused on Vin Tanner his young lover and god help anyone that tried to take him away from him. 

 

Breaking the kiss, Chris smiled up into the face of his lover, he cocked his head to onside, as Vin did the same, “Ez is waking up, go and keep him company, I’ve got a few things to talk to Buck about.”  Vin nodded, and started to pull away, and then stopped, “I’ll be there soon go on Vin” he patted the younger man’s hip affectionately.

 

Buck waited for Vin to go into the master bedroom, “He heard me through a white noise generator, your assassin guild training could you do that?”

 

“No, he’s full of surprises,” there was affection in Chris’s voice that many people wouldn’t have though him capable of, seeing only the somber man in black persona. “So what did Josiah say?”

 

“He’s going to give us a couple of days to settle into the bond, and Nathan is going to finish reading up on what data they have on the darkest bond, it’s a bit limited, seems that Ellison Senior Prime of Cascade, went through the darkest bond, and he’s just   as reluctant as you to get in the labs for testing. He should know more about the Shield and its functions and.” Buck trailed off, seeing the grimace on Chris’s face “What aren’t you telling me stud,” he asked.”

 

“Last night after we bonded, there was a dream.”

 

“Hope she was naked and hot.”

 

“Buck,” Chris shook his head “take your mind out of the gutter. It was about the past, we were all there, and just let’s say it got interesting. The Shield is the enforcer of the clan his job is to protect the prime and take out any threats, and to protect the guide prime even from himself.”

 

Buck glanced back at the bed room door, he could hear the springs of the bed moving and the soft slapping of flesh on flesh “just like junior did in that bar, if you hadn’t brought him up fast, he would have splattered that sentinel’s brains right over the floor for trying to take Ez.”

 

“Yeah, so I need you to get Josiah to contact Ellison’s guide.” Chris said, then added “get a guide’s take on this dream; see what it’s got to do with the darkest bond.”

 

“Hell Chris it was a one off.”  But even as he said it Buck knew different and now was the time to fess up, “Okay I had the same one, swords and duel, Ezra dressed in black robes, Vin, hell he looked like a barbarian you know out of one of the old Arnie films, sword strapped to his back, mean as hell”.”

 

“Josiah a preacher,” both men turned Ezra  stood there, as he added “JD was in training as a warrior.”

 

“Nathan was a healer.”  Vin drawled, as he stood flanking Ezra.

 

Chris looked from one to the other, all four of them had dreamed the same thing, and “Could we have been feeding off your dream Ez, since we were linked because of the bonding.”

 

“Possibly Mr. Larabee, but I think that we have tapped into another lifetime’s memories, there is a line of through that a sentinel and guide are linked in an unending chain of lives, destined to meet and bond for the ages, perhaps we have gained an insight into one such life lived.   But I will contact Ellison’s guide as soon as we are back in civilization again.”

 

“Ez, the cabin’s got satellite TV, a Jacuzzi, and under floor heating, it’s hardly the wild,” Vin said.

 

“Does it have a five star rating Mr. Tanner, I think not, therefore it’s the wilds.” Suddenly he becomes aware of his state of undress, the black dress shirt that stopped a couple of inches short of being decent.  He was jolted out of his thoughts by a squeeze to his ass, “Mr. Tanner, what have I told you about that, keep your hands off my person.”  The indignation would have worked better if Ezra hadn’t started backing into the room, one hand latched onto the waist band of Vin’s sweat pants, dragging him with him, the door slamming shut behind them.

 

Chris exchanged a look with Buck and they both laughed as Buck poured the coffee, “You know you’re getting old Chris, when you prefer a coffee to a roll in the hay with those two.”

 

“Just let them take the edge off first,” he took a sip of the coffee, “it’s called experience, and this is damn fine coffee.”

 

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Judge Travis’s house

Eve Travis came in and gave her husband a kiss on the cheek, “your post is here darling,” and she frowned as she saw the way he was looking at the envelope as if it was a snake ready to bite him.

 

“Orin are you alright,” her concern was plain for him to see.

 

“Of course,” he smiled as he gave her hand a squeeze. But he had already recognized the envelope the twin of which was in his pocket. Once Eve had gone reluctantly into the sitting room, the Judge took a steadying breath and then opened the envelope, and slid out the pictures, and swore.  In the first picture Vin Tanner was on his hands and knees straddling a man his head was down his long hair veiling his face, but he would recognize the young man from the other pictures, his body had welts running over it from where he had been tied up.  He was sucking the man off; the man’s hand was wrapped in his hair, dragging his head down forcing him to take him to the root. Another man was behind him, buried to the hilt into Vin’s body, the next few pictures  were all a sequence as the younger man had been used. The judge’s hand was shaking as he pushed the pictures back into the envelope. The letter was the same

 

Be sure your sins will find you out –

 

But scrawled under it was

 

Blood vengeance is the price.

 

 Travis looked at the calendar, fourteen more days and team seven would be coming back, fourteen more days to decide what he was going to do.

 

0-0-0-0-0-0

Early afternoon

 

Ezra  stood looking out across the landscape, a cup of his designer coffee in his hand, just enjoying the majestic view. Buck joined him, “what do you find so interesting out there Ez.”

 

Ezra shook his head, “the name is Ezra, Mr. Wilmington, is that so hard to remember.” Suddenly Ezra stood up straighter, “oh my god, I do not believe it.”

 

Buck suddenly grinned as he saw Vin returning to the cabin, a small deer thrown round his shoulder, a sporting bow in one hand, and a quiver of arrow, and a hunting knife at his hip.  “It seems that Vin thinks you’re a might peaky and needs feeding up.”

 

“Mr. Wilmington, we have a whole cupboard of supplies, and a freezer full of meat, I don’t see why?”

 

“He’s a feral Ez,” Buck shrugged as if it explain all, then seeing the look of exasperation on Ezra’s face he added, “Vin would have been starving most of his life, living on the streets before he got caught  for the Fallen Angel Program, he wants to make sure you don’t.”

 

Ezra watched as Vin laid the deer down on the picnic bench, and began to gut it, whistling away to himself in an off key note, the only thing they had learned worse than his whistling was his harmonica playing.

 

“Then Mr. Wilmington, I will eat every mouthful, even if it means eating Bambi.” Ezra drained his coffee cup and headed back inside, the cabin, leaving Buck watching him thoughtfully. Some people might doubt Ezra, doubt his loyalty to the bond, and to his sentinels, but once you got past the mask he wore, shielding his emotions, you found a man that he was honored to call his friend and pack guide.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Two days later Josiah drove up the drive towards the cabin, on the porch he could see Vin perched on the rail, and Ezra sprawled out relaxed in one of the chairs.

 

Nathan shook his head, taking in the defensive stance of the young feral “the darkest bond is primal, and has only been documented once, so I suggest we take it nice and easy remember JD we are entering their territory.”

 

Josiah was the first one out of the SUV by agreement, the ex-preacher understood the ritual of their first formal greeting, he waited for Nathan and JD to join him and then walked to the porch, Ezra got to his feet and came to the edge of the porch only for Vin to move so that he was in front of him. Ezra put a hand on Vin’s shoulder as he leaned into him.  Josiah exchanged a look with Nathan both of the men noted the body language Ezra was grounding the younger feral sentinel only then did Josiah lead them forward.

 

 

Josiah knew that the words were important everything that he read told him that the formal address should be used, but looking at the two younger men in front of him, he instead went with his heart. “Brothers, it’s good to see you again, you have been missed.”

 

“As we have missed you Mr. Sanchez, Dr Jackson, and I know that Mr. Wilmington has missed you Mr. Dunne, so it seems that our small family is once again united,” Ezra ducked round Vin.

 

When Ezra offered Josiah his hand the big man gripped it and then pulled him into a full body hug, as he did that his emotions were open to Ezra, and the smaller man tensed, Ezra wasn’t one for demonstrative displays of affection, his mother had never been the maternal type, but what he was feeling from Josiah was almost parental pride in him. He had told the ex-preacher off before now for calling him son, but this time Ezra found himself basking in the affection. He patted Josiah lightly on the chest, allowing his mind to brush the older man, without being bonded to him, he would never reach the same level of intimacy as with his sentinel, but he  project his emotions and read him but only on a surface level. Josiah smiled at him, and gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. 

 

JD and Nathan came forward; JD looked down at the ground then at Ezra and blushed brick red.

 

“Is there a problem Mr. Dunne,” Ezra asked when their youngest member looked up, Ezra didn’t need words, and he read JD as easily as if he had the words etched on his face. JD knew that they were lovers, and accepted it as part of their bond, but he was still trying to understand. His thoughts were almost shouted at him Chris had been married with a wife and child, how could he fuck Vin, Vin had been working as a hooker, he liked men that fitted that made sense but how could Ezra, he ….. the words were bubbling round in his head clashing and colliding.

 

Ezra threw an arm out to block his feral sentinel “Mr. Tanner please he is young.”

 

“Thinks like that won’t get much older,” the drawl was low and threatening as Vin took a step off the porch towards them. Ezra cursed under his breath, he had been concentrating so hard on the team that he forgot that Vin was able to piggyback him, and JD’s thoughts had passed straight through him to the feral.

 

 Buck took that moment to come out of the cabin, and headed for JD, his connection with Ezra wasn’t as strong because he was gamma, but he had heard the kids word’s amplified through Ezra, and had risked having his head served up to him on a plate by blocking the enraged predator that he could handle it. He could see the tension in Vin, the feral had reacted as Chris had done, but the feral was holding back allowing Ezra to lead, and that was good for the pack. Buck turned his attention to JD, seeing how embarrassed the younger man was he said “JD just say hello to Ez, that’s all you need do you don’t need the fancy words with family and were all family aren’t we boy.” He patted Vin’s back as he went by, his actions telling the feral that he had it under control. 

 

“Hi, Buck, I err” JD took a deep breath, “No Buck” he put in forcefully, “I want to do this right, I spoke to Nathan and Josiah, and I went on the internet, I know what’s right and” he raised his head and met Vin and Ezra’s gaze “I want to do right by you Ez so” he took a deep breath “honored is your calling Ezra err Guide Standish” he managed to blurt out.

 

 

Buck threw an arm round JD’s shoulder giving him a one arm hug, beaming at him, the boy had done good, he looked towards Ezra.

 

“Thank you Mr. Dunne” Ezra closed the distance between them, and placed his hands on JD’s shoulders. He was pleased when  the younger man didn’t try and move away from his touch. Meeting his gaze levelly, Ezra said “If you have any questions, come to me Mr. Dunne and we will talk.”

 

JD, bobbed his head, “Err thanks Ez” he said softly, blushing again.

 

 Nathan stepped forward, “Congratulations on your bonding Ezra,” Nathan couldn’t quite bring himself to use the time honored greeting; he was still fighting his own prejudices against a male guide. He knew it was wrong he had seen Ezra at work and knew that man embodied the spirit of a true guide, but his heart pulled him one way and his braining and academic learning pulled him another. But his smile was honest and he held up the expensive bottle of Brandy as a peace offering.

 

“My thanks Dr. Jackson, a gentleman’s drink at last.”  Ezra accepted the bottle in the sprit it was given and examined the label, it was then he drawled.   “Mr. Tanner I feel a tremor in the force,” and turned to the door behind them Chris Larabee stood there dressed in his habitual black clothes, the predator didn’t say anything he just let his gaze rest on each of his men in turn, his pack, Chris’s senses raking over them looking for threats, he glanced at Vin and saw the slight nod of the head, confirming that everything was alright, only then did Chris allow them into their   territory.

 

Now the celebration of their bond could begin, as the team followed Ezra into the cabin, Chris’s hand came up slapping the wooden frame blocking Nathan, “We got a problem here Jackson?”  Chris asked.

 

But before Nathan could reply, Ezra was there, “Mr. Larabee, Dr Jackson is welcomed to his own views, he had never let them spill over in his dealings with me.” Reaching out he then did something that few people other than Chris’s younger lover would do, he laid hands on the predator. His hand rested on Chris’s wrist, and then exchanged a look which ended with Ezra demurely lowering his gaze submitting to the alpha. Only then did Chris drop his arm and allow Nathan to enter the cabin.

 

Ezra didn’t say another word, he had felt the dark aggression wrapping round him, when he had touched his alpha the need for domination in the predator had  flared and then been saved by his display of submission which had allowed Chris to  bank the predator back down again. But the truth of the matter was their dark bond was still too new, it had to take time to settle. Until then Ezra knew that he would have to be extra vigil around both Chris and  Vin.

 

Chris entered the cabin after him, followed by the other members of Team 7, with Vin pausing on the porch last of all giving one final look round the surrounding woodland, his senses combing the surrounding area for threat, finally satisfied he turned and entered the cabin, closing the door behind them.

 

Inside the cabin food and drink was laid out, Josiah has told the other members of team seven in what to expect, the steaks were proof that the feral could provide for their guide. He had told them to complement the food, in particular the amount, warning that it might be over kill, underlining that Vin’s responses were hardwired into him, and have been triggered by the darkest bond.

 

As the profiler of Team 7, Josiah found the dark bond fascinating, the venison stakes proof of the furl's need to feed his guide, Chris was all but stalking Ezra, and Vin his gaze never leaving them more than it had too. But there was something about Ezra that was off kilter, he studied the usually dapper dressed southerner, now what was different, and then it clicked.  It was the way Ezra was dressed, okay for the team’s undercover agent casual dress wasn’t a regular occurrence. But the shirt he had on was flannel when did Ezra ever wear flannel and the t-shirt he wore under it was black. Josiah looked from Vin and Chris and back again to Ezra, their guide was dressed in their clothes, so fulfilling the second law of the bond, their first being to feed the guide the second to cloth him.   

 

It seemed he wasn’t the only one to notice, JD opened his mouth, but Buck was there dragging his prodigy away from Vin, just as he started to ask the feral about the clothes, at the same time clipping him lightly across the back of his head, barely ruffling his hair, but an attention getter, as the same time as he muttered a quick apology. The fact that Chris hadn’t gone after JD, earlier was proof to Buck that Chris had accepted them as his pack, but he could feel the tension thrumming through his oldest friend.  Given that JD tended to speak first and repent at leisure, Chris was obviously leaving it to him as gamma to sort the kid out, and for that Buck was thankful.

 

Soon the steaks were cooking on the BBQ, and not long after that the team was lounging round the large plasma television watching the satellite ball game, enjoying the food as they cat called and the comments flew along with the popcorn as the game progressed. Buck was sat contented, even with his limited senses he could feel the emotions of the three men, mellow and settle as they relaxed within the pack, as the dynamics of the team reasserted its self.

 

Instead of returning to their cabin, Josiah, Nathan and JD had accepted the offer to spend the night in the main room, the road down to their cabin being too dangerous to navigate at night after one too many beers. But Josiah and Nathan also recognized it as the honor it was their predator was letting them spend the night in his personal territory, it was the final cementing of their status as pack members. If Chris had had any misgivings about them he would have bluntly asked them to leave. It looked good; Josiah had told Nathan that the pack was now one unit, the worse was over.

 

In the master bedroom, Chris sat against the bed board, propped up by some pillows a habitual cheroot in his mouth, as he watched his young lover pacing up and down in front of the door to the living room, a growl vibrating low in his throat, showing the feral’s displeasure.

 

“Vin come here,” Chris patted the bed next to him.

 

Vin turned, blue eyes glaring at him, and then continued his pacing.

 

“If Mr. Tanner had a tail he would be swishing it.” Ezra drawled, as he stood in the doorway to the on-suite bathroom a toothbrush in his hand.  Then he signed when he saw that Vin was paying no attention, “Mr. Tanner, the other side of the door is our pack they are not a threat, the vigil of the shield is not needed,” he placed the toothbrush down on the top of a chest of  drawers and closed the distance between them. “Our esteemed alpha is growing lonely, I think that we should join him don’t you.”

 

Vin looked from Ezra, to Chris and turned his head back to the door again, clearly undecided.  Reaching up Ezra gently caught his face in his hand, and just with the tips of his fingers turned Vin’s face back to him, at the same time as he snagged the belt of his jeans, and gave it a tug. “Mr. Wilmington has the watch, the shield can stand down.”

 

For a long minute, Vin didn’t move, slowly the feral was pushed back and the man remained and he allowed himself to be taken to the bed. Chris opened his arms and Vin climbed onto the bed and into them. Ezra stood watching, and was about to turn away when Chris said. “Where are you going Ez,” as he reached out with his other hand.

 

“I thought you would prefer to….” Ezra trailed off.

 

Chris shook his head, he could smell Ezra’s scent souring, he cocked his head slightly and saw the way that Ezra shivered, as Ezra felt his senses caress him, a sensor net thrown over him to check he was alright.

 

“You’re in this for the long haul Ezra, you’re our guide, the dark bond wasn’t the end it was the beginning and that means that your place is in our bed, and by our side. Honored is your calling.”

 

Ezra saw the way that Vin echoed the words, and  Ezra felt a warmth flood through him, and he allowed Chris to draw him down onto the bed, he buried his face against Chris’s neck, looking across the alpha’s chest to Vin who was snuggled up against Chris’s other side. Vin began to kiss and nip the side of his alpha’s throat, he paused and looked to Ezra, taking the cue, Ez began to work his way across Chris’s jaw and down the column of his neck. Even as Vin was un buttoning Chris’s shirt and peeling it aback before attacking his chest with licks and nips, while Ezra followed suite on the other side.

 

Pinning Chris in place Vin and Ezra continued their loving assault, the moans of their lover spurring them onto greater heights.  Vin reached for Chris’s belt, and paused looking across at Ezra he nodded to him, and allowed Ezra to unwrap their prize.

 

Buck pushed the door to the room open, and halted in his tracks, his eyebrows nearly disappearing as he saw the sight in front of him, Vin and Ezra taking turns cat licking Chris, the alpha moaning his head trashing from side to side, his hands gripping the blankets white knuckled.  Vin looked up and snarled like a cat with a mouse, ready to defend his prize, but Ezra caught a hand into his hair and pulled him gently back down, soon Vin lost himself in the scent and the taste of his alpha’s pre cum.  Buck slowly back out of the room and closed the door in front of him, and then grinned broadly, and snagged another pillow from the pile he had brought in for the others to use, and arranged them with his blanket so that he was laid across the  threshold of Chris’s room. The gamma had the watch, and then with a yawn he settled down to rest.  His head suddenly jerking up as he heard Chris’s cry of completion.  He met JD’s startled look, “don’t even think of asking kid,” and he turned over and went to sleep.

 

0-0-0-0

 

Three days later.

It was early morning, Buck was pulling his case from the back of his beaten up old Ford truck all the time chatting to JD, as the younger man was all but bouncing with excitement at their team building holiday. Buck paused as he saw the black SUV pull up, and Chris got out, Vin was the next out slinging a large duffle bag over his shoulder, he stood waiting patiently for Ezra to get out. Chris was half way to Buck and JD when he turned on his heel, “Ezra get your ass out of the car.”

 

“Coming Mr. Larabee,” Ezra drawled a 12oz Starbucks’ coffee in his hand, “what ungodly hour is this.”

 

“Eight o’clock Ez” Vin said as he reached into the SUV and tugged out his guide’s expensive suitcase.

 

Ezra sniffed “As I said before Mr. Tanner this ungodly hour.”

 

“The mini-bus is leaving in 20 minute so move it.” Chris scowled at him, his emotions lashing around Ezra’s mind as he cut across Vin and Ezra’s conversation. It was the first day of the team building, and Chris wasn’t happy as the alpha he disliked taking his young lover and guide into a situation that he was entering into blind and his formable temper was on simmer.

 

When they got to the pickup point, Nathan and Josiah were already waiting for them, along with a group of other people, clustered together talking; Nathan was already using their standard cover story. Whenever a law enforcement team went on one of these team building courses, they adopted a civilian persona as a cover.

 

It tended to make it easier for them to blend in, as even the most honest people tended to get nervous round the police.  So they would be from Newman  Corporation, Chris  was their head of security, along with Vin, Ezra was in corporate hospitality , Buck was  public relations and finally Josiah and Nathan were human recourses with JD as a computer geek from IT.

 

The mini bus pulled up. The door slid open. The peace was suddenly shattered by a loud bouncy twenty something female with a stunning figure with long blond hair and a California tan.  “Hi guys and girls my name is Kandy with an K Seal, I am going to be one of your team leader for the team building experience, you’re going to have the time of your life and expand your abilities and live the dream” she clapped her hands excitedly. 

 

Ezra shook his head, in one sentence she had managed to hit all the buzz words, this was going to be worse than he had imagined. Then he brought himself back to the present as Kandy with a K came over.  “Mister” she looked at her check in list, “Larabee,” she hazarded a guess.

 

“No, Miss Seal, I am Mister Standish, that is Mr. Larabee” he pointed behind her, she turned and came face to face with Chris and took a quick step back and would have fallen if Ezra hasn’t caught her arm and steadied her.

 

“Is there a problem?” Chris was all but growling.

 

“I was just concerned that Mr. Standish’s clothing isn’t suited to the course, a suit is alright but.”

 

Ezra flicked an invisible piece of lint off his lapel. “I do have more casual clothes, but a gentleman should always look as a  gentlemen for as long as possible Miss Seal. I merely choose to travel in style.”

 

Kandy’s mouth opened and closed as she tried to think of a rejoinder, but gave up and went to help a small woman trying to force a too large case into the mini-bus.  

 

Feeling Chris’s mood through the bond Ezra breathed “Not good.” Then gave an innocent look to Chris as his alpha turned on him, the bond crackling and snapping between them, with a smile he offered Chris his coffee. The predator huffed and walked over to loom over JD as the younger man helped Buck pack their bags into the mini bus, causing JD to drop the case on his foot and hop around clutching at his injured foot.

 

“Hell Chris, give a guy a warning okay.” JD said and then turned bright red as he realized what he had said and to whom he had just said it. But Chris just shook his head and took off after Vin as he felt the distress through the bond, to find the younger feral stood, duffel bag in hand, staring at the mini bus as everyone began to pile into the small vehicle, it was then that Chris smelt the tang of fear that rolled off Vin as his face drained of all color.

 

“Easy Vin talk to me.”

 

“I’ll take the SUV, meet you up there.” He looked pleading at his alpha.

 

“Sorry pard we can’t do that, the camp is in an echo park and they restrict the number of cars going up, they won’t let us.

 

Chris was all too aware that Vin was claustrophobic and it looked as if it had just kicked in big time. He placed his hand on his lover’s arm, feeling him flinch under his touch. “Okay Vin, I understand, where going to get you a seat near the window, and I am going to sit with you the whole way.”

 

“Ez” Chris saw the look on Vin’s face as he said his guides name, he squeezed Vin’s arm reissuing him and Vin looked down at the ground.

 

“It’s okay Vin I understand” Chris said, it was understandable that Vin would want Ezra close  and he wasn’t angry not seeing it as a reject on him, but in Vin’s trust in Ezra Standish.

 

“Not angry.” Vin asked needing to hear the words.

 

“Hell no.” Chris told him, making sure that Vin could feel his emotions and know that he wasn’t angry because he wanted to be with Ezra rather than his alpha.

 

Ezra claimed the seats near the slide door, and then climbed on board to open the nearest window, before climbing out and going over to his feral sentinel.  “I am here Mr. Tanner, I have secured you a window seat you will be alright I won’t allow anything to harm you.” With Buck and Nathan blocking them from the view other people, Ezra coaxed Vin to the mini bus, using their connection to try and calm his panic.

 

Once in the bus Ezra sat next to Vin, pitching his voice low, he used gentle touches to his hand and arm to reassure him, he had just managed to get him relaxed when the bus engine was turned over and Vin started forward, but Ezra threw an arm out to block him, otherwise Vin would have been out of the bus in a heartbeat. With a firm grip he kept Vin in place, even as he felt the feral tense up again as Kandy with a K Seal slide the side door closed with a bang that made the feral nearly bolt again almost climbing over Ezra in his hurry to get off. But again Ezra kept him down in his seat, talking quickly and softly until the crisis was passed and Vin slowly began to calm, Ezra leaned into him so that his thigh and knee were pressed against Vin, maximizing their contact, knowing that it would reassure the feral. Both he and Chris knew about Vin’s claustrophobia, the fallen angel usually had it under control, but the dark bond had cranked his senses to a higher level, so he was experiencing a form of temporary extreme claustrophobia. Ezra was confident that once the new level of Vin’s senses settled he would have it back under control again. But in the meantime he would give him all the comfort and support he needed.

 

The trip to the Hub was going to take three long hours, Buck had scored himself a seat next to Kandy his excuse being he needed the extra leg room of the front seat, but he was clearly chatting her up. Chris had claimed the aisle seat behind Vin and Ezra so that he was close if needed but not that closes that he would exasperate Vin claustrophobia. JD has lost the toss and was trying to make himself one with the side of the mini bus in his effort to avoid touching Chris while they were seated together.  Nathan and Josiah had spread out among the other travelers and where already deep in conversation with them.

 

Vin appeared to be sleeping with his head resting on Ezra’s shoulder as the southerner read a book. Periodically Ezra would dip his book and check on Vin and then continue reading. Only Chris and Buck understood what Ezra was doing he was actually reading to Vin, his voice was that low that only a sentinel could hear it. Knowing that Vin was dyslexic and that he would be unable to read on the journey, Ezra had taken their book with him. Since Vin had come into his life, Ezra was trying to get Vin interested into the classics, and to do that he read to him. It helped the feral mellow out after a stressful day, and gave them some quality time together. Like this Ezra could feel Vin in his head, the feral was at peace and was on the edge of sleep, Ezra just tugged him a little closer and turned his own head so that he could give Vin a quick kiss on the forehead a small show of affection and  reassurance.

 

Ezra knew that the small mini bus was not the best place for Vin, but like this he had him settled. He felt Vin’s hand on his thigh, the touch was light, and not arousing, he couldn’t help smiling to himself, as he patted Vin’s hand him.   For the first time in his life Ezra P Standish was loved for himself, not for who or what he could do and that gave him a feeling of self worth that had been all but destroyed when he had been branded a dirty cop in Atlanta, and sent to Denver undercover as a companion, in the Denver Harmony House that was nothing more than a sentinel brothel. Ezra lifted the book up again “and where were we Mr. Tanner, I do believe that they were about to storm the Bastille” and so Ezra took up the story of Charles Dickens, Tale of two cities.”

 

Camp Harmony

The camp was situated among the most breath taking scenery, and it was only when the front gate was in sight that Ezra gave Vin’s hand a light touch, to alert him they had arrived at their destination.

 

The moment the mini bus halted Vin was climbing over Ezra to get out of the vehicle and then stood at a distance from it  pacing, shudders running through his lean body. Chris was the next out of the  bus, going to his young lover shielding him from the eyes of the other people as they got out, a hand on Vin’s arm his fingers massaging the tense muscles as he spoke sub vocally to him, words of love and reassurance. Gradually Vin relaxed with one final shudder, then and only then did Chris turn and lead Vin back to where the others were grouped together in front of a rustic two story building that was the heart of the camp called the Hub.

 

Ezra had the feeling that this was going to be one hell of a holiday and not in the good sense, he tried to push the feelings to the back of his mind as he joined the others and waited for the camp director to greet them.

 

The end.