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. This story is strictly for entertainment. 

This story is for Sarah, MAC and Texaries, and Stan Lee, without you all there would never have been a story, thanks for your feedback, your support and your beta reading. 

And finally thanks to Eileen,  a girl couldn’t have a better sister.

 

Establishing Story

The Escort M7 AU has many authors, I believe it was originated by Fiercy, and is currently open. Thanks to all the authors for creating such an interesting world to write in.

Houston Texas

 A black SUV with tinted windows pulled up outside the Mary Webb building and Chris Larabee, leader of the newly formed Sanction 7, got out. His clothing was black from head to foot, in contrast to his dirty blond hair. He looked across at the man with him and cracked a smile. Buck Wilmington grinned back broadly. You sure were going to find him up there?

The blond jerked a thumb down the street to where the road had been cordoned off. Alan London is arriving at noon to testify and our bird is going to be up there, 2,000 yards clear view. 

Buck looked up and nodded as he noticed a scrap of cloth attached to one of the telegraph wires, then a hundred yards further another piece of cloth, then another; perfectly innocent unless you knew that you were actually looking at a snipers wind direction indicators. Buck stroked his moustache thoughtfully. Tanners been busy.

“Hes a professional, thats why we want him, Chris answered. He raised a hand and checked his ear piece and mike. Nathan, you take the front door, Josiah the back, just in case he gets past us. Remember I want him alive, but dont take any chances.

Then, with Buck falling into step by his side, he entered the building. 

 

0-0-0-0-0

Vin Tanner easily crossed the sloping roof of the Mary Webb building. He was wearing a police baseball cap, flak jacket and a sniper rifle slung over his back.  When he reached the optimal position he dropped down onto the tarmac and  carefully sighted through the rifles scope.

The light headset echoed with his partners voice. Are you in place?

 

Yeah, no problem.  Vin wasnt too happy about buddying up for the hit, he usually worked alone, but the client had wanted two guns on this contract, and Matt was the only other hitter he knew that he was prepared to work with.

 

Vin carefully tracked his scope over the rooftops of the other buildings looking for any tell tale signs of a police counter sniper. It was then he heard Matt Palmer’s voice again, Sorry Alvin, and by the way, Mitch said hi...

 

Shit, Vin swore as his head snapped round towards the roof Matt was perched on, realising too late that hed been set up.  He barely had time to register the gun aimed directly at him before he felt a bullet slamming into him. Unconscious, he pitched face down, his body hitting the roof then rolling off the edge.

 

Vin fought to gain consciousness, then wished he hadn't fought so hard as pain exploded through his head and blood blurred his vision.  He tried to brush it away,

but his hand only pawed weakly at his face.  He was hanging in space; the only thing keeping him from plummeting to his death was a thin security line. He tried to reach back but the pain of moving his head almost greyed him out again. Then he felt a blow to his chest, he only had a chance to thank god he had put on a flak vest when the air was driven from his lungs and he fought desperately for breath before tumbling into a black void.

 

Chris Larabee scrambled across the roof when he heard a crack of gunfire and muffled cry of pain. Climbing down the slope of the roof, he stretched down over the eaves, catching the slowly swinging line which dangled the hit man out of his reach but was also responsible for keeping him alive. He started to pull the younger man to safety and then froze. One of the bullets had caused a tile to break and its razor sharp shards were pressed firmly against the safety line. Any attempt to pull the man upward would sever the line, and send him plunging to his death.

 

Pressing his voice mike Chris said, Buck, I'm going to have to get him another way. Josiah, bring the tow rope, Nathan your medical kit, weve got a problem. Buck will be waiting for you at the elevator on the twelfth floor. We need to get into the apartment underneath.

 

The apartment door lasted about five seconds under the foot of Buck Wilmington. As it flew open under his kick, Buck rushed through and onto the balcony. The hit man was hanging about ten feet above his head, out of reach.

 

Nathan Jackson, the Sanction 7 doctor, came in on his heels with Josiah Sanchez the team psychiatrist. Nathan looked at the limp body hanging perilously over a twelve floor drop asked, How are we going to do this?

 

Theres only one way, Chris said as he took the rope off Josiah and knotted it around his waist. I need you to belay that. I might have to cut him free and you'll have to take both our weights. He looked at them for a moment, meeting their gaze levelly, and saw them nod.

 

Dont worry Chris, we wont let you fall, Josiah said.

 

Carefully balancing astride the balcony, Chris got his first close look at the hit man. The baseball cap had fallen off, and long hair hung down, blood coating the young mans face. Then he saw the eyes flicker.

 

Can you hear me?

 

Y e s, the word was stuttered, the voice rasping and laced with pain.

 

I'm going to get you down, so don't struggle. Okay? You have to listen to what I tell you. I swear I won't let you fall.

 

Theres no way you can hold him and cut the line Chris, hes going to have to do it, Buck said.

 

Chris nodded. Okay, Tanner. There was no reply as the eyes slid shut. TANNER, Chris roared, and they flickered open again as the hit man fought to focus on his would-be rescuer.

 

 Do you have a knife? Youre going to have to cut the line when I tell you.

 

Y e ah. The word was faint and Chris knew they were running out of time. He moved carefully onto the ledge, hell it was too small to even qualify as that, but the building was old and there were gaps in the mortar. Slowly, he edged his way towards the hit man.

 

With one backward look at his men, Chris took a deep breath and launched himself off the ledge, his arms and legs wrapping round Vin.  For a split second the two men locked eyes. Vin had just reached behind his neck to grab his knife, when the damaged line suddenly snapped, and they plummeted downward.

 

The rope pulled the two mens plunge to a jaw snapping halt, and swung them back into the wall of the building. Vin impacted first, his body going limp in Chriss arms even as the blond managed to get one foot up to fend off the wall as he swung towards it again, Bucks startled yell sounding in his ear. 

 

Buck reached over the balcony and with a firm grip caught the back of the hit mans flak vest. He pulled the smaller man up and over the balcony rail, throwing him roughly onto the floor. Reaching down he caught hold of Chris and pulled his old friend to safety. He swallowed hard. It had all been much too close. Nathan was kneeling down over the unconscious man, running his hand over the hit mans skull, checking his eyes. We need to get him back to headquarters so that I can check him out properly.

 

Josiah. Nathan stepped back as the older man moved forward and scooped up the limp body while Nathan positioned the younger mans head against his chest. Holding him close, Josiah Sanchez carried him to the elevator.

 

0-0-0-0-0-0

New Orleans, Louisiana

FBI Special Agent Ken Marshall put down the file and locked eyes with Chris Larabee. You have to be joking. Its taken us three years to get that smirking, self serving, larcenous, son of a bitch...

Chris cut him off. Why dont you tell me what you really think of him Ken? he asked with the nearest he ever got to a grin.

Standish gets you that way Chris, believe me. Ten minutes in his company and you need a dictionary to understand him, and given your temper... He saw the blond raise an eyebrow. Yeah, given your temper, youll be putting a bullet in him before you get him halfway to Denver. But if you want him, Ill have to give him to you. Ken paused, Just tell me youre not going to let Ezra Standish loose on mainland America.

Cant promise that.

Well then just keep him out of Louisiana, okay?

Chris leaned across the table and offered his hand. Thats a deal.

0-0-0-0-0-0

Secure Facility 9

Josiah Sanchez looked up as Chris and Buck entered his office.  He could guess why they were there.  Chris asked the question straight out. Well, what can you tell me about Tanner? Chris wasnt a fool; he knew how dangerous Vin Tanner was, he just needed it confirmed.

Josiah leaned back in his chair. Tanner is a high functioning dyslexic with sociopathic tendencies, Chris. Or to put it in plain language, hes one dangerous son of a bitch. Now with all that said and done, Tanner has a unique way of looking at things, he puts thing in compartments in his head and locks them away. Its not the healthiest way to deal with your problems, but it works for him.

And you got all of this from him? Im impressed, Chris said.

The session was not without incident. I triggered Tanner and he went over the table at me. The guards took him down hard. I decided to speak to him alone once he had calmed down. Josiah looked down at his large hands, then back up at his boss. Dont give me that look Chris, it was a calculated risk. It was hard work but I managed to get him to talk to me. Tanner did some time in a hell hole in South America when he was on black ops.  They used Rape Interrogation. Josiah paused and looked at both of the men in front of him. You were both SEALs, you know what that is.

Chris nodded. Yeah. He paused, Okay Josiah, do you think that Tanner is going to be able to function while we work this cover?

It might still work.  As I said, he has a unique way of looking at things.  Youll have an interesting addition to your team there Chris. Hes going to be hard work, but hes worth it. Josiah looked up. Trust me on that.

Chris nodded. Youve never steered me wrong, Josiah.”

0-0-0-0-0

Vin Tanner was sitting with his back against the wall. He made no effort to move when Buck and Chris entered his cell. Buck found himself being watched by the coldest pair of blue eyes he had ever seen. Tanner had the assassination skills they needed, but the man was a cold blooded killer, and that meant that he would be a problem until they managed to get him under control.

On your feet Tanner, Buck snapped.

Tanner didnt answer; he just gave them the finger.

Chris moved fast, catching hold of the younger man and dragging him to his feet. Then Chris staggered back, his hand clutching his side, blood seeping through his fingers as he looked from the blood to the sliver of sharpened metal in Tanners hand.

Buck ploughed into Tanner as the younger man lunged at Chris, slashing towards his throat. Buck took Vin down hard, using his greater weight to pin the struggling man on the floor. He just managed to jerk his head back as the makeshift knife slashed past his face. Somehow he managed to catch Vins wrist and bang the knife down hard repeatedly until it was jarred free and sent skidding across the floor.

Trying to pin Vin to the floor was like trying to control a wild animal. Chris managed to hold the struggling mans legs as Buck got a forearm across Vins throat and pressed down hard enough to cut off his air. Vin struggled violently as he fought to breath and then his body began to still as he started to black out for lack of air. Buck watched his face carefully and knew exactly when to let the pressure up enough for him to take a few breaths. Vin suddenly surged upwards and tried to throw Buck off, but Buck had been waiting for him to try something, and managed to counter the move and soon had Vin pinned down again.

Tanner, youre trying my patience boy, then over his shoulder he asked, You alright Chris?

Yeah.  The one word was drawn out with a shuddering breath.

Junior here sure has a one track mind where youre concerned, stud, considering you saved his life. Buck chanced a quick look over his shoulder and saw his old friend sitting on Vin Tanners legs as he glared at their prisoner.

Just lucky that way Buck, Chris said with a rueful shake of the head.

Jeez, Chris, and you want this guy? Buck said, shaking his head in disbelief.

Buck caught hold of Vin and pulled him to his feet and pushed him back onto the bunk. Blood smeared the younger mans face from his nose and mouth; he raised a shaking hand and brushed it away with the back of his hand.

Chris stood in front of Vin, one hand pressed to his side; he waved Buck away. Im alright, nothing more than a scratch. He paused. You can do it the hard way or the easy way Alvin, its up to you.

Vin spat blood onto the floor. The names Vin, he snarled as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

Chris was looking at Vin thoughtfully. What would you say if I told you I could keep your ass out of jail, Tanner?

Who do you want killed? Vin said, his eyes never leaving the blonds face.

"What makes you think we want someone dead? Buck asked.

Because I’m not sitting in a police cell.  So what are you, CIA? Nope, they dress better, Vin drawled, looking Buck up and down, taking in the bright shirt he was wearing, then looked at the all black clothing of the blond.  He jerked a thumb at Buck. He looks like a pimp; you look like an undertaker, so you have to be some half assed Black Op department with more balls than brains.

Buck shook his head.  You know, I could get to like this guy, if I dont kill him first. He looked towards Chris when his old friend didnt answer him, just in time to see Chris fall as he legs gave out under him. Buck just managed to catch him before he hit the floor, cradling him against his chest as he called for help from the guards.

0-0-0-0-0-0

Hospital Wing

Chris was yelling at the doctor as he tried to pull his pants on. Nathan stood in the door way and shook his head. Its alright Dr Shelley, Ill see to him. Having been on the receiving end of Chris Larabees formidable temper, he could understand why Shelley thrust the medical chart into his hand and took off as if his coat tails were on fire.

I suppose its no good telling you to take it easy, Chris?

Im wasting time here, Nathan. How long was I down?

You lost blood, passed out and had stitches put in your side.  Youve been down for eight hours. Nathan shook his head as his team leader swore up a blue streak and continued to struggle with his pants.

Bull headed. You wont be satisfied until they drag your ass back here because you bust your stitches. He threw his hands up when he saw the look that Chris aimed at him, then bent down. Ill get them, before you topple over and lay your head open.

Wheres Buck? Chris asked.

Nathan wasnt surprised at the question, knowing that Wilmington was one of the biggest mother hens where his friends were concerned. He took Josiah with him to pick up Standish.

Chris paused as he was about to pick his shirt up. What about Tanner? The last thing that I remember he sounded like he might take the deal.

 Was that before or after he ripped your side open with a shiv?

Nathan found himself pinned by Chriss glare. It was after.  So what happened after I collapsed?

Buck called for the guards and then got you out, and Tanner got taken down to Segregation.

Shit, Chris swore, and started to stride out of the room with Nathan following close behind him. As he swayed and nearly collided with the door frame, Nathan caught his arm, and helped him. Because like this Chris was an unmoveable force. You couldnt stop him; you could just get out of his way.

0-0-0-0-0-0

Segregation Wing

The staff on Segregation moved out of the way; they had made one attempt to stop Chris Larabee and that had been enough.

Chris entered the Segregation Cell and waited for the door to close behind him; he had overruled Nathan and gone in alone. The light had been switched on and he found Vin Tanner sitting on a mattress in the corner, dried blood on his face and heavy bruising on his arms and wrists where he had been restrained.

 You still breathing?  The rasping accent was thicker and harsher.

Takes more than that to kill me, Chris said.  The deal is still on.  I need an enforcer, a sniper. I point you in the direction of the target and you pull the trigger. In return you work for me for five years and then youre free with a clean record.

If I run?

We give you a $50 funeral.

A ghost of a smile touched Vins lips. My so called partner, I owe him one. His hand brushed the stitched gash on his head.

You can ice him. Ill even help you find him. Chris paused. There’s something you have to know about the job. Our cover is going to change as needs must, but the first cover is an escort service; youre going to be expected to fuck the customers. Is that going to be a problem?

Vin snorted. You think Ive been saving myself for you?

Chris shook his head. The world cant be that blind.

Vin let his head drop back against the wall. I was eleven when I hit the streets, anyone I have to fuck, hell he wont even be in the first hundred. The words were spat at Chris.

Then are you in? Chris waited.

Yeah, Im in. Vin climbed slowly to his feet. Now that I am, do I get your name?

Chris Larabee. He put his hand out, for a moment it hung in the air, then Vin accepted it and they shook hands.

0-0-0-0-0

Ezra P Standish sat in a cell looking at the grey walls, the toilet in the corner and the cracked basin, and pulled his coat tighter around him. He thought back to earlier that day when he had been taken from his cell in New Orleans, handcuffed to two FBI agents and made to board a plane to Denver, Colorado. To say he was puzzled was putting it mildly. Special Agent Ken Marshall had been grinning broadly when he had come into his cell and he had apparently enjoyed every minute of Ezra’s hasty removal from New Orleans.

The flight was uneventful, giving Ezra time to rack his brains. He could remember every con he had ever run and he knew that he had never worked in Denver. Of course his dear mother had been fleecing fiancé number five there, and he wouldnt put it past her to have implicated him in something to save her own neck. He’d tried to engage the two goons accompanying him in conversation, but they’d barely acknowledged him, let alone deigned to speak to him.  It looked as though he was going to have to wait and see.

With a yawn he eased his spine down another couple of inches in the seat and went to sleep.  The FBI agents shook him awake just before the plane landed and they disembarked and were met by two new men. As Ezra approached them he studied them carefully. Both were big men, topping six foot. The older of the two had salt and pepper hair, a face that only a mother could love, and was grinning at him with a smile that was all teeth.  The other man looked relaxed, so relaxed he could have been horizontal.  He was looking past Ezra at the stewardesses, one hand brushing his moustache and grinning broadly at them.

The ladies man spoke first. Special Agents Wilmington and Sanchez, here to pick up Standish. Reaching into his coat, the agent produced an ID wallet, his action mirrored by the other man, who also produced some paperwork. It only took a few minutes for Ezra to be transferred to the new agents, and then manhandled out of the airport and into a black SUV. The two men were close mouthed as to where he was being taken, so Ezra gave up asking and lapsed into silence.  They arrived at their destination an hour later and he had been strip searched in a brisk, professional way and then bundled into a cell, his loud protests falling on deaf ears.

To begin with he had been the only occupant in the row of cells, until he saw another prisoner being brought in.  The guard opened the cell door and pushed the man in with a hand in the centre of his back, only when the door was closed did he instruct the man to turn his back to the door so that he could be un-cuffed. 

Ezra was conscious of the guard looking him up and down. Taking a step forward, Ezra favored him with a smile. Perhaps, sir, you could tell me where we are and why I am incarcerated in this cell? I have not been found guilty of any crime. The guard ignored him and kept walking. Frowning, Ezra hit the bars with the flat of his hand calling after the man, I want my lawyer.

Save your breath. The voice came from his new cell mate.

Turning slowly, Ezra moved so that he could lean on the barred wall that separated the two cells. I take it that you are a fellow guest of our uncommunicative friends?

The man eased down onto the bed and leaned back so that his head rested against the wall. You could say that.

Mister…” Ezra paused, waiting for the other man to give his name.

Vin Tanner.

Mister Tanner, if you know what they want perhaps you can enlighten me?

Tanner closed his eyes. Wouldnt want to spoil the surprise, Mister... he paused.

Ezra Standish. 

Tanners eyes opened and favored Ezra with a look. Like I said before, wouldnt want to spoil the surprise, Ez. Then Vin closed his eyes and appeared to go to sleep, leaving Ezra to stew in silence.

0-0-0-0-0-0

Interrogation Room 3

Ezra was on his feet, his usual poker face gone as he looked at Sanchez and Wilmington with outrage. You want me to fornicate for money, to be nothing more than a common prostitute?

An escort, Buck said with a smile on his face.

Escort, prostitute, hooker or whore, Mr. Wilmington, it is all the same. I may be a conman and a gambler, but I am not whore.

Josiah opened the file in front of him. I have your arrest record here; two years ago you were picked up in San Jose for prostitution.

And you will see, Mr. Sanchez, that the charges were dropped. It was nothing more than a misunderstanding. I was merely escorting the lady…

And relieving her of her money.

She invested in my professional ability as a poker player.

Buck grinned. So, thats what they call it these days.

You, Sir, are a barbarian. To Ezras disgust, Wilmington just grinned wider.If I am not mistaken, in America we still have due process, Ezras smile was cold, and I have very good lawyers. I want to talk to them now.

Sanchez smiled back at him, and Ezra felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as the older man said, Ezra Standish, what makes you think youll ever see a court room? Youll be lost in the system, that is if anyone even bothers hunting for you. He paused and tapped the file. In here we have everything you have ever done, every con youve worked, every mark you have fucked to get close to them, and you certainly are not shy in that regard. We have information that could put you away for twenty to life. So the choice is yours Ezra, you rot in jail or you put your god given talents to work for your country and you walk away in five years with a clean slate and a new life.”  

Sanchez got to his feet, looming over Ezra. You have 8 hours to make your choice.

The two men left the room, leaving Ezra standing by the table. Only when the door closed did he slump down onto the chair. Dear god what have I got myself into? he said softly under his breath.

It didn’t take Ezra long to decide. He’d spent a lifetime calculating the odds, and it was pretty obvious that five years working for Larabee was a hell of a lot more favorable than twenty years in a jail cell.

0-0-0-0-0

 Denver University

JD Dunne was sitting at his computer, his fingers tapping away at the keyboard; another fat cat insurance company was going to find its coffers $300,000 dollars lighter and the people the insurance company had screwed were going to find their medical expenses paid in full.

The knock on the door make him look up. Frank if thats you, fuck off, I’m busy. The knock came louder and harder.

You heard me, man. JD turned back to the computer as the door smashed open. He managed to get to his feet, just as he was caught and dragged back and thrown up against the wall. The man holding him was big and strong, his smile was broad. John David Dunne you are under arrest.  You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to an attorney…”

JD opened and closed his mouth, trying to force the words out. This couldnt be happening now, it couldnt.

The man holding him spun him round and his hands were cuffed behind his back as the warning continued. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you. You can choose to exercise these rights at anytime.”  

JD kept his head down, not wanting to make eye contact with any of the other students as he was dragged out of his room and manhandled down the stairs into a waiting car.

Two weeks later

Buck Wilmington was in a blacked out van with JD, the new Sanction 7 computer expert, monitoring what was going on in the bedroom of the Karl Rooney Hotel. The listening devices were state of the art. The kid looked sick to his stomach, and Buck could clearly see the disgust on his face as they heard grunts and groans from the men inside the room coming through the surveillance equipment.

Just then it all went wrong and Chris was suddenly jumping out of the van. Buck saw JD tear the headphones from his head and toss them down as if he couldnt distance himself fast enough from what was going on. Then Buck was out of the van, his long legs eating up the distance as he ran after Chris.

Chris kicked the door to the hotel room in, gun in hand, going in high as Buck went in low. The threat had already been neutralized and Buck watched as Chris stalked across the room towards Vin, who was pulling on a pair of tight jeans. Around his throat were red marks as if the john had been tightening something around his neck. The john was lying on his back, a deep cut across his throat, the bed soaked with blood, a belt in his splayed hand.

Buck lowered his gun and radioed back to the van. JD have them send in a clean up team, and then he snapped, Dont ask questions just do it.”

Chris holstered his gun as Vin bent and slid a knife into his boot.

Ill deal with this Buck.  You take Vin back to the house and get him debriefed.

Chris. Vins normal rasping voice was only a whisper.

 Chris reached out and gave his shoulder a squeeze. You go with Buck. Vin its okay, the bastard had no right to do this. Buck, get Nathan to take a look at his throat.

Come on Junior lets get you back home.  Buck gave Vin a smile and began to shepherd his charge back to the SUV with a hand pressed to the middle of his back that Vin shook off after a few strides with a snarl. Buck just grinned at his retreating back and shook his head. All he could do was be there when Vin crashed and burned.  At the van Buck pulled open the door, and bundled Vin inside, then slid in behind the wheel. He twisted round. Vin Tanner, this is JD Dunne.  JD, Vin Tanner. Introduce yourselves boys, youre going to be working together.

Looking into the mirror Bucks face took on a disapproving scowl, as he saw the expression on JDs face; the look of total disgust as the boy pointedly ignored the hand the Texan offered him as if Vin was a piece of dirt under his boot. Buck slammed the van into gear; he was going to have to have a serious talk with JD Dunne or his career with Sanction 7 was going to be very short. 

0-0-0-0-0

Burton House

Burton House was situated in the better part of the city; a former Victorian hotel, it had once boasted H.G. Wells and Oscar Wilde among its customers.  Its size meant that each man could have his own room, with enough space for a gym, dining and recreation rooms. Inside its walls the men could leave behind their covers and just be themselves and it was here that seven individuals where slowly become a team.

Buck tracked JD down and positioned himself right in smaller mans face as he loomed over him. Dunne, you listen to me, and you listen real good. Youre just as guilty as Vin and Ezra are. You hacked a computer, Vin was a hit man and Ezra was a conman. Youre just as much jail fodder as they are. So, get off your moral high horse, Dunne.”  He punctuated the words with a hard jab of his finger into JD’s chest. You dont look down on them, and you dont treat them like dirt, understand me? When JD didnt answer Buck jabbed him again. You understand me kid, and dont make me repeat myself.

Yeah I understand, Buck, JD said, then the anger came back. I had to hack the computer. My…

Buck cut him off before he could finish. And you’re just as guilty of fraud as Ezra. At least hes honest about it. Now go and make your peace with Vin because you have pissed him off with the way you acted in that van and the last thing you want is a hit man pissed off at you. Trust me on that one, JD.

JD nodded his head.

So you go apologize to him and make it good.  Buck took a deep breath, and drew back. You have a good future with Sanction 7, JD, dont throw it away.

 

0-0-0-0-0-0

 

It was late evening when Vin appeared. He knew from Chris that JD had kept out of their leader’s way. He wasnt surprised, Chris had a glare that could be registered as a lethal weapon.

He had only just sat down at one of the small tables in the dining room when the kid came over with two mugs of coffee. He could see JDs hand was shaking as the kid stood by the table.

Vin, JD said, and offered the mug of coffee as a peace offering.

Vin pushed the chair opposite him away from the table with his foot, an unspoken invitation to sit down.

Im sorry. JD stuttered to a halt as he took a seat.

For what?  Vin knew but he wasnt going to make it easy.

In the van, when you came back. I shouldnt have judged you, it was stupid. It’s just what I heard in that room. You… he… JD trailed off as his face flushed bright red. 

Hell, Vin thought, was he ever that young? Yeah, but never that innocent.  The streets saw to that. The lousy foster homes, four years of selling his ass, the Army Sniper School and the CIA had taken his natural talents and made him the man he was today. The only difference between selling his ass on the street and this job was that the beds were softer, and it was a means to an end rather than just being an end. He was brought back to the present as JD said,Doesnt it bother you? I mean the, well you know, the... JD came to a halt.

Fucking them? Vin chuckled softly as he saw JD turn redder, if that was possible. Kid, someone has to get into their homes, and they dont suspect the ass theyre fucking.  To them, all you are is a hole, nothing more or less, to be used and thrown away, pure and simple.

You sound bitter, JD said, almost timidly.

Shit happens, JD. Vin drained his coffee, put the mug down and got up.  He paused with one hand on the back of his chair and leaned into JD, deliberately looming over him, seeing the way the younger man fought not to flinch away as he said, keep your nose clean JD, and get the job done. Youll live longer.  Vin started towards the door, only to hear his name called and he turned back.

“Vin.” JD stood up, and put his hand out. For a long moment it hung in the air, and Vin found himself looking into the earnest face of JD as the younger man said, “I am really sorry, it won’t happen again.”  Vin met JD’s eyes, and could see the sincerity in his words, he accepted his hand, and they shook, at the same time giving the younger man a smile as he patted his shoulder with his free hand pleased when JD didn’t pull back from him, or wipe away his touch as if he was diseased. JD had just done some serious growing up; the kid might be alright after all.

 

THE PRESENT

Operation Turner

Location Richard Turner’s Estate

A blacked out van was parked a quarter of a mile away from the main house, it was positioned so that it had a clear field of vision. State of the art parabolic microphones where picking up everything that was going on in the bedroom, the two small cameras placed by Ezra allowed them to pick up a picture feed as well. Buck was hunched over his surveillance equipment, his face showing no emotion at what he was seeing on the screens, as Ezra acted out the john’s sexual fantasies. Finally the show was coming to an end as the john settled down onto the bed.  It didn’t take long for the old man to fall contently asleep with, his head on Ezra’s chest sucking on one of his nipples and his hand cupping Ezra’s lax cock.

Buck watched as Ezra waited until he was sure the old man wouldn’t wake up and then he carefully lowered him down onto the mattress and then eased himself off the bed, gave a wave at the camera and padding bare foot over to his jacket, he took out  his lock picks. He gave a two fingered salute to the camera as he headed out of the door, grabbing his pants as he went out. 

JD was standing by the back door of the house when it opened and a hand dropping on his shoulder made JD jump, he spun round to see Ezra standing there.

“No hanging around, Mr. Dunne, we have work to do,” Ezra said briskly.

JD followed Ezra into the study and sat down behind the computer, whistling softly under his breath; the computer was state of the art. Digging a box out of his satchel he connected it into the USB port and then booted the computer up. His fingers flew over the keyboard as he activated the stealth program. Quickly he opened up the client’s computer files, working through the firewall and security encryptions. He gave a disgusted snort.

Well? Ezra asked.

JD looked up at him from the screen. Hes got some protection, but he might as well have a notice saying please hack me for all its worth. Makes my job easy. He grinned. Like licking butter off a knife.” His voice was picked up by the headset.

Buck saw Chris’s lips twitch into a ghost of a smile. He was pleased that the kids use of one of Vins favorite sayings had made Chris relax a little. Sooner or later Chris was going to have to own up to himself and admit that he was interested into the Texan. But until then Chris was going to be hell to work with. Buck grinned broadly as he thought of the fun he was going to get out of ragging his oldest friend when that day finally arrived.  It was then he caught Chriss eye and was nailed by a green eyed glare that could blister paint; it was as if he old friend knew what he was thinking, so Buck turned with a knowing look back to his surveillance work.

Chris spoke into his own headset and reminded JD, “In and out kid and no traces, the clock’s running on this.”

“Fuck,” Buck suddenly swore. “JD get out of there.” The situation in the house had just turned critical.

The voice was loud over his headset, and JD was on his feet, he froze.

The door behind Ezra had opened and the john had rushed into the room. The old man’s face was a hard mask of disgust, a gun in his hand aimed at Ezra’s back.

 “A whore, yes. A thief? You disappoint me Ezra. What did you think you would gain by hacking my computer?”

Ezra shrugged as he turned slowly, “You’re a rich man, your company is going public soon. Do you really think that I want to fuck for the rest of my life? A few investments and I can retire.”

“Somehow I don’t believe you, Ezra.”  Turner smiled coldly, he brought the gun up and leveled it at Ezra’s head.

JD was scared, the man looked like he was going to shoot Ezra, he had to do something, give Ezra a chance. In desperation he looked round and saw the domed paperweight on the table. Without a second thought he lunged for the paperweight, scooping it up and throwing it at the john in one smooth movement.  Turner easily ducked and the gun swung away from Ezra towards him and it was as if the whole world slowed down. JD saw the john’s finger tighten on the trigger; he heard Ezra yell and then the deafening sound of the gun going off. At that same moment Ezra threw himself forward in front of him. Ezra’s body was spun round as the bullet hit him and he crashed into the desk, even as JD started towards him he saw the gun was now aimed at him. There was the sound of glass breaking and Turner’s brains and blood splattered across the wall, as a high velocity sniper’s round took half his  head off and his lifeless body fell to the ground.

Over his headset he heard Vin’s voice, “Target neutralized, Ezra’s down.”

JD sank down onto the floor near Ezra, stripping off his jacket and pressing it against the wound. He supported the limp body against him, tears running down his face, pleading for Ezra to hang on.

0-0-0-0-0

Burton House

Buck stood in the doorway of the room, and his heart went out to the younger man. It was three o’clock in the morning and JD was still awake, he was hunched up in an armchair. Folded in his arms was the blood soaked jacket they had tried to take away from him in the hospital. But JD had clung onto it, with grim determination, as if by doing that he could stop Ezra from dying. “JD.” The kid jumped at his voice, and tried to stutter, “I’m f…fine.” His red rimmed eyes and pale face showed how far from fine he actually was.

 Buck watched helplessly as tears rolled down the young man’s face, noting how JD’s hand trembled when he tried to brush them away. JD’s voice was faint, Buck could barely hear him as he said, “All I can see is the blood, so much blood, Buck. God I thought I was stronger than this, I just can’t get it out of my head.”

It hits you like an express train JD, theres no shame in that. Turner was bottom- feeding scum; he would have killed you and then finished Ezra off if Vin hadnt nailed the bastard. You have to learn to let it go.”

Does it ever get easier? JD asked.

JD, the honest answer is no, but you learn to cope. Take the pills Nathan gave you kid, and try and get some sleep.”

 “How’s Ezra?” JD asked.

“Ez was asking the same about you kid, he blames himself for what happened.”

“Wasn’t his fault, he tried to protect me.” The tears beaded JD’s eye. “If I hadn’t been so green he wouldn’t have gotten hurt and...”  JD paused, “Vin, is he alright? I mean he had to kill Turner.”

“He’s fine as well. Believe me Junior is okay with taking that scum sucker down. He’s just pissed that he couldn’t get a clear shot earlier.” Buck paused. “JD, I’ll be honest, you’ve got a lot to learn, and today was one hell of a learning curve, but you did good, you kept your head and helped Ez when he was hit.”

“Right, I only got Ez shot not killed,” JD put in bitterly.

Buck caught his shoulder. “Look at me JD. Ezra is going to be okay, and everyone got to go home, that John Daniel Dunne is all that matters.”  Buck held the younger man’s gaze until he thought he saw understanding in the dark eyes. Only then did Buck shepherd JD to his bed, pushing the younger man down onto it and collecting the pills and making sure that he took them.  JD was asleep before Buck left the room with the blood soaked jacket thrown over his arm. Closing the door behind him, Buck started as he heard Chris’s voice. “How’s the kid?”

Turning, he found his old friend standing in the hallway. It looked as though Buck wasn’t the only one that was going to check up on JD. Knowing that Chris expected an answer he said,  “He’s getting there. He was worried about Ezra and Vin.”

“Have JD penciled in to talk to Josiah tomorrow, he can’t be allowed to brood over this.”

“Sure, I’ll get onto it.” Buck saw a movement from the corner of his eye, and it drew his attention down the hallway.  He saw Vin leaning against the door to Chris’s bedroom, a beer in his hand, shirt undone and jeans hanging low on his hips.  Buck gave a broad grin. Seemed like someone was finally getting his act together. He gave Chris a hearty pat on the shoulder as he walked past, pausing only to say, “don’t tire Junior out, he’s got a long day tomorrow.” He gave Chris a wink, and nodded a greeting to Vin as he passed, as well as favoring him with a broad grin.

There was a decided skip in Buck’s step as he headed towards his own room. As far as he was concerned Sanction 7 was now a fully functioning team, ready to take on whatever tomorrow was going to bring them.  And that made everything right in Buck’s world.

 

The end