Disclaimer: This story is the product of different minds coming together to have some fun. All rights to these characters belongs to others. This is strictly for entertainment and we will make no profit.

Decisions - ATF

By Ladysmiths


Buck grinned as Vin put his earpiece in. He'd told them he could get the wires to work, even without JD's help. Chris had given the kid a few days off, and JD had organised to trip with some of his friends. Although Buck hassled him for weeks beforehand, JD refused to tell him where he was going, the last thing the kid wanted was for Buck to pull some prank or bug him on his holiday. Team 7 were sceptical, however Buck had been adamant that he'd be able to set up the wire even though JD wasn't there to watch him. And he'd proved them all wrong, Buck had figured it out perfectly well, although Nathan and Josiah did hand down some instruction, but not very much.

Vin nodded at Buck in acknowledgement, the wire was actually working. Both Nathan and Josiah signalled him that they could also hear Chris from where they were hiding. Vin's eyes then strayed towards the clearing, and an uneasy feeling settled in as he watched Chris carefully make his way to the abandoned warehouse. Although this was just a preliminary meeting, Team 7 would have preferred it if someone could have accompanied Chris as a bodyguard. However, Ezra was already inside the warehouse, having obtained a position as Craig Bardell's financial adviser a few months ago. Vin, Buck, Josiah and Nathan had all been involved in raiding one of Bardell's buildings a few weeks earlier, and might be recognised by one of Craig's men. Nathan had proposed using the wire, and although he tried, Chris really couldn't object seeing as though he would have been the first one to suggest it if anyone else had gone in as the buyer.

Vin listened intently as Bardell and Chris' voices came over the wire.

"....I have the deposit in cash as you requested. The rest will be transferred to you after I've seen the merchandise for myself.

The shipment hasn't arrived yet. I will contact you as to when this transaction can be completed. What do you think, Ethan?

I'm afraid that would not be in our best interests. Mr Lawrence is better known as Agent Chris Larabee..."

"What the fuck," Vin mumbled when he heard the familiar southern drawl. Wasting no time, he flew down the embankment, his gun drawn.

Buck, Josiah and Nathan were right behind Vin, and fanned out to surround the building. "ATF, freeze!" Vin shouted as he stormed in through the front, Buck and Josiah coming in through different doorways. Nathan stayed outside to cover check no-one was lurking behind the building.

Craig Bardell and his men barely hesitated before pulling their guns and began firing at anything that moved.

Ezra snapped out of his surprise and drew his own weapon. Realising Bardell had already exited through the back, Ezra reached for the case Chris had handed over hoping to follow Craig. As he turned around, Ezra witnessed one of Bardell's bodyguards take aim and fire.

"CHRIS!" Vin shouted as he ran towards his friend, continuously firing until the bodyguard crumpled to the ground. Hovering over Chris, Vin kept his gun trained on any of Bardell's men.

Ezra started to move towards the two men when another one of Bardell's men grabbed his arm, "Ethan, we're getting out of here."

Josiah hit the guy holding onto the undercover agent, stumbling and letting go of Ezra the bodyguard turned to shoot whoever had attacked him, but froze when he realised Josiah already had his own gun aimed.

"Ezra, get out of here," Josiah shouted over the gunfire. He'd already assumed that Bardell's men knew Ezra was an agent when he'd pulled his gun to cover Team 7, and Josiah had automatically reacted when he'd turned from handcuffing a bodyguard and saw that Ezra was in danger.

"No," Ezra yelled back, still trying to get to Chris and Vin.

Josiah reached for Ezra, pulling him back, "You have to go before someone else tries to attack you."

Ezra jerked himself out of Josiah's grip, glancing at his two friends on the floor before disappearing through one of the exits.

As Josiah and Ezra were momentarily distracted, the bodyguard ran out the door realising that most of his men were retreating or being caught.

As the noise slowly died down, Josiah and Buck lined up the men they'd caught, but unfortunately most of Bardell's men had gotten away.

Nathan came into the warehouse and immediately rushed over to Vin who was trying to stop the flow of blood issuing from Chris' chest. Carefully, Nathan helped Vin lift Chris slightly. "The bullet's gone straight through, " he confirmed, and as they gently laid him back down he added, "The ambulance is on their way."

* * * * * * *

"The bullet missed all the major organs, but did manage to nick an artery. We've just stopped the bleeding, but your friend had already lost a lot of blood. I'm afraid he's still unconscious." The doctor watched the expressions on the four men's faces, and answered the question before it was asked, "You can sit with him, but only for a little while."

Just before they entered Chris' room, all four men turned when they heard the southern accent, "I came to inquire about Mr Larabee's condition."

Ezra hadn’t been noticed by the rest of Team 7 as he entered the waiting room just in time to hear the doctor informing them that Chris was still unconscious.

"He's been shot in the chest because one of our agents turned on him," Buck growled.

"It wasn't like that." Ezra tried to defend himself. “If one of you would come outside, maybe...”

"How was it?" Nathan asked.

"He didn't want to blow his cover, and figured handing an agent over would earn him some trust. Or, better still, he decided he liked working for Bardell and switched jobs," Buck answered for Ezra, not really hearing what he was saying, just releasing some worry and frustration. “And now he wants us to come with him, it’s probably a trap.”

“No, I would never... It’s just that if you’ll come.... It’s not a trap, my cover is definitely blown now, Josiah made it obvious that I was an agent," Ezra stated.

"What?" Josiah stared at the undercover agent disbelievingly. "There are better ways to keep your cover intact."

Ezra continued, he really wished they’d trust him and follow him, "I hadn’t been informed that Mr Larabee would be wired, or that you were all waiting."

"What difference does that make?" Nathan wanted to know. "And you still haven't explained why you gave Chris away to Bardell."

Ezra looked as though he were pleading with his friends, "I can't, not here. If you’ll just...."

"That's right you can't," Buck interrupted. "I can’t think of anything that would make it alright for Chris to be lying in that hospital bed."

Ezra's eyes flickered as he glanced at Vin who had stood with one hand on the door to Chris' room throughout the entire exchange. Vin stared at Ezra for a moment, a mixture of hurt and confusion in his expression, before dropping his gaze and quietly stepping into the hospital room.

Ezra sighed, "I can't stay here."

"Nobody asked you to," Buck hissed as he followed Vin.

* * * * * * *

Vin was sitting close to Chris head, watching for any movement and listening to the steady rhythm of the machines. He was aware that Buck, Josiah and Nathan had quietly taken up a position around the room, but they hadn’t interrupted Vin’s train of thought.

“Where are you going?” Josiah asked when he noticed Vin rising from his chair.

“After Ezra,” Vin answered. “He’s right, Bardell knows he’s an agent, he may not be safe.”

“I’m sure he could charm his way back into their good books,” Nathan stated drily.

“Something’s not right,” Vin whispered.

Buck glanced at Chris, “Yeah, he ratted us out.”

“This is Ezra we’re talkin’ about, you know he has a reason,” Vin said.

The room became silent, everyone knew Vin was right but couldn’t bring themselves to say it just yet, so Vin continued, “I’ll call you when I know something.”

* * * * * * *

Ezra was beginning to rethink this strategy as he tentatively stepped out into the small clearing, and unfortunately it was too late to call the cab back. At first he’d thought of going straight to Craig Bardell, but he’d needed to know that Chris would be alright. Unfortunately, he still didn’t know, and now it seemed his guilt had obscured his logic and being captured by Bardell had been the only plan he could come up with. Hopefully, Bardell’s men would just capture him, but as Ezra looked around he noticed all the places someone could hide, he realised how easy it would be to just take him out.

“Ezra!”

At the sound of his name, Ezra spun around, only to be slammed to ground as bullets flew over his head.

Scrambling behind a log, both Vin and Ezra pulled out their weapons, firing at the treeline where the shots had come from. Vin leapt over the log when he heard scuffling, and a vehicle being started. However, he stopped halfway in the clearing when he realised he’d be unable to catch up to them on foot. “What the hell was that?” Vin asked as he turned around and began walking back towards Ezra.

“What did it look like? Although I would have thought you’d enjoy watching me get what I deserved,” Ezra said as he dusted his clothes, holding his jacket open and checking the buttons on his shirt.

Vin tilted his head slightly, as he reached for the front of Ezra’s shirt, “Yeah well, I wanted to be the one to teach you a lesson. Shooting you is too good for you.”

As Vin’s hand closed around the shirt, Ezra began mumbling, “Mr Tann.... Vin, please... you don’t have to do this.”

Vin stomped on the offending wire, “Is that it?”

“Yes,” Ezra was relieved that he’d now be able to speak freely. He’d been even more relieved when Vin had just pulled off the wire and not actually hit him, for a while the undercover agent hadn’t been sure whether Vin had noticed his predicament. “Bardell has JD.”

“My jeep’s over there,” Vin said as he began walking towards it. “Do you think we should try to follow those guys?”

“I doubt they’ll be heading towards where they have JD hidden,” Ezra mused as he followed Vin. “Mr Bardell has been sending a lot of men to an abandoned cabin he uses occasionally, it’s about an hours drive from here. I have a feeling we should start there.”

Once they were in the jeep heading in the direction the undercover agent pointed out, Vin gave Ezra a sidelong glance, “Well?”

“Mr Bardell is waiting on an extremely large shipment due this afternoon sometime, which is worth millions. Apparently, our team has been very effective in shutting down his businesses and he decided that now would be a good time to keep us out of the way. One of Craig’s men kidnapped JD as he was returning from his vacation, and I’m afraid I blew my cover. Realising that one of their buyers was also going to be an agent, Bardell figured that if he captured a few of us, the rest of you would be too busy searching for us and not find out about the shipment until it was too late. And if the shipment had been discovered anyway, they would still have federal agents as leverage to keep you at bay. Craig had four appointments with buyers this morning, not knowing which buyer was the agent or how many of you there were, they placed the wire on me and had me point him out. Mr Bardell would not inform me of the names of his buyers until they were introduced at the warehouse, and I wasn’t even sure which one of you was going undercover. Perhaps he figured that whoever the agents were would be so stunned that I gave away their cover, that there wouldn’t be much resistance on capture. Even I’d thought one of you would be the buyer and another the bodyguard, I certainly hadn’t realised you were all outside listening over a wire of your own.”

“That was a last minute decision. We’d all been in the raid last week except for Chris so none of us to go in with him,” Vin filled in the blanks. “It seems like a lot of trouble for a shipment.”

Ezra was glad that he could finally tell someone the whole story, “Actually, the plan was simple, to deflect attention they kidnap some agents. When Chris walked in on his own, there should have been a minimal amount of hassle capturing him. I was warned if I said anything they didn’t like, JD would be harmed. I had considered taking the wire off before coming to the hospital, but I figured that if they heard that I was still acquiescing with their request they may leave JD alone.”

“Do you think having the wire broken in a fight made a difference?” Vin asked.

“I certainly hope so,” Ezra sighed.

“Well, JD is still their only leverage,” Vin hoped that would be enough to keep JD safe for the moment.

“I’d still prefer to find him,” Ezra said. “That’s why I was at the clearing. I told them over the wire where I’d be. I’d assumed they’d either realise I was still willing to comply with the plan and take me to Bardell, or capture me and take me to where they have JD.”

“Or shoot you,” Vin finished for him.

“I’m afraid that hadn’t occurred to me until the last minute,” Ezra stated. “I guess they figured they didn’t need me, seeing as my teammates were angry....”

“That was a stupid plan,” Vin admonished.

“I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know how much they could hear over the wire. So, after leaving the hospital...”

“You wanted one of us to come outside with you, where it would have been easier to show just one person the wire without everyone else asking questions.” Vin interrupted mentally kicking himself, he knew he should have chased after Ezra sooner.

“Well, next on my agenda was getting to JD anyway possible. What are you doing?”

“Calling the others,” Vin said as he pulled out his cell phone.

Ezra watched as Vin dialled the numbers, he had been a little disappointed that it had been so easy to convince them he was a traitor. He couldn’t blame them, Ezra already felt guilty about the fact that Chris had been seriously hurt, and he knew everyone’s reactions had been charged with emotion, not rational thought. Although, Vin had followed him eventually. Ezra wondered whether the others has wanted to also, or whether they still hated him.

“Could you page Josiah Sanchez for me,” Vin said into the phone, and then glanced at Ezra as he waited. “I convinced everyone I’d be the only one able to track you down.”

Ezra smiled slightly, trust Vin to answer an unasked question diplomatically. “Buck,” Vin had hoped to speak with someone a little calmer. “Bardell kidnapped JD, that’s why Ez couldn’t.... Buck calm down, we’re looking for him now. Buck if you’re not going to listen to me, I’ll hang up.”

There was a slight pause before Vin continued to relay Ezra’s story, “....Ez and me are heading out to Bardell’s hideout. You guys work on stopping this shipment, Team 3 should be available to help. I promise we’ll find JD,” Vin was relieved that Buck had conceded and allowed himself and Ezra to look for JD while they went after Bardell. “Buck? How’s Chris?”

Ezra stared at Vin as he hung up. “No change,” Vin stated dully.

* * * * * * *

Vin parked the jeep out of view, and he and Ezra stealthily moved to cabin the undercover agent had pointed out.

“It seems unoccupied,” Ezra whispered as he and Vin crouched behind some bushes.

“It would,” Vin said, and carefully stepped out, his gun drawn and ready.

Ezra followed the sharpshooter towards the cabin, and then broke off to circle the perimeter as Vin entered through the unlocked door.

Everything seemed clear outside, and Ezra looked at Vin expectantly as he met him at the door once again.

Vin shook his head, “Nothin’.”

“Damn,” Ezra muttered. “I specifically overheard Mr Bardell sending some of his men out here.”

“Someone’s been driving through here a lot,” Vin stated as he looked down at the tyre tracks in the dirt. “But they seem to be heading further up the hill.”

Ezra followed Vin’s line of sight.

“What’s up there?” the sharpshooter asked.

“It appears to be some old piping,” Ezra answered squinting so that he could see better.

Vin glanced at Ezra, “Feel like going for a walk in the hills?”

“Right behind you Mr Tanner.”

* * * * * * *

The cover on the first of the two pipes protruding from the ground was immovable, however the grate on the second peeled back quite easily. Vin climbed over, lowering himself onto the first rung of the ladder embedded into the side of the piping, “Keep watch while I check this out.”

Ezra nodded, praying that JD was down there and they’d be able to get him out.

Vin jumped down to the ground, holding back a curse as he stumbled. As his eyes adjusted to the dimness he noticed a caged in area to his right. Heading towards it, Vin could just make out a still figure on the floor, “JD?” he whispered.

The figure moved slightly, “Vin,” JD’s voice sounded hoarse.

“Stay there kid. I’ll get you out,” Vin pulled out his switchblade and began working on the lock.

Suddenly Vin heard faint voices coming from above him, “Damn,” he muttered as the lock finally opened.

Vin rushed to JD, the kid looked as though he’d been used as a punching bag. His face looked bruised and swollen, some of the cuts were still bleeding and he clutched at his ribs and side protectively.

“We have to climb out of here, do you think you can manage,” Vin breathed, still checking JD over concern evident in his features.

JD stood with a lot of help from Vin, and leaned against the sharpshooter, “Yeah, it’s not as bad as it looks.”

Vin led JD towards the ladder, motioning for the kid to stay quiet, Vin looked up. The grate had been placed back over the entrance, and Vin listened intently, after hearing the voices earlier everything above them had gone silent.

“You okay?” Vin whispered.

When JD nodded slightly, Vin helped the kid reach for the handhold and boosted him up onto the ladder. Vin jumped up behind JD after he’d watched the first couple of slow, painful steps, and carefully supported his friend in case JD slipped.

Before JD reached the top, Vin climbed over the kid so that he could remove the grating. Pushing it aside, Vin grabbed his gun from its holster and quickly exited the pipe. When he’d made sure everything was clear, he reached down and practically had to lift JD out, both men falling to the ground as JD slumped forward from the exertion.

Once JD had managed to get his breath back and staggered to his feet, Vin quietly guided him down the hill. Choosing to take the opposite direction from the tracks, which he’d noticed in the dirt while JD was recovering.

* * * * * * *

Vin was still holding on to JD as he searched the area, “The jeep’s gone. Ezra must have taken it.”

“Ezra?” JD asked surprise evident in his voice. “I thought he was with Barde....”

“Get down,” Vin pulled JD down behind some trees, wishing that he hadn’t used so much force when he heard the stifled groan.

The two men wandered backwards toward the hill. “He must have had a car around here somewhere,” one of them stated.

“Well, whoever it was can’t have found the kid, he got away too fast.” “Yeah, we should stick with the plan. Mr Bardell wants the kid there when the shipment arrives.”

When the two men moved out of earshot, Vin slowly crept out from behind their cover. Satisfied that they’d moved on, Vin then turned to JD who looked as though he were ready to pass out. “C’mon, let’s get you into the cabin.”

Vin carefully lowered JD onto the bench, and the kid immediately leaned back and closed his eyes. Glad to find that the water was still running, Vin let JD drink while he wiped some of the dirt and blood from the kid’s face. “I thought Ezra was with Bardell,” JD continued with what he’d asked before.

“We screwed Bardell’s plans up,” Vin stated.

“What about Chris?” JD asked.

“Chris got shot, he’s in the hospital,” Vin’s lowered his eyes wishing he knew what Chris’ status was right now.

“The hospital?” JD’s head was spinning and he seemed to be getting more confused. “But Ezra was supposed to point out which buyer Chris was.”

Vin looked at JD quizzically “What do you mean? How did you know to ask about Chris?”

“Because,” JD answered. “Bardell was only after Chris. The supplier he’s meeting today is Alan Mitrovich.”

* * * * * * *

“Thanks,” Ezra mumbled into the cell phone as he pulled over. When he’d overheard one of the guys chasing him use the name Mitrovich, Ezra had immediately known that Chris was the target all along. Chris had arrested Alan Mitrovich years ago, before Team 7, and he’d also shot and killed both Alan’s father and brother. Mitrovich had vowed revenge at the time, but once he was released from prison no-one had heard of him again. Although Larabee always suspected that he’d taken over the family business, Alan had gone underground, and as much as Team 7 had tried they hadn’t been able to find him, yet.

If Bardell had realised that it was Larabee’s team that were assigned this case, then being able to hand Chris over as part of deal would have encouraged Mitrovich to do business with him. Everything else had been deflection, and everyone else had been expendable including JD and Ezra himself. It was probably just an added bonus that Bardell and Mitrovich could hurt Larabee even more by believing one of his team members had turned him in. Ezra mentally kicked himself, he should have seen it, he knew something big was going down. Bardell had been so secretive about everything including the names of the buyers and suppliers. But, he’d been surprised when they told him they had JD and knew who he was, and he’d done everything they’d asked.

Having tried to call Buck, Nathan or Josiah’s cell phone and being unable to get through, Ezra had then tried the office and spoken to someone from Team 3. Buck, Nathan and Josiah had questioned Bardell’s men and found out when and where the shipment was due. The bust was going down now and everyone was at or heading towards the docks, which explained why their phones were switched off. Ezra had planned to double back and see if he could pick up Vin and JD, but now he wasn’t sure. What if Bardell had already spoken to Mitrovich and informed him that Chris was in the hospital, Alan could have left the business transaction to one of managers leaving him free to seek out revenge.

Ezra checked the display on his cell phone, no-one had tried to contact him. The undercover agent wasn’t game to call Vin in case the sound alerted unwanted attention, he had hoped Tanner would call and let him know they were safe, and Ezra’s apprehension wasn’t eased by the thought that both men could now be caught and/or hurt. Ezra continued driving towards the hospital, although he was worried about Vin and JD, he just couldn’t shake the feeling that Chris was the one in immediate danger.

* * * * * * *

“Goddammit,” Vin muttered as he shook the phone. “I must have busted it.” Vin had wanted to call Ezra and let him know what was going on and that he should go check on Chris. “If Ezra phoned the one of the others to exchange info, maybe he already knows Mitrovich is after Chris and went straight to the hospital,” the sharpshooter mused hopefully.

“Or maybe he’s on his way back for us,” JD suggested. “Then we can all go make sure Chris is okay.”

“Maybe,” Vin said doubtfully, he had a feeling Ezra wasn’t coming. Moving to the window, Vin looked out and added, “Either way, those guys are just about to realise you’re missing.”

“Then we better start walkin’,” JD winced as he sat up.

Vin rushed to help JD stand, “We’re not going to get very far with you in this condition.”

“Once we start moving, I’ll be fine,” JD stated firmly.

* * * * * * *

As Chris struggled to wake up, he realised he was in the hospital, and that he must have been the one to get shot this time. Preparing himself to see Vin’s concerned face first, and then the rest of friends’ similar expressions, Chris opened his eyes. They widened in surprise and Chris’ pulse sped up slightly, when he saw Alan Mitrovich sitting by his bed.

“Weren’t expecting me, huh?” Mitrovich leered.

Chris tried to sit up and say something, but it felt as though a weight had been placed on his chest, and his voice wasn’t strong or loud enough even to his own ears.

“This was just too easy,” Alan said as he stood and hovered menacingly over Chris. “You mustn’t be very popular, there wasn’t even one visitor to deal with.”

“I was held up in traffic,” Ezra stated as he entered the room with his gun trained on Mitrovich, the security he’d rounded up right behind him.

Chris watched them lead Alan Mitrovich out of the room in handcuffs, then tilted his head slightly when he heard Ezra’s voice, “I’m so sorry about everything Chris, but I have to go.”

“Why? Where is everybody? What’s going on?” Chris asked glad that his voice was a little stronger. “The last thing I remember is you telling Bardell I was an agent.”

“I know,” Ezra sighed, he hadn’t thought Chris had sounded angry, but then Chris’ tone was influenced by the pain he must be in. “It’s a long story, and I don’t have time to explain right now.”

“I’m sure it will be in the report,” Chris tried to smile at Ezra’s guilt ridden expression.

Ezra relaxed a little, at least Chris seemed to believe there was a reasonable explanation for his behaviour and hadn’t just kicked him out of the room. As Ezra reached for the handle, Buck, Nathan and Josiah stormed in.

“We caught Bardell, and when we realised Alan Mitrovich that was supposed to be there but never showed, we got back here as fast as we could. I think he’s after Chris,” Buck said in a rush, directing his speech solely at Ezra.

“Mr Mitrovich has been apprehended,” Ezra informed them.

“You’re awake,” Josiah smiled down at Chris when he’d noticed their leader watching them.

Buck walked over to Chris to check for himself that what Josiah had said was true, relief flooding over him now that everyone was alright.

“How do you feel?” Nathan asked.

“Better,” Chris stated. “Now that Mitrovich is behind bars, thanks to Ezra.”

Buck turned his surprised expression on Ezra who answered, “Some of Bardell’s men let Mr Mitrovich’s name drop, but I really have to...”

“Where are Vin and JD?” Nathan interrupted, he’d expected that if Ezra was here Vin and JD must be too.

Ezra sighed, everyone had continuously interrupted him all day and he really didn’t have time for this right now, “I came alone, and if you’d let me leave...”

“But JD wasn’t hurt right?” Buck asked. “He and Vin stayed behind so you could rush over when you found out Chris was in trouble.”

Buck, Nathan and Josiah were all staring at Ezra waiting for his reply.

“Actually, I never got the chance to see JD,” Ezra answered dully. “Vin climbed down some old piping to check it out, when I had to...”

“You left them there,” Buck immediately became indignant, as he advanced on Ezra. “What if they didn’t get out? What if Bardell’s men...”

“You’re awake,” Vin drawled as he wheeled JD into the room and saw Chris trying to sit up.

Everyone’s attention turned to Vin and JD, a mixture of surprise and relief evident on all five men’s faces.

“JD,” Buck rushed over to the kid.

“I’m alright Buck, just a little bruised,” JD said trying to wave Buck out of the way. “The doctor said I could go home, as long as I wasn’t alone and promised to rest.”

Buck looked to Vin who nodded his head in confirmation and handed Buck the painkillers the doctor had prescribed, “And before you say anything, we saw Mitrovich being driven away in one of the patrol cars as we arrived. The doctor who examined JD told us what happened.”

“But how did you get away?” Josiah asked.

“We borrowed one of Bardell’s cars,” Vin answered as he sat down by Chris’ bed and helped their leader sit up a little, “How are you feeling?”

“Confused,” Chris answered.

Vin smiled and helped Chris take a sip of water, he’d heard how husky their leader had sounded, and he’d noticed the wince when Chris had been trying to reach for the glass himself.

“What do you mean borrowed?” Josiah questioned.

“Okay, so we stole it,” Vin stated.

“We did stop at a phone booth and call for a patrol car to give Bardell’s men a lift,” JD added. “It’s not like we left them stranded.”

Ezra flinched slightly, as again Buck, Nathan and Josiah turned to stare at him.

“No, I didn’t mean anything by that,” JD realised that everyone had jumped to the wrong conclusion, he hadn’t meant to sound like he was attacking Ezra.

Ezra couldn’t be sure whether what JD had said about being stranded had been blurted out because that’s how the kid had felt, or whether it really was just a slip of the tongue. So the undercover agent focussed on Vin, “Mr Tanner, I ran....”

“Because you had to lead Bardell’s men away, I know,” Vin shrugged.

“And I came straight to the hospital because....”

“You worked out Mitrovich was after Chris, and because Buck, Nathan and Josiah were probably arresting Bardell, Chris would be alone. You had to get here before anything happened. Me and JD figured it out,” Vin grinned at Ezra.

Ezra grinned back, he didn’t bother trying to say anymore, he wouldn’t be able to finish the sentence anyway, but at least when Vin interrupted he’d reached correct conclusions.

“I haven’t been able to figure any of this out,” Chris mumbled.

“That’s because you’re hurt and tired,” Nathan stated. “You should be resting.”

“You look pretty beat too,” Buck said to JD. “We’ll go home so you can get some rest yourself.”

JD nodded in agreement.

Nathan and Josiah watched as Vin and Ezra settled into their chairs on either side of the bed, it was obvious neither man was going to leave Chris alone again. “We’ll be back to check on all of you in the morning,” Josiah said before he and Nathan walked out the door.

“If you two are plannin’ on staying,” Chris tried to sound firm, but his voice still didn’t carry the authority he’d wanted it to. “Then you have to tell everything that happened from when Ezra blew my cover.”

Vin shook his head, it was obvious Chris was struggling to stay alert now, he’d definitely be asleep before either of them had finished the story, “I think you should sleep first.”

“Besides, everything will be fully explained in my report,” Ezra added as Chris closed his eyes.

fini



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