DISCLAIMER: Characters belong to CBS/Trilogy/etc. No infringement intended,
no profit being made.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is Purely a piece of smarm that I wrote for Amy 'ha,
funny kid' Stahling because she was looking for something with Ezra and
Buck; which, if any of you can picture the shoving scene in 'Wagon Train',
know that we writers don't capitalize nearly enough upon.
Self Quibble:I realized after I wrote this that the guys would most likely
be carrying more than just their sidearms, something like a semi or fully
automatic but then I remembered this is just smarm for smarm's sake so
decided not to rectify it. call me lazy.
"Alright, ladies and gentlemen, we all know why we're here. I want to
into you a couple of points before we load up."
As the twenty-three agents stood in the overcast morning air and continued
suiting up, Senior Agent Max Steirs, team Four leader, took another sip of
his coffee and reiterated how to avoid the potential dangers in the house
they would soon be heading to search.
It was the residence of one Patrick Brahe, a 34-year old Caucasian,
of MIT, recently terminated by his employer, Advanced Technical Inc., for
threatening a supervisor. And currently being sought for the murder of said
supervisor and his administrative assistant by way of mail bomb and in
relation to nine other attempted murders of Advanced Technical corporate
heads via the same method.
The man was unstable, or as Buck put it, 'a Froot Loop'.
"Those of you sweeping, double check your maps en route. I know
your section, now you make sure you know it. You will not, I repeat, will
not enter a room with out a K-9 unit. Let the dogs go in first, that's why
Buck leaned over to Ezra, who was securing the velcro on his thick black
vest, and whispered, "Unless you're Hendrickson's dog and then you're just
tryin' to get the hell away from that cologne."
Ezra attempted to suppress his laugh but it came out nonetheless, sounding
bit like a cat sneezing.
"Anything you'd like to add, Agents?" Standish and Wilmington
glanced up to
find Steirs with a hard look pinned in their direction.
Ezra coughed slightly, "Just a little somethin' in my throat, sir."
as Steirs's focus shifted, Ezra elbowed Buck in the side, but the nudge
barely registered through the tall man's own bulletproof vest.
The two agents had been up late the night before finishing paperwork
reports on the successful confiscation of two fishing boats loaded with
untaxed cigarettes. They had been recruited by Steirs two days earlier to
join in on the apprehension of Patrick Brahe.
JD was on vacation and the other four members of Chris Larabee's team
with their leader in Colorado Springs assisting the FBI with a rash of
abortion clinic bombings that were similar to some in the Denver area.
Consequently; Buck and Ezra were not just overworked and tired, they were
punchy - and giggling at everything.
Steirs continued, "Our surveillance states that he was seen going into
home early yesterday morning; however the ground floor windows are, as you
know from the briefing photos, boarded and there's been no sign of
discernable activity from the second story. This man is a gun nut, folks.
You need to be on your game, eyes open. Alright, let's go get us a bad guy."
As the group broke, two other agents drifted toward Buck and Ezra. One
them, a tall, lanky brunette called out as they approached, "Hey guys. Buck,
where's your better half?"
Wilmington glanced below his beltline and adjusted the front shirttail
his vest with a cocky smile, "Right where he should be, Bobby."
Ezra rolled his eyes as he answered with a legitimate response, "Mr.
and his girlfriend have taken an extended weekend."
Bobby's partner, a petite Asian female, fingered Ezra's vest appreciatively.
"Oooo, is this the new Hyper-Lite? I saw one of those in the Gall's catalog.
Sweet. I've been shopping around for something lighter," she tugged at her
own blue covering, "this one is four and a quarter."
"You should look at the Monarch's, I believe their lightest in a little
A voice interrupted their discussion, "Nomell, Yagari! Let's go."
Bobby flashed a smile at the two men, "Duty calls, see ya at the game,
This time it was Buck nudging Ezra, "What was that, shop talk? Hello??
beautiful, single woman lays her hands on you and all you can do is talk
about the weight of a tactical vest."
"She was hardly 'layin' her hands on me'...Never mind, I'm not havin'
discussion with you." Ezra made his way to one of three large, black trucks
that bore the letters ATF across the back, mumbling as he went, "The others
get to play with the FBI in Colorado Springs, but where am I? I'm stuck
here...." He trailed off as he climbed into the back of the truck and
settled in to check his weapons.
So far, everything was going smoothly. It would have been nice
suspect had been apprehended but as the search of the large two-story home
on the fifteen-acre plot progressed it seemed that Brahe has somehow slipped
past surveillance and out of the house.
Buck and Ezra followed several feet behind as Doug Derlacki and his
Labrador, Tigger led the way down a narrow hall toward one of four bedrooms
in the house. The canine's owner encouraged the two-year old dog as the
animal snuffed its way along, searching to pick up the scent of explosives.
Tigger stepped through the doorway of the bare room, tugging excitedly
against his lead as he caught the scent that would get him his purple bouncy
ball. And Derlacki crossed the threshold at the exact moment a stunning
white flash and muffled 'bang' from the small explosion at his feet threw
the agent's body to the ground six feet away.
Buck and Ezra could hear a myriad of voices throughout the house but
didn't prevent Buck from adding to them via his walkie-talkie. "Hold
positions! Agent Wilmington advising a hold positions! The house is rigged,
repeat, the house is rigged."
Bobby Nomell's voice cut over the hand-held communication device.
"We're in the upper northeast corner bedroom. Derlacki's down, Tigger's
zeroed in on something in the wall." The Labrador had bolted across the
floor following the small blast and was madly scratching at one corner.
Ezra was calling Doug's name hoping to get a reaction from the still form
and frustrated that procedure and common sense prevented him from venturing
into the room.
Buck continued, "Looks like maybe the floor was weight-pressure sensitive.
The dog crossed the threshold but Doug's first step set off that boom you
heard." Wilmington paused as he saw Derlacki, now slowly recovering from
the initial stun, curl into a ball with a moan and clutch at his feet and
Ezra could hear Steirs break in to the wireless conversation and begin
redirect his people and reformulate the plan of how to proceed throughout
the house, but the southerner was only half listening. His main focus was
aimed to the figure on the floor.
The canine handler's only response was a stream of muffled curses but
didn't dare try to get the man. It wouldn't do them any good for Standish
to fall victim to the same type of trap that Derlacki had inadvertently set
off. The hole in the floor where the explosion had originated was still
smoking and Standish could see part of the workings of the incendiary
Ezra tried again, "Doug, can you make it back here?"
The southerner could see the shredded material of the other agent's
around his hightop boots and the blood that was smeared across his black
leather, fingerless gloves as he wrapped his hands around his injured limbs.
But Derlacki offered a nod nonetheless before suddenly jerking his head off
the hard wood floor with a realization. "Tigger?!"
"He's behind you, he's on to somethin' in the wall."
Doug sniffed away pain-driven tears and tried to gain control of his
voice as he pulled a small purple ball from one pocket of his cargo pants,
"Tigger? Good boy, c'mon. Tigger, stand down. C'mon. Ball." The dog turned
back to his handler immediately to claim his reward but the man tossed it in
Ezra's direction in an effort to get the animal out of any more potential
Standish caught the ball and latched a hand onto the Lab's lead as it
within reach. He passed the dog off to Buck who in turn passed it to
another agent that had been inspecting the room at the other end of the hall
from them. Ezra then turned his attention back to Derlacki.
The agent had managed to drag himself most of the way to the door and
help from Standish and Wilmington made it past the trap in the floor. Buck
lifted the wounded man across his shoulders in a fireman's carry and shot
Standish a glance, the southerner nodded. He would wait there, no sense both
of them risking the return walk back through the house.
They hadn't had any problems on the way up, nor had any of the other
that explored the rest of the structure so perhaps it was just this room
that had been rigged. God, Ezra hoped so as he watched the retreating
figures of his friends.
Sitting on his knees Standish turned his attention to the point of the
blast, inspecting it to see if it was, in fact, a pressure-sensitive plate
that had set it off. He traced the wiring gingerly with leather gloved
fingers. And, while his limited knowledge of explosives was probably not
enough to fill a coffee cup, it wouldn't have taken any more than a
six-month academy trainee to realize that the floor did not contain any of
the telltale signs for a spring activated device. 'Why the hell didn't
Tigger set it off?'
His attention was wholly focused on the explosive trap, otherwise he
have been aware of the portion of wall that Tigger had deemed so
>From the passageway he had created behind the wall Patrick Brahe could
through a viewslit and see the top half of the doorway into the bedroom. It
was this opening that had allowed him to know exactly when to trigger the
small explosive under the floorboard.
As soon as he watched the tall agent with the mustache carry the wounded
out he assumed the third would follow; he checked his weapon in the red
light that lit the narrow passage and glanced again to see if the room was
clear. He saw nothing.
The design of the old farmhouse had prevented Brahe from connecting
passage to the others that snaked through the innards of the structure. If
he could get down the hall into the far room that would give him access to
the outside. The panel moved silently on its glide-hinges, but as Patrick
gripped his .45 firmly in his left hand and took in the whole of the room he
realized that getting down the hall was not going to be as easy as he
The dark-haired agent kneeling low on the floor in the doorway of the
bedroom felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Ezra raised his
head as the first two shots caught him square in the chest and pushed him
backwards, slamming his small frame against the hallway wall directly behind
him. The third bullet cut into his right bicep and the fourth and fifth
lodged in his left thigh.
Ezra was trying to regain his breath from the two slugs that his vest
stopped when the pain from the other three lanced through him. His
assailant strode forward, covering the room in several long steps. Standish
was trying to get his right arm to react to the messages that his brain was
sending it but the muscles refused to pull the 9mm he had holstered at his
By the time the southerner attempted the action with his left hand,
was already to him. With a fierce swiftness the man kicked the wound at
Ezra's left leg. Standish involuntarily grabbed at his thigh with a sharp
cry as Brahe jammed his Smith & Wesson under the agent's jaw and stripped
him of his two pistols. Grabbing the smaller man by the back of his black
turtleneck, Patrick hauled Ezra into the empty room.
Buck was almost to the top of the stairs when he heard the shots.
been on his way back up the steps to get Ezra; Steirs had ordered an
immediate withdrawal from the house until they could get additional K-9
units and a fully outfitted bomb squad. Wilmington dropped instantly,
laying himself against the steps while pulling his own weapon.
A few seconds after the shots ceased Buck heard a dull thud accompanied
his partner's gasp, then
what sounded like something large being drug across the floor. He risked a
glance around the corner of the stairwell and felt a tight hand grip his
stomach as he saw the wide smear of blood across the floor and what it led
Brahe was crouched under the only window in the room, his back against
wall, staring down the hall that he was sure would lead to freedom if he
could just get past the other agents he knew were in the house. And the man
he held in front of him was to be his ticket out.
Ezra knew he was in trouble. The cold press of metal against the left
of his neck was evident enough, but first and foremost, he was focused on
trying to keep the blood in his body with just his two hands. Standish
could feel the wet warmth that covered his left thigh. His body had begun
to shake, and while he knew at this point it was the unused adrenaline
coursing through him, it would soon be shivers of cold as he lost more
Brahe shouted, "On the stairs, I want to see your weapons!"
'Damnit,' Buck thought, 'he saw me!'
>From his quick glance Wilmington hadn't been able to judge the extent
Ezra's wounds; but five shots had been fired, and if the amount of blood he
saw on the floor was any indication he had very little time to get his
partner out of there.
"Okay, let's take it easy. I'm just gonna put 'em right in the hall
Buck emptied his pistols and lay them on the hardwood floor. He knew what a
solid, experienced tactician Steirs was and was confident that the Senior
Agent would probably already be setting up a sniper with a good look at the
bedroom window. 'Just gotta buy him a little bit of time.'
Buck eased himself slowly till he sat on the top step with his back
wall, his hands spread wide as he rested them palms up on his knees. "Tell
us what you want." Buck had left the channel open on his walkie-talkie so
Steirs would be able to hear all that was transpiring.
Brahe's voice was firm despite his predicament. "All of you! Downstairs!"
Buck stole a glance at Ezra, God, there was a lot of blood. "They already
are, and as soon as you let me take him down, we'll be gone too."
Brahe shoved the barrel of his .45 harder against the southerner's neck
tightened the grip he had over the wound at Standish's right arm. Buck
winced as he saw Ezra grit his teeth against the pain and let out a sharp
moan. "He stays, you go."
'Over my dead body,' thought Buck, 'or better yet, over yours.' Wilmington
knew that he had to keep Brahe from getting past him but as he took in his
teammate's weak state Buck hoped it wouldn't be at too high a cost. He
spoke again to the man with the gun.
"He's bleedin' pretty bad, you're gonna be able to travel a lot faster
"He's going to be bleeding more in about two seconds!"
Buck struggled to keep his voice calm; he could see the tremors that
occasionally shook through Standish. Ezra's focus was on his left leg, as if
he had detached himself from his situation. Buck wanted to catch his eye,
let him know that he'd get him outta this. "Patrick, I know you're in
control here. This is your call. But he's going to die if you don't let me
help him and Murder 1 of a federal agent is something that I know you don't
"What I want is you out of my way!"
In a short, swift motion Patrick rose to his feet, hauling Ezra with
Buck could tell that his partner was fighting to stay in the moment. As
soon as Brahe had risen Wilmington watched what little color Standish had in
his face slip away to be replaced by a sickly gray.
Brahe maintained his .45 against the left side of his captive's neck
switched his grip on Ezra's arm. Grasping the smaller man's right wrist he
twisted the wounded limb around till Standish's knuckles brushed the back of
his vest. Supporting himself on one leg Ezra was struggling to keep
conscious, but the black circle encroaching his vision told him it was a
struggle he was losing.
Brahe screamed at Buck, "Move downstairs!" Patrick pointed his
Wilmington's direction and took a step forward. That was his undoing.
Ezra, unable to keep upright any longer became a dead weight in his
captive's arms, folding to the floor as his vision turned completely black.
The instant the sniper on the roof of the barn beside the house saw the
pistol move from his fellow agent's head to a target in front of him - he
took his shot.
Buck ducked into the stairwell the moment Brahe redirected his weapon.
Wilmington heard the crack of a rifle, the breaking of glass and a heavy
thud as Patrick's lifeless body hit the floor. Buck yelled for the aid unit
as he bolted into the bare room. He kicked Brahe's pistol away and took
several seconds to make sure the son of a bitch had no heartbeat before
dropping down next to Ezra.
The southerner hadn't moved and for an instant, as Wilmington took in
collapsed form, he thought Standish wasn't ever going to move again. Buck
sat on the floor and pulled the smaller man to him, gathering him up in a
protective hold while feeling for a pulse at the other's neck. "Ezra?"
For Buck, the world had stopped; a thousand thoughts ran through his
a split second. They couldn't lose him. The Seven had been a team almost
three years. They had worked too hard to get what they had. Had fought with
each other and for each other. Seven men who, Buck thought, had overcome so
many of their own demons with the help of the others. Damn, especially
This stubborn, son of a bitch southerner who had so obviously tried
his emotional distance from the rest of the group. In an effort to, Buck
and the others later each figured out, avoid becoming too close. That which
you do not love, cannot hurt you. But flowery language didn't work too well
in the real world.
And this was definitely real. They needed each other, they had become
family. And Buck honestly didn't know what would happen to the group if they
The too pale face that rested against his chest was covered with a fine
sheen. Dark lashes, wet and thick with saltwater moisture were completely
still. Wilmington's voice was barely a whisper as he tried again, "Ez?"
At the exact moment Buck's fingertips registered the faint heartbeat
of glassy green eyes pulled themselves open and Buck felt and heard a slight
intake of air. Wilmington couldn't hold back a grin or the slight bit of
water that found it's way to his own eyes. "Hey, pard. Hang in there, we're
gonna have ya outta here in just a minute."
Ezra's breath was quick and shallow, he swallowed hard and Buck could
the southerner's head press against the thick fabric of his vest as another
wave of pain coursed through the smaller man. "..hurts..."
"I know." Buck's right arm was wrapped around his teammate's waist
him tightly in an unconscious effort to stop the man's occasional shivers;
his left crossed Standish's chest and clamped over the still bleeding right
bicep. Ezra, himself, still maintained a firm grip on his own left thigh.
The release of tension hit Buck in a sudden wave and he found himself
giggling, "Could be worse, you could be Hendrickson's dog. At least you'll
recover from this, that poor mutt has to deal with that cheap shit every
Ezra, too, found that his own lack of sleep, adrenaline dump and pure
being alive made itself evident in an attempted fit of weak laughter.
And that was how the paramedics found them; Ezra leaning in Buck's
protective hold, the two of them sitting three feet from a dead man, in the
middle of an empty room, giggling.
As the aid crew wheeled Standish toward the ambulance Buck took in the
extent of the southerner's injuries and tried to offer a smile, "You're
gonna be out for a little while, pard."
Ezra returned a weak version of the grin, "Chris is gonna be pissed."
couldn't prevent a breath of a laugh escaping at the simple statement of the
usually well-spoken man.
"We just won't tell, he'll never notice. If he asks where ya are we'll
tell him you're a little late and you'll be in any minute."
Buck caught the quiet tone in his friend's voice and realized exactly
the southerner was saying. Wilmington let the paramedics load the gurney
into the ambulance before climbing in himself. Buck lay his arm on Ezra's
shoulder. "No problem, pard. We'll cover for ya anyday."