PG-13 for language
This story takes place about a month after “The Mole.” I guess you could call it a sequel. Some small nuances are borrowed
from other stories on the page, such as, but not limited to, Greenwoman’s “You’ll Never Work In Dis Business” and Mog’s
“Something to Laugh About.” I’m just trying to keep continuity :-)
Thanks again to Mog who created this wonderful universe. And always, Sara for inspiration and making sure everything sounds
Ezra Standish slowly and painfully sat down in his high backed computer
chair. Finally he was allowed back at work. He had
missed his office, even though the only decorations that adorned the small cubicle was a framed Erte postcard and a cactus. But
he had missed it all the same.
He had also missed the feeling of comradery that accompanied his work space. When he was at home, of course he got visited
by the others but it wasn’t the same as the quick “hello’s” that he got when they walked past his office.
He had also missed his Starbucks. He had coffee at home but it just wasn’t the same as the taste of Starbucks Frappuccino. He
reached for the clear plastic cup while booting up his computer. It felt so good to be ‘home.’
Thank God the doctor had deemed him fit to go back to work. He was going stark raving mad staying in that house by himself.
Not to mention the babysitting done by his teammates. For the first three weeks he was out of the hospital, one of them was
constantly hovering. But as soon as he was allowed to walk around by himself, he had evicted them from his apartment.
Ezra groaned softly when he noticed the amount of mail he had accumulated. He reached across the desk to maneuver his
mouse and let out a quick gasp of pain. He wasn’t going to lie. He still hurt like hell but he would rather hurt sitting in front of his
computer, in his office, with his Erte postcard and his frappuccino than at home, alone.
He rapidly scanned the in box. Fwd. Delete. Fwd. Delete. Fwd. Delete. Damn it JD! He would have to tell the boy, again, to
stop sending him those damn jokes. Fwd. Delete. Fwd. Delete. He winced when he saw from whom the next email was from.
The whirlwind. Great, what was it this time. The last he heard from her was when he had just gotten out of the hospital. He had
gotten an ear full of ‘scaring her to death,’ and ‘that awful job of yours’ and ‘what would I do without mah sweet little baby
With some hesitation he opened the email.
I know that you have returned to that horrid place of employment that you seem to love so dearly. I just want you to
reconsider those tickets I offered you a few months ago.
Delete. He didn’t have to read the rest to know what it said. Not a
simple, “glad you’re feeling better,” but an email complete
with a guilt trip. Those should come with the little paperclip icon that designates attachments.
Fwd. Delete. Fwd. Delete. No Subject. Intrigued Ezra opened up the document. It wasn’t from an email address he
recognized. The message was simple and clear as day.
How do you catch a mole? Set up a RAT trap. Watch yourself RAT.
Ezra gulped and pulled his shaking hands away from the keyboard. This
was certainly one thing that he wasn’t expecting.
“Hey Ez,” Buck’s voice caused Ezra to jump a foot in the air and manage to knock over his half full cup of frappuccino. He
quickly stood and pain began to radiate from his right leg.
“Damn it! Don’t you ever knock!”
Ezra hurriedly grabbed tissues from his Kleenex box and tried to wipe up the mocha mess before it found its way onto his
keyboard or onto his pants.
“Whoa calm down, Ez.” Buck said trying to calm the undercover agent. “Here let me help.”
“No thank you. You’ve done enough.” Ezra tried to wipe up the mess with shaking hands. Buck seemed to notice.
“Ez, you alright? You look a little pale.”
“I’m fine Mr. Wilmington.”
Ezra managed to get most of the frothy mixture up and the wet tissues into his wastebasket. “Now why did you so rudely
interrupt my moments of reflection?”
“Just wondering if you got my email?”
Ezra’s head snapped up. Anger immediately filling his body. “You!?! You sent that?”
“So you got it.” Buck noticed his friends jade eyes burning with rage. “Whoa, buddy. It was just a joke. Didn’t mean to offend
“A joke? You call that a joke?” Ezra advanced on the taller man.
“Look. I didn’t know you were a catholic?”
Ezra stopped cold. “A catholic?”
“Yeah. You know. The joke. The nun thought the little girl said protestant not prostitute.”
The anger quickly dissipated and was replaced by the fear that had grabbed a hold of him so swiftly when he first read the
email. It wasn’t Buck. Damn. He took a step back, confusion written clearly across his face. The protective walls he usually
held in place crumbled like the ancient ruins of Corinth when sacked by Mummius. Where the hell did it come from?
“Ez, you ok buddy? Ez?”
“I’m fine Buck. Just a little tired.” he said to himself as much as he said to Buck.
Buck laid an easy hand on Ezra’s shoulder. “Maybe you should go home.”
Ezra nodded his head. Maybe he should go home. It had only been a month and a half since he was released from the hospital.
It was too early to be coming back to work. Going home would be a good idea. But then he would be alone again.
“No, I have work to do.”
Buck looked into his friend’s eyes. “Something you want to tell me.”
The wall came back up and he shrugged Buck’s hand off his shoulder. “I said I was fine Mr. Wilmington. I have work to do.
And I’m sure you have some as well.”
Buck flinched from the icy tone. “Yeah. You’re right Ez. Got some paper work to get done. You coming tonight to the
Ezra’s voice softened. “Yeah. I am.”
“Ok, see ya then!”
Once Buck left, Ezra fell into his computer chair and let out a long sigh. Why? Why would anyone care if Flamingo and
Harrison went to jail? Unless, someone else was on the take. But they had looked. A thorough search of the entire ATF was
Ezra closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. It could just be a joke. A BAD joke but a joke nonetheless. Or someone was just
trying to scare him on his first day back. Yep. That is exactly what it was; a first day back prank.
He swivelled his chair back into its position so he could look at his monitor. Fwd. Delete. Fwd. Delete. Fwd. Delete. No
Ezra’s heart stopped beating and his blood ran cold. He mentally berated himself. It wasn’t even from the same email address.
And it was a prank. Just a prank. With a shaking hand he clicked on the open icon.
Ezra hit the reply button and fervently typed a nasty message. Send.
Now he had to wait. He looked at the empty cup in his
wastebasket and suddenly wished for caffeine. Ezra stood and limped to the employee coffee room, hoping to avoid his
He turned into the break room, and of course, Nathan was standing by the coffee maker waiting for the pot to finish brewing.
“Hey Ez. How ya feeling?”
“Perfectly peachy Mr. Jackson.” Ezra said in his most sarcastic voice. However, Nathan was used to Ezra’s foul moods and
just shrugged off the comment.
“Don’t usually see you in the break room.”
“Well, our esteemed colleague, Mr. Wilmington assisted in the spilling of my morning caffeine dose.”
Nathan laughed. “Yours too, huh. He knocked over JD’s this morning.”
Ezra couldn’t help but chuckle. “He isn’t the most graceful of beings.”
“Graceful? Hell, Buck wouldn’t know graceful if it bit him on the ass.”
Nathan looked up from playing with the coffee stirs and met Ezra’s gaze. They both erupted into laughter.
“I suppose you two are done with your morning reports.”
Nathan and Ezra had been laughing so hard they didn’t hear the quiet footsteps of their leader. They both stopped immediately
and went to fixing their coffee.
“Almost done Chris.”
“On your desk in a few Mr. Larabee.”
Chris smiled at their responses. Nathan and Ezra quickly finished getting their coffee and headed toward the door. Ezra was
two steps out the door when Chris’s voice stopped him.
“Good to have you back Ez.”
Ezra turned and saluted the tall man in black. The small trademark gesture not going unnoticed by the other men.
Ezra walked back to his office in high spirits. A small spring in his step, as much as his injured leg would allow, and a smile on
his lips. He entered his office and stopped short when he saw that the computer was waiting for him with a new email message.
He gulped and slowly walked to the chair. Open. MailerDemon. “Damn it!” Ezra yelled as he violently clicked on the trash can
icon. That’s it. Whoever was doing this joke had gone far enough. Ok, the only person he knew that could manipulate email
addresses was JD. And the boy had been sending him quite a bit of mail. Maybe this was just one of JD’s jokes. He always
thought they were funny but they never were.
Ezra stood and limped to JD’s office. He found the boy hunched over his keyboard typing furiously.
“Mr. Dunne, I must talk to you about a certain set of e-mails I’ve been receiving.”
JD looked up, his long black hair falling into his face. Annoyed he brushed the stray tendrils away. “What, you don’t like
“That is an understatement.”
“Sorry Ez. I thought they were funny.”
The anger swelled inside of Ezra. “Funny?!? How the hell could you find that funny?” His voice raising with each syllable.
“Whoa, Ez. Chill.” JD said as he turned his chair around to look at the undercover agent in the eye.
“Chill!?! How dare you...”
The others heard the usually soft southern voice erupt in a tirade directed at the youngest member of the group. Buck was the
first to the office. He saw Ezra standing near the wall ripping into a very confused JD.
“What the heck is going on? Ezra what’s wrong with you?”
“Wrong with me? Nothing is WRONG with me. But something is very wrong with your young apprentice. Now I realize where
he gets it from.”
“What’s that supposed to mean Ez?” Buck asked his voice lowering. “You saying I’m a bad influence.”
“I would have to use a stronger adjective than ‘bad’ Mr. Wilmington.”
Buck advanced on the smaller man but was stopped when Josiah entered the office. “What’s going on in here?”
“Hell if I should know,” JD answered.
“I know.” Buck interrupted. “This southern fried bastard is going off on JD for no apparent reason.”
“Well it seems my anger is misdirected. I should be yelling at the teacher and not the student.”
That was it. Buck took a swing at the younger agent. His right hook connected with Ezra’s jaw, causing him to take a step
backward. His right leg, already weak from pain, crumbled beneath him and he ended up on the floor.
Nathan had watched the scene unfolding from the doorway. He was the first to Ezra’s side while Josiah held the big man back.
Nathan put his arm around Ezra to help him up but Ezra pushed Nathan away.
“I think I can manage to stand on my own.” With a great amount of effort he managed to get his legs underneath him. He tried
to push himself up but his leg gave away again.
“Sure Ezra. Let me help.”
“Don’t touch me.” Nathan backed away from the pure venom in Ezra’s voice. After several attempts Ezra got himself standing.
Buck flinched at the obvious pain in Standish’s eyes. The undercover agent was pale from the exertion and the blood spilling
from his lip greatly contrasted the pallor of his face. He pushed past Josiah and out of JD’s office and limped toward his.
“What the hell is going on?” Chris’s voice boomed across the office. Standish groaned inwardly. He ignored the leader and
went to his own office and closed the door.
The computer seemed to be waiting for him. A new message was blinking in his in box. Great. Just freaking great. He opened
Nice try RAT. Now there will be no one to help you. After you, I go after your friends.
Crap! It wasn’t JD. It wasn’t any of his friends. It wasn’t a joke.
He grabbed a Kleenex and dabbed away the blood from his
lip. This had just turned serious. “DAMN IT!”
“Damn what?” Chris asked from Ezra’s doorway.
“Damn it all to hell.”
“What was that all about?”
“I jumped to conclusions about certain emails I have been receiving. I thought it was a bad joke being played by Mr. Dunne. I
was wrong.” Chris frowned. “And now I have managed to alienate myself, get hit by Mr. Wilmington and put yall in danger as
Chris crossed the office and stared at the computer screen. “How many of these have you gotten?”
“This is the third.” Ezra sighed as he fell into his chair.
“And were you going to bother telling anyone about it?”
Ezra sighed and looked into the cold blue eyes of his boss. “I thought it was a joke. I now know that I was mistaken.” Ezra
leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.
Chris noticed the sheen of sweat on Ezra’s forehead and the paleness of his skin. He had also noticed the way Ezra still limped.
“Where the hell are your crutches?”
“In my car.” was the simple reply. The leader sighed.
“Come on, Ezra. I’m taking you home.”
Ezra slowly pulled open his eyes and looked through them blearily at Chris. “I think not.”
“Oh yes I am. I’ll get JD to trace these emails to see if it is a joke or if one of Harrison’s friends is really looking for trouble. A
few of us will stay at your place tonight just to be careful.”
Ezra groaned. “Get over it Ez. We aren’t that bad of house guests.”
“I beg to differ.” Chris took Ezra’s arm and helped him out of the chair.
After a few minutes of explaining to the others, Chris and Ezra maneuvered their way to the parking garage. Chris directed Ezra
toward his car.
“And who shall bring my car?”
“I’ll get JD to do it,” Chris smiled mischievously.
Ezra glared back at him. “You certainly will not.”
“Fine, I’ll have Buck do it.”
Ezra sighed. “Which is the lesser of the two evils? Fine, if you insist on sending my car to its grave, let me go say goodbye to it
Chris grinned. “And don’t forget to get your crutches.”
Ezra waved off the comment with his hand. Chris shook his head. Damn, he was a stubborn son of a bitch.
Suddenly, some movement across the garage caught Chris’s eye. “What the hell,” Chris whispered. A sickening feeling of
dread settled over him. The glint of metal in the figure’s hand had Chris pulling his gun.
At the sound of his name, Ezra turned. He saw Chris, with his gun out. But it was too late. The shadowy figure had already
pressed the button. The jaguar exploded.
JD sat in front of Ezra’s computer and furiously typed away at the keyboard muttering to himself all the while. Buck looked
over the kid’s shoulder and had a strange sense of deja vu. Then he remembered that this was exactly what they were doing
only a few months before. They had almost lost Ezra. Even though Ezra was an outsider, he fit perfectly in with the group. Buck
had felt a giant pit inside of him when he found out Ezra was in bad shape. Buck wondered what would happen to the group if
one of them didn’t make it back one day. He shuttered. He would never be the same and he knew the others wouldn’t either.
JD’s voice brought Buck out of his morbid musings.
“Damn Buck. This guy is good. He backtracked these emails all over the place.”
Buck frowned. “So you don’t know where they came from.”
“Nope,” JD sighed. He pressed a few more keys then sighed again. JD turned to face Buck. “I wish he would send another
one. Maybe he’d mess up or something and I could track it.”
Buck pointed at the screen. “Look’s like you got your wish kid.”
JD swivelled back around. “Sweet.” He clicked on the open icon. His blood froze when he read it and he could feel himself
“Buck?” he whispered.
“Yeah, kid. What’s wrong?” Buck leaned over the kid’s shoulder and followed the slim shaking finger to where the kid was
pointing. “Shit!” Maybe he wouldn’t have to wonder long after all.
Then they felt the building shake. Buck’s heart leapt into his throat. He grabbed JD’s shoulder. “Chris and Ezra!” They weren’t
the only ones that were running to the stairwell. Vin, Josiah and Nathan were hot on their heels. So were the other agents in the
upper offices. The same thing that was running through Buck’s head was in everyone’s. Dear God let them be alive.
Chris had seen the figure press the button. He had heard Ezra’s yell of surprise as he was thrown across the garage. But it
didn’t break his concentration and it didn’t stop him from pulling the trigger. He had hit the figure, whomever it was, right in the
And now his attention turned to his fallen comrade. Ezra lay in a heap ten feet from the burning car. The smoke quickly filled up
the garage making it hard for Chris too see or breathe. He heard sirens in the distance but all he really wanted to hear at that
moment was a southern drawl.
Ezra had been thrown backwards, landing on his back. Chris dropped beside his friend and looked for any signs of life. He saw
Ezra’s chest rise in fall and he let out a sigh of relief. He then proceeded to look for any injuries. The only thing noticeable was
his right leg was bent at an awkward angle and a small puddle of blood was forming from a cut Ezra had received over his right
eye. But Chris knew there was a possibility of a concussion even fracture from the force of the explosion. Carefully he shook
Ezra and called his name. “Ezra?” No response. “Ezra? Open your eyes damn it!”
Green eyes fluttered open. “What the hell happened?” was the slow, weak response. “And why do I feel like I’ve been hit by a
Chris smiled and couldn’t keep the elation from his voice. “You’ve been blown up.”
Ezra frowned. “And you find that funny?” He didn’t give Chris a chance to respond because he saw the relief and caring in his
friends eyes. “That would be why my head hurts, and my ears are ringing and why my nose is being accosted by smoke. But
that doesn’t explain the excruciating pain coming from my leg.”
“Just don’t move.”
Ezra groaned. “I just got off those damn crutches.”
“Well, you’re going to have to get more of them. They were in your car.”
Ezra looked at Chris perplexed. “And..”
“Your car is what’s on fire.”
“You certainly know how to cheer a fellow.” Ezra replied. Chris couldn’t stifle his laugh.
“Ez! Chris!” Came the distinct call from the stairwell.
Ezra moaned. “Oh here comes the cavalry.”
“Over here Buck!”
“Must you yell?”
The other five men made their way over. “Ambulance and a fire truck is on their way,” came the slow Texan drawl.
“Yeah Ezra. Looks like your going to need one and your car the other.” Buck promptly elbowed JD in the ribs. “What? I’m
just glad I didn’t park next to him.”
“Just what in the hell happened?” Buck asked
Ezra rolled his eyes and answered from his position on the ground. “My car blew up, moron.”
“I shot the person who did it.” Chris finished as he gestured over to where other ATF agents were gathered around.
Vin meandered over in that direction to get a look for himself and then came back. “Johansson. Detonator was in his hand.
Guess he was on the take after all.”
A few minutes later, Ezra was loaded up in the ambulance and the car
fire had been taken care of. Chris was giving his report
to another agent.
“Hey Ez? What’s going to happen to your car?” JD yelled from his position of inspecting the damage.
“I have insurance.” Ezra yelled back then winced.
He watched as Buck hit JD on the back of the head. “You don’t ask about that after your friend has been blown up! You wait
a while til he’s feeling better.”
Ezra smiled. Things were back to normal. Well almost, he still hurt like hell. Ezra closed his eyes and laid his head back on the
gurney. The cut would need stitches and his leg would have to be set but other than that, everything was fine. None of his
friends were hurt, the phantom emailer was now dead and he could just relax. It was over. Thank God, it was all over.