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Story Notes:

Crossover with The Sentinel (Jim/Blair (implied))

Thanks: I want to thank KET for the wonderful beta of this story. Her great advice and helpful suggestions has made this musing a far betterstory. And also for her expert medical advice. To Mog for creating the ATF AU.

ueN is the creator of Joe & Sadie Walker and gave me permission to use them in this story.

Notes: The Corner Shot Gun was developed by the Israeli's. For more information and to view a picture of it, go to: www.cornershot.com

The events in Somalia that inspired the documentry movie "Blackhawk Down" happened in October 1993. To fit the time-line for this story, however, that date was moved up to around 1996.

Cascade is the fictional name of a city in Washington State so all locations mentioned are fictional.

Tuesday Night, 11:00 P.M. Denver, Colorado

Chris was coming, his semen was boiling up through his veins like a volcano, erupting and spewing molten lava into the bowels of his lover. His muscles turned to rubber as he collapsed, laying his head on his partner's chest. Breathing heavily, trying to catch his breath, he was completely sated from their love-making.

As his breathing started coming in a more controlled way, he kissed Vin's left nipple which was still standing at attention. Vin whimpered, pressing his body upward, still seeking his partner. Larabee licked at the sweat on Tanner's body, relishing the feel of Vin's cum on his belly. Finding the beautiful mouth, kissed it gently, as he ran his hands through the damp tangled hair. He then groaned and eased over onto the bed.

Pulling Vin to him, powerful arms wrapping around his lover's shoulder. Still playing with Vin's hair with one hand, Chris began running his other slowly up and down Tanner's back and ass.

Vin laid his head on Larabee's chest and casually, with his fingertips, emulated his partner. The hand that had been teasing his back, picked up the fingers and kissed each one, laying it back on his chest, with his own hand covering it.

"I love you!" Larabee whispered and kissed the top of Vin's head.

Vin, still sated from his own explosion, teased, "Care ta show me again how much?" He grinned up at him.

"Thought I just did," he answered, kissing his lover again.

"It's jist pur-dee sad," Vin teased, "Gettin' old, no stamina, no endurance."

Chris chuckled, kissing Vin's temple, replying. "Yeah, you're right, pard..."

Tanner leaned up on an elbow, stared at Chris and said teasingly, "Hush yer mouth, Lar'bee, don't even joke about that." Laying his head back on the chest he loved, Vin continued, "You'll never git ta that point, cowboy. Hell, ol' man Cottle was eighty and swore he could still git it up. So there's still hope fer you."

Still chuckling, he asked, "Now, who's old man Cottle?"

"He's the old man lived down the road from the boys' ranch where I lived for awhile growin' up. He'd bring fresh eggs to the kitchen."

Wrapping his arm tighter around his lover, wanting to shield him from any bad memories, Larabee asked, "You want to take a shower or just go to sleep?"

Tanner raised up, snagging the quilt at the foot of the bed, dragging it up over them. Snuggling, he said, "I love the feel of you on me. I'll shower in the mornin'."

"Hmm, you in a wet spot?"

"Hell, Lar'bee, whole damn bed is a wet spot," came the jovial answer.

Vin entwined his leg with Larabee's, snuggling close together they drifted off to sleep, unaware of the changes to come.

~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~

Tuesday, 11:00 A.M. 12 Hours Earlier: Cascade, Washington

The bank was being robbed. The alarms had gone off and the bank robbers were trapped inside making a bad situation worse. Jim Ellison from Major Crimes was leaning over the hood of the car studying the blueprints of the building. Checking carefully, he spotted an area he could possibly enter without the culprits knowing he was there.

"Simon, I think we can go in here." He pointed to the underground sewer, "And get into the lobby here by this bank of elevators."

Captain Simon Banks inspected the blueprints, amazed that the opening was so easily accessible. Showing his surprise, he said, "Why would anyone build a bank building with this type of access?

The city inspector present advised, "This building wasn't suppose to be a bank, but a retail store. We're not sure how they got a permit to put a bank branch in there. That will be investigated starting tomorrow morning.

Jim and Simon started suiting up in their Kevlar vests and checking their guns. Blair Sandburg, Ellison's sentinel guide, placed a hand on Jim's arm. "Be careful in there and if the smell becomes too much, just dial it down." Jim looked over at Blair, a questioning look in his eye.

"You can do it, Jim, just slowly dial it down. It'll work!"

As the two detectives with their backup team entered the sewer, Blair found himself reminiscing about the day he had encountered Ellison at the medical center, where Jim had come for help. His keen senses were all over the place and Jim had thought he was going crazy, hearing and seeing things he really shouldn't be experiencing. The detective, also, had a heightened sense of smell that could be overbearing. That day, Blair knew he'd found the perfect specimen for his doctorate. What he hadn't counted on was Jim becoming his friend and then his lover.

The team of detectives wound their way around the catacombs of the city sewer, Jim sniffed. "I smell new money, we must be under the bank," he informed Captain Banks privately. Turning to the others said, "Let's try that exit up ahead, that should be the elevator shaft."

Slowly they made their way out of the abyss and into the room with the elevator mechanism. Cautiously making their way down the hallway, Jim could hear the thieves making plans for their get-away. When the men encountered the bank robbers, Banks shouted, "Cascade Police, everyone lay down your arms and surrender." A shootout ensued. Since the hostages were already on the floor and against the far wall, they appeared to be safe. However, from out of nowhere, gunfire erupted and several hostages were hit. 'What the hell?' Jim thought as he fired several shots in the direction the bullets had come from, but he didn't see anyone.

Running to one corner of the building, Jim saw a man, with a strange gadget, attempting to fire again at the bank employees and customers. Taking a quick roll-over dive, shooting as he moved, Jim shot and killed the armed gunman.

Simon yelled an 'all clear' and checked quickly on the hostages. The bank guard, who miraculously wasn't hurt, raised himself up from the floor. With Simon's help, he opened up the front door and signaled for the paramedics.. Some of the hostages were wounded and two were dead, but thankfully there were no further life-threatening injuries.

Police and emergency personnel swarmed the bank. Taking notes, conducting interviews, evacuating the hurt and frightened people, shooting pictures and collecting evidence. Jim was inspecting the strange weapon that the dead man had held. It seemed the gun could shoot around corners. He was surprised there weren't more fatalities.

"What do you have there, Jim?" Simon asked.

"I'm not sure. Have you ever seen anything like this, Simon?" Jim showed him the weapon in his hands.

Banks whistled, "Hell no, never! What is it."

"It seems to be hinged and it shoots around corners." Pointing his chin towards the dead man on the other side of the wall, "He used this to shoot at the hostages. Are they okay?"

"A few were wounded, there's at least two dead. They're all on the way to the hospital. I guess, he wasn't familiar enough with this thing to use it to it's full capacity. This whole mess could of been a lot worse."

"I wonder why we haven't heard about this gun and who do you think developed it?" Jim mused.

Simon rubbed his chin, "I'll contact the ATF once I get back to the office. I'm pretty sure they'll know what it is."

"Yeah," Ellison agreed. "Let me know, will ya." Handing the weapon over to another detective, he ordered, "Bag and tag it, but send it to our office, okay?"

Nodding, the other officer took the gun to the evidence van.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Back at the office, Captain Banks called the Assistant Director of the ATF office in Seattle. He left a message to be called back and settled down to finish reports from the morning's business and wait for the return call.

About an hour later, his patience was rewarded, when AD Miles Gentry called him back.

Simon explained to AD Gentry, the type of gun used in the morning's fiasco, he was surprised by the answer he was given. Apparently, AD Gentry had only heard about the gun, but had never seen one. Assuring Captain Banks that he'd investigate and get back to him, Gentry hung up. Simon sat holding the dead line for a few moments, shook his head, sighing, then he too disconnected.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Wednesday Morning: Denver, Colorado

Chris woke up when the radio alarm came on at 6:00 a.m.. Vin was already up and in the shower. Deciding to join his lover, he rose and walked into the master bathroom. After drying off, Larabee went to the kitchen to start coffee, while Tanner toweled dried his hair. Returning to the bedroom, Chris finished dressing and together they headed for the kitchen.

Fixing his cereal, Vin said, "Reckon I'll drive to work today, cowboy. I need ta stop by my place, pickup the mail and some clothes."

Pouring a second mug of coffee, Larabee replied, "If you lived out here, you'd be getting your mail delivered. And you wouldn't need to stop for clothes, because they'd already be here." He smirked.

This was an old argument and the sharpshooter wondered again, why he didn't make that final move. Most of his belongings were already at the ranch. He loved the place as much as his partner, didn't mind the hard work and loved the horses like they were his children. Especially Peso as ornery as he was. Vin grinned just thinking about his horse.

"Uh Vin, what are you grinning about? This really isn't funny, you know."

"Nah, cowboy, I's just thinkin', if I moved out here, then you wouldn't get the chance ta miss me." Vin kissed his partner lightly and headed for the door.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Larabee walked into his office, only to be informed that AD Travis wanted to see him right away. Wondering what the crisis was, the agent picked up his coffee mug, stopped in their little kitchenette, filled his cup and headed upstairs to meet with his boss.

Gloria Potter, Travis's secretary, waved him on in to the office. Already there and seated was the ATF Director and two other men Larabee knew of but was not acquainted with personally. Introductions were made, hands shook, then Chris was waved to a chair, next to the director.

Travis got straight to the point!

"Chris, you remember a few months ago, your team busted that gun supplier, uh..." checking the file in front of him, he continued, "Montrose, I believe his name was?"

"Yeah, that's where we found that crate of Corner Shot Guns. Why?"

"Well, it appears some of them were sold before your raid. One of them surfaced during a bank heist in Cascade, Washington. A Captain Simon Banks of the Major Crimes Unit in Cascade called our office in Seattle and reported the find. Assistant Director Miles Gentry has requested that your team go to Cascade, meet with Banks and investigate this."

"Why us, Orin? We have three on-going cases right now. I'm sure..."

"Agent Gentry has his hands full guarding our seaports and the border between the US and Canada. The ATF on the west coast, as you already know, is stretched to the max. He also has two men out on sick leave. You and your team are familiar with the CS gun. Not many agents have seen it and fewer even know of it's existence."

Larabee looked around the office at the men sitting there. Each one had a grim look on their faces. "Look, Chris," the director spoke up, "We need you to take care of this. Your team will be leaving on my jet at noon. You'll be landing in Seattle, AD Gentry will be waiting for you with a car and he'll explain the situation, supply a map of the area, then you'll leave for Cascade. He's setting up an appointment for you to meet with Captain Banks later this evening. Be your usual charming self, keep the local PD on the back burner, explain as little as possible, get the job done and be back here by the end of the week, if you can."

"Mrs Potter has money, credit cards and your hotel reservations." Travis finished, "See her on your way out. And for God's sake, be careful!"

Chris rose to leave, turning to the director, "Your jet sitting at the usual hangar?"

Receiving a nod, he turned and left the office. Smiling at Mrs. Potter, "I guess you have something for me."

Smiling back, she handed over seven envelopes, each one with a name printed on it. "Please, Mr. Larabee, tell Mr. Standish not to be buying any more Armani suits. The bureau will not be paying for them, this time."

"I'll mention it to him, again, but you know how he is." Chris grinned.

"Unfortunately, I do!" She replied.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Striding into the office, Chris ordered his men, "Conference room, five minutes! Be there!"

As they gathered, the team could tell something bad was about to happen. As individuals, each man tried to remember if they had committed some infraction and was about to be reprimanded.

Larabee walked in a few minutes after the men had settled. Handing out envelopes, "We're going to Washington!"

"DC?" Dunne asked hopefully.

"State." Looking around at his team, Chris added, "I know this is short notice. Go home, get your ready bag and meet back at hangar 15 at the airport. You can park your cars in the hangar while we're gone. We'll be meeting with an AD named Miles Gentry in Seattle, then head for the city of Cascade..."

"What's this about, Chris?" Buck asked, "I have a date tonight with the lovely Barbara..."

"Buck, I'm getting to that, and you can forget about any dates. And just to be up front, I'm not any happier about this than anyone else."

Nathan had started to protest. Raine had a few days off and he had planned on asking for a few vacation days.

"You ladies remember, the Montrose raid?"

Everyone nodded, but hell, that had been two or three months ago. Bust successful, paperwork finished, the whole thing done!

"Well, it appears there were two crates of CS guns instead of one. One of the guns has turned up in Cascade and we're going there to clean this thing up. Everybody out, we'll meet at 11:30 at the hanger. Inside the envelopes you'll find money, a credit card, and hotel reservations. See you at the airport. Ezra, no more using that credit card to increase your wardrobe. Vin wait up for me, will ya?"

As the others shuffled towards the door, Vin followed his lover into his private office, leaning against the door frame. "What's up, cowboy?"

"I'm going to call and ask Kojay to take care of the horses while we're gone." Checking to be sure everyone had left for home, Chris took Vin's arm and pulled him into his little private bathroom. Wrapping his arms around his lover, he gave him a lusty kiss. I wish we could share a room, I'm not sure I can go a week without you." Chris whispered.

"Maybe I can sneak inta your room one night, needin' ta talk to ya, real important like?" Vin grinned.

"Well, I never say 'no' when one of my men need to talk about important things." Larabee chuckled and nibbled at the same time on Tanner's neck.

"Cowboy, I need ta get home and get my bag. We don't have time ta start somethin'. Anyway, one of these days we're gonna get in caught here." Regrettably, Vin pushed Chris away. "Do ya need ta go home or ya still got 'em here?"

"No one's here to catch us. My bag is still here along with an extra suit. You go on and I'll see you at the airport." After kissing the younger man once again, Chris watched as Vin turned and left.

The team met up again at the appointed time, boarded the plane and headed for Seattle.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

ATF Assistant Director Miles Gentry of the West Coast Division, had heard about Team Seven. Or more precisely, he'd heard about Chris Larabee. When the director had informed him that Team Seven would be arriving this afternoon, he'd called a colleague in Denver to find out what was true about the man and what was jail house gossip. What his friend reported did not bode well with Gentry.

Apparently, Larabee's team was a ragtag band of misfits that no other agency wanted, a band of hard-drinking hotheaded thugs, led by a drunken, mean-tempered maniac that scared the shit out of everyone to whom he came in contact with. However, according to his friend, they did get the job done.

Gentry loosened his tie as the small jet set down on the tarmac. Sighing heavily and trying to hide his nervousness, he exited the limo that was supplied by the Bureau. His driver, Sam Water's, in whom he'd confided, stood by the back door saying, "Don't worry sir, I won't let him badger you."

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Larabee was in a very good mood. The lavatory in the private jet was larger than the ones on commercial jets, so while the others had dozed or napped, he and Vin had joined the 'Mile High Club.' The sky was dark and cloudy, but nothing could dampen his spirits.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

AD Gentry watched as Team Seven came off of the plane. There was a smartly dressed man in a suit that looked to be an Armani. His hair was styled in a neat coif and as his feet hit the tarmac, Gentry noticed he had on snakeskin boots. In fact, six of them sported western boots. They strolled leisurely toward the limo. The guy leading the pack was dressed all in black including black boots polished to a shine. Behind him, a scruffy looking man, with hair longer than regulation allowed wore Levis and a plaid flannel shirt that had been left hanging open so his white t-shirt was visible and untucked. Next to him was a young man who looked to be barely out of high school, or so the AD surmised, in a AV's jersey and old Reeboks.

Behind the young man, strutted a tall fellow with a thick mustache. He was dressed in jeans and was talking animately on his phone. He grinned, looking quite pleased with himself as he ended the call. Behind him walked two others, one of them black the other an older gentleman. They were engaged in what looked to be a lively conversation. Both were dressed conservatively in slacks and sweaters.

"What a motley looking crew," Sam muttered.

Gentry smiled sardonically, "Well, they're supposed to be good. That's what the director says anyway."

"I guess we'll see," Waters replied as both men started forward to meet this new team.

Gentry was unsettled but managed to hide it when the man dressed in black stepped forward.

His hand extended, Chris inquired, "AD Gentry, I presume?" Receiving a nod, he offered "I'm Chris Larabee, Special Agent in Charge of Team Seven from Denver. These are my colleague's."

Shaking the man's hand, the AD replied. "I'm pleased to meet you, Special Agent Larabee. This is my driver and fellow agent, Sam Waters."

The men shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, then got down to business.

The AD flipped open his briefcase, selected a file and handed it to Larabee. "I only had one copy made so we can't afford to lose it. In the wrong hands, well, I don't want to think about it."

Larabee briefly eyed the papers then handed them to Josiah, "We'll need a few more copies of this file."

"Okay boss." Josiah answered.

"I'm telling you Larabee, that's a confidential file, please don't let it out of your sight!"

"With all due respect, sir, my men already know all about this weapon. They've taken it apart, played with it, and Vin here has even practiced shooting with it. In order for us to do our job, we'll have to go over this file top to bottom. So we're going to need a few more copies."

"AD Travis will hear about this! These men shouldn't be reading that file." Gentry huffed, trying to keep control of the situation. When Larabee merely remained silent, staring at him with cold green eyes and an upward angled eyebrow, the Seattle agent decided retreat was the better way to go, at least for the moment. "All right,, we've got you two cars, one for you and your driver and one for your other men. Those Escalades are on loan from the FBI, so we'd appreciate it if you'd return them unscathed. You have a meeting at 8:00 o'clock tonight with Captain Simon Banks of the Cascade Major Crimes Division." Gentry glanced pointedly at his watch.

"His driver?" Buck murmured softly as an aside.

"We'll never hear the end of this," Nathan smirked behind Larabee's right shoulder.

"That should give you plenty of time to drive to Cascade, check into your hotel..." Gentry pointedly scanned Larabee's men, "...clean up and meet with Banks. Also, your man there, he needs a haircut. The bureau here in Washington is very particular about our agent's appearance. Any questions?"

"Yeah, I have a few," Larabee snapped coldly. "How did you come by the information on this gun? Did the perps actually know how it worked or were they just shooting wild? And last, Cascade is what, about an hour south of here?" Chris growled, having quickly lost his good mood. 'What an asshole,' he thought privately.

"Actually about and hour and a half. Sam left some maps in the cars. And in answer to your other question, one of the bank robbers was only to happy to talk when offered a plea deal."

"Can you trust what he told you? Has any of it been verified?" Josiah intervened.

"You'll have to ask the arresting officer," Gentry responded tartly.

Larabee then asked, "How do we get in touch with you if we have questions? Is your cell number on the file?"

"All the info you need is in that file. Hopefully, we can clear this up by the end of the week and you...gentlemen...can go home," he almost sneered. Who did these men think they were to question him like a common criminal. Gentry admittedly didn't know anything about the gun, but wished his division could have handled the situation themselves instead of bringing in these ruffians. He would definitely be calling Judge Travis to complain about their attitude.

As Sam handed the keys to Larabee, Josiah took one set grinning, "I reckon I'll be your driver, boss." Chris grinned back at him.

Josiah, Buck and Chris climbed into one vehicle and JD, Vin, Ezra and Nathan climbed into the other.

Navigating their way out of the airport, turned onto highway 5 and headed south.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Team Seven arrived in Cascade, found their hotel and checked in. Larabee had his own room, but the others shared accommodations. Vin with Ezra, JD with Buck and Nathan with Josiah.

Chris had perused the file during the drive and had shared the information it contained with the others in the car. There had been some brainstorming and they had come up with a myriad of ideas. He then called Nathan on his cell, told him to pull over and passed the file to the second car.

After checking into the hotel and dumping their duffels in their rooms, the team decided to hit the coffee shop in the lobby for sandwiches to-go before it closed.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

"Why do we have to share anything, Captain?" Jim said adamantly, pacing. "It's our case, it happened on our turf and it's our problem to solve! And anyway, I don't want some glory-minded Fed messing with my bust."

"Jim, Jim, calm down. We don't have a choice, you know that. This team is suppose to be familiar with this type of weapon and the best we can hope for is that we'll all be able to work together amicably."

"You know better than that, sir, the Feds are never easy to get along with!"

Jim, Simon and Blair was in the Captain's office waiting for the team from Denver to arrive. Blair was hungry, but didn't say anything because of the tension in the room. The phone rang on Bank's desk, interrupting their discussion.

"Banks!" He barked into the phone. "Yeah, okay, send them up. Just be sure to check their ID and badge numbers." Simon had no idea what their badge numbers were, but he'd be damned if he'd let the Feds waltz into his domain and just take over. Returning the phone to its cradle, he said, "That was Doris, she says there's a bunch of 'cowboys' in the lobby looking for us, so they're here! Now play nice, Jim." he ordered hopefully.

Simon and Jim headed for the elevators, with Blair following.

Chris stepped off the elevator and confronted the two men waiting for him. "Captain Banks," he said, offering his hand , knowing one of them would take it.

"I'm Captain Banks, you must be the ATF team we've been waiting for. This is Detective Jim Ellison and an associate, Blair Sandburg. Let's go into my office."

Shaking hands, the tall blond introduced himself. "I'm Special Agent Chris Larabee, Captain Banks." Following Simon down the hall, Chris offered, "I hope you're hungry, Captain. My men and I had a long day with very little to eat, so we brought sandwiches and stuff. Enough to feed your squad room, I think."

Simon noticed three of the men were carrying boxes, so smiling to himself, he relaxed. Anyone sharing food had to be okay in his book.

Vin set the box of sandwiches he carried on the desk indicated by Banks and then looked up, straight into Jim's eyes. "Cap'n? Cap'n Ellison? Shit, is that you?"

Jim's eyes widened in surprise, caught off guard as he replied, "My God Tanner, I don't believe it! Is that really you?" A slight smell of sex wafted under his nose.

The two men clasped hands and hugged each other, pulled apart, then, uncharacteristically, Jim pulled Vin in for another hug. "I can't believe it kid! I thought I'd never see your skinny ass again! How ya been? Working for the Feds now, I see."

As they parted, Vin blushed. Everyone was staring at them in shock. Chris watched as Vin turned red. a shy grin on his handsome features. Normally that smile would turn him on but jealousy had reared its ugly head. Larabee felt his own smile freeze on his face.

"Tanner here was in my Ranger Unit...the Cap'n was my C.O..." They both offered by way of explanation.

"The kid was assigned to my platoon for several missions. You still a sharpshooter?" Receiving a grin and a nod, Ellison went on, "Damned brat was the most evil prankster I'd ever met. Ya had to watch him all the time..."

"You still do," Buck intervened. "You never know what he's gonna do."

"We were sent to Somalia, afterward I went to Peru. I haven't seen him since." Clapping Vin on the shoulder again, Ellison said "We'll have to get a beer one night and catch up. It looks like you're doing well."

"Yes sir, I joined up with Chris and the boys 'bout a year ago. I reckon I'm doin' all right." He grinned, again.

Jim again detected the smell of sex and realized Vin and Chris were an item. What he didn't know was if it was consensual. He knew Tanner could take care of himself, but Larabee could be an asshole of the worst type. He was determined to find out.

Blair, who had been silently watching this display, cleared his throat "Ahem? Can we eat? I'm starved. Bye the way, I'm Blair Sandburg..."

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Everyone had eaten and the mess cleaned up when Banks suggested to Larabee, "Why don't you and I retrieve that thing from the gun locker?"

"Captain Banks, could we use your Xerox machine? We have a file that needs to be copied." Josiah asked.

"Of course! Blair here will take you to the copy room." Rising from their chairs, Larabee, Banks, Sandburg and Josiah left the room.

The remaining team members made small talk among themselves. Ellison and Tanner sat together, joking with each other, the five or six years separation seeming to disappear. When Blair and Josiah returned to the office, Jim was pretending to choke Vin, both of them laughing. Blair frowned silently. 'Who is this guy?', he wondered.

Downstairs, Banks unlocked the gun safe, took the weapon out and handed it to Larabee. "Just what is this thing?" He asked.

"This 'thing' is called a Corner Shot Gun. It was developed by the Israeli's." Chris demonstrated the way the gun holder flipped left or right. A mirror checked around corners for any enemy approaching. "In the wrong hands, well..., any hands, it's a very dangerous piece of equipment." Chris finished.

When Larabee returned, he immediately saw the horseplay going on between Jim Ellison and Vin but tried to ignore it. Jealousy, however, ate at him. Face set, he handed the weapon to Vin.

"You want to check this out?" He said gruffly. He wanted to say more, but decided to wait until they were alone. The other team members noticing the edge in his voice, settled down.

Vin took the gun, hefted it up, tested it, then checked the serial numbers against his list. "Yep, it's from the same cache, all right. The lot numbers match. I don't understand how we missed it."

"We didn't," Larabee affirmed. "It was gone before we got there. The team doing surveillance should have seen them moving another crate. Hopefully they only moved the one box."

Buck stood and took the weapon from Vin. "That might be why team four missed it. This crate mighta been taken out in the trunk of a car or a truck. Vehicles were comin' and goin' all the time."

Jim Ellison moved next to Buck, inspecting the weapon. Captain Banks spoke up, "We checked out the gang that robbed the bank and found an informant that had some very interesting information on this," nodding his head toward the new gun holder."

"I want to talk to him!" Larabee stated.

"Jim?" Banks questioned.

Looking at Larabee, feeling the resentment coming off him in waves, said, "Sure, I'll let you talk to him."

"Alone?" Chris queried.

"No, he won't go for that. We can meet up here tomorrow after I see if I can locate him. Fair enough?"

Larabee glared at him, received the same glare in return and muttered, "Fair enough."

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Back at the hotel, Larabee turned to Vin stating harshly, "I want to see you, Tanner, in my room, now!"

The others looked at each other apprehensively and went to their own rooms.

Chris shut the door, fuming, looked at Vin and tried to control his temper. "Who is this Jim-guy and what is he to you?"

"I dun told ya, Chris, he was my C.O. in the Rangers, he..."

"Did you fuck him?" He asked in a low controlled voice.

Chris may as well have been shouting from the reaction he received. Vin's eyes grew wide as if he'd been slapped, he took a step back, wrapped his arms around himself protectively and exclaimed, "What! No! How could ya even think such a thing. He was my C.O., Shit Chris!"

"Then how come ever time I looked at you he had his hands all over you?" the angry blond demanded.

"He didn't! I can't believe we're even havin' this talk!" Vin looked at his lover, still feeling vulnerable. "The Cap'n was like, like... a... a... a Pa ta me, I can't believe this, cowboy. Yer jealous?"

Suddenly contrite and feeling a bit foolish, Chris took a deep breath, exhaled and mumbled, "I'm not jealous. I just didn't like it when he kept touching you." Taking a step forward, he was dismayed when Vin stepped back away from him. "I'm sorry Vin, I know better, but..."

"But what cowboy, we was glad ta see each other, so ya think we fucked? Hell, I'd heard he was dead when they found the Cap'n in Peru. But it was his trainin' and stubbornness that kept me alive in Somalia. That scar yer always kissin' on is what I brought back from there." Vin took a deep breath as painful memories assailed him.

"Damn it...!" Chris raked his hands through his hair as images of the ugly scar that covered part of Vin's body vivid in his mind's eye. "I'm sorry, Vin, I'm really sorry."

Vin started for the door and Larabee quickly asked, "Stay?"

"I can't cowboy, not tonight. I ain't mad 'r nothin'...but just not tonight." Gripping the handle, Tanner turned and looked at his team leader, "The Cap'n can help us, Chris, he has some sorta uncanny ability ta hear things the rest of us can't. He's the one taught me ta listen fer things that don't belong. To see a scene as it is, not what it should be. I know ya ain't suppose to rely on the locals, but he'd be a real help. If ya ask him that is." Opening the door, he stepped out.

Chris stood alone in his room. Well, he thought, that went well. Keep it up and he'd lose Vin forever. Slowly getting ready for bed, he thought about the man he'd met tonight. He looked formidable and had matched Larabee glare for glare. He smiled to himself. Hell, it looked like he'd met his match. Maybe he'd check this guy out and see what help he really could provide. Captain Banks wasn't a fool either. He'd learned that tonight as well.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Across town, two other men arrived home. Blair was angry, but Jim was acting like it was no big deal. Geez, every time he'd looked at his partner, he was rubbing somewhere on that long-haired Fed guy. And the Fed, Tim? Ken? no, Vin? wasn't it? Well, he certainly wasn't discouraging it either.

"Okay Chief, spit it out before you choke on it! I can see you're upset. Hell, I can smell it!"

"Were you doing that on purpose, trying to upset me? Because, Jim, if you don't want me here..."

"Hey chief," Jim took Blair in his arms, "Don't ever think I don't want you here, I love you, of course, I want you here with me."

"Then what was that tonight? You were hanging all over that guy. I know you were glad to see him, but don't you think you went a little overboard with the old friend bit?"

Ellison smiled. "I believe that Larabee and Vin Tanner may be lovers. I could smell the anger coming off of him, so I decided to give him something to be angry about. I just enjoyed baiting him. That's all. I'm sorry if I hurt you, though. You know I wouldn't do that intentionally." Jim kissed the top of Blair's head. "It's obvious he's a smug bastard, used to getting his way. Before we go to bed, I'm going to check him out."

And so it went, on a laptop in a hotel room, the name Ellison was being typed in and across town in a loft apartment the name Larabee was also being entered.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Ellison and Larabee sat in Jim's Ford truck waiting for Jim's snitch to show up. Larabee had left his team eating breakfast at the hotel and met Ellison at the police department garage. They were sitting in a remote section of the city park. The snitch was late.

Chris opened the truck door. "You going somewhere?" Jim inquired.

"Thought I'd step out and smoke." Jim nodded as Chris leaned up against the truck and lit up his cheroot.

Jim, tired of the silence said, "I know you want to ask me about Tanner, so why don't you?"

Larabee's head shot up, "That's none of my business," Chris shrugged his shoulders but gave in to the offer. "How well did you know him?"

"You mean, we're we fucking?"

Chris sucked some smoke into his lungs and coughed several times. Getting his breath back, said, "No, I know better than that. He said you were like a father to him."

"Ah, so you've already talked." Jim smirked. "Well, when he came to Ranger Training, he was really green. Oh, he had street smarts, all right, but green." Jim looked at Chris, "If you know what I mean."

"Yeah, I do," he answered.

"He was a scrappy little devil. Thought he could take on the world and willing to do it. I tried to calm him down a bit. And the kid could shoot. I've never seen anyone could shoot better, not even me and I'm good. He just barely beat my score."

Chris smiled proudly, "Yeah, he can shoot all right. He has the best score in the Western Division of the ATF. I'm sure he could beat the Eastern Division Champ, if he'd get into the competition."

"The ATF has sharpshooter competitions?" Jim asked aghast.

"No, just some friendly sport." Chris grinned. Hesitating, he went on, "Vin's never talked about his time in Somalia."

"I'm not surprised. Kid took a bad hit. He's tough though. We'd been in the thick of it, but had made it back to the base. We were still needed, so my team went back into the Maelstrom. We were able to rescue a couple of wounded Rangers from Delta Force, then we took fire ourselves. Vin was hit, but kept right on going. We were able to hold up in a hut for a time. Fighting was still pretty intense. Then, Tanner took another hit. We slapped a field dressing on it, put him on a stretcher and hightailed it out of there. The kid was hurt, bleeding and just about out of it, but he kept right on firing at the enemy. Took out several of the bad guys before we were able to get him to a chopper. That chopper was about ten feet off the ground when it took a hit and came back down. We were able to get him off of it and onto another one." Jim paused, his face thoughtful and haunted by memories. He'd lost several good men that day. Then glancing up, he said, "Oh, here comes our man."

Larabee finished his smoke just as a shaggy looking man approached the truck. He was looking around furtively, keeping a wary eye on the world around him.

"Hey Jonesy, what's up? You're late."

"Yeah, I know, had ta be sure no one was followin' me." Pausing, he then continued "I heard that Escobar has a fishin' trawler comin' in tomorrow night. Supposed ta take a shipment o' guns and the like on it. It's from one of them Eastern countries I heard. I don't know iff'n that helps ..er what ya want, but it's all I've heard 'bout. Uh, kin ya spot me a sawbuck 'r two?"

"Yeah, Jonesy, How about five-oh?" Jim turned to Chris, "You have any money?"

"That'd be great, Jim." Jonesy looked hopefully at Chris.

Larabee dug his wallet out and handed over the $50.00.

"How reliable is his information?" He asked after the informant left and the men were getting back into the truck.

"Never misses, well okay, almost never." Jim grinned.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Once back at the station house, Jim filled the others in on the information Jonesy had given him. Banks said he'd get a list from the wharf supervisor of the upcoming dockings. Josiah started a file on Escobar. Banks filled the ATF profiler in on one Armando Escobar, resident drug smuggler, gun dealer and prostitution pimp. Cascade police had never caught him with the goods, so they were never able to prosecute or make any charges stick. The man was slicker than slime and able to worm his way out of any arrest. So far, even the Feds hadn't tried to bring him down. Although Larabee wondered about that, he didn't have time to question why.

The SAC from Team Seven in Denver was about to change that circumstance. Larabee secured several satellite images of Escobar's home. It was located on top of a hill, on Grace Island across from Cascade. The island was accessible only from the Taum Sauk Bridge, which traversed several islands along the coastline. This bridge was the only way off or on those islands which were all privately owned.

Laying these photos out on the table in the conference room, the ATF team asked a lot of questions that Jim and Simon were able to answer. The powerful red glow from the greenhouse, made that the probable location of the weapons.

Since there wasn't time to get Ezra in undercover, his team had to rely on the Major Crimes Unit. Remembering the director's words about minimizing their involvement, Larabee wondered how he could do that when they were his main source of information.

Besides, these men were not only smart, but no-nonsense cops and Banks ran a tight ship. Although Chris and Detective Ellison had gotten off on the wrong foot, he found he liked the man and respected his straight-forwardness. A plan was soon formulated between Banks, Ellison and Larabee's team.

In an unrelated shooting the evening before, a Carmelo Gomez had been killed. Mr. Gomez was a known player in Escobar's gang. Using that as an excuse to question Mr. Escobar, Jim, Vin and Chris decided to pay a little visit to Escobar's home, do some reconnaissance, and check the place out. They were hoping Armando would be in his greenhouse or close to it so they would know the lay of the land firsthand.

Blair had to teach a class so he would be unable to make the afternoon trip, but would accompany them later.

Buck and Josiah would secure a police helicopter and hover over the bridge and surrounding area, while JD and Nathan took the other Escalade to guard the bridge at the entrance of the islands. Then the team would go in after dark with their warrant, raid the estate, greenhouse included, and procure the guns. Ezra was to accompany the Cascade police along with Bank's Team on the raid of Escobar's home. Afterward, they would return to Cascade and lock them in a warehouse until the guns could be destroyed. A simple, clear-cut plan. What could go wrong?

"Do you want me to call Gentry and let him know about this plan and get a search warrant?" Buck asked.

"No, I don't trust that asshole. We'll let him know when we return the cars or better yet, I'll send him a copy of my report." Chris answered. "But those weapons need to be secured tonight. I'll call Travis and get what we need from him."

The visit went well. Luck seemed to be on their side as Escobar was in the greenhouse tending his flowers. Escobar put on a sad face about Gomez's untimely demise. He stated that Mr. Gomez was a groundskeeper, but had been fired several weeks before. The greenhouse was a large building, but Armando seemed determined to keep them confined to a small area of it. Vin and Chris glanced around, taking in what appeared to be an empty space at the far end of the room, while Ellison engaged their host in conversation. Finally, it was time to leave. Jim thanked the man for allowing them to take up his time and talking to them.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

It was close to ten at night, when Vin drove the Escalade up to Escobar's gate, followed by several cars of Cascade's finest police officers. Jim set off a small charge, the gate open and Vin drove through. Once inside the grounds of the estate, the police cars turned on sirens, and continued towards the house. Silently, Vin steered the SUV towards the greenhouse door, turned the car around and backed through the glass door, shattering the entryway. After searching for a few minutes, they found the crate on two wooden horses. After checking them, Vin and Jim lifted the crate and secured it in the back of the Cadillac.

Jim thought he heard something, listened intently, but couldn't distinguish anything from the other noises connected to the raid on the grounds.

A search warrant, secured from Judge Travis, was served by Ezra at the main house.

Chris quickly checked the area to be sure they weren't missing another crate, then left. None of them saw the person quietly slip away from the car. Jim thought he heard something again, but wasn't sure. Quietly, he said "I think we're being watched."

Vin looked at Chris, who answered, "We'll know in a minute. Let me drive, Vin," he whispered. "If there's trouble, I want you riding shotgun."

Vin nodded and moved to the passenger seat and took out his gun. Jim and Blair sat in back with Jim also checking his gun, "Look Chief, if any shooting starts, get down and stay down."

Blair nodded silently.

Larabee slipped the gear shift into drive and started rolling away from the greenhouse. Unfortunately, the moon was almost full so there wasn't much cover of darkness. He left the vehicle's headlights turned off as a precaution. Gliding silently along the driveway they reached the gate where three men stood with guns pointed at them. "Halt!" came the terse order.

Larabee stopped the car several yards from the entry, taking a moment to size up the situation. Knowing the gate had been damaged by the small bomb set off on their entry, he ordered, "Buckle up and hold on, we're going through!"

Ellison told Blair, "Get on the floor and stay there," while pushing his partner down.

Everyone tensed as Larabee hit the gas pedal and turned on the bright headlights, blinding Escobar and his guards. The SUV jumped forward and raced toward the gate. Vin and Ellison fired their guns as the car sped by, sending Escobar and his men scurrying for cover. The fence and gate went flying.

"Well, that was easy," Chris commented a few seconds later. "Everyone all right?"

"Too damn easy," Jim agreed. "I wonder what's waiting for us at the bottom of the hill?"

Agreeing that they were clear, Blair sat back into the seat. Vin kept silent watch, eyes intent on the road ahead and then sweeping landscape behind. He knew by instinct that the real attack was still ahead of them.

As the large SUV sped down the hill, Chris tapped the brake to slow the vehicle. There was a slight hesitation but then the auto continued to gain speed.

"Uh-oh," Chris mumbled.

"What's with the 'uh-oh's' cowboy?" Vin quizzed sharply. "I don't wanna hear any uh-oh's" Checking the outside mirror, he saw twin beams appear behind them and continued, "We got comp'ny! Now 'bout those uh-oh's."

"Brakes are out. Someone must have cut the line. We're not slowing down." Chris tensed, hands tight on the wheel. "Okay, everybody out, save yourselves." Larabee knew it was suicide for the others to jump, but he was hyped and needed to say something.

Holding tight to the wheel as they careened down the steep hill, Vin answered. "Hell, I ain't jumpin', you jump!"

Chris answered, "I can't jump, you jump."

"Nah, ladies first." came the reply.

The bridge was in sight as Chris responded tightly, "I can't jump, it'd be like a captain deserting his ship. Anyway, I got the wheel."

Vin, never leaving his spot in the passenger seat offered, "Give me the wheel and I'll drive, you go ahead and jump."

From the back seat Ellison quipped, "You both jump, we'll take over and drive! After all, you're our guests!"

As the car hit the flat deck of the bridge, it started fish-tailing and going out of control. The SUV was still going excessively fast, but at least now there was help. The car behind them was soon stopped by the other Escalade driven by JD and surrounded by the cops of the Major Crimes Bureau, while the chopper followed the speeding car.

Larabee knew he couldn't hold the SUV much longer and searched for a place to land it. They were over the bay now but knew that running it off the bridge into the water would probably kill them all, he continued trying to control the careening car.

"There's a beach just ahead," Jim volunteered. "Lots of brush, a few small trees and a big sandy area. If you can hit the sand first, the car'll slow down but the brush and trees will stop us. A few bumps and bruises but it probably won't kill us."

"I see it. Thanks. Tighten your seat belts." Chris muttered. Here we go!"

Larabee nudged the wheel of the car, running it along the guardrail, then the car left the road. The auto fairly flew through the air, smashing through a hedge and touching down on the sandy beach. It continued on into the foliage, slowing, but still traveling too fast. After mowing down a row of brush and some bushes, it finally hit a good sized tree, bringing the SUV to a dead stop. The airbags exploded with a loud bang!

Blair thought he might of blacked out. His head hurt, but Jim seemed to be talking to him. "Chief? Blair! Are you all right? Come on Chief, answer me, you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine, I think. You?" Blair responded breathlessly.

"Still in one piece...I think..." Jim assured him.

In the front seat, Chris looked at Vin. Blood was dripping from his nose onto his shirt. He seemed to have a split lip, but at least he was still breathing. "You okay there pard?"

"Yeah, I think so, I mighta broken my nose though." Vin's fingers tentatively touch the sore spot in the middle of his face as he tasted blood.

"That's a shame, I love that nose." Turning to the backseat, Larabee inquired, "Everyone okay?"

A quick glance to assure himself Chris was intact and uninjured and then giving his lover a half grin, Vin laid his head back on the headrest. Yep, all was still good in his world.

Bright lights suddenly flooded the damaged vehicle and Larabee's door was jerked open by Nathan. "You guys okay? Vin? An ambulance is on the way! You got the guns? We have the gun runners secured. Talk ta me, you all right? That was some drivin'!"

Turning to Josiah, Nathan quipped, "That was Chris driving, hell, I thought it was Vin!"

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

In the emergency room, Blair was put in one cubicle and Vin in another. Blair had sustained a gash to his forehead that was still bleeding. Four stitches was required to close the cut. Since concussion was a factor, Blair was admitted for observation. His doctor assured Ellison, if there were no complications, he could go home the following day. Captain Banks had been called and apprised of the situation.

Vin's nose was still trickling blood when he was brought in. The broken nose was x-rayed and splinted. His cut lip required two stitches to close. Seeing from his records, that he was from out-of-town, the doctor told him he could stay at the hospital for the night. Tanner quietly refused.

Jim and Chris was checked out by the medical staff, but aside from bruises, they were declared fit. Both men were ordered to report to their personal physicians if they experienced nausea, blurred vision or dizziness.

Several hours later, team seven headed back to their hotel in the one remaining Escalade while Jim made himself comfortable. He informed Larabee that he was going to stay with Blair, but would see them tomorrow around noon or one o'clock at the station house.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Vin woke up with a throbbing headache, his face hurting like a sonuvabitch. He had refused the doctor's offered prescription for pain meds, but he thought maybe Larabee had picked it up. He rose from the bed and headed for the bathroom. Looking in the mirror while washing his hands, he almost scared himself. His face was one large purple bruise and swollen. The white nose splint stood out in contrast. The bruising around his nose, mouth and under both eyes, reminded him of the raccoon that lived out by the pond on the ranch. He grinned in spite of himself; it'd be funny if he didn't hurt so bad. Ezra was still asleep, he noticed.

The phone in the room rang. Vin answered it, knowing it was Chris "Hey, pard, you up? Ezra? Talk to me, how're ya feeling?" Vin glanced at the clock on the nightstand. 11:00 A.M. it read.

Startled, "Shit cowboy, why'd ya let me sleep so late? Ezra's still asleep, I think."

"I didn't! We haven't much more than gone to bed, remember? That was only a few hours ago."

"Oh, yeah, that's right..."

"Vin, are you okay? You're worrying me, here."

"Yeah, I'm fine. Uh... Chris, I don't suppose ya picked up that prescription the doc tried ta give me last night, did ya?"

"Yeah, I did. But it hasn't been filled yet. You needing the pain meds?"

"Reckon, it's startin' ta hurt a bit."

"I'm not surprised! I'll call the desk and find out where there's a pharmacy close by and get it filled for you."

"Thanks cowboy."

"In the mean time, get Ezra up and get dressed, we're meeting with Major Crimes in a few hours. I've already called the others. Everyone is meeting in the coffee shoppe at 11:30."

"Okay, we'll be there, just find out where you can get that script filled."

Chris hung up the phone, worried. Vin had either just woke or he was hurting badly. Maybe both. He sounded like he was slurring his words. The leader for Team Seven called the front desk and was happy to hear there was a Walgreen's about two blocks away. Since he was already dressed, he checked for directions and sauntered down to the pharmacy, waited and hiked back just in time to meet his team.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

After greeting the team from Denver, Captain Banks informed them, "I arranged for your car to be towed into the impound and a police report made for your insurance. Was this a rental?"

Everyone from Team Seven chuckled. "It was on loan to the ATF from the FBI," Buck said. "Can we take a look at it?"

"Sure, "Banks smiled. "The FBI, huh?"

Arriving at the impound yard, Banks nodded towards the car that had been wrecked. Smiling and repeating, "On loan from the FBI, huh, don't you hate when that happens?"

The others chuckled. Inspecting the car closely, Larabee could see the entire front end was smashed. The airbags hung limp and the windshield was cracked. The passenger side was bent and caved in where he'd run it along the steel barrier. The side windows front and back were shattered and had blood smears from Vin and Blair. Chris figured they must have been thrown to the side to sustain that much damage, his stomach knotted. Vin's face all ready looked like he'd gone ten rounds with Muhammad Ali. Shit, he could have been killed. Blair, also.

Guiltily he asked. "How is Blair? Is he out of the hospital yet?"

"Yes, Jim took him home a little while ago. Said to tell you he'd be in later. Car looks to be totaled. It's all tore up underneath as well. They don't make them like they used to."

Nathan stepped around the car. "Vin and Blair were lucky by the looks of it."

Vin touched his nose gingerly, "Don't feel so lucky, but how happy do ya think Gentry will be that we returned his car..."

"Scathed?" Ezra supplied, grinning. "We'll just point out that only one car was involved in a mishap that was not of our doing."

"You won't be returning this car unless it's on the back of a tow truck," Ellison said, walking up to the group. " Hell, I hadn't realized it had taken such a beating," Jim mused, looking over what used to be a luxury SUV and was now a crumpled wreck.

He nodded greetings to everyone, "How's Blair," Vin wanted to know. For himself, he was tired and wanted nothing more than to head back to the hotel and sleep. But there were still reports to be written.

"He's still feeling a little sick. I left him at home, told him I'd come home early, but to call me if he needs to."

"You don't look so good yourself, pard," Larabee glanced at his partner. "Why don't you head back to the hotel, get some rest and worry about your report later," he suggested.

"I think I will, cowboy," he answered. "I think those meds are beginnin' ta kick in."

"Ezra, would you make sure he gets there okay? Captain Banks, we're going to need pictures of the car... "

"I had a team going over the SUV last night before they brought it in. The crate of weapons were inventoried and placed in a police storage unit. Pictures of this car, front and back, have been taken. I'm sure some of the results must be back." Simon paused, thinking, "You can use the conference room to write up your reports. I'll give you copies of all the evidence collected. As you know there are only two computers in that room, but I have two empty desks you can use, too." Banks informed everyone as they traipsed out of the impound yard and back to the office.

"Thank you Captain, I'm going to let my boss know how much help you guys have given us. You and your team have been a huge help in getting this thing done."

Banks smiled, embarrassed, "Thanks," he muttered.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

After dropping Vin off, Ezra hurried back to the police department. Everyone had settled in, doing paperwork. Larabee called Judge Travis and reported in on the success of their assignment. Judge Travis informed Chris that the Israeli's wanted the weapons back and the Federal Government wanted them destroyed. Larabee groaned, now the two factions would argue over these arms for years, while the crates sat in the warehouse, vulnerable to another theft.

A few hours later Tanner appeared at the station house, looking a lot better and ready to do the hated paperwork. Banks ordered take-out for everyone, but when Chris offered his credit card, Simon refused, saying the city of Cascade could afford to feed it's visitor's. It had only been a few days acquaintance, but already these men felt a shared existence of camaraderie and fellowship.

Catching Chris alone in the mens room and checking to be sure they were by themselves, Vin asked quietly, "When we headed home, cowboy?"

"Why, you in a hurry?" His partner smiled. "Probably tomorrow. We were told to get it done by the end of the week, and tomorrow's Friday."

"I talked ta Blair a few minutes before I came in and he invited us ta spend the weekend with him and the Cap'n. Said they'd talked 'bout it earlier comin' home from the hospital."

"Sorry cowboy, I can't stay." He held a hand up to stop a remark from Vin, "Maybe we can come back in a few weeks, take a few days off, enjoy this beautiful country. But pard, you know this trip is business and I have to get back. If you want to stay, fly back Sunday, well, that should be okay..." Larabee's voice trailed off.

"Nah, I'll come back with you guys. It's nice seein' the Cap'n again and all....you said a few weeks?"

"Yeah Vin, I promise, I'll try and get a long weekend off and we'll come back." Larabee grinned, then pulled Tanner into a stall for a quick kiss, without closing the door. As the kiss sparked into a passion neither man was ready for, the main door opened and Detective Ellison walked in, stopping when he noticed them. He smiled and said, "I'll wait," and stepped back into the hallway.

Larabee reluctantly let go of Tanner. Vin, red faced, looked at Chris questioningly. "Don't worry pard, it'll be okay," he assured his partner. Chris set a glare on his face, checked his clothes and both of them stepped into the corridor.

Larabee found Jim leaning up against the wall. He faced him with an 'I dare you to say something' glare and almost growled.

Jim gave a chuff of laughter, put his arms up in surrender, and said with a smile, "I give, back off, I'm not about to reveal your secrets, when I have a plenty of my own."

Chris visibly relaxed, took a step back and glanced at Vin, answering, "So I've heard."

Ellison continued, "You were taking a big chance there," as he looked at Vin and Chris, "This being a busy restroom. You're lucky it was me stepped in. So, you two going to take our invitation up, stay a few days?"

Chris frowned, "You know, I wish we could. But I have to get back and report to the Director. He's sending his jet for us tomorrow and I know he'll want us on it. If the invite stays open, Vin and I'll try to come back in a couple of weeks and spend a few days with you."

"Hey yeah, that'll be great! You do know that Cascade has an airport? It's not as large as Sea-Tac, but all the major airlines fly in and out of here."

Larabee grinned, "I'll keep that in mind. I wish the director would pick us up here, then I wouldn't have to deal with that asshole Gentry." Larabee chuckled, "Although the look on his face when he see's the SUV will be worth it, I guess. What do you think Vin?"

Tanner graced them with a lopsided grin, "Yeah, I reckon," he drawled.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

It was getting close to 10 o'clock at night when the seven men from Denver wrapped up all their paperwork. Larabee had faxed a copy to the judge, left him a voice-mail and everyone was calling it a night. The team was heading out for the hotel and hopefully a good nights sleep. Simon and his team were headed home. Ezra would not have cared if Vin spent the night in Larabee's room, but after being caught once today, neither man wanted to chance it. And truthfully, Vin still hurt and Chris had had too long a day. Being on a top floor he left the drapes open and succumb to sleep.

Early the next morning, the team leader's cellphone rang. The tune "When the Saints Come Marching In" played, shattering his peaceful sleep. Chris opened his eyes and peeked at the clock. God-damned, who was calling him at the ungodly hour of 5:00 in the morning, he wondered.

Mumbling when he answered, "This better be important,"

Judge Travis said, "Chris, Chris, you awake? Come on, answer me, you awake?"

Chris sat up in bed, rub his hands through his hair and pinched his nose before answering. "Yeah, I'm here, what'cha need, Judge?"

"Now don't get upset Chris, I know you've finished your job and ready to come home, but, you're going to have to stay another day."

Outside, lightening was streaking across the sky, thunder could be heard rumbling and rain was hitting the windows, It had been cloudy and overcast the whole time they'd been here, so the storm wasn't a complete surprise.

Larabee rubbed the back of his neck, "Why do we have to stay another day?"

"The director went back to D.C. on Wednesday thinking he could get back by Friday, but, well... you know Chris... things happen. The jet will pick you up in Cascade tomorrow around 11:00 A.M. at the government facility. Just think of this as a day off, relax and let Vin rest. How is he, by the way?"

"When we got back to the hotel last night, his broken nose was bothering him. I don't know how he is today. I faxed you a copy of our reports."

"I got 'em! Your team did a fine job getting those weapons back, but what's this about some award for Captain Simon Banks and his team?"

"They really helped us a lot, Judge. I got squat from Gentry, but a hard time and some shit about files and cars. Asshole! Anyway, I think the Major Crimes Unit deserves some recognition for a job well done or something."

"Okay Chris, I'll have Gloria work on it. Don't forget, tomorrow, 11 A.M., I'll see you on Monday!"

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

It had been a great day. Everyone had fanned out, Nathan and Josiah visited the Museum of Natural History. Ezra had found a card game, illegal, but still a card game. Vin and Chris spent some quality time in the hotel room, then joined Buck and JD at the hotel's inside pool.

Everyone had agreed to meet up with Jim and Blair for dinner, and now drinks were being enjoyed at a local cops bar not far from the station house.

Vin, Blair, and JD were playing pool, Jim and Chris sat at the bar talking, Buck was charming some ladies at a table. They informed Buck they were a wedding party and the bride was getting married on Saturday. Buck beamed! Ezra was still occupied with his card game, while Bank's team joined Nathan and Josiah at a table discussing their day.

"What do you think they're talking about?" Blair wondered, watching Chris and Jim talk and share a laugh.

Tanner glanced over to the bar, "You 'n me most likely." he grinned.

"Like what?"

"Aw who knows Blair." Vin shrugged. "Maybe they're swapping war stories. They're were both career soldiers."

Vin wasn't far off the mark as the two older men were discussing their domestic partners.

"I love Blair and I'd like to enter into a domestic union with him, but I'm not sure that's what he wants. What about you and Vin? You going to make an honest man of him?" Both men grinned and Chris shrugged.

"In our line of work, it's not possible. Maybe when I retire, but not now." He took a drink of his beer, "I've been trying to get him to move out to the ranch though."

"Ranch?" Jim quizzed

"My home," he answered.

"Is he comfortable out there? I mean..." Jim paused, "Does he feel at home there? Anyone else ever live there or live there now?"

"Just my wife and son before they died. Just me now... ," he took another drink.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know."

Chris smiled forlornly, acknowledged the sentiment and continued. "No reason you would, but yes," he sighed heavily, "To answer your question, Vin loves the ranch. His horse is out there and he works as hard as I do to maintain the place. Hell, I've left him the property in my will." Larabee wondered why this guy, a stranger really, was so easy to talk to and why was he telling him this stuff.

"Yeah, I've done the same for Blair. Poor kid, growing up, his mom was a hippy, drug him from commune to commune. He didn't have a father or any stability in his life, but he seems to be pretty well grounded now."

As one, they both turned to watch the three young men playing pool.

"Vin told me, he really looked up to you. In foster care he lived with this family for awhile that was pretty good to him, the Walkers? He said Joe Walker was his first positive male influence and you were his second. So you and Joe were the two people that helped make Vin the man he is today."

"No Chris, we just help shaped his life, he did all the rest!" Ellison smiled.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

The following morning Jim and Blair, saw their new friends off at the airport. It had just been a few days, but the bonds they had forged were strong. Everyone was invited back to Cascade and an invitation was extended to Jim and Blair to visit Colorado.

Vin added, "Bring Cap'n Banks too! We have some mighty fine fishin' at home!"

The doors closed and the jet took off.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Everyone was napping. Chris laid his head on the seat back, his eyes closed when his nose started itching. He'd rubbed at it, wave his hand in front of his face, even tried to blow whatever it was away. Opening one eye, he discovered a string waving in front of him and lightly touching his face and cheeks. He looked around and spied Vin, who was smiling, leaning over his seat. With his eyes, Vin signaled towards the lavatory, grinning. Larabee got up and followed his smiling lover.

In the lavatory, Chris closed the lid on the toilet, locked the door and sat down. Pulling Vin closer, he proceeded to open the button on the younger man's jeans and slowly slide down the zipper. Spying a little show of skin between jeans and shirts, Larabee caught his lover's belly in his teeth and sucked it into his mouth. Chris, his hands now under the shirts, lightly skimmed up the body and found a little brown nub and pinched.

Vin jerked, "Damn cowboy, that hurts," he whispered.

Larabee looked up and smiled, kissed the spot he'd been sucking and lightly pinched the nipple again. "Sit down, " he requested.

Vin straddled his lap, wrapping both arms around the body he loved. Chris was brushing gentle kisses on his lips, eyelids, and finally sucking in an earlobe. He laved his tongue all around the shell of the ear. Vin's hands found their way under Chris's shirt, touched skin and massaged his lover's back.

Vin groaned, trying to snuggle even closer, his hard cock rubbed against Chris's through their clothing. They found each other's mouths, kissing passionately until both needed to breathe.

"Lets get some of these clothes off, pard." Tanner raised up, slid his jeans down to his knees, while Larabee tried to lower his slacks.

Tanner sat back down, his back to Larabee. Wrapping his arms around Vin, and using the soft soap on the shelf, Chris fondled Vin's ballsac and the sensitive area behind, finally reaching the little oval he was searching for, inserted his finger, then two fingers and scissored them open. Removing his digits and using more soap, he lubricated himself. "Ready?" he asked his soulmate. "Hell, yeah...." he breathed.

Vin raised up a little while Chris fit his shaft into the tiny hole, and slowly eased his body back down. Larabee leaned back and Tanner spread his legs a little wider. With both arms still wrapped around his lover, Chris took hold of Vin's hard member and they began a familiar dance that was older than time and set to a rhythm with its own pulse. Holding on to each other tightly with an intimacy born from mutual affection, love and respect, they built up to a crescendo of music only they could hear. Reaching the highest note, they floated back to a cloud of bliss and completeness.

Relaxing into each other, trying to catch their breath, Vin whispered, "Damn, cowboy!"

Catching his breath and still holding onto the body he loved, Chris whispered, "I love you so much Vin. Life is too uncertain pard and I want you with me. Please say you'll move out to the ranch. I love waking up next to you and the days you're not there, I just... feel lost. You're right, I do miss you." He kissed Vin's back, neck and ran a tongue around the shell of his ear.

Vin sighed, He wanted to move to the ranch, he wanted to be with Chris, but he was scared. It would be a big change, one he wasn't sure he was ready for. One he wasn't positive Larabee was ready for. Sighing, he rose and began to cleanup, shrugging, making up his mind.

"I'll tell you this, cowboy," Vin said quietly, "If I move out there I won't be bullied or accused of somethin' or screamed at 'cause you're having a bad day."

"I wouldn't do that...," Chris began.

"A little jealousy ain't a bad thin'. Hell, I've felt a twinge of it myself a few times, and the deal with the Cap'n and me, I'm willin' ta overlook 'cause we's all tired and cranky. But if you're willin' ta try, then I'm willin' to try, but I ain't givin' up my apartment just yet. I'll sublet it to Mrs. Diego,s daughter fer a spell and we'll see what happens. Okay?"

Larabee rose from the commode and commenced to cleaning up his body. "I wasn't jealous..." He started again.

Smiling, he said "Don't even go there Larabee. Ya ready?" he asked before opening the door. Chris was just tucking in his shirt and zipping his jeans. Larabee turned Vin around and gave him a light kiss on the splint covering his nose. "I love you, pard," he whispered and his smile said everything else.

Stepping into the tiny hallway, Vin went into the main cabin, while his lover went to the galley for coffee. Both were smiling, thinking about the change that was about to take place in their lives. Yes, Chris thought, a change they were both ready for.

~~~~~~~ M7/TS ~~~~~~~

Epilogue:

AD Miles Gentry, his driver and two ATF Agents walked into the Cascade Transportation Department of Police Headquarters. They were there to retrieve the two Esclades and were to see a Captain Thomas Duncan. Captain Duncan gave the men an apologetic look as he escorted them to the space the two cars were stored. The ATF Agents looked on in shock when they viewed the SUV's. One of the cars was totaled. The front and sides caved in, windows broken and the undercarriage bent with weeds and grasses embedded in it. Sand was visible along the bottom sides of the Cadillac. The other Escalade was intact, but covered in mud and sand.

AD Gentry's face turned red, he opened his mouth to speak, but no words emerged. He closed his mouth, tried to open it again, but his faced just got redder.

Captain Duncan feared the man was having a heart attack and started to call for help, when his driver shook his head and spoke up.

"Captain Duncan, any way we can get a tow from you?"

The words seemed to bring Gentry back into consciousness. He flipped open his cellphone, punched in a few numbers and screamed into it. "JUDGE TRAVIS!!!"

THE END

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