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Broken, Mag7 ATF AU (3/3)

Ezra lay with his battered face on the ground. Jesus, he hurt. He heard a muddled voice speaking near him.


“I have a message for you,” Jimmy said.


Is he talking to me? thought Ezra.


“You should never cross Charles O’Brien.”


The three shots that followed each other rapidly hit the dirt near Ezra’s face and shoulders. He flinched slightly, but otherwise didn’t move. He was too weak. Then he felt something hit him in the back, and he felt it slide off to the side next to him. He heard a strange squawking coming from the item. A phone? 


Jimmy squatted down and took a pulse, mostly for Rick’s benefit. He said in a low voice, “You owe me one.”


With that, Jimmy got up, turned and left. He didn’t look back. Ezra heard the car door shut and the car take off. 




“JD, please tell me you got something,” Buck implored. When Chris had dropped into his chair and sat, shocked, Buck had taken charge again. He picked up the phone receiver and began barking into it, at the same time gesturing for JD to start a trace on it. Chris hadn’t been able to speak for a full minute, his face a mask of despair. When he did speak, he softly decreed, “They killed him.”


With the line still open, JD was able to get a trace and a location. “He’s by the rest stop on 41,” JD replied.


“Call the local PD. Have them send the ambulance and forensics,” Buck said resignedly.


“Let’s bring our brother home,” Josiah said sadly as he clapped Buck on the shoulder.




Two cars pulled up to the rest area ablaze with rolling lights. Six sad looking men piled out of the two vehicles, not ready to face the loss of one of their own. Vin was the first to move towards the area where all the action was happening. 


Approaching a uniformed officer, he asked, “Where is he?”


The officer pointed over to an area busy with activity. Vin moved towards the area the officer indicated. Behind him, the other five had started to move at a slower pace. No one wanted to face this. As Vin reached the trees, he could see paramedics working on someone. His stomach dropped, and he broke into a run. Was Ezra alive?


Vin skidded to a stop on his knees next to the paramedics. “Ezra? Ezra can you hear me?”


“He’s out,” one of the medics said. “We had to sedate him. He came to and started fighting like hell.”


“How is he?”


“He’s had the shit beat out of him, but he’s stable enough to move.”


Vin was confused. “What about the gunshots?”


The medic looked at him. “Sir, he wasn’t shot. Now excuse us, we have to go.” And with that, the gurney was wheeled to the waiting ambulance.


The other five members of the team intercepted the gurney and Nathan insisted on riding with the Southerner. There were no arguments; no one wanted Ezra to be alone.


Chris, Buck, JD and Josiah joined Vin in the spot where Ezra was found. Vin looked up as they approached. “Did you see?”


“Yeah Vin, we saw,” Chris answered.


“Never give up on that man,” Vin said heatedly as he pointed to the departing ambulance. “He’s like a damn cat,” he added in a more subdued voice.


“We heard him get shot,” Chris said as he looked around. He couldn’t look at Vin right now, knowing that Vin had been speaking directly to him.


“No, we heard the shots,” Vin said, pointing to the ground. “They went here, here and here.”


“The guy missed? Three times?” Buck asked.


“I think he hit exactly what he was aiming at,” said Josiah. 


“So there’s someone on the inside of O’Brien’s organization?” JD asked quietly.


“Maybe JD. Come on, let’s get to the hospital.” Chris turned and went back to the vehicles. 




No matter how many times they had been here, it was never easy.  


Ezra’s face seemed even more colorful under these lights. His skin looked pale, but that could have been from the contrast of purples from his bruises. There was extensive soft tissue damage to Ezra’s face, They would have to wait for the swelling to go down before they could tell if there was any permanent scarring. A gash on his face, his lip and the inside of his mouth had required stitches. His jaw had been broken and had required two screws and a plate to hold it together. The scarring should be minimal, the doctors said, but it would depend on the other soft tissue damage of the face. Two of his teeth were loose on his right side, and his cheekbone had been cracked. The cheek injury shouldn’t need surgery unless it caused a cosmetic problem. His torso had been battered. There was a large bruise on his sternum, and many of his intercostal muscles had been strained. His chest wall was also bruised. Nathan had explained to them that this meant that even breathing would be very painful for the Southerner, and he would need help doing everyday things while healing. More worrisome, though, was the bruising to his kidney, causing small amounts of blood in his urine, and the concussion he was sporting.


In short, Ezra was a fucking mess. He was in considerable pain, the doctors said, and would be for a while. Due to the broken jaw, Ezra was only going to be able to eat soft foods for a while, giving the bone time to heal. He would be living on painkillers for a while and Nathan assured the medical staff that all their instructions would be followed to the letter.  


Chris sat next to his agent’s bed, staring at the bruises on his face. He shook his head and looked down at his own feet. Ezra had been awake earlier, but still didn’t seem all there. He flinched and stiffened when Buck touched him, so by unspoken agreement no one else tried to. Ezra obviously couldn’t see out of the right eye, being swollen shut, so part of the reason for flinching could have been just plain surprise. He had fallen back asleep shortly after that.


At Nathan’s suggestion that they go get something to eat while Ezra slept, they had cleared out. Chris stayed. He didn’t feel right leaving Ezra alone yet.


Still staring at his own feet, he hadn’t realized Ezra had awoken until he spoke.


“It’s not your fault Chris.” The voice was weak and tired, raspy.


Chris looked into the one open eye. He nodded. He wouldn’t win that battle with Ezra. Not now, not ever.


“Why did you pick now to start listening to me?” Chris asked in a quiet voice.


Ezra snorted then grimaced in pain. “What, about getting closer to O’Brien?” His words were slightly distorted due to his facial injuries.


Chris nodded.


“I thought I was supposed to listen to you.” Chris just stared at him. Ezra sighed. “I did what I had to do. I would have done it regardless of what you said.”


“It wouldn’t have happened if…”


“If what? If I had just kept trudging along at a snail’s pace? The only way it wouldn’t have happened is if I didn’t do my job.”


Chris nodded again. 


They were both silent for a moment before the door opened. Vin slipped in soundlessly and walked up to his two friends. “Hey Ez.”


Ezra turned his face as much as possible and turned up the unbruised corner of his mouth in a poor impression of a smile. “Vin.”


“Got something of yours. I kept it, figgerin’ you’d want it back.”


Ezra looked at Chris, then back at Vin as he fished into his jacket pocket and pulled out a plastic baggie. He handed it to Ezra, who looked at the object in the bag. His gold tooth.


“Thanks Vin. I, uh, I didn’t think I would see this again. For a while, I didn’t think I would be needing it again…”


Vin looked at Chris while Ezra stared at the baggie. He looked back at the Southerner and asked, “You wanna talk about it?”


Ezra let the hand with the baggie fall to the bed. “No,” was the simple answer. 


“Alright. If you do…” Chris let it hang.


Ezra nodded slightly, and winced in pain.




Ezra had to stay in the hospital for three days. When he was finally discharged, he returned to his house and was not left alone. Josiah was concerned that Ezra may have a problem with staying in the place where the attack had happened. His doors had been replaced and the apartment had been cleaned since the attack, but Josiah  felt that he shouldn’t be left alone for a while. Plus the fact that with his rib injuries, he wasn’t going to be able to do a lot of day to day activities, like reaching a shelf or picking up something that was dropped.


Surprisingly, Ezra didn’t fight them on it. He seemed to enjoy the company and was grateful to have the added security of his friends staying there. They knew he’d never admit it but Ezra had been worried about going back to his home. 


When Ezra finally returned to work, he was still in pain, stiff and lacking his usual grace. As he continued to heal, the bruises faded, the stitches were removed, and he had his tooth replaced. He started smiling more and joking around. He didn’t flinch when people would touch him. He started to return to normal. Slowly.


O’Brien was off the radar. He had packed up and left town, and no one heard a thing about him for several months.




Judge Travis exited the elevator with his visitor in tow. He still shook his head about the whole situation. He should be angry, but he couldn’t make himself show anything other than thanks. This man had been a godsend.


Jimmy Rourke followed Travis off the elevator, his FBI credentials hanging from the breast pocket of his suit. His heart pounded in his chest. He knew Standish had survived the ordeal, but he hadn’t contacted him until now. He had contacted Travis first, giving the man the details of what had happened. Rourke had hoped to gage the AD’s reaction to the events, and maybe garner an ally in approaching Standish. If the AD reacted badly, then Jimmy thought he would leave the full explanation to Travis.


Travis had at first had a look of anger on his face, but as soon as Jimmy finished relaying his tale, Travis couldn’t help but smile. He even shook Jimmy’s hand. Jimmy was nervous to meet Standish as himself, and not as O’Brien’s goon. He had felt awful about the whole ordeal, and hoped Standish would understand. But even if he wouldn’t understand, Jimmy had to try.


The two men walked side by side as they came to the office of Team Seven. Travis opened the door and walked in, holding the door for Rourke behind him. 


“Hey Judge,” JD looked up from his computer at the duo. 


The rest of the team in the bullpen looked up at the kid’s announcement and all added their greetings, while looking skeptically at the FBI agent.


Rourke smiled tightly, knowing he was being sized up by these men. . He knew the stigma that came with being an FBI agent, especially with this team. 


“Boys,” said the Judge. “Where’s Standish?”


“Why?” asked Vin, taking a protective tone with his superior. FBI and Ezra Standish never mixed, and the Team was always wary when the two were on a collision course. The rest of the men were slowly rising from their desks, taking seats on corners or standing.


“Nothing’s wrong boys,” the Judge elaborated. “This is Special Agent Jimmy Rourke. He just wants to talk.”


“He’s in with Chris, Judge,” said Buck thumbing towards Chris’s closed door. “I’ll get him if you want.”


“Thanks Buck.” 


Buck nodded and went to Chris’s door.




“Yeah?” Chris yelled at the closed door. He and Ezra were going over an upcoming assignment that would require Ezra going undercover for the first time since the attack. The meeting was more for Chris’s well-being, Ezra reassuring Chris that he was up to the job and going over the cover story and persona he was going to use.


Buck poked his head in. “Hey Chris, sorry, but the Judge is here and he’s got a feeb with him. Wants to talk to Ezra.”


Ezra turned and looked over his shoulder at Buck, a question in his eyes, then turned back to Chris and cocked an eyebrow. No, he didn’t know what this was about. Chris and Ezra got up and followed Buck out of the office. Ezra exited first and halted mid-step. Chris had to sidestep him in order to avoid running into him. Chris looked questioningly at Ezra’s face, then looked at the FBI agent across the room. The tension was electric.


“Ezra?” Chris asked.


“What the fuck is this?” asked Ezra. His gaze wavered between the FBI agent and the Judge. Ezra’s body was rigid, remembering this man hitting him. Remembering the hurt. His heart pounded in his chest as he tried to calm himself by taking deep breaths. Had he been alone, he would look for an escape or ready himself for a fight. 


The rest of the Team tensed at Ezra’s use of language. They all took defensive stances, ready to pounce; something was more wrong than it appeared.


“It’s not what you think, Standish,” the Judge began. “This is Special Agent Jimmy Rourke.”


“This might have been a bad idea,” Jimmy said to the Judge.


“Ezra?” Buck asked from next to Chris.


“This gentleman,” Ezra gestured towards the agent, “is one of the men that visited me that morning with Mr. O’Brien,” he drew a breath, then continued, “and then proceeded to kick the hell out of me.” Ezra’s voice was calmer than he actually felt, but held an air of confusion. Did the judge just say agent?


All eyes in the room, save Travis’s, landed on Jimmy, whose gaze remained fixed on Standish. “And I’m sorry about that,” he began.


“So what, he’s just supposed to be fine with that because you’re an agent?” Vin said as he slowly advanced on Rourke. “He’s just supposed to forgive you, is that it?”


“I don’t expect to be forgiven. Shit, I don’t even expect to be listened to, but I want to set things right.”


“So set it right,” Buck nearly spat, his tone full of venom and incredulity.




“If you want to say it to me, you can say it to them,” Ezra nodded towards the rest of his team, still on alert.


“Boys,” the Judge said. His tone told them all to calm down.


Ezra nodded and crossed his arms over his chest. The rest of the team backed down, understanding that there was no threat to their team member.


Jimmy took a breath before he began. “I was undercover with O’Brien for almost two years. It wasn’t supposed to be that long when we started, but he kept changing cities and tactics, and I had to follow him. We went to your house that morning intending to find out what it was you wanted. I think you were about to be brought into the fold. But then Rick found your badge.”


“Shit,” said Nathan quietly. No wonder they beat the hell out of him.


“I never meant for any of that to happen, Standish. Believe that.”


Standish bowed his head, seeming to consider what Jimmy was saying.


“You helped kick his ass, how could you do that? Especially once you knew who he was?” Nathan asked. 


“I had to.” He spoke directly to Ezra. “You have to understand how deep I was and how much was at stake.” Jimmy spared a glance toward the other men. He wanted them all to understand, but their faces held a hardness that he wasn’t sure he could get through with his explanation. “The FBI should have let you guys know that there was someone on the inside, then you could have backed off. I don’t know why they didn’t.” Rourke’s voice held a sadness. 


“But you stood there, you helped…” Nathan couldn’t quite get his head around the fact that this agent could knowingly strike another agent, even if he had his reasons for doing so.


“I wouldn’t have let it go too far. You don’t have to believe me, but it’s true.” Jimmy looked back to Ezra, who had raised his head to meet the FBI agent’s eyes. “I wouldn’t have let them kill you.” 


Ezra nodded slightly at the agent.


“It’s of little consolation now,” said Josiah.


“Did you make the phone call?” asked Chris. “You’d ‘do all that you could’. Was that you?”


Rourke looked at the blond leader. “Yeah, it was me. I had to let you know he wasn’t dead, but I also couldn’t have you come storming in.”


“Did you dump him?” asked Josiah, a fire in his voice that was not quite anger, but close. “Left him like a piece of trash?”


Ezra winced slightly in remembrance. Coming to in the woods and fighting as the paramedics tried to help him was about all he could remember. And pain.


Jimmy looked at the tall profiler, remorse in his own eyes. He had noticed Ezra wince when the older man had spoken. “Yeah. That was me.”  His voice was laced with self-loathing.


“We thought you fucking killed him!” JD, who had been quiet up to this point, nearly yelled.


“JD,” Buck said.


“No Buck. Three shots. We all heard the three shots. We all thought he was dead. What the fuck was that?” JD couldn’t stop thinking about that day, that call. He remembered the looks on everyone’s face. Chris looked shattered, Buck was angry but took charge, Nathan had been on the verge of tears, Vin had launched out of his chair in the conference room and stared at the phone, then started pacing like a wild animal, and Josiah looked defeated. JD could only imagine the look on his own face that day, a mix of confusion and hatred, then flooded with grief. They had all been so… broken. 


“I had to.  We were lucky I was tasked with it. If it had been Rick, he would have killed you,” he looked at Ezra, who had his head bowed and was staring at the floor.


“I’ll be sure to send him a Thank-You card then,” said Buck acidly.


“He’s dead,” Rourke said.


“How?” asked Chris.


“At the bust. He went to take out a downed agent, and our sniper took him out. Rick’s dead too.”


“So much for getting enough information to keep him behind bars the rest of his life,” said Buck.


“He’s dead, but so is his operation,” said Rourke. “All the players are done. The organization is dead.”


“So that’s supposed to make us feel better? The ends justify the means?” Buck spat.


“No, but you have to understand that this was bigger than me, bigger than you,” Jimmy spat back. “Look, I don’t know what you want me to say.”


“Boys,” the Judge said, “I know that this is hard to comprehend right now, but without Agent Rourke’s role in this, Ezra would have been killed. We wouldn’t be having this conversation at all.”


“Doesn’t make it any easier to swallow Judge,” said Chris.


Ezra had been quiet, his gaze downward, listening to his teammates attack Rourke’s motives.  Abruptly, his head came up and he moved towards Rourke. Jimmy was ready to ward off a punch or a verbal attack. Ezra stopped two feet away from Jimmy and stuck his hand out. He looked Rourke in the eye, and said, “Thank you, Agent Rourke.” For saving my life.


Jimmy took the hand without hesitating. He shook it firmly, looking into Ezra’s eyes. He nodded once, accepting the thanks.  “Agent Standish.” He held the Southerner’s gaze a moment longer, communicating his own thanks with his eyes. 


Ezra nodded back, giving a half smile that showed off his replaced gold tooth, and slapped Jimmy lightly on the right arm before releasing his hand and heading for his desk. Both men had been genuine in their thanks, Ezra thanking him for saving his life, and Jimmy thanking Ezra for listening and understanding. The rest of the Team stood staring, some with mouths agape, that Standish could just all of a sudden let bygones be bygones. But everyone understood that nothing else was to be said to this man about what he had done. Ezra had put an end to it when he shook Rourke’s hand.


“Gentlemen, Judge,” Roarke said, nodding, “I have a plane to catch back to Columbus. Thank you for seeing me.” Jimmy turned and left, heading for the elevators. The Judge nodded to the team, then turned and followed the FBI agent out.


When the two men were gone, JD turned to Ezra. “Why’d you thank him?”


Ezra sat back in his chair, looking thoughtfully at JD. “He was sincerely sorry.”


“And that makes it fine?” he returned.


“No, far from it.  But it’s a start.” 


“I don’t know if I could thank the guy who made my friends think I was dead,” said JD.


“He saved my life JD. Any way you want to look at it, he saved my life. He made you think I was dead, he made O’Brien and Rick think I was dead, which is better than actually making me dead.”


“I’m still angry about it,” JD said.


“You have every right to be, but the anger will fade, eventually. Then I hope you’ll be able to see the situation for what it really was.” Ezra sat up and started to pull some files out of his desk. Around him, the rest of the team started to settle and get back to work.   They had been listening to his conversation with JD, and seemed to accept Ezra’s explanation. For now, anyway.


Chris shook his head and went back into his office. 


As the boys fell into their routine of the day, Vin leaned over from his adjoining desk and spoke quietly to Ezra, “You get him, don’t cha?”


Ezra looked at Vin and smiled a half smile. “Yeah, I do. I know what it took to do the job he just finished. And he still wanted to come and try to set things right.” 


“Mighty big of him.” Vin’s tone was serious, understanding what Ezra had been trying to say to JD.


“Yeah it was. It’s hard, you know? Being the guy who deals with the other side. It’s the nature of undercover work, but I know what it’s like to get those looks of ‘which side is he on?’ Two years is a long time to do anything.” He paused and ran his hand over his face. “I don’t know if I could have done it.”


“Done what?”


“Helped kick his ass to ultimately keep him safe. And after two years with people who would just as soon kill me if they knew who I really was. One simple slip and that would be the end of his life, and mine. He had to do what he did. That’s a shitty situation any way you look at it. But at the end of it, Agent Roarke still remembered who he was. Enough that he wanted to come and make sure things were all right between us.” He took a deep breath, his ribs still ghosting a pain that was now more healed than not. “I’ve done some things while undercover that I’m not proud of, Vin. I’ve never been faced with a situation like the one he was in, but I do understand the necessity of his actions.” 


“Yeah.” Vin leaned back in his chair and kicked his feet up on his desk, crossing his legs at the ankles. He cocked his head to the side to look at the Southerner. “Glad it turned out the way it did though.”


Ezra smiled. “Me too.”




( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Dude, nice! I think the changes really worked. :) Sorry I couldn't get back to you in time. But yeah... great work with this. Still made me tense at the end of the last part, even though I knew what happened. ^_^
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)
don't be sorry... you helped me so much with the initial comments you sent. :D

i'm glad you liked it.
Feb. 27th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this! :) Absolutley wonderful h/c story. Of which I hope you do plenty more.

*spouse, you have done me proud*
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:26 am (UTC)

i'm so glad you iked it. yeah, not so much comfort as hurt. *evil grin*

i plan on doing plenty more as well. i am still working on the gone wrong sequel (which i''m sure people are sick of hearing about), but this one demanded an audience first. the dream it was based on was only about one of them finding ezra's tooth on the floor of his ransacked house, along with blood. i woke up and was like "i have to know what happened!" so i wrote.

i'm happy with how it turned out, but it needed a lot of help. man, when i'm sick my brain just does not work. but i got through it, and got it done.

you're proud of me? *blush* aww shucks.

*big squishy spouse hugz*
Feb. 27th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
It turned out great, and if this is how you write when you're not well - even with a bit of help - I can't wait to find out how you write when you are feeling well.

My brain isn't working again ...

Very proud

*spouse hugs*
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
brains are always working, just not how you want them to.

and now that this one is done, i can get my semi-functioning brain cracking on another WIP that taunts me.


*smooshy spouse hugz*
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to it!

Feb. 27th, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Well done you!!! I really enjoyed this, especially the characterisation and the way the boys interact with each other. It was definitely worth the wait!!! Go eat cheese and have more crazy dreams ;)
Feb. 27th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
i'm glad you liked it! it took me a while, i know. i needed help with it, and thankfully i had some great feedback on it.

i swear, the dream fics are hard to write. there's this little bitty part that's the dream, and you have to make it make sense (or at least i do).

and yes, i will go eat candy and sweets, and yes maybe a little cheese, to feed my weird ass dreams.

(Deleted comment)
Feb. 27th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it. and i wish my dreams were all this interesting. i'm just happy it worked out in the story.

maybe i'll eat a lot of candy before bed tonight... that usually gets the weird dreams goin...
Feb. 28th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
Great story! I only wish I remembered any dreams and then could use them so effectively!!!

Thanks for sharing!
Feb. 28th, 2009 11:09 am (UTC)
you're welcome! i'm so glad you liked it!

tha ks for commenting!
Feb. 28th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
What a great H/c story (big H, little c, the perfect combo!)!

I like the guys happening on the scene of the crime, finding the blood and bullet holes, etc. and having to reconstruct what they thought happened. I don't know why, but it's really great.

Loved the story, thanks for sharing! :)

Mar. 1st, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
i'm so glad you liked it. and yeah, there was a lot more H than C. that's the way i like it.

i'm glad you like the part of them finding the bullet holes and the blood... i liked that part too. that was easy to write cuz it just wrote itself.

thanks so much for commenting... it really helps me. :D
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 1st, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
thank you so much. wow, outstanding and fansatstic in one comment... i don't know what to say but thanks.

and you're welcome. i enjoy writing these stories and sharing them here, and i also enjoy the comments that are left. so thank you for commenting!
Mar. 1st, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Whoop! great story. The guys were really in character, like the way Vin came off as Ezra's closest friend and how he stood with Ez even over Chris ata point, way cool.

Also, totally LOVED take charge Buck. That is a part of his ATF persona that gets left out a lot in fics, but he was Chris' second for way longer than the others and knows how to move on and function when Chris stops.

Plus the end was wicked cool, liked that Jimmy came to say his peace and that Ez was a big enough man to be cool with it. And the convo at the end with Ez and Vin was wicked sweet, totally fed my slash girl side.
Mar. 1st, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Re: Excellent
thanks! yeah, the end was important to me. it went through about three versions of the end before i came up wth this one. they all had jimmy coming to meet with ezra, but one version had ezra jumping down jimmy's throat. it just didn't work. but this one finally did.

i liked making vin's dialog subtle, like when he thinks chris gave up on ezra. he doesn't need a lot of words, just the right words. so i think vin worked out ok too in this story.

and i love that you dig the conversation at the end with vin and ezra. that took some tweaking too. lots of tweaks throughout. this is why i've been so crazy for a couple of weeks.

and i love buck. he is a take charge kind of guy. and he's adorable to boot.

thanks for commenting... you never let me down. :)
Mar. 1st, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)

Oh, you should be sooo proud of yourself! I adore the ATF universe and have read many, many fine case h/c ones in my day, but still...there is an elite sandbox that only a few Mag7 ATF writers can enter into and play brilliantly.

You are one such author.

This story was first-rate from begining to end. The attention to detail in crafting and executing the case aspects of the story were so well done. It played out just like a real tv episode in my mind. I so enjoy the author who has enough life experience, or ability to research things and is able to make things sound procedurally correct, even if they may not be. It allows the reader to really get into the story and enjoy it thoroughly. I know I did.

An Ezra-centric story is always a delight to read, but you know you are reading with someone who really "gets" Mag7 when all the characters are very much present and accounted for in the story. Not only did they all come out to play, you had some interesting things going on with Chris.
You took a chance and had Chris momentarily fall apart to such a degree that Buck had to take over. I really like that. It worked so well because you took the time to explain what was going on within him in a very realistic way. Leaders are not always strong and perfect, but in the end, Chris got himself together and did his thing.

Love the graphic writing. It's true that violence doesn't always have to be graphically described, but IMO, very skilled writers know how to put the reader smack dab in the middle of it and feel the hurt! Trust me, I felt Ezra's pain, LOL.

Yes, I would have liked a few more details in the hospital scenes that were more of a comfort nature, but I don't think the lack thereof hurt the quality of the story. I didn't feel "cheated" at the end, nor did the story have a rushed wrap-it-up ending that I absolutley HATE when writers do that.

In fact, the attention you paid to the conclusion is one of the hallmarks of great writing. It made the story much, much more then just a things-go-bad-and-Ezra-gets-hurt-on-the-job story. It was about respecting the job and being man enough to ask for and accept forgiveness. I really dug that part where you wrote that all the others understood that Ezra had forgiven the agent, therefore nothing was to ever be brought up to the man's face again.

Most enjoyable story! Thanks so much for giving the folks on the Yahoo Groups a shout-out about it! I've said it once and I'll say it again, we are sooo lucky to have attracted a few very talented new writers into the Mag7 fandom!

Keep writing! If you write it, I'll read it.
Mar. 1st, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
o wow! you totally have me grinning like a goofball right now!

i am so glad you enjoyed it. it's funny, cuz someone else had mentioned a lot of H, not a lot of C in this one. like you say, i probably could have done more in the hospital scene, but like you said, there are a lot of ezra gets hurt on the job and then gets all better stories, and i didn't want to drag out his recovery which could have been done, but i wanted to do the end scene without delving too deeply into what would have been a long recovery.

i also HATE quick wrap ups. you ever read a book that did that? i did, and it was the only book i've ever owned that i gave away. i try not to do a quick wrap up, ever. i like to read my own stories, so i tend to write something that i would go back and enjoy later.

i also dig the ATF Buck/Chris relationship, and i did take a chance with this one. like you say, chris can't always be perfect, but buck will always be there to back him up.

and the shillelagh, yeah, i've wanted to work one into a story for a while, and this one seemed to work perfectly. the icon i'm using in this post is a shillelagh. we had one in my house when i was a kid. i don't know where it came from, but it was a "Walking stick", not a weapon. :)

but i always knew what one was, and thought, wow that would be an awesome thing to use in a story, and what could someone do, it's used as a walking stick. so i looked them up semi-recently, and found out their history a little more, even about "loaded sticks". ouch.

well, i plan on continuing to write, and i will always update the yahoo groups. i fond them full of wonderful people who really do appreciate writing and who write very well themselves.

thank you so much for such an awesome comment. i'm still grinning like a goober... :D
Mar. 4th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)
I really liked the way this came out. Really good team dynamics.

You did a nice exploring the dilemma that Jimmy was in culminating in the apology which i think was just terrific. This duality of undercover work is often ignored and i thought you did a great job with it.

And while I'm never happy to see poor Ezra get beat up - you did a nice job making it believable and he's all better so it's good [g].

Edited at 2009-03-04 03:08 pm (UTC)
Mar. 4th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
and you helped me immensely.

*Big Hugz*
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
People spend thousands of dollars on therapy; I just beat shit with a hammer.


Monsters do exist. Ghosts too. They live inside us and sometimes they win.
~Stephen King


Better to write for yourself and have no public, than write for the public and have no self...
~Cyril Connolly


Oh! An Irishman's heart is as stout as shillelagh,

It beats with delight to chase sorrow and woe;

When the piper plays up, then it dances gaily,

And thumps with a whack to leather a foe.



"Yes," I said, "for the love of God!"

~The Cask of Amontillado


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