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Pieces, ATF AU, Gen

Title: Pieces
Characters: Ezra mostly, but also Vin
Rating: PG i guess
Length: 2416 words
Notes:  This takes place after the events in Broken.  If you haven't read that, I feel you might end up quite lost

I wrote this because i was listening to the radio too much.  I kept hearing that song "You Found Me" by the Fray, and I couldn't help but get this idea in my head about what happened to Ezra while he waited alone.  What would he have thought about?

i hope you enjoy.

as always, a special thanks to strangevisitor7for the beta.



It was almost 9:30 when Ezra arrived at the office, but still reasonable by his standards. The message light on his phone was lit up.  Settling in for the day, he picked up and dialed his voicemail. 

For security purposes, his voicemail was not his own voice. The less-than-pleased woman’s voice spoke: Agent Ezra Standish of the Denver Branch of the ATF doesn’t answer. At the tone, please leave a message. Ezra hit the pound key and entered his password.

The first message was inconsequential: something about his insurance. He would deal with those guys later on.  He skipped ahead to the next message. 

“Hello Agent Standish. This is Jimmy Rourke. I… uh, I was hoping to have a word with you, at your earliest convenience. Don’t worry, nothing is wrong, I… uh, I just wanted to discuss something with you.” He left a number where he could be reached. 

After the message had played out, Ezra sat holding the receiver to his ear, not moving, lost in thought. Shocked. 

“Ezra?” Vin asked from across the desk. “You all right?”

“What?” he turned and faced Vin, hanging up the phone a bit harder than he intended to.

“You ok?” Vin kept his voice down so as not to alert the rest of their teammates. Ezra had noticeably paled as he had listened to the message. 

“I’m fine.”

“Sure,” Vin said in a disbelieving tone.

“Just didn’t expect to hear from…” he looked to see if anyone else was paying attention, “someone,” he gestured towards the phone dismissively.

Vin leaned over his desk conspiratorially. “Who was it?” he asked, concern lacing his still-hushed voice.

“Jimmy Rourke.” Ezra winced slightly as he said his name, almost in askance.

Vin cocked his head and looked at Ezra in disbelief, his eyes asking if the southerner was fucking with him.

Ezra shrugged. I’m serious.


After the phone call, Ezra and Vin left their desks nonchalantly, heading for the kitchenette for coffee. Once in the sequestered room, Vin started a fresh pot, then turned his head slightly and spoke quietly to Ezra.

“What did he say?” Vin was worried about any further interaction with Jimmy after the whole O’Brien ordeal. Ok, yeah, the agent had come and tried to make amends with Ezra about what had happened. And yeah, Ezra had more or less accepted the agent’s apology. But Vin had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t as “all good” as Ezra made it out to be.

“He said he wanted to discuss something with me. Left me a number to call him at,” Ezra spoke as quietly as Vin had, rubbing his eyes as he did so. 

“You gonna call him?” There was no judgment in his tone.

Ezra moved his hand from his eyes down his face, stopping at his chin. He breathed out slowly. “I don’t know.”

Vin nodded as he busied himself arranging things on the counter, leaving the option open for Ezra to continue, if he wished.

 “I just… I feel like I owe it to him to call…”

“Ezra, you don’t owe him a damn thing,” Vin said quietly, not looking up from where he was rinsing out his mug.

Ezra looked at Vin, who slowly brought his eyes up to meet the southerner’s. There was no condemnation in Vin’s eyes or in his words; no blame for things past. 

“He did save my life Vin.”

“True, but so has Buck. Hell, so have I. We’ve all saved each other’s asses at some point Ezra. Point is, you can’t keep score of things like that, cuz you’ll never be even.”

Ezra considered this for a moment and sighed. “Maybe you’re right. Hell, maybe I’ll just wait and see if he calls back. Maybe he won’t…”

“But,” Vin drawled, a lopsided smile coming to his face, “if you don’t call him, you’ll never know.” 

Ezra huffed out his breath theatrically. “You’re obnoxious.”

“I know.”

“Pour the damn coffee.”

Vin chuckled.


Having not erased the message, the light was still illuminated on Ezra’s desk phone. The orange glow was unwavering in its hue.

Ezra sat at his desk, the steam rising off of his coffee. He stared at the light in contemplation, resting his chin on his thumb and curling his fingers into a fist in front of his mouth. Jimmy Rourke. He hadn’t thought he would ever hear from the man again, let alone so soon. The scene with his coworkers in their office had only been what, three weeks ago? A month maybe? 

Ezra figured Jimmy needed to talk about what had happened; probably needed to get things straight in his own head. After coming down off of such a long undercover assignment, Jimmy would need to find himself again. That was the danger of this type of job… you could lose yourself so easily. Especially after two years… 

He just shook his head in awe. He thought about the things he had said to JD that day after Rourke had left. How do you remember who you really are after two years as someone else? 

Then Jimmy came and apologized for treating Ezra the way he had. Ezra had been impressed, and more so blown away, that Rourke even cared about making it right between the two of them. Why would he even bother? Would I have bothered?

Ezra closed his eyes and sighed, his chest aching in remembrance. He slowly moved his tongue against the back of his gold tooth. His brow furrowed in recollected pain from its loss.

Vin had looked up at Ezra when he'd sighed. Not that it was loud or anything, but Vin had noticed. Just like he had noticed Ezra’s staring contest with his message light.

“Ezra…” Vin said quietly.

Ezra didn’t say anything, but met the sharpshooter's gaze

“What are you thinking about?” Vin asked in another hushed tone. He kept moving things about on his desk so as not to attract attention from his teammates, but he maintained eye contact at all times with the southerner.

Ezra took another deep breath and blew it out slowly. His gaze shifted from Vin’s concerned blue eyes to the daunting orange light.

What indeed


He remembered being jostled about in the trunk as the car rolled to a stop. He remembered pain. He remembered the taste of blood.

But all he could remember actually seeing was flashes. 

His other senses were still as sharp as ever. His ears heard a definite click of the trunk latch disengaging. He smelled the fresh night air: it smelled cold, and it held the aroma of decaying leaves.   As he was dragged from the trunk, he felt his battered body scrape over the trunk edge. He felt the warmth of two bodies pressed against him as he was slung between them. The warmth was welcome… he couldn’t shake this chill. His chest ached unmercifully as his arms were pulled back over his escorts’ shoulders. Strained and abused muscles pulled. He tried to take some of his own weight with his legs and walk, but there was a serious disconnect between his brain and his legs. All he managed to do was pick up his right foot once for the other men’s three or four steps. And even then, ‘pick up’ was giving it more credit than the movement deserved. 

His eyes opened three times during his trek—three times that he remembered actually seeing anything. 

The first was when the trunk clicked open. He could see it was dark out. Hooded eyes took in the two large men looming over him. He knew who they were, even though they were not entirely in focus. They had been the ones who beat him, causing the pain he was now in. The one on the right had been the one who knelt on his chest and stolen his breath to the point of passing out. The one on the left had been the bystander. 

The second time, he saw the ground as they traversed it, his chin hitting his chest with every step the men took. First the ground was pavement, then became a dirt path of sorts with many small rocks scattered around. The grass had overgrown and fell into the path, yet the dirt was visible underneath the bent reeds. He saw a few really good skipping stones.

A gentle breeze floated through his path, carrying on it the sweet smell of some flower; he knew the name of it, didn’t he? It was one of the last flowers of the season… was it red? 

The third time he saw anything was after one of the warm masses moved away, followed by the other, and Ezra fell to the ground in a heap. If he could have coordinated his body to do so, he would have let out a grunt. His breaths were shallow, and he smelled the dirt his face was now in. He opened his eyes only briefly, seeing two pair of feet standing nearby. Then all was black; his eyes gave up the fight to remain open in their battered state. 

Muffled voices, with one of the only words discernable being ‘silencer.’

Ezra was unable to move even if he wanted to. ‘So this is how I’m going to die…’


The southerner got up and abruptly left his desk, heading back for the kitchenette. The feeling of being trapped and helpless was smothering him.

Vin followed discreetly, shaking his head to the others in the bullpen as they noticed the man’s swift departure. 

“You alright?” Vin asked as he approached the undercover agent, whose head was hung between his sagging shoulders, his hands palm down on the counter.

“I really don’t know,” he replied, not looking at his friend.

Vin leaned against the counter next to the distraught agent, his eyes on his own feet, waiting for whatever was to come.

“I remember it Vin,” Ezra spoke quietly. “I remember what it sounded like and what it smelled like, I remember how it felt.”

Vin turned concerned blue eyes to his friend.

Ezra turned around and mimicked the sharpshooter’s stance. “I remember the three gunshots, I remember him checking my pulse.” He shook his head. “I had resigned myself to my fate… to dying alone in the woods.”

He turned his eyes to the ceiling, internally warring with the memories. Vin laid a hand on his shoulder, but said nothing.

“I thought I was actually dead.” He sighed a laugh as he dropped his head to his chest. “I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why it hadn’t hurt when he shot me. Then I figured I had been dead before the bullets hit.”


“I have a message for you,” the voice said. It seemed clearer than before. 

“You should never cross Charles O’Brien.”

Three shots rang out, two in rapid succession, followed by the third. They all slammed into the ground inches from him. Ezra flinched at the sound, but otherwise didn’t move. 

He felt something hit his back, and slide off to the side, making an odd squawking noise as it came to a rest. A phone? It was odd, he had thought, that he felt the phone hitting him but was spared the pain of the three shots that obviously killed him.

A warm hand touched his neck, and a low voice said slowly and clearly, “You owe me one.”

The speaker turned and started to walk away, and the heady smell of his leather coat followed him. A car door shut, and the vehicle left.

He was alone.

Am I dead?

No, I don’t think so.

Dead people can’t smell. I smelled leather. And I still smell dirt. I shouldn’t be able to taste blood.

So I am not dead. Not yet.

I will be if I don’t get out of here. Get some help.

Dying alone, in the dirt… like an animal.

I will not die in the dirt!

I will get up and get out of here.

I will in a minute.

Will they know what happened?

God, I hope they at least find my body.

Will I be eaten by wildlife?


Get up, get up, get up!

It hurts too much.

God, please make it stop hurting so much.

God, what if they come back?

Well, if they do come back, they’ll receive a hell of a fight.

I’ll save my energy for their return.

I won’t go gently.

Are those sirens? 

That’s a cruel joke, God. Day late and a dollar short, huh?

People? Voices?

They really did come back?

 Don’t touch me… don’t touch me….


“Some unsuspecting person laid hands on me, and I tried to fight. It was weak at best, I must admit. I was restrained, and I believe sedated as well.” He looked at his friend. “I believe you gentlemen arrived shortly thereafter.”

“A couple of minutes, yeah,” Vin admitted sadly. “We, ahh… didn’t think we’d be finding you alive.”

“Agent Rourke’s ruse served its purpose,” he said dismissively.

Vin stared at his friend seriously. “If the purpose was to break us, Ez.” Vin held up his hand to halt Ezra’s rebuttal. “I’m serious Ez. Him ‘killin’ you… that was cruel to make us go through…” He blew his breath out harshly. “Cruel to make you go through.” 

“It served its purpose,” he reiterated slowly, as much for his own sake as for Vin’s.

“No it didn’t,” Vin said seriously. “And I would think Rourke feels the same way. I’ll bet that’s what he wants to talk to you about.”

Ezra shot a disbelieving look at the sharpshooter.

“This ain’t behind me as much as I’d like it to be,” the Texan drawled. “And I get the feeling it ain’t behind him or you either.”

Ezra held Vin’s gaze, considering the truth that he had just spoken and nodded in concession. Green eyes gazed back at his desk through the doorway, the daunting orange light signaling like a beacon from across the room. Smiling tightly, he slapped Vin on the shoulder as he started to walk away.

Returning to his desk, decision made, he picked up the receiver of his phone and placed it to his ear. He dialed the number he had written down earlier, not caring who was nearby to hear who he was calling.

A woman’s voice came on, and Ezra smiled as he said, “Agent Jimmy Rourke, please. It’s Ezra Standish.”





( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Wow! Just wow!

“True, but so has Buck. Hell, so have I. We’ve all saved each other’s asses at some point Ezra. Point is, you can’t keep score of things like that, cuz you’ll never be even.” - love this line!

I can't wait to see what else you produce in this series. *grins* But while I wait for that pleasure... DRUNK ACCENT JD!! ;)
Sep. 8th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
i am working on it... i promise!!
Sep. 8th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
Heh! Yay! *flails in your direction* :D
Sep. 8th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
Pets Ezra, and pets Vin for good measure. Poor babies [sniff]
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
i'm glad you felt for them... they are poor babies... *pets them*
Sep. 8th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
You paint an excellent picture of how Ezra would feel after such a thing happening to him. I like that Vin aknowledges that he was affected too, because we often forget about the bystanders.

Ezra deciding to return the call at the end was awesome. *cuddles him* I hope everything works out for them all.
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
i'm glad you liked it. i was nervous about this one, cuz writing it i lost interest halfway through. but my beta helped me immensely, and i worked it out.

i wanted him to call Jimmy... i wanted him to have a conversation with him. i wanted him to doubt calling Jimmy though too. i hope that came across.

thanks for the comments!
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
Love Vin here - he sees things as they are and helps Ezra see them, too.

Hope there will be more - I'm really interested in what Jimmy has to say, and I bet I'm not the only one:).
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:53 am (UTC)
you're not the only one. i have had several people ask about it, so yeah, i might continue this story arc. :D

i'm glad you liked it!
Sep. 9th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
Thank goodness Ezra's got Vin - so eagle-eyed and protective and all.

He kept moving things about on his desk so as not to attract attention from his teammates, but he maintained eye contact at all times with the southerner.

Aw, such a quiet damn hero. *smishes Vin* *and then smishes Ezra because Ezra can never, ever have enough smishes*
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:55 am (UTC)
a quiet damn hero! love it!

i agree, ezra can never have enough smishes. *smishes him for good measure*

vin and ezra have a nice bond i think, and they're immensely fun to write together.

i'm stoked you liked it!
Sep. 9th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
Wow, go Ez. That took some serious cajones at the end there, just calling him at work in front of all the boys like that, no hiding there.

Vin was awesome here, supportive but not overbearing, taking care of Ez and reassuring the rest of the boys without being a snitch or crowding Ezra.

Can't wait to read more!!
Sep. 9th, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)
looks like i am going to have to write more. i have several requests.

i like this story arc, so it shouldn't be too much of a chore... *sighs dramatically*

i wanted Ezra to call jimmy, but i didn't want it to be so easy for him. i wanted him to struggle a little there. and i wanted his reservation to be that he wasn't sure he was all good with what happened.

i'll work on more! and i'm glad you dig it! :D
Sep. 9th, 2009 08:51 am (UTC)
That was an incrediblely entertaining continuation of the events in "Broken". What a complete sense of storyteller you have and we are so lucky for it. Indeed there was so much unfinished business to explore from "Broken" and this story does a superb job of showing the reader that.

Love the office interaction between Vin and Ezra, post-case - love that Vin is there to offer solid advice and friendship.

LOL - you know there's no way that anyone reading this story isn't dying to know what Ezra and Jimmy will talk about. LOL - how 'bout it luv? : )
Sep. 9th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
i think i could be persuaded to work on an Ezra and Jimmy story. of course, Jimmy is in Ohio, so I'll have to work that out somehow...

i'm so glad you liked it. even i was curious about the stuff left unexplaored in "Broken", and that's part of what drove this to get written.

that and the song i can't seem to get away from :D

i love the vin and ezra friendship. hell, i love all the friendships, but theirs is fun to write. vin doesn't have to say much to get his point across, and he doesn't crowd ezra either. it's far different writing these two that when i write, say, buck and ezra.

i shall start kicking about ideas for ezra and jimmy, and see what comes up.

thanks so much for the feedback! *hugs*
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
Ah, another lovely installment in the 'Broken' saga!

Well done, love how supportive Vin is and how he doesn't let on to the other guys that something's bugging Ezra right away by rearranging stuff on his desk; that was a nice touch.

I'm glad Ezra decided to call Jimmy. Of all people, I think as an undercover agent, Ezra would be the one to understand that the case comes first. He'd want the scum off the street and if he'd known how long Jimmy was working the case he'd have been willing to sacrifice. And he'd probably recognize Jimmy took a huge risk by saving his life; he didn't have to. But knowing that intellectually isn't the same as going through the experience and dealing with everything after. I think it's pretty realistic to see him struggling with the events, and I like how he's handling it.

So yeah, loved the ending!
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
i'm stoked that you liked it!

i love writing ezra and vin... they just mesh so well for me.
i had wanted to have Jimmy and Ezra chat, but i didn't want it to be like "hey how are you" type of buddy buddy-ness. i wanted it to be reasoned out and thought about... i wanted it to be a choice that was made. you know?

i wanted to show ezra struggling, and dealing with things more realisically. so i am glad that came through.

i also couldn't get out of my head the idea of him laying there alone, most likely confused as all hell that he wasn't dead, when he should be. and i wondered what he was thinking about while alone. and that stupid song made me keep thinking about the scene over and over and over. so i said hell with it, let's rock.

so again, i am so glad you liked it (cuz i was torn while writing it between being enthused by it and hating it), and thank you so much for the feedback!

Sep. 12th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
During the hiatus of Supernatural, I've had a Magnificent Seven renaissance, re-reading old favs and looking for new stories. (The first time I was reading in Mag7 was during my pre-LJ days). I can't remember how I found your fic, but I've worked my way through your stories and just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed them. Ezra's my favorite character, and I really like your take on him and the ATF AU. I look forward to reading more of your stories. Thanks for posting them!
Sep. 12th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
wow! thanks for the awesome comment. i am glad you like my fic... that makes me smile like a goober right now :D

i don't know how you found my fic either, but i am so happy that you did. i love when i hear of people reading my stuff, and actually liking it!

i also look forward to sharing more of my stories (there are a few in the works right now).

thanks again for commenting!
( 19 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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