The Magnificent Seven ATF Alternate Universe

Dark Secrets Unlocked

Part 2:

Ezra shifted his eyes once more to the man who sat across from him. Furrowing his brow with worry, he wondered how to approach Vin. He knew something had happened at the bust to upset the young sharpshooter, but didn't know what it could have been. The bust itself had been distressingly uneventful. Everything had gone smoothly. At least, he thought it had. The dealers he'd been working to take down didn't put up a fight. True, it had been a little odd for them to have a scientist with them, but then, Ezra didn't question things like that too closely anymore. He'd seen much stranger things.

Looking around the room, he noted Josiah seemed distressed as well. He raised an eyebrow as he noted the furtive glance Josiah threw at Vin. Josiah seemed a little flustered and Ezra thought he saw the beginnings of bruises around the large man's throat - finger-shaped bruises. He noted also that Josiah would occasionally look over at Nathan.

Ezra had been with Nathan at the bust. Nathan had been relieved and in a good mood, he would be seeing Rain that night. Then Josiah and Nathan had come back together. When Ezra saw Nathan next, he could only describe his visage as grim. Nathan refused to acknowledge anyone who spoke to him. Ezra noted Nathan's intense glare, one that, surprisingly, rivaled that of their fearless leader, Chris Larabee. Something was wrong and it was affecting three members of the team. This could not be good.

Hearing a flurry of keys being struck, Ezra turned his attention back to Vin, his eyes growing wide. Vin struggled with reports. Everyone knew that, especially Ezra who had helped him out with wording and grammar. Vin frequently took as long to write his reports as the verbose Southerner, though Vin's slower pace proved a direct result of his lack of typing skills and more formal schooling. Ezra had never seen Vin type so quickly. In fact the sharpshooter didn't seem to be struggling with his reports at all. He wondered what they'd look like when they were done.

Ignoring the rising anger within him, Vin focused on getting his report done. He hated writing these things. He hated that he constantly had to have help. Staring at the report form on his PC he took a deep breath and tuned out everything in the office except the form before him. He carefully set his fingers on the keyboard and started typing, not noticing the extreme speed with which he was typing or the ease with which the words flowed. He failed to notice the lack of red underlining that denoted misspelled words. While he was focusing much of his attention on the report, the majority of his attention was focused on keeping his red rage at bay.

Ezra continued to stare at the young sharpshooter, jaw opened slightly. The furious pounding of keys continued. With a glance he noticed that Vin had managed to draw the attention of both Buck and JD. He glanced back to see Nathan still typing away and scowling at his screen and just managed to catch the guilty look on Josiah's face as the profiler's eyes flicked away from Vin. Something was most definitely wrong with three members of Team Seven.

"Sure you're getting the words out in English, Junior?" Buck asked, curiosity, confusion and concern lacing his voice.

The furious typing ceased as suddenly as it began. Vin's hands paused just a fraction of an inch above the keyboard. He shifted his eyes and stony face toward the lady’s man. "Just lookin' ta get finished," he replied, his voice flat and emotionless, his eyes raging with anger and pain. "Got somethin' I gotta do tonight."

Taken aback by Vin's body language and the look in his eyes, Buck just nodded and indicated that JD should follow his example and get back to work. He made a mental note to talk to Chris and find out what was up with Vin. If anyone would know, he would.

Vin glared at the other five men, making sure they were all back at work before once more allowing his eyes to light on his screen and his fingers to fly across the keyboard.

Ezra furrowed his brow in puzzlement, trying to understand what had happened. He chanced a glance at Josiah and saw the older man focusing on finishing his report. Nathan had continued working steadily, if grimly, throughout the exchange. Vin seemed to be challenging some sort of speed typing record.

Chris stepped out of his office, looking at his men. He had been happy at the smooth bust they'd had. He noticed, though, that Vin had been angry and distant since the bust. Looking at the back of his best friend, Chris leaned against the doorframe to his office. Vin had been having severe headaches since this particular case started. It hadn't really affected his work, but had made the sharpshooter crabby and almost impossible to be around. Chris had been hoping to have some time to speak to him now that the case was over, but Vin had put him off, saying he had something important to do. Though he rarely pried into the lives of his men, he had been unsettled by Vin's recent mood changes and worried by his headaches. As gently as he could, Chris had inquired about what Vin had to do. Vin just glared at him and muttered, "Get my life back". The tone of voice had cut off any opportunity at further discussion.

Now he looked at the young man and watched in amazement as the nimble fingers flew across the keyboard. He had never seen Vin type like this. Taking a step forward he glanced at the screen and saw the lack of corrections that needed to be made. Chris also felt surprised at how close Vin was to actually completing his reports.

Vin knew Chris stood in his doorway watching, but didn't care. He wanted to get the reports done so he and Josiah could have a little 'chat'. He would get his life back. He would make sure that no one would take him back. And he would make sure Josiah knew no one would bring him back. He shook his head slightly; knowing his reaction to be irrational and based on emotion didn't stop the fact that Vin felt betrayed by Josiah. It didn't change the fear that gnawed in the belly of the Texan. Could Josiah be there only to control him? Waiting for this moment when he remembered so that he could be taken back? He shot a glance over at Josiah. The man was focusing on his reports. Good, thought Vin, get those reports done; preacher man, you and I have some talkin' ta do.

Suddenly, he tired of Chris staring over his shoulder. "What do you want, Chris?" he asked brusquely, trying to keep his anger and impatience from his voice.

Chris pressed his lips together, not happy with Vin's tone of voice. "Just checking to see how everyone's doing. It's almost quittin' time," he replied. Not receiving a response from any of the six men, Chris nodded his head once and returned to his office, more worried than ever about his best friend.

Vin focused on completing his reports. He wanted everything to be done incase it became necessary for him to leave Denver. That thought caused him to silently curse, Josiah and all Vin felt Josiah represented. He would get this done and done right for the rest of the team. As for Josiah, Vin thought, bitterness coursing through his system, he better have some awfully pretty words for me or he won't be worryin' about reports ever again.

Hitting the print button on his computer, Vin waited impatiently as the printer lined his report. Finally receiving the last page, he turned and marched in to Chris' office, dropping the papers in the IN box.

"Just a minute, Vin," Chris cautioned as the sharpshooter turned to leave. "Why don't you shut the door and have a seat. I want to take a look at these reports."

With a snort of disgust, Vin closed the door to the office and slouched down in a chair, glaring out the window of the office. He knew the reports were fine. Whatever had caused his problems before... Hell, his whole previous life was gone. The life he'd lived for how many years? Ever since he escaped, ever since he got away. Now that his memories had returned, he realized exactly how much he had to lose and it scared him.

Realizing that his reactions were founded as much in fear as in anger, Vin sighed and looked over at his best friend. Chris. Chris had managed to show him that life could be good, that he had some value, that he didn't have to be alone. So wrong, Cowboy, Vin thought, I don't have a choice but to be alone.

Chris skimmed the reports, his mind focused on how he would approach Vin. Furrowing his brow, Chris focused on the report before him. It had to be the best report he'd read from any of his men. Looking up in puzzled awe at the young Texan before him, Chris set down the report, caught his friend's eye and asked, "What's going on Vin? This isn't like you. The anger. The report..."

Vin allowed his intense gaze to penetrate into Larabee. "Can't tell ya, Cowboy," he replied. Reading his friend, he knew Chris was about to protest. Holding up a hand to stop Chris's words, he continued, "Need to find out a few things tonight and then maybe I can say somethin'. If not, I might have to be on my way." There, he'd said it. It had nearly ripped out his heart to tell Chris he might have to leave, but at least it wouldn't be a surprise if it became necessary. Standing to cut off any further conversation, Vin turned, pausing with his hand on the door. "Been a hell of a ride," he said softly before leaving the office.

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