The next week was decent when it came to work schedules, as whenever Xander had to be at the Lab, Team Seven had to be at the ATF buildings. Ezra was slowly gaining the weight back, and only after a call to Adam, did Ezra finally begin to talk to the team about what he had seen the men do to the children that they had kidnapped. Ezra was glad that he had mentioned that he wanted nothing to do with ‘breaking in’ the children that had been acquired, and had formed a kinship with the other men that had shared his views.
Sadly, most of the men enjoyed ‘playing’ with the children, and Ezra made sure that he was on sentry duty for those who were kept apart. He and the few that had formed a kinship would see if they could help the children escape, but they all knew that they would be found out if that had happened.
The day of the bust, Ezra had gotten a group of the children free, and when the men he had formed a kinship with had seen that they simply looked at him and had stated that he was a decent bastard, and they would roll to get the rest of the men to serve longer sentences.
The men that had taken a great deal of pleasure in harming the children had shouted threats at Ezra before they remembered that he hated the fact that the kids were victims. Soon, fifty men were chatting about enjoying how malleable a young body was compared to an older one when it came to sex. As a result, the agents had gassed the prisoners and shipped them out to a correctional facility.
Xander held Ezra as he spoke and bowed his head in sympathy for what his lover had to go through. He reached over for Vin as well, since the sharp shooter would also be hurt and in desperate need for an anchor since he hated it when children were involved.
“Chris, tell me that they are suffering.”
“Oh, the assholes are already feeling the pain of being child molesters and rapists. Many prisoners hate those crimes and are enjoying a chance to cause them pain. I had a few ask if they could stay longer to make sure that the filth we just locked up would stay locked up. I smiled and mentioned that I’d look into it. I never thought I’d like the feral smile a prisoner gave me, but I did in that moment.” Xander chuckled darkly.
“You’re lucky I wasn’t there. I’d have killed them all Chris, and then I’d let you put me away with my head held high.” Darkness was lurking in Xander’s eyes and he turned to Ezra.
“You are much stronger than I am when it comes to this. I can’t imagine the anguish and pain you must have felt, but to do the case without killing anyone makes me so proud. Yes, the children suffered, but you gave them hope that not everyone was like that, and they will see that you got them to safety, in time.” He kissed Ezra and held him close, letting him cry silent tears.
The eight men sat in silence as they prayed for the children that had suffered and Xander kissed Ezra’s head once more. Lifting his lover’s head to kiss the red and swollen eyes, Xander gave him a wry grin before leading the way to the back yard. He sat on the swing and patted the spot beside him for Vin and Ezra to settle down on, and waved to the others at the door to the house.
“You guys have fun, we’ll be out here.”
With a laugh, Xander and Vin held Ezra close as he went over his feelings of the case, letting himself heal from the dark chapter in his life.
Chris stepped out later that afternoon and smiled at the three sleeping men in the swing. Xander had been here for six months now, and next month was Ray’s debut as a girl for Halloween. Ezra had helped the boy during this visit, and it seemed to bring some life back into him as he coached the young man on what to do and how to talk. Seeing him trying to explain girl logic was the best, however, as every explanation left Ray confused until Xander told him, “You see how Ezra is confusing you, that’s girl talk.”
Ezra had gotten back at his lover for that, and bribed Vin with treats if he helped him. Now, they were about to celebrate the fact that in six months, Xander would be home. A home where a phone call every night wouldn’t have to do and his three boys could enjoy every day together instead of hours when they could meet up.
“Xander, Ezra, Vin, time to come in for food.”
The three slowly got out of the swing and if Chris didn’t know any better, he would have thought they were waiting for him to speak. But his trained eye saw that they discreetly stretched and slowly made their way into the house. Shaking his head in amusement, Chris walked back in and hugged Buck from behind where he was watching JD and Josiah in the kitchen. He never would have thought that those two would get together, but they fit. Josiah calmed JD and JD gave Josiah a new look on life. It was breathtaking to see, and the team was now waiting for Nathan to ask Rain, his long time girlfriend, to marry him.
Seeing that the table was set the eight sat down for dinner when Josiah made a toast.
“To our second youngest; may your next six months move faster than the first.”
The smile that graced Xander’s face made them all pleased that they remembered that he was coming home to them, but then they all frowned when the door bell rang. Getting up, Xander asked them to hold on a moment before answering the door.
“Ryan, what are you doing here?”
“Sorry that I had to bug you at home, but I knew that you and the others were going to celebrate your six months until you leave. I just wanted to make sure you got this.” Xander looked at the gift in his hands and blinked at Ryan.
“H wanted to thank you. He heard your speech a few months back and well, umm…” Xander began to snicker and patted Ryan’s shoulder.
“Thank you Ryan. Have a good evening.” With that, Xander closed the door on the blushing Ryan Wolfe and put the gift on the coffee table in the living room before returning to the dining room.
“Apparently I’m to blame for H getting his act together and jumping Ryan. I think that’s why he’s been walking funny the past few days.” JD began to choke and Xander burst out laughing.
“Well, that’s nice and all, but why now?”
“He only remembered now, and I think Horatio was going to ‘reward him’ if he did it tonight.”
That got a good round of laughter from the group and they enjoyed the meal that Josiah and JD had made. As they cleaned up the dishes, Xander went to explore the gift and gasped at the sight of the twin daggers in the box. The Chinese markings showed which Asian country they came from, and from the leached out coloring, you could tell that they were old.
Pulling them out, Xander bit his lip as his eyes hungrily took in the craftsmanship.
“These are a good five hundred years old. This style of smiting ended with the feudal era in Japan.” Buck let out a low whistle.
“What does that tell you?”
“That they are worth a good fortune, or someone didn’t know their worth. These are not replicas, and I would be insulted if anyone had called them that. But to find such fine work without paying a mint for it, I can only wonder where Horatio got them from.”
Ezra and Vin looked at the items in Xander’s hands and watched as he held and moved them with practiced ease. They knew from experience that any weapon was at ease in his hands, but the older they were, the more natural he looked holding them.
“You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was trying to get you to stay.” Buck mentioned casually.
“He doesn’t use underhanded tactics.” Xander snorted and gave Buck a glare over his shoulder.
“So, he’d let you go without a fuss?” JD asked.
“Oh, he’ll try to get me to stay, but it’ll be half hearted, since he knows that Chris will kill him if he tries to keep me, if Vin and Ezra doesn’t first.” The guys snickered at that.
Kissing both men soundly on the lips, Xander gave them both a cheeky smile.
“Now, can you give me incentives to leave?”
“That’s our cue to get the three of you to the bedroom!” Chris bellowed, making the three laugh out loud and dash up the stairs. Yes, life was good at the moment.