azombiewrites: (The Magnificent Seven)
[personal profile] azombiewrites
Title: A Twin Investigation
Rating: PG
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
AU: Scientific Paranormal Investigations
Main Characters: Ezra, and the rest.
Summary: A set of teenage twins decide to make life a little difficult for Ezra Standish.
Disclaimers: The guys are owned by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, and The Mirisch Corp.
Spoilers: None
Status: Complete
Total Word Count: 23,773



Utah Park - Denver Colorado - Monday, 1:41am


Ezra stood close to the black car that was parked at the entrance to the park. He needed to be near her, he had to be near her just in case it . . . no, he couldn't leave her alone, not now, not when they were so close . . . not when they might . . . he shook the negative thoughts from his mind . . . they had to find her. Ezra knew her father sat in the car with her but he had made a promise, a promise that he intended to keep, he had to keep it. He'd never broken a promise before and he knew he had made a mistake making this one. You should never make a promise that you might not be able to keep. That's what he had done. It was a promise that he was now sure was going to be broken.
The rain fell through the darkness to the already soaked ground that he was standing on. The dry and cracked dirt from the day before was now beginning to turn to mud. It was making the search even more difficult. His hair clung to his scalp and the rain dripped from the protruding parts of his skull. He wasn't wearing a raincoat, he hadn't taken the time to put it on when he had gotten the call that they may have found her. His total outfit consisted of jeans and a white short-sleeved shirt that wasn't tucked in and boots that would be ruined if he stayed out in this weather any longer. He didn't care at the moment, there was something more important out there than his shoes. He wanted to turn around and look at the young girl with the deep blue eyes and short brown hair but he couldn't look at the facial strain that made her look ten years older than she was.

Jasmine Simmons had lost a part of herself. Each and every day her reflection would remind her that her sister had been violently torn from her life. She needed to find her sibling so she could put her and her own torment to rest. Ezra hung his head, he didn't know why he had wanted to help her, he thought it was because she reminded him of himself when he was seventeen but the more he got to know her the more he was beginning to think that something was wrong. Chris had warned him about becoming emotionally involved but as usual he thought he didn't need help from his associates, that he could handle things alone as he'd done all his life.

He continued to watch as the lights bounced around the riverbed as the searchers kept digging. They had been looking for nearly an hour and still hadn't found anything that would indicate that a body had been buried there. Ezra hadn't moved from his position of surveillance, he was cold and shivering as the rain continued to fall around him. He had contemplated joining Jasmine and her father in the police car but she would begin acting in a way that disturbed him. A way that made him regret the decision to help her. There was an angry violent side to her that he had been unaware of until it was too late.

The lead they were following was given to them by the killer, it had been part of a deal but Ezra's instincts told him that the man had been lying. It was game he liked to play with the relatives of his victims. Give them some hope then take it away from them. The worst thing about losing a loved one to a killer was the lack of a body. They couldn't bury them. A slight hope that they may even be still alive ate away at them. The mourners were unable to get on with their own lives.

This lead was their last chance, there were no other options left. He wasn't sure how Jasmine would take it, maybe he should have warned her that the killer was lying and her sister may not be here. Ezra knew he was going to pay dearly for his broken promise, he just didn't know how much.

"We got something!" One of the searchers yelled out.

His voice only just managed to reach Ezra. The rain and other noises drowned out most of his voice. Ezra turned to look at Jasmine. Her blue eyes stared back at him, they were full of hope and anger. He didn't know who the anger was aimed at, him or the killer. He turned away and began to walk towards the search site but stopped when he heard the car door open and close. Ezra stopped and waited. The seventeen-year-old walked straight passed him without acknowledging his presence.

"Shit." Ezra muttered to himself then followed her. "Jasmine . . . wait."

Ezra knew he was wasting his breath, the girl wasn't going to stop until she found her twin. Ezra ran after her, he slowed once he reached her and walked beside her. She put her hand out and he took it. He felt her grip his hand with anticipation of finding the one she couldn't live without. They stood on the edge of the riverbank and looked down. The lights shown on an area the searchers were concentrating on. Water slowly ate away at the dirt bank causing small chunks of mud to fall into the fast flowing river. Men in wetsuits stood with the water flowing around their waists as they waited and watched. Trees blew wildly in the wind causing an eerie noise that sounded too much like a young girl crying out for help.

The upper remains of a body looked back at them when one of the searchers moved away. Dirt matted blond hair ran from the rotting flesh of the victim's scalp. It wove its way through the mud as though it wanted to join the flowing river. Long thin fingers curled up out of the mud, the nails were broken, the flesh was rotting away revealing the bones beneath the skin. Ezra's green eyes moved to the face of the victim. The eyes were missing, taken from the victim hopefully after death but Ezra knew otherwise. The other areas of the young face were left undamaged, except for the damage caused by nature's smallest animals.

"You bastard!" Jasmine turned to Ezra. "You fucking bastard! It's not her!" She began to slam her fists against Ezra's unprotected chest, he wasn't going to stop her from taking her anger out on him. "You promised me you'd find her! You promised!"

"I'm sorry." Ezra grimaced as the pain she inflicted continued.

"No you’re not. You lied to me, you knew she wasn't here, you knew you'd never find her. You fucking lied to me!" She yelled into his face causing him to flinch back. She moved away from him. "You're going to pay for this Ezra."

"What are you going to do?" Ezra asked her without looking at her.

"I'm going to find my sister," she hissed at him.

"Jasmine, you . . ." Ezra started but stopped when she faced him again.

"What, you think I can't do it. I can do a better job than you did!" Jasmine Simmons walked away from the SPI Agent with murder on her mind. "Fucking liar."

Ezra watched the petite figure move away and disappear into the darkness. He wanted to go after her but decided that he should wait until she calmed down. He'd seen this type of anger erupt from her on other occasions. It frightened him that someone so young could be capable of such anger. Jasmine hadn't shown any real violence towards him or anyone else that he knew of but something told him she was willing and able to commit a violent act.



SPI Headquarters - Denver Colorado - Monday, 6.30am


Ezra had been sitting in his car for hours, the darkness that surrounded him had allowed him to try and think things through. He still didn't know what he was going to do. He couldn't ask Chris for help, the leader of SPIT7 had told him not to get involved in the first place but he hadn't listened to him. Chris had then given him an order not to help with the investigation when his own work began to falter. Ezra had ignored the order and now he regretted not listening to his boss. It was like the term 'you should listen to your mother, she's always right'. His pride stopped him from going to his friend now and telling him that he had gotten in too deep, that he had made a mistake. Chris wasn't the type to say 'I told you so' but that didn't convince Ezra to go and talk to him. The ex-criminal had never had anyone to ask for help before and now there were six men that smothered him with a friendship that he had begun to accept and enjoy. They would also go to hell and back for him. But old habits were hard to destroy when there was still a touch of doubt in your mind.

He looked around the underground parking area. The rising sun was yet to invade and force the darkness from its hideout. He needed coffee, strong hot coffee that was extra sweet. He let out a loud sigh and leaned his head back against the headrest. He had to think of something to explain his condition to his friends. The change of clothing he usually carried in the boot had already been used and he was yet to replace them. He couldn't think of anything though, his mind kept travelling to Jasmine. What was she going to do? How was she going to find her sister on her own? He didn't know. He no longer knew how to find her himself. He could face the killer and threaten him but it would only cost him his job and it might induce a possible jail sentence. How the hell did I get into this mess in the first place? He knew the answer to that.

The police had come to the Scientific Paranormal Investigations unit for help. Ezra had sat in on the conference with Chris Larabee and Vin Tanner but his leader didn't think they could help the police find a serial killer or a still missing body. Jasmine Simmons had also sat in on the discussion. She wasn't impressed when Chris said no. Ezra had approached her later to offer his help and advice. She had accepted. Now here he was sitting alone in his car in the parking garage of the SPI building. A promise had been broken and a threat had been made.

Why did he offer to help her. He had known that there wouldn't be a strong chance of finding the body. Ezra had also thought that his past life might have been able to help them. He knew people on the wrong side of the law, people who were able to get information that the police couldn't. But every lead he had gotten failed until one of them finally led the police to the killer but not Jasmine's sister. Another reason he decided to help her was because he had felt a kinship with the young woman, something that hadn't happened before. He now knew he was mistaken, it wasn't a kinship that he had felt, it was something else, something unnatural. Before SPIT7, he wouldn't have said that but he'd seen a lot of unnatural things from the moment he joined Chris Larabee's team. He still wasn't able to figure it out. Ezra had always been able to read people, to see inside them and find out what made them tick. He thought he knew what kept Jasmine going but now she only confused him, he could no longer read her like he once had.

The need for coffee called him again, this time the urge was even stronger. He opened the car door and stepped out into the chilly morning air. It nipped at his already cold flesh, a soft breeze pulled at his drying hair. He moved towards the elevator but stopped when he saw a moving figure in the distance. He couldn't quite make out the countenance of the person who stood watching him as the darkness broke around them but he knew the body language. It was Jasmine Simmons. She turned away from him and walked back out into the sunlight. Great, now I've got real trouble.

The floor that housed the offices of SPIT7 were still dark and empty. Ezra turned the overhead lights on as he made his way to the break room. Chris Larabee wouldn't be arriving for another hour, the other five members would be right behind him. For some reason they enjoyed getting up at an ungodly hour of the day. It was something that Ezra wasn't use to. When you didn't have a nine to five job you were able to raise yourself from your slumber when you wanted to, not when you had to. No doubt, questions would be asked when they did arrive as to why he was here before they were. He'd drink his coffee while he continued to think of an acceptable lie. When he reached the break room, he put the coffee on to brew. He hated the instant crap the others constantly drank. The Southerner eyed the comfortable couch that sat against the wall. He moved to it and sat down, he'd just close his eyes for a few minutes until the smell of coffee began to drift around the room.

The minutes turned into hours. He was unaware of someone placing a blanket over him, or the eyes that checked in on him as the hours passed by. The only thing that he was aware of was the figure that seemed to be just out of his reach. He could see them in his dreams but each time he tried to see the person's face they moved away from him. It caused his handsome features to crease up in concentration. Watchful eyes became concerned. He finally relaxed when his dreams moved on. He turned his head to the left as the rain began to fall. His features frowned when he realised where he was. He didn't want to get closer to the river but a force pushed him towards it. He couldn't stop himself, he turned his head in his dream and in reality to see who it was but the face was hidden from him. Ezra reached the riverbank but didn't stop moving, whoever was pushing him, pushed him over the edge. He fell into the water, the force continued to push him down. He couldn't breathe. Just when he thought he was going to drown, the pressure on his back was removed.

Ezra lifted his head and gulped in the air that had been restricted by force. He used his hand to wipe the water from his face. He screamed at the site before him. It was no longer a stranger that was buried in the mud. It was Jasmine. Even though her flesh had been eaten away by the creatures that still lived within her skull, he was still able to recognise her.

"Lying bastard!"

Ezra screamed again and jumped up out of the water. He ran from the terror before him. The half-eaten body was pulling itself from the mud and was reaching for him. He tried to get out but continued to slip down the bank. He couldn't get a good enough foothold to get himself out. He felt Jasmine's fingers scraping against his boots.

"You're a liar and you’re going to pay Ezra Standish!" Jasmine screamed at him.

Ezra began to toss and turn on the couch under the watchful eye of Nathan Jackson. He pulled his gun and fired at the nightmare figure before him. The bullets did nothing to stop her. Ezra stopped when he saw another rotting figure behind her. There was something familiar about it, something that reminded him of . . . it was Jasmine's sister. It had to be.

"Aw shit!" Ezra spoke in his sleep.

He turned away from them as he felt his stomach begin to revolt at the sight. He knew he was going to be sick so he began to pull himself from the nightmare but it didn't let him go easily. The sisters managed to get a decent grip on his boots and pull him back into the river. The force was on his back once more. He began to choke on the water that found its way into his throat.

"Ezra!" Nathan jumped up out of the chair he was sitting in. He ignored the crashing sound as it fell to the floor. He quickly moved to Ezra's side and pulled the cushions away and allowed his head to drop. The scientist knew Ezra was choking but on what he didn’t know. He tilted the smaller man's head back and made sure his breathing passages were clear. They were. "What the hell . . . " He began to shake Ezra's shoulders in an attempt to wake him. "Ezra!" Nathan yelled at him. "Wake up!" He felt Ezra take in a deep breath, then another. "Ezra." he shook him more firmly.

Ezra thought he was dying. He knew it couldn't happen in a dream until he remembered the movie that JD had told him about. Something about a man in a red and black stripped jumper and steel fingers that went around killing teenagers in their dreams. He fought for air as the thought of death continued to tear through him. Then he heard a voice, it was familiar and he concentrated on it. The sound helped him to escape from the two women who were attempting to kill him.

"What the hell is going on?" Chris Larabee asked as he ran into the break room.

"Ezra was choking on something. Don't ask me what though." Nathan waited patiently for Ezra to fully wake. "Ezra?"

Ezra shuddered as a chill racked his body. He was cold. He pulled the blanket closer to his body but it didn't seem to help him. The smell of coffee wafted up to his nose. He opened his eyes and saw Nathan and Chris looking down at him. Chris held a cup of steaming coffee in his hand. Ezra reached up for it.

"God I hope that's not instant."

As he took the cup in his hand, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. The mug fell from his fingers and shattered on the floor. The twin sisters were staring at him from the corner of the room. They were intact. The flesh was no longer rotting or falling from their bodies. Their arms were reaching out for him. Both were beautiful but their eyes were full of hatred. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. Just like in the movies, they were gone. Must have been the aftermath of the dream he had. He began to cough. The small waves in his stomach became a tidal wave.

He stood up and pushed past his two friends, he didn't see their shocked expressions. Ezra ran to the men's as fast as he could. He made it with time to spare. He threw up into the toilet bowl and after a few minutes of exhausting convulsions, he stopped.

Ezra fell to the floor and laid his head on his knees. He was trembling as the chills continued to hit him. He jumped when he felt a hand grip his shoulder. He looked into Nathan's caring eyes and smiled. He knew it was useless, they obviously knew something was wrong.

"Come on Ezra." Nathan lifted him to his feet and walked him back to the break room. He gently pushed him back onto the couch. "Here." he handed Ezra a second cup of hot coffee.

Ezra looked at the remains of the first cup. Chris was cleaning it up. "Let me do that." he started to get up when Nathan pushed him back down.

"You're sick. Chris has something to tell you then we're taking you home. Got that!" It was an order, not an offer or a suggestion.

"What? I'm not sick." Ezra protested. He had felt fine and it was the dream that had made him sick.

"You have a fever Ezra, you just vomited in the men's room and you were choking earlier." Nathan told him.

"Choking on what?"

"Don't know." Nathan shrugged.

"Ezra." Chris threw the mess into the bin then turned to the ex-criminal. "Jasmine's father phoned earlier . . . "

"He told you about last night?"

"Yeah. Ezra . . . Jasmine died this morning." Chris sat down next to him. "She killed herself."

"Killed herself . . . " Ezra looked at Chris then Nathan. "Why . . . she . . . "

"I'm sorry Ezra. I know you tried to help her and her family." Nathan hung his head.

"I wasn't doing a good job." Ezra muttered.

"You lead the police to the killer Ezra." Chris reminded him.

"Didn't find her sister." Ezra remembered what Jasmine had told him. She was going to find her sister herself. He wondered if killing herself was part of her plan, maybe she had thought that it was the only way she was going to find her sibling. "You sure she killed herself?"

"Yes." Nathan answered him.

Ezra nodded. Nathan wouldn't lie to him. "She said she was going to find her, wanted to do it on her own, thought she would do a better job than me." he looked sideways at Chris. "I was going to talk her out of it when she calmed down . . . didn't think she would go that far . . . "

"I'm sorry Ezra."


"There's nothing for you to be sorry about Chris." Ezra tried to smile at him but he didn't succeed. "You told me not to get involved with her, should have listened to you." Ezra realised what he'd said, he quickly looked away from him and took a sip of his coffee and grimaced at the taste. No one in this team seemed to be able to make a decent cup of coffee. He didn't want to go to Chris for help, didn't want to admit that he'd been right and now he'd just admitted it without thinking. Now the lecture was going to start.

"You wanted to help Ezra, nothing wrong with that." Chris knew Ezra was feeling guilty, it was in the Southerner's nature to take responsibility for everything that happened around him. It was something he and Ezra had in common. Chris was taking the blame for Ezra's condition because he hadn't helped him when he wanted to help Jasmine Simmons.

Ezra continued to look down into his coffee. He refused to look at Chris. "I think it's time I caught up on some work." he shrugged the blanket off his shoulders and stood up.

"You can do that tomorrow." Chris ordered him. "Nathan's going to drive you home and you can get a decent feed and a good night’s sleep."

"But . . . "

"No buts Ezra, it's an order." Chris nodded at Nathan who grabbed Ezra's arm and dragged him out of the room and towards the elevator.

"Jesus Ezra, how do you get yourself into these things." Chris muttered to himself as he watched the two men disappear behind the elevator doors.




Somewhere in Denver - Monday, 3:24pm


Ezra refused to allow Nathan Jackson into his home. He told the scientist that he was fine, he would make himself something to eat, take a hot shower then go to bed. Nathan was able to do nothing but accept the words as being truthful. He knew Ezra was capable of lying through his teeth when the need arose. The ex-criminal didn't like to be fussed over, he had taken care of himself all his life and found it hard to accept help now. Nathan had left promising to check him over in the morning at the office.

The words Ezra had spoken were lies. He had no intention of eating or sleeping. He had to find out more about Jasmine's death. His intention was to speak to her father. The Southerner quickly showered, changed and left his warm home behind to seek out answers to an unnecessary death. He had to turn the heater in his car on full, the chill was still residing in his bones. It seemed that since he woke up in the break room, everything around him was cold, very cold. Ezra felt the hairs on neck rise, he looked into the rear-view mirror to see if he was being followed.

"SHIT!" He cried out as he slammed on the brakes. Jasmine Simmons was sitting in the back seat of his car, so was her sister.

Ezra's forehead hit the steering wheel with an incredible force, he hadn't had the foresight to put his seat belt on, and he’d had other things on his mind. White lights danced around his vision as he tried to turn his neck to look into the back seat. It was empty.

"What the hell?" Ezra asked himself. That was twice he'd seen them. Something was going on. Maybe it was an emotional release, he was feeling guilty about what had happened and his mind was seeing Jasmine. But why was he seeing her sister.

Horns blared around him asking him to move on. He did but he had to pull over to the curb to wait for his vision to clear. It was at least five minutes before he was able to see more clearly but he was left with a headache and a large bruising lump on his forehead. He finally noticed the white knuckles that were gripping the steering wheel and relaxed his hands. His body was trembling with shock. He started taking deep breaths to calm himself down. He needed to be in control, to think straight and react to situations with more confidence.

Once he knew his nerves were, calm enough to allow him to drive he pulled back out into the traffic. Ezra felt his forehead with long nimble fingers, the lump was the size of half a golf ball, and he hoped that it would go down by the morning. He drove carefully to Harold Simmons' home, he'd been there once before and he hadn't wanted to go back. The house had been full of tension, there seemed to have been a wall between the sisters and their father. A pretence had continued while he was there, a growing lie that needed to be brought out into the open.

While Ezra drove, he continued to look into the rear-view mirror, each time he expected to see Jasmine and her sister. Maybe he should tell Nathan about the sightings, if that's what they were. They could be visions or hallucinations, probably the latter. He turned into the street that housed the Simmons home. Cars lined the street in front of the two story home. Ezra parked the car three houses down and walked to the front door. He rang the doorbell and waited for his request to be answered.

A tall man with a receding hairline answered the door. The brown eyes were moist and red from the tears that had been shed of his loss. The man didn't recognise Ezra at first, his eyes looked him up and down for a few seconds then the identity of the man standing on his doorstep hit him.

"Agent Standish."

"Mr Simmons. I'm sorry about Jasmine. If I'd known I would have done something to help her." Ezra apologized.

"I think you did enough already don't you?" Simmons glared down at Ezra. The man was at least two inches taller than him. "You gave her hope when you shouldn't have and then when she knew what you'd told her was a lie she killed herself. You killed her with your lies!"

Ezra looked down in shame then felt a powerful blow strike his face. He fell to the cement pavement that led to the street. He didn't get up and return the blow, he fully understood the anger Jasmine's father was feeling. Ezra pushed himself away when the door slammed shut above him. He stood up and turned away without looking at the house that was full of mourning. He didn't know how long he sat in the car for, he refused to go home or back to the office. There was only one option left, he'd get drunk and hopefully forget what happened for one night.




The Four Corners Bar - Monday, 4:53pm

Again, he waited in the car outside of the local bar. He checked the parking lot even though he knew the others wouldn't be there. They only came here on a Friday night or at the end of a case. There had been no new cases for two weeks so they were required to catch up with paper work and to check their sources for anything unusual. The parking area was only half full, which meant the bar, would be quiet, that's what he wanted. He got out of his car and locked it then made his way into the bar. After buying a bottle of scotch, he headed to a corner booth and began to alleviate himself of his troubles.

But the alcohol didn't work. The nightmare he had earlier in the day kept repeating itself in his mind. The words of Jasmine's father were spoken over and over again. The man blamed him for his daughter's death. He accepted the blame, if he hadn't promised, Jasmine would be alive. Ezra needed to know how she died, what she did to herself, if she left a note. He pulled his mobile out of his pocket and dialled a familiar number.

"Larabee!" The voice growled into his ear.

"Chris it's Ezra." The Southerner paused for a moment.

"Where are you? You’re supposed to be at home resting. Damnit Ezra, don't you ever follow orders!" Chris practically yelled down the phone at him.

"I need to know more." Was Ezra's answer. "About what happened to Jasmine."

"You didn't answer my question." Chris told him.

"I can hang up without answering it too." Ezra smiled at the expression he knew Chris would be wearing.

"I'll tell you only if you'll tell me where you are when I'm done." Chris was wasting his breath, he knew it.

"Sure. I need to know how she died and if she left a note."

"She shot herself with her father's gun, right temple, her prints are on the gun. Coroner is positive it was self-inflicted. There was no note. Her father said she'd been angry but didn't know why."

"Yeah he did." Ezra whispered. "Is there anything else?"

"No." Chris' voice softened. "Where are you?"

Ezra hesitated as he thought for a moment. "At the bar."

"I'll be there in twenty minutes." Chris told him then hung up.

"Thanks Chris."

Over the past six months, Chris had proven himself to Ezra. His intentions were good, he'd only wanted to help him when help was needed but not requested. Ezra had decided to go against his upbringing and finally trust the man. Chris wouldn't laugh at him, he would keep the discussion to himself and he wouldn't do the thing that Ezra feared most. He wouldn't kick him off the team. Ezra was a part of the group, he belonged and the others had proven that to him. Ezra didn't want to leave.

"He can't help you Ezra." A soft voice whispered to him.

Ezra shifted in his seat at the sound, he knew it was Jasmine. He looked around for her and he saw her standing close to him. She held a gun in her hand. The weapon was aimed at him.

"Jasmine."

"Are you prepared to die Ezra." She pulled the trigger without giving him a chance to answer.

Ezra felt the pain tear through his chest. His only thought was that Jasmine was supposed to be dead. Ezra slid sideways onto the bench, his eyes travelled the ceiling as the pain travelled through his chest. He could feel the warm liquid as it flowed from his body. A face appeared above his. Jasmine. She was smiling down at him. He blinked slowly and when he opened his eyes again she was gone. The pain stayed with him. He waited for the screams to start, for people to surround him and try and stop the blood flow but he was left alone with his own pain. He tried to sit up but failed in his attempt. Why wasn't anyone helping him. Ezra attempted to move his arms, he succeeded. He put one hand against his chest. There was nothing, he didn't feel the blood that he had felt before. His probing fingers couldn't find an open gunshot wound. He lifted his head and grimaced at the pain that was still in his chest. He saw nothing. No blood and no wound.

"But she shot me." Ezra was in shock. "She was here, she shot me."

The pain eased slightly as the reality of his situation began to sink in. He managed to push himself back up into a sitting position. Ezra used his hand to rub his chest hopping to end the pain while he looked around the bar. People were watching him, but none of the faces belonged to Jasmine. He poured himself a large shot of whiskey and drank the entire contents without any hesitation. Something was happening. Then it hit him. Nathan said he had a fever, that he was sick. He must be delirious, that's why he was seeing things. But it seemed so real to him, the pain in his chest had been excruciating and it still hurt like hell. Either he was sick or something bad was happening. He had to talk to someone about this. He took another drink.

******

Chris Larabee stepped into the Four Corners Bar and looked around the smoke filled room for his friend. He found him sitting at a corner booth, a nearly empty bottle of whiskey sat in front of him. Chris walked to the booth and sat down opposite the Southerner. He could see that he was drunk. His head was drooping, the clean-shaven chin was nearly resting on his chest. The hand that gripped the whiskey glass was shaking.

"Ezra?" When he didn't receive an answer, Chris leaned forward and placed his hand under Ezra's chin. He lifted the head up and looked into a pair of green eyes that were glazed over. His gaze then moved to the lump on his forehead and down to his split lip. "Aw hell Ezra. Your comin' home with me."

Chris lifted Ezra up out of the booth and half carried him to the exit. The rain had begun to wet the damp Earth once more and by the time, they reach his dodge they were soaked. The cold water did nothing to bring Ezra to a more coherent state. Ezra was no help at all when it came to getting into the car, Chris had to do all the work.

"She shot me." Ezra muttered to no one. He was unaware of what was going on around him.

"You've been shot!" Chris began to search for an injury.

"No." Ezra rolled his head to the side and closed his eyes. The sound of rain reverberated in his skull making his headache worse. He breathed with difficulty due to the pain that still squeezed his chest tightly. "Hurts still."

"Okay, I'm taking you to Nathan's. We'll let him look you over." Chris closed the door and made his way to the driver side. Once he was in, he started the engine and turned the heat up. Ezra's form was shivering so much he could hear his teeth rattling. He reached over the seat and grabbed a blanket, he covered Ezra with it then drove away.



Home of Nathan Jackson - Monday, 6:12pm

Nathan looked up from his cheap meal when he heard someone urgently knocking at his door. The only person who would knock in such a way would be one of his friends. Something was wrong. His mind drifted to Ezra and he rushed to the door. He pulled it open to find two friends on his doorstep. Both were dripping wet.

"Why isn't he home in bed? I knew he was lying to me but I didn't think he was going to go out in this weather." Nathan chastised the younger man while helping Chris carry him to the spare room.

"He's had a bit to drink Nathan, keeps going on about someone shooting him but there's no injury except for the marks on his face." Chris explained to him.

"Help me with his clothes before we put him to bed then you can change into something warm." Nathan removed the dampening blanket from Ezra's shoulders then began to unbutton his shirt.

Ezra could feel the light touch on his chest, it brought the pain to the forefront of his mind. If he wasn't shot, why did he feel so much pain. He pushed at the hands that were causing the pain to get worse but he wasn't strong enough. Other hand's gripped his and held them down. He began to struggle against them but calmed down when he heard the soothing voice in his ear.

"Don't fight us Ezra, we're trying to help you." Nathan spoke to him gently. "Where the hell did he get that from?" Nathan carefully pressed around the area of the large bruise in the middle of Ezra's chest.

"Do you think a bullet did that?" Chris asked Nathan.

"Yeah but he wouldn't have been wearing a vest, probably something else. Same thing that caused the lump on his head and the split lip." Nathan pushed Ezra down into a prone position and covered him with a blanket. He felt the ex-criminal's forehead. The fever had gotten worse.

"Shot me." Ezra mumbled once more before he fell asleep.

"You don't have any idea what he's talking about do you?" Nathan looked at Chris.

"No, he called me, wanted to know more about Jasmine Simmons' death, then he told me where he was. He was in this condition when I found him. On the way over he just kept mumbling about some woman shooting him." Chris walked into the bathroom and took some dry towels from the wrack.

When he returned, Nathan had a change of clothing for him. He changed while Nathan attempted to dry Ezra's wet hair. Even in his sleep, the Southerner kept trying to push him away. Nathan fought him but he gave up his attempt to make his friend more comfortable.

"We'll let him sleep. He's going to be pretty sick and sore in the morning." Nathan walked away and motioned for Chris to follow him. "Then we can found out what the hell is going on."

They left Ezra Standish alone, a man who was feeling too ill to defend himself against anything natural or unnatural, in the confining darkness of a small room.

******

A mist like substance began to fill the small spare bedroom in the early hours of the morning. It's tendrils crept slowly towards the man sleeping on the single bed. Bare footprints appeared in the beige carpet only to disappear a few seconds later. A long slender hand reached out to touch the handsome face of the slumbered. The finger waved itself through the condensation mist as Ezra breathed. The forefinger touched Ezra's open lips, then the whole hand covered his mouth. The Southerner began to breathe through his nose to compensate for the lack of air coming in through his mouth. Another pair of fingers pinched his nose.

Ezra attempted to push the suffocating hands away from his face. When he failed, he began to toss his head. He woke quickly and screamed into the hand as he stared up into Jasmine's blue eyes. He began to fight back but Jasmine's strength was too much for him. He was pulled from the bed and slammed against the wall. A hand gripped his throat and began to squeeze. Ezra looked wildly around the room, he had no idea where he was. The last thing he remembered was standing in the rain in Utah Park with Jasmine.

"Ready to die Ezra." Jasmine leaned closer.

Ezra could smell a faint odour of death. It drifted up from the person in front of him. "You're supposed to be dead." he gasped as he fought for breath. It was a battle he wasn't going to win.

"Do I look dead to you?" She raised an eyebrow at him.

Ezra stared at the young face that was full hatred and violence. She was too young for this and he was old enough to defend himself against her but he couldn't, she was stronger than him. His lungs started to burn with fire due to the lack of oxygen. Jasmine begun to squeeze harder and her nails bit into his flesh. He felt the trickle of blood as it ran down either side of his neck.

"I found my sister Ezra." She smiled at him and looked back over her shoulder. "I found Jacinda."

Ezra refused to look but his eyes didn't acknowledge his order. They followed Jasmine's direction until they gazed upon Jacinda Simmons. She was the exact image of her sister, the only thing missing was the rage in her blue eyes.

She stepped forward and reached out for Ezra.

He would have stepped backwards if it wasn't for the wall and the strong grip that kept him standing. Ezra shivered in the ice-cold air that surrounded him. He watched as Jacinda's hand came closer to his face. Her long fingers ran down the side of his cheek. The coldness of the touch burned him as though he had been touched by a burning flame. He cried out in pain.

"You lied to me Ezra, I had to die to find my sister, and it was the only way. Now we are going to kill you but we want you to suffer first for what you put me through. You’re going to die slowly and painfully." Her grip strengthened and Ezra's knees buckled.

"I'm . . . sorry . . . "

"Not good enough Ezra." She let him go and Ezra collapsed on the floor. "You're going to pay with blood."

"You're dead?" Ezra looked up at her.

"Yes I am Ezra, it was the only way I could think of to find my sister."

"We would have found her, we just needed more time." Ezra told her even though he still didn't think Jacinda could be found.

"You're lying!" She yelled at him. "You lied before and your lying now!"

"I don't even know where my body is buried." Jacinda spoke up for the first time. Her voice was soft and caring, she didn't seem to feel the same way as her sister did.

"I'm not lying." Ezra tried to push himself up but Jasmine easily kicked him back down to the floor.

"You're going to burn in hell Ezra Standish and then I'm going to kill you." Jasmine warned him.

"You can't kill me if you’re dead." Ezra hoped out loud.

Jasmine knelt down in front of Ezra, she ran a fingernail along his chest. She pressed hard enough to draw blood. "If I can make you bleed, then I can make you die."

"If you wanted me dead you would have killed me by now." he grimaced in pain.

Ezra was scared but he didn't want the sisters to know it. He had to show some strength against them, to let them think that he wasn't afraid of them. It didn't work.

"But I don't want to kill you now Ezra." Jasmine stood up and looked at her sister then back to Ezra. "You need to be shown that we mean business."

"What are you going to do?"

"Your scared aren't you. You don't know how to fight me do you? I'm too strong for you Ezra. Things are different on this side, you can use your mind to do what you want."

"I'm not scared for myself Jasmine, I'm scared for you and your sister." Ezra pressed himself against the wall as Jasmine leaned closer towards him.

She pressed a finger against his shoulder and pushed it through his flesh. Ezra gritted his teeth against the pain but couldn't stop the scream when she pressed against the bone. Jasmine didn't remove her finger straight away, she allowed it to cause Ezra as pain as she could.

"Ezra, you okay?" The questioned followed the knock at the door. "Ezra?"

"Chris!" Ezra yelled out to him.

Jasmine smiled at Ezra and removed her finger. A ragged hole allowed the blood to escape and run down Ezra's chest. "Close your eyes Ezra." She used her fingers to close his eyes.

"Ezra." Chris opened the door and ran into the room to find Ezra on the floor. He was bleeding from two wounds on his shoulder and chest. There was also a large bruise spreading around his neck. "What the hell happened?"

"She was here Chris." Ezra opened his eyes and looked at Chris. "Jasmine was here."

"I'll get Nathan." Chris tried to get up but Ezra stopped him.

"Don't leave me alone." Ezra tried not to show the fear in his voice. This was something he'd never dealt with before.
How do you stop someone who is already dead from killing you. He didn't think a ghost could harm a living person but the injuries he was suffering from were proof enough for him that they could. And he couldn't fight back, he was defenceless against Jasmine and her sister.

"Jasmine's dead Ezra." Chris pulled the blanket from the bed and covered Ezra with it. "Come on."

Ezra stood up on shaking knees and allowed Chris to support him as they left the room. "She was here Chris, so was her sister."

"We'll talk about it later Ezra. Let's get Nathan to have a look at you first." Chris still wasn't sure what Ezra was talking about, he wasn't making any sense. The injuries did though, but the question was, who caused them. There had been no one else in the room, he noticed that the window was closed. For a moment, he wondered if Ezra had caused them himself. He knew Ezra would be feeling a lot of guilt over Jasmine's death. Maybe the Southerner was punishing himself for what happened.

"Ezra who did this to you?" Chris asked him as they made their way to Nathan's room.

The scientist's house was large and the guest rooms were located on the other side of the house to allow his guests some privacy.

"I told you, Jasmine." Ezra closed his eyes and fell against Chris' shoulder.

"Ezra!" Chris lifted the smaller man's head. "Ezra." Chris had to struggle to keep Ezra off the floor. The ex-criminal looked very thin at times but at the moment, he seemed to weigh a ton. He bent down and lifted the unconscious form over his shoulder and continued on to the other end of the house. Nathan Jackson had purchased his new home only six months ago and some areas were still cluttered with boxes full of junk. Nathan though, didn't think of it as junk. Every piece he owned meant something to him and history. The others considered it to be junk and often told him so. It was during these occasions that he took great pleasure in discussing the pieces. To the rest of SPIT7 it was just like watching someone's holiday snaps.

"Nathan!" Chris yelled.

The door opened as he got closer to it. A tired looking Nathan exited from his room in a hurry. "What's he done this time?" Nathan yawned as he rubbed his eyes.

"Let's just say he's got more injuries than when he went to bed." Chris grimaced under the weight.

"How?" Nathan motioned for Chris to go back the way he came.

"He doesn't want to be alone Nathan." Chris hadn't moved.

"We can stay with him." Nathan followed Chris down the hall back to the main spare bedroom.

"He said Jasmine did it."

"He was conscious when you found him?" Nathan placed a large hand on Ezra's damp head, he could feel the fever that was burning through him.

"Yes, and alone. I don't know why he thinks Jasmine hurt him. You don't think he did it himself?"

"He must have been dreaming, woke himself up, fell off the bed and hurt himself." Nathan explained before he knew the extent of Ezra's new injuries.

"You don't get a stab wound and bruising around your neck by falling off the bed." Chris growled.

"He was stabbed?" The larger man opened the door so Chris could moved through it freely.

"Yeah." Chris laid Ezra on the bed and stepped back to watch Nathan as he checked their friend.

Chris' blue eyes looked around the room for any indication that someone else had been there, he was hoping that his mind was headed in the wrong direction. His gazed drifted to the floor and landed on a bloody pen. He bent down and lifted it up. He knew there had been no one in the room with Ezra. He was going to keep silent until Nathan had finished examining Ezra.

Nathan probed the wound on Ezra's shoulder, it was deep, and therefore it was going to need stitches. His fingers gently pressed against the darkening bruises around his neck. Someone' hands did make the marks but he couldn't decipher them, he was unable to find the marks that would indicate a thumb or forefinger. He had some doubt as to whether someone else could have done it or if Ezra had done it himself.

Ezra moaned and his eyelids fluttered open. He looked up into Nathan's eyes and saw nothing but concern and worry. He opened his mouth to tell him that he was fine, but was he. Ezra was no longer sure. He had seen Jasmine and her sister. The teenager had hurt him and Ezra hadn't been able to defend himself against the young woman. Her strength had shocked him. She had claimed to be dead but how can a ghost hurt someone.

"We're going to have to take you to Emergency Ezra, this wound in your shoulder will need a stitch or two. Chris, can you get me the first aid kit, it's in the bathroom." Nathan watched Ezra while he waited for Chris. The Southerner's green eyes frantically looked around the room. "There's no one here Ezra."

Ezra looked back at Nathan. "You think I did this?"

Nathan said nothing but continued to stare at him. "There's no one here Ezra, there is nothing to show that someone was here."

"I didn't do this, Jasmine did this." Ezra tried to raise himself but Nathan pushed him back down.

"You have a fever Ezra, you could have been dreaming and somehow did this."

"I'm not lying Nathan."

"Here." Chris spoke as he walked into the room. He handed Nathan the first aid kit then looked down at Ezra. "How did she do it?" Ezra frowned. "Your shoulder."

"Her finger." Ezra continued to frown.

"I found this on the floor." He held the pen up so Ezra could see it.

Ezra looked from Chris to Nathan. The dark man held a look of 'I told you so'. "I'm going home." Ezra pushed up and tried to force his way past Nathan.

"You're not going anywhere except to the hospital." Nathan pushed him back down and grimaced as the pain crossed Ezra's features. "Sorry Ezra."

"Jasmine's dead Ezra." Chris assured him.

"So she said." Ezra looked down at his chest. The bruising was dark and painful. "Did you see her after she 'died'?"

"No." Chris answered him.

"Then how can you be sure?" Ezra wanted to know. He didn't get an answer. "I want to see her body, I need to see it."

"How did you get the other injuries." Chris pointed towards his forehead and lip.

"Slight car accident." He refused to give any more information.

"And?" Chris pushed him further.

"And what?" It was obvious that they didn't believe him. He was in this alone. He thought this time it was going to be different. He'd allowed Chris to come and get him, it had been a mistake. Every time he went against his mother's upbringing, he was proven that she was always right.

"I said I wanted to see her body." Ezra repeated.

"Alright. After we take you to the hospital, we'll go to the morgue. Will you be believe it once you see the body?" Chris asked him.

"If her body is there then the only thing I'll believe is that you both think that I did this to myself." Ezra growled at them.

"Why don't we get you dressed Ezra." Nathan suggested.

"I'm quite capable of dressing myself." Ezra snatched the clothing that Chris had brought to him. Nathan's lack of confidence in him made him angry. The positions they held and the jobs they did should have made them believe him. They had seen a lot worse than a ghost. He looked at Chris but his leader looked away from him. Just great, here I go again.

"Get dressed Ezra, We'll meet you out front." Nathan moved to the door and waited for Chris.

Chris Larabee stood still as he saw the fear fill the green eyes stared up at him. "I'll stay with Ezra, we'll meet you out front."

Ezra was grateful for that at least.





Part One | Part Two


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