azombiewrites: (The Magnificent Seven)
[personal profile] azombiewrites
Title: Innocence Lost
Rating: PG
Warnings: Strong Language.
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
AU: ATF
Main Characters: Ezra, and the rest of the guys.
Summary: Ezra goes undercover within a prison and befriends a young man who is a victim of prison rape.
Disclaimers: The guys are owned by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, and The Mirisch Corp.
Spoilers: None
Status: Complete
Total Word Count: 25,918



WARNING: This story contains strong language, sexual references and a graphic rape scene of a main character. I have written the rape scene so you would get a better understanding of how the victim feels. The story may not be suitable to the taste of all readers.


One week and two days. One week and two days he'd been here and so far, it had been worse than any hell he'd been through. He had known it was going to be bad, it was also a humiliating, humbling experience. And so far, it had been worse than anything he had expected. Early mornings, early nights, rotten food, and lousy company, and don't forget the beating he'd already received, but that had been part of his plan. He also planned to be on the other end of someone's fist a second time. A third time also if it was required. There were also other things that happened within these prison walls but he'd rather not think about them.

Everyone had kept telling him that he shouldn't do it, but did he really have a choice. He didn't believe that he did. His own team members would have supported him if he had said no but no one else would have. The main attacker would have been his own conscious. To know that he had allowed this to go on would have eaten away at his soul until there was nothing left. No, he had to do it, there hadn't been a choice, not for him anyway.

One of the victims had been an innocent man, wrongly convicted of child abuse. His sixteen-year-old daughter had lied because he wouldn't allow her to date a drug addict. She had just wanted him out of the way for a while. The man committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. He'd been raped and beaten for his crime, other prisoners wanted him to know what it felt like. The father had gotten a gun from someone. He thought there had been no other option. Four other men had also died as a result of a bullet wound, each of them had been killed by someone who needed some sort of protection. That was where the beating had come in. For him to be contacted he needed to prove to someone that he needed protection. Not a body guard but something that he could use to end the threat permanently.

It had been decided that one Ezra Standish was to go undercover within the prison to see if he could find the guilty party. The undercover agent had been loaned out to the ATF branch in Arizona, he wouldn't be known by any of the prisoners or guards. The only person who would know that he was an ATF agent was the warden, Jack Henly, a friend of Judge Orin Travis, who was also in town. The Judge held a personal stake in this operation, he had been the one to ask Ezra to go undercover. He wanted to make sure that his agent was taken care of. Travis also knew about the beating, he accepted it, as Ezra did, as part of the job. But if he thought the undercover agent was taking things to far he would step in and put an end to it. He had given Ezra four weeks, there were only two weeks and five days to go. He could also count the hours. An early-mark could happen if Ezra cracked, the case open but he couldn't see that happening too soon.

Ezra knew that the others were out there. They were doing their own investigation. Vin had visited him twice so far, he was his contact on the outside. Vin had almost attacked one of the guards on the first visit, demanding to know what had happened to his friend, why his face was lined with bruises. The guards had just laughed at him and it took quite a few sensible words on his part to stop Vin from using physical force to get an answer. He had made the sharpshooter promise not to tell Chris of his condition. If their quick-tempered leader found out then there would be hell to pay and the operation would be a failure. He would probably end up being suspended because it was his idea to take a beating in the first place. He had not been fully honest with his boss in regards to what his intentions were to get the information that was required to apprehend the culprit.

Vin had informed him of their lack of success on the outside. They had been in town for one week, Tucson, Arizona to be exact; his fellow team members had insisted on going with him. They had no contacts within this town, no informants to gain necessary information from. They were unable to learn who was supplying guns to the inmates of Tucson Prison.


Ezra had been woken fifteen minutes earlier by the sound of the cell doors opening. It wasn't a sound that you could get use to. He often wondered how the lifer's got through each day. A voice yelled at the inmates to rise and shine then line up outside of their cells. It was in a tone that told everyone that he didn't want to be here, that he'd rather be somewhere else. Ezra couldn't blame him, the weather had been perfect since the day he had arrived. Anywhere but here would be the place to be. Maybe he could talk the Judge into allowing him to stay for a while after the completion of the operation. He could get a suntan, get some sleep, and a few other things that sprang to mind. At the moment, sex wasn't one of them.

He made sure that he was ready. The guards in this hellhole didn't own a conscience, they didn't hesitate in using the clubs that they carried. Ezra had learnt that lesson on his first day. He still had the bruise that covered his right upper arm but it was fading fast. This wasn't the place for his smart mouth. He had to show the guards that he was weak, unable to take care of himself physically. It had to be an employee of the prison that was bringing in the weapons, visitors were searched. Employees could get in more freely.

The guard that came towards him was a fearful figure, well for others maybe but not Ezra. Six foot three, a solid chest with a stomach and thighs to match. It wasn't fat, it was muscle. Ezra wanted to knock the man flat on his butt and he knew he was quite capable of doing it. Jeffery Thomas took his job too seriously, he enjoyed the power it gave him. Ezra wanted to take that power away. The guard was the kind of person who would hit any prisoner for any reason. He had been the man that had inflicted Ezra's first bruise, plus a few more since that first day.

There were twenty men in his tank, five in each block. Some of the men could put the fear into the strongest of men, others were weaker. Two of them were punks. Ezra wanted to do something for them but he knew it was too late. Both men had been in prison for more than two years; the sexual rape of the two men had probably started on their first night in prison.

Ezra was positioned in the middle of the line that marched to the shower room. This was the thing he hated most of all. It didn't bother him to shower in front of other men, but it did make him sick to the stomach to know that there were men that stared at every inch of your body. Men who had turned to other men to satisfy their sexual needs when there was no one else. It was also a way to control the weaker men, to make themselves feel more powerful.

Wolf whistles were thrown, butt cheeks were slapped and the accidental touching of penises happened quite often. It all happened to the two punks, the ones that couldn't protect themselves against the physical onslaught of men who weighed at least fifty pounds more than them. So far it hadn't happened to him, he didn't know how he would react if it did. He could retaliate while there wasn't a guard watching them, make the person regret that they had ever attempted to take him, but only if it was one on one. Ezra knew it could happen, no one was safe. Even the stronger men could be outnumbered, subdued, they wouldn't be able to stop it. It was something that he rather didn't happen. Ezra wasn't the type of person who thought, 'it won't ever happen to me'. His job changed that attitude. Through most of his working life, he had faced death as well as other physical forms of injury. He had accepted it, if he didn't, he wouldn't be able to do his job. And he loved his job, it was his life. His life had died in the FBI but Chris Larabee allowed it to be reborn within the ATF. Ezra had been grateful for the opportunity and Chris had earned his utmost loyalty, trust and respect.

Once they reached the showers, the men separated into groups. Friends showered together, men that wanted to admire certain bodies followed their subjects to the shower stalls. Ezra had picked up a few admirers in the last few days but his cold stare kept them from attempting anything. How long was that going to last, he didn't know. He showered quickly then removed his physical person from the sight of men who literally made him feel ill. A lot of things in this place made him sick. Other prisoners had the same idea and soon the outer area of the shower rooms were full. He could hear noises coming from the shower rooms as other prisoners filled the now empty stalls. He wasn't surprised at all that some of these men had resorted to murder and suicide to protect themselves. After dressing in clean but very unfashionable clothing, he moved onto the cafeteria with the other nineteen prisoners in his group.

Again, he was in the middle of the cue, he didn't mind. The sight of the food made him feel sick again, he couldn't understand why they fed this crap to the prisoners. Ezra turned when the man behind pushed against him, the hardening penis had rubbed up against his buttocks. It happened, this was the first sexual contact that had been made towards him. Ezra's heart sank into the pit of his stomach but then his anger took control and he glared at him until the man backed away. This particular Neanderthal was in for first-degree murder but that didn't deter Ezra from trying to protect himself. It wasn't the prisoners he was trying to con, it was the guards.

Actually, he didn't care what they fed them, not when they were like this person, but did he, an ATF agent working undercover have to eat this shit. When this was over, Judge Travis was going to recommend the best restaurant in town, then pay for the expensive dinner. Steak, covered with a tomato paste and melted cheese, potatoes smothered in butter, carrots that were cooked in a mixture of water and honey. His thoughts and taste buds were interrupted by the man who had pushed him. This time the man nodded at Ezra to move on.

"If you want me to continue then just say so, or are you incapable of human speech." Ezra strained his neck to stare into the dull eyes of the man who stood over him.

The Neanderthal blew him a kiss and in return, Ezra grimaced in disgust. He would have preferred to bring his knee up into the man's groin, and then once he was doubled over, the same knee would then slam into the unprotected face, breaking the nose in the process, a few solid blows to the right kidney would then have the man pissing blood for a week. Instead, he took a step backwards and turned around. His green eyes saw Jeffery Thomas standing guard at the end of the queue. The prison guard was laughing at him. Ezra kept his features neutral and moved to an empty table.

Ezra stared at what was supposed to be breakfast. Scrambled eggs, he could force that down. Oatmeal, four mouthfuls and that was enough. Dry toast, he was only given one slice. Black coffee, he couldn't stand it. But he needed the caffeine, if he didn't get it, he would end up suffering from a serious withdrawal headache. He would leave the coffee until last, it would wash down the foul tasting food. Ezra had been taking turns, every second day he would finish with the coffee, for obvious reasons and every other day he would finish with the toast to get rid of the taste of the coffee. Vin had promised to supply him with his favourite type of coffee when he walked out the front gate.

When Ezra had finished the four spoonfuls of dry porridge, Kyle Lawden sat down opposite him. Ezra looked up and smiled a greeting at the young man. His age would be very close to JD's. The boy was skinny and good-looking, just the way they liked them. He had already suffered during the first three months of his jail term and he still had eighteen months to go. Kyle had taken a liking to Ezra, not in any sexual way, but as a friend. Kyle Lawden didn't have any of those in prison. Ezra was his first.

"Hey Larry." Kyle usually kept his head down and his mouth shut but not with Ezra. There was something about the man that sat across from him that made him feel safe. He knew that when it came right down to it that he would never be safe, not in this place.

"How you doing today Kyle?" Ezra's concern was genuine, hell if JD had taken the wrong turn, he could have been in the same position as Kyle was now in. And all because he had stolen a couple of cars.

"Didn't have a good night last night." Kyle admitted without looking into the green eyes that were watching him.

"How many?" Ezra asked him.

"Four."

"Jesus Kyle, we're going to have to do something about this." Ezra growled.

"I'd be killed if I did Larry, I'll just have to put up with it until I get out." Kyle felt ashamed and powerless. He'd already attempted suicide but he was still here, so, obviously he had failed. He couldn't even kill himself. But at least he'd found someone that he could talk to, he wasn't alone anymore. He knew Larry Doherty couldn't help him but he could be his friend, the only one he had in this hellhole.

"If that's what you want Kyle." Ezra returned to his breakfast, it was time to start on the eggs. "Weren't too rough were they?"

"No, Pete and Jeffery kept an eye on things. But rough or not, it's still the same."

Ezra looked up into the shameful expression that was being worn by Kyle. Ezra silently prayed to Josiah's god that he never went through what this man did nearly every night.

The silence between the two men was deafening. Two weeks and five days to go, then he could leave. Kyle Lawden couldn't. There wasn't anything Ezra could do to get him out of this hell. He could get him transferred to another prison but hell would be there too.

Ezra thought about the day ahead, the physical labour was difficult, he wasn't used to it. He had always worked using his mind and not his muscles. Yes, he worked out regularly, he jogged every second day but the physical labour used different muscles. Ones that weren't used to working so hard for eight hours a day. He wasn't looking forward to it. The day was going to be warm, the heat would be suffocating in the laundry. That was what he had been stuck with. They had agreed it was the best place for him to be.
Ezra exchanged his oatmeal for Kyle's piece of toast. For some reason the young man was able to eat the lumpy food that wasn't really fit for an animal. But then people his age ate almost anything. He knew JD did. Ezra shifted uncomfortably when the Neanderthal sat next to him. The man had been watching him from another table and now moved closer. He'd gotten the courage to disregard Ezra's non-verbal warning. Ezra reacted in a way he normally wouldn't, guards were watching. Unfortunately, his reaction was going to give the murderer the wrong impression. The Southerner drank his coffee, nodded to Kyle then left the table. For some reason, Ezra didn't think it was going to be a good day.

___________________________________________________________

Ezra had been correct in his assumptions. The sweat was already glistening on his face, both the back and front of the grey shirt he was wearing was soaked with sweat. Moisture lined the high barred windows and ran down the walls like miniature waterfalls. And it was only two hours into the working day. They didn't have a choice inside but he couldn't understand why people would do this sort of thing for a living. The next time Chris invited him to his ranch to help endure the physical labours required to prepare to run the weekend property he would say no, as he always did. What did his mother tell him, 'a gentleman does not debase himself by engaging in menial labour'. He thought that was it, sometimes he was glad he didn't listen to her. Other times he was grateful for her teachings, they had saved his and other lives on numerous occasions.

He suddenly stopped what he was doing, something was wrong. Prisoners had disappeared. His eyes quickly searched the area. He saw no one; prisoners or guards. A noise caused him to turn. It was a familiar sound, not the voice but the activity. Ezra moved towards it making sure that he wasn't seen or heard by the culprits. His body hugged the overheating machinery as he glanced around the corner. One man, large enough to overcome his victim stood facing Kyle Lawden. Aw hell.

Kyle had told him about it, even went into detail once. The kid talked about it as though it was something he did everyday; a bit like going to the grocery store. But the look of fear and shame in the blue eyes told him that it wasn't. Ezra thought about turning away, walking back to where he was and allow the criminal event to continue. Even if he did stop it, it was only going to happen again later, it may also include a beating. Shit! Kyle was looking straight at him. There was no pleading, no cry for help, just an understanding that Ezra couldn't do anything to help him.

Ezra looked away and hung his head towards his chest. He had to do something, even though his success would be useless, probably making it worse, he had to stop it. He took a deep breath and stepped around the large commercial dryer.

"Walk away Kyle." Ezra ordered him.

The Neanderthal spun around to face him. The face was first full of fear, then it became confident.

"You walk away, this ain't none of your business." he rubbed his groin in a show of power. "Your turn will come."

"Kyle. Go." Ezra stepped forward. The expression he wore caused the large man before him to hesitate.
Lawden still hadn't moved.

"Piss off punk. I changed my mind." Hauton. That was his name. "I might enjoy this one instead."

"Only thing you'll enjoy is the pain I'm going to cause you." Ezra smiled and Hauton shifted uncomfortably.

Hauton suddenly stepped forward, Ezra wasn't intimidated until the man began to smile at someone or something over his shoulder. He turned his head and he knew he was in a load of hell. Two men, both almost as large as Hauton stood behind him. Each of them carrying baseball bats. Where the hell did they come from. Ezra wasn't sure if the bats were just a show of force or were intended for use. He found out. The one on the right swung at him, the bat missed and slammed against the machinery that hid them. Ezra kicked out and his boot hit the man squarely in the jaw sending him backwards. A grunt of pain was his reward. It wasn't over yet.

Something pushed him from behind. His elbow shot out backwards and he heard something, it was his own pain. A hit to the kidney forced him to his knees. It wasn't a position he wanted to be in, he couldn't fight back. He had to get up. Fear started to burn through him, he knew what was going to happen if these men gained control of his body. Panic caused him to fight blindly. He threw his head backwards, it only hit something that was soft. A stomach. A fist grabbed a handful of his brown hair and slammed his head against the metal it had been leaning against.

He fell even closer to the floor. His vision swam within a pool of approaching darkness. A slap to the face drove it away. Ezra looked up at the evil smile. He swallowed the bile that had began to rise into his throat. He tried to gain control of his mind. Ezra now knew how he would react. With suffocating fear, resulting in the inability to defend himself in the manner he was usually capable of. He couldn't fight back.

Ezra was forced onto his stomach. He struggled as he fought for his sanity and the control of his own body. A knee was placed on his back, a hand held his head down, the right side of his cheek scrapped the dirty floor. His legs were spread wide. He kicked as hard as he could but before he knew it, the other two men were sitting on each limb. Each of them grabbed one of his arms and pinned them to the ground. A hand found its way underneath him and pulled at the button on his trousers. He screamed, he couldn't help it. His head was lifted, it hit the floor with enough force to allow any strength he had left to leave him. The weight lifted from his legs, only to allow his trousers and underwear to be pulled from his body. He was now naked from the waist down.

Oh god no! Please no! Ezra heard the words echo through his skull, he had been incapable of voicing his fear. Not through any choice of his own, the fear constricted his throat. No sound could escape. The knee in his back shifted and he thought he had a chance. NO! NO! NO! his voice screamed when Hauton lay down on top of him. He could feel him shift against him, he wasn't sure what he was doing. He froze when he felt the hardening penis press against him. NO! This wasn't happening, it couldn't be. He struggled one last time. A fist hit his kidney a second time ending his attempts.

Pain erupted within him as Hauton entered him. Flesh was torn as the man filled him with his pulsating erection. A tear escaped from Ezra's left eye. The other tear was hidden. The man began to shift inside him, to thrust, in, out, in, out. The movements were slow at first, then they become faster and harder. Shame filled his inner being. His kidney received another blow. The muscles in his lower body tensed up with the pain. He heard a groan of pleasure and realised what had happened. The tightening of his muscles had raised the man's enjoyment. The movements became even faster and more violent.

Then it was over. Hauton withdrew from him. Ezra could feel the wetness that was left as a result. The heavy body moved off him. It was over. Another weight replaced it. Oh sweet Jesus! Not again. Please! Not again. There was even more pain this time. The man was brutal in his attempts. Hands gripped his hips and lifted him off the floor. The weight on his legs stopped the man from lifting him too high. The new position caused the man to go even deeper. The pain was unbearable. Ezra felt everything.

The third time was different. His mind and body were to numb to accept what was happening. He could see Hauton standing near them. The man was masturbating. Ezra wondered if he was going to have another go at the broken man on the floor.

Hauton withered in pleasure at the sight before him and his own growing erection. Doherty had been a virgin. The opening was tight, the canal small, he enjoyed every minute of the sexual encounter. Doherty was now his to do with what he wanted and he wanted more, but he knew the guards had only given them fifteen minutes. He groaned and collapsed to his knees. Haunted green eyes stared back at him. The mouth of his victim hung open, the dark moist area was inviting, and he became even harder at the thought.

"Finish!" he demanded of the man that was struggling to orgasm. Hauton watched him shudder as he erupted. He wanted to do the same but it wasn't going to be by his own hand. "Turn him over! Now!"

They did as they were told, but they weren't gentle. Ezra felt himself being turned over. A hand grabbed at his penis. He shuddered in disgust and attempted to curl himself into a ball. Someone kicked him in the stomach.

"You do what we want or you're a dead man!"

Ezra didn't recognise the voice. He wasn't going to do as he was told though. He was pushed onto his back again and someone sat on his stomach. The erected penis rubbed against his chest. He watched as Hauton slowly made his way upwards, the white moisture dripping from the head that he knew was going to be forced down his throat. He knew what Hauton wanted. He wasn't going to do it.

Hauton leaned downwards, one arm on the floor to support himself, the other hand grabbed a handful of Ezra's hair and pulled his head toward him. His lifted his hips so he could enter Ezra's mouth. It was open, inviting, the lips dry, he would change that. Ezra had other plans. It was a reaction, there was no thought behind his movements. He lifted both arms and grabbed the offending weapon that had been used against him and squeezed it using every fibre of his being. The scream that came from Hauton did nothing to ease his shame or feeling of lack of power. The rapist jumped off him, curses were sputtered out between his lips. His large hands were around his genitals protecting them as best he could.

Ezra thought of nothing except his nakedness. He lifted his hips and pulled his torn underwear and pants up over his hips. A boot bounced off his ribs. He cried out in surprise. The ribs on his right side were also assaulted. He didn't care, the pain he was now feeling was better than what he had felt before. As the boots rained down on him, he had only one thought. Maybe they would do him a favour and kill him, put him out of his misery.

___________________________________________________________

Judge Orin Travis only managed to keep one-step ahead of Chris Larabee and Team Seven as they made their way to the front desk. Jack Henly had phoned to inform him that his agent had been badly beaten and was at Tuscon Hospital. But there had been something in his friend's voice, he knew that he was holding back important information. Jack had also asked him not to inform Larabee until they had talked. It was something that he would not do. Chris Larabee protected his men with a vengeance, the man had a right to know that one of his team was in the hospital. Henly agreed but then asked him not to allow Larabee to talk to the doctor. Travis unwillingly accepted.

"Ezra Standish!" Chris growled and tapped his fingers impatiently on the counter. He knew this whole operation was a mistake from the beginning and now Ezra was in hospital, a serious beating had put him there. He hated not being there to back his undercover agent up, and he was angry about the entire situation, someone was going to pay for what happened to his agent.

"Orin!" Jack Henly stood in the hallway that led to the emergency rooms.

"Jack." Travis hurried to him with the others hot on his heels. "How is he?"

"He'll be okay, Doctor's with him now." Henly gazed at Larabee, the anger on the man's face scared him.

"Can I talk to you, privately."

"We all here it." Chris growled at him.

"Orin?"

"I'll be back in a minute Chris."

"Judge . . . "

"In a minute!"

Travis was also angry. He was the one that had put Standish in a dangerous operation without real backup and now Larabee's fears had become reality. He followed his friend to a room, the sign on the door read, 'PRIVATE! FAMILY MEMBERS ONLY'. If Ezra was okay then why was he taking him somewhere private to talk to him. This wasn't going the way he thought it would. Jack opened the door and stepped aside so he could enter. The room was bright, the lights allowing him to see the man that was obviously waiting for them. Why? He turned when the door closed behind him.

"Orin. This is . . . John Sammat, he's from the . . . "

"I'm from the Rape Crisis Centre." Sammat stood up and with an outstretched hand shook the one that was offered to him. He knew it was only a reaction, the face he was looking into was in shock.

"Rape?"

"I'm sorry Orin. Agent Standish was found in the laundry room, beaten and unconscious. There was a prisoner with him, one that claimed Standish had been raped . . . by three men then beaten."

"Thr...ee."

"Yes, he was raped three times, gang rape it's usually called." Travis moved to a chair and sat down heavily.

"That's why I wanted to talk to you in private, Mr Sammat here doesn't think it's a good idea that his team members know. Not right now anyway."

"Why?"

"Mr Standish was raped, from what I hear the six men out there are very close to him. The way they're going to react could make things worse . . . " Sammat began.

"They'll stand by my agent, they won't say or do anything to hurt him." Travis spoke in defence of his men.

"Not intentionally but he was raped by men, he is going to suffer emotionally."

"They'll support him through it."

"Judge Travis, can I be blunt?" he received a nod and continued. "Agent Standish is in a room that is being monitored by video cameras. He will be sedated for the next forty-eight hours, not heavily but enough to keep him calm. Until I can determine otherwise I have to presume that he is suicidal." Travis' head jerked up at the use of the word 'suicidal'. "He is going to have feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness. Mr Standish may even believe that it was his fault, some men tend to believe that they are actually homosexual and they did things to entice the men to rape them. He is going to be withdrawn from his friends and the world. He will be in denial. Nightmares will cause him sleep disturbance. He will eventually become angry, possibly violent. He will fear other men, even close male friends. I don't want six men sitting in there with him, I don't know how he would react. Two at a time, that's it and if he's uncomfortable with that, then one visitor only." he could see his words sinking in. "It's called RTS. Rape Trauma Syndrome. He's going to need professional help, without it he won't get through it. That's what I'm here for, to help him. I'm going to be spending a lot of time with him over the next few weeks."

"How would they make it worse for him?" Travis asked as he looked away from Sammat.

"They're not trained in dealing with Rape Trauma. Ezra . . . is very vulnerable right now and will be for a while. Unintentional traumatisation can be caused by his friends through no fault of their own. They may try to make decisions for him, that's the worst thing that can be done. He will need to make his own, this will allow him to gain a sense of power over his life and body. That's what he needs. He needs to be re-assured of his manhood, that he didn't allow it to happen, that he's the victim. It will probably be even worse because he's and ATF agent. He was trained to defend himself, he may feel that he's a failure because he didn't, he may even think that deep down he wanted it to happen. His friends won't be able to help him with that."

"What if Ezra wants them to know?"

"Then we'll tell them."

Travis nodded, he didn't know about RTS either, this man did, and he would do what he could to help Standish get through this. "Can I see him? "

"The doctor wanted to talk to you anyway. I'll take you to him." Sammat got up and made his way to the door.

Travis again followed like a trained animal. He wouldn't allow himself to look at the others, the expression on his face would tell them that something was seriously wrong. He heard the footsteps running towards him as he stepped into the elevator.

"Travis!"

It was Chris' voice, he was demanding to know about Ezra. How was Chris going to react when he found out that Ezra had been repeatedly raped then beaten. He knew; with anger and violence. Maybe Sammat was right, if Chris showed any of those emotions in front of Ezra things could become . . . difficult. What Ezra needed was support and understanding and Sammat was going to give him those things. The doors closed cutting off Chris' demands. Silence filled the confined area.

"What will I say to him?" Travis searched Sammat's face for an answer.

"You seem like a good man Judge, I'm sure you'll know what to say."

The Judge nodded. He had no idea what to say to his agent The elevator stopped and the doors opened. He watched as the other two men stepped out but he hesitated. The doors were held open for him. They didn't demand that he hurry, they were patient with him. Damn, he thought to himself, here he was struggling in his attempts to see his agent. He wasn't even thinking about what Ezra was going through. What he had been through. To even think of what happened to him made him sick to his stomach. He hoped that it didn't show on his face when he faced Ezra Standish. The agent would mistake his expression for something else, think that his disgust was aimed at him, when it was rightly aimed at the men who had invaded his body. He wished he could take it all back, that he had said no to his friend. His eyes found Jack's and he could see that he was thinking the same thing.

As he left the elevator a door slammed open, he looked instinctively towards the sound. It was Larabee and his men. He should have know that Chris wouldn't sit and wait downstairs. Not when one of his own was lying injured in a hospital bed.

"What the hell is going on?" Chris yelled at his boss while he stormed towards him.

"Five minutes Chris, just give me five minutes." The Judge put out an arm to try to placate his top agent.

"No! Is this the doctor?"

"Five minutes Chris and that's an order. Then you can see Ezra."

"I want to see him now!"

"Do you want to be suspended and sent back to Denver?" Travis glared at him.

"I thought you said he was going to be okay." the fear sounded in Chris' voice.

"He is. This is my fault Chris, I sent him in there. I just want to see him for a few minutes that's all." he was grateful when Chris nodded and stepped out of the way. "Five minutes."

Travis refused to acknowledge the rest of team seven, instead he followed Sammat into the private room that held Ezra Standish. He stepped into the room. It was brighter in comparison to the outside world. Two overhead lights shone down on the man that lay in the bed on his left side. Travis couldn't help but stare. He moved closer, his eyes never leaving the still form before him. The usually handsome face was lined with bruises. Some paler than the others. The first couple of beatings he thought. He saw nothing else. A blanket covered Ezra, the Southerner must have pulled it up to his chin to cover his body. The green eyes were open but they were staring at the wall he was facing.

"Ezra?" he didn't want to move any closer, the haunted look that Ezra held kept him at a distance. Now he understood why Sammat didn't want six men sitting in here with him. Something told him that Ezra would be terrified to face them.

"Judge Travis," Sammat pulled at his upper arm to get the man's attention, "this is Doctor Thorton."

"Judge," Thorton shook his hand then glanced at the man he was staring at. "Physically he'll be fine." Travis turned to look at him. "Physically?"

"He has three cracked ribs and two broken ribs, a lot of bruising around the stomach and chest. Luckily, there was no internal damage. He also has a slight concussion."

"Get on with it." Travis growled at him.

"We've taken blood samples . . . "

"Why?"

"We have to test him for HIV and other sexual diseases. We've given him medication to prevent some sexually transmitted diseases but not all." he saw the confused looked on the older man's face. "They wouldn't have used protection. And it's normal procedure in a rape case."

"How long will it take to get the results?"

"It'll be a few days."

Travis nodded then looked back at Ezra. The sadness was written all over his features. The Judge turned away, he could no longer look at him, not like this. If Ezra was to see the sadness he felt then he would think that he only felt pity for him.

"There was internal damage, a lot of tearing but they weren't severe, he was lucky."

"Penetration is never gentle, it's a power trip mostly, and they’re usually pretty violent during the rape, sometimes leaving serious internal damage." Sammat informed the Judge of something that he didn't really want to know.

"Is he coherent? Will he acknowledge me?"

"He hasn't acknowledged anyone as yet." the doctor answered him. "John spoke to him, but there was no response."

"How come we weren't contacted earlier?"

"I needed to talk to him first, it's important to start therapy as quickly as possible. I had to determine his condition so I could inform you of what was ahead for him. It's going to very difficult."

He no longer wanted to talk to these men. They didn't seem to care that Ezra had friends that were worried sick about him. He stepped closer to the large bed and sat down in the chair that faced Ezra. He wanted to reach forward and touch him. Just a gentle touch that would tell the undercover agent that he was here for him and that he cared. But he was afraid of the reaction it would bring.

"Ezra?"

There was no reply, not even a shift in the eyes.

"Ezra?" his voice became louder.

The eyes blinked then changed position, they were now staring at him.

Travis stared back, his throat had tightened. He didn't know what to say to this man.

"I'm so sorry Ezra, I should never have allowed you to go into that place."

The eyes blinked once more then looked away.

"Chris and the others are outside, they want to come in and see you."

Moisture began to fill the green eyes, they blinked allowing the tears to fall.

"They don't know Ezra and we won't tell them unless you want us to."

"Don't." the voice was full of emotion, the fear was evident.

"We won't Ezra, it's your decision to make and we'll abide by it." Travis saw Sammat nodding at him. He had said the right thing. "Do you want them to come in. Mr Sammat . . . "

"John." Sammat corrected him.

"John said only two visitors at a time but if you want to see them all . . . ?"

"No." Ezra answered. "They'll get . . . to close, will want to . . . "

"How are you going to stop that?" Travis asked Sammat.

"Ezra will stop it."

"One." Ezra nodded and looked into the Judge's face. He was afraid of what he would find there. The older face was rugged but kind, the concern and worry was there. No disgust or hatred lined the features. There no was blame being aimed at him. There was no need, he was feeling all of those emotions himself. He felt numb as though he wasn't the one that had been . . . he couldn't say it. It was as though he was standing on the outside looking at someone else. Not Ezra Standish. And he was feeling disgusted with the person, blaming him for what had happened, he had allowed it to happen. The hatred he felt for the person that was himself was overwhelming.

"Five minutes Ezra, that's all." John told him.

"Chris?" The Judge asked him.

"I . . . "

Travis saw the fear and understood. Ezra knew that Chris would become angry. It was the last thing that Ezra wanted and needed right now. He was going to have to talk to the team's leader, give him a reason for not showing any strong emotions in front of his agent. It wouldn't be easy, Chris wasn't stupid. None of them were

"Vin?"

Vin won't get angry, the two men were close in their own way. Each having a childhood that was similar, dealing with it in their own way. It had brought them together in friendship.

Ezra nodded.

Travis stood up and made his way to the door. He turned and looked back over his shoulder. Ezra was watching him. He smiled at him, the expression encouraging the younger man. He opened the door and stepped out. The door closed behind him. He didn't want Ezra to hear the impending argument.

"Vin, you can go in."

"And the rest of us?" Chris growled.

"Doctor Thorton said one visitor at a time, Ezra needs to rest."

"How bad is he?" Buck asked.

"Cracked and broken ribs, concussion. He'll be fine." Travis wanted to tell them everything.

"Then why only one of us, and why Vin." Chris was becoming more angry.

"You're too angry." it was a simple statement by the Judge that said everything. "Vin."

Tanner couldn't understand why he was being allowed to go in and not the others. He looked at Chris, expecting to see anger on his face, there wasn't any, the man nodded at him to go in. Someone had to go in, they needed to know what was being hidden from them. Vin nodded in return and followed the Judge into the room. He didn't know what to expect, what Ezra would look like. What he didn't expect was to see the haunted look in the green eyes, to see the fear that was so pronounced in his body language. There was more to this than a beating. These symptoms hadn't been there when he had visited Ezra at the prison. His mind started to tick over, the fear filling his own heart as different thoughts began to fill his mind.

Ezra was watching him and he knew he couldn't just stand there staring at his friend. He moved slowly so he wouldn't scare him. The seat wasn't close to the bed, he knew why, he didn't pull it any closer. He smiled, the expression soft and understanding. Now, what to say to him?

"Hey Ezra." now that was a nice start. Should he let Ezra know that he knew. He didn't need words to be told what happened. It was written all over Ezra's face, it was in his eyes. It was a look that was going to stay with him for a long time. Shit! He didn't know what to say to his friend.

"Vin."

Vin felt his eyes filling up with tears. Damn! He couldn't do this, not in front of Ezra. He took a long, slow, deep breath.

"I don't know what to say Ezra."

Ezra could see the knowledge in Vin's eyes. He should have known that they wouldn't be able to hide it from him, or the others. Vin could read people, almost as good as he could but he was never able to see through his poker face. But that poker face couldn't be worn, nothing could control or hide his feelings at the moment. He nodded. Talking was something that he didn't want to do.

"They'll see it too." he saw the tears fall from Ezra's eyes. He wanted to reach forward and hold him but knew Ezra wouldn't let him. The man was probably terrified of him. It didn't matter that they were friends, that he would know that they would never do anything to harm him, physically or emotionally. What he was feeling was a reaction to what had happened. The emotions would be out of control and he was going to need help to deal with them. "Want me to tell them?"

Ezra raised a hand to wipe his face. "Blame . . . me."

"You know they won't."

"They'll . . . angry."

Vin understood. "They won't be angry at you. But you don't want the anger in here?"

Ezra nodded his head.

"I'll go and tell them." Vin stood up. "Can I come back and sit with you?"

Ezra looked up at him, searching for something that he needed. He saw it in Vin's eyes. A friend. One that wouldn't question, blame or hate. Not even unintentionally. He nodded then returned to staring at the wall.
Vin waited a moment, watching him. He turned to find the Judge looking at him. He stepped closer to him.

"You did good Vin."

Vin could only nod. His throat was restricted with emotions he hadn't felt for a long time. They left the room. Chris and the others were watching them, waiting for Vin to give them the answer they were seeking.

But he didn't, he needed a minute.

The sharp shooter walked away from them. His anger growing and becoming too much for him to control. If he let it out now Ezra would hear him and react. They were following him, he could hear their footsteps. No questions were asked, they knew he would talk in his own time. The fear they felt surrounded him making him walk faster to get away from it. Why? Why Ezra? Damn them to hell!

He reached the end of the hallway where a group of chairs sat in a small area for patients. Vin didn't hesitate, he rushed to the chair closest to him, picked it up and threw it against the wall in a fit of anger. It didn't make him feel any better so a second chair joined the first. A gentle voice stopped him.

"Vin?" Chris had stopped, frozen where he was when Vin's anger erupted. He'd never seen the normally controlled man lose it like this before. "Vin?"

"He was raped Chris." Vin whispered.

"What?" Chris hoped, prayed that he didn't hear the word rape.

Vin spun around to face his friends. "Some fucking son-of-a-bitch raped him!" his anger left him, he moved slowly to a chair and fell into it. "Ezra was raped."

"Chris." Travis waited until Chris turned to face him. "The man that you thought was a doctor is from the Rape Crisis Centre. He thought it best that you didn't know yet. Ezra didn't want you to know either. But Vin could see it in his face."

Chris hung his head. Raped. Ezra. Someone was going to pay for this. No, die was the better term for what he was going to do to the bastard that hurt one of his own.

"There were three men," the Judge continued. "He was raped three times, three men. Then they beat him."

"Aw shit." Vin clasped his hands over his face.

Josiah began to mutter a prayer under his breath. Chris wanted to tell him to shut the fuck up, that his prayers will do nothing to help Ezra. But he kept his mouth shut, the prayers won't help Ezra but they would help Josiah. They were all going to deal with this in their own way. Vin was obviously angry, Josiah was using his God. He knew JD wouldn't say anything, not to him anyway. The others, he wasn't sure about Nathan and Buck.

"Sammat doesn't want all of you in there with him . . . " Travis started but stopped using his voice and began to use his body when Chris began to walk towards Ezra's room. "Chris!"

Chris stopped abruptly and turned to his men. "You coming!" he continued to walk when they began to follow him, each of them afraid to face Ezra but each knowing what Chris' intentions were.

"Chris, don't!" Travis called out after him. "That's an order!"

Chris ignored him and pushed opened the door. It swung in a wide ark, allowing the six men to enter almost as one. The leader watched Ezra without staring. His face held no anger, no blame and no disgust. Ezra was his undercover agent, and his friend. The man was like family, he was family and he wasn't going to sit outside and wait for his turn to stay with him. No way in hell!

Ezra's face held something he hadn't seen before. Fear and self-loathing. The green eyes were blank, haunted, with no feelings showing in them. Gone was the mischievous glint that often drove him to the point of wanting to physically assault him. Chris was about to go to him when a voice asked him to leave.

"I would like all of you to leave." Sammat asked calmly.

"No." Chris answered just as calmly. He hadn't taken his eyes from Ezra's features, he was searching for something that would tell him that Ezra wanted them to stay or leave. He saw nothing apart from the original emotions.

"It's best for Mr Standish if you leave."

"I can understand where you're coming from Mr . . . "

"Sammat, John Sammat."

"Sammat, you know what you're doing in regards to what happened to Ezra," Chris berated himself when he saw Ezra flinch at his words, it was like a physical blow, "but we know Ezra, we know how he thinks, how he feels. We know how to deal with and cope with his emotions. Besides, he's our friend. Damn it! He's family and we're staying here with him."

Ezra blinked, a faint smile tugged at his lips, but it was gone in an instant.

"We stay."

"I would prefer that you go."

"Every time one of us is hurt we're there, always. It won't be any different this time. We're staying with Ezra. He needs us more now than he has before. Ezra knows that we won't hurt him."

"You might do something unintentionally." Sammat argued.

"Stay." Ezra whispered.

"You heard what Ezra said. We stay." It was as simple as that as far as Chris was concerned. Now for the hard part. They couldn't just sit in the room and say nothing to their friend and yet they couldn't act the way they usually did in an attempt to cheer him up. This was different and their tactics were going to have to be different.

"You guys stay with Ezra, I want to talk to Sammat and the doctor." Chris' eyes had never left Ezra's face since he entered the room. Now he moved closer and knelt down next to the bed. "Ezra, at any time, if you want us to leave just say so. We'll understand. We'll do what we have to, what you want us to do that makes you feel more comfortable. Anything to help you get through this. Okay?"

Ezra nodded but he was still staring at the wall over Chris' shoulder.

"I'll be back in a few minutes Ezra, I'll just be outside." Chris didn't like the way Ezra wouldn't look at him, he hated seeing him this way. The Southerner was closed off to those around him, only acknowledging them when he had too. He stood up and walked away. Chris left the room with three men following him.

The six remaining men stood watching the man in the bed. The silence was thick, the uneasiness that they felt filled the room. Vin broke the mood by making the first move, he returned to the seat near Ezra and smiled at him. Ezra wasn't looking at him though.

"Anything you need Ezra, want, maybe we can do something for you." Vin spoke to him, he let his mind do the talking, anything to break the silence that was suffocating them all.

"No."

"Ezra, you sure you're okay with all of us being here?" Nathan moved forward. He knew what Ezra had suffered physically - during his time as a medic he had seen two male rape cases, neither of them pleasant, the second victim had suffered serious internal injuries - but he had no idea what he was going through emotionally; none of them did.

"Don't know."

Nathan noticed the slow speech pattern, the short answers, and the fact that Ezra didn't look them in the eye. The man that was Ezra Standish had been destroyed and he didn't know how to repair him. He could do things that would help to heal his injuries, take care of him when he was released from the hospital but the emotional injuries were something altogether different. He didn't know what to do to help him.

"Ezra?" it was Josiah's turn. He stood beside Vin, but decided to go down on his knees so he could look into Ezra's eyes. "Can you look at me."

Ezra didn't want to, he was afraid of what he would see in Josiah's eyes. So far, Vin and Chris hadn't judged him, but that might change later when they received more details of what had happened. He shuddered, the tremors visible to everyone in the room.

"No . . . "

"There's no need to be afraid of me, or us Ezra."

"Not . . . afraid . . . of . . . you." it was a lie but he didn't want them to think he feared them.

Josiah didn't like the slow speech coming from his friend. "Then why won't you look at me?"

"Eyes."

"Eyes?" Josiah was confused.

"He's afraid of what he'll see in your eyes." Vin answered for Ezra.

"All you're going to see is support and concern Ezra. What happened wasn't your fault. We won't and will never blame you. Please look at me Ezra."

Josiah had to wait a few moments but Ezra's eyes finally turned towards him. They were hesitant at first, looking then quickly turning away again. Josiah smiled gently at him when the green haunted eyes stayed on him.

"Okay?"

Ezra felt his chest heave with emotion and his voice hitch as the tears threatened to break through.

"Sorry."


Josiah was desperate to do what Vin had also wanted to do, he needed to lift Ezra up into his arms and hold him, to show him that everything was all right. But he too knew that Ezra wouldn't allow it, it was something that he found hard to accept even when he had been his normal self, before this shit had happened. Ezra wasn't a physical person, none of them were really but they accepted human contact easier than Ezra. The Southerner often offered a violent reaction to what they were trying to do.

"There's nothing to be sorry for Ezra, it wasn't your fault. You don't understand that now but you will." Josiah wanted to get angry, to yell at the younger man to stop blaming himself for something he didn't do. He hadn't asked to be raped, it was violently forced upon him. Josiah saw a picture in his mind and closed his eyes. He could see the terror in Ezra's eyes and knew that it was nothing compared to the actual event.
"We're here for you Ezra, always will be, remember that, okay."

Ezra nodded as another tear fell. He had been terrified about how his friends would react, he wasn't sure if they would blame him. Think that he had made some sarcastic remark that had in some way asked for what happened to him. There was a terrifying fear that they would feel disgust towards him, that they wouldn't want to be near him. That he would lose their friendship forever. But Chris had proven him wrong. He had told them that he and the others were staying. He was grateful because a part of him didn't want them near him, didn't want them to stay but now they were here he wanted them to stay.

Buck moved forward to replace Josiah. "Hey Ez." he knew Ezra didn't like the name, for some reason he preferred they used his birth name but Buck always used it to get a comeback from Ezra. It was a test for him, he needed to know how bad a state his friend was in emotionally.

"Buck?" Ezra looked into his eyes, it was easier this time. He read the same expressions in Buck's eyes as he did in everyone else's.

Buck looked back, he didn't know what to say. Ezra was in a real bad way and there were no words that he could say that would help him.

"You don't . . . have . . . . talk."

"I want to Ezra, just don't know what to say to you."

"It's okay . . . Buck."

"It's not okay Ezra, I should say something, should know what to say to you. You're my friend, friends know what to say to make each other feel better."

"Not . . . this time."

"Don't worry Ezra, I'll think of something, just give me some time."

"Come on Buck, you're talking too much." JD told him.

Ezra noticed that they each were taking a turn to talk to him instead of crowding him all at once. They might not know what to say but they knew what to do. They didn't come near him, or reach out to touch him. The look in Josiah's eyes told him that the man wanted to come closer, to comfort him physically. Josiah held back, he understood what his touch would do to him.

But JD was younger, he was unsure of what Ezra was feeling. He knew what happened physically, knew what a male rape entailed but didn't know the emotional results.

"How you doin' Ezra?" JD asked him.


The other men hung their heads, they knew JD was young, but he was mature in his ways. He said things that none of them would think of saying. He sometimes helped when they couldn't. That's why they didn't stop him. They each hoped that he would say something that would help Ezra.

"Want to hear a joke?' JD smiled at him.

Ezra couldn't help but smile at that, JD was never going to change.

"Is that a yes?"

"No, JD."

"Aw hell, and it was a good one too." JD slapped Ezra's covered shoulder and was unprepared for the response.





Part One | Part Two


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