Ezra stepped out of the hospital entrance and scanned the dark parking lot without really seeing it. He couldn't handle the stale medicinal air inside anymore or the crushing guilt he felt each time he looked at one of his team members. The night air was fresh and cool, but unusually mild for the season. It almost felt like spring. For a second Ezra found himself distracted by thoughts of Atlanta. His senses bombarded by the beauty of the Bradford pear tree's blossoms and the horror of their fish like smell. He shook his head and grimaced. The smell was growing stronger.
"How's my true confederate?" a gravely voice asked.
Ezra froze in place, his mind suddenly clouded as the small man stepped into his view. Chester Watson smiled at the tall, slender man in front of him. He enjoyed the feeling of power he maintained over any man, but especially this agent. In any other circumstance he'd have felt inferior standing next to Standish. Honest about himself, Watson knew he was not a looker, or even a charmer. The man beside him, however, had been everything Chester ever wanted to be, handsome, intelligent, strong and confident, until Chester took it all away, of course.
Watson stepped closer watching Ezra's eyes closely. "Good, Good," he murmured, capping the small bottle of fragrance he held in one hand, "Come with me Mr. Standish. We have some business to discuss." With a satisfied smile the drug dealer led Ezra to a waiting car.
+ + + + + + +
Vin, Chris and Josiah walked briskly down the hospital corridor talking in subdued voices. "Nurse said she saw Ezra step outside about ten to fifteen minutes ago," Vin told the other two men.
"Probably just going for some fresh air," Chris said, "He rode over with me. His Jag's over at Buck and JD's still."
Josiah stopped and held the glass door open for Vin and Chris. "Then hopefully he didn't get far."
The three men seemed to spill out onto the sidewalk, as they each took a different direction. Vin moved automatically to the right, Josiah to the left and Chris walked straight out toward the parking lot. The street lights cast shadowy paths through and in between the parking lot. There were fewer cars here now that visiting hours were technically over. Chris looked over to see Vin stepping off the curb of the sidewalk and moving toward a black Buick. It's lights were on and the engine running. An alarm went off somewhere in his consciousness and he knew from Vin's speed that the agent was feeling the same concern. Chris started toward the car.
Suddenly the car lurched into gear and backed out of it's spot. Braking only to change direction, it picked up speed at a reckless rate heading straight for Vin. Vin stood his ground for only a moment then jumped out of the path of the car, as it careened around the drive and out onto the main road. Brakes screeched and tires squealed, as other motorists were forced to avoid getting hit.
"Are you okay?" Chris asked, as Vin slowly picked himself up off the pavement. Vin nodded to him and the approaching Josiah, pausing an instant to catch his breath.
"I'm fine. It was Watson." Vin straightened up looking at the tire marks left by the car. "He has Ezra."
+ + + + + + +
The room was dark except for one small lamp in the corner. Ezra blinked and watched, as Watson moved about him. He smiled to himself. In the shadows Watson kind of looked like the actor Peter Lorre. A scene from Cary Grant's Arsenic and Old Lace flashed through his mind. Watson had more hair then Lorre. Ezra decided.
"How are you feeling Standish?"
"I'm fine." Ezra tried to ignore the fact the room felt like it was floating in front of him. Watson moved closer and Ezra could see that he held a needle. He tensed somehow knowing he didn't want to get a shot.
"Hold still now." Watson gripped his wrist tightly.
"No." Ezra tried to pull away, but his arm refused to obey his command. The needle went in quickly, burning and bruising. "Ow." Ezra rubbed his arm once Watson let him go.
"Sorry about that. I still haven't gotten the hang of giving shots gently."
" I noticed."
"You remember what we talked about before, don't you Ezra?"
Ezra thought a moment trying to make sense of his thoughts. "I think so."
"I need you to help me. "
"I don't want to help you."
"It's my job to catch you." Ezra tried to shake away the confusion he felt.
"But Ezra you've already helped me, remember? You shot Agent Dunne for me."
"I shot him."
"You did it."
"I did it." Watson smiled. "Larabee and Wilmington hate you now you know. It's your fault the boy is dieing."
"My fault," Ezra's voice had fallen to a whisper.
"I need you to finish the job though Ezra. I told you to kill JD. He's still alive."
Ezra shook his head. He was suppose to fight this. He couldn't hurt JD or any of his partners. They were a team. "No." He'd already shot JD. How could he have done that. It was all his fault.
Watson moved again quickly driving another needle into Ezra's arm. Ezra didn't resist this time.
"Look at me Standish." Watson stood near the single light. Ezra turned his head toward Watson. "Are you afraid?"
"Afraid of what?" Ezra's word's slurred slightly.
"Are you afraid they'll hate you? You've betrayed them you know. You tried to kill JD. They'll never forgive you."
"I did this."
"Yes, you did this. You shot your partner. You tried to kill him, and you're going to finish the job."
"No," Ezra whispered.
"But you must."
"And Ezra? "
"If anyone tries to stop you, kill them."
"You want me to kill them?"
"Yes, and if you fail, you kill yourself." There was silence for a moment. "Do you understand me Ezra?" Slowly Ezra nodded. "If anyone tries to stop me, I kill them and if I am stopped, I kill myself." He sounded like he was repeating something as simple as a grocery list.
Watson moved toward Ezra and knelt before him. "You know Ezra, after you kill agent Dunne the guilt will be unending. I think you should kill yourself either way. What do you think?"
"Alright then." Watson rose to his full height over the seated agent and smiled easily. He squinted at his watch holding it up into the light of the single lamp. They'd be arriving soon, he'd better get ready.
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