Title: Protection

Fandoms: Sentinel and Magnificent Seven

Disclaimer: I own nothing of either fandom, or of the items mentioned here. The protection items mentioned are, however, available for purchase on the web.

Inspired by Starwinder's "You have a backup what?"

The time after their return from Cascade, WA had been to be truthful, rather boring. The local gunrunners and other such scum seemed to have taken a vacation, at least in the Denver area, so Team 7 had been stuck with the selling of alcohol to minors by merchants cases. This was of course, because their youngest member of the team, although in his early twenties, could still pass himself off as a teen. Thus Vin, Ezra and Buck were stuck in the surveillance van while JD went and tried to purchase alcohol at several different establishments – very routine, and very boring.

Buck was passing the time by playing with the equipment. While he was not the computer whiz that his partner was, Buck did have enough expertise in surveillance that he could, and did, manage to not only capture the deals done by JD but also managed to find every woman passing within range of the cameras. Fortunately for Buck's continued health, both Sentinel and Guide knew that the man would never even dream of taping the women or taking it any further. The simple fact was that Buck loved women – all kinds, shapes, sizes, and ages and would never want to harm any of them in any way. Most of the time he even had a hard time dealing with female suspects. He was happy just watching them walk down the street.

Vin was keeping an ear out for trouble and trying his best to relax in the presence of his Guide in spite of the close quarters of the van. The very fact that he now had a Guide, that Ezra was his Guide and that they were finally properly bonded was enough to blow the quiet sniper away. That he was back in his own territory and things were as quiet as they got, simply made the time he had to reflect on the changes in his life all the more precious. Then he noticed the change in Ezra's heartbeat.

"Ez?" he asked, all of his senses going on alert, trying to pinpoint the danger to his Guide.

"I do believe that I have found the perfect gift to thank Professor Sandburg for his help," Ezra said with a smile.

Vin looked over his shoulder at the laptop Ezra was currently using to surf the web. "What's that?" he asked, looking at the backpack on the screen. He knew that the Shaman often used a backpack, but he couldn't see anything special about this one.

"This, my dear Sentinel, is the very latest in bulletproof casual accessories. It is large enough to provide room for anything that the Professor might need to carry including his laptop, is water proof," the other two men in the van traded nods and sighs at the reminder of Cascade's frequently rainy weather, "only weighs 20 ounces more than a similar backpack and most importantly has no identifying marks to indicate that it has such protection built in," Ezra said smugly. "From what I had heard about the Cascade police station Professor Sandburg is the proverbial trouble magnet and needs as much protection as those who care for him can provide. I thought that this and perhaps a note to Sentinel Ellison on where to find such things as bullet proof under shirts and slash resistant jeans might not go amiss."

"Too bad you can't find such things in your style Ez," Buck said, adjusting the cameras once more. "It'd help settle Chris down if he knew that you had some protection under those fancy suits of yours when you refuse to wear your vest."

Vin snickered as Ezra drew himself up proudly. "My dear Mr. Wilmington, I abhor gambling and as such leave nothing to chance. The bullet proof vests that the ATF provides are much more suited to a person of your stature. They are bulky and completely obvious, not something that can be hidden upon my person. You will find if you care to look that the majority of my clothing and as many of my accessories as can be modified have such protection built in."

Buck looked like someone had hit him over the back of the head. "Buck," Ezra said, taking pity on the explosives and surveillance expert, "until recently I had no one that I trusted to watch my back. While I now have six brothers to do so, protecting my person allows me to watch your backs."

Buck suddenly looked at the jacket hanging off of the back of his seat. It had been a present from Ezra last Christmas, one of six such stylish jackets that perfectly complemented the men they had been chosen for. Vin nodded as the big man made the connection. "Chris' leather vest?" Buck asked the Sentinel, referring to another gift from the closed mouth southerner.

"Chris' leather vest and barn jacket, the bugout bags, Nate's EMT bag and jacket, JD's motorcycle wear, Josiah's laptop case and twill jacket for court, your tropical shirt, everyone's court dress shirts and slacks, and of course when Ez had my buckskin jacket 'fixed'," Vin confirmed.

"Well, damn! Thanks Ez," Buck said.

"It was nothing, Mr. Wilmington," Ezra answered easily, returning his attention to his laptop. "Merely watching out for my brothers as I know they are watching out for me." It had taken just over a year for the undercover agent to realize that Team 7 really was watching his back as fiercely as they did each other's, but once he had realized there had been no going back.

Buck was amazed as much by Ezra's admitting that he cared as by what the man had done. That bonding thing that Sandburg had done for Vin and Ez had done what the rest of the team had tried and failed to do for the last year and a half – convince the man that he was not only part of the team, but their family as well. "You know, I think that we all owe Ellison and Sandburg a bit of thanks. Do you think that you can find something on there that the whole team can pitch in for? Maybe a remodel on that classic of Ellison's like your ma did for your jag?"

The jag was the one thing that kept the team from lynching Maude Standish every time she tried to pull something that would take their brother from them. She had purchased a brand new, top of the line jaguar and had it completely rebuilt: bullet proof panels and glass, puncture proof tires, and the car was lo-jacked, not to mention what other little surprises she might have put in that Ezra had forgotten to mention. She might not have approved of her son wasting his God-given talents as an undercover agent, but the car would protect him until she could get him away from such a dangerous occupation. In her own way, it was proof of her love for her son.

"Such a venture would prove to be quite cost prohibitive," Ezra warned.

"I don't think it would pinch too hard if we split it seven ways," Buck said. "Besides, those guys get shot at more than we do." Vin and Ezra shared a glance and then nodded. Buck was right.