Part 10- epilogue.

Ezra leaned back against his pillows, closing his eyes and trying to relax as he listened to Chris lead agents Dorsey and Peters out of the hospital room.

It seemed like there had been a constant stream of people and nurses and doctors coming in and out of his room since he'd woken up from surgery and he was exhausted. Even throughout the night it seemed as if there was always someone needing to check on him or monitor his vitals to interrupt his rest.

Today, he'd managed to stay alert through Buck's rendition of the events at Little's cabin and the description of Little's irate reaction upon hearing that his hit man hadn't succeeded in taking Ezra out. Standish had grimaced as JD excitedly told of how the FBI had sent them a copy of the rescue footage and how it was being replayed all over the federal offices. If it wasn't needed as evidence, he was certain Dunne would have posted it on You Tube already. It wasn't that he didn't appreciate JD's enthusiasm or the rescue itself, it was just that with remembering the rescue came the memories of everything else that went with it.

Ezra squeezed the fingers of his good hand into a tight fist, trying to still his trembling and keep his fragile hold on his emotions. The interview with Dorsey and Peters had been hard. He'd expected them to be hostile and read that emotion easily in Dorsey. He'd been prepared for anger and accusations, but it was Agent Peters who'd led the interview and almost broken him. Peters had been kind and understanding, but the man hadn't been able to hide his obvious grief. Ezra had felt the weight of it as he'd recounted all that had happened to him and agent Brennan.

"You okay?"

Ezra opened his eyes and met Vin's intense gaze. He had assured both Chris and Vin that he could handle talking to the FBI on his own, but now he was grateful for their stubborn insistence on staying in the room during the interview. It'd helped to have them there.

He debated how to answer Tanner's question, but finally he settled with honesty.

"I keep replaying the first encounter in Little's office," he admitted, picking absently at a loose string on the blanket covering him. "Wondering if there was anything at all I could have done differently…" He sighed heavily and flopped his head back, blinking at the ceiling as guilt choked him. "But no matter what scenario I…"

"Ezra," Vin interrupted. "There was nothing you could have done for Brennan."

Ezra continued to stare at the ceiling. "I know," he whispered.

They sat in silence, Ezra fighting his emotions while Tanner offered his silent support.

Ezra wasn't sure how long they sat that way before Chris returned.

"They satisfied?" Vin asked as Larabee entered.

"For the most part. Helps that they've got Little in custody now."

"Is he still denying everything?"

"Trying to." Chris shook his head. "But with Ezra's statement and the footage from the helicopter, he's really got no chance. Plus that guy Darby is already talking about making a deal."

Larabee looked at Ezra. "You okay?"

Managing a smile, Standish answered, "I believe so."

Larabee eyed him a moment longer. "Liar."

Ezra huffed a laugh then grimaced. "I've been better," he admitted softly.

"Yeah," Chris patted Ezra's good leg lightly. "You'll get there.

Somehow the confidence in Chris' statement eased the knot inside Ezra, making it easier to breathe. He knew he had a ways to go to struggle through the fear and the remorse of the events of the last few days, but he also knew that in those moments when it felt like the world had dropped out from under him—all he had to do was reach out and there'd be someone there to catch him.

thank you all so much for reading. Hope you enjoyed the story.