SECOND TIME AROUND
Ezra and Vin - 8yrs old, post incident
Welcome to a kind-of kid fic. This is one of those supernatural de-aging fics of which there are other, no doubt better ones, out there. Please note that unlike some of them Ez and Vin do not have their adult memories.
Everybody else are their adult selves. Nathan not very nice for a while- is quite out of character for a few moments, but then aren't we all at some time in our lives - but never fear by chapter ten he will have seen the light and then he'll be the Nate we know and love. Josiah also will give the reader problems at some point but I stress that the team will finish the fic closer than they started it and all will be happy. There is however one canon character that will not be as nice as we are used to throughout, but I do feel that this attitude is possible to portray based on canon performance (though by fanon standards would be ooc) especially considering the interaction involves Ezra... and no, it's not Maude, although she isn't portrayed well either she doesn't actually appear... well not unless I change my plans which is possible I suppose.
ATF universe - Ezra centric of course.
Don't look for a plot, you won't find one. This is about family and home... and fluff and kittens and, well you get the picture.
All medical conditions (I know, more allergies, but I can't help it; they make for great drama - especially good where bullet holes aren't an option) are, as far as I know, made up but may bear some resemblance to reality - sorry if it's your reality and I've mucked about with it, particularly those with skin conditions. My mum had one for most of her life so I've seen the very real distress it can cause and I may over-dramatize it but I never belittle it.
Warnings: past evidence / mention of child abuse.
One incident of hitting a child, which I in no way condone.
Please note that this fic involves the spanking of a child BUT it is not a spanking fic. The spanking is not portrayed in a positive light due to the circumstances of the plot - this does not necessarily reflect my personal views. I have never had children so I do not presume to issue dictates on the proper upbringing of children.
There is a quite distressing scene between Ezra & Buck in chapter 2 but I have kept the rating at T because nothing actually happens. It just indicates what has happened in the past - I use the mention of abuse as a dramatic tool, but I do not glory in it, it is just my variation of what already exists in fanon - so no flames please, also there will be no proper procedures of reporting abuse etc because this all happened years before & there's nothing Chris & Buck can do - at least not without adult Ezra's permission.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except my own imagination and the odd original character.
Hope you enjoy and since I have several chapters in the bag already this in no way impinges on the extremely efficient updating of my other fics... see if you can spot the sarcastic note there! Actually my NCIS fic is nearing its end (one chapter to go - see I can finish fics) and this one is next in line for public scrutiny.
They had been waiting around on this Godforsaken stretch of road in the middle of nowhere, in the semi darkness for what seemed to Chris Larabee at least a lifetime and he was starting to get a little peeved. A fact confirmed by the sudden amount of space between himself and his men, not that they were in any way afraid, just naturally cautious. All his men that was, except for his most troublesome two. Vin Tanner, team 7's sharpshooter and weapons expert and his partner Ezra Standish, their undercover agent were at that precise moment in time a couple of hundred yards down the road and completely out of sight thanks to the fogbank that had rolled in a few minutes previously. Thankfully they still had audio connection. What they didn't have was their contact. He had been due to show nearly half an hour ago and none of them needed telling that this evening was a bust.
"Mr Larabee, I am cold, damp, hungry and severely in need of my feather bed and down pillows. I do think that even the greatest of optimists would concur that this expedition has proved itself to be less than fruitful and one doesn't need to be a gambler to know when to fold one's hand."
When Ezra was pissed the whole world felt the consequences thought Chris with a sigh which soon became a chuckle, shared by the others as Vin interrupted, deflating his partner's ire.
"Don't take any notice of him fellas, truth be told the fog is making his hair go all curly and he's starting to panic. Don't know why though, looks real purty…"
"MR TANNER!" was the only comment that Ezra could make and the members of the team didn't know whether they were laughing at his indignity or that he'd finally been rendered speechless.
"Okay guys", Chris ordered, " Ez is right about one thing, tonight is a no show. Let's get out…." Before he could finish his sentence the fog ahead of them suddenly began to pulse with light. Mixed colours of blue and green strobed across the night sky and a high pitched wail seemed to come from nowhere. Before any of them could respond two cries were heard over their headsets and all was once again still and quiet. The fog dissipating rapidly as they watched, stunned.
"What the Fuck!" was a curse uttered by more than one of the agents but it was Buck Wilmington who was the first to break free of his shock and begin running, gun ready, toward his comrades, who had been silent since their cries had died out. The fog, having cleared with an unnatural rapidity, left behind it the most startling scene that Wilmington could ever remember seeing. He skidded to a halt and automatically threw his arms out to his sides to indicate to the others to also stop. As one they peered down at the unbelievable sight.
Ezra was confused. More than that he was afraid; a state of being that he was so familiar with it seemed almost natural. Unlike the situation he found himself in. 'Okay, Ezra child. First step, assess the situation… Five extremely big men with guns ahead of you, not good.' He glanced to the side to be met with a calculating look similar to his own, only from blue eyes, 'probably not an immediate threat'. He then looked down at the pile of clothes he seemed to be caught up in, as did the boy next to him. 'Restricted movement, not good.' At that moment two of the men, one all in black like something out of a horror novel, and one trying to look non-threatening with a wide smile which immediately engaged his suspicions, had begun to move slowly towards them. Granted they had lowered their guns but they were still armed. Both boys exchanged another glance and then Ezra noticed a glint of metal near to his hand in the rapidly dwindling light. He recognized it immediately and out of the corner of his eye saw that his fellow sufferer had spotted another weapon. As one they grabbed the guns, raised them and pointed them at the oncoming threat, twin safety mechanisms were deactivated and once again the ATF's finest shuddered to a stunned halt, not doubting the look of intent in the eyes of the two very small boys looking back at them.
Every member of Team 7 was trained to observe and to react with instinct and intelligence to any given situation, no matter how bizarre. But this, this just refused to compute. Chris Larabee and Buck Wilmington came to a sudden halt for the second time. Their eyes had taken in the evidence; the missing agents, the two piles of distinctive, familiar clothing and the fact that the clothes were still attached to the two individuals before them. What their collective minds refused to acknowledge was that those individuals appeared to be no more than seven or eight years old. That one had longish light brown wavy hair and the other had chestnut curls only made the situation worse. If the light had still been with them they had no doubt that the eyes would be very particular shades of blue and green respectively, just like the coloured lights they had witnessed. All of these observations, however, paled into insignificance when weighed up against the two automatic weapons pointed directly at them. Against everything that logic was trying to dictate to him Chris took a chance.
"Vin? Is that you?, Vin Tanner."
Ezra's eyes did not veer from his target but he heard the sharp intake of breath from beside him and sensed that the enemy had captured his companion's interest, 'damn!'
"How did you know my name? I don't know you, any of you. What am I doing here? Are you with child services?"
Chris was shocked. He'd asked the question but he hadn't really expected this answer, and by the other sharp breaths neither had the others. How could he explain to the confused child that a few minutes before he had been a twenty seven year old man, especially when he couldn't understand it himself. He felt a figure come up alongside of him. The child who couldn't possibly be Ezra automatically began to cover him as well. He heard the voice with some relief, JD, their least threatening member.
"Hey Vin, Ez." At this the chestnut haired boy tensed up even further and his finger tightened slightly on the trigger. JD pretended not to notice. "Thing is we're not entirely sure what happened, but Vin, do you remember the stories that Grandfather tells you about the Spirits?"
"Uh huh." Vin began to relax slightly. These men knew of Grandfather. Ezra frowned, sensing the growing trust between the two. 'Big mistake.'
"Well," continued JD, knowing he had his audience hooked. "Something beyond natural just happened and it changed things."
"What did the spirits change?"
JD knew that only the truth would explain the situation and that Vin's open mind would, along with a child's natural acceptance of the supernatural, at least get them beyond this stand-off. Ezra might be an entirely different kettle of fish. "They changed you and Ezra, the boy next to you, from adults like us into children. This is 2007 and until a while ago you were 27 years old Vin. They are your clothes and guns."
"Why do we have guns?" Vin wasn't sure that any of this was more than a dream but Grandfather had told him that dreams spoke lessons so it would be wise to learn as much as he could. And if it was real, and it could be, because the spirits were real, he knew that deep down in his soul, then he really needed help and these were the only people around.
"Because you work for the government. We all do, we're on the same team, Team 7."
Just as Vin relaxed and lowered his gun, which in truth was far too heavy for him to continue to hold anyway, sensing nothing but honesty coming from the gentle looking man, Ezra froze in place, his expression as neutral as he could make it whilst his mind was in turmoil with the perceived danger surrounding him.
'There's your fatal mistake gentlemen. No way on this earth would mother allow me to work for the law! She would have me beaten to within an inch of my life.' Seeing that all eyes were now on him he did not dare look as he heard the boy next to him address him directly.
"I think it's ok Ezra. I think we know these men and they want to help us. I've got a good feeling about them."
Ezra quickly re-assessed his own situation. Where it was two guns against five, not good odds, now it was just him. The Texan, if the accent was anything to go by, had been won over. The gun was no longer of any use to him. They were less likely to shoot an unarmed boy, and if he could wriggle out of these clothes he would be fast enough to escape the adults, especially in the dark. If only there were thicker cover to aim for. There was just this copse of trees and then open ground. Still it was his only chance, perhaps there was more cover on the other side of the rise.
The men watched as Vin, and then a few moments later, Ezra put down their weapons. Those of the seven who hadn't already, put away the firearms that they had never had the intention of using. Nathan was itching to get to the boys. He still couldn't fully believe what his eyes were telling him and couldn't make out fine details just by the shadowy light cast by the misty moon, but the ill - clad children were obviously scared and his medic's instincts were driving him to check them out. He waited though, it could be disastrous to rush things now. Josiah waited patiently. He had no trouble believing that something supernatural had happened here today but he also knew that he could cut quite an intimidating figure. He did not want to cause them any more fear. He could see that Ezra, in particular, was still very skittish.
Now that his hands were unencumbered by the weapon Ezra was free to slide his arms out of the entangling clothing. He surreptitiously undid enough buttons on the shirt to be able to move clear instantly and then slid his arms free of the sleeves. The lower clothing was far too loose to be any sort of hindrance. He was ready to make his break.
Buck was surprised that all the attention now seemed to be on Vin. Now that Ezra had set his gun aside it was presumed that he was being totally compliant. Buck knew better. He had seen that the simple gesture of running his fingers down the front of his shirt had in fact created enough of an opening for the whole suit to be shucked like a pea pod, and that could only be for one reason.
"Nathan, go get a couple of blankets from the Ram will ya" Chris ordered quietly. As Nathan complied Chris spoke to Vin. He didn't mean to ignore Ezra but it was his custom to converse more with his close friend. "Okay Vin, what say we go get us somewhere a bit warmer and maybe have a bite to eat. Don't think any of us have eaten since lunch."
"Can we have burgers?" Vin had a gleam in his eye. It wasn't often that he got to choose what he ate.
"Sure, no problem. We'll just come over and get you untangled…"
That was Ezra's cue. He moved fluidly out of the bundle of clothes and heedless of his nakedness ran full tilt toward the rise, seeking to keep close to the tree line. As the others reacted to the sudden movement with surprise and complete immobility Buck was already closing the distance between them, keeping the glow from moonlight hitting pale skin in sight. Buck was tall and his legs ate up the distance quickly. Ezra was already exhausted from his ordeal and knew the moment he heard the pounding footsteps behind him that he had lost. As soon as hands closed about him he ceased all movement and without protest allowed himself to be carried back to the others. It never did any good to struggle once the game was up; the consequences would only be more severe.
By the time that Buck returned with Ezra Vin had already been bundled up in a blanket and was watching with concern over toward his new companion. The big man didn't seem to be hurting him but you never knew; he trusted his feelings and they told him that these were good people but they had shouted angrily at Ezra when he had begun to run. Still, they did seem to care.
Nathan handed Buck a blanket which he immediately wrapped around the ice cold child. It worried him that Ezra hadn't fought back. He was the feistiest person that he'd ever met. Still, he needed to keep reminding himself that this was not the Ezra he knew. In fact nobody knew anything about what Ezra was like as a child; they only had the stories that Maude, his mother, had regaled them with. And whilst they had had the rest of the team in stitches, except for Nathan who found his privileged background offensive for some reason, both he and Vin had had a feeling that something wasn't quite right. He brought himself back to the moment; Can't stand around, need to get this little tyke warmed and fed. Although he couldn't see too clearly in the gloom he could feel that his young charge was shivering and that he weighed far too little.
Once the boys were safely in the vehicle the rest of the seven started to breathe a little easier. Time to get this fiasco into some sort of order thought Chris tiredly.
"Okay. JD, you drive the Jag", he handed the young computer expert the keys he had retrieved from Ezra's clothes. "We'll be going back to the ranch. We'll pick up some takeaway as we go."
"What about the hospital?" interrupted Nathan forcefully, "you can't just whisk them away without having them checked out. It isn't like they've caught a chill, this is a monumental event."
"Ain't goin' to no hospital" stated Vin firmly. The others smiled at the oh so familiar protest.
"Nate" continued Chris, "just what would you tell them at the hospital?" When their medic couldn't answer Larabee reminded him. "You have the skill to examine the boys and see that they're ok. Don't want too many people in on this until we know what we're dealing with. Speaking of which, JD, Josiah; tomorrow I want you researching this. Find out if we're dealing with a known phenomena. For all I know we could have been set up as test dummies for some sort of super weapon. Buck, I'll need you to stay with me and the boys tonight if that's ok?" Buck nodded happily. Chris thought hard for a little longer and then added, "Ok, we don't know how long this effect will last so tomorrow, provided things haven't changed, we'll need to get 'em some clothes and maybe think about telling the Travis's, and maybe Nettie Wells. Alright boys let's get moving." As JD headed toward the Jag Chris turned in his seat to check on the children. He gave them a warm smile and although Vin smiled back Ezra just gave him that same poker face that he did as an adult. Chris felt a shiver inside at the thought that such a self protective gesture had been in place at such an early age. And he was sure that they really had the memories of their childhood selves, that the adult Vin and Ez did not as yet exist. Jesus, he concluded, only those two could get themselves into a situation like this. When would he ever learn not to let the two of them out of his sight?
A/N Hope this appeals and that you want to stay for the journey. As far as I'm concerned there can't be too many kid-fics out there, even humble offerings like this one. Updates will be weekly until I run out of pre-written chapters and then... well the usual haphazard postings unless I've had a sudden efficiency transplant by then LOL.