A/N: No copyright infringement intended.
There will be mentioning of some songs by various artists, please don't sue, I don't have anything of value. I tried really hard to find a great match of song to character personality. I hope you can imagine the sound of each song as our favorite Team 7 members come out to walk the stage (if not youtube each song and listen to the first 30 seconds or so)
I'd like to give special thanks to Winchester's Wench and Rustynail for their numerous contributions and suggestions, you both rock!
Many thanks go out to Rustynail, for numerous invaluable suggestions to make this story more enjoyable
"I like that girl, she's not afraid to stand up to either of you"
The Auction begins
"May I have everyone's attention?" Elsabeth's voice came over the loud speakers.
"Good evening everyone, I am Elsabeth Klein, welcome to the Brookhurst Community Center Charity Auction to benefit Intramural Youth Sports. We are looking forward to a wonderful evening. Ladies, I hope you all brought deep pockets." Elsabeth paused to allow the cheers to die down, "Each of our auction participants will walk out to greet our wonderful audience. While on stage I will be reading their contributions to community safety. You can begin bidding until I close the bidding. To protect the identity of our participants, all the gentlemen will be using a number. Please don't call out their names, even if you recognize them. You may bid as many times as you like or can afford. All winning bids have to be settled in cash at the table set in the corner. Details of when the auctionee will come perform their 2 hours of community service will be worked out after the auction finishes. With a little help from each of the participating departments, I have assembled some walking music to accompany each man on stage. OK ladies, whose ready to get started?" As her voice carried across the bar, the sounds of "Its raining men" by The Weather Girls started coming across the speakers. This got the already eager crowd more excited for the auction to begin.
"Ladies we need your help to get this auction started. Please put your hands together to welcome our first charity participant to the stage". So began the evening. Participant number 1 made his way onto the stage. The beginnings of "Crazy Train" could be heard over the loud speakers.
"The bidding will start at 25 dollars"
Vin stood on the side of the stage, nervously waiting his turn and watching the man before him. Vin turned and caught Chris' eye. From where Chris stood further down the line he could see the nervousness in his sniper. He left the line and walked over to stand next to Vin. Vin was looking more and more panicked as his turn approached. "You got this. Remember the bust we did in Cheyenne, Wy? We were outgunned and out manned. You were unflappable, you remember?"
"Yup" Vin said as a wry grin formed on his face as he remembered the mission. Things had gone to hell quickly, they were all lucky to walk away from that one with their skin in tact.
"You kept us all together. You set the pace on this team. JD he looks to you to set the tone. Yeah, Buck is like a big brother to him, but you are the cool friend he wants to emulate. Now you are leading the team again. Just remember let your training guide you and use your sniper breathing. Piece of cake" Chris turned to go back to his place in line. While Chris was talking with Vin, Chris smiled at the man who had in such a short time become his close friend. Vin had become so indispensable, Chris couldn't imagine not having him watch his back in a gunfight. As Chris walked back to his place in line he returned to looking like the mean sonofabitch that he preferred.
"It damn well better be Chocolate cake for doing this auction" Vin muttered.
Sherry observed Chris talking win Vin. Chris had a calming affect on him. Vin liked to think he was invincible and the fool man probably took crazy risks in his line of work. Sherry was glad that Vin had Chris watching his back to make sure he came back in one piece. Vin seemed to settle down as they talked. She went and stood with the other women along the stage.
"I'm curious as to what song they will pair with each man?"
"I helped contribute the community service details for each ATF participant" Mary announced, "I also suggested the songs to match their personalities" she added with a cheeky grin. "I hope you enjoy the music, I had a blast selecting songs"
One of the auction escorts, a young model stepped beside Vin looking at him expectantly. Vin schooled his features, politely nodded to her "Miss", accepted her hand on his arm and then climbed the two steps to the stage with his female escort, quietly muttering "sniper breathing, sniper breathing" as he went. "Let's welcome to the stage participant number 2…" The sounds of Gimme All Your Lovin, blast across the speakers. There were excited murmurings around the room as he made his way down the runway. Vin looked out across the room of women and immediately zoned in on Sherry's position near the stage. Sherry gave him a thumbs up of encouragement as he walked past her. As promised she quickly snapped a picture to him. The bidding quickly escalated $50, $100, $150, $180, $220, $260, amongst several women valiantly trying to get top bid. As the amount rose higher the bidding boiled down to Sherry going head to head with another determined woman.
Elsabeth turned to Sherry, "The bid is $270, do I hear $290 from you?" Sherry nodded her acceptance of the bid to the announcer, silently praying that she won, she was all in at $290.
Nervously Sherry turned to Selena, "Sh*t, I'm out of money, do you have any you could spare me if this goes higher?" Selena sadly shook her head no, she didn't have any spare cash on her as Nathan had yet to go. Sherry looked in desperation at Catherine, who also was unable to help.
The other determined woman counter bid at $300. Vin locked eyes with Sherry, silently pleading with her to bid again. "$300 once...going twice... anyone else…going, going, gone for $300. Thank you for a wonderful donation for our charity." Before Sherry could figure out how to take the controlling bid, the bidding was over, and Sherry had lost the bid on Vin to the other woman. Vin walked off the stage amid applause and rejoined the others awaiting their turn. Sherry looked down at the floor in annoyance and frustration that she wasn't able to do what she had promised Vin she'd do.
Ugh "Hay don't beat yourself up, you tried, no shame in that, apparently there was a very determined woman over there. Vin's a big boy, he will be fine. These things work out for the best" Selena tried in an optimistic voice to comfort Sherry.
Several more participants made their way across the stage.
Buck was up next. "OK everyone, next on stage is participant number 8…" As he strutted on stage beside his escort, the sounds of Hot Blooded came across the speakers. Buck was loving every second of being the focus of all the ladies attention. He was in his element as he hammed it up on stage. His natural exuberance and charisma further excited the female audience. The bidding quickly escalated $100, $150, $200, $260, $300, $380. Buck unbuttoned his shirt and showed off exceptionally well defined abs and a sexy body. With his height and good looks, the women responded by bidding even higher, $430, $500, $525, $575, $600 "Well ladies I don't know about all of you, but I need to go cool myself off after that fiery round of bidding" the announcer Elsabeth Klein said fanning herself when the bidding had closed.
Another couple of participants took their turns.
It was JD's turn. JD looked to his teammates who had returned from their trips across the stage unscathed. Buck soundly clapped him on the back "You got this Kid" and Vin gave him an encouraging nod. JD gathered up his courage and offered his arm to the female escort then made his way onto the stage. "Please put your hands together for participant # 12..." The sounds of Start Me Up echoed around the bar. Quickly a bidding war erupted between two determined women. Marie bid $75, the other lady responded with $90. "I got $100" Marie replied when the auctioneer turned to her. Marie excitedly had hopes of being the highest bidder. Since she already had the date set up with JD on Sunday, she really wanted the added perk of 2 hours of community service from him. However, this other mystery lady also was determined to get JD was putting a dent in her plans.
"The bid is $150, do I hear $175?" the auctioneer asked Marie. Marie nodded in agreement to the amount. Out of nowhere a new contender entered the bidding, "$230" is heard loud and clear across the room. JD whipped his head around to see who the new contender was. He couldn't make out much, except a petite sandy blond woman was standing flanked by three other women. "Oh a new offer, will you offer $250?" Elsabeth asked Marie. "Damn it!" Marie shook her head no, unable to go that high. "The bidding closes at $230, thank you for your contribution to charity" JD walked off the stage with his escort.
Two more participants walk across the stage.
"Ooooh, Nathan is up next" Selena exclaimed excitedly.
Nathan was up. "Lets welcome to the stage participant # 15…" sounds of Doctor Doctor, Give me the News blast across the speakers. Several women eagerly jumped on the bidding and the bid quickly rose to $200. Selena was determined that she take out the competition. "The bid is $200 dollars to you" Elsabeth said indicating the other woman. The woman nodded yes in acceptance of the bid. Selena called out in a strong determined voice, cupping her hand to the side of her mouth to make sure she was heard "$275!"
"The bid is $275, $300 to you?" The other woman looked undecided, then shook her head no. "Do I hear $300 anyone? The bidding is closed at $275, thank you for your generous donation". Selena clapped her hands together and jumped up and down excitedly. She waved at Nathan and he quickly winked at his wife as he walked off the stage with his escort.
A few more participants work their way across the stage.
The auction was nearly half over when Sherry spotted her friends Audrey and Natalie as they came in the door of the Crazy Horse Bar. They scanned the crowds looking for Sherry, but didn't see her. Sherry raised her arm discreetly, trying to alert them to where she was standing. They missed the signal. More assertively Sherry waved them over again, this time they spotted her, but unfortunately so did the auctioneer.
"We have a new bidder" the auctioneer pointed at Sherry, "The bid is now $280. Do I hear $300 anyone?" Oh no, Sherry thought, Please let someone else bid, please… "$280 going once…going twice…. Anyone? Going… going…gone" Sherry stood frozen at her mistake. Sherry inadvertently had gotten the winning bid on the man standing on the stage.
"Ah crap, I didn't mean to bid…I was just waving…I was…" Sherry was rambling. "Who did I end up with anyways?" Sherry said disappointedly looking at the man on stage that she didn't even recognize, "what department is he from?"
Selena and Catherine to her look at her in surprise. They had been carefully planting ideas in Sherry's mind to get her to bid on Ezra.
Flashback to earlier this evening
"So Sheridan you thinking about bidding on anyone?" Catherine asked casually while gesturing to the line of men gathered on the other side of the stage.
"Oh yes, I am going to bid on Vin like I promised"
"Where is the fun in that?" Selena asked.
"Oh, ordering Vin around for two hours is going to be a lot of fun. Besides, how do you even know which of these guys is single or not? Anyways, I am not really looking for romantic interests at this time. I am perfectly content with the way my life is right now"
"Oh really?" Selena said with her eyebrows raised.
"Are you content just to have Vin in your life?" Catherine asked
"Yes, as a friend, he means the world to me, you have no idea how much I missed him over the years we were separated. He was my best friend during the toughest time in my life when I was a kid. I am not at liberty to speak about his life, he can tell you if he wants, but believe me, he had it even tougher than I did as a kid and teen. He is a survivor. He is the toughest most resilient man I know. I have so much respect for what he has accomplished in life with the disadvantages he has been dealt"
"Don't you deserve more than just companionship? What about love? And family?" Selena gently prodded.
"I do alright, I'm not missing anything" but Sherry's eyes betrayed her comments as they flicked over to glance at Ezra. He was talking with Chris while in line with the other auction participants.
"Well if you ask me, I think a certain someone is smitten with you" Selena continued determinedly.
"A certain southern man, can't happen to take his eyes off you" Selena said "he has his eyes on you whenever he thinks you aren't looking"
"What? No way. He is just being considerate and polite to me. He is a friend of Vins and is being a friend to me" but Sherry remembered the sparks that always seem to be there when they are near one another.
"That man wants to be friends with benefits, you mark my word" Selena replied to Sherry's denials.
"Now correct me if I am wrong, when you were here last week, didn't you first run into Ezra?" Catherine asked.
"Nathan was a little lean on the details, you know men, but he suggested that you had completely captivated Ezra. No small feat to accomplish. From the few times I've spent around Era, I have observed him always to be courteous and sociable but very private and aloof with people. It is hard to tell with him, since he is such an expert undercover man, but it feels like the person he portrays is just a cover, that he keeps his true self hidden from the world. Although, Nathan has said that once you have earned Ezra's trust, he is more open and genuine. Which must be the case since the men of Team 7 would never work with an untrustworthy partner" Selena said.
"In the short time I have been around him, I have always found him to be genuine and sincere. He has never been reserved to me" Sherry replied.
"Interesting, cause that is not how he normally behaves. How ever did you get past his defenses?"
"Well, I didn't try any manipulations, honestly I hadn't seen him before I bumped into him. I dropped my lipstick which skidded across the floor towards the bar. I was reaching to pick it up when he beat me to it. Then he was holding my lipstick hostage" Sherry said with a laugh as she recalled their first meeting. "we chatted beside the bar for a while before he took me over to meet his friends"
"It sounds like you had a good time chatting" Catherine said.
"Yes he was charming and witty and slightly outrageous. I gave him outrageous right back" Sherry said smiling in memory, "he flashed those dimples and that smile, he seemed genuinely to be enjoying himself"
"It sounds like you two hit it off"
"Yes we did" Sherry agreed.
"Well I mean look at him, a woman would have to be blind not to see how good looking he is. He could tempt a girl into trouble with that southern charm and charisma. You don't strike me as blind." Selena interjected.
"What are you driving at?"
"You should go out together sometime" Selena said apologetically.
"Out out, like date out? The thought had crossed my mind at first, but now… I couldn't date one of Vin's friends and teammates."
"Well for starters, it's complicated. What if things didn't work out between Ezra and I? I don't want things to be awkward for Ezra and Vin at work."
"Yes but what if things did work out? What if Ezra was the best thing to happen to you?" Catherine put in. Sherry ignored that pointed comment.
"Second, Vin would blow a gasket just thinking about me dating any guy let alone an ATF agent, and need I remind you that he is armed and dangerous. That man is licensed to carry weapons" Sherry said with a grin.
"Is it alright with you if Vin dates other women?"
"Yes, actually, I urged him to go on a date tomorrow, Sunday, with a girl he met here just last Friday".
"So are you expected to live your life as a hermit, just because you dating is outside Vins comfort zone?"
"No, not exactly…only we just found each other again. He wants me to be happy. I can date if I feel like it, I just don't right now. I know how he can get, Vin is real protective of me."
"That is a bit of a double standard don't you think Sheridan? Vin might not be willing to share you in the beginning, but if he loves you and he wants you to be happy as much as you claim, then he would recover, once he got used to the idea of you dating an ATF agent. At least he would know you would be well protected. He knows Ezra is decent guy that would never abuse a woman. What's more he considers Ezra a brother and close friend."
"No way, not a good idea. Vin and I are like best friends. And you don't date your best friends friend"
"Vin has a new best friend, Chris" Sherry looked wounded at that announcement. She knew that Vin was close friends with Chris, she knew that he had made a new life for himself here in Denver, with the ATF and his teammates. But all the same, it hurt to hear it confirmed.
"If you were going to date, hypothetically, what kind of guy would you be interested in?"
"Hypothetically, a man who is loyal to those he cares about, has a good sense of morals, is a gentleman, but also a bit of a rogue, just a touch of mischief but not too silly…"
"I know it sounds kinda silly, but I am such a sucker for dimples, and I got a thing for dark hair…"Sherry unconsciously described many attributes that were in common with Ezra.
"Well, anyways, I just wanted to throw the idea out there, just think about it, before you make up your mind to refuse" Catherine was satisfied that the ideas of interest had been planted in Sheridan. Catherine was in agreement with Josiah, they both had Ezra's best interests at heart. She knew the toll his job on the team took on him both mentally and physically. They wanted to see him settle down with a woman whom he truly had a chance for a happy life with and one that would heal the pain of his past.
Back to the present
"Well I guess I am out of the auction, that is all the cash I brought with me" Damn, damn, damn, Sherry let out a deep sigh of disappointment. First Vin was disappointed with her because she messed up on the auction for him and now she had inadvertently bid before she wanted to. Truth be told, she had been slightly intrigued with the idea of biding on Ezra.
It was Ezra's turn. "Waiting to make his way down the stage is participant # 24, OK ladies lets give him a warm welcome." The sounds of A Good Run Of Bad Luck by Clint Black is hear around the Crazy Horse Bar. Sherry stood beside the stage watching Ezra make his way down with his escort. As he passed the spot where Sherry was standing he caught her eye and winked at her as he walked to the end of the stage then he looked around the room smiling at the audience.
Like all the others the bidding began at $25, it quickly escalated $100, $175, $230, $260, $290, $300 Though she was loath to admit it, Sherry felt annoyed as other women clamored to throw in their bids for Ezra. The bidding quickly surpassed her cash limit, so even if she had been able to bid, he would have slipped through her fingers. Damn, she should have brought more cash just in case, but naively, she didn't think the amounts would go past $250 dollars.
Elsabeth turned to the audience "The bid is $345, do I hear $350? $345 once...going twice... anyone else…going, going, gone for $345. Thank you for a generous donation for our charity." Ezra walked off stage and rejoined the other participants waiting on the sidelines.
Several more participants take their turn across the stage.
Josiah was up next. "Ladies please welcome to the stage, participant #31. The sounds of Paradise City is heard on the speakers. Catherine perked up as her hubby made his way across the stage. The 6'3 man had a most charismatic smile that appealed to the ladies in the audience. He had a reserved demeanor that bespoke a quiet dignity which was in sharp contrast to many previous participants that had been so showy on stage. Josiah proudly walked beside his escort, nodding to the audience and waving.
"Time to win my man" Catherine said with a grin to Selena, Sherry, and Mary. She jumped into the bidding with enthusiasm. Quickly the bidding rose, 25, 60, 80, 130, 170, 200.
"Looks like you might have some competition" Selena teased
"It would appear so" Catherine decided it was time to wrap this bidding up. "$2 hundred and 40 she proudly called out"
"The bid is now $240, do I hear $260 anyone? $240 going…going…gone. " Elsabeth declared the bidding closed. "Thank you for your donation, Brookhurst appreciates your generosity"
Last but not least it was Chris' turn. "You got this Cowboy" Buck said enthusiastically in his version of a pep talk as he gave Chris' shoulders a brisk rub & slap like you would to an athlete before they go to compete. Chris stepped up to the stage. He scanned around the room momentarily. Dozens of women look back at him. He took a deep breath and slowly released it. He politely offered his arm to his female escort and they begin their walk down the runway. Chris didn't quite work up an actual smile as he walked the stage but he didn't scowl, they would have to take that as the best they were going to get. "I would like to welcome to the stage participant # 33" Back in Black came across the loud speakers, Chris glanced down at his outfit, he was dressed in black from shirt to shoes, a smirk crept up onto the corners of his lips, good music choice he thought.
Selena turned to Mary, "So you've been awfully quiet all evening, planning on participating? Waiting for anyone specific?"
"Oh, I've been biding my time" Mary said evasively.
"IS that so?"
The bidding began like all the others at $25. Numerous women jumped into the bidding and the amount immediately shot up. It quickly became evident there were three very determined women looking to be victorious. Mary and two other mystery women were going head to head in the bidding.
Sherry looked over at one of the other bidders vying for Chris. There were four women standing together, the bidder was a petite yet tall sandy blond woman. All of the group had a similarity about them, perhaps it was the way they were standing, body language so very alike. Sherry continued observing this particular group of women. If Sherry weren't mistaken, they had also claimed the winning bid on Vin, but that had been early in the auction, so she couldn't be sure at this point.
"I have $250, do I hear $270?" the auctioneer's voice sounded around the room. "Yes I have $270, how about $290? Anyone? Yes to the lady over here. Now $300? Yes, Ok, do I hear $325?"As the bidding continued Sherry looked up at Chris and observed his demeanor. He looked down right menacing, not smiling at the audience, yet that didn't deter the women. At the same time he appeared unruffled by the rapid fire bidding going on around him. If she didn't know better she'd say he was bored. But she had a feeling that it was camouflage, rather he was always on alert, high alert, which was how he made sure his team was safe, he never let his guard down.
"$3 hundred and 40" Mary called out to Elsabeth. Mary was confident that she had won the bidding with that offer. "The bidding stands at $340, do I hear any more offers?" The mysterious rival bidder turned to confer with her friends standing at her sides. Quickly she straightened up and in a loud clear voice announced "$360!" With the exception of Buck at $600, and Ezra at $345, it was the second highest bid made. There was a flurry of whispering amongst the women present. Mary snapped her mouth shut and shook her head no, when Elsabeth turned to her asking if she would like to bid $375.
"The bid is now $360, do I hear $375 anyone? $360 going…going…gone." Chris strolled off stage with his escort and made his way back to the others in line.
Finally the last participant walked on stage. "OK here we go ladies, this is our final participant for the evening, so lets give an extra hearty welcome as participant number 37 makes his way on stage. The sounds of I Love Rock and Roll were heard playing. After some competitive bidding the last auction participant along with his escort made their way back to the sidelines where the other men were standing.
"Lets welcome all our brave and wonderful participants back to the stage one more time". The men clapped as they all walked on stage in a line for the finale, the sounds of "Thunderstruck" blasted across the speakers. After everyone assembled on stage they bowed and saluted the audience in appreciation for the wonderful turnout that evening.
"Well that concludes the auction" Elsabeth said, "I am pleased that tonight was such a wonderful success. It appears we have a tentative total. Tonight you all donated an unprecedented $9,000 to benefit the Brookhurst Community Center and to benefit Intramural Youth Sports. On behalf of Brookhurst I am deeply humbled by everyone's generosity. Before you enjoy the rest of your evening I have a special request to make"
"I would like to ask participant number 8 to return to the stage. We have a special honor to bestow on you. You single handedly raised the most money in the auction, in honor of that accomplishment the organizers of the auction would like to present you with a plaque of 'Sexiest Man of the Night'. On behave of the female population in attendance this evening, we-thank-you-very-much!"
Buck hooted and hollered and soaked up the spot light while on stage. He grinned at all the women in the audience and thanked them immensely for their very generous donations. "Hell yeah!"
"He's going to be impossible to live with in the office" Chris said with a grin, proud of his friend and teammate.
"Forget the office, its going to be impossible to live with him at home" JD joked, "his ego will have expanded to immense proportions, he'll have to turn sideways to fit through the door, he'll suck up all the oxygen in the room, he'll…"
"We get the point JD" Nathan laughed and patted JD on the back sympathetically.
"Don't envy you none Kid" Josiah added with a chuckle.
Honorable Mention-Songs that were in the running when I was writing this: "Dr Feelgood" Motley Crue, "Take me home tonight" Eddie Money, "Round and round" Ratt, "Welcome to the jungle" GNR, "Sweet Emotion" Aerosmith, "Bad moon rising" CCR, "Sharp Dressed Man" ZZ Top
The complete song list I was envisioning for the auction:
0 "Its raining men" The Weather Girls—opening music
1 "Crazy Train" Ozzy Ozbourne
2 "Gimme All Your Lovin' ZZ Top—Vin 2
3 "Low" Flo Rida
4 "It takes two" Rob Base
5 "Ditty" Paperboy
6 "Bust a move" Young MC
7 "Right round" Flo Rida
8 "Hot blooded" Foreigner—Buck 8
9 "Its Tricky" Run DMC
10 "Funky Cold Medina" Tone Loc
11 "Born to be wild" Steppenwolf
12 "Start Me Up" Rolling Stones—JD 12
13 "Sweet Home Alabama" Lenard Skynard
14 "Walk this way" Aerosmith/Run DMC
15 "Doctor Doctor, Give me the News" Robert Palmer—Nathan 15
16 "This is how we do it" Montell Jordan
17 "Pour some Sugar on Me" Def Leppard
18 "Born on the bayou" CCR
19 "Wild Thing" Tone Loc
20 "Bad to the Bone"—George Thorogood
21 "Jump" Van Halen
22 "Gonna make you Sweat" CC Music Factory—Jake Callahan 22
23 "Renegades, Rebels And Rogues" Tracy Lawrence
24 "A Good Run Of Bad Luck" Clint Black—Ezra 24
25 "Players Holiday" TWDY
26 "Highway to hell" ACDC
27 "Jump around" House of Pain –I came to win
28 "You really got me" Van Halen
29 "Rock you like a hurricane" Scorpions—Tom Lyons 29
30 "All Summer Long" Kid Rock
31 "Paradise City" GNR—Josiah 31
32 "Eye of the tiger" Survivor
33 "Back in Black" ACDC —Chris 33
34 "Come on feel the noise" Quiet Riot
35 "Cowboy" Kid Rock
36. "I wanna Rock" Twisted Sister
37 "I love rock and roll" Joan Jett