Facing Evil [Part 1 of 3]
Kojay stood on the snowy white sand of the private beach just outside the cottage that Vin and Ezra shared on Kirk's Island watching as the Guardian and Guide moved gracefully through the Tai Chi forms that they practiced daily.
His son Chanu came to stand beside him. "They are an unusual pair."
Kojay nodded, "They have come far in a very short time."
"The bond is strong."
"And they have accepted it, opened themselves to each other as the pair must to survive."
"Yet you seem disturbed by something, Father."
Kojay was silent for a long time, thinking carefully before saying, "I have known only two other pairs in my life. Neither survived. Both times it was the intimacy of the bond that broke the pair apart. Even after many months or in one case several years as a pair, they could not accept the depth of intimacy that the bond requires. This pair has accepted it in a matter of days. I wonder if that acceptance can be trusted."
"Perhaps it is because they were lovers before they were a pair," Chanu suggested.
"Perhaps." Kojay paused, then said, "The only pair that I know of that bonded so completely had grown up together. My father told me of them. They had been born in the same village, grew up knowing that they were a pair. They formed a tentative bond as children and had many years to grow into the adult bond."
He paused and stood silently regarding the pair as they continued to move through the graceful forms, not bothered by his watching.
"These two have both been loners and wanderers. They have never stayed in one place for any length of time, never had strong bonds with anyone until they became part of Team Seven, yet" he let it trail off gesturing towards the pair as they continued moving together in perfect synchronization.
"They move as one. It is as if they are one mind in two bodies," Chanu said.
"And they never get in each other's way," Kojay informed him.
"Amazing really," Chanu said, beginning to understand what his father was saying.
"You fear the bond will not hold, that it will become too much for them."
Kojay did not reply but Chanu knew his father well enough to know that he had guessed correctly.
After a long moment of silence Kojay said, "They are needed. We will pray to the Great Spirit to protect them and their bond."
Vin finished the last form and returned to his starting position, breathing in deeply then letting the breath out slowly. Without even looking, he reached for Ezra's hand and smiled to himself when his hand was met by Ezra's reaching for him.
Turning he met his partner's eyes, seeing the amusement glinting in the loving depths. He knew he looked exactly the same, that he had the same amusement and love in his eyes, the same joyous smile on his lips.
"Swim?" he asked.
"Then spar," Ezra confirmed.
It had become a regular routine. Tai Chi on the beach at sunrise, followed by a long swim in the warm, sun-drenched waters then at least an hour of sparring under the shade of the palm trees behind their cottage.
They had lunch in private in their cottage, usually followed by and hour or so of cuddling and tender love making in their bed.
After their private time as they termed it, they would join Kojay, Chanu and Jon under the canopy on the beach, listening to Kojay tell stories that his father and grandfather had told him of other pairs and their adventures. Each story dealt with how other pairs had used their gifts and each story was followed by exercises to help Vin learn to use the sense that the story had dealt with and help Ezra learn how to help Vin with his use of his senses.
Mid-afternoon would find them back under the canopy of trees behind the cottage, sparring again, this time working as partners against Chanu and Jon while Kojay watched then critiqued their performance afterwards.
The second sparring session was followed by another swim, then a shower. They dressed for dinner and joined Maude and Kirk at the main house, along with everyone else that was staying at the island.
After dinner they met with Kirk, Maude and the hackers to go over any information that had been gathered on Trevor and to talk about possible strategies for dealing with him when they returned to Denver.
After the brainstorming session, they would return to their cottage, change into jogging shorts and go for a long run on the beach.
Finally they would return to their cottage and retire for the night.
The next day it started over again.
The routine had only been broken once: when they returned to Denver to meet with Detective Paulson and answer his questions. They had sent written statements back to Paulson with AD Travis so there hadn't really been that many questions and they had only been in Denver for that day.
It wasn't what most people would think of as a honeymoon but it was what they felt they needed to do to be ready for what lay in wait for them in Denver.
Trevor hadn't been spotted, hadn't been caught even though the FBI ViCap team from Atlanta had flown in to take over the case from Paulson. The general consensus was that he was lying low, waiting for Standish and Tanner to return. The VICap team returned to Atlanta, leaving instructions with both Paulson and the local FBI office that they be contacted immediately of any new developments.
On the first day of November Vin and Ezra flew back to the states on Kirk's private jet. Kirk and Maude went with them as did Kojay, Chanu and Jon.
Kirk and Maude would be returning to Kirk's Island immediately after dropping the rest of them in Denver. Ezra had been adamant that his mother not remain in Denver for the showdown. He wanted her safe.
It had taken a lot of arguing to get her to agree. In the end it had been Vin's telling her that having her there would distract Ezra and possibly get him killed that had swayed her.
They made one stop along the way.
There was a stir in the FBI office in Atlanta when Standish walked in. There were a lot of agents that remembered the former agent.
He walked across the lobby to the receptionist's desk, his head high.
"Ezra Standish and Vin Tanner, to see Agent Malone."
"Do you have an appointment, sir?" the woman asked politely even as she noted that several heads had turned at Standish's name.
"No, ma'am," Ezra replied with equal politeness.
"Agent Malone is quite busy." She stated.
"He'll want to see us. Tell him I'm here about Simon Trevor."
Even more heads turned at that name.
The woman hesitated, then one of the agents standing nearby spoke up. "Call Malone. He'll want to hear about anything to do with Trevor."
The man turned to Ezra, "There was a rumor that Trevor was in Denver a few weeks ago."
"He was. He left me a present. A dead body in my former residence complete with a message in blood on the wall."
"So, he's still after you."
"So it would seem. But then, you know how it is with these psychopaths. I'm the one that got away. He can't abide that."
The woman had been on the phone while the agent spoke with Ezra, now she looked up, "Agent Malone will see you. Do you know the way?"
"It's been some time since I was in this building however if the ViCap unit is still on the fifth floor, I believe I can find it."
"It is. You'll need visitor passes and you'll have to check any weapons."
It took nearly fifteen minutes to get through the security gate. Even Ezra was rolling his eyes by the time that the security guard managed to retrieve all of Vin's weapons.
With their visitor's passes secured to their jacket lapels, they finally made their way up to the ViCap offices.
As they passed through the outer offices with its multiple computers and display screens, Vin muttered, "JD would love this place."
Ezra just smiled. JD might love the equipment but he'd never leave them for it.
"I'll have to make sure that he gets his own play room," he told Vin with a smirk.
Bailey Malone hadn't changed that much in the twelve years since Ezra Standish had first met him. He was, of course, older. His craggy appearance remained much the same, if a bit more craggy than before.
There were touches of gray in the formerly coal black hair. The dark eyes still held that touch of sadness they had always seemed to have.
His office door was open and he stood up when Ezra and Vin entered. He held out his hand to Ezra, "You're looking well, Agent Standish. Hardly like a man who's being stalked."
Ezra chuckled while Vin glared at Malone. "I'm not an agent any more as I'm sure you know. As for being stalked, I've been stalked for nearly half my life. It's old news and I have been on my honeymoon in a most secure location. Allow me to introduce my partner and lifemate, Vin Tanner."
He stepped slightly aside and swept an arm to indicate Vin.
Vin stepped forwards still scowling but took the hand Malone offered him, shaking it firmly.
Malone cocked an eyebrow at the greeting but nodded, before releasing the hand and sitting back down.
"Have a seat." Malone gestured to the chairs in front of the desk.
When they were settled he said, "You're here about Trevor."
"Yes," Ezra said firmly.
"You refused to return to the states to answer questions regarding the case."
"We sent in our statements, sworn to in the presence of AD Travis and the SAC of team eight. We were out of the country at the time that the murder occurred with dozens of law enforcement witnesses to attest to the fact. We knew nothing about the murder at the townhouse. I saw no reason to put myself back on Trevor's radar at that time."
"Will you answer questions now?"
"That's what we came here for," Vin put in.
Ezra said, "Certainly."
Malone reached into a drawer and pulled out a small tape recorder. "Mind if I tape it?"
"Please do. If you'd like to adjourn to an interview room so that you may video tape as well, we are amenable." Ezra informed him.
"Good. It'll only take a few minutes to get one set up." Malone picked up his phone punching a single button. "George, set up interview one and tell Sam that I want her to sit in with me."
A few minutes later, Malone escorted them to a small room set up for interviews. It contained a table with several chairs as well as a video camera and VCR. A microphone sat on the table.
Malone had offered the two former agents coffee and they brought their cups with them.
Malone introduced the young blonde woman, "This is Samantha Waters, our profiler. Sam this is Ezra Standish and his partner Vin Tanner."
The woman stepped forwards holding out her hand to Ezra, "You're the one that Trevor is stalking."
They settled around the table and after turning on the video recorder and stating their names for the record along with the fact that both men had agreed to be interviewed, Bailey asked the first question.
"You moved out of the townhouse just days before the murder. Did you know that Trevor was in Denver before you moved out of your townhouse?"
"I had no evidence that he was." Ezra stated clearly.
"But you suspected that he was," Doctor Waters put in.
Ezra turned to look at her for a long moment before he answered, "Yes, I suspected. There was nothing definite, just an itch between my shoulder blades, a feeling that I was being watched."
"Why did you move out of the townhouse?"
"I wasn't ready to face Trevor. I hoped that disappearing would throw him off balance and give me the opportunity to prepare myself to face him."
"According to the statement that you gave Paulson you were in Denver on the day the murder occurred." Bailey said.
"We returned to Denver the previous Wednesday, September twenty-eighth. We departed at approximately two o'clock on Friday afternoon, September thirtieth. I was told that the murder occurred sometime around midnight on the thirtieth. At that time we were on Kirk's Island in the Caribbean."
"Did you go to the townhouse at anytime during your visit?"
"No. There was no reason to. I had had everything packed up and put in storage."
"When you left the townhouse was the alarm set?"
"Yes. I cannot however guarantee that the movers reset it when they left. I did however instruct them to."
"What moving service did you use?"
"Southwestern Packing and Moving. I have their card." He reached into his jacket pocket and handed Malone the card.
"Did you know Barton, the man who was killed in your townhouse?"
"I had never met him."
"Your statement says that you were looking for him."
"We checked out a lotta PIs," Vin put in. "Trevor uses them to track Ez."
"How long have you known that Trevor has been stalking your partner, Mister Tanner?" Waters asked.
"When I started staying at Ez's I noticed the security features on the house. Poured concrete walls, solid steel doors, dead bolt locks and bars on the windows. All the windows and doors were wired into the security system. There were motion detectors and heat sensors as well. When we got serious, decided to get a place together, I asked if he was gonna want the same level of security. That's when he told me about Trevor."
"Did it scare you that a serial killer was stalking your partner?" Waters asked.
"Not at all?"
"I was an Army Ranger ma'am. You look up my records you're gonna find a lot of blacked out info. That's cause I did a good bit of Black Ops work. I was a marksman. My partner and me, we were a hunt and kill unit. It was my job to hunt people down and kill them. I wasn't scared, I was mad. If Ez woulda let me, I'd have gone after Trevor, tracked him down and shot him like a rabid dog."
"That would have been murder."
"Which is why I forbid him to do it."
"Man needs killing," Vin declared darkly.
"Yes, but we do it legally," Ezra soothed, one hand reaching out to stroke along Vin's arm down to his hand then slipping his fingers between Vin's, holding his hand.
"Legally? You can't just lure him in and kill him." Waters said.
Ezra chuckled. "Here? No we can't, but we live in Colorado."
"What's that got to do with anything."
"Make my day," Vin said grimly.
Malone and Waters exchanged a puzzled look.
"Colorado has what is called the 'make my day' law. If Trevor sets foot on my property uninvited and with intent to commit a criminal act, I can legally shoot him stone cold dead. I believe that the message he wrote in Barton's blood on the wall of my townhouse is sufficient evidence that he intends to commit a criminal act against me. As for luring him, he has been stalking me off and on for twelve years. I don't have to do anything to lure him. He's coming. All I have to do is wait for him."
"Then why bother to stop and talk to us?" Malone asked.
"You asked politely," Ezra said, "and Trevor is your case. I thought you might want to be there to write closed on the file. We are on our way back to Colorado. We will be moving into our new home, then making sure that Trevor can find us."
He stood up, "Now, if that is all, we have a plane waiting for us."
When they were gone, Malone turned to Sam. "Tell George and John that we're going back to Colorado."