"I'm telling you Chris it is not him." Ezra sounded adamant, and usually Chris would defer to his instinctual knowledge of human nature in general, and perpetrators in particular, but this time he just was not sure Ezra was correct. "Look Ezra, you have never even met the guy. How can you possibly tell whether or not he is involved?" Ezra's voice took on a hard edge. "So you are refusing to trust my judgment?" Chris was suddenly angry, both at himself for not being able to trust Ezra and perversely, at Ezra for not having anything more than intuition with which to convince him. "In this case Ezra, yes I am." "Fine! I will work with Vin and we will setup a preliminary meet for next week. If that meets with your approval." Chris nodded, not trusting himself to speak in response to that insubordinate tone. Chris wondered just what the hell it was about this Toretto that seemed to get to undercover agents.
"Christ Ezra couldn't you have picked a disguise that didn't have half the population of Denver stalking you!" Vin was annoyed and amused at once as he chased away yet another set of men wanting to meet his 'brother'. Ezra just grinned at him. Vin had never seen Ezra dressed like this before, and judging from the reactions it was just as well. The agent was wearing the shortest shorts Vin had ever seen in bright red and a black mesh top which was more holes than fabric. Even the way he held himself just screamed for attention. Vin hoped that Toretto arrived soon because he was getting really tired of having to stare people down. Like the answer to his prayers he heard an engine roar and saw two extremely high performance sports cars come racing up. Ezra had quite deliberately loitered in the spot where everyone present agreed that Dominic Toretto always parked. The first car drew up and screeched to a halt perhaps 20 centimeters in front of where Ezra was standing. Vin watched Toretto get out and wondered what they had gotten into. The photos did not do this guy justice. He was huge.
Ezra smiled as Toretto's car drew up. Toretto got out and stalked over to him. "You're in my space." Ezra looked up his eyes meeting Dom's and without warning he was suddenly, utterly, lost. He had planned to play the scared kid, in over his head, someone who needed help. He was very sure it would work too but, this man was someone to whom he could give only the truth. It certainly did not help that he wanted him, desired him more than anyone or anything he had ever seen before. "I have to talk to you" he said it without thinking and Chris was going to kill him but ... "I'm with the ATF".
Vin nearly passed out from shock as in a second Ezra threw away days of preparation. Fortunately, and Vin hoped that it was a conscious move on Ezra's part, no one else was close enough to hear what Ezra had said. Toretto paused at Ezra's words, then suddenly he was moving, a hand clamped round Ezra's wrist and he was shoved unceremoniously into the car. "Hey" Vin jumped forward and found his way barred by a tall blond. Toretto jumped in the car and took off. Vin nearly drew on the car but he knew he might hit Ezra, he took a closer look at the blond and recognized Brian O'Conner from the file photos. "We should follow, come" Brian demanded. Vin didn't see that he had a choice, he'd never catch up otherwise, and if he stayed he would have to explain to Chris what happened. Chris would never call him if he was in a car with O'Conner. Deciding whether or not to avoid that discussion was not exactly difficult. "Let's go!".
In the car with Dom Ezra for once was quiet. They drove in companionable silence for a while and then Dom pulled over to the side and stopped. "Well? What is an ATF agent doing looking for me dressed like a delectable little boy toy?" To Ezra's horror he could feel himself blush "I needed an excuse to hang around and obviously I'm not a known racer, I would never get near you. So..." he indicated the outfit. "Delectable?". Dom laughed and Ezra squirmed. He was getting aroused just from that laugh. "I know you are not gay so I had to be blatant enough that it was clear I was a toy and no one would question you deciding time to um ..." "Inspect the merchandise" Dominic interrupted. "Yes" Ezra was blushing again "I did not expect to 'come clean' but I knew before I even met you that you would not be involved in an operation of the type were are currently investigating. When I finally met you, it suddenly seemed obvious that the answer was to solicit your assistance." Dom looked intrigued "You took quite a risk back there blowing your cover to me and then letting me put you in the car. What made you think you would be safe? I could hurt you right now and there would not be a thing you could do to stop me." Ezra was amused "I do believe Mr. Larabee might have an objection to such an eventuality. So it might not be the most prudent course of action." Dom looked curious "Mr. Larabee would be?" "The tall gentleman standing outside your window and pointing a gun at your head."
Dom turned his head and saw a tall blond pointing a gun unwaveringly at him. "I would suggest you get out of the car slowly and keep your hands off to the side and visible until I can sort this out. Mr. Larabee does not find threats to any of his men amusing in the least." As Dom got out of the car and watched Ezra wriggle out beside him he was amused that the smaller man never stopped talking. "I am sorry about this. My associates tend not to be the most diplomatic of individuals. You touched off a few protective nerves there. Though I suppose you were not to know there was anyone else around."
Chris could not believe it, Ezra, their ever cautious Ezra, had actually blown his own cover and was now standing right next to a perpetrator who had threatened him. He interrupted the incessant flow of words. "Shut up Ezra and get the hell away from that guy. When I get you back to the office I'm going to make you pay for this you risk taking, little ..." Dom moved so fast Chris could only just follow it. With a sweep of his arm Ezra was behind him, Dom was pointing a gun at Chris and there was blatant threat on Dom's face. "You even try and touch him I'll break your arm, maybe both of them." Chris didn't know whether to laugh or yell. He went with something at least slightly conciliatory since he did appreciate anyone who was protective of one of his own. "You know, that's a good way to get shot. I wouldn't pull a gun on a man pointing one at me. Not a good way to stay healthy." Then he got the second shock of the day Ezra ducked under the arm holding him back and positioned himself so he was standing in between Chris and Toretto, whispering quietly to the man. "Ezra Move!" it was a direct order and still Ezra ignored it completely. Fortunately Toretto seemed to view Ezra being in the way of his gunsight with about as much pleasure as Chris did and pointed his piece down immediately so Chris' agent was no longer in the line of fire.
Dom relaxed a bit, the pretty little agent seemed adamant that his boss was not going to shoot him out of hand. He figured a little joke at the guy's expense would not go amiss. "Ezra huh, nice name. I bet they call you Ez but I think a better name for you would be 'Ra', like the sun god. I think I will call you Sunny." Dom was pleased by the reaction, as a way of diffusing the tension it worked like a charm. Ezra looked as indignant as anyone Dom had ever seen. The dangerous looking man who had been pointing a gun at him a few seconds ago nearly fell over he was laughing so hard. "You cannot call me Sunny! I absolutely draw the line at accepting such an undignified moniker. I have been trying to prevent my compatriots from calling me Ez forever and that is worse!" Ezra was glad that Dom and Chris no longer seemed a heartbeat away from shooting each other, but really neither Ra nor Sunny were acceptable names. A broad grin spread across Dom's face. â€œWell Ra, I normally don't take up with boys as you likely know, but for a precious little thing named Sunny, maybe I would make an exception.â€ Dom could hear the dangerous ATF agent choking in the background, maybe he should stop tweaking the guy's tail before he was charged with killing an ATF agent with laughter. "Gonna introduce me?" Ezra sighed, "Dominic, sorry I mean Mr. Toretto this is my boss Chris Larabee. Mr. Larabee this fine gentleman is Dominic Toretto. I was going to explain our problem to him when you jumped the gun, so to speak."
Ezra turned to Dom, "Mr. Toretto. We have run into a serious problem. There appear to be a small group of racers who have turned to gun running to supplement their income. They are .." Dom interrupted yet again. Ezra hoped this was not going to turn into a pattern. "Call me Dom. So why would you be talking to me about something like that, unless you think .." This time Ezra interrupted hastily "No Dominic I do NOT think you had anything to do with such nefarious actions. Though not everyone was in agreement with me I felt it absolutely did not fit your previous, criminal profile, since all your previous action have been spectacularly devoid of violence. Since Mr. Larabee insisted I could not make such a determination without meeting you, I contrived this method of catching your attention so I could make your acquaintance. I intended to then later use you as cover for subsequent investigations. As I said I did not initially intend to tell the truth but as I indicated previous when I met you I realized I had to solicit your assistance rather than engage in any type of deception. I found that .." Suddenly Ezra was at a loss he had no idea really how to explain. It was the same way he had known that he could trust Chris when he first met him. It was a strong emotional reaction not one readily explained. Dom smiled "Couldn't lie to me huh." Well, Ezra supposed in some ways it was that simple. "No. I ... you had been burned before and if I had lied - you would never have trusted me again. You might still have worked with me but .." he blushed again, a fiery red. "I wanted" his voice lowered to almost a whisper. "I wanted there to be a chance."
Dom found himself intrigued. He was not gay but in prison he had come to the realization that he could be bisexual. Normally men did not attract him but this one did. In his circles a man could not have a gay relationship with an equal partner but a pretty toy was understood. He reached out gently and tilted Ezra's head up so their eyes met. "You must know about Brian so you know I have had my trust shaken before and you were right I would not have been able to forgive again. However you told the truth. I don't see that we have a problem." Ezra's smile was radiant. "I would be honored to offer you my contract." Dom was stunned "Wait, this isn't just an act? You actually registered? You're not just propositioning me?" Chris stepped forward his renewed anger obvious "Are you telling me you blew your cover and risked this case because you wanted to get in his pants!" Chris reached to grab Ezra's arm, and found his hand blocked. Dom had stopped him from touching Ezra. "What! Is he your property now!" Dom's response was not actually helpful in diffusing the situation, "As a matter of fact yes. Or at least, he will be.". Before things could deteriorate further a car and a van pulled up. Vin and Brian tumbled out of one and Josiah, Nathan, Buck and JD came out of the other.
Chris explained as the others came up. Ezra simply stood by Dom eyes down and said nothing in his own defense. To Chris' surprise it was Nathan who first spoke up in defense of Ezra. "Chris you know I am not always Ezra's strongest defender but we all know he is the best at reading people. You should have taken him at his word in the first place. You know he would never do anything that would endanger any of us, or jeopardize our case. If he decided to trust Toretto then that means doing so would not hurt. So if he sees something that he cannot pass up, well sometimes it does happen just that fast. It was that way for me and Rain. He doesn't trust easily or often so let him have his chance." Nathan smiled as Ezra finally looked up and met his eyes, surprise and gratitude visible on his face. Then he looked over at Dom and his expression was stern. "If you hurt him we will all hunt you down and make you sorry you were ever born." There was a strong chorus of agreement from all the team members. They were willing to let Ezra explore this but wanted it clear he was not without backup.
Brian was indignant. Dom would never hurt someone he was involved with, he would die first, and it was pretty clear from the way he was allowing the smaller ATF agent to stand in his space that he was planning to get involved. "Dom, you don't need this. It's not as if you can't get someone better someone who doesn't come with all these complications." He glared at the other agents as he said it, only meaning to indicate his resentment at the assumptions the other agents were making. He did not notice Ezra's reaction to his words. Ezra flinched and paled, he knew from his research about Dom's strong ties to family. His protectiveness towards Ezra just now when he felt him being threatened by Chris just confirmed it. There was no way that he would want Ezra over Brian's objections and even if he did, Ezra could not do that to him. After growing up with Maude he always marveled at strong families. He could not be the cause of breaking one up. "I apologize Mr Toretto. I never intended to be a source of friction for you. Do not worry I am perfectly accustomed to stepping aside for a more worthy cause and will not purse any further amorous intentions towards yourself. I do hope we can continue to work together in a professional capacity, but if you prefer me to remove myself from your vicinity I am sure Vin will prove a perfectly adequate contact."
Dom could not believe it, the fiery little agent who had been willing to step in front of a gun for him was suddenly withdrawing from him. He knew the man could not have lost interest when only seconds ago he was facing down his boss for Dom. The only explanation was that someone somewhere along the line had taught him that he was unimportant, something to be set aside the second any issue came up. His eyes locked with Chris and saw a deep sadness and anger. Clearly the man was not the source of the problem but knew the cause. "Who?". The answer came from all six agents in a tone of deep disgust. "Maude." The large grey haired agent provided more of an explanation. "His mother, a beautiful woman but sadly she would always abandon Ezra any time something 'better' or 'easier' came up and so he learned he was unworthy of any consideration, especially if he caused, as she put it, complications." Ezra looked annoyed at this characterization but did not dispute it. Dom sighed "Brian simply felt he was protecting me from your friend's insults Sunny. He knows I would never hurt someone I was committed to protect. He doesn't actually have any objection to me taking your contract. He knows me well enough to see I want you and that is good enough for him." Ezra scowled at the 'Sunny' but relaxed back against Dom. Chris went off into gales of laughter again while Ezra's friends mouthed 'Sunny?' in puzzlement.
Dom was enjoying himself. Holding Ezra's hand he pulled him to stand in front of Brian. "Brian this is Ezra, new nickname, 'Ra' I call him 'Sunny'. He's going to belong to me. Sunny this is Brian my brother in law.â€ Brian stuck out his hand and shook Ezra's "Sunny from the sun god huh? Would you mind if I called you Ray? Same principle as Sunny but a bit more masculine?" for that comment he got a dazzling smile from Ezra which certainly explained why Dom was calling him a sun god. He though the man deserved a bit more explanation, though he could see why Dom like teasing him, that scowl was amusing. "You're serious about the contract right? So it's best if the name you are using among the racers is not your real one. That way no one will connect the name of a racer toy to the name of an federal agent." Ezra blushed and then turned to Dom. "Sir, I apologize. I though you were only trying to annoy me. I did not realize that you were considering my welfare. I will resolve to do better in the future." Brian was watching and saw the predatory look that came over Dom's face when Ezra addressed him as 'Sir'. He smiled to himself it should be amusing to watch these men once they realized that they had signed Dom up for a permanent role on their team.
Chris was pleased that Dom had thought ahead to protecting Ezra. This was moving faster than he liked but at least the guy was clearly sensible. "Thank you," Chris said, "Ezra needs more people looking out for him. His friends appreciate it, and the nickname as well. Now shall we go somewhere more private to discuss our business?" Dom did not have any objections but did want the answer to one thing which had him stumped. "How did you know to be waiting here for me?" There was an amused silence and then a chorus of "Ezra". Dom turned to Ezra for an explanation. Ezra grinned. "Given my analysis of your personality there were only 2 routes you would use if you left the race, as there were only 2 which allowed fast travel without endangering possible pedestrians. If you traversed one of those routes each only had one place you would stop to talk or meet someone. I knew you would wish to talk to Brian before heading home so I had Chris stationed at one and the van at the other. Actually this was my second choice of route but I was initially not calculating on you knowing my true identity." Ezra blushed at that. Dom resolved to find more things to cause that blush, it was irresistible." "Makes sense" he allowed "let's go back to my place and discuss your little gun problem."