"Iffen I choose ta be, I'se Singer," Vin answered softly.
"SINGER? What's a Singer?" Blair asked excitedly.
"So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. Revelation 6:8," Josiah recited.
A shocked silence fell over the group at Josiah's words.
"NO! Not the end of all things. It's got nothin' ta do wit' tha horsemen. A singer'll show up 'bout ever 1,000 years, give er take. Not all of the Beloved become Singer. They's born inta troubled times. Sent ta aid tha clans during times of great change. They's only one Singer at a time," Vin corrected calmly.
"Well that's a relief," Buck huffed.
"Let me get this straight. You have all five senses like a Sentinel?" Chris growled.
"Six, Sentinels is close ta tha spirit world," Vin answered peacefully.
"And Guide abilities whatever they are?" Larabee continued.
"Uh huh," Vin mumbled around his rapidly diminishing sandwich.
"Anything else I need to know about?" Chris asked sharply.
An undecipherable something was muttered by the suddenly uncomfortable Tanner.
"Tanner, spill it," Buck huffed.
Vin chewed for a moment before swallowing the huge mouthful. Nathan scowled at his action, preparing to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the skinny man.
"Singers ain't all together . . . human," Vin admitted, studying his clan nervously.
"You're ET or something?" Simon barked.
"Nah, Nothing like that. Have some first born blood is all," Vin spluttered.
"Mr. Tanner is attempting to enlighten us. It would seem that a few other . . . Legends and Fairy Tales have a basis in fact." Ezra's carefully controlled drawl ended with a squeak.
"Elves!" JD blurted in delight.
"Elves," Vin admitted reluctantly.
"You're part Elf?" Chris demanded, pushing back Vin's hair. He stared at one of the delicately pointed ears. Reaching out hesitantly, he traced the aberration with the tip of a finger, fulfilling a long held fascination in the process.
"Yes and dammit don' touch tha ears," Vin jerked back, a flush covering his cheek bones.
"Sensitive?" Blair asked curiously.
"I'd say they're a hot spot," Buck chuckled knowingly.
Vin flushed brightly. Chris tripped over his feet backing away from the . . . unsettling situation. Grins settled on the rest of the men's faces as they took in the flustered pair.
"Ears," Josiah . . . sniggered.
"Ain't funny," Vin huffed, covering the far to exposed ear.
"Uh Vin," JD said. "Thanks for not letting me adjust your communication gear." Dunne was a red as a tomato.
"Stop sniggerin'," Vin huffed at his oh so amused brothers.
"So Junior, lots of phone se. . ." Buck's teasing was cut off with a squeak as Ellison tossed him over the railing.
"Thanks Capt'n," Vin sighed.
Buck got up and dusted himself off. Looking up at Ellison, he waggled his eyebrows and smirked.
Jim shook his head and flashed a faint grin before turning back to Vin. "How do you know about the elf thing?" Jim sat down.
Buck climbed back up on the deck and settled back into his seat to listen intently.
"Ma tolt me. Shannon knowed too. Don' know how far back, but tha bloods there. Mah Pa had six fingers on each hand. Them wit' the Elf blood seem to be called ta each other. Ma had a touch of elvish to her as well. Thinned out a might but ever'one of yah has a touch. Chris, Ez, Blair and tha Capt'n have tha most," Vin muttered before taking another bite of his sandwich, making a pointed show of chewing the bite throughly just for Nathan.
"Might I inquire how Ms. Dumont acquired her expertise on the subject?" Standish asked curiously
"Shannon's from an old family. Her folks 'member a lot tha rest'a tha world fergot," Vin said quietly. His behavior indicated questions in that direction weren't welcome.
Jim shook his head and smiled. "There he was big around as a toothpick. Tanner had been with us almost a month and he hadn't said a dozen words. Then Shannon came by to pick Blue up. Next thing I know, Shannon's sitting on the steps feeding Vin her and Blue's picnic dinner while they're jabbering a mile a minute . . . in Welsh." Ellison's eyes softened at the memory.
"Where did you learn Welsh?" Chris asked curiously.
"English was fer other folks. Ma always used tha Welsh at home," Vin answered softly.
"So English is actually your second language?" Blair questioned.
"Maybe third, I'se usin' a mite ah spanish back then," Vin shrugged.
Nathan, who had begun to pace the length of the deck, suddenly stopped and demanded, "How do you know the rest of us have Elvish blood?"
"Like I said, blood calls ta blood. Raine's carryin' a mite as well." Vin laid down his sandwich and studied the agitated Jackson. "It ain' no hurtful thing, Nate. What's got yah so upset?" Vin asked softly.
"You suggest my Momma would cheat on my Dad, of course I'm upset," Nathan huffed.
"I never said no such thing," Vin protested.
"Elf blood you said," Nathan spat.
"Dr. Jackson, Mr. Tanner indicated that any Elvish blood was thinned out. That suggests several generations ago," Ezra cut in.
"Oh," Nathan grunted. "I just . . . I'm sorry," Nathan said.
"Man has tha right ta protect his Momma. Nate, jist make sure they's a slight first. Yer takin' insult where none's meant," Vin chided softly. A worried look settled into the sapphire eyes as he studied the other man. Need ta take this up wit' Raine. Som'ats got him snappin' when they ain' no call.
"That Elf blood, how far back are you talkin' Junior?" Buck asked, trying to gloss over Nathan's outburst.
"Hard ta say. Tanners keep crossin' in a lot of mixed bloods. Keeps the blood from thinnin' out sa much. Rekin I'se somewhere 'twixt a quarter and an eighth. Capt'n, Blair, Chris, and Ez is near on as much. Tha rest of yah's got a touch. Last full blood Ma knowed of was back in tha 12th century," Vin answered.
"Where'd all the elves go?" JD asked curiously.
"Died out I reckin. They didn't have much childer." Vin shrugged, picking up his sandwich. "Legend has Madog ap Owain sailin' ta America back in 1170 and again in 1171. His flag ship the Gorn Gwynant was made wit' no iron about it," Vin said quietly in a seemingly unrelated manner.
"Madog ap Owain?" Buck questioned.
"He was suppose to be a younger son of Owain ap Gwynedd, the king of Gwynedd in Wales. The admiral of his fleet. Legend claims he came on shore at Mobile, Alabama," Josiah answered.
Vin sat back and listened as the men presented the pros and cons of a Welshman coming to America with settlers in that time period. Finishing his sandwich, he went back inside and refilled his plate before silently rejoining the team: all without attracting the attention of the arguing men.
"Why's this Madog dude so important?" JD suddenly demanded.
"Mr. Tanner's comment suggested that there may have been Sidhe aboard the Gorn Gwynant. Legend indicates that Elves are . . . allergic to cold iron," Ezra chuckled. "Masterfully done Mr. Tanner. You have led us on a wild goose chase of speculation and supposition."
"Now, kin I finish eatin' 'fore I starve ta death?" Vin asked mischievously.
"What is that on your plate?" Nathan scowled.
"Corn dog." Vin calmly began to eat his way through the questionable item.
"You don't need to be eating that crap. You should be eating more greens and vegetables. Is that nacho cheese?" Nathan fumed in his common rant.
"He's right, all of you need to eat healthier. All that saturated fat and cholesterol," Blair grumbled as a visible shudder ran through his body.
"Nate, how many calories in one of your salads?" Chris asked quietly.
"About 20. Why?" Nathan asked.
"Weren't you the one that pointed out Vin loses weight on anything less then 3000 calories a day?" Chris pointed out gently.
"The boy needs his calories with that metabolism," Buck huffed. "Especially if we're going to get him back up to fighting weight."
"I have to agree with Buck and Chris on this, Nathan. I'm willing to bet Vin's at least 20 pounds under weight at the moment," Josiah spoke up.
"'Xcuse me, but I'se sittin' right here," Vin muttered as the others continued to ignore him and carried on their discussion.
"If he's active, it needs to be at least 3500. Found that out on maneuvers," Jim added.
"Jeez, Nathan that's a minimum of 150 salads a day," JD pointed out.
"I never said all he could only have salad. I want him to eat healthy is all," Nathan protested.
Ezra calmly handed Vin a Hershey bar when the sharpshooter cleaned his plate.
"Ezra, don't encourage him," Nathan snarled.
"Nathan, Vin is . . . .'yanking your chain'. Have you ever perused the interior of his refrigerator?" Ezra chuckled.
"No, I'd have a stroke," Nathan grumbled.
"Mr. Tanner raises an amazing amount of fresh produce. Excluding broccoli, which he seems to detest," Ezra revealed.
"What?" startled voices were raised as all heads turned to look at the man in question.
"Junior eats vegetables?" Buck asked in disbelief.
"He makes this incredible casserole with summer squash," Chris noted.
"Why let me think you didn't eat vegetables?" Nathan growled.
"A man likes ta be needed. I'se good fer yer cardiovascular work out," Vin said unrepentantly. "Don' eat store bought vegetables is all."
"Organics," Jim agreed.
"Why?" Nathan demanded.
"They can taste the chemicals," Blair reminded.
"I used organics and you still wouldn't eat salad," Nathan protested.
"They used city water ta water them plants," Vin explained. "All I could taste was tha chlorine in tha lettuce."
"Well hell." Buck shook his head in amazement.
"Dr. Jackson, what is your blood pressure?" Ezra asked.
"120/75" Nathan snapped.
"Cholestrol level?" Ezra smirked. "Dental heath?"
"Shut up, Ezra," Nathan huffed.
"Perhaps you should consider changing your eating habits. Vin seems to be healthier than you," Ezra teased.
"It isn't natural," Nathan hissed, glaring at the unrepentant Tanner . Vin smirked and took another bite of the chocolate.
"Whatcha want Blair?" Vin asked calmly as he woke from his doze.
Blair was fidgeting on the otherside of the deck. "Would you mind doing a few tests?"
"What kind of tests?" Vin asked uncomfortably.
"Your senses, I'd like to get an idea on your level of enhancement and how you control them," Blair explained.
"Yah figure it'll help tha Capt'n?" Vin asked softly.
"I don't know, but every bit of information I can get has the potential of helping," Blair answered honestly.
"Yah ain' gonna be shockin' me er somethin' are yah?" Vin demanded.
"No, simple things. How far you can see, identifying odors. I don't have the equipment to test your hearing range," Blair rambled.
"Long as I kin say stop," Vin agreed.
"Do you mind if we sit in on these tests, Brother Vin? We'd like to have an idea of what you're dealing with," Josiah asked, indicating the rest of the team.
"Rekin ya'll need ta know," Vin agreed.
Everyone settled in comfortably. Several pair of binoculars were waiting for the unenhanced among them.
"Alright, pick something that you can clearly identify as far away as you can," Blair suggested as Vin took his position by the porch railing.
"They's a boat 'bout 11:00 o'clock. White wit' mahogany trim. Sail's down but I kin see red, yeller, and green. Three people on board. Blond man maybe 6 foot tall, solid built. Looks like kaki colored shorts and a blue muscle shirt. Moves like he's mature but under 50. Dark haired man but not black hair. Chris' size and build. Wearin' a green muscle shirt and cutoffs. He's younger by a mite. Dark haired woman wearing a red bikini. Buck would appreciate her. Maybe 5' 6", wit' long legs. Wait a second, looks like another woman coming up on deck. Blonde and it ain't natural." Vin abruptly cut off his commentary and turned around to face the beach house.
"How does he know the woman's not a natural blonde?" JD asked innocently.
"Hot Damn," Buck snatched up a pair of binoculars and tried to focus in.
"I'd say the woman in question is nude, Mr. Dunne," Ezra drawled.
"Hell if I can see anything," Buck grumbled, lowering the binoculars.
"Jim?" Blair demanded.
"They're well over a mile out, probably closer to a mile and a half. I can't tell you how they're dressed, but Vin's right about the colors their wearing. I can tell sex and hair color," Jim shrugged.
"So Vin's vision is better than yours?" Blair asked in shock.
"I'd say so," Ellison agreed.
"Can you hear them Vin?" Chris asked curiously.
"Give 'em some privacy," Vin muttered, pointedly not looking in that direction.
"So you could hear them?" Blair asked.
"Sound carries easy on water," Vin admitted.
"Jim?" Blair asked excitedly.
"Yeah I can hear them. Now do something else please," Ellison ordered.
"Alright, let me put this blindfold on and you can . . . " Blair stepped forward.
"No!" Tanner stepped away, gasping for breath.
"Calm down Slick. Blair won't use the blindfold," Ellison soothed. He was obviously monitoring Vin's life signs.
"Deep breath, let it go," Chris coaxed.
"Oh man, I'm sorry Vin. I didn't think." Blair ran his hand through his hair, looking upset.
"Not yer fault. Don' rekin I'se ready fer that part anytime soon," Vin admitted shakily.
Blair managed to make the rest of the tests fun that afternoon, getting everyone involved. Periodically, a shocked look would appear on one of the Denver Team's faces as just what Tanner was capable of suddenly registered.
They sat around a fire on the beach that evening, enjoying good company and making lasting friendships. The ATF agents had to head back to Denver in the morning. E-mail addresses and phone numbers were exchanged. Plans to visit were made. They were content to allow tomorrow's troubles to wait upon the dawn.
Vin lay back watching the stars, simply letting the familiar voices heal some of those damaged places inside. A shadow blocked out the light for a moment and a familiar form settled down in the sand beside Tanner.
"Glad the Captain could help. They're good men, Elf." The blue eyes were peaceful. "I should have kicked your ass. I never meant for you to tear yourself up over it. Hell kid, I told you I loved you. I didn't go around telling that to just any pretty face you know," Blue chided.
"Won't see yah again will I?" Tanner asked softly.
"No, you're ready to fly again, Falcon. I've stuck around long enough, it's time to move on," Blue agreed.
"Yah sent tha amber?" Vin asked faintly.
"Nah, that was Red. He thought you needed something to hold on to. Take care of your family, Kid. They'll take care of you." Blue stood up and leaned over, ruffling Vin's curls.
The conversation around the fire abruptly fell silent. Blue smirked and came to attention when he felt startled gazes on him. Saluting, Dumont faded away.