Disclaimer: No the guys dont belong to me. But I am thankful they are able to come out and play every once in a while.
Author's Notes: A big thanks to Mog for creating this AU. I hope to do it justice.
I could never forget to thank my Betas Rhonda, and Axianna, and a huge hug to Rhonda for being my lifeline and not letting me give up! I am no doctor. So there may be some inaccuracies, and I do apologize for them. The Information about Rohypnol is however as accurate as I could get. All of the information on the drug was collected by Clark Staten, ERRI Executive Director, and can be found at www.emergency.com I must also apologize if the OFC seems a little overbearing in this story. She is even a little too Mary Sue for my liking but this story just grabbed me and demanded to be told. In my limited knowledge, I could only do it from a womans point of view. But I will not apologize for the message I am trying to send. This drug is real and it is out there.
With that said I hope you enjoy what I have written. I would love feedback but please be gentle. This is my first try, although it is not the first to be posted.
Agent Maggie Owens sighed and looked around her borrowed office, to insure that she had not missed anything in her packing. Today was her last day with Team Seven. She would be returning to her own office on Monday. She had to admit it was a nice change of pace to be around a team as efficient as these men were; she could see why they had a reputation as the best in the country. Maggie was shaken out of her musings by a familiar voice calling her name.
"Oh hi, Buck. Sorry I didnt hear you come in."
Buck Wilmington just smiled and repeated his question. "I said, do you want me to carry that box to your truck."
"No thanks, I think I have it," she told him, "but you could buy me lunch, you know, as a little going away present".
"Only if I can join you," JD called as he entered the small room.
"Sure, why not? In fact, why dont we see if the others arent too busy to come too"? Buck told his roommate.
Thinking over Bucks suggestion, JD replied, "I think everyone is around but Vin."
The blonde woman tried not to look crest fallen at the news. Good thing the two men were too busy to notice the slight flash of disappointment in her eyes
"I need to finish filling out the rest of my release paperwork in Chriss office. Ill meet all of you downstairs as soon as I am done, say in about twenty minutes." She watched as the two men chased each other down the hall and shook her head. It will be great to get home, but I sure will miss these guys, she thought as she turned to go back to her work.
When Maggie entered Chriss office, she could tell that there was something going on. When Larabee saw her, he smiled slightly and nodded to the chair to her left and said simply, "Sit, we have a change of plans."
The female agent had come to be a temporary part of Team Seven a month earlier. She was sent away from her home office in Alabama, after her snitch blew her cover, and one of the other agents on the case was found dead. She was told it was for her own protection, and only until the case was finished. Somehow, she couldnt get past the feeling that she was being conveniently shuffled away.
Coincidentally, the female agent that usually filled in with team seven was out on maternity leave, and the case was too important to risk bringing in a rookie. Therefore, the arrangements were made and off she went to Denver. The problem solved, everyones happy.
"Maggie!" Chris called her name sharply. She started and looked chagrined, silently cursing herself for being too caught up in her thoughts, for the second time in less than an hour.
"Im sorry, Chris. You were saying."
Chris Larabee was the leader of the ATF Team and was an intimidating figure when he wanted to be, but he did his best not to bully the agent sitting before him. She had been an invaluable asset to the team last week, and he needed a favor from her now. He was wise enough to know, if he pushed her too far, this little lady would have no problem telling him to go to hell and then be on the first plane out of Denver.
Chris kept his voice calm, as he repeated what she had not heard. "I said, we need you to stay a few more days. I have already cleared it with Captain Driggers. He said he can spare you for a while, but the call is yours to make."
Maggie was intrigued. "Another couples case?" she asked, remembering the last job of posing as Ezras wife. When Chris shook his head and told her she would go in alone, Maggie made up her mind. Jumping to her feet, she blurted, "NO WAY! NO! I will not be a prostitute! That is for rookies. I will not go through all that crap just to bust some two bit pimp, thank you very much!"
Chris was trying very hard to keep his cool. However, that was not an easy task with this hotheaded agent around "Sit your ass down and listen for just a second!"
Maggie froze in mid rant at the sound of Chriss growled command. Very slowly and cautiously, she lowered her self into the chair she had just vacated and waited for him to continue. "If you are finished!" Chris stated, His voice returning to its normal tone. "Lets just say I owe someone in the higher levels of the local PD a favor and he is calling it in. I have all of the details here for you." He slid a plain brown manila folder across the desk toward the now silent agent. "Go ahead look at it before you decide anything."
Maggie reached for the folder labeled simply Rohypnol, cautiously as if it may suddenly spring to life and bite her. As she opened it and looked at the faces that stared back at her from the photos enclosed, She simply said, "Tell me more."
Chris sat back and folded his hands behind his head. "All of the girls in those pictures have been drugged and raped in the last three months. We have two main suspects. They have been frequently seen at different dance clubs in the area. The local police have come to us for help. We figure if we can get these two off the street they may roll over on their distributor. We suspect the drug trade is a side business. If we can bust him on these charges it will also give us probable cause to get warrants to look into what we suspect are illegal gun sales as well."
Maggie listened closely. Mulling over the information she had just received. "Where do I fit in?" she asked.
Chris eyed her carefully and tried to decide the best way to inform her of the extent of their plans. "We are going to send you in. You are going to have to let them drug you." Seeing her expression, Chris hastened to add. "You will be wired of course, and we will have agents inside to watch your back. But, if we dont actually catch them in the act, all of our work setting this up will be for nothing."
She did not like the way this was going. "Cant we just video tape them putting it in the drink"? Even as she asked the question, her logical mind knew the answer.
Chris just shook his head. "You know better. Their lawyers could claim that there was no proof that they were the ones that actually administered the drugs. That is why we will also run blood tests on you right before you go in. and one as soon as we can after we get you out. The more evidence we can get on them the better chance we have of getting them to work out a deal"
Maggie was quiet for a long while. Chris held his breath waiting for her answer. He knew it was asking a lot of her, and this was a potentially dangerous assignment. However, if she refused the case was lost.
After a long tense pause, she met his eyes. "I want more information on the exact effects, and what I should expect."
Chris understood her fear and nodded. "Nathan will fill you in on everything you want to know."
Maggie continued with her demands. "I want your men in as my back up. Only Team Seven. I will not trust my life to anyone but them."
Chris agreed with pride. "Team five will be assisting us, but I will put whoever you feel most comfortable with inside with you."
With a smile she spoke up. "One last request." Chris could tell by the look on her face that it was going to be a big one. "When this is all over I want a paid vacation to Tahiti!"
Chris grinned. "Hell woman, hasnt a month with us been vacation enough for you."
Maggie returned his grin and asked "You hungry? Buck, JD and the guys are waiting for me at the Deli."
Chris stood and joined her, holding open his office door and letting her pass. "I guess we both get to tell them the good news."
"Oh?" She laughed as she pushed the button to the elevator. "And what exactly would that be?" was her flippant reply.
The pair was still trading barbs when they joined the others across the street for lunch.
A few hours later Maggie had unpacked and was seated comfortably in the office of the team chemist, and Ex-EMT.
Nathan Jackson handed her yet another medical journal. "What exactly are you looking for?" he asked her.
" Everything I can" came her reply. "I need to know what to expect from this drug I am going to take. What can you tell me? I need to know, if I am to get through this."
Nathan gently took the large volume from her and began to speak. "The drug that has been found in the blood of all 15 girls in the case file, and that will most likely be given to you is called Rohypnol. The street name for it is Roofies, sometimes Rope, or Roche. It is a potent tranquilizer similar to Valium, only much stronger. It has been used lately as a date rape drug because it produces a strong sedative effect. Amnesia, muscle relaxation, and dramatic slowing of psychomotor responses and it takes effect in about 20 minutes less of taken with alcohol, or other drugs."
Maggie sat back with a low whistle. "That is pretty harsh" she sighed.
Nathan shook his head sadly. "You dont know the half of it. No one comes to the aid of the girls that are slipped this drug because they only appear to be drunk. And the men that assault them claim the girls are sick and they are taking care of them. The girls cant even remember half of what happened to them the next day. Therefore, a positive ID is hard to come by. The sooner we get to the heart of this problem the better for me!" With that, Nathan excused himself and left the room to get some more coffee and let Maggie absorb what she had just learned.
7 7 7 7 7 7 7
The next morning the members of team seven were in Chriss office discussing amongst themselves the upcoming bust.
"I dunno," said JD. "Isnt there some other way we can do this?"
"I know," agreed Buck. "I mean what if they give her something else. We wont know how to treat her."
Nathan tried to set the two mens minds at ease slightly. "I will be there, to do a blood test as soon as we get her out. I will do my best to keep her system stable if she should be poisoned or have an adverse reaction."
Josiah just shook his head. As the team's psychoanalyst and profiler, he was more worried about the mental repercussions of the experience.
Up until now, Vin had kept silent, as was his norm. "Chris?" he asked in a soft voice. "How are we gonna pull this off? I mean she was good as a 30 something wife of a gunrunner. But how are we gonna to turn her into a 20 something party girl? And just how do you think she is going to get these two guys to notice her with all of the beautiful women around?"
Maggie entered the room just in time to hear Vins derogatory remarks. Catching a glance of her reflection on the glass door. She silently agreed with him. "And a good morning to you too, Mr. I need a haircut!" She said with forced cheerfulness, but felt an odd sting at the sharpshooters words. The men fell silent as she entered, coffee in hand. "Well Chris. I would like to know exactly how we are going to do this as well."
Ezra was the first to offer a suggestion. "I do believe Mr. Wilmington has many lady friends." Looking at the man in question, he asked. "Do you have a paramour that could give our fair lady here a makeover?"
Buck started mentally ticking off his latest conquests. His face lit up into a big grin. "What about Rita? She is like the club queen. Im sure she can do something with her," nodding in Maggies direction.
JD perked up. "You mean Rita in records? EW Buuuuck."
Buck just winked.
Chris didnt want the men getting distracted by Buck's tales, as it usually happened when they started him talking about women. "Ok guys, let's get back to business."
Maggie piped in her two bits worth before things got too serious. "Yeah and please stop talking about me like I am not here. Geez! Do I really look that bad." She knew she had only two looks messy, and really messy. But in her line of work, comfort was key. Besides, she cleaned up reasonably well. At Chriss look, she closed her mouth with a snap.
When he finally had everyones attention, Chris started to fill them in on what their tasks would be. "Buck, I will need you to get the wire for Maggie to wear set up, and on her. It has to be undetectable because they may have their hands on her. Glancing over, he met her eyes as if to silently apologize."
Maggie decided then that if she was going to get through this with any dignity left she had to leave any modesty at the door.
"JD you are in charge of getting the video surveillance equipment set up. Remember I want to be able to see her at all times. Even in the ladies room."
She quickly reminded herself no modesty. She had a feeling that was going to become her mantra over the next 48 hours.
"Ezra you, Vin and Josiah will be on the inside. I want you to go over with JD and familiarize yourself with every inch of that building and surrounding area. Report to me anything that may be a potential problem.
Nathan you need to get anything we might need just in case, also it may not hurt to have the hospital on alert and ready." As the men left his office, Chris turned to Maggie. "Are you sure you can do this?" he asked. His worry was evident "I dont want you to get in too deep."
Maggie grinned. "Piece of cake." She lied.
Two hours later Maggie found herself out shopping with the loudest most annoying creature she had ever encountered. "Man Buck. Is there anything you wont do?" she silently fumed, as Rita snapped her gum in her face for the hundredth time.
"So Meg, what do you think?" Rita asked holding up a chartreuse skirt Short enough to be a belt.
"The name is Maggie. Margaret if you must but NOT Meg." Rita just shrugged and hung the questionable garment back on the rack. "Cant we just pick something and go?" she complained. She hated this store, and she was never the frilly and feminine type. Sure, she knew how to walk in high heels when she had to. But that was about the extent of it. All of this was out of her element. "No wonder Vin cant picture me as a woman. Hell, I cant picture it half the time."
Thwap! A dress hitting her in the face brought her wandering mind back to the present. Scowling up into the annoying gum smacking face of Rita. **Smack, Smack.** "Go try this on. Ive gotta hot date for a nooner with Buck, so let's get this over with." She snatched the offered garment with a grunt. "Oh, take this too."
Rita said with a grin. Maggie just gasped at the item in question. It was a Red latex cat suit with no back and neckline to her navel. "No way girlie. Not a chance in hell," the appalled woman almost shrieked.
Rita loved her discomfort. "Well you aint gonna get anyones attention dressed like a Nun."
Maggie repeated her mantra for the millionth time and marched off to the dressing room in a huff. Leaving Miss Gum Smacker laughing behind her.
Running into the ATF offices a short time later, Maggie barreled directly into Buck. "Well darlin how was your shopping trip." As an answer, she drew back and punched Buck in the eye.
"You will go through that black book of yours again and find someone else to help with me tonight. I will not spend one more second with that that. IDIOT!" She nearly screamed this last word in the startled man's face. Buck placed a hand on his darkening cheek and fled the building as if Maggie was rabid and on his heels.
"Rita has that effect on people." The laughing voice behind her made Maggie jump.
"Damn it, Vin! Stop sneaking up on me." Sometimes she could swear that man was a ghost who could appear out of thin air at will. As the man continued to study her, Maggie could feel her self-consciousness grow. She tried in vain to tuck a stray tendril of hair back in place from where it had come loose out of her ever-present pony tale. She had always been at a loss around men, and this man especially unnerved her. She had learned early in life to hide all of her fears and uncertainty behind anger. This time was no exception. "What?" she asked with a sneer. "You still trying to figure out how to turn me into a woman? You think I am so God awful that instead of trying to drug me they will OD just to get away from me?"
Vin took a step back, looking confused at the outburst and said quietly, "I was gonna ask if you had already had lunch." With that, he silently turned and left her standing open mouthed.
A few hours later Maggie was still in her office. Silently admonishing herself for her stupidity. "Why am I such an idiot?" She was also not so silently trying to apply her makeup for the job in a few short hours. Everything was in place for the bust, everything except her. "God, I cant do this!" She cursed throwing her hairbrush across the room and slumping back into her chair.
Josiah had just picked this time to enter the room; the brush missed his face by mere inches. "Is there a problem my child?" he asked, stooping to pick up the offending item.
Blushing for the millionth time that day she apologized and to her horror promptly burst into tears. Perching himself on the corner of her desk, Josiah waited for the spell to pass. When she had recovered her composure, he handed the girl a tissue and asked. "Would you like to talk to me about it?"
Maggie gave a small hiccup and started to explain. "I cant do this," she simply stated. At his confused look, she continued. "I chased Rita away because she was driving me nuts. So I have to do all of this by myself." This statement was punctuated with a small wave at the assortment of beauty products on top of her desk. "I have always had the prep work done for me," she continued. "I have no idea what to do. Maybe Vin was right; I will never be able to make this bust."
Josiah looked thoughtful for a moment, jumping to his feet his face lit into a huge grin. "Wait here, I know what to do." When Maggie questioned where he was going he looked hurt, and answered. "Buck isnt the only one with a lady friend."
A little while later Josiah returned with a petite, well dressed older woman. "Maggie this is Helen. She is going to help you."
She looked up and gave Josiah's friend a tentative smile. "Do you think you can do something with me?"
Helen gave a loud laugh. "Honey, if I can make my clients look good, you will be a piece of cake"
Maggie was mildly intrigued. "What salon do you work for?" she asked, eyeing the large bag the woman was carrying.
"No salon," came the older womans reply. "I make up the bodies at the county morgue before they are viewed."
A bit shaken, she gave a week smile and looked at Josiah who just shrugged. "Well at least I have a pulse." She said gamely. Maybe I will be ok after all."
When Josiah returned, he couldnt believe the change that had come over the young lady. Helen was indeed a miracle worker. Gone was the plain, clumsy, mousy agent. In her place was a very attractive, confident, beauty. With a radiant smile, Maggie thanked him for his help and planted a loud kiss on his cheek that left behind a rather large red lip print in its wake. Helen gave him a self-satisfied smirk and with a swat sent the young girl off to change clothes. With a disgusted look at the bag in her hand, the younger woman obeyed.
Maggie headed into the bathroom to change, pausing to look in the mirror. She still couldnt believe that the person gazing back at her was the same one there this morning. Blowing her reflection a small kiss, she turned to the task at hand and pulled the red latex cat suit that Rita had picked out, from the bag. Sliding the garment over her hips, she couldnt believe how it fit like a second skin. "God help me," she murmured as she tried to make the fabric cover just a little more flesh. "I cant go out there looking like this!" she told her reflection a few moments later. "I might as well be naked."
A pounding on the door made her realize how late she was running. "Maggie! We need you in Bucks office to get wired," Chris called.
"I will be there in a second," she answered, scooping up her discarded clothing off the floor." Waiting until she heard the footsteps fade She mentally braced herself for what tonight would hold. She opened the door a crack and checked the hall, finding the coast clear she took a deep breath and hurried to Buck's office. Rushing into the room and closing the door, she turned to see two very startled agents staring at her with jaws unhinged.
Chris was the first one to regain his composure. "You look. Ahem well let's just say tonight is going to be a success." He nudged Buck who was still looking slack jawed at the transformation. The poke was enough to regain the attention of the self-proclaimed ladies man.
"Um yes well, we need to get this wire on you... But." he stopped, and accessed her scantily clad figure. "Hmm. where?" Maggie should have seen it coming. Buck eyed her grinning and said, "Sorry dear, but I think you are going to need to undress for this one."
Maggie tried to repeat her no modesty mantra, but it was becoming a little too much. Buck worked a quickly as he could to get all of the wires in place and hidden under the skintight cat suit. "I guess it is a good thing you know your way around a womans body." Maggie teased, trying to lighten the mood and ease everyones nerves.
In an attempt to appear, professional, Buck changed the subject and handed her a tiny earpiece. "You can hear us talk to you through this. But you need to keep your hair over it."
" No problem," she replied slipping the offered item in place. Buck said his goodbyes and left the room to take up his position in the bar.
On his way out, he stopped and reassured her. "We will be there with you. I wont let anything happen. You may not see us, but just so you know weve got your back." That said, he closed the door silently and left.
Nathan was the next to arrive. Thankfully, he made no mention of her appearance aside from a raised eyebrow, which she chose to ignore. "I will need a few blood samples before I let you go. We have to be able to prove you were clean before you went in."
Maggie nodded and held out her arm. To distract herself she turned to Chris. "Tell me one more time where everyone will be." Even though she knew the answer, she wanted to be sure she knew where safety was.
"Ezra will be in the DJ booth. Vin will be bartending. Josiah will be bouncing at the front door. Buck and JD will be in the stock room and kitchen, and the rest of us and team five will be outside."
Nervous, she nodded at the team leader. "That is why I only wanted your guys. I trust you."
"All done," Nathan announced. "Time to get this show on the road."
Maggie tried to swallow the lump in her throat and still her speeding pulse. 'Its now or never,' she silently told herself."
Fifteen minuets later she found herself standing in front of the club. With a deep breath and her head high, she mustered her courage and climbed the steps.
The music was deafening. She could feel her pulse throbbing through her body in time to the beat. Scanning the crowded room, she spotted three other agents blending in and doing their jobs. Feeling a hand on her arm, she looked into the concerned eyes of Josiah. "Be careful my child." She gave him what she hoped was a reassuring wink and moved further into the bar.
Searching the crowd, she looked for the suspects. In the briefing, she was told they always worked together. She also had a rough description of them both. Making her way to the bar, she ordered a drink.
Vin was surprised at the change in the woman before him. He didnt particularly care for the look that was created for her. However, he had to admit it was an attention getter. What he noticed most was the confidence she displayed. He handed her a plain soda even though she had ordered a mixed drink. She thanked him as if he were a stranger. But, her eyes met his with a flash of gratitude, and possibly something else?
A buzz in her ear caught her attention. Chris was giving her the information she needed. "Suspects Spotted, by the DJ booth. Blonde male about six feet Red shirt, with a dark curly haired male also around 6 foot."
Maggie looked in the direction indicated by the team leader. Focusing on her quarry, she wandered across the bar moving ever closer toward them. Not sure, what she was going to do when she reached them.
"I hope I figure something out soon. Bucklin I need you." She muttered toward the microphone taped over her left breast.
"I hear you darlin'," came the drawled response in her ear.
Damn, she didnt think he would really answer her. "I just needed to know you were there," she admitted in a shakily voice. She was rewarded with a laughing voice.
"Ok, here is what you do. Walk that little ass of yours past them and make eye contact. Find a place to stand in their line of vision."
Maggie followed his directions to the letter. "Got ya!" she thought as the blonde caught her eye and nudged his friend.
Buck was still encouraging her in the background. "Take a slow drink keeping eye contact. Play with your straw. There you go. I think you have his attention. Remember you need to let him be able to sneak the drug into your drink before he looses interest."
The two men made their way to the empty area to her left. Without Bucks, voice in her ear, Maggie suddenly felt very much alone and vulnerable. As if he could read her thoughts Chris piped in. "You are doing great; we are still here." With her confidence boosted, somewhat she turned a hundred-watt smile on the two approaching men.
"Hi guys," she said casually. "You in the mood for some fun?"
With raised eyebrows, they both asked, "What do you have in mind"
Maggie tried to look coy and shrugged. "Who knows what the night will bring." After chatting for a few more minuets, she made her maneuver. Looking the darker haired man in the eye "Will you hold this for me, I want to request a song?" She practically purred as she handed him her drink. 'Please work,' she silently prayed as she headed toward Ezra in the DJ booth.
Reaching it, JDs excited voice exploded in her ear. "YES! We have him! Maggie my girl you are wonderful! We not only caught them in the act, the video was perfect!"
Ezra leaned over the partition and told her, "Well my dear, the hard part is over. All you need to do now is to ingest that foul concoction, and leave the rest to us."
She grinned, "Play me something." With that she turned, and went back to the two men. She still had a job to finish, the sooner the better. Maggie searched the eyes of the two men. She wasnt sure what she was looking for but the predatory glint she saw there sickened her. 'Well bottoms up,' she silently told herself. As the new song started to play Maggie looked up to Ezra, held her glass up as if to offer a toast and drained its contents.
It didnt take long for the drug to take effect. Within 15 minuets the room started to dip and sway. It wasn't even possible to make out the faces in front of her, and she knew now there was nothing she could do to save herself. It would all be up to team seven. Even as these thoughts entered her mind, she felt hands on her body leading her from the corner where she had been standing. Not quite remembering whom she was with or where she was, she obediently went along. The voice beside her was telling her she was sick and that he would take care of everything. Maggies rational mind knew that was not Chriss voice, but she still felt powerless to do anything other than what she was told.
When she felt the blast of cold air, her foggy brain registered that they had made it outside. Help should be here soon. With a lurch, she staggered and was pushed toward the wall to her right. Catching herself and barely recovering her balance, Maggie heard a voice from what appeared to be far away exclaim. "ATF! Freeze!" Smiling crookedly, she realized the cavalry had arrived and her job was done. Before the thought was completed, she blissfully sank to the ground and into oblivion.
Chris knew the exact moment the drug started to take effect; Maggie was having a hard time speaking. He didnt know if she realized how badly she was slurring her words. "I wish we could pull her out now," he said to Nathan who was right beside him. "But we have to get proof that they actually intend to rape her."
Nathan was trying to calm the usually unflappable leader. "Chris, she seems to be Ok. I have a test kit right here, and the hospital is on standby if they slipped anything else to her. We will catch it." This seemed to bring their leader back to the job at hand.
"Still hate waiting," he muttered getting in the last word.
When he saw the men ushering Maggie out of the bar, Chris put a call into the surrounding agents. "They are moving, stay on them."
JD appeared out of the kitchen in time to stop one of the men. "Is she going to be ok?" He asked casually and was delighted to be able to clearly tape the typical response. The girl had drunk a little too freely and she would be fine. To an unknowing eye, it did appear that Maggie was merely drunk. JD paused to stare at her for one more moment before moving out of the way and letting them pass.
Vin reached JDs side just as the suspects shepherded Maggie out the side door. "What did you let them take her for?" Vin asked angrily.
"Chris wants to capture them outside. He said it would make a better case." JD explained. Vin reluctantly nodded his understanding. Both men exited the club in time to see their leader followed closely by Josiah and Nathan draw their weapons and announce their presence.
Reaching out Vin pushed Maggie out of the way before wrestling her captor to the ground. He looked up he saw Buck had already done the same to the friend who had brought around the car. "Nathan we have these two, check on Maggie." At the sound of Buck's voice, Vin turned the prisoner over to their leader and knelt with Nathan at the side of the woman on the ground.
Nathan took her pulse and found it to be strong. Turning to Vin, he said, "She seems fine lets take her to the van and let me get that blood test over with."
Once there, Nathan took quite a few vials of blood. The team didnt want to risk loosing the case due to a lab error. With the last vile the chemist mixed a few drops of a liquid Vin didnt recognize. When the Blood reached the desired color Nathans face broke into a huge smile. "Shes clean," he sighed. But, we will still have to keep an eye on her for any side effects. Covering the still form with a blanket, the two men exited the van and joined the men waiting in the parking lot.
Nathan looked around and asked, "Where are the two assholes that did this?"
Ezra was the first to answer. "The local authorities were nice enough to escort them to lock up to await our questions."
The men seemed satisfied with this explanation. Buck asked with a worried frown, "Where is Maggie? Is everything OK?"
Nathan assured everyone present. "She is fine. She will just need to sleep it off for the next 12 hours or so. Someone will need to stay with her though, just to be sure."
Chris looked from face to face with his gaze finally falling on Vin. "I need you to do this. Everyone else is needed for the questioning and the paperwork." They all knew how much Vin hated to file reports and would find any way to avoid doing them all together. "You will take her to your place. I will call you and let you know what we find out from those scum."
Vin looked uncomfortable at the request but posed no argument. He felt he owed it to the agent to take care of her; after all, she had risked a lot to help them. Besides, he thought with a grin. No paperwork! And this case was sure to produce a lot.
Vin entered the van and gathered the slight, still form into his arms and started toward his jeep. Maggie never stirred as she was loaded into the vehicle, and they started toward the other side of town.
When they reached Vins apartment the sharpshooter tried to wake the sleeping agent. He didnt want people to get the wrong idea by him carrying an unconscious half naked woman up the stairs. At his prodding, she opened her eyes a slit and stirred. "Come on sexy let's get you upstairs and settled in for the night." He said with a laugh. Vin knew that it was wrong to find humor in the situation, but Maggies sleepy eyed stare touched something in his heart.
Maggie felt Vin try to wake her, but as much as she wanted it to, her body would not cooperate. With a lurch she managed to remove her body from where she was sitting, but getting one foot in front of the other was more than she thought possible. When the duo reached the elevator, Vin was not thrilled to see the out of order sign posted. "Well looks like we hike." Maggie took a hesitant step and nearly pulled Vin over when she stumbled. "Damn woman! Ya tryin ta kill us both?" All she could do was grin drunkenly up at him. "Hell," he cursed inwardly as he scooped her up. "Let the neighbors talk."
He laughed at the mental image of Mrs. Potter, the nosy neighbor down the hall and what she would do if she saw him now. "What a disgrace!" he could almost hear her say. With a chuckle, he started the climb to the third floor.
When he reached his door, Vin had to put down his charge to retrieve his keys. By now, Maggie was almost able to stand on her own. As he stood in the doorway watching her stumble into the living room the severity of what had happened that night struck him. Is this what happened to all of those girls? Were they so drugged that they couldnt even walk? How could someone do something like this to anyone. These questions and many others raced through his head.
The ringing of the phone brought him out of his reverie. When he answered, he heard laughter in the background. "Hey Vin, Buck here. Listen did you by any chance take Maggies wire off yet?"
"Shit!" was the reply Buck received.
Buck took that as a no and laughed harder. "We know man. We have heard every word since you left." Vin just growled. Buck continued as if he hadnt heard him. "You know you have to take it off her yourself right?"
"Ok, so where is it?" Vins question just made the men on the other end laugh harder. "Buck! Take me off speakerphone! Now tell me where the wire is."
Between gasps of laughter, Buck explained in detail where on her person to find the wire. Even though no one could see his face, Vin knew he was blushing. "Thanks a lot asshole." He sputtered when Buck had finished and slammed down the phone when all that greeted him was more laughter.
Turning to the agent on the couch, Vin tried to figure out a reasonable way to approach the situation. "Ok now, I need for you to take off your top so I can get that wire off of you and back to the office. Do you understand?" Maggie nodded mutely. "I am going to get you something to wear. I will be right back, ok?" Vin continued talking to her as if she were a 5-year-old. Running into his room, he grabbed the first clean t-shirt he could find. He was not quite ready for the sight that greeted him upon his return.
Maggie had managed to rid herself of the cat suit, and stood in the center of his living room clad only in a thong. When she turned to face him Vin noticed the red welts that marred the creamy skin under her breasts. She had apparently tried to remove the wire herself and the tape had taken a bit of skin with it. With those same sad eyes that reached him earlier, she just whimpered, "Help?"
The sight was almost his undoing. The first thing he did when he reached her side was to turn off the wire. He didnt need any more eavesdroppers while he was trying to remain calm. Kneeling before her, he tried gently to peel off the tape that held the wire without doing any more damage to her skin. When that was completed, he stood to face her with all intents of getting her settled in for the night.
"Thank you," came a soft murmur as he felt her slip her arms around his neck. Unable to resist, he didnt pull away when he felt her lips touch his. Vin wrapped his arms around her waist to keep her steady, or so he told himself. He deepened the kiss, taking advantage of her parted lips to let his tongue explore the sweetness of her mouth. The sound of her whimper brought him back to reality with a jolt.
What was he doing? God this made him no better than the bastards he just busted. Maggie made a little noise of protest when he pulled away from her grasp. Vin angrily picked her up and strode down the short hall. Standing her beside his bed, he roughly yanked a shirt over her head and pushed her onto the comforter. "Sleep," he ordered. As Maggie curled on her side and fell into a relaxed drug induced slumber, Vin settled in on his couch for a fitful night of self-criticism.
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The first thing Maggie noticed when she awoke the next morning was the smell. She had her face buried in the pillow and breathed deeply before she even opened her eyes. "Mmm." she thought it smelled of pungent sporty soap, and what reminded her of fresh air, definitely masculine, and so very, Vin. At that thought, her eyes flew open.
"Oh my god! Where am I?" she thought wildly.
The disorientated woman had never been to Vins apartment and was understandably afraid. Springing from the bed, she threw open the door and ran into the living room in a panic.
Vin had heard her door open, but was not ready for the ball of energy that threw herself into the room. It only took a second for him to read the fear in her eyes. Not sure what caused it, he called cautiously from his position on the couch. "Maggie? Whats wrong sweetheart?"
At the sound of her name, Maggie turned to confront the source of her fear. As soon as their eyes met, all the fight left her body and she sank to the floor and sobbed.
Vin was startled by her reaction. Not knowing what else to do he called Nathan.
After explaining the situation, he was reassured. "She had a panic attack" the EMT explained. "She is most likely still feeling the effects of the drug, and waking up in a strange place could have been too much for her." Vin was assured that she would be fine, and he was told to just try to comfort her.
He dropped to the floor by her side and pulled the still weeping form into his lap. Rocking her like he would a troubled child, he murmured into her ear. As he was soothing her, his traitorous mind kept trying to relive last night's kiss and how she felt in his arms.
Maggie tried to reason out why she was here. Now that she was completely awake, she knew she must be at Vins place, but how and why still escaped her.
After she had calmed down and received a satisfactory explanation of the events over the past few hours. Vin convinced her to take a shower while he cooked them some breakfast and waited for Chris to arrive with Maggies clothes and an update on the suspects.
Stepping under the scalding water, she finally felt herself relax. Even after scrubbing her skin until it was almost raw, she still somehow couldnt feel completely clean. While relaxing under the soothing spray, she let her mind wander over the events of the previous night. For the life of her, she couldnt remember anything after leaving Helen and Josiah in her office to go change.
Later, as the hot water started to run out, Maggie finally climbed from the shower still angry that she had still not been able to find any answers in her own mind. She was relived to see a change of clothes on the bed. Chris must have already arrived she thought and glanced at the clock on the nightstand. With a start, she realized she had been in the shower for over a half an hour. In a rush, she threw on the offered clothing, and rushed down the hall to see the team leader.
When she entered the small kitchenette, Chris was still there and settled in with a steaming mug of coffee. "Sorry I took so long," she murmured sliding into a rickety chair across from Chris. When Vin slid a cup of coffee toward her she looked up into his eyes with a smile. What she saw there caused a tug of memory, but before she could grasp it, it escaped her. Shaking her head in frustration, she turned her attention back to what Chris was saying to her.
"Those two assholes last night ratted each other out when we questioned them. Once we found out who their supplier was, we sent JD down for a buy. We not only got two predators off the street. We stopped the source, and got enough evidence for a warrant to look for the guns." Maggie was proud to hear the bust had been a bigger success than was planed. But, she still couldnt help feeling edgy because she couldnt remember any of it.
"We will have a debriefing in an hour in the conference room. Will you be okay to make it that soon?" His concern was evident in his eyes. At Maggies nod, Chris rose and started toward the door. "Nathan will want to look you over you when you get there, and I think Josiah will want to try to shrink your head too."
Vin laughed at the thought of Josiah surrounded by shrunken heads, but sobered quickly when the other mans eyes met his. "Sorry" he mumbled. After Chris left, the two agents settled down to eat breakfast and wait for the hot water to build back up for Vin to take a shower.
Maggie walked into the ATF building close to 45 minuets later and was ushered straight into Nathans office. He was a little concerned that the drugs were not exiting her body as rapidly as he would have liked. Nathan informed her that he would like to keep an eye on her and possibly get her to the hospital if the next blood test wasnt any better.
Next was Josiahs turn. The lack of memory may have been troubling to the girl. However, the Psychologist was not worried nor was he surprised. Josiah informed the agent that sometimes actions would trigger memories in time and not to try to force it.
By the time they were satisfied with her condition, everyone else was waiting in the conference room. Maggie felt a little self-conscious when all eyes fell on her as she entered the room.
When Chris could finally gain everyones attention, he held up videotape. "This everyone is our surveillance video from last night's bust. There are a few things we need to go over. All in all it went smoothly, but there are one or two items that I need to call to everyones attention so they dont happen again."
Chriss voice droned on pointing out details to the agents, but the woman didnt hear him. It was almost surreal to see herself on the TV screen and not remember doing any of the things she was watching. As Maggie saw herself saunter across the dance floor toward two men, she felt her heartbeat quicken. The longer she watched the scene unfold the worse the feeling grew. Finally, as she saw one of the men take her arm and lead her from the club it became too much. Choking back the bile that rose to her throat she staggered from the room toward the bathroom down the hall. She barely reached it before her body was overcome by retching. When the spasm ended, she was surprised to find Vin there handing her a paper towel. "Thank you," she murmured.
"Dont mention it." He smiled and winked as he left her to clean up.
When she returned to the room, she was surprised to find it empty except for Chris. Motioning toward an empty seat he smiled at her. "You missed the end of the briefing. But the short of it is we have a solid case. We may need you to come back for the trial, but this evidence should speak for itself."
Maggie was a little surprised at what she saw as a sharp dismissal. She knew from the start that she would be returning to Alabama, but she never felt it would be so soon.
Chris noticed her crest fallen expression and realized he may have sounded a little harsh. Hopefully she would forgive him at the surprise party tonight. Looking into her eyes he stated, "Nathan is still worried about your blood level. I wont be able to clear you to leave for a few more days." Maggie nodded and left the room. Chris just smiled and touched the packet he had hidden in his shirt pocket.
Back in her hotel room, Maggie was staring listlessly at the ceiling, when the phone rang. It was Josiah. "Maggie my girl! Helen and I want you to join us for dinner." Before she could turn down his offer Josiah continued. "I will pick you up at 8. Be waiting out front." Click. The line went dead. She laughed at the ploy. "He never even gave me time to say no. But hell, it beats sitting here anyway", she sighed as she made her way toward the shower.
True to his word, Josiah arrived at exactly at 8 oclock. To her surprise he was alone "Helen had to work late. She will meet us there," was his reply to her unspoken question.
Josiah pulled up to, what the rest of team seven fondly called the saloon, and Maggie noticed the cars that belonged to all the other team members. The large man to her left smiled at her and shrugged. "Sorry for the deception, but this is the only way we knew to get you out to our little thank you party."
Nathan met them at the door. "Sorry, Maggie. It was cruel of us to bring you out to a bar when you cant drink".
Maggie smiled "I am not much of a drinker anyway. It is my turn to watch you guys loose control." The rest of the men laughed at her attempt to find humor in the events of the past few nights.
A few hours, and more than a few rounds, later Maggie found herself standing at the jukebox searching for some music when a soft voice spoke in her ear. "Find anything good?" With a start, she turned to find Vin standing close.
Trying to find something witty to say in return, she just stumbled over her words unnerved by his closeness. So, she gave up and nodded mutely.
Buck noticed the little drama playing out across the room and nudged Ezra who was sitting to his left. Nodding toward the couple, he said, "I bet you she stays with him again tonight."
Ezra accessed the scene also before stating. "No, thank you. I do not care to wager my money on something so obvious." With a grin, he added. "I will, however, place money on how much longer they will be staying here, if anyone is interested," By now, the rest of the table had noticed and was passing money around and naming times.
Maggie had regained some control. She no longer felt quite so breathless. Turning to insert the money into the machine for more music, she lost her grip on the dollar bill. As it fell to the floor and slid under the jukebox, Vin dropped to one knee to retrieve it. Seeing him in this position stirred something in her mind. However, she could not quite grasp it. That is until Vin looked up into her eyes with a smile, clutching the bill. With a gasp, Maggie remembered seeing him this way before; kneeling at her feet. That was last night just before she... "Oh my god," she whispered with her hand over her mouth, to cover her embarrassment.
Seeing her discomfort, and certain of what caused it, Vin was on his feet in an instant. "Hey," he cooed drawing her shaking form into his arms. "It isnt that bad is it?"
Looking into his eyes, she whispered, "Im sorry".
With a small growl, he whispered back. "Im not!" right before he captured her mouth with his.
At the table, JD groaned and slid $50 toward Ezra. He had bet Vin would leave alone.
"Do you want to go talk?" Vin asked when he realized they had an audience. Maggie nodded and went to get her coat.
When the two announced their plans, Chris looked up stern faced. "No you will not." At their startled expressions he said, "I have a few toasts to make and a gift to present, then you can do as you please." Also he thought to himself, I still have a half an hour until my time comes up for the bet.
After the toasts were made to Maggie, to the ATF in general, and to getting scum in jail Chris pulled a slender envelope out of his pocket and handed it to the shocked agent. This is just a little something from the city of Denver as a little thank you. Inside the envelope was a round trip ticket to Tahiti and vacation leave papers for one week signed by her captain.
Maggie laughed out loud. "I was just kidding."
"We know, but you deserved it," Chris laughed. "Now you two get out of here," he ordered. As the two agents left, they could hear Ezras protests of foul play and Chriss hoot of joy as he won the bet.
The next two days passed quickly as Maggie and Vin spent as much time together as they could. When at last it came time for her to return to Alabama. She turned and rushed to the door at the sound of the knock. "Oh, hi," she said, trying to hide her disappointment as Buck and Chris entered the small hotel room.
"Sorry, Vin couldnt be here to take you to the airport," Buck said as he lifted the large suitcase she had just finished packing. "But, we will give you a proper send off"
In the Car on route to the airport, Chris asked Maggie about her plans. "I will get into Mobile tonight and go home and pack. My flight to the island leaves tomorrow afternoon. In a little over 24 hours I will be on a sun drenched beach sipping pina coladas."
"Or not," Buck snickered; Chris gave him a jab to the ribs to silence him. Maggie didnt notice.
She was still hoping for a glimpse of Vin when the announcement for last boarding call went up at the airport. Maggie gave Chris and Buck both a good-bye hug and made them promise to keep her posted about the trial. As she turned and waved, she tried to hide the tears.
After she boarded her flight, Buck turned to Chris and asked. "Wasnt that a little cruel?"
Chris just shrugged and said. "Thats the way Vin wanted it to be."
Back in Alabama, Maggie was a little surprised to see everything the same as she left it. Somehow, she expected everything to change as much as she had. She threw the last of her things into a smaller bag than she took to Denver, grabbed her sunglasses, and headed out to the waiting cab.
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"This is your Captain speaking. In approximately ten minutes, we will be landing in Tahiti. We hope you enjoy your stay, and thank you for flying with us." The announcement woke Maggie from a wonderful dream. She was back in Denver lying in Vins arms. Shaking herself, she gathered her things to depart the small plane. She had already decided she would not let the way things ended ruin her vacation.
She stepped from the small craft into the bright sunshine and took a deep breath of the fragrant air. A movement to her right caught her attention, and she tried to focus on the man standing there in the blinding sun. Maggie was sure she was still dreaming until she felt herself in his arms.
"Are you ready for that pina colada?" Vin asked.
"Eventually." Maggie grinned evilly, as she led him toward the rental car, and hopefully the hotel.
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