Disclaimer: Not Mine.. no profit.
Acknowledgements: Mogs Universe - Thank you.
Thank you to everyone who has sent suggestions, keep em coming. I really
appreciate all the support, the best incentive to write fics is all the great
email. I love seeing the new messages sign flashing, it sends me flying back
to my keyboard! For those who pointed out how many times Rorie ends up in
the beds of these two popular characters this time she doesnt
even get close!
Monday 14th May
Team 7 Offices
You all set Ez? Chris came out
of his office and approached the Undercover Agent.
Indeed Mr Larabee. I believe I am adequately prepared. Mr Dunne? Mr
Im ready. JD packed an extra couple of discs into his carry
on luggage. Im looking forward to this, thanks for letting me
Just make sure I dont get any calls from irate husbands, conference
organizers or hotel managers and well call it even. He included
all three departing Agents in his comment.
Ezra raised a brow and saluted in his customary two-fingered fashion.
Buck spluttered until he received a Larabee glare.
JD just grinned.
Yes Dad. The three smirking Agents announced in unison. Chris
The threesome was going to Chicago for a Law Enforcers Conference on Surveillance
and Undercover Codes of Practice. They would be away until Friday. Chris
always hated having any of them out of his sight, even for something as innocuous
as a conference. He knew his boys too well, they were bound to get into trouble.
He expected it. He just hoped the fallout wouldnt be too serious this
time. At the previous conference, Vin and Buck had managed to annoy just
about everyone when Vin decided to repay Buck for an earlier prank by throwing
a green smoke grenade into the mens shower block at the hotel sports
center. Unfortunately, Wilmington wasnt the only one using the facilities
at the crucial moment and two Japanese businessmen and El Pasos Chief
of police had not been pleased to spend the next three days looking like
Kermit the frog.
Ezra turned to his parent substitute. Rorie has promised to behave
herself. There will be no repeat of her performance from the last time I
Vin nodded, smiling. Dont worry pard, me n the munchkin
have come to an understandin. Ezra nodded.
Okay, Josiah, youd better get going if youre going to make
it to the airport in time for them to catch the flight. Boys, behave.
The four Agents hurried out to the elevators.
I got my cell, Terri, if theres
Terri Greer smiled at the Texan. Vin, well be fine. Go, have
a good time and dont worry about it. I can handle the girls.
She glanced over her shoulder at the two children, Rorie and Terris
own daughter, eight-year-old Olivia, who were playing on the carpet with
their dolls. Terri and Olivias apartment was now completed and so,
whenever the two Agents-in-Residence were unavailable, Terri simply opened
the interior door linking the basement to the house and watched both kids.
Vin nodded. Okay then. He approached the girls. Hey pumpkin.
You be good. Ill see ya in the mornin all right?
Rorie gave him a hug. Do you have to go? Wouldnt you rather play
Ya know I love playin with ya kid, but I like grown-up stuff
sometimes too. It aint the same thing.
Whats she like? Rorie frowned at him.
Shes pretty an nice an shes been havin
a tough time lately. I gotta cheer her up some. You wouldnt want Ms
Richmond ta be sad would ya?
Im gonna be sad cause youre going out without me.
Vin laughed and tweaked her nose.
Ill be back in the mornin Okay? He rose to his feet.
Bye livia, bye Terri. He shot Rorie a last warning look
that she acknowledged with a roll of the green eyes.
Rorie knocked on Vins bedroom door
and waited to be told to come in.
After a few false starts he had managed to train her not to just arrive
unannounced and she dutifully banged on the door at dawn every morning.
There was a pause and the door swung open, itself an unusual occurrence since
Vin normally just grunted to her to come in.
Standing in the doorway was a woman, a practically naked woman. Rorie could
hear water running in the En-suite bathroom. She looked up into the
Yes? What do you want? The tone was frigid. Rorie took a step
Wheres Uncle Vin?
Little Girl, MISTER Tanner is in the shower, go away and play.
She shut the door.
Rorie stood still for a moment, gaping at the wood. Turning on her heel she
disappeared down the corridor.
Inside, Charlotte smiled at Vin as he appeared from the steamy bathroom clad
only in a towel slung loosely around his hips. He was rubbing another through
his wet hair.
Did I hear a knock? Was Rorie here? He glanced around the room.
Whered she go?
She was here, she went to get ready for school. The woman wrapped
her arms around his waist and slid sensuously against his chest. Will
I see you tonight? I have a table booked for dinner, my favourite little
Italian place, my treat.
After casting a last glance at the door Vin returned her embrace. Sure.
Sounds good. He looked back at the closed door over her shoulder even
as he ran his hands over her silk clad back, wondering why Rorie hadnt
at least said good morning.
Youre going again? With HER?
Rorie pouted at Vin. I dont like her Uncle Vin. Cant you
stay home tonight?
No Rorie, Im going out. He lifted the childs chin
with his index finger. Dont sulk pumpkin it makes ya ugly.
What do you care? You like HER more than me. You dont love me
anymore! She slapped his hand away.
Vin watched her with a frown on his face. It was unlike the happy child he
knew to be deliberately rude. He wondered what had put her in such a bad
Thats enough! Rorie stop this. Ya know I love ya, but
Charlottes different, shes an adult.
You just dont wanna be with me anymore. Well I dont wanna
be with you either. So there!
Vin watched as the child ran off, disappearing into the Greers apartment
to find Olivia. He sighed and pushed a hand through his hair. Terri patted
him on the shoulder.
Shell get over it. Shes just jealous. He nodded and
went to get changed for his date.
When he arrived back downstairs to collect his wallet and keys, Rorie and
Olivia were sitting at the kitchen table finishing their homework.
Please dont go Uncle Vin, I dont feel well. Vin and
Terri exchanged looks. Please!
It aint gonna work pumpkin pie. He kissed the top of her
head, Im goin. She sent him a mutinous look.
Behave Aurora. Ill see ya in the mornin afore school.
But Uncle Vin, I really dont feel good! Her call chased
him out of the house.
Terri approached and placed her hand on Rories forehead. She detected
a slight fever. Best to call Nathan to come and look her over. She reached
for the phone.
Lorenzos Italian Restaurant
Vin, Darling, you dont like the
pasta? Charlotte smiled at Vin, trying to gain his undivided attention.
He was distracted this evening, not giving her the full attention she felt
was her due. She suppressed her irritation and smiled at him with saccharine
sweetness, showing her teeth.
No, no, its great. Im sorry Charlotte, problems at home.
Unseen by the Texan, the woman rolled her eyes. She knew that cute kid was
going to be trouble the minute she saw her.
She batted her lashes at him and turned on the charm, trying to get his mind
back on her.
They were on dessert and coffee when she caught sight of a familiar figure
in her peripheral vision. Now was her chance.
Shifting around in the booth until she was practically sitting on Vins
lap, she put her arms around his waist and kissed his temple. Why
dont you tell me all about it, Lover. She breathed.
Vin was turning towards her, surprised by the sudden overture, when he realized
they had company. He looked up into the face of an angry, dark haired man
looming over their table. Charlotte was smiling at the visitor in triumph
and the hairs on the back of Vins neck rose. He looked from one to
Charlotte. What a surprise.
Vin rose to his feet. An you are? He focused on the man,
noting his aggressive stance.
Will Richmond. Im Charlottes husband.
Estranged husband, darling, get it right.
Richmond glared at his wife. Turning abruptly he stormed out.
A startled Major domo, leaping out of his way, nearly upset a waiter balancing
a huge tray of loaded plates. The two did a quick two-step and caught the
teetering tray, averting disaster. The head waiter shot the disruptive dinner
guests a dark look.
Vin turned to his date, catching a look of immense satisfaction on her face.
He experienced a brief flash of hurt, quickly chased away by annoyance.
Its all about him aint it? He shook his head. Goddamn,
hed fallen for a pretty face and a sob story, again. Yer usin
me ta make him jealous.
Charlottes protestations of innocence were cut off when Vins
phone began to ring. She placed her hands over his, dont answer
it. He shook her off.
Tanner. Hey Nate. What? When? Oh shit. Okay Im comin.
He hung up and reached for his wallet. Throwing down a pile of notes he could
ill-afford he glared at his companion. Thanks for the eye opener,
Darlin. He strode off, leaving a pissed off harlot fuming at
She glared at the interested audience at the neighbouring tables. They quickly
Mercy General Hospital
20 Minutes later
A breathless Vin arrived in emergency and
immediately spotted Chris leaning against the wall.
Cowboy? What happened? Where is she?
Lets take a seat Vin.
The two claimed two familiar plastic chairs in a quiet corner.
Terri called Nathan not long after you went out tonight
Okay well, Nate went over and checked her out, she had a little fever
and was sleepy so he put her to bed and told Terri hed stay and see
how it developed. About 9 oclock he went up to check on her and shed
been sick. He was cleaning her up when he realized she was sensitive to the
light and when he tried to put her back into bed she curled up with her head
pulled right back. Apparently, Nate recognized that as the signs of something
serious. He shoved her in the car and brought her here.
Signs o what Chris?
Nate thinks she might have meningitis.
Oh Fuck. Thats serious aint it?
Yeah. They did some tests, blood and X-rays, and then a little while
ago they called Nate and Josiah to hold her down while they did a Lumbar
Oh God, poor kid.
Has anybody called Ez?
Yeah, I called him on my way here. Hes gonna get the first available
I shouldda been there, Chris. She told me she didnt feel well.
I thought she just didnt want me ta go out with Charlotte. I shouldda
Vin, you couldnt have known. Ive had a kid and I probably
wouldnt have recognized it as quick as Nate. Were lucky he
volunteered to go round. Terris a mom and even to her it was just a
fever. Besides, it may not be anything that serious. We just dont know
They both stood as Josiah and Nathan approached looking haggard.
Brothers that is not an experience I would care to repeat if I live
to be a hundred. Josiah swept his hand over his face, forehead to chin.
Whats happening Nate? Can I see her? Vin was really worried.
He NEEDED to see her.
Sorry Vin. Theyre putting her in isolation until the test results
come back. No visitors. Ill check with the doctor and see if we can
watch her through the glass. She needs to know were around. Nathan
moved off to the nurses station.
Josiah clamped a firm hand on Vins shoulder as he made to follow.
Hold on Vin. Youll get a chance in a minute.
Josiah, I need ta see her. She begged me not ta go out
Vin, you cant be there all the time. Calm down. Focus on what
she needs now and save your energy. If it is Meningitis Ez is going to need
Vin nodded and kept his eyes glued to Nathan who was engaged in a rapid-fire
discussion with the Senior Nurse. Finally they seemed to reach agreement
and Nathan returned to the group to inform Vin that they would allow two
visitors up to the paediatric ward.
Chris and Vin set off immediately while Josiah called Ezra to find out whether
hed managed to book a flight.
Vin gazed through the glass at the little
figure on the bed. She looked so tiny and very sick. An IV was attached to
her left hand, bandaged and splinted to keep her from removing it. A riot
of red-blond curls clung damply to her head. He leaned his head against the
Chris took a seat and waited.
Theyd been there for an hour when Josiah and Nathan came up behind
them. At Chriss raised brow Josiah explained.
It seems the reputation of Team 7 has spread to the Childrens
Ward, brother. They decided not to try and keep us out as long as we
behaved. He smiled. Hows she doing?
Chris shook his head. She hasnt moved. He looked at Tanner
who remained leaning against the glass. Neither has he.
Vin! Vin come over here. Ive had a talk with the Doctor.
Tanner raised his head and turned to Jackson.
Its bacterial meningitis, the lab confirmed it. He hurried
on as Vin turned a whiter shade of pale. Dont panic, we caught
it really early.
Thats good right?
Definitely. In cases where it goes unrecognised it can be fatal. If
left too long some kids can experience serious permanent damage, even if
they recover from the illness itself.
What sort o damage?
Deafness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, impaired mental function
relax Vin. Its extremely unlikely. They dont think Rories
infection got a chance to get really established. We caught it too quickly.
Shes got an excellent chance of making a complete recovery, without
damage. She has to stay in hospital for a while and have intravenous antibiotics
but she should be back to driving us all crazy in no time. He smiled
at the sharpshooter who smiled back wearily.
Can I go in?
Doc says since youre officially her parent, at least till Ez
gets back, that you can go sit with her. He glanced over Tanners
shoulder at the child. Now would be good cause I think shes coming
They all turned, and sure enough the child was beginning to toss restlessly
in the narrow cot.
Rorie awoke completely miserable. She was grumpy and angry to find herself
uncomfortable in a strange place. She attacked the nearest available target.
Unfortunately that happened to be an already guilt-ridden Vin.
Vin leaned closer. Hey Rorie, how ya feelin?
As if you care. Go back to HER, I dont want you! Wheres
Daddy? Daddy! DADDY! I want my Daddy!
A nurse rushed in and attempted to calm the distraught child. Vin gripped
the little hand. Rorie, comon pumpkin, calm down, hes
GO AWAY! I HATE YOU! GO AWAY! She was screaming by now and the
nurse turned on Vin and ordered him out. She shot a mild sedative into the
IV and the little patient quickly succumbed to sleep.
A very pale Sharpshooter stumbled from the hospital room. Josiah caught him
as he tried to make for the elevators. She doesnt mean it brother,
shes just hurting and taking it out on you.
I deserve it Josiah. I wasnt there fer her. I told her Id
always be there. I lied.
Vin collapsed into a chair and hung his head.
Chris motioned to Nathan to take over with the child. He and Josiah sat with
Vin and tried to talk some sense into him.
In the early hours of the morning Ezra, Buck and JD appeared.
Gentlemen, hows she doing? A worried looking Ezra approached
the glass and peered through. Nathan saw him and withdrew from his bedside
Ezra, hi. Shes making good progress. The infection seems to be
responding to the antibiotics and she should be much more comfortable when
she comes round. Ezra sat patiently through the explanation from the
medic, nodding at appropriate moments and asking questions.
Thank God for your vigilance and expertise, Nathan. Jackson nodded
and grinned at the use of his first name. Old Ez was more shook up than he
was letting on.
Vin, did you
Where is Mr Tanner? The others looked around,
noticing for the first time that the Tracker had pulled a silent vanishing
Damn! Ezra turned to Josiah as he made the exclamation.
Mr Sanchez? Is there something else going on here that I should know
Chris and Josiah exchanged looks. Go find him Chris, Ill fill
Ez in on the details. Larabee left as Ezra turned to the profiler.
Rorie wriggled, trying to get comfortable.
Honeybee? Are you awake?
Daddy? Green eyes blinked. Where
Oh. She looked
around, taking in the sight of her normally immaculately turned out parent
looking decidedly dishevelled. I got sick didnt I?
Yes Honeybee, very sick. Youre in the hospital. How are you
Her brow creased as she considered that. Okay, I guess. Did you finish
Ezra chuckled. No my Dahling, you rescued me!
Rorie chuckled in response. Good! Did I rescue Uncle Buck and Uncle
Ezras chuckle turned into a laugh. Yes you did. Theyre
here too. He pointed at the row of spectators pressed up against the
glass wall. Buck was making faces and JD had his nose pressed against the
hard surface and his eyes crossed. Chris, Nathan and Josiah were grinning
Wheres Uncle Vin?
The Undercover Agents infamous poker face put in an appearance. I
was wondering if perhaps you could tell me. What do you remember?
He went out for dinner with the wicked witch and then Uncle Nathan
came and put me to bed.
He chose not to comment on her opinion of Vins date. Anything
She plucked at the sheets with small fingers.
I think I was kinda mean to him. She looked away.
Ezra sighed. Why would you want to be mean to Uncle Vin?
He wanted to be with the witch lady. Her defiant tone turned
to a whisper as she added, He doesnt love me anymore. She
hiccupped and sniffed.
Pitiful, positively pitiful. Hed never seen such a self-pitying expression.
Aurora Standish. How can you say that? You know very well that Uncle
Vin loves you. Just like they all do. He nodded towards the comic group
at the window, now performing an ATF version of Punch and Judy.
You DO know that dont you?
Rorie nodded, turning tear filled eyes up to her father. I know he
then I was mean to him. Now he really will hate
me! The tears trickled down her flushed face.
Ezra carefully gathered the distraught child onto his lap, mindful of the
IV. Honeybee, nothing you could do would be awful enough to make any
of us hate you, nothing, not ever. Uncle Vin will always love you. But you
did hurt him. My guess is hes sitting somewhere all alone and very
sad because he is under the impression that YOU hate HIM.
But Daddy I dont, I love Uncle Vin.
Its not me you should be telling Baby Girl.
Can you find him for me and tell him? I dont think Im allowed
No youre not, not for a while yet. I could venture out and try
to persuade him to come and visit you, but you must correct your own
mistakes. Ezra watched the thoughts processing behind the familiar
Finally she whispered will he come?
If I tell him you want him to, I think he will. Do you want to see
Okay, well how about if Uncle Buck and Uncle JD come in and stay with
you while I go and retrieve him?
Okay. She brushed a baby soft hand over his cheek. You
need a shave anyway Daddy.
He laughed and plopped her back on the bed. Be good. Ill be back
soon. Is there anything you want me to bring you?
Ezra had a sudden vision of leading the pony through the sanitized hospital
As the black Jaguar purred into the driveway,
Vin was packing his stuff into the battered old jeep. He glanced over his
shoulder at his friend but didnt stop what he was doing.
The Texan had hoped to be gone before Ezra got home. It would be more difficult
now. He knew Standish would try and talk him out of it.
Are you going somewhere Mr Tanner?
Is gonna move back inta my own partment Ez. I dont
wanna make Rorie uncomfortable. I aint gonna avoid her, he rushed
to assure the calm Southerner, I jest dont think I kin live here
Whatever you think is best. Tanner was dumbstruck. That was easy.
Perhaps, if you have time, you could stop by the hospital on your way.
Rories awake and calling for you.
Me? She wants me?
Yes Mr Tanner, you. Ezra gazed at the younger man. She
sent me home to change, he grinned, and shave, but it was you
she needed when I left, as always.
Vin, she was sick and feeling sorry for herself. Dont take what
she said to you as gospel. . She had undergone a miserable and painful
experience. She is only four Vin, she took her anger and pain out on you.
Did you ask yourself why?
Cause I abandoned her.
No, because she knew she could say anything to you.
I wasnt there when she needed me.
Neither was I.
Vin thought about that. Yeah but youre her father, you kin do
Ezra laughed. Neither can you! The light shines out of Uncle Vin.
He laughed again.
He put his hand on the Texans shoulder. Consider, my friend,
what exactly she said to you. Simply put, that little girl was jealous of
your ladyfriend, feeling pushed aside in your affections. Surely you are
familiar with the saying Hell hath no fury like a woman
Vin pulled a face. I aint goin through this evertime I
That you should worry. I have a date for next Saturday, lets
see how she reacts to that!
Vin laughed, relieved. Perhaps that would be a good time ta wear that
Kevlar vest ya hate so much!
Mercy General Hospital
When Vin appeared at the interior glass window
of Rories Hospital room, Buck and JD quickly excused themselves. Both
smiled and winked at the team sharpshooter as they passed him in the doorway.
Vin stood aside an allowed the door to whisper shut.
Hey Pumpkin Pie. Kin I come in?
Rorie nodded but didnt speak.
He walked over and sat down in the chair beside her bed. They regarded each
other in silence for a few moments.
Vin watched as the expressive emerald eyes filled with unshed tears.
Ah Pumpkin, dont cry. Please dont. She stretched
out her arms to be picked up and wordlessly he complied. He settled her astride
his hips, her tummy and face pressed against his chest, the curly haired
head tucked securely under his chin.
He waited until the storm abated and handed her a tissue from the box on
the bedside table.
Ya better not be usin my shirt ta wipe yer nose on, kid.
She laughed, half hiccup, half snort.
Rorie wiped her face with the Kleenex and lifted her face to look into the
Im sorry I yelled at you Uncle Vin. She sniffed. I
didnt mean it. Please dont hate me! The emerald pools started
Oh, Rorie, I could never hate ya kid. How would I git up in the
mornin if I didnt have ya comin in fer our cuddle? Ya
werent there this mornin an look how late I am.
She smiled at him weakly. Youre silly. I bet you still got up
Yep. But it wasnt nearly so much fun. It dont feel right
without my cuddle at dawn. He kissed the tip of her nose. I love
ya, baby girl, ya know that dont ya?
Oh Uncle Vin, I love you too! She threw her arms around his neck
in a tight hug. They stayed like that for quite a while until
Mmmm? Vin rubbed his chin across the soft curls.
What happened to the wicked witch? He snorted.
Ya mean Ms Richmond? Whyd ya call her that?
She told me to go away when I came to see you this morning, I mean,
She did? Vin frowned.
She was mean. You arent gonna bring her home again are you?
He looked at her hopeful expression.
No. I aint seein her anymore. Rorie took on a look
of smug satisfaction and he hastily added, But Im gonna date,
Rorie. I like datin and before ya ask, its a grown up thing.
Ya like Casey dont ya? Shes datin Uncle JD.
Rorie absorbed this and nodded. Caseys Okay, and Mrs Travis is
nice. Is she dating Uncle Chris?
Vin snorted. Thats somethin we all wanna know, even
Chris. He set her away so she was sitting on his knees.
Now ya listen ta me Aurora Standish an ya listen good. Im gonna
date an I dont wanna have ta fight with ya ever time. Ya
It dont mean I love ya less, it jest means I like the company
o grown up ladies sometimes.
Im delighted to hear that, Mr Tanner. In that case may I come
in? A new voice spoke from the door.
Hi, Im Doctor Waterhouse, Rories paediatrician here at
Mercy. She smiled at Vin and he shook the proffered hand.
How are you this evening Sweetheart?
Hey Doctor Jo. Okay I guess. Can I go home now?
The attractive young doctor joined Vins laughter. No Rorie, not
yet. Youll be my guest here for a few more days. Itll give me
time to get to know all your handsome Uncles better! She bounced her
eyebrows at Rorie who giggled.
Vin flushed scarlet.
They both laughed harder.
Friday 25th May
Weve both got our cell phones,
Terri, if theres any problems.
Terri Greer smiled at the two handsome men. Well be fine. Go,
have a good time and dont worry about it. I can handle the girls.
She glanced over her shoulder at the two children who were playing with lego
on the carpet.
They both nodded. Okay then. Together they approached the girls.
Hey pumpkin. You be good. Ill see ya in the mornin all
Rorie gave Vin a hug. Whats she like?
Shes pretty an nice an ya kin say hello ta her
cause theyre meetin us here.
Rorie. The child turned to her father and frowned at him.
You arent bringing anyone home tonight are you Daddy?
Ezra shot Vin an exasperated look when he laughed. Not yet, Dahling.
But it may happen one day if I find the right person. Her frown deepened
and he laughed and ruffled the loose curls. Dont give me any
grief Honeybee, weve talked about this.
The doorbell sounded, bringing an end to the teasing.
Ezra and Vin rose to their feet as Terri answered the door and their dates
Doctor Jo! Rories mouth fell open as her doctor stepped
forward to receive a chaste kiss from Uncle Vin. She gaped at them and they
Ezras date smiled down at the little girl, dark brown eyes dancing
with humor. Ezra slipped an arm around her waist.
Inez, this is my daughter, Aurora. Rorie, this is Miss Inez
Rories mouth dropped open again. Not
THE Inez? The one Uncle Buck keeps talking about?
Ezra raised his eyebrows and then frowned. Well talk about that
Inez laughed. I have better taste than that!
Rorie grinned. Please to meet you Miss Nez. I think youve
got great taste! She hugged her fathers leg and gave him a kiss
goodbye when he obligingly leaned down to her.
Bye Daddy, Bye Uncle Vin, she waved at them as they climbed into
the Jag, Dont do anything I wouldnt do!
The car roared away to the sounds of laughter, both male and female, and
a distinctly Southern Im going to gag that little
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