Disclaimer: I have no claim to them. I make no money from them. I do this just for the enjoyment and entertainment purposes.
Brief explanatory note: In my first fic, JD got into a little bit of trouble that Orrin Travis bailed him out of. Travis' price for the favour - a number of "Special Projects".
Last but not least, a special thank you to Helen Chavez, who beta-ed this fic and patiently answers my many, many questions.
Melanie hugged the five, large, flat objects tightly to herself as she half walked, half scurried down the hallway. The smooth cellophane coverings made them slippery and difficult to keep a firm hold of, especially since her purse had slipped off her shoulder and was hanging by its strap in the crook of her elbow. Every few steps the purse slapped annoyingly against her knee and would rebound away from her body in a wide arc threatening to upset her hold on her precious items. The buckle of her purse pulled at her stockings. They would be a mass of runs by the end of the workday but the cause was well worth the price of a pair of hose.
She halted suddenly at the end of hallway in front of the last obstacle between her and her destination, a large wooden door addressed simply "205". Clutching her valuables even more tightly to her chest, she bent slightly at the knees to bring her hand level with the doorknob. She fumbled a moment before successfully turning the knob and then she leaned into the door.
Two-oh-five was the Confidential Records office, the office where all of the records pertaining to the Denver Agents were kept. Personnel records, performance reviews, benefit claims, expense reports, anything of a personal nature that had to do with the agents in the Denver Field Office was kept here. The five women who worked in this office had been hand-picked by Nettie Wells, H.R. Supervisor, based on their efficiency, their discretion and above all their ability to put up with the "agents crap."
"Theyre here!" announced Melanie breathlessly as she shouldered her way through the door into the second floor office.
Immediately the four women in the room jumped up from their workstations and hurried over to Melanie as she leaned over to lay her prizes gently on her desk. She sighed with relief after depositing the 20 by 20 inch square items safely on her desk and then let her purse slide carelessly off her arm, allowing the annoying encumbrance fall to the floor with a thud.
Snatching up one of the flat packages, her four co-workers returned to their respective desks to find an appropriate tool to slit the cellophane coverings with.
"There were boxes and boxes of them delivered to Laurels office. I snuck these out before Laurel got back from lunch," panted Melanie, feeling a rush of exhilaration from her clandestine deed.
"Melanie, honey, youre gonna get yourself fired for stealing things from the AD Travis Secretarys office!" scolded Bonnie.
"Is "snuck" even a word?" asked Kerry, frowning, as she glanced up briefly from her task.
"Snuck" is a better word than stealing!" lectured Wanda as she leveled a disapproving look at Melanie.
"I just couldnt wait! I promise, Ill pay for them later!" pleaded Melanie in her own defense.
"How they ever got Special Agent Larabee and his Team to agree to do this, Ill never know." Anna shook her head in wonderment as she decided on her letter opener to pierce the cellophane.
"The burn unit at the Childrens Hospital and Denvers homeless both benefit from this fund-raiser. You know as well as I do that you wouldnt have to ask most of those men twice, when its for a good cause."
"I know Wanda, but you know what I mean, no way in a million years would I figure hed ever allow any of his men to do something like this let alone do this himself. Hes so, so, so . grim." Anna hunched her shoulders and shuddered as she emphasized the word grim.
Bonnie dropped her voice conspiratorially. "I think it has to do with that confidential "Special Projects" file Laurel has locked in her desk. Only Team Seven seems to have a Special Projects file and in the last two years theyve put in more volunteer hours than all the other teams in the Denver office put together. High school Career Days; workshop presentations; community outreach campaigns "
"Heck yeah!" interrupted Melanie suddenly. "Remember last summer when we couldnt get enough help for the office family picnic? Suddenly, at the last minute every member of Team 7 volunteers to help, manning barbecues, organizing games; they even stayed and helped with clean-up!"
"Id forgotten about that." Wanda looked up from her task as she recalled the memory. "Agent Standish had all the kids absolutely mesmerized with his magic tricks."
"I thought it was a bit funny at the time, a bunch of single guys donating a beautiful Sunday afternoon like they had nothing better to do." Anna smiled and nodded knowingly, as she realized she finally had the answer to the mystery of family picnics sudden volunteers.
Then, almost simultaneously, they slid the wisps of plastic off their respective treasures.
They wandered slowly back to gather around Melanies desk as they scrutinized the front cover. The title sat low on the page, "2003 Denver ATF". To the left of the title the City of Denver coat of arms, to the right, the ATF Emblem, below it, in bold lettering, part of the ATF mission statement: "Working for a Sound and Safer Community."
Looming above the title, filling the cover, was the faded image of the naked upper body of a well-proportioned male.
"Well?" said Melanie with a big nervous smile, "What are we waiting for?" Her eyes bright with anticipation as her gaze traveled quickly around the circle of women gathered at her desk. Then, as if on cue, they all took a deep breath and flipped the cover page over.
The first photograph, as with the rest that followed, had been taken in black and white.
January was Bill Workman, the newest agent in the Denver office. Nice, yeah, nice, they agreed charitably and then quickly turned to the next page. February was Dennis Boomhour, Mr. Front Cover, lots of muscle but no style. They moved on to the next month.
"March! The first one is March!" exclaimed Melanie, her voice shrill with excitement.
"Oh my " Annas voice dropped to a whisper.
Sudden silence as the women focused their attentions on the photo of the man that graced the page for the month of March.
"What word would you use to describe him? asked Wanda thoughtfully. "Sleek?"
"Definitely sleek," purred Bonnie, "like a panther."
Nathan stood facing full front casually leaning back against the photographers wall. Only his shoulders appeared to be touching the wall. His hips were thrust forward slightly for balance. His thumbs were tucked into the empty belt loops of his jeans. The action was very casual, very natural. The fingers of his left hand were empty, while the fingers of his right hand curled around a coiled up stethoscope. His face was tilted slightly upward, his eyes closed. He was smiling, smiling so that his teeth shone. It was a celebritys smile, one that hinted of sexuality. It was what Bonnie called his "Rickey Latrell" smile.
It was an impressive view of Nathans broad shoulders and the firm, smooth, undulating surfaces of his chest. The shoulders and forearms bulged effortlessly under the scrutiny of the camera. The rippling abdomen narrowed into the low-riding waistline of his jeans.
Though it was a still pose, the light seemed to dance off his bald head and his equally naked shoulders and pectorals. His dark skin had the lustre of velvet.
"He, ah," Kerry swallowed quickly before continuing, "He has a fiancee in Kansas City."
"I wonder whats so important there, when she could be going to bed with him every night?" asked Bonnie, preoccupied with the figure in the picture.
"Commitment can be sexy for some people ."
" and sometimes its other peoples toys thats the temptation," said Anna cutting Kerry off in mid-sentence, as she eyed Bonnie suspiciously.
"Hey," Bonnie looked up from the photo and returned Annas look with one of defiance, "shes there and Im here, who knows "
"Id be careful Bonnie," warned Wanda, "or youll wind up a data entry clerk again. Nettie Welles doesnt believe in second chances."
"Whos , whos the next one?" stammered Kerry, wanting to lead the others away from a dangerous subject.
They all turned the page.
"Oh my god " The audible gasp came from Melanie.
"Hes fifty??" Anna blurted out in astonishment.
"Actually , 52 ," replied Wanda absently then adding in a rush "according to his file."
"My Nick is 20 years younger and he sure doesnt look like that," lamented Anna ruefully.
"Wanda, I think I see what you mean about older men." Melanie still hadnt been able to pull her eyes from the photo.
"Its not older men that I find appealing," explained Wanda with a slow smile, "Its experience, thats sexy."
Josiah was turned slightly to his right, his right hand and forearm resting high up on the wall beside him. His right foot was positioned slightly ahead of his left as he leaned a little onto his forearm, his serious gaze fixed on something off to the right.
His upper body was open to full view. The strong well-defined chest was covered with light coloured hair that glistened in photographers flash. His left arm was bent as it wound around behind him to rest his fist, elbow up, on the back of his hip. The action served to highlight the impressive left bicep and to broaden his chest. Turned at such an angle, the pose displayed the solid right hand pectoral muscle to its fullest advantage.
A plain silver chain hung loosely around his neck. The silver cross pendant was nestled in his chest hair below his throat. The ornament, like the man, understated and unassuming and though it was jewelry made for a man it looked almost dainty on the wearer and served to accentuate the impression of physical strength.
There was no evidence of middle age spread on the torso that tapered neatly into belted beige khakis that sat around his hips.
"I think I wanna be "saved."
"Wanda thats almost blasphemous!" exclaimed a horrified Kerry. She gaped open-mouthed, at the usually sedate Wanda.
"So maybe Ill go to hell Kerry but I bet itll be worth it!" replied Wanda with a wide smile, her eyes twinkling mischievously.
"Wanda!" An amazed, wide-eyed Melanie slowly broke into a smile as realization dawned on her. "I never would have thought that you "
"Im only forty-eight; physical attraction is as natural at my age as "
"Kerry! Kerry, honey whats wrong?" The alarm in Bonnies voice caught the rest of their attentions. Bonnie had an arm around Kerrys shoulders as she guided her into the closest chair. "Here, sit down Kerry before you fall down."
"What happened honey? You feeling okay?" quizzed a concerned Bonnie.
"Bonnie, look at May," ordered Anna.
Therein lay the reason for Kerrys swoon. It was no secret that the shy Kerry MacLean was attracted to the equally shy Vin Tanner.
"Id heard that he had said there was no way in hell he was taking his shirt off and I guess he didnt," said Anna softly.
Vin wore a t-shirt a wet t-shirt. It clung to his body accentuating the six pack that decorated his midriff. Despite the clothing there was little room for imagination, but then reality was devastating enough on its own.
The t-shirt was torn strategically so, to display one taut nipple, the well-formed pectoral muscle it sat atop of and a set of lean ribs down his left side.
Bonnie sighed deeply. "I believe the word here is "sculpted."
"How about "drop-dead gorgeous!" breathed Kerry, who was quickly recovering from her faint.
Vin was leaning back again his motorcycle while it was propped up on its kick stand. His butt rested against the leather seat, his left hand reached down to rest on the centre yoke of the handle-bars.
The normally pony-tailed hair was loose and lay in long wet tendrils. Only Vins head was turned as he looked left and down at the bike, his face in profile. Long wet strands of hair had swung down threatening to obscure his face but he had brought his right hand up to hold the wet strands back. The action drew attention to the mans innate shyness.
The sleeves of the wet shirt covered deceptively broad shoulders, leaving well muscled, bronze biceps and forearms bare and open to admiration.
His jeans were faded, well worn and slim fitting on legs that stretched out in front of him. The heel of one booted foot sat on the toe of the other.
Audible sighs were heard around the room.
"I know the ATF has a few secret agents, I didnt know they had a secret weapon!" Melanie couldnt help but punctuate the comment with a soft moan.
"You still want "experience" Wanda?" teased Anna.
"Umm, well Ill grant you Agent Tanner is diverting."
Diverting!" exploded Melanie. "Wanda are you ?"
"Melanie!" burst out Bonnie cutting off her exuberant co-worker. "Honey, your favorites in June," she informed her quietly.
The undercover agent was the only one who played to the camera.
One slender index finger of his left hand had drawn his sunglasses down his nose so his eyes could sparkle at the camera over the rim of the dark lenses.
His right arm was bent at the elbow so that he held his right index finger upright and slightly out in front of himself. Balanced on the tip of that finger, by their chain, was a set of handcuffs. One bracelet shone brightly in the photographers flash. He wore a devilish smile.
As with two of his three predecessors, Ezras upper body was completely bare. His torso was lean and muscular and had a satiny sheen to it as if it had been oiled. His nipples stood up in tight little peaks on the edge of perfect cliffs. His navel dimpled the tightly drawn muscles of his abdomen as they disappeared into designer slacks. The biceps were well-defined. Always such a spare looking man in his Armani suits. That impression was deceptive for there was indeed physical power within the figure in the picture.
Interestingly out of character was the fact that the buckle of the finely tooled leather belt was undone and left to hang open from the belt loops. This was not the impeccably dressed professional they were used to but rather the impression was that of a high priced gigolo. The effect was mildly unnerving.
"Always a tease that one, you never know if hes serious or not." There was a distinct tremor in Melanies voice.
"I wouldnt mind finding out though."
"Kerry!" exclaimed four surprised voices.
"Im quiet not dead." She proclaimed in her own defense as a sly smile formed on her lips.
Wanda smiled knowingly at Kerry before addressing them all. "Any guesses as to which two are in July?"
JD stood almost in profile, his right side turned only slightly toward the camera, just far enough to hide still prevalent scars on his left shoulder.
The arms and chest were not as heavily muscled as those of his teammates in the previous months. Instead his body was lean with youth and vitality.
His stance was proud and self-assured. He stood straight and tall, his left foot slightly ahead of the other. In his left hand he balanced a computer keyboard and its loops of wire casually on his hip. The fingers of his right hand were tucked casually into his jeans pocket with his thumb still on the outside. The fastener at the top of his zipper was undone and the jeans had been allowed to slip well below his navel, to reveal the elastic waistband of his low rise "Tommy Hilfigers". Dark hair could be seen accentuating his midriff and taut abdominals.
His head was turned away in complete profile. His expression was serious. The hair, as always, hung into his eyes. The pose made the most of the upturned nose. "A face to melt the heart of any girl looking to mother her guy," sighed Melanie to herself.
"Hes dating Ms. Wells niece you know," said Kerry knowingly.
"Lucky girl, I bet she gets a lot of technical support," said Bonnie sarcastically.
Buck stood to JDs back. His expression, for once, was serious. It occurred to each one of them they had never seen Buck Wilmington serious before. The contrast of the man they thought they knew for his wide smiles and easy charm, where just a hello from him made them feel special, to this serious man that the camera lens had caught, drew them all instantly into the photograph.
His head was also turned in profile, to look to right, opposite JDs profile left. The rest of his body was full front view as he leaned back against the wall. One leg was raised slightly with the foot resting against the wall behind him. The thumb of his left hand was hooked into the waistband of his pants causing the bicep of his left arm to flex. His right hand reached down beside him.
The biceps were deceptive. Even at rest, the corded muscles spoke of physical strength. The long muscles flowed into Bucks wide shoulders. "Shoulders made to lean on" as he would often remind them. The shoulder muscles then unfolded into the broad chest. The impression was of toughness and, curiously enough, gentleness. Generous amounts of dark chest hair swirled over his well-built pecs and arrowed invitingly down the middle of his torso to disappear into the waistband of worn beige cords.
In contrast, to the relaxed attitude of the rest of his body, the long lean fingers of his right hand appeared to be clinging to the wall. The hand looked as if it was hanging on for dear life. It had them wondering that maybe even Buck had insecurities.
"The photographer is playing with us. Buck Wilmington insecure?" scoffed Anna "Gimme a break. The mans middle name is "brash."
"You have to admit though, its an interesting thought," said Wanda.
"Naw " dismissed Melanie then catching her lower lip with her teeth doubtfully as she looked up at Wanda. "Ya think so?"
"Think about it ," said Wanda seriously, "What is it they say about the "Tears of a Clown."
She had them all wondering, that age-old female weakness, in reality was Buck Wilmington, aging Lothario and one of the toughest Agents the government ever produced, just a lost little boy in mans body looking for love and affection?
"Reality check! What are we thinking here!"
"Annas right!" Melanie raised her hand in a stopping motion. "This is just to aid charity and have a little bit of fun."
"Yeah youre right! Lets not get carried away here," agreed Bonnie as she resolved to be more gentle with her rebuffs from now on.
They all shifted and took a moment to shake off the feelings the photo had stirred in them. Then, suddenly, wide-eyed, they looked up at one another as the same thought occurred to all five.
The only one left was Him.
"Everybody ready?" Wanda raised her eyebrows as she smiled encouragingly.
In a single motion they turned to the next page.
August turned out to be Marcel Giroux, his big smile was flirtatious as he looked back over his shoulder at the camera.
September, Hawkins Carvell, lab expert second to none, and not a bad bod either from what you could see of it, he should have lost the lab coat for photo.
October, Hamilton Berger, his parents should have given more thought before christening him. His nickname, of course, was "Hamburger." The weights he hoisted showed off his truly incredible biceps but they were disproportionately large compared to the rest of him.
November was Dino Cicci, a classically handsome Italian male in all his bare-chested glory, but working as closely with the agents as they did, the effect was spoiled for them, they all knew what a gross pig he could be.
That left only December for Special Agent Larabee. If indeed, he had taken part at all. They knew that if you found six of them, the seventh was bound to be close by.
"Theres only one left you know," said Anna a little ominously.
"One month you mean?"
Once again they paused to draw courage from one another before turning the last page.
This man was completely naked.
He stood with his back to the camera. His hands were linked behind his head causing his chest to expand and the shoulders muscles to flex to their fullest. The water in the air diffused a light source coming from somewhere in front of him. It served to silhouette his naked body. Water streamed down over the muscular shoulders and down over the gently rippling back muscles and slender waist and hips to stream over the taut buttocks. The photo ended at those tight cheeks.
As with all the other photographs, it too, was in black and white and the bathers head was darkly shadowed. You couldnt tell if he was blond or not. In fact you couldnt tell for sure who it was. You couldnt be sure it was Special Agent Larabee except that he was the only one of Team 7, in this case the truly magnificent Team 7, not yet identified AND it was the only month in a calendar full of ATF agents where the subject was unknown to the staff of the second floor office 205.
"Gives a new definition to clean doesnt it?" muttered Wanda, searching the photo for a clue as to who the shower man was.
"Do you think its him?" whispered a very uneasy Kerry.
"Noooo, hed never ," Melanie was trying to come to terms with the thought the bather was "all business" Special Agent Larabee, "weelllll, maaybeee," she grimaced as she looked up appealing to the rest of them for help in identifying the mystery man.
"The team does everything together, you know, I mean no exceptions," reasoned Bonnie as she shook her head doubtfully. "They even take the heat together, even though it royally pisses AD Travis off."
"But this," Anna shaking her calendar gently, "I mean "if the bullets dont get em the icy stare will" Larabee, stripping down to the altogether for half of Denver to see," her voice rose, "even for charity?"
The room became quiet as they thumbing slowly back through the pages of the calendars, lingering over the pictures of their favorites.
"Kerry do you see that? Is that a tattoo on Vin Tanners left pec?" asked Melanie as she squinted at the figure in May. "You can just see part of it where his t-shirt is torn."
"Lets see." Kerry thumbed back to May and frowned as her eyes sought out the tattoo. "You know I think youre right. Whats it a tattoo of?"
"I dont know but JD Dunne has something that looks like it on his hip, well almost on his butt, its just above the "T" in "Tommy". Its half covered by the waistband."
"You know it looks like theres something on Agent Sanchezs shoulder, the far one you cant see it all cause hes turned away just a bit."
"Whats it look like?"
"I cant tell."
"Look! On Bucks left hip, see it! Its sort of hidden in the shadows."
"Standishs has the same thing too. There! On his right collarbone, the arm that hes holding his sunglasses with is covering part of it."
"What about Nathan Jackson?"
"He wouldnt go for a tattoo; itd be too unhygienic for him."
Bonnie elbowed Wanda, "Do you see what I see?"
"Where?" asked Wanda as she leaned over to see where Bonnie was pointing.
"There, just above his elbow!"
"You know something? I dont see tattoos on Agents Workman or Boomhour," said Kerry.
"and there isnt one visible on Giroux," confirmed Anna, " or Carvell, or Berger, or Cicci!"
"Hey guys ," Melanie was visibly shaking with excitement, "the man in the shower, he has one on his left ahh cheek. You can see it clearly!"
There was a flurry of pages as they all turned to December.
"Whats it a tattoo of?"
Heads suddenly went up as they turned as one at the sound of someone clearing his throat.
"Ladies," he said slowly, his voice heavy with disapproval, as he inclined his blonde head in that way he had, a little bit downward and to one side only to level a cool stare at them.
They stared back in stunned disbelief if only the Team 7 had tattoos then the man in the shower
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