Author's Note: I would like to thank everyone for their kind feedback
concerning my first story, Into the
Fold. As always, I would also like to thank Phyllis for her wonderful
job of betaing. It has come to my attention that this story has elements
that are somewhat similar to Linda's great story, 'Who's the Kid?' Any
similarities are truly coincidental. I have always loved Linda's work, and
I have entirely too much respect for her as a writer to ever think of using
her ideas under the guise of my own. This story is simply my vision of how
JD, Buck, and Chris's relationship might have came to be.
Size: Approx 104K
The soft rustling of the autumn leaves as they swirled along the dirt
path was the only sound young JD Dunne heard as he knelt before the small,
delicately carved headstone that adorned his mother's grave. It had only
been a week since he had stood at this very spot and endured her funeral,
feeling so very alone in his grief. His superior officer and a few of the
patrolmen from the Boston Police Department had made an appearance, mostly
because it was expected of them. Although he had appreciated their gesture,
it had done nothing to comfort him. His only comfort in this life lay beneath
the earth, and completely out of his reach.
Now as he visited one last time, JD couldn't help but wonder if he would
ever feel comfort again. Rising from the ground, he collected his few belongings;
a battered backpack, a slim black laptop computer, and a worn cardboard box.
Not a lot to show for twenty years of life. But as he headed out of the cemetery
and climbed into the waiting cab, the young man thought, 'Well JD, here's
to starting over. Denver ATF, here I come.'
"Do you want to pay for the room by the hour, the day, or what?" asked the
balding clerk from behind the motel's dusty counter.
"I'll take the room for a week to start," JD responded, wondering for at
least the tenth time that day if he were making a big mistake in coming to
Denver so unprepared.
Scrounging around under the counter, the clerk reappeared with a silver key
attached to a faded plastic keychain.
"Third door down on the right, kid. And you might want to use the chain on
the inside of the door, never know who's going to wander in on ya if ya don't."
"Great, just great. I'll keep that in mind." Taking the key, JD proceeded
to his new 'home'.
Sitting on the edge of the sagging mattress, the tired young man allowed
himself to reflect on the many changes that had occurred in the past few
weeks. When he had received word that his application to the Denver ATF's
Special Unit, Team Seven, had been accepted, JD wasn't sure whether to be
ecstatic or terrified. Even as he had filled out the online application months
before, knowing that his mother was heading into her final days, he hadn't
been sure exactly why he was pursuing the position.
It wasn't that he hated his job as a Boston police officer. There were days
when he loved his work, but after spending the last two years struggling
to fit into a world where he knew too much, both in intellect and experiences,
to relate with those his own age, but not enough to garner the respect of
those his circumstances had thrown him together with, JD realized he was
in desperate need of a change. And the idea of heading out west, of making
a fresh start, away from painful memories, had fueled his quest for a spot
on the elite Team Seven.
"Well, I guess I can't just sit here. Better get my things washed and ready
for the morning. Wouldn't hurt to find something to eat, either," JD muttered
to himself. Having arrived in Denver earlier in the day, he had spent some
time in the airport coffee shop, pouring over the local newspapers until
he found the address for the Sunrise Motel. Relatively unfamiliar with the
area, all he knew was that it was close to the ATF's Denver office and that
it was cheap, exactly what the young man was looking for.
JD had come to Denver with the little money that was left over after having
taken care of his mother's funeral expenses and a few other odds and ends.
He had no transportation, as he had sold his motorcycle to add to his meager
stash. Until he drew his first paycheck, which would be four weeks away,
the young man was going to have to be extremely careful with his finances.
As he walked down the street to a small family-owned market, JD recalled
his interview for the vacant position with Team Seven. He had told Assistant
Director Orrin Travis that he was definitely interested in the computer ops
position on the team, but that he could not give the man a definite starting
date due to the nature of his mother's deteriorating medical condition.
Katherine, his mother, had already weakened to a state that offered no hope
of recovery. The kind volunteer that came in daily to sit with her while
JD worked, had gently informed him that his mother's time was drawing to
a close. Mattie, the volunteer, had scolded JD for feeling guilty about the
job interview. She had told him that it was the right thing to do, to be
getting his life in order. JD was surprised when Travis had said that he
understood, and that the position was his when the time came.
"That will be $12.95, please," the older man stated as he bagged the few
items JD had placed on the counter.
"Here you go," JD responded with a shy smile as he paid for his things and
collected his bag of Poptarts, bottled water, peanut butter, powdered detergent,
and a loaf of bread. Not much by most people's standards, but enough to sustain
the youth for a little while. After having struggled over the last few years
to go to school, work at the PD, take care of his mom, and manage to keep
a roof over their heads, JD had become quite familiar with the concept of
making ends meet. He knew all too well how to make the best of what the world
threw at you.
Monday morning found newly hired ATF Agent John Daniel Dunne standing in
the hall outside the offices of Chris Larabee and the other five members
of Team Seven. Adjusting his collar for what seemed to be the hundredth time
that morning, JD took a deep breath and entered the bullpen.
Once inside, JD took a moment to take in his surroundings. The room was not
unlike the one he had worked in back in Boston. Six desks were arranged,
each set of two placed facing one another, in what resembled a triangle in
the center of the room. The walls were adorned with the usual calendars and
posters and were lined with several file cabinets. In the back corner, stood
a separate office with large glass windows covered in stark white miniblinds
which, when open as they were now, allowed its occupant a clear view of all
activities in the bullpen. And at the moment, the room's occupant, one Agent
Chris Larabee, was staring right at him.
'Well, it's now or never' JD thought as he walked toward Larabee's office,
trying to project a confidence he didn't quite feel. As he raised his hand
to knock at the door, he was halted by a gruff voice.
"No need to knock, kid. Come on in," called Larabee. He had been observing
the younger man from the moment he had exited the elevator outside the bullpen.
He couldn't believe how young the kid looked. He had already been wary of
hiring this 'JD Dunne', having been unable to conduct the interview himself,
too deeply involved in the team's last case to get away. Now, getting his
first look at the team's newest addition, he was absolutely sure that Assistant
Director Travis had been out of his mind when he had hired the kid that appeared
"Good morning, sir. I'm JD Dunne. Pleased to meet you," JD offered as he
reached out to shake his new boss' hand.
Shaking the kid's hand, pleased with the firmness of his grip, Chris stated,
"Same here. A.D. Travis has nothing but great things to say about you, JD.
With the rise we have seen in crimes involving computers and other high-tech
toys, we sure can use your expertise." The two men settled down, facing each
other across the older man's desk.
"Yes,sir, that's what the Assistant Director was telling me. It seems that
the dealers are getting more and more sophisticated, and if the ATF doesn't
start taking advantage of the available technology, then it's going to get
pretty difficult to keep up with things," JD stated. The young man couldnt
help but feel as if he somehow needed to prove his value to the imposing
"Yeah, the days when it was enough to collect info undercover and execute
raids are pretty much over. I guess we're going to have to get used to the
idea that there are other means of catching these guys. Tell me, JD, your
file says that you spent a little over a year with Boston PD. Why did you
decide to leave and head all the way out here? How did your family feel about
you moving so far away?" Chris asked. He couldn't help but wonder why a kid
this young would just up and travel so far, and if he had left a mother and
father behind to worry about him being in such a dangerous line of work.
"Sir, I don't have any family left. My mother passed away recently, and she
was all I had. She'd been sick for quite awhile, and I felt like I needed
a change. As it was, after my Captain found out how much I knew about computers
and electronics, he pulled me from street detail, and had me pretty much
riding a desk or setting up surveillance. It had me pretty isolated from
the rest of the officers, so I really didn't have any ties to anyone there."
As JD spoke, he had unconsciously lowered his gaze to the floor, his voice
growing quiet in the confines of the small office.
As Larabee listened to his team's newest addition speak of the loss of his
mother, his only family, Chris found his heart aching for the boy. It was
obvious by the boys expression that JD was still feeling his loss deeply,
and the hardened leader was shocked at how strongly his paternal instincts
flared within him. He had thought that those kinds of feelings had disappeared
years ago, along with his young son Adam. 'Careful Larabee. With a job like
ours, who knows what will happen? Don't set yourself up to be hurt,' he thought
"Well, JD, don't think youre going to have the luxury of riding a desk,
out here. With the workload this team gets, we need every man out there,
pulling his weight. In the office and in the field. Let's go out and introduce
you to the boys." Rising from behind his desk, he came to stand beside the
younger man. "And I'm sorry to hear about your mother," Chris said quietly.
"Thank you, sir," JD responded quietly as he turned to follow Larabee out.
"Just call me Chris, kid. We don't stand too much for formalities around
here," Chris said as he led his newest agent back out into the bullpen.
"Mornin Vin. How was your weekend? Do anything interesting?" inquired
Agent Buck Wilmington, Team Sevens resident ladies man. With his handsome
features and tall stature, Buck rarely had a weekend go by that he didnt
do something interesting, and it was usually done in the company
of a beautiful young woman.
"Nothing interesting by your standards, Buck. Worked on the Jeep, hung out
with the kids over at the rec center. Not much to speak of, but
that moment Vin Tanner, expert marksman and currently the youngest member
of the team, caught sight of Chris emerging from his office, accompanied
by some kid. Wonder what hes doing with Chris. Oh well, guess
were gonna find out soon enough.
"Hey, Buck. Vin. This is JD Dunne, our new computer tech. Gonna be working
surveillance, too. JD, this is Buck Wilmington, one of our senior agents,
and Vin Tanner, one of the best marksmen in the Bureau," Chris stated, noting
that both Vin and Buck looked a little shocked by their newest teammate.
JD was it? Nice to meet ya, kid. So youre here to
keep up the computers and sound equipment? Well, thats great! Never
can get those doggoned things working right," Buck responded.
"Good to meet ya, JD. Its about time they got someone in here to wrangle
these computers for us. Cant tell you how much time I waste trying
to keep them from losing my reports. Welcome aboard!" Vins face had
lit up like the Fourth of July upon learning that he might find some relief
from his constant computer woes.
"Well, Im sure I can do something about your reports, Vin, when we
have a little time to sit down and sort through some things between cases.
I can probably help you too, Buck, with some things to make your computer
go a little farther for you." Pausing to push his bangs out of his eyes,
JD then continued, wanting to make a good impression, "As to the
sound equipment, Im looking forward to seeing just what
weve got to work with, and what new toys I might be able to throw into
Laughing, Buck asked, "Just which cases are you going to be working on, kid?
I thought tech support was pretty much a one shot deal? I mean, I know we
have troubles with the computers from time to time, Chris, but I sure
didnt think Travis would spring for us to have our very own tech guy,
24/7. Howd we rate JD here?"
"Wait a minute, Buck! JD isnt some glorified technical support person;
hes one of us. Hes come out from the Boston PD, with a degree
in computer science, and a record full of awards for work in surveillance,"
Chris spit out, exasperated with his oldest friend.
"One of us? Look at him, Chris! He doesnt look old enough to buy a
lottery ticket, much less carry a gun! Sorry, kid. No offense," Buck exclaimed,
still not sure he had heard Chris correctly.
JD stood, his arms folded across his chest, taking in the exchange between
his new boss and Wilmington. He could feel his face flush in embarrassment
as the latter questioned his placement on the team.
"Enough, Buck! JDs only been here fifteen minutes. Let's not totally
alienate him just yet, ok? Why dont you show him his new desk? Its
the one facing yours." Chris could barely contain a grin, as Buck slowly
comprehended that he had a new deskmate.
"And, JD, dont pay Buck any mind. Hes just
how can I say
this in a good way? Resistant to change. Hes really a very easygoing
guy, once you get to know him. Arent you, Buck?"
"Well, sure... Don't take what I said personally, kid... I mean...What was
your name again, son?" Buck floundered.
"It's JD. JD Dunne, sir. And don't worry, I'm used to the comments by now,"
JD stated quietly. The younger man had already begun to move towards his
appointed desk, hoping to escape any further embarrassment.
Noticing how uneasy his newest agent appeared, Chris broke the tension as
he stated, "Ive got a couple of things left for you to fill out, JD.
Ill be back with them in a few minutes. Make yourself at home." Turning,
Chris retreated to his office.
After watching Chris disappear into his office, JD looked up to find Buck
observing him with a slightly perplexed expression. 'Oh well, so much for
my 'fresh start'. Looks like I'm gonna have to put up with the same questions
here as I did in Boston.'
"So you're from Boston. Can't say that I've ever been there myself, but I've
dated a few girls from out that way in my time. Tell me, do you have a girlfriend
back home? I hear those frat parties are a great way to meet the women."
As soon as the last statement crossed his lips, Buck knew he had said something
"No. I don't have anyone back home. And frat parties? I've never been to
one, so I really wouldn't know too much about them. Didn't have much time
for hanging out or parties when I was in college," JD replied, unable to
escape the hollow feeling he always got in the pit of his stomach whenever
he thought back to his time in school. 'Man,
if he only knew how much I wanted to be like that. To have the chance to
have fun like that,' JD thought to himself.
Just as the words were spoken, Chris reappeared with a small stack of paperwork
for the younger man. He quickly noticed the tension between his oldest friend
and his newest charge.
"Here you go," Chris said, handing the younger man some papers. "Just throw
these in my In basket when youre done. Buck, make sure JD gets the
"Sure thing, Chris. I'll make sure he knows all the important places to hide
from ya when youre in one of your moods. Ya gotta watch this one, kid.
Never know just when he's gonna blow," Buck joked, hoping to lift the veil
of seriousness that had somehow come over the boy.
The banter had its desired effect as a small smile played at the corners
of JD's mouth. 'Maybe this won't be so bad,' JD mused. 'Maybe I'll have a
real chance here, after all.'
Quickly familiarizing himself with the office, JD set about customizing his
computer to meet his specific needs as the teams new technical wizard.
He had then begun to reorganize some file folders when a slight tap on his
shoulder interrupted him.
"Good morning, young man. Let me introduce myself. Agent Ezra Standish at
your service. And you might be?" As he addressed the newest addition to the
team, Ezra couldnt help but smile. He noted that for an ATF agent,
the young man before him had a face that screamed youthful curiosity and
innocence, traits rarely associated with their line of work.
"Im JD. JD Dunne. Good to meet you, Mr. Standish," the computer expert
offered, holding out his hand in greeting.
"Its a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Dunne," Ezra replied,
as he clasped the younger mans hand. "And please, call me Ezra. Now
tell me young man, where are you from? I detect a slight accent. Could it
be that you have come to us from the East Coast? Perhaps somewhere in
"Youre right, Mr
Ezra. Im from Boston. Is my accent that
noticeable?" JD inquired, never having given much thought to it before.
"Not particularly. Discerning a persons place of origin just happens
to be a very valuable skill when working undercover. It never hurts to garner
as much information, unbeknownst to an individual, as one can."
"I guess that would come in handy. So, youre an undercover agent. I
bet thats pretty exciting," JD declared enthusiastically.
"It does have its moments. But all in all, it is much like any other endeavor
we must undertake. Often tedious, but occasionally resulting in a satisfying
conclusion," the older agent mused.
"Well, I hope that maybe one day Ill be able to compare notes with
you on the subject. But right now I have a feeling just getting you guys
up-to-date with the latest data bases and tech equipment will have me pretty
"Indeed. I wish you the best of luck in dragging this crew, kicking and
screaming, out of the dark ages. I do believe youll need it. Well,
I must be getting to work." With a nod of his head, Ezra retreated to his
desk, which was opposite Vins.
Before JD could get too much further with his work, he was interrupted once
more by the remaining two members of Team Seven, former army medic, Nathan
Jackson and profiler, Josiah Sanchez.
"Well, Buck, I guess Chris finally found someone to share that space with
you. Watch this one, son, he can be a handful." This observation came from
Josiah, a mischievous smirk gracing the imposing mans face.
Laughing, Nathan warned, "Yeah, you just never know whats going to
happen when Bucks around. And make sure, if youve got a special
lady, that you dont let him get too close. Buck knows no shame when
it comes to women. By the way, Im Nathan Jackson. Good to have you
"Glad to be here. Im JD Dunne," JD greeted.
"Im Josiah Sanchez, JD. Its always a pleasure welcoming a new
face into our midst," he said with a smile. "So, son, if I might ask,
whats your background? I know Chris mentioned the Bureau wanting to
improve its use of technology in the field. I assume your presence has something
to do with that initiative?"
"Yes, sir. Ive been told that my computer and surveillance skills will
be helpful in getting the team up to speed. I have plenty of field experience,
too, but my strong points are setting up searches, database management, and
for lack of a better term, hacking. I also play around a bit with bugs for
surveillance and what not." JD explained.
"Well, Im sure that your skills will be a real help around here. And
please, just call me Josiah. Can't have the others hearing you address me
with such respect, they already take every opportunity to remind me of my
age and place in the world as it is," the profiler said with a chuckle.
"Now, Josiah, dont let those couple of gray hairs send you down the
path to despair. Just because our new additions on the youthful side,
doesnt make you over the hill," Jackson teased, laughing under his
"Im not that young, Nathan. And besides, I dont see any gray
hairs, Josiah," JD declared, partly in jest, and partly serious.
"Why thank you, JD! My spirits are lifting as we speak. Well, Ive got
a report due on Chriss desk by the end of the day, so Id better
get to work. Maybe we can grab some dinner later, son." Josiah then proceeded
to his desk and efficiently started his computer.
"Yeah, JD, well check back with you later; make sure Buck, here,
hasnt driven you totally nuts. See ya later."
Well, I guess thats everyone, JD thought as he returned
his attention to his computer. A very interesting group of guys, to
say the least. Nice, but a little strange.
As the end of the day approached, JD found that he had made quite a bit of
progress in his work. He had already reviewed a few of the Teams data
tables and pinpointed areas of concern. He was currently jotting down notes
as to how to correct some of the problems, as well as noting a few improvements
to up efficiency. As he prepared to report his finding to Chris, Josiah and
"Hey JD, were going to run down to the Saloon to grab some dinner.
Care to join us? Inez, the owner, has some of the best food around," Nathan
"Sounds good," JD admitted. He knew he had to be careful with his money,
but couldnt resist the chance to enjoy a hot meal, as well as an
opportunity to get to know some of his teammates a little better.
"Hows about it, Buck? I know youre just itching to see Ms. Inez,
as usual," Josiah asked.
"Well, I guess it beats eating leftover pizza," Buck replied, shrugging into
"Ill make the rounds and see if the others would like to join us.
Ill meet you fellas downstairs," Josiah said, as he made his way to
Chriss office where Ezra and Vin were engaged in a discussion with
the teams leader.
"Hey, guys, were heading over to the Saloon. Thought it would be a
good opportunity to get to know our newest addition a little better. Care
to join us?"
"Why not? Vin. Ezra. Well continue this discussion in the morning.
Come on, lets go."
The four men headed out the door to meet the remainder of the team in the
Entering the saloon, the seven men were promptly greeted by Inez. With her
bright smile and subtle beauty, it was no wonder why the men were so eager
to visit. The dark-haired young woman quickly made her way over to their
small group and introduced herself to the newest member. JD couldnt
keep the blush he so dreaded from coloring his cheeks.
"It is wonderful to meet you, JD Dunne.When I heard the team was gaining
a new member, I never dreamed he would be so handsome. I do hope you will
be coming here often," the attractive brunnette encouraged, as she took a
moment to look over the new addition. "Don't they feed young men back east?
You are much too slim for your own good. If
I do say so, I think you could stand to indulge in a few of our specialties.
We cant have you withering away, working with the likes of the men,
now can we?" Inez was immediately taken with JD. With his dark eyes and fair
complexion, he looked much younger than his line of work should allow. She
felt an instant affection for the boy.
"Pleased to meet you, maam. If everything tastes as great as it smells,
Im sure Ill be eating here a lot," said JD; eyes still not quite
meeting those of their hostess.
The men proceeded to take their seats, each of the older men set to order
their usual. Eager to eat something other than a peanut butter sandwich,
JD quickly decided on meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Soon orders were placed,
and the seven men settled back to enjoy each others company.
"JD, why dont you tell us a little about yourself? I have to admit,
Im intrigued as to how someone your age has made his way onto such
an elite team as ours. Usually, it would take several more years for one
to be accepted." This observation came from Ezra as he sipped his drink.
"Well, Ive always been a fast learner, so I was able to move ahead
a few grades here and there. I was sixteen when I graduated high school and
eighteen when I got my Bachelors in Computer Science," the young agent
revealed, slightly embarrassed to see the others exchange looks of surprise.
He paused a moment, as their meals arrived, before he continued.
"I was lucky enough to have met someone from the Boston PD around that same
time, and he helped make it possible for me to enter the academy a little
early, on the condition that I wouldnt do any fieldwork until I was
nineteen. Til then I had to spend my time riding a desk. Turned out
that my background in computers became pretty valuable, so by the time I
was able to go on patrol, I had to split my time between the office and the
street. I liked working the computer angle, but I didnt really feel
like I was going to get very far in the field. When this opening came up,
I was more than ready for a change." JD was careful to avoid revealing too
much of his personal history to his teammates. He just wasnt up to
dealing with questions about his mothers death, or the rough times
he had experienced due to his accelerated entry into police work.
As the men finished their meals, gathered around the large table in the back
corner, Chris casually observed his now complete team. From Josiah, to Nathan,
to Vin, to Buck, to JD, and finally Ezra, each man had a separate and unique
strength. But together, their skill would combine, he hoped, to create a
force to be reckoned with.
Not wanting to part company yet, the members of Team Seven adjourned to the
rear of the Saloon to play a few games of pool. The conversation was lively,
with Buck entertaining the men with one of his many exploits and Ezra taking
more than one opportunity to call the ladies man on his antics. JD found
himself comfortably settled against the wall, observing his new teammates
as they joked and played together. He couldnt help but smile at the
easy way the group interacted with one another.
"Pretty wild group, arent they, kid?" A quiet voice from beside the
young man inquired. As JD turned, he was greeted by Vin, who had been observing
JD as he in turn, had been observing the others.
"Yeah, I guess so. But, its kinda nice. Back home, I hardly ever saw
the guys outside of the station. Everyone had somewhere else to be, or someone
to go home to. Ive never really been a part of anything like this.
You seem more like friends, than co-workers," the dark-haired youth remarked.
Vin had taken note of the wistful expression on the younger agents
face as he had stood watching Buck and Chris banter back and forth.
"Well, youre one of us now. So youd better get used to seeing
a lot of us. I dont know why, but no matter how our plans start, it
seems like we always end up together, somehow. Not that thats a bad
thing, just took some getting used to. I have to admit," he leaned over
conspiringly, "just dont let on to Chris or the others, but I kinda
like it. Its good to have someone out there you can count on," Vin
explained, offering JD a brotherly pat on the back as he headed over to challenge
Ezra to another round.
As JD watched the sharpshooter move away, he was surprised at how content
he felt. Youre one of us now, Vin had said. It felt really
good to be accepted, not resented or overlooked. Smiling, he took a last
sip of his Coke, and pulled his jacket on.
Walking over to the table where the others were standing, JD interrupted,
"Thanks for inviting me, guys. It was nice to get a chance to talk. Ill
see y'all in the morning." He acknowledged the Goodnights that
came from around the room as he turned to leave.
"Hey, wait up a second, JD," Chris called. The leader had made his way around
the pool table and had caught up with his newest agent.
"I'm really impressed with the work you've done today. I guess I never really
thought, too much, about how many things we could do, if we had the right
kind of equipment and the know-how to use it. I have to admit I was a little
wary of bringing you on board at first, but I just want you to know that
were all glad to have you." The older man genuinely seemed happy with
JDs performance. "Wait, didnt you ride over with Nathan? I can
give you a lift if you need one. I was going to head out myself, shortly,"
the blond offered, wondering for the first time where his agent was residing.
"Oh, no, thats ok. Im not too far from here. Dont leave
early on my account. I just have a couple of things to take care of, is all,"
the youth hurriedly explained. JD really didnt want the other men to
know where he was staying. They didnt need to know just how bad his
finances were at the moment.
"Alright then. Well, take it easy, kid. See you in the morning," and with
a slight nod Chris returned to the game.
JD breathed a sigh of relief, glad that he would not have to handle the
embarrassment of having his new boss escort him home to the rundown motel
he currently occupied. Deep down, he knew he had nothing to be ashamed of.
He had no control over the circumstances that had left
he//him// pinching every penny, but his pride
just wouldnt bow to reason.
Yeah, Ive got things to take care of all right. Like washing
my dress shirts in the sink and hanging them to dry. Im smart enough
not to hang out in the Laundromat after dark. Well, I guess theres
no time like the present, JD thought as he began the short trek to
his motel room. At least I wont be dining on peanut butter
tonight. For the first time in two days, he stomach was pleasantly
full, and he didnt feel the oppressive weight of loneliness quite so
The next few days found JD in seventh heaven. He had immersed himself in
updating the teams computers, developing new databases, and helping
each of his teammates with their specific areas of concern. The young man
found himself truly enjoying the time he spent each day with his new teammates.
"Dammit! I swear Im gonna throw this sorry excuse for a computer out
the window!" Buck growled from across his desk. The agents face had
taken on an interesting shade of red, as he proceeded to pound his fist angrily
against the side of his monitor.
"Dang, Buck, I could hear you all the way down the hall. Whats the
matter?" JD asked, as he settled down in the seat across from the fuming
"Nothing kid, just a little frustrated is all," Buck muttered, glaring at
the computer tech. He didn't want to let on to JD just how rattled he had
become just trying to file his stupid report.
"Ok..." JD murmured. He knew the older agent had problems using the computer
from time to time. After all, it was pretty hard to ignore the steady stream
of curses that came out of Bucks mouth every time Chris asked for one
of his reports. But if the stubborn fool won't admit he needs help,
well, what can I do? the young agent thought to himself. JD pretended
to ignore the other agents plight, as he returned to the program he
"Please be there. Come on, darling, dont do this to me! Shit! Where
is it?" Buck muttered, slumping down in his chair as he rubbed his forehead
"Buck! How much longer on that report? The guys upstairs are breathing down
my neck here!" Chris called from his office.
Noting the exasperated expression on Bucks face, JD decided he could
no longer ignore his desk mate's predicament.
Coming around to stand beside Buck, JD quietly ordered, "Move, Buck. Let
me take a look and see if I can get your stuff back."
Looking up, annoyed at having been interrupted in his time of need, Buck
began to protest, "I dont have time for this, kid
"No. You dont. Unless you enjoy having your ass chewed out. Now get
up and let me get your report back, Buck." Practically shoving the ladies
man out of his seat, JD began moving his nimble fingers swiftly across
Bucks keyboard. Within seconds, the report in question reappeared.
The younger agent continued his typing, quickly creating a new folder and
saving the document there. He then adjusted a few things in the document,
re-saved, and sent the job to the printer.
Just as Chris approached the two men, JD reached over to the printer tray
adjacent to their desks, and handed the finished report to their leader.
"Here you go, Chris," he stated, offering Buck a quick grin as he returned
to his seat.
After taking a few seconds to review the report, Chris commented, "Good work,
Buck. Damn, but this report actually looks like a professional member of
the Bureau did it. And just in time, too." Shaking his head, the blond headed
upstairs, report in hand.
Buck stood, mouth hanging slightly agape, staring at the top of JDs
head as the young man sat hunched over a printout, acting as if nothing out
of the ordinary had just happened. Composing himself, he settled down once
again in his seat, and cleared his throat to get the younger mans
"How the hell did you do that? I was sure that the damned thing ate my report!"
Buck asked, just loud enough for JD to hear him.
"Nothing to it. You just have to know how to navigate things is all," JD
replied, pausing briefly before returning to his printout.
"Well, I guess I owe you one, kid. Thanks," Buck said, not wanting to sound
too appreciative, but not willing to let the gesture go unacknowledged, either.
"No problem, Buck. I told you before; I dont have a problem helping
you guys out. Theres no reason to get so bent out of shape. Not
everyones comfortable with computers. Its not a crime, you know."
A mischievous twinkle made JDs eyes sparkle as he addressed his teammate.
"Now, wait a minute there. Im perfectly
Oh hell, who am I kidding?
I have more arguments with this hunk of junk than I have with most of my
women. And thats saying a lot. I guess ol Bucks just gonna
have to admit he needs a little guidance." The older mans face colored
slightly with the admission.
"Just ask next time. Itll make life easier for both of us." JD returned
his attention to his work.
Later that day, Team Seven was preparing for a major bust in the warehouse
district. The team had acquired information that indicated a large shipment
of guns from out of the country was being sold to the highest bidder. As
the group assembled in the conference room for a final briefing, JD was busying
himself making final adjustments to the teams surveillance equipment. It
was his job to make sure that the team kept in close communication with one
another, and that accurate visual evidence of the buy was gathered.
As evening arrived, each man was making last minute checks on his weapon
and his Kevlar vest. Feeling a tap on the shoulder, JD was drawn out of his
mental preparations, to be greeted by Buck.
"Here, kid, dont forget your vest. Cant have the bad guys taking
down our cameraman, now can we?" the taller man joked.
Thanks, Buck. Cant be forgetting this." JD quickly and efficiently
strapped the vest over his thin T-shirt, and then covered it up with a checked
flannel shirt. I cant believe I almost forgot my vest. What an
idiot! Way to go, JD. Make them think your some dumb little kid, the
agent berated himself.
"Ok, guys. Lets head out. Vin, you and Ezra ride with me. Nathan, you
stick with Josiah. And that leaves you and Buck driving the van, JD. Make
sure you make a quiet approach, no lights, so we dont give these guys
a heads up. And watch your backs. If this goes down the way we hope it does,
we're going to be facing some pissed off dealers." Having given his orders,
Chris headed toward the elevators, followed closely by his team.
Having arrived at their destination, the members of Team Seven separated,
each man going to his location. It had been decided earlier that day, that
JD and Buck would man the surveillance van. The team already had audiotapes
of the meeting that had set up the buy, now they needed video evidence of
those involved and the merchandise.
"Is this going to be close enough to get the shots, kid?" Buck asked as he
carefully maneuvered the van into place behind the warehouse. From their
location, a large window and a rusted metal door were visible. The window
had been targeted to provide the team with the pictures they needed. By the
time the two agents had gotten everything ready to record, the
weather had become overcast,
the rain falling steadily and visibility
"Im not sure, Buck. This equipment has seen better days, and with this
Well, well just have to wait and see. For now, Ive
got a pretty decent feed," JD confirmed.
Within a few minutes the voices of the other agents could be heard over the
radio as each of them checked in and reported their locations. As the last
man reported, two late model trucks approached the site. Five men quickly
exited the vehicles and hurried inside the warehouse to escape the inclement
"Ok, its showtime gentleman," Chriss voice announced over the
radio. "Look sharp, weve got at least ten of them in there, total.
We dont want to tip our hand before weve got the evidence."
"JD, how are things looking from there?" the leader asked.
Adjusting his earpiece, JD replied, "With this rain, Im not sure I
can get a clear enough image." As he spoke, the wind outside began driving
sheets of rain across the agents vantagepoint, obstructing his view.
"Ah hell, Chris. Im gonna have to get closer to get the shots. This
piece of crap isnt going to be able to do it from here," the exasperated
young man informed the team leader.
Ok, JD, I need you to work your way over to the rear window. See
the crate to the left of that door?" Chris instructed.
"Yeah, I see it. I should be able to squeeze behind it and angle over for
the shots," JD concluded. As he began to adjust the power supply on the camera,
and rig a cover to prevent the rain from damaging the equipment, the agent
shivered at the thought of getting drenched and only having his vest and
flannel shirt for protection.
"I guess thats going to be our best bet. Buck, cover JD as he gets
into position," Chris ordered.
"Alright, Chris. Kid, you got everything you need?" Buck asked, observing
the younger man as he prepared his gear and removed his headset. There were
no other mikes available that could withstand the rain, so JD would be on
"Yeah, I got it. Man, I sure couldve done without all this damn rain.
Cover me." And with that JD pulled open the vans side door, hopped
out into the downpour, and made his way quickly over to crouch beside the
"Chris, hes in position," Buck reported. The older agent couldnt
help but feel uneasy as he watched JD set up to record the deal going on
inside the warehouse. It wasnt normal procedure to send one of the
men out without a wire. I just hope this goes down smooth. We really
dont need any aggravation, tonight. This rains bad enough,
Several minutes went by as JD recorded the group of men inside the warehouse.
Ezra was already inside, having maneuvered himself into being accepted as
a potential buyer. He had accompanied the seller to the warehouse and was
acting as competition for the first group of buyers. The rest of the team
was positioned either next door in another abandoned warehouse, or in vehicles
strategically placed around their target location.
As time progressed, JD had quickly become soaked to the skin by the pelting
rain. As the wind drove sheet after sheet over the agent, he could feel his
fingertips start to become numb, and his entire body struggling to generate
heat by continuously shivering. Man, this sucks! the young man
thought. Buck gets to stay all nice and cozy in the van, and Im
out here freezing my ass
At that moment, all hell broke loose inside the warehouse as the second buyer
decided he would just take out the seller, and Ezra, and take what he wanted.
Gunshots sounded from everywhere as the men inside sought cover.
Before JD knew what was happening, the heavy metal door beside his position
slammed open, almost crushing him between the warehouse wall and the heavy
wooden crate he was behind. Two men emerged, firing their guns back into
the warehouse as they moved away. Dropping the video recorder, the agent
pulled his weapon and shouted, "Freeze! ATF! Stop where you are and drop
Visibility being minimal as the rain continued to fall, JD was not prepared
for the sight of the two men before him. Having heard his command, the two
men had stopped their retreat, and turned to face the dark-haired youth.
Upon careful scrutiny, JD took note that each man had to weigh at least 200lbs
and stand over 6 tall.
Oh, this is just great! Im gonna be squished like a bug. Shit.
Oh well, here we go," JD thought to himself just moments before the two burly
men made their advance.
JD managed to squeeze off a shot that felled the man closest to him. The
large man crumpled into a puddle, rolling back and forth, clutching his chest.
But this did not deter his companion from continuing on toward JDs
With a yell, the other man plowed into the young agent, slamming him into
the wall behind him. The younger man threw his arms up and attempted to wrestle
the man away as he fought to draw up his knee. Finding a small opening between
himself and his attacker, JD took the opportunity to drive his knee up into
the mans groin, causing him to release his hold on the agents
Well, at least he didnt crush my windpipe," JD thought thankfully
as he tried to draw a breath into his starving lungs. Too late did he notice
that his opponent had only been momentarily deterred, and the next thing
JD knew, he was flying through the air towards the pavement. As he landed,
his head smacked the ground with a wet thump, and his world slipped into
black oblivion as rain poured over his face.
Across the street, still trying to work with the less than cooperative equipment,
Buck was startled as gunshots filled the night. Jumping out of the van, his
first thoughts were of JD, virtually a sitting duck, right outside the warehouse
door. The ladies man skidded to a halt several feet from the door as to his
horror, he saw the younger agent's slight form being thrown to the ground.
Enraged, Buck flew forward, taking the attacker by surprise. He landed a
stunning blow right between the man's eyes. Satisfied that the thug was no
longer a threat, the older agent rushed over to kneel at JD's side.
"JD? Come on, kid, I know youre in there. Kid? Can you hear me?" Buck
asked, gently lifting the youth's head into his lap.
JD thought he heard something in the distance. A voice maybe? He couldnt
be sure, as his head was pounding, and his eyes refused to open. Deciding
that he needed to locate the source of the sound, he struggled to raise his
eyelids, which felt as if they were nailed shut.
"There ya go, kid. Let me see those pretty brown eyes," Buck coaxed as he
leaned over JD, attempting to shield the young man from the rain.
"Oh, God, please, let my head fall off. Please?" came a harshly whispered
plea from the prone agent. "Buck, is that you?" JD asked, squinting up at
the ladies man. .
"Sure is, kid," the older man confirmed. As he spoke, JD began to push himself
up, away from the shelter of Buck's form. "Now wait a minute! Dont
be sitting up like that. Lets wait and have Nathan take a look at you,
first. That damn giant practically put you through the pavement," Buck cautioned,
afraid the sudden movement would complicate any injuries the younger man
might have. Fool kid. Doesnt know when to quit. Takes down the
bad guy, gets the snot knocked out of him, and still thinks he needs to prove
something, the older agent thought, surprised at the protective feelings
he was beginning to have towards the youth.
Not wanting to appear weak in front of Buck, of all people, JD struggled
to pull himself upright. 'Whoa, big mistake! Man, what they say is true,
you do see stars!' thought the young agent as the world spun around him.
He shut his eyes tightly and leaned forward to rest his head on his knees
as nausea and dizziness washed over him. In the distance, he heard Chris's
subdued voice calling to Buck. Moments later, as he pried open his eyes,
he saw his boss crouching down next to the ladies man. Unable to focus clearly
on the conversation between the two veteran agents, JD could only assume
that Chris was inquiring about the bust.
"Hey, Buck, is he ok? Nathan should be over in a minute to take a look at
him, as soon as he hands over his man to the other team. The ambulance is
loading up that fella the kid took out, along with the one Ezra got inside.
Do I need to have them send out a second unit?" the leader questioned, not
happy at all to see his youngest agent slumped over in the rain.
Before Buck could reply, JD lifted his head and addressed Larabee. " I'm
fine, Chris. Don't bother Nathan. Just got the wind knocked out of me is
all." JD managed to pull himself to his feet, although unsteadily. "I just
need a couple of aspirin once we get to the office."
Eyeing JD suspiciously, Buck noted, "You're looking a little pale there,
kid. Sure you don't need Nathan to take a look at your head? You were out
for a few minutes there. Chris, why don't we get Nathan..."
"I said, I'm fine, Buck. Let it go." JD stated, as he walked slowly over
to the side of the warehouse and retrieved the video recorder that had fallen
behind the crate. Taking a moment to look over the device, allowing himself
time to deal with the constant spinning that threatened to overcome him,
JD then turned and made his way back to the two senior agents. "Looks like
the tape is ok, Chris. Just need to get it back to the office and run it
through the viewer."
"Well, if you're sure youre ok, kid, then you and Buck head on back
to the office. I'll take your weapon for now. Standard procedure. Should
have it back in a day or two. You and Ezra will be riding a desk 'til then.
See you in a few." Pulling his jacket a little tighter against the cold and
rain, Chris headed back to join Vin and the others as they tied up the last
few details of the bust.
"Let's get out of this rain, kid. There should be a towel or something in
the back to drape over the seat. Can't have you ruining this plush interior,
now can we?" Buck chuckled as the two men made their way into the surveillance
van. Buck had managed to find a plastic rain poncho in the glove compartment
after JD had made his way out into the downpour, so the ladies man was still
relatively dry underneath.
JD, unfortunately, was not so lucky. He was soaked to the skin, his dark
hair plastered back against his skull. Now that they were inside the van
and out of the frigid rain, the youth began to shiver in earnest. After buckling
his seatbelt, JD carefully laid his head back against the headrest, hoping
to quell the pounding in his head and calm his rolling stomach.
Looking over at his passenger, Buck noted that the kid had become even more
pale, if that were possible, and that he was grimacing in pain each time
the van jostled.
"Here, kid, let's get the heater going. You've got to be freezing, all wet
like that. We'll find you something to change into back at the office," Buck
assured as he tried to avoid causing JD any further pain with his driving.
"Thanks, Buck. I don't think I'll ever be warm, again," JD quietly replied.
"No problem, kid. Can't have my partner turning into a popsicle on my watch,
now can I?" Buck joked, then paused in surprise as he realized exactly what
his words implied. 'Partner? When did we become partners? Oh god help me,
the kid's managed to get to me.'
'Did he just call me his partner? I must have hit my head even harder than
I thought." JD thought to himself as he fought the increasing queasiness
in his gut.
A few minutes later, his breath coming in shallow pants, JD tried to gage
how much longer they would be before they would reach ATF headquarters. Noting
the cross street, he knew it would be much too long.
"Pull over, Buck," JD instructed in a subdued voice, one hand clutching his
stomach, the other fumbling with the seatbelt latch.
"What? I can't just pull over, kid. We're in the center lane!" Buck growled.
"Please, pull over now! I'm gonna be sick!" the younger man moaned.
Buck glanced over to where his 'partner' sat, slumped over against the window,
and quickly proceeded to cross two lanes of traffic, coming to rest on the
grassy shoulder of the road.
As soon as the van stopped, JD flung open his door and staggered out of the
van. Hanging onto the doorframe with his left hand, he proceeded to empty
his stomach onto the ground. Each time he retched, his head exploded in pain.
So lost was he in his misery, he didn't notice Buck approaching from around
the front of the van, carefully sidestepping the mess, to stand at his side.
"Hang on, kid. You'll feel better once you get it all out. Damn, I knew I
should've had Nathan check you out. I bet you have a concussion, for sure."
Buck ranted, as he grabbed onto JD's arm to steady him as he was hit with
yet another round of heaving.
Using his free hand to pull out his cell phone, Buck quickly hit the speed
dial, and soon had Chris on the line. "Hey, Chris. It's me. No, we're not
at the office. Had to pull over. JD's sicker than a dog, puking his guts
out. I'm gonna run him over to the ER. Yeah, I know he said he was fine.
So much for that. Nathan? Don't yell at me! The kid said he didn't need to
be checked out. No, I haven't had a chance to look at his eyes! Well, right
now he' a little too busy to talk to ya, losing his lunch like he is. Ok,
meet yall at the ER." With that, Buck pocketed the phone, and gently
maneuvered JD back into his seat.
Shivering even more violently now, JD dragged his sleeve across his mouth,
trying to wipe away the evidence of his traitorous stomach. When he felt
he could move without vomiting, he turned to face Buck, and mumbled, "I'm
sorry, Buck. Didn't mean to make a mess. I guess everything just caught up
with me all the sudden. Just take me back to the office, I'll be fine once
I get warmed up, some." The younger man hoped to avoid a scene, not wanting
the other men to think he was some weak kid, incapable of caring for himself.
"Kid, you listen to me. I know you want to make a good impression with Chris
and the guys, but you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Christ! You were
just tossed around by a man that could make Goliath look average. You're
lucky you didn't get your neck broke. Now, let's get you checked out, so
that they can give you something to make you feel better." Not giving JD
an opportunity to protest, Buck leaned over, buckled the kid's seatbelt,
and then proceeded to head, at well above the speed limit, to the ER where
Chris and the others would be meeting them.
Beginning to feel decidedly drowsy, JD whispered, "Ok, Buck. You win. Wake
me up when we get there, ok?" as he slipped into the waiting darkness.
Hearing the youth's weakening voice, Buck glanced over just in time to see
JD slump over against the window. "JD! Come on, son. Ya gotta stay awake
for me, here. Aw, hell! Stubborn damn kid!" the older man growled, getting
no response. Already driving well over the speed limit, he proceeded to shove
the gas pedal all the way down to the floor.