School's Out

by Bunny

Note: This is set in my "Sevens Investigations" AU.

The seven men walked onto the reservation, and Chief Running Deer greeted them warmly.

Chief Running Dear: (pulling Vin into a big bear hug) Ah, my nephew! It is so good to see you!

Vin: It's good to see you, too, Uncle. You, uh, said you needed our help with something?

Chief Running Dear: (sadly) Yes, I am afraid someone has been stealing our artifacts.

Josiah: Who would do such a thing?

Chief Running Dear: Oh, I know who's behind it!

Vin: What?

Chief Running Dear: The police don't believe us, you know that, Vin. . . So, we call you to prove it.

Chris: Who is responsible?

Chief Running Dear: The museum curator, her boyfriend that teaches at the high-school. . . they're the brains. . . They have some students working for them, too, I think. . .

After the Chief had laid out the entire situation for them, they decided that JD was to go undercover in the high-school. They had decided to stay on the res. , and enrolled JD in the school. Since he was only 19, and looked about 16, it was really no stretch. The next morning, Chief Running Deer gave JD a necklace, made from a small statue, tied with a piece of leather.

Chief Running Dear: This will pique his interest for certain.

JD grabbed his helmet, and rode off on his Harley towards the school. He slid into class, receiving a "look" from the teacher for being late. The first 2 classes were fairly uneventful, and more boring than he remembered them. He had done very well in school(valedictorian, graduated early. . . ) , but, that didn't mean it wasn't boring. The third class, however, proved more fortuitous. . .

Mr. Tevlyn: (approaches JD, looking intently at his necklace) Ah, very interesting. . . Where did you get this?

JD: (remembering the story they had concocted last night) Um, my cousin works on a reservation in Texas half the year. He gets all kinds of stuff like this.

Mr. Tevlyn: Really? Hmmm. . .

Suddenly, the bell rang, and the class started milling out for lunch.

Mr. Tevlyn: Joseph, Bobby, Kevin? Please stay after class. . .

JD tried to curb his suspicion for now, the first seeds had been planted. . . But, that didn't stop him from easdropping at the door. . .

Mr. Tevlyn: Boys, I think he could be a valuable asset to our little business venture.

Bobby: Ya sure, Mr. Tevlyn? I mean. . . how do you know he'll help us?

Mr. Tevlyn: Well, you boys will just have to convince him. Jazelle will pay the big bucks for artifacts like that necklace of his. . . If he can get us more. . .

JD suddenly decided he'd heard enough; he had no desire to get caught this early. An idea suddenly coming to him, he signed himself out, and went back to the reservation.

Buck: Kid, ya only stayed half the day?

JD: Yeah; I hadda tell you what I found out.

Buck: Yeah?

JD: Okay, one of the teachers, Mr. Tevlyn, is the leader. Someone named Jazelle from the museum is his partner, apparently. He's got 3 students working for him:Bobby, Joseph, and Kevin Turner.

Chief Running Dear: Yes. . . I have heard of the Turner boys. . . they are bad news.

Ezra: Perhaps we should go meet this Jazelle. . .

They decided that JD should go with him, since he was the one undercover , and the others would not catch him at this time of day. . .

They made an odd contrast. One in a dove colored Armani suit, with a violet-silk shirt, Italian leather shoes, and mirrored Ray-Ban's. The other, in an Astro's baseball cap, with an open flannel shirt over an "Everclear" T-shirt, torn jeans, and sneakers.

Ezra: (whispering) Try to blend, huh?

They walked into the museum.

Jazelle: (heavy French accent) Mr. Standish?

Ezra: Yes, and you are Miss Jazelle, no doubt?

Ezra smiled, grasping the woman's extended hand and kissing the top of it tenderly. Jazelle glanced at the young man standing next to Ezra, hands in his pockets, looking around the museum and it's people, not looking at all as if he wanted to be there.

Jazelle: And, you would be. . .

JD: (smiles) Oh. . . JD, m'am.

JD looked at the extended hand, then hastily took his hand from his pocket, and shook hers vigorously. She strained out a smile and tilted her head slightly as her hand went up and down with the force. Even with his "poker face", Ezra had a hard time biting back the laugh.

Jazelle: You said you were interested in looking at some artifacts, Mr. Standish?

Ezra: Yes. . . You see, my dear, I work with this boy and his cousin, and we were hoping to procure a few items for a wealthy client.

Jazelle: Oh. . . Well, I will see what I can do, sir. . . but, museums are not usually in the business of selling things.

Ezra: (flashing that killer smile at her) Oh, it has been my experience that everthing has a price.

Jazelle: (laughs nervously) Oh, well. . .

They went out of there, not buying anything, of course(it was daytime) but Ezra had left a card with her, and she was to call his cellphone to set up some sort of meeting later.

The next morning before school, the Turner brothers found JD parking his bike, and approched him.

Bobby: Hey, you're new here, huh?

JD: Yup.

Kevin: Well, I'm Kevin Turner, and these are my brothers, Bobby and Joseph.

JD: Nice to meet ya; I'm JD Dunne.

Joseph:Uh. . . you really wanna be here?

JD: Huh?

Joseph:Well. . . Nothing's started yet. . . Wanna cut with us?

JD: (shrugs) Sure. Why not?

Bobby: Why don't you just ride with us, and we can drop you back off to pick up your bike.

JD: Okay.

JD slipped into their convertible, and they rode off. About dusk, JD comes riding back to the res.

Buck: Where in blazes were you? !

JD: (makes a face) Buck, ya didn't do this when I  was  in school.

Buck: Don't start with me; you were supposed to come back to report in.

JD: I never went.

Buck: Excuse me?

JD: Well, I mean, I went, but. . . The Turner's asked me to cut with 'em, so. . .

Vin: Sounds like it was a good opportunity.

JD: Exactly. Anyway, they just now dropped me back to pick up my bike, so that's why I was late.

Chris: What'd ya find?

JD: Well, we just kinda messed around mostly, but, they did mention a "business" they're in with a teacher, and that they'd like to induct me.

Nathan: Induct?

JD: Yeah, that's what they said. . . Guess you were right about this necklace, Chief.

Chief Running Dear: Of course, I told you.

The next day, JD went with the Turner boys to Mr. Tevlyn's room during his free period. They negotiated a plan where they were to meet at the museum late that night to help move some merchandise that Jazelle was hiding for them. Apparently she'd found a big-time buyer. . . So, to make sure the boys got enough rest for the task at hand, Mr. Tevlyn wrote them early dismissal slips and sent them home. JD went over the plan with the guys, and was somehow not surprised when he was told that Ezra was the "big-time buyer". Later that night. . .

Jazelle: (looks at JD critically) Did you not come in here with Mr. Standish? (shoots a "look" at Mr. Tevlyn)

JD: Uh, yes, m'am. . . My cousin sells to him all the time.

They seem to accept this, and just go to work on loading the truck for Jazelle, while she talks to Mr. Tevlyn. . .

A couple of hours later, they come out and see the loaded truck.

Jazelle: Very good boys. . . Just one thing. . . (she walked to JD, and fingered the necklace) Loyalty is of the utmost importance. . . We must have loyalty at all costs. . .

JD swallowed hard as she stepped back and nodded at the 3 other boys and Mr. Tevlyn, and they came forward to him. . .

They had been waiting for JD's return, feeling it was pretty much routine, so not really worried about it. To pass time, they had just been hanging out, playing cards, watching TV, reading, ect. . . Suddenly, they were interupted by a decidedly loud "thud" on the front porch. . .

Buck looked at the prone form of his cousin in utter shock. He gently turned him over on his back, and winced as he saw the bruises.

Buck: JD?

JD: (groans)

Buck: Easy, there, kid. . . (lifts him up gently, cradling him to his chest) C'mon, let's get you inside. . .

Nathan, having been an EMT before joining the P. I. firm, looked him over to make sure a doctor wasn't needed.

Nathan: Well, he seems to be okay. . . No sign of a concussion, few bruises, coupla busted ribs, nothing major. Just needs to rest and take it easy for the next couple of days. I gave him some asprin. He'll be okay.

The other 5 sighed in relief. Buck had decided to move his cot into JD's room, though, just incase he needed him, and no one was about to argue with him.

The next morning, JD rose unsteadily, to see Buck snoring in the bunk next to his. Frowning at his inability to fight the dizziness, he slumped back onto the bed, holding his head in his hands. He tried to quiet the groan that escaped his lips, but, it roused Buck anyway.

Buck: (sleepily) Huh?

JD: (voice raspy) G'back to sleep, Buck. S'ok.

Buck: (now fully awake) Ya okay, JD?

JD: Yeah, m'fine.

Buck: Yeah, I've seen your fine. . . Tell me how ya feel.

JD: (sighs wearily, voice still raspy) Thirsty.

Buck: Okay, I'll get ya some OJ or somethin'; just stay put.

JD: (protesting weakly) Buck. . .

Buck: (firmly, pushing him back into the pillows by his shoulders) Stay. I will be right back.

JD just sighed and settled back into the pillows.

Buck came down the stairs noisily, and was promptly shushed by Chris holding up a hand, as Ezra was on the cellphone. Buck looked on curiously, as Ezra, the man of an impassible expression, was having to make a visible effort to keep his voice pleasant. He hung up the phone, and tossed it into the chair, frowning.

Buck: Ez?

Ezra: Those. . . blackhearts. . . They actually tried to inform me that JD was. . . "double-dealing", and that they dispise disloyalty. They think I will still do business with them. (laughs bitterly) Oh, I'll do business with them all right. . .

Chris: Where do we meet 'em?

Ezra: A little hole in the wall, about 12 miles from here.

Buck: (grabs the juice & asprin) Okay, lemme just tell JD, and we're out of here.

After laying out the situation for him, JD insisted upon going.

Buck: Hell no! You ain't goin' nowheres!

JD: Aw, c'mon, Buck---

Buck: No! Stay!

Buck left, slamming the door behind him. JD just rolled his eyes and flopped back down. Despite everything, he knew he wasn't the one Buck was mad at, and almost felt sorry for those guys when he got ahold of them. . . Almost. But, not enough to chase away the grin twitching at the corners of his mouth. . .

Jazelle, Mr. Tevlyn, and the Turner boys were waiting with the truck at the drop point. Ezra came out first, but Buck pushed right past him. They grew apprehensive at the looks on the men's faces.

Jazelle: (with a smile that didn't reach her voice or eyes) You brought. . . others, Mr. Standish?

Ezra: (not even bothering to smile) These are my partners. . . excluding our other partner, JD, which you. . . incapaciated last night.

Mr. Tevlyn: We were only---

Buck: Don't tell us what you were "only"!

Mr. Tevlyn: Wha---

Buck: (takes a menacing step forward, towering over Tevlyn) You messed with the wrong kid, buster.

Chris: That's right. . . you messed with our kid.

Josiah and Nathan stood with Jazelle to restrain her, and while Buck, Chris, Vin, and Ezra took care of the others. After they had them all tied up, they called the police on Ezra's phone, and had them hauled away. They came back later with a huge box. . .

Vin: Uncle? Here are the missing artifacts.

Chief Running Dear: I knew I could count on you and your friends, nephew.

JD: (coming down the stairs) Ya get 'em?

Buck: I thought I told you---

JD: I took the aspirin; I'll be okay on the couch.

Buck nodded his assent, and helped him to the couch, grinning.

JD: The police?

Josiah: Yup. They are going away for a long time!

Chief Running Dear: (wipes his eyes slightly) I. . . I never thought I'd all be here. . . Come. I will make y'all a celebration feast.

They followed the Chief into the kitchen, and celebrated well into the night, content that the artifacts were now in their rightful place, and would be guarded more closely from now on.


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