In Dreams

by Kim Maddox

Chapter 14
“It all started about three weeks ago. I was having nightmares about Sarah and Adam´s death. I could see the explosion, I could hear them screaming my name, and I could feel their fear and pain. I woke up in a cold sweat, shaking so hard my teeth were rattling. I just chalked it up to it being so close to the time of year when they died. I went back to sleep. The dream started again, this time there was no explosion, Sarah was nowhere to be seen and Adam had aged four years. He was calling to me in a voice that was his but wasn´t his. His voice, but older. He looked the same too, but older. He was begging me to find him. I couldn´t do anything. I couldn´t stop what happened to them. I shouldn´t have ever brought Sarah here. I should have stayed in the Navy, made it my career, but no, I had to go into law enforcement. Homicide, no less. I was always bringing my work home with me. That´s what caused this whole thing in the first place,” Chris stopped, trying to catch his breath. Ezra noticed that when Chris came to the point in his story about an older Adam calling out to him for help, he changed the subject. He was covering again. Ezra let him pause for as long as he needed to pull himself together and then he began talking again. “I don´t know why I´m reacting to these dreams this way. I´ve had four years to come to terms with this and I´m not dealing with it any better now than I did when it first happened. Do you know that today is the first time I´ve ever been to their graves? Ever. I know it sounds weird that I´ve grieved the way I have and never even been to their graves, but something wouldn´t let me come. It has something to do with Adam I know, but I just can´t figure out what. I look at Sarah´s grave and I feel the same sense of loss I felt the day she died, but I look at Adam´s grave and I just feel empty. Does that sound crazy to you Ezra? He was my son, I should feel sad and lonely at the thought of him being gone, but I don´t, I just feel empty.”

“Chris, I don´t think it sounds crazy at all. They´re your feelings, right or wrong, they´re yours. I just want you to know that if you need to talk about this anytime, anywhere, day or night, you just call me. Maude had me to enough “ists” in my lifetime that I should be good for something. Psychiatr´ists´, anal´ysts´, psycholog´ists´ you name it I´ve seen one or two. Now come on, let´s get you out of here, I´ll take you to lunch, you look like you haven´t eaten in a couple of days. Have you been drinking your meals again?”

Chris grinned, “Yeah, I guess I have. Ezra,” he started on a more serious note.

“Yes, Mr. Larabee,” Ezra replied.

“Could we please just keep this between ourselves?”

“I have to be straight with you Chris. I don´t know if I can or not. I was real scared when I saw you pull your piece just now. I´ll promise you to do what´s in your best interests. Everyone is concerned about you now. Nathan is worrying himself into a state about your eating habits and your intense commitment to driving before you are sufficiently recovered from your accident. You should really give the poor man a break.”

“Look, I appreciate the concern Ez, but there is really no need for you to worry. I am interested in living. I just need to find a way to deal with all this crap. I know everybody thinks I´ve lost my freaking mind. I know I haven´t been exactly rational these last few days. The dreams, the cabin, the accident, the drunken binge yesterday, I don´t know why I´m doing this stuff. I think even I´m starting to believe I´m going crazy.”

“Chris, don´t worry about what everyone thinks. You´ll deal with this in your own way, in your own time. I will tell you that I think it would help you to talk to Josiah. He is a great listener, I know from experience. He knows his stuff too. He doesn´t just talk out of the other side of his mouth. He knows what he´s doing and he cares about you. Why don´t you give him a chance?”

“I don´t think so Ezra, not just yet. I can´t believe that I even told you all this. I don´t think I´m ready for the others to know what a basket case they´re working for.”

“OK, but I´m telling you Chris, they care about what is going on with you and they will understand. Whatever you need to do, they´ll see that it gets done.”

“I know, and maybe in a few days, when I´ve come to terms with it a little better myself, I´ll be able to tell them what´s going on. I just don´t want them to lose faith in my ability to lead this team. I´m afraid that´s what will happen if I start talking this crazy shit around them.”

“No way, Mr. Larabee. Your finesse with this team is legendary. No amount of talk will change that. Neither they, nor I will ever lose faith in your abilities. You have led this team from a hospital bed, with broken bones no less, and done so admirably. Come on, let´s go to Luigi´s, I´m dying for some Fettuccini Alfredo. How about you? Some chicken Parmesan perhaps, or some scampi? It´s my treat, anything you want, as long as it´s solid, not liquid. I´ve got to get back on Nathan´s good side, and a sure fire way to do that is to get you to eat something besides coffee, doughnuts, or whiskey.”

The two men left the cemetery and got into Ezra´s Jaguar. They proceeded to Luigi´s and had ordered their lunch when Larabee´s cell phone rang.

“It´s probably Buck. He´ll be wanting to know if you found me,” Chris grinned as he hit the talk button on the phone. “Larabee,” he snapped into the mouthpiece. “What do you want Buck?”

Ezra looked at his leader and his heart dropped into the pit of his stomach as he saw the smile leave Chris´ face and his features visibly pale. “Who are you and what the hell do you want?”

Ezra pulled the phone away from the distraught man and put it to his ear. The voice on the end of the line was not familiar. The words, meant to devastate Larabee, were having the desired effect. “Have you ever wondered Larabee, if what happened to your family, was really what happened after all? Is there the least little doubt in your mind that you checked everything out really good? Maybe things are not as they appear. Check it out Larabee.”

The connection was severed but the damage had already been done. The lightening mood the two men had shared only a few moments before had dissipated. Chris was back to the black mood that had surrounded him at the cemetery. That worried Ezra. Sure he had Chris´ weapon, but the man´s home was as well fortified as Fort Knox. It would only take a quick trip to the house to procure enough armament for a small war. Ezra didn´t know if he was more worried about Chris hurting himself or someone else. An innocent. He quickly decided that the best thing to do for Chris was to tell the others about the scene in the cemetery. They could all help him keep tabs on the man whose life was being destroyed a little at a time.

The meal passed in silence. Ezra attempted to enjoy his food but Chris made no pretense of trying to eat. He pushed the plate away and waited for Ezra to finish his lunch. “I´ve got to get back to the office Ezra, I can take a cab if you want to stay a while longer.”

“No thank you Mr. Larabee, I am quite done with lunch. You however, have broken your promise to me. I thought you were going to help me return to Mr. Jackson´s fold. Please Chris, eat something. You can ill afford to lose any weight; you´re already dangerously close to looking like a skeleton. You have dark circles under your eyes, and they are very bloodshot. When did you last look in a mirror?” Ezra concluded his plea.

“None of your damn business Standish. I am fine. I don´t need to eat. Besides eating is not going to make this whole thing go away.”

Standish noticed the dejected slump of Chris´s shoulders. His heart was breaking for the man. “I just wish I could do something to help him,” was his only thought.

Chris and Ezra returned to the Federal Building, where Larabee immediately shut himself up in his office and pulled the blinds. The other agents noticed his actions and asked Standish where the two of them had been all afternoon. “We have been to the cemetery where Mr. Larabee´s family is buried. Then we took a lunch break. Mr. Larabee fell asleep by his wife´s grave and had another dream. He awoke armed and dangerous. I took his weapon from him for his own safety as well as the safety of the public. Later at the restaurant his cell rang and there was a mysterious voice on the line asking him if he checked out everything about the deaths of his family members. It got quite a reaction from our leader. Gentlemen, there is something going on here and I don´t like it. Someone is attempting to gaslight Mr. Larabee and from what I have seen today they are succeeding. We need to ascertain who this miscreant is and derail his plan. I am afraid for our leader´s well being.”

The silence in the room was audible. Five questioning faces looked back at the southerner. They all seemed to be asking “Where do we go from here?” Ezra smiled grimly at the quintet and stepped to his desk and sat down at his computer terminal. “Gentlemen, let´s get to work.”

Chapter 15

The days passed slowly for Chris Larabee as life became a vicious circle of working, drinking, walking the floors, and starting the whole thing over again. The world ceased to exist outside his caseload and a whiskey bottle. His friends had started to truly worry now. He didn´t eat, he didn´t sleep, he didn´t talk, he worked and drank. His paperwork was caught up for days in advance and in the field he was reckless. Not with the team, never would he put their lives in danger, but his own was another matter. He began to work all the cases from the inside. He was the first one to go in for the bust. He took chances the others were not willing for him to take. Chris just didn´t care anymore, and that made him dangerous.

Ezra had taken to staying late in the evenings, walking out with Larabee when he finally gave in and went home. Chris knew that Ezra was babysitting, but took his explanation of overdue reports as his purpose for staying till sometimes 10:00. While Ezra kept an eye on his charge, Vin and JD worked feverishly at their research. Vin knew he was close to something, he could feel it. The other team members knew that Vin´s feelings usually had meat to them. They all just hoped they would find out something soon. Chris was unraveling a little more every day. It hurt them to see the once strong and vibrant man they relied on to lead them, become a withdrawn, bitter emotional cripple and not be able to do anything about it.

Chapter 16

Chris Larabee pulled into his driveway and parked his truck. He got out and made his way to the front door. The conversation he had with Vin a couple of weeks before made him pause on the front deck. Why didn´t he use the garage entrance into the house anymore? What made him start using the front door after so many years of doing things the way Sarah had done them? He cautiously went down the steps and walked around the front of the house and to the garage. It loomed in front of him and took the breath right out of his body. Fear gripped his heart and it became a living being. His mouth got dry and his heart started to pound. His body betrayed him and he could no longer stand. His knees buckled and he crumpled to the ground. The blond man was absolutely terrified. He was shaking and could not make himself stop. ‘What the hell is the matter with me? A grown man, an ATF agent at that, afraid to go into his own garage.´ The thought pissed him off, and a pissed off Chris Larabee is an active Chris Larabee. He surged to his feet and flung himself into his truck.

Chris drove back into the city and to the ATF offices. He used his passkey to gain entrance into the building. That key and his ID badge gained him access to most any office in the Federal Building. He took the stairs up to the third floor. He took his key and entered the lab offices of the ATF. His eyes scanned the shelves and drawers of the lab, until he found what he was looking for. He put two spray bottles into his coat pocket and closed and locked the door behind him.

Larabee stealthily exited the building and got into his truck. He breathed a little easier when he cleared the security office at the gate. Driving with one hand on the wheel and the interior light on, Chris read the instructions on the bottles. He had used this particular evidence gathering tool before but he wanted to make sure he did it right.

The tool in question was a chemical called Luminall, used to detect blood. The agent had used it when he worked homicide for the Denver PD. Blood was a strange element. It could be wiped up, cleaned where there were no traces of blood to be found; yet it was still there hiding. That is what Luminall did, detected hidden blood.

Larabee pulled into his driveway for the second time that night. He parked the truck and got out and walked to the door of his garage. Once again his heart started pounding. He pushed the fear back and entered the garage. He looked around at the collection of items that filled the garage. Small everyday items like spray paint cans, tools, boxes, etc. that filled everyone´s garage. The larger items like lawnmowers and his motorcycle were parked in one side of the two-car building. It looked like any garage anywhere, but lurking just inside the doorway was a sinister element that Larabee couldn´t put a name to.

Chris sprayed the chemical on the walls, floors, and even the ceiling of the garage. He covered most of the surfaces of the building. He then replaced the fluorescent light tubes with black light fixtures. Then taking a deep breath he flipped the light switch, triggering the ALS (alternate light source).

Chris gasped and staggered backwards as his eyes adjusted to the sight that was before him. The shocked man felt his coat pocket for his cell phone. Locating it he hit a number on his speed dial. The phone rang at least seven or eight times and Larabee was about to end the call when a sleepy voice finally answered, “Hello.”

“Ez, Ezra, is that you?” Chris asked in a small sounding voice.

“Mr. Larabee, I can barely hear you, please speak up,” Ezra replied in acknowledgement.

“Ezra, could you please come out here?”

“What´s wrong Chris?” Ezra asked now concerned. Chris wouldn´t call and ask him to come out there if there wasn´t something really wrong.

“Just please come, I don´t know what to do.”

“Be there in a few Chris. Just stay calm.”

Ezra thought the forty-five minute drive to Chris´ felt more like three hours. There was virtually no traffic, especially when he got out of the city, but it felt like the drive was endless. He didn´t know what he would find out at the ranch. Chris sounded strange. Not really upset, just strange. Why hadn´t Chris called Vin? That was usually his first course of action. Maybe he had called; maybe Vin was already on his way out there. Ezra decided to call and check with the others to see if Chris had contacted them.

Standish dialed Vin Tanner´s number and waited impatiently for an answer. After about five rings he heard Vin´s voice on the other end of the line. “Mr. Tanner, has Mr. Larabee spoken with you tonight?”

“Ezra, do you know what time it is? It´s three o´clock in the morning. Chris wouldn´t call at this hour. Why are you calling at this hour?” Vin asked obviously annoyed.

“Because he phoned me about thirty minutes ago and asked that I come to the ranch. Something is wrong but he wouldn´t tell me what it was. I was just wondering if maybe he had called you as well.”

“No he didn´t call but I don´t like the sound of things. You know Chris; he wouldn´t bother anyone in the middle of the night if everything was normal. I´m heading that way.” Vin answered.

“No Mr. Tanner, wait on coming to the ranch till I find out what is going on. There is no need for both of us to be out and about at this ungodly hour. Chris may just want to talk to someone, someone with an outsider´s view of things. I´ll get back to you as soon as I know anything.”

Vin didn´t want to agree but knew that Ezra was probably right. He and Chris seemed to have a wall between them right now. They hadn´t really spoken about the dreams and the accident or anything else that had happened lately. Vin realized he had been preoccupied with his search for answers regarding Adam Larabee and Chris had probably picked up on it. He would do better in the future.

Ezra meanwhile, had closed in on the Larabee ranch and had it in sight. He pulled into the driveway and did a cursory search of the grounds from his car. Chris´ truck sat in the driveway and the garage door was open. It was at that moment that he noticed the light coming from the garage. It had an eerie blue glow to it that Ezra couldn´t put his finger on, but he was going to find out what it was.

The southerner was not expecting what he saw upon entering the garage. His eyes roamed slowly around the building and came to rest on the form of Chris Larabee sitting slumped against the far wall. Ezra immediately came out of his shocked stance and hurried over to his friend. The eyes of his friend were staring at the walls and ceiling and floor of his garage, the walls, ceiling, and floors that were now covered in a luminous blue dye.

Chapter 17

Ezra realized what the dye was and gasped in horror at his friend´s discovery. One hand reached for Larabee´s shoulder and the other reached for his cell phone. “Chris, come on let me get you out of here.”

Chris heard Ezra but it was as if he were very far away. He couldn´t get his arms to work, or any part of his body for that matter. He felt Standish pulling him up off the floor and leading him outside. He heard Ezra dialing his phone and talking to someone but he couldn´t figure out for the life of him who it could be.

“Mr. Tanner, you better get on out here, soon. Phone the others and tell them we are going to need them. We need a crime scene investigation team out here as well,” Ezra whispered into the mouthpiece trying to conceal his conversation from the too calm Chris.

“Ezra, if you don´t tell me what is going on over there I´ll kill you when I do get there,” Vin snarled.

“I assure you Mr. Tanner this is something you don´t want broadcast over police scanners all over the city. Just get here as quickly as possible and be sure to call the others. I have all I can do to take care of Chris right now.”

That statement got Vin moving. If Chris needed taking care of it must be bad. Tanner quickly dialed the numbers of the rest of their team members and sent them on their way to Chris´ house. Josiah could get there the fastest so he called him first. He called a friend on the police force and got him to go with the crime kit and finally got out the door and headed toward his friend about a half hour later.

Josiah arrived on the scene in about thirty minutes. Chris lived a good hour outside of Denver but that night Denver got a whole lot closer. Sanchez made his way to the front of the house but a glow caught his attention. He had started toward the garage when he spotted Ezra beside Chris´ rented truck. The profiler stepped around to the driver side door and was surprised to see the undercover agent kneeling on the grass. Chris was sitting on the ground with his knees drawn up to his chest. His head was laid back against the side of the truck. Ezra was talking quietly to the distressed man and had one hand on Larabee´s shoulder and the other was holding a cell phone. Josiah stooped down beside the two men and silently asked Ezra if he could be of assistance.

Ezra quickly looked to Sanchez and motioned toward the garage, “Go take a look, prepare yourself,” Standish warned. Josiah looked puzzled and then wary. He wasn´t sure he wanted to look, but he hesitantly made his way to the open garage. The blue glow startled him and immediately set off warning bells in his mind. It still didn´t prepare him for the images he saw when he stepped through the door.

In his years working with the FBI and various other law enforcement agencies around the country and even around the world, nothing prepared him to face the reality of what had happened to his friends wife and child, or for what his friend had realized when he took that first look at those garage walls. It totally destroyed his belief that his family had died instantly in the explosion, now he knew for certain that the story he believed to be true for four years was a falsehood.

Josiah looked at the patterns on the wall that the dye had made. There were taller patterns and shorter patterns. Each dye splatter told another part of the story. There would have had to be a knife involved, gunshots would not have made those patterns. A blunt object had been used as well. Josiah was almost psychic. He could almost feel Sarah and Adam´s pain, fear, and desperation. He knew that Chris was a very intelligent man and had figured out immediately what he had seen. He shook his head sorrowfully and exited the macabre scene in front of him, desperately trying to figure out what to say to Chris that would be the most comfort to him in a time when comfort wasn´t possible.

Standish was growing more and more concerned for Chris by the minute. He just sat with his knees pulled up and his head laid back against the truck. He wasn´t speaking; he was just sitting there looking defeated. Finally, one lone tear made its way down the side of his face. He pulled his head up and looked Ezra in the eye. What Standish saw there concerned him more than he could put into words. He saw resignation, guilt, self- condemnation, and the undercover agent at his side instantly understood the question that was forming in Larabee´s tightly drawn features. ‘How could I have been so blind? Why did I not notice that things just weren´t right?´ And then the truth reared its ugly head and the devastated husband and father jumped to his feet and ran to the garage. Josiah and Ezra attempted to stop him but were unsuccessful. Larabee charged into the garage and began talking, rambling really to his friends. “They were killed here, HERE! Not in the truck, not in the explosion. HERE! DAMMIT, HERE IN THE DAMN GARAGE! RIGHT UNDER MY DAMN NOSE! HERE FOR FOUR YEARS, THE EVIDENCE OF THEIR MURDER RIGHT HERE IN MY DAMN GARAGE! I have walked through this garage every day for four years and not noticed anything. What the hell kind of cop am I if I can´t even find blood in my own garage? I was a Homicide Detective for God´s sake,” Chris staggered forward. Three weeks of no sleep, no food, alcohol, and now trauma and shock combined to almost take him off his feet. His friends rushed to him and eased him to the floor, forgetting in their concern that they were sitting him down in the middle of the location of the obvious bloodbath that had been the murder scene of the Larabee family. Josiah was telling Chris to take a few deep breaths and Ezra was holding Chris´ upper body off the floor. That was how Buck and JD found them.

JD gasped as he took in their surroundings. “What is going on Buck? What is this stuff?”

Buck knew when he walked into the building what he was seeing. He knew the substance that covered the interior of the garage. He knew how it got there and by whom. He looked sorrowfully at JD and replied, “It´s the end of Chris, son. He´ll never get over this.” He left JD puzzled and afraid of his cryptic response. He slowly approached Chris and found his friend already in serious trouble. The haunted look on his friends face confirmed his suspicion that Chris had made the gruesome discovery. “Chris, Chris can you hear me?” Wilmington asked as he eased down onto the floor on his knees beside the grieving man.

Chris looked up at Buck and the tenderhearted man felt like his heart was being ripped out. Chris looked so lost and full of pain. Buck pulled his oldest friend into his arms and just held him there like that all the while whispering, “I´m sorry Chris, God I´m so sorry that you had to find this. Just lean on me, I´ll take care of you. Just let go Chris, you need to let this out man. It´s gonna burn you up if you don´t let go.”

Buck´s words and his touch broke through Chris´s defenses and his old friend smiled a sad smile and murmured, “There you go Pard, let it go,” as he felt Chris´ body dissolve into shuddering sobs in his arms.

Vin entered the garage with Nathan close on his heels. “Oh my God!” he exclaimed as he looked around the glowing blue building. He ran his hand down his face and then in a moment of clarity he jerked his head up and looked frantically for Chris. He saw Chris on the floor with Buck beside him holding on to him. He knew Chris was in a bad way. Nathan stepped around him and went to Chris´ side. Jackson´s medical training kicked in and he took over the scene.

“JD, go into the house and get a couple of blankets out of the hall closet. Bring some water too. Vin run to my truck and get my EMT kit out of the back seat,” he continued to give orders to the other agents who were thankful that he had arrived and told them what to do, it kept their minds off what was happening in front of them.

Buck was still holding Chris but felt his shaking begin to ease off. He signaled Nathan that Chris was ready to go into the house. Buck and Josiah lifted the still shivering man to his feet and led him out of the garage and toward the truck in the yard. They could not get him to go into the house; he wanted to wait for the crime team. JD returned with the blankets and one was draped around Chris´ shoulders. Nathan handed him the glass of water and two pills. Chris looked at him and shook his head. Nathan looked back and told him to take the pills or he would give him a shot, whichever he desired. The medic then pulled out a blood pressure cuff and wrapped it around Larabee´s arm. When he was finished taking his bp he took it again. He was satisfied that he did the right thing giving Chris the tranquilizers. The man´s bp was way too high. The stress of the last few weeks and the way Larabee had abused his body was ganging up on him and rest was in order. The pills would insure that he would sleep through the rest of the night and most of the day.

Standish and Tanner were aiding the crime scene team in their investigation. That is until one of the CSI team made an almost fatal error in judgment. “I guess you all know that this doesn´t look good for Larabee. He was a Homicide cop; he would know how to cover up. A dead wife and kid, a garage full of blood, a bomb. Well, let´s just hope we don´t find a really large insurance policy with Sarah Larabee´s name on it,” the words had barely left the man´s mouth when a blur knocked him to the ground. Tanner was on top of the enraged Standish who was on top of the CSI guy. “Back off Ezra! Now! Come on Standish, don´t make me have to whup your ass! Get off of him!” He pulled the snarling Standish off the man and held him back as the undercover agent once again tried to get to Detective Perkins. Vin shoved Ezra toward the door and called back over his shoulder, “Sorry Perkins, things are a little on edge right now, he didn´t mean anything by it. Go ahead, if you need anything just holler.”

Vin exited the garage and was punched dead in the face by an even more enraged Standish. “What in the name of all that is holy do you call yourself doing MISTER Tanner. Selling your best friend down the river. How could you stand there and listen to that idiot talk about Chris like he was the murderer? You call yourself his friend? How pray tell, is that possible? How could you cozy up to Perkins after what he said about Chris?” Ezra was trying to catch his breath and was leaning over with his hands on his knees, wheezing, both from exertion and from anger. He didn´t see Vin´s fist coming. It caught him under his jaw and sent him sprawling.

“Don´t you ever accuse me of disloyalty, not to Chris or anyone else on this team, but especially not to Chris. I don´t for a minute, think he did what Perkins insinuated, but I know that I can´t go around shouting Chris´ innocence to the skies when he ain´t even been accused of anything. Dammit Ezra, I wanted to punch his face in, but how would that help Chris. It would just look like we were covering. Why did you call for a CSI team? For the same reason, Chris has nothing to hide. Didn´t then and don´t now,” Vin extended his hand to Ezra and pulled his friend to his feet. “Let´s not fight between ourselves Ez. We´ve got enough of a fight coming as it is. Truce?” Vin asked, once again extending his hand.

Ezra accepted the proffered gesture of friendship and returned the handshake warmly. “I am truly sorry for my actions Mr. Tanner. I know you would never think badly of Chris. It´s just that I arrived here and found him sitting in there in the middle of that atrocity and he looked for all the world like he just wanted to lie down on the floor and join them,” Ezra´s apology stalled mid sentence as a look of concern and fear washed over his handsome features. “Vin, Chris´ guns, his home is a veritable fortress. We have to get them out of there…” Vin stopped Standish by holding up his hand and saying, “It´s taken care of. Nate sent Josiah and JD in there to clean him out. They are going over the house with a fine tooth comb.”

The southerner visibly relaxed. “It´s not that I believe Chris to be a coward or that he would take the easy way out. On the contrary, Chris is one of the strongest men I have ever known, and one of the most honorable. But, he is not in his right mind at the moment. No one would be who had gone through what he did tonight. The man lost his family once and now the specter of it is raising its head again. How much is one man supposed to take?”

“I don´t know the answer to that Ezra. I wish I could do something to take away some of the pain he´s in, but it´s something that I can´t do nothing about. But, I am more determined now to prove that Chris´ son is alive. I feel it Ezra. I know that Adam didn´t die in there. I don´t know who did, but it wasn´t Adam. He may not get everything back that he lost but he´s gonna have some of it. If it´s the last thing I do,” Vin said determinedly. The two men glanced across the yard to the truck where Chris was weaving on his feet. Buck and Nathan moved in for the catch as the drugs Nathan gave him finally took effect and Chris sank to the ground. They carried him into the house and put him on his bed. Vin removed his boots and Nathan covered him with another blanket, attempting to control the shivering that still racked Chris´ body. The agents left the bedroom door open so they could hear if he needed them for anything.

The CSI team finished gathering their evidence just after 8:00 that morning. Josiah stayed with them till they were done. When he returned to the house he found the other men sitting around the kitchen table with files strewn about and each of them poring over photographs and reports on the Larabee case. They decided that they each could use a little sleep so they arranged shifts, someone would always be awake in case Chris needed them. Vin and JD took the first shift staying up. Vin because he had turned in early the night before and JD because he was full of life and operated on less sleep than almost anyone they knew, except Chris.

The exhausted agents had barely been asleep half an hour when the phone rang. Vin raced to get to it trying to avoid waking the men who had gone without sleep all night. “Tanner,” he snapped into the receiver. There was no response. “This is the Larabee place, what can I do for you?” Vin asked in a low voice. Once again there was no response. Vin placed the receiver back on the base and sat back down on the sofa. He barely made it to a sitting position when the phone rang again. He raced to the kitchen extension and answered the phone roughly, “This is Agent Vin Tanner, who´s there?”

“I need to speak with Chris Larabee,” a feminine voice purred from the other end of the line.

“He´s busy, can I take a message?” Vin replied shortly.

“Yes, just tell him that Adam and I are waiting for him, he knows where,” the connection was severed before Vin could say a word.

JD could tell that something had happened by the expression on Tanner´s face. “Vin, what?” he asked.

“Kid, you won´t believe this,” the sharpshooter acknowledged in amazement. “I don´t know who that was but next time they call I want a trace put on it, can you arrange it?”

“Sure,” JD replied, “but what was that call about?”

“Whoever it was told me to tell Chris that her and Adam are waiting for him and that he knows where to meet them. JD, I want to know who is doing this to Chris. If he has been getting calls like this for a while now, it´s no wonder he´s just about to the end of his rope. I want to know the name and address of anyone who calls this house,” Vin stated angrily.

“I´ll get on it Vin, we´ll have a tap by noon.”

“Thanks JD,” Vin replied gratefully.


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