In Dreams

by Kim Maddox

Chapter 28
Chris raised his aching head from the rough-hewn floor and groaned. The little light that came in through the window was enough to make him squeeze his eyes shut tightly. “What the hell?” he asked himself as he realized his hands were cuffed behind him and his legs were tied together. Larabee desperately tried to remember how he came to be in the current predicament and came up blank. It slowly came back, the meeting at the park, he saw someone, ‘Oh God, it was Rachel, Sarah´s sister, what had happened to her?´

Chris pulled himself into a sitting position and tried to ease the pressure off his arms. He felt something run down the side of his face and as the substance dropped from his jaw to the floor; he realized it was blood. ‘Great, just what I needed to round off a perfectly insane day,´ he thought to himself. The blond man was beginning to feel sleepy again and fought to stay awake. He didn´t know when his attackers were coming back and he wanted to be alert when they arrived.

Vin and Ezra arrived at the park and headed for the back running trail. The first thing they saw was the black truck that belonged to their friend. The door was standing open. The agents approached with weapons drawn. Vin eased around to the passenger side while Ezra slipped up on the driver´s side. Vin pointed his Sig inside the cab of the vehicle and cautiously stuck his head in through the open window. He shook his head at Ezra and the southern agent then approached the open door of the driver´s side of the vehicle. The agents immediately noted the cell phone and wallet lying in the seat and the keys in the ignition. Chris had clearly left in a hurry and they didn´t think it was of his own free will. Would someone willingly leave a $45,000 truck unattended with the keys in it?

Ezra pulled his cell phone from his inside coat pocket and dialed Buck on the speed dial. “Wilmington,” came the tight reply.

“Mr. Wilmington, I have most distressing news. The truck is here, cell phone, wallet with about $200 in it, and the keys in the ignition. Chris is nowhere to be found. What course of action do you recommend?”

“Stay where you are, we´re about five minutes away. We´ll rendezvous there in five. Call the others; tell them to get there. Out,” Buck snapped. “All right Jake, out with it. I want details before we get to the park. I don´t want to be left standing with our thesies and thosies hanging out when I meet with the rest of the team. I want to be able to formulate a plan. We need all the particulars and now.”

“We need to go to the campground,” Jake stated.

“What campground,” Buck asked. Almost immediately he realized that Jake meant the campground at Eagle Rock. “You mean Eagle Rock Mountain?”

“Yeah, that´s it, that´s the one. That´s the place this whole thing started,” Jake answered mystically.

“Jake come on, details man, I need details, what the hell are you talking about?”

“The campground, Chris and the family took vacations up there.”

“Yeah I know that Jake, I went with them a few times, what about it?”

“Buck, I don´t know where to start this, it´s a long story and we don´t have time to get into it before you have to meet the others. I promise I will fill you in on all the details once we know that Chris and Rachel are ok.”

Buck slammed the truck to a stop and threw it into park. He jumped out and ran around to the passenger door and jerked it open. Jake was pulled out of the seat and slammed into the side of the truck by an enraged Buck Wilmington.

“No Jake, you will give me the details now, or there won´t be enough left of you for the Navy to bury,” Buck said viciously. “Now you tell me damn it, what do you know about this and what the hell does Rachel have to do with it?”


Buck dropped the tall Navy officer and struggled for a moment to get his breath. The tape of the party, the answering machine tape, the phone calls, ‘Oh God, Rachel was the one. And Chris had been supposed to meet her.´

Buck threw the man back in the truck and grabbed the cell phone. He dialed Vin´s number and focused on breathing to keep from passing out. When Vin answered he knew from Buck´s tone that something was dreadfully wrong. “Vin, get out of there now, head for the campground at Eagle Rock. Vin get there now, Chris could be in real trouble. Tell everyone not to come to the park, just get to the campground fast.” Buck broke the connection, which spurred Vin into quicker action. If the normally talkative Wilmington was disconnecting it was something that needed attention right away. Vin´s gut tightened, hearing fear in Wilmington´s voice verified the feeling he had been dealing with for a while now that things were definitely heading out of control.

Buck was seething and at the same time he was terrified for Chris. “Tell me Jake, what did she do?” Wilmington ground out between clenched teeth.

“She blew the truck up, she found a computer geek that got directions to build a bomb from the Internet. He built it for her and put it in the truck. She lost it Buck. She wasn´t herself.”

“I don´t give a damn if she was the fucking King of Siam, why the hell did she kill Sarah and Adam?”

Jake drew in a shaky breath, ‘I´ve come this far, I might as well tell the whole story´, he thought to himself and began to tell the tale that he had kept secret for four years.

“She was in love with Chris,” he stopped at the sharp intake of breath from the enraged man sitting beside him. “I called her every other week, no matter where I was stationed. She was alone; Dad had nothing to do with her except to tell her how worthless she was. After I left for the Navy and then Sarah married Chris and moved away, she was totally alone. Dad threw her out of the house one night after he caught her out with a sailor. He didn´t know that Rachel was jailbait and Dad almost beat the guy to death and then started on Rachel. He put her out and told her to never darken his door again. She called Sarah, and Chris told Sarah to have Rachel come to Denver and live with them. Rachel was thrilled. Chris sent her plane fare and she packed her suitcase and left Virginia behind. She wrote me and let me know that she was with Sarah so I could call her there, which I did, all the time. Believe me Buck; if I had known that it was getting out of hand I would have put a stop to it then. But I had no idea that it had gone that far. Anyway, pretty soon she stopped talking very much about Sarah and Adam, before it was always “Adam did this cute thing or Adam did that, and Sarah is so good to me, it became, Chris this and Chris that. Then he bought her a car. It was just an old junker, but he wanted her to have a little freedom and she was supposed to start college in the fall. He was being nice to her and trying to help her, but Rachel didn´t see it that way. She saw it as him being in love with her. Next thing I knew she was telling me that they had become lovers and that he was planning to take Adam and leave Sarah. She told me that Sarah was a terrible mother to Adam; that she neglected him and mistreated him and Chris wasn´t going to leave his son behind with that woman. Rachel told me that she was more of a mother to Adam anyway and that the three of them were going to be a family. I almost freaked out then, but something told me that she was just fantasizing and that there was nothing to it. Rachel was always like that; even as a child she had imaginary friends and made up all kinds of wild stories. I just didn´t put any stock in it, I knew how much Chris and Sarah loved each other and I knew for sure that Sarah was a good mother. She raised me.

The next week when I called Rachel, she wasn´t home, but Sarah was. I talked to her for several minutes and I told her that I thought Rachel might be trying to cause trouble. She told me that she already knew and that she was going to have a talk with her about everything. She was going to tell Rachel that if she couldn´t leave Chris alone she would have to go. I made plans to leave the Navy and come home to take care of Rachel. Sarah assured me that I wouldn´t have to; she could handle Rachel. Nothing was going to come between her and Chris, and nothing was going to ruin her marriage. I believed her; when Sarah set her mind to something, it was set.

I didn´t make it to call again. The next time I heard from them was four days later when my CO called me into his office and told me that my sister and nephew had been killed. I knew then what had happened, even before I knew the details. I knew she was capable of it but I didn´t want to believe that my little sister was so warped that she could kill the woman who raised her from the time she was a baby. I surely didn´t think that she would kill Chris´ son, knowing how he felt about his child. I didn´t know what Rachel had become and I couldn´t put a name to what drove her to do this,” Jake finished his story shakily.

“The word is obsession Jake. She was obsessed with having Chris and she didn´t care what she had to do or who she had to hurt to get him.”

“I guess that´s probably the right word for it all right. I just wish I had known what she was doing before Sarah and Adam had to pay for her insanity. She is insane you know?” Jake looked to Buck for confirmation.

“Sounds just plain mean to me.” Buck said icily.

“No, after the funeral she told me she was planning on staying around, for Chris, she said. Now they could be together. I was sickened. I couldn´t look Chris in the eye. I thought that Rachel was involved somehow, I just didn´t know for sure, and she was my sister Buck. My little sister, the one I was supposed to protect. I just couldn´t turn her in. I couldn´t. I went back to my base and she followed me there about two weeks later. She was a mess. She was hysterical. She told me that Chris had abandoned her. She was pregnant with his baby and now that he was free of Sarah, he wanted greener pastures. I didn´t believe her. I forced her to go to the base physician for a check up. She was pregnant. I knew it couldn´t be Chris´ though, and I told her that. I saw him at the funeral. He was destroyed. That was the one thing that I worried about the most when I went back to base. Chris, I was afraid that he would decide just to give up and join Sarah and Adam. He was so devastated. I knew that the baby she was carrying wasn´t his.

I talked to a couple of doctors and psychiatrists on the base and they agreed that maybe she needed some help. I knew the JAG pretty well and he helped me get her committed for a 72-hour evaluation, provided I could get her to the hospital. I went home and told her what was going to happen and she ran into the bathroom and grabbed a razor blade and slashed her wrists with it, by the time I got the door open she had almost bled out. I got her to the hospital; they caught it in time and put her in the psychiatric ward. She lost the baby three days later. She blames me for that and told me that Chris would kill me for hurting her and destroying their baby. I was just sick by this time. I could tell how far gone she was and I realized then everything she was capable of. She made a lot of threats and they locked her up for three months. She got out and I didn´t see her again for about two years. Then I got a call to come to Canton OH. My commanding officer told me that my sister was in trouble. She had committed terrorist activities and they had her in custody. She was raving. She was screaming for Chris, even after two years she was still certain that what she was doing was for them. She had threatened to bomb the FBI headquarters in some town, I don´t even remember where, because they were launching an investigation into Chris´ involvement in Sarah and Adam´s deaths. As far as I know he was never a suspect in their deaths,” Jake stopped as Buck interrupted.

“He never was until recently.”

“Well, they locked her up, she was supposed to serve ten years in the psychiatric facility. She escaped about three months ago and I haven´t heard anything since. I was just holding my breath that she would leave Chris alone and just go somewhere far away. I know that was unrealistic, but it saved me from having to face what she had done. What I helped her do,” Jake dropped his head and a tear fell from his eye onto the white of the uniform he was wearing.

Buck grabbed the ringing cell phone and answered it. “Wilmington.” Vin was on the other end of the line, “Buck, what´s your ETA?” Wilmington responded, “About 20 minutes, Vin you got to get there before then, Chris may not have 20 minutes.”

Vin glanced sharply at Ezra who was driving. “Step on it Ez, Chris is really in trouble.” “How do you know Vin?” the southerner asked, his concern growing steadily by the moment. “Cause of the sound of Buck´s voice Ez, that´s all I need to hear to know,” the sharpshooter replied. Ezra troubled by the unheard conversation, floored the Jaguar and sped up the mountain pass, pushing the car much harder than he ever had before.

The car carrying the two agents screeched to a stop at the gate to the abandoned campground. A few moments later Nathan´s Explorer pulled up beside them. Josiah, JD, and Nathan stepped out and joined Vin and Ezra. There was a feeling of unease that had settled itself around the five agents. The men started to go through the gate but turned at the sound of screaming tires and the loud roar of an engine pushed to its limit.

Buck and a man wearing a Navy uniform bearing the insignia of a low- grade junior officer stepped out of Buck´s truck and approached the men. Buck´s look of distress startled the other agents and immediately put them on alert. Buck threw a hand toward the Navy man and said shortly, “Jake Connelly, Sarah´s brother. Josiah Sanchez, Nathan Jackson, Vin Tanner, JD Dunne, and Ezra Standish.” The introductions over Buck got down to business. “Vin, can you take JD and search this side of the lake? Josiah, you and Nathan go to the east side of the grounds, Ezra go to the west with me and Jake. Meet back here in 15 and keep your cell phones on. Call if you see anything suspicious or out of place. We are also looking for Sarah´s sister Rachel. Blond, pretty, you saw her on the tape, I don´t guess she´s changed that much physically.” There was something about the way he said the word “physically” that put Vin´s guard up.

“What are we dealing with here Bucklin?” Vin asked.

“What we are dealing with gentlemen, is a psychopath,” stated Ezra.

The others all looked at Standish. “I just now realized what had bothered me about this whole situation. The sister, what had happened to her? I guess we now know,” Ezra said answering the question that the others were dying to ask.

Chapter 29

Chris regained consciousness for the second time since his abduction. He didn´t feel any better this time than he did before. His head was throbbing and his mouth was dry. He knew it had been several hours since he had been taken because the room was now dark. The only light was from the full moon overhead. He shook his head trying to clear his fuzzy memory. ‘How had he gotten here? Where was here?´ “RACHEL!” his mind screamed at him. Rachel was involved in this whole mess somehow. The little sister he never had, the child who had been lovingly cared for by his wife, the sweet loving sitter for Adam, the slightly off kilter flighty teenager that was Rachel Connelly, was somehow mixed up in this insane web of lies. ‘What happened to her, how had she become involved in all this, and where had she been for four years?´

Larabee again tried to raise himself into a sitting position. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, he was upright. The blood pounded in his head and ears and for a moment he thought he would pass out again, but managed to fight off the blackness that was invading the edges of his vision. He knew that he had been dealt a severe blow to the head; he could feel the knot rising on the back of his skull. He was also nauseous; he knew that meant a concussion. He would have to try very hard now to stay awake and not let himself drift into unconsciousness. He needed to remain alert.

As the blond man sat on the floor in the dark room he attempted to analyze his situation. He was unarmed, restrained, and injured. His team had no idea where to find him, hell he didn´t even know where he was. His senses honed in on a familiar element in the room, senses that were now working overtime. He smelled cedar and pine, he felt the rough texture of the walls and floors, and he could hear the chirping of crickets and the howling of coyotes. The campground, he was at the campground! Now if he just had a way to let the other agents know where he was. That was a problem. He had no cell phone and there were no other phones around for miles. He just hoped that Buck or Vin would think of the place and try looking for him there.

The next thought centered on Rachel and what she was doing. Now that he was regaining control of his thought processes, he remembered that he had met her at the park. She was not acting normal. She was not herself. Chris became truly nervous about her intentions. ‘What would make her react the way she did?´ he questioned himself as he remembered her outburst. She had accused him of infidelity, with Sarah! It just didn´t make sense. It was almost like Rachel was pretending to be Sarah accusing him of an affair with Rachel. That thought frightened him. He and Sarah had a conversation just before he left on that ill-fated trip to Mexico with Buck. The conversation centered on a phone call that Sarah had received from her brother Jake. Jake was concerned that Rachel was going to try to cause trouble for the couple. Sarah assured him that she would take care of it, and Chris knew that she would. Rachel just wanted attention. Chris was sure that she meant no harm; she just wanted to belong somewhere. Now Chris wasn´t so sure that she was as innocent as he believed her to be.

The time for wondering came to an end as Chris heard the squeaking of the door indicating that his abductors had returned. The tall, shapely blond woman that Chris remembered as a troubled teenager looking for acceptance entered the bedroom and lit the kerosene lamp sitting on the bedside table. The room was illuminated enough for Chris to be able to tell that his captor was indeed Rachel Connelly.

The woman smiled coyly at him and started speaking to him in a voice that dripped honey. It was like a knife to Chris´ heart; she sounded so much like Sarah. “Hello Sugar,” the young woman purred. Chris was almost overcome by emotion, “Sugar” was Sarah´s pet name for him, The southern accent made him think of Ezra; ‘God he would love to see Ezra right now, or Vin, or Buck, or… anybody that could get him the hell out of there.´

Rachel approached him and sat down on the floor beside him. “I didn´t think I would ever see you again Love,” she began as she started running her fingers through his blood streaked hair, “I missed you so much.” Chris began to fight the wave of nausea that threatened to engulf him. Her hands moved to his face and followed the curve of his cheek down to his neck. Her lips moved to catch his in a tender kiss that he refused to take part in. She looked at him, her green eyes growing dark with hurt, anger, and something that made Chris´ blood run cold…passion.

It came to him in a blinding second of realization. The knowledge of it made his head snap back and he looked directly into her face and saw the madness that lay there. She wanted him. She had wanted him for a long time. Now he was remembering and he perceived every memory differently now. He remembered Rachel forgoing a shopping spree to help him work on an old classic Corvette that still sat under a tarp in the barn. He remembered her giving up outings with her friends to stay home and help him work the horses. Oh God, he should have seen the signs. Rachel had been in love with him, and he just shrugged it off when Sarah had mentioned it to him. They both thought it was just an innocent crush. After all Chris had treated her better than anyone else ever had, except for Sarah. ‘Sarah, I´m sorry, I should have known.´

Rachel seemed to read Chris´ thoughts. “There´s nothing for you to regret or feel sorry for my love, she knew how we felt about each other. She knew that nothing would ever come between us.” Chris stared at the woman as she brought her mouth down to claim his. Her lips were poison to him and Chris struggled to free himself from her grasp. Rachel became angry, very angry, and with her anger her passion was fueled. She savagely bit down on Chris´ lip till she felt his blood in her mouth. Chris still tried to get away. Her mouth and her very presence were an abomination to him. The insane woman pulled back and looked Chris in the eye. She could see his disgust. Rachel drew her hand back and slapped Chris´ face and then to his surprise, she began to laugh. It was not a merry laugh; it was an evil, out of control laugh that started a finger of fear moving up and down Chris´ spine. The laughing stopped and emotions that Chris couldn´t begin to name crossed her face. “I did what I had to do Chris. I did it for us.”

A shiver of dread crept over Chris as he looked at the woman who had now begun to shake. His eyes took on a hard edge, and with the coldness born of four years of meeting death head on at every turn, Chris fastened the mad woman with a withering glare, “What did you do?” The question was asked slowly and deliberately. When Rachel continued to stare straight ahead and shiver Chris asked the question again, this time the deadly edge to his voice was more apparent, “What the hell did you do Rachel?”

Rachel´s head jerked up and her eyes met his. Tears formed and rolled unchecked down her cheek. “Chris, I should have done something. I should have told you. She was trouble. I knew it for a long time. She was making trouble for us. She wanted you. I couldn´t let her have you. You were mine. We had a life together. Adam and us. I had to stop her.”

Chris felt a fury that he hadn´t known he could possess. Chris Larabee, a man whose name invoked fear in the hearts of the criminal element, a man who thought he had seen and heard everything and was not affected by it, a man who had ceased to live four years ago when his family was cruelly taken away, a man who was right now contemplating how to get free and kill the woman standing in front of him, calmly stated, “Rachel, cut me loose.”

“Chris! I´m Sarah. Don´t you recognize me? God, I know it has been a long time but, I´m your wife!” the woman sobbed. Chris almost lost all control at that moment. Larabee realized at the same time that it might be his only chance to get out of the mess he was in, so he played along with her fantasy.

“Of course I recognize you Baby, I know who you are and I know how much I love you. If you´ll come here and untie me, I´ll show you how much I love you,” the blond man cajoled as he fought the bile rising in his throat. He thought for a moment that she was going for it, but his hopes were dashed when she stood up and started pacing the room.

“You´re lying, you don´t believe me. She has brainwashed you. Rachel has convinced you that I´m dead. Well as you can see, I´m not. She´s just trying to keep you for herself. I can´t untie you, she´ll take you away.”

“Sarah, I´m not going anywhere, I´m gonna stay right here with you. Wherever you are is where I belong.”

“Really?” she questioned in a little girl tone of voice.

“Yeah, really. Come on, untie me so that we can get out of here before she comes back.”

“Before who comes back?” Rachel asked in confusion.

“Rachel. Come on Sarah, untie me before Rachel comes back.”

“Oh she´s back honey, and you aren´t going anywhere.”

Chris stared at the blond woman as she approached him. Her eyes were drilling holes into his brain. He knew he was in real trouble. “So you were trying to talk Sarah into letting you go, wrong move lover. Sarah is under my control. They all are, so save yourself the trouble.”

Chapter 30

Buck was at his wits end. They had searched their part of the campground and weren´t having any luck. Josiah and Nathan were reporting nothing as well. He could only hope that Vin and JD were having better luck. Wilmington´s cell phone began to ring and the urgency was almost palpable. “Wilmington,” he replied.

“Buck… it´s Vin, we´ve got something. We´re on our way back to where you are. See you in five.” The connection was broken before Buck could ask any questions. Something in the tracker´s voice told Wilmington that it was big. They could have a lead. “God I hope so. Chris where the hell are you?” the tall agent asked for the second time that day.

Jake was pacing nervously. “What have you done Rachel? I can see your hands all over this,” he thought out loud; unaware that he had done so.

“That´s the question of the hour Mr. Connelly. What has your sister done? I for one would like to know just exactly what this young woman is capable of?” Ezra asked the question that the other men had been afraid of voicing.

“To tell you the truth Mr. Standish, I don´t really know what she might be capable of. I´m afraid to guess. I don´t know what her mental state is right now. I haven´t talked with her in a while. I can tell you that she used a homemade weapon to exact her escape from the mental facility. She attacked two male guards, put one of them in the hospital for two weeks. She apparently has super strength when she is angry. The facility administrator told me that she refused to speak during her sessions with the psychiatrist. He also told me that they had recently diagnosed her with multiple personality disorder. I thought it was a bunch of crap at first but I got to thinking about her actions over the years and it might not be too far fetched.”

Buck was only half listening to the story that Jake was telling Ezra until he heard the words ‘Multiple Personality Disorder´. He was off like a flash, yelling back to the others “Call Vin, tell him to meet us at the cabin Chris took us to that first time you were here. Let´s move!”

Josiah responded to the urgency in Buck´s voice. He got on the cell and called Vin, relaying the message post haste. Ezra, Nathan, Josiah, and Jake piled into the waiting vehicles and followed Buck to the cabin on the southern face of the mountain. They immediately noticed a light burning in the back of the house. Ezra slipped around and saw a small sports car parked in the back. He came back and reported the findings to the others. Vin arrived and decided to take a look around, see if he found anyone home, as it were.

The quiet tracker eased around the backside of the cabin, careful not to make a sound. He moved as silently as a panther stalking his prey. He noticed a small window and edged toward it. He stifled a gasp when he looked inside.

Chris was tied up and slumped over, leaning against the small bed where he found Adam´s ball glove. He was bleeding from a wound to the head and Vin wasn´t sure if it was a gunshot wound. Chris´ eyes were narrowed to tiny slits and Vin couldn´t tell what the expression on his face meant. It was something scary. For the first time since they met, Vin couldn´t tell what Chris was thinking. It terrified him.

Vin´s eyes shifted to the form crossing the floor to stand beside Larabee. The window was partially open and Vin could hear her words to him and they stabbed his heart like shards of ice. “Chris! Chris, wake up! Please, she´s gone; we can get out of here now. Come on wake up, you´ve got to move, I can´t drag you out of here and I can´t carry you. Come on Sugar. Rachel will be back any minute,” the young blond woman pleaded.

Vin was confused. Why was Rachel Connelly trying to help Chris get away if she was the one who had kidnapped him in the first place. “What the hell is going on here?”

“That´s for us to know and you to never find out, whoever you are,” Vin turned at the sound of the voice. He saw a young man with glasses raise a baseball bat and it slammed into the side of his head before he could react. Everything went black as he tried to call out for help.

Chapter 31

Buck wondered what was taking Vin so long. Their observation point up above the tiny cabin wasn´t much for up close viewing. The question was answered when he saw a thin young man with glasses drag Vin around the side of the cabin and up onto the front porch.

The others saw as well. Nathan said, “Shit, Vin´s hurt.” It wasn´t necessary for Nathan to relay the information. It was very obvious that Vin was unconscious.

Buck thought, “Damn, why didn´t we look here first, it was the obvious place to look.”

Josiah noticed Buck´s expression and tried to reassure the man. “Buck, don´t beat yourself up over this. We were working our way around to it. It was the obvious choice, but our training tells us to not always go with the obvious. I´m sure Vin is all right, Chris too. We´ll find him. Right now we´ve got to figure out how to get to Vin. Anybody got any ideas?”

“It´s Jimmy,” Jake stated.

“Who?” asked a chorus of voices.

“Jimmy, the guy who built the bomb,” Jake said now seemingly in a daze.

“Oh my God, you know who built the bomb?” JD asked shaking with fury. Before Jake could answer JD had plowed into him headfirst. The other agents rushed forward to pull their youngest member off the man. “Let me go, I´m gonna make him tell us about it,” JD yelled.

“He already told me JD,” Buck said shaking the young agent. “Calm down JD, I know the story, and I promise I will tell you the whole thing after this is over. We don´t have time for the story right now. It´s real long and real complicated. JD, Jake had nothing to do with it. Rachel is insane. He tried to stop her. JD, calm down. I´m gonna let go of you now, but if you don´t ease off I´ll deck you and lock you in the trunk. OK?”

“Yeah, Buck, I´m cool. Let me go.”

The tall agent released the smaller man from his grasp. JD´s eyes glittered with anger directed at the Naval officer standing in front of him. “I´ll tell you this though…” he paused as he shot daggers from his eyes at Jake, “If Chris is hurt because of something you did, you won´t be safe anywhere you go.”

“JD!” Buck called out a warning.

“I´m backing off Buck, shut up,” JD snapped as he walked off.

“I wish the men in my unit were as loyal to me and to each other as that guy is to Chris,” Jake said admiringly.

“Chris is the kid´s hero. He would walk through hell for him, and vice versa,” Buck told Jake. “Hell any of us would do it for the others.”

“I can see that, I hope Chris knows that he is a lucky man.”

“He knows,” Buck responded quietly.

The men assembled decided a direct approach was the best answer. They split up and surrounded the cabin. Buck called out to the people inside the cabin, “Rachel, come on out darlin´. It´ll all be ok, if you just come on out.”

Inside the cabin Chris was struggling to lift his head. The nausea was rising and he knew he couldn´t fight the next wave. The head wound, trauma, and shock all combined and the blond agent lost the battle with his rebelling stomach. After he threw up he did feel a bit better until he caught a glimpse of something at the foot of the bed. Larabee inched along the rough floor until he reached the figure sitting slumped over, head touching the floor. “Oh God, Vin! Vin, can you hear me? Come on Vin, wake up.”

‘Damn, we´ve got to get out of here,´ Chris thought. He wasn´t sure how things had gone so crazy so fast, but now there were others involved. Vin needed medical assistance and he knew the only way he would get it would be for him to do whatever Rachel asked of him.

Rachel, having heard Buck yell her name ran into the room where Chris and Vin were held. “Chris, I think Buck is out there. I´m going to call to him; maybe he can help us. OK Chris?”

“Yeah that´s fine darlin´, Buck can help us. See if you can slip out of the house and tell him where I am. Tell him that me and Vin are hurt and we need Nathan to check us out,” he paused and searched the woman´s face for signs of the returning insanity. He found none so he continued, “Go Baby, hurry before she comes back.”

Rachel responded eagerly to Chris´ plea. She started to run to the door when Chris called her name, ”Rachel, untie me, so we can get out of here.” Rachel stopped just short of the door. She turned and Chris could see that she was back. “Nice try Chris. You know that I´m just playing you. You´re never going to leave me again. Now that I have your friend here, I think I am pretty much calling the shots. Don´t you agree?”

Chris fell back against the bed. Vin still hadn´t stirred and he was desperate to get help for the injured man. Rachel wasn´t giving an inch; she wouldn´t give her other side a moment alone with Chris. ‘I´ll just have to try something else.´

Larabee´s headache was getting worse and his mouth felt like cotton. He thought for a minute and decided to play the injury card. “Sarah, you´ve got to help me. I´m bleeding and my head is throbbing, I think I´ve got a concussion. I need a doctor.”

Chris could see the woman flinch. She didn´t know whether to believe him or not. Sarah believed him and wanted to help him; but Rachel was still in control. Chris was just about to make another appeal when the young man from the park stalked into the room. “They´re out there. That Buck guy you told me about. He´s up on the hill. They´re waiting for us. They´ll take us out. We´ve got to get rid of them.”

“Well do it! Do I have to tell you everything? Are you so stupid that you can´t figure out even the simplest details without being told?” she shoved the thin man out of her way and went to Chris´ side.

“Well my love, it seems your friends decided to grow a brain; how very naughty of them. Someone is going to have to pay for their decision, and since Jimmy is too stupid to get it right, it´s going to have to be someone in this room. Let´s see, your pretty little friend over there, or you. Hmmm… let me think. I love you too much to hurt you, so I guess nature boy gets it.” Rachel made a big show of reaching into the inside pocket of the long leather jacket she was wearing and pulling out a huge Bowie knife. She started towards Vin eyeing the knife with a look that could only be described as hungry. Rachel drew the knife upward and started toward the sharpshooter´s chest. At the last minute she turned and drove the knife into Chris´ left thigh. Startled, Chris cried out. The insane woman pulled the knife out and stared at the blood that dripped from the blade. Chris could tell that it was a bad wound. Blood gushed out at first, and then began to spurt out with every beat of his heart.

Vin heard Chris´ cry of pain and responded. He pulled himself up and dove for the woman holding the knife on his friend. He hadn´t realized yet that he had almost had his skull bashed in. The adrenaline rush he felt at seeing Chris in danger deserted him at that moment and he fell flat on his face. Rachel laughed as he started to succumb to the effects of the trauma from the bat contacting with his skull. “That should keep you quiet for a while,” Rachel said with a sneer. She shoved Jimmy out the door and slammed it behind her.

Vin slowly raised his head from the floor, attempting to sit up. He turned his head to find Chris looking at him. “Cowboy, you all right?” the blond agent asked.

“Yeah, I´m the one that should be asking you that though. You´re bleeding bad there Pard,” Vin replied.

“Yeah, I know. Vin. I was such a fool.”

“No you weren´t. Nobody expects their kin to go insane and start killing. You just tried to help that woman. Let it go Chris,” Vin stated attempting to look up at the injured man. He needed to see Chris´ eyes, to see if they were clear. Nathan had warned him that Chris could be drugged. “Chris, they give you any drugs?”

“Hell no, just a headache. That skinny little son of a bitch can swing a bat.”

“Tell me about it. He bout took mine off at the shoulders. Remind me that I owe him one.”

“Get in line behind me,” Chris growled. “I get first shot at him.”

Both men knew that they were going to have to keep their heads about them to get out of this mess alive. Vin knew that Buck and the others were waiting to move in, but they would have to wait for a clear shot. He and Chris needed to disarm the situation from inside if possible.


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