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ATF Team Seven and a few other special friends had gathered at Chriss
ranch for a very special occasion. For the life of her Sidney could not figure
out what is was. She sensed this gathering was centered around her, but she
had no idea what for. They had just celebrated her twenty-first birthday
the week before.
Everyone was sitting around the living room, feeling very full. Josiah had
cooked steaks out on the girl.
Hey Sid, you want to come take a look at the horses with me?
JD asked. Sidney nodded her head and got off the couch that she was sharing
with Cody Richards, her boyfriend of six months. She followed JD out of the
Cody watched her go as he felt his heart start to beat faster.
You got it bad boy, Buck smiled. Cody turned to look at the older
I dont think Ive ever seen a couple more entirely devoted
to each other than the two of you. Cody started to blush.
I dont know about her.
I never seen Sidney as happy as when she is with you, Josiah
told the younger agent. Her eyes glow every time she shes you.
So you think Im making the right decision? Cody asked,
Sidney was the envy of every girl at the Federal building. Codys dark
features and tall, muscular build proved that he was one of the best-looking
agents, other than himself of course.
I have never been more sure of anything in my life, Buck answered.
He knew that Cody wasnt looking for his approval. He was looking for
someone elses. That person refused to even look at the nervous young
man. God Chris say something, he thought.
Can we get this show on the road? Vin asked jumping up and down.
Lets figure out what the answer will be instead of just sitting
around talking about it.
Have you ever considered looking into Ritalin Mr. Tanner? Ezra
Why? That stuffs for those kids that cant sit still.
My point exactly, Ezra answered.
Riley come here, Cody called. Sidneys old golden retriever
trotted up to him. He scratched the dog behind the ears.
I got an important job for you Riley, he told the dog. He took
something out of his pocket and tied it to the dogs collar.
Go find Sidney, Riley trotted out of the door that Nathan had
just opened. They all waited till they saw the dog head for the stable and
then quietly filed outside..
+ + + + + + +
Another two weeks and we should be able to wean him off his ma,
JD said stroking Nathans mare, Shamrock. He was gazing down at the
horses colt, Bob.
Who the hell names a horse Bob? Sidney asked stroking the star
on the small animals forehead. The colt was resting his head on her
knee. The colt had tired himself out running across the stall.
Buck seems to think its fumy. Poor little guy is going to have
to go through life with a name like that.
Yeah, hes such a pretty little thing. He should have a cool name
like Lightening or Starlight or something.
Sure thats real original, a familiar voice snorted from
outside. There arent many horses named Bob.
Shhhhhhhh! Nathan scolded Buck. They all watched Riley trot up
the girl. Sidney patted the dog a look of surprise crossed his face when
she saw the box tied to Rileys collar she took out the box and the
letter and began to read. Chris saw that Cody was shaking hard. He placed
his hand on the younger mans shoulder.
Chris I am really sorry if you dont like this, I know how much
she means to all of you guys. I will
Shut up Cody, Chris interrupted. Chris didnt mean to make
his voice sound so harsh. He saw Cody cringe.
Look Cody, There is something you have to understand. When my son died,
I thought the love that went along with being a father died too, but it
didnt. When Sidney became a part of our little ragtag family I felt
those same feelings resurfacing again. He paused. When you told
us your plan, I was afraid Sidney would be taken away from me too.
Cody felt touched. Chris was really letting all his emotions out right now.
I guess I knew all along that you two belonged together. I knew it
the moment I saw you together. I couldnt ask for a better man for Sidney.
Just promise me one thing. You wont take her away from me. There
was a pleading tone in Chriss voice that Cody guessed not many people
had ever heard before.
I would never think of doing that Chris. Besides I dont think
Sidney would let me. She talks about you and the others as fondly as she
talks about her own father. Chris couldnt help, but smile.
You know how jealous she got when the other girls in the office started
flirting with you? Chris asked.
Really? She always said it never bugged her Cody laughed amused.
It always drove her nuts. She always planned to
. Can I say something here before you share all my deep dark
secrets? a female voice said behind them. Both men whirled around and
saw Sidney standing there with hands on her hips.
How long has she been standing there? Chris growled at the men
She heard just about the entire conversation pard, Vin answered,
It was such a deep moving conversation that none of us wanted to
interrupt. He ducked just in time as Chris took a swing at his head.
Youre getting slow old man, Vin laughed.
Ill show you old, Chris said menacingly
Before your little showdown gentlemen, I believe we are all waiting
for a very important answer to a certain question proposed by Cody.
Ezra interrupted. They all turned to Sidney.
A huge smile lit up her face as she held up her right hand. The light form
the stone on her right finger glistened.
Yes! she cried as she flung herself into Codys arm. Cody
leaned her back as he kissed her passionately while the others cheered wildly.
Clean off those tuxes boys. Our little girls getting hitched,
+ + + + + + +
Geez Cody youre worse than JD on a sugar high, Buck reprimanded
the younger man.
Sorry Buck, I just dont like her in there all alone. Cody
apologized Team Seven was about to arrest Marcus Bradford, the notorious
drug lord. The criminal was wanted for ten murders and selling drugs to
elementary school kids. Bradfords one weakness was younger women. Team
Seven had seen that the only logical way to capture the son of a bitch was
to send Sidney in undercover. Nobody had gotten much sleep during the week
that Sidney was gone, but the bust was finally about to happen. They were
all looking forward to making sure the girl was okay. Cody had wanted to
be there during the bust. Nobody had a problem with that.
Calm down son, Josiah said. Shes been undercover
before. Im sure shes fine.
Alright gentlemen, heres the plan, Chris broke in. You
all know your locations. We get in there, wait for Sidney to break away from
Bradford then Vin takes him down. Well have Codys fiancé
in his arms in no time, Chris laughed. The others nodded their heads.
Alright men, lets move! he ordered. They all broke apart.
Chris walked silently to his location as they all moved inside the building
The scene in front of Chris seemed to happen in slow motion. He could remember
exactly what happened years later. The perfect bust had turned into a living
Sidney was supposed to move out of the way so Vin could get a clear shot
at Bradford. Just as Vin was about to bring up his gun, Bradford spun around
and grabbed Sidney by the neck. He pulled out his gun and pointed it at her
I know youre here Larabee! Come out here with your hands up or
Ill shoot your girl. I want to see you and the six other men with
Chris dont! Sidney yelled then yelped as Bradford tightened
Chris knew the guy wasnt kidding. Sidney would just be another number
on his long list of victims. Giving away their location was certain suicide,
but there was no other choice. He caught Vins eye and they both stood
up with their arms in the air. The others followed suit.
All right gentleman, Bradford smiled easily nodding to his four
bodyguards, Time for target practice.
Hey Bradford! a voice called from the corner of the room. You
forgot about me! Cody had sprinted out of his corner. Sidney watched
in horror as the four guns of Bradfords men quickly turned to Cody
and fired. She gasped as his body went flying backwards.
NO! she screamed and kicked back hard. Bradford keeled over in
pain. Codys distraction had given Team Seven just enough time to pick
up their weapons and start firing. Sidneys first thought was to get
to Cody, but somebody knocked her to the ground.
Not yet, Nathan yelled in her ear. Youre not getting
shot too. Sidney wasnt sure how long the gunfight lasted, but
eventually the bullets stopped flying. The second Nathan let her go, she
was on her feet. She sprinted to where she had seen Codys body fall.
Sidney wait! Ezras voice called, but she wasnt listening.
She felt like she was going to throw up when she saw the scene in front of
her. Cody was lying in a puddle of his own blood. Four bullets had gone clear
through his chest. His arms were spread out and weird angles.
We need a medic over here! she yelled. Codys eyes fluttered
Sidney, he croaked. His voice didnt rise above a pained
whisper. She dropped to her knees.
Im right here Cody, she said quietly, the tears beginning
to flow from her eyes.
Promise me something. he gasped.
Whats that? she asked
You wont end up like me, I wont be here to protect you
anymore His breathing was becoming more and more labored.
We will fix you up Cody; were getting married in two months on
Chriss ranch. Everyone is going to be there.
Never quit the
he started to say, but realized he had something
more important. I love you, he choked
I love you too, she answered. She watched as his chest stopped
Cody? she asked pushing the body.
Sidney let these guys do there job, Chris said quietly. The girl
hadnt realized that the others were standing behind her. Tears were
streaming down all of the hardened agents faces. Sidney turned around and
saw the EMTs holding a black body bag.
No! she screamed throwing her body across Codys.
Wake-up Cody, she cried desperately. Please God; dont
do this to me again! She pleaded. The girls voice tore through
there hearts. Once again they were reminded that Sidney had seen her father
after he had been murdered. Buck saw that Sidney wasnt going move.
He stepped through the blood and lifted her up. Surprisingly She didnt
resist. She just kind of hung loosely in his arms. He immediately walked
away from the scene.
Chris well take care of this, go help your agent, One of
the EMTS said. Anybody else hurt?.
Chris shook his head.
Thank God for small miracles. Cody had been the only causality in the
deadly gun battle.
Try telling Sidney that, Chris thought. Thanks
John. He turned to his team. All of them were completely shaken and
their faces were pale. Vin and JD were visibly crying. Chris knew he looked
the same way.
Shes going to need us now guys, well have our own time
to grieve later, he said. Personally I dont know how
shes going to pull through this one He walked out of the warehouse,
JD watched as the EMTs carried the body bag out of the back door. He felt
an arm around his shoulders.
Are you alright? Ezra asked. JD shook his head.
Why Cody, Ezra? You know we all would have been dead if it wasnt
I wish I had an answer for you, but I dont. I can guarantee you
that Cody is on a first class flight to heaven at this very moment,
You really think there is a heaven? JD asked. It was a question
that Ezra often struggled with, but this time he did hesitate with an answer.
There has to be for people like Cody Richards.
+ + + + + + +
The sun was beating down upon the shiny handle on the coffin. The flowers
were swaying in the light breeze. It was a day Cody would have loved. The
world seemed to be saying its final farewell to Cody.
Chris watched as Codys family walked up to the coffin. It was time
to say the last goodbyes to the fallen agent. The funeral service had been
beautiful, Cody had been carried through the streets of Denver followed by
fifty agents dressed in full uniform, There had been a huge funeral service
at the church where Director Travis had given a stirring eulogy, There
hadnt been a dry eye left in the church. Codys parents had chosen
to have a much smaller service as Cody was laid in his final resting place.
Chris was glad to see Codys parents had embraced Sidney. She was standing
up alongside Mrs. Richards. He was proud of how she was holding up, but there
was still a lot of healing left to do. The girl had lost the sparkle in her
eyes that they had all come love. She did her job, but with none of her usual
enthusiasm, The others were worried. Sidney had been given the honor of being
the first person to say Good-bye. She knelt down near the hole. Her words
were inaudible. Chris watched as she took out her gun and laid it on top
of the grave. The agent was confused.
Hey she cant do that! the gravedigger who was waiting to
fill in the grave complained.
She can do what she wants, Chris growled. The other man didnt
protest again. Sidney kissed the coffin and walked away. Team Seven waited
their turn to say good-bye. Sidney was waiting for them by a park bench.
Her eyes were bloodshot and she was shaking slightly.
I need to talk you all of you, Sidney said trying to keep her
What is it? Chris asked. Sidney took a deep breath no quite sure
where to begin.
Ive been doing a lot of thinking since Cody died. For a while
I blamed God. Why would he want to take two people I loved away from me?
It just didnt seem fair. But I thought about it some more. Its
really not Gods fault its mine.
Sidney.. Vin tried to say, but the girl kept on talking.
Losing people you love is almost a given in this type of work. Its
an inevitable fact. Honestly I dont think I could live through loosing
somebody else, she paused.
Which is why Im quitting today. The desire to stay in this job
dies with Cody. I just dont think I could stand to see any of you
hurt. By the time she finished, she was crying. Before she knew what
happened, Vin had engulfed her in a huge hug.
Chris suddenly understood why Sidney had placed her gun beside the coffin.
Nobody knew what to say. Chris had known that this result was inevitable.
The others knew it too.
What are you going to do? Buck asked.
Im not quite sure. Im leaving tonight. There are a few
high school friends that I havent seen in a while. I guess Ill
head up to Wisconsin and go from there. she answered wiping her eyes.
Nobody knew what to say.
Dont worry Nathan. Ill take care of myself. If I ever have
any questions Ill know where to call.
No thats not it, Nathan hugged her tightly. Well
miss you. Promise us that youll keep in touch.
Ill try, she answered. The others waited their turns for
hugs and to share their words of encouragement.
You will visit, Ezra said firmly.
I dont know Ezra.
Perhaps a little incentive? He took out his key ring. I
know your love for fast cars. This extra key guarantees you a free drive
in the jag.
Sidney took the key and smiled. She pulled out her wallet and reached into
her pocket. She pulled out her badge and handed it to Chris.
Well leave the desk open. he said. Sidney smiled.
Well I guess this is it, she said. Well I better go.
Sidney walked away without looking over her shoulder. They all watched her
go to truck and drive away.
Buck spoke for the others, Lets go get drunk guys. He got
up and started to walk to his truck. The others slowly followed him.
+ + + + + + +
JD sat at his office checking over the supplies for the nights raid.
Bradford had managed to escape the first time. He vowed Bradford wouldnt
get a second chance. They had gone over the mission a hundred times to ensure
that the first time Team Seven had tried to take down Bradford wouldnt
happen again. Team Seven was ready. He eyes happened to fall on the empty
desk across the room. Josiah saw him.
Well get him JD for Cody and Sidney. That bastard is going to
regret the day that he ever crossed Team Seven. JD was inspired by
the cold resolve in the older mans voice.
What do you think shes doing right now? Buck asked. It
had become a common question in the office.
I hear the weather is nice in Wisconsin right now. Shes probably
sitting out on a farm porch somewhere drinking lemonade. Buck answered.
That had become a common response. Sidney hadnt called even once. They
could only hope that she was doing fine. She crossed their minds a lot, but
it was obvious she wasnt coming back. Life had to go on.
Chris walked out of the office.
Alright gentlemen, lets rock and roll! The captain had
been hurt more than anyone else. He just refused to acknowledge it. The others
followed him out of the door and down to the two vans they would be taking.
The ride down to the warehouse was silent. Bradford actually had the nerve
to ship from the warehouse where he had actually been caught.
About a half a mile from the warehouse, Chris and Nathan pulled the vans
along side a red truck that was parked along side the road. Chris rolled
down the window.
You got three agents in there Tom? Chris asked the Team Four
What are talking about Chris? We were told to bring two.
Two? The plans called for ten agents! Chris was getting flustered.
We dont need ten Chris. So were one short OH well.
No. I wont have another mistake like last time. Either we get
ten agents or Bradford goes free again.
Well you better get on that radio and try to find another agent. Cause
my men are all on vacation.
Chris pulled his head back into the truck and pulled out the microphone to
the radio cursing. It had become standard protocol for every ATF agent to
install one of the multi-way radios in their vehicles. That way if there
was an emergency. An available agent could drive right there.
This is Captain Larabee; I need any available agent down at the South
End of Claiborne Street Pronto! Chris prayed that somebody would respond.
There was only one person in their car that heard the message. The driver
spun the wheel hard. The vehicle did a complete three sixty much to the
displeasure of the drivers behind.
Chris sat there waiting for what seemed like eternity
Where are they? he growled.
Hold your horses Chris; Give them a chance to get here. Buck
answered. They heard the sound of an approaching truck. They saw the headlights
before the driver turned them off.
Do you guys see that truck? Nathan asked into the radio.
That isnt who I think it is it? Josiah asked.
His answer was quickly answered. The truck door opened and Sidney got out;
the van doors were immediately opened and slammed shut. Chris was the first
one to reach her.
Can I help you Miss? he asked.
I heard you needed an agent. I havent worked for a while, but
Im looking for a chance to get back in the game. She looked at
the others who were standing by Chris. I have the best references.
Chris tilted his head like he was thinking about it.
Well the hours are long, the pay sucks and you have to put up with
dumb and dumber over here. He pointed to JD and Buck.
Hey! JD whined.
I think I can handle it, Sidney said seriously.
Chris you cant just hire her again before the raid. The
second agent from Team Four said from the truck. The looks that Buck and
Vin gave him made him change his mind fast.
Oh okay, I guess you can, he answered weakly.
Chris held out his hand. Do we have a deal? Sidney held put her
hand to shake, but Chris pulled her into a hug.
God its good to see you girl, he whispered.
Yeah Chris I missed you too, came her muffled reply, but
I cant breathe, Chris let her go.
What made you change your mind? Josiah asked.
Well, as I was driving through the country. I realized that no matter
what I would do. There is only one thing that I really enjoy and thats
bringing the bad guys to justice.
Thats it? Nathan prompted.
Yeah what am I missing? There was hurt written on all the
agents faces. And I cant last a day without being harassed
by you guys.
The others laughed.
Well you know what they say, Vin broke in, You can take
the girl away from the Agency, but you cant take the agent out of the
That was terrible Vin, Ezra sighed. That statement needs
to be retired.
I dont want to interrupt this little reunion, but we do have
work to do, Tom and the other agent got out of the car.
Welcome back Sidney, Tom smiled. Couldnt stay away huh?
Call me stupid, but I just missed these guys to much, she answered.
How are we taking Bradford down? she asked. The others looked
at her in surprise.
I put two and two together, she answered.
The agents went over the plan. It all looked good on paper, but they didnt
need to be reminded that it didnt always happen that way.
Alright everyone, Bradford goes down tonight. If everyone does what
they are supposed to, Bradford will be in jail cell and well be home
watching TV in two hours. Chris said firmly. That was the sign for
the others to head to their locations. Sidney was about to follow Nathan,
but JD stopped her.
Yeah? she asked. JD pulled out a gun. It was the very same one
that she laid in Codys grave. The sign that she had given up on the
Where did you get that? she gasped.
Well the gravedigger wasnt too happy about it. I figured Cody
wouldnt be too happy about you decision so I took it, in case you ever
came back. If I get a clear shot tonight I figured it should be with your
gun. Guess you can have that option now. Sidney took the gun and handed JD
the spare that she would have used.
Thanks JD, she said. I owe you one.
JD patted her on the back. What do you think friends are for?
He walked away to his location.
The scene couldnt have played out more perfectly. Bradford had no idea
what was coming before it was to late. As soon as Branfords men had
cleared out, Chris stood up and yelled,
Bradford reached for his gun, but Sidney was to fast for him. She fired.
Bradford lifted up his bloody hand. It was missing his middle finger. The
others started coming out into the open.
Nice shot Sid, Vin complimented. Couldnt have done
it better myself. Sidney smiled.
Nobody would have blamed you if you would have killed him, Buck
told her. You know we would have backed you up on a self defense
I figured death is too easy for him. I want to watch him suffer behind
bars for the rest of my life. she answered. Cody never liked
killing people even the bad guys. Neither do I.
Thats my girl, Josiah put his arms around her shoulders.
You will pay for this bitch, Bradford howled in pain as Chris
dragged him to the awaiting squad car.
Not today, she answered. Besides Im going to be awfully
hard to kill. I got two guardian angels looking out for me now. she
told him. Bradford could only stare. Chris smiled at her and continued to
drag him to the car.
I bet Codys sitting with your Dad right now, Josiah answered.
Nathan I think you should take a look at this, Ezra said walking
over with JD.
Im fine Nathan I swear! JD answered.
Yeah sure you are, Nathan responded. What happened to him
He hit his head on the metal beam above him when he tried to jump
up. Buck and Sidney started to laugh.
Oh shut up guys, it hurts like hell,
You are going to need stitches JD, Nathan said. You cracked your
head open right down the middle. Your brains are going to fall out.
You better hurry Nathan. He doesnt have that many he can
loose, Buck howled with laughter. JD lunged at him, but Nathan caught
him around the waste.
Im going to take him to the hospital to get them. Any joiners?
Ill go, Buck volunteered. Knowing that his friend wasnt
badly injured, he wasnt about to pass up the opportunity to poke fun
of JDs injury.
I better come along too, Nathan. You wont be able to drive and
referee these two, Josiah smiled. Nathan gave him a look of gratitude.
I would come, except I have a long overdue ride in a very expensive
car, Sidney said looking at Ezra holding up the spare key he had given
her. Ezra gave her a confused look then groaned.
Never again will I make a rash decision like that, Ezra sighed.
He followed Sidney as she gleefully skipped out of the warehouse. He felt
sick to his stomach.
Taking her for a cruise Sid? Vin asked.
Yup, Ezra and I will meet you at the office. she answered.
Hurry up Ezra, We are wasting time.
+ + + + + + +
What color are your stitches JD? Vin asked. Everyone, but Sidney
and Ezra, were back at the office.
JD mumbled something.
What was that? Vin asked.
Theyre pink! Buck howled with laughter. The others turned
Its all they had left, he said defensively. JD was saved
any further embarrassment as the door opened. Sidney and Ezra walked in with
a pale face.
Did you have fun? Nathan asked.
Sidney made it her goal to go fifty miles above every speed limit
sign, Ezra answered rubbing his head. I saw my life flash before
my eyes a hundred times.
Oh shut up Ezra, You know you had a blast, Sidney laughed.
Blast isnt the word I would choose, Ezra answered. :Does
the report need to be completed? he asked.
Nope, we just got it done, Vin said.
I am going to need to find someplace to move that takes dogs.
We were already looking for you, Buck said. The only place
open is the condo above me and JD.
Can we get out of here, Im starving! Vin said. Everybody
slowly got up and walked out of the door. Chris turned around and locked
it. Sidney was content to listen to discussion going on between the men.
She hadnt realized how much she missed it. They were almost to the
front door when Sidney stopped.
She glanced at the wall of Heroes on the right wall. Every time an agent
died in the line of duty a simple golden star was engraved in the wall. There
were now twenty-one stars on the marble. The stars were never marked. There
was a large book beside the wall where agents could write a message to the
Can you hold on a second? she asked. Chris nodded his head.
Take as much time as you need.
She smiled gratefully and walked over. The newest one had just been finished.
. It shiny color glistened in the dull lights. She traced it with her fingers
and the tears slowly started to flow all over again. She walked over to the
book sitting in front. The page was still opened to the pages dedicated to
Cody. They had to insert an extra page for all the people that had signed.
She scanned over the messages written for the fallen agent and friend. She
noticed that the first box had been left open. She glanced over her shoulder
and smiled at Josiah. He had been in charge of organizing the book. He had
saved the first box for her.
She picked up the pen knowing exactly what to write
Thanks for everything Cody. Our special memories will never be forgotten.
Love you forever, Sidney
She put the pen down and walked over to where her team was patiently waiting.
You alright? Vin asked. Sidney nodded her head.
First time I am in a long time.
Good, cause I got the keys to your truck and were heading for
pizza, Buck laughed.
What? Give me those back!
Not on your life girl, Buck answered and sprinted out of the
Seems youre out of luck Ms. Marks, Ezra laughed.
Seems you will be too, cause I still have your extra key on my
keychain, she answered as she followed Buck. Ezras face turned
pale. He sprinted off after Buck.
Give me those keys! he hollered rushing off after the two other
If Buck wants to drive Sidneys truck, he can give us the key
to the Jag. Vin told JD. They both smiled evilly and rushed in to join
OWWW Buck that hurt! JD howled.
JD if you pulled out those stitches, so help me
rushed forward to see what new injury JD had sustained.
Josiah and Chris watched Nathan run out the door.
Feels good to have all the kids back doesnt it, Josiah
Yeah it sure does, Chris smiled. Sidney was back and everything
was going to be all right. Life would be normal again. Well as normal it
could be with Team Seven.