Mind Games

by Kati

Part of the New Agent Series

Twenty minutes later, Chris and Ezra were seated in the Travis living room. The room had been set up to look like a nineteen century drawing room. The room matched the Victorian style of the beautiful house. Once they were invited in by Evie. Ad Travis's wife, she had insisted on making them some lunch. The two agents now sat on the coach with warm bowls of delicious chicken noodle soup.

"Now Chris, you know I need some connection between Meeker's case and what is listed in your job descriptions. If I let Sidney do this without that, I'll be breaking the rules of the ATF.

"Come on Orrin, when have you let those rules stop you before," Chris said. Orrin Travis may be boss, but there was camaraderie between the two men that went farther than boss and employee. The two were close friends, and that relationship allowed the man in the lower position to speak so freely. In his youth Travis had been one hell of a good FBI agent. His techniques were very similar to Chris's, always effective, but legally questionable.

"Chris, I've already covered your asses countless times. I've got the higher powers breathing down by neck to keep you and your team in line. Do you know what they would do if they found out that I lent my agents out for local non agency related purposes. You and I could both loose our jobs!"

This is a load of bullshit," Chris answered.

"I agree with you Chris, but unless you can create a story about a legit reason to send Sid in there, then I can't give my ok."

"I've got nothing Orrin other than the fact that eight innocent girls have murdered and their killer is on the loose. Who gives a damn about the politics involved in the various departments? We are all law enforcement fighting for the same thing!"

The Assistant Director sighed. Sometimes he really hated his job. He rubbed his tired eyes with his hands.

"Can't you think of any reason for Sidney to go in there? There's got to be some far-fetched connection.

"There were significant traces of cocaine found in the girls, during the time of their autopsies," Ezra said. Travis stared at Ezra.

"I'm listening Standish," Ezra prompted.

"What if Chris and I told you that we suspected Carson of selling the drug to his students, then killing them when they threatened to expose him to the police."

"I would say give me evidence proving that," Travis answered.

"And Chris Larabee would answer by placing an agent at the University to either prove or disprove his assumption."

Chris grinned; glad the Ezra's cunning mind was on his side. The idea was so simple, but he knew he never would have figured it out himself. Travis was thinking, after a few minutes Chris asked,

"So what do say Orrin?"

"You better get Sidney prepped, because I'm on my way to the office to sign the papers."

"Thank you sir," Chris said, getting up. Ezra did the same. Evie was standing in the doorway.

"Can I interest the two of you in more soup?" she asked.

"No thank you ma'am," Ezra answered. "As delicious as the first bowl was, duty must take precedence over my stomach.

"Then hold on, I'll put it in a bucket so you can take some home." She disappeared into the kitchen.

"You're a lucky man Orrin," Chris said. The older man smiled as he put on his coat.

"I tell myself that when she's in one of her bad moods. I'm lucky if I end up with an apple on those days. Well, I'm off. Watch your backs and tell Sidney to be careful. I would hate to loose my best agents to a local case." He opened the door and walked out.

"A few minutes later, Chris and Ezra were driving down the road. The warm bucket placed on Ezra's lap.

"Thanks again Ezra, that whole thing with Carson and the drugs was genius."

"I admit that it was rather quick thinking on my part, but I owe to that fact that I would hate to see Sidney's face that she wouldn't be going in because of a minor technicality." .

"You really going to take all the soup?" Chris asked, remembering the delicious taste.

"Yes, consider it reimbursement for my services today." Chris was going to argue, but decided against it. Ezra did have a point.

Tuesday Morning had rolled around quicker than Chris would have liked. He stared into the binoculars pointed at the Science Building. He watched Sidney walk inside, a backpack flung over her shoulder.

"Well here we go," he sighed.

"She'll get him Chris," Meeker said. He was sitting in the passenger seat. "You and I both know that she's one of the best."

"That doesn't change the fact that even the best screw up sometimes," Chris answered.

'How often is she supposed to stay in contact with us," Vin asked. He was sting in the back seat.

"As much as possible, she'll have easy access to a phone. She's got a campus apartment all to herself. Besides, JD will be in steady contact with us too."

"Is that such a good idea, putting him in there too?" Vin asked. "I mean Casey is a student here and her most of her friend's know JD. What happens if they recognize him?"

"I think even Casey would have a heard time recognizing him now," Chris answered exchanging an amused look with Meeker. Vin could only wonder what the two of them had done to the poor computer whiz.

Sidney stood in the doorway and took a deep breath.

"Well here we go," she sighed and walked into the classroom. There would be forty students in the class all together, but only half of them were in the room right now. There were still ten minutes of class left to go.

There he was sitting at his desk. Sidney had to take in a deep breath. She had no idea Professor Robert Carson would be so damn hot. He was a little over six feet tall with shaggy brown hair. Although it didn't make him look bad, he turned to look at her when she walked into the classroom. She could feel herself melt when his deep blue eyes met her own.

"Can I help you?" he asked.

"Umm yes," Sidney said, reminding her of the job she had to do. She pulled a pink sheet out her pocket. "I was wondering if you had room in your class for another student."

"I thought the add drop period ended last Friday," Carson said looking at the sheet.

"I had family problems these few weeks that required me to be at home. As you can see, the Academics department Okayed it, if you have room in your class." Sidney said, trying her best to play the hesitant junior, totally absorbed with her new attractive professor. The second part wasn't very hard to pretend.

"Of course," he answered, eying her from head to toe. "We have room for another student, especially someone like you. Now I do need to warn you that this psychology class is one of the more difficult ones offered at the school. There may be times when you find yourself totally confused. I conduct study sessions at my home about three miles off campus."

Sidney almost jumped in surprise, but she managed to keep her cool.

"I will keep that in mind, Sir." He grabbed a pen and signed the sheet of paper given to her by the security force at the University. When Buck explained the situation, the campus had unwillingly agreed to help. Many of the administrators didn't think it possible that their young hotshot professor was capable of committing a crime.

"You see the girl in the back?" Carson asked, pointing to an attractive redhead sitting in the back row. Sidney nodded her head.

"That's Miranda Prince. She's the TA of this class. She's hearing to help, but several students have complained about her lack of compassion. Little piece of advice Miss," he glanced down at the paper to get a name, "Fisher. If you need help, I would be more than happy to help."

"Thank you sir," Sidney answered. Carson handed her the sheet of paper and returned to his work. Sidney searched for a seat. She had several selections, but some would be more strategic than others. She placed herself between two pretty girls. They seemed to fit the profiles of the killer's preferences. One of them had long blond hair and the other a short perky auburn cut. Both of them looked to be upperclassman. The blond smiled at her when she sat down.

"New student?" she asked. Sidney nodded her head.

"I transferred here from Boulder. I needed to be closer to home for my family."

"Seems like we're getting a lot of new students today," the shorthaired girl said. "That guy in the corner just added to out class today too." Sidney followed the girl's pointed hand. In the corner of the desk was a stocky blond haired kid with thick horn rimmed glasses. He was wearing a stained burgundy sweater, and didn't seem to notice the three girls staring at him. He was typing frantically on his laptop. Sidney eyes opened wide and had to do a double take.

"You know him?" the blond asked. .Sidney shook her head.

"No, he just looks like somebody I knew in Bolder, but it's not him." she answered. "I'm Michelle Fisher, by the way." She added.

"Shannon Jones," the blond introduced and this is Mackenzie Walters."

"I take it you two know each other," Sidney stated, breathing a small sigh of relief that she had found people to talk too right away. She had feared that she might have a difficult tome fitting into a group and learning more about Carson, but these girls seemed genuinely friendly and willing to accept her, at least in this classroom setting.

"We were roommates in the dorms our freshman year. We've been best friends since.

"That's awesome, my freshman roommate and I didn't get along with each other at all." Sidney answered. Conner got up and walked across the room. Sidney felt her spine tingle. Mackenzie correctly interpreted the look on her face.

"He's quite a looker isn't he?" she asked.

"Hell yeah," Sidney answered. "What I wouldn't give to be invited to one of his study sessions."

"You play your cards right and you will be," Shannon told her. "He has certain requirements, and you seem to meet all of them."

"What are you talking about?" Sidney asked.

"Let's just say that girls with brains aren't the only ones that find themselves at Professor Conner's house on Thursday nights." Sidney wanted them to elaborate, but she didn't get the chance to ask more. The professor stood up and the class fell silent. The class started.

Sidney watched the teacher as he walked across the room, explaining how the Nazis were able to convince the entire country that the Jews caused the Holocaust. He was an incredibly good speaker and Sidney felt herself completely absorbed. It was hared to believe that this man was capable of killing eight women. Who are you really Robert Carson? She asked herself. If you really killed those girls, you are going to regret the day you put your signature on that admission slip.

Later that evening, Sidney was sitting down in her beat-up apartment, cooking herself a can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup. She pulled her hand away from the oven as a giant ant crawled across it. She had heard the mousetraps she had set going off all day. She cringed. She had forgotten how bad college housing was.

She had been almost through her freshmen year of school when her father had been murdered. Her dreams of becoming a lawyer died when he did. Shortly after, she and enrolled in the Police Academy. Sidney always thought that she had made the right decision, but now she was having second thoughts. She watched as students studied and played Frisbee on the large lawn outside her apartment. How much had she missed out on? Of course, her agent's license was the equivalent of a college degree, but it still didn't feel the same. A loud knock on the door interrupted her thoughts.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"Buck, let me in." Sidney opened the door to reveal her friend standing there in a janitor's uniform. There was a large bag in his hand.

"Get a work study job?" she asked with a smile, opening the door farther to let him in. A delicious smell reached her nose. What's in the bag?" she asked. Buck pulled out a steaming plate of Spaghetti. Sidney's eyes lit up in delight.

"You have to suffer through a college class, you shouldn't have to eat like one too. But before I let you eat this a little bird told me that you made some friends who revealed some valuable information."

"Could that little bird happen to be a complete nerd that resembles JD?" Sidney asked. Buck's face fell.

"You recognized him?" Buck asked.

"Buck, what do you expect? I see him more than most sisters see their brothers."

"Guess you're right," Buck sighed. "How did he look?"

"Like a freaking nerd." she laughed. "Who dressed him like that?

"Who do you think?" Buck asked eyes twinkling.

"Ezra better watch his back, cause JD isn't going to take to kindly to this. IS he just going to be in the classes or is watching the apartment too."

"He'll be in the classes; the rest of us will be doing surveillance at Carson's house and around here, just to be safe." Sidney figured as much She grabbed the spaghetti plate away from Buck and began eating. Buck shook his head as the girl ate. She had sauce on all over her face. The phone started to ring.

"Hello?" Sidney answered putting down her food grudgingly and picking up the phone. Oh hi Shannon....Are you kidding me, Of course! This is so cool!....At eight? Sounds good... Wait I don't know where that is...I would love is somebody would meet me here. Great I'll see you on Thursday."

Sidney hung up the phone and began eating again.

"What was that about?" Buck asked. Sidney held up her to signal that she was chewing. Buck waited impatiently.

"That was Shannon. Carson sent her an email about the next meeting time. He asked if she would invite me to come along!" she answered.

"That was quick," Buck said.

"What can I say, I've just got the touch. Guess he thought I was pretty cute." she said with a smile.

"I wonder what he would think when he saw you with food all over his face," Buck told her. "I better get going. Is this meeting Thursday night?" Sidney nodded her head. "Then I better go tell Meeker and the others, we've got to plan this entire thing out. Have a good night Sidney,"

"Thanks Buck," she answered. Buck got up and walked out of the door.

"Alright, she's on the move," Meeker said, looking through his binoculars. Sidney and Mackenzie were walking down the south side of the campus.

"I got him," Vin's voice said through the microphone. "They're heading in to Carson's home right now. I'll stay just outside the door in case something happens."

"10-4," Meeker answered.

"What do we do know?" JD asked.

"Nothing, but wait," Meeker told him.

Two hours later, four girls emerged from the house. Shannon and the TA Miranda Prince walked one way. Sidney and Mackenzie went the other.

As Sidney walked back to her apartment, she could see her teammates hidden in various cars and ally ways.

"I'll see later," Mac told her.

"You will be okay walking home alone?" Sidney asked

"I walk this campus every night. I'll be fine. You still going to come to that party at our apartment tomorrow?"

"Of course, see you tomorrow." Sidney answered, before walking into her room. So sooner had she closed the door then her cell phone began to ring.

"Nothing happened Chris," she answered, knowing exactly who it was. "Looks like I'm going to be in this longer than I thought.'

"You're sure?" Chris answered.

"Yup, look Chris I'm really tired. Can I just go to bed and get the Spanish Inquisition tomorrow?"

"Smart ass," Chris told her. "Yes, go to bed. Good night Sidney,"

"Good night," Sidney answered, and closed her cell phone.

Across the campus, Team Seven were emerging from their hiding spaces. None of them noticed Miranda getting into her car.

"I am going to make profiles of all those girls at the meeting," Nathan told Josiah. "All of them could be Carson's next victims."

"Looks like the Team Seven's office is facing another long night," Josiah answered. The two agents walked to white van at the end of the street.

"ATF Team Seven?" Miranda asked herself, turning on her car. "What the hell is going on here?" She grabbed a Kleenex of her dashboard and wiped off the pen marks on her left hand.

"God, these pens always make my hands so dirty," she whined before driving off to do research.

The next Friday morning, Sidney woke up to a loud banging on her door.

"Who the heck is that," she wondered, dragging herself out of bed. God, why did her head hurt so much? Today was supposed to be her day to sleep in. She was going to shoot whoever was at the door.

"Damnit Sidney, open up!" Chris's voice growled on the other side of the wooden door.

"I'm coming," she answered, completely flustered. She opened the door to see a disgruntled Chris. Ezra and Josiah were standing in the doorway.

"Why were you no answering you cell phone?" Chris growled. Sidney winced. Her bosses loud voice was making her head hurt.

"I was sleeping Chris, I didn't hear it," she answered. The men walked into the room as Sidney plopped down on the couch. The clock read 11:00, she hadn't realized she had slept so long.

"What the hell happened at the meeting last night?" he asked.

"Nothing much," Sidney answered. "There was four of this there me, Mac, Shannon and the TA Miranda. All we did was study, kind of anti-climatic, if he's killer then he doesn't do anything at the meetings. I'm beginning to wonder if he's even connected at all. I mean he definitely likes attractive students, but that's the reason we are watching him." Ezra sighed heavily, not sure how to break the news to Sidney.

'You are sure nothing happened at the meeting?" he asked.

"Nothing if importance<" Sidney answered.

"Sidney, there was another murder last night," he told her.

'Oh my God," she winced, closing her eyes. "Do you know who it was?" Ezra glanced at Chris, and the two exchanged a look.

"Mackenzie Walters," Josiah said. Sidney's heart almost stopped.

"No, it can't be," she answered in a low whisper. "I went to Carson's house with her, she walked to my apartment with me," Sidney answered.

"Wait, she walked home by herself?" Chris asked. Sidney nodded her head.

:"How could I have been so stupid?" she asked. "I should have known that she needed to be watched better." Ezra patted her on the shoulder.

"You couldn't have predicted something like this," he told her. "This isn't your fault"

"Sidney, I need to know exactly what happened at the meeting," Chris told her. Sidney sighed and began to rack her brain.

"We arrived at Carson's house around eight. He had some drinks prepared for us..."

"Did you drink anything?" Chris interrupted, eyeing her suspiciously.

'I had a few sips so I didn't look suspicious," Sidney answered. "I'm not hung over boss." Chris didn't push the subject. He knew the girl wouldn't be that stupid.

"What happened next?" he prompted.

:"We took out our textbooks and, and then we..." I don't remember what happened after that," she stated, with a confused look on her face.

"What do mean you don't know what happened next?" Chris asked. "How can you not know?"

"I don't know Chris," Sidney cried, almost in tears. She closed her eyes to try and remember what happened last night between the time she pulled out her textbook and walked home with Mackenzie, but there was nothing, but blankness. It scared the shit out of her. Chris sat down on the coach and grabbed onto her shoulders. He shook her hard.

"Sidney, what the fuck happened?" He was as scared as she was. He had never seen her so frightened, and it terrified him. "Do you really not know?" Sidney shook her head.

Ezra had clenched the side of the couch, completely as at a loss. He had no idea what to do, and that fact scared him. The only one who didn't show a reaction was Josiah.

"Sidney, did Carson ever mention anything about being able to perform hypnosis?" he asked.

"I think he said that he was certified in it when he was getting his doctorate, but he hated to do it. Said it scared the shit out of him." She answered.

"Hypnosis is such a powerful tool; the hypnotist is in complete power of the patient. He could make them do just about everything."

"Where are you going with this Josiah?" Chris asked.

"Remember when you mentioned that Carson was controlling these girls using Cocaine?" Josiah asked.

'Do you want me to take a drug test?" Sidney asked.

"That might be necessary, but I want to try something first," Josiah answered. "This is going to be very illegal and you are going to have to trust me completely."

"What the hell do you want to do, Josiah?" Chris asked.

"I checked his files and he wasn't scared to death about it. In fact much of his studies were based on Hypnosis. Sidney, I think he might have hypnotized you at the meeting to forget about everything that you saw there. During that time, he convinced Mackenzie to kill herself. I would like to try and re-hypnotise you to see if he can get you to recall what happened at the meeting. This will be illegal, because I have no license certifying me to do this. This decision is up to you Sid."

"Do you really think that you can get me to remember," Sidney asked.

"Hypnosis is used to recall hidden memories. It isn't always successful, but it's worth a try," Josiah answered.

"Then let's try it," Sidney answered.

"Sidney, are you sure. IF this works right, you will be completely in my control. I promise that won't."

"If trust you Josiah, I don't think you'll make me hump out of a building or anything," she said with a weak smile.

"Alright, I will need those shades to be drawn and something to wave in front of her eyes," Josiah told Ezra and Chris. Chris went to close them.

"I don't have any of those funky moving disk things," Sidney answered.

"It doesn't have to be complicated like that, I just need something that will focus your attention."

"There's an old cat toy I found in the right drawer in the kitchen," she offered.

"That will work," Josiah nodded. Ezra went to retrieve the toy.

A Few minutes later, Sidney was lying comfortably on the couch.

"Alright Freud, I'm ready," she said nervously. Chris and Ezra were sitting in the back of the room, so they didn't disturb anything.

"Okay here we go," Josiah stated. "Sidney, I want you to focus on this moving purple ball. Don't think of anything else, but the purple ball. Watch it float back and forth in front of your face."

"This isn't working," Sidney stated. Ezra pressed his lips together to stop the threatened laugh,

"It may take a little while, just concentrate on the purple ball. Watch it circle in front of your face. As you are watching it, relax down into the coach, completely loosen your muscles. Don't let anything tense up. Keep on focusing on the purple ball. You may feel yourself getting sleepy, but keep watching."

Chris felt himself getting a little tired as he listened to Josiah's deep comforting voice. He watched in amazement, as Sidney completely went limp on the coach. He trusted Josiah. But he had to admit that this whole thing made him more than a little nervous.

"Okay Sidney, can you count to ten for me?" Josiah asked.

:'One...Two...Three...Four ..." she began.

"She's gone," Ezra whispered in his ear. "She would never do that without asking why."

:"Can you tell me where you were last night?" Josiah asked.

"I went to a study session at Professor Carson's house," she answered.

"Can you tell me what happened there?" he asked.

"We were going to study, when he pulled out this funky looking flashy light thing."

"Did he do anything with the light?" Josiah asked.

"Yeah, he told us all to watch it. The girls said that he does it before every study session. It's a way that helps them relax."

"Did it have any effect on you?"

"Yeah it made me feel really relaxed, almost like I was going to fall asleep.."

"What happened after that>"

"He started talking to Mackenzie. He told her that her time had come and that is was time to do exactly what he said. He told her that she was supposed to go to WestPoint Bridge and jump off when the meeting was done."

Chris nearly jumped out of his seat. There was no way that Sidney could have known that. Nobody had told her how the girl had died.

"And what did you do when this happened?" Josiah asked.

"I stood up and yelled for him to stop. I told him that I was an ATF agent and he was under arrest for attempted murder."

Chris almost flew out of his seat. There was so much distress in the girl's voice. Ezra grabbed onto his arm.

"Let me go Ezra!" he hissed. "Can't you see what this doing to her?"

"Josiah knows what he's doing," Ezra answered back. "This is the only way we are going to get the information we need."

"What happened after that," Josiah asked.

"He seemed very surprised and told me that it would be okay. That he was just playing a game. Mac wasn't really going to kill herself. He told Shannon, Miranda and I to forget everything that we had heard from the point he had taken out the light. Then he told us that it was time to go."

Chris's heart was beating faster and he could feel his face start to get red. He wasn't just going to shoot this bastard; he was going to make his death as slow and painful as possible.

"Aright Sidney, I want you to relax for a few minutes," Josiah told her, He turned to look at Ezra and Chris.

"She's going to remember everything that happened when she wakes up. I can make her forget that any of this happened, but I'm not going to do that to her. There is one thing that I can do to hopefully lessen the guilt when she wakes up. It may not work, but it's worth a shot. It does involve manipulating her a little bit.

"Do it Josiah," Chris answered. "She won't be able to stand the fact that she couldn't do anything to stop him." Josiah nodded his head and turned to Sidney.

:"Aright Sidney, when I clap my hands you are going to awake. You will remember everything that happened last night, but you are going to understand that there was nothing you could do to stop it, understood?" Sidney nodded her head. Josiah clapped his hands and Sidney slowly sat up.

"Did it work?" she asked. Josiah smiled weakly.

"Yeah it did Sidney, I was right. Carson hypnotized you and the other girls to kill themselves."

'God I wish there was something that I could have done to stop him," Sidney said sadly.

"You know there was nothing that you could do," Josiah said. "The human mind can only be asked to do so much.' I

"Yeah, I know," Sidney answered. Chris had turned on the lights and had walked over.

"That was almost scary Josiah," Chris told him.

"Now you see why I was so hesitant to use it on her," the big man answered. Ezra walked over and he almost turned pale.

"Shit, Carson knows who she is now!" Ezra answered. "I'm surprised he didn't kill you last night.."

"I'll go arrest him right now," Chris growled. "If he puts up any fight, I'm blowing his freaking brains out."

"No!" Sidney protested. "Carson did tell us that confessions or witness reports given under hypnosis are not accepted in court.'

"Sidney, he forced those girls to kill themselves. I don't care how we got the damn evidence!" Chris growled.

"She's right Chris. If we arrest Carson now with the evidence we've got. He'll walk." Josiah said.

"What do you propose we do?'" Chris asked. "Sit here and wait for him to come kill her?"

"Chris, he had the perfect opportunity to do it last night," Sidney stated. "Obviously he thinks that I don't remember confessing like that."

"There's a meeting next Tuesday. I'll go to the meeting like everyone else and when he starts to do it again. You can come in and arrest him." Chris was going to argue.

"Chris, listen to her. That's the best proposal I've heard so far." Ezra told him. Chris sighed, knowing that he had been beat by the two of them again.

"I swear that I'm going to beat you in these stupid mind games yet!" he growled. Ezra and Sidney smiled at each other.

"Fine, we wait until Tuesday. But in the meantime Missy, you will be under constant surveillance from us."

"I figured as much," Sidney answered. "Chris, put someone on Miranda and Shannon too. I think they are okay, but I don't want to risk it. Make sure they don't know they are being watched."

Chris nodded his head. "I'm calling Buck and JD to get their asses over here right now."

"Aww come on Chris, don't leave me with Bevis and Buthead," Sidney whined. Chris smiled evilly.

"Payback can be a bitch can't it?"

Later that night, Sidney was rolling her eyes as her two "roommates," argued about what they were going to watch on TV.

"There are only four channels," she said shaking her head. "How can you be fighting over what to watch?" she asked, brining in the hot chocolate, she made.

"Well you see, JD wants to watch Numbers, this crazy show about solving crimes with math."

"It's not a crazy show, the guy on is there is one of the smartest I've ever seen."

"He's an actor JD. Wouldn't you rather watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion show?"

"Let's watch Numbers," Sidney said distributing the cups. She really didn't care. She had gone over to visit Shannon in the afternoon. The poor girl was heartbroken. Her parents had come up to bring her home for a little while. Sidney felt a lot better, knowing that Conner couldn't get to her. Nathan was supposed to be keeping close watch on Miranda, but she seemed to have disappeared.

:"That's tow to one Buck, you loose," JD stated. "Don't you love democracy?"

"Yeah, well I'm older and count for three," Buck said, but he didn't push the issue. Soon the three of them were absorbed in the show. Buck watched Sidney as she drank from her mug silently.

They had come so close to loosing her yet again. Conner could have easily ended it right there or even chosen to send her to the bridge instead of Mackenzie Walters. While Buck was thinking about Sidney, JD was thinking about Buck. He recalled the conversation that he had heard between his roommate and Chris before Chris had left them for the night, a conversation that he was not supposed to have heard.

"Buck, watch over hero okay? Make sure nothing happens." Chris pleaded.

"Hell Chris, you know that I would die for her if I had too. She won't be leaving that house without my permission for the rest of weekend>"

"Spoken like a true father," Chris laughed.

"She and JD might as well be. They might be the only ones, the way my love life has gone recently. I would risk my life to make sure the two of them were happy." Chris patted his friend on the shoulder and walked out of the building. JD saw the confident smile on his bosses face.

Sidney realized that she was the only one still watching the TV show.

"Hello, earth to Buck and JD!" she said.

"What?" They both turned to look at her at the same time, both with dazed looks in their eyes

"I'm going to bed," she stated.

"It's only nine thirty Sidney," JD said.

"I'm tired," she answered. "It's not everyday that I have my mind controlled by two different people." There was bitterness in her voice.

"Sidney..." Buck began, but he was interrupted by a knock on the door. Both JD and Buck pulled out their guns.

"Go answer it," Buck told her. Sidney walked over to the door.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"Michelle? This is Miranda. I really need to talk to you." Sidney opened the door as JD and Buck put their guns away.

"Come on in Michelle." Sidney said opening the door. "Where have you been all day? Shannon and I were trying to find you. Can you believe what happened to Mac?"

"No, I needed to get away. I just couldn't handle being around here anymore." She dropped her backpack on the floor and stopped when she saw JD and Buck standing in the living room.

"Don't mind us," JD said. "I'm her cousin Jake and this is my dad, Frank." Buck fought the urge to punch the kid.

"We'll leave you ladies alone. Come on Son, let's round ourselves up some sleeping bags."

:"Listen Miranda, I need to talk to about something," Sidney said, once JD and Buck were gone. "I've been trying to get a hold of you all day. Carson is the one killing all of the girls. You might be next. Give me a couple of minutes and I'll explain to you how I know."

As quick as lightening, Miranda pulled a syringe out of her pocket and stuck it into Sidney's neck. The girl collapsed to the ground, unable to move.

:"It's an intense muscle relaxant," she said. "Carson used drugs, like cocaine to get the girls to relax. I just took it a step farther. You won't be able to move at all for the next few hours." she screamed. JD and Buck rushed out of the room. They were caught completely off guard when they saw Sidney on the ground, not moving, and a gun pointed at their chests."

"Drop you guns Agent Dunne and Wilmington, or I will shoot her," Miranda said in a cool voice.

"Now, look here Ms. Fisher," JD started to say.

"NOW!" she screamed and pointed the gun down at Sidney.

"Just do what she says," Buck told JD. The two agents tossed their guns on the ground." Buck held up his hands.

"Alright, you have the upper hand here," Don't do anything you are going to regret."

"Oh I won't regret any of this Agent Whilmington Now you are going to lift up your agent on the floor here and the two of you are going to walk down the steps to a car that waiting for us. Rob is driving." Buck thought for a moment.

"Honey, listen to me. This psychopath has you under his control. He hypnotized you into doing this."

Miranda laughed. "Is that what you think happened? Wow this worked out better than I planned. I don't know how you figured out about the hypnosis meetings, but you've got all wrong." She paused, then pointed the gun harder at Buck. Buck nodded to JD to do what he said. He bent down and lifted Sidney up into his arms. Her eyes were open, but she wasn't moving a muscle. She was completely limp in his arms.

"What did you do to her?" he asked. Miranda didn't answer right away. She opened her backpack and pulled out a pair of boots, she threw them onto the ground with a tweed jacket.

"It's just a muscle relaxant," she answered. "She can still understand everything that's going on. Believe me she will want to see what's gong to happen next." Buck couldn't be sure, but he thought he saw Sidney's eyes cloud over in anger. He hugged her tighter, trying to offer some comfort. JD was constantly looking for open doors in the building, but saw none. After all this was Friday night on the college campus. They walked outside and to the red mustang parked along the curb in the back. The window was open.

"You sick bastard," Buck spat, when he saw Carson pull out a gun also.

"Mr. Dunne or should I say Brent, please take a seat in the front." JD saw no other choice.

Buck got into the backseat, carefully so he didn't hit Sidney's head on anything. Miranda got in along side of him.

"Head to 5414 Manchester Street, please Rob," she said, buckling her seatbelt. "Safety First," she added with a smile.

Buck looked at her in complete surprise. "You are the one that..." He couldn't finish his sentence.

"Let's just say that I was one of Professor Carson's brightest students. I caught on to the whole hypnosis thing pretty fast." The car pulled away from the curb and down the street.

"What do you think people will say when they see us pull up?" Nathan asked Chris. The aroma of Inez's homemade Pizza filled the Ram.

"They won't think that is anything, but a crazy college party," Ezra answered. "Tell me again why we must grace that disgusting living space with our presence again?"

"Peace offering," Chris answered. "It was a little harsh putting those two with her."

'I'll say," Vin answered Chris pulled the Ram along side the curb, unaware that the same car had parked there less than half an hour ago. They all got out of the truck, and headed up the steps.

"What the hell?" Vin asked as he walked in. "Where did they go and why would they leave the door open."

"I'll kill him," Chris growled. "I gave them explicit instructions not to leave the building unless they told me about it."

"I don't think they left on their own free will," Nathan said. He pointed to the gun and the syringe

"Look at this," Josiah said holding up the jacket and the boots. The pizza box had been thrown on the floor.

"Those boots look awfully familiar," Ezra stated, looking down at Chris's feet. "Don't you own that same style of boot, Mr. Larabee?"

"The footprints," Vin stated quietly. "Those damn footprints!" Vin swore stamping his foot.

"There's a R. C embroidered on his collar," Josiah said looking inside the jacket.

"That son of a bitch!" Chris swore. He headed for the door, but Josiah stopped him.

"Not so fast Chris," Josiah said. "We have no idea where they are. All of our evidence is in Meeker's office:"

:"We don't have the time Josiah," Chris growled. "Who knows what he's doing to them right now!"

"We don't have much of a choice Chris" Nathan said, carefully studying the syringe, trying to determine what was inside.

"Then let's get a move on," Chris growled. For once, nobody dared argue with him. They all headed for the door.

JD squirmed in his chair, trying to break the ropes. Sidney was lying on ground near his feet. She hadn't moved since they gotten to the house. Not that she could do anything. Carson was standing in the corner with the gun pointed at them.

Miranda had disappeared with Buck into one of the bedrooms. He had no idea what was going on in there. There seemed to be no possible way of escape. What was Chris going to do when he figured how they were missing? Would the team know where to look? Did anyone even know they were missing yet?

He turned his head when the door opened. Buck walked out under his own power. Miranda followed close behind. He opened his mouth to say something, but before he had time to react. Buck had sprung forward and sized the gun out of the unexpected Carson's hand. He shot Carson right in the temple and the man grumbled to ground.

JD almost cried out in joy, but was the cheer got stuck in his throat when he handed the gun to Miranda. JD could only stare in disbelief.

"You police guys think you're so tough, but not even you are invincible to the power of a mind controller. Agent Dunne, your friend will now do anything that I ask him. Would you like a demonstration?" JD didn't answer, but Miranda took that as a yes.

"Sit down on the ground Agent." Buck obediently sat down on the ground. "Now sing the ABCs," Buck began to sing. After that, she made Buck do several other things, including some rather embarrassing and perverted poses.
"You sick bitch," JD hissed. Miranda just smiled.

"Rob said that the night he broke up with me." she answered. JD looked at her in surprise. "Yes, hard to believe isn't it? I will tell you the entire story. You see Rob and I were secretly dating for a few years. The school doesn't look too highly upon teacher student relationships .He promised me the world. We were going to do studies together, about how to control the mind. We were going to become famous. He told me how of this, and dumped me flat on the ground. His interest in pretty girls was just too tempting. Of course, I wasn't going to let him go unpunished. So I hatched up a plan. Wow, I even impressed myself with it. I thought of a way to get back at Rob and the girls who stole him away from me.

One night a couple of months ago, I hypnotized him. Even though we weren't a couple anymore, he was always willing for a one night stand, the bastard. In his trance, I told him to have study sessions at his house, picking only the prettiest girls in class. During those meetings, he would hypnotize the girls and pick one of them to kill herself. He told them to do it at random times, but I made sure the locations were not so random. My plan was to confuse, terrorize, and to get my revenge When this over, I will leave this city and become famous all by myself"

"No you won't," JD answered. "Carson's dead. There's nobody to take the wrath for you. Believe me, somebody will figure it out."

"No, I have the plan all worked out," she answered with an evil grin. "I will use Buck here to dispose of you two and then he will kill himself. After that I will fix the crime scene to make it look like Rob was responsible. People, even your team, will think that this is the end of his spree. He'd rather kill himself than go to jail. They will morn you and go on with their lives."

JD was so flabbergasted, he couldn't even talk. Movement on the floor caught his eye. Sidney was switching slightly on the floor. Miranda saw it too.

::Damn, its wearing off faster than I thought,' She swore. "Agent Whimlington, you know what to do." JD watched in horror, as Buck lifted Sidney up and walked to the bathroom. He heard a facet being turned on.

"I reserved on my favorite forms of suicide for Agent Marks," Miranda said. "She will drown in that bathtub, because she can't move at all." JD glared at her with all the hatred he could muster.

"Don't look at me kike that," Miranda said. "She won't feel any pain. I've heard that drowning is a peaceful way to go. Unfortunately Agent Dunne, yours will not be as creative or peaceful. but it will be tragic end to a strong friendship.

 + + + + + + + 

"God, what do we do?" Meeker cried. The guilt was almost consuming him, bur he couldn't let that bother him now. Not while there was still a chance.

He had still been in the office when Chris and his team had come barging in. Chris opened his mouth to say something, but Josiah interrupted him. "Chris, can you and me that marker?""

"Josiah now isn't the time to be drawling pictures," Vin stated. Josiah took the marker from Chris and began connecting the dots. When Josiah was finished there was a weird shape on map.

"Does this look familiar to anyone?" Josiah asked. Everyone shook their heads.

:"Doesn't look like anything I've ever seen," Vin stated. "You know what it is Josiah?"

"Wait a second," Nathan said. "That's no the international symbol for psychology is it?"

"I think so," Josiah answered. "Of course it's a little lopsided and misshapen, but the foundation is defiantly there." He grabbed a marker and drew a shape next to the map. "This is what it's supposed to look like," he stated.

"Josiah, you're a genius." Meeker cried, "But that doesn't help us find Buck and the others."

"Hey, that fork thing had got a par missing on the top," Vin stated, he grabbed the marker from Josiah and circled it. "Right here."

"You think that's where Carson brought them," Chris said, catching on.

"He'll kill them there to complete the picture," Josiah answered.

"Ezra, get that GIS map on the computer and figure out what's in that location," Meeker said. Ezra began typing, wishing he had JD's skill. A short while later, the map popped up.

"The whole area is residential with a large amount of acreage belonging to each homeowner."

"Will the map show you the owners of the homes?" Meeker asked. Ezra typed a few buttons. "Yes, I've got it."

"Look for anything that might seem familiar," the inspector continued. Ezra began reading off the homeowner's name, but none of them rang a bell, until he read the final name, George Prince.

"Where do I know that last name?" Nathan asked desperately. The others looked at him expectantly. Nathan beat up his brain searching for it.

"Hold on," He grabbed the files of potential victims that he had been working on.

"Miranda Pierce is the TA of Carson's class," Nathan said and looked at the others.

"Pack up," Chris stated. "Someone call the cops and get a squad car down there."

"We can't be sure that this any connection at all," Vin said. "We could be completely wrong."

"Yeah we could," Chris agreed, but right now, it's all we've got to go with.

"Oh God, please Buck!" JD pleaded. "Don't do this! Snap out of it. Remember what Josiah said about this hypnosis stuff. You have to want to be controlled. A person has the power to break out if he wants. Please Buck; I know you can do it!"

Buck completely ignored him and continued loading his gun. The vacant expression in his eyes showed that he didn't hear a word JD was saying.

"Forget about it Agent Dunne," Miranda Prince said from the corner of the room. "He is under my complete power now." JD vainly wiggled in his seat. He could now hear the water in the bathtub flooding onto tile floor. There was nothing he could do now and he felt his heart breaking. JD hung his head. He tried to reason one more time.

"Think of what you're doing Buck. Are you really going to let Sidney drown in that bathtub like that? Are you ready to shoot me in cold blood? I heard you talking to Chris. You said that Sid and I were as close to your kids as you would probably ever come. You'd do anything for us; even go to hell and back. You wondered if we cared as much as you do. If we possibly loved you as much as you do us. You damn well better know the answer is yes and we'd do the same for you. Please don't do this Buck." JD's plead was no louder than a whisper. There were tears in his eyes by the time he finished.

JD lifted his head and looked at Buck, expecting to stare into the barrel of the shotgun. He was completely caught off guard when he looked into Buck's shiny eyes and tear stained face.

"Aw Kid,' the big man said, dropping his gun onto the floor. At that exact moment, the running water made a loud gurgling noise. Buck's tear streaked face was instantly replaced with a look of horror. "Oh God, Sidney!" he yelled and immediately rushed to the bathroom.

"NO! You will not ruin my plans!" Miranda screamed desperately, The next few moments flashed in front of JD's eyes in slow motion and he was unable to do anything to stop them. With surprising speed, Miranda bent down and picked up Buck's dropped gun. She aimed it at Buck's back as he rushed to Sidney's rescue. JD opened his mouth to warn Buck, but he was too late. Miranda pulled the trigger with a sick triumphant smile on her face.

Two shots rang out within a split second of each other. JD watched as the bullet meant for Buck's head sailed past its mark and into the wall. The left side of Miranda's face exploded and her body crumpled to the ground. JD closed his eyes to avoid the splattering blood.. JD turned his head in surprise to see Chris standing at the open window, his gun drawn.

:"What the hell happened here?" he asked. Complete surprise written all over his face.

"Help Sidney," JD yelled. "She's drowning in the bathtub!" Buck didn't even stop to answer. He rushed into the bathroom. With amazing agility, Chris scaled the bedroom window and rushed into the bathroom. The rest of the team followed Chris, all of them hearing JD's statement.

Vin, the last one through the window, quickly pulled out his knife and cut the ropes binding JD. The two agents crowded the bathroom door with the rest of the team.

Buck had pulled the unconscious girl out of the water and set her down on the soaking wet floor. He bent his head down near her mouth.

"Nathan, she's not breathing!" he yelled. Nathan was on the floor with Buck and Chris in a flash. He put two of his fingers on her neck.

"She doesn't have a pulse either," he stated, remarkably cool in the situation. He immediately moved above her head.

"Buck get ready to do chest compressions!" he ordered. Buck didn't move. He just sat there with a glazed and listless expression in his eyes.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Chris growled and shoved his friend to the side. He moved to one side of the girl's legs and the two men began CPR. Ezra quickly called for an ambulance and then the room fell silent as the two men worked desperately to bring their friend back to life.

"Come on Sidney," JD pleaded. He felt the heavy pressure of Josiah's hand on his shoulder.

"What the hell happened here?" Vin asked as he watched the scene unfold, not really wanting an answer. There was a more important thing right now. Ezra was not a praying man, but he found himself silently offering a prayer for the young woman's life. Chris's prayer was much more vocal.

"God, don't you dare do this to me again!" he pleaded as he pushed down on Sidney's rib cage, feeling her ribs crack under his pressure. "You know she doesn't deserve this. Don't let my mistake be responsible for another innocent life."

"Come on Sidney, breathe! I know you still got it in you. You're not ready to leave us yet." Nathan said between breaths. Buck had inched his way back into the corner of the bathroom. He had the common sense to turn off the facet, but then he sat silently, just shaking.

Chris and Nathan continued their attempts for one minute, then two. Slowly the time went by. Around five minutes, Josiah and Ezra replaced the exhausted agents. After ten minutes, Nathan sighed heavily.

"It's time to give it up guys; she's not going to come back." As much, as the wanted to keep going, Ezra and Josiah knew they were fighting a loosing battle. Ezra leaned back on his knees and hung his head. Chris's hands covered his face and be began to shake all over. Vin went over and placed an arm around him, but Chris didn't seem to notice.

"Lord, please watch over our fallen friend," Josiah said stroking the wet bangs off her closed eyes. "Bring her home to her father and Cody."

"You can't just give up like that!" JD cried. "You can't give up on her!"

"JD, too much time has passed. The heart can't be jumpstarted after a certain amount of time."

"You said yourself that drowning victims have one the best chances of survival with CPR," JD continued.

"Sometimes, there's just too much water in the lungs," Nathan explained. "We got to her just a little to late."

"Oh God, what have I done!" Buck yelled, pushing himself to his knees and staggering out of the room.

"I better go get him, he's not in his right mind right now. He might do something stupid.

"No," Chris croaked, lifting up his head. "I need to know what happened. Josiah you go." Josiah stood up and ran out of the room.

"Alright JD," Nathan encouraged. Before JD had the chance to open his mouth, a loud coughing noise interrupted his thoughts.

"Shut up Sidney, I'm trying to..." JD grumbled that stopped.

Sidney was coughing! Her body was moving up and down. Water and mucus were flying out of her mouth.

Ezra turned the girl to her side and held her up, as she puked up the gunk that was preventing her from breathing. Everyone watched in silent hope as the disgusting mucus came out of the girl's mouth. It splattered all over the floor and Ezra's clothes.

"Watch her ribs Ezra. If they collapse, she doesn't have a chance." Nathan said. Finally, the girl stopped coughing and hung loosely in Ezra's arms. He didn't set her down.

"Nathan?" he asked, afraid to check for himself. . Nathan reached out a hand and felt for a pulse. He sighed in relief. He also noticed that the girl's chest was moving up and down, almost unnoticeably.

"She's back," Nathan sighed. There was a loud whoop. "Hold on second, that doesn't mean she's out of the woods yet. I'm betting there's still a lot of water clogging her airway. Where is that damn ambulance?"

As if on cue, the sirens of the ambulance and to cop cars were heard pulling into the driveway and yard. Nathan went out to show the ambulance where to go. Ezra looked down at the girl in his arms. Her breathing appeared to be a little stronger, but the breaths were incredibly labored.

Two EMTS game rushed into the room with a gurney. One of them took Sidney out of Ezra's arm and placed her on the gurney. The other began setting up the life support system.

"By the sound of it," the first one said placing Sidney down, "I think she's got a collapsed young. Probably from all the water pressure in it."

"Is that serious?" Vin asked.

"Serious enough, It's a pretty common occurrence and fairly easy to fix, but you can never be too careful when the lungs are concerned. Let's get her to a doctor and find out for sure." I

The two EMTS wheeled the gurney out. Team Seven quickly followed. The other EMT was talking to Jeff, when they got outside.

:"Are we ready to go?" she asked. When her partners nodded, she rushed for the vehicle. "We've got room for someone in the back and in the driver seat." she told the team. Nobody questioned when Nathan jumped in the back and Chris headed for the driver's seat. The doors were slammed and the ambulance took off in the direction of the hospital.

"Was she really gone, I mean..." Jeff asked , stuttering for the correct words.

"For a while, I thought so," Vin said. "I swear that girl is going to kill Chris yet."

"Let's me glad for the fact that he still has someone to worry about," Ezra answered; still visibly shaken He couldn't completely believe what just happened.

"Come on, we've got to head for the hospital," Vin answered. "I think you guys have this under control?" he said looking at Jeff. Jeff nodded.

:"Kali and I will stop by the hospital when this is all over." The remaining agents walked over to where Chris's Ram and Josiah's Blazer were still parked. Vin pulled out his extra key to Chris's truck and opened the door.

"Do you think Buck's okay?" JD asked.

"Josiah will take care of him," Ezra answered. "If anyone can help Buck it's Josiah."

Josiah waited for Buck to finish what happened. Buck had breathed a sigh of relief when he heard about Sidney, but that was all. He launched into the story about what happened. He was careful to show no emotion on his face, even though he felt his stomach turn circles. If Buck thought Josiah blamed him, then there would be no way to get through to him. Buck finished and hung his head in his hands.

"God Josiah, I almost killed both of them<" he gasped. "She was dead right there on the floor, and I was the reason."

"You weren't the reason Buck. The sick mind of a confused girl was. Nobody would even think about blaming you for something like this. You saved Sidney Buck, another few seconds and we might not have had that miracle we witnessed."

"JD saved her.," Buck answered. "He's the one that talked sense into me. Otherwise, I would have shot him too. I am no better than the Prince girl."

"You didn't kill him Buck, that's what makes you different." There was a long pause.

"Come on we need to get to the hospital." Josiah said getting up.

"No." Buck said "That's the last place I can handle right now, seeing her hooked up to all those tubes, completely helpless. Just let me walk home."

"You aren't walking home, no in the state you are in right now. I won't make you go the hospital, but I will drive you home." Buck sighed in resignation, and got up to follow Josiah.

Meeker rushed up to them as soon as he saw them. Buck just walked by the detective and slammed and got into the SUV, slamming the door shut.

"Is he okay?" Gus asked.

"He's battling his own inner demons right now," Josiah answered. "Do you know what happened? "

"I just got off the phone with JD," Gus answered. "It just doesn't seem possible. This whole thing sounds like a plot from a movie."

"Reality is harsher than make believe," Josiah answered. "We're heading over to the hospital right now."

"I'll try to get over there as soon as I can., but God knows when that will be." Gus answered. Josiah nodded his head and walked over to his truck The ride back into the city was silent.

"I was just thinking," Josiah said. "Remember the first case we had with Sidney?" Buck didn't answer, but he knew that he was listening.

"We had to protect that international peace conference. I still remember when we all thought that Eddie Steward had the best of us, how he almost set the bomb off that was attached to Vin. We never would have made it out of there if Sidney hadn't come barging in there. The look on Steward's face was unforgettable" Josiah saw the traces of a smile on Buck's face. "You also remember when Steward locked her in that car? She would have died from carbon monoxide poisoning just like that one girl, if hadn't rushed into that building like that." Josiah pulled the truck next to Buck's condo.

"Thanks for the ride," Buck said, before getting out of the truck. Josiah hadn't missed the tears in his eyes. The profiler sighed heavily and headed for the hospital.

It was another fifteen minutes before Josiah reached the reception room. Chris and the others were sitting around in the chairs.

"Where's Buck?" JD asked.

I dropped him off at home. I think that's the best place for him right now. I don't think he can handle this right now."

"Maybe, I should I go and make sure he's okay," JD said hesitantly.

"This is something that he needs to handle by himself. These are things that he needs to work out himself." They all lifted up their heads when they heard the doctor come in. She was still in her scrubs. Chris stood up

"Hello, Agent Larabee" she said, shaking hands with him. "I'm Doctor Alice Silvers, I operated on Sidney. The surgery was a complete success. She did have a collapsed young due to the water pressure/ We opened up her chest. Relieved the pressure and re-inflated her lung. She should make a complete recovery.

Chris heaved a giant sigh of relief. So did the rest of the room.

"We're keeping her on life support for a few more hours, just to give her lung a chance to recover."

"How long does she have to stay here?" Josiah asked.

"If nothing goes wrong, I should think she can leave tomorrow afternoon." Dr. Silvers answered. "Of course, she will be strictly limited in her physical activity for the next couple of weeks. Any other questions?"

"When can we go see her?" Vin asked. The doctor smiled, knowing the question was coming.

"You are welcome to go in there now, but she's still sleeping. She won't wake up from the anesthetic for a while. She's in the last room on the left." They all got up and headed for the door.

"Thank you doctor," Ezra said before leaving. "I don't know if you can possibly imagine how special she is to us."

"I have some idea," she smiled. Ezra smiled back and walked down the hall. One of the EMTs who brought Sidney in, walked up to her.

"That agent pull through okay?" he asked.

"Yes, she'll be back on the street in a few months."

"I don't get it Doc, from what Jackson told me that girl was gone. Nobody comes back to after their heart has stopped for ten minutes."

"Stranger things have happened," Alice answered.

"We were always told that CPR isn't that effective."

"I don't think it was CPR that saved her." She thought about the faces of the agents that had been just been in the waiting room."

"Then what did?"

"I think it was love," she answered.

"Love?" the man asked in disbelief.

:"As dysfunctional as that group might seem, they have the strongest bond that I have ever seen. As corny as it might sound, I bet that Sidney didn't want to let them all down. She fought to stay with them. I'd say he just witnessed a miracle, Bryan." The young EMT just stared. The doctor patted him on the shoulder.

"Once in you're in this line of work longer, I think you'll figure out what I mean," she told him and walked down the hallway.

Buck rushed into the waiting room. The nurse at the reception desk looked at him. He had gotten to know most of the receptionists from his many visits, but this one must be new.

"Can I help you sir?"

"I need to see a patient, Sidney Marks."

"I'm sorry sir, but visitors hours ended over three hours ago."

"He's with us," a familiar voice boomed. Chris was standing in the doorway of the waiting room. The nurse shrank back a little bit and nodded her head. Buck rushed forward and looked at Chris.

"She's fine," Chris said, before Buck had the chance to say anything. "They took her off of life support twenty minutes ago, and she's doing just fine. Hopefully, she'll sleep through the rest of the night

"Chris, can you forgive me?" Buck asked, refusing to look Chris in the eye.

"Buck, there's nothing to forgive. None of this was your fault. Any one of us could have been in that situation."

"Chris, you understand that I never in my right mind would do anything to hurt her. But do you think Sidney understands that?" Chris grabbed his friend's hand. Buck looked up at him, meeting his eyes.

"I think it would help if you would go and see her. JD's in there two. He fell asleep awhile ago, and nobody had the heart to wake him up."

"I think I might do that. Neither one of them can say anything when there asleep" He started to walk down the hall.

"It's at the end of the hall," Chris called out, and then he returned to the waiting room. His entire team was still there, along with Meeker. Kali and Jeff. Orirn and Mary had showed up about an hour ago to make sure everything was okay. Chris was amused to see how Kali had fallen asleep. The poor girl had worked just as hard as them for the last couple of weeks. Her head had conveniently fallen on Vin's shoulder. The sharpshooter didn't seem to mind in the least. Sidney had developed quite a fan club.

"What was he like?" Josiah asked when Chris sat back down.

"I think he'll be okay," Chris said with a smile.

Buck walked into the small hospital room. He smiled when he saw JD in the chair. He was lying in an uncomfortable position. Once again, Buck was amazed at how young his friend looked. He grabbed another chair and lifted JD's legs onto it. JD stirred a little bit.

"Its okay kid," Buck said, as he moved JD into a more comfortable position. When he was finished, he sat down at end of the bed. "Thanks JD; I would have destroyed all of our lives if it hadn't been for you." He turned his attention to Sidney, who was also sleeping peacefully. He reached out and stroked her cheek. Sometimes he forgot that she was just a kid too. Most of the color had returned to her face, but she still looked helpless in the large hospital gown and oversized bed. Right now, it was hard to believe that criminals feared the two of them.

"I hope you guys realize that I would never do anything to hurt the two of you. God, my heart stopped when I heard that you weren't breathing anymore Sidney. I just froze." Tears spilled from the seasoned gunman's eyes.. You can't hear me now, but I want to you know how much I love you guys more than anything in the world. I would do anything within my power to help you. I would die to get you anything you wanted.

"Even a hybrid?" a weak voice answered. Buck turned his head to look at Sidney. Her eyes were open.

"Sidney, you're awake! How do you feel?"

"Why does my chest hurt so much?" she asked.

"You almost died Sidney. You stopped breathing and somehow the others managed to bring you back. Your lung collapsed, but the doctor said you were going to be just fine." Buck said at record speed.

"And you blame yourself for almost killing me and JD," Sidney said. Her voice was hardly above a whisper.

"Sidney, I..." Buck started to say, but Sidney reached out her hand. Confused, Buck took a hold of it. She squeezed it, but Buck hardly felt it. He realized how weak she really was.

"I heard everything that you just said Buck and I heard what JD yelled in the bathroom. There is no way that I blame you for this and... I feel the same way JD does. And I'm proud of it" Buck saw that talking was really hurting her. He let go of her and leaned over to kiss her on the forehead.

"That's what I needed to hear Sidney, now you try to get some sleep. The only way you're going to heal is if you relax." Sidney opened her mouth to protest, but Buck put a finger on her lips.

"You have to rest Sidney whether you like it or not. It's the only way you are going to get better. Maybe if you are good, I'll look into that Prias for you."

Sidney smiled and closed her eyes. Buck sat up and moved into another chair. HE want' going to move until somebody made him.

:"I can walk Chris, my legs aren't broken," Sidney yelled, and instantly regretted it. She leaned back in the car seat in pain, rubbing her chest. It was around seven o clock the next evening, and Sidney had been released from the hospital, now it was to the Ranch for a complete session of Larabee rehabilitation Chris had walked around to the passenger side and offered to carry Sidney into house.

'I will do a lot worse than carry you, if you don't stop yelling like that," Chris growled. Sidney sighed and got out of the car. She refused to let Chris carry her, but she take Chris's offered arm.

"What are all these cars doing here?" she asked quietly. "And who owns that Prias over at the right?"

"Buck took your truck and traded it in for your new car," Chris answered.

"There's no way that truck was worth the price of a Prias," Sidney answered.

"Well, Buck haggled the office a little bit, and they are going to do an experiment. They want to see if they should switch its worth switching the company vehicles. The head of the office agreed to pay the entire cost. You still get to keep your truck if you need to bring Calypso anywhere/"

'God, I love him," Sidney answered, being careful not to talk too loud."

Chris led her into the house, and there was a loud cheer as soon as they walked in. There were at least thirty people in the house. Team Seven was all there. So were Meeker, Jeff, al of the Travis family and several people from the office.

"Well, we thought of all the people that might come to you're funeral," JD said coming up, "and we decided to have a party to celebrate your life."

"Really?" Sidney asked.

"Something like that," Chris answered. "JD, where's Vin? I don't see him."

"Well he and Kali said they were going to get some more beers. That was almost two hours ago," JD laughed.

"It's about time," Sidney answered. Ezra had walked up to join them.

"Can I get you something to drink Ms. Marks? Some orange juice or chocolate milk perhaps? You are under strict instructions not to drink alcohol."

"No thanks Ezra," Sidney told him. "I'm really tired. I think I need to take a little nap before I come back to this party." She yawned and headed for the steps. Nathan joined the three agents as the stared in disbelief.

"Did I just hear what I thought I heard?" he asked. "Did Sidney actually admit that she needed to sleep?"

:"Guess she's getting smarter," JD answered with a shrug of his shoulders.

"It only took her nearly dying to realize it," Chris snorted.

"You know our girl," Josiah said walking up. "She's got to do everything the hard way and scare us all half to death before she admits that her elders were right."

"Would you really want her any other way, Mr. Larabee?" Ezra asked.

"Well, I prefer that she keep breathing," Chris answered. "But she wouldn't be Sidney, if she wasn't so damn stubborn and pigheaded."

"Do you think that she might listen better now?" JD asked.

Chris just laughed as he took a swig of an offered beer.