Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from the use of the Magnificent Seven characters. Thank you to MOG for the creation of the ATF.
Comments: I am driving MOG crazy. However she is an incredible beta and puts up with my muse (I promise she is muzzled-of course in periods of utmost lucidity she rears her head) And a big thank you to her for creating this Alternate Mag7 universe! This is a two part story, meaning first part which will be posted in its entirety which is Mary meeting Chris and then the next part will introduce the rest of the Seven to Mary. I am incorporating as much as has been written in the others AU's (I like consistency). The article credited to Mary was actually written by MOG who also deserves credit for the last line. :0)
Archivist's Note: This fic was previously hosted on another website and was moved to Blackraptor in September 2006.
The police scanner crackled beside her. "Shots fired in the vicinity of 5th and 10th, warehouse district. Units 138, 154, please respond."
She sped up her green, late model Subaru Outback. This was the second time this month shots were being exchanged in Four Corner's warehouse district. It had happened last month too. She knew what she would find once she got there. Police tape surrounding a crime scene, and the same seven men, sporting jackets with ATF in large yellow letters.
These men had roused her reporter's curiosity. She had used her contacts in the clerical department at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to no avail. No one recognized the descriptions she gave of the men.
She sped up again. This time she was going to get an interview from one of these seven men. She gained more confidence as the warehouse district came into view. She saw the tape up ahead and brought her car to a stop. She grabbed her note pad, and pushed a pen behind her hair. She snatched her purse with her recorder from the passenger seat and left the car. Her heels quickly tapped against the asphalt as she made her way to where the latest incident had occurred. She got as close as she could among the riffraff. People always gathered in an area encircled with police tape. They were here. She focused on the one who had caught her attention before. He had blonde hair, always wearing black with a strong, weathered face. He reminded her of her husband in a way. Of course the other men were intriguing too.
The one with the long, brown hair who wore cowboy boots seemed to be always in the shadow of the man in black. Then there was the mustached man. Something about the way he carried himself said he had a bit of a wild streak to him. The young one looked old enough to bag her groceries, certainly not old enough to be part of the ATF, and was usually with the mustached man. The black man was checking on injuries, probably the medic of the group. In the wings there was the large man with the calming presence. The last man had taken her awhile to realize he belonged to the team. While he too sported the standard issue nylon windbreaker and did obviously confer with the others, he didn't quite fit their mold. He was always dressed meticulously, and if she was right, his clothes cost as much as she made in a week.
She saw the mustached man go up to the ruggedly handsome man in black and hit him on the back,
"Larabee!" He exclaimed.
She felt her mouth fall open. She finally had a name. She quickly pushed herself through the throngs of people so she was against the yellow tape. It was now or never.
"Agent Larabee!" He turned around looking at the crowd in general. She waved her hand. He began walking over. The mustached man called after him,
"Chris, you dog, you!" and covered his mouth with his hand to hide the smile that was all over his face.
Suddenly he was in front of her. "Yes, Mary Travis of the Four Corner's Clarion."
She knew her mouth had fallen open again. She looked into his glacier blue eyes," How did you know?"
He moved his hand to cover his heart and his eyebrows went up.
She smiled, lost in his eyes, and looked down at her chest to see her press badge. She cleared her throat in embarrassment,
"Yes, right," adding a professional crispness to her voice. "Agent Larabee may I ask what
"You can ask," he stood not moving a muscle, " but my answer is going to be 'No Comment.'"
"Okay," Mary straightened up so she would seem taller. "Why is the ATF involved with the local police."
Larabee smirked back, "No comment." He started to walk away.
She pulled the pen from behind her ear, a piece of her blonde hair came forward, "What is your team's responsibilities at ATF?"
Chris stopped dead in his tracks, and quickly closed the distance he had traveled in a few determined steps. "Ms. Travis, forget what you know." He accentuated each word, turned on his black sneakered foot and continued walking back to his team.
"Who was that?" Buck glanced back to the attractive blonde woman.
"Some reporter," Chris said, not looking back.
"Great! Did you tell her our names?" JD said. Buck took JD's newsboy cap and hit him on the head with it.
"My young friend, we are a special unit, which means others are not supposed to know of our existence," Ezra answered, fixing the cuffs of his Zegna shirt.
"I think I scared her off," Chris said, looking over the clip board Vin had handed him which contained information on the firearms that had been discovered on the bust.
"Way to go Chris," Wilmington said sarcastically.
2 DAYS LATER
"Now pard, I think you should calm down," Tanner said as he tried to remove the paper from his friend's clenched hands. "It was picked up by the AP." Chris read the story again.
The Magnificent Seven Return
For those who believe justice had been ridden out of town, you are wrong. While they bear no resemblance to lawmen of the Old West or even Elliott Ness's Gangbusters, the seven-men team from The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that has been working closely with the Four Corner's Police Department for the past two months appears as though it could be a more than formidable force against what State Congressman Ron Watts described, in a recent press conference, as 'the bad element.'
"JD, don't look so happy." Vin said as he watched the veins throb in Chris's neck.
"What are you going to do?" Nathan asked, concerned their leader was going to have an aneurysm.
"I am going to have a little discussion with Ms. Travis," Larabee said through clenched teeth.
The drive did nothing to calm Chris down. Who did this woman think she was? Months of work were now in peril. He drove by the Clarion. It was housed in a non descript building on Main Street. The receptionist jumped as the door slammed behind the seething man.
"Ms. Mary Travis?" He growled to the frightened girl.
"Her office is back there. . .but. . .but," the girl sputtered as the Larabee walked around her, towards the back of the office. He found the door closed, and entered without knocking. The highback chair was turned away from the door.
"Lady, I don't know what you think you're doing," Chris bellowed, " but you just put the lives of seven ATF agents in jeopardy." Chris was fuming. "Tell me how does that feel?" The chair turned slowly around . Larabee looked at the headrest, and then lower. There seated in this large chair was a small towheaded boy. His eyes were wide,
"Are you really an ATF agent?" The boy said with awe.
Chris stood cemented to the ground, his eyes blinking, all the pent up rage leaving his body. "Yes," he cleared his throat. "I am." Chris did not realize Mary had a child let alone was married.
"Cool!" The kid exclaimed rolling the chair around in a circle.
"Um, I was looking for Mary Travis?" Chris asked the boy.
"That's my Mom." He stuck his small hand out. "I'm Billy."
"Chris," Larabee accepted the outstretched hand in a firm handshake.
"You know, you better not talk to my Mom that way when she comes back." Billy scowled at Chris.
"Oh yeah," Chris sat down in the chair in front of Mary's desk. "Why is your Dad going to beat me up?" Larabee saw the pictures of a man with a resemblance to Billy on the wall.
"Nope," Billy looked down, not meeting Chris's eyes. "He's dead."
Chris rubbed his hand down his face, "Sorry."
"It's okay." The child clasped his hands in front of him on the desk. "I just need to look after Mom now, that's what my Grandpa says."
The bravery of the little boy touched a part of Chris's soul he wanted to forget, or tried to forget each day.
Adam, his son, would have beem 12 by now. He was coming up on his and Sara's fifteenth wedding anniversary. As much as he tried he could not get passed the moment when he came home and found them dead. They were killed because of him. If he had been there, maybe it would have been different. . .
He was an FBI agent at the time. He had gone deep under cover with a major crime family, finally amassing enough information to take the Timbali family down for good. His superiors had assured him he and his family were safe. He had been called to an unexpected meeting that infamous day to review his testimony. He wasn't prepared for the bloody site awaiting his arrival. Adam and Sara dead. After he crumbled into himself-he testified like a good agent, but resigned right after the verdict. He buried himself in a bottle of tequila in Mexico where Buck found him and convinced him to join the ATF. After receiving ATF training, he was in and every day was trying to go on with his life.
The boy tapped his hand against the desk in a staccato tempo.
He smiled at Billy. "Sorry, I was daydreaming."
The blonde hair child accepted the answer.
"What happened to your father?" Chris asked curious to learn more about Mary and her tragedy.
"He was a reporter too. He was killed in Sarajevo." He shrugged his shoulders, as if not fully comprehending what he was saying.
"Well, I think you are doing a great job of taking care of your Mom." Chris winked at Billy, "I promise to go easy on her."
"Here she comes now." Billy waved to his Mom. Larabee could hear the quickness of her footsteps against the carpet as she saw through the glass windows of the office her son was not alone.
"Agent Larabee!" She looked at him with wide eyes, and went to place a protective hand on her son's shoulder. "What brings you here?"
"Ma'am," he nodded is head in greeting. "Just needed to discuss some things with you." His eyes looking down to the newspaper on her desk.
She turned to her son. "Billy, Agent Larabee and I need to talk-in private." She smiled coaxingly. "I'm sure Amelia will let you use her computer." She began to escort Billy to the door.
"But Mom! He's a real ATF agent! I didn't even get to ask him any questions!" Billy whined to his mother as she pushed him out the door.
She gave him a stern look. "It was nice meeting you Agent Chris," the child said politely.
"You too, Billy." They watched through the office's glass windows as Billy went over to a woman, who lifted the young man to her lap with a smile.
"Sorry, wants to be a reporter like his Mom." Mary said to Chris, still looking lovingly out the window at her son.
"Or his Dad," Chris sighed wondering if Adam would have followed in his footsteps.
Her head snapped around, sending the scent of her perfume through the air. "He told you." She wore a flowery scent. It wasn't overpowering, but it lingered in the air reminding Chris of how attractive Mary Travis was.
Larabee nodded. "Sorry about your loss." He had always hated those words since he had heard them enough himself.
"I am sure discussing my personal life is not what brought you here Agent Larabee." Mary said coldly, taking a seat in the chair behind the desk.
"No, I am here about the article." Chris sat down and stared at Mary with accusing eyes.
She relaxed back in her chair. "Agent Larabee, The Clarion is a small newspaper. I did not use any names. I am sure I did not effect your credibility."
"Lady, it was picked up by the Associated Press." The ATF agent snapped back.
"Picked. . .up ...by. . .AP," Mary eyes twinkled. "I didn't know."
Chris stood up and looked down at the Travis woman hoping she would cringe. "Well now you do, and I want it to stop."
Mary pulled herself up from her chair and came around to face Chris. "Look, no harm was done. I didn't mention any names, and I don't have to take orders from you!"
She wasn't going to back down. Chris was intrigued, no one ever went toe-to-toe with him. "I can get an injunction Mrs. Travis, " Larabee threatened.
"Go ahead and try it." She raised her eyebrows. "Who do you think told me about the Magnificent 7."
His forehead wrinkled in a frown. "What are you talking about?"
"Judge Orin Travis," Chris nodded knowing the name well. "Is my father-in-law."
The agent ran his hand through his hair, knowing he was backed into a corner. Chris Larabee did not like being backed into a corner, especially by a pretty woman he was attracted to.
Chris stormed through the ATF office at Four Corners, past his men, straight into his office, slamming the door behind him. His men watched him tear through, looked at each other and walked towards Larabee's office.
They filed in one by one to fill the room.
"Don't you people knock?" Their leader stared them all down with a scowl. Buck sat down in one of the heavy, red-vinyl coated, metal chairs in the sparse office. Wilmington always thought this office reflected the fact Chris did not want anyone to get too comfortable and stay too long. Buck slouched down and answered for all of them,
"Are we to assume your conversation with Mrs. Travis did not go as planned?" Ezra toyed with the ring on his finger, trying to hide the smirk on his lips from his c-o.
"Her deceased, husband's father is Judge Orin Travis." They all saw Chris clench the arms of his chair as he spat out the words.
"Hanging Judge Travis?" JD asked, sitting on the arm of the chair Buck had taken up residence in.
Chris shook his head and closed his eyes.
"Don't he sign off on a lot of our warrants?" Vin asked remembering the last time he had seen that name.
"Yes," Larabee replied in a controlled voice.
"I can't believe it!" Buck said, slapping JD on the back causing the young man to catch himself
before he fell forward. "That little bitty girl got to you Chris!"
"No, she didn't get to me Buck." The leader growled out the words. His associates all trying to
hide the smiles breaking out on their faces.
"Oh no, what has got you all riled up then?" Wilmington said trying to control the laughter creeping into his voice.
"I had to make a deal."
"What kind of deal?" Nathan asked, curiosity getting the best of him.
"We give her some information, and she does not use our names, but instead credits the whole ATF." Larabee said in disbelief as he nodded his head back and forth.
"Works for me, now was it so hard to play nice?" Buck said this time unable to control the merriment in his voice.
"GET OUT!" Chris snapped back, standing up and glaring at the door. They filed out, unable to look at their perturbed leader, in fear their joviality towards the situation may have serious repercussions.
They calmly went to sit at their desks, bringing themselves under control when JD said, "Boy, if that's what he's like before she's gotten to him, I don't think I want to be around for the first date."
All the men to break down into fits of laughter.
The End . . . .Now Chris and Mary have met, but she has to meet the rest of the seven. . .