Filling in the Blanks
by Sue M
Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep 'em but if I could they'd be on season 10 by now!
Thanks to Mog for the ATF/AU
Ratings/Warnings: Some bad language/reference to child endangerment
Thanks to Phyllis, as always.
As he walked out from the store, JD was almost bowled off his feet by a hysterical woman clutching a toddler. She grabbed the young agent's arm and held his gaze, her face full of fear and anguish.
"Oh God. . .help us. . .please. . .help us. . .he's trying to hurt us, please. . .!"
JD scanned the area but could see nothing. His attention was drawn abruptly back to the woman in front of him, the toddler was crying.
Hustling her quickly along, he directed her to the pool car he was using and helped her inside. Once she was in, he raced around to the driver's side and jumped in. Just as JD started the car there was a heavy thud and a quick glance in the rear-view mirror showed a giant of a man banging on the car and screaming abuse at them.
"I'm a Federal Officer, ma'am, I could arrest. . ."
"I'm begging you. . .GO!"
Another quick look revealed the man pointing a gun.
JD hit the gas. . ."Get down!"
The rear window exploded and the two of them ducked down as JD pulled recklessly out into oncoming traffic and roared off, leaving people staring and shocked, and cars skewing to avoid hitting them.
A few miles on, at the outskirts of the city, having initially driven aimlessly to escape, JD decided his best course of action was to return to the Federal building. While preparing to maneuver, a huge pick-up came thundering up behind their car and smacked them hard in the rear.
"Oh, God. . ." the woman screamed. . .we're going to die."
The toddler was screaming as JD desperately tried to speed dial his cell for 911 but hitting redial instead as he fumbled with the buttons.
Just as Buck's voice came through, another loud crash came from behind, turning them toward the opposite side of the road and into the path of an oncoming truck.
Screams filled the air as JD tried to coordinate his movements, one hand clawing at the air while he yelled in terror.
"Hey. . .easy, kid. . .take it easy,"
JD fought harder as hands appeared to be holding him down.
"Chris, Vin, somebody. . .help me. . ." Buck called toward the waiting room as he desperately tried to calm his roommate.
As quickly as he had awoken, with a small whimper and a shudder of his body, JD was unconscious again.
Buck was physically shaking. Chris, just entering the room, looked at him.
"What the hell happened?"
Wilmington wiped a shaky hand across his face, "Damned if I know. . .but he woke up. . .that's gotta be good. . .right?"
At first, he wondered what had happened to his eyesight, then as his focus became clearer, JD was aware of a soft glow above and just to one side of him and hushed voices around him. His throat was dry, and as he swallowed, he felt a presence at his side.
"Hey, slugger. . .you're back with us."
Unsure of the endearment, the youth swallowed again, "Huh?"
Buck's face came more clearly into view. "Nothing. . .welcome back. . .we missed ya, well, actually, Chris missed ya, the rest of us were glad of the quiet."
Trying to laugh but finding it too painful, JD was just about to ask for a drink when he felt a straw touch his lips and he gratefully sucked in the moisture.
"Easy. . .easy. . .I'll get you some ice chips," Buck promised, as he pushed some stray hair from the youth's eyes.
JD could feel the head of the bed tilt slightly and soon he could see all six of his teammates.
He frowned, "Hey, it's dark. . .shouldn' t you guys be home?"
"Just waitin' on you, kid." Vin smiled.
"Ok. . .can you get my jacket. . .? Did I bring a jacket?"
"Enough with the teasing," Larabee's voice was quiet but stern, "JD. . . how are you?"
The agent looked at his Team leader. . ."Why am I hurting all over?" "Do you remember anything?"
"From when? What day is it?"
Nathan stepped forward, "It's Tuesday. . .you've been out of it pretty much for five days."
JD screwed up his face. . .'Tuesday? Where had he been since Friday?'
"What's the last thing you remember, JD?" Chris pushed, earning himself a glare from Nathan.
The youth sighed, screwing up his face in concentration. "Erm. . .taking Ezra's dry-cleaning to the store." He looked at the subdued southerner, "I can't remember where I put the ticket, Ez."
Ezra came closer, "Pay no mind, Mister Dunne; it hardly seems important under the circumstances. "
Ezra was carrying a shoulder-full of guilt as he cast his mind back to their conversation the previous Friday.
FRIDAY FIVE DAYS PRIOR
"If you have nothing to do, young man, may I engage your services in a little errand?"
JD smiled, "Is it far? I don't have a car. . .I could take the Jag. . ."
"As convivial as that may be. . .I will resist the guffaws I feel bursting to be released and remind you there are several fine vehicles available to you from the pool. Now," he handed JD a suit bag, "Kindly drop this in to my usual dry-cleaners for me, and do not forget the receipt this time."
JD took the clothing. . ."Jeesh. . . what did your last slave die of, Ezra?"
"Disobedience, now. . .go!"
Standish's green eyes were misty, Josiah nudged him.
"Knock it off, Ezra. . .this wasn't down to you."
"Ezra? What's wrong?" JD tried to shift in the bed, "Did I do something wrong?"
Buck rested the palm of his hand on his roommate's chest, "Hey. . .steady now, you're not meant to be moving about too much, yet."
JD was starting to get agitated, and looked from one to the other of his teammates for assurance. "What. . .what is it? What happened to me on Friday?"
Chris stepped in, "JD. . .we don't know. We were hoping you might remember something, but clearly you don't. . .yet. . .but you will, you just need to rest and it will all come back to you."
"No. . .I can't . . .why can't I remember, tell me. . .give me some details, it might jog my memory. . ." JD was desperately fighting against Buck's hold now and the ladies' man cast a concerned look around the room
Nathan stepped out and alerted a nurse to the young man's anxiety and in less than a minute she was back with a syringe.
JD looked at the nurse and struggled harder, trying to grasp his best friend's arm, "Buck. . .stop this. . .how can I remember if I'm asleep? Buck. . . please. . ."
As much as his friend's desperate pleas cut him to the core, Buck soothed him until he saw the nurse administer the sedative into the IV line.
"Come on, boy. . .rest easy now. . .there'll plenty of time for remembering. "
"No. . .no. . .I want. . .I need. . .I. . ."
JD moved his hand with the IV line toward his cast and strapped arm in an attempt to rip out the line and prevent the sedative from working.
Buck was distraught and despite the boy's injuries, he pulled the youth's body to him in an attempt to console and prevent him hurting himself at the same time.
Still fighting, JD was pleading now,
"Please. . .Buck. . .I thought. . .thought you were . . .my. . .friend . . .my. . .my. . ."
Wilmington held on tight while he felt the fight go out of the boy as the sedative kicked in. Soon the youth's body went limp and Buck gently placed him back down on the bed. He wiped the moisture from his eyes and looked down at the still form that was slowly losing the battle for sleep, then to Larabee. The looks said it all, as six men relaxed a little as they watched the youth's eyelids flicker closed.
Ezra sighed heavily, "And once again, I am the cause of his discomfort."
Tanner turned to Ezra, "Enough with the self-pity, Ezra, none of this is your fault."
"I have to disagree with you, Vin. . .if I had not asked him to assist me that day. . ."
"You can't second-guess fate, brother," Josiah reminded, "What will be, will be."
"If that is so, why am I not comforted by that fact?"
Buck looked up from watching his sleeping friend, "Because you give a damn. . ."
Their eyes met for a moment and Buck was satisfied he saw a flicker of appreciation replace remorse.
The next morning, after a shower and a change of clothes, Buck walked into JD's room to find Ezra sitting in a chair next to the bed. They nodded to each other as Buck unloaded some fruit, chocolate and drinks from a brown grocery bag.
The ladies' man took a good long look at his sleeping partner, white strips holding together a cut along his left eyebrow, his left eye swollen and purple. Bruises stood out against his pale features and his left arm was strapped tightly to his body. Lines and a catheter still hung from his arm and body causing him to look almost fragile as he lay there. Then Buck looked at Ezra.
The man looked positively disheveled, eyes sunken and hair slightly ruffled. He was sporting day-old stubble and Buck guessed he hadn't gone home for nearly long enough.
"Has he woken up yet?" Buck asked, secretly hoping he hadn't while the team had gone home to freshen up.
"The staff tell me not, and he hasn't since I have been with him."
Buck nodded and settled in a chair on JD's right and directly opposite the southerner.
"Would ya like a coffee?" Buck asked.
Ezra held up his Starbuck's cup as his answer. Buck got up, "I'll just go and get me some," he informed and stepped out of the room as he fished in his pants pockets for change for the machine. Ezra sighed and patted the young man on the fingers that peeked out from his cast.
"I promise you, Mister Dunne, I will concentrate my best efforts in finding the bastard that inflicted such pain on you. I know you have not shared any details with us as yet, but the anguish in your cries when you sleep tells me this is no mere automobile accident and most certainly does not explain your discovery in that vile deserted warehouse."
JD sighed and shifted in the bed as Buck came back into the room with his coffee.
"Never a good sign you know, Ezra. . ."
The southerner looked from JD and up at Buck, frowning.
". . .Talking to yourself."
Ezra nodded, unwilling to reveal his conversation, "Indeed." He smiled as he saw a pair of hazel eyes trying to focus on him.
"Good morning, Mister Dunne, I trust you slept well?"
JD blinked to clear his vision then nodded, "I guess so. . .where is everyone?"
"I'm here, kid. The others'll be right along, they smelled somethin' awful and got kicked out and ordered to shower." Buck stood with bated breath as he waited for the aftermath of the previous day's traumatic events while attempting to calm the youth.
JD grinned, "My stomach hurts."
Wilmington would have sighed with relief at the slightly unexpected comment, but concern was more prominent.
"Are you in pain, kid?"
"Naw. . .I'm hungry."
Ezra stood, "Let me speak with the doctor and see if you are able to take solid food." He nodded to Buck and left the room, practically running into Chris and Vin. He saluted them and went on to find the doctor.
"'Mornin' kid. . .whoa, you look like shit. . ."
"Funny, Tanner," JD smiled weakly, "I was just thinking the same of you."
"Where did Ezra go?" Chris asked Buck.
"He's gone to see if I can have food," JD answered, "I'm hungry."
"Well if yer hungry, I guess ya can't be that bad." Vin stated.
"D'ya think they'll let me go home today, Buck?"
Wilmington pursed his lips, "I doubt it, but we can ask."
They all looked up as Ezra returned with the doctor, followed by Nathan and Josiah, the latter flashing a huge grin at the youth.
"Good morning, Josiah, Nathan, 'mornin' doc," JD looked to each man as he spoke.
The doctor flashed a light into JD's eyes and checked his vitals chart. He fired an ear thermometer into JD's left ear and generally poked and prodded, finishing with a quick check, under the covers, of the catheter, causing the boy to blush a little.
"So, I hear you want to go home?"
The youth nodded, "Yes, sir. Please?"
The doctor laughed. "'Sir'? You're that desperate, huh? Well, try some food, I'll get someone to remove your catheter and when I'm satisfied you're passing water ok and you've had your first bowel movement, we'll see."
JD cringed at the last remark as the rest of the team smirked. A nurse came in with a tray, containing a glass of juice and a plate of scrambled eggs and toast. As she and the doctor were leaving, she looked at the young man and winked,
"See you later for your catheter removal and sponge bath."
As the door closed, JD groaned as the others laughed out loud, including Ezra.
"You lucky dog. . ." Buck grinned. JD just glared at him and proceeded to taste his fruit juice. Within the hour, he had eaten everything on his plate, some fruit from Buck's bag and was once again sound asleep.
True to her word, four hours later, nurse Hodson had removed the catheter and sponged down the young man, despite his protests and assurances it really wasn't necessary, and by day's end, JD had met all the criteria for his discharge. The following day he was released into Buck's care and gratefully slipped into his own bed for the first time in almost a week.
On JD's second day home, the team had dropped by for a visit, and to hopefully prompt the young agent's memory. Chris sighed as he watched his youngest agent curled up asleep on the sofa, wrapped in a comforter. Resigned to failure on this occasion, he joined the others around the TV.
As they watched a news item, JD stirred, no one had noticed and he relaxed a little, as he carefully stretched. Glancing at the TV, he frowned and looked away, but in seconds he took another look, sweating and breathing a little faster as his eyes fixated on the screen. Nathan turned to him on hearing the change in the young man's breathing.
"JD. . .are you alright?" As he spoke, he was moving to the young man's side.
JD had a pain in his head he equated to when he ate ice cream too quickly, but he stayed focused on the TV images. The other men were now aware of his change in demeanor and were also moving toward him, momentarily blocking his view of the screen.
"Who. . .who are they?" he asked of no one in particular as he pointed.
Vin looked at the screen.
"That's Sarah and Jacob Jamison, the wife and son of crime boss Frederick Jamison; apparently they were missing for a few weeks, why?"
JD's headache was increasing and, although unaware, his nose had started to bleed.
Buck grabbed a box of tissues and handed several over to his roommate. JD just stared at them and then back to the TV, frowning at the change of image. Chris sensed a breakthrough and decided to go for it.
"JD. . .do you know them?"
The youth looked at his Team Leader and then at the others. "I. . .I. . . there's something. . .Aarrgghh! " He slapped his hands down onto the comforter in frustration.
Nathan smiled, handing him some water, "Take your time. . .there's no hurry."
JD pushed his hand through his hair and sighed, screwing up his face in the hope it would somehow push the memory to the front of his mind, his headache had diminished slightly. Ezra came closer.
"You were at the dry cleaners that day. . .perhaps you were in the shop, or had walked out from the shop toward the car. . ." he guessed.
JD turned sharply to his side as the memory of a woman grabbing his arm surfaced, he swallowed nervously as he looked around at his friends, dabbing at his bloody nose.
"She. . .she . . ." It was almost there. . .Chris squeezed his arm and Josiah smiled at him.
"Well done, John Dunne. . .this is more than we could have hoped for today."
Suddenly, for the first time in days and as a tear rolled down his cheek, JD's eyes reflected a spark of life.
"She asked me to help her. . .someone was chasing her. . .she was. . .she was holding a baby. . .oh God. . .were they in the hospital too?"
Chris shook his head, "No, just you. When we found the car it was in a ditch, and empty."
JD took a deep breath, "The truck. . .a. . .a truck hit us. . .spun us around. . .I. . . I. . ." the youth's shoulders dropped, "I'm sorry. . .I can't remember what happened next."
Chris stood and flipped open his cell. "You did great JD. . .just rest for a minute." Larabee relayed the information to Assistant Director Travis and rejoined the group.
In a short while, the young man was asleep, and the men of Team Seven felt the gaps were closing on the mystery as they quietly put the pieces together.
They went over the events that started it all.
FIVE DAYS EARLIER
"Ezra. . .where in hell is this dry cleaners of yours? Kid's been gone almost an hour."
Standish looked up from his computer and checked his watch. "He has? Good Lord, he has. It's a mere ten minute drive away; he should have been back within the half-hour at the latest."
The rest of the team was looking now. Wilmington's phone rang. "Hey, kid. . .we were just. . .hello. . .hello? " Buck was on his feet and considerably paler than when the call started.
Ezra stood too, "What. . .what is it?"
"I. . .I'm not sure. . .I heard a loud noise mixed with road noise and then. . . yelling. The phone went dead."
Vin dialed and put out an APB on the car after establishing which one JD had checked out. Team Seven waited anxiously, until a half-hour later the call came to tell them a squad car had found the vehicle in a ditch a few miles outside the city.
Whatever had hit the car was now long gone. The recently arrived Team Seven and the local PD surveyed the abandoned vehicle; blood inside on both the passenger and driver's side suggested injuries, with the air bag deployed on the passenger side only. . .and that JD hadn't been alone. Buck cradled his best friend's cell as it sat in an evidence bag. . .wondering what in hell had just happened here. He turned, slightly startled as Chris put his arm on his shoulder.
"Come on, big guy, we've got work to do."
As he watched JD sleep, Buck recalled the moment the DPD had called to confirm a message from a security guard at a disused warehouse. Within the hour, Team Seven had arrived at the hospital, but had had to wait another four days before they could even begin to understand what had occurred. And now it was somehow linked to the disappearance of the wife and child of a renowned arms dealer, the more that was revealed, the deeper the mystery grew. He turned to the others.
Larabee nodded, "Yep. . .and I've no doubt there's more to come. . .we just gotta finish piecing it together."
"This isn't really our problem now, is it, Chris?" Nathan asked.
Chris looked toward JD, then back to the EMT, his face set in a hard expression, "One of our own got hurt, you bet your sweet life it is."
Larabee's voice was hard and cold,
"You do that, in the meantime. . .stop pissing me about and send me the paperwork I requested or I'll come and get it myself, and believe me. . . you won't want that!"
He slammed down the phone and proceeded to shuffle through paperwork on his desk.
Josiah looked at Vin and inclined his head toward the blond's office.
Vin smirked, "Not if they got the good sense they were born with. Travis got the Jamison case transferred to us. . .it's ruffled a few feathers downtown."
Josiah nodded, "Aaah. . .I see. And where are JD and Ezra this fine morning?"
Buck came back into the office from the break room carrying a tray of coffees,
"JD needed his permanent cast today, it's been ten days already, so Ezra volunteered to take him."
Nathan sighed, "That man sure is carrying around a load of guilt."
Buck nodded, "Yep, that's why I agreed; Ezra's about as useful as a toolbox full of feathers right now, best he gets it out of his system."
Josiah agreed, "Yes, he certainly is off his game at the moment."
JD looked at his new cast. . .blue and to his elbow. He looked across at the southerner as he drove them back to the Federal Building.
"Thanks for driving me to my appointment, Ezra. . .I hate having to ask for help."
"Nonsense, Mister Dunne, it was my pleasure."
JD laughed softly, Standish glanced across briefly, frowning.
"Would you care to enlighten me as to what I may have said to cause amusement?"
JD chuckled harder, and then looked at him.
"You. You act so. . .tough. . .like you don't care about anyone but yourself, yet it's all a front. I knew the first week I met you that you liked us all. You're not fooling anyone, you know."
Ezra smirked, "I wasn't aware I was attempting to 'fool' anyone, what makes you so sure I'm not exactly as others perceive me. . .my record shows I have never settled anywhere for long."
JD turned fully to look at him.
"You antagonized Chris and insulted the rest of us to create distance, except you couldn't keep it up. We *got* to you. Y'know, I often think you're a lot like me. . .afraid of rejection, but while you build walls, I live in hope."
Ezra looked again at his young friend and sighed, "I am afraid I have never been good at sharing my thoughts and feelings. I am, however, deeply sorry this has happened to you."
JD shook his head, "Jeesh, Ezra. . .let it go, man. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. No one blames you for any of it. . .only you."
"You may be right. . .I will consider it. Have you been able to recall any more from the point of the accident?"
JD shook his head, "Not at all. . .maybe if I went to the warehouse and took a look around. . ."
Ezra glanced sharply at his young friend, "Warehouse?" He was curious as to how JD knew about it as he hadn't recalled him telling the Team any time recently that he knew.
JD winced, "Err. . .I kinda snuck a look at a file Vin was looking over. Please don't tell Buck or Chris. I just wanted to know. . ."
Nodding his agreement Ezra was stern. "I fear any investigation on your part may be out of the question for now. . .Chris and Buck are adamant you stay within the confines of home and office, at least until we ascertain the reason behind the violence shown toward yourself and Mrs. Jamison."
Dunne groaned, "Aww, Ezra. . .I told you, I was just in the wrong place at the . . ."
". . .Wrong time. . .yes, you have already pointed that out, except that, despite them still being on your person when you arrived at the hospital, your gun and ID were accessible to whoever injured you, they now have a name and a reference."
"But surely if they'd wanted me dead they would have just finished it there and then."
Ezra signaled and pulled over, causing several cars to sound their horns. The look he gave the younger man caused JD to swallow hard and recoil slightly.
"I think you need to be aware of the circumstances surrounding your discovery. Firstly, these people left you in an abandoned warehouse for hours and well into the night, injured, bleeding and unconscious, lying on a stone floor. As if that were not serious enough, when the security company that checks the premises found you, it became evident they only call into the area once a week. If fortune hadn't smiled on us that day, Mister Dunne, we may well now have been attending your funeral, not the plastering room of Denver General."
The emotion in Ezra's face and voice, together with the information he was slowly absorbing, caused JD to pale, and without realizing, shake slightly.
Ezra instantly regretted his outburst and put his hand on the young man's arm.
"I am sorry I had to share that with you, JD, I just wanted you to understand why everyone is so tense at this time. This could so easily have turned into a murder inquiry."
Dunne kept his eyes lowered for a minute, for Standish, one of the longest minutes of his life. Eventually, JD looked up at him eyes bright and blinking to hold in the emotion.
Ezra frowned, "JD. . .why are you. . .thanking me?"
"Because you told me the truth."
"Now. . .err, I am certain the others would have. . ."
"Ez. . .it's ok. I know the others would have said something eventually, and I know they're only trying to look out for me, but I really needed to know now. I've lost time, Ezra. . .it's freaking me out. I hate worrying Chris and Buck when I go blank on them, I hate how angry Chris is getting because he wants answers and we don't know where to start, and I hate being a burden."
Ezra flashed a wide smile and cupped the back of the youth's neck.
"JD, son, you are anything but a burden. Now, how about we return to the office so you may peruse the abundance of mug shots available to you as an endeavor to move the process along?"
JD grinned and nodded, "Yeah. . .I can do that."
Smiling, Standish signaled and pulled back out into the traffic to continue their journey back to their office.
While JD scrolled through photographs of people connected to Frederick Jamison on his monitor, Ezra motioned for the others to join him in the break room. He knew this would not go well, but thought it best to get it over with.
"Well?" Larabee said, impatiently. He still needed some paperwork and was getting more agitated by the minute.
"I fear I may have made a faux pas."
"Hell Ezra, it must be serious. . .you're talkin' all foreign again," Vin commented.
Ezra sighed and turned back to Chris, "During our return journey from the hospital, JD expressed a desire to return to the warehouse where he was found in an effort to assist with his recall."
Buck shuddered; he and Josiah had visited there while JD was in the hospital. It stank of urine, rotting rubbish and vermin and both men had realized how lucky they had been that someone had called in there at all, and the thought that JD had been laying in it for hours still haunted them.
"And when did this nugget of information come his way?" Chris growled.
"I would rather not disclose that information, suffice it to say, it has. . .and has piqued his curiosity."
Buck and Chris looked at each other, Wilmington's face leaving no doubt in Larabee's mind of what the man thought of that idea.
"We'll see," Chris acquiesced, "I'd rather pursue other avenues first."
"Ezra," Josiah spoke softly, he had been studying the man's body language. "What's bothering you, brother?"
"Well," the southerner shuffled uncomfortably, "Also, I inadvertently divulged how he was found and how this was so nearly a murder investigation. "
"What?" Buck took a step forward, "Jesus, Standish, he's not prepared for that kind of detail just yet; hell, what were you thinking?"
"I wasn't. . .I was reacting, and I apologize, but also, I disagree, he was very grateful I told him, even though it was in error. I just thought you should know."
Chris growled, "We chose to *not tell* him yet, because he's like a dog with a bone. . .he won't let it lie. . .and I wanted to check out a few avenues of investigation before we turned it back to *him*, not to mention prompting...I want him to regain his memory naturally." Larabee pushed his hand through his hair. "I'm sick of this. . .we're getting nowhere. Conference room one. . .ten minutes. . .I want some answers!"
JD looked up as he heard Buck yell. Looking around, he realized the rest of the team was out of the office. Noticing a file on Buck's desk, he leaned across and flicked through it, spotting an address for a warehouse among the papers. Further investigation revealed it was the one he had been found in. He dialed a number.
"Yeah. . .hi, I'd like a cab please. . ."
In minutes he was gone.
As the team returned to the bullpen, Chris walked into his office to answer his phone. Buck frowned on seeing JD's empty desk and his computer closed down. It took him only seconds to realize the file on his desk was open. . .he was almost sure it had been closed when he had left it earlier.
Then he spotted the note.
Just trying something out. I have my cell. See you later.
Buck looked at the others, waving the file, "He wouldn't, would he?" Buck focused on Ezra.
Ezra nodded, "Allow me, I will endeavor to locate and retrieve our errant youngest."
"Wait up, Ezra, I'd better come too, he's still nowhere near a hundred percent fit," Nathan called and promptly jogged after him.
Chris was now stood in his office door, his face grim.
"I just had a call. . .Sarah Jamison's been found dead in her own home, they're saying suicide."
"The baby?" Josiah wondered.
"Found well, sleeping in his own crib. Let's go."
After Ezra and Nathan scanned the lobby of the Federal building they approached one of the door guards.
"Did Agent Dunne come through here?" Standish asked.
"JD? Sure, about five minutes ago, he got in a cab."
"Do you recall the name of the cab company?"
"Yes sir, it was Denver Yellow Line. Is something wrong, sir?"
Ezra was already dialing. "No. . .thank you, we will take it from here."
Within minutes, the company had confirmed the warehouse address as JD's destination and, receiving the information around the same time as they reached Ezra's Jag, they quickly pursued.
As officers milled around and a camera flashed occasionally, Buck shook his head as he glanced down at the now cold body of Sarah Jamison, looking up to meet the gaze of her husband Frederick, who was sitting in an armchair nursing a brandy.
"So you found her like this?" Chris asked.
Frederick nodded and spoke, his voice thick with emotion, although few were convinced.
"I should have known. . .she hasn't been well for weeks now. At one point, I feared for my son's life. I should have had someone stay with her."
Josiah held up an evidence bag.
"How did she come to have so many tranquilizers? "
"She wasn't sleeping so well. Doc gave her a prescription or two. . .I guess she must have saved them up."
Chris made his move. Buck, Josiah and Vin, sensing the mood change, were ready.
"Can you explain to me why your wife was running in fear of her life through the streets of Denver just under two weeks ago?"
Jamison shifted in his chair ever so slightly, but it did not go unnoticed by Team Seven.
"I told you. . .she was kidnapped, along with my son. Someone I hired found them and returned them to me, but she hasn't been herself since. Why is the ATF interested, anyway?"
Chris leaned right into Frederick's personal space, he practically spat out the words.
"Because one of my men helped her and your son that day. . .and almost paid for it with his life. I can assure you MISTER Jamison there was something very unsettling about the events of that day, I'm also very eager to know who took the three of them from their wrecked car and left my agent unconscious, and alone, to die in a warehouse in town. . . which, coincidentally, you just happened to lease some time back. . . and miles from the accident scene." Larabee looked at his men, time to play the wild card.
"Arrest him for the suspected abduction and attempted murder of a Federal agent." He looked at Jamison, "I'm sure we can come up with a few more charges before we're done."
They took him out of his home under protest and missed the look that passed between him and one of his men.
After walking through a large yard, JD finally came to the empty warehouse and cautiously walked inside. It was strewn with detritus of all manner and the youth wrinkled his nose at the smell. . .oh God. . .the smell.
An image suddenly flashed into his mind so violently, it had him dropping to the floor. As he sat there and looked dizzily around, voices echoed in his head. . ..
". . .Shipment coming in. . .wants her home now. . .just leave him, he's as good as dead anyway. . ."
JD's head swam as more images tumbled in, faster and faster, and then, he had it. . .all of it.
He turned suddenly as a noise from behind drew his attention. He reached around his back for his weapon and cursed as he realized he wasn't allowed to carry it, then relaxed as Ezra and Nathan approached, the medic picking up the pace as he saw the young man on the floor.
"JD. . .are you alright?"
He nodded, "Yeah, Nathan, I'm fine. . .just got a little dizzy." He looked up at the two men, smiling a little, "I remember. . .I remember everything."
Both men helped him to his feet, returning his smile.
"That is indeed excellent news, young man. Let us return to the office so the whole team can hear it together." Ezra put a supporting arm around his shoulders.
"Buck's gonna have your ass in a sling for pulling this stunt, not to mention what Chris has in mind," Nathan softened his words, "But knowing you got your memory back. . .I guess that'll soften the blow some," he added.
They made their way back to the car, relaying their ETA to Josiah as they left the grim building behind, unaware they were being watched.
Half way back to the office a large gray pick-up pulled alongside the Jag. Before Ezra could consider the development, another vehicle pulled up level on the other side. Within seconds and despite a few of the southerner's best maneuvers, the vehicles and their occupants' now visible weaponry halted their progress, directing them to a quiet side street. They were ordered out of the car and into their abductors' second vehicle. The three agents sat in silence in the back until the van pulled up and three men joined them.
Feeling a little shaky from the rough handling which had jostled his broken arm, JD shook slightly and both agents scooted closer to steady him. Nathan spoke first.
"This man needs a doctor. Now I'm sure you are aware of the consequences of abducting three Federal Agents, so if you let us walk away, we'll forget this ever happened."
The punch to the medic's stomach came so fast no one expected it. Nathan doubled over on the van floor, breathless and in agony as his lungs screamed for air. Standish increased his grip on JD's arm both as reassurance and support, as one of the men stepped toward them.
"What my colleague meant to say, is no harm done, gentlemen. . .we rarely hold a grudge, now if you would. . ."
A hard backhand to Ezra's face halted his speech and he too found himself kissing the floor of the van.
"Shut the fuck up, Fed!" The man yelled at a dazed Standish. He then looked at JD and moving quickly forward, delivered a blow to the boy's face so hard the youth's head slammed back against the side panel, leaving him unconscious.
"Don't have time for crap." The assailant's attention then turned to the other men who had helped him kidnap the three agents.
"Tie these guys up real good. . .they're going on a little trip, courtesy of Mister Frederick Jamison." He smiled, "No loose ends..."
As Chris and Josiah in the Dodge and Buck, Vin and Jamison in the Chevy traveled back to the Federal Building, the call came over the radio that Ezra's Jag had been found abandoned. Witnesses had helped establish a portion of what had happened and which direction they may have been heading. Vin spoke to all of them.
"If Buck drops me off, I'll pass Jamison over and follow y'all on my bike."
Larabee agreed and went on to the Jag's location as Buck carried on to the office.
Less than half an hour later, Buck had met up with Chris and Josiah and they made plans as to which direction they would take. Larabee's cell rang and, after initially frowning, he smiled.
"Put it over the radio," he ordered and proceeded to listen.
Ezra's voice could just be heard softly calling out street names sporadically. The men jumped in their cars and set out to head them off. Ten minutes later, Chris and Buck, in separate vehicles were in pursuit and Vin had called Chris' cell to confirm he was on his way and to get directions.
Ezra was concerned, trussed up like turkeys in the back of a speeding van was not good. He considered that if the doors were unlocked he could jump but apart from the obvious danger, he did not want to leave Nathan and JD. Nathan caught Ezra's eye.
"We're screwed, aren't we?"
They both looked at an unconscious junior agent, "Not yet," Ezra claimed, hopefully.
He awkwardly made his way over to the unconscious youth and started fumbling around in JD's pockets.
"What are you trying to do?" Nathan asked.
Ezra answered through grunts.
"As you are aware, Mister Jackson, we were both relieved of our cell phones, young JD here, being unconscious and therefore of no threat to them, may still have his. . .yes!"
With great difficulty, Ezra had shuffled to the van doors and peering up through the filthy windows, finally managing to dial 911 and was soon relaying their position to dispatch. Nathan grinned.
"I got to give you credit, Ezra, that's ingenious."
"If it works my friend, I'll remind you of those words the next time we are sitting in the Saloon."
"No problem," Nathan nodded and kept watch as Ezra continued with his directions.
Chris had had enough. He was beyond mad and now someone was going to pay for daring to mess with his team. He dialed Buck
"I think I see them up ahead, Buck."
Buck was beside himself. JD wasn't up to this, Goddamn that boy for going off like that. Now three of his friends were in serious trouble. As pissed off as Larabee was, Buck was equally determined to get them back safely.
"What's the plan, stud?"
"No plan. . .just gonna sidle up next to them and if they're real lucky I might not blow their brains out. When I make my move, pace us on the opposite side."
Buck grunted his approval and snapped his phone shut, hoping Vin was close.
Vin was a cautious cyclist, but caution be damned he thought as concern for his friends saw him weaving precariously through traffic. His last communication with the team had given him a direction and he prayed they didn't deviate from that heading too much. Relief surged through him as he spotted two familiar trucks ahead.
Buck pulled right up behind the van as Josiah drove Chris' Ram right alongside it in the next traffic lane. Chris ran his eyes over the vehicle and gestured to Josiah. The profiler stepped on the gas and pulled ahead forcing the van toward the kerb. Realizing he had been out-maneuvered the driver yielded. Before his truck had fully stopped, Chris jumped out, weapon drawn.
"ATF! Open the doors put your hands on your heads and get out. . .NOW!"
As the two occupants slowly complied, Chris stepped forward and unceremoniously pulled the driver fully from the cab while Josiah came around and removed the passenger. Larabee was starting to enjoy himself as he tossed the driver hard against the side of the van.
"Who do you work for?"
The man said nothing, but Chris could feel him start to shake a little. Larabee grinned,
"The next time I ask, my gun will be tucked neatly up your left nostril." He raised his weapon and the man swallowed.
"Y. . .you wouldn't dare."
Josiah joined them with his prisoner, "Oh he would. . .in fact. . .he has. . . messy."
As Chris held his gun up higher the man swallowed again. He looked at the blond in front of him, the piercing eyes wild with anger. . .looked at the gun closing in on his nose, then back to Larabee. He sputtered. . ."Jamison. . . I work for Frederick Jamison. . ."
Chris patted him on the cheek with the muzzle of his gun.
"Good boy!" Chris handed his gun to Josiah, drew back his arm and gut- punched the man, watching with satisfaction as he slid to the ground, gasping for air.
"Don't fuck with the ATF. . .but more importantly. . .don' t fuck with Team Seven," he snarled, turning to glare at the other man with Josiah and letting go a small smile as he watched the second man cringe.
Buck jumped out from his Chevy and pulled open the van's rear doors, hoping to find his friends and smiling as two familiar faces looked back at him.
"Mr. Wilmington, good to see you," Ezra said, sincerely.
"You too, boys. . .you ok?" the ladies' man asked as he proceeded to untie them, successfully freeing the Southerner.
"We're good Buck, check JD, he's been out of it for a while." Nathan instructed
Buck stepped over Nathan's long legs and left Ezra to untie the medic as he reached over and gently tapped his partner's face.
"Hey, kid, you in there?"
A soft moan followed as JD stirred and eventually squinted up at his best friend, "Buck. . .? Are we home yet?"
Buck laughed with relief and watched Nathan and Ezra jump down from the van as he carefully helped his bruised partner into a sitting position.
Chris joined them, turning and smiling as he watched Vin roar up on his bike, stop and remove his helmet.
"Everyone ok?" Vin asked. They all nodded and acknowledged the arriving police officers.
As JD tried to stand, he winced as he moved his casted arm. Deciding to take no chances, Buck informed the team he was taking JD to the hospital, and they agreed to meet up at the office later where the others were planning to talk to Jamison.
It was the early hours of the morning before an exhausted pair of agents arrived wearily at their home. The hospital visit had taken longer than anticipated and they had called the rest of the team to inform them they would be going straight home. Buck ordered JD to the couch as he got them a drink and a sandwich, moving cautiously to the door on hearing a soft knock. Smiling as he peered out of the spy hole, he opened the door to the rest of Team Seven.
"Kid ok?" Larabee inquired.
Buck nodded, "Cast was broken, and he's got a new one, no other damage though.
Vin approached the sofa and ruffled the younger man's hair, "Hey, kid. . ."
JD pulled himself up straighter from his lounging position.
"Hey guys. . .little late for you all, isn't it?"
"Just finished with Jamison," Chris offered with a small smile.
"Yes. . .it went well." Ezra added.
Once they had all settled down with drinks and food, Chris addressed JD.
"Ezra and Nathan tell us you've regained your memory of the accident. Do you feel up to talking about it?"
JD nodded, "Actually, yeah. . .it would be good to get it off my chest." He took a drink and steadied himself while the team waited patiently.
TWELVE DAYS EARLIER
JD's cell dropped from his hand as he fought the wheel to try to turn away from the oncoming truck. He tried to block out the baby's cries, the woman's screams and his own yells as a deep air horn sounded. The big truck clipped the back of the car, spinning them twice, the young agent fighting to control the skid. The car was now facing the wrong way as it found its way to the edge of the road and dropped awkwardly into a ditch, flipping over once and jostling its passengers every which way with the movement. JD felt the impact to his head and a sharp pain to his arm and then nothing.
The next thing he remembered was seeing a man, seemingly tucking money into his back pocket, climbing into the truck and pulling away. He could still hear the baby crying and could see the unconscious woman being placed in the pick-up. JD had just come to realize he was lying in the open trunk of a car when dizziness overcame him and he blacked out.
The young agent looked around his friends as he sipped his drink.
"I woke up on a cold floor; I guess it was the warehouse. I felt so dizzy and I hurt everywhere. I heard two men talking. They were discussing Jamison 'wanting her back or she was as good as dead' but I wasn't sure who they meant. Just before I passed out again, I heard one of them saying to leave me there 'coz I was as good as dead anyway."
He shuddered and Buck put a supporting hand on his shoulder and squeezed. JD laughed but there was no humor in it.
"I think my last thoughts was wondering how bad I looked if they thought I was dying. . .and wondering where the hell the smell was coming from."
Chris grunted, "I'm guessing it was also about where they were leaving you. They were confident you wouldn't be found there. . .at least not until it was too late. . .the security company admitted they don't always check there, but the guy was new to the job, and checked everywhere that night, even the disused buildings."
Everyone went quiet as they contemplated the man's decision to be diligent that night.
"I guess I owe him a drink, "JD said, trying to lighten the mood. "What was the deal with the woman and the baby?"
Buck sighed, "Jamison tried to make it appear as though they had been kidnapped but returned to him thanks to a private investigator. We're sure now that Sarah was trying to leave him, but he wasn't having it."
"Are they. . .her and the baby. . .are they ok now, now you've arrested him?"
Chris moved in closer, making it clear he was going to be the one to break the news.
"Jacob's fine. . .Sarah was found dead in her own home. . .we're convinced it was murder, Jamison's claiming she killed herself. hopefully a post mortem will reveal the truth. We have enough to take him to court now, anyway."
Dunne's head had dropped as he whispered, "Oh, God. . .that poor woman."
They all nodded. They finally had a big-name arms dealer locked up. . . for now. . .but it was not a good feeling. This was one case they didn't' feel they had really won, and it left a bitter taste.
But the Team was more than ready for their next challenge.