What the Hell Happened?
by Mary Ann
Disclaimer: Not my guys just borrowed them for a little while. Thanks to Mog for creating the ATF AU
"I don't understand how this team can have so many injuries and still live to talk about it!" exclaimed Doctor Jamison as he looked over Team 7's members sitting in the corner of the waiting room.
Ezra Standish, his right forearm sporting a bandage and JD Dunne his face marred with a black eye stood and moved to the others. Nathan Jackson hovered nearby, his lip split and swelling, but his dark eyes were constantly in motion, checking out his teammate's one member after the other. He quietly stepped up beside Ezra.
"How's Chris and Vin?" Buck Wilmington asked as he stepped closer to the doctor, his left arm in a sling. Josiah Sanchez, a wide bandage across his forehead stood beside Buck.
"They're fine. Chris has bruises like you all do and a slight concussion. He'll need to be awakened every two hours for the next ten hours. Vin's got some stitches in his side from a knife wound, and some bruises. They'll be out in a couple minutes. I'd advise you all to go home and rest. You are going to be sore for the next couple of days."
"I agree with Dr. Jamison," said a voice the men all dreaded to hear, and as one their eyes slid to the well dressed man who had just walked into the room.
AD Orrin Travis looked over his battered team and shook his head, "This was a simple bust. What the hell happened?" He turned to Jamison, "Sorry Doc. They have the next several days off as soon as I receive their reports. Will any of the injuries prevent them from being to work on Monday?"
"No Agent Travis. By then they should all be fine. A couple will need to come in next week to have their stitches removed. Larabee and Tanner should be here in a couple minutes. They have all been released." The doctor handed the paperwork to Travis when he held out his hand for it.
"Thank you, doctor. I'll make sure they go home shortly." Travis glanced at the papers as the doctor left the room.
Turning his gaze onto the five men, Travis sighed. "While we wait for the last two, tell me what happened.." He quickly held up his hand to stop Ezra from speaking. "In as few words as possible," he finished, as his glance went to Buck then Josiah.
The two men looked at each other then around at their teammates. Josiah cleared his throat and started.
"We were in place at 9am this morning, around the building Goitz had under construction, where the meet was taking place. When Ezra and Nathan were met, the men were in Halloween costumes. There were well over a dozen of them. We moved closer, and then, well we don't know what happened. They started fighting with Ezra and Nathan and then some of their own. We rushed in and ended up embroiled in the fight. The more we yelled 'ATF, FREEZE' the harder they fought. We didn't see any guns, but they had brass knuckles, small clubs, fists, and knives. Team 5 and the police finally arrived and we were able to subdue most of the men, but not before receiving injuries. As you can see, we all received some sort of injury and are all bruised, some you just don't see. Vin was cut with a knife when he was protecting Chris who had been clubbed and went down. Team 5 has some injuries also."
"You don't know what set them off? Or who they were?"
"No sir. They just attacked us and each other. We got swept in I guess," Buck added. "They should be talking now," he added hopefully.
"No. The police haven't gotten any to talk yet," Travis answered.
Just then Chris and Vin walked into the room. Chris sported a bandage around his head, and a darkening bruise on the right side of his face, extending from his hairline above his temple across his cheek to his jaw. Vin's left arm was clamped protectively to his left side, but the black ATF T-shirt had a ragged tear in it and was bloodstained around and below it. Both men were pale but walked steadily to the others.
"What's going on?" Chris asked as he looked over his teammates, then to Travis.
"I wanted to find out that myself, and how you all were. I need your reports today then you're all off until Monday," Travis told the blond, feeling the team needed the five days of rest.
"We're fine. We'll head over to the office and get the reports done now. Is there any word on why we were attacked?"
"Nothing, Chris. Nothing at all. Here are your team's release papers. I think some of you have prescriptions to get," Orrin smirked seeing the looks that crossed several faces. "I'll be at my office. Get those reports to me ASAP, and then go home. See you all Monday." Orrin handed the release papers to Nathan and with a last look at his battered team, left.
"Alright, let's go get this done with. Go get your prescriptions and meet at the office," Chris said glancing at the script in his hand as he turned to the door. Vin stepped to his side and they led the men out.
A half hour later the seven men were quietly working on their reports. Buck, arm in the sling was typing one handed and cussing under his breath. Josiah was squinting at his computer screen while JD looked at his screen one-eyed. His eye was swollen closed, the black extending over half his face, but his fingers were flying across the keys. Ezra was typing almost as fast, his bandaged right forearm held at a stiff angle. Nathan, his lip swollen almost twice its size was typing as fast as he could. Vin sat on the edge of his chair so the armrest didn't press on his side and pecked at his keys as quick as he could. Chris, in his office, squinted at his computer as he typed; his head felt as if it was cracking into a thousand pieces and he hoped the pain pill he'd taken minutes earlier would start working.
Vin's phone rang and he distractedly picked it up. After listening to the message he replied, "I'll be there in a half hour. Thanks," and hung up. With a sigh he continued typing.
"What's wrong, Junior?" Buck asked hearing the sigh and looked over at Vin, noting the bruises that were appearing on his jaw and neck.
"Pharmacy. Said they'd given me the wrong pills and have corrected the mistake. Have ta go pick'm up and turn in the ones I got."
"I'll take you then we'll head to the ranch," Chris said from his office doorway. "You about done?"
"Okay. Couple more minutes. How's yer head?"
"Been better. Let me know when you're done," Chris said and reentered his office, flipped off the lights and sat down facing the wall of windows behind his desk, watching darkness begin to settle over the city..
Fifteen minutes later, the team headed out, after making a quick detour to drop off the reports at Travis's office. "We'll see you all Sunday for game day. Get some rest." Chris told them as they parted in the parking garage. Within minutes the Dodge Ram with Chris and Vin was headed for the hospital.
Buck's phone rang in the silence of the apartment he and JD shared, and he grabbed it on the second ring.. He'd dozed off in his Lazy Boy after he and JD had eaten their dinner and cleaned up the kitchen.. JD was asleep on the couch, but opened his eye when he heard Buck talking to someone. He became alert when Buck's face paled.
"When? Where is it?" Buck asked sharply glancing at the clock.
"We'll be there in fifteen minutes, don't move anything. I'm calling the others." Buck slammed the receiver down, and grabbed his cell phone as he jumped up. JD was already on his feet and picking up their coats, his eye watching as Buck speed dialed his phone.
Even with one arm in a sling Buck made it to the hospital parking lot in less than 15 minutes. He saw blinking lights and pulled close to the police car, jumping out as soon as he shut the ignition off. A police officer met him near the black Ram that sat crookedly across two parking spaces. Someone was in front of the truck with a powerful flashlight, its light shinning over the pavement. Skid marks could be seen and what looked like burn out tire marks also. More light was playing over the ground behind the truck picking up more tracks. Before Buck and JD could go to the Ram two other vehicles raced towards them. They waited as the other's parked then rushed to their sides.
Before anyone could say anything, the officer raised his hand and began talking. "I'm Officer Mills. Agent Larabee's truck was reported abandoned here and we were called in to investigate. There are all sorts of skid and burnout tire tracks around the truck, but no sign of Larabee. It was called in at seven fifteen. . ."
"Agent Vin Tanner was with him. There was a mix up with Vin's medication and they came over to get the correct prescription, left the office at four." Buck looked worriedly at his teammates.
Ezra moved to the side of the Ram and looked in, there was something on the front seat on the passenger side, and he walked around to get a better look. His face paled in the broken lighting when he looked inside. Taking a deep breath he moved back to his teammates, and with a jerk of his head indicated he needed to talk to them alone.
The team stepped to Ezra's side and in a low voice Ezra told them, "There's a Halloween mask on the seat. I surmise this is connected to the event today."
"Damn!" Buck exclaimed. "It's got to be Goitz. But how did they get Chris and Vin?"
"We need to check the pharmacy, see if they were there," Nathan said and headed towards the blue neon pharmacy sign. The others followed him.
Several minutes later they were back outside, unhappy to have found that no one had called Vin, that his med's were correct, and the two men hadn't been inside at all..
They found the police wrapping up their investigation and answered more questions that Officer Mills asked of them. Within a short time the police were gone, and Buck drove Chris's truck to his apartment, where they all gathered to try to figure out what their next move would be. He was glad that no one had stolen the Ram from the parking lot. Travis met them at the apartment a short time later and the discussion continued.. Ezra was soon on the phone, calling some of his connections, while JD got on the computer to dig deeper into the Goitz operation.
By dawn the men were exhausted.. Travis had left at 2am, thinking the men would get some rest after he left. JD's one eye was red from staring at the computer for hours on end, and the others were drooping in their chairs. Just as Nathan rose to make another pot of coffee, JD let out a wild yell..
"Got it! Goitz's one company is a costume one. It's buried under so many layers of names I didn't think I'd ever get to the end. It's called; 'The Complete Attire Outfitter' and specializes in all costumes. It's located on 33rd Avenue. Opens at 9am. Its seven now. What should we do?" JD asked looking at the others.
"Go home get a shower and something to eat, meet at the office at 8:30 and we'll go from there," Buck answered tiredly.
"I'm close to that street, I'll check the area out on my way back," Ezra said.
"Alright. Let's go. See you all later," Nathan said as the others headed for the apartment door.
At 8:30 the men were in the office. "The store is large, two stories and fairly open from what I could see. There's a large staircase to the left of the doors. Can only see part of what looks like a loft up there. There are racks of costumes throughout the place. I could see three people working in there." Ezra filled them in. "There's a back loading dock and big double doors there. A van was unloading costumes. I don't know if Chris and Vin would be there or somewhere else."
"We've got to check everything we can," Josiah stated.
"I don't think the workers know us, but it depends on who's in the office. We need to get in there," Nathan added.
"Okay I have an idea, let's get a van and head over there," Buck said with a grin.
A short time later the five men were on their way to the costume store, the plan in place. Parking a half block away they split up into two groups, the first, with Ezra, Josiah, and Nathan, entered the store, and wandered around through the clothes. Buck and JD entered a few minutes later and worked their way upstairs and checked it out. Ezra slipped into a downstairs back room and spotting a filled trashcan, set the paper in it on fire and slipped out without being seen. When the fire alarm went off, several workers rushed towards the back of the building as others ran out the front doors. The five men quickly began opening all the doors they could find, looking for Chris and Vin.
Previous Afternoon . . .
Chris pulled into the hospital parking lot and suddenly swerved as a car cut in front of him. As he braked hard, the car stopped crossways in front of them. A large dark van squealed to a stop almost on his rear bumper.
"Damn it, what's the matter with . . . " Chris stopped as the passenger door was yanked open and a gun was jammed into Vin's side before Vin could move. Hearing a soft grunt from Vin he reached for his gun. He barely got his hand on it when his door was yanked open and a revolver was stuck in his face.
"Don't try it, or he dies," the masked man said, then, "Put your hands on the steering wheel. NOW!"
Chris heard a moan from Vin and quickly moved his hands to the wheel and looked towards his partner. Blue eyes connected with his as Vin was dragged out of the Ram and Chris knew what Vin was going to do. A hand on Chris's shoulder made him turn his head to the man beside him and he slid out of the Ram, his hands in the air. He didn't see the blow coming that knocked him out; nor that Vin had kicked out at the man who held him, only to be felled by another man.
Four men quickly pulled the unconscious agents into the van. As one man ran for the car in front of the Ram he tossed a mask on the front seat and shoved the door closed. Two men tightly tied Chris and Vin and placed black cloth bags over their heads, tying them off around their necks. The fourth man backed the van away from the Ram and then sped out of the parking lot, followed closely by the car.
Chris awoke to the noise of someone panting strangely and struggling with something. He turned his head, but couldn't see anything but blackness, tape was across his mouth he discovered as he tried to call out. He shifted and felt plastic bindings cut into his wrists and stopped moving his hands.. For a moment he tried to figure out what was going on then remembered in a rush that he and Vin had been taken by masked men when they'd gone to the hospital pharmacy. More noise came from whoever it was to the right of him and he tried to get closer, a moan escaped him when he bumped his head into the wall..
Vin was in a panic, he couldn't see or breath and was fighting to catch his breath. He felt as if he was suffocating and he fought harder to get free. As he struggled he could feel blood dripping off his wrists. A noise to his left froze him in place. Swallowing he listened as something shuffled closer to him. Blinking his eyes against the darkness he strained his senses. A muffled moan reached him and he bowed his head. Chris? he thought.
Calm down Vin. I'm here. Remember we were taken. Your fine.
Can't see 'er breathe.
Me either. We're fine, just relax for now. Trust me.
Okay. Vin answered the silent communication and felt the panic recede, he wasn't alone..
For hours they lay in darkness, unable to do more than scoot around a little, and fight the restraints on their wrists. Vin, worried about the concussion that Chris had, would nudge him now and then, and relax when he felt Chris bump him back. After a long time they heard the door unlock and several people come into the room where they lay on the cold floor.
"Only going to tell you two this one time, and I expect you to listen. Get them up," a cold thick voice said.
Chris and Vin were dragged to their feet when the bindings were cut off their ankles and they both struggled against the hands that held them. Vin was turned around and as he was turned a second time one after another fist was slammed into his side where the knife had sliced into him hours earlier. With a moan he dropped to his knees only to be dragged upright again. Chris heard the noise and tried to go to Vin but was stopped when a fist hit him in his stomach. He was jerked up right again and he lashed out with his foot, but the man had stepped aside and he missed the man totally. He braced himself to try again.
"I take it you two don't listen too well. Well if you don't stop Larabee, Tanner will suffer more," a cold voice said.
Chris froze in place and cocked his head towards the man, trying to shut out the noise of Vin's struggle to breathe through the tape and whatever was over their heads.
"I don't like you and your men coming after me. I worked hard to get where I am and I'm not going to let some two-bit cowboy agent and his partner try to take me down. So you and your sidekick are going to totally disappear, no trace, no bodies, nothing but questions that can't be answered by anyone. They'll be no connection to me or my business. So Agent Larabee, tell your friend goodbye, you two won't . . ." The voice stopped as alarm bells rang out somewhere in the building.
Vin heard the bells and wondered what was going on.. He ached all over and was in agony from his damaged side and was unable to catch his breath. He'd listened to the voice but there was nothing he could do.. He was held tightly upright, head spinning and on the verge of passing out.
Chris listened to the shuffling noises around him and wished he could at least see. For what felt like minutes but was only seconds he waited, shifting his balance in the men's hands holding him. Then the voice came again.
"Take care of them; don't let them out of this room. If the building burns down, well, their bodies won't be recognized when it's all done with."
A door closing was the next noise and Chris felt the hands on him shift and he lashed out with his foot, and was surprised when it connected with a body and he heard a bellow of pain. His enjoyment lasted only seconds as he was brutality hit. He heard Vin trying to fight and then nothing as a blow to his head sent him into deep blackness and to the floor. He didn't feel Vin's body fall over his, nor feel the boots that kicked them.
Ezra and Josiah heard noises coming from the last door in the basement and quickly moved to it. With a glance at each other, they burst into the room. Two men were kicking figures on the floor and two others were laughing near by. Josiah roared, "ATF Freeze." The men froze in place for an instant, then one made the mistake of going for his gun and gunshots rang out in the enclosed space. One of the kickers dropped, dead from a bullet in his head, another's gun dropped from a shattered arm, the two others hastily raised their hands. More gunshots rang out on the upper floors as Ezra cuffed the three men. Josiah watched them closely and radioed that they'd found Chris and Vin and to get an ambulance.
Minutes later Nathan rushed into the room where Josiah had laid Chris and Vin side by side after cutting their hands free, and taking the bags off their heads and tape off their mouths. Ezra was guarding the three men in the corner of the room as Nathan dropped to the floor between his teammates and began to check Chris and Vin over. Buck and JD followed by several police officers arrived, and as the police hauled the men away, they stood nearby waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
"Well?" Buck asked when Nathan leaned back on his heels.
"Both have tore up wrists; possible broken ribs; Vin's going to need more work on that knife wound; Chris's concussion is worse I think, and they're both pretty battered. They'll have a lot of bruises. Goitz didn't want them to get out of here I think."
A short time later the two agents were on the way to the hospital.. Josiah and Ezra helped the police finish their investigation and answered all of the questions about why the ATF were there.
The ER personnel quickly checked out the two unconscious agents then sent Vin to surgery to repair the knife wound in his side, and Chris to radiology for more x-rays. By the time Josiah and Ezra arrived carrying large cups of coffee and sandwiches, Chris and Vin were being prepared to be moved into a room together.
A nurse came to get the waiting men a half hour later; their friends had been moved and Chris was awake, she reported to them. Buck was the first out of the waiting room with the others close behind. Reaching the room, they found Chris and Vin with bandages around their wrists, and a larger one around Vin's waist.. They could see bruises covering large portions of their chests. A blood pressure monitor was hooked to each man as a precaution for a couple hours.
Chris turned his tired gaze from Vin to the men who hurried into the room. A weary smile crossed his lips as his team quietly entered the room to settle around the beds..
"Damn stud! You look a mess," Buck exclaimed looking at his long time friend, Chris. "How do you feel?"
"Like I look I imagine. Everyone okay?" Chris replied..
"Mr. Larabee, we are quite fine. It is you and Mr. Tanner that we are concerned about." Ezra replied before Buck could answer.
"'m fine," a raspy voice said. Everyone glanced at the battered figure on the other bed.
Another smile worked its way across Chris's bruised lips as he looked across at the sharpshooter, whose eyes were still closed.
"You awake Pard?"
"No. I's sleepin'," was the short raspy reply.
At the men's relieved chuckles, Vin slowly opened his eyes and looked around. Taking in each of his friends noting their previous bruises and injuries but that they were alright, his eyes turned to Chris, and an eyebrow lifted. "Ya do look like hell," he said.
"I wouldn't talk if I was you, until you see yourself. You look as bad or worse than I do," Chris replied, his eyes dancing with mirth.
"What happened?" Vin asked as his eyes slowly slid closed.
"Goitz happened," Josiah answered. "Seems, he didn't like us snooping into his businesses."
"How do you know it was him?" Chris asked.
"How'd ya find us?" Vin questioned at the same time.
"We got the call from the police they'd had a complaint about your Ram hogging the pharmacy's parking lot. Someone left a Halloween mask in it. It was on the passenger's seat." Buck told them rubbing his arm in the sling..
"We had an idea and went with it," Nathan added.
"Mr. Dunne about wore his eyes, well eye, out last night digging into Mr. Goitz's businesses," Ezra said.
"Just did what needed to be done." JD replied, his face turning red around the bruises.
Chris and Vin exchanged a look, then Chris asked, "All night? What time is it? How long were we gone?"
Buck smirked, "You were taken when you went to get Vin's new prescription yesterday, which by the way, was a lie. It's noon now. We went into the costume store when it opened at nine. So maybe, 19-20 hours."
"Damn. No wonder 'm starved, no dinner, no breakfast, prob'ly no lunch too. And stuck in here for who knows how long," Vin groaned as he tried to find a more comfortable position and jarred his side instead.
"Vin, don't be wrestling around. The doctor just repaired that knife wound and you have a couple cracked ribs, an a broken one, so take it slow and easy," Nathan ordered, instantly at Vin's beside.
"I's just hungry," Vin exclaimed. "Kin ya'll go get me somethin' ta eat?"
A snicker drew a glare from Vin as he glanced at Chris. Don't tell me you ain't hungry too?
Starved. But have the headache from hell pounding in my head too.
Well . . . Oh, here comes a nurse, maybe she kin help ya. Vin glanced at the door as a nurse came in, a small container in her hand.
"Mr. Larabee, nice to see you awake. Dr. Jamison gave instructions to give you Tylenol to help with the headache you are experiencing. You'll feel better shortly.." She said and handed Chris the pills and water before he could say anything.
Glaring at the nurse, Chris took the tablets and handed the cup back to her. Before Chris could say anything to her, Ezra quickly asked. "Miss, is there a way we can get some substance for our companions before they die of malnourishment?"
"I'll see what I can do. It is lunch time. Give me a few minutes." With that the nurse checked the monitors on both men then headed out the door.
Within minutes the pounding in Chris's head eased and he was able to concentrate on his friends. "What happened to Goitz?"
"Well, he tried to leave, but we were a little faster. The Denver Police Department has him in custody and it looks like he will be in jail a long time," Josiah answered.
"A very long time," another voice said and seven pairs of eyes turned to the door and the newcomer who had just walked in.
"Mr. Travis, why do we have the pleasure of your visit?" Ezra asked composure in place.
"I just heard what happened several hours ago, and that two of my agents were in the hospital, again. Why didn't one of you call me?" AD Orrin Travis asked angrily of the men in the room. Several heads turned away from him as he looked from one man to the other. "And what the hell happened, again?" he asked as his eyes fell onto the figures in the beds.
"We got a lead on where Chris and Vin could be and we went to investigate. We found them in a basement room with some men beating them. Took care of the goons and then got our men out of there." Buck replied.
"Well, you always want it short and sweet," grinned Buck, then added seeing the look on the older man's face. "Goitz wanted them out of the way, and almost succeeded. Goitz is in custody and is facing, kidnapping, attempted murder of federal agents, gun running, money laundering, and a bunch of other crimes. He's at the DPD right now then we get him. His organization has been busted wide open."
"Good. I want reports," Travis said as he glanced over his best but battered team. Hearing the groans from five men he smiled and with a shake of his head he added, "I can wait until Tuesday, but it would be better while it's fresh in your heads. You are still off until Tuesday."
After a jaw breaking yawn, Buck glanced at his teammates, "Well I guess if we want to get any sleep today we should get those reports done. Won't have to worry about them come Tuesday." Nods from four heads showed their agreement and they started to file from the room.
"And you two," Travis started looking at Chris and Vin, making the others pause at the door and look back over their shoulders. "I want you both to go home and stay there until Tuesday. Doctor Jamison said you'll be released later today. I will pick you both up and, deliver you to the ranch where you will stay for the next five days. Someone can take your truck out there for you Sunday." Travis finished, as he shot a glance at the men by the door.
Buck smiled.. "Got the Ram an' the keys at our apartment, JD and I'll get it out there Sunday. Talk to you two later," he said to the bedridden agents and followed the others out the door. The five men's voices carried into the room for a couple moments before a nurse walked into the room carrying two trays.
Travis pulled the moveable tables to the beds and stepped away as she sat the trays down with a smile of thanks to him.
"Well, you two eat. I'll see you later." Travis stated and with a last look at the two he left, shaking his head as he wondered how his best ATF team always seemed to end up with one or several of them in the hospital. With a wiry grin, he knew he wouldn't trade them for another team no matter what. They were the best of the best, the Magnificent Seven of the whole ATF organization.