Part of the Larabee Family series.
Summary: Ella comes back for Chris, the man she loves but first she has to eliminate his brother Vin.
Warnings: language, violence, angst and smarm
Vin Tanner Larabee was out in a part of the ranch he had never been to before. There was an old cabin that his brother and father had mentioned in passing over the winter months. The consensus amongst the Larabee men was that it would make a perfect getaway. The only way to get to the cabin was by horse or hiking, by horse it was a good hour ride. While they had another cabin on the ranch (the one Vin had taken refuge in after finding out he was Chris's brother) it was closer to the main house while the new one was more secluded and away from anyone who might just wander by for a visit. Vin figured they could use it for camping and hunting as it was close to a stream where the fish were plentiful.
Vin and his dad were always trying to get Chris away from his phone so he could relax and the cabin would be perfect. It needed some work but when it was done Vin could envision all three of them spending the weekend fishing and hunting without the irritation of ringing phones or people dropping by at all hours. Vin loved his old teammates but sometimes he just wanted his brother to himself well with dad too of course.
So that is why Vin decided to ride out on Peso to check it out. James was in town visiting with an old friend who had just had hip surgery and planned on staying in town with an old friend for the night not wanting to be driving so late at night; Chris would be back later that night. By that time Vin figured he would be back and making plans on rebuilding the cabin.
Just in case he was running late he had left a note on the table letting his overprotective brother and father know where he was. Ever since Ella Gaines had tried to kill Chris's family the enigmatic blond had been hyper protective, especially of his little brother. That was another reason Vin and James thought renovating the cabin was a good idea, it would give Chris a place to go and for a while forget all about Ella Gaines.
Glancing down at the watch Chris had given him for his birthday Vin figured he had a few hours before he needed to worry about heading back. Having left right after his family he was making good headway.
Gazing about him the free spirit that was Vin Tanner Larabee inhaled the fresh crisp air of the early morning; a light fog was laying over the some of the lower meadows. Spring was in full bloom with flowers everywhere, the birds singing and the sun starting to bathe everything in warmth chasing away the chill of the morning. Spring time in Colorado could still get downright cold at night but the beauty of the day certainly made up for it.
Reaching the cabin he was pleased to see that it was in better shape than he had thought it would be in. All the walls were in place and the roof needed repair but it wasn't too bad. Vin tied Peso to a bush and slung his saddlebags over his shoulder. Figuring it was going to be a long day he had packed several sandwiches, some fruit and a pie that Miss Nettie had sent over, since there were only three pieces left he took them. After all if his family asked he was going to tell them he was a growing boy and needed all the food he could get.
Vin chuckled as he envisioned the look on Chris's face at that comment.
Whistling he opened the cabin door and walked inside...a second later he was lying unconscious on the floor.
Standing over him with a rifle was Ella Gaines; behind her were two men, then three as another man walked inside the old cabin.
Ella smiled as she lowered the rifle reveling in the wonderful feeling of smashing the rifle barrel over Vin's head. It had felt so good doing some damage to the low life bastard that had insinuated himself into her beloved Chris's life. Well he might have fooled Chris but he had not fooled her. Ella would use Vin as a hostage against Chris but when she was finally married to the man she loved Vin would die a very slow and painful death for all the trouble he had given her.
She couldn't believe her luck, her plans had been to take Vin by force from the ranch when he was alone and here he had walked right to her. Of course it had helped that one of her man had him in sight and warned her that he was heading in their direction.
"Tie him to the chair and tie him tight," Ella ordered.
Vin was roughly pushed into the straight back chair and tied tightly, the men having learned that when Ella gave an order she expected it to be followed to the letter.
Vin's legs were tied to the chair legs at the ankle and just below the knee. The men also tied a rope around his waist and chest securing him to the chair. Vin then had his wrists yanked behind the back of the chair and tied together.
Ella sent one of the men outside to hide Peso; she didn't want to take a chance on anyone seeing anything they shouldn't.
Picking up a bottle of water she held it over Vin's head and poured it out.
Stepping back she smiled as Vin gasped then groaned as he started to shake his head.
Raising his head Vin blinked his eyes, and then wished he had kept them closed when he saw Ella standing there with that nasty grin on her face and her hands on her hips.
Not thinking just reacting Vin said, "So the bitch is back."
The ex-sharpshooters reward for the smart comment was a not only a slap from the bitch but she took great delight in raking her fingernails down his cheek.
Vin refused to make any noise or movement to show her how much that hurt.
Ella was disappointed that Tanner showed no reaction. She refused to grant him the last name of Larabee, he wasn't good enough to have that name after all her children would have that last name and it must be protected from bastards like him.
"You will regret calling me a bitch, Chris won't like it that you called the one he loves a name. I will tell him to go easy on you after all someone from your low station in life probably doesn't know any different."
Vin while inwardly laughing at the thought of Chris being pissed at Ella being called a bitch had to admit the crazy women had zinged one at him. There were times he felt he wasn't good enough for the Larabee name and for her to say that just made it seem more real. He knew it wasn't true, everyone had assured him of that, besides she just wanted to hurt him.
However it would be a cold day in hell before he let Ella know she had hurt him with that comment.
"Do you really think Chris is going to marry you? Hell you are crazy," Vin hissed his blue eyes snapping with fury.
Ella walked towards the door then hesitated as she forgot to get proof she had Vin.
"I need proof to show that I have you. I thought about that watch but I need something more personal." Borrowing knife from one of her men she cut a small lock of Vin's hair not caring that she had to saw through the silken strands, (bitch is going to die for that alone) and then grabbed up the slouch hat Chris had given him to wear around the ranch.
"Now for some reason Chris loves you and I will use you as hostage to his marrying me. Eventually he will love me so much that he will do anything I ask and protect me from all insults...so you had better watch that smart mouth of yours. Of course I may just have you killed as soon as we are married that would eliminate one person from his life that I don't have to compete against."
Ella gazed at Vin and couldn't help but notice he was a nice looking man, not as nice as her Chris but still nice.
Remembering that he was supposed to be shy she smiled and then straddled his lap ignoring his gasp of shock. All men had something that bothered them and why shouldn't she exploit it.
Nodding in triumph she realized that while pain wouldn't get him humiliation might.
Running her hands down Vin's chest she unbuttoned the shirt to slip her hands inside.
"My you do have a nice body, not nice as Chris but still pleasant. I wonder how it would feel to have you fuck me, Chris wouldn't like it but we wouldn't tell."
Vin's eyes were wide open with shock and yes some fear he wasn't expecting this.
Ella reached down and grasped his jean covered crotch giving it a little squeeze.
"My you are hung aren't you? Maybe before I kill you I can convince Chris to have a threesome, you could ride me while he fucks you, and wouldn't that be nice."
Vin was aghast at the thought; she was crazier than he thought.
"You are one fucking crazy bitch," he growled.
Ella reached out and grabbed the long hair of her captive yanking his head forward she took advantage of Vin's gasp to bury her teeth in his lower lip biting down hard until she tasted his blood in her mouth.
Ella stood up licking the blood off her lips making a big show of enjoying it.
Vin couldn't help the tears that automatically filled his eyes at the excruciating pain of the bite but he refused to let them fall.
"My Vin you do taste good."
Vin licked his lip then said, "You will regret that. If you think it will be easy to take on a whole ATF team you are mistaken, they won't give up."
"You are not longer on the team and they won't know where to find you so I am not worried."
Ella turned to leave handing a phone to one of her men.
"Keep this close I will call later and let Chris talk to his pathetic little half brother."
Ella left with one of her men leaving two behind to watch Vin.
The two men stared after their boss then turned to look at their captive.
"Damn dude but you sure pissed her off," the younger one said leaning against the door jam.
The older balding guy however had other things on his mind.
"You mentioned that you were ATF and the team would hunt for you, care to explain?" he asked an ugly look crossed his face.
Vin licked the blood off his lip wincing at the sharp sting.
"I was an ATF sharpshooter, but I quit starting up a horse breeding ranch with my brother and dad. Chris is the leader of ATF team 7 and I do assure you they will stop at nothing to find me. It would be in your best interests to just let me go," Vin explained.
The younger guy straightened up suddenly looking nervous.
"Damn I don't want some ATF agents on my ass," he hissed looking at his buddy.
"Well, ATF team 7...huh...I heard they're called the Magnificent Seven, that right boy?"
Vin raised his chin in pride.
"Yes that's right."
Vin glanced at them weighing his options.
"If you let me go, I won't stop you from leaving."
"Come on now boy, you can't fool old Roger, we let you go and we are immediately hunted down," Roger laughed.
"But Roger maybe we should just take off."
"Shut up Phil, right now our boss lady scares me more than ATF agents that are nowhere to be seen. That may change but right now we do as we are told."
Vin glanced at Phil figuring he was the weak link.
"Phil listen to me..."
That was as far as Vin got as Roger sent his fist into Vin's cheek splitting it open and knocking the chair over backwards.
Vin was out before he hit the floor.
Roger grabbed Phil and pulled him outside.
"Now you listen to me you little prick. That guy is going to play you, play us against each other, and so ignore him. We are being paid good money to hold him and that is what we going to do. You got it?"
Phil still looked uncertain but he was willing to go along with his friend for now, after they had been running together for a couple of years and Roger hadn't let him down yet.
The two men went back into the cabin Phil sat the chair back up but Vin was still unconscious.
A few hours later Chris walked into the house, Dad was planning on spending the night in town so it would be just him and Vin for dinner. He had gotten home a little earlier than usual hoping that he and Vin could go for a horse ride so he could release some of the tension left over from work. The light was on in the family room so he walked through the kitchen calling for his brother.
As he entered the family room he stopped as Ella stood up from where she had been sitting on the sofa.
Chris hissed, "You bitch, you have some nerve..." the blond stopped suddenly realizing that Vin was no where to be found and there was a large man across the room holding a gun on him.
Swallowing telling himself to relax until he knew where his beloved brother was Chris asked, "Where is my brother?"
Ella smiled sweetly as she reached down and tossed Vin's hat to Chris who caught it his jaw flexing in worry and anger as he fought to control his temper.
"He is safe for now. Oh...here is another souvenir I took from him to prove that I have him," Ella said as she approached Chris and held out her fist.
Chris's stomach clenched as he feared what was in her hand but he held his hand out palm up.
Ella released the hair so that it floated ever so lightly to land in Chris's palm; the blond immediately gripped his hand around the hair as though that would bring him closer to his kid brother.
"What do you want?"
"What I have always wanted, you as my husband, I know you love me. I find it tiring to keep removing people from your life so that you can be with me. Now we can get married tomorrow or your precious brother will die. He means nothing to me other than a means to control you."
Chris's mind was flashing rapidly, there was no way he could marry her but he had to save Vin. First he had to make sure Vin was still alive and if he wasn't then all bets were off, he would kill the bitch even if he died also. Life wasn't worth living without his baby brother in it. Secondly he had to keep dad away yet somehow get a message to the team that they were in trouble.
"I want to talk to him; I want to make sure he is alive."
Ella took out a phone and dialed, "Let the bastard talk to his brother. What!!! Then wake his ass up."
Chris silently seethed as he figured out Vin was unconscious; he would make sure they all died for touching his brother.
Ella handed over the phone which she had put on speaker phone.
"Vinny, are you there? Answer me little brother," Chris urgently said hearing heavy breathing coming over the phone.
Ella frowned at the endearment, Vinny how common place that nickname was. It was totally appropriate for Chris's brother of course and just made her further realize that she was doing her future husband a favor by getting rid of the man.
Vin realized what Chris was doing because he had never been called Vinny, he hated it because as he told his family one of the foster families had insisted on calling him that and they were not pleasant people so they had not meant it as a term of affection.
"I'm here Chris," Vin managed with his swollen lip from the bite and the hit he had taken.
Chris knew from his brothers voice that Vin was hurt he just didn't know how badly.
"You okay Vinny. I need to know that they are not hurting you," Chris demanded.
"They...they hit me and the bitch bit me but...but I'll live," Vin said glaring at the two men.
Ella snatched the phone back.
Glaring at Chris she snapped, "Show that animal some manners but don't kill him he is going to be my future brother in law after all."
Chris flinched as he heard the first sound of a fist hitting flesh then the phone was closed and tossed onto the sofa.
At the old cabin Vin's head was rocked to the side from a blow from Roger, Phil stood back and watched as a couple of blows went to the midsection of the lithe body.
As he was going to stop it Roger stopped as Vin was again unconscious.
"You gotta be careful or you're going to kill him and I am NOT going down for killing a Fed. I don't care if he quit the ATF will hunt us down forever for killing him."
"Just having a little fun, I hate cops and Feds are the worst," Roger said as he licked the blood off his fist.
Phil shuddered as he seriously began to worry about what he had gotten himself into.
Back at the ranch Chris was gritting his teeth so hard it was a wonder they had not shattered.
"Now Chris I have a minister coming out tomorrow and we WILL be married," Ella ordered sitting on the sofa.
"My dad is coming home later, I need to call him and make sure he stays in town. If he comes home he will know something is wrong," Chris asserted looking her straight in the eye. It was imperative that she believe him and not figure out he was up to something.
"Fine, but watch what you say or else," was her only comment.
Chris picked up the house phone and dialed his father.
"Hey dad, I know you were planning on coming home tonight but I am sure Cindy could use some company what with breaking her hip. I know she lives alone and could use the help. Besides you know how women can be, I've met Cindy and I can see why her husband left her though I know you like her. Vinny and I will be fine, we can all go fishing another evening," Chris said in an up beat tone to his father.
James hesitated as he listened to his son. Chris was sending him a message no doubt about it. Chris never called Vin by that hateful name. Furthermore he had intended on staying it town with his friend Bert not Cindy. Chris knew all this; also they had not planned on doing any fishing.
Calmly he replied, "I was about ready to call you son, sure enough Cindy does want me to stay, she still isn't getting around real well yet. You know son Cindy is a fine women you just got to get to know her. Can I talk to Vinny I need to tell him that I got a call from that horse ranch out East and they are willing to meet with him about cross breeding some horses?"
Chris smiled to himself dad was doing well.
"Sorry dad but Vinny isn't here right now, he is out taking care of the horses, Buck's horse Sinbad is still not eating right and you know how he frets over those horses."
"Okay I understand, you tell that boy not to stay out in the cold to long you know how he easily he gets sick. I will see you boys sometime tomorrow night, love you son," James said.
"Love you to dad, see you soon," Chris replied.
James immediately dialed Buck.
"Buck something is going on at the ranch. I just talked to Chris and he kept calling his brother Vinny, something he never does. I asked to speak to Vin and he said he was out at the barn taking care of your horse Sinbad...I know that your horse is not named Sinbad so I figured he wanted me to call you. Also he commented about me visiting my friend Cindy, I was visiting Bert. Cindy is a friend that Chris just cannot stand so I keep them apart...right...yeah that is what I thought it must be Ella. Chris was real tense though he was trying to hide it. The last time my son was this tense was when that hell born bitch was causing havoc. Okay I will meet you at the crossroads out of site of the ranch."
James quickly headed towards home, it would be dark in a few hours, and he just hoped they could figure out how to save his sons.
Buck immediately called the rest of the team and they made arrangements to meet with James about two miles from the ranch where the driveway meets the county highway well out of site of the ranch house.
Buck and JD were the first ones there; JD had his laptop out and was busy working on it. Josiah drove up in his SUV with Nathan, Will and Ezra. James was right behind them.
As they got out of their vehicles JD exclaimed, "I got him, looks like he is northwest of the ranch. I would say about an hour, hour and a half by horseback."
James gave them a funny look.
"How do you know where Vin is?"
Buck and JD looked sheepishly at their teammates and James.
JD finally admitted, "When Chris bought that watch for Vin he had me put a GPS in it. You know how he worries over Vin so he figured this was a way to find him if he got into trouble. It was supposed to be a secret between he and I but Buck overheard us talking."
"I told Chris that Vin would be pissed if he found out but stud said he didn't care he wanted to know where Vin was if he got into trouble. Looks like he was right," Buck replied.
Ezra cleared his throat, "That may be but I would not want to be in Mr. Larabee's boots when his quiet but revenge seeking brother finds out."
Nathan chuckled, "Well I have to agree with Chris, Vin is a trouble magnet. If this will save our boss from having a heart attack then I am all for the GPS in Vin's watch."
Josiah sighed, "I see his point, but Vin is not going to be happy about it."
Will didn't comment while he had been on the team now for over almost a year he still preferred to sit back and listen to his teammates before adding his two cents worth.
James put his hands on his hips as he uncharacteristically snapped, "I really don't give a shit if my baby boy is pissed off. He is missing and with his luck probably hurt. Chris is with that psycho bitch and we are standing around here arguing about a GPS. Let's get going."
Buck clapped a hand on the agitated mans shoulder.
"We will get them back James, don't you worry about that. I want you to stay here and..."
"Fuck that, I am coming with you guys," James interrupted his eyes glaring at the men.
The six men had to admit that the likeness to his two sons was very evident right now. Obviously Chris got his glare from James and Vin could now send one just as lethal as his brothers.
Ez choked back a laugh because the cuss words coming out of James mouth were just not ones the older gentleman used.
Buck having known James the longest knew the battle was lost.
"Okay, James I want you to go with Josiah, Will and Ezra to the ranch. Do not let anyone see you. You all have binoculars and take extra firepower just in case. Keep an eye on the place but do not engage unless it looks like Chris is in danger. Will you take them out if it looks like Chris is in danger otherwise stay low. The rest of us will head to old man Patrick's place and borrow some horses, he has taken a shining to Vin so he won't mind letting us use them. We can come in the back way and get to Vin."
As they started to separate James snapped his fingers and said, "Hell JD let me see where you think Vin is."
After looking at the satellite picture that JD pulled up he realized where Vin was.
"My baby boy is at an old abandoned cabin. We are going to fix it up and use it as a retreat. I knew he was planning on going up there sometime but didn't know when."
James then went to describe the cabin and the surrounding area, there were only a couple of windows at the front of the cabin but it had been sturdily built and was in pretty good shape.
The men split up rapidly moving to save their friends. Josiah, Will, Ez and James hunkered down around the ranch. It appeared that the only ones with Chris were Ella and one armed man. After scouting around no one other people could be seen.
Josiah reported their findings to Buck who ordered them to lay low; he wanted to get Vin safely in their possession before they moved to save Chris. He figured Ella wanted Chris and wouldn't hurt him.
Soon Buck and his team were on horses heading in Vin's direction with JD giving instructions using his hand held GPS.
Meanwhile Vin had regained consciousness and was working as quietly as he could to get his hands free. Despite his head throbbing and the pain from the blows he took to his stomach and ribs he thought he was making headway.
The former ATF agent could feel slickness on his wrists and knew he was rubbing his skin raw but it was making it easier to work on the ropes.
Just then Roger and Phil barreled in the door screaming at each other.
"I told you we shouldn't have listened to that psycho bitch, she is going to murder this guy and then probably go after us," Phil screamed at Roger.
Neither man was paying a bit of attention to Vin who kept his head down so he wouldn't draw attention to himself. When he had woke up earlier he had found they had shoved his chair in the corner out of the way, the cabin not being very big, this worked in his favor as they couldn't see that he was trying to get out of the ropes.
"Screw this and screw you," Phil shouted then pulled his gun and shot Roger in the head.
Vin flinched at the sound but didn't move he didn't let on that his wrists were free; he had slipped the bloody rope just under his ass so it wouldn't fall on the floor letting them know he was free.
Only moving his eyes he glanced through the long hair that hung in his face and saw Phil standing over his partner's dead body, his chest heaving, the gun wavering in his hand.
Phil licked his lips he didn't know what to do, he had not intended on killing anybody now he had to kill the former ATF agent because the guy knew what he looked like and he had just killed someone.
Walking over to the agent Phil wondered if the guy wasn't already dead, Roger had hit him awful hard, which would make it easier on him if he was already dead. But if he wasn't then he would have to finish the job because he wasn't going back to jail.
Reaching out with one hand he was going to push Vin's head back to access the damage then determine what to do.
As Phil reached out his hand he had let the hand with the gun drop to his side as he didn't think Vin was a threat.
When the hand was right in front of him Vin reacted, despite what he knew was a concussion pounding in his head he grabbed his captor's wrist and twisted throwing the guy off balance. At the same time he leveled a blow to the other arm so the gun dropped to the floor going off as Phil pulled the trigger when he was hit. Phil cried out as he felt his wrist snap, then he knew nothing as Vin slammed the heel of his hand into his nose sending bone into his brain killing him instantly.
Vin sagged in the chair his breathing ragged as his vision started to darken at the edges. Only the thought that Chris needed him enabled him to fight off the darkness and helped him get free and stand up.
Just then he heard a tiny sound from outside and started to dive for the gun on the floor. As his hand closed around it he immediately turned and faced the doorway ready to shoot.
Then a welcome unexpected voice came to him.
"Whoa, Junior don't shoot the cavalry," Buck said as he entered the cabin hands raised to show he wasn't a danger.
Vin sat back with a sigh coming to rest against the wall.
In a soft pain filled voice he drawled, "Cavalry hell, I've already cleaned up the mess."
Nathan shoved his way inside hearing his young friend's voice he knew Vin was hurt.
Nathan knelt down next to Vin putting his fingers under the firm chin and gently turning the face towards him.
Buck and JD who were both in the cabin now were surprised and worried when Nathan hissed, "Damn fucking bitch, I hope someone puts a bullet through her head."
Buck quickly moved over to kneel beside the man he considered like a kid brother, he had not wanted to crowd Vin knowing how the younger man felt about that.
JD got on the radios to let the rest of the team know that they had Vin, he was injured but he would be fine and the bad guys were dead.
Buck growled when he saw the scratches on Vin's face and the clear bite mark on the swollen lip. He knew Ella had left those there they were clear marks of a woman fury.
Buck put his hand behind Vin's neck and squeezed gently.
"You're gonna be fine Junior, Nathan will get you to the hospital and we will rescue Chris."
Vin shrugged out from under Buck's arm and surged to his feet with Nathan holding onto one arm and Buck the other.
"No way, I am going to with you guys. I owe that bitch and I am fine," Vin disagreed despite the fact that he was slightly weaving due to the blows to his head.
Nathan frowned as he carefully ran his fingers through Vin's hair, (I wish I was Nathan), feeling for the injuries that he knew was there because of the glassiness in the blue eyes and the unsteadiness of the slim body.
"Vin, you need..." Nathan began glancing at Buck hoping to get some help from his friend.
Vin pulled away from his two friends staggering a bit but refusing their help.
"NO!!! I am going to the ranch with or without your help. It is...it is time that bitch dies," Vin adamantly declared as he headed out the door without a second look at the bodies on the floor.
JD cast wide eyes at Buck and Nathan but he continued telling Josiah, Ezra and Will what was going on. It didn't surprise the three men when they found out Vin was being his usual stubborn self. The only way Vin would not be coming to the ranch would be if he passed out and they figured that wouldn't happen because his pig headedness wouldn't allow it.
James was also listening in as he was sitting next to Josiah in the barn that they hiding in. The fear that had gripped in when he realized that his boys were in Ella's hands had abated somewhat now that Vin was safe. Chris was still with Ella but he was currently fine and since she had a warped obsession with him he was probably safe around her at least in the short run. James had to admit to a feeling of pride with a hint of exasperation for his youngest child. He was proud Vin was coming to help his older brother, yet he knew that Vin was injured and probably needed to see a doctor yet the young man was not going to listen to anyone until Chris was safe.
At the cabin Nathan was about ready to hit Vin over the head to make him listen to reason.
As Vin headed for where they had put Peso Buck wrapped his arm around the young mans waist and literally put him in the saddle of his own horse. Before Vin could protest Buck was in the saddle behind him with an arm securely around his waist.
As Vin opened his mouth to complain Buck beat him to it.
"Shut up Vin. You are hurt, you would probably fall off your horse before we got to the ranch and hold us up, now how would that help your brother? This way you get to go to the ranch not the hospital...YET...and Nathan's blood pressure can get back to normal because you aren't trying to ride that vicious rattlesnake you call a horse. Got it?"
Vin felt ashamed at the way he had snapped at his friends they had after all come to help him.
"Okay, sorry guys I'm just mad and...well they got the jump on me and Chris is in danger. I know you came to help and..." Vin was saying then he thought of something.
"How did you guys know where to find me?"
Buck exchanged a quick look with JD and Nathan, no way in hell were they going to incur the Vin Tanner Larabee wrath by admitting that Chris had a GPS put in his brothers watch. So Buck told a partial truth. If Chris wanted Vin to know about the GPS he could tell him.
"Chris got a message to your dad; James figured the cryptic message out. James remembered that you had planned to visit this cabin and we headed here," Buck said.
Buck heaved a silent sigh of relief. There was no doubt that if Vin was thinking clearly he would remember that James had not known exactly when Vin was going to the cabin, hopefully the young man wouldn't figure it out. The GPS was making Chris breathe easier and not worry so much over his trouble magnet brother which made life easier for the ATF team.
After about fifteen minutes of riding Vin had fallen asleep against Buck's shoulder his head resting against the bigger mans neck.
"Shouldn't we keep him awake," JD whispered.
"He has a concussion but I don't think it is a major one, I think the burst of power he used to take out his captor is over, let him rest. He is going to need all the energy he can get to finish this job," Nathan replied.
Soon they had dropped off the horses leaving Peso for the neighbor to take care of and were driving to the crossroads where they would walk the rest of the way to the house and rendezvous with the others.
While Will kept an eye on the house ready to take out anyone he needed to, the others met in the barn.
Josiah and Ezra were aghast at the fingernail scratches, bite mark and bruises on their friends face. All they could think of was Chris Larabee was going to absolutely loose it when he saw his precious brother.
James immediately wrapped his younger boy in his shaking arms holding on for dear life.
Vin rested his head on his father shoulder giving as much comfort as he was receiving.
"I'm fine, dad...just a little sore and tired," Vin softly stated.
Buck snorted, "Tired, you slept like a baby in my arms while riding to old man Patrick's place."
Nathan piped up, "As far as being fine...my ass. You have a mild concussion, bruised, I am sure your ribs are tender and we need to get those scratches and bite mark taken care of."
Vin glared at his friends, he was trying NOT to worry his father.
Josiah stepped in, "Okay brothers, take it easy. We all know that Vin is going to do what Vin want to do and right now that is get Chris back. So let's go take care of that then we will take him to the hospital."
Vin opened his mouth to say he was not going to the hospital when his father in the 'I am your father you will listen to me or else' voice said, "You are going to the doctor and there will be no arguments or I will ground you for a month, no riding, no hiking just staying at the ranch so I can keep an eye on you. Do you understand young man?"
Vin looked at his father then around at all his smug friends and had to admit defeat besides there was no way Chris was going to allow him to stay away from the hospital.
With one last Larabee glare Vin pouted for a minute though he would deny he ever pouted and growled, "Fine, whatever, lets just get Chris back and the bitch dead."
Heroically the men didn't smile at their victory or tease him about his capitulation but they were relieved though they were sure Vin would attempt to wiggle his way around big brother when it came to going to the hospital.
In the house Chris was sitting on the sofa seething he had been afraid to confront Ella earlier but he just had to say something. The man with her was sitting in a chair across the room the gun lying in his lap where he could get to it quickly. Ella was prancing around the room telling him of all the changes she was going to make to the décor.
"Vin said you bit him, why the hell would you do that?"
Ella paused, smiled and replied, "He was disrespectful. When he called me a bitch well I just had to show him who was boss and I am afraid I scratched his pretty face. But I was willing to try and get along but he just wouldn't play the game."
Chris fought to retain his temper.
"What do you mean game?"
Ella simpered then flashed her future husband what she thought was a flirty smile.
"Well Chris I do admit your brother is a fine looking man, a little shy though. I...well I hope you don't get jealous but I sat on his lap, ran my fingers under his shirt, he does have a nice chest...I don't think he appreciated my attention. I will say he is hung quite nice but not as nice as you."
Hearing the growl of fury from Chris she mistakenly thought it was because he was angry at his brother.
"Oh don't worry Chris I told him if you were agreeable perhaps we could have a threesome; I know how you love him. Little Vin could fuck me while you fuck him."
Chris jumped to his feet which caused Ella's henchman to rise to his feet and take a few steps towards him.
"You are a fucking crazy bitch. How dare you touch him and say such a thing to him," Chris raged.
Ella's eyes flashed with crazy rage.
"That is what that little bastard said and that is when I bit his lip so hard his blood filled my mouth. I enjoyed every second of his pain," she spat at the furious blond.
As Chris took a step towards her his fury taking over as he realized how she had touched and assaulted his shy brother a sweet sound came to his ears.
"Well now, I guess I am going to enjoy seeing you rot in prison, bitch, though I had hoped to see you die."
Chris registered the slow Texas drawl at about the same moment the crack of a shot was heard.
Ella's man went down shot in the head by Will who was just waiting for the guy to get in front of a window and for the men to get into position.
Ella whirled around to see Vin, and most of the team enter the room, Chris almost sagged in relief when he saw Vin...then he saw Vin's face.
Ella was in shock over seeing the man she had hoped would have died before long. She was so mad she was ready to scream.
Everyone except Ella knew when Vin's condition registered with his protective hovering older brother.
A cry of rage erupted, Chris was in her face in an instant his fist flying out and slamming against her jaw sending her flying across the room to lie motionless on the floor.
While everyone stood in shock after seeing Chris's violent yet justified reaction the blonde strode over to Vin.
Chris cupped his brother's face gently between his hands and surveyed the damage. Then he pulled Vin into a gentle yet firm embrace, kissing the side of his brother's head as he quietly told his brother he loved him.
Vin returned the hug feeling the fine tremors rack his brothers body as the relief of seeing him alive registered.
Nathan took a step forward as he said, "Vin needs a hospital and I don't want any arguments."
"What other injuries does he have besides the ones I can see," Chris asked starting to walk Vin to the sofa with one arm wrapped around his waist.
Nathan proceeded to describe the injuries he had found much to Vin's disgust.
Ezra was on the phone calling for the police. Josiah was calling Director Travis who would have to be notified of what had happened. Vin was sitting between Nathan and Chris and he could tell they weren't going to let him out of their sight.
James walked in with Will coming into the kitchen; they had wanted the older man to remain outside until everything had calmed down. Buck was getting the first aid kit to take to Nathan who wanted to put something on Vin's face.
Just as they reached the family room door it happened.
Ella had regained consciousness; she realized no one was paying any attention to her. To her fury she heard Chris talking to that piece of shit brother like he was something precious...that should be her he was talking to like that. Chris was lost to her, that disgusting Texan had taken him from her.
In one quick movement she sat up pulled the hidden pistol she had and pointed it at the brothers.
"Die you bastards," she screamed.
Chris and Nathan reacted immediately, Vin's head was pounding so he didn't react as fast but that was no problem as he was shoved to the floor the body of his brother covering him as Nathan also dove on top of him.
Several shots rang out then there was silence followed by a thud.
Chris and Nathan both rose up from their protective positions over Vin to see Ella lying in a pool of blood.
Glancing quickly around the room it was apparent that no one else was hurt. Buck strode across the room with Will by his side to verify the woman was dead.
Buck nodded his head to Chris.
Yes the bitch was dead...finally.
The team realized they had failed to check her for weapons and they felt bad but at least she was dead.
JD said, "Ah...Chris..."
"Don't worry about it JD, I didn't think about her having a gun, she never showed one to me. It doesn't matter anyway she is dead and hopefully already rotting in hell."
Vin just then whispered, "Chris I don't feel well," right before he vomited on the floor.
Everyone moved fast after that.
Chris swung Vin up into his arms and strode from the house telling Josiah he was in charge of clean up. Ezra, JD and Will stayed with the big profiler to help.
Buck climbed into the SUV, James riding shotgun. Nathan sat in the middle seat with Vin and Chris. James wanted to be with his sons but knew that Nathan was the best person with his youngest right now.
Chris was sitting in the corner of the seat with Vin resting back against his chest. Nathan knelt on the floor next to the former sharpshooter talking to him in a soft voice.
Chris met his father's worried eyes over Vin's head.
"He'll be fine dad. You know you can't keep a Larabee down for long," Chris assured his father.
"I know son, but he sure is pale," James whispered.
Vin opened his eyes and tried to smile but stopped when his injured lip pulled.
"The doctor can fix me up and I'll be...be sleeping in my own bed tonight."
Chris and James both looked at Nathan while Buck just shook his head at Vin's stubbornness.
Nathan said, "Vin I would imagine you will be spending the night at the hospital."
Vin opened his mouth to argue but Chris said, "Let's not worry about that now, just keep those baby blue eyes shut; it will help your head."
A couple of hours later, Vin was in a hospital bed pissed about being there. Nathan had left to go back to the ranch leaving the Larabee family together.
The doctor had insisted since he had been sick to his stomach, unconscious a couple of times and taken some good blows to the head he spend the night as a precaution.
Thankfully the scratches would not scar or the bite marks though they would be painful for a few days. Ointment had been put on the scratches and gauze put on them to keep them clean.
James and Chris talked quietly as Vin dosed off and on. James and his oldest son had hugged while they had been checking Vin over in the emergency room.
Vin was assured by his family that his hair would grow back and with a little trimming no one would know it had been cut by Ella.
James had told Chris what had happened after the phone call, Chris telling his dad how proud he was that the older man had figured all the clues out, it was what had saved them.
In an undertone Chris had told his dad that Vin was NOT to be told about the GPS in his watch. James agreed whole heartedly, the GPS had pinpointed his baby boy's location and he wanted it on his trouble magnet son.
James wandered down to the cafeteria to get some food and coffee leaving Chris alone with his brother.
Vin woke up to see his brother staring at him.
Vin lowered his eyes and in the most pitiful voice he could manage he sighed, "Chris, I want to go home. You and dad can watch me or...I know Nathan would stay the night."
Chris felt himself start to melt as the woebegone blue eyes looked up at him.
Then he remembered.
"Sorry baby brother, dad and Nathan threatened me with my life if I gave in to those blue eyes of yours. Besides it is already late, the doctor said we can leave early tomorrow."
Chris asked, "Why did you decide to go to the cabin today, I didn't know you were going?"
Vin knew his brother was changing the subject but he allowed it this time.
"It was a nice day so I decided to take advantage of it. I left a note for you at the ranch so you wouldn't worry. Of course I am sure the bitch either trashed it or there was too much going on for you to find it."
Chris laughed, "Ez found it; he called and let me know it had fallen on the floor, I think he wanted to make sure I knew you had left a note. I am not sure why it isn't like I beat you."
Vin became serious which put his brother on guard.
"Chris you know none of this is your fault. She was coming after me no matter what I just happened to make it easy for her."
Chris sighed, "Vin I know what you say is true but it is going to be a while before I can accept that I am not to blame for those marks on your face and the fact that she touched you the way she did."
Vin flinched this was the first time Chris admitted that he knew how the woman had touched him. Vin shivered as he remembered how helpless he had felt when she had been pawing at him.
Chris sat on the edge of the bed and said, "She bragged about it, about what she said and how she touched you. I am so sorry little brother; I wish I could erase the filth she said to you."
Vin reached out and grasped his brother's hand.
"I know you do. I knew she was trying to get a reaction out of me by suggestion of a threesome. That wasn't as bad as her touching me...though I always had my clothes on Chris...don't worry about that."
Chris was relieved Vin had told him that, he had not been quite sure how far Ella had gone.
"It'll be fine, cowboy. We'll get past this like we do everything that life has to throw at us," Vin assured his brother.
Chris smiled and held his arm up, Vin grasping it with their special greeting.
"So when am I getting out here?" Vin asked his blue eyes sparkling with mischief.
James groaned as he walked into the room.
"My gosh baby boy are you still talking about that. You will leave tomorrow when the doctor says you can and not one minute earlier so drop the subject," he ordered.
Vin lay back down with a put upon sigh.
"Fine, overprotective mother hens, probably won't be able to ride or do nothing for at least a week," he moaned.
Chris sat back in the chair taking up Vin's hand as he happily replied, "At least maybe two."
James piped up, "Probably more and we will be going with you."
For the next hour until Vin drifted to sleep the Larabee men playfully argued, teased and harassed each other. When Vin finally went to sleep he never felt the kisses his father and brother gave him on his forehead but he knew he was loved.
James and Chris settled back for the night they weren't not letting the youngest member of the family out of their sight. They were secure in the knowledge that the team was taking care of everything else. They just had to take care of the most precious thing in the world to them, their family.