by Winter

ATF Alternate Universe


"This is the ATF. You're all under arrest! Put your hands up!"

When Vin heard that all he could think was somebody had jumped the gun. He looked at Ezra and Buck. He could see they were thinking the same thing, we can't let these guys get away. They each paired off with one of the arms dealers. Vin immediately went for Shiko. The others wouldn't stand a chance against him. He had been holding his own when he heard Tommy yell; "We have to get out of here!" That's when Shiko pressed his attack. Vin knew he was getting dangerously close to the glass wall but he couldn't find a way out. Shiko finally got through his defenses and hit him with a flying side kick that sent him sailing toward the glass wall. All Vin could think was Damn this is going to hurt.

Chris was instantly awake when he heard Vin cry out. The young agent was dreaming and he placed a hand on his shoulder. He was going to shake Vin to wake him up but suddenly his eyes flew open and he gasped as he moved his left leg.

"Easy, partner," warned Chris. "I wouldn't be moving around too much if I were you."

"Damn," said Vin. "I though it was a dream. What the hell happened?"

"You were thrown through a window."

"I know that," Vin said exasperated. Chris smiled at his expression. He had known what Vin wanted.

"The leader of Team 3 jumped the gun. He's some political brat trying to make a name for himself. After I'm through with him he'll never work law enforcement anywhere, ever."

"Who is he?"

"Michaels. Didn't get a first name."

"If it's who I think it is you won't be able to touch him," said Vin as he shifted to get comfortable and gritted his teeth.

"Try not to move," warned Chris. "What do you know about this kid?"

"His father's a senator and he got him the job. Kid barely passed the academy. Was reprimanded a few times but nothing ever came of it because of who his father is."

"Don't worry I'll have a talk with the Judge."

Just then a nurse walked in carrying a tray with bandages. She noticed that Vin was awake and smiled.

"Good morning Mr. Tanner," she beamed. "I'm here to change the bandages."

"Whoa ma'am I'm afraid I can't let you do that?" he said.

"Excuse me?" she asked in surprise.

"Vin those bandages need to be changed," scolded Chris.

"Damn it Chris!" he blushed. "I'm as naked as a Jay bird!"

Chris just laughed. They all knew Vin was on the shy side. He usually ran if any of the secretaries said hello to him. He hardly ever cursed, but when he did watch out. The nurse just smiled and pulled a rolling table closer to the bed.

"Trust me Mr. Tanner you don't have anything under there that I haven't seen before," she said causing Vin to blush even more.

She removed the sheet covering his leg and draped it modestly over him to spare him some dignity. Chris smiled as Vin tried to ignore the nurse. She very gently began to remove the bandages. Chris could see this was hurting the young agent by the way he clenched his jaw. He had also grabbed the sheet under his hand and was holding it in a death grip. Chris unwound the sheet from his hand and replaced it with his own. Vin gave Chris a grateful smile. He cried out a few times when the bandages had stuck and she tried to pull them away. Finally they were all off and she gently began to clean the wound. Vin craned his neck to have a look. It was an angry red color and a little swollen. Holding the wound closed were silver pieces of metal.

"Damn," he cried. "What the hell are those?"

"Staples," supplied Chris. "It was too long for normal stitches, but don't worry you have some of those in your back."

"Thanks," he said sarcastically. "Ain't pretty is it?"

"No," agreed Chris. Just then Buck and JD burst into the room. Vin jumped and hissed in pain.

"Jesus, Buck, don't you ever knock?" said Chris as he comforted Vin.

"Sorry, pard," said Buck. "Damn that's got to hurt." JD took one look at his leg and backed for the door.

"Think I'll wait outside," he mumbled and made a hasty retreat. Buck came over to Chris holding out a cup of coffee

"Here Chris, I'll switch with ya," Chris took the coffee. Buck took Vin's hand and started flirting with the nurse. "Well hello darlin' "

"Some comfort you are Buck," drawled Vin.

"Hey what's with JD?" asked Nathan as he entered the room. Josiah came in with him.

"Ah," said Josiah when he saw the nurse. "Now I understand JD's condition. How does it feel?"

"How do you think it feels," said Vin nastily. The nurse was trying to be gentle but it still hurt. "Damn, Josiah, I'm sorry."

"It's alright Vin. Buck why don't you let me take over. This way you can spend all your energy flirting with the young lady."

"I just saw our queasy young friend out side," remark Ezra as he entered. "I could only assume that they must be torturing Mr. Tanner and I see my assumptions are correct. So Mr. Tanner how does it feel?"

Vin just moaned, which had nothing to do with the nurse cleaning his leg. She laughed and continued her work. When she was done she left the bandages off until it dried and started on his back. She was almost finished when Dr. Allen walked in. She just shook her head when she saw the other agents scattered throughout the room. She walked over and checked his leg. She put on a pair of gloves and gently touched it in a few spots to check the staples. Vin yelped when she touched a particularly tender spot.

"Sorry Vin," she apologized. "It looks pretty good. OK Nancy you can bandage everything back up. Mr. Tanner can I speak to you outside."

"It's Larabee," said Chris when he realized she was talking to him.

"I thought you were his brother?" she asked in confusion.

"Half brother," he replied. They had used this small lie because it made things easier when decisions had to be made. He followed as she headed for the door. JD was standing just outside.

"You can go in now JD," said Chris. "She's putting the bandages back on."

"OK Chris, thanks." Chris held the door and JD ducked inside.

"We're going to release Mr. Tanner," she began. "We only kept him over night because of the amount of blood he lost. He shouldn't be left alone and he should stay in bed for at least two weeks."

"That's easier said then done," explained Chris. "Vin doesn't stay put for very long."

"He doesn't have much choice. He needs to give his leg time to heel. If he walks around too early he'll pull those staples."

"Alright, we'll figure something out."

"OK, I'll get his paper work started."

Chris watched her as she walked down the hall. He tried to decide whom Vin could stay with. Josiah was out. He lived on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator. Nathan was the same. Ezra's townhouse was two stories and the bedrooms were on the second floor. Chris's ranch was too far outside of town to check up on him. Besides the horses would be too much of a temptation. That left Buck and JD's loft. Since it was on the ground floor. Buck's room was on the second level but JD's was on the first floor. There was another advantage also. With both of them watching him he couldn't get away with anything. Chris went to open the door when the nurse came out, followed by Buck.

"So what do you say?" asked Buck. "Dinner tomorrow?" She just shook her head as she walked down the hall.

"Hold on there Romeo," said Chris as he grabbed Buck. "We need to talk."

"Ah, yeah, sure Chris," began Buck. "Can't it wait? I was so close."

"No it can't," said Chris. "Besides didn't you see the ring on her finger?"

"Oh well," he smiled. "Her loss. What do you want to talk about."

"Vin needs a place to stay for a couple of weeks until that leg heels. Yours and JD's is the best choice."

"Hmmm... You're probably right. Everyone else has stairs and you're too far out. JD's room is on the first floor. He can stay there. Let me get the kid and we'll discuss it." Buck stuck his head in the door and called JD.

"Yeah Buck," said JD when he came out.

"Hey kid, we've decided to give Vin your room. He needs a place to stay where we can keep an eye on him. Yours is the only room where he doesn't have to climb stairs."

"Yeah sure," agreed JD. "I can move into his place."

"Over my dead body," cried Buck.

"Oh come on Buck. I can take care of myself. Besides they don't bother Vin."

"That's because he grew up in Purgatorio," said Chris. "They know him. You they aren't going to trust, or like, being there. They trust Vin."

"Why he lives there I'll never know," said Buck.

"You know why Buck," said Chris.

"Yeah I know. He's their damned Robin Hood." Buck said with a smile. "Well Vin's going to need some clothes to get sprung from this joint, so we'll head to the loft. If I know you kid that room of yours needs to be picked up so Vin can find the bed."

"It's not that bad," lied JD.

"Right," said Buck. "And if you believe that I've got a bridge in Manhattan to sell ya, cheap."

Buck grabbed JD in a headlock and dragged him down the hall. JD struggled in the larger mans grasp until Buck let him go. Chris shook his head and went back into Vin's room.

"Hey Chris, the guys were just telling me we caught Tommy," said an excited Vin. "Too bad about Shiko. You think the DA can get the charges to stick this time?"

"He should, we got him on tape. The Doc is getting all the papers together to spring you. She said you have to stay in bed for two weeks."

"Two weeks!" protested Vin.

"And you can't stay by yourself," continued Chris.

"Oh come on, Chris," Vin said, "Where am I supposed to stay then?"

"With Buck and JD," he answered.

"Oh please Chris, not that," moaned Vin.

"I agree," interrupted Ezra. "That is cruel and unusual punishment. He can stay with me."

"He can't," explained Chris. "The stairs."

"I can climb the stairs," growled Vin.

"I guess that leaves out mine and Josiah's place," said Nathan.

"I can climb the damned stairs!" yelled Vin.

"So where did JD and Buck disappear too?" asked Josiah.

"They went to pick up clothes for Vin and clean up JD's room." answered Chris.

"I won't go," pouted Vin. "Can't I stay with you?"

"Sorry cowboy, you don't have a choice. My place is too far outside town. We couldn't check on you. Besides I know you too well. You'd be out with the horses as soon as my back was turned."

"The paper work is going to take a little longer than expected," announced Dr. Allen as she came into the room. "Some mix up or something. So why don't you all go get some lunch. I'll bend the rules and you can bring take out back here. Mr. Tanner doesn't need to be subjected to the hospital food."

"I guess I'm being volunteered to get lunch since I drove," said Ezra.

"If you insist," smiled Chris.

"Oh no last time he got lunch he got Sushi," protested Nathan.

"I like Sushi," said Vin.

"A man of impeccable taste, Mr. Tanner."

"Come on Ezra, I'll go with you" laughed Josiah.

"Here Mr. Tanner take this," said the doctor as she held out a pill.

"What is it?" asked a suspicious Vin.

"It's an antibiotic. Emyicin if you must know."

"I hate pills"

"Is he always this stubborn?" she asked.

"Worse," sighed Chris. "Just take it, Vin."

When Chris used that tone of voice most people didn't argue. Vin would have but he was too tired. He took the pill and sulked. His leg was starting to hurt something fierce but he wasn't about to admit it. He dozed off as they waited for Josiah and Ezra to get back. Chris woke him when they returned. They had come back with a variety of stuff. Vin ate Sushi with Ezra. Josiah and Nathan had a pizza and Chris ate a Philly cheese steak. Shortly after lunch Buck and JD returned. Dr. Allen entered with them.

"OK, paper work's all taken care of, you just need to sign yourself out." she went over to Vin and took out his IV. " Do you have clothes for him?"

"Sure do, ma'am," said JD holding up a bag.

"I hope you got something loose with a draw string top," she said.

"How's this?" JD asked as he pulled out a long pair of Jams. Vin cringed at the outlandish color and design.

"Perfect," she said. "Except I'm afraid he'll have to go commando."

"Oh God," Vin said mortified as Buck laughed.

"So," smiled Buck. "Where'd you learn that?"

"I have five older brothers. Two are policemen, two are firemen and one's a lawyer. They treated me like a baby brother."

"Where'd the lawyer come from?" asked JD.

"We're not sure," she smiled. "OK here's your medication. The antibiotic is to be taken three times a day. This other one is percidan, for the pain."

"Thank you," said Chris as she handed him the medicine.

"Bring him back in three days so I can check him over," she said as she headed for the door. "Bye"

"Why don't you boys wait outside," suggested Chris. "I'll give Vin a hand dressing."

"I can do it myself!" argued Vin.

A wide-eyed JD handed the bag to Chris. He'd never heard anyone talk to Chris like that. He didn't want to be in the same room when those two had it out. The others filed out the door and JD brought up the rear. He closed the door and leaned up against it and sighed.

"Damn I don't want to be around when those two tangle," said JD.

"Don't worry Chris won't do anything," predicted Buck.

"Buck's right," said Nathan. "He knows it's the pain talking and not Vin."

"Then why doesn't he take something?" asked a confused JD.

"Because Vin is acting like an Equus asinus," said Ezra.

"Huh?" asked JD.

"An ass."

"Well why didn't you just say so," said Buck sarcastically.

Chris waited for the others to leave before he went over to the bed. He knew Vin's leg was bothering him so he was cutting him a little slack. Chris just wished he wasn't so stubborn and would take a painkiller. The clothes JD and Buck had brought were pretty wild. Chris knew he hated them but they were loose and besides no one would see him. Vin was trying to sit up on his own but wasn't getting very far. Chris gave him a hand and gently swung his left leg over the side of the bed. Vin hissed in pain but didn't cry out. He got the pants over Vin's feet then eased his feet to the floor.

"Vin hold on to my shoulders," suggested Chris.

Vin did as he was told. Chris helped him stand and Vin dug his fingers into his shoulder. He pulled the pants up and tied them around his waist. Once that was done he sat him down on the edge of the bed. Vin still had a death grip on his shoulder and he pried his fingers off to get the shirt on. Buck had wisely chosen a button down and Chris helped Vin get his arms in the sleeves. Chris went to button the shirt and he could see beads of sweat on Vin's upper lip. He was also breathing hard. He didn't say anything and just buttoned the shirt. Buck had brought a pair of sneakers and he slipped them on Vin's feet. When Chris was finished he stood up and looked down at Vin. He had his head down and wouldn't look at Chris. He went to move away when Vin grabbed his arm.

"Chris," he said quietly. "I'm sorry."

Vin looked up and Chris could see a riot of emotions in his blue eyes. Chris was surprised to see fear was the most prominent one. He gripped Vin's shoulder.

"I know," soothed Chris. There was a commotion at the door and Buck came in pushing a wheelchair.

"Here ya go Vin," he announced as he pushed it over to him. "Your steed is ready."

One of the nurses had followed Buck and she helped Chris get Vin in the chair. Once he was seated Chris held up his left leg as she raised the leg rest. Buck went to push him out but she stopped him.

"Hospital policy," she apologized. She pushed him out the door and Dr. Allen met them.

"Here, I almost forgot this," she said as she handed Chris a bag. "Bandages and a topical antibiotic. It can't hurt. Change them every six hours and clean them with water and iodine."

The nurse pushed Vin towards the elevator. JD and Ezra had gone to get the cars. The others got on the elevator and they went down. Chris noticed Vin was leaning forward on his right arm so that his back wouldn't touch the chair. The elevator chimed and they exited on the first floor. They headed for the doors and they could see Ezra's Jaguar parked in front. The nurse pushed him towards the open car door and stopped. Getting in the car was agony for Vin. Once they got him settled Ezra reached over to fasten the seatbelt and realized that wasn't going to work.

"The seatbelt lays right on the wound," he said. "I need something to cushion it."

"I'll be right back," said the nurse.

"How you doing Vin?" asked Nathan in concern.

"Alright now that I've stopped moving," he panted.

The nurse came back carrying a small pillow. Ezra placed the pillow between his leg and the belt then buckled it. Nathan and Chris got in the back seat. Buck, JD and Josiah piled into the pickup. Twenty minutes later they pulled up in front of the loft. Ezra unbuckled Vin before he got out. He noticed the young agent was breathing hard and his jaw was clenched. They all got out and moved around to the passenger side. They helped Vin climb out and waited while he got his balance. Dr. Allen had also given him crutches to use. He started walking towards the door. Josiah stayed close in case he needed help. It seemed to take forever but they finally got Vin into the loft and walked towards JD's room. He opened the door and they were all surprised. It was spotless. Usually you couldn't see JD's floor, let alone the bed.

"What did you do with everything?" asked Josiah.

"Well lets put it this way," he said sheepishly. "You take your life in your hands if you open any of the closets."

That got a laugh from all of them including Vin. Josiah got him to the bed and sat him down. He removed Vin's shoes and shirt. Chris disappeared into the bathroom to get a glass of water. He was surprised to find it was clean also. He went to the bag and pulled out the painkillers. He dropped two into his palm and walked over to Vin. Chris was prepared for an argument but Vin didn't even try. He jus took the pills and popped them in his mouth. Then took a drink of water. They got him positioned on his right side and he was asleep before his head hit the pillow. Chris pushed the hair off his eyes and went out with the others.

"So Chris what now?" asked JD.

"We take turns watching him."

"He ain't going to like that," predicted Nathan.

"What choice does he have?" drawled Ezra.

"I have to go talk to Judge Travis," Chris said. "Work out a schedule between you. I'll be back later."

Chris walked towards the door and went out. He was determined to have Michaels shot at fifty paces but would settle for him being fired. He hailed a taxi and told him to take him to the federal building.