Synopsis: This is an AU story set in modern times. In this scenario, Buck & JD grew up together and are cousins. And, they run a P.I. agency with the rest of the "seven" called "Sevens Investigations."
Ezra was sitting with his feet propped up on his desk. Laconically, he reached over to answer the phone.
Ezra: Sevens Investigations. . . um-hmmm. . . um-hmmm. . . all right , then, sir. Come right away.
Vin: We got a case?
Ezra: Perhaps. I suggested the gentleman come over so that we could evaluate his inquiry.
A little while later, the man in question showed up. He was looking extremely nervous and furtive, not to mention monstrously disheveled.
Chris: (suspiciously) Can we help you with somethin', mister?
Mr.Davidson: I'm Wendell Davidson. . . and I think someone's trying to kill me!
Josiah: You received any threats, Mr. Davidson?
Mr.Davidson: (hands Josiah a manilla envelope) Several, actually.
Josiah dumps the contents of the overstuffed envelope on the desk, and lets out a slow whistle.
Vin: Mind if we ask why somebody'd go to all that trouble to scare you?
Mr.Davidson: Wel. . . I'm an accountant for a local nightclub, "The Purple Ocean." Recently, I discovered that someone's been doctoring the books.
Nathan: Any idea who?
Mr.Davidson: No, but, the moment I discovered it, I started receiving threats! It must be someone who works there.
Buck: And you need us to find out who.
Mr.Davidson: I'd be extremely grateful.
Chris: Well. . . okay. We'll do it. (writes down an address & hands it it him) After you tell us about the people working there, so we can familiarize ourselves with them, you go here. You'll be safe; no one can find you.
Mr. Davidson spent the next 1/2 hour going over the list. After he left, Chris started going over assignments with them.
JD: Are we all gonna get jobs there?
Buck: Nah, kid, we'd raise suspicion. . . Seven new workers at once.
Chris: Okay. . . Buck, JD, Ezra. You guys need to get jobs there.
Vin: And the rest of us?
Chris: Customers, I s'pose.
JD: What're we gonna do?
Chris: JD, you're gonna be in the band. You'll need to keep your eye on this chick. . . (picks up notepad) Casey Wells. Buck, you're gonna be a waiter, Ezra, you're gonna be a bartender.
They nodded and headed out the door to the club.
JD: (coming up to the stage) Uh, is this where the band auditions are?
Casey: (without looking at him) Yeah. . . Are you the new---
She broke off, entranced.
JD: (clutching his guitar nervously) Uh. . . uh, yeah.
Casey: Uh. . . okay. Let's see what ya got.
Buck and Ezra stood at the bar as JD took the stage.
JD: (singing) Oh, yeah. We both know that I shouldn't be here. This is wrong. And, baby it's killing me, it's killing you. Both of us tryin' to be strong. I got somewhere else to be, promises to keep. Someone else who loves me, and trust me fast asleep. I've made up my mind, there is no turning back. She's been good to me, and she deserves better than that. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. To look you in the eye, and tell you I don't love you. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to lie, to show no emotion when ya start to cry. I can't let ya see what ya mean to me, when my hands are tied, and my heart's not free. We're not meant to be. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do, to turn around and walk away, pretending I don't love you. We will meet again;fate is a place in time. So, you can get on with your life;I've got to be cruel to be kind. Buy Dr. Zhavago, all the love I'll be sending. And, you will never know, cos there can be no happy ending. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. Ohh. To look you in the eye, and tell you I don't love you. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to lie, to show no emotion, when you start to cry. I can't let ya see what you mean to me, when my hands are tied and my heart's not free. We're not meant to be. Oh. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. Yes, it is. To turn around and walk away pretending I don't love you. I've made up my mind, there is no turning back. She's been good to me, and she deserves better than that. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. Ohh. To look you in the eye and tell you I don't love you. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to lie, to show no emotion when ya start to cry. Baby, yeah. Can't let ya see what you mean to me, when my hands are tied, and my heart's not free. We're not meant to be. No. It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. Oh. To look you in the eye, and tell you I don't love you. . .
Casey: Um. . . you're hired.
Casey: Yup. . . you can start tonight.
They strike up a conversation, and Buck & Ezra get to talking.
Buck: (glancing over to the stage) Ya know, I think that little girl likes him.
Ezra: Certainly seems to.
Buck: Well. . . Chris said keep an eye on her.
Something in Buck's tone made Ezra glance up in surprise.
Ezra: Now, now, Buck. You certainly don't think that little damsel is capable of---
Buck: (defensively) I don't know; everyone's a suspect.
Ezra: Don't worry; that little girl looks as if she couldn't hurt anything if she tried.
Buck: Well. . . looks can be deceiving, Ezra. Remember that.
Later that night, their plan was set in motion. Buck was waiting tables, and eavesdropping on every conversation possible, while Ezra was "getting to know" the patrons at the bar. The rest of the guys were scattered around the room, trying to mingle and detect anything amiss. The lights dimmed, and the band came on for their first act. Casey stepped up to the mike.
Casey: (singing) Late at night when all the world is sleepin', I stay up and think of you. And, I wish on a star, that somewhere you are thinkin' of me too. Cos I'm dreamin' of you tonight. Till tomorrow, I'll be holdin' you tight. And, there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be than here in my room, dreamin' about you and me. I just wanna hold ya close, but, so far, all I have are dreams of you. So, I wait for the day, and the courage to say, how much I love you. Yes, I do!I'll be dreamin' of you tonight. Till tomorrow, I'll be holdin' you tight. And, there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be than here in my room, dreamin about you and me. Ahhh. (Corazon. . . Mi amore. . . ) Late at night when all the world is sleepin', I stay up and think of you. And, I still can't believe that ya came up to me and said "I love you." I love you, too. Now, I'm dreamin' with you tonight. Till tomorrow, and for all of my life. And, there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be than here in my room. . . I'll be dreamin'. . . Dreamin' of you tonight. . .
JD let her sweet voice wrap around him. He just knew she couldn't be the one. . . There was no way. . . Well, at least he got the assignment of "keepin' an eye on her."
The next morning, they met back at the office to compare notes. All were there except JD.
Buck: (annoyed) Where is that kid?
JD: (strolling in) Right here, Buck.
Josiah: Make any progress on your end, JD?
Buck: (suspiciously) What's got you grinnin' like a Chessy cat?
JD: I got a date with Casey tonight.
JD: What's your problem, Buck?I'm supposed to get to know her. . .
Buck: In the bar, not alone somewhere in the dark where she could hack ya to death!
JD: I'm a big boy; I can take care of myself.
Buck: Sure. . .
Chris: Buck, leave it.
Chris: Buck, I said leave it.
Nathan: Uh. . . JD, I got some stuff needs unloading downstairs?Wanna give me a hand?
They quickly leave.
Chris: Buck, we gotta talk.
Buck: About what?
Buck: What about him?
Chris: He's a valuable part of this team, proven himself a hundred times over. He don't need you acting like a mother-hen at every little thing.
Buck: (angry, gesturing wildly) Now, look here! He's my cousin! I grew up with him and half-raised him! Not you!
Chris: You got me there, but. . . he ain't a little boy no more, Buck. You gotta let him grow up a little.
Buck: (defensively) It was my idea to put him on the team, even though he ain't but 19. And, have I ever impeded his work?
Chris: (admittingly) Well, no, but. . . what are ya doin' now?
Buck: (gruffly) This is different. She's a suspect. . .
Vin: (logically) I thought that was the point.
Ezra: Buck, I can assure you, "the kid" is quite proficient in the art of self-defense. Besides, the maiden in question doesn't even look as though she could pick up a weapon!
Buck: Well. . .
He turned and went back to workin at his desk. They knew that was as much assent as they were likely to get, so they left him be.
Later that night, at the club, they were back in position. The spotlight shined on Casey and JD. . .
Casey: (singing) Where is the one, that I love most of all? When will I hear him call, "Marion, Marion?" He is the one who can make my life whole. Joyful forevermore.
JD: (singing) Where is the maid I am longing to see? Where can she be, my sweet Marion, Marion? Oh, when we lie, hold you hand in my arms. Only you are my love.
Casey: I waited so patiently for a true love. When will he come for me? Where is he? Where is he?
JD: In all my dreams, there's a vision I see. Your hand in mine, my dear Marion, Marion. There's no tomorrow without you, my love. Ooh. You are my reason to be. Ohhhhh. My heart has made a vow, it's just for you.
Casey: You are my one true love.
Both: Only you. Only you.
Casey: Where is the man who carries the key?
JD: Please say it's me my dear Marion, Marion.
Casey: I cannot wait till he sets my heart free. Oh, when will I know him?
JD: When will I see her?
Casey: When will I hear him say,
Both: Marion, my love.
Even though JD was at the stage with the band taking their first break of the night, he did not miss the odd man going to each table or barstool his friends were at, and motioning for Ezra & Buck to follow as well. He noted with growing apprehension that they were going in a back room, and he had no way of finding out what was going on without blowing their cover. . .
Casey: JD, somethin' wrong?
JD: (absently) Um. . . no. I guess I'm just a little distracted.
Trying not to direct attention to himself, while he was working, he kept stealing glances at the corridor his friends had disappeared down, and did not draw an easy breath until they all came out.
JD: (startled) Huh?
Casey: JD, where are you?You haven't heard a word I've said.
JD: Oh, I'm sorry, Casey.
Casey: S'ok. I'm gonna go get ready to go to the coffee house---
JD looked up in shock to see the same man who had talked to the guys calling out to Casey!
Casey: Um, JD, will you excuse me a minute?
JD nods, and Casey followed the man back into the same room.
JD: (going to the bar) Buck?
JD: What's goin' on?
Buck: Dunno. . . that fella's up to somethin' all right. . . we just aren't exactly sure what yet.
JD: Didn't y'all talk to him?
Buck: Yeah, but. . . he was just tryin to slicker us. . . Some nonsense about gettin' up a game. . . I reckon he's tryin' to figure us out. But, we kept up our cover stories.
JD: (sighs) Well, Casey'll be back any minute. . . I'll see ya later.
Buck: Okay, kid. Tell me what you find out.
Flash to later at the coffee-house. JD and Casey are sitting on a couch, with those huge coffee mugs.
JD: (trying to sound casual) So. . . um, who was that guy you went in back with earlier?
Casey: Him? Oh, that's just Henry.
Casey: Yeah. He's like a silent partner or somethin'; manages the band behind the scenes. He was curious about you.
Casey: Well, he's been gone, and he didn't meet you before I hired you.
JD: Does he mind or somethin'?
Casey: No, but. . . (looks down)
JD: Casey? Somethin' wrong?
Casey: Well. . . he wanted to meet you, outside the club. Do you mind if he stops by?
JD: Uh, no. . . I guess not.
Casey: Thanks, JD. I didn't mean to mess up our date or anything.
JD: (smiles at her) I don't see how anything could ruin an evening with you.
Casey smiles up at him and blushes.
The next morning, Buck burst into the office looking as though he hadn't slept. He had a worried glint in his eye that set the other 5 on alert instantly.
Ezra: Is something preying on your mind, Buck?
Buck: (runs a nervous and shaky hand through his hair) JD didn't come home last night.
Josiah: He's never stayed gone the whole night before?
Buck: (quietly, insistently) Somethin' just don't feel right. . . Just before he left with that Casey gal, she went in the back to talk with that dude. . .
Vin: I noticed that, too.
Buck: If he knows, and I'm afraid he might. . . JD could be in a mess of trouble.
Flash to an abandoned building, where JD and Casey are tied to separate chairs. Casey has duct tape covering her mouth, but JD doesn't.
JD: Why are you doin' this?Huh?
Henry: Why, JD. . . don't you know?
JD: If I knew, I wouldn't be askin'!
Henry: Fine, play dumb. . . it won't get you anywhere.
JD: You sent those threats to Mr. Davidson, didn't you?
Henry: You bet I did. . . He discovered my little nest-egg. . . I couldn't take the risk.
JD: How did you find out he hired us?
Henry: (cryptically) I have my ways. . .
JD: But, why take me and Casey?
Henry: I need some information from you.
JD: Then, leave Casey out of it!
Henry: Sorry; Miss Wells is a necessary casualty. Now. . . you are gonna tell me a few things.
JD: (struggling) I'm not telling you anything!
Henry: (takes a menacing step forward) Oh, I think you will.
Flash back to the office, a little later.
Buck jumped as the phone rang. Chris put up a warning hand and answered himself, though.
Chris: Larabee here. . . Hang on a sec.
Chris pressed a button, and the man was on speaker-phone.
Henry: I believe I have something that belongs to you gentlemen.
Henry puts the phone to JD, who groans as if in a pain-filled daze.
Henry: (laughs) It took me a while to get anything out of him. . . he still won't tell me where Wendell Davidson is. Claims he doesn't know it.
Chris: He doesn't! The rest of them didn't look at the address; just me.
Henry: Well. . . if you don't deliver Davidson to me within' 3 hours, not only will he die, so will the lovely Miss Wells.
Click. Buzz. Chris punched the speaker button off angrily. All the men jumped up in anger, cursing oaths on Henry's life. . .
Buck: (evenly) When we get there; he's mine.
Chris nods and they head out the door.
Mr.Davidson: Oh. . . you're here! You must've found the culprit!
Chris: (guiltily) Uh. . . yeah.
Mr.Davidson: Is something wrong?
Nathan: Uh. . . you're gonna have to be bait if we wanna catch this guy.
Mr.Davidson: (shocked) What?!
Josiah: (soothingly) Look, Mr. Davidson. . . nothing will happen to you. . . but, JD's been taken along with Miss Wells, and---
Mr.Davidson: (hotly) Well, that's most unfortunate, I'm sure. But, I am paying you people to protect me, not feed me to the wolves!
Buck: (grabs him by the collar) Look here---
Vin: (puts a warning hand on Buck's arm) Easy there, Buck.
Buck: (ignoring him) You will go and do exactly as we say, or you ain't gonna have to worry about that guy who threatened you!
The others decided it was best to keep a slight distance and let Buck handle it.
Mr.Davidson: (panicking) Call him off!
Chris: (smirking) Nah. . . he seems to be handling it pretty well.
Later, at the office. . .
Buck: (pacing nervously) When's he gonna call?
Josiah: Don't worry so, Buck. He'll be fine.
Buck: What, you weren't here when that. . . man. . . put him on the phone?
Vin: It ain't we're not worried about JD. . .
Ezra: On the contrary, we are deeply concerned. But, wearing a hole in the floor won't make the phone ring.
Suddenly, all eyes became transfixed to the phone. The ringing sounded unusually loud and hollow. Buck was glued to the spot, so Ezra turned on the speaker.
Henry: Ah. . . you're back.
Chris: We've fulfilled our end. . . where do we meet you?
Henry: 8625 Sycamore Avenue, the old warehouse.
Buck: Let us speak to them, so we can know they're okay.
But, it was too late. He'd hung up.
They dragged Mr. Davidson to the first floor of warehouse.
Henry: Very good. Now, I suppose you'll be wanting to make your trade. . . I am willing to consider it. . .
Buck: You dirty. . .
Buck lunges at Henry, only to be deflected by Josiah and Chris.
Henry: (smirking) All right. . . (whips out a gun) Just for insurance. (uses the gun to motion for them to follow to the room with JD & Casey)
They follow slowly.
Henry: Here. One of you open the door.
Vin opens the door, and they all rush in. Henry follows, and appears genuinely shocked that the room is empty.
Buck: WHERE ARE THEY?!
Henry: I. . . I don't know. . . they were here a few minutes ago. . .
Buck kneels down by JD's chair and picks up the bloody rope. . .
Buck: What happened?
Henry: I said I don't know!
Buck: (waves the rope at him) Then, explain this!
Henry: (recoils, squint) (guessing) Uh. . . he slipped out of the ropes?
Buck steps closer, and Henry whips out the gun at him.
Henry: Stay where you are. (cocks the gun) Now, all of you. . . hands in the air.
They comply, then Henry falls to the ground, knocked down by JD! JD grabs the gun.
JD: (puts the safety back on the gun) Get up.
Buck takes in JD's appearance, the stiffness of his movements, and yanks Henry off the ground.
Buck: (gruffly) You okay?
Buck decks Henry, grabs him up, and hits him a couple of more times before he stands over him. Hitting him had felt so good!
JD hands the gun to Chris.
Casey: (from rafters) Hey! Don't forget me!
JD: Comin', Case!
He starts to move stiffly towards her.
Buck: (looking sideways at him) Stay here, kid. I'll get her.
Buck goes over to where Casey is, and motions for her to jump. She falls into his arms, and he sets her down gently.
Buck: Are you all right?
Casey: I'm okay.
She goes to JD, who puts his arms around her shoulders.
Chris: (finishing tying up Henry) C'mon. . . let's go.
He shoves Henry out the door, while the rest follow him out.
The next day, they were all gathered in the office, and Mr. Davidson was making out a check.
Mr.Davidson: Sorry for all the trouble.
JD: (quickly) All in a day's work.
Mr.Davidson: Yeah, well. . . thanks again.
He gives a slight wave & leaves. Just as he is leaving, Casey comes in.
Casey: Yeah. . . I just thought you'd like to know that Henry's going to prison, and "The Purple Ocean" is temporarily being closed down, pending an investigation by the IRS.
JD: But. . . your job. . .
Casey: (dismissively) I can find another one. I need to talk to you?
JD: Okay. . . s'cuse us a minute.
He and Casey walk outside.
Casey: (quietly) You were dating me because I was a suspect.
JD: (grins sheepishly) I joined the bad because you were a suspect. . . I dated you 'cause you're pretty.
Casey: Oh. . . (looks down)
JD: (tilts up her chin) And, for the record, I never suspected you.
Instead of answering, JD dips her back for a long, passionate kiss. . .
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