Starting Over


ATF Alternate Universe

Vin was shocked. He was really shocked. Who would know that his dad still remembered him through all these years? Now this was proof, but not the kind of proof he wanted. Suddenly he heard someone calling him.

"Vin, are ya all right?" Chris asked. Vin had been staring at that letter for minutes.

"Yeah," Vin finally answered. He let out a sigh and continued. "Chris, ya wouldn't mind givin' me a couple of days off. Would ya?"

"If it's for something important then I wouldn't. What's up that's got ya all shook up?"

Chris could see Vin was seriously going to deny that last statement, but in the end Vin actually opened up.

"My dad's dead, and he's leaving me his kid,"

Now it was Chris's turn to be shocked. "Your dad?"

"I know it's surprising… Look I met him a few years back when I was in bounty huntin'. He had a daughter, her mom died when she was born. Is that a good enough explanation?"

+ + + + + + +

This is stupid, Chris said to himself. Just 24 hours after finding out about Vin's dad, he had already booked a flight ticket for 2. Now here he was on an airplane heading towards Montana. Vin had been silent throughout the flight.

Finally, Chris grew tired of the silence and decided to strike a conversation.

"So, how old would your sister be now?" he asked, half out of curiosity, half because he wanted to talk.

"Twelve or thirteen I guess," Vin answered absent-mindedly. He did notice the shocked expression on Chris's face.

"Twelve or thirteen! That means you were 'bout 20 when she was born."

"Yup. She was real cute when I met her." Vin then took a picture of a young girl out of his wallet. The girl was about 8 years old, had long blond hair and baby blue eyes, but she didn't look anything like Vin.

"This is your sister?" Chris asked while surveying the picture. "Why didn't ya tell me 'bout her?"

"Didn't figure that you were gonna meet her. Anyway if I did, y'all would get all nosy."

After the flight, all Chris wanted was to sleep. But instead of getting his wish, he and Vin had driven to a suburban house.

There, the sight of children running around the front yard greeted them. A woman around her forties greeted them.

"You must be Vin Tanner. Nice to meet you," she said in a British accent. "I'm Mrs. Waldo, A.J.'s just getting changed. Have a seat." With that she walked off.

"Who's she? And who is A.J.?" Chris asked. He was getting more and more confused by the minute.

"Mrs.Waldo is just the 'babysitter'. And A.J. is my sister, Alexandra Jodie McLean," Vin answered.

Before Chris could open his mouth again, a young girl walked towards them. She was dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt. Her blond hair tied back in a ponytail. Chris immediately recognized her from the picture. Chris could see tears in her eyes. She noticed him staring at her and hastily wiped off the tears.

When Vin saw her, he immediately got up and brought her into his warm embrace. It had been a long time since he last saw his sister. Then, she was a happy, smiling young girl. Now, she was holding him tightly, crying her eyes out. Although Vin hardly knew his father, he felt tears threatening to fall out. He realized he wasn't feeling sad for his father's death, but crying for his sister. He himself had first-hand experience of losing a parent. His heart went out to her.

After 2 days living in Montana, Chris was ready to go home. During the 2 days he and A.J. spent together, he had gotten to know her quite well.

On the flight home, A.J. had even told them a few jokes. She was starting to get over the loss of her father, but she still needed time.

"Do you want to take her home, or face the busybodies?" Chris asked after they had gotten off the plane.

"Face 'em," Vin and A.J. said in unison. During the flight home Chris had briefed A.J. about Buck, JD, Nathan, Josiah and Ezra.

"Cool. It's your death," Chris said. He really was starting to like the child.

Twenty-five minutes later, Chris, Vin and A.J. were in the ATF head office.

A.J. was welcomed by a series of questions, hellos and hugs. She was treated like one of the gang. Vin watched his sister smiling and laughing. He knew that A.J. was not going to get over the pain of loss alone, she had the help of her new found family.


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