ATF Alternate Universe
"Face, right?" a young man asked, he had a set of headphones on that were on one ear, the other exposed. A small microphone was attached to the headphones that the young man spoke into as Robbie had nodded ‘yes' to the question the man asked.
JD leaned over Ryan "Face?" he asked.
"Yeah, that's us," Ryan answered.
"The group is called Face?" JD asked again, he was thinking who the moron was that came up with that name.
"You don't like it?" Joey asked, he seemed hurt.
"Well, no..it's just..well my face is kinda messed up; kinda ironic..don't ya think," JD said with a smile, the bruise he'd gotten from hitting himself with the cast had faded, or maybe it just didn't compare to the dark bruises that ran from the bridge of his nose and under his eyes.
The group made their way through a maze of equipment until they hit an open room full of people, a gathering actually, a gathering of everyone that was on the tour of boy bands; JD suddenly felt very self conscious, maybe he should have brought the blond wig.
"Stay close guys, I don't wanna loose you," JD said.
"JD, there's a couple of guys that don't have blond hair," Joey pointed out.
"Magenta doesn't count," JD said seeing a bright almost florescent hair color in the crowd.
"That's Joey from ‘Nsync," Robbie answered.
Like I care "Oh yeah?" JD said, faking his interest.
"Hey Robbie!" Robbie turned towards the voice.
"Hey AJ, Kevin," Robbie acknowledged.
"Ryan, Joey..sorry to hear 'bout your manager, bud," AJ said honestly.
"Thanks, um..you guys know Ryan and Joey,"
Both young men nodded and shook hands.
"This is JD, JD; this is AJ and Kevin, they're from The Backstreet Boys."
JD smiled friendly and nodded his head in hello.
"You were with Joe in the car huh?" Kevin asked.
"Yeah," JD lied, hanging his head down, trying hard not to remember how Joe died.
"Hey guys, totally sorry to hear bout Joe," another young man came into the group.
"Thanks; JD..this is Lance and JC," Ryan introduced.
"JD," Lance and JC nodded.
Initials and blond hair, God help me he thought. As he pretended to be interested in what the others were saying to each other.
"Attention attention, would the members scheduled for the 10 o'clock press conference please go to the press room," A woman's voice came over a loud speaker.
"Oh that's us," Kevin said slapping AJ on the chest.
"Hey..us too," the ‘Nsync-ers said too.
"As well as you two," Ezra said, lying his hand on Joey and JD's shoulder.
"Cool," Joey said
"What?!" JD whispered his yell.
"When I talked to the promotional director the morning, he stated that many a newsperson had expressed an interest in you attending a press conference," Ezra said.
"Well, they can take their interest and.... I ain't doin' this Ezra," JD said firmly.
"I'll do all the talking JD," Joey said cheerfully.
"Oh yipee," JD mumbled under his breath.
Chris hid his smile a he followed his ‘son' to the conference room.
+ + + + + + +
At least they ain't screamin' JD thought as he entered the press room, but the flashes of light were beginning to give him a headache. He sat at a long table, next to Joey.
He pretty much kept his head down, trying to ignore everything around him, Joey sat next to him quietly as the others were asked question after question. JD seemed to almost be happy having the more popular group members with him and Joey, the press hadn't asked them one single question in the last half hour, much to Joey's disappointment and JD's elation; but that was about to come to an abrupt end.
"Joey. How is the group dealing with the recent tragic death of your manager and how hard is it going to be for you to perform tonight?" A young women asked.
"We haven't really dealt with it yet; Joe worked really hard to get us here, finding us another member, and we felt it was important for us to perform tonight..and I think Joe would appreciate it," Joey said evenly.
"Speaking of your newest member.." JD groaned inside..he was going to have to talk..maybe even look up, as he heard the reporters question. "How are you feeling? How will you be able to perform tonight? What is it like being the newest member of the fastest rising group? How are you handling your overnight success? How does it feel having complete strangers screaming your name?" the reporter ramble on about 10 different questions.
JD looked to Joey, put his hand over the microphone that sat in front of him and asked quietly "Is she done?" Joey smiled and nodded.
JD looked up, cameras began flashing as he did, and continued as he leaned into the microphone, smiled his famous smile, noticing that he had every reporter on the edge of their seats( realizing that they had never even heard his voice before today) and decided to take his turn at the mic to be prolific.
"Fine," and he leaned back in his chair, he still smiled; the smile went from mischievous to ..satisfied, only Ezra and Chris noticed the change.
JD took a sip of the water that was in front of him, as the reporters waited for more of his answer, they waited almost 5 minutes as JD toyed with them; just as a reporter would raise their hand or stand JD would shuffle in his seat or open his mouth, the reporters would all stop, pencil ready thinking he was going to give them more than a one word answer...and he would sigh or yawn. Amused by the fact that he had all these people under his control.
This seemed to amuse not only Joey, but the others as well as they all seemed to shift in their seats, cover their mouths or hang their heads to not show the smiles they had.
"JD..in the report released by the AP there wasn't mention of your arm being broken, or what appears to be an old bruise under the new ones caused by your broken nose. May I ask how you got those two other injuries?"
"Yes," JD answered.
The small group of men made up of different ‘boy bands' gave a collective silent snicker, knowing that JD wasn't going to answer any more than he was asked, after all they knew the reporter asked if she could ask..not directly how he'd broken his arm.
"Well?" the reporter asked, her hand on her hip, the other waving the pencil and pad in the other, her head tilted to the side.
Joey seemed to sense the impatience of the reporter and answered the reporter.
"JD got thrown from a horse, he broke his arm then and got a bruise under his eye," Joey lied, knowing that JD really hated what was going on.
"You live on a farm?"
"And you train horses?"
"Do you always talk this little?" the reporter asked with annoyance in her voice, the other members hung their heads, finding it increasingly hard not to hide the smiles and the laughs that they wanted to express..they really liked this guy, JD was definitely leaving an impression on these people of the press, they weren't sure if that was a good thing or not; JD was doing what every single person had always wanted to do when asked certain questions.
The reporters let out a synchronized groan as JD answered the question.
"Hours up," came the voice of the tour promoter.
JD sighed a smile, sending a smile to Joey in relief it was over, unfortunately the cameras were on that smile faster than vultures on a 3 day old carcass, the lights assaulting JD.
"This is nuts," he said seriously to Joey.
"Yeah it gets kinda crazy, all part of the gig though," Joey said.
"Joey..I do undercover work..those pictures get out.." JD said seriously in a hushed tone.
"Looks like Ezra's taking care of it," Joey said, sending a point to where Ezra was talking with several security guards.
"Hope so," JD said.
"Vin would be real proud of all those words you said, son." Chris said, a bit sarcastically.
"You can sit up there next time..they were asking stupid questions anyways..hate bein' put on the spot.." JD said in a sigh.
"Then why you go play at that club?" Chris asked.
"Cause I like doin' that..I don't like that," he said..pointing his finger back to the room they just left. "They're like a bunch of flies on old garbage bags..did you see how many pictures they were taking? How am I supposed to do any other work if my face is plastered all over ...whatever they plaster faces on?"
Chris just smiled as Ezra approached the small group.
"Don't worry young man, your face will not grace a billboard of any sort..only millions and millions of teen magazines," Ezra smiled.
"Guess there's one good thing then," JD smiled, obviously very pleased at the thought of his face on the cover or in the pages of teen magazines.
"What's that?" Chris asked, knowing JD loved undercover work.
"No more High School jobs!" JD smiled, slapping his hand to ‘his father' chest as he walked to find the rest of the group he belonged to.
Chris leaned over to Ezra in a low growl, and rubbing his chest where JD had slapped him he said "Get those negative's."
"I have put inquiries to certain members, but I must say I haven't any idea why you'd want those pictures; it would be very interesting to find him on a magazine cover..."
"I thought so too, until he patted my chest..that cast really hurts. Sides..if there is a real good picture I think I'll have to have it blown up to a poster," Chris smiled, Ezra added his smile of approval.
"I'll be more persistent then!" Ezra stated as he turned to go back into the press room.
Ezra stopped as Chris's cell phone rang, Chris retrieved the phone and opened it.
"Speak...Joe?..really...makes sense..yeah I'll tell Vin.....JD?...Tell JD what?" and he folded the phone and put it back into his pocket.
"Well?" Ezra asked, waiting for Chris to tell him what the phone call was about.
"The phone call?"
"Oh..Joe was the one threatening the three group members," Chris said matter of factly.
"Death by pig Joe?" Ezra asked.
"Yup. Guess he figured if he ‘volunteered' his group we wouldn't catch him."
"Well, I'm sure Mr. Dunne will be ecstatic to find out," Ezra said with a sigh.
"Find out what?" Chris said with an evil grin.
"Surely you are not suggesting..." Ezra was a bit stunned, he'd never seen Chris like this.
"What? That we let him go up on stage and perform knowing the case is over? I told you ..that cast hurt, I'm going to have a bruise," Chris sneered, letting Ezra know that he wasn't to say a word to JD.
+ + + + + + +
"Howdy pards!" Buck said as he made his way towards Ezra, Chris and Vin.
"Buck," Chris greeted.
"I miss them?" Buck asked.
"Just getting on the stage," Chris smiled.
The group was introduced, then each group member walked out carrying a directors chair and sat on it. Robbie was the first to get on stage, the audience began to cry out, Ryan was next and the level of screams increased, Joey walked to sit next to Ryan the levels still increasing..then came JD and the noise was deafening.
Buck stood just off stage and was witness to the audiences reaction...he then managed to get a good look at the audience, knowing that most of the audience was female and the average age would be 10. As the audience was lit up Buck scanned the audience, he'd gotten the female part right, but he couldn't see anyone younger than 18.
"Chris..there's..women out there!" Buck yelled, not that he wanted to, but the noise level was so intense that he had to.
"Oh..I forgot to tell you..the tour was a college summer tour," Chris and the two other agents smiled as the leader told Buck.
"No wonder he's smilin' so much," Buck sneered, it just wasn't fair. JD didn't even want to be up on that stage..in front of thousands and thousands of ‘women', not girls, and wouldn't even make the slightest effort to try and get the attention of one of them.
"I should be up there Chris! You ‘know' I can do that!" Buck said.
"Sorry Buck, the only group you'd fit into would be the Osmonds," Chris smiled.
"Yup, betcha'd give ole Donny a run for his money," Vin said, holding back the guffaw of laughter that tried to escape.
"Or perhaps if you prefer, the Partridge Family?" Ezra quipped.
"Just how old do you think I am?" Buck fumed out his question to Ezra and Vin.
The two agents looked at each other and shrugged, seemed to talk privately to each other, every once in a while looking at or towards Buck; the two men then nodded and Vin walked over to Buck.
"Old enough to be most of them women's father," Vin smiled, and just as casually as he had walked over, walked away again.
Buck was about to defend himself when he heard the leader speak.
"Yup," Chris said, with an uneven smile.
The four finished up their time on stage, they had done four songs and the ‘women' had requested more..which they delivered; the group hadn't expected that, so each of the boys picked a song and tried to leave for the third time. Robbie and the other two had already picked a song.
"We gotta do something," Robbie said, sweat dripped from all four of the men; the stage lights were intensely hot.
"JD you pick one of our songs you like," Ryan said.
"But I don't like any of them," JD said.
"One that you tolerate?" Joey asked.
"Not really," JD assured.
"What the hell are they doin?" Buck asked.
"I do believe that the three young friends are trying to talk our young friend into selecting a song to sing, and it appears that Mr. Dunne is uncooperative," Ezra smiled.
The four agents finally heard Robbie apologize and that they couldn't do anymore, reminding the audience that JD did have a few broken ribs. The audience rewarded them with loud clapping as the group left the stage.
"Good job boys! You really had them gals eatin' outta your hands!" Buck enthused and he gathered the three boys into a big hug, like he was the one that had discovered them.
"Good work kid," Vin offered to JD as he walked by, the smile he had on stage had disappeared the minute the kid was off stage.
All the men heard was JD mumbling, and they were pretty sure it was something the younger ones shouldn't hear..Vin was pretty sure they'd heard most of the words JD was spouting, but not all at once.
"JD. I gotta tell ya, I think I woulda backed out, knowin' the case was over," Vin said, not catching Chris and Ezra trying to give him signals to be quiet.
"OVER! WHEN?" JD yelled, turning to Chris, who tired to look innocent. He failed ‘JD's Look, just as much as JD failed ‘Chris's Look'.
"Well..about 2 hours ago," Chris revealed, hanging his head in shame.
"You woulda gone on anyways, right kid?" Buck smiled.
"NOOOOooooo," JD let out sarcastically.
"Oh," Buck said.
"Sorry..but you hit me with that cast..and..well..dammit it hurt," Chris almost whined out.
"You're tellin' that to the wrong person..and don't be such a baby about it..Geez Chris," JD said. Storming off.
"I'm gonna forget he just called me a baby, and I suggest you do the same thing," he glared at all who were present, catching the eye of a young kid who stared at him..and hunkered down and cried at the look.
"Now look what ya' gone and done Chris..told you that stare was gonna kill someone," Buck said seriously.
"You alright kid?" Chris asked the shaking form on the floor.
"Yyyyyesss.....wwwhat dddiddddd I dddddoo?" he asked quietly.
"Nothin', wrong place wrong time, didn't mean for you to get hit with it," Chris apologized.
"Let me help ya'," Vin said in a soft tone, reaching his hand to the scared boy.
"Tthankss," he said, still a little shaky.
"4" JD gasped out.
"4? How you figure that..didn't you see how he reacted?" Chris exclaimed at his lack of score for his glare.
"Woulda been a perfect 10, but I knocked off only 6 points cause the kid was an innocent by stander," JD smiled.
"I've never gotten a 4!" Chris was livid
"Ya' never glared an innocent bystander..you should be happy I didn't deduct more.." JD smiled still.
"I can't believe you got us in here!" Joey yelled to Chris and the other agents.
"I can't believe I'm even here," Chris yelled back.
"So this is Eli Joes, seems to have a nice ..umm.." Josiah looked around, trying to find something good about the too smoky and too loud club. "...umm..bar" as he admired the mahogany bar.
"JD actually likes this place?" Nathan asked.
"Hey! Ya' made it!" JD yelled as he approached the group.
"This has got to be the coolest place!" Ryan said, not hiding his excitement.
"Root beer better be the closest thing you get to beer, your parents will kill you guys if you let them even sniff the empty glass!" JD gave orders to all the men in reference to the three boys,
"Don't worry, did we ever sneak you anything when you weren't 21?" Buck smiled.
"Yes," JD said simply.
"Well.you weren't 16.." Buck said.
"True..but...Sorry gotta go..hey Ezra..I told Buck I'd take him over to the mosh pit..you mind showin him?" JD asked.
"Mr. Wilmington?" Ezra asked JD, JD nodded and Ezra shrugged his shoulders and turned to Buck. "Are you sure about this?"
"You bet! I can't wait to see them moshes!" Buck smiled widely.
Moshes? Ezra mouthed back to the others.
"OH..we wanna go!" the three younger men asked.
"Now hold on there boys..I don't think you parents would approve of ya'll lookin' at a bunch of..Moshes," Buck said, sounding very parental, and left with Ezra to the mosh pit.
"I think Bucks got the wrong idea about that there mosh ..thing," Vin said, with a sideways grin.
"Naw..ya think?" the boys said, using words that they had heard used more then one time at the ranch.
Ezra came back giggling.
"You mind sharing?" Chris said, rather than asked.
"Well..it seems that Mr.. Will..." Ezra paused at the thought, breaking into laughter, "Buck thinks the mosh pit are were all the ‘well endowed women'" Ezra making a hand gesture " reside or gather to dance!"
The group laughed, Josiah spoke; bringing silence to the group.
"What is a mosh pit?"
"Mosh pits are where people who dance into each other rather than dance with each other," Robbie answered.
"Oh..well.. I guess Buck will be slightly disappointed that he won't be seeing any Moshes then."
"Great God Mother Mary and Joseph!!!" Buck said, making his way to the group, who had set down at a table Ezra had showed them; his ‘usual' table.
"Something wrong Buck?" Chris asked the disheveled and sorrowful man.
"They're tryin' to kill themselves over there!! I just saw a guy knock the stuffin' out of another..then they walk off and get a beer!! People were slamming into me left and right..and weren't non of them female!!"
The men and boys all laughed as the waitress took the orders of soda's from everyone, including the disappointed Buck, who mumbled his order.
The order was brought, and the men's attention was diverted as the screaming women alerted them to the fact JD was on the stage. It had been four weeks since the band had played, and another two for JD. The day the cast came off he was at the garage that they practiced at, trying out his strength on the drums.
The men were silent as the music began, JD played and the men were astonished.
"He can't even walk and talk at the same time..hell he's the most uncoordinated person I know..how can he do this?" Chris asked Buck, a half hour into the performance.
"Hell if I know," Buck smiled, looking to the boys who were in complete admiration.
Buck and Vin smiled at each other as the table behind them came alive, women scurrying , yelling ‘shirt' ‘no shirt'.
"Stacey," Buck and Vin smiled.
"I hate to see what happens when...." Buck tried, but was drowned out by the screaming in the room as JD, stepped out from the drums..with no shirt.
He sat on a stool in front of a mic, putting on his shirt..ignoring the protest from the women.
He smiled at the group sitting at the table and waved, girls screamed and screeched thinking the wave was for them.
JD looked around him, got a nod from his band mates that they were ready. The place grew quiet as the sound of an acoustic guitar filled the place..and then JD sang.
‘Another turning point
A fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist
Directs you where to go
So make the best of this test
And don't ask why
It's not a question
But a lesson I learned in time
It's something unpredictable
But in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life
So take the photographs
And still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf of good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth
It was worth all the while
It's something unpredictable
But in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life'
That was the only soft song they played that night, but the men enjoyed themselves as did the boys; even the, as JD had put it later, the borderline sappy song he started with.
+ + + + + + +
Two weeks went by and the men found themselves back into the familiar routine of office work, JD had a ton of paperwork to catch up on that he had been putting off..just because.
"Meeting room," Chris said sternly, as he walked out of his office and into the place he'd requested.
The men filed in and sat in the chairs they always did.
"Well, it's been a while but I have two assignments, both undercover."
"There selling black market cigarettes at the High School, JD sorry to say it.. But I.."
"Fine..as long as I don't have to sing anymore pop songs," he said, cutting Chris off.
"Why thank you, glad to hear it. Buck, you're gonna be a judge."
"For a beauty pageant. They're worried about bribes and what not..and I volunteered you for the job, here's the address..you leave now," Chris said.
"Well..what do ya' know!! The rain came down, the clouds parted and out came the women!" Buck smiled, slapping JD on the back hard, quickly making his way out the door.
JD was stunned, as were the others.
Chris heard the elevator door shut and held his hand up for the barrage that was going to be coming his way.
"I don't get it!! I gotta stand up and make a fool of myself..and then he gets to go look a..a...a...at women all day!!" JD screamed out, the others sharing the same sentiment, nodding their heads in agreement at what JD was saying.
"HE left before I could finish," Chris said loudly, getting the attention of the men.
"Does it matter?? I mean if it's one of those Baby contests or even a kids contest, there's still lots of women runnin' around," Vin said.
"Yes it does matter..." Chris smiled.
Three hours later Buck stormed into the pit , face red and smeared with shades of lipstick that even Cosette hadn't seen yet.
All the men played stupid, he glared at JD, stiffly moved his head towards Chris office door as if asking if Chris was in there. JD nodded, trying not to laugh.
Chris heard his door slam...hard.
"You...You..You.." Buck tried.
"Have a good time Buck, sure looks like ya' did," Chris said, seriously.
"Why..why..why.." Buck tried again.
"You didn't ask," Chris said evenly, "are you asking now?"
"Uh-huh," it came out a high pitched squeak.
"Oh, by the way. Buck, you're gonna be a judge of the National Cross Dressers 3rd Annual Beauty Pageant," Chris smiled.
The laughter could be heard through the thick glass as the pit outside erupted.
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