ATF Alternate Universe
"Everyone understand their assignments?" Chris Larabee asked as he closed the folder in front of him and Josiah turned the lights back on.
"What am I gonna be doin?" JD asked, he had yet to hear his name mentioned.
"You'll be on sweep" the leader said.
"Who's gonna sweep with me and Casey?" JD asked, he'd never been in a sweep without one of his fellow ATF agents with him, and he knew they never swept a building without a partner.
"you're going with PD." Chris answered.
"PD? Why PD?" JD knew that there were at least two sweep teams to every assigned sector, more if a bigger operation, and PD usually were the last to sweep.
"It ain't a demotion JD, it ain't no different than hookin' up with DEA," Buck said matter of factly.
"This is a huge building, kid, they're doing four sweeps," Chris shrugged, hoping that the kid would leave it at that.
"Who am I going with?" JD asked, being pretty familiar with the other agents and officers in the area.
"He a transfer? I don't remember a Sweetser," JD pointed out.
"Nope, just graduated."
"He's a rookie? There sending a rookie in on first sweep?" Buck asked, a tinge of concern in his voice. The question received a sarcastic glare of thank you' from Chris.
"No," Chris said, not wanting to tell JD, normally in the first sweep, where he would be.
"Second?" JD asked, eyebrows raised, not hiding his disappointment. Chris shook his head.
"Third?" his disappointment hinting towards anger.
"Fourth," Chris said, his head hanging, not wanting to look at the kid. He and Casey were one of the best sweepers in the area and the team was usually asked to assist in raids for that reason.
"You can't be serious!" the hint of anger gone, it was all out anger. "Now just calm down, kid..." Chris tried, knowing it was useless. "Calm down? You mind telling me why I've gone from being first line to fourth?" he yelled out more than asked.
"You're with a rookie kid, it's his first raid, and..."
"..and no one else wanted to go with him from his own squad?" JD thought out loud, making him feel a bit uneasy; if his own squad didn't trust this guy, how was he supposed to.
"That's not it and you know it. It's just the way the numbers were pulled," Chris said harshly. All the members knew that when there was a combined raid the agents and officers were given numbers and then partnered up.
"Then why am I last?" JD asked a bit more calmly; with his rookie partner' he could understand second, but not last.
"'Cause you're with a rookie, I already told you that."
"Was I going' to be first?" JD asked, looking directly at Chris.
"Well of course you were, just the numbers kid," Buck smiled. "Right?" he looked at Chris.
"It was out of my hands," Chris said.
"Who's hands' was it in?" Vin asked, having a suspicion of why JD was going last.
"Not mine. Look.. We're not working with DEA here, the PD's vice called us, they're the ones calling the shots."
"So what you're sayin is they put the kid last regardless because..." Vin started.
"...no one else on PD wants to go in with me.." JD said defeated. "Well, that didn't take too long did it," JD smiled and walked out of the room.
"How many raids we been on since? No one else has had a problem, why should PD have a problem?" Buck asked.
"PD as a whole doesn't have a problem, they have four or five guys that are going through the same thing, it's vice," Chris said simply.
"I'll go talk to him," Buck said as he stood.
"Mind if I join ya?" Vin asked.
"I'll probably need the help," Buck said honestly.
Buck and Vin left to go find JD and the rest filed out of the meeting room back to their desks in the pit to prepare for the next mornings activities. Chris leaned back in his chair and tried to figure out how to get JD back up in front, he wouldn't be in first partnered with a rookie, but he wanted to talk to the Vice's Captain Hogan to see about getting JD from the bottom, to maybe second in.
He made the phone call after he went into his office, he had made the same phone call two days ago when he found out who would be where and who they would be partnered with. He hung the phone down just as disappointed as he was two days earlier after talking for 10 minutes with Vice's Captain, he had tried all he could, but the decision stood.
+ + + + + + +
The PD's vice group as a whole weren't that bad a bunch; but some of the old timers', as Buck like to call them, were a little too set in their ways. The area departments and divisions worked very well together, always knowing who was in charge and respecting that. The old timers' on vice were a different story, if they organized a raid that they needed assistance on, the last people they would call were The Magnificent Seven'; the specials team at ATF. Most of the departments would go right for Larabee and his crew, vice didn't like to do that. They were vice, and to have a small group of ATF agents have a better drug record than yourself, well, it just wasn't right.
A little over six months ago JD had been stuck' on a raid, and with that came blood test. JD wasn't the only one that had ever been stuck, PD had four or five guys that had been stuck in the last five or six years and DEA had three. Besides JD, there was also one other ATF agent that had been stuck, it was a hazard that came with the job and all excepted it. It was pretty well known who had gotten stuck, it wasn't public' knowledge, but the departments talked to each other and before JD had even gotten to the hospital, most of the area department divisions had heard or found out, including the old timers' at Vice.
Vice on the other hand were pretty safe, they would work surveillance, go undercover and when the time came, organize a raid or a bust. Very rarely was vice at risk to get stuck by a needle.
The old timers knew the risk that came with having something like that happen, and for that reason, tried the best they could to distance themselves from those people, thinking they were doing the other people a favor in the process. What they succeeded in doing was make themselves look bad, with a hint of prejudice towards the men and women who had been unfortunate to have gotten a prick from a needle on a search, patting down someone or have a junkie stick a needle in someone.
+ + + + + + +
"Are you not feeling well?"
"Huh? What..You forget how to knock Ezra?" Chris said aggravated.
"No, as a matter of fact I just had a five minute lesson in the art of knocking on the door," Ezra said, explaining he'd been there for a while in only the way Ezra could.
"What can I do for you?"
"I was wondering if you made any progress in your attempt to move our young team member up a few notches' in the line up."
"Nope, I tell ya' them old time vice boys sure do have a way of making everyone feel like they're a team," Chris said sarcastically.
"Yes, they do at that," Ezra agreed. He interrupted the short silence "Ahem, well. These are the documents that state the intentions of tomor.."
"It's paper work Ezra, just say it's the paperwork," Chris said rubbing at his temples.
Ezra cleared his throat, "Here's the paper work you needed," Ezra said stiffly.
"Now was that so hard?" Chris asked, cocking his head to the left and looking at the man in front of him.
"Actually? Yes, I assure you it was very difficult indeed," Ezra said smiling as he walked out the still opened door.
What the hell was I thinking when I recruited him? Chris thought to himself with a smile, Ezra was the only man he knew that could turn a simple sentence into something so full of words it would take a week to write down.
Chris stood from his desk, remembering the reason, better yet the person, he had come to his office in the first place. He walked to his open door and scanned the pit looking for the three men who had left earlier, his worry increased when he looked to JD's desk and found Casey lying next to her 'partner's' chair.
"Any idea where they went?" Chris asked the remaining team members. They all looked at him and pointed up. Damn Chris thought, whenever JD went to the roof it meant he was thinking, and with the way the past 6 months had gone, the last thing the kid needed to do was think'.
JD had discovered the roof on a whim, it was soon after he had arrived on the team. Buck and he'd had a rough start and Buck had been on a roll picking on the kid; JD stuck it out, but at the end of the day he needed out. He just happened to find the stairs leading to the roof where he watched the sun set; finding it quiet, peaceful and relaxing.
JD had told the others of how great the sunset was from that vantage point, and convinced them to go to the roof and see for themselves. All the members had leaned against the cement four foot wall that encased the roof, while JD stood back behind them all admiring the breath taking skyline of Denver in the sunset. That's the day they learned something about the young agent, he was deathly afraid of heights.
The other agents thought it rather strange that when JD wanted to think or be alone, the first place he went to was the roof. Josiah once said he thought it made the boy feel closer to his mother, and that when he went there it was because he needed her, to feel that closeness.
He had gone to the roof a few times since he'd discovered the place, but his trips there were becoming more frequent; and depending on the circumstances, who would follow him. If the the others felt he needed some TLC it would be Buck going to the roof, but more often than not, it would be Vin sitting next to the kid, just listening. Buck and JD were as tight as tight could be, they lived together, worked together and they had a bond that was more than brotherhood but just a step down from a father and son relationship; but there were times when JD didn't want,or need to hear that everything would be okay' or it'll all work out' or any of Buck's peptalks. There were times that the kid just needed to vent.
Those were the days that the substitute brother he found in Vin was needed. To listen to what he was saying, and if Vin didn't understand he would ask; or if JD wasn't sure of his feelings, Vin would offer his opinion or ask questions and try and help him sort them out. The best thing about Vin is he didn't push for answers, he would wait and understand that when the time came he would get them.
Buck and Vin opened the door and found JD sitting on the bench that Josiah and Nathan had brought up. JD's head was resting on the back of the bench with his eyes looking at the sky, his hands were entwined loosely with each other and hung from his lap. The two agents walked over to the bench and each sat down next to JD copying his position, no one said a word for the longest time.
"It's not PD, it's Vice's operation," Buck said, finally breaking the silence, never moving his position.
"Should've known," JD said simply and quietly, never taking his eyes from the passing clouds.
"It's kinda cold up here, you shouldn't have come up here without your jacket," Buck said.
"I'm fine," JD managed, as the breeze garnered a bit of strength.
"I stopped and picked it up," Vin finally spoke, also admiring the blue sky scattered with starch white clouds.
"I'm sure Vice has filled Sweetser in already," JD said with what seemed to be a sarcastic laugh.
"I imagine, doesn't take them long," Buck replied.
"Guys from PD will straighten him out, you know that," Vin offered.
"Yeah, just hate the fact they have to," JD replied, breaking his eyes from the sky opting to look at his hands instead.
"Nothing any of us can do about that, cept maybe show them what you're made of, maybe you'll get lucky and find a hell of a stash tomorrow," Buck smiled, patting JD on the back.
"Well I'd have to follow some pretty slack guys then, ain't gonna be much to find being fourth," JD stood and started to walk away.
"You plan on having that attitude tomorrow, you're probably right," Vin calmly let out, letting his point sink in.
"I might be going in last, but I'll do my job, you know that," JD said with out conviction.
"That's not what he's sayin' kid," Buck said, turning in the bench to make sure JD was looking at them.
"Then what are you saying?" JD looked to Vin.
"What I'm sayin' is," Vin stood and talked as he made his way to JD "You need to go in there last tomorrow just like you were goin' in first. You're goin' in with a rookie, what do you think he's gonna think if you go in and do a half assed job cause you went last?"
"Guess you're right. Maybe I'll get lucky tomorrow" JD said with a shrug and a smile to the sharpshooter.
"That's if ya' can make-up to a certain brown-eyed girl that weren't none to pleased with you leavin' her behind," Buck smiled.
"She look mad?" JD asked.
"Nothin I'm sure a steak dinner couldn't cure," Buck smiled widely, putting his arm around JD's shoulder as they walked to the door.
"You s'pose that would fix vice?" JD asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Doubt it," Buck laughed out.
"Only thing that'll fix vice is a personality enema," Vin added dryly.
"They sell them over the counter?" JD laughed, as they headed down the stairs.
Halfway down the stairs they ran into Chris.
"You get lost pard?" Buck chuckled out.
"No, I was coming up to get some fresh air," Chris lied, he was worried about the kid, he just wouldn't admit to it; but Buck and Vin knew.
"It's a little cold, you might want to get your jacket," JD offered the advice honestly, not realizing the leader was worried about him.
"Maybe I'll just stay in instead," Chris smiled.
JD shrugged his shoulders and headed down the stairs leaving the other three behind in the stairway.
"Yeah, just not very happy about when he's goin' in is all," Buck confirmed Chris's thought.
"He upset about who he's going with?" Vin shook his head at Chris's question.
"He'll be fine tomorrow," Vin promised.
"Good, last thing we need is him going in and doing half a job. That'll just give Vice more wood to add to their fire."
"You don't have anything to worry about, he'll do fine," Buck assured, not needing to. Chris knew that no matter what JD was feeling he would still give 110% no matter if he was first line or last.
+ + + + + + +
JD and Casey arrived at the Denver PD precinct a little before 6 a.m. to meet up with the rest of group that he would be going with and his rookie partner. He didn't recognize anyone in the lobby except for a few beat cops, so he went to the desk.
"Excuse me..I," JD began, but the desk sergeant interrupted him.
"Their meeting in the conference room, second door on the left," the man behind the desk seemed to grunt out.
"Thanks," JD smiled.
"No problem, good luck today son," he grunted again, but with a smile.
"Thanks," he smiled and he and Casey headed to the room he had been directed to, he was a door away when he heard his name.
JD turned and recognized Tim Clukey, a Denver PD drug agent; he had been on various raids with Tim, he was one of the good guys'.
"Hey Tim, how's it goin?" JD smiled as they shook hands.
"Pretty good. Heard vice gave you the shaft, sorry," Tim said apologetically, like he was apologizing for the whole department.
"The old timers gotta right to feel the way they do, not much I can do about it," JD smiled.
"I guess, doesn't mean it's right," Tim tried to point out.
"So, uh, who's this Sweetser?" JD asked, changing the subject.
"He's okay," Tim said in a positive manner. "He knows the basics, doesn't seem to mind asking questions when he doesn't know something and I, uh, gotta tell you he's real nervous about today," Tim smiled.
"You tell him it was normal, or you gonna let him sweat it out?" JD asked with a devilish smile.
"I told him, he said he was more nervous about going with you; didn't want to disappoint you," Tim said as he winked and opened the door, both men and Casey entering to the conference room.
JD entered the conference room, his presence acknowledged by nods and smiles which he returned. Four men approached him as he found a place to stand against the wall. He recognized three of them as Tony Diconzo, he was DEA and his dog Zeke, Travis Malloy, Denver PD, and Braedon Davis, also DPD.
"Hey JD, hey Casey," Tony greeted.
"Hey Tony, Zeke."
"Heard you got shafted man," Travis let out.
"Gotta go somewhere," JD smiled.
"Hey JD," Braedon and the other man finally made his way to the small group.
"How ya doin Braedon, glad to see you're back," JD offered, Davis had taken a bullet on patrol 3 months earlier.
"Doing good, thanks. Wish I could say the same for my wife, I think being home might have sent her into therapy," he smiled out.
"If I had to put up with you that long I guess maybe I would to," JD smiled out.
"I doubt that, you live with Buck, if you can stay sane with him..." Tony let the rest hang.
"JD, this here's my new partner, he's yours today. Mike, JD Dunne and this here's Casey. JD, Mike Sweetser."
"Hey," JD said shaking the mans hand as he looked at the man who was two years younger than him, but looked at least older by 3.
"Hi, heard a lot about you sir," Mike said quickly, like he had met the president.
"JD, just JD, don't believe anything they told ya," JD smiled, he knew he had a reputation, but he never acknowledge it.
"Hey, nothing but the truth. you're working with the best sweeping team in the state," Tony said, standing next to JD and putting his arm around him.
"They have a tendency to exaggerate," JD said, hanging his head, feeling a tinge of embarrassment.
"If you boys are finished bonding' you mind if we get going?" Detective Holland asked loudly at the men by the door. Dan Holland was what the men called old time vice' he been in that department for over 20 years, he was also the one in charge of the operation, and the reason JD was last line.
The men shifted uncomfortably as they felt the rooms eyes turned on them.
"All set Detective," JD smiled, knowing it would irk the man.
"Thank you Dunne. Everyone knows where their supposed to be and their assignments, let's go get us some bad guys," Holland ordered and the room began to empty.
"Like he's going to be doing anything but sucking down coffee," Braedon whispered to the small group.
"Now Davis, you know he'll be barking out orders too," Tony chided in, keeping his eye out as Holland got closer to the group.
"You got something to say?" Holland asked the group, his eyes resting on JD.
"No sir," JD said cheerfully.
"you're going in last Diconzo," Holland stated evenly.
"Yes sir," Tony answered.
"So are you," Holland pointed out, a bit on the harsh side.
"Yes sir, and knowing the reputation of Vice Squad, let me just say it's an honor just be allowed to take part in this operation," JD said with honest enthusiasm, as he extended his hand to be shaken; knowing it wouldn't, but also letting Holland know he was on to him.
Holland grunted through a sneer and left the room, causing the four men to breakout in laughter; leaving Sweetser wondering what he'd missed. "Damn kid, you been spending way too much time with Ezra!" Davis let out once he stopped laughing.
"He charge you by the hour?" Malloy asked, as he patted JD on the chest on his way out the door.
"You ready Mike?" JD asked the young officer.
"I guess," Mike answered, not really too sure.
"You'll be fine,"Tony offered, " we're beside you again," Tony stated.
"Really? We'll have to keep our ears and eyes open then," JD smiled out, causing Sweetser to smile.
"Hey, you better watch it, I'll get GI Joe and Rambo out of forced retirement," Tony threatened with a grin.
"We heard bout them at the academy, they screwed up majorly on a raid, one of the sweeper guys got stuck and almost died," Sweetser added to the conversation.
"Lets get going before Holland has an excuse to dump us," JD said somberly, changing the subject. He really hated being the topic of discussion, and now, obviously a lesson at the Police Academy on how things can go wrong when you don't work efficiently together as a team.
"The instructor said that these two guys missed turning up a crate, the sweeper guys did it and some junkie filled one of the guys and.." Sweetser said, following the men out of the station, as they headed to the van they would be riding in.
"...almost died," Tony and Travis finished together.
"We know," Braedon offered, hoping this would end it.
"Were you guys there?" he asked almost excited.
"Yeah, couple of us were," JD said. Not looking back to Sweetser, but casting a look to Tony.
"You were there JD?" Sweetser questioned, not meaning it to sound like JD had witnessed a major historical event.
"Yup," JD said, turning back to Sweetser, "I was the guy who got stuck," JD smiled out, as he turned back and got into the van.
"Smooth Sweets, real smooth," Tony said, patting him on the back as he got into the van.
Mike stood there, not knowing what to do as the van was loaded. He knew there was no way JD would want to go with him now, he wouldn't want to go with himself. He really hated being a rookie all of a sudden and just wanted to find a place to hide.
"You coming partner?" JD asked.
"Yeah," he said quietly. He sat next to JD, Casey was between JD knees on the floor. He felt he needed to apologize, just didn't know the words to say yet.. So instead he stumbled threw them.
"JD..I'm sorry..I shouldna..I mean..It doesn't bother me.. I mean." Mike sighed. "Give me a minute so I can get my foot out of my mouth."
"Don't worry about it," JD relayed honestly, he was surprised vice hadn't filled' him in.
There was a long silence as the van pulled out of the garage and headed for the vicinity of the warehouse, as the men rode they listened to the radio traffic as orders were delivered and updates on positions were given and then the go signal for the raid to begin. JD looked out the window, jiggling his leg nervously and stroked Casey's head as he always did before he would sweep. All the men had there different ways of keeping calm and did them as the van pulled to a stop.
"Sorry I made you last JD," Mike said, finally speaking, breaking the monopoly that the radio traffic had held on the men.
"You didn't," Tony answered for JD before he could respond.
"Why else would you go last? I mean you two are the best at what you do..doesn't make sense," Mike said seriously.
"Nothing to do with you, I wasn't going anywhere but last. Lets just say it was politics," JD smiled his response.
"Sweep line 3, go," the radio said, the van door opened and the agents and their partners, two and four legged, stepped out of the van.
The small group of men and dogs made their way through all the stations' that were set up. There was the command, of course, a triage center for anyone they found who may need to be treated or if something else happened, then there was the paddy wagon' that took anyone who'd been arrested downtown to be processed.
The men then walked to the check in' station, this is were they gave names, both human and not, of who would be going in the building. JD was surprised to find Chris in charge.
"They've been about 30 minutes to a sweep." Chris nodded and told JD the time that the other teams had spent in the building.
"That's all?" JD questioned.
"Anyone finding anything?" Braedon asked, knowing as well that a sweep should take at least an hour.
"Yeah, but you know vice," Chris shot out, knowing that he felt this was a typical vice raid'.
"Yup, get the drugs and let everyone do the cleaning," Travis understood.
"Guess I got a lot to figure out," Mike said shrugging his shoulders.
"You must be Sweetser; Chris," the ATF leader said and introduced himself.
"Yes sir, I don't understand what you mean; what's different about this than any other raid?" Tim was right, he didn't mind asking questions which was a good thing.
"What he means is that in a vice raid they really don't take that much notice of what the sweepers get, unless it's good bags nobody's used yet, all they want is the kilo count, they want the sweepers to go in get the dope and get out," Travis told the rookie.
"So they don't want you picking up needles and used bags?" Mike tried to understand.
"That's what they want, doesn't mean we're not going to. Cleaning up is part of the job, that's what we do," JD said, that's what he'd do if he was first line, and like Vin said the day before, he needed to send the right message to the rookie and show vice a thing or two.
The men stood and waited for line 3 to come out, as they talked amongst themselves and other agents and officers that were milling around the area. Chris checked off names and took tags as each member of line 3 came out, after they were all accounted for Chris turned to the group of men.
"Line 4, go" he yelled out, then repeated it on his radio
JD, Casey and Mike went by Chris, taking three tags with the same number on it, grabbed three sets of rubber surgical gloves, each putting a pair on and putting the spares in their front pockets of their jeans and headed into the building.
JD took the opportunity to use this as a lesson of sorts, when Casey would signal to a box, crate, a pile of old cardboard boxes or what have you; he'd ask Mike a question, and depending if he agreed with the rookies answer, let him go ahead and inspect the sight. There were times Mike wasn't sure what he'd found and would ask JD, and JD would answer him and show him a trick or two.
"Whatchya got?" JD asked making his way to the rookie.
"Not really sure if it's anything, just seems out of place," Mike stated as he kicked some cardboard boxes to the side.
"What do you mean?" JD asked, seeing what Mike was looking at and knowing they had come on to something that could be big.
"Well, these boxes look like they're covering something, it looks almost like wood or something like that."
The two men took there time pulling away the piled trash, not just throwing it aside, but looking for needles or anything else.
"Hey Tony," JD called over his radio.
"Yeah?" the radio answered.
"You done yet?" JD asked.
"Will be in about five, wadaya need?"
"Just a hand," JD said.
"Hang on, will be there in 3."
"No, take your time," JD relayed.
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