The Physical

by Linda. T

ATF Alternate Universe

Vin Tanner did not like medical examinations.

In fact, he hated it. Unfortunately, once a year, he was required to take the departmental yearly physical and so he found himself inside this intimidating and sterile room, with its plethora of odd medical instruments and white tiles, wishing to be anywhere else but here. He supposed if every member of Team 7 could endure this, there should be no reason why he could not tolerate an hour or so of probes and tests, while the powers that be decided that he was healthy enough to keep doing the job he loved. Although he did have to admit he had been putting it off for quite some time now.

Vin sat in his hospital gown, trying to look dignified even though he felt utterly ridiculous and the doctor had yet to arrive. Glancing on the clock on the wall, Vin noted that Doctor Willis was late and wished the man would just get here so this nightmare could be over and done with. It was bad enough that Chris Larabee had summoned him to his office this morning and demanded why Vin was the last member of Team 7 who had not undergone the physical.

"Will you just go get it done?" Chris had declared with unmasked annoyance. His mood had probably had a good deal to do with the call he had received earlier that morning from the Section Chief regarding the matter. After he had hung up the phone, Chris had called Vin into his office to demand an answer as to why he had not taken the physical, since the doctor's office was only on the other side of the building.

"I just haven't had the time," Vin said evasively, lying through his teeth and seeing the complete disbelief in Chris' face because the leader of Team 7 knew Vin well enough to tell the difference.

"I don't care Vin," Chris snapped. "You're holding up paperwork upstairs and when you do that, I get bureaucratic assholes ringing me up wanting to know why one of my best men can't make it to a goddamn physical. Get out of here now and go do it!"

"But I got this report to do . . ."

Chris silenced him with a look.

"All right," Vin grumbled. "I'm going already. You know, you weren't always this ornery, pard."

"I know," Chris said sweetly, "must've got that way after I met you, now out!" The leader of Team 7 dismissed him with a wave of his hand and Vin let himself out fuming.

Vin looked at the clock again.

The doctor had yet to arrive and Vin gave him another ten minutes before he was going to get dressed and go back to work. This whole thing was an inconvenience as it was without having to wait for a tardy physician on top of everything else. Finally, the sheer boredom of it made Vin rise from the examination bed and walked to the bathroom scale nearby for something to do. He stepped on it and watched the needle swing forward as the numbers ran past him. His weight was still the same, no surprise there. Having discovered that kernel of information, he moved towards the instrument tray and flinched in distaste at some of its strange shapes, wondering with slight fascination at what was their purpose. He picked up one of those little hammers used to test reflexes and experimented on his elbow.

God, he must be bored. Vin groaned and glanced at the clock again, his chagrin rising when he realised that he had only passed two minutes of time when it felt so much longer. Once his passing interest with the hammer had been exhausted, he picked up a stethoscope hanging on a nearby hook. Putting the contraption to his ears, he listened to the strong heartbeat within his chest and decided everything sounded all right in there, too. With a faint smile, Vin thought absurdly that if the doctor was not here soon, he could do this whole examination himself.

Suddenly the door swung open and a voice that sounded nothing like Doctor Willis' sang out to him. "I'm so sorry I'm late, Mr Tanner," The woman apologized, breezing into the room. "There was an accident on the freeway and it was just grid-locked. I hope you weren't waiting too long."

She stopped short at the sight of him wearing the stethoscope around his ears, still holding it to his chest. Her lips crooked into the slightest smile of amusement before she remarked. "I see you have been entertaining yourself."

Vin cleared his throat and immediately pulled the device from around his ears and tried to put it back only to succeed spectacularly in knocking over several other instruments from the table top and destroying any credibility he might have had at being even remotely adult. The woman, who was clad in a white doctor's coat over a pair of figure hugging jeans, a plain white t-shirt and tennis shoes continued to stare at him as he performed comedy highlights in his attempts to return everything back to the instrument tray.

"Where's Doc Willis?" Vin managed to ask once he had stood up and faced her again, trying to hide the tinge of crimson embarrassment on his face as he stared into the depth of her warm brown eyes. Not only did he feel incredibly moronic, he had to make a complete fool of himself in front of what was, in his considered opinion, one of the most beautiful women he had seen in his life. She had not the kind of beauty that graced magazine covers but she was very exotic looking with her bronzed skin and wavy jet coloured hair, hanging loosely over her shoulders.

"He decided to take an early retirement, packed and moved to Miami to fish, from what I hear." She replied, still staring at him with a sparkle of amusement in her eyes at his earlier behaviour. "I'm his permanent replacement, Alex Styles."

"But I'm used to seeing Doc Willis." Vin protested, disregarding her attempts to introduce herself while taking an uneasy step away from her. A woman! Nobody said that the doctor was going to be a woman! How was he supposed to endure having this incredibly sexy woman, sexy even though she was only wearing jeans and sneakers, conduct a medical examination of his person without his body offering her an involuntary insult when she touched him? Vin swore a thousand curses at Doctor Willis for abandoning him like this and hoped the man caught a huge shark that would eat him.

"You're a tough ATF agent," she joked closing the distance between them, aware although somewhat perplexed at why he was so very uncomfortable with this. "I'm sure you can adjust to the change."

"I think I'll come back," he muttered and started moving towards his clothes.

"Is there a problem Mr Tanner?" She looked at him, arms folded as she started to get a little annoyed that he would rather leave than allow her examine him.

"No problem," Vin said, trying to offer an excuse with no idea that the insult was already given. "I just want someone else."

She took a quick glance at the chart before her and remarked automatically, showing no signs of being perturbed by his request. "That's too bad because there is no one available and if I don't certify you by the end of today, I have the authority to have you taken off active duty."

Vin froze and spun around to meet her gaze "What do you mean? There ain't nothing wrong with me!"

"I beg to differ," she said sarcastically and added further. "However, physically I can't make that determination until I am allowed to give you your physical."

"You'd take me off active duty just because I won't let you examine me?" Vin declared almost incredulously. "You're only doing it 'cause you're mad that I don't want to be examined by a lady doctor."

"So that's what it is." She nodded in understanding although in truth she had sort of guessed that might be the reason. It never ceased to amaze her that no matter how rough and tough some men profess to being, the idea of a physical being administered to by a female was enough to send them hiding for cover. Still, understanding his position did not mean she was going to let him off the hook. Not at all. Besides, there was something about him that begged a little teasing and he deserved it, even though by the way he was recoiling, Alex was reminded of one of those animals that got caught in the headlights. "What, you virginal or something?"

"I'am'not'virginal!" Vin snapped in righteous indignation, mortified that she could even think that. He was a grown man and there had been women, lots of women. Yeah, right, his inner voice said with more derision than Doctor Styles could ever manage. "Do I even look like a virgin?" He gave her a black look.

"Well, yes actually." Alex could not help herself because this man was infuriating beyond belief and the only way she could cope with him at this point was either by making glib remarks or throttling him. She was opting for the latter. After a second, she came up with a new tactic and reached for a thermometer as she took a step closer towards him. He was still sputtering his outrage, making some comment about the women he knew and how he had not been a virgin since he was sixteen unaware that her interest in that question had died long ago. In his outrage, he did not step away or notice her approach.

"Last time I saw a display like this was from a seventeen-year-old who needed a lower body examination. Are we perhaps having that kind of problem?" She met his eyes with a suggestive wink.

"Listen Alex," Vin started to get very angry, still oblivious to the fact that she had taken his wrist in her hand "I ain't got any problem like that at all," he said defensively. "I just don't like medical examinations of any kind."

"I'm sure," she nodded casually, still wearing the expression of cool that was a stark contrast to his heated emotions. "Open your mouth."

Vin did so without even thinking and before he could do anything else, felt the glass thermometer against his tongue.

"Close," she ordered and Vin fumed wondering how she had managed to sneak up on him with the instrument. Obeying for the moment because an argument at this time will just end him with a mouthful of glass and he was not about to stay here any longer than he had to. He glared at her in smoldering annoyance at how craftily she had tricked him into cooperating by simply asking.

Forced to remain still for a few seconds, Vin, who found himself standing painfully close to her, could smell the faint whiff of her perfume and noted that she liked the expensive stuff because he was certain it was Chanel he was breathing in. He had to admit she smelled nice, from the light tinge of perfume on her skin to the scent of whatever she used to wash her hair. He took deep breaths in secret, savouring every aroma with hidden delight.

However, when she retrieved the thermometer from his mouth, Vin scowled at her. "You snuck up on me," he accused as she studied the reading on the instrument and scribbled her findings in the on the chart bearing his name.

"So sue me," she remarked without looking at him. "Tell me, are you always such an unmitigated pain in the ass?" Alex asked, still keeping her eyes on the chart but the mischief in her voice was unmistakable.

"Only around pushy women," Vin said with a smirk.

"Get on the scale," she ordered, and it was to his surprise as much as it was to her that he padded towards the device again and stepped onto it. Once again, he saw the needle swing forward as she came closer to note his weight on her chart. During the next few minutes, in more or less the same manner that she had taken his temperature, Alex skilfully extract a blood pressure reading. She also managed to keep him still long enough to use the stethoscope on him although much of that success had to with Vin himself.

Try as he might, Vin could not ignore the brush of her hand on his chest as she held the device in place. Vin could almost feel her warm breath against his skin and could not deny that it felt uncommonly pleasant. Even through cloth, her touch was electrifying and he held her gaze for a moment and knew that whatever it was he had felt, was effecting her too. Vin swallowed away the churning in his gut that was coalescing into arousal. He held his breath, forcing control over his raging hormones, swearing at his traitorous body for responding to her innocent touches. He almost sighed with relief when she stepped away and returned to her desk.

"You've gained a few pounds," she commented.

"Not I ain't," Vin protested, knowing without doubt that he was still the same weight as he had been as the last time he had endured his physical. Damn, what kind of doctor was she? Could she even read a bathroom scale properly? "I'm same weight I was the last time I took this stupid test," he grumbled, completely skeptical of her claim. Pretty or not, she was not telling him that he had gained weight, not when all his pants still fit and he had not been forced to let out his belt.

"Stupid or not," Alex met his challenge tempestuously. "According to last year's chart, you have gained two pounds. You're just going to have to lay off those doughnuts," she teased and turned away although she was quite prepared to hear another protest.

"Cops eat doughnuts," he retorte,. "not ATF agents."

"Whatever," she waved his comment away as she continued writing on the chart. "You can get dressed now."

"That's it?" He stared at her bewildered. That was a lot shorter than he thought it was going to be. "Ain't you supposed to do other stuff?"

"Like what?" She looked up at him quizzically. "I thought you wanted out of here?"

"Well yeah," Vin said unable to come up with a suitable retort because he had wanted to get out of this room and away from her. Why was he still arguing with her when he could be away from this place with its embarrassing hospital gowns, its cold floors and worse yet ,its antiseptic smell, although he had to admit that all he could smell was that intoxicating scent of perfume against her skin..

"You're the Doc," he grumbled, trying not to feel disappointment at his dismissal for inexplicable reason. Vin withdrew behind the partition where his clothes were draped over a chair and started to get dressed all the while wondering how come his examination was nowhere as long as he remembered when Doctor Willis had given him a physical. Although if truth be known, Willis never made him want to pull out his hair either.

"You married?" he found himself asking aloud before he even thought to think about the ramifications of such a question.

"No." She glanced up at the partition and saw his silhouette through the fabric getting dressed and noted with a smile. Very nice, even if he is a pain in the ass. "What, you want to get personal now?" she sang out.

"Nah," he countered with a grin she could not see. "I was just feeling sorry for the poor bastard if you were married."

"Well I know you're not married," Alex declared. Feeling a little disappointed at his answer, she could not keep the annoyance from her voice. "No woman in her right mind is that desperate or generous."

"I've known a few," he bragged just so she would not get the better of him as he emerged fully dressed once more.

"I'm sure you're a legend in your own mind," she retorted sarcastically, but took the opportunity to let her eyes run up and down thelength of his body before being forced to make a begrudging admission.

He's cute, too.

"Since I can go, I ain't gonna take up too much of your time any more. Hopefully, we can do this again, sometime soon, like next year?" he growled and started towards the door.

"Hold it there, pardner," she exclaimed before he could reach the door. "Not so fast. I'm done with your physical evaluation but I think you might like to know that I'm suspending your fitness report pending a second examination one week from today."

Vin turned to her and gave her a dark look that had nothing less than menace in his voice. "What does that mean, exactly?"

"It means," Alex stated, rising to her feet and crossing the floor towards him. Vin met her half way and pretty soon they were standing almost toe to toe. "I am recommending you go on a diet for a week." It took all her control to hide the smile that was threatening to steal across her face.

" A diet!" Vin almost roared. "What for?"

"To lose those extra pounds." She met his cobalt coloured eyes with complete innocence and then let her eyes drop to his stomach. "I recommend you stick to salads for the next seven days until our next appointment."

"You're doing this on purpose!" he hissed with absolute certainty that she was punishing him for all the trouble he had given her earlier. Not that he would have given her any if she had just been a man, or less attractive. Stop that! Vin scolded himself as the thought crossed his mind. She was not attractive, she was infuriating and worst of all, she was making him go on a diet! No one made him eat salad, Vin didn't care how beautiful they were or how nice they smelled.

"I am not," she said hotly, trying not to get distracted by the scent of him and more importantly by those incredible eye of his. "Now, if you will excuse me Mr Tanner, I think I've had just enough of you for today."

"I know why you're doing this," he said suddenly.

"Stun me with your insight," she returned, almost daring him to come up with a suitable response.

"You're just mad 'cause I wanted another doctor."

Alex rolled her eyes in resignation before meeting his gaze once more. "As much as you like to think that you might be a wonderful patient that has all us doctors are clamouring to get you as a patient, I can assure I am not one of those. If I wanted this much grief, I'd go on a date."

"Well, I'm predicting a cold season," Vin returned sardonically.

"That's it," Alexandra Styles fumed, her jaw dropping in outrage. "Get out! Get out and don't come back!" she fairly shouted, professional detachment discarded with that one statement.

"See you next week, Alex," he grinned and strode towards the doorway, relishing the fact that he had dealt the winning serve.

"I'll be waiting!" she snapped and followed him to the door.

As Vin Tanner left the room, hearing her slam the door loudly behind him as he left, he had no idea why he was wearing this smile on his face or why he was so eager to see her again next week. In any case, he was going to lose those pounds just to show her. Making his way towards the elevator that would take him back to his offices occupied by Team 7, Vin could not help thinking that things were about to get very interesting. . .


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This story continues in The Physical II