by Celeste

Summary: (ATF) Team 7 teaches Team 5 a little about teamwork and loyalty.

Author’s Notes: Just some insights from outsiders about the strange connection the seven have. Thanks to Luna (as always) for her awesome Beta work and Katherine for her encouragement! This one’s for Skye, for letting me be her guide to the M7 universe. I hope she’s having as much fun here as I am. ;)

Disclaimer: Well, the Seven aren’t mine, but I like to think the 7 members of Team 5 are my creation. They’re real bastards though, kinda makes me wonder if I wanna keep ‘em anyway. ;P The ATF universe isn’t mine either, (it’s all Mog’s) and ‘m just playin’ in it for a while cause I love it so much!

Distribution: Ask, and ye shall receive.

Contains profanity.

(Supervisor: Jake Terry)
Look at that. They’re all leaving for the hospital now to pick up their teammate, as if that’s a six-man job. Now I’m stuck here, with my team, covering for them until Friday. I have to do their job for four extra days for what reason? Standish got shot, and it takes ALL of them to watch him. Yeah right! Damn bad excuse to get the week off, if you ask me. But, no one asked me, did they? Travis just called Tuesday morning and told me real easy like, "Terry, you’re covering for Larabee’s men until Friday."

Like I can argue with the AD. Maybe, if I had had the balls to say something, my team and me wouldn’t be stuck here when we’re supposed to be on vacation. Why is my team, Team 5, here in the first place you might ask? Because, Standish decided to go and get himself shot. Damn him! Damn him and his loyalty to Chris Fuckin’ Larabee. Damn them all for that.

If I sound a little bitter and jealous, it’s probably cause I am. I’ve been shot eight fuckin’ times in my career. Eight! Standish took a bullet for Larabee. He jumped in front of it like it was the fuckin’ most natural thing in the world to do. I have six men too, you know. None of the bastards ever even moved to get between me and some hot lead when they had the chance, and believe me, they have had the chances. Then, right before my very eyes, Standish took the bullet for Larabee. The little shit was willing to die for the man. My team woulda ducked and covered before the bullet cleared the chamber like the damn cowards they are.

How the hell does Larabee do it? He ain’t the nicest person I’ve ever met, by far. But, he has six men who would get between him and the bad guys, open up their arms and say, "take me instead," without batting an eye. Why didn’t I get those men? How did Chris Larabee do it? If there’s a goddamn secret that I got left out of I’m gonna shoot someone. The bastard got six of the biggest sons-a-bitches this side of the law to follow him to hell and back, and I wanna know how he did it, damn it.

Wilmington turned down a promotion once, ya know that? They wanted him to supervise his own team. They said he had "the stuff" it took, that he could "finally get out from under Larabee’s shadow as the man’s 2IC". The ass turned it down without even thinkin’ five damn minutes on it. Fuck him! He’s a dumbass. The pay’s better in this position, and you get to be the boss. Why’d he turn it down? He likes his team, and he likes ‘the fellas’ he says. Fuck Wilmington! I worked hard to get to the top. If he’s too good to take it then he can go to hell. If he’d rather stay under Larabee’s command like he has for the past 14 years that’s fine. My man Harper and I worked together for 20 years, two goddamn decades. Harper was offered his own team, and the man fuckin’ lit out the door before the papers could even clear the damn printer.

What about the others, you ask? Well, shit. Tanner got a haircut for Larabee. The boy was fightin’ like a cougar, ‘cause he wouldn’t let the doctors touch his head so they could save him. But, the second Larabee looks at him he’s willin’ to let ‘em take off his right arm, if that’s what Chris wants ‘em to do. Hell, even Dunne turned down a job offer from some software company in CA. Turned down a six-fig salary and benefits, company car, paid vacations. He likes his team. He likes his job. Chris Larabee is a damn fine man to work with, says he. Sanchez came out of retirement to work with Larabee. He gave up days of fishing, sleeping in late, and games of golf ‘cause the man was "somethin’ special." Jackson pulled off a fuckin’ miraculous medical operation-in the field- ‘cause Larabee expected him to. Just like that, you’d think the man was God. Jackson was able to do it ‘cause Larabee expected him to. You know about Standish already. Standish took a goddamn bullet for Chris Larabee. If someone shot a bullet into my men, they’d all fuckin’ fight to get out of the way of each other while prayin’ to their mamas it’d hit someone else first. Yeah, even WITH their god damn vests on.

So, what did Larabee do that I couldn’t? How’d that glare of his inspire ANYTHING? Is it those damn fishing trips they take? If that’s it, then fuck that. I don’t want to spend more time than I need to with these six selfish bastards. Screw em, they can take their own damn bullets.

(Sniper: Brad Fraser)

Fuck you Larabee, your team, AD Travis, and Jake Terry too! I’m supposed to be fishing, you ass holes. Now where am I? I’m on call to backup Team 8 on a Wednesday afternoon, with paperwork up the ass over Monday’s bust. This’ll be the fuckin’ last time Team 5 backs your asses up Larabee. You sure as hell didn’t want us there. Well, I didn’t goddamn want to be there either, so that suits both of us fine you sanctimonious bastard.

I was in the running to be on your team, but I wasn’t good enough for you was I? Was my perfect track record not to your liking, you asshole? Yeah, well I don’t need any of you to take a bullet for me either, and the rest of my team wouldn’t even think about it, so that just suits me fine. Give Standish my regards Larabee. The bastard didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed on did he? Bet he would have stayed the hell away, like the rest of us, if he’d have known getting filled with holes was what your team was gonna be famous for.

I wouldn’t risk gettin’ killed to save your ass anyway, so maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t make your final cut Larabee. I won’t risk any shit for the guys on my team, and they won’t for me either. It works out better that way, see? Go ahead, you and your team run willy nilly watchin’ each others' backs. I’ll be fine watchin’ my own. It’s easier that way. You just don’t get how it works Larabee. Yeah, give Standish my regards.

(Surveillance Specialist: Troy Riley)

This sucks! Damn it, we were supposed to get the rest of the week off after Monday’s bust. Standish just HAD to get shot, didn’t he? As for the rest of his team, we’ve seen the lazy bastards all of twice since they admitted him. Travis says they spent the entire time in the ICU. Bull shit! I’ve seen Larabee’s men, and they can’t stand still for more than five minutes, let alone for two whole days. What I wanna know is which one of the bastards has Judge Travis in his pocket, so he lets them get away with half ass explanations like that. Why the hell would anyone want to stay in the fucking Hospital for two days anyway? It’s not like the goddamn doctors don’t know what to do with Standish. It’s Team 7’s way of getting off of work, if you ask me. Someone shoot Brad, then maybe WE’LL get next week off, if the rest of us pretend to care enough. Ha.

What I wanna know is what the hell Standish was thinking. What’s worth givin’ and riskin’ your life for? The "Team?" Bullshit! Your boss? Fuck that! I wouldn’t risk shit for Terry. He can fucking take his own bullets, thank you very much. This job is too dangerous as it is; we don’t need to risk our necks even more for the man that gets paid more than we do, the man who gets all the credit when things go right. Terry deserves all the shit he gets, if you ask me.

Besides, this is where we work, damn it. Why in the hell would Standish go all out like that for his fucking job? Did he want a commendation that badly, or was the poor kid just plain suicidal?

Oops, I snorted out loud, and now Fraser’s giving me the "are you insane" look. I throw him back my best imitation of Larabee’s "fuck you" look and get back to work. Yeah, like I’d risk my life for the likes of you Fraser. You can eat your own lead along with Terry. Damn it, I don’t get it. We’ve seen Larabee and Standish duke it out in the middle of the workday, but when push comes to shove they fight over who gets to take the bullet for the other.

Yeah, and I saw the looks on the other’s faces when they saw Standish get it too. Idiots probably wished they had been the one to get it in the chest. Did you see how all five of their guns went straight to that baddy that fired to blow his friggin’ brains all over the goddamn warehouse, like he was the most disgusting thing in the world? I’m glad I’m not on their shit list. If they really do care about you, you’re the luckiest fucking dog in the country Standish, mark my words. If I got blown to hell and was hangin’ on by a thread in the ICU, the rest of Team 5 would be soakin’ up the downtime at the bar or on the links. You get a clip in the temple and a bullet through nothing more than your fucking shoulder, and your team’s been down everyone’s throat every second they’re not with you. But, that’s still too damn hard to believe, if you ask me, you son of a bitch. No one here cares that much about anyone, it’s all just a show.

(Chemist: Doug Campbell)

That’s it, lemme go fucking shoot myself so I can get some rest. Figures Jackson and Sanchez finish their paperwork, but I get stuck with Wilmington’s left over shit? Does the man even know how to work? He has the header on his paper; it has his name, the date, and the case number. Good work Buck. Fuck Wilmington! There isn’t anything I hate more than paperwork. I should be freakin’ on my way to Vegas for the week, and where the hell am I? I’m on Team 7’s floor moppin’ up their shit. Thanks a lot Wilmington, Standish. Fuck you both! I’m glad Agent Jameson broke your fucking cover on Tuesday, Standish. You’re the goddamn son of a bitch that needed to get shot most. Ha, too bad Team 5 doesn’t have you Standish. Jameson’s the sorriest ass undercover agent I’ve ever met. He’s fucking jealous of you, you know. Hell, the asshole probably meant to blow both your covers. THAT’s what it’s really like Standish, not that fluffy shit you’ve had since workin’ with Larabee. You gotta watch your own back, like Jameson. Why’d you think he didn’t get shot? ‘Cause he ducked when you jumped, you ignorant bastard.

Yeah, we can cover ourselves real good, can’t we? Not like your team, Larabee. Jumpin’ in front of bullets and moving cars and shit like that. You ain’t got it in you to work in this field. You’re all gonna die sorry ass deaths real soon unless you take some notes from Supervisor Terry there. Worry about yourself, ‘cause no one else is gonna when it all hits the fan.

So, how’d you do it Larabee? Are the seven of you in some scam, takin’ payoffs? One of the others got dirt on you? What’s the hitch here? Why do they act so damn devoted, like fuckin’ puppies? It’s gotta be for either money or blackmail, ‘cause that sort of thing don’t come naturally to a man’s heart. There’s no such thing as heroes no more, mark my words. You better fucking watch your back close Larabee; your men might just take you out through it one day. Yeah, the world’s a dirty, dirty place huh? Loyalty like that doesn’t exist Larabee. They want something from you. You’d best keep it all in. Team 5 has nothing on me, if they turn coat. Can you say the same bout your Magnificent 7? I didn’t think so.

(Undercover Agent: Lawrence Jameson)

Seems that nowadays, not only is Team 7 fucking their own lives, but they’re fuckin’ everybody else’s as well. Damn cowboys! I had a midweek date with this sweet college thing on Spring Break and… damn. I hate my job. Only fucking reason I’m here in the first place is ‘cause my whole goddamn family’s always worked for the freakin’ ass government. So, now I’m here, today, called away from my vacation, cause Team 7 needs to recoup from their "near loss" as Judge freakin’ Travis put it. Standish was a moron. Fucking idiot, why didn’t he just goddamn duck and stay down like I did the moment the shit hit the fan?

Fuck this! Everyone in the bureau talks about how promising Standish is, how good he is, Ezra that, Standish this… Fuck him! The little shit doesn’t even know to duck when the lead starts flyin’. How the hell is his record better than mine? After Monday’s performance I’m surprised the asshole isn’t dead. Heck, I’m surprised all of them aren’t dead, the way they go "Secret Service" on each other’s asses. They spend so much time watching out for each other they’re not gonna know when the real shit’s goin’ down. They ain’t gonna last.

God, Terry’s givin’ me the eye now. You want me to get back to work you fucking ass? Bite me! I hate my boss. Yeah, now Fraser’s laughin’ at me. Fuck you too! I hate him. I literally count the hours that I’m stuck with these six jokes before I get to go home every night. Wilmington was a dumbass for not taking that promotion. It would have gotten him the hell out of this ass ugly office and into a big one, AWAY from his freakin’ annoying teammates. I would have taken it before the offer passed the AD’s lips. Ha, I’d fuckin’ leave the rest of these yahoos in the dust in the time it takes to blink. Wilmington was an idiot. They were all idiots for signing under Larabee.

I hear Standish is getting a commendation for courage in the field from, (gasp) AD Travis himself. I wonder how it feels. How’s it feel Standish? Getting’ your chest blown from the outside in, just for a coupla pats on the back and some words on paper. You shoulda let the bastard shoot Larabee. Your boss woulda deserved it if he was too slow to duck. You know your whole goddamn team took these past two days off? Screwed our whole friggin’ vacation ‘cause you were shot. Like it was an excuse. Sanchez came in today lookin’ like he’s been partying hard while you’re stopped up in ICU. Must have one hell of a hangover the way he and the rest of your buddies were lookin’. Red eyed and tired. Must have toasted your stupidity real good at the bar while they were soakin’ it up, huh? Guess they owe you a debt of gratitude for the extra down time. You get shot and they go off. I hope they at least toasted you. Here’s to Standish, the idiot that got us more time off.

It’s pretty much the same thing over here too, you know. I had half a pound of lead in me when an op went bad once, Terry took my recoup time off and took a nice cruise round the Florida Keys. "Dealing with the near loss". You think Larabee and the others are doin’ that now? Off getting’ drunk’n laid while you got a fuckin’ catheter shoved up your pecker? I wouldn’t put it past ‘em. They probably haven’t even been in to visit you the entire time. You’re just an alibi Standish. No one cares about their colleagues that much. Damn fool.

(Surveillance Specialist: Clint Delvin)

I’ve been reduced to trash-ketball. When I should be out camping with my girlfriend, I’m playing basketball with wadded up pieces of paper while I do my computer work. Damn Larabee and his men. I can only stand to be NEAR the rest of my team for so many hours a month you know.

I know Terry blames me for this as much as he blames Larabee and his men. How the hell was I supposed to know that when Larabee said, "watch him…" he meant for the ENTIRE time? It’s not like I could keep an eye on one man during the entire gunfight. I wasn’t gonna risk my neck like that. It’s his own fault for fucking getting shot at by the bastard I was "supposed to cover" anyway. He should have stayed on guard. Fucking trusts his men too much to watch out for him, if you ask me. It’s gonna get him killed. Guess he’ll learn his lesson too late. It’ll either be him or one of his men. Ha, his men… his men are idiots. Standish and Tanner have like, some running competition; who can get shot the most in their career. I think they’re tied. Both idiots have been shot and given field commendations for bravery. Should be for stupidity, from what I’ve seen. Tanner’s had a whole building fall on him once; ran into the place where Sanchez and Dunne had been blown up, screamin’ like an idiot. Damn thing collapsed on the fool. Fucking miracle they all got out alive. Then there was the time Standish pushed Jackson out of the way of the mob’s drive-by and took six slugs. Man has more lives than a fucking cat.

What the hell do they want, to die young as fucking heroes? The kiddies need to learn what’s important, and that’s surviving. They ain’t gonna do it unless they start prioritizing. Life, man, they gotta do whatever it takes to keep ‘em alive. Screw the rest, that’s what they’re tryin’ to do anyway. If you get caught up lookin’ out for more than yourself, you just get distracted and stuck in the crossfire. Hell, I’d push Fraser or Terry into the fucking way, before I jump to save the bastards’ lives. Yeah, Campbell’s glaring at me now. I hate that asshole. Hell, I’d fire on him, if I could. I’m getting to work you shit head, stop lookin’ at me like that. I’m not fucking sorry the trashketball ricocheted onto your desk.

(Profiler/Psychoanalyst: Kevin Erickson)

Look at this. This isn’t a team; this is the government’s imitation of corporate America. No one on my team has a fucking sincere bone in his body. What did Larabee do right that Terry did wrong? What made six men believe that Chris Larabee’s life was worth more than their own and vise versa? I can’t even remember the last person I would have put everything on the line for. It might have been my imaginary friend Jojo back in the first grade. Look at the rest of Team 5. They’re pissed. I’m sort of pissed too. I really wanted to get away from the goddamn office for the week, before Travis’ call ruined everything. But, I guess that’s part of our problem. We hate spending more time than we need to together.

Larabee and team go on a monthly fishing trip. If my team tried that, only one of us would return alive (although badly injured).

What makes such different men come together so forcefully? It’s a pretty damn interesting question for a man in my field. What on earth could they possibly have in common with each other? How do they inspire each other to do so much? What do they have that we’re missing, besides the fact that all the secretaries downstairs fantasize about them?

This is ridiculous. I’ll bet my career that, if Terry had the chance to kill someone without consequence, he’d chose someone on this team. We can’t trust each other, ‘cause we know we’re all backstabbing bastards with our own agenda. Is that it? Is it because Larabee’s team doesn’t want anything from this job anymore that they don’t feel like steppin’ on each other to get to the top?

I’m confused, and I have a goddamn degree in Psychology. What makes it so right Larabee? Is it worth it? Is it worth risking your life for another man? Does the give and take feel good or something?

God, if I had someone care about me enough to die for me… Is that it, the feeling of importance? But, then again, why would you in return, die for a man? Is that what makes you so great in the first place? If Terry or Fraser or Jameson or one of the others cared that much about me, would I be able to reciprocate? That’s just not normal. People want to survive; it’s basic instinct. To prioritize someone else’s survival over your own is unnatural. It’s quite frankly, creepy.

I suppose, it’s a nice fantasy my team has, being important to one another, like your team is, Chris Larabee. The good thing about my teammates is, they’re normal. I can analyze them, and I can fairly say they’re jealous as hell of you, Larabee. We all are. Why? Because, we WANT what you have, damn it. We’d all like to care that much about someone, and have them care that much about us in return. But instead, we act hostile and rationalize with ourselves about how much it costs to care that much. We try to convince ourselves it’s stupid and worthless, undermine its integrity. We try to pretend you don’t really care, like the rest of us don’t really care. But, way back in our minds it’s all because we don’t see why you can have something that we all want, but can’t all have. We can’t admit to ourselves that what you seven boys have is right. Damn you, Chris Larabee. That’s right, I’m going to join my teammates for once and agree with them. Damn you. Damn Buck Wilmington and damn Ezra Standish. Damn all of you. Damn you for doing something right, before the rest of us could even figure out something was wrong.


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