by Derry

Notes: Okay, how many of you “Surf & Turfers” decided to take a peek at this story, wondering if the crossover could possibly be with....? You’re right, it will be just like that! <G>

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters – except perhaps the faceless minions who get eradicated fairly early in the piece. The Mag 7 boys belong to Trilogy, CBS and associated parties and our special guest stars belong to Meridan, A&E and the estate of CS Forester (sort of). Mog transposed the Mag 7 characters into the ATF alternate universe. I suppose I’m more or less responsible for the rest. But I’m making no money, so litigation wouldn’t really be worth anyone’s time or energy.

Dedication: This story is for JoanC, author of some of the finest fanfic I’ve ever read in any fandom. Here’s to you, Joan – wishing you, Dan and all your family all the very best for this Christmas and January 2002 and beyond. I don’t know if Dan and the others will enjoy this little piece but I sincerely hope that you have fun with it.

Acknowledgments: Sincere thanks to SueN – another great writer in both of these fandoms who kindly took some time out from her busy Vin-torture... umm, sorry, I meant her busy writing schedule to beta this story for me. Thank you, Sue!

It was still a mystery. And he hated mysteries!

He especially hated them when he was trapped in a hospital bed and therefore couldn’t get out to solve them. And his teammates had seemed too sceptical about his story for him to believe that they were giving 100% in their efforts to solve it on his behalf.

It looked like they wanted to put it all down to his imagination. Even though, as Ezra had put it, they wouldn’t have credited Vin Tanner’s imagination with being overly active to the point of inventing fictitious acquaintances.

A simple trip to the drugstore to collect a prescription for antibiotics. How could that end up in a shoot-out and a missing witness? Pretty easily with Vin involved, Chris would have said.

Ah, hell! Vin ran through it again in his mind. He’d been standing in line at the counter waiting to have his prescription filled. The only other customer had just been served and was saying thanks before turning towards the door. Vin couldn’t help noticing the English accent. And then, as he stepped up to the counter, all hell broke loose.

The cacophony of semiautomatic weapons fire split the air. Vin instinctively dived for cover but even as he did so, he felt the impact of a bullet. At first, the area of impact was partially numbed by shock. So much so that Vin wasn’t entirely sure exactly where he’d been hit. Somewhere in the left side of his abdomen, it seemed.

He’d already been throwing himself to the floor. Thanks to the bullet wound he hit it with considerably less control over the action than he’d intended. His vision darkened momentarily but he knew that he couldn’t afford to lose consciousness yet.

With considerable effort, Vin rolled onto his stomach and got his hands underneath to push himself up.

Suddenly, he found himself face to face with the store’s other customer who had also taken cover close to the ground but now pushed himself up onto his hands and knees. Blond hair, clear blue eyes and a startled expression which reminded Vin of a deer caught in headlights. Well, that was very understandable under the circumstances.

“You okay, mister?” Vin gasped out.

The other man smiled briefly. “In better health than you, I think. That looks nasty. I think you should be lying down.” Again that cultured English voice, as he tried to coax Vin to lie back down to the floor but Tanner resisted.

“Can’t,” Vin argued. “Gotta do sumthin’.”

Again a burst of gunfire sounded and drowned any reply the Englishman might have made. Then one of the gunmen shouted. “You’re not getting outa here, Kennedy. Y’might as well show yourself now.”

Vin was startled. “They talkin’ to you?”

The Englishman looked equally surprised, then he shrugged and smiled briefly at Vin. “Archie Kennedy, at your service, sir.”

“An’ who are these guys?”

Kennedy shrugged. “I’m not really sure. It’s my first time in this neighbourhood but it hardly seems likely that they are a welcoming committee.”

Tanner smiled a little, despite the pain that was now flaring in his left side. “Dunno. Maybe it’s j’st their way’ve sayin’ ‘Welcome to Purgatorio’.”

The Englishman raised his eyebrows. “How civil of them.”

There was the sound of the front door opening and then another English voice spoke. It was slightly harsher than Kennedy’s. Less cultured, Ezra would probably say.

“Well, well, well. Young Mr Kennedy.”

Vin looked towards Kennedy again and saw that the man’s face had lost all colour. The fear that voice seemed to inspire was startling. Kennedy was almost trembling and he was visibly making an effort to control his breathing.

“Jack’s missed you boy.”

Kennedy flinched visibly but did not speak.

Tanner squinted at him. The blood loss was making him lightheaded but he could still clearly see that a personal vendetta was being waged. Whoever this Jack guy was, it was obvious that he and Kennedy had a long and not very pretty history.

“You okay?” Vin whispered, as he managed to draw his gun from its shoulder holster despite the pain the movement caused.

Kennedy didn’t look at him. Even though he nodded in response to the question, he kept staring straight ahead, not seemingly focussed on anything.

The evident leader of their attackers evidently got impatient. “Right, lads! Go get them!”

Vin sat up and briefly glanced around the barricade of shelves protecting them, as quickly as his injury would allow. He snapped off several shots which had the group of three attackers ducking for cover. He managed to get back behind the shelves before they returned fire.

The room seemed to darken and the agony from his side seemed to spread to his chest, making it difficult to breathe.

“Not good,” he muttered breathlessly. His eyes closed...

And then opened again suddenly, as he felt the gun being taken from his hands. What he saw then became firmly etched in his brain. It was almost as if he saw it in slow motion.

Kennedy had taken his gun and, with a slight snarl, the Englishman stood and fired three deliberate shots.

There was no returning fire.

Vin saw Kennedy calmly lower the gun.

Then his vision faded.

When he next came to his senses, he was in a hospital bed with Chris and the others at his bedside. When he’d asked them what had happened to the blond Englishman, they had all looked at him blankly.

He had been found after a passerby had heard shooting and called 911. Within the store were the bodies of the grey-haired drugstore owner and the three attackers, two with dark hair and one with red. The attackers had been shot (one bullet each) with Vin’s pistol which had been found in his hand. The drugstore owner had been shot by the attackers’ weapons. There was no evidence of anyone else having been there. Even the cash register didn’t show any sale for the hour prior to the incident.

It had all been put down to an armed robbery thwarted by the presence of an ATF sharpshooter on the scene. Two of the attackers were known local gang members, the third was unidentifiable.

Vin’s insistence of the presence of one Archie Kennedy had the other members of his team looking at him a little strangely. Nate went so far as to check the dosage of his medication.

But they promised they’d look into it. Promised they’d investigate it thoroughly.

In fact, that was what they were all supposed to be doing now.

All except Chris who was maintaining a bedside vigil. He’d said he needed to ensure Tanner didn’t escape – as if Vin could in his current condition!

He was so tired he could barely move. And even his frustration couldn’t keep him awake any longer. He’d just have to wait and see what the others came up with.

Those thoughts lingered in his mind, as he drifted off to sleep.

+ + + + + + +

There was a faint rustle of movement. Vin opened his eyes a fraction and caught a glimpse of a blond head bent over a book.

“Chris?” he whispered. “That you?”

He heard the book snap shut.

“No. I cannot truthfully say that it is.”

If Vin had been a person who was easily startled, he probably would have leapt out of his skin.

The blond-haired man sitting the chair beside his bed was definitely not the one he had expected. He surreptitiously moved his hand towards the call for assistance button.

“I wouldn’t bother, if I were you.” Archie Kennedy spoke mildly. “I took the liberty of disconnecting it, after your other friends dragged Mr Larabee out of this room, insisting that he sleep for at least an hour or two in the waiting room outside. I rather thought that you might appreciate this opportunity for a little chat. You must have some questions that you are simply dying to ask.”

“Where are Buck and the others? They know yer here?”

Kennedy’s brows lifted. “Not the first questions I had anticipated. Nonetheless, I think I can answer them for you. Your friends are all somewhere within this hospital, I suspect, and, no, they are not aware of my presence. I have a little influence with some of the nursing staff and they have facilitated this little private conversation between you and I, by keeping your colleagues occupied.”

“Y’think them nurses can keep all of them distracted long enough for you t’do what you planned?”

“I couldn’t vouch for all your colleagues, but at the moment, Mr Larabee is asleep outside with Mr Wilmington is watching over him while the rest went to get something to eat. Jenny will be up to the task of keeping our lone sentry distracted.” Kennedy grinned widely. “Certain sure!” Then his expression became more thoughtful. “Anyway, I cannot help but wonder what you envision that I have ‘planned’. I am merely here to offer a small apology for so rudely abandoning you before the ambulance arrived.”

“Who the hell are you?”

“I told you. My name is Archie Kennedy.”

“Okay, what are you?”

Kennedy laughed. “Come now. That would seem to vaguely suggest that you suspect I am inhuman. Some sort of phantom or spectre perhaps? Maybe a ghost?”

“Yer real enough. I dunno how ya disappeared without a trace, but I’ll find out.”

“You probably won’t, you know.” Again Kennedy spoke mildly but with complete assurance. “You shouldn’t look upon that as any indictment upon your capabilities. I simply have access to facilities which enable me to make an untraceable exit quite effectively.”

Vin’s eyes narrowed. “Who do you work for?”

Kennedy laughed again. “Oh, come now! You know that I won’t tell you that!”

“Ya disappear without a trace, ya shoot better than I do...”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that! From what I hear, your marksmanship is quite exceptional.”

“Ya took out those guys without wastin’ a shot! I was strugglin’ just t’hold em back!”

“Well, you were wounded at the time. I doubt that I could outshoot you when you weren’t bleeding profusely.”

“Still, it was mighty fine shootin’!”

“Thank you. That’s quite a compliment coming from you.”

“So, why are ya here? Y’were right when ya said I got questions. But so far, ya ain’t answerin’ em!” Vin’s eyes narrowed. “This ain’t about answerin’ questions. Ya just wanna find out how much I know.”

For a moment, Kennedy looked slightly taken aback but then he grinned amiably again. “Touché! I had to see if any precautions were necessary.”

“Precautions?” Vin didn’t quite keep the wariness out of his voice, which provoked another small chuckle.

“Oh, nothing as drastic as you obviously imagine! It would merely involve...” Kennedy abruptly stopped speaking mid-sentence and reached into his pocket to withdraw what looked like a cell phone.

“Terribly sorry,” he offered with a suitably apologetic smile and inserted an ear-piece connection into his left ear so that only he could hear the caller. But he seemed unconcerned that Vin could hear his half of the conversation. Presumably, he wasn’t planning on saying anything too revealing. He even went so far as to give Vin a conspiratory wink.

“Ah, Horatio, – or I do forget myself.” Kennedy’s smile broadened at whatever the caller’s response was. “Well, you must be aware by now that I am not going to stop quoting it... I’m almost done here. Is there a problem?” There was a pause and a serious expression flickered over Kennedy’s face. “Have you reported it to Sir Ned?... Oh, I see. As in, ‘immediately’? Very well, I’ll meet you there... What?... I don’t see why not. As they say, there are more things in heaven and earth... Horatio? Hello? Horatio?”

Kennedy shook his head slightly, as he removed the ear-piece. “That man has no sense of humour.”

He looked Vin squarely in the eye. “I’m sorry, Mr Tanner, but that means that we must end our interview somewhat precipitantly.”

The hairs on Vin’s neck stood up on end. “What...?”

A hand clamped gently but firmly over his mouth, cutting off his speech, and Kennedy’s other hand reached inside his jacket pocket to withdraw what was unmistakably a small syringe. Vin fought, but in his weakened state was no match for the other man.

“Don’t be alarmed,” the Englishman spoke soothingly, even as he injected the contents of the syringe directly into Vin Tanner’s IV line. “This is merely a narcotic sedative, similar to the ones you have been receiving, only a little more potent. But they won’t be able to tell the difference, if they run any blood tests.”

Vin could already feel his limbs weakening and even though his vision was dimming, he distinctly saw Archie Kennedy smile. “There, you see? Better already.”

The darkness descended and there was a light chuckle and one parting line from the Englishman.

“If nothing else, Mr Tanner, think but this and all is mended; that you have but slumbered here while these visions did appear.”

Someone patted him lightly on the shoulder, then he knew no more.

+ + + + + + +

When he awoke, someone still had a hand his shoulder. This time it was a different blond-haired man. The one he had been expecting it to be last time, in fact.

“It’s okay, Vin. You were just dreaming.”


“Yeah, who else would it be?”

“Thought it might be Kennedy.”


“You know that guy, Kennedy.”

He found himself facing six rather blank looks. Finally, JD tentatively ventured, “As in, John F.?”

“No, JD.” Vin couldn’t help feeling a little exasperated. “The missin’ guy from the shooting.”

“The blond Englishman that no one else seems to have seen?” Chris raised an eyebrow.

“Exactly,” said Vin, with as much emphasis as he could manage. “He was just here.”



“In the hospital?”

“Yeah. He was tryin’ t’check up on me – find out what I knew.”

“I see,” said Ezra, drawing out the last word in that annoyingly tentative way that seemed to imply that he (and everyone else) was worried about Vin’s grip on reality. “And did he?”

“What?” Vin asked tersely, annoyed at being ‘humoured’ in this way.

“Find out what you knew?”

“I dunno. He got a call from some guy called Horatio.”


“Yeah, it was like sumthin’ came up and he had t’go.”

“Did he say anythin’ else?”

“Yeah, he muttered to this Horatio guy sumthin’ about there bein’ more things in heaven and earth.”

“I see,” Ezra repeated, in the same tone that he’d used previously. And now, he had also begun to nod his head sagely.

By this stage, Vin was getting seriously annoyed. “Yeah, and then, at the end, he told me that it would all be mended if I just thought I’d been slumberin’ while the visions appeared.”

He saw Buck throw a querying glance to Josiah who said, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“Y’don’t believe me?” Vin demanded. He tried to sit up, to better express his indignation, but fell back in the attempt.

Buck darted forward. “Easy now, Vin! Of course we believe you.”

Vin turned his accusing gaze of Team 7’s leader. “You don’t.”

Chris held his hands up, in protest. “We’re not saying you’re making it up, Vin.” He shrugged. “It just seems unlikely that...” His voice tailed off, not quite able to articulate what he meant.

Ezra stepped into the breach. “Unlikely that you had a nocturnal visitation by some sort of whimsical, vaguely voyeuristic Houdini-type character with a penchant for quoting Shakespeare – and seemingly to the point where he appears deluded into believin’ that he’s actually conversin’ with Hamlet’s loyal friend.”

“Horatio?” Vin frowned. “Y’think he ain’t real? Like Kennedy just made him up?”

Since the point at issue seemed to be whether Kennedy himself was real or merely the product of delusion, Ezra wasn’t sure how to respond.

Buck tried to help. “Maybe. After all, what kinda name is ‘Horatio’?”

Ezra P. Standish, whose own Christian name was unlikely to make the list of 10 most popular boys’ names in any given year, was forced to admit. “It’s uncommon, I’ll grant you, but not completely unheard of.”

“Oh yeah? You ever actually know anyone called Horatio?”

“Well, yes, as a matter of fact. I once had a fellow student named Horatio.”

“You had a classmate called Horatio? Where was this?”

“He wasn’t exactly a classmate, rather he was several years my junior. One of the hallowed institutions that contributed to my teenage education was a school called St Augustine’s in England.” Ezra smiled slightly. The memory was evidently not entirely unpleasant.

“Nice school?” asked Nathan. “Exclusive?”

“Oh, very much so! But Horatio had earned his place there by scholarship. He was an exceptionally gifted student, particularly in mathematics, and it quickly earned him the resentment of one or two of the overprivileged Neanderthals whom he repeatedly bested academically.”

“So how’d ya get t’know him if he wasn’t in your class.”

“We met outside the headmaster’s office, actually, after we each had been summoned to appear to give our accounts of separate incidents. Horatio had been in a fight, or to more accurately report the situation, he had been attacked by one of the aforementioned Neanderthals, and he refused to reveal the identity of the party responsible.”

“And why were you there?”

Ezra shrugged. “Not a dubious fiscal enterprise, if that’s what you suspect. It was merely an attempt to make a chemistry class slightly more interestin’. Someone had procured a ‘recipe’ for napalm and I...”

Nathan shook his head. “Forget I asked.”

“So you befriended this lad?” Josiah asked.

“Yes, I did. He was a rather exceptional individual. He always appeared very serious and earnest and, truth be told, slightly awkward. But he had a hidden streak of deviousness. He could calculate the odds rapidly and accurately in any given situation and once he set his mind on somethin’ there was no stoppin’ him.” Ezra smiled in fond remembrance. “And he was a talented cardplayer too. We used to make quite a tidy sum between us from some of our more overconfident fellow students.”

“He as good as you?” Buck asked, intrigued.

“Our strengths lay in different areas. I was more proficient at poker, he at bridge and similar games – his favourite was old-fashioned whist. A little teamwork in such situations could be very, very profitable...provided that you could trust your partner, of course.”

Ezra continued to muse nostalgically. “I sometimes wonder what became of him. He was really quite an exceptional mathematician and he had a gambler’s instincts. He’s probably makin’ a fortune as stockbroker or a merchant banker these days.”

“Unless he’s teamed up with this Kennedy guy,” said Buck, grinning at Vin.

“Indeed.” Ezra nodded, also throwing a grin Vin’s way.

“Look,” Vin said heatedly. “I didn’t see this Horatio guy. That’s j’st what Kennedy called the guy on the phone. I dunno who he is. I just know Kennedy was here. Got some nurse called Jenny to distract Buck and snuck in.”

Buck started visibly and Chris glanced at him. “What is it?”

“I did spend a bit of time talking to Jenny outside while the rest of the guys went to get something to eat.”

“Who’s Jenny?” asked JD.

“She’s a nurse on another ward. She just stopped to chat as she was passing through, on her way to check up on something...”

“What?!” exclaimed Chris.

Suddenly, the mood of the entire room changed and Chris slipped into full ATF Team Leader mode.

“Which ward did she work on? You and JD go find her, Buck. Find out who she is and what she knows. Josiah and Nathan, you two ask around on this floor. See if you can’t find out if anyone else has seen...” He again waved his hand a little helplessly.

This time Nathan filled in for him. “A blond English guy who likes to quote Shakespeare.”

“Right. Ez, you and me are gonna to check out what this hospital calls ‘Security’ and find out what the hell they think they’re playing at.”

“An’ me?” Vin piped up.

“You,” Larabee pointed a warning finger in his direction. “You are going to get some rest. You just leave all this to the rest of us. If you even look like you’re gonna try and get out of bed, I’ll get Nate to actually sit on you.”

Vin lifted his hands in mock surrender. “Okay!”

Chris couldn’t quite contain a smile. “Right.” He patted Vin once more on the shoulder and headed for the door. “C’mon, Ez.”

Ezra briefly offered Vin a little salute before he followed their boss outside.

Buck grinned at Vin. “Don’t you worry none. I’ll get the truth out of Jenny. No woman ever got one over on Buck Wilmington.”

“Yeah, right!” snorted JD. “Don’t worry, Vin. I’ll make sure he keeps his mind on the job.” The youngest member of the team physically pushed Wilmington towards the door, then they were gone.

The three left in the room exchanged grins.

Josiah also clapped his hand once on Vin’s shoulder before turning to go. “We won’t be all that far away and y’know we’ll be back soon.”

“Thanks, Josiah.”

“An’ you mind what Chris said,” Nathan added as he headed out. “You j’st sit tight there or I will sit on you!”

Vin grinned, nodded and waved as they too left the room.

Then he leaned further back into his pillows and sighed audibly with relief.

They believed him. He didn’t really care if they didn’t find any trace of Kennedy anymore. Now they were seriously looking because they truly believed that he’d seen what he said he saw.

He’d actually begun to wonder if he was going nuts but now the others believed him.

And that was all he really needed to know.

+ + + + + + +

Archie Kennedy stood perfectly still with his arms folded across his chest and a rather self-satisfied smile on his face, as the navy blue car pulled up alongside him. He still hadn’t moved when the tinted window on the passenger side was lowered and a slightly annoyed voice asked, “Are you awaiting a formal invitation?”

Archie’s grin widened as he then opened the door. “Always so gracious, Horatio,” he mocked gently. “I was under the impression that this was more a summons than an invitation.”

“Effectively, the same thing,” the dark-haired driver replied. “Sir Edward requests and requires the pleasure of our company. It would hardly do to keep him waiting.”

“Indeed.” Archie lapsed into a moment’s silence and then decided that he wasn’t too fond of unnecessary silence. “So, what’s this about the Man with No Memory? I thought he was supposed to be in Europe.”

Horatio shrugged. “He was, yes. Word has it that he’s just entered the US.”

“With the usual entourage?”

“I expect so.”

“Wonderful!” said Archie, with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. “That’s all we need! Chvostek and Reilly tearing up the scenery.”

That provoked an almost predatory smile of anticipation from his companion. “I expect that it will be up to us to ensure that they don’t.”

“You’re actually looking forward to this, aren’t you?” Archie accused.

“Perhaps, I am,” Horatio said mildly. “After all this is Korsakoff – the Man with No Memory – that we’re talking about.”

“And?” said Archie warily.

Horatio shrugged. “He’s more or less a living legend.” A brief boyish grin flashed across his features. “You know, I’ve often wondered what sort of chance I’d have going up against him – one on one. Perhaps less than an even chance but still...”

“An even chance?” Kennedy was frankly incredulous. “He’d kill you. Certain sure!”

“Come now, Archie! I’d calculate more favourable odds than that.”

“Odds?” Archie almost spluttered. An expert in verbal sparring, there were very few people who could exasperate him like this. Unfortunately, under the right circumstances, Horatio was one of those few. “That’s your trouble, my friend! You’re basically a number-cruncher at heart – always think everything can be reduced down to probabilities and statistics.”

Horatio shrugged. “So?”

“So, there are lies...”

“...damned lies and statistics. Well, at least you’re on to Disraeli now and off Shakespeare.”

“Disraeli? I thought it was Twain.”

“I think it was Twain quoting Disraeli... or maybe Disraeli quoting Twain... or something like that. Look, does it matter?”

“Not really. I still think you’re mad.”

“Thanks. I’ll remind you of that the next time you decide to get involved in a massacre at a chemist’s.”



“They call it a drugstore here and I didn’t exactly choose to get involved in a massacre. That was all Jack’s idea. And you know, as well as anyone, that I needed to pick up some more Tegretol.”

“Still, you were referring to the mayhem that Chvostek and Reilly tend to cause. Jack’s little tussle with you was the messiest incident I’ve had to clean up for a while.”

Archie looked away. “Tell me about it,” he muttered under his breath.

Horatio had kept his eyes on the road ahead for almost the entire conversation. But now he glanced briefly at his friend. “He’s gone, Archie. That’s one demon you’ve well and truly laid to rest.”

Archie sighed and nodded. “So with that out of the way, I suppose we can turn our attention to whatever disaster Korsakoff is bringing with him.”

Horatio just managed to contain a smile. “Do you think we have an even chance?”

Archie Kennedy grinned openly.

“Certain sure!”

The End

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