A Valentine’s Day Explosion

by Ace

Note: Team 8 and Ryan Kelly were created by Heather Flaherty. I just tried a little something new and explored a little bit, tell me what you think.

Friday, February 13th
11:45 a.m.
ATF Federal Building

Dear Ezra,

I’m sorry to inform you that due to some unexpected situations in St. Louis; I was unable to accompany my dear nephew on his journey West. As you know, your Aunt Meredith has traveled to Paris on business, and your Uncle Robert agreed to accompany her on this journey, leaving your cousin in my care; however, as I’ve already informed you, the boy absolutely cannot stay with me. I’m in no way capable of taking care of him right now. Though I haven’t seen you in some time, your letters have informed me that Mr. Larabee has taken up guardianship of a young girl, one that I believe, from your descriptions in your letters, you and the rest of your associates are very fond of. I’ve informed Luke of this and I believe he will get along with the girl. The young man reminds me of you in many ways at that age, although he lacks your extended education and fashionable sense of attire. I believe you and he will get along famously. I hope to be able to visit sometime soon. Have a wonderful St. Valentine’s Day.

Your mother,

Maude Standish-Stimpson

“Well, Luke,” Ezra stated, looking over the young man seated in front of him. "Your visit comes as a bit of a surprise."

Ezra was taught at a young age to quickly size up and take in the appearance of anyone unfamiliar to him. This was no exception, blood ties or not. The young man seated in front of him was definitely of his relation, no doubt about it. He had the same dark green eyes that could look right through a person and the same chestnut brown hair, although it was a bit longer and untamed than his own, but the one thing that was more noticeable than anything else was, his clothes. He was dressed simply in jeans and a plain white shirt with a black leather jacket. One name came to Ezra’s mind when he got his first glance at his cousin: Vin.

“For both of us,” the young man replied. “I was expecting to stay with Aunt Maude in Missouri.”

“Yes, well, seems she had some important business to see to,” the undercover agent commented, tucking the letter away in his desk drawer. “I hope you didn’t have trouble finding the office.”

“No, no problem at all.”

“Well, why don’t I introduce you to my colleagues?” the agent said, standing up from his desk chair.

Nodding his head, Luke stood up and then followed his cousin to the conference room where the rest of Team 7 was located.

Ezra reached up and quickly rapped at the door with his fist, then waited for permission to enter from his leader. After hearing the muffled "Come in", the undercover agent opened the door and walked in, Luke following close behind.

“What is it Ez?” Larabee questioned, knowing that Ezra had left the meeting earlier due to family matters.

“Oh, I was just wondering if you were busy. I have someone I’d like to introduce to you,” the man replied, looking around at his comrades.

“No, we just finished going over the Morrison case, so come on ahead,” the leader stated, sitting down on the edge of the conference table.

“Gentlemen, this is my cousin Luke Deveraux. He’s going to be staying with me for a few days,” the undercover agent said with a quick wave of his hand to the young man next to him.

Chris quickly took in the young man’s appearance and knew that he couldn’t be more than eighteen. Obviously Maude wasn’t the only person infamous for leaving her child in a relative’s care. Larabee knew that Ezra had been moved from one relative to the next when he was younger and had never felt at home with any of them. Must run in the family, the agent thought to himself, Ezra must feel obligated to make him feel at home.

“Luke, this is my commander, Chris Larabee, and that is Buck Wilmington, Josiah Sanchez, Nathan Jackson, JD Dunne, and Vin Tanner,” the agent stated, pointing each man out to his cousin.

“Nice to meet you,” Luke greeted, nodding his head to the men.

“Same here,” Vin responded, tilting his head, as if surveying the boy in front of him.

“Mr. Larabee?” the phone intercom interrupted.

Larabee leaned over and pressed a button on the phone, “Yes.”

“Samantha’s here and she’s waiting in your office sir,” the woman replied.

Larabee let out a slight groan then replied, “Thanks.”

”Thought she was at the mall,” Buck commented, glancing over at Chris.

Was being the key word here,” the black clad man replied.

Friday, February 13th
12:00 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

“Thought you were shopping,” Larabee stated, walking into the main office.

Sam quickly closed the desk drawer she was rummaging through and turned to face Chris.

“I was, that’s what I came to talk to you about,” she replied, watching as Vin made his way toward her.

She jumped out of his chair and allowed him to sit down. Tanner reached down to the drawer below the one the girl had been going through and pulled it open. He brought out a handful of something and gave them to the girl.

“Thanks,” she replied, taking the chocolate kisses. "You moved them.”

The sharpshooter gave her a quick grin, as she sat down on the edge of his desk to face Larabee.

“Well?” the agent stated expectantly, leaning back against Standish’s desk.

“While I was shopping this morning, I or actually ‘we’ came across this absolutely gorgeous dress, and after some prodding from Crystal and Jaclyn, I finally gave in and tried it on,” the young girl stated, unwrapping one of the kisses. “So, while I was standing in front of the mirror, admiring the way it looked, it hit me. I could buy the dress and wear it to the Sweetheart’s Ball this Saturday, only then I realized I didn't have a date.”

“That could prove to be a problem,” Josiah commented, having walked in and caught the end of the conversation.

“Huge problem,” the teen exclaimed. “But then out of nowhere this voice says, ‘Wow, you look amazing,' and I turned to see who was talking and Crystal was like, ‘She does, doesn’t she?’ Guess who she was talking too?”

“Tom Cruise,” the youngest agent responded, walking over to his desk.

“No, better, well almost,” the teen replied. “Josh Morgan.”

“Josh Morgan, not the Josh Morgan, the one you like,” Buck stated with a shocked tone and a grin.

“Exactly and the next thing I knew, he had asked me to the dance, and I willingly accepted, then bought the dress. But while in my haste, I was not thinking clearly and forgot to do something very important,” the girl said, plopping the kiss into her mouth.

“What’s that?” Larabee asked, folding his arms across his chest.

“Well,” she said hesitantly, “I was wondering, Chris, can I go to the Sweetheart’s Ball this Saturday? I know its Valentine’s Day, and I know you have that charity banquet to attend, but I really don’t want to spend my Valentine’s Day alone.”

Chris let out a sigh and looked at his feet. He knew this day was coming; when she’d want to date, but he was hoping he could avoid it for as long as possible. He looked back up at the teen, who had begun giving the puppy dog expression JD had mastered so long ago.

“Well, seeing as how you’ve already bought the dress and it is a school dance,” the man said slowly as if still pondering the idea, “I guess you can go.”


The black clad agent just nodded his head and was immediately greeted by a hug. “Thanks Chris.”

She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and then turned back to Vin’s desk.

“He said yes,” she stated in excitement.

“I heard,” the Texan replied.

“Said yes to what?” the undercover agent questioned, as he walked into the office, Luke right behind him.

“I get to go to the Sweetheart’s…” the teen began, but stopped suddenly, leaning her head to one side as if trying to look past Ezra.

“Oh, Sam I want you to meet my cousin Luke,” the Southerner introduced as the teen slowly made her way over to them. “Luke, this is Sam.”

“Nice to meet you Samantha,” Luke said, reaching out his hand to take hers.

“Nice to meet you,” the girl replied, slowly shaking Luke’s hand.

Buck took a look over in Chris’ direction, raising his eyebrows and grinning at the man. Larabee’s glare quickly shot down Wilmington’s smile.

“Now, what was this about a Sweetheart’s...?” the undercover agent asked, looking at the girl.

“Oh,” the teen stammered, “yeah, a Sweetheart’s Ball at school Saturday. Chris said I could go.”

“Ah, well that’s good, I imagine,” the undercover agent replied, unsure how to answer that. “Mr. Larabee, I was about to take Luke out to lunch, I’ll be back soon.”

“Alright Ezra,” the leader responded, nodding his head.

“Well, come along Luke,” the Southerner said, turning to look at his cousin. The younger man didn’t budge, and Ezra reached a hand over and waved it in front of his cousin’s face. “Luke? Luke.”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, sorry,” Luke responded, letting go of Sam’s hand. He then looked past the girl to the rest of the men, “Bye y'all.”

A series of "bye’s" were sent to him, then he turned back to Sam.


“Bye,” the teen replied with a smile.

Ezra placed a hand on Luke’s shoulder to turn him toward the door. Sam stood with her back to the rest of the guys until Ezra and Luke had cleared out of the office. Then with utter amazement in her eyes, she slowly turned to face the others, letting her mouth drop open.

Buck hid his smirk behind his hands as Vin questioned, “Now, what’s this Josh kid like?”

The girl looked over at him with complete seriousness and confusion.


Friday, February 13th
12:30 p.m.
Mr. Woo’s Chinese Restaurant

“There something bothering you son,” Ezra questioned, noticing that the young man had hardly eaten anything.

“I’m sorry Ezra,” Luke responded, looking up from his plate.

“For what?”

“Being a hindrance. I saw your expression when you read Aunt Maude’s letter. You weren’t expecting having to take me in. I volunteered to stay by myself at home, but my parents didn’t want that. It’ll only be through Sunday though. I’ll have to leave after dinner and then I’ll make it back home around the same time as Mom and Dad,” the teenager replied. “I’ll make sure that next time they don’t send me to Aunt Maude, because I know if she pawns me off to you, you’re very busy with your work.”

Ezra leaned back against his chair and looked across the table at his cousin, remembering a time when he was apologizing for the very same thing.

June 19th, 1994
Atlanta, Georgia

“My apologies Uncle John. I tried to convince Mother that I was old enough to take care of myself. I will after all, be going away this fall to college…” the teenaged Ezra tried to explain, but was interrupted.

“Well, that’s good, run along now, I’m trying to take care of some business,” his uncle stated, shutting the study door in his face.

Friday, February 13th
12:35 p.m.
Mr. Woo’s Chinese Restaurant

“No, no, you’re no hindrance Luke. True, your visit came as quite a surprise, but I was brought up around aunts and uncles and nannies of the sort. If anyone knows what it’s like to be shuffled from place to place it’s me. Truth be told, I look forward to getting to know you better,” the undercover agent said, laying his napkin on the table.

“Thanks Ezra, out of all my cousins, I knew there was some reason I liked you the best,” the teen stated with a smile.

Friday, February 13th
1:30 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

“Hey, I’ve seen him before,” the girl stated, peering over the profiler’s shoulder.

Josiah turned to reprimand her for watching him work, but quickly turned back to look at the picture she was talking about.

“Where?” the agent questioned, turning back to look at the teen.

“Well, you know that little gas station just down the road from the school?” she questioned. The older man nodded his head and she continued, “He’s there, I guess maybe three days out of the week. Freaks me and Crystal out, it’s like he just watches over the school, waiting for a time to attack or something.”

Nathan had walked over and listened to Sam’s explanation. He looked at the file on the profiler’s desk which contained information on Jonathan Morrison. They had all received the information on the man yesterday.

“Do you know anything else?” the team medic questioned, peering down on the young teen.

“No, that’s it. I just know he’s one suspicious character,” the girl replied, “but he’s always at that gas station.”

Nathan let a grin cross his lips. He leaned forward and kissed the teen on the forehead.

“Thanks sweetheart,” he stated, turning on his heel.

The medic disappeared into the leader’s office and the teen turned to look at the profiler.

“See, never know when I may come in handy,” she commented with a smile.

The man let a deep, rumbling laugh escape as he picked up his empty coffee cup. He held it up in front of the teen.

“Three sugars, no milk.”

“Can we say please?”


The teen snatched the cup away and turned, heading for the break room.

Josiah quickly turned to his phone and immediately dialed a number.

Friday, February 13th
1:40 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

“Yeah…I believe it would be best to position teams around the school…there is a dance at the school Saturday….no sir…I’m not sure…of course sir…bye,” the black clad agent placed the phone back on its receiver and looked over to the medic.

“Well?” the medic questioned expectantly.

“Travis is fine with it. He said he would have a team set up around the school to watch for any sign of a problem,” the man replied.

“Alright,” Nathan nodded his head and stood up, turning to head for the door.

“Oh, Nathan,” the leader said, stopping the man. “Do you know what today is?”

Nathan turned and looked at his commander suspiciously, “Friday.”

“What date?”

“The…Friday the thirteenth,” the man stated, letting the thought sink in.

Larabee let a small grin soften his features as the medic turned and walked out.

Friday, February 13th
2:00 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

Everyone looked up as the elevator ‘pinged’, letting them know they had visitors. All the attention was turned back to their work, or in Sam and Vin’s case, a tick-tack-toe game on paper, when they saw that it was Ezra.

“Where’s Luke?” the youngest agent questioned as the Southerner placed his jacket next to everyone else’s.

“At home. He required slumber after his journey here,” the undercover agent replied.

“Well, you best get started reviewing those files on Morrison, the rest of us have an hour's start on you,” Buck commented, leaning back in his chair.

“I assure you Mr. Wilmington, I’ll be able to read through them in half the time it took you,” Ezra responded, sitting down in his chair.

Sam looked over her shoulder as another man made an appearance into the office.

He smiled at the teen and pointed the folder in his hand in her direction.

“Is it 'take your daughter to work day' again?” Ryan Kelley, head of Team 8 questioned with a grin. “Should I go warn the rest of the building?”

“Naw, I figure only the floor above and below us should be warned,” Wilmington replied with a smile.

“Funny, guys. I only set the sprinklers off once,” the girl retorted, “and that time it was an accident.”

“Sure,” the man stated, lightly hitting her atop the head with the folder.

Young Larabee threw her best imitation of the Larabee glare at the man as he proceeded into Chris’ office.

“I win,” the Texan drawled, leaning back in his chair, looking at the paper on his desk.

The teen glanced at the paper and then up at the sharpshooter.


“It’s tick-tack-toe. How do you cheat?”

“Obviously you found a way,” she retorted.

“Mr. Tanner, you know the old adage, ‘cheaters never prosper’,” the Southerner stated, shuffling through some papers.

“Then how come you have so much money?” the teen questioned with a smirk, giving the sharpshooter a high five.

“Very funny.”

Friday, February 13th
2:15 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

“Travis is putting my team out there. I figured I’d come ask you if there was anything else I might need to know about what’s going on,” Ryan stated, laying his folder on the edge of the man’s desk.

Larabee looked at the man questionably and raised an eyebrow.

“You’ve received the same files I have Ryan. Morrison is a sick man, his wife was killed in a car accident a few months ago, and a month later his daughter was shot and killed during a drug deal gone bad. He has taken to blaming schools for the death of his daughter, saying how if they had better control of the school environment things like that wouldn’t happen. He’s already blown up two school buildings in the state. Thank god he did it on weekends, when none of the kids where there,” the black clad agent said.

“That’s not what I meant, I’ve read the files. I want to know who is going to be at this dance?” the other agent questioned.

“Oh,” Larabee replied. “Sam, of course, is going to be there and her friends. Hell, probably half the high school students. I agreed to let her go, but that was before I found out about this. I think I’ll tell her to come with me to the banquet.”

Ryan watched as the man stood up and walked over to the window, peering down on the streets of Denver.

“Chris,” the other agent said, gaining the man’s attention, “you can’t keep her under lock and key. I’ll be there, so will my team. Nothing is going to happen. You can’t hide her from the world.”

Larabee turned to gaze at the man, “I understand that Ryan, but I can still try, can’t I?” The black clad agent smirked to team 8's leader, who stood up and grabbed the folder.

“I’ll keep an eye open,” Kelley stated, turning toward the door.

“Thanks Ryan.”

Friday, February 13th
2:30 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

Ryan walked out of Larabee’s office and tipped his head to Wilmington before heading out to the elevators.

“Leaving so soon?” the teen questioned, as the man began to walk past.

“Yeah, I actually have work to do,” the man smirked, looking over at the sharpshooter.

“Well,” the girl said, holding a hand out to the man, “have a kiss for your hard work.”

Ryan grinned and took the piece of chocolate the teen had handed him.

“Ever get tired of her, send her our way,” the agent remarked as he walked out of the office.

“Might have to comply with his offer,” the undercover agent muttered under his breath.

The teen gasped dramatically and threw her hand over her heart, with a little sniff she stated, “That hurt here Ezra, right here.”

The Southerner glanced up from his desk with a smile, revealing his gold tooth.

Friday, February 13th
9:30 p.m.
Larabee Ranch

“Whatcha watchin’,” Tanner asked the youngest agent, as he walked into the living room from the kitchen.

“A Civil War movie. Sam picked it up today. It’s pretty good,” the Bostonian responded, looking over the back of the couch.

“Ah,” the agent responded, walking around the couch to look at Sam. “Those are some nice socks," he said to her.

JD turned back to look at the teen, lying on the floor on her stomach, facing the TV. The young agent smirked at the blue and green striped toe socks.

“Yeah Sam, where’d you get those socks?” the youngest agent questioned. “Did you find them in a box?”

“Sam I am. Do you like green eggs and ham?” Vin grinned, sitting down in the recliner.

The little comments didn’t seem to affect the teen. She didn’t move at all and Vin shared a glance with JD. The young man lowered himself from the couch and crawled a few feet to look at her face. A smile crossed his lips and he looked up to Vin.

“She’s asleep,” he mouthed, climbing back over to the couch.

“She’s been up a while, just couldn’t stay awake any longer,” the sharpshooter commented, leaning back against the recliner.

Friday, February 13th
9:45 p.m.
Standish Home

The young man stood up from his seat on the couch and stretched his arms above his head.

“G’night Ezra,” Luke stated to his cousin.

“Oh, okay, be sure to get plenty of sleep. We’ll be leaving in the morning to go to Mr. Larabee’s,” the agent replied, standing up as well.

“Alright,” the young man commented, then turned and headed for the guest room.

“Good night,” the Southerner remarked as the boy disappeared into the room.

Standish picked up his glass from the side table and headed into the kitchen. Placing the glass in the sink, the man leaned forward on the bar and dropped his head, taking a deep breath.

Friday the thirteenth has successfully passed without incident, but then again, I’m not superstitious, the agent thought to himself. Maybe tomorrow will go as smooth.

Friday, February 13th
10:00 p.m.
Larabee Ranch

“See you tomorrow pard,” Buck stated, standing up from one of the recliners.

Chris stood up and nodded his head as JD got up from the couch.

“Bye Chris,” the young man commented, as he walked past.


“You need a hand?” the explosives agent asked, looking over to the teen, still asleep on the floor.

“No, I got it,” the man replied.

Buck and JD both walked out of the living room and after hearing the front door shut, Chris glanced over to the lanky sharpshooter.

“You stayin’ here?”

“Hell, what do I have at home to go to?”

“Good point.”

Chris squatted down next to the teen and lightly shook her shoulder.


The girl moved a little, but didn’t wake up. The black clad man reached over and lightly rolled the teen over onto her back. Slipping one arm under the crook of her knees and one arm under her shoulder blades, he gingerly lifted her from the floor, letting out a slight groan.

“I’m getting to old for this,” Larabee commented to Vin as he walked past.

Tanner smirked and climbed out of the chair, knowing he’d have to open a door.

Once they reached the top of the stairs, Tanner quickly opened the bedroom door. He walked in and turned the bedside lamp on, with Chris right behind him. He reached over and threw the top covers back. Larabee bent over and gently laid the girl down, while Vin pulled the covers back up over her.

“Looks innocent when she’s sleeping,” the Texan commented quietly.


The black clad man grinned to himself a bit as the sharpshooter turned and walked out. Larabee bent over and kissed her softly on the forehead. After switching the lamp off, he made his way to the hall only to stop and look back as if making sure she was still there, then quietly he slowly closed the door.

Saturday, February 14th
8:15 a.m.
Larabee Ranch

“Mornin’ pard,” drawled the sharpshooter as he slowly made his way into the kitchen.

“Mornin’. What? Internal alarm clock not go off?” the leader questioned.

The Texan rolled his eyes slightly as he poured himself a cup of coffee and reached for a freshly baked biscuit.

“Sam up yet?” he questioned, sitting down at the table.

“Heard the shower start about thirty minutes ago, figure she’ll be down in a bit.”

As if on cue, the teenage trouble magnet walked into the kitchen. One look and Vin tried to hide his smirk, knowing today was going to be a ‘bright and bubbly’ kind of day for the teen.

“Good morning,” she stated, walking over to the coffee pot as well.


“Mornin’. You’re in a good mood,” the tracker remarked, lifting his cup to his lips.

“Of course I’m in a good mood. The sun is out, there’s not a cloud in the sky, my hair is actually working with my mood, and it’s Valentine’s Day. You’re supposed to be in a good mood,” she replied, adding sugar to her cup.

“Aw hell,” the Texan groaned, setting his cup down, “Valentine’s Day, I knew I was forgetting something.”

Larabee focused his attention on the eggs he was frying, while the teen slowly turned around to face the agent from across the kitchen.

With a cock of her head she stared hard and long at the sharpshooter, but it proved ineffective because he never faltered.

Picking up her coffee cup she moved toward the table, letting a muttered, “Men,” escape her lips.

Buck, who had drove out earlier, made his way to the kitchen from the living room when she said this. With a smile on his lips he stated, “What’s our gender done wrong this time?”

“Oh nothing, I just can’t believe Vin wouldn’t remember it’s Valentine’s Day,” the teen stated, shaking her head at the lanky Texan. “It’s not like I was expecting any Valentine’s Day gifts at all, but at least some chocolate would have been nice.”

“Sorry,” was his only response.

“Bad move there junior,” Buck commented, lying something on the table in front of the teen.

“Flowers?” the teen questioned, “For me?”

Wilmington grinned, giving her a quick hug.

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Thank you Buck,” she replied, looking at the wildflower assortment. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“I’ll put them in water,” the agent stated, picking the flowers back up.

“Thanks,” the teen responded, then glanced over to the stove where Larabee still stood. “Oh, Crystal’s coming over later to do my hair.”

“Alright,” the black clad man remarked, then looked over to his oldest friend. “Where’s JD?”

“He’s taking the tuxes upstairs,” Wilmington replied, setting the vase of flowers over on the bar.

“You planning on getting ready here?” Larabee questioned, setting a platter of pancakes on the table between Vin and Sam.

“Might as well, no sense in going home when we’re all going to the same place,” the explosives agent replied with a grin.

Saturday, February 14th
12:15 p.m.
Larabee Ranch

“Maybe that’s her,” the teen exclaimed, jumping up from the couch as the sound of an engine floated into the house.

“Nope,” the medic stated, “that’s Ezra’s car.”

The teen glanced out the window and sighed. With slowness in her step, she plodded back to the couch.

A few moments later the sound of the door being opened made everyone look up.

“’Bout time you got here,” the ladies man commented, turning back toward the TV.

“We were delayed,” the Southerner stated, pulling something from behind his back.

“Hey Luke,” JD stated as the younger man made his way into the living room.


“This is for you,” the undercover agent said, handing the young girl a heart shaped box.

“Chocolate,” she said with a devious smile.

“Oh, and I also bought you some. Ezra told me you really like it,” Luke commented handing her another box, similar to the one Ezra had given her.

“Ah, you shouldn’t have,” she commented with a smile.

“No, really you shouldn’t have,” Buck remarked, looking at the nice stack of red boxes on the coffee table.

“Good Lord, she’ll be on a chocolate high for weeks. Maybe you should save mine for a later date,” Standish proclaimed.

“No, that’s fine, let’s see…these were from Chris,” she started going through the boxes neatly stacking them back up. “Nathan's, Josiah brought these, JD got me those. Oh, and Vin gave me this box, but not until after he had me thinking he’d forgotten," Sam stated, holding up the largest box to Ezra. Ezra looked from the box to the quiet sharpshooter and grinned, showing his gold tooth.

“Imagine that,” he commented. “Maybe he was hoping you’d share.”

“I think Crystal’s here,” the profiler stated, looking out the window.

“SAM?” another teenage voice boomed as the door opened and shut.

“What?” Sam exclaimed, standing up from the couch.

The blonde visitor walked around the corner to the living room and stopped momentarily taking in her surroundings.

“Oh,” Crystal said, glancing around the room, “Hi Chris, Vin, Buck, JD, Josiah, Nathan, Ezra, and Ezra’s brother?”

She glanced at Sam questionably, who quickly corrected her, “Cousin.”

“Oh, well hello. Sam get your behind up them stairs and into that dress, I’ve got a schedule to keep,” the blonde remarked, pointing up the stairs.

Young Larabee quickly made her way across the room toward the stairs, followed close behind by her friend.

“I’ll be down in a few hours,” she commented as they disappeared upstairs.

Chris glanced around the living room and grinned to himself. Ezra pinched the bridge of his nose as Vin rubbed a hand across his forehead.

“Anyone catch any of that?” the Southern questioned, not opening his eyes.

“Hi Crystal…yeah that’s Ezra’s cousin…alright Sam, see you in a little while,” the youngest agent remarked, looking at the stairs.

“Little late kid,” the ladies man commented.

“Well, seeing as we’ve got plenty of time,” Standish said, looking over to Luke, “know how to play cards?”

“Of course I do, after being with Aunt Maude,” the young man responded with a grin.


“Well, come on over then,” Wilmington stated as he moved over near the coffee table. “Welcome to the bachelor pad.”

Luke grinned and walked over to sit next to Ezra, who had taken out a deck of cards and was shuffling them expertly as the other men gathered around the table.

Saturday, February 14th
6:00 p.m.
Larabee Ranch

“We look like a bunch of damn penguins,” Vin remarked under his breath as he sat down on the couch in his tux.

“Now brother, I think we all look exceptionally handsome for a change,” the profiler responded, adjusting his tie in the mirror over the fireplace.

“I’ve never enjoyed wearing one of these,” Luke said, walking in and taking a seat next to Vin.

“Might as well get used to it son. I don’t like wearing them either and here I am in one again,” Wilmington replied.

“Josh here yet?” Sam stated, walking into the living room.

“Not yet,” Nathan commented, as Chris reached to answer the ringing phone.

“You look nice,” Vin stated, glancing over to the girl.


“It’s for you,” Larabee remarked, handing the phone to the teen.

The girl took it and looked at the man suspiciously.

“Hello…yeah…really…I’m sorry…anything I can do? Okay…it’s alright…no…that’s fine…bye.”

Vin glanced at Chris during the conversation and lifted an eyebrow. Larabee just shrugged his shoulders.

“Who was that?” Ezra questioned, walking in from the kitchen.

“Oh, just Josh, his little sister’s sick. He’s stayin’ home to take care of her,” the teen replied, looking at the phone in her hands, then with a smile she looked up, “but I’m not going to let that stop me. Would one of you mind dropping me off at school?”

“I will,” the sharpshooter commented, “I could stay too if you want.”

“Those chocolates have gone to your head,” the teen responded. “You have to attend the banquet; Travis said so, no exceptions.”

“Aw hell,” the Texan breathed.

“I got an idea,” Wilmington exclaimed, standing up from the recliner. “Instead of sitting through a long, boring charity banquet with people older than him, Luke could go to the dance, and be around people more his age.”

Luke looked hesitantly over to Ezra and Chris. Ezra shared a look with Chris and the leader just nodded his head.

“If you want to you can,” the Southerner remarked.

Luke looked over to Sam who was looking back and forth between them.

“Only if it’s alright with you,” Luke said, asking Sam’s opinion.

“Oh, no, that’s fine. I don’t mind at all,” the girl replied, slowly bringing a small smile to her face.

“It’s settled then,” JD stated, standing up. “Let’s go.”

Saturday, February 14th
7:00 p.m.
Denver High Auditorium

The two teens walked through the gym doors and paused, looking around at the abundance of Valentine’s decorations, from gigantic balloon hearts to cardboard cut out cupids.

“Well, your school goes all out,” Luke commented.

“Yep,” the girl replied, looking around as if searching for someone. “Let’s go over there, I see some of my friends.”

“Hey there’s Josh,” one of the girls stated, pointing out the blonde-headed teen with a girl on the dance floor.

“If he’s here, then shouldn’t that be Sam?” Crystal commented, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, but it’s not, there’s Sam over there,” another brunette pointed out, as the girl and a stranger approached them.

“Hey,” the teen greeted her friends, who stared at her in shock.

“Hey,” Crystal was the first to recover, “you’re Ezra’s cousin Luke, aren’t you?”

“That’s me, and you’re the hair dresser,” he responded with a grin.

“Yeah, Crystal actually, and this is Andrea, Erica, Ashley, and…” she started introductions, but paused looking around, “Jaclyn’s out there somewhere.”

Sam took a look in the direction her friend pointed and taking in the dance floor she caught a glance of someone.

“Oh my gosh,” she said quietly.

“I know, Jake finally asked her to dance,” Erica commented.

“Not that,” the girl replied. “That’s Josh. He said his sister was sick. That son of a…”

The teen started to step out onto the dance floor, but was stopped by a hand on her shoulder.

“Pounding him into the ground would probably make you feel a lot better right now,” Luke pointed out, “but I say you fight fire with fire.”

Sam looked at him in confusion, and watched as a smile spread across his face.

“Let’s dance,” he stated, pulling her out onto the floor.

“I wish I had cute uncles who had cute cousins,” Ashley remarked, taking a sip of her punch.

Saturday, February 14th
7:30 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

Buck rolled his eyes, as the seven of them sat at a table in the large room filled with people, as the speaker tried his best to gain a laugh from the crowd at one of his jokes.

“Would someone please shoot him?” the Southerner drawled, picking at a napkin on the table.

The sharpshooter leaned back in his chair a little, moving his hand into his jacket slowly.

“Don’t do it Vin,” Larabee warned.

The lanky Texan continued though, and began to pull something out of his pocket.

“It ain’t worth it pard.”

“Vin, I was only joking,” Standish said in alarm.

Tanner grinned at the use of his first name, but began to remove his hand from his pocket.

“NO!” JD exclaimed, standing up, catching everyone’s attention in the room.

Tanner looked at JD in surprise and pulled the Hershey’s bar from his coat.

“Geez kid, I’ll give you some,” he smirked, as the computer specialist turned red with embarrassment.

Saturday, February 14th
8:00 p.m.
Denver High Auditorium

“Do you think he’ll do it tonight?” Charlie Watkins of Team 8, questioned into his headset.

“There’s a good chance of it,” Ryan responded. “Do you see anything yet?”

“No, still quieter than a whorehouse on…” he cut off, peering further into his binoculars.

“What is? What do you see?” Ryan questioned into his ear.

“It’s Morrison and he’s walking away from that grey sedan, parked in front of the gym,” Charlie responded. “I’m going after him.”

Charlie jerked off his headset, while faint yells of "Wait" came from his headset. Quickly he jumped out of the surveillance van.

“Shit, let’s move!” Ryan told the rest of his team through his microphone.

Five agents approached the man as he walked down the street from the school. Noticing that he was being followed, Morrison took off at a run, trying to get away. Taking a turn, he ran into a sixth agent who spun him around and slapped a pair of handcuffs on him.

“Goin’ somewhere?” the agent questioned as the other five caught up.

“You’re too late,” Morrison sneered.

Ryan turned to look back at the school just in time to see the sedan shoot up in the air with an enormous explosion.

Saturday, February 14th
8:10 p.m.
Denver High Auditorium

The explosion from outside rocked the auditorium. Children screamed, and teachers yelled trying to calm them. Lights crashed onto the gym floor where many couples had been dancing. The kids all ran around seeking shelter from the debris, many of which went to the far end of the gym, trying to get out the emergency exit.

Sam immediately looked to the group of friends she had been talking with, and tried to rush over to them, but was stopped as someone pulled her back. She watched as another light shattered on the floor between her and her friends.

“This way!” Luke yelled to the rest of the group, as he turned and led Sam towards the exit.

Within ten minutes everyone had cleared out of the gym, and the teachers had began trying to do a head count when the paramedics and firemen showed up.

Saturday, February 14th
8:25 p.m.
ATF Federal Building

Simultaneously seven beepers went off at the table assigned to Team 7. As a whole they reached into their pockets and pulled out the little devices. Looking up from them, they glanced at each other and rose from the table. Larabee looked at AD Travis and gave him a wave of his hand as if to say he’d explain later.

Saturday, February 14th
8:40 p.m.
Outside Denver High Auditorium

Larabee and his team quickly took in the scene. Investigators were looking over the burnt frame of a car. Many different ambulances had teenagers in dresses or tuxedos seated on the back, being assessed for injuries. Some of them were greeting family members and crying and retelling what had happened.

Meanwhile, Ryan was in a desperate search for someone. Asking the same question over and over to everyone he came across.

“Have you seen Samantha Larabee?”

Finally one guy responded, “She’s over there.”

Ryan looked over to a group standing next to a teacher who was talking with them. After scanning the group he saw who he was looking for.

”Sam!” Ryan called out as he rushed over.

The teen looked up at the man and smiled, thankful to see someone she could stay with.

“Thank god you’re okay,” he said, hugging the girl as if she were his own.

In fact, he thought of her as just that. Had he let something happen to her he knew Larabee would have his head on a silver platter.

“What happened?” she questioned, as he pushed her back to get a look at her.

“I’ll explain later, let’s get a medic to look at you,” he responded, leading her away from the group.

Luke silently followed the two, unaware of the gash to his forehead.

Larabee’s team was walking around the crowded parking lot, asking questions as well. It was Buck and Josiah who finally got lucky.

“Hey,” Josiah called to a couple girls who were seated on the tailgate of a truck.

“Mr. Sanchez,” one of the girls greeted.

“Andrea, have any of you girls seen Sam?” the profiler questioned as Buck walked up beside him.

“Yeah, she’s with a paramedic over there,” the girl responded, pointing to the ambulances across the parking lot.


Saturday, February 14th
8:55 p.m.
Outside Denver High Auditorium

Ryan intercepted Larabee as he began to walk past him.

“Ryan,” Larabee said in relief.

“She’s over there,” Ryan pointed out the ambulance with the girl seated on the back.

“Thanks,” Larabee stated as he began walking toward the vehicle.

“Thanks for saving my life,” the teen commented to Luke, brushing a few strands of hair away from the bandaged cut on his head.

“Don’t mention it,” he replied as Chris walked up.

“Are you alright?” Larabee questioned, taking the girl in his arms.

“Yeah, I’m fine, just a scratch or two,” she responded, burying her head into his shoulder.

“You know I love you, don’t you?”

“I know Chris,” she stated quietly. “I love you too.”

“Are you alright?” Ezra questioned, placing a hand on Luke’s shoulder.

Everything that had happened tonight finally sunk into the young man. During the aftermath of the explosion, his only thoughts were of getting himself, Sam, and the others out of the building. But now, like the girl, he just wanted someone to be there for him. Turning around to face his cousin, he reached out and gave him a hug. Ezra pulled his cousin to him and met Chris’ eyes over Luke’s and Sam’s heads as one thought ran through both their minds, Thank God they’re safe.

Sunday, February 15th
9:00 a.m.
Larabee Ranch

“I’ve got a headache the size of a horse,” Sam stated, leaning back against the couch.

“Here, take this,” Nathan commented, handing her two pills and a glass of water.

“Ezra’s here,” JD exclaimed loudly to which the teen squinted her eyes and moved a hand to her head.

“Oh, sorry,” the youngest agent remarked, looking at the teen.

Ezra and Luke walked in, but didn’t bother taking off their jackets.

“I’m taking Luke to the airport now, but we thought we’d stop by,” Ezra stated then looked at Sam, “and how are you feeling this morning?”

“Like someone used my head as a punching bag,” was the response.

“Well, it was nice to meet you Luke,” Josiah stated, shaking the young man’s hand.

“It was nice meeting you. You'll have to come back again some time,” Nathan said, coming out of the kitchen.

“Yep, next time maybe it won’t be quite so hectic,” Buck commented.

“Yeah, then we could give you a tour of Denver or something,” the youngest agent remarked.

“Or just stay home and ride horses, grill out, play football,” Tanner responded.

“Yeah Luke, this place is always open to you. I’ve got a few extra horses that need to be ridden once in a while to keep them in shape,” Larabee stated.

“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” Luke replied with a smile to Chris.

Sam got up from the couch and walked over to the two.

“Thanks Luke, for everything,” she stated, giving the teen a hug.

“You’re welcome.”

Buck shared a glance with Chris and grinned.

“Keep in touch,” she commented, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek.

“I will,” he responded.

“I’ll be back as soon as I’m through,” Ezra stated to Larabee, then turned and headed to the door, with Luke behind him.

After Ezra left Luke off at the airport he stopped at the post office and dropped a letter in the box to his mother. He figured she’d receive it in a week and he still had the note fresh in his mind:

Dear Mother,

I just wanted to let you know that Cousin Luke made it here safely and that he was in no way a hindrance to me. During a school function he attended with Samantha, a few things went wrong and I was told from the young lady herself that he took part in saving her and her friends. My associates like him as well, which is a plus for anyone, seeing as how they are hard men. He’s a marvelous young man with lots of potential and I would be only pleased if he could visit again. I would like for you to pass this along to Aunt Meredith and Uncle Robert. I hope this letter finds you in good health Mother. You should really come out to visit sometime; Samantha has said more than once that she would like to meet you, although I’m not sure why, and I mean that in a good way. Until then,

Your son,

Ezra P. Standish

The End

Feedback as always is welcome, especially on this one.