Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven is owned by Trilogy, Mirish and MGM. No money is being made. This fanfic is purely for entertainment purposes.
AU: ATF - Thanks Mog! :)
Warning: This story talks about suicide and has some bad language. Spoilers for the episode Achilles.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Phyllis for the great beta. She really gave me some wonderful suggestions. The movies Lethal Weapon and Constantine gave me ideas for this story.
I've always loved JD 'joining the team' stories. Dunne Deal by Helen W, Who's the Kid by Linda, Starting Over by Becky E, all of those stories inspired me. I wanted to write my own JD joining the ATF team, and I wanted to try to make it different (*try* being the operative word here. <g>). This story does not follow canon, or really even fanon. Also, I'm using some of the story from Plan B, if you've ever read that one, you'll know what I'm talking about. Finally, I want to thank May Robinson for her great story The Anniversary, which is, I believe, the first story to explain how a very young JD could be on the team by graduating school early and getting college in before his peers. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story.
Warning: Angst ahead. <g>
Boston Ain't Your Kinda Town
Part One: Please Come To Boston For The Springtime
"Didn't think I'd actually make it through those eight hours." Mark Wolkham, a Captain with the Boston Police Department, slapped Chris Larabee on the back as they walked out of the 'Symposium on Crime.'
Chris, Buck and about a thousand other federal agents and police officers had been in Boston for a Police Convention for the last four days and they still had one more day to go.
"I had to kick Buck twice to wake him up." Chris smirked over his shoulder at the tall dark haired man who was lagging behind, talking to an agent from the DEA... a female agent.
Mark smiled. "'Ol Buck hasn't changed at all."
Chris shook his head. "A lot's changed since our SEAL days, but some things never will."
Buck came up, grabbing each man on the shoulder and pushing them the rest of the way through the crowd.
"Buck, I will kill you," Mark told him, scowling.
"Sure. Sure," Buck laughed. "If you was gonna kill me, Mark, you'd've done it a long time ago.
"Don't think that the thought hasn't crossed my mind."
"You and me, both," Chris said to Mark. "And, Buck, if you don't take your stinking hand off my shoulder, I'm going to give them a whole new meaning for the phrase 'Symposium on Crime'."
"Shakin' in my boots here, guys. Just shaking." Buck walked them out the door and into the cool Boston air. "Whew! Finally free." Buck raised his hands to the sky in elation.
"He'll never change, will he?" Mark rolled his eyes.
Buck hailed a cab while he said, "You're the one who's actually *from* here, Mark. So at least you get to sleep in your own bed."
Chris snorted. "You don't sleep in your own bed anyway, Buck-o."
Bobbing his eyebrows, Buck grinned. "Oh, yeah, right."
The cab came to a stop and the three men climbed in.
Mark told the driver the address and then glanced over at Chris. "So, you've got your team all put together out there?"
Chris shrugged. "Pretty much." He cocked his head to Buck. "Got *him*," he rolled his eyes in disgust and then laughed when Buck elbowed him in the ribs. "And I've got the best sharpshooter I've seen in a while. Heard of Vin Tanner?"
"Whew wee!" Mark whistled. "You ain't jokin'. Best of the best. A little introverted, if I remember right. But..." he shook his head, "he gets the job done." Mark grinned at Buck, "and without all the wisecracks and comments you get from Chris here."
"Right." Buck shook his head, smiling. "This is the most I've heard Chris talk in..." his smile slipped and he swallowed hard. He glanced at Chris and then away.
The three men were silent.
Mark looked over at Chris, who was sitting perfectly still, staring down at his hands. He took in a breath and then let it out slowly before saying, "I didn't get a chance to tell you. Hell," he scoffed, "just really didn't want to bring it up, but..." he sniffed, cocked his head, judged Chris' demeanor, and then marched on, "I'm real sorry about Sarah and that little boy of yours. Damn sorry."
Chris nodded, swallowed hard and then ducked his head. "Thanks," he said, his voice hoarse.
Buck stared at Chris.
"Adam," Chris said softly. "His name was Adam."
Mark nodded. "Adam." He shook his head. "Damn, man. I'm sorry as hell."
The silence was awkward. Buck reached back and squeezed Chris' neck.
Chris sighed, shook his head, frowned. "I'm getting by." He shrugged. "Wanted to drink myself to death," he glanced over at Buck with a half smile, "but Buck wouldn't make it easy."
Mark laughed lightly. "You can always count on Buck."
Grinning, Buck shifted in his seat, stretching like a cat, taking up more than his allotted room.
"Jeesh, Buck, stay on your side," Chris huffed out from the middle.
Buck shrugged. "You could have ridden in front, but the driver took one look at you and locked the door."
Barking out a laugh, Mark slapped the back of his hand on Chris' stomach. "Ain't easy to scare the cabbies out here, but I gotta hand it to you Chris, you did it with style."
"Yeah? Well, I'm about to scare you two if someone doesn't get me some supper." He grinned.
"And we're going to just the place and then later we can..." Mark's voice drifted off and he cocked his head, deep in thought. "Drink yourself to death," he said under his breath.
"What?" Chris glanced over at him, wondering if he'd heard what he thought.
"Nothing," Mark said quickly and then turned in his seat slightly so he could look at the two men. "You said something during the computer session Tuesday about needing a computer tech, right?"
Chris nodded warily. "Was that the five hour long, boring as hell, couldn't find a comfortable way to sleep in my plastic chair session?"
"Yep." Mark grinned. "With that weasily little guy with the big glasses and the pocket protector."
"Yeah," Chris smiled, "I'd really like to finish out the team with a computer/surveillance guy. *Not* a guy like the one that taught the class."
All three men laughed at the vision.
"Well," Mark said, "I just might know somebody. And I'm pretty sure I know where he'll be later this evening." He nodded in satisfaction. "After we eat tonight, I'll take you to a new place. A great little downtown bar, been there forever."
Buck rubbed his hands together. "Sounds like a plan."
Chris narrowed his eyes as he glanced over at his old friend. Mark had a thoughtful look on his face, and Chris was wondering what he was thinking about.
"God!" Buck rubbed his stomach as they got out of the cab. "I ate too much."
"You always eat too much," Chris told him.
Mark walked around from the other side of the cab. He stood next to the two men, all three of them staring at the bar in front of them.
"This is the place?" Buck asked.
"This is it," Mark answered.
"Huh," Chris said dubiously.
"Really, you'll love it." Mark's eyes twinkled.
"If they have beer, we'll love it," Buck started for the door. "And it better not be all that Irish crap, neither."
Chris rolled his eyes as he followed. "It is an Irish bar, Buck."
The three walked through the door into the darkness. The only light came from neon bar signs. The interior was smoky and smelled of stale sweat.
Buck led the men over to an empty table, one of many. There were only two other tables occupied in the place.
As they passed one of those tables, Mark nodded at the sole occupant. "Dunne," he greeted him.
The man looked up, gazed blearily at him and then looked back down. He didn't speak.
Buck watched the exchange as the three of them sat down. "Hum. How do you like that?"
Mark nodded like he'd expected to be rebuffed.
The bartender came over, a damp towel tossed over one shoulder. "Hey, Mark," he smiled wearily.
Mark nodded once at him. "Frank. We'll take three beers... Heineken, in the bottle."
"Sure thing," Frank said and then turned to do their bidding. In a moment, he was back, carrying the beers and a basket of peanuts.
Cocking his head towards the corner table, Mark asked, "How long's he been here?"
"Tonight? A couple of hours." Frank shook his head in pity. "Same thing every night. I'd cut him off, but he's not driving. Leaves his motorcycle at his place and walks here and back."
Mark nodded. "He gettin' any better?"
Frank shook his head sadly. "Worse."
Swallowing hard, Mark's shoulders slumped. "Damn."
"Enjoy your beers, boys," Frank said as he turned to go. "Yell when you want more."
"Thanks," Mark told him and then glanced over at the corner table.
Chris stared at his old friend and then followed his line of sight. The guy sitting at the corner table didn't look very old, hell, he really didn't even look old enough to drink. Chris glanced at Buck to find him also watching the other table.
"Who is he?" Chris asked Mark when his attention returned to them.
Mark sighed. "Name's Dunne. John Dunne. Goes by JD. Used to be a cop. He's not anymore. He comes in here every night, seems like. Gets drunk."
Chris' eyes darkened. "What's the story?"
"He was on duty, came on a diner being robbed. He called for backup, but before they got there, the robbers came out. Shots were fired. Dunne took one in his shoulder, it spun him around, slammed him off the ground and his gun fired."
Buck winced, knowing what was coming.
Mark nodded. "Kid's gun fired, bullet went into the diner, hit a waitress. She died."
"Damn," Chris hissed out.
Shaking his head, Mark sighed. "Kid almost didn't make it. There was an inquiry, kid was cleared. But that's not how he sees it. He quit the force, took odd jobs to pay the rent and started drinking."
"Doesn't look very old," Buck stated.
"Don't let his looks fool you," Mark told him. "Kid graduated school early, got a couple years of college in and then joined the force. He's twenty three now."
"When did this happen?" Chris asked.
"About two months ago," Mark answered. "Kid went to hell fast. But before that, I've got to tell you, he was one hell of a cop. Okay on the beat," he shrugged, smiling, "but as small as he is, that isn't where we really wanted him. He worked computers, surveillance, did research for the detectives. He's got a hell of a mind. Sees things others don't."
Chris stared at him. "Was he one of yours?" he asked Mark.
Ducking his head, Mark smiled. "Yeah."
"Can't you do something?" Buck asked.
"He's not breaking the law, Buck," Mark told him. "Getting drunk's not a felony." He sighed. "But if something isn't done soon..." he frowned.
"That why you brought us here?" Chris asked him.
Mark shrugged. "Just an idea. Was thinking maybe if JD could get out of here, find a new place, new people..." he sighed sadly. "He's going to die here."
Buck's face paled as he glanced over at the dark-haired young man. The tall man nodded silently. He glanced at Chris.
Chris rolled his eyes at him. "Let me think about it," he told Buck.
"I'll bring you his record tomorrow," Mark said, sounding like the deal was done.
Chris looked from one eager friend to the other. "I said I'll think about it. I don't want some loose cannon on the team."
Buck scoffed loudly. "Yeah, like one's not enough." He shook his head. "Never know which way Ezra's gonna turn."
"Ezra's gonna work out," Chris defended.
"Sure, pard. You keep telling yourself that."
Chris faced Mark. "Bring his record to the conference tomorrow. I'll look it over, if I like what I see, we'll talk to him tomorrow night."
Mark nodded. "All I can ask, Chris."
"Sure." Chris glanced over at the young man. "Sure."
Part Two: Please Come To Denver With The Snowfall
Buck and Chris sat in the dark bar. It was just after Two a.m. and they'd been watching Dunne for hours. Mark had left about fifteen minutes earlier, but not before having a quiet talk with the bartender.
Now Buck waited to see what Chris was going to do.
After a long moment, Chris glanced over at him. "When we talk to him, Buck, you need to just follow my lead. Whatever happens, trust me."
Buck nodded. "Can do, Chris."
The two stood and walked over to the corner table.
"JD Dunne?" Chris asked.
Dunne glanced up, his eyes red rimmed and glassy. His skin was pale and looked clammy. His dark scraggly hair fell on his forehead, making him look very young.
"Who wants to know?"
Standard bad ass answer, Chris thought. He shared a grim smile with Buck before they both pulled out chairs and sat down.
"Chris Larabee." Chris held out his hand and smirked when the boy just stared at it. He withdrew the hand and used it to point at Buck. "And Buck Wilmington. We're ATF out of Denver."
"Buck?" The kid's eyes lightened as he glanced at the taller man. "Your ma actually named you 'Buck'?"
Wilmington grinned. "Sure 'nuff."
"Huh," Dunne huffed out. He sniffed, glanced at Chris and then took a long drink from his glass of beer.
No one spoke. The silence was strained.
The two ATF agents stared at the kid and he alternated his gaze from one to the other and then down at the table.
Finally, Chris spoke. "Talked to Mark Wolkham. He said you were a hell of a cop."
A derisive snort burst out of the kid and he sneered. "Yeah. Right." The skin around his mouth paled, turning his lips white. His eyes looked wet, his face hard, bitter.
Chris glanced at Buck to find him staring at the boy.
"He said you were a great cop," Buck said, his voice soft, serious. "Said you had an accident. Quit the force."
"An accident?" JD repeated.
Buck shrugged, watching him carefully.
JD looked at Chris and then shook his head. He laughed bitterly, his voice cracking. He tossed the rest of his drink back and then carefully sat the empty glass back on the table. "An accident?" JD's hard eyes locked on Buck's. His eyes narrowed. "I killed a mother of two. Her name was Annie. I shot her right here," he touched his chest with his thumb. "She was scared and hurting while she died. And she didn't die quick. Probably took," he shrugged, "four or five minutes." He swallowed, staring at Buck. "I watched her the whole time. Watched the light leave her eyes. She cried for her kids. She cried for her husband. She cried in pain while the paramedics tried to save her." He shook his head and scoffed, "An accident."
"Heard you took a bullet, too," Chris said.
Dunne shrugged, wincing slightly.
"Heard you took the bullet in your shoulder, knocked you down, your gun went off, bullet hit the bystander," Buck told the kid.
JD blinked twice, glanced down, frowned.
"We've checked around kid," Chris told him, stern. "Heard you were a good cop. Excellent at surveillance and computers. But you threw it all away to drown yourself in a bottle."
JD's head snapped up and he glared. "Yeah? So?" He sniffed, looking down at his empty glass. "Don't look like I'm doin' such a great job at it." He stood suddenly, his legs wobbly, his chair falling backwards to clang off the hardwood floor. "Bartender, need 'nother 'n." JD almost didn't make the three steps to the bar; he stumbled and then caught himself on a bar stool. He slapped a wet hand down on the bar.
The bartender winced, looking at the young man sadly. "Think you've had enough, Johnny."
"Yeah? Well..." JD's voice cracked, "I didn't ask you what you thought."
A hand on his shoulder had JD spinning around.
Buck was there, one hand catching the kid's fist while the hand on JD's shoulder kept him steady. "Easy, kid," Buck said. "We don't want a fight."
Chris got up and came to stand on JD's other side. "We came to talk to you about a job," he said.
"A job?" JD's voice squeaked. "Right! You offer drunks jobs out there in Denver?" His voice quivered and Buck grasped his shoulder tighter, while he let go of the kid's fist.
JD wiped the hand down his face and then across his eyes.
Chris cocked his head. "Bein' a drunk ain't gotta be permanent."
"Ain't permanent," JD told him. "It's just a part time gig 'til I get the job done."
"What job?" Buck asked carefully.
"Don't matter." JD pushed away from them. His legs buckled and he wound up sprawled on the floor.
Chris didn't help him up and he waved Buck off. Larabee squatted down next to the boy. His voice was steely. "You want to kill yourself, kid, that's one way out. You want to try and make up for what you did, get out of here, start a new job, a new life, try to make a difference and help people... that's another option."
Buck squatted down also. "We're offerin' you that option, boy. We're offerin' you a slot on our team."
JD scoffed, a wet, harsh sound. "Sure. You want me to work for you."
Buck bobbed his eyebrows. "Yep."
JD swallowed twice. He glanced from one to the other. He sat up, his hands on his knees. He looked sick. "I..." he squeezed his eyes shut in pain. "I... can't." He gulped. "I'm not a cop anymore," he said, his voice hollow, "that's all gone now."
"Doesn't have to be," Chris told him.
JD sucked his top lip between his teeth as his chin quivered. Then, he said, "Yeah... it does." He sniffed and then pushed himself up to his feet. He turned away from them and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket. Peeling a bill out, he laid it on the bar. "Thanks, Frank."
"Sure, kid." The bartender smiled somberly.
JD turned back. "Sorry, guys. I'm not your man. Maybe one time I would'a been," his shoulders slumped, "but not now."
The two agents watched JD walk towards the door. He seemed more sober now. They followed him, Buck on the kid's heels.
They stepped out the door into the wet 3a.m. Boston air.
"So... what? You're gonna just stay here and kill yourself?" Buck asked.
Glancing away from him, JD started down the sidewalk. "That's the plan," he answered softly.
"So why haven't you done it yet, kid?" Chris' cold voice stopped JD in his tracks.
"What?" The kid turned slowly to stare at the tall blond man.
"Why haven't you killed yourself yet? If that's what you're so hell bent on doing."
JD took a step towards him. "Ain't any business of yours, mister."
Chris shrugged and scoffed. "Well, if you don't want the job 'cause you're so damned set on staying here and killing yourself, just thought maybe you should go ahead and get the job done." He pulled his pistol from the holster at the small of his back and held it loosely in his hand.
"I'll do it when," JD snarled, glancing down at the gun and then back up, "and how I want."
"Sure," Chris said derisively. "A lot of people don't have the guts to do it."
Buck stepped between them. "Now, Chris-"
"Shut up, Buck." Chris backed him off with a glare. "I'm just callin' it how I see it." He faced JD. "So why don't you just do it?" Chris held the gun out.
His shoulders heaving with fury, JD snatched the gun from Chris' fingers.
"Kid!" Buck yelled, stepping towards him.
"Leave it, Buck," Chris told him and then said to JD, "Go ahead. Do it, kid. It just takes one bullet, if you're a good shot." He smiled grimly. "And we heard you were. So just do it. Put it under your chin and blow your head off. Then you won't have to live this crappy life you've been dealt, won't have to live everyday knowing that you killed someone."
JD's skin turned gray.
"Even though it was an accident," Chris continued. "And it wasn't your fault." He shrugged. "But, hell, that don't matter at all. All that matters is you think you're so gad damned bad and deserve to die. So..." he stalked forward. "Do it!"
Backed against the cold brick wall behind him, JD raised the gun with a trembling hand. He placed the barrel under his chin and tilted his head back.
"Jesus, kid," Buck hissed. Chris held him back.
Tears squeezed out of JD's closed eyes as sweat broke out on his forehead. His hands shook, his teeth chattered. He brought his other hand up to help keep the gun steady. He widened his legs, braced his knees. He let out a muffled sob and cocked the gun. He opened his eyes and stared at Chris as he put his finger on the trigger.
Chris slammed his hands on the wall on each side of JD's head. He leaned in, nose to nose and hissed, "Do it, kid. Pull that trigger. Kill yourself." He eased back a fraction of an inch. "Or come with us. Join our team. Start living your life again."
JD trembled violently. He pushed the gun hard against his skin, wincing. He licked his lips, cried out and then started to put pressure on the trigger.
Chris hit Buck to keep him away.
Suddenly, JD jerked the gun away, uncocked it and threw it on the ground in one motion. "I can't..." he cried. "I... can't."
Chris nodded at him in satisfaction. "Why?"
JD sniffed, ran a shaking hand over his face. "Because... because I don't want to go to Hell." His shoulders slumped. "I wanna see my ma again. If I kill myself I'll go to Hell." He trembled. "I'm not brave enough for that." His body shook.
Chris grabbed his shoulder, pushed him against the wall to steady him. "You think you deserve to go to Hell?"
JD nodded, squeezing tears out of his eyes.
"Because you killed that woman?"
JD nodded again, his legs starting to buckle.
"Because you made a mistake and paid for it? Almost losing your life, giving up your job, your reputation, everything you've ever loved. You don't think you paid enough?" Chris asked him, his voice throaty.
JD shook his head, dropping his chin to his chest. "I'll never pay enough. Never. I killed her."
He cried and Chris pulled him close, holding the young man while he sobbed. After a few minutes, Chris held him out at arm's length. "You think maybe you should give living a chance again?"
JD rubbed under his nose, looked up at Chris with wet eyes. He shrugged. "Don't know what else to do."
Buck picked up the gun. He clapped Chris on the back and reached over to grasp JD's neck. "Come on, kid. Let's get you home. Get you some sleep. Tomorrow, we'll pack you up, get you where you belong."
JD stared at Buck, a glimmer of hope in his eyes. "'K," he said, sounding very young.
Buck led the kid down the sidewalk towards his building. He leaned over to Chris and grabbed his shoulder. "Sounded like you were speaking from experience there, pard," he said softly.
"Well, you'd know," Chris smiled at him.
Buck nodded. "Yep. I would."
JD came to a door, stopped, fumbled in his pocket for keys.
Smirking, Buck nudged Chris with his shoulder and said quietly, "And it's a damn good thing you didn't have any bullets in that gun."
Chris smiled angelically. "Yeah. Good thing, huh."
July 31, 2005
Please Come To Boston lyrics by Dave Loggins
Sequel: Getting to the Getting There
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