Rating:  PG-13 Language. Dark fic.

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! :)

Author's Notes:   Comments: Thanks to Mog for starting this awesome AU. Thanks to my wonderful betas: Janet, Judy, Penny and Shellie. Hope you enjoy the story. Please let me know what you think.

Feedback is always greatly appreciated. Please let me know what you think. Thank you, Ruby :)

 

Plan B 

By: Ruby

 

Part One

JD Dunne pulled his wildly colored Kawasaki Ninja into the parking garage of the federal building. Effortlessly, he glided the machine into the spot next to the black Dodge Ram, then pulled his helmet off and ran his hand through his messy hair. He watched as the familiar little orange and white cat came running out from under Tanner's Jeep. JD pulled his leg over the bike and reached down and scratched the small cat on its head. He cocked his head towards his new bike, "Watch her for me, Cuervo."

He left the cat and his bike and started towards the elevator still clutching the multi colored helmet that matched the wild paint job on the bike. He'd had his eye on this particular motorcycle for a long time. There wasn't any reason to buy a new bike, his old one ran perfectly well, but when he saw this bike he knew it was the one for him.

JD knew the responsible thing to do would be to buy a vehicle he could use in all the different sorts of weather Denver had to offer instead of relying on his friends to give him rides. Heck, he'd been eyeing a nice little four door 'adult' car just the other day. But then he saw this bike and knew he had to have it. Knew it in the way a child knows they just *have* to have a certain toy at Christmas time.

JD simply walked into the dealership and traded his old bike for this new one. He even bought the helmet to match. He loved the wild colors on the bike: neon green, purple, pink, red, blue, black, yellow. All colors that normally didn't go together. But they looked awesome on this bike. It was Christmas morning for JD Dunne.

And this bike was fast. Too fast. JD knew he was gonna get a lecture from mother hen Buck: 'Why do you need a bike that goes that fast, kid? The old one didn't go fast enough to kill ya? Afraid you'll have somethin' left to bury?'

He already knew what his comeback would be: 'Just cause it can go that fast, don't mean I'm gonna drive it that fast. It's the idea that it *can* go that fast, know what I mean?

He wouldn't. Oh, he'd understand all right. If it were Vin or Ezra, but not him. Not the wet-behind the ears kid who couldn't take care of himself.

JD shook his head as he stepped into the elevator. Oh, he knew he would never hear the end of the lectures. For once he didn't care. For once he wanted to be a boy again and get what he wanted for Christmas. Deep down in his heart, he knew he would never be a little boy again. The bullet that fired from his gun and slammed into that innocent bystander made sure of that.

'It was an accident kid, could have happened to anyone.'

'But it didn't Buck, it didn't happen to anyone. It happened to me, and I'm the one who's gonna have to live with it for the rest of my life. And if buying a new bike and pretending to be happy makes me feel better, you should just go with it. It's sure better than my second plan, which includes me putting a bullet in my brain. So if this helps me get through one more day, if I can take my mind off her face just one more day, then please just let it go. I know you all think I'm doing pretty good. I hear what ya say behind my back.'

'Kid looks like he's doing ok, he's handling it pretty well.'

'Boy have I got all of you fooled. Not a second goes by, not one second that I don't see her and the blood. All that blood. So, Buck, if this gets me through one more day, just go with it, cause I just don't think you'd be any happier with Plan B.'

The elevator dinged and JD stepped off. The young ATF agent walked down the hall towards the offices he shared with the other agents. He plastered a fake smile on his face. 'Just one more day...let me get through one more day.'

He placed his helmet on his desk, and watched as Buck Wilmington immediately noticed the new protective head gear.

Tanner walked by JD's desk. "Whew! That helmet could wake the dead kid. New?"

"Yeah, it matches the new bike sittin' down stairs." JD grinned.

"You bought a new bike?" Wilmington yelled in the small office space.

"Sure did, Buck, she's a beaut too!"

"I thought we talked about that kid, you were gonna get a car. Something that you could drive in the bad weather, something a little more 'responsible.' "

JD looked at Buck for a long time and finally smiled out his response. "Well, it was better than Plan B."

*****

Part Two

JD needed coffee. He hadn't slept well at all last night. He shook his head, 'not that last night is any different than any of the other nights lately.' He sighed a deep and heavy sigh and drummed his fingers on the counter while he waited for the coffee to finish brewing. He tried not to think about it but before he knew it his thoughts were drifting back.

*****

'Guys, come on! Enough already!' JD wanted to voice his opinion of the extended lunch hour the other men had decided to take. All his energy was focused on his right foot which he bounced under the table, hopefully going unnoticed by the other men.

The agents were celebrating because Tanner and Standish had finally hit pay dirt with their current case. They had finagled a meeting between Standish's undercover alter ego Aaron Sloan and Leon Mozare, one of the higher ups in a gunrunning organization.

The seven men had left for lunch two hours ago and it didn't look like they were going anywhere anytime soon. JD had work to finish. He had been right in the middle of a project that he was sure he could get done soon, if he could just get back to the office and his waiting computer.

Josiah and Nathan had left a half hour ago. They had a meeting to attend at two o'clock. The rest of the team had arrived in Larabee's truck.

JD tried not to fidget. He wanted the other men to enjoy this time. Heck, they deserved it. Ezra and Vin had been working on this case for weeks and this was their first solid breakthrough. He looked around at his friends.

Tanner reclined back in his seat, his lean body stretched out in comfort. His hands were clasped across his stomach. A lopsided grin resided on his face as he watched Buck flirt with their waitress. This was the first time in weeks he'd seen the sharpshooter so relaxed. Vin had been tense since the case started. Chris sat with a smile on his face as he watched the ladies man crash and burn. Ezra was just watching the other men. It seemed like the undercover agent was also having a good time.

JD was enjoying himself, he really was, but he needed to get back and he hadn't brought his bike. An idea suddenly came to him. He blushed slightly with embarrassment and berated himself for not thinking of it sooner.

"I'm gonna head on back to the office. Get some work done."

The four men looked up at him surprised.

"You work too hard kid. Sit and relax for a while." Tanner drawled.

"I'm almost done with the project I've been working on. It's only ten blocks back to the office. I'll just walk."

Buck laughed, "I never knew anyone who was so worried about getting work done."

JD rolled his eyes at the older man. "Well, that's cause some of us like to get things turned in on time, not three weeks late." He stood up and pushed his chair back under the table. "I'll see you guys back at the office."

"See ya kid."

*****

The sun was bright and the air cold and brisk as it hit JD in the face. He was walking fast, hunched down in his jacket against the cold. He crossed the street and stepped back up onto the sidewalk. Only eight more blocks to go.

He was walking past a diner when suddenly the door flew open and a man ran out, practically knocking him over.

It took two seconds for JD's mind to process what was going on. He saw the bag in the man's hand, but more importantly he saw the gun.

Quick as lightning JD reached around to the small of his back and pulled his own gun from its holster. He pointed it at the robber's heart and yelled, "Freeze. ATF!"

The robber hesitated, staring wide eyed at him. The door opened again and a second gunman came running out, his gun already aimed at JD.

JD drew his attention away from the first robber and pointed his gun at the new threat.

Everything seemed to move in slow motion. He watched as the second robber started to pull the trigger. JD fired his gun. He never heard the shot or felt the bullet slam into him. He was too busy watching the second robber fall from the bullet to his heart. From the corner of his eye he saw the first robber raise his gun. JD turned to face him, but wasn't fast enough. The bullet caught him in his side, spinning him around.

His body slammed against the ground. His right hand hit the concrete hard and his fingers clenched against the pain.

His gun fired.

The bullet shattered the glass door the two robbers had just run out of.

He could feel the reverberation in his broken hand from the gun firing.

People were running out of the diner. The doors were thrown open so they were resting against the outside of the building, offering a clear view of the inside. JD moved his head to the right; his sight rested on the shattered glass door. Then he saw movement in the diner; a body on the floor and someone kneeling next to it. That person moved and JD balked at the sight. Blonde hair, pink waitresses' uniform, blood.

JD did not hear any shots coming from the diner before the robbers had exited it. So how? The sudden realization made him sick. He pulled his gaze away from the sight and brought it back to the door and the shattered glass. His gun fired. It was *his* bullet that went through the door. His eyes widened as he gasped.

"Oh no."

He looked back at the girl. "Oh God, No!"

His body started to shake. He squeezed his eyes shut and felt hot tears run down his cheek.

He could hear faint sounds around him: a woman's scream, running footsteps.

Someone was next to him. He heard his best friend's concerned voice.

"Kid?"

JD jumped when he felt the hand slap him on the back.

"You gonna get a cup of that or just stare at it for the rest of the day?"

"Jeez, Buck, scare the crap outta me why don't you!" JD didn't turn around to look at his friend, afraid that Buck would be able to clearly see the pain and sorrow etched across his features. He grabbed a cup out of the cabinet and roughly slammed the little door back into place. He didn't say another word, instead he just poured the liquid into his cup and turned and walked out of the small room, leaving Buck behind.

Buck Wilmington stared at his best friend's back. He recognized the slumped shoulders and the withdrawn look. 'He must have been thinking about it again.' He grabbed a cup of his own and pulled the pot out to fill it up. The pot reminded him of the kind they used in restaurants.

*****

Inside the restaurant the four men heard the muffled report of gunfire.

"Can't that kid stay out of trouble for ten minutes!" Buck yelled as he knocked his chair over trying to get to the door.

Ezra, Chris and Vin followed close behind. The four ATF agents started running down the sidewalk to where they could see a crowd of people about two blocks down. Ezra had his cell phone to his ear, making the call for medics in case someone else hadn't.

"Oh Jesus!" Buck saw the body lying on the cement. Black hair moving in the wind.

"Kid!?" Buck knelt next to the young man.

A police car was just pulling up and Chris flashed his badge. "Check that one!" He pointed to the other man lying on the street. The ATF team leader knelt down next to his agent's body. Buck was across from him and both Vin and Ezra were there.

JD's body was shaking. His eyes were shut and his head was moving back and forth. The kid was whimpering, saying 'no' over and over. Tears welled up in his eyes and made a wet path down his pale cheek.

"He took two bullets, one in the side and one in the shoulder." Chris pulled his coat off. He wadded it up and pushed it against JD's side. Buck did the same to his shoulder, using his own coat.

Chris winced when the kid gasped. "JD, son?"

The kid's eyes slowly opened. He turned towards the diner. "I shot...her, Chris. I...shot...her!"

Chris pushed Ezra up. "Go! Check."

Vin and Ezra ran through the open doors.

Buck and Chris made eye contact. Wilmington had a hold of JD's hand.

"Oh God, Chris, they...were...robbing the...diner." The kid took in gasping breaths. "There was only one...I had him...but...another...shot...my gun fired. Oh Jesus...oh Jesus, Chris...I Shot Her!"

JD started gasping for breaths. His eyes squeezed shut again.

Chris looked up and around him. He spotted an officer standing close by. "There were two gunmen." He jerked his head towards the diner. "Get a description from one of the witnesses. Get an APB out on the bastard. I want the son of a bitch found now!" He watched the young officer run into the diner. Chris glanced down, wincing at the young agents pallid features. He glanced over his shoulder towards the street. "Where in the hell is the ambulance?"

As if summoned by Larabee the red and white ambulance pulled around the corner and stopped in the street.

Police cars and another ambulance pulled up like a scene out of a movie. Everyone showed up at once. Two paramedics ran to JD.

The agents heard the southerner's frantic scream for medics.

*****

"Bucklin, what the heck ya doin' in here? Ya came in ta get us coffee twen'y minutes ago." Vin walked into the break room coming to a stop beside the older agent, giving him an appraising glance. He recognized the look on the tall agent's face. He'd had the same look on his own face way too much lately. "You ok?"

Wilmington finally looked at the sharpshooter and with a grim smile reached into the cabinet, grabbing a cup for him. "Yeah, just forgot what I was doing is all."

"How's the kid doin'?" Vin had seen the haunted look on JD's face when he had come into the office area carrying his cup. He thought he knew how the kid was doing, but wanted to hear the opinion of JD's best friend.

"He's doing ok, as well as can be expected, I guess."

Vin took the offered cup and held it between his hands, blowing on the liquid to cool it off. "Yeah, guess so." He looked down, then away. "Suppose we should get some work done 'fore Chris accuses us of just lollygaggin' around all day." Vin grinned a ghost of his usual smile and pushed the taller agent out of the break room ahead of him. The two men made it to their respective desks and started working.

Tanner looked up when Ezra sat down at the desk across from his. The undercover agent pulled the plastic cover off of his Styrofoam cup and Vin could see the foam from the cappuccino.

"Mornin' Ez."

"Mornin' Mr. Tanner."

Ezra glanced up at Vin and the sharpshooter saw a hint of the guilt and sorrow that he had seen in the southerner's eyes that day in the diner.

*****

Tanner and Standish moved quickly when Chris told them to check in the diner. They had to move gawking bystanders out of the way. Ezra gasped when he saw the body. He knelt down next to a young woman lying in a crimson pool. The front of her pink uniform was covered in blood. Her eyes were open, unseeing.

"Oh, Lord no! MEDICS!" Ezra yelled. He didn't find a pulse and she wasn't breathing. He tilted her head back and started mouth to mouth. Tanner was suddenly next to him. He ignored the sharpshooter's hand on his arm and his urgent voice in his ear.

"Ezra. Ez! She's gone."

"NO!" Ezra started compressions on her unmoving chest. "She's not dead. Not JD too!"

"What? Ez, you're not making sense. She's dead, come on!" Tanner grabbed Standish around the waist, pulling him from the body. He had never seen the undercover agent react to anything this way.

Police and paramedics rushed in and Tanner pushed Standish towards the outside door. Ezra's face was white as a sheet and Vin could feel the southerner's body trying to pull air in. Vin pushed Ezra down to the cement and told him to stay put. Tanner walked back over to JD.

*****

Chris stood in his open doorway, watching Tanner and Standish. Something had happened between the two of them, but neither of them were talking about it. Nothing was the same anymore. Not since it happened. He wondered if things would ever be right again. He remembered thinking the same thing that day.

He was trying hard not to dwell in the past. His team needed him to be focused and 'all here.' But he was just a man, of course, and men couldn't help but to reflect on the past sometimes.

*****

Larabee wondered how this could have happened. One moment everything was fine; JD was fine. The next moment all hell broke loose and JD was fighting for his life and his mind. Shooting an innocent bystander wasn't easy to take and Chris knew the kid would fall hard. If she died - he really didn't want to think about that possibility.

Chris and Buck both backed up when the paramedics came. Dan Johansen and Bill Parker, two men the ATF agents knew well, even though Chris wished they didn't because of the circumstances which usually heralded their reunions.

JD saw them and instantly started to fight. "No! I don't...need any...help." He pushed the paramedic away and pointed towards the diner. "Help her. She needs help...please...I'm...fine. Help. Her." The kid's energy was spent. He could hardly breathe.

Chris took the kid's face in his hands. "JD." The kid wasn't responding. Chris wasn't sure how to get through to him. He looked over at Buck. The ladies man was holding JD's hand, trying to soothe him.

"JD!" Still, nothing.

"JOHN!" That got his attention. JD instantly stopped fighting and stared up at the team leader. Chris sighed and softened his voice. "JD, they need to help *you*. Ezra and Vin are with her. Medics are in there now too. Let these men help you."

JD nodded his head at his boss. "Yes, yes sir."

A relieved smile erased the worry on Chris's face for a fraction of a second. He sat back and watched the paramedics assess the kid's condition.

He still tried to stay as close as he could to his injured agent. He glanced up when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Vin knelt beside him. The somber look on the sharpshooter's face said it all. The corners of Vin's mouth turned down and he shook his head slightly.

'Damn.' Chris sighed and closed his eyes. He slowly opened them and looked at JD. He wasn't going to let the kid know. He wasn't doing very well at all and he knew this news would kill him.

Another paramedic walked up and knelt next to Johansen. "What can I do here?"

The veteran paramedic looked up at the new addition. The medic's name tag identified him as Doyle. Dan raised his eyebrows and motioned towards the diner.

The new medic answered Johansen's unspoken question. "Oh, she's DOA."

Everyone heard the kid's harsh gasp. JD was staring at the medic in horror.

Chris pushed Doyle away while glaring daggers at him.

Larabee got in JD's face, his hands on either side. "JD, son."

"What? What? What do you mean? No." JD shook his head. "Chris? No. She's not. Oh God, NO!"

JD was shaking and Chris and Buck were trying to hold him still.

JD turned tear filled eyes on his leader. "Chris...is it...is it true?"

Chris put his hand on the kid's forehead. "I'm sorry JD. She's gone."

JD took in a short breath then a soft "oh" came out. His eyes glazed over and he stared unseeing at the sky.

"JD. JD! Don't you do this! You fight, dammit!!" Chris yelled at the young man as he roughly shook his shoulder.

The paramedics had him ready for transport. "His blood pressure's dropping. We've got to go NOW!" Parker yelled out. The two medics picked the backboard up and placed it on the stretcher.

Chris followed JD into the ambulance. Buck climbed in next to his oldest friend.

The ambulance sped away leaving Vin and Ezra to tend to the scene.

*****

Vin could feel his boss's eyes on him and turned and saw Larabee standing in the doorway of his office. The team leader's eyes may have been looking directly at him, but they weren't seeing him. The corner of Vin's mouth turned up in a sad smile. He shook his head and his gaze fell on the corkboard beside Larabee's head. Before he knew it his own mind had deserted him and had taken his thoughts back to that day again.

*****

Tanner watched the ambulance depart then slowly turned back to Ezra. The southerner wasn't where he had left him and Vin was suddenly worried.

The sharpshooter ran into the diner and saw Ezra with a group of policemen. Vin got closer and saw that Standish had his game face on. The pale color of the undercover agent's face was the only reminder of what he'd just been through.

As Tanner joined the group he heard Ezra finish giving his statement.

The southerner reached to shake the hand of the nearest officer, then turned and walked away. Vin noticed how carefully Ezra avoided looking at the black bag as it was closed over the victim's dead body.

Ezra stepped outside and Vin followed.

There was a long moment of awkward silence. Finally Vin broke it. "Ya doin' ok, pard?"

Standish ran a hand down his face and glanced at Vin. "Mr. Tanner, I believe we have more important matters at hand than my emotional wellbeing."

Vin could see the guilt and sorrow in those green eyes. Tanner wondered about Ezra's reaction to the day's events and compared it to the southerner's reaction to the deaths of the young women in the Mosley and Dunlap cases.

What had happened to Ezra?

The southerner's words rang through his mind again. 'Not JD too.' What did that mean? Vin had a sinking suspicion he knew what it meant. And if he was right, JD wasn't the only one who was going to have a rough time with this. He wanted to talk to the undercover agent about it, but he knew now wasn't the time.

"Let's get to the hospital then, see how the kid's doin'."

The rest of the day was jumbled in Tanner's mind.

A quick drive to the hospital.

The six of them in the waiting room hoping to hear news about the seventh.

The doctor coming out and telling them that JD was going to be ok, his body would heal.

Relief that the kid was going to live.

Worry that he wouldn't *want* to.

*****

Chris shook himself out of his musings. He caught himself glancing over at JD's workspace to assure himself that JD was there and healthy and not the blood soaked body he had been that day.

He remembered the day that he'd sat next to JD's hospital bed and explained to the young agent that he had been officially cleared of any wrong doing. He would be able to come back to work after he was cleared by the psychologist and Chris himself.

JD had looked up at him with hazel eyes full of pain and guilt and the want to die and said those words that would haunt Chris's sleep for months to come.

"Who cares. It doesn't matter anymore. I *killed* her Chris and nothing besides that will ever matter again."

The black-haired agent had rolled over in the bed and faced the wall, seemingly oblivious to the pain it caused him.

It had been rough going for quite awhile, with JD going through the gamut of emotions that they expected from him. Denial, anger, sorrow, guilt, apathy. Not necessarily in the right order, but JD had never been one to do things like everybody else.

The kid had talked to everyone about what had happened. Well, everyone but Ezra, the undercover agent seemed to be avoiding the kid.

After long agonizing months things were finally looking up. Lately he seemed better, like he was almost whole again. Chris had had a long talk with the police psychologist who was working with JD and with her approval had finally placed the kid back on desk duty.

That's where things sat right now. Desk duty until he was cleared to fully return to work. Things still weren't back to normal. They never would be. But, Chris had hope for the future.

"Bye, Chris."

Chris started at the voice. JD was walking past him on his way out the door. JD left early on Thursdays for his weekly session with the psychologist.

"See ya, JD."

Chris's pensive eyes were fixed on the back of the young man until the elevator doors closed behind him.

*****

JD stepped out of the psychologist's office after yet another victorious session. He had once again pulled the wool over her eyes. That's what he liked to think anyway. She was good. But he had some tricks of his own; most of them he'd learned from Ezra. He figured Ez would be mad if he knew JD was using the conning tricks he'd taught him for this purpose.

But, he needed to be back on the team. He needed the others. And if he had to convince that lady that he was ok with what happened - he would do that. He had to do that. That's what mattered now.

He remembered sitting on Annie's grave one day after he'd returned home from the hospital. That's what her name was. Annie. He'd found out later.

Sitting on her grave, holding his gun in his right hand, staring at it. His gaze had lingered for hours on the piece of metal that held his relief from the torture that his life had become.

He had made up his mind when a thought suddenly struck him. 'What about the others? What would this do to them?'

He couldn't bear the idea of them finding him like this. Maybe he could make it through another day. Maybe with their help.

With that thought he carefully wrapped his gun back in the piece of cloth he'd brought it in and stashed it away. He got back in Buck's 'borrowed' truck and started for home, knowing he would be getting a long lecture when he got there.

That had been quite a while ago, but still sometimes it seemed like yesterday.

He stepped out of the tinted black door of the psychologist's office into the sunlight. He squinted up at the bright ball and pulled his sunglasses on.

He had come close that day. So close to doing it. He thought about it all the time. But, that day, back then, well...that was almost it. JD knew that if it hadn't been for his six friends he'd have done it. He would have pulled that trigger. Even now the idea was always in the back of his mind. Plan B. That's what he called it. Oh, not out loud of course. He couldn't let any of the others know about it.

When he was around his six friends he felt...well, he felt like he was almost human again. Not the cold-blooded killer he knew he was. It was in the hours when his friends weren't around and he was alone that the memories would come. The ghosts would torture him and his thoughts would turn to his alternative plan.

So he walked away from the psychologist's office. The guilt of lying to her somewhat alleviated by the reasoning behind it.

He pulled his helmet on, started his bike up and headed for home. He was in the middle lane when he spotted the wildly colored Ninja in the dealership window. It was a newer model than his own Ninja. And it was fast. He'd been looking at it for a long time.

His decision was made before his conscious mind even knew it. He pulled the bike into the right lane, ignoring the honk from the car he'd ridden right in front of, and pulled into the dealership's parking lot.

He knew what would happen when Buck found out. He also knew what he was going to tell him.

'It's better than Plan B.'

 

Jan 2000

 

Sequel: Nightfall

     

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