Rating: PG-13 Language

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven is owned by Trilogy, Mirish and MGM. No money is being made. This fanfic is purely for entertainment purposes

Comments: Thanks to Mog for starting the ATF/AU. A huge thank you to NotTasha and Judy for betaing for me. I want to thank Penny, Marla, Heather and Robin for all their help and encouragement.
This is just a goofy little story. Please don't take it seriously. I know that this is most likely *not* how federal agents spend their workday. <g> I'm just having fun with the guys, they'll get back to work tomorrow.
Please let me know what you think. :)

 

 

The Handwriting on the Wall
By: Ruby

 

The office area of Chris Larabee's ATF team was quiet, with only a few of his agents in attendance. Vin Tanner sat in front of his desk, leaned back in his chair, feet propped up. The young Texan had a grin on his face as he watched something across the room.

Buck Wilmington stood beside the sharpshooter. The tall ladies man's hands rested on his hips, one foot out in front of the other. With raised eyebrows and an incredulous look on his face, he was also intently gazing at the far side of the office.

Sitting on the edge of his seat, with his shoulders hunched forward and his long black bangs almost covering his eyes, the object of both men's scrutiny stared at the small computer screen in front of him, oblivious to their presence.

Shaking his head, Vin glanced up to Buck. Seeing the tall man's wide eyes and his smile, he sighed and went back to observing their youngest.

Every so often, JD's head would tilt to the left and he'd stare at the screen for a while. Then, cocking his head back to the right, he'd continue to watch the monitor with rapt attention. JD actually got up out of his seat once, twisted his upper body to the right, and gazed at the screen from an upside down advantage point. Finally straightening back out, he'd harrumph loudly while running his hand through his unruly black hair. Sitting down hard in his chair, he'd twirl it around, and around, finally reaching out a hand to stop his spinning. Then, he'd lean back and shake his head. Reaching forward, he'd click the mouse and wait for a few seconds before sitting on the edge of his seat to watch the screen intently again.

The cycle was repeated over and over.

For an hour and a half, Vin and Buck had watched Dunne's antics. The steps weren't always repeated in the same order, but close enough that the two Federal agents had come to anticipate JD's moves and pretty much knew what would come next.

Vin couldn't help but wonder what the heck the kid was doing. And he knew it was just driving Buck nuts. If it wasn't for the bet the two men had going, they'd have long since been over there finding out just what the kid was up to. Quietly, the two men had passed guesses back and forth, till Buck let the line 'Bet me' spew forth. Vin grabbed the gauntlet and money was tossed in the pot. Now the two agents were hell bent on guessing right before they went over there and busted the kid.

"Whatcha doin'?"

The softly spoken question sounded like a gun going off and Buck was twirling around to confront their attacker. Vin turned his head sharply at the sound.

Nathan Jackson walked up to stand between the two men.

Buck, with his hand still over his heart, quickly spoke. "Hope someone `round here remembers the number for 911. I might just be needin' it," he grinned.

"Cute," Nathan smiled. "What's up?" He looked from Vin to Buck, then over to JD.

"Well, we're tryin' to figure out what in the heck the kid's doin' over there," Vin answered, softly.

"Oh."

Buck shook his head. "I'm tellin' you, Vin, the kid's lookin' at porn."

"Yeah, right," Vin scoffed.

"Well, it's better'n your ideas," Buck countered. "I can't believe you thought he was-"

Holding up his hand, Nathan interrupted Buck. "Have either of you considered the possibility that he's over there...," he paused, raising his eyebrows in mock disbelief, "working?"

Buck laughed, hitting Vin on the arm as he rolled his eyes. "Think, Nathan." He tapped his finger against his temple. "Chris is gone. Won't be back for a while. Who's gonna be workin'?" He shook his head, snorting in disbelief.

Vin grinned at both men. "Yeah, Nate, where you been? When the cat's away, the mice play." He glanced over at JD. "I just wanna know what that little rat is up to." Smiling, he looked back at his friends as he slowly stood up. Stretching cramped muscles, he reached for the sky. Twisting his neck from side to side he heard it pop and looked satisfactorily at the two men. "It's time to find out."

*****

JD jumped a foot in the air. Twirling around on his feet, he fell backwards, landing hard on his desk, butt first. "Holy hell, Buck! Scare the living daylights outta me, why don't you?!" He rubbed the back of his head where Wilmington had slapped him to get his attention.

"Whatcha doin', kid?" Vin asked, leaning to the right, trying to see the computer screen behind JD's body.

"Nothin'." He smiled sheepishly.

"Don't look like nothin' to me, JD," Buck narrowed his eyes. "Just what have you been doin' over here?"

JD didn't move. With a stubborn look, he leaned back, effectively covering his computer screen from prying eyes.

"We ain't Chris, kid. You can tell us." Vin crossed his arms in front of his chest.

JD didn't move an inch.

"What's up, JD?" Nathan asked, curious.

JD looked over at the medic. Sighing, he shook his head. "Nothin', Nate. Really." Embarrassed, he looked down, feeling his ears burn. "I was just...I'm...well..." He looked up, then finally threw his arms down and slid off the desk, sitting back in his seat. "Fine." He held his hand out to the monitor, inviting his inquisitive friends to have a look. "Inquiring minds, and all," he harrumphed under his breath.

He watched as his three friends stared at the monitor. He couldn't help giggling at their baffled expressions.

"It's just a gray box." Vin shook his head.

"Looks like a picture of a brick wall," Nathan replied.

"What the hell?" Buck asked. "I figured for sure it was nekk-" A hard elbow to the ribs silenced him. Buck glared at Vin for a second before turning his attention back to the screen.

"Okay. I give. What is it?"

JD shrugged his shoulders. "Well," he looked back at the monitor, "I found this site this mornin'." He pointed to the small, gray picture. "See, this is a wall in a buildin' that was built over Portland, Oregon's very first cemetery. People say that they've seen objects appear on the wall - handwriting, pictures, things like that. They have a camera trained on the wall and they say if you watch it long enough, you'll see something." He looked back up at his friends, wondering what he'd see on their faces.

Buck, his eyes narrowed, stared skeptically at the screen.

Grinning, Vin shook his head.

Nathan looked interested as he studied the small gray wall.

JD turned back to the monitor. "Here." He clicked the mouse. "You're supposed to refresh the screen every few minutes. The picture will be updated."

Buck laughed. "If you ask me, all this is a bunch of hooey!"

"I don't know, Buck. The page says that mysterious events have happened there," JD answered.

"Just `cause someone says somethin's true, don't mean it is," Buck admonished.

"I know that, Buck. I'm not a kid, you know," JD rolled his eyes.

JD looked up to catch the three men grinning at each other. "What?" He asked. "Well, I'm not."

"Okay, JD." Buck grabbed him by the head, giving him a Dutch rub.

JD squirmed out from Buck's grasp. "Stop it, Buck. I'm being serious here."

Vin looked down, a wry grin on his face.

JD looked back at the screen. "Laugh all ya want, but people have written about the things they've seen." He moved the mouse. "Here, look at this."

The three men moved closer. Another page with a list of links was pulled up. Each link went to a page where a person had written their comments about what they'd seen on the wall. Sometimes a link to a screen capture that they'd taken of the wall would be included in the comments.

Nathan was just behind JD's left shoulder. Nudging JD's arm, he spoke while pointing at the screen. "Here, JD, click on this link."

"Very small face," JD read out loud. "Hey, there's a pic."

"Well, click on it."

All four men watched as a new small gray box came up on the screen. "Say's that there's a face in one of the blocks." Buck read. "You see a face, Vin?"

"Nah." Vin paused for a second, and then spoke seriously. "Wait." Squinting, he shifted his head to the left. "If ya turn this way. Yeah, right there." He pointed to the screen. "It's Hoffa."

Buck snorted. "We found 'im'," he laughed, slapping Vin on the back.

Bobbing his eybrows, Buck suddenly pointed at the screen. "Hey, you guys see what I see?" Grinning wolfishly, he put both hands out in front of him, outlining a women's hips in the air. "Oh, yeah!" Leering at the screen, he whistled.

"Oh, Buck! Yer so full of crap!" JD rolled his eyes. He reached out and pushed him, laughing when his best friend lost his balance and fell into Tanner. Vin caught the chortling ladies man and pulled him back upright.

JD looked up to see that Nathan was still watching the screen with interest. He cocked his head toward the monitor. "You believe any of this, Nathan?" He asked earnestly.

The tall black man ran a hand down his face. "Well, JD, down in the South, there's lots of stories - things that never could have happened, but people absolutely swear that they did. The plantations, Civil War battlefields, the cemeteries are chock full of unusual occurrences. I guess I've always kept an open mind about these things."

"You ever see anything, Nate?" Vin asked, studying his friend thoughtfully.

Nathan looked over at the sharpshooter, then down. "I've seen some things," he answered quietly.

When no other information was forthcoming the other men let the subject drop and went back to watching the screen.

"Pffffffffttttttt!" Buck suddenly guffawed.

"What? What's so dang funny, Buck?"

Buck pointed at the screen. He couldn't talk, he was laughing so hard. Finally, wiping his eyes, he got his mirth under control. "This one," he pointed at the screen. "Three faces and a...," laughing again, he barely got the word out, "...a turtle!" He leaned over, grabbing his stomach while laughing hysterically.

Vin chuckled. "Well, Buck, maybe it died there. Wants its revenge." He widened his eyes imitating a zombie.

All four men were now laughing.

JD clicked on the link for the turtle. "Ah, no pic."

"I'd sure like to've seen that one, JD," Vin smirked.

The men went through more comments, mostly laughing at them. Not once did any of the men see what was supposedly in the picture.

"JD, can you go on back to that first page with the wall? We'll see if we can see anything," asked Nathan, the only one out of the four who still seemed curious.

JD obliged. "Here ya go, Nate."

The four agents stared at the screen for a good five minutes.

"It's nice to see the taxpayer's hard earned money being well spent," Chris spoke from behind them.

The four men jumped. Turning around, they tried to hide the screen from their boss.

"Chris! Hey, old buddy." Buck looked at the other three men, then back to his old friend. "Didn't think you'd be back for a while."

"Really?" Larabee asked sardonically, his eyes half hooded.

"Chris, we were just...um...well...we're..." JD looked to his friends for support.

Vin shrugged his shoulders and Nathan stayed silent.

Chris motioned for the men to move away from the screen. They complied and he stepped forward. He raised his eyebrows, "I don't even want to know what this is all about."

The four busted ATF agents shifted uncomfortably.

Chris was silent for a long moment, staring at the screen the whole while. Rubbing his chin, he cocked his head to the side as he leaned forward, his eyes narrowed. Placing his finger on the lower left corner of the wall, he finally spoke, "Hey, is this a turtle?"

 

the end (November 2000)

Sequel: Live Cams

 

I used to have the link for The Wall here...but they took it down. How sad. It's all NotTasha's fault really. <g> I'd never have found the site if I hadn't seen the link on her page. Anyway, thanks NotTasha, I've had a ball looking at all the comments there. Oh yeah, the three faces and a turtle comment really is there! Take a look. :)

     Comments  Please let me know what you think. I'd love to know.

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