Rating: PG Minor Language
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: Thanks to Mog for starting this awesome AU. Janet, thank you for all your help with this story....and also for the inspiration behind it. :-) Penny, thanks for convincing me to write Part Two. (This story originally ended after the first part.)
Note from 2003: Another story from 1999. My second story. I never had the heart to go back and change the 'drug bust' part. I had no idea what the ATF was back then. <g> I do now.
Feedback is always greatly appreciated. Please let me know what you think. Thank you, Ruby :)
JD Dunne was in trouble.
JD knew that he was in trouble. Heck, as soon as he did it, he knew that he would be in trouble. Chris had told him to stay put, but he couldn't let the team down. And if that meant risking his life, then that was what he had to do. He didn't think that he would get hurt, but he did.
The young agent pulled his Ninja into the space next to the blue Jeep. He pulled his helmet off and glanced over at the huge black Dodge Ram sitting in the shadows in the corner of the parking garage. The truck seemed even bigger this afternoon, as if it were growing with JD's fears. Even Mr. Larabee's truck is intimidating, the kid thought to himself. He looked at his watch. Five till one. JD took a deep breath as he started towards the elevator.
JD had been working on paper work at his desk when he saw Mr. Larabee standing in the doorway of his office. 'Oh, he looks pissed.' Dunne couldn't hide the shiver that went down his spine.
"JD, I need to see you in my office when you get back from lunch." Chris's eyes weren't laughing, they weren't even friendly.
This was not good.
Dunne nodded once at his superior, unable to say a word. His superior. Chris was such a good friend to JD that sometimes the young agent forgot that the man was his boss. Not this time. The look on Mr. Larabee's face told the kid everything he needed to know. He was in trouble. Big trouble.
JD spent the rest of the morning fidgeting and becoming more nervous by the minute. The kid had never spent his hours at work watching the clock, but this day he did.
When JD had come to work the day after he was released from the hospital he assumed that he would get the normal tongue-lashing from Chris, but he didn't. He got it from Buck and to a lesser degree some of the other guys, but Chris had remained quiet. JD thought that maybe he had been let off the hook this time, but from the look on Chris's face, he knew he hadn't been.
JD walked around the office space that the other five men shared. Every once in a while the kid would look over at Chris's closed door. The leader of the seven wasn't in there, he knew that. Chris was in a meeting. But still, JD would stare at the door until he could feel one of the other five agents watching him.
The rest of the guys weren't even their normal selves today. There was no friendly bantering. No foolish pranks between the men. They all sat at their desks working, looking up every once in a while to watch JD walking around aimlessly.
When twelve o'clock came JD was gone; in the elevator, out the door, on his bike and outta the parking garage before any one could even say a word to him.
JD rode around for a while, knowing that he wouldn't be able to eat, so he just rode. He pulled his bike into the gravel lot next to the Four Corners' water tower. JD swung his leg over the bike and sat his helmet on the black leather seat. The kid walked over and sat on the first rung of the ladder that led up to the top of the tower. He watched the birds and the sky and listened to the cars out on the highway. He could hear the words over and over, "JD, I need to see you in my office when you get back from lunch."
If JD didn't respect Chris Larabee so much this wouldn't bother him as much as it did, but he did respect the older agent. More than he could ever say. The way Chris looked at him, with such utter disappointment on his face. 'Disappointed in me,' the kid thought to himself. 'This is the worst day of my life.' JD shook his head. 'No, that isn't true, the worst day was the day I watched my mama slip away. Nothing could ever be as bad as that. But this is bad. Mr. Larabee telling me he wants to see me in his office after lunch. The look on his face. Oh, he wasn't happy. Oh, this is bad. I was just helping the team. I really was. But I'm sure Chris doesn't see it that way. I know Buck didn't.'
JD could still hear Buck's words in his head, clear as day. "That was the stupidest thing I've ever seen you do kid, and I've seen you do some stupid things." Those words still made JD mad. 'It wasn't stupid Buck, least I don't think it was. I had to do it, I didn't have a choice. It was either do that, or one 'a ya was gonna die...and I just can't, I mean I really can't live with one of you dyin'.'
JD rubbed his eyes hard and felt the unwanted tears there. The young agent glanced at his watch and sighed heavily. 'Time to get back, better get this over with.' JD walked back over to the bike, pulled his helmet on and headed back towards the ATF office.
JD Dunne stepped off the elevator. Without even glancing at any of the other men, he walked straight over to Chris Larabee's open office door and rapped lightly on the glass.
"You wanted to see me Mr. Larabee?"
"Agent Dunne, come in and close the door behind you."
JD turned and quietly shut the door he had just come though. The young agent turned back to face Larabee, trying desperately to hide his fear.
Chris motioned for JD to take a seat and the kid quickly complied.
The leader of the seven cleared his throat. "JD, I asked you in here because I want to talk to you about your actions during the Merriam bust." The older agent watched as Dunne swallowed hard, and shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Do you realize what it means when a superior gives you an order?" Chris asked.
JD flinched but tried to hide it by looking down at his hands. The young man quickly looked back up to meet Larabee's eyes. "Yes. Yes, sir."
"When I told you to stay put, did you take that as your superior telling you not to move? Giving you a direct order?" Chris picked up a pen on his desk and held it in his hand as he leaned back in his chair.
"I guess, I mean, I knew you wanted me to stay there, but I saw a way to help the guys...and I knew I could make it from where I was, and I knew that you couldn't... after...after being shot and I just...I guess I just..." JD trailed off and looked down once again.
"Agent Dunne, I know that what you did worked, but what if it hadn't?" Chris leaned forward, tossing the pen back onto his desk.
JD slowly lifted his head to look at his boss.
Larabee continued, "What if what you had planned didn't work? What if, besides killing Agent Tanner and Agent Standish, they had killed you too? What if that bullet had went through your head, instead of just grazing it? Do you understand what I'm saying? I'm the senior agent here, because I have experience. I've been in these kinds of situations. I give a certain order, not because I like to hear myself talk, but because I feel that it is the best course of action in a certain situation. I need to know that as an agent in my team you will follow my orders. I need to know that, for your safety and the safety of the team as a whole. Am I making myself clear?"
JD closed his eyes and nodded.
The hard look on Larabee's face softened as he watched the kid. "JD, you saved Ezra and Vin's lives. There is no one that can take that away from you. As their friend, and yours, I'll be eternally grateful to you. But I'm not sitting here as your friend right now. I'm sitting here as your boss, and as your boss I have to make sure that you understand that I am in charge here. DO you understand that?"
JD was watching the older agent intently, not sure where he was going with this. "Yes... yes, Sir... I understand."
Larabee sighed and looked out his window at the blue sky. "Would you do it again?"
"Huh? I mean, excuse me, Sir?" JD looked confused as he watched Larabee place his eyes back on him.
"After this talk we just had, if the same situation came up again, knowing what I've just said, would you do the same thing that you did?" Larabee fixed his cold, hard stare on the young agent.
JD looked like a deer caught in headlights. "Would I...would I do it again, Sir? Would I save Vin and Ezra again...knowing that I was wrong...knowing that I was disobeying a direct order?"
Larabee nodded his head once at the ATF agent.
JD sat for a long time staring at the pen on Chris's desk. The young agent took in a deep breath and slowly let it out as he looked directly into Chris Larabee's eyes and finally spoke.
"Mr. Larabee, I...I love being an ATF agent, and I love being on this team. I hope you know that. Meeting you guys and being a part of this team, well, it's been about the best thing in my life. I don't know what I would do if I lost that, I really don't. But...but...if I had that day to do all over again, knowing that I would get in trouble for it, maybe even fired for it. Heck, not even knowing if this time I would live through it..." JD paused and his hazel eyes pierced Chris to the soul. "I'd do it again, Mr. Larabee...in a heartbeat."
The two ATF agents stared at each other for a long while. Finally the younger agent broke the eye contact.
Chris straightened in his chair, still looking at JD. He paused before saying, "As long as we understand each other."
JD furrowed his brow, not understanding at all.
Larabee grabbed a sheet of paper in front of him and turned it around, placing it on the desk in front of JD. The older agent was suddenly 'all business.'
"I need your signature, Agent Dunne. This is an official reprimand for not following a direct order given by your senior agent in charge. ATF rules and regulations demand that you be written up for your actions during the Merriam drug bust on August 7, 1999. Do you understand this, Agent Dunne?" Chris watched as the young man looked hesitantly at the paper in front of him.
Instead of looking confused, the kid now looked ashamed and defeated. "Yes, Sir...I understand."
Larabee handed JD the pen from his desk and the kid hastily scribbled his name across the bottom line.
Chris pulled the paper away from Dunne. Larabee opened a yellow manila folder on his desk and placed the sheet of paper inside with the rest of the papers that contained the information from the Merriam bust. The older agent snapped the folder shut, pulled out his bottom desk drawer and placed the folder inside. Chris slid that drawer shut and opened the one right above it, pulling out a polished wooden frame with shining glass.
Sounding very much like the 'boss' and still in his 'business mode' Chris finally spoke again. "That was your official reprimand for your actions during the Merriam drug bust." The leader of the seven watched as JD nodded and looked down at the pen that was still in his hand. The kid's young face was flaming red with the shame of being officially written up.
Larabee looked down at the frame in his hand and back up to the young agent in front of him. Then, sounding very much like a 'friend' and a 'brother' Chris held out the mahogany frame to his young agent. "This, Agent Dunne, this is your official commendation for your actions during the Merriam drug bust."
JD took the frame from Chris's hand, his eyes landed on the certificate placed safely behind the glass. The kid noticed the bold, black words that stood out on the brown parchment paper. 'Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty.' Dunne looked from the frame to Larabee, not really comprehending what was going on. Then the kid saw the smile on his boss's face and that told him all he needed to know.
"Better go find a place for that, Agent Dunne." Chris nodded his head at the young man, dismissing him.
JD stepped out of Chris's office and quietly closed the door behind him. The kid turned to see five sets of eyes staring at him.
"Well, Mr. Dunne, how was your...meeting...with Mr. Larabee?" Standish asked in his southern drawl.
JD let out a deep breath and turned to look at the door that was marked Senior Special Agent Chris Larabee, Group Supervisor. The young ATF agent took a long look at the door that he had been dreading all morning and thought of the man that was sitting at the desk behind it. Finally JD understood the man that he called, 'Mr. Larabee, Chris, boss, brother, and friend,' a little better.
Dunne's visage lit up with a huge smile. JD clutched the frame to his chest with pride and turned back to face his comrades.
"I got written up!" The young agent exclaimed with pride.
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