Disclaimer: Don’t own them make no money off them. Property of MGM / Trilogy.
Author’s Note: Thanks to Luna Dey who beta’d for me, and to my friends and fellow list members who allow me to try out my fics on them. Thanks to Mog for creating the ATF universe.
Song : I Think About You (Don Schlitz/ Steve Seekin)
Chris Larabee stood staring out the window with his head leaning against the cool glass. Here he was in another hospital room, only this time it wasn’t any of Team Seven that lay in the bed behind him. He studied the figure that lay in the bed and heaved a heavy sigh as he walked over and sank into the chair he had spent the last two days living in. He reached out a callused hand and took the smaller hand in his. He still saw her as a toddler with big blue eyes that watched him with pride touched with a little bit of hero worship.
Larabee pressed the dainty hand to his cheek and tried to wish her to wake up by the sheer force of his will alone. “Wake up baby please. I need to see those baby blues of yours.” Exhausted, he laid his head on the bed and closed his eyes. He could hear the radio Vin had brought playing softly in the background.
Every time I see a woman on a billboard sign I think about you Saying “drink this beer and you’ll be mine” I think about you
When an actress on the movie screen Plays Lolita in some old man’s dreams It doesn’t matter who she is I think about you
His mind replayed the call from the school over and over in a never-ending loop. He couldn’t believe it when he was told a fellow student had severely beaten her. She was being loaded into the ambulance as he spoke to the principal. She was still unconscious and the more time that passed the more worried he became.
He was able to start proceedings against the young man responsible for what happened when he met the cops at the hospital. Krissy was only sixteen, so he was the one who needed to press the charges.
Those first hours after she had been brought to the hospital had been agonizing for Chris, and thinking back on them didn’t lessen the feelings of anger and fear he had felt then. The cops taking the report told him what they had found, and what they had been told by the student that came across Krissy and her assailant. They said that they had found a bat nearby, and that they were waiting on test results to see if the blood on it matched hers. They had found out that she had put up a hell of a fight. Chris smiled at thought of the damage she could have inflicted on the boy responsible. As he paced the ER waiting room, he fought hard to keep the fear of losing his little girl away, but nothing he did seemed to help. He knew he couldn’t handle it if he had to bury her too.
He had paced around the waiting room for what seemed like hours, until someone finally had come to talk to him before they had taken him up to the surgical waiting room.
When I see a pretty woman walking down the street I think about you Men look her up and down like she’s some kind of treat I think about you She wouldn’t dare talk to a stranger Always has to be aware of the danger Doesn’t matter who she is I think about You… eight years old Big blue eyes and a heart of gold
When I look at this world, I think about You… and I can’t help but see That every woman used to be Somebody’s little girl… I think about you
Every time I hear people say it’s never gonna change I think about you Like it’s some kind of joke, some kind of game Girl I think about you When I see a woman on the news Who didn’t ask to be abandoned or abused It doesn’t matter who she is I think about…
Chris mulled over the list of her injuries in his head, and he couldn’t help but think that the list could rival that of Team Seven’s Sharpshooter. It was amazing how one teenage boy could do such damage to another person.
They had taken the young girl into surgery to fix her broken ribs and punctured lung. They also had a cracked pelvic bone to contend with, and they ended up wiring her jaw shut to help the fractures in it and her left cheek bone heal.
His heart broke when he saw her in the recovery room. Her blonde hair was still tinted slightly red from the blood that had been rinsed out of it. The fine features of her face were hard to see through all the distortion caused by the bruises and swelling. He could see where they had wired her jaw shut and he shuddered in sympathy at the thought of the pain she would have to endure. Through all the cuts and bruises he could still see his little girl in the image his mind conjured up. She stood looking up at him with those big blue eyes, begging him not to go every time he had to return to college or to the police academy.
You… eight years old Big blue eyes and a heart of gold
When I look at this world, I think about You… and I can’t help but see That every woman used to be
Somebody’s little girl… I think about…
You… eight years old Big blue eyes and a heart of gold When I look at this world I think about you I think about you I think about you
Chris was brought back from his worried thoughts buy a gentle pressure on his hand. When he looked up he saw a pair of unfocused, pain filled, baby blue eyes watching him. Larabee sat up and he could see her when she tried to speak. Quickly moving closer to her head he laid a gentle finger to her lips. “Shh baby, don’t try and talk. They had to wire your jaw shut to help it and your cheek heal properly.”
He could see the fear in her eyes. He gently placed his forehead against hers and whispered. “He can’t hurt you anymore. I made sure of it. I’m not leaving you this time.” He knew the gesture would calm her just as it always had even after the worst of nightmares when she was little. He could feel her relax at the touch.
+ + + + + + +
As he watched her drift back to sleep, Chris thought about how much of her life he had missed. He squared his shoulders, and he made her a promise that he would be there for her no matter what. She would live with him also … It was time she lived with her father. The ATF agent sat back in the chair and thought back to the day that he told his parents his girlfriend was with child. His parents didn’t like Michelle. They thought she was a bad influence on their son. But, when he said he wanted to raise his child they agreed to help him. He gently took his daughter’s small hand in his, and his thoughts drifted back to his years at home. They never hid the fact that he was her father. She grew up calling him daddy. A smile spread across his face and he decided he would speak to his father. He knew they would let her come to live with him. They had been after him to raise her in his house since the death of his wife and son.
“Mr. Larabee,” a soft female voice called from the door.
Chris looked up and nodded. “Yes?” He straightened to stand by the side of the bed, while keeping a hand on his daughter’s arm.
The young woman stepped into the room and fiddled with her hat as she looked at the famous ATF agent. “I’m Detective Landau. I’m here about the abuse your daughter suffered. The officers that took your report stated that there wasn’t much to all this. I am just following up.”
Closing his eye against the anger that started to build. When he thought he could speak without taking the woman’s head off, he looked up at the detective. “Look at her. She’s only sixteen. She should be out with her friends, going to movies, and going out on dates, not to mention dances at school. But, no, she’s laying here unable to move or speak, and they say there’s nothing to report.”
“Mr. Larabee. Please calm down. As a parent myself I understand how you’re feeling.” For a moment, she could see the worry and concern etched on his face before his mask fell into place.
“Calm down! Lady you don’t have any idea how I feel. This isn’t your child laying here scared and in pain. Her injuries are enough to make a grown man cringe.” Chris fought to control his voice and his statements, but he was fighting a losing battle.
The detective was shocked by this news. “Injuries? The report never mentioned them. How badly was she injured?”
Larabee shook his head. It didn’t surprise him that it wasn’t mentioned. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?…. She has a cracked pelvis, lower jaw and left cheek are also cracked, a couple of broken ribs, and a punctured lung. That doesn’t even take into account all of her cuts and bruises. Now, you tell me if there’s nothing to be worried about.”
The detective made her way to the bed and stared wide-eyed at the young girl sleeping there. She couldn’t help but wince at seeing the swollen face. “How did all this happen?”
“The jerk those officers arrested did this, just because she turned him down for a date. I want him to pay for this. I don’t mean to take it out on you, but,” he indicated the small form in the bed, “my child is laying here battered and broken after a vicious attack.” He knew what the next question she was that she was bound to ask. “No, he didn’t rape her. Someone came upon them before he could.”
She looked up sharply at the tall blonde. Landau couldn’t believe he knew what she was thinking. “How did you know I was going to ask that?”
“I’m an AT F agent. I know the law. It’s a standard question when a woman is beaten.” Chris kept his eyes on the young woman in the bed, and he was relieved to feel her move under his hand.
“I’ll look into the report. Please give me a call when she wakes. I do need to talk to her.” Landau handed him her card. Just before turning to leave she paused to look at the battered teenager. She gave her a light pat on the arm and then turned to leave.
Larabee glanced at the card before shoving it into his pocket. He closed his eyes a moment and took a couple deep breaths to steady himself, and then he retrieved a cool cloth form the bathroom. Gently, he bathed her face in an effort to help her relax into a healing sleep.
+ + + + + + +
During the next month, Krissy dealt with the countless visits from cops and the Lawyers dealing with the case. On more then one occasion the young girl franticly tried to tell her father that she didn’t want to testify. Chris did his best to reassure her that she wouldn’t have to see him and that her written testimony would be enough. DA Travis sat next to the frightened girl. “Easy hun. I just need you to write down what happen and what he said to you.”
The young blonde turned to her father for help. She didn’t’ want to do this, but she knew if she didn’t he would do it to someone else.
Chris laid a hand on her shoulder and nodded. “Go on. You don’t want him to do this again to some other girl do you?” He saw her shake her head in answer. Then he handed her the pen.
While she was busy, he let his mind slip back to the call he made to the office when he first got to the hospital on that first day. He had only gotten out that Krissy was in the hospital before the line went dead. Larabee knew the rest of the team would be there within the next hour. Larabee watched each member of his team react to the young girl’s injuries. He couldn’t help but cringe when Buck swore as he stormed form the room. Nathan picked up her chart and read it. To ease his own mind, he gently checked her over. JD worried him when he watched the youngest member of his team step away from the bed. Silence was not a good thing from the usually boisterous young man. Ezra lightly brushed a finger across her cheek and shook his head sadly, and Josiah closed his eyes and said a silent prayer for the young girl. Vin gave Chris a silent nod, and he laid a hand on the young girl’s covered leg. His heart was breaking for his best friend and his daughter. In the short time that he had been with the team, he came to see her as a little sister. He made a silent promise that the boy would know he had messed with the wrong girl.
Larabee had noticed that Ezra had slipped out of the room and he was sure that Standish had gone to find Buck. Buck always had a hard time dealing with something like this happening to a woman, and he had known that Ezra would be able to help calm his old friend down.
As the days and nights passed, the nightmares had been the worst. She flung out at the images she saw in her dreams, and it pained Chris to hold her down knowing he might be hurting her more. He was afraid the restraints might do more damage to her mind set than had already been done by experiencing the brutal attack, and he refused to let them use them on her. Every time he had to hold her down he was careful not to hold where her injuries were, but he was still afraid of hurting her.
Larabee was brought back to the present by a tug on his arm. He looked down at his little girl and smiled as she handed him the paper she was working on. He could see she was getting tired. “I think she’s had enough for today. Do you have everything you need?” he asked Travis
“Yes. This should work just fine.” He put the paper in his case after having the notary, who had come with him, notarize it for proof of authenticity. Then he stood to go. “Evelyn sends her love,” he told Chris as he clasped the blonde’s arm in a gesture of support. He looked down at the girl that now leaned back against the pillows, already sleeping, and sighed. He bid Chris goodnight and left to visit the lawyer he had gotten for them. After everyone had left, the tall blonde sat on the edge of the bed. A smile lit his face when he felt her move closer to him in her sleep. He knew she felt safe now. As he leaned back against the wall, he managed to drift off to sleep.
+ + + + + + +
Chris looked at his watch for what seemed to be the hundredth time just as Josiah walked through the door. “Sorry I’m late. Truck wouldn’t start.” He explained as he took the chair that Larabee had vacated.
“That’s okay. Thanks for staying with her. I just don’t feel like she’s ready to be left alone yet.” Gently he placed a kiss on the sleeping girl’s forehead and then left for court.
While sitting there, he couldn’t’ believe the kid was only getting Juvenile Hall. Larabee leaned close to their lawyer and urged her to push for a stronger sentence.
The judge looked at the angry face of a father let down by the system “Mr. Larabee. I understand how you feel. But, being a law enforcement officer yourself you know how it works. I just hope your daughter has no permanent ill effects from what has happened to her.”
“Thank you, Your Honor.” Chris Larabee looked over at the boy responsible for all this, and he turned the full force of his glare on the young man. “I hope some day you’re on the receiving end of a beating just like the one you gave my daughter.” With that, the ATF agent left the courtroom. He knew he needed to calm down before he told her the out come of the trail.
As he entered the room, he noticed that the rest of the team was there and Krissy was awake. He gave them a small, weak smile.
“Well, how did it go?” Buck asked as he lost another hand of cards to the younger blonde.
A frown creased the tall blonde’s face at seeing the cards, and he tossed a glance at the team’s undercover agent, who shrugged in reply.
“OH! Don’t worry Pard; it’s only rummy.” Buck tossed out the explanation, knowing his oldest friend had turned to Standish for an answer. “So, you going to tell us or not?”
With a heavy sigh Chris nodded. “He got Juvenile Hall ’til he’s eighteen. Then they will seal his records.” He heard the other members gasp at what he had just said, but it was his daughter’s reaction he was worried about. He got it, when she threw the cards and knocked over the tray table.
Vin moved quickly to grab the radio and phone before she had a chance to get hold of them.
The man in black was already by her side. He pulled her into a hug and held on until he felt her fighting stop and the crying begin. “Shhhh baby. I know, but he’s under age and the courts can’t do anymore then that. I know it’s not fair.” He let his fingers gently stroke her hair, and soon he could feel her relax in his arms. Still, he didn’t release his hold on her. Larabee sat with her until she finally managed to fall asleep.
“It’s not right, Chris. He gets off for the most part, and Krissy has to live with this the rest of her life,” JD said, trying to control his anger.
“I know, JD, but you know as well as I do how the law works.” The blonde noticed when the other nodded in agreement with him.
Chris was glad that at least the trial was taken care of very quickly, and that Krissy hadn’t had to be there. But, he hated seeing how down she was after finding out about the verdict. “Baby, I know how you feel, but there isn’t anything we can do about it. At least he got something out of it and didn’t walk away free and clear.” He saw her sigh in resignation. “Now you have your therapy to deal with, and you need to get well enough to go home. Think you can try really hard, so you can come home?” he asked. She tipped her head and looked at him with a question in her eyes, then she pointed from herself to him. “Yes, with me, baby.” She smiled and then paused to look around the room. She pointed to the clock and then again from herself to her father. Chris smiled as he caught her meaning. “From now on. I want you with me from now on.” She hugged him and smiled as much as she could with the wires holding her jaws. After that day, she threw herself into the therapy. She wanted to go home.
+ + + + + + +
Krissy sat on the edge of the bed and waited for her father to arrive. After a month in the hospital she was more than ready to go home.
“Good afternoon, Krissy. I see you’re ready to go. I just have a few things to go over with your father then you can leave.” Doctor Thomas smiled at seeing the sparkle in the young blonde’s eyes. She knew going home was now the best thing for her. “I just need to check you over then you’re all set to go.” After a quick examination of the young woman, she smiled. “You’re healing well, but I still don’t want you trying to walk yet.”
“Don’t worry, she won’t be walking anytime soon.” An authoritative voice came from the direction of the door. Both women looked up at hearing the strong voice to see a smiling blonde standing there.
Chris pushed away from the doorframe and made his way over to the bed. He wrapped his arms around the younger of the two women and gave her a gentle squeeze. “I’m sorry I’m late baby. Had to get a few things.” Larabee turned to the doctor. “So doc, when do the wires get to come out?” he asked as he took his little girl’s hand.
“I want to see her next week. They should be able to come out then as long as she follows my instructions, and above all, NO walking, get plenty of rest, and take your meds.”
“She will. I have six helpers lined up,” the ATF agent said as he took the stack of prescriptions the doctor handed him.
The doctor shook her head in sympathy for the girl. She knew all to well how Team Seven was when it came to one of their own, and this young girl was no exception. If anything, they were more protective of her than they were with each other. “I take it the team members are the helpers?”
“Right, she’s got six honorary uncles willing to take their turns at helping her.” He couldn’t help but chuckle at seeing the panic in the blue eyes that stared up at him. “Don’t worry, Nettie and Casey have also volunteered to help you.” He watched the relief play across her face and smiled back at her.
The nurse helped the orderly get Krissy settled into a wheelchair, as Chris gathered up all the things that the guys had brought her. The doctor handed him the sheet with the final instructions and Chris did one last check of the room to be sure they hadn’t missed anything, then he lead the way to his truck waiting out front.
+ + + + + + +
As they stepped out the door, Krissy sat up straighter and smiled as much as she could when she saw Vin standing by the truck. He held a stuffed Bear that was holding a heart. When the wheelchair was stopped next to him he handed her the bear and kissed her on the cheek. “Glad your coming home, Squirt.” He gently tweaked her nose when he saw her give him a good imitation of Chris’s famous glare. She never had liked that nickname.
After playing the dutiful father by making sure her seatbelt was securely fastened, where she was seated in the middle of the large bench seat in the truck, he watched Vin climb in next to her and pull the young girl close. The younger man had wrapping a protective arm around her and let her lean against him. Chris smiled warmly at the sight as he went around and climbed into the driver’s side.
Larabee started the engine and headed the truck out onto the highway toward home. They made one quick stop to fill the prescriptions, and he thought of stopping for milk shakes. He changed his mind when he saw the young woman was asleep were she leaned against the sharpshooter. He reached over and gave his daughter a gentle pat on the knee and he kept the truck headed towards the ranch and the rest of their family.
+ + + + + + +
The rest of the team heard the truck pull in the drive and made their way out onto the porch to welcome their lost angel home. Chris smiled fondly at the sight of them gathered there, impatiently waiting for them to get Krissy out of the truck. Josiah was the first to give up any show of patience, and he walked over to the truck. The Profiler waited for Vin to climb out and then picked up the sleeping girl and headed into the house. In the den, he gently placed her on the couch and pulled the afghan off the back to cover her. The big man leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. “Welcome home Angel.” Then he put his size to good use and he ushered the others from the room so she could sleep.
They all gathered in the kitchen, every one of them thankful their family was finally complete. The last of their family had come home to stay.