The black dodge pulled into the school parking lot and screeched to a halt. Before the engine had completely stopped both front doors were open and to rather imposing figures stepped out of its confines. Seeing the principal standing on the front steps, the two men made their way to the nervous-looking man, ignoring the sound of children at play coming from behind the school building.
Within moments the Principal found himself fighting the urge to run as he found himself face to face with a very irate Chris Larabee and Buck Wilmington. Clearing his throat and shifting nervously under the combined glare of the two ATF agents, he opened his mouth to speak.
“You lost our sons!” Larabee hissed, his voice vibrating with anger and fear as he made the accusation.
Opening his mouth to protest, he turned and found himself facing burning blue eyes and knew he would find no quarter. “No,” the principal began protesting.
“Then where are they?” demanded Buck, his voice cold and hard.
“In the building,” the principal hastened to assure the two men. “Everyone we can spare is looking for them,” he assured. The principal was a brave man for the most part, he had to be to deal with the demands of children, students, teacher, and school administrators, but these two men made him long for his home and bed – someplace safe where he could hide. Little did he know that many criminals in Denver felt the same way.
“Where are their classrooms,” Chris demanded. It had been difficult enough to convince Vin and JD to go to school and harder to help them understand why they needed to be in different classes, but the two adults had persevered, and with a little help from their friends, the boys had set off for school. Though there were some struggles the first week, today, Monday of the second week of school, the boys seemed to be adjusting. At least they had seemed to be adjusting until Chris received a call about twenty minutes ago informing him that there had been a fire alarm at school and the two boys had disappeared.
Twenty Minutes Earlier – Vin’s class
Vin watched the chalkboard as the teacher went over their math lesson. This was his favorite part of the day since the numbers made a lot more sense than words. Suddenly a loud noise sounded in the room. He sat still, trying to figure out what the noise was and fought off the panic and worry that threatened to consume him.
JD would be scared. He needed to get to JD.
Hearing the words fire alarm, Vin’s panic increased until he no longer heard the teacher as she gave instructions on what to do. There was a fire and fires weren’t good. JD needed him.
With an overwhelming need to protect his younger friend, Vin raced into the hall and down to where JD’s classroom was. He was just in time to see a terrified JD dodge around the teacher’s aide and into the quickly filling hall.
Grabbing the brunette’s hand, Vin looked all around for someplace safe. Not seeing anywhere around them, Vin took off running, he knew where they needed to go to be safe.
Using their investigative skills as well as their knowledge of the boys, Buck and Chris soon figured out where the boys would have gone to seek safety from the fire.
Racing through the halls, they made their way to the gymnasium and then to the locker rooms that were used when the high-school teams practiced at the building. Walking into the shower area, they made their way to the furthest shower stall, calling for the boys.
They were rewarded with relieved shouts of greeting as two small forms exploded from the stall and into awaiting arms. Clinging to the adults, the boys felt their fright at the thought of fire begin to abate. Chris and Buck were there they were safe.
Holding Vin tightly to him, Chris allowed the relief to flood his system at having found his boy safe. He knew he and Vin would have to have a long talk with each other as well as the principal and teachers about what had happened and what they were supposed to do. Looking over, he saw his relief mirrored in Buck’s eyes.
Without releasing his hold on JD, Buck turned and headed out of the locker room to find someplace comfortable to sit while he and Chris explained what a fire alarm meant and what the boys should do if they ever heard one.
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