The Tattoo M7 ATF AU

The seven ATF agents known informally as The Magnificent Seven were meeting at leader Chris Larabee's house to get some repairs done on the ranch before they started a new case on Monday that would require the leader and a couple of others to go undercover for some time. Vin Tanner, the team's sniper was the last one to pull up, which was unusual. The slender form was usually the first to arrive since he was always willing to help Chris out with the chores and even if there wasn't anything specific to work on, he loved just hanging out at the spacious spread.

Hopping out of his jeep, the handsome figure headed toward the fence where the other six were already working on replacing some rotten boards. It was the beginning of July and was hot in the sun, so the rest were bare-chested. Tanned skin glistened with sweat, the droplets running with abandon down toned pecs and abs and giving the rippling back and shoulder muscles a damp sheen. All six wore their cowboy hats to shield their eyes from the bright light, and leather work gloves covered powerful hands. Buck and JD were pulling off the old boards, while Chris and Josiah fastened the new ones in place. Ezra was muttering that he was not meant for menial labor, but the others had threatened to dump him in the pond boots and all if he didn't help, so he was holding one end of the new lumber for Larabee and Sanchez while Nathan had the other end. He was wearing almost four hundred dollar Tony Lama's after all, and they would not do well with an extended dip in the water! The rest teased him about wearing them even to do chores, and the brand sold less expensive work varieties, but cheap boots hurt his feet. Not that he was the only one who had some expensive footwear. Chris himself owned at least two pair of Luccheses for dress occasions, but the blond pointed out that he certainly didn't use them as muck boots!

Vin started pulling up the hem of his sky blue tee as he joined the others, laughter escaping at the disgusted eye-roll Standish was giving the leader. Larabee turned to greet the sandy-haired form, one powerful hand dangling the hammer over the fence rail for a minute. The other pulled a black bandana out of one of the back pockets of the dark jeans that were so worn they were almost gray and rubbed it absently down the toned chest to stop the rivulets of liquid that were sliding toward the ebony belt.

"Hey, you made it. Was beginnin' to wonder if I needed to check on you."

"Yeah, sorry. Had somethin' to do 'fore I came out."

Chris simply nodded and went back to what he was doing, sticking a couple of nails between his teeth so that he wouldn't have to reach in the bucket so often.

Tanned skin came into view as the sharpshooter slid the shirt over his head and threw it to one side. Toned muscles moved at the motions, proving that like Larabee the lean image was misleading. Unconsciously flexing his shoulders, Tanner grabbed his hat and work gloves and settled them into place. Sweat almost immediately started beading on the bronzed torso, sliding down to the waist of the worn jeans that hugged his lower body. Leaning down, talented fingers grabbed the bucket of nails and a hammer. Long legs carried him up beside Chris. Setting the container down, the observant gaze noticed that the bottom board near Larabee's feet was loose. Squatting, he bent to begin nailing it back into place, curved back literally under Chris' nose.

The blond glanced down, then the pale green eyes widened in surprise and the tall figure froze in mid-motion.

Buck noticed the action first, cobalt orbs flicking to the sniper to see what caused the response. Getting a good look at Tanner's back, the lanky brunet copied his old friend's behavior, dropping the board he held about six inches as he gaped in amazement.

"Hey, watch it Buck!" groused JD as he struggled to hold on to his end of the piece they'd just pried off. Seeing both Wilmington and Larabee were staring at Vin, Dunne turned to see what had captured their attention. His mouth then opened in shock, and he turned loose of the wood, jumping and letting out a yelp of pain when it fell and hit his foot.

That got Nathan's attention, the dark gaze flitting to the electronics tech and then to where the kid's eyes were glued. His own widened at what he saw, and the well-muscled form froze as the other three had, not even noticing the sweat that ran over his face and dripped off of his nose as he stood immobile.

Josiah was speaking to Jackson and glanced over when he got no answer. Puzzled, he looked around, noticing that four of his companions were apparently stupefied by Tanner for some reason. Lowering his hammer, the profiler peered down at the smaller form kneeling just a couple of feet away. Starting to say something, he opened his mouth, then just kept it that way, speechless.

Ezra had by now realized that absolutely no one was listening to his heavily accented grievances, which spoiled the whole reason for uttering them, so the handsome figure turned to see what had caused the sudden unaccustomed silence. Spying the five frozen figures who were all staring at the sniper, the emerald gaze dipped down to see what had them all enthralled. His own eyes widened in amazement, and he was for once speechless.

Vin was hammering away, oblivious to the shock he'd caused and the motionless tableau around him. Finishing with the board, he rose fluidly to his feet, muscles rippling gracefully as he did so. He was getting the feeling that he had a target on his back or something, and glanced around.

"Somethin' wrong? The hair on the back 'a my neck is startin' to stand up with y'all starin' at me like that!"

The rest gaped at the large tattoo of a winged bird that now graced the broad back and one well-muscled shoulder. The spread wings covered the bicep and stretched across the tanned spine, the far one curving up to rest at the base of the taut neck. The head with fierce open beak adorned the lower right part of his throat.

Chris was the first to find his voice.

"Uh, Vin…. is that an eagle on your back?"

The sniper gave a big grin and flexed so that the tattoo appeared to move.

"Yep! Figured since you, me, and Bucklin was goin' under as bikers, that I ought'a look the part. What ya think?"

Tongue flicking over his teeth as he considered his words, the blond finally spoke.

"It's… big. Well done, though." answered the soft voice diplomatically.

Buck was next to reply.

"Yeah, looks almost real Vin."

"An eagle does suit you." opined Josiah, even as he kept staring at the detailed artwork.

JD wasn't quite as tactful with his response.

"I can't believe you did that, Vin! Shit, didn't it hurt?"

Nathan's first thoughts were health oriented, as was normal for the medic.

"Ya shouldn't have that uncovered right now, Vin. It could get infected if ya don't keep it clean for a few days."

Ezra tried for a bit of subtlety, but had to speak.

"It's very artistic, Mr. Tanner. However are you sure that was a prudent idea? It does make you quite distinctive now, and when this case is over, it will identify you unmistakably. That is not necessarily a good thing for an agent."

Chris threw Standish a look of appreciation for mentioning what he'd already been thinking since first spotting the sniper's new addition.

Vin drew himself up and looked offended.

"It'll make me more belivable on this case though. I thought y'all would like it."

Several hems and haws answered him, none of the others able to immediately come up with a good reply.

The slender form stood there doing his best Larabee glare impression for a few minutes, then the wide shoulders started shaking and the blue eyes began to sparkle with mirth. Addressing Chris, the drawled tones were full of humor.

"Don't get your shorts in a wad, Cowboy. It's drawn on. It'll come off in a couple 'a weeks. I just wanted to see what y'all would do when ya saw it." The grin turned on JD. "So no Kid, it didn't hurt!"

Larabee wasn't the only one who sighed in relief, then the rest started laughing along with Tanner.

"Well, I gotta admit, ya got me. Not that what you do with your body isn't your business, but as Ez said, that would be a really distinctive way of recognizing you." remarked Chris as he slapped the shorter form on the shoulder, right over the wing.

Buck always appreciated a good joke, so he clapped the sharpshooter on the other arm.

"Good one, Junior! And it is right pretty!"

"I should have seen that comin'." mumbled Ezra, who was often Tanner's partner in crime when it came to trying to get something over on the others. "I can't believe I fell for it!"

"Chris is right, what ya do is your business, but I gotta admit I'm relieved it ain't real, Vin. That'd take a while to heal."

"Not to mention cost a fortune if it was actually tattooed on!" added Josiah with his trademark smile.

"Ain't that the truth?!" answered the sniper. "I nearly fainted when the guy told me how much it'd be if it was real!"

The group continued laughing and joking as they got back to work. Powerful muscles rippled in the sun, moisture trailing down bronzed skin, and legs flexing in feline grace as the old boards got pulled off and the new ones were lifted and nailed into place. Bright eyes squinted against the light, lips curved in amusement as JD started trying to guess what each man would get if they visited a skin artist.

Finishing with the repairs on the fence, the seven moved to the hydrant to cool off. After getting drinks, they all doused their head and bare shoulders. Water ran down in rivulets to wet the various waistbands, drops gleaming like crystal on the taut chests and backs. Ezra tried to be careful of his boots, which only made the others hook up the hose and chase him with it. The liquid beaded on the inked feathers of Vin's eagle and dripped from the open mouth.

Chris and Buck both got a thoughtful look on their face at the sight. Blue and green eyes met in a shared idea. A… small, tasteful… group tattoo was actually a pretty cool idea. Maybe a lucky seven…

By DMA