Summary: Superstition? Hooey! Or do we make our own luck.
Thanks to Sarah for LV/AU
The Las Vegas Chronicles
"What? What? WHAAAAT? !"
Whoever was pounding on his door was gonna get their butt kicked! Rolling over in bed, JD checked the clock…6:30. He yawned…
With a yelp, a still sleepy JD threw back the covers and raced to his apartment door; vaguely aware of a crash as he exited his bedroom. Checking the spy hole, he threw back the locks and opened the door.
Buck laughed as he stared at the disheveled youth before him. "Nice hair," he pointed, while moving inside. "Why aren't you ready?"
JD rubbed at his eyes as he frantically tried to focus and wake up simultaneously.
"Alarm…I forgot to set it."
Buck looked on sympathetically. It had been a tough week, and this turnaround shift saw the team finishing at midnight only to return by 7:00am, the upshot being two days rest after it.
"Meeting at 7:00…"
JD searched for wherever he'd kicked off his shoes the night before. "I know, Buck…"
"Blood drive, today…"
"I know that too, Buck." JD turned to do a double take of his best friend. "Jeans?"
Buck grinned. "Cowboy Day."
A relieved JD grinned back. He was pretty sure he had no fresh dress shirts left, but he did have plenty of casual ones. "Buck…you go on ahead. I'm way behind and Chris'll be mad if we're both late. I'll get a cab." JD's car was in the shop and he was due to pick it up the next day.
Buck plopped down on the sofa. "I'll wait…" he checked his watch, "We don't *have* to be there for 7:00." He waved his hand. "Go on…scoot."
With a grateful nod, JD hurried off to take a fast shower.
Toweling his hair, the young tech spotted something glinting on the floor. He groaned loudly as he grasped what the earlier crash had been. He swallowed the lump in his throat and began picking up the pieces of a small, ornate, hand mirror, which matched a hairbrush that lay alongside it, undamaged.
JD tried not to lend himself to superstition, so instead of considering a possible seven years bad luck, he focused on losing something precious that belonged to his mother.
Buck's voice from the living room broke JD from his thoughts. He'd have to clear up later.
"Be right there!" Throwing on his clothes, JD grabbed a gray checked shirt to go over his navy T-shirt, snatched up his keys, ID chain, and cell, and left.
"Nice of you to join us," Larabee growled as Buck and JD hurried into the conference room to join the staff briefing. Buck grinned as he took his seat. Still standing, JD mumbled an apology, relaxing a little when Vin winked at him. Running a hand through his still damp hair, JD looked toward his friends.
"It's my fault, sorry…forgot to set my damned alarm."
"I could call you when I get up," Vin offered.
"Would you? That'd be great, Vin, thanks."
"Might I suggest an extra alarm? One of them should at least succeed…"
Nathan looked at Ezra. "But if he forgets to set one, he'll probably forget to set both."
JD nodded, "He's got a point…"
"Hey! When you ladies have quite finished…I mean, I hate to interrupt your little chat and all…BUT I'M TRYING TO HOLD A BRIEFING, HERE!" Larabee glared around the room as the rest of the twenty or so security team choked back laughter.
JD's jaw dropped open, the tech snapping it shut as he went to sit on the chair between Vin and Buck that he'd now pulled out. Unfortunately, in his haste to please his boss, he misjudged the distance and disappeared below the table level as he sat on the floor with a thud and a suppressed 'oof!'
Ignoring the hissed laughter around him, Chris just stared at the spot where JD had disappeared. Buck looked down from his own chair when JD's hands grabbed the tabletop for purchase and he scrambled to, first his knees, and then his feet.
"Y'alright there, Squirt?"
"Fine," JD grunted out as his arms rested on the table while he tried levering himself up. "Sorry, sir," he mumbled sheepishly at Chris as he finally got himself onto his chair.
Chris sighed. "As I was saying, apart from the blood drive in the Gold room, we have thirteen delegates coming in for the 'Safe Sex' convention…"
JD's timing was definitely out of whack. He chose that moment to sip from his glass of water and splutter at the convention's title, to then get an attack of the giggles as Buck spoke up.
"Thirteen? A little uneven, do they need an extra body, I'd be willing to volunteer my services…y'know, for demonstration purposes…"
"They're all men, Buck, but thanks for the offer," Chris answered, trying not to smile.
That finished JD off, his silly mood winning over as he cackled out loud, much to the amusement of his closest teammates. A laughing Vin playfully punched JD's arm. Realizing he was fighting a losing battle, Chris called time.
"Alright, that's it, let's have a good one." As the larger group dispersed, leaving just Team Seven, Larabee walked around behind JD and leaned in.
"Let me guess, no breakfast?"
"Figures. Go eat…go on. Vin, go with him."
Standing, the pair walked out of the room.
Buck grinned at Chris. "You old softie."
"Shut up, Buck."
In the corridor that passed by the security bullpen, JD and Vin stared at a tall, open stepladder where an electrician was balancing on its top rungs to work on an overhead light. The steps spanned the whole width of the corridor. Shrugging, both men passed under it, while JD tried not to focus on the fact it was the second thing that morning he'd encountered that could bring him bad luck.
In the staff restaurant, the pair took up trays and proceeded to choose their food. JD looked at Vin. "You skip breakfast, too?"
Vin shook his head. "No…but I'm kinda hungry, so…"
The pair laughed, and then smiled at Evie Travis who was just in front of JD and had turned to greet them.
"Orin had an early meeting this morning, so I came in to join him for breakfast." She turned back to her food, spilling some of the salt she was sprinkling while waiting to pay.
"Oh my…bad luck…now, which shoulder was it?" Taking up a good pinch of the spilled grains, she absently tossed them over her left shoulder.
As he stepped forward, something flew into JD's face, causing his eyes to instantly smart. He dropped his tray in surprise and his hands went to his face.
Evie turned, her hand going to her mouth. "Oh…oh my, I'm so sorry."
Putting down his tray, Vin grabbed JD's hands to prevent him from doing more damage, JD fought him to continue rubbing.
"Quit it, JD!" Tears were streaming down the tech's face. Staring at the youth's clenched eyes, Vin spoke into his mic.
"I need Nathan…treatment room…ASAP!" While waving off Evie's frantic attempts to assist as politely as he could, Vin bundled the staggering tech toward the treatment room.
Like bookends, Vin and Buck leaned against the doorframes to the treatment room, as they watched events unfold. JD had a stainless steel, kidney-shaped bowl tucked into his neck and under his jaw to catch the sterile water that Nathan was using to irrigate the bloodshot eyes. JD's hair was soaked due to the run-off.
The doctor nodded his approval. "All done."
JD, Buck and Vin sighed their collective relief, the latter pair wincing at the formers pink eyes and puffy lids.
"Thanks Nathan," JD smiled, "that feels *so* much better."
"It does?" Buck doubted that.
"Yeah, really," JD assured, "it's fine…I can see," he blinked his eyes and opened them wide, "see?"
Ezra appeared at the door. "Our illustrious leader has asked me to drive you home."
JD frowned. "What? No! I'm fine…go tell him I'm fine, Ezra!"
"I'm afraid he insists. Shall we?"
JD huffed. "But…well, at least let me donate blood before I leave…I've never given it before."
Buck nodded. "I was gonna go after my shift. Come on, we'll go together."
Vin grinned, slapped JD on the arm and went back to work. Buck, JD, and Ezra headed for the Gold room.
"Could really do with a black cat to walk by right about now," JD thought, aloud.
"How so?" Ezra asked.
JD sighed, thinking back to the broken mirror. "Aww…long story."
Deciding also to donate blood, Ezra joined Buck and JD. With their arms hooked up to catheters and bags, all three lay in a row, on cots situated in the elaborate Gold room. Buck was taking full advantage and chatting up the pretty nurse sitting with him. Ezra idly, and one-handedly toyed with a deck of cards, much to the fascination of the nurse with him.
JD felt odd. His skin was burning and his head felt like someone had just stuffed cotton wool in there. Vaguely aware of a distant female voice saying something, he felt his body sink as if through the floor before everything went black.
Buck stopped his chat-up as soon as he saw activity around JD's bed. The nurse with the tech had whipped away the pillow from under JD's head, to place it under the boy's feet, along with several more. As she was removing the needle from JD's arm, an anxious voice cut into the activity.
"What is it, what's wrong?" Buck was staring at his unconscious best friend, mortified at how pale JD looked.
"He's fine, he just passed out," the nurse answered, clearly used to such occurrences.
Ezra had pushed himself up to take a look. "Oh my…"
JD figured his alarm would go off any time soon, it had to be getting late. God, he felt so dry. He licked his lips, but his eyes remained closed.
"'Bout time, Kid."
"Hmmm?" Weird dream he was having. And…why was Buck in it? With that thought, JD opened his eyes. He frowned. O-k-a-a-y…his bedroom looked suspiciously like the Gold room.
What he had been doing came back to him and JD groaned. "Aww crap."
"That's one way of putting it."
Hearing Chris's voice, JD winced and closed his eyes again. "Aww, double crap!" On reopening his eyes, he could see Chris's face was just inches from his own, and it startled him.
"Let me guess," the blond said softly, "didn't get to eat, did you?"
JD swallowed dryly and pointed to his eyes. "Salt…eyes…"
Chris patted his arm. "You can't donate blood on an empty stomach, JD." Chris straightened. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Back in his apartment and flopping onto his sofa, JD yawned and looked back at Ezra. "Thanks for the lift."
"My pleasure," the southerner smiled, absently rubbing at his arm. "I found my experience with the blood drive most uneventful," he added.
JD chuckled. "What were you expecting…a vampire sinking his fangs into your arm?"
"Very droll, Mr. Dunne, come, let me assist you to the bedroom."
JD rolled his still sore eyes. "Ezra, I'm…"
"…Fine, yes, so you've said, repeatedly." Pulling JD onto his feet, the pair walked into the bedroom. Ezra instantly spotted glass on the floor. "Oh my…what happened here?" He crouched down to collect the scattered pieces.
"Had a little mishap this morning," JD sighed. "It was my mom's. Leave it, I'll get it later."
"I'll do no such thing; you may inadvertently step on the broken glass." In minutes, the glass was cleared, and Ezra took it away before making JD some toast and juice. By the time he returned, JD was in bed and already asleep.
Halfway through their first rest day, Buck knocked on JD's door. Following his young friend in, Buck took in JD's disheveled appearance. He waved a hand under his nose and grimaced.
"Good Lord, Kid, you smell like a dumpster." He was surprised when sad, hazel eyes looked back at him.
"That's where I've been most of the morning. I think Ezra may have thrown…uh, I've lost…" JD waved a hand. Never mind, it doesn't matter, can you give me ten
"Sure." Buck took a seat. "But that's all you got…once Chris puts the ribs on, he gets all pissy if we're not there."
"You got it!" JD called back, trying to sound perky, despite his heavy heart.
It was just a mirror, right? Admittedly it was the one his mom barely managed to hold each day when she was sick, and as he brushed her hair, but…JD sighed. It was just a mirror…and at least he still had the brush.
It didn't go unnoticed during the cook-out at Chris's that JD was in a particularly quiet mood. Josiah sat down next to him. "Not eating, John Daniel?"
Jolting from his thoughts, JD smiled. "Not real hungry." He looked at the ex-preacher. "Josiah, may I ask you a question?"
Josiah fully faced him. "Always, JD, what's on your mind?"
"Silly's good…ask away."
"Do you believe in bad luck…you know, the kind you get from breaking mirrors or walking under ladders?"
"Aaah, you mean superstition." Josiah pondered the question for a moment. "Well, let me put it like this. I believe we make our own luck, our belief in ourselves being paramount to the path that our lives…and our luck takes. Now, tell me John Daniel, do you consider yourself to be an unlucky man?"
JD looked at the men around him, Ezra and Nathan were conducting an animated discussion; Buck, Chris, and Vin were laughing about something Buck said, Josiah was right there, next to him, showing JD the kind of love and concern usually only afforded to family. JD a great job, earned damn good money, had a nice home, and six of the best friends…big brothers…he could wish for.
"Thought not." Josiah smiled as he watched JD take a bite of his corn dog.
The big man wrapped an arm around the youth's shoulders. He hadn't really done anything, just reminded JD of what he already knew. The pair watched Ezra gesture to them. JD touched his chest, mouthing one word...'me?'
Seeing Standish nod, JD put down his plate, stood, and walked over to him. A look of surprise formed as Ezra handed him a well-padded package.
"Might I suggest you find a resting place for this that is less vulnerable than your nightstand?"
JD was still puzzled.
Ezra smiled. "Open it."
All eyes were on JD as he tore at the wrapping, curious to see what Ezra had given him. The kid gasped, his hands shaking as he held the object tighter for fear of it breaking again.
"When did you do this?
"This morning. I have a friend in the antique business who knew of a specialist in this proficiency. While thorough, he was very quick, even touching up the gilt where the broken glass marked it."
JD threw his arms around the southerner, and the surprised man patted his back in return.
"Thank you," the youth breathed, eventually pulling back.
Ezra smiled. "You are most welcome."
Realizing his friends were waiting on an explanation as to why JD was getting all misty-eyed over a small, ornate hand mirror, the youth sat down, composed himself, and smiled at them all.
"Are any of you guys superstitious?"