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Note: I cant do what Josiah does, never could, never will! Thanks to Katherine for proof reading and to Mady for all her help.
Josiah looked up and took in the man on the hospital bed beside him, no change, but then he wasnt expecting any change. Then he looked across at the other man, he too, was the same. The doctors had said that with the amount of sedative they had been given, it was quite likely they would be unconscious for hours yet.
There had been some scary moments to begin with. Both men were hypotensive. Vin had developed an allergic reaction -trust Vin- and had several convulsions, but was now stable. Buck had seemed to be alright, but then developed a fever. Further investigation found a broken hypodermic needle embedded in his shoulder, clearly it was none too clean, and the wound site was now infected. The needle was removed and IV antibiotics started. From the look of him, Buck put up one hell of a fight before he succumbed, and might have a concussion. The doctor told Josiah that the two men had been injected with what appeared to be a haphazard cocktail of sedatives. There was no way to know how much or what drugs were used, or what they would do in combination, especially since they had no way to know how long the two men had been had been lying there.
Damn! There, caught it!
What Josiah really hated was keeping watch alone. All of Team Seven had done their fair share of watching over the sick and injured and none of them liked it. Honestly, who would? But usually there was more than one to share the duty. Worse still, as the fact that the two people who most needed to be there couldnt be present.
Chris and JD had been sent to Washington by the powers that be. Chris to improve his personnel handling skills and anger management. Josiah personally though it pointless to send a man to improve skills he didnt possess. JD was at a seminar on information technology. If he had been the one teaching, it might have made more sense! Josiah had managed to get through to them, and they had cut their trip short. Chris and JD were now in the air on their way home.
Ezra and Nathan had been borrowed by the Dallas office for a joint ATF/DEA sting. Chris had tried to stop it, but his efforts to intervene proved to be futile. Sanchez had informed Dallas he needed to get a message to them, but was told that both men were under cover and it wasnt known when they could next be safely contacted.
Where was I? One two three four five, right; so I need three more.
Since most of Team Seven was away, the others were helping Team Six with a long-standing surveillance. Buck and Vin had landed the night shift. When Josiah and Greening from Team Six arrived in the morning, they found the empty offices where they were watching from trashed. After some searching, they found both Vin and Buck in the back, near the bathroom. Both men were unconscious.
Vin had some minor bruising around his neck. Buck appeared to have been in a real fight. The speculation was that Vin had been jumped and injected in the neck; the drugs would have worked almost instantly. Buck had somehow had more time to fight back, before he too was drugged, once in the neck like Vin, and once (unsuccessfully) in the shoulder. Needless to say, the cash of arms in the building they were watching had vanished.
"Come on guys, its been ten hours, give me a sign here fellas." Neither man reacted to his plea. Oh well, best keep busy I guess. Now where am I up to? Oh yes just about there. Thats another one done.
Josiah looked over at Vin. God, he looks so angelic lying there for all the world asleep. Its not often that you can see how young he is. He looks so innocent, with that lion's mane spread out on the pillow, his face so relaxed. Its rare to see Vin totally relaxed; life has taught him never to let his guard down.
"Vin, Chris is coming. Hell be here then youll feel safe again. Dont know if you can hear me, doctors think not. This isnt a natural state of unconsciousness, but you never know, do you? So why dont you open them baby blues for me so he can see them when he gets here? No? Well later perhaps? Are you truly aware how much effect you have on Chris? I know Buck has tried to explain, but you just dont value yourself highly enough to understand what you have achieved."
Its a contradiction in terms, but even Buck looks innocent like that, even with his face all cut and bruised like it is. He also looks more like what he is; a professional lawman with years of experience. I guess it's as rare to see Buck unsmiling as it is to see Vin relaxed.
"Now, Buck, I know you did the ground work on Chris. I dont think I have ever told you how proud I was to see you just step aside when Vin came into Chris life. It took a big man to do what you did and get so little in return. Cause the kid has helped fill the gap, we all know that, even him. But sometimes I just want you to stop protecting and caring for others long enough to let someone care for you. Why dont you let them? Why wont you let us know when youre hurting? Youre as bad as that damn southerner."
Hell! Why does that always happen just in the middle of a complicated bit? Why did I start this in the first place?
Right. Now Buck, were where we? Oh yes.
"Its okay to ask for help pal. Its okay to have people take care of you my friend, and you are my friend. People who care about you will not think less of you, will not stop liking you just because youre not the life and soul of the party. Trust us to care about all of you, even the dark bits."
"Now that I think on it, you two are a very alike, neither one of you believe in your own value. You both think youre none too bright, when the opposite is true. Especially you, Buck. Because whatever you think, you are not dumb or stupid or ignorant. You would have made a brilliant profiler or psychologist. You have a natural insight into people; a real ability to put yourself in their place and see a situation through their eyes. And you. You long haired, scruffy Texan! I have never seen someone so able to assess a situation, work out all the possible scenarios so fast, and keep all of them in your head. And as for your way with words, that is some talent young man!"
"Well Im about talked out for now guys. Since that nurse is gonna come by any time now, and check your vitals, Im going to concentrate on this bit cause it's a mite complicated."
"Now guys, it's been nearly thirteen hours, I think I've earned a little reward, don't you? Just a hint you want to come back to us. The doctor says that you're both improving. Your blood pressure is better. Vin, your heart beat heartbeat is now regular. Buck, your fever has stopped going up, so no excuses. I want some effort on your part pals. Just a little groan, a moan, a twitch, a blink? No? Well don't come to me next time you want a favour is all I can say. Now where are my glasses?"
He sat down and was about to continue, when there was indeed, a groan.
"Vin?" In an instant, the big man was up and beside his young friend. He pushed the call button as he laid a hand on Vin's shoulder. "Vin can you hear me? It's me, Josiah."
"'Siah?" came the feeble response.
"Yeah that's right, come on, open your eyes for me."
Confused, bleary blue eyes opened and took a while to focus on him. "Hello there," Josiah said softly.
"Wha ?" Vin was clearly very confused.
"You were drugged, at the stake out site. We found you yesterday morning," Josiah explained.
"I don't I'm gonna I " Vin stammered out desperately.
Josiah knew what was going to happen. It always happened when Vin was sedated or anaesthetised. He grabbed a basin and pulled Vin over onto his side as he began to heave.
"Oh God," Vin gasped, as the actual vomiting stopped, and the dry heaves continued. "Who the fuck did this to me?" he growled in between heaves. "Buck! Where's Buck?" he demanded.
Josiah moved aside so Vin could see Buck. "Right there, sleeping like a baby."
Vin looked up to see Buck and take in his battered appearance. "I look like that?"
"No, only him; you got lucky."
"Oh goody," Vin gasped out sarcastically.
Just then the nurse came in and rushed to Vin's side. Eventually the heaves stopped and he rested back against the pillows. By now a doctor had also arrived.
"How do you feel young man?" he asked.
Vin gave him a baleful look. "Like shit. What do ya think?"
"Well that is to be expected. Your BP is improving, your heart rhythm is normal, your respiration is a little shallow, but all in all, much better. All you really need now is lots of rest. We'll keep you on the IV for the next day and then see where we are," he assured Vin.
"Why ain't Buck awake yet?" Vin asked.
The doctor crossed to the other bed and quickly checked Wilmington over.
"He is also improving. He most likely had a bigger dose. The fever made it harder for him. I'm confident he will be fine very soon," the doctor assured.
He turned back to Vin to find he was lying back against the pillows, eyes closed, the peaceful expression Josiah had seen before was back. Josiah watched as the doctor crossed back to him.
"He's asleep; perfectly normal after sedation."
Josiah was now alone again, except for his two slumbering friends. Vin was sleeping peacefully, curled up on his side, almost in a fetal position. He had seen Vin sleep many times. He inevitably ended up in this position. It made Josiah sad to think of the things the young man had see and experienced that made his subconscious feel the need to adopt this position of safety and comfort.
He turned back to his work. You know sis, you had better appreciate how much work this took. I am never going to get this finished for your birthday if I don't keep at it!
It was about an hour later when Buck began to come around. Like Vin, his stomach rebelled. Something he complained bitterly about because it normally didn't affect him that way. In between heaves, he apologised to the nurse who was holding the bowl and rubbing his back. Lord Buck, just accept the help youre offered, help you deserve, stop apologising.
Josiah sighed inwardly. It was probably too late to change Buck. Sanchez then told Buck what had happened. Wilmington was able to inform him that three men had jumped him when he had found Vin sprawled on the floor. Buck, like Vin, quickly fell asleep again. As always, he lay on his back, his long limbs spreading out as far as the hospital bed would let them. It was the very opposite of the tight defensive position Vin slept in. It spoke of a childhood full of security.
The room was now quiet as Josiah pulled his glasses down and concentrated on his task. He had passed the complicated section and was now able to settle into the easy rhythm he found so soothing.
"You know, that is a genuinely peaceful sight," came a familiar voice from behind him.
Josiah spun around to find Chris and JD standing in the doorway.
"Yup, it sure is; grandma doing her knitting while she watches the kids sleep."
JD grinned at Sanchez as he stood there; half moon glasses on the end of his nose, knitting needles in his hand, a half finished, brightly patterned angora cardigan hanging from them.
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