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Chapter 13
After leaving the federal building Vin went back to his apartment to gather a few things. He packed a small duffel with some clothes and ammunition for his guns. When he was finished he locked everything up and headed out. Vin's first stop was an ATM where he took out the maximum on his credit card. He knew Chris was going to be angry when he found the letter but he had to find Brick. Vin got back on his motorcycle and drove into town. Just outside Purgatory were some warehouses that had been turned into residence. Vin pulled behind one of the smaller ones and hid the motorcycle. He grabbed the duffel and made his way inside. This particular building was different from the others. It was only two stories and it had no windows except for two on the north side. Vin walked to the door and rang the bell. A video camera over head moved and Vin turned towards it.

"Hey, Izzy, it's Vin open up."

Vin heard a buzz and knew the door was opened. He turned the knob and stepped inside. The hall was dimly lit and Vin walked down the hall. Lining the wall was abstract paintings that Vin knew were worth a fortune. Vin made it to the end of the hall and stepped into the main room. Along one wall were several Monitors and TV sets. All sorts of surveillance equipment and electronic equipment could be seen around the room. Vin walked over to one corner to find a state of the art computer. Sitting in front of the computer was a white haired man. He turned to face Vin and smiled. Frances Brizlansky was an albino. His skin was alabaster white that any Goth would envy. He also had pale blue eyes that were very sensitive to sunlight. Izzy stood up and hugged Vin.

"Where have you been hiding?" Izzy said leading him over to the computer. "You get a cushy government job and you don't need me any more."

"Yeah but you'll always need me to keep you out of trouble," Vin replied. "Just like that night we first met."

"I could have handled them."

"Uh huh. There were six."

"True," Izzy smiled. "They had no idea what hit them when you came along."

"Izzy I need your help."

"Figured as much," Izzy laughed. "Video, audio or encrypted code?"

"Video," Vin said as he pulled a VHS tape out of his bag. "There's a reflection in a puddle but it's too blurry to make out."

"No problem," Izzy said. "I'll just copy this baby over to the computer and enhance it."

"I also need a place to crash," Vin added.

"Yeah no problem," Izzy said as he turned back to the computer. "You know where the rooms are. Take your pick."

Vin left his friend totally entranced with what he was doing. He walked down the hall noticing new paintings that weren't there the last time he crashed here. The first door on the right led to a room painted completely red. The art was abstract in mostly in dark shades of blue and black. Vin knew this was the least sensory overload of all the guestrooms. He threw his bag in the corner and dropped on the bed. He was asleep in no time.

+ + + + + + +

Chris walked into the bullpen to find Josiah, Nathan and JD busily typing at their computers. He knew Buck was around because there was a half-eaten donut and coffee on his desk. The remaining two desks were empty. The one belonging to Ezra would stay that way until about nine but Chris was surprised Vin's was empty. He'd tried calling Vin before he left the ranch but got no answer at the apartment. The cellphone was useless since Vin rarely had it on. Josiah nodded to Chris as he walked to his office. Chris unlocked the door and stepped inside turning on the lights. He sat at his desk and saw the envelope with his name on it propped against the lamp. There was no mistaking Vin's handwriting and Chris ripped open the envelope.

Can't wait for the FBI. The pace they’re going Brick'll be dead. I have to do this my way. My badge and gun are in the drawer. I'm Sorry Chris.

"Damn you Tanner!" Chris said as he pulled out his keys an unlocked the drawer. Vin's badge and gun were right where he said they'd be. Chris jumped up and went out to the bullpen. "JD! Stop whatever you're doing and get an APB out on Vin."

"Huh?" JD asked confused.

"What part didn't you understand!" Chris growled. "Do it! Now!"

"Hold on there, Chris," Buck said. "No call yelling at JD. Just tell us what's goin' on."

"Damn fools gone rogue," Chris said handing the note to Buck.

"I'll get right on that APB, Chris," JD said turning back to his computer.

"You do realize an APB on Mr. Tanner will be useless," Ezra commented.

"What the fuck else can I do!" Chris yelled.

"All I'm saying is if Vin doesn't want to be found he won't be," Ezra said ignoring Chris's out burst.

"Don't you think I know that!"

"Come on, Chris, we'll head over to his apartment," Buck suggested. "The boys know what to do."

Chris nodded and followed Buck. When he got his hands on Vin he was going to ring his neck. As they were about to walk out Agent Delco came storming into the bullpen.

"Larabee! What the hell is going on!'

"What are you talking about?" Chris asked.

"Mind telling me why Tanner broke into our office?" Delco asked.


"You heard me," Delco said angrily. "Better yet why don't I show you."

Buck shrugged as they watched Delco head for the conference room holding a tape. They all filed into the room as Delco put the tape in the VCR and turned on the TV. The first thing they saw was Vin picking the lock on the door leading into the FBI office. The tape went to a blank screen then started again with Vin going through one of the desk until he found what he was looking for and walking out.

"Well?" Delco demanded.

"I'll kill him," Chris vowed.

"Vin must have seen something on the tape," JD said.

"But what?" Nathan asked. "We watched the tape too."

"It must be something only Vin recognized," JD reasoned.

"Now that Tanner has the tape there's nothing for us to go on," Delco said.

"What!" Chris yelled. "You don't have a copy."

"We never expected someone to steal the tape!" Delco yelled back.

JD thought about the copy he had. He decided to keep his mouth shut because both Chris and agent Delco were really mad. Besides he had nothing to show them and until he did he'd keep the tape. Delco and Chris continued to argue until Josiah broke them up. Delco told Chris he was putting out a warrant for Vin's arrest for obstructing justice. Nathan and Josiah finally got Delco out of the conference room before him and Chris got into a fight. Once he was gone they all sat around the table as they watched Chris pace.

"What are we going to do?" JD asked.

"We find Vin before they do," Chris said. "Now let's move."

+ + + + + + +

Izzy played a video game while the computer slowly enhanced the image on the screen. He was in the middle of fight with a dragon when the computer beeped signaling it was done. Izzy rolled the chair over to the computer and saw a water tower reflected in the puddle. The name "Murphy Oil" was on the side. Izzy got up and went to get Vin. He found him in the red room and went over and shook him. Vin came instantly awake.

"It's done."

Vin nodded and followed Izzy back to the computer. Izzy sat down and Vin leaned over his shoulder. Vin watched as Izzy blew the picture up. Murphy’s Oil was easily read on the side of the water tower.

"I can run a scan to see where Murphy's advertise," Izzy said as his finger began to fly over the keys.

"Don't bother," Vin said grabbing his coat. "I know exactly where it is."

Chapter 14

JD quietly typed away at his computer hoping he wouldn't wake Buck. Today had been a disaster. Chris had been impossible snapping at everyone. The rest of the team had waked on eggshells all afternoon. The FBI hadn't been any help. Chris was called up to Travis's office. They could only imagine what happened because Chris came back madder than when he left. They hadn't been able to find anything on Vin. JD hadn't been surprised. Vin was very good at hiding. The only thing they had to help find Vin was the video. JD had watched the tape over and over but could figure out what had caught Vin's eye. JD ran the tape back to the beginning and started to watch it frame by frame. He rubbed his eyes knowing it was going to be a long night.

+ + + + + + +

Vin walked along the streets flanked on either side by abandoned warehouses. As the sun went down many of the prime spots to sleep were already being taken. Vin remembered trying to find an alcove away from everyone else then trying to keep it. Vin walked down State St. heading for Victor Ave. If he remembered right the water tower was on the corner. As he came to the end of the block he wasn't disappointed. He decided two buildings might be the ones Brick was being held in. Vin decided to check out the closest building. The first floor windows were all boarded up and Vin walked to the side of the building looking for the fire escape. As he walked down the alley he saw some people watching him from the shadows. Vin ignored them and continued down the alley. The fire escape was at the middle of the building and Vin stood under it. The lower ladder was missing. When the building was closed it was removed to keep the homeless out, but it didn't work. Vin glanced around the alley and saw the cinderblock next o the wall. He positioned it under the fire escape the stood on it. He jumped up and caught the last wrung and pulled himself up by his arms. When he was finally on the fire escape he crawled in through the window.

"Where do you think your going?"

Vin slowly stood up and turned around. "I'm not looking to take your crib."

"Then what are you doing here?"

"I'm looking for someone," Vin said. "And if you’re crashing here then I'm in the wrong place."

"You a cop?" the teen asked.

"No," Vin said, which wasn't a lie. "Bounty hunter."

"Maybe I can help, for a price."

"Looking for a warehouse that’s missing its roof," Vin explained. "Big puddle in the center where you can see the reflection of the water tower."

"Think I can help you," the young man hedged. Vin pulled two twenties out of his pocket and discreetly handed them over. "It's the old Maxwell building. Next building over. Nobodies used it in years."

Vin nodded and crawled back out the window. It was the other building he was going to check. He hung from the ended of the ladder then let go. He picked up the cinderblock and his back spasmed. The sound of the block dropping to the cement was loud in the deserted alley. Vin slowly straightened up and limped back towards the street. As he approached the building he could see the windows were either blacked out or missing. From what he remembered from the tape Vin figured Brick was being kept in the basement. He didn't remember any windows in the video. Vin walked along the building looking for a way in. He finally found a broken out window low enough for him to crawl through. He cautiously made his way inside and began to look around.

+ + + + + + +

JD rubbed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. Going over the tape frame by frame was tedious. He grabbed the peanut butter and jelly sandwich off the plate by the computer and took a bite. The tape came to and end and still JD hadn't found a thing. He sighed and started it again from the beginning and let it play. As it was playing JD could hardly keep his eyes open. Suddenly something caught his eye and JD stopped the tape. There was something reflected in the puddle behind Brick. JD typed a few commands and the image was enlarged. JD still couldn't make out what it was. He glanced at the time on the computer and saw it was 2:00am. He knew that if he stayed up any longer he'd never be any use at work. But he also knew he was close. Ignoring the time JD started to improve the image.

Vin cautiously made his way down the stairs. They were slick with water and debris. As he reached the bottom he stopped to listen. The only sound he could hear was an occasional drip as the water fell to the floor. Vin reached under his arm and pulled out his gun then continued his search. The first room was empty and vin moved on. As he walked down the hall he could tell there was a larger room ahead. Vin knew instantly this was the right room but he took his time incase LeBroc was there. When he got to the end of the hall he peered around the corner and saw Brick tied to the chair just like in the video. Every fiber told Vin to rush over to his brother but he ignored them as he searched the rest of the room. It was huge. There was no way of knowing if LeBroc was at the other end because of the lack of light. The only light was coming from a bare bulb above Brick. Vin strained to hear anything that might suggested someone else was in the room also. He couldn’t hear anything and decided to take the chance he was alone. Vin walked quietly over to Brick and put his hand on his brother’s shoulder. Brick jumped and looked wily around.

"Shhh, its me," Vin whispered.

"Took your damned time," Brick sighed.

"Yeah, well, I had better things to do," Vin smiled as he put his gun back in the shoulder holster and knelt at his brother’s side.

Brick was never so glad to see someone in his life. He watched as Vin took out some tools to pick the locks on the handcuffs. The two of them had been so engrossed on getting out they never suspected they weren’t alone. Just as Vin freed one of Brick’s legs from the chair they heard a scream from the door.

"Vin!" Brick screamed as a board crashed down on his brother's back.

Vin rolled away from the assault biting his lip so he wouldn’t cry out. He couldn’t stop the cry as he got quickly to his feet just as LeBroc swung at him again with the board. Vin ignored his protesting back as he brought his leg up to kick the board out of LeBroc’s hand. Brick watched as his brother tried to fight LeBroc. He could see Vin was hurting from that first blow and he tried desperately to free himself from the chair but it was no use. Brick’s head spun around as he heard the board connect on flesh and Vin screamed. Vin moved away and tried to pull his gun only to have it knocked away as LeBroc came at him gain. Vin knew he was in trouble. LeBroc was Josiah’s size and Vin knew he couldn’t win in a hand to hand fight. He also knew he couldn’t run and leave Brick behind. As Vin tried to defend himself he knew he should have told Chris as soon as he knew where Brick was being held. Brick watched in horror as LeBroc slammed the board down hard on Vin’s left shoulder. Vin reeled from the blow and Brick could see his left arm was hanging useless. LeBroc dropped the board and punched Vin as hard as he could in the jaw. Vin dropped like a rock and LeBroc laughed. He bent down and grabbed fist full of Vin’s hair.

"Let’s see who came to break up my party?" LeBroc was surprised when he looked down at Vin. "What the hell is going on here?"

LeBroc dragged the stunned Vin over towards Brick. Brick could see blood running from Vin’s nose and a cut over his left eye. LeBroc dropped Vin and Brick heard his brother moan.

"There’s two of you," LeBroc said confused. "Who are you?"

"None of your God damned business," Brick said struggling against his bonds. "When Chris finds us and he sees what you did to Vin he’s gonna kill you."

"So you aren’t Tanner," LeBroc said pulling out a gun. "And if you ain’t Tanner then I don’t need you any more."

Vin tried to concentrate on what was going on. That last bunch sent him reeling and made him see stars. He knew he was on the floor close to Brick and could hear voices. Vin blinked his eyes to try to clear his vision. As he did he could see LeBroc holding a gun pointed at Brick. They were talking but Vin couldn’t make out what they were saying. LeBroc was ignoring him and he tried to push himself up and gasped as pain lanced up his left shoulder and down his back. Vin heard the gun being cocked and knew LeBroc was going to shot Brick.

"No!" Vin screamed as the gun went off.

Brick knew he was going to die. He heard the gun go off felt something impact against him then remembered no more.

"Come on you piece of shit!" JD cursed.

He was having trouble getting the computer to clear up the image. JD knew this was the key to solving the whole thing he could feel it. He cursed his computer again and angrily hit the buttons. Either the computer had finished what it was doing or JD’s slamming on the buttons had intimidated it but the picture finally came into focus. Reflecting in the puddle was a water tower. JD could barely see writing on it that said "Murphy’s Oil". JD whooped and went running for the stairs. He ran up them and pounded on Buck’s door.

"Buck!" JD yelled as he burst in the door.

"JD, what the hell is going on?" Buck said as he sat up.

"I know where Vin is going!" JD yelled as he tried to pull Buck out of the bed.

"Just hold on a minute JD," Buck said grabbing him. "Just let my brain wake up a bit here."

"We don’t have time!" JD protested. "I found something on the tape."

"Whoa!" Buck said coming fully awake. "Do you have a copy of the tape?"

"We don’t have time for me to explain now! Just come see what I found."

Buck followed JD down stairs and over to the computer. JD smiled and pointed to a grainy picture of a water tower. Buck swore when he realized he knew exactly where it was. Chris was gonna kill him but they had no time to waste calling reinforcements.

"JD get our guns," Buck said as he raced up the stairs to get dressed.

"What about the others," JD called.

"No time!" Buck yelled. "I know where that is. We’ll call them on the way."

JD had never seen Buck move so fast. By the time he got their guns out of the lock box Buck was grabbing the keys and heading for the door. JD grabbed his cellphone and followed Buck. They jumped in the truck and Buck threw the emergency light on the dash and pulled out. JD fastened his seat belt as Buck raced down the road.

"Where are we going?" JD asked as he dialed Chris’s number.

"The old Maxwell warehouse on Victor Ave."

"Chris, its JD. Yeah I know it’s 3:00am but we know where Vin is going. I’ll explain that later. Vin’s heading for the Maxwell warehouse on Victor. OK we will."

"Take it Chris ain’t too happy," Buck stated.

"Nope he wants to know how we know what we know."

"You got some splainin’ to do Lucy," Buck smiled.

"Don’t I know it," JD scowled. "Chris also said don’t go without back up."

"Yeah, right," Buck smiled broadly.

As Buck drove JD called Josiah and Nathan. He tried Ezra and was surprised to find he was awake. He gave him the information and hung up. As they got closer to the warehouses Buck turned off the light. He stopped the truck around the corner and they got out. JD handed Buck his gun and they quickly walked over to the building. They found a door on the west side and cautiously opened it. It was dark and they couldn’t see a thing.

"Should have grabbed a flash light," JD whispered.

Buck was about to reply when they heard a gun shot. They cautiously entered and looked around. They could hear someone talking and Buck motioned to the stairs. They started down and they could see a light. As they made it to the bottom they saw someone with their back to them.

"You ruined everything! All I wanted to do was make Larabee suffer! But their had to be two of you and I grabbed the wrong one. Well I guess I don’t need either one of you now."

"ATF Freeze!" Buck yelled when he heard a gun being cocked.

LeBroc spun towards them and aimed. JD and Buck fired at the same time and LeBroc went flying back. Buck quickly moved to kick the gun away from LeBroc. When the gun was out of reach he leaned down to check for a pulse. He wasn’t surprised when he didn’t’ find one.

"Buck!" JD yelled.

Buck quickly moved to JD’s side. Brick was still handcuffed to the chair, which was now toppled over backwards. Vin was sprawled face down across Brick and Buck could see blood on Vin’s left side. They were both unconscious and Buck was afraid they were both shot.

"Shit!" Buck cursed and moved to Vin.

"Maybe we should wait for Nathan," JD said worried.

"Have to see how bad Brick is," Buck said and carefully moved Vin off his brother.

Buck told JD to take care of Brick while he applied pressure to Vin’s gun shot wound. JD nodded but first dialed for an ambulance. When that was finished he pulled out his handcuff keys. When Brick was finally freed from the chair JD pulled it away. He checked Brick for injures but couldn’t find anything. JD carefully checked Brick’s head. As he pulled his hand away it was covered in blood.

"Damn!" JD cursed.

"What?" Buck asked as he tended to Vin.

"Cracked the back of his head open on the cement," JD answered.

"Shit!" Buck cursed again.

Chapter 15

Chris was furious. The only problem was he didn't know who he was mad at more. Vin, for going rogue. JD, for withholding evidence, even if Chris didn't know what it was or Buck for being Buck. He knew when he told Buck to wait for back up he wouldn't. But the person he was most furious was with himself for letting things get so out of hand. When he received the phone call from JD he wasted no time jumping into his truck but he knew he'd never get there in time. Sometimes he would regret moving so far out of the city but Sarah had wanted a place away from the chaos and crime. His only saving grace was there was no traffic this early in the morning and with his police lights going he was traveling eighty-MPH. He was approaching the exit for the warehouse district when his cellphone rang telling him to get to Denver Mercy as quick as he could. Nathan hadn't given him any other information and Chris cursed soundly. The big Ram barreled into the drive at Denver Mercy and Chris searched for a parking space. Luckily one was up front and Chris pulled in. He got out of the car and head for the emergency entrance. Bystanders quickly gave the apparition in black a clear path as they stepped aside to let him pass. Chris walked through the doors and marched right up to Josiah.

"Where is he!"

Josiah turned and shook his head. Chris looked like he was ready to spit nails. "Vin is in surgery," Josiah explained. "Brick is in exam room 1 just down the hall."

"Fine!" Chris said and turned to walk to the indicated door but Josiah's hand stopped him.

"Hold on, Chris, just calm down," Josiah said.

"Calm down, you want me to calm down!" Chris growled. "One of my men goes rogue and I assume gets himself shot trying to save his brother. Brick is obviously hurt since he's also here. JD withholds evidence and Buck for...for being Buck!" Josiah knew he shouldn't have laughed but he couldn't help it. "Something funny here Mr. Sanchez!"

"I'm sorry Chris, but you should listen to yourself. You're ranting and raving and the only one you are truly mad at is yourself."

Chris sighed and ran a hand through his short blonde hair. "Am I that obvious?"

"Only to someone who knows you. Now come sit down and I'll explain everything. Well at least all that I know."

Josiah explained how JD had figured out which warehouse Brick was being held. He held up his hand quickly when Chris started to interrupt. He knew Chris wanted to know how JD had figured that out but it was just one of the things he didn't know. As Josiah continued he told Chris that Buck and JD had found both Brick and Vin along with LeBroc. LeBroc had just been about to kill Vin when Buck shot him.

"So you see if Buck hadn't disobeyed your order Vin and Brick would be dead."

"How bad?"

"Vin was shot in the back on the lower left side."

"In the back!"

Josiah nodded. "From the description Buck gave Nathan Vin must have jumped in front of Brick as LeBroc fired at him. Brick was still handcuffed to the chair. Vin's momentum and the force of the shot sent Vin flying into Brick. The chair fell over and Brick cracked his head on the cement floor of the warehouse."

"Shit!" Chris cursed as he jumped to his feet and began to pace. "What about Buck and JD?"

"They’re fine," Josiah said as he watched his boss. "Buck had JD call the FBI with the information also. Right now the two of them are probably at the crime scene trying to explain how they knew."

"And Ezra?"

"He stayed with Buck and JD," Josiah said smiling. "You know that silver tongue of his will calm any ruffled feathers."

"Yeah and keep Buck from blowing his top," Chris agreed. "I just want to know how JD knew?"

"That's the $64,0000 question," Josiah answered.

Josiah stood when he saw Nathan approaching. When Chris turned he wasn't encourage by the look on Nathan’s face. Nathan came over and sat down.

"How bad?" Chris asked as he sat next to Nathan.

"It's not good," Nathan admitted. "Vin was shot in the back just below the ribcage. The doctors weren't too worried about that but they were worried about the sever bruising they found on his lower back."

"From what?" Josiah asked.

"This is purely a guess," Nathan said. "But I figure LeBroc must have come back to find Vin trying to free Brick. They fought but since Vin back was already hurting I doubt he was able to hold his own. The doctor thinks he was either hit with a pipe or a large piece of wood."

"So Vin will be pretty sore for a couple of days," Chris said.

"You don't understand, Chris," Nathan said shaking his head. "When he was hit the impact caused Vin's spine to be wrenched. This put pressure on Vin's spinal cord."

"What are you saying?" Chris asked but he had a feeling where Nathan was going.

"They get no response from Vin below the waist," Nathan knew it would be a shock but he'd never seen Chris so pale before. "They don't know if it's permanent or if it's just from the swelling."

"And Brick?" Josiah asked.

"Well we knew LeBroc had beaten him pretty badly," Nathan began. "He has six broken ribs, multiple contusions on his torso and face. His cheekbone has a hairline fracture and his wrist is broken. And..."

"Just spit it out Nathan," Chris said.

"He has a severe concussion," Nathan sighed. "They won't know the extent of the damage until Brick wakes up. Only problem is they don't know when..."

"Or if he will," Chris finished. "Where did this all go so fucking wrong!"

Neither Josiah nor Nathan had an answer for Chris. They watched as Chris wandered over to the far side of the waiting room. They knew he wanted to be alone and respected his wishes. Nathan offered to get coffee and left Josiah sitting alone. A short time later the rest of the team walked into the waiting room. Buck spotted Josiah and walked over. The other three members of the team saw Josiah's expression and they knew things weren't good.

"How bad?" Ezra asked.

"Bad," Josiah answered. "Worse case, Brick might not wake from the concussion and Vin will be paralyzed from the waist down."

"Shit!" Buck cursed.

"But that is the worse case scenario," Ezra reiterated. "None of the aforementioned maladies may occur."

"Ezra's right," Nathan said as he returned to hear the end of the conversation. "Vin's paralysis is from the swelling around his spinal cord. With medication and proper treatment he should be fine. It might just take awhile. And if Brick has as hard a head as Vin then he should have no problem."

"Yeah I'm sure he does," Buck agreed. "Those two won't let a little banging up keep them down long."

"It's all my fault," JD said quietly.

"What is, son?" Josiah asked.

"Everything!" JD yelled. "If I'd only told all of you I had a copy of the tape we might have found what I did sooner. Then none of this would have happened."

"You have a copy of the tape?" Chris asked angrily.

"Yeah, Chris, I do. I'm sorry."

"Damn!" Chris growled. "What the hell am I supposed to tell the FBI?"

"Nothing!" Buck said just as angrily. "JD told the Feebies everything."

"What did you tell them JD?" Chris asked.

"That I made a copy of the tape before I gave it to them," JD admitted.

"That's it? Good," Chris nodded. "I'll tell Travis that I told you to do it."

"You don't have to, Chris."

"Yeah I do. I'm as much to blame for this fiasco as anyone. If I hadn't turned the investigation over in the first place..."

"You weren't given a choice," Josiah reminded him.

"I could have fought Travis harder on it."

"Yes while were at it let's take blame for 12 plagues of Egypt," Ezra cut in.


"From the bible, JD," Josiah laughed. "I think it's Ezra's way of saying it's no one's fault."

"Well why doesn't he just say what he means," Buck grumbled.

"That would be rather dull," Ezra said. "I need some excitement in my dealings with my colleagues.'


"Yes, Mr. Larabee?"

"You're full of shit."

"It's quiet possible," Ezra smiled.

Buck burst out laughing. Ezra's joking broke the somber mood and they all laughed. Chris appreciated what Ezra had done but ultimately he was responsible since he was team leader. Josiah asked JD what he saw on the tape to lead them to that particular warehouse. When JD explained what he had done they were all surprised. JD just shrugged and said it was easy if you had the right equipment but wondered how Vin had done it. Ezra suggested that Vin probably had people he knew from his bounty hunting days that could do the same thing. Buck picked up the tale from the time they got to the warehouse and found LeBroc getting ready to kill Vin. Chris was impressed with what JD did and told him so. JD modestly told him it was nothing. Buck grabbed JD in a headlock and starting rubbing his head with his knuckle. Chris just shook his head at their antics.

"Mr. Larabee?"

Chris turned to see a young man standing behind him. "I'm Larabee."

"Are you the next of kin for a..." the doctor flipped the paper over. "Brick McKenna? Says that you're here for a Vin Tanner. Well since they're twins I figured you were here for Mr. McKenna also but I wasn't sure."

"It's complicated," Chris said. "So yeah I'm kin for Brick."

"I'm Dr. Rick Lawrence," he held out his hand Chris shook it. "I'm assigned to Mr. McKenna's case. And before you say it I know I look young."

"I wasn't going to say anything," Chris said.

"Yes you were," Buck said nudging Chris.

"Shut up!" Chris said turning back to the doctor. "So how is he."

"Well I'm sure your friend told you everything," Dr. Lawrence smiled. "The nurses said he was very persistent."

"He certainly can be," Josiah agreed.

"Anyway we ran some tests and Mr. McKenna has a severe concussion. He shows little response to stimuli."

"In other words he's in a coma," JD said miserably.

"I'm afraid so," Rick agreed.

"What about his other injuries?" Josiah asked.

"Contusions to the abdomen and upper torso," Rick answered. "Six broken ribs and a hair line fracture to his left cheek bone. Also a broken right wrist."

"In other words he's a mess," Buck said.

"He's been taken up to ICU so they can monitor him at all times," Dr. Lawrence. said. "Right now he's breathing on his own..."

"You mean he could stop?" JD asked

"It's a possibility. Taking him to ICU is just a precaution."

"What are his chances?" Chris asked.

"It's hard to say right now with all the swelling around the impact area," Rick said. "We have Brick on anti-inflammatory drugs to see if that will help. We'll just have to wait and see."

"And if the drugs don't work?" Buck asked.

"Let's wait and see shall we?"

"Can we see him?"

"Sure, Mr. Larabee, but only two of you."

"And Mr. Tanner?"

"I don't know," Rick said turning to the fancy dressed gentleman. "Dr. Peterson is on his case. I'll let him know you are in the ICU waiting room. Do you need directions?"

"No," Chris said shaking his head. "We know the way."

They made their way to the elevators and up to ICU. It was decided that Buck would go with Chris to see Brick. As they entered Brick’s cubicle they could hear beeping from various machines throughout the room. Brick was in a reclining position and looked like he was only sleeping. His face was bruised and swollen. The area under his left eye was a vivid shade of purple. His right wrist was in a blue cast and his chest was wrapped with bandages. There were wires draped all over even ones leading from small pads stuck to Bricks head.

"Looks like a Frankenstein experiment doesn't he?" Asked the nurse.

"Yeah," Buck agreed. "But we've seen them before. Except for the ones around his head."

"Those monitor his brain waves," she explained. "My names Lauren. I'll be one of Brick's nurses while he's here. He'll also be assigned a physical therapist."

She watched as both men stood tentatively at the side of the bed. She was surprised when the blond reached out stroked Brick's hair. Most people were terrified to touch people in ICU.

"You have done this before," she commented.

"On occasion," Buck said. "Comes with the line work."

"My guess would be law enforcement."


"Well I'll leave you alone for a few minutes," Lauren said. "I'll give you ten."

Buck nodded and she left. He turned back to Brick and sighed. If he hadn't encouraged Brick to come this might not have happened.

"I know what you're thinking, Buck."


"You didn't cause this any more than the rest of us," Chris said looking up at his friend.

"I know," Buck sighed. "But it's tough trying to convince yourself when you see them like this."


Before they knew it Lauren came back to say time was up. Chris gave Brick's shoulder a squeeze and told him they'd be back later. Buck leaned over to talk to Brick.

"Listen, Squirt, you behave and don't give the nurses any trouble. That's my job. I also suspect Vin will probably be joining you as a roommate soon."

They went out to the waiting room and joined the others. Chris said he'd better call Jack and moved to the other end of the waiting room.

"Don’t envy Chris that job," Nathan said.

"Neither do I," Ezra agreed. "From the description you gave us Mr. McKenna strikes me as an overbearing person."

Josiah glanced at the clock and saw it was six o'clock. They all had gotten very little sleep and it was starting to show. JD was slumped in one of the armchairs, while Buck was equally as boneless on the couch near by. Nathan's head kept nodding and he would jerk awake. Only Ezra seemed to be wide-awake and Josiah figured he was used to being up late. Josiah glanced over to Chris when he heard him arguing with Jack. Chris hung up and stalked over.

"What happened?" Josiah asked.

"Nothing," Chris said fuming.

"Chris..." Buck began.

"That man is the most stubborn person I know," Chris growled. "I offered to pay for his plane ticket. I know how much they watch every penny."

"Your intentions were noble," Ezra commented. "But for a man like Mr. McKenna you implied he didn’t have the income to watch over his family."

"God, Ezra, you're probably right," Chris said rubbing his eyes. "Guess I'm just tired."

"We all are," Nathan said.

Chris nodded then sat up when he saw a gurney being pushed down the hall. They all stood up and moved closer. It was Vin. They watched as the gurney was wheeled into ICU and over to the bed next to Brick. The orderlies transferred Vin to the bed then left with the gurney. The nurses quickly began to hook Vin to various machines. As they were watching they failed to hear someone walk up behind them.

"Mr. Larabee?" They all turned to see an older gentleman in a white coat. "I'm Dr. Peterson."

"So how is he?" Chris asked getting right to the point.

"The surgery went well," he said. "The bullet nicked the intestine and we had to make sure we got everything cleaned before stitching him up. For the most part the bullet damaged muscle."

"And his back?"

"That's a whole nother ball game," Dr. Peterson said. "Whatever Mr. Tanner was beat with..."

"It was a pipe," JD said cutting in. "We found it at the scene."

"And from the damage it must have been a fairly heavy one," Dr. Peterson continued. "When Mr. Tanner was hit the vertebra took the impact and was shifted. How his back wasn't broken is beyond me."

"Mr. Tanner has a way of surviving the impossible," Ezra said.

"I believe it," he smiled. "Anyway the vertebrae did move and when it did it pinched the spinal cord. There is also an extreme amount of swelling in the area. With the both complications Mr. Tanner has no feeling in his lower extremities. I believe if we get the swelling down and with rest Mr. Tanner should recover."

"Should?" Buck asked.

"With all the swelling it hard to see what damage was done to the spinal cord. We'll just have to wait and see."

"Can we see him?"

"Or course," Dr. Peterson agreed. "But..."

"Two at a time," JD cut in. "We know."

Josiah and Nathan went first. They stayed for their allotted ten minutes then came out. JD and Buck went next. JD walked over to Vin and gripped his right hand being careful of the IV line.

"I’m sorry Vin," JD said. "If only I figured out the reflection in the puddle sooner."

When their turn was up they joined Josiah and Nathan in the waiting room. Ezra and Chris were next. Ezra didn't stay long just enough to talk to both Brick and Vin before leaving. After Ezra left Chris settled in the chair between Brick and Vin. He placed his hand on top of Vin's and settled back. If he could he would have taken Brick's hand as well but the beds were too far apart. Chris leaned back and stared up at the ceiling. Now all they could do was wait.


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