Notes: Thanks to Crystal for reading yet another of
my stories. (Bless her!) The idea for this came from the first cop show I
ever loved, Starsky and Hutch. Not too sure about the upcoming movie but
I'm willing to give it a chance!
It was an ugly evening in the Denver office. A storm front stuck over the mountains was dumping rain by the bucketful everywhere. JD had gotten caught in the storm on his motorcycle and gotten thoroughly soaked. He now felt like he had gone ten rounds with a bear. Nathan brought him some pain and fever reducer and had been pushing liquids on him all afternoon.
The team was taking it easy for a few days after a particularly dangerous sting. The warehouse where the bust occurred was a trap. As soon as Chris called for their surrender, all hell broke loose. A series of explosions brought down a section of the roof and several barrels of chemicals were feeding a massive fire. The team had barely gotten out with their lives.
Judge Travis read the riot act to Chris for the loss of evidence.
"How could you not have known the building was a trap? Didn't you have someone on the inside? Don't you usually investigate a building before you set up a bust?" The team leader's head hung low. No one regretted the situation more than he did. "Chris don't you know that your team is the best I've got? I can't even begin to imagine losing any one or all of you like that." Chris caught the smile on the judge's face, it would be okay. "Take it easy for a few days. Take the guys out to your cabin." He suggested as he escorted Chris out of the office.
Of course, they couldn't go to the cabin in the rain, so they just hung out in the office. It was a good chance for everyone to catch up on their paperwork.
Buck was quiet. He had been the inside man in the warehouse. It had all come down so quickly that he didn't get a chance to check the building. They had been using an old blueprint to set up the bust. Buck shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He had been closest to the explosion. If it had not been for Vin, he would have died.
In his mind's eye, Buck saw the man pick up the wrench and strike the acetylene tank valve. There was no place to get under cover, the explosion had knocked him fifteen feet into a cinder block wall. The man with the wrench was propelled in the same direction. It was that man's body that fractured the ribs on his left side.
The building quickly became an inferno as the barrels of chemicals began to burn, filling the air with thick, unbreathable toxins. Vin had carried Buck out of the building just before the big explosion brought down the entire roof.
Nathan raised his voice, "Buck?" He had spoken to him twice without getting any response. Buck looked up, surprised. "You okay, man? You looked kinda far away for a few minutes there," Nathan said as he watched his friend.
"Just remembering how close I came to getting our goose cooked," Buck said softly.
"How much longer are you planning to stay?"
Buck didn't want to go to Inez's that night so he lied, "I've got a ton of paperwork to finish so I'll probably make a long night of it."
"Okay, I'm gonna take JD home, he's not feeling too well."
Buck looked over at the kid, sleeping with his head resting on his desk.
"Thanks, Nathan. I forgot that he came in on the bike. I'll try to wind things up here and get home to keep an eye on him."
Nathan nudged JD gently, "Come on, kiddo, let's get you home." JD raised his head and looked around. From the glazed look in his eyes, Buck could tell he had a fever. Nathan grabbed a jacket from the hall tree and dropped it around JD's shoulders as he guided the boy to the elevator.
A few minutes later, Chris stopped at Buck's desk. "Going to Inez's after work?"
"Nah, JD's taking a cold so I'm gonna be babysitting tonite."
"Buck, nobody blames you for what happened."
Wilmington looked at Chris, "Nobody except me."
"Well, nobody else does. Don't stay too late tonite, okay?" He patted Buck on the shoulder before he headed for the elevator.
Josiah and Vin stopped by a little while later to repeat the invitation to go to Inez's. Buck begged off, telling them that he was headed home to see after JD. They stood over him for an awkward minute before they finally left. That left only Ezra in the office.
Buck walked over to Ezra's door and tapped lightly.
"Mr. Wilmington, what ever are you still doing here? I understand that the rest of our merry band had gone to Inez's to suck swill." Leave it to Standish to make a pleasant evening at the bar into something that sounded bad.
"I'm headed home, JD's taking a cold and I don't want to leave him alone. You know how he gets when he's sick." Ezra rolled his eyes, he remembered only too well what the boy was like when he took sick. "See you in the morning, Ezra," Buck said as he left.
It was dark and quiet in the apartment when he arrived. He hit the light switch, nothing. "JD!" He called. The elevator had worked so he knew the power wasn't out all over the building. He made his way to JD's bedroom door. "JD, are you in there?" He opened the door and looked inside. No JD.
He made his way to the circuit breaker box. Someone had thrown the main breaker. Buck pushed it back to the 'on' position and listened to the hum of appliances coming back to life. He grabbed the phone and dialed Nathan's cell phone.
"Nathan, have you still got JD? No, he isn't here and the main breaker was thrown when I got here."
Josiah lifted an eyebrow as he heard Nathan say, "No, I left him at your place like I said I would. He isn't there? The main breaker? Any sign of a struggle?"
By now, every man at the table was dead quiet and leaning toward Nathan as they strained to hear what was being said.
"We're on our way," Nathan said as he folded his phone and glanced around the table, "JD's not at home and Buck's worried. Let's go!"
Four cars rolled into the parking lot at the apartment building and the four ATF agents jumped from their cars staring down anyone who would dare to question their presence or the way they were parked. Buck paced in the apartment, afraid to touch anything in case Chris wanted to dust the place.
The team leader opened the door to the apartment without knocking and found himself face to face with Buck's 9mm. "Whoa, Buck, easy now!" He called as the others froze behind him. Buck lowered the gun with a look of relief. Chris stepped inside allowing the others to enter the small apartment. Nathan went straight to the bedroom where he had left JD.
He had left him under the covers of his bed after removing his tennis shoes and holster. The glass of water on the nightstand sat untouched. Nathan searched his memory for anything unusual or out of place in the room.
Josiah waited for Nathan to notice him before he spoke, "Anything?"
Nathan shook his head, "It looks just like it did when I left him. His shoes are still there where I left them."
"Any chance that he left on his own? Delirious, maybe?"
"I didn't think his fever was that high."
Josiah pulled his cell and started dialing the hospital. Chris had walked the apartment from end to end before noticing the blinking light on the answering machine.
"Buck, have you played this message?"
Buck walked over, "No, I hadn't noticed it."
Chris depressed the play button. "I've got your boy. I'll be in touch," was all it said. Buck sank onto the couch, staring in disbelief at the machine. Chris quickly went into action.
"Put out an APB on JD! Is his car on the parking lot?"
Vin ran to the window, "No, it's gone too."
"And the car, then. Call the judge and let him know what has happened. Get a crew down here to dust for prints. Buck did you recognize the voice? Buck!" Chris knelt in front of his friend, "Buck, I need you to hold yourself together for me, for JD. Did you recognize the voice?" Buck shook his head no. "Get the LUDS from his phone too."
The team pulled their phones and began to make the necessary calls. Chris rubbed Buck's shoulders, "It'll be okay. We'll find him. Don't worry." Buck nodded before dropping his face into his hands and massaging his forehead. He should never have let Nathan leave JD here alone!
JD had no idea where he was. The room was cramped and dark. There was only a small glass block window high up on the wall for light. He was shaking with cold. He head ached and he felt sick.
"Buck! This isn't funny, Buck!"
He tried the door, locked from the outside. He beat on it with his open hand.
"Buck! Damnit, open the door! I don't feel like playing!"
He retreated to the bed and wrapped his arms around his legs. Being angry warmed him somewhat. This wasn't like any joke Buck had ever played on him. His head felt stuffy and his ears felt plugged. He wiped his runny nose on the tail of his tee shirt.
The ETU technician dusted every doorknob in the apartment. He checked the breaker box and lifted a print from it. Josiah, Vin and Nathan canvassed the building, questioning everyone to see if they had noticed anything unusual. Chris called Ezra at home to tell him what had happened and he had rushed over to help any way he could. Buck sat, despondent, on the couch. He blamed himself for everything.
The LUDS showed that the call had come from a pay phone on the corner. The phone was taken out of service and dusted for prints.
By the time the sun came up, they still had no leads. The entire team was running on pure adrenaline. Chris ordered them back to the office and sent Buck and Josiah to get some sleep. Vin and Nathan were out with teams 8 and 9 looking for JD's car. Chris paced the halls, drinking cup after cup of the coffee Ezra made in abundance.
JD opened his eyes as he heard the door open. Two men came in wearing ski masks! JD backed into the corner, as there was no place else to go. The men grabbed him and forced him onto his stomach with his arms behind his back. He fought and kicked at them, to no avail.
"Hold still, kid, you're just making it harder on yourself," the man said.
The young agent felt the needle stick and yelled, "Hey! What are you doing?" They held him a moment longer before letting him go and backing out of the room.
JD jumped from the bed and tried to get to the door before it was locked again. He threw himself against the door, yelling in rage. He suddenly felt as if the room tipped and he gripped the door to hold himself up. The walls seemed to bulge and move as he felt dizzy. He reached for the bed. His arm felt like rubber and seemed to stretch for miles before it finally touched the bed. He crawled onto the bed and curled up in a ball as the drugs took his mind on a crazy ride.
Buck tried to sleep for the three hours that Chris had ordered. He tossed and turned until he felt badly for keeping Josiah awake, so he crept out of the room and sat on the floor in the hallway. Vin and Nathan came in and Larabee sent them to get some sleep. Josiah and Ezra had taken over driving around looking for JD's car. Buck sat, staring forlornly at JD's desk until he became angry. He swept the files from his desktop and put his head down and cried.
Chris rubbed Buck's back and shoulders as the man poured out his frustration. Nathan had left a mild sedative in case he thought Wilmington needed it. The blond poured the contents of the capsule into the coffee and set it on the desk.
"Drink your coffee," he urged, "Ezra made it."
Buck wrinkled his nose at the coffee, "That stuff Ezra drinks barely qualifies to be called coffee." Chris chuckled, at least the old Buck was still in there.
Josiah drove since Standish had been awake for over 24 hours. There was no sign of the car. There were no hits from the prints from the phone and the only prints in the apartment belonged to the seven of them.
"Why would someone take JD?" Ezra asked as he looked away from his window.
Josiah shook his head, "Could be that they wanted to get to Buck. Could be that as the youngest, they figured he'd be an easy hit. I just don't know." Ezra nodded as he digested the information before returning his gaze to the streets beyond his rain-spattered window.
JD was hungry. He was also horribly, horribly sick. Whatever they had given him, combined with the cold that was starting, left him feeling sore all over. He groaned softly as he turned to his other side.
"Buck," he said softly, "Where are you?"
Josiah and Ezra returned to the office so Ezra could get some sleep. Buck was sleeping off the sedative on the couch in the team leader's office. Standish rubbed his tired, green eyes before going to crawl into one of the bunks to grab a few hours of lousy sleep.
"Now you know he's exhausted. Ezra didn't even complain about the filthy sheets on the bed," Nathan commented dryly. Vin tossed his head as he smiled. Chris was dosing lightly in his chair for the first time since they had gotten the call.
The phone on Buck's desk rang. Nathan looked at Vin, who picked up his phone to request a trace before Nathan lifted the receiver.
"ATF Team 7 Agent Jackson."
"I want to talk to Wilmington," the caller said.
"He's unavailable right now. Can I help you?" Nathan asked carefully.
"Tell him I've got his boy," the caller said before the line went dead in his hand. Nathan looked at Vin hopefully.
Vin shook his head, "Too short."
As it was getting dark in his cell, JD heard the door opening again. He feigned sleep, hoping to catch them off guard. No such luck. The men grabbed him and forcibly turned him onto his stomach and pinned his arms behind his back again.
"Why are you doing this?" He screamed as he felt the jab of a needle in his arm. "No! Don't!" He cried out as they continued to hold him for a moment.
As the weight eased from his back, one of the men ruffed his hair and said, "Pleasant dreams, kid." Laughing, the men left JD alone.
It started more quickly this time. The walls bulged and the bedposts wiggled crazily as he tried to focus his eyes. "No," he whispered as he curled up into a ball. Sometime later, one of his captors turned on a red strobe light mounted on the ceiling. JD covered his head with his arms and rocked on his hands and knees as the drugs combined with the flashing lights to make him feel worse. After a couple of hours, they blasted the tiny room with loud music.
Someone had finally persuaded Chris to go to his office and lay down. They had gotten no further information from the kidnappers and had not found the car. Buck had to be sedated again as he was unable to relax enough to sleep without having nightmares. Josiah and Nathan took the early part of the night watch. Cries of horror brought them into Chris's office as their leader was in the throes of a full-blown nightmare.
Chris was reliving Sarah and Adam's death again. The horrible explosion that had taken his family haunted his dreams.
"JD!" He called out as Nathan gently shook him awake.
Josiah caught Chris's hand as he went for his gun, "Easy Chris. Take a minute."
"What time is it?"
"About 2:30. You want some coffee?" Nathan offered. It was going to be a long night for the team.
The phone rang on Buck's desk at 6:30 in the morning. "ATF, Agent Wilmington," Buck said as he snatched up the receiver. Ezra started the trace.
"I've got your boy," the caller said.
"What do you want?" Buck asked calmly.
"Do you know how to break a man's spirit? Give him something broken," the voice said.
Buck felt panic rising in his chest, "What does that mean? Is JD okay? Don't hurt him, he's just a kid!" The caller laughed, a harsh, guttural sound before the line went dead.
Ezra shook his head, "Too quick." Buck let the receiver slip from his hand to the desktop as he let his head down on the desk. Vin reached out to him only to have Wilmington snarl at him.
"Don't touch me! Don't you think I feel bad enough? I don't need all of you trying to 'handle' me, Vin! Just leave me alone!"
"He's only trying to help, Mr. Wilmington," Ezra said softly.
Buck jumped from his chair and went into the restroom. Vin stood outside the door and listened as he kicked and raged at the stalls. Chris and Ezra joined him at the door but not one of them would go in.
JD opened his eyes in the dim light of his cell and saw that someone had put a paper plate with sandwiches on the bed. He reached out and touched them, unsure if they were real or not. His stomach cramped and growled as he had not eaten anything for the past two days. They were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He took a small bite of one. He barely had the energy to chew. He ate only part of one half of a sandwich before his stomach began to roll. He forced himself to breath deeply as he tried to quell his stomach. He dropped off to sleep still holding the piece of the sandwich.
A couple of hours later they came in again. JD couldn't even resist them as they pinned his arm and injected him again.
"Your friends are worried about you, kid," one man teased.
"Don't you remember anything kid, we killed him."
JD felt as if the world had dropped away from him as he began to sob. The men laughed as they left him alone with his grief. Buck had become closer to the young agent than the others and the intense grief that wracked his body left him drained. The drug induced hallucinations caused him to see the death of his friend over and over.
In his mind, the last time his roommate was injured in the line of duty played out. The team was backing up an FBI team in a hostage situation that had gotten out of hand. Several police officers had also been taken hostage. Wilmington had tackled one of the hostages and had taken the bullet meant for the officer.
JD had been in the surveillance van when the call came out that an agent was down. It wasn't until the identity of the agent was revealed that the kid had broken down. Only fear of disobeying a direct order from Chris had kept him in the van until Buck was brought out. Although the bullet had only grazed the back of his head, it had bled profusely. The sight of so much blood frightened the young agent.
As the hallucination played out, the minor head wound became much more serious. It wasn't blood but brain matter that had colored the bandages. He saw himself holding Buck in his arms as he drew his last breath. An anguished cry ripped from his throat as he staggered off of the bed.
He stumbled to the corner as he threw up and then sank to his knees as the dry heaves ripped thru him. When the spasms finally passed, he crawled back to the bed and curled into a ball, wrapping his arms around his knees.
The phone rang around noon and Ezra answered it, "ATF, Agent Standish."
"How's Wilmington holding up?" The caller asked.
"Your concern for my compatriot is touching, but I cannot help but feel that you are only baiting me. Is JD alright?"
"So far," the man teased, "You all have been movin' Heaven and Earth looking for that mustang, right? You'll find it at the corner by his apartment," he said before the line went dead.
Chris shook his head, "Damn! He knows not to stay on too long!"
Ezra was already on his feet putting on his jacket, "Yeah, but he's giving us the car!" Chris gathered the others and they piled into one of the department issued gray sedans to race back toward Buck and JD's place. The car sat on the corner as if it had always been there. Buck brought out his set of keys to the car and gave them to Chris to unlock the doors.
Nathan called for an ETU technician to go over the car. Chris put on gloves before opening the door to pick up the objects that lay on the driver's side seat. Three syringes lay in a zip-lock bag. Jackson pulled on gloves before pulling one of them out and examining it carefully.
"Heroin," he whispered, "My God, they're shooting him up with heroin."
Buck's knees folded as he sank to the ground next to the sedan and gripped his head between his hands.
The technician dusted the car thoroughly but came up with only Buck and JD's prints. They towed the car back to the ATF garage so that they could go over it for any other clues to where it had been. Chris had pocketed the bag and syringes; he didn't want anyone else to know what they were giving the kid.
Around midday, the men came back again. JD was sweating and trembling. They gave him a couple of bottles of water and some more sandwiches. He sipped the water and nibbled on the sandwiches until he felt sick again. Their words echoed in his head until he wanted to scream. Buck dead? He couldn't accept it. He pounded the back of his head against the wall until he couldn't take the pain anymore before curling into a ball and sleeping.
They returned around dusk and gave him another shot. All night they ran the strobe light and blared music in the room off and on. JD stood on the bed and pounded on the wall as he tried to reach the glass block window. He screamed and cried in his frustration. After he had withdrawn into the fetal position again, they came into the room and fired several blanks into the air. The terrified young agent rolled from the bed and tried to protect himself while screaming for his friends.
The phone rang at 6:30. Chris answered it, "ATF, Agent Larabee."
"Did you get my little gift?" The caller asked.
"Yes, we got the car."
The man laughed, "Your boy isn't doing too good."
"What do you want? What can we do to get him back?"
"I want Wilmington broken," he said, "There isn't anything else I want."
Chris lifted his eyes to the ceiling, "Don't hurt him. If you want to know that Buck's hurting, let me tell you, he's hurting. Just let JD go, please."
"Not just yet, Chris," he said as the line went dead. Nathan shook his head.
"I know, too short." Chris snarled before he jumped up from the chair and kicked it in his fury.
The day seemed to drag on forever. The team slept in four-hour shifts. They hardly ate anything and when they did they didn't taste it. Judge Travis stopped by a few times only to stand and stare in silence at the devastation in the Team 7 offices. Josiah had vented his frustration punching holes in the thin panel door. Ezra had taken out his energy on an empty desk in the corner, smashing the fronts of the drawers. Buck had kicked dents in the stalls in the restroom. Chris had kicked a chair across the room, smashing the glass in the interrogation room door. Only Vin and Nathan had yet to show their tempers.
Buck slept when they sedated him and paced the rest of the time. He drank cup after cup of the bitter, strong coffee he brewed. Dark circles appeared under his eyes and his hands trembled uncontrollably. It tore at the hearts of his teammates to see him in such pain.
Chris and Josiah sat in the team leader's office and watched the sun go down.
"If we lose JD, we'll lose Buck." Chris whispered. Josiah only nodded. "I keep thinking about Adam. That kid is like a son to Buck. I know how it feels to lose a child. I shouldn't have brought him on the team. If he dies, it will be my fault," he said as he finished the cold coffee in his cup.
Josiah moved to stand beside Chris, "It isn't you fault. It isn't Buck's fault. It isn't Nathan's fault. You have to stop blaming yourselves."
"How could a loving God allow someone as innocent as JD to suffer?"
Josiah shook his head, "It isn't God that does these things, Chris, there's evil in the world and that's what's hurting JD."
JD didn't even bother to resist them when they came for him that night. He had withdrawn into a shell in his mind. If Buck was dead, nothing really mattered. His head hung limply as they injected him again.
"Hey kid, just thought you might want to know, Vin Tanner committed suicide last night," the man said. Tipping JD's head up by his hair, he looked into the pain-filled eyes, "You hear me kid? Tanner's dead too."
Later that night, the door opened and a box was shoved into the room. After a few minutes, a scratching sound emanated from the box and squeaking sounds followed. Whatever was in the box began to gnaw its way out. The strobe light illuminated the animal as it finally escaped the box and JD began to scream as the big rat scurried around the perimeter of the room.
The phone rang at 6:45. "ATF, Agent Tanner."
"The kid thinks you're dead, Mr. Tanner. Cried like a baby when I told him," the caller said as he laughed. Vin felt the sting of tears. The kid cared enough to cry at the thought of his death.
"Why are you doing that to him? What has JD done to you? He's just a kid!" Vin hissed.
"Because it hurts Wilmington," he said.
"How do I know JD is still alive?" Vin asked, anything to keep the man talking.
"Because I'm not going to kill him. I want to break Wilmington and all of you along with him," the man answered before the line went dead.
Vin didn't even look; he knew it wasn't enough time. He slammed his open hand on the desktop and kicked at the leg of the desk. He left the desk and headed for the restroom. Nathan looked at Chris as the sounds of Vin's anger echoed around the floor.
JD ate the leftover sandwiches and drank the water as soon as he awoke. He knew they would come for him soon and he dreaded it. They had left him in the dark silence of the cell all night. His drugged mind craved stimulation and he had pounded his head against the door pleading for the music. Anything to get his mind off of his dead friends would have been better than the silence. He screamed as the rat in the room ran across his legs before he retreated to the bed.
He tried to resist them when they came for him. He backed into the corner and wrapped his arms around his knees. He laced his fingers together and fought to keep them from getting to his arm. It didn't take much to overpower him, though, and he sobbed helplessly as he watched them pump the drugs into his arm.
"We got the undercover agent last night, kid. What was his name, Standish? Put a bullet right between his pretty green eyes," the man said as he shoved JD back onto the bed.
JD was empty; he couldn't even summon the tears he wanted to shed. He rocked as he sat on the edge of the bed, his arms wrapped around his ribcage. "Why, God, why are you doing this to them?" He whispered.
Vin ran the conversation thru his mind over and over as he lay in the bottom bunk in the darkened room. "If he wants to see Buck broken, why don't we give him Buck broken?"
Chris was on the top bunk and Vin knew he wasn't sleeping either. Larabee rolled over and looked down at Vin, "What have you got in mind?"
Judge Travis stood in front of the ATF building looking out at the gathered reporters.
"I will only make a brief statement. Agent Buck Wilmington took his life last night. We don't have all the details except that it may have to do with the problem with his last bust. Thank you."
Reporters clamored, "Does this have anything to do with the disappearance of Agent Wilmington's partner last week?"
Judge Travis glared at the man, "No comment."
Chris and the others followed the Judge back into the building.
"Do you think they'll buy it?" Nathan asked.
"We'll soon find out, I hope," the Judge said.
Vin said, "I let slip to that reporter about JD being missing and he sure jumped on it."
The evening paper ran the story on the front page, "Decorated ATF Agent Commits Suicide." It ran the information from Buck's ATF bio and the brief list of actions he had been decorated for during his time with the ATF. The entire team held their breath and waited.
The phone rang around 8:00 that evening. "ATF, Agent Larabee."
"He killed himself?" The caller asked without preamble.
"He blamed himself for what you're doing to the kid. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did."
The man laughed, "Who found him?"
Chris bristled; the man was actually enjoying this! "I found him this morning, in his office. He left a note for JD and one saying he was sorry." Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Vin as he held up five fingers. "Is JD alive?" He asked quietly.
The man hesitated for a moment, "Yeah, for now. Don't see as he's much good to me now that Wilmington's dead, though. I'll let you have him back if you get here quick enough."
Vin nodded vigorously, they had the address.
"Where?" Chris asked.
"Ask the man running the trace, he knows where I am," the line went dead in his ear.
Chris slammed down the receiver, "Where?"
Vin checked the computer screen, "Warehouse district. Let's go!"
The six men split up, riding in two cars, as they raced out of the underground garage. Buck was with Chris and Nathan, he looked like hell.
JD resisted weakly as they shot him up one last time. They showed him the newspaper before leaving him sobbing disconsolately. They left the empty syringes on the table by the door. They had wiped down every surface in the room they used. They climbed into their beat up, old truck and drove out into the night.
The six men cautiously approached the warehouse. They had no back up, they didn't want anyone to see JD. Wearing Kevlar vests and heavily armed, they crept into the dark building. It took nearly a half hour to find the tiny room where the kid was being held.
The door was locked. Buck kicked it twice before Josiah pulled him aside. Ezra concentrated for a moment before he hit the door with his right foot. With a crash, the door ripped free of its frame. Buck jerked free of Josiah and ran into the room.
Nathan and Vin turned their flashlights into the room. JD was curled up in a fetal position on the bed. Buck touched him timidly, afraid that they were too late.
"His heart is racing." Nathan said as he moved past Buck and felt for JD's pulse. "I'll bet they shot him up again before they left."
Buck gathered JD into his arms. "Let's get him out of here! He needs to be in a hospital!"
Vin stopped Buck as soon as he got out of the room, "Do you really want this on his service record?"
"What do you have in mind?" Josiah asked.
"Can't we take him to your cabin? Keep him there until he's cleaned up? They'll drop him if this hits his service record, you know it, Chris!"
Chris Larabee looked at each member of his team, his eyes resting for the longest time on JD. He nodded, "You're right, Vin. We'll head up there. You, Josiah and Ezra get some supplies and pick up a few changes of clothes for the rest of us."
"What about the judge?" Nathan asked.
"Let me think about that."
They split up again, Chris, Nathan, Buck and JD in one car, Vin, Josiah and Ezra in the other. An hour later, Chris pulled up in front of his cabin and shut off the engine. Nathan whispered, "I almost wish we didn't have to move them." Chris turned to look, Buck was asleep with JD cradled against his chest like a child.
Nathan took JD from Buck and carried him into the cabin. Chris led the now exhausted Buck into the cabin and parked him in Adam's old room. Nathan put JD in Chris's bedroom. He checked JD's forearm. He swore out loud as he saw the bruised mess they had made of his arm. JD's pupils were contracted and his heart was racing. The team medic sorely wished for proper drugs to ease the boy thru withdrawal but he knew it was nearly impossible to get them without anyone finding out. He would not do that to the boy.
Chris came in with a basin of warm, soapy water and towels. Together, he and Nathan undressed and bathed JD's battered body. The boy had lost weight. His ribs stood out under his skin. The bones in his wrists were plainly visible. Nathan felt Chris tense when he noticed JD's arm.
"It's gonna be bad, isn't it?" He asked.
"Like nothing you ever saw. Withdrawal from heroin is bad. He's gonna hallucinate and cry and fight. It's gonna be as hard on Buck as JD."
A couple of hours later, the others arrived. Ezra had gotten groceries. Vin had gotten clothes from Buck and JD's apartment as well as his own. Josiah had gotten clothes from Nathan's and Chris's apartments as well as his own. They were prepared to stay for the duration.