Chapter 1-2 | Chapter 3-4 | Chapter 5-7 | Chapter 8-10 | Chapter 11-13
The rest of the team arrived at the office. All of them worried about what they would see when they arrived. However, Buck and Vin were quietly sitting at their desks, typing at their computers when the other five members of the team rushed in. Buck and Vin raised there heads at they heard the team crowd in the room. Buck looked over at Vin and said, "You owe me five dollars."
Vin turned and glared at the rest of the team. "Ya couldn't wait another 15 minutes."
Buck grinned, "Told ya, Vin, once Chris heard you and me had gone off together, he would be here as soon as possible."
Vin nodded, still upset about losing his money.
Not surprising Chris growled. "You were betting on when we would get here?"
The two bet makers nodded, both snickering slightly. It was funny. The rest of the team shook their heads as they sat down at their desk. The only one who didn't sit down or move was Chris. He was not a happy camper. Buck and Vin taking off without telling anyone was just irresponsible. Growling softly, he marched into his office. With the slam of the door, Chris shut out the rest the tea.
Buck and Vin looked at the rest of the team with an innocent expression that none of the team believed. Shaking his head, Buck turned back to his computer. Sighing slightly, he had some paperwork to catch up on. Hopefully nothing would happen to impede him from working on it.
After two hours, four members of the team were pulled out of reading Buck's notes by some fierce whispering that was going on. The members of the team turned and stared at the other two who were making the noise. Buck and JD had started whispering fiercely for the last few minutes. As the other members of the team paid attention to the two of them, they watch as JD said something then Buck, shaking his head, whispered something back. JD, shaking his head, whispered something back. Buck frowned and whispered softly back to JD. JD sighed and whispered something back.
Josiah, finally annoyed by all of the whispering the two of them were doing, said, "What are you two whispering about?"
Buck and JD were startled. They jerked up and stared at Josiah. Buck was the first to speak. "What?"
Ezra shook his head. "We would wish you two to tell us what you have found so interesting that you had to whisper about it."
JD just shook his head.
Buck just looked at them and said. "Nothing, just talking."
"We can see that, Buck, but what were you talking about?"
JD and Buck looked at each other, "Nothing" they both said at the same time.
The four of them looked at each other, then they glared Under the four combined glares, JD wilted. All at once, he started to talk. "I was just making sure that Buck was okay, and I wanted to know if there was anything I could do, or if he needed to talk about anything. "
Buck just shrugged to forget about it and turned back to his computer, effectively tuning out the rest of the team.
Vin spoke up for the first time. "Did he say anything?"
JD sighed, "No, he said to leave him alone."
Buck focused on his computer, not wanting to see the looks or questions in the team's eyes. He had already told them enough about what had happen. He didn't want to talk about it anymore. He wanted to at least have a normal hour without someone asking him how he was dealing with it or did he need to talk. Sighing, he started to flip through his emails, trying to see if he had any interesting ones. Unfortunately, he only had spam. He looked up, hoping everyone had cooled down int the few minutes it took to him go through his emails. Unfortunately, luck wasn't on his side. As he looked up, the team was staring at him. Sighing, he looked up at everyone, "What?"
The team looked at each other. "Nothing, Buck, you feeling alright? You have been awfully quiet. You need any more tea?" Nathan asked worriedly.
Buck wanted to scream at Nathan. He didn't need anymore tea. In a strained calm voice, Buck replied. "I'm fine, Nathan. I don't need any tea."
"If you're sure you are alright," Nathan replied.
Buck nodded, not wanting to give Nathan a reason to give him tea. Shaking his head at his close escape from more tea. Turning back to his folders on his desk, Buck tried to ignored the other members of the team. The team though didn't leave Buck alone.
"So, what were you telling JD?" Vin asked, still curious about the conversation.
Buck glared at Vin, "I didn't say anything besides, I am fine, leave me alone."
JD nodded, agreeing with Buck. "That's all he said."
Buck rolled his eyes, looking at the team, Buck got up from his desk. He stretched and headed toward the break room. He really needed coffee. It was only mid-morning; it felt like it should be the afternoon at sometime. Reaching the break room, Buck flicked on the radio for some music while he started the coffee machine. Staring at the coffee machine, he was half listing to the radio. Not paying attention to the radio, he startled when the DJ came on with a request.
"Thank you all for your calls, the next dedication goes out to Buck from Dragon, the song is from 'One more murder'. It's to remind you of unfinished business. Well, Buck, wherever you are, I hope you got the message." The song started.One more murder in this town
Don't mean a thing just lock your doors and drive around
One more murder in this town
Don't worry the rain will wash the chalk marks from the ground
Buck quickly forgot about the coffee as the music washed over him. The world started to tunnel, his thoughts circling his through his head. How did Dragon know he would get coffee? How did he know that he would turn on he radio? How? Why? The questions just kept flying though his head.One more murder in this town
Don't mean a thing you'll get a custom to the sound
One more murder in this town
Just block off the street and wrap the crime scene tape around
Buck didn't feel the coffee mug drop from his fingers. He didn't hear the crash of the mug. He didn't feel himself fall to the floor as the music surrounded him taunting him. He couldn't do anything to stop it. Dragon could reach him everywhere. Nowhere was safe.
From outside the break room, the rest of the team heard the crash of the mug. Staring at each other for a second, the realization of who was in the break room hit them like a wave. They got up and as one started heading there. Chris, hearing the commotion in the bullpen, he got up and went to his door. Opening the door, he noticed that the rest of the team was making their way to the break room. Leaving the office, he started to head towards the break room.
When Chris reached the break room he was not prepared for what he saw. The radio was playing in the background. The shattered remains of the mug were spread across the floor. The song fading from the radio with a last refrain of 'One more murder...'
Buck was on the floor, his knees were drawn up to his chest, and his eyes were staring at the wall. Buck didn't even acknowledge the rest of the team. The team was surrounding Buck. None of them were willing to touch Buck. None of them knew what to do.
Chris walked through the group. Stopping in front of Buck, he crouched down. JD moved and placed his hands on Buck's shoulders. Chris looked up at the rest of the team. Vin went over and turned the radio off. Then moved towards the group around Buck. Chris nodded his thanks to Vin. Crouching down in front of Buck, Chris tried to catch Buck's eyes.
When that didn't work, Chris reached out and grabbed Buck's chin. Staring into Buck's eyes, Chris tried to get Buck to talk to him. "Buck, Buck, what happened?"
Buck didn't blink; he just stared at Chris. Chris growled softly. Looking up at the rest of the guys. Chris tried again. "Buck, come on, Buck, you are starting to worry us."
At first the team thought that didn't work, then Buck began to a breath and blink. Tilting his head, he looked at all of the guys. "What's going on?"
"That is what we wanted to know," Chris said softly staring at Buck.
Buck just looked around; he uncurled, making the team move away from him a little. "I remember coming in for coffee. I flicked on the radio. I was waiting for the coffee to finish, when the DJ came on." Buck's voice got softer and it strained even more as he went on. "There was a request. It was from Dragon to me. How did he know that I was going to listen to the radio at that point? How did he know when I would be getting coffee?"
The team just stood there silently for a minute. Josiah was the first to speak. "Buck, I don't know how he figured it out. Maybe he has the dedication on all of the radio stations and it was bad luck that you happened to hit the dedication on the radio. But we will find out."
Buck looked up at Josiah. He wanted to believe it. He really wanted to believe them, but Dragon has been able to get everywhere. How were they going to keep their promise? Looking down to the floor, Buck didn't want the group to see the thoughts running through his head. Finally, he sighed and nodded his head.
The team looked at each other. They were going to get Dragon if it was the last thing they would do.
Chris look down at Buck, "You ready to get off the floor?"
Buck nodded and started to get up. Chris reached out his hand to help Buck get up from the floor. When Buck had gotten up, he carefully stepped around the mess on the floor. Reaching around the group, he grabbed a rag. He started to lean down to clean the mess, Nathan though stopped him. "Buck, leave it, we'll clean it up."
Buck looked at the team. Nodding, he headed to his desk, ignoring the concerned glances of his teammates. Sitting at his desk, he just stared at the wall in front of him. He didn't know how long he could deal with Dragon. This morning he started to feel back to normal. But how was he supposed to be normal if every time he felt he could put his guard down, Dragon found a way to attack him again.
How could he believe the team, knowing that they had yet to keep Dragon from finding him and attacking him or leaving notes on him? How long before one of the team members get hurt because of this? How could he let his guard down? He would just have to be on alert constantly. Dragon seemed to attack when he wasn't paying attention. He would just have to stay on alert. Nodding to himself, he looked back down at his computer. Sighing slightly, he turned off the computer. Looking around, noticing that the rest of the team was still in the break room talking. Buck got up, and headed out of the office. He needed to be by himself for a while. He needed to clear his head. He needed to be doing something, other than letting the rest of the team help him. He was the only one knew Dragon the only one alive that had dealt with him. If anyone was going to find Dragon he would.
Buck left the room. He needed some time to himself, without any of his mother hens watching him. He needed to be able to think about what has been happening the last few days. It seemed that every time he would get a gripe, someone would want to talk to him, find out what he felt, how he was dealing. And the times that they weren't, Dragon seemed to attack him. He just needed time to think, to sort through everything that had happened.
Finding himself on the roof of the building, Buck leaned against an air conditioning duct. Looking out at the city, Buck allowed his head to lay on the side of the duct. Closing his eyes, he tried to relax his tensed body.
The nightmare, dream, memory from the night, kept playing in his head. The deaths of his previous team The blood from their wounds seemed to cross his thoughts constantly. He just needed time to sort through his memory, try to separate what was real and what was the nightmare. How could the team expect him to tell them what happened when it was hard for him to remember? It was hard for him to look at the team's eyes and tell them what they wanted to hear.
After a while Buck shook his head and started to head back in. By now the team would be frantic in trying to find him. But the time alone had help him come to terms with the memory or nightmare, and what the reappearance of Dragon had done to him. Opening the door to the roof, he started down the stairwell. Hopefully the team wouldn't be too mad with him disappearing.
Chris was mad. Buck had disappeared again. Again, Buck seemed not to realize that he is in danger. Buck went wandering off, when all of their attention was on what had happened. The minute the team noticed he was gone, they started searching for him. It had been over an hour and they still hadn't found him. He wasn't anywhere in the building as far as they could tell, but they also knew that he hadn't left the building. Chris was glaring at the phone, muttering dire threats about agents who decide they could wander around by themselves when someone was gunning for them. Pacing back and forth in the bullpen, the team had decided that one person had to stay behind, and he had been elected for it.
He paced back and forth in the bullpen, not paying attention to what was in the room. He was so focused on pacing that he didn't hear someone come in the room. Turning in his pacing, he first realize there was someone there when he almost running into that someone. Chris caught himself and looked up. "Buck, where have you been?"
Buck looked around the room. "Just been around.'
"Just been around! Just been around! We have been searching for you for the last hour and that is all you have to say. You have been around."
Buck looked down at the floor for a moment. "I needed to think about some things."
"You couldn't taken one of us with you?"
"You're all busy. I didn't think about it at the time."'
"You didn't think about it. There is a man out there gunning for you and you didn't think that you needed protection."
During this argument between Chris and Buck, Ezra walked in. "Mr. Larabee, I see you have found are wayward member."
Chris and Buck both turned to Ezra, Chris glared while Buck saw salvation. "Ezra, you're here you want to grab some lunch?" Buck asked.
Before Ezra could say anything, Buck grabbed Ezra and started out of the office. Chris was about to say something, when Buck looked back over his shoulders. "Chris, Ez and I are headed out for some lunch, we'll be back shortly."
With that Buck and Ezra headed out of the office before Chris could say anything, Chris just glared as the two of them.
Ezra just looked at Buck. "Buck, where are we going?"
Buck closed his eyes for a moment, "Ezra, I don't care, I just need to be out from Chris's reach for a little bit. He's being just too protective."
Ezra quirked his eyebrow. "Mr. Larabee being too protective. I would think that Mr. Larabee has good cause for worry. You did disappear for a while."
Buck continued to walk out of the building, taking a turn to a nearby deli the team liked to eat at. Entering the eatery, Buck went to the counter, still having not answered Ezra. As they both got a sandwich and a drink, they sat at a table in the corner. When they both were settled, Buck looked at Ezra. "Ezra, I'm just tired of Chris looking over my shoulder constantly. I just need a break from his hovering and JD's hovering. I just need to relax without one of them asking how I am feeling."
Ezra nodded, taking a bite of his sandwich. Ezra chewed and thought for a minute. "Buck, they're just worried about you. They just wish to show you they can be as big a mother hens as you can, when they're in danger."
"I don't need a mother hen."
Ezra shook his head. "They just want to make sure you're safe. They want to show that they can protect you as well as you protected them."
Buck looked at Ezra. "I don't need protection. I can keep myself safe."
Ezra sighed, "They're just worried about you, you haven't been yourself since this started. Running off without telling anyone. If it was anyone else, you would have given them a little chat."
Buck had the good graces to be embarrassed. Looking down at the table, Buck couldn't meet Ezra's eyes. Ezra was right, he would have talked to whichever teammate would have acting like he had. Sighing slightly, Buck by walking away from the team to be by himself.
Ezra looked around for a moment. This wasn't going good. A quiet Buck couldn't be good thing. Ezra sat for a moment in thought. Thinking for a second, he fought with himself. Finally, he spoke. "Buck, I don't know how it is to have my teammates killed in front of me. Before I was here, I didn't even have teammates, but I would like to think I now know what teammates do for each other. I don't think I know how I would react if I lost any of you, but I do know one thing. I know how it is to be alone, and how hard it is to do be able to do anything. It feels that you can't trust anyone, everyone is out to get you. I know fear. Don't let your idea that you have to protect us interfere with trying to keep us in the dark."
Buck hadn't look at Ezra turned away the entire talk.
Ezra didn't know if Buck had even heard his argument. Ezra didn't know what else he could say, or tell Buck. Finally, when Ezra was about to get desperate. Buck though finally spoke.
"Ez, I don't want to do it by myself. I can't let you all get hurt by Dragon. I barely survived my last team. How could I try to live though that again? I couldn't. I can't."
Ezra shook his head, "How is keeping us in the dark helping us, protecting us? What if not keeping us in the loop is going to endanger us even more than us not knowing? At least if we know what is going on we can protect ourselves. We can't protect ourselves now. How is that keeping us safe."
Buck sat quietly for a couple of minutes, playing with his sandwich that he hadn't touched. Finally, with a soft sigh, Buck spoke. "I don't know if I can talk about it. It's hard. I barely remember what happened that day. What I do remember is clouded in nightmares. I just don't know."
Ezra listened, the pain and the fear in Buck's voice was so out of place that, for a moment, it took his breath away. He was never the one that they talked to. He wasn't one of the team's mother hens. He wasn't used getting confessions from friends. He usually was the one with the problems and someone getting him to talk. Shoving these thoughts to the back of his mind, he concentrated on the problem on hand. "As much as I hate clichés sharing the load, makes it lighter, or some such thing."
Buck smiled at Ezra. The mangled cliché brought him out of the funk he had started to fall into again. Shaking his head, he looked at Ezra. "If I am going to answer your questions, I rather do it with the rest of the team, so I only have to go through it once."
Ezra smiled, looking around, "So are we ready to exit this place, and go back to the office?"
Buck nodded and they both got up and left the deli. They headed back to the office.
Buck and Ezra enter into the office, they both nodded to Vin, Josiah, and Nathan. Ezra was about to open his mouth and speak when he heard the shouting from Chris's office. "What do you mean you allowed Buck to leave. He's in danger."
"JD, calm down, Ezra is with him. Buck will be fine."
"What if something happens? Do you even know where they are?"
"JD, Ezra dragged Buck from the room, said he was getting some lunch, I didn't have a chance to stop them. They are grown men, they can take care of themselves."
"You don't care."
"JD, I want Buck to be safe to, but Ezra can watch over him and keep him safe."
"He shouldn't be out in public, what if Dragon tries to get him again.'
"JD, HE WILL BE FINE."
"But it is my job to protect him."
"JD, it is all of our jobs to protect him."
"But he is my Buck."
"Yes, MY BUCK!"
"He isn't something you own. He isn't your Buck."
"You just want him for your own."
"JD, what are you talking about."
"You don't want anyone else to be around him, 'cause you think it is your job Well it isn't."
The team out in the bullpen could almost hear Chris's glared. "I am not."
At each not and too the two voices got louder and louder. Buck looked at the other members of the team inclining his head toward the door. They all nodded. Josiah left a note and the group left the room. They didn't want to stay around and see what would happen. They left the office, and headed to cafeteria. This late in the afternoon, they shouldn't be bothered by anyone. They marched down to the cafe, leaving the two fighting in the office far away.
The group sat down at a corner table. Nathan and Josiah had swung by and gotten coffee and tea. Nathan placed the tea in front of Buck. Buck took one sniff of the tea and glared at Nathan. Nathan just shook his head. "You need to drink something, and you don't need the coffee, the tea will calm you down. Now what did you want to talk about?"
Buck sighed slightly. He really hated tea. Looking down at the tea for a moment, he finally spoke up. "Ezra and Vin convinced me that I needed to answer your questions about what happen at the incident."
The group looked at each other, nodding . Josiah spoke first. "So what do you remember about what happen?"
Nathan looked up, "why?"
Buck looked up at the ceiling for a moment. "I told you guys I spent some time in the hospital for a while."
The team nodded. "Well, when the van blew up, I hit my head, cracked a couple of ribs, sprained some muscles, a lot of bruises and scraps, also one broken arm. I woke up two day later, the doctors didn't know if I would remember anything from bust.
The other four looked at each other. Waking up from a bust that went wrong, and you couldn't remember anything was almost a nightmare in itself. After several minutes of silence, Ezra spoke up. "Do you remember anything now?"
Buck sighed. "A little bit here and there, it is tough to figure out the difference between what was reality and what wasn't real. I think I remember some of what happened but I don't know."
Vin looked around the group, "What do you remember?"
Buck sighed, " I was in the van, doing surveillance. The team had just checked in. Several minutes past before communications and the surveillance went off line. I try to call them, but I couldn't raise anyone. I tried everything. It didn't work. I then try to leave the van. I couldn't because it was locked from the outside. All of the doors were locked. I turned back to the monitors and they were back on. Then it gets hazy. I see my teammates lined up and then just hands and arms reaching around their heads and neck. The hands slit their throats, and the next thing is loud laughter then nothing."
The rest of the silence for a while, they were trying to deal with what Buck had told them. Finally after several long minutes of silence, Nathan spoke up again. "How long were you in the hospital?"
Buck looked off at the far wall for a moment, staring off into space. He finally answered. " I was in the hospital for a week, then at home for a couple of months."
The rest of the team stared at Buck for a minute. Nathan finally spoke. "Was there anyone there with you."
Buck looked at Nathan, "who was supposed to look after me?"
The group looked at each other. Finally Josiah spoke up. "What about Chris?"
Buck shook his head, and stared at the tea, swirling the liquid in the cup. "I didn't want to bother him."
"You didn't want to bother him? You were injured," Nathan spoke.
Buck shrugged his shoulders," it wasn't important, I could deal with the problems."
Nathan was fuming, "Someone should have been watching you. "
Buck shrugged his shoulders again. "I got along fine."
Nathan just stared, he couldn't believe the doctors would allow Buck to go home by himself. He said as much to Buck. Buck looked at him, and lowered his eyes, and murmur something. The group glared at Buck. Buck sighed, "I told the doc, that I had someone to watch me."
Nathan looked like he was about ready to explode. "You went home from the hospital by yourself."
Buck looked at Nathan. "It wasn't a big deal, I was fine, I just hung around and slept a lot. Look it is in the past. It is done with, stop getting all hot and bothered by it."
Nathan sat back in his chair with a frown on his face. Buck shook his head, looking at the rest of the team. He raised an eyebrow, "Any other questions?"
Vin spoke up. "So why is Dragon playing games with you?"
Buck look up at the ceiling, "Dragon likes to play with his victims, err problems."
Josiah turned and stared at Buck, "Why did you say victims."
Buck shifted uncomfortable in his chair, "that is what he called us in the notes he left the team. We were his victims. He would leave notes for us, he knew we were after him, so every couple of days he would send us letters, mocking and threatening us."
Ezra blinked, "We haven't come across any threats in your notes."
Buck mumbled something under his breath and Josiah frowned. "What was that?"
Sighing, Buck spoke up, "I don't have those, the threats and warnings, were destroyed in a fire."
"Fire?" Vin asked.
Buck nodded, "The offices we were using were set on fire, all of our records were destroyed. They didn't know who did it, but Dragon probably set it up."
"Did they ever find the miscreant?" Ezra asked.
Buck shrugged his shoulders, "No one ever told me."
The others looked at each other, exchanging glances as Buck yawned. Settling back in his chair, his eyes slowly close and Buck slowly drifted into a light nap.
Vin, noticing that Buck had fallen into a doze, focused the rest of the group's attention to this.
Nathan frowned a little, "We need to get Buck out of here."
The group nodded, "Hey, Ez, you think we could all crash at your house?"
Ezra stared at Vin, "What do you mean my house? I thought we had to go to the ranch."
"Yea well, I don't think any of us wanna be around Chris and JD right about now."
The rest of the group nodded, Josiah sighed and looked at the group. "One of us has to go and tell Chris and JD."
The rest of the group that was awake looked at Vin, "No, way, I ain't going do it."
Nathan and Ezra both stared at Josiah, shaking their heads negatively. Ezra spoke up. "Josiah, there is no way you could incite me to go up there and talk to those two."
Nathan looked at Josiah, "what Ezra said."
Josiah shook his head, "One of us will have to tell them. If we don't we will get it later."
Nathan and Ezra turned towards Vin.
"What? I'm not gonna up there."
"Vin, he won't kill you. Neither will JD."
"That ain't a reason. You go up to do it," Vin said as he pointed at Josiah
"Now, Brother Vin, I can't. We all know that you can take on JD, and Chris won't attack you. The rest of us will be waiting for you in the garage in a car for a quick get away."
"I still don't see why one of you can't go up."
"Look, Vin, you aren't scared of Chris, you get to deal with him," Nathan pleaded.
Vin sighed. He knew they were right, he just didn't want to do it, but he was the only one who could do this dangerous job and live through it. Getting up from the table, Vin headed back towards the office. As he left the cafe, he refused to stop and look at the rest of the group who were waking up Buck and heading towards the garage.
Vin slowly made his way into their offices. He didn't want to be here. Sneaking in to the team office, who would have ever thought. Standing in front of Chris's office, Vin stood there and listened to the conversation. "He is my Buck."
That was all that he heard from the office. Shaking his head, he opened the door. JD and Chris didn't hear Vin come in, or even notice that Vin was standing watching it any them. Finally, Vin couldn't stand it. Putting his fingers to his mouth, and let go a loud whistle. That stopped both of the yelling teammates. Chris and JD turned and looked at Vin. Chris was the first to speak. "What?"
Vin just shook his head. "I just came to tell ya that the rest of us are leaving and that we will see ya tomorrow." With that, Vin left as fast as he could without a backward glance at Chris and JD.
For Chris's and JD's part, they just stared. They couldn't believe what they had just heard. Finally, after a few seconds, the meaning finally set in. The two of them looked at each other and blinked. Shaking their heads, they stared at each other. They both spoke at once.
They both stopped and stared at each other. Shaking his head, Chris spoke. "JD, look you are right, I have been hogging Buck. I been trying to repaid Buck for what he helped me through, and in doing so I forgot that there is a team now. I don't have to do the whole thing by myself. I also should have taken into consideration that there were others on the team that wanted to protect Buck as much as I did. Forgive?"
JD stared in shock. Chris apologizing to him? Blinking, JD smiled. "Yea, you're forgiven if I am. I didn't have the right to say that you lost the chance to be there with him, I was a little jealous."
Chris nodded. Looking out the empty office, Chris turned back to JD. What do you say, we go and find the rest of the team and tell them."
Nodding, JD and Chris headed out of the building towards their cars. They were going to find the rest of the team and apologize.
Two hours later, they found themselves standing in front of Ezra's door. Chris and JD looked at each other. As they stared at the door, JD raised his hand and rang the doorbell. Both of them could hear the doorbell ring resounding in the townhouse. They waited for the telltale signs of footsteps toward the door. They had a long wait. After several minutes, they rang the doorbell again. They waited for another several long minutes. Finally, they heard the footsteps coming to the door, the footsteps stopped at the door. They waited several seconds. Finally, they heard Ezra's voice. "Who is it?"
"Ezra, open up," Chris growled.
Several minutes past but finally, they watched as the door opened slightly. Ezra peered out at JD and Chris. Shaking his head, Ezra turned his head and asked something to the room. It was too faint for Chris and JD to hear. Ezra finally looked back at Chris and JD. "You may come in, but be warned, if you wake up Mr. Wilmington, we will forcibly remove you."
Chris and JD looked at each other. Turning back to Ezra they both nodded and Ezra opened the door. As they entered the rooms they noticed that Vin, Josiah and Nathan were sitting in the living room of the townhouse. Ezra shut and locked the door, walking past Chris and JD. Ezra took the open chair in the room. The four sitting all turned and stared at Chris and JD. Chris and JD couldn't meet their gaze. Nathan was the first to speak, "Whatever you have to say, say it quietly, Buck is sleeping."
Chris and JD both blinked. Chris was the first to speak. "He's sleeping?"
Nathan nodded, "He feel asleep the minute that we got here."
JD looked worry at Nathan, "Why did you drug him, he doesn't like that."
"Because he hasn't been sleeping. He needed to get some solid sleep."
Chris also looked at Nathan, then the other members. "What's wrong with him."
Vin shook his head. "He's tired. Hasn't been eating and worried."
Chris and JD looked at each other in shock.
Josiah spoke up, "Brothers, with your arguing about who is supposed to watch him, you forgot an important fact. Buck should be your concern, not who should guard him the best."
Both Chris and JD hung their heads. They had been acting like spoiled three-year-olds. They forgot that this wasn't about them it was about protecting and helping Buck. They felt stupid and ashamed at the way they had been acting. Sighing, Chris ran his hand through his hair. Leaning against the wall, Chris shut his eyes. JD, standing next to him, looked down at floor. He couldn't raise his eyes up to meet with any of the others team members.
The rest of the team waited for either of the two to start talking. They weren't going to let the two of them get off easy. Chris cleared his throat. "I've been acting like a fool, I'm sorry, I forgot that there is a team of people to protect Buck and not just me."
JD looked up from the floor for a minute, "I've been the same way, I forgot we were a team and not that Buck's protection should be mine job only."
The other members of the team nodded, "I am glad, you both have seen the light," Josiah grumbled.
Chris and JD both nodded. "So, why did you drug Buck?" JD asked.
The team turned to Nathan, Nathan wouldn't meet the team's eyes. "Well, he needed sleep and he wasn't going to get any, so I just gave him a slight sedative to help him sleep. "
Chris just shook his head, "He isn't going to be happy, when he finds out about this."
Nathan just shrugged his shoulders.
Chris looked at the group. "Did you learn anything this afternoon?"
Vin, Nathan, Josiah, and Ezra nodded. "Let's fill you in," Josiah said with a smile.
The next hour or so the team told JD and Chris what they learned, and the group worked out what they needed to do the next day.
The shrill ringing of a phone roused him from his sleep. The quiet of the phone being picked up and soft voices talking in it further allowed him to rise even more to consciousness. He shifted, turning in the bed, trying to find a position to go back to the sweet embrace of sleep. Just as he was on the verge of going back to sleep, the phone rang again. By the second ring, one dark blue eye sleepily opened. It shut almost as quickly as it had opened. Shifting his body again, he stretched his arm over his head, arching his back. Bringing his arms back down to rest them behind his head, he allowed his eyes to slowly open and fall half-open. Staring at the beige wall across from him, he noticed something wasn't right. There wasn't a beige wall in his bedroom. Then like a tidal wave, the realization of where he was and why crashed over him.
Buck bolted up into a siting position on the bed. He had been drugged, how could they do that? Drug him, how could they? Tossing off the covers, he swung his legs down in order to get out of bed. As his feet hit the floor and he stood up, suddenly the room started to spinning. Falling back onto the bed, with a small plop, and holding his hands to his head, he waited for the dizzy spell to pass. After a few minutes, he slowly this time got up from the bed. Shuffling over to a nearby chair that had his clothes on it, he put them on, and headed out of the room, hopefully to find some answers.
Walking into the kitchen, he headed straight to the coffeepot. Grabbing a mug, he was just about to pour himself some coffee, when a dark hand plucked the coffeepot away. Buck looked up into the brown eyes of the healer. "Why'd you do that?" Buck demanded.
"You don't need coffee. Drink the orange juice instead."
"Nathan, I don't want any juice, I want coffee."
"Buck, you need to drink something besides caffeine."
Buck looked at Nathan. Nathan blinked, shaking his head again. Nathan handed Buck the orange juice. Buck looked down at the juice, sighing, he sat down at the table. Taking a sip, he placed the glass on the table, he looked up at Nathan. "You drugged me."
Sitting across from Buck, Nathan answered. "Yep."
Buck's mouth opened, he was stunned. "You admit it. You drugged me. Why?"
"You needed sleep. "
"But, nothing. Now drink your juice, Chris wants us to meet him at the office, they think they might have a lead to the Dragon. Josiah and Ezra are both trying to go check out the safe house where Jack is, so when you're ready, we can head out to the office."
Buck stared down at the table. "You drugged me."
Nathan huffed, "Look, can we move beyond that, we need to get going."
Buck grumbled some more, finally nodding, he swallowed the rest of the juice. He got up and went back into the bedroom to finish dressing.
The office was quiet. Nathan was waiting for Buck to wake up and join them. Vin and Josiah had gone out to try to find some contacts that might have some information. JD was focused on his keyboard, trying to follow Dragon's money transactions. Chris was in his office, checking out his contacts and gathering the information that he could from his federal contacts. He was also checking with his federal contacts trying to find out everything he could about the rest of Buck's team.
The shrill ringing of the phone startled Ezra out of his thoughts. Glancing up, Ezra reached for the phone, "Hello."
"Is this Team Seven of the ATF?"
A puzzled looked came over Ezra's face. "Yes."
"I wanted to tell you that Jack and his family were killed in a fire at a safe house this morning."
Ezra was worried, "Who is this?"
"What do you mean, a friend?"
"Just that. Good-bye." The caller hung up.
Ezra held the phone to his ear for a few moments, shocked by what the caller had said. When it finally sunk in, Ezra put the phone down, and got up and headed towards Chris's office. Chris wasn't going to like this news. . Knocking on the door, Ezra waited for Chris to acknowledge the knock, and said to enter. Ezra walked into the room. "Mr. Larabee, I have recently be made aware of the fact that the safe house that Buck's compatriot had been staying in was burned down last night"
Chris frowned for a moment. "Jack Perreault is dead? How?"
Ezra sighed. "I don't know much. An informant told me of the fire. Nothing else."
Chris sighed. "See what you can find out about the fire. Also, tell me when Buck gets in."
Ezra nodded and headed towards his desk. Sitting down, he reached for the phone. Hopefully he would be able to find out what had happen.
Meanwhile, outside the ATF building, Vin and Josiah met up with Buck and Nathan in the parking garage. " Nathan, Buck, I see the both of you have decided to join us today," Josiah spoke at them.
Buck nodded and Nathan smiled. Vin started towards the door. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, he noticed someone running towards the group. Turning around, he tried to figure out where the person was running towards. In a second, as the man came closer, Vin called out towards Josiah, Nathan, and Buck. "Guys, watch out."
All three heads popped up, Josiah was the first to react. He pushed Nathan out of the way and reached out and grabbed Buck, pulling Buck to the ground with him. Josiah did it just in time. As he was pulling Buck out of the way, the man that was running towards them, pulled out a knife and slashed at Buck. The man missed Buck but caught Josiah on the arm as they were falling.
Vin rushed to their side, Josiah gestured that he was okay. Vin nodded and took off after the man. Chasing after him, he dodged around the chaos that the man left on the sidewalk. After several blocks Vin turned the corner of a building where he saw the man turn down. He skidded to a halt. The man had disappeared. Vin turned and checked down all of the streets, hoping to find out where the man had gone. Sighing, he turned around and hurried back towards the rest of the group. His step quickened as he worried about the the three he left behind.
Arriving back to where he had left them, he looked worriedly at the three. "Nathan, is Josiah going to be okay?"
Nathan looked up from where he was wrapping Josiah's arm. "Yea, he should be, the ambulance is on its way. The cut is going to need some stitches."
Vin nodded, "how's Buck?"
Nathan glanced worriedly at Buck. "Not so good. He hasn't said anything since the attack."
Vin looked worriedly at Buck. "Have you called Chris yet?"
A quick look of guilt crossed Nathan's face. "Ummm, no."
Vin blinked. "What do you mean, no?"
Nathan looked down at the ground. "I thought you would be better to call him."
Vin looked at Nathan. "What do you mean you thought it was better for me to call him."
"He won't kill ya."
Vin closed his eyes, "Alright, I'll call him."
Nathan nodded. "You should hurry up and call. He might start worrying that he hasn't heard from us."
Vin growled softly. Taking his cell phone out of his pocket, he flipped it open and called Chris. "Hey, cowboy, how ya doing? Ummmm, define fine. Well, we were attacked. Well, really Buck was attacked. He's fine. Josiah isn't though."
At this point he had to remove the phone away from his ear. When the shouting had died down, some, Vin brought the phone closer to him. "No, nothing bad, just a flesh wound on his arm. Nate says he'll be fine. Where are we? Ummm, parking garage. No, umm, Buck and I will be up at the office soon." Vin nodded once. "Yea, bye, Chris." Clicking the phone shut, Vin looked at Nathan. "You own me one."
Nathan just smiled. "Well, have fun talking with Chris, I need to go with Josiah."
Vin reached out and grabbed Nathan's arm. "There is no way I am facing Chris alone." Vin looked over at Josiah, "Josiah can you go and get stitches by yourself?"
Josiah was about to protest when he saw Vin glared at him.
Blinking a coupled of times, Josiah nodded.
Vin looked back at Nathan, daring him to say anything about Josiah going to the hospital. Nathan wasn't looking at Vin though, he was looking at someone behind Vin. Vin, noticing this, turned slowly. "Hi, Chris, how is it going?"
Vin looked around, really hoping that the ambulance would show up. Unfortunately, he wasn't that lucky. Smiling at Chris, Vin looked away for a minute. "ummm, nothing. "
"What do you mean nothing."
"Well, I already told you what happen."
Chris glared. Vin just shrugged. Before he could say anything, the ambulance pulled up, drowning out whatever Vin was going to say. Chris just glared at the ambulance. The ambulance wasn't affected by the glare. Chris sighed. "Nathan, go with Josiah. JD, Ezra, go take Buck upstairs. Vin will help me check for clues."
Vin sighed, he had really wanted to go upstairs with the other three. He could tell that Chris wasn't in a good mood. Looking longingly at the door to the ATF building before turning back to Chris, he smiled. "So, cowboy, what are we doing?"
Growling, Chris spoke. "We're going to check the area and see if we can find anything the attacker might have left."
Vin nodded, getting up from the sidewalk. He started to search around the area, trying to find any trace of the attacker.
Meanwhile, Ezra and JD had brought up Buck to the office. Buck wasn't paying attention to either of them. He hadn't wanted to go back to the office, he wished he had been able to go after the attacker and get some answers.
Upstairs in the office, Buck was slumped in his chair, his hands clasped loosely in front of him, paying no attention to what else was going on. JD and Ezra looked at each other, they didn't know what to do. JD finally approached Buck. "Are you okay?"
Buck looked up at JD for a moment. Rising from his chair quickly, he walked over to the windows and looked out. Looking down at the sidewalk, he watched for a while as people walked by. Finally, he turned back to JD. "I don't know."
Ezra quirked an eyebrow up, "You don't know what?"
"How I feel. How can I know? Every time I start to figure that out, something like this happens. How am I supposed to feel?"
JD looked at Ezra for help. Ezra sighed. He didn't know what to say. Clearing his throat a little, he spoke up. "You can't let this Dragon beat you like this. He wants to kept you unbalanced."
Buck huffed, "It's working! Every time I find stable ground, he goes and destroys it. I don't know how long I can continue with his game. How many of you guys I'll allow to get hurt."
Bristling, JD spoke up. "Its not about how many of us gets hurt, you can't control that, you can't control him. You can help us protect you and ourselves by letting us work on this like a team."
Buck looked at JD for moment. Finally, he shrugged his shoulders, "You're right but it doesn't make me feel any better to know that the team is getting hurt because of me."
Ezra walked up to Buck and placed a hand on Buck's shoulder. "Buck, we're family. Getting hurt happens, but it won't stop any of us from helping you against this Dragon."
Buck nodded his head. Heading back to his desk, he sat down and looked up at JD and Ezra. "So what is the next step?"
JD and Ezra smiled at each other. "Well, let's start at the beginning."
Agreeing, Ezra pulled up a chair and the three of them started going through all the information that they had.
The wine glass was flung across the room, splattering against the far wall. The red wine flowed down the wall looking like blood. The person who threw the glass, was standing and staring at an email just received. Growling, the person picked up the phone. Stabbing at the buttons, Dragon waited for the line to pick up. "What happened!"
"It didn't work."
"Why didn't it work?"
"I don't know. I believe that he didn't expect the other people to be around."
Dragon frowned, "Take care of him. I don't like failure."
Dragon slammed down the phone. "Buck Wilmington will pay for being alive."
Josiah and Nathan walked into the office and stopped. The office was dead quiet, deserted. They looked at each other. Stepping forward into the room, they looked around. Concerned, they headed towards Chris's office. Opening the door, they stared. It was empty. Looking at each other, they turned back to the room. Looking around, Nathan noticed a post-it note on his desk. Walking over, he picked it up. Shaking his head he looked at Josiah. "They're in conference room 7. They're going over everything that we have so far."
"I guess we're in for a little bit of a walk."
Nathan nodded in agreement. The two headed down the hall to the conference room. Opening the door, they stopped and stared. The table in the conference room was covered in paper. There was a trail of papers circling the room, climbing all the walls. Clearing their throats, they couldn't believe their eyes. Five heads suddenly turned and stared at the intruders.
Nathan and Josiah both smiled. JD was the first to speak up. "Hey, guys, you found us. Josiah you alright?"
Josiah nodded, "I'm fine. Doctor said that I needed to keep the bandages on for a week or so and to be careful with it."
The group nodded. Nathan stared at the conference room "So what happened in here?"
The group looked around them, realizing for the first time the spread of the papers. Smiling shyly at Nathan and Josiah, they shrugged their shoulders. "So, you find anything out?"
The group looked at each other. Chris finally growled, "No."
Ezra stared distastefully at the papers, "Please join us in this fun."
Nathan and Josiah looked at each other. Shrugging their shoulders, they took small careful steps into the room. Josiah picked up some papers. Reading the page quickly, Josiah frowned. "What exactly does a grocery list have to do with the case?"
Vin smiled. Snatching the list, he looked at the team. "Forgot where I put it."
The group looked at each other and laughed. With the release of some tension, they all turned and started to sift through the paperwork. Several hours past with everyone focused on what information they could find that might lead them towards Dragon's identity. So focused on the research were they that they didn't hear the knock on the door at first. After several minutes, Buck finally looked up from the corner of the room that he was working in. "Hey, someone get the door."
Vin, who was the closest to the door, reached and opened the door. Standing in the doorway was a delivery person. Swallowing loudly, the young man looked around at the Seven glaring men. "I mmm... Have a delivery for a, hmmm... Buck Wilmington."
The group looked at each other. Not liking how this sounded, Vin looked over at Chris. Chris shrugged then nodded. Vin turned back to the delivery man. "Can I sign for it?"
"Sure," the man nodded enthusiasm.
Holding out a clipboard, Vin sprawled his signature on it. The delivery man took the clipboard back and handed over a small package. Vin plucked it from the man, thanking the delivery person, then quickly, he shut the door in the person's face. Looking down at the box, he looked over at Buck. "You want me to open it?"
Buck shrugged his shoulders. "Sure."
Vin unwrapped the box, and then opened it. Lifting the lid, he stared at the item in the box. The rest of the team impatiently waited. Finally, JD piped up. "What is it, Vin?"
Vin looked up. "It's was is a broken figuring. Looks like it was once a stag or a moose, or a elk of some sort."
The team stared at Vin, "What type of animal is it, Vin," Chris growled.
Vin stared at Chris, he didn't want to answer. The answer though was taken from him.
Buck spoke up, "A broken buck maybe."
The room fell silence.
The team waited for Vin to say if Buck was right. Vin desperately didn't want to say it. Finally, after several minutes, he took a deep breath. "Yes, it's a buck."
Buck swallowed. Closing his eyes for a moment, he looked up at Vin and, in a slightly wavering voice, he asked. "Is there a note?"
Vin shrugged his shoulders. Looking around the packaging, he noticed a slip of paper. "There's a note."
Unfolding the piece of paper, Vin stared at the couple of words that were on it. A puzzled note crept into his voice. "It just says 'A promise that has yet to be kept'. I don't get it."
The rest of the room had no idea. A sudden memory flash though Buck's mind. He started to shake. The action was caught by the team. Ezra, who was the closest, moved over to Buck. "Buck, are you okay?"
Buck looked up into Ezra's green eyes. Nodding his head, he swallowed several times to get some liquid down his suddenly dry throat. "I remember something. I told you guys how we would got notes and gifts from Dragon during the case."
The group nodded.
"Well, one of the last ones we got before the bust had a promised on it. We ignored most of them, there should have been no way for Dragon to know of our plans. It said on it 'All that come after a Dragon gets burned, knights, wizards and even heroes. If you don't stop looking for the Dragon, the Dragon will make you stop.' We basically took it to mean, stop or he'll kill ya. We ignored it. Guess we shouldn't have."
Josiah frowned for a moment. "Buck, were these threats every directed at an individual person."
Buck thought for a moment, then shook his head. Josiah sat back against the wall with a thoughtful look on his face.
Chris stared at Josiah for a moment, "what is it, Josiah?"
Josiah looked up startled, not having realized the entire group was staring at him. "Well, that is, back when the team was trying to look for Dragon, Dragon threaten the whole team. Now another team is looking for him and he is only threatening one member of that team.'
The rest of the team looked at each other with a confused look on their faces. Finally, JD spoke up. "I don't get it, Josiah. Why would that be important?"
Josiah looked over at JD, "Well, Brother, you see, Dragon isn't out to kill any of us, just Buck. Which differs from last time. So, if we are lucky, he'll make a mistake that will lead us to him 'cause he is out for revenge now."
Vin frowned, "Didn't we already know this?"
Josiah nodded, "Yes, but he has missed two attempts to kill Buck now. Dragon's gonna get more rash with his attacks. Soon he'll make a mistake, and when he does, we can get him."
The others nodded.
Chris frowned a little. "Josiah, I would rather get him before he makes his mistake."
The group smiled in agreement. Nathan looked down at his watch. Frowning, he looked over at Chris. "Chris, what do think about calling it a day. It's getting on six o'clock."
Chris frowned then nodded. "Let's pick up this room. "
As they finished piling up the papers, Chris straightened and stretched. "JD, drive Buck up to the ranch. The rest of us will follow with dinner. JD nodded. Buck glared at Chris for a moment before he followed JD out. He could tell there was something that Chris didn't want him to hear. Frowning, he headed out of the room.
Chris watched as Buck left the room. Waiting several minutes till Buck and JD were gone, Chris looked over at the rest of the team. His gaze settling on Ezra, he frowned. "Ezra, did you ever learn anything about the fire at the safe house?"
Ezra frowned, eyes unfocused for a minute, he then looked up at Chris. "Mr. Larabee, that incident slipped my mind. If you wish, I can look into it before I leave."
Chris thought for a moment, "Just check and see if you have any calls on it. It can wait till tomorrow."
Ezra nodded. The rest of the team stared at Chris. "Cowboy, what fire?"
"You don't know?"
Nathan, Josiah, and Vin shook their heads. Breathing out a long breath, Chris ran a hand over his face. "The safe house that Jack Perreault w as staying in burned down last night. Jack and his family are dead. Just before Josiah was attacked we got a phone call about it. With everything that has happened today, I forgot about it."
Nathan frowned, "That isn't good. Are we going to tell Buck?"
Chris sighed, "I don't know."
Josiah looked thoughtful for moment, "If we tell him it might send him into shock again."
Ezra frowned, "He has a right to know, Jack was a friend."
"Yea, but we can't have Buck going off on his own."
Nathan frowned, "He wouldn't do that."
Vin shrugged his shoulders. "If he thought it would protect us he would do it in a heartbeat."
Chris inclined his head in agreement with Vin. "Let's wait until we get more information. Ezra and Vin, tomorrow see what you two can dig up about the fire. The more we know about fire the better I would feel. For some reason I have a feeling what happened to Jack is important."
Vin and Ezra both murmured their agreement.
Hearing the agreement, Chris opened the door to the conference room. "Alright, what do we want for dinner?"