Chapter 1-2 | Chapter 3-4 | Chapter 5-7 | Chapter 8-10 | Chapter 11-13
JD was driving with Buck in the truck, the silence in the vehicle was almost painful. JD shifted in the driver seat, glancing from the corner of his eye at Buck. Buck paid no attention, he was staring out the window watching the trees and road pass by. JD took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Buck."
Buck jerked slightly as he was brought out of his thoughts. Frowning a little, he looked over at JD. "What are you sorry for?"
JD sighed. "For the way I've been. I've been acting like a spoiled brat. I forgot we're a team and not that it's just you and me. I've been acting like a kid. I wanted to protect you like you protect me. I'm sorry. I haven't been acting how I should been acting."
Buck frowned in puzzlement. Shrugging his shoulders, he looked at JD, really looked at him for the first time in days. "What do you mean?"
JD fidgeted at the stoplight for a second. When it turn green, he started talking again. "Last night, when you guys left, Vin made Chris and I listen to ourselves. We were arguing about you like two kids over a toy. Instead of working together, each of us wanted to be the one to protect you. In all of that jockeying, we forgot that you weren't a thing. I'm sorry."
Buck sat silent for a moment. He really didn't know what to say. In all honesty, the last few days have been a blur. "JD, it's okay, you were just worried. It happens. I'm sorry that I worried you so much."
JD sighed. "Buck, you have nothing to apologize for. It was my fault. I ignored you. Cause I wanted to prove to you that I could protect you. I was jealous that Chris was the only one allowed to guard you. I was so wrapped up that I didn't think of what you needed."
Buck blinked and finally spoke up. "JD, don't worry about it. The last few days have been really stressful." Buck then turned back to the window. JD glanced over at Buck and frowned. Buck still didn't sound like the usually Buck. Turning back to the road, he hoped that Chris would be able to get through to Buck.
Arriving at the ranch, JD stopped and turned off the truck. Taking one long glance at Buck, he opened the door of the truck. Waiting for Buck to join him outside of the truck, JD walked up to the door to the ranch. Opening the door, he watched as Buck walked up to the ranch door. Frowning, JD shook his head. He hoped this case would be over soon and the old Buck would reappear.
An hour later, the rest of the team appeared. JD was waiting by the door. "What took you guys so long?"
Chris turned and glared at Vin and Nathan. Josiah just chuckled. JD frowned and turned towards Ezra. Ezra sighed. " Apparently, Vin and Nathan decided that they needed to have a rather loud argument about what we should have for dinner."
Nathan and Vin just glared at Ezra. "We weren't arguing," Nathan said while glaring at Vin. "We were discussing health benefits."
Chris, Josiah, and Ezra rolled their eyes. They had been listening to this argument for the past hour. Ezra, looking around, was searching for another topic. "Where's Buck?"
JD smiled. "He's watching TV."
The group nodded. Entering the ranch, Josiah and Vin brought the food to the kitchen. Nathan, Ezra, and Chris went and checked on Buck. Buck, for his part, was lying on the couch flipping through the TV channels. Hearing group coming towards him, he settled down and stopped flipping at a random TV show. Rolling his eyes a little, Buck spoke up. "If ya all are going to sneak up on someone, you should all be quieter."
The group stopped where they were sneaking in. Chris straightened up and glared at the group, then Buck. " So, how are you feeling?"
Buck rolled his eyes. "Fine, just relaxing."
The group looked at each other. Nathan was about to speak when Vin entered from the kitchen. "Dinner."
Buck got up from his couch and headed towards the dinning room. The rest of the team followed Buck into the room. Settling down at their places, the group enjoyed a relaxing dinner. Nathan though kept an eye on Buck, watching how much that he ate. What Buck ate wasn't enough in Nathan's book. Nathan, who was sitting across from Buck, frowned, then spoke up. "Buck, you need to eat more."
Buck looked up from where he was moving his food around his plate. "I'm full, Nate."
Nathan's frown got deeper, "You need to eat more, you haven't been eating."
Buck sighed, looking down at his plate. Pushing the food around a little bit more, Buck shook his head. "I'm full, Nate." With that, he got up and headed back to watch some TV. The rest of the team watched him leave the room. Nathan slumped back down in his chair. Instead of eating the rest of the food, he pushed his food around his plate. Josiah frowned, "Nathan, finish eating you won't do Buck any good if you don't eat."
Nathan shook his head, pushing his plate away, he got up and headed out to where Buck was sitting.
The rest of the team watched Nathan go and join Buck watching TV. JD turned and looked at the team. "What's wrong with Nathan?"
Ezra looked around the table. "Nathan is worried about Buck, and frustrated that Buck isn't taking care of himself. He is probably going out there to talk to Buck."
After several minutes, the team started to eat. Hoping that Nathan would be able to figure out what was wrong with Buck.
Nathan approached Buck who was once again lying on the sofa. "Buck?"
Buck sighed. Sitting up, he looked at Nathan. "What?"
Nathan joined Buck on the sofa. Looking around the room, Nathan finally spoke up. "Look, I don't mean to be such a nag, but you have to eat."
Buck leaned back on the sofa. "I know, but I'm just not hungry."
Nathan stared at the flickering figures on the screen. "I know you might not be hungry but you need to eat more than you have been. You've already lost weight. Weight that you can't really afford to lose. In the last few days, you only had one night of sleep, that night you were drugged asleep."
Buck was silent for a moment, "I just can't. Every time I start to eat I think about my old teammates, and every time I sleep I dream about the bust." Buck closed his eyes. "I can't."
Nathan sighed. "You have to eat though, and none of the 'when this case is over I'll be fine' 'cause it won't work. You need to sleep and eat. At least eat."
Buck slumped down on the couch. "I just can't."
Nathan stared at his hands for a couple of minutes. "We'll get Dragon, Buck, so stressing about him won't do you any good. Not eating and making yourself sick from lack of sleep and hunger. You need to keep your strength up."
Buck couldn't meet Nathan's eyes.
Nathan sighed, "Alright, just try and eat more. We can't have you getting sick."
Sighing, Buck turned to watch the TV, flipping the channels. Nathan settled down and watched the TV with Buck. The rest of the team joined them.
Later that night, Buck was lying on the bed, staring at the shadows on the ceiling. He had been trying to take Nathan's advice and sleep. It wasn't working. His mind couldn't, or wouldn't stop running the problem with Dragon through his head. He shrugged his shoulders. He got up from his bed and opened the door of the room. Looking around and not noticing anyone, he started to head out of the room towards the back door. Just as he was turning into the kitchen, he ran into a body. Shaking his head, he blinked, He frowned as he realized who he had run into to. "Hey, Chris, what are you doing?"
"Where are you going?"
"I was just going to get some fresh air."
Chris frowned. "Shouldn't you be sleeping?"
Buck looked around the room for a minute. "Couldn't go to sleep, so I decided on a walk."
Chris raised an eyebrow. "Didn't Nate tell you that you needed to get more sleep?"
Chris frowned, "Are you telling me or asking me?"
Chris raised his eyebrow again.
Chris shook his head, "You should head back to bed and get some sleep, tomorrow is going to be a long day."
"Sure, Chris, I'll head back there, I just want to get a drink."
Chris nodded and moved to the side to allow Buck into the kitchen. Buck headed over to the sink to grab a glass and pour some water in it. Buck kept glancing out of the corner of his eye waiting for Chris to leave him alone. Buck finally frowned. "Don't you have somewhere to be?"
Chris shook his head. "No, I want to make sure you get back to your room first."
Buck frowned, "Chris I can find my way back to the room by myself. "
Chris smiled. "I know you can, but I want to make sure that you head back to the room without any detours."
Buck growled silently. "I won't make any detours."
Chris sighed. "I know you won't but I just want to make sure that you don't get distracted."
Buck shook his head. Placing his glass down in the sink, Buck turned to Chris. "Look, you don't have to hover, I can take care of myself."
"I know you can take care of yourself. I just want to make sure that you are all right. I also need to apologize."
Buck leaned back against the counter. "What do you mean you have to apologize. What did you do?"
Chris shifted his body weight. 'I've wanted to make sure that Dragon wouldn't get you so much that I forgot to make sure you were okay, and the rest of the team was alright."
Buck rolled his eyes. "There isn't any reason to apologize. What is up with people today and apologizing, first JD, then you. There is nothing to say you're sorry for."
"What do you mean?"
"There is nothing to apologize for."
Chris growled and his hands started flexing. Buck just looked at Chris. "Chris, relax, I don't know why you are so stressed about this apology, but you don't need one."
Chris couldn't stand it anymore. Grabbing a surprised Buck, Chris slammed him against the door. Before Chris could say anything, Nathan came walking into the room. Stopping abruptly, he stared at what was happening. "What is going on?"
Chris released Buck. Buck took one look at Nathan and Chris and darted out of the back door, disappearing into the night.
Nathan just glared at Chris. "What do you think you were doing?"
Chris turned and looked at Nathan. "What?"
Nathan couldn't believe his ears. "You were holding Buck against the wall, demanding him to accept his apology. That isn't how you get them to accept an apology."
"He wasn't listening. He kept saying it was nothing. He needed to accept the apology."
Nathan shook his head. "That isn't how you get people to accept it. You talk with them, without threatening them with bodily harm."
"I wasn't going to hurt him, just knock some sense into him."
Nathan really wanted to whack his head against the wall. Taking a deep breath, he spoke up. "Chris, you know all that sensitivity training that you were sent to."
Chris nodded with a frown on his face.
Nathan sighed. "Then use it."
"I get it, Nathan. I should go out and apologize the right way."
Nathan nodded. "You got the idea."
Chris nodded, and headed to the back door and out. Nathan watched him go and wondered who would need the bandages first.
Chris walked out of the door. Gazing around the backyard, he frowned. Spotting the barn, Chris headed in that direction.
Inside the barn, Buck was petting his horse again. The repeated action relaxed him. The warmth that Beau gave him relaxed him. Buck wasn't speaking he was just tired. He needed to get away from the rest of the team for awhile. He couldn't deal with the team always hovering. Focusing on Beau, Buck didn't notice the clomp of some hooves on the floor. He didn't realize that one of the horses had gotten free till he felt a cold nose in the middle of his back. Turning, he stared. "Peso, you should be in your stall."
Peso just glared at Buck for a minute before bumping his head against Buck's chest. Buck stared at Peso. Shaking his head, he spoke to the horse. "Look, I'm not Vin, go find your master."
Peso just glared at Buck, he wanted the attention too and too a step forward towards Buck. Buck took a step back but his horse between him and Peso. Peso snorted. He wanted to be patted too. Staring at the human, Peso didn't know what do.
Buck looked up as he heard more hooves hitting the ground. Looking up, he saw Chaucer walking up behind Peso. Buck leaned more against his horse. Looking over Beau's back, Buck wondered what he was supposed to do. He now had two horses between him and the door. Petting Beau, Buck was worried. This couldn't be good with the horses surrounding him. It couldn't be good at all. Looking around the barn, he looked for an escape.
He finally found an escape in the shape of Chris. Buck cleared his throat. "Chris, could you help me."
Chris stared at the group. "How'd this happen?"
"If I knew, I would have gotten away from here before I was surrounded."
Shaking his head, Chris grabbed Chaucer first. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a dry apple. Chaucer, smelling it, followed Chris back towards his stall, allowing Chris to shut him in it. Chris tried to do the same thing with Peso, but Peso didn't care. He wanted attention. After several minutes, Chris just shrugged at Buck. Buck laid his head on his horse's body. This wasn't good. "A horse getting the better of ya, Chris?"
Chris frowned. Shaking his head, he looked at Peso and Peso looked at him. Chris backed up and glared. "No, I think he would rather have you pet him."
Buck leaned against his horse, staring at Peso. Sighing, he moved in between the two horses. He started to pet both of them. While both horses were relaxing into the petting, Buck looked over at Chris. "Happy?"
"Yep, now I can talk to you without you running away."
Buck frowned, "what do you mean, we already talked."
"No, I talked, you allowed it to go in one ear and out the other."
"No, I listened, and told you it wasn't necessary."
"Buck, it was necessary. I've been going about this all wrong. I've focused all on getting Dragon, and not how all of this was affecting you. I forgot that you were a victim in all this, and you need a friend not someone who didn't care about your feelings. I need you to accept my apology about not taking your feelings into account."
Buck blinked, the only movement from him was the hands that were petting the horses. Chris waited patiently for Buck to speak. Buck finally spoke. "Using your sensitive training I see."
Chris stared. "No Yes Look that isn't important. Do you accept the apology?"
Buck rolled his eyes. "I accept the apology."
Chris frowned, "are you just saying that to please me so I won't brother you again."
Buck just sighed, and concentrate on the horses. Peso turned and glared at Chris. Chris just blinked at the horse. Buck just shook his head. "If it makes you happy, then yes, I am serious about it. I forgive you. Now get Peso back into his stall."
Chris just frowned. Grabbing Peso and leading him back to his stall, Chris just glared at Buck. "Why won't you take the apology?"
Buck turned back to his horse. Chris walked to the other side of Beau. "What is so hard about allowing us to apologize to you? Then you taking the apology to heart and not pushing it to the side like it doesn't matter."
Buck focused on his horse. "I don't mean to push it aside, but I don't see what you are apologizing for."
Chris was about to say something when they both heard the stable door opens. As they turned, Chris frowned and Buck smiled in relief. Vin was walking in to check on his horse before he went out on patrol.
Growling, Chris glared at Vin. "What are you doing here?"
Vin blinked, "Hey, Buck, thought you'd be here. Chris what are you doing to my horse?"
Chris just stared. "What do you mean what am I doing?'
Vin just nodded, walking over to Peso. Moving Peso away from Chris, he started to soothe the horse. "Its okay, the man in black didn't hurt you, did he...."
Vin's voice trailed off as he led Peso to his stall. Chris just stared at Buck for a minute. This was not going the way that he wanted. Chris just stood there, not believing what he heard.
Buck just smiled while Chris was looking at Vin. While Chris was distracted, Buck snuck out from behind his horse, locking the stall door, and slowly snuck towards the door. He was almost to the door, when Chris spoke up. "Freeze, Buck. Don't move closer to the door."
Buck froze. How did Chris know that he was almost out of the door? Rolling his eyes at the command, he stood there. Vin just smirked from where he was by Peso's stall. Nodding at Chris, Vin spoke up. "You and Buck head back to the house, its almost daylight."
Chris glared at Vin, then collected Buck from the doorway. Buck gave a long look at Vin, and followed Chris meekly out of the door. Chris heard Buck following him. Just as they reached the front door, Chris turned and waited for Buck to come even with him. Looking Buck in the eyes, Chris frowned, "You and I will have a talk about why you feel there is no reason to apologize and you not accepting them."
Buck shrugged his shoulders. Opening the door to the ranch, Buck went in. Chris frowned. They were going to have a talk soon.
Buck ignored Chris, entering the house and starting the coffee. He couldn't understand why JD and Chris kept apologizing. As far as he knew, there was no reason for them to apologize to him. It had been a rough couple of days. With Dragon coming back, and letting his team know about Dragon. He understood that they would be a little protective, he would have been the same. Shaking his head, he focused on making the coffee. Hopefully, the two of them would understand that there was nothing to apologize for.
Chris settled at the table. Leaning against his hand, he wondered what the new day would bring. He didn't have to wait for long. JD came bouncing into the room. "I found it."
Josiah, who came walking in behind their bouncing teammate, frowned. "Found what?"
"You know, the disk Nathan brought to me."
The group in the kitchen nodded. "Well, I finally decoded it."
"Good, you can tell us all about at work," Chris stated.
JD nodded, still bouncing. Buck looked up from where he was making coffee. "Really, you found something."
JD nodded, bouncing over to Buck. "Yep, I finally decoded it. "
Buck grabbed JD and ruffled his hair, "that's great."
JD beamed as he bounced over to the table. Grabbing a donut from the box they brought with them last night, he sat down. JD couldn't wait till he could show the group what he found.
The group settled around the conference table while JD handed out folders and grabbed a dry eraser board and a marker. When they were seated, JD started his talk. "Okay, after several hours, I finally cracked his very difficult encoding system. Apparently, he used a personal code in writing the stuff. Now, on the disk, Stubbs had done some research. He had listed out the fronts Dragon uses and some of Dragon's high lieutenants. In the folder in front of you I've listed all the names that I could get out of the disk and what fronts they're using. The top two lieutenants are a Stan Gibbison. He is the owner of a warehouse. The other person is a woman named Andrea Young. She runs an accounting office downtown. Either of those two should have information about Dragon."
JD finished and stared at the group waiting for questions. They were quiet. They were all reading through the information that he had found. Finally, Chris looked up, "good job."
Looking over at the rest of the team, Chris frowned. "Vin and Ezra, you two will go see Stan Gibbison. JD and I will see to Andrea Young. We can have a little talk and if they don't agree to talk to us, we can bring them in and talk to them here."
Josiah, Nathan and Buck looked at Chris, none of them wanted to stay in the office now that they had some leads on the case. Before any of them could say anything, Chris spoke up. "You three are going to do research on these two people, we need to know everything you can find out about them. We need to know who they talk to and who they have contact with. Everyone know what they need to do?"
The group nodded. Most of the group got up and headed out of the room to get ready for the their roles in the case. Watching the group leave, Chris was surprised to see that Buck had stayed behind. "Anything I can do for you?"
"I want to go."
"To interview the lieutenants."
"Why, Chris? I have a right to be there."
"No, you don't. I'm not allowing you to walk into the lion's den. There is no way I will allow you to get that close to one of Dragon's minion. You are going to help Nate and Josiah in research."
Frowning, Buck nodded. He still felt it was unfair. Getting up from the conference table, Buck headed out of the room. Watching Buck leave, Chris smiled, they finally had a lead.
Frowning, Ezra stared at the old warehouse. "Why did we end up coming here?"
"Cause Chris wanted us to."
Sighing and wiping his hands on a handkerchief , Ezra turned and followed Vin into the warehouse. Looking, Ezra sighed even louder. Vin looked over at Ezra, "what's your problem?"
"I hate all of the oil, grease and dirt. You know how hard it is getting rid of it from my clothes. I should get hazard pay."
Vin grinned. "Ya know, Ez, it could be worse."
Ezra raised an eyebrow. "I fail to see how."
Grinning evilly, Vin answered, "It could be paint."
Ezra glared at Vin, "That isn't funny."
Vin turned to the nearest worker to find out where the boss would be. The worker pointed them to the back of the building where the nice offices were located. As the two of them walked through the warehouse, they both noticed that most of the crates held random spare parts for a number of machines. Ezra carefully avoided all of the dirty boxes and most of the dirt on the floor. Vin just shook his head. Entering into the office part of the building, they both stopped and looked around. Ezra sniffed, "It seems that this is an elegant business chic."
Vin frowned, then nodded in agreement, "Awful lot of dragons around."
The two of them headed to the reception area. The receptionist smiled perkily at the two men. "Can I help you?"
The Ezra and Vin both smiled at the receptionist. Ezra turned up his charm. "We are here to see a Mr. Stan Gibbison."
The receptionist frowned, "Do you have an appointment?"
"Yes, he is excepting us."
The receptionist's frown deepened, "I don't think...."
Sharing a look with Ezra, Vin smiled and spoke, "Miss, we really need to see him. Could you help us?"
The receptionist would have melted into a pile of goo if she could. "Sure, I'll see if he is busy."
Vin reached over and put his hand over the phone. "He's excepting us. You wouldn't want to bother him, would you?"
Vin smiled his boyish smile again. The receptionist melted even more. "Here are some badges. His office is right down the hall to the left."
The receptionist wrote quickly on some paper, then gave Vin a piece of paper. The two men nodded and Vin winked at the women. As she blushed, they headed down the hall. Glancing over at Vin, Ezra frowned. "What did she give you?"
Vin looked at the piece of paper, "Looks to be her cell phone number, home phone number, work email, home email, and address of where she lives too."
Ezra shook his head, "You are getting as bad as Buck."
Vin just smiled. They both reached the door to Stan Gibbison's office. They opened the door, and Stan looked up from his desk. "What can I help you two with?"
Ezra smiled and looked at Stan for a moment, "We're looking to do some business. We were told that you were the man to see."
Stan looked at the two men. "Who told you to come to me?"
Ezra smiled, "A friend who shall remain nameless."
Looking suspiciously at the two men in front of him, Stan frowned. "I need to know who recommend you to me. Otherwise I can't help you."
Sharing a glance, Vin shrugged his shoulders. Ezra sighed. "The only name the person gave us was Dragon."
The blood drained from Stan's face. "Dragon told you to see me."
Ezra smiled. "Dragon told us you were the man to see about fulfilling our needs."
Swallowing, Stan tried to smile. Clearing his throat several times, he spoke again. "How do I know Dragon told you to come to see me. What is the password?"
Ezra and Vin looked at each other. Frowning, Ezra shrugged his shoulders. "Dragon, didn't give us a password."
Gibbison frowned, "I don't think Dragon sent you here. Who are you and what do you want?"
Ezra frowned. Vin just smiled, moving towards Gibbison. Vin leaned over the desk to stare at Gibbison. "You are going to tell us what we want, or I get to play with you."
Gibbison started to say something, then stuttered to a stop, staring at Vin's eyes. Blinking slightly, Gibbison swallowed then spoke. "I don't know who you are, but I will not tell you anything. You need to leave before I call security."
Ezra and Vin smiled at each other. "You don't want to do that," Vin growled.
Gibbison frowned, but took the bait. "Why not? Thugs like you aren't worth my time."
Vin and Ezra, as one, reached into their pockets and pulled out their badges, "Cause you are coming with us for some questioning," Vin spoke.
"I don't think so. I don't have to go with you," Gibbison spoke up.
Ezra smiled, "Yes you do. You're going with us and you're going to tell us what we want to know about Dragon, or I'll let Vin here, loose on you."
Gibbison turned and looked at Vin. Vin smiled and pulled a knife and started to clean his fingernails with the point of the blade. Gibbison stared at Vin, "I think you need to talk to my lawyers. You can show yourselves to the door. I have work I need to get down to."
Ezra and Vin looked at each other. Moving around the desk, Vin quickly captured Gibbison. Before Gibbison could move or say anything, Vin had both of Gibbison's hands behind his back. Gibbison started to protest when Ezra spoke up, "Stan may I call you Stan? I suggest you be quiet or my partner may have to break something."
Stan swallowed. He allowed Vin to push him out from the room and out the back door that Vin had pointed out to Ezra earlier. Ezra opened the door and Vin pushed Stan out the door. Ezra allowed the door to shut. The group started around the building. Vin and Ezra were both startled when Gibbison started yelling at a crowd of men who were taking a break at the corner of the building. Both Ezra and Vin turned towards the men. Ezra reached to grabbed his badge to tell them that they were ATF. With both Vin's and Ezra's eyes off of Gibbison for a second, Gibbison took the chance to run to the opposite side of the alley.
Vin and Ezra turned back, seeing that Gibbison was running. Ezra and Vin both took off after him. After about fifty yards, Vin captured Stan Gibbison again. Frowning, he grabbed Stan. "Stan, Stan why are you running. You'll just make yourself look even more guilty."
Stan just froze, then went limp. He was only mumbling, "I'm going to die, I'm going to die. "
Vin just shook his head, "You aren't going to die, just be quiet."
When Stan didn't quiet, Vin sighed and looked around for Ezra. Spotting him several feet away, Vin headed towards him. "Ez, what're you doing on the ground?"
Looking up, Ezra frowned, "While you decided to play hound to his fox, I had the misfortune to follow you, and slipped on some of refuse that was laying in wait for me. I think I hurt my ankle."
Vin stared at Ezra for a minute. After running Ezra's words through his translator, Vin nodded. "you tripped and hurt your ankle?"
"Well, can you walk on it? We got to get Stan here back to the ATF building and hope we can get something out of him."
Sighing, Ezra got up, gingerly putting weight onto his ankle. He limped after Vin and Stan. A larger sigh and groan were heard from Standish when he found out his favorite suit was ruined. It had collected a number of unidentifiable stains from the romp in the alley.
Vin just smiled and pushed Stan a little harder towards their car.
+ + + + + + +
Chris and JD pulled up in front of one of the new office buildings that had been built downtown. Chris shut the engine down and opened the door. Slamming the borrowed sedan's door shut, he turned to march into the building. JD followed, shutting the door just as firmly. He couldn't wait to tackle this minion of Dragon. They both pushed opened the doors of the office building. Ignoring the front desk, they headed for a bank of elevators. They already knew where they were going to find this Andrea Young.
Chris punched the button for the floor that Andrea had offices on. He wanted answers about this Dragon. Tapping his foot, he glared at everything in sight. JD stood next to him. For once, his usually bounce wasn't evident. He stood just as tall as Chris. He wanted to find out about this Dragon who threatened his family.
The elevator finally got to the floor they wanted. They exited the elevator before the doors even got a chance to open fully. Striding towards the office's of Young, they both ignored the receptionist who was standing there. They pushed open the door, leading to the inner room of Andrea's office. Stopping just as they reached the door to Andrea's office, Chris raised up one balled fist and knocked.
A female voice from inside called out, "Come in."
JD reached the knob before Chris and pushed it opened. They both entered the room and stopped in front of a large desk. Behind the desk was a fairly attractive woman who had several files opened. The women put down her glasses and asked, "What can I do for you?"
Almost snarling, Chris spoke. "Are you Andrea Young?"
The women nodded. "Yes, are you looking for me?"
"We want information on Dragon. We know he's one of your bosses," JD inserted before Chris could say anything.
Staring at JD for a second, Chris turned and looked at Andrea for an answer.
The women stared at the two men for a second. Frowning, she finally answered. "I don't know who are, and I don't know who you think you are, but even if I knew who you were talking about, I still wouldn't answer you questions. You don't have any right to ask me anything. Now get out before I call my lawyer."
JD stepped back slightly at Andrea's speech.
Chris blinked, then frowned. Almost growling, Chris spoke up. "Look, Ms. Young, JD is young and doesn't know what he is saying. I'm sorry if he insulted you." Chris spoke quite sincerely, even laying on a small half sorry smile on his face.
Andrea Young's defenses started to wilt softly. "I understand. The young are often rash and don't think. If you would like to send the young one out, I'm sure we can talk about something."
JD was about to protest when Chris glared at him. JD snapped his mouth almost audibly. He clenched his fists and walked out of the office, shutting the door behind him in a defiant thump.
Chris' eyes followed JD leaving. With the door shutting, Chris turned back towards Ms. Young. "The young one is gone, what do you want to discuss?"
Andrea smiled. Moving from around her desk, she leaned in closer to Chris. Lifting her hand, she gently allowed it to brush along Chris's arm. Chris banked the angry and the disgust that would turn Andrea away. Instead, he nodded and allowed a shy smile to flare on his face for a moment, lust to alight in his eyes. Andrea smiled and moved closer. Chris left his hands against the desk, allowing Andrea to do all of the work. He just smiled. Softly, he whispered into her ear. "I need to know some things first."
Andrea frowned. "Why?"
Smirking, Chris answered, "so the young one doesn't bother us."
She nodded, "whatever you want."
"What can you tell me about Dragon?" Chris asked as he gently allowed his hand to slide along her body.
She frowned but answered. "I don't know. He only gave us a phone number to call him He does all his business by phone, or e-mail."
Chris smiled. Reaching behind him, he grabbed a pair of cuffs he'd carried in with him. Grabbing her arms, he pulled them behind her and locked the cuffs in place. When Andrea heard the click of the cuffs she frowned. Looking at Chris, she had a question hanging in her eyes. Chris just smiled. "Thank you for the information."
"What?" she asked, not comprehending what was happening. Chris just smiled. "I'm after Dragon. I could care less about you."
Walking to the door of the office, he motioned for JD to come in. JD came in looking over at the hand cuffed Andrea. "Did you get the information?"
Chris nodded and JD smiled. "So what are we going to do with her."
"Taking her with us. She worked with Dragon, I'm sure she can give us more information on him. You call the police."
Nodding, JD replied. "Yep, they should be here in a couple of minutes."
Nodding, Chris allowed JD to watch the prisoner as he sorted through the desk, looking for any mail from Dragon or Dragon's telephone number.
Finding both as the police entered the room, Chris looked up. "You can take her to the station. Book her for smuggling weapons and attempted murder."
The two policemen nodded.
Andrea at this point started cursing Chris and JD, throwing threats at them. Chris and JD watched as she was taken away, both with a faint smile on their faces. They both checked out the room one more time, making sure they didn't forget anything. JD grabbed the hard drive of the computer and the two left the room.
They left the building, intent on dropping their evidence off in the car. They didn't notice a black SUV that was speeding towards them. Chris for some reason, looked up. Seeing the SUV barreling down at them, he dropped what he was holding and lunged towards JD, pushing both of them out of the way. They both landed hard, the wind knocked out of them. Chris rolled off of JD. He attempted to stand, but his ankle screamed in protest and he fell again. . JD heard Chris yelp in pain. Frowning, JD tried to get up to see what was wrong with Chris. As JD placed his hands down to push himself up, he also yelp in pain. He scrambled into a sitting position holding his wrist.
Chris and JD both looked at each other and sighed as they heard the ambulance sirens coming down the street. They shook their heads. Nathan wasn't going to be happy about them being hurt.
Buck stared at the clock, then the window, then back down to his computer. Nathan and Josiah both looked at each other. Buck hadn't spoken or done anything since the other four team members left to confront Dragon's minions. Josiah sighed, moving over to where Buck was sitting and leaning against the desk. "You okay, Buck?"
Buck jerked his head up. "What, Josiah?"
"I asked if you were okay?"
Looking over at Nathan, Josiah shrugged his shoulders. Nathan walked over to join the other two. "Buck, you sure you're alright? You don't look so good."
"You sure? You look rather pale," Nathan said, while moving closer to Buck.
"It's not that, Nate."
Josiah frowned, "You want to be out there with the other guys, don't you?"
Buck nodded, "It isn't fair. I should be there."
Nathan and Josiah looked at each other, each reading the question in the other's eyes. "You understand, why you're with us. If you were out with the other groups, Dragon may have an easier time in getting you. You're the only person who Dragon is worried about," Nathan finished as he sat down next to Buck.
Buck snorted. "Fat lot of good. I don't remember anything important. Can't even remember his face."
"Maybe you're just trying too hard to remember."
Raising an eyebrow, Buck frowned. "What do you mean trying too hard, Nate?"
Josiah spoke up first. " Sometimes when you try too hard, things don't happen. You have to relax and allow it to come."
Nathan nodded in agreement with Josiah. "You need to relax. Worrying about this won't make it come any faster to you."
Letting out a puff of air, Buck just frowned. "So I shouldn't think about it. I should just let it come. How? Every time I think I can relax, I get a present from him, or one of you guys get hurt."
"You can't sulk here. We have leads we can follow up here. Maybe taking you mind off of Dragon for a little bit might help you," Nathan suggested.
Nodding, Buck agreed. "Alright, I'll try that."
Getting up from his desk, Buck looked around the room. "So, what are we going to do?"
Before Josiah and Nathan could advise Buck what they were going to do, Ezra's phone rang. The three men looked at each other. Josiah took several steps toward the phone. Picking it up, he spoke . "Hello? No, Ezra isn't here right now, can I take a message. Yep, Really! When did it happen? Okay, yea could you send that information to me through fax? Yep, okay, I'll tell him when he gets back. Thanks... Bye."
Hanging up the phone, Josiah frowned. He turned to the other two men in the room.
Nathan looked at Josiah, noting the frown on Josiah's face. "This isn't good news is it?"
Josiah shook his head. Taking a deep breath, he looked over at Buck. "Buck, I think you need to sit down."
Buck sat down, "Josiah, just tell me."
"It's about Jack and his family. The safe house someone, dragon most likely, burned it down a night ago."
Buck just looked down at the floor. He couldn't raise his head to look at Josiah or Nathan. His mind was having problems with wrapping itself around the fact that he was the only one alive from the task force now. At least while Jack was alive, he wasn't the only one to remember the team. Now though, he was the only one left, and the only target.
Nathan and Josiah both stared at Buck. This wasn't good. Buck wasn't acknowledging them. They walked forward, and then each placed a hand on the Buck's shoulders. "You aren't alone, Buck, you have the team. We will not allow Dragon to hurt you."
Buck blinked and shrugged his shoulders at what Josiah said. Speaking softly, he answered the statement, "I have a feeling the whether or not I get hurt is already taken out of our hands."
Before Nathan or Josiah could answer the statement, they all heard a noise from the hallway. They all turned and listened.
"You guys okay? You sure? I mean, the Doctors said you should rest for the rest of the day. Not to come back to work. Maybe I should take you guys home. Course, Nathan is here, and I'm sure he would be interested in what happened."
Nathan made his way to the door. "What happened, Vin?"
Vin just smiled. For once, he wasn't hurt. "It seems that Chris hurt his ankle, and so did Ezra. JD decided to be different and hurt his wrist."
Nathan frowned. Josiah, who had followed, also frowned. "Vin, you hurt anywhere?"
Vin smugly smiled. "Nope, for once, I'm not hurt, not even a scratch."
Nathan and Josiah just blinked. Nathan finally spoke. "This must be a record. Almost everyone else is hurt, and Vin still isn't scratched."
The group nodded in agreement. Before Nathan or Josiah could ask another question, the group saw Buck. As JD rushed over to check on Buck, Chris frowned. "What happened?"
"We just found out about the fire at the safe house. Jack is dead."
A guiltly looked passed over Ezra and Chris's face. Josiah caught sight of it. "You two knew and didn't bother telling the rest of us about it."
Ezra looked at Chris, "With all the excitement yesterday, I forgot about it."
All three turned to look over at where JD was talking to Buck. Ezra spoke up, "I, too, forgot about it. We should have told him yesterday and not have left it for you to tell him. I am sorry," Ezra said as he looked up at Josiah.
Josiah sighed, "I know but... we can't make mistakes like that. We need to know any developments. Buck now is the only witness, and we have to protect him. We can't fail him."
The others nodded. The rest of the team made their way over to Buck. Hopefully they could help control the damage from Buck learning about Jack.
Two hours later, the team was located in their conference room. Papers were spread everywhere. The team was around the conference table. Chris cleared his throat. Looking around, he could see the tiredness and determination in everyone's eyes. Closing his eyes for a moment, he spoke. "I know you are all tired, but we need to figure out where Dragon is before he can strike again. Josiah, why don't you go first and tell us what happened with the fire."
Josiah looked around the room. Then, passing out some copies, he started to speak. "Well, the safe house Jack and his family were hidden in, was burned down. From what the arson squad can figure out, it was started simply by gasoline. The house was torched sometime early in the morning, they think it started around three o'clock. The agents that were watching the place were knocked unconscious and dragged away from the house. They found three bodies inside. From dental records they can match the three people in the house, as being Jack and his family. They also have found a gift that was delivered to the house today. Inside the package was a black obsidian statue of a dragon." Josiah finished, and looked down at the papers he had. Glancing over, he checked on Buck.
Buck was paying attention to the folder in front of him. He refused to look up and meet Josiah's eyes.
Frowning, he looked over to Ezra and Vin. "You two find out anything from your prisoner, Stan Gibbison?"
Ezra and Vin looked at each other. Vin looked at Ezra. Ezra shook his head, and started to speak. "Stan Gibbison, is one of the Dragon's right hand people in Denver. He wouldn't talk at first but Mr. Tanner persuaded him that it was in his best interested to share any information that he had with us. It seems that Dragon owns several warehouses around the city. From what Stan said, the warehouses are holding everything from enough weapons to supply a small country for a number of years, to more than enough MRE's (meals ready to eat) to feed said army. . The other warehouses he uses for legit business. He runs machine parts and other small items at those places. Stan got his orders through a phone call or messenger service. He never had direct contact with Dragon. He has a phone number to call Dragon for emergency. The phone number isn't listed, and we're still trying to get a warrant for getting the owner on the phone number. We should have it all by tomorrow. Beyond that, the man doesn't have anymore information about Dragon."
Chris nodded, looking over the group. While Ezra was talking, Chris watched Buck. During the talk, Buck never looked up from his folder. He didn't even seem to notice that Ezra had stopped talking. Shaking his head, with a finally concerned look at Buck, Chris started to speak. "Andrea Young is another of Dragon's lieutenants. She controls most of the high-end business interests. Trading stock, the money from the gun trades and drug trafficking. She actual had some numbers and an email address where she would send information to Dragon. We have people tracing the phone numbers and JD is running a trace on the email with the tech department. Soon we should have a idea where Dragon is located." Saying that Chris fell silent.
The rest of the group looked at each other, except for Buck, who stayed focused on the report in front of him, not acknowledging what was going around him. The team noticed this. It couldn't be good. Finally, Chris nudged Buck. "Buck, you have anything to add."
Buck absently shook his head, while he stared down at the file, staring at the same page he had been looking at during the briefing.
The team exchanged glances with each other. As the team exchange concern glances, JD spoke up as he poked Buck. "Buck, you okay?"
Buck didn't seem to hear JD. Finally, JD grabbed Buck's shoulder and shook it slightly.
Buck suddenly looked up and blinked. "What?"
The team focused on Buck.
Chris spoke up. "Are you alright?"
Buck blinked, "Hmmm, yea, I'm fine, just thinking about something."
Josiah spoke up, "What were you thinking about?"
Buck's eyes glazed slightly back in thought. He shook his head as if to clear it. "I... Something isn't right."
"What isn't right?" Nathan asked.
Buck just shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know? Just something isn't right."
"Is it something about the case?" Chris asked.
Buck just frowned. Picking up the folder and flipping through it, he just shrugged his shoulders. "I told you I don't know, but something is wrong. Something is wrong with this picture. The fire, something is wrong about it. I just, I don't know. Okay, I just don't know, but something is wrong."
As he finished, he slammed his folder down onto the table and was about to get up, to leave the room.
Startled, Buck sat back down and glared at Chris. "What?"
"I am calmed down, I just... just think something is wrong. Something isn't right, but I don't know what."
Chris's lips thinned while he thought for a minute. Before he could say anything, Nathan spoke up, "Don't force it, Buck, it'll come to you. Just relax. Let it come to you."
Buck looked over at Nathan and quirked his eyebrows up, "Let it come? You sound like Josiah now, Nate."
Chris just shrugged his shoulders, "They sometimes have good advice."
Buck frowned but just shook his head. He stood up. "I'm getting some coffee."
The rest of the team exchanged a glance, and JD stood up and followed Buck out of the room. The rest of team settled and started reading over the notes and making other comments.
Buck grabbed his coffee cup. He needed coffee. Lots of coffee. Grabbing the coffee mug, he poured himself a cup. Nodding to JD, Buck put the pot down and lifted his mug to his mouth. He took a long drink of coffee. As he pulled his mug away from his mouth, he started to gasp. Dropping his mug to the floor, the resounding crash was lost in the frantic shouts of JD.
As JD caught Buck, he screamed for Nathan quickly, as he tried not to panic for Buck.
Nathan and the rest of the team, rushed out of the conference room. JD looked up at Nathan, "What's wrong with him Nathan?"
Nathan frowned for a minute. Getting up, he pushed his way through the team. Running to his desk, he reached for the first aid kit under his desk. Grabbing it, he rifled through it, grabbing his Epi-Pen. Rushing back to Buck, he jabbed the needle into Buck's flesh. Buck started breathing easier but he had lost consciousness during the short time that Nathan had been gone. Nathan frowned, "someone call an ambulance."
Josiah pulled himself a little bit away and dialed his cell phone. Calling quickly for ambulance and giving them the information the emergency personal needed, Josiah shut his phone off. Rejoined the others, he looked at Nathan for some answers.
Nathan took one more look at Buck, and looked at the rest of the team. "Buck had an allergic reaction to something, I think."
Chris frowned. He was about to say something when the paramedics came rolling into the room. They pushed their way through the team, with Nathan motioning the rest of the team to move away. The paramedics started to work on Buck, they both were frowning at what they found, and what Nathan was telling them. Lifting Buck onto the stretcher, they strapped him down. JD shot up and started to follow the stretcher. Chris held him back and allowed Nathan to go with the stretcher.
When JD looked up, he was about to say something, but Chris just shook his head. "Let Nathan go with Buck in the ambulance. The rest of us will follow after it."
JD nodded, and grabbed his jacket and wallet really quickly and just beat the rest of the team out the door.
They reached the hospital and rushed into the emergency room. Racing into the room, the group skidded to a halt when they saw Nathan sitting in one of the chairs. Nathan was staring at the doors to the treatment area. As Nathan turned and looked, he frowned for a second, then marched up to Chris. "Why didn't you tell us he was deathly allergic to cashews!"
Chris stopped in his track, like he had been shot. Frowning, he looked at the team. "How was he given cashews?"
Nathan just glared, "Why didn't either of you tell me he was that allergic to them?"
Chris frowned, "Look it's in his file."
Nathan still frowned, "that is a file I can't look at."
Chris shrugged his shoulders.
Nathan was about to say something when JD spoke up, "What's wrong with Buck."
Nathan frowned, "He had a server allergic reaction to cashew oil. He was rushed to the in OR because he was having trouble breathing."
"He'll be alright, won't he?"
Nathan looked at the whole team. Running his hands through his hair, he sighed. "He should be fine. We got him to the hospital in plenty time." Glaring at Chris again, he continued, "The doctor should be out shortly."
The group looked around at each other and settled into the uncomfortable chairs, glancing at the swinging doorways, waiting for the doctor to tell them what is going on with Buck. Finally, after a very long hour, the doctor came out to the waiting room. Looking around, he started towards the group of men. The team moved and surrounded the doctor, all of them waiting for the news that the doctor would tell them.
The doctor looked at the group. "Are you here for Buck Wilmington?"
The group nodded as one. The doctor raked his eyes over the group. "He had a sever allergic reaction to cashews. He was lucky. We were able to counteract the reaction. His swelling has gone down, and he is breathing on his own. He is still a little out of it. We are going to kept him for the night."
Before Nathan could ask, the doctor continued, "he is also dehydrated, and exhausted. We gave him some fluid and he is sleeping right now."
The group nodded, "Can we see him?" JD piped up.
The doctor nodded, "He is in room 789. You can see him and one or two of you can stay with him."
The group thanked the doctor and headed towards the room. Nathan though stayed behind to ask some more questions. He met up with the rest of the group quickly though, before the group had entered into Buck's room.
Entering into the room, the group stopped and looked at Buck, then almost as one, they turned and looked at Nathan.
Nathan frowned. "He'll be fine, and leave him to sleep he needs the rest. Now that you have all seen him, go home and rest."
Chris frowned and JD was ready to protest, as were the rest of the team. Ezra and Josiah were getting ready to argue and Vin was just smirking. Nathan glared, then looked at Vin, and shook his head. "Everyone, including me, is injured. We won't do Buck any good if we fall over in exhaustion."
Vin spoke up, "I'm not injured. I'll stay and you guys can relive me in the morning."
Everyone mouth's was about to open in protest when Nathan growled out. "Vin can stay. After a shower and some sleep, I'll come back and relieve him."
Chris and JD were about to argue when Nathan glared. They shut their mouths. They would work on Nathan on the way to Chris's ranch. Vin watched as the rest of the team said goodnight to Buck while they shot Nathan glares. Nathan shrugged his shoulders as he gave some instructions to Vin. Vin just shrugged his shoulders and nodded that he would watch Buck, and nothing would happen to Buck during his watch.
Chris and JD stopped Nathan before he was able to leave the hospital. Josiah and Ezra joined the group. Chris was the first to speak. "How can you make us leave. You left Vin as the only guard. Dragon has already tried to kill Buck once today, how are we supposed to stop him if there is only one of us here?"
Nathan, who rarely lets his temper show, blew up at Chris. "Would you listen to me for once. We're all hurt. You, Ezra, and JD were just let go from the hospital earlier today. You all need to rest. Josiah needs to rest from his slash still, and none of us will help Buck if we are too tired to move. I don't like it anymore than you do, but if we collapse when he needs us, we aren't doing him any good. So we are going to go back to our respective houses, and take a shower, change into clean clothes and take a nap. I will come back in four hours and relieve Vin so he can go home and get a shower and change of clothes. Now, go home before I have to call Travis." Nathan finished and stared at the group, daring them all to contradict him.
They were all silent, and one by one, they nodded, and started to leave the hospital. Just as Chris was about to leave, Nathan grabbed him and stopped him. "We need to talk."
Chris frowned, "what do you mean we need to talk?"
Nathan just glared. Chris huffed slightly but followed Nathan to a nearby all-night cafe. As they settled and ordered coffee, Nathan took a deep breath, "I need to know if there is anything else?"
"What do you mean anything else?"
Nathan waved his hand in the air. "Else, as in any other surprises. Are you allergic to anything? Or will we learn about what you're allergic to after you have a reaction?"
Chris frowned, "No, I'm not allergic to anything."
"Any one else allergic to anything?"
Chris blinked for a moment. Shaking his head, he spoke, "Nope, at least nothing we don't know about."
Nathan nodded," anything else medical I should know about. Sickness, illness, pains in the joints. I can't do my job if you all hide these things from me. You should know better than any of them."
Chris shook his head, "I don't get it, Nate. Why would you need to know about Buck's allergy? It isn't like it is one you have to worry about really. It isn't like cashews are that popular to use in stuff. Buck avoids the stuff. This is maybe the second time I have ever seen a reaction to it."
Nathan frowned, "Chris, you don't understand. What if it was something we could give him something that had cashew oil in it or cashews. Without knowing about the reaction, he could die. He almost did. Allergic reactions aren't anything you should play with it. Buck should have told us, but you should have made sure he told us."
Chris frowned, "Why, 'cause I'm the boss?"
Nathan wanted to scream. "No, 'cause you are his friend."
Chris hung his head and took a sip of his coffee before clearing his throat. "I honestly forgot, Nate. The last time he had a reaction was a long time ago. Until today, I didn't think he had any. I am sorry."
Nathan leaned back in his chair, and breathed through his mouth. "Buck was lucky that I had the epi-pen. That severe of an allergic reaction isn't good. He should be wearing a medical alert bracelet. To let people know he is allergic to cashews."
Chris laughed slightly. "Nate, this is Buck. He wouldn't wear it if you paid him. He isn't like that."
Nathan nodded in agreement. As they finished their drinks and paid for them, they got up and left the diner. Nathan stood for a moment and looked at the night. "Chris, go home take a shower and sleep. There isn't anything else we can do tonight."
Chris nodded. As he headed to his truck, he looked back at Nathan. "You too, Nathan, tomorrow is another day."
A couple of hours later, Nathan found himself at the entrance of the hospital again. Shaking his head, he wondered if he could get a spot in staff parking since he was here almost as much as staff. He headed into the hospital, not having a problem with finding Buck's room. Walking into the room, he stopped. "Vin, you can lower your gun. I am not about to kill Buck."
Vin tilted his head with a half smile on his face, "Don't know about that, Nate. You seemed plenty mad enough to do it last night. Wouldn't want to risk it."
Nathan shook his head, "You even think about it and I will not give you the coffee I'm holding."
Vin put away his gun and reached for the coffee. "Guess not today."
Nathan pulled up a chair to Buck's bed. Settling in it, he looked across to Vin. "He woken up yet?"
Vin shook his head. "Sleeping beauty hasn't made a sound yet. He is going to be alright, isn't he, Nate?"
Nathan nodded his head. "Yep, he'll be fine with some rest. Course, I don't think he is going to be happy to find out that he is spending time in the hospital."
Vin just shrugged, "Better him than me."
Nathan smiled at that. Nathan turned and looked at all of the machines attached to Buck. Happy to see they were all in the normal range, he leaned back into the chair. "I can't wait until Dragon is taken down. I don't know how much more of this Buck can take."
Vin was silent for a moment, "He'll be alright, nothing can keep him down long. We'll find Dragon and take him down. Stop him before he hurts Bucklin."
Nathan half nodded in agreement. Thinking for a moment, he spoke up. "Aren't you suppose to be heading home for a shower and some sleep. Just 'cause you aren't injured doesn't mean you can go without sleep."
Vin smiled. "Nate, I'll take a nap here, that way if there is trouble I'll be able to help. Not like you can order me home 'cause I'm hurt."
Nathan snorted, "Guess you are right, but you still need to get some sleep."
Vin nodded. Moving off slightly, he plopped down on a cot, he had the doctor drag in. Nathan watched as Vin fell asleep. Shaking his head, he turned back at Buck. Frowning slightly, he stared at the sleeping man. "When you wake up, you and I will have a nice long talk about getting ones allergy secrets and why that isn't a good plan. We will talk until you get it through your thick head that it isn't a good idea." With that Nathan fell into silence and listened to the two men in the room sleep.