Blame by Sue M

Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep `em but if I could

they'd be on seasion 10 by now!

Ratings/Warnings: Some bad language

My grateful thanks, as always, to Phyllis, who is so much more to me than my beta. Thanks for your additions, hun. They made this story so much better, and thanks to the DD support group, you rock, girls!

Thanks to Mog for her wonderful AU

Based on an idea by Sheela, from The Darlin's Ideas Page.

This is for Kay.

Chris thundered into his office and slammed the door closed so hard, the whole office shook. Team Seven looked to the office in question, then to each other. Before they could comment, Chris appeared at his door.

"JD, get in here, now!"

JD gulped hard, his eyes widening. Buck winked,

"What flowers d'ya want on your coffin?"

"Shut up, Buck...I'm shit scared as it is," the young man answered, casting anxious glances toward the office.

"Chin up, brother, this can't be anything you've done, he is merely..."

JD...NOW!" Chris interrupted Josiah.

"Of course, I could be wrong," the profiler finished.

As JD entered Larabee's office he nervously waited to know what was needed.

"Shut the door." Chris ordered, not looking up from his paperwork.

After doing so, JD waited patiently as Chris continued to read.

"Is this your report?" He pushed a file toward the nervous youth.

"Sure Chris, you know it...."

"Yes, will do Agent. It's incomplete, finish it."

"How? I did everything I was asked to do..."

Chris finally looked up and glared at him. "I didn't ask for your opinion, just do it, and don't leave here until it's finished."

Feeling his color rise, JD stammered a "Y...yes sir," and returned to the bullpen.

"Hell, kid, what did he do to ya?" Vin asked, noting the youth's rise in color slowly drain to white.

"You best go home without me, Buck; I gotta do more work on my report."

A quick word with Sanchez and he tossed Dunne his car keys.

"I'll catch a lift with Josiah and you take the Chevy, ok? Meet us at the Saloon, later?"

Dunne nodded and booted up his computer, settling in for however long it took.

+ + + + + + +

Two hours later saw Chris once more slamming a door...this one to AD Travis's office. Punching the button, he headed straight down to the garage.

He jumped in his truck and breathed hard to control his anger. He was sick of the way his agents put their lives on the line time and again, only to be admonished for omitting piddling little details in their reports by bureaucratic idiots who had nothing better to do than find fault. He flipped open his ringing cell phone.


"Agent Larabee, I understand your frustration but if you ever slam out of my office in that manner again I'll bust you down to PD so fast you're nose will bleed."

"Yes, *sir*." Chris answered Travis almost sarcastically, almost.

"Chris, go home, we'll talk again tomorrow."

Larabee grunted and threw his cell onto the passenger seat in disgust, turned over the engine of his truck and shifted into reverse. He reflected on his earlier conversation with JD and closed his eyes to control his frustration at his misdirected anger, promising himself he would admonish Travis for that, too, after he'd talked to his youngest agent.

JD placed his report on Chris' desk, moving it nervously several times until he was satisfied with its position. It was now after nine in the evening, and as he left the office he shut off the lights and headed for the garage.

As he walked toward the Chevy, he was vaguely aware of a revving engine and looked up to see Chris' truck was still there. He quickly put his head down, eager to avoid seeing his boss just at that moment. As tires squealed, he suddenly looked up,


Shifting into reverse, Larabee, still simmering, slewed the truck backward. Feeling a thud to the rear of the truck, he slammed on the brakes, cursing.

Unable to brace himself in time for the impact JD tried to dive from the approaching tailgate, but suddenly felt agonizing pain as the truck clipped him, pushing him back toward the Chevy and dragging him by his jacket a few feet until the boy dropped free. As his head cracked down hard on the ground, JD's world turned black.

Getting out, Chris mumbled angrily, expecting to see a dent in a nearby car, but was confused as nothing obvious came to light. He felt his heart clench as he noticed blood just in front of Buck's Chevy and he walked until he came to where JD had rolled. He collapsed to the floor in an instant as he saw the bloody, crumpled form of his youngest agent, his friend.

"Oh God, JD...NO!"

+ + + + + + +

As the remaining five men of Team Seven sat enjoying a beer in the Saloon, they watched as an ambulance screamed past them. Buck was staring at his phone as if it had just insulted him.

"Where the hell has that kid gotten to now?" he complained.

Vin closed his phone. "Can't get Larabee either, maybe they're talkin'."

"Well after Mister Larabee's disgraceful behavior this evening, I sincerely hope he is apologizing to the young man." Ezra commented.

The others nodded, drinking their beers as two of them continued to try and obtain a response from the two missing teammates.

Shaking uncontrollably, Chris' eyes remained fixed on the youth lying unmoving on the floor while paramedics worked on him. With an apologetic look, a police officer handed the blond a breathalyzer kit, smiling when the result was clearly negative.

"Can you tell me what happened, sir?" the officer asked.

At first, the shaken team leader didn't respond, then, as the words filtered through, he finally looked at the man asking the question.

"I...I just didn't see him. I reversed from where I was parked and he must have been somewhere behind me. Why didn't I see him?"

Once again he looked at his youngest agent as he was being lifted onto a gurney and loaded into the back of the ambulance. " is he?"

The officer shrugged then walked over to the paramedics, returning to Chris with one of them.

"Hi, we can't say for sure what all his injuries are, but he's unconscious and unresponsive due to head trauma and his shoulder is broken. Will you be coming with him in the ambulance?"

Chris nodded and followed the paramedic. Just before he climbed in, Travis arrived.

"What the hell happened, Chris?" he asked.

"Can I talk to you later? I have to go."

Travis nodded, shocked at the scene in front of him.

"Orin, will you get hold of Buck and the others? Tell them where to meet me?"

"Yes of course, I'll be in touch." The AD turned to one of the security guards who were at the scene. "I want the tapes from these cameras," he ordered, pointing to the wall mounted surveillance cameras. The guard nodded and left, just as the wailing ambulance pulled away.

As Buck watched the ambulance passing the Saloon, he put down his phone and sighed. Vin had already given up and was happily talking with the others. A cacophony of beeps had each man of Team Seven reaching for his belt to check his pager. They all looked at each other as each message appeared to read the same. Josiah dialed.

"Yes sir? Oh dear Lord, both of them? I see, thank you sir, we're on our way."

Josiah looked at each of the faces around the table, faces of men he loved as brothers. He rested his gaze on Buck.

"There's been an accident." The intake of breath was audible. "Chris and JD have been transported to the hospital."

Buck was pale as he looked at the group then back to Josiah, "How badly are they hurt?"

As they all stood to go, Josiah came around to Buck's side and placed his hand on his friend's shoulder,

"It wasn't both of them; Chris was merely an escort..."

Buck sat down hard, "Oh God, no, how bad?"

"Travis didn't say, let's go," Josiah replied. The big man gently guided the stunned man to his feet, and as they headed for the doors, supported him gently, as Josiah felt tremors coursing through Buck's body.

+ + + + + + +

The man in black sat crouched over in a plastic chair, his elbows resting on his knees, as his hands propped up his head. Tense fingers were pushed through blond hair and remained there as if glued in place.

Chris knew they were coming, they would be here soon, and he still didn't know how to explain why he was sitting in the surgical waiting room of Denver General while his youngest agent underwent major surgery.

If only...

If only he hadn't been so angry...if only he hadn't insisted JD stayed on...if only he had waited just one more minute before he had pulled off...if only JD wasn't so damned small...God, did he really just think that?

Despite the noise from the corridor, Chris never moved. They were here.


Buck was at his oldest friend's side within seconds of entering the room. He placed a supportive hand on Chris' arm and hardly flinched as the blond shrugged it off.

"What happened?" Buck asked as the rest of the men joined him.

Chris looked up quickly, red-rimmed eyes evident.

"Car hit him."

"Where? On the street?"

" the Federal building."

"At the building?" Buck was astonished; the poor kid hadn't even left work. "Do we know who?"

Chris sighed, "Me."

Mishearing him, Buck repeated. "Me? You know who it was?"

Chris stood, " was me, Buck. I hit him."

The brunette took a step back from his friend, his eyes never leaving the blond's features and his mood darkening, as the faces of the others reflected men who suddenly understood.

"YOU hit him? in God's name did you do that?" Wilmington stepped threateningly close, now speaking through gritted teeth, his throat tight, "Just how did you DO that?"

Chris didn't move, he just stared at Buck's face, unable to answer.

Vin stepped in, gently placing a hand on Buck's arm. "Easy there, Bucklin. Let the man..."

Wilmington angrily shrugged off Vin's arm, "Oh I should have known YOU'D take his side..."

Josiah stepped in as Vin was about to sound off.

"Boys, enough. While you're out here fighting, there's a boy in there fighting for his life, possibly, there ARE no sides. Let's get some perspective, here."

Vin stood firmly next to Larabee while Buck walked away to the opposite side of the room and turned to glare out of the window while he fought to control his inner turmoil.

Ezra, Nathan and Josiah were at a loss as to what to do. They stood between the men, flinching uncomfortably as Buck turned back around and once more faced the blond, his body language slightly more relaxed, but his eyes firmly focused on Chris.

"How?" he begged.

Chris flopped back down in his chair and resumed his original position, "I threw it into reverse...I was mad. Travis chewed my ass out...and...I don't remember if I even looked. He must have been walking behind me...going to your truck." ... ...I didn't see him, Buck, I swear I didn't." Larabee sobbed as he looked at his oldest friend, deep pain evident in his eyes.

For a few moments the two men just stared at each other, both shaking, both hurting. Finally Buck dropped to his knees and the two men clung to each other, shoulders tightly together as they sought to gain solace.

"I know, Chris, I know...I'm sorry."

As the two men comforted each other, the rest of Team Seven took a seat and prepared to wait, none really knowing what to do or say, but each man aware that they were needed. Vin and Buck locked eyes for a moment and Vin gave a slight nod as he sat down.

A few hours and several coffees later, the doors from the corridor leading to the operating rooms whooshed open and a surgeon approached them, heading for Chris.

"Mr. Dunne?" he asked as he watched the blond rise to his feet.

Chris nodded.

"Your son is just going into recovery now..."

Chris was attempting to correct the doctor but stumbled as the man continued.

"He has received a CBC, Cranial CT. an EEG and x-rays, all of which show no permanent damage. We have stopped the internal bleeding, re- set his right shoulder and sutured his head wound."

Buck swallowed hard and instinctively stepped closer to Chris.

"He's black and blue, I'm afraid, not surprising, really, and he has two broken ribs, but our main concern is that the closed head injury appears to have caused a concussion which has induced coma and we have had to place him on a ventilator for now, to assist his body as it attempts to recover."

Slight murmurs sounded from the gathered men at the last statement, fear now uppermost in their thoughts.

"That said, I have reasonable expectations for a good recovery once he is awake. Would you like to ask me anything?"

Buck stepped forward, "This...coma, how long do you think it might last?"

The doctor sighed, "Unfortunately, that's the one question I can't answer. He's fit and strong and I see no reason why it shouldn't be soon, but head trauma is tricky, and pretty much runs its own course. All we can do is monitor him, and wait."

Shaking any offered hands, the doctor left the men alone, promising to send a nurse when JD was settled.

No one moved, Buck looked at them all, "That was good, right?"

Nathan stepped up, "Coma's never good news, but it's just a fancy word for a very deep sleep. I guess it's up to us to give him a reason to come back sooner rather than later."

They all nodded. Ten or so minutes later, a nurse showed them to ICU where the youth was currently situated. No attempt was made to restrict their numbers, just stern warnings issued as to the restricted noise level.

Buck studied the young features with misty eyes, trying to ignore the bleeping of machinery and the whooshing ventilator. The boy's skin was pale, making his two black eyes stand out in stark contrast. The head wound had been close to the front right of his head, just below his hairline. His right shoulder was strapped, and his left forearm heavily bandaged, covering eight stitches that they would later discover were apparently caused by the trail hitch as it caught JD's jacket.

Approaching the bed, Buck leaned in and whispered into his friend's ear.

"Now this is plain crazy, boy, you can't be lying around here all day, they need the bed. Come on, little bro', come back to us, please, don't be gone long."

+ + + + + + +

Over the next twenty four hours, each man spent time talking to the young man. Not having yet took a turn, Chris ushered them out of the room and sat with his junior agent.

For the first ten minutes, Chris just sat there, staring at the youth in the bed, too choked to speak, then he leaned forward and squeezed the boy's cold hand.

"JD," he sighed, heavily, "Saying I'm sorry just doesn't seem good enough somehow. Ezra made a bet that you wouldn't blame me for this, that, somehow, you'd blame yourself. I didn't take the bet, I knew he was right."

The Team leader shifted in his seat, pushing his hand through his hair.

"The only person to blame here is me. I was so pissed off the other day, and I laid it all on you, and that was wrong, and I'm sorry. I had no right to treat you that way, and if you can hear me, I want you to bust my chops if I ever treat you like that again. I didn't see you in the garage, again, I blame myself. I believe my anger prevented me from looking properly before I took off, that's the only explanation I have."

Unknown to Chris, the other men had returned, but he was so into his litany that he hadn't heard them. The blond's emotions had fully surfaced and the men were almost afraid to breathe for fear of interrupting an obviously much-needed outpour.

Chris leaned right in on JD's still form, sobs occasionally halting his flow.

"The doc thought I was your father...I didn't get a chance to correct him...the funny thing is...I didn't really want to. I'd be proud to have a son like you, JD. If Adam had lived...I would have liked to think he would have been like you..."

Chris had finally broken down, but still no one moved.

"I need come back now, son...if not for me...then for Buck...and the guys...please kid...I can't bear to see you like this..."

At that point Buck and Vin stepped forward and flanked their distraught leader. Just as the others joined them, an alarm sounded on the ventilator. Buck panicked.

"What...what is it?" He shouted, "HEY! We need help here!"

The men were asked to leave as the medical team came in and took control. Agonizing minutes passed as the staff worked on their young partner while all they could do was watch. Finally the doctor walked out and toward them, smiling.

"Well, we have one wide awake federal agent. Would you like to say hello?"

Absorbing the information, the six men walked back into the room, smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes. Someone up there really did like them.

JD didn't speak, even after accepting a drink; he just smiled a goofy, drug induced smile. Buck returned the smile as he took his friend's hand.

"'Bout time you woke up, kid, my ass was gettin' numb on that chair."

A tiny huffed laugh came from the youth, as his eyes flickered closed and he drifted off. Six pairs of eyes looked at the doctor, who was checking the young man's vitals.

"Don't worry, he's just sleeping, and I suggest you all do the same. Tomorrow we'll put him in a private room where he'll be more comfortable."

As the doctor passed them and left the room, the six men relaxed and started to make plans.

+ + + + + + +

The next day, Buck was shocked to see JD in his new room, distraught and alone.

"Kid? What is it, what's wrong?"

Controlling his breathing, JD looked at his best friend, "Doc did some tests, you know the usual. I couldn't feel him touch my feet."

Wilmington paled, "Err, y'know, that's probably shock, yeah, shock. Don't you worry none, the Doc will sort it out."

JD gulped, "What if he can't?"

Buck took the sobbing youth into his arms and soothingly rubbed his back.

"He will, don't worry, we'll get this sorted out."

As the others arrived, they wondered what was wrong but waited until Buck was able to tell them. Once JD was asleep, the ladies' man took them into the waiting room.

"I need to speak to the kid's doctor; JD says some test showed he had no feeling in his legs."

They all gasped, Chris stepped forward, "Buck..."

"Let's not panic, we'll see what the doc says. I can't believe we weren't called."

"I've literally just completed my examination," a voice from behind them said. "I know how you all must be feeling, but I believe I understand what may be happening here. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest this is permanent. Sometimes a blow to the head can cause a temporary loss of control, particularly to extremities. I did see some movement when I tested him, but John didn't recognize it. I rarely comment this early on, but I believe feeling will return, I just don't know when."

Chris looked decidedly ill; he sat down hard in a chair and once more supported his head with his hands.

The doctor approached him, "We'll test him frequently and you can help. Occasionally watch for movement, tickle his feet a little. If he moves but doesn't comment, that's still good, we just have to get him to connect with the feeling. I promise you, if things don't improve in a week, we'll look at out our options. In the meantime, I still would like him to go home in a few days time, and I'll give him some exercises to do, but he'll need some help with them."

Chris looked up and nodded. The other men added their support also. The next day JD started his exercises, each man taking it in turns to maneuver his feet and legs as they chatted. Although JD never acknowledged it, his friends saw definite signs of reaction, sometimes even a slight attempt to push against them.

Five days on saw Buck preparing to welcome his roommate home. Chris was sat in Travis' office, dreading the conversation about to take place.

"I've studied the footage from the cameras, and I can draw no real conclusion from them. For some reason JD put his head down sharply just before you pulled out, and it appears you pulled out without due care and attention, but I can't be sure."

The two men locked gazes.

"I've decided to suspend you for one week, with one stipulation, while you're at home, you take care of Agent Dunne and repair any differences between you, if any."

Chris couldn't speak. He stared at the AD for a moment.

"Sir, I'm not sure I..."

"That is all Agent Larabee. Please send up Sanchez and Wilmington, I need to talk to them."

Very little was said during the drive to Chris' ranch. JD was still on meds and still a little shocked at the turn of events. He was also a little mad; it would have been nice to have been consulted. Chris was confused. He couldn't understand why Travis had ordered this. He and JD got along just fine as it was, why the need for 'quality' time? At least he had been allowed to let Buck and Vin visit, and on the weekend all of Team Seven were getting together for a little personal bonding.

Unable to do much for himself, JD found the first two days awkward as he struggled to do things he needed help with but had felt uncomfortable about asking. It was only when Chris ran to JD's room on hearing a thud, was the problem addressed. Helping the shaking young man up and onto the bed, Chris looked into his friend's eyes.

"What did you think you were doing, JD? You could have done some real damage to yourself."

Black bangs covered the youth's face as he looked down in embarrassment, only looking up when prompted by the blond.

"I...I hate to bother you...sorry."

Chris sighed, was he that bad? "Look, let's start again...We both need to stop blaming ourselves and start to deal with this. I'm sorry; I've been a little off. Let's go out onto the porch and have a beer and talk. What d'ya say?"

JD looked up, "You don't need beer, do ya Chris?"

Larabee chuckled. "Oh God, I came so close to breaking open the whiskey this week, but no, I don't need to do that any more, I just like to occasionally. Coffee?"

JD grinned, "Milk?"

"Milk it is, I'll wheel you to the porch." Chris helped the youth into the rented wheelchair and pushed him out of his room.

After some small talk, JD turned to face his hero. "Did you mean what you said?"

"Said about what, kid?"

"That you wish Adam could have been like me?"

Chris looked a little shocked. "You heard that?"

JD nodded, "Uh huh. I tried to answer you, but that damned tube in my throat wouldn't let me."

Chris looked the young man square in the face. "Yes, I meant every word of it. You're an amazing young man, and a damn fine agent. You've had a tough life and you've turned out to be a son to be proud of." Chris shifted in his seat a little.

"I've been blessed with a great team who have become like family to me. I know we all tease the hell out of you kid, but it's done with affection, you know that, right?"

JD blushed, and then nodded. "Yeah, I know. And I agree, the guys are amazing, I can't imagine my life without them, without you."

For a moment green eyes and hazel eyes locked, then looked away as both men laughed.

"Whoa, I think we just slipped into the Hallmark channel, there." JD chuckled.

Chris laughed out loud and they resumed drinking.

"Chris, if ya want, I'll sort out your computer for you, you know, set up your accounts and stuff, I've been dyin' to get at it."

Chris grinned, "Yeah that would be great, thanks. Start tomorrow, if you like."

JD nodded and smiled, he felt a lot more at ease, now, not realizing, but Chris did too.

+ + + + + + +

The next day saw the two men completely relaxed around each other, JD worked happily on the computer, while Chris tended to the horses. As JD was typing, his knee itched and he lifted his leg slightly to scratch it. He stopped dead as he realized what he had done and an ear-splitting grin lit up his face. He spun the chair one-handedly around and awkwardly wheeled out of the study to share his good news, but the sight at the door to the house froze him to the spot as he looked on in shock.

Ezra walked into the bullpen briskly, clutching a fax. He called to the men to gain their attention and then divulged its contents.

"So it would seem this rather unsavory character could pose a threat to our illustrious leader?" Ezra finished.

"How the hell does someone escape from a maximum security prison?" Buck wondered.

"Well, he did, and we need to warn Chris now. Chris said once, that this guy swore he'd get him for putting him away, we can't take any chances." Vin added.

Sanchez rustled the fax now in his hand, pondering for a moment, "Brothers, I'm more than a little concerned that this escape occurred five days ago. There have been no sightings of him, so he could be anywhere. It might be prudent of us to call the ranch, now."

Vin dropped the phone back onto it's cradle. "Just tried, there and both cell phones, there's no answer."

Buck grabbed his cell phone, "Let's go!"

Chris was almost done with the horses. He patted Pony softly on the black neck and smiled to himself as JD's horse, Milagro nuzzled at the black's nose from the next stall. Chris couldn't help but chuckle at the way the little bay was taking comfort from his black, and for once, Pony seemed happy to offer it. He wondered if the horses had picked up on something or whether it was pure coincidence. Intending to return to the house to see how JD was doing, he looked in slight surprise as his horse seemed uneasy, then as he turned, his head felt as if it had exploded as white and red colored his vision, slowly turning black as he crashed to the floor, unconscious.

Tate looked down at the unconscious blond, sneering. "Showtime, Blondie."

He unceremoniously dragged Larabee toward the house and burst through the door, dumping the man on the polished wood. As Chris' body impacted hard with the floor, Tate balked at the sight of, what he considered to be, a boy in his late teens in a wheelchair. Cursing, he looked at the startled boy, waving a gun at him.

"Just stay right there son, my business is with your old man, not you."

Recovering slightly, JD saw the man's misunderstanding as an opportunity.

"Please, mister, don't hurt my dad, he's all I got since ma died."

Tate was rattled, this was going to be sweet and simple, he hadn't bargained on Larabee having a kid.

"Just sit tight, kid, I need to think here, and I'm jumpy when I'm thinking." He wasn't sure he wanted to gun down an innocent kid, especially an invalid.

The phone ringing put Tate on edge further, then a cell rang and another.

"Fuck, what is it that's so important?"

JD was in full agent mode, now.

"My uncle is coming over, if I don't speak to him, he'll worry. Can I call him? I'll tell him not to come here tonight, I promise, just please don't hurt my dad any more."

JD's emotional plea was not without foundation. Seeing Chris slumped on the floor, and with recent past events coupled with his painkillers, he had no difficulty in choking up.

Tate paced, "Ok, ok...but I'll put a bullet in his head if you so much as breathe the wrong way."

JD nodded and wheeled himself to the phone. He dialed Buck's cell.

"Uncle Buck, hi, it's John. Listen dad's had a bang on the, listen...he just doesn't feel like playing poker tonight, and asks if he can take a rain check? He's real sorry, he's gonna be a mite tied up but he didn't want you riding out all this way for nothing. Can you apologize to uncle Vin and the others too? Thanks Uncle Buck, I'll call as soon as he feels better."

He put down the phone, his eyes firmly fixed on the bleeding man on the floor.

"Good boy," Tate grinned, "Now get over here where I can see you both."

"Buck snapped his phone shut and looked at the others."Tate's already there." He warned.

"How do you know?" Vin asked.

"Well unless Chris adopted him overnight JD...or John, as he just called himself, told me his dad had hurt his head, and the poker game is cancelled and he was sorry 'Uncle Buck' and could I apologize to 'Uncle Vin' and the guys."

Sanchez floored the SUV as Ezra called ahead for back-up.

Tate was pacing and the more he paced, the more agitated he got. JD decided to take a chance; he needed to check on Chris.

"Excuse me, mister, can I please check on my dad?"

Tate glared at him, "NO!" He paced some more, looking back at the kid in the wheelchair, "Alright, but don't try nothing."

Tate shook his head, 'what could a kid with no legs do to him?'

"How d'ya hurt ya legs and arm?" Tate asked.

"Car accident," came the reply as JD decided what he was going to do next.

The youth wheeled a little closer to Larabee and then slid out of the chair on to the floor. He tried to conceal his excitement as he felt his legs as they hit the floor and realized he could actually move slightly, if he wanted to. Continuing with the illusion he had created, he painfully dragged himself across the wood with his one good, but still bandaged arm and got himself into a comfortable position before he dragged Chris' head and shoulders onto his lap. Pulling down the cuff of his shirt over his hand, he wiped away the drool from the blond's mouth and called to him.

"Chris? dad? It's me, can you hear me?"

Deep in his subconscious, Chris heard the word 'dad'. He struggled to open his eyes.


Alarmed, JD looked at the now curious Tate, "My brother Adam, he died in the crash." He leaned back into Chris, "No dad, it's me, John...JD."

Something was registering, pain, his head killed. JD? He knew that name..."JD?"

"Yeah, it's me; take it easy, you had a bang to the head."

One green eye cracked open, "JD, ok?"

He didn't know why Chris was co operating, but JD was mighty glad. He stroked back the blond hair to assess the damage through the now matted blood.

"Yeah, I'm ok. Take it easy."

Chris was piecing it slowly together, and despite feeling like shit and unwilling to open his eyes to the piercing light, he knew they were in trouble, he just didn't know why.

+ + + + + + +

Meeting up with the local PD at the perimeter of Larabee's home, Team Seven were vested up and ready for action. They had decided to position themselves at the house, and then allow the PD to distract Tate for them to gain entry and also gain information as to how the two agents might be.

Taking care to avoid any windows, Vin stealthily climbed up to the second story, Buck and Ezra covered the back and Nathan and Josiah stayed at the sides of the house close to the front. As Vin reached the roof he checked quickly on the others and then signaled to the waiting officers for the assault to begin.

Chris was finally in a sitting position, leaning against JD, and looking angrily at Tate.

"How the hell did scum like you get back on the streets?" Chris snarled.

Tate laughed, "Let's just say I got me some good friends, Larabee. I've waited five long years for this moment, and kid or no kid, nothing's gonna stop me now."

"No, please..." JD hugged his 'father' close to him, "Don't do anything to my dad."

Exasperated, Tate walked over to the pair and backhanded JD hard, causing the young agent to release Chris as he fell backward, rolling once, dazed.

"You cowardly bastard!" Chris yelled, finally finding the strength as he struggled to get back up on his elbows, "This has nothing to do with him, leave him out of this."

The sneering man leaned in, "Tough shit! I never planned this, but I ain't leaving any witnesses, so say your goodbyes."

Larabee's head was pounding as he desperately tried to co ordinate his movements, watching in horror as Tate moved toward the semi- conscious boy on the floor, gun pointing toward the still body.

As the escapee raised the gun, Chris tried wriggling forward...


Just about to give the signal, Vin heard Larabee's anguished cry and touched his throat mic, "We're out of time...GO!" An anguished cry went out from the team as a gunshot echoed from the house.

Tate was hovering over the young agent, when, with every fiber of his being, JD awkwardly swung his legs at the man, causing him to lose balance and fall, the gun dropping from his hand and firing randomly as it hit the ground.

The Police Department was almost at the house to provide the back-up they hoped would not be needed. They were alarmed at the sound of gunfire.

Buck, desperately trying to focus, held up three fingers to Ezra dropping them one by one, bursting in as the last one fell.

Vin had climbed in through an upstairs window and was almost at the top of the stairs.

Josiah and Nathan waited, Josiah with one hand on the door handle, straining to hear a cue from the others.

The bullet from the gun just grazed Larabee's outstretched left calf and with a small yelp, the Team Leader pounced on the fallen escapee and the two men started to roll around on the floor, struggling to reach the weapon.

Still dizzy, JD rolled over onto his stomach and looked to see how he could help. Seeing the gun he slowly pulled himself along the polished wood to reach it first, but Tate lashed at him with a foot and bloodied the young agent's face, causing him to recoil in pain and clutch at his newly broken nose.

As one, Team Seven reached the living room, taking in the scene as they entered. Vin kicked away the gun as Nathan and Buck covered and Josiah pulled the struggling men apart, tossing Tate across the floor toward Ezra, who pointed his gun in the angry man's face.

"Please... feel free to give me reason to avail you of your head with my service weapon." Ezra's smile was cold and menacing.

Tate froze.

"Very sensible, now flip onto your stomach and put your hands behind your head."

Tate complied.

Vin helped Larabee to a sitting position, crouching down next to him as the blond hissed in pain.

"Hang in there, cowboy, help's here."

"JD?" he breathed.

Buck rolled his roommate onto his back and examined his friend, finishing with his nose.

"Let me see...Aw hell...what is it with you and black eyes, boy? Ya last two are barely fading."

" dose..."

"Yeah, your nose now and two fresh black eyes in the morning." Buck snickered. JD allowed Buck to pull him into a sitting position.

"Chris?" JD asked.

Nathan was torn, but went to Chris first on seeing his head injury. Vin was already applying pressure to Chris' calf.

Josiah had gone for a cloth and assisted Buck with JD.

Ezra gave a wide smile and a touch to his head as a salute as the local officers relieved him of his prisoner. He walked over to the huddle.

"Well, what just happened here? I think a trip to the hospital might be in order."

An ambulance siren pierced the air. Ezra extended his hand toward the door,

"Your chariot awaits, gentlemen!"

As Buck and Josiah went to help JD up, each team member gasped as the youth instinctively tried to push up with his legs, albeit weakly.

"Oh yeah...I dot some feelin' back," he spluttered.

Huge smiles broke out amongst the men as Buck hugged his best friend, whispering in the young man's ear, "Thank God."

+ + + + + + +

Just as the weekend was coming to a close, Larabee looked around his small group of friends and smiled. Vin appeared to be dozing, Ezra was showing Nathan and Josiah a card trick, Buck and JD were 'arguing' about something and 'fencing' with JD's crutches. He absently rubbed his sore leg as he rested his eyes on JD.

A lot had happened in just less than two weeks. Not much of it good, but a lot of good had come out of it. Chris doubted he could ever change his ways, but he knew he could learn how to direct his anger should the need arise. He also knew he and JD had moved on in their tentative relationship, no longer awkward and guarded, they each respected the other, faults and all. It felt good to have six men to be completely comfortable around. His eyes followed the young man as he stood, leaning on one of his crutches for support.

"Ok, if I check on the horses, Chris?"

The blond stood and limped alongside him, "Mind if I join ya?"

With a soft laugh and a shrug from JD, the two men fell into step and slowly headed for the stables, watched by the others. Vin lifted his cap from his eyes, gave the others a lop-sided grin and a wink, and resumed his relaxed posture as the others resumed their discussions. All was well with Team Seven, for today, anyway.

The End