Follows Nightmares and Banishing Demons
Ratings/Warnings: Some strong language, violence, suggestive and threatening behavior toward a main character
Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep 'em but if I could they'd be on season 10 by now!
Thanks to Mog for her wonderful AU
Thanks also to Phyllis for betaing this and for all her help and suggestions. You are my rock, hun.
Special thanks to my pharmacist Sarah for her advice and guidance.
The large man eased back into the soft high-backed leather chair, his fingers steepled as his hands rested on his round belly.
"Are you clear on what I want Parks?"
The man standing gave a feral grin, "Quite clear, and am I right in understanding I can choose my target?"
"Yes, but not Larabee, when I'm satisfied he's suffered enough, he's mine. That bastard and his team are squeezing me dry. Every time I try to make a deal, they're there, waiting, and I know, what they really want, is me. Well, not fucking likely, let's see how the 'Magnificent Seven' function when their own are threatened, I want to see Larabee bleed while his team crash and burn around him. I want their souls."
The two men looked at the photographs that were spread out on the table, studying each one in turn.
"Tanner or Wilmington are probably closest to him, they would be my choice," the sitting man declared, pointing at two of the photos.
Parks narrowed his eyes, "Mr. Graves, boss, with all due respect sir, you said I could choose. I understand your desire for revenge, but I also understand you want to destroy the whole team, finishing with Larabee."
Graves nodded, "Absolutely."
"Then I am looking for a link to all the men, someone that will affect them in such a way that Larabee's suffering will be ten- fold because of, not just his, but his whole team's anguish at their inadequacies. And my choice is also personal; I would enjoy this job far more if I can..." he chuckled, "...play."
Graves swallowed his disgust, he was well aware of the man's perversions. "So your choice?"
Smiling, Parks held up a photograph, "I choose this one."
+ + + + + + +
"Viiiin! You promised." JD whined, leaning across the sharpshooter's desk, his head resting on his elbows as he looked up at his friend.
Vin chuckled as he continued typing. "I said, when I'm done, and I'm not done!"
"Let me do it, I'll be quicker," the youth offered.
Vin swatted his head, "No, now clear off and let me concentrate. The hoop'll still be there when I'm finished."
Huffing loudly, JD plopped back into his swivel chair and started spinning. Buck shook his head, grinning but not looking up. The others each looked in turn, then continued on with their work.
"God, I need to blow off some st..." He stopped dead as a pair of strong black-clad arms gripped the arms of his chair firmly and green glaring eyes met wide hazel ones. JD swallowed.
"While I'm THRILLED that you've finished your assignment, Agent Dunne, I'm NOT so thrilled you're interfering with others finishing theirs." Chris pressed a twenty dollar bill into the younger agent's hand.
"Go and get us some food," he growled.
"Me again? I went yesterd..." one look at the senior agent's face told him to cut his losses and go. "OK, I'm gone." He scurried out of the office.
Hands on his hips, Larabee watched him go, shaking his head and smiling to himself. "God, I know I've said this before, but were we ever really that young, and with that much energy?"
Buck snorted, "You should try living with him, it's like having a permanently wound up clockwork toy, the only time he's quiet is when he's asleep, and then he's shout..." Buck looked up, aware he was about to blow a confidence.
Chris tilted his head, as the other team members looked up, "Nightmares...still?"
Buck nodded slowly, "Yeah, ever since the last case, that's why he's been so damned hyper, he tries to go to bed so exhausted he sleeps solid." The big man sighed, "Hasn't worked yet though."
Vin looked at Larabee, who nodded.
"Guess I can finish these up later, we can go to the gym when he gets back with the food. I could do with a workout myself."
Buck smiled, "Thanks Vin."
JD leaned back against the rail in the elevator, nodding briefly to the only other occupant, an unfamiliar face, but he didn't dwell on it. He pushed his dark hair back off his face as he stared at the money in his hand, trying to memorize the lunch order from yesterday. The elevator chime sounded and he stepped out into the garage, a route he found quicker, to their favorite deli. Suddenly he found himself hurtling forward, coming to a painful stop over the hood of Buck's Chevy. Slightly winded and shocked, he spun around to see the man from the elevator advancing on him. His self-defense training kicked in as he blocked the next three blows and got in a few himself, pushing the heel of his right hand hard under his assailant's chin, forcing the man's head back and causing him to howl in pain. JD pivoted to land a kick when, with lightening reflexes, the man caught his leg in mid air, yanking the agent off his feet. JD landed with a thud on the ground, but before he could recover he was lifted in the air again and swung violently against the body of the Chevy.
White light clouded JD's vision and pain surged through his body, as he was vaguely aware he was now being held upright, a hand tight around his throat, as he looked into the face of a wild-eyed attacker, who was clearly enjoying himself. Several hard backhands saw JD crumple to the floor, and then the assault began on his body, the man hitting and kicking at every exposed part he could find, only stopping when he could see the young agent relaxing his defense as he slowly slipped into oblivion.
Parks hovered over the battered and bruised body of the young agent, satisfied with his handiwork. Only one more thing to do before he tossed the boy back to Larabee, his message then delivered in full. He crouched down and leaned in close to JD's ear, aware he was just conscious enough to hear him.
"My boss said I could choose anyone but Larabee, so I chose you. I like 'em young and feisty, and you fit the bill, boy, you're little ass is mine, literally!"
He stroked the young man's face with the back of his hand then, rising, kicked JD's ribs one more time for good measure, laughing to himself. Parks spotted the twenty dollar bill fluttering next to the agent's hand. Taking a pen out of his own pocket he picked up the note and wrote on it, smiling with satisfaction as he stuffed it into JD's jeans pocket. He then hoisted the limp body over his shoulder and headed for the elevator... time to make a delivery. He called for the elevator car and waited, just out of sight.
The car arrived and Parks looked to see if it was unoccupied. Satisfied, he took the limp form to the doors and threw him in against the back wall, just below the rail, the unconscious boy sliding down the wall and landing on his side in a boneless heap on the floor.
Jamming the doors open with his foot, Parks removed the control panel and rigged it to travel and stop at floor seven, Team Seven's office floor. Just before he let the car go, he approached JD and kissed him lightly on his bloody cheek. Licking his lips and laughing, he breathed, "Later, pretty boy," and he left, the doors closing behind him.
+ + + + + + +
Larabee was seriously calculating how long it would take a printer to land on the ground below, if it was tossed through a window seven stories up. He thudded out into the bullpen, scanning the room.
"Is JD back yet? Damn printer keeps eating my report."
"Glad something's eating, at this rate it'll be supper time," grumped Buck. "What's he doin'? Making the damn sandwiches himself?"
"Patience, brother," soothed Josiah. "Our young friend is probably in the building, as we speak." Almost on cue, the distant chime of the elevator could be heard.
They all turned to Josiah in amazement, who just shrugged and grinned widely.
After a few moments Ezra looked up, "I regret not taking the opportunity to establish a pool on Mister Dunne's return time," he admitted.
Chris waved off the remark and was just about to return to his office when a woman's shrill scream pierced the air. Without missing a beat, Chris was through the office door and heading for the sound. He saw Kelly, one of the pool secretaries, shaking and pale, staring into the elevator. As he reached her, he followed her gaze and felt his knees buckle.
"NATHAN!" he bellowed, moving forward and dropping to his knees. His hand was shaking as he reached out to his youngest agent.
"Oh dear God, what's happened to you, son?" He turned as he became aware of company, seeing Nathan's shocked face. Chris swallowed,
"I don't think he's breathing," he whispered.
Nathan gently but quickly moved his senior officer aside and took control, vaguely aware of the rest of the team's distress on arriving, and Buck's anguished wail as Vin and Josiah prevented him from entering the elevator. He carefully put the boy flat on his back and tilted his head back to open his airway, placing his ear to JD's mouth to feel for breath as he looked down the line of his chest to watch for a rise and fall. After ten seconds, he had concluded JD was not breathing and he looked down into the boy's throat for an obstruction. Sure enough, he saw the problem and said out loud, though to no one in particular,
"Shit, there's congealed blood in here," and in an instant was pushing his index and middle finger into JD's throat.
Vin had Buck pinned to the wall, their faces almost touching.
"Buck, please, let the man work, JD needs help bad, he needs Nathan."
Buck was distraught but nodded. He could see Ezra calling for an ambulance on his cell and Larabee sending people away, choosing someone to escort Kelly to a first-aid station. Five men looked back into the elevator car, alarmed to see two bloody fingers emerge from JD's throat.
As Nathan removed his fingers, he quickly turned the young agent on his side. A horrible single choking sound was heard as JD spewed blood from his throat. A few seconds later, Nathan rolled him back and placed his ear to JD's mouth again, nodding to the watching men as he felt breath sounds. Deciding he could do little more, Nathan placed him in the recovery position as he started looking for other injuries.
As the paramedics arrived, Nathan gave them a brief overview and then stepped back to join the rest of the team. Buck hugged the man tightly for a minute, whispering over and over,
Nathan nodded to him, giving his arm a squeeze. He looked at Chris, shaking a little from the adrenalin rush.
"Looks like he's had the shit kicked out of him," he said, finally, his eyes filling, "It's not good," he looked at them all, "He wasn't breathing, without knowing how long for, I can't be sure if he'll suffer any brain damage due to lack of oxygen."
All the men jumped as Chris roared a scream and punched the wall.
He looked back at the others, oblivious to his now throbbing hand.
The paramedics had begun to move out, "Is anyone accompanying us?" one asked.
Chris looked to Buck and with a quick jerk of his head, they were both gone, leaving four men reeling.
Finally Josiah spoke, "Let's go."
+ + + + + + +
Almost two days later, and JD was still not conscious. Four hours of surgery had revealed and/or repaired two broken, and two cracked, ribs, a broken nose, a cracked cheek bone, a bruised coccyx, mild internal bleeding and more cuts, bumps and bruises than could be imagined. Team Seven were on stand-down while Travis decided what to do next. As they all sat silently waiting in the hospital room, Chris was turning a clear plastic evidence bag over and over in his one good, one bruised, hands. Inside was the twenty dollar bill he had given JD to get food. It had been found in JD's back pocket of his jeans and on it was written;
"Larabee, this is just the beginning."
Chris had become withdrawn, convinced now that this attack was because of him. He couldn't look at JD without almost breaking down, the guilt weighing heavily on his heart and mind. Despite assurances from the others, nothing would convince him. A groan brought the sitting agents to their feet and toward the bed. Chris hovered in the background.
Buck was encouraging his roommate back to consciousness unable to contain his smile as dark eyelashes fluttered open and hazel eyes squinted up at him.
Buck closed in, "Shh, try not to talk, rest easy a minute." He offered his best friend some water and turned to the others, the relief evident on all their faces.
JD finally found his focus and his voice.
"I don't remember why I'm here," he whispered.
"No reason why you should just yet, just relax, it'll come back to you." Buck soothed.
"Everything hurts," he admitted.
"I know, son, but it'll get better, just sleep for now, ok?" Buck asked.
"'Kay," came the answer and JD drifted off. Chris answered his vibrating phone. After a short conversation he snapped it shut and looked at his team.
"That was Travis, they've got footage from the cameras, and he wants us to take a look, now."
Buck was shaking his head, "No, uh, uh, I'm not leaving; I don't want him waking up alone." He pointed toward JD.
"We won't be long," Chris sighed, "He said it's important, besides, it wasn't a request."
Heavy hearted, the group left, alarmed to see armed guards at the door.
"Oh yeah, that was the other thing," Chris added, "We're being moved to a safe house, JD included."
As the six men watched the images on the screen back at the Federal building, they were overcome with emotion. The ferocity of the attack as JD stoically stood his ground was almost too much for them to bear. As the attacker threw the young agent over his shoulder, Travis froze the screen, capturing the man's features perfectly. No one seemed to know him, even when Travis revealed the name Dermot Parks.
"He's a nasty piece of work; he spent five years in prison for the vicious attack and rape of a nineteen year old boy. He tortured him for days. The boy killed himself two years after the attack. Parks happily admitted while in prison, pretty young boys are his 'thing'."
The six men of Team Seven were angry now. It was all too clear the attack had not been random.
"It's believed Parks now works for Leonard Graves."
At that, all eyes looked at the Assistant Director, no longer in any doubt as to the severity of the danger they were all in.
"So JD was a message?" Vin asked.
"I think so, yes, but I also think it's not over," Travis answered, resuming the recording. The camera angle changed to inside the elevator, the men wincing as JD's body hit the back wall. A minute on as Parks was leaving the car, Travis rewound to the point where he bent over the young agent to speak to and kiss him.
"We have someone who lip-reads who believes, he is saying there, 'Later, pretty boy', which I am taking as a direct threat to the young man to return at a later date." A disgusted look crossed Travis' face, mirrored in the angry faces of the men around him.
"Over my dead body," Chris snarled
Buck nodded, "What he said."
"Agreed, we need to move you all tonight while we decide our next move. I want you to go en masse to each of your homes and pick up what you need for at least a week; no one is to be alone for a second. Meet back at the hospital and we will move you all together to the safe house.
"Excuse me, sir" Nathan interjected, "I don't think we should be moving JD just yet."
"Point taken Agent Jackson, however, offered a choice of imminent danger and a safe house, which would you choose?"
Nathan nodded, "Yes sir, as you said, point taken."
+ + + + + + +
Two days at the safe house and Team Seven were going stir-crazy. They were sitting around a table, tucking in to a take-out, their fourth in two days. Despite a considerable improvement, JD was still sleeping most of the time, the best news being, there appeared to be no ill-effects from when he'd stopped breathing. Chris was hardly eating, his mind constantly wandering to the colorful bruises on JD's face and throat. He couldn't even begin to imagine what the rest of his body looked like. He also found himself thinking about Leonard Graves. The man was one of the nastiest criminals Team Seven had encountered. Killing, to him, was like a walk in the park. The only reason he wasn't behind bars was because he was careful to never be personally associated with anything he gave orders for. But the man was hurting, Team Seven had successfully closed down most of his gun-running operations and both man and team knew it was only a matter of time before Graves himself would go down.
A door creak alerted the agents and they put their hands to their guns. They relaxed as JD limped slowly toward them.
"You were told to stay in bed," Buck admonished.
"Needed to pee," the young man replied, and then noticed they were eating. "Oh sorry, guys, wasn't thinking."
Buck sat him down at the table, "Ya hungry?
The youth shook his head, shifting awkwardly to find a comfortable position "No thanks, just thirsty."
Nathan touched his hand to JD's head and seemed satisfied.
"You should try and eat something, your body needs feeding in order to recover."
"Maybe tomorrow Nathan," came the reply, "Couldn't face it just yet, sorry." He noticed Chris was looking at him and attempted to lighten the mood.
"Hey, Chris, I think I lost your twenty, will you take an IOU?"
JD was shocked as Chris' face crumpled and the man turned away from him. The others looked at him sympathetically. He rose to his feet and walking slowly and painfully, he approached his boss.
"Did I do something wrong?
Chris spun in his seat to face him, mortified that the young man thought he was in the wrong. He stood, and as JD approached, Chris placed his hands on the youth's shoulders, and looked into his eyes.
"I'm so sorry, JD. I think this guy's trying to get at ME. I swear to you, if I ever get my hands on either of them, the first thing I'm gonna do is rip off their pricks and ram them down their throats... then I'm gonna get really nasty."
For a moment JD looked at his hero in awe, then a giggle surfaced and he snorted to contain it. Team Seven held their breath then one by one started to crack up.
Chris looked around at the group, stunned, and then gave in himself, pulling the young agent toward him in a light hug.
"You are something else, d'ya know that, kid?" he whispered in his ear.
JD chuckled, "Yeah, Buck often calls me something else," he replied, leaning into the hug for a moment. The two men separated and sat back at the table.
"Y'know, maybe I will eat something after all." He smiled.
In a wooded area on an incline, half a mile from the house, Parks was observing the house through binoculars.
"Don't get too comfortable, pretty boy, like I said, your little ass is mine," he chuckled, "And screw what the boss says, so's yours Larabee!"
+ + + + + + +
Two more days saw JD moving a little better, though still sleeping a lot. Early afternoon, and the seven men were dotted around the small living room, attempting to watch a baseball game. JD was stretched out on the sofa fast asleep, his head resting on pillows on Buck's legs, his feet resting on Chris. Both men had their arms lazily draped across the younger agent, an apparent picture of contentment, much to the amusement of the other four agents.
One of the three men assigned to the safe house burst in, causing them all to jump.
He looked to Larabee. "The safe house has been compromised, sir, we have to move you all, now. I'm going on to your new location to check it out, so there'll be just the seven of you and your two drivers." The agent left and in seconds was speeding away.
Chris gently removed JD's feet from his legs and stood.
"Right, let's move it, who's still packed?"
Ezra, Josiah, Nathan and Buck nodded; they had chosen to take what they needed, as it was needed, from their luggage.
Chris noticed JD was not fully with them yet.
"Right, you four go now with Brian in the first vehicle, Vin, JD and myself will get organized and follow with Mike, ok? Let's do it."
Buck was about to protest but could see the determination in Chris' eyes, so he helped the sleepy agent sit up and went to get his things. In ten minutes they were gone.
Ten minutes after that, the other three were ready.
About ten minutes into their journey, Buck looked at the driver next to him. "Did Brian quit for the day?" he asked.
The driver nodded. Buck looked back at his teammates, each man reaching for his gun.
"So you are?..."
The driver ignored him, accelerating. Buck pushed his gun into the man's nose.
"I asked your name, bub."
Despite the clicks of four guns arming, the vehicle accelerated even more. With little more than a nod between them, disarming their guns, Ezra pinned the driver from behind, assisted by Nathan, while Josiah and Buck struggled with the wheel. Veering left and right, the men finally gained control, but too late. The car spun and hit the shoulder, sending it over on its side and skidding eventually to a metal-grinding halt.
Chris and Vin got JD settled in the center row of seats of their SUV. Before they could move around to the front passenger seats, Chris felt a gun at his head. He looked at Vin who reached for his gun.
"Ah, ah, ah...not a good move Mister Tanner, please put your gun on the hood of the vehicle, you too, Mister Larabee."
The disgruntled men obeyed. Chris noticed Vin's eyes were wide. The next words spoken told him why.
"Well, hello again, pretty boy, nice to see you." He poked Chris in the back with his gun. "Get in the driver's seat." Keeping his gun on Vin, he collected the two weapons from the hood as he walked around.
"Tanner, sit next to him," he smiled and looked at a now terrified JD, "I'm going to sit with my little friend, then I know you two will behave yourselves."
He slid in next to the young agent who let out a small whimper as he backed away. The gun still pointing at the men in the front seats, he reached out his hand and, despite JD's attempts to move away, stroked the bruised face.
"I've missed you, boy. Sorry I had to be so rough, next time I'll take much more time and care with you." He let out a laugh.
Larabee turned, facing the gun, "You touch one hair on his head and I'll rip out your fucking throat with my bare hands."
Parks laughed harder, nodding. "Excellent reply Larabee, this is going to be fun, and let me remind you, piss me off, and I can fire at least two rounds before you can do any damage. I'll leave you to figure out where I'll aim them." His face went cold and hard, "Now, drive."
+ + + + + + +
For a minute or two nothing around the upturned SUV moved, then a window shattered and a bloodied Ezra emerged. Resting against the vehicle a moment to catch his breath, he pulled out his phone, dialing. He looked around for a bearing as he told the dispatcher what was needed,
"Officers down, I repeat, officers down."
He turned back to the vehicle, relieved to see Nathan climbing out, also bleeding but no worse, and between them, they forced open the front passenger door. Buck was dazed and bleeding, but awake. Josiah was bleeding and unconscious.
"Buck, are you able to move?" Ezra asked.
"Yeah, but I busted my arm. Can you help me?"
Nathan squatted down and climbed in as far as he dared. "Help is on the way, Buck. If you're not too uncomfortable, it might be best to wait. How's the driver?"
A few seconds pause.
"Dead. Nathan, Josiah's not looking too good."
Siren's sounded in the distance.
"Hang in there, help's here." Nathan called, and then looking back out, watched Ezra dial.
"Mister Travis, it's Agent Standish, sir, we have a problem."
+ + + + + + +
Unknown to the three remaining members of Team Seven, they had been ordered to drive in the opposite direction to the other four. The tension in the vehicle was intense as each man struggled with their dilemma.
Vin was furious at someone getting the drop on them. He felt he should have seen that the change of plans was a diversionary tactic and he berated himself for not being more cautious. Chris was beside himself, 'Where were the rest of the team? Had both drivers been compromised? How the hell was he going to protect Vin and JD?'
'JD, oh God, how could he protect him?' He shuddered as he heard Parks talking to his youngest agent.
"I hope you're feeling a little better, pretty boy, I need a good strong body for what I have in mind."
JD felt sick to his stomach, "Go to hell, you freak," he heard himself say, instantly wondering if he should speak at all.
Parks chuckled and stroked the boy's hair, gripping it as he felt JD pull away, "Now make nice, pretty boy, because when I'm angry, I play rough."
JD was angry with himself as he felt a tear roll down on his cheek. Parks caught it with his thumb and licked it off, smiling. JD let out a whispered, but audible,
Parks looked out of the windshield and tapped Larabee on the shoulder with the gun.
"Take the next left," he ordered.
As Chris reluctantly complied, his stomach fluttered, they were heading for dense woodland... isolation. This was definitely not good.
The scene at the crash site of the other half of Team Seven was organized chaos. Josiah and Buck were already on their way to hospital and Ezra and Nathan were being checked over while relaying the details to the local PD. A car pulled up and Travis jumped out. His face was solemn as he strode quickly over to his men, mentally assessing their injuries.
"I want you both to go to the hospital and get checked out," he insisted.
Ezra shook his head, "I assure you sir, that will not be necessary, and we are ready to assist in any way..."
"That was an order, Standish. Now, the news is not good, both drivers' have been found murdered at the safe house, so we must assume Larabee, Tanner and Dunne are no longer safe." Travis wiped his hand over his face,
"This is a mess, I have no doubt none of you were meant to survive this attack. I am very concerned for the safety of the other three members of Team Seven and we're doing everything we can to locate them."
Ezra and Nathan were visibly shocked by the words they were hearing and were suddenly consumed with fear.
"Are the men at the hospital being guarded?" Nathan wanted to know.
Travis nodded, "Get into my car, gentlemen, I'll take you there myself."
+ + + + + + +
Chris was ordered to pull up outside a small log cabin and told to hand over the keys to the car. Parks got out and gestured for them all to do the same, watching them carefully as they did so. JD was struggling; his injuries were resurfacing due to the lack of pain medication and anxiety he was feeling, as he edged his way slowly toward the door. Parks got impatient and pulled him roughly the rest of the way, pushing him hard toward Chris and Vin as he groaned with the movements. Both agents immediately put protective hands on JD as they stared at their tormentor. Parks smiled, a cold hard gesture,
"How sweet, very admirable, now, step inside please, there is much to do, and I have something special planned for each of you."
As they walked into the gloomy cabin, the three men realized just how prepared Parks was, as they were greeted with a set of three chairs on one side of the room, bolted to the floor, and an open door to a bedroom on the other side. The knots in their stomachs tightened. They were flipped around and searched as two pairs of handcuffs were removed from next to their holsters, then turned back around again. Parks spoke to Vin, as he pushed Chris down onto one of the chairs.
"Cuff him," he ordered, handing the sharpshooter a set of cuffs. Vin looked apologetically at Chris and held his gaze, hoping his friend would understand what he wanted. Chris did, and flexed his wrist as much as he could as Vin snapped the cuffs closed, as loosely as he dared, then turned to face Parks, who looked at a trembling JD. He motioned the youth toward Vin.
JD shook his head, "Please, please don't do this."
Parks aimed his gun and fired at Vin's thigh. The sharpshooter fell to the floor, screaming in agony. Larabee howled his outrage, pulling at his bonds. JD carefully dropped to Vin's side, staring in horror at their captor.
"I SAID, CUFF HIM!"
JD helped Vin up, "I'm so sorry Vin, I didn't think he would..." He could barely speak through the sobs. Vin winked at him,
"Not your fault, don't worry none about me."
JD pulled Vin's hands behind the chair and clicked the cuffs closed, remembering Vin's little lesson on expanding the wrists. He got up and stood still, uncertain of what to do next.
"Please, can I bandage his wound?" JD asked.
Parks shook his head, "Come here, boy, NOW!"
JD jumped at the last word and begrudgingly obeyed, stopping just in front of the man. Unwilling to look at him, the young agent turned to look back at his friends, aware of movement just behind him but not particularly interested. He looked concerned as Chris suddenly screamed.
JD felt a pinch to his right arm and looked just in time to see a pale yellow liquid disappear from a syringe into his body.
Parks smiled, "Now we're getting somewhere."
The boy felt odd, everything seemed to be disappearing down a long dark tunnel, including Chris' voice yelling obscenities at someone.
Everything went black.
Larabee, struggling against his bonds, looked on in horror as JD wavered then dropped like a stone into Parks' arms.
"I'm warning, you, I swear I'm gonna kill you, you bastard!"
Parks scooped the youth up into his arms, holding him close. As Chris was screaming at him, he smiled back and pushed his nose into JD's hair, inhaling deeply as he closed his eyes.
"Perfect," he chuckled and took the young agent into the bedroom and kicked the door closed.
+ + + + + + +
At the hospital, Nathan and Ezra had been examined and treated. They had located Buck and relayed the news of the others. Buck attempted to get out of bed, but Nathan halted him.
"Relax, big guy, there's nothing we can do yet." He turned as Ezra walked back in from the doctor who was treating them.
"Josiah's comfortable but still unconscious. His scans are clear, so they have high hopes for a full recovery. Buck, they are keeping you in for tonight, but Travis wants us to remain together so Josiah will be joining us shortly." Ezra sighed, "The other vehicle has ... disappeared. We felt it best not to attempt to contact them for fear of placing them in further danger, I'm sure they would have called us by now had they been able to."
Buck nodded, rubbing a hand over his face, his emotions building. "May God protect them and keep them safe."
Nathan and Ezra nodded, and took a seat.
Parks lay the unconscious agent face down on the bed, turning his head to the side so he could breath. He stretched JD's arms up over his head and toward the corners of the bed and secured his wrists with leather straps. He did the same to his ankles. Slowly he climbed onto the bed and lay alongside him, stroking his face.
"You really are a pretty one. This is going to be very special to me, because YOU are special." He was content to lie there, for now, stroking the unconscious youth's face and hair.
Chris was almost purple with the effort, but persistence paid off, and his scraped wrist slipped free of the cuff. The other cuff dropped free and he reached down to his boot and unstrapped his spare gun. Larabee placed his hands on his friend's shoulders, amazed he was still conscious.
"Vin, I'll be back, but I've got to get to JD, before..." He stopped, unwilling to say the unspeakable. Vin nodded in understanding.
"Go, cowboy, hurry."
Chris nodded and turned to the bedroom door. He paused for a moment and then kicked at the wood, not bothering to check if it was locked.
Parks had just started moving his hand into JD's shirt and down over his back when the door flew inward in splinters. He sat bolt upright on the bed, reaching for his gun. The last thing he saw was Chris standing just in front of him and firing a weapon. The bullet went straight through his mouth and out, shattering his skull. Parks fell backward off the bed, dead.
Larabee smiled coldly. "Suck on that, asshole."
Putting his gun in its holster, he quickly approached the bed. Chris checked for a pulse in JD's neck and breathed a sigh of relief. He was concerned at how hot and clammy the boy's skin felt, but shook it off. Standing, he undid the straps and leaned in to JD's head.
"I'll be right back, I'm just gonna check on Vin."
Chris grabbed at a blanket from the bed and went back to the main area. Vin was barely conscious, but responded when Chris spoke, nodding an understanding as his friend ripped up the blanket, and bandaged his wound. Within minutes Chris had retrieved the car keys, put Vin in the car and was going back for JD. He scooped the deeply unconscious agent up in his arms and headed to the car; stopping at the table to pick up the syringe, in the hope the hospital could identify the liquid.
He looked in at Vin.
"Are you able to take care of JD if I put him with you?"
Vin nodded, "You, bet," he grunted. He clung to the hot, sweaty body like his life depended on it, allowing JD's head to rest on his good leg.
Larabee jumped in the driver's seat, placed the syringe down on the passenger seat, and sped off. As he drove, he speed dialed on his cell phone.
"Ezra, where's Buck?... Shit...where are you...? Right, listen, I'm coming in, Vin's been shot and JD's had some shit pumped into him. Just tell them to be ready. Thanks."
Chris drove like a man possessed; he looked in his rear-view mirror at Vin, "Hang on, we'll be there in no time."
"Sure thing, j...just drive."
+ + + + + + +
Chris screeched to a halt outside Denver General and was greeted by a group of medical staff. He jumped out of the car and opened the door to where his two men lay injured. He pulled JD toward him and carried his limp body to a waiting gurney. He looked at the doctor attending,
Chris leaned into the front passenger seat and retrieved the syringe, handing it carefully to the nurse that had joined them.
"This is what my man... my friend, was injected with."
She nodded her understanding and they rushed JD on in. As Chris turned back to the car, Vin had been loaded onto a gurney and was receiving oxygen. He looked gray and sweaty, struggling to stay awake.
"We made it pard, just relax and let them work."
Vin nodded and closed his eyes. Chris panicked.
The sharpshooter cracked open an eye, "Shit, Larabee, ya told me to relax!"
Chris huffed a small laugh as he followed his friend into the hospital emergency area, stopping at the ER doors as the nurse held out her hand and closed the doors on him.
Larabee turned at the sound of Ezra's voice.
"Oh, thank God," he pushed his hand through his short blond hair and sighed, "Fill me in."
Before Ezra could speak, the doors to the ER burst open and JD's doctor came out and approached them.
"How long ago did he receive the ketamine?"
Chris stared at him, "The...the what?"
"The drug...how long?"
Chris looked at his watch, "About an hour I think, why?"
The doctor waved him off and went back inside. Chris held open the door and he and Ezra paled and gasped simultaneously.
JD's body was rigid as it convulsed uncontrollably.
"Have you added the diazepam to the IV?" The doctor called.
The nurse shook her head.
"Do it, now." He spotted the two stunned men at the door and approached them.
"An unfortunate side effect of this particular drug. By rights he should be coming around now, but his body's reacting to what's left in his system. The diazepam should help."
"Will he be...alright?" Ezra could hardly bring himself to finish.
The doctor nodded, "I would hope so, if we can get his temperature and heart rate under control, but he will be quite poorly for a day or two, he may have hallucinations, seem confused. We'll be keeping him sedated for the short term."
The two men could see Vin being moved. The doctor continued.
"Your friend is off to surgery. The bullet passed straight through causing, blood loss and some tissue and muscle damage, so he just needs some fluids and minor surgery." He put his hands on their shoulders, "Believe it or not, this is a good day, we haven't lost anyone today."
The doctor returned to the now calmer form of Dunne and started checking his vitals.
Chris sighed, "Let's go check on the others."
Buck was arguing and trying to get past Nathan as Chris walked in on the scene.
"Buck, settle down," he ordered causing the big man to look up.
"Chris, thank God, Who's been shot?"
"It's Vin, Buck, and JD's really sick at the moment. Parks injected him with something called ketamine and he's having some nasty side effects."
Buck's face dropped.
Nathan cursed, "Shit, that stuff's nasty." All eyes turned to him.
"It's used as an anesthetic; it can cause convulsions, increased heart rate, hallucinations," he paused, "In the wrong doses, it can kill."
The men looked shocked, Chris put his hand on Wilmington's shoulder, "Let them work their magic, Buck, he's gonna need you soon, but give the medical team time."
"Patience is a virtue, brother."
They all turned,
"Josiah," smiled Nathan.
"In the flesh, my friend, how is everyone?" He asked, drowsily.
Chris chuckled, "You lie here unconscious for a day, and you ask us how WE are."
"Always nice to know where we stand," the profiler added, to which they all agreed.
+ + + + + + +
The next day saw the team moved into a slightly larger ward to accommodate the injured men. Vin had been positioned next to the window and against the wall, Chris sat next to him and between his and JD's bed, with Buck sitting, his arm strapped, next to JD, and between JD and Josiah's bed. Some comfortable chairs had been added to the room for the rest of the team, mainly because of the men's insistence on staying, and partly because Travis had wanted the team in one place.
Chris' phone rang. After a minute, he looked at Ezra and Nathan.
"They're planning to take down Graves and wondered if we wanted in?"
The two men rose to their feet and walked to the door, turning back to Larabee. Chris shook his head and looked at his injured men.
"This one's all yours, my place is here, but I want a full report when you get back, and if it's possible, shoot the bastard right between the eyes, just for me."
Nathan nodded, Ezra gave a mock salute, and they left.
All were awake and improving except for JD. The doctor's first attempt to bring him out of his sedation resulted in hysteria and confusion from the young man, distressing his teammates to see him like that. Buck and Chris had remained close, and were waiting for him to come around for the second time. Buck looked at Chris and Vin.
"Out with it, Buck," Chris insisted.
"It's... well," he ran his fingers through his hair, "You haven't said what happened to you all the other day, and...I was just wondering, is all."
Chris and Vin exchanged looks, the blond sighing, as he noticed he had all the attention. He then looked at JD, and absently squeezed the sleeping youth's arm.
"I don't think it's fair to JD to discuss everything, but, let's just say, Parks intended to kill Vin and me, but not before..." he looked again at Vin, "Not before he'd taken JD from us and left us powerless to help him."
The look on Larabee and Tanner's faces said it all; Josiah, Vin and Buck looked away, lost in their own thoughts and feelings.
A slight movement from JD's bed alerted them all, Buck and Chris moved in closer.
"Hey there, you with us, kid?" Buck asked and was rewarded with fluttering eyelashes and half-open eyes. No one was sure how the youth would wake up this time.
JD looked at Buck, "Hey yourself," he whispered. JD tried to sit up, but Chris halted him and adjusted the head of the bed slightly. Sipping at the offered drink from Buck, JD looked around at his injured friends.
"What the hell happened to everyone?" he wondered, his eyes resting on Vin.
Suddenly it all came flooding back and he started to get agitated.
"God, oh God, Parks...Chris, Vin! PARKS!"
Chris, moving forward, held him firmly and looked into his eyes, "JD, look at me. LOOK AT ME! He's dead, Parks is dead. I swear to you, I killed him myself."
JD's chest heaved as he struggled to control his breathing. Through misty eyes, his gaze remained fixed on the man holding his arms, a man who had never lied to him.
The turmoil in JD's face was unbearable and before he'd realized it, Chris had pulled the young man close to him. After a minute he pulled back and looked at the youth.
"Do you believe me?"
Chris smiled as JD nodded, his face more relaxed
The five men looked to the door as it opened and Travis, Ezra and Nathan walked in.
"Good to see you all awake," Travis said, addressing them all. His eyes turned to Chris.
"As of fifteen minutes ago, Leonard Graves was shot and killed while resisting arrest, along with the arrest of several of his employees." He smiled at his men, "Gentlemen, you are no longer required to remain in protective custody."
They all sighed with relief. Chris left JD's side and came around to shake Travis' hand.
"That's a great relief, sir, thank you, though I regret not being able to take him down myself."
Travis nodded, "Agreed, but under the circumstances, you being here with your injured men was more appropriate." He nodded to each man, and then left.
Ezra approached his senior officer.
"It is with the greatest of pleasure I inform you that the fatal shots, to the head, were confirmed as mine and Mister Jackson's, though as to the order, I regret that may never be ascertained." Ezra flashed his gold tooth in a wide grin.
Chris smiled and nodded his satisfaction. Turning to the rest of them he took a deep breath,
"Right, enough of this shit, let's see about getting out of here."
+ + + + + + +
A few days later, and the popular choice of a group recovery at Chris' ranch was under way. Vin and JD had been the last to arrive, having been the last to be released from the hospital. Vin was on crutches, but getting about quite comfortably, Buck's left arm, having broken his ulna, was in a cast up to the elbow. Josiah was tired but otherwise unaffected, and Nathan and Ezra's cuts and scrapes were healing. JD was trying to be as upbeat as normal, but no one had missed his despair during moments when he thought no one was watching. Buck had helped, but the big man knew there was something else, he just didn't know how to reach it.
Chris decided he would have a talk with the young man. Having been the last one with him the day he had been drugged, he hoped he might have the answers the youth was clearly seeking. With the others agreeing to stay in the living area, Chris took a glass of milk out to the porch where JD was sitting, and handed the glass to him.
JD smiled as he took the drink.
The blond nodded, and the two sat quietly together for a while. As Chris had hoped, JD eventually spoke.
"Can I ask you a question?"
Chris turned to face him, "Of course, always."
JD took a sip of his milk, preparing himself. After a long minute, he spoke again.
"When...when you found us, m...me and Parks," he took another drink, keeping his eyes lowered. "Did he...was he...?"
Chris finally understood. He put his fingers under JD's chin and raised the young man's face so that he could see his eyes.
"Nothing happened, I swear to you. When I busted in, you were on the bed, he was next to you but you were both fully clothed. I shot him dead before he could pick up his gun and that's all there was."
The blond held JD's gaze, "Ok?"
JD closed his eyes with relief for a moment, then opened them and looked at Larabee, nodding.
"Yeah, yeah, thank you."
"Good," Chris answered, "There's a basketball game about to start on TV, are you gonna join us?"
JD nodded, half smiling. "Yeah, I'll be right there." He watched as Chris got up and walked into the house.
Standing to take a deep breath, the young man looked out toward the mountains. It felt like a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders, and on hearing his friends' rowdy banter increase as the game was about to begin, he afforded himself a small smile, and went inside, to be with the people he cared for and trusted more than anyone else, his friends, his family.