Betad by Phyllis. Thanks for all the help and advice, girl. What would I do without you?
My thanks also to Fritti for the info on the radio speak, and a big hug to Heidi for fine tuning it and for all her help and suggestions to make it authentic.You rock, girls.
Thanks to Mog for her wonderful AU
To think this started from a drabble!
The tension hung heavily in the air of the hospital waiting room. Five of Team Seven were sat huddled together on the plastic chairs; even Vin had opted to be close to his friends, for once, not seeming to mind, even comforted, by their proximity.
Buck sighed heavily and rose to his feet, glancing yet again at his watch. It had been almost four hours. He looked around at his four friends, his fears reflected in their faces, and then at the doors that led to the operating rooms, one occupied by his oldest friend and one by his best friend, his 'little brother'. He sighed again, pacing and pushing his fingers through his hair. How the hell had the day come to this?
Activity in the bullpen ceased abruptly at the arrival of the most senior and most junior members of Team Seven. A shrill wolf-whistle sounded, drawing a fierce Larabee stare as Chris searched the room for the culprit. JD chuckled, changing to a more serious expression when the look fell on him.
"Josiah, this rabble is all yours. Are you all set for the assist?" Chris asked.
Josiah nodded, "Absolutely, go and give your testimony safe in the knowledge that all is in hand."
Chris was about to speak again when his attention was drawn to their youngest. Known for his relentless perpetual motion, today was no exception.
"JD, will you just leave your tie alone? That's the fifth time you've adjusted it since we entered the building," Chris growled.
"Sorry, but it's choking me," JD moaned.
"Allow me," Ezra offered, and began to undo the tie with the intention of starting the process again. "What on earth have you done to it, Mister Dunne?" Ezra questioned, struggling with the knot.
JD grimaced, pulling his neck up and jutting his chin out to avoid the working fingers.
"I don't know, it just won't go right," he choked, and then showed relief as the knot loosened.
Ezra proceeded to neaten the collar of JD's dark navy suit finishing with outward strokes across JD's shoulders to finish his task. He stood back and smiled at the completion of his work.
"Much better," he smiled.
JD nodded his gratitude then shot a serious glance at Buck.
Buck chuckled, "We're just assisting, JD, we'll be fine."
"Mind that you are," the young man spoke softly, his eyes looking around his teammates. They all acknowledged the two men, words were hardly necessary between the group at times like these. Concern was a powerful silencer.
Chris looked at JD and gave a small smile, "Come on, JD, let's put away the bad guys."
That remark caused the youth to chuckle, and with one last look back, they left. Just as they were about to close the door to the outer offices and the elevators, JD held up his hand.
"Hang on, Chris."
He jogged back to the bullpen, drawing looks from the five men as he opened the door. He smiled weakly at them and swallowed as he looked each man in the eyes.
"Stay safe, yeah?"
They all smiled and nodded at the remark, JD gave them one final look and left.
As he got into the elevator his team leader had been holding for him, JD looked at Chris and shrugged his shoulders. Chris stifled a smirk and pushed the button for the level to the garage. He felt confident leaving his team with Josiah, just not so much with the assist to Team four in a warehouse raid. He had hoped the trial would be over by today, but his and JD's testimonies had not begun. He tried to shake it from his mind and focus on the job in hand. The two men got out of the elevator, walked over to Chris's Dodge and were soon on their way to the courthouse.
+ + + + + + +
Early afternoon saw Team Seven packing up for the day. The raid had turned out to be a mild affair, at least, by ATF standards. Buck was in an exceptionally good mood, the bust had gone better than expected, there had been no casualties and two of the people he cared most for in the world had been well away from it. He turned to Josiah.
"Any news from Chris?" He asked.
"Not yet, brother, but it's still quite early, they may still be in court," Josiah answered.
Buck nodded and continued packing up.
JD threw his suit jacket into the back of the Dodge in disgust, followed closely by his tie. He jumped into the passenger seat, slamming the door hard, and slumped down in the seat. Chris had mirrored his actions and climbed into the driver's seat, sighing heavily. He looked across at a dejected agent.
"Just let it go, son," he said softly. "Chalk it up to experience. You did everything right, these things happen."
JD shook his head, "One simple mistake...not even ours, and it's all over, all that effort, and for what?"
"Next time, JD, next time. How about a late lunch?" Chris offered.
The youth pouted, shaking his head.
"I'm buying," Chris was smirking.
JD looked across at him. A grin broke through.
"Can't pass that up can I?" He smiled, looking back at his boss. Larabee grimaced.
"Oh God, how much is this gonna cost me?" He shuddered, pulling out into traffic.
"Well, I get mighty hungry when I'm upset, and I'm PRETTY upset right now," the young agent admitted, still grinning.
Chris laughed, "Well we'd best go eat then, wouldn't want you wasting away."
JD chuckled then looked out of his window as they approached an intersection. He stared in shock.
"Oh, God...Chris, look out......!"
Chris felt the impact before he could react. He sensed the Dodge start to tilt over, and to the sounds of crunching metal and breaking glass, he blacked out.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah groaned, the traffic going into the city was backed up as far as the eye could see. Buck was sitting next to him and glanced across.
"Accident, d' ya think?" he asked.
Josiah nodded, "Most likely, and I'm past the turnoff to cut around."
"Well at least our problem is not as grave as theirs," Ezra leaned forward, gesturing to the hovering fire trucks and ambulances desperately trying to edge their way through.
Nathan was sitting at the back of the SUV and looked out of the rear window.
"Must be a pretty good incident, there's more behind us," he noticed.
Buck switched on the police radio.
"...Copy that Delta five, code three response, T.A. Paul Ida, intersection of Colfax and Colorado, any available unit in the area, acknowledge."
"Five, copy that. Deltas five and eight, code eleven... five out."
"Copy that...possible two vehicles, major rollover...possible entrapment and rescue. Confirm ETA five minutes."
"Five confirmed... five out."
Buck turned down the radio and turned to the others, "Sounds kinda rough doesn't it, should we assist?"
"Couldn't hurt," Vin nodded, "Goin' that way anyway ta meet up with Chris and JD."
Josiah placed the light unit onto the car roof and sounded the siren. Before long they were moving forward through any gap available, slowly clearing a path for the following emergency vehicles.
Buck spoke into the radio.
"Natural resources, Dispatch, be advised Mary Seven are responding to your accident at Colfax and Colorado, emergency response... lights and sirens, will advise ETA en route."
"Copy that, Mary Seven, Dispatch out."
Buck relaxed back, and hoped it would go smoother than it looked.
+ + + + + + +
The accident scene was chaotic. Across the intersection lay a large truck which had jack-knifed, causing it's larger rear section to skid, twist and partially tilt over. Just in front of the cab was a small green van, crushed almost beyond recognition. The two attending squad cars had kept an open frequency to broadcast details to all approaching assistance, realizing that help was still some time away. All had heard the reports of the van and the driver of the truck and were praying they wouldn't be too late to cut at least the cab driver free, but none were prepared for the next broadcast.
Officer Marks was checking around the tilting trailer, curious to see how it remained partially upright. He dropped to his knees to get a better angle and he froze. He moved onto his elbows and edged forward.
"Oh, dear God!"
He scrambled to his feet and hurried back to the other officers his words carrying over the airwaves.
"There's another vehicle under there."
"What? Could you see anyone, Pete?" Officer Price asked, his eyes looking anxiously over to the wreckage.
"No, it's pretty crushed, it's holding up the trailer, but it's on its side, so there's hope," Pete replied.
"It's black; I think it's a Dodge."
Price was writing, "Try and get the license plate, and we'll run it through the computer."
Pete disappeared back around the other side of the trailer.
The atmosphere in the SUV was electric. No one had spoken for at least a minute.
"There are a lot of black Dodges in this city," Josiah finally said.
Silence, but each man nodded slowly, hoping, praying Josiah was right.
The radio crackled and as the license plate was confirmed, the five men felt their world come crashing down around them.
+ + + + + + +
The pain behind his eyes was so intense, he knew he shouldn't move his head, but he did anyway.
Trying to fight the nausea he looked across at the man next to him. He could see no movement and a lot of blood.
"Ch...Chris, Chris, talk to me," JD panted, barely able to get the words out, his chest hurt so bad. He could also feel pressure on his right arm, to the point he realized it wouldn't move and hurt like hell. He couldn't feel his legs and was just able to wiggle the fingers of his left hand. But his chest, head and stomach... he found himself wishing he could pass out, to escape the agony.
JD knew they were in Chris' truck, he just couldn't remember how or why, or what had happened to cause them to be in this predicament. As the edges of his vision started to darken he heard a voice calling to them. JD tried to speak but found it impossible to co- ordinate his mouth with his thoughts, as his world slowly went quiet and dark.
The distant voice was penetrating his foggy thoughts. 'Who was shouting? Shut the hell up,' he thought. Realizing the voice was becoming insistent, he barely mumbled.
"I hear you."
"Ok buddy, just hang in there, help is on the way," Pete reassured. "I'm just gonna report in, I'll be right back."
"'Kay," Chris whispered. He carefully turned his head to his right, just enough to see JD unconscious and hanging from the passenger seat. Chris' mouth felt dry and he swallowed hard to make a sound form.
"JD? JD, answer me." He was rewarded with a slight groan.
Chris was in agony, every part of him was hurting, especially his head and stomach. He knew he couldn't move much and that he probably shouldn't be talking, but since when did he allow things like that to stop him from doing what he wanted?
"Yes, c'mon JD, can... you... look at me?" Chris struggled to push the words out but he wanted a response.
"Ch...Chris, th...thank God. H...how bad...you?"
"Bad enough; try... not to move, kid. I'm sure as hell... not going to... hurts too much."
"C...couldn't if I wanted to...pinned." JD grunted. "Why... is it... so dark?"
"Don't kno...aaaahh!" Pain shot through Chris and he was calling out before he could stop himself.
"Chris?" JD was alarmed as he tried to look at him.
"D...don't sweat it kid... I'm... ok," Chris said, hoping he sounded sincere. He could hear JD's fast, shallow breaths, or were they his? He decided it was both of them. The voice was back.
"Hey, I'm back. You still with me?" Pete asked. He was surprised when two croaky voices answered him. "Well, that's mighty good to hear. Help is about ten minutes away. You're doing great guys; just hang on for me, please. We're gonna get you out of there, I promise."
"I'll... have your ass... if ya don't," Chris answered, trying to sound his usual steely self, but still struggling to breathe.
"Seeing... as you... promised," Chris coughed, painfully.
"Me an' my... partner here don't take kindly to broken... promises."
"May I ask who I'm talking to?" Pete enquired, hearing the cough.
"Hi guys, I'm Officer Marks, Pete Marks. I can hear sirens; I'll be back, ok?"
"Ain't goin'... nowhere," Chris grunted.
+ + + + + + +
Pete returned to Officer Price.
"Looks like there are two ATF agents in there, one's called Larabee. They're both talking, just, but they're struggling with their breathing."
Price nodded, "Who's the other guy?"
"Dunne, I think they both may be with Team Seven, I'm sure someone called Larabee runs that team."
The radio crackled.
"Yes, they are, and ya got the rest of us listening in and coming in at the front of the emergency vehicles any time now." Buck's strained voice announced.
"Copy that, what's your ETA?" Alex Price asked.
"If you look you'll see us soon, we're about five minutes out, due to traffic." Buck replied.
The two officers were relieved to see and hear the rescue vehicles in the distance.
Buck checked his watch for the umpteenth time. It had been almost an hour. He looked across at Josiah, then back at the others. Nathan was beside himself, no doubt thinking about how they might be injured and how he could be helping. Ezra appeared calm, but Buck could see the glisten of sweat on the man's upper lip. Vin, Vin appeared to be asleep, but Buck knew that was not the case. Vin dealt with things in a way that was unique, and Buck figured if it works, why the hell not? He himself was showing enough angst for all five of them. Josiah remained totally focused on the road, but Buck had noticed a tear roll down the man's cheek, when the officer had reported that both men in the trapped vehicle had been talking.
Suddenly, Vin sat forward. An audible gasp came from the five men as they saw the large trailer lying almost on its side. The angle of the cab partially obstructed the trailer behind it, but it was a terrifying thought that there could be a vehicle beneath it. Josiah was pulling over, well short, in order for the emergency vehicles to go through. He hadn't even applied the parking brake, when all the doors of the SUV flew open and his companions were out and running to the crash site.
The two officers directed the firefighters and paramedics to where they were needed.A quick look in the green van left no doubt that any occupants were dead. The truck driver was unconscious and jammed under his steering wheel, but his air bag had deployed and had protected his face and chest.
The fireman who had gone to inspect the Dodge was reporting back to find Team Seven waiting.
"We're gonna need hydraulic lifts and winches to secure and lift the trailer. I don't think there's enough wiggle room for a paramedic until we cut them out so I suggest we get on it."
Nathan flashed his ID badge, as did the rest of the team.
"I'm an EMT, and this is the rest of Team Seven, can we at least let them know we're here?" he asked.
The firefighter shook his head, "It's too dangerous."
Buck gripped the man's arm, "If it's too dangerous for them, then we'll back off, if it's too dangerous for us, we'll take our chances," he growled.
"Ok, but no touching anything. We'll be ready to go in the next minute."
Buck nodded and followed Nathan to the back of the trailer, the others following close behind.
Nathan and Buck were on their stomachs and as close as they dared get. Nathan called
"Chris, JD, can you hear me? It's Nathan and Buck... talk to us."
Chris slowly opened his eyes, "Stop shouting... we're... injured, not deaf," He grunted.
The two men smirked. Buck spoke, "How ya doin', how's the kid?"
"Just p...peachy," came JD's stuttered reply, but then his next words pierced the men's hearts.
"Buck, I...I can hardly feel anything, are they gonna g...get us out now?"
Buck tried to steady his voice, aware of the other team members standing just behind them.
"You hold on now, they're just about to start. It might get a little noisy so...well, just so's you know," Buck called. "We gotta go but we'll be right here when you're free, ok?"
"'Kay," came the whispered reply.
The team moved back to where the police officers were and watched in silence as the rescue began.
+ + + + + + +
Chris looked at JD. "How ya doin' son?"
"Don't know...I'm, I'm scared Chris, s...sorry."
"Don't be... sorry," Chris soothed, "I'm scared... too, and I'm... not sorry."
JD huffed, "Ch...Chris Larabee doesn't get s...scared."
Chris glanced at the fading boy, "Yeah... he does...but...that's our... secret. Stick with me, JD, that's... an order."
JD coughed, "Sorry...sir, no can... do... Chris?"
"Thanks, f...for believing in me, letting... me in. Just... wanted... you to... know..." He drifted off.
Chris panicked, "Agent Dunne, I... gave you... an order, JD?" Chris gulped, then relaxed. He had been struggling, too. Maybe now he could let go, too...yes, just let go.
He faded out to the sounds of whirring machinery and yelling as eight men worked to free them.
Buck looked around at the rest of Team Seven. The hospital waiting room felt suddenly small and he stood and walked over to Vin. Both men looked at each other and Vin gave a lopsided grin.
"Chris is too ornery to die, Buck."
Buck sighed, "I'd like ta think so, junior, I truly would."
Vin continued, "And JD's a fighter, he got too much grief to give you still ta go anywhere."
At that remark Buck chuckled, as did the others. "God, I hope so."
They all looked up, the others standing to join Buck, as a surgeon appeared from one of the operating rooms.
"Dunne?" he asked. They all nodded, nervously approaching.
"My name is Phillips, and I'm one of the surgeons that were working on John. He's quite poorly at the moment, which is only to be expected, but he came through surgery very well. I have high hopes for a full recovery. He has a broken right humerus, which I believe occurred on impact, a head wound which has been sutured, and three broken ribs, which caused some internal bleeding and dehydration, and is why he is not so well right now. I know that's quite a list, but I can assure you, he IS doing very well, considering. He'll be in post op shortly. A nurse will come for you when he's settled and you can all go in to see him if you'd like."
Buck nodded, "Yes, we would like." He offered his hand, "Thank you sir, we're all very relieved, and very grateful."
The surgeon nodded, and left.
"One down, one to go," Josiah half smiled.
They all sat and waited once again.
Half an hour later, the waiting room door opened again, and the men were approached by Doctor Banks.
"Well, Mr. Larabee is expected to recover fully, but for the moment we are going to keep him in ICU, as his BP is a little low and he's severely dehydrated, due to internal bleeding. He has a head injury and four broken and two cracked ribs. One of the ribs punctured his lung but it was not too serious and we've successfully repaired the damage and re-inflated the lung. Hopefully, we'll have him in a room with Mr. Dunne in twenty-four hours. Any questions?"
The men shook their heads.
"No? Well I'll take my leave. Good day, gentlemen."
After shaking hands, he left. Team Seven sighed collectively but before they could sit again, a nurse arrived to inform them JD was in recovery. They all went to check on their youngest.
To Buck, JD looked bandaged, battered and bruised, but beautiful. He gently carded his fingers through the dark hair, avoiding the bandage, and smiled at the rest of the team, tears glistening in his eyes. "And to think I believed him and Chris were in the safest place today," he laughed, softly.
"They were," Josiah said, "They just ended up in the wrong place... at the wrong time."
Buck nodded, "Didn't they just." He noticed JD move his eyebrows slightly and moved closer.
"Hey, JD, can you hear me?"
JD nodded, but his eyes remained closed, "Can't open...." He sighed.
"Then don't, just sleep," Buck soothed.
"Ch...Chris?" He whispered.
Buck went in closer, "Chris is doing great, now sleep." JD sighed again and drifted off.
A few minutes later a new nurse appeared at the door.
"You can go and see Mr. Larabee, now; he's been taken to ICU. Shall I show you the way?"
The men shook their heads, "We can find it, thanks," Vin replied, and then he looked to Buck, who nodded in understanding, waving them out.
The four men looked back at their youngest partner, and then left to check on Chris.
Buck pulled a chair up to the bed and got settled. He took the young agent's hand in his, gently stroking it with his thumb.
"What am I gonna do with you, kid? I can't turn my back on you for a minute and you're in trouble. Hell, you were with the boss today, and ya still couldn't behave yourself." He sighed hard and settled down for the inevitable long wait.
+ + + + + + +
Just before Team Seven entered the ICU, the nurse stopped them.
"He's been heavily sedated so there's no chance of him speaking to you tonight, but if you speak to him, that would help him a lot."
The men nodded and walked in to the expected drainage tubes, and the blips and bleeps of machinery. Chris was pale and drawn, with a bruised face and bandaged head, his lean, muscular upper torso wrapped tightly. Vin moved in close to Chris' right ear and whispered.
"You just rest easy, pard. JD's doin' great and so are you, just so long as you rest. We're all here, and we can wait." He stepped back as Josiah, Nathan and Ezra approached and looked as Josiah put his hand on Chris' head.
+ + + + + + +
Through the next twenty-four hours the men rotated as they visited with each injured and unconscious man. Chris was comfortable and as time went on, his sedative was reduced and his return to consciousness was imminent. JD had drifted in and out but his lack of coherency had revealed a dangerous rise in his temperature; antibiotics, close monitoring and the use of fans had eased the problem.
Vin was sitting alone in ICU, reading quietly, when he became aware of movement from the bed Chris was lying in. He stood and leaned over his friend's prone form, watching with growing relief as the blond's face twitched a little, and as he became more animated, Vin leaned in, pushing back the short blond hair as he tried to help bring him back to consciousness.
"C'mon, pard, you can do it," He whispered, placing the straw from a tumbler of water onto Chris's lips. Instinctively the man took it, and drew some water greedily. The sharpshooter removed the glass.
"Easy, you can have some more in a minute," Vin promised, looking to the door as Ezra, Nathan and Josiah walked in.
"Is he coming around?" Josiah inquired.
Vin nodded, his eyes remaining on Chris's face, waiting for his eyes to open.
"Amazing," Nathan noted, "We came to tell you, so's JD."
Chris finally opened his eyes, and was rewarded by an out of focus smile from Vin.
"Hey," Vin smiled.
"Hey, yourself," Chris croaked, his dark green eyes becoming slowly more focused on the face of his friend. He blinked slowly and accepted another drink. He was just settling back into his pillow when his eyes flew open as he stared around the room. He reached out and despite his condition, gripped Vin's arm tightly.
"JD," he gasped, looking around again. He was very aware that some of his team were missing, especially Buck, which meant JD was hurting somewhere, or worse.
"Wh...where's the kid?" he asked Vin, as much with his eyes as his mouth.
Vin eased him back on to the bed.
"Chris, calm down, take it easy. JD's doing good, he's in another room, but he's ok. The doc says you can move in with him when you're ready."
Chris relaxed into the bed, relief showing on his face, he looked at the four men in the room, and with more strength than he actually felt he growled out.
"Get the doc, I wanna move, now."
+ + + + + + +
JD's short black hair ruffled in the breeze from the oscillating fan. His throat felt like sandpaper, his eyes like lead and an ache throbbed through most of his body. He could hear voices and tried to focus on them. At first, they all seemed as one, but the harder he focused, the more distinguishable they became, until finally he heard Buck, and without realizing, had turned his head toward the sound. JD furrowed his brow as the noise ceased, 'where had they gone?' he'd lost his focus. A familiar voice spoke softly in his left ear.
"C'mon, sleepy head, it's about time you took a look at this room the Bureau's kindly paying for."
For what had seemed like forever, JD felt he could finally lift his heavy eyelids, opening first one, then the other. He could make out four blurry shapes dotted around, so he concentrated on the nearest one. Buck. He attempted a smile.
"What the hell was that?" chuckled Buck, "Was that a smile, or indigestion?"
JD snorted, and then tried to swallow. Within seconds a straw was in his mouth and cool water was drizzling down his parched throat.
"Thanks," he rasped. He saw Ezra, Josiah and Nathan around the bed. "Hey guys, you ok?"
Ezra flashed him a huge smile, "Extremely well, thank you Mr. Dunne, and considerably better on seeing your continued improvement." He frowned as he saw an element of panic in JD's eyes, looking to Buck in the hope that he'd noticed.
"Chris is doin' ok, JD, just relax, ok? Vin's with him and he's doing real good." Buck soothed.
JD visibly relaxed, "How bad?" he asked.
"Bad enough," Nathan answered, "But not so bad as it can't be fixed."
JD nodded, Josiah pushed the young man's hair off his bandage. "Would you like us to go and find out how he is right now?"
JD's eyes met Josiah's in a silent plea. "Yes, please," he replied.
Josiah nodded, looked to the other three men and in an unspoken agreement, he, Nathan and Ezra left.
Buck watched them leave, and then turned to his roommate. JD was desperately fighting sleep, so Buck stroked his forehead, between his eyes and just above his nose. The youth was asleep in minutes.
Buck chuckled, remembering back for a moment when he had done the same to Adam. "Works every time," he smiled.
+ + + + + + +
Day three and the five healthy members of Team Seven had finally gone home for the night. Chris looked across at JD, as the young agent's head bobbed slightly to the music assaulting his ears from the earphones of his iPod. He threw a pack of tissues at him to get his attention, causing the youth to open his eyes, examine the thrown item, and then look at him.
"How are you doing?" Chris asked. JD frowned, pulling out his earphones.
"Sorry," he said.
"I asked how you were doing," Chris chuckled.
"Pretty good, I guess. You?"
"I've been better. So we may get out of here tomorrow?"
"So they say. Is Vin gonna stay with you?"
"Yes, I believe so. At least you got Buck."
JD snorted, "Now, see, you had to go and remind me."
They both laughed, each man knowing just how invaluable Buck was at times like these. Chris noticed JD's face drop.
"I still can't believe we survived that....." he broke off, emotion rising in his throat.
Chris sighed, "Yeah, I know, kid. We were lucky, but don't use that as an excuse to block it out and not talk about it. You shouldn't lock it away, JD; let us help you get it out of your system."
The young agent looked across, hazel eyes meeting green eyes with a depth of understanding that could only come from a shared experience.
"I'll do you a deal," JD answered, "I will, if you will."
Chris huffed, "How would Ezra put it? Hoisted by my own petard."
JD cackled, "Oh yeah, that sounded like Ezra," he shuffled in the bed to get comfortable. "'Night, Chris."
Chris smiled back at him, "'Night, son."
+ + + + + + +
Two days later, JD looked drowsily across at his roommate. He had been sleeping on the sofa for hours, but it felt nice to be out of bed, hell it felt good to be home. He noticed Buck was doodling.
"What are you writing?" he croaked.
Buck grinned widely, "Aw, nothin', how are you feelin'?"
JD snorted, "Like I got crushed by a truck." He winced as he tried to adjust his position.
Buck's face dropped, "You almost did," he whispered "Please don't make light of it, we thought we were gonna lose you, both of you."
Feeling guilty JD tried changing the subject, so asked again, "So what are you writing?"
Buck looked embarrassed, "Just numbers, nothing special. Can I get you anything?"
JD narrowed his eyes, "No, I'm good, thanks. Numbers? C'mon Buck, what do they mean?"
"I won't, Buck, I swear." He smiled, as Buck leaned in close.
"1-8-4-7, One, for the hour it took for the emergency crews to get through the traffic, eight for the number of people it took ta get you outta there, four for the number of hours you were in surgery, and seven," Buck swallowed, "Seven because, well y'know, it's our Team, in number and personnel, kinda like it to stay that way."
JD swallowed back a sob, "Told you I wouldn't laugh." He looked at Buck through watery eyes, to find the older man in the same condition. Buck scrubbed at his eyes and continued doodling; JD sighed lightly and settled back down to sleep a little more.
As he watched his bruised roommate fighting sleep, the shrill ring of a phone sounded. Buck cursed as he saw JD's eyes pop open.
"Yeah," he huffed into the phone, seeing JD look toward him.
"Everything ok, Buck?"
"Hey, junior. Yep, all ok. How's my number one oldest friend doin'?"
Vin uttered a breathy laugh and lowered his voice, "Well, he's had about eight naps and four cups o' coffee. He's tryin' to hide it, but he's worried about JD. Is JD able to travel? Figured you could stay here an' we could watch 'em both."
Buck chuckled, "Chris's all banged up too, and he's worried about the kid, huh? Why am I not surprised, especially as JD asks about Chris 'bout once every five minutes or so when he's awake. So, is it just us, junior?"
"Naw, reckon there'll be seven of us, the others have called so much, they might as well be here."
Buck looked to JD and smiled, "Yeah, I know what you mean. Seven sounds good. We'll be there as soon as we can get organised." He switched off the phone.
JD looked up at him, "We goin' somewhere?" Then he panicked a little, "Is Chris ok?"
Buck laughed, "Will you listen to yourself? Apparently Chris is as bad, so Vin and I figured we'd all be better off if we stayed at the ranch for a while."
"Did I hear you mention seven? Will the others be there too?"
Buck nodded, "Looks like it, you ok, with that?"
JD beamed. "Hell, yeah, next to being home here with you, that's definitely my next favourite choice."
"You just rest there; I'll throw some things together." Buck called as he went from room to room collecting items.
A few hours later, Buck and JD were pulling up alongside four other vehicles and were being greeted by five men, who were waiting for them on the porch, Chris sat between them in a rocking chair, swaddled in blankets.
After greeting each other and helping Chris to his feet and assisting JD, they carefully moved on inside, seven men, together again. The healing process had truly begun.