Ratings/Warnings: Some bad language
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be...sigh!
Thanks to Mog for her wonderful AU
Special thanks to Phyllis who is so much more to me than my beta.
Prequel to Banishing Demons and Chosen
Six men stood together. They faced the two-way mirror, arms folded across their chests or hands pushed deep into their pockets. The room they were watching was bright and airy, and contained two people. Buck and Chris stood shoulder to shoulder, both stern-faced as they pondered the outcome of this meeting, and whether it would finally give their youngest some peace.
Doctor Elizabeth Jarvis sat in a high-backed black leather chair, a notebook and pen to one side of her, a recorder whirring on the coffee table between herself and JD. Two untouched glasses of water sat invitingly next to the voice recorder.
She smiled as she observed the young man's knee, bouncing nervously as his eyes remained fixed to a point on the floor.
"Are you comfortable, John?" she asked.
Suddenly aware of his position, he sat back in a chair that matched hers, and nodded.
"Are you ready to begin, or would you like a little more time?"
JD shook his head, "No, I'm ready now, thank you, ma'am."
A soft laugh, "Please, call me Liz."
"Yes, ma'am, err, Liz... sorry,"
Liz smiled, "Now, just to confirm, you are happy to proceed with this conversation while your friends observe?"
JD nodded, shyly.
"I'm sorry, John, for the tape."
"Oh, yeah, sorry...yes."
"Are you close to your friends, John?"
Another nod, "Yes."
"And you know they're concerned for you at the moment."
"Yes, ma'am...shit... Liz... sorry,"
"John, relax. You don't need to worry about my name. Would you like a drink?"
JD nodded and reached for the water, almost spilling it. "Crap... sorry."
He sipped at the water and placed it back on the table.
"So," Liz continued, "Do you know why your friends are worried about you?
"Would you like to tell 'me'?"
JD looked up at her and swallowed, "I'm not sleeping all that well."
"I see, are you unable to fall asleep at night?"
A shake of the head, "No...nightmares."
Liz scribbled something as JD watched then dropped his gaze back to the floor.The men on the other side of the glass shifted slightly, anxiety growing as they saw the distress in the face of their friend.
"Do you remember them?"
"Not sure. I keep waking Buck up though."
"Is Buck your brother?"
JD laughed softly, "As good as, I guess, though I'm not sure he feels the same right now."
In the adjoining room Buck stiffened, looking to Chris, "Why did he say that? I've never..."
Chris squeezed Buck's arm, "Give him time, you know JD beats himself up over the smallest detail."
Buck nodded and they resumed their stance.
"Would you care to elaborate, John?"
JD shifted in the chair slightly.
"Aww, it's just that, I figure he must be pretty fed up of me sounding off every night; hell, I'm tired of it." His gaze saddened, "I just wish it would stop..." he said, softly.
"When did the nightmares start?"
"About three weeks ago, just after our last big case."
"Were you injured?"
"Were your friends injured?"
"Was it a difficult case?"
Again, the young agent moved in the chair,
"No more than usual."
"Yet it gives you nightmares."
Liz paused to take a drink, then resumed.
"Do you feel you did something wrong?"
JD's head snapped up, his face stricken with a look of horror. "Oh, God, no...Why? Has someone said....?"
Liz moved forward slightly on her chair, "No, no John, absolutely not. I was just asking if YOU thought you had done anything wrong."
JD put his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands. "No, no not really." He could feel his emotions rising to the surface and let out a soft sob.
"Would you like to take a break, John?" she asked, placing a box of tissues in front of him. Receiving no answer, she sat back in her chair and waited, glancing across to the mirror and then back to the young man in front of her, his face still buried. She could wait.
Buck was agitated, running his fingers through his dark brown hair.
"This is hurting him," he stated.
Large powerful arms enveloped his chest from behind and Josiah's soothing tones drifted into his ear.
"No, my friend, this is healing him. I am convinced that by the end of this session we will have the answer to his torment. We will know what demons he's been fighting."
Buck relaxed a little and patted Josiah's clasped hands, "I know, it's just..."
"Courage, Buck," Ezra added, "There is evidence here that he will need us all, and soon."
"C'mon, Bucklin', we can do this," Vin felt the affirmation was needed.
"Thanks, guys. It's been a tough three weeks."
+ + + + + + +
JD had composed himself. He pulled his hands simultaneously down his face, finishing at his mouth and then dropped them down to his knees. He sat back and took a deep breath. Reaching for a tissue, he scrubbed at his eyes.
"I'm sorry, ma'am." He apologized.
Liz smiled, "Are you ready to continue?"
The young man nodded, then remembering the tape, quickly said, "Yes."
"So, you were talking about your team's case. Was there a point where you thought things were getting out of control?"
"Not as such, but ...God, why is it always me?"
The young man had now gripped one of the arms of his chair.
"Always you? Could you explain a little?"
JD sighed, closing his eyes as the day's events, three weeks ago, flooded back.
"I was in the surveillance van, alone. The team was wired and ready for the bust to go down. Everything seemed to be in place. I was so focused on the conversations and the cameras that I didn't hear the van doors open. I remember a punch to my face and moving really quickly out into the fresh air. In seconds, or at least that's what it seemed like, I had been bound and gagged and thrown into the back of another van." JD paused and shuddered slightly.
Team Seven stood stock still, soaking up every ounce of information. They knew what had happened that day, but not from this perspective, at least, not this detailed. They were pulled from their thoughts by the young agent's voice resuming his narrative.
"I could hear someone talking... outside the van. It was a set-up, they knew we'd be there, and they were going to ambush the team."
"By team, you mean your friends?" Liz pushed.
Shaking fingers pushed black bangs from the young man's eyes as his breathing quickened.
"How did that make you feel?"
JD's face fell as he said quietly, "Helpless."
"What did you do?"
"I went crazy. I threw myself against the van; I was desperate to make as much noise as possible."
"Is that how you hurt your shoulder?"
JD shrugged, "I guess so, I don't really remember."
"Did anyone come to stop you?"
"No, there wasn't a sound. I was frantic." The boy's breathing quickened further. "I had to get out...had to warn them. They were going to die and I had to stop it."
Liz noticed how animated he became with each word, shaking violently. He had started gently rocking back and forth, his arms wrapped tightly around his stomach, as if trying to both comfort and hold himself together at the same time. The rocking motion increased.
"They were going to be killed, and I couldn't get out!"
"I can see how that must have been distressing for you."
JD leapt to his feet, surprising the therapist for a moment.
"Distressing...DISTRESSING? I was about to lose everything, my colleagues, my friends, MY FAMILY! And there wasn't a fucking thing I could do about it. I WAS USELESS!"
Liz composed herself and looked compassionately at the young man, "John, why don't you sit..."
"DON'T YOU GET IT? They were going to DIE! I couldn't warn them...I was going to be alone... forever... knowing I didn't...couldn't SAVE THEM!"
Liz gasped as the boy flew to the two-way mirror and slammed against it, his palms flat to the glass.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. Please forgive me..."
Team Seven jumped back in shock as JD bounced against the glass, screaming. Buck and Chris were out of the room in seconds, closely followed by the others.
JD turned his back to the glass and slid to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably. Before Liz could move, the two men had entered and were on the floor next to the devastated agent. Enveloped by the two men the boy clung to them both, muffled, heart-wrenching sobs drifting up through the huddle.
Liz could see the men talking to him, but couldn't hear their words, but JD could. He could hear his best friend telling him to shush and that it was all over. He could hear his hero saying he was proud of him and that no matter what, he wasn't at fault. Liz turned to the others as Nathan went to assist Buck and Chris.
"So, how DID you all survive?" she asked.
Vin's eyes were focused on the group on the floor. Ezra explained.
"We are a highly skilled team, my dear lady. It became obvious relatively early on that something was amiss."
Vin jumped in, "And they were pretty dumb, to boot. Taking JD out cut our link. JD's the best in the field; his links don't break without good cause, it put us on our guard."
"And, ironically," Josiah finished, "The only concern at the end was what had in fact happened to our very own John Daniel Dunne. Finding him alive and mostly well in that van, was probably one of the most wonderful moments of my career. If only we had realized the torment he had suffered."
Doctor Jarvis watched as the four men rose to their feet, the youngest leaning heavily against two of them. The rest of the team surrounded the four and Liz backed away to give them more privacy.
Eventually, JD peeped out through the group. "S...sorry, ma'am."
Liz smiled and took his hand. "You have nothing to be sorry for, John. I'd like to see you again if I may, maybe next week? Just to get some closure. Would that be acceptable?"
Wearily JD nodded and the group started out through the door. Liz touched Larabee on the arm and, handing JD to Nathan, he dropped back.
"Just to warn you, his nightmares may take a while to abate, but at least now you know what you're dealing with."
The blond shook her hand, "Yes, and thank you. We can take it from here."
He followed his team out; confident they would be ready to deal with whatever the next few nights threw at them.