Disclaimer: Don't own them, don't mean to infringe on them, don't profit off them. I only like to play with them.
Universe: ATF (thank you, Mog!)
Characters: JD, Buck and Casey
Warnings: Some language, otherwise pretty tame.
Genre: H/C (is that a shock?)
Summary: Buck comes home from a vacation to find JD hurt and in the hospital.
Dedication: To Phyllis, a woman of amazing patience (or forgiveness... or a short memory) who I have owed the end of a story to for three years now. That one may be stalled out, my dear, but I hope this will make up for it just a little!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHYLLIS!!
Buck Wilmington smiled, whistling as he entered his apartment, better known as the CDC. He couldn't wait to regale his roommate with tales of his trip, enjoying sunshine and the beach with his latest lady. They had flown to California, where the lady - Millicent Turnquist - kept an apartment. Millie was a junior executive for one of the larger retail conglomerates in the country. Part of her job entailed being in California several weeks out of the year to make certain the chain was well represented in that part of the country. And while she was very businesslike and professional when she was on the job, off the job, Millie was one wild and uninhibited young lady.
Frowning when the uncustomary silence greeted him, Buck wondered what was going on. Typically one of them left something on during the day while they were gone, leaving them to be greeted by hard rock or the sports channel.
"JD? Hey, Kid!"
The silence was the only thing that greeted him.
Wilmington went through the apartment, searching for his friend. While clutter was the general décor, nothing seemed out of place. Reaching the table where their answering machine sat, he noticed the red "message" light flashing. Hitting "play" he skipped through several messages before coming to one that sent a cold chill down his spine.
"Buck, it's Casey. When you get home, please... please come to Denver General. JD... JD's been hurt." She sounded as if she had been crying, the sound striking Wilmington in the heart.
Grabbing his keys, the big man rushed out the door. A moment later he was speeding down the street, heading for the hospital. He fought the temptation to run with his lights, and kept the car marginally within the speed limit. While he drove he hit the speed dial on his cell phone before he remembered that trying to contact any of the rest of the team would be futile. Chris, Vin and Ezra were in Washington for a conference, Nathan had taken Raine for a much deserved vacation, and Josiah was on leave for another week, teaching a class in Philosophy for an old friend, halfway across the world. While he had taken the opportunity to go away with Millie, JD had been loaned out to Team Four. Their communications agent was off on her honeymoon just as one of the team's most important cases heated up. Rather than see her called back in, JD volunteered to take her place.
And now he was lying, hurt, in the hospital.
"Damn it!" He slapped his hand on the steering wheel. He couldn't believe he hadn't kept his cell phone on, or at least checked the messages. He'd been too busy partying to even think about the Kid back here, working away.
A few minutes later, Wilmington swung his truck into the parking lot of Denver General. Pulling the vintage vehicle into the first spot he found, he shoved it into park, jumping from behind the wheel and slamming the door before he tore across the parking lot at a dead run. The automatic doors at the entrance barely had time to retract before he dashed through, slowing to a jog as he made his way through the busy lobby.
"Diana, can you give me JD's room?" He called out to one of the receptionists at the front desk.
Looking up, the young woman gave him a stern look. "It's about time you showed up here, MISTER Wilmington."
"Darlin', I don't have time to explain - "
"He's in 213," Diana said curtly, before turning back to her computer.
Buck sighed with relief. That put his friend in a regular room. He slowed slightly, continuing on at a brisk walk. Hitting the stairs, he sped up once again, taking the stairs two at a time, only slowing enough to make certain he didn't hit someone on the other side when he reached the second floor door.
He was quickly down the hallway, finding the room without any problem. They had all been on this wing from time to time, so the layout was familiar enough that he could have walked it in his sleep. Pausing at the doorway, he looked inside to make certain he wasn't coming at a bad time.
The young woman turned from where she had been staring out the window. Relief seemed to wrap itself around her, and she rushed across the room, clinging to him.
Wrapping his arms around her, Wilmington held her close, feeling her trembling as she leaned against him. Softly, he murmured, "I am so very, very sorry I wasn't here, sweetheart. How is he?"
"He broke his left arm and leg... and he has a concussion." She looked up at him, her dark eyes red-rimmed and swollen. "He's been so... confused, Buck. The doctor said it's normal, but... it's just scary."
Kissing her on the forehead, Buck said, "I'd imagine it has been. I'm so sorry none of us were here for you, Casey."
Wiping her eyes with her sleeve, the young woman said, "it would have been nice, but none of you could have known that this was going to happen."
"What did happen?" She looked at him, her face a mixture of anger and frustration. "On the job?"
"Yeah. Damn it!" Anger flared in the red-rimmed, dark eyes. "He wasn't even supposed to be working. If he hadn't volunteered..."
Drawing her back in an embrace, the big man said, "Casey, he did it out of the goodness of his heart - "
"He wouldn't put you through this on purpose - "
"He loves you more than anything -"
"I know!" the young woman cried in frustration. Then, drawing in a deep breath she said a bit more calmly, "I know he does, Buck. It's just that..."
When she didn't continue, Wilmington guessed, "Sometimes you wonder if it's worth all the worry... all the fear you go through."
With a grin, she nodded. "You know me pretty well."
"Well, I know a lot of ladies... and some husbands... that have the same thoughts, honey. It's a legitimate concern - "
Both of them stopped, looking over at the bed. The ladies man got his first good look at JD. The left side of his face was bruised and swollen, a set of stitches just above his eyebrow. His left arm and leg were both in casts; his arm from fingers to elbow and his leg from toe to knee. Pushing aside the shock at seeing the young man so battered, Wilmington managed a smile. "Shit, Kid, can't I leave you alone for a minute, without you gettin' in trouble?"
JD struggled to focus his blurred vision, finally making out his friend, roommate and self-appointed older brother. "I... guess not. Do you know what... happened to me?"
Moving closer, reaching out to put his hand on the younger man's shoulder, Buck said, "No, not yet, Kid. I just got home from California a couple hours ago. What's the last thing you remember?"
Considering the question for a moment, Dunne replied, "I remember leaving for the job with Donovan and the others. I was supposed to go with Malone to check out the equipment the buyers were trying to sell. That's... I can't remember anything else."
Squeezing his friend's shoulder when he saw JD was getting agitated, Buck said, softly, "Don't worry about it, okay? I'll check in and find out what happened. You just concentrate on gettin' well, okay? That's the important thing right now."
With a faint, cocky smile, Dunne replied, "Yes... Dad."
Laughing, Buck said, "Watch it, Kid, I can still turn you over my knee!"
"Yeah? I'd like to see you try."
"Okay..." He made a mock attempt to grab the younger man.
"Sheesh! I thought you guys were supposed to be grown ups!" Casey teased.
Placing a hand over his heart, the big agent retorted, "I may grow old, but I'll never grow up."
Buck paced up and down the hallway, his posture rigid with tension. Every time he came to the end of the hall, where the little waiting area was, he checked to see that Casey was doing all right. He had managed to get her to go home the night before, taking her to the apartment he shared with JD. He'd heard her crying, quietly, in the Kid's bedroom. He worried that she was going to rethink her relationship with JD. It was difficult to make a commitment to someone who knowingly risked their life so often.
When they arrived back at the hospital, they found that JD was already out of the room, undergoing tests, followed by an evaluation in the therapy room. With his left side virtually out of commission for the next several weeks, the therapists wanted to make certain that he could manage some of his most basic needs before he was released. While he would have someone around to make certain he was all right, he would need to demonstrate an ability to do some things for himself.
Now Dunne was back in his room, the doctor examining him, leaving them to wait outside.
"Buck, would you sit down? You're making me tired just watching you."
Wilmington smiled. "Girl, you sound more and more like your Aunt Nettie every day."
Smiling in return, Casey replied, "Hey, I was raised by the best, you know."
"You were that, honey," he smiled fondly, remembering the feisty woman who had taken them all into her heart.
Before she could reply, Casey saw the medical staff exiting JD's room, the doctor heading their way. When Buck frowned at her change of attention, she nodded toward the approaching man. Wilmington turned, the young woman coming to stand by him as the doctor met them.
"How's he doin' Doc?" The big man asked.
"Very well," Doctor Emmett Westerson announced with a smile. "He's actually progressed further than we expected for this short time."
"So... what are we looking at, as far as him being discharged?" Casey asked.
"Well, it's a bit early to make arrangements, but if he continues to improve, he could be released Monday."
Buck smiled. Suddenly some of the lyric of one of his favorite Jimmy Buffet songs ran through his head... "Come Monday, it'll be all right..."
JD woke to find both Buck and Casey sitting near the bed. Casey was curled up in one chair, reading a book. Buck was sprawled out in the other one, watching TV with the sound off. He felt disconnected from his body, a dull ache thrumming through him.
Clearing his throat, JD said, "Hello?" Immediately his visitors' attention was on him.
"Hey, sleepy head," Casey teased, coming to sit on the edge of his bed. She leaned down and kissed him, leaving Buck with no choice but to tease.
"All right, you two, get a room!"
Rolling his eyes, JD retorted, I'm in my room!"
Laughing, the bigger man turned his chair so he could face his friend. "How's the head?"
"Still attached I think. At least it hurts like it's there."
"Imagine it does. Doc said you'll have headaches for a while, but they'll clear up."
"I know, I remember what he said when he was in here yesterday."
"Yeah? Remember what else he said?"
"That I'll probably be discharged Monday, as long as someone is going to be around to help me out for a while."
"Guess your brains didn't get scattered as bad as we thought," Casey teased.
"Hope not... somethin' that small'd be hard to find," Wilmington declared.
"Ha... ha... ha..." Dunne replied with a grimace. "Don't make me laugh, my head hurts too bad. You two are just too comical."
"Well, we were thinking of taking it on the road."
"I'd suggest taking it to the road and hoping something runs it over."
"Ooo, now who's makin' with the jokes?"
"Shut up Buck."
"No, I promise, I'm fine..." JD rolled his eyes toward the ceiling as he responded to his latest caller. Buck had finally gotten hold of the other guys the night before and, so far, this was his third call today. "Chris, I'm being honest, I'm fine... yeah, I've got a headache... it wasn't this bad before you called," he mumbled the last, under his breath. "Look, I need to... hey, Vin," four now. He was certain the only reason he hadn't heard from Ezra was because the undercover agent was probably still in bed. "Yeah, like I told Chris, I'm fine. No, I don't - holy shit!"
Buck and Casey were entering his room, broad smiles lighting their faces. Buck was lounging in an electric wheelchair, steering it by means of something that looked for all the world to the young man like a joy stick. Shaking his head, the youngest agent of Team Seven spoke hurriedly into the phone, "No, I'm okay. Buck just came in, in a - a... wheelchair? Yeah, a wheelchair," he finished as Wilmington nodded. "No, he's fine. Look, I'll talk to you guys tomorrow, when you get back, okay? Yeah... bye."
Hanging up the phone, JD said, "What are you doing?"
"Hey, you're not gonna be able to maneuver on crutches for a while. Not with one wing clipped and your head spinnin' every time you stand up," The older man pointed out. Since you've got to be able to get around, I figured this would be your best bet."
"Hey, if you think I'm gonna push you around, you'd better think again," Casey said, sternly. She was still smiling, however.
Dunne opened his mouth, closed it, and opened it up again. He wanted to argue with them. Wanted to logically explain that he had no use for such an elaborate device, since the doctor was pretty certain they could fit him with a walking cast in a couple weeks. But, the problem was, they were right. He would be unable to steer a wheelchair with one arm in a cast. With a sigh, he said simply, "Thanks, both of you."
"No problem," Buck sat up a little straighter in the chair, studying his friend. "Heard they came to get your statement this morning."
"Yeah," JD leaned more heavily on the pillows, suddenly feeling very, very tired.
Leaning down and giving him a kiss, Casey said, "I'm going to go get some coffee, I figure you two have business to talk about."
"Okay," JD said, kissing her a second time. He watched as she left the room, closing the door softly behind her. Then, turning back toward his friend and roommate, he said, "I couldn't tell them much, since I can't remember much."
"You remember anything more?"
"No, not really. A few... flashes, pictures, whatever. Nothing that I could really explain, not enough to help them out. The only thing I know is that things went to hell. I don't think it was a leak or anything, I just think Connaleski got really, really squicked about something."
"Squicked?" Buck asked; an amused expression on his face.
"Itchy, panicked, whatever. Anyway, there doesn't seem to be anything else going on. Just an accident."
Nodding, Buck added, "Turner told me you got between Connaleski's car and the exit. Damn it, Kid, what have I told you about playing cowboy!?"
"Give me a break, okay? What if I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time?"
"Yeah, right. With your weapon drawn, no doubt."
"Hell, I don't know! Maybe." He reached up, rubbing his head absently, but it was enough. Buck backed off.
"Okay, look, we're both just guessing here, so let's drop it, okay? I'm sorry; I didn't mean to get upset. It's just... well, coming home to find you in the hospital wasn't the homecoming I was expecting."
JD looked over at his friend. He saw the dark smudges under the dark blue eyes and the haggard features. He knew that hadn't happened spending a week in California with Millie Turnquist. Suddenly feeling guilty for all he'd put the man through, he said, "I'm sorry."
Frowning, Wilmington asked, "For what?"
Shrugging, he replied, "I guess... for being such a pita... uh, a pain in the ass."
"Oh, hell, you wouldn't be you if you didn't drive me crazy." Buck replied softly. "Look, JD, I shouldn't be biting your head off. It's just that..."
"It's okay, Buck. And I am sorry."
Just then, Casey poked her head into the room. "Are you guys okay? It got kind of loud a minute ago."
The two men shared a smile, before JD held out his hand, beckoning his girlfriend to his side. "Yeah, honey, we're fine."
JD sat in a hospital wheelchair, waiting for Buck to show up. The older man had taken his electric wheelchair home, so that it would be ready for him when he got home. All of his paperwork was done; his prescriptions were tucked in his pocket. The only thing left was for his housemate to show up and take him home. Since his bedroom was on the second level, Buck and Casey had spent some time yesterday, rearranging things so he could use Buck's room, while Buck used his. He was just glad that the older man had switched to a waterbed with baffles. He could never get in and out of the old free flow mattress the brunet used to have.
"Come on, Buck... sheesh!" He grumbled, staring at the door. Just as he was ready to call the older man's cell, the door opened and both Buck and Casey entered. "It's about time!"
"Well, hello to you, too." Buck replied.
Sheepishly, Dunne replied, "sorry, I just... I'm just really ready to go home."
"Don't blame ya there."
"So, ready to come home, with your own, personal slave girl... ready to obey your every command?" Casey teased.
"Really?" A gleam sparkled in the brown-hazel eyes.
"Sheesh, would you two... oh, never mind," Buck threw up his hands and began pushing his wheelchair bound friend out of the room. As he did, he began to whistle, softly, the tune for Come Monday. Their friends would be arriving home in a few hours, and he and Casey had planned a coming home dinner, with JD as the guest of honor.
Things weren't back to normal, but they were finally all right.