Taking the Blame
Main Character: JD, Ezra, Chris
"Where the fuck are Ezra and JD," Chris Larabee bellowed, before kicking a plastic chair across the waiting room.
"They'll be here soon, I'm sure Chris. Probably just tying up some loose ends back at the scene," Nathan tried unsuccessfully to calm Larabee down.
"Well they need to be here, NOW, we're supposed to be a fucking team."
+ + + + + + +
Erza stopped short of entering the room. Standing outside he overheard Chris Larabee's outburst; hell who hadn't.
"Good grief, life is just too short!" he said to himself before walking away.
+ + + + + + +
"How's Vin?" JD asked as soon as Ezra reentered the room.
"Unfortunately I failed to locate either Messrs. Larabee or Jackson," Ezra lied.
"They must be here Ezra," JD pleaded. "Please go, I'm fine."
Ezra didn't move, hesitating to go back.
JD swung his legs over the side of the hospital bed. "I'll go then."
"No, no never fear Mr. Dunne. I will find them, you are quite correct they must be somewhere in this warren of a hospital. You need to stay here and wait for your hands to be attended to."
"Please Ez; I need to know how Vin is."
"On my way Mr. Dunne, on my way."
+ + + + + + +
Ezra slowing made his way back to the surgical waiting room. As he entered he saw Chris and Nathan talking to, what Ezra presumed was Vin's doctor. He waited by the door. From where he stood he couldn't hear what was being said, but neither Chris nor Nathan looked particularly pleased.
Finally the doctor left, and Ezra took the opportunity to approach the pair.
"How is Vin?"
Chris immediately swung around and glared at Ezra.
"Where the fuck have you been?"
"Mr. Dunne and I .....," Ezra began.
"Here is where you fucking need to be, here is where you're fucking needed," Chris screamed in his face.
"If I might explain Mr. Lara....."
"Shut the fuck up Ezra," Chris fired back.
Nathan stepped forward and placed a hand on Chris' shoulder.
"Vin is going into surgery and the doctors are concerned about the proximity of the bullet to his spinal cord," Nathan explained.
"JD fucking jostling him around like that didn't help either," Chris growled.
"Chris," Nathan admonished, "If JD hadn't moved him ..... god I hate to think what we would be facing right now."
Chris pulled away and sat down in the far corner of the waiting room.
Ezra looked at Nathan.
"I'll go and get JD, he's ...."
"Hell Ezra! You both need to be here now .... Chris needs all the support he can get."
"As I was saying, I'll go and get Mr. Dunne," and with that Ezra turned and left.
At least JD would be pleased to see him, if not comforted by his news.
+ + + + + + +
JD was with the doctor when Erza got back. He took a seat outside, and reflected on just how bad the day had turned out.
Ezra had been surprised when Chris had agreed to help out on the case. Buck and Josiah were in California attending a computer course (much to JD's amusement). The rest of the team were running routine checks, and catching up on a backlog of paper work.
Chris had called them in early on Tuesday morning. He told them that they were to help out on a big bust at Denver Airport with Team 5. They had arrived early that evening, and been assigned positions under the control of Dan Rocher, Team 5's leader. Unfortunately, things had gone bad really quickly. Vin had been caught in the back by a snipers bullet and JD was the only one close enough to get to him. Chris had been stuck on the other side of the hanger, under heavy fire and could only watch in horror at he watched Vin go down. JD had managed to get to him quickly, and when the blaze broke out had made the decision to drag Vin out of the hangar. He had also protected Vin when an enormous explosion had sent flying glass over the entire west side of the hanger, and over Vin and JD. The broken glass covered everything, and JD in his rush to clear Vin had badly cut his hands. He was still brushing off the glass when Chris arrived, unceremoniously pushing JD out of the way to get to Vin.
"Oh god, Vin can you hear me," Chris called desperately. "Nathan, NATHAN over here."
Nathan ran over and knelt down beside Vin, "Let me look Chris, don't move him. WE NEED PARAMEDICS OVER HERE."
"I tried ....., " JD started to say, but realized that no one was listening. Both Chris and Nathan were too intent on trying to help Vin. As the paramedics arrived, JD moved further out of the way. He sat watching, still in shock and wondering how things could have gone so bad, so quickly.
"Mr. Dunne .... JD," he hadn't noticed Ezra standing beside him. "JD may I assist you, we could move somewhere a little out of the way."
JD nodded, and put his hands down to push himself up. Sharp pain shot through the palms of his hands and he looked down, surprised to see his hands wet with blood.
"Good heavens!" Ezra gasped. "Nathan," he called, "Nathan we need your help here."
"Not now!" Nathan shot back, too intent on helping the paramedics with Vin.
+ + + + + + +
Ezra's thoughts were interrupted as the Doctor exited JD's room.
"There was a lot of glass, but I think we've got it all," the doctor informed him. "There were some pretty deep cuts that I had to suture. He'll need to come back in a week to get checked, but I don't see any long term problems. Of course, he'll need to keep his hands dry and avoid using them too much; at least until we see him again. I have a prescription for some pain medication if you like to get it filled. The nurse will be finished soon. Any questions?"
"None, and thank you Doctor."
After filling the prescription, Ezra returned to JD's room to find the nurse still working on JD's hands.
"Ezra .... Where have you been? Did you find out about Vin?" JD looked up.
Erza held up the bottle of pills "Getting these, and yes, I found Chris and Nathan."
"Is Vin okay?"
"He's in surgery. They are removing the bullet, we should know more in a few hours."
"But he's going to all right isn't he Ezra?"
"I'm sure JD," Ezra smiled. Why upset the boy further when no one really knew.
"Well we're all finished here JD," the nurse stood up, and started to clean up the room. "Remember to keep your hands dry, and make sure you get some rest," she smiled down at JD.
"Will do," JD promised, and stood up to leave.
"I think I should take you home JD," Ezra said, knowing that he was wasting his breath.
"No, I need to be here until we know something!"
"The doctor said you should rest JD. These pain meds are pretty powerful."
"I can rest here Ezra. I can sleep later when we know about Vin."
Ezra smiled, he could have predicted the answer.
"Okay, but first the pills."
+ + + + + + +
JD and Ezra stopped at the door of the waiting room and looked in. Chris sat, head in hands, exactly where Ezra had left him over two hours earlier. Nathan sat beside him. As soon as JD and Ezra entered the room, Chris was up and on the attack.
"About time you two turned up," he screeched. "Where the fuck have you been?"
JD stood stunned.
"We've been here for hours, and you two finally decided to show up! .... Well?"
Chris looked like he wanted to hit someone, and Ezra wasn't so sure it wasn't going to be him.
In his anger Chris had failed to notice the bandages on JD's hands. Nathan however noticed them almost immediately.
"JD .... JD," he repeated when JD continued to stare at Chris. "What the hell happened to your hands?"
"I .. I'm fine," JD answered, finally looking away from Chris.
"When did this happen?" Nathan looked from JD to Ezra.
"At the bust."
"What the fuck happened after we left?" Chris turned is full attention to his youngest agent.
"Nothing," JD answered "Happened in the explosion."
"But?" Nathan started. "Why didn't you tell me ......," he stopped.
Nathan felt a sinking feeling in his stomach. He now remembered Ezra asking him for help, and it was now obvious why. "I was helping the person most in need," he told himself, but deep down he knew that he had turned his back on a friend in need.
Chris also thought back to the earlier events. He had been so frantic to get to Vin, and angry with himself for being stuck on the other side of the hanger. But most of all he was angry with himself for agreeing to assist on a bust that he had no prior knowledge of, or more importantly no control over. He had seen JD grab Vin and drag him out before the building. By the time he had got over to the two of them, JD was sitting beside a deathly still Vin. He'd never considered JD for a moment, never even looked to him to check him over. In all honesty he never normally had to; Buck would be there looking out for JD, covering his back, acting like an overgrown guardian angel. But this time Buck hadn't been there.
"Let me look at your hands," Nathan gently touched JD's arm.
"I'm fine really Nathan," JD pulled back. "The doctor released me, I'm fine."
Ezra looked at JD, who was again staring at Chris.
"Let's go and take a seat Mr. Dunne," he said as he gently took JD by the arm. JD allowed himself to be led away, still not fully understanding what had led to Chris' outburst
Nathan followed. "Aha ... guilty!" thought Ezra, but said nothing.
"Are you in much pain?" Nathan asked, bending down in front of JD.
"No, the doctor gave me these," JD gestured to the bottle of pills that Ezra held.
"Maybe Ezra should take you home. It will probably be some time before we hear anything about Vin."
"No Nathan," JD looked up. "I want to ... I need to be here."
Chris looked away. Just how much had JD and Ezra heard.
+ + + + + + +
The room was silent for the next hour. Ezra and JD were sitting at one end of the room; Chris at the other and Nathan hovering in between.
Ezra noticed JD's head bob a couple of times, and knew it wouldn't be long before his young friend fell asleep.
The silence however, was resoundingly broken by the arrival of Buck Wilmington.
"What the hell happened here?"
Erza leant over and squeezed the back of JD's neck, "Mother's arrived."
Seeing Ezra talking to JD, Buck went first to Chris.
"How is he?" Buck asked.
"We're still waiting to hear."
"What happened?" Buck paused, "and more to the point, since when do you do favors for other teams?"
Chris was silent. Slowly he raised his head to face Buck.
"I fucked up Buck, big time."
Back sat down and put his hand on Chris' shoulder
"What, did ya get bored with Josiah and me gone?"
Josiah, who had followed Buck into the room, approached Nathan.
"We're still waiting to hear," Nathan told him, predicting the question.
"How's Chris doing?
"Chris?" Nathan shook his head, "It was JD got hurt."
"JD?" Josiah looked around the room. "Your message didn't say anything about JD."
"I didn't know," Nathan admitted.
+ + + + + + +
Josiah sat down next to Chris. "How you holding up brother?"
Chris just shook his head.
"Buck," Josiah said gently. "I think JD needs you"
"Yeah," Chris looked up at Buck. "Go and see him."
Buck looked puzzled.
"Seems our young friend hurt his hands during this afternoon's events."
Buck immediately looked over towards his young teammate.
"He'll be fine, Ezra's with him," Josiah reassured.
"Fine .... right! I've heard that before," Buck huffed. "Josiah?"
Josiah nodded "I've got it from here."
As Buck walked away, Chris dropped his head into his hands.
He'd taken out his anger on Ezra and JD, used them as scapegoats. He'd looked to blame someone, anyone, just not Chris Larabee.
+ + + + + + +
Ezra stood up and stretched as Buck approached.
"Thanks Ez," Buck smiled warmly.
"My pleasure Mr. Wilmington. Now that you're here, I'll leave Mr. Dunne in your very capable hands."
Buck sat down next to JD and took a good look at him.
"Fine mess you got yourself into this time kid."
JD looked up, a tiny smile on his face.
"You aren't going to lecture me too are you?" he asked. "Geez, a man tries to help, and does anyone pat him on the back?"
Buck leant over, lightly patting JD on the back, before pulling him in for a brotherly hug.
"When will you learn to keep your head down is what I want to know," Buck asked.
"Hands actually!" JD grinned.
"Vin looked bad Buck," the smile now gone.
"I heard kid, but I also know that Vin's one tough honcho."
The room once more fell into silence.
+ + + + + + +
Nearly two hours later Chris looked up from his cold coffee. JD was fast asleep, his head resting on Buck's shoulder. Ezra sat next to Buck, presumably bring him up to speed on what had happened. Chris only hoped that Ezra wouldn't share everything.
Just then Dr. Feinstein appeared at the door, a big smile graced his face. Chris felt such a sense of relief he almost screamed.
Buck slipped off the sofa, gently lowering JD down. The young agent mumbled something, but barely stirred as Buck adjusted the blanket that the nurse had been kind enough to provide. Buck gently patted JD's shoulder, before joining the rest of the team.
The doctor informed them that surgery had been a great success. The bullet had been removed with minimal muscle damaged, and Vin was expected to make a full recovery.
"He's in recovery now, so why don't you boys come back in the morning," he checked the clock on the wall. "Well later today anyway. You'll be able to see him then."
"We'll stay, thanks," Chris spoke for his team.
"Okay Chris. I'll have the nurse let you know as soon as he's settled enough for visitors."
The doctor left, and the five remaining members of the team stood quietly, smiling stupidly at each other.
"God damn," Buck, finally broke the silence, and threw his arm around Chris' shoulder.
+ + + + + + +
The rest of the team settled back into their seats. Buck headed back to JD. He knew he really should have taken the boy home, but looking down at him sleeping so peacefully Buck hesitated to wake him.
"Want me to help you get him to the car?" Chris asked softly, having joined Buck.
"Seems hardly worth the effort," Buck smiled. "No sooner will I have him home, than he'll be asking me to drive him back to see Vin. Let's wait 'til we can see Vin, and then I'll take him home."
"I blamed him you know. Blew a fuse at both him and Ezra. Shit Buck!" Chris ran his hands through his hair.
Buck sat down next to JD, and looked at his bandaged hands.
"Don't worry none Chris," he spoke quietly. "I'll set the kid right. However, you're on your own when it comes to Ezra!".