Alternate Universe - Seventh Heaven Animal Sanctuary
Notes: Thanks to the muse ladies for their help. Without them this story would not be nearly as good.
Buck shuddered as he looked out the window at the pouring rain. He liked a good storm, but it had been going at it all day. It was a miracle that the livestock werent doing the backstroke in their pastures.
Brother, I think the Lord just might be trying to drowned us all again, Josiah commented as he came in the office and began shedding his slicker.
Vin turned on the office radio. It wasnt often that they were all in the office at the same time. Normally, between Nathan tending to whatever animals were sick, and the others seeing to the livestock, small animals, plus occasional exotic pets in the shelter, they were mostly out and about.
Ez, dont ya go home on Martin Street? Vin asked.
Indeed; why? Ezra asked, looking up from the thank you letter he was preparing for a rather generous donor.
Radio just said its closed after 9th Avenue.
I shall take an alternative route, thank you, The Southerner gave him a two fingered salute.
Mister Dunne, I still require that you give me your address for employment records, Ezra said, turning to the newest staff member. The mention of his own address had reminded him of the lack of one for JD on his personnel file.
Where ARE you staying? Buck asked the kid. He had been wondering, but JD always avoided answering.
Oh no, the tent!!! JD gulped and ran out.
Kid? Vin shot out after him.
What just happened there? Ezra asked, as he joined the rest of the group in running out after him.
Lord, Save him, Josiah prayed as his friend flew out of the parking lot on his motorcycle going too fast for good conditions, and this was anything but.
Chris and Vin were right after him in Chriss black Ram.
Nathan barely slowed his Subaru down enough for Josiah and Ezra to leap in, and was after the others before his passengers were even belted in.
It was like some kind of bizarre parade. Whatever had set JD off had obviously been important, but if he got to wherever he was going alive it would be a miracle.
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Vin winced as JD skidded and lost control of the bike, but with reflexes Vin never would have imagined he possessed, he had leapt clear.
Chris lowered his window.
GET THE HELL IN HERE! he roared.
Vin scooted over and threw a towel on the seat by the door. JD leapt in.
GO! Please! The campground, JD pleaded.
Chris stared at him in disbelief.
JD, Vin began, getting the picture suddenly. He had had some hard times himself. There was nothing wrong with living in a tent on a campground, but evidently JD was embarrassed about it.
JUST GO! JD demanded reaching for the door to get out.
Chris swore and threw the truck into gear.
Which site? Chris growled.
21, JD answered, trembling.
Thatd be low and next to the river, Vin stated.
Chris nodded and took the path along the fast rising river.
Before the vehicle had stopped, JD leapt out as it pulled as close to his temporary home as possible.
The river had risen over the site and was threatening a good sized blue tent with its side flaps open.
JD said nothing, but dashed for the river just as one side of the tent was picked up, only to get tackled into the mud by Chris.
GET OFF ME!
Son, Josiah soothed as the others joined them.
The tent! JD sobbed.
Well get you another, Buck promised. It was JDs home so he could understand his being upset. He could not believe that his friend was living in a campground, not that there was anything wrong with that. Well, that was about to change!
In his desperate attempt to get free, JD suddenly elbowed Chris and took off diving into the river and attempted to get at the tent that was grounded only by one peg now.
Vin swore, and making a human chain with Buck and Josiah went after JD. Hopefully they could get to him before he was swept down the river.
Seeing Nathan tending Chris nose, Ezra winced. Hed seen enough broken noses to know one when he saw it. Not wanting to get in the way, he turned to join the others at the river. Cocking his head, he listened.
Swearing, he striped off his jacket and shoes and dove into the water. Chriss bellowing was out doing the storm and the river both.
Fighting his way over, Ezra grabbed the tent just as it came undone and was swept up by the current.
Sputtering as he got a mouth full of water he nodded at JD who had snagged the other side of it. The two men swam frantically towards their friends. It was the one way they might survive.
Boy, you and me are gonna have a long talk, Buck growled as he caught JD and pulled him in, giving him a quick hug before passing him down to Josiah. He grabbed Ezra and pulled him in. The pair still had the tent.
If you ever do something like that again, Chris snarled at him.
JD ignored him and began, with help from Ezra, frantically pulling at the tent. Finding the door, JD un-zipped it; reaching in he pulled out a wet furball.
Sweetums, he sobbed hugging the bedraggled creature.
Chris took a deep breath. He understood.
Let me have him, Nathan instructed, gently taking the animal and heading to his SUV and its first-aid kit. Sniffing JD followed him. The black vet understood now why JD had asked him if an older cat would be okay staying in a tent as long as it had cool water and the tent flaps open to keep it from getting too hot. JD had ten million questions about everything so he had not thought anything of it at the time.
Ezra, Chris turned to him. Im glad youre okay.
The Southerner nodded to the group and followed the others.
Josiah, you drive the Subaru so Nathan can tend that, whatever it was, Chris instructed as he went to his truck. They had to get out of here now or theyd be unable to get out.
Minutes later the two vehicles were headed out.
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Everyone had returned to the Sanctuary where Nathan had given what had to be the biggest, fluffiest, loudest cat they had ever seen a physical and declared him soaked and nothing more.
They had all headed home then, Buck steering JD with one hand, towards his truck.
Kid, why didnt you tell us there was a cat in the tent? The large man asked. If they had known that they wouldnt have been fighting JD.
I, I, I just panicked I guess, The younger man handed his friend the cat while he buckled his seatbelt.
Why didnt you mention that you were homeless? Buck asked, looking over at his passenger, and returning his pet.
Im not homeless, a tent is a home, JD replied, stroking the somewhat elderly cat that was sounding like an outboard motor.
JD, Buck warned. He was done with evasions.
I had everything set up when I took the job here. Then the stable Dancer was supposed to go to was shut down by Animal Control. I found another place, but it was double the rate and still cheaper than anywhere else. I figured that Sweetums and I could live in the tent until it got colder and by then I would have some savings and could find a place.
Buck nodded. The kid had gotten a bad break, he knew how that could go since he had had a few in his life.
You should have said something, Id have been happy to have you both with me, Buck told him.
I thought itd seemed dumb to be living a tent because I cant afford rent anywhere, while I own a horse, JD admitted. Most people would say only an idiot would not sell the horse and get an apartment.
Im not sure I wouldnt do the same for mine.
I helped foal Dancer, and then broke her and everything, when I left they were selling the horses and let me have her as a thank you for the years mom and I worked for them, The Bostonian explained.
Sounds like you worked for good people, Buck replied.
The best, JD laughed, as the cat tickled him rubbing under his chin.
Silence fell as they drove.
We wont be in your hair long, I promise. Just until I can get back on my feet, JD promised.
Stay as long as you want, and when you want your own place, Ive got an apartment over the garage we can fix up for you two, Buck smiled over at him.
Thanks, JD, responded, yawning.
The large man reached over and scratched the cats ears, then pulled out an emergency blanket to cover his wet and now sleeping friend.
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Ezra unlocked his home and entered the door. A black miniature poodle greeted him excitedly.
The Southerner smiled at him as he bent down and picked him up for a snuggle.
The little animal sat on the bed waiting and watching, while Ezra relaxed in a hot shower and changed clothes.
Later, settling into his easy chair in front of the fire with his book and fine wine, he looked down at the dog in his lap. When he had heard the cat yowling, he had known instantly why JD was so desperate to get at the tent. He would have done at least as much had it been his Ace of Spades in there.
A special thank you to Sue for bringing up the ethics of keeping a cat in a tent. I asked a vet tech and was assured an older cat would be fine in a tent as long as it had the flaps open for cooling and cool water. No cats were hurt in the making of this story.