Main Characters: (Ezra, with a little bit of Chris towards the end.)
Acknowledgments: MOG, for her universe, Heather F., for team 8.
Disclaimer: No profit will be made from this story I do not own any of the characters, any semblance between this thing and real life is purely accidental.
Author's Note: My day wasn't going so well so I thought what else could go wrong and this is what I came up with.
Some Days You Really Should Stay in Bed . . .
When you look at your 'things to do' list and find that you have a departmental meeting, at which you are making the presentation, and are providing back up to team eight for a raid on a warehouse scheduled on the same day, you should call in right then and there and let the boss know that you would like to use your vacation time, but of course, you don't because you would like to keep your job, because you have formed this stupid habit of eating and you would like to continue to do so.
You go to bed feeling absolutely exhausted, with a pounding headache and think maybe you're coming down with something, but then again you are an adult and no one really cares if you are feeling up to work or not. Welcome to the real world princess, you can suck it up and get on with your life like a big boy.
You lay awake for what seems like forever and the last thing you remember is the clock saying it's nearly two a.m. and hoping that you end up getting some sleep.
Waking suddenly you look over at your little clock with its glowing red numbers and blink rapidly trying to get your eyes to adjust so you can see the stupid numbers. The first time it turns out to be 3:18 in the morning and you begin to think that maybe you are just some paranoid freak. Rolling over, you try to get another couple of hours, you awake again at 4:21 and 5:39 with the same results.
Finally you turn over and find that it is 9:03 and you have managed to sleep right through the alarm and you are now officially late for work.
You feel like your body has been run over by a bus, if not a full-sized train, and think it's a fantastic way to start your day.
Rushing through your morning routine, the water in the shower is cold and you pretty much freeze yourself to the core.
The water from the sink isn't any better and you end up with aching teeth and five or six nicks from your razor with the magically dull blades. It was fine yesterday, but of course this morning you would have been better off using it with the blade cover still on for all the good it did.
Your head still feels like you beat it against a wall. None of your suits are clean, or if they are, there isn't a matching jacket to go with the slacks.
You end up mismatched or rumpled.
Breakfast is non-existent as there just isn't time, the cream and milk are bad, you are out of sugar, and the coffee you tried to make is either too weak or strong enough to get up and walk on its own, so having it black isn't a great idea.
The minute you pull out of your drive you realize you have forgotten the files you've been slaving over for the entire weekend, which are the focus of the meeting that YOU ARE ALREADY LATE for.
Hurrying back, you grab the files and start out again and find that it's garbage collection day so to get out of the area is a job and a half, just trying to get past the GARBAGE DISPOSAL unit.
You hit every red light on the way in and find that today is the day the fine city you work in has decided to begin their long overdue road work.
For some reason, today the parking garage won't recognize your pass and you have to wait for the lazy idiot on the other end of the help line to answer you and you wait some more while they look up your license plate and check to make sure that you are indeed authorized to park there.
You get out of your car and have made it half way across the floor when some car whizzes past and drives right through the ONLY PUDDLE and soaks you.
Who knows what was in the puddle, maybe some rare pathogenic bacteria or deadly, tropical, viral strain that will mercifully end your day before you get chewed out for showing up so LATE and looking like some mangled form of road kill.
The elevator of course is OUT of ORDER, which shouldn't surprise you because the whole morning has been out of order.
You climb the eleven, or eighteen, or however many stupid flights it is to the floor you work on, only to realize you left your brief case in - you guessed it - the car.
You rush into your office only to find that everyone else has already left for the conference room. Going to the break room, you pour yourself a mug and hope that whoever made the coffee is more competent than you have been this morning.
Grabbing your files from your case you hot-foot it to the meeting room, take a deep breath, and plunge right in.
You make you apologies for being late all the while your boss' boss is glaring daggers at him while he glares daggers at you, and try to set down the files and your coffee only to somehow misjudge the angle of the table and instead of setting down your coffee nicely you put try putting it THROUGH the table.
This, of course, causes your coffee to spill all over your pristine white papers and turn them that lovely shade of 'I really don't care, that's why there is coffee and food all over this.'
Now, if looks could kill you would be six feet under and long forgotten, but fortunately your boss doesn't have any superpowers that would allow him to kill you, unless you consider his ability to pull a weapon and shoot a superpower.
It really is too bad that he can't just have the ground open up and swallow you now. Somehow you manage to deliver your report in spite of the fact that your throat is beginning to feel like you swallowed sandpaper and followed it with a vinegar chaser.
After the meeting and subsequent chewing out of your hide, you try to get some semblance of work done in preparation for this evening's bust.
Really, you should tell your boss that you don't feel well, but he could turn that into a permanent situation, so that might not be the best idea you have had as of late.
Thanks to your antics, the meeting ended up running right through lunch and really you should be getting into the company issued vehicles so you can drive down and get into place, but contrary to popular belief working for a government agency does not mean constant action. There are mountains of paperwork and research to wade through before any contact is made with the local bad element (not your boss, but the actual criminals).
There is also a lot of waiting; waiting for informants to come to you, waiting to verify, waiting for paper work to be filled out, waiting for it to be approved, getting in position and waiting in the shadows for hours so your arrival will not be noticed.
Your colleagues seem to be giving you the silent treatment, as none of them are happy with you for looking like some amateur in front of the big wigs.
During the drive over, you close your eyes and the next thing you know you are being elbowed back into the land of the living.
You move what your teammates have christened your lazy rear end and join the final briefing, making sure you know your position and the play that is to be made. In some far off corner of your mind it reminds you of the rugby you played in your youth, but no time for that now. You head out to find your hiding place and will yourself not to fall asleep while you sit and wait.
Team leaders Ryan Kelly and Chris Larabee are waiting to move in with a tactical team. The tac teams will have agents Josiah Sanchez and Nathan Jackson, sitting in surveillance agents Buck Wilmington and J.D. Dunne, while undercover we have Agents Brett Jordan and Kirk Gustin. Vin Tanner is up in the rafters to make sure there is a solution should anything go wrong, and Agents Ezra Standish and Douglas Stone are hiding on the warehouse floor.
You have been informed that agents on the warehouse floor must be silent as even the slightest sound will travel to all corners and bring the whole thing to a grinding, bloody halt.
This bust had been a month in the making; Georges Eliades and the rest of his criminal gang hold a special place in everyone's hearts. Team seven had previously busted them for illegal arms trafficking, but due to a fantastic defense lawyer and an idiot judge, they got off with months in prison and are now out on probation. Team eight are the ones taking the lead as there are too many familiar faces out here today.
Keeping your mind on alert without letting it wander is looking like it's going to be a difficult task. It's a warm evening and the temperature reminds you of your bed. . . NO, you will not think about going to sleep, you WILL stay awake and you WILL stay alert.
Think about the mark, they will be driving into the warehouse and getting out of their vehicles, and they will walk, meander, glide, it's a nice day for flying, there aren't that many clouds and the wind isn't crazy, you could be up there in the sky, instead of down here, looking at the floor of the warehouse, the warehouse you are supposed to be paying attention to, now where were you?
Right, they would walk across the floor and meet the agents pretending to be buyers, they would confirm that the currency was good and they would make the trade, at which point everyone would identify themselves as federal agents and move in to make the arrest.
Focused, you should always stay focused, it shouldn't be hard, you are used to waiting, it's what your job is all about, but then you've said that already haven't you?
After what seems like an eternity the mark finally enters, wait this isn't a con it's a bust so he's not a mark, he's a perp, a baddy, not a very nice man, the eeeevil bad guy, a very bad man, a blackguard, a degenerate, a miscreant, a reprobate, a villain, a swine, evildoer, fiend, hoodlum, viper, snake, ogre, scalawag, I like that last one, so the scalawag has arrived, they backed their rather large truck in and are now walking towards the agents disguised as buyers and somewhere in the back of your mind a small voice is whispering that something isn't quite right.
No, scratch that, the voice is yelling its fool head off. Something is definitely wrong. Your mind suddenly stops its wandering and everything seems immensely clear. The body language is all wrong. They have no intention of letting the buyers walk - they are going to kill them as soon as they transfer the funds into the account. You can tell by the way they are standing that they are barely waiting to pull their guns and let them have it.
Now you are faced with a dilemma. You really have no proof that something is amiss except that you can always read people, and your people reader is yelling danger. The warehouse echoes and sounds carry, so if you try to let anyone know over the comms you might was well get up from your hiding spot and start break dancing because there is no way that the villains won't hear you, too, and seeing as you have no proof, if things go south it's going to be you that gets thrown under the bus.
An idea, you have an idea . . . People still know Morse code. It's not completely dead. Tapping on the mike of your headset you let you team know what's up.
You can hear the voice from the van.
"What is that interference on the line?" It sounds like JD's voice.
"Try to clear the static . . .no wait it's Morse, someone is saying buyers are in danger over and over again." Thank God Buck was in the Navy and picked up on the code.
"Agents Standish and Stone are the only ones in there that could be sending the signal," Kelly said.
"The sound is coming in off of Ezra's mike," answered JD.
"Tanner, keep your eyes peeled," Kelly ordered.
Thankfully, they picked up on your message and you put your full attention on what is being said in the center of the floor.
You can see them showing confirmation of transferred funds and they are shaking hands. You hear the order to move in. Everyone is identifying themselves as agents, so maybe you were worried for nothing . . . No scratch that - the look on Eliades' face is content. You see him look out of the corner of his eyes just briefly towards the truck. The look lasts less than a tenth of a second, but it was there nonetheless.
Before you have a chance to voice your concern things go south and rapidly so, like Marching through Georgia, Tennessee Williams, Away in Dixieland, Chicken Fried Steak, Sweet Ice Tea, Steam Boats in Mississippi, DEEP SOUTH.
The back of the truck opens and out run no less than twenty men armed with everything from Colt AR-15 Sporter SP1 Carbines, to M16A1 Rifles, to Benelli M4 Super 90's. The fact that you can identify all of these firearms might be an indication that you have been spending far too much time with Tanner.
Gustin and Jordan are unarmed, Gustin is facing the truck when it opens and dives for cover. Jordan has his back to the whole mess and hasn't made a move for cover. Sprinting the last few feet, you body check Jordan behind a stack of crates with a bone jarring crunch, and scramble to follow him, as all hell breaks loose.
The first thing you do while waiting for a break in the gun fire is to check Jordan for a pulse. He's unconscious, but at least his heart and lungs still seem to be working. After all these years you still haven't lost your touch. Although you didn't knock out that many people playing rugby back in the day, you'll give Jordan a break as the floor of the warehouse isn't as soft as a rugby field.
As soon as there is a break you look up and add your two cents to the firefight. Looking around for Eliades, you spot him in the back of the truck. Ducking down as another barrage hits your hiding place, you pick up Jordan and get ready to get out of Dodge because unless you are mistaken, which given the way your day has unfolded is highly unlikely, Eliades has got a mounted Browning M2HB or DShK heavy machine gun. Either way, once that thing started firing there was no way the crates they were behind would help. Now is the time to move.
There is no more time for waiting, so you suck it up, grab Jordan and run for cover behind the forklift that is located a convenient twenty feet or so away. The twenty feet feel more like twenty yards, but somehow it looks like you're going to make it injury free, except now you have jinxed it and there it is - the shot to your back making you stumble. Fortunately, you manage to regain your footing and carry on.
Collapsing behind the large machine, you give Jordan the once over and sigh with relief when you fail to find any wounds with blood pouring out of them. You don't bother to check yourself because you wore your vest today, and it should be doing its job. If it isn't, you don't want to know, because between the adrenaline rush and your stupid headache, if you found a bullet wound it would be game over and you really don't have time for that right now.
Looking up to the rafters you can see Vin, calm as ever, taking aim at the back of the truck. Looking around, you spot someone else who thought to look up, and taking aim, you make sure that Tanner's back is safe so that he can take his shot.
The steady rhythm of the mounted gun ceases. Knowing Tanner, this is an indication of the end of Eliades' life. After that, the rest of the group either surrenders or goes down in a hail of bullets.
Looking around, aside from yourself, Jordan, Buck, and JD, everyone is accounted for; you can hear JD and Buck canceling their earlier call for immediate back up and switching it to requests for cleanup crews.
Explaining this mess on paper is going to be a job and a half considering the instigator is no longer counted as part of the living masses, and learning his reasons for having a truck loaded to the teeth with men and weaponry has now become just that more difficult.
Looking around, you can see Nathan's eyes sweeping the area for any injured parties. Making eye contact from your seat on the floor you wave him over, and watch as he jogs over to you with a look of concern on his face.
As soon as he reaches you, he immediately kneels down to asses Jordan's condition. While he is giving him the once over, you turn and find much to you relief that the bullet hole in the lower part of your Kevlar vest does not go all the way through. You are going to end up with a spectacular bruise, but at least blood loss won't be a major concern.
Now that there is no imminent danger you can give in to your miserable headache. You notice that in addition to the headache, sore throat, back bruise, and general body aches, you are now having trouble breathing. The coughing fit that suddenly overtakes you is very hard to stop and leaves the faint coppery taste that always accompanies really hard coughing.
Nathan having completed his initial inspection of Jordan and seeming to find nothing wrong turns towards you as your coughing trails of. You can see his mouth moving, but for some reason your ears don't seem to be working.
You let yourself smile and start to explain to him that he may be talking, but all you see is blah, blah, blah, but now that you have given in to this stupid cold of yours, you really don't have the energy, and anyways, Nathan is an intelligent guy and he should be able to figure it out.
The pain seems to be lessening for some reason, which frankly is quite a relief. This day has been bad enough as it is, and you deserve a break right about now.
Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed, but today wasn't one of those days. Oversleeping, waking with a cold, coming in late, spilling coffee all over everything, looking like an incompetent idiot while making a lousy presentation, incurring the wrath of your boss, ending up in the middle of a firefight and getting shot at, obtaining a whole new set of bruises, may not be ideal, but saving the life of a co-worker definitely makes up for the rest of it. When you think of a bad day it may not include all of these problems, but for me I lie here and think, 'Hey this is just another Tuesday at the office, and in the long run I'm okay with that'.
Some days you shouldn't get out of bed, but I'm glad I did today.
+ + + + + + +
Chris Larabee and Ryan Kelly stood talking with the leader of the crew that had been sent in for cleanup. Those that were still living were being taken away to be locked down and those that were dead would be taken care of by the forensics groups. There was going to be a mountain of paper work for this one, even though they had only been providing back-up.
Looking around he noticed that the paramedics had arrived. Turning around he located Nathan and what he saw hit him like a punch to the stomach. Nathan was leaning over Ezra Standish. The man was lying in a puddle of dark red. His earlier anger at his agent was forgotten as he ran across the floor. He arrived as Nathan was briefing the two sets of medics.
Pointing at Jordan he began, "That one has a mild concussion, is unconscious, has three bruised ribs on his right side and possibly a brokenleft clavicle." Shifting his attention to Ezra he started listing again, "This one has taken two bullets to the right side of his back; his right lung is punctured. I'm not sure if the bullets went all way through. I managed to stop the bleeding, but haven't had time to get him out of his vest."
Chris watched as the experts went to work cutting off Ezra's vest and working to get the bleeding under control, putting him on oxygen, and administering an IV drip containing whatever it was they saw fit to fill him with.
"Nathan, you ride in the ambulance with him. I'll collect the others and we'll meet you at the hospital."
Nathan nodded as Chris turned and made his way back over to where Kelly was standing. He saw Tanner and Sanchez re-entering the warehouse after having left to escort two prisoners to the vehicles. All he had to do was make eye contact and they were hustling on their way over.
"Ryan, Ezra's down and I'm not sure how bad. Jordan's on his way to hospital too. He's unconscious and has a concussion and some broken bones."
"My team and the cleanup crew can handle things on this end; you guys can head to the hospital. Do me a favor and take Gustin with you to check up on Jordan. The rest of us will head over as soon as we can."
Speaking over the comms Chris made an announcement, "Team seven get to the SUV now. Gustin, you too."
When Chris reached the vehicle, Buck had taken the driver's seat leaving Chris shotgun. The others piled into the back of the SUV. Even as the doors were shutting, Buck was shifting gears. He managed to somehow arrive at the hospital just before the ambulance. Chris didn't particularly care to think about how many traffic violations Buck had just committed. Without waiting for the vehicle to stop, the five other men piled out and made a beeline for the emergency department.
He arrived at the desk and before he could open his mouth the nurse at the desk handed him a clipboard.
"Agent Standish has just arrived. You can fill out the form, as I'm sure you're familiar with it. As soon as we get word from the surgeon we will give you a status update. Make yourselves comfortable, and try not to scare too many people."
Chris grabbed the forms and went to join the rest of his men. He could hear the nurse as he walked away. "There isn't an agent Jordan on team seven, that I am aware of . . . oh from team eight. . . you should know better than to hang around those guys. Look what it's got you - nothing but trouble. They spend far too much time in here. We should charge them rent for the waiting room since they practically live there. Here, fill out these forms and return them to me. I'll update you as soon as I have any news."
Chris ruefully agreed with the nurse - they did spend too much time here, but what did he expect putting together a group of hotshots and loners that were so intent on watching each other's backs they never bothered with any form of self-preservation. He wasn't one to talk, considering the number of times he had been in here for getting between one of his men and some source of danger.
Seven and a half hours later, long after the required forms had been filled out and returned, the rest of team eight filed into the waiting room. Looking around and failing to see Larabee he approached Wilmington.
"Any word yet?" Kelly asked Buck.
"None on Ezra, Jordan has had his collar bone set and was in recovery. He woke up, so they moved him to a room. Gustin has been with him ever since. We've been taking turns checking on them. Last I heard, Jordan was worshipping the porcelain throne."
"Where are the others?"
"JD just went to go check on Jordan and Gustin and make sure they don't need anything. Larabee took a bullet to the arm so Tanner convinced him to go get it patched. It's nothing serious, more of a graze than anything else. Josiah's on a coffee run, and Nathan's off filling the prescriptions."
At that moment, JD re-entered the waiting area.
"Brett finally stopped puking and he's asleep. Kirk says he's fine and doesn't need anything," JD reported.
At that moment Larabee and Tanner returned.
"We're heading off to see Jordan, anything you need?" Kelly asked.
"Go ahead," Larabee answered, swatting off Tanner's arm as he tried to help him sit down. "We're fine. Look after your man."
With a nod, Kelly turned and left, nodding at Josiah as he passed him in the hall. Nathan returned shortly afterwards along with pain medication and antibiotics for Chris. Chris waved him off as a doctor made his way towards them.
"Agent Larabee," he said, shaking Chris' hand. "Your agent pulled through surgery. He had a collapsed lung and was suffering from noncardiac pulmonary edema, which lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. He was also suffering from traumatic pneumothorax, but we were able to insert a catheter and elevate the pressure so that is no longer an issue. The bullets went straight through and were imbedded in the inside of his vest. We've stitched him up. The bruising on his back isn't really of any major concern, as it's mostly on the flesh just above his hipbone, so we don't have to worry about his kidneys. He's currently being moved into the ICU from recovery, but if he regains conciseness we should be able to move him over to the regular ward. You should be able to see him shortly - the nurse will let you know as soon as you can. Oh, one other thing, your agent had a severely elevated temperature, but it seem it is just a side effect of his rhinopharyngitis."
"His what?" Chris asked
"Rhinopharyngitis is an infection of the upper respiratory tract," explained the doctor
"It's another name for the common cold," Nathan interrupted before the doctor caused his boss any more worry.
"Just as I said. Good day, gentlemen," the doctor said as he left.
Chris began massaging his temples. Between his talk with the doctor, his arm, and stupid agents that came into work regardless of their sate of health, it looked like it was going to be a long day.
Several hours later, the motley group was assembled in a room that Standish was sharing with the still sleeping Jordan, who was set to be release the next day. Chris had talked to Kelly and found that Eliades found that after having got himself such a light sentence most of his connections thought he was working with the local law enforcement to bring down their organizations. It seemed that no one was willing to do business with him anymore, so he decided that anyone willing to do business with him must be federal agents. He wanted revenge because they had ruined his business, so he set the whole thing up. They had been compromised before they even started. Some days it just didn't pay to get out of bed.
Chris looked over at the hospital bed as his agent began to stir. He had already woken several times in recovery before he was moved to the semi-private room, so there was no need to go yelling for the doctor. He watched as his friend looked around the room, finally settling his eyes on Chris. Chris gave him a breakdown of his current condition.
"So, to sum it up, on top of everything else you seem to have a cold. As soon as you're feeling a little better, you and I are going to have a long discussion on what constitutes fit for duty. You know it's alright to be human."
The raised eyebrow he received in return for his statement was saying, "This coming from you?"
Chris smiled a lopsided grin and turned to the rest of his team. "Anyone hungry?"
"Does the Pope live in the woods?" Buck asked.
"Are bears Catholic?" JD answered.
"Is water wet?" grinned Josiah
"Do fish swim?" added Vin.
"Is the sky blue?" said Nathan with a smile.
"He lives in the Vatican: possibly if they had the ability to understand religion: when in its liquid state: if they have somewhere to go; blue light of high frequency is absorbed and reflected by gas molecules in the atmosphere, so yeah, the sky is blue. Can I order the pizza now?" Kelly asked.
Some days you really just should stay in bed.
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