by Raquel

An ATF "Virtual Season" episode

Chris Larabee grumbled to himself about how he hated Monday mornings, particularly this one, as he made his way through the ATF parking garage, heading toward the elevator. The last weeks had been hectic and judging from the call he had just received from Team 4's leader, this one wasn't going to be different. Team 7's assistance was needed in a bust that would go down later in the day.

He'd just made it to the elevator when he heard a vehicle pull up the inside ramp, tires screeching. He turned and smiled when he recognized Buck's old truck, and waited as the vehicle was pulled into the assigned parking spot and Wilmington and JD Dunne climbed out.

"Buck, JD," he said as the two joined him.

"Morning Chris," JD greeted back enthusiastically.

"Hey Chris, how was the weekend?" Buck asked, smiling widely.

"Quite nice, Buck. But I bet yours was better, and I'm sure I'm going to hear every detail." Chris said amused.

The blond man saw how JD rolled his eyes meaning something like 'I-don't-want-to-hear-it-again-for-the-twentieth-time-today, -please'.

Buck moved up beside Chris, slipped his arm around the blonde's neck and pulled him closer, a smile still plastering his face. "You know," he said softly in Chris's ear as the three men boarded the elevator, "Teresa is so sweet. I think I'm really in love, man. She invited me to Opera Saturday night, can you imagine that?"

Chris shook his head. "Nope, I can't imagine that, Buck. What'd you do, fall asleep, arrive late or wear jeans?" he asked raising one of his brows to emphasize his question.

"You hurt me, Chris..." Buck said, while thumping his own chest. "No. Nothing of all like that... I liked it. She was so astonished herself and the music was so amazing and powerful... I think I like opera. But don't say a word to Ezra, or I will deny it. Of course after the Opera thing we shared a night of passion that you know... she think I'm..."

The conversation quieted as the door opened. The three men didn't have time to react as suddenly Vin pushed inside, slamming Buck and Chris to the bottom wall of the elevator. He crouched down in the opposite corner, while Buck received a stream of water straight in the face.

"What in the Hell!!!" Buck shouted, storming out the elevator and walking toward Ezra, the source of the flurry of water, who held an empty mineral water bottle in his hand. Ezra realized it was the evidence of his 'crime' and hid it behind his back.

"You both...." Buck said, looking at both sides with a menacing index finger pointing at Vin first and then to Ezra. "It had to be the Hardy Boys! When were you allowed to leave the kindergarten?!" He began brushing his face and the front of his shirt with his hands attempting to get rid of some of the water that covered it while at the same time shaking his head. "You know you'll pay for this, don't you?"

Vin, helpless with laugher, held his middle with both of his arms while Chris tried and failed to hold back a smile of his own. Finally, he regained his composure enough to glare at his two Team members.

"Vin, Ezra, please, we are here to do a job, to protect and to serve..." he said, a mirth escaping his lips, his shoulders shaking.

Buck eyed his old friend and boss in disbelief. "You too?"

Ezra attempted to look apologetic.

"I must apologize for this mishap, Mr. Wilmington. It's, without any doubt, Mr. Tanner's fault... you know he filled my cappuccino with salt instead of sugar... "

"You're such a liar, Ez! 'You' did it. Not me," Vin replied as he stepped outside the elevator and walked toward the Southerner.

"Well, of course I did... but it was just because you filled the sugar bowl with salt." Ezra and Vin were now face to face talking at the same time, throwing the fault from one to the other like it was a tennis match.

"I can't believe you fell for that old trick, Ez..." The Texan's lopsided grin made Ezra's mind work 110% as he tried to figure out the sharpshooter's next move, and made Buck more furious.

"You knew I owed you one since you placed female underwear between my folders... That was low, Ez... I expected something like that from Buck, but not from you." Vin remembered perfectly each moment of that day, about two weeks ago. He had been looking for some reports and when he found them and pulled them out of the drawer, a bra appeared hooked up with them. Vin believed he hadn't felt so embarrassed in a long time, maybe not that much in his whole life. It was a blessing that only the guys had seen his face.

"Hey!" They heard Buck's complain, but they kept talking.

"And you couldn't think of anything better than to resort to a repeated ad nauseam: the salt trick... You disappoint me, Mr. Tanner..."

Chris, JD, Josiah and Nathan kept witnessing the amusing 'discussion' between the two specialist pranksters. Chris decided he would let them continue a bit longer.

Vin started to retort but Buck interrupted him.

"Enough! Both of you!" Buck walked toward them and placed himself between Ezra and Vin.

"Okay boys," Chris said... That's enough. Vin, Ezra, I'm sure Buck will see that you pay for this, but for now we have a team meeting in five minutes. Get ready."

Buck sent a killer look to Vin and Ezra and headed to his desk followed by JD. The Texan and the Southerner walked to their desks looking at each other thinking of a way to get revenge on the other one and avoid Buck's 'rage' at the same time. Josiah and Nathan did the same smiling yet about the situation. Without any doubt Team 7 was genuine.

Buck picked up another shirt from one of his drawers and put it on. JD looked on trying to figure out if Buck was really mad or if it was all a show. They were good, JD thought... he wanted to be like them when he was older. Although they got caught several times before, while or after playing a joke on somebody, they were original and of course funny. It made JD happy to know that Buck and he shared a kind of competition with the other two agents, and while it wasn't so obvious that Vin and Ezra was winning, it was almost for sure that they were.

Vin sat at his desk sipping his coffee while his computer got started. He had been trying to find the perfect way to pay back the Southerner. He couldn't let Ezra think he was losing his touch in the practical joke department, but the last few weeks had been so hectic with one case after another, that he hadn't had time to do so. In the only free time he had gotten, he had preferred to be horseback riding, enjoying the outdoors and Chris's company, at the Team 7 leader's ranch.

Ezra sat in front of his computer wondering what Vin was thinking about. From the look on the Texan's face, he would bet Vin was thinking about the jokes. Too bad for him if the sharpshooter spent too much time thinking about it... his revenge could prove dangerous.

While they enjoyed and shared those light moments and some kind of relaxed atmosphere filled the office, the reason for the early morning meeting nagged at each of the members of the Team. They only hoped it didn't mean another week like the last ones. They sure could use a break.

Chris had arrived at his office, took a seat and leaned on his comfortable office chair and rested his stretched legs crossed at the ankles on his desk. He held a cup of coffee in his hand and closed his eyes for a minute. Okay... a little bit of peace and harmony before the storm is perfect. Please, a light week would be great.... We've been working too damn hard during this month. If I don't see an easy week coming, I'll ask for days off for all the Team.

After a while of enjoying the silence and remembering how peaceful and quiet had been his weekend with Vin at the ranch, Chris opened his eyes, sighed deeply, grabbed some folders and headed to the conference room with his cup of coffee still in his hand.

When Chris stepped into the conference table, everybody occupied his place around. The room was unusually quiet. All the men inside stared at him while he was walking to his seat.

"Okay boys, stop talking... Come on, I'm not going to announce somebody's dead, or retirement, or suspension... Relax... It's just our next case," Chris said smiling. He was trying to lighten the situation and hoped it worked.

The rest of the men in the room smiled at their leader's comment. In fact their behavior was weird. They used to chat amicably while in the conference room, but now it seemed like a fog of stress descended upon them. While they all loved their job, too many taxing cases had begun to take its toll.

Buck took a chance. "Let's see...what is it this time? A warehouse, tonight. No back up, no surveillance vans, no ear pieces... two gangs with twenty guys each one... and all of this info gotten from a fink."

The rest of the Team laughed at Buck's analogy of some of their recent cases. Miraculously nobody got hurt in those. It had been Team Seven's best record in months.

Even Chris laughed at Buck's show of mockery.

"No Buck. This time, luckily, you're wrong." Chris smiled back before continuing. "We're going to back up a Team 4's operation. Jeffreys asked for help and you know he prefers us if he can choose and voila, we are in." The faces of the men seated around the table changed. Chris could say, they lit up. He kept on with the explanation. "It's this evening. Don't worry we'll finish just in time to have a great dinner."

Monday afternoon a warehouse Denver outskirts

All Team 7 and Team 4's members were in their places. The warehouse was a small one, with only one exit. Team 4's leader, Thomas Jeffreys, had assured Chris the interchange would be inside but they could arrest them in the moment they were going to go out. The surrounding buildings and cars parked around were good places to hide and get a good target if some of the gang's members tried to run away.

Team 4's members were divided and placed inside and outside. The only Team 7 members outside were Chris and Vin.

Vin was set on the top of the opposite building, another warehouse with several floors and a body of metal stairs on one of the sides. Two of Team 4's members were set on a larger building closest to Vin.

Chris was at Vin's left, on the ground, crouched and hidden. Buck, Josiah and Ezra were inside, while Nathan and JD were in the van monitoring everything.

The gang arrived on time and went into the warehouse. All the ATF agents were listening to every sound. Everything began to work perfectly from the moment "ATF, Freeze!" was heard.

However they didn't know there were two men from the gang in the buildings close to the warehouse where Vin and the other two Team 4's members were. They were as back up and nobody caught them moving.

Inside the warehouse, some gangs members resisted the detention and began to shoot, hitting two Team 4's agents and grazing Buck on his side. The mustached man had seen one of Team 4's members was without cover and was a perfect target and left his secure place, diving on top of Team 4's agent, knocking him to the ground.

"Buck are you okay?!" JD shouted from his place when he saw Buck falling on the top of the other agent.

Buck touched his side putting pressure on the injury and turned his head to the boy...

"Jeez, JD... Yeah, I'm fine. Duck or you're going to get shot kid!" Buck shouted him back.

Chris and Vin were hearing everything from outside the warehouse and also heard JD crying out for Buck. Chris felt his body tense. He thought that the lasting luck they'd had was now over. Somebody from the Team got injured this time. Each time one of his men, better said, one of his family members was in danger all his senses went on alert and his gut clenched with worry. He knew Vin felt the same, all the Team felt the same, but the responsibility he had as their leader, placed a extra weight over his shoulders that the rest of his partners didn't have.

After everything was over, Chris inquired to JD about Buck's condition through the earphone, and was greeted with one of the famous JD and Buck discussions. Buck was complaining about how JD didn't follow the rules to keep him safe, while JD found defense by telling him that he hadn't been the one shot.

Chris smiled. At least no hospital visits this time. They could clean the scene then head home after stopping at Inez's to celebrate.

Everything went fine but suddenly one of the members of the gang that was hidden inside Vin's building showed himself, he moved toward Vin, trying to kill him. One of the Team 4's members in the building next to the one Vin was in, saw it and elbowed his partner. It was impossible to get a clear target on the guy and free Vin from the situation.

The guy was coming toward Vin's back with his gun ready to shoot him in the back. Vin heard him and turned in time to hit him in the hand with the butt of his rifle, making the shooter drop the gun. The gang member had nothing to lose so he threw himself toward Vin and both men began to fight.

The guy was bigger than Vin and although Vin was an expert fighter, black belt in karate and some other oriental fighting disciplines, it was hard for him to avoid and get rid of the bear hug the man had on him. They struggled dangerously reaching near the border of the building.

Chris had heard the Team 4 members' warnings first, and explanations later, through the earpiece about what was happening. He also could hear from very far away Vin's throat noises.

"Vin, you okay? I'm coming up there." Chris left his hiding place and walked toward the bottom of the building when the two Team 4 members told him it wasn't necessary and that they would go to Vin's building.

The rest of agents were clearing the zone, keeping the arrested in ATF vans and the paramedics working on some injured, one of them Buck, who was attentively watched by a worried JD.

Vin thought it was impossible to get rid of that beast. He noticed he was sweating more than he should and that the only think he could do was hit the man twice in the gut.

The Team 4's members had arrived to the top of Vin's building but couldn't take part without placing Vin in more danger than he was already.

Vin realized they were going too near to the border and tried to move enough to avoid it, but there was no way. The man pushed him more.

Chris watched terrified how Vin and the guy were fighting at the border. They were going to fall.

Vin knew the man's intent was that he tumble off the building alone, however, in a surprise move, Vin twisted around and grabbed hold of the man more firmly, keeping himself on top as they teetered over the edge.

The fall was short but brutal; Vin felt pain explode in the entire left side and more unbearably in his left arm and hand. He raised his head, noticing that they had landed on the first flight of metal stairs. With a grunt, he tried to move his battered body but he realized the unconscious larger man hampered his left arm.

Chris was so scared when he saw both of them falling. He was paralyzed. Some seconds later, Team 7's leader felt incredibly relieved when he saw the man and Vin landed in the platform of the metal stairs, and he could breathe again when he saw his best friend moving.

After some seconds, Vin focused again and moved his arm sending stabs of pain all the way through his body to his brain. It hurt so much. He left arm was trapped under the absolutely unresponsive man. Vin touched his neck discovering he was dead. The broken bones he had heard had been his own arm and the man's neck.

Each time he moved his arm, even though it was lightly, Vin thought he was going to pass out. The man was heavier than he and in addition, adrenaline had left his body quicker than it used to. He breathed deeply and pushed aside the man to get his arm free. After that, he rested his back against the wall for a while to get strength to go down.

"Vin, you okay? Can you get down?" Chris asked, looking upstairs to where Vin was resting.

"Yeah, I'm fine..." Vin lied. "This guy was a bull. Let me catch my breath." In his mind, if he didn't give importance to his injury... maybe he could avoid another leave at his job and people fussing over him.

Vin went down the steps holding the rail and opposite wall for assistance. He waved a hand to stop Chris as the senior agent had begun to climb up to meet him.

Chris noticed that Vin was coming down too slowly to be 'fine' as he had said... It wasn't as though he didn't believe Vin about injuries, it was just that he knew the stubborn Texan would go to almost any length to hide an injury, and that worried him even more.

When Vin reached the bottom of the steps, he smiled slightly to try to ease the anxiety he saw in Chris's face.

"Vin, you alright?" Chris asked at the moment Vin stepped beside him.

Vin had blood on his left brow and left cheek from two cuts. He nodded while trying to catch his breath.

He hugged his pain-wracked arm close to his body, trying not to move it a lot. He rested against the wall.

Chris saw how Vin was cradling his left arm.

"So you're okay, aren't you?" he said, pointing to Vin's face and touching his injured arm lightly.

Vin cried out in pain.

"Let it alone. I meant I was alive. This isn't so serious," Vin said waving his other hand in the air.

"We both know I don't believe you, cowboy," Chris said a little amused at Vin's words. The fact that Vin was complaining and aware relieved him a little from the burden he felt each time the Texan felt injured.

Nathan joined them. He, Josiah and Ezra, with the rest of Team 4's members had finished cleaning the zone and paramedics were working on Buck already, with JD by the mustached man's side every second.

Chris smiled wickedly at Vin, though this time, the younger man caught too late its meaning. Team 7's leader turned to Nathan.

"Hey Nate, Vin hurt his arm, can you take a look at it? Those cuts on his face aren't too serious I think. We all know he has a hard head."

"Sure, Chris," Nathan answered with a wide smile in his face.

Vin cursed in low voice as Nathan approached him.

"Okay Vin, let me see it."

Vin extended his arm carefully. Nathan held it lightly and began to touch it very gently. Vin hissed silently while Chris squeezed his right shoulder reassuring him.

Nathan knew it was broken, that was obvious. When he touched Vin's wrist and hand, Vin pulled his arm out of Nathan touch, it hurt too much.

"Enough!! That hurt like hell, Nate."

"I'm sorry Vin, but I needed to check it. I'm afraid you busted your wrist pretty badly."

Chris rolled his eyes. Doesn't he do that every time he gets hurt, he thought.

Nathan kept on talking. "You got one of the wrist bones broken but I don't know if there's more than one, I can't tell it for sure. The x-ray will tell."

Chris turned his head to Vin. "Okay Vin, come on, I'll drive you to hospital."

Vin didn't move a muscle. He had his back to his two friends.

"It's that or an ambulance Vin. You choose." Chris and Nathan had their hands on their hips waiting for the younger man to make up his mind.

"Okay, let's end this," Vin said quite annoyed. He walked to the place where the ATF vans and cars were.

"Nate, you and the boys go in the other van and keep and eye on Buck and JD. We'll meet you at the hospital."

Nathan nodded and walked to where the rest of the Team was. Buck's ambulance had driven away with the ladies' man and the kid in it.

The drive to the hospital was very quiet for Chris and Vin. Vin couldn't erase the pain from his mind and Chris didn't want to get him angrier than he was. Vin hated to get injured and it happened so frequently that he imagined that, in Vin's mind had appeared the word 'cursed' more than once.

Vin was the first who spoke.

"Are you going to keep me out of work?"

"Is that your main worry, Vin? Isn't it if your arm is seriously wounded?"

"No, damn it. I don't want to be out of work again. It's only my wrist so I can work, okay?" Vin explained exasperated.

"We'll see. But listen, I'll let you work if you can as long as you promise not to push yourself too much. Both of us know you usually do just the opposite." Chris explained it back, smiling, trying to lighten the issue.

Vin sent him a look saying 'of course, trust me'. Chris threw it back saying... 'I know you too damn well'.

Vin turned his head to the window. That was true. Both of them knew each other perfectly.

In that silent moment, Chris realized that with all the hurry none of them had gotten rid of their ATF jackets and Kevlar vests. They were more uncomfortable with them. However, neither of them said a word about it.

Four Corners Memorial Hospital

When they arrived at the emergency room, Chris had to restrain himself from laughing out loud when he saw three nurses at the nurse station playing 'Stone-paper-scissors' to determine which of them would have to 'fight against' the sharpshooter and his hell of a temper.

Vin didn't notice. He was looking at his forearm that felt on fire and hurt like hell. He wasn't sure he could bear it for more time.

Finally the older of the nurses left the station and walked toward them.

"Mr. Larabee, Mr. Tanner... What can I do for you?"

"Hi Sally... Vin hurt his arm during a case..." Chris said as serious as he could after what he had seen had happened between the nurses. It was just too funny and in fact, quite normal by now... Vin was visiting the hospital too frequently.

Vin wasn't aware of the whole thing. His arm hurt too much.

"Come on, Mr. Tanner I'll show you where is the X-ray room although you already know it." The nurse said very serious.

Vin frowned. He realized the nurses in this place knew him too well. She hadn't left any option to him. She has just held his right arm guiding him and he couldn't do anything other than walk with her toward the end of the corridor.

Chris reached the nurse station where one of the nurses remaining there handled him the papers he had filled millions of times.

Chris had just finished filling the forms and walked to the nurse station to give them to the nurses. When he walked back to the waiting room he saw Nathan and Josiah approaching him.

"How is Buck?" Chris was worried for his old friend and was glad he could find someone else beside the hospital staff -who not always answered the questions people asked them- to ask and talk to. He had looked at Buck and at the paramedics working on him and saw his injury it wasn't life threatening, but it was an injury after all and more important than Vin's. He knew JD would be waiting to hear something about his 'older brother' and Ezra was reassuring him until they heard something about the ladies' man.

The three men stepped into the waiting room and sat down.

"He's fine. The bullet just grazed his side... Right now I would say he's very busy already flirting with the nurses. He did it just when they were running him into surgery... This man never rest!!" Nathan said hints of amusement and exasperation in his voice.

"I bet it's one of those recurrent dreams Buck has during his sleep... Being surrounding by nurses taking care of him," Josiah suggested.

"Maybe someday the nurses will get tired of him and play 'Stone-Paper-Scissors' to choose which of them is going to tend him. Vin has gotten it. Sally lost," Chris explained amusing and grinned.

Nathan and Josiah smiled him back. Poor Vin. They knew he only wished he didn't have to come so frequently to hospital. The people fussing over him got him irritated and in bad moods, at the same time it made him feel uncomfortable.

They kept chatting for a while until Ezra came into the room.

"Mr. Wilmington is already positioned in a private room. I consider you should know it. Mr. Dunne is already by his side... although Buck seems to have chosen the person he wants beside him... a beautiful blonde, Brenda, I think, a delicate nurse that is working on that floor," Ezra explained grinning as well.

"You go... I'll wait till they finished patching Vin up and we meet you there," Chris said.

The rest of the Team nodded and walked out of the room.

Chris took a seat, leaned on the back of the chair, resting his head on the wall and closed his eyes. He thought he had fallen asleep when he heard somebody coming into the waiting room.

He opened his eyes discovering a woman dressed in a white coat.

"Mr. Larabee?" she asked.

"Yes. It's me." Chris said standing up and shaking the hand the woman offered him.

"I'm Dr. Stewart. I have treated Mr. Tanner."

"Is he already in a room?" Chris wanted to see Vin as soon as possible. He didn't want Vin got more at the edge he already was.

"Oh, no. It isn't going to be necessary. He passed a CT scan and the X-rays and I don't see why he can't go home." She smiled to Chris.

Chris was happy for Vin. If he didn't need to pass the night at the hospital, Vin would be in a better mood and he would have better options to keep on with his job... although it was a desk one only.

"Besides, and don't get offended, " the doctor kept explaining, "I don't want to give my nurses a bad time if I can avoid it."

Chris smiled her back. It was true. It was better for everybody if Vin got released.

"Let see. About Mr. Tanner's injuries... His left radius is broken just in the wrist, plus another one of the wrist bones busted and this thumb is dislocated, which produced some damage in the muscles and tendons around. We put his arm in a cast that should repair everything. After 6 weeks he will be as good as new. However, he will have to do some therapy to get the strength back to his arm and hand. I bet it's a good thing it was his left arm... because he's right handed... and for what I have heard... a real good shooter... It would have be a problem if it was his right one."

"You'd win that bet. He's worried to death this was going to keep him out of work," Chris explained. He offered his hand again to the female doctor. "Thank you for everything, Dr. Stewart."

"You're more than welcome. Let me ad that he will be a little bruised and stiff for the next one or two days. The cuts on his face aren't serious. Just the one above his eye needed some stitches but not the other one. He will be as handsome as always in some days."

"Thank you again, doctor. Can I see him?"

"Of course. He's in the orthopedic room. They have to finish with him. Follow me."

Both of them walked along the corridor until they stopped by a door half opened. Chris could see Vin's ATF jacket and Kevlar vest resting in a chair.

The doctor opened the door and Chris saw Vin seated in at the edge of a gurney. One leg stretched in front of him and the other one hanging at the side of the gurney and brushing the floor. Vin had his shirt unbuttoned revealing a big bruise already formed in the left side of his tanned upper body.

A nurse was covering the cast on his left arm with an additional bandage. Chris was glad to see that the cast stopped below his elbow.

Vin wasn't looking at his arm. Chris knew Vin was too annoyed already to take a look to his injured arm at the way it was going to be the following weeks.

"Hey cowboy, how you doing?" Vin raised his face to where the voice had come.

"Hey you... Not too bad, I suppose. I can go home."

Vin sounded tired. His face showed an adhesive bandage covering the stitches above his left eyebrow and two tiny butterfly adhesives closing together the cut on the side of his cheek, which was already bruised.

"I've finished, Mr. Tanner... The cast will take a while to be completely hard and dry, so don't make any sharp movements. If you feel a lot of pressure in the arm or you feel your fingers going numb, come back here." The nurse explained although she knew both men knew all of that stuff already. She had seen them visiting the place too often... those both and other five men... The Magnificent Seven... Only the new staff didn't know about them.

Vin nodded to all the string of things the nurse had been saying while he tried to stand up. A wave of dizziness hit him but Chris had enough reflexes to rush to his side and grab him, slipping his arms under Vin's armpits.

"Hold on there, cowboy. Not so fast," Chris said.

"Sorry," Vin muttered. "Can we go?" He raised his eyes to meet Chris's face. Chris saw pain, annoyance but above all exhaustion, in Vin's blue eyes.

"Yeah, we can go Vin, but do you think you're up to paying a visit to Buck first?

Vin nodded.

The nurse gave Chris, Vin's medication and release papers, while Doctor Stewart approached Vin with a blue sling. She helped Vin to button up his shirt and placed the sling in place.

Vin was as red as a tomato when she had finished.

Chris grinned at the view.

"Here we go, Mr. Tanner," The doctor said taking some steps back to take a look at Vin from a distance. " I don't think you'll follow my advice, but at least tonight wear it. You'll feel better.

Vin kept nodding. He wanted to get out of that room immediately. He felt too much frustration, too much pain... and there were too many people looking at and fussing over him. Besides he hadn't enough energy to complain although he wanted to, so he imagined that if he acceded to everything they could leave as soon as possible.

Chris walked toward him and helped Vin to put his ATF jacket, at least half of it, on him. He grabbed the Kevlav vest and assisted Vin out of the room, thanking the nurse and doctor for everything.

Definitely Vin didn't do anything half way. The man looked so tired and sore. Chris looked at his friend's cast. Poor Vin. Tomorrow he would feel more frustrated when he realized everything... Right now he was too exhausted for it.

They walked toward the elevator, stopping by the nurse station to query about Buck's room number. When they stepped into the elevator, Vin lifted his hand thoughtlessly to the bandages on his face.

"Let them be, Vin," Chris warned him.

Vin cast a look to his best friend and boss but didn't say a word. Chris just shook his head.

They left the elevator and walked toward Buck's room.

Although Vin was tired to the bones he had several things to say to Chris when they were alone, so he tried hard to keep himself awake. His entire body hurt like hell.

They reached Buck's room door and Chris pushed it opened, holding it for Vin.

The rest of the Team was inside the room.

"Wow Junior! Nice landing!" Buck exclaimed.

"Shut up Bucklin!" Vin muttered. "I'm too damn tired and hurt to argue with you," he added in a low tone.

All the Team members were in silent while watching Chris assist Vin to take a seat that was offered by Josiah.

Vin hissed in pain when he leaned his upper body a little.

"You should ask them to give you some of this stuff." Buck pointed to the IV on his hand. "I feel no pain at all," he added a wide grin spreading on his face.

JD smiled also. Buck was so high in that moment. The youngest of the team shook his head in amusement.

"I see you're okay Buck," Vin said.

"Yep. Have you seen that little darling at the nurse station, she gave me... " Buck's eyelids closed as he fell asleep.

"I think brother Buck isn't going to remember anything of what he has been telling us..." Josiah explained to Chris and Vin.

"He should. Mr. Wilmington has recited to us his paramours list... worse than the telephone guide, gentlemen," Ezra added looking to Chris and Vin.

"It's going to be funny when I remind him all the stuff he's said... Too good for me." JD said grinning.

"When will he be released?" Chris asked.

"Tomorrow morning," Nathan answered.

JD rested his elbows and forearms on Buck's bed. The kid hadn't even thought about leaving Buck's side.

Chris could see the kid looked more relieved and the worry had disappeared from his face. Now he could see exhaustion.

"Kid you should..." Chris began.

"I'll stay Chris. Don't worry I'll be fine. Thanks anyway." JD cut in. "He has done it for me more times I can remember... I'd rather stay," he added.

"Okay JD. It's your call," Chris said. He understood the kid perfectly. It was normal for any of them to do this for the rest of his teammates. He nodded to the youngest member of his team and then stood up and turned to Vin who really looked pitiful.

Chris reached Vin and touched his shoulder lightly.

Vin's eyes were fixed on some place between Buck's bed and the rest of the members of the Team.

"Come on Vin, let's let you grab some rest. You sure need it."

"All of us," Vin muttered.

"Yep," Chris said under his breath.

Vin nodded almost imperceptibly, he was too damn tired to do anything else.


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