ATF Alternate Universe
"Come on you guys!" JD yelled excitedly. It was almost quitting time on Friday night and JD was excited. They were all going to spend the weekend at Chris's ranch doing guy stuff. They had plans for a BBQ tonight then riding tomorrow and watching the football game. The others knew JD was excited and tried to ignore him as the finished up various projects. JD pestered Buck for awhile until the usually jovial man told him to get lost. Finally JD settled on Vin.
"Hey, Vin, we could leave now and they could catch up," JD suggested. "You still have a key to Chris's house."
"They're almost done, JD, we might as well all go together," Vin said leaning back in his chair with his feet on the desk.
"Oh, man," the youngest said in exasperation.
Vin just smiled as he watched JD flop down in his chair and start to spin. He tried to hide a smile when Buck threw an eraser at him and told him to sit still. Josiah finished his work and logged off the computer. He walked over to JD and grabbed his shoulders shaking them.
"Keep this up an you'll run out of energy before we get to Chris's," Josiah said.
"Fat chance," Buck scowled. "Didn't you know he's the damned Energizer bunny."
"Now that you mention it I do see the resemblance," Josiah said looking at JD.
Josiah turned to walk away and JD jumped on his back. Chris had finished with his phone call and came out of the office to find JD on the floor with Josiah holding him down. The kid was laughing and trying to struggle out of the older agent's grip. Josiah refused and continued to tickle the young man. Finally JD surrendered and called 'Uncle'. Chris watched as Buck handed Ezra a twenty. Ezra smiled to the mustached agent and pocketed the money.
"You ought to know better than to bet against him, Buck," Nathan said.
"I thought the kid would be able to hold out," Buck frowned.
"With a gentleman the size of, Mr. Sanchez?" Ezra asked. "Surely you must be joking."
"Finally!" JD yelled. "Are we ready?"
"Yeah, kid we're ready," Buck said cuffing him in the back of the head.
JD whooped and grabbed his motorcycle helmet off the desk and headed for the elevator. Vin grabbed his helmet and followed. The others were right behind them. The elevator let them out in the basement next to their vehicles, except one was missing. Buck's pickup was in the shop and JD's motorcycle had a flat. Chris had stopped by in the morning to pick them up. When he got there he found Vin's Harley parked out front. JD had decided to ride with Vin and Buck went with Chris. Ezra and Josiah decided to leave their vehicles at the garage and they loaded their things into Nathan's Cherokee.
Vin swung his leg over the bike and kicked down on the lever to start it. The Harvey's unforgettable rumble filled the garage as it started. Vin pulled on his helmet and buckled it on. His was the racing type that covered your whole face with a visor over the front. He had the visor flipped up since it was a dark smoky gray. JD pulled on his helmet and got on behind Vin. Vin revved the engine as he waited for the others.
"Damn that thing is a menace," Buck complained.
"It's better then JD's road rocket," Chris commented.
When Vin saw everyone was ready he pulled out and headed for the entrance. Chris pulled in behind him followed by Nathan. Once outside the garage the sun was shinning and Vin pulled down the visor. He pulled into traffic and they were on their way. Chris followed Vin at safe distance back. He wasn't crazy about motorcycles but he knew Vin was cautious driver. They finally got out of the city and on the four-lane interstate headed for Chris's ranch. Traffic was heavy but moving at a decent pace. Vin watched the cars on either side of him. He was driving in the left lane next to the double line. He glanced in his mirror and saw Chris still behind him.
When he looked back up he wasn't prepared for what he saw. A car was headed right for them. Someone form the oncoming traffic was trying to pass crossing over the double yellow lines. Vin had nowhere to go there were cars on either side of him. The last thing he heard was JD screaming his name.
Chris watched in horror as the car hit Vin and JD head on. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as he watched Vin fly into the windshield and crash through it. JD was thrown off the bike and to the side. Chris reacted instantly and turned the Ram to the side preventing other cars from running into them. He heard the screech of wheels as Nathan tried to stop the Cherokee. All this took a split second but to Chris and Buck it had been an eternity. Once everything had stopped Buck flew out of the Ram and ran for JD. Chris tried to get out of the Ram when he realized Nathan had stopped inches from his door. He went out the passenger side to be met by Josiah.
"Helps on the way," he announced as he switched off the cellular.
They both ran to where the others were. Chris could see this was a major accident involving other cars as well. None of that mattered to him he had to get to Vin. Chris ran to the car followed by Ezra. Vin had been thrown through the windshield. His upper body was inside the car while his legs were on the hood. Chris wrenched open the passengers door and climbed in. He could see Vin was on his back impaled on a piece of the glass from the shattered windshield. The late model Cadillac didn't have safety glass. Chris reached a shaking hand out to check for a pulse. He had steeled himself for the worst and was relieved when he found one.
"Good Lord," Ezra cried when he saw the damage. "Is he?"
"He's alive," Chris answered. "How about the driver?"
"He's dead," Ezra said. "He wasn't wearing his seat belt."
"Damn!" Chris cursed.
"What the hell are we going to do?" Ezra demanded.
"Get Nathan," Chris said.
Chris watched as Ezra disappeared. He sat just holding Vin's hand to let him know he was there. Chris knew they couldn't move Vin until help arrived. He just hoped they'd hurry.
Ezra raced over to where Nathan was checking on JD. He scowled when he realized the vultures were gathering. Other people had gotten out of their cars to see the grizzly site. He pushed his way through and kneeled down next to the others. He gagged when he saw the damage to JD. The bone in his lower left leg was sticking out through his pants. He had been thrown a good distance and the whole left side of his body was bloody from being scrapped by the asphalt. Nathan was instructing Josiah and Buck on what to do. Buck wanted to take off the kid's helmet but Nathan wouldn't let him. He said JD couldn't be moved.
"Nathan," Ezra called. "Vin needs you."
"Can't you see he's busy!!!" Buck cried.
"I believe our young friend has more of a chance at survival then does our other companion," Ezra announced.
"How bad Ezra?" Josiah asked.
"Bad," was all Ezra would answer.
"Shit! Go on Nathan, me and Josiah will take care of JD," Buck said.
They headed for the car where Vin was trapped. Ezra could hear sirens getting close, and then he noticed the fire department had arrived with the rescue truck. Police cars were also converging on the scene. From the amount of rescue personnel Josiah must have said officers were down. The police quickly pushed the by standers back so room could be made for rescue personnel. Ezra made it back over to Vin as the paramedics arrived. He could see Chris and Nathan inside.
"How many inside are hurt, Ezra?" asked one of the paramedics.
"One dead. Vin's badly hurt," he answered when he recognized him.
Ezra stood off to the side as they went inside the vehicle. He heard a heated argument when they told Chris he had to go out. Nathan finally had to drag Chris out of the car. He wasn't happy and paced close by. Nathan came over and stood next to Ezra.
"Well?" Ezra asked.
"You were right, it's bad," Nathan said. "He's loosing a lot of blood. Couldn't tell where the piece was sticking into his back. I just hope it isn't close to his spine."
"Shit," he said. "How bad is JD?"
"Well you saw the busted leg," Nathan began. "He must have hit pretty hard to cause the bone to break through like that. He could have internal injuries. I just couldn't tell."
After a short time one of the paramedics came out to talk to the fire chief. He explained the situation and he started barking orders. All Ezra heard was him call for a saw to cut off the roof. The rescue team moved fast to gather the equipment. A helicopter could be heard getting closer. Ezra noticed some police standing in the field next to the interstate. A short time later the helicopter landed and waited.
When the paramedics saw JD they quickly took vitals and made sure he was breathing. After they were satisfied with his vitals they decided to remove his helmet. One of the paramedics took hold of JD's neck and the back of his head while the other took off his helmet. JD's wasn't too hard since it was a full face one. Once the helmet was off the paramedics traded places. The one that had taken off the helmet took hold of JD's head while the other one put a C-collar on his neck.
Buck fretted the whole time they worked on JD. He wanted to help but knew he would just be in the way. He watched as they put a mask over his nose and mouth and started an IV. One of the medics checked JD for other injuries while the other took care of his leg. He packed dressing around the wound and covered the bone so it wouldn't be exposed to the air. He splinted the fracture but didn't try to realign it. One of the firemen brought over aback board and they carefully turned JD to the side and slide it under him. He was securely strapped to the board and he was ready for the flight to the hospital. Buck immediately moved to take the side of the board by JD's head. The paramedics and Josiah each took a corner and they moved quickly towards the helicopter. They load JD aboard and the medics got on. Josiah had to pull Buck away so the chopper could lift off. They walked to where Nathan and Ezra were standing and watched as the chopper disappeared from sight. Ezra laid a comforting hand on Buck and he gave a small smile.
"How's Vin?" Josiah asked.
"Not good. He's impaled on a piece of glass," Nathan answered. "He's losing a lot of blood."
Buck just started cursing and Josiah prayed.
Chris couldn't believe this was happening. The medics wouldn't let him stay in the car they needed the room. He watched from outside the car as they hooked up IV's and took Vin's vitals. From the expressions on their faces he could tell it wasn't good. They called for a short backboard and one was brought over by the firemen. They slipped the backboard under him to just below his shoulders.
Once he was on the board they needed to remove his helmet. Vin's was harder to get off then JD's since it was a full face one but they managed. Once it was off they put a C-collar on and secured Vin's upper torso to the board trying to keep his spine in aliment. They started him on oxygen via a mask. Once he was immobilized one of the paramedic remained in the car while the other went to talk to the chief. The body of the driver had been removed to give them more room to work. Chris heard them say they would need the saw to cut Vin out of the car. Chris watched as they moved to get the equipment. The other medic went back in the car.
Chris paced next to the car as they covered Vin with a tarp to protect him from the glass and metal. The medic gave them the OK and they began to cut off the roof. They moved quickly and efficiently and in no time the roof was gone. Chris watched as the medics tried to get under Vin to see about the glass. When he was satisfied it wasn't still attached to the windshield they lifted him up as flat as they could. They placed Vin on his side on a full backboard.
One of the paramedics held Vin's head in alignment as the removed the other backboard. They padded around him so he couldn't move. Next they packed dressings around the glass to slow the bleeding. It didn't have much effect as Chris watched them soak up the blood. Chris helped them load Vin in to the helicopter and he watched as it took off. He ran back to the others.
"Let's go!" he cried as he headed for the ram.
"How, Chris, we can't get out" Josiah said.
"I'll take you," one of the officers said.
They piled into the police cruiser and he took off for the hospital.
The medical team was waiting on the roof when the helicopter arrived. They waited patiently for it to land then rushed in when the doors opened. They loaded JD onto a gurney and headed for the ER. The paramedics gave his vitals and listed his injuries as they went down in the elevator. When the elevator doors opened they pushed JD quickly into an examination room.
"I want a unit of 0 negative blood stat," the doctor ordered. "Get me x-rays and I want an MRI."
"Dr. Fitzpatrick," called a nurse from the door. "The other chopper is five minutes away."
"Alright," he said. "Dr. Cord you take over here."
"Yes sir," said a young male doctor.
Dr. Fitzpatrick followed the second team up to the roof. The helicopter was already landed when they got there and they went directly to it. The paramedics flung the door open and quickly jumped out.
"This ones critical," he yelled over the sound of the rotor. "He has massive blood loss. His blood pressure is dropping and his heart rate is increasing."
"Let's move people!" the doctor yelled and Vin was rushed to ER.
Chris stormed into the ER waiting area and over to the reception desk. The others followed close in his wake. As they approached the desk the nurse looked up.
"May I help you?" she asked politely.
"Vin Tanner and JD Dunne," Chris said.
"Are they patients here?" she asked.
"They just came in by helicopter," Chris said patiently trying to control his temper.
"It's alright, Brigit, I'll take care of them," said a dark haired nurse.
"Carmen," Buck yelled when he recognized her. "Where are they?"
"The Doctors are still checking them out," she said as she led them to the waiting area. "They'll let you know as soon as possible. Just be patient."
Carmen had dealt with the ATF team before. She knew they would drive the nurses crazy until they heard something. Chris prowled the waiting area like a caged panther. Buck wasn't much better. Ezra tried to remain calm but Josiah could tell he was anything but calm. Josiah sat on one of the couches and glanced at the clock. The hands had only moved by ten minutes. He sighed and leaned back. Nathan sat next to him and clasped his hand between his knees. Fifteen minutes later two doctors approached.
"Buck Wilmington," the older one asked.
"I'm Buck Wilmington."
"Mr. Wilmington, I'm Dr. Engle chief of orthopedics," he said. "I'm afraid I have some bad news about JD."
"Oh God," Buck cried. "He's not dead?"
"Oh, no, I'm sorry if I gave you that impression," he apologized. "It's about the fracture to his left leg. I'm afraid the damage is too extensive and we will have to amputate it."
"Shit!" Chris cursed and kicked one of the chairs across the room.
"Damn it, Doc, you might as well just kill him," Buck said in despair. "Does he know?"
"He's starting to come around," Dr. Engle said. "We wanted to let you know first."
"You better let me tell him," Buck said.
"Are you sure, Buck?" Josiah asked.
"I'm sure," Buck said giving the others a wan smile. "It's better if I break the news to him then some stranger."
"Want me to come with you?" Chris asked.
"No, you have to wait for word on Vin," Buck answered. "I'll be alright."
Buck followed the doctors down the hall. He had no idea what the hell he was going to say. They entered a room and Buck saw JD lying on the bed. He walked over to the head of the bed and looked down at JD. Buck could see he was starting to wake up.
"JD," Buck called. "You need to wake up for Ol' Buck."
"Buck," JD said as his eyes fluttered open.
"Yeah Kid. It's me."
"Leg hurts," JD announced.
"I know," Buck said. "Remember what happened?"
"Riding with Vin," he slurred.
"Yeah," Buck said. "I'm afraid you crashed and you broke your leg."
"Oh," JD said closing his eyes.
"JD," Buck called. "Stay with me a little longer, son."
"OK," JD sighed and opened his eyes.
"JD, there's no easy way to say this," Buck said as tears welled in his eyes.
"You're scaring me Buck," JD commented as he saw the tears in Buck's eyes.
"JD your leg is to badly damaged. The doctors are going to have to amputate it."
"Oh God, Buck, No!" JD wailed as he started to cry. "Please Buck promise me you won't let them."
"I can't do that son," Buck said pushing back his hair. "It has to be done. Everything will be alright."
"No it won't," JD sobbed grabbing Buck's arm. "Please don't let them."
"Buck, it's time," Dr. Engle said.
"JD, I have to go," Buck said. "I'll see you latter."
"NO! Buck, please," JD cried hysterically grabbing his hand. "I don't want them to take my leg."
"I know," Buck said as tears fell down his cheek.
"BUCK!" JD yelled as they wheeled him from the room.
Chris didn't envy Buck for what he was about to do. He knew Buck would do anything to spare JD loosing his leg. The gregarious ladies man could talk an Eskimo into buying ice but Chris knew he couldn't save JD's leg. Chris leaned back against the wall. They were still waiting on word about Vin. Buck had only just left when another doctor walked into the waiting room.
"Mr. Larabee?" he asked.
"I'm Doctor Fitzpatrick," he introduced himself. "I'm afraid your brother's condition is serious."
"Dear Lord," Ezra said. "Not again."
"How bad?" Chris asked. Josiah, Nathan and Ezra stood close by to listen.
"The shard of glass has caused some major damage," he said. "From the MRI were pretty sure it's nicked his left kidney. There is massive bleeding indicating an artery has been cut. We won't know until we go in what else is damaged. When he hit the windshield he broke his right collarbone and shoulder blade. His shoulder is also dislocated."
"Shit!" Chris cursed when he heard the news.
"We're taking him up to surgery now," he informed them
"Can I see him?" Chris asked.
"All right," he relented.
Chris followed him into an examination room. They walked in and Chris could see Vin was on his stomach with his head to the side and a breathing tube down his throat. Chris could see his back was one massive black and blue mark. He walked over to the head of the bed and knelt down.
"You really know how to ruin a weekend don't you Tanner." Chris commented as he pushed his hair back. "They're going to take good of you."
"I'm sorry, Mr. Larabee, we have to take him up now," Dr. Fitzpatrick said.
Chris nodded and stood up. He watched as they wheeled the gurney out of the room. Chris closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He was startled when a nurse touched him.
"I'm sorry," she said. "The surgery is going to take awhile. Can I show you and your friends up to the surgical waiting area?"
"No, thank you," he said. "We've been there before."
Chris walked out and headed back to the waiting room. Buck had returned and Chris saw that his eyes were red.
"We might as well make ourselves comfortable upstairs," Chris said. "Vin's going to be awhile."
"The Doc said JD should be out of surgery in about two hours," Buck said. "So now all we can do is wait." "And pray," Josiah said.
The rest of the team had been up stars for two hours. When the time passed for JD to be out of surgery Buck started to get worried. Nathan told him not to worry these things sometimes take a little longer. Buck tried to relax. Chris had gone over to the window and starred out. Josiah had taken a position on the floor trying to meditate. Nathan was idly flipping through magazines and Ezra was shuffling his cards. After another hour went by Buck started pacing the room. Ezra was still shuffling his cards and the sound was loud in the quiet room. Buck stalked over to him and slapped the cards out of his hand and they went scattering around the room.
"That's really starting to annoy me," Buck snarl.
"Is it my fault your small mind can't find ways to amuse yourself?" Ezra said standing up.
Buck lunged for Ezra who easily sidestepped the enraged man. Buck fell to the floor and went to swing on Ezra when Josiah grabbed him in a half nelson. Nathan had also stepped in front Ezra who was also furious.
"ENOUGH!" Chris bellowed.
Buck stopped struggling and sagged in Josiah's arms. Ezra was still furious and Nathan kept a hand on him. Chris stalked through them and gave them all a stern look. He walked up to Buck and stood looking at him.
"I know you worried about JD, Buck," Chris said. "But you don't need to take it out on Ezra."
"I know," Buck sighed and Josiah let him go. "Ezra I don't know what came over me. I'm sorry."
"I'm just as worried as you are, Mr. Wilmington," Ezra said curtly.
"I know, Ezra,"Buck said walking over to him. "I sorry. I just can't take this any more."
"Perfectly understandable," Ezra sympathized. "I think I shall go use my powers of persuasion to garner information about our incapacitated friends."
"Wow," Nathan said as Ezra walked out. "He's really worried."
"When Ezra worries his words get bigger and bigger," Josiah smiled.
Buck walked around the room picking up the cards. Josiah gave him a hand and they had they gathered in no time. Ezra returned a short time later and Buck silently handed him the cards.
"I'm afraid I have failed in my mission," Ezra admitted. "The nurses couldn't give me any information."
He asked if anyone wanted to play a hand of cards. Josiah, Nathan and Buck agreed and Chris watched as they tried to occupy themselves. Another three hours went by. Nathan had fallen asleep as had Josiah. Buck was sitting channel surfing on the small TV. Ezra had his head back in one of the chairs starring at the ceiling. Chris hadn't moved from his spot by the window. Chris turned his head when he heard someone walking down the hall. Buck jumped up when he saw it was JD's surgeon.
"I've got wonderful news," he eagerly announced. "We were able to save Mr. Dunne's leg."
"Oh God," Buck whispered practically falling to his knees. "Can I see him."
"In a few minute," the doctor said. "We're just bringing him out of surgery I'll have one of the nurses come get you."
"Thank you," Buck said.
"Don't thank me," he smiled. "That Kid is one hell of a fighter."
'Yes we know," Ezra said.
They watched as the doctor walked away. Buck gave out a loud whoop and swung Ezra around. Ezra demanded in no uncertain terms to be let down. Josiah lay a restraining hand on Buck and nodded towards Chris.
"Aw hell Chris I'm sorry," Buck said.
"It's alright Buck," Chris said giving him a smile.
Buck watched as the smile disappeared from Chris's face Buck turned around to see Dr. Fitzpatrick standing in the door. They gathered around to hear what he had to say.
"He made it through surgery," he announced. "Next 24 hours will be crucial. We had to put a plate in to hold his collarbone. He'll be moved up to ICU as soon as he's out of recovery."
"Can we see him?" Josiah asked.
"For a short time," he said. "He should be in the recovery room with Mr. Dunne in a few minutes. I'll send the nurse to get you."
Chris let out the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. They all started clapping each other on the back and making plans on how they would take turns being at the hospital. One of the nurses waked over and she told them to follow her. She led them to a small room and let them in.
"Mr. Dunne is starting to come around," she said. "Mr. Tanner I'm afraid will take longer."
AS she stepped aside they could see the two men lying on the hospital beds. Buck gasped when he saw the metal cage surrounding JD's leg. Metal pins were sticking into his leg at various points on the cage. He walked over to JD's head and stroked his hair. Chris and Ezra had gone over to Vin. He was lying flat on his back with the breathing tube still down his throat. Vin's chest rose a fell at precise intervals. He was hooked to all sorts of monitors and Chris was careful as he moved closer. He placed his hand on the top of Vin's head and let it rest there to let the sharpshooter know he was there. Ezra took one of his hands and held it. Chris glanced over at JD when he heard Buck call his name.
"That's it JD wake up," Buck called leaning over him.
"Buck," came the weak answer through the oxygen mask.
"Yeah it's me and the boys," he said. "I got good news for ya Kid."
"What?" JD asked blinking.
"The Doctors were able to save your leg," Buck smiled.
JD started to cry and Buck just wiped the tears away telling him it was all right. The nurse let them stay for a little while longer ten she ushered them out. They each said one last god bye before they were forced to go. The nurse said they should be up to their different areas in about an hour and they could visit again later. They all went back to the waiting room and got comfortable. Their vigil was only just beginning.
Buck ran his hands through his dark hair and tried to relax. They had brought JD to his room a little after 1:00am. He had followed them to the room and hadn't left since. Buck glanced at his watch and it was a little before dawn. JD was still sleeping peacefully, which Buck was grateful for. He shuddered every time he looked at the metal cage around JD's lower leg. The metal pins that were sticking into his leg were the worst part. The doctor said it was necessary in case they needed to make adjustments. Buck figured the Kid could live with it considering the alternative.
Buck rested his head on the back of the chair and starred at the ceiling. . This wasn't how they were supposed to be spending the weekend. He sighed and wondered how Vin was doing. Ezra had come down from ICU two hours ago and told him there was no change. Vin still hadn't regained consciousness. Buck knew Chris must have been driving everyone crazy. He closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep. He wasn't sure how long he had been asleep when something woke him. Buck looked at JD and saw he was starting to dream. He moved quickly to his side to try to wake him.
"JD," Buck called. "Wake up."
He stroked JD's forehead and continued to call his name. JD wasn't waking up and Buck was afraid he might move his leg. JD was beginning to toss his head and mumbling. All Buck could make out was 'No' and 'Please'. Suddenly JD woke up screaming.
"NO!" He screamed and would have sat up if Buck weren't holding him down.
"Easy, JD," Buck said soothingly. "It's all right."
"No it's not," JD cried laying his head back on the pillow. "They cut off my leg Buck."
"No, Kid they didn't," Buck smiled. "See."
Buck helped JD sit up a little to see his leg. When JD realized they hadn't amputated his leg he began to cry.
"Oh God, Buck," he said. "It was all just a horrible dream. I remember you telling me they had to cut off my leg. I begged you not to let them. I wanted you to promise not to let them do it."
"That wasn't a dream, JD," Buck said wiping the tears from JD's face with his thumb. "They were going to take your leg. When they got to surgery they realized they could save it. Does it hurt?"
"No," JD said confused. "I can't really feel it."
"I'm not surprised," Buck laughed. "They have you doped up pretty good."
JD looked around the room and realized someone was missing. "Where's Vin?" he asked panicking. "He was beside me."
"That was in the recovery room after surgery," Buck said holding his shoulders. "You woke up for a short time and Vin was next to you."
"Is he OK? Where is he?" JD demanded. "I want to see him."
"He's up in ICU," Buck answered. "You won't be able to see him for awhile."
"Aw hell," JD exclaimed and Buck smiled at the use of Vin's favorite curse. "How bad is he?"
"He's pretty bad," Buck sighed. "That boy just doesn't know how to do anything half assed. He landed on his back when he went through the windshield. He had a piece of glass stuck in his back. It nicked his kidney. He messed his right shoulder up too. Broke his collarbone in front and back and his shoulder blade. It was also dislocated."
"There's something you not telling me," JD accused since he knew Buck too well.
"The doctors are afraid there might be damage to his spinal cord." Buck answered. He should have know he couldn't keep anything from JD
"He's paralyzed?" JD asked.
"They won't know until he wakes up," Buck said. "Why don't you try to go back to sleep."
"I'm afraid to," JD admitted reluctantly. "I keep reliving the accident. I was so afraid Buck."
"I know, so was a I," Buck admitted and took JD's hand. "But everything's OK now, you can sleep. I ain't' going no where."
"Promise?" JD asked with a smile.
"Promise," Buck said with a wink.
Buck watched as JD's eyes slowly closed. He took a deep breath and relaxed.
In a short while he was asleep. Buck took a seat in the chair and tried to get comfortable. Now they just had to wait for Vin to wake up.
Chris hadn't left Vin's side since they brought him up to ICU. The nurses worked around him whenever they came in to check the monitors and tubes. Chris had convinced Josiah and Nathan to head home. They had reluctantly agreed but said they would be back first thing in the morning. Chris hadn't been able to convince the stubborn southerner to leave. He was sprawled in a chair by the door asleep. Ezra had stayed because he insisted a liaison was
needed between Vin and JD's room considering neither Chris nor Buck would
leave their charges.
Chris knew it was only an excuse. Ezra had come back an hour ago from JD's room saying he was sleeping peacefully and that Buck was a wreck. After he had delivered his message he sat down and fell asleep. Chris checked his watch and it was 7:00am. It had been eight hours since Vin was taken out of surgery and he still showed no signs of waking up. Chris levered himself out of the chair and paced next to Vin's bed. On his third pass he noticed the fingers on Vin's left hand twitch. He moved closer to the bed and took Vin's hand. Chris knew that if Vin woke to find the breathing tube still in he would fight it. Chris felt Vin's fingers spasm and noticed his eyelids moving.
"Come on, Vin, open your eye," Chris demanded.
Chris watched as Vin fought to open his eyes. When they were finally opened Chris noticed the usually vivid blue was dulled with pain. Vin squeezed Chris's hand.
"Easy, Vin," Chris said. "Everything's alright."
Chris hadn't noticed Ezra move to stand on Vin's other side. Vin moved his eyes to look at Ezra.
"It's good to see you awake, Mr. Tanner," Ezra commented.
Vin blinked then started to gag. Chris knew he was fighting the tube.
"Vin listen to me," Chris said taking Vin's head in his hands. "Stop moving your tongue."
Vin did as Chris said and he stopped gagging. He blinked once more then looked at Chris. Chris watched as his eyes became more focused. He could tell Vin wanted to know something.
"JD's fine Vin," Chris answered him.
Ezra shook his head in amazement. Sometimes their silent communication was uncanny. Ezra could see Vin relax when Chris told him JD was fine. Chris was explaining about JD when the doctor walked in.
"Ah, Mr. Tanner, I see you are awake," he said as he moved closer tot he bed.
"He's n a lot of pain," Chris said.
"I know," Dr. Fitzpatrick said. "The shoulder will be painful while he's lying flat on his back. Unfortunately with the injury to his kidney he will have to remain that way for a few days."
"Can't you give him anything?" Chris asked.
"First I need to test for any spinal injury," he explained. "If I give him morphine it might mask his reactions. So if you gentleman will wait outside I will begin the exam."
They went to leave and Vin panicked. He started gagging and fighting the breathing tube. Once Chris and Ezra got him calmed down the doctor reluctantly let them stay. Dr. Fitzpatrick moved to the end of the bed and threw he covers off Vin's feet. He took a small metal instrument out of his pocket and quickly ran it along the bottom of Vin's left foot. He was pleased when Vin's toes curled in response. He tried his right foot. The response was a little slower but it was there. He then instructed Vin to squeeze Chris's hand whenever he left the pinprick. Chris let the doctor know that Vin squeezed every time he touched a spot on his left leg. When he moved to the right leg Vin responded half of the time.
"Alright, Mr. Tanner. I'm almost done," he said. "I want you to wiggle the toes on your left foot."
"Come on, Vin, Move your left toes," Chris encouraged him. He could see Vin was getting tired.
Chris could see him concentrate and his toes on both feet moved. Except the toes on his right foot didn't move as much. Dr. Fitzpatrick said that was fine and told him to relax. He checked the out put from Vin's catheter and could see it was a little bloody. He left instructions with the nurse for painkillers then asked Chris to step out in the hall. Chris let Vin know he would be right back and that Ezra was staying. Chris followed the doctor into the hall.
"How bad is he?" Chris asked.
"Actually he's much better than I expected," he smiled. "His spinal cord wasn't damaged since he was responding to the tests."
"What about his right leg?" Chris asked worriedly.
"There's probably some swelling causing the right side to react more slowly," he answered. "We'll keep him on the anti-inflammatory meds for a few days to help relieve the swelling."
"What about the breathing tube? He really hates that."
"Most people do," the doctor laughed. "I want it to stay in for 24 hours. His vitals need to be a little more stable and there's still blood in his urine. Once that clears I'll know I repaired the damage to his kidneys and I won't have to take him back to surgery. The painkillers will probably make him sleep most of the time so he won't notice the tube."
"Thank you Doctor," Chris said holding out his hand.
"It's my pleasure, Mr. Larabee," he said shaking Chris's hand.
The doctor left and Chris went back to Vin. He watched as the nurse rearranged all the tubes and wires then straightened the blankets. AS she passed Chris on her way out she smiled. Chris moved back into Vin's line of vision and he could see Vin was fighting the painkillers.
"It's alright, Vin," Chris said brushing back his hair. "Go to sleep."
He watched as Vin lost the battle and his eyes closed. Chris stroked his hair again than looked up at Ezra. He could see Ezra was worried and trying not to show it.
"The doctor doesn't think there was any damage to his spinal cord. Just some swelling that's why his right leg responded a little slower."
"That is excellent news," Ezra exclaimed. I will go relay the information to Mr. Wilmington."
"After that why don't you head home," Chris suggested.
"That would be most welcome, Mr. Larabee, But unfortunately I rode with Nathan and Josiah."
"Damn, I forgot," Chris said reaching into his pocket. "Here take the Ram."
"It was fortunate that the Denver PD delivered our vehicles here tot he
hospital," Ezra smiled taking the keys. "I will return in a few hours."
"I don't want to see your sorry hide back her for at least eight hours," Chris warned.
"And will you be following your own sage advice?" Ezra enquired.
"Get out of here Standish," Chris said menacingly.
"AS you wish," he smiled as he headed for the door. "I don't think you will be able to refuse Mr. Jackson when he tells you to get some sleep."
"Wanta bet?" Chris asked with a grin.
"I'll take that bet, Mr. Larabee," Ezra smiled. "Considering I only bet on a sure thing. Will twenty dollars be adequate?"
"You're on," Chris agreed."
"Than I bid you Adieu, " he said with his trademark salute as he left.
Ezra drove back to the hospital later in the day. He pulled the Ram in the parking lot and found a space close to the door. He got out and locked the door before heading inside. He had decided to visit JD's room first. He smiled and nodded to the nurses as he went by. When he entered his room he was surprised to find that Josiah had replaced Buck. As he got closer to the bed he could see JD was sleeping.
"Hello, Ezra," Josiah greeted.
"Salutations to you my friend," Ezra smiled. "How fairs our young companion?"
"His leg is really starting to hurt," Josiah answered. "The pain medication really knocks him out."
"I'm not surprised his leg hurts," Ezra commented. "I'm sure his side, where he scraped himself raw, also hurts."
Ezra moved closer to the bed when he saw JD begin to move his head. Josiah also noticed and stood on his other side. It wasn't long before they realized JD was gripped in a nightmare. He began waving his arms and Josiah grabbed them. Ezra decided to take a hold of his bed leg at the thigh.
"JD," Josiah called. "Wake up son."
Josiah's call had no effect and JD started moving more. He tossed and turned until he finally sat up screaming 'No!' "
"Easy, JD, everything's alright," Josiah said holding the trembling agent.
"I have to see Vin!" he cried and tried to pull out of Josiah's arms.
"Vin's fine, JD, he's up stairs," Josiah soothed.
"No! I have to see him!" JD insisted continuing to fight Josiah until he moved his leg and cried out. Josiah let him go as he lay back crying.
"What's going on?" Buck demanded when he walked in to find JD crying.
"He had a bad dream, Mr. Wilmington, and insists he has to see Vin," Ezra elaborated.
"JD, take it easy," Buck said as he sat on the bed next to him.
"Oh God, Buck," JD said throwing his arms around him. "He's dead!"
"Who's dead, JD?" Buck asked confused holding him. "What are you talking about?"
"Vin, he's dead and you're not telling me!" he accused.
"JD, look at me," Buck said as he put his hands on either side of his face.
Buck looked into JD's hazel eyes and could see he was scared. He also knew JD must be in a lot of pain and he suspected the painkillers where giving the kid bad dreams.
"I would never lie to you about something like that," Buck said seriously.
"But I saw him," JD said confused as he tried to control his emotions. "The paramedics out a coat over his head and said he was dead and that there was nothing they could do."
"It was a dream JD," Buck smiled wiping the tears with his thumbs. "Vin's fine. He's still upstairs in ICU."
"You're sure?" JD asked calming down.
"If you don't believe me ask Chris," Buck said.
"He's fine JD," Chris said coming up behind Buck.
"Really?" JD asked as he looked up at Chris.
"Really," Chris smiled.
"God Buck," JD said laying back. "It was so really. All the blood and the sirens."
"It was only a dream," Buck said when he saw JD shudder.
"When can I see him?" JD asked.
"Couple of days," Buck said. "I'll make sure the two of you get a room together."
"Swear," JD said holding out his pinky.
"I swear," Buck said as he hooked JD's pinky with his own and pulled.
JD sighed and leaned back against the pillows and closed his eyes. In a short while he was sleeping again. They four agents went out in the hall to talk.
"Poor, kid," Buck said. "That must have been one hell of a dream."
"You better keep an eye on his, Buck" Chris warned. "I have a feeling he might try to go up to see Vin."
"Don't worry, Chris, I will," Buck smiled.
"Mr. Larabee," Ezra said. "I believe you owe me something."
Josiah and Buck were puzzled as they watched Chris dig in his pocket and pull out his wallet. He opened it and handed Ezra twenty dollars. Ezra took the bill and thanks Chris for his business.
"Don't gloat," Chris said.
"I'm not gloating, Mr. Larabee," Ezra smiled as he turned and headed for the elevator. "Coming?'
Chris followed Ezra towards the elevator and they got on. Josiah looked at Buck.
"Don't look at me," Buck said. "You know Ezra will bet on anything."
Buck opened the door and went back into JD's room. Josiah followed him and closed the door.
The next twenty-four hours were hell for Vin. The doctor wouldn't let him sit up and his shoulder was killing him. He wasn't sure which was worse the tube down his throat or his shoulder. Vin was relieved when the doctor finally announced the tube could come out. Dr. Fitzpatrick had been pleased with his vitals and the output from the catheter. Once the tube was removed they kept him in ICU for another day. He was still flat on his back and couldn't get comfortable because of the pain. He was lying there in totally misery when Chris walked in.
"Hey Vin," Chris said as he came closer.
"Hey cowboy," Vin said in a pained voice.
"Shoulder still giving you hell?" Chris asked.
"Feels like it's on fire," Vin answered. "The damned morphine makes me sick."
"I know," Chris said. "That's why they kept the tube in your nose."
"Don't remind me," Vin said closing his eyes as a wave of pain hit him when he moved his head.
"Easy, Vin," Chris said holding his hand. "Take a deep breath."
"Can't," Vin complained. "Hurts my broken ribs."
Chris forgot that the glass had broken the lower ribs along Vin's back. Vin was finally able to ignore the pain and tried to relax. Chris sat quietly by his side when the doctor walked in.
"Well, Mr. Tanner, you'll be happy to hear that your last round of test show that your doing fine," he said. "I'm going to move you down to a private room."
"I'd rather share with JD," Vin stated.
"I don't think that's a good idea," the doctor disagreed. "I don't think Mr. Dunne needs to see the pain you'll suffer as you heal."
"Share ..JD," Vin said breathlessly.
"Trust me doctor, it's better for both of them if their together," Chris insisted.
"Alright," he relented. "It's your call."
"Thanks Chris," Vin said.
"Don't mention it," He smiled. "Besides Buck already promised the Kid, you'd be sharing with him."
Buck was sitting with JD when Chris popped his head in the door.
"Hey, JD," Chris smiled. "Ready for a visitor?"
Chris opened the door and held it while two orderlies pushed Vin in the room. The doctor didn't want him moved from bed to bed so everything had been loaded on his bed in ICU and then wheeled down. They shuffled beds around as they moved Vin into place. Buck could see Vin had the blankets crushed in his left hand. All the moving was really hurting the sharpshooter. Once the nurse got all the monitors in place she hooked everything back up. When she hooked up the heart monitor they could all see Vin's heart rate was fast. The next thing she hooked up was the morphine drip and gave him a dose of painkillers. JD watched anxiously as Vin's heart rate slowed.
"Mr. Tanner," the nurse said coming to the side of the bed. "The doctor said you could be raised into a reclining position. Let me know if you feel any pulling on the stitches in your back."
She hit the button and the head of the bed began to rise. Vin gasped in pain as his shoulder shifted. The nurse stopped to let him catch his breath. Chris took a hold of his left hand. She asked if he was all right to continue and he nodded. When she got it to the height she wanted she stopped and rearranged his pillows. Chris noticed the look on Vin's face and grabbed a basin from the counter. He got it under Vin just in time as he threw up.
"You're quick, Mr. Larabee," she smiled as Vin lay back.
Once he was laying back she hooked the NG tube to suction and Vin felt a little better. The nurse said she'd be back in a little while to check on him. Vin closed his eyes and tired to calm his rebelling stomach. JD watched as Vin lay back and closed his eyes. The guys hadn't really told him how bad Vin was. He looked at Buck and he smiled.
"He'll be Ok in a few minutes," Buck said. "Just let him get settled."
"Jesus, Chris, he looks terrible," JD exclaimed.
"Thanks," came a weak reply as Vin opened his eyes and turned to JD.
"I didn't mean it," JD said worried.
"It's OK, JD," Vin smiled. "I know what I look like."
"Why don't you get some rest, Vin," Chris suggested.
"I am kind of tired," he said as he closed his eyes.
"Vin!" JD called anxiously.
"I'm glad you're here," JD smiled.
"Me too, JD," Vin sighed as he fell asleep.
Chris pulled the covers higher over Vin. He took a seat next to Vin and got comfortable. Buck was sitting next to him and he smiled. Buck turned back to JD when he felt him touch his arm.
"Thanks, Buck," JD said.
"Hey don't I always keep my promises," he said with a huge smile on his face.
"Yeah, you do," JD said.
JD began to get sleepy and closed his eyes. In a short while he was snoring softly. Once Buck was sure he was asleep he glanced over at Chris. He was leaning with his head back in the chair with his eyes closed. Buck smiled and went back to working on the F-16 model he had brought JD.