JD walked to the empty lot, Joey and the others were standing around the fire barrel talking amongst themselves.
"Back so soon ferret?" Joey asked, JD noticing the concerned look on Joey's face after the teen glanced at his watch.
"Piece of cake. . . Steels got the guns in a storeroom in back of the house, he's gonna have four guys guarding," JD said evenly, giving the air he was all business.
"He gonna move em?" Jesse asked, how JD hadn't figured out. . . the kid had more piercings in and around his mouth than a shark had teeth.
"Uh-uh, says he's gonna move dummy crates. . . so if anyone tries to take them they'll get nothin'".
"Sounds like Steel. . . he guarding tonight?" Joey asked.
"Yup, him and three others; Pinhead, Stroker, and Ace." JD said, knowing that if Joey had any doubts he didn't now, JD had given him names to Steel's gang.
"Good job ferret. . . You still on suspension from school?"
"Yup, why? You need me to be there tomorrow for somethin?" JD asked, knowing that if he had to, he could get into the school without much trouble.
"Nope. . . Go home. . . you get your ass back here at 9 tomorrow morning. . . you and Jesse are guarding the guns in the day til we get outta school," Joey said.
"I ain't doin that empty handed," JD said.
"Your old man looks like a tough shit. . . no doubt he's got a gun. . . guess you better bring it with you then," Joey said then walked away.
"Guess it's just me an' you tomorrow ferret. . . hey. . . you got a name . . . or what?"
"Yeah," JD smiled as he walked out of the empty lot and headed the 6 blocks to Vin's, not giving Jesse his name.
+ + + + + + +
JD opened the door to the lobby of the apartment building, he took a deep breath as he began to walk up the 3 flights of stairs to Vin's apartment. It seemed an eternity until he made the last step, he was beyond tired, he hadn't slept more than 5 hours in the last 2 days; add the emotional turmoil and adrenaline rushes, and the fact he just walked 6 blocks. . . . it all added up to a very exhausted, 20 year old ATF agent.
With the last bit of strength he could muster, he knocked softly on the door wondering if it was enough to alert the sharpshooter. JD smiled as he heard someone approach the door.
"JD?" the voice from the other side asked, JD was too tired to even figure out if it was Vin. . . he assumed it was.
"Lemme in," JD said quietly, hoping Vin's hearing was as sharp as his eyes.
JD leaned against the door frame, waiting for the door to open and let him in so he could lay down on the couch and sleep. . . the thought of sleep put a smile on the young agents face, he closed his eyes as the thought turned to reality for JD.
The man who opened the door found it hard not to laugh.
"Well that answers that question. . . JD can sleep standing up," Vin said, looking back over his shoulder to meet the slight grin as Chris approached.
"I should've waited somewhere and picked him up," Chris said, the grin growing.
"JD. . . hey kid. . . " Vin said gently, not wanting to startle JD.
"Hey Vin. . . just give me a few more minutes. . . " JD answered slowly, his eyes still closed.
Both agents stifled a laugh.
"JD. . . come on lets get you to bed. . . or am I gonna have to carry you," Chris said, using a threat he knew the kid would wake up to.
"Chris?" JD asked, his eye's struggling to open, "I'm s'pose to be at Vin's," JD said seriously.
"Ya' are," Vin smiled.
"Oh. . . can I come in?" JD asked, still not fully awake.
"Come on. . . lets get you to bed," Chris said seriously.
"Couch'll be fine," JD smiled, his eyes half open, but more awake; JD broke Chris's light grip and shuffled to the couch, he sat stiffly then brought his legs up, his eyes were closed before his head landed softly on the arm of the couch.
"JD, you eat today?" Chris asked concerned.
"I think so. . . " he answered quietly, never opening his eyes.
Chris turned to Vin, who was already dialing the phone.
"How 'bout I get you something to eat. . . or drink," Chris asked, not sure if he would get an answer.
"I'm fine," JD relayed, a slight smile on his face.
"Ezra said he had a BLT 'bout 5:30," Vin said, putting the phone back on its receiver.
Chris sighed, he stood, grabbed the blanket from the back of the couch and covered JD with it.
"Fever come back?" Vin asked Chris.
"Nope," Chris smiled, "Just tired".
"He's gonna need a break after this is over," Vin said.
"You want to be the one to tell him?" Chris smiled, knowing JD would never take a break willingly.
"Hell no!" Vin stated with a laugh, "You know he'll give me that 'lo ok'".
Chris knew the look Vin referred to, the one that always reminded the other men how young JD really was; the one that usually made these tough, dark mooded men give into the young agent. Chris smiled, he gave into JD just as easily as the others. . . if not more so.
"He ever say anything to you about a man named Henderson?" Chris asked suddenly; JD was closets to Buck, but he talked to Vin; JD knew that Vin would listen. . . or at least pretend to when the young agent was on a ramble.
"Henderson? Nope, why?" Vin questioned.
"Had some trouble with him in Boston, he'd busted JD a few times. . . .from the sounds of it, he watched JD like a hawk. JD started infiltrating the gangs. . . Henderson was a prick. . . guess he thought JD hadn't really changed and was taking the department on a ride. Henderson made things so bad JD couldn't go back on beat," Chris condensed the version JD had given him.
"How?" Vin asked, wanting to know how Henderson had made life impossible for JD.
"JD was voted Cop of the Month, got his picture in the paper, 'someone' put in some pictures when JD was 'working'. . . don't know what they showed , the kid said they didn't show him in the best light, though," Chris looked to Vin to see if he had the same question he did.
"The pictures. . . " Vin said, letting Chris know that Vin, indeed, was on the same wave length.
"Just a coincidence?" Chris asked Vin, knowing he would understand the question.
"Don't know. . . seems kinda fishy though don't it?"
Chris was going to respond just as his cellphone rang.
"Larabee. . . Ezra. . . yeah he's fine. . . no just tired. Did you find anything out?" Chris paused as he listened to the information Ezra gave him. "Good job Ezra. . . you did? Good. . . I will," Chris finished his conversation.
"Well?" Vin asked quickly before Chris could put the phone back into his pocket.
"The new head of Narcotics is one Daniel Henders. . . a.k.a. as Donald Henderson. Seems that Henders/Henderson, doctored his credentials by leaving off the 'on' and deleting the fact that he was dismissed from the Boston PD Detective division 4 months ago," Chris relayed.
"For what he did to JD?" Vin asked, knowing it was pretty stiff action for publishing pictures.
"Yup. JD didn't tell us everything. . . . . . " Chris said, hanging his head.
"Meaning what? No way JD was on the take. . . " Vin defended, jumping to a conclusion.
"No. Seems Henderson's brother was in a gang. . . rivals of the gang JD had been in at the time, had a turf war. . . and his brother got killed. . . after JD joined the force. . . he found out JD was a member when it happened. JD started getting death threats, after the pictures were run. . . . he thought they were from old gang members, he was assigned to paperwork before I recruited him," Chris informed.
"Them threats get acted on?" Vin asked, knowing that it would take more than a threat for an officer to be pulled from his beat, he'd simply get a partner.
"Seems JD was walking his beat one night. . . someone came up behind him and shot him four times. . . he had a vest on. . . but the shooter was at close range. . . One of the bullets penetrated. . . they got the bullets out of the him and the vest. . . forensics confirmed they were Police issue. . . 2 months after JD left. . . they were finally able to trace them back to Henderson," Chris finished flatly.
"Henderson still's after him then. . . if he knows he's undercover. . . " Vin said, knowing that JD was in danger of getting his cover blown by Henders on if the defunct detective had that in mind.
"Ezra sent Buck and Josiah to keep an eye on Henderson. . . make sure he doesn't get in touch with Hall," Chris stated, letting Vin know that if Henderson went to the gang. . . JD wouldn't be safe.
"Soooo. . . we let him go do the deal tomorrow night?" Vin wondered.
"I'll let him decide. . . tell him what's going on with Henderson. . . if he still wants to do this. . . not likely he doesn't want to finish this," Chris said, voicing his thought as well.
Vin looked over to the couch then back at Chris, "You wanna wake him up and tell him now?"
"Don't think he'd comprehend a thing I'd say. . . probably sit there with his eyes open. . . then order a cheesburger," Chris smiled, shaking his head.
"Wouldn't doubt that," Vin smiled.
JD jerked awake suddenly, he threw off the blanket that covered him and practically jumped from the couch to a standing position; he looked around for his sneakers, the search becoming almost frantic.
"Shit!" JD yelled as he caught the corner of the coffee table, causing him to trip and fall flat on the floor with a thud and a grunt.
"JD. . . you . . . "Vin stopped trying not to laugh. . . "you . . . okay?" he asked composing himself; he knew JD was still sore from his initiation, the look on JD's face told Vin that JD'd forgotten but was reminded.
"Sorry to wake ya up," He grimaced as he pushed himself off the floor , grabbing at his quarry under the coffee table.
"Where you goin all fired up?" Vin asked, noticing the blanket had been flung off.
"I'm s'posed to be back at the warehouse at 9. . . to watch the guns. . . it's 11:30," JD said absently, putting on sneakers quickly.
"At night JD. . . you only been asleep for an hour or so," the sharpshooter said, pointing to the window to show the blackness of the sky.
"You sure?" JD asked. . . .like Vin didn't know the difference between night and day.
"Yeah. . . pretty sure. . . you bump your head when you fell?" Vin asked, moving over to JD to check his head.
JD shied from Vin and moved back to the couch and looked out the window, confirming to himself it was dark; but not totally convinced that their wasn't a conspiracy.
"What day is it?" JD asked suspiciously.
"What?" Vin asked, more convinced than ever that JD had hit his head.
"What day is it?"
"Technically it's still Thursday. . . but in about. . . .oh. . . 14 minutes it will be Friday. You sure you didn't smack your head?"
"So tomorrow's Friday. . . so . . . you and the others. . . you didn't bust Boxer and Joey yet?" JD asked.
"Uh-uh. . . " Vin said, understanding that JD was most likely sleeping so soundly that he panicked thinking he'd overslept. Three days of straight sleep wouldn't be enough for you right now kid Vin thought as JD lifted his face, Vin still able to see the signs of the initiation. . . they were fad ing. . . .but the bruises and cuts were still there.
"Sorry I woke ya up," JD said, slumping on the couch as he kicked off the sneakers he'd been desperate to find.
"That's all right. You feel like talkin for a bit?" Vin asked.
"Me to you or you to me?" JD asked, he could handle Vin talking to him . . . but he didn't have a logical thought in his head at the moment.
"Me to you," the sharpshooter said.
"What'd I do?"
"Nothin. . . it's about those pictures. . . "Vin started.
"What, you think. . . . . . "
"No. . . it's about who took them. . . and what happened back in Boston," Vin said, sitting on the coffee table in front of the couch.
"Boston? What's that got to do with. . . "
"Just listen. . . a man named Henders is the new head of Narcotics. . . he's the one that sent us those pictures," Vin paused to see if JD was comprehending where he was going with this.
"So?" JD shrugged off, too tired to put the coincidental name to Henderson from Boston.
"Chris had Ezra did some snooping. . . Henders is Henderson," Vin sat back to see if the light came on. It did.
"What?!!" JD asked. "Henders. . . the one that gave Chris the pictures. . . is . . . Henderson?!"
"Yup. There's somethin else ya need to know that Ezra found out. . . he ain't a cop," Vin said.
"No shit. . . he's the head of Narcotics Vin. . . you just told me that," JD reminded, his mind still to tired to realize what Vin had implied. Vin understanding this fact, was able to curb his aggravation. . . it was going to be a long night.
"No, JD. What I meant. . . He got booted. . . off the force. . . couple months after you left," the sharpshooter said steadily and clearly.
"Huh? How. . . why?" JD asked.
"They traced the bullets back to him," Vin mistakenly said vaguely.
"What bullets?" JD asked. . . still in a bit of a fog.
"When you was shot. . . the four times in the back. . . when you were in Boston," Vin tired to fill in the missing pieces until JD processed the information.
"When I was walkin'. . . .oh shit! Henderson's the one who shot me?!" the light finally came on, with a vengeance "What the hell did I ever do to him? He hated me THAT much? Jesus Vin. . . in the back!! I thought it was an old leader who gave someone a job!! Why was he so pissed off at me!!"
"From what Ezra found out. . . he had a younger brother. . . 'bout your age. . . he was into the gangs too, seems you had a turf war. . . . some of your guys got busted. . . his brother was killed in that fight. He remembered you being in the rival gang when you started at the precinct. . . guess he held you responsible," the older agent divulged what he knew.
"He's after me then. . . he's gonna blow my cover. . . One more day. . . that's all I needed and this would be over. . . Just one day. . . He's probably telling Joey that I'm undercover. . . Shit Vin," the young agent said, "All this for nothin'," he added somberly, referring to his appearance and his tired body.
"Buck and Josiah have Henderson under surveillance, make sure if he goes to Joey or calls him. . . we'll know. Chris says it's up to you if you want to forget tomorrow, the deals set up with Ezra and Boxer. . . that'll still be a go. . . but you don't have to be there, it's up to you," Vin said, informing JD that if his cover was blown, he'd know about it, and the choices he had to make.
"I dunno. . . what the hell am I suppose to do?" he asked.
"Sleep on it. . . get your head clear and listen to what this tells ya is the right thing to do," the former bounty hunter advised, pointing to his chest as he talked.
"What would you do?" JD asked.
"It's not my cover that might be blown JD. . . it's yours, ain't nothin me or anyone can answer for ya; I will tell ya' this though. . . whatever you decide. . . we'll stand behind ya, no matter what.," Vin smiled, patting JD on the shoulder then covering the blanket back on JD, who was beginning to lay back on the couch.
JD nodded his head then rolled to his side facing the back of the couch. His mind was going in 10 different directions. . . don't want to disappoint Chris, Henderson's after me, don't want to show Buck he was right. . . that he was too young and green, didn't want to let the others down, he wanted to prove himself. The big question for him, was he willing to die to prove to these men just how capable he was? Was he willing to die for the greater good. . . yes. Was he willing to die just to prove a point. . . he wasn't to sure.
He thought the reasons for going through with the case, the scenarios playing in his head again and again until his head hurt, he closed his eyes for what he thought would be just a second, but it was a second too long and his tired soul took over his thoughts and he fell asleep.
Vin sat in the kitchen and watched as JD slowly gave into his body's request and fell asleep. Vin knew the moment JD closed his eyes he would be asleep, but experience told him it wouldn't be a restful one, and in order for a restful sleep to take place. . . JD would need assistance.
He stood from the table and reached for the phone that sat innocently on the small table next to an overstuffed chair. He picked up the receiver and punched seven numbers and waited for it to be picked up. He heard the shuffling on the other end of the line and wisely held the phone away from his head.
"Sorry to wake ya up cowboy," Vin smiled as he apologized, sounding very convincing.
"JD all right?" Chris asked, still a bit aggravated, but the worry coming through.
"Well, we just had us a talk. . . he fell back asleep. . . but he started toss in and turnin the minute his eyes closed. . . He ain't gonna get much sleep," Vin said casually, turning to the couch watching the man responsible for the phone call.
"All right. . . I'll stop and see what Nathan can do; you owe me," Chris threatened.
"Me? JD's the one not gettin a good night sleep here Chris," Vin reminded him lightly.
". . . and if he keeps you up. . . you're gonna make sure everyone else is awake too?"
"Hey. . . we're a team. . . remember? What ever happened to 'One for all and all for one'?"
"There was only three of them fancy dressed, long curly haired men, with swords. . . we're five bad tempered lawman with guns who hate being woken up in the middle of the night," Chris growled through the phone.
"It's for JD Chris," Vin said, his voice pleading and pitiful.
"I said I'd be there. . . no need to start sounding like the kid," Chris couldn't help but smile. . . if anyone could put a voice to the 'look' of JD's it would be Vin.
"I know. . . I appreciate that," Vin said, his mood changing.
"Be there in a half hour," Chris assured.
"'Kay," Vin said, hanging up the phone he couldn't help but smile. . . knowing Chris would be at the apartment in 15 minutes.
As Vin waited for Chris his light mood changed, to say JD had grown restless would have been inaccurate. He would occasionally toss his head. . . or twitch. . . the only thing that indicated that he was in any distress at all was his breathing. . . it was like JD had run a marathon. . . twice.
Vin sat next on the coffee table, listening for any sign that JD was having trouble breathing, a wheez. . . a cough. . . anything, but there wasn't. Vin waited for the knock at the door. . . every few minutes wondering if he should try and wake JD up, and every few minutes he would talk himself out of it, JD was just real tired. . .
Vin quickly opened the door with out asking who it was the minute he heard the knock, Chris grew concerned immediately knowing Vin always asked who it was. . . you had to be careful in this part of town.
"From the look on your face I don't even wanna ask how he's doing," Chris said, Nathan walked passed, then the two men followed.
"He looks like Sigourney Weaver in 'Ghostbusters'," Vin said, feeling better now that he wasn't alone with his thoughts anymore.
"He'd be having one hell of a fit if he could," Nathan said, walking to the kitchen where Chris had detoured Vin's intended path back to the couch.
"What ya' mean?" Vin asked.
"I'd say he's having a nightmare. . . his body's just too tired to show it. . . so he's breathin' fast," Nathan shrugged.
"Do we wake him up?" Vin questioned.
"Naw. . . let him sleep. . . " Nathan yawned out.
"Guess I woke ya'll for nothin', sorry," the long haired agent offered.
"Probably would have called if it was me," Chris said. . . he hated getting woken up. . . but with JD . . . one could never tell.
"Don't worry bout it Vin. That boy gets sicker faster than anyone I know," Nathan said.
"That's what I kept thinkin. . . 'bout the time he slammed his finger in the file drawer. . . he only broke his finger. . . "
"Yup, then next thing you know ole Doc Lassiter is trying to figure out how the kid's temp went from nothing to 103 and why he couldn't catch his breath," Chris finished the tale Vin had started.
"Then there's always 'I'm fine' bullshit, when's he gonna learn that it's okay to say. . . 'Nate. . . I ain't fine'?" the former E.M.T. smiled.
"Probably when he hears us say it," Chris laughed, knowing that JD followed their example.
There was a knock at the door that sent suspicious looks all around to the other agents. Vin and Chris straddled each side of the door, weapons drawn, Nathan went to the couch to cover JD.
"Who's there?" Vin asked attempting make his voice sound far off into the apartment.
"The boogey men. . . now let us in!" Buck said impatiently.
"Buck? Josiah? Thought I told you to watch Henderson. . . " Chris reprimanded.
"Unlike JD. . . he's tucked in for the night all nice an cozy," Buck said, pushing past the two.
Chris and Vin looked quizzically at Josiah, wondering how they knew JD wasn't sleeping well.
"We tapped your phone. . . in case Henderson called here," Josiah answered the unvocalized question.
"You will remove that bug," Vin ordered.
"I'll do it right now, that was Buck's idea. . . not mine," Josiah shifted blame. . . it was Buck's idea, but he'd gone along with it willingly.
"He don't look so good Nate," Buck offered his opinion.
"Looks worse than it is," Nathan offered, grabbing at the hand that tried to check for a fever.
"Nathan. . . " Buck said harshly, but quietly.
"You might wake him up. . . a bad sleep is better than no sleep at this point," Nathan said, knowing that JD hadn't slept much at all in the last few days.
"Kinda hard to sleep ifn' ya' can't breath!" Buck whispered back
"He's just breathin fast. . . he ain't wheezy. . . or anything. . . just let him be," Nathan nearly pleaded.
Buck nodded as he sighed, taking residence in the wooden chair that sat next to the couch.
There was a muffled sound of a phone ringing, Chris grabbed at his cell phone and opened it.
Nothing. . . the muffled sound again.
The sound continued.
"Nathan," Buck said concerned, noticing that JD's breathing was increasing; not thinking it was even possible to get faster.
"I know Buck. . . let him ride this out," Nathan said, knowing that JD's nightmare was becoming more intense.
The phone rang again.
"NO!" JD yelled as he sat straight on the couch.
"It's okay JD. . . you're all right. . . " Buck reassured with a smile.
JD brought his knees up to meet his elbows, he laid his sweat covered face in his hands, catching his breath.
Nathan was about to instruct JD to take deep breaths and let them out slowly, when the phone rang again, causing JD to jump from the couch. It rang again and JD smiled sheepishly as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out Ezra's phone.
"Hello?" JD asked, his voice gravely.
"Don't need you till 8 tomorrow night," the voice of Joey said.
"Why? Thought I was supposed to stand watch?" JD asked, growing concerned that Henderson had informed Hall that he was a cop.
"Change of plans. . . we lost two guys tonight. . . I have the crates with me. .won't need any body to watch them. . . I'll bring them with me. . . so be at the warehouse at 8 tomorrow night," the teen instructed.
"Okay. . . you're the boss," JD said, he folded the phone back up, tossed it onto the coffee table and lowered himself back into the couch.
"What's up?" Chris asked.
"Huh? Oh. . . Joey don't need me till 8. . . guess they want me there for the deal. . . they lost a couple guys when they got the guns," JD said.
"You think Henderson tripped you up, told Joey who you were?" Buck ask ed, not liking the fact plans had been changed.
"If Henderson told Hall, that kid would've already sent some guys for JD," Vin said.
"Yup, you sure as hell wouldn't be sitting here talking to me. Which reminds me. . . why are you all here?" he asked, looking at each man individually, choosing to stop on Vin.
"You were having a nightmare. . . I think. . . just caught me off guard is all ," Vin smiled.
"Oh. . . sorry," JD apologized, leaning back in the couch.
"You remember what you was dreaming about?" Josiah asked.
"Nope. . . guess it wasn't that bad," JD smiled, he honestly didn't remember, but he suspected it was when he'd been shot.
+ + + + + + +
Joey hung up the phone. He turned to the man standing next to him.
"You wanna be there?"
"No, I have other plans".
"I can't believe this shit. He checked out".
"He wasn't always a cop, what you got for information was all fact; then he tried to make everyone believe he was 'reformed'. Got these men here fooled. . . you're lucky you got the guns. . . but he'll skip out on you. . . go 'undercover' with someone else who can afford to support his habits".
"He didn't do nothin with us, said he was clean. . . didn't even touch a joint to pass it along," Joey said, shaking his head.
"That's cause he doesn't do pot, his taste are pretty expensive".
"Shoulda known. . . his supplier drove a Jag for Christ sake".
"Got a big day tomorrow, maybe you need to get some sleep," the older man said.
"Yup, should be not only entertaining. . . but profitable, I told him not to cross me".
"He's crossed you so many ways you don't have enough fingers. . . JD Dunne , your 'ferret' is nothing but a snitch".
"We'll take care of him. . . don't worry Henderson," Joey promised as he left Henderson's house.
Joey frowned as he crossed the street, he hated being taken for a ride . . . He hated being duped. . . he hated being lied to. JD had done all three. . . and he would pay for that mistake, by this 'two bit amateur'.
Henderson smiled as he watched Joey leave his house, JD would get what was coming to him. He was involved in his brothers murder, he might not have done it. . . but he'd been there. . . the others responsible had long been killed or arrested in other incidents. . . Dunne was the only one left, and he'd gotten off scott free. . . but not this time.
"Once a gang banger. . . always a gang banger. . . Revenge will be sweet. . . you are going to die. . . the same way my brother did," Henderson said to the picture of a smiling JD that he'd taken a week earlier, tearing it as he spoke.
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