ATF Alternate Universe
"We got him back," Gabarini was finally able to say.
"Jesus," Chris whispered out, not really sure if it was meant to blame, to thank or just the first word that came to mind.
Chris turned to face Buck again, and found Vin standing there, neither had heard what Gabarini had said. Chris put his hand on to Buck's shoulder, he felt the tremors running through himself and Buck as Buck slowly shook his head; he didn't want to hear it, he already knew.
"Buck," Chris said, casting a look to Vin, "he's alive."
Buck stared at Chris, did he just hear what he thought he heard? It didn't sound like sorry, he's gone' maybe he heard wrong.
"What?" Buck whispered out.
"He's alive," Chris said, moving his hand to the back of Buck's neck.
"He's alive," he repeated, bringing Buck in closer, Chris finally letting his emotions, show and held onto him.
"He's gonna be okay?" Vin finally found his voice, regretting it the minute he had.
"He's alive, but not out of the woods. We're sending him up to surgery. He's got two bullets here," Gabarini pointed to the spots on his own chest. "He's losing blood as fast as we can get it in to him. He's bleedin' more in than he is out, causing his chest cavity to fill up, that's what caused his heart to stop. He just ran out of room. We've put two drains in his chest and that's letting the blood drain out and that cleared some room for his heart to start up again."
"What about his leg?" Chris seemed to finally be able to think.
"Well, there's two goods and one bad. The good is the bullet missed his femoral artery, and he didn't have a whole lot of bleeding from that, the bad is," Gabarini sighed " the bullet is embedded in his pelvis, next to the hip joint which is going to require surgery to remove."
"But," Buck asked quietly.
"I don't dare do the surgery until I feel he's stable enough, what were going to be doing is a grab and run deal with the chest. He's lost most of his own blood, once we get him through this, let him get stronger then we can do the surgery."
"What are we talking here, John? Couple of days?" Chris asked.
"At least a week"
"A week?" Buck questioned.
"He's going to be here a while, if there's any damage to the bone it'll be at least a month. Buck, guys, we need to worry about one thing at a time here. I know JD's a tough kid, he just put up one hell of fight in there, we need him to be able to recover from that," Gabarini reiterated, his voice betraying the doctor' voice a bit.
"Okay, John I'm sorry..it's just..it's the," Chris stumbled.
"I know, it's the kid," Gabarini said, knowing everyone else felt it, too.
"When they moving him?" Vin asked before anyone else could.
"I'll give you a few minutes when they bring him out," Gabarini promised.
"I wanna see him now John," Buck said with more strength than he felt.
"I can't do that, it's not safe. JD would kill me if I let you in there and you know that," Gabarini stated back. Knowing it was the truth. "I'll make sure you have a hand," the doctor offered.
"John, thanks," Buck said, his emotion starting to climb back up I'll make sure you have a hand he knew that meant JD was covered and they had to clean a safe' place where there wasn't any blood.
"Give us a few minutes," and the men nodded.
The men all gathered a breath, Chris was about to tell Buck what to expect when they rolled JD out, but as Buck looked around he noticed that men were missing.
"Where the hell is everyone?" Buck asked.
"Josiah and Nate are around here somewhere, Josiah came in with Tony and Mike; Nathan came in earlier," Chris said, looking back to the window that just showed the curtain.
"Where's Casey? They give you a hard time about her again..I swear.." Buck began to get angry, he didn't know what else to do.
Vin was about to tell Buck, when they heard Chris's cell phone.
"Yeah....still with us....touch and go..How.....alright...how long?.......okay, he's headed up to surgery...no, we'll be down in the ER, we've got strict orders...Alright..everyone else is here...okay...Ezra, don't break the sound barrier trying to get here..what?..Yes ATF will pay to get the blood out."
"Where the hell is Ezra?" Buck asked, still on the verge of exploding.
"Casey took a bullet in the shoulder, he took her to Cedars. She just got out of surgery, she'll be laid up for a while, but she's gonna be okay."
"JD know she got shot?" Buck asked.
"Yeah," Chris said
"Tony and Mike both took hits?" Buck asked
"Yeah, not too bad, JD got hit bad, Travis and Zeke got the worse of it." Vin relayed.
"Travis and Zeke? Tony doin okay?" Buck wondered.
"I dunno, Josiah rode in with him," Vin said shaking his head.
"Chris, were ready," he heard Gabarini call from the door.
There were no words to describe what they felt the minute they saw JD.
The person lying on the gurney, hooked up to a machine that was breathing for him, a machine that beeped every time his heart beat; hanging from a post, bags clear and red of fluid that had tubes at the end of them disappearing under the blanket, red areas where blood had soaked, the person who's eyes were taped shut, the person who was ashen in color could in no way, shape or form be their JD Dunne.
"Jesus kid," Buck whispered to himself, looking to where he wanted so desperately to see two hazel eyes look at him, smile a crooked smile and say he was fine'. Buck wanted to touch his face and push the hair from the tape covered eyes, but he could see the dried blood, and knew he couldn't. He instead opted for the hand the doctor had promised him, covered with iodine to make sure it was safe.
"He's so cold," Buck sighed out in a quiet sob.
"JD, Casey's doing fine, she's gonna be okay, you stay with us, you come this far don't give up now," the leader ordered, also being taken back by the coolness he felt in the young man's arm.
"Hang in there JD, we'll be waiting for you," Vin said, in a calm tone, but heavy with emotion.
"Don't you leave me JD, you hear me. I can't take care of that fool dog, you know how much she hates me. 'Sides, still your turn to do dishes. God JD, I'm beggin' ya' here, you hang tough. I need ya' kid, we all do," Buck said, crying and not caring who saw.
"Sorry guys, we gotta go," Gabarini stated and began to wheel the kid into the elevator, physically removing Buck's hand from the young agents arm.
"Come on Buck, we got to find Nate and Josiah," Chris said thinking of something to do.
Buck nodded and Chris and Vin took him to the waiting room, and made him sit down before he fell.
"I'm gonna see about getting them paged," Chris said, looking to Vin. Look after him he said with his eyes, and Vin answered of course in the same manner, and the sharpshooter sat down Indian style in front of Buck, putting his hands on trembling ones in front of him and rested his head on the two sets of hands, and closed his eyes.
Chris walked to the front desk and saw Thompkins on the phone, he could hear the one sided conversation as he got closer.
"Yeah, as soon as you can....Okay....about 30?...hey, who cares if they match, it'll do someone some good....... Really? I'll let him know...see ya' in 10," and he hung the phone.
Thompkins smiled at the receptionist and said thanks and turned.
"Just coming to see you," Thompkins said, " IA's already been called, there gonna want to talk to you and the others."
"Not now," Chris relayed, knowing that if IA wanted to talk to him they were probably already in the building.
"We'll be here to straighten them out," Thompkins assured.
"Your guys go home?" Chris asked seeing the four men that came with him weren't there.
"No, they're giving blood, got about 30 more from the department coming down," Thompkins smiled, proud of his guys for the show of support.
"Thanks Frank, I know Sweetser lost a bit, I don't know about Tony. Sorry about Travis..and Zeke," Chris said, knowing that even a dog was a part of the force and would be missed as much as the other officer.
"I talked to Tony, he's doing okay. Called Cedars and they took a look at Zeke, the first shot got him, he didn't feel the others, seem to make Tony feel better he didn't suffer. Travis was the same," Thompkins relayed with remorse.
Chris nodded, it did ease the mind that the ones who lost their lives didn't suffer; unfortunately his mind wouldn't be eased if JD died, he'd already suffered too much.
"Excuse me, Mr. Larabee. Is there something I can do for you?" the receptionist asked.
"Darcy?" Chris asked, the women smiled and nodded. "I need to find Josiah and Nate, they're hear somewhere."
"Mr. Sanchez just called in, he's on his way down, he said he'll grab Mr. Jackson on his way," the woman relayed with a sad smile "I'm praying for him Mr. Larabee" she smiled again, grasping at the small gold cross around her neck.
"Thank you Darcy, lets hope He's listening," Chris said, to anyone it would have come across coldly, but to Darcy and the rest of the hospital staff that dealt with these men she could feel the emotion behind the words.
Chris turned to head back to the waiting area and as he did he saw a very familiar man in a most unfamiliar state.
The man walked past the waiting area and glanced at the two men who sat, as they were before Chris left, and continued on to the leader.
"Have you seen him yet?"
"For a couple of minutes on his way to surgery. You didn't change Ezra?" Chris commented on the blood stained shirt, suit jacket, pants and, if Chris remembered right, Ezra's favorite pair of Italian shoes.
"Yes, well, pardon my appearance, I thought my time would be better spent getting here, I didn't know there would be a dress code," Ezra drawled out, his time at Cedars had taken its toll on him as well.
"Chris," came the low tone of Nathan.
"How's everyone doing?" Chris asked of the other agents that had been hurt.
"Doing fine, Sweetser's right beside himself, thinks he did something wrong," Josiah stated.
"I'm sure Holland would like to use that, damn him," Chris said, letting his anger show.
"Mr. Standish, I know they aren't what you are used to, but I thought maybe you could use these," Darcy said, giving Ezra a set of hospital scrubs.
"Thank you, this is...very kind of you," Ezra said, taking the scrubs; touched by the woman's kindness, she pointed him to a place to change. Ezra was stopped by the sound of the automatic door opening and a group of 30 men and women wearing blue shirts that gave initials of their department or agency. The men were met by an orderly, and one of the men spoke.
"Where do we give blood at?" The orderly pointed and turned to have the group follow him.
Vin had noticed the group as well, and heard the question; he grabbed Buck and forced him to stand and walk towards the four men already standing, the men and women were here for one person.
As the group passed by the men who stood, the officers and agents nodded as they passed. Josiah and Nathan both smiled appreciatively, Ezra stood stock still holding the scrubs and trying to swallow the lump that was forming in his throat. Vin held on to Buck's arm, not wanting to let go as he was overcome by the show of concern. Buck sighed out a heavy breath that was rich with so much emotion as the tears fell. Chris swallowed back the tears that were coming, but the tears won that battle, and the hardened ATF agent, with a heart of stone could have cared less.
Just as that group had made it's way past them, the door opened again, exposing officers in uniforms, Chris noticed that the men had already placed the the black bands across their badges in remembrance of the ones who had died that day.
Chris couldn't take it any longer and turned, all these men and women, going to donate blood to a young man that they had the occasion to work with.
"Damn kid, he better not give up," Chris finally was able to choke out.
"He's touched many people Chris, it's what makes him special," Josiah leveled, smiling as he said it.
"You think he knows how many people are pullin' for him?" Nathan asked, also amazed at the display that was going on.
"Hell, Nathan he doesn't know he's got that damn puppy dog look, if he knew people would be doing this for him..... he wouldn't be our JD," Vin answered, no one missed the hitch in his voice.
"But he is," Chris said quietly.
All six men stood as they heard Dr. Gabarini address their leader an hour and a half after they had taken JD to surgery. Chris couldn't help the feeling he had, he felt the hour and a half wasn't long in surgery and Gabarini wouldn't be here if things had gone well, it was too short a time.
Chris tried to read the tired mans face, but he just didn't have the ability, his mind was racing with how the doctor would tell him. Sorry he thought..or maybe we did everything we could or he just didn't have enough fight.
"John?" he finally managed to say.
"We're going to have to burn every medical book ever written," Gabarini said. "They're taking him to ICU right now, give them a few minutes to get him settled and you can go up."
"You got the bullets out then," Vin asked, why, he didn't know.
"We got the ones in his chest like we planned. He's a strong kid, wish all my patience had his will," Gabarini stated. He sensed the next question and answered it before it was asked "If he makes it through the next 24 hours without any major complications, his chances are better."
"You're tellin us this still could go either way even after 24 hours?" Buck found his rough and tired voice.
"We can't do anymore for him, it's all up to him," Gabarini said.
"Well, then if the battle is no longer in your hands good man, but now rest in the hands of young Mr. Dunne, than I feel the battle will be won and in a matter of days we will be once again complaining about the lack of his comical genius," Ezra said in a confidence he didn't really feel.
"You said any major complications, what are we talking here?" Chris finally able to ask.
"He needs to start breathing on his own for one, we've already tried and he's just too weak. All his strength is going to keeping his heart going, the longer he's on the respirator the harder it's gonna be for him to do."
Gabarini was going to say more, knowing the others had questions but he had to excuse himself as his beeper went off. He went to a phone, pushed a few buttons on the telephone, and hung up quickly. He then walked back to the men.
"He's all set in ICU, you ready to see him?"
"Doc, he look as bad as he did when you took him upstairs?" Buck asked, not so sure he could see that all again.
"'Fraid so, Buck," Gabarini said as the group walked to the elevator.
"Hey Doc? Why ..the tape..I mean..why tape them?" Buck asked, how was he supposed to see the kid's eyes if they were taped shut.
"His eyes were open Buck," Vin answered, remembering when JD had first arrested, his eyes were somewhere between shut and open, like when he came across a dead body a time or two in his bounty hunting days. That realization hit him all of a sudden, the reason JD's eyes did that was because, in essence, he was dead'.
The elevator dinged, and the doors opened, Gabarini pointed to the direction they were going and the men followed not noticing the activity at the nurses station.
"Hold up a minute," Gabarini stopped the group, like they were on a museum tour as he turned to the men. "I don't want any of you going in, you stay here and look through the glass until you can get a grip to deal with what you're going to see. He needs you strong for him. Understood?" the men nodded at the very Larabee like words that left no room for argument.
Chris and Vin looked into the window. Chris was the first to leave, he couldn't believe it was JD and just needed to touch him, look at him, push the hair from his face to make sure.
Buck was far from ready but went anyway, besides, Chris would keep him in check, he'd give him the strength to touch JD again, wether he was cold or not.
Josiah and Nathan were the next to leave, Nathan was touched by how he looked; but with his medical background it wasn't anything he hadn't seen before, and Josiah just needed to be there, just in case.
Vin was ready to go in, he needed to make sure nothing was unattached, not that he would know if everything was were it was supposed to be or not.
Vin looked to where Ezra had been and had to turn his neck some more as he saw Ezra his back against the wall on the other side of the corridor staring at the window like it had a contagious disease, the face on the man far from the one Vin was used to seeing. Ezra's color had faded, he had gone pale and he just stared with green eyes at the window, looking like the human being, not Ezra Standish' the man who showed no emotion.
"Ezra,"Vin said, standing in front of the man.
"Mr. Tanner..I ..I seem to suffer a similar..haha..affliction with JD toward heights..it appears..that...I.. I'm afraid of .....hospital windows," he almost laughed out, trying his damnedest to smile, but failing miserably.
"I'll stand with you," Vin offered.
"I..I can't..it doesn't even look like him," Ezra's emotions beginning to betray his whole up bringing.
"I know, he needs you Ezra, he needs all of us," Vin tried, also finding himself succumbing to the emotion, but not totally for JD, the man's defensive wall was beginning to crumble, Vin was amazed at the man he thought incapable of showing emotions.
"Vin....he's..he's just...a ...a boy," Ezra finally let out as the tears stung his his eyes.
"A very strong, stubborn boy, remember this Ezra..he shouldn't have even made it into surgery, much less here. He needs us all, he needs you to tell him to fight, give him a reason to," Vin ordered.
"Ha haha..He," <sniff> "still does owe me twenty dollars," Ezra grinned, as he wiped the tears from his face.
"I said give' him a reason," Vin smiled, at hearing the much more familiar tone and attitude. "Sides, you were the one who took care of Casey, he needs to know she's okay," Vin lightened the mood.
"You're welcome, come on lets go see JD," and Ezra nodded, still trying to choke back the tears.
Chris was sitting next to JD, his hand on top of the kid's, not daring to lift it in fear that he would do some damage to the IV he had in his hand that pumped what he presumed was blood back into JD. Buck was on the other side, aping Chris as he was finally able to push back the dark hair from JD's all to pale face.
The leader found himself staring at the hand willing it to move , then would look to his face, and at the tape over the kid's eyes. He was about to look back to the hand when he heard Gabarini.
"He's in here, his family is with him right now, I'll give you a few minutes."
No one could figure out who the doctor could be talking to, all the men that needed to be here, were; there weren't any one else that belonged here.
"I wasn't aware he had any?" the man asked.
Chris looked back at the door with fire in his eyes, he heard the voice, he knew the voice. Holland.
Chris leapt from his post' and went to the door and pushed the man to the far wall.
"Get your hands off me Larabee!" Holland yelled.
"What the hell are you doing here? Admiring your handy work?!" Chris yelled back.
"I lost two good officers today! I want to know what happened!" Holland yelled
"You think he's gonna tell you anything! Here..this is as far as you get," Chris yelled again, grabbing the man and pushing his face against the window.
"Ahh..call security dammit call security!" Holland ordered.
"You're not at the precinct, you're at a hospital," Gabarini said calmly, turning back and giving a nod to the nurse who held a phone. John knew Chris had his reasons for what he was doing, and he wasn't about to get in between Chris Larabee when one of his men, especially this one in particular, was hurt.
"I was hoping he could tell me what the hell happened! What went wrong.. I didn't know he was this messed up!" Holland didn't know when to keep his mouth shut at times.
"You happened! You fucked up Holland!! You let perimeter down while we still had guys in there! That let others in! That's what happened!!" Chris snapped.
"It could have happened to any of those boys!! And you know that!" Holland said his face still pressed against the glass.
"But it didn't," Chris said in a low tone, getting closer to the man's face, "It happened to my boy" he continued in a low growl.
"JOHN!!" Came Buck's voice from JD's room. Chris let go of Holland forcefully, and ran into the room.
"What happened Buck?" Gabarini asked calmly.
"I dunno..he was doing okay..then this thing, it starts beeping like ...like that!".
"Get him outta here!" John pointed to Holland as Security came into the room.
"I'm leaving, this ain't over!" Holland yelled back.
"JD.. JD..ease up there buddy, relax, I know it's hard," John talked as he listened to JD's heart.
"This is good, kind of," Gabarini said. Pulling Chris to the side whispering.
"Kind of?" Chris wondered.
"He's hearing you, he knows you're here. What just happened is he heard you yelling and that got him worked up. You're gonna have to watch what you say. This is a good sign Chris," John smiled.
"This is good," Chris repeated, nodding, letting Gabarini know he understood.
He went back to resume his post and to let the men know he grabbed JD's hand, and began talking to him.
"I'm sorry I got you all worked up, but you know how much I like Holland," Chris looked for the familiar smile to form, but instead was rewarded with the beep of the machine going back to the steady pace that it had been at for the last 6 hours.
Chris looked up to see Buck smiling and the others who understood that JD was listening, and knowing that they would have to be careful of what they said and how they said it.
It was a long day and an even longer night, the staff knowing better than to even suggest any of them leave, the only thing they did insist on was that they eat, which they did by taking turns, like they did when talking to him, and sleeping.
+ + + + + + +
"Mike and Tony are doing real good, Josiah's trying to get Mike to come down and see ya. Tony said you did a hell of a job with him, real proud of ya kid," Buck talked, waiting. For what, he didn't know..anything..something to tell him the kid was listening, hearing, or just plain ignoring him.
"You really gotta stop gettin yourself into these kinds a situations, I'm gettin to damn old for this JD. You usually add about ten years...you..you out done yourself here, kid, you're going to be on dish and laundry duty for a year, maybe 6 months..hell JD, you wake up and I'll do em for the next year," Buck said, quietly.
"Come on kid, time to wake up. You got this old man sitting here in this cramped chair for the last 15 hours, I've cancelled two dates already. JD, this little adventure of yours is puttin' a big dent on my social life," Buck paused, "Dammit JD, wake up!" he yelled his frustration.
Chris and Vin both heard Buck, and it had woken them up, and also setting off the monitor to start beeping a little faster.
"Time for a break Buck," Vin said, not giving him a choice.
"Easy JD, Buck's just tired," Chris said, holding the limp but warmer hand, and pushing back the ever present hair that always found its way to cover the kid's face.
"We really gotta talk about a hair cut when you get better. You keep this up your hairs gonna be longer than Casey's," Chris smiled at the thought, he noticed that the monitor beeped a bit faster; not as fast as when Buck yelled, but definitely faster.
"What is it JD? What's the matter? I told you, Vin's taking care of Buck he just needs a rest," The monitor was still beeping at the steady faster pace. Chris tried to think what it was that he might have said, then it hit him.
"You worried about Casey," the pace picked up, and Chris smiled a little, "she's fine, Ezra got her to Cedars, matter of fact he just called to check on her, they say she's doin fine, even ate something," Chris smiled. "We'll get her here as soon as the vet's says she can leave," he looked to the kid's eyes again as the beeping slowed again, and noticed a tear had escaped from the corner of the kid's eye rolling down his cheek.
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