ATF Alternate Universe
"Chris, I need to see you for a minute," Dr. Gabarini said from the doorway with a smile.
Chris stood and looked over to Ezra, who nodded and stood, still in his green scrubs he stood as Chris told JD he would be back, then sat in the chair when Chris walked to speak to John.
"Something wrong?" Chris asked tiredly, he knew JD still hadn't woken up but he hadn't gotten any worse.
"No, no. He's holding his own. I spoke to Dr. Jonas this morning and he said there weren't any problems. What I wanted you for is we need to get in and check him out. I want to see how he's healing, check his vitals, get him some clean sheets and see if he's got enough in him to start breathing on his own."
"John, I'm not leaving him alone. Buck's off with Vin, hopefully sleeping somewhere. You know Buck wouldn't leave him , I can't. Someone's gotta be there with him."
"I've spent too many hours arguing with you before, no one else stays though. You stay out of the way and let us do our jobs, understood?" Gabarini stated, tipping his hat' to the many battles he had lost arguing.
"I been kicked out of too many rooms to argue with that," Chris also tipped his hat' to the man who had basically thrown him out of rooms.
Chris went in and explained to the men what Gabarini had requested, they understood and left and got as far as the hall and to the window, no one wanting to leave JD.
Chris stood next to JD, making sure he touched his arm to let him know he was still there, as the small army of men and women, carrying assorted items, entered the room.
"Okay JD, first things first, were going to take the tape off your eyes just in case you decide to let us see if you still have hazel eyes. It's not gonna feel the best, but I'll make it quick," he did as promised and removed the tape quickly.
Chris almost winced half expecting JD to yell at the fact the tape had taken some of his eyebrow with it, but there was nothing, not a flinch, a groan not even a creased brow.
John then took the small pen light and opened his eyes one at a time, flashing the light to and back a few times. He then moved to the bandage that covered the bullet wounds, and removed the bandage and felt around, the beeping increasing the only signal to the kid's discomfort as Gabarini constantly talked, reassured, comforted and told the kid what he was doing.
He listened to the JD's breathing and then to his heart. He looked up to Chris and gave a reassuring smile that told him all sounded good. He walked around to the same side Chris was to the other bullet wound, removed that bandage, as a nurse reapplied a clean bandage to the chest. Once again the beeping of the heart monitor responded, showing that JD felt the probing hands, even though the expression on his face never changed.
Chris was oblivious to the talk going around him, his total focus was on JD waiting for a sign. He never saw the nurses remove the IV that had given JD blood, his face was set in stone, as was his gaze.
The nurses began the delicate task of changing bed sheets. At any time that JD was in pain, his heart would beat faster, and Chris would do his best to calm him down, after a few minutes the task was done and the nurses left.
John turned to the window and nodded to the men who once again took up their familiar post and John took Chris out into the hallway again, he knew JD had been responding well to the men, not knowing if it was just the comfort of familiar voices or if he seemed to be understanding them he wasn't sure, maybe a combination of both. Regardless, it made him weary to talk in front of him.
"Everything looks great. His lungs are clear, but we have to anticipate pneumonia. The longer he's not making his lungs work, the chances increase. There's no fluid in his chest, we've pulled the chest tubes, taken him off from getting any more blood; he's still down a pint, but his body needs to start working for itself. His pupils were equal and reactive. I'm going to take him off the respirator, and basically it's up to him how long he stays hooked up to it. If he starts right off, I'll take it out, if not; I'd feel better doing it gradually. Make him work for a bit then giving him a break..it's a process..but.."
"Breathing rehab.." Chris said dryly, letting Gabarini know he understood.
"Basically," John smiled.
"Somethin wrong?" Buck said , not hiding his worry as he and Vin came down the hall.
"No, he's doing fine, Doc here wants to see if JD's strong enough to start breathing on his own," Chris relayed.
"What are we waiting for?" Vin asked.
"Nothing now that the whole family's here," John said, slapping Buck on the shoulder.
"Hey kid, time to show these doc's what you're made of," Buck said as he sat in the chair that Ezra exited the minute he heard his voice.
"JD, I'm going to unhook the respirator, as soon as you can I need you to breath, okay. Here we go," Gabarini said, disconnecting the hose placing his hand on JD's chest and looking at the clock.
"Come on JD come on," Buck said aloud as everyone else mouthed the words.
"That's it JD, give me another," Gabarini smiled out as he felt the slight movement under his hand.
"Come on, kid"
"Give me some real good ones JD and I'll take it all way. That's it..good JD ..good," he joined in the collective smile and he picked up the phone that hung on the wall, punched a few numbers, spoke and in a few minutes a nurse entered the room.
"Okay JD, as uncomfortable as that is in, it's gonna get worse for a bit, just don't panic on me here, okay. Okay, here we go," Gabarini held the tube and waited for JD to take a breath in, when he did he pulled the tube as quickly and as gently as he could as JD exhaled, and waited for the beeping of the heart monitor to slow and waited for the next breath, which he got.
"Okay JD, I know you've done a lot in a short time, but you really need to start thinking about waking up, you gotta see all the gray hairs you've given Buck before he goes and gets them colored," Gabarini said.
"Get some sleep kiddo," and the doctor smiled and left the men there, all taking up their positions, but in a better mood..things were turning around, now all they had to do was get the kid to open his eyes and tell them the two words that they longed to hear... I'm fine'
"I thought he said 24 hours and he'd wake up, it's going on 35"
"Buck he didn't set a time, what John said was if he made it through 24 with out complications his chances were better. Hell, he might not even be awake when they go and get the other bullet out," Chris reminded
"He ain't never been this quiet this long, what I wouldn't give to have him tell me one of those stupid jokes; I can't stand this much more," Buck said, his voice wavering as he shook his head back and forth.
"Josiah and Nathan will be back, we can all get cleaned up a bit and change. Ezra's gone to get somethin to eat, hopefully from something that has a King' in the name so I know it's edible. Cedars called Ezra and said Casey could leave, Josiah and Nathan dropped Vin off at the office to pick up my truck so he could get her," Chris filled Buck in, he had been sitting with JD until the nurses and Gabarini had kicked them out to check on him.
"They've always let one of stay in there with him, why'd they kick us out this time?" Buck asked, looking through the window, his vision blocked by the fact the blinds had been pulled.
"John said they needed to change his IV's and...they need to change his catheter," Chris said, hanging his head.
"Oh, he's gonna hate that when he wakes up," Buck winced at the thought.
"Yeah, that's what I thought. John said if nothing happens by tomorrow morning he's going to put a feeding tube in."
"Where they gonna put that? He hasn't got many places left to stick the kid with anything," Buck didn't understand.
"Buck, it's not a needle, it's a rubber tube, they put in his nose and it goes directly to his stomach"
"Oh, and they take it out when he wakes up," Buck stated.
"Not necessarily, some of the kid's at the peds wing have them," Chris said, trying to let Buck know that it wasn't as bad as it might look.
"Those red tubes they have taped to the sides of their faces?" Buck asked, he'd only been to the wing a few times.
"Hey guys, guess who's here," Vin said as he made his way to the men.
"Hey Casey! How ya doin?" Buck said not hiding the huge smile that made his mustache seem to be in a straight line.
Casey hopped on three legs and made her way to her roommate' wagging her tail at seeing the man, who had squatted and patted her head when she sat down in front of him.
"Why you guys out here?" Vin asked.
"They're checking him out," Chris answered vaguely.
"They're changing his catheter," Buck said in a hard swallow.
"Oh," Vin said, as he winced as well.
"Gentlemen, we have clean clothes and razors," Josiah said, getting closer to the group.
"Hey Casey. Why's everyone out here," Nathan asked.
"Changing his catheter," the three men answered.
"Oh," the two answered and winced simultaneously.
"Nourishment for all, I regret to inform you that I wasn't able to access the entrance to the Royalty of Hereford you requested Mr. Larabee, but was fortunate to discover the Golden Arch's next to it and went there," Ezra stated as he held the armful of bags and a tray full of drinks that he had carefully stacked on each other.
"Why can't you just say you couldn't get to Burger King' and hit McDonald's' instead?" Buck whined.
"Well..I.. , would someone please' take something before there is nothing but a mess on the floor! And Miss Casey, so glad to see you again, is the only one to get any food," Ezra changed the subject, kind of.
"Oh, sorry," Vin said, grabbing a tray and a couple of bags.
"Why are we all standing out here?" Ezra said, putting a french fry in his mouth.
"Changing his catheter," the five said sadly.
"Oh," Ezra winced, "I've seem to have lost my appetite."
"Just be happy it ain't you and eat," Buck said, taking a bite of his Big Mac.
The men were camping' in the corridor, seated in a circle like a bunch of college kid's eating lunch outside a classroom. They picked up the trash, and Nathan and Vin graciously took all the paper and put it in the trash can that was in the bathroom across from them.
"Well, Ezra you've already showered and changed, there's two showers in there, so lets make it Buck and Vin, Nathan and Josiah, then me," Chris instructed.
"Since when has taken a shower been a strategical maneuver?" Ezra asked.
Chris was about to answer when the nurse, Chris remembered to be Shanon, opened the door with an urgent look on her face.
"Shanon?" Chris asked as all the men turned to the opening of the door.
"Dr. Gabarini needs you all," she said.
The men took a collective step and entered the room, never taking their eyes from the doctor, who looked back at them, Chris was about to ask John what was wrong when he noticed that he didn't hear the beep of the heart monitor, Buck must have noticed that as well as he heard him let out a very quiet no' sounding as if it were a prayer or a plea.
Chris felt that familiar emptiness begin to fill him like he had done once already when he thought he had lost the kid. This couldn't be happening, he was doing so well, how could he die? He looked to Buck who he felt they would loose as well, as the man's lower lip quivered, still looking at the doctor.
He knew Buck wouldn't recover from this, it had only been a year, but he knew that Buck would be lost, they all would be.
Gabarini wasn't able to say anything to the men, Buck was already at the boys side, sitting in the chair that know conformed to his seat, he saw the doctor break his stare and followed the path. Buck's eyes filled and spilled over with the tears of worry and sorrow he had held in check for nearly 3 days, as he saw the most beautiful sight he could imagine. Two tired, tear filled hazel eyes looking at him.
"Hey kid," Buck whispered out, as he blinked out his tears, not hiding his shaky smile.
JD didn't have the strength to do anything, he just closed his eyes, letting the tear escape before he opened them again. Buck didn't need any words when he looked into those young eyes to know that the kid was scared. He could see the kid seemed almost ...lost..like he'd taken a wrong turn off the highway and found himself on a dark and foggy road, just like at the start of those horror movies they make.
"It's okay, I'm here. We all are. Casey's here too," knowing that JD would be worried, still after all he'd been through and still had to face.
JD's eyes told Buck he wanted to see her, to make sure for himself.
"You get some rest, she needs it too. You can see her later, I promise," Buck said, still in a quivering whisper.
JD closed his eyes, and tried to swallow, he succeeded but winced as he did and fell asleep. Buck looked to John for a reason.
"It's normal Buck, he's had a tube down his throat nearly 3 days, it's gonna be sore for a while," the doctor explained.
Buck nodded, and returned his attention back to JD.
"That's it kid, get some sleep," Buck said, a shaky hand pushing back the hair from the kid's face.
"Didn't think I'd ever see that again," Chris said quietly, not wanting to take his eyes off from JD.
"He might not wake up for a while, I'm not talking a couple hours, but then again, what do I know..I'm just a doctor, I didn't think he'd wake up this soon," Gabarini smiled.
"He does have a way of surprisin' ya'," Vin said, with a smile.
"That he does, thank God. Push his room button when he wakes up again," Gabarini said, as he made his way from around the bed and past the men.
"Thanks John," Chris said, turning to face the doctor.
"I didn't do anything, he's done all the work that makes me look good," John smiled, pointing his clipboard to the person on the bed and left.
"I hate to put a damper on the festivities and celebration of our young friends brief return, but may I suggest that you all do as you had planned and take a shower and get changed?" Ezra pointed out, his face contorting like he had smelled bad cheese.
"No need to get dramatic Ezra; Josiah and Nate, why don't you head and get cleaned up," Chris let out.
"Yeah, I'm bout ready to peel these things off."
"I smell..hear that Brother," and the two men exited.
The remaining men were silent, no one wanted to or unable to speak, fearing that it had been a dream and maybe they had wanted JD to wake up so bad they just imagined it.
The rest of the men managed to get showered and changed, Buck was the last to go not wanting to leave JD, just in case something happened.
+ + + + + + +
IA had made a visit to the hospital to investigate what exactly happened three days ago in the warehouse. They had already spoken to Sweetser and Tony, while they waited for the doctors okay to talk to JD, they asked to speak to the remaining members of the ATF team.
Nathan and Josiah hadn't much to offer so they went first. Josiah had come after he heard that JD had found something and by the time he'd gotten there they were heading into the building.
Nathan told him that he wasn't even there, he came in earlier with a patient.
Buck told the IA officer that he had been on the first raid team and then had gone over to the check in station, he heard what Holland said about the 5 minute time limit he'd given before taking down perimeter, and when JD had found something, McClain had gone to tell Holland that JD had found something and to keep perimeter up, McClain had run into Thompkins by then, it'd only been 3 minutes at the most and it took 10 minutes for Thompkins to get all his guys back up into perimeter. Then all hell broke loose.
Ezra, Vin and Chris basically had given the same story as Buck, as did the rest of the officers they had talked to that were there. IA said they really wanted to make sure nothing happened inside, make sure that they were doing their jobs, so Holland couldn't point the finger at the rookie..or the first line sweep team who'd been put last, and still insisted they wanted to talk to JD when they could.
They understood that, and appreciated that, knowing that IA had way too much evidence against Holland, but given the relationship between Vice and the ATF team, the phone calls made prior to the raid, trying to get JD moved up, they had to cover every possibility to nail Holland to the wall.
+ + + + + + +
Chris sat next to JD's bed, leaning back with his legs stretched out in front of him and his hands clasped together on his lap, waiting. It had been 5 hours since JD had woken up and Casey had indicated that she really needed to go out, so Buck took her.
Vin and Ezra were on another food run', everyone of the ATF team had tasted the food at the hospital before, all decided that eating paper would have been better so they opted not to eat the cafeterias excuse for food. Nathan and Josiah had both ventured to the peds wing of the hospital, Nathan wanted to check on the baby born 3 days ago, 2 ½ months early; Josiah just felt like changing a few diapers or read to the older kid's.
Chris's eyes were getting heavy and they finally closed, he opened them quickly and decided to check on JD before he fell asleep. He looked to the young man , and noticed that his expression had changed, and his eyes began to open. He quickly sat up and moved his chair so he was facing JD.
"Hey kid," he said, grabbing JD's hand, and pushing the room button.
"Hey," JD finally managed, his voice barely above a scratchy whisper.
"Doc said you could have some water, might help with the sore throat. Want some?"
Chris pored some water from the plastic pitcher the nurses had brough in and he put in the straw and JD managed to take a few sips before spitting the straw out.
"That better?" Chris asked, seeing JD had managed to stay awake.
"Hurts," JD said not as scratchy but still very quiet, his eyes filling.
"I know, doc's on his way here," as if on cue, Gabarini came into the room, followed by two nurses.
"JD, how you feeling?" John asked the mandatory question that all doctors do.
"Hurts...a lot," said a little stronger, but the hoarseness still there.
"Jenny's gonna take care of that. Does it hurt to breath at all?" Gabarini was definitely in doctor mode' Chris thought.
"A little," he answered, looking at the doctor.
"I'm just gonna take a listen, this things gonna be cold, hospital policy you know," John said, bringing a small smile to JD's face.
The doctor lifted JD's left arm, nodded for Chris to do the same and then pulled back the covers to JD's waist, causing JD to turn his head as quickly as he could to Chris with a panicked look on his face.
Chris sat back down, still holding JD's hand with concern.
"What's the matter, son," he said, not hiding his worry.
"Chris," he whispered.
"What?" Chris asked again, moving in so he could hear JD.
"Where...are...am I..naked?" he asked, slightly blushing.
Chris slightly amused by the fact that he seemed to be more concerned about his lack of clothing than he was about the fact that he'd not only been shot but had almost died.
"Yeah, JD. If you'd forgotten you got hit in the chest a few times," Chris couldn't help the fact he'd chuckled all the way through the statement.
"Don't worry JD, nothing they haven't seen before," John leaned over and whispered to the kid, as he pushed a button on the bed, making it so JD wasn't laying flat on his back, but hardly sitting upright.
"Not..." JD began, but stopped as he let out a little gasp of pain from his hip, causing the bed to stop.
"Kid, you been asleep for 3 days. They already have," Chris consoled.
"3 days, huh?" JD said sheepishly, then looked to the nurses, who smiled which made him blush even more.
"Hey..look who's awake!" Buck said, coming into the room.
"I hate to put a damper on this, but I really need to listen to JD's breathing so, if you don't mind," Gabarini smiled.
"Oh, sorry, sure John go ahead," Buck smiled.
Gabarini was finally allowed to do what he'd wanted and after placing the stethoscope in a few select places on JD's chest, then listening to his heart, he took the stethoscope from his ears and stood.
"Sounds good. I do need to look at your leg, though," Gabarini said almost apologetically.
"Why?" JD asked, he knew his leg hurt, he just didn't know why.
"Cause you took a shot to your hip kid," Buck answered for the doctor, still smiling at the fact the kid was talking; JD took it the wrong way of course, and did his best to glare at him, the exchange not going unnoticed by Chris.
"Supper is ser..hey JD, how ya feelin'?" Vin asked as he and Ezra carried bags from Taco Bell into the room, Vin stacking his on top of Ezra's
"Fine. Thanks," he answered, sending a pleading look to Chris.
"Hi ya John," Vin said, giving the doctor a questioning look. John sent his eyes to the side, Vin followed the direction. "Oh," he said.
"Oh' what," JD asked, his eyes showing that he was getting tired.
"Vin, I need to talk to Buck for a minute, you mind staying?" Chris said.
"Yeah, no problem."
"Excuse me, but I am standing here barely able to see a thing due to the fact that Mr. Tanner's idea of Mexican cuisine is not only impairing my vision, but also getting very difficult to hold," Ezra said.
"Buck..you too Ezra..out with me," Chris ordered as he took the drink that Ezra held with his hand and Buck took a small bag of condiments. Ezra rolled his eyes and followed.
One of the nurses, Jenny, walked around the bed and shut the door as the other, Kelsey, pulled the blinds.
Nathan and Josiah had joined the other men outside, as Chris filled the others in, through small fits of laughter and bites of food, at JD's reaction to the fact that he hadn't anything on.
"So, why," Buck chuckled "why'd you leave Vin in there with him?" he chuckled again.
"I figured Vin," Chris took bite of his chicken fajita, " would sympathize," he chewed, and swallowed, "a little more than we would," he chuckled at the idea.
"Those two hate to be naked just as much as Buck likes to...." Nathan began.
"Please, Gentlemen..I am trying to eat here," Ezra stated.
+ + + + + + +
"They stayin'?" JD asked John quietly about the nurses that were shutting the door and the blinds.
"Yes, JD. There going to be checking the IV's and other things while I check your chest and hip," purposefully not saying exactly what the 'other things' were, but the wince in Vin's face told John he knew.
"Come on kid..it ain't all that bad," Vin tired, knowing he hated the state JD was in as much the kid did.
"Vin..it's ..just.." he began, he was getting tired and he had no idea why he started to cry.
"I know..I'll stay if you want," Vin offered, as he wiped the tears away with his thumb.
"Thanks..oh shit," he said quietly and a hitch in his quiet voice, as more tears fell as he felt the blanket move.
"I'm right here, kid. I ain't goin' no where," Vin reassured.
"I wanna go home," he let out quietly, the tears coming one right after another.
"That ain't gonna be happenin' for a while kiddo, you still got a bullet in ya'," Vin trying to distract the kid as to what the nurses were doing as the doctor took the dressing off JD's hip.
"Vin.." JD pleaded through his tears, not being distracted at all, just as the one of the nurses covered him up a little.
"You gonna stay awake long enough to see Casey?" Vin tried again.
"She still he...ahh," JD started to ask, but the gasp of pain prevented him as Gabarini touched JD's hip.
"Sorry JD," the doctor apologized.
"It's okay," he said, his voice not hiding his pain.
"Hang in there, he's almost done," Vin comforted.
"All set, thanks Jenny," the doctor said as Jenny began to apply another bandage to JD's hip.
The doctor lifted JD chart from the bed, wrote a few things in it and grabbed a chair on his way to JD's side.
"I'll get you something to help with the pain, okay," the doctor said, straddling his chair as he rested his arms on the back of it.
"Okay. When can I go home?" JD said tiredly, the young mans eyes still filled.
"We still need to get the bullet out of your hip, JD," Gabarini said.
"How long," he said, his tired voice letting him add a little force to the words.
"At least two weeks, after surgery."
"One?" JD tried to bargain.
"Two," the doctor stood firm.
"Vin?" he knew he'd understand, he'd convince the doctor.
"Sorry kid, he's the doc," Vin said, knowing JD would be giving him 'the look' and couldn't deal with it.
"Can I at least have clothes?" JD asked, the tears still falling, he was starting to wear himself out.
"I'll see what I can do, get some sleep JD, we can talk again later," the doctor said mussing the kid's hair as he stood.
JD just sighed defeated, no sign of freedom from this place..and no clothes, God he hated hospitals.
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