ATF Alternate Universe
"You look like hell"
"Thanks, he just fell asleep, did you leave anything for me or do I need to go and a get something else?" Vin asked Chris.
"Nope, we left ya them hot chili pepper things ya like and a fajita. Took him long enough to fall asleep," Buck added .
"Yeah, well he weren't to happy bout what the nurses were doin," Vin said harshly, he'd had it all done to him before; he hated it too.
"Well, he'll get used to it, wait till he gets his first bath!" Buck laughed, taking a sip of his drink, smiling as he saw Jenny walking towards JD's door.
"Buck," Chris said sharply.
"Need a hand Jenny?" Buck smiled, seeing that she had what he assumed to be a hospital gown and a pair of green pants in her arms.
"No thanks Buck," she said rolling her eyes.
"He's sleeping," He tried again, with a cocked head and lifted brows.
"That's why I'm doing it now, I don't want him to be more embarrassed," she said, sympathizing.
"I'll make sure he knows what ya did for him," Buck smiled, Jenny just shook her head an opened the door.
"This ain't easy for him Buck, leave it be," Chris reprimanded.
"I know that. John say when he'd be getting out?" Buck asked Vin.
"Yeah, he said at least two weeks and that's after he gets the bullet out," Vin said, taking a bite of the pepper.
"Gabarini's gonna have to keep him drugged if he wants to keep him in bed that long," Nathan offered, with a smile.
"He just might have to, he was a wreck. I dunno if it's 'cause he got tired, what they were doin or what....but," Vin said seriously, shaking his head; he really felt for JD, maybe the only one who did.
"He just kept asking me to take him home, he's been asleep for ten minutes and he was still cryin'," Vin added.
"Well, maybe seein' Casey'll cheer him up," Buck said.
"Where is she?" Chris asked, just noticing he hadn't shared half his meal with her like he'd done before.
"One of the nurses has her," Buck offered.
"And I suppose you got a number out of her too?" Josiah figured.
"Well, yeah. Girls love a man with a dog.." He smiled.
+ + + + + + +
"Hey kid, someone's been waitin a while to see you," Buck said, standing up from his chair and opening the door.
JD turned his head and looked to the door as Casey limped her way in.
"Hey, Casey," JD said, a very tired smile attempting to grace his face.
"Sorry little lady, you can sit up in the chair, no bed this time," Buck answered as Casey whined and wagged her tail, looking to her partner' and back to Buck
"Buck, I don't mind. She can get up on this side," JD revealed, a lift to his voice.
"Where she gonna put her head?" Buck said, trying to remind the kid that it was his left side where the chest wounds were.
"Oh," he said, going back to the quiet voice that Vin stated his concern about.
"Come up here, Casey." Buck said, as she jumped into the chair with ease, then getting closer to the bed, she lay her head on the bed next to her partners.
"Hey Case,"he said quietly.
"Vet said she's doin real good, huh Casey?" Buck said as he stroked the dogs back, he never took his eyes off from JD's face, noting how dull it appeared to be.
"Guess I went to the wrong place," JD said, still rubbing his hand over the dogs head, never looking to Buck.
"What makes you say that?" Buck asked, beginning to worry about the kid.
"She got hit in the shoulder, and she's walkin' around," Buck noticed how tired and worn out his roommate sounded, even though he'd slept all night.
"Dogs ain't people JD. You took three bullets, JD you almost died," reminded Buck, the worry in his voice becoming noticeable.
"But I didn't. Buck, can't we just go home. I can lay around in bed just as easy."
"Now you know you can't go home, kid," Buck said a little on the aggravated side.
"Morning JD," Dr. Gabarini stated, knowing he was interrupting a conversation.
"Morning," JD replied quietly, moving his eyes down to where his hand rested on Casey's head.
"Buck, can you give us a minute?"
"Yeah, sure, Casey needs to go out anyway. Come on Casey, we'll come back later," Buck said sternly, letting Casey know he meant it, and smiled at JD as he left the room.
"I don't want to spring this all on you at once, there was a cancellation in CT scan, we're going to do it this morning, that okay," sensing the usual talkative JD was anything but, and wanted him to feel he still had choices.
"Yeah, guess," JD said, not looking at the doctor.
"As soon as where done in scan, you're heading to OR to get prepped while the radiologist and I go over the results, then we'll get the bullet out."
"And fix what's broken," JD added, in a very quiet voice.
"We don't know if anything's broken or how much damage the bullets done, if any all. I know you hate being in bed, but in a couple of days, and everything goes good you're gonna hate me a lot more cause I'll be making you get up".
"Then I can go home?" JD looked to the doctor hopefully.
"JD," The doctor sighed, "If I sent you home in two days, you'd be back here before you could even get comfortable. Let's get through the surgery, let you get some more rest and see about getting some real food into you, after that then we can see about getting you home, okay?"
"I guess," he said, his eyes focused on his hands that fiddled with the blanket.
"Okay, get some sleep I'll be back in about half an hour."
JD didn't answer, he just looked away from the doctor as his eyes began to fill.
The whole exchange not going unmissed by Ezra,Vin or Buck who were at the window.
The doctor left the room, shutting the door behind him.
"Doc?" Buck asked "What's got him all worked up?" referring to JD reaction.
"Well, to put it simply, he's just sick of being here," Gabarini said with a hint of a smile. "X-ray had a cancellation this morning, so we're goin to do that in about a half an hour"
"And then take him into surgery?" Vin asked.
"Mornin' Vin. Yeah, he can be getting prepped while we look at the films. Then if things go well, maybe we can get him out of the bed for a few minutes."
"That soon?" Buck asked, questioning the wisdom of the doctor.
"I doubt the good doctor is suggesting we just tell Mr. Dunne to stand with out support and take a constitutional around the hospital, Mr. Wilmington," Ezra added his two cents.
"Ezra's right Buck. Look he's not in the best of spirits, the sooner we get him to at least stand up the better."
"Why didn't we do that before?" Buck asked not understanding why they'd kept him in bed if they wanted him out of it later today.
"Letting him move now could cause more damage, that bullet's in a tricky spot. Like I said before, we don't know if it's gone all the way through that bone, if it has it's most likely touching the ball of his hip, moving it would not only hurt a lot, but it could damage the ball, and that would be a bad thing."
"How long are we looking at for this surgery to last?" Vin questioned.
"It all depends on what the x-rays say..I'll venture a guess and say he won't be out until late this afternoon."
"The memorials are today, if he's not gonna be in surgery.."
"What if somethin happens? I think someone should stay here," Buck said, not believing Vin wanted to leave JD alone.
"I can page Chris when he gets out of surgery, Buck. Sides, the nurses have heard all your stories and lines," John smiled.
"Okay, maybe we should tell him where.."
"He's sleeping, better to let him."
"Okay, just tell him if he asks," Buck said
"I will," Gabarini said.
Buck, Vin, Ezra and Casey walked into the familiar ATF office where they met the other 3 members.
"Glad you came Buck," Chris said. He didn't think he'd leave JD alone to attend the memorial.
"Yeah, well the kid's gonna be tied up today," Buck smiled sadly.
"He's doing the surgery today?" Josiah asked.
"Yup, had cancellation in CT early, they did that and then were headed for the OR," Buck pulled back his suit jacket sleeve and looked at his watch, "Probably just got up there, he's gonna page ya' when he's out of surgery."
"I'm sure he's doing fine .Okay, here are your bands. Come here Casey," Chris handed the men small black bands to place over there badges that they displayed on there black suits. Chris put one on Casey's badge on her collar, and adjusted it so it would show against the white collar of fur around he neck.
Ezra had gone to JD's desk, retrieved a brush and began brushing Casey's long hair, minus the patch that had been shaved from her right shoulder.
The men did a quick once over of each other, Ezra being extremely picky towards the others; straightening ties and collars, the men not caring for the fact they were going to show there respects for two fallen brothers' that they had worked with on many occasions.
"Where we supposed to meet?" Nathan asked.
"They asked us to come to the precinct, they want us to walk with them," Chris smiled at the honor.
"McClain?" Buck asked
"That was my guess."
"How's Travis's kid doin?" Josiah asked, the men hadn't thought about much else but JD for nearly a week, and as morbid as the thoughts were, it was a change.
"Good, he was out to sea, guess he got here couple of days ago," Chris offered the information. He stood from Casey, and looked around.
"We ready? Where's her leash?" Chris asked.
Ezra went back to the desk, as did Buck and opened all the drawers, finding nothing.
"Does she even have one?" Nathan asked, he never recalled seeing JD with one.
"Loose somethin guys?" asked Tony as he got off the elevator.
"Hey Tony, how ya doin?" Vin asked, knowing this would be a hard day for him as well.
"Okay, thanks. You guys look.."
"What? Great, stunning, handsome?" Buck asked with a lift in his voice.
"Like I should be watching out for aliens," Tony smiled.
"That's what we forgot Chris, the Ray Bans," Vin smiled, the mood lifting for a bit.
"I presumed you would be at the Church already Mr. Diconzo," Ezra stated.
"Yeah, on my way there, heard PD asked you to march with them, and I ..ah.. I knew JD never got around to gettin her a leash..so I'd ..wondered if you'd could use Zeke's," Tony managed to choke out.
The men were silenced by the reminder of why they were here. Chris finally stepped forward.
"We'd be honored Tony," Chris said whole heartedly, taking the leash and placing his hand on the man's shoulder and squeezing.
"This shouldn't have happened you know, none of it. Travis, Zeke, Mike, Casey, JD. Holland's gone you know. IA talked to everyone enough, found what an asshole he was..he's goin to trial, for endangering the lives of officers, and being a direct cause for the loss on two of them," Tony let out satisfied that they had counted Zeke as an officer and not a dog in the preliminary hearing.
"Sounds like he's gonna pay dearly for his lack of judgment and prejudices," Josiah said.
"What did JD say about what happened?" Tony asked, knowing JD like he did, he figured he'd be questioning everything he did that day.
"He hasn't said anything," Buck said quietly.
"We're gonna be late if we don't get going. Need a ride?"Chris said, changing the subject back to why they were all there.
"Thanks Chris, no Ben's waiting for me. I'll see you there," Tony smiled sadly and left.
"Well, lets go," Chris said.
+ + + + + + +
The men met at the precinct where they were asked to march behind Travis Malloy's son, Tony, several K-9 units, drug dogs and their partners. The walk to the church was two blocks from the precinct, the streets were blocked off for the procession of different law enforcement agencies.
The men and women who had the occasion to work with the fallen officers paraded in uniform, all sporting the black banded badge. There were also representatives from neighboring towns and counties from the area. After the service was over, they left the church in the same manner, walking behind the hearse that carried Travis and the remains of Zeke. The hearse was preceeded by 5 men in kilts playing the bag pipes the entire three block walk.
At the cemetery an emotional Tony accepted the flag that was folded into a triangle and the engraved silver urn that held Zeke's ashes, his partner of 6 years.
Devin Malloy sat straight and proud as he tried not to give into the grief as he accepted his fathers flag and his badge. He managed to keep it together until the gunfire in salute, tore into him. His fathers partner there to comfort him.
As the group left the cemetery to head to the reception afterwards they remembered how close they had come to standing with Tony and Devin Malloy. They thanked God they didn't have to find out how it would feel to get a flag, folded into a triangle, given to the family in remembrance.
The reception hall was filled to capacity as stories and memories were exchanged. Chris felt his beeper vibrate against his hip, glad JD showed him that feature, because he never heard the beep.
"Ezra," Chris said a little loudly
"May I be of some assi.."
"Give me your phone, hospital just paged," Chris cut Ezra off, Ezra quickly handed him the phone.
"I'll find the others and meet you out front," Chris nodded at Ezra as he dialed the phone, still making his way out side, the others close behind.
"Yeah, this is Larabee, you just paged me..... How is he?...okay, thank you."
"Well?" Buck asked
"He's out of surgery, I don't know how he made out, it was the receptionist and John didn't give her any information just asked her to page me."
"Let's go," Vin said in a hurried manner.
"Everything alright guys?" Tony asked, Mike Sweetser standing beside him.
"JD just got out of surgery," Chris said
"Thanks again guys," Tony said as the men and dog made the way back to the precinct to pick up the vehicle they had all come in.
Dr.John Gabarini wasn't considered the best surgeon in the state for just his surgical skills, he was an excellent doctor as well. He was able to read people very well and had a great bedside manner. His first dealing with the members of this ATF group known to other agencies, and the hospital staff, as The Magnificent Seven, was when Buck had broken his nose in an undercover operation involving 3 women and home made alcohol, basically moonshine. Buck had been courting one of the women who finally cut him in on the deal and she was so mad at him, she'd kicked him in the face, and other places.
John became aware then of the bond between the men, and would be reminded of it again as every man on that team seemed to take his turn in a hospital bed. He knew these men well enough to know that wherever they were when JD came out of surgery, they would drop whatever they were doing and get here, so he stood there at the ER entrance looking at his watch, waiting for Chris Larabee, followed by five other men and, no doubt a dog, and ask..
"How is he?"
"You guys don't have those brain things like Tommy Lee Jones and Wil Smith had do you?" he said, observing the men, knowing they had been to the funeral but just couldn't help himself with the comparison.
"We've heard that about thirty times today, it's lost its humor. You gonna tell us how he made out?" Buck asked impatiently.
"Went good, the bullet didn't do any damage, it was just in the surface of the bone. He's been awake for a little while. We moved him into the surgical wing. I know she's good guys, but I need you to keep her leashed. I hate to tell you she can't stay," he said pointing towards Casey, "Come on I'll take you up."
"His attitude change much?" Buck wondered, as he and the rest of the agents followed Gabarini.
"Well, no. He had a hard time coming out of the anesthesia, and talking to him in recovery wasn't any better, he's real tired still. When I talked to him he had a look to him, like he wasn't really sure what was going on."
"Should he still be that tired?" Chris asked.
"Honestly? No. I ordered some test to be done on the blood we took this morning,"
"What kinda test?" Vin asked. "He just took.." he began to add.
"I know, it hasn't anything to do with that," Gabarini cut him off. "According to his chart, his appetites been good and he's eating everything that he's gotten."
"Well, according to the results of this, the charts wrong," John said simply.
"You don't think he's eating enough?" Nathan questioned.
"I don't think he's eating anything, I have an idea where he's put it, but it wasn't in his mouth," Gabarini suspected.
"Where the hell did he put it then if he didn't eat the slo..food," Buck edited.
"Any of you in the room when he was eating?" John asked.
The men did a collective shake of the head.
"No, we thought it would be kinda mean havin' him watch us eat while he choked down...what ever it is you been givin' him," Buck offered the explanation.
"Well....has Casey been eating her food?" Gabarini smiled, as he stopped at the door that led to JD's new' room.
"She ain't been eating mine either," Chris stated.
All the men looked at the dog, who sat and seemed to be giving them all the same look of what?' and then waged her tail innocently.
"Did you eat JD's...goo..food?" Buck asked, looking into the dogs eyes, who looked away guilty and lay down.
"Now look what ya did. Casey, Buck didn't mean to get mad at ya, not your fault," Vin said kneeling next to the dog.
John opened the door, "Guess who I found out in the hall ridding the world of giant cockroaches?" he said as the men followed him.
JD looked towards the men, then turned back towards the window he now had in his room.
"Hey kid, John here said everything went fine. No surprises," Buck smiled.
"I know," he said quietly.
"You hungry JD? I'm sure I can get you something from the kitchen," John offered.
"No," He said, still staring at the window.
"Well, how bout if I told you that we're gonna sit you in that chair in another ten minutes," Gabarini said.
"Really?" JD turned his head to the doctor, his voice still tired but definitely had a lift to it.
"Yup. It'll probably hurt a lot, unless you'd rather stay in bed,"
"No, hurtin' ain't so bad," the first glimmer of a smile.
"You're not going to be doing much JD, I think me and a nurse can handle you."
"Can I go next to the window?" JD pleaded with the doctor, casting the look' his way.
The men began to laugh a little, as there was a knock on the door.
Chris turned to open it.
"Sharon, Tom. I need some extra blankets on the chair, seems JD here wants to sit next to the window while you change the sheets," The two nurses smiled and they went to get more blankets.
They returned and Tom covered the chair with one, Sharon put hers on the bed, as she moved around the bed lifting the various bags from the hooks they were hung on, holding them and waited.
"Okay JD," John said, pulling back the blanket "Lets get you sitting up, and then we'll move your legs over the edge of the bed. Now, no BS-ing me here. If you feel sick or dizzy I need you to tell me, alright?"
"Does that mean I don't get to sit in the chair?" JD wondered, he wasn't willing to give up his little chance of freedom from the bed. He had the clothes now..all he needed was out.
"No, that just means we take it slower until it stops that's all," John assured with a smile.
"Just let us do most of the work, I'm going to let you stand for a little bit, but when it comes to taking you to the chair..we'll do the work for you. Ready?"
"Yeah," no one missed the small smile that came across his face.
They sat JD up, then Tom moved his legs gently to the side of the bed so his feet hung over the edge, while the other nurse stood behind JD keeping a steadying hand to JD's back. Tom and Gabarini then took a leg, putting there hands under them, and the other hand behind JD and lifted slightly and sat him back down on the edge of the bed, his feet touching the floor.
Chris was near the door, his steely blue eyes never leaving the boys face, and when JD would wince so would Chris; Nathan and Josiah we're standing next to the wall watching as well, neither hiding the smile that crossed their faces. Ezra stood near the chair, watching and when the first wince of discomfort to JD hit he would look down, pull himself together and watch again. Vin sat back on his haunches next to Casey. His arm wrapped around her back stroking her left shoulder, as much for his comfort as hers.
And Buck, well Buck was Buck. He hovered around the three constantly asking JD You okay' or at the slightest grimace to the kid's face You hurtin' which was always followed by Take it easy John' which was then followed by a light voice from JD shut up Buck', in fear that they wouldn't get him to the chair like they promised.
"Okay JD. You stand for a few minutes, you feeling dizzy or sick?"
"Not sick...just dizzy," he said out of breath from the basic non effort maybe staying in bed wasn't such a bad idea he thought to himself at how winded he was.
"Okay, lets get you to the chair. Do me a favor," Gabarini said.
"What?" JD wondered, what he'd done wrong.
"Keep the smile, it looks better than that frown," John teased as they began to lift him off the floor a bit and got him to the chair a few feet away.
"Be careful sittin' down, kid," Buck offered for all to hear, his voice full of concern
"Shut up Buck," the words coming from behind him.
"They do know what they're doin Buck," Vin smiled out.
Buck didn't respond, just cocked his head smiled sarcastically and turned back to where JD now sat, looking out the window, covered in a blanket and smiling, and in a blink of an eye JD fell asleep. The smile still on his face. Buck had a look of panic on his face and went to go to JD, but was stopped.
"He's just worn out Buck, let him sleep," John said, his voice light and easy.
"You sure?" Buck questioned.
"No, I'm positive. He's been out of surgery for two hours, he hasn't moved anything for 5 days and he just did all this, he's just wiped out. He's fine." John said, slapping Buck on his back.
"Okay, you sure he's okay to sleep like that?" Buck just couldn't let it go.
"Yes. I hope you guys have clothes to change into. The patients are going to wonder if the Presidents here."
"Why?" Vin asked.
"You look like those Secret Service guys," he said with a smile.
"Ha ha..that's a new one. Shows how much you know..see," Buck said turning his head "no ear pieces," he smiled.
"Just don't go talking into your sleeves while you're in the hall," John smiled as he made his way to the door ,"I'll be back in 5 minutes. Then we can put him back into his nice safe bed and put his seat belt on," he said to Buck.
"You're probably gonna need one now that you let him outta bed," Chris said knowingly.
"Probably, I'm going to get him something to eat..and make sure he eats it," John stated as he shut the door behind him.
"JD, is there a reason you're looking like you lost your best friend," the doctor asked the young man, sitting in in the bed, pouting.
"Well...I ..was..I was just wonderin' when you was gonna let me eat real' food. I mean I ate that stuff that didn't look right for two days..and I ..just wanted .."
"JD you've eaten 'real' food for the last three days. What more do you want?" Dr. Gabarini asked.
"You ever eat what they got here? It don't taste right, no wonder people stay here so long," JD said seriously.
"Are you saying.." Gabarini began
"That food makes people sicker," he said seriously.
"Hey..anyone hungry?" Buck asked, carrying a pizza.
"What do ya mean 'no'?"
"I mean I ain't hungry."
"Not even for some pepperoni, sausage, onion and.." Buck teased, opening the box, waving it around so the room smelled of the combination.
"Uh-uh, Buck. Don't even offer him that..I won't let him eat that."
"Well, how about some chicken nuggets from Mickey D's?" Vin asked entering the room.
"That would be okay..no sauce though," John smiled.
"Really? I can have that?" JD asked, pleading for it not to be a joke.
"Sure, just don't eat it too fast, and not too many; especially the french fries..you haven't had any grease for a while," Gabarini instructed.
"That's why the food here doesn't have any taste," JD pointed out.
"Here ya go," Vin said, sitting the bag on JD's movable table that he ate off.
"A Happy Meal?" JD said.
"Well, yeah. Oh, I forgot," Vin said, going out of the room and grabbing another bag, and setting it next to the Happy Meal.
"What's this?" JD asked.
"Well, I checked to see what the toy was.."
JD opened the Happy Meal and grabbed at the toy.
"What the....an arm?" JD asked Vin.
"Yeah, it's the parts to Inspector Gadget..I got the rest of the parts so you could put him together when you get bored," Vin smiled, pleased with himself.
"The kid don't want no toy! Geez Vin what wer.."
"Hey cool..Look Buck, you pull this and his hand does this!" JD said excitedly.
"Eat before you play with the toy son," Buck said flatly leaving the two kid's to 'play' while he and John walked out of the room.
"Well, that made his day," John said.
"Yup, thanks for letting him eat somethin' else besides liver souffle," Buck smiled.
"I don't know who's more happy about the toy, Vin or JD," John laughed.
"If Vin knew we where here he'd kill us..Didn't think I get to see the kid do this again. I'm mighty grateful for everything you've done for him, thanks John," Buck said sincerely and with a smile as Vin and JD played with the different parts, showing each other what the other did.
"He's a strong kid. I gotta tell you though; didn't know if he was gonna make it there at first. I wish all my patients had as much fight in them. I didn't know what to think when he wasn't eating. I've never thought twice about putting a feeding tube in before..but I was regretting the fact that we might have to. He gives me that look.. How can you guys ignore it?" John smiled, JD had stood up alone, walked around, able to do things way before he should have, but he'd give him the look' and he succumb.
"What makes you think we can?" Buck smiled, taking a bite of pizza.
"Glad I'm not the only one."
"No you're not. You're not gonna be able to keep him in that bed much longer ya know," Buck said with a sideways glance.
"I know, that's why I'm lettin him go tomorrow, before he starts begging again," John smiled.
"You tell him that?"
"Are you kidding? He'd be begging me to leave tonight!"
"That'll make him happy," Buck said, looking back at the two young men sitting on the bed putting Inspector Gadget together in between bites of fries and chicken nuggets, with the ever faithful Casey laying next to her partner on the bed; and just shook his head smiling.
"He does leave a lasting impression Buck, he's a good kid."
"Yup, and damn lucky, too."
"To have friends like you."
"No, no, no. You're wrong there, we're the lucky ones"
+ + + + + + +
JD arrived home the next morning without ceremony but with seven escorts all wanting him to make sure he was settled and okay. He surprisingly didn't argue about getting put right to bed and he was barely changed into loose pajamas before he was asleep.
The men stayed until Buck had basically kicked them all out, feeling a bit like some of the cranky nurses at the hospital that never 'asked' but 'told' the men they had to leave.
They all understood and left the two alone.
Buck smiled to himself as he could hear the kid telling Casey he was fine and he just needed to get to the bathroom. Buck was about to knock on the door but decided against it as he heard JD tell Casey that he hadn't been able to even get out of bed to go, then had to have an audience to go and now that he was home he was going to do it on his own without help or an audience. He opened his bedroom door made his way to the bathroom, Casey at his heal and shut the door, the dog outside whimpering.
"Yup, things are gonna be fine," Buck smiled in satisfaction from the couch in the living room.
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org