September 20, 2000
Disclaimer: The following is an original work of fan fiction based on characters of the television series "The Magnificent Seven". No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is intended. No profit will be made from the distribution of this story.
Notes/Comments: This is an ATF fic (thanks MOG) and is mostly Chris with a little JD and a guest appearance by Buck...
Beep...beep...beep... The steady rhythm of the machines wasn't very comforting. His oldest friend lay in that bed, wounded, struggling to survive. <Ping> - He chuckled at the thought as his emotions bounced back and forth like an absurd Ping-Pong match. No, Buck Wilmington would not want to be known as his oldest friend. That was Josiah's place. Buck was the friend he had known the longest.
<Pong> - 'Adam's Room,' thought Chris. He rubbed his face wearily as he sat by the bed, slumped forward, elbows on knees, with his chin resting on his hands. 'No, Larabee, don't go there.' Buck lay in a bed in the exact same room Adam had stayed in during one of his longest times in the hospital.
Chris shook his head, but he couldn't shake the empty feeling. He looked at the pale, nearly lifeless form in the bed. Only the machines and the slight rise and fall of his chest told him his friend was alive. "Please God, don't let him die..."
He leaned back and roughly shoved his hand into his pocket. There it met a piece of paper. Instinctively Chris pulled it out and held it in his hands. It had fallen out of his wallet when he had pulled out his insurance card while filling out the paperwork for Buck's admittance. He could never remember that damn group ID number.
Chris looked at the paper in his hands. No amount of willing Adam away was going to stem the tide of memories now. Buck had given him this very piece of paper at the time Adam was in this very room. The words on the paper sucked Chris to them as the memories flooded in.I'm down on my knees again tonight
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right
See there is a boy that needs your help
I've done all that I can do myself
Buck had been at his side even then. Adam was so sick, so frail, and Chris was totally helpless to change any of it. A bittersweet smile tugged at his mouth as he remembered how courageous Adam was. A little kid, battling Leukemia, and there he was telling his dad, "It'll be okay Daddy. Uncle Buck says I'm tough, and I'm gonna win."
And Adam had won that battle. He had been tough. He was a lot like his mama. Chris smiled. Sarah. She was the strongest and yet most caring person he had ever known.His mother is tired
I'm sure you can understand
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand
And she tries not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes
He and Sarah had spent many nights at the hospital, often in tears, battling for their son. Sarah had been stronger than he ever imagined himself being. She found some way to give Chris strength and hope when the despair was so close to overwhelming him. He closed his eyes and saw that beautiful face, the vibrant eyes, the silky hair...
A soft moan pulled him from his thoughts. "Buck!" He stood and leaned over his friend. He took Buck's hand and squeezed gently. "Buck?"
Nothing. He felt as if his heart, like an elevator, had crashed to the bottom floor. It wasn't fair. 'Don't give me hope, just to send it crashing down.' Sitting back down on the chair, he continued to grip Buck's hand. 'Give it more time, Larabee,' he thought, 'he's in there.' Chris leaned over and picked up the paper that had fallen on the floor.Can you hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can you see him?
Can you make him feel all right?
If you can hear me
Let me take his place somehow
See, he's not just anyone
He's my son
The words ripped at Chris's heart as he remembered the anguish. It was the same torment he now felt for Buck. Back then, he had made a bargain with God. He had promised to go to church with Sarah if God would just save their son. And he had. He had gone every Sunday, sometimes grudgingly, until that day...that day when Sarah and Adam... He closed his eyes. He didn't want to think about that. Not now. They were gone. Buck was still here and Buck needed him now.
"God? I haven't talked to you much, especially since... you know, since Sarah and Adam. And you probably don't want to hear from me after all the times I've cursed you for taking them, but this isn't for me God... It's for Buck..." No, that wasn't right. This was for him too. He didn't want to lose his friend. Tears began to slide down Chris's face. He did nothing to hide them. "God, if I could, I would take his place. Please... God..." Words would no longer come as silent sobs began to rack his body.
+ + + + + + +
He had heard no one come in, but now there was a hand on his shoulder, gently sliding across and massaging the back of his neck. 'Josiah,' he thought, but the hand was far too small. Chris slowly looked up.
"You all right?" asked the youngest member of his team.
"JD," he said softly. The kid with a maturity beyond his years had let Chris be alone with Buck. Chris knew that the act had gone against everything inside JD. He knew JD wanted to be with Buck, not leave his side, afraid if he did, Buck would die. But the young agent had put that all aside seeing that Chris needed time with Buck.
"I couldn't stay away."
Chris smiled sadly and nodded. "It's okay, JD. Thanks."
JD moved over to Buck's bed. He brushed Buck's hair back off his forehead. "Come on Buck. We're here... just waiting for ya," he whispered. He looked back over to Chris, who nodded toward the other chair. JD pulled it up next to Chris and sat down.
"You doin' all right, Chris?" asked JD.
Chris smiled at the absurdity of the question. "I think I'm supposed to be asking you that, JD."
"It'll be okay Chris. Buck is tough, and he's gonna beat this." Chris flinched. The words were so like Adam's so many years ago.
JD saw the shudder run through him. "Chris?"
Chris shook his head. "It's ok JD. You just reminded me of another time..."
Again with a maturity Chris had not seen before, JD's words reached out to his boss... his friend. "Buck told me about Adam."
Chris looked up, startled.
"It wasn't like he was spilling one of your secrets Chris. He just needed to talk about something that was hurting," said JD gently.
Chris nodded. He knew Buck had been nearly as devastated as he was by the loss of Sarah and Adam. But Buck... Buck had put aside his own grief to keep Chris living.
Chris looked away from JD and was drawn back to that stupid piece of paper.Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep
I dream of the boy he'd like to be
I try to be strong and see him through
But God who he needs right now is You
Let him grow old
Live life without this fear
What would I be
Living without him here
He's so tired and he's scared
Let him know that You're there
"What is it?" asked JD simply.
"It's words to a song. Buck gave 'em to me when Adam was in the hospital with Leukemia...he was in this room..." Chris's voice trailed off.
He handed the paper to JD and looked away, fighting back the tears that were threatening again.
JD read the words quietly. He sat for a few moments composing his thoughts.
"I couldn't begin to understand what it was like Chris, but you must have loved him very much. You must have felt so totally helpless..." JD swallowed hard. "...like I do now..." he whispered.
Chris reached out and laid his hand on the back of JD's head. He ruffled his hair gently. There was nothing he could say.Can you hear me?
Can you see him?
Please don't leave him
He's my son
He swallowed. "You're a good man, JD. Buck is lucky to have a friend like you."
"Nah, I'm the lucky one Chris... dream job... a new family... six big brothers..." He grinned, "six annoying big brothers..." Chris nodded with a grin at JD's statement.
They both sensed it, eyes drawn to Buck. He was looking at them.
"Buck!" called JD, almost shouting in his excitement.
Chris winced. This was the JD he knew.
"Hey JD..." said Buck softly. His eyes drifted to Chris. His oldest friend in the world was looking just that - old. Buck watched him push aside the worried look and put on his game face.
Chris took Buck's hand. "You just rest, pard. You gotta build up your strength... get back on your feet."
Buck gave a slight nod. He was so tired.
"Buck, I'm gonna tell the others you're awake!"
"'Kay, JD," mumbled Buck.
JD patted Buck's shoulder and then quickly made his way out the door.
Buck's eyelids were just too heavy. Sleep beckoned. He smiled at Chris as he closed his eyes just for a second. As a deep restful sleep began to claim him, Chris's whisper drifted in and out:
"...anything you want from me..."
Comments to: Jkersteter@aol.com
| The song He's My Son was written by Mark Schultz
(c) 2000 Mark Schultz Music/BMI