A Right Pair
Disclaimer: - Not mine not making any money.
Authors Note: - This fic was written for my mate Kerry's birthday and was first posted on the Black and Buckskin list. It has not been proof read by anyone other than the spell check on my trusty laptop and by little ol' dyslexic me.
Vin looked back over his shoulder to where Buck was hunched over the surveillance equipment.
"Anything?" he enquired.
"Nah, nothing except the kids in the playground below."
Vin returned to his position, rifle secured on its tripod, scope focused at the right distance to take in the roof of the warehouse opposite. Some time today a deal was going down, a big time player was going to buy guns with drugs; the ATF and the DEA had mounted a joint operation to catch both seller and buyer. The DEA informant had told them the sale would take place on the roof of the old H&P Co warehouse. This old brick building stood next to an even older mainly wood warehouse that was so rundown it had been sealed by the city as an unsafe structure. Unfortunately it was also the only place were Vin could get a clear shot at the whole roof. Buck had insisted it would also make the best location for a directional mike, not to mention video cameras. To the left of the C&P building was a playground where kids of all ages were playing on the swings and climbing frames, shooting hoops and playing tag. A small building on the far side of the target building, formally a warehouse now offices, was were the command centre for the bust was located; operatives of both agencies were dotted all around the building in disguise.
The trouble was they weren't the only ones. The gun supplier had also sent a surveillance team in. Ezra had identified them almost instantly. Now every thing was finally balanced. No one could move for fear of giving away their positions. To make matters worse the condemned warehouse had lived up to its warnings. After two hours sitting and waiting Buck had gone to find some place private to empty his bladder. The whole building stank of rot and garbage so he wasn't particular where. On the way back a whole section of rotten floor had given way under him. He didn't fall all the way though, but his left shin now had a splinter about six inches long embedded under the skin. He refused to let Vin call Nathan over for fear it would give their position away.
"It's just a splinter Vin, no one dies of a splinter, least ways not no more. When we're done Nate can take a look, okay?" he had reasoned.
That had been three hours ago. Now Vin noted the bottom of his faded jeans, not to mention the side of his Timberland boots were stained with blood, and since the stains were still wet it hadn't stopped bleeding once. And it hurt, a lot. Vin could see that from the way he sat and moved. Tense, careful, even more noticeable in Buck who was usually so lose and fluid.
"Buck it's gitin' dark, Nate could get over here with out no one noticing, let me call 'im?"
"No Vin, there's kids down there still, since the playground's flood lit and it's still warm out they ain't going no place, if anythin' went wrong they could be in the firing line, no Vin it ain't worth it jist a little scratch."
"Aw hell!" Buck swore.
"Some kids getting bullied, why do kids have to be 's cruel?" Buck lamented.
"What they sayin' to the poor kid?" Vin asked.
"Something along the lines that his old man's in jail and he's no better, he can't play with 'um 'cause his dads a thief."
Buck stood up and hobbled over to the window where the directional mike was positioned; he readjusted it to cut out the noise from the playground.
"Why'd ya do that?" Vin asked.
"Can't help the kid, don't want to listen to them raging on 'im." Buck stretched and rubbed his thigh above the injury.
Vin thought of asking how his leg was but Buck would just say 'fine' so there was no point.
"You ever git bullied?" Vin asked, doubting someone as big and out going as Buck ever had much trouble with bullies.
"Yeah, God yeah," came the surprisingly heartfelt reply. "You?"
"Uh huh, what they rag on you about?"
"Being big, being dumb, not having a dad, living in a motel, you name it."
Vin didn't think he'd ever heard Buck be so open about his past unless it was about some conquest or some misadventure he and Chris had had. For all his jovial easy going ways Buck was an intensely private man, Vin realised he knew next to nothing about his past before he met Chris, in fact now he though about it, of the six of them it was Buck he knew least about. Pain and fatigue was loosening his tongue, maybe even the beginnings of fever, taking in how pale he
was looking and the slight sheen of perspiration.
"You?" Vin didn't react to begin with; he almost hadn't noticed Buck was addressing him.
"Being small, being dumb, not having a dad or a mom, living in an orphanage, you name it."
The two men looked at each other and suddenly both laughed.
"God we make a right pair!" Buck commented.
"I never knew no one get bullied for being big," Vin said, remembering bitterly the taunts he had been on the end of for being small.
"Well it weren't so much being big as tall, I was always tall, but until 'm voice broke I was real skinny, all uncoordinated like a new born colt. They used to call me 'scare crow', 'bean pole' and 'giraffe legs'. That was ok though I could live with that."
It was clear to Vin there had been other taunts which he had found harder to live with.
"You was on the small side?" Buck continued.
"Mmm, until I was near sixteen or so. Hell I ain't 'xactly big now. But they use t' call me names and beat on me 'cause I was an easy target I guess. It weren't just being small, more it were that it made it easier t' pick on me, 'cause I had no parents t' kick up a fuss when I got home all covers in bruises."
Buck had been standing at the window, now he limped back to his chair and sat down, putting the ear piece back in. The outside world was still quiet.
"Well Ma got upset about the bruises but she didn't like to make a fuss with the school, didn't like the attention. 'Sides we usually moved before it got too bad," he explained.
One thing Vin did know about Buck was that he had moved around a lot when he was young. Vin had wondered what Buck's mom had done for a living that they were always on the move, but he'd long ago given up wondering, what did it matter?
"They bullied you about being an orphan? Man that is just evil." Buck commented.
"Well like you said kids c'n be cruel. I guess they jist wanted some'n t' pick on and I was the easiest. They use to say m' folks didn't want me 'cause I was s' dumb and s' small, that I was no good so they left me."
For the first time Buck detected real hurt in Vin's voice as he continued.
"I knew it weren't true about m' mom, she died, weren't her choice to leave me it jist happened, but got me thinking about m' Pa. Don't even know if'n he's alive or dead, where he is, why he left, nothin'. They tried to make me think it was my fault, he left 'cause of me, guess I believed m'," Vin lamented.
"Don't even know who my dad was or is," Buck admitted.
"Really? You ever try to find out?"
"No. He wasn't interested in me why should I be interested in him? Even assuming I could find out, which I doubt, most likely have to DNA test half the men over 55 in Kansas! You ever fight back?"
"Hell yes! I couldn't use words, used a fall over m' own tongue, but if'n they hit me I hit back, never did no good of course, they still beat me, if I did do damage no one ever listened t' my side. I's jist the poor little orphan with no folk to show him right from wrong. But they was wrong 'cause my mom told me "Remember you're a Tanner." I always tried to live up to that, make her proud. You?"
"No, well almost never, especially when I was older. Ma taught me 'cause I was big I had a responsibility to control my self, I couldn't never use my size to hurt anyone smaller and weaker, well in school that was 'bout everyone, even the kids older than me. And I had t' protect them that couldn't protect them selves, that usually put me at odds with the 'popular gangs' but I never cared much for them sort."
Vin thought that it certainly explained a lot about Buck's personality.
"Hate t' tell ya but you been breaking yer mom's rules about hitting folk smaller then you lately Bucklin."
"Ever since I joined the force! But I don't reckon she meant adults, not man anyways."
"Sounds like a strong woman," Vin commented.
"Yup very; not as strong as yours though." Vin frowned not understanding the comment. "Vin you were what 5 or 6 when she died?" Vin nodded. "And look how much influence she's had on you, how much she still does. Reckon your Pa must have been someone special too, else why she say that about being a Tanner?" Vin hadn't ever though of it that way. He allowed a small smile to spread across his face.
"Reckon you could be right at that."
"And you do." Buck finished.
"Make her proud."
"Thanks Buck," Vin looked down suddenly not knowing where to put his gaze.
"It's the truth, never no need to be embarrassed by the truth, Ma taught me that as well. She'd say, "Buck honey sometimes people are gonna call you names and say bad things about me, you just tell'm 'yup it's true, so what!' That way they can't hurt you no more."
"Don't reckon yer Ma's got any reason not t' be proud neither."
It really was getting dark now and Vin changed the scope on his rifle to a night sight while Buck did the same for the video camera. As it turned out they didn't have long to wait, as darkness fell the main players in the little drama arrived. Everything went as planned, Buck captured the whole exchange on tape both audio and video, all the bad guys were apprehended without a shot fired. Chris had been the agent in charge and as he packed away his equipment Buck mused that their notoriously stern boss might even allow himself a smile of satisfaction over this one. It took longer than usual to pack up, Buck really wasn't moving well and as it was now dark they were working with flashlights.
With some trepidation the two men made there way down though six floors of the creaking rotting building. Vin carried both the big auminium cases with the surveillance equipment in them while Buck had Vin's rifle and the tripod slung over his shoulder leaving one hand free to support himself as he limped down the steep open tred stairs. While he held the flashlight they were both dependent on, in the other. It was an accident waiting to happen.
They were near the bottom of the last but one floor when a step gave way under Buck's foot. He yelped more in surprise and fear than pain and instinctively grabbed the banister with both hands dropping the flashlight, which bounced down the stairs to come to rest unhelpfully illuminating the wall opposite them. Vin also acting on instinct and despite the lack of light, stepped down to the next step to help his friend, he found no tred only air and pitched forwards. Vin's cat like reflexes would have saved him had he not had his hands full of cases and had his legs not got tangled in the end of the tripod that had slipped of Buck's shoulder! As it was, he was catapulted down the last few steps to come to rest at the bottom in a shapeless dark heap.
"Vin? Ya okay pal?" Buck called trying to edge his way down in the dark and ignoring the daggers of pain shooting up his shin.
"Mmm .er .I reckon, mostly any ways. Ow!"
"What!" Buck froze where he was.
"Think I popped m' shoulder out," Vin said though gritted teeth.
"Don't move I'm coming, can ya reach the flashlight?"
As Buck inched closer he could hear muffled curse and grunts as Vin groped for the end of the flashlight finally getting hold of it in time to illuminate Buck reaching the bottom. Buck took it from him and tuned it on the young Texan. Vin was sitting on the filthy floor, covered in dust holding his left arm across his chest and cradling the elbow with the other hand.
"Still reckon our mom's are proud of us?" Vin commented knowing he now looked as bad as Wilmington.
"Oh hell yes, we're their blue eyed boys!"
A quick check by Buck revealed that Vin had indeed dislocated his left shoulder and had a good-sized graze on his cheek. Other than that he just had minor bruises. With some difficulty he pulled Vin to his feet.
"Damn that hurts!" Vin hissed.
"Ya gonna let Nate put it back?" Buck asked.
"No way, I seen him do that t' Ez hurts like hell! I'm going t' hospital, have some nice nurse give me an' anaesthetic first then fluff m' pillows, feed me chocolates and mop m' fevered brow!"
"Yer allergic to anaesthetics, they make you puke," Buck pointed out to the aggrieved sharpshooter.
"Well so? Then the nurses will have to be even nicer to me `cause I was so brave!"
"And ya don't have a fever, so they can't mop yer fevered brow."
"Well you do, I ain't being selfish you can come too, jist don't eat m' chocolates!"
"Have no fear I ain't suicidal!" Stealing any of Vin's cash of candy was one quick way to get your self killed, or at least risk the wroth of the most infamous practical joker in the whole federal building.
Abandoning the cases and tripod, taking just the gun and the evidence tape they made their way to the side door and let them selves out into the warm night. Outside the flashing lights of the Denver PD illuminated the scene, the building opposite had been taped off people seemed to be everywhere. The children from the playground had all congregated against the chain-link fence to watch. As the two wounded warriors shuffled and limped down the steps to the street, they saw a young boy sitting there watching, separated from the others. Buck some how just knew this was Joey, the boy he had heard being bullied and teased.
"Hey kid what's yer name?" he asked.
Instantly the boy was up and backing off.
"It's ok kid we're ATF, the good guys." To illustrate this point Vin turned his back to display the large letters on the back of his jacket. "See."
"Joe," the boy said.
"Hi Joe, look we left some stuff in there." Buck pointed to the building they had just exited and locked. "It's all locked up an' all, but could you guard it `till out friends come to get it?" Buck asked matter of factly.
"Sure I can do that," Joe assured, looking thrilled.
"And so they know who you are you better wear this." Buck pulled out his ATF cap, which he hated, and plonked it on the boy's head. Instantly it fell over his eyes.
"Not like that Buck! Poor guy can't see nothin' like that, here." With this Vin whipped the cap of and tuned it around to face backwards.
"Jeez, now he looks like JD!" Buck hated it when JD wore his cap back to front.
Joe just stood there grinning at the two battered but friendly men.
Turning back to the boy he continued. "This is a very important job, we don't give job's like this to just any boy, only the ones we can trust. Can I trust you Joe?"
"Oh yes sir, I'll look after it for you don't you worry." Young Joe basked in there approval; no one would get past him to take the men's stuff.
"Good lad, someone will be over any time to get the stuff," Vin explained.
"Keep the cap," Buck said as he and Vin stated to move off.
"Really? I can keep it?"
With that the two agents set out across the street to find the rest of the team and face Nathan.
"I never known no one have more ways of not wearing his official cap than you Buck!"
A wicked grin played on Buck's mouth. "God I hate that thing, `bout time it was put to good use."
"You two are a right pair! Can't leave you alone for two seconds without you get into trouble! What the hell have you to been doing to yer selves this time?" Nathan greeted them, hands on hips, indignation in his voice.
"So much for nurses with fluffy pillows." Buck sighed
"Or chocolates," added Vin wistfully.
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