You Didn't Know What You Were Doing

by Nellie

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4

The next day, Chris rang Mrs. Farmer and asked whether they would be available to come in for a short chat. She immediately said that she had to consult her husband and lawyer before agreeing and rang off.

“10 minutes,” said Vin.

“Nah, more like 5” said Nathan with a frown.

“Would you like to wager $10 on that?” enquired Ezra from the other side of the desk.

Both men shook their heads with a smile.

Josiah walked into the office “What are you betting on now?” he enquired, having come in part way through the conversation.

“How long it'll take for that smart-ass lawyer to come on the phone to Chris threatening to sue him for harassment.”

The phone began to ring and they watched as Chris picked it up.

“You win Nate,” murmured Vin as they saw the blonde agent bristle with anger.

“Oh yes, I understand you perfectly Mr. Bannerman. The fact that we have a signed witness statement against your client has obviously slipped your mind.”

Chris looked at the others in exasperation as he listened to the threats on the other line.

“As I have just told you. We wish to follow up a new line of questioning and I would recommend that it is in your client's best interest to help us.”

He listened again before finally losing his temper.

“You know Bannerman, the way you're over-reacting to a simple request makes me think that your client has got something to hide,” he snapped and smiled as the lawyer realised that he had overstepped the line.

“2 o'clock. Yes that will be fine. I look forward to seeing you. I assume that both Mr. and Mrs. Farmer will be accompanying their son? Good.”

He put the phone down and heard a round of applause from his audience. He looked up and smiled sheepishly.

“Have you lot got nothing to do?” he called out and laughed as they all scattered to their various desks.

Buck was at the hospital having a check-up on his leg but would be in the office just after 11 o'clock so everything was set in place.

They had discussed their plan of action at JD's bedside that night, wanting to include their young colleague in the decision. It had been decided that Chris and Ezra would interview Shane and that Josiah and Vin would interview George and Mary Farmer separately using the ruse of getting background information. It was agreed that Buck would call into the interview room as if he had just got back from the hospital. Hopefully that would enable them to lead the conversation round to his injuries. That was the plan anyway but Chris was experienced enough to know that all plans were made to go astray. He knew that obtaining a search warrant was vital to their enquiries but they had to be able to convince a Judge that it was legitimately justified.

It was now 2.30pm and Mr. and Mrs. Farmer were sat in an interview room watching the large profiler and the lanky sharpshooter reading through the notes.

“I am sorry to have to bring you in here today Mr. and Mrs. Farmer but we just need to clear up a few points.”

The couple nodded, George Farmer keeping a firm hold on his wife's hand.

“Now, Mr. Farmer. How long have you been a chemist?”

“What do you need to know that for?” he hissed.

Josiah patiently sighed and looked at him.

“Mr. Farmer, your son has been implicated in the sale of illegal drugs at Spring Hill High. You own a drugstore. Need I make myself any clearer?”

The man coloured. “Are you implying that my son got the drugs from my store?”

Josiah shook his head deliberately. “I'm not implying anything Mr. Farmer. Now, please just answer my question.”

“I qualified out of Vermont State University. I have a PHD in applied Chemistry. I spent the first 10 years of my career at Phoneston Pharmaceuticals as a research chemist.”

“And when did you open the drugstore.”

“About 10 years ago. I decided that there was more money in selling drugs than making them.”

Vin raised his eyebrows at that comment but didn't say anything.

“So you are aware of the chemical compounds used to manufacture a variety of drugs.”

Mr. Farmer nodded, unsure of how much to admit.

Josiah leaned over and handed a list of ingredients to the chemist.

“Can you tell me if you stock these items at your shop?”

Mr. Farmer looked down the list quickly and saw that they were familiar generic ingredients.

“Yes, of course I do. These are everyday items that any drugstore stocks.”

Josiah nodded. “You're quite right.” He took the list back off the chemist and returned it to the open file.

There was a light knock at the door and Josiah nodded to Vin. He reached over and spoke into the tape machine. “Interview temporarily suspended at 2.34pm,” and then clicked it off.

Vin got to his feet and opened the door as both Mr. and Mrs. Farmer watched, unsure what was happening.

Josiah leaned over. “Sorry about this,” he said apologetically.

Buck was at the door as Vin opened it.

“Sorry to disturb you” he said quietly. Vin opened the door fully so that Mr. and Mrs. Farmer saw that he was on crutches. “I just wanted you to know that I've just come from the hospital and JD's doing better. They've moved him out of the ICU into a room of his own.”

Vin and Josiah both murmured their approval. Buck seemed to realise that he was intruding and looked directly at Mr. and Mrs. Farmer.

“I'm sorry Folks. It's just that the guys have been worried and I wanted to let them know as soon as possible.” He looked back at his friends.

“I'd better go and rest up now, this leg is killing me, but I'll see you upstairs later ok?”

“We shouldn't be too long. Chris is interviewing Shane now about the other two kids.”

said Vin who then closed the door and turned back to the couple.

“What other two kids?” asked Mrs. Farmer fearfully. She felt her husband give her hand a hard squeeze.

Josiah reached forward and began the tape machine again.

“Sam Bryant and John Barber. 18 year old kids who ran into a tree at 120mph. Their post-mortems revealed that they were under the influence of B.A.D.”

“Kinda tough on the parents. They were inconsolable,” murmured Vin quietly satisfied to see the reaction on Mrs. Farmer's face.

“The trouble with drug dealers is that they never see the consequences of their actions. They're just interested in the money but don't worry about the misery and devastation that their peddling causes.”

Josiah stared directly at George Farmer who squirmed uncomfortably. His wife just looked down at the table.

“Fact is, Buck has just been visiting another victim,” said Vin “JD's a 19 year old kid who had the drug planted on him by either Bryant or Barber. The maker has disguised them as aspirin and he gave it to someone who had a headache. JD's currently lying in a hospital bed paralysed from the waist down.”

They all heard a sob from Mary Farmer and all eyes turned to her.

“I'm sorry Mrs. Farmer. I guess you can understand why we want to get the dealer now. How would you feel if it was your son paralysed or dead?”

George Farmer rose in anger.

“How dare you accuse my son of causing this.”

Josiah rose to his feet and towered over him.

“Please sit down Mr. Farmer,” he said firmly and the chemist slumped back into his chair.

“George,” pleaded his wife. “Tell them.”

Mr. Farmer whipped his head round and glared at his wife.

“What do you mean?” pressed Josiah leaning forward intently.

Mrs. Farmer looked at her husband and then seemed to find some steel within herself.

“George. Tell him or I will,” she said firmly.

Josiah and Vin watched as the chemist looked at his wife for a long moment. She gave him a small nod and he seemed to wither in front of them.

“It's for the best,” said the small woman squeezing his hand.

“Mr. Farmer?” prompted Josiah quietly.

He heaved a large sigh and turned to look at the two AFT agents in front of him.

“I first noticed it about 3 months ago. When I was doing my stocktaking there were small items that were missing. I assumed that it was a clerical error but I kept finding things gone.”

Josiah pushed the list over again.

“Are any of them on this list.?”

Mr. Farmer nodded numbly.

“All of them. Not in large amounts but enough.”

“Enough to make tablets of B.A.D,” said Vin.

He nodded. “Enough to make about 20 tablets. I didn't want to believe it but when we got home yesterday I got to thinking and Mary and I discussed it last night.”

“So Shane has been taking the ingredients and making the drug himself?” asked Josiah.

“He has a natural talent for chemistry. When he was younger he was always into chemistry sets and experiments. “ said Mrs. Farmer.

“Just like his father,” added her husband

“But I don't think he realised the damage that could be done?” said Mrs. Farmer looking pleadingly into Josiah's eyes.

“That's as may be Mrs. Farmer but his drugs have caused two deaths and injuries to 3 others. I am afraid that your son will have to answer for that.”

“Three others?” asked Mrs. Farmer in confusion.

Vin nodded. “The man who came in here before. He was shot in the leg because of your son's drug.”

“I'm so sorry,” she cried, bursting into tears. Her husband gathered her to him muttering his apologies as well.

“What's going to happen to Shane?” he asked.

Josiah closed the file on the desk and looked at Vin.

“We need you to give us a full statement. He is in a lot of trouble Mr. Farmer. I don't know what will happen. That will be up to the District Attorney. The only thing I would recommend is that he give us a full confession and co-operates with our enquiries.”

Mr. Farmer nodded numbly and held his wife close. “We'll do our best. Please, tell your friend we're sorry. We were just trying to protect our boy.”

Both Josiah and Vin nodded.

“Right, if you are ready I'd like to get your statement down now while it's fresh in your mind. Vin can you go and fill in the rest of the team on the situation.”

Vin nodded and rose to his feet. Casting a final look of sympathy at the shaking couple he left the room.

“It's shitty being a parent sometimes,” he murmured to himself.

Walking to the other interview room he knocked on the door and waited for it to be answered. Ezra opened the door and looked at him expectantly.

“I need to speak to Chris,” he said loudly, for the benefit of Shane Farmer who sat there belligerently with his lawyer.

Chris looked up and apologised to the men on the other side of the desk.

“Excuse me for a moment,” he said and walked out with Ezra. Once they had closed the door behind him he cursed vehemently.

Vin grinned. “Having a good time in there?” he asked Ezra who answered.

“Mr. Larabee's temper has been fraying particularly badly over the last 10 minutes. Mr. Farmer is being particularly obstructive today and Mr. Bannerman is doing his utmost to help him.”

“Well, I've got some news that may puncture that windbag,” he said with a smile and proceeded to tell them of the most recent developments.

“Yes, we've got him,” hissed Chris with a smug smile.

“It appears we do Mr. Larabee. Shall we enlighten our young chemist?”

“It would be my pleasure Ezra,” he said. “Vin, go and give Buck the good news. We'll be up in about an hour,” he turned back to the door. “I'm gonna enjoy this,” he said as he opened the door.

Vin just heard the line “Mr. Farmer, some information has come to light which …….” before the door shut.

Vin walked into the office to see Nathan holding Buck up as he managed to take a few steps without his crutches. He leaned against the door post and watched as Buck's brows knitted together in concentration. Nathan supported him but let the injured man put all his weight on his injured leg. Vin felt a familiar twinge of guilt as he saw the ladies man's face twist in pain but quickly pushed the feeling down. Nathan watched as Buck walked slowly to the other side of the office before collapsing into a chair. Hearing a slow handclap he looked up and saw Vin lounging against the door frame.

Buck looked up and grinned.

“Can't keep a Wilmington down,” he called.

Vin walked over and sat down on the desk next to him.

“So did our little ruse work?” asked Buck, looking at him expectantly.

“Like a dream Bucklin. Apart from some shameless over acting. It appears that Shane has been stealing stuff from his father's drugstore and making the tablets himself. Mom and Dad are currently writing a full statement with Josiah and Chris and Ez are sharing the good news with Shane.”

“I hope that little bastard gets everything he deserves,” snapped Buck, curling his fingers into a fist.

“It's over Buck. We've got him. Let it go,” advised Nathan.

Buck looked up and frowned.

“It's not over Nate. Not until JD is up and walking.”

“You're right,” agreed the dark medic.

“Don't you think you should tell him?” said Vin, trying to lift the dark mood.

Buck brightened.

“Of course.”

They watched as he dialled and heard JD pick up the phone.

“JD. I've got some good news ……”

It was six days later when the Doctor pulled Buck and Chris aside. In that time JD had slowly regained his strength and his bruises were fading. However, he still had no movement in his lower body and this was beginning to cause his friends some concern. Consequently they were relieved when Dr. Mason sought them out. Taking them into a private office the Doctor sat both men down and studied them. Buck had finally been able to dispense with the crutches, his injured leg now healed enough to allow him to put weight on it, although he still limped badly. Chris was quiet and was in turn studying the Doctor in front of him.

“So Doc. How's our boy?” asked Buck warily.

Dr. Mason smiled. “He's doing really well. There really is no reason for him to stay here any longer.”

“Are you sure?” he asked surprised. “He still hasn't got any movement in his legs.”

The doctor nodded. “His blood tests are fine, the wound in his abdomen is knitting together nicely and as you can see his bruising and contusions are well on the way to healing. Apart from his paralysis JD is making a good recovery. There's nothing more we can do for him that you can't do at home. Is that alright with you?”

Buck and Chris exchanged glances.

“We'll look after him Doc,” said Buck confidently “And anyway, we've got Nathan to keep an eye on him as well.”

“I just need to know where you're going to take him. He'll be in a wheelchair for the near future so it'll be best if it's all on one level.”

Chris spoke up. “We were planning on him coming to my ranch originally but I think JD wants to go straight home.”

“And is that suitable?”

Buck nodded as Chris answered. “Yes. It's a second floor apartment but the block does have an elevator. Once he's in there everything is within easy reach. I'll be staying there as well until Buck is 100% fit and I'm certain the rest of the team will help out as well.”

The doctor nodded, satisfied that his patient would be well looked after. He rose to his feet.

“Good. I don't see why he can't leave this afternoon. Do you want to give him the good news or me?”

Buck rose to his feet with the help of his friend.

“I think I'd like that pleasure,” he said with a grin.

JD looked up from the magazine he was reading as the door to his room opened and he was pleased to see Buck limp in followed by a dark clad Chris. Both men had wide smiles on their faces as they walked towards the bed.

“Hi guys, what's got you two in such a good mood?” he said, helplessly smiling himself. He had been feeling a lot better the last few days, the irritating tiredness finally fading and the soreness of his injuries lessening with time.

Buck plonked himself in the chair as Chris came to sit on the edge of JD's bed.

“We've just been talking to Dr. Mason,” explained Buck.

“And?” prompted JD.

“He reckons that we can take you home this afternoon,” pronounced Buck laughing as JD's gasp of pleasure split the air.

“Really?” asked JD looking up to Chris for acknowledgement.

The blonde leader nodded. “Yup. Apart from your legs everything else seems to be in working order.”

JD closed his eyes and sighed deeply. “I can't wait to go home,” he said in relief.

“The Doc grilled us on where it would be best to look after you,” said Buck, frowning a little as JD jerked his head to stare at him.

“I want to go home Buck,” he stated firmly. “Not to Chris's ranch, or Ezra's townhouse or Nathan's, or Josiah's or to Vin's apartment. I want to go home.”

Both Chris and Buck laughed at the serious impression on the young man's face.

Buck held his hands up.

“Ok kid, we get the message. In fact we were going to take you back to the CDC. Chris is gonna move in for a while until I'm fully fit and I'm sure all the other guys will want to help you as well.”

JD frowned. “I don't want any help. I want to be able to do things myself,” he pouted.

Chris patted his knee. “We know JD. We'll let you do as much as you can but Buck here needs looking after too.”

“Besides,” added Buck. “How the hell do you think you're gonna stop the team helping out. Dammit, Vin has been driving me crazy the last few days. It's about time someone else suffered the fussing.”

JD smiled and relaxed. “Just as long as you know that I'm not an invalid.”

Both men nodded their heads. “We understand JD.”

Chris rose. “Now, I guess I'd better pass on the good news to the team. We've got a lot to do to prepare the apartment. I'll be back in a short while.”

JD and Buck watched as Chris left the room and eventually Buck turned to his injured friend.

“Look JD. I'm not going to lie to you. This is gonna be tough on the both of us. It'll be tricky until you get your mobility back and it's gonna be a nightmare with Larabee and the boys fussing over us. I wanna make a pact with you.”

JD laughed. “A pact?”

Buck nodded seriously. “If, at any time, you don't feel in control of anything or things are getting too much I want you to holler my name and I'll be there for you.”

JD nodded. “And the same for me?”

Buck grinned and nodded. “I'll just holler your name. It may take a while for you to get to me but I know you'll do your best.”

JD closed his eyes for a second and then clasped Buck's offered hand and gave it a firm shake.

“Deal Buck,” he said firmly.

+ + + + + + +

Later that afternoon JD sat in a wheelchair outside the apartment door of the CDC. He felt a hand on his shoulder as Buck unlocked the door and pushed it open.

Not certain of how he would react he drew in a deep breath and was pleased to note that Chris did not push the wheelchair forward. Instead he leaned down and whispered.

“Ok JD?”

JD nodded and felt Chris push the chair in. He looked around the room and uttered a cry of dismay. Instantly both men were at his side.

“JD?” asked Buck fearfully.

“This isn't my home,” he wailed “Someone's broke in a cleaned it up.”

His sentence was met with silence before Chris and Buck saw the grin spreading across his face. All three of them burst into laughter.

“I guess the guys took advantage of our absence. You know how Ezra complains of the mess every time he visits,” commented Buck, relieved beyond measure.

Chris wheeled JD to the sofa and was just about to help him onto the settee when JD stopped him.

“I need to see,” he said quietly.

Nodding his understanding, he pushed the wheelchair around the back of the settee and stopped. JD studied the area closely. There was no sign of the savage assault, all traces of blood and broken furniture cleaned and sanitised. He noticed that the rug had been replaced but other than that there was no evidence of what had happened. He slowly lifted his head and saw the tortured look in Buck's face. He turned and saw it mirrored on Chris's face and he realised that his friends truly understood what he was feeling because they too had experienced it. Considering it further he realised that all the team members had seen the bloody scene and he was certain that all of them had had to fight their own emotions the first time they returned to the apartment. Heaving a big sigh he grasped both men's hands and squeezed them.

“What are you feeling JD?” asked Chris in concern.

“That I'm glad I've got a couple of friends by my side.” He squeezed the hands again.

“I guess it was hard for you two the first time?” he commented.

“Yeah, it was. But I was lucky, I had a friend at my side as well,” said Buck looking gratefully at Chris. Chris nodded and then pulled JD backwards.

“How about you getting settled on the settee and then Buck can start the coffee.”

“Me?” said Buck incredulously. “I thought you were here to look after us Larabee.”

Chris growled “I'm not putting up with your bullshit Wilmington. You're perfectly capable of making the coffee. Besides, JD and I want to watch the game don't we.”

“Sheesh, you make a damn awful nursemaid Larabee,” grinned Buck and both men were pleased to hear the sound of JD's laughter.

Vin watched as Chris filled up another bowl of potato chips. All of the team were at the CDC, Josiah having made his famous chilli. Ezra, JD, Buck and Nathan were currently engaged in a hand of poker and Chris and Vin had disappeared to the kitchen to restock drinks and nibbles. Vin leaned back against the counter.

“JD seems to be doing ok?” he commented as Chris put the empty bag into the waste bin.

“Hm, he seems to be pretty grounded. I just wish his damn legs would start working.”

“Yeah, we all wish that. How's Bucklin handling it?”

Chris turned and grinned at Vin who innocently asked “What?” shrugging his shoulders.

“20 questions again Vin. I'm starting to think you're turning into Josiah.”

A smile curled the Texan's lips.

“Hell Larabee. I just wanna know if you're gonna kill each other living under the same roof.”

Chris shook his head with a smile. “No Vin. I think we're doing ok. Buck is trying his best not to fuss too much over JD and I'm trying to keep to the background as much as I can. It's not ideal but it's the best we can do.”

Vin thought for a while and seemed to come to a satisfactory conclusion although he did seem a bit nervous.

“Something troubling you Vin?” asked Chris quietly.

“Not really,” he answered.

“Not really. So there is something troubling you.”

“It's Casey,” admitted Vin

“Casey? What about Casey?”

“I just get the feeling that she's not handling this too well. I don't reckon she's said two words to Buck since this whole thing started.”

Chris looked at Vin in wonder and then began to think back to the few times that Casey had been in the same room as Buck.

“To be honest I can't say I've noticed,” he said truthfully.

Vin shook his head. “And I don't think Buck has either. I think Ezra may have picked up on it but I'm not sure about the other guys.”

“Do you think it's something we need to be worried about?”

“I dunno. I guess she just needs time to get her head round what happened. Hell, look at how long it's taken us. I'm still riddled with guilt and I can't guess what Buck is going through.”

Chris sighed. “Time, that's what we all need. JD needs time to get his health back, Casey needs time to get her head straight, you and Buck need time to let your guilt go. Time.”

Vin shrugged again. “And you need time to yourself. Whenever you get too stressed just remember to call me.”

“Thanks cowboy,” said Chris with a smile. “Now come on, let's get back to the game before Ezra fleeces them all of next month's pay checks.”

They shared a long look of understanding before picking up their various goods and walking back into the living room.

Over the next few days, they managed to establish a routine. JD's infirmity was not ignored and both Chris and Buck made sure that they asked him what he wanted instead of just doing what was required. JD for his part bore the attention with patience knowing how hard it was for all three men. They came to an understanding. Buck stayed with JD during the day while Chris was at work and each evening they took it in turns to cook, JD helping out as much as he could with the preparation. Usually they watched the TV until 10 o'clock and then helped JD to bed. Nathan had supplied some lifting apparatus for the bathroom and JD was able to bathe himself without too much fuss. Of course, there were some things he couldn't do which he found really frustrating but he bore the inconvenience with good humour. It all went wrong on the Wednesday night.

At just after 7 o'clock there was a knock at the door and Chris answered it.

Casey stood in the doorway and he ushered her in.

“Good to see you Casey,” he said, following her into the living room. He watched as she leaned down and kissed JD. Buck greeted her but she merely glanced at him. Chris saw Buck frown and thought back to the conversation he'd had with Vin the previous weekend.

Walking forward he patted Buck's shoulder.

“How about you and me disappearing for a couple of hours to give these two some time alone.”

Buck nodded and climbed to his feet.

“Is that ok with you JD?” he asked.

“He's perfectly capable of surviving without your help for a few hours,” snapped Casey turning to stare at him.

Chris winced “Ok Casey. Look, just ring my mobile if you need anything,” interceded Chris before bundling Buck towards the coats. “We'll be back by 9 o'clock.”

Casey nodded, her attention already turning to JD.

When he heard the door slam JD turned to Casey with a frown.

“That wasn't very nice,” he said accusingly.

“What?” she said innocently.

“The way you snapped at Buck,” he answered.

“Did I? I'm sorry, I just wanted to be alone with you and I got the impression that he thought I wasn't up to it. Now, I've come to visit you, not to talk about Buck. How have you been?”

“I'm getting these twinges every so often. Kinda like butterflies up and down my legs but I still can't move them.”

“Well that's good isn't it? That means that the nerves are starting to work.”

JD nodded. “I hope so. You don't realise what the world is like until you're stuck in a wheelchair.”

Casey nodded. “I know it's been tough for you but I'm here to look after you now. No-ones gonna harm you while I'm here.”

JD smiled and leaned over and kissed her. “How long have we got?”

“2 hours,” said Casey huskily.

They were lying on the sofa, Casey huddled into JD's shoulder as he put his arm around her.

“I think tonight will have done Buck some good,” he said quietly.

Casey bristled.

“You know, you've not stopped talking about Buck all night,” she snapped.

JD looked down in surprise.

“He's my best friend Casey. He's a major part of my life.”

“Yes, and he tried to end that life didn't he. What kind of best friend does that,” she hissed, her true feelings finally coming out.

JD stammered. “But it wasn't his fault”

Casey lost her temper. “So it wasn't his fists that caused these,” she pointed to the bruises still showing on his face. “And it wasn't him that stamped on your hand and broke your fingers. And it wasn't him who deliberately stabbed you.”

JD pulled away, horrified by the anger in his girlfriend's face.

“He tried to kill you JD and you talk about him as if he was a Saint!”

“Casey. It was an accident. He didn't know what he was doing.”

“Sounds a pretty convenient explanation to me. He should be locked up for what he did to you. He's the scum of the earth,” she shouted.

JD felt his own anger rise.

“You're just being stupid now,” he snapped.

Casey pulled away and stood up.

“Look at you JD. You're not able to walk. That man crippled you.”

“I know that Casey,” shouted JD. “But he's a victim, just like me and Chris and Vin and the other guys who had to witness it.”

“Oh the team,” she sneered. “Talk about closing ranks.”

JD looked at her, his face strained with anger.

“Don't say anything against my friends Casey,” he warned in a low voice but Casey was on a roll.

“Your friends, hah. You've always put them before me haven't you? Well I'm telling you now I'm fed up with being second choice. You'd best get your priorities right.”

“It was an accident Casey. I thought that tablet was an aspirin. Hell, if we hadn't have been at that stupid party this whole thing would never have happened. You know I didn't want to go. So maybe Casey Wells this is ALL YOUR FAULT!” he shouted.

Buck and Chris opened the living room door to hear the sound of raised voices and both shouted out NO as the caustic words tumbled from JD's mouth. They were too late however and watched as the girl just stood and stared at her boyfriend. JD regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth and he tried to apologize but she was having none of it.

Silently she reached for her bag and coat and turned around. She hesitated for a second as the saw the shocked faces of Chris and Buck in front of her but then pushed her way past.

Chris tried to catch her but wasn't able to “Casey,” he called but she ran as fast as she could. Buck watched her go and then swung around to JD.

“That was a stupid thing to say JD. It wasn't her fault.”

“I know that but she was saying horrible things about you Buck and she got me angry.”

“Chris, you look after JD. I'm going after Casey.”

Chris nodded his understanding and moved to hold the shaking JD.

Buck found Casey in the alcove just near the elevators. She was sitting on the floor breaking her heart. The sound of her sobs filled the space and Buck's heart went out to her. He didn't feel any anger towards her. He understood only too well the anguish that this whole event had caused. Kneeling down painfully he put his hand on her arm.

“Casey. We need to talk.”

She looked up, her tear filled eyes flashing in anger.

“Go away. I don't ever want to talk to you.”

Buck sighed patiently. “I'm sorry for what happened. If there was anything I could do to make it all better then I would.”

“You should be locked up for what you did. You nearly killed him,” she accused.

Buck nodded.

“Don't you think I'm being punished enough? I have to see JD every day, I have had to listen to his cries of pain, I have had to see him struggle to move. You will never understand the stab of pain that goes through my heart every time he tries to be brave. I know I nearly killed him Casey and I'll live with that for the rest of my life.”

Casey looked up at him, her tears drying.

“If it hurts so much, why are you still here.”

“Because this is where I belong. I live here with JD and I've vowed that I will do everything that I can to make sure that that boy never suffers again. Hell, it would be easy to walk away but I'm not a quitter and neither is JD. He didn't mean what he said, you know that don't you?“

Casey nodded miserably.

“But it's true isn't it? If I hadn't taken him to that party, none of this would have happened,” she said quietly, her breath hitching.

Buck nodded. “And if Barber and Bryant hadn't have put that tablet in his pocket it wouldn't have happened. If I hadn't had a headache that day it wouldn't have happened. Face it Casey, we didn't have any control over the events of those few days.”

He moved in close and held her face in his big hands.

“I'm sorry for what happened Casey. Truly sorry. You know that the last thing on this world I would want to do is to hurt JD. My mind was ruined by that drug. I didn't see JD, it wasn't him I was hurting.”

“But you did hurt him”

Buck nodded numbly. “And I've got to live with that for the rest of my life. I could say sorry every minute to the end of my days but it still wouldn't be enough.”

Casey stared into the deep brown eyes and saw the hurt and guilt mirrored on his face. She felt her heart shatter for him. This man was hurting just as much as she was. How could she not have seen it before now.

“I'm sorry Buck,” she sobbed and flung herself into his arms, the tears once again flowing. Buck held her in his strong arms whispering down to her.

“JD needs us to be strong honey. He doesn't need us to be fighting, we need to be united to help him.”

She pulled back and smiled. “I guess he's feeling pretty shitty now.”

Buck smiled back. “I reckon we need to go and have a talk with him. OK?”

She nodded and climbed to her feet helping Buck up. She noticed his wince as he put weight on his leg.

“Is your leg hurting?”

Buck grimaced, kneeling down had put pressure on the flexed muscle and it was beginning to get sore.

“Nothing to worry about.”

Casey watched as he limped towards the apartment and moved to his side to help support him. Buck looked down gratefully.

Both JD and Chris looked up in relief as they saw the two missing people return home. Chris rose to his feet to help the obviously ailing Buck into a chair.

“What did you do Casey?” accused JD seeing the wince cross Buck's face as he settled down.

“Oh it's ok JD. She didn't do anything. I was kneeling in a funny position that's all.”

JD smiled. “Sorry, it's just that when Casey gets a temper up she can get a bit physical sometimes.”

“I do not,” said Casey indignantly.

Chris rolled his eyes and moved to the kitchen to get a painkiller.

Casey walked over to JD and sat down beside him.

“I'm sorry Casey, I should never have said that,” said JD quietly.

“No, you shouldn't have. And I shouldn't have said those nasty things about Buck.”

She took his hand.

“Buck and I talked outside. I guess I never understood it from his point of view. I do now.”

JD smiled.

“Are you sure you didn't kick him?” he said with a grin

Casey grinned back as the atmosphere eased.

All four of them talked for the next hour, each man realising that they hadn't considered how Casey had been feeling. Now everything was in the open and they each hoped that this nightmare was finally ending.

Eventually Casey looked at her watch and cried out. “Oh no, I should have been home half an hour ago.”

Chris stood up. “Come on, I'll give you a lift home and explain to your folks.”

She leaned over and kissed JD. “Is it ok if I come to see you tomorrow?” she asked shyly. JD nodded eagerly. She then moved over to Buck and kissed him.

“Good night darlin'' he said.

As soon as Chris and Casey had left Buck got up and went into the kitchen. Brewing a couple of hot chocolates he came in to find JD staring down at his feet.

“What are you doing kid?” he asked, placing the hot mugs on the coffee table.

“I felt something,” said JD quietly.

“Like what?” asked Buck looking down at where JD was intently concentrating on. He gasped aloud as JD's big toe moved.

“Did you see that?” whispered JD.

Buck looked up in glee. “It moved JD, you're goddam toe moved.”

They both hugged each other. “You're coming back to us son,” shouted Buck in pleasure.

This was a time of celebration. JD's nerves were finally springing to life. This nightmare was finally coming to an end.