Last Call

by Englishspirit

Disclaimer: I don't own them, and I am sure they are grateful for that.

Thanks to MOG who created the ATF universe for us to play in and I borrowed some words from the country song 'Last Call' by Lee Ann Womack. It made think of Buck, but the story has no similarities to the song at all. Thanks to my lightening fast best beta Antoinette.

Reviews will keep me warm, really, I'm in Kentucky and we've had some weather lately.

Warning: Implied slash and character death.

I bet you're in a bar,
Listening to a country song.
Glass of Johnny Walker Red,
By now, it's almost gone.
They're probably closing down,
Saying, "No more alcohol"
I bet you're in a bar
'Cause I'm always your last call.

The sudden ringing of a phone broke the silence of the darkened bedroom. There were sounds of grumbling, cursing and something taking refuge underneath pillows as the bed's occupant desperately tried to ignore the noise. The insistent ringing just seemed to get louder. Finally, an arm snaked out and snatched the offending device up.

"What?" Buck Wilmington growled. All traces of sleep faded away as he listened to the slurred request on the other end of the line. "Yeah, I'm on my way," he said, any hint of annoyance gone. He sat the phone down, took a deep breath and let it out. He ran his hands through his hair. He should have been used to these types of calls by now. Angry bar owners, concerned bystanders, even the police a few times. He always seemed to be the last call.

Buck sighed telling himself that he was glad to go, to help in some way, to be able to do something for the man. But Lord God he was tired! How many times had he gone through this now? Buck sometimes wondered if this was his purpose in life. It was raining like hell, the middle of the night and it wasn't the best area in town. He groaned, got out of bed, dressed and got into his truck.

He couldn't say no. The man was a pain in the ass but he was a friend, a damn good friend who was going through hell and Buck would never turn his back on his friends. He just wished he could do more than pull the guy out of a bar and take him home to sober up. He hated to see the pain and grief eating away at him. He had tried talking but that only got him a busted lip for his trouble so he mostly just listened now.

The hell of it was he understood something of what the other man was going through. The anger, the pain of loss that led to trying to hide in a bottle, drinking enough to where you didn't feel a damn thing. He understood, all too well and he really couldn't blame the man, the least he could do was pick him up, after all, he had done it before.

There was little traffic on the roads of Denver at this time of night and as he drove he found his memories coming as fast as the rain pouring down from the sky. Had it really been just six months ago? He didn't remember much, didn't really want to. It still didn't quite seem real. The bomb, the funeral and the investigation and suddenly life had changed. He had lost two best friends that night. One to death and the other to all consuming grief.

If his heart still ached with the loss, he couldn't even begin to imagine what the other man must be going through. Buck shuddered to think what it must feel like to lose a part of yourself, your heart, your soul. They had been so happy. Oh sure it had taken a while for them to get together because a certain someone was afraid of getting hurt again, but it had happened and they had been so happy, so very much in love.

God how they had loved each other!

He had been there during all the stages of grief, he had been the voice of hated truth, the punching bag, the one who held his dear friend who was usually so calm, so strong, held him as he sobbed in agonized realization on his shoulder.

He parked the truck and walked into the seedy looking bar. He stood a few moments letting his eyes adjust to the dim lighting. He nodded to the tired looking woman cleaning tables and stacking chairs as she listened to a country song playing over a radio. The bartender jerked his head toward one end of the bar in answer to Buck's questioning look.

As he made his way down the bar, he took in the winkled clothes, unshaven face, unkempt hair and the smell of whiskey that hit him long before he reached the man leaning on the bar. He didn't get too close. There was wariness, like that of a wild animal in pain, clinging to the man sitting there.

"Hey pard," he said in an easy non-judgmental tone and waited to be recognized.

The man slowly turned his head, his eyes were still somewhat alert, despite the numerous bottles and glasses that stood or lay on the bar around him. The look in those eyes was so familiar; Buck felt like something inside of him broke and splintered into a thousand pieces.

"Miss my cowboy Buck," the Texas drawl was just barely recognizable in that broken rasp.

Buck Wilmington took a deep breath, he had helped Chris through the death of his family all those years ago, now he had to help Chris's partner.

"I know," Buck said sadly. "Let's get you home, Vin."

The End