Thirty-Five Minutes by SueM

"RNLI" Alternate Universe

Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep 'em…damnit!

Thanks to Katy for RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)

Main Characters: Buck, JD

Ratings/Warnings: Some bad language

Glossary at end


Special thanks to Katy for keeping me straight and brainstorming with me.

And to Mari for the yummy wall.

And to blackraptor for giving my stories a home

All mistakes are mine

"Aw, not again."

JD Dunne trudged downstairs, stretching and yawning. Peace in the Lifeboat Inn was shattered once more. As he entered the kitchen, Inez was shaking a spatula at Buck.

"And don't think I wouldn't do it, Buck Wilmington!"

Buck chuckled, smiling at the teenager as JD dropped down into the middle of the war zone, commonly known as the kitchen table.

"Mornin' kid. Would you mind going out into the yard and hiding all the bricks?"


"Oh and the kitchen knives." He looked around. "Have to protect my manhood you know!"

JD's face was a sight to behold. "Oh…come on…I haven't even had my Shreddies yet!"


The boy chuckled as Inez finally hit Buck with the wavering kitchen utensil.

"Stop upsetting the poor boy before his breakfast, he has a big day, tomorrow." She stepped forward and clasped the youth's head to her breast to comfort him. Buck flapped his jaw.

"Hey…JD, come out of there!"

Dunne turned his head slightly, a little taken aback, but chuckling.

"He can't breathe! Let him out! How come I get whacked and he gets the comfort?"

Inez was enjoying Buck's exasperation. "Because he's sweet and a gentleman, you…are neither!" She let JD go, touching her hand to his smiling face as she walked away.

"You see what you did to him? I won't get a lick of work out of him all day, now."

JD frowned. "It's my day off!"

"See…you see what I mean?" Buck ducked another swipe of the spatula. He stared at the feisty brunette. "What would you do if I wasn't here to beat up?"

Inez took a step forward. "Throw darts at your picture!" She flounced off.

Buck grinned and stirred his tea. "She loves me, really."

JD pulled a face. "Oh yeah…I definitely got that."

Inez came back and whacked Buck again, a lot harder this time.

"Oww! Bloody hell!" He looked at her, in genuine surprise.

"Don't *ever* talk about not being here…ever again…" she threw a warning look at JD, "…either of you!"

JD watched her go, calling after her. "Do I get my Shreddies now?"


Despite it being a rest day from the pub, JD was due to help Rain at her shop, Aquarius. Buck never commented, but he was so proud of his surrogate sibling for working seven days a week to earn enough to live on, despite the fact that Buck would happily and permanently help JD out financially, if it were not for the teenager's pride and passion at being independent.

"Just leaving Buck!" JD called out as he headed for the door.

"Put the menu boards out on the pavement on your way out, would you?" Buck yelled back.

"Have you written on them?"

"No…thought I'd put them out blank for today!"

JD rolled his eyes.

"I saw that, squirt!"

Chuckling at Buck's amazing, newly acquired x-ray vision, on his way to Aquarius, JD picked up the chalk boards and arranged them on the pavement just outside the pub.


Rain grinned at the eighteen year-old as he came into the front of the shop. JD returned the grin, but somehow wasn't feeling quite as enthusiastic as he normally would. Two days earlier the school term had ended. Today, the little seaside town was full of teenage girls, enjoying their new-found freedom. Rain came behind JD and, putting her arms around him, hugged him.

"I'm totally planning on exploiting you, today and while part of me is repentant…another part is counting the takings. You're a little goldmine…thank you."

JD laughed. He patted her hands. "As long as you pay me, I can take it."

With a huge smile, Rain moved away, just as the bell over the door of her little shop tinkled and two young girls came in.

"Hi, JD."

JD threw them a lop-sided grin. "Morning, girls, can I help you?"

The blond girl blushed, the brunette nodded and pointed to a high shelf.

"Can you show me that, please?"

"Yeah, no problem, let me get the stepladder." The youth pulled the steps across and climbed. He turned to ask which particular music box she wanted to look at, and blushed at the expressions on their faces.

When they finally left JD glared at Rain. "They're only about fourteen and they were checking out my bum!"

The pretty black woman laughed musically. "Oh sweetheart, what can I say? If you've got it…flaunt it!"

Climbing back up the ladder to return the items the brunette hadn't bought, JD mumbled. "I'm just a piece of meat…"

Rain would have been concerned had it not been for the smile on the boy's face.

"I risk life and limb out on that lifeboat…yet I feel more in danger in this shop than I do out there."

Rain handed up more items. "JD, Buck would give his eye teeth for the female attention you'll been getting today."

JD frowned. "Isn't that illegal?"

She slapped his leg. "You know what I mean. You're only young once, sweetie…enjoy it."

Dunne climbed back down and, folding the ladders, put them away. "Oh yeah…and tonight, despite it being my day off, I now get to serve in the pub while Buck teases me all night about my…" he air quoted, "…fans."

The doorbell chimed and six girls stepped in. "Hi JD!"

JD sighed inwardly. 'Oh shit!'


Buck felt a little guilty while he watched JD serving and chatting to the customers. He hadn't really needed him tonight, but JD was due to fly out to Ireland in the morning and Buck decided he wanted him close for his last night. Despite none of the other six friends being able to accompany him due to their commitment to the RNLI, JD had decided to go anyway. But there was no doubt the eighteen year-old was regretting his haste in buying his plane tickets. It wasn't helping either, that storm-force gales were forecast for the next two days. It would be Crew Seven's weekend watch…and they were going to be a man down, which meant another crewman would likely join them for the duration of JD's absence.

As each of the five friends left, they spoke individually to JD, promising they would be back at the pub early to see him off. While locking up, Inez made them some supper and hot chocolate and the three sat quietly in the kitchen while they ate. Buck squeezed JD's arm.

"You all set for tomorrow?"

JD nodded. "Yep…as ready as I'll ever be." The look between the two men spoke volumes. Buck could stand it no longer.

"Don't go. Wait until we can all go with you. Please, kid…I hate to think of you traveling all that distance, alone."

The younger man swallowed. "The tickets are non-refundable, Buck. I'd be crazy to throw away two hundred pounds."

Wilmington desperately wanted to yell out, 'Do it! Damnit boy, I'll *give* you the bloody two hundred pounds!' But one look at the pride reflected in those huge hazel eyes stopped him and he just nodded instead. Inez stood and leaned toward JD, kissing him on the cheek.

"Cuidado de la toma mi pequeño."

JD smiled "Gracias."

Gathering up the dishes, Inez loaded up the dishwasher, set it to run and went up to bed, calling out as she left. "Buonas noches, mis muchachos."

"Goodnight. darlin'."

"'Night Inez."

Buck leaned in. "What did she say to you?"

JD grinned. "Not really sure, but I felt sure it was something nice, so I said thank you."

They chuckled as they rose from the table, switched off the light and headed for their beds.


Next morning, while sitting on a stool next to the bar and waiting for the arrival of his cab, JD played with the St. Christopher around his neck that Inez had given him for his eighteenth birthday, while watching his friends as they sat around the big TV. Buck had put Sky onto audio and they were listening to the shipping forecasts. It was half an hour before their crew rotation and pushing away the crumbs from the dessert he'd finagled from Buck, despite only just eating a hearty cooked breakfast, the Welsh mechanic emitted a low whistle as the broadcaster reeled off shipping areas Lundy, Portland, Plymouth, Wight and Dover. JD shuddered at the words.

"Plymouth…southwesterly gale…force 8 and upward expected…southwest veering northwest 5 to 7, occasionally gale 8…rough or very rough…rain…visibility poor."

JD looked again at his friends as they quietly discussed the forecasts, then at the plane tickets in his hand, sighing on reflecting that, despite them wanting to, how unfortunate it was none of his friends could go with him due to their rotation. JD desperately wanted to visit Glenbeigh, in County Kerry, his birthplace in Ireland, but Travis just couldn't cover them all at this time. Startled from his musings on hearing a horn, JD went outside to meet the taxi.

Buck came into the bar from the kitchen, carrying two plates of home made éclairs, looking around in alarm for JD as he came in. The publican called to his friends. "JD didn't leave already, did he?"

The five men turned to look, unsure of what had happened, they thought JD was still sitting at the bar. They all relaxed as the door opened, revealing the deteriorating weather as the youth walked back inside. Shaking the rain from his hair, JD approached them.

"So…you'll all come with me if I wait a few months?" he asked.

The men grinned; Buck chuckled, put down the plates and approaching, wrapped the youth in a huge bear hug. "What made you change your mind?"

"The weather," JD answered.

Buck frowned, pulling back. "I don't think flying's gonna be a problem…"

The youth shook his head. "No…the weather, here. I think we might be busy this weekend."

Chris nodded approvingly, pulling out his phone to inform Orin of the addition to their rotation as JD joined them at their table. Three hours later, seven pagers went off…and the maroon boomed out.

It was threatening to be a long shift, longer than the seven men could ever have thought possible.


Their third shout that night, and Chris was getting more and more frustrated with the weather, now at a hurricane gale force 12. The swell was almost more than the stalwart lifeboat could take, the bow pitching violently to slam back down into the water and for the first time since their very first rescue…he feared the worst. The fishermen they had rescued were with Nathan and Ezra, safely below deck, Buck, Vin and Josiah were out on deck attempting to keep a line on the disabled trawler to tow her in. Chris decided enough was enough; Nathan had already confirmed one of the casualties was suffering with internal injuries and deteriorating and the weather was too wild for the requested Sea King to airlift the injured person. They needed to abandon the disabled boat and get back to the harbor. He turned to JD, shouting to be heard.

"Go tell Buck we're ditching the trawler…and, JD, be careful…don't forget your line!"

JD wanted to yell back he wasn't stupid, but knew Chris wasn't in the frame of mind for flip comments. Nodding once, he got up from his navigational position, dodging the open companionway that lead down to the survivor cabin, and unsteadily made his way through the wheelhouse door, gasping at the ferocious wind and cold spray as it almost forced him back in.

The next moments would be etched in the minds and hearts of the crew of the Saint Nicholas for eternity.


Chris was an exceptional sailor with an astounding sixth-sense and it was that intuition, just before he looked out at the heaving wave that was sending them upright, that got him from behind the wheel and, seconds before his world turned a full 360 degrees, urgently calling out for JD to come back. Larabee stared in horror at the mountain of water he could now see also about to hit them from behind. He stood, helpless, hollering down a warning to Nathan and Ezra in the survivors' cabin a split-second before the windows of the wheelhouse came crashing in. Water poured through the glass as he was tossed every which way while the boat went through its horrendous, disorienting motion.


Exiting the wheelhouse, JD had just opened his clip to snap onto the safety line, when a heavy roll caused the boat to rise up at the prow until it was almost vertical. Losing his footing, he only just had time to see a foaming, black, mountain of a sea swell coming from behind, before the weight of the thunderous water pounded down at the stern, to send the almost perpendicular lifeboat into a complete flip and crash heavily, upside-down into the sea. Its hull now where the upper deck should be, the crew of the Saint Nicholas was totally submerged beneath tons of reinforced fiberglass, before the self- righting feature of the boat rolled it over in the churning sea to bob upright, water pouring out from the shattered windows of the wheelhouse and off the dripping deck as it righted itself.


Unable to get a grip, JD's feet went from under him and he slid into free-fall down the now erect deck, losing consciousness the moment his helmet whacked a side rail, and oblivious to the surging sea about to swallow him up.


Buck, Vin and Josiah, harnessed to the safety line on the aft deck, were struggling to maintain a tow line to the pitching trawler, deciding to check with Chris about cutting it loose. Their resolution to go ahead and do it became an action, when their world narrowed as, behind them, the sea swelled beyond anything they had ever experienced before. The front of the lifeboat rose upwards in the rolling swell as its hull lifted from the turbulent water. Between them, the motion of the two powerful, gigantic waves flipped the vessel upside-down.

The three crewmen clung to the rail for dear life as the boat skewed, Buck screaming out, unheard, as he just caught a glimpse of JD's body plummeting and the boy's helmet slamming against the rail before he disappeared into the breaker mere seconds before the rest of the lifeboat followed suit.

The terrified men suffered, as foaming water attempted to force itself into every facial cavity, seriously doubting they would ever breathe again. Their battered bodies twisted and turned with the turbulent motion as if in some giant washing machine until, just as they thought their lungs and burning chests would burst, they found air.

Still secured to the lifeboat's safety line, the three lay on the soaked deck, coughing violently to expel sea water, great gulps of air causing some to vomit. As they lay there, trembling, Buck's mind slowly processed the image of JD going overboard, prior to their roller-coaster ride from hell. Bleeding, the publican somehow found the strength to pull himself upright by hauling on the rail. Looking out over the rolling sea, Buck thought he spotted a flash of JD's bright yellow waterproofs in the sparse moonlight.


Vin was in hell. He knew he had damaged ribs and his left shoulder hung at an odd angle. His vision clearing, he nodded to Josiah, vaguely aware of Buck struggling to his feet. Buck's next actions snapped the Welshman back to stark reality, the mechanic screaming out to his friend as he watched Buck, while unclasping his harness, howling out JD's name before jumping over the side into the heavy sea.


Josiah's head felt like a lead weight as he tried to focus on anything but his aching body. His breath caught in his throat as he watched Buck recklessly dive, unharnessed, into the sea, but it was Vin's following actions that dragged the Holy man to his feet.

Tanner was now up, one hand clinging to the rail as he looked out over the water. He suddenly hollered out Buck and JD's names, Josiah barely rising in time to prevent his friend from following after the publican and young navigator. He clung for dear life as the Welshman fought him tooth and nail, despite his obvious injuries.

"J…Josiah…no…got to help…Buck and JD need help…LET ME GO! Damnit…RHYDDWCH FI…RHYDDWCH FI."

Somehow, Josiah thumped a restraining arm around the Welshman's body while pleading with Vin to see sense. The pair collapsed in despair and exhaustion, Josiah easing them both down onto the deck and cradling the Welshman until Vin stopped struggling. The big man was trying not to break down himself at the thought of two of his brothers afloat in the cold, chaotic ocean and in God knows what physical condition. And then…he remembered…there were three other crew and three fishermen still unaccounted for.


Despite one man considered seriously injured, Nathan and Ezra were satisfied the three rescued fishermen were comfortable, Nathan confirming to Chris only minutes before the waves hit that they were dealing with internal injuries. Ensuring the men were secured in the belted seats and the bolted down gurney of the survivors' cabin, the two crewmen had just strapped themselves in when the hatch above them slammed down and the compartment spun a complete 360 degree turn just seconds later.

Because the hatch had closed due to the motion, it was not airtight and soon water was cascading down through any crack it could find. The five men, despite being securely strapped in, were bombarded with unsecured items that would not normally pose a threat in high seas…but then, this was nowhere near normal.

Their relief was evident when the violent jerking and rolling stopped, leaving them dazed, battered, and knee deep in water.


Chris was unable to return to his seat before the waves hit, just managing to snatch a hold of a grab-handle. He curled in on himself when the windows blew inwards, showering him with glass and sea water as the boat flipped. Unfortunately, the brutal movement was too much to remain completely secure, hanging on for as long as he could before being tossed mercilessly, eventually landing heavily on the small galley floor next to the cabin hatch and just before the main helm. Chris groaned, every part of his body aching from the battering, while realizing very quickly that his left leg wouldn't move and hurt like hell.

Shaking his head to clear it, Chris held his breath, praying his inversion-proofed engines wouldn't die. Against his better judgment, Chris tried to pull himself up, leaning heavily against the back of his chair to fight the nausea and get his bearings when he failed. Exhaling, he stretched across, on his belly, and pulled opened the cabin hatch, calling out to his crewmen.


Nathan and Ezra were in a state of shock. They could only guess at what just occurred and for a few moments were completely disoriented. Slowly their minds cleared, the dim safety light shedding some illumination on their predicament. Nathan finally gained some control. "Ezra…you okay?"

Standish groaned. "I fear how I am feeling is anything but, but I am alive and relieved to learn you are also." Unbuckling his belt, Ezra moved slightly forward in his seat to check on the fishermen. "Are you alright, gentlemen?"

"What the bloody hell was that?" One asked.

"I think we just did a flip and roll," Nathan offered, content that no one was any more seriously hurt, just bruised and shook up. Unexpectedly, the hatch opened.

"Nathan…Ezra…you alright down there?"

"Never better, Mr. Larabee. And yourself?"

Relieved on hearing Ezra's voice, Chris closed his eyes for a moment. "Nathan, are you able to get up here? I've got men on deck!"


Vin groaned as his senses returned. Glancing around in the darkness he sensed Josiah sitting close, the preacher breathing heavily.

"Josiah…wyt ti'n iawn?"

Sanchez frowned. "English, please Vin."

"Huh?" Vin hadn't realized he wasn't speaking English. "Oh…sorry. Are you okay?"

Nodding in the darkness, Josiah answered. "The ache to my sides tells me my ribs have taken a battering. You?"

"Mae pen a fy malfais tost a fi." He groaned. He knew he spoke Welsh that time. "Sorry…my head and my shoulder hurts, but, other than that, I think I'm okay."

The two men sat quietly for a few moments, then Vin sat up, sharply, as everything came back to him. "Buck and JD…oh God!"

Josiah straightened, cursing the poor visibility. "Do *not* unhook your line, Vincent, or so help me, as God is my witness and despite my weariness and pain, or yours, for that matter, I will sit on you. We wait until Chris gives the all clear." The big man released a few tears. He too wanted nothing more than to jump up to the searchlights and scan the water, but they were in unknown territory, the boat temporarily disabled and the well-being of the rest of the crew unknown.

"Have…have to restart the engines."

"I know…I know…just give it a minute."

Relief was evident when Nathan, complete with torch, opened the wheelhouse hatch, secured a line and moved toward them. It suddenly occurred to the three men that it was almost eerily silent. The rain was still falling, the sea still pitching, though a little less violently, now, but the wind had calmed considerably. Nathan carefully checked the battered, shaken men over and helped each of his friends to their feet, trying to put his own shock and pain to one side as he spoke.

"I think Chris has broken his leg. Damn fool's refusing to quit, he wants you to go and restart the engines, Vin."

Nodding, the mechanic painfully moved off, Josiah softly ushering him while reassuring him he would fill Nathan in.

"Is Ezra okay?" Josiah asked.

Nathan nodded. "As well as can be expected after having been turned upside down. What's going on?"

Josiah's eyes filled again as he spoke. "JD went overboard. The wave hit before he could secure his line."

Nathan grabbed at Josiah's jacket. "What?"

"Buck went in after him."

"Oh dear God. Josiah…we have a seriously injured casualty, not to mention our own injuries and a disabled lifeboat. This can't be happening." As he said the words, Nathan was clinging to the preacher.

Sanchez nodded. Someone needed to be the strong one, and if necessary, he was prepared to take on …in light of their dire circumstances and fear for their friends…that heinous role. "Do what you have to do, try and get Chris and Vin to rest…I'll take over." They both heaved a sigh of relief as an engine sputtered to life and the lights came on.

"Well, that's something," Nathan declared.


Ezra was struggling to restrain Chris as, before checking out the engines and attempting to re-start them, a pain racked mechanic told him about JD and Buck.

"Fucking let go of me, damnit! I have two men overboard, I am *not* sitting around while they're still out there."

"You got no choice, mate," Vin stated looking up for a moment, "you're in no fit condition to handle this boat."

"I'll be the judge of that, *crewman*."

All at once an engine started, seconds later, Josiah and Nathan appeared. One look between Larabee and Sanchez and the control of the Saint Nicholas changed hands.

"Josiah…we've drifted. Check JD's last coordinates and come about. They hopefully haven't gone too far." He checked his watch. "I make it eleven minutes…we have to move…call a Mayday…men overboard." He looked at Vin apologetically. Tanner squeezed his shoulder.

"The engine's running a little hot. I may have to shut it down."

Chris ignored the information; he didn't want to hear any more bad news right now. "Someone get up on the fucking searchlight and find my men!" He cursed at his immobilized limb, gritting his teeth as he desperately tried not to pass out from the pain.

Nathan watched as the electrics on the console glowed intermittently before settling, praying the radio still worked. He had to tell his injured, distraught captain and engineer they couldn't stay. God forgive them, but they had a seriously injured casualty…they couldn't stay.


It was all Buck could do to ride the swell, his stinging eyes scanning for the yellow suit and red and white lifejacket he had dived in after and praying the body inside it hadn't swallowed too much water when he hit the waves. Spotting his prize, Buck relaxed and allowed the waves to carry him, soon closing in on JD. Reaching out, he hoped his numbing fingers would keep their grip as they tightened around the top of the bobbing lifejacket, silently whooping for joy as he successfully pulled JD toward him. "Got you, boy."

Turning onto his back, Buck floated, allowing his lifejacket to do the work as he spread-eagled his body in the water and pulled JD over the top of him, to rest his chin on the boy's helmet. He looked around for lights, crushed when he realized they were nowhere in sight. He held JD tighter, coughing as he swallowed some seawater. After floating there for some time, a soft moan directed his attention away from their dilemma.

"Oh God."

"JD? Hey…JD?" He suddenly felt the youth stiffen, then panic as JD roused, struggling, hurt and disoriented and ingesting seawater. His helmet caught Buck on the chin, causing the publican to momentarily see stars.

"Shit! Whoa…no…easy there, tiger. I got you…hey, kid…it's me, Buck…I got you."

JD raised his arms to lock them around Buck's, clinging for all he was worth. "Wh…what are we doing in the water?" he spluttered.

Buck tightened his grip, hoisting the youth up a bit, his concern growing over the heavy slur to JD's words. "Well, you decided to go for a little swim so I thought I'd join you."

"J…join me?"

"Mmm…can't let you have all the fun."

JD went silent for a moment. "Is it s…still raining?"

"Yeah…but the wind's died down a bit."

JD gulped and coughed out water.

"Hey…I need you to hold tight there, squirt, okay?"

"Okay. Head…hurtsss…"

"I know, son…it took quite a whack, I reckon. Thank God for our helmets, huh?"

"Don't…remember. " JD relaxed for all of a second, then began to struggle to see Buck. "Are you hurt, Buck?"

"Not yet…" he lied, "…but if you kick out much more, you may cause irreparable damage and I'll have to join the Monks on St. Just." He grinned at the soft snort as JD clung tighter.

"Did I mess up, Buck? I can't remember any…anything. "

"No, you didn't 'mess up', son, so don't think like that. This one was down to bad timing and Mother Nature." Hoping to keep JD…and himself…focused, while the two bobbed like some giant white, orange and yellow buoy in the frigid water, Buck clung to the young man that had become so important to him. He had finally caught a glimpse of a light way in the distance…all they had to do, was hold on…they were coming…the guys were coming.


Inez couldn't sleep. At first, she put it down to the raging storm, but now she knew, it was her fear for her boys and their friends that was causing her unrest, yet she didn't understand why moreso tonight than any other time they had gone out.

She thought the noise she heard below her was a branch knocking at the window, quickly realizing it was actually someone knocking at the front door of the pub. Wrapping her dressing gown around her, she padded down the stairs and approached the door.

"Who is it?"

"Mary and Rain, Inez," came a familiar female voice. Inez was visibly shaking by the time she had switched off the alarm and unlocked the big oak door.


"Let's sit down," Mary urged.

Inez's heart was pounding. Why was Mary here? And…Madre de Dios…Rain was crying.

It took only seconds to tell Inez the coastguard had lost touch with the Saint Nicholas. The three women clung to each other in their despair. Inez and Rain cried. Mary squeezed their hands…she knew only too well what this felt like.

Inez wrapped her free arm around herself as she wept for her friends, and her two boys…and herself.


Travis paced inside the lifeboat station. He didn't want to go down the road of `we've been here before', but the distress call from the Saint Nicholas told its own story.

He couldn't lose another crew…lightning couldn't strike twice…could it? The boat was damaged and in the middle of a raging storm. Travis feared the worst.

Stopping for a moment, he stared out at the rampant sea. `My God…will
someone *please* tell me something', he screamed, inwardly, turning sharply as RNLI coxswain Peter Kemp came in, his slicker soaked from the rain.

"They're heading in…"

"Buck and JD?" Orin's face crumpled as Pete shook his head.


Despite the hour, Gloria Potter heard about the stricken lifeboat and had gone to the pub to offer her support. The community being small, and, despite it being the wee small hours of a very stormy night, the news had spread fast, fears that another disaster may be on the cards weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of the villagers. Despite the atrocious weather, crowds gathered along the harbor wall. Inside the pub, Gloria was making another pot of tea. She answered the phone, looking toward the women staring back at her.

"They've heard from them…they're still upright and heading in."

The women rejoiced, tears of relief springing to their eyes. Their excitement slowed as the three realized Gloria wasn't finished. The older woman approached and took Inez's hand in hers.

"Buck and JD are missing. The lifeboat is severely disabled; they are all injured, and are also transporting a seriously injured casualty. They have been forced to return."

Inez cried, nodded her understanding, despite her despair. All they could do now, was wait and…pray.
Touching a hand to his vest to check his flares were still there caused Buck to reflect on happier times, while he thought of ways to try to keep JD awake. The flares reminded him of a day back in November.

"Hey kid…you remember Bonfire Night?" Buck smiled as he felt a slight nod.

"Yeah, why?"



Buck's heart was soaring. He loved to make his friends happy, but making JD happy had become paramount. The landlord of the Lifeboat Inn had mostly been happy in his life, save for the time when his mother died. But his time in the Navy eased his pain and he made some good friends, coming back to own his own pub, serve the RNLI and fill his life with everything he loved to do. He had recently found himself pondering how on earth he had missed how terribly lonely he was on occasion. And how one feisty, just-turned eighteen year-old filled a void he never even knew existed. He decided seeing Chris through his hell after Sarah and Adam's murders, had given him more of a focus than he realized, and now Chris was through the abyss that almost drove him insane, Buck's life had settled into normality.

Well, as normal as good friends, as different as chalk and cheese, one crazy Spanish lady who constantly rejected his attempts to woo her, while giving him hell every day, and one cocky, smart, insecure, devoted teenager, would allow. He glanced over at JD and, grinning, winked at the boy.


JD watched as Buck happily played the host. He was so good at it; he made people feel at ease and welcome. Biting into a hot Cornish pasty, initially unaware Buck was watching him too, the youth looked around at the customers of the Lifeboat Inn, who had filled the pub's beer garden, eagerly awaiting the lighting of the bonfire and the upcoming fireworks, although, Buck appeared to be having so much fun, he seemed oblivious to the length of time he had kept people waiting. JD had been to a few organized displays before, but, before tonight, had only had a few cheap fireworks and sparklers in his own garden, and it had only ever been him and his mum.

This was great. All their friends were there plus many of the regulars of the pub, to enjoy good food, ale and fireworks. Chris and Josiah offered to set off the fireworks, but first, Buck had to light the bonfire. JD smiled when Casey settled next to him as he perched on top of a pub garden table, his feet resting on the attached bench.

"Treacle toffee?" Casey offered.

JD grinned. "I made that."

"You did?" Casey asked, causing the youth to laugh.


She punched him in the arm in mock annoyance. "Just for that, you don't get any."

JD rubbed his arm as he chuckled. "Any sausages left, or has Vin eaten them all?"

Now Casey was giggling. "Well, he's had a good go, but Inez just brought out some more. Do you want one?"

"Yeah, wouldn't mind."

She grinned wickedly, pointing. "Table's over there."

Shaking his head and laughing, JD jumped down from his seat and walked over to the table. Just as he was biting into a plump pork sausage, Buck was calling for everyone's attention.

"Thanks for joining us here this evening. As you know, it's always been tradition for me to light the bonfire to start the festivities. " He saddened a little, addressing the families of the lost crew of the Saint Anthony. "We're missing some good friends this year, but I'm glad you all came to be with us.

"I'd like to think it's brought us closer together, and made us stronger. It's given me something I didn't realize I was looking for…family." He looked fondly at the six men who had inadvertently moved toward each other.

"So, without further ado…the bonfire will be lit, but not by me. Only Chris Larabee has been the non-Wilmington afforded this honor, and this year I'd like to ask someone who has become very special to me, to step up here and light it."

JD looked across to Inez and smiled. 'Quite right too', he thought. She smiled knowingly back.

"JD, would you come up here, please?"

Taking a moment for the words to register, JD's head snapped around to look at Buck.


Buck chuckled at JD's expression, holding out the long taper and matches for him. "Kid?"

Vin gave him a nudge. "Go on, then."

More than a little taken aback by the gesture, JD blushed slightly as he walked toward the man that had offered him a home and had become like a brother to him.


"Come on, kid, we're waiting…we want to see the fireworks," the brunet grinned.

Still not taking the taper and matches, JD swallowed hard and looked into Buck's smiling eyes, eventually wrapping his fingers around the man's hand.

"How about we do this together?" he said, finally, his eyes glistening as he returned the smile.

Buck nodded. "Good idea."

JD striking a match and lighting the taper, they tossed it into the stacked wood and grinned as it caught light, which produced a round of applause. Buck placed an arm around JD's shoulders while the flames took hold and five men gathered around them.

"An excellent evening, Mr. Wilmington, thank you for inviting me."

Buck nodded to Ezra, then looked at Chris. "You're welcome, my friend. Larabee, get your arse into gear…let's have us a celebration."

Chris grinned. "JD's right, Buck, you are full of it." Seven men chuckled as two broke away to literally light up the sky.



"Good…day…" JD mumbled, images of the rockets streaking up into the frosty night sky penetrating his muggy mind.

Buck squeezed the youth a little harder. "Yeah, kid…the best."

Despite their lifejackets, Buck had ingested seawater which was making him nauseous and thirsty, in no doubt JD was taking it in too. They had both been shaking with the cold, but Buck noticed JD had stopped a few minutes ago. Thankfully, the storm had almost blown itself out, though the wind was still a little high and the sea still choppy, washing over them and tossing them around in the darkness as it pitched and rolled. The winking lights on their jackets were the only consoling element as they floated, helplessly. The near-darkness was unnerving and Buck startled as JD's voice suddenly sounded in his ear.


"What for, squirt?"

"C…can't stay awake, Buck…so tired…head, hurts…"

"Come on now, boy…stay awake…for me, and before you know it, they'll be here, the guys'll be here."

"I…it's okay, Buck."

"What's okay?"

"There are no…lights. They're not even close. But…" He squeezed Buck's arms, or at least, tried to. "…It's okay…I…I just wanted to say…I'm sorry…and…thank you for coming for me." Despite his exhaustion, JD's emotion was catching up with him.

"I…I just feel so bad you're gonna die too, Buck…j…just for trying to save me…"JD's final words tailed off as pain, exhaustion and cold slowly overtook him, coughing again as he took a gulp of salty ocean.

Buck squeezed as hard as his numbing arms allowed; there was little feeling in most of his body now. "Hey…stop it, we're not going to die, okay?" He closed his eyes for a moment. "JD…are you telling me you wouldn't have done the same?" The words were labored now and for the first time, Buck feared this actually might be the end for them both.

"You…you know I would, Buck…in…a heartbeat." It was a moot line of discussion; they both knew JD had already done something similar once, though, he did have the rest of the guys right with him, but the pair were talking, and that was important if they were going to beat this.

"Then that's all there is to say on the matter." He could feel the younger man getting more relaxed. "How's that hard head of yours?"

"Hurts a bit…but it's…fine."

Damn. Now there was a word Buck would rather have not heard. After a small pause, he tried again to keep them focused. "Hey, you never told me what color you wanted your room painted." Buck winced at the odd question, but it had been the only thing that popped in his head as he tried to think of things to keep JD…and him…awake.


"Your room…we were going to paint it, remember? When we get back, we'll do it."

"Oh…I…I thought I *did* tell you."

Buck sighed with relief. "You did? Remind me."



As Buck left his bedroom to go down for breakfast, he heard JD moving around in his room and went to hurry him along. He stopped for a moment while he watched the youth rub his shirtsleeve across a framed picture of his mother then place it on his bedside cabinet, adjusting and readjusting until it was just so. Buck gazed around what used to be his spare room and it suddenly occurred to him how shabby it looked. JD moving in had been unexpected and swift. It was all Buck could do to clear out all his junk to make space for the boy and now it felt as if the teenager had been here all his life. Buck crept away, not wanting to disturb JD just at that moment.


JD turned and looked at his doorway. He felt sure someone had been there watching him. Tidying his pillow and duvet, he made his way to the kitchen.

"`Morning. Where's Inez?"

Buck turned from the stove and grinned. "Good afternoon, squirt," he teased. "The beautiful Ms. Recillos has gone to buy flowers. I fancied a fry-up, shall I make that two?"

JD beamed."Great, yes please." He frowned. "Have I missed something? It's not someone's birthday, is it?"

Buck chuckled as he brought over two glasses of juice and took a seat at the table. "No…but there is something I'd like to ask you. I think it's time we decorated your bedroom, you know, make it your own. What color would you like it?"

Placing his glass on the table, JD tilted his head as he looked at Buck. "Seriously…now? After all this time?"

"Yes…*now*. So…any thoughts?"

The youth pondered for a moment. "I like brown…and cream…my mum's bedroom was cream, but I'd like the wall behind my headboard to be a rich brown. But then I quite like blue, too…ooh."

Buck laughed as he stood and returned to the stove. "Well, it's a start."



JD spluttered as he spat out more water. His head felt like it was stuffed with hot cotton wool. "Yeah…still haven't done that." He groaned. "God, I'm thirsty." As he succumbed to the welcoming darkness, a sound drifting on the wind touched his soul.

"Me too, kid. Just a little longer, JD…just a little bit longer…" Panic set in as JD went completely limp. "JD…JD! NO! Come on now…they're coming…I promise…JD!"

Despite his exhaustion, the big man wept, clinging to the body in his arms. "Aww, kid. I'm so sorry." Buck was fading too, but he was determined to make this speech, "I, I know you can still hear me. Just know this…I couldn't love you more if you were my own flesh and blood. We…we have our ups and downs, kid…but, I thank all that's Holy, every day, that we found each other. I get such a kick out of having a little brother to boss around. We'll be home soon…you'll see…and Inez will be there waving that damned spatula…you hear me, kid? Home…soon…"

Buck was done in. As more seawater crept past his lips, his mind began to shut down, the last thing he saw was a light, way off in the distance, but it was slowly moving away from them. He vaguely heard something on the wind, then…nothing.


With news the Severn class Ivan Ellen was heading out of Penlee, the St. Nicholas had succeeded in limping back onto its initial heading, the flip and roll having turned the boat to the reverse direction it had been going. Vin was more than a little concerned over their one working engine, while Josiah steered, Chris sitting awkwardly in JD's seat as they dragged along. Ezra was manning the searchlight, desperately sweeping the water for their missing crew members. It was only two hours before sunrise but they knew JD and Buck would be dead in mere minutes if they didn't find them soon. The pair had been in the water for twenty minutes already.


The three fishermen were being watched over intermittently, by Nathan, the doctor now up in the wheelhouse to push home his directive.

"The casualty is deteriorating. I know you wanted to wait for the Ivan to get here, but it's no longer an option, Chris. We have to head toward home."

Wiping sweat from his eyes, disguising his tears, Chris nodded. It had been a busy night around the coast and, along with the earlier high winds, the chopper had only just become available, presently finishing a run with the David Robinson, a Tyne Class lifeboat out of The Lizard.

"Anything from Ezra?" Chris choked out.

"Chris, you know he'll tell us the moment they're spotted," Josiah reminded.

Larabee looked toward the helm. He had refused to go below, opting to stay as much in control as possible. He was in hell, too badly injured to be of use, but not injured enough to escape the misery of knowing two of his crew…his friends, were in the water and had been for…he checked his watch…almost twenty-five minutes. If they hadn't drowned already, they wouldn't be able to withstand the cold much longer. He nodded, causing Vin to stare back at him.

"Radio we're heading in." Chris knew those words would haunt him for the rest of his life. "I'm sorry, boys," he whispered.

"No!" Vin was horrified, clinging to the blond's arm in a desperate plea for a change of heart.

"They'll die…we're supposed to save lives…we can't…we can't leave…Chris, for the love of God…please."

Tears unchecked, liquid green eyes met glistening blue. "We have no choice…our casualty…and us…need help, too."

With a roar of anguish, Vin limped out of the wheelhouse just as Josiah radioed they were heading in. Clipping on his harness, Vin clung to the rail with his one working hand and screamed out over the rolling sea.



Despite their obvious change of direction, Standish continued to play the strong beam across the dark, heavy sea. He swiped at the moisture in his eyes, struggling with the realization they were leaving their friends behind because of their duty. Even when Buck and JD were picked up by the Ivan Ellen, which was powering her way toward them and making excellent time, and despite knowing it was what they had to do, he couldn't help wondering if the five of them would ever be able to forgive themselves for doing it.

Ezra's head and back ached from their torturous ordeal, his shoulder burning from where the harness bit into him when they rolled, popping his shoulder out to cause major discomfort. He had no doubt a head wound Nathan had suffered when something loose hit him, would need stitches, Josiah was favoring his hip and ribs and a possible broken nose, Vin his ribs and shoulder, plus a gash over one eye and Chris numerous cuts, contusions and a broken leg.

But all these injuries paled into insignificance at the thought Buck and JD were out there, freezing to death.

Ezra shuddered, this time allowing the tears to flow.


The sight of the Ivan brought some hope, but failed to raise Crew Seven's spirits by much. The Sea King had confirmed conditions were still too rough to airlift any casualties, but were still heading their way to assist with the search. As the two boats passed each other, a request was made for the lifeboat the David Robinson to assist in the recovery of the floundering and dangerously loose trawler.

Ten minutes from home, the crew of the Saint Nicholas was relieved to hear the Sea King overhead. While they continued on toward home, Josiah made the sign of the cross and continued praying for his lost brothers.


Buck jerked awake at the sound he had been saving his flares for. He was dangerously close to unconsciousness, as his numb fingers dug into a pocket and closed around a small tube. To the sound of distant engines, and rotor wash, the big man barely raised a stiff arm to locate the pull rings in the fading beams of his and JD's lifejacket lights and then, unable to hold on any longer, released the short- burning, smoking object in his hand, to the waves.



One man staring out of the open side of the helicopter called over his com as he spotted the fading orange/red burning phosphorous, his companion ordering the searchlight direction from both the chopper and the approaching lifeboat. As the beams crossed, seconds later, a shout went up that the men could be seen. The Sea King hovered overhead as the lifeboat closed in and Buck and JD's limp bodies were carefully scooped out of the water. Dangerously low on fuel, the Sea King headed back, while the David Robinson arrived to retrieve the trawler, and the Ivan began its journey home with its precious cargo.


The rain had eased as the Saint Nicholas docked. RNLI volunteers tied her off while paramedics from the four waiting ambulances clambered on board. The fishermen exited first, the unconscious man stretchered out, while the other two, wrapped in foil blankets, walked slowly behind, the first two ambulances pulling out in minutes after that.

Travis could hear his men's voices and relief washed over him, to quickly dissipate when he realized something was very wrong. Boarding the vessel to get to the bottom of it, he was shocked at the appearance of men he considered friends. They were suffering injuries, some more obvious than others, but, despite their evident pain, they were insisting they wanted to go back out. Even as Orin began ordering them to the ambulances, he knew he had a fight on his hands.

"Chris…you all need medical attention."

The response he received chilled his blood as Chris answered. He had never seen the stalwart coxswain so distraught.

"Please…get onto the Ivan…we need to know if they've found them." Chris updated Orin as the determined paramedics moved the five men toward the ambulances, each one of them refusing pain meds until they knew of their friends' fates. As the two ambulances were about to close their doors, Pete ran from the lifeboat station, toward them.

"They have them! Heading straight for Helston…" He paused. "It's bad."

With a nod, Travis addressed his men. "They'll be with you soon, boys. God's speed."

As the vehicles pulled off, Travis intended to follow them, but first, he had one more stop to make. Getting in his 4x4, he headed toward the Lifeboat Inn.


Helston Royal Infirmary was on alert, expecting ten casualties any minute, seven serious and three critical. When the fishermen arrived, they were taken to casualty, but when Crew Seven arrived, they went into an area especially set aside.

Within twenty minutes, they had each been x-rayed and assessed. Chris and Vin were scheduled for surgery, Chris for his broken leg and Vin for his broken collar bone. Ezra was coming back down from the high from the gas and air he'd been given to pop his dislocated shoulder back in. Nathan had been stitched, as had Ezra, Vin, Josiah and Chris, and all were now laying in adjacent beds as they awaited news on their friends.


Both men unconscious, Buck and JD were being treated as hypothermic casualties. Fully clothed, they were placed in the recovery positions with heat pads placed on their necks, trunks and groins and covered in foil blankets. Res-Q-Air masks hissed softly over their noses and mouths as the Ivan sped toward Helston. It was imperative they were handled as little as possible due to the condition of their skin from the cold. When the pair finally arrived at the hospital, they were rushed into side rooms where they could be assessed.


The other five men were very aware their friends had arrived and waited, desperate for news of any description. Finally, a doctor came into their side ward.

"Both men are being treated for hypothermia and are currently undergoing warmed IV fluids, heating pads and warm air oxygen."

The men nodded their understanding.

"It's a slow and delicate process, coupled with the added problem of mild hypernatremia, but their ingestion of seawater has been considerably less thanks to their life jackets, or we could have been dealing with cerebral edema. Thankfully their protective clothing saved them somewhat, the estimated time they were in the water is thirty to thirty-five minutes. We will be monitoring them for forty eight hours initially, adjusting the treatment as they, hopefully, progress."

"Edema?" Vin asked.

"When the intake of sodium causes the brain cells to swell," the doctor explained.

"And, they don't have that?" Nathan asked.

"No signs as yet," Doctor Forbes smiled. "However the portable x- ray has revealed the younger man has suffered blunt trauma to the head, resulting in a severe concussion with localized swelling."

"Bottom line, doc," Larabee rasped through a tight throat.

"The prognosis is better than we expected, but the next forty eight hours are critical. We have to ensure they do not relapse, which is not uncommon when the casualty undergoes a warming procedure. But they are both in good shape, barring numerous bruises, the older man also suffering a cut just above his right eye, which we've stitched. You can go for your treatments and procedures now, gentlemen, they are in good hands."

"May we see them?" Ezra asked.

Forbes paused for a moment. "You can view them, yes, but they have to remain undisturbed until we see an improvement. " He looked at Chris and Vin.

"You'll each need a wheelchair; I'll arrange it for you."

Fifteen minutes later, five visibly moved men stared into ICU at their tubed and monitored friends.

"They look like shit," Vin stated, covertly brushing away a tear.

"Indeed," Josiah concurred, noting the large tear rolling down Vin's cheek. "What is it, brother?"

"When…when we were leaving, I yelled out to them to hold on and that we'd be back."

"An admirable…"

"NO!" Vin's outburst had them all looking, now. "I…I think I yelled it in Welsh…they won't have understood what I was saying."

"They're still with us, Vin," Chris reminded. "Something kept them going out there."

Exhausted, the five men took one more look before allowing themselves to finally be led to their beds and pending procedures. Time to get well…Buck and JD needed them.


Thirty six hours in, saw five men alternating at staring through the ICU window. Now with them, Rain sat with Nathan, while Inez leaned against the cold glass, willing her boys to come back to them. Everything was progressing well, all that remained was for the pair to wake up. Something in the room caused her to gasp, softly, all five men joining her.


Beeping and a rolling motion seemed an odd combination, and it was all Buck could do to hold back the nausea, but he swallowed hard. He felt warm as his body seemingly continued to ride the waves he had been pulled from, his free arm moving lazily as if seeking something. The beeping increasing, Buck's eyes flew open. "JD?"

The nurse with him leaned in. "Hello," she smiled. "You're in hospital."

"JD?" Buck's alarm was evident.

"Easy, now, he's fine."

"JD?" Buck's foggy brain couldn't process his surroundings and he became agitated, a familiar voice breaking through the mire.

"Steady, big guy, you're both doing great."

"Chris?" Buck's voice was a mere whisper as his hand sought his long-time friend. "Truth…"

Chris wheeled himself nearer and grasped Buck's hand. "You have my word."

Satisfied, the brunet drifted into a healing sleep. The nurse was about to ask Chris and the now approaching group to move back to the waiting area, when a glance from the man in the wheelchair halted her.

"I'll…go and inform the doctor," she mumbled, leaving the room.


When Buck next awoke, he was very aware of where he was and who was with him. Looking into deep brown eyes, delicate hands holding his face, he smiled. "Hello, pretty lady."

Leaning in, Inez softly kissed his lips, resting her cheek against his to whisper in his ear. "Amo usted."

Buck nuzzled her cheek. "I know mi amor." As she stepped back he smiled at five grinning men. "Can't keep a good crew down, huh?" He sobered. "How are you all?"

"Every one of us is healing, physically," Josiah answered. "Spiritually, not so good."

Frowning, Buck gratefully accepted the water Inez offered and the slight raising of the bed. "Why?"

"Leaving the area was not something we were happy with," Ezra explained.

Buck smiled at the distraught men. "Let me get this straight, we were flipped and rolled, suffered personally and, I'm guessing, the boat structurally and mechanically, had three casualties, one of which was critical and all in the middle of gale force storms…and you feel bad you limped home?" Buck had no doubt their journey home would have been a difficult one.

"We were afraid we'd lost you both," Vin said, softly.

Rolling his head to one side, Buck smiled sadly at the prone form in the next bed. "You needn't have worried, we kept good company." Reaching out, he sighed at being too far away to touch JD. "Wake up, boy, time to go home."


Not quite understanding why he could hear voices while bobbing along in the sea, JD dragged his weary body from a pain-free haven into a world filled with loud bleeps and the hangover of the decade. Sinking back into the imaginary body supporting him, his eyes tried to open when it became obvious Buck was no longer with him. Unable to speak due to his dry throat, JD's chest heaved as his panic-induced breaths made him restless. A strong hand held his cheek and chin and hazel eyes met Vin's crystal blue.

"Easy, kid, he's here…you hear me? Buck's here."

"Wh…where?" The sound was a mere breath, but no one missed the desperation in it.

Gently turning JD's face toward Buck, Vin answered. "Right there."

"Yes. Thank you, thank you, thank you…" JD's litany would have gone on and on, but for the lack of moisture in his mouth and throat. Too tired to care and too weak to brush away the tear rolling over the bridge of his nose, JD stared at his battered savior until his eyes closed in sleep.

Ezra sniffed and moved to squeeze Buck's arm. "That went well."

Nathan returned with the doctor, his primary thought being, the sooner JD and Buck were out of ICU, the sooner they would be where they belonged…home.


Sitting between Buck and JD, Inez looked around her, smiling. All seven men were together. Josiah was sitting at the side of his bed reading, Nathan, who had been discharged, was sitting with him and also reading. Vin was wearing headphones and listening to JD's iPod, Chris was sleeping and Ezra was talking on the phone. While Inez held and stroked Buck's hand, the fingers of her other hand carded through JD's hair as he slept on his side, facing Buck. The brunet had been sleeping, but was now awake, watching JD's every breath.

"Close call."

Inez nodded at Buck's words, not wishing to dwell on it. Chris woke and flinched at the words, relieved to see Buck smile back at him.

"We made it, stud…you did good."

"Not down to me," Chris replied. "But…thanks."


Josiah stood and leaned into JD as the youth mumbled through his restless slumber, now slowly rousing. "You alright there, son?"

Unaware all eyes were on him, JD's eyes peeked open and he smiled at the Priest.


The big man leaned further in. "Yes, John?"

"Did you know God speaks Welsh."

Sanchez smiled, flicking a glance at Vin, who was now also listening and watching. "He does? How do you know this?"

Shuffling carefully onto his back, still stiff from his ordeal, JD smiled at his friends and as Josiah raised the head of the bed, answered. "I think I was kind of…in and out of it…you know…in the water…and I think I heard him." JD's eyes were wide but unseeing as he reflected on something deep in his memory, the youth oblivious to the beaming smile of the now clued in priest and the interest the others, especially Vin, were showing.

"I…" he blushed. "I know this sounds crazy, but I think I heard him call out to us, but, what's really weird is…I knew what he said."

"And what is it you heard?"

JD looked back at Josiah. "I heard him telling us to hold on and that you guys would be back." His soft chuckle broke into the stunned silence. "Sorry. Mum always said I had a vivid imagination. "

Smiling, five men and one pretty lady looked toward an emotional Welshman who was scrambling out of bed. "Gotta go to the loo."

Noting JD turn toward Buck, they all found an excuse to leave the room for a little while. In the now quiet room, the pair smiled at each other.

JD's eyes roamed the stitched, bruised face of the man before him. "You okay, Buck?"

"Never better, little brother. You?"

"You saved my life."

Buck shuffled to get a better look at him. "Not really…don't think of it that way. I just knew I couldn't let you go through that, alone."

"It was more than that, and you know it." He smiled, his throat tight. "Thank you. Buck?"


"I…err, I…ah hell…I'm only ever gonna say this once…okay?"

Buck grinned. "Okay…"

"I…aah…I…damnit… I love you, too, big brother…okay? " He blushed, instantly.

Buck's grin widened as he reflected on his last words to the youth before numbness had overtaken him. "Okay. And we never have to say that out loud again. But, just for the record, I…um…I…ah hell…" How could he fail to say the same words now that he had been able to say easily while floating in a rough sea?

They both grinned. "We'll leave the girly stuff to Inez," JD suggested.

Buck huffed. "Inez…girly? Boy, that lady's, soft, curvaceous, and a hundred percent all woman."

"Who can take you, with one look…and a spatula!"

Buck nodded. "True." Both chuckled, looking toward the door as their friends returned. Chris spoke.

"Inez has gone home but will be back tomorrow. Said something about…" he frowned. "…giving you both plenty of warning and…bringing a spatula?"

Buck and JD looked at each other. "Oh, shit!"

The laughter from room 701 rang through the hospital corridors. Inez smiled, glancing back as she dialed for a taxi.

"Dé la bienvenida a casa, a mis siete muchachos magníficos."

The end


Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night explained

Cornish Pasty - Meat and potatoes wrapped in pastry with a braided

"Cuidado de la toma mi pequeño." - "take care my little one"

"Buenos noches, mis muchachos." - "Goodnight my boys."

"Madre de Dios" - "Mother of God"

"Amo usted - "I love you."

"Dé la bienvenida a casa, a mis siete muchachos magníficos" - "Welcome home my seven wonderful boys."

"NI WEDI YN ÔL... NI WEDI YN ÔL! BUCK…JD…AR DALWCH…AR DALWCH!!!" - "We'll be back, we'll be back. Hold on…hold on!"

St Just - Island off the coast where there is a functioning monastery