by Leigh Richards
Disclaimer: This story is a piece of fanfiction containing characters which are the property of MGM, Trilogy, and CBS. I do not make any claims to these characters.
JD stared in horror as Ezra's horse skidded to a halt in front of the last jump on the equestrian circuit. He saw the lithe man valiantly try to turn the horse, but to no avail as the speed cause the man to fly head first over the horse and tumble down on the wooden logs that had was the foundation of the jump. JD was about to run over to his fallen friend but saw the medic's were already on the way, as he saw Ezra roll onto his back obviously in pain his eyes closed and jaw clenched. Dunne frowned but said nothing as the medics helped Standish to his feet and guided the winded man from the course. The younger man was about to go to him, when he looked at the frightened horse and nodded to the injured man that he would look after him.
Three hours later and two x-rays later, an obstinate and in pain man was led gingerly towards the jeep that Buck had lent to the two men when they had expressed an interest in competing in the equestrian tournament on the weekend.
"Jeez you sure are lucky Ezra" JD said quietly as he helped the man into the front seat of the jeep.
"Yah think JD?" he drawled sarcastically as he hissed in pain that the movement caused on his chest.
"Yeah well you could have broken something" Dunne retorted shutting the door before the southern man could reply.
As they began the five hour drive back to the city, Standish glanced at JD "You tell the others about.." waving at himself.
JD gave a slight grimace "Huh no not yet" hearing Ezra snort he smiled "Yeah well they had bets on how we couldn't survive a weekend with neither one of getting into some sort of trouble" Dunne sighed as he heard the sharp intake as the jeep hit another bump. "Ya sure you broke nothing?" he asked concerned.
"Yeah well as sure as the doctors can be right?" Ezra hissed out from behind the pain. "Christ! It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest".
JD looked at him in sympathy "Yeah well Derrick said he would drive the horses back to Larabee's range," he said quietly trying to change the subject.
"Good Good, Ezra breathed out "He's a good man."
Dunne nodded his eyes trained on the road but his grip tightened at every hiss of pain that every bump in the road caused his southern friend. Sighing heavily the two men settled in for the long drive back.
JD frowned at the sight of Ezra shuffling around the kitchen of his condo; JD had bunked down on the sofa, as neither man could be bothered to go to Buck's place. Although it was a lame excuse, Dunne just didn't want to leave the injured man. Standish had just looked at him quietly for a moment before a grin tugged at his lips as he said "Thanks JD". Dunne had grinned back at him as he thought how the six of them were managing to get through the man's armour of protecting himself.
"You okay man?" he asked reaching over to finish buttoning his friends shirt.
Ezra seemed to mull the question over before shaking his head in the negative "It hurts bad JD" he murmured.
"Those the pants you slept in?" Dunne asked quietly, seeing the slight flush on his friend's cheeks he smiled gently, suddenly looking a lot older. "I've seen it all before Ez... besides I looked after my mother remember so I'm pretty good at giving sponge baths".
Standish blinked slowly at him his green eyes looking bright in the morning light. Clearing his throat Ezra spoked quietly his voice thick with his accent "Thanks JD".
JD just smiled at him "You finish your breakfast I'll get the stuff prepared".
Standish gave a small nod and shuffled about his kitchen never reaching higher than bench level. JD frowned again, something was nagging at his brain, shaking it away he went to get things ready for Ezra's sponge bath.
"Well this should be fun" Standish drawled as the two men exited the elevator towards their offices in the ATF building. JD sighed heavily nodding his agreement. "Never fear my young friend I am not a first class undercover agent for no reason," Ezra said straightening himself up as they entered their area.
"Hey Kid!" Buck called automatically swinging over to give his young friend a hug. "You two get back this morning huh?" he grinned. The others hearing the commotion drifted out of their respective offices. Chris laughed at the picture he saw, his eyes drifting to his best friend's who raised an eyebrow as they fell into step beside each other to greet their two comrades.
"Hell, you'd think that we had been gone for a couple of weeks and not four days!" Standish said smiling his greeting to Larabee and Tanner who laughed with him. Vin met JD's gaze and saw him looking at Ezra with what concern, his eyes drifted back to the southern man who was being snuck up on by Sanchez and Jackson. He heard JD's panicked
"No! Josiah!" as Sanchez grasped the smaller man in a tight bear hug from behind. Ezra gasp as the pressure increased on his chest. He heard Dunne cry out but right then his centre was focussed on his chest he didn't have the energy to fight the larger man. Yet, he didn't have to, at JD's cry Josiah loosened his grip and Standish stood breathing heavily for a minute as JD rushed to him and Ezra gazed at him unsteadily for second
"JD it hurts......" he breathed as his legs buckled beneath him. Josiah who had stepped back when he let go quickly stepped forward to catch the falling undercover agent who he cradled in his arms as he sank to the floor. JD could hear the questions being fired at him but right now his focus was on Ezra. His face was too pale. "Ez?" he said quietly gently brushing the hair from his friends face as he saw Nate take his pulse. "It's weak," he said worriedly, as he looked at the still figure.
"JD..." Ezra whispered
"Yeah I'm here" he whispered bending his head to his friends
"I can't breath....".
JD looked frantically at Nathan who nodded "Lay him down Josiah need to clear his airway".
JD rose unsteady to his feet and looked at his friends the horror of what was happening, washing over him like a cold shower.
"Kid what's going on?" Wilmington asked quietly as Chris shut his phone nodding at Sanchez the paramedics were on their way.
"It happened yesterday he was doing so well it was the toughest course..." he swallowed heavily not looking at the other men. "It was the second to last jump three in one, pretty hard' and the horse got spooked he went flying over the top" he looked up them at each of them could see the fear in the younger agents eyes at the memory. "He looked like a broken doll, lying in a heap... we went to the local hospital got a couple of x-rays... they said he was fine nothing broken..." JD stopped his bleak eyes meeting Vin's.
"You did fine kid" he reassured patting his arm. Dunne gazed back at him disbelief crossing his features.
An hour later found the six men pacing the waiting room of the ER nervously. "Gentleman?" a young nurse inquired. "They just took your friend up to surgery, the doctor will be out to.. Oh here he is" she smiled brightly at Buck before leaving, who gave a waned smile, shaking his head as he saw Josiah smiling at him. Even in the worst circumstances the women always flocked to the man.
"Your friend's in a pretty serious condition but nothing we can't fix" he said quickly seeing the anxious expressions on their faces. "Now see here", he gestured them to follow to a board and putting up the x-ray he turned to the other men, while Nathan whistled low under his breath.
"Damn.." he muttered. The other men glanced at him sideways; their expressions darkening at the black mans look.
"You see this cracks here?" he said pointing to the small withe lines on Ezra's chest x-ray. Seeing the nods of the men he continued "He cracked quite a number of his ribs with that fall, and he broke the left one here ... which led to the slow bleed. Well it was pretty extensive which is why we headed him straight up to the OR, boy we were lucky to catch that, why I remember…. He trailed of seeing the temperature in the room drop, as the men shifted their attention to him. The doctor swallowed hard looking back at the x-ray he blurted out the first thing that came to mind "Now these are pretty hard to miss.. You say he went to the hospital?" the doctor looked the young man's words his tone clearly patronising. Yet, JD was worried and that made him just plain mad he had spent a lot of time around doctors when his mother was ill. Coolly he eyed the doctor and the temperature suddenly dropped another notch.
"Yes he did, I have the admin form and I checked the times.. If you need the details doctor" emphasizing the word with a raised eyebrow "I can give it to you.. We saw Dr Johnson who incidentally was a med student who spent all of five minutes looking at Ezra before sending him to x-ray and one minute looking at them... now I am pretty sure we have a good case to sue ... you feel like providing any information?"
He snarled at the doctor, who looked shocked but nodded "that won't be necessary. I'll get the information and send a report to his adviser" he said trying to placate the man.
JD nodded "You do that" with that he turned and headed towards the elevator punching the button.
The other men watched him go exchanging half-amused and concerned glances. Larabee glanced over at Buck who nodded at him and hurried after their young friend. Vin smirked at the doctor "Guess you said the wrong thing huh?" he drawled his blue eyes amused as he to trailed after the young man.
Chris would of laughed but he didn't there friend wasn't out of the hospital yet. "You see you look into the matter, or I will" he said fiercely his green eyes cutting into the man angrily. Nodding at Jackson and Sanchez he went to join their friends in the waiting room in the OR.
Nathan picked up the x-rays and put them in their envelope "Wouldn't want these getting lost now would we?" he said sardonically.
Sanchez snorted looking at the black man who elbowed him in the ribs. "Come on brother got another one to watch over" the large man said heavily as they made their way to keep vigil on their fallen comrade.
Ezra came aware of his surroundings slowly, it was like swimming through a fog. Not that you could swim through a fog he thought. Before he realised what he was thinking, he gave a groan and tried to breathe, before he realised that something was constricting it. Panic set in, as he tried to understand what was happening. He heard the soft murmur of voices but it was too hard to understand, and he gave into the blackness again.
JD stared silently at the injured man, who was covered in tubes. "You okay kid?" Buck asked quietly, his blue eyes looking at the man in concerned. JD sighed heavily cutting a sideways glance at the man as he scrubbed over his face roughly.
" Don't know Buck, kind of depends on Ez…" he whispered the pain in his voice made the taller man wince as he saw Vin gently reach out and grip the kid's shoulder before returning to talking softly to Standish. Suddenly the breathing shifted and they all saw Ezra trying to breathe with out the machine. Slamming his hand on the button above the patient's head, they saw the breathing slow as the Doctor hurried in.
"What happened?" he enquired while frantically checking over the man on the bed.
" He just started to fight the machine," Vin said worriedly as he was pushed away from the bed, and bump into JD who gently steadied the other man. Neither took their eyes of the figure in the bed. Buck and Chris glancing at the two of them, never thought the two look so scared, both wondered when the southern gentleman had drawn such powerful bonds with the group. Yet, Buck looked ruefully at Chris, they had all let the southern man's charm draw them in, he had tried to keep them at bay. But even his defences could not hold against the collective might of all of them.
Chris could still remember the look of wonder and surprise when he had told the man that he was family, it was in the middle of an argument, and he had been angry and the risk the man had taken in attempting to save their hides. He had shouted "Don't ever scare me like that, I've already lost two family members I ain't going to lose another". Standish had just stared at him. His green eyes wide with bewilderment and he whispered "Family?" The hope in the one word and cut through his anger and he had smiled and nodded "Yeah Family" roughly pulling the man into a hug, in front of the other men. Standish had whispered in the brief hug "I never had one before". Chris had pulled back in surprise seeing the pain of a lonely childhood reflecting in those green eyes. And he had wondered how anyone could think that this man was cold; so much emotion was buried beneath that poker face. Standish was a fragile soul, and he had obviously learnt to hide himself in fear of being rejected. Yet, these men had gotten through and seen the gift that was Ezra Standish. Christ, Chris almost laughed I'm getting maudlin, and I haven't drunk anything. He turned his attention to what the doctor was saying.
"His waking up, and his body is ready to breathe on its own, he will need a couple of days rest. But he should be able to move around again pretty soon, on the condition that he gets rest." He said firmly.
Ezra slowly once again felt the fog begin to lift struggling to move through it, he opened heavy eyelids. He could swear he heard voices, staring at the white ceiling he tried not to panic as he felt something constrict his breathing. Moaning as he gripped whatever was in his hands, suddenly crossing his vision was the concerned countenances of Buck and Chris. He saw JD bob into view before disappearing nodding to whatever Chris had said. He tried to focus on what they were saying but it was so hard. He felt trapped he could feel the tube that was down his throat. "Easy Ez, don't fight it" he heard a Texan drawl say and he tried to see where the tracker was but he couldn't, then a stranger was there, and he was saying something and Chris and Buck were gone. Standish felt afraid and suddenly the tube was gone, and he felt like he was chocking as his body protested to it, gagging causing his ribs to erupt into white fire as he fell back into the welcoming blackness.
The six men watched Ezra pass out and breathed a sigh of relief; they had all been able to see the fear in the expressive face. "What's the verdict doc?" Buck drawled as he resumed his seat beside the bed, and the other men settled back in to the positions. The doctor sighed he would be glad to get rid of these men.
"He'll be fine with plenty of rest, should be able to leave tomorrow morning." he continued talking but JD wasn't listening, he was going to be okay. Relief coursed through him leaving him feeling drained, the past 24 hours had been one of the longest in his life. Up there with his mother's illness, he rubbed his jaw tiredly and looked at the pale features of the southerner. He was going to be okay.
Standish shuffled wearily around Buck and JD's apartment, the men were playing video games and Ezra was tired and in pain. His ribs were aching and he hadn't had much sleep. He tried to reach for the glass in the cupboard, but his ribs protested at the movement. Gasping he gripped the bench top as he bent his head as tried to breath through the pain. He felt a hand gently rub his back and as the pain gradually faded to a dull throb he looked up to see JD's pale face looking at him.
"You okay?" he asked his brows furrowed with concern.
"Yeah JD, just over extended myself" he drawled releasing his white knuckled grip on the bench.
"What were you doing?" JD asked as he helped the southerner over to the kitchen table and sitting him down.
"Getting a glass" Ezra stated as he shifted tiredly on the chair. At the younger man's questing look he continued "to take some pain meds" he said resting his head in his hands. He heard JD moving about the kitchen and then the glass appeared and his pain pills. Looking gratefully at Dunne he swallowed the medication.
"Thanks JD" he saw JD wince slightly. "What?" he drawled grabbing the younger man's arm before he could walk away.
"How can you thank me, if it wasn't for me it wouldn't be so bad" he said furiously.
Green eyes stared at the young man in confusion "Your blaming yourself?" Seeing the young man refuse to meet his eyes he continued "It was an accident, the injury was an accident as was the malpractice of the hospital" emphasising his point by gently shaking the kids arm.
JD sighed heavily, "I know but..." he trailed off looking at his friend.
Standish smiled dimples showing as he gazed at his friend "Honestly JD, you have helped me far beyond I ever thought possible." Seeing the question in the warm brown eyes he added "You stayed that night, and you have taken care of me" Ezra let his gratitude show as JD finally relaxed.
"Your welcome Ezra". The undercover operative smiled yawning slightly as he looked at the man before him. "Come on lets get you to bed" JD said helping the injured man to rise, as he settled him on the bed
Standish blinked sleepily at him "Thanks JD" he whispered as his breathing even out. JD stood watching him finally feeling relaxed, sitting down beside the bed he watched his friend sleep.
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