What Have I Done?
by Sammy Girl
Disclaimer: Not mine, not making any money.
Author's Note: This bit of slush-slash came to me in the bath, and it probably shows! Thanks as ever to Firefox for proof reading this. I would just like to say for the record that I have nothing against the good people of Tennessee.
"You! You…you bastard how could you! This is all your fault!" JD launched himself at Ezra Standish, propelling him bodily backwards, to crash through the door of a linen cupboard.
The door slammed shut behind them. Ezra had lost his balance and was trying to untangle himself from the crumpled heap on the ground when the raw light of the lone naked light bulb flashed on and the enraged younger man ominously locked the door behind him. Standish finally pulled himself upright.
"JD please! I don't know what you think I…"
"Oh I know what you did, I know, you rat! I know what you told him yesterday, I know it all. How could you do that? You unmitigated self-righteous lying snob! He loves you, he's always loved you and you love him."
"I don't, I didn…"
"Don't deny it 'cause he told me! Buck might be a bit crude and tactless sometimes, but he knows about sex, he knows the signs we put out. How the hell do you think he gets all them women? Because he can tell which ones are likely to say yes."
JD's took a step closer as he continued.
"Most of us go into a room full of people and we just hope the one we fancy doesn't find us repellent, more than that we haven't got a clue; but not Buck. He scopes out a room and to him there's men and women in there with foot high neon signs above them saying; 'come and get it big boy'."
Ezra felt JD's eyes, which were by now black pools of pure hate bore in to him.
"You got one twenty feet high saying 'I love Buck Wilmington'. Buck hasn't slept with a man since college. Why? Because he couldn't find one he was attracted to, who he could trust; until you walked into the office, then - bang - instant lightning! Took him a while to reconcile that side of himself again, but he loved you from the first. He didn't know if you were aware of how you felt so he took it real slow, but you just kept coming on to him."
Ezra couldn't believe what he was hearing. He had no idea Wilmington had been this candid with JD. He knew the two of them were like brothers, but hell, even brothers didn't talk about this kind of thing! JD was now so close he could feel the younger man's warm breath on his face.
"So what happens? You two get it on and it's good…what? Shocked that I know all this?"
Ezra was indeed shocked.
"Who else is he gonna turn to when his world changes, when it disintegrates around him? Family that's who, me! The only family he has left."
"Chris?" Ezra ventured.
"Not family any more; just friends. I'm the one who had to try to pick up the pieces last night! I can't believe you did that, he's not just some passing boy in the night, he's your friend, he thought - after, what? Two months? There was something, that you were as in love as he was, still is. Because after all you did he still loves you, why the hell else did he put himself between you and four bullets…"
"F…f…four? I thought there were only two?" Ezra gasped out.
"Vest caught two, else we'd be in a funeral home right now instead of a hospital! All he wanted was some commitment, some stability, a sign that you were prepared to acknowledge how you feel, and what did you tell him? He's not fucking good enough! Not good enough? Who the hell are you, the Queen of England? Not good enough! Just 'cause your mum is some fucking blue blood, and his mom was a hooker, you think yer so much better? Your mom is a pompous, selfish, lying, avaricious, manipulative bitch with ice water in her veins, Buck's mom was a saint. Know how I know that?"
Standish shook his head.
"'Cause she raised Buck, the most decent human being I have ever known. For all you know Buck's dad was a prince or a senator, hell maybe even the president! Who was your father? Where do you get the right to judge people like that? Hasn't he heard that enough in his life? How do you think he feels when people call him a 'son of a bitch'? The man you love, the man who has been sharing your bed for two months, asks you for something in return for his love, and you tell him he's just a passing bit of rough?"
"JD it wasn't like that…it…"
"I don't give a fuck what you thought it was like, that's what he thought! That's why he ran in to a hail of automatic fire today, because he doesn't care any more, don't you see that, he loves you and you told him he wasn't worthy of you! What do you want in a partner? Love? He adores you. Loyalty? No one can ever say Buck Wilmington was anything but loyal. Great sex? Tell me he's not great - I dare you!"
Ezra just stared dumfounded as JD ranted, tears flowing unchecked down his cheeks.
"They can sew up the hole in his leg, they can close that gash where that bullet grazed him, but the doctors can't close the hole in his soul. You put it there, and unless you close it, he will never wake up. I know it as surely as I know the sun will rise tomorrow. He is my best friend, my brother, hell, even a kind of father! But only for you will he come back to us. I don't know why you did what you did. I never had you pegged for a coward and a heel, but what do I know? I'm just the kid brother fighting to keep his family alive!"
JD held Ezra's gaze for just one more second, then, with a power and strength the southerner had never given the younger man credit for, he punched Standish in the gut before leaving the small room.
When JD exited he was relieved to find the waiting room still empty, though he knew the rest of the team were on the way up. Much as he wanted to be with Buck, he was still too wound up, his stomach had hundreds, no thousands, of butterflies in it, his hands were shaking and his legs trembling. If Ezra had come up to ICU with them immediately he might have controlled himself, but the southerner had received a concussion when the much greater bulk of Buck Wilmington had landed on him and had been kept in overnight in a different part of the hospital. This evening was the first time he had been allowed up. The fact that he had just assaulted a man recovering from a head injury did not occur to JD until several days later. His rage was too strong, it blinded him. What was worse he had no outlet, there was no one else he could confide in.
He had been frankly amazed that Buck had trusted him with their secret, amazed and incredibly moved by his friend's trust in him. Two months ago, when Buck had come home after his first night with Ezra, he had been walking on air. Never had JD seen his friend so happy after a date, he was naturally curious and asked her name.
"Ezra," Buck had said wistfully, totally forgetting he wasn't supposed to tell anyone, forgetting this was not some egalitarian utopia and same sex relationships were not universally accepted. His blissful state of ignorance lasted just long enough for JD to compose himself before Buck realised what he had just done.
"Did I just say Ezra? I meant Esther!" he blurted out.
"No, you didn't, and it's okay, I'm cool so long as he treats you good and you're happy." Buck had just stared at him.
"Fer real?" he had asked incredulously.
"I'm from New York Buck, not 'Hicksville Tennessee'. Yeah I'm cool, just…well…"
"Be careful, for me, please?"
Buck had instantly engulfed him in a famous Wilmington bear hug, then just as instantly pulled back. "Sorry, you probably don't want me to do that any more."
"Don't be crazy, course I do! Don't tell anyone, but I actually like it when you do that," he had confessed.
"Deal; so long as you don't tell anyone I'm fucking our undercover agent."
"Deal." Then they had both laughed as Buck pulled JD back into his arms.
Ezra gulped air ineffectually for some time before his stomach muscles recovered enough to work again and he could breath. Slowly, very slowly, he pulled himself up of the ground. He needed to get out of the claustrophobic, hot little closet, but not yet. Not until he could face who or what was out there. He had been on his feet, but now he sank back to the floor. Tears came as he contemplated JD's words.
"Oh God what have I done?" he asked himself out loud.
In more than thirty years a lot of people had told Ezra P Standish they loved him. Not one of them was telling the truth, not even his mother. Everything JD had said about her was true and he only knew a fraction of the truth. Occasionally, as they lay spooning in bed, warm and sated, Buck would tell Ezra about his childhood. In every story his mothers' love, care and support was writ large. And every time Ezra would feel a pang of jealousy and regret for the childhood he had wanted and never had.
So, when Buck came that night looking for some form of commitment he had run scared. In truth he couldn't even remember all he had said. Instinct, a conditioned reflex to defend himself, had taken over. If he had just taken one moment to think, he would have known what his heart knew now, that Buck wasn't like all the others. Loyal, trustworthy, faithful Buck. Oh Christ I make him sound like a dog! he lamented.
But then it wasn't such a bad analogy. Buck gave of himself to everyone, he looked for very little in return, he gave his love unconditionally, he could be as sweet and gentle as a puppy and just as mischievous, then be as fierce as a she-wolf in defence of his pack, his family. He gave so much of himself, all he was looking for was a little in return, just some sign. He wasn't looking to move in, he wasn't proposing they exchange rings, all he wanted was for Ezra to say those three little words. Words Buck said every time they met, yet words Ezra couldn't, wouldn't, say.
The rest of the team, except for Chris and JD, were in the waiting area when Ezra came out of the linen store. If they were curious they said nothing, he hoped his eyes weren't too red. Ignoring them, and keeping his head down, he headed toward the room where Buck lay. JD and Chris sat either side of the bed. As he stood in the doorway JD looked up.
"How…how is he?" Ezra managed to ask in a reasonably calm voice.
Chris sighed. "His vitals have been dropping, although they're stable at the minute."
"The head injury?" Ezra asked.
"Could I stay a while?"
Chris rose. "I'll see if the docs have any more news."
One bullet had gone right through Wilmington's left thigh, miraculously missing the bone and any major arteries. Two had hit the bullet-proof vest, leaving ugly bruises and a few cracked ribs, and the fourth had grazed the skull just above his left ear. The external wound wasn't too bad. Now that it was sutured closed, it was lost in his impossibly thick dark hair, so that outwardly there was no sign of the injury. But he was in a coma, and little by little he was slipping away. The doctor believed, but had not yet said, that Wilmington was making no effort to recover. If he got any worse they were going to have to intubate and that was something he had been hoping wouldn't be necessary.
JD also got up, but didn't leave the room - he just stood in the doorway. Ezra sat down and took in his lover's still, pale form, and his heart felt like it would explode. He wanted to be alone, but in all honesty he couldn't blame JD for not trusting him, he had no reason to. He took Buck's hand in both of his and held it up, rubbing his cheek along the back of Buck's large hand.
"Forgive me my love, forgive my foolish words, my stupidity, my selfishness, my pathetic insecurities, my snobbery. You are my love, my north and south, my east and west. My dawn and dusk, my night and day. My sun and moon, my stars above. My darkness, my light, my morning dew and my evening rain. You are my joy and my sorrow, my anger and my calm, my reason and my madness. You are my guide, my rod, my staff, my strength, and my weakness. My safety is in your arms, my security is your voice, my sanctuary is your touch. You are my world, my beginning and my end, the alpha and omega of my very existence. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…"
He punctuated each declaration of love with a kiss, first to the back of the hand he held, then each knuckle, then to Buck's forehead and finally his lips. And as lover and brother watched, the one they both loved moved. His hand, once limp in Ezra's two hands, curled and tightened, it held on to Ezra with surprising strength. Standish looked up at JD and smiled. In turn JD smiled, and nodded his head before he left the room. Ezra knew he would keep the others from walking in on them unannounced, as he turned his attention back to the centre of his universe.
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