Before re-entering the security bullpen, JD excused himself to use the bathroom. Checking the place was deserted, he walked up to the full-length mirror and pulled up his shirt.

"Oh man…" He sighed at the bruising to his ribs, quickly tucking his shirt back in. That was going to smart. Thank God he still had some of the liniment his mother used on him over his accident prone years; he'd put some on later. Adjusting his clothing he made his way back to the bullpen and something he was not looking forward to after the bust…paperwork!


Later that evening, Buck looked again at the bathroom door, what was taking the kid so long? Putting their delivered pizza on the coffee table, Buck chose a piece, munching on it as he went back to the kitchen for some drinks. On his return, the doorbell rang so he set down the drinks to peer out the spy hole then answer the door.

"What brings you here, stud?"

Chris shrugged as he entered the apartment. "Just thought I'd check on JD before I head home."

Watching Chris help himself to pizza, Buck frowned. Had he missed something? He watched Chris raise his free hand.

"Just checking in…he had quite a body crunch today, wanted to make sure he was okay." He didn't let on to Buck he had watched the kid struggling with something until shift end.

But Buck's nerves were jangling now and he walked toward the bathroom, more than a little curious as to why JD was taking so long, no toilet had flushed for ten minutes and the shower had stopped running ten minutes before that. He knocked, but pushed on in before JD could answer. "Aww hell…"


JD spun around from the mirror as he heard Buck's knock and the man enter.

"Buck…you don't just walk in on a man when he's using the bathroom." A towel hung low on his hips as he applied liniment to his bruises, his eyes drifting beyond Buck. "Aww shit…"

Buck stared at the dark bruising, unaware Chris was now standing right behind him, also observing the scene. "Why the hell didn't you say something?" Buck asked, moving closer.

"It's fine, Buck This liniment will do the trick." He was answering Buck but watching Chris as the blond advanced, his gaze locked on the young tech.

"Put some clothes on, we're going to the hospital."

"Mister Larabee…it's fine, really…" he balked at the glare from his boss, nodded and pushed past the two men to get dressed, uncomfortable with the look Larabee was giving him…this was not good.


Buck looked at Chris and shrugged. "I didn't know."

"No one did. You coming?"

Buck nodded, of course he was coming.


Today, JD was with Ezra. The southerner eyed the young man as JD watched a client intently, crooking his finger to draw the young tech nearer. "Are you counting cards?"

JD nodded enthusiastically, causing Ezra to grin at his honesty.

"Son, in this business, that is considered cheating."

JD frowned as he watched Ezra deal another card, shaking his head at the guy's choice of play. "Why?"

"Because it is a game of chance and you are taking away the odds of defeat by calculation. It is not allowed." Anticipating another 'why?' Ezra elaborated. "If every client able to do it, were to do it, casinos would be ruined in record time."

"Oooh, yeah, I see."

Changing the subject, Ezra pointed to JD's ribs. "How are you feeling, today?"

"Oh, I'm good, thanks…meds are helping…don't think Mister Larabee was too happy, though…again. "

Deciding to take a break, Ezra nodded to his relief and took JD by the arm. "Let's have lunch and you can update me on the story so far."


Sitting down in one of the resort's restaurants, JD checked out the menu, hastily placing it on the table. "No offense, Ezra, but these prices are a little too fancy for me right now."

Standish returned the menu to him. "My intention was to pay for us both, please…choose. "

JD frowned, placing the menu back on the table. "I'm not a charity case, you know."

Sighing, Ezra once again returned the menu to him. "I was not suggesting otherwise. I merely wanted to do something nice for you after you got injured when you so kindly helped me out, yesterday."

Relieved, JD started reading. "You know…you're not so tough, Ezra."

"Pardon me?" Standish attempted not to react.

"I heard you were a real hard case…no friends to speak of…a mother you rarely see…a real cool dude. But you came to see me at the hospital…you' re buying me lunch because you know I don't get paid for two weeks. Nah…you're not so tough."

Not looking up from his bill of fare, Standish answered. "So nice to learn I have been the topic of idle gossip."

"Not gossip, Ezra," JD assured. "These guys we work with…they just want to get to know you. Me…well," JD chuckled, "Josiah says I'm like an open book." He noticed Ezra smirking. "When I get my apartment, would you come over with the guys sometime and teach me poker?"

Standish was now grinning. "That would be most acceptable," he replied. "Now…choose. The filet mignon is excellent."

"What's filet mignon?"




That night, as Ezra drove home, he pondered his conversation with JD about his mother. It was evident the young man was missing his own, terribly and couldn't understand Ezra never seeing his.

Placing his tray of cheese and crackers on the coffee table, the southerner picked up the phone, staring at it for some time before he dialed.

"Mother? How's the weather in France? No…nothing is wrong…just wondered how you and your husband were." He laughed at her answer, placing a mental bet that this new marriage would be over before the year was out. "It's good to hear your voice, too, mother."


After numerous headaches, tummy aches and sore eyes, JD was going stir-crazy during his day with Nathan. He was a great guy, but JD seriously wondered how days like this didn't drive the doctor crazy. Nathan had been amused by JD's restlessness, telling him to chill out and make the most of a quiet day. Tomorrow JD had a rest day, then he would be a full-time security officer. Noticing Emma-Lee at the checking in desk, JD excused himself and walked over to talk to her.

"Hi, are you leaving?"

"No," she smiled, "Waylon's hitting the blackjack tables for a while, so I'm heading to our suite for a nice long soak in the tub." She leaned in and whispered in JD's ear. "You're welcome to join me…I don't charge guys I really like."

JD giggled and blushed to the roots of his hair. "Wow…as tempting as that is, I've been in a heap of trouble this week already, so I think I'd better pass."

Picking up her messages, Emma-Lee fake-pouted. "Shame, there are so many places I find hard to reach…hands like yours would be just perfect. Chow."

Pulling at his shirt collar as he watched Emma-Lee sashay off, JD hoped no one could read his mind. He wandered back to Nathan, unable to stop looking at his hands as he did so.


Emma-Lee dropped her robe as she approached the sunken Jacuzzi, pinning up her hair before stepping in. Before she could get her second foot inside, she slipped on the oily tub floor, falling heavily as her head smashed down on the edge of the bath, her unconscious body slipping down under the bubbles.


Back to sandwiches today and Nathan and JD were joined by Josiah. "I had filet mignon, yesterday," JD announced as he bit into his food.

"Very nice," Josiah grinned.

"Yeah, well…you wouldn't believe how much they charge, and the plate was half-empty!"

Both men laughed. "Ah, the pleasures of Haute Cuisine."

JD looked at Josiah. "Don't know about that, but the steak I had yesterday looked like it shouldn't be out on its own. I kept wondering when the rest was coming."

Josiah and Nathan choked as they laughed, laughing harder as JD frowned at them, failing to see the joke. When he told them he had ordered take-out pizza when he got home he was so hungry, they were laughing so hard they cried. Nathan wiped his eyes as he answered his vibrating cell.

"On my way. JD…let's go."


Waylon Baxter III was a happy man. He had just won big and was up for an equally big celebration. He grew horny thinking about the woman waiting in his suite for him, she was one of the best escorts he ever had; he needed to tip Buck big for such a great vacation.

Entering his suite, he emptied his pockets and shrugged off his clothes. He was in no mood to wait. "Emma-Lee, darlin', I hope you're ready 'cos I'm just about ready to…" He stopped and stared at the red bubbling Jacuzzi, walking tentatively to the side. "Oh shit." He ran to the phone.

"This is the penthouse suite…get me a doctor…NOW!"


The pale, robed man let Nathan and JD in. "In there," he pointed. The jets were now off and as soon as the two men entered the room they could see Emma-Lee submerged in the bloody water.

"Oh God…" Without a thought, JD jumped fully clothed into the tub and began hauling the naked female out, ignoring the pinch to his ribs. "Emma-Lee…come on, girl…wake up…"

Seeing the girl's staring eyes, Nathan helped pull her out onto the side and began CPR after instructing JD, several times, to call the desk for an ambulance. He knew that very act would alert security.

Dripping wet, and stained with blood, JD stared at Nathan's ministrations, willing the girl to breathe. Nathan was pretty sure it was hopeless, but he had to try. Both were oblivious to the arrival of Chris, Vin and Buck until Waylon grabbed Buck's arm.

"You have to get me out of here, Buck. I can't let my wife find out I was here with a prostitute."


Those words jarred JD to life. He looked slowly up at the man and before he realized it, he was on his feet and grasping Waylon's robe front. "You sonofabitch…is that all you can think about? She may be dying…d'ya hear me? DYING!"

Chris grabbed the furious tech around his waist and pulled him away from the millionaire.

"No…Chris...let go...did you hear what that jerk-ass said…DID YOU?"


Buck had been unable to move, shocked by the girl on the floor and JD's distraught cries. He watched as Nathan talked with the newly arrived paramedic, his heart sinking as he heard Nathan call time of death. JD heard it too.

"NOOOOO! Nathan…no…" The fight suddenly left the boy and he couldn't hold back the tears as his body shook violently.


With tears in his eyes, Buck watched the young man he had become so close to. He turned as Waylon tugged his arm.

"Buck…BUCK! Get me out of here."

He turned sad eyes to Waylon. "I'm sorry…you're gonna have to talk to the police." Seeing a nod from Chris, Vin and Buck took a now subdued JD from him and headed for the break room.


The security team were the last people Lieutenant Luis Perez spoke to, confirming the time JD had spoken to the woman, the desk had given over her messages, and when Waylon had left the tables. The policeman confirmed that he considered it to be an unfortunate accidental death, though the coroner still had to make the final call on cause of death. Chris ran a weary hand over his face as he watched them take the body away. This was not a good day…and now he had to tell Orin Travis.


JD sat huddled on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket. Chris approached him, his voice soft. "Buck and Vin are gonna take you home. If you feel up to coming in after your rest day, let me know. I'll assume, for now, you won't be."

JD barely nodded, and allowed Buck and Vin to ease him out of the room. Nathan slipped Buck a mild sedative for him, just in case.


Vin sat on the coffee table to face the youth, now dressed in sweats and a t-shirt, desperately wanting to comfort him, but not knowing how. He squeezed his new friend's knee.

"I know this isn't going to help, JD, but it really was just a horrible accident. There were a lot of oils in the water and…"

"Please, Vin…I don't want to talk about it."

Vin nodded. "Sure. What do you want to do?"

"Go back to Boston."

Buck stopped in his tracks as he brought in some coffee. "Whoa, wait up, squirt…that's a little hasty, huh?"

JD shrugged. In reality, he didn't know what he wanted, but he seriously feared he couldn't return to the Montecito.

Not knowing what else to do, Buck played his guilt card. "What about the apartment? If you leave, I lose the deposit."

JD looked at him. "Oh…yeah…" Well…he couldn't have that. They dropped the subject and drank their coffee.

"We need to bulk you up a little, tone you. How about you join my gym and we'll work out together?" Vin suggested.

JD pondered that for a little while. "Maybe next month…when I have some money in the bank?"

Vin grinned. "Okay…in the meantime, we'll use the facilities at the Montecito. They're real good, but my gym also does martial arts…I reckon that might help you, too."


JD sighed. He couldn't get Emma-Lee out of his head, but he knew they were right, it had just been a horrible accident, but it was such a waste of a life. Buck moved next to him and nudged him, knowing exactly where JD's thoughts were leading.

"We don't expect you to forget, son…and there will be moments like this, rare, but there nonetheless. Everyone's called to ask after you…even Ezra. You've joined a good team, kid…I think we may have stumbled on something real special. Lean on us…we're here for you…and I'm guessing you're more than willing to be there for us, too."

Looking from Buck to Vin and back to Buck again, JD sighed deeply and nodded. "Yeah." He watched Vin stand.

"I'd best be headin' out. You guys wanna shoot some hoops tomorrow?"

No one answered, but the looks gave Vin hope. He nodded. "I'll call you tomorrow then."

Realizing Vin had ridden over with them Buck stood. "How are you getting back?" He was reluctant to leave JD at this point.

"No sweat…I'll call a cab."

As they watched him leave, Buck resumed his seat next to JD and pulled the youth toward him, smiling sadly as he felt the slight body relax into him and shake from soft weeping. "That's it, li'l brother…let it out…let it all out." Buck knew how JD felt, because he was feeling it too.


Once outside, Chris looked at Vin from the cab of his truck. Tanner approached and jumped in.

"He okay?"

Vin nodded as he buckled up. "He will be."



Inez smiled as she checked her watch. "I thought you would be gone by now, chiquito. Don't you move into your new home tomorrow?"

JD yawned and nodded as he took a stool at the bar. "I've been working on something. Kinda forgot the time." He smiled as she placed a coaster and a glass of milk in front of him. "Thanks." He took a sip. "I wandered in here on the off-chance of a drink…this is perfect, thank you."

"I make a point of knowing the needs of my regular customers," she smiled, "and my friends."

Despite his weariness, JD's grin widened and it was infectious enough to produce the tiny musical laugh Buck seemed to like so much about the Mexican beauty. A presence about to occupy the stool next to him caused JD to stiffen slightly.

"Thought you were going home three hours ago?"

"Er…yeah, I was…kinda got caught up in something, sir."

Chris laughed. "Are you ever gonna call me Chris?"

JD blushed and hung his head. "You ever gonna stop riding me?"

Chris turned to face JD. "Is that what you think I'm doing?"

The young tech looked at his boss. "Yuh huh. You ride me…you don't trust Ezra…" He paused, wondering if he should continue. He decided he should. "You really should trust him, you know…he's not about to rip you off."

"None of your business, JD."

"It's team business…and am I not part of this team?"

Chris thanked Inez for his whiskey and took a sip. He eyed the youth next to him, shaken slightly by the intensity in the sparkling hazel eyes.

"Yes…you are…and for the record, I do trust Ezra…" he grinned slightly, "…but if you ever tell him, I'll be forced to kill you…I like to keep him on his toes."

JD sipped his milk, "Funny…that's what he said about you, too."

They both laughed and the tension evaporated. Inez rattled her keys.

"May I ask one of you handsome gentlemen to lock up for me?"

JD looked over his shoulder, wondering if one of the other guys had come in. Inez's laugh returned and she stroked his cheek as she handed him the keys.


While they watched her leave, Chris chuckled.

JD shrugged. "I guess it's better to be 'adorable' than to be invisible."


They were silent for a few moments until Chris spoke. "You seem to be getting along fine with Vin."

JD grinned. "Oh yeah…Vin's cool."

Chris smiled. "And you have Buck wrapped around your little finger."

"Yeah, him right where I want him," JD teased.

"Oh, believe me, you do." Chris assured. "That guy's practically adopted you. It's not a bad thing, son…Buck's one of the best friends you could ever wish for. We used to make a good team, once."

Dunne smiled at Chris. "You still do."

"Larabee nodded. "Yeah…I guess we do at that. Actually, I like the way we've all pretty much gelled."

JD bobbed his head he couldn't disagree with that. The pair looked up as a man entered the nightclub. Chris's hackles immediately rose. JD stared at the guy. He was wearing a heavy coat…in a nightclub. He called over.

"Sorry fella…we're closed for tonight." He felt Chris's hand grip his forearm, turning to look, then back to the man when he saw the concern on Chris's face. Both were shocked to see the coat come off to reveal explosives strapped to the stranger's body.

"Closed, you say…we'll see about that."


JD shakily released the shutters until they clanked into place. The nightclub was now effectively shut off from the rest of the casino, their only hope, the cameras located at different points. As if reading Chris and JD's mind, the man raised a gun with a silencer and took out each one, causing the two security men to duck.

"What is it you want?" Chris asked.

"I want my money back."

"How much did you lose?" JD inquired.

"Everything. "

Chris stood, "Well, let's go sort this out…"


Eamonn Tuddy was a broken man. Just how broken, they were about to find out. He waved a device held in his hand, in the air.

"Sit back down, if I let go of this in, it's all over, so be good, boys. I've made calculations and I reckon you owe me two million dollars."

Chris hissed. "I have no one on my books who's lost anything like that amount, you're talking out your ass…"

"Oh no…" Eamonn was waving the device more vigorously now. "I lost money, my job, my car, my home and my wife. I reckon two million should just about cover it…or I'll blow this place to pieces."

"But you'll die too," JD assured.

"I've got nothing left to lose, kid."


The rest of Team Seven had gathered in the bullpen. Unknown to JD, they were all planning on help him move tomorrow, more supportively than physically, as he didn't have much. Buck checked his watch…actually it was today. Their conversation was interrupted by one of the guys on the monitors.

"Vin, you know that little gizmo JD added to detect gunpowder?"

Tanner turned and nodded.

"Well, I got a silent alarm going off and the cameras in Mystique just went out."

Standing and approaching the monitors, Vin frowned, pulled out his cell and dialed.


Chris's phone trilled and he looked at Tuddy. "Should I get that?"

The man nodded, moving to JD and aiming his gun at the youth's head. "Yeah…and tell 'em what I want…but anything more and I'll have one less hostage to worry about."

"Just take it easy," Chris soothed, offering a reassuring glance to JD as he answered the phone. "Larabee. Vin…listen up. I have a man with a gun and a shit load of explosives strapped to his chest, holding JD and me in Mystique. He wants two million dollars in…" he looked at Tuddy who indicated a time. "…one hour, or he'll blow this place apart."

Larabee snapped his phone shut and Tuddy lowered his gun. JD felt able to breathe again, grateful Chris had kept his word, though, he realized he had never even doubted he would; he had been more nervous of the guy just shooting him to make a point. He wondered if there was any hidden message in the security chief's words. Surely Chris wasn't about to hand this guy two million dollars?


Vin went to a wall safe and dialed in a code. "Who has a current gun permit?"

All but Nathan and Josiah nodded. Vin handed a gun to Buck and Ezra and took one for himself. He looked at the man seated at the monitors. "Call the police, then Travis." Tanner went to the computer and accessed a drop-down menu, cursing as a password was required. "Damnit, JD."

"Try Bat Masterson," Buck urged. In seconds, Vin exhaled as the schematic for the whole of the casino came up. He pointed.

"There. JD and me were joking about a secret tunnel. Look where it comes out."

Ezra grinned. "The back of the kitchen in Mystique."

"Josiah, Nathan, you stay here…"

"NO!" Both men chorused.

Vin nodded. "Okay, but you stay behind me, Buck and Ezra."

The man at the monitoers asked, "Vin…aren't you going to wait for the police?"

Tanner shook his head. "Doug…we can't afford to wait. The cameras outside Mystique show the shutters to the casino are down, which means the ones on the windows will be, too. Order an evacuation. When the cops get here, let them do their thing…" he looked at the others, "…and we'll do ours."

As one in agreement, they headed out.


"I need a drink."

JD looked at Eamonn and hopped behind the bar. "What would you like?"

"Whiskey and make it a big one."

JD nodded and prepared the drink. "Do you mind if I take my jacket off?"

Tuddy shrugged. "Knock yourself out."

Smiling inwardly at the words, he palmed a small packet from his inside pocket which contained the sleeping pill from the previous week. He had been meaning to give it back to Nathan and had forgotten each day that he had it with him. "Neat?"


He dropped in the pill, scooped up some ice and carried the glass to the man. "Do you mind if we have one?"

"Sure, why not, could be your last."

Chris eyed the youth as he worked. "You tended bar before?"

Dunne bobbed his head. "Yeah…had lots of jobs while I was working my way through college. Neat?"

Chris nodded and accepted the…iced tea?

JD winked. Chris smirked. He liked a man who thought on his feet. JD rejoined Chris on the stools and sipped his soda while they watched Tuddy start to pace.

"It's gonna take time to get that much money," Chris warned.

"This is a casino…you got plenty."

"Not at this time of night. The bank will have picked up by now."

Eamonn didn't like that answer. "Well, they'd better go fucking wake up the bank chairman then, hadn't they?"

As the man turned away, JD breathed out a warning. "He's gonna be drowsy soon, we gotta get that device."

Chris frowned then dismissed his curiosity. If they lived, JD could tell him later.


Following the maintenance tunnel, the five men of Team Seven prayed they would be in time. Without cameras, they were going in blind. They stopped at a door, they hoped, to the kitchen, but found it locked. Vin and Buck cursed, Ezra touched Vin's arm. "Allow me."

The lighting hindering him a little as he fiddled with the lock, Ezra finally stepped back to reveal an open door. "Gentlemen."

They all grinned, then sobered at the task in hand as they moved quietly into the kitchen.


Larabee tilted his head slightly at the tiniest sound, relief washing over him. He couldn't explain it, but he knew Vin, and likely Buck, were here. As a police bullhorn sounded from outside the shutters, Chris spoke softly to JD.

"Cavalry's arrived. Ready to do battle?"

JD nodded, realizing he was prepared to do anything this man wanted.

"His hand's yours. Just trust me, okay?"

JD gave a tight smile. He truly did trust him.

Chris addressed Tuddy. "Okay, enough's enough. I'm gonna count to three and I want you to give up."

Struggling to focus, Eamonn huffed. "I think you're forgetting what's strapped to me, pal."

"Nope, I haven't forgotten…One… "

From the entrance to the bar from the kitchen, Vin spoke. "Countdown…get ready. They nodded as they heard Chris' voice.


JD swallowed, he had to get this right. He watched as Tuddy struggled with staying upright, let alone point a gun.


Chris stayed still and JD wondered if it had all been a bluff. Just as Tuddy grinned and relaxed, Chris dove off the stool and tackled the man to the ground, JD followed and grabbed the hand holding the device and squeezed it closed. Tuddy took exception and took two vicious swings at JD's head with the gun before Chris knocked him cold with a fist to the jaw.

Vin, Buck and Ezra rushed in and were ready to stop the man dead if they had to, but Chris had it in hand. JD groaned as he saw masses of swirling lights, blood from a cut to his brow dripping in his eye. Buck quickly crouched down and wrapped his hands around JD's, in case the boy passed out. JD was not about to pass out…he had a job to do…but it felt good that Buck was just making sure.


Josiah raised the shutters and the bomb squad and police flooded in, yelling for everyone who didn't need to be there to leave. Chris glared.

"I'm not leaving until we can all leave."

As he spoke, the rest of his men moved to stand behind him.

"You have no authority here…"

Chris was unmoving. "We're wasting time arguing…get to it."

One man moved in to assess the explosives while the nightclub emptied, the Casino had already been evacuated. All that remained was the team, Tuddy and the explosives expert, who now had his tools ready to begin diffusing the device. Nathan crouched down to wipe at the blood over JD's eye.

"You should all go," the young tech whispered, "I got it…honest."

Each man shook his head and JD smiled.


Five tense minutes of slow wire snipping went by, followed by the words "Okay, I think that's it."

With a nod from the expert, Buck released his hands. The expert took JD's hands in his. "Ready, son?"

JD nodded. "Yeah, let's do it." As they all took a breath, four hands slowly opened, followed by huge breaths of relief seconds later. Helping JD to his feet, the seven stood together. It felt good and they started relaxing as Tuddy was hauled away sans the device he'd been wearing.

"I need a drink," Chris declared, smirking at JD, "and not cold tea, either." They all turned as Travis came in.

"Allow me, gentlemen." He pulled out his most expensive champagne and popped the cork.

"If it's all the same to you, JD needs his head glued."

They all laughed at the statement as Orin poured the seventh glass of champagne. JD pouted, despite his spinning head.

"Aww, come on…I've never tasted champagne."

"And you won't be tonight, either," Chris ordered. "Sorry, Orin…"

Travis waved it off. "Go…" He laughed as he heard JD moan about needing season tickets to the ER as the team bantered their way out.

"Don't look at me like that, JD. What's with this 'look'?" Chris asked.

"Aah…the 'look'…don't look directly at it…no…don't…he' ll get you every time…"

"Shut up, Buck…I don't have a 'look'."

"Yeah, you do, kid."

"John Daniel has a secret weapon."

"Is that what he was trying to throw me when I said he needed his head glued?"

Orin marveled at seven men who only minutes ago were on the precipice of life and death. This certainly was one hell of a team.


Answering the knock on the door…his door…JD beamed at the five men with brown bags, in the hallway.

"Hi guys…come in…take a…floor." JD chuckled right along with them as Buck grinned back at them from one of two upturned packing cases. "I don't have much, but it's all mine…and look…" He grabbed a broom and aimed it at the ceiling, "…Buck's right above me, so if he's too loud with his current lady friend, I…can…bang…on…the… ceiling…like this…" He prodded with the broom to demonstrate.

Buck stood and gripped the cackling youth in a headlock, mindful of the cut on his brow. "I hear you do that, squirt and you'll sure as hell know where that broom's gonna be prodding next."

"Mister Wilmington, please, I've just had breakfast," Ezra complained.

"Ooh," JD said, recovering, "I got a fridge!" He looked in amazement as each man went to view the fridge.

Another knock at the door revealed Orin Travis and the largest bottle of champagne JD had ever seen.

"Come in, sir." He took the offered bottle.

"I thought it might make up for last night," the ex-judge smiled.

"Wow, thanks, I'll go put it in the fridge. It'll *fill* the fridge, but that's okay, I don't have any food yet, anyway."

He walked off into the kitchen and grinned like a loon as he opened the fridge to reveal six bottles of champagne, seven with Orin's, his grin remaining as he returned to his friends. Chris smiled.

"I guess we all had the same idea."

Orin held out an envelope. "This is from my wife Evie and I…a thank you...for yesterday."

JD frowned as he opened it. "What about yesterday? We all were involved…"

Buck leaned in. "Don't be biting the hand that gifts you, kid…smile and say 'thank you'."

"Thank you, sir…Oh my God…"

With a wink to his men, Orin bid them good day and left.

"What is it?" Vin asked.

JD held up a check. "I've never seen that many zeros before."

Buck clapped his hands together. "Shopping!"

Chris grimaced. "Shopping?"

"Come on, stud," Buck assured. We can also eat."

"Eating's good," Vin nodded.

They started to head out. "I can get a computer."

"JD…you haven't even got a bed."

"But Buck…I got to have a computer…ooh and a Playstation…"

"JD!" they all chorused.

"A Playstation' s good," Vin agreed.

"See…", he paused, "...okay, a bed, too."

Chris shook his head as he watched the group walk out of the apartment, pausing for JD to lock his apartment door. This was his team…he'd hand-picked them all.

What had he let himself in for?