Bad Days Sometimes Lead to Bad Nights

by Phyllis

ATF Universe

A short piece that has JD trying to drown his guilt and Buck standing by with a lifeline.

With a sigh, Buck put the truck in park and turned the engine off. It had been a long day, starting the night before well before midnight and it was shaping up to be a long night. He laid his head on his hands as they gripped the steering wheel, his mind going over the day’s events once again. Another deep sigh escaped his lips and he pushed himself upright. Wearily, he climbed out of the vehicle and went around to the passenger’s door and cautiously opened it. JD slowly slid out the door, only his roommate keeping him from going all the way to the ground.

“Come on, kid. We’re home.”

The only response was a garbled mumble that Buck could not understand. He put his hands under JD’s arms and lifted him out of the door, leaning the plaint body against the truck bed. Locking the door, the older man slammed the door.

“Oh, God.” JD clutched his head as he attempted to lean over.

Buck grabbed the young man’s arm as he stumbled forward and to the right. “Whoa, hold on there, son.”


“Yeah, it’s me. Come on. Let’s get you inside.”

Together, they stumbled to the door, the young agent’s footsteps uncoordinated and faltering. By the time they reached the door, Wilmington was fully supporting the other man’s weight. Fumbling for his keys, Buck lost his grip and JD began a downward descent. Buck guided the body to the ground and then straightened to unlock and open the door. He turned back to his roommate and reached down to pick him up.

“She left me,” he hiccupped.

Wilmington rolled his eyes as he lifted the boy from the hallway floor. “No, she didn’t leave you, JD. Casey just went home.”

“No, she was mad. She left me.”

Buck growled in frustration as he tried to get JD’s legs to lock. But the alcohol had turned the boy into a giant noodle and his knees would not support him. Finally, Buck squatted and put his shoulder in JD’s stomach and stood up with the kid draped over his shoulder. Going through the door, he stumbled as he kicked the door closed and tossed his hand out to right himself against the wall. JD moaned.

“Kid, you upchuck down my back and I’ll toss your drunk ass in the shower and leave ya.”

“ ‘k,” JD mumbled.

Buck moved to JD’s door and threw it open. Kicking his way through the clutter, he deposited the dead weight onto the bed. JD’s body bounced and his limbs flopped out to his sides. Buck stood with his hands planted on his hips, waiting to see if the boy moved. He didn’t. Wilmington sighed again and then squatted and pulled off first the sneakers and then the socks. Tossing them behind him, he reached out and grabbed an arm to pull the boy upright.

He grabbed JD’s head as it flopped forward fast enough to give the kid whiplash. Supporting the younger man against his chest, Buck removed one arm and then the other from the heavy pullover sweater. He left the t-shirt on and gently lay the boy back down. JD hiccupped. The sound turned into a hitched breath and Wilmington thought to himself, ‘Here we go again.’


“Yes, JD?”

“ I fu..cked up.” Then he giggled. “I am a poet. My feet hoed it. They’re… big.” JD burst out laughing and attempted to roll over. Wilmington’s hand prevented the action.

“Come on, son., let’s get these jeans off and your sorry butt to bed.” Reaching for the button of the jeans, Buck almost missed the movement as JD sat up suddenly. He pulled back just in time to stop their heads from banging together.

“Dang it, JD. Sit still.”

The kid sniffed. “Sorry,” his voice was small.

“It’s okay. Come on. Get the jeans off.”

JD stared up at the older man, tears in his eyes. “I missed the shot, Buck. Josiah…he could ‘a got dead…'cause I missed. If Chris hadn’t…” The boy sniffed and then hiccupped, his eyes blinking slowly and heavily, forcing the tears out.

Buck reached up and placed a hand on each side of JD’s face. Wiping the tears away with his thumbs, he spoke. “It’s okay, son. We all miss sometimes. That’s what a team’s for; to watch out for each other”

JD’s head moved from side to side as much as Buck’s grip would allow. “Vin don’t,” JD stated, ignoring the last of Buck’s words.

Buck chuckled. “Well, Tanner ain’t human.”

JD’s eyes widened. “He’s not? Really? Whatishe?” JD slurred. Both hands suddenly flew up and gripped Wilmington’s arms. “Mutant! Vin’s a mu…mutant with spec..special eyesight.”

Shaking his head, Buck released JD’s head and slipped his arms from the boy’s grip. JD slumped back onto the bed, his arms still in the air. Unfastening the jeans, Buck gripped the cuffs and lifting the lax legs, he gave a quick jerk and the pants slid off JD’s body. Tossing them to the side, he once again grabbed the boy under the arms and lifted him.

“JD, we’ll talk about this in the morning; when you’re coherent.”

He yanked the covers down and placed JD on the bed and then pulled the covers back up. JD was staring at him, his eyes watery again and his lips moving. Buck sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over.

“What ‘d you say, son?”

“Is Josiah dead?”

“No, JD. For the tenth time, Josiah is fine. Everyone is fine. We just left them at the saloon, remember?”

“Did Casey leave me?” His breath hitched as he spoke.

Taking a deep breath, Buck once again reassured his teammate. “No, JD. She had to go home. She has to work tomorrow. The team is fine. The bust went good. Now, you go to sleep and we’ll talk tomorrow.”

Buck moved to stand, but JD’s hand stopped the action.

“Buck,” he whispered. “Why’m I drunk?”

Wilmington smiled and reached out to push stray hair from JD’s eyes. “You had a hard day, son, but everything’s all right now. You can sleep and tomorrow ’ll be a better day. I promise.”

JD blinked owlishly, trying to focus on the man’s face. Finally, he gave up and closed his eyes. “Okay, Buck. I trust ya.”

Buck continued to sit on the edge of the bed, watching the young man who was like a brother to him. JD relaxed into the pillow and his breath evened out as sleep took him away. Wilmington flicked on a small table lamp and sat the empty trashcan near the bed, in case the alcohol made a reappearance. Glancing around to make sure everything was done, he left the room, pulling the door almost, but not completely, closed.

He trotted up to his own room, changed and brushed his teeth. Then, grabbing a pillow, he went back downstairs and made himself comfortable in the recliner. He knew he would probably hear JD from his own bed, but wanted to be close in case the boy needed him during the night. A smile pulled at his lips at the thought, ‘JD needed him’ and he drifted off to sleep.