Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.
Note: Betaed and edited by Sue M.
Team Seven had been doing some simple fishing while taking a lunch break during a summer's day ride up into the mountains behind Chris' ranch. A fish hook was currently deeply embedded in Nathan, Josiah was going to push it in so that the barbed hook came out and he could then pull it through. With no anaesthetic in the small first aid kit Nathan had with him, a can of beer, cooled in the river was the closest thing they had to an ice pack to numb the wound.
"How you doing?" Josiah asked, looking down at his friend.
Nathan looked up and gave him a half smile. "If the blood poisoning doesn't get me, the frost bite may."
Josiah shook his head ruefully. "None of us ever had blood poisoning, not even Buck."
"Seventh time lucky," Nathan stated.
"By my count, I have taken hooks out of all of you, at one time or another."
Josiah considered this. "You sure?"
"Well except Ezra, he wouldn't let me."
"Mr Jackson, what are you doing?" Ezra asked with evident horror, backing away cradling his hand.
"Ezra that hook needs to come out," Nathan insisted.
"Of course it does, in a hospital, with anaesthetic!" Ezra all but squeaked, still backing up until he ran out of boat.
"Oh come on Ez, it ain't gonna be that bad, Nate 'll have it out in seconds," Vin insisted.
"How?" Ezra asked. "This thing has barbs you know."
"And the barb is already out on the other side." Nathan pointed out. "Chris'll snip the barb off with the bolt cutters, and I'll pull out the shaft."
Ezra was having none of it. "You have anaesthetic?"
"No, but we've got ice."
"Then the answer is no. Mr Wilmington, please turn this craft around and take us back to Miami."
Buck looked at Chris, who shrugged and nodded.
"Okay, but it's gonna take us a couple of hours at least to get back."
"Fine by me."
"Ah yes, but, if you recall, I had only known you for three months at that time. If the same incident were to occur again, I would happily submit myself to your ministrations. At least my injury was in my hand." Ezra pointed out, looking at Sanchez.
"That was not my fault," Josiah argued, recalling his own 'fishing hook incident'.
"How, Mr Sanchez, was it not your fault?"
"I'm not the one who left fishing tackle all over the ground!"
"Hey, it's my house, if I want to sort my tackle, I can!" Chris countered. "You're the one who went wandering around outside in the dark - with no shoes on."
"On the deck, I was on the deck," Josiah protested.
"Sure was funny, watching ya hop about with that fly hanging off yer toe," Vin added with a smile.
"Well I liked your method of pain control better than theirs," Nathan commented.
"We can go to the hospital if you want?" Nathan offered.
"No, it'll take hours, you can do it, just give me a moment here," Josiah insisted.
With that he stilled and took a deep breath. Some minutes and a lot of deep breaths later, he nodded.
"Didn't work though did it?" JD pointed out. "You still swore like a Marine when Nathan pulled it through.
"I was a Marine," Josiah pointed out.
"I know, so why didn't you just swear and not bother with the meditation?"
"Well it's better than breaking your best friend's finger."
JD paled a little at that.
"Doesn't know his own strength, that's his problem," Buck pointed out, putting his arm over JD's shoulder. "But he didn't swear."
"That wasn't a fish hook," Vin recalled.
"Nate didn't say fish hook, he just said hook," Chris reminded.
JD walked into Chris' garage and hit the light switch, there was a familiar 'ping' as the bulb blew. He could have headed back to the house and picked up a flash light, but he didn't. He didn't want to look like some wimp, afraid of the dark, so he just wedged the door open, so the light from the house gave him some illumination as he edged his way in. All he had to do was hang the two rabbits he'd shot earlier that day on one of the hooks. There were a number of meat hooks hanging from the roof which was low enough that even JD could reach them, just. He stretched, reaching up to the hook, when his foot caught on something on the floor and he pitched forward, impaling the palm of his left hand on the meat hook above him.
He tried to pull it off, but it was stuck fast, and the hook, which was attached to the roof by a wire loop kept moving with him, so he gained no purchase. To pull it out, he had to lift his hand up, but he was already standing on tip toe, he just couldn't raise it any higher.
"Oh shit!" he breathed out loud.
Looking around, he tried to see if there was something he could stand on, he only needed an inch or two extra, but it was too dark. Just as he was thinking he'd be there for ages before he was missed, he heard a familiar voice.
"Why didn't ya turn the lights on?" Buck asked, his big frame filling the door and blocking out most of the light. There were a couple of clicks, as he tried the switch. "Oh, right. You still in here?"
"Yes, I need. . ."
Buck apparently wasn't really listening. "Chris reckons there is some of that homemade cider Nettie made, in here. Josiah says he needs it for this pork stew he's making."
"Buck please, I need help."
"Mmm? What was that?"
The dark form that was Buck suddenly stilled and stood up tall. "Stuck?"
"Yeah, you got your flash light?"
Buck fished in his pocket for his keys and turned on the mini Maglite he had attached to them.
"Ah hell, boy how'd you do that?"
JD was all for Buck pulling it out there and then, but Wilmington insisted on detaching the hook from the wire and taking JD inside, hook and all, so Nathan could assess it. Nathan offered to pull it out there and then, since it didn't have any barbs.
"Here, take my hand," Buck offered.
"I'm not a kid."
"Never said you were."
"You call him 'kid' all the time," Vin pointed out.
"You know what I mean," Buck replied.
"I know," JD assured, "but I'm too old to hold hands."
Buck just shook his head and took JD's good hand. "Ya never too old to have a friend help you though the bad times. You feel free to squeeze as hard as you like."
And he did, he squeezed so hard he broke Buck's little finger, or so Nathan thought, since they never bothered to get it x-rayed, Nathan just 'buddy' strapped it for him.
JD opened his mouth.
"Kid, you try and apologise again and I may have to do something you'll regret," Buck told him firmly. "Besides, you returned the favour."
"You didn't break my hand."
"What did I just tell you?"
After the debacle with Ezra and the fish hook, the second annual Team Seven fishing trip, was moved from off shore fishing in Florida in February to fly fishing in California in July.
They were spread out along the river, each having decided on the 'best spot', vital in order to catch the biggest fish, there was $140 riding on the outcome. JD was the only one who had never been fly fishing and Buck had been very generous with both his time and experience, teaching him how to cast, read the river and even lending him some of his best flies. It was a very warm day, the sky was blue and the scenery spectacular as they cast and recast in the late afternoon sunshine. A good number of fish had been landed and the largest placed in the keep net, no matter who won, they would eat well that night.
JD, with what he readily admitted was beginner's luck, had hooked a big fish. He didn't know what it was, but it was big. He had just got his first glimpse of whatever it was on the end of his line, just a quick flash of something long and silver, when a movement just in his peripheral vision caught his eye. He risked taking his eye off the line to check it out, it wouldn't do to be caught unawares by a bear. It wasn't a bear, at least not a real one, it was Buck - who more than one person had called a 'momma grizzly'. He was making his way down the bank, rod in his right hand, his left held defensively against his chest.
"You okay?!" JD called.
"Fine!" Buck called back without looking at him.
JD turned back to his fish, but only for a second, something was wrong. As he looked back at Buck with a more critical eye, he spotted the ominous red stain on his best friend's shirt sleeve. Every biting insect in a twenty mile radius had decided that Buck was the best meal in town - no matter how much repellent he put on - so he'd taken to wearing long sleeved shirts. Today it was pale blue, except for the arm he was holding to his chest which was now red.
"Buck?" JD called, already moving back to shore.
"I'm fine kid, just get back to your fish, he looks like a big one."
JD was not to be put off and managed to intercept his 'brother', horrified at how much blood there was.
"Jeeze, what did you do to yourself?" he asked.
The only response was a mumble.
"What was that?"
"I got the hook caught in my shirt, well I thought it was in my shirt, so I pulled it out."
"But, it wasn't in your shirt?"
"No it was in my arm."
JD began to prise the shirt way from the wound to get a look at it.
"Honestly, I don't think it's that bad," Buck assured. "I was just going to find Nate and get a band-aid."
JD was still looking at the wound, a ragged gash at least an inch long.
"Um, just how deep was this hook in?"
"I don't know I didn't look, I just yanked it out."
"Have you looked at this thing, Buck?"
"Well, no, not looked as such."
"I think I'll come with you."
"No really, get your fish, before he gets away."
JD had forgotten the fish, he turned back. The rod was lying on the bank, the line, slack, snaking away into the current. "Too late, let's go find Nathan together."
The deep and ragged gash had required a trip to the local medical centre, eight stitches, a tetanus shot and a precautionary course of antibiotics.
"I don't think a lost fish is the same as a broken finger," JD pointed out.
"Don't forget the $140, you'd have won for sure," Buck reminded, "I saw that fish."
"See, you were wrong," Josiah pointed out to Nathan, "you haven't taken hooks out of all of us, Ezra's was removed in the hospital, and Buck pulled his own out."
"Okay, so I was generalising, you've all had hooks in you at some time."
"At least the rest of us all did it on separate occasions, unlike the terrible twosome," Ezra reminded.
"And none of you made as much fuss as them either," Nathan recalled.
For the third annual Team Seven fishing trip, they returned to Florida, but this time on the gulf coast. While they had all caught a good few fish, Vin had been unlucky in that he'd three times hooked a huge marlin, only for it to get way. Now, on the last day of their trip, he was both drunk and frustrated.
"Ain't gonna let another one get away!" he declared, making his way, somewhat unsteadily to the bow. "Gonna get a out the big guns!"
JD looked horrified. "He brought his guns?" he asked nervously.
"No," Chris assured, following Vin to the bow.
The boat they had chartered was big for a day charter, Ezra insisting on something large enough to have a good size bathroom, a galley and enough room on the flying bridge for him to lounge and soak up some rays, when he was tired of fishing. With most of the stern deck used for fishing, the 'on deck' equipment lockers were at the bow, which was where Vin was headed.
"Gonna jump off my hook are ya?" he muttered. "Let's see you get off this thing!" With that he pulled a wicked looking triple hook from the locker.
"Calm down," Chris soothed. "You sure about this?"
Even as he did, Vin swung around, waving the hook almost triumphantly. Unfortunately he swung it in an arch, right past Chris' head, who, also drunk automatically, and clumsily, put his arm up to protect himself. One of the wicked looking hooks struck his hand, sticking fast in the fleshy pad at the base of his thumb.
"Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!" Vin exclaimed. Then he reached for it.
Only as Vin's hand closed on the hook, did Chris' alcohol dulled brain register that he was about to try and pull it out. With that realisation he pulled his own hand back, causing one of the remaining two hooks to embed itself in Vin's hand between the thumb and index finger.
Now both stuck fast on the same hook, they finally thought to call for help.
"Oh come on, we were drunk!" Vin protested.
"Try very, very drunk," Buck reminded.
"No, I was just drunk, he was very, very, drunk," Chris insisted.
"You were both drunk, let's just leave it at that - shall we? If you hadn't been we wouldn't have had the hysteria, threats and further consumption of whiskey before you let me get it out - of both of you!" Nathan looked from one to the other, making them both look rather sheepish. "I still have trouble working out how you did that."
"Well at least it wasn't our own hook," Chris pointed out. "I mean, compared to you, we were. . ."
"Okay, okay, I get it!" Nathan fumed.
"You ready?" Josiah asked Nathan, returning them to the situation in hand.
"As I'll ever be." With that he removed the cold beer can from the wound site.
Of course Nathan could have gone to the hospital to have it removed painlessly, but that would have meant riding down the mountain - and that was out of the question.
"I mean," Chris continued. "Who the hell sits on their own fish hook - when they're sober?"