Alternate Universe - Lost Lambs
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.
Note: Set after Finding Home.
JD sat on Father Sanchez's lap, as the priest sat in the old, rather saggy chair that had been placed beside the bed. He sighed deeply as he kept watch over his brother. On the other side off the bed, Ezra returned the sigh. He was kneeling on the hard floorboards, his chin resting on his hands as his elbows rested on the bed. Outside Vin stood silent in the passage, watching Doctor Nathan Jackson as he stood in the large living room and stretched.
"Here," Chris came in and handed him a mug of coffee.
Nathan cupped the mug in both hands and took a sip. "We wait." He looked into the roaring fire. "He should be in the hospital."
"You did great, there was no alternative and you know it."
+ + + + + + +
Buck had been complaining of indigestion all day Saturday, blaming Chris' cooking for his discomfort. No one, not even him, took it seriously, not until about two in the morning, when he managed to stagger to Chris is room and wake him.
"I'm in trouble pal," he'd gasped as he sank down on to Chris bed and pulled his knees upward his chest.
Chris didn't stop to question him, it was clear to anyone Buck was in terrible pain. The trouble was it was January, and a blizzard, or as near as damn it, was blowing outside. Luck or God was with them and the phone lines weren't down. Chris had managed to get hold of Nathan, who'd become the town's doctor only four and a half months ago. It had taken him over two hours to travel the short distance to the horse ranch, arriving with Josiah, who'd come to help.
That Buck's appendix was about to burst and he needed surgery instantly wasn't in question. But as the weather got worse there was no way to get him back to Nathan's office, let alone the hospital in Eagle Bend. Josiah, Chris and Ezra had scrubbed the kitchen table and floor with carbolic while Vin and JD stood at the threshold and were passed anything they could carry, that could be moved out the room. Then every clean sheet in the house was used to cover as many surfaces as possible.
Once Buck was helped on to the impromptu operating table, Chris took all three boys up to Ezra's room and read to them. Just over an hour later, Buck was back in his own bed, sleeping off the ether.
+ + + + + + +
JD sighed again. "When's Buck gonna wake up?" he asked.
"When he's ready Little'n, he needs to sleep, and so do you, what say we put you in bed?"
"No," JD protested. "I wanna stay with Buck.
Chris, with Vin holding on to his leg and Nathan appeared in the doorway. "It's going to be sometime before he wakes up," Nathan explained.
"We don't mind," Ezra assured.
Chris shook his head, and turned away. This time Vin didn't follow him, instead he moved into the room and knelt down beside Ezra, resting his cheek on the bed, so that he had clear view of Buck. Chris returned with some pillows, blankets and rugs.
"If you boys are going to stay in here, you better be comfortable and warm."
Josiah and Chris settled down in the living room. Nathan swapped places with Josiah, complete with JD on his lap. The older two boys settled down on the rugs and pillows, with blankets around their shoulders. Sometime in the night the snow stopped coming down, leaving a perfect blanket of white outside. As the sun began to break through the grey cloud cover and make the snow sparkle, Buck began to stir.
JD, like everyone else in the house had been asleep, but woke instantly, and began elbowing Nathan in the ribs.
"Wake up Doctor Nathan!" he hissed in a stage whisper.
"Wh't?" Nathan pulled himself awake.
"Buck's waking up," JD explained happily.
"Oh, okay, can you get down?"
JD slipped down onto the floor and ran around the bed to wake up Vin and Ezra. Vin was sleeping on the floor, while Ezra was slumped over the bed.
"Buck?" Nathan called softly.
"I need you to open your eyes." With great reluctance Buck opened his eyes a little. "Hi there, how are you feeling?"
Buck frowned, then licked his lips. "Sore, thirsty."
"I'll get you some water," Nathan assured.
"I'm on it," Chris voice came from the door.
"I need to check the wound," Nathan explained as he rolled the bed covers back. Buck just nodded his acceptance.
Nathan pulled the bedcovers back to Buck's naked hips, mindful of his audience of anxious boys. Then he lifted the edge of the bandage, making sure the boys couldn't see what he was looking at.
"Well that all looks fine. I'll change the bandage later today."
"Thanks Nate, for everything," Buck's voice was no more than a whisper.
"Is Buck all better now?" JD asked.
"Little'n?" Buck turned his head toward his little brother.
"Hi Buck!" All three boys chorused.
"What are they…?"
"They wouldn't leave you. All three of them stayed here all night," Chris explained as he set the water down. "Now boys, you say good-bye to Buck and go find Josiah. He's making breakfast."
Ezra pulled himself up stiffly and looked down at the man who had saved his life and, along with Chris, given him a real home.
"I am very pleased you are recovering," he said formally, but then his mask of control slipped and he grinned widely.
"'S great you're gonna be okay!" Vin exclaimed as he stood up. "The others were real worried about you, but I knew you was gonna be okay," he stated confidently.
"Glad to hear it," Buck responded.
JD hadn't taken his eyes off Buck, he needed to be closer to his brother, to be sure he really was okay. On instinct he began to climb up on to the bed. As soon as the mattress dipped Buck hissed, unable to mask the pain the unexpected movement caused. Chris was the first to react, he moved quickly to lift JD up. Then he held the squirming boy over the bed.
"I wanna be with Buck!" JD protested.
"I know, but not yet, you just give him a big ol' hug and let him rest."
JD looked at his brother. Even a five-year-old could tell he was tired. "I'm sorry Buck."
"It's okay, come here and give me a hug."
Chris held JD so he could slip his hands around Buck's neck and plant a big kiss on his cheek, then put him down.
"Go on scoot, get some food," Chris encouraged.
"Okay, love you Buck."
"Love you too Little'n."
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