Disclaimer: They aren't mine, I would bid on them if they were up for auction, until then I can only borrow them. ATF is Mog created. Aside note: All medical treatments within are made up. No such procedure exists. This a work of fiction and so I use fictional medical practices.
Author's Note: OOH...this is my first ATF fic.....Mog said I could play........I've been at the ATF sandbox eating her Oreo's, Thanks, Mog!
Buck's informant looked scared. He kept hitting the wire in his wristband.
Back in the truck, JD pulled the earphones off, gripping, "Buck, your guy is gonna blow it. Geez, and he keeps tapping his watch, he's giving me a headache."
Bucked smiled a bit, but didn't look away from the monitor as he answered, "Well, you're gonna give me a headache if you don't continue listening."
JD wasn't all that worried, they were recording it all anyway. He whipped the headphones back in place and heard Ratchet say, "The buyer will be here any minute. He's the quiet one. The fancy dude's his lawyer and inspector. He'll wanna check the stuff before the trade."
The man next to Ratchet said, "They're bringing the weapons with them?"
Buck saw Ratchet nod. Then all the warehouse occupants turned as they heard the coded knock.
Chris and Ezra left their truck parked across the warehouse entrance, they knocked the code and waited.
Chris looked all about him as he went in through the opened door. The camera hidden in the nose bridge of his glasses gave Buck and JD a first hand view of the proceedings.
Ezra strode in purposefully and straight to Ratchet. "Well, my dear man, introduce us." Ezra slapped Ratchet on the back.
Ratchet coughed, then said, "Mr. Landing, Mr. Simpson," Ratchet turned to his boss, "Mr. Stubbing."
Back at the truck, Buck slapped JD on the back, "Damm, if we didn't get the bossman." They only took their eyes off the monitor a second, so they didn't know how it fell apart, but Buck saw the gun aimed at Ezra and called in the microphone to the back up leaders, Vin, Josiah, and Nathan. Hidden below the truck, they spurred into action on hearing Buck's, "GO!" They signaled to the big team and they hit the warehouse.
Inside, Ratchet didn't think and aimed his mouth at his watch, and Stubbing knew something was up. His gun was out, and aimed at Ratchet and Ezra. To Ratchet, he said, "You sold me out? You're dead!" Stubbing swung the gun to Ratchet and pulled the trigger.
Ratchet, knowing his boss, pushed Ezra into the line of fire. Chris saw it all unfold and anticipating, leapt horizontally to shield Ezra and the bullet hit him.
As he thudded to the ground, the warehouse doors burst open, "ATF. KEEP YOUR HANDS UP." Men swarmed in faster than Stubbing's men could react. Ezra yelled, "OFFICER DOWN! MEDIC," and louder still, "IT'S CHRIS."
Nathan rushed over to them and yelled out into his head gear, as he was running, "You get that, Buck?"
JD answered, "He's already calling 911 ..two minutes."
"Ambulance ETA two minutes, let's take a look." Nathan relayed that to Ezra and Chris as he knelt down next to Chris. Chris was unconscious and bleeding profusely from a wound in his hip. "Ezra, give me your jacket," Nathan requested.
Ezra didn't hesitate a micro second, he handed his jacket to Nathan. Nathan used the lining side and pressed into the wound, pressing down tightly.
"Ezra, keep checking his pulse. It looks like he lost a lot of blood." Nathan said worriedly.
The ambulance siren was heard and the pulsating beep had the officers clearing a path for it to make its way to the warehouse. Nathan relayed the facts and continued to press against the wound as they placed Chris into the ambulance.
Ezra, Josiah and Vin watched as they closed the doors on their leader. The identical look of fear could be read on each face.
In Vin's headset, JD yelled, "We're moving, let's go!" Vin grabbed each man and said, "The truck, we're going to the hospital."
The five men almost beat the ambulance to the hospital. "Jeezus, Buck. You always want to be a race car driver?"
A serious Buck answered, "We need to be with our friend." Vin just nodded and cinched his seatbelt tighter.
The five officers burst into the ambulance emergency entrance, only to be greeted by Nathan's down cast face.
"Is he dead?" Josiah rasped out roughly.
"NO, but it looks bad. He's on the table now."
The six men haunted the emergency ward, walking past the windows, looking in. The head nurse came out to berate their behavior and noise. But she took one look at the devastation mirrored on the six faces, and just left the way she came.
Waiting was hell.
Six agonizing hours later, a middle aged doctor walked slowly through the surgery room doors. Grabbing off his surgical cap, he took a deep fortifying breath before he approached the waiting men.
Not knowing how to tell the officers, Dr. Lancer started with the damage. "The bullet entered at the left hip, bounced off the pelvic bone and caused extensive damage to both kidneys." He squeezed his nose ridge, and rubbed his eyes before he continued.
He looked up into twelve anxious eyes, "If they could rest, they could've become functional again. Dialysis won't alleviate the problem because that's hooked up to the kidney after the fluid has run through it. We'd need to halt the fluid before it enters the kidneys."
"Doc, just what are you sayin?" Buck thought they had just heard a negative report.
"That I'm not sure Mr. Larabee is going to make it. He has less than a twenty percent chance of making it through."
"WHAT!" Vin shouted and all heads in the emergency turned in his direction. But he was not alone in outrage, all the men jumped out of their seats and surrounded the doctor.
"What about a transplant?" JD asked with tears in his eyes.
"Aside from waiting for a donor, Mr. Larabee doesn't have that much time." The doctor tried not to feel intimidated.
Josiah and Nathan were shocked speechless, Vin was swallowing hard to hold back tears that were actually threatening to overwhelm him. JD's eyes were full of tears, but he was trying to give Buck some comfort.
Ezra cocked his head sideways and asked the doctor, "Dr. Lancer, have you heard of the Chinese procedure, Tansuoung Kidney?"
With pinched brows he said , "No."
"Do you have internet access?" The doctor nodded yes and Ezra stood and nearly pushed the doctor through the doors, as he said, "Let me show you."
The doors closed behind Ezra, and JD turned to Nathan, "Do you know what he's talking about?"
"Not really, though I think he started to discuss a new amazing procedure, when we were beeped." Nathan tried to see if he could recall any of that conversation.
"Let's hope Ezra really can save the day." The emphatic nature of Vin's voice left no doubt to how much hope he was betting on Ezra.
Ezra's fingers flew across the keyboard as he accessed webpage after webpage to finally connect with the link he was looking for. The doctor stood looking over his shoulder and finally said incredulously, "It's in Chinese!"
Ezra didn't turn as he inquired, "Do you have a translator program?" Not even waiting for the doctor's negative head shake, he hit several more keys. Then informed him, "You do."
Ezra's fingers flew even faster over the keyboard, then a small smile emerged, "Ah, yes, here it is," and in a mere minute the Chinese was transformed into English. The doctor stood reading over Ezra's shoulder, engrossed in the techniques experimented with. Ezra vacated the seat and the doctor immediately moved into it. He scrolled down, taking in the whole article. When he finished, he looked over to Ezra with a spec of hope in his eyes.
"It's never been performed in the US." The doctor whispered.
"Doctor, at one time, heart transplants had never been performed." Ezra said undeterred.
By the look in his eye, the doctor was already working out the procedure in his mind. Thinking out loud, "I'll have to look up his blood type, for that "
"O negative." Ezra broke in with. "Mr. Larabee made sure we all knew each others blood types, for just this sort of occasion."
The doctor continued, "Then we'll have to find a match that would be willing ."
"I have O negative, and I would be willing." Ezra said with assertion, trying to will the doctor to try it.
As the doctor contemplated, Ezra whispered, "It could be his only hope."
The doctor, convinced of Ezra's genuineness said, "Let's go, I'll set the paperwork in motion, and get it lost in the system. At least until we're finished."
Ezra extended his hand and said, "Thank you, sir," with a heart felt sincerity.
+ + + + + + +
After four hours of waiting, Josiah was ready to pound the wall with frustration. He growled out, "Where's Ezra?"
JD rolled his eyes, that was the fifth time that he had asked that same question. "I told ya, the doc lead him down the corridor and none of us has seen him since."
Vin quietly and unobtrusively, entered the nurses area. He went up to the night nurse and fixed her a smile that twinkled. A killer smile that had been known to get women to fall at his feet. This nurse was no exception.
She looked up into his blue eyes and asked, "Hi, how can I help you?"
Vin smiled again as he showed her his badge, "I'm looking for my partner. He came in along time ago with the Doc." Vin turned his head to the side and raised his brows. Lost in the blue eyes, she raised her finger to her lips and tapped them, letting him know she was planning on talking softly. She looked to both sides, checking the corridors, so as not to be overheard. She whispered, "Doctor Lancer took him to 407, said to do the paperwork tomorrow, late tomorrow. Your friend's still there."
Vin tapped the counter top lightly with his hand, looking her in the eyes, and said, "Thank you." He touched his imaginary hat and turned to leave, but she spoke again.
"I get off at 10:00pm." She smiled at him.
Vin smiled back as he said, "I gotta be with my friend." She nodded her understanding and watched as he went back to the waiting room.
Vin strode straight to Nathan, spoke just for his ears and they went to the elevators together. As they walked into room 407, they both stopped short just inside the door. What they saw was nowhere near what they expected.
Ezra was unconscious in the bed next to Chris. Tubes were running from one to the other, several tubes had different fluids coursing through them. Six other tubes had blood flowing through them. Meters and monitors beeped, numbers and graphics created, then printed.
Vin and Nathan were stunned, neither uttered a word and lost the chance as Doctor Lancer stepped in behind them. He went straight to the monitors and read the tapes, then looked at the tubes connecting Chris and Ezra. Turning to face his patients companions, he was prepared for the questions he saw on their faces.
"Doctor, what's going on here? What happened to Ezra?" Nathan was bewildered.
"It seems, officers, that your partner may have provided a way to save Mr. Larabee's life. I can not be sure for a while yet, but now, at least there is hope." Dr. Lancer, again checked the tubing.
Nathan was still confused, "Doctor, why is Ezra hooked up to Chris?"
"He furnished me a procedure that would allow Mr. Larabee's kidneys that chance at rest that was imperative. A Chinese operation that has proved successful many times, but unknown in this country. Ezra then offered himself, as he had the same blood type." Dr. Lancer explained fully.
Vin stepped up, "Is it dangerous for Ezra?"
The doctor looked at Ezra then back at Vin and nodded, "I'm afraid it is. But Ezra was aware of all the danger when he offered himself."
"How much longer?" Nathan asked.
"A couple of days, I believe." The doctor showed Nathan the readouts, as they conversed, Vin quietly stepped out.
Vin rejoined Buck, Josiah and JD. Josiah was about to question Vin, but Vin warded him off with his hand and explained what the doc had told him. "I think we should all be there."
Josiah nodded, "Yeah, they need to know we're with them." They all followed Vin to 407.
The doctor was about to protest the barrage of visitors but hesitated when he watched them bring chairs in quietly and sit about the room.
JD looked at the doctor and explained, "We're a team, and we would never leave a member behind and we would never let one die alone. Doc, we could lose two here, and none of us are prepared for that."
Buck said, "We're not leavin." The steel in his voice was thinly disguised in the softly spoken words.
The doctor threw up his hands, but warned them, "Don't interfere with the nurses. If they experience trouble, hit that button," he pointed to the control located between the beds.
Josiah took a place at Ezra's side, mirroring Buck's placement beside Chris. JD, sat at the foot of his hero's bed and Nathan was at Ezra's. Vin stood against the wall, looking at his friends and family. He was unprepared for the intensity of emotion at the thought of losing these two men.
Vin looked over at Chris, his best friend. He remembered their first meeting; no questions, no explanations, just an instant recognition of a bond that would make them life long friends.
He turned his head to look at Ezra, a fellow with more layers than an onion, but had saved his life, while putting his own in great peril. He had appeared out of nowhere, knocked him over the cliff and they rolled down the embankment together until they hit the water. Vin smiled at the memory of Ezra's only explanation, a wink, implying that it all had been part of the plan. He didn't want to lose them now.
Josiah watched the by-play of emotion play across Vin's face. He knew, that what he saw there, was the same by-play being experienced by each member of the team. Josiah also knew that the worry would only get worse as they waited. They needed a distraction, "I remember when I first met Chris, I thought he was such an ornery cuss, "
Buck laughed, "Yeah, I remember ..but whatdaya mean was, still is."
Josiah nodded, "Chris and Buck were working the Pensky Case, in Kansas City. Nathan was on the bomb squad forensics team and he had found a link between the carport bomb and their case. Nathan recognized the weave of the detonation wires as being the same weave that was used on the hair of several of the victims heads. The murderer had weaved their hair after they were dead." Josiah put his feet up onto the rail of Ezra's bed. Reshifting himself, continued the tale, "That detail had not been released to the public, so Chris was quick to pay attention when Nathan called."
Nathan nodded, "That's right, Chris didn't know me, but he never hesitated when I showed him the pictures of the crime scene."
Buck added softly, "Chris' always had a feel for a case. He knew right off that Nathan had found an important clue. Chris also knew when to pull in others," Buck smiled at his oldest friend. "Chris wanted a profiler, but not the type the PD used, he wanted an original thinker. He didn't like the pompous stuffed-shirts the department had, so he asked Nathan."
Nathan shook his head remembering, then looking at Buck said, "I told him I knew one, but that he was real unconventional. Chris just said, .." Nathan looked at Buck and they both said, "'Kay." Nathan chuckled at the remembrance. "On the way over to meet with Josiah, I told Buck and Chris how I'd come to know him. It was during that six month Saturday Crime Series, put on by the FBI the year before. One session was the criminal profile. The instructor ran us through some typical cases and their profiles. Then he wanted the class to try. He gave just a few details and Josiah profiled him, and by the look on the instructor's face, it was dead on. After the fifth one, the entire class was rooting for Josiah. The instructor went to hard ball, pulled up some obscure cases, and Josiah nailed them. Jademan, the instructor, finally asked Josiah his occupation. When Josiah said an anthropologist, he was thunderstruck. He had expected to hear police work of some sort, the class loved it."
"Chris liked your choice." Buck smiled.
Josiah's smile was crooked as he said, "Not too sure 'bout that after I gave him my profile. Told him it was a woman. The media wanted to rip me up one side and down the other. But Chris stood firm and backed me completely. I wasn't even sure he believed it."
"But you were right. When Chris was forced to talk to the media, the few comments he made left them in no doubt to his low opinion of them." Nathan shared.
"I remember reading about that at the academy, it was pretty grizzly," JD shivered as he recalled the details.
"When Chris formed the team, I was surprised he asked me, I wasn't actually with any enforcement agency." Josiah recollected.
"Yeah, just free-lance teaching for the FBI," JD said low, but loud enough for the others to hear.
"When I asked him why," Josiah recalled, "He said, an anthropologist with a missionary father that dragged him all over the world was just what he needed. Go figure."
Buck remembered too, "He thought you saw past the outer layers, and he wanted that for the team."
"Oh and let's not forget the unfathomable supply of resources for information and background info. You're the wizard for acquiring any information." JD added, always amazed at the info Josiah could come up with.
Josiah bowed his head, "It's nice to be appreciated."
"Yeah, it does," Nathan paused, then looked at the entire group, "Ya know, for a man of few words, he sure can convey that appreciation." The others nodded, caught up in their memories of Chris.
The quiet moment ended as two nurses entered to check on the patients.
The men settled down around their friends, trying to catch some shut eye, hoping that their presence there would somehow communicate itself to them. Let them know that they weren't in this alone. This silence was shattered when Ezra's life support machine started wailing. Nurses and the doctor were in the room within seconds and the five melted against the opposite wall, out of the way.
The doctor worked on Ezra for several minutes, orders barked, voices anxious. Nathan felt they were losing him.
Vin felt the same and moved stealthily across the room and seemingly materialized right at Ezra's ear. He whispered into it, "Hey, pard, we ain't ready to lose you yet. You're one part of this team, you're giving Chris a fighting chance, you need to fight too."
The doctor wanted to believe that his efforts just happened to kick in now, and Ezra became stabilized, but it was hard to shake the feeling that his patient immediately responded to his partner's urgings.
The night faded and the morning light intruded on the dozing men in room 407. The night shift nurses told the day shift about the men in 407. Told them to forget trying to get rid of them, they were men of granite. They would not forsake their injured comrades.
Back in the room Josiah stood by the window and spoke softly, "Today is the third anniversary of the team. Three years ago, Chris, given free reign, started his sojourn to put together a team of men to fight crime. Selecting us, or, taking a chance on us, he brought together seven individuals. But when combined, created a unit that has the best solution record to date." Josiah walked to the bed, "Damm fine job, Mr. Larabee .and happy anniversary, Chris."
"Gentlemen, how is a fellow suppose to get some rest with all this racket?" Ezra said, his voice was scratchy, but the flavor carried. Nathan went to get the doctor as the rest rallied around Ezra. Ezra asked quietly, "How's Chris?"
The Doctor answered the question, "Still alive, young man, thanks to you." He checked the readout on Chris' kidney, and the Doctor smiled, "Actually, you did it, he can begin using his kidney's again." He turned to face the other's, "Officers, we need the room. We are going to detach the tubing and we don't need you. Now go wait outside."
The five reluctantly complied, but they each turned to look at their friends before exiting, and each one could swear that they saw a smile on Chris Larabee's face. And in fact, they did, for he smiled as he thought groggily to himself, 'Happy anniversary indeed.'
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