I fell down this morning while dressing. Most embarressing. Glad no
saw it. I hurt for most of the day, so I decided to take my
frustrations out on Ezra. Believe me, he'll hurt worse. (I love him. I
really, really do. Its just a very addictive hobby of mine to do this
Rating: R (for language)
Warnings: I'm not a medical expert. If some things in here do not ring
true, blame ignorance. Also, this is not betaed. Any spelling mistakes
and/or general bad grammer should be taken in stride.
Feedback: Only if your going to tell me what a wonderful writer I am. I
don't take rejection well.
Outwardly, nothing appeared out of the ordinary. The single breasted
suit was perfectly pressed, and hung on his body as if it had been
designed with him specifically in mind. The friendly, easy going smile
that he flashed to others as he passed them was the same one that
greeted them each day. He seemed confident, self-assured, and well put
Of course, that was unless someone bothered to look too closely.
An almost unnoticable wince crossed his features from time to time, but
was gone again before anyone could see. The pain had been bothering him
sense early in the morning. A sharp, very annoying pain that seemed to
come from his side. He wondered what he could have done to injure
himself in such a place. He couldn't remember doing anything that would
be considered strenuous.
Then there was the fact that he felt nauseous, he had a headache, and
he was more tired then he could ever remember being before in his life.
But he was not sick.
He couldn't be. He, Ezra Standish, did not, and would not get sick.
had decided upon that long ago when his mother would push him aside if
he even got so much as a sniffle. Maude didn't like sick people, and
Ezra got so little of her attention as it was. So he ignored every ache
and pain, every cough and sneeze, and hid them all behind the calm,
cool exterior that Chris always liked to refer to as his 'poker face'.
And he was good at it, too.
The difference this time was that now he had six friends, co-workers,
whose eyes' missed very little.
"Ezra? What's wrong? You look tired."
Ezra shot a look at Buck that could have frozen the steaming mug of
coffee that he held in his hands. "Thank you ever so much for your
astute observation, Mr. Wilmington."
"Ah, and cranky too. Guess you didn't get much sleep last night, did
you?" Buck grinned at him. He was used to Ezra in the mornings. The
undercover agent was usually in a foul mood in the early hours of the
"Hey Buck, here's that file you where looking for." Nathan handed him
manila folder, then turned his gaze to Ezra, noticing his blood shot
eyes. "Geez. Late night, Ezra?"
"No." Was all he said before walking away toward his own office. It
not been a late night. In fact it had been quite the opposite. Ezra,
who was normally a late to bed, drag his ass out of bed in the morning
type of person, had gone to bed around 10pm the night before. He had
felt so rundown, and could honestly not keep his eyes open.
And he still had to forcefully drag himself from the comfort of his
He just wasn't a morning person. Never had been, never would be. That
Yes, of course. That was all. Now all he had to do was convince
everyone else of that.
"Ahh." Ezra couldn't keep the cry of pain from escaping his mouth as
felt his body collide with that of another.
"Sorry, Ez. Wasn't looking. You ok?" The young face of JD looked up
Ezra sighed. What was it going to take? "I'm fine. I was only surprised
by the force of you knocking me over. May I ask, 'where is the fire'?"
"Oh, I got to get his report to Chris before he brings down his wrath
on me. You sure your ok? You look kinda pale."
"Nothing to worry about, I assure you. Go on, before Mr. Larabee blows
a blood vessel waiting for you." He walked into his office, ignoring
the concerned look that JD gave him. He did not want to answer anymore
questions about his health. His health was fine, never been better. He
felt like a freakin' 20 year old for christ's sake! What was so hard
about excepting that?
"God damn!" He swore, as the sharp pain spread its way across his side.
He gripped the back of his chair to keep from falling to the floor in
agony. What the hell was wrong with him? Maybe he should see a doctor,
just to prove that there was really nothing wrong with him. And there
was nothing wrong. It was just a freak, phantom pain that had decided
to haunt him on this day.
The knock on his open door brought his head up, and he straightened
back as much as he could without bringing on another pain attack. Vin
stood in the door way, watching him concerned eyes.
"Ezra, are you......"
"For God's sake, I am perfectly fine. What is everyone's problem with
that!" Ezra's hand gripped the chair back so tightly that his knuckles
where turning white.
"I'm sorry, pard. You just don't look, well...., like you." Vin put
hand on his arm, and reached his other up to touch Ezra's forehead.
Ezra jerked his head away, but Vin had already felt the warmness that
his skin held. "Ezra, maybe you should go home. You got a fever."
"I don't have a fever, and I don't need to go home. Why can't you all
just leave me the hell alone?"
"What is going on in here?" Chris stepped into the room at the sound
Ezra's raised voice. He looked from Vin to Ezra, and saw that Ezra did
not look good at all. His face was covered with a sheen of sweat, and
he appeared to be breathing too hard.
"Ezra's sick," Vin said, "and he won't admit to it."
Chris came closer to the stubborn young agent, and looked closely at
him. "I think he's right. Go home. Now. Your not going to be any good
in this condition."
The pain was becoming too intense. It was everything he could do not
cry out from it. "I don't have a 'condition'. I'll be fine if you would
just go away."
"Ezra, don't be such a gole damned stubborned ass." Vin said, picking
up Ezra's discarded coat. "Come on, I'll take you home. I don't think
you should even be driving like this."
"As if a ride in that prehistoric dinosaur you call a automobile is
going to be good for my health." Ezra said, shrugging off the coat that
Vin had draped across his shoulders. "Quit treating me like I'm some
child. I am more then capable of taking care of myself."
"Well, you sure wouldn't know it." Chris went back to the door and
called out to Nathan. Maybe the most medically intelligent of them all
could talk some sense into him.
"Listen." Ezra said, taking a deep breath to keep the pain out of his
voice, "If it makes you happy, I'll go home. But its not necessary."
Nathan entered the room and immediately knew what the situation was.
Ezra looked as if he was about to pass out. He quickly crossed the
room, and felt Ezra's warm forehead. Too warm. "How long have you felt
like this?" He asked.
Ezra was about to say that he didn't know what Nathan meant. He felt
fine. But he knew they would not accept this, and besides, he did feel
bad. More then bad. "Sense early last night." He admitted.
Nathan shook his head in exasperation. "Ezra, sometimes I don't know
why I bother with you. Come on, sit down." He pushed the other man down
into the chair, and did not miss the grimace of pain that crossed his
face as he sat. "Ezra, I want you to be honest with me. Are you in
pain?" Ezra nodded, no longer caring that they knew, only that the pain
stop. "Ok, I'm going to touch a few spots on your stomach. I want you
to tell me what hurts." Nathan began to move his hand over Ezra's
stomach, pressing in slightly here and there, and watching Ezra's face
for reaction. He touched the spot below the stomach, and Ezra sharply
took in a breath. "There? It hurts there?"
"Yes, it hurts there! Fuck it, it hurts!" Ezra's eyes watered as he
leaned forward to stop Nathan's touch. "Please, don't do that again."
"Ok. Ok, I won't." Nathan turned to the other two men in the room, and
gave them a look that said exactly what a serious situation it was. "I
don't think Ezra should go home. I think he should go to the hospital."
The mention of that accursed word, 'hospital', made Ezra snap his head
back up. "No. I don't need a hospital. Nathan, can't you just give me
one of those herbal remedies of yours?" The look in his eyes was
heartbreaking. He seemed no more then a small, and very scared child.
The handsome black man shook his head. "Uh-uh, Ez. Your going to the
hospital, and your going now. I think your appendix is about to burst."
"Shit." Chris swore, and went over to his agent, putting a strong arm
around his waist, careful not to harm him. "Come on, *I'M* taking you
to the hospital whether you like it or not."
Ezra moved from Chris's touch. "I can walk by myself." He said, but
took one step and fell forward. Vin and Nathan rushed to him, catching
him before he hit the ground. "Oh, dear GOD." He moaned in painful
agony, and tried to curl himself into a ball on the floor of his
"Maybe we should call an ambulance." Vin said, trying to drag Ezra into
his arms. He hated seeing his friend in this kind of pain, and felt his
eyes begin to water in sympathy.
"We don't have the time to wait for it" Nathan said. "I think the
appendix just burst. We got to get him there now!"
Chris moved into action. "I'll get my keys, we'll take him in my car.
Vin, go get Josiah."
"No need." The large man can into the office, as if he had known
somehow that the younger agent needed him. He bent down and effortlessy
lifted Ezra into his arms. Ezra gave no protest, and leaned his head
against Josiah's shoulder, closing his eyes from exhaustion and pain.
Carrying Ezra from the office, Josiah headed for the elevators,
followed by Nathan, Chris, and Vin.
Buck looked up to see the strange happeing, and felt his own face grow
pale at the sight of Ezra lying limply in Josiah's arms. He grabbed the
arm of the passing JD, and dragged him with him. "Come one, kid. Looks
like we got an emergency."
All seven men crowded into the small elevator. Six pairs of eyes where
trained on one whose eyes where shut. He was one of them, and he was
sick. What hurt him, hurt them. None of them would leave his side till
that hurt was gone.
The hospital staff was used to the sight of six men paceing the
hallways, drinking coffee in the caffateria, or just generaly bugging
the hell out of any doctor or nurse they could get their hands on;
searching for any peice of information available about their friend.
Sometimes one or two of the faces would change, but the concern was the
These men did not seem to be complete without the missing member, and
they would all gather to be near that member when he was hurt. It was
as if they could combine their strength to make the other stronger.
Theirs was a relationship that went beyond friendship, family, or love.
It was like their souls where conected to each other, the they had all
experienced lifetime after lifetime within each others' company, and
each life kept leading them back together.
And now they waited to hear about the fate of one life.
Chris stood by the window, his eyes seeming to stare out across the
busy city street that stood outside, but in truth he saw nothing. His
minds eye could only picutre Ezra's pale face, wincing even in his
unconsious state from the pain that continued to hound him. He could
not understand why Ezra refused to believe that he was seriously ill.
How could he feel so rotten, and yet brush it off as if it where
nothing more then a minor inconvience? Ezra's stubborness could have
cost him his life.
And to die from something like a burst appendix just didn't make any
"I'm going to find out what's going on." Vin said, pushing himself up
from the couch that he had just sat down on only a minuet ago. He had
been up and down from the couch, and in and out of the room so many
times that Chris had lost count.
"They're not going to tell you anything that they didn't 10 minuets
ago. Sit down, your makeing me dizzy." Chris turned from the window and
pushed Vin back down onto the couch.
"But Chris, its been almost two hours. What could possibly be takeing
"Brother Vin." Josiah's voice brought all attention to him. Until them
he had been sitting quietly in a chair in the corner, his hands clasped
together in his lap, and his eyes closed as he silently prayed for
their aileing friend. "You'll do him no good by makeing yourself sick
with worry. He is in good hands, and he is a man of amazing spirt and
strength. I have every faith in him coming through this just fine."
Chris smiled. Josiah had a way of calming the waters with just a few
simple words. "So do I. Now why don't we all just calm down, and wait
for the doctor to come to us." He looked pointedly at Vin, who gave a
sigh combined of weariness and frustration, and leaned back into the
couch, his arms crossed over his chest. Chris sat down beside him, and
began the second part of the waiting process.
On one level, he had to agree with Vin. This was the worst part. This
long, excrusiating waiting. Waiting to hear if Ezra would be alright,
or if it had all been too late,.....they had been too late. No. He
wasn't going to go there. But, why WAS it so takeing so long?
He pushed such thoughts from his mind, knowing that if he allowed them
to take control of him, it would drive him madd. He turned his thoughts
to a current case, and tried to concentrate on that, but others things
kept getting in the way. Little things that noone should really notice,
but did anyway.
He could hear the flipping sound of pages turning as JD went through a
magazine that he was really not paying any attention to. The sound was
deafening in the heavey silence of the room. Buck sat next to him, his
head leaned back as he contemplated the ceiling tiles, and he finally
had enough of JD's flipping. He grabbed the magazine from the young
man's hands and tossed it across the room. JD, undetered, picked up
another magazine and took up the flipping again. Buck shook his head,
and turned his attention back to the ceiling again.
Vin continued his impaintent sighing, and added to that a nervous
little shake of his knee. Chris knew that he was worried, they all
where, but out of all of them Vin was the most nervous. His friendship
with Ezra was the biggest surprise out of the forming of the team. Ezra
had at first been reluctent to let any of them get close to him, but
Vin was never one to back down from a challenge, and Ezra was the
biggest challenge that he had ever encountered. But slowly, he mangaed
to break through that 'hard as nails' exterior that Ezra showed the
world, and the two had formed a close friendship. Chris knew that if
something happened to Ezra, Vin would likely go crazy from grief.
"Excuse me?" A voice cut in through all the jumbled thoughts, and made
the men snap to attention. "I'm looking for," She consulted the paper
on her clip board, "Mr. Chris Larabee?"
"That's me." Chris said, standing up.
"Your friend, Mr. Standish is out of surgery. The doctor is finishing
post-op. He should be here to talk to you in a minuet."
"Do you know how he is?" Chris asked, anxious to hear word of Ezra.
"The surgery went well. I'll let the doctor fill you in on the rest."
She smiled at the men, and left the room, once again leaving them alone
What seemed like hours, but was actualy only a few minuets, passed and
a tall man with a head full of white hair and a pair of kind blue eyes
entered the waiting room. "Hello gentlemen." He said, greeted each man
with a smile and nod,"I'm Dr. Longbrook. You must be Mr. Standish's
"How is he?" Vin spoke up first. "Can we see him?"
"One question at at time, Mr........?"
"Tanner. Vin Tanner."
"Mr. Tanner. Your friend is doing fine. The surgery went well, and he
should make a full recovery." A sigh of relife escaped the mouths of
all men in the room. "Right now he is in recovery, but you can see him
for a few minuets before we move him to a room. Only one at at time
please, we can't have all of you crowding him."
The six men nodded and thanked the doctor. "You go ahead, Vin. I know
your dieing to see him."
Vin smiled, and grasped Chris's shoulder for a second before getting
and going to find Ezra.
He knew where he was even before he opened his eyes. The smell alone
was enough to tell him. That horrid, tangy smell of disinfectant that
no other place on earth held. He hated it. If he wasn't sick already,
he was sure that smell would accomplish the task.
The feel of stiff linen was beneath him. One would think that to make a
person feel better, they would be given something more comfortable to
rest upon, but no. A hard mattress covered with itchy sheets.
Oh joy. He felt so much better. If it wasn't for the dull ache in his
stomach, he would be jumping up and down on top of the bed and
screaming out his happiness at his current situation.
He always did get a little cynical at these times.
He tried to let himself drift back into the soft world of sleep,
knowing that it would be about the only place that would not hurt. If
he should open his eyes, he would be sure to see six pairs of anxious
eyes staring down at him, asking him questions, talking to him in stern
tones for causing yet more fear to their hearts. Well, he was used to
that, but he didn't feel like putting up with it at the moment.
What he wanted was more time alone in his own brain to sort out some
things. A vague memory of seeing Josiah's face above him, hearing Vin's
voice saying his name, telling him to hang on. A tear had escaped
Josiah's eye, he could not fathom that. Never in the entire time that
he had known the man had he ever seen him cry. He had wanted to tell
Josiah not to cry, had wanted to answer Vin's voice as it continued to
call him, but he had felt so weak, and his breath would come only in
short pants. He took comfort for the mere presence of his friends.
It was a new, and strange word to him. Not even in his years as a child
could he remember having anyone that he truly called a friend. Maude
had never allowed him to get close to any other child, telling him that
he was either to good for them; or, in her more nasty moments, that no
one would really like him for himself, so to try to make someone his
friend was a useless exercise. He had gone through many years believing
just that, until 6 men with the hardest heads besides his own began to
slowly break down the walls that he had built around himself.
Oh, the walls where still there, but they where crumbling a little more
everyday. And soon, only old and broken ruins would remain.
Which was good, he thought. He liked to look at old ruins.
A soft smile formed on his lips at the last thought. The drugs he had
been given must still be effecting him.
He felt a strong hand grasp onto his and squeeze, as if to tell him
that he was not alone, and a voice reached through the haze in his
"Ezra? You awake?"
Chris? He wasn't who Ezra had been expecting to be waiting at his
bedside. Vin, yes; or JD or Josiah seemed to always be the ones to sit
by him during such times. Chris was around also, but he never
remembered him to be the one he first saw.
His eyes opened slowly, blinking away the brightness of the stark,
white room, and his gaze swam into focus on the hard lines of Chris
Chris smiled to finally see Ezra waking up. He had been moved to the
room a few hours ago, but had remaind alseep. They had all been worried
about the length of time that Ezra had been under, but the doctor
reassured them that it was not uncommon for a patient to sleep longer
then the anesthesia would last. Still, they had stayed by Ezra side the
whole time, sometimes in shifts and others all together. They had not
wanted Ezra to wake to find himself alone.
"How you feeling?" Chris asked, reaching out to brush a stray strand
hair off Ezra's forehead. His skin felt cool now, a huge difference
from the heat that had emminated from him only the day before.
"Like a useless apendage exploded inside of me." Ezra croaked out. His
dry tongue reached out to run over equally dry lips. Chris, in his
uncanny way, seemed to know what he wanted, and put a straw to his
lips. Ezra sipped, feeling the cool water enter his mouth, and slide
down his throat. It felt wonderful. "Thank you." he said, slidding down
onto the stiff pillows behind his head. "Where are the others?"
"Vin should be here soon, he went home to change. Nathan and Josiah
to go to the office, seems one of our cases broke all on its own and
they went to finish off some of the paper work. Buck and JD are
probably still alseep down in the lobby. Want me to get them?"
Ezra shook his head, closing his eyes again. "No. Not right now. I'm
too tired to put up Mr. Dunne's entusiasum at the moment. Maybe later."
A yawn that he could not hide spread over his mouth.
"Alright." Chris said, and Ezra heard him sigh. It usually ment that
wanted to say something, but didn't want to bother Ezra at the moment
when he felt as he did.
"If you've something to say, Chris, please do so. I don't know if you
will get another chance later."
"Ezra, why did you refuse to let us help you? You where sick, you could
Ezra opened his eyes again to look into the steel blue ones that
usually appeared so distant, yet now where filled with compassion and
concern. It made a great difference on Chris's face, takeing away so
many years from him. He was a lot younger then Ezra had initally
thought upon first meeting him. It was the pain and hardship that he
had gone through that made him appear so much older.
"I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment." Ezra tried to joke his
out of the converstation, but the look in Chris's eyes told him that it
would not work. Not this time. "I didn't think it was serious. I rarely
get sick, and when I do its hardly enough to get worried over."
Chris fought the urge to slap some sense upside Ezra's head. Not enough
to worry over? Who was he kiddding? From the day they met Ezra had been
giving Chris too much to worry over. The agent was a mavrick. Took too
many chances. It was enought to make his hair turn gray. "I want you to
promise me, that whenever you feel sick or hurt that you will tell me,
or Vin, or any of the others. I wouldn't want any of you to go through
something like this, and I know that you wouldn't want me to either.
We're a team. We stick together, look out for each other. When are you
going to except that?"
He ment for his words to sound stern, but he could not keep the relived
smile from entering his voice.
"Force of habit." Ezra's voice became soft and distant again as the
sleepy haze came down over his mind again.
Chris smiled as he watched Ezra fall asleep again. He shook his head,
and pulled the blanket up to the young angents chin. "A habit that I
will break you of. If its the last thing I do."
Chris leaned back in his chair again to wait for Ezra to wake. They
would have plenty of time to talk, all of them.
Ezra would have to listen; and, sooner or later, believe.