Title: Devil's Hand
Author: Cindy Ryan
Story status: Complete
Universe: ATF—created years ago on the Magnificent Seven fanfiction list. The boys live in modern day Denver as members of an elite ATF team.
Category: Angst
Summary: An old enemy of Buck's and Chris's resurfaces intent on shattering the team. But nobody takes down the Seven. Not without a fight.

Notes: I wrote this story about five years back and have had it posted at other sites. Decided to post it here so I'd have all my stories in one spot.

Epilogue

Chris Larabee wearily pulled a chair next to his old friend's hospital bed. They had brought Ezra and Buck in around eight o'clock. Ezra being Ezra had regained consciousness first.

Chris glanced at the clock on the wall of the intensive care unit. It was nearly two in the morning and Buck had yet to wake. The doctors had assured Chris that this was normal reaction to the amount of smoke Buck inhaled, but they were keeping him in ICU just in case.

Leaning back in the small chair Chris rubbed a weary hand over his face as he thought of the events of that evening. Vin's shot had only winged Zellar's left arm. Tanner had personally escorted Zellar to his cell wanting to make sure this time that they threw away the key.

Mary had come out of surgery with flying colors and was expected to make a full recovery. Chris had pulled a few strings allowing Billy to spend the night with his mother knowing that was what they both needed most.

Buck stirred jerking the weary leader's attention back to his old friend.

Chris leaned forward just as Wilmington's eyes opened, "Old friend, you just used up one of your nine lives."

Buck grinned wearily, "More than a one I think," he replied hoarsely, "What the hell happened anyway? I feel like I was run over by a train."

Chris laughed softly, "Not quite. Zellar set the warehouse you were in on fire. Ezra pulled you out."

Buck nodded, "Zellar dead?"

Chris shook his head, "Vin winged him, he's in jail, for good this time."

A dark shadow of pain flashed through Buck's eyes as he turned his head away from Larabee, "Jail's too good for the bastard."

Chris's head snapped up surprise in his blue eyes, "Ezra didn't tell you?"

Buck looked at his old friend, "There wasn't a lot of time for chit chat. I was in and out."

"Buck, "Chris said softly, "JD's alive."

Wilmington jerked straight up ignoring the pain that flashed through his rib cage, "You tellin' me the bastard was right?!"

Chris cocked his head to the right, "Zellar told you the kid was alive?"

Buck nodded, "I figured he was only doin' that to save his neck but he led me to the warehouse claiming that's where JD was."

"And he was partially right," Larabee replied quietly, "JD was there but he managed to escape and made his way back to your apartment, that's where I found him. He was badly dehydrated and malnourished."

Buck met Chris's gaze, "Level with me, Chris, is he really gonna be okay?"

Chris grinned, "You know the kid, take more than this to keep him down."

Wilmington nodded as he swung his legs over the side of the bed, "He here?"

Chris nodded, "I had him at the ranch but as soon as everything was over I had Nathan check him in here. He's sleeping in a room few doors down."

Buck slowly sat down into a chair next to JD's bed. He just sat there for a long moment watching the kid sleep.

The dark haired agent raised his eyes skyward and sent off several prayers thanking whoever it was that had brought the kid back to him.

His life had been dark and barren without JD.

The youth stirred and rolled onto his back, his eyes blinked sleepily several times before they finally focused on Buck.

"Buck?" JD asked hoarsely as he struggled into a sitting position.

Buck blinked away the moisture that had suddenly formed in his eyes, "Yeah, kid, its me. Didn't mean to wake you, go back to sleep."

JD grinned tiredly, "You look like hell, Buck."

Wilmington returned his smile, "I look better than you."

JD's eyes drifted closed and just before the youth drifted off to sleep Buck heard him say quietly, "You're still full of crap, Buck."

end