Rebels & Rogues Magnificent Seven Alternate Universe
What You Have To Do
Nathan checked Ezra's vitals. Glancing around the room, he met worried looks. "I didn't give him a full dose." He sighed. "Vin didn't want that, you all know that. Vin's doing what he has to do to make this right." He returned his gaze back to his patient. "Ezra shouldn't be out long."
Josiah nodded at him and then looked over at Buck, who was watching the kid with worried eyes.
Dunne's gaze darted around the room, terrified. He opened his mouth and started to babble, speaking in the strange, guttural Rogue language, his voice high, panicked. Trying to get out of his restraints, he glared at the men, growling at them, a rough, inhuman sound.
Chris walked back into the room in time to hear Josiah yell at the boy.
"English!" Josiah snapped out, his voice very much that of a drill sergeant.
JD yelped and stared up at him.
Buck glanced over at Chris, looking uncomfortable, clearly not knowing what to do.
Laying a hand on his shoulder, Josiah motioned Buck out of his chair. "They've brainwashed, him, Buck. We've got to try to get through to him. If we can't get through to him..." He pursed his lips as he shook his head, his eyes downcast.
Swallowing hard, Buck nodded and gave his seat up, watching as Josiah moved the chair up flush to the bed, the chair legs squeaking loudly, making the kid jump. Sanchez sat down so he was facing the head of the bed and then watched the kid.
JD squeaked, "They'll come for me. They'll find me." He glared around the room, a mix of bravado and fear. "And they'll kill all of you-"
"Enough!" Josiah bellowed. He stood, the chair flying out from underneath him, scraping across the floor and then crashing against the wall. He towered over the boy, his face red.
Freezing, JD whimpered in fright. He gulped, glancing from the huge man's enraged face, over to Buck, who stood a few feet away, the teenager's eyes were searching, asking for help.
Buck closed his eyes and his shoulders slumped as he turned away.
A tear rolled down JD's cheek.
"John," his voice now soft, caring, Josiah got the boy's attention. Wide hazel eyes stared up at him.
Josiah laid his hand across JD's forehead, his fingers on the bandage at his temple, immobilizing him.
Nathan stepped forward but Chris stopped him with an outstretched arm and a shake of his head.
The medic sighed, resigned, and stepped back.
JD squirmed, trying to pull his head out from under the grasp. He cried out in pain when the stitches beneath caught on the bandage.
"JOHN!" Josiah said, his voice hard, controlled. He put his other hand on the opposite side of the bed, above the kid's shoulder. He leaned down, putting pressure on the bed, intimidating.
JD whimpered. He'd been all bluster and threats before. A tear rolled across his cheek and into his hairline as he stared up at Josiah.
"John," Josiah said calmly but still forceful. "You need to listen to me and understand. You. Are. Not. A. Rogue."
JD shook his head in denial, crying out in pain when Josiah's fingers dug into his skin.
"No!" Josiah barked, making everyone in the room jump. "You are one of us." He cocked his head, indicating the others in the room. "You are one of us, John Dunne. You're human - not Rogue."
"Yes I a-"
The protests died on JD's lips when Josiah leaned down, increasing the pressure on his head. "The Rogue took you. Put a collar on you. Used you. Do you understand that? You are not one of them. They made you believe that you were. Brainwashed you... used drugs... mind control," he shook his head. "But you are not one of them. You are Human. You understand that?"
Staring up at him wide-eyed, tears leaked from the corners of JD's eyes. He sniffed and then swallowed hard.
Sighing, Josiah let off some of the pressure. "I need you to remember back. Can you do that? Remember back to the time before you wore the Collar. Before you were brainwashed by the Rogue. Do you remember the time back before they came?"
Josiah's voice was hypnotizing, and Chris realized that was just the affect it was having on JD.
Buck swallowed hard and Nathan watched his patient with hard eyes.
JD blinked as he stared past Josiah's face, his gaze fixing on a point on the ceiling. He licked dry lips. Shifting slightly, he cocked his head to the side, his mouth opening. Deep in thought, he blinked rapidly and then squeezed his eyes shut in pain.
"John?" Josiah asked, concerned.
JD sniffed, his body relaxing into the bed. He swallowed hard and then started to speak, "I lived with my mom." His voice was soft, young. "We lived in Boston." A wistful smile crossed his face. "It was always just the two of us, but that was okay. I loved my mom." He smiled sweetly, then his gaze shifted, the hand that wasn't in the cast clenched into a fist. "Mama got sick." He swallowed hard. "I tried to take care of her. I did," his voice pleaded. "But she was *so* sick," he sighed, "and I was *so* young."
Buck turned back to face the kid, walking closer.
"She'd get better and then she'd get sick again," JD continued. "I didn't know what to do." He took in a shuddering breath and then let it out. "Then the Rogue came." For the first time JD said the name 'Rogue' like they were the enemy. "We hid, found others... went underground. The people we were staying with, they wanted to fight the Rogue. Mom was so sick, and they thought I was too little. So I always stayed behind with the other kids. I took care of Mom, helped out when I could. We'd been with them for about a year, maybe a year and a half. I lost track of time down there."
Chris sighed, a mixture of anger and sadness on his face.
"Some days Mom would be better and I'd think that she was going to be okay." JD shook his head again. "Then she'd just get sick again, even sicker. I don't know what was wrong with her. They didn't have a doctor. And our group was getting smaller and smaller. There were so few of us left. They had a plan to disable a Rogue computer, hoping it would stall them for long enough to come up with a better plan. They needed someone who knew computers. I was real good with computers, and I told them so." A proud smile crossed his face before the sadness crept in again. "So they took me with them."
"How old were you?" Josiah asked.
"Then?" JD answered without breaking stride and he looked like he was doing the math in his head. "The Rogue came when I was almost thirteen. So probably fourteen?" He shrugged slightly, looking very young. "Maybe almost fifteen? Mom," he paused, paling, "well, I don't think she had much time left." He sighed. "Anyway, I wanted to help and they could use me. Mama stayed behind with the children that were left. A few men and women were there too, the one's who were hurt. But they couldn't spare any fighters to protect them. There were so few left, they all had to come with us. Just the week before, our hideout had been bombed and we lost..." his voice cracked and he took in a shuddering breath. "Well, people died. Men, women... kids." He sniffed, and then said, his voice high, raspy, "They were my friends."
The men shifted, uncomfortable.
Buck watched the kid, his eyes wet with tears.
"Anyway, I went with them. Left mama behind. There were only six of us, but we had to do something." He pleaded. "So, we went," he sighed, defeated, "and the Rogue caught us. They killed the others right then, but not me," he sniffed. "Why didn't they kill me?" his voice cracked as he stared off into space, shaking his head in confusion.
His lips pursed, Chris frowned and Buck shook his head, his face pale, concerned.
After a long moment, JD sniffed and continued haltingly, "They took me. Must have seen me working on the computers and they... took me with them." He swallowed hard, his voice hoarse. "They asked me where our base was." He shifted, cocking one shoulder up in a shrug. "I told them," the corner of his mouth turned up, "I told them to fuck off." He shuddered. "If mama heard me say that," he spoke under his breath and then gulped back a sob. "They didn't like that. They *hurt* me," he paused, his mouth open in an 'O', and he stopped breathing.
Nathan jumped forward, checking his pulse. Frantic, he slapped JD lightly on his face.
JD closed his eyes, shook his head under Josiah's hand and came back to himself.
Nathan released the breath he'd been holding as he slumped back in relief and glanced around the room.
Chris was pale, leaning against the wall like he'd fallen there. Buck had a stricken look on his face, leaning over JD on the opposite side from Josiah, comforting JD with soft words and a soothing hand on his shoulder.
Josiah stood, his eyes closed, his mouth moving in a silent prayer.
Nathan heard a noise and turned to find Ezra, his eyes open, staring up at the ceiling, tear tracks down the side of his face. Nathan went to him.
The soft voice stopped everyone in the room.
"They kept hurting me. I tried so hard not to tell them. I didn't want to," JD paused, his eyes closing in pain, "but they *did* things to me. Kept asking where our base was" A cry escaped him and he paled. He was silent for a moment and then said, his voice soft, dejected, "I told them."
The room was deathly silent.
JD shifted, kicking his legs out as he cried. "Some of them left and then they came back. They brought them. Oh, God," he sobbed.
"Enough," Nathan walked over to stand beside Josiah, grabbing up the kid's wrist, either to check his pulse or to comfort him - maybe both. "He's had enough," he said, his voice raw.
Buck looked over at him from across the bed. Chris came to stand beside Wilmington, shoulder to shoulder. Ezra was still staring up at the ceiling, his breathing hitched.
Both Josiah and JD shook their heads - Josiah, in answer to Nathan's words; and JD, to what he was seeing in his mind.
"They brought them in. There were so few left, they must have fought." He shook his head. "They had the kids. Josie and Matt, Justin and... " he paused, seeing them in his head. "They were looking at me, their eyes big, scared. There was only one man and two women left," he let out a shuddering breath, "and Mama." He sobbed. "I was still hanging against the wall, my wrists in the manacles that they'd used to..." he sniffed, swallowing hard.
"They marched them in front of me. I met their eyes, all of them. Mama was the only one who didn't look at me with accusation, look at me like I was a traitor." He paused for a long time.
The men shifted, looked at each other and then away, not trying to hide their tears, but not wanting to see them on their friends' faces.
"They made me watch," JD spoke, a choked whisper. "As they killed them. One by one." He gulped. "I screamed, I fought, I tried to get out..." He twisted his hands in the padded restraints, moving the fabric up, and for the first time the men noticed the scars on his right wrist.
JD continued, "They killed them all. Mama was so sick that she was kneeling on the ground, another woman holding her up. She looked at me, right before..." he swallowed twice, his voice almost gone, "right before they killed her. I wanted to shut my eyes, but I couldn't. I *had* to see it. It was all my fault. When I could have shut my eyes, I made myself watch." His face was determined, a terrible wretchedness on it. Staring at the ceiling, he shuddered, went still.
Nathan frowned, squeezing the boy's wrist.
It had been so quiet that when JD spoke again, he startled the men in the room.
"She looked up at me," JD sighed, "with such love... forgiveness." He shook his head. "I yelled at them to stop. I told her that I loved her. She mouthed 'I know'." He shook his head. "And then they murdered her." His face flushed. "They *murdered* her." The anger left him immediately and he sagged back into the bed, Josiah's hand on his head, a comfort now.
"I can still smell the blood. Can still see their faces." He sighed, like the life was leaving him. "By then, when they put the collar on me, it was a relief."
"Oh God, kid," Buck finally spoke, his hand on JD's shoulder. "Jesus, kid," he wept.
JD swallowed hard. His voice was soft. "In the beginning I tried to fight the collar, I did. But then..." he sighed, "I just forgot - everything. It was," he smiled, "a blessing."
Buck soothed him, speaking soft words.
"I killed them," JD sobbed, his voice hitching. "I *killed* them."
"No, no, JD. You didn't. There was nothing you could do," Buck told him.
"It was the Rogue that killed them, John Dunne," Josiah told him, his voice stern but caring. "Not you. Never you."
Buck tried to pick JD up off the bed. "Get these god damned restraints off him," Buck hissed, glaring up at Nathan while he tried to hold the sobbing, heartbroken kid.
Josiah and Nathan quickly released the ties.
Chris backed away until the back of his legs hit Ezra's bed and he sat down hard on the edge, his gaze on the far wall, seeing something else. Ezra glanced at him and then away.
Buck climbed onto the bed, behind JD. He gathered the boy in his arms and rocked him while he cried.
Josiah and Nathan stood, shocked, watching their friend trying to comfort the boy. They glanced over when they saw movement from Ezra. The southerner shifted his head into the pillow, wiping away the tears.
"Jesus Christ," Josiah said, looking skyward, the words an accusation.
After a while, the sobs quieted into hiccups and then blessedly into silence.
The men all looked over.
Buck's arms were wrapped protectively around JD, who was sagging in his grasp, asleep. Buck sighed. He moved out from behind the boy, laying him down on the bed. The boy immediately curled into a ball, a sigh escaping him.
Nathan came over, a wet clothe in his hand. He wiped JD's face. He made sure he was comfortable and then checked his head wound, making sure the stitches were still in place. He glared over at Josiah when he noticed the bit of blood on the bandage. Josiah stared back, his face hard. Nathan shook his head and turned away.
Buck stepped over to Chris, who was still looking shell-shocked. "You okay, pard?" he asked, leaning down, his face inches from his friend's.
Chris shook himself, reaching up to wipe a hand down his face. "Yeah," he croaked. Clearing his throat, he nodded, not trusting his voice. Buck gave him a long look and then nodded, squeezing his shoulder before he walked over to the far wall to pick up the chair.
Dragging the chair back to the bed, Buck pushed it up against the bed and then let his body fall into it with a thump. He pulled the blanket up off the floor where it had fallen, shook it out and then laid it over JD, pulling it up to his chin, tucking him in.
No one spoke for a long time.
In the silence, Nathan unwrapped the bandage on JD's head. He 'tisked' under his breath as he wiped the small amount of blood from the wound and the sutures. JD stirred, started to roll over. Both Buck and Nathan made soothing noises. When the kid was back asleep, Nathan went to work fixing him up and checking him over.
Finally, Josiah walked over to Buck, who was holding the kid's hand, patting it.
"Buck," Josiah said, his voice soft as he leaned over him, one hand cupped around the back of Wilmington's neck and the other on his shoulder. "He'll be okay, Buck. Now, he will be."
Buck shook his head, wiping his face and then putting his hand back on the kid's. "I sure wish that were true, Josiah, but I don't know how he could be." He squeezed the boy's hand again.
"As bad as it was," Josiah said, "he *had* to remember. He *had* to see the truth. That's the only thing that could erase the Rogue's hold on him."
Buck looked up at him. "You think he's back?" he asked, hopeful. "You think he'll be one of us now?"
"I hope so, Brother Buck. I surely do." Josiah smiled sadly.
"How can anyone survive that?" Nathan asked.
Chris glanced up at him and then away, his face blanching as he envisioned his dead wife and son.
Wincing, Ezra closed his eyes.
Josiah shook his head. "He will survive it, Buck. Because he's got us."
JD cried out in his sleep.
Buck comforted the boy back into a healing, restful sleep.
"Mr. Larabee," Ezra spoke, his voice petulant. "Would you mind removing your bony... posterior... from my," he grunted, "knee."
Chris shook his head and then smiled, pushing more weight down on Ezra before he stood, turning to glare at the southerner.
The men chuckled, relieved to have the mood in the room lightened.
Ezra snorted his displeasure before whining, "Would *someone* get these..." he moved his hands, "...things off me."
Chris shook his head, a movement from the hall catching his eye. Vin slipped by the door, heading for his room.
Buck made a noise and Chris looked over at him, the two locking eyes. Buck cocked his head towards the doorway, his eyes saying, 'go to him'.
Chris sighed, giving him a sad smile. "I'll be back," he told the room and then started for the door.
Buck nodded. "We'll be here."
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