After many protestations that he felt bad leaving "poor, hurt, 'lil britches alone" with "someone who may make him eat vegetable soup instead of pizza," and several trips back up to the condo from his truck for "forgotten" items, Buck Wilmington finally left Ezra Standish alone with JD.
"You don't need to come and chill with me, Ezra." JD offered, irritably shrugging out of his crutches and collapsing onto the couch. Searching for a comfortable position, and truly uncomfortable about how guilty Buck felt even going on a date with JD still recovering from injuries sustained during a recent bust, JD made a face and apologized again, "I'm not a little kid. I don't need someone to baby-sit me."
Ezra shook his head, and explained softly, "Keeping you company is no matter, John Daniel. Given the amount of pain-killer that you are on, and the poor reactions that you've had to those drugs, I think it more than advisable, in fact. Nor did we leave Josiah alone for substantial periods of time until he was several weeks off of painkillers for his last injury, so I do not wish to hear any more accusations of 'babying.' At least not unless you're prepared to admit to babying Agent Sanchez along with rest of us."
JD made a face, but accepted that logic, and the tray of warm vegetable soup with shredded cheese and buttered toast that Ezra had presented to him. There were reasons why they hadn't wanted to leave Josiah alone, reasons having to do with his past addiction to pain-killers (a legacy of injuries and then sub-par medical care that Josiah had once endured in the course of his military service), but JD wasn't supposed to know about that. It was in a sealed file, and supposedly only Chris and A.D. Travis should be aware of it. JD just had an allergy to not knowing anything, and a way with computers that made sealed records hardly even an inconvenience worth noticing. It got him into trouble, sometimes. Before JD's mother had died, before he'd been old enough to get a "real" job, it had also brought him employment opportunities. Work that had paid for his mother's medical care.
Ezra shuffled his cards while JD ate, a comfortable silence reigning while the two watched a "Lord of the Rings" marathon on cable. When JD had finished eating, Ezra neatly snatched the remote and paused the television.
"Hey!" JD objected, "The balrog is just about to appear!"
"Through the magic of the DVR, that moment can be prolonged almost indefinitely." Ezra said, his green eyes meeting JD's hazel orbs, "This one cannot."
JD squirmed inwardly, but his voice was level and his expression didn't give anything away as asked, "I don't know what you're talking about, Ezra."
"You do. I know that you have anticipated this conversation because your charmingly expressive face has gone blank." Ezra replied, a fond smile curving his lips before he sobered, "JD, it was a damnably stupid thing of you to do, to pretend to try to talk Mr. Henderson down while in reality getting close enough to disarm him. Henderson is a savage killer, and it was only luck that you didn't bleed out from the wound he managed to inflict on your leg before Vin could shoot him."
His handsome young face turning stubborn, JD protested, "But he had his secretary hostage, a gun to her head!"
Ezra leaned forward, pinning JD with a stern look, "She knew that he was a crooked man, JD. She helped to put herself in that situation by continuing to work for him instead of going to the authorities or quitting. And you put yourself in a situation where we could have lost you."
JD had already heard variations of this talk from Chris and Buck, but surely Ezra knew, because he'd told JD before, that he knew JD had experience, training, with that type of desperate situation. Training that the rest of the team didn't know about, from work JD had done for a program that would probably never be declassified, when JD had been much younger. So JD protested, "But, Ezra, you know..." JD trailed off. Not talking about those days was an ingrained habit.
Ezra didn't make him finish, and the admonishing look in his green eyes did soften a little, "John Daniel, I know. I do. But the fact remains that the CIA didn't give a damn about whether you would be killed in that type of situation, and the thoroughness of their training reflected that. Chris does care, and I do, and Buck," Ezra quirked an eyebrow, and JD winced. Yeah, Buck more than cared.
"In short, JD, if anything like this ever happens again," Ezra continued softly, "you and I will be having an in-depth conversation with Chris, Buck, and Orrin Travis. About exactly what training you might have gotten in the past, and what more you might need in the future, before attempting such a desperate tactic again. If such tactics are ever, in fact, called for."
JD's eyes narrowed, and he leaned back against the soft back of the couch with a disbelieving huff, "Big words, Ez. But we both know that you won't do that."
Ezra grinned, but it wasn't a happy smile. It was his smile when he had a royal flush on the river, and he was playing against a wife-beating drug king-pin.
JD squirmed, and then squeaked, "You don't care. You don't care what trouble you'd get in if anyone ever found out that you'd talked about classified matters, and you don't care that it would come out that you hopped back and forth over the thin blue line long before Detective Martinez ever coaxed you into stopping those money launderers from taking advantage of your favorite casino."
Ezra shrugged elegantly, "I chose not to continue to work for...that little branch of the CIA, for much the same reasons that you did, I imagine, JD. I trust Chris and Travis to protect us as much as I trust anyone, but I would rather not bring....the things we left behind us...to their attention. Why bother them, after all?" Ezra's face hardened, "But if I need to do it to stop you from thinking that you're still working for a man who expects that level of self-sacrifice...then I will."
JD's eyes were wide, and it took him a minute to be able to shut his mouth, and swallow. And even then, all that came out was an awed, "Wow, Ez." JD knew that Ezra prized his privacy, his secrecy, very highly. That he'd sacrifice it for JD, make himself vulnerable like that, just to keep JD from making choices that Ezra deemed unsafe...well, that meant a lot.
Ezra gave a gentlemanly snort, then replied with a more natural but still slightly smug smile, "Ah, good. Then we are on the same page. We may then return to watching the balrog engage Gandalf." Ezra hit play, and Gandalf fell to his death, fighting the balrog to save the felllowship.
JD chugged his cola, then offered with a teasing smile, "Ez, you're like my personal fire-bearer," referencing Gandalf, for the ring of fire that he bore. JD was maybe a little bit loopy, from the pain medication. And maybe also a little bit touched. And since Chris, Buck, Josiah, and Nathan weren't here to impress, Ezra didn't have to pretend like he wasn't almost as big of a sci-fi and fantasy nerd as JD.
Ezra groaned, and scolded lightly, "JD, if you compare me to a Maia with no fashion sense whatsoever, who wasn't even perceptive enough to realize that his own fellow Ithron had gone over to Sauron's side, ever again, then there'll be no ice cream for you."
JD perked up, "There's ice cream?"
Ezra smiled ruefully, "You, and Vin. Bottomless pits." But he got JD vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkles, just like JD liked. He also put cherries on top, which JD thought was probably a sneaky way of trying to get him to eat fruit, but they were good and sweet, so he ate them.
JD fell asleep on the couch during the Battle of Helm's Deep. He woke up a little when Buck and his date got home, but not even enough to laugh aloud at Ezra's consternation over having fallen asleep on the couch with JD's head resting on his shoulder, and having Buck tease him about it. Not even enough for JD to roll his eyes tolerantly when Cyndi (or Candi, or Clarisse, or Cristal, or whoever Buck's new stewardess girlfriend was this week) cooed about how adorable 'big brother' Buck was, shooing Ezra to their guest room first, and then picking up JD and carrying his young roommate to bed in JD's room.
He did wake up enough to tell Buck, as the older man was putting a basin and a bottle of water by JD's bed, in case the pain medicine made him sick int he middle of the night again, "Ezra did make me eat the vegetable soup. But there was ice cream."
Buck ruffled JD's hair gently, "Well, if there was ice cream..." he replied, his affection for JD evident in his smile, his whole demeanor. Then Buck left, with a quiet, "sweet dreams, kid. Call me if you need me."
JD promised he would, and Buck still couldn't tell sometimes when JD was lying, because he accepted it. Buck just nodded towards JD's cell phone beside the bed with a serious look, and closed the door. JD heard his footsteps and Candi's (Cristal's? Cheryl's? Something with a C...) on the stairs, and was glad that Buck was living his life still even though JD was hurt.
JD just hoped that he'd managed to disable the last of the baby-monitors Buck had put in his room as half-a-joke, half a protest against JD having slipped and hit his head trying to get to the bathroom quietly by himself to puke two nights ago, instead of calling Buck.