Slippery When Wet
by Judy Freudenthal
ATF Universe
2000

Vin arrived home from another day at work. Team Seven had been put on "on call" status for Christmas. He'd heard everyone's plans and couldn't tell them that he'd be all alone for the holiday. He didn't want them feeling sorry for him.

He thought about going away, but knew he couldn't because he was on call. He knew he could just hang out and watch football, and relax.

He was tired from the bust they'd done. The suspects had done just about everything possible to avoid arrest. Vin had to chase, then tackle his suspect to take him down. And once down the man was determined to escape. The suspect had at least seventy pounds and about five inches on the sharpshooter. After a brief wrestling match in a mud puddle, Vin handcuffed the suspect and dragged him to his feet. He was covered in mud. He'd had to toss a towel over his car seat to get home.

All he wanted now was a shower, a hot meal and a good night's sleep. Maybe a good western while he ate. He'd check his messages after he'd showered.

Vin stripped off his clothes, leaving them in a pile in the corner of his bathroom where they wouldn't shed dirt all over everything and everywhere. He turned the shower on and grabbed his towel.

He stepped in, enjoying the warmth of the water as it flowed over his body like a gentle caress. He proceeded to lather his long brown hair, trying to get out all the mud that had caked in it.

He didn't hear the phone ring.

Chris left a message before he hung up. He tried Vin's cell phone and had no better luck. He was a little annoyed as his friend knew they were on call.

"You didn't reach him?" Ezra asked. "I know he was going home to shower and change."

"Maybe he's in the shower," JD said. "The phone always rings when you're in the bathroom."

"The kid has a point," Buck said.

Chris checked on the steaks as JD finished poking the potatoes so they wouldn't explode when microwaved.

Chris wasn't sure how he'd wound up both cooking and hosting the Christmas dinner. The team had said that he was the boss and therefore he should host it. And since he was the best cook on the team, that job fell to him. Chris had agreed with the stipulation that everyone pitch in as required. They agreed.

Ezra was in charge of setting the table, or more accurately, he'd taken that chore, figuring he was the one best suited to setting an elegant and proper table.

Buck was in charge of the green beans while Nathan fixed pecan pie for desert. Josiah had fixed a batch of Christmas cookies the night before. He even made some chocolate ones for the chocoholics among them.

In the background blared the football game. The guys cheered for their favorite teams. Since the Broncos weren't playing they each picked one of the two contenders.

Meanwhile back at Vin's apartment, he was just about finished when he slipped on a soapy spot in the shower and felt his feet go out from under him. Before he could react he landed hard on his butt, one hand stretched out behind him taking the brunt of the impact. For a split second he was grateful that he hadn't fallen forward and hurt himself seriously.

He carefully got to his feet and finished rinsing off. He cautiously stepped out of the shower and dried off. He noticed a little pain in his right thumb, wrist and arm as he moved it certain ways but didn't really pay it much attention, figuring it was from the fall.

He dressed, being a little careful how he used his right arm. He found he couldn't tie his sneakers, so he left the laces loose, knowing it wasn't the first time he'd done that. He just hoped he didn't trip over them as he didn't need any new injuries.

He headed for the fridge to see what he could find to eat. He tried to pick up a cup with his right arm and nearly hit the ceiling as he felt the pain shoot through his thumb, wrist and arm. He'd been injured enough times to know what this meant.

"Just great," he grumped not at all happy to be spending the next few hours in the local emergency room. He was hungry and did not want to have to wait that long to eat.

He called a cab, grabbed his coat, wallet, keys, and headed out.

Back at Chris' cabin, they were a little surprised they had not heard from Vin. They knew he should be out of the shower by now.

Still no answer. Same for the cell phone.

Vin heard his cell phone ring, but was in no mood to dig it out or answer it. He'd apologize to Chris later.

Vin arrived at the ER during a relatively busy time so he had to report his problem to the desk nurse then fill out a clipboard full of forms, which was even harder to do since he was right-handed and had to do it with his left hand. It was taking forever just to fill in his name and insurance company. A passing nurse took pity on him and wrote down his verbal answers to the questions.

"Thank you. It would've taken me all night to do it left-handed."

"I completely understand," she said as she went on about her duties.

Vin handed in the clipboard and was told to take a seat in the waiting area until he was called.

His injured arm started hurting more and more as time went by. It began to swell and discolor. His stomach was growling. He was nauseous from the pain. He glanced up at the clock only to learn he'd been sitting there for half an hour already. He dug his left hand into his pocket and came up with a few coins.

He headed for the snack machine, where he put his coins into it and pressed the button for his choice. The machine refused to give it to him. He smacked the machine with his left hand then when that didn't do anything he kicked it a couple times. When he was still snackless he gave up and headed back for the waiting area.

He watched the people around him, for lack of anything else to do. The pain grew with each passing moment. He checked out his right hand and wrist noticing that it was really starting to swell and discolor.

About forty-five minutes later he heard his name called and followed the nurse to a treatment bed. She had him sit on the bed. She gave him an icepack to put on the sore area. It hurt but the cold felt good.

Several minutes later a resident entered.

"Good evening. What seems to be the problem?"

"I fell and hurt my thumb and wrist," Vin wondered why he had to fill out all that paperwork if they didn't bother to look at it.

"I need to know exactly how you fell," the resident asked.

Vin explained how he fell and answered a bunch of other questions for the resident, including ones to rule out a concussion.

The resident pushed up Vin's sleeve and noticed the bruised swollen area.

"I'd say you definitely hurt it," the resident said as he started to examine the area, starting around Vin's thumb.

Vin nearly jumped off the table as the resident started probing his wrist. Each time the sore area was touched he had to bite his lower lip to keep him from swearing, which was something he rarely did. When the resident moved on to Vin's thumb, he realized he didn't feel nearly as much pain there, and was grateful.

The resident left, and Vin put the icepack back on his sore wrist and thumb area.

About ten minutes later, Vin was escorted to the x-ray room. The nurse joked about him actually walking there on his own. He gave a faint smile. His warm icepack was dumped into a trash can along the way.

The nurse tried to be as gentle as possible as she positioned his arm for each x-ray. She could tell how much it was hurting just by looking at him.

When finished she escorted him back to the treatment bed.

By the time the resident returned, Vin thought he would've died of boredom if his arm didn't hurt so much.

"You have a broken wrist and possibly a scaphoid fracture. I'll send you up to orthopedics where they'll further examine the x-rays and cast you."

A few minutes later Vin was escorted up to the orthopedic department. He was escorted into an examination room that doubled as a casting room. At least this one had a couple of anatomical posters on the walls.

Buy the time someone came in to see him he'd nearly memorized the posters.

The doctor examined the x-rays and then examined Vin's wrist and thumb. Once again Vin nearly jumped off the table as his wrist was probed, having a lesser reaction to having his thumb examined.

"You definitely have a fractured wrist, but it's too soon to tell about the scaphoid. We won't be sure for about two weeks because fractures often don't show up on the x-ray before then."

Vin didn't like the sound of that. He knew that if his thumb was out of commission then his hand would be totally useless. He knew his wrist would be immobilized as it was broken. He didn't even want to contemplate how high up his arm the cast would go, fearing the worst.

Again he spent some time alone before a casting technician came in and gathered up most of the supplies.

"What color would you like?"

"Blue," Vin said. He almost picked black or green but decided he didn't really want them.

"You have to keep your arm from thumb on up to your shoulder in this position until I'm finished or we'll have to start over again."

Vin nodded.

She slipped the stockinette on his arm, having already cut a slit in the cotton tube for his thumb to poke through.

Vin was not at all happy when the stockinette went all the way up his arm. He knew the part that extended out past his fingers was normal.

Next the nurse rolled on several rolls of padding, taking care to make sure the two ends of the cast, his wrist and his elbow were well padded.

Vin knew that there was no natural padding around the wrist bones. He'd learned that early on when he'd broken the other wrist.

He was surprised that the padding went around his thumb, encasing it in the same softness as the rest of his arm.

When that was done she opened a foil package containing a single roll of fiberglass casting tape. She dipped it in water, squeezing out the extra. Once that was done she started at the wrist, wrapping a securing layer then worked it across the palm and over the back of the hand, wrapping back around the wrist, leaving enough padding sticking out to keep the sharp edges of the fiber from irritating the skin. The next time around she wrapped the fiber around the thumb, leaving the upper part of the fingernail exposed, then worked her way around his hand again. After one more time around wrist and thumb she folded the extra stockinette down to give that end of the cast a finished look, and the padding would prevent the rough edges of the fiberglass tape from rubbing against his knuckles or irritating his palm as the cast stopped where the natural crease in the palm was. She ran the tape around his hand and wrist again to both cover and anchor the stockinette in place, and then another wrap around the wrist and then around the thumb and hand again for added security in anchoring the stockinette in place. She then worked her way up his arm. When the roll ran out, she opened another roll, this one a bit wider and continued up his arm, leaving about a quarter inch of padding sticking out. When the second roll ran out she reinforced the elbow with a third roll. She folded the excess stockinette down at the upper arm end to give it the same finished look and the padding to prevent the fiberglass tape from irritating the skin as the cast rubbed against his arm when he moved it. Using the fourth and final roll of the slightly wider fiberglass she started at the upper arm, anchoring the extra stockinette in place and covering it at the same time, she did two wraps around the upper end of the cast, then worked her way down to the wrist and back up as far as the casting tape would go. She held the end down a moment with one hand so that it would lie flat once dry. She used the other hand to smooth the surface of the cast by rubbing it, which bonded the layers together. She used both hands to shape the fiberglass so that it would be fitted to his hand, snug, yet comfortable.

Vin watched her, NOT at all happy when he saw her encase his thumb in the fiberglass, nor was he happy when he realized how high up his arm the cast went. It left only his fingers and shoulder movable. He knew his arm was completely useless now, as there wasn't much he could do with only his fingers free. He hoped he was not going to spend the entire six to eight weeks like this, knowing he'd go out of his mind if he had to.

He felt the fiber heating up as it set. About half an hour later it was as hard as it would ever get.

The technician stunned Vin by sawing off the cast.

"Something wrong?"

"No. I'm bivalving it so that it will immobilize yet not be too constrictive as the area swells." She grabbed an ace bandage and started to wrap it around the cast, making sure the cast didn't misalign itself. "You're not to undo this." He went on to tell Vin about what to watch for, about elevating his arm, even when sleeping. "I'll see you back here in a week for a check up. And a week after that for a re-xraying of the scaphoid."

She helped Vin's arm into a navy and white sling, keeping the hand a little elevated.

The nurse came in and escorted Vin back to x-ray for a post cast set to make sure the bones had not moved during the casting.

Once the x-rays had been taken, nurse helped Vin's arm back into the sling, keeping the hand slightly elevated.

Then, he was released.

"Can I borrow your phone? The snack machine ate the last of my money," Vin asked at the nurses desk.

"Local call?"

"Yes. I'll keep it short."

"Okay. Dial nine first."

Vin dialed in a number, remembering to dial nine first.

"Larabee."

"Chris, it's Vin. I need your help."

"Where the hell have you been. You know you're supposed to keep your cell phone on and with you when on call. We've been trying to reach you for the last few hours."

"I'm at the hospital."

"Are you okay?" Chris asked concerned.

"For the most part. I need a ride home."

"One of us will be right there. You hungry?"

"Starving. I'll meet you downstairs."

Vin hung up and was approached by a nurse with a clipboard of forms. He had to sign them left handed and internally grinned a little at how pathetic his signature was. She handed him a prescription for a painkiller.

Vin was escorted back to the waiting area. He knew it would be about an hour before any of his friends arrived because Chris' ranch was on the outskirts of town. He also knew there was an all night drugstore about two blocks down and wondered why he hadn't thought to go there earlier and grab a bite, then he remembered the pain.

Vin headed for the drug store and had his prescription filled. He bought himself a large candy bar to hold him until he got back to the ranch. He stuck the small paper bag with the pill bottle into his sling and left the store. As soon as he got outside he worked to open the candy bar with his teeth. With a little effort he succeeded. He hungrily wolfed down the bar as he headed back to the hospital.

He waited in the hospital for his ride. About half an hour later Chris entered and searched the sea of people for his friend, not knowing what sort of injury he had. He didn't see anyone and approached the nurse's station.

"I'm looking for a friend of mine." Chris said as something at the side edge of his visual field caught his attention. "Never mind, I found him."

Chris headed for the water fountain where he saw Vin's back. He'd recognize that scraggly hair, and jacket anywhere. From the sling he knew Vin had hurt his arm somehow. He waited for Vin to turn around.

Vin turned around and was a little startled to find Chris standing behind him. Chris saw the fiberglass cast poking out from under the ace bandage and knew he'd most likely broken his thumb, wrist and or arm.

"Hi. Sorry I didn't call."

"What happened? You should've called,"

"All I wanted to do was get here and get fixed up."

"What happened?"

"I'll tell you on the way, okay?"

"Okay."

They headed out to the truck. Vin had a little trouble with the door, both opening and closing it. As well as reaching across himself to grab the seatbelt.

Chris climbed in, buckled up and started the engine.

As soon as they were on their way Vin held true to his promise. He told Chris what happened and was glad that Chris didn't laugh at how he was hurt.

About an hour later they arrived back at the ranch. Chris opened the door and let Vin go in first.

Everyone was relieved to see he was pretty much okay, that he'd only broken a bone or two. Again he had to tell the story of how he was hurt. His friends knew better than to laugh at him.

"I guess you'll need help with your steak," Buck said, glad he wasn't near Vin as he said so. He knew the tracker didn't like to need help from anyone.

"Yeah, reckon I will."

Chris threw on a steak for him. The others set a place for him, nuked him a potato, reheated the green beans, fixed him a drink.

When the steak was ready Chris cut it up for him.

The others sat around the table as Vin ate, so he wouldn't be lonely.

Vin wolfed down his food.

"Slow down, pard. Less chance of you choking that way. It's not going anywhere," Buck said.

Vin grinned then returned to his eating. He did slow down a bit as he wasn't quite as hungry as he had been, thanks to having finished half the food already.

After he ate, everyone headed for the den to open gifts.

"I'm sorry. I left mine at home," Vin said feeling bad.

"No problem. Just give them to us the next time we see each other," JD said.

Vin hated having trouble opening the festively wrapped present JD handed him. JD saw this.

"Need a hand Vin?" JD asked.

"Naw, I think I can get it," Vin said as he gripped the gift with his legs and proceeded to rip off the paper.

The seven grown men looked like a bunch of young boys again as they happily shredded the wrapping paper to see what was inside. Everyone seemed to really enjoy their gifts, both that they'd received and those that they'd given.

They happily played with their new toys until sleep began to overtake them. They all sacked out in their usual spots. Vin was the only one that had trouble. He'd slipped off the sling before laying down, but couldn't find a comfortable position. The cast was awkward but not too heavy. He couldn't turn over one way as he'd be laying on it if he did, the other way was okay, but it was a little heavy on the rib cage. He tried putting it over his head and resting it on the pillow, but that didn't work for long.

Chris approached and dropped a pillow on the tracker.

"Thanks."

Vin rolled over onto his side and positioned the pillow between his ribcage and the cast. Within moments he was asleep.

Everyone slept soundly well into the day. It wasn't often they had the luxury of waking up naturally. They enjoyed each time they were allowed to do so.

The guys decided to forgo breakfast in favor of a big lunch. Everyone pitched in, including Vin. They'd tried to exclude him but he insisted on helping so they let him.

After lunch the phone rang.

"Larabee," Chris said into the receiver.

He would occasionally say things like "uh huh, yes, no" into the phone.

From the various expressions that crossed their leader's face, the rest of the team knew they'd be going in to work shortly.

When Chris hung up, he looked at his team. He sensed that they knew something was up.

"We have both a terrorist threat and a hostage situation. They need every man they can get their hands on."

"How can I help?" Vin asked.

"You can't," Chris said.

"Chris, there has to be something I can do. Even if it is just manning the sound equipment."

"We'll see," Chris said. He knew Vin hated to be left out, as it was a trait they all shared.

The team piled into their vehicles, Vin riding with Chris.

About an hour and a half later they arrived at the terrorist site. The team piled out, fastened their bulletproof vests and slipped into their ATF jackets and baseball caps. Chris headed out to find the officer in charge while Ezra helped Vin into his vest, then jacket. He was patient as Vin removed the sling at the start, and worked his cast into the sleeve of the jacket. Vin stuffed the sling into his pocket, ignoring the throbbing in his wrist from the cast hanging free. He pulled the sleeve as far down as he could to hide most of the cast. He slipped on the cap and headed out with the rest of them to be briefed.

Chris briefed his team, and assigned everyone positions. He wished Vin could fulfill his position as sharp shooter, as they needed the very best.

Vin was assigned to the van with orders to stay put. If he disobeyed he'd find himself on medical leave before he could blink. Vin knew he'd go nuts on leave for almost two months.

The rest of the team took up positions around the area, keeping sharp eyes out for any unexpected trouble.

The tension mounted as the hours passed. The agents were at a standoff with the terrorists, who also had hostages. Chris decided to make a few small concessions in the hopes of getting the hostages released and ending things positively, at least for their side.

The terrorist reluctantly released the hostages, knowing that they had served their purpose.

The terrorist thought he had the upper hand, got cocky and was shot by Ezra. Thus ending the standoff.

+ + + + + + +

Later at the office, Chris stopped by Vin's desk as he struggled to write his report left-handed. It looked like a kid's writing, and was slow going.

"Vin, I have some bad news from upstairs," Chris said.

"What is it?" Vin asked, even though he was pretty sure what Chris was about to say.

"They've put you on medical leave, to be reexamined in two weeks. I'm sorry Vin."

"Great. Now what am I going to do?"

"Watch sports, read, sleep, whatever you want, as long as we don't see you around here."

"Lucky," Buck said.

When JD left to grab dinner for the rest of the team, he dropped Vin off at home. Vin didn't mind missing filling out the endless piles of paperwork that was a part of their job as it was the part he hated most.

Vin entered his apartment, fast food bag perched on the cast, and tucked inside the sling.

Once again he had trouble eating, but not as much as last night.

After eating he slipped off the sling, changed into something more comfortable, not believing how much trouble it was. He was careful not to overuse his extremely sore wrist, not wanting to misalign the cast and cause even more problems, not to mention another few hours in the ER. He found that hardest thing was getting his old pants off and the new ones on. He never realized how much the entire arm was used in the effort. Having only his fingers to work with, pressing against the palm or palm and thumb of his cast didn't make things any easier.

He grabbed a pillow and propped his cast on it, not bothering to slip back into the sling as it was really annoying his neck. He turned on the tv and surfed, finding an old western to watch. He stretched out on the couch, getting as comfortable as he could. Before long he was asleep.

The next day Vin learned how hard it was to do just about everything one-handed. It wasn't the first time he'd been in a cast, but it was the first time his thumb had been casted. He couldn't believe what a difference it made. Even simple things like brushing his teeth and hair were much trickier to accomplish.

He quickly figured out that it was too hard to try and hold the book, and a magazine wasn't much easier. By the time night fell he was tired of tv and movies.

The next afternoon Vin wanted to shower and was afraid he'd mess up the cast if he did so. It was the ace bandage holding it together that made him insecure.

He decided to wait another day before trying to shower.

He knew he had to cover his cast with something, as water was bad for the elastic bandage and the cast padding. He wasn't in the mood to try the bag over the cast thing because they often had holes in them, and not having a large enough bag didn't help matters any. When he couldn't find the cover from the last time he'd had an arm cast, he reluctantly headed out to the drug store.

Once there he picked up a cast cover, paid for it and headed home.

Once back home he headed for the bathroom the box in hand. He pulled out the cast cover and saw it was a giant rubbery plastic bag with an open end up by his armpit. He wasn't sure how he was going to get his cast through the hole that didn't seem half wide enough.

He slipped out of the sling, then stripped off his clothes, with quite a bit of effort. Even taking off his shirt required more effort than he was used to. He remembered the very first time he'd been in a cast and had become stuck in his shirt, only freeing himself with some effort and thought.

He faced one of his most difficult tasks, getting the cast through the much too narrow opening without misaligning it or messing up the elastic bandage. He worked on it and slowly managed to get his entire arm into it. It squeezed his arm tightly above the top of the cast.

He stepped into the shower, vowing to be more careful this time as he didn't want a matching pair, or a broken leg, or worse.

He quickly realized that it would take some imagination to figure out how to wash his hair and body with only one hand. It had been a while since he'd last been in an arm cast and had forgotten how he'd done things. And the new twist made things more complicated.

He managed to get himself pretty clean and then stepped out and dried himself. He had to work to get the cast cover off with disturbing the cast, pleased to see that no water had seeped inside.

He dressed himself in the easiest things he could find, t-shirt and sweatpants. He had to go barefoot as he couldn't get his socks on.

He prayed that his thumb was freed in two weeks as he could not stay sane if he had to endure this for the entire six to eight weeks

That night his friends dropped by with dinner. They thought he might need some company.

After they ate, Vin handed out his gifts, grinning as his friends ripped off the wrapping paper like a bunch of children. He was pleased when everyone was thrilled with his choices.

Once again everyone played with their new toys, having a great night.

They left a couple hours later as they had to get ready to deal with the new millennium nonsense. This being the true millennium had once again brought out all the kooks, nuts, and end of world idiots.

Vin spent New Year's Day watching the fourteen straight hours of X-Files one station was showing. He liked Agent Scully, and not just for the obvious reasons. He liked how the character was written pretty close to how a real agent would act.

He grabbed some snacks when he was hungry, annoyed how most of the places he would order from weren't open.

He felt a little bad enjoying himself, knowing his friends had to work. A part of him was glad he didn't have to deal with the millennium obsessed idiots, nuts and kooks.

The next afternoon Vin again took a taxi to the hospital. He checked in at the orthopedic desk and waited to be called.

About twenty minutes later he was called and followed the nurse back to the x-ray room. After the pictures were taken Vin was led to an examination room.

He studied the walls, floor, ceiling, the stitching on the sling, and the weave of the ace bandage, along with the pattern of the fiberglass, trying to keep from being bored. He wound up pacing back and forth, wishing the doctor would enter.

About half an hour later, the doctor entered, examined the x-rays and left.

The nurse entered a few minutes later and unwrapped the bivalved cast.

"I need you to not move your thumb, wrist or arm."

Vin nodded.

She gathered the materials for the new cast.

"What color would you like?"

"How long will I be in this one?"

"About a week."

Vin looked at the color choices and decided he wanted to try something different this time, as it was only for a week.

"Red," he said.

The nurse proceeded to apply the cast exactly as it had been done the last time, without the bivalving.

Once his cast was done, he wasn't sure what he thought of the red. It was a bit brighter than he thought it would be. It did go nicely with the sling, that his arm was helped back into.

He hated the sling as all it did was irritate his neck. But he knew it did keep his hand from swelling as much, which aided healing.

As the next two weeks passed by Vin was growing more and more bored. He found he could not do most of the things he wanted to and each time he hoped his thumb was going to be freed when he next saw the orthopedist. He worked on finding easier ways to do his daily chores, and usually succeeded.

Vin found himself taking long walks, sitting in the park, watching any sports game he found, just to alleviate the boredom as well as the cabin fever he was starting to develop.

He was relieved when it was time for his next appointment. He took a taxi to the hospital.

He headed up to the orthopedics department, announced he was there, and took a seat.

A few minutes later he was called into the back and shown to an examination room. From there a nurse took him straight to x-ray. The fiberglass showed up as translucent so they could shoot right through the cast.

The doctor came in a few minutes after Vin was back in the plain exam room, ready to climb the walls out of boredom, having studied everying in site, not to mention pacing back and forth a bit.

The doctor examined the x-rays.

"I have some good news for you. I don't see any evidence of a scaphoid fracture. You'll get a new cast today, hopefully one more to your liking," the doctor said before he left.

The nurse came in and removed the old cast. She wiped down his arm with an antiseptic cloth and allowed it to dry before she started on the new cast.

This time he'd picked the royal blue. He'd once again debated the other colors and decided that this was the best color. He hadn't really liked the red.

Vin was a bit disappointed when the cast still went most of the way up his upper arm but the best part was his thumb was free. It was sore from being immobilized for the last two weeks.

When Vin went home, he found that some things were easier to do because he now had full use of his fingers and thumb. He could grasp, maneuver, and almost write with the right hand. It still hurt too much to really use.

He stopped by the ATF office to see if he could come back to work. He was disappointed to find out that it would be at least two more weeks, maybe four.

All his team mates couldn't wait to sign his cast. He hadn't allowed them to sign the first two as it was too sore, but now it was bearable.

They had a lot of fun signing it, and drawing pictures, writing messages. Even if the rough surface was hard to write on. Before long the blue fiberglass was almost equal parts black ink.

A week later he went back for another check up. Once again the cast was removed. This time he chose black for a cast color. He figured it would go good with the black ATF gear.

He was quite happy when the x-rays showed his wrist was healing fine, and there was still no evidence of a scaphoid fracture. He was told that if none showed up by now, there was a very good chance there was none.

This time his cast was shorter, stopping about an inch or two before his elbow. He was thrilled with this new change. He'd been in this type many times before and could do almost anything he wanted to. He was glad to loose the sling as it had been nothing but an irritant to his neck.

He went home and actually started to enjoy his forced vacation. He couldn't believe how much his elbow hurt the first time he bent it. It hurt almost as much all day. His wrist didn't hurt nearly as much as it had, which added to his good mood.

He could hold a book, dress and shower easier (and even bought a smaller cast cover). He was almost enjoying it.

As his friends stopped by to see him they signed his cast. Having realized that black on black wouldn't work, nor would most colors, they figured silver would work.

They liked the effect of the silver ink on the black fiberglass as it was a nice contrast.

+ + + + + + +

The others were a little surprised, yet not totally surprised when Vin didn't rush back to work.

Vin didn't bother going in to work to see if he'd be put on desk duty. He'd hate that so he stayed home and did some stuff he'd been meaning to do, but never had the time to do. Sure, it was a little more difficult since his wrist didn't bend. He was slowly starting to use the casted wrist more, knowing that he needed to do so to help the bone grow stronger, and get used to being used again while still protected.

Three weeks later, Vin was climbing the walls. He'd finished all the books he'd wanted to read, watched all the movies and shows he'd meant to catch up on, slept enough to be fully rested for the first time in ages. He was sick and tired of take out food.

He dressed in proper work attire and headed into the office, hoping to be allowed back to work.

Chris knew his friend was beyond climbing the walls and let him back on paperwork duty. It was the best he could do.

Vin had trouble writing with either hand. The left hand writing hadn't improved much, and the right hand was somewhat impeded by the cast. He didn't find filing too much easier. He could type one handed, two handed for a short time, if he didn't mind the slight inconvenience of the cast. He hated how slow one handed typing was, at first. As the day wore on he got faster at it. He still was no where near his normal typing speed.

Two weeks later Vin had his next appointment. He went through the same process as every time. This time when the cast was removed he was asked to bend his wrist. Vin nearly yelped at the incredible pain that action caused. He knew it would be very sore for the next few days, after all it hadn't been bent in the last two months.

The doctor gave Vin a wrist brace to use and the nurse showed him how to use it and put it on him.

Vin wore it until he got into his car. He knew that if he wore it, he wouldn't be allowed back to full duty. He was willing to live with the pain in exchange.

At the office, Chris saw Vin's wrist had been freed from its fiberglass prison and knew his sharpshooter wanted to be back in the field immediately.

"How's the wrist?" Chris asked.

"A little tender, but otherwise fine," Vin said. He knew he couldn't lie because everyone of them had had at least one broken wrist or arm and knew what he was going through.

Vin's wrist really hurt as he worked out on the firing range. It hurt as bad as when he'd first bent it. He kept on, knowing that by tomorrow it would feel better, until it was used, then it would hurt nearly as bad, and the next day it would feel better. This routine would go on for the next couple of weeks as it slowly grew stronger and more flexible.

END

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