Quicksand

A Magnificent Seven gen novel by SueN, set in the ATF Denver AU and with lots of hurt-comfort. NOTE! This story has appeared, or is currently available, on-line.

When Vin is captured and beaten while on an undercover assignment, memories long buried are brought to the surface. An acute case of PTSD is the result, and it's tearing Tanner and the rest of the team apart.

Excerpt:

The sharpshooter was huddled miserably into himself and rocking frantically back and forth, sobbing hysterically, his hands imbedded in his hair and pulling, his mouth bleeding from where his teeth were tearing into his lip. Chris reached out without thinking and grabbed Vin's arms in a hard grip, forcibly stilling his movements and thrusting his own face to within inches of the younger man's.

"Stop it!" he ordered loudly, sharply, refusing to acknowledge the horror aroused by the sight of the blood staining his friend's mouth and chin. "Goddamn it, Vin, I said stop it!" He shook Vin hard once, then held him still again, imprisoning the stricken, sobbing man in his fierce, unrelenting grip. "You're hurting yourself and I won't have that!" He shifted his hands to Vin's wrists and, although he hated himself for the pain he knew he had to be inflicting, found exactly the right pressure points and squeezed mercilessly until Tanner's fingers began to lose their grip on his hair. The moment he thought he could safely do it, Chris yanked Vin's hands out of his hair and locked his own about the younger man's thin, bony wrists in an iron grip. "Too many people have done enough damage to you already, including you, and that all stops now!"

"Lemme go!" Vin wailed, trying to fight against that hold and failing utterly. "Ya don't know! Ya don't understand! I tried t' kill her! I tried t' kill Nettie!"

"I do know, and I do understand!" Chris snapped, hardening his heart against the agony tearing Tanner apart, knowing that neither one of them could afford for him to feel it just now. "But I also know that you didn't kill her. I know that you didn't have a fuckin' clue what you were doin'. And I know that the last thing Nettie Wells wants is for you to punish yourself like this! God, Vin, look at yourself!" he shouted, fear mingling with his fury. "Look at what you're doin' to yourself!"

"I don't— I cain't—"

"Fuck that!" Chris snarled. "You can and you goddamn will!" With that he struggled off the bed, pulling Vin with him.

Tanner cried and cursed and fought wildly to free himself, but Chris never relented, merely locked his arms firmly around the Texan's narrow waist and alternately carried, dragged and shoved the spitting, kicking, twisting man out of the room. Down the hall toward the master bedroom and its large bathroom they fought, their shouts and struggles awakening everyone else. Chris did all he could to keep from hurting Vin, not sure just how much more the man could take, but Vin seemed not to care at all and more than once sent one or both of them crashing into a wall.

"Jesus, Chris!" Buck shouted as he, JD and Ezra came pelting down the stairs from the loft bedrooms above. Vin was shrieking curses like a demented banshee and kicking wildly at Larabee's legs, heedless of the damage he might do to his own unhealed knee, while he clawed at the arms imprisoning him and tried to pry them loose. Chris had no choice but to shove Tanner chest-first into the wall and hold him there with his own body to keep the man from hurting either of them. Both were breathing hard and drenched in sweat, and Buck could plainly see bloodstains on their clothes. "You're gonna hurt him—"

"Stay back!" Chris spat over his shoulder. "He's done all this to himself, and it's high time it stopped. He wants to kill himself? Fine! But he's gonna have to kill me first to do it!"

344 pages. $10 for PDF version with color cover.


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