A Magnificent Seven gen novel by LaraMee, set in the Little Britches ATF Denver AU and with lots of hurt-comfort. NOTE! This story has appeared, or is currently available, on-line.
When Vin and JD have some trouble adjusting to their new lives, Chris and Buck decide it's time to get some professional help for the boys, and themselves as well.
182 pages. $10 for PDF version with color cover.
"Vincent Michael Tanner! What are you doing?"
The loud voice shocked the little boy out of his rampage with a jerk. The blond head, curls damp with perspiration, snapped up as he stared at the man.
"Answer me, young man." Larabee's voice dropped to a more normal level, but the tone was still stern. His arms folded across his chest, he said, "I asked you a question, Vin. What are you doing?"
His tiny face, flushed with anger, screwed up, and with a howl, Vin threw himself into the tiny space between the bunk beds and the dresser. Drawing his knees up, he pressed his hands over his ears and began to bang his head against the wall.
Chris came into the room, kneeling in front of the little hiding space his foster son had used time and again. He tried to talk to the distraught child, but his efforts only caused the banging to intensify. Watching, the man saw Vin wasn't using enough force to actually hurt himself. And, uncertain about what else to do, he pushed away and stood.
Crossing the room, Larabee found a fairly clear spot and settled in directly across from the little boy. He sat, feigning a calm he didn't feel, and waited. Finally, after a few more minutes the seven-year-old's actions slowed to a stop.
Tiny chest heaving from exertion, the child finally looked up. The first thing Vin saw was the man he'd come to love more than anyone else in the world. Blinking hard, he scrubbed at the tears clinging to his thick lashes and trailing down his face. Looking up one more, he saw his father still sitting there, not moving.
And it took every ounce of willpower for Chris to sit where he was. Every paternal instinct screamed at him to gather the tortured little soul into his arms and comfort him. Had it been Adam or JD he would have, but this was Vin, so he simply sat there, waiting for a signal from the boy.
The tiny blond sniffed loudly, then coughed. He rubbed the back of his head, then heaved a sigh. His legs uncurled, stretching out before him. He looked again and saw that his father still sitting there, waiting.
He scooted out from his hiding spot and climbed to his feet. With a few tentative steps he was standing in front of the tall man. His gaze dropped to the floor and he twisted and fiddled his fingers. He looked up again, eyes going to the calm, unmoving figure.
And then a hand reached out.
That was all that the child needed. Vin fell into those strong arms, letting them gather him close in their embrace, one little hand clutching at the man's dress shirt.
Chris held the miserable child in his arms, one hand rubbing Vin's tiny back through his sweatshirt which was damp with sweat. He sat there for several moments, holding the child – his child – close.
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