By: Angel B
Beware: Me and Spell Check did the betaing.
Note: This is for Twy; who wanted a 7B story, instead of the ATF one I had planned.
Note: Heather's May Challenge>>> Write a story, any AU, in which one of the guys breaks a bone. It doesn't have to be a long bone, or a weight bearing bone...it can be a toe (toes don't get enough respect....especially when they go snap....) or a finger....or,....well teeth aren't technically bones...but if you must break one of those that's ok too (those hurt a great deal and people look funny .... and a nose isn't technically a bone either but they hurt in the most incredible manner.....
Disclaimer: Not mine and never will be.
He was going to kill his little brother. The kid was going to die, die, die; that's all there was to it. The mantra ran through his mind as the blond glared at his twelve-year-old brother from his prone position on the couch. Just as soon as he could get upright again the kid was going to die. It didn't matter that Vin was sorry for what had happened. It didn't matter that the occurrence hadn't been the boy's fault; the kid was still going to die for all the pain Chris now had to endure. It was, however, Vin's fault for him doing that thing in the first place, the kid knew better than to dare him.
It had started out this morning, the two of them had been out checking on the spring-fed watering holes scattered about the property. It had taken the better part of the day and it had begun to get boiling as the sun reached its hottest point of the day. They had been checking the last pond for the day, making sure it flowed smoothly and hadn't got stopped up by any debris or fallen limbs. Seeing it was fine, Vin had remarked on the heat index and had looked longingly at the clear cold water. Chris was sweltering as well and couldn't deny the fact that a short dip would indeed be refreshing. It had taken them only a matter of minutes before they had stripped down to their shorts and were entering the refreshing water. Vin, who had been very shy and quiet when he had first come to live on the ranch, had reached well beyond that part of himself after two years of living with a warm inviting family. Now the more devious and delightful side of the child showed through and it was this part that all the brothers had learned to be weary of, but Chris didn't mind seeing the fun-loving side even when he was the target of that sharp-witted mind.
The two of them had gotten into a water war rather quickly, Chris always mindful to keep an eye on where Vin was stepping. Sinkholes and rocks were not uncommon under water and Chris didn't want Vin to step in one or trip and go under. After a few minutes the two quit horsing around and began to just laze in the water, enjoying the bright sun and the cold water. The oldest looked over at his brother and almost groaned out loud. The look his brother was wearing told Chris the boy had a plan and it would no doubt involve his assistance. After a moment, Vin looked over at Chris with a large grin on his face and Chris did groan out loud.
"Hey Chris," Vin started, "You think you can throw a rope over that limb up yonder?"
Chris looked above him. The old pine tree that stood at the water's edge had lost many a limb over the years, whether it was due to age, lightening strikes or something else. The nearest tree limb that now hung out over the pool was quite a distance up, but Chris reckoned he could throw a rope over it if the reason was good enough.
Depends on why I'd want to," the blond said lazily, his interest piqued, but kept hidden.
"Figured we could make a swing. You know. With enough momentum, I figure I could land real far out in the water," Vin said as he seemed to mentally gauge the distance he could fly out over the water.
Chris nodded and started for shore. He could never explain it if he tried, but denying the younger boys was not something he was good at. If he saw they really wanted something, he, and for that matter the other older ones, went out of their way to make it happen. They had all endured some kind of tragedy, though it seemed Vin and Ezra had incurred it repeatedly. Of the three, Ezra was the hardest to do things for, simply because he was hard to read what he wanted and rarely spoke of things that mattered to him. That's where JD and Vin came in; they were kind of like informants, though none of them would ever declare it so. The two youngest saw it as a need to fill and the oldest knew without them, they wouldn't guess at half the things that the fourteen-year-old cared about.
Going up to his horse, Chris soothed his mount as he untied the rope off the back of his saddle. Handling the rope with expert ease, Chris judged how much he would need and began twirling the braided length around with one wrist, when he figured he had enough momentum going, he let loose end and sent it flying skyward. The rope shot up and arched, coming down on the other side of the branch. Tiptoeing, Chris grabbed the end and pulled until a good amount was down to the ground. Tying off the other end to the tree itself, Chris pulled on the loose end to ensure that the knot would hold. Looking up at his expectant brother, he smiled and held out the rope to the younger boy.
Vin smiled back, never doubting his brother's capabilities and took the rope. Gripping it tightly, Vin took a running leap and sailed out over the water. When it felt right, Vin let loose and fell into the watery oasis. The splash, he caused soaked Chris, who had made his way back into the water and was watching carefully.
The twelve-year-old surfaced with a smile big enough to warm a house. Chris would never get enough of that smile. The boy had gone through so much in his short life span that for most other children it would have let it swallowed them whole and turned out bitter jailbait. Vin had hung in there, though. Like he knew one day he would finally find a place where he belonged, almost as if he
somehow knew this home was waiting for him. Chris smiled back at the boy and replied casually, "Not bad for a beginner."
Vin huffed up immediately, giving Chris exactly what he wanted. "That was just a practice jump," the boy declared. "Wanted to test your knot before I endangered my life," he said as he made his way back to shore and grabbed the rope.
Chris couldn't help but laugh at his little brothers indignant attitude. The blond had no doubt; Vin would spend the next twenty or so minutes trying to better his leaping skills. It would give Chris time to lay back and enjoy a well-deserved rest. Scooting further down the water's edge to where another tree shaded a good amount of the edge of the pool, Chris eased his body half out of the water and propped his head up on a slight incline. He wanted to be far enough away he wouldn't get splashed and close enough in case Vin got into trouble. Chris watched his brother repeatedly swing out into the water and swim back for another go. It didn't take a fancy slide and a multi-million dollar pool to entertain his brother, just a pool and a rope.
Chris had been right about Vin entertaining himself with the swing, by the time Vin made his way over to where Chris was laying, the young boys hands were almost chafed by rope burns. The smile on his face and the merriment in his eyes told Chris it was worth it, though. Easing himself upright, Chris asked, "Ready to go home and see what's for supper?"
Vin's smile increased at the mention of food. A simple one jerk of the head was all the answer Chris got before the brother started heading for the other side of the shore. Chris rose up and started wading across, grabbing the rope as he went. After he got to the shore, Chris walked over to untie the rope, a wistful look barely flashing across his face. It was there, though, long enough for Vin to catch it. Vin knew that since his `new' parents deaths, Chris and Buck had lost a lot of their fun side in trying to be the grownup guardians the younger ones needed them to be. Vin decided that had been quite unfair. Smiling largely, he walked up to the blond and asked, "Dad ever make you one of these?"
A distant look crossed Chris face as he nodded, "Yeah. He used to make him for Josiah, Buck and me when we rode out here. Made him for Nathan, too, when he started coming along."
"Bet you don't remember how to do it," Vin challenged, knowing Chris wouldn't resist.
"Won't work Vin, its time to go home," Chris said calmly.
"Your just old and don't want to get shown up," Vin replied casually.
"Old!" Chris almost shouted. He was only twenty-three for crying out loud. "I'm not old," the blond stated firmly.
"Then by all means show me, master," Vin said, sweeping his hand forth in gesture. The grin on his face barely contained from becoming a full-blown smile.
"All right, but just one time and then we'll have to get going," Chris said in huff. Vin's smile increased as he watched his brother
strove off a distance with the rope end in hand.
Rechecking the knot, Chris took the lead of rope in his hands and stood off, before taking on a running flight. His strong muscles giving him more power and distance than Vin had been able to accomplish. The rope ran short and Chris let go. Thereby initiating the death sentence for his little brother.
Chris went down into the water feet first, knowing the pool was deep enough for it. His foot hit one of those rocks he had been so worried about Vin stepping on and his legs went straight out from under him. Going under quickly, Chris found himself hitting the bottom in an awkward position and felt immediate pain radiating through his body as not only did his tailbone snap, but also landing so off kilter his elbow hit the same rock his foot had hit moments earlier.
Chris' brain somehow recognized the need to resurface and his body began to fight its way to the top. Topping out at the surface, Chris came face to face with a very frightened Vin. Chris wanted nothing more than to reassure the brother he was fine, but could hardly find the air to breath much less talk. The twelve-year-old seemed to know it instinctively and moved behind Chris. Wrapping his arms around Chris' torso, Vin began pulling Chris back towards shore. Laying Chris down on the ground, the blond immediately rolled over onto his side. Clutching his elbow, he hissed out, "Don't know why they call it the funny bone? Ain't nothing funny when ya hit it."
Thinking that was all there was wrong with his brother, Vin began laughing. "It might not be funny where you're standing, but it's sure funny on this side."
"Vin," Chris hissed out. He couldn't say much more, his whole backside and down his legs felt like they were on fire. The pain was growing worse by the minute.
Vin sobered immediately, something in Chris voice warning him something was wrong other than hitting his funny bone.
"Need ya to ride for help," Chris instructed, knowing there was no way he could ride a horse home.
"Chris?" the small voice immediately filled with fear and anxiety.
"Nothing bad, Vin. Promise. Think I broke something other than my arm. Need one of the guys to come get me, okay," Chris explained patiently. Cursing himself mentally for scaring the boy.
Vin seemed to relax a great bit. The anxiety vanishing with Chris' promise that it wasn't anything to worry about. "Okay, I'll be right back," Vin said, staring into his brother's eyes. "Promise."
Chris nodded and listened to Vin yank his clothes on and mount up. The horse's hooves telling Chris, Vin was racing his horse as fast as possible. Chris didn't give any thought to how fast Vin rode, the boy was a natural on horseback and could avert danger better than most cowboys that had been riding for years.
Chris didn't know how long it had taken before he heard the distant sound of Buck's old truck. During that time, Chris had tried to roll up to a sitting position and nearly collapsed due to the pain. He was beginning to worry he had done more to his spine than just jar it, like he thought he had. He remembered from his training at the academy that when you came across a spinal injured victim, you were to keep them still and they're bodies as aligned as possible. Chris rolled back on his side and laid still. He didn't know how aligned he was, but the searing pain stopped trying to drill a hole through his skull.
Chris had been lying on the ground with his eyes closed when he heard doors slamming and running feet. His eyes popped opened as Buck and Josiah slid to stop beside him. Their faces telling how scared they had been when Vin came flying up to the house alone shouting that Chris had been hurt.
"Hey, Pard. Just thought you'd show the kid a thing or two, huh?" Buck asked, a note of concern coloring his attempt to relieve the worry.
"Wanted to show him what happens when you don't look where you're going," Chris breathed out as Josiah made a cursory inspection of his battered brother.
"Think you can stand?" Josiah asked tentatively. Getting an ambulance back in here would be a trick and a half.
Chris nodded and with a large amount of help from his two brothers gained his feet and walked ever-so-slowly to the bed of the truck. Raising a hip onto the tailgate, Chris laid over into the bed. Buck climbed up behind him and pulled him in the rest of the way. With his head resting in Buck's lap, Chris opened his eyes after gaining control of his breathing and saw a very worried Vin staring at him. Giving the kid a wink, Chris closed his eyes.
Now here he laid stretched out oh the couch, after a much humiliating visit to the hospital, flat on his stomach with his entire arm encased in heavy duty armory and a broken tail bone, staring at his twelve-year-old brother thinking of multiple ways of getting the kid back. The worry and sorrow had long vanished from the startled blue eyes, replaced by mischief and mirth. Chris knew the kid was just thinking of all the one-liners he could use at the blonds' expense. Well, the kid could just yuck it up all he wanted, next time he wanted to stop a watering hole he'd just have to suffer. Chris closed his eyes and chided himself. Who was he kidding, he would do anything for his brothers and he knew it. Didn't mean he couldn't kill the kid in the meantime.