By: Angela B
Disclaimer: Not mine and never will be
Note: This is just a little POV about how Chris became Vin’s dad. Fits in after Meeting The Family. Completely stand alone.
Did my own betaing. So let’s blame the guy who invented spell check for the mistakes.
(Moved to Blackraptor January 2010)
Chris had finally managed to get his seven-year- old son into the bathtub. The day had been a long one and because they had wound up the lake for swim, Vin had declared himself clean. When the blond had stood his ground about the necessary bath, the young boy had given it one last shot. “But dad,” Vin started, “ With all that time spent in the water today, I’m practically clean enough to go days with out another bath.” The high pitched whiny sound coming from his son, told Chris just how tired his son was from the day’s events.
“Vin, you can either do it yourself, or I’ll do it for you,” Chris had warned. Vin, not one for being treated like a baby, sulked off to take a bath. “And use soap,” Chris instructed from outside the door.
Turning away, he could hear the little boy mocking him. Chris smiled at the incident and headed into the living room. Turning on the news, the tall man reclined back in his favorite chair and let his mind drift over the day’s events.
When Buck had shown up with the little brown-haired boy in tow, it had taken everything in his will not to blow his top right then and there. He knew when he had sent Vin and Ezra to the boy’s room to play that Vin had been worried. Somehow, that little boy could read him like an open book. He had simply nodded in reassurance and that was all it had taken for the boy to lead the little one off to play.
Chris had been more afraid for his old-time friend’s soft heart than he was angry. Of course, that was not how it had come across. As normal, his mouth went into action before his brain and he had wound up saying some things that didn’t need to have been said. Chris knew his friend had been concerned for the little boy they had found abandoned. Heck, they all had. He, personally, had experienced a case of de’ ja’ vu'. It had taken everything he had not to go check on the child himself. Those wide green eyes emanating so much fear as he stood on the deck like a trapped animal had burned its way into Chris’ mind.
But, Buck had done more that go check on the child, he had had persuaded the director to let him become the boy’s foster dad. Then he had shown up here this morning looking for the same kind of support he had given Chris only a couple of years ago and instead Chris had challenged his sanity. Chris shook his head sorrowfully at the fresh memory.
Though, they had made up, Buck words still stung. Asking him how it was decided how he could have become a dad not just once, but twice. For the first time in many years, Buck had really let loose with his anger towards his friend before walking away. Chris could only be grateful that their friendship was strong enough to endure a few angry words. Though, thy never said it, the two men needed each other like they needed air. Without the other a hole was left in their hearts.
Chris had become a dad for a second time, to a little scrawny boy who was afraid of everything. The blonds’ mind flashed back to the day they had found him. Chris didn’t think he would ever get rid of that haunting image.
The team had been working with the local sheriff’s office on a case involving drugs and guns, which was never a good mix on the best of days. They had stormed into the dealer’s house filled with weapons fully prepared for a war. Thankfully there hadn’t been one. Nathan and Josiah had found the dealer higher than a kite in his office. The so-called bodyguards didn’t give them much of a problem and within moments the house was under their control. As usual, for precautionary measures, Chris had called for a full search of the house.
He and Buck took the second story and came upon a hallway closet with a padlock on it. Their suspicions were raised immediately. Buck took the right side, while Chris took the left. Hammering the lock free with the butt of his gun, Buck grabbed the doorknob and yanked the door open. Neither was ready for the sight they found. The first thing to assault their senses was the smell, like an animal that had been locked indoors with no escape for a bathroom. Instead of an animal their eyes found a small boy, sitting only in his underwear and huddled up in the far corner like a wounded animal. The little boy, with hair so long that at first they thought he was a girl. Slowly the head lifted and the bluest eyes, Chris had ever seen latched onto his. For a second, neither agent could move. The eyes bought them back to reality and in seconds Chris was holstering his weapon and reaching in for the child, while Buck went yelling for Nathan.
The first time Chris reached for Vin, the child shrank further back and considering the boy was already flush against the back corner, Chris would later have to acknowledge that action in itself was quite a feat. The tall blond couldn’t remember now just what he had said back then, he just knew he had to reassure the boy he was safe, no one was going to hurt him and had handed the child his badge. Finally being allowed to pick up the boy, Chris had been shocked at how thin and weightless Vin was, the child was nothing but skin and bones, literally.
Buck had reappeared with Nathan and a blanket. When Nathan tried to reach for him, Vin had pulled away and had actually grasped onto the black shirt, wrapping his long, dirty fingers tightly into the material. Buck stepped forward and slowly wrapped the blanket around the shivering body and informed his boss that an ambulance was on its way. Chris could only nod, as he kept eye contact with the little soul in his arms. They had just met, but Chris felt like this child had been waiting for him his whole short life. The ambulance had shown up and for the first time ever, Agent Chris Larabee left the cleanup to someone else, namely Buck. Never letting go off the young boy, Chris climbed up into the back of the ambulance and sat down on the cot. He let the paramedics do their job, while he kept up a steady stream of reassuring words. The silent boy let the strangers stick him with the IV needle and never even blinked. Chris couldn’t get over it; he figured the child had to be in a great deal of shock. Constantly rubbing the bony back, Chris, for once, kept his anger in check. He knew the child had enough emotional traumas to deal with, without seeing the man who rescued him go on one of his tangents.
Not long after arriving at the hospital, Chris was informed Social Services had arrived to check on the boy. By that time Vin was asleep. The doctors had explained the child was suffering from severe exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition. It would be a long time before the boy would be up to where he should be.
Chris had never planned on getting so involved in the child’s life. At the moment of discovery, staying had just seemed the right thing to do until someone else could take over, but no one else had come to take over. Social Services had come daily, but there was no one to actually stay with the child. Chris had gone home that night, but those blue eyes haunted him. Before complete darkness had fallen, Chris found himself back at the hospital stepping through the door of the child’s room. Vin woke briefly, startled, looked at him and went right back to sleep.
Vin never said a word in the beginning, so the two of them had sat in silence those couple of days he was in the hospital. When the food was bought in, the child would just poke at it and push it around on his plate. Chris had stepped up to the bed, taken the utensil from the small hand and carefully fed the starved child. Chris couldn’t imagine having to be as hungry as that child must have been and yet so afraid to eat when food was presented to him. It seemed the boy would only eat for Chris, the one time he had been gone during a meal on business, the nurses, without any success, had tried very hard to get the little boy to eat.
A couple of days of being in the hospital had Vin looking a lot better than he had when he arrived, but then again just a bath and shampoo had done wonders. The doctors deemed the child fit to be moved into children’s care facility and Social Services had come to take him. Chris had tried his hardest to convince himself and the boy everything would be all right. Vin would be placed in a safer foster home this time and Chris had promised, he, himself, would check out the foster family personally and make regular checkup visits. The next day Chris got a phone call telling him Vin had disappeared.
The mere thought of that little boy being out on the streets alone made the tough agent’s heart lurch. Two hours later, a little boy with the brightest blue eyes anyone ever saw walked into the blonds’ office, unaffected by the angry scolding that came from the worried man. It was after the blond stopped squeezing the child in a tight hug and set him back on his feet that Chris knew the two of them belonged together. That afternoon, he began the long, arduous fight to first, get custody, and then to adopt the little boy who had stolen his heart.
It had in no way been an easy smooth ride. Real life was in no way like the movies and things didn’t get wrapped up in nice tidy bows by just saying I love you. There had been nightmares that could have made living in the Amityville House look like a cakewalk. Chris had taken Vin to enough meetings with therapists that he could have bought a new home in the rich part of town, if the had been the kind of person he was. Dealing with rebellious attitudes when Vin got frustrated or angry, and there were a lot of reasons for the youngster to be frustrated and angry.
First, the child had been five, almost six when they found him and had had no schooling or similar teaching. Chris stopped and thought of the irony. Vin was only a couple of months older than Ezra was now, when he had been found. Both neglected and abandoned, in some form and if the bruises he saw on Ezra’s back today were anything to go by, both abused. Chris smiled and wondered if this was part of that fate, that Josiah was always going on about. Life sure had a way of dealing out some funny hands that was for sure.
Chris thought about Ezra and his fancy talk, then about Vin and the way he had rarely spoken back then. The two were opposite ends of the spectrum, but still so much alike. Ezra was a smart little boy, book wise, but according to Vin knew nothing about being a boy. While Vin had known all about being a little boy, at least before his mother had died, he wasn’t very book smart. Chris let a smile creep out; well that part was changing, too.
Due to the fact that Vin had no schooling or teaching, the child barely knew his ABC’s and therefore was put back a year from where he should have been for his age. Instead of being placed in kindergarten, the school had decided that putting him in pre-k would be the wisest move. Unfortunately Vin wasn’t happy about being a tall five-almost-six-year-old among small four-five-year-olds. But, with an extra amount of diligence and four uncles helping, Vin had excelled in his learning and by the middle of the second semester had been moved up into kindergarten. Which in the end hadn’t really been a blessing after all, because after missing so much of the year, Vin had to repeat the grade. Having to explain to Vin why he had been held back had been a most unpleasant experience. Chris had been afraid that Vin would give up on trying to learn, thinking it didn’t matter because he would always be dumb. Then Vin had met Luke Potter and the two of them had hit it off and everything went back to being okay. It turned out Luke Potter’s father had been murdered. The death of his father had affected the boy so much he hadn’t been able to return to school, thus he too had been forced to repeat kindergarten.
Chris suspected the two boys talked about their deceased parents a lot and for that the blond was gratefully. Vin didn’t talk about his mother much with him. Chris had learned the woman had caught pneumonia and strep throat. In the hospital she contracted a staff infection and after a hard fight had died. That was when Vin had been placed into the foster care system and wound up in the closet. Chris tried not to blame the entire system, he knew from personal experience as a law enforcer there were far more children than there were social workers and he was at times awed there wasn’t more deaths and ‘lost’ foster kids than there were.
He heard the soft rustling of slippers walking across the hardwood floors and smiled. Looking over his shoulder, he shot his son a grin and held out his arm. Vin shyly moved up next to his father’s chair and slid his bottom over the armrest. Chris scooted his son on over into his lap and breathed deeply the smell of fresh washed hair. “You smell good enough to eat,” Chris laughed as he gathered the lightweight boy in his arms and pretended to chew on a bare neck, causing the little boy to break out into the giggles and pretend struggle. A few minutes of “munching” on his son, Chris snuggled the boy down into his arms and sighed.
Chris smiled down at his son as Buck’s words came back at him. “I’m not giving up the boy.” That was exactly the same feeling he had had back then about Vin. Chris leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on the soft cheek. Vin accepted the gesture of love without complaint. Something he had started doing almost form he time of his arrival at the ranch, but still had trouble expressing himself. Chris thought back to his friend and the long road a head of him. Tomorrow he would go to Buck’s and do whatever he could to help make the place more child friendly. Chris let out a wicked smile as he wondered if his friend had considered that his dating career was now practically over. Looking down at his own son bedded down in his arms, fighting sleep and losing, Chris imagined Buck could care less. He had something better now. They both did. Watching Vin’s breathing become slower, Chris delighted in the complete bliss that he son gave him and hoped Buck was half as lucky.
Next: Friends, Frogs and Facts