Part of the "The Magnificent Seven After Twilight" Collection
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Disclaimer: They're not mine. I wish they were.
Notes: This is a sequel to The Abduction.
A Lee Ann Womack tune played softly from the Dodge Rams stereo as Chris Larabee drove through the night from his cabin back to his ranch. In the passenger seat, Vin Tanner slept, his snores accompanying the music.
Chris smiled. Orrin Travis had given Team Seven a week off after the completion of their last case. Nathan Jackson returned to Smallville, Kansas to visit his father. Josiah Sanchez volunteered his time at the hospital where his sister was a patient. Buck Wilmington, well, there were more women than the ladies' man had time. JD Dunne planned to spend time with Casey Welles when she wasn't in class. The last he heard from Ezra Standish was that the undercover agent planned to spend his week in Vegas. He still thought he should have sent Jim Brass a warning about his Southern trouble magnet.
He and his Texan trouble magnet had driven to a small cabin that had been left to Chris by his Uncle Rob, one of his mother's five brothers. They spent the week fishing, catching very little, but enjoying the time away from the office. Just as the sun started to dip down behind the mountains, they started back to the ranch.
The Womack tune drifted into one of Garth Brooks faster-paced songs. Another hour and they would be home. Even though Vin kept an apartment in the area of Denver known as Purgatory, Vin spent most of his free time at the ranch helping Chris with the horses he raised. Chris smiled. Vin kept more of his possessions at the ranch then he did at the apartment.
A green ribbon of light dancing in the sky caught Chris' attention. Several more ribbons joined the first, forming a curtain of light.
Wanting his young friend to see the unexpected light show, he said, "Vin, wake up."
To the younger man's credit, Vin was instantly awake, his hand dropping to his side where he normally kept his firearm. "What is it?"
A smile spread across his face. "Look. The Northern Lights."
Vin leaned forward, peering out the windshield. "Beautiful."
The lights leaped and swirled above the Dodge. Knowing that he couldn't watch the lights and drive at the same time, Chris pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road, glancing at the clock. Pocketing his keys, Chris opened the door and slid out. Vin already stood in front of the truck, his head tilted back.
The lights drew closer to them until they danced about them. A celestial music filled the air. It reminded him of a piece by Mozart, one that Sarah had liked to listen too. The lights seemed to beckon them closer. Desire to join the lights filled Chris.
He took a step forward.
A twig snapped underneath Chris' feet. The sound startled him, breaking his trance. Vin continued walking away from Chris, further into the light.
The music died and the lights disappeared. Vin kept walking.
"It's okay. It's okay." Vin sounded happy. "They don't mean any harm."
A green ball of light formed in front of Vin. Memories of the story that Vin and Ezra told about the greenish ball of light they saw right before they lost several hours flooded his mind.
"Not again. You can't have him." Rushing forward, Chris grabbed Vin by his left arm and yanked Vin around towards the Ram.
"Chris?" Puzzlement filled his voice. "What happened?"
The light drifted towards them. "Let's get out of here."
Running to the Ram, Vin nearly yanked the driver's door off the hinges. Chris shoved him across to the passenger's side, leaving the younger man in a tangled heap on the floorboard. Quickly, he cranked the engine, and stomped down on the accelerator, turning the steering wheel a hard right, leaving the headlights off.
Vin untangled the knot he was in and heaved himself back into the passenger seat. His hands shook as he belted himself in. Shoving hair off his face, he turned and looked back behind them.
Chris looked into the rearview mirror. The light stood still as the truck raced back in the direction it came.
"What was that all about?"
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Chris answered, "I think they wanted you back."
Vin shivered. "How long were we out there?"
Chris glanced at the clock, then let out the breath he didnt realize he was holding. "Less than ten minutes."
Turning right he drove down a road that took them farther away from Denver as well as the light. A few minutes later, he turned the headlights on. "There's a town a few miles ahead. The motel has seen better days, but it might be better to stay there than continue driving."
Vin kept watch out the back glass. "Yeah!"
When they made it to town, Vin followed him inside the office of the motel, which was good because he didn't want Vin to stay in the truck where he couldn't see him. Chris barely allowed the Ram time to stop when they parked in front of their room before he was standing on cracked asphalt. Just a hair short of running, he and Vin walked to the door. They barely opened up the door enough to go inside. Turning, Chris locked the door, and then jammed a chair underneath the doorknob while Vin made sure the drapes were closed.
Vin plopped down on one of the beds, his right arm draped over his eyes.
"Uh, want the bathroom first?" Chris asked
Chris quickly used the bathroom, not sure what to say to Vin. Leaving the bathroom, he grabbed Vin by his right arms as he started to brush by Chris. "Do you want to talk about what happened?
"Not now. Maybe after we get some sleep."
Toeing off his shoes, Chris dove underneath the covers, pulling them up to his chin, fighting the desire to hide underneath them. When Vin came out of the bathroom, he walked over to the light switch.
"Don't," Chris growled.
Vin didn't speak. He just padded over to the other bed and crawled underneath the covers until all Chris could see was a few strands of hair.
Chris closed his eyes, but he never went to sleep that night.