"Little Britches" (ATF) Universe

Disclaimer: Not mine, not making any money

Authors Note: This is in answer to Sue's 4th of July challenge. This little fic-let has been proofed by the wonderful Helen.

"Buck?" JD asked, looking up at his foster father who was preparing the barbecue for later that day.

"Yes Little Bit?" Buck replied with due trepidation.

"What's 'independent' mean?"

Buck stopped what he was doing. He could give JD the standard history of the 4th of July, but JD could quote it chapter and verse, he had even performed in a school pageant all about it. So Buck didn't think that was what he meant. Finally he put down the bag of charcoal and pulled off the blackened gloves he was wearing, and taking little JD by the hand led him over to sit on the edge of the porch.

"Well let me see…independence means you are in control of you."

JD frowned. "Am I independent?"

"No Little Bit, you're too little to be independent yet."

"Vin isn't independent either is he?"

"No he isn't either."

"Are you independent?" JD cocked his head to one side as he looked up at his guardian.

Buck thought about it for a while. He was an adult, living in a free country but was he independent? No. He concluded he wasn't.

"No, I'm not JD."

"But you're big, you’re a grown up."

"That’s true, but I have you now, so I can't do what I like, when I like, any more."

"Oh." The tone of JD's voice betrayed his emotions. Guilt that he had been responsible for taking away Buck's independence. His teacher had told his how important independence was, and how it was not something to be given up if you could help it. "I'm sorry." The little dark head dropped as JD buried his chin on his chest.


The little head didn't move.

"JD what's wrong?" Buck asked.

"Nothin'." There was tell-tale tremble in the voice.

"Come here." Buck reached over and picked up the small boy and sat him on his lap facing him. Gently he reached out a finger and tilted the head up.

Tears brimming in those huge hazel eyes threatened to over flow.

"JD I chose you, I used my independence to make a choice, I wanted it and I would never ever want to go back to before I had you. Do you understand? It was because I was independent that you and me can be together now. And that was what I wanted then, and now and forever."

JD stared up at him in awe, love written large over his now tear-streaked face.

"You giveded up your independence for me?" JD asked in wonder.

"Yes, and I would do it again in a heart beat."

"You don't want to be independent?"

"Not if being independent means I can't have you, no I don't want it."

"Not ever?"

"No, not ever. Come here." He reached out and pulled JD close to him, planting a gentle kiss on the small forehead.

JD in turn wrapped his arms around Buck's neck and planted his own very wet kiss on his father's cheek.

"I don't want to be independent either."

Buck held on to JD and silently prayed the boy would still feel like this when he was fifteen, but somehow he doubted it.


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