by LaraMee

Little Britches ATF AU

March 24, 2004

Buck looked up to see the little entourage enter the playroom. Vin was first, pushing the door all the way open for his father. Chris moved into the room, their eyes locking as the blond maneuvered himself over to the nearest chair. He settled onto it with a tired sigh and nodded his thanks as his foster son pushed a chair around for him to rest his right leg on. Wilmington watched the man closely, seeing the haunted look in the man's dark eyes, and the signs of tears on the pale face. The same signs were evident on Vin's little face, his big eyes red-rimmed and swollen. Without hesitation the seven-year-old climbed into his father's lap, little arms wrapping around the man's neck as the little blond head came to rest on a broad shoulder. It was hard to tell who was offering comfort to who as Chris held the tiny body against him.

Lord, when was it going to get easier?

"Well, JD, have you had enough time to finish building?" Lowery asked the little brunet.

"I guess." The five-year-old said hesitantly. Then turning to his foster father he said, "Da, you come too?"

"This is your time with the Doc, Little Bit."

"But Chris went with Vin!" The child argued.

"Well first Vin and I talked alone, right?" Will intervened.

"Yes," The small boy admitted softly.

"So, then, how about this: you come with me and we'll talk for a while. Then if you still want your father to come join us, someone will come and get him. Would that work for you?"

"Yeah… I guess." The little boy was obviously not happy, but he slipped out of his chair and started toward the therapist. Then he abruptly did an about face and hurried to where his foster father sat. "You won't leave?"

"What? Of course not, Little Bit. I'll be right here, I promise." Buck turned worried blue eyes toward the doctor then back at the son of his heart. "I'd never go off and leave you, JD. I hope you know that."

Managing a faint smile the child said, "I was just checkin'. I'll be back in a minute."

"I'll be waitin'," Wilmington promised.

JD nearly ran down the hallway toward the office, but Will didn't think he was in a hurry to talk. Unless he was completely misreading the five-year-old, the boy wanted to get their conversation out of the way so he could return to the playroom. Not for the business of play, but to make certain that his family was still intact. Buck had reported that their younger ward had been worried that something bad was going to happen, but hadn't been able to explain just what it was.

Settling into their customary chairs, Lowery said, "So, you said earlier that you're pretty unhappy about the way things are going at home, is that right?"

Dark brows furrowed as the little boy considered the question. "I said ever'thing stinks, is that what you mean?"

"Yes, that's what I mean."

"Yeah, ever'thing stinks."

"Could you tell me more about why things stink?"

JD shrugged, slouching down in his chair. "They just do is all."

"Well, I'd like to have more to go on if you could help me out a little more. I need to know more about why everything stinks. Maybe you could give me an example?"

Heaving a sigh, the child said, "Da an' Chris aksed me and aksed me that a billion times. I don't know how to say it good."

Waiting long enough to see that the boy really didn't know how to explain his feelings about how things were at home, the therapist said, "well then why don't you pick out a picture for you feelings and we'll go from there?"

Shrugging, JD said only, "okay."

Retrieving the folder that held the pictures the boy had been looking at, Will handed it over. "Okay, you find a picture and we'll talk about it."

The room was quiet for a few minutes while the tiny brunet looked through the folder of cartoons that depicted different emotions. Finally he pulled out one and handed it over. "This one."

Lowery looked at the picture; a black cat that could have coined the term 'fraidy cat'. He wasn't surprised to see this one from his little client, and hoped that it would aid them in talking over the child's feelings. "Can you tell me why you chose this picture?"

With another shrug little Dunne said, "It 'minds me of how I've been feelin'."

"Can you give this feeling a name?"

"Um… I guess… 'fraid?"


"Yeah… I guess." Dark brows furrowed over narrowed eyes.

"You don't look very certain of that. Perhaps we should talk about it a little and make sure."


When nothing else was forthcoming, Lowery began asking questions. "Can you tell me about one time this week that you had this feeling?"

"I been havin' it all week."

"Every day?" A nod. "Every hour?" Another nod. "Every minute?"

"Maybe not ever' minute, but most of 'em. I tried to make it go 'way, but it wouldn't."

"Can you tell me what you tried? Then maybe we can find something else to help you deal with this feeling."

"I talked to Da and to Chris and to Vin."

"What did you talk about?"

A shrug. "Stuff. Like where was they goin' and what was they doin' and… stuff."


"Yeah, just lots 'a questions."

"Did they have answers for you?"

"Yeah… most 'a the time. Sometimes they was busy an' said to aks 'em later but sometimes I forgot to aks 'em later."

"I see. How did you feel when they gave you answers?"



"Yeah. Um… happy? Sometimes happy. Sometimes I think I felt… um… that word Da said before… ca'tent?"


"Yeah. I guess I felt like that. I wasn't happy but I wasn't havin' bad feelings."

"What about the times they didn't give you an answer?"

"When they said to aks later?"


"Sometimes it was okay. But sometimes I still had bad feelings 'til I aksed 'em later."

"Your father said you asked Vin a lot if the two of you are still brothers. Do you agree with that?"

A long sigh and the little head dropped as he stared at the floor. "Yeah. An' Vin got mad at me a lot 'cause he said I aksed that too many times." Glancing up, he asked, "Do you think that's like when I say Viiiiiiiiii-iiiiiiiiiin?"

Barely managing to keep from smiling, the therapist coughed and said, "It could be. Do you think it was giving him bad feelings?"

Another shrug. "I think so. He sure got mad. Chris gived him a lot of time-outs this week cause he yelled at me an' told me to stop aksing him that an' Vin gived me lots of mad looks after Chris gived him a time-out an' then he didn't wanna talk to me sometimes but other times he said sorry I hollered and I said okay an' then we played some more."

"Doesn't sound like you've had a very good week."

"Nope. Dr. Will?"

"Yes, JD?"

"Did Vin tell you 'bout stinky Freddy?"

"What about Freddy?"

"He didn't tell you 'bout him?"

"Could you tell me about him?" Lowery danced around the question, trying to get the younger boy to give his version.

Thick bangs ruffled as the five-year-old blew out a breath. "He was mean last week. He said me an' Vin's bad kids if we gots to come see you. He said more things to Vin, but he made me go watch for Buck so I didn't hear no more. I aksed him 'bout it later, but he wouldn't tell me no more 'bout what stinky Freddy said. I think that's part of why he's been mad all week, but he won't tell nobody 'bout it."

"Well, how about we talk about the problem with Freddy when all of us talk in a little while. Do you think that maybe that would help?"

Nodding vigorously, the child said, "Yeah. Maybe things won't be so… so… scary?"

"Is that the way things have been, JD? Scary?"

The little boy studied the question for a few seconds. Then, "yeah… scary."

"Can you tell me more?"

"Well… things has just been scary."

"You remember we talked about people being scared last week, right?"

"Yeah. I 'member 'cause you said Da an' Chris an' Vin gets scared, an'… "

When the little boy stopped, the therapist gently prodded, "and what, JD?"

Shaking his head, the five-year-old said, "I still don't b'lieve it."

"You still don't believe that they get scared?"

"No." Another shake of the head.

"Is it scary to think that they could be scared?"

"Yeah," the little boy admitted, then in a more forceful tone he said, "but they ain't scared."

"Even though they told you they get scared sometimes?"

"Well… maybe they used to get scared… but they don't get scared now."

"Did you talk about it this week?"

"Nope. I don't wanna talk 'bout it 'cause they don't get scared now."

Deciding that the little boy still needed that security of invincible caregivers, Lowery changed the direction of the conversation. "Shall we talk more about your feelings then?"

"'Kay." The word was spoken with a heavy sigh. Relief spread across the child's face, even though he wasn't totally aware of the reason. His heroes could continue to be his heroes for now.

"Do you know if what's giving you a scary feeling is a person or a thing?" The therapist asked.

"I don't know," JD paused, then said, "Both I think."

"So, people and things are both scaring you?"

"Yeah… I think so. I just don't know Dr. Will!" An angry and frustrated expression filled the ruddy little features.

He watched as the little boy struggled with his emotions. Lowery's heart went out to the child and he fervently hoped that he could help bring the boy some relief. "I think it sounds like a very big feeling."

"Yeah," JD agreed softly.

"Maybe even too big for you to understand." The little boy nodded. "And you can't find the words to tell anyone about it." Another nod. He paused and then said, "Well, how about this. Could you draw me a picture, and we can see if we can find the scary thing?"

Little Dunne frowned. How could he draw what was scary if he didn't know what it was? He simply shrugged and said hesitantly, "'Kay."

Moving to the table in the corner of the office, the therapist produced markers, crayons and a large drawing pad. JD climbed into one of the chairs and picked up a thin, black marker. He studied the paper with a growing frown. Finally he said, "I don't know what to draw."

"That's all right. We'll just sit here and talk for a little while, then." The doctor began asking about school, directing his young client through a non-threatening conversation. They discussed what he was studying in school, the latest game he had learned to play on the computer,

After a few minutes the little boy began to draw, hardly seeming aware that he was doing so. Will watched the picture taking shape, delivering with it a crude but telling representation of the child's fear.

They continued talking until it seemed that the little brunet had finished drawing. Lowery waited until he had put the last crayon down before he spoke. "So, can you tell me about your picture?"

"'Kay. This is our house. These are 'nadoes, they made the roof go in the sky and they taked all my toys an' stuff out, too."

"I see. And is this you?" He purposefully pointed to one of the three stick figures that stood on one side of the house.

"No, that's Vin. See, he gots brown hair. This is me." He pointed to the little figure that stood all alone on the other side of the house. "I can't find Da and Chris and Vin so I'm over here by myself, 'cause I'm lookin' for 'em."

"And how are you feeling?"

Frowning, JD studied the picture then looked up at the therapist. "Scared. Is that what I'm scared of, Dr. Will, that 'nadoes is gonna come?"

If only it were that simple. "What do you think?"

After a minute little Dunne shook his head. "I don't think so. I mean, 'nadoes is scary, but I ain't never seen one at our house, just on TV." He sighed, shaking his head once more. "It's a dumb picture."

"Could you tell me why you think it's a dumb picture?"

"'Cause it is. I was s'posed to make a picture 'bout what's scary."

"You don't think this is a scary picture?"

"Yeah, it's scary, 'cause 'nadoes is scary, but they ain't at my house."

"What is at your house?" Will asked quietly.

"Well, my toys an' Elvis, an' Milagro, an' Vin's toys an' Ringo, an' Peso, an' Chris, an' Da… they don't got real toys, but they 'tend their trucks is toys. That's what they call 'em." He looked at the doctor and shrugged, not getting the joke. "We got beds an' TVs an' videos, an' games."

"What about the people that live in your house?" Lowery asked when the little boy stopped to take a breath.


"What about the people that live in your house?"

"You know all the people that lives in my house. There's me an' there's Da, an' Chris, an' Vin. We don't got nobody else that lives there. Miz Potter is there sometimes, but she don't live there."

"And they're the same people that have lived there for about a year, right?"

"Yeah, it's just been us since me an' Vin an' Da moved in with Chris."

"And you all do the same things that you've always done since you all moved into Chris' house, right?"

"Yeah… I… no. We don't do the same things we always did."

"Do you mean that the people in your house have changed… that they're different?"

"Yeah, ever'body's changed. They don't do the same things they used to do."

"Can you tell me more about that?"

"About ever'body bein' differ'nt?"


"Well, Chris is home all the time, cause 'a his broked leg. He don't like it, 'cause he can't do a some stuff yet an' he's home almost all the time. An' Da's gone too much 'cause he's gotta… gotta take Chris' slack?"

"Take up the slack?"

"Yeah. So he ain't home too much an' he's busy a lot. An' Vin don't hardly do nothin' the same no more."

"He doesn't? Do you mean he's made a lot of changes?"

"Yeah. He don't tell me what to do no more, an' he don't wanna make games up, an' he's been bein' mad 'bout a lot of things."

"Sounds like a lot of things are changing."

"When's it gonna stop?" JD asked in a sad voice.

"The changes?"

"Yeah," he sighed. "When's the changes gonna stop?"

"Do they need to stop?"

"Yeah, 'cause I don't like 'em. They need to stop so we can all be the same an' nobody's mad no more!"

"How are you feeling right now, JD?"

"Scared! I don't want things to keep changing, 'cause I don't never know what's gonna happen!"

"And what will happen if things keep changing and you can't figure out what's happening?"

"I don't know! Bad things!"

"Bad things will happen if things change?"


"Are you certain?"


"Tell me the bad things that will happen when things keep changing."

"I don't know! Just bad things, Dr. Will! Bad things, all right?"

"You're feeling very scared right now?"


"And maybe you're a little angry right now, too?"

"Yeah, 'cause you keep makin' ever'body change! Maybe if we don't come see you no more we won't have to change no more!" He shot an angry look at the doctor.

"So if you all stop coming to talk to me you'll all stop changing and everyone will be happy?"


"Can you answer something for me?"

"Okay." He slumped back, staring up at the doctor, a look of challenge on his little face.

"Was everyone the same all the time before you and Vin came back to see me?"

He frowned, considering the question. For long moments there was only silence in the office as the little boy thought about what had been asked. Finally he said softly, "I think… well, some things was changed 'fore we came to talk to you."

"Can you tell me one thing that was changed before you came to talk to me?"

Nodding, JD said, "Vin was gettin' angry a lot more than he used to. But he's still gettin' angry."

"Okay. How about something else?"

"Well, Da's not around as much, 'cause he gots to do more work."

"And you don't want that to change?"


"You said you didn't want things to change anymore, so I thought that you didn't want your father to stop working so much."

"No! That ain't what I want!"

"Then you do want some things to change?"


"And if your father gets to stay home more, would that be a good thing or a bad thing?"

"A real good thing!"

"So maybe some changes are good?"

Hesitantly the five-year-old said, "Yeah… I guess."

"But a lot of the time change is hard?" The little boy nodded. "And sometimes you don't know what's going on when things are changing?" A nod. "And you get scary feelings with all these changes?"

"Yeah… I don't like it."

"I can understand that. Changes are hard. Even adults have a hard time dealing with change."

"They do?"



"Yes," Dr. Will gave the little boy a compassionate smile. Then he asked, "What if we ask Chris and your father how they feel about change? Maybe we can find some ways for you to not be so scared about changes if we all talk about it."

"'Kay. Could we go ask 'em now?"

"Is there anything else you'd like to talk about right now?"

"Don't think so."

"Did you want your father to come in here to talk first, or would you rather just go ahead and go talk to everybody at the same time?"

"I think… ever'body at the same time."

"All right. Let's go ask them, shall we?"


JD smiled as he entered the playroom just in front of Dr. Will as he saw that his family was still there. Sprinting across to where Buck sat, he all but flew into his lap. "Hi, Da!"

"Well hi, Little Bit," Wilmington said, barely keeping his seat as the tiny whirlwind landed in his arms.

"I gots a question to aks you," he announced with a serious look.

Smiling, Dr. Lowery said, "how about we gather in a circle first, JD?"

"'Kay." The little brunet agreed as he climbed back off his foster father's lap and grabbed the nearest empty chair. "C'mon, we gots to make a cicle."

"Yes, sir," Buck teased as he grabbed a chair as well.

When the five of them had settled into a circle, the therapist made certain he had everyone's attention before he said, "Well, I feel that both of the boys did some very hard work today. And, since JD seems highly motivated to begin the discussion, I think I'll give him the floor."

"Huh?" The fidgeting little brunet frowned up at the adults.

"Go ahead and ask your question, kiddo," Chris said with a smile.

"Oh. 'Kay. Is changes scary?" He looked from his Da to Chris and back again, waiting for them to answer.

"Changes?" Buck frowned, turning to the therapist.

"Well, I believe what JD would like to know is, how do changes affect you?"

"I guess it would depend on what type of change," Larabee replied.

"The kind that's like 'nadoes," The smaller boy said softly.

"Like tornadoes?" Wilmington asked.

Nodding, the doctor said, "I think JD wants to know how big changes affect you, especially ones that you don't have any control over."

"Ahh," The blond nodded, realization dawning on him as he began to see what the other man had discovered in talking with the little brunet. "Well, I don't know about your Da, JD, but I don't have good feelings when there are big changes and I don't have any control over them."

"Yep, I've got to agree," The mustached agent added to the conversation. "They can be real hard to deal with."

The five-year-old frowned. "But you're growed ups, you ain't s'posed to have bad feelings."

"Who says?" JD's Da asked softly.

"I know I get bad feelings when I don't understand what's going on," Chris said.

"Yeah, I think most people get bad feelings when things are changing and they don't understand what's going on," Buck confirmed.

"You do?" JD looked from one man to the other, receiving twin nods in return.

"Has that been the thing you've been afraid of all week, Little Bit?" Wilmington asked gently. "Is this the scary thing you couldn't tell us about?"

The little boy nodded, hanging his head. In a mournful voice he said, "I'm sorry."

"JD," Chris said just loud enough to get the child's attention. "You don't have anything to feel sorry about, son."

"But I didn't tell you an' Da an' you aksed me lots of times."

"Little Bit, did you keep it from us on purpose?" Buck asked.

"No. I just… I didn't know… no, I didn't mean to." The little boy stammered.

"You didn't keep anything from us, you just didn't understand what was going on, is that what you're saying?" Chris asked.

"Yeah," The thick mop of dark hair bounced as he nodded.

"Then you don't have anything to be sorry for, buddy." Larabee continued.

"But I know you and Da was… f'ustated 'cause I didn't say what was wrong all week."

"That's just part of being a Da, Little Bit. One of my jobs is to help you figure things out… but sometimes I can't figure them out myself. That's part of the reason we come to see Dr. Will."


"Well, that's part of being a human being. Sometimes we have to admit that we're not perfect," Lowery interjected. He watched twin embarrassed smiles appear on the two foster father's faces and added, "Even parents who always work their hardest to be good parents."

"Dad an' Buck is good parents!" Vin protested. A baby glare began to form as he challenged the therapist to question the parenting abilities of their dads.

"You're right, Vin," Will said with a smile. "They are good parents. I wish that all of the children I work with had parents who work as hard as Chris and Buck do." He didn't miss the mixture of relief, pride and humility that crossed over the two adults faces.

"Why don't they?" Vin asked innocently.

"Well, buddy, if I knew that I'd be able to help them a lot more," the doctor admitted. "But for now, let's see if we can get this family back on track. The one thing that you all have working for you is that each of you is willing to do your very best to make things work."

"So what do we do?" Larabee asked, trying to cut to the chase.

"For now, we keep talking," Lowery responded.

Taking that as a cue, JD said, "then can I aks Vin 'bout stinky Freddy?"

"Yes, you and Vin can discuss Freddy."

The two boys talked over the incident with their classmate. Vin hesitantly explained what had occurred after he had sent JD away. While the entire conversation upset him, it also helped the younger boy to understand his friend's anger a little more. The family discussed options for handling any further problems brought about by the other boy. Dubbing it the "Freddy Rule", the boys promised to discuss any future issues brought up by the child's mean-spirited nature with their fathers.

"I think I'll have a word with the teaching staff tomorrow," Buck said as the conversation drew to a close.

"What 'bout, Da?"

"I just want to let them know that maybe they need to keep a closer eye on Freddy so he doesn't cause any more problems."

"It's okay, Buck," Vin put in. "I gots a plan."

"You do?"

"Yep." The little blond smiled, blue eyes sparkling.

"Would you like to share your plan with us?" Will asked.

"With a giggle, the little boy said, "you know them little bitty cards you give us with your name an' stuff on 'em, Dr. Will?"

"Yes," Lowery replied.

"I wanna take one of 'em to school with me. An' next time he says somethin' mean I'm gonna give him a card an' tell 'im he needs to call you so you can help him with all his bad feelings."

The adults in the room couldn't help but dissolve into laughter at the child's plan. Vin joined them in their laughter and was followed by JD. Although the younger child wasn't certain why he was laughing, he didn't want to be left out.

Finally, happily wiping away tears of joy, Chris said, "Well, that's a wonderful plan, Vin, but lets talk about it some more later, okay? I don't want you to get into trouble."

Shrugging as if to say he didn't care if he got into trouble, the boy said simply, "Okay."

Having dealt with the issue of Freddy Chaney they returned to JD's fears.

"But we talked 'bout it already," The little brunet said, tiring of talking about things that were bothering him.

"Yes, but we need to come up with some ways to help you figure out ways to talk to your father, Chris and Vin," The doctor replied. Then he said, "Hang on just a minute, and let me go get something."

They watched the therapist leave and return a minute later, holding a variety of things in his hands. Sitting back in his chair, he handed over a cellophane wrapped object to each boy as well as a piece of paper covered with pictures. Then he handed several sheets of paper to each of their fathers.

"Now, the little pad I gave you in the package is a 'feelings meter'. See the little thing like a frame that says 'I feel like' on it?" When the boys nodded, he continued. "Each day you can put that little square on the face that looks like you feel. Then, even if you don't have a word for your feeling, your fathers will have a better idea of what's going on."

"Maybe that's something you could do when you get home from school," Buck suggested. "Then we can talk about whatever's going on at the pow-wow."

"Good idea," Lowery agreed. "They're magnetic, too, so you can put them on the refrigerator or wherever would be the easiest for you all to remember them.

"Now, there are still going to be times when what you're feeling is confusing. The best thing to do is to just start talking. Sometimes you don't think you know what you want to say, but if you just start talking it will come out."

"Like when I wasn't s'posed to say that Da said Unca' Ezra squeezes his pennies 'til the guy on 'em hollers when Unca' Ezra was over?" JD asked.

"Yeah, something like that," Will fought hard not to laugh as he saw the embarrassed expression on the bigger brunet. "It's sort of like a thought is hiding inside your mind. If you keep talking sometimes it just comes out. Like when you drew the picture of the tornadoes earlier. It helped us figure out how you were feeling, right?"


"Yeah, adults sometimes have that same problem… saying things that they don't mean to… in front of people they shouldn't say them around," Larabee smirked at his old friend.

"I could let you walk home, pard," Buck threatened with a smile.

Still grinning, the therapist said, "At any rate, the best thing is to keep talking, guys."

"Exactly," Chris chimed in. "I want to make sure that both of you boys understand something. You don't ever need to be afraid to say anything to either me or Buck. Especially if it's something that's giving you a feel bad thought or a scary feeling. There is nothing either of you can say that will make us want to give up on you or send you away."

"Right," Wilmington added. "Me and Chris made a promise to you boys, and neither one of us will ever go back on that promise. You're our boys, and we're not about to send you away, no matter what. Nothing you can say or do will ever make us want to give up on you. Got it?"

With broad smiles the boys said in unison, "Got it!"

"Okay," Will said, bringing the discussion back to the subject at hand, "getting back to the things I just gave you. The paper I gave you is about emotions as well, it should help you learn to find a name for your feelings a little easier.

"Now the papers I gave you, dads, are some other things that should help all of you deal with the feelings that all of the changes are bringing up. And not just for the boys," He said pointedly. "One of the pages has some affirmations that you can use with the boys… and one another. Then there's a page of tips that might help you deal with some of the tougher things that come up. The last one is a bibliography with some books that you might take a look at. Some of them may help you with the boys; others will help you make certain you're taking care of yourselves."

"We're fine, Doc," Buck argued.

"No, we're not," Chris admitted. Turning an even look toward his friend, he said, "Face it, pard. You and I are having almost as much trouble dealing with things lately as the boys are."

The bigger man frowned, his eyes sliding toward the therapist and back to his friend. "But, we've got better coping skills as adults, not to mention what we do for a living."

"Everyone can use a hand once in a while," Lowery observed. "If you don't need to use them that's fine, but if you need some assistance it's available."

"Yeah, okay," Buck said. He still wasn't convinced that the therapist was on target.

Deciding that this would be the best he received from the man, Will moved on. "Vin, we've focused on JD's questions. Do you have anything you'd like to bring up?"

The little blond blushed as he opened his mouth to answer only to yawn. With an embarrassed grin, he said, "S'cuse me. I can't think of anything."

With an understanding smile, the therapist said, "I think maybe everyone is getting a little tired, huh? Okay, let me see if I can wrap things up. First off, were you able to do the homework assignment?" When all four members of the little family wore chagrined expressions. "Well that's all right. I think it might work better if we work on it for next week anyway. Just to refresh everyone's memory, you're supposed to talk about how things have changed for you since becoming a family."

"I think we should be able to talk about this week," Chris said with a hopeful look.

"All right. Now, I have a question for all of you. How are you feeling about next week being our last session for now? It's the last one we have scheduled, and I'll be gone for a couple of weeks, but do you think we need to schedule some more sessions?"

"No!" JD said adamantly. Then he ducked his head and said, "Sorry."

"I asked your opinion, JD," Lowery reassured the little boy. "And you certainly gave it. Maybe a little louder than I expected, but it tells me very clearly that you're ready for a break."

"Me too, Dr. Will," Vin admitted. "I like talkin' to you, but… well… I don't know how to say it good, but I think I could use a break, too."

"You said it just fine, Vin," The therapist replied. Then he turned to the other adults in the room. "What about the two of you?"

"Honestly, Doc?" Buck spoke up. "I think it would be a good idea to have some time off. It seems to me like… well, not that things are gettin' worse, but… seems like the boys have had to deal with an awful lot over the last few weeks."

"Not to mention us," Chris agreed. "I think that maybe it's time to take a breather."

The therapist nodded. "I have to agree. Hopefully what's come out in these sessions will help you all move forward now. Of course you know that all you have to do is pick up the phone and make another appointment whenever you feel it's needed." When the men nodded he asked, "Chris, will you be here next week?"

"Yeah," The blond responded.

"Yeah, Dad's got cabin fever 'cause he's been home most 'a the time so he's been findin' 'scuses to leave," Vin said, big eyes staring innocently up at the therapist. "He knows Buck can handle things just fine."

Chris dropped his head into a hand, trying valiantly to stifle a smile. Shaking his head he said, "I did not tell him to say that, I swear."

Barely suppressing his own grin, the tall brunet said, "Think we need to start speakin' in code or somethin'."

Managing to keep a straight face, the therapist said, "All right, then what say we call it an evening. Next week we'll wrap things up, and we'll call an end to things for now, how's that?"

Before anyone could respond a loud, gurgling growl sounded through the room. JD's eyes flew open; one hand covered his mouth and the other his stomach. When all eyes turned to him, he said, "Sorry. My belly's hungry."

With a chuckle the therapist said, "Well, that's the surest sign I can think of that it's time to call it a night. Will you be dining with Ronald again this evening?"

"No," Larabee said in a relieved tone. "The boys took pity on me this week. We're going for Italian."

"Yeah, we're gonna have psgetti," JD announced.

"Sounds good. Okay, go have 'psgetti' and I'll see you all next week."

Next appointment: March 31

Back to Visits With Dr. Will (Index)

Comments: LaraMee