The four people in the playroom looked up as
Dr. Lowery and Vin entered. Both Chris and Buck looked somewhat surprised.
Larabee watched his foster son closely for signs of distress while Wilmington
glanced at his watch. Vin had never been in Lowery's office this short a
"Hey Vin you wasn't in there hardly at all,"
JD chirped, putting their fathers thoughts very succinctly into words.
"We was done talkin'," Little Tanner said with
a shrug as he climbed into a chair.
Josiah stood, nodding to the therapist as he
offered his hand. "Hi, Will, how are you this afternoon?"
Taking the big man's hand in a warm grip, the
boys' therapist said, "I'm just fine, Josiah, yourself?"
"Fine. Well, I'll get out of the way and go wait
in the reception area." The big profiler started toward the door.
"Unca' 'Siah!" Vin called out.
Turning back the older man said, "Yeah?"
"Are you gonna go t' dinner with us when we're
"I sure am."
"'Kay." Vin smiled at his uncle and then turned
back to the picture he had started earlier.
With a chuckle, Sanchez shook his head, waved
a hand to the others, and left the room.
Taking advantage of the fact that the two boys
were absorbed in their drawing once more, the therapist spoke to their fathers.
"I saw those looks of surprise when I came back in just now."
"With a smile the big brunet said, "It was a
little bit of a shock. I mean, normally you'd still be in talking to whichever
boy you took in first."
Nodding, Lowery said, "Well the whole purpose
of the session today is to bring about a sense of closure as well as to check
in and make certain that we're on the right track. We don't want to end the
"So, do you think things are going all right
then?" Chris asked.
"I believe so. Both boys were able to share
information with me which would seem to indicate that you're all doing a
good job at working through things."
Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly,
Buck said, "That's good to hear, Doc. I've gotta tell you though, I still
feel like a drowning man sometimes."
"Welcome to parenthood, Mr. Wilmington," The
doctor said with a smile. "That's why it's also extremely beneficial that
the two of you have such a strong support system."
"I'll agree with that. " Chris replied. "Sometimes
I'm not sure what we'd do without them, especially the boys' uncles."
"Too bad we don't let 'em know that very often,"
Buck said. He exchanged a chagrined look with his old friend.
"Well that's easily rectified; all you have to
do is remember to tell them in the future." The therapist said. Then, seeing
that the boys seemed to be finished, he said, "Shall we make a circle now
so we can all talk?"
"'Kay." JD said as he dropped off his chair and
bounced to the floor.
The family made a circle in the middle of the
room, the therapist joining them. "All right, so here we are for a last family
session. How is everyone feeling about that?"
"Good!" JD said with a grin that elicited a groan
and rolled eyes from Vin.
"JD! Y' ain't s'posed t' tell someone yer glad
y' ain't gonna see 'em no more." The little blond admonished.
The smaller boy frowned. "You mean we ain't gonna
see Dr. Will no more?"
"That's what he said," Young Tanner said sagely.
"Well, what the doc means, " Buck interjected,
"is that this is the last session we've got scheduled. We might come back
again sometime, or we might not. It's just gonna depend on how things are
"Oh," JD replied. Then looking over at the therapist
he continued. "I'm sorry, Dr. Will, I didn't mean I didn't wanna see you
no more. I'm just tired a comin' here all the time."
With a smile to let the tyke know there were
no hard feelings, the therapist said, "That's all right, JD. Like I said
before, you won't hurt my feelings as long as you tell me the truth."
"'Kay," JD smiled at the man.
"So, what about you, Vin? How are you feeling
about this being our last session, at least for now?"
The little blond shrugged his shoulders. "I don't
I feel kind 'a
"Funny? Can you tell me more about that feeling?"
Heaving a sigh, Vin said, "I dunno how else to
say it. I'm happy, 'cause we don't gotta come here every week. But I get
a little bit of a sad feelin', too. And I think that there's some other feelin's,
but I don't know what to call 'em."
"Do you think we should make some more appointments?"
Chris asked gently.
Studying the question, Vin said, "No
don't think so. I mean, Dr. Will's helped me figure out a lotta stuff, but
" He shook his head, not certain how to proceed.
"I think that maybe this is a very complicated
a very big
feeling." Lowery interjected.
Little Tanner nodded. "I think so. I'm sorry
I don't know how to say it good."
The doctor smiled compassionately. "You said
it very well. Sometimes it's hard to explain a feeling. Could I give you
"Perhaps you're a little worried that if you
don't come here every week that the feel bad thoughts will come back? Maybe
you're a little worried that you'll start having problems again? And maybe
you're worried that you're gong to have new feel bad thoughts?"
The blue eyes widened and the seven-year-old's
face was flooded with a vast mixture of emotions. In a whisper he said, "Yeah."
Leaning forward the therapist said sincerely,
"If that happens, Vin, I promise that I will see you just as soon as possible."
"Cowboy, all you have to do is tell me and I'll
be on the phone, getting an appointment set up for you," Chris added to the
therapist's promise. "And if I'm not around - say I'm at a meeting or something
- then Buck, or Mrs. Potter, or your uncles
any of them will help you
"You'd better believe it, Junior," The big brunet
"But does that mean I gotta come, too?" Little
Dunne asked in a disappointed tone.
"Well you might
if you think you need to,"
"What if I don't wanna come?"
"We're not going to force you to come, JD," Chris
"Right. You might have to sit in the lobby and
wait, but we won't force you to see Dr. Will," Wilmington added.
"But it works both ways, too," Larabee added.
"If you think you have a problem that Dr. Will can help you with, but Vin
doesn't think he needs to come, we'll set that up, too."
"Okay, but I don't think I'm gonna need to,"
The five-year-old said with a child's confidence.
"That's fine, buddy," the therapist responded.
"Just so you know that I'm here if you need me
just as I am for Vin."
"'Kay," The little brunet said with a shrug that
said he didn't think it was going to happen.
Giving the child time to add to his comment,
the doctor turned to the adults. "How about the two of you? How are you feeling
about the sessions coming to an end?"
Both men looked surprised at being included in
the question, but Buck responded first. "I think it's gonna be okay. I think
the boys are handling things a lot better."
"But what about you?" Lowery emphasized the last
well," Wilmington frowned. He hadn't
considered his own response to the end of the visits. "I'm fine I guess."
"You guess?" Will echoed.
The brunet's frown deepened. He hated those therapy
tricks, like repeating a person's words. "Honestly, Doc, I hadn't given it
"It hadn't occurred to you, or it doesn't really
With a sigh the big man said, "It just hadn't
occurred to me. I mean, we were comin' here to help the boys out with some
of their issues
I didn't really think about the fact that I've been
gettin' help along the way."
"Fair enough," Lowery replied. "How about you,
The blond smiled, happy that his friend had drawn
the focus for a few moments. At least he had time to consider the question.
"Well, I'm mostly relieved that things are going as well as they are. For
a while there I was pretty worried that it was all going to fall apart. But
I also know that - at least after you get back - you'll only be a phone call
away. I'm grateful for that, Dr. Lowery, and grateful for everything you've
"I appreciate that, Chris, but I haven't done
anything. At most I've - as I guess you'd say in your profession - provided
back-up. The four of you did the real work. And on that note, I'd like to
say something to all of you." When four pairs of eyes met his, he continued.
"Since meeting with you over the course of the
last several weeks, I've been able to see something that, a year ago, I could
only hope for. I have to admit that I had my reservations about things working
out. While I never doubted that the four of you had formed a bond
sometimes that just isn't enough.
"However, during these sessions, I've been able
to see that there is more at work here than simply the formation and
strengthening of a bond. I've seen a devotion that I haven't often seen before.
I've seen it in the love, respect and concern you've all shown one another.
I've seen it in your willingness to do whatever it takes to work through
the issues that have come up during this course of treatment. In fact, you've
often gone above and beyond what's been needed."
He had been speaking primarily to the two fathers
and saw the confusion blooming in their sons' faces. Looking at the two little
boys, he said, "What I mean, guys, is that you have all done a really, really,
really good job."
Finally understanding most of Dr. Will's words,
Vin said, "You mean like when we do a good job at school, we git a smiley
face on our paper?"
"Something like that. Only if I gave you smiley
faces for the job you've done here, I'd probably give you each ten of them."
The children's mouths dropped open and their
eyes widened in surprise. They exchanged shocked looks then both smiled at
the therapist. JD finally said, "Wow, cool!"
The adults shared a laugh, the boys joining in.
After they quieted, the doctor said, "Well, now. Were you able to do your
homework assignment this week?"
"Yeah," Chris replied.
"I think we did a good job, too," Buck added.
"Yeah, the day hadn't gone well. Nothing major,
it just seemed like everyone was out of sorts." Larabee continued the
"But, everyone seemed to pull right out of their
bad mood when we started talking," Wilmington finished.
"That's good to hear." Lowery commented. "So,
would you like to tell me about it?"
"Okay, boys, it's time for a pow-wow," Buck
called from the den. He looked over at Chris, who was on the couch, his
cast-wrapped leg stretched across the cushions. "Think we'll get through
things without a fight tonight?"
"We can only hope," the blond replied as their
two foster sons entered the room. "Hi guys, your room picked up?"
"Yep," JD said, plopping down on the floor beside
his golden retriever.
"Yeah," Vin said as he settled at the end of
the couch near his dad's feet. Ringo stretched out in front of him on the
floor. "It's all cleaned up."
"Good, thanks guys," Wilmington said with a
smile. "Okay, before we get started, I thought we'd talk about the thing
that Dr. Will gave us for homework. Do you remember what that was?"
The two little boys sat quietly, brows furrowed
as they thought back to what the therapist had said. Finally Vin said, "It
was s'posed to be 'bout what we're like since we came to live here?"
"That's pretty close, Junior," Wilmington responded.
"We're supposed to discuss how our lives have changed since we came together
to make our family."
"Oh yeah, right," JD said, head nodding vigorously.
"I 'member now."
Vin rolled his eyes. It was easy to remember
things after someone had already said them. "What kind 'a things are we s'posed
to talk 'bout?"
"Well, anything really. Whatever you can think
of that's changed about you since coming to live here," Chris entered the
"Yeah, anything," the little brunet agreed.
"Gees, JD, y' sound like a parrot!" Little Tanner
"Okay, let's don't start in already," Larabee
warned. "Let's focus on this assignment, all right?"
"Yeah," Vin sighed.
"'Kay," little Dunne agreed.
"All right. How about I go first?" The big brunet
"Sounds like a plan," Chris nodded.
"Okay. Well, I've been thinking about this for
a while. Back before we met you boys I lived all by myself. I could come
and go as I pleased; I could sleep in on my days off, and run around in my
underwear if I wanted. I went out on dates almost every night with lots of
ladies - " He paused as his friend cleared his throat dramatically. With
a smile he continued, "That's all I was gonna say about that.
"I came out here sometimes when it was just
Chris' house when we had parties and stuff. But most of the time I just saw
him at work just like Ezra, Josiah and Nathan.
"Then, when we met you boys
that changed. I moved out here with you and Chris. I hardly ever sleep in,
I never run around in my underwear, and I don't have very many dates with
ladies. Chris and I see each other a whole lot of the time, and I spend more
time with Ezra, Josiah and Nathan.
"I go to teacher's meetings and playgrounds,
and I've eaten more McDonald's in the last year than I ever have before.
I've watched more cartoons than I ever have, and most of the songs I know
the words to are nursery rhymes." He stopped when he realized that the two
little boys looked as if their hearts were breaking. Smiling at the children,
he said, "and I like it a whole lot more this way."
"You do?" Vin asked with a look of surprise
on his little face.
"You'd better believe it, Junior."
"You ain't sad 'cause you don't gots lots of
ladies no more, Da?" JD asked, fighting back tears.
Going over and scooping the tiny boy into his
arms, the big man held him so that he could look directly into the wide hazel
eyes. "No, I'm not sad because I don't have lots of ladies any more, Little
Bit. I've got something a whole lot better, now."
I've got a son," Buck said, his
voice filled with emotion. Then stepping over to the couch, he shifted JD
onto a hip as he knelt down beside Vin. Looking into the big blue eyes now
he said, "And I've got another little guy in my life that's just as special
to me, too."
With a curious look, Vin said softly, "Me?"
Grinning broadly the big man tweaked the little
boy's nose as he said, "Yeah, Junior, you."
Giggling, the seven-year-old swatted playfully
at Wilmington's hand. Then he said, "You really like it better now, Buck?"
"You'd better believe it, kiddo," the big man
said, serious once more.
"Good. 'Cause it wouldn't be as much fun if
you wasn't here."
"Well thank you, Vin Tanner, I'm glad you think
The little boy giggled again. "You sound like
Unca' Ezra!" The rest of the family joined him, the room ringing with their
"Can I say mine next?" JD asked when everyone
had settled back down.
"Sure, go ahead," Chris replied.
"'Kay. 'Fore me an' Vin lived here we didn't
have a good house or good food or nothin' for a real long time. Vin done
a good job takin' care a me, but lots a times we was real sad an' sometimes
I was real scared an' I cried. I 'member Vin said he was scared, but I never
seen him be scared. He just always taked care a me.
"Then, when I lived at Da's 'partment for a
little bit, I had fun. But I was sad, too, 'cause Vin was in the hopsipal
an' I missed him a lot.
"Then when we all comed to live here, I was
real happy, 'cause we all get to live here t'gether. Me an' Vin gets to be
brothers, an' Buck's my Da, and Chris
Chris is Vin's Dad.
An' we gots uncles an' a aunt an' dogs an' horses an' good food an' new toys
an' lots a good stuff."
Smiling, Buck said, "So, Little Bit, how do
you think you're different now?"
"Now 'cause I live here with you an' Chris an'
I gots toys, an' food, an' a dog,
an' a horse
"Do you have different feelings now, though?"
Larabee interjected, knowing that they would have a complete repeat of what
the child had said, otherwise.
I think," the tiny boy said. "I don't
get scared so much, an'
well, I'm happy lots more. Is that what you
"That's exactly what I mean," The tall blond
replied with a grin.
"'Kay. I guess I'm done."
The two men smiled. Buck said, "Thanks for sharin'
that with us Little Bit. I'm glad that you have happy feelin's more now."
The five-year-old smiled an' said, "You're welcome."
"Vin would you like to go next?" Chris asked
Looking somewhat uncomfortable, the little boy
guess. Do I gotta talk 'bout b'fore?"
"You don't have to talk about anything that
you're not ready to share, Cowboy," Larabee said gently.
With a relieved expression, the child said,
"'Kay. Well since I lived here I don't got to be 'fraid of things so much.
I don't gotta worry 'bout findin' stuff t' eat or nothin'. I still worry
'bout some things, like doin' good at school an' stuff. But it ain't scary
like stuff used t' be. An' I feel happy most a th' time, 'cause I got a family
"Sometimes I miss bein' th' boss an' sometimes
I fergit an' try t' tell JD what t' do, then I 'member that I don't gotta
be th' boss an' I c'n be jist a boy. 'N that means I git t' do fun stuff
like play ball an' play with Ringo, an' me an' JD can just have fun." He
paused then shrugged and said, "That's all I can think of."
Larabee smiled. "Thanks, Cowboy, I'm glad you
shared that with us."
Vin took a deep breath and nodded, but didn't
say anything. He was simply relieved to be done with this little exercise.
"Okay, Pard, your turn," Buck said.
Chris barely stopped himself from grimacing.
He was nearly as worried about opening himself up in this exercise. Taking
a deep breath that mimicked that of his foster son, he nodded. "Yeah, I guess
"You know, you could just make it real short,"
Chris looked at his old friend and saw the
compassion in the other man's face. He knew Buck was trying to spare him
some pain. Managing a smile, he said, "Why? Something on TV you wanna watch?"
The big brunet laughed, "Darn, you caught me."
His friend managed to ease the tension he felt,
allowing the blond to relax just a little. "Well, let's see
"Unca' Ezra says start at th' beginnin'," JD
He wasn't certain he could do that, but he said,
"Thanks, Little Bit."
"Well, back before you all came to live with
me, it was really quiet out here. I didn't like being here, because it gave
well, it gave me a lot of feel bad thoughts. So, most of the time
I stayed in town at my office rather than coming here. I worked a lot, because
that helped me keep the feel bad thoughts away.
"I also did a lot of dumb things; things that
weren't good for me."
"What kind 'a things?" JD asked innocently.
Giving the little brunet a pained smile, Larabee
said, "Just dumb things, buddy."
Vin looked away. He knew, at least a little
bit. He had overheard Buck and Unca' Nathan talking one time. They talked
about Chris drinking too much whiskey, and doing a lot of things that were
dumb and sometimes got him hurt. He knew about how whiskey could make people
do dumb things and he was glad that Chris didn't drink any more.
The little blond realized that his dad was talking
some more, and stopped his thoughts so he could listen.
"I wasn't a very nice person to be around, because
I was usually in a bad mood. So, only a few friends
would be my friend then."
"Yeah, well, we knew you were worth it," The
bigger man said sincerely.
Larabee gave his friend a grateful smile. "I
think you knew something I didn't. Anyway, that all changed when you all
came to live with me. I like being here, now. Most of the time I can't wait
to leave work so I can come home. This isn't a sad place to be anymore, it's
a very happy place."
"Even when me an' JD fight?" Vin asked.
"Yeah, even when the two of you fight. I don't
especially like the fights, but it doesn't make this a sad place to be."
"Just noisy," Wilmington added.
"Right, just noisy," Chris agreed.
"Even when you an' Da have loud 'scussions 'bout
stuff?" JD wanted to know.
"Yeah, even when me and your Da have loud
discussions, Little Bit. Your Da and I have had a lot of loud discussions
over the years."
" The bigger man said.
The two children watched the exchange warily
then saw the humor in their fathers' eyes.
"You're teasin'!" JD crowed.
"Yeah, we're teasing," Larabee agreed. Taking
another deep breath, he continued. "Before
when Sarah and Adam
when they went to be with the angels
I figured that I'd never get to
be a dad again. I think that made me sadder than anything because I loved
being a father. So
when the two of you came to live with me
was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever been given."
Chris stopped long enough to clear his throat
and marshal his emotions. He could feel the familiar ache, and the burn of
tears that threatened to fall. He held firm, however, not wanting to break
"Now that you all live here with me, and this
is our home, I'm happy a lot more often. Sometimes I get worried or angry
or other emotions, but I know that it's only going to be temporary. I know
those feel bad things are going to pass, and I'm going to be happy again."
Vin looked into his father's face as he finished
speaking. He saw many different emotions, and wasn't certain what to make
of them. Uncertain, too, as to what to do, he simply reacted. Climbing across
the couch, he curled into his dad's lap. Wrapping his little arms around
the man, he said softly, "I'm glad I got to be yer son, Dad."
Managing a tearful smile, Larabee wrapped his
arms around the little boy as he whispered, "I'm glad I got to be your Dad,
Will Lowery looked around him at the unique little
family, reflecting on the mix of emotions that crossed their faces. He could
tell that the power of that session had been very significant to them all.
Even little JD seemed to be moved by the event. "It sounds as if this was
a very powerful situation for you all."
Chris nodded, turning his head slightly as the
memory of that evening threatened to bring up the same emotions once more.
Across from him, Buck looked at the therapist with a slight smile. "Yeah,
it was, Doc."
Looking around at the members of the group, Lowery
said, "Is there anything more you'd like to share about your homework?" He
gave them a moment, but one by one he received a negative response. "All
right then. Boys, could I ask you to go keep Josiah company for a few minutes
while I talk to your dads?"
"How come?" JD asked.
Grinning, the therapist said, "I just want to
talk to them a few minutes and it's going to be boring, grown-up stuff. Is
"'Kay." The smaller boy bounded from his chair
and headed for the door.
Vin looked hesitantly at his father. He had seen
the tears in the man's eyes, and wasn't certain he wanted to leave. "Dad?"
Larabee looked into the big, blue eyes and
straightened in his seat. Smiling, he said, "C'mere." When the little boy
came closer, he gathered the child in his arms and gave him a hug. "It's
okay, Cowboy. How about you go out and talk to Uncle Josiah about where we're
going to eat?"
Grinning now, Vin said, "'Kay. No Mickey D's?"
Groaning loudly, Chris said, "Well
tell you what. If we can go somewhere a little more comfortable, when I get
this cast off we'll go to McDonald's every Friday for a month. How's that?"
His grin growing into a giggle the seven-year-old
said, "It's a deal," before he skipped from the room.
Will smiled. "Good negotiation there."
With a grimace, the blond said, "Tell me that
after the Big Mac attack, when I'm spending the weekend in the john." Lowery
laughed, as did Wilmington. Chris finally broke down and joined them.
When the three men settled down, the therapist
said, "I'll only take a few minutes, but I'd like to talk to you about some
things that I've observed."
Heaving a sigh, Buck said, "That doesn't sound
"Don't get ahead of yourself." Chris warned.
"You may have picked up on some of this stuff
yourselves. I've noted reluctance on Vin's part to bring up anything about
his time on the street. At the same time, he's made some comments that seem
to indicate that those months are never far from his thoughts."
"What are you sayin', Doc?" Buck asked.
"I think that the time may be coming that will
see him needing to discuss the things that happened to him then in-depth."
"How do we handle it?" Chris wanted to know.
"Don't push for information. Not yet. He may
offer you some tidbits now and again. For now, just listen. However, if it
seems that he's having trouble dealing with things you may consider bringing
"We will, believe it."
"Good. As far as JD... he's still processing
this whole issue of hero worship; not believing that any of you have ever
truly been scared. It's a frightening issue for him, because if you're scared,
if Vin's scared, who's going to protect him?"
"Hadn't thought about that," Buck admitted.
Nodding, the doctor said, "In one respect it's
important for him to understand that it's normal to be scared. But at the
same time, this is a little boy who is only now beginning to understand that
there are grown ups who will protect him. He's also trying to get used to
the fact that Vin's not going to be his boss, as you well know. Don't be
surprised if there are times when he's going to need a lot of reassurance.
It wouldn't be surprising to have him seek that out, as well as to test you
to make certain you're going to be there for him."
"So, we make certain that he knows we're there
"Exactly." When he saw the worried expressions
on their faces, Lowery said, "Don't let this distract you from enjoying life
with these two little guys. I meant what I said earlier. You've done an
incredible job with them. Don't take things like their acting out or testing
limits as signs that you're not doing a good job. Believe me; nothing could
be further from the truth."
Relief flooded over the faces of the two agents.
With a broad grin Larabee said, "Thanks, Doc."
Nodding, the therapist said, "All right, I'll
bring them back in long enough to say good-bye, and then you can all get
out of here."
A few minutes later the boys returned to the
playroom. The doctor saw that they were worried, and could well imagine that
they expected to be given bad news. With an understanding smile the therapist
said, "I just wanted to say good-bye before you boys leave."
Smiling now, the older of the two boys said,
"Oh! We got somethin' t' give you 'fore we leave."
"Oh, the surprise you couldn't tell me about
Giggling, JD said, "Yep." Along with Vin, he
moved to the art table. They came back to the circle a few seconds later,
each of them holding a piece of paper. Coming to stand before the doctor,
the little brunet continued. "We made you somethin', in case we don't come
back to see you no more."
"Yeah. So you won't forgit us," Vin added.
With a chuckle, the man said, "I don't think
I could ever forget the two of you."
The little boys smiled at that, then held out
their pictures. Vin continued. "We made you a picture of us. See? This is
me, an' Peso, an' Ringo an' Dad, an' his horse, Pony."
"Yeah, an' this is me, an' Elvis, an' Da, an'
Milagro, an' Beau," JD explained.
Lowery was touched by the handmade gifts. Taking
them with the same reverence they were offered to him, he said, "These are
beautiful, guys. Thank you very much."
The boys smiled. JD said, 'You're welcome."
"We thought you could put 'em in yer book if
you wanted too," Vin said, shyly.
"I'd love to include them in my book. And I'm
going to put them up, in my office, too. You boys did a wonderful job. Thank
"Well, we'd better go," Chris said after a brief
pause. As he pulled himself up onto his crutches, he said, "Doctor Lowery,
I want to thank you again for all that you've done."
Meeting the blond as he moved toward him, the
therapist took the hand Larabee offered. "You're more than welcome, Chris.
And I thank you for everything you've done, and continue to do, for these
two little guys."
"Doc," Buck said, offering his hand as well.
"It's much appreciated."
Shaking Wilmington's hand, Lowery said, "The
same goes for you, Buck. Thank you for everything you've done, and continue
to do, for these two boys."
As the men started toward the door, Will saw
his two little clients standing nearby, watching the exchange. Going to where
they stood, he held out his hand. Shaking the hand of each little boy, he
said, "And thank you boys for all of the hard work you've done. You should
be very proud of yourselves."
Giggling, JD said, "Okay, I will."
Rolling his eyes, Vin said, "Thank you, Doctor
Standing back, Lowery said, "All right, why are
you standing around? Get out of here and go eat!"
"Yea!" The boys said in unison.
A few minutes later, the therapist watched the
family group heading out the door. Josiah Sanchez had a little boy slung
over each shoulder, carrying them from the facility amidst childish giggles.
Buck was holding the door open for them, the big brunet smiling and shaking
his head. Chris brought up the rear, swinging along on his crutches.
Lowery looked down at the pictures, the boys
crude drawings causing him to smile with the joy each brought him. Finally,
tucking them inside the folder, he headed back to his office, a little
melancholy. Families like theirs were a joy to work with and he hated to
see the association ending, even temporarily. At the same time, he was excited
at the thought of how well things were going.
At least for now.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to all of you who have read the stories in this
series, and provided me with wonderful feedback. It means more than you can
know! Special thanks to Marnie and the other LB writers who provided me with
comma wrangling and other feedback on these stories before they were posted.
Many thanks to Jeanne, who has put up with all the anxiety I dealt with along
the way, and kept me going. And, as always, a big THANK YOU to Joy for all
the hard work she puts into not only LB, but the entire fandom!