Little Britches - ATF
Disclaimer: The usual applies, don't own 'em, don't profit off 'em, don't mean any infringement.
Warnings: No Vin and Chris in sight folks! Don't go into shock, all right? It's all JD and Buck.
Notes: Joy shared a cute little joke with us recently and from that joke sprang this plot bunny. I've included the joke at the end.
"JD, what have I told you about that?" Buck Wilmington gently scolded his five-year-old foster son. He had glanced in the rearview mirror to find the little boy sitting back in his booster seat, with his thumb in his mouth.
"Sowwy, Da," the tiny brunet said around the digit. Noting the stern look being aimed at him through the mirror, he removed his thumb. After the audible and rather wet sounding 'pop', he repeated, "Sorry, Da. I forgot."
"Forgot what, son?" Buck asked.
"Forgot I ain't s'posed to suck my thumb."
"Because ?" Wilmington prompted.
"'Cause all the thumb juice will go into my belly and it'll blow up like a balloon and it might get so big it'll pop." Little Dunne recited.
"Right." The big brunet felt strange giving the child false information and his friends and co-workers had chided him for it. But, the truth was this was the only thing that even remotely worked for the problem. He had tried talking, rewarding, punishing, bribing, but nothing brought an end to the child's habit like the specter of an exploding stomach.
Rationalizing that future astronomical orthodontia bills made the white lie a rather necessary evil, Buck continued to use it. The fact that he could cease almost any thumb sucking immediately by using the story gave the man the strength to continue the charade.
The two of them were enjoying a little one-on-one time. They had spent the night in town, sleeping in Nathan and Raine Jackson's spare room. Their plans for a bright and sunny Saturday included going to one of the area parks for the morning.
Pulling up into a parking space near their destination, Buck turned off the truck, climbing out of the vehicle and going around to release the little boy from the seatbelt. Pulling the five-year-old from the child safety seat, he said, "Now what are the rules?"
Rolling big, hazel eyes, the child said, "I ain't s'posed to suck my thumb."
Choking back a laugh, the big man said, "No, what are the rules about the park?"
"Oh. Um I ain't s'posed to leave th playground, I ain't s'posed to talk to big kids or growed ups I don't know, if anybody tries to make me do somethin' I think is wrong I'm s'posed to say no, if they try to hurt me I'm s'posed to holler real, real, loud." He ticked the rules off quickly.
With a wide grin, the child's father said, "Good job, Little Bit." Swinging the child onto his shoulders, Wilmington strode off toward the play area.
They played for some time. Buck pushed the little boy on the swings and cheered him on as he climbed around the wooden maze. It was still early enough that they were almost the only people around.
After a couple of hours, Wilmington could see that the tyke was tiring. Tempting him from the playground with the promise of his choice of treats from the nearby concession stand, Buck took the tiny hand in his. They walked across the grass toward the little building that was made to look faintly like an old log cabin.
Several minutes of debate and negotiation ensued but, finally, father and son took their treats to a nearby bench. Settling the little boy on the seat, the big brunet sat down beside him. They relaxed, eating, drinking, and chatting quietly.
Finishing his juice and a bag of cornies, JD began to fidget. Beside him, his father seemed to be taking an awfully long time. "Can I go throw my stuff in the trash?"
"Yep," Buck said. He took another pretzel from the bag and ate it. He was being intentionally slow with his own snack, knowing that it would be the easiest way to get the boy to take a break. Otherwise, he would wear himself out and they'd all be up tonight when the five-year-old's body got revenge with muscle cramps and assorted aches.
"You want me to throw yours away, too?" Little Dunne asked hopefully.
"No thanks, I'm not quite finished."
Heaving a heavy sigh, the tiny brunet scooted off the bench and started toward the nearest trash can. Just to make things interesting, he tried hopping on one foot.
Buck smiled fondly as he watched his foster son awkwardly hopping and scuffing to the trash can. He caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and turned to see who was approaching. He nodded as a couple walked past on their way to the concession stand with two little children. He noted absently that the family was going to be growing by one very soon and turned his attention back to JD.
The tiny brunet had deposited his trash in the can and spun around to retrace his steps. He found his way blocked by a man and a lady. He frowned when he saw that the man was thin, but the lady had a great big belly that poked way out in front. Smiling sweetly at the woman, JD pointed at her pregnant stomach. In a loud voice, he proclaimed, "Hi! I know what you been doin'! My Da telled me 'bout how come your belly gots so big!"
The couple stopped, staring at the boy. The man began to frown, glancing around for the child's father. The woman's face took on a deep red shade.
Her blush was nothing compared to that of Buck Wilmington. The tall brunet skirted the stunned couple, tossed his trash in the can and scooped his child up in an arm.
"I'm uh ah " Buck sputtered as he tried to find a way to apologize. Finally, he settled on, "'s'cuse us, folks," as he all but ran off with JD over one shoulder.
Unfazed, the little boy called out, "I hope your belly don't 'splode ma'am!"
Imagining the stares he was getting, the tall man scurried off. They were definitely going to have a talk when they got home.
The joke that birthed the plot bunny:
A boy had reached four without giving up the habit of sucking his thumb, though his mother had tried everything from bribery to reasoning to painting it with lemon juice to discourage the habit.
Finally she tried threats, warning her son that, "If you don't stop sucking your thumb, your stomach is going to blow up like a balloon."
Later that day, walking in the park, mother and son saw a pregnant woman sitting on a bench. The 4-year-old considered her gravely for a minute, then spoke to her saying, "Uh-oh...I know what you've been doing."