Disclaimer: I don't own Magnificent 7 and will return them when I am finished.
Summary: What will happen when Chris finds out about the terrible wrong done to Vin's mom and even worse that he was the one who hurt the woman.
Note: I know only the basics on DNA so I did the best I could.
Chris watched affectionately as Vin raced around the small house. The sharpshooter had been a member of Team 7 for over a year. Chris had been nagging at him for almost the same length of time to move out of Purgatory. Vin had finally bought a house just outside of Denver on about an acre of land.
Chris had worried constantly over his young friend while he had lived in Purgatory. Every time there had been a shooting he had been positive that it was Vin that had been shot and killed. After several frantic phone calls from a worried boss Vin had told Chris to calm down, no one had ever bothered him knowing that he was an ATF agent.
It didn't help and the blond continued to worry over Vin.
Buck had told Chris he reminded him a lot of an old she wolf warning all predators away from her cub. Chris had just growled and told Buck to shut up, Buck had just laughed and informed his long time friend that he growled like a wolf to.
While Buck loved to tease Chris he was secretly ecstatic to see the blond finally emerge from his self imposed prison.
Buck and the rest of Team 7 had watched with astonishment, and joy as Vin Tanner worked his magic on the enigmatic short tempered and guilt ridden blond ATF leader.
Buck was positive that Chris had no idea how different he was around Vin. Buck was even thrilled as he watched Chris worry over the young man, there had been a time when his old friend hadn't seem to worry about anything but where the next bottle of whiskey was coming from.
The first real smile had come before Vin had actually been a member of the team. Vin had saved Nathan's life and Chris had come up to thank him.
Vin had whirled on the black clad man and launched a verbal tirade on him. It seemed that he had been following a suspect that was wanted in three states and the sting that Chris had set up to arrest a gunrunner had interfered with his nabbing the guy.
Buck had been shocked as he watched his old friend just take the verbal attack. Poised in anticipation of grabbing Chris when he went for the long haired bounty hunters throat Buck was further astonished when Chris had just looked at the irate young man.
When Vin had run out of steam Chris had fixed him with the infamous Larabee glare...a look designed to make grown men tremble, women faint and wayward children to promise never to do anything wrong again.
The whole team had been flummoxed when the young man had just returned the glare with one of his own, not backing down an inch as Chris had taken a step forward clearly trying to intimidate the young man.
Tanner had kept his eyes trained on the lethal blond and had hissed, "You don't scare me with that look and I'm pretty sure I could take you in a fight cowboy."
The team had gasped and winced...the young man was now a goner; Chris hated to be called cowboy.
Of course Buck had insisted that if Chris would quit wearing the cowboy hat and the black duster then people might stop calling him cowboy.
Chris had continued to stare at the man in front of him...damn if the boy wasn't afraid of him at all.
Chris had then smiled, a real smile, the first one Buck could remember seeing since Sarah and Adam had been killed.
Chris had stuck his hand out and said, "I'm Chris Larabee, ATF and this is my team."
Vin had clearly been taken aback by the sudden change in attitude and while he watched Chris suspiciously he did shake the blonde's hand.
From that one look, that one handshake a friendship...no a brotherhood was born between the two men.
Chris lost no time in recruiting Vin for his team, twisting arms, calling in favors doing whatever he had to do to get the blue eyed man on his team. Vin's lack of college and dyslexia worked against him, but his marksmanship with a rifle and the recommendations from the Army Rangers and the federal agencies he had apprehended criminals for was what turned the tide in their favor.
Vin meshed with the team like he had been with them from the beginning. Josiah was delighted to have another 'son' to watch over. Nathan was thrilled to see how Chris became more human when Vin was around; the man actually began to enjoy life again. Ezra found a partner in the pranks and practical jokes he liked to pull. JD found someone who was like a brother and a mentor to him. The others sometimes got exasperated with all his questions but Vin never did.
Buck...well Buck got two gifts. Not only did he get Vin as a friend and teammate but also he got Chris back as his oldest friend.
Chris got his life back, he enjoyed his job, he enjoyed his friends and he loved Vin Tanner. Vin was his soul mate, his brother in everything but blood. Vin was at the center of his universe; the sharpshooter was the calm to his temper...to his often-stormy moods.
Vin figured he had gained the most he got five men he looked on as brothers and one man he loved as an older brother, a mentor and the other half of his soul.
Vin knew Chris worried over him and that was why he had decided to move. Chris would rest easier knowing that he was in a good neighborhood besides he was closer to the Larabee ranch and since he had been spending most weekends out there anyway that was a big plus.
Neither man knew why they had become so close so fast...they didn't question how it seemed they knew each other's thoughts or worries. It simply was.
But nothing is ever that simple.
Vin finally paused long enough to take a deep breath and glanced at his chosen brother who was sitting in the chair smiling at him.
Mock frowning Vin growled, "What are you staring at cowboy?"
Chris frowned back, "One of these days Tanner I'm going to shoot you for calling me cowboy."
Vin's blue eyes twinkled with laughter as he replied, "Sure you will Chris. If I was gone you'd miss me."
Chris became very serious as he replied, "Yes I would Vin. I would miss you terribly. I am so glad you moved out here."
Vin smiled his heart swelling with love for this man, his brother.
"I am to Chris," Vin said blushing slightly.
Chris knew Vin was embarrassed at the emotional comment and quickly changed the subject.
"You got enough food for everyone, you know Buck and JD are going to be here?"
"I think so. All the guys are bringing something and I have nachos, those little wienies, salsa and chips, chili and a cake...oh yeah I have something I want to show you," Vin commented.
Chris smiled and thanked God he remembered to take his stomach pill, he couldn't figure out how Vin and JD could eat all that crap, never gain a pound and never have an upset stomach...it just wasn't fair.
Vin walked back into the room carrying a picture.
"You know I told you that I only had one picture of my mother and I kept it in a safe deposit box. Well since I have my own home now I took it out and had a copy made. I had it framed and thought I would put it out tonight for the first time. Would you like to see it?" Vin said in a rush.
Chris stood up and approached his friend.
"I would love to see a picture of your mother and I think tonight is the perfect time to put it out," Chris assured the nervous man.
Chris took the picture and gazed down at a woman he had not seen or thought of for over twenty-four years since he had been fifteen years old. On the woman's lap was Vin, it looked like Vin was only about five years old when the picture was taken.
Vin was looking down at the picture and didn't see Chris pale; the green eyes getting a panicked look in them.
Chris took a deep breath trying to control his pounding heart and slow down his breathing.
The world as he knew it was whirling out of control, he had to get out of the house but he had to do it without upsetting Vin.
Chris handed the picture back and turned around so Vin couldn't see the look on his face. Then with a poker face Ezra would be proud of he turned back around and smiled.
"Your mother was very beautiful Vin." Then as though just thinking of something Chris snapped his fingers and said, "Damn, Vin. I forgot something at the ranch, I'll just run and take care of it, and I'll be right back."
Before Vin could say a word Chris was gone.
Vin was surprised at the quick exit but figured it must be something important. Putting his mothers picture on the table he went about finishing up, the guests would be arriving anytime.
Buck and JD pulled up, while JD was getting stuff out of their car the ladies man noticed Chris standing by the side of Vin's house.
Something told him not to let JD see the blond so he sent JD on inside.
By the time Buck reached Chris the blond was leaning against the side of the house wiping his mouth off.
"You okay, Chris? Eat something that didn't agree with you?" Buck asked seeing the telltale signs that Chris had been sick to his stomach.
Buck gasped as Chris raised stricken green eyes, he hadn't seen the blond so desolate in a long time...well since Vin had entered the scene.
Buck glanced at the house and in a worried tone asked, "Junior okay? What the hell is wrong Chris?"
Chris whispered, "Buck I need you to come to the ranch with me for a few minutes. Tell Vin you ran into me and we'll be back, I'll meet you in the Ram. Don't tell him I was sick."
Buck was back in just a couple of minutes and off they headed for the Larabee ranch.
Neither man said a word, when they got to the ranch Chris went straight to the basement and carried a box back upstairs.
Buck sat down on the sofa next to the blond; he was chomping at the bit to know what had shaken Chris so bad.
Chris pulled out a photo album and turned the pages then he paused on one page.
A low whisper of "Oh shit, I knew it was her," came out of the blond's mouth.
"What the hell is going on Chris? I hate to tell you this but you are scaring the shit out me."
Then Chris began to talk and Buck was struck speechless the enormity of what Chris suspected striking him like a lightning bolt.
"Remember back when we were fifteen and my father took up with a younger woman. I pitched a holy fit when he told me that he was thinking of marrying her," Chris stated staring into the distance as the memories came back.
"Yeah I remember. Your mom had only been dead a year so you were entitled to be upset. As I recall he gave her up not to long after that," Buck replied.
"Yes he did, but that was only after I told him that if he married her I would hate him forever and would leave home as soon as I could. I remember Buck the night he came home and told me that he had told Julie that it was over, that I came first in his life and that was the way it had to be. My father was devastated but I didn't care, I got my way. Of course years later I apologized to him after I had grown up and realized how selfish I had been. Dad told me that he understood where I was coming from and not to fret about it. I wondered every once in a while what had happened to Julie. The couple of times I met her she was very nice, kind of shy but being a rebellious teenager all I saw was the women trying to take mom's place. I saw Julie today Buck...I saw her in the picture Vin showed me of his mother. Julie is Vin's mother. You do the math and while you are at it think of Vin's eyes and my father's eyes," Chris ended his story bowing his head.
Buck gasped, his mind supplied the visual of Vin and Chris's dad, fuck the eyes were identical, why hadn't he or Chris noticed that before.
Chris held out the photo album to show Buck some pictures.
"When dad sold his place he sent these boxes to me for safe keeping. Since he and his war buddies travel the country in the RV all year he didn't have a place for them. I glanced through them and saw these pictures of dad and Julie. You can see the love they had for each other in their eyes. She is the woman in Vin's picture. Of course she is a little older and she doesn't look well in Vin's picture. I have a feeling it was taken after the cancer had been diagnosed. Vin is in the picture, Buck; he looks to be about five years old. You know Adam inherited dad's blue eyes and I swear Buck, Vin looks so much like Adam at that age. I...I don't know what to do. Dad e-mailed me and he is going to be here in a week for the first time in over a year. He said he wanted to be around for Fathers Day, I'm afraid he is going to take one look at Vin and know the truth. They are both going to hate me and I don't blame them...what the fuck am I going to do?"
It was a cry for help and Buck Wilmington couldn't ignore it.
"First off we are going to do a DNA test to make sure. You put some of your hair in a baggy and when we get to Vin's I'll go and get some of his without anyone seeing me. We don't tell anyone about this until we are sure. There is no way that your dad would know if Vin was his son or not. A person just doesn't jump to those type of conclusions so don't worry over things that won't happen. If it is true that Vin is your brother your dad and Vin won't hate you, they love you," Buck assured his friend.
Chris jumped up and began to pace.
"Right Buck. Dad won't hate me for the fact that he missed out on his youngest son's life and Vin won't hate me for the nightmare his childhood was. Let's not forget the fact that the woman they both loved died of cancer all alone except for her little boy who I am sure she worried over knowing he was going to be left alone in a cold cruel world. Oh no they won't hate...hell yes they will hate me and I deserve it."
Buck got up and grabbed Chris by the shoulders; he shook his old friend barely refraining from knocking some sense into the man.
"You listen stud. You were a fifteen-year-old boy; you had lost your mother and didn't want to lose your father. Your dad told you he understood and I can assure you Vin won't hate you. Now Junior might be upset for a while but he won't hate you. I don't think that boy could hate you no matter what and he sure never holds a grudge. Now we are going back to his new home and we are going to have a good time. This is Vin's night and it will be perfect, we will take things as they come about. Got it?" Buck said sternly it was apparent that he needed to take charge or Chris was going to fall completely apart.
While Chris and his dad were close it didn't come close to how he felt about Vin. If he lost Vin then he might as well take a gun and blow his brains out because life wouldn't be worth living.
As they walked out of the ranch house Buck thought of something.
"I thought Vin met your dad when you went to visit him in Florida a few months ago."
"He was going to but he came down with that inner ear infection and couldn't get on a plane," Chris replied his tone totally defeated, he just couldn't see any way out of this disaster of his own making.
Buck sighed and turned gripping Chris's arms tightly.
"Listen to me and listen carefully. I am going to tell you this one more time. Your dad will not hate you; he loves you and Vin...hell Chris that boy thinks the world revolves around you. Now get a smile on your face or Junior will know as soon as you walk in the door that something is wrong."
Chris took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"Okay, but if the tests come back a match then I have to decide how I am going to tell them."
As they headed towards Vin's place Buck stated, "No we will decide how to proceed. I'm with you all the way stud. It will be fine, you'll see."
"I pray you're right Buck...I pray you're right," Chris replied resting his head against the window while Buck drove.
When they arrived back at Vin's everyone had arrived, cars filled the driveway and were parked out in front of the house.
Not only was Team 7 invited but other ATF agents who were friends with Vin. Everyone was invited to bring their wives or significant other. Casey and Nettie were there as well as Raine, Nathan's wife.
Vin must have been watching for the two men because they had barely made it to the front door before it was wrenched open and the sharpshooter stood there.
Chris looked into the familiar face...into a perfect copy of his fathers blue eyes...how in the fuck had he never noticed it before. The blue eyes that had seen through him when he was a kid now saw through him as an ATF leader. No matter that they were on two different men they were the same eyes.
Buck saw Chris falter and immediately stepped forward and swung Vin up and over his shoulder beginning to spin around.
Vin cried out and hit Buck on the back demanding to be put down.
Buck put the smaller body down and watched as Vin staggered dizzy, Chris had to laugh as he reached out and put his arm around Vin's shoulder so he wouldn't fall.
Vin seared his friends with a look.
"What the hell was that for Bucklin and where did the two of you disappear to, I was getting worried," Vin complained he had a feeling something was going on...something that Chris didn't want to tell him.
"Hell, Junior, I was just happy to see you. It's a big day for you," Buck replied trying to keep Vin's attention off Chris.
Chris shook Vin gently and said, "You don't need to worry about us. I just forgot that I had left the hose on when I was filling the hot tub. Buck said he would go with me in case there was a mess to clean up."
Vin looked a little dubious.
"Are you sure that's all it is?"
Chris looked Vin right in the eye and for the first time in their lives he lied to the most important person in his life.
"Yes, Vin that is all. Have I ever lied to you?"
Vin immediately felt guilty for not believing Chris, the guilty look crossed his face, which made the two older men feel bad about the lie.
"No you haven't Chris, I didn't mean to insinuate that," Vin quickly said.
Buck caught Chris's stricken look and stepped forward turning both men towards the front door.
"You didn't Junior, you were just worried. Now lets go party," Buck shouted.
Chris pulled Vin into a quick hug and smiled at him then the entered the house and began to party with everyone else.
Chris didn't know how he made through the evening but he did. At first Vin would glance at him the worried look still in the expressive blue eyes but by evenings end Vin had dismissed his worries.
Buck had whispered to Chris that he had some hair from Vin's brush. The ladies man also told his old friend that he was doing real well and to continue the act so Junior didn't get suspicious.
For once Buck stayed cold stone sober, he had watched as Chris had drank several beers, no one really noticed because everyone was having a good time. Thankfully most of the group had carpooled so everyone had a designated driver.
Vin was having a blast, the food was good and the drinks were never ending. A few years ago he would never have thought he would have this many close friends, men and women who really liked him and cared what happened to him. Of course he never thought that he would have a brother like Chris or that he would have a job he loved and now his own house.
Vin felt like he was truly blessed.
As the evening wore down people began to go home. Team 7 hung around and helped Vin pick the place up and put the left over food away.
Buck told JD to go ahead and go on home, he would drive Chris home and JD could pick him up tomorrow.
As Buck was helping Nettie and Casey into their car Chris was saying good night to Vin.
Vin thanked Chris for his help then was shocked when the blond pulled him close in heartfelt hug.
"I am so happy for you Vin," Chris whispered.
Chris then pushed Vin away from him framing the beautiful face with his hands.
Earnestly Chris said, "You know that I love you...right Vin? You're like my kid brother...nothing will ever change that...promise me Vin...promise me that nothing will ever change that."
Vin had just enough to drink to take Chris's words at face value; after all he knew that the blond had been drinking to.
Vin tugged Chris close and hugged the man.
"Of course I know that you love me, I love you to...you're my big brother. I...Vin Tanner promise that nothing will ever change that."
Buck arrived in time to hear Vin's declaration.
Laughing he pulled the two men apart, "Man remind me not to let the two of you drink again...talk about emotional."
Vin and Chris both glared at their friend. Buck just shook his head and thanked God that Chris didn't divulge anything about the situation.
Buck put Chris in the Ram and then hurried back into the house where he found Vin sacked out on the sofa. Buck covered the younger man with a blanket and then locked up.
Vin was going to have one hell of a headache he thought as he drove Chris home. Glancing over at Chris he figured Vin wouldn't be the only one with the headache. Thankfully it was Friday and they would have the whole weekend to recover.
Sure enough the next day both men woke with hangovers. Chris had not had a hangover since Vin had joined the team; Vin seldom drank to excess and never enough to suffer the next morning.
So the weekend was slow for both men, they talked on the phone and on Sunday Vin went out to the ranch so they could go for a horse ride.
Chris had given himself a stern talk and nothing in his actions gave Vin any reason to think something was wrong.
On Monday Buck told Chris that he had turned the hair samples from the two men over to a local clinic where the findings would be kept totally confidential. Chris should get the information by the end of the week. Chris was surprised he thought it took longer than that. Buck just smiled and said that Dottie really liked him and promised to rush the results on through.
Chris had just smiled and shook his head, Buck never ceased to amaze him.
Chris was on pins and needles for the next several days. Fathers Day was on Sunday and his dad was due in on Saturday. If Dottie followed through then he should have the results on Friday, this was going to be one hell of a weekend.
Thankfully the team didn't have any pending cases so the fact that Chris's mind wasn't always at work didn't bother anything.
Vin however noticed and questioned Buck who reminded his young teammate that Chris got moody like that and just let it go.
Vin didn't like it but he did what Buck said, after all Buck had known Chris longer than anyone.
Friday finally arrived, it was late in the day when Chris's phone rang, and most of the team had already left for the weekend.
Buck and Vin were the only ones left in the office. Buck was hanging around in case Chris got the results; he figured his old friend would need some support.
Vin was wrapping up some last minute reports; he was due to go out to Chris's for the weekend. They were going to do some riding together. Vin was a little nervous about meeting Chris's dad but Buck said the guy was real nice so Vin felt better.
Chris had told Buck that he wanted Vin at the ranch so that if the results were positive he was going to tell both men at the same time.
Buck offered to come out to the ranch and Chris told him that it might be best if it was just the three of them.
Chris answered the phone, Buck appeared in the doorway. Chris answered some questions and then hung up the phone, his hand was visibly shaking and he had paled.
Buck glanced behind him and watched as Vin headed for the bathroom.
Buck shut the door and crossed the room standing in front of the desk.
Chris raised stricken green eyes and whispered, "It was positive. Vin and I are brothers."
Buck groaned he didn't know what to say. A part of him had known ever since Chris had talked to him about Vin's mother that the two men were brothers. They were so much alike that it was scary at times.
"You know Buck, this should make me the happiest man alive. I find out that my chosen brother is my real blood brothers but due to my selfishness I missed out on his growing up and sentenced him to a childhood in hell," Chris whispered.
Buck peeked out of the mini blinds and saw that Vin was still gone.
"You best get that look off your face stud. Vin will know something is wrong. Tonight you figure out what you are going to say to him and your dad, and then tomorrow you just say it. Vin appreciates honesty and so does your dad. I told you before Vin is a very forgiving man and your dad won't hold it against you. You were a kid, they'll figure it out...you aren't giving them much credit Chris."
Chris swallowed heavily, he hoped and prayed that Buck was right because if he wasn't then Chris's world looked very dark and bleak.
On the way out to the ranch Vin noticed that Chris seemed a little quieter than usual but he figured the blond was thinking about the weekend ahead and seeing his dad after so long.
Finally even though Buck had assured him that Chris's dad was a great guy Vin had to ask a question even if it sounded like a little kid.
"Chris, do you think your dad will like me?" Vin asked wincing because he knew how he sounded.
Chris flinched from the question...shit he was so wrapped up in his own self-made hell that he hadn't noticed that Vin was worried about the upcoming meeting.
"My dad will love you Vin, just like I do," Chris replied smiling at the younger man.
Vin smiled back his heart warming at the declaration. Of course Chris had told him that at his party but they both had a little too much to drink. It was nice to hear Chris tell him he loved him when they were both stone cold sober. Vin had very little of that particular emotion when growing up.
As they pulled into the long drive to the ranch Chris noticed an RV by the barn, he felt his heart sink, his father was here. Swallowing around the lump in his throat he could only think that he wasn't ready for this. A part of him wanted to just turn around and speed away taking Vin with him far away from the past and the present.
But Larabee's were made of sterner stuff and Chris put a smile on his face as he turned to Vin.
"Looks like my dad is here early, so we'll have a nice family dinner tonight."
Vin still felt a little apprehensive about the meeting with Mr. Larabee but he really wanted to meet Chris's dad and if he was lucky he could find out about some of the things his brother got up to when he was a kid.
As they pulled up in front of the ranch house a tall man with the same build as Chris walked out of the RV and headed towards them.
Chris and Vin walked towards the older man. Chris was enveloped in a big hug then he made the introductions.
"Dad this is Vin Tanner, the man I told you about. Vin this is my dad James Larabee."
Vin smiled as he put his hand out to shake hands, he was surprised to be pulled into a hug.
Blushing profusely when he was let go, Vin was a little confused.
James laughed as he patted Vin on the shoulder.
"Chris has done nothing but sing your praises for months, calling you the kid brother his mother and I refused to give him so I feel like I already know you."
Vin flashed Chris a look from beneath long eyelashes. Chris just returned the look with a small smile.
"Chris has told me about you to sir," Vin replied politely.
"Heck Vin, don't be calling me sir. Makes me want to look around for my father. How about you call me James and who knows maybe down the road you can call dad. After all Chris's brother is my son," James commented.
Vin was overwhelmed by the comment; Chris's dad had just told him to call him dad.
Chris almost groaned...the look on Vin's face ate at him. Vin wanted a family so bad, a place to belong and Chris had the ability to make it come true, but did he have the guts.
Chris watched as his dad and Vin walked towards the house. James had tossed an arm around Vin's shoulders and was talking to him about the horses. Chris couldn't help but notice how his dad's eyes were exactly like Vin's.
Suddenly licking dry lips and trying to get some saliva in a dry mouth Chris decided he was going to have to tell the men the truth and do it that night.
Brothers Chosen, Brothers by Blood Part II