A Normal Day
Rating: PG-13 due to emotional content
Disclaimer: I do not own The Magnificent Seven, just borrowing and not for profit either.
Comments: Thank you MOG for your wisdom and betaing. I shared this idea with Kim and she said I should write it. A thank you to Kim also for her creativeness- she thought of the tooth part. Updated 3/2005 originally written in 2000.
Archivist's Note: This fic was previously hosted on another website and was moved to blackraptor in September 2006.
The sun came shining through the bay window, lighting her face as she lay sleeping. She scrunched her slack features, trying to squeeze out the light, that failing she moved, trying to bury herself deeper into the man next to her. Instead her arm outstretched to nothingness. She sighed and turned over, blue eyes open, staring at the ceiling. She turned her neck to see the clock read ten past six. It would go off soon. Her hand felt the warmth, left by the sun's rays on the other side of the bed. What she really wanted was her husband lying next to her. She snapped the blankets back and swung her feet to the cool wood floors. She fumbled with the back of the alarm clock, shutting the ringer off. She didn't want to disturb this peaceful moment. Her son would be waking soon and require her attention. She slipped on her old, terry cloth bathrobe over her cotton nightshirt. The cool robe grazed against her skin and she shivered. What she wouldn't give to have his arms around her now, warming her up.
She padded out to the kitchen, passing her son's room. His sheets were intertwined and he lay sleeping on his side. All she could see was his flaxen hair, and his back move slightly with each even breath he took. Once in the kitchen she began to run the water in the coffee carafe. As she did so she looked out the window, it was going to be a beautiful, fall day in Colorado. The pine trees so vivid this time of year, making her realize yet again the beauty of her rustic home. She was unsure about living in a secluded area. She had been a city girl after all. Her husband had said it would be their love nest, and that it had been. She licked her lips and thought of the day he had carried her over the threshold almost eight years ago.
The phone started ringing, breaking her reverie. She carried the carafe over and huskily said,
"Hello," her voice still deep from a night of disuse. In return she heard a familiar,
"Hi, honey." She smiled as she stretched the cord to the phone so that she could pour the water into the Mister Coffee.
"I thought you were going to be back last night?" She said more than a little disappointed that he was on the phone and not here sharing the morning with her. She went to the refrigerator and took out the bread, popping two slices into the toaster--her son's breakfast.
"We tried, but you know how extradition can be, especially from Mexico," he explained, sounding as frustrated as she was that things were not going as expected. She poured some juice in a glass as she listened and set it up at her son's place at the table.
Laughingly she answered him, "Federales worse than the FBI?" Her husband hated beaureaucratic red tape. The toast popped up, as she buttered the bread she carefully cradled the phone in the crook of her neck.
He chuckled too, "Yeah, you can say that."
She placed the toast on a napkin near the juice. "I thought you were going to call," she said hesitantly, trying not to let him know that she had worried.
"By the time we found out things weren't ready and found a hotel, it was late. I was pissed. I didn't want to take it out on you," he said into the receiver.
It had been thoughtful of him, but she had been worried. She made a mental note to talk to him about it later, when he got home. "So you picked on your sidekick?"
He laughed again. She loved the sound of his laugh-rich and honest. "Something like that."
"Say hi to the old goat, and as a reward for being your whipping post, tell him I expect him here for Sunday dinner." She heard her husband relay the message to his friend and partner. She heard a muffled,
"Woohoo! Honey you are a goddess! You sure you don't want to leave this old windbag and hook up with me?" She couldn't quite make out what her husband had retorted, but she heard his partner's booming laughter at the threat.
"Honey," she said, to get her husband's attention again, "someone lost a tooth yesterday."
He paused for a moment. She knew there was a smile on her husband's face at the thought of his child, "He did?"
Their son, six years old now and the spitting image of his father, " Yep, he pulled it out himself." She saw the young man coming through the living room, rubbing his eyes, struggling to wake up. "Speak of the little devil," She bent down and kissed the top of his blonde hair. "Do you want to talk to Daddy?"
His face lit up, blue eyes twinkled at the mention of his dad. He nodded and jumped slightly with excitement. He grabbed the phone, "Hi Daddy!"
She sat down in the kitchen chair and pulled the boy into her lap, overhearing the conversation. "Heard you lost a tooth, cowboy" her spouse exclaimed.
He placed his finger in the gap in his front teeth. "Yep, I did and the tooth fairy left a dollar under my pillow," he said estatic with his riches. He had the revered dollar clasped tightly in his little hand.
Her son covered the receiver and looked at his mom, "Unc wants to know if I got her number?" She rolled her eyes in response as did her son. That ladies man, she thought, he was a great friend to her husband to her too. He was turning out to be a wonderful uncle. He needed to settle down himself. Lord knew she had set him up with all of her friends, they liked him, but knew he wasn't ready to get married. In the beginning he had pursued her, but once she saw his friend- slim, mysterious, blonde haired, green eyed she knew she was hooked.
"Okay Daddy, I love you," her husband was winding down the conversation.
"I love you too son," she heard him respond. The young boy handed the phone back to her. She scooted him off her lap and he went to eat his breakfast.
"Listen hun, I am sorry about last night," he told her softly.
"I just wanted a phone call," she sighed. She lowered her voice so her son would not hear. "We'll talk about it tonight."
"What are you doing today?" He asked, as if he wanted to carry around a mental picture of her going through her daily routine.
"The usual-I'm going to drop our little cowboy at school, feed the horses, do some housework, and then turn into a ravishing beauty for my husband tonight," she said as she ran a hand through her bed tangled hair.
"Lucky guy," he replied huskily. She knew he had romantic intentions.
"Yes, and I am a lucky wife," she retorted, looking forward to the evening.
They had been on the phone awhile, and she could hear his partner telling his to get a move on, "See you tonight Sarah, love ya,"
"Bye, love you too, Chris," she said and hung up the phone. She looked at her son, merrily eating his toast.
"Hurry up Adam, you're going to be late for school," he gulped down his juice and ran off to his room. She went to her room, pulled a pair of sweats on, and covered the top with one of her husband's flannel shirts. Hurriedly, she brushed her long brown hair and slipped it into to a loose ponytail. When she got back home, and after taking care of chores she would shower and pull herself together. The young woman slipped on her sneakers and went to the front door, grabbing Adam's jacket and baseball hat from the coat rack. She ran her hand along the rim of the hat. Chris had purchased the cap to celebrate-- He was going to be coach in the spring for Adam's Little League team and before he left he had bent the rim for Adam. He was a great father.
She wanted more children. When they were first married he would tell her he wanted the girls to look like her. She would playfully reply that she wanted the boys to look like him. Her pregnancy had been hard on her, she had required complete bed rest. This had scared Chris. He didn·t want to lose her, and didn't want to risk her having another child. Adam was enough for him. There was also his job at the Bureau. He didn't want to make her a widow with one child let alone two. She wasn't worried, she knew her husband was careful. In fact, Buck had called him a mother hen on many occasions. When the time was right they would have another child.
"Come on Adam!" She called to her son, he appeared seconds later, his backpack dragging behind him. She helped him slip on his jacket and he proudly ensconced the baseball cap on his head. As they exited, a large yellow Lab loped towards them, wagging its tail and running in convoluted circles.
Adam rubbed the dog's chest, "See ya later, Sam." The animal darted back and forth from Chris's truck to the young boy. Darn, Sarah thought, Chris had blocked her car in. At the last minute, Buck had decided to drive.
"Adam, we're taking Daddy's truck," she said to her son, as she flipped through her keys finding the spare set.
"Mom, Sam is acting funny," he said as he kept patting the dog, who seemed a bit hyper this morning.
Sarah ran a hand over the Lab's head, "He's just being silly, silly Sam," she said, reaching out and tickling Adam. He laughed. She loved hearing him giggle. She gave him a hug, soon he would be too big to want her to hug him. She lightly swatted his bottom signaling him to get into the truck. He climbed up easily, set his backpack in the middle and seatbelted himself in. She looked at him as she put the key into the ignition, he looked so much like Chris.
October 21, 1989
7:41a.m. reported explosion heard in the Sumner Point area, unit is responding.
A murder case which Chris and Buck had worked on tied in with a federal case. Neither were amused about the so called 'honor' of assisting in the extradition.Chris, Buck, the two federal agents and their prisoner boarded the plane. Finally, they were on their way home. After spending the morning arguing with the Federales and the FBI, the prisoner, Hector Martinez, was handcuffed to Buck. He had lost the coin toss. Chris chuckled to himself. Buck wasn't too happy having a counterfeiter attached to him, especially with the two federal agents sleeping in the two seats in front of them, but those were the breaks. At least the prisoner was quiet. If all went well he'd be home for dinner. Buck sat the prisoner by the window. Chris took the aisle, he lifted his black, leather briefcase, hoping to maybe get some paperwork done in the short flight to Denver.
The combination to the lock was Adam's birthday, since the boy had picked the case out for Chris as a Father's Day gift this past year. He rifled through, looking for a pen and came across a picture of his wife and son. Taking it out of the pocket, he stared at it. He was so lucky to have found Sarah. She was everything to him. He could never describe what he felt for her. It was more than love. She was his soul mate. Adam's shining, innocent face smiled at him through the picture. He had lost a tooth. Larabee couldn't wait to see the gap. He was holding the picture between his thumb and forefinger and felt it slip through. Buck had snatched the photo out of his hand.
"You've got yourself quite a beauty there," he smiled as Chris frowned, "and your old lady ain't too bad either." Buck was pointing to his dog, Sam.
"That's the same woman you professed undying love to this morning, in front of her husband," Chris said to his best friend, raising his eyebrow. He snatched the picture back.
"Damn, that's another toss I regret losing," Buck said as he held up his handcuffed hand, Hector's hand followed, and roughly the counterfeiter pulled his arm down. "Don't mess with me, Martinez. It's because of you I had to cancel my date with Lisa."
Chris shook his head at the ladies man and started going through the paperwork. If he finished it, he'd get home early to his wife and son and be able to spend some time with them. He and Adam were still working on catching pop fly balls. Larabee closed his eyes momentarily. He was a family man. He never thought that it would happen, and he would like it.
It seemed like yesterday, when he and Buck were kids looking for a good time. It all changed when he met Sarah. She had taken his breath away, and his heart too. Then Adam, his son, came along. Sarah had scared him. Marriage had been great and sure he had been thrilled-okay, and nervous, about being a father, but when Sarah's pregnancy became life threatening, he didn't know if it was worth it. He didn't want to lose her. But Adam wanted to be part of this world and now at six, Chris couldn't be more proud and couldn't remember a time when Adam wasn't around. The boy was fearless, riding by the time he was three and going to start baseball in the spring. Sarah said she didn't know who was more excited, the coach or the ball player. Chris glanced at his watch. She'd be getting ready to pick up Adam at school soon. Larabee grinned and quickly covered it with his hand before Buck made a comment. Life wasn't treating Chris Larabee too bad these days.
Buck moved around in his seat. He was attempting to read People magazine. He whispered to his friend, "Chris flip the page of the magazine for me?"
Larabee didn't even look up, "Flip it yourself."
Wilmington's whisper got a little louder. "It's unnatural. I'm right-handed. He shifted his arm slightly to illustrate his point, "and I got my Siamese twin attached."
Quickly and with a loud sigh, Chris flipped the page. Sometimes Larabee forgot who was the Uncle and who was the kid. Throughout the flight, for every few pages of paperwork, Chris would have to turn a page of the magazine. Each time the paper rustled louder than before, as a signal of irritation.
The flight landed smoothly. Chris, Buck and the prisoner waited until the plane had deboared before making their way to the exit. At the gate was Ryan Mathers, his boss, with two other agents.
"Great, you are going to take this guy off our hands!" Buck exclaimed as he got the key out of his pocket and unlocked the cuffs. Wilmington smoothly snatched up the counterfeiter's right hand and clicked the open end of the metal rings securely around the man's free wrist. He pushed Martinez to the awaiting agents. "Next time don't eat tamales before you board a plane!"
Chris grinned at Buck's advice to the prisoner and gave his full attention to his boss, who had an unreadable expression on his face. "Hey, Ryan why the welcoming party?"
Ryan swallowed hard. Even years later, looking back on all the events of that day, Chris was amazed at how vividly that one insignificant movement had become imbedded in his mind. A sharp mental picture of the other man's Adam's apple bulging in his neck.
Mathers closed his eyes, and when he opened them they were glistening. "Chris," he lay a hand on Larabee's arm in an attempt to guide him away to a more secluded area but the agent shrugged his boss off.
What's wrong? Chris didn't know how he knew, didn't know what it was · what had happened, but he knew in every fiber of his body that something was very, very wrong.
"What is it?"
Again, Mathers tried to pull his agent to the side and again Larabee pushed his hand away. "What is it, Ryan?!"
The other man fixed Chris with a gaze and swallowed again. "I'm sorry to inform you that at 7:41 this morning there was an explosion reported at your house...Sarah and Adam are gone."
A confused look passed over Larabee's face, as if he had just misunderstood what Mathers had said. That was it, he just misheard. "What?"
Ryan tried again. "It was a car bomb...no survivors...they didn't feel a thing, Chris."
Mathers had heard the expression regarding color draining from a person face but standing there, in a crowded hall of Denver International Airport with a human swirl flowing around him oblivious to the events that were transpiring- he witnessed it.
Chris felt the muscles of his legs go slack, how he managed to stay upright was something he never figured out. His heart began to beat faster and he was vaguely aware of wrapping his arms around his body to stop the shaking he felt coursing through his system. Why is it so cold in here.
"You're wrong." It wasn't much more than a dry whisper.
Mathers shook his head, reaching out again but stopping himself as he felt what a stupidly ineffective gesture it was, "Chris..."
"Sir, you are wrong," Larabee stepped away, to Buck, his best friend. Buck would know that this wasn't true. Buck knew Sarah and Adam weren't dead. He had talked to them this morning. But his friend was there looking pale, shocked and silent.
"There is a car waiting to take you to your house," Mathers said to the two men.
Wilmington cleared his throat, "I'll take him." Chris felt Buck's hand on his arm, leading him through the terminal. Vaguely, Chris was aware of Buck raising his badge and going through customs to Buck's Chevy in the parking lot. He heard Wilmington fumbling for his keys. Chris kept silent as he stepped into the truck. This was all a big mistake. He would know, he would feel it if his family were dead. He glanced at Buck, water, no not water, tears were streaming down his cheeks silently. His mustache glistened.
"Buck, they're not dead," Chris said, angry that his friend was crying. "I'd know if they were dead."
Wilmington wiped the tears roughly with his hand. "Yeah, Buddy, maybe it's all a mistake."
In no time they were at the ranch. Everything looked fine. The truck hadn't even come to a full stop, but Chris got out as he saw the burned vehicle. His feet crunched against the gravel driveway, slowly at first, then in a run as he faced the black carcass of his pickup. The dog was there, howling, running around his master, confused at the day's events. Chris ignored him and went to the house. He opened the door, sending it flying into the wall with a loud bang.
"Sarah?" he yelled through the rooms, "Adam?" His wife was supposed to be waiting for him- that's what she had said this morning.
Buck stood, riveted in place in the living room, tears flowing freely. Chris finally stopped when he saw his friend. There was silence, absolute silence in the house. There was never silence in his home. A funny smell caught his attention. The red light switch on the coffee maker, glowed like a beacon in the kitchen. Chris walked over and felt the heat emanating from the appliance. He shut it off, lingering a moment- Sarah had touched it. He looked at the used napkin and the glass that contained dried orange juice. Chris reached out to the napkin. Chris reached out for the napkin. As his fist closed around it, it was as if his mind finally gave his body permission to react, a physical signal that cut the lines of control. Larabee crumpled the rough material in his hand and, in an unknowing mimic, he crumpled to his knees.
Buck heard a sound, and for a split second he thought something was wrong with Sam. A howl like a wounded animal. Then it hit him. Oh God - that was a human.
Larabee let his head fall to the floor, one or two hot tears beading on the cool wood. Repeating a five-word mantra till his voice grew hoarse.
"It was a normal day..."
Say goodnight not good-bye
You will never leave my heart behind
Like the path of a star
I'll be anywhere you are
In the spark that lies beneath the coals
In the secret place inside your soul
Keep my light in your eyes
Say goodnight not good-bye
Don't you fear when you dream
Waking up is never what it seems
Like a jewel buried deep
Like a promise meant to keep
You are everything you want to be
So just let your heart reach out to me
I'll be right by your side
Say goodnight not good-bye
You are everything you want to be
So just let your heart reach out to me
Keep my light in your eyes
Say goodnight not good-bye
Say Goodnight by Beth Neilson Chapman