Sleepless by Jeanne

Rating: FRC, not even a cuss word

ATF LB Little Vin and Chris.

There was a news story the other night about Denver. It seems there's been so much snow that the deer and elk are coming down from the mountains and grazing in yards. The snow is not as deep there as on the mountain. That inspired this little LB pwp. I prefer mood piece myself. Somehow I can see little Vin sitting up in the middle of the night, watching the world by himself.

Vin sat on the end of his bed looking out the window. He had the extra quilt wrapped around his shoulders and Cat tucked safely in his lap. The heating pad they called Ringo was curled up against his back adding more warmth. With his legs drawn up and arms wrapped around his knees he was as warm as could be. He couldn't sleep and he'd been watching the snow fall. Now it was clearing off, and the bright full moon peeked out, making it almost bright as day outside.

The little Tanner liked times like there. Everyone else in the house was asleep, even Ringo and Elvis. It was quiet enough so that he could think things through. He never told Chris about not being able to sleep. He somehow knew that his dad would worry about that. Besides JD slept enough for both of them.

Suddenly his eyes tracked movement in the pasture. Blinking and watching more closely he saw large dark shapes moving, pawing at the snow, then moving again. Vin was almost positive that he and Chris had locked the horses in the barn. It was too cold for them to be outside. They had locked the door, making sure Pony couldn't jiggle it open. Pony and Peso were really good at breaking out of places. 'Course it was Peso that always seemed to get in trouble, Pony always played innocent. Vin knew that was true 'cause the black had almost winked at him one time.

Sighing, the boy threw off the quilt and stood up. Ringo raised his head and whined. "Go back to sleep." Vin whispered. But the faithful pup followed the boy as he tiptoed into Chris' room.

Standing by the side of the bed Vin called softly, "Dad!" When the adult didn't move he called louder, "Dad!"

Chris squinted his eyes, then opened one; the clock read 2:00am. Then the eye saw the boy and was joined instantly by a second, worried eye. "Vin? What's wrong? Are you feeling bad?"

"No, I'm fine. But Dad, the horses are out."

Rolling over and sitting up the lean man rubbed a hand over his face. "No they're not. We locked them in the barn remember? You must have been dreaming."

"No. I mean, I know we locked the barn, but I seen them just now. Come on, look." Vin reached out and taking Larabee's hand pulled, "Come on."

Standing bare feet searching for slippers the blond yawned. "Okay, okay, we'll go look."

Larabee stumbled down the hall following the excited little boy. He was beginning to doubt himself on whether he'd actually locked up the barn by the time they reached the big window in the living room that looked out over the pasture.

Vin threw back the drapes. "See!" he said pointing at the dark shapes. There must have been ten or twelve of them by now.

Chris looked, and then squinting, looked closer. "Those aren't the horses, Cowboy. They're deer. I guess with all the snow they came down to feed."

"Oh. . ." the little boy said as he pressed his forehead to the cold window pane. "Can we feed them tomorrow? We could put hay out for them. That way they won't have to dig in the snow."

Larabee looked down at the big blue eyes. "We'll talk about it tomorrow. I'll call the forest service and see what they recommend. Now, scoot back to bed before you turn into an icicle."

Nodding and knowing the subject was closed, Tanner headed back to bed with Larabee following. The boy climbed into bed and Chris tucked the blankets around him. "Go on back to sleep Cowboy. I'll see you in the morning." Chris leaned down and kissed the boy's forehead.

"Night Dad," Vin said softly closing his eyes. When the door closed he felt Ringo climb back onto the bed and started counting. He counted to 150 and then sure that Chris would be asleep, he again got up and wrapping up in the blanket leaned back against the pup and watched the deer graze. "Don't worry, Dad'll take care of you," he whispered through a yawn.