Thanks to Phyllis for letting me play here.
The activity around the Double L was frenetic. Their appointment was less than an hour away and it would take them at least fifty minutes to get there. Chris, resplendent in a dark blue suit and his father's old college tie, checked his watch as he stood near the front door.
"For the love of God MOVE IT!" he yelled out.
He jerked as Vin approached from behind.
"Shit, where did you come from? Never mind. You're ready?"
Tanner nodded. "Don't I look ready?"
Chris eyed Vin in his black suit and dark blue tie, nodding his approval. "You'll do," Chris grinned, the smile suggesting he was more than okay with how Vin looked. The blond bit back a grin at the disgruntled features of their medical genius as he ambled toward them. Well, JD considered him so, and no one was about to disagree with him, Nathan did have a wonderful way of performing near- miracles sometimes.
"I look awful. I can't believe you let me shave my head knowing we were gonna do this today," Nathan huffed.
"I like you with your head shaved," Josiah stated as he joined the three, looking toward Nathan. "Went with the blue shirt, I see."
Nathan looked down at himself. "You don't think it goes with a black suit?"
"On the contrary," Ezra smiled as he walked toward the group, tugging at the sleeve of his own black suit. "Not only does it do the suit and yourself justice, it suits your skin tone, also." Ezra looked Josiah up and down.
"I must say, that is an exceptionally nice charcoal gray ensemble, Josiah."
The big man released a huge toothy grin. "Why, thank you, brother. It's the first suit I've bought in ten years."
"Oh, so Josiah had time to buy a suit, but you couldn't give me a `heads up' before I shaved my head?" Nathan grumbled.
"Ha heads up shaved head no?" Vin asked, stalling his chuckle. "'Kay."
Nathan finally cracked a smile and they all laughed. Chris re- checked his watch.
"Where the hell are Buck and JD?"
Buck leaned against the doorframe to JD's room, amused by his youngest brother's frantic movements as he watched him tear around. Finally, JD stopped and stared at three ties laid out on his bed.
"Now what?" Buck asked..
"I don't know which one," JD squeaked out, clearly exasperated.
Buck pointed. "That one."
"Not the red one?"
"No, that one."
"But, it's black with dark blue flecks."
"Your point?" Buck asked, now inside the room.
"I'm kinda pale," JD reminded, casting a glance in his mirror.
"And you're wearing a black suit and white shirt trust me, it'll be a good contrast." Snatching up the tie, Buck tugged JD toward him, raised the youth's shirt collar and proceeded to complete the outfit. Stepping back as he straightened the tie, Buck grinned his approval.
"Perfect. Now, get your shoes on and hustle!" He turned to leave, halting as JD called out while attempting to locate his shoes.
"Buck. How come you're wearing a black tie?"
The brunet heaved a sigh and returned to his brother, placing a hand on the back of the youth's neck.
"We used to do this every five years. Last time, dad was with us. To honor him, Chris is wearing Linc's college tie I thought maybe a black tie would be a nice touch."
JD smiled and nodded. "Yeah it is. Chris isn't gonna toss the other one once we've done this, is he?"
"Oh no it's going in the study and the new one over the fireplace." The pair turned at the sound of Chris' voice.
Buck winked. "I'll go and calm him down you shift! "
JD watched Buck leave, lost for a moment in thoughts of what might have been had Linc been alive today. He shrugged it off and continued his search for his shoes.
Buck chuckled at Chris' exasperated call as he trotted down the stairs to join his brothers. "My, don't we all look nice!" he teased.
"It'll be for nothing if we don't get going," Chris stated. His next words had the others wincing, more from the volume than the content.
"JD, GET YOUR ASS DOWN HERE NOW, OR WE'LL GO WITHOUT YOU!"
A distant, muffled voice called back. "Wouldn't that defeat the object?"
All but Chris laughed. "Smart-assed little " he relaxed as he saw JD on the stairs. "Finally!"
Despite his frustration, Chris joined the others in the inane grins as JD approached, speaking, as their youngest reached them.
"You look good, kid."
JD grinned as he glanced around them. "We all scrub up pretty well, huh?"
Leaving the question hanging in the air, the seven Larabee brothers headed for town.
By the time the seven were in Rosie's Bar, their big event finally over, ties were askew and Vin's and JD's jackets discarded as the pair played pool. The others were huddled around Chris, staring at the images in his hands.
"I look like a thug," Nathan sighed.
"I was thinking...constipated," Buck teased. They all laughed.
"You look splendid," Ezra soothed, smiling to himself as he recalled him and JD's hysterics about JD's hair refusing to co operate, just before the flash went off the pair sporting big grins as it did so.
"As does Josiah very stately. "
Josiah chuckled, he liked that interpretation.
"I can't believe I looked away," Chris huffed. "And Buck looks like he lost a fifty and found gum."
Buck smiled, but reflected on that moment he placed his hand on JD's shoulder and wished their father could have been there to see his sons together. He also couldn't help wondering what Linc would have thought of the mayhem the seven had created over having a simple photograph taken.
Buck's grin returned at memories of heated discussions over who should stand where, the search for a box for JD...Buck laughed to himself on recalling JD's disgruntlement at that the indecision at what background they should use.
Nathan complaining about his lack of hair right up to the flash, Ezra trying and failing to get JD's unruly mop to sit right until the pair was almost crying with laughter.
And then it was over.
Buck glanced back at the photo as Vin and JD noisily rejoined them.
"So why'd you keep it?" Vin asked Chris on overhearing his brother's comments, pointing at the photo. "We easily had time to do another one." Vin stared at his image and grimaced. "I look way too young with short hair I'm gonna grow it back."
The five smiled at the pair, both now sitting on the backs of the booth`s stuffed seats, their feet on the actual seats themselves, tossing down peanuts while happily ignoring Buck's glare.
Chris answered Vin's question. "Because it's us no pretentious poses though God knows we tried. I dunno it's just...us, natural, kinda the way I see us every day. I liked it " he looked around. " don't you?"
A split-second of silence was greeted with a volley of answers in the positive, causing the blond to grin.
"You know I could easily add dad on there too, if you'd like," JD offered. "I just need a photo."
Chris stared at JD for a long while. "Maybe another day, another photo, kid," he said, softly. "For now, I think this means a lot more as it stands sort of, tells its own story."
They all agreed and started making preparations to head home.
A few days later and as Josiah stoked the fire, he looked up at the new family portrait. He loved it dearly. It was their first and it meant the world to him to walk into the house and see all six of his brothers smiling back at him, no matter where they were that day. He chuckled as his peace was shattered by a round of bantering, as those six men came to join him in the big room, coffees in hand as they all took seats. Josiah thanked Buck for his drink and joined them. Chris pointed at the framed portrait.
"Getting used to it?" he asked of all of them.
"Yeah, it's not half bad."
"I think it's marvelous."
"I guess even if I do look constipated. "
They all laughed.
"I love it, brothers."
They all looked at JD.
"Well, it is to me. Apart from school, it's the biggest group photo I've ever been in."
"The other one looks pretty good in the study too, Chris."
The blond nodded to Buck. "Yeah, it does."
"Be cool if we could have one of us all with our horses."
Again they looked at JD thoughts of maybe buying new clothes, shoes and the general pandemonium on the day of getting to the studio and how that would work with horses involved, running through their minds. The answer was unanimous.
"But...the photographer could come out here...." JD barely got his mug down before a barrage of cushions and coasters flew at him. He laughed and nodded his agreement.
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