Part of the Larabee Family series.
Summary: Vin's last month with the ATF before he leaves is anything but easy. The last case is a nightmare and Chris is driving him crazy. Just a brief story filling in the time between Vin and Chris finding out they are brothers and Vin permanently moving to the Larabee ranch.
It was a busy several weeks for the two brothers. The team treated Vin just like they always had, but they noticed a subtle difference in the way the two men treated each other. Chris had always kept one eye on Vin before, now he kept two eyes on him. Vin knew Chris was just worried he would lose his newfound brother so he didn't complain about the excessive hovering.
Vin was in the process of changing his last name; he knew it was something his mother would have approved of. The brothers were also moving ahead in starting up their horse ranch. Vin was talking to JD and Casey about buying his house as he was moving to the ranch. In fact the last weekend a builder had been out and the plans had been drawn to add on to the house. James was going to oversee the construction.
Vin had hated to sell his new house but he wanted to strengthen the bonds between he and Chris and create ones with his newfound father. At least it was going to someone who would love it like he had. The couple was planning on marrying soon and was thrilled. The house was perfect for them.
When Travis had been told that Vin and Chris were actually brothers he had insisted that Vin would have to change ATF teams since relatives couldn't work on the same team. Vin and Chris had explained that they knew that and that they had talked about it. Travis wasn't happy to hear that Vin was quitting the agency; he hated to loose such a valuable asset. Valuable was exactly what Vin was. No sooner had word gotten out that the best sharpshooter in the ATF was quitting than the FBI, CIA and even a covert OPS team contacted him wanting him to join up with their group.
Vin had informed his brother about the offers one Saturday afternoon when the rest of the team was out at the ranch for a horse ride and BBQ. Chris about went ballistic when Vin teasingly said the covert OPS gig paid really well. Seeing the vein throbbing in his brother's forehead Vin had quickly told his brother he was teasing.
To which Chris responded by dumping his brother into the pool despite the fact that Vin was fully clothed.
Vin gave his two weeks notice but decided to stay on for a month. There was a big case going down and Team 7 and Team 4 were right in the middle of it. Vin would report to Devon Reed the leader of team 4.
Neither man was happy with the arrangement but there was no dissuading Travis. It wasn't that they didn't trust Reed; the man was very good at his job. Vin just liked to be the one keeping an eye on his brother and teammates whereas Chris wanted to know where his kid brother was making sure he was safe.
Or at least as safe as anyone could be during an ATF bust.
However before they could really get going with the horse ranch Vin had to finish his work with the ATF. It almost proved to be the last thing he would do.
That Friday started how normal enough. The warehouse was scoped out. Vin was put in his usual place in the rafters along with Will the new Team 7 sharpshooter.
Chris had amused everyone as he helped Vin put his harness on and double-checked it. Vin just sighed and let his brother fuss over him. Thankfully he only had one more week before he was officially out of the ATF. Vin wasn't sure if Chris was going to last that long. Hell he wasn't sure he was going to be able to stop from killing Chris because of all his hovering.
Buck smirked but knew better than to tease the two men; besides it did his heart good to see Chris hovering over Vin like an eagle with one chick.
True Chris had hovered over Vin before. He had just stepped up the big brother mode.
Devon had run through everything with Chris assuring the blonde that Vin would be perfectly safe. Everything was under control.
Devon was right it was under control until the gunrunner decided he didn't want to sell Ezra the guns. If that wasn't bad enough he decided he didn't like Standish or his bodyguard who just happened to be Chris Larabee.
Gunfire erupted around the men; everyone dove for cover as bullets flew. With Vin and Will providing cover from above it didn't take long for the gunrunner and his cronies to either bite the dust or surrender.
Josiah was nursing a bullet graze to his arm but other than that the ATF teams had escaped injury.
Chris watched as the two sharpshooters walked towards them.
Buck saw the flash of some deep emotion in his old friends eyes. By the time he had identified it as fear and anger it was to late to stop Chris from stalking towards his brother.
Totally ignoring everyone around them Chris grabbed Vin by the upper arm and held him in place.
Chris hissed, "Just what the hell did you think you were doing? I saw you leave cover. You could have been killed."
Vin raised his chin; he DID NOT like his brother's tone of voice.
He was not a fucking child.
Furious green eyes met equally angry blue ones.
If Vin had the capacity to calm Chris he also had the dubious ability to piss the man off faster than anyone else. The same could be said about Chris pissing Vin off. If there was one thing that Vin hated it was a public scene.
The two teams were a little stunned; it was very unlike Larabee to get after one of his men in front of others. Especially since that man was Vin. After all there were some who swore that Larabee thought Vin could walk on water and after all Vin was Chris's kid brother.
Of course Buck knew this was the reason Chris was so angry. Vin could have gotten killed and Chris would never have survived that loss.
Buck took a step forward and said, "Hey Chris. Now's not the time to do this."
Vin never stopped glaring at his brother as he growled, "Drop it Bucklin. Let big brother get this off his chest."
Chris seethed. He was not going to lose his brother over some stupid heroics on the younger mans part.
"Why did you break cover?" Chris demanded.
Vin didn't answer for a minute then he said, "Because if I hadn't you and Ezra would be dead. The dead man over by the crates had a dead on shot on both of you. I was perfectly safe up there. Will had my back. Now if that fucking satisfies your ass you can let go of my arm."
Chris swallowed convulsively as he let go of Vin's arm. Chris shut his eyes briefly as he tried to get control of his runaway emotions.
Damn why did he jump down Vin's throat? That was sure to get his little brother all pissed off. Except he had been scared shitless when he had looked up and seen Vin exposed (right on...oh shoot this isn't slash) an easy mark for anyone to take down.
Vin stalked off anger radiating from his straight back and clenched hands.
The two teams split up trying to pretend nothing had happened.
Devon walked over to Chris and clapped him on the shoulder.
"Well I just wanted to thank you. I now have a very angry young sharpshooter to take care of. If he is anything like his big brother he will be seething for hours."
Buck laughed, as he stood close by.
"Well Vin and Chris are a lot alike but Vin will get over being mad a lot faster than Chris. Of course he will make Chris suffer for that little scene."
Chris groaned, "Oh yeah he will. Vin can be very inventive when it comes to revenge. Shit what the hell was I thinking when I jumped him like that."
Ezra quietly commented, "You were thinking like a big brother not an ATF leader. Vin has done the same thing in the past and just got a warning look from you about leaving cover. Now it is your kid brother putting himself in harms way, it is very different whether you want to admit it or not."
Chris sighed, "Yeah you're right. I think I'll go over and apologize right now, Take the edge off his temper."
Chris headed in his brother direction.
Vin had reached the ATF van and wrenched the back door open. He wasn't prepared for the body that was shoved at him.
Vin staggered back as the limp form of Dustin Team 4's electronics man hit him in the chest. Before he could react the butt of a gun hit him in the side of the head.
Dizzy and dazed Vin felt himself being grabbed and held in a vise grip in front of someone. The beefy arm around his throat threatened to cut off his air, he could tell the man was huge.
Fuck it looked like all the bad guys hadn't been taken down.
Vin blinked his eyes trying to get his bearings.
"Stay still and you might survive this," the man hissed in his ear.
Vin felt the barrel of gun press against the side of his head and he was pulled around the side of the van.
Dimly through the ringing in his ears he heard several guns and knew the two teams had seen what had happened and now had the guy in their sights.
The guy pulled Vin in tighter to his body and tightened his grip causing the sharpshooter to gasp for breath.
Chris froze at the sight of his brother being used as a shield. The blond could tell Vin wouldn't be much help, the blue eyes were dazed and blood was dripping down the side of his brother's head.
Vin looked like a rag doll being held in a giant's hand.
"Let him go," Chris growled his green eyes flashing with fury and worry.
"BACK OFF," the man screamed his eyes wild.
Dark spots began to dance in front of Vin's eyes as his oxygen was cut off. He felt the barrel of the gun press harder against his head.
Buck grabbed Chris's arm and held him still when the blond took a step forward.
Just then several things happened at once.
The ambulance pulled up the sirens echoing around the warehouse. Vin lost his hold on consciousness and passed out. Chris when he saw Vin go limp screamed Vin's name.
The man wasn't expecting Vin to pass out and had to shift his grip to handle the sudden dead weight. When he did that the gun he was holding to Vin's head moved away from the sharpshooter. It was all Will needed as he shot the man right between the eyes.
The man fell to the floor dead dragging Vin down with him.
Chris ran forward the rest of the team right behind him. Chris pulled Vin into his arms and away from the dead man.
Team 3 ran to Dustin who was moaning and starting to come around after being knocked out then shoved out of the van into Vin.
Nathan demanded that Chris lay Vin down but the blond refused to release his brother.
Buck put his hand on Chris's shoulder and insisted, "Let Nathan see to Vin."
Chris reluctantly let Nathan lay Vin down. Ezra had taken off his jacket and slid it gently under Vin's head. Chris flashed the undercover agent a grateful smile for his thoughtfulness.
As the EMT's ran up Nathan said, "Vin has a good sized bump on his head but I can't find any other wound."
The EMT's took over. As they worked five men hovered anxiously. The sixth man watched every move they made.
Later one EMT would comment to his partner it was like working under the watchful glare of a lethal panther. A predator that was ready to strike in a moments notice.
Vin was starting to come around as he was being loaded in the back of the ambulance.
Dustin was already on his way to the hospital with Devon riding with him.
There was no doubt that Chris would be in the ambulance with his brother.
By the time they got to the hospital Vin had a major headache but was aware of what had happened.
Vin informed everyone who would listen to him that he was fine and wanted to go home.
No one listened to him, not only because the side of his head was bloody but also because of the deadly looking blond glued to his side.
Chris had calmly stated in the ambulance, to the emergency room nurse and doctor that if his brother needed to stay he WOULD stay overnight.
It came down either to listening to Vin plead or if they read the green eyed glare right dying right there in their own emergency room.
Thankfully it didn't come to that. X-rays revealed no skull fracture. Vin just had a slight concussion, a cut that took a couple of stitches and a headache. There was no need for him to spend the night as long as there would be someone with him for the next twelve hours.
Chris assured the doctors in his hushed 'I am the boss' voice that he would be with his brother. If for some reason he couldn't be then their father would be present.
Vin winced at his brother's comment. Great not only would Chris be hovering around him but so would dad. Vin however took one look at his brother's face and didn't argue. Chris looked a little pale. Chris had his hand on Vin's shoulder and to the younger mans shock he could feel it trembling a little.
Not to mention the fact that Nathan would be on his back, Buck gave new meaning to the name mother hen. The only ones who would let him breathe would be Ezra, JD and Josiah. At least they realized he was an adult and quite capable of taking care of himself.
Of course Vin's analysis of Ezra and Josiah took quite a beating as he left the hospital in a wheelchair pushed by a brooding Larabee.
Ezra proceeded to tell Vin that he really needed to be more careful as Chris had scared everyone shitless until they had been told Vin would be fine. Josiah had filled Vin in on several home remedies that might help his headache. Of course at the same time Buck was alternately flirting with a nurse and making sure Vin was okay. Nathan was getting Vin's pain meds to take when the meds the doctor had given him wore off the next morning.
JD met Vin's stormy blue eyes and just smiled in sympathy and understanding. Neither man could understand why the older men thought they couldn't take care of themselves and needed to be nurtured and watched over.
Vin grinned at JD and relaxed. It was nice to know he had so many people who cared about him including his aggravating brother.
Devon met them at the door and informed them that Dustin would be fine which was good news for everyone.
Then to everyone's astonishment Chris tersely informed Devon that Vin would not be back to work. The bust was over which was why Vin stayed for more than two weeks.
Vin slanted a look at his brother who was helping him out of the wheelchair. Chris was tense...real tense, the hand on his arm was like a band of steel, he was sure the blond had no idea he was holding on that tight.
Team 7 waited for Vin to loose his temper. Though he rarely did everyone knew that Vin did not like to be told what he would and would not do.
To their surprise Vin agreed with Chris. Vin thanked Devon for putting up with him for a few weeks and told him that he would be in on Monday to fill out the paperwork on the bust.
Chris visibly relaxed at Vin's words.
With Vin secure in the truck Chris told the men to have a good weekend and he would see them on Monday.
Of course Nathan had already decided to call in later that night to check in on Vin.
The rest of the men figured they would either call or drop by during the weekend to check on their friend.
Halfway home Chris asked, "Why did you agree to quit a week early? I figured you would fight me on it."
Vin couldn't very well tell his brother that it was because the blond had been shaking after Vin's close call.
"Well I agreed to stay because of the bust. Since it is over I didn't see any reason to stay. I will ride in with you Monday and do the paperwork and then I am finished," Vin replied.
Chris sighed, rubbed his forehead and then said, "Thanks for not pointing out to me that I was scared shitless about your close call hell your two close calls. Damn Vin when I saw you being used as a shield for him, blood dripping down the side of your head I thought...fuck I didn't think for a few seconds. I couldn't believe it, I was so afraid I was going to lose you. Your last fucking job for the ATF and I was going to lose you."
Vin put his hand on Chris's arm.
"You didn't lose me. It all turned out fine."
Chris licked his lips and quietly said, "I...I'm sorry for jumping your ass the way I did. I knew you had a good reason for breaking cover."
Vin smiled; by the time he had gotten to the hospital his anger with Chris yelling at him had been long gone. While he didn't like being treated like a kid he knew where it was coming from.
Chris's deep love for his kid brother, his desire to make sure that Vin was safe, his need to try to make up for the security that Vin never had growing up.
"Yes I did. The next time you yell at me like that in public I might deck you but I'll let this one slide," Vin teased.
Chris had return his brother's smile. Thank God Vin never held grudges and let go of his anger a lot faster than his older brother.
Pulling up in front of the ranch they saw the front door open and their dad hurry in their direction.
"Shit someone called and told Dad about me getting hurt," Vin whispered.
"Probably Buck or Nathan," Chris chuckled as he climbed out of the truck.
Vin watched as the blond intercepted their father. Vin opened the truck door and immediately he had four hands on him helping him until he was steady on his feet.
Vin looked up into his father's worried blue eyes. James eyes took in the bandage on his son's head.
Chris shut the truck door.
Vin walked to the house with his dad on one side and his brother on the other side.
After sitting on the sofa Vin looked over at his dad who was sitting right next to him. Chris had gone to let Buck know they were home and to call the other guys and let them know.
"I'm fine, dad. I have a hard head," Vin reassured the older man.
James brushed a lock of hair off his youngest sons forehead.
"Not that hard son."
"I don't know about that dad. You haven't come across his pure stubbornness yet. Just wait," Chris teased the two men.
James didn't reply just gathered Vin up in his arms for a deep heartfelt hug.
Vin allowed it and hugged his father back.
"I don't want you going back to work at the ATF. You have only one week left and you need to rest after being injured," James insisted as he let go of his son.
Vin sighed, "I'm not going back. Chris informed everyone that I was officially done with the agency after the paperwork is all done on Monday."
"Good. When you finish you call me and I will come pick you up," James insisted.
Vin wanted to argue he could get himself home but he knew James really wanted to do this.
"Okay. Maybe we can eat Mexican for lunch at Inez's," Vin said hopefully his blue eyes bright with anticipation.
Chris and James laughed. Vin just stared at them with that pure innocent look in those big blue eyes.
Vin knew he had won, just like he knew he would always win with his brother and father unless it compromised his safety of course.
James pressed a kiss on Vin's forehead and promised him that they would eat at Inez's for lunch. Chris said he would make sure he would be available to join them.
For the rest of the evening it was a time for the three men to relax and just enjoy being together.
Vin allowed his family to hover over him; it made them happy and made him feel so loved.
James fixed all of Vin's favorite foods, Chris waited on him hand and foot.
Vin knew come morning everything would be close to normal so he just enjoyed the attention. Besides if they continued to hover the next day he would just have to set them straight.
After all that was what families were for.
Brothers Broken Apart I