Questionable Answers

by Estee 

Story moved to Blackraptor in October 2009

Buck put the lasagna into the oven and set the timer.  He already had the table set and the salad made. By the time the lasagna was done Chris and the others should be there.

He went into the living room where Ezra had been helping the boys with their homework.  "All finished?" he asked, when he saw them putting their worksheets into their book bags.

"Yup!" JD said brightly, plopping his bag by the door.

Vin followed suit, dropping his bag next to JD's, and adding a soft,  "Thanks, Uncle Ezra."

"Yeah, thanks Uncle Ez," Buck repeated with a teasing wink, although the gratitude was real.  The boys climbed up onto the couch between the two men as Buck aimed the remote at the TV and turned it on.  All four of them watched as an image filled the screen.  They could tell it was a hospital setting with what looked to be medical team surrounding a woman on a bed, but the camera was focused on  -- good God! -- the woman was giving birth!  What the hell channel was this?  Quickly he flipped through the channels until he came to Nick Jr. then he took a deep, cleansing breath and let it out slowly, thinking he might be needing a little Comet to scrub those images from his brain.  He was really, really hoping that the boys hadn't registered the images at all.

"Buck?" JD tilted his head, looking up at Buck with a puzzled frown.

No, no, no . . . Buck refused to believe the boy was going to question him on what he'd just seen.  Buck certainly didn't want to think about it again.  Ever.

"How do babies get there?"  JD licked his lower lip, his frown deepening.  "I mean, how do they get into tummies?"

Lord above.  Where was Chris when he needed him?  "Well," he smiled, trying to hide his nervousness, "it's like this . . .."  He rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he tried to come up with a suitable answer.  A comparison tale having to do with horse breeding was right on the tip of his tongue, but when he opened his mouth nothing came out.  So, instead of answering, he gazed helplessly at Ezra.

Ezra gave him a dirty look and said, "Don't look at me, Da."

"Billy said that a man and a lady have to be naked."

Vin?  Buck almost choked.  Had Vin just said the word naked?  Yes, apparently he had.  The boy was blushing from his bare toes all the way up to his forehead, a sure sign that some form of nakedidity was being addressed.

Best to cut this conversation off at the pass, thought Buck. "Well, when I was a little fella my momma told me that the stork brought babies."  It wasn’t like he was lying, his ma had told him that.

"Mr. Wilmington," Ezra chided, rolling his eyes.  "I’m shocked that you would intentionally misinform these impressionable young men."

"Billy said he seen his mom and his new dad wrassling naked," Vin blushed furiously as he continued his tale, "and then she got a baby got in her tummy."

Ezra smirked at Buck, who was completely mortified.  "Did Billy mention that any storks were involved?" Ezra asked, wryly.

Vin gave his uncle a smile, before turning sympathetic blue eyes on his second dad.  "Buck, there ain't no such thing as a stork that brings babies.”

Buck decided to play along, hoping to bide his time until Chris got home.  “Really?” he asked, looking sincere, while at the same time his mind was telepathically shouting, Dammit, Chris, hurry!

”Really.”  Vin nodded, patting his knee consolingly.

Ezra snorted.

"Uncle Ezra?" JD bounced down the couch to sit beside him, and Ezra had a sudden urge to bolt.

"Y-Yes, JD?"

"Do you know how babies get in tummies?"

Ezra coughed, then coughed again.  His normally quick and cunning mind was failing him and he was unable to think of an answer or a distraction.  Realistically, he knew the chances of an earthquake or meteor strike were nil, but he still held on to the hope.  Of course, he could pretend to faint, or perhaps have a seizure, but he was a little hesitant to upset the boys.  He kept it in mind, however, as a last resort.

"You know, this is really a question that would be best answered by Mr. Larabee," Ezra hedged, "since he is the only one among us with first hand knowledge of such a situation."

"You don't know either?"  JD asked.

"Uh . . . no, I'm truly sorry Master Dunne."

Both boys sighed, and Buck and Ezra exchanged a relieved and understanding glance.  Better to leave Chris to deal with it, even at the risk of being shot.  Anything was better than being forced to have this conversation.

A few minutes later they were saved when Chris, Josiah and Nathan walked through the door.  The boys wasted no time assailing them with questions.  Chris lifted an amused eyebrow and shook his head at Buck, letting him know that he knew what was going on.  Buck shrugged helplessly.

The three agents hung their coats and sat down in the living room, all trying to mentally prepare the proper answers to the questions.

"So . . . do you know, Chris?"  Vin asked, feeling pretty sure that his foster dad knew everything.

"Well, guys . . ." Chris' eyebrows drew together as he thought of a response. "When a man and a woman fall in love with each other, they might want to get married. So, they date for a really long time, until they're about 25, or so . . . and they save their money so they can buy a house, and afford furniture, and a car, and insurance and all the things they'll need. Then, once they get married, and are settled, they . . .."  This was the hard part. "Well, they . . .."  After several moments of dramatic silence he finally sat
forward, looked somewhat apologetically at Josiah and said, "You know, maybe you should ask Josiah.  He knows all about creation and that sort of thing."

Josiah's mouth fell open.  Chris Larabee was passing the buck?  Of course said buck had been passed to him by Buck -- a thought that almost made him smile – but still, he'd never known Chris to do such a cowardly thing.  He mouthed the word coward, hoping to challenge Chris into answering himself, but Chris only shrugged, apparently okay with being called a coward in the face of this particular situation.

"Well, boys," Josiah cleared his throat, and the boys moved toward him, taking a seat on either side, looking at him as if he held all the secrets of the universe.  "A long, long time ago, God created the universe. He created the earth, the sun and moon and stars, and the animals and the trees and flowers, and after creating each and every thing he decided there was still one thing missing . . .."

He smiled and looked down at the innocent, young faces, noticing that they were both looking up at him with what appeared to be suspicion.

"So, he created man from the dust--"

"The dust?"  JD asked skeptically.

"Yes, the dust."

"How'd he do that?"

"Well, I'm not sure exactly, but God can do anything he wants to."

The boys nodded.

"The man was lonely so God decided to give him someone to keep him company, and He created a woman so the man would have a companion."

"But, if he had all them animals and stuff, why would he want a girl?"  Vin asked, frowning.

Josiah looked to the others -- his friends, his teammates, his brothers --  and found them all pointedly looking away from him.  "I don't know for sure, son."

Josiah continued with his explanation, taking them through the story of creation all the way to the serpent and the first sin.  "So, when Eve picked the apple, God told her that part of the punishment would be painful childbirth."  This had all seemed like a good story while he was telling it, but now that he was about finished he was wondering what on Earth he'd gotten himself into.

"But, how does the baby *get inside*?"  They questioned him again.

"I suppose that is just another of God's miracles."  There, he felt that was a perfectly sensible answer.

"You don't know where babies come from either, do ya Uncle 'siah?" Vin shook his head sadly. He couldn't help but feel sorry for his poor uncles and foster dads who knew even less about baby making than Billy Travis.

Josiah frowned then glanced at Nathan who had been sitting quietly, smirking at him throughout his story.  "You know, Uncle Nathan has a lot of medical expertise, maybe you should ask him?"

Nathan's eyes went wide. "Me?"

"Yes, you."

"I ain't no doctor!"

"But, you play one enough that you ought to be able to answer these young boys' questions."

"Yeah, Nate," Buck agreed with a grin.  "You're always itchin' to give us your medical advice and opinions and such," he waved a hand in the boys direction, "here's your big chance."

The two boys kneeled at their Uncle Nathan's feet and gazed up at him expectantly.  At the same time, four men folded their arms across their chests, also waiting to hear the paramedic's explanation.

"Well, now . . .." He shifted in the chair, trying to find a comfortable position.  He would get these guys for this, if it was the last thing he did.  Next time they were injured he'd just let 'em lay there and bleed.  "You boys ever heard of the birds and the bees?"  The boys shook their heads, no, so he took a deep breath and went on to fill them in on the habits of birds and bees, and their relation to the flowers and trees and spreading of seeds and pollen and a whole lot of other things that, as far as the boys could tell, had nothing whatsoever to do with how babies got into tummies.

When he was finished, the boys stood up, looking at him through sorrowful eyes. "You don't know either, do you Unca Nathan?"  JD said.

He shook his head no, gladly agreeing with them.

“That was a good story, though,” Vin added, and both boys nodded encouragingly.

The buzzer on the stove went off and Buck was only too happy to jump up from the couch.  "You boys best go wash up."

The others let out huge sighs of relief as they watched the boys trod down the hallways toward the bathroom then they all joined Buck in the kitchen.

"You know," Josiah said, as he set the garlic bread on the table.  "You're going to have to explain it to them sometime."

"I know." Chris remembered his father explaining it to him, only he was pretty sure he was a lot older than these two boys were.

"Well, I learned everything I needed to know on the playground, and that worked out just fine for me," Buck told them.  He had no idea of what to say -- what was too much information?  What was too little? There was a little voice in his head nagging at him, telling him he should be the one who explains this thing to his son and that he should be grateful for the opportunity.  He tried to ignore the voice, but it wouldn't go away.

"But, the world we're living in today is a lot different than it was when we were growing up," Josiah countered.

"A lot more dangerous too," added Nathan.

Ezra shook his head, making a tsking sound at Buck.  "I still can't believe you tried to tell them the stork story."

Chris snorted.  "You're kidding?  You told them babies came from the stork?"

"Well . . .." Buck made a vague hand gesture, not able to come up with a defense.  "It just slipped out."

"We're going to have to talk to them soon."  Chris wanted to explain to Buck that they at least needed to answer the boys' questions.  At some point in the last few minutes, Chris had decided that these sorts of talks, however uncomfortable, should be considered a privilege of fatherhood, not a curse.  Before Chris could say anything more, the boys came into the kitchen, putting a halt to the conversation.

"I'm with ya, pard," Buck told him, having a good idea of what was running through his best friend's mind.  They'd learned the hard way that life was unpredictable and all too short in some cases.  With a look, they silently reminded each other of how important it was to cherish and make the most of the little things, and to be thankful for all that they were allowed.

"Did I ever tell you gentlemen the story my mother told of finding me in a cabbage patch?"

Nathan looked at him with mock seriousness.  "Now, I can almost believe that one."

Vin and JD looked at each other, more sure than ever that they would have to have a talk with their dads and explain a few things to them -- maybe they'd have to talk to their uncles too.  How they'd ever gotten to be so old without knowing this stuff was beyond them.  They knew it would be hard and real embarrassing, but the boys felt like it was their duty to set the men straight on the subject. Course they weren't exactly sure about all the details, but they'd just have to do the best they could to fill in the gaps.  They sure couldn't have them going around thinking that babies came from storks and cabbage patches.  What would folks think?

"Your mother wouldn't be caught dead in a cabbage patch, Ezra," Chris said, grinning.

"Well, apparently she won it in a high stakes poker game.  She was merely surveying the property when she happened upon me."

Buck tossed a piece of garlic bread across the table.

"Mr. Wilmington, your table manners are atrocious."

"Well," Buck bit off a hunk of bread and continued with his mouth full, "my momma always said I was born in a barn."

Vin elbowed JD, and both boys shook their heads.  They definitely had their work cut out for them.