Reflections on Giving Thanks

by Jeanne

A "Little Britches" Thanksgiving story

Disclaimer: Don’t own then, don’t make any money doing this. If I did I’d buy a horse and a Wiemer. Universe: OW/LB Rating: PG Warnings: smarm, lots and lots of smarm. I think a hankie warning is advised, I tried anyway. Archive: yes please Authors’ notes: I tried I really did. When I read the Nov. challenge on the B&B list, I thought I can do this. Only this is the way it came out. I had to make it LB. I just couldn’t make it work any other way. Siobhan is an old fashioned Irish name. I asked one of my young “moms” at the library who just happens to be Irish for an old-fashioned girls name. This was one she gave me, and spelled it for me too.

Chris Larabee sat on the ground leaning against the old tree stump. He’d been there all night, remembering, sipping from the bottle he’d brought. It had been a year since he’d spent anytime in the small canyon. ‘Sarah’s Canyon’ he’d called it after she’d picked it for the location of their house. He tried not to think on it too much or come here too often. Such visits usually ended badly many days later with killer hangovers and the constant worry he’d done something he shouldn’t.

But yesterday he had to come. He’d left the small ranch house before dawn, without telling anyone hoping Buck would understand and could explain it to the boys. Vin, he’d have to face the seven year old when he got back. He hoped he could explain. Explain what? His disappearance? His moodiness over the last few days? How do you explain things like this to a child?

Behind heavy eyelids Chris could ‘see’ the sun peeking over the horizon. He was a little chilly but the sun would warm him soon enough. He was so tired but sleep eluded him as it had all night. His mind constantly barraged with visions of times past. Then he felt more then heard something. Hand going to gun Chris raised his head and opened his eyes. He gasped at the sight before him.

A shivering barefoot Vin Tanner stood on one foot on top of the other eyeing him wearily. Shoulders hunched and hands stuck deep in coverall pockets he stood silently waiting.

“What are you doing here?”

“You didn’t come home.” Was the answer spat out between chattering teeth.

Taking a breath Chris lifted the front of his poncho and opened his coat and arms. The invitation understood Vin quickly secured himself in Chris’ lap, coat and poncho wrapped around him, strong arms holding him tight.

“What are you doing out here barefoot and no coat?”

“Was warm when I left.” Came the muffled answer.

“How’d you find me Vin?”

Silence, then a sigh, “I followed the tracks and partly guessed. I knowed you was visitin’ them.” Vin raised his head looking at the graves pointing with his chin.


“Don’t know, just did. How come there‘s three?”

Chris looked at the three markers, one older then the other two. He swallowed and spoke softly, “That’s my daughter, her name was Siobhan after Sarah’s grandmother.” He looked down at the puzzled frown on Vin’s face. “She was born and died when Adam was almost three. She only lived an hour.” Chris closed his eyes against the onslaught of memories. Washing and dressing the newborn and placing her in the hastily built coffin that Buck had made. He saw again the sorrow in Sarah’s exhausted face as she wrapped the tiny baby in a blanket and handed her back to him after placing a kiss on the forehead. He remembered again the quiet anger expelled as he and Buck dug the grave and gently laid the bare wood box inside and covered it with dirt. Sarah’s quiet courage and her comforting voice to a bewildered Adam had helped him get through that day, and the days that followed.

Vin tightened his hold on grieving man. He could feel the profound sorrow emanating from Chris but he didn’t know what to say so he said nothing. He simply held on as tight as he could.

Chris could feel Vin warming up. His chilled shivers were less and he was so still Chris was sure he’d fallen asleep. He tightened his grip just a bit reveling in the feel of holding a child once again.

Siobhan. He hadn’t thought of her very much in last few years. The pain of loosing Sarah and Adam had so overshadowed her loss. I’m sorry Baby Girl I could never forget you. It’s just that you were here such a short time. You were so beautiful, so perfect. And then you were gone. It was so hard on your mother. I could work, stay busy and not think on you. But your mother, with her it was different. I’d come home some times and she’d be rocking Adam. He’d be asleep but the tears would still be shinning on her beautiful face.

Then they were gone too. I had no one left. You know, those dark years seem like a bad dream now. Chris rubbed his chin lightly on Vin’s curls then laid his cheek on the top of Vin’s head. Vin changed all that. Oh, I’d kept busy, working the ranch with Buck. Working on his house making it big enough for the both of us. Doing law jobs for the town. Never really caring what was going to happen to me. I figured my life was over; there was nothing more for me except endure to the end. Hoping the end wasn’t too far away.

Then Josiah wrangled those two orphan boys into our house. I didn’t want them to stay. I didn’t need the complication of having kids around. Couldn’t see taking care of anyone but myself. That was a major job, just taking care of myself. It was a lie Baby Girl. All of it, I did need those kids. I needed Vin. Can you see how different my life is now? How much this boy has wormed his way into my heart. That’s funny ‘cause there‘s some that would swear I don’t have a heart. Can’t say he took away the ache of missing all of you, but he eased it some. Made it where it doesn’t make me want to curl up and die most of the time.

I don’t understand it all. Josiah called it Divine Providence that we found Vin and JD. Maybe he’s right I let him do that kind of heavy thinking. I do know there was a time when I, well, I guess I was very mad at God. If He’d been a man I’d called Him out. But you can’t do that with God. So I guess I just ignored Him. Until Vin, until I though I’d lost him too.

I never was sure before when going into a fight if I wanted to live or not. Walking away afterwards I couldn’t tell if I was relieved or disappointed. But I have to pick my fights carefully these days. Because now I care, I care so very much. I want to watch Vin grow up, get married, have a family. Its not that I love you or your mama or Adam any less, its just that Vin is some one to love here.

You’d like Vin, ‘course you’d have him wrapped around your little finger. I guess come to think of it you’d be about the same age. Huh, never thought of that before. Adam would be the big brother still….

Chris shook himself mentally. No need thinking on impossible things, Vin and Siobhan together, Adam as a big brother. He needed to concentrate on the here and now. The now was to get this cold and exhausted boy home, fed and in bed.

I love you Baby Girl. Give your mama a hug and kiss for me and your big brother too.

Chris took a shuddering breath and reaching up with a Vin warmed hand he brushed away the moisture on his face. Then looking down, “You ready to go home cowboy?”

Vin leaned out so he could look into Chris’ eyes. “Are you?”

“Yeah, I’m ready for us to go home.”

The End

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