Glass, Frog, Shoes: A Typical Morning

by MMW

Little Britches Universe

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven belong to Mirsch, Trilogy, etc. The Little Britches AU was created by JD Poffenberger and S. Berry.

Author’s Note: I don’t have a lot of time to flesh this out and will hopefully write a different, more substantial story later, but I thought I should at least respond to my own challenge. Thank you TJ for giving it a once-over. Any mistakes or irregularities remaining are mine alone.

Challenge: Practical Math Challenge: using only one setting, write a story using the following equation to track entrances and exits: 3+2-4+2+1+1+2-3+1-3. Any AU, any amount of words.

Vin’s small arms were wrapped firmly around the neck of Chris Larabee as Nathan examined the bare foot in his hand. The clinic was empty except for the trio, the other adults having stopped to take care of the footprints Vin had been leaving and giving the boy some quiet time to calm down.

Vin had been out playing around the town with JD and Billy Travis when he felt a sharp pain in his foot. The pain quickly passed however, leaving only a slight discomfort. It wasn’t until Billy saw the bloody footprint being left behind that he had screamed for his mother. That scream had brought six adults running from various locations about the town.

Though he hadn’t been scared or worried before, the sudden appearance of all the important grown-ups in his life combined with their concerned expressions and the tremor of fright in Billy’s voice was enough to shake the confident seven-year-old. He had tried to fight against them, but soon Vin could feel tears building in his eyes from the sudden fear.

Seeing the change in his son, Chris had swooped down and gathered the boy in his arms, drawing some comfort from the tight circle the small arms formed around his neck. Hearing Nathan’s command to bring Vin up to the clinic, Chris had quickly turned and followed.

Now, sitting in the clinic, Vin’s tears had dried as Chris murmured soothing words to the son of his heart.

Glancing up at the feared gunslinger and the small boy in his arms, Nathan couldn’t help but smile. Big, bad, terrifying Chris Larabee, a man whose name could make even the bravest of men tremble, was looking just like any other loving father. Taking a rag from the basin of hot water beside him, Nathan continued to gently clean the small foot he held in his hand.

Finally, having removed all the accumulated dirt, Nathan got his first look at the wound. Adjusting the angle of the foot, he was able to see the sliver of glass. Taking his tweezers, he looked at the two faces watching him intently. With a soft smile he assured, "Looks like you’ll be just fine, Vin. I’m going to have to use the tweezers to pull the glass out. It might bleed a little and it’ll be sore, but it should heal up just fine." He saw the relief flood into both sets of eyes. "Of course," he added, "you’ll have to keep the foot clean, put a salve on it and wear socks and shoes." A smile twitched at the corners of the Healer’’s mouth as he saw the protest against socks and shoes building in the boy’s eyes.

"He’ll wear them," Chris replied in a tone that brooked no argument. He smiled at the soft huff of disagreement from his son and watched as the boy moved his arms to cross over his chest. Though he wouldn’t swear it, Chris thought he could just about see his son’s lower lip begin to stick out in a pout –– a sight more characteristic of Vin’s cousin JD than Vin himself. Though he knew Vin was upset over having to wear his shoes and socks, Chris was also aware he had been forgiven for the offense as Vin rested his head on the blond’s shoulder and snuggled into his hold.

Nathan smiled, having used the distraction to get a good grip on the glass. Ensuring his grip on the small foot, he looked up into the blue eyes and asked, "Ready?" Receiving a small nod in return, he pulled the sliver out as quickly as he could, ignoring the slight hiss from his young patient. The piece of glass has been longer than he had expected, but the entrance to the wound itself was small. Washing the wound as thoroughly as possible and putting a salve over the cut, he was just about to wrap a bandage around the foot when the door opened and Buck walked in holding the hand of a very worried JD.

"Vin ok?" JD asked, his fear and concern for his cousin sounding loud and clear in his voice.

The boy in question turned and met the dark, worried eyes of his cousin. "I’m fine JD," he assured. Then, releasing a heavy sigh, he added, "Just gotta wear shoes and socks."

JD’s face softened in sympathy for the plight of his cousin. Walking across the room, he patted the injured boy’s arm as he offered what comfort he could. "That’’s OK, Vin," he said. Then releasing a sigh of his own, he offered, "Want me to wear my shoes too?"

The three adults in the room struggled to suppress their laughter at the seriousness of the conversation.

"That’s OK, JD," Vin replied bravely. "You don’t gotta wear your shoes just ‘cause I’m wearin’ mine."

Nathan was just tying off the bandage when a gunshot sounded in the street followed by a scream that sounded suspiciously like Mary’s voice. Quickly shifting his son to the bed, Chris was on his feet and out the door on the heels of Nathan and Buck with an admonition that Vin "Stay put." None of the men noticed as JD followed them outside leaving Vin alone in the clinic.

Fear shot through Vin as he watched everybody leave the clinic. It wasn’t fear for himself or fear of being alone, but instead fear for his family. He knew how dangerous it was outside, how dangerous guns were. He could only hope none of his family was injured as several more gunshots sounded before silence descended.

It wasn’t much longer before he heard Nathan’s footsteps outside and his stern voice addressing JD, "What are you doing out here?" the healer demanded.

Vin suppressed a smile as JD struggled to find an argument. Moments later, the two were in the room, JD still sputtering and trying to find an excuse. At the sight of Nathan escorting JD into the room by his collar, Vin could no longer suppress the giggle that threatened.

Nathan looked at his patient and smiled. "And just what’s so funny?" Nathan asked.

"Nothin’," Vin said quickly, his eyes still dancing with merriment. They lit up for another reason a few minutes later as the familiar tread of Chris Larabee was heard on the steps. Smiling broadly as his father entered the clinic, Vin found his smile returned as the man in black walked across the room to settle beside his boy.

Reading the curiosity and question in the trusting blue eyes of the boy next to him, Chris smiled down and explained, "Some men tried to rob the bank. We stopped them."

Nodding, Vin felt a momentary pang of worry for Buck, Josiah and Ezra until he realized that his Uncle Nathan wouldn’t be in the clinic with him if anyone had been injured. A moment later, Buck came through the door and JD ran up to him laughing as Buck lifted him high into the air before settling the young boy on his hip. Vin smiled up to the man who was his second father, relieved that he was fine.

"How’re you doing Vin?" he asked, looking over to the smiling boy on the bed.

Before Vin could answer, the door opened and Ezra and Josiah walked in to check on the young patient.

"Master Tanner," Ezra greeted with a warm smile and nod. Josiah smiled at the sight of father and son sitting on the bed together.

He heard Nathan sigh as the healer turned and looked at the crowded room. "He’s going to be fine," he assured everyone. "In fact, he can leave just as soon as he gets his shoes and socks." The men stifled snickers as Vin rolled his eyes, all remembering their own aversion to shoes and socks as children.

"I’ll get them!" JD shouted, sliding out of Buck’s grasp only to run into Josiah’s legs.

Hefting the boy up, Josiah smiled at the others and said, "I’ll go with you JD."

Buck smiled and followed the two out the door, intent on getting his boy back and talking to JD about the dangers of sliding out of his arms.

As the door closed, Ezra approached the bed and knelt down before the child. "Are you alright, Vin?" he asked, his voice gentle and filled with apprehension.

Vin smiled, his heart warmed at the concern expressed by his uncle. "Yeah," he replied, shyly. His smile widened as he saw his uncle pull a stick candy from his pocket.

"Well, good," Ezra said. "Because I would hate to think you couldn’t eat this wonderful candy. I was told it was guaranteed to bring a smile to your face." Rewarded with a wide grin, Ezra couldn’t stop his own smile as Vin launched himself at the conman and embraced him in a tight hug.

"Thanks Uncle Ezra," Vin said quietly as the gambler settled him back on the bed next to Chris.

"You’re welcome, Vin," Ezra assured, turning as the door opened.

Josiah stepped into the room holding Vin’s shoes and socks. Crossing the small expanse, he held the objects out to the boy. "Here you go, son," he said.

Chris allowed his puzzlement to show on his face as he asked, "Where are Buck and JD?"

Josiah laughed slightly as he explained. "Well, while we went to retrieve young Vin’s shoes and socks, we ran into Billy Travis who happened to have caught a frog. JD being JD, wanted to hold the poor creature and immediately released it." Josiah tried to control his laughter as he thought of the next part of the story. "The poor creature was so startled by it’s freedom that it hopped away into the bathhouse where old Mrs. Dawkins was taking her bath, along with several other ladies of the town." He saw the other men beginning to smile as he continued. "Not knowing this, JD ran right in after the frog followed by Buck." The laughter started. "Needless to say, the ladies took offense at his presence and Buck’s trying to soothe the ruffled feathers as we speak."

"This I gotta see," Nathan said, heading for the door, Ezra and Josiah close behind.

His smile broad and still chuckling softly at his best friend’s predicament, Chris took the shoes and socks from Vin and asked, "Reckon we should get your shoes on and go save Buck?"

Vin looked up into his father’s eyes and smiled his own broad smile. Nodding his head he simply responded, "Reckon."

The End