Dandelion Memories

by Cimmer

Feedback: Yes, please.

Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me I’m just borrowing them. Genre: Gen

Author's Note: Acknowledgment to all authors of the Everyday Heroes storyline for the idea of Gloria Potter's niece having a baby. This story has nothing to do with that wonderful series.

“Chris? She’s doing it again.” JD squinted at the little bundle safely enclosed by the bed pillows.

Chris, who was busy changing into his second shirt of the day simply shook his head and gave the little boy a fond smile.

“She must like you.” He finished buttoning the shirt, tossing a cloth over his shoulder before ambling over to the bed. He stared down at his foster son and their little visitor.

JD blinked up at Chris before wrinkling his tiny nose in annoyance.

Chris merely laughed and leaned over, lifting the baby, carefully supporting her head. He felt a pang, the last time he had handled such a little baby the child had been Adam. He remembered the first time he’d held his son in his arms, fearful that he might do something wrong. Sarah had only smiled gently at her big tough husband and given him a kiss in encouragement.

After their deaths he couldn’t imagine, didn’t want to imagine, that he would ever hold another child in his arms and yet here he was, four years later, foster parent to two precocious and loving little boys and babysitting a month old baby.

+ + + + + + +

If anyone had told him this morning the he would be taking care of Mrs. Potter’s brand new great niece because the new mom had slipped and twisted her ankle getting out of the car of all things, he would have given them the ‘glare’ and dismissed them as mad. But what could he do? Amid all the fuss and tears, (“It was only supposed to be a short stop to show off the baby!”) and recriminations, (“How could I be so clumsy!”) Chris couldn’t do anything else but offer to look after the newborn while Gloria took her niece to the hospital to have her ankle X-rayed.

He squirmed in embarrassment at the remembered look of gratitude on the women’s faces. Amid an avalanche of instructions and baggage (Lord he’d forgotten that babies did not travel light) and bittersweet assurances, (“Of course Mr. Larabee knows what to do Elsie, he’s been a father!") the women had deemed him acceptable as an emergency caregiver.

He and a very subdued JD had stood side by side and watched the truck wind its way down the driveway before the tall blond had carefully knelt on the porch and introduced the little brunette to their temporary guest.

JD and baby had stared solemnly at each for a few moments before the little girl had blown a few bubbles at the little boy in greeting. JD’s eyebrows had drawn together in a tiny frown before he glanced up at Chris in a silent request for information so reminiscent of Adam the first time he’d met a baby that it made Chris catch his breath, but instead of the swift lick of pain such reminders usually brought, the tall man had found himself smiling fondly at the memory.

“Hey there JD, you think the two of us can handle this little bundle until Gloria gets back?”

JD broke into a huge smile, proud as could be that Chris was asking for his help. “Sure thing Chris.”

+ + + + + + +

“Do you think Mrs. Potter’ll be back soon, Chris?” JD leaned against the bed bouncing very slightly against the edge.

“She said she would Little Bit,” Chris answered, using Buck’s pet name for the big-eyed child. “You okay? Getting tired of helping to baby-sit?”

“Nope, are you?” The little boy bit his lip. He hoped Chris thought he was doing a good job helping. Chris wasn’t like his Buck, all laughter and love, whirling hugs and piggy back rides; Chris was stern and quiet and sometimes still a little scary, but JD loved him anyway, because Chris loved Vin and Chris loved Buck and that made him a hero in the little boy’s eyes.

Chris gently placed the baby on his shoulder, a big hand rubbing soothing circles on her back as he headed to the living room.

“No, not with such a great helper.” Chris gave the little boy a wink. JD blinked both eyes in return, not yet having mastered the one-eyed version of a wink.

“Do you think Vin and Buck’ll be back before the baby leaves?” JD followed along trying to match his strides to the blonde’s and not break into his customary dash down the hall.

“I don’t think so JD.” Chris eased himself into the rocking chair by the fireplace while JD carefully dragged one of the miniature rocking chairs that Santa had brought the boys for Christmas to the man’s side.

“Oh,” JD sighed. “They’ll be sorry to have missed her, even if she is a girl.”

Chris smiled as he began to slowly rock.

“We’ll hafta tell ‘em all about it.” JD strove to match his chair’s motions to the blonde’s.

“That can be your official job.” Chris settled the baby more comfortably on his shoulder before glancing down to catch the little boy’s eye. JD sure had been a little trooper throughout the entire experience. Chris gave him one of his rare, full-blown smiles little seen since the death of his family.

JD returned it with one of his own, his face completely engaged in the grin. It reminded Chris of the first time he’d met Buck and the way the rogue’s whole face had lit up with his smile, “’kay Chris.”

Man and boy leaned back, rocking in tandem; content to watch the late afternoon sunbeams turn a soft gold as they slowly spread across the room, a lone dandelion floating through the hazy rays, shimmering magically for a moment as it caught the light.

The End