Good to Be Home
by Sue M

Alternate Universe "MCAT"

Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep 'em but if I could they'd be on season 10 by now!

Thanks to Sherry for MCAT

For Jan, Wendy, Jo and dear Sherry, who out of the goodness of her heart donated two web pages to me,

Thanks guys, and thank you Sherry for being such a special person.

Chris could feel his eyes burning. He'd been driving for hours and they weren't too far from home now. Seven men crammed into a six- seat SUV was a strain at best, but add to that a week-long seminar and a long drive home and it was truly a miracle no one had lashed out. It had been quiet for about ten minutes, Chris figured JD had either fallen out or fallen asleep...luckily the latter was the case. Buck however was having none of it.

"How can he fall asleep? He's the youngest for cryin' out loud...why is he the only one asleep?"

JD stifled a chuckle as he kept his eyes closed.

Josiah leaned back to take a look.

"Leave the poor boy be,'s exhausting being young."

"In comparison to what?" Buck grumbled. "He's had a week of lazing around, no shoot-outs, no car-chases, no poor boy...must be plum tuckered out, doin' a whole load of nothin'" Buck leaned in close to JD's ear as he spat out the last word.

Dunne snorted in a failed attempt to stifle a laugh.

"Ha...knew you were faking, squirt."

The others smiled or shook their heads. JD opened one eye.

"Get the hell away from me you P...I...A."

Buck frowned, "What's a P...I...A?"

JD sat up and leaned in just in front of the brunet's face. "Pain In The Ass."

As the others snickered, Buck feigned hurt.

"Oh...that's harsh. I care for you, look out for you, put up with yer eatin' habits..."

"Wind me up, slap my head, call me squirt, NEVER LET ME SLEEP!" JD retorted.

"Are you listening to this guys?" He turned to JD and cuffed him.

"Ow...see...see what you I said...Pain..."

"Don't say it," Buck warned.


"Last warning."

Dunne grinned. "...the Ass."

As Wilmington mad a lunge for the younger man and the others took turns in either trying to pull them apart or cheer them on, Chris sighed.

"Oh for the Love of...KNOCK IT OFF!"

Pulling apart, both men pointed warning fingers at each other. Vin's cell rang.

"Hi Kel...huh? Any particular reason? Only we're all kinda tire...okay baby, see you soon."

All eyes were on the Texan.

"Trouble?" Chris asked, unconsciously putting his foot down harder on the gas.

" there something we should be concerned about?" Ezra wondered.

"Is someone sick or hurt?" asked Nathan.

JD sucked in a breath, "Hurt?...Vin? "

"Stay calm, brothers," Josiah said, more than a little unnerved himself.

"Let him speak," Buck ordered, just as desperate to hear the news. Tanner shrugged.

"Don't think there's a problem...Kel asked if we'd all come to my house before ya'll head for your own homes."

A little concerned at the request, the seven men settled into an uneasy silence for the final half-hour of their journey.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

As the SUV approached the Tanner homestead, an audible sigh of relief could be heard. The porch lights twinkled and all seemed calm. As soon as Chris pulled up, seven men alighted from the vehicle in double- quick time, Vin pushed open the front door and they all jumped.




All the Larabee Ladies were standing in the main room, surrounded by balloons and streamers and a huge welcome home banner. Kelli had a twin in each arm, Andi and Jason at her sides but clearly desperate to burst forward, as were Grace, Caleb, Maria, Sarah, Joanne, Terrel, Lilah and Daisy.

As one they all surged, and all hell broke loose as each father prepared to catch his eager children.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Buck went down on one knee and opened his arms to receive Caleb, Maria and Sarah, all four laughing as they connected. Buck hugged and chuckled and somehow scooped up all three, struggling over to Inez as the beautiful Mexican's eyes sparkled with amusement and love. Buck placed the children down on the floor and bent to kiss Tannis, as she lay in her mother's arms. He then leaned in to Inez and whispered in her ear, kissing it softly.

"God, but you're a sight for sore eyes."

"Just thinking the same thing," she sighed as she nuzzled his cheek.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Josiah caught Joanne mid run and swept her up into his arms. He gave her a squelchy kiss that made her giggle. He was at Mallory's side in seconds and kissed her tenderly on the lips. She leaned against his broad chest.

"Welcome home, Sanchez," she breathed.

Josiah tickled Adam as he sat on his mother's right hip.

"It certainly will be," he sighed, contentedly.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Ezra walked toward Barbara who met him mid-way. They kissed and held each other tightly.

"I love you, Standish," she smiled up at him.

Ezra cupped her beautiful face in his strong hands and kissed her nose. "Oh my sweet darling I have missed you so." They stood in a tight embrace for some time, oblivious to the pandemonium around them as they only had eyes for each other.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Chris was tracing every line of Cody's face as Grace clung to his neck and chattered endlessly. Larabee surveyed the scene around him and hugged his children closer as he smiled toward his eldest daughter. It was good to be home.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Nathan held a squirming Terrel in his arms as he approached his beautiful wife and baby daughter. After a tender kiss with Rain, he kissed Ronesha and tickled Terrel.

"Is everyone okay?" he asked as he stared into Rain's eyes.

"We are now," she beamed.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Andi and Jason almost had Tanner off his feet but the agile Texan averted disaster and swept them into his arms, struggling slightly. After asking if they'd been good, he returned them to the floor and leaned in to kiss Bren and Trey, taking Trey to ease her burden. Kelli locked eyes with her Texan and they kissed for a long moment, savoring being close again.

"Love you Tanner," Kelli whispered as she stroked his face.

"Missed you, baby," he said back, smiling as he ran his fingers through her hair.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Lilah and Daisy practically launched themselves at their father as Casey winced, fearful they might hurt his still recovering surgery incision. JD deftly caught them and spun the two squealing girls until all three were dizzy. He put them down on the floor and they chuckled as they toppled gracefully to the floor, a little unbalanced from the twirling.

In two steps JD was in front of Casey and pulled her into a passionate kiss and embrace, completely ignoring Buck's exaggerated coughing as he savored every second. Since he had almost died, JD had taken life by the scruff of it's neck and shook it vigorously, living every moment as if it were his last. He wanted his wife to know, to exist, he needed her, his children and his brothers as much as he needed oxygen to breathe, but he wasn't planning on kissing any of his brothers passionately anytime soon. As they breathlessly pulled apart they both smiled.

"Love you," they said together, then giggled.

Intimate reunions over, they all proceeded to intermingle as they eventually settled at the food table and enjoyed supper together.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

Finally saying their goodbyes outside the Tanner house, the women and children were heading toward cars as seven men stood together before heading home. Without a word, Chris positioned his hand in front of him toward the centre of the circle he and his brothers had formed and one by one each man placed his own hand on top.

"See ya in the mornin' guys."

They all nodded, as they dropped their hands and headed for their families. It had been an exceptional fact, it had been truly Magnificent.

The End