One Man’s Treasure

by Nomooretears

ATF Universe

Vin stared out into the darkness. Heaving a big sigh, he continued to stare up the dark driveway, just wishing to see headlights appear in the night. He grunted as JD bounced onto the couch, leaning over the back next to him. They looked in silence, for about ten seconds. That was all JD could manage.

“What are you looking at, Vin?” he asked.

“Nothing,” answered Vin.

“Then why are you looking?” JD didn’t understand the concept of contemplating. Anything that required sitting still in silence was beyond his grasp. Vin understood that, and had a great amount of patience for JD.

“Just wanting Chris and Buck to be home,” he said. Their fathers were at a weekend conference and weren’t due back until tomorrow. It had come up unexpectedly and they couldn’t get out of it. Uncle Ezra had agreed to stay with the boys. His townhouse was having some minor remodeling done, so he had been planning to stay at the ranch anyway. The boys loved their uncles, but sometimes they just wanted their dads.

Ezra came into the living room and saw the boys staring out the window. He smiled softly as he watched them. Who would have thought that he would ever spend a weekend watching two young boys? The boys had made some great changes in the lives everyone on the team, not just Chris and Buck.

“How would you gentlemen like to go on a treasure hunt?” he asked. He grinned, while keeping his poker face in place, as both boys swiveled around, eyes lit up.

“A treasure hunt? Like pirates?” asked JD.

“How are we going to do that? It’s dark outside,” added Vin.

“I found this piece of paper, it looks like a clue. It seems that there is a treasure somewhere in this house. We don’t even have to go outside. I need some help with this clue, though. It’s really tricky,” said Ezra.

Both boys jumped off the couch and came running to look at the map. “What’s the first clue, Uncle Ezra?” yelled JD.

Ezra winced at the volume. “Calm down, JD. Let’s see, it says, 'to find the treasure, follow the trail of clues. I am round and silver, and I make good spaghetti.' Hmm, I wonder what that could be?” Ezra tapped his chin, looking very confused.

Vin and JD put their heads together, whispering furiously. “We know!” they yelled in unison. Ezra winced again. He might not have thought this little activity through. Hopefully Nathan could fix his hearing. He probably had some disgusting tea for it.

“So, what is it? Where do we go next?” he asked.

“The kitchen,” said Vin.

“It’s a pot!” yelled JD. This was so exciting!

“Well, lead on, young adventurers,” Ezra flourished with his arm, pointing toward the kitchen. Vin and JD took off at a run. As Ezra followed at a more sedate pace, he could hear pots and pans banging as eager little hands searched for the next clue.

He made it into the kitchen as the boys found the next clue. “We got it!” JD screamed, his voice getting some extra volume as it reverberated from the pot he yelled into.

“What’s it say?” asked Ezra.

“When you get dirty, I can help you get clean again. What’s that mean?” asked JD, fortunately at a lower volume.

“What does your dad make you do when you get dirty?” asked Ezra.

“We have to wash up,” chimed in Vin.

“And where do you do that?” prompted Ezra.

“The bathroom!” JD’s was up to full screech again.

And they were off. Ezra looked in the bathroom door to find one small boy peering in the sink, while the other one was climbing into the tub. He chuckled as Vin pulled the next clue out of the sink drain.

“I am a great place for reading bedtime stories, or just sitting with your dad,” Vin read.

“Da’s rocking chair!” JD didn’t wait for the others, he just disappeared, with Vin and Uncle Ezra on his heels.

Heading straight to their bedroom, he jumped into the rocking chair that Buck had put there for storytime. Hiding behind the back cushion was the next note. JD eagerly snatched it up and started reading.

“If it’s raining outside, you might need me to help you stay dry.” His little face scrunched up in thought, JD looked up at his brother.

“An umbrella,” said Vin. This time he led the way as they tore through the house.

In the mudroom, he pulled out the umbrella. Taped to the inside was another note. “I hold your favorite treat.”

“What’s your favorite treat?” asked Ezra, when both boys looked a little confused.

“Ice cream?” asked JD. Vin nodded in agreement. “It’s in the freezer,” JD concluded.

Back to the kitchen they went. Opening the freezer, both boys squealed in delight at the sight of two giant ice cream sundaes. “Is this the treasure?” asked Vin.

“I believe so,” said Ezra. “You should eat it before an evil pirate comes to claim the treasure for himself.” He laughed as the boys grabbed the sundaes and sat at the table. They dug in with great enthusiasm, making little moans of pleasure.

“This is great treasure, Uncle Ezra. That was a lot of fun. Can we do that again tomorrow?” asked JD.

“We’ll just have to see what tomorrow brings, JD,” Ezra answered.

Vin paused in mid-bite. “Uncle Ezra, where’s your treasure?” He didn’t feel right about enjoying his ice cream if Uncle Ezra didn’t have any.

Ezra smiled at him. “I’ve already received my treasure, young Tanner. You enjoy yours.” Vin smiled and attacked his sundae again. Ezra just watched them enjoy their ice cream. Yes, he had received his treasure the day the boys had come into the lives of Team 7, and he cherished that treasure every day.

The End