DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters. "The Magnificent Seven" belong to MGM and Trilogy Entertainment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d be a happy woman if Vin belonged to me.....but no such luck. I have not made any profit out of writing this, so please don’t sue me. It would not be worth your while.
God Bless Ants
Response to Vin Fanfic and Discussion Group Challenge - Ants.
Vin blinked. He stood, his arms laced over his chest in defiance, staring at his Colonel who lowered the memo and placed it on the table in front of him. Tanner reflected on the content that had just been read and a frown settled on his handsome features. "You're kiddin' aren't ya?" he muttered.
Chris shook his head. "Ants are a fact of life, Vin."
"Not for me," Vin growled.
"Well, they are now. It's your turn."
Tanner stared at his leader and noted the underlying smirk. "Yeah, right."
Larabee sat back in his chair. Despite the mirth touching his eyes, Vin could see Chris was actually serious.
"Oh, come on, Chris," Tanner snapped. "This ain't funny."
"Didn't say it was. Ants aren't the most pleasant things in the world, but they are important."
The first strains of panic rose in Vin's belly as acid began to leap and flip flop. Chris really was serious. Tanner's arms dropped. "Oh, come on, Chris. You know I hate..."
"None of us are happy about ants, Vin, but they play an important role in world we live in." Larabee was now grinning. It wasn't that he enjoyed seeing his best friend squirm... it was just that he enjoyed seeing his best friend squirm!
"Ohhh, come on, Chris." It was a whinge. A good old fashioned whine. Tanner's arms were now hanging at his sides, his face a picture of pathetic despair. Chris' grin matured into a full smile. Revenge was sweet. Vin Tanner was a fearless soldier. He had faced the most horrifying situations without flinching. There were very few things that 'frightened' him - this was different. Like a teenager, Vin's shoulders slumped. "Oh, come on, Chris. Pleaassse. Can't you do it?"
Larabee shook his head. "No."
"I’m a sharpshooter for God’s sake. You know how I... look I'll do anything else you ask me, but not ants! Come on, Chrissss." And there was that whine again. "There'll be thousands."
Vin remained in the one spot, praying that the ground would swallow him. "Why me?"
"Well, for one thing, your name was on the memo," Chris stated, inclining his head toward the note.
Tanner's eyes lit with hope as he spied a way out of this unthinkable horror. "We can say we didn't get it. Yeah, we could do that, Chris. And then you and I could go fishing and someone else can deal with the ants. We haven't been fishing for..." Larabee was shaking his head, slowly and deliberately, the smile on his lips broadening.
"Why?" Vin demanded. It was a high pitched cry, every syllable displaying his anguish.
"Because Travis personally placed it into my hand, that's why. There‘s no way out." Orrin Travis knew Chris and his men well. He had seen such memos go 'missing' in the past.
Vin drew in a deep breath and his mind filled with images of what he was likely to encounter. Shuddering, he focused back on his leader. "Look, Chris, in all honesty..." Buck entered the room holding an envelope. "BUCK! Buck will do it. He likes ants," Vin cried, his words bursting out of him with enough volume to cause the boys in the outer work area to glance toward their leader's office.
"I like ants? That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard you say, Vin.“ Buck glanced at Chris. “So, you've told him?"
"Ohhhh, come on, Buck," Vin pleaded.
Like Chris, Wilmington smiled and shook his head with delight.
Vin frowned and turned back to Chris. "Why me? Why the hell does it have to be me?"
"Because it's your turn."
"My turn! I’ve only been with Em7 for five months.”
“And ants have to be dealt with four times a year. It is your turn.”
“Hang on." Once again, the desperation of a trapped animal spying freedom illuminated Vin’s frantic face. "I don't remember anyone mentioning anythin' about ants in my contact. Not even in the fine print."
"You never signed anything," Chris pointed out, with amusement.
"Exactly!" Vin pounced, his brilliant blue eyes flashing with triumph. "I haven't signed nothin' and so I don't have to do it. You deal with the ants."
Chris Larabee placed his hands on his desk and slowly rose to his feet.
Vin frowned. "Ohhh, come on, Chris." His voice rose and fell, his mouth sagging pathetically. "This ain't fair. When I was a kid at school, I... "
"Oh, start the violins," Buck chuckled.
Vin spun around and stabbed a finger in Buck's direction. "Shut-up, Buck. This ain't funny. I know you think it is, but it ain't."
Buck thrust his bottom lip out in a pronounced pout.
Vin cursed under his breath and turned back to his leader. He dropped his gaze to his own feet and swallowed. "Chris, something like this could bring on a memory rush for me."
Larabee's face changed. The mirth left his eyes. Unfortunately, Vin couldn't maintain the honest look and Chris saw straight through him. "You almost had me, Tanner," he stated, retaking his seat.
"Vin, half of them will be female, so just flash your baby blues and wiggle that Tanner ass of yours," Buck laughed.
Vin shot Buck a glare that left Wilmington rollicking.
Chris smirked. "It might work."
"Thanks, Larabee. Thanks a whole hell of a lot. This is because of the molasses I put in your boots, isn't it?"
Chris crossed his arms.
"You're tryin' to get back at me for somethin', Larabee," Vin insisted. "The pepper I put on your breakfast cereal?"
Chris shook his head, again smiling.
"The frog in your beer?... The purple hair dye I put in your shampoo?"
Chris sat up. "You did that?" he asked with mock surprise.
"No, no. That was Buck," Vin back-peddled.
Buck Wilmington snorted. "Not me, kiddo. The truth is finally out."
Vin continued to stare at Chris. For several seconds there was silence. "Ohhhh, come on, Chrissssss."
"But..." Ezra walked into the room wanting Larabee's signature. "But Ezra would be so much better at it than me. Ezra will do it." He was pleading. This couldn’t possibly be happening to him.
"Just what am I being volunteered for?" Ezra asked curiously, passing Larabee the document.
"Ants. Ez, I can't handle ants. Please? I'll do anything?"
"Anything?" Ezra asked, stoking his chin with thought.
"No, Ezra. He's doing it," Chris stated with some authority. "It has been requested at the highest level."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Vin cried.
Chris signed the document and handed it back to Ezra as Josiah and J.D. stepped into the doorway. "Chris, we have about five minutes before we'll..."
Sanchez glanced at Chris, who was shaking his head. "Sorry, brother. There comes to all of us a time when we must face our demons."
"Demons. We're talking about ants, Josiah. I... I.. get...."
"I suppose you're gonna say you get nervous in front of a crowd," Buck cackled.
Vin ignored Buck and looked back at Chris. Larabee’s smile faded and Vin could see there was simply no way out of it.
“Think of it as something you can do for your country, kid,” Buck offered.
"When?" Vin asked of Chris, quietly.
Vin shut his eyes and nodded. "I don't feel well."
"I'm sure Nathan can give you an injection of something that will..." Vin's eyes shot open and his icy stare sent Buck into fits of giggles.
Vin turned his glare on Chris. "If I'd known about this, I never would have joined Em7, Larabee. Never." With that, Vin shouldered past Josiah and J.D. and stormed out of the office.
"You two enjoy yourselves?" Josiah asked.
"Just getting a bit of my own back," Chris replied, easily. "Besides. It's out of my hands. The request did come from the President."
J.D. glanced from one of his friends to the other. "A request came from the President for Vin to do something with ants?"
Ezra picked up the memo and handed it to the younger man.
"Ohhhh. The Anti-terrorism National Tactics Seminar."
“Yeah, they want Vin to talk for an hour.” The five men in the office exchanged glances and then burst out laughing. Such a thought truly was ludicrous. Vin Tanner. Talk. In front of several hundred people. For an hour. Their laugher rose.
“You aren’t seriously going to make him do it?” Ezra asked, feeling just a little sorry for his friend.
Chris shook his head.
“When are you going to tell him?”
“I’ll rescue him about thirty seconds before he steps on the platform... no doubt with a bad case of imaginary laryngitis,” Chris chuckled.
The payback for the hair dying job, molasses in his shoes, frog in his beer and a dozen other practical jokes had been perfect. Chris sat back, laced his hands behind his head and smiled. “God bless A.N.T.S.”
### Yes, I know I should have spelt ants as A.N.T.S throughout the story, but that would have given the game away. (g) ###
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© July 2005 Aussie Lass. : This relates only to the creative property in this story. The distinctive way the story unfolds, the specific dialogue and unique situations are mine. I acknowledge that some of the characters and settings belong to the owners of "The Magnificent Seven" and I thank them sincerely for turning a blind eye so I can borrow them. (g) No infrigement of copyright was intended and no profit has been made from this story... so, please don't sue me. It wouldn't be worth your while.