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.
Em7 Stand Alone Story
Chris stared down at the simple notebook, the cover worn from mistreatment. It had been thrown across the room more than once. Even ended up in the trash once or twice, only to be retrieved when he’d calmed down.
It had been two years to the day since Josiah had forcefully given it to him. He remembered that moment clearly.
“Chris, the war’s over, we’ve been cleared of all charges brought against us and you’ve nothing to focus on except that pit in your gut. You need to find some way to bring those bottled-up emotions to the surface… fill in the damn pit… and beating on a punching bag in the gym only helps with the frustration and anger. I’m talking about the hurt. Take this book and write in it. Write whatever comes to mind. Doesn’t have to be sentences or even make sense. You don’t have to read it. Just write. Do it every day. It will help. I promise.”
“I don’t need your damn advice.”
“No? Larabee, I’m saying this for your own good because I care. You lost the love of your life and your child in that fire bomb and you left the other half of your soul in Katinda. Brother, I know it’s hard, but call me selfish, I don’t want to lose you to the darkness in what’s left of your soul.”
The words had hurt because it was a truth burning a hole in his heart. He’d thrown the book back at Josiah and yelled profanities. As Josiah had closed the door he’d picked up the closest thing and hurled it at the wall. It struck the photo of his wife and child that hung there, sending it flying, the glass shattering as it hit the floor.
His life had been just as shattered. As he had picked up the frame and stared through the tears of rage into his wife’s smiling face, he’d sworn on her memory he’d do something about the ‘pit’ Josiah had spoken of. He’d collected the notebook, went directly to his desk and had started writing.
Larabee flipped to that first page.
Chris shook his head, scanning the first few entries. Had he ever been so dark? He must have been. Here it was... his thoughts and feelings only two years earlier. Hate was a word that appeared frequently. Hate of himself. Hate of life. Hate of the war. Hate of what he was responsible for – specifically, the loss of the three people who meant more to him than breathing.
Anger, aggression and hurt were in every syllable. However, gradually the tone changed over time, expressing more fears and concerns than anger. It had changed because of the boys. Because of Buck. Because of Josiah and Nathan. Because of J.D. and Ezra.
He hadn’t written in the book for several months -- not since they’d found Vin. There hadn’t been a single moment to spare and to be honest, he hadn’t given the book a thought.
Picking up the pen on his desk, he stared at the empty page and… nothing came to mind. What was there to say? Everything in his life was perfect… well, almost so. If Sarah and Adam… but he knew that wasn’t going to happen and he accepted it. However…
Chris stopped writing and frowned. What was it like?
Chris smiled. Normal. That actually made Nathan the odd man out. Well, Vin was normal too, but the others!
He was supposed to be packing for the trip, but had found the notebook in his top drawer.
Chris paused. He couldn’t think of his team without Ezra. Hell, he couldn’t think of his life without Ezra causing problems for him. A smile of affection touched his eyes.
Chris sighed. He hoped Adam would have grown up with J.D.’s enthusiasm and determination. J.D. was no kid, he had proved that time and time again, but he was young and the way he looked for good in people was a constant reminder to Chris he should do the same.
Chris’ gaze lifted to the frame on his desk. It was a photo of him with his arms over Buck’s and Vin’s shoulders. His brothers. Not that the others weren’t, but these two men...
Chris drew in a deep breath and exhaled. This is where he’d begun. His rambling thoughts had taken him in other directions but he’d finally come back to where he’d started.
He frowned in frustration and wrote again,
What? What is he?
Chris closed the book. He never read over what he wrote. That wasn’t the point.
As he rose to start his packing, the phone rang.
Larabee scooped it up. “Hey, Vin.”
“Think you’re real smart don’t you.”
Chris sank into the chair. “Knew it would be you.”
“What the hell do I pack to take to Japan? What’s the weather like over there this time of year?”
“You won’t need that damn buckskin coat.”
“In your ass, Chris.”
“Vin…” Chris shut his eyes and his voice become hushed with emotion. “Thanks for helping me fill in the pit.” There was silence. Chris realized Vin had no idea what he meant. “I mean…”
“I know what you mean, Cowboy. You okay?”
“Yeah. I’m good. Real good.” The best he’d been for many years.
“We got time for a ride out at Four Corners?”
Chris’ test tightened with gratitude. “Reckon so.”
“I’ll meet you at the chopper.”
Chris smiled. “I’m okay, really, but a ride sounds great. Vin…”
“I hear you. Feel the same way. See you soon, Cowboy.”
Chris waited for the click to signal Vin was gone… well, not gone. Never gone.
Josiah’s words of two years earlier returned answering the question Chris hadn’t been able to put into words…you left the other half of your soul in Katinda. Chris flicked open the notebook.
Chris stared down at what he’d written. Slowly he closed the book. He’d sworn on his wife’s memory he’d do something about the pit so he’d used the book as Josiah had suggested.
Chris inhaled long and deep, took one last look at what was effectively his journey back to living… and tossed it into the trash.
He wouldn’t be retrieving it this time.
There wasn’t any need.
Thanks to the love of four friends who’d supported him, one brother who’d never given up on him, and a man with whom he shared a soul, the pit was no more.
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© Dec 2007 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.