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.
Written for the Vin Fanfic and Discussion Group 'Finish the Story Challenge'
Finish the Story Challenge Passage: There had been a time when Vin hadn't needed to consider how his actions might affect anyone but himself. That time was gone. He now had family. A family that would stand with him no matter the consequences of the recent events. He looked around at the others and wondered . . . Could he have done anything differently?
His thoughts continued to swirl in the alcohol induced pit he found himself.
In his mind’s eye, the others were there watching him, their confused… angry… expressions boring into him, but he was alone at Four Corners.
Seated on the ground.
The rain had stopped falling.
He was soaked to the skin... alone and shivering in the darkness.
He glanced sideways at the empty bottle beside him and titled his head back against the rough wood of the stable, nausea grinding in his stomach.
The argument with Chris crystallized for a split second and then drowned in the sea of whiskey.
What had they argued about? The mission.
He squeezed his eyes shut as the moment returned…the moment when he’d broken cover and slammed his body against a metal drum, sending it flying to intercept the swinging beam… a beam that would have hit the crumbling wall of century old bricks… a wall that would have collapsed… collapsed on top of Chris… crushing him… killing him.
Then, all hell had broken loose. The terrorists plotting to murder the visiting Wintinese diplomat had spotted him… probably spotted the beam, but the falling beam dislodged by the terrorists planting their bombs hadn’t caused them to bolt. It had been seeing a fully arm combat soldier rolling to his feet that had sent them running. His team had lost the element of surprise. The mission had to be aborted. The terrorists had escaped. The Wintinese would be furious.
Chris was furious. “What the hell were you doing?!”
He hadn’t answered. He’d just started yelling. Why had he started yelling? Why hadn’t he simply explained the reason he’d broken cover?
Vin ran his hand over his eyes. What a mess.
When Buck had announced, “they’re gone,” the rest of the team had cast their gazes on him. He’d opened his mouth to tell them about the direction the beam had been heading, but the terror in his heart left him yelling incoherently about being more than capable to making his own decisions. What the hell did that have to do with anything?
Vin exhaled slowly. If the wall had collapsed… he’d have lost… again.
He sensed the approach of someone. Reflex forced his bloodshot eyes open and his hand reaching for his gun… but it wasn’t there. He slumped. If it was an assassin wanting to collect the contract, then it was his lucky day because Vin was unarmed and didn’t care.
He tried to focus his vision. He jumped when someone drew him away from the stable. He struggled, but a warped voice soothed, “Easy. It’s me.”
He titled his head backwards and his spotted Chris briefly before his world spun and he slammed his eyes shut to stop the spinning.
A blanket was wrapped around his shoulders. Chris took each of his hands and drew him to his feet. He wobbled, then steadied, finding himself staring in his Colonel’s harsh face.
“If I hadn’t moved when I did...” he started.
Chris nodded. “I’ve just seen the security footage.”
He swallowed, “I should have said something.”
Chris eyes clouded with confusion. “Why didn’t you? When I asked why you’d broken cover?”
Vin wished he knew. “I… I guess I… I don’t know.”
Larabee frowned. “That’s not like you.”
Vin turned away, focusing on the darkness of night and wishing it would swallow him.
Chris sighed. “Come on. Let’s get you inside.”
Larabee wrapped his arm around him and guided him toward the ranch house.
“Chris… I’m sorry.”
“Not now. Later,” Larabee insisted, taking him inside, stripping him of his wet clothes, pulling out the sofa bed in the family room so, ‘I don’t have to carry your heavy ass upstairs’ and assisted him to lie down. He placed a bucket next to him. “For when you throw you guts up.”
Many hours later…
Vin rolled over. His body ached and his ribs pinched. The taste of stale whiskey made him gag. He opened his eyes and pain exploded through his head. “Agghhh!”
He blinked trying to filter the light. An out of focus face loomed over him. “Morning, Kid. You are going to have the hangover from hell.”
“Buck?” The vibrations rattled through his skull and he tried to swallow but his throat was parched.
“Let me help you sit.” Vin groaned as Buck eased him upright and placed a pillow behind his back. Vin held his hand up to shield the afternoon light.
“You remember anything?”
Vin frowned and started to shake his head. “Agghhh,” he gasped, the movement piercing his skull.
Buck’s voice danced with mirth. “You drank a whole bottle. I’m damn proud of you, son.”
Vin opened one eye and pinned Buck with a glare.
“A hang-over remedy,” Wilmington stated, handing him a glass of ‘something’. “Nathan prepared it specially so drink up.”
“If Nathan prepared it, up is exactly what will happen to it,” Vin grumbled, lifting his hand to massage his throbbing temples. He stared at Buck for a few seconds. “I got drunk?”
“Yep. Catatonic. You don’t remember the mission?”
The light of memory dawned and Vin lowered his face. Buck patted his shoulder, the mirth gone. “It’s okay, Kid.”
“No it isn’t,” Vin murmured. “I suppose they want my badge.”
“Who? The Wintinese? By the time Ezra finished with them, they wanted to knight you,” Buck chuckled. “I dropped by your place and collected some fresh clothes.” Buck pointed to the neatly folded bundle. “Nathan taped your ribs. You busted two in your flying leap yesterday. Chris has cleared everything with Travis, and J.D. tracked the terrorists from a phone call they made last night. We captured them a few hours ago. The diplomat’s safe and very grateful. So, all’s well. Relax.”
Vin grimaced and his guilt doubled. Nathan had prepared him something to settle his stomach and taped his ribs. Buck had brought it to him in bed and collected some clothes for him. Chris had cleared everything with Travis. J.D. had located the terrorists so the mission wasn’t a failure. Ezra had made things right for him. Gone where the days when he’d wake up alone to deal with any mess he’d created.
Vin sensed… he lifted his squinted gaze. Chris appeared in the doorway. Buck patted Vin’s shoulder again and quickly made himself scarce. Larabee strode into the room and stopped by the bed, the briskness of his moment advertising his mood.
Vin exhaled. “I’m sorry.”
Chris nodded, his expression unyielding.
“I... stuffed up.”
“The beam dislodging was unforeseen. We couldn’t plan for something like that. You reacted correctly to that. But clamming up and taking off without telling us where you were headed was irresponsible and stupid.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” Vin leaned against the pillow and let his eyes close, his ribs pinching.
“What the hell was going on in your head?”
Vin opened his pained eyes. “Yesterday was the 13th of March.”
“That’s the same day I lost Ma.” His emotions climbed and swamped him. His voice broke as he admitted, “I just…I already lost everything on that date once and…” And it almost happened again.
Chris’ face contorted. Understanding blanketed his green eyes as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
“I’m sorry,” Vin whispered. When the smoke had cleared and he’d had a chance to reflect on what had happened… what had almost happened… that he’d almost lost the most important person in his life again on the same date, rage had amalgamated with fear and he’d lashed out… at the six people he knew he could.
Chris drew him in briefly, the hug of support washing over Vin like a lifeline. “I’m sorry, Chris. I just don’t know why… “
Larabee drew back and inclined his head. Vin spotted Josiah standing on the veranda waiting for him – the final member of Vin’s family. Josiah would help him come to terms with everything and that would be the end of the ‘mess’.
Chris helped Vin out of bed and gave him a reassuring nod. Vin walked toward the door. He paused and glanced back over his shoulder. They were all there, watching him with understanding. As he stepped onto the porch and walked toward Josiah he heard…
J.D.: He alright?
Ezra: Not yet.
Buck: But he will be.
Nathan: Josiah will see to it.
Chris: As soon as he is alright, I’m going to kill him.
Josiah smiled. “Come and sit down, Vin.”
For several moments there was silence. “Josiah...I don’t…”
“Probably the most confronting thing in our human existence is being faced with the mortality of someone we care about.”
Vin nodded, sat down and listened…wallowing in the total safety and amazing security that was family.
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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.