Magnificent Seven Fanfic

Christmas Story

The Larabee 7 annual Christmas party was winding down at last. Like most of the other traditions that was formed when Team 7 was active, the brothers, and their families gathered together on Christmas Eve for their annual Christmas party. As each of them married, and babies were born into their families, Christmas mornings were reserved for each man to share with his individual family, and then everyone would gather for dinner.

This year the Wild Bunch was gathered at the Tanners’ house. The excitement of tearing open presents, partaking of the delicious snacks that each household had contributed, drinking eggnog, or hot chocolate, and sharing lots of love and laughter with one another. The adults at one side of the large living room, while the growing number of Larabee children were scattered over the hardwood floors in groups of twos and threes as they played with their newly acquired toys.

“I think the twins are down for the count,” Kelli commented as she gazed lovingly down into Trey’s face, before she glanced over to see Bren snoozing in his daddy’s arms.

“I think you’re right, babe,” Vin stood slowly up, careful not to awaken the baby in his arms.  “Let’s go put them to bed.”

Kelli got up as well and together the Tanners left the living room to deposit their snoring bundles in their cribs in the nursery. When they returned to the living room a few moments later, a semblance of order to the cheery chaos had taken place. Josiah was directing the children to form a half-circle around him, as he settled into one of the large armchairs that the Tanners had, with his worn Bible in one hand.  The older man waited patiently as the adults settled comfortably into seating arrangements with their significant others, while the children all eagerly gathered per his instructions.

Chris was the last of the adults to take a seat, having placed a sleeping Cody in the portable crib, before retrieving refills of eggnog for him and Caitlyn Broderick. He handed her both mugs, before he sat down beside her, and put one arm across her shoulders. She snuggled closer into the crook of his arm, and then handed him one of the mugs.

Josiah waited for another couple of minutes before opening his Bible to a marked passage in it. The location of this particular story he was a favorite of his, and one he had been sharing with his family each Christmas since he met his brothers.

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for him at the end.”

Josiah paused in his reading to gaze out over the small grouping of children gathered before him. “Do any of you know who the baby was?”

“Baby Jesus!” the children shouted together, making the adults chuckle.

“That’s right, it was baby Jesus.” Josiah turned back to his reading.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

“Wow,” Caleb commented thoughtfully, “That’s cool Uncle Josiah.”

Buck cast a beaming smile at his boy, as Caleb quieted down, under Josiah’s gentle gaze. The large man’s baritone filled the room once again.

“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”

Josiah finished reading and set his Bible aside. “Can any of you tell me the real reason why we celebrate Christmas?”

“It’s to honor baby Jesus,” Jason spoke up, “It’s his birthday.”

“You are right about it being Jesus’ birthday, Jason,” Josiah acknowledged with a smile, “And we should celebrate Christmas because of that reason too, but the best reason of all is because when Jesus grew up, he died so that all of our sins would be washed away.”

“Is that like taking a bath?” Sarah asked. “Mom tells us that we have to wash all the dirt away so that we will be clean. Did Jesus take a bath to wash our sins away?”

Josiah stifled the chuckle forming and said, “Something like that.”

“Oh.” Sarah said and fell silent.

“Well, as much as I hate to be a party pooper here,” JD said, rising to his feet, “it’s late and we need to get the children to bed if Santa Claus is going to come tonight.”

Children scurried to get into their coats, mittens, and hats to the laughing astonishment of the adults. Usually the parents had to practically coerce their children into leaving one another’s houses, but not tonight. As the men corralled the children in the living room, and set about returning assorted chairs to the dining room and kitchen, the women of the family put all the leftovers away, did up the dishes, and then collected what pans and serving containers belonged to them.

Vin,Kelli, Jason, and Andi, stood at the doorway and called out ‘goodnights’ to their assorted family members as they got into their vehicles and drove away into the snowy night. Soon enough all the members of the Wild Bunch were sound asleep.

The End

Christmas Pictures

It was a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks before Christmas and all of the Wild Bunch children, except for the three youngest, gathered together in the pony barn at Reins of Change.  Cody Larabee, and Trey and Bren Tanner were down for their naps in the daycare center, under Sally Reeder’s watchful eyes. Most of the adults were out doing some Christmas shopping, taking care of last minute business details, or enjoying some alone time together.

Caitlyn Broderick and Williard Robard had brought the Larabee Seven children down to the barn to see a couple of the new foals that a couple of Reins’ mares had given birth to. The two adults had left the children alone in the front part of the barn, while they took care of some business. Jason Tanner and Caleb Wilmington thought it was the perfect time for them to discuss some business of their own with the other Larabee Seven kids.

“Did y’all bring your money with you today?” Jason asked the other kids after they had formed a circle together on the hay strewn wooden floor.

“I’ve got Sarah, Maria, Tannis’ and mine,” Caleb said, pulling out a set of different colored socks and emptying their contents onto the wooden floor.

“Here’s mine, Andi’s, Bren’s and Trey’s.” Jason added the money he and Andi had collected by doing chores around the Tanner household to the pile that Caleb started. They also added money for their two little brothers to the pile as well.

“This is all the money that Adam and I have,” Joanne said, emptying a coin purse full of dollars and change into the pile.

The Dunne twins and Jackson children added what they had into the pile, and then Jason and Caleb set to work counting all of it together. Soon they had a total.

“We have twenty-five dollars and seventy-eight cents,” Caleb told the group.

“Wow, that’s lots of money!” Andi crowed with delight, her blue eyes wide with delight.

The other children made other sounds of excitement as well when they heard the amount of money they had collected. Jason shushed the group up so he could talk.

“Now…that we know how much money we have, what are we going to get our folks?”

“Hmm…good question,” Caleb placed his chin on his fist and considered the question that Jason had asked.

The rest followed suit and silence settled over the group for a few moments before Maria spoke up,

“Why don’t we have our pictures taken together?”

“The folks would like that…but how are we going to arrange it?” Sarah asked. “We’ll need a big person to help us.”

Caitlyn cleared her throat. She had finished with helping Williard and had returned to the front of the barn to gather the kids together and take them back up to the main house, but when she found them in such a state of concentration, she had not wanted to interfere. She had taken note of the neat stack of crinkled bills and change and realized that the children were planning some sort of surprise for their parents. Her assumption was proven accurate a few moments later when Sarah had voiced her concerns aloud.

She waited until all the children had turned her attention onto her, before saying, “Can I be of any help to you?”

Jason stood up and walked over to her, his blue eyes serious. “You have to swear that you won’t tell any of our folks what we are planning, and that includes Uncle Ra and Aunt Barbara.”

“I swear.” Caitlyn said solemnly.

“Pinkie swear,” Jason held out his hand to Caitlyn, pinkie raised, and waited to see what she would do.

Caitlyn’s lips twitched, but she forced back the smile, slipped her pinkie finger around Jason’s, and repeated her earlier vow. Then she allowed Jason to lead her over to the rest of the children.

“Okay, we want to have our picture taken together so that we can give it to all of our folks for their Christmas present from us.” Caleb explained once Caitlyn and Jason had sat down on a bale of hay. “This is how much money we’ve got. Is it enough?”

He picked up the crinkled bills and the loose change and handed it to Caitlyn. She quickly counted it and then said with a smile, “Of course it is enough. Now, I will arrange to have a friend of mine who is a photographer come out here to Reins of Change. We can take the pictures here. I do think though, that I am going to need a little help in getting all of you together without making your folks suspicious. Therefore, would it be all right if I asked Max and Walter to help me?”

Jason and Caleb glanced at each other and silently agreed that what Caitlyn asked was okay. “Alright, but you will have to make them pinkie swear not to tell anybody else.”

“I’m sure they will have no problem doing that.” Caitlyn said. “Now, let’s head up to the house for some hot chocolate and cookies.”

The children followed her out of the barn and back up to the big house.

There was an edge of excitement to all of the children over the next couple of weeks. Operation ‘Christmas Pictures’ had gone over smoothly, with none of the parents catching on to the surprise. Caitlyn had arranged to have all of the children come to Reins of Change again for a sleepover and the pictures had been taken. She had contributed some of her own money toward the Christmas gift she knew all the parents were going to be thrilled to receive, and bought matching outfits for all the children to wear, along with cowboy hats. Besides copies of the whole group together, she had had her photographer friend do family portraits as well.

Max and Walter, who were sworn into secrecy, had contributed some of their own money to the surprise as well. They had bought ornate silver frames to hold all of the pictures, and had carefully wrapped the items up for the kids to give on Christmas Eve when the Wild Bunch family gathered to exchange gifts.

On the evening in question, all of the children were positively glowing at the thought of the surprise they were going to give their parents. All thoughts of opening their own brightly colored presents under the huge tree in the Larabee home were forgotten as Jason and Caleb got permission from their fathers to accompany Walter down to the Andrews’ residence to retrieve the brightly decorated baskets that held their presents for their parents, and beloved aunts and uncles.

After everyone was seated in the living room, Jason and Caleb took the floor. “We know that usually this evening’s gift giving starts out with one of our Dads or uncles handing things out, but tonight we want to start.” Jason said.

“The other kids, Jason, and I put our money together and with the help of Miss Cait, Max and Walter, we planned our own surprises for all of you.” Caleb continued.

The two boys gestured for their siblings to join them on the floor, while all the other adults exchanged questioning looks with one another.  Together the children handed out their packages to each set of parents, and to their Uncle Ezra and Aunt Barbara.

“Now you can open them!” Sarah and Andi said together, once all the gifts were distributed.

Tears filled the eyes of each of the adults at the beautiful gifts that they had been given, and a round of hugs and kisses passed through the room. The Wild Bunch children were delighted that their Christmas surprise had been accomplished and their parents were thrilled with their gifts.

The End.

Fear and Protection

Jason Tanner pressed his body against one corner of the living room wall in the Tanner residence, his blue eyes wide with growing fear as he heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps approaching the front door. He had awakened a few moments earlier to use the restroom and get something to drink. He had finished in the bathroom, and decided that instead of water, he wanted a sip of milk; the young boy had headed down the hallway toward the kitchen.

No sooner had he reached the living room, than he had seen a shadow pass by one of the windows. Both his mom and dad were away on MCAT business overnight, and Max and Walter were asleep, as well as his younger sister Andi, and twin brothers Trey and Bren. It was up to him to find out who it was sneaking about their house, before he ran to the room Max and Walter shared when they had to stay overnight.

A gasp escaped his lips as he realized that whoever the intruder was, they were on the front porch now. He was so focused on watching the front door that he didn’t hear anyone sneak up behind him, before a small hand reached out and touched his arm.

“Boo!” Andi said gleefully, watching in delight as her older brother jumped nearly a foot.

“That’s not funny!” Jason exclaimed in a harsh whisper, his blue eyes flashing angrily at her.

Andi bit her bottom lip and great big tears formed on her cheeks. “I’s sorry…”

“Ssh…it’s alright..” Jason quickly said, grabbing her to him and holding her close as he turned her attention back onto the front door. The doorknob began to turn and he quickly told Andi, “Run…go wake up Max and Walter.”

Andi did as she was told and scampered off while Jason continued to eye the door. His heart pounded in his chest as the door opened and he anxiously looked around for some kind of weapon to use to protect the people that he loved.  Just when he had decided to use one of the lamps as a weapon, his mother’s recognizable figure entered the darkened room.

With a cry of relief, Jason scampered across the living room. He threw himself at his mom and heard her and his dad let out surprised gasps. As his mom held him close, his dad quickly turned on a light and both glanced down at him with worried looks. Questions came next, just as Walter appeared in the hallway with a loaded weapon in his hand.

“Looks like you’ve got things under control. I’m going to go to bed now.” Walter said, turning around and heading back to bed, leaving a perplexed Vin and Kelli behind.

Jason quickly told them about his waking up to go to the bathroom and get a drink, then hearing footsteps and seeing shadows and his wanting to protect the family. Vin and Kelli praised him for being brave, got him the sip of milk he wanted, and then tucked him back into bed, before going to bed themselves.

The End


Jason Tanner stormed up the steps of the Tanner home and opened the kitchen door. He slammed the door shut and practically ran through the other rooms to get to his bedroom.

“Jason Tanner, what in the world has gotten into you?” Max Andrews exclaimed, as she came out of the twins’ nursery.

Jason ignored her question and tried to walk around her to continue on to his room, but Max placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him.

“Leave me alone!” Jason shrugged away from Max and headed for his room.

“Jason, apologize to Max for being rude, now!” MCAT Agent Vin Tanner commanded his son with a firm tone.

Jason stiffened slightly as he realized his father had witnessed his behavior. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled under his breath.

“Try again.” Vin didn’t know what had happened to upset his son so much, and he intended to find out. First though, he was going to make sure that Jason understood having upset feelings didn’t mean he could be disrespectful to his elders.

Jason turned toward Max, and looked up at her with his blue eyes swelling with unshed tears. “I’m sorry, Max.”

Max stared down into the troubled face of the young boy and smiled. Her heart melted at the sight of his tears, but she didn’t want to undermine the lesson that her employer was trying to give his son. “Thank you Jason for apologizing.”

Vin nodded to Max that he would take it from here, and the housekeeper quickly left the hallway. Jason went for his room as soon as Max moved out of the hallway. Vin followed his son into Jason’s room.

Jason was lying sprawled on top of his bed, his slender body shaking with sobs.  Vin’s heart turned over at the sight. He walked over to Jason’s bed and set down on the edge of it.

“Suppose you tell me what’s troublin’ you?” Vin asked Jason, running a soothing hand across his son’s back.

“I hate Caleb Wilmington, and I’m never talkin’ to him again and you can’t make me!” The muffled words came between gasps of breath.

“Hate’s a very strong word, Jason. It’s one we don’t use in this family, regardless of whom we’re talkin’ about,” Vin stated calmly. “Besides, Caleb’s your best friend.”

“Not anymore, he’s not. Not ever again.”

“Jason, sit up so I can understand you better.”

Vin waited until his son complied with his suggestion. “Now, tell me what Caleb said or did to make you so upset with him.”

“He said that you and Mom don’t love Andi and me as much as you love Bren and Trey because we are adopted and they aren’t.”

Vin wrapped his arms around Jason and pulled him into a hug. “Your mom and I love you kids just the same regardless of whether you were born to us or not. Even though you might not have my blood running through your veins, you do have your mom’s, so that makes you not only Tanners, but Larabee’s too.”

“That’s better than Caleb. He don’t have any of Aunt Inez or Uncle Buck’s blood,” Jason said proudly.

“Stop right there,” Vin told him sternly. “Caleb is a Wilmington in all ways that matter most and he’s not only your cousin, but you friend too. I don’t know why he said what he did, but he was wrong for saying it just like I’m sure you said some things that weren’t nice either.”

Jason glanced guiltily down. ”I told him that Uncle Buck only adopted him because he felt sorry for him.”

“Then you were wrong, too. Your Aunt Inez and Uncle Buck love Caleb, period. It doesn’t matter the ‘how or why’ of it, just that they love him, like your mom and I love all of you kids.” Vin told him. “Now, we’re goin’ to head over to the Wilmington’s so you can apologize.”

Jason nodded. “I hope Caleb forgives me. I didn’t mean what I said.”

“I’m sure he will.” Vin ruffled his hair as the two of them started toward the door. “Caleb’s a lot like your Uncle Buck. He might get mad easier than some of us, but he’d got a big enough heart to forgive his friends when he knows they didn’t mean the things they said in the first place.”

Vin and Jason didn’t have to far. Buck Wilmington and Caleb stood in their living room.

“Max let us in.” Buck told Vin over their boys’ heads. “Caleb has something he needs to say to Jason.

“Jason has a few words he needs to be tellin’ to Caleb too.” Vin replied, as both men nudged their sons with their hands.

The two boys eyed each other. Then Jason stepped forward. “I’m sorry, Caleb. I didn’t mean the hateful things I said to you.”

Caleb smiled. “Me neither. I should have never said your mom and dad don’t love you as much as Bren and Trey. I know that’s not true.”

“Really?” Jason asked, his blue eyes lighting up.

“Really. Are we still friends?” Jason threw an arm around Caleb’s shoulders. “We’re cousins.”

“Can we go outside and play?” Caleb asked his dad.

“If it’s alright with your Uncle Vin, it is alright with me.” Buck said.

Both boys turned toward Vin expectantly. “Go on you two, no more fights.”

“Thanks, Dad.” Jason hugged Vin and ran outside.

“We won’t!” Caleb vowed before following Jason.

“Whew, I hope all their arguments are always so easy to settle.” Buck told Vin.

“Me too, Bucklin. Me,too.”

The End

Night Terrors

Jason Tanner tossed and turned in his bed as the dream took hold. He’d been having it every night since he’d overheard his Grandpa Brodie and the Tanner housekeeper, Max Andrews talking about the condition his dad was in. His dad had been seriously injured while working alongside his uncles on a fire crew battling the raging inferno threatening the Larabee 7 and the homes of all his family members.

Up until his overhearing that conversation, all he and his younger sister Andi knew was that their dad was hurt and had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. His mom had smiled and reassured them that their dad would be home soon, but he’d seen the carefully hidden sadness in her eyes when she’d told them the news.

She didn’t know that he saw the sadness in her eyes. Nor did his Grandpa Brodie and Max know he’d overheard them talking. It had been late at night and he’d awakened to go use the bathroom. He’d finished the deed and was heading back to his room when he heard their voices. He’d crept down the hallway until he could hear better, but kept out of sight ad he listened. He knew it was wrong, but when he heard Max mention his dad’s name, it made him want to know what they were talking about.

When his grandpa mentioned that his dad had been speared by a tree limb in his chest, fear had swept through him. He knew that a spear was like a knife and they were usually very sharp. He’d seen his dad spear fish with them before. Thinking about the sharp stick stabbing his dad scared him, and he choked back a sob, as he ran into his bedroom, and climbed back under the covers.
That night, the night terrors had begun. He was alone in the dark. The wind howled and sent shivers racing down his spine, and on the tail end of it, he heard a voice call his name.


His name usually echoed on the wind, making it sound eerie and odd, but this night it didn’t. This time it was clear and he knew who’d said his name.


“That’s right, Son, it’s me.”

Vin’s voice was low and sounded like it was coming from far away.

“Where are you?”

“I don’t know, Son. Listen carefully, Jason, I don’t have much time.”


“You’re going to have to be very brave. Your mom is going to need you when I’m gone. Help her with Andi and your younger brothers.”

“Wh-where are you going, Dad?” Jason’s voice quivered and his bottom lip trembled, as he asked his question.

“Be brave, Son. Remember always that I love you…goodbye.”

“Dad! No, Dad, don’t leave me!” Jason screamed, tossing frantically about on his bed.

Brodie awoke with a start. He’d been sleeping in the guest bedroom ever since Vin’s accident, wanting to be closest to his grandchildren in case they needed him. He hopped out of bed and hurried into Jason’s room.

“Jason? Jason, wake up!” Brodie sat down on the side of the bed and gently shook Jason, hoping to release his grandson from the nightmare he was having.

Jason blinked his eyes, opening them, and gazed up into his grandfather’s face for a few moments without really seeing him. He saw his dad’s face instead of Brodie’s, and felt some of the fear he was experiencing ease away, until Brodie spoke again.


Tears flooded Jason’s face as he realized it was his grandfather talking to him, and not his dad. “Dad’s gone, Grandpa, isn’t he? He’s dead.”

Brodie’s heart turned over at his grandson’s tearful words. He pulled Jason into his arms and held him as Jason wept. “No, he’s not! He’s going to come back to all of us.”

“I heard him, Grandpa….he told me goodbye.” Jason cried.

“It was just a bad dream.” Brodie said as he rocked him, hoping his words wouldn’t come back to haunt him.

“Really?” Jason pulled out of Brodie’s arms to look up into his grandfather’s face.

“Really,” Brodie assured him. “Now why don’t you lie back down and try to sleep. I’ll stay with you until you do.”

“Okay.” Jason wiped the tears from his face and lay back down.

Brodie stayed with his eldest grandson until Jason feel back asleep, before heading to his own room and crawling back into bed. He lay awake for a long while as he pondered the fate of his own son. It was taking all of his own faith to trust that Vin was going to recover from the grievous injury he sustained. Finally, sleep claimed him, too.

Morning brought relief to all the Wild Bunch when Kelli reported that Vin was awake and coherent, and his recovery had taken a turn for the better. Brodie was thankful that his words to Jason the night before hadn’t been false. His son was indeed going to come home to all who loved him.

The End