All In A Day's Work

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Alternate Universe

By: Angela B.

Note: this is an answer to the Febuary fanfic challenge to take the seven men and put them into a favorite movie or TV show. Somehow, the most obvious one popped into my head: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I loved the show, even though it only lasted one I've got the movie, also. There are no other females in this story, though. *For obvious reasons the brothers are not blood related but adopted and they appear younger than in normal AU's.

*This has not been beta read by anyone else. All mistakes are mine.

Twenty-three year old Chris stood on the porch of the family working ranch. He glanced around watching his brothers at their various doings. His parents had adopted all seven of them. Their mom and dad had given them new lives and new names. His dad had laughed and said if they were going to have a large family they'd have to name the boys with names he could remember. That's how they had wound up with their names starting with the letter of the alphabet in the order of their births. It hadn't worked out quite like their father had planned; all but three of them went by their middle name. Except for the youngest he went by his initials, not even the correct ones at that.

He looked around the yard once more before he spotted his oldest brother Andrew Josiah, but everyone called him by his middle name. Josiah's parents had been missionaries but had been killed in a plane crash in a foreign country. Josiah had a sister, Hannah, but because she was a special needs child she had been placed into a home living care facility. Chris grimaced at the sadness this had caused his brother. Though, the girl could not be legally adopted the family had seen to it that she was well taken care of and that Josiah had been able to keep in regular contact with her. The blond man took a deep breath. Responsibility sat heavily on his brother's shoulders. Not only had he felt the need to take care of sister since becoming a 'legal' adult but six months ago at the age of twenty-five he had become responsible for his younger six brothers when their parents had died in a car wreck. All because of a drunk driver their lives had been changed forever. Josiah had just finished college two years before, majoring psychology. He now worked at the local high school as guidance counselor. He loved the job but had a small problem; the two students he saw most of were also, his brothers. Josiah had recently started seeing a co-worker, a teacher by the name of Irene. Somehow that just seemed appropriate.

Chris glanced on around to the new barn that was being built. They had only gotten the framework up; the siding was yet to come. Chris watched as Buck hammered more nails into the frame. Buck and him were the same age and had come into this family a short time apart. The boy's mother had been a streetwalker and had been killed by a violent john. The police had found Buck in a rat infested motel room. Chris' parents had been killed in a fire. The two of them had hit it off from the beginning. The phrase "opposites attract" seemed to fit them. Buck had no desire to do anything more than live on the ranch and be a cowboy, while Chris had gone off to college set on becoming a law enforcer, quitting when the tragedy occurred. He had been thinking about going back. Not only would it supply the extra income that was needed but it was the one thing he'd always wanted. Buck and him did all they could to help Josiah with the family.

The family. Chris ran his hands through his hair. When their parents died a lady from family services had come to take the younger four away. Technically Nathan was an adult because he had already turned eighteen but because he was still in school they were going to take him, too. The three oldest brothers had gone before the judge in order to keep the family together and had put up a reasonable argument. They needed to stay together; their lives and very existence depended on it. Josiah had finally been given temporary guardianship, pending his ability to keep the boys well taken care of and out of trouble. That seemed to be the biggest hurdle at the moment. Buck and Chris automatically stepped up and took over the household duties so, Josiah could continue to work. Buck took care of the outside chores while Chris was in charge of the inside chores. There was no way any of them was going to let Buck do laundry let alone cook. They'd be in the hospital within days. So, for the last six months they had adjusted to their new roles with Nathan helping more than a high school student should have had to.

Chris looked around for Nathan and found him in the garden. Donson Nathaniel was his given name but like Josiah he went by his middle name. The senior was a natural caretaker. In fact it was Nathan that they turned to when one of them was injured or sick. He insisted that Chris learn to cook healthy and had taught Chris a lot about herbs and spices to give the food flavor. Nathan had talked of becoming a doctor ever since coming into this family. His mother had died when he was an infant and his father had died when Nathan was seven in a logging accident. Josiah, Buck and Chris worried that the young man would try and get out of taking the scholarship he had been awarded. The three oldest had made a pact, Nathan would be going off to college come next fall if they had to hog-tie and drag him into his dorm. They would manage, that's what they did. They set a goal then went after it with such tenacity that they couldn't help but not succeed. They knew Nathan would argue but Chris and the other two were ready and would win.

Chris took a sip of the coffee he was holding and searched for the next brother. He finally found him off to himself at the corral currying his horse. Ezra had been in the family officially less than two years when he once again found himself feeling abandoned. The courts had taken his mother's parental rights away after finding the young then twelve-year-old living in a house by himself. The social worker was unable to get a complete history on the boy. Neither the mother nor the boy would disclose much about his past. They were able to gather from the few relatives they had found that neglect and some form of abuse had occurred but none of the relatives would take the boy. After coming into the family it had become quickly apparent the boy hated being physically touched and he absolutely didn't trust any of them. When the social worker had appeared to talk about taking the boys, Ezra and the two youngest one had taken off into the woods. The two younger ones were found within the hour but it had taken the rest of the day and into the night before they had found Ezra. Chris grimaced. Josiah and him had finally stumbled across him long after dark, thanks to his horse. Seeing Ezra curled up into an old rotten log had just about killed the oldest. Josiah had done a lot of talking to get him to come out, it then it was with great reluctance. Then, the boy had packed his bags and sat on his bunk for three days waiting to be taken away. That bag had remained partially packed until Josiah had received guardianship. The boy still partly believed he would come home from school any day and be taken away. Just one more thing on the "things to do list". Get Ezra to believe he was finally were he belonged.

The blonde's eyes roamed the yard before coming to rest on thin thirteen-year-old Franklin Vincent, Vin. The boy had been orphaned when he was five and had been bounced around in the foster care system like a pinball. Like Ezra, Vin was hesitant to trust anyone. Chris for some unknown reason had felt an instant connection to the boy when he came into the family last year. He didn't mind when the youngster tagged along wherever he went. Vin had been good for everyone in the family, even Josiah. Buck had gotten a little concerned about his place in Chris' life. Chris had been quick to convince his brother that he was still needed and had his own place in the blonde's life. For all of Buck outgoing spirit it was still understood the young man just needed to be needed. Vin had calmed Buck's nerves, also, by not tagging along when Chris and Buck went out on their own, of course that had been before their parent's death. Now none of them went anywhere that the rest couldn't go, too. Vin seemed to pose his own to set of problems to the family. It seemed him, and Ezra, couldn't stay out of Josiah's office; Vin, because the kid loved practical joke. At first their parents and Josiah had thought it was an outlet for the anger he felt towards his dyslexia but they had soon learned the kid just naturally had a wicked sense of humor. The problem was he didn't seem to think anyone was off limits, including the teachers and the principal. Most of the time Vin could, also, get Ezra to help out. Which, Chris thought, wouldn't be so bad except for the fact Ezra seemed to be able to get sent to Josiah's office without Vin's help. As Josiah once put it "Ezra's mouth writes checks that his fist can't cash." The family had learned, slowly, that Vin, too, had abuse in his past. Which, Josiah explained, why they two boys got along so well. After being returned to the house after running off; Vin, unlike Ezra, hesitantly took Chris at his word that the boys would never leave. Vin trusted Chris that way, which at times became a great weight on the older brother's shoulders. He couldn't imagine anyone taking the boy away. Josiah, much to his credit, spent a lot of time working with the boys to help them overcome their past. They could see improvement in both boys, Vin more than Ezra, but nonetheless there was improvement. Which would help when they went before the judge to have Josiah's temporary guardianship made permanent.

Chris smiled. That would be a good day. A lot of fears and demons could be put to rest when that event happened. Chris looked for the youngest member of the family and didn't have to look to hard. George Daniel, or as they had nicknamed him 'Buck's shadow'. Eleven-year-old JD had been orphaned when his mom died of ovarian cancer, there was no records mentioning a father. From the beginning they knew this one was different. For starters he was a 'walking brain' as Vin called him. Second he insisted on writing George with a J and then insisted upon being called JD. Third, and most important he immediately trusted everyone in the family, taking them at face value. He had, also, given Buck someone to care for. Buck cared about all of them but, when the folks had died the two had meshed even closer. Chris thought, 'Much like me and Vin.' Buck had taken over the care of JD almost relentlessly. Seeing the boy was eating, sleeping, getting his homework done and all the other minute details. The two points of contention between the two was; one, Buck was always after the kid to get his bangs cut. The bangs were forever hanging in the boy's eyes. The second one was the type of cap the boy chose to wear. Living in Colorado it was just naturally expected everyone to be Bronco fans but the boy insisted on wearing a Patriots cap. Buck tried relentlessly to get of the cap but it never stayed gone. With the help of a certain southern teenager it kept reappearing like a bad penny. Which was a constant puzzlement to Buck.

Chris watched as Josiah came to stand next to him on the porch. Both looking out at all the activity Josiah leaned over, "Don't worry so much Chris. All we got to do is keep the place going, keep the boys safe, help them realize their full potential and survive for the next nine years until JD turns twenty-one. Then we can have a life" letting out a deep laugh.

"Is that all?" Chris asked sarcastically. He thought the brother sometimes simplified things a little too much, just too philosophical.

"Its all in a day's work." Slapping the young blond on the back before turning to go in the house.

Chris sighed and acknowledged his older brother was right, the only way to get through this was one day at a time and take the problems as they came. As Dad had often said, "There's no sense looking to borrow trouble it'll come soon enough and with seven boys it usually does."

Chris smiled before going into the house to get supper started.


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