Alternate Universe: "The Travis Family"
Warnings: My 1st attempt at writing
Maude Standish knew she was in trouble. The con had backfired terribly and her partner had sold her out. She wasn't surprised by his betrayal. It was just to bad he had done it before she had a chance to betray him. She was surprised when she was told Judge Orrin Travis wanted to see her. Maude had no idea what he wanted but at this point she was willing to do what it took to get out of this mess.
Orrin Travis and his wife already had 6 adopted sons. They never planned to have such a large family but they had never been sorry about any of the adoptions. Josiah Sanchez was the first boy they adopted 9 years ago. His father was brought before Orrin on child abuse charges when Josiah was 15. It was clear Mr. Sanchez was mentally unstable so he was sentenced to an institute for the criminally insane. Orrin had gone home that night and told his wife about Josiah and his father. They decided that they wanted to adopt Josiah so even though they had never thought about adoption before and they already had a 9 year old son Stephen. When Stephen was killed 2 years later by a hit and run driver that was never caught, they had been devastated. The only thing that had helped was having Josiah.
A year later they adopted their housekeeper's baby boy. Jenny Dunne had been only 19 and her boyfriend took off as soon as she told him about the baby. She had no family and wanted her baby to grow up with a mother and father in a good home. Jenny had come to work for them not long after Stephen's death and knew how much they missed him. She had also seen how they loved Josiah so she asked them to adopt her baby when it was born. Stephen had been named for his mother's father and grandfather so the baby was named John David for Orrin's father and grandfather. A month after JD's 1st birthday, Orrrin's best friend and his wife were killed in a car accident leaving behind a 13 year old son, Chris. Chris was born 3 months before Stephen and their fathers had promised each other that if something happened to one of them the other would raise his son like his own.
The next year brought Orrin two very terrible cases that would bring his next 2 sons to the family. Buck Wilmington was 12 and his mother was brutally murdered by one of her clients. Just 3 weeks later 10 year old Nathan Jackson's father was killed in a hate crime. Both cases went before Judge Travis the same week. Buck's father was unknown and Nathan's mother had died of cancer so both were to be sent to foster home until Orrin and his wife came forward to take them. Just over a year later, Officer Allie Tanner was killed in the line of duty. Her husband was killed in the line of duty 3 years before leaving her to raise their 2 year old son Vin. Orrin had known and respected both officers from his courtroom. It wasn't hard to convince his wife to take the 5 year old but now with 6 boys aged 3, 5, 11, 13, 15 and 21, they agreed that they wouldn't adopted anymore at least until JD was 10. They figured that in 7 years most of the boys would be grown and settled and if another child needed hem they would have the time to give to that child. Orrin had kept the agreement for 3 years and did his best to see the children that he came across in his cases went to good homes.
Orrin had gone to have lunch with the DA, who told him about the Standish case. Maude Standish was charged with several counts of fraud but what got Orrin's attention was Maude's 10 year old son Ezra. Maude left her son with various people who from the reports had neglected and physically and probably emotionally abused the boy. Maude's only interest in her son seemed to be when she could use him in her cons. Orrin was just going to see the boy was placed in a good home but when they came back from lunch, Ezra was sitting in the DA's office waiting to be questioned about his part in his mother's cons. Orrin took one look at the young boy and knew that this time he wasn't going to be able to keep the agreement. He knew he couldn't depend on Maude Standish to do right by her son when she had not done so for his first 10 years. So he had already talked to the DA about a plea bargain if she plead guilty and gave up her rights to Ezra. Now all he had to do was convince Maude it was in her best interest.
Orrin Travis looked at Maude as he entered the room. She was a beautiful woman but it was a shame that she was so cold hearted. He laid the deal out to her for a light sentence. Maude thought over what Judge Travis had told her. With the deal he offered and good behavior she would be out in less than a year. She had no problem pleading guilty but she had to also give up Ezra and agree to have no contact with him unless approved by the judge. Ezra had a true talent for cons and gambling and was very useful to her. On the other hand she wouldn't have to be bothered finding someone to take him when he was in her way. She also did not want to go to prison any longer then necessary. Maude knew there were ways around everything and she could get him back later. She signed the papers giving the Travises custody of Ezra and the right to start adoption procedures after all considering how infuriating she knew Ezra could be when he tried, she figured by the time she was released they would be glad to give him back.
Orrin never thought Maude Standish truly cared for her son but it had been even quicker and easier to get her to sign the papers then he thought. He thought she would at least put up more of a front about caring for her son but then why should she bother with nothing to gain from it. Orrin called children's services and let them know that he was taking Ezra Standish. After 6 adoptions, the Travis family was well known to the caseworkers and there were no problems in making the arrangements. He had already talked to his family. His wife was a little uncertain at first but after hearing the story and seeing Ezra's picture, she fully agreed with him. Josiah and Buck were eager to have another little brother and Vin and JD were eager to have an older brother closer to their own ages. Chris made a show of being put out about having another brother to look after as the oldest living at home. Nathan had decided to go into medicine just 5 months before and was too busy making plans and studying to pay much attention to anything else. All that was left was Ezra's reaction to having not only a new mother but for the first time having a home, father and 6 brothers. All of the boys had to adjust to their new family but they did have some sort of loving family at one point so they had an idea what it was like. Before the death of his mother, Josiah had a loving family but her death when Josiah was 12 had pushed his father over the edge leaving him mentally unstable and violent. Nathan and his father had been happy together even after the death of Nathan's mother from cancer when he was 7. Buck never knew his father but his mother gave him a happy if unusually childhood. Chris and Vin both came from happy home. Orrin knew this wouldn't be the case with Ezra. Ezra had in all likelihood never been shown what true family meant or what a real home was. Orrin hoped that he and his family would change that for Ezra.
Ezra had been told that his mother was going to prison and had given him to a Judge Travis. Ezra was accustomed to his mother giving him to various people for periods of time when she had no use for his skills but his time she had apparently given him up completely this time. He tried to convince himself that she did it because she was going to prison and wanted to make sure he was taken care of but he knew that wasn't true. Ezra knew he could have been put in foster homes until his mother was released if she wanted him so obviously she didn't want him anymore. She never really did unless she could use him. When he was younger, he frequently tried various schemes to get her attention. He foolishly thought if he could just make her proud enough or showed her how helpful he could be she would let him stay with her. When he had been 7 year old and left in his tenth temporary home to wait until his mother had need of him, Ezra had finally admitted to himself that he would never be able to change the way things were with Maude so he might as well accept it. He learned at an early age everybody wants something from you and nothing comes without a price. The question now was what did this Judge Travis want for taking him in. It must be something to be willing to take him in officially. The people that had taken him before had wanted a servant, a hired hand, a punching bag or often a combination of these things. What would a judge want with him? His skills were mostly illegal activities so it couldn't be that unless he was corrupt but from what Ezra had heard of him that wasn't the case. He had heard some caseworkers talking about Judge Travis and his wife adopting other boys. He supposed by that they were do-gooders taking in less fortunate children to live with them. There had been a couple of them in Ezra's past. They had kept him 3 months when he was 8 before becoming so exasperated with him that they sent him back to Maude. Ezra wondered how long this judge and his family would keep him but Maude had signed away her rights and was in prison. Where would he be sent when they decided he was too much trouble to bother with? He guessed he would find out when it happened. Ezra knew they had adopted other boys but he didn't think he would be close to them. He had never had much of a chance to play with other children. He didn't know how to do many of the things other children did so Ezra was sure the other children would have little use for him. No Ezra was sure things wouldn't be any different with the Travis family. Ezra saw a tall, well-dressed man walk in and come over to him.
Orrin Travis walked over to Ezra and smiled "Hello Ezra. I'm Orrin Travis. Are you ready to go home?"
"Yes sir" Ezra took a deep breath and walked out with his new and he was sure temporary father.
The drive to the Travis home took an hour. Orrin decided to used that time to tell Ezra about his new home and family. He told Ezra that they lived on a ranch outside town. The ranch had been in the Travis family for generations. A very large ranch house had been built in the hope of many children to fill it but Orrin's family was the first to completely fill the house. Each of the boys had their own room including Ezra and he could decorate his room how he wanted. He would be responsible for keeping his room clean and picking up after himself. The house had a large attic that had been turned into a playroom for the boys. The room had many different games, toys and books. All the boys were responsible for putting up their toys after playing and keeping the playroom clean. Ezra was welcomed to play with anything in the playroom but things in the boys' bedrooms were off limits without their permission. Orrin told Ezra that they had a set of house rules to be obey: No cussing, no drugs, no underage drinking, no smoking, no disobeying when told to do or not to do something and no back talking. The punishment for breaking a rule was usually being grounded in your room unless it was a serious offense that resulted in a spanking. If Ezra had a reason why he thought the rule or the punishment was unfair he had the right to say so and the judge promised to listen.
While Orrin was on the way with Ezra, Evelyn Travis was making sure everything was ready. She had her hands full with her other sons. She had Vin and JD asking her all kinds of questions about Ezra, Nathan wouldn't get his nose out of his medical books, Buck kept going on about some new girl at school and how he was sure she liked him, Chris was still trying to get her on his side about letting him and his girlfriend Sarah used the mountain cabin and Josiah was too busy laughing at his little brothers to be any help. It was at time like this boarding schools looked so good but she doubted there was any school around that could handle the bunch day and night for any length of time. They would drive a headmaster insane in no time. It was a good thing she loved them dearly even if she was tempted to do bodily harm occasionally. She was sure Ezra would find his place within the family and that things were only going to get if more interesting. Vin and JD starting teasing Buck about how the new girl couldn't be interested in him. It wasn't long before Nathan, Chris and Josiah joined in. Yes she was sure the boys would be good for Ezra. She was also sure she and Orrin would soon be old before their time.
When Orrin and Ezra walked in the house, Josiah and Nathan were debating modern medicine vs. home remedies, Buck and Chris were arguing over who was prettier Sarah or Buck's new girlfriend and Vin and JD were arguing over which video game was the hardest. Evelyn came forward and hugged Ezra "Welcome home Ezra, don't worry you'll get used to them" and smiled at him. Orrin introduced Ezra to the boys and then took him upstairs to see his room and get settled.
Ezra was left alone to get settled in his room. It was strange having his own room. At the other houses he had a room that he used but it hadn't been his and he was just there until his mother showed up. This time his mother wasn't coming to get him in a few weeks or months. This was to be his new home and family. He had never had a home so he wasn't so what that meant. The only family he had known was Maude and she had never been interested in him just his skills. The Travis didn't need his skills which just left himself and no one had ever been just interested in him. Well there wasn't anything he could do about it. When they tired of him , they would send him to a foster home or something and he would just run away and make his own way. He had just been waiting to be a bit older before he did that with Maude. Now he would just have to do it sooner but he would wait until the Travis sent him away. After all he knew the older he was the easier it would be on his own and he figured with 6 other boys it shouldn't be hard to keep a low profile. In the meantime, if his arrival was anything to go by, the others should prove very entertaining.
Ezra was suddenly awakened by a banging on his door. It took him a minute took remember where he was. "Yes". One of the younger boys opened the door and told him it was time to get up. It took Ezra a few minutes to get awake enough to remember the boy was the second youngest and was named Vin. After accomplishing his mission to wake Ezra, Vin went down the hall to see if he could find a way to bother Chris or Buck. Buck had already taken over the bathroom to make himself look nice for the girls. JD was already knocking on the bathroom door and telling Buck he might as well come on out because it was a lost cause. Since JD had Buck covered, Vin figured he'd go see to Chris after all he couldn't let Chris feel left out now could he.Vin figured that they would let Ezra take Josiah when he was around. He would let him have Nathan but he was too serious with all his studying. When Josiah wasn't around, Ezra could help him and JD with Chris and Buck. After all it was the duty of little brothers to keep their big brothers on their toes.
Chris was standing in front of his mirror when he heard a familiar little laugh at his door. "Vin what do you think you are doing?"
Vin grinned "Hey cowboy, making yourself pretty for Sarah?" Chris glared at Vin though he knew it did no good. Vin had been immune to Chris' glares from the first time they met. "Are you going to wear your cowboy hat for her Chris? How about that sweet smelling stuff Buck wears? He says it works on all the girls."
"Vin I'd suggest you get on downstairs."
"But Chris I'm just trying to help."
Vin went on downstairs laughing.
Ezra decided that he might as well get up since he was already awake and with all the noise it was unlikely to get to back to sleep. He dressed and went out in the hall to see where to go next. JD and Nathan were both now banging on the bathroom door and yelling at Buck to hurry it up. They starting complaining to Mrs. Travis when she came upstairs. "Bucklin Wilmington you have 3 minutes to get out of that bathroom." She then told Nathan and JD to getting ready for school and took Ezra downstairs to the dining room. The judge, Chris and Vin were already seated. Josiah came in as Ezra was sitting down. "I see Buck took over the bathroom again." Josiah had taken the day off to stay with Ezra. Because of Maude's traveling and alias and her habit of leaving with different people, what education Ezra had was hard to determine. Evelyn was going to the school board to arrange for them to test Ezra to see what grade level he was on so that they could make sure he was placed in the proper grade. Orrin had work and the other boys had school so Josiah was looking forward to staying the day alone with his newest little brother getting to know him. Everyone in the family had their own horse and Orrin had told Josiah that he was having some horses brought over for Ezra to chose from. After Evelyn got the boys off to school and Orrin off to work, she left to meet with the school board leaving Josiah and Ezra alone.
Josiah started off with a tour of the house and then the barn. He noticed that Ezra took to the horses so he took him outside to the horses that had arrived. Ezra couldn't believed it when Josiah had told him he could pick any horse he wanted for his own. Ezra looked the horses over carefully before making his choice. The horse he picked was beautiful but had a habit of being difficult. Ezra was firm in his choice and Josiah finally agreed.
They spent the rest of the day with Ezra getting to know his new horse. Josiah had to admit the horse did seem to take to Ezra as much as he had taking to it. That night at supper Ezra was more than happy to tell the others all about his horse. The next morning since it was Saturday, Orrin decided to take the boys fishing. Evelyn made them a big picnic lunch to take so that they could stay till suppertime.
Ezra really didn't understand what all the excitement was over. Judge Travis had announced last night that he was taking the boys fishing. He had tried to explain to the judge that he couldn't go fishing because he didn't have any fishing equipment. Judge Travis had already thought of that and presented him with a fishing pole. Ezra had then tried another tact and had reasonably explained to the judge that as he was still getting settled in that it would be best if he stayed at the house. The judge had unreasonably not seen the his way. He had then tried the truth sitting around holding a pole waiting on some fish to hook itself was not his idea of fun. He had asked Ezra to give it a chance that he would have fun. Ezra was not convinced. He had not heard one thing about this trip that remotely sound fun at least to him. Vin and JD had volunteered to collect the bait and they had asked Ezra to come with them. Ezra was shocked to discover they actually expected him to dig through dirt and capture wiggly worms. He had resolved that situation by informing them that he was not touching either dirt nor worm. He would hold the contain and help them spot the creatures for capture. His next unpleasant surprise was being sent to bed early because he would have to be up at 5 am. He just knew an activity that involved getting up in the middle of the night had to be a really bad idea.
Orrin and Josiah were sure that the fishing trip was going to be a great bonding experience for the boys. Trips with the boys had a way of getting out of hand but Orrin was determined Ezra's first trip was going to be perfect. He had everything planned. He had checked the weather channel and the day was to be warm and sunny. He and Josiah had both checked to make sure everything they needed was loaded in the car. Orrin was certain that nothing had been over looked.
"You over looked one thing Orrin"
"What might that be Evelyn"
"Our sons who can find trouble in a church. Face it Orrin no matter how well you plan our little boys prove if something can happen it will"
Orrin could already hear Evelyn saying I told you so. They didn't make it through breakfast before they were arguing over who was going to catch the most fish. That was stopped with a threat of no fishing for anyone continuing. The next fight was over who sat where in the car which was settled by Orrin assigning seats. They then complained about being treated like children and went on to wanting to know why they were put where they were. The drive took an hour. JD and Buck spent the whole drive picking on each other. Vin grew restless after 15 minutes and starting fidging around. Chris was soon telling Vin to sit still and quit bumping into him. Vin whined it that it wasn't his fault he was bored. Chris told him it wasn't boredom. It was a sugar high so it was his fault for sneaking them candy bars. Nathan complained that he couldn't study with all them fighting. At least Ezra some how slept through all the noise. Orrin figured that once they arrived and the boys had something to occupy them everything would be fine.
When they did arrive it was none to soon for Orrin but now that the boys were unpacking the car and getting ready to fish surely things would improve. The boys started sorting out their stuffs. Buck baited JD's hook for him while Chris helped Vin and Josiah helped Ezra. Soon Orrin and the boys were all fishing. Orrin felt sure the worst was over and the rest of the day would be peaceful.
Everything went fine for the first two hours. Nathan and Josiah had brought books to read while fishing and Ezra borrowed one of Josiah's books. Vin and JD were snacking as they fished.Chris and Buck had a fishing contest going on. Orrin relaxed in the peace and quiet and enjoyed watching his sons until Chris and Buck got bored and decided to include their younger brothers in their contest. Orrin thought at the time it is a good idea. He saw it as a good way to draw Ezra into the group. Well it did that. Chris and Buck decided that it would be fun to divide into teams. Chris teamed with Ezra and Vin and Buck took Nathan and JD. Orrin realized he should have seen it coming when Chris, Buck and Nathan kept advising Ezra, Vin and JD on how to improve their fishing and bragging how much better fishermen they were and how Ezra, Vin and JD would be better if only they would listen to them. After 2 hours of this, Orrin saw the disgusted looks the younger boys were throwing at their older brothers so he called a lunch break. He had thought that by stopping the contest for lunch that it would give them time to calm down. Instead of cooling off, Ezra, Vin and JD spent the time comparing how rottenly they were being treated and deciding that revenge was justified.
After quickly finishing lunch, they went to make their plans. Before the day was over Ezra, Vin and JD were determined to show their know it all older brothers that they weren't so smart. The boys discovered that together they were very clever and had several handy skills. When they were done Chris, Buck and Nathan wouldn't know what hit them.
Lunch was over and the contest resumed. Chris was showing Ezra how to cast his line yet again when all sudden it broke. Ezra looked at Chris innocently "Is it suppose to do that Chris? It didn't to it with me."
Vin smiled "Why did you break Ezra's line cowboy? I thought you was going to show as the right way to fish."
Buck and Nathan were having problems of their own. It seemed that their lines refused to stay apart. As soon as they would get them separated and back in the water they would be tangled again. Some how the lines holding the fish that Chris and Buck had caught came untied.
"Gosh cowboy did you and Buck used a slip knot?"
"Didn't you use that knot you showed me Buck?"
"Most unfortunate gentlemen"
Then while Chris was helping Ezra reel in a fish, Chris' line became so tangled up on a log that he couldn't get it loose. Chris didn't want to lose his favorite lure so the only thing to do was wade out to the log and get it loose. Chris was cussing under his breath as he waded in.
"Careful cowboy you don't want it upset the fish."
On Chris' way back Ezra suddenly called out that there was a snake in the water. Chris turned quickly to look where Ezra pointed and lost his footing in the water. As he stood back up Chris grabbed a stick as it floated by.
Ezra shrugged "It looked like a snake in the water."
Nathan and Buck went to help Chris out of the water. Ezra, Vin and JD decided to help as well but they "accidentally" slipped on the wet bank. They ended up slipping right into Buck and Nathan pushing them into the water. The fishing contest was ended after that with no winner. Chris, Buck and Nathan were not very happy when Orrin and Josiah fished them out of the water. Ezra, Vin and JD looked at them innocently but this time nobody was fooled. Chris, Buck and Nathan took off chasing them. They had counted on this however. They ran along the trail to the hill with a mud slide. As the older boys were about to catch them the younger stepped over a rope across the trail. The older boys not knowing it was there tripped over it and went sliding down the hill. Ezra, Vin and JD looked over the side the hill and watched their brothers slipping and yelling as they tried to climb the hill.
After getting as much mud as they could off Chris, Buck and Nathan, Josiah and Orrin put the towels that were packed for swimming on the seats for them. Josiah laughed "Well look at it this way Dad I don't think you have to worry about Ezra fitting in. You just have to worry about keeping Chris, Buck and Nathan from killing him, Vin and JD."
Orrin shook his head. Things were never dull with his sons even if he wished they were at least times. Evelyn was waiting when they pulled in. She sent Chris, Buck and Nathan upstairs to get cleaned up. Ezra, Vin and JD were put to work helping unload the car and putting things away. Evelyn grinned at Orrin.
Orrin sighed ,"I know you told me so."
Evelyn laughed as she watched Ezra, Vin and JD play and tease Josiah. "I know my boys all seven of them."