by KT

ATF Little Britches (Future)

Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.

Note: Response to the memories challenge, with references to several Little Britches Series fics. Betaed by Phyllis.

Feedback: Yes please.

“I can’t believe we are actually going to be leaving.” JD sat in the hay loft, where he could see the whole ranch, the house, the out buildings, the old corral and the new ones being built behind it, and the lush paddocks behind the house, running up to the mountains in the distance.

“Weird, ain’t it?” Vin was sitting right beside him.

It had been twelve years since they had first come to the ranch and it seemed like the years had just flown by.

Because JD had been put in an accelerated learning class, he graduated high school a year ahead of his peers. Vin had agreed to be held back a year, so as to give himself a better chance at getting into the college of his choice. Thus they had graduated together.

But they weren’t going to be studying at the same collage. JD had won a prestigious scholarship to MIT, where he was going to major in integrated computer systems. Vin was headed for Texas. The college had not only awarded him a scholarship as the orphan of a decorated Texan serviceman, and but it offered him the chance to continue his promising Rodeo career and study both criminal justice and Native American studies.

Tomorrow JD and Buck would fly to Boston and Vin and Chris to Houston. This was their last day together at the ranch, their home, until Thanksgiving. Chris would be retiring from the ATF in three years, Josiah had already left. Buck was undecided about whether he’d leave at the same time as Chris, or stay on for the remaining two years. Chris and Buck were already working on building up a horse breeding business, which, it was planned, would both keep them occupied in the coming years, but also supplement their pensions. Buck’s wife of five years, Kerry, was all for it.

Kerry had been a senior cabin attendant for a British airline flying in and out of Denver on a regular basis. She and Buck had had an amicable, non-exclusive relationship for years, but when she accepted a promotion that kept her in London, both found their feelings ran much deeper than they had thought. Missing Buck, and bored, she had applied for and got, a job working for the airline at Denver airport, it was effectively a demotion, but it re kindled their romance. Both boys had always liked Kerry and had been enthusiastic supporters of the relationship. The ranch house had been extended to provide a semi private wing for the couple.

Chris had also had a number of relationships, but none lasted long. He finally admitted to Buck one night that Sarah had been the love of his life, his soul mate and there could never be another.

Everyone was coming out to the ranch for a farewell/good luck barbeque lunch, Ezra, his wife Li and their six year old twin girls, Grace and Michelle. Nathan and Rain and their three children, Rodney, who was nine, Sophie seven and Lucy, who had just turned five.

It would also be a farewell of a kind for Josiah, who, after more than twenty years was finally using his entitlements under the GI bill to study comparative religion and philosophy, he was in his final year at Berkley.

+ + + + + + +

“You remember the first time you came here?” JD asked.

“Not really, I was still pretty sick, don’t remember much, just Dad holding me wrapped up in the old afghan, sitting in the rocker by the fire.”

“He used to do that when your back was bad.”

“It’s dumb, but I miss it sometimes, when he did that it was just the two of us.” Vin’s curved spine had been straightened two summers ago using a pioneering technique that used a flexible carbon fibre strip impregnated with nanites, fused to his spine, it pulled his spine straight little by little using it’s own onboard power. The nanites sent a virtual picture of his spine to the doctor every week, via a wireless laptop and he sent back the next week’s instructions the same way. Once his back was straight, the strip remain in place, allowing his doctor to check for any future movement at a once a year check up. Apart from the surgery to implant it, all Vin needed was an injection every five years to replace the power cell.

“I know what you mean. Hey, you remember that time ol’ Paso got out and destroyed the swimming pool?”

“Oh man, do I! At the time, I thought it was the end of the world, but now it’s just so funny. He was a good horse,” Vin added wistfully.

“One of a kind.”

Peso, lay buried in the field behind the back yard, along with Pony and Beau. Of their original horses, only Milagro was still alive, living in pampered retirement. Ringo and Elvis were very much still alive, though Elvis had a touch of rheumatism these days.

“You remember our first horse show, when you fell off, but got back on?” JD asked. Vin nodded. “I thought you were so brave.”


“Oh yes, you were always my hero.”

Vin blushed. “Thanks bro, do you remember buying me a father’s day gift?”

JD frowned. “Kinda, it was a rocket?”

“Yup, the big blue one. Man, I loved that thing, wonder where it is?”

“Still in the gutter, I guess.” JD pointed to the barn roof above them. The blue rocket’s final mission had ended when it collided with the barn roof and slid into the guttering.

“I guess.”

“Tell you what I do remember, the balloon ride.”

“Oh yes, Buck’s birthday. That was awesome.” Vin looked out across the yard toward the big tree in the corner and the tree house in its branches. It was still in good repair, though the shields around the edge needed re-painting. “Remember making that?.” He pointed to the tree.

“Some of it, I remember painting the shields and blood, I think it was Josiah.”

“You were really into blood back then.”

JD shrugged. “I was five, what do you expect? Oh by the way I got an e-mail from Joey this morning. She’s getting one of those new legs, like your back strip, with it’s own power and nanites in the cushion so it won’t rub or get sore anymore.”

“Cool, have you replied?”

“Not yet, but I’ll say hi from you when I do.”

“You’ll be able to see her more once you’re up there in Boston.”

“Yeah, that’d be great.”

Vin turned to look at his brother. “Do you ever think about what would have happened if they hadn’t found us?”

“Sometimes. You’d have died.”

“Ok, ever think about what would have happened if they hadn’t found us and I hadn’t been shot?”

JD looked back out over the ranch. “I’d like to think we’d have made it, but I guess we’d have ended up dead or in prison or on drugs, crap like that. And before you say it, yes I know how lucky we are.”

“I was gonna say, how do we pay them back, for this, for everything?”

“We work hard, we stay out of trouble, we make enough money so that we can look after them when they need it and – hopefully – give them grandkids. But mostly, we enjoy life, that’s what makes them happy, us being happy.”

“I guess so.”

“Boys!” Kerry called from below them.

“Yeah?” They replied in unison.

“You two better not be getting maudlin up there, I need you to come down and lighten up the place. If your fathers do much more reminiscing, this party’s gonna be a wake! Vin?”


“Were you planning on taking Cat to Texas?”

Vin blushed. “Well, sort of, just for fun.”

“Well, you’re gonna have to crowbar him out of Chris’ grasp first!”

“What’s Da doing?” JD asked.

“Same as Chris, going through the photo albums and re-reading all those books you made them, back when you were little, they’re on their second box of Kleenex!”

“Oh shit! Come on JD, operation cheer up dads is needed!”

The End – or – Just the Beginning.