PHOENIX
Michael Biehn Archive


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Chris took a deep breath and released it slowly feeling the days tension ease away with the expelled air. It had been a busy, stressful day to add to the already stressful week, but now it was all done and it was time he could relax and reflect.

It had all started with a routine assignment for the ATF Team Seven. They had been securing a weapons warehouse early in the week, when a section of the catwalk that Vin had been on had given way and Vin had been left hanging precariously two stories up for several heart-stopping minutes. The men had rushed to help and Vin had been pulled back up safely, but it had shaken Chris's nerves to think what might have been. Vin had been shaken too, and finally admitted to having a few moments of his life race before his eyes. They had both had a couple restless nights and some nightmares following Vin's near miss and both had also been busy preparing for Thanksgiving.

Team Seven came over for dinner and football at the Larabee ranch. Nathan had invited Rain to be with them, and JD had asked Casey, and Nettie had come over too. Everyone had pitched in with the dinner, either bringing a dish or helping cook at the ranch, and those less proficient in the kitchen had done the cleanup and washed the dishes. But still, Chris and Vin had been busy since early morning, stuffing and cooking the turkey, doing the last minute cleaning jobs, and then playing hosts for their guests. The day had been a success though, everyone enjoyed the abundant feast, good company and conversation and the football games had been interesting and the outcomes favorable.

Now it was mid-evening and most of the guests had gone. Nathan and Rain had plans to see her family for the weekend, JD and Casey were going skiing, Nettie was leaving to visit her sister for a week, and Buck had a date for each afternoon and evening of the long weekend. Josiah and Ezra were staying at the ranch for the weekend - Josiah intended to partake of the natural beauty and renew his spirituality during several long hikes and horseback rides, while Ezra had pipes burst at his townhouse and simply needed a place to stay during repairs.

All four men were currently relaxing in front of the fireplace and the TV was showing UnderTaker and Kurt Angle grappling on the WWF's Smackdown. The conversation was minimal, and it was questionable whether anyone was actually paying attention to the TV program. Each man seemingly dozing or lost in his own thoughts. Josiah was in one of the recliners, and Ezra had sprawled out on the couch. Chris was on the chaise lounge of the sectional living room set and Vin was sitting between his legs, leaning back against his chest with his head on Chris's shoulder. The lights were turned down and the mood was peaceful.

Since the accident, Chris and Vin had been more intense in their relationship, and Vin especially seemed to need more physical reassurances of their life and love together.

Still, Chris was just a bit surprised at the open physical affection Vin had shown today. He certainly didn't mind it. After all, Sarah had been one for kissing and holding hands, hugging and such, so he'd gotten quite used to that behavior. But, although everyone knew of their relationship, Vin had always been very reserved and circumspect in his behavior toward Chris when anyone else was present. And Chris had respected and emulated that behavior.

All today, though, Vin had taken every opportunity he could to touch Chris, including grasping his hand, putting his hand on Chris's waist or back, always being close by, and sitting as close as possible and brushing his leg and/or arm against Chris during dinner.

And then after dinner, when all the company had sat down to conversation and football games, Chris had taken the chaise lounge portion of the sectional living room set in order to leave the other seats for the guests and Vin had nonchalantly come over and sat down between Chris's legs, leaned back against his chest and shoulder and proceeded to drink his beer, watch the game and have conversations as though his sitting like that was an everyday sight for the people present.

Thankfully, no one had said anything about Vin's uncharacteristic behavior. Chris had just noticed some smiles directed at him and a couple of winks from Buck. Vin and Chris had each gotten up several times now, but each time Vin would return to Chris and take up his same position.

About an hour ago, Vin had dozed off and started to squirm and wiggle trying to get closer to Chris for warmth. Josiah had noticed and brought over the quilt they kept on the back of the couch. He'd made sure to cover Vin's stockinged feet, the boy was always cold.

Then, Ezra had gotten up about 10 minutes ago and brought Chris another beer so that he wouldn't have to get up himself and disturb Vin.

Chris was recalling the past week, offering up his silent thanks for the kinship and love of good friends, and the warmth and love of this family of theirs. As he rested his cheek on top of Vin's silky hair and started to doze himself, he offered up another thank you for this wonderful man in his life and their love for each other and a Thanksgiving wish for many more holidays and years together.

THE END