I know, I know. Do we really need another brothers AU? Well, YEAH! Iíve had this story rumbling around in my head for a while now and it has finally come together. In most of the AUís Iíve read, the boyís ages are roughly Josiah as the oldest and JD the youngest. I thought what if Chris was the youngest and JD the oldest. This AU is also a crossover with other TV shows. It currently crosses Mag 7 with The Sentinel, with plans to add The A-Team, SG-1, and possible Bonanza. Anything can happen in this AU. Itís a modern AU set on a private Island off the West coast of America. It is not an actual place, just a figure of my imagination. It is fan fiction so call it poetic license. The rest of the details can be found in the story. Enjoy.
Benjamin Larabee sat in his office and rubbed at his tired eyes. Being the owner and operator of a private island resort was hard work but very rewarding. He had just finished making the arrangements for the arrival of the new Head of Security when his secretary buzzed.
"Amanda is on line 1."
"Thank you." Ben hung up and connected to his wife. "Hey Sweetheart. Iím on my way home now."
"Good. Could you swing by the Ďhideoutí and collect the twins. They donít appear to hear the train whistle I have been blowing for the last hour." Amanda Larabee was a patient person but she hated to be ignored. Amanda stayed busy as wife, mother of seven boys, and the island doctor.
"I thought those boys knew better to ignore you darling." Ben said with amusement.
"Iím sure they do dear but they could be out of range."
"Amanda, if they arenít able to hear the whistle because they are too far away, then they wonít be able to sit for a week."
Amanda giggled. "Just check my love, then weíll worry."
Ben smiled. "Okay. Iíll be home as soon as I find the boys. Love you."
"Love you more."
They hung up and Ben turned out the lights. He exited his office and said goodnight to his secretary and started walking toward the lagoon and the Ďhideoutí. The boys had Ďdiscoveredí the cave behind the waterfall that flowed into the lagoon and dubbed it ĎThe hideoutí. The island brochure called it The Four Corners Lagoon.
The sun was an hour from setting as Ben approached ĎFour Cornersí. He always found the sound of the waterfall relaxing. He suspected the boys felt the same way, especially ten-year old Vin and Ezra.
"KEVIN! EZRA!" Ben waited a few minutes and called again. Ten minutes later Ben heard an answer.
"Coming!" Two damp and dirty boys emerged from behind the waterfall.
"Letís go boys. Your mother has been calling you for over an hour now."
"Sorry dad." Vin said as he approached his father.
"Was mother upset?" Ezra added.
"She feels you have ignored her. Did you hear the whistle?" Ben asked. He noticed the quick looks between the boys and added, "The truth boys."
"WellÖ" Vin stammered.
"Yes or no."
"Yes sir." Both boys answered.
"And you ignored it?"
"We were playing pirates and just got to the best part." Vin tried to explain.
"That is no excuse, boys. Weíll discuss this at home now letís go." Ben took their hands and they all headed home.
"Christopher Larabee! Get back in this house." Amanda yelled.
"Mommy." Chris whined. "Daddy home." Three-year old Chris stood with his little hands on his hips and glared toward the house and his mother.
"Hey little man. No sassing your mother." Ben picked up his baby son and kissed his cheek. They entered the large three-story house and Ben greeted his wife with a kiss. Ben then turned to Vin and Ezra. "Boys wait for me in the study please."
"Yes sir." They responded.
Amanda took Chris from his father as they silently communicated the twins were okay. Setting Chris on his feet, she told him, "You young man can go help Buck pick up that mess you both made in the playroom."
Chris glared and stomped his little foot. "No mommy."
Amanda swatted Chrisí bottom. "Christopher, do not tell me Ďnoí. Do as I asked now."
"But mommy, ĎSiah helpeded." Chris stood his ground but his lower lip quivered and tears ran down his cheeks.
"I need to check on supper. Ben could you deal with this small rebellion?"
"Yes dear." Amanda headed into the kitchen grumbling about sassy children and cheeky husbands.
"Chris? Go help clean up." Ben ordered.
"íSiah made da mess too."
"I will not argue with you little boy. Go do as you were told or I will spank your bottom."
"Christopher?" Ben warned.
"Help me pwease?"
"You go get started and after I take care of one thing Iíll come help. But if I come in there and youíre not cleaning up, I will spank you and youíll have to clean up by yourself. Do you understand me?"
Chris thought for a minute and then smiled. "Okay daddy."
"You need to say Ďyes sirí Christopher."
"Yes sir daddy." Chris added.
"Good job. Now go get started and Iíll be along in a few minutes." Ben gently swatted Chris to send him on his way.
"Yes sir." Chris ran toward the playroom as Ben headed for the study to deal with the twins.
When Ben entered the playroom a time later he found Buck and Chris picking up a huge mess. "Whereís Josiah?"
"Dadda!" Buck yelled as he ran into his fatherís arms. "Miss Casey sent ĎSiah to his room Ďcause he was beiní naughty." Six year-old Buck answered.
"He hitted me daddy." Chris glared. "I was gonna hitted him back but Miss Casey said Ďnoí."
"Good thing you listened or you would be in your room too."
Chris was about to respond when Vin entered the playroom. "VIN!" Chris ran and hugged his big brother.
"Hey cowboy." Vin said.
Chris put his tiny fists on his hips and glared at Vin. "Iís no cowboy!"
Vin laughed and ruffled Chrisí soft blonde hair.
Casey, the nanny, entered the room leading five year-old Josiah. "I expect you to help this time Josiah."
"Yes maíam." Josiah looked up and noticed his father. A huge grin appeared as he ran to his dad. "Daddy!"
"Hey Sport. How was your day?"
"Daddy? Miss Casey sent me to my room." Josiah looked sad.
"And why did she do that?" Ben smiled as he knelt next to his son and winked at Casey.
"WellÖI gotted mad at Chris and hit him. Iím sorry though." Josiah confessed with his hands protecting his backside.
"Iím sure you are son but you should be apologizing to Chris not me."
"Yes sir." Josiah apologized to Chris and helped clean up. The last of the toys were put away as twelve year-old JD entered.
"Hey dad. Mom says dinnerís ready."
"Great. Whereís Nathan?" The seven year-old was nowhere in sight.
"Heís in the dining room setting the table." Casey answered.
"Okay." Ben turned back to JD. "How was school today son?"
"Good dad. Mrs. Jenkins wants to move me to the next grade level. She sent home a note so I gave it to mom."
"Great. Iíll look at it after supper. Boys letís eat. Please go wash your hands."
"Yes sir." They all responded.
"MINE!" Chris screamed.
"No itís not baby!" Buck yelled back.
"MINE!" Chris grabbed the block from Buck. When Buck wouldnít let go, Chris sunk his baby teeth into Buckís hand.
Letting go of the block, Buck screamed, "MOMMA!"
Ben and Amanda both got to the playroom at the same time. Buck ran to Amanda, sobbing and holding out his Ďboobooí. "Chris bited me Momma."
Ben and Amanda examined the bite marks and noticed the skin was broken. Amanda sighed. "Okay baby. Letís go get that clean. Itís bath time anyway." Amanda turned to Ben. "Will you see what you can do about this problem? Iím at a loss how to get him to stop biting."
"Yes dear. Do you want he afterwards for his bath?"
"Yes please." Amanda carried Buck upstairs.
Ben turned to Chris who was still playing like nothing happened. "Christopher James Larabee!"
Chris looked up and smiled. "Hi daddy."
"Christopher? What did you do to Buck?"
Ben picked Chris up and moved to the couch. "Baby, you bit Buck. We have told you not to bite. Why did you bite him?"
"He had my block daddy." Chris said with complete seriousness.
"The blocks belong to everyone and that is no reason to bite him. Itís not nice."
"It hurts baby."
"No it donít daddy. My teefs are stwong. See?" Chris showed his teeth and suddenly Ben understood.
"Iíll show you why." Ben gently took Chrisí arm and bit his baby just hard enough without leaving marks. Chris let out an ear-piercing scream, which brought Amanda running.
"What happened?" Amanda asked.
Ben waved her off and turned back to Chris who was sobbing. "How did that feel Chris?"
He sniffed. "You hurted me daddy."
"Yes Christopher. Biting hurts. Thatís what you did to Buck."
Chris looked at his arm and then his father. "I sorry daddy."
"You need to tell Buck youíre sorry baby and no more biting or I will spank you. Do you understand me?"
Chris nodded and said "yes sir" as he snuggled on his fatherís shoulder with his thumb in his mouth. "Letís get you bathed and into bed son."
"I noth tired daddy." Chris mumbled around his thumb.
"Of course not son." Ben winked at Amanda as he carried Chris toward the nursery bathroom. Chris told Buck he was sorry then had a bath and a story before Amanda and Ben tucked him into bed. "Sleep well son. I love you." Ben kissed Chris on the forehead.
Amanda handed Chris his stuffed Ďdoggieí and kissed him goodnight. "Mommy loves you baby."
"Night mommy. Night daddy." Chris snuggled with Ďdoggieí and his thumb. He was asleep before Ben and Amanda left the room.
"So Ben. What did you do to our baby? He was really upset."
"I donít think I want to tell you." Ben hedged. "Youíll just get upset."
"I promise not to get upset."
"Well, he didnít seem to understand he was hurting the person he bit, so I showed him."
"I bit him." Ben deadpanned.
"WHAT!" Amanda yelled.
"You promised you wouldnít get upset." Ben reminded.
"Did you hurt him? I didnít check him." Dr. Larabee fussed.
"Sweetheart, I didnít even leave any teeth marks. I just wanted to get him to see biting does hurt."
"WellÖ" Amanda paused, "it did seem to make an impression."
"Yes it did. Letís go check on the rest of the boys and turn in early."
"Okay." Amanda and Ben tucked everyone in, locked up the house and headed to bed.
Nathan couldnít sleep. He knew he shouldnít, but he got up and headed outside to sit on the back porch. The weather this time of year was temperate during the day but the evenings were still pretty cool. Nathan liked the night best though. He settled into the hammock with his blanket and stared at the stars.
Nathan jumped when he heard Benís voice.
"Hey papa. Iím sorry."
"Why Nate?" Ben picked him up and settled into the hammock with Nate in his lap.
"Fer being outside after bedtime."
"Itís okay. Whatís bothering you Nate? You were pretty quiet at dinner."
"Papa? Why did my other parents not want me?"
"What? Nate your parents were killed in a car accident. You know that."
"But why did God take them?"
"I donít have all the answers son, but I do know that you are a gift from heaven. We love you as if you were born to us."
"But being Ďdopted is bad."
"Who told you that?" Ben was outraged.
"Billy did at the playground."
"Well Billy is wrong. We adopted you because youíre special and we chose you." Ben hugged Nathan close. "I love you so much son."
"Even though I donít look like everyone else?"
"YES! Son, looks donít mean anything. If it did how would I explain Vin and Ezra. They donít look alike, talk alike or even dress alike and they were born at the same time."
"But theyíre white." Nate whispered.
"Son, color is all in peopleís minds. Besides I would still love you even if you had purple or green skin. YOU ARE MY SON!"
Nathan laughed. "Thanks papa." Nate snuggled in his papaís arms.
"Anytime son. And donít listen to Billy or anyone else."
"I didnít like what Billy was saying and I hit him."
"Oh Nate. Casey didnít say anything to me."
"I punched Billy in the nose when Miss Casey was chasing Chris."
"I think I broke his nose papa." Nate cried. "There was blood everywhere."
"Did he go to the clinic? Is he okay?"
"I donít know papa. I didnít mean to hurt him so bad." Nate sobbed in his fatherís arms.
"Heís okay precious." Amanda added from the doorway.
Nate looked at his mother. "Iím sorry mama."
"Nate? Billy told me what he said and though you know we donít approve of fighting, I understand why you hit him. His father wasnít happy with him either, so I suspect you wonít have any more problems with him, but if you do, I want you to find an adult. Okay?"
"Iím really sorry mama."
"Come snuggle with your mama." Nate jumped into his motherís arms and cried. "I forgive you Nate and love you very much."
Ben stood and rubbed Nathanís back as he hugged them both. "Itís late. Why donít we get this young man to bed." Amanda nodded her agreement. "Let me take him sweetheart." Amanda shifted the almost asleep boy to his fatherís arms. Nathan simply settled into sleep on Benís shoulder. They tucked him in and headed back to bed.
Amanda was in full-blown mama bear mode when Mary Travis stormed into the clinic the next day raving about Billyís bloody nose. After Mary left the clinic, Amanda stormed off to the schoolhouse to check on her boys. She got there just as the teachers were letting them out for a break.
Josiah spotted her first. "Mama!"
Amanda scooped up her boy and hugged him close. "Hey baby. Howís school going?"
Josiah beamed. "I learned Ďbout the letter ĎCí today mama. ĎCí says cat. Can we get a kitty mama?"
Amanda laughed. "I donít think there are any kitties on the island sweetie but Iíll remember that ĎCí says cat." Amanda kissed Josiah and set him down. "Go play sweetheart and Iíll see you after school."
"íKay mama." Josiah ran off to the playground.
Amanda walked toward Benjaminís office. She was calmer but still steaming as she entered the outer office. Caroline smiled. "Hello Amanda."
"Hey Caroline. Is Ben busy?"
"Not too busy for you. He was just talking about taking a break."
"Great, I could use the break too." Amanda entered the office after a quick knock.
"Hey Honey. What brings you over here this time of day?" Ben asked.
Amanda slipped into a chair with a sigh. "Mary Travis."
Ben stood behind Amanda and started to massage her shoulders. "What happened?"
"She came into the clinic spouting off about Nathan breaking Billyís nose. I told her that Nate didnít break Billyís nose and that he doesnít have to listen to bigotry and prejudices from narrow-minded people."
"Is that all?" Ben deadpanned.
"Iím sure there was more but I donít remember everything. I was too angry."
"Well, I talked to Steven this morning and he hadnít realized what Billy had said to upset Nate. He tried to assure me that Billy didnít hear any of those things from them. Iím not convinced since prejudiced attitudes are taught."
"Iím letting it go. Theyíll be headed back to NY for the winter." Amanda noticed Ben wince. "What?"
"I was going to ask Steven to stay on to help with the new guest expansion."
"So theyíll be staying?"
"Yes, unless you really need them to leave. Itís up to you."
"Nonsense! Stevenís a good man and Iím sure my nurses can put Mary back together if she messes with my boys again."
Ben laughed. "If youíre sure Ďmama bearí." Ben took Amandaís hand and pulled her to her feet. "Now, letís go for a walk. I have a sudden urge to see ĎFour Cornersí."
"I could use the peace and quiet. Letís go."
Ben and Amanda walked and talked for an hour before they needed to head back to work. The rest of the afternoon was uneventful.
"What are you doing Christopher?" Amanda asked as she watched her baby removed a bobby pin from the stereo.
"It was in there aweady." Chris answered.
"Christopher Larabee. I know the truth so please donít lie to me." Chris lowered his head. "Where did you get that bobby pin?"
"Donít know." Chris whispered.
"Did you find it on the table? Donít lie." Chris nodded as he sniffled. "Why did you lie to me Chris?" Chris shrugged. "What happens to little boys who lie?"
"Get Ďpanked." Chris whispered with tears in his eyes.
Amanda picked Chris up and hugged him close. "Thatís right. You should never lie to me Chris. It will get you nothing but trouble."
"íKay mommy. You no Ďpank me?"
"Iíll let it go this time but remember no more lying or I will spank you. Understand?"
"Yes mommy. Luff you."
"I love you too baby. Now go play and stay away from the stereo." Amanda set Chris down and he scurried off to the playroom.
Dinner was a noisy affair as each boy shared about his day. Since it was Friday and Ben still had some paperwork to do, he suggested Casey take the boys to the new playground at the school. The boys all knew the new playground was off limits after hours without permission and supervision so everyone welcomed the suggestion.
Amanda cleaned up the supper dishes as Ben worked on his paperwork.
"Yes Honey?" Ben looked up from his paperwork and looked at his wife. Early in their marriage, Ben had promised not to bring work home, but since buying the island, that promise had been hard to keep. Ben was grateful that Amanda was an understanding woman.
"Have you decided who youíre going to hire as Head of Security?"
"I decided to hire Mr. Ellison. He just lost his wife and is looking for
a new start. Iím hoping Larabeeís Landing will become their home."
"Heís the young man with the son, correct?"
"Yep. He has a four-year old boy. I guess Jim says heís like the Energizer bunny on speed." Ben laughed.
"How long ago did they loose the mother?"
"Six months ago. She got caught in a car bomb meant for Jim. He left the police force because of it."
"Since Blair is only four, maybe we could ask Casey if she would like to watch him too."
"Actually, I got school records transferred. I guess Blair has been in school a year already. He skipped Pre-K and completed Kindergarten in June. Heíll be at the first grade level. Jim was really excited about our Individualized Education Program. I already asked Casey about watching him on the off hours and she agreed. Blair has tested with a very high IQ so he should fit right in."
"Wow, so heíll be with Nettie. Have you let her know?"
"Yes dear, I talked to her this afternoon. The Ellisonís will be in on tomorrowís boat."
"Boat? Why not the Heli-jet?"
"Jim said Blair is afraid to fly so I offered the boat to lessen the trauma." Just then the door was filled with children all talking about the outing to the playground.
"Wow dad, that new playground is great." JD said as he bounced on the balls of his feet.
"Papa? Miss Casey wouldnít let me on the big part." Josiah whined.
"Son, youíre too little for the big part. Thatís why I made sure there was a fun part for you little guys." Ben said.
"But papa! Itís for babies like Chris."
"I not a baby!" Chris yelled as he punched Josiah.
"Christopher! Donít hit your brother." Ben admonished.
"But daddy." Chris whined.
"No Ďbutsí young man. No hitting or you can sit in the corner. Understand?"
Chris nodded and turned away from Ben. When he thought no one was looking, he stuck his tongue out at Josiah. He didnít know that Amanda was watching. "Young man that was naughty. I think you and I need to have a little talk in my room." Amanda picked Chris up and carried the crying child upstairs.
Josiah turned to his father and launched into a detailed account of what he did on the playground. Ben indulged all of them as they talked to their father, laughing and joking. Amanda returned an hour later with a freshly bathed Chris who was dressed for bed and dragging his Ďdoggieí behind him. "Boys. Go get ready for bed then weíll put in a movie. That means showers if you are dirty or didnít shower this morning. Josiah? Your bath is ready and Buck you can join Josiah or have a shower." Amanda ordered. Everyone quickly obeyed and headed upstairs with Amanda following behind.
With his thumb in his mouth, Chris headed to his father and stood waiting to be picked up, which Ben did. Chris snuggled close. "Daddy?"
"I not a baby daddy. Iís big now."
"I know son but youíll always be my baby."
"Oh." Chris yawned and rubbed at his eyes. "Daddy?"
"íDoggieí was naughty."
"Yeah? What happened?"
"He hitted ĎMr. Mooí and Ďtuck his tongue out."
"Oh that is naughty." Ben knew Chris was using his beloved Ďdoggieí to process his own bad behavior. "What did you do?"
"He got Ďpanked daddy." Chris started to cry softly so Ben held him a little tighter.
"Did he learn not to be naughty?" Chris nodded. "Thatís good."
"You still luff Ďdoggieí?" Chris held his toy up.
"Yes son, always. I love Ďdoggieí and I love you, even when youíre naughty.
Chris smiled. "I luff you too daddy."
Ben kissed Chris on the head and rocked his baby boy to sleep. Amanda came down thirty minutes later and smiled at her husband and youngest son. "He okay?" She whispered.
"Yeah. He wanted me to know Ďdoggieí got "ípanked" for being naughty."
"I want to know who said the twoís were terrible. Three is worse."
"He thinks the world revolves around him." Ben laughed.
"It doesnít?" JD said as he entered the family room.
"No it doesnít smart alec." Amanda said as she swatted at her oldest. "Is everyone almost done?"
"Everyone but Nate. Heís running the shower but heís reading in the bathroom." JD headed toward the TV room as Amanda and Ben exchanged looks. Ben stood with Chris and said, "Iíll put this young man to bed and Ďcheckí on everyone else."
"Okay. Iíll make popcorn and cue up the movie." Amanda headed to the kitchen as Ben went to check on Nate.
After putting Chris to bed, Ben headed to the third floor bathroom. He heard the water running and entered without knocking. What he saw made him see red.
"Jebediah Nathaniel Larabee! What are you doing?"
"Papa?" Nathan jumped.
"Your mother sent you up here to take a shower and what do I find? Hot water running and you not under it."
"Stop! There is no excuse for this. Get in that shower now and when youíre finished I want to see you in the study. Get to it."
"Yes sir." Ben left as Nathan obeyed his father.
Nathan entered the study slowly and saw his father waiting. Ben had a stern look on his face as Nathan stood before him. "Son, Iím very disappointed in your behavior. Your mother sent you upstairs to shower, not to disobey her and pretend to shower."
"Iím sorry papa. I wonít do it again, I promise." Nathan cried.
"Have you pulled this little stunt before son?" Nathan nodded as he chewed on his bottom lip. "You knew you were wrong to disobey and deceive your mother?" Nathan nodded again. "You will NOT do it again. Do you understand me?"
"For deceiving your mother, consider yourself grounded. That means, to school and back only. No TV, no playroom, no playground and Iíll be keeping this weeks allowance of tokens for the game room." Nate nodded as tears ran down his cheeks. "For disobeying your motherÖ" Ben paused as he crooked his finger for Nate to come closer. "You know what to expect. Then you will apologize to your mother." Ben then took Nathan over his knee and administered a sound spanking. Afterwards, Ben hugged him close and told him that he was still loved. Once Nathan calmed down, Ben led him in to apologize to Amanda. Then he was sent to bed early. Nathan went with no complaint.
The boat approached the docks on the East side of the Larabeeís Landing. Ben stood waiting as her Captain secured all the lines and threw out a gangplank. James Ellison walked off the boat with a small child draped across one shoulder. Ben met them half way up the dock.
"Mr. Ellison. Welcome to Larabeeís Landing or as we say the Double L."
"Thanks Mr. Larabee but please call me Jim."
"And you can call me Ben. Can I take your carry-on?"
Jim shifted Blairís weight and handed his bag over. "Sure. Itís a little hard to balance both."
"I understand. Is this Blair?"
"Yep. Crashed about twenty minutes ago." Jim smiled.
"The vehicle is this way." Ben walked to the Jeep. "How was your trip?"
"Pretty good. The flight from Cascade was fine but I had to give Blair something to relax him. Thatís why heís still out of it. He woke up on the boat and bounced about looking at everything for most of the trip. He only just fell asleep again."
"Iím glad it wasnít too traumatic."
"No, he bounces back pretty quick. Heíll sleep tonight and be back to normal by morning."
Ben pulled up to a moderate sized cottage. "This is your new home."
"Wow! We really donít need this much space though."
"Donít worry, you will. One of the extra rooms is set-up as your office. Youíll find weíre a small community and youíll do a lot from the house so the computer in the house and the Security office are networked. The system is state of the art with plenty of Ďgadgetsí as my oldest son would say. Letís go on in. Your belongings are already inside."
"That was quick."
"The luggage came by Heli-jet Jim. It was here before you even got on the boat." Ben laughed. "Let me give you the tour." Ben opened the house and turned on the foyer light, then headed toward the living room.
Jim was about to follow when he tilted him head to listen. Ben knew Jim was a sentinel, a man with five enhanced sense. It was one of the reasons Ben hired him.
"Okay Chief." Jim turned to Ben. "Could that tour start with the bathroom?"
"Sure." Jim grabbed his carry-on and took Blair to the spacious bathroom.
"Do you need anything?" Ben asked.
"In my carry-on there are some ĎGood-nightsí, could you grab me one?"
"Sure." Ben found the item and handed it to Jim. "Isnít Blair four?"
"Yeah, but the drug the doc gives him to relax him enough to fly relaxes everything. Until heís back to his normal bouncy self, I found these save me the aggravation of dirty clothes." Jim changed Blair quickly then gathered the boy into his arms. "Papa?"
"I want Woof." Blair whined.
"Okay baby. Give me a minute to find him."
"Otay papa." Blair sighed against Jimís shoulder.
"Ben could you hand me my bag please."
"I take it Woof is a toy?"
"An ultra soft stuffed wolf that Naomi bought for him after we found out he had dreams of a guide. My guide."
"What are the odds of that?" There was very little known about sentinels and guides but usually they met as adults.
"Itís rare but not unheard of." Jim set Blair down on the couch and handed him Woof. Then he stood to see the rest of the house.
"Papa?" Blair whined.
"Yes Blair?" Jim sighed.
"Donít leave me please."
"Blair, Iím not going anywhere. Iím just going to look at the new house."
"Blair." Jim sent his son a warning in that one word. "Stop whining and you know better than to tell Papa Ďnoí. You can stay here with Woof or come with me, but stop whining."
"Carry me Papa?"
"No son. Papaís carried you long enough today. You can walk but Iíll hold your hand." Blair thought for a minute and then got up and took his Papaís hand as he clutched Woof close with the other. "Good job chief."
"Whoís that?" Blair pointed to Ben.
"Blair, meet Mr. Larabee. Heís the boss."
"Youíre the boss Papa."
"Of you, yes, but heís my boss now. Like Uncle Simon was in Cascade."
"Oh." Blair turned to Ben. "Pleased to meet you Mr. LarÖ"
"Thatís okay Blair. The other kids call me Mr. Ben. If itís okay with your dad, you can too."
"Itís okay son."
"Thank you Mr. Ben. Thatís a lot easier." Blair bounced.
Jim laughed. "Yep, almost back to normal."
Ben smiled. "You have all weekend and next week to get settled and make the Double L your home. Amanda, my wife, is expecting you both for dinner tonight so donít worry about food tonight. Blair can also meet our nanny Casey and my boys."
"Boys?" Blair asked.
"Yep. Seven of them."
"Wow. Thatís a lot." Blair said with excitement.
Ben laughed. "Would you like to meet everyone now or take sometime to get settled? Dinner isnít until around 6pm."
"Iíd like to get settled for tonight at least." Jim said.
"But Papa." Blair whined.
"Blair." There was another clear warning.
Ben decided to distract them. "Iíll be back in a few hours then."
"Good. Weíll be ready. Thanks again Ben."
"No, thank you. Iím glad you took the job and want to make the Double L your home. Iíll see you later." Ben closed the door and smiled when he could still hear Blair whining.
Jim didnít argue with his young son, he simply directed him to his new bedroom and set him to unpacking. Jim found the sheets and blankets and made Blairís bed. Jim then left Blair to his unpacking and started in his own bedroom. He had just finished making the large bed when Blair blurred through.
"Sh, whatís wrong Blair?"
"I canít find Blackie. Heís losted." Blair wailed.
"Blair calm down. Iím sure heís here somewhere. Weíll find him later."
"No Papa, now."
"Young man." Jim reached out and swatted Blairís leg. "You do NOT tell me Ďnoí. Blackie is in one of the boxes in your room. Go look for him there."
"But Papa." Blair cried as he rubbed his leg.
"No Ďbutsí son. Just go look. You already have Woof so you donít need Blackie right now."
"Otay Papa. Iíll look but heís not there."
"I will not argue with you son. If you donít find him tonight, we will look tomorrow."
"Iíll find him for you now Papa." Blair bounced off and back to his room.
Ben arrived back at the Ellison home just as Jim opened the door.
"Ben." Jim smirked.
"Did you enjoy that?" Ben added. Heíll never be able to sneak up on the Sentinel.
"I used to drive Simon crazy doing it, so yes." Jim laughed.
"Youíll fit right in around here." Ben entered the foyer. "I thought we would walk up to the house. That way I can show you around."
"Sounds fine, let me just round up Blair." Jim turned and headed upstairs to get Blair. When he entered Blairís room, there were toys and clothes strewn everywhere. "BLAIR JACOB ELLISON! What is this mess?"
"Papa! I found Blackie." Blair held up the ultra soft panther.
"Son, Iím glad you found your panther but this clutter is unacceptable. Make a path so I donít break my neck putting you to bed later and then tomorrow I expect this mess cleaned up."
"What Blair? We need to go. Mr. Ben is waiting to take us to meet his family."
"Can I play with his kids?" He asked as he put Blackie on the bed next to Woof.
"Yes son. I want you to be on your best behavior tonight, okay." Jim said as he helped Blair put on his shoes.
"Yes sir Papa." Blair bounced toward the stairs and jumped down each step.
"Blair! Walk son."
Ben was smiling as Blair entered the living room. "You think heís loud, you should hear seven boys jumping down the stairs at the same time. Sounds like Armageddon."
"What are the names of yer kids?"
"Blair, donít bother Mr. Ben. You can find out their names when you meet them."
"Heís no bother. Why donít we go meet them? Are we ready?" Ben answered back.
"I think so. Blair, do you need the bathroom?" Jim asked.
"You make sure you let me know if you do. Those special underpants arenít an excuse to not use the bathroom."
"I know Papa. Iíll tell ya. Can we go meet Mr. Benís kids now, please?"
"Does he ever slow down?" Ben laughed.
"Ha! This is slow." Jim scoffed.
"Dear Lord. I though seven was bad."
The two men took Blair out the door and headed toward a large green house on a grassy hill. Subconsciously Jim extended his sense of sight and saw a medium size playground with several kids playing.
"This your home Ben?"
"Yes. I had it designed specially to accommodate seven growing boys. It also has an office for me, and a small clinic for Amanda. I gave you the cottage below us for security reasons but also so Blair can play here in the playground. Itís between both houses."
"Thanks Ben. That should come in handy when Blair needs to work off some excess energy." They approached the playground and Chris was the first to notice his father.
"Daddy!" Chris ran into his fatherís outstretched arms and Ben scooped him up.
"Hey son. How was your afternoon?"
"I was good all day daddy."
"That right?" Ben looked at Casey. He knew it was impossible for Chris to be good all day.
"No big problems, so he was pretty good." Casey added as Jim approached. "Is this Blair?"
Ben turned to Jim and Blair and introduced them to Casey. "Jim? Casey said she could watch Blair whenever you needed."
"Thank you Casey, that would be great. I only want Blair in school for half a day so if you could help in the afternoons?"
"Sure Mr. Ellison. Chris naps in the afternoon so it wouldnít be a problem at all."
"Blair will probably nap also. He seems to need more sleep. The doctors think itís just because heís a guide, but the public schools in Cascade never understood that and always gave me a hard time about it."
"My aunt runs the school and sheís great with all the kids and I think I can handle two sleeping boys Mr. Ellison." Casey chuckled.
"Great! You have to call me Jim though."
"BOYS!" Ben yelled and six boys stood before their father. "Boys? This is Mr. Ellison and Blair. Mr. Ellison is the new head of security for the island." Ben pointed to each boy. "Jim? Blair? This is JD my oldest. Ezra and Vin our twins, Buck, Josiah, and this little guy is Chris."
"I thought you said you had seven boys?" Jim asked.
"Nathan is inside setting the table. Heís grounded." JD offered.
"JD!" Ben warned.
"Sorry nothing. Since you have no compassion for your brother, you can go help him. Now." Ben pointed his oldest toward the house.
"Yes sir." JD trudged up to the house.
"Sorry about that Jim. Boys? This is Blair. Heíll be starting school on Monday or Tuesday and I expect you to make him feel welcome."
Yes sir was heard and Ben nodded his approval.
"Can I go play?"
"Yes son. Go ahead but when itís time to go in, I want no arguments."
"Yes sir Papa."
"Boys, show Blair around. Heís only four so show him what is safe to do." Children scattered in all directions with Blair talking a mile a minute.
"Letís sit for a minute and Iíll buzz Amanda and check on dinner." Ben used his portable radio and called Amanda. When he was done, Ben turned back toward Jim. "Sheíll blow the whistle when sheís ready."
"An old train whistle that the twins said sounded like the Old West. So I put it on a tank of compressed air and when Amanda needs the kids, she pulls the chain and then she doesnít have to yell."
"What a great idea. Sometimes I wish Blair was a sentinel too, so I wouldnít have to yell to get his attention."
The men talked for another fifteen minutes before they heard the train whistle. "Iím glad you told me about the whistle. I would have wondered where the old steam train was."
Ben laughed. "Would have been ridiculous on an island thatís only 30 miles wide." Ben stood and waved the boys over. "Letís go eat boys. Donít forget to wash your hands before you sit down."
Blair ran to his Papa. "Papa! Iím not done playing." He pouted.
"Blair, Mr. Ben says itís time to go eat and you promised not to argue with me if I let you play."
"Okay Papa." Blair decided he was too hungry to argue further so he smiled at Ben. "Whatís for dinner?" Blair took Jimís hand and they started to walk toward the Larabee house.
"I donít know but whatever it is you will eat it. Understand?" Jim reminded. "And be polite."
"Yes sir. Iíll be good Papa."
"Thatís my boy." Jim ruffled Blairís hair. They entered the house and Ben gave the Ellisonís a quick tour, ending in the dining room.
"Nate?" Ben called.
"Yes Papa?" Nathan answered.
"This is Mr. Ellison and his son Blair." Ben turned to Jim. "Jim? My son Nathan."
"Pleased to meet you Nathan." Blair said.
"You too Blair. Mr. Ellison. Are you going to be living in the cottage?"
"Yep, weíre neighbors." Blair bounced.
Ben interrupted as Amanda entered the room. "Jim? This is my lovely wife and the island doctor Amanda."
"Thank you for the hospitality Mrs. Larabee." Jim said as he shook her hand.
"Nonsense! And call me Amanda. Blair you can call me Dr. Amanda."
"Yes maíam." Blair said shyly.
"Well, letís eat." Amanda announced. Everyone sat down and Ben said the blessing. Dinner conversation was pleasant, with no disagreements.
"I have to say Amanda, your boys are well behaved. Dinner was wonderful."
"Thank you Jim but Blair is well behaved also. Youíre doing well by him."
"Thanks. Itís been hard but we take it one day at a time."
"If you ever need to talk let me know." Amanda said.
"Thank you." Jim was surprised at how relaxed he was since arriving this afternoon. It had been a long hard few months.
"Iím tired." Blair said as he crawled into his fatherís lap.
Amanda looked at the clock and realized the time. "Goodness! Those boys need to be in bed. Jim, Iíll say my goodnight and will see you tomorrow." Amanda didnít wait for a response but headed toward the playroom to herd boys to bed.
Jim gathered Blair close. "We should be going too. Blair still is working the sedative out of his system."
"Okay Jim." Ben stood and walked them out. Before Jim could leave, Ben handed him a set of keys.
"What are these for?"
"The jeep in the driveway is yours. It even has the booster seat you wanted, already in it."
"Thanks again Ben. I know Blair and I will do well here."
"I do too. If youíre up to a more detailed tour tomorrow or the next day, we can set something up. Or you can explore on your own. Thereís an island map in the cottage kitchen and in the jeep."
"Thanks Ben. Iíd like to take tomorrow and get the house settled. Blair already needs to clean his room."
Ben laughed. "Done! Everything you need is right there, but you know where we live. Drop in anytime or call. The directory is in the cottage."
They shook hands and Jim headed for the jeep. After buckling Blair in, they
headed down the hill toward their new home. Home. It felt good to feel at
home again. Jim entered the house and made his way upstairs after locking the
door. He changed Blair without waking him and tucked him in. He kissed Blairís
head and whispered, "Love you Chief." Jim cast out his senses to
catalog his new tribe then settled down to sleep. Home.