Oops! M7 ATF AU
"Come on, Kid. We need to go clean up Chris' yard after this weekend and get rid of all the fireworks casings and rocket sticks."
Buck Wilmington motioned to his roommate JD Dunne. The younger brunet was playing a video game alone while Vin Tanner was taking a shower. All seven members of the ATF team had spent the weekend at leader Larabee's and since they were on vacation the next week as well, they'd just crashed in their rooms the night before. The other six men spent so much time at Chris' now that the blond had just built on to his ranch house to make room for everyone to have their own space. Of course, the rest had to help with the construction since the extra rooms were for them. Although to be precise, their undercover agent Ezra Standish had spent most of his time sitting on piles of lumber or stacks of concrete blocks sipping from his flask and offering constructive criticism. At least until Chris threatened to nail his expensive boots to the new deck if he didn't get up off his ass and help.
Each had been allowed to decorate their rooms as they wished, and since the team gravitated to the ranch for birthdays and Christmas and most other holidays, the spaces were now filled with assorted gifts that the men had received. That being the case, to be honest, all six felt more at home at Larabee's than they did their own places. It wasn't always a conscious decision, they all just seemed to show up eventually on special occasions or days off. Nathan and JD were often the last to appear, since they both had girlfriends to spend time with, and occasionally Buck was absent due to a hot weekend with a lady friend, but generally even the explosive expert arrived before the gathering wound down.
This time they'd all showed up at about the same time on Saturday since Chris was cooking burgers and hot dogs on the grill. They'd amused themselves with the above-ground pool Larabee had installed in the spring, a slip-and-slide that Buck and JD had brought and hooked to the water hose, a few games of touch football, and some horseshoes until it was time for grilled steaks for supper and then the fireworks extravaganza. Wilmington and Dunne were in charge of the display, with help from Tanner who flitted between helping shoot off the pieces and nearly turning over his lawn chair as he leaned back to watch the rockets spiral high into the sky. The rest arranged their seats as far away from the action as comfortably possible and sat out buckets of water and left the hose on so that they could douse any stray projectiles that came their way. Or put out their hair or ass as the case might be!
Not only had the dynamic duo (who often lived up to their name where explosives were concerned) brought several boxes of fireworks, the rest had procured some of their favorites as well. Chris had bought some day parachutes and long-lasting fountains and a few other things that reminded him of his son Adam and wife Sarah, the memories bringing him comfort now instead of making him reach for a bottle or his gun like they had before.
Since there were so many items, they'd enjoyed themselves until almost midnight and still had stuff left. Yawning, Chris had decreed that they save the rest for Sunday night since he was ready to head to bed. Agreeing, they'd put the last boxes in the shop and trouped inside, each disappearing into their respective room after a round of goodnights that resembled the Walton's from the old TV show.
Larabee and Tanner had gotten up early the next morning to feed the stock and fix breakfast. The blond had finally given in the last Thanksgiving and bought a second Bunn coffee maker so that the rest of the team didn't have to try to beat the sniper to the pot to keep from drinking a beverage that was strong enough to strip paint.
After breakfast, they took the horses for a ride while it was still relatively cool. Vin and Buck had voted to tie the fishing poles on and each stuffed tackle in their saddle bags so that they could stop at the creek. The endeavor netted enough fish to fry for lunch, in spite of JD getting bored and doing belly flops in the deepest hole and Ezra getting a snake on the end of his pole and throwing the whole rod and reel into the water.
Buck helped Chris cook the fish for lunch, Ezra making a batch of his Aunt Trudy's famous hushpuppies as his contribution while Josiah heated some leftover beans and Nathan fixed slaw. Larabee had bought strawberries and whipped cream, so Vin mixed up some shortcake from his mom's old recipe. He'd loved the dessert so much that she'd put him to helping when he was barely able to stand on a chair and stir, so it was one of the few things that he remembered from when he was a little feller.
Full stomachs dictated a rest after they ate, Josiah and Buck actually dozing off for an hour or so. A water pistol fight ensued after that, the other six forgetting which side they were supposed to be on so they could all soak a sputtering and indignant Standish, who retaliated by sneaking around to the hose and turning it on full blast. Moving it in a sweeping motion, he chortled unashamedly as he watched his former attackers get swept off their feet by the stinging spray. However he did have to run for his life when they got back up and gave chase, all protesting loudly at the red marks the attack had left on their ankles and shins.
Supper was leftovers and more strawberries with ice cream this time. Then once again all but Buck and JD settled into their chairs to watch the fireworks finale. Amazingly enough both displays went without more than a minor hitch or two, Nathan making a cross sign to ward off a jinx when Josiah remarked that he didn't remember them ever getting through the 4th without someone getting singed by sparks or in Chris' case, a rocket burn on their butt or something. It was now eleven, so Larabee told Wilmington and Dunne to just leave everything where it was for the night. The agreement was always that the dark-haired pair got cleanup duty because the others were usually injured in some way. Even though everyone was alright this time, the rest decided that the duo should still pick up the yard since they were the ones that supplied most of the fireworks. And they didn't go for wimpy bottle rockets and firecrackers, though Vin had supplied a few of the latter so that he could amuse himself by tossing them in Chris and Ezra's directions when they weren't looking. Instead the yard and even the near part of the pasture were littered with boxes and tubes from multi-shot aerial displays and sticks from larger rockets, some even sliding off the roof every once in a while. The chairs were folded up and placed on the deck, and the paper plates and other food trash was disposed of, then the group headed inside. Chris slid the pistol out of his back waistband and replaced it in a drawer, giving Vin a look as he did so. The blond had gone inside and gotten the weapon after Tanner threw the seventh or eighth firecracker at his back, thus silently ending the sniper's reign of terror. Since it was so late, they all just piled into their rooms once again, enjoying the fact that they didn't have to be up early to go to work the next morning.
Now it was about ten Monday and breakfast was over, so Buck figured it was time to clean up the yard. Calling to JD once more, he finally got the younger brunet's attention. Saving his game, the kid yawned and stretched as he got to his feet. Both wore loose khaki shorts and no shirts. Slipping on wide-banded flip-flops, the pair headed out the door. Chris nodded in approval from where he was putting away the clean dishes in the kitchen. The blond sported fitted ebony shorts and similar flip-flops, but was bare-chested like the other two. Josiah and Nathan had still been in their cotton lounge pants, so had gone to change while Vin took his shower. Ezra was seated on the porch with a cup of coffee, attired in tasteful navy shorts and a pristine white polo shirt, bare feet resting on the rail as he enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Chris stuck his head out the door to tell Wilmington and Dunne to just throw the fireworks debris in the ring that he used to burn the paper trash. He'd carried out the overflowing garbage bags and set them on fire when the breakfast table was cleared off, wanting to get the kitchen cleaned up before they moved on to other things.
Nodding, the pair moved into the yard, beginning their usual bickering as they determined who was responsible for which area. Buck said since JD was younger he should clean up the part next to and on the other side of the fence. The kid tried refusing, but as usual Wilmington just ignored him, so Dunne picked up a couple of trash bags and headed to the further part. Buck bent over and began picking up the empty containers closer to the house, piling them in one of the larger cardboard boxes that they'd used to transport the fireworks in the first place.
When he had the box full, the tall form carried it to the burning trash and tossed it in. Heading back, he began a second round with another container. He had his part almost clean and the rest had come out, drinks in hand, by the time JD climbed through the fence. Chris was carrying a beer to Buck as Dunne threw one of his loaded bags into the fire.
Larabee was just handing the can to Wilmington when a series of loud pops and whistles erupted from the burning debris, causing all seven men to turn in surprise. Projectiles began whizzing into the air, flying in all sorts of directions as the guys gaped in astonishment at the colorful display.
"Shit! JD, you were supposed to make sure there weren't any live shells in anything when you were pickin' 'em up!" yelled Buck as he ducked a sizzling ball that went flying just over his shoulder, causing him to douse himself in beer when he jerked his hand up to try to protect his skin.
"I was, but it was hard to tell on a couple! I must have got one we missed setting off!" answered the smaller form as he jumped to avoid a spewing mass that was singing his leg and making the wet grass steam.
His eyes got a panicked look when he glanced up to see a sputtering projectile fly across Chris' bare chest. The blond let out a bellowed string of cuss words and raced for the nearby water hose. As he soaked himself down, the words turned to threats that had JD's name prominently featured.
Larabee was still spraying water on his scorched pecs when another flaming sphere headed toward Standish's feet. The chestnut-haired figure jerked his legs away from the rail, letting out a yowl when the heat touched his soles and then a second one when the hot coffee he held splashed all over his shirt. His overturned chair entangled him next, sending him sprawling on the wooden porch floor.
Josiah leaned down to try to help, but a rogue fireball sailed past his nose, causing him to hit himself when he went to bat it away. A roar like a bull elephant escaped and big hands then started swatting at his goatee to put out the sparks that had rained down on his face.
Vin was just staring at the chaos in disbelief when a shell shot toward him straight as an arrow. Eyes widening, the sniper took off at a run to try to evade the spewing piece but tripped on a loop of the hose. That allowed the projectile to bounce off of the leg of his cutoffs and slide through his wet hair. Smoke and steam immediately boiled up, making the slender figure look as if his head was literally exploding.
Nathan wasn't sure who to go to first, then had the decision erased from his mind when the final sputtering sphere arched toward the glass he still held. Throwing up his arm, the drink showered him and knocked the ball toward his lap. Yelping in dismay, the medic jumped backward to keep his groin from getting singed, tangling his legs in Ezra's chair in the process. Soon he, the gambler, and the profiler were just a heap on the porch, all cursing and swatting as they tried to put out the smoldering spots on themselves and each other.
When the thirty shot cannonade finished, it looked like a war had just ended.
JD was on the ground near the burn ring gingerly dabbing water from a bucket on the red spots that were scattered over his calves and rubbing the ankle that he'd twisted when he jumped.
Buck had a red stripe across his left shoulder that matched the one on Chris' upper chest. Both were now wet and dripping, Wilmington from the beer he'd spilled and Larabee from the water he'd sprayed on himself.
Vin was limping as he made his way toward the house, singed spots on the back of his thighs under the holes that had burned in his cutoff jeans and steam still wafting around his head, along with the sore knee where he hit the ground when he tripped.
The trio on the porch were trying to disentangle themselves, Nathan swatting away Josiah's hand when the former priest slapped at a remaining spark that was sputtering on the front of the medic's denim shorts. Ezra was faintly asking the profiler to get his knee off his chest since he could barely breathe with the weight.
Standish's white shirt was stained with coffee, the soles of his feet were red and tender and his butt was bruised from hitting the floor when he fell backward. Sanchez had scorched places on his upper lip and chin, and his nose was swelling from the slap he'd given it when the sparking ball flew past. Jackson sported singed spots on his pelvic area and was dripping the iced tea he'd thrown. Plus he was standing a bit odd when he finally made it to his feet thanks to the 'help' Josiah had tried to give him to put out the sparks.
Buck, Chris, and Vin joined the disheveled group on the porch, the whole lot looking totally disreputable. They each made sure the others were ok, then as one turned to eye JD. The kid couldn't run, so he did the only thing he could think of. He grabbed the hose and tried to make a stand. Unfortunately for him, the rest were already wet, sore, and unhappy. Helping each other down the steps, they moved toward the youngest in formation, totally ignoring the water he was desperately spraying at them. When they reached for him, he gave up his defense and just ducked, getting soaked himself when they took the hose away and turned it on him.
"What do you have to say for yourself, JD?" asked Chris softly as he finally turned the nozzle off.
"Oops?" was the only thing Dunne could come up with. He scrunched his eyes shut, since that had been Larabee's 'get right with your God' tone.
Nothing happened for a few minutes so he warily opened his eyes and flipped his dripping bangs out of the way.
The sight that met his gaze bewildered him for a minute. The other six were just standing staring at him. Then Vin started chuckling, and was slowly joined by the rest. Buck reached to slap JD on the back, sending plumes of water flying up.
"Oops! Good one, Kid!"
Sprawling out on the damp ground, the whole team started taking inventory. As they examined each singed spot and welt, all any of them could do was grin and go "Oops."