Disclaimer: I don't own The Magnificent Seven and I'm not making any profit from this story. You could sue me but any percentage of nothing is still nothing.
Archive: Permission Granted
Warnings: If you don't believe in spanking children as a form of discipline (not abuse), then don't read these stories.
The New AU type: Okay, I know there are a couple of AU's with the boys as brothers, and I love them all. This is something I have been unable to get out of my head. The "what if?" of it was what if the boys were brothers but were actually still kids. I left them in the Old West and put them on a cattle ranch (think Bonanza). The boys all range in age from 31 to 5. I left Chris in charge but Josiah has all of the legal control, being the oldest and all.
Status: I would like to keep the AU CLOSED for now. If others are interested in writing in this AU, I may consider opening it later.
Title: The Magnificent Seven Ranch : Lessons
Disclaimer: See part 0/
The Magnificent Seven Ranch : Lessons
New Circuit Court Judge Orrin Travis stepped off the stage in the small frontier town of Four Corners. The town looked the same as the last five towns the Judge had passed through. As the new Judge of the area, he felt the need to visit all of the towns in his jurisdiction. This town held a couple of good reasons to stop for a longer visit though. The first being his daughter-in-law, Mary, who was the newspaper editor of the small local paper, The Clarion. The Judge was looking forward to seeing her. His second reason revolved around The Magnificent Seven Ranch.
When the Judge took this job, the clerk had handed his a rather thick file on The Magnificent Seven Ranch. When he began to go through the information, what he found intrigued him. He found that all of the men and boys were brothers with the same father, Lincoln Larabee, but they all had different mothers. The information didn't give specifics, but all of the 'mothers' were dead. All with the exception of one Maude Standish. The file didn't say why she wasn't raising her son, especially after Lincoln's death last year. The Judge figured he would talk to Mary and find out what she knew.
School was out!! Young Vin Tanner was grateful. It wasn't that he hated learning; it was that he hated the other kids, the confinement of the classroom, and the fact that his reading wasn't as good as other boys his age. At 8 years old, most kids were reading quite well. The teacher just assumed that Vin had no formal training while he was with his mother's people. The truth of the matter was that Vin couldn't keep the letters from moving all over the paper when he read. When he was living with his mama and the Indians, he didn't need to know English. It wasn't until his mama died and he was sent to live with his pa and white people that the problems arose.
Vin turned to see Jake Peterson approach. Ut-oh.
"Hey half breed. Where you going? Don't you have special dummy lessons to do with Miss Jones?"
"Leave me be Peterson." Vin sneered as he tried to walk away. Ezra noticed the trouble brewing and intervened.
"Gentlemen and I use the term lightly, my brother asked you to leave."
"What's the matter half breed? Can't you fight your own battles? Big brother gotta help you?"
Ezra could see that Vin was about to explode so he looked around and noticed Nathan approaching. He nodded to Nate and turned back to the bully and smiled. "I do believe that master JD could beat you. However since our baby brother isn't in school yet, I fear you are going to have to wait for that thrashing. Good day." Ezra took Vin's arm and moved toward Nathan. The bully retreated when he saw he was out numbered.
"You know Ezra. One of these days yer silver tongue isn't gonna get you out of trouble."
"That is why I have brothers. When that happens, I trust you will back me up."
"Hurrumph. More like get my own self beat up and then is yer silver tongue gonna save ya from Chris?"
"Our esteemed older brother seems immune to my charms."
Ezra heard Vin giggle. "Something funny?"
"Just you Ez. Chris is immune to all our charms. He never believes a single thing we tell him when ya get us in trouble." Vin smirked.
"Me? Have you forgotten who lead us into that abandoned mine to explore? And do you recall that same person starting a campfire that nearly suffocated us?"
"Hey how was I suppose to know that a bird had built a nest on the vent hole."
"You're the Indian tracker Junior." All three boys turned around.
"Buck! How long you been standing there?" Vin asked.
"Long enough to see Ezra and Nate save you from Chris and his wrath."
"Weren't my fault." Vin pouted.
"Doesn't matter. I would have stopped it had Ezra and Nate not already done it. You know Chris doesn't want you fighting, especially in school."
"Ain't in school. We done got out already." Vin crossed his arms across his chest.
"I know. I came by to pick ya'll up."
"Where's Chris? He usually picks us up."
Buck squatted in front of Vin and smiled. "Chris is in town and we are going to go meet him. I thought you boys would like to go to the general store and get some candy for after supper. Is that okay with you Junior?"
"Yeah!" Vin took one leap and he was in the wagon.
Buck stood up with a groan. "Boy I wish I had your energy."
"At least yer not as old as Chris." Vin giggled again.
"Keep it up boy. One of these days that old man is gonna have enough of your teasing."
"I ain't teasing Buck. Twenty-five is old."
"Maybe to a small fry like you."
"I ain't small!" Vin yelled.
"Anything you say Junior." Buck drove into town and headed for the general store.
Chris Larabee was tired. Running a ranch as large as the M7 Ranch was challenging at best, but what exhausted him was the small five year old whose hand he held tightly. Chris was counting the days to when his youngest brother would go to school with his other brothers. Let Miss Jones deal with his endless energy. They were headed to the general store to meet Buck and the others. The whole time JD was bouncing along the boardwalk.
"JD. Please stop bouncing."
"I's skippin' Chris. Not bouncin'."
"Well whatever you call it, quit." Chris said more sternly then he intended.
JD stopped and looked at his brother. Yup. That vein is throbbing again. "Okay." JD whispered and walked with his head down.
Chris looked at him and immediately felt guilty. "I'm sorry JD. I'm just tired. I want to get to the wagon and go home. Don't you want to get home so you can play?"
"Yeah." JD still didn't look up. Chris stopped and squatted in front of JD.
"JD. I'm sorry I snapped at ya. Will ya forgive me?"
JD smiled and hugged Chris around the neck. "Okay."
Chris picked JD up and held him. "Why don't we go see what kind of trouble those brother's of ours are getting into?"
"Okay." Chris set JD back onto his feet and took his hand. As they were about to cross the street, Chris saw Mary wave and approach with an elderly gentleman.
"Chris." Mary hugged him.
"Mary. How are you today?"
"Fine. I'm great actually. I want you to meet my father-in-law." Mary turned to the Judge. "Chris this is Orrin Travis. Orrin this is Chris Larabee."
"Well, Mr. Larabee. It's good to meet you." He looked at JD who was hiding behind Chris' legs. "And who is this young man?"
"Oh Judge, this is JD Dunne. Chris' baby brother."
The Judge put his hand out to shake, but JD shied away.
"JD. Don't be rude." Chris said as he drew JD from behind him. "The Judge isn't going to hurt you."
JD stuck his hand out and said, "Hi. My name's JD."
"Well, JD. You can call me Judge Travis." They shook hands then the Judge stood up to face Chris.
"Judge of what?" Chris asked.
"I'm sorry. I'm the new circuit court Judge for this area."
"What happened to Judge Blackwell?"
"He had some health problems so he retired."
"If you're the new Judge then we probably should sit down and talk."
"Well, Mr. Larabee that was exactly why I wanted Mary to introduce me. I have heard of the arrangement your father had with Mr. Blackwell."
"I hope there won't be any problems with keeping it the same. I was concerned when Pa died last year." Chris felt JD stir when there father's death was mentioned. "However, I would prefer to talk in private. The younger boys are still having a tough time with Pa's passing."
The Judge noticed JD's discomfort also. "In private then. How about sometime tomorrow."
"Tomorrow would be fine if you can come out to the ranch. I don't have anyone to watch the boys over the weekend."
"That's fine. I'm sure Mary can bring me out."
"Good. Then I will see you tomorrow, for lunch, then we'll talk."
"Perfect." He shook Chris' hand and JD's again.
"Tomorrow." Chris smiled and walked across the street with JD.
Ezra and Vin were sitting in the wagon waiting for Buck and Nathan to finish up. As Nathan walked out of the store, Jake Peterson appeared and pushed him down. Vin was immediately out of the wagon helping Nathan sit up.
"You okay Nate?"
"Yeah. Stupid fool just pushed me." Nathan stood up and found himself grabbed in a headlock.
"Peterson. Let him go and I won't have to kill ya."
"Big talk half breed. You can't hurt me. Not while I have your brother."
Ezra decided to join Vin to help Nathan. He had his derringer in his sleeve if it was needed. His mother had given it to him at his father's funeral. Told him that he was a man now and that he should learn to protect himself. However, Chris didn't agree. He had caught him practicing and the gun was taken away and locked up. Chris claimed he was too young at twelve to use a gun. That derringer was still locked up in Chris's desk. Ezra's mother had given him another on her last visit, for his birthday. Chris didn't know about this one yet and Ezra was fairly certain he could talk himself out of any trouble he found himself in with Chris, if he did find out.
"Makes you wonder what kind of man has so many sons. If it ain't bad enough he mated with a darky, he even mixed with injuns. Such a waste. What's wrong with yer Pa? He don't like white woman?"
Vin had had enough. While Jake was distracted, Vin lunged at him. Nathan was forgotten as Vin swung at Jake. He was so enraged, that he never heard Buck and Chris tell him to stop. He came back to his senses when he was pulled off Jake by Chris, who shook him to get his attention.
"I said Stop it!" Chris yelled.
Vin looked at Chris and then down at Jake who was holding a cloth to his bloody nose. Then he looked into the angry face of Chris Larabee.
"Aw hell." Vin hung his head.
"That all you have to say? How many times do I have to tell you to control your temper?"
"Obviously not enough." Ezra said under his breath.
Chris turned him head toward Ezra and glared. "And you." Chris took Vin by the arm and walked the two steps to Ezra. He put his free hand out, palm up. "Give me that peashooter." Ezra sighed and handed Chris the derringer. "We will discuss this at home." Chris put the derringer in his pocket and said, "I want everyone, except Buck in the wagon. I want you all to sit there quietly and wait until Buck is finished in the store."
Buck spoke. "What about you pard?"
"Vin and I are going to have a little talk in the jail. We'll be back in a few minutes and you all better be sitting right where you are when I get back. Is that understood?"
"Yes sir." Was heard from three frightened boys.
"Good." Chris stalked off dragging Vin with him.
When they saw them enter the jailhouse, Buck whistled. "That boy sure does know how to push Chris over the edge."
"What Chris gonna do Buck?"
"JD my boy. All I can say is you better leave a space for Vin to stand and hold onto a seat. He's not gonna want to sit." Buck walked into the store to finish getting the supplies.
Chris entered the jailhouse and smiled at John Franklin. John saw him dragging Vin and knew what was wanted.
"I'll give you two some privacy."
"Thanks John. We'll only be a minute."
After the sheriff left, Chris released Vin's arm. "Would you like to explain to me why I came down the street and found you beating Jake Peterson to a pulp?" Vin didn't answer right away. "What did he say this time? He insult you being part Indian? Or was it something else?" Chris was still angry. He had been trying to teach Vin how to control his temper and to stay out of unnecessary fights. "Well, I'm waiting."
"He had Nate."
"Okay so you were defending Nate. Why go completely nuts and beat him like you did?"
"He's talking trash about Pa and my mama and Nate's ma."
"He insulted Pa and your mothers? Correct?" Chris said more calmly.
"Vin. Those aren't good enough reasons to do what you did. You used your Indian training against a defenseless boy."
"He weren't that defenseless after school and I didn't fight him then."
"He was bothering you at school too?"
"Yeah. Ez and Nate helped keep me from beatin' him then."
"Vin you need to learn to control that hot head of yours. If you don't you're gonna end up in trouble with the law in the future." Chris stood and began to pace. "Vin I would hate to have you get in trouble later because I wasn't able to help curb that temper." Chris returned to stand in front of Vin. "Do you understand me?"
"Yeah." Vin wiped at a stray tear and sniffed. "You gonna spank me?"
"Yes, Vin I am. I told you what to expect if you kept getting into fights."
"I'm sorry though. Please." Vin was softly crying now as he pleaded with Chris.
Chris was tempted to give into his sad little brother, but he also knew that it was going to take something drastic to get Vin to think before he reacted. "I'm sorry too Vin, but I promised." Chris took Vin by the arm and led him to a chair. Chris sat down and drew Vin across his knees. Chris brought his hand down firmly on Vin's backside five times. He stood Vin up and hugged him close. "I love you Vin and I just want you to learn some self control. I want you to remember this spanking the next time you consider fighting. Okay?"
Vin nodded his head against Chris' shoulder. Chris heard him whisper, "I'm sorry." Chris rubbed his back until the sobs quieted.
"I know. And I forgive you." Chris looked at Vin and took a clean hanky and wiped away the tears. "Let's go make sure those brother's of yours are still with us."
"They's not gonna leave that wagon with you as mad as you was." Vin smiled.
"Don't reckon they would at that. Let's go and have supper."
Chris took Vin's hand and they both walked back to the wagon.
Josiah rode into the yard slowly. He was tired and dirty from pulling stubborn cattle out of mud holes. He slowly dismounted and arched his back to get out the kinks. He was about to take care of his horse when he heard the wagon approached. His smile brightened when he saw the rest of his family. Buck was driving with Chris next to him. Josiah noticed how Vin was standing, not sitting, while the rest of the boys were sitting in the back. Wonder what kind of trouble there was today. Vin was the first to jump from the wagon even before it was completely stopped. He ran to Josiah, who swept him up and spun him around before he rested him back onto his feet. Vin started to tell him about his day when Chris stopped him.
"Young man. You shouldn't jump from the wagon when it's still moving. You could have been hurt."
Vin hung his head. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to tell Josiah about school and stuff."
Chris sighed. "I know. Just be careful, please."
"Vin go get washed up for supper and you best hope Miss Nettie doesn't see you before hand, or your bound to add a few more swats to your backside."
"Okay." Vin ran ahead of Buck and JD, who were putting away the supplies.
Josiah looked at Chris. "Long day?"
"Josiah. I would rather spend my day doing what you were doing, then corralling those kids."
"Ha. I've spent all day dragging dumb cattle out of mud. I'm as tired as I am dirty."
"I hope not too tired because I need you to have a little talk with Ezra." Chris handed the derringer to Josiah.
"This isn't the gun you locked up I hope." Chris could see the storm clouds forming.
"I don't know Josiah. Either way, I told him he was too young to carry a gun and he just ignores me. I'm at the end of my rope with him. He does nothing but sass me and argue with everything I say. I know he obeys you. I'm handing him to you and don't be soft on him. He thinks he rules this roost because you let him get away with too much. Even before Pa died, you always let him talk his way out of trouble, even with Pa."
"It's hard Chris."
"I know Josiah. It's much easier to give in then to correct any of them." They both watched JD run around Buck and Ezra as they unloaded the wagon. "I spanked Vin today. I almost caved when he pleaded with me and started to cry. It nearly broke my heart, but it would hurt me more if his temper got him into trouble later in life."
Chris nodded. "Another fight."
"Okay. I'll deal with Ezra."
"Thanks Josiah." Chris started toward the door, and then turned back to him. "By the way. There's a new Judge in the area. Blackwell retired. He's coming by for lunch tomorrow. If you have any work to do, see if you can get the hands to do it for you. I really need you here after lunch while JD takes his nap."
"That boy won't take a nap on a Saturday."
"Well he is tomorrow. The judge may want to talk about Pa and JD is still having a hard time understanding about death and why his Pa isn't coming back."
"Understood. I'll be here."
"Thanks Josiah. Let's get washed up before Nettie has our heads.
"I'll be right behind you after I take care of my horse."
"Send Ezra to his room. I'll be along to have that talk."
"Will do Josiah."