Author's notes: September 2003 (The Teddy Bear Challenge)This is a short story set in modern times in the Skinwalker AU, the boys are on vacation leaving Buck to handle a grieving father.
The tall, slender built and imposing man lay crumbled filled with grief. His son was dead and he was still alive. There’s an old adage that a father shouldn’t out live his children. Seeing the man who, with a simple look could scare any sane man, and who now sits alone with an open whiskey bottle to keep him company, you’d agree. A man shouldn’t have to bury his child.
Chris Larabee sat on the cold floor of his kitchen. Another year with out his son, another year unable to celebrate his sons birthday, another year of wishing he could hold his son.
The man who still wore black, lay slump on the floor, suddenly looking at his open bottle, he examined the contents of the now empty whiskey bottle.
“Shit,” with glazed eyes he looked around his kitchen, trying to remember where another bottle might be.
Chris tried to get up, but was unable too, feeling the affects of the alcohol; he smiled to himself, and then laughed. He tried again and just as he thought he’d make it this time, there was a sharp knock at his door, which startled him and he falls back on his ass. He growled in frustration, now I’ll have to start all over. He thinks to himself.
“Go away,” he tried to shout but, the words came out more of a whisper then a shout, as another successive pounding on his front door is heard.
Chris merely laughed not caring about the knocking, but only in the thing that would continue to numb his emotions.
His third try was successful as he leant against his kitchen sink. He steadied himself as he swayed from side to side, and then when firmly balanced; Chris pushed himself away from the sink and moved forward to the table clasping onto a chair.
Chris must be sobering up, his head hurt like hell and his stomach seemed to be leaping outward like in that movie, ‘Alien.’
“Yuk, that was gross,” he commented out loud.
Chris moved over to the cabinet and started searching for more whiskey.
He started looking under the sink.
Chris placed his hand over his temple, rubbing, as the pounding seemed to intensify.
‘Where?’ He wondered. He looked over at the door leading to the garage. ‘Sure,’ he smiled ‘that’s probably were it’s at.’ The thought went through his mind. So he moved, although, very slowly, to the door. Opening it he went inside.
Now begins the task of searching the contents of all the old storage boxes. ‘But, hell I need that drink now.’
* * * * * * *
Outside, Buck pounded at the door with no luck. His old friend would choose this day to not come in. Then again he knew why.
It was Adam’s birthday, another day of, “if only” with no real answers, or explanations.
Buck placed his forehead against the door, “Chris,” he yelled. “Come on pard open the dam door.” But there was no answer. He started looking around the windows trying to see in.
This would have to happen now; Buck thought, to himself.
Vin and Ezra were skiing in Utah, while Nathan and Josiah had headed off to a reservation in New Mexico, where a well-known medicine man among many tribes was going to give a lecture. And that just left JD who at the last minute decided to go rock climbing with Casey.
Buck sighed, it was getting late, he knew Chris was in there, maybe he’d sleep it off and sober up tomorrow. At least Buck hoped so. He went back to his Chevy pick-up and drove off.
* * * * * * *
Chris was busy searching boxes; sure he’d find another bottle of whiskey somewhere, and he didn’t hear Buck leave, not that it would matter. He wasn’t about to let anyone stop him.
He opened up another box rummaging through what appeared to be small items, when he then removed a cloth and underneath was a small teddy bear. A chestnut-gold bear, with a rainbow colored bowtie. It almost looked new. Adam had only begun to take the stuffed toy with him when he’d turn five. But the toy had been with him since the day he was born.
The small bear was a gift from his Uncle Buck.
He’d stormed into the hospital looking for him. With the largest grin he could muster. He was sure a sight.
A tall, handsome young man, who held a chestnut-gold colored teddy bear in one hand had the ladies turning heads, whether it was the man or bear that kept the ladies attention, Chris wasn’t sure. To Chris all that mattered was Buck was here.
Chris and his wife Sarah had gone through the whole Lamaze training preparing for their first child.
Now he paced outside the hospital room, instead of inside, only moments ago everything was going okay, then complication in sued.
The baby had turned and the doctor wasn’t able to turn him back because the cord was wrap around the infants neck, the doctor started shouting orders as an emergency c-section was now necessary.
“What’s up pard?” Did she have the baby?” Buck asked.
Chris looked over at his smiling friend; the happiness suddenly disappeared. Chris could see the worry in his friends face as it was reflected in his own.
“Is she all right?” Buck now asked.
“Don’t know, doctor said to wait out here.” Chris replied.
They both waited in silence. Nearly a half hour later the doctor came out.
“Chris,” the doctor calls.
The tall young blond man slowly got up from his chair. Worry on his face.
The Doctor smiled, “Congratulations, you have a boy.”
Chris smiled back, one of those goofy smiles only a new father seems to get. Chris took the doctor's hand shaking it fiercely as he asked, “can I see her?”
“Not just yet, we had to do the caesarean and she’ll be taken to a room in a short while. But your son has been taken to the nursery you can see him there. The nurse will let you sit with him for a few minutes so that your bonding can start.”
“Is he okay, too?”
“He’s just find, wanted to come into this world backwards, it happens. But both are doing find.” The doctor reassured.
With relief, Chris thanked the doctor and both men head for the second floor.
Chris smiled looking proudly at his newborn son, never before had he felt so humbled by the miracle of new life; it was awe-inspiring.
Buck placed his hands on his friend’s shoulders, tears running down his cheeks. It was an incredible feeling seeing a new life. Then it dawn on the gregarious man, “I’m an uncle,” he said, looking at his friend in wonder, grinning from ear to ear, the teddy bear still held in his hand.
“Yeah, you are.” Chris smiled back.
Those memories still hurt.
Why couldn’t he just let go?
Because a man shouldn’t out live his children.
He sat there staring at the chestnut-gold bear, with the funny looking bow tie. ‘Henry,' was the name of the bear, Chris couldn’t remember why Adam named him that. Something about, ‘he looks like a Henry,’ his son announced, when the boy named the stuff toy.
He laughed at the memory, and then holding the bear tightly to his chest, as he started to weep for his lost son.
“Oh, Adam, I’m sorry I failed you, I’m sorry,” he cried out, holding the bear tighter.
Suddenly a hand rests on his shoulder, looking up through tear filled eyes, there was only one man that had witness the best and worst of his life. His closest friend, “Buck, why?”
Buck sat down next to his friend, his brother. Buck had gotten into his Chevy and was driving away, when he felt something telling him not to leave yet. Following his instincts, which had saved him on more than one occasion. He drove back, this time remembering that there was a loose window in the garage. He opened it and slipping in, heard his friend’s cries.
“I don’t know pard, wish I did. But you can’t keep doing this. You got to let go.”
“No, I can’t,” Chris answers, words almost choking in his throat.
They both sat in silence, looking at the small bear. Chris still had a lot of Adam and Sarah’s things. Not being able to give away any of it.
“Come on pard, let’s get you up, and into bed.” Buck helps the grieving man into his home. Chris still held the small bear firmly in his hands, as Buck lay him down amd tucked them both under blankets.
He whispered to his now sleeping friend. “Maybe now you can start letting go, pard.” Hoping that one day his old time friend would be able to let the past go and live again. Maybe with the help of their five friends, that will happen.