*wipes brow* I've never written a fic this long before.... that didn't have a Mary Sue in it..... *shudders at that fic* hope you all enjoy!
As Xander sat in Ezra’s Jag, he wanted to scream in frustration at the coddling he was getting. Now that Team 3 had been dealt with, Xander was able to finish his work, and help other lab techs with their cases. Seeing Ezra coming down into the lab area made Xander curious. Being told that it was quitting time, Xander was startled and quickly shut down his station before waving good bye to the other members of the lab for his weekend off. As they were leaving, Ezra mentioned that they were heading to the ranch, and that Chris wanted to ask him something. That was when the sense of foreboding came forward, and Xander quietly asked if this was about Team 3. The tense nod, made him sigh, and lean against the window in silence.
The rest of the ride was done in silence, and Xander never noticed Ezra looking over at him in concern. The worry in the green eyes grew as they got closer to the ranch and he silently cursed Chris Larabee and his demanding ways. Xander didn’t need this, and he hoped that Chris didn’t rip into his lover, or Ezra would bitch back.
The Jag stopped in its regular spot at Chris’ ranch and before Xander could leave the car, Ezra stopped him with his hand on his arm.
“Xander, just remember that Vin and I love you, no matter what, and if Chris get’s too bitchy, you’ll still have us in your corner.”
“Thanks Ez, I appreciate that.” With a small smile, Xander slid of the car, and both made their way into the lion’s den.
Chris had been pacing the entire time he had gotten into his home. Ezra would be there soon enough, and he simply wanted to ask Xander why he didn’t come to them. Maybe it was the obvious answer of not wanting to impose, or that it was too serious to simply move and talk to Chris. But, damn-it, he needed to know why.
Ezra and Xander entered the Ranch, and curled up to Vin upon entering. The blue eyed sharpshooter saw that the pair of them needed to be close, so he didn’t fidget at the lack of quick exits. Silence filled the room, as Chris seemed to wait for Xander to speak. Seeing that their ballistics tech was remaining quiet, Chris was the first to speak.
“Why didn’t you come to us when you saw that there was a problem?” Ezra hid a flinch at how accurate Xander was about why he had been brought here, and curled up closer to his lovers.
“I told my supervisor, who is the head of the whole lab for the ATF. He had been looking into it, but when his findings were swiped with the last transgression to me, I went to AD Travis. I knew he would let you look into it, and that was why I did it the way I did. That way you had the ATF on your side, and you didn’t have to prove why you did it afterwards.” Xander spoke calmly, and both Vin and Ezra were trying to keep the young man calm.
“How long had it been going on?”
“A month after I started.”
“Jesus, Xan…” Buck whispered and Xander’s patience snapped.
“I can handle my issues just fine. I don’t need any hand holding or any pampering. I’ve fought and won, so dealing with a few upstarts isn’t going to hurt me, nor is it going to impinge my honour.”
“Dammit Xander, we care! That’s why we’re so worried!” Chris growled at the defiant glare in the young man’s eyes.
“I’m no child that needs protecting Chris.” Brown eyes flashed to green for a moment and Buck’s eyes widened in understanding.
“We know that you can handle yourself Xander, we just want you to have the best back up possible for these situations.” Buck smacked Chris before he could talk and Buck walked over and squatted in front of the vibrating young man.
“Then--” Xander started to talk but was cut off when Buck began to speak once more.
“Your girls’ weren’t very supportive of you and what you could do, were they?” Brown eyes looked anywhere but at Buck, and Chris had to clench his fists to stop himself from doing any damage to the house.
“It wasn’t just the girls.” The quiet voice was almost missed in the oppressive silence, and Xander was pulled into a supportive embrace from both sides.
Buck cursed under his breath and patted Xander on his knee, and waited until the young man looked at him. He knew that he would have to remind Xander that they would be there for him, and that asking for help wouldn’t be considered whining or being a baby.
“Kiddo, we’re a family. Families, most of the time, stick together when things get tough. If you had come to us with this, then we could have helped you out faster, and gotten it stopped just as well. You can ask for help. It’s not a weakness or a burden to us if you need help. Yes, we might bitch and moan in jest about missing out on something else, but we will do everything we can to help you. Now, I know that Chris can be a bit grumpy, but he hates it when his family is attacked, and he would have backed you in a heartbeat if you had come to us instead of waiting it out like you did.”
Xander looked at the nodding faces and let a small, shy smile come forth. He knew, in his mind, that Buck was telling the truth from the start, but old insecurities bubbled to the surface, and he held back. He also had a feeling that Team 7 would be down in the labs more often than not from now on because of this.
“Thanks,” And that said it all.