Rating:  PG-13 Language

Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven is owned by Trilogy, Mirish and MGM. No money is being made. This fanfic is purely for entertainment purposes

AU: ATF - Thanks Mog! :)

Author's Notes:   A huge thank you to Mog for letting me play in her sandbox. I wrote this on Father's Day and forgot about it. I found it tonight and decided to do something with it. Robin, thanks for all the encouragement. Marla, thanks for the beta. It is a bit dark, just a warning.

Feedback is always greatly appreciated. Please let me know what you think. Thank you, Ruby :)

 

Adam's Touch  ATF/AU

By: Ruby

 

He was tired.

He'd been pushing himself too hard lately. He knew that.

All night stakeouts. Early morning meetings. The miserable days and sleepless nights that the beginning of summer usually brought.

It was finally Sunday and he just wanted to get home. Kick his shoes off. Fall into bed. Sleep for the rest of his life.

Why did it seem like this road was never ending tonight? Usually he didn't mind the winding two lane that took him from the highway to his ranch. But tonight the beauty of the lush, green trees that blanketed the land on either side of the road was hidden behind a thick coat of darkness. No stars. No moon. No light, except for his headlights and the reflection they made on the rain-slicked pavement. His wipers squeaked across the windshield and he turned them down a notch. It was raining just hard enough now to be a nuisance.

He was tired.

He pulled his right hand away from the steering wheel and blearily rubbed it against his eye. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes and quickly refocused on the road ahead.

The quiet was overwhelming. He stifled a yawn and rolled his shoulders. Glancing down at the clock on the dash, he noticed that it was just a little past two a.m. Two a.m. - Father's Day. He pursed his lips and sighed. 'Another Father's Day without Adam.'

He wanted to speed up, try to get home faster, but he didn't want to chance it on this road. Too many animals wandering around at night.

Just a little bit further to his warm bed and blessed sleep, he hoped. He felt closed in all of the sudden and he cracked the side window on the big truck to let some air in. He hadn't passed another vehicle since he'd left the highway and he was starting to feel like he was alone in the world.

The cool, moist air was soothing and the rhythmic thrumming of the wipers on the windshield relaxed his body and his eyes felt heavy. He blinked them open, but didn't notice as they fluttered closed once again.

The rough bouncing of the truck, lurching over a pothole, jerked him awake.

Jesus Christ! His heart was thumping in his chest. His hands were white knuckled on the steering wheel. Had he fallen asleep? Jesus Christ!! He shook himself and opened his eyes wide.

Noise. That's what he needed. Music. Talk. Something. Anything to keep him awake.

He took his eyes off the road for a second and leaned forward so he could push the volume up on the radio. He pushed the seek button and then glanced up at the road.

His heart stopped and suddenly instinct was taking over. He slammed his foot down on the brake. His forehead crashed into the steering wheel, then his whole body lurched back into the seat. He felt the sickening crunch as the large deer hit the front of his truck. Before he could do anything, the truck was out of control. Skidding, sliding on the wet pavement.

He watched helplessly, as the animal came up and over his hood. Its body flying right towards the cab.

He could see the wide, terrified eyes of the deer as it came crashing through the windshield, then everything went black.

*****

"dad?"

Chris's mind was swimming through blackness, trying to find some light. He'd heard something. That's what had woken him up.

"Daddy?"

He froze, his mouth half-open. His eyes flew open and he turned his head towards the sound.

Adam!

His son sat in the passenger seat, watching him. Concern filled his young visage.

"Daddy? You ok?"

"Adam?" Chris sobbed out.

A quick nod of the little head and Chris was straining against his seat belt, trying to move enough so that he could touch his son.

"Daddy be still. You're hurt." Adam glanced around, then back to him. "I don't have long. I just wanted to see you. Talk to you." The boy frowned. The corners of his little mouth turning down. His dark eyes were moist and filled with sadness.

Chris sat back in his seat, content to just be able to look at his son.

Adam looked up at him longingly. "We miss you. Mom and me."

Chris felt his heart constrict. He took a couple quick, painful breaths. "Adam, son," his voice broke, "I miss you guys too."

Adam leaned forward in his seat, his eyes pleading. "Can you come with me. Come live with us?"

Chris felt the tear run down his cheek. "Oh Adam, I want to. Lord knows I do. But I need to stay here now. I have another family to watch out for."

Adam looked away, shame and guilt covering his face. "Mommy said that too. She told me not to come. She said that you had to stay down here for a bit longer and that you would come live with us when it was time."

Chris smiled sadly. "She's right. She's exactly right. You know I want to be with you. Forever. But I need to be here for now. I need to take care of my team." 'Have to watch out for them, like I *didn't* watch out for you.' He almost said that last thought out loud.

Adam looked up at him sharply. "It wasn't your fault."

Adam must have heard what he was thinking. Chris's eyes filled suddenly and he had to bite his top lip to keep from crying out.

"Daddy, it wasn't your fault. You loved us. You protected us. You couldn't have been there every second."

The little boy looked at him. He looked so mature, so grown up at that moment.

"It didn't hurt, Daddy. It was quick."

Chris swallowed twice and let out a sharp groan.

"I didn't feel anything, didn't feel any pain. Mommy was there. And she didn't feel anything either, Daddy. Please don't think that we did. I wanted to at least make sure that you knew that."

Chris couldn't breathe past the lump in his throat. Tears spilled over his eyelashes, running down his cheeks.

"I know that you need to stay. I just had to try, though." Adam smiled and reached out his hand and gently touched Chris on the forehead. "Take care of your new family, Daddy. Then come and live with us. We'll be waiting for you. Always." He pulled his hand away.

Chris felt the warmth of his child's hand leave his forehead.

"I love you, Daddy."

"I love you too, Adam." Chris whispered before his eyes fluttered closed.

*****

Something wet, running down his face and dripping off his chin, woke him up. Chris slowly opened his eyes and glanced over at the passenger seat.

He winced and squeezed his eyes shut.

He let out a sob - for his wife - for his son - for the twisted, bloody deer carcass that was wedged between the seat and the floor on the passenger side of the truck, its large, lifeless, black eyes staring at him.

Adam had been there. He was sure of it. His son had been there, talking to him.

He slowly opened his eyes and looked back over at the passenger seat. It was a deer. Not Adam.

He sobbed again. He'd hit his head. He must have dreamed the conversation. It wasn't real. Adam hadn't been there.

Pain crashed into him and he moaned. He hurt - everywhere.

He looked down at the clock. Three-thirty. He looked out the window-less windshield. It had finally stopped raining. The clouds had parted and he could see the stars. A huge, pale full moon shed light on his surroundings and he noticed that he wasn't too far from his home. He slowly opened the door and gently eased his sore body out of the truck.

He stood, swaying, beside the Ram. He glanced over the damage, which wasn't too bad. The front was bashed in and the windshield was ripped out.

Finally he glanced down at himself, assessing his own damage. He wiped his hand across his forehead and brought it away, slick with blood. He hurt, but he looked like he would probably live. A few years ago that would have disappointed him. But finally this year, he felt an overwhelming need to live. The conversation with his son washed over him again and he was filled with a warmth and calmness he hadn't felt in years. Content? Was that the word?

It felt like a weight had been lifted from his chest.

Had he really had that conversation? Had Adam really been there?

Suddenly he felt searing warmth on his forehead and the moon seemed to shine even brighter.

Chris smiled. Yeah. Yeah, looks like Adam had really been there.

He glanced at his truck, then at the road that led to his ranch. Leaving his truck in the ditch, he took off walking.

He took one more long look up at the full moon that was guiding his way, then back down at the gravel road.

He smiled sadly, and spoke softly to himself. "Miss you too, son."

 
the end (July 2000)

 

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