DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Grateful for the chance to work with them. Grateful to the ladies that created the Little Britches AU.

NOTES: I normally don't write in the Little Britches AU but I saw something that really inspired me to write this. Hopefully this won't come off too badly as I've never written LB before. Thanks to Cin and Brate for giving me positive feedback, and especially Cin for pushing me to post this.

Little Hearts, Big Truths
by Heidi

Chris and Buck led their charges out of the store, passing the candy machines without stopping or allowing smaller feet to stop and stare at them. Once they reached the outdoors, both men drew in large lungfuls of air, happy to be free of the shopping mayhem.

"Mr. Chris," said Vin, tugging on his leg. "Can we have some change?"

"Please, Mr. Buck? A little change?" JD didn't know why he asked for change, but he remembered those sourballs that looked so good.

The two hardened, trained ATF agents, men used to staring at people trying to kill them, looked down in those little faces. They caved. Both pulled out around a dollar, Chris giving his to Vin and Buck's going to JD.

The two boys walked back to the entrance of the big store, all under the watchful gaze of the two men. JD skipped in the direction of the candy machines, thinking about all the sourballs he could eat, when he felt his cousin's hand on his sleeve.

"No, JD. We have to give it to this man." In front of the store, the volunteer stood by the familiar red metal basket, wearing a holiday hat and ringing a bell. The outside of the basket said 'Salvation Army'.

"But, why?"

"Remember all those people we met that didn't have any money for Christmas? And all those kids? This is for them, so they can enjoy the holidays."

"Oh." JD dropped his change into the basket.

"Thank you," the volunteer said. "That's very generous of you."

Vin placed his in the basket and smiled at the man. "Least we can do. We've got us family and we'll have a good holiday. I 'member those folks you help, they don't have much. This doesn't hurt us and helps them."

Chris and Buck, having heard Vin's words, reached into their wallets and placed a few bills inside the basket.

All around Vin and JD, those who listened to the impassioned speech, dug into their own wallets and made their own contributions.

"Out of the mouths of babes," said Buck, picking up JD and carrying him on his shoulders back to the car. "Come on, little britches, you did a good thing. We'll stop for some ice cream. Right, Chris?"

Chris, having tossed Vin over his shoulder, replied, "Right." A little softer he said, "Thanks, Vin, for reminding me how good we have it. I think we all need that every once in a while."


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