Gun Safety

A/N- Takes place after episode 2x3.

"The first thing you need to remember is a gun is a weapon. It's dangerous," Stephen said.

"Dangerous, right," Connor answered.

"So rule one: Don't point it at anything you don't want to shoot. For instance, friends and allies." Stephen handed Connor the gun. The boy took it, but didn't lower his arm, so the gun was still pointed at Stephen. He rolled his eyes and pushed the gun down so it was now aimed at the floor. "Connor, I would really like to get through this without being shot."

"Sorry, really sorry," Connor said.

"Like you shot the costumed guy in the adventure park."

"That was an easy mistake to make! I thought he was a dinosaur."

"And you shot Abby," Stephen continued.

"That was an accident! Also, it was a tranquilizer gun," Connor insisted.

"This isn't a tranq. It's a real gun and I don't want to make a stop by the hospital on the way home," Stephen said. "Aim at what you want to shoot at."

Connor thought about that. "The target?" he asked hesitantly.

"The target would be good."

Connor turned toward the paper target. Stephen stepped behind him and turned the younger man's shoulders so they were square with the target. "Move your feet," he told Connor. It took some shuffling, but Connor got it the correct stance. "Are you forgetting something?" he prompted.

Connor glanced down at the narrow table in front of him. "Oh, right." He set the gun down and put on the earmuffs designed to protect his hearing. Then he picked the gun up again.

Stephen put on his ear protection as well. "Remember to breathe," he told the young man.

"What?" Connor asked, turning to face Stephen with the gun still stretched in front of him.

Stephen swore under his breath and pushed the gun downwards again. "Connor!" The older man thought about how he had jokingly considered wearing Kevlar this morning. Now he wished he hadn't rejected the idea. Connor pulled the earmuffs down around his neck one handed. Stephen took a deep breath and said calmly, "Lower your weapon when you are facing something or someone you do not want to shoot. That would be me."

"Sorry, sorry," Connor apologized again. "What were you saying?"

"Breathe. Aim at your target, breathe, shoot. Repeat."

Connor got back into position and concentrated on the paper target. Stephen rolled his eyes again and moved the earmuffs back over the younger man's ears. "Your ears will thank me later," he said.

Connor waited a few seconds, then asked, "Now?"

"Go for it," Stephen answered loudly so Connor wouldn't remove the ear protection again. Connor pulled the trigger. Both men looked expectantly at the paper, but there was no hole. "Try again."

Connor shot again, this time getting the top of the paper.

"Better," Stephen shouted encouragingly. "Again."

With the next ten rounds, Connor hit the paper 5 times, missed four, and got the edge of the target once.

When Connor looked over at Stephen, the older man just made a "keep going" gesture. Stephen looked around the empty firing range. He had purposely brought Connor here at a slow time of day so Stephen didn't have to worry about lawsuits from innocent bystanders who got hit with friendly fire. Stephen had also slipped a twenty to the guy at the front desk and told him that it was Connor's birthday. The man was happy to turn the sign to 'Closed' for twenty minutes.

When their time was up, Stephen watched as Connor put the supplies away. Connor held on to the papers proudly as they left the building. "I did pretty good on this one," Connor said, holding one paper aloft that the entire clip had marked the paper. Six of them were inside the outer circle.

"Not bad," Stephen admitted.

"I think I've improved a lot. I feel ready to carry a gun on missions," Connor said, looking to see if Stephen agreed. The other man just grunted.

"So when do you think I'll be ready to have a gun in the field?" Connor asked hopefully.

"I'll recommend that you're field ready on the day I don't cringe when I see you with a gun in your hand," Stephen answered with a grin. Connor looked disappointed. "Keep practicing, and it will be sooner than you think," Stephen relented.

Just not that much sooner, he added mentally.

The End