Summary: Missing Scene for "I Love You, Molly McGraw". While the family takes turns keeping watch over Evan's injured horse, Diablo, a lovelorn Crane loses it on Daniel. An apology is in order and Crane knows it.
Rating: PG13, T (language)
Wordcount: Approx. 1,400 total
Warnings: A few curse words not heard on network television, even today.
Disclaimers: See my profile page.
Notes: Thanks to Just A Reviewer for sending your kind feedback for "Intuition". Since I couldn't thank-you directly, I wanted to thank-you here.
A response to a TV McFaddens Yahoo Group FanFic Challenge, this snippet is a missing scene for the "I Love You, Molly McGraw" episode wherein Crane falls head-over-heels for the equine vet looking after Evan's injured horse, only to have his heart broken when she announces she's accepting an internship back east.
Thanks to Katt, for the quick beta and terrific suggestions (though all mistakes are mine) and to Michelle for providing the following Challenge prompt:

There is the scene in the episode "I Love You, Molly McGraw" where Crane is in a mood and Daniel is trying to excitedly show him something on the guitar. Crane gets mad at him. After Adam talks with Crane, Crane says he's going to apologize to Daniel, that "He's my brother. He has to listen to me."

From the first time I saw that episode and every time I watch it I am disappointed that they did not include a scene where you see Crane apologize. So my challenge...write me a scene. And keep in mind these guys were never afraid to show affection.


Atonement (an "I Love You, Molly McGraw" Missing Scene)
by May Robinson

Crane entered the barn, letting his eyes adjust to the dim light before slowly making his way toward the two-tiered door to Diablo's stall. He could tell himself that he was just being careful, making sure his arrival didn't startle Diablo. Along with Molly's two bare hands and their prayers, Evan's beloved horse needed the quiet and rest and a whole lotta good luck, if he was going to survive this infection. In truth though, Crane knew he was using the extra time to figure out exactly what to say to Daniel. How he was going to apologize for tearing his little brother's head off.

"Get out of here," he'd shouted. At least twice, Crane was pretty sure. Add to that a couple of "leave me alone's" for good measure and big brother was feeling pretty much like an ass. No wonder the girl of his dreams was pissed at him. Hell, he'd been feeling so sorry for himself, Crane couldn't even treat the kid brother who'd stayed up half the night helping him write a song for her with any shred of decency.

Though the lyrics were from Crane's heart, the melody came from Daniel, and Crane marveled not for the first time at how easily their words and music fit together. That really shouldn't have been a surprise. After all, it was Crane who'd first and best translated baby Daniel's earliest attempts at speech when the little guy was still in diapers.

Crane smiled at that thought. Guess he'd been matching words with Daniel's sounds pretty much since the kid was born.

Of course to do that, Crane had to remember to listen.

And if Crane hadn't been so wrapped up in his own misery over Molly leaving and had bothered to actually listen to Daniel when he'd come barrelling down those stairs with a new guitar lick, he might've realized sooner that Daniel had just been trying to do what he always did whenever one of the McFadden's was feeling sick or low. Trying to cheer up Crane with his music.

And if Crane had put any effort into listening at all, he'd have realized that Daniel working on music while the rest of the family were spelling each other in the barn, and Crane was brooding over Molly, had spoken volumes. Like all of them, Daniel was scared that they'd lose Diablo. Of course he'd turn to music to deal with his troubles. Especially when his big brother and roommate – his closest confidante – was caught up in a different drama entirely. Daniel had needed Crane to hear that. And instead Crane had told him to go away.

Shit.

Approaching the door, Crane heard Daniel before he saw him, hidden from view as he was behind the lower, closed portion of the stall's Dutch door. The kid was humming something soft and sweet and when Crane looked through the open upper half, he wasn't at all surprised to see Daniel sitting there cross-legged in the straw, right next to Diablo's head.

He was a little surprised to see Daniel alone, gladdened and relieved that someone, probably Daniel himself, had convinced Evan to take a break from his vigil. Watching the heartwarming scene playing out before him, Crane hoped Evan would take advantage of the respite. Hoped that Evan knew Diablo was in the best of care.

With one hand steadily resting on the gelding's neck, Daniel was rhythmically stroking the long muzzle with his other, in time with the melody coming from his lips. If not for the dire circumstances, that Diablo's life was hanging in the balance, Crane would've smiled.

It was heartbreaking watching such a beautiful and vibrant animal lying so still on the barn floor. Diablo seemed calm though, not distressed, and Crane felt pride swell up in his chest knowing that Daniel's gentle presence, and his soothing tones, were comforting the big animal.

"Mind if I join you?" Crane asked softly, deciding his little brother shouldn't have to wait a moment longer for the apology he was due.

"Sure," Daniel answered, with a noncommittal shrug. He'd glanced at Crane in that moment and, though Crane didn't blame the kid, he couldn't help but feel a bit gut-punched. Knowing without question that the wariness in his brother's expression was thanks to him.

Mindful of disturbing Diablo, Crane cautiously looped his way around in front of the horse, ultimately deciding to pass behind Daniel and settle to his left. Daniel's strokes never ceased their tempo, though he did shift from humming a melody to murmuring soothing words when Crane moved in closer to sit down.

When Crane folded his long legs beneath him, Diablo lifted his head slightly. Crane was poised ready to step in and help if the animal tried to get up but, with another "Easy, boy. Easy," from Daniel, Diablo settled his head back into the straw with a long, resigned snort.

"Good, boy," Daniel breathed, his rhythm breaking only briefly to allow for a few firm, affectionate pats to Diablo's neck. This time Crane didn't hold back his smile.

They sat quietly like that for a while, shoulders, elbows and knees nearly touching and Crane wanted to kick himself for not spitting out his apology already. He wasn't Brian after all, who typically choked on "I'm sorry" like Ford on whiskey. Or Adam, for whom "I love you" came so much easier to him than any form of apology. Though Hannah was definitely breaking him in to the latter. Their eldest was getting lots of practice in that department.

But Crane? Hell, he was neither too proud nor too stubborn to say the words. It was just such foreign territory having to say them to Daniel. They didn't have the tension between them that proximity in age gave Adam and Brian or Evan and Daniel for that matter. They weren't rivals, they were a team. Song-writing partners, roommates, and best friends. And, in Crane's case, a big brother who'd promised himself and his mother, with all the solemnity a toddler could muster, that he would always watch out for his very first little brother and never ever hurt him.

Get out of here; just leave me alone, alright!

His mother would be so proud.

Feeling the weight of his failure, Crane finally turned to Daniel. Whose dark blue eyes met his gaze intently.

"Hey, man, I'm sorry."

Crane couldn't help but sputter a quiet laugh in response. Concern for distressing Diablo stifled it though, before he offered up a slightly incredulous, "Isn't that supposed to be my line?"

"Well, you are the lyricist in this partnership, aren't you?" Daniel said it straight-faced but the affection shining in his eyes rapidly spread to quirk his lips into a grin that Crane was forever doomed to mirror.

"You do just fine, kiddo," Crane replied, slipping his arm behind Daniel's back and drawing him into his side. Daniel laid his head on Crane's shoulder, and though Crane supposed that had to do with the kid wanting to maintain contact with Diablo and still return his affection, Crane found himself relishing in the kind of hug they hadn't shared in years. Not since Crane had gone off to Davis anyway. Resting his head against Daniel's, he hugged him tighter, once again whispering, "You do just fine," this time into his kid brother's soft hair.

He could only hope Molly would be nearly as forgiving.

- Fin -