TITLE: I will carry you.
CHALLENGE: June 2004
UNIVERSE: OW/AU, Traviner Variant
MAJOR CHARACTERS: Chris
ARCHIVE: Yes, Please
SPOILERS : Everything, Especially Obsession
NOTES: Occurs Mar 1883
Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven belongs to Mirisch Entertainment Inc., with all rights and privileges thereof. This work is a work of fanfiction, for the amusement of the author and fandom who have nothing else to do since they aren’t making any more episodes of the show. No money or other renumeration has exchanged hands, this is just for fun, guys!
The June Challenge 2004 (the Lost Child Challenge): offered by Q'Mar
A lost child brings up memories and emotions for several members of the Seven as they search for the little one, both as individuals and as a group. You are welcome to include any other Cannon characters that you wish, even encouraged to do so! A moderate or long story if you please. Try to include candy, a cape, too much sun, a bedtime story, sweet potatoes, and a fancy clock.
I will carry you
<Morning, Four Corners Township, November 1878>
Ezra Standish looked out of his open window at the dawn. He was usually able to avoid witnessing the spectacle of the sunrise up close and at firsthand. However, dark dreams had haunted every attempt to sleep. A stiff wind was blowing, kicking up the dust. The gambler leaned slightly out of the window and reached his hand out. For a single moment the wind felt like a toy for his command, but he could feel in this wind a rising dread. There was something wrong, something coming and it wasn’t what he’d been worried about.... The cycle wasn’t due to end yet. This was something else.
He cursed. No one was going to harm his ‘family’ not if he had power to prevent it! No matter what the personal cost.
Vin Tanner felt the wind as he stood on the porch of Four Corners’s little jail. He made a warding sign with his hand, just as his Indian parents had taught him to. This wind boded no good for the little town and the Seven men who protected it. The last time he’d felt anything this evil, a woman had come to Four Corners claiming to be in danger. It had nearly destroyed his family and had come close to ending his connection with his brother-of-soul.
Invoking the Powers for the protection of all he loved, the sharpshooter began to check his weapons.
Buck Wilmington turned over to look at the latest of his Lovelies, Miss Dora. Her bleached hair lay fanned across the pillow. He’d interrupted her while she was braiding it, and some how it never did get done. Oh well, he’d help her comb it out before he left for his morning duty at the jail. It had been an interesting night, but truthfully the big man felt ill at ease.
Frowning he heard the wind outside pick up and decided that it was going to be a hell of a day.
JD Dunne rubbed his Sheriff’s badge. Buck would probably tell him that he was being childish, but he hadn’t slept well. There was a niggling feeling on the back of his neck. Something was not right. He left his room in the boarding house, nodding absently to the manager as he passed.
Maybe if he found the others that feeling of ...something wrong would disappear.
Josiah Sanchez sipped at the coffee in his tin mug. It tasted foul. The biscuits that he had been warming on the stove tasted off as well. Stretching, he pulled one of his suspenders up to his shoulder. As he moved to lift the other the ‘Preacher’s’ attention was drawn by activity outside.
Standing outside his church was a she-wolf. He could tell from looking at it that the creature was rabid.
Josiah reached for his rifle without taking his attention from the window. The she-wolf was growling and hissing at a young pup. The color of their fur told him that the two animals were not related. The pup stared at him, pleading, with a pair of startlingly green eyes. As Josiah tried to figure out how to get out and put the she-wolf down without causing her to run off or to bite the pup.
Before he could move both animals faded out as if they had never been there and the wind kicked up, bitter and evil....
Nathan Jackson turned over again. Sleep just hadn’t come. He’d had a long night tending to ol’ Horace Greenstone’s sore leg. The man had been kicked by a mule, and in Nathan’s personal opinion, one he did not share with anyone, the man deserved it and more. Greenstone had been less than polite to the man who’d doctored him. But he’d paid in coin, something Nathan didn’t see a lot of, so he was prepared to take the bitter with the good. The damn fool was more of an Ass than his animal was.
He shifted again trying to find a comfortable spot on the bed. Nathan had dreamed all night of the years he’d been a slave. It had not been pleasant. Maybe he’d avoid Ezra today. There was bad blood between them that needed settling. Chris Larabee had been insistent on that and the Shootist was not a man to cross. To be truthful, and Nathan was if he didn’t have to admit it to anyone, the fault was on his side. Ezra Standish had been nothing but protective of him and his well-being since they returned from the Seminole village. But like the chief’s son, Jackson couldn’t let the past go.
He went to the window. There was a bad wind blowing in, like Aunt CC used to tell him. She’d raised him and his siblings after his poor mother had killed herself. CC was very gifted in seeing things. Most of the slaves had come to her for advice and she’d always been right. It was CC who told him when to run, and what to do once he had.
She’d been right, she always was. That there was a bad wind blowing in.
Chris Larabee lay on his bed willing himself not to toss or turn. He’d relocated out to his cabin to avoid the townsfolk, especially Mary Travis. He wouldn’t have blamed them if they’d forced him out in the wake of what happened with Ella Gaines, the crazed mad-woman who’d murdered his family, but to raise hell about this! It infuriated the temperamental gunslinger, not something to guarantee long or peaceful life, but he had never hit a woman before. He’d come close to killing Ella, but he’d never hit a woman. However, if they didn’t keep their tongues from clacking over the current situation, he was prepared to bust some sense into them.
You didn’t blame an innocent for the actions of a crazed woman and Ella Gaines was as crazy as they came.
Not only had Ella killed his beloved wife, Sarah, and their son, Adam, she’d been the cause of so many deaths that Judge Travis had forgone the usual committal to a mad-house. There were numerous wanted posters out all across the territory. The reward was high enough to draw stares, but even if some Bounty hunter brought her dead body in it would never make up for the lives she’d taken, innocent lives.
It had taken Buck more than a year to begin to date again. He’d fallen for Hilde, a young woman who got caught in the crossfire and died saving him. Wilmington’s amours had never been of great interest to Chris, but he’d kept track of them hoping against hope that his friend would find someone to help him grieve. Larabee had never allowed himself the luxury of grief when his family died.
Wearing perpetual mourning for them had won him a reputation as the ‘man in black.’ At the moment, Larabee was thinking of changing to a different color. He couldn’t afford the price of dancing with death. That was the new complication’s fault and Larabee wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about it.
Damn Ella. That woman truly had to be the Devil’s spawn. Nothing human could come up with the things that she did.
Giving sleep up as a lost cause, Larabee got up. He’d have to go into town soon, much to his disgust. He’d been avoiding it as long as the supplies held out, but the three months supply finally had. He had to go into town today. Travis didn’t like that he was spending so much time out at his cabin, but the old man understood how he felt.
Point of fact, the Judge probably understood how he felt better than he did himself.
Never in his wildest alcohol induced nightmares had he ever thought that he’d be in a situation like this.
And never would he have guessed that he’d be doing this against the wishes of some of his men, his family.
Vin accepted it, just like he accepted the seasons. The skinny Texan actually seemed happy about it. Giving his ‘soul brother’ all the support he could, Tanner made it possible for him to be out here instead of in town, wanting to permanently silence some of the clucking tongues and going out of his head.
He’d expected Ezra to mock him, but the southerner had been not only accepting, but warmly so. The roguish ‘gentleman adventurer’ had given him support and solutions when he was totally in over his head. It was due to Ezra that he had the things that he needed. All he had to do was to barely hint that he needed something and next thing he knew the gambler was on his porch delivering far more than he could have hoped for.
It had never occurred to him that he’d be thanking the Almighty for a flighty, flippant southern gambler.
Josiah had been neutral. In reality it was the reaction that Larabee had expected. The big Preacher had seen the best and worst in men. Why Chris had thought that he’d see that this was the only real solution. He couldn’t duck the responsibility, even if Ella’s twisted games had landed it in his lap. Larabee was not a man to dodge a responsibility once it was on his head.
JD had been neutral as well. That had surprised him some. He’d figured that the boy from New York would be in the best position to understand. Unfortunately, for JD he’d fallen off of his pedestal. Chris had never wanted hero-worship, never needed it, but right now he sure could have used the young man’s friendship. Vin thought that JD would come around, but Chris was pretty sure the young sheriff would cross the street to avoid him now.
Nathan had been surprisingly opposed. For someone who had suffered so much, the young healer didn’t always see the human part of the equation. It had bowled him over when Jackson had made his ‘suggestion’ and Chris had been hard pressed not to knock the man on his backside.
Buck had been the one he’d expected the most support from, but the ladies man had surprised him. Wilmington had not been able to handle it at all. He didn’t blame Chris, he just couldn’t understand or accept it.
As a fighting group the Seven were still fairly effective, but the closeness that had characterized their lives before Ella had gone, probably forever. Larabee knew that he couldn’t have chosen any other way, but he cursed Ella for taking a second family away from him. Even with a year’s passing away from the incident at the Gaines ranch, things would never be the same.
Larabee went and looked in the second room that he’d added onto his old cabin. There asleep curled up on his side and looking like a little angel was ‘Adam’ Larabee. He was surprised how much he cared for the boy.
Ella had found the child and in her madness decided that he was the ‘Real’ Adam. She’d found him as a baby and had raised him as if he was Chris’s child. The boy had been told all his young life that he was Adam Larabee, he knew no other life or identity.
No matter what that mad-woman, that fiend had done, the child was an innocent. Chris couldn’t turn his back on the little one. He just couldn’t.
Nathan had wanted the child sent to an orphan asylum.Josiah offered to find one and arrange transportation quickly. Chris had kept a sharp eye on the child, suddenly worried that his ‘boys’ would take care of the problem for him.
Vin and Ezra had been as protective of the boy as he was. It was a feeling that increased every day.
They’d been hunting Ella, chasing her out of the territory once the injuries that he’d received that day at her Ranch. They’d almost caught up with her at a fancy hacienda over the border in Mexico.
He’d turned the house inside out, terrorized the frightened Mexicans that worked there, and generally created havoc when he’d encountered the boy. The child had fearlessly thrown himself at Chris crying ‘Papa, Papa.’
Damn that woman.
Adam woke up and smiled at Chris. The boy was good natured and loving, a fact that many of the townsfolk in Four Corners ignored. Apparently the Bad Element was welcome, but Bad blood? Never!
Chris gently ruffled the boy’s hair garnering a wide smile in response.
He knew that Sarah would have loved the boy as well. It hurt to know that there was a child in his murdered child’s place, using his name and believing that that was his identity. But Chris knew that Sarah would never have turned her back on the boy and he couldn’t.
Getting the child up and dressed was only a slight effort. The boy had lived in the hell that was dealing with Ella Gaines. He was as ‘perfectly turned out’ as Ezra Standish. Obviously children had sense enough not to anger a two legged rattler. Though that was slightly unfair to Maude, but only slightly.
It had taken more than a month to convince the boy that he was living on the ‘Ranch’ now and didn’t have to dress so formally. Adam had nodded and obeyed Chris in everything the man said.
Chris had been cold at the beginning, but the child had simply loved him no matter what he’d done or hadn’t. He’d been very much ashamed of his behavior after a while. It had taken time, but in spite of the boy’s origin, Larabee had come to love him. A part of him had healed that he hadn’t really known existed.