When it Rains it Pours
Yawning, Buck took in the scene in front of him. One outlaw lay stretched out on the ground dead, his friend screaming obscenities at Chris. Shaking his head, Wilmington moved closer to the dead body. Flipping the man over, Buck noticed the bullet wound in the chest and called out to Chris, "He's dead. Looks like you got him."
Chris nodded, gazing at the five dead bodies before heading toward the one live one. Grabbing the man by the arm, he lifted him up. "You're under arrest," he informed.
The outlaw, who was just shorter than Larabee and had brown eyes and reddish hair, growled at the, "You killed him."
Shrugging, Chris marched the other man towards the jail.
"You killed my best friend! I'll teach you. You'll regret what you did," he spat.
"Look, I may have shot him," Chris informed, "but you are the one that brought him to rob a bank."
The prisoner, quieted but continued to glare at Chris. Buck, who had watched the prisoner curse, shook his head. Following Chris into the jail, he interrupted the conversation. "We took the others to the undertaker. What are were going to do about this one?"
Before Chris could answer, JD looked up from the desk. "He's wanted."
Raising an eyebrow, Chris waited for more.
"His name is BG Smith," JD explained. "He robbed and killed a bank teller in Spoon Hill."
"Well, then he can be their problem," Larabee declared. Grabbing the wanted poster, Chris grinned at the robber. He looked over at Buck and smiled. "Guess I'll be going on a trip."
Not liking the look in Chris's eyes, Buck tried to back out of the jail. He really didn't want to go anywhere. It was cold outside, and the clouds looked like they were ready for rain. Unfortunately, before he could take two steps, Chris called out to him. "Where are you going?"
Buck stopped in mid-step. "Nowhere. I was just going to head over to the saloon."
"Nope," Chris denied. "You're coming with me to deliver our friend there."
"I would love to, but I have some ladies that are looking forward to my attention tonight."
"Buck, you're coming with me. You don't have a choice. Ezra, JD and Josiah should be able to look over the town."
"But, Old Dog, can't you take one of the others? I just got back from patrol."
"Buck, you're going. That's final."
Sighing, Buck nodded and headed out of the jail to grab something to eat before he joined Chris to bring the prisoner to Spoon Hill.
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Riding up to where Chris waited, Buck looked over at the prisoner. "Any reason why you have him gagged?"
"He won't shut up about killing someone close to me. Got tired of listening to it," Chris explained.
Buck smiled. "If he doesn't know how to be quiet, can we just kill him now?"
Chris shook his head, and grabbed the tether to the outlaw's horse. "Come on. Lets get going."
"Can I shoot him Chris? It'll get us out of this damn weather faster."
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Turning to glare at the prisoner, Buck huddled underneath his coat again. Stupid prisoner should be shot, he thought to himself. Coldest week of the year and the prisoner had decided to rob the bank, get himself captured, and have a wanted poster out for him for a murder in a town two days' ride from Four Corners.
As a breath of cold wind wound its way down his neck, Buck cursed the rest of the group. Vin and Nathan had been off at the Indian village; they weren't expected back until early next week. JD and Ezra had to stay and guard the town with Josiah. That left only him and Chris to drag the prisoner to the town.
For two days, they had been traveling with the prisoner; a prisoner who they should of just shot. BG Smith, the outlaw, tried to escape twice. Once he didn't get any further then the fire, before he was brought down, with a rope trick. The next time, Buck ended up going after the prisoner. After dragging him back in pouring rain to the camp, he had hog-tied him and ignored the look that Chris had given him.
A few drops of cold rain startled Buck out of his thoughts. Looking up at the sky, he silently cursed. He was already soaked from the chase this morning. Shivering, he glared back at the outlaw, thinking he should just be allowed to shoot him.
Turning back to the front, Buck frowned. He quickly stifled the cough that had snuck up on him. Glancing over at Chris who was riding in front of him, he sighed in relief when he noticed that Larabee hadn't heard the cough. Buck didn't need to be sick. Telling his body he wasn't sick, nor was he going to get sick, he tried his best to ignore the tickle in his throat.
After an hour or so, Buck wanted to shout for joy when they saw the town lights ahead of them. They were almost there and then they could get out of the rain, warm up and have a drink. The best part was that they would be able to drop off their prisoner and not have to worry about him any more. Taking one last glance at the outlaw, Buck caught up with Chris. "We're almost there."
Chris looked over at Buck, frowning for a second. He didn't like the slightly glazed looked in his friend's eyes. "Yep. You okay?"
"Fine. Just can't wait to get out of this weather."
Nodding, Chris watched as Buck allowed his horse to fall back again. Not liking what he was seeing, Chris made a metal note to keep an eye on Wilmington.
Reaching the jail within the town, Buck and Chris dismounted from the horses. As Chris went to talk to the sheriff, Buck went to the prisoner and untied him from the saddle. Pushing him slightly, Buck almost threw the outlaw into the jail cell.
Slamming the door shut, the mustached turned and headed toward the sheriff and Larabee, ignoring the prisoner who was talking to him. Coming up on Chris, Buck stood off to the left, listing to the conversation.
Having spoken with the sheriff, he finally turned and saw Buck "Prisoner all set?"
"He's as set as he's going to be sitting in the cell, but he isn't our problem any more. You done with talking with the good sheriff here?"
Nodding, Chris turned and headed for the door. Buck fell in line. "Good, then can we get something to eat?"
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The saloon was loud and crowded. Chris and Buck were at a corner table in the saloon, far away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd. On the table was a bottle of whiskey, a full shot glass in front of Chris and a plate. Buck had a similar set up in front of him, instead of whiskey, though, he had a beer.
Chris pushed his empty plate away from him. Looking at Buck, he frowned. "I thought you were hungry?"
Looking down at his plate, Buck pushed the cold food around a little bit. "Guess, I wasn't as hungry as I thought I was."
"You alright? Its not like you to not finish your dinner?"
Buck forced a smiled. "I'm fine, just not as hungry as I thought. We're leaving tomorrow morning right?"
"Then I think I'll turn in for the night. I'll see you tomorrow morning."
Before Chris could say anything, Buck was gone. Larabee's eyes followed the retreating man's back. Something was wrong. It was out of character for Buck not to try and hit on a half dozen of the women in the saloon. Wilmington going to bed by himself, was worrisome. Making sure to remind himself to keep a closer look at Buck in the morning, Chris turned back to his whiskey, looking for some warmth.
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Later that night, Buck laid in his room at the hotel. He hadn't been able to fall asleep. He was dead exhausted, but every time he tried to rest, something prevented him from falling asleep. He felt too warm, then too cold. A tickle in his throat would erupt into a coughing fit which he directed into his pillow as he tried to muffle it. All of this just left him more exhausted then when he first went to bed.
He had to get some sleep. He would be able to ride, besides he wasn't sick. Just as this thought left him, he double over into his pillow as he coughed again. Several minutes passed in which Buck wished he had enough breath to curse his luck. Laying back against the bed, he closed his eyes as he tried to catch his breath. When he was finally able to breath, he closed his eyes.
Breathing slowly, to avoid induced another coughing fit, he slowly drifted off to sleep, finally. The last thought in his mind was that the cold, which he didn't have, would be gone by tomorrow.
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The next morning, dawning seemly bright and sunny, found Chris in the hotel restaurant enjoying breakfast while he waiting for Buck.
Buck, on the other hand, was still in bed and really had no inclination to get up. His body felt as if it weighed much more then it should. His nose was stuffed up, making breathing hard. He didn't even want to think what his throat felt like. He closed his eyes for a moment. No matter how much he wanted to stay in bed, he had to get up and meet Chris.
Taking as deep of a breath as he dared, he slowly dragged his body up from the bed. Gathering his clothes, guns and saddle bags, he headed down the stairs toward the restaurant of the hotel. Reaching Chris' table, he sat down.
Looking up from his breakfast, Chris wasn't all that happy with what he saw. "You okay?"
Glaring from under his hat, Buck just nodded, not trusting his voice.
"Are you sure?"
A very muffled "yes" came in as a reply.
Taking a closer look at his friend, Chris didn't believe him. "You sick?"
"No" Buck replied as he moved away from Chris.
"Look, just tell me if you're sick. We can wait a couple days to head back to Four corners."
"I'm not sick, I don't get sick."
Growling slightly, Chris replied. "Fine. Then we leave in ten minutes. I suggest you eat something. I'll meet you by the horses." With that, Chris marched out of the room, ignoring everything.
Looking after the retreating man, Buck sighed. He wasn't sick. There wasn't any reason why they would have to stay here another day. Ignoring the food in that was on the table, Buck grunted as he got up from the chair. Wiping his hand across his sweaty brow, he ignored the urge to cough and followed Chris out of the door to the horses.
Joining Chris at the horses, Buck ignored the glances from his friend, especially when he coughed. tightening the last strap, Buck swung his leg over his horse and settled into the saddle. Checking to make sure Chris wasn't looking, he quickly wipe his forehead, hoping to get rid of the sweat from his brow. Looking over towards the other man, Buck was happy to see that Chris wasn't paying any attention. Smiling to himself, Buck closed his eyes for a minute to stop the world from spinning. In that time, he didn't see Chris give him a long look and frown at how pale he was getting.
Swinging onto his own horse, Chris headed out of town with Buck bringing up the rear. Hoping for an easier trip, Chris would be happy when they got back to Four Corners where Nathan would be able to check on Buck and make sure that he only had a cold and nothing worse.
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Huddling underneath his coat and hat, Buck wondered who cursed him. The day had started out so nice; a warm sun, just a slight bite to the air. He could feel his cold, which he didn't have, get better, his nose had started to clear up, his cough seemed to disappear. His luck, though, didn't last. Two hours out from the town, clouds seemed to have covered the sky, and rain started pouring. A very cold and harsh rain. Wishing seemed to just invite his cold back on him tenfold. His coat and hat seemed to do little to protect him from the rain. Shivering as another stream of water rolled down his back, Buck blinked several times, turning to spot Chris in the downpour. Not seeing him, Buck looked around the landscape that surrounded him. At that moment, the rain seemed to come down even harder.
With the visibility now barely past his horse's head, Buck was tempted just to stop find some shelter and wait for the rain to let up a little before he tried to find Chris. Just as his fevered mind decide to do that, he was startled by the sight of another horse appearing next to him. Slowly raising his eyes, he pushed a smile onto his face. "Wonder where you got to."
Looking over at Buck, Chris frowned, Buck was as paled as a ghost, his eyes were blood shot. "Are you sure your fine, we can stop, find some shelter or something."
Straightening up, Buck looked over at Chris. "Nope, I'm fine. A little thing like rain isn't going to bother me."
Eyeing his companion, Chris didn't like what he saw. Knowing that it wasn't worth pushing the argument since Buck would just become stubborn and not say anything, he started forward again, making sure that he stayed close to Buck in case anything should happen.
Staring at the figure in black, Buck cursed his luck again. With Chris right next to him, it would be almost impossible to hide the coughing fit that was sure to follow shortly. He could feel it building in his chest.
Holding his breath seemed like the best option, unfortunately, he couldn't hold his breath for long, nor could he hold in the coughs. The next thing that Buck knew, was that he seemed to be trying to remove his lungs through his throat.
As he finished coughing, he carefully spat out the mouth full of mucus that he had gathered from it. Wiping his mouth off with the back of his hand, he turned to look at Chris who was watching him. Straightening up, he frowned. "I'm fine."
"Fine? That didn't sound fine."
Glaring, Buck cleared his throat. "I'm fine. "
"We're not that far from the town. We could turn back and wait for the weather to get better. Wouldn't want you to "get sick" or anything."
"I'm fine. I won't get any drier by heading back to the town. Let's just keep going forward."
"I think its best if we headed back to the town for several days or at least until the weather turns."
Buck looked over at Chris for a second, shaking his head, he urged his gray to go faster. Chris frowned. Watching Buck for a couple of seconds, he kicked his horse into gear.
Several hours later found two very wet and cold men sitting on their horses beside a raging stream. Buck squinted at it, trying to see all of the river through the driving rain. Shaking his head in failure when it seemed all he could see was some gray blobs appearing in front of his eyes, he turned to Chris. "Wanna cross?"
Eyes moving from the river to Buck, Chris was not liking what he was seeing. "Why don't we find some shelter and wait for the river to go down some. It is running high."
"Lets just cross now. Its only going to get deeper and we don't know how long it's going to rain. It's not that deep."
Chris looked back at the stream. If Buck was healthy he'd agree and they would go on. But Buck wasn't healthy, nor did Chris think the slight leaning to one side of the horse was a normal. Before he could suggest an alternative, Buck moved his horse towards the stream. Chris stared at his friend. Shaking his head and muttering about stubborn fools, he followed into the stream.
The shock of the cold water hitting his legs jerked Buck upright. Gasping at the coldness of it, he tired to stop the chattering of his teeth. As his horse cleared the stream, he turned it around to wait for Chris. While Chris finished crossing, Buck wiped his face. Clenching his coat closer to him, he tried to ward off the chill from the stream. Sniffling, he started to cough again. By the time Chris had reached him, the coughing fit had passed. Looking over at hsi friend and seeing a glare, Buck smiled. "Just had a tickle in my throat."
"Pard, you seem to have a lot of tickles in the throat lately."
Glaring, Buck hunkered down into his coat. "It's just the rain. Once it clears up, I'll be fine."
"You'll be fine. You aren't fine now. You are barely sitting on your horse, a stiff breeze could knock you off. I don't understand why you can't say you're sick. We should had stay in town another night."
Buck froze. His fever addled brain dragged up the last memory of those words and what happened last time they stayed an extra night. Not answering Chris, he turned his horse around and started plodding towards Four Corners.
Looking heavenward, Chris wished for some understanding on what he had said. When the inspiration didn't come, Chris shook his head and turned his horse to follow Buck. Making sure he kept his friend in sight in case Buck started to fall off his horse.
Chris kicked his horse into a gallop and caught up to his friend, just in time to stop him from falling off his horse. Pushing him up, Chris kept one hand on Buck to make sure that his friend wasn't going to fall off the horse again. Worrying, Chris look at his associate, pale, sweaty skin, glazed over eyes and ragged breathing.
The shove back onto the saddle brought Buck out of his delirium. Glancing at Chris, he answered "I'm fine"
Rolling his eyes, Chris replied "I don't think so. We need to stop. You almost fell off your horse."
"Didn't. was just getting comfortable."
Raising his eyebrow, Chris gazed at Buck. "You weren't getting comfortable, you were falling from your horse. It's getting dark. Its wet. Lets find a place where we can spend the night."
"I'm fine. We don't need to rest. Its only mid-afternoon. Its dark 'cause it's cloudy and raining."
"Well, I don't feel like riding through this rain anymore and getting soaked, so we are going to stop and wait for the rain to stop. Then, once the rain stops, we'll continue. "
Blinking his eyes, he tried to focus on Chris. When that didn't work, he closed them. "I'm fine, but if you want to find shelter, I'll go along with it."
Not saying anything, Chris took the lead. He headed towards what he hoped would be shelter.
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Twenty minutes later, Chris spotted a shack. Urging his horse towards the shack, he kept gazing behind him, making sure that Buck was still there. Satisfied that Buck was still there, Chris increased the pace to reach the shack.
Arriving at the building, Chris almost turned around to find somewhere else to stay. The shack, more of a lean-to, had four walls that had gaps in them. The roof was barely hanging on. Chris knew with a glance that the roof would be leaking like a seive. Sighing, Chris stared at the shack, hoping that it would magically change into a better shack, one without the holes and leaking roof. When that didn't happen, Chris finally got off his horse, hitched it under a sagging overhang and headed into the shack.
His fears were proven true. The only try spots were right near the fireplace; everything else was soaked. There were piles of dried grass and other rubbish strewn in the corners of the room. The only positive that Chris could find was that the walls were in better repair than he had thought. The walls didn't let in as much cold as he thought they would.
Ducking outside again, Chris gazed at the lone figure that was making its way towards him. He wondered if Buck would actually stay in the saddle all the way to the shack, or fall off mid-way. Making up his mind to walk out to him and make sure he stayed on his horse, Chris started forward.
Reaching his friend, Chris was just in time to keep Buck from falling off his horse again. "Only a little bit further."
Shaking his head, Chris wondered why people thought he was the stubborn one. Buck was ten times as stubborn. "Yep, you're fine. Just a little bit longer, then you can get off the horse and you can rest."
Grunting in acknowledgment, Buck clutched his saddle horn, trying to stay on the horse and at the same time stay warm in the bitter wind. "Come on Big Dog. It isn't that far. You'll be able to rest shortly."
Buck didn't reply. He just grasped the saddle horn harder and allowed his horse to lead them towards the shack.
Upon reaching the shack, Chris step back, allowing Buck to dismount, hovering close enough to catch him in case he stumble or fell. Sighing with relief when he didn't have to rush to the rescue, Chris hitched Buck's gray next to his horse, grabbed, Buck's saddle bag. and herded the half-aware man towards the door of the shack.
Reaching the door of the shelter, Chris shoved it open, propelling Buck into the room. Entering himself, he turned around quickly and slammed the door shut, locking it in place with a piece of wood. Wiping some rain from his face, he turned around.
"Why don't you sit. I already have some fire wood and I'll start a fire, there isn't anything you can do until I'm done."
Blinking his eyes, Buck half-heartily nodded and collapsed onto the floor. Chris winced as he watched. He could tell that it was painful. Walking over, he kneeled next to Buck.
Turning him over and placing a hand on the forehead, Chris wasn't happy with what he felt. He could feel the heat radiating off of his friend. Cursing, Chris got up and headed for his saddle bags. Rummaging around in them, he grabbed several items. Heading over to the fireplace, he kneeled before it.
Grabbing some wood and tinder, Chris started a fire. Placing the pot he had grabbed from the saddle bags over the flames, he poured water into the pot until it was half full. As the water warmed up, Chris made his way over to Buck.
Dragging Buck toward the fire, Chris laid him down near it and spread out his saddle blanket. Quickly, Chris stripped the sick man out of his soaked clothing and put him on the blanket, covering him with his own blanket.
Straightening up, Chris moved over to the fire, checking to see if the water was hot enough to make tea. Satisfied with the water, he grabbed a cup. Putting some of Nathan's herbs into the cup, he poured water over them. Allowing them to steep, he keep glancing over at Buck. Cursing the man's stubbornness, Chris moved back over to his sick friend.
Noticing that the tea was ready, Chris brought it over to Buck. Tilting Buck's head, Chris called out to him, "Big Dog, wake up. I want you to drink something."
"Come on Big Dog, you need to wake up. I need you to drink something."
Buck's eyes raised to half-mast. They were glazed over in fever, not really seeing anything. At Chris's urging, though, he started to swallow the liquid that was offered. Sighing happily that Buck was drinking the tea, Chris continued to encourage Wilimington until the tea was gone. With the last drop of tea, Chris laid him back down onto the blanket.
"Rest. You need to sleep. "
A slurred, "Not sick" was heard.
"I don't think denying it now will solve anything. You're sick; sick as a dog. You just rest. You'll feel better."
Whether it was Chris's words, or the illness itself, Buck fell into a fevered sleep. Chris leaned back against his saddle bags. It was going to be a long night, and he really wished Nathan was with them.
Moving over to the fire, he threw the remnants of the herbs onto the fire. Grabbing the saddle bags, Chris searched them. Pulling out some jerky and dried apples, Chris munched on the food. He wasn't in any mood to make something.
Getting up from the fire, Chris proceeded to the door. Opening it, he checked the weather outside and let out a puff of air in relief. He was happy to see that it had stopped raining. Moving towards the horses, there was just enough light left for him to take care of them.
Getting the horses squared away, Chris glanced around the shack that the two of them found themselves in. Not finding much, Chris was happy about the one discovery that he made, an oil lamp, with some oil left, hidden underneath some boards. Grabbing the lamp and some dry wood, Chris headed back inside the shelter. He didn't want to jinx his luck, nor did he want to leave Buck alone any longer.
Settling himself next to Buck, Chris placed the wood within easier reach. Grabbing one of the clean bandanas that Buck had in his saddle bags, Chris dipped it into some cool water. Wringing out the cloth, Chris placed it onto Buck's head, in hopes of cooling down the fevered brow.
Making himself as comfortable as he could next to the sick man, Chris wished that his friend would wake up and be better. The times that he had seen Wilimington sick he could count on one hand. When Buck was sick, he never let anyone near to help. Now, Chris couldn't help but wonder why.
Gazing down at his friend, Chris wanted to know what he had done to deserve him. Laying one hand on Buck's shoulder, Chris whispered to the sleeping man,. "Rest. Its my turn to watch over you."
Setting another piece of wood onto the fire, Chris settled back for a long night.
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Waking up out of a light doze, Chris was distorted for a moment. Finally the previous day came crashing back to him. Buck. Sick. Rain. Shack. It all flashed through his head. Chris's eyes lowered. His hand reached out and rested it on Buck's cheek. For a second fear, blinked through his body. Buck felt hotter than before. Cursing himself for falling asleep, Chris walked over to the fire. Building it up again, he grabbed the tea he had left by the fire to stay warm.
Pouring some into a cup, he moved back to the sickman. Copying his previous action in giving Buck the tea, he was worried when he didn't wake up, but at least he swallowed the tea. Putting the cup down and checking Buck's temperature again, Chris didn't like what he felt. Lifting up Buck slightly so he could lay his friend across his legs, Chris started to wipe the sick man's face and neck with a cool rag in hopes of lowering his temperature.
After twenty minutes, Chris's Discovered his efforts bore no fruit; Buck just seemed to get hotter. Chris refused to give up and kept gently wiping Buck down. He was so engrossed in the motion of trying to cool the sick man off, it took him several minutes to realize that Buck was muttering. Listening carefully, Chris could make out the words.
"No. Not my fault. Didn't mean.....can't.....sorry....so sorry.....Don't Leave....No!....Please don't...Don't want to be alone..."
Chris froze in shock. The fear, pleading and guilt in the voice as the words were uttered froze him. Shaking off his stupor, Chris responded. "Its okay. Its not your fault. I'm not leaving. You're not alone. Hush. You need to sleep. You're sick. Don't worry, I'm watching you."
Instead of the calming effect that Chris hoped the words would have, the opposite happened. Buck got more agitative. "Sorry....didn't know...its just one night...."
Freezing, Chris's mind connected on what Buck was muttering about. The 'just one night' kicked him in the gut. The one extra night spent before getting home. The night they celebrated the sale of the horses. The extra night that had him returning to a burned out farm. Sarah and Adam were dead.
Slamming the door on the memory and the feelings, Chris wouldn't, couldn't allow himself to think about that. Buck needed him now. Wrenching his mind back to the present, Chris looked down at the delirious man.
Brushing the dark hair away from the wet rag, Chris, at first, couldn't speak. Then he found his voice. "Its okay. It was just one more night. How could you know? It's not your fault. We know whose fault it was and they will pay. Just sleep. No sense you worrying about it now. Its okay."
Chris didn't know if Buck had heard his words, but he settled down. Wringing out the cloth and rewetting it, he placed it onto Buck's face. "Just relax pard. You'll be fine, don't worry, you will break this fever. It'll be alright."
Staring down at the restless man, Chris wished he could believe those words. But he would have taken Nathan there to make sure. Staring down into the slack face of his oldest friend, Chris watched as Buck seemed to jerk and frown as he slept. Wondering what dreams he was having, Chris hoped they were good ones.
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Buck was hot. He knew he was hot. He didn't know why and he couldn't seem to open his eyes. Sometimes there was a voice; a voice that calmed him; a voice he trusted; that he sometimes heard. He felt like he was under water. Everything seemed to be to heavy. He couldn't move. Panic was growing in him, but he couldn't seem to break free of what ever held him.
Trying to concentrate on the here and now wasn't working. For once, he didn't know where he was nor when. His mind couldn't focus. Pictures, memories, kept flashing by. Things from the past. Events that he didn't want to remember, events that were best left forgotten.
He couldn't figure out how he had gotten there. Last thing he could remember was a town, riding away from it. Chris telling him that they should stay another night. No, that was wrong hadn't he asked it? The confusion in his head was too much. Giving up on the swirling thoughts, Buck allowed the whirlpool to drag him under again.
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Chris watched Buck for several hours before his head started to droop. Yawning, he stood up, and went to the door of the building. Opening the door, he stared out at the darkness. It had started to rain again. A strong breeze blew cold air into the room. Shivering, Chris shut the door and turned back towards sixk man.
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Behind some rocks, partial shelter from the rain, a man watched as the door to the shack was shut. Hatred burned in his eyes. The man in black would learn what it felt like to see your brother shot before your eyes.
As the door shut, the outlaw crouched back behind the rocks. Turning his attention to himself for a minute, he tighten the bandage around his leg. The stupid, dead Marshall had shot him in the leg before he could kill the man dead. At least he had gotten the horse and gun, but the bullet wound was annoying.
Looking up at the night sky and only seeing dark clouds, BG figured he would wait a while, until the man in black was asleep. Then he would be able to check out the terrain so he could find the best plan of attack.
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Unknown to the two men in the cabin, the outlaw who was watching them. The dead Marshall had been found several hours earlier by a farmer who had been riding to town. Coming upon the dead man, the farmer had knelt down and turned the man over. Seeing the star and the dead glaze to the man eyes, the farmer had gotten back on his horse and rode to the town.
Stopping in front of the sheriff's office, the farmer walked in. Frowning when he didn't see the sheriff there, he hurried to the saloon, hoping the man would be getting a drink.
Pushing the batwing doors open, he glanced around the saloon until his eyes settled on the sheriff. Sighing in relief, the man strode into the saloon, heading towards the sheriff. Arriving at the table, he waited for the sheriff to acknowledge him. When the sheriff looked up, the Farmer started to talk.
"Sheriff, I was riding into town when I came up on the dead body of a Marshal. He was shot through the chest. Looked like whoever killed him took the dead man's gun and the horse. Should we be worried?"
The sheriff sighed, his first idea was to send a telegram, to the closest town. Hoping that the two men would receive it before the prisoner finds the two lawmen.
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Jerking his head up from where it had been resting, the robber quickly looked at the sky, cursing silently under his breath. He had slept to late. Dawn was just around the corner. He would have just enough time to check out the layout of the cabin.
Muttering about stupid Marshals and gunshots, he quietly levered himself up and looked over the outcropping towards the cabin. Not noticing any movement, he smiled. Limping over to one of the dirty, stained windows, he glanced into the room. Stifling the urge to laugh, he couldn't believe his luck. It looked like the darker haired peacekeeper was sick; very sick, seeing the fear and anguish on the blond haired peacekeeper's face. Seeing the worry and suffering there, BG couldn't help but feel glee. As he watched the two men from his window, he murmured to himself, "Suffer. Get him back to health, and just as he gets healthy, just as you relax because he is out of danger, I'll attacked and kill him. "
So caught up with the thoughts of killing the man in black, he almost missed the hazel eyed man turn toward the window. Ducking to the side of the window, he just avoided the man in black seeing him. Turning away from the cabin, he headed back to his hideout. The two lawmen wouldn't be leaving until the next day. He had plenty of time to figure out when the best time to attack them would be. Ignoring the throbbing of his wound, he couldn't wait for tomorrow.
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Chris looked at one of the windows on the side of the building, he could have swore he saw a face in the window looking in on them. Yawing, he shrugged it off. It was just his imagination. He moved towards the window anyhow, just to check that there was no one out there. Looking into the predawn sky, Chris stared in ever direction. Not seeing anything moving, he turned away and headed back to Buck.
Placing a hand on Buck's head, he was relieved to feel the fever had gone down some. the sick man seemed to be resting easier than he had been earlier. Turning towards the fire, he frowned. It had died down. Getting up from his position next to the recline man, he opened the door to the cabin and headed to the half-collapsed barn to gather more wood.
Coming from the barn back to the cabin, Chris passed by the window that he thought he had seen a face in several hours ago. Looking down on the ground, he froze for a second. There were footprints going to and from the window. Putting the wood to the side, he squinted down and examined the prints.
Studying the tracks, Chris didn't like what he saw. It seemed a man with a limp and come up to the window and had stared into the cabin for some time before leaving again. What was worrying was that it appeared after the rain that they had. Standing up, he scanned the area, hoping to find whoever made the tracks.
Following the tracks, he suddenly stopped as they came to an end. The trail of footprints petered out into the rocky soil. Walking in a straight line from where the footprints ended, frowning when he didn't see anything. Turning around, he headed back to the cabin. Now that he knew that someone was there, he would be more vigilant . Buck was in no shape for a gunfight.
Going back to the wood, he picked it up and walked into the cabin. Dumping his wood in the wood bin, he quickly restarted the fire. As the wood caught, Chris watched as the flames burned for several minutes. As he watched the flames he could feel his eyes closing, shaking his head, he pinched himself. He had to stay awake. Moving over to Buck, he was happy to see his friend looking better, and was breathing easier. Sitting down next to Buck, he wrung out the cloth again, and placed it on Buck's head. Wishing Nathan or any of the other guys were there, Chris watched the dark haird man breathe. As he watched, the sleep he didn't get the previous night crept up on him and, soon, Chris was sleeping next to Buck.
+ + + + + + +
Buck pried one of his eyes open. When he got one eye open, he pried his other eye open. Laying where he was, he slowly blinked them, trying to make out where he was. As the room came into focus, he frowned. It looked like he was in a shack. Shifting slightly, he groaned. Closing his eyes for moment, he tried to control the pounding in his head. When that lifted he looked around.
Buck noticed Chris sleeping. Closing his eyes for a moment, he raised his hands and muffled the cough that escaped from his lips. Deciding to let the tired looking gunslinger sleep, Buck slowly got up, biting back the groan as his body protested the movement. Finally standing up, he slowly shuffled towards the door, needing to get some fresh air and to relieve his protesting bladder.
Opening the door, he breathed in a deep breath of clean air. Walking out into the predawn hours, he kept close to the cabin to take care of his business. Finished, he turned and slowly made his way back to the door of the cabin, shivering slightly as a cold wind blew. Just as he reached the cabin, a hand reached out and grabbed him.
+ + + + + + +
Chris woke up out of his exhausted sleep slowly. Blinking his eyes, he tried to figure out what had awaken him up. Glancing around the room, he stared down at the bedroll that Buck had been laying on. It took a few minutes for his tired mind to relalize something was wrong with the picture.
Jumping straight up, he looked around the cabin frantically, trying to see if Buck had hidden in a corner of the room. Not seeing Buck in the cabin, he quickly made his way to the door. Opening it, Chris allowed his eyes to scan the landscape around him. Finally, after what felt like several years, Chris spotted the lone figure that was walking towards him.
Taking several steps, Chris reached out and grabbed Buck, steadying the weaving man, as that man blinked and slowly raised his eyes off the ground. Staring at Chris' eyes, the sick man blinked. Before he could say anything, Larabee started to talk. "Where did you go? Why didn't you wake me up. You're too sick to be out here?"
Buck smiled slowly, waiting for Chris to stop ranting. When Chris finished, Buck smiled. "I just wanted some fresh air and to do some business. I could do it myself. Besides you looked like you needed the sleep."
"You should have still awoken me. Your fever just broke. You're in no condition to go reveling around outside. "
"I'm fine. The cold is almost gone."
Chris eyebrow raised as Buck started to cough for several minutes after stating that the cold was almost gone. "I don't think so. Now get back into the cabin. I don't need you to get any pneumonia. "
Rolling his eyes slightly, Buck nevertheless headed back into the cabin and to his bedroll. As he moved past Chris, he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'mother-henning out of control' but Chris wasn't sure he heard it right.
Chris turned to follow Buck inside the cabin when something stopped him. Turning back around he scanned the outside of the cabin, hoping to find out what had startled him. Several long minutes of glaring at the area around the cabin later, Chris turned and headed back into the cabin, as he tried to ignore the feeling that someone was watching him.
+ + + + + + +
BG glared at the gunslinger in black, watching him walk back into the cabin. BG had a scare when Chris had turned around, scanning for someone. Luckily , he was able to avoid detection, so his plans were still intact. BG leaned against the saddle, looking at his leg. He was happy to see it had stopped bleeding.
Closing his eyes for a moment, he smiled. The black dressed man's friend was still alive, and appeared to be getting better. All the more sweet revenge. Just as the gunslinger thought his friend was back on the path of the living, Smith would shoot and kill his friend. Relishing the moment when his revenge would be reached, he open his eyes.
Noticing that the day was getting lighter, BG thought about how much fun he would have teaching the gunslinger a lesson that he wouldn't forget. Smiling, he couldn't wait for the time to be right.
+ + + + + + +
Buck leaned against the wall, closing his eyes. He tried to ignore the pounding in his skull and the horse that seemd to be sitting on his chest. Opening his eyes a crack, he blinked, opening them fully. Looking at Chris for a few moments, he frowned. "What's up?"
"Can't be nothing. I know you. That face isn't for nothing."
"I think someone is watching us."
The sick man blinked for a moment. "Who did you anger between the town and here?"
"No one! I didn't talk to anyone in town or in the deluge that we rode through yesterday."
"Still, it had to be you, I don't make people angry at me."
"Only fathers or husbands." Chris muttered seeing a wide grin appear on his friend face."I don't make people angry."
Before Buck could interjected his next comment, he erupted into a series of long coughs. Chris poured a cup of water, moving over to the coughing man. He waited until the coughing fit finished. When it stopped, Chris handed the gasping man the cup. After finishing the cup of water, Buck placed it down beside him. "Thanks."
"Now that you can breath, I have some tea for you."
"Tea? No. I'm not sick. I don't need to drink any tea."
"You'll drink it or else."
Staring at the gunslinger for a moment, Buck sighed. Taking the offered drink, he quickly drained the cup of tea. Setting down the cup, he sighed. "I drank it. Are you happy?"
"Esctatic. Now take a nap. We're not going anywhere today. It looks like more rain. I don't want you to get sicker then you are."
"I don't want to take a nap. I'm not tired."
Glaring at the half asleep man, Chris couldn't believe the words that had just come out of his friend's mouth. "You're not tired. Your eyes are barely open and you have yawned at least four times in the last minute. Take a nap. Nothing is going to happen while you'er asleep. "
Sighing, the ladies' man new better than to argue with the look the blond haired man was giving him. Before closing his eyes, he glared at the man for a moment. "I'm only going to take a nap to stop your nagging."
Before Chris could reply to the statement, Buck closed his eyes and quickly fell asleep. Chris stared at the sleeping man. Shaking his head, he picked up the cup from the floor. Placing the cup back with the other supplies, he moved over to one of the windows in the cabin.
Looking outside, Chris blinked. Staring at a hill 70 yards away, he could have sworn he saw some smoke. Staring at the spot, he tried to find the small plum of smoke that caught his attention the fist time. Just as he thought he saw it again, a great crash of thunder was heard and the sky seemed to rip open and pour rain.
Cursing the rain, Chris retreated from the window. Heading back the fire, the gunslinger sat down next to it. When the rain let up some, he would go out and check the horses. Suppressing a shiver, Chris stared into the fire, trying to figure out who would be out there. It had to be the man that had been staring into the window of the cabin, but who was watching them and why?
+ + + + + + +
BG sighed, eyes turned towards the cabin. He sighed again. He hated the weather. The only good thing was that it kept the two peacekeepers in the cabin. The bad thing was that he needed the black dressed gunslinger out of the cabin in order to visit the other one. He needed some time to get the man ready for the lesson he need to teach the blond gunslinger about killing people's friends.
+ + + + + + +
With a jerk upright, Chris looked around at his surroundings. It took several minutes for his sleep-fogged brain to realize where he was. Looking over at his sleeping campion, he was happy to see that Buck still slept, and got up.
Walking to the window, he noticed that the rain had let up some. Checking on his slumbering friend, Chris made his way to the door. Opening it, he checked one more time and then hurried out into the light sprinkle to check on the horses.
Moving over to where the horses had been placed under a what once was a porch, he never saw the shadow that detached itself from the wall of the cabin. He caught something out of the corner of his eyes, but the blond gunslinger was to late. Before he could turn or move to avoid the blow that was coming at him, it connected. The last thing he saw as he lost conscious was two eyes staring at him.
+ + + + + + +
Consciousness returned slowly to Chris. Wincing slightly, he wondered who was pounding a drum in his ear. After several minutes, he was finally able to realize that the pounding he heard was in his mind. Chris sat there, trying to remember how he could have hurt his head. He remembered bringing the prisoner to town, Buck being sick, then getting better. The last thing he had done was to go check on the horses. Then, nothing until now. Giving up on that train of thought, Chris shifted his body a little, frowning when he felt resistance. He slowly flexed his arms, finding that they were tied together. Frowning more deeply as the pieces that he was finding weren't matching with what he excepted, he struggled and finally pried open one of his eyes.
Blinking several times to try and focus his eyes, sound suddenly returned. He was able to hear what the two blurs in front of him were saying. It took him several minutes of listening before he realized the two blurs who were coming into focus were the prisoner who they had dropped off in Spoon Hill and Buck.
"Your friend is waking. Soon, he'll find out how it is to loose a friend. He'll watch as I kill you."
Buck coughed a few times, frowning at the outlaw. "You know, we aren't friends."
"Yes, you are. I watched the past day as he took care of you while you were laying there. He cares for you like a friend."
"Maybe he was just getting me better to shoot me himself."
BG looked at the unwell man. Shaking his head, he pointed his gun between the two men. "Oh no. We aren't having a conversation like this. I'm going to shoot you just as soon as he wakes up."
Holding his hands up as a peace offering Buck said, "Look, the guy who Chris killed was your best friend right? Almost a brother to you?"
The escapee nodded. "Well, look, I'm not his best friend. Just a friend, Now, you wouldn't want the lesson you have all planned out to be wasted on someone like me. That man has tried to kill me several times. If it wasn't for the fact that he has trouble shooting straight, I would be dead now. The only reason he allows me to ride with him is he knows he can kill me at a moment's notice."
Leaning back against the wall, Buck shut his eyes for a moment, hoping that when he reopened them the room would stop spinning. When he opened them again, he found that Chris was staring at the two men, while the outlaw was staring out in space. Before Buck could move though, BG spoke again. "I don't think so. If that man there," as he pointed to Chris, "wanted you dead, why did he heal you up? It makes no sense."
"Well, you see, in Four Corners, we have some other peacekeepers who would get mighty suspicious if Chris came back alone. So, he healed me so he wouldn't have to listen to their questions. But see, you would be doing Chris a favor here, killing me. He could go tell the other peacekeepers what had happen then he wouldn't have to worry. I mean, do you think he would give a second thought to having me dead, when he has wanted me dead.?"
Frowning, BG didn't want to listen to his captive, he was making sense and it started to seem that the sick man's death wouldn't teach the black dressed man anything. His eyes waffled between the two men, undecided on what his action should be.
While the gunman decided what he was going to do with his two prisoners, Buck turned his head and stared at Chris. Chris looked back. Frowning at the glazed eyes and sweaty brow that he saw, he was about to say something when Buck shook his head. Closing his mouth, Chris turned his eyes to the outlaw and glared.
The outlaw shook his head bringing himself back to the present. Turning towards the tied man, he smiled. "Your friend, here, has been telling me that you don't like him. You only seem to like him to keep your other peacekeepers happy. Is that true?"
Chris eyed the outlaw in front of him. Shifting slightly he weighed the options in his mind on how to answer. Finally he spoke. "I put up with him. What he says is true. He would be dead if I could shoot straight. I always seem to miss him."
BG looked between the two men, missing the grin that both man flashed at each other. Pacing back and forth inside the small cabin, the escaped prisoner mumble to himself. Finally shaking his head, he turned to looked at the trussed up gunslinger. "I don't believe you. I watched as you tended him when he was sick. You're lying to me to save his life. "
"No, I'm not, He told you himself that I only did it to make sure that the other peacekeepers were happy. You think I enjoyed it? He won't even admit he's sick. He's just unwell. Believe me, it was very hard not just to shoot him and be done with it."
Just as Chris finished speaking, Buck suddenly groaned and closed his eyes tightly against the sound of the sudden thunder clap that shook the cabin. After several minutes of the only sound being the harsh thudding of the rain on the roof, Buck risked opening his eyes. "Look, I'm getting tired. If you two want to argue about this, fine, but I'm going to take a nap."
The other two men had different reactions to what was said by the sick man. The fugitive stared at the sleeping man, not believing hat the man had the gall to go to sleep while he was holding a gun on him. Staring at the tied up peacekeeper, the confused man turned and moved over by the fire, adding a log to increase the strength of the flame, while he tired to figure out if he was going to kill the sick man or not.
Chris on the other hand, when he knew that BG wasn't watching him, stared at Buck. Not liking what he was seeing of the sick man, Chris wanted nothing more than to rip the ropes that held his hand apart and move over to check on Buck. It looked like the confrontation had sapped what little strength Buck had recovered from the fever. He hoped that the fever, that Buck had just gotten over, hadn't come back to the sick man. The pounding in Chris's head started up again. Trying to ignore the pain of the head wound, Chris kept his eyes on Buck.
+ + + + + + +
An hour later, Buck woke up, violently coughing. Several long and agonizing minutes later, Buck was gasping for breath. As his breathing evened out, Chris looked away from Buck and into the eyes of BG.
BG smiled. "You were both lying,"
Pointing at the blond haired man, the outlaw's grin got even bigger. "You're worried about his health. When he started to cough, you watched him with worry in your eyes. You tried to fool me. Well, your concern will be your undoing."
Standing over the sick man, BG pulled out his gun. Aiming it at Buck, the fugitive smiled. "You think you're both so smart, telling me that you don't like each other. But I'm too smart for you. "
With that, BG started to pull back the trigger on his gun. Smiling, he turned to the figure in Black. "I would say your goodbye."
Just as BG was about to pull the trigger, he stopped. Turning back to the tied up man he frowned. "No, this is too easy. You don't deserve a clean kill. It's too fast. He should suffer so that he would know that he's suffering because of you. But where should I aim? Do you have a suggestion?"
" You're sick, make him suffer? Why? I didn't mean to kill your friend, but he was shooting at me. It was your fault for bringing him to a bank robbery. What did you think? That we would let you walk away with the money from the bank?"
Whipping around to glare at the tied up man. BG started to scream. "You didn't have to shoot him He wasn't pointing a gun at you Itwas his first bank job. He didn't even want to be there. You couldhave winged him."
"Wing him? In a shoot out? Look, no one could have winged a man to make him go down when there are 6 others who are shooting at you, unless I wanted to die, I wasn't going to wing him. If he didn't want to be there, then it is his fault or is it yours. You dragged him there. If you didn't want him to get hurt, then he shouldn't have been there."
BG, though, was beyond reason. He only saw the revenge for his friend's death. Shaking his head he looked at the gunslinger again. "You don't know what you are talking about. You killed him. Youcould have let us ride out of that town without a problem. You could have allowed us to take the money and run. You would have never seen us again Instead, you had to play hero and attack us. You fired your guns at us before you even knew who we were. We could have been innocenct bystander."
"Innocent bystanders don't usually carry guns in the open with bags ofbank money being held."
The criminal finally shook his head. "That's it. You'll know what it is like to loose someone close. I'll shoot him and you can watch as he bleeds out on the floor not five feet from you."
With that said, BG turned to the reclining man. Chris couldn't believe his eyes, struggling against the ropes that were holding him, he cried out in frustration. BG turned and smiled at Chris for a second, then turned back to Buck.
A loud bang was the next sound heard in the room.
+ + + + + + +
Buck blinked his eyes several times. Hoping that the wavering in and out of focus he was experiencing would go away, he turned out the argument between BG and Chris. All he really wanted to do was go back to sleep. Before he could though, his brain nudge him, trying to get the sick man to remember something important. Wishing the two men would be quieter as they argued whether to kill him or not, the answer Buck had been looking for finally popped up in his brain. Gun. BG wanting to shoot him.
Taking as deep as a breath as he was able, Buck closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them, searching the room looking for something to use to defend himself. Not seeing anything at first, Buck suddenly realized that he was leaning against the saddle bags, saddle bags and his extra gun. Keeping his eyes on the two men, he slowly moved his arm to his saddle bag. Being ready to draw his hand back at the slightest hint of a turn by the outlaw.
When his hand reached the right saddle bag, Buck slowly pushed it into the bag and started to quest around in the inside of the bag. Closing his eyes for a moment, he tried to ignore the trembling in his arms and hands. After what seemed like hours, but was only a couple of minutes, Buck felt his hand grasp the gun. Risking a glance towards his saddle bags, he slowly removed the gun.
When the gun was fully out of the bag, Buck dragged it back towards him, putting it and his hand under a blanket to hide it. With a sigh, he turned back towards the conversation. As he listened and watched the two men, the sick man did his best to stop the trembling in his arms and the blurriness in his vision.
When the moment came to act. Buck lifted the gun with all his might and aimed at what he thought was the center of the chest on BG. The next thing he heard was a loud bang.
+ + + + + + +
Chris desperately tried to get his tired head to focus on the scene in front of him . Wishing that the smoke that obscured BG and Buck would clear . Finally, the smoke cleared enough to let him see through a thin haze. His eyes took in the image in front of him. The image he saw was burned into his memory. BG was standing, his gun pointing at Buck. His fingers laxed around the gun. Buck's eyes were closed, he seemed to be barley breathing. Removing his eyes from Buck's face, Chris quickly roved them down Buck's body, trying to spot the wound.
After several scans of Buck's body, Chris frowned. Scanning it again, his eyes kept drifting towards Buck's hands. Staring at the hands, Chris' muddled brain was finally able to realize that Buck was holding a gun, a slightly smoking gun. Not believing his eyes, Chris turned to stared at BG. He watched as BG tumbled to the floor, dead, a bullet between his eyes.
After several minutes, Chris was finally able to find his voice. "Buck? Are you okay?"
There wasn't any respond from Buck. Chris struggled against his bonds. When the ropes didn't even budge an inch, he ignored them and growled out towards the unmoving man, "Buck!"
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, Buck stirred. Blinking his eyes, his glazed expression wandered the room for a minute, then settled on Chris. "He's dead?"
Allowing the breath to escape from him that he hadn't realize he was holding, Chris eyed Buck for a long moment. "Yes, he's dead."
"Good. I was aiming for his chest but I wasn't sure that I hit it. "
With those words, Buck's eyes closed and he slipped into sleep.
Chris watched as the sick man's eyes closed. As the worry notched even higher in him, he started to call out to Buck. "Buck! Buck? Damn it wake up! Come on Buck I still need your help."
When Buck didn't respond, didn't even twitch, the gunslinger started searching the cabin for something that would be able to use to cut his arms and hands free from the ropes. When he at first didn't spot anything, he could feel the panic rising. Finally though, Chris spotted a sharp, jagged piece of wood sticking out of the wall at just the right height.
Leaning forward on his feet, he slowly stood up and made his way over to the board. The tied up man then slowly rubbed his ropes against the wood. Every few seconds glancing at the sleeping man. He hoped Buck was sleeping and not unconscious.
Finally, after ten minutes or so theropes that held his hands together parted. Not wasting a minute, he quickly shucked the ropes to the side and raced over to Buck, avoiding the small puddle of blood that had started to form on the floor.
Stopping next to Buck, he slid down to his knees and reached over and checked Buck's pulse. Finding that it was strong, Chris breathed in relief. Buck was just exhausted from all of the events. Checking his friend over one more time with his hands for any wounds, Chris removed the gun from Buck's hands. Placing the gun down, Chris then turned his eyes to the dead man.
Walking over to the corpse, Chris stared at the bullet hole, wondering how bad Buck was if he dead center in the head when he was aiming for the chest. Breaking himself out of his musing, Chris grabbed the feet of the dead outlaw and dragged the heavy body outside
Thirty minutes later, Chris walked back into the shack soaked through. Glaring at the outdoors and grumbling slightly at mother nature, he headed over towards the fire. Noticing how low it was getting, the wet gunslinger threw on another log, as he walked over to his saddle bag that was next to the sleeping form. Opening the saddle bag, and grabbing his dry clothes, Chris eyes couldn't help check on Buck.
Finally, with a slight groan, Chris stood up and moved over towards the fire to change his clothes and start some tea for the sleeping man.
+ + + + + + +
Wearing some dry clothes, Chris made his way over to Buck carrying a cup of tea. Settling down besides him, the gunslinger looked at his sick friend. Not liking the flush that Buck had on his skin, or the rasping of his breathing, Chris sat there for several minutes trying
to decide if he should wake the sleeping man to make him take some tea. As he debated with himself on whether he was going to wake his friend up, Buck woke himself up.
Glazed blue eyes stared vacantly at the cabin for several minutes. The tired brain was trying to remember where it was, even who he was and why he was on the floor. Finally the information came back, the blue eyes widened in alarm and quickly tracked around the room
until they settled on Chris. Sighing, Buck wet his lips, "You okay?"
Chris shook his head and blinked as he came back to reality, looking down at Buck he smiled. "You're awake. You need to drink this."
Looking at the cup that was given to him, the dark haired man stared at it for a few seconds. "Is this tea?"
"Yes, its tea. You need it."
"Oh come on. I don't need any of Nathan's tea. I don't feel that bad."
"Just drink it. It isn't going to kill you. Besides you need it."
Holding in the laughter from Buck's half glazed glare, Chris watched as the tea was drunk. When the sick man finished the cup of tea. Chris took it back. "Don't ever do that again."
Frowning, the dark haired man looked at his friend in confusion. "Don't do what?"
"Don't wait so long to shoot."
"Old dog, I didn't have much of a choice."
"Choice? You could have shot him while he was talking to me! Instead you waited for him to turn and then shot him."
"Chris, I could barely see straight, for Pete's sake. I'm sick. Give it a break."
"So you are sick, are you?"
"No, I'm not. You misheard me."
Sitting back, with a smirk on his face, Chris stared down at Buck. "You're sick. Which you just admitted to. We're staying here for at least another day then."
"I'm fine. " Before Buck could continue in his defense, a coughing fit took hold of him. Chris patiently waited out the coughing fit, happy to hear that the coughs sounded less harsh then they had been.
"Sure, you're fine. We're staying here and you are staying where you are. You'll sleep, drink some nice soup and tea and get healthy."
Buck was about to argue, but quickly shut his mouth when he saw Chris's glare. Slumping back down on the bedroll, the sick man stared about the cabin. "So, after I killed BG what did you do with him?"
Shrugging, unconcerned, Chris headed back to the fire for more tea for Buck. "Took him outside and buried him. Found his horse and gear. Looks like he stole it from a marshal."
As his eyes started to shut, Buck was about to ask another question, when a yawn escaped him.
"Go to sleep, Buck. You need your rest. We aren't going anywhere until the rain stops. We won't leave until your fever goes away."
"I don't have a fever. You just have the fire burning to hot."
Both men looked over at the small fire that was burning. Buck smiled sheepishly at the glare that Chris sent his way. Staring at the stern face, Buck gave in, knowing that further argument would result in him being forced to go to sleep and then having to deal with angry Chris putting him to sleep. With a tired sigh, Buck allowed the exhaustion that was weighing his limbs down steal over him as he fell asleep.
Chris watched for several minutes, making sure that Buck was actuallyasleep and not faking it, waiting for him to leave so he could wakeup. Satisfied, Chris got up and threw another piece of wood onto the fire. Making sure the fire was going strong, Chris looked around at the shack, his eyes drawn to the puddle of blood on the floor. Shivering slightly, he tried to push what had happen to the back of his mind. He didn't want to think how close it had been to Buck being shot.
Gathering some rags, Chris wet them and used a stick to make a improvised mop and push the blood and mess out the door. Heading back to the fire, Chris threw the now bloodied rags into the fire. Yawning, the exhaustion from the past two days had caught up with him. Stumbling over to where Buck slept, Chris reclined next to his friend. Putting one hand on Buck, so that if there were any sudden changes Chris would wake up, Chris allowed sleep to claim him.
Soon the only sounds in the cabin were the soft breathing and slight rasping breathing of the two men, the crackled of the fire and the thudding of the rain on the roof.
+ + + + + + +
The next morning, Chris slowly woke up, relishing the good night'ssleep that he had. Blinking, he frowned at how light it was inside the cabin, having been used to the half gloom that it had been since they had arrived.
Getting up, he winced slightly as his body lethim know how much it disliked the movement. Looking down at hiscompanion, Chris was happy to notice that the flush that had been coloring Buck's face had seemed to disappear and the rasping when the sick man had taken a breath had lessened noticeably.
Stretching, Chris moved towards the door and flung it up. Wincing slightly at the bright sun, Chris step out into the morning to check on the horses and a few other things.
Making sure the horses had whethered the rain, Chris fed them and gave each horse a quick rub down. When that was done, he saddled the horses, going into the cabin several times to pick up the saddles and most of the saddle bags. When that was done, he reentered the shack and started a pot of coffee. When the coffee was done, Chris started some tea for Buck and waited for his friend to wake up.
Roughly an hour after Chris had started the coffee, Buck slowly came back to the land of the living. Yawning, the sick man's eyes slowly opened; taking in the surroundings for the first time in two days with clear eyes. Sitting up, the ladies man looked around the room. Spotting Chris, Buck smiled. "So, are we leaving today?"
"If you feel okay. The sun is shining and I would rather have Nathancheck you out, make sure you're okay."
Chris raised his eyebrow in disbelief, glaring at the innocently smiling man. "Your fine?"
Nodding in agreement, the sick man ignoring the sudden coughing fit. Chris glare got even harsher. "You aren't fine. you're sick, still. You're better then you were, but when we leave, if I even sense the hint of rain, we are going to the nearest shelter we can fine and we will rest there. I am not bringing you back half-dead. I don't want a lecture from Nathan or any of the others."
Holding up his hand, Chris stopped Buck in mid sentence. "I'm not hearing it. I told you, I don't need the lecture from Nathan, or the rest of the guys on why I allowed you to ride when you were sick. You will drink your tea. You will let Nathan check you out when we get back, or will stay here for the next week."
Pouting slightly, Buck finally agreed. "Fine."
"Good. Now drink you tea. Its getting cold."
Drinking the tea in one swallow, Buck glared at Chris for a minute. "This isn't fair."
Chris just smiled. Throwing the rest of the coffee on the fire, he turned to Buck. "Time to get you ready, to go."
+ + + + + + +
Several hours later, after much swearing, calling of names and other interesting threats, the two men were back on the trail, heading to Four Corners. Buck who still felt slightly under the weather, enjoyed the warm sunlight on his face. Turning to Chris, Buck commented; "You don't have to ride next to me."
"Don't want you to fall off your horse again."
"I didn't fall off my horse."
"You almost fell off your horse. If I hadn't been there to push you back onto said horse you would have."
Coughing slightly, Buck took a drink of water, clearing his throat and wincing slightly at the soreness. "You think the rest of the guys are wondering where we are?"
Blinking, Chris thought for a moment as he scanned the land around him. "Probably not. We aren't that late. Besides, with the rain we got, it would be expected that we may be a little late."
Buck nodded, and continued to stare off in the distance. A few hours later, when they were an hour or two out from the town, Buck sighed and turned to Chris. "You sure the guys aren't worried?"
"Yes. Why are you asking?"
Looking over at Chris and seeing the glare, Buck started to chuckle, which turned into a coughing fit. After a couple of minutes, Buck was able to speak, pointing towards the town. "If my eyes aren't deceiving me, it looks like we have a couple of horses coming are way. How much you would you like to wager that it is several of our fellow peacekeepers?"
Turning to where Buck was pointing turning, the gunslinger stared at the cloud of dust. "You could be right."
With that the two peacekeepers watched as the cloud of dust in the distance slowly resolved itself into being two riders. After awhile, the two riders spotted the Chris and Buck and turned their horses towards them. Reining in their horses were Josiah and Nathan. Nathan stared at the two men for a second before zeroing in on Buck. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. Never felt better." As Buck said this, a couple of small coughs escaped from his mouth.
Nathan turned to look at Buck, "Chris, is Buck okay?"
"He's been sick, but he is almost over it."
"When we reach town, I just want to check you out Buck. Make sure the cold hasn't gotten any worse."
Sighing, Buck turned to Josiah. "So what are you doing out here?"
The preacher looked at the two men for a second. "We were looking for you. We got a elegram stating that the outlaw you took to Spoon Hill had escaped. We were concerned that you hadn't heard about it."
Chris and Buck exchanged a glance. Buck smiled at Josiah. "We found out about it. But it isn't anything to worry about. The prisoner won't brother anyone ever again."
With that, the two men urged their horses into a canter and headed towards Four Corners with a confused Nathan and Josiah in their wake.