Summary: A series of 'missing scenes' for the original OW series from the author's and JD's POV
Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep `em...damnit!
A JD POV for a missing scene for each episode was brought to the table by Robijean and I couldn't resist! So here is the eighth of, I hope, one for each episode.
Thanks to Phyllis for betaing this. Comments welcome.
My thanks also to Nancy and Blackraptor for the transcript archive, and for giving my stories a home.
"Believe you me, wherever old Chris is I tell you right now, he's having a real good time."
As Mary Travis left the saloon, JD watched Buck laugh and pick up the cards that JD had just dealt. Seconds later, Buck's twinkle had left his eyes and he seemed contemplative, for that matter, so did Nathan. The two seasoned gunslingers now seemed inordinately rattled by Mary's unease, despite it being the young sheriff who had agreed with Mary Travis about Chris Larabee's extended time away from the town. Nathan had then voiced his own concern, followed by Buck's certainty that Chris was merely 'blowing off steam'. Now Buck didn't seem too sure about that.
So it didn't surprise JD at all that their game stopped around the same time as Vin and Josiah entered the saloon and joined them at their table, closely followed by Ezra, emerging for the day.
"Miz Travis talk to you 'bout Chris?" Buck directed his question at Vin.
Nodding his thanks for the beer Josiah placed in front of him, the tracker sat back and, crossing his legs at the ankles, took off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair.
"And?" Buck pushed.
" and, I reckon we wait a few more days. If Chris hasn't been in touch by then we wire Landen."
Wilmington nodded his approval. JD frowned. "Why wait? I mean we all kinda think he's already been gone too long don't we?"
"Man's got a right to his privacy, JD," Vin said, softly, "a couple more days won't change nothin'."
He kept quiet, but JD wasn't totally convinced, and somehow he didn't think his friends were, either. Was it because it was Chris they were discussing? Larabee was known to be a very private man so maybe no one knew what to do next. Chris was not an easy man to second guess and if they got it wrong well Buck could testify as to how Chris might react to his privacy being violated. The youth secretly hoped they would never wait this long if *he* ever went missing.
By the end of the next day, the easy banter between the six had all but disappeared, replaced instead, by short, strained conversations and even shorter tempers. JD wasn't sure how to behave around them all, so he took to hanging around the jail, he could always find things to do there, or read one of his dime novels, convincing himself his self-imposed solitude had nothing to do with being told to 'shut the hell up' when he tried to lighten the mood with his joke. He guessed Vin must be pretty wound up by now Buck sure as hell was, and men tended to say things they don't mean when that happened.
Day three saw the men formulating a plan. Mrs. Travis had agreed to send a telegraph to Landen the next day, the answer to which, would determine their actions. There was still a chance Chris was going to ride into town any minute, now.
JD watched them plotting and discussing. It was at times like this he felt out of place not because of his friends, but because of himself. It brought it home to him just how much he needed to learn about the west, how little he could contribute by way of an opinion on the different ideas flying around him. The conclusion, however, was solid. Unless Chris himself answered the telegraph tomorrow, they would be riding out.
"We can't all go, Bucklin."
The brunet drew closer to the tracker as they stopped on their way to the saloon. "Oh, I think we can. There's not a man here who wants to be left behind, so, I say we all go. As soon as Mary gets word from Landen we go."
Vin straightened. "Miz Travis will expect someone to stay behind." Vin knew he was right, yet he knew Buck was right, too.
JD had been listening and approached. "You know maybe I could "
"Later, kid," Buck said, sharply. He was still waiting on Vin's decision and wanted no distractions.
"But I was only saying "
"JD!" The two men chorused as they looked toward him.
Dunne nodded and walked away, unwilling to cause any more conflict. He knew both men were right and he figured, if anyone, he'd be the one staying. He hoped he was wrong. JD walked into the saloon, finding the others already there, deep in thought. He decided to run his idea by them.
"Fellas I was thinking maybe I should go ahead and "
"Who are they to decide who goes and who stays?" Nathan said, completely talking over JD.
"It's not just that," Josiah answered, his voice soft, "it's keeping their minds occupied while they wait."
"We are all in a state of limbo, Mister Sanchez and there is not a man among us who wishes to remain behind. Their discussion should involve us all," Ezra pointed out.
Shrugging his shoulders, JD turned and left the saloon. 'To hell with it he'd go do it anyway.'
A little while later, Buck and Vin entered the saloon. Josiah, Nathan and Ezra looked up to see Vin shake his head.
"No news, yet. What say we all go over to the livery and saddle up? We know we're goin', it's just a matter of waitin' on what to expect when we set out."
They all nodded, standing. "Anyone seen JD?" Buck asked, glancing around.
Nathan frowned as he thought for a moment. "I think he was here, earlier can't be sure."
Vin looked at Buck. "If he ain't showed up before we set off he gets to stay behind."
Buck wasn't too happy with that, but he nodded anyway. He felt sure he would find JD before they left or the kid would find them.
JD smiled to himself as he heard five familiar voices coming toward him, looking up as the large livery door creaked open. Five men came to a standstill, smiling at one another as they spotted their youngest alongside six saddled horses.
"I kept trying to ask, but you were all so preoccupied so I did it anyway...figured we were goin', one way or another." He handed off the reins of their horse to each man as he spoke. Walking out from the livery, Buck affectionately draped an arm around his young friend's shoulders. Vin smiled at JD.
"Sorry, kid guess, we have been a mite preoccupied."
JD knew Vin was apologizing and returned the smile. Just like them, all he wanted to do now was bring the man he considered a hero no, a friend home.
They mounted up and walked their horses over to the telegraph office. The six friends knew they were leaving all they needed was a direction.