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 fourth 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.
He paced and paced then stopped. He looked once more to the closed door and his shoulders dropped. He never found himself at a loss for words in times of need so why now? With a heavy heart he approached the doorknob but his hand just hovered over it, while his stomach and heart fluttered as if just touching it would cause him pain.
But then in truth the pain could be no worse than he was feeling right at this moment. So he paced.
When the door opened it startled him. He turned to meet a curious pair of deep blue eyes.
"Preacher? You alright there?"
"Good mornin' Buck." Josiah nodded toward the room. "How is he this morning?"
Buck smiled. "He's doin' good little sore and tired but good. Are you goin' in to see him? He's sleepin' but I need to you know relieve myself. And I'd be mighty grateful to know someone was with him while I was gone, I know he's doin' good an' all, hell, he was up earlier seein' Olivia and her mom off, but you know what he's like, he'll try an' get up "
Josiah straightened, nervousness creeping into his voice. "Oh I don't know, Buck I wouldn't want to disturb the boy."
The ladies' man slapped him on the back, "Hell Josiah, that boy thinks the world o' you, he'll be glad you dropped by."
Before another word could be spoken, Buck's long legs strode away. Sanchez stared at the door and sighed. He placed his hand on the doorknob and, turning it, pushed the creaky door open to enter the room.
Despite the hustle and bustle of street noise filtering through the open window, the room was quiet and tranquil. The preacher's eyes drifted to the bed and he sighed heavily at the sight before him, guilt washing through him as he looked over the sleeping form.
Josiah sat in the chair next to the bed and placed his head in his hands, his elbows resting on his knees, as he watched JD sleep. Sanchez had often wondered just how young this boy was, but at that moment he resembled a sleeping child a hurting, sleeping child as his youthful face would occasionally contort with pain. There was a sheen to the youth's skin and Josiah touched the back of his hand to JD's forehead to check for warmth, absently brushing back unruly, damp, black bangs as his hand moved away.
JD stirred slightly, causing Josiah to sit back in the chair to prevent revealing his presence, relieved when he saw the youth settle back down. Sitting back drew the preacher's attention to the street and he rose to his feet to take in the day's activities. He could see Chris and Vin stoically guarding the jail while they waited for the Judge to oversee the trial of the remaining men from the robbery the previous night. Nathan was talking to Mary Travis, while Buck was chatting and striding alongside a young lady, whose giggles suggested she was enjoying the attention.
A tap on the door revealed an inquisitive southerner.
"Good morning, Mister Sanchez. I called to inquire how our young sheriff is faring this fine morning."
Josiah smiled a little. "He's doing well, Ezra, thank you."
Standish nodded his approval. "Well, that is good to hear. I will return later to ensure that remains the case. Good day."
Josiah watched him leave, amused as to how a man once so consumed with self-preservation had inadvertently become attached to six men well, five men and a boy. As he marveled at that small miracle, he missed the pained hazel eyes peering up at him.
The big man startled slightly then smiled as he dropped back into the chair next to the bed.
"Good morning, John Dunne, how are you feeling?"
"I'm fine, thank you, preacher a little thirsty, though."
Cursing inwardly for not thinking of that, Sanchez poured some water from the pitcher next to the bed into an empty glass, then stood to help the youth drink, holding the slight body forward as JD sipped at the water. There was no disguising the actions hurt the boy so as soon as he seemed to have had enough, Josiah rested him back against his pillows.
Josiah took his seat and smiled at the youth. "You're welcome, son."
JD looked around, frowning. "Where's Buck?"
"He, err had a call of nature, would you like me to go get him for you?"
Dunne shook his head, "Nah I was just wonderin' is all. Are you okay, Josiah? You seem tired."
Sanchez smiled, 'bless this boy, here he is, lying in pain and he notices I'm tired.'
"Nothing a good night's sleep won't cure, son." He sighed, pausing for a moment.
JD sat up slightly, noting the preacher's unhappy demeanor. "Josiah? What is it, what's wrong?" He felt his stomach flip. "Oh God has something happened to ?"
"Whoa whoa, steady there, son. Everyone's fine, just waiting on you." He rubbed at his face and leaned in. "JD I came I came to apologize."
The youth screwed up his face in confusion. "Apologize for what?"
Sanchez' eyes filled. "For you being here like this. For your pain and your suffering and for for being neglectful and being the cause of all this."
There, he'd said it he was finally released from his torment. But now was the hardest part, could this boy this innocent, trusting big- hearted soul forgive him?
"Huh? Have you been drinking, Josiah? You weren't even there how could it have been your fault?"
Josiah couldn't help himself he let out a small laugh. God, this boy was good for the soul.
"No, son, I surely haven't been drinkin' but Lord knows I could use one right about now." He returned to a more serious tone and leaned in closer still; placing one large hand over the boy's clasped ones.
"Olivia was running loose, exploring the town in the middle of the night."
JD nodded, "Yeah I've been wonderin' about that seemed an odd thing for a six year old to be doing."
Josiah nodded back. "Well at the church, it was my turn to watch over her while the others took their turn to sleep. We got to talkin' my, the child was full of questions anyway, while we were talking, I drifted off to sleep."
JD inhaled and released a breath slowly as he took in the information.
"So everyone was asleep, she was wide awake and she took off."
For a moment or two, they sat in silence.
"So this is why you think me being hurt is your fault?"
"Yes had I remained awake, Olivia would not have wandered, you would not have been forced to confront her abductors, and, therefore, would not have been injured my fault my mistake my shame. I let everyone down."
The ensuing silence was more than Josiah could take. He rose to leave.
"I'm so sorry, son."
"Why are you leaving?"
"I think it's best you need to rest, JD."
"Can I say something first?"
Sanchez sat back down. "Of course."
"Did you mean to fall asleep?"
"And now it's bothering you that I got hurt and Olivia was kidnapped because of it."
Josiah dropped his head, "I saw an innocent child put in danger, and a good friend seriously hurt of course, it's bothering me."
"So don't you think that we can say it's been dealt with? Everyone's fine now."
"Son you could have died. If the knife had gone more to the left "
"But it didn't, and you didn't throw it, either. Yeah, you made a mistake hell all I ever do is make mistakes don' t mean I'm gonna hold it against you. I've seen you risk your life to protect us, Josiah I could never be mad at you for making a mistake. Are you gonna stop being mad at me, now?"
Unable to help himself, the big man sat on the bed in front of JD and gently pulled the youth toward him, taking as much comfort in the action as he hoped he was providing.
"Lord, son I'm not mad I just want you to try and forgive me someday."
JD pulled back. "Consider it done. I just want to forget it. Can we do that?"
Sanchez grinned widely for the first time since the incident. "I'd like that, son."
"Good, now, can I ask you another question?"
"It's kinda personal."
Josiah smiled, "Ask away."
"Why does Nathan hate me so?"
Now Josiah was confused. "Heavens, boy, what makes you think that?"
JD dropped his gaze to focus on his hands. "He was real mean to me in the church. I mean, I know he had to poke and prod an' all, but he kept snappin' at me like I was a little kid or something. When he took care of that working girl, he was real sweet an' all but all I got was told off and it wasn't even my fault."
Josiah thought for a moment. "Hmm I see why you would feel a little slighted by that, I was there the whole time with you and I have to agree, he was a little sharp, but I think I may have the answer.
"Now, Nora was in poor shape, there's no denying that. I think, as men, we were all angry at what she had been through and Nathan was trying to show this poor woman that not all men were like Wicks and the man that wanted to pay money to hurt her. He needed her to trust him, not only as a man, but as a black healer not something all folk take kindly to.
"Now as for you Nathan was afraid."
JD frowned. "Afraid of what?"
"That you were hurt more than he could deal with. He has an amazing gift for medicine and he uses it well, but he's not perfect and he knows this, so when he's attending to an injury he worries he might not be able to make it right.
"What made it worse this time is that it was someone he cared about, which made the whole thing so much worse."
"But he doesn't like me," JD insisted.
"No he likes you very much that's why he got so bothered, he didn't just see an injured man he saw an injured friend."
JD reflected on Josiah's words. "Oh I see I never thought of it like that. But he still told me off."
Josiah laughed. "As I recall one injured but feisty young man was insisting on going out to help us all find Olivia and stop the robbery. What should Nathan have done? Smiled and agreed? Tied you to the pew? Sit on you? Or warn you it wouldn't be a good idea?"
"Just wanted to help," the youth mumbled.
Josiah touched the young man's hands again. "And you did, John Dunne even though it went against Nathan's wishes, you still did and even though it won't be said to you, we're all mighty proud of the courage you showed especially Nathan, because only Nathan knew how badly you were hurtin'. Now does that answer your question and set your mind at ease?"
JD nodded and cracked a small smile. "Yeah yeah it does, thank you, Josiah." He yawned.
Sanchez went to stand. "Get some rest now son, your body needs it."
"Are you leavin'?"
Josiah paused for a moment then sat back in the chair, "If it's all the same to you, I'd like to sit here with you a while. Do you mind?"
"Naw, I'd like that thanks."
In minutes, JD was asleep. Sanchez sighed and taking the bible from the nightstand, settled back to read.