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 fifth 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.
Sitting just outside the saloon, JD watched events unfolding around him. Buck had disappeared. JD laughed. He sure liked Ezra's mother, she had been perfect to put Buck in his place, animal magnetism huh! JD sighed as he recalled his failed attempts to attract the ladies he had figured right all along he just wasn't ready for girls.
While he studied Ezra and his ma as she boarded the stage, JD considered that they didn't really touch much well, they did, but it seemed strained, at least, it had seemed that way up until today.
Then there was Mary. The youth watched her as she stood in the street waving to Billy as Chris rode off to take him fishing. She looked so happy. He recalled how she jumped out of the stage and pounded on that man for chasing after her and her son. JD figured he sure wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her any time soon.
JD felt bad, but dark thoughts were clouding his mind. He had loved his mama. Their life had been hard and it wasn't until she died had he realized how much she had sacrificed to save money to send him to college. The boy saddened, would she be disappointed in him if she could see him now?
He looked again at Mary as she returned to her office. His mama had been single but had taken good care of him all his life. He felt his stomach clench as he pondered Billy not living with his ma. Why does a mother choose living in one place while her son lives in another? He felt bad for thinking such thoughts, but he couldn't help it. He jumped slightly as Ezra pulled up a chair and sat next to him.
"Mister Dunne, why, you look positively despondent, yet only a few minutes ago I distinctly recall you being in good spirits after that little subterfuge you and Mother participated in against Mister Wilmington."
JD was about to wave off the remark, then considered this to be a good opportunity to get some answers. He looked at the southerner.
"Ezra, can I ask you something?"
Standish nodded as he relaxed back in the chair. "Ask away my young friend."
Dunne swallowed. "Do you love your mother?"
Ezra just caught himself as his expression was about to change from amusement to shock. He sat upright.
"I I you well, you certainly did ask a question. May I pose you one first before I respond to yours?"
"Why do you require this information?"
JD blushed. "I don't require it I just wondered, is all." He squirmed in his chair. "I'm sorry, it was a dumb thing to ask, and none of my business, just forget I said anything."
Standish swallowed and took several small breaths in an effort to control his voice before he spoke. He painted on a smile and turned to JD.
"No need to be embarrassed, it's a perfectly reasonable question and my answer is, yes, I do."
Several long seconds of silence ensued. Ezra didn't particularly want to expand on his reply, JD biting back the comment he now knew he couldn't hold on to.
`It's just sometimes you seemed to get on real good, but then other times you seemed angry, or upset, with each other." JD's eyes shimmered as he continued. "Will you miss her? I miss "
He caught himself, and paused for a moment, studying the gambler's features. "Did you ask her to stay?" JD's eyes stayed on the older man.
Ezra coughed. "My you really did intend to ask me something, didn't you?"
JD blushed again, "Sorry, Ezra I shouldn't have asked. No problem, I understand." He got up to walk away. The southerner touched the youth's arm and guided him back to the chair. He smiled.
"It's quite alright, JD I will attempt to assuage your curiosity."
Ezra took a moment to compose himself.
"Love is a complicated emotion, my young friend. All my life I have searched for it, longed for it. I know in her own way, my mother loves me, and I her, but our relationship is a tentative one." Ezra sighed, his mind seemingly transported elsewhere as he spoke.
"On my part, borne of a need to please her in the hope she might stay with me as I grew up, I would readily assist her whenever she required my 'expertise' in one of her little ruses. On her part, her requests for assistance and insistence I learn all I could from her, was the only way she knew how to be a mother to me." He looked to JD, noting how the boy was absorbing every word. He continued.
"Do we fight?" the southerner allowed himself a tiny smile.
"Always. My mother's often colorful take on life can sometime be a little exasperating, do I miss her when she is gone? no will she return? likely yes, but for all our sakes and our pockets some time in the distant future might be preferable why did she take so long to visit? I only recently informed her of my whereabouts, and her desire to join me was more from an entrepreneurial curiosity than maternal concern, I assure you. Now, does that sufficiently answer your question?"
JD nodded, his eyes reflecting awe at the gambler's candidness. "Except how come you don't miss her?"
Ezra gave a sharp tight smile. "Because, my friend, I cannot afford to allow myself the luxury of caring in my business, it can be costly."
JD cracked a huge smile, his eyes shining.
Ezra narrowed his eyes, his head tilting slightly. "Did I say something amusing?"
"So you do care."
"I I what? Why would you draw such a conclusion?"
"Because you say you don't care, yet I see that you do all the time. You cared when I got hurt, and when Olivia was missing. You cared enough to stay here and fight with us you cared about Billy and Missus Travis." JD chuckled, "You been takin' lessons from Buck, Ezra? He's full of crap, too."
Before Ezra could answer, Buck had joined them. Ezra squeezed JD's arm.
"I will take my leave now, Mister Dunne, I've enjoyed our little chat." The gambler touched his hat and with a lop-sided grin and a wink, he entered the saloon, pondering JD's words and the idea that the boy was far more astute than Ezra had considered him to be. He possibly needed to rethink his whole strategy.
JD watched the ladies' man take a seat next to him, stifling a grin as he recalled Maude's and his trick played on Buck earlier. He sniffed at the air close to his friend. Buck arched away and glared.
"What are you doin'?"
The boy's grin escaped. "Can I smell soap, Buck? Have have you had a bath?"
JD's quiet laughter caused Buck to stare at the teenager, one eye narrowed as he considered his answer. He bounced back, cool as could be.
"Well, y'know how it is cleanliness is next ta Godliness or somethin' like that."
Now JD was laughing louder. "You sound just like Josiah, Buck. Won't a bath wash away all that animal 'maggotism?' HEY!"
Removing JD's bowler, Buck tossed it into the dusty street, causing the youth to jump to his feet to retrieve it. Chuckling himself, now, Buck rested his feet on the vacated seat and watched with amusement as JD barely rescued the hat from a passing horse and stood glaring back at him as the disgruntled boy knocked it against his leg to rid it of dust.
Mary came out of her office and walked down the street a bit, and Buck looked on with interest as JD turned and watched her until she disappeared into a store. Returning to the boardwalk, JD knocked Buck's feet from his chair and sat down next to him, turning the bowler in his hands as he seemed a million miles away in thought. The ladies' man sensed a question coming and he wasn't disappointed.
"Buck, your ma she took care of you until she died, right?"
Buck nodded. "That she did why do you ask?"
"Did did you always feel she coped, being alone an' all?"
Wilmington frowned, "I surely did JD, where's this goin'? Didn't your mama take care o' you herself?"
Dunne's head nodded vigorously.
The brunet nodded back. "So your question?"
JD looked guiltily toward Mary and lowered his voice, despite the fact she could never have heard him.
"If it ain't safe for Billy to be here, why doesn't Missus Travis want to be with him at the Judge's home?"
Buck smiled kindly. "Well, kid, Mary she's a real strong lady, knows what she wants and stands her ground. Her and her husband settled here in the hope of helping this town grow into something special, a place where Billy and other children could grow up safe. Well it isn't quite there yet, but Mary see, she wanted to keep her husband's work alive, but to do that something had to give."
"And that something was Billy? My mama once said if someone tried to take me from her, she'd just about die. Do you think that's how Mary feels when Billy has to go away again?"
The ladies' man nodded. "Pretty much, I'm guessin', but she's clinging to the idea that this town'll thrive and Billy can come back here one day. Sometimes, kid you have to do what you have to do to survive and keep your family safe, whether it's entertainin' men for a livin', only seein' your kid durin' school vacations or working as a chambermaid while your boy cleans stables none of us were any less loved because if it, it shapes us to be who we are, an' I reckon me an' you turned out pretty good, and Billy will too."
JD bobbed his head and grinned. "Thanks."
They sat in silence for a minute or two. Buck watched his young friend, his head bowed as he seemed to be working something out in his mind, his patience rewarded when JD finally looked up at him.
"So, can I buy you a beer see if we can get back some of that *animal maggotism* you washed off today?"
Buck pushed JD playfully, both standing as they turned to go into the saloon.
"It's `magnetism' boy and if you're real good I'll try an' help you git some of your own."
JD rolled his eyes and groaned, "Buck you are definitely full of crap!"
Wilmington chuckled as they entered the saloon, but his mind was working on the underlying reasons for JD's questions. It strengthened his resolve to see this young man through the transition of east to west and boy to man it would certainly be no chore it felt good to be needed again.