Magnificent Seven Old WestblankspaceAnd a Dollar Short

by Saga

Chraracters: Seven, OMC

Authors' Note: This is not the story I expected to be my first ever Old West fic to be posted, and certainly not the first thing I expected to write in about ten years. I am actually working on a much longer- and far more serious- story that was supposed to be my inaugural OW story. Then this insane plot bunny jumped on me in the car on my way home from work one day and would not leave me alone until I slammed this piece out (in approximately 2 hours). This story is unbetaed (I am hoping to find a beta for the aforementioned longer story if anyone is interested <g>), but has been reviewed by my English major husband. Please enjoy this ridiculous piece of fluff!

Oh, yeah. I don't own them, except for the Saxtons, but who wants a couple of screwups like them?

This is it. Tonight is the night. The night John Saxton is avenged.

Carl Saxton waited on the setting sun with an eager anticipation he had not felt since his brother had been shot. Shot down in the street like a dog. In the prime of his life. It had taken three years for Carl to find that low-life, scum-sucking, lily-livered son-of-a-bitch Chris Larabee. But find him he did. The news that he ran a gang that controlled a small town in the middle of nowhere did not deter Carl from his mission. In fact, it made him more determined. That dirt-eating, horse-whipping, dog-kicking, coward was pretending to be a law man. He had to be stopped. Him and those toad brained, gun totin' half-wits he used to hold this poor town under his thumb.

Starting with his oldest friend, Buck Wilmington.

Carl had been watching the seven “law men” for a week to learn their schedules. Wilmington had the morning patrol so he should be in bed early, and Larabee had the night patrol. When Larabee returned in the morning, all his friends would be dead, and he would follow soon after.

As soon as the sun went down, Carl crept slowly up to the door to Wilmington’s room at the boarding house. He gently picked the lock and quickly stepped in, gun at the ready. It was time for that skirt chasin', trouble makin', wife stealin', cow poke to meet his maker.

//“Oh, Buck!” Violet cooed, “I have been looking forward to this all week!”

“Darlin', I have been trying to find a way to spend some time with you, I just have so many obligations to this town.” He tightened his arms around her and nuzzled into the crook of her neck.

“I don't want you to get in trouble over little ol' me!” she exclaimed.

“Don't fret, darlin', I traded my morning shift with Ezra, he owed me a favor.” Buck was determined to spend as much quality time as possible with the lovely lady in his arms.

“Well, I'll be sure to thank him in the morning,” Violet moaned.

“Don't you be thanking him too much now!” Buck growled with mock severity. “I might just get jealous!”

“Oh, Buck!” Violet giggled.//

The room was empty. Carl snarled in frustration. No matter, the kid, JD, lived in the same boarding house. He will just have to go first. That city bred, silver spooned, highfalutin' boy should have better judgement than to follow a murderin', boozin', whorin', bastard like Larabee. He could imagine Larabee finding his young protegee dead-- perfect.

He crept his way to the correct door and burst though, not bothering with the lock this time.

//JD wearily rode up the main street to the stables. He had spent the day at the Nettie Wells' fixing her roof. The last storm that had blown through had torn off some shingles, and he wasn't about to let Miz Nettie or Casey climb around up on that roof, no siree. He had very nearly taken Nettie up on her suggestion that he sleep in the barn, but after the best dinner he had had since his ma died, he saddled up his horse and returned to town. Now he debated waking young Jonah, the stable boy, to brush down his horse. No, he remembered how it was to be woken up right as he managed to fall asleep to curry Mr. Wainwright’s horse when he was younger. He could see to his own horse, no matter how late it was.//

Empty again. Okay, maybe the tracker, Tanner. That Indian lovin', bounty huntin', heathen half breed was a fool to sleep in a wagon on the street. Easy pickin's. Carl left the boarding house and crossed to where the wagon sat in an alley. He crept up slowly and jumped up suddenly, pushing his gun into the wagon bed peering in by the light of the moon.

//Vin sighed as he looked up at the star filled sky. It was nights like this that made him glad to be alive. He had traded Chris for the night patrol so that he could get out and feel the wide open spaces around town with no people around to clutter it up. No ranchers arguing about how much range their cattle needed. No homesteaders moaning about their fences getting knocked down by the ranchers. No traveling salesmen trying to convince him he needed whatever handy dandy, super duper gadget/tonic/thingy they were peddling. Just him and his horse and all those stars.//

Carl stamped his foot in frustration finding the wagon empty. Tarnation! This was not going as planned. He looked up and down the street, trying to decide where to go next. The church. Okay, maybe he was a little nervous about killing a man in a church, but it's not like they held any actual services there anymore, right? The building was run down and decrepit, not really a church anymore, right?

He slid up the main aisle to the alter, looked right and left, then quickly crossed himself before heading to the side room where the large so-called preacher slept. That blaspheming, soul killin', devil servin', hypocrite didn't deserve the protection of the church.

// “Thank you again, Señor Sanchez,” Inez repeated as the large man set down the last barrel of ale under the bar. “I could not have gotten these up from the cellar by myself, and the men, they are thirsty this time of year.”

Josiah smiled at the pretty barmaid. “It's no trouble, Senorita, I figure we drink a good portion of this, we can make sure it is available when we want it. Do you need anything else brought up while I'm here?”

“No, Señor,” she sighed. “I brought up the whisky and gin, there is plenty of bourbon and rum, we are out of bitters, but I am expecting some on tomorrow's stage.” She counted off the items on her fingers as she spoke.

“Sounds like you have everything well in hand,” Josiah said with a smile. “And now I suppose I should grant you a good night.” He tipped his hat to her and turned to the door.

“Perhaps you would like to sample the wares that you helped transport?” Inez asked and waved a glass at him from the bar.

Josiah grinned a toothy smile. “Well, perhaps one.” Inez cheerfully poured him a glass.//

“Damnit!” Carl slapped his hand over his mouth and looked around the empty church before scuttling out as quickly as he could. Where next? The saloon. That greedy godless gambler would make a good target. Good riddance to bad rubbish as his Nana would say.

Carl slunk up the back stairs and up to the room of one Ezra P. Standish. Once again, he picked the lock and moved as quietly as possible- he could hear voices coming from downstairs and did not want to be discovered too soon. He approached the featherbed in the dark room and reached for a pillow to smother the smooth southerner, now is the time for that money grubbin', card countin', swill drinkin' gambler to meet his maker.

// Ezra barely glanced at the cards in his hand before studying the men before him. He had worked hard to get this high-stakes poker game set up, and he'd be damned if he wasn't having the best night in years right here in this dusty backwater. Naturally, when dealing with this kind of money he couldn't play in some crowded saloon. The back room of Virginia's Hotel was filled with smoke, brandy and money, with three affluent out-of-towners trying their luck at stud poker. Of course, Ezra knew luck really had very little to do with the game. It's all about one's ability to read one's opponents. Reading these men was delightfully easy. He hadn't even had to cheat.

“Well, gentlemen,” he crooned, “are you in, or are you out?”

“I'll see your twenty dollars, and raise you another ten!” The haberdasher from Denver crowed, throwing his money into the pot.

“Too rich for my blood,” the traveling salesman threw down his cards.

The cattle rancher debated a moment before shaking his head. “I'm out too. Need to have enough pocket money to pick up somethin' pretty for the missus.”

Ezra added his ten dollars and smirked at his companions as he revealed his cards. “Read them and weep, gentlemen!” A royal flush. This really was his night.//

Carl very nearly howled in frustration. Nothing in the bed except feathers. Only one place left to try. The healer who kept these crazy, good for nothin', back shootin' dogs in one piece was no good for no one anyhow. He carefully climbed the stairs above the livery, he was panting by the time he got the top. What kind of idiot healer put his healin' room at the top of the stairs anyway! As he figured, the door wasn't locked. Damn fool deserved what he got for not locking his door.

//Nathan ran the cool wet rag over Matthew Potter's forehead.

“I'm so sorry to bother you, Nathan,” Gloria Potter sighed. “I just got so worried when his fever wouldn't go down. I'm sure you have more important things to do than listen to a mother's fretting.”

“Never you mind, Mrs. Potter,” Nathan soothed. “This is what I'm here for. Now you make sure he drinks some of this tea whenever he wakes up,” he handed her a paper packet, “and keep wipin' him down with this cool water. If the fever don't break by tomorrow night, we'll try somethin' else, all right?”

“Oh, thank you Nathan, thank you!” She accepted the rag from him. “Now, you should get some sleep yourself, I understand a number of children have been coming down with this fever.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Nathan agreed, stretching to his full height. “This type of thing come in clumps, everyone givin' it to all their friends before they know they's sick. So far, it seems to run its course in a few days' time. Just keep him cool and get him to drink, I'll see you tomorrow.” He picked up his hat as he approached the door.

“More like later today, I'm afraid,” she sighed. “Now get some sleep!”

Nathan chucked as he exited the shop via the back alley. Mrs. Potter was right, dawn was starting to break. He sighed and decided to check in with Mary and Billy Travis before heading back to his room.//

Carl was fit to be tied. He had been up all night and hadn't managed to kill a single one of those street brawlin', stink crawlin', brother shootin', dogs. He stormed across the street in the early morning light and strode purposefully to the jail. He kicked the door in with one well placed boot and charged in, shooting at the desk before the door had even finished opening.

//Chris Larabee finished buttoning up his trousers as he stepped out of the jakes. How he had allowed that southern con man to swap patrols so he could avoid the morning shift again was beyond him. Well, okay, Ezra had agreed to deal with the widow Palmer the next time the old crone tried to get them to kill the prowler that lived in her outhouse- stupid prairie dog- so Chris didn't have to shoot her, so... He sighed, wondering if it was worth allowing the card sharp to get away with the swap or was it setting a bad precedent. As he was stepping out of the alley by the jail, he heard a volley of shots coming from inside.//

Empty again! Carl could not believe his bad luck. He began stomping around cussing and waving his arms, paying no attention to the crowd that was gathering outside. He vented all his frustration over his unproductive night at the walls and the sky.

“Whatcha got there, stud?” Buck asked, his shirt tails hanging out and his gun belt over his shoulder as he leaned against a post.

“Don't know,” Chris replied, studying the young man before him.

“You low down, murderin', sack o' pig guts!” Carl screamed at the bane of his existence. “How dare you make like you're the law in these parts?”

“Well, Mr. Larabee,” Ezra drawled as he approached, “it seems you have been making new friends on this lovely morning.”

“Hey, Ez,” JD greeted, yawning. “What're you doin' up this early?”

“It is easy, when one has not yet retired to bed.” Ezra raised an eyebrow at the ranting man in front of the jail. Before he could ask again, Vin came riding up.

“Trouble?” he asked, dismounting.

“Maybe,” Larabee replied, waiting to the ranting to pause or at least slow down.

“I heard shots,” Nathan panted as he jogged up. “Anyone hit?”

“Not that I can tell, brother,” Josiah commented, watching in wonder as the lad spewed a never ending list of insults without repeating a one. “At least, not yet.”

Finally the young man wound up his rant. “And now, Chris Larabee, I'm gonna kill you for shootin' my brother, John Saxton!” With that he pointed his gun at the black clad gunslinger and pulled the trigger.

Chris Larabee didn't even flinch as the chamber clicked on empty. “What do ya got there, boy?” he asked calmly.

“I know,” Buck grinned and pulled his gun out of the holster on his shoulder. “He got himself a peashooter! To bad he forgot the peas.”

“Hell, Chris, I got one of those. In fact I've got two!” JD piped up, drawing both of his pistols and cocking them in one smooth motion. “Mine even have bullets in them.”

“I never much cared for peas, myself,” Vin grinned, pulling his Mare's Leg and leveling it at the would be assassin. “More for carrots, myself.”

Josiah couldn't keep the grin from his face as he pulled his own weapon. “I am rather fond of the stick in this case.”

A knife suddenly embedded itself in the doorframe of the jail. “Sorry,” Nathan shrugged, “I left my gun upstairs.”

Ezra sighed, “I suppose I would be remiss if I did not add my own signature 'peashooter' into the mix.” A moment later his derringer was in his hand aimed at the intruder.

Carl stood there surrounded by Larabee's gang, empty gun pointed at their leader's chest with his jaw hanging open. Chris took a step forward and grabbed the gun out of his hand and turned him to proceed into the jail. “And by the way, kid,” he announced as they walked. “I didn't shoot your brother, he shot himself in the foot with no help from me.”

The townfolk walking down the street covered their ears from the blistering tirade coming from the jail.

The End

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