Vin Tanner crouched low in the bushes, his blue eyes scanning the surrounding darkness for any signs of movement which would indicate trouble was approaching. He felt something brush against his leg and glanced down to the wounded man sprawled beside him. He could just barely make out Larabee's pale face and the miniscule flicker that indicate that his injured friend was starting to come around. He wasn't certain Chris thrashing around would be the best thing to happen right at that moment. Jenkins and his goons were crawling through the blinding darkness looking for them even as he considered what should be done to keep Chris quiet. Although he couldn't see them quite yet, he could hear the distinctive sounds of boots scraping against rocks, leaves scuffling, and branches of the sparse trees and shrubbery in the area shaking.
He sure hoped JD had managed to reach Four Corners and alert the others to the fact that he and Chris were in danger. Now as his and Chris's attackers made their approach, Vin was thinking that time was up, and he was going to have to defend Larabee and himself the best he could. A sound at his flank made Tanner whirl around, mule ear coming to bear upon the looming shadow of a man.
"Don't move." The softly spoken words were laced with steel.
Josiah froze in his tracks, barely able to make out in the darkness that the business end of Vin Tanner's mule's ear was pointing directly at him. He made no attempt to move forward, even as he felt Nathan Jackson run into his back. An on-edge sharpshooter was not someone he wanted to further agitate.
"Ease down, Brother, it's me, Josiah. Nathan's with me."
Josiah's deep baritone was music to Vin's ears. Relief flooded through Tanner as he lowered his weapon, allowing the two new arrivals to join him in crouching down beside the wounded Larabee.
"Sure glad to see you two." Tanner said as Nathan immediately set to work examining Chris. "Where are the others?"
Shots rang out in the near distance, making Josiah and Vin both shift into protective positions of Nathan and Chris, as side by side they peered out at the surrounding darkness.
"Hopefully taking care of the bad guys," Josiah told him.
A few moments later they heard another series of shots go off, this time in quick succession. Both Sanchez and Tanner recognized the signal for what it was. Their fellow peacemakers had been victorious in taking care of the bad guys. Soon they heard the unmistakable sounds of Buck, Ezra, and JD talking as their friends moved to join them.
"How is he Nathan?" Vin asked as he turned his attention back onto the wounded Chris and the healer tending to him.
"I don't think it's too serious, but he has lost a lot of blood. The sooner we get him back to my clinic the better off he'll be." Nathan told him.
Quickly a travois was fashioned to carry Chris on and the seven men headed back to Four Corners. Upon arrival, and despite his own weariness, Jackson set to work on tending to Larabee's injury. The other peacekeepers kept a vigil outside the healer's room, waiting for word on their seventh's condition.
Dawn was breaking over the horizon, when Nathan stepped out onto the balcony that adjoined his room. He gratefully took the mug of coffee JD offered him, the Bostonian and Wilmington had just returned to the boarding house with steaming cups for all of them, when Nathan came out of his room. He took a sip of the hot brew before he said,
"Chris lost a lot of blood, but he's going to make it. The bullet went through his side and did some damage, but fortunately, didn't strike any major organs. It's going to take awhile for him to mend though, so I'm going to need all of you to help in making sure he stays put and let's his body heal properly."
"You got it, Nathan. We'll do whatever it takes to make sure Chris heals up good," Vin told him.
"Better stock up on sleep now boys," Buck remarked, "Until he's back on his feet, Chris is going to make sure we are all just as miserable as he is."
A collective groan rose up from the others as they realized the truth in Buck's words. A caged up Larabee was like a bear being roused out of hibernation too soon. It didn't change the fact that every one of them would be there to get him through his convalescence. After all, wasn't that what friends were for?
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