Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Mirsch, Trilogy and the dopes at CBS do. I'm merely indulging in a bit of creativity, please don't sue, I'm not worth a lot of money.
Note: This story focuses on events that occurred in the episode Obsession, if you haven't seen that episode don't read this story! Also, thanks to Maria for her words of encouragement and for urging me to write this.
"I'm comin' for ya, Buck!" She'd stepped outside wrapped in a white dressing robe, her hair piled on top of her head. She was a large woman, but she still looked delicate to him. Yet she held the shotgun in her hands with a competency that he admired.
"Hilda, get back inside!" He'd shouted over the roar of the gunshots. Fear clutched at his heart as he saw her take aim and fire at one of the men who were trying to kill him and his friends.
The shot that killed her sounded louder to him than anything he'd ever heard. "NO!!!!"
Buck jolted awake and felt the sweat pouring over him. It had been three weeks since they'd returned from the Gaines ranch and Buck was still plagued with nightmares. He laid his head in his hands and tried to calm down. Hilda had gotten deeper into his heart than he'd realized. Why had he pushed her away at first? He knew better than most men that beauty was something that came from within a woman, it wasn't always on the surface. Just look at the no good murderer Ella. She was a fine looking woman, but she had no soul. Hilda had been a fine looking woman and she'd had a brighter soul than Buck ever thought he'd seen. He could remember looking into her bright eyes and seeing a future there. But those eyes had closed and he would never get to look into them again.
Buck looked up as JD hesitantly opened the door to his room. "You alright?"
Buck wiped the sweat off his face, refusing to admit, even to himself, that he was also wiping away tears. "Yeah, son, I'm fine. What're you doin' up so late?"
JD slipped inside the room. When he stepped into the moonlight streaming in from the window, Buck saw that the boy had hastily thrown on his shirt and pants. He didn't have any shoes on or even have a gun with him. JD looked a little nervous. "Well, I didn't want to bother ya, but I heard ya shout, and...well, I wanted to make sure you were okay."
Buck was touched. Every night since they'd come back to Four Corners, JD had checked up on Buck. He knew the boy was concerned about him, and always came to him after he'd had one of the nightmares. "I'm fine, JD. You go on back to bed now."
JD nodded and started towards the door. He'd never seen Buck as sad as he had been over the last three weeks. He knew that Buck hadn't brought one of his lady friends home in all that time, and he'd been real good at hiding his hurt from the rest of their friends. But JD could see it. Anytime Buck thought no one was looking at him the smile would leave his face and the sadness would show in his eyes. "You know, Buck, if you ever...well, if you ever wanna talk about it, I'm just next door."
Buck nodded. He tried to give the kid a smile, but he just didn't have the energy. He spent all day hiding his grief from their friends and the rest of the town; he just couldn't do it at night. "Thanks, Kid."
JD nodded and started out the door when Buck's call stopped him. "JD?" He turned and stepped back inside.
Buck was staring out the window but said softly, "She was a good woman, JD. She shouldn't have died tryin' to protect my sorry hide."
"You ain't sorry, Buck. Hilda was a good woman, and she cared about you. She wouldn't have cared about you if you was a skunk." JD said firmly. He believed that for all his womanizing, Buck Wilmington was one of the best men he knew. He was like a brother to him and JD would fight to his last breath to defend him. Even if that meant defending the man from his own doubts.
Buck turned his gaze on JD, "I didn't do right by her. Not until that last night when I saw how lovely she really was. Maybe if I had she wouldn't have died."
JD flopped down in a chair, "Now dangit, Buck! You didn't kill her; Ella Gaines is responsible for her death. Someday we're gonna find her and she'll pay for what she's done, I promise you that."
Buck nodded thinking of how Chris had told him about Ella's fixation on him. Chris felt like he was to blame for his family's death even more now. But Buck had urged his friend to understand that Ella was to blame, not him. Buck almost smiled as he realized that JD had to make him see the same thing. "You're right, JD. We are gonna find her one day, and she'll pay for everything she's done."
JD nodded and stood up. He knew that Buck's pain wasn't going to go away, but maybe if he were able to stop blaming himself it would at least ease a little. "Buck, she wouldn't want ya to be this sad. I know you're upset," JD couldn't believe he was getting so personal, "but you gotta move on. She wouldn't want ya to stop livin'."
Buck frowned, his forehead wrinkling in confusion. "JD, what in hell are you talkin' about? I ain't gonna stop livin'!"
"You are, Buck. You ain't been yourself since we got back. You're distancing yourself from everybody and everything! You ain't even flirted with none of them girls like you usually do. You may be foolin' everyone else into thinkin' you're alright, but you ain't foolin' me."
Buck sighed. "Let it go, JD. I'll be alright."
JD sighed and started for the door, "I hope so, otherwise you ain't honorin' Hilda's memory at all." He shut the door behind him and hoped that Buck understood that he wasn't trying to be disrespectful. He just wanted his friend back.
Buck stared at the door in surprise. How could he not be honoring Hilda's memory? He hadn't been with a woman; he hadn't so much as looked at a woman in the past three weeks. He was grieving for her. Buck sighed. Maybe the sadness that had enveloped him over the past few weeks wasn't the best way to honor the lovely woman who'd captured his heart, but it was all he understood right now. Someday he'd be able to leave it behind and he'd be able to celebrate her life by enjoying his own. He knew that was what she'd want. He just needed a little more time to mourn his loss, didn't he? Buck looked out the window and looked up at the moon.
"Hilda, darlin', you gotta tell ol' Buck what I should do. I don't wanna end up like Chris and be a disappointment to you up there, like he was to Sarah for so long. She didn't want him to act like he's done, but it's been getting' better. I don't want it to take three years before I can start bein' the man you want me to be again."
Buck continued to stare out the window until he started to hear the sounds of a lighthearted voice somewhere out on the street, "Beautiful Dreamer..." He looked down at the street quickly, his heart pounding when he saw a young working girl with her arm wrapped around a local cowboy's neck. They were singing and laughing together as they made their way up the street and out of Buck's view. He looked up towards the sky again and a laugh escaped him. "Well, I guess that answers that question. All right, Darlin', I'll put it behind me. I ain't gonna waste no more time bein' sad, I promise you. Just keep watchin' out for ol' Buck, and I'll come join ya someday. I promise."
He lay back down and Buck Wilmington fell into the best sleep he'd had in 3 weeks. Somewhere in his dreams he heard that lovely voice singing only to him and a smile crossed his sleeping face.
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