No infringement upon the copyrights held by CBS, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment
Group, The Mirisch Corp. or any others involved with that production is
intended. This is purely fiction and based on the television series The
- For a rundown on the guys check out thhis page
CHARACTERS: Chris & Buck
SUMMARY: Buck arrives in Four Corners
SPOILERS: Pilot & Nemesis. 5th in the Series and follows directly on from my stories, Extort thy Childhood, Color me Black, Young Warriors and Beneath the Surface.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to Mitzi and Beth Baker for beta reading this fic.
COMMENTS: Yes, please!
DATE: 6 March 03
More than Friends
Blood Brothers, AU
Larabee sat on the edge of the wooden boardwalk. Out of boredom he
picked at the cracks between the planks, digging out the dirt and forming
a small pile. The seven-year-old brought his sturdy boots up and
crossed his legs; his narrow shoulders were rounded over and his head
nodded beneath his wide-brimmed hat.
The air was
thick as molasses and with every breath he took, his lungs complained.
A full blast of sunshine heated him through to his very core, and small
droplets of sweat dotted his top lip. He could feel a stream of
perspiration run down the length of his spine and the young boy pulled at
his shirt to capture the sticky liquid before it reached the waistband of
his pants. Such was the drawbacks of wearing only black; it seemed
to draw the heat from the sun like a magnet, but he was not changing his
clothes, not for anyone, or any reason. This was how he was…who
he had become.
to be mesmerised by the whitewashed boards, only occasionally glancing up
and taking in the townsfolk who were moving about sluggishly in the hot
sultry weather. There was not much for a young child to do in Four
Corners, not even a school to attend. Not that he seriously wanted
to go – schoolin’ was never going to be the same without Adam around.
It would only
take part of a day’s ride to reach Eagle Bend, and then an hour out to
his former home – not that there was anything left of the old place
after it had burned to the ground, but it was calling him and the need to
find his brother was pressing in on him. It seemed like forever
since he’d seen Adam, and Chris worried constantly for his safety.
And now he had some help. Young Larabee wondered how much longer he
would be staying in Four Corners. While Josiah, Vin, Nathan, and
even the greenhorn, JD were eager to help him find Adam, there were
preparations to be made, or so they said, but Chris was impatient for the
expedition to begin. And to his discernment, Ezra seemed to be quite
content to settle his roots in this hectic western town.
With the added
interest to his quest, Larabee was wondering if the young gambler was
pulling away from him. Chris hadn’t seen Ezra much in the last day
or so; perhaps he was considering going his own way now that Chris had the
commitment of the others. He’d have to make it a point to ask the
Southerner what his plans were now, and if they still included him.
If not, maybe Chris would have to remind the gambler of his promise to
look after him, and how it was Maude’s fault he had been drafted so far
away from his home. That should do it, he mused.
With a cheeky
smirk on his face and the plans set in his mind, Chris glanced up into the
main drive as an open buggy carrying a Madam and her escort, drove into
town. His smile rapidly evaporated; it wasn’t that he knew the
Madam or her companion personally, or even why they were journeying to
Four Corners, but it was the familiar figure posed high on the back of a
grey horse that trotted a pace behind the couple that caught his
attention. Buck Wilmington. The dark-headed gregarious child
paraded alongside the buggy as though he had not a care in the world, and
Chris’ expression grew darker. What the hell was Buck doing here,
when he lived in Eagle Bend? Chris wasn’t prepared to meet up with
him yet…maybe never.
Larabee frowned at
the lanky eight-year-old, watching surreptitiously as he dismounted the
fine grey gelding and slowly followed the couple inside the saloon.
Buck hadn’t noticed Chris sitting on the boardwalk. And Larabee had been
careful to hide his face beneath the broad brim of his hat. It had
been four months since the boys had seen one another and Chris had changed
so much in that short time. Not his physical appearance, but his
mode of dress, his attitude and his newly acquired skills, courtesy of
Maude. Gone was his former carefree nature, the fun loving boy Buck
had once known and played with - in that place, stood a more sombre and
controlled child. And when he did let the emotions show, it was a
mixture of anger and depression – hardly someone Buck would associate
with. So Chris curled into a ball, making himself invisible until he
had the chance to escape.
Chris ran flat out
dodging people, animals, buggies and wagon traffic. He didn’t quit
until he was standing with his back to the wall of the boarding house.
He could stay here and Buck would never find him, he wouldn’t even know
Chris was in town. Buck didn’t need to know. It had been a
shock to see his friend, but the bitter taste that lived constantly in his
mouth grew when he caught sight of Wilmington.
Buck Wilmington grinned from ear to ear and raced across the road.
He wrapped his arms around the smaller boy and hugged him tightly.
Damn! He’d thought he’d never see Chris again after he’d gone
off with the lady gambler. “Hi!” he enthused again. “Hey ya
ole dog! It’s good to see ya, buddy. How ya doing?”
Buck might only be eight, but he was so used to looking out for Chris and
his younger brother, Adam, that when they left, he’d felt bereft.
Of course, Adam’s absence had not been one of choice, seeing as he’d
been kidnapped, but Chris willingly left, and it’d hurt Buck. He
hadn’t understood Chris’ reasons, or the hastiness of their departure
- one day he was in Eagle Bend, the next he was gone. He’d thought
they were friends and they would face the world together, but Chris
hadn’t talked to him, in fact he’d practically snubbed Buck following
Sarah’s death and Adam’s kidnapping. He hadn’t understood, but now
Chris was back and Buck could make up for lost time. Buck would make
immobile in the older boy’s grip, embarrassed by the sudden attention
Buck had brought them. “Easy, big fella. Folks will talk.”
chuckled and released Chris. “It’s good to see ya back where you
belong.” Buck pinched the sleeve of Chris’ shirt and pulled it
outwards. “What’s with the new duds? Ya need some colour,
Chris. Yer looking a might drab all in black.”
“It’s how I
dress, Buck.” That was the end of that exchange.
“How long ya
been in town…how’d ya get here? And where’s the lady who took
“You ask too
many questions, Wilmington.”
But Buck hadn’t
asked the questions he’d really wanted to. Where was Adam?
Had Chris heard from the six-year-old boy? Were there demands for
Adam’s release? Did Chris have any idea where to look for his
brother? Buck feared the answers, worried about Chris’
response, and was afraid of awakening Chris' anger. Chris had a
quick temper and Buck had been on the receiving end of Chris’ ire on
more than one occasion. So Buck grinned, perhaps they would
discuss this later. “And you always find a way of answering none
the woman?” Chris lifted his chin and pointed to the saloon where he’d
seen them disappear earlier that morning.
unable to stop the response. So Chris had seen him arrive and
hadn’t bothered to meet up with him. A heavy sadness weighed him
down. But he wouldn’t let it ruin his day. He’d been
reunited with his best friend, and that had to mean something to Chris.
Sure, the seven-year-old was probably still grieving his mother, and
Adam’s kidnapping had to be worrying him also, but Buck was back in his
life, he would make it better for Chris. If he was allowed.
“Oh, that’s, Cora,” he dismissed easily.
“Reckon she’s tryin’ to drum up some business… ta her way of
thinkin’, it’s becomin’ a might slow back home,” he grinned.
“Figured I’d tag along for the ride…” He paused for a minute and
considered the words he’d just spoken and bust into a fit of laughter.
Going for a ride…that’s what most of the ladies did for a living in
the place he called home. And one of those ladies, at one time, had
been his mother.
softened as Buck recalled Marcy Wilmington. She’d done her best,
supporting her son for the first six years of his life, but the
circumstances that brought Marcy to Cora’s establishment were not a
happy time for the young widow. Buck had pestered his mother
time and again to relate the sad tale of a newly married woman who’d
lost her husband not long after their nuptials only to find herself with
child and alone in the midst of an unfamiliar territory. No one had
wanted to employ a woman, much less a woman encumbered with a dependant.
Work was scarce. And she resorted to an age-old profession to
survive. She’d never considered giving up her only child and she
never did return to her hometown. Buck often wondered if this was
the truth, but he wouldn’t besmirch her memory by attempting to find out
The memory misted
the boy’s eyes and he grimaced, wiping his face to hide his emotions
from Chris who was watching him intently. He’d never told Chris
how Marcy had died; but Larabee was a smart kid, and probably suspected
something dire when, two years ago Buck had turned up on Sarah Larabee’s
doorstep crying his heart out. After that time, Buck had been always
at their home. He’d spent most of his days playing and fishing and
getting into mischief with Chris and Adam, and then there was school.
It was only at nights that Buck would return to his sparse room in the
bordello that he’d initially shared with his mother until her death, and
afterwards, by himself. Cora hadn’t the heart to toss him out, and
she even worked out a routine for her working girls to keep an eye on the
Over the space of
those two years Buck had fallen into a routine and considered himself a
part of the Larabee family. When Sarah had died in the house fire,
and Adam kidnapped from their ranch, Buck felt the pain and trauma Chris
had been exposed to; yet he felt worse…Was he entitled to grieve for
his surrogate family? And he couldn’t help but feel guilty for
stopping Chris from taking on the men who’d killed his mother and
kidnapped Adam. The way Chris had looked at him…in fact it was
very similar to how young Larabee was looking at him now. “You
couldn’t have helped them,” Buck attempted to ease the younger boy’s
“How would you
know? You didn’t even give me a chance!”
“I saw what
happened…I was there! Adam was my friend, too, Chris and I think
you know how I felt about your mother.”
“Then why did
you stop me?”
“What could you
have done? Except gettin’ yerself killed, too. How would
that help Adam?”
Chris scowled at
the taller boy. He didn’t want to listen to Buck. He wanted
things back the way they were, but that was never going to happen.
He did the next best thing, and that was to slug Buck on the chin.
Buck stumbled back a step, but didn’t fall over.
Larabee adopted a
fighter’s stance…they’d done this many times before. “Come
on, Wilmington…” he baited. “You gonna let me whip you with
Buck licked his
lips and stared dumbly. But when Larabee took a second swing at the
older boy, he quickly dodged the flailing fist. As Chris followed
through, Buck grabbed him by the shirttails and pushed him to the ground.
“Want ta fight, Larabee? Come and get me,” Buck urged, dancing
around the sprawled boy.
rolled and kicked out at the same time, collecting Buck in the shins and
bringing him down to the ground.
Buck let out an,
“Oomph.” They rolled together, grappling and kicking and
squirming, stirring up the dust and cursing each other loudly.
Elbows and knees connected with flesh, boots and fists buried hard.
If anyone noticed the two boys rolling about on the ground they were
unwilling to break up the pair, or leastwise interfere.
finished, Buck sported a black eye, which was swelling quickly and several
other scrapes on his face, arms and body. His shirt was pulled out
of his pants, and ripped in several places and his back and front were
coated in a thick layer of dust. He sat back on his heels glaring at
his best friend, gauging the injuries he’d inflicted on the boy, and
considered they must look quite the pair.
Chris bent at the
waist, his hands captured on his knees; he was still panting. Blood
dripped from his nose and it fell in pools, forming bloody puddles at his
feet. He sniffed, and squeezed both nostrils together, hoping to
stem the flow. He glanced up at Buck, and saw the damage he’d
done. He couldn’t help the grin that spread over his face.
“You look like hell, Buck.”
“That’d be damn near impossible, but you don’t look so great yerself. You got that out of your system? Can we go back ta being friends again?”
wasn’t your fault, Buck.”
“Yer a real
smart ass, Wilmington.”
He grinned around the swollen features.
back home…got some friends who are gonna help me find Adam.” Not
to mention his mother’s killers.
Back out to the homestead?” Why did that seem so strange to
Buck? Chris, Adam and their mother had lived just east of Eagle Bend
their entire lives. Once Chris left, after his mother’s murder and
Adam’s kidnapping, Buck figured he’d never see the youngster again.
But here he was.
“No need for you
to come along.” Chris could easily predict his friend’s
thoughts. He was always trying to help, or take care of people
he cared about.
“Yeah, there is.
So if it’s all the same, I think I’ll ride this one out with you.”
“Next day or
so…you can meet the others. What’re you gonna tell Cora?”
his hand skyward. “She won’t even know I’m gone. I’ll
tell her, but she’ll prob’ly be grateful that I’m finally movin’
“Then it’s six of us…” Chris thought momentarily of JD Dunne and his determination to help Chris in his search for Adam, but quickly shook his head. There wasn’t a place for Dunne…he was too much of a greenhorn, and would be more of a hindrance than help. He refocused on Buck and grinned, “You’re gonna really like Vin…”
Next story:- Creating Mischief - Coming Soon
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