Rating: PG-13 Language
Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven is owned by Trilogy, Mirish, MGM, and some others I'm not sure of. I'm not making any money.
Universe: Easterner AU
Author's Notes: This is a short missing scene for my story The Easterner. You'll need to read that story for this one to make sense. Thanks to Phyllis for betaing if for me, and for also giving me a great idea in it. Feedback is always greatly appreciated. Please let me know what you think. Thank you, Ruby :)
Vengeance - Missing Scene for The Easterner
Larabee, Sanchez and Standish caught up with Tanner about a mile out of town. Chris trotted his horse until he was riding abreast with Vin, then he slowed to a walk. He knew that Ezra and Josiah would hang back and give the two men some space.
Glancing over at his best friend, Chris saw the rage that had taken up residence on the tracker's face. Vin's body was tense, his usual fluid grace when riding replaced with a stiffness rarely seen in the young sharpshooter.
Chris pursed his lips, pulling in a long breath through his nose and then letting it out as he opened his mouth. "As much as we want to, we can't kill 'em."
Tanner's head jerked up. He looked at Chris with hate-filled eyes. "You better get on back, then, Larabee. 'Cause those men are dyin'." Vin's right eye twitched slightly as he turned his gaze back to the trail in front of him.
Larabee raised his eyebrows and shook his head. "Damn, Tanner, remind me to never piss you off." He waited for a moment to see if his friend would say anything else, and when he didn't, he legged his horse closer to Vin's, so they were riding stirrup to stirrup. When he spoke, his voice was hard and carried a finality to it that he hoped Tanner would hear. "Vin, listen, dammit. I know what they did was terrible. Hell, I'd like to take their heads off too, but we can't. We just can't. We're lawmen. We can't go about killing people for no reason."
Tanner narrowed his eyes as he pulled his horse in front of Chris's, stopping him in his tracks. Vehemence oozed out of every pore as he spoke through clenched teeth. "For -no- reason?" He glared at his best friend.
Chris shook his head. He leaned forward, nonchalant, placing his wrists on the saddle horn, one over the other. He took a couple breaths before he said, "You know damn well what I meant. They beat the boy, did unspeakable things to him, but that ain't a hangin' offense." He watched his friend warily. "We'll teach 'em a lesson, then we'll send them on their way. Nothin' more, nothin' less."
Tanner's lip rose in a sneer. After a long moment of silence, he hissed, "The law mean that much to you, Larabee?" He glanced up the trail and then back at Chris. "So much so that those bastards won't get what they deserve? There's only one thing to do with people who beat kids like that boy was beaten. You fix 'em so's they can't do it again. It's that simple."
By this time Josiah and Ezra had brought their horses to a stop close to the two men. Sharing an uncomfortable glance, both men looked away, sitting tense on their horses, waiting for the coming storm that was brewing.
Chris squinted up at the sun and then down at his hands. Finally, he cocked his head to look at his best friend sideways. "You'd kill those men for beating that kid?"
Vin stared him down. "I'm surprised that you wouldn't, Larabee." He narrowed his eyes. "Whoever done the whippin', we don't kill 'im now, he's gonna do it again. Might not be Dunne next time, but it'll be some boy," his voice cracked, "some boy who's gonna have the holy tar beat out of him and then's gonna grow up hard and mean just like I di-" His mouth snapped shut and he glared at Larabee accusingly. Quickly, he whirled his horse around and spurred it into a run down the trail and away from the others.
Chris suddenly saw Tanner in a new light. He felt like he was suddenly able to see inside his best friend. Things instantly made sense. He heard a cough and turned to look at the two men sitting on their horses behind him.
Ezra was staring in the direction that Vin had just taken off in, his eyebrows raised, his mouth slightly open, a strange light in his eyes.
Josiah nudged his horse up to Chris and then frowned as he too looked after Vin. "We better get after him 'fore he does something that he'll regret later."
Chris nodded. And then said softly, "You know, back at the clinic, I honestly thought he was just 'talking', you know, about adding another murder to his wanted poster."
Josiah nodded. "We never know what demons reside in our hearts until they're brought to light. Looks like Brother Vin has some demons from his past he needs to work through. And killing them Easterners isn't going to lay those demons to rest. It'll most likely create more."
Chris agreed. "Let's get after him. Bring him home." He turned to see that Ezra was deep in thought, his face lined with some inner pain. "Ezra," he said softly, "let's get after Vin and get on back to town. Check on the kid."
Ezra looked up at him, guilt covering his face. "Yes, sir, Mr. Larabee." He kicked his horse into a canter, passing Josiah and Larabee with a tip of his hat and coat tails flapping.
Josiah and Chris shared a grim look and then took off after the enigmatic young gambler.
the end (March 2003)
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