A Helpful Shove

by Marie

Disclaimer: Trilogy, Mirisch and MGM own The Magnificent Seven.

Comments: This is in response to Robin’s Challenge #21 – The Sucker Punch. Buck gets a little tired with Chris’s beating about the bush, so he "helps out".

"From now on, Buck, those are the only females I’m interested in."

Buck Wilmington was becoming quite tired of his best friend’s continual talk on his "finished" relationship with Sarah Connolly. Really tired. And fed up. At last, Chris seemed to have found something to take his mind off her.

"Those?" Buck asked, bemused.

"Yep. Why not?" Chris asked, gazing at the new objects of his desire with smiling eyes. "They’re tall, dark, beautiful, friendly, good-tempered – unlike some girls – and they like me."

"Chris – they’re horses," Buck helpfully pointed out, wondering if young Mr. Larabee had finally gone mad.

"Exactly," he replied. "The only females I’m interested in from now on."

Buck groaned. The two were standing at the paddock at Larabee’s place admiring his proud animals. Since Chris and Sarah’s argument about her father’s behavior, they had not seen one another. Meanwhile, Chris had not stopped talking about her. About how he was right and she was wrong. About how he was right and her father was wrong. About how they were not a good match in the first place. (This particular conversation had not lasted long as no credible reasons were offered.) About how stubborn she was, and so on.

Buck turned to him. "Chris, why don’t you just go over there and sort it out?"

"Me? Go over there??" He was amazed at how stupid Buck could be. "No way! She’s the one who’s gonna come begging – I did nothing wrong!!" He laughed at the madness of the idea.

"Nothing but call her father a conniving, sly, ignorant old b - "

"Well he is!"

"And he is her father, no matter what you call him," Buck reminded him. Hank was not a big fan of Chris; still, Sarah was his daughter, and nothing would ever change the way they felt about one another.

"Well, I am not going begging. And it’s not that I care about her that much."

Buck attempted to stifle a laugh. "Sure, Chris, whatever you say."

Chris turned to him, frowning. "What’s that supposed to mean?"

"You love Sarah. Any fool can see that – except maybe a stubborn fool."

Chris stuck a finger threateningly into his chest. "Now you listen here -"

"No, you listen to me for once," Buck interrupted. "You two are gonna sort this out, because I am not going to go through one more minute of your whining and complaining."

"Whining?! Who’s whining?" he yelled, annoyed at the suggestion that he was a whiner.

Buck drew a long, deep breath.

"Chris, you mind if I tell you something?"

Instead of waiting for an answer, he continued, "You’re annoying the hell outta me."

Larabee would have been quite taken aback by his friend’s blunt remark, but did not have time to feel anything, apart from the thud of Buck’s fist on his jaw. He dropped to the ground in a heap.

"Now you’ll quit whining for a while," he said, tidying himself up after his slight exertion. "Now then, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…"

+ + + + + + +

A little later, young Wilmington arrived at Connolly’s place. He knocked at the open door before stepping inside. All was quiet.

"Can I help you?" Sarah asked from behind him, making him jump the height of himself. She stepped around him, carrying a bundle of clean washing inside with her.

"Matter of fact, you can," he replied, removing his hat in an attempt to compose himself.

"I suppose he sent you here?" she asked, setting down her bundle and beginning to fold it up.

"Well, no –"

"Not that it matters," she continued quickly. "I’m not going over there until I get an apology from him."

Buck groaned inwardly. One was as stubborn as the other! Luckily he was on hand to set things right, otherwise each of them would wait until doomsday for the other to make the first move.

"Actually, he doesn’t know I’m here," Buck told her.

"Oh! So he doesn’t care! Well, if that’s the way he wants it, then that’s fine with me!" She flamed up all of a sudden and flung the shirt she had been folding down onto a nearby chair in a temper.

"Women!" thought Buck. "Never satisfied! Time for plan B."

Plan A had been to win her around with some good old Buck-style persuasion, and have her meekly ride back to Larabee’s with him, solely down to his "animal magnetism". However, seeing it would not work with this particular female, plan B would have to come into action.

"Sarah," he began gently, looking at the fuming Miss Connolly, hands on her hips. "Chris is hurt."

"What do you mean, ‘hurt’?" she asked with a tilt of the head.

"Well, when I left, he was lying on the ground in some pain, so I came to get you," he answered truthfully.

"You what??!" she shrieked, rushing outside past him to his horse.

"Where are you going?" he called after her.

"Where do you think?" she replied, jumping up. Buck stood agape, unused to taking orders from a girl younger than him. "Come on!" she yelled furiously from his horse’s back. Buck yanked his hat back into position, ran out and jumped up in front of her, before galloping off at a furious pace to the injured sweetheart.

+ + + + + + +

Not a word was spoken along the way, until Chris could be seen sitting, propped up by the paddock fence, with no movement. "Oh, Lord," Sarah murmured, as Buck stopped alongside him. She jumped off and knelt down beside him.

"Chris? Chris! It’s me, Sarah." She pushed his blond hair gently back from his forehead as his eyes flickered open, blinking at the bright sunlight shining down on them.

"Sarah?" he groaned, slowly coming around.

"It’s okay, honey, you’re going to be just fine," she soothed, before looking up at a nervous Buck.

"What happened?"

"He, uh, walked into something," Buck hesitated.
"Sarah?" Chris began again, reaching out to her. She took his hand and put a careful arm around him to help him get to his feet.

"Let’s get you inside," she said, guiding him in with Buck’s help.

+ + + + + + +

A little later, Larabee had managed to take some coffee. He seemed to be fairly well, so Sarah asked again, "What happened?"

"Buck didn’t tell you?" he asked, looking across the table to his ‘best friend’.

"No, he only said that you walked into something," she answered, following his gaze.

"Oh, I walked into something all right," Chris continued with a smile. "Isn’t that right, Buck?"

Buck shuffled uneasily in his chair, turning his mug around in his hands. Time for explanations!
"I, uh …. hit him."
"What?" Sarah asked, unsure of what he meant, even though he had said it clearly.

"He hit me, right on the jaw," Chris continued, tenderly stroking the new bruise that was already forming. "He was getting sick and tired of me, so he decided to shut me up."

Now Sarah was really confused. "What do you mean, ‘sick and tired’ of you?"

Buck decided to reveal the whole story.

"Chris just wouldn’t stop going on and on about you. I figured someone had to do something to get you two together. You’re both as stubborn as mules -"

"We are not!" they chorused, then turned to one another and laughed. "I’m sorry," they both said at the same time before laughing again.

"Looks like my cue to go," said Buck, standing up to go as the couple held hands across the table. Sarah turned to him with a smile.

"Thanks, Buck."

"For what?" he asked, opening the door.

"For knocking some sense into both of us!"

Buck left, shutting the door behind him with a grin. Those two were made for each other, any fool could see that. However, if they needed a helpful shove along the way, Buck would be only too happy to help!


Feedback always welcome at jolarabee@yahoo.com