By Any Name
Notes: Inspired by the CBS episode summary for 'Sins of the Past': When *Vic* is arrested for a murder he didn't commit, the rest of the Seven go after the real killer.
We gotta talk, they said simultaneously.
Chris went first, being that he was the leader. I was thinking that we need to come up with a plan so those lawmen heading for town wont recognize you," he explained with calm concern in his voice.
Thats what Is thinkin too! Vin said. One reason he got on so well with Chris Larabee was that the mans mind tended to work just like his own. Hell, half the time Vin could swear they were thinkin the exact same thoughts. I reckon what I need to do is get myself a new name, and then them fellers won't ever know Im me."
"Get yourself a new name?" Chris asked, feeling both puzzled and surprised. Vin had declared, time and time again, that hed never, ever consider changing his name.
Vin gave him a devilish grin and rocked back on his boot heels, obviously pleased with himself. Sneaky, aint it?
Uh, yeah. Chris was pretty sure the lawmen would recognize Vin Tanners face from the wanted posters they carried with them, but he didnt want to insult his friend by mentioning this, and Vin had survived a lot of years on his own, so he couldnt outright discount one of his ideas. Are you sure about this?
Yep, and I been ponderin names, too, Chris, he said thoughtfully. I reckon if yall were to call me Vic
"Vic?" Chris asked drolly.
The tracker grinned. Yep, has a nice ring to it, don't ya think? Course, Id have to keep the Tanner part.
Oh, of course.
Wouldnt want to vex my ma none. Vin removed his hat and looked up to heaven, knowing his ma was looking down on him with a smile.
Wouldnt want that. Chris pinched the bridge of his nose. I dont know, Vin.
Ifn its gonna work, ya cant be callin me by my given name no more.
Right. Okay, okay, listen . He didnt want to insult Vin, but Vins plan was a little . . . lacking, and he knew his plan was more likely to work because . . . well, his plans always worked. Besides, Chris had thought about this all night, meticulously working through each detail until hed felt confident that this plan was just as brilliant as all the rest of his plans. Hed even spoken with Buck and Ezra, and both had agreed to help them. Theyd come up with two ideas for disguises; he doubted Vin would be thrilled with either one, so he figured hed tell him the worst one Ezras idea -- first, then maybe he wouldnt be so apt to refuse to go along with the second one. "Now ya gotta hear me out, Vin.
The tracker nodded, already looking apprehensive. Okay.
Okay, you remember the disguise Ezra wore that time we needed a distraction out at Wickes
Nuh unh! Vin cut him off before he could finish. No way! Ya aint gettin me to dress up like no gal, Chris!
Now Vin .
No way, Chris. Wont work. Fer one thing, I aint purty like Ez.
Ya are, too. Not that Chris usually paid attention to that sort of thing, but hell, any fool could see . . .. Youre purty enough, Vin.
Vic and no I aint, sides, Chris ya know I cant sing.
Well, he had a point there. Chris had heard him sing once, and he really couldnt imagine the boy dressed in drag and honkin that damn mouth organ of his. Okay, well, heres my other plan .
Vin nodded, reluctantly willing to give Chris another chance.
Well need to get rid of the buckskin, Chris gestured to Vins beloved coat, get you a shave and maybe trim that mop of yours up a little. Chris figured with all that accomplished, the tracker wouldnt look any older than JD maybe even younger.
I dont know, Chris. Vin fingered the curls hanging just over his shoulders. It had taken the whole season to get his hair this long.
You promised to hear me out.
Now, if any of those lawmen start asking questions about you, Buck is just gonna tell em that youre his son. Hes an ex-lawman, so most likely theyll believe him. Who woulda figured that Buck Wilmingtons less than virtuous reputation with the ladies would actually come in handy one day? The scoundrel probably had kids of all ages, all sizes and shapes, all over the damn territory.
B-Bucks son? Vins voice squeaked embarrassingly. He hated when that happened. Most times Chris plans were second to none, but Vin wasnt likin the sounds of this particular one. Not at all.
Chris could tell by the stubborn set of the trackers jaw that he was about to refuse. He had to think fast he needed a compromise, something that would nudge Vin into going along with his idea. Okay, how bout we go with both of our ideas Vic.
Vins eyes lit up, a corner of his mouth twitched. Go on, Im listenin.
Gimme that coat, Chris said, holding out his hand. Well get you all cleaned up, and well call you Vic, but if anyone questions you, youre gonna have to tell them your Bucks son. Theres no other way.
Vin scowled, but handed over his coat. Maybe hed be better off taking his chances with the lawmen?
It wont be that bad, Chris assured, reading his mind.
Just then the ladies man walked up. Well, hello, son, he said boisterously, wrapping his arm around Vin and giving him a healthy squeeze.
I aint callin him Pa, Vin declared, frowning at Chris.
Now, Vin . . ..
Vic, reminded Vin.
Chris rolled his eyes. Vic.
Whos Vic? Buck asked, too loudly.
Chris massaged his temples; he could feel a headache coming on.
I am, answered Vin.
Bucks eyebrows drew together thoughtfully then he shrugged and laughed, apparently having made the connection. Okay, Vic what dya say we get you home and get you cleaned up? No son of mine is gonna go around town lookin like a mangy sheep dog. Vin tried to pull away, but Buck squeezed him harder and began maneuvering him towards the boarding house.
Vin felt pretty sure that by the time the lawmen got here, hed be ready to hang himself.
~ the end ~