By Any Name

by Estee

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 won’t recognize you," he explained with calm concern in his voice.

“That’s what I’s thinkin’ too!” Vin said. One reason he got on so well with Chris Larabee was that the man’s 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 I’m me."

"Get yourself a new name?" Chris asked, feeling both puzzled and surprised. Vin had declared, time and time again, that he’d never, ever consider changing his name.

Vin gave him a devilish grin and rocked back on his boot heels, obviously pleased with himself. “Sneaky, ain’t it?”

“Uh, yeah.” Chris was pretty sure the lawmen would recognize Vin Tanner’s face from the wanted posters they carried with them, but he didn’t want to insult his friend by mentioning this, and Vin had survived a lot of years on his own, so he couldn’t 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 y’all were to call me Vic—“

"Vic?" Chris asked drolly.

The tracker grinned. “Yep, has a nice ring to it, don't ya think? ‘Course, I’d have to keep the Tanner part.”

“Oh, of course.”

“Wouldn’t 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.

“Wouldn’t want that.” Chris pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don’t know, Vin.”



“If’n it’s gonna work, ya can’t be callin’ me by my given name no more.”

“Right. Okay, okay, listen….” He didn’t want to insult Vin, but Vin’s 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 he’d felt confident that this plan was just as brilliant as all the rest of his plans. He’d even spoken with Buck and Ezra, and both had agreed to help them. They’d come up with two ideas for disguises; he doubted Vin would be thrilled with either one, so he figured he’d tell him the worst one – Ezra’s idea -- first, then maybe he wouldn’t 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 ain’t gettin me to dress up like no gal, Chris!”

“Now Vin….”

“No way, Chris. Won’t work. Fer one thing, I ain’t purty like Ez.”

“Ya are, too.” Not that Chris usually paid attention to that sort of thing, but hell, any fool could see . . .. “You’re purty enough, Vin.”

“Vic – and no I ain’t, ‘sides, Chris…ya know I can’t sing.”

Well, he had a point there. Chris had heard him sing once, and he really couldn’t imagine the boy dressed in drag and honkin’ that damn mouth organ of his. “Okay, well, here’s my other plan….”

Vin nodded, reluctantly willing to give Chris another chance.

“We’ll need to get rid of the buckskin,” Chris gestured to Vin’s beloved coat, “get you a shave and maybe trim that mop of yours up a little.” Chris figured with all that accomplished, the tracker wouldn’t look any older than JD – maybe even younger.

“I don’t 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 you’re his son. He’s an ex-lawman, so most likely they’ll believe him.” Who woulda figured that Buck Wilmington’s 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-Buck’s son?” Vin’s voice squeaked embarrassingly. He hated when that happened. Most times Chris’ plans were second to none, but Vin wasn’t likin’ the sounds of this particular one. Not at all.

Chris could tell by the stubborn set of the tracker’s 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.”

Vin’s eyes lit up, a corner of his mouth twitched. “Go on, I’m listenin’.”

“Gimme that coat,” Chris said, holding out his hand. “We’ll get you all cleaned up, and we’ll call you Vic, but if anyone questions you, you’re gonna have to tell them your Buck’s son. There’s no other way.”

Vin scowled, but handed over his coat. Maybe he’d be better off taking his chances with the lawmen?

“It won’t 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 ain’t callin’ him Pa,” Vin declared, frowning at Chris.

“Now, Vin . . ..”

“Vic,” reminded Vin.

Chris rolled his eyes. “Vic.”

“Who’s Vic?” Buck asked, too loudly.

Chris massaged his temples; he could feel a headache coming on.

“I am,” answered Vin.

Buck’s eyebrows drew together thoughtfully then he shrugged and laughed, apparently having made the connection. “Okay, Vic…what d’ya 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, he’d be ready to hang himself.

~ the end ~