Part 8 of the Stupid collection
Dont worry, Chris. Ill hold on to ya, I wont let ya slip away.
Vin was holding Chris Larabee in his arms and breathed in concert with the gunslinger, trying to bring his own rhythm of deep, healthy breaths over on the man he was cradling against his chest.
Yeah, thats it! Keep breathing, Chris. Keep breathing!
It was the most important thing hed ever done in his life.
Come on, Cowboy, ya gotta keep breathing, he whispered softly in the ear under the lank, blond tresses. Ya gotta, fer all them hardheads that call themselves lawmen or Larabees gang. JD sure likes that name! Ya gotta stay and lead them, cause frankly I think things wouldnt go real smooth if those idiots didnt have you ta keep them in line. Oh, I know they got their hearts in the right place, its their thinking Im worried about!
Did he see a small smile on that hot, sweaty face?
Ya gotta hold on fer the town as well, he continued with a first sliver of hope. I know they dont appreciate enough what yer doing, but they sure need ya. And dont ferget Mary, I still think she got the hots for ya. Or Billy, ya gotta keep breathing fer Billy as well!
And for me!
Who was he kidding here? He wanted Chris to stay alive for him. He didnt want to be alone again!
Time passed and Vin held on to his friend. He shook his head when Buck offered to take over, he shook his head again when Nathan suggested that pillows would do just as well. No, they wouldnt! And frankly, Vin could do without those distractions. He had a job to do, he had to keep Chris with him.
Afternoon gave way to evening and slowly the body in his arms became calmer, more relaxed. Slowly the sound of the gunslingers breathing became less harsh and less erratic. Chris face had lost that flushed feverish look and Nathan had stopped applying cool damp clothes on the gunslingers body.
Vin knew that things were finally looking up. Chris fever had broken.
He didnt dare hope yet though. Too many times in his life things had gone wrong for him. So he shook his head when Nathan suggested he get some rest and kept holding on.
He kept holding on until those brilliant green eyes opened and looked into his. He kept holding on even then, when Chris whispered his name and tried to raise a hand to his face. He cradled the lean body even more snug against his chest and whispered soothing words when Chris face contorted in pain after that small movement.
Nathan came over and held a cup of water against the parched lips. Chris drank greedily and had to be stopped. Too late, the water already came back. Vin held the gunslinger while Nathan carefully wiped Chris body dry and whispered reassuringly when afterwards the water was given in small amounts at a time.
Nathan cautiously prodded the wounds and the lean body started to tremble. H... hurts! Chris whispered.
His voice was so soft, so weak. It tore at Vins heart to see this strong man so weak. He was instantly afraid again and looked up at Nathan.
His fever broke, Vin. That means hes finally got a good chance ta survive.
Not hes going to survive, but hes got a chance.
So Vin decided he wasnt going to let go just yet, he didnt care what Nate and Buck had to say on the matter. He definitely didnt care!
When Nathan checked the wounds more thoroughly, Chris was leaning against the tracker. When Buck fed him willowbark tea, Vins arms were holding him up. And when the gunslinger fell asleep, Vin still wouldnt let go.
He couldnt, he just couldnt.
He did sort of drift off into sleep himself.
The next morning a beam of sunlight woke him. Instantly he looked at the man he was still holding in his arms. Chris breathing was wonderfully normal, his chest going up and down regularly. Carefully Vin moved one hand upwards and felt the gunslingers brow.
He sighed in relief. No heat, there was no heat anymore. Chris fever really had broken.
Eyelids fluttered on the still face beneath him. Vin found he was holding his breath, not wanting to disturb the man. It didnt help, the eyes opened anyway. Green orbs, no longer bright with fever locked onto him. Vin saw the pain in them and winced in sympathy.
Then the face beneath him smiled. Vin, the soft voice whispered. You look like sh... shit!
Vin couldnt help it, he had to grin back.
So do you, Cowboy, so do you!