"RNLI" Alternate Universe
Notes: This story could not have been written without KT's help and encouragement, plus she started this wonderful playpen for the guys. She and I did the beta job so all the mistakes are mine.
Characters: Buck and Josiah with the others joining in.
Father Josiah Sanchez ambled into the Lifeboat Inn and smiled graciously at the beautiful Hispanic woman who was serving lunch to a couple of tourists. He shifted his gaze and found the man he had come to the pub to talk to. The priest made his way to the bar and stuck his hand out. It was grabbed warmly and firmly by the inn's owner.
"Josiah, what can I get you to eat? I swear, Inez outdid herself today. The kidney pie is wonderful." Buck finished wiping down the bar and then turned his full attention to his old friend and crew mate.
"I have come to propose a little fishing trip to you. A parishioner of mine just got a new fishing boat and has offered it to me next Saturday." He leaned over the bar conspiratorially. "The mackerel should still be running."
"Well now, you know how I love to go mackerel fishing but I have a game and then work to do on Saturday night. I can't just up and leave my pub on a busy night." His tome spoke louder than his words when he declined. "I really would love to go but I can't. Sorry Josiah."
Inez had walked up to get drinks for her customers and had heard her boss. He was far more than just her boss but other than the man himself, only Josiah knew how much she loved him. It was better that way, she had convinced herself and him. Since she couldn't treat him the way she would have liked, this seemed an opportunity to treat him. The man loved three things: his inn, his rugby, and mackerel fishing.
"Buck, I believe that for one Saturday, we could get along without you. It is September and the tourists have slowed down. Gloria, JD, and myself can handle things until you get back. You can't be gone all night, you can't fish in the dark" Cocking her head to the side, she smiled that special smile that he found so hard to resist.
Thinking it over for a minute, the tall publican inquired, "Are you sure you want to handle everything by yourself? I could ask Vin to come and help out. He's had enough free meals here."
"Yes, I am sure. Casey will probably be here to lend a hand also. Tell Father Sanchez you will go with him." She put her hands on her hips. Matters were settled in her mind.
It took Buck a few seconds longer. He smiled and kissed Inez on her cheek. "Thank you Sweetheart." Turning back to Josiah, the smile still plastered on his face, he changed his answer. "I would love to go with you. Wait, don't you have a sermon to preach on Saturday?"
"Already took care of that. I'll do the five o'clock service and Father Connery will take confession. Mackerel don't bite until about sundown anyway, so you even have time to celebrate some before we go." He had worked the whole thing out with his curate before accepting John Cooley's offer of the boat. Evidently, the car dealer thought that by offering the village priest his new boat that he could skate on a few confessions. Josiah loved to go out late in the afternoon and fish with his good friend. He thought the deal with Cooley was a fair one.
"Well, can't say yet that there will be much celebrating but we sure are going to try. Bosliven moved up just like we did and they figure that we are their best chance for a win. So even though its only the second match of the season, they'll be out for blood." Buck glanced over at the framed photo that hung behind the bar. It was of the whole rugby team right after they had won the title last year. That was the reason why, even though they were a small town, they had moved up in divisions to play the larger towns. Buck didn't figure that they would do quite as well this year but it was an honor to be recognized that way.
Josiah shook his head and grinned. "I have every faith in you, Ezra, and the rest of the team. You will be victorious," he declared. And then he added, "But just in case, I'll light a candle and send a few prayers up His way. Should swing the luck in our favor."
Buck laughed out laugh, a rich baritone sound that carried throughout the inn. "I guess I better stock up on the stout then if I'm going to be throwing a victory party. Can't wait until Saturday."
"I'll be there for the start of the game to get you off on the right foot. Meet me at the fishing docks at, say six?"
"I'll be there. Might even talk Inez into packing us a hamper with some of her famous (what is a good sandwich) so we don't starve. Thanks Josiah."
+ + + + + + +
Saturday turned out to be sunny and warm, a perfect "indian summer" day. Buck made sure all of his fishing gear was checked and placed by the rear door so he could quickly stow it in the Volvo when he got back from the rugby match. Inez was willing to fill a hamper with all of his favorites, here I need some food that Buck could take along. Gloria and Vin were going to help out during the supper crowd and Casey, JD's girlfriend, was even going to do some of the dirty work in the kitchen. All of his friends had only been too glad to pitch in so he could get in one last trip this season, out on the sea, to catch mackerel.
The big brunette gathered his rugby gear together, packing it carefully into his duffle. All the safety gear went in first, followed by his trademark red gum shield. On top, he laid his black shorts and then his neatly pressed navy and red hooped shirt and matching socks. Picking up his boots, duffle in hand, he headed downstairs.
"You coming with me, boy?" he called out to his boarder, JD. The young man had quickly wormed his way into Buck's heart and home when he moved to Four Corners shortly after his mother died. The teen turned and smiled at his 'big brother'.
"Nah, I'm going to go pick up Casey out at the stables but she can't get off until all the horses are back in and put away. We might be a little late but we'll be there. Good luck, not that you guys need it."
"Thanks JD. I gotta get going so I'll see you later." He headed through the kitchen to the backdoor, stopping to say farewell to the fiery Hispanic woman that was in the middle of the lunch time rush.
"Le deseamo una tener cuidado, novio. Mucha suerte." Inez wiped a strand of dark hair out of her eyes with her elbow, her hands busy wrapping burritos.
"I will and thanks, mi amado. See you around four thirty." With that, he was out the door, his mind on the rugby match.
Steering the yellow Volvo into a parking spot near the clubhouse, Buck noticed that Ezra was already there. He remembered a time when Standish got to the field just in time to play and left immediately after the match. How times had changed. The scrum half was an integral part of the team and his life now, being one of his best friends and a crew mate on the lifeboat. He gathered his stuff together and made his way into the clubhouse. He waved hello to a few people before he entered the locker room.
"Hey, Ez, ya all ready for the match?" he asked, spotting the smaller man tying up his boots. The two of them, working together, had taken the team forward in leaps and bounds with innovative new strategy and a fierce determination.
Standish looked up and scowled. However, his eyes gleamed with pride and warmth upon seeing his pal. "Ezra, my name is Ezra, Mr. Wilmington. After all these months and adventures together, I would assume that you were acquainted with that fact."
Buck just laughed and began to strip. He soon had on the navy and red jersey that he wore with great pride. He took his time putting on his socks and boots. When he was finished, he checked how he looked in the mirror and found he looked pretty sharp. He was ready to play.
He turned around and joined the nineteen other team members as they gathered around Father Sanchez. The priest said a brief prayer for their safety and then asked God to be on their side during the match. When he was done, they all pumped themselves up with a chant of "Go Team" and finally, they made their way out to the pitch.
Since Four Corners was the home team, they kicked off. The contest was a tight match with both teams finding it hard to move the ball consistantly. Towards the end of the first half, one of the forwards for Bosliven was shouldered near the touchline and was called in touch. Buck lined up with Gabe Lennon for the line out as Paul Rostock prepared for the throw in.
Behind him, Buck could hear Ezra softly call his name. Without turning his head, he nodded, letting the scrum half know that he was listening.
"DP right, I'll be on the blindside." It was all he had to say, he was confident the big man would completely understand the strategy.
Paul got off a marvelous toss and Buck caught it clean. Gabe blocked a tackle coming in from the right and Buck, after running straight ahead, shaking off two attempted tackles, and gaining twenty yards, was on the left edge of the pitch. He faked a pass to Rory Nilson and three backs fell for it. Knowing Ezra would be in position, he toss it to his left. The wiley halfback caught it in full stride and tiptoed his way down the touchline and over the goal line, putting the ball down for a five point try. Rupert Montgomery, their best kicker, added another two points for a goal after. Four Corners went into the half ahead 17-13.
The second half was even tougher. Four Corners managed to stay ahead with some nifty running by Ezra and a sensational drop kick goal by Lennon with two minutes left in the game. All they had to do was stop Bosliven from scoring a try.
Buck positioned himself in the middle of the field. He could hear the fans cheering them on. He was pumped up, high on adreneline, when the ball got knocked free from the Bosliven center. Buck dove for the ball at the same time the opponent's #8 kicked wildly at it. He never came near the ball but he made solid contact with the side of Buck's head. Buck retained his hold on two things: the ball and his consciousness. A whistle blew and a referee came running up.
"Infraction, #8, Four Corners. Scrummage right here." He grabbed the ball from a woozy Wilmington and both teams settled in for a scrum, Bosliven getting to put the ball in. Their hooker gained immediate control and snagged it back to their front row. The front row pushed it back and the ball ended up in the hands of the Bosliven fullback.
The fullback, not a clever chap, was stunned when control of the ball and the game came to him. He began to run but not convincingly. As teammates from Four Corners formed a marauding charge towards him, he passed the ball to his right wing. Sly Delany was quick and he knew how to play the game. With only twenty seconds to go, he was well aware that he had to get over the goal line. Down the touchline he raced. He could see the opening and he squirted through. Now he was in the open and running for the win.
Buck saw who had the ball and just where he was headed. With all the intensity that he had left, he lengthened his stride and launched himself. His arms wrapped around Sly's calves and down the wing man went, his right heel coming up and catching the big man from Four Corners just below his eye. Stretching his arms out, the ball came up two yards short of the goal line. The game ended with Four Corners winning 31 to 27.