Cards or Flowers by LaraMee

Main Character(s): Chris, Vin, Nathan

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, don't profit off 'em. Jist LOVE playin' with 'em!!

Notes: Written for Kaly, who was upset that Vin's owwie was pretty much ignored by Chris in Lady Killers. This is sort of a missing scene, my take on what might have happened. This is one of my older fics.

This appeared on the 'net some time ago, but was removed to be published by Neon Rainbow Press. Then it was lost when another website was pulled. So now I'm sending it to the Queen of our realm, Nancy, the Lady of Blackraptor!

Nathan Jackson had been busy. The attack by the Del Spivak gang had left one of the gang members dead, another injured. Vin Tanner had been injured as well. Three cracked ribs and a shoulder injury had been the result of his being knocked head over heels by one of the gang's horse through a hitching post. Nathan and Ezra Standish had gone to the fallen tracker as soon as they could reach him. Then, called to the side of the more seriously injured gang member, Nathan had entrusted Vin to Josiah Sanchez, while Ezra went to keep an eye on their youngest member, J.D. Dunne. J.D. had ridden out, hell-bent-for-leather after the gang, the gambler hot on his trail.

As soon as he could get the gang member's wound bound so that they could move him, Jackson enlisted Buck and Chris to take the man up to his clinic. He ran ahead to get things ready for both patients. Josiah had gotten Tanner up the stairs and into the clinic already, and was in the process of helping the young man out of his hide coat and shirt.

After tending to the wounded Kirkland, Spivak's scout, the healer had once again put one of his friends back together. Sometimes he felt that this was the main purpose he served in the group - patching up one or another of the six men he rode with. He was just glad that this time at least all of the bullet wounds were in the outlaws. Once he had bound the man's ribs and immobilized his shoulder, Nathan helped Vin back into his clothes. Jackson would have preferred keeping the young tracker in his clinic over night, but Vin was never comfortable inside for very long. Rather than argue, he allowed their sharpshooter to leave the clinic, as long as he promised to take it easy and follow orders.

As they left the clinic, one of the young female bounty hunters - the blonde that he remembered had introduced herself as Kate - came flying up the stairs, intent on questioning their prisoner. Although he got her agreement to wait for him to walk Vin down the stairs, he didn't have a lot of faith that she was telling the truth. Tanner was right, she was grittier than eggs rolled in sand. He would have to get back to his clinic as soon as he could. He wasn't about to just let the tracker walk away though; he intended to deliver him to the care of one of the other peacekeepers for the time being.

Just as Nathan and Vin reached the midpoint of the stairs, a black-clad figure appeared at the bottom. Chris Larabee squinted up at the two men. "He okay, Nathan?"

"I kin answer fer m'self," Tanner grumbled.

"Yeah, I know," Chris agreed, "and I might even get the truth out of you...but I doubt it." He smiled at the younger man. As the other two men reached the bottom step, Larabee reached out and took Vin's right arm. Looking at Nathan , he continued to wait for an answer.

"He'll be alright as long as he does what he's told and takes it easy. I don't want him' doin' much of anything for a couple of days, and I sure don't want him on Peso - or any other horse - for at least a week."

"Ah hell, Nathan," Vin groused.

"You heard me," Jackson growled back, shaking a finger at the younger man.

"I'll make sure of it," Chris promised. The fact that Tanner was now glaring at him did not escape his notice. "Ain't scared of you when you've got two working wings, pard, sure ain't gonna back down from you now."

Muttering something under his breath, the hunter started up the street. Winking up at Nathan, Larabee strode after him, catching up with the other man in a few quick strides. Slowing then to match Vin's gait, he said, "where you heading cowboy?"


"Sure you're up to it?"

"Don't you start, Larabee," Vin growled. "Don't need a damn babysitter."

"Just asked a question, don't get riled up," Chris held out his hands in surrender.

Stopping, Vin rubbed his hand across his neck and shook his head. "Aw hell, Chris, I'm sorry. Don't mean t' bite your head off. Just kickin' m'self for bein' so stupid and gettin' busted up by them yahoos."

"Well, pard, the way I see it, you were just being Vin Tanner...or maybe Robin Hood," he grinned as he used the name Ezra had bestowed on him sometime earlier. Come on, I'll buy the first round." Putting a hand on his friend's shoulder, he gently pushed the tracker toward the saloon.

Stepping inside the dim room, Tanner started toward the bar. Chris, his hand still on the other man's shoulder, turned him toward a table. "You go sit. I'll bring a bottle over." With a curt growl, Tanner did as he was told. Inwardly he sighed with relief. He wasn't certain as to how long he was going to be able to stay on his feet. Gingerly easing down onto one of the chairs, he stifled a groan. By the time he had settled in, Larabee was approaching the table, carrying a bottle and two shot glasses. Nodding as Chris handed him a glass, Vin sipped at the whiskey.

Tipping his own glass toward the hunter, the gunman said, "Glad you're okay."

"Hell, Chris, it'd take more'n a horse t' get me down." Then he stopped, taking in the concern that shone in the hazel eyes. He met the gaze with one of confusion. "I am okay, Chris."

I know," the older man said softly. "Just feeling a little guilty for not being there for you, pard."

"Seems t' me you had your hands full, what with lookin' out fer th' judge, dealin' with them female hunters...Kirkland...the gang..." he shook his head. "You figger on bein' ever' where an' doin' ever'thing yerself, yer gonna get awful tired awful quick."

A slow smile spread across Larabee's handsome face. With a chuckle, he filled both glasses. Saluting his friend with the bottle, he sat back and relaxed. Sometimes being the leader of the oddball group of peacekeepers could be more than he wanted to deal with. But deep down, he had to admit to himself, that it was worth it...he had a family once again.

The End