Disclaimers: I do not own Magnificent Seven I am just borrowing the guys and will return them when I am finished.
Summary: Vin tries to adapt to life with Chris.
Authors Note: The second story in my Old West Brothers Series. Please read my story The Search Ends before you read this one.
Warnings: language, angst. JD does not come across as a good guy in this story. He will redeem himself in future chapters.
Chris heaved a sigh of relief when they finally arrived at the ranch. It had been a long emotional journey but now he was home and he had his little brother with him.
Vin’s sharp eyes gazed around taking in the horses in the corral and out in the pasture not missing anything.
“Come on Vin, I’ll take care of the horses. You go on inside with Chris,” Buck urged holding his hand out for Peso’s reins.
Vin told Peso to behave then he followed Chris into the cabin. It was only three rooms but the front room was good sized as it was also the kitchen.
The family room contained a sofa and rocking chair seated around the fireplace. On the other side of the room was the kitchen area. There were a couple of cabinets and an old stove. It was fancy but it was serviceable.
There were two bedrooms leading off from the main room, each bedroom held a bed, dresser drawers and in Chris’s was a cedar chest at the foot of the bed.
“I figured we would add another bedroom on for you but for now we can share the bed. It is big enough. Besides you don’t take up much room,” Chris teased as he poked at Vin’s stomach.
Vin frowned, “You’re no bigger than me. I can sleep outside/ It's warm enough.”
“No! I don’t want you out there, I want you in here where I can make sure you are safe,” Chris asserted his whole tone conveying the message that Vin would be protected at all costs. Chris had failed to protect his brother once. It would not happen again.
Vin glanced at Chris, he wanted to assure his brother that he could take care of himself but he didn’t say anything just nodded his head.
During the ride back Buck and Vin had a chance to talk without Chris around. Buck had warned him that Chris was liable to be overprotective for a while and Vin just needed to let him hover. Buck went on to explain how Chris had followed every lead to find him had agonized over him and the guilt had been overwhelming at times.
Vin has swallowed heavily and he vowed not to do anything to give his big brother any more grief.
Chris pulled Vin into a hug as he whispered, “I know you aren’t that little boy that I left behind but you are my little brother. I know you are 21 but things are different living with white people than they are with the Indians. White people have a lot more rules, and a lot of them are very narrow minded. I just want to protect you.”
Vin laid his head on Chris’s shoulder enjoying the feeling of his brothers arms wrapped around him, they had been his safe haven when he was a kid and it looked like that feeling had not changed.
“I know I will have to get used to the differences. Flower Eyes told me about a lot of stuff, she was real good about teaching manners, how to talk and write. She said she wanted me to be ready when you found me.”
Chris pulled back and looked Vin in the eyes, “I am so glad you had Hunting Buffalo and Flower Eyes with you. They are mighty fine people.”
“Thanks Chris that means a lot,” Vin shyly stated.
“Okay boys what’s for dinner?” Buck shouted out as he entered the cabin.
Vin rolled his eyes as he said, “Is all you think about is food, Bucklin?”
“Why no Vin, actually I usually am thinking about wom…”
“Buck watch what you say,” Chris hissed his eyes flashing to Vin.
Vin blushed as he realized what Buck was thinking.
“Chris I do know what men and women do together. I’m not a baby you know.”
Chris’s mouth opened and closed several times but nothing came out. Buck really enjoyed the sight of his old friend at a loss for words.
Chris finally said in a strangled tone of voice, “Okay I didn’t need to hear that. Vin it is going to take me a bit to realize you're a young man so you will just have to bear with me.”
Vin nodded his head, “No problem big brother.”
Buck quickly changed the subject, “Let’s get something to eat, get to bed early and then head into town tomorrow.”
Chris replied, “Sounds good. I want to show my little brother off to our friends.”
Vin didn’t look to comfortable with meeting a lot of people but he knew that if he was going make a successful life with Chris he would need to do just that.
“Don’t worry Vin, I will be with you. I think you will like the guys. JD is around your age so you two should have something in common,” Chris soothed.
“I’ll be fine,” Vin said not wanting his brother to worry about him.
That settled the discussion but Chris and Buck both vowed to be with Vin for most of the visit in town until he felt comfortable being there.
The next day the three men rode into town with Vin riding in between his brother and Buck.
As they hitched their horses up outside the clinic Chris noticed how Vin’s blue eyes never missed a thing.
“See there isn’t anything fear,” he assured his brother.
“There sure are a lot of people in such a small area,” Vin commented feeling a little uncomfortable. He was used to the wide open spaces and with all the buildings so close together the town felt confining.
“You’ll get used to it,” Buck assured the nervous young man.
Chris saw a few people glance at Vin then quickly avert their eyes. He was afraid some of the towns people would have that reaction but he would set them straight real quick.
True Vin had gotten his hair cut though he would only cut it shoulder length. His kid brother also preferred to wear his buckskin coat which set him apart but Chris didn’t care. The damn people would accept his brother or they would leave. No one was more important that his kid brother.
Pulling up in front of the saloon the three men climbed off their horses and headed inside for a cold beer.
Chris led the way to a back table. Inez immediately headed over to them where Chris ordered a round of beers.
Seeing Inez glancing curiously at Vin, Chris made the introductions.
Inez smiled. Everyone knew that Chris had been looking for his brother for years; it was nice that the gunfighter had finally found him.
“It is nice to meet you Vin. Your brother has been searching for you for years, I am glad he found you,” Inez said patting Vin on the shoulder.
Vin immediately turned red at the attention he was receiving from the lovely lady.
“Nice…to ah meet you ma’am,” he stuttered.
“I am going to make you something special to eat. How does that sound?” Inez smiled at the young man.
“Thank you,” Vin replied still red.
Inez walked off as Buck and Chris grinned at Vin.
“I think Vin just make off with your girl, Buck.”
“Damn I think you are right, Chris. I am going to have to watch out for him. He is going to have all the women waiting on him hand and foot,” Buck teased.
Vin gaped at the two men.
“No Bucklin, I’m not interested in her. Honest.”
Buck laughed, “I know that kiddo. We’re just kidding you.”
Just then Inez brought back food for Vin and beers all around.
“What no food for us, Inez,” Buck asked.
“No just Vin. He looks like he could do with some food,” Inez replied.
Inez walked away with a sway to her hips and a smile on her face.
Vin dug into the spicy food with real enjoyment but he couldn’t help but say, “Bucklin, maybe you need to grow your hair out. This food is great; I may try for her myself.”
Chris laughed which caused everyone in the saloon to look at him in shock. They had never heard the black clad gunslinger laugh before.
Buck was dumbfounded; here was a side to Vin he hadn’t seen yet.
“Damn kiddo I’m going to have to keep my eye on you.”
“No you don’t Bucklin, women scare me, and you can have them. I’m not ready to settle down,” Vin asserted.
“Good because I just found you and I don’t plan on sharing your time with anyone for a while,” Chris said taking a big drink.
“Sounds fine to me, big brother,” Vin replied cleaning up his plate.
“Big brother, so the rumors are true,” said a large man who came up to stand next to Vin. Next to him was a tall black man.
“Sit down boys,” Chris offered.
Vin slid his chair a bit closer to his brother, he didn’t know these men. Strangers made him nervous.
Josiah and Nathan sat down where Chris and Buck filled them in on how they found Vin.
Before too long the older men had put Vin at ease he relaxed and listened to the conversation going on around him.
It became apparent that his big brother was much respected around town. It made him very proud.
“I am going to show Vin around town,” Chris stated.
The two brothers roamed around town with Chris introducing him proudly as his kid brother.
Mary looked up as the two men entered the store.
Smiling she approached them. Mary had been in love with Chris for a long time and she was thrilled that his search for his brother had been successful. Chris had made it plain that his search for Vin took priority in his life which was as it should be. Now she hoped that he would look at her as his future.
“Hello Chris and I take it this is your brother. Gossip goes around fast,” Mary smiled. She enjoyed the blush on Vin’s cheeks and thought he was very sweet.
“Yes this is Vin, my baby brother. Vin this is Mary. She is a very special lady,” Chris introduced them.
Mary then blushed because that introduction put hope in her heart.
After chatting a few minutes the two men left. Vin was overwhelmed by the end of their trip around town. Other than a couple of people like an old guy called Conklin who glared at him everyone seemed pleasant.
Except for one big exception…JD Dunne, the guy that he knew was like a brother to Bucklin. The guy who was the sheriff and a friend to Chris, his big brother seemed to hate him.
JD had shook his hand and smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. JD then ignored Vin to carry on a conversation with Chris about what had happened in town while he was gone fetching Vin.
To Vin it sounded like JD was comparing him to a dog that Chris had to go pick up.
Vin could tell that Chris didn’t notice it but living with the Indians Vin could tell when someone looked down on him. It had happened frequently when the tribe had visited close to a white town.
Just then Buck came in and pulled Chris outside to talk to him leaving Vin and JD together.
“So you’re the brother Chris has been looking for all these years. He must’ve been disappointed when he found you,” JD snidely commented.
Vin was shocked at the comment.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well Chris is real respected around here. You look like some half breed. I was actually surprised you could speak English,” JD said sitting down at the desk.
“Since Chris and I are brothers I am not a half breed. I may not have gone to school but I can read, write and do figures. What is up your ass?”
JD for a second looked surprised that Vin had fought back.
“Chris doesn’t need you; he has me and the rest of the guys. You will just slow him down. I doubt Mary will even consider him husband material now that she knows she gets you in the bargain. The best thing you could do is just leave.”
Vin paled at the nasty comments. He had worried that people would look down on him and how that would reflect on his brother. JD just put his worries into words.
“Chris brought me here so he wants me here. Get used to it.”
“He felt obligated and guilty. He felt like he let you down and the parents would want him to find you. Why don’t you just go back to your Indian family and let him live the life he should have. Married, happy and having kids.”
Just then Chris and Buck walked in with Ezra in tow.
Ezra was well pleased with Chris’s brother. He could tell Vin was quiet yet he was sure not much got by the young man.
Nothing much got by Ezra either and he could tell there was tension between Vin and JD. That didn’t surprise him; JD was rather spoiled being the youngest. Buck let him get by with too much. JD had Chris’s attention before but now that Vin was here that would change. Ezra could tell that Chris only had eyes for Vin, JD was going to take a back seat and he wouldn’t like that.
It was time to head back to the ranch. JD tried to get Buck to stay but the big man refused saying that he needed to help Chris since they had been gone there were some things that needed to be done.
“Let Vin help, he should do something for room and board,” JD commented.
Thankfully Chris and Vin were already trotting out of town.
Buck reached out and slapped the hat off Dunne’s head.
“I don’t know what is up your butt boy but straighten up. Vin is a hard worker but he doesn’t have to earn his keep. He is Chris’s little brother, hell he is like my brother too. I got to watch him growing up until we had to leave for the war. You take on Vin you will have Chris to answer to, too. You really want to do that?”
JD sullenly shook his head then headed back into the sheriff’s office without saying another word.
“What is his problem?” Buck demanded.
“He is jealous of the attention young Vin is receiving,” Ezra replied.
“Well he can get over it. Vin has been to hell and back. JD has had it easy. You can tell him I said that,” Buck said as he climbed on his horse and rode out of town.
Ezra walked into the office.
“Don’t fucking say it. I heard what he said. I don’t like Vin,” JD said crossing his arms.
“I would suggest you alter your opinion. You do not know the young man and if you continue to treat him like this you will find you are the loser. Chris will choose his brother over you every time. Buck also loves the young man, yes he loves you like a brother too but are you willing to take the chance that he will choose you over Vin?” Ezra asked then he left leaving JD to think over what was said.
Back at the ranch Chris headed inside the cabin to get some tools.
Buck and Vin took care of the horses.
Vin was very quiet and while that wasn’t unusual Buck was worried that whatever JD had said to him was bothering him.
“What did JD say to you while Chris and I were talking?” Buck asked.
Vin was silent.
“Come on Vin. I’d hate to bring Chris in on this.”
“He doesn’t like me. He said that I was an embarrassment and that Mary would not have Chris because of me,” Vin said he left a lot out but he knew he would have to tell Buck something.
Buck cussed under his breath. If Chris found out he would beat JD half to death for hurting his brother. Chris was in overprotective mode and Buck didn’t see that going away any time soon.
“That isn’t true Vin. Chris is proud of how you survived. You are a good looking young man, you did right by your Indian family and you are one smart person. JD is just spoiled and jealous. Ignore him he will come around. Do you know that today I heard Chris laugh for the time in years and he did that because of you,” Buck said as he came over and hugged Vin tightly.
Vin smiled, “He did laugh. Okay I will ignore him but you let me know if I am doing something wrong. Okay Bucklin?”
“You got it kiddo.”
The men worked around the ranch the rest of the day. Later that night with Buck snoring like a freight train in the other bedroom the Larabee brothers lay next to each other on Chris’s bed.
Chris refused to let Vin sleep on the floor; they planned on starting on another bedroom the next day.
While Vin had agreed to ignore what JD had said it still lingered in the back of his mind.
“Chris do I embarrass you?”
Chris sat up and glared down at his brother who was lying on his back.
“Where the hell did that come from? I am so proud of you to have you as my brother.”
“I just…maybe I should cut my hair more and not wear…”
“No, I like your hair as it is. You can wear anything you want, hell Vin you could go around wearing nothing but a blanket and I would still be proud of you.”
Vin smiled at the comment.
“I don’t think I’ll go around in a blanket but thanks big brother.”
Chris lay back down.
“You are welcome. I don’t know why you got that thought in your head but get it out. I love you Vin and my life is now so much better now that I have you back.”
“I am glad to be here though I really want my own bed, you snore,” Vin teased.
Chris just grumbled and turned on his side his back to Vin.
“Go to sleep little brother or I will tan your butt.”
“Sure you will,” Vin replied.
In just a few minutes Chris was asleep.
Vin lay awake thinking over the day. He would do what Buck said and ignore JD but if he felt he wasn’t good for Chris he would leave. He loved Chris too much to pull him down. Right now he would enjoy his new life.
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