The Unwanted Gift

by KlingonCat

Summary: Chris receives a gift from Mary.

Webmaster Note: This fic was formerly hosted at another website and was moved to blackraptor in October 2012.

It was the day after New Year' s and Chris Larabee sat in the straight back chair at his cabin and stared at the small window that was placed between the chimney pipe from his wood stove and the rest of the kitchen area of the room.

He knew that he was truely in a fix now.

Damned if he did and damned if he didn't .

There was no way he could leave things as they were. Eventually one of the guys would come by and he would never hear the end of it.

On the other hand, he couldn't just throw them away.

"Shit, shit, shit, shit..." he muttered as he wracked his brain for an answer.

Then he got one...

Later that week, Vin caught up to him as he was preparing to head back out to his place with a wagonload of supplies.

Building supplies.

"Hey, Cowboy..." the tracker called out as he approached, "whatcha building?"

"Nothing!" the blond responded with a glare that would have unnerved anyone but the Texan.

"I see..." the younger man began, and then, realized that he didn't , "um, well, maybe I don't see, iffin ya ain't building something, how come ya got all them supplies?

Larabee knew that Vin would never give up so he grunted an oblique answer, "fixing something."

"Uh huh," the tracker said as he nodded, trying to hide the grin that was beginning to get out of control. Larabee really didn't want to talk about whatever it was which meant it had to be good.

"Reckon I'll have to come on out and give ya a hand then." Vin tried to disquise the smugness in his tone, but Larabee knew him too well to get away with it. He grabbed the younger man and dragged him around the corner into the alley.

", hell, Vin, I kinda had a little fire and I don't want anyone to know..."

"My lips are sealed... now tell!" He looked at the darkly clad, tough as nails gunfighter and realized that the man was blushing.

Chris took a deep breath, cursing again, "Okay, but if you breath a word..." he sighed again and continued, "do you remember on Christmas Eve when we left the church after Josiah gave his service?" At Tanner' s nod he continued, "and Mary came over..." another nod. "Well, she gave me a Christmas present."

Tanner grinned, rubbing it in. "Hey, good work, ya know I think she kinda likes you."

Larabee growled, then continued, "Well, she made these hideous lacey curtains for my cabin..." at which point Tanner interrupted again.

"Hey, that' s great, yer shack really could use a woman' s touch." He barely managed to maintain a straight face as the vein in his friend' s forehead began to throb.

"You know as well as I do that if the rest of the guys ever saw them I' d never live it down, and what' s worse is that she insisted on coming out and making sure that I got them up and then I didn't dare just take them down 'cause if she came by... well you know."

"And?" Vin asked, grinning.

"Well I kinda figured if I had a little accident and they got singed..."

"And?" Vin asked again, grinning even more.

" Well it kinda got outta hand and I kinda burned down part of my wall..."

Tanner stared at his friend standing there with jaws clenched and a blush staining his features and thought a moment before responding, then decided.

"Well, I guess we better go fix that wall before anyone finds out and tells Mary..." He paused looking around as if to make sure no one was listening. "Wouldn't want her to find out and make ya a new set for your birthday."

"Thanks, pard," Chris breathed, grateful that the younger man understood.

"That' s what friends are for..." he paused, "'sides, when we' re done, you can help me burn my wagon some, an see iffin we can scorch the ones she made fer me."