Hard Feelings

Missing Scene from "Obsession

by Winter

Disclaimer: Don't own them, wish I did.


Vin was angry. He thought when he had brought Chris the news about Ella Gains and the Culpepper Mine he would listen. Well Chris had listened, all right, then told him it was none of his damned business.

Vin stalked out of the house and headed for his horse. He untied the reins and swung into the saddle. He heard Hilda start to sing as he rode away from the house. He knew the Seven were finished when Chris had announced he was staying on when their business here was finished. Vin figured he had stayed in once place long enough. It was time he tried to clear his name.

He stopped on the rise and looked back at the house. The windows were all lit up and the place looked peaceful. Vin was angry with himself for letting Chris get close and hurting him this way. He also felt like he was running out on the others and decided to keep an eye on things. He made camp in a small stand of trees. He dismounted and unsaddled his horse. He decided it was warm enough outside that he didn't need a fire and spread out his bedroll. He tossed a few times until he found a comfortable position and went to sleep.

+ + + + + + +

Vin came riding down the hill when he saw Handsome Jack and his gang firing on the bunkhouse. He knew the others were sleeping inside and didn't stand a chance. He jumped off his horse and took cover behind a wagon. He was under heavy fire and had to hide while he waited for a shot. Where the hell is Chris? Vin thought.

As if his thoughts had conjured him, Chris appeared on the porch, shirtless, firing away. Suddenly, Vin realized the others were out of the bunkhouse and firing on the bad guys. He peaked over the side of the wagon and saw Chris walk out in the open. He ran for the porch and jumped over the railing. Ella came riding up on a horse.

"Get down, Larabee!" Vin yelled as he tried to get a shot at Ella, but Chris was in the way.

Vin watched as Chris raised his gun but couldn't shoot her.

"Chris," she yelled.

Chris couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger. He was standing out in the open and one of the gunfighters shot him. Vin watched as he fell to the ground holding his side. Ella spurred the horse away from the fighting. Vin knelt down next to Chris and took aim at Ella's retreating back and pulled the trigger.

"Did you get her?" Chris asked writhing on the ground in pain.

"Nope, missed her," he said as he checked Chris.

Vin took one last look at the direction Ella had gone. He saw her stop on the ridge and look back at the house. She was too far to take a shot at and he watched in frustration as she rode away. He looked back down at Chris.

"Nathan!!!!" he yelled as he held Chris's shoulder.

When Nathan heard Vin call he glanced up to see the sharpshooter kneeling next to Chris. Chris was on the ground holding his side. He left Buck and went to Chris. Buck pulled Hilda's shawl up over her face and followed Nathan. As he turned he saw Josiah and Nathan helping Chris into the house. Buck followed Ezra and JD as they made their way onto the porch. Buck stopped when he realized Vin wasn't following. He turned back to Vin and watched as he grabbed his horse's reins and swung into the saddle.

"Where ya goin' " Buck hollered.

"Ask Chris," Vin said angrily and swung his horse in the direction Ella had gone.

Buck went inside and headed up the stairs to the bedrooms. When he entered, he found the others standing around the bed Chris was lying in. Nathan was examining the wound.

"Where's Vin?" he asked when he saw Buck.

"He just rode out," Buck answered.

"Is he going after Ella?" JD asked. "Do you think we should follow him?"

"I don't know, Kid. All I know is he was angry," Buck informed them. "And he said to ask Chris."

"Shit!" Chris cursed.

"What's going on Chris?" Josiah asked.

"He don't need to be answering questions right now," Nathan scolded as he cleaned the wound.

"Yeah I do Nathan," Chris said. "You all need to know. Vin told me some information at the party last night. He found out that Ella owned Culpepper Mines and that Smiling Jack worked for her. That this was all a set-up. I said he had no right checking up on her. We had some words and Vin said he'd be gone by morning."

"God damn, Chris!" Buck swore. "Vin knew, and you didn't tell us? God, you almost got us all killed!"

"Don't you think I know that Buck?" Chris snarled as he tried to sit up.

"Easy Chris," Nathan said pushing him back.

"There's more," he said weakly.

"Not for you there ain't," Nathan declared.

"Buck, down the hall is a room," Chris insisted. "She hired Fowler."

With that announcement Chris passed out. Buck cursed and left the room. JD and Ezra followed him. When Buck got to the door he realized it was locked. He pulled his revolver and shot the lock. He returned the gun to its holster and pulled open the door. The room was dark and Ezra retrieved a candleholder from one of the rooms. He lit the three candles and walked inside. The room was too small for all three of them but what they saw was enough. Ezra randomly picked up one of the items.

"Good Lord!" he exclaimed as he handed the picture to Buck.

"Oh God, that's Sarah," he said running his finger over the picture.

JD looked over his arm and saw that Sarah's face had been crossed out. He shivered as he looked around. There were items here from a number of men.

"She apparently kept momentos from each of her obsessions," Ezra observed as he looked through a shelf.

"You think she killed all these people?" JD asked quietly.

"Yeah, I think so," Buck answered.

"And Mr. Tanner, has gone after this deranged women alone," Ezra said starring at the others.

"We gotta go after him!" JD yelled.

"We'd never find him, Kid," Buck sighed. "Come on we got work to do. Hilda needs burying and we have to take care of those bodies in the yard."

+ + + + + + +

Vin followed Ella's trail as best he could. The horse she rode was fast and she wasn't stupid. When she had come to a stream she had walked the horse in it. Vin had to go slow or he would miss where she came out. He wasn't sure why he was even following her. This was Chris's problem, he thought angrily. He told himself he was following her to bring her to justice. Vin pulled up his horse and looked around. There was still no sign of where she came out of the stream. He pulled off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair then replaced his hat. He bent over his horse's neck and noticed a rock that look out of place. He dismounted and walked through the water over to it. He could see that Ella had dismounted and tried to replace the rocks she had disturbed. Vin searched a little more and found where she exited the stream. Vin remounted and followed her trail. He had lost some time looking in the stream and pushed his horse into a trot to catch up. Her trail was easier to follow and Vin slowed his horse to give it a rest.

Vin began thinking about what had happened between him and Chris. Vin realized why he had gone looking for information on Ella. He didn't want the seven to break up and yes, he had to admit he was jealous.

Vin had been surprised when he found out about the mine. He knew Chris would listen to reason. Vin hadn't expected Chris's reaction. When it happened, he realized the Chris he thought he knew was gone. They said some angry words to each other and Vin said he was leaving.

Thunder rumbled close by and Vin looked up at the sky. A storm had rolled in and he knew when it started raining he'd loose her tracks. He spurred his horse forward just as heavy raindrops fell to the ground. In a short time Ella's trail was gone. She had been heading in the direction of Twin Forks so Vin decided just to head for town.

+ + + + + + +

Chris regained consciousness to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. He shifted in the bed and regretted it immediately. He lay back on the bed panting. When his breathing was under control he looked around the room. He wasn't in the room that Ella had given him, for which he was thankful. He didn't think he could stay in the room again. He glanced at the clock on the mantel and could see it was 6:00pm. Chris sighed when he realized he had slept all day. He tensed when he heard someone at the door.

"Who's there?" he demanded.

"Just me, Chris," JD said peeking in the door. "Nathan sent me up to see if you were awake."

"Yeah, I'm awake," he sighed.

"Alright, I'll go tell him."

JD disappeared and Chris was left alone. He had only waited a short time when Buck entered carrying a tray.

"Hey, pard, you look terrible," Buck said smiling.

"Vin back?"

"You think he would be?" Buck asked placing the tray on a table.

"No," Chris answered as Buck propped pillows behind him.

"Nathan sent this up for you," Buck said placing the tray on his legs and taking a seat.

"I blew it, Buck, didn't I?"

"You made a mistake, Chris. Everybody does. You weren't thinking with your head. Damn Chris, she even fooled us."

"I'm not talking about Ella, I mean Vin."

"He's mad," Buck said. "He'll be back."

"I don't think so," Chris disagreed.

"Well there ain't nothing we can do about it right now," Buck said. "So eat up."

Chris reluctantly ate what Buck had brought up. After he was done he felt drowsy and leaned his head back. Buck stood up and picked up the tray and headed out of the room.


Two weeks later Vin was on the road back to Four Corners. Ella Gains had dropped off the face of the earth. He had followed her to several towns but as he got close she would vanish. While he had been on the trail he realized he wasn't mad at Chris any more. He understood Chris had wanted to start a new life and put behind him the death of his wife and son. Ella had offered him everything he wanted. Vin wasn't sure why she had lied to Chris about owning the mine. Maybe she was afraid Chris wouldn't come to her unless she was in trouble. Vin had a lot of time to figure out what had gotten him so angry. He had been jealous that Chris had the choice to settle down. Vin didn't have that choice, not with a price on his head. He was still hurt that Chris refused to listen to him and had practically called him a liar. As he got closer to town he realized just how tired he was. He ran his hand over his face and could feel the thick stubble on his cheeks. It would be wonderful to get a bath and a glass of whiskey. He headed for the livery and took care of his horse. After stopping at his wagon for a clean set of clothes he walked along the boardwalk towards the bathhouse. It was early and not many people were on the street. JD stepped out of the sheriff's office in time to see Vin entered the wash house. He couldn't believe it Vin was back. He raced across to the saloon and burst through the door.

"Damn it JD this ain't no barn," Buck said.

"Vin's back," he announced.

"Where?" Buck asked.

"He just went into the bath house," JD answered. "He looks likes pretty wore out."

"He's been gone for two weeks I'm not surprised," Josiah said.

"I'm gonna go tell Chris," he said and turned to race out.

"Hold on JD," Buck said grabbing his arm.

"But, Buck, Chris has been asking for him while he had the fever," JD said, confused.

"I know but some words were said between them," Buck reminded him. "I better go talk to Vin first. I'll let him take some time to wash up first."

JD took a seat and asked Inez for a glass of milk. She brought it over and JD waited impatiently. After a few minutes Buck got up and walked over to the bathhouse. He quietly opened the door and walked in. As he cleared the door he was looking down the barrel of Vin's mare's leg.

"Damn it, Buck!" he growled as he lowered the gun. "That's a good way to get yourself killed.

Buck just stood there as Vin placed the gun within easy reach. Vin had been standing in front of the mirror shaving. He turned back towards the mirror and finished.

"Did you find her?" Buck asked.

"No," Vin said not offering any more.

"Damn it, Vin!" Buck cursed. "You're gone for two weeks and that's all I get?"

"What do you want me to tell you?" Vin said facing him. "She vanished. I couldn't find a trace of her."

When Vin turned around to look at him Buck realized just how worn out Vin was. He had dark circles under hie eyes and his face was troubled. When Buck didn't say anything Vin turned back to the mirror. Buck wasn't sure how to deal with him. Chris was better at understanding the quiet tracker.

"Chris was pretty sick after he was shot," Buck said and he saw Vin flinch. "He was asking for ya."

Buck waited for Vin to say something but he didn't. He continued shaving and when he was finished he wiped off the extra soap. He picked up the mare's leg and slipped it back in its holster and strapped it on. He picked up his hide coat and headed for the door. As Vin went passed him Buck grabbed him and swung him around.

"Go damn it, Tanner," Buck snarled. "Ain't you got nothing to say?"

"There's nothing to say," he said looking in Buck's eyes.

"He's sorry Vin," Buck told him. "He told me he denied what you told him because he didn't want to believe it. He thought he had found something he was missing."

"I know," Vin said with a sigh. "But it still hurt that he didn't trust my feelings about her."

"Go talk to him, Vin."

"I will," Vin said. "I just got to get something to eat. My stomach thinks my throat has been cut for the last four days."

Buck watched as Vin headed for the restaurant. He decided to go back over to the saloon. An hour later Vin came out of the saloon to see Mary walking towards Chris. Chris was sitting on the boardwalk in front of the boardinghouse. He looked like an old man huddled in the blanket. Mary handed Chris something and stood there for a few minutes than stalked away. Vin walked towards Chris and stepped up on the boardwalk. Chris looked up at him but said nothing.

"Chris, she leaked out of the landscape," he said. "Combed every town from here to Red Fork."

Chris just stared at Vin but didn't say anything.

"Sorry you didn't shoot her when you had the chance," Vin said.

"Next time," Chris said menacingly looking up the street.


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