"You mind tellin' me why you came into town without JD?" Chris asked, leaning against the door of the livery.
"He's comin," Vin answered, a small smile tuggin at the corners of his mouth.
"So why ain't he ridin', or am I just s'pose to tell Buck he's comin'?" Chris rephrased his question.
"To shorten the story..he ran Pup, she found a gopher hole, fell, I said somethin to him..and then he goes and calls me Buck!" Vin said, his voice growing a little louder with each word.
"So you took his horse and left him in the middle of nowhere?" Chris asked, taking a step forward, "You wanna tell me how I'm supposed to keep Buck in town after I tell him," Chris wondered, knowing that Buck's reaction to this news would not be a good one..and maybe bad for Vin's health.
"He ain't but 5 or 6 miles out..not like he's gonna get himself lost..he can see town from where we parted ways," Vin answered somewhat sarcastically.
"Take it the campin' thing didn't pan out," Chris figured.
"Lets just say what he done comin' home was the frosting on the cake so to speak," Vin sighed, he had been disappointed things hadn't gone better.
"He really call you Buck?" Chris asked, trying unsuccessfully not to laugh.
"Yeah he did..and it ain't funny!" Vin replied aggravatedly.
"It was only cause you started soundin' like him," JD defended, entering the livery after being dropped off outside by Morris.
"How the hell'd you get here so fast?" Vin asked harshly.
"Got ride from some guys," JD shrugged, after all he had been cautious, not giving them any information on himself..including his name, even though they seemed nice enough.
"You what?!" Vin yelled, he'd warned him, along with a few of the other men they rode with, not to accept rides from people they didn't know, telling JD that just because he didn't know who the person might be..didn't mean the stranger didn't know him.
"He's here in one piece Vin, take it easy," Chris said, even though he had been one of the ones to tell JD; the kid was here and all together.
"I was gonna go back and get him Chris!" Vin yelled, pointing towards his brother but looking at Chris.
"And I was supposed to know that! Hell, you was bein' so stubborn and righteous.." JD yelled back to Vin.
"Stubborn?! Righteous?! ME!!" Vin laughed loudly.
"And don't forget 'Buckish'!" JD snapped back, resting his hands on his gun butts.
"That's the second time you said that..I ain't nothin like him!" Vin shot out.
"Really..coulda sworn he was there the whole time! 'JD you don't build a fire that way..how many times I gotta tell ya you do it this way'..What difference did it make..it got goin' didn't it?" JD yelled out just one of the examples from the past week.
"After I fixed it!" Vin revealed.
"What?" JD asked stunned.
"You turned your back..remember..didn't you think it kinda funny that the fire just seemed to take when you turned around? Naw..you're too thick in the head!"
Chris didn't have to look at JD to know the words Vin had just said hurt, he could see that the situation was going to get outta hand.
"He tell you how many times he almost got himself snake bit? Four times! 'Check your bedroll 'fore you get in it' I said..but you think he'd listen? Hell no!" Vin smiled, the smile and voice laced with sarcasm.
"Geez Vin! I ain't no Tanner like you! I ain't you, so stop trying to turn me into you! MY father didn't stick around long enough to show me anythin'! Or'd ya' forget that!" JD shot out, turning to leave, feeling embarrassed by the failures of camping, and the sudden realization that Vin probably had learned some things from their father, where he'd learned nothing.
Chris knew from the look on Vin's face what was going to happen, he just wasn't able to react quick enough.
"You little..." Vin said under his breath as he ran towards JD, who's back was turned away, walking from the livery.
"VIN!!" Chris yelled, getting JD's attention causing him to turn around, just as Vin tackled him, he never had a chance to defend himself against the attack.
The fight didn't last long, Chris's warning had alerted the others in various spots on the street or boardwalks that something was going on, they didn't expect to see Chris trying to get Vin off from JD; JD had managed a few punches in defense, but the older brother was relentless..he landed one punch after another to his younger brother.
Josiah made his task look easy, his anger giving him an almost super human strength as he grabbed Vin by the back of his buckskin coat, lifting him off JD.
JD scrambled away from underneath Vin, the look of total bewilderment and fright obvious through the forming bruises, blood and old dirt.
"Let's get you cooled off!" Josiah bellowed, his arms now wrapped around Vin heaving chest..he carried him that way to the bath house.
JD stood without assistance, still trying to figure out what had happened and why.
"You alright kid?" Buck asked, concern present in his voice, laying a hand on the young mans shoulder.
"I'm fine!" JD spat out, shrugging off the hand that wanted to help.
"Let's get ya' cleaned up," Nathan said matter of factly.
"I said I'm fine!" JD yelled back, stalking off towards the boarding house. Buck instinctively made a step towards JD, Chris grabbed his arm and stopped him.
"Let him be for a bit Buck," Chris said wisely, knowing that right at that moment the last thing he needed was Buck getting all mother hen-y with him.
"May I inquire as to what that was all about?" Ezra asked, looking after the young sheriff who walked slowly, shoulders slumped and head hanging, to his room.
"Campin' trip didn't go as well as Vin hoped..gotta feeling he thinks Vin expected him to know a lot more about it than he does," Chris sighed, " and from what I heard..he ain't too far off," Chris had to agree.
"I knew it! How many times I tell Vin he didn't know nothin about campin' out and what not? I just figured he'd have a bit more patience with him is all.." Buck said, disappointed in the tracker.
"I take it the younger brother doesn't take well to things being 'forced' upon him," Ezra sighed out.
"What ya' mean by that? JD's always askin' Vin to show him this or show him that.." Buck reminded.
"The difference is he's asking..I suspect there wasn't a whole lot of asking on this endeavor," Ezra elaborated.
"That's the impression I got too..he only pointed out a few things..but seems like every time JD turned around..Vin was telling him that he was doing something wrong," Chris said, hanging his head..he had actually been afraid that would happen during their time together. He'd known JD long enough that when things were pointed out to be wrong, like they had been..the kid would simply just stop listening.
"I'd better go see to him..think he mighta got his nose broke from the way it looked," Nathan sighed.
"I'll come with ya, Nate..wanna make sure the kids alright," Buck offered.
"Don't push him Buck," Chris warned, knowing that Buck would want answers as to what caused Vin to come after him. He knew the ex-bounty hunter wasn't a violent person by nature, and that he wouldn't go after someone without being provoked; Buck also knew that JD could provoke just about anyone, unintentionally; the kid just had a way of not thinking before he spoke, which had gotten him into more than one situation.
Buck also knew that of all the men, next to Nathan and Josiah, Vin was able to control his temper and very rarely was it seen..or control the man. The ladies man knew that in order for Vin to attack his younger brother, who he adored beyond even JD's expectations, something had gone terribly wrong out in the woods..6 days together, alone had obviously been stressful for the two.
"I won't," Buck assured, the serious tone in his voice let the others know he was sincere.
+ + + + + + +
"Dammit Josiah that's cold!!" Vin protested, as he crawled out of the tub of water that the preacher had unceremoniously tossed him in.
"So it is," Josiah said steadily, handing Vin a towel.
"You mind tellin me what that was for?" Vin asked, still not believing he was dripping wet.
"Cool you off..get your head on straight..you have any idea how bad you hurt him?" Josiah questioned.
Vin sighed heavily, sitting on a bench across from the preacher who sat in a chair.
"Pretty bad I s'pose..I don't know.." Vin said softly, "Geez.. I pounded him pretty bad Josiah," Vin choked out the words, as if just realizing what he'd done.
"I'd say you hurt both of you pretty badly..in here," Josiah said soothingly, pointing to his chest.
"I figured we spend that week together..ya' know..and we'd have this grand ole time..like them stories you read about brothers and such. Josiah..it was awful. All I wanted to do was pack up and come back," Vin said, "It seemed like every time I turned 'round he was complainin' 'bout somethin..what we was gonna eat, what we was drinkin', that it was dusty and we didn't have no water to clean up in..stuff like that," Vin revealed.
"You figured because you were brothers you'd take to the same things? Vin, not all brothers get along or like the same thing..look at Cain and Able, different as night 'n day," the preacher said, still in his steady tone.
"I guess, but.." Vin started, but stalled, hanging his head.
"You keep thinking if you'd grown up together, things mighta been different," Josiah stated.
Vin nodded, almost ashamed at how he felt.
"Brothers fight..just like you and JD just did, only difference is..they usually get the chance to get all that stuff outta the way when they're kids..like the Wilson boys a while back..fightin' over who was gonna take that woman's bags to the hotel for her," Josiah smiled.
Vin smiled as he remembered he and JD breaking up the two brothers, scrappin' in the street.
"I guess. It's just .." Vin again stalled, "I messed up Josiah. You know what got me so mad? He said something bout my Pa, tellin me how he didn't have no Daddy to show him nothin', yeah my Pa showed me stuff, but then he run off..hooked up with his Ma and just left us. We was his first family..an' I know there's a lot years 'tween me and JD, but I kept thinkin'..he left us ..for 'her'," Vin stated, "Ma and Pa was married for a while 'fore I came along..I was wanted..JD was just an accident," Vin added, shocking himself as the words came from his mouth.
Vin looked at Josiah, expecting to see fire in the man's eyes as to what he'd just said, instead he saw understanding.
"Christ Josiah.. I don't feel like that," Vin tried to defend.
"Deep down, somewhere buried in your soul you do..I ain't sayin it's right, but I can't say it's wrong either.
"It ain't right Josiah!" Vin said through a sarcastic laugh, "Ain't his fault, my Pa didn't stick around, man doesn't know what he missed with JD as his son".
"And JD ain't never had the chance to be a son to his father.You ever think maybe JD feels the same way..he was an accident..something that wasn't supposed to happen..unwanted? You see how he's tries so hard to make everyone happy, tries to please..all he wants is someone..anyone to tell him that he done good," Josiah said, a small smile on his face, "most of the time all he's hearing is what he done wrong.
"Like the week before you left..and little Betsy's pup run into the street during that gunfight with Smith's bunch. Little Betsy was cryin' her eyes out, just losing her momma and watching the pup dodge them bullets..just waiting to get hit..JD pushed her back into Potters and told Betsy he'd get the dog for her..nearly got himself shot, but Betsy worships the ground he walks on, all because he saved her dog.
"JD didn't boast about what he'd done, cause that ain't like him to do. He was all embarrassed as Buck gave him the huge smile..then, instead of saying something like 'you sure made Betsy happy', he got Buck's 'how many time's I gotta tell ya' not to break cover' speech..and everyone else's, mine included, of what a foolish thing it was to do. You remember what JD said to us after we got done chastising him?" Josiah finished his story, as he asked.
"Yeah," Vin said a fond smile crossing his face, " He said somethin like ' what was I s'posed to do? Her momma just died last month..she didn't deserve to loose anythin' else'," Vin said.
"He woulda done the same thing if it was a cat of Betsy's..and we all know how much he likes cats," Josiah added, JD liked all animals, but something about cats he just couldn't stand.
The two men laughed a bit more at the antics of JD, Josiah pointing out his simple observations as they came; Vin seeing things in a different light, and hoping that he could somehow repair the damage that he'd done.
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