Emotional Trade

by LindaH.

Disclaimer: don't own them, not even one penny


The sun was shining on the rider from the clear blue sky, as he trotted down the road from his overnight fling. Once more Buck Wilmington woos another woman with his animal magnetism. Thinking about the night with the lovely and gentle Katrina took Buck off into dream land with such emotional feelings the gallant man didn't see that he was getting to close to the edge of the cliff. His horses back legs began to slip in the sand on the edge bringing Buck back from his daydream.

"Whoa little girl, steady now...." Buck says calmly settling his now nervous mare. "We don't need to get all lathered up, we're safe."

Bringing his horse to a stop, Buck pats her on the neck and whispers soft into her ear; "Easy purty lady, I don't need another female getting all flustered on me." "Katrina really got her bloomers in a twist this morning." "I really don't know why she was so upset....I just told her I wasn't the marrying kind." Still stroking his horses neck, leaning over to whisper in her ear.

"Man!" Did she let me have it, and then curses me with that one day she wishes I could be in a woman's place and to know how it feels when a man takes advantage of ones emotions." Shaking his head, Buck thought he was always aware of the ladies emotions, grinning he sits back up in his saddle and gently pulls his mare away from the edge of the mountain.

Just as Buck gets the horse away from the cliff a shot rang out and scares the horse and it rears up and knocks her rider off and Buck lands on the ground in a thud and hits his head and knocks him unconscious. A few minutes later Buck is woke up by his horse nudging him with her nose and whining at him. Slowly he sits up and grabs ahold of the back of his head where the knot was a big as an egg.

"Damn that hurts!" as he tries to stand up, losing his balance but catches the horse that was almost on top of him, Buck grabs the stirrups and tries to put his foot in the loop. Missing the loop a couple of times and then finally manages to swing up on the mare.

"Hold on girl! "Whoa....old Buck is not feeling to well." laying down on the mare holding onto the reins; "Go home Star...slowly girl...slowly..." fading off in a sleep the rider and the horse started for home to Four Corners.

Horse and rider comes walking into town as the people started to gather around the two, finally one of the townsmen saw who it was and yelled; " Ya better get Nathan..it's Buck! And he's hurtin' bad!

At that minute J.D. was just coming out of the jail house and saw all the commotion and froze for only a second and dashed off the walkway running into all the accumulating people around Buck.

As one man began to pull Buck off his horse J.D. hits the guy yelling at him; "Don't touch him, leave him alone!" glaring into the mans eyes.

"Sorry Sheriff, I was just tryin' to help." The big man steps back away.

Glancing at the big man once more, J.D. half smiles at him, but his eyes were full of worry; "Sorry, help me get him down."

Pulling the slumped body down from the horse, the two men lowered it so gently down to the ground. As J.D. put his buddies legs down on the dirt road the hat that was covering the face of the rider comes off and leaves everyone standing there with eyes gazing onto the sight which made J.D. almost gasp out.

"Holy shit!" 'That's not Buck!" It's a GIRL!!!!"

Just then Nathan comes running up pushing people out of the way; "Let me through, I need to get in here.....J.D.!" as Nathan yells at the younger man and comes to a speeding stop as he almost trips over the body stretched out in the road.

"What is tar nations..Or should I say..who is that in Bucks cloths?" as the big man bends down and touches the shoulder of the person.

"I...I...I don't know....who she is!" "She...She was on Bucks' horse and we thought it was him......and ....We pulled he...I mean her down...and WELL you see her too! as the young man shakes his head wide eye at the healer kneeling down next to the girl.

"OK now J.D., just calm down...help me get her to my bunk house, I need to look her over." Snapping out the order to give the young man a jolt, so he can help pick the girl up and carry her up the stairs.

As the two men carried the girl up the stairs, Josiah comes around the corner of the building looking up at Nathan and J.D. struggling to the top of the porch of the bunk house. Taken two steps at a time the big man reaches the groaning pair and picks the young lady up right out of their arms.

"Can I be some help to ya brothers?" smiling ever so softly, as he gently carries the bundle in his huge arms, like nothing was even in them.

"Thanks Josiah" J.D. says with a sigh.

"OK, easy Josiah, lay her down softly, I see that she has hit her head..we need to get some cold cloths to get that swelling down." Snapping orders to the two men.

"J.D. go bring that water bowl over here with some of those rags I have laying next to them, I got to stop the bleeding in the back." Raising the girl as easy as he can, Nathan looks over the wound on the back of her head.

Giving the other two men questionable looks, Nathan wasn't about to ask why this woman was warring Bucks cloths and riding his horse and to where in the world is their friend, all he was about is to get this woman taken care of and then he was going to hit them with both barrels.

It took the healer about forty-five minutes to clean and strip the girls body down to the bare essentials, but not where if she awoken it wouldn't become difficult to explain where her cloths went to, but Nathan was still wondering as he did his job, why this girl is in this condition.

Wrapping the bandage around the head wound and laying her head down slowly, Nathan steps back away from the bunk, watching the sleeping girl breathing so softly, the dark brown hair that was flowing down her shoulders looked as shinny as the buckles on Ezra's red coat,and it was as soft as the fir on Billy's pet rabbit. Shaking his head Nathan turns on J.D. and pushes him out side the room with Josiah right behind him.

"Now start talkin' kid...how does this girl come up with Bucks cloths and his horse at that?" staring crossly at the younger man.

"Hold on Brother, as I heard..no one knows who and why this poor creature has ended up this way, so don't be given the third degree to brother John here." Grabbing Nathan by the shoulder.

"Sorry kid, I just get all riled up when I see a woman hurt like that," smacking J.D. on the arm.

All three of the men were standing looking out over the rail by the clinic when they heard foot steps running hard on the walkway and they were all about ready to scatter when the man in black stopped them all with just a glare, as he made he why up the staircase three steps at a time.

"Where's Buck!?" I've heard some strange stories about a woman riding in on his horse!" 'So what in hell is going on here?" as he stormed over to the door about ready to knock it open.

Jumping into Chris's path, Nathan puts his body in the way of the angry man that would shoot anyone who's hurt one of his men. Staring into the glare of the man was like looking into the eyes of a hungry wolf, but the healer didn't back down from him, putting his hand against Chris Larabee's now heaving chest and slowly backs him away from the door.

"No, I'm not goin to let ya scare her, she's sleepin' right now, and I really don't know if she even going to wake up." Assuring the leader right now isn't the time for judgment.

"Damn it!" I've told him one of these days his playing around with all these women is going to be the death of him, but I'll make a promise I'll kill anyone that took my brother away from me!" stepping back away from Nathan and turning to face the other two men watching their leader, his now glaring eyes showed revenge.

"We don't know if anything has happen with Buck an I'm not goin to think he's dead!" J.D. yells out at Chris and storms past him on his way down the stairs running to the barn to where one of the workers took Bucks horse.

All three of the men stood there hanging their heads as they watched the young man run across the road, they didn't want to believe that anything happen to Buck either and but Chris wasn't about to let this go without getting some information at out this woman. The man in black turned around and started heading for the clinic door again but Nathan grab ahold of his arm; "She wouldn't be able to tell ya anyways, she's unconscious Chris, an I don't reckon she'll be waken up real soon."

"Let me know when!" growling at the healer, flipping his arm out of the mans grip, Chris Larabee stocks down the stairs and heads straight for the saloon.

Josiah and Nathan were silent for a while, but then the big man broke the stillness with a small word; "Pray." and with that he headed for the church.

Nodding his head Nathan heads to the door of the clinic and opens it and walks over to the bed where the girl lays sleeping, dips the rag into the water basin and softly puts the cool cloth on the forehead which is now burning with fever. Now the quiet girl lays there tossing and turning and mumbling where the healer couldn't understand what she is saying. Trying to keep her still so she won't hurt her self, the healer ties the arms and feet of the woman to the bed posts so she won't fall out of the bed and hurt herself more.

As the Nathan was tying the last foot to the bedpost the woman spoke a name out that made the healer stop cold in his working, listening closely now, she did it again.

"J.D." softly came out of the mouth that was so perfectly formed, still tossing her head from side to side.

Nathan turned on his heals and shot out the clinic door so fast and was running down the street yelling for the youngest of the seven; "J. D.!!!" JD come quick!"

The kid was sitting in the barn with Bucks' horse and was brushing it out when he heard Nathan screaming his name, he dropped the brush and came running out of the stables, wide eyes and shaking not knowing what the healer is yelling about; "What is it Nathan! I'm here!"

Running up to the kid like a wild man Nathan grabs the kids arm; "She said your name! she's calling for you!"

Shocked and confused J.D. didn't know what to do, "What...why?...my name?"

Pulling at him, Nathan tries to get the young man to come back to the clinic; " Come on boy, she's calling for you, talk to her, you may get her to wake up"

Staring at each other both men then looked at the clinic door and heard the scream coming from that way, then both men went running faster then a jackrabbit being chased by a coyote. Making their way into the doorway both at the same time almost tripping over each other as they made it into the small room.

The woman laid there wide eyed and staring at both men as they came to a running stop in front of the bed, both were out of breath but they still were on guard to the sound of boots running up the staircase and the other four came busting into the room.

"I heard screaming!" bursting out of the leader as he made his way over to the bed where J.D. and Nathan were.

Josiah, Ezra and Vin stood there wondering what is going on as they all started questioning the healer all at once;

"Why pray tell is that woman tied to the bed? Ezra looking over at Nathan. "Did she tell ya where's Bucklin is?" softening his voice a he looks over to J.D. "Brothers, do you think we can give her some breathing space?" backing away from the foot of the bed.

Chris Larabee wasn't moving away at all, he was still standing over the bed staring ever so closely to the woman who was looking at him like he just fell out of the sky, but he backed up just as she spoke to him; " Chris why are you looking at me like you're about to chew my head off?"

"I don't know how you know my name, but all I want from you is where's Buck, wha'd ya do with him? Grabbing ahold of both arms of the girl bringing her up closely to his face.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKIN' ABOUT?" the girl screams back at him, "Chris have you gone blind, you are talkin' to me, Buck...remember your long time friend! And get me untied, why in the hell am I tied up like this and who was that woman screaming?" staring at the six men around the bed the woman is looking at them with a questionable eyes like they all went crazy.

Nathan looked over at the men and motion for them to step back out side, looking over at the girl and softly he speaks; "It's just a little mix up , hang on right there, we'll be right out side." pushing the others out the door.

"Like I'm goin anywhere tied up like a heifer in a branding line." Squirming to get the ropes loose.

Rubbing his chin, the healer looks over to the other four and tries to explain what he thinks is wrong; "Well she got a purty big hit on the head, I thinks she thinks she's Buck!"

"Well Mr. Jackson, that is officious." Smirkily smiling at the healer, Ezra standing there leaning against the railing.

"SHUT Up Ezra." coming from Chris, Vin, J.D. and Josiah glaring at the southern man with eyes that would scare the devil himself, mostly the Larabee glare.

All six men were standing there shaking their heads wondering what to do, the leader mostly was the one who was pacing back and forth like a caged animal about ready to strike at any given moment. Nathan was watching everyone and marveled at the closeness that everyone has taken on each other in the few years that they have been together.

The quiet man that was leaning against the wall of the building, the one that Chris adopted to so quickly in the beginning spoke softly to the man who's stride was getting longer and longer each time he past by him; "Chris...we'll find him." reaching out stopping the dark clothed man from walking past him again, Vin nods his head to the chair beside him as Chris sits down in the chair putting his head into his hands mumbling to himself. Vin lays his hand on Chris Larabee's shoulder and squeezes it tightly.

At that point they all heard the woman yell again; "Hey pards, is anyone going to untie me?" "My heads about ready to fall off here Nathan, can I have some help in here." Struggling with the ropes, trying to get her hands and feet loose the girl is getting very frustrated with this situation.

Josiah and Nathan look at each other and proceed to the door, Chris starts to stand and Vin puts his hand on him to sit him back down; "Now pard..I'm thinkin' ya better stay out here, she don't need your view on things." easing his friend down with his hand, while the healer and the preacher head into the room.

"Now little lady calm down, we'll let ya loose as long as you behave yourself and don't run." Nathan says as he walks over to the bed post and unties the first rope.

"What in tarnations are you talkin' to Nath?" "Have you gone plum loco on me too like Larabee has!" "And stop lookin' at me like that preacher!" "You look like you just seen a ghost!" yelling at the two men, the woman yanks her legs and arms away from the men as they untie each limb from the post of the bed.

"Now keep still, you've had a bad blow to the back of your head." Trying to pull her back down to the mattress Nathan's patients is warring thin.

Josiah was just about to put his hand on her to hold her down when she caught a glimpse of her figure in the mirror above the corner stand and it made her freeze in her temper tantrum. Staring out at her reflection in the mirror, she stands up slowly and walks unsteadily on her feet to the corner. Touching the image in the glass frame and opens her mouth to speak; " Oh Holy horn toads!" "Oh God No!" Katrina's curse worked, she made me a woman! Look at me!" then she looked down at her self and saw that she was just waring a thin gown that showed every line of her most curving body, jumping back in bed covering herself from head to toe, shaking under the blankets screaming.

"I can't be seen this way...get out of here!!"

The door was trying to get opened from the outside but Nathan yelled out; "Don't come in, it's goin to be fine, just leave us be, I'll take care of our friend in here." Motioning for Josiah to leave too.

The preacher got up and looked to the sky; "God we need ya on this one..help this joke isn't funny." looking back to the bed watching the blankets shaking with the tiny woman under them.

+ + + + + + +

A few hours later five of the seven were in the saloon drinking their troubles away, neither of them saying a word, not knowing what to do or where there friend has gone to, or who has him. Chris Larabee and Vin Tanner was up at the bar leaning over and downing whiskey like it was water. J.D. was over in the corner looking out the window, staring up at the clinic door sipping on the beer going stale in his mug. Josiah leaning his chair back on the post in the middle of the saloon watching Ezra playing with his deck of cards, and downing his flask every five minutes.

None of them wanted to be there, they all wanted to go looking for Buck, but Nathan thought it would be better if they'd all stay in town tell the next morning and send Vin off in the direction the girl came in. He was a lot better tracker then any of them and if he couldn't find him, then no one could.

Just then the saloon doors came open and the healer came in and right behind him was the girl, shying away from the looks everyone was staring at her, holding onto Nathan's shirt tail. She was about Nathan's height, but small framed, long brown hair that hung down to her small waist. Her eyes were staying away from contact with everyone else, but they all notice they were big and brown, small features were her face. Making their way up to the bar where Chris and Vin were, the healer pulls her to his right side away from the two men.

"I thought it would do her good to come down and get some air, to clear her mind." Nathan glances over his shoulder at then girl.

"Why'd ya bring her in here?" gritting his teeth, snarling around Nathan, Chris glares.

"Stop talkin' like I'm not even here!" snaps the brown haired girl looking around the two men.

"So to what form of character are we suppose to be calling this lady?" Ezra says with a hiss of his southern most hospitality.

Twirling on her feet like a mad cat right for the gambler; "You know my name, but don't use it, I don't want any one to know me like this!"

Blocking her furious attack, Josiah stops the girl with one arm and slides her back to the bar next to Nathan; "Now you just calm down, and be a good little girl."

"Put me down Josiah!" You big over grown mule!"

"Pardon me miss, but I think you're a purty as a wild daisy blowing out in the fields." a voice comes from behind her as a stranger that was watching the commotion going on between the six men and the girl.

" I really don't think it's any of your business, so just mosey along." Brown eyes glaring at the stranger.

"Now that's what I like in a woman, fire! it keeps the passion going!" grabbing her around the waist.

Just then the stranger had six guns pointing at him, without knowing which one would shot first, he holds onto the girl tighter around her waist. "Now don't being doing anything stupid, or this little filly is goin to get hurt."

"Just let her go and we won't kill ya" Chris Larabee gaze glaring into the strangers eyes.

Glancing back to each one of the six, the stranger was getting more nervous and didn't want to die, so he put the gun he had back into his holster and in one move bushed the girl down away from him and raised his hand up and backed away to the swinging doors of the saloon and ran out.

As the girl was pushed away she tripped on the stool and fell and hit her head and knocked herself out, rushing to her side Nathan picks her upon his hands, just then the leader of the seven picks her feet up, with a look of concern, he helps Nathan back to the clinic.

+ + + + + + +

Sitting beside the bed the healer has went to sleep, watching and caring for his patient still sleeping, the squeaking of the door wakes Nathan up, he looks up and sees J.D. standing in door way; "Come on in kid, quiet though...sleeping soundly."smiling at the worried look on the kids face.

Moaning came from the bed, the covers were over the face so you couldn't see, so J.D. came a little closer and sat near the bed on the stool next to it.

"Nightmares went away, slept right through the night." Confirming the questioning look coming from J.D.

A soft but scratchy voice came from the covers; "Hey kid...did ya get the horse that ran me over...?'" smiling ever so easy.

"Yeah Buck..you just sleep now..you're lucky that Star knew how to get you home. Nathan said you've been having some bad dreams, about some woman?" shyly asking his pard.

"Oh? Well let's just say I have had another emotional trade and respect for the opposite sex!" sheepishly grinning at his little buddy and falls back to sleep, this time a peaceful sleep.

The End

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