My day started as it always does: with calamity. In this case the cable went out which meant no Casey and Dan for breakfast, which was rather distressing as I've been taping it and enjoying it and yes I know it's years old but it's the first screening here and now I've missed an episode. Pout.
Of course I missed half of Farscape and Angel last night too but that's because I fell asleep (it was another long slog of a day) and I woke up to catch the end of Angel so I know at least that taped okay. Coulda lived without the whole Cordy deal but the insane giggles at the end made it all worth it. At least we can see that making things right with Wesley is high up on Angel's list of priorities, which is sweet.
Poor Farscape. It was the one where Big Blue dies and I just fell asleep. It was the old two collided space ships plot (qv Doctor Who) and I guess it's always bored me, as a plot. I'm not sure where the episode rates on the going out with a bang or a whimper scale.
Now the server's out. Dare I try and polish up more fic on the sly? Better fic doodling than than being trashed left right and centre on my lists. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em all.
Triplej is talking about fair weather friends at the moment. Ah yes, I will never forgive and forget the day my Dad died. Friends I adored I rang for comfort hung up on me swearing or told me they were going out to dinner. People I'd never dared consider friends took me home and fed me icecream. Stuff like that is a real eyeopener. Then my boyfriend screwed my best friend at my Dad's funeral and another friend tried to sell me Amway because he knew I was suddenly very poor. Charming.
As much as I grizzle about being alone, it's better than wasting time with people like that.
Oh well, back to the salt mines. Damn, nearly rescued Buck, too.
Okay, more fic here. It's Magnificent Seven so for the one or two people who are still with me it's rated MA for violence, horror, sexual references and adult themes. Don't worry, it'll hopefully all make sense if I ever get a breath to finish the damn thing. Basically, Buck cheated on Ezra, with the wife of Peter Nichols, no less, and Buck is pretty much getting his just desserts here.
THE RESCUE OF BUCK
The blade pressed coldly against his cheek, then grazed down his throat. He gritted his teeth as it cut thinly down his chest, trickling blood in its wake.
"Gonna make you pay," the harsh voice taunted. "Gonna make it so you can't ever get with another man's wife again." He tugged at Buck's pants.
Buck shut his eyes tight, knowing what was coming, where the knife was going. He waited for the first cut, nerves screaming, and twitched when he heard the shot. Nichols grabbed at him tight, stared hate into his eyes and then fell. Buck managed to raise his head to look into the bright eyes of his lover, his gun drawn and smoking.
"Ez," Buck breathed, almost laughing with relief.
Ezra grinned. "I wasn't about to let that butcher mutilate you, my dear. Not my most favourite part of you."
Buck glanced down at his sorry state, deeply ashamed at what he had brought down upon himself.
"You still love me?" he had to ask.
Ezra crossed the few feet between them and kissed Buck hard on the mouth, pressing his body up against Buck, almost coiling around him, enough to make Vin blush and look away.
"Boys, we don't have time," Chris reminded gruffly.
Ezra backed up, only now seeing beyond Buck's eyes to the tortures his lover had been subjected to.
Buck was stripped to the waist, bleeding and sweating. He'd been horsewhipped, kicked and beaten and now he was tied up to the top paling of the horse stall to stop him from falling down, his arms outstretched and bound at the wrists with barbed wire, his head hung forwards as he waited for the next pain to come. Buck's hands had been nailed to the beams above him as they sloped down in an arrow to meet pillar of wood he leant against.
Ezra stared down at the blood he was covered in and it took a hard shake from Chris to bring him back to his senses.
"We've got to get him down," Chris reminded savagely. "Buck -"
"Do it," he snarled, meeting Chris's eyes.
With a shared glance, Chris and Ezra slowly pulled the nails out of Buck, Vin holding Buck up against the wood as he screamed. They cut through the ropes and wire, Chris cut down one of Buck's arms while Ezra took care of the other. Buck crumpled onto Ezra, almost collapsing Ezra with the sudden weight of over six feet of cowboy, but Ezra held him up.
"Knew you'd come," Buck managed to murmur with relief.
"Knew you'd get yourself in trouble," Ezra let slip his rebuke in his relief. They'd argued about it before, Ezra more concerned over whose wife Buck had seduced rather than the adultery itself. Ezra had been right, that woman was trouble.
Buck drew away from Ezra, holding himself up on his own two feet.
Ezra wished he'd held his tongue but his fear of losing Buck had turned to anger at Buck for bringing this down upon both of them. There was a Nichols dead at Ezra's feet and that meant a blood feud and they all knew it. They'd seen that clan in action before and they had only just barely survived the encounter.
"Ezra, I" Buck began as Ezra wiped the blood away from the cuts on his face.
"Hush now," Ezra soothed in his soft southern lilt. "You've never judged me, now allow me to return the favour. Neither of us are saints."
"That would make life dull," Buck agreed, smiling and wincing at the same time.
"How did you find me?" Buck panted with sweet relief.
Vin tossed him a knowing grin. "Ezra and Chris can be rather persuasive. Turns out the townsfolk were more scared of Chris Larabee than Peter Nichols, and they were very helpful in their directions."
After that Vin had picked up the trail again and Buck had never been so glad as now to be friends with a bounty hunter. Vin's ability to track a man across state lines had saved his life.
"Come on," Chris urged, grabbing Buck and holding him up, seeing he was about to fall. Ezra stepped into support Buck on his other side, almost by instinct, and Chris felt the bite when he saw how naturally the two boys just fitted together, how much they doted on each other, even when they were mad at each other. He'd never really let Buck in like that, not for a long while at least. Ezra was furious with Buck and Chris could well understand it, yet he still loved the incorrigible heartbreaker, and Chris could understand that, too.
So could Buck. He'd dragged Chris out of enough hellfires to know exactly how worried and angry Ezra was, and why.
"Can you walk?" Chris demanded.
"Do I have a choice?" Buck asked hopefully.
"No," Chris answered shortly, only the light in his eyes betraying that he, too, was relieved beyond words that Buck was still alive. For the moment. They were on the run now. The clan would hunt them down and kill them until the last man was standing.
They rode for several hours through the night, they rode for hours until Buck was sagging in his saddle and knew he could ride no longer. Buck would have fallen from his saddle to the ground had they not been there to catch him, setting him down on the ground between them and fussing over him until he growled at them to let him be.
Buck sat there, huddled over, shivering in the cold, a miserable figure of blood and bruises.
"Jesus, Buck, what'd he do to you?" Ezra asked, concerned, getting his first good look at the extent of Buck's injuries by the light of the moon.
Buck answered with a bellow as Chris splashed alcohol down Buck's bleeding back. Buck reached back and snatched the bottle from Chris, taking a healthy swig.
"Damn waste of good whisky," Buck growled between swallows. Now he'd stopped moving he was starting to feel it. Ezra could see it in Buck's eyes, a weariness and a realisation that his ordeal was still far from over.
Ezra tossed Buck a clean shirt from his saddle bag.
Buck turned it over in his hands, feeling the fine quality of the cloth slip between his fingers. Ezra was still keeping a change of clothes in his saddlebags, and Buck was saddened by the casual revelation of this fact. It wasn't vanity that drove Ezra to carry a spare suit of clothes, it was a defence mechanism, in case Ezra had to run out and suddenly change his appearance. Ezra was still carrying this change of clothes in his saddlebags. Either it was habit or... Buck decided it was habit, not wanting to think that Ezra was still ready to bolt over the hills at a moment's notice. He kept fiddling with the shirt in his hands, unhappy with his discovery.
"It's cold, Buck. Put it on."
"I'll bleed all over your fancy shirt," Buck complained quietly.
"Blood washes out," Ezra reminded him gently.
Buck nodded slightly and slipped the flowing white silk shirt over his head. The silk was as soft as a kiss against his raw and burning skin and he was glad again for Ezra's fine taste in clothes.
Chris dropped a blanket gently around Buck's shoulders, still somewhat outraged over Ezra's lapse in his duty of care towards his old friend. Chris had always feared Ezra would bring down something like this upon Buck. That Buck was the architect of his own downfall, well, Ezra should have nipped this in the bud in Kansas City. Ezra should have hauled Buck out of bed with that woman, the way Chris had, more than once. Ezra had proven he couldn't be trusted with Buck, and Chris's mood projected this sentiment louder than any words.
Not that Chris had been any better in his care of Buck, hell, he'd gotten Buck into more trouble than out of it. Chris just needed someone to be mad at and it was easier to be mad at Ezra than the man he loved more dearly than a brother.
Ezra understood this and took Chris's vinegar with its usual grain of salt, though it wore on him, that Chris was always riding him for something or other, even things he didn't do. Vin saw it and tried to placate Chris, but this only served to remind Chris of the friendship Ezra and Vin had shared, and once the jealousy kicked in, well, that was enough of a spur for Larabee.
He asked again what the hell Ezra was doing getting involved with the Nichols gang, in spite of Ezra's repeated protests that he himself had not undertaken any intercourse with any member of the Nichols family. That had solely been Buck's prerogative.
Buck had hung his head again, waiting for the inevitable lecture about him deserving to get his balls hacked off if he was going to keep diddling married women, especially the very pretty wives of notorious gangsters. Everyone knew Buck was incorrigible but surely there was at least an ounce of sense in his head.
Buck could have said he hadn't known who her husband had been the first time he'd bedded her, or even the third. It was only his near discovery il flagrante on the fifth night that bundled Buck out into the dark in fear for his life. He'd been glad to be leaving town with Ezra the next day. He'd thought he'd left it all behind him. He should have known those Nichols boys were like a dog with a bone.
Chris groused some more and they slept a little, uneasily, with one or two of them on watch at all times. They'd stopped only to let Buck rest, and damned if Buck could get any sleep, so much in pain, so terribly sorry for the trouble he'd brought down on his friend's heads.
Morning found them riding at a steady pace towards home, pushing neither the horses or Buck too hard or too fast before they had to. They knew there was little chance of outrunning the Nichols gang but they knew they had to try. Maybe their luck would hold and they could throw the city slickers off their trail.
Vin's expression when he came in from a long looping scout around them put paid to that hope though. They were being followed, tracked by a party of black clad riders several miles south of them and catching up hard. They must have ridden all through the night, like Chris had feared they would. There was no mistaking who was on their tail, and no chance of escape. When the riders came upon them they'd simply have to shoot their way out, or die trying.
Buck flicked a glance at Ezra, as though trying to preserve the memory of his lover riding beside him, even tired and dust covered as he was.
Chris caught the look and felt the slight sting of jealousy again, his standing in second place in Buck's affections betrayed by the way Buck looked to Ezra first, each and every time. Chris wondered again what sort of hold Ezra had over Buck that so bewitched him, the very same sorcery that held them all bewitched, if he was truly honest with himself.
It was Chris after all who had seen the young grifter in the saloon, Chris who had let Ezra's disarming cheek earn himself a place in their band of regulators, Chris who had borne the responsibility of having to trust a man he never had and never would entirely trust.