Amazed
By: Cass
earthsong_71@yahoo.com
Series: Lost Legacy

*****************

Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don’t own anyone that seems remotely familiar, that
pleasure belongs to CBS, and all those other lucky individuals.
Warnings: None really. I could say this is a hurt/comfort piece laden
with smarm, but hey, my name is on it already.:-)

I could also warn you that it’s different, and I have no earthly idea
where it came from, but why make you believe I have no clue as to what
I’m doing. So, for appearances sake, I’ll just say, I was stretching my
boundaries. That, and I have a killer mid-term tomorrow, so this is my
way of relieving stress.

Author's note: You will need to have read the other installments of the
Lost Legacy, or at least one of them to understand what is transpiring.
:-)

The poem used in this piece is called 'Fulfillment', and the author is
unknown.

*******************************************************

Amazed

Sometimes I look at him, and my heart just stops. It’s one of those
feelings a person gets when they are in complete awe of a situation, or
circumtance. Like the first time I rode a horse across the desert at
sunset, or when I asked Sarah to marry me and she actually said, yes.
It stirs in me a sensation close to that of my son’s first words. I
guess it’s simply that my brother amazes me.

Whether it’s with his quiet strength or his wisdom beyond his years, he
never fails to surprise me. Especially, when I catch a glimpse of the
innocense and wonderment, he has not allowed to be robbed from him.
Sometimes I wonder if he couldn’t be one of
he best things I have yet to find in this life. The very best thing.

I take a deep breath and try to control the sudden panick that has
reared it’s ugly head from a dark place within me, a place I push all
my worse fears to. The thought of ‘not’ having him in my life terrifies
me. Why shouldn’t it? He has been the centerof my world for quite some
time now, even before I found out that he was my father’s son.

He was the beginning of my healing. He has been the cause of my
survival. And how do I repay him? By perhaps bringing about his own
death.

I curse myself at that thought. It’s not fair of me to even consider
giving up on him. Nor is it right to let my guilt take me away, when he
needs me the most. I reach my hand across the short distance that
seperates us, and it does not surprise me that it is shaking like a
leaf on a tree. No one would think me the cool and calm gunslinger now.
I’m a wreck. I swallow hard, realizing how glad I am that J.D. is out
of town with Josiah.  I couldn’t stand to let him down , too.

I lean forward so that the pale form reclined on the bed is in my
reach, but my hand hovers just above his head. Even though Vin is
subdued and reserved most of the time, it is painful to see him so
still. Not many people look past his demeanor, to see the enormous
amount of activity that he is constantly processing. Everybit of
exuberance that J.D. externalizes, Vin keeps inside.

Finally my palm rests agains his hot forehead and I wish for the
miracle that would allow me to somehow switch places with him. He
shifts listlessly, and mumbles something that sounds like my name, but
I know he isn’t waking. Since the shooting, he has
drifted in and of consciousness, but never awoken completely. Nathan
tells me, that it will happen when Vin’s body is willing.

I am willing that moment to be now.

With a sigh, I remove my hand just long enough to retrieve the wet
cloth Ezra had been using earlier that morning to keep Vin bathed in
cool water. As I dip it in the wash pan and run it over my brother’s
bruised face, I can’t help but to remember how surprised I had been to
find the gambler tending to Vin, with the care I had arrogantly
considered only myself capable of. Sometimes, I forget that the
con-man, the one  I trusted the least of my men in the beginning, has
proven himself countless times. Still, even now, it is hard to recall
that he has feelings for anyone beyond himself. At least, that is ,
until he is placed in a situation where one of us needs him. This is
especially true with Vin and J.D.

J.D. is the easy one to figure out. Any one of us would give our lives
to protect him. He is ‘the kid brother’ we all idealize. But, Vin and
Ezra’s relationship still confounds me at times. They are as different
as night and day, opposite sides of a coin, but yet there is a
connection. Maybe, it’s because they have both been loners most of
their life. Whatever it is, I have no doubt that Ezra Standish would
suffer greatly , if the unthinkable were to happen.

Again, I berate my negativity. “You’re going to be fine, aren’t you,
cowboy?” I say the words outloud, hoping to make them seem more
legitimate. Silence is the reply I recieve and the irony of it steals
my breath. Vin and I have never needed words to reassure one another,
to express our feelings; but now I would give anything to hear his
voice. I need to hear it, desperately.

I can’t help but to smile, when I think about that. It was just the
other night I was telling him and Buck to be quiet , so that I could
get some sleep. Vin doesn’t talk much, but when Wilmington gets him
started, I see my father start to emerge. He and Jon share a talent for
bringing a story to life in a way that others want to listen.  They
undoubtedly could coax a honey comb away from a grizzly , if they had a
mind to. I , on the other hand, would have to resort to shooting the
beast.

“Dad should be here soon,” I tell Vin, continuing to stroke the cloth
across his face and bare chest. I know he wouldn’t wanted to have
worried , Jon. But Nathan was so unsure of his chances yesterday; and I
can understand the feeling my father would have about the situation. I
would have traded almost anything to have been with Adam when he was
suffering, and nothing would cause me to inflict such injustice on Jon
Larabee.  Besides, a part of me knows that Vin needs him.

Sometimes I refuse to think that my brother could ever need anything
that I couldn’t provide, but the truth is a man needs his father. Just
as Vin needs J.D. to look up to him, or Ezra to challenge him, or Buck
to conspire with him.  They are all part of who he has become since
coming to Four Corners, and I would never deny him that. Hell, there’s
not anything , that I can think of , that I would deny him.

It was the same with, Adam. And there are times when Vin smiles, that I
see my dead son, and that is both a curse and a blessing.

I squeeze my eyes shut and pray that I could see that lop-sided grin at
this moment, or stare into the blue eyes, that hold the empathy and
kindness of our father. He is the best of all the Larabee men I have
known. He has become the best part of me.

“Damn it, Vin. You need to wake up.” I open my eyes and watch the
labored rise and fall of his chest. I finally drop the cloth back into
the water and pick up his hand instead. “I’m getting too old for this,
you know.”

He turns his head some, as if he is searching out the source of my
voice, but remains in his trauma induced sleep. Nathan told me to talk
with him, to let him know that I was here, but even I realize that the
art of conversation is not my ‘forte’, as Ezra would say. It is now, I
remember the reason I had gone to my room earlier, when Standish was
here.

I look down at my lap and see the book of poetry that my brother had
given me this past Christmas. One thing we do share is the love of
words. Although, he is slowly catching up with my ability to read the
written syllables, I know I share never match his talent at writing
them. He has the heart of a poet and I tease him about it , often.

But , I think he knows what it meant to me when he told me about not
being able to read and to write; and when he nervously shared one of
his poems with me, for the first time. I was touched beyond belief. Of
course, I didn’t tell him any of that. Like I said, we’ve never
needed words.

But somehow, words seem to offer a comfort to me now, especially the
piece I have turned to. It’s one of my favorites. It reminds me of Vin.

“ Lo, I have opened unto you
the gates of my being,
And like a tide, you have flowed
 into me.
The innermost recesses of my spirit
are full of you
And all the channels of my soul
are grown sweet with your presence.”

My voice breaks and I clear my throat, before I can continue reading it
to him.

“For you have brought me peace;
The peace of great tranquil waters,
And the quiet of the summer sea.”

I pause, letting my eyes fall on his pale features again, remembering
our plans to go to San Francisco next year. He wanted to see the
Pacific. I shake my head . *He will see the Pacific.*

“Your hands are filled with peace as
The noon-tide is filled with light;
About your head is bound the eternal.
Quiet of the stars, and in your heart
dwells the calm miracle of twilight.

I am utterly content.

In all my being is no ripple of unrest
For I have opened unto you the
Wide gates of my being
And like a tide, you have flowed into me.”

I am speaking almost in a whisper by the time I finish the poem, and I
can feel the stinging in my eyes, the lump in my throat.  Closing the
book, I lay it on the night table, and lean forward until my forehead
is resting on his arm. He’s so hot, and I worry that Nathan wasn’t able
to get the bullet out in time.

I think about the meaning of the poem I just read, and I wonder at how
one person can actually be completed by another. How that there can be
a piece of a man’s soul missing, and although he knows there’s
something he longs to reunite with,  he is clueless as to what it is,
and damn lucky if he ever finds it.  I found it when I met the lanky
tracker who was willing to risk his life to save that of a man he
didn’t even know.

And now, I could lose it. Lose him.

My anguish has nearly reached the breaking point, when I feel a large
hand on my shoulder. Raising up, I smell the aroma of fresh coffee, and
am not surprised to find Buck standing behind me. Why should I be? He’s
always been there, when I really needed
him.

“Mary wanted me to bring you some supper, and I thought the coffee
might come in handy.” My oldest friend smiled, and set a small tray
beside me. “Inez made the soup, she is definitely a woman of many
talents.”

I acknowledge his sentiments with a weary grin and reach for the
coffee. “I’m sure you’d like to explore each and every on of ‘em.”

“One of these days, pard. One of these days.” Buck laughs, but his eyes
tell me more, as he glances to the younger man lying on the cot. “How’s
he doing?”

After a moment I answer him. “The same.”

“He’s strong , Chris. He’ll pull through this.” My friend kneels down
so that our eyes are level. “ He’s got that Larabee stubborness ,
remember?”

Words escape me, so I only nod. “Have you heard from Josiah and the
kid?”

A smile crosses his face that he can’t hide. That always happens when
J.D. is mentioned. “They should be headed back from Eagle Bend, this
afternoon. Seems the kid is about homesick.”

“Did you tell him?” I ask quietly.

Buck shakes his head and runs a hand over his mustache. “I didn’t want
to do it by telegraph. Knowing, J.D., he’d make Josiah ride like a bat
out of hell to get back here. Besides, I didn’t want him to get any
ideas about going after the McKalister gang."

A look of fear and hatred flares across my face before I can stop it.
“I don’t want him envolved when we go after Eyan. Do what you have to ,
but he stays here.”

“Easier said than done,” Buck swallows hard, and I can tell he feels
the same as I do. “He get’s his hackles up when he thinks we’re trying
to protect him.”

I feel a coldness seeping through me. “I’ll lock him jail if I have to.
Him and Vin both. Eyan knows too much about us. He knows our
weaknesses. My weakness.” My eyes unconsciously go back to my brother,
who is sporting a large hole in his chest thanks to the
likes of one Eyan Mckalister. “That much is obvious.”

“We’ll get ‘em , Chris. They’ll pay for this.”

I sigh, leaning forward to rest my head in my hands. “I just hope Vin
doesn’t pay with his life.”

Buck stands again, and his hand is back on my shoulder. He gives it a
squeeze. “Come get me if you need anything.”

I look up, wondering how I had managed to shake the man that would
usually stay at my side 'til I was forced to run him off, and  I am
greeted with a surprise. My father’s grim face is staring down at me.

“What the hell happened?” His deep voice reveals his distress and I get
a little worried when he nearly collapses into the other chair near
Vin’s bed.

“Are you alright?” I ask, letting my eyes roam over his dirt-covered,
and disarrayed form.

“I just rode eighteen hours straight,” he murmurs. “What happened?”
He’s not facing me now, his focus completely on Vin.

His hand goes to my younger brother’s forehead, and I am taken by the
tenderness he expresses. Gently tucking a lock of hair behind Vin’s
ear, he leans close and tells the unconscious man that he’s here now.

“He was shot,” the words begin to tumble out of my mouth. “By a man,
lookin’ to rob the bank. There was a gang of them, and we were having a
hard time getting the upperhand.” My father’s gaze is on me now,
intense, but unreadable.

“Josiah and J.D. are gone, so we were out-gunned. Vin climbed up on the
roof of the boarding house to cover us.” I stop, the memories flooding
back all too clearly. “He called out , when one of the bandits got the
drop on me. The leader of the gang ...”
The rest of the sentence hangs in the air, as Jon turns his attention
back to Vin.

“I get the picture,” my father growls; and although I know his anger is
not for me, I can’t help but to feel a revival of my guilt.

“Nathan says he should be fine, if he can stave off the infection.”

“Of course he’s going to be fine.” There is no hint of doubt in the
hauntingly familiar look I recieve from the other man. “Your brother’s
a survivor.”

Looking much older than I can ever remember, my father grasps Vin’s
hand in his own and brings it up to hold in both of his. “He’s a
fighter,” He whispers, clutching his youngest’s hand to his chest.

As he begins a litany of words with my unconscious broter, I feel like
I am witnessing a stranger.

I knew Jon cared for the son he was never able to raise, but the depths
of his devotion had escaped me. Over the last year, I have not given
him enough credit. Maybe, I have forgotten what it is like to be a
parent.

“Now that you’re here, I think I’ll go get some fresh air.” The
expression on Jon’s face is priceless as I make to stand up. “Come get
me, if he wakes.” It is obvious, he can’t believe that I trust him.

He’s not the only one that’s surprised. I have only left my brother’s
side once in the last twenty-four hours. But, I somehow understand how
Jon is feeling. And I respect it.

With one last look in Vin’s direction, I turn to go. I’m not sure where
I am headed, but my body protests my movement almost as loudly as my
heart does.

As I descend the stairs from Nathan’s clinic, the hot breeze reminds me
that summer is in full force, and it takes a moment to adjust my eyes
to the bright sunlight filtering through the partly cloudy sky.

Most of the townsfolk ignore me, or at least have the good sense to
pretend to, as I make my way down the street.

It is not long before I find myself somewhere I didn’t plan on being.
Life is full of surprises these days.

The church is quiet and as I enter holy ground, I find myself wishing
to see Josiah. Unfortunately, that’s not possible, atleast until he and
the kid make it back. Even if he were here, I doubt if I’d know what to
say to him. But then again, Josiah always knows how to push the right
buttons.

In a few long strides I am facing the pulpit, and I take a moment to
look at the changes that have occurred in the old structure. Oh, I’ve
had a hand in some of the repairs, Sanchez has seen to that, but I’ve
never really viewed it from the position I’m
in now.

I am here for help.

A place, a station, I swore I’d never return to again.

Even though I had been in churches several times since Adam and Sarah’s
death, I had never been ‘in’ one.  I have heard Josiah say that a man
in his right heart can be in a place of worship whilst standing in a
barn; but a blasphemous man can transform the house of the Lord into a
dwelling of ill repute. It is all a state of the heart. This I know to
be true.

I never forgave God for allowing my family to be taken from me. I don’t
know if I even believed in him anymore. But after meeting Vin, and
finding out that he was my brother, how could I so easily discount the
prospect of divine intervention. My faith has also been restored, to
some degree, by the fact that the Seven have survived the last three
years, together.  Up until now, that is.

My throat constricts and a choked sob escapes me. I have not cried
since Buck and I put Adam in the ground, but now, I can not prevent it.
The thought of losing someone else I love tears at me, and I fall to my
knees.

“Don’t let him die,” I whisper. Over and over, I say it, like some
formal incantation.
“Please, don’t let him die.”

The words run together and mix with my tears, until it is one sad song
of despair. It is a mournful tune, one I wish I could drown out; but
it’s power is bigger than me. It’s sentiment, stronger than the fear
behind my apprehension.

I do not know how long I stayed that way, but when I rise, both my legs
are stiff and I am all cried out.
God does not ask me to stay, nor do I promise to return, but I leave
feeling more at peace somehow. However, my fear for losing Vin is still
there.
Trust and faith are not things easily gained with me. Even by the
Almighty, himself.

As I start the climb back to Nathan’s room, I find myself hesitating.
It is as if I cannot face the prospects of another night of not
knowing, another day without my bestfriend. My hand trembles as I reach
for the door knob, but I finally force myself to go in.

Jon is still at Vin’s bedside, but the steady rise and fall of his back
and that he does not turn at my entrance, alerts me to the fact he is
asleep. I quietly make my way to the opposite side of my brother’s bed
and ease myself down onto the cot.

Although his color has not improved much, I sense something has
changed. Reaching out my hand to lay on his brow, I realize that his
fever has gone down, and I can’t help the smile that spreads across my
face. “‘Bout time you cut me some slack, cowboy.
I take his hand in mine and squeeze it.

My relief, undescribably, multiplies when I feel the slight pressure
returned. “Vin?” I lean closer to him, hoping I have not begun to
imagine things. “Can you hear me?”

This time his eyes move, and in a matter of moments, a tired blue gaze
focuses on me. “Chris?”

“It’s me. Take it easy,” I tell him when I notice the look of confusion
cross his face.

I flinch as he winces in pain. “Wh..what happened?”

“You were shot,” I explain, still keeping my voice low.

His eyes search my face and his grip on my hand increases. He only
shows fear in the most suddle ways. “You alright?” His question catches
me off guard, and once again I am amazed at his selflessness.

“ I’m fine, but I think that’s what I should be asking you.”

Instead of replying, he turns his head as if he suddenly became aware
that we were not alone. “Jon?” He turns a questioning glance back to
face me, a mixture of relief and disbelief coloring his features.

“The old man decided I might not be able to get you through this by
myself.”

“Who are you calling old?” My father lifts an eyebrow, and I’m sure
he’s been awake since Vin uttered his first word, but the grin that
touches my brother’s face keeps me from saying so.

“I dreamed you were here, dad.”

The whispered admission surprises me, and when my father is at a loss
for words, I know he has just recieved his second miracle for the day.
“I’ll always be here when you need me, son.”

When I remove my gaze from my father, Vin’s eyes are on me again. “The
others?” he asks, worry evident in his tone.

“They’re fine,” I tell him, but even as I do, I realize I may be the
one in danger, if I don’t alert Nathan to the changes in his patient’s
status.

As if he could read my mind, Jon stands up and announces with a grin of
his own, that he’s going to tell everyone that his boy is back in the
world of the living.

Vin and I exchange knowing smiles, as our father actually whoops as he
makes his way out of the sickroom. “I think you made his year,” I tell
him, once we are alone.

“I owe him.” My brother’s reply puzzles me, but I don’t have to ask for
an explanation. “He made my whole life, when he told you about me.”

I feel that familiar tightness in my chest again, and I find myself
suddenly angry. “I thought I had lost you, this time. What the hell did
you think you were doing, coming out of cover like that?”

He closes his eyes for a moment, and I feel guilty for raising my
voice. My brother almost dies, and the first thing I do when he wakes
up, is to yell at him.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry.”

We say the words simultaneously, and when he looks back up at me, there
is a hint of amusement behind his weary gaze. “I didn’t mean to worry
you,” he adds.

I tighten my hold on his hand. “You saved my life, Vin.”

He shakes his head to disagree, and I can tell he is fighting to stay
awake.

“But I never want you to risk yourself like that again. Understand?”

“You don’t understand,” he says, as his eyes start to drift shut again,
and I know he is losing the battle with the exhaustion and pain. “I
saved ‘my’ life, Chris. Even if I’d died, the best part of me would
have survived.....”

His words trail off as he succumbs to a healing sleep this time and I
frown, worried that he may have sustained a head injury from the fall,
but his hand squeezes mine, and a soft sigh gives me the answer I need.
“You, Chris. I saved you.”

I don’t know why that I am shocked at his words.  It is just another
example of his dedication to me. A testament to the bond we share. He
would rather face death, than life without the relationship we have.
The feeling is not new to me, it’s the same one that is at the core of
my being, it is a knowledge that feeds my soul.

But as I realize that it is a sentiment that is mirrored in him....my
heart stops....and I am truly amazed.

 
The end. For now ;-)
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