By Kate Standish

Universe: OW / Word Count: 519



Buck sighed as he took cover in a small copse of trees on the road to the James Ranch. By his calculations, Chris should have reached the ranch by now, which meant all Hell was about to break loose.


Larabee had never been known for his subtlety.


He fingered the spot on his neck where Chris had pressed the razor. No, Larabee had never been one to pull his punches. Buck knew he had made a mistake in talking about Chris’ past with Mary Travis, he just never expected Chris to react the way he had.


Some people might have been surprised when Chris had approached him in the saloon after the incident at the barber shop, but Buck wasn’t. It was exactly Larabee’s style. As far as Chris was concerned, he had said his piece when he held that razor to Buck’s throat.  As had often happened in the past, it was now up to Buck to decide what happened next.  


He sighed again as he lifted his hat and wiped the sweat from his brow. Not one to usually hold a grudge, Buck had had some misgivings after refusing to ride out with Chris and Vin… misgivings and that damn promise.


His thoughts flew back to that fateful trip…




Buck was saddling his horse when Sarah entered the barn.  “Hey, Sarah,” he grinned. “Chris ‘bout ready to head out?”


Sarah smiled. “He is, Buck, but I need you to do something for me before you go.”


Buck turned to look at Larabee’s wife; he had never heard her sound so serious. “What’s that, darlin’?”


“I want you to promise me that if something happens to me, you’ll watch out for Chris.”


“Ah, Sarah,” Buck grinned as he went back to saddling his steed, “…ain’t nothin’ gonna happen…”


She placed a gentle hand on his arm. “Please, Buck, promise me.”


Buck glanced from the small hand on his arm and then into her dark eyes. When she looked at him like that, there was nothing on Earth that could keep him from making that promise. She was like the sister he never had. He placed his big hand gently over hers. “I promise, Sarah, I promise.”




Buck couldn’t help but wonder if…somehow…she had known…


The sound of thundering hooves interrupted his thoughts.


As he lifted his rifle, he whispered, “I made ya a promise, Sarah Larabee, and I aim to keep it.”


As the first group of riders flew by, he recognized Standish’s scarlet jacket and JD’s bowler hat. Larabee brought up the rear with Tanner at his side.  Even as they passed, a thought flitted through Buck’s mind that maybe he’d have some help keeping that promise.


Promptly shooting two riders from the pursuing group out of the saddle, Buck rode forward and watched the rest turn and retreat. He turned and shared a glance with Chris before riding forward to meet him. “Good thing I came along,” he said.


“Good thing you did.”



The End



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© Kate Standish 2010