Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
Character/Pairing: Orrin, pre-Chris/Mary, past Stephen/Mary
Challenge/Prompt: tv_universe: Person In Charge (If you join, tell them Kat Lee of Team Bunny Ears sent YOU!)
Word Count: 710
Date Written: 22 January 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
He watches Four Corners and the vanishing dot that is his proud, stubborn, but also sweet daughter-in-law until he can no longer see them. Only then does the Judge finally let his curtain drop and settle back into his seat. He's alone on his journey back to the city, but then, Orrin's often alone these days with only his memories to comfort him. And his memories, since his son's death, comfort him very little.
He always looks forward to seeing Mary and his grandson, but until today, it's been increasingly harder to leave them. He's argued with his daughter-in-law so many times, knowing he can provide for them, and protect them better, if they were to come live with him. Mary's a prideful woman, and as a stubborn as a mule, but he understands, too, why her heart's in that blasted paper. The Clarion wasn't her dream. It was Stephen's, and keeping the paper running, for her at least, is also keeping a part of the man they both loved alive.
That little town is dangerous, but it's about to get a lot safer, Orrin reminds himself, his eyes drifting closed as his body begins to relax with the steady gait of the horses and coach. Mary's no longer alone. She's got not one man, but seven, to protect her, Billy, and the town. The land barons, outlaws, and others who would once have easily preyed upon a delicate widow are going to have a great deal more with which to contend if they make a move on his daughter-in-law now.
He's finally did it, Orrin thinks, a smile slowly curving his lips. He's finally found the right man, and not just the right man but the right men, for the job. Even that gambler is going to learn that he's a better man than he thinks he is; he'll be there for Billy and his mother, too, while the Judge can't be because of his other duties.
Even more than the other six courageous men who have agreed to protect the town, and thereby his family, for a mere dollar a day, there's the man in black. Chris Larabee is almost a law to himself. Travis wasn't at all certain about that man when he first saw him. He had more doubts about him than even the gambler. But then he saw how Larabee watched Mary when he thought no one was looking. He saw the light burning deep in his dark, green eyes and knew.
That man will protect his Mary until his dying breath and will cherish her from afar until his daughter-in-law, who he's truly come to love as his own daughter, is ready to love again. She claims that day will never come, but he knows it will. He's had too many friends who have lost loved and finally come to love again for him to think it won't, but Mary's still young. She's still inexperienced, still wide-eyed and innocent like a doe, but unlike a doe on her own, she's now protected. No hunter of womankind is going to touch that lady.
He chose well, Orrin thinks again. Chris and Mary will eventually heal each other, and who knows? Maybe somehow along the way and underneath the watchful gazes of the seven men he left to protect it, the town Stephen loved will also come to be healed. Only time will tell.
His thoughts are beginning to slow as he continues to listen to the steady beat-crunch of the horse's hooves and the gravel underneath the stagecoach's wheels. It's been so long since he's been able to sleep and truly rest. Every night since learning of his son's murder, he's shut his eyes to see his son's worried face. Sometimes, Stephen has pleaded with him to protect Mary and his son; other times, he's raged at him for not doing a better job of caring for his family.
But the ghost of his son can no longer say that. He can no longer think it, because Mary, Billy, and all of Four Corners are well protected. The Judge finally lets his eyes slip close. Maybe tonight, he thinks wearily, he can finally sleep without seeing the face of his dead, but forever beloved, son.