Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
Challenge/Prompt: fffc s51: Fairy Tale (Fusion)
Word Count: 1,411
Date Written: 28 June 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
She watches them every night from the safety of her home or the Clarion, and she actually does feel safe these days and nights too regardless of whichever one from which she’s watching them on these cold and lonely nights, now made not quite so lonely or cold and a great deal safer all by their presence. There are seven of them, and despite the fairytale story she just recited to her young son, Mary knows very well these men are no Dwarfs. A smile plays over her lips, however, as she looks out, seeing the various lights that indicate their presence, and reflects that they could very well be Princes.
She can see Chris’ cheroot lit just outside the saloon and can see him just as easily in her mind’s eye, leaning against one of the posts on the boardwalk, his teeth tight around his thick cigar, and his green eyes intent and cunning as they sweep the dark streets in search of any trouble. A little light down one way on the street is a sign that JD still hasn’t left the Sheriff’s office; knowing Mister Wilmington, if he’s not romancing some lucky lady right now, he’s keeping the young Sheriff loyal company. Ezra will still be playing cards in the saloon, but she can see lanterns on at both the church and Nathan’s little office, indicating that both of them have yet to quit their work and retire for the evening. The moonlight gleams off of Vin Tanner’s musket as he slowly plods with Peso down the street, prepared but not quite ready to leave out for the night.
Mary wraps her black shawl closer around her and is only mildly surprised at the thought that passes through her mind that she wishes she was ready for some other, lighter color. Any woman with blood running through her veins would want at least one of these men. They mean so much, and not just safety. Buck, of course, is the charmer; his smooth tongue could probably charm even a female snake not to bite him. JD is the opposite of Prince Charming and, at times, could easily be related to Dopey with the way bumbles his words and fumbles his actions every time Casey Wells is around him.
As for smooth, Ezra almost has Buck beat and would if not for Buck’s animal magnetism, or maggotism as JD likes to call it. She can easily imagine him as a Prince visiting from a foreign country, collecting his ill gains secretly to carry them away with him when he’s ready to leave, almost like Aladdin stealing away with the Genie’s lamp. Nathan would be a Prince with a truly healing touch while Vin would be one more accustomed to the outdoors than indoors, like Sleeping Beauty’s Prince who chopped down humongous thorns and even fought a dragon to earn her love. Goodness knows Vin also never knows when or where to stop when it comes to helping damsels in distress.
Josiah . . . Well -- Mary’s smile grew --, he and Chris have more in common than most people realize. Put Chris Larabee into brighter clothes, and he no longer seems to be such a threat. Josiah, on the other hand, always resembles a mountain with his size and a bear with his beard and thick hair. The argument could be made that they have both Princes hiding in Beasts, but Mary knows the truth. Chris has one step above Mister Tanner in the Sleeping Beauty’s Prince department. She knows that very well, because it seems to her that he has brought her back to life.
She shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts, not tonight or any night. She has a young son, and she still loves his father. Her husband’s death may have been some years away, but it still doesn’t feel like it. Not that that would give her the right to eye another man regardless, especially not an outlaw like Chris Larabee, the self defined “bad element” that’s come to their little home here in Four Corners.
And yet, despite of all of Chris’ supposed badness and despite her own restrictions, Mary sees little bad about the bad. Yes, he’s a murderer, but he kills those who deserve it. He would have killed her husband’s murderers. He never judges until it’s clear who’s in the wrong and right. He’s not like the lynch mob who almost killed Nathan a couple of years ago; he never judges based merely on skin color, gender, or looks. He’s a good man, but he’s a hard man, the loss of his own wife and son having made him even harder and more aloof.
Yet there remains something about him, something that gives her a secret thrill every time she sees him just as it did the day he and Vin first came together and saved Nathan. They may have had words that day, but even then she had been unable to overlook the fact that those two brave men had done what no other man had been willing to do. Everybody else had been going to let Nathan die. She alone had been the only one out of all the people who knew the healer, out of all those he had helped, who had been willing to make a stand for him, and God knows it’s a wonder she hadn’t gotten herself killed. She probably would have if Chris and Vin hadn’t come along, especially Chris.
Mary’s fingers tighten a little on her arm where she has them crossed together before her. She pushes down the lump that she can feel rising in her throat. She had rarely been more scared in her whole life than she had been that day, and yet the thought that someone had finally come to their town to make people sit up and take notice and demand that at least some of the wrongs that had been happening be stopped and corrected had excited her beyond no end.
He still excites her every time she sees him. There’s a fire behind the sadness behind those hard, green eyes, and she would love to see one night just how mightily it could be stoked. She feels heat flush her face and is glad Billy is sound asleep and she’s alone. Her child has been no secret of the fact that he likes Chris and would love to have him join their family, but life just was not that simple. Chris may make her feel alive again -- he may have awakened her heart from the depression and grief which had nearly killed her, making her into a shell of a woman who largely operated only for her son’s sake --, but she doubts she can ever make him feel as he has her, that she can ever mend his broken heart, or even that she’ll ever have a right to try.
But those seven men, Mary realizes, still gazing upon her town, have done much more than awakened her and a few of the other widows across town, like Gloria Potter and Nettie Wells. They have awakened this town. Men no longer gun each other down just because of an argument in the saloon, and whereas it had been a common practice for people to do everything from spit on Nathan and others like him to take a knife to him simply because he was born with the “wrong” skin color, it no longer is. They even have a few Orientals staying in their town now, and whereas prejudice still runs flagrant in other, nearby cities, it rarely shows its ugliness here. People are beginning to help each other again, and they’re beginning to take a stand against those things they know in their hearts of hearts to be wrong.
And it’s all because of those seven, valiant men. They may not be Princes, but they are certainly heroes. Mary smiles as she finally lowers the curtain, heads to her lonely bed, and blows out her lantern. They are their heroes, regardless of rather she or the town are their Sleeping Beauties, and she is thankful to God for every one of them, though especially -- she smiles again -- for Chris. Laying down, Mary closes her tired eyes, pictures the gunslinger, and is soon fast asleep, dreaming dreams of a life for which she yearns but is not yet brave enough to take for herself, a life spent with the “Bad Element” himself.