Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: The Magnificent Seven
Challenge/Prompt: slashthedrabble 494: Distraction
Word Count: 536
Date Written: 25 July 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
Chris sighed as he sat on his newly finished porch and watched the sun sink below the distant trees. He was so close to finishing the building that was supposed to be home, but all he could think right now was that Vin was out there somewhere, bunking down for the night on the hard, hot desert ground with only Peso and the moon for company. Vin had invited him to come along. Chris had declined, but he had swallowed the words that almost left him in response, the words he now realized he should have let out. He should have asked Vin to stay, but he hadn’t.
Vin had helped him all damn day. He’d helped him all week and the week before that. He had as much blood and sweat in this land and in this house as Chris did. It had started out being Chris’ project, but it was far more than that now. And yet, right now, it was still just a house. It wasn’t a home. It couldn’t be a home, Larabee realized, slugging back another swallow of hard whiskey. It couldn’t be a home until it felt like home, and it couldn’t feel like home when the only person whose presence made him feel like he was home was out there underneath the rising, night sky alone.
“Damn it,” Chris growled and looked up in surprise as his horse flicked her tail at him. “What?” he snarled. She turned her head to look at him and gnashed her teeth. “I don’t have any more apples,” he told her. “Vin brought that one to you.” He was always thinking of things like that. He thought of helping the widow Wells and checking on her after every storm. He thought of helping Mary put her newspaper to bed, lifting the heavy stacks of paper for her. He was the first to jump to his feet to break things up when a brawl broke out in the saloon. And he was always the first to come help Chris.
His horse gnashed at her big, white teeth at him. “What do you want?” Chris growled. “I should’ve asked him to stay, but I can’t damn well go back and do it now.” She flicked her ears and tail. “I’m not going out there after him. You know what kind of a fool that’d make me look like?” She blew a breath out softly. “‘Course you don’t care. It’s me being the damn fool, not you. All you care about is the apples.”
And what did Vin care about? Chris wondered. Why did he really stay as long and often as he did? Why did he cut his arm and yet keep working, building a ranch that Chris hadn’t asked him to share? Because they both knew he should ask him, damn it!
“Hey!” Chris jumped as his horse closed her teeth around the long neck of his whiskey bottle and jerked it out of his grasp. She tossed the bottle up, not letting him have it, caught it by its mouth, and slugged the whiskey down her own throat. “Damn horse,” he snarled but chuckled, glad for the distraction, and grabbed two more bottles.