Notes: This story picks up just after the closing scene in the final episode of the series, 'Obsession'. WIP, Magnificent Seven/Highlander, a story in the 'Echoes the Sea' series. Many thanks to strangevisitor7 for beta duties and brainstorming.
Characters: Ezra Standish, Chris Larabee, Vin Tanner, Buck Wilmington, Josiah Sanchez, Nathan Jackson, JD Dunne, OFC.
Summary: There are times when the only way to escape the dark, and the demons that haunt you, is to have friends who refuse to let you fall.
Too Young For Heaven ~ Part Three
Charlotte pushed through the group of lawmen, dropping to her knees next to Nathan, pulling out a handkerchief and pressing it against the bleeding wound along his temple. The healer wasn’t unconscious, but he was stunned.
“Chris’s what happened!” JD Dunne snapped angrily, answering Buck’s question as he joined them, having run out of the saloon. “Nathan tried to stop Chris from drinkin’, said he was thinning out his blood and it would bleed through the stitches.”
“I can only imagine our revered leader’s reaction to that,” Ezra said sarcastically.
“He told Nathan to mind his own damn business, and Nathan said it was his business considerin’ he’d spent hours sewing him back up, then Nathan tried to take away Chris’s bottle of Red Eye,” the young sheriff finished breathlessly.
“Damn fool,” Buck muttered. Whether he meant Chris or Nathan, she wasn’t entirely certain.
“Nathan, stay where you are,” Charlotte ordered as he tried to push himself off the ground. “Josiah, could you please help him sit up, gently and slowly, and keep the cloth pressed against the wound.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Josiah put a strong arm behind Nathan’s back, helping him up to a sitting position, while keeping the compress against his temple with his other hand.
“I’m fine,” Nathan protested weakly, trying ineffectually to shake off Josiah’s ministrations.
“Yes, of course you are,” Charlotte said with a sniff, which elicited chuckles from the other men despite the gravity of the situation. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Fingers, Mr. Jackson,” Charlotte repeated sternly.
“Better answer her, brother,” Josiah said with a huge smile, “or you’re likely to get your ears boxed.” There was more laughter from his companions.
Nathan slumped resignedly in Josiah’s hold. “Three, ma’am.”
“Good. Now, look up for me.” She looked at his eyes. “And follow my finger.” This time he complied with her requests with no protest.
Clicking her tongue, she patted his hand. “I believe you have a slight concussion, and that cut is going to require a few stitches. You need to learn to duck, Nathan,” she told him with a warm smile.
“I’ll try’n remember that, ma’am,” he said ruefully.
Ezra took her hand, helping her to her feet. Brushing off her skirt, she said, “Josiah, could you please help Nathan back to the clinic? I shall join you shortly and see about those stitches.”
The preacher didn’t immediately reply, seeming deep in thought. “Is there a problem, Mr. Sanchez?” she enquired with some impatience.
He shook his head, “No, ma’am, none at all.” He paused, as if considering his next words carefully. “I suppose I’m just wondering what you’ll be doing in the meantime.”
She looked at the faces of the gathered lawmen, seeing the troubled expressions they wore, and on Ezra’s face, the added emotion of his love for her. She knew he battled with the warring aspects of their relationship. On the one hand, that of the little boy she had helped raise, and on the other, the grown man he was now, taking on the responsibility of a son to his mother. It could be a difficult path to walk.
With a glint in her eyes, she answered, “Nothing for you gentlemen to worry about; I merely wish to share a quiet drink with Mr. Larabee.”