Pairing: Chris Larabee/Vin Tanner
Rating: R
Summary: Chris’ POV; What happened to Yesterday’s Heroes
Disclaimer: I wish. I don’t. They do. Still poor. Nuff said, on to the fic.


Yesterday’s Hero

by Steelknight

Another town, another saloon. Faceless people who avoid me. I like it that way. No one to force me to feel again, to make me want to live. I’m already dead. I died when they did. The fire that killed my first family was just the start of the heaven and hell that made up my life. Yes, I know my heart still beats, I’m still breathing. But that’s not living. If I have my way I’ll be joining them soon. I’ll find someone faster on the draw than I am. Then I’ll be just a bad memory, if anyone bothers to remember me.

I had it all a wife, a son; my precious Sara and Adam. A best friend...Buck. It took me over a year to drive him away after they died. But I did it. I was hoping to die then. Instead, I got a second chance. It started when a pair of blue eyes met mine. That was when my life became worth living again.

Buck was back in my life. No longer my best friend, but still a damn good one. Then there was Ezra, a gambler by trade, but among the few I’d trust with my life. Nathan, a healer who was the best doctor I’d ever met. Josiah, fighting all our demons as well as his own. JD, the kid who was a hell of a man. And then was Vin, tracker, sharpshooter, my best friend and lover. We were together for years. I finally had everything I could want again. We were called The Magnificent Seven or Los Magnificos. We were heroes. We had respect, honor, and above all else we had each other. Seven misfits, yet when we were together I swear nothing could beat us.

Then came the beginning of the end. The first to die was JD. He and Casey had gone fishing together. They were teasing each other when they got there. By the time they reached the top of the river bank Casey was tired of JD’s jokes and she pushed him in the water. Neither of them had noticed just how low the river was. JD fell headfirst and crashed into a rock. Nathan said JD was killed instantly. He never knew what hit him, he was dead just that fast. After we buried him it rained for the next two weeks. The river was high when Casey drowned herself, unable to live with the guilt and loss.

Then Buck and I reversed our roles from before. He got drunk and stayed that way, turning as cold as I had been when I lost my family. Rot gut and women were the only things that could hold his interest. I tried to look out for him, so did the others, but he succeeded where I had failed. Three months after JD died Buck was gunned down by a jealous husband. They rest side by side at the town cemetery.

Where there was once seven there were now only five. Then three, as we lost Josiah and Nathan the following year. Josiah had been drinking heavily one night. The next morning he never woke up. Nathan couldn’t tell us if his heart had given out or if he had just drank himself to death. We buried him beside Buck and JD, that’s where he would have wanted to be.

Nathan had been on his way home from visiting Rain. Vin was on patrol and saw smoke. The first thing he found was an upside down burning cross and the tracks of six horses with riders. He followed them and found Nathan’s body hanging from a tree. The bastards had tortured him before they hung him.

Of course Vin, Ezra and I went after them. We killed three of them in the gunfight. The other three, well it was a hard choice. Vin wanted to use them to show me what he learned when he was with the tribes. Ezra wanted to find some large cactus, tie them to it and start a fire at their feet. Me... I wanted to stake them over a fire ant hill and gut shoot them. We’d just decided we could all do what we wanted, after all there was three of them and three of us, when Judge Travis and a posse of twelve men rode up.

The posse surrounded us and Travis demanded the men be brought in for a fair trial. I laughed at him, the three of us would see they got justice our way. In the end though, neither of us got our way, one of the posse members got to close to the prisoners and one of them grabbed his gun. Travis and two of the posse were cut down before Vin could get a clear shot at the man. The other two were killed by the gun happy posse members.

The Cavalry rode in to investigate the Judge’s death. When they found out what had happened to start it all, they rode out without saying a word. We should have followed. They found Rain in the village, Ko-je, Chanu and their tribe had been visiting. The Cavalry took them by surprise and killed every man, woman and child there.

After that Ezra, Vin and I stayed close. We tried to watch each other’s backs. Vin and I had stole a little time for ourselves when we could, but we didn’t like to leave Ezra alone. We were afraid we’d lose him, too. One day Vin and I stole an hour at the river, pleasures of the flesh as Josiah used to say. Normally we used my cabin, but it was a hot day and all we had planned was a little swimming. Should’ve known better, once we were both undressed, we were all over each other.

We should have been more careful. We didn’t know anyone had seen us ‘til we got back to town. Vin and I had just dismounted and were laughing together, when Mary came out with her rifle, screaming at us to leave town now, or she would shoot, our kind wasn’t wanted there. Ezra yelled Vin’s name in warning and threw himself as a living shield between Vin and Mary. It might have worked if Conklin hadn’t been helping her. He and Mary fired. Their shots rang out and both Vin and Ezra crumpled to the ground. I drew and fired as fast as I could killing both the bitch and the worthless coward.

But once again I was too late, Vin died in my arms and Ezra only lasted a day longer. I took care of him as best I could, but I was no healer. The fucking town turned its back on us all except Nettie Wells, Gloria Potter and Inez. We made him comfortable as possible and made sure he knew he wasn’t alone. I held Ezra as he used his last breath to say two little words “Thank you!”

Stupid fucking bastard! Why did he thank me, I got him killed. He should have kept riding when he ran out on us at the Indian village, but no, he came back. He even knew about Vin and me, hell, he probable knew about us before we knew it ourselves. He died trying to protect Vin, the noble son of a bitch.

I wanted to bury them out at my place, but I knew they would have wanted to be with the rest of the men. So I dug their graves myself; Ezra beside Josiah and my Vin right next to him. When I put the tombstones in place, I put up three of them, one with my name on it on the other side of Vin. I wasn’t sure if my body would ever be laid there, but if it was at all possible that’s where I wanted it to be. I gave Ezra’s horse Puck to Inez and readied both my horse, Vengeance, and Vin’s Renegade to leave town.

I hadn’t rode a mile when the sound of a rider coming fast made me stop and turn around. It was Inez and I don’t think even Ezra could have made Puck go that fast. She brought Puck to stop beside me and flat out told me that she was leaving with me and I had no say in it. There was no way she would stay in a town like that, and that Vin and Ezra would have wanted someone to watch my back.

Weren’t much I could say, I think she’d been taking lessons from the boys in being stubborn, not that she couldn’t be a spitfire on her own. She rode with me and watched my back for a little over a year, but as a friend not a lover. She kept in touch with Maude, Nettie and Gloria as best she could. One day about a year after we left town she got a letter from a lawyer that said Maude had been killed in a card game. Maude had left her the Standish tavern in the will. I asked her if she wanted to go back, she didn’t. Inez arranged for the place to be sold by either Nettie or Gloria and it was.

A couple months later Nettie wrote than the new owner had money and had joined in with Guy Royal and Stuart James. They had started making trouble for the town again and it was getting worse everyday. I was surprised it had taken them this long. I didn’t need to ask this time, one look at Inez told me she wanted to go back. It took us a week of hard riding to get there.

Once again I was too late. All that was left were the bodies and a burned out shell of what used to be the town. We found what was Nettie and Gloria in front of the store. It looked like Virgil Watson, Tiny and Yosemite had been trying to help them and they had been killed all together as they tried to make a stand. We couldn’t do anything but bury them.

We both agreed Royal, James and their new partner had to be stopped. I refused to let Inez go with me for the showdown, so we rode to my cabin and were happy to find it was still standing. I watched Inez carry her saddlebags inside. I took her horse, so she wouldn’t follow me and went to meet the murdering bastards.

It didn’t take long, they weren’t expecting me. Their hired guns were already gone to spend their money and sell off the loot from town. James and Royal were to busy patting each other on the back to notice me ‘til I called them out. Neither of them managed to even clear leather. I left their bodies where they fell and headed back for Inez.

I was cautious as I rode up to the cabin. I knew Inez was going to be mad at me leaving her behind. I called her name and got no answer...oh, yes, she was mad, I thought. I entered the cabin slowly, ready to duck anything she threw. Then I saw her... Inez was tied to my bed, the hilt of a knife sticking out of her chest. I ran to her as the door behind me opened and I met Royal and Stuart’s partner.

Ella Gaines stood in the doorway with a huge smile on her face. “Chris, I knew you’d come back. I kept our house ready for your return. Don’t worry about her, I made sure she’d never come between us.” I couldn’t speak, I was too angry, so I answered her with a bullet to her gut. I gently freed Inez’s body and took her outside, then went back in. I ignored the screams of pain coming from that heartless bitch and tied her tight on the bed where Inez had laid. Then I gathered anything in the cabin that would burn and set it around the bed, then set it ablaze. I was there for hours, long after the screams stopped. I stayed ‘til the cabin was ashes. Then I rode back to town with Inez’s body draped over Puck’s saddle. When I got there, I buried her beside Nettie and Gloria, then rode away.


That was ten long years ago. All that time I’ve been trying to die. Thought about killing myself, it wouldn’t be hard, I could slow my draw at the next gunfight or just eat one of my own bullets.

But I know how pissed off Vin and the others would be at me for taking the easy way out. I won’t do it though, when I die it will be an honest death, like theirs.

Right now, I’m in another bar working on my second bottle of whiskey. The doors slam open and some kid marches in. He walks right up to me like he knows me.

Starts calling me names “a bastard, a drunk.” I laughed at that and thought, ‘No shit kid, you figure that out on your own or need help?’ He gets up close and asks me if I remember him.

I don’t. I warn him to either back off and leave now on his own, or he’ll be leaving with the undertaker. His hand goes down but stops short of his gun belt. “Not like this,” he says, “let’s take it outside.”

It don’t take much to piss me off most days and this little prick is begging for a bullet. I go willingly, it’s a good day to die...for one of us. Maybe I’ll get lucky this time, maybe he’ll be faster.

We face each other and I finally take a good look at him. Maybe I met him somewhere but I don’t know. The kid starts bad mouthing me again.

I tell him, “either shut up or draw.” Hell, if I could be talked to death Ezra would have killed me a long time ago.

His hand flexes over his gun, we go to draw at the same time. I go down a burning pain in my chest. When the gun smoke clears the kid walks over and kneels down beside me. “You still can’t remember me can you, Larabee? You used to be my hero, you and the others. My name is Billy... Billy Travis, and I hope you rot in hell. I bet you always wondered how my mother and Mr. Conklin knew about you and Vin, didn’t you? It was me, Larabee I saw you two going after each other like dogs in heat. I told, and before you murdered my mother, she killed your lover.” He taunted.

I heard him, heard every word he said, but it was hard to breathe. I had two things to do before I let go and joined my friends. I fought the blackness that was closing in on me. I grabbed his shirt and pulled him close. His face twisted in an angry snarl, but he didn’t pull away. I struggled to get out the words, “Thank you!” I gasp.

Don’t know what he expected, but that wasn’t it. He never saw me raise my pistol, using the last of my strength I pulled the trigger. A perfect shot right to his heart. The expression of confusion I saw in eyes, made me smile as, this time, I let the blackness overtake me.


There’s no place like Home.

I have a burning desire to send you my opinion of your story.

I want more fics. Take me back to Steelknight’s index.


© Steelknight 2003