To Remember image created by LaraMee

 

TO REMEMBER

by LaraMee

 

 

A/N: A short piece, pure schmaltz, based on the comments Chris made to Buck in Vendetta. The Irish song included in this story is The Skye Boat song, and can be found here:  http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/s011.html . 

 

 

 

I can’t see her face anymore, Buck.  Can’t hear Adam calling me Pa… they’re fading away… I need to remember.

 

 

Chris Larabee sat in the darkness, staring out across the tall grass that grew up around his homestead.  He watched the blades sway in the warm, evening breeze, staring at them until there seemed to be nothing else in the world.  He tipped the bottle of Redeye up and drank deeply of the rotgut.  Setting the bottle on the ground beside his chair, he took a draw off the cheroot, the cherry glowing brightly in the blackness.  He loved this time most of all; the sun had disappeared and the moon had yet to make an appearance. 

 

He liked the darkness.  He could let down the walls, shed himself of the cloak he wore when the daylight came.  The cloak that allowed only the illusion of THE GUNFIGHTER to show itself to the world.  He he could simply be himself.  In the darkness the true Chris Larabee could come out of hiding.

 

He remembered the time when he didn't have to wear that cloak.  Remembered when he could smile with more than his mouth; when there were no shadows in his gaze.  Where the sun shone on the darkest day, and the wind smelled like lavender.  And there was laughter and music in the air.

 

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

 

The words seemed to come to him across the breeze, but he knew they were only in his memory.  Sarah, her light Irish brogue turning the simple verse into poetry and magic, as she hung the wash on the line outside the little house, their home, to dry in the sun. 

 

He would walk up behind her, stepping lightly in the high grass that danced in the breeze around that other homestead, and slip his arms around her waist.  She would squeal and pretend to be afraid, then turn in his arms and kiss him passionately before scolding him for scaring her.  In response he simply picked her up, spinning her around until they were both dizzy, kissing her with more and more heat until they were both breathless.

 

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclouds rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.
 

She would sing the song in a voice husky with desire after they had spent long hours making love in front of the fireplace with nothing but a thick quilt between their bodies and the wooden floor.  Her green eyes sparkled with lust as she leaned over him where he lay on the floor, before she rained deep kisses over his body. 

 

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

 

She sang her special song, the one her mother sang to her, more and more as the time for their child's birth drew near.  He even remembered hearing snatches of it from the bedroom, where she labored to bring their son into the world.  The  midwife was even humming it when she brought a newborn Adam out to meet him, all pink and new, wrapped warm in the blanket Sarah had made for him.

 

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

 

He could see her now, rocking Adam in her arms, soothing him as he fought sleep.  So many nights had been spent together, before the fireplace, a happy and content family.  The song was a part of their lives through the years to come.  By the time he could talk the song was already part of Adam's vocabulary.  Even before that they could recognize the tune in his toddler's gibberish.  He couldn't sleep at night until his mother had sung the last note and kissed him on the forehead. 

 

Many's the lad fought on that day,
Well the claymore could wield,
When the night came, silently lay
Dead in Culloden's field.
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

 

He remembered one particular time, listening to Sarah sing about the battle in Culloden's field.  It was perhaps a month before that fateful trip to Mexico, and they were sitting on the porch on a late spring evening.  He and Buck had been working with the horses all day, gentling them so they could be sold to a rich Don down in Mexico. 

 

While he was content to relax with his wife, Buck, filled with energy despite the long day, was out in the yard, playing with Adam.  The two of them were tumbling and running, bending and breaking the grass as their antics carried them from the corral to the trees and back again.  Watching them and laughing, Sarah began to sing the song and soon, he was laughing along with her. 

 

Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet e'er the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

 

As always, the last stanza was painful to contemplate.  He could understand only too well what those men had been through; coming home to find their homes burned and their families gone.

 

Chris pulled himself from his thoughts, returning from those happier days that seemed so long ago.  It seemed impossible that his life had been so perfect less than three years ago.  Impossible that Hell had visited him so recently; stripping him of his heart and soul. 

 

Only a week ago, Hank Connolly had come to town, bringing his own brand of Hell with him.  The torment of a man driven crazy by the loss of a daughter he had, himself, shunned for so long; by the grandchild he had never known.  It was then that he found himself facing something he had tried to deny for too long.  The memories of his wife and son were fading; becoming little more than threads in the tapestry of his life.  And it hurt.

 

But then, on the wind, he smelled lavender and heard the faintest sound of laughter.  The gentlest of breezes brushed his cheek, and suddenly he felt as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.  And he understood.  While Sarah's face and Adam's voice might fade into the mists of the past, one thing would always remain.  Their love.

 

Over the sea to Skye.

 

The End

 

 

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