Ode to Oddity

By The Chronicler

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Chapter Nine

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"Coming through!" Peggy shouted, clearing the medical staff out of the way as her husband was wheeled into the infirmary on a stretcher.

"I really don't need a stretcher." Buckaroo complained. "A wheel chair... hell, I could of made it with crutches."

"Yes." Reno mumbled as he pushed the stretcher into place and locked it down. "We could of given you crutches... but then Peggy would take them from you and beat us down with them."

"Damn straight." Peggy agreed, turning on and adjusting the light over the stretcher so as to shine on Buckaroo's ankle.

"Where's Perfect Tommy?" Buckaroo wanted to know as a pair of doctors moved in on his injury.

Reno stepped aside allowing his employer a view of Rawhide who was supporting the younger man as he lead him to another bed.

"I'm here." Perfect Tommy growled through clenched teeth.

"You alright, kid?"

"Hell no!" Perfect Tommy snapped, glaring at a doctor who approached with a needle. "You intend to poke me with that thing? 'Cause, if you are, it sure as hell better put me to sleep! Anything else an' I'm gonna thread that damn thin' up your butt an' through your freakin' eye!"

Reno chuckled. "Ever notice how that southern accent of his intensifies with his temper?"

Buckaroo smiled. As she passed, he grabbed Peggy's arm. "Peg, go be with PT. He'll trust you more than the staff."

Peggy sighed. Patting him on the shoulder, she ordered "Don't go anywhere." Then headed over to the youngest of the Cavaliers. "Perfect Tommy, give him the syringe back or I'll start some threading of my own!"

"Reno, stay here, look after them." Rawhide ordered.

"Where are you going?" Buckaroo wanted to know.

"Need to check on Knuckles and Oddity." Rawhide explained and then was out the door before another question could be raised.

"Oddity alright?" Perfect Tommy asked as he held his arm out and Peggy was gently unwrapping the first aid bandages that had been used to halt the bleeding.

"You're losing a lot of blood." Peggy grumbled, avoiding the issue. "Lets get some O positive flowing into him. Is Sid on his way?"

"Yes, ma'am." one of the medical interns offered as she prepared an I.V.

"Peggy..." Perfect Tommy started again.

"No." Reno answered him. He paused to meet Peggy's eyes as she glanced over at him. "Oddity is not alright."

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Knuckles leaned her head against the soft fur of her dog's head. Her hands shook as she ran them through the white and silver curls.

Wining, Oddity weakly moved his head and licked at her face.

Knuckles smiled. With a scratch at his ears, she kissed him lightly on the nose. "Good boy. Very good boy."

His tail wagged in response.

A big hand rubbed Knuckles' back.

She looked up to see Rawhide standing beside her. She licked her lips. "He's hurt really bad, cowboy." she whispered.

"Will he live?" Rawhide asked. He wasn't sure he wanted to know the answer. Just the look in the girl's eyes, the very girl nearly famous for her dry eyes and hard heart, should of been answer enough.

But, pleasant surprise, it wasn't.

"He'll live. Motzy is prepping the surgical room now. We'll go in and repair as much as we can, but..." She stopped.

Rawhide crouched down beside her. "Some of the damage is permanent." he finished for her.

"I can't fix his leg right. He'll limp for the rest of his life. And his left lung was damaged from his cracked ribs. His vocal cords were damaged." Knuckles rested her along side her pet's. "He can't be my partner any more."

The big man wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "So, he'll live out the rest of his days riding fences, chasing the cats in the barn, smooching sweet rolls from the kitchen, bouncing Buckaroo out of bed..."

Knuckles couldn't help but chuckle, a sound that brought another tail wage from her dog.

Rawhide smiled. "So what if he isn't going to be chasing down the bad guys any longer." He reached out and gently scratched the animal's ear. "After everything he's done for us... think we owe him a comfortable retirement in the sun."

"Knuckles?" Motzy, Knuckles' assistant that ran the animal sanctuary in her absence and vetted the guard dogs, entered the room with a stretcher. "Room's ready." He placed the stretcher next to the dog and waited for Knuckles' okay to move their patient.

Rawhide rose to his feet, then, with a hand under her elbow, pulled Knuckles to hers. "Can you do this?" he wanted to know. "You know, our people, whether they shave or not, get only the best."

Knuckles nodded. "I am the best." she assured, suddenly looking much more like her steady hand self.

"Good girl." Rawhide glanced at Motzy, then Knuckles again. "Keep me updated. I'm going to check on the boys then be right back."

"This could take a few hours." Motzy warned.

"I'll be here."

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Dr Smith glanced up, his eyes going big. "M' Lady... I can explain..."

Oran de Nathair glanced around the alley, taking in the scene before her.

The precious incubator had been shot to pieces. The dog's cage was smashed. The doctor's staff were lying on their bellies, their hands and feet tied together with their own rope. Dr Smith himself was handcuffed to the bumper of his truck.

The Lady of the Uilc Dochas Clan's eyes narrowed. Slowly, taking pleasure in the growing fear in the eyes of the man, she glided toward Dr Smith. Reaching up, she polled a long needle from her hair, allowing her long wavy, red hair to fall over her shoulders.

Dr. Smith began to whimper. "Please... p... please, m... m' lady... I did my b... best... please....

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Ode to Oddity

The End