Title: Newly Christened

Author: Lea of Mirkwood

Rating: PG for violence and minor language

Summary: Doc earns his nickname from the Dirty Underwear Gang.

Author's Note: Wrote this on the way back home from taking cross-country trip to Lincoln County. I thought it would be a waste to do so much research on Young Guns and the Lincoln County War and not write at least one vignette.

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"Someone help me over here!" howled Jake, the leader of the Dirty Underwear Gang, as he grabbed his friend Dusty and dragged the wounded man behind the pile of logs where the rest of the gang huddled, hiding from the gunfire. Dusty jerked and twitched, gasping frantically for air as he pressed his hands to the wound above his collarbone. Blood, red and hot, pumped from the gaping hole in his swarthy flesh and soaked the dirt and leaves beneath his head. Henry, one of the older members of the raggedy, profane group, crawled over to where Jake was trying desperately to staunch the bleeding with his bare hands.

"Shit, Jake, he's gonna die," muttered Henry in a low voice as he looked at the way Jake's hands were covered in red blood. "We gotta leave 'im. There ain't no way in hell he's makin' it through this one."

"No," shot back Jake angrily, spitting tobacco off to the side. "Go t'hell, Henry, I ain't lettin' Dusty die here, you son of a bitch!"

Dusty coughed and spat blood out the side of his mouth, his eyes wide with fear. "Jesus, Jake!" he choked, biting back bitter tears. "Don't let me die, dammit!"

"I ain't lettin' you die, Henry!" shouted Jake. "Come on!" he implored the rest of the gang, who were sitting off to the side chewing tobacco and clutching their guns, trying not to stare at Dusty's agony. "One of you help me here! Goddammit, I said now!"

One of their number, one of the youngest, quickly glanced over to look and accidentally caught Jake's eye. With a cough the fifteen year-old boy turned away just as quickly, light eyes blinking in his dirt-smeared face.

"You!" bellowed Jake, freeing one bloody hand to point at the boy. "You, Josiah!"

Josiah turned to look at Jake like a deer in a hunter's sights. "What?" he asked meekly.

"Get the hell over here," ordered Jake, motioning for Josiah to put down his rifle and come over. Josiah did so, warily and knelt at Dusty's side with eyes filled with frightened fascination. Dusty coughed and spat blood again, drops flying and landing on Josiah's corduroy pants. Jake glared at Josiah coldly. "You looked. Now you save him, kid."

"Goddammit, Jake," protested Josiah, knowing Jake could kill him without a thought, "I don't know nothin' about medicine. Can't you find someone else?"

"No, boy!" snapped Jake. "Do what I tell you, dammit, you filthy son of a whore, and do your mother proud!"

Josiah flinched, but moved to Dusty's side and placed his hands on top of Jake's and nodded for Jake to take his hands away. Josiah's mind raced frantically and he thought and thought about all the times he'd been young and someone had brought in some horse thief to be mended on the bar of the saloon his mother frequented. What had they done first? Checked the wound, looked for...for...exit wound. An exit wound. Josiah slipped his hand over Dusty's shoulder and felt behind. Wet, sticky blood, but he felt over the skin there until his fingers found a hole with more blood flowing out.

"Give me a shirt, someone," asked Josiah hesistantly. Jake didn't hesitate like Josiah's voice had, but shucked off his dingy undershirt, leaving himself barechested, and handed the wad of fabric over. Josiah took the fabric and ripped a sleeve off, balling it up in his hands and then he shoved it behind Dusty, over the exit wound. "Do we have any flour?"

"Flour?" repeated Jake. "What the hell are you gonna do, make cookies? Dammit, Josiah, be serious!"

"I am," whispered Josiah. "I need flour."

"Get flour!" ordered Jake, pointing to one of the boys. "Get me some goddamned flour!" As the other boy ran to the horses to snatch the sack of flour, Jake turned back to watch Josiah intensely, while the younger boy was using his knife to cut open Dusty's shirt. It only took a moment for the boy to return and hurl the sack at Jake, who caught it and handed it to Josiah. Josiah quickly plunged his hand into the bag of flour and came out with a handful of the white powder. Fear evident in his eyes, he packed it against the wound and held it there. Within seconds patches of red began to seep through the flour, but Josiah held it firm with one hand, with the other he put another handful of flour underneath Dusty's shoulder against the second hole. Jake stared.

"Look, Scurlock," berated Jake in a low, growling voice, "I'm well aware your damned good-for-nothing whore of a mother had just one remedy for all hurts and that's a good roll in the hay for a few silver pieces, but goddammit if this is the best you can think of to save Dusty I might just have to send you after him!"

"It'll work!" cried Josiah. "Wait!"

Jake waited. Jake waited and watched for an hour as Josiah removed blood-soaked flour from the wound and replaced it with clean flour. Jake watched as Josiah packed the flour against the wound and bound it there with strips of Jake's undershirt and strips of the clean, bloodless sections of Dusty's shirt. Finally Josiah sat back and drew the back of his hand across his forehead, wiping away the sweat but leaving a streak of blood against the layer of dirt that covered his face. His hands were shaking.

"Well, hell," muttered Jake, leaning forward to examine his friend. Dusty seemed fine, and he was no longer coughing. "I'll be damned." He stood slowly, leaving Josiah kneeling in the blood spattered dirt and leaves. "Well, gang," announced Jake in his characteristic careless drawl. "It seems we've got a doctor in our midst! Looks like Dusty's gonna make it."

Josiah exhaled suddenly, shuddering with relief and blinked several times. "He's gonna make it," echoed Josiah tremulously.

"So," said Jake loudly and held up his hip flask. "Here's to Doc Scurlock! Let's all drink to Doc Scurlock, that lucky son-of-a-bitch!" Jake reached down and hauled Josiah to his feet, handing him the flask of whisky. "Drink, Doc!" Jake threw an arm around Josiah's thin shoulders and clapped his hand on his back. "You done good, Doc," he said kindly as Josiah drank and nearly choked. Jake laughed. "So...you ever had a woman?"

Josiah, newly christianed Doc, shook his head. "No, I...I ain't."

"Well, fine," said Jake and motioned for Josiah to drink again. "We're comin' up on a whorehouse soon. I'll give ya a couple'a dollars and you can go become a man."

"Thanks, Doc," said Henry, clapping Josiah on the back. "You done good, kid."

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