TITLE: Horse v. Brothers

AUTHOR: The Chronicler

RATED: PG (just for a couple of tense moments)

CHALLENGE: supposed to be W.O.W. 02-23-04 -- BLACKOUT, but took three or four minutes too long. Opps.

UNIVERSE: OW/M7 Ranch

(never tried this AU before, but recently read a bit of it and wanted to give it a try... so here's my try)

SUMMARY: When a wild horse decides to brake Buck instead, it takes the entire clan to save the day.

ARCHIVE: Sure, absolutely.

FEEDBACK: Yes, please.

EMAIL: chronicler_of_knuckles@yahoo.com

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Horse v. Brothers

By The Chronicler

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The huge black stallion stood still and calm, his eyes half closed as if half asleep.

"He's pretty." J.D. observed, climbing a level higher on the fence.

Buck stepped close behind his little brother, just in case the boy lost his hold. "He sure is." he agreed.

"Can I ride him?" Vin wanted to know.

"I want to ride him!" J.D. hollered down. "Me first!" Not waiting for anyone to agree, he started over the fence.

But Buck grabbed him. "Hey, now, hold on there, little bit." he laughed.

"No one!" Chris announced, drawing every one of his brothers' attention, "No one is going to go anywhere near that animal until I say it's okay! Understood?!" His tone left absolutely no room for argument.

Which, of course, Buck did. "Ah, come on, Chris. Look at the thing! He's a pussycat."

"That pussycat is waiting for just the right moment to take someone's head off." Chris answered.

"Christopher." Nettie called from the house.

Chris glanced about at his five brothers. "No one!" he repeated, before turning and heading back for the house.

Buck watched him disappear inside, then waved Nathan over to stand with J.D. "You boys stay here." he told them, then started over the fence himself.

"But Chris said..." Vin started to protest.

"He was talkin' 'bout you kids." Buck assured. "I'm not a kid."

Ezra huffed at that, starting to open his mouth, but a glare from his big brother silenced him. So, he just stood and smirked, knowing full well that there was gonna be trouble and it wasn't going to be his fault... this time.

~~~~~

Chris was helping Josiah lift the wood box while Nettie swept under it when he heard the scream.

Nettie straightened up. "J.D.?"

The two brothers glanced at each other.

The wood box dropped so sudden that Nettie barely had time to jump out of the way. Then she followed the boys out the door.

~~~~~

"Buck!" J.D. screamed, slipping out of Nathan's grip and between the fence rails.

The black stallion reared over the fallen Buck, kicking out for a second strike. As soon as the man had gotten close enough to the seemingly placid animal, the horse had thrown his head up, eyes flaring, teeth bared. He reared up, striking out, clipping his enemy along side the head, dropping him.

"Get away from him!" J.D. screamed, dropping over Buck's still form, laying his own tiny body between those deadly hooves and his beloved brother.

"J.D.!" Nathan yelled, running after.

The horse's front hooves came crashing down on the ground on either side of J.D.'s and Buck's head. Snorting, he glared down at the two.

"Hey! Over here!" Vin yelled. He was straddled over the top of the fence, swinging a lasso over his head.

Nostrils flaring, the big horse turned to glare at this new possible victim.

Vin's rope landed around the raging animal's neck and he pulled. "I said... over... here!"

Again the horse reared up, turning on his hind legs, kicking at the hated rope. With a throw of his head, he yanked Vin off the fence and crashing down on the ground. Backing up, he dragged the boy through the dirt.

"Hold on!" Ezra yelled, jumping over Vin, and grabbing the rope, giving Vin a chance to climb to his feet.

As soon as the horse was out of the way, Nathan ran over to Buck. "Come on, J.D. Let's get him out of here." He tried to pull J.D. off of Buck, but the little boy had wrapped his arms around Buck's bleeding head.

"Please don't be dead, please don't be dead, please don't be dead." he was sobbing.

With a scream of rage, the horse kicked at the two boys who were desperately trying to hold him.

Ezra stumbled back into Vin and, just as the rampaging horse's nose came within reach, he smacked it.

Snorting, the animal jerked back and away, shaking his head angrily.

"You stay away!" Vin yelled over Ezra's shoulder.

But the raging stallion had not intention of being scared off by a pair of scrawny brats. Slamming his entire body to the side, he yanked Vin and Ezra forward and into the dirt. Whistling in triumph, he lowered his head and charged the two boys.

"Look out!" Nathan yelled, standing helplessly as the beast ran down on his two brothers.

Ezra scrambled back over Vin, trying to protect the smaller boy, but knowing this was it. They were gonna die.

Suddenly Josiah's huge form slammed into the horse's shoulder, knocking it off course.

Unable to stop his own momentum, the stallion ran right into a paddock, which Chris snapped shut behind it.

~~~~~

"I've never.... asinine, fool hearted... stupid, irresponsible.... Damn it, Buck!" Josiah couldn't seem to find just the right words.

Buck winced with every shouted word, his head pounding. He pulled the covers up over his head, but the other elder brother was quick to pull it down again.

"Idiot!" Chris snapped, having no problem what so ever with what needed to be said. "If you weren't too big, I'd have you over my knee..."

Buck frowned.

But it was J.D. who protested. "Are you gonna spank Buck? But he's hurt!" He wrapped his little arms around as much of Buck as he could and buried his face in his chest.

Chris glanced at their littlest brother and sighed. "Josiah..."

"Yea." Josaih bent down over Buck's bed and unwrapped little J.D. "Come on, buddy boy. Let's go find ourselves some milk."

"But I need to look after Buck!" J.D. wined, giving a grab for Buck. "What if he blackout again? Who's gonna wake him up? He's got a cussin'!"

"CONcussion." Buck corrected with a smile as he untangled his fingers. "It's okay, little bit. Chris will look after me 'til you get back." he assured, though he wasn't all that happy to see the boy go. Without the deterrent of little eyes, ears, and feelings, Chris would really let loose on him.

J.D. frowned for a moment, then turned about and wrapped his arms around Josiah's neck and allowed himself to be carried away. But, before the door could be closed, he threw a smoldering glare at Chris, a warning that he would not be happy if Buck was spanked.

Chris sighed heavily. "Great. Go from rampaging horse to rampaging toddler. Thank you very much for screwing up my day, Buck." he growled. Shaking his head, he dropped down on the side of the bed and leaned against the foot board. "What the hell were you thinkin? You could of gotten yourself killed. You could of gotten those boys killed!"

"I told them to stay put!" Buck protested.

"I told `you' to stay put!" Chris snapped. "If you don't listen, what makes you think they'll listen? Damn it, Buck, you're too old to be putting me through this."

Buck glared at him. "I ain't a little kid, Chris. I can handle my..." He stopped when Chris' eyes turned hard, striking him with almost the same force the horse had.

"J.D. has lost both his mother and his father. And you go and come damn near to losing him a brother. How much do you think the kid can take?" Chris growled. "That any of us can take? I don't give an order for fun, Buck! Some times, just sometimes, I just might know something you don't. I told you to stay away from that horse because I knew it was just playin' possum. I've had more than my share of calming those things. I know what they do. You don't! You should of listened to me."

The nineteen year old hung his head. "I know." he mumbled. "I'm sorry."

Chris too dropped his head. After a moment, he sighed. "Consider yourself verbally spanked... and grounded."

Buck's head snapped up. "Grounded? I'm too old..."

Chris matched his gaze. "Grounded." he repeated with a growl. "You can spend the next two weeks being the prime example to the boys of how one is supposed to do what he's told in this family."

Buck groaned, but knew better than to give any further protest. He could consider himself getting off easy. Lest nothing had been said yet about mucking stalls.

But he did have a question. "Vin an' Ez actually pulled that thing off of me?"

Chris smiled. "Damnest thing ever. Those boys flew in there like there was no tomorrow. Couldn't ask for a better Calvary."

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