A/N: welcome to my Comanche Moon fanfic! i watched the show and i've just started the book. when i saw the last part of the series is was like, 'wha-? that's it? but there's so much left undone!" and i know that chronoligically Comanche Moon came second, but it was the last book to be written and i haven't seen or read any of the other ones, so, here i am being the ignorant fangirl writing a story for the sake of writing it. lol! if there are any inconsistances, i apologize in advance, and i don't own Comanche Moon, the Lonesome Dove series, or any characters associated with them. i hope you all enjoy my first western fanfic! on with the story!
Chapter 1: Welcome Back Shock
Woodrow and Gus led the rest of their men, including the two young men they'd recovered from Blue Duck's camp, toward the welcome entrance of Austin. They all trudged into town, dirty, sweaty, tired, hungry and thirsty. After Blue Duck had killed a few of their horses, and they had to eat the three left just to get back, they were all ready to lay down and die on the ground. The only thing that kept them going once they caught sight of the town was the knowledge that everything they needed was there, waiting for them.
"I tell you, Woodrow," Gus panted as they passed the graveyard just outside the town. "I'm gonna get myself into a nice comfy bed and sleep till I can't sleep no more."
"We gotta report to the Governor first, Augustus, you know that," Woodrow replied, tiredly. "And I have something to tell Maggie."
"Finally come to your senses out there?" Gus retorted with a slight smirk. "Kinda figured the hot sun would boil your hide enough to get you thinkin' properly."
"Kinda figured the hot sun would boil your tongue enough so's you'd quit yappin' for a spell," Woodrow shot back, making Gus give out a dry chuckle before he suddenly stopped, looking at a headstone on a grave that hadn't been there before.
"Woodrow," he called, still staring at the headstone as the other man continued walking, slowly.
"What now?" Woodrow snapped and turned to look at Gus, coming to a stop when he noticed the grave as well. He turned to Deets to tell him to lead the men into town without them and headed back to stand next to Gus frowning, "Who is it?"
Gus said nothing as Woodrow stepped up next to him, turning to the grave and he felt his heart stop in his chest.
The two men stood there for a moment in silence before Gus looked up at the taller man with more pity than anyone thought possible and murmured, "I'm sorry, Woodrow. I truly am."
Woodrow didn't respond. His mind was drawing a blank and then reeling. Why did she have to die now when he'd just figured out how he felt? Why did she have to die at all? She'd been a strong woman, how could this have happened? His thoughts turned to Newt, and something in him told him to run from that graveyard and check on him before he even thought of heading for the Governors mansion.
"Woodrow! Slow down!" Gus called as he went after his friend who'd let out at a full run. Neither one of them knew he had it in him to even walk briskly, let alone run. He ran straight to Long Bill's where his widow, Pearl Coleman still lived and nearly pounded on the door. He yanked his hat off and started wringing it in his hands as the door opened and Pearl's eyes shot wide in shock.
"Captain Call," she gasped. "Welcome back. What's got you all in a tizzy?"
"Thank Ms. Coleman," he nodded, then quickly asked, "Is Newt here?"
"Not now," she replied with a frown. "He's been stayin' with the rest of the boys waitin' on y'all to come back-Where're you goin'?"
Once again, Woodrow shot off and down the street to the Ranger Station and checked all the places he could be before he headed to the shop where he'd been helping out. Not many people greeted him when they noticed how determined and focused he was on his destination. He hurried into the store and looked around for the boy, finally spotting him heading toward the counter. The boy turned and gave a huge grin as he saw the Ranger.
"Captain Woodrow!" he cheered, running toward him with open arms and without thinking, Woodrow knelt down and caught the boy in his arms to hug him close. "I knew you'd come back soon! I told all the other boys you'd come back soon, and you did!"
Woodrow came back to himself and still kneeling, he pulled the boy away to hold him at arms length and looked him in the eye.
"I…" he trailed off dryly before clearing his throat, his heart clenching in his chest painfully. "I seen your mother's grave when I come in."
Newt nodded solemnly, lowering his head as he explained, "She got sick, and one night, she just stopped breathin'."
The boy gave a sniffle as Woodrow nodded in understanding and stood tall, picking Newt up and setting him on the counter to sit so he could look at him, levelly.
"Alright now, no more cryin'," he ordered, gently. "I may not have known much about what your mother wanted, but I know this much: she wouldn't want us to go mournin' her for too long. She'd want us to remember what she was like when she was happy and healthy, so we'll do that, won't we?"
Newt nodded, wiping his face on his sleeve and Woodrow nodded in approval as he placed his hat back on his head and picked the boy up to set him back on the floor.
"Now, I'll take you to go say hello to the rest of the boys," he said. "They'll all be happy to see ya."
The two jumped with a slight start when they noticed Gus almost doubled over as he panted, out of breath from running. He tried to speak as he lifted a scolding hand, wagging a finger at the other captain as he still panted. Woodrow gave a slight smirk as he shifted on his feet, patiently waiting to be scolded by his friend for making him run after him as Newt frowned between the two men but said nothing.
"You…!" Gus panted, leaning his hands on his knees. "Dern you…! Makin' me run…! I oughta shoot you!"
"I didn't tell you to run after me," Woodrow shrugged as Gus finally stood tall with a heavy sigh.
Gus caught sight of Newt and instantly pulled off his hat to step toward him, kneeling to his height as he said, "I'm real sorry about yer Ma, Newt."
Newt could only nod as he swallowed the lump in his throat, trying not to cry again as Gus stood and Woodrow glanced down at the boy. He lifted a hand to place it on his shoulder but pulled it back in uncertainty. Gus caught the action and nodded to silently tell him it was alright and Woodrow swallowed as he looked back at Newt, hesitantly placing his hand on the boy's shoulder.
What happened next he hadn't expected. Newt turned and through his arms around one of Woodrow's legs, making the man stumble slightly and glance around in uncertainty at what to do. The scene made Gus give a slight chuckle which drew a glare from Woodrow at him. Newt soon pulled away and started rubbing his face with his sleeve again before standing tall and straightening himself out.
"We were gonna say hello to the rest of the boys," Woodrow informed Gus. "They all head to the station?"
"Yeah," Gus nodded, then added as he pointed his hat at Woodrow, "But as yer always so keen to remind me, we have to go see the Governor and report in."
Woodrow nodded, his mind at ease now and looked down at Newt as the boy looked up at him.
"How about we let Newt visit the boys while we report to the Governor?" Gus suggested, drawing both their attentions and Woodrow nodded again, mutely as they headed out of the store.
"I'm glad you're alright, Captain Woodrow," Newt grinned up at the man as they walked out of the door and Woodrow nodded down at him with a tight smile.
"So am I," he said, patting his shoulder.
The Next Morning...
The stage came to a halt in front of the shop as a feminine face leaned out of the window, emerald green eyes scanning the town through a few, fine strands of ebony black hair which she blew from her gaze before pulling her head back in and quickly opening the door and climbing out. She struggled to lug the one bag she had with her out of the coach and a cloud of dust kicked up as it landed onto the ground.
"Thank you!" she grinned and waved to the driver as he started driving away then turned to the shop she stood in front of, lugging her back up the steps and through the door. She panted for breath after setting it on the floor and placed a hand on her hip with a sigh of exhaustion. She looked around the shop and smiled to male clerk behind the counter as she nudged her bag out of the entrance before hurrying toward him and smiling through a slight Texan accent, "Can you tell me where I might find Gus McCrae?"
"This time of day you might find him at the Ranger Station across the street," the clerk replied with a slight frown of wonder.
"Thank you, Sir," she smiled and hurried back to the door, calling, "Would you mind watchin' my bag for me? I'll only be a moment!"
"Thank you!" she called, and rushed out of the door, lifting the beige skirts of her dress enough so she wouldn't trip on them heading down the stairs and hurrying to the station. She noticed a black man sitting outside the door polishing a saddle and she stopped in front of him, panting to catch her breath again just as he looked up at her with a start.
"I didn't mean to startle you," she panted. "Would you mind telling me if Gus McCrae is in?"
"He is, Miss," the black man nodded, standing tall and dusting off his hands. "He's 'round back. I can take you to him, if ya like."
"Oh, yes, thank you, Mister…?"
"Deets, Miss," he nodded with a smile. "Joshua Deets."
"Call me Christine," she smiled back, holding a hand out for him to shake, which he did, and was a bit surprised that she didn't cringe back at the dirt on his hands.
"Follow me, Miss Christine," he nodded as he turned to lead her around to the back of the building.
Once his back was turned, Christine pulled a handkerchief from her sleeve to wipe the polish he'd had on his hand from her hand. She quickly tucked the kerchief back into her sleeve as they rounded the building to see a corral with a horse and one of the rangers inside as he ran the horse around the corral by a rope and the others stood watching him with a little boy watching as well.
"Captain McCrae," Deets called as he continued toward the group, but Christine stopped at the edge of the porch as the man in the corral looked up. "Someone to see you. Says her name is-"
"Christine?" Gus grinned from the corral as the horse rounded behind him, but he stared at the smiling beauty on the porch step, not letting go of the rope, either.
The rope tugged itself in his hand as the horse ran behind him, and Gus went whirling around so fast he fell to the dirt with a grunt, kicking up a huge cloud of dust and making the other men laugh as Christine lifted her hands to her face to hide her giggle fit. Gus quickly stood as the horse slowed to a walk, and everyone laughed except for one man, Christine noticed, standing off to the side. He only shook his head in exasperation as Gus called for one of the men to take his place, jumping over the corral railing to rush toward Christine.
"What're you doin' here?" he grinned, throwing his arms around her and lifting her from the ground to spin her once as she laughed in delight. "I thought you were at school."
"I was," she nodded once she was set back on the ground. "I decided to come visit you for a spell. I've missed you, Gussy."
"You've been holdin' out for Clara over that pretty thing?" an older man called from the group as he leaned back on the railing and caught their attention.
"Don't be an ignorant fool, Ikey," Gus shot back, wrapping one of Christine's arms around his. "This here's my sister, Christine, ya dope!"
"You never nothin' 'bout havin' a sister!" a younger man called from inside the corral as he led the horse around.
"Don't 'spect I would, seein' as y'all never did ask," Gus retorted as he led Christine toward them. "Christine, these're the boys. That's Pea Eye in the corral. This here's Ikey Ripple, and this little guy's Newt."
Christine smiled down at the little boy that ran up to her and threw his tiny arms around as much of her skirt as he could hug, making her laugh as she hugged him in return. She ruffled his hair as he stepped back to let her kneel down to his level.
"You're a little young to be a Ranger," she observed, jokingly. "Are you in training?"
"Yes, ma'am," Newt nodded making Christine giggle before she stood again and looked up to the man standing to the side, now very intently watching the three as Newt turned to head back and watch Pea Eye run the horse.
"Gus," Christine murmured, leaning toward him to ask, "Who's the tall man in the black hat?"
Gus frowned at her for a moment before looking to the man she was referring to and nodded, saying, "Oh, that's Woodrow Call."
Christine's emerald eyes shot wide at her brother as she breathed, "That's Woodrow Call?"
"Yeah," Gus frowned again at her astonishment. "What's so shockin' 'bout that?"
Christine shrunk back slightly as she looked back at the Woodrow who'd looked away, scanning his surroundings as she said, "He's…not what I expected from your letters."
Gus laughed as he wondered, "Well, what did you expect?"
"I don't know," Christine shrugged, glancing at Woodrow a few times before looking to Gus and replying, "I s'pose I thought he wouldn't be so…handsome."
"Oh, here we go," he groaned, throwing a hand up in exasperation as he gave her a comical glare, which she returned. "How is it yer not married yet when you practically fall in love with every gun-slingin', horse-ridin'-?"
"I didn't say that," she retorted. "I said he's handsome. I didn't say I was in love with him."
"Give it an hour or so," Gus muttered, starting to drag her away from the group, "you'll end up in love with him one way or another, I'm reckon."
"Augustus, if I knew how to shoot a gun, I'd shoot you in the foot," she snapped, making Gus laugh heartily. Christine couldn't help but smile at hearing him laugh as he led her back around the building and toward the street.
"Where's yer luggage?" he asked, calming his laughter.
"In that shop over there," Christine smiled, gesturing to the shop she'd left her bag in and he walked her toward it.
"Only one bag?" he frowned in wonder as he lifted it and headed out, Christine thanking the clerk again for watching her bag as they headed out of the shop again.
"I didn't have much at school," Christine shrugged as he carried her bag and she held his other arm in one of hers. "I was hopin' I could stay with you, if it's not too much trouble?"
"'Acourse ya can!" Gus grinned, hugging her arm to pull her closer and kissed her cheek as he walked her down the street. "I bunk with the boys some nights, so don't get yerself into a tizzy if I don't show up at night."
"Have I ever gone into a tizzy over you?" Christine retorted, earning a sideways glare from her brother and making her giggle.
"How long you stayin'?" he asked.
"Eager to get me gone?" she retorted with a smirk.
"Course not," Gus smirked back. "Just wonderin' when I can start bringin' girls home again."
Christine gave a silent gasp and punching him in the arm with her free hand and he snickered.
"I'll be stayin' as long as I see fit," she smiled. "I don't plan on goin' back to school anytime soon."
"Why's that?" Gus wondered.
"I got bored," she shrugged making him frown at her again and she chirped, "What? School isn't as excitin' as you'd think."
"The point of school is for you to learn. Course it ain't gonna be all that excitin'."
"Well, I need excitement," Christine argued. "Think you can cook up some for me while I'm here?"
"You don't want our kind of excitement, Chrissy," he replied, solemnly as he shook his head. "Comanche raids are not excitin' for anyone but the Comanches."
"I didn't mean anythin' like that, Gussy," she assured him, seriously. "I meant a bar fight or somethin'."
"That I think I can do for ya," Gus smiled, happy for the quick change of subject. "Get me drunk enough and I'll be happy to give you a bar fight. Maybe even get Woodrow Call in the mix."
"Ooh, that would be wonderful, Gussy, thank you," Christine grinned, hugging his arm again. "Now, get me to my new home so's I can make you a proper dinner tonight."
"Can't wait," Gus smiled.
"I'll need to find myself a job," she theorized. "Know if anyone's hiring?"
"That store we were in needs a new clerk," he replied. "They…lost their last one."
"Lost?" Christine frowned in wonder at what he meant.
"She, uh…she died," he muttered, making Christine's eyes shoot wide at him. "That boy, Newt, that was her son."
"Oh, God," she breathed. "That poor little boy!"
"Well, he's got us," Gus assured her. "He seems to be doin' alright. Every once in a while he'll get upset over it, but he's a tough one."
"He couldn't ask for a better big brother than you, Gussy," Christine smiled, weakly. "You better not spend more time with him than me though. I'll get jealous."
"Here we go again," Gus groaned, jokingly. "When're ya gonna believe me when I tell ya yer the best and only sibling I love more than anythin' in this whole world?"
"When you start sayin' it a little more," Christine retorted through a giggle, then decided to ruffle his feathers a little by asking, "That Woodrow Call really is a handsome fella…"
"Christine," Gus scolded, warningly.
"He married?" she asked, ignoring his tone.
"No, but he ain't ready for any kind of female interference right now, so you just stay away from him, ya hear?"
"Now what's that supposed to mean?"
"I'll tell ya some other time," Gus promised as they stopped in front of a small house and he placed her bag in front of the door. "You get in there and make yerself at home. I'll be back tonight for that dinner."
"Tell Woodrow I said 'Hi'," Christine smirked, hoping to rile him.
"That's Captain Call to you, young missy!" he snapped, pointing a scolding finger at her.
"Good Lord, Gussy, yer just as ornery as ever, aren't you?" she giggled, her hands on her hips and he waved her off as he walked back down the street as she watched him and laughed.
A/N: feel free to tell me if the characters go OOC. i always worry about that. reviews?