June 28, 2011 edit: Thank you to my two wonderful reviewers (moony1981 and Mizue-chan, and whoever else may have read and wanted to comment but were unable to due to my review settings): you took the time to read all 14,000 words of my original oneshot post. But sadly, many do not have the attention span to read so much in one post. It will be reposted in 6 parts. So enjoy my lovelies!
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Young Guns. It's copyrights belongs to The Man, thus not me; and the real life men of the Southwest that have given me joy to write about their lives from a romantic viewpoint. So to our beloved outlaws, the women who loved them, and to those of us who still love them, I dedicate this story.
I do not own the song "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine." This specific version was performed by Moya (or Marie) Brennan from the Back to Titanic album.
I also do not own the song "A Small Measure of Peace" (and "The Way of the Sword"), which are from The Last Samurai soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. I put these songs on repeat and let them take me away. You can find these songs on youtube or Bing music. I suggest using them if you want the full effect of the changing tone of the story.
Also, if you ever watched the awesome Telenovela Zorro La Espada y La Rosa, you'll see a few connections; such connections I hold no account to - it belongs to Telemundo.
Authors Note: When I started this story, it was after a trip to Phoenix (Glendale), Arizona & Anaheim, California, which was less than two years ago. Glendale fed me with its Billy the Kid scenery, and Disneyland, to be specific, fed me the desire to imagine anything. As time went by, I started my University experience, and took a Beginning Fiction Writing class, and then the next semester, a Craft of Fiction Writing class. I learned many things about writing, and to express myself in better words.
Over five years in the making, since seeing it the first time at Umi's (aka Taenzcher's) house, I had a blast writing this! So, now to move on and continue working on the sequel to Setting of the Sun! Love you all!
A Small Measure of Peace
Who couldn't help but look up every time Billy rode into the village. Billy, Arkansas Dave and Pat Garrett would always get off their horses and go inside of Beever's tavern. Celsa Baca lovingly hid the boys whenever soldiers came by, despite the $500 reward for Billy's head alone.
Laisha had watched them for a few years, coming in, going out. It was always the same, sometimes resulting in a shootout with the townsfolk who wanted Billy's reward more than Billy's friendship. But one day, Billy rode in with a few strangers. One had bright blond hair, and the other was of darker skin, like her. The people of the village fled in fear of the new strangers. Her father, Jesus, had been called upon by Billy to find men to travel on Billy's new quest. But her father only found one man; it was Mr. French. Hendry French had lost his wife in childbirth, along with the child, and his farm within two years of obtaining all he had desired. Hendry would sometimes stop by and have dinner with her family after the passing of his spouse and baby. It had been heartbreaking to see such a kind man go through so much pain.
The village recently had received orphans from an orphan train from the east coast. Most of the children had left to claim their fortunes on ranches that sucked the life out the people and the land, and the people's pocketbooks. Laisha noted how foolishly the boy hung around Beever's despite the fact that Beever threw the boy out on his face on more than one occasion. But Billy must have taken pity on the boy, because only a day after the stranger's arrival, Billy and his improved posse were preparing another departure. It had been rumored that Billy was setting his eyes on Governor Wallace, for what reason was probably stemmed from the bounty.
"Laisha, go bring some water for the soup," her mother ordered.
Laisha did not argue and tore herself away from the garden. There was nothing else to do in the quiet village. She sat the metal bucket on the ground with a thump. Wiping the sweat off her brow, and lowered the rope-bound bucket into the well. She pulled it back and emptied the bucket into her own. "Oh good grief," she said to herself as she was how little water the small bucket had to offer. It was take at least thirty minutes to have enough for the soup.
She stood up quickly and her head hit something, and whatever it was, it gasped in pain. She rubbed her throbbing head and turned around, "Oh I am so sorry!" It was the Indian that Billy had brought in today with the blond man. She blushed a fierce crimson at her embarrassment. She wasn't graceful, but she wasn't clumsy either.
"S'okay," the man said and touched his face. "It seems my nose is at least in one piece."
Laisha laughed nervously, "Really, I am sorry. I didn't hear you or see you."
"Obviously," the young man smiled. "Am I bleeding?"
She grimaced, "Unfortunately yes."
He wiped off his nose with his dirty sleeve and drew in a breath of air quickly.
"Oh, please, let me help you. It's the least I can do." She picked up her nearly-empty bucket and motioned for him to follow her, and he did. She led him to her family's small home at the edge of the village. "Mother?" she called as she entered the hut. No reply came, "She must be tending to the garden out back." She pulled out a chair, "Have a seat. I need to check how bad I hit you."
The man sat down, "I'm Jose Chavez y Chavez by the way, ma'am. I go by Chavez."
"Laisha," she said as she used the little amount of water in the bucket to boil.
"Laisha? That's a rare name. I typically meet Maria's."
"My grandmother was a gypsy; I was named after her." She watched the water simmer in the pan. "She died when I was very young, so I never was able to know her." She reached into a covered basket and pulled out a few strips of cloth.
"Do both your parents live here?"
Laisha nodded, "Yes. My father was the one who went to find more people to ride with you, Billy, and the others."
"Jose or something like that wasn't it? His name."
"My father is one of the head workers for the Maxwell family." She dropped the strips of cloth into the boiling water.
"What about your mother?"
"She works here at home and sometimes at other homes." She turned to him and smirked, "You are asking me all the questions."
"I just want to get to know my attacker better," Chavez smirked back.
She put a wooden spoon into the water pulled out a strip. She walked over and began touching up his bloody nose with a gentle hand. "Wow, all I felt was a little throbbing on my head. I did some major damage on you though."
"I've had worse. I been shot, stabbed, beaten; it's all good."
"Wow, you've lived an exciting life. What foray of business involved you in all of that?"
"I used to be one of the Tunstall regulators."
Laisha froze and looked at him, "I remember reading in the paper about it. I remember that the Regulators had at least thirty men in the McSween house."
Chavez shook his head, "There was only five of us, actually, as well as Mr. and Mrs. McSween, and Yin – Murphey's hostage."
"So few?" she said sadly.
"Billy, myself, and one other regulator survived of the original six we started out with."
Laisha headed back to the kettle to get another strip.
"I've tried to keep a low profile since then; I took a job on a fruit farm in California. But someone turned me in; I was brought into Lincoln nearly a month ago. My friend-"
"The blond man?" she interrupted as she began working on his nose again.
Chavez nodded, "-Doc was brought in all the way from New York; they tracked him down that far." Chavez shook his head. "Doc does not deserve being here. Ouch!"
Laisha raised an eyebrow. "If you stopped moving, you wouldn't bump your nose."
Chavez sighed. "Well, Doc's a good man with a gentle soul. But put into bad situations, he has the ability to kill if he needed to."
"What about you?"
"I've had to kill in order to survive since I was little. It seems to come with the territory of being an Indian these days."
"What people do you belong to?"
"I'm half Navaho and half Mexican. What about you? You mentioned something about being partial gypsy."
"I'm half Mexican as well, on my father's side; and a quarter gypsy and a quarter Spanish on my mother's side."
"My mother's father hailed from Spain. He was a well-to-do caballero." She leaned back. "I think that's good. It's stopped bleeding."
Chavez smiled, "Thank you."
"Would you like to stay for dinner?"
A moment of silence passed between them as he gazed at her, "I would like to. Thank you."
Laisha grinned back.
Laisha's mother, Maria Pia, looked upon her scornfully. When Laisha had told her mother about Chavez staying for dinner, she almost blew a top. She ranted to Liasha that there was not enough food, and to dine with an outlaw was different that living in the same village as one.
"So, you're going on an adventure with Billy?" her mother asked as she spooned soup into her mouth. She had made it a point to sit directly across from Chavez, to make sure he was up to no funny business.
"Of sorts," Chavez said slowly. He cleared his throat, "I hope I'm not a inconvenience."
Jesus smiled, "Not at all! Any friend of Billy's is a friend of the family."
Laisha smiled at her father, happy at least that one of her parents decided Chavez was okay. He appeared to be a genuine person...
"I'm afraid that this is all we have to eat this evening: the soup and bread," Maria Pia snapped.
It was Laisha's turn to glare at her mother, fighting the urge the kick her mother's shine from under the table.
"Oh, that's fine. I haven't had a home cooked meal in so long that I forgot how good it is."
"I'm sure an outlaw doesn't get the chance to eat real food often, especially good food."
Chavez nodded to Maria Pia. "That's true."
"So why start now OUCH!" Maria Pia shot a threatening look at Laisha.
Laisha shot daggers at her mother with her eyes.
Chavez couldn't help but chuckle, "It's okay. I'm used to being insulted. I had a friend once who used to insult me nearly all the time."
"What happened to him?" Laisha asked.
"He died during the McSween battle."
"Okay, that's it!" Maria Pia stood up. "Are you finished Mr. Chavez!"
Chavez downed the rest of his soup and clutched his bread.
"Good! Get out!" she shouted.
"Mother!" Laisha yelled back.
"Maria Pia, please!" Jesus argued.
"No, I want him out! Outlaws belong outside of this home!"
Chavez closed his eyes for a moment, his nostrils flaring. He could only take crap for so long... He stood up so quickly that his chair ricocheted off of him and hit the wall. He gritted his teeth at Maria Pia, "Goodnight m'am." He nodded to Jesus, "Thank you for having me over."
Jesus smiled, "Anytime!"
Chavez turned to Laisha and smiled softly. "Laisha, I hope to see you again."
Laisha smiled back, "You will." She watched him turn and walk out of the house, closing the wooden plank door. She immediately grabbed the basket of biscuits and headed to the door.
"And where do you think you're going, with our food!" Maria Pia shouted.
Laisha glared at her mother, "To make an apology, which you should be making! You're always horrible when it comes to being a hostess! Grandfather would be furious. You're never nice or courteous; you are in fact a black-hearted witch!"
Maria Pia gasped and placed a hand on her heaving chest, outraged. "How dare you!"
Laisha rolled her eyes at her mother as Maria Pia began yelling at her in Spanish. She walked out the door and closed it on her mother.