Letting the light in

I am just borrowing the Magnificent 7 characters, I don't own them. This story is set after the episode "Inmate 78" and it is a Mary & Chris story.

Thanks to Denise, my dear beta reader! :)

Chapter 1

It was about two o'clock in the afternoon and the locals were heading towards their homes for a lunch. There was chatter and music coming from the saloon.

Mary watched the street, her hands crossed in front of her chest. She stood at the porch of The Clarion News, with worry clouding her beautiful face. In the next minute she moved, taking impatient steps on the porch. She looked down the dusty road, only to silently huff in frustration.

Still nothing.

It was already two days since the six lawmen went out to find Chris. He had been away for way too long and she got worried. Not even Buck's light words about Chris' possible whereabouts couldn't ease her mind… they only added to her anxiety and embarrassment. She could swear that she was transparent as a glass when she entered the saloon that day and asked Buck, JD and Nathan about Chris. She tried to sound formal back then, assuring herself that there was nothing strange in her anxiety when the leader of the seven lawmen didn't come back after ten days. She was worried because of the town and for the man who brought peace to Four Corners. Nothing else.

That was what she was telling herself.

Yet, here she was, leaving her work behind and waiting for news. Billy was having lunch with Orrin and Mary excused herself, telling them that she wasn't hungry. From that moment she had been standing at the porch, waiting…

'What if something happened to him?'At that thought an ice cold fear squeezed Mary's heart. Her breathing fastened up, her sight went blur as tears threatened to fall down her cheeks…

It was at that moment that she saw a group of men riding into town. Before she could get a grip, they came closer and she saw him.

Surrounded by his faithful companions, he rode on his black horse, and in the next moment he stopped beside the saloon. He tied his horse, smiling at Buck having a go at JD.

"C'me on, kid, say a funny joke and I will buy you a beer", Buck kept on pissing JD off. The youngest member of team let out a sarcastic laugh and stomped inside the saloon.

"This will be interesting", smirked Buck and followed JD inside the saloon.

As the others followed them, Chris looked up and froze at the sight of the woman across the street.

"You coming, Chris?", Vin's voice was heard and Chris nodded.

"Yeah", but he didn't move.

Mary watched as the seven lawmen dismounted their horses. In the corner of her eye, she caught Buck and JD having another of their famous disputes and couldn't help but smile. Those two would stay kids their whole lives.

But, her attention never left the man who was tying the rope of the black stallion. Her eyes drank in the sight of him; she never saw him wearing anything but black clothes. He looked so handsome wearing this white shirt. Mary couldn't take her eyes off him.

She saw him smile at Buck and JD and relief touched her heart. He was all right. That was all she needed to know.

Was it?

Over the last few days she was sick concerning about him. She couldn't concentrate on her work, on conversations with Orrin, on spending time with Billy… It felt like something was torn apart from her, like her heart was pulled out violently from her chest and it hurt… God, it hurt!

By than, she didn't want to admit to herself how much he meant to her … didn't want to admit how important he had become.

He couldn't take his eyes off her sad and beautiful face framed with those locks of golden hair. Her eyes were fixed on his eyes, he could feel her stare reaching the most hidden parts of his heart and soul that were surrounded by darkness… She was the light that broke that wall.

During long hours back in prison, Chris had time to think about his life… about people in his life. He couldn't deny any longer that he actually started to live again because he felt the pain just by thinking of not seeing his friends ever again… not going fishing with Billy again…

…Not seeing Mary…

It was Buck who told him that Mary was the first one who got worried about him… that she urged them to go and find him. Now, it was obvious that Mary saved his life… in every way it counted.

Mary felt her lips get dry from barely breathing… She quickly licked them and than swallowed once to regain her composure… He had never looked at her like this… and that long.

She blinked once, but didn't break their eye contact. Waiting… wishing that he would come over to her. Because she was in no condition to step forward… Her legs felt like stone and she couldn't move.

The black stallion stomped his front feet a bit and his movement broke the moment. Chris glanced at his horse and gently tapped him. He started to go up the stairs towards the saloon, deciding to stop this right here and now…

…But, he couldn't stop himself from stealing a glance at Mary once again… And it felt like a knife cutting his heart when he saw pain on her face. Just as he looked at her, she turned around and in the next moment disappeared behind the door of The Clarion.

Chris cursed silently at himself and entered the saloon…