A/N: I was going through some things on my computer tonight, found this, and figured I might as well put it up. Just a note of caution, it does contain suicidal thoughts. Thanks for reading.
Chris Larabee was scared to death. Fear was the only reason he had to be sitting alone in this grimy hotel room, slowly drinking himself unconscious. Fear that his best friend was going to come looking for him.
Almost two weeks ago he'd left Buck at a saloon in Texas with only one thought in mind; get as far away as he could, as fast as he could. Buck had done a lot for him these last few months, and Chris appreciated it, but he just couldn't be around the man any longer. Buck had finally realized that his best efforts weren't enough to heal the terrible wound that Chris now bore, and with more than enough pain of his own, Chris couldn't deal with the hurt and disappointment in his friend's eyes too. He'd told Buck not to follow him but he knew Buck well; as worried as Buck was about him there was very good possibility his friend would disregard his wishes and follow anyway. So, out of fear of being found, Chris had stopped here, at this little wide spot in the road, and holed up.
For nearly a week now he'd been here, spending every day in the corner of a darkened room, drinking and trying to forget. Trying to forget his pain. Trying to forget the horrible images of his burned out home and the wooden crosses baring his wife and son's names. Trying to forget the hopelessness and the awful, empty ache that had plagued him every single day for nearly six months.
Chris took another swallow of whiskey and ran a hand through his hair. He was tired; he was so tired. The effort of just trying to get through the day was wearing him out. Having to live with this pain every day was a fight, and although he'd always been a fighter, Chris was starting to think he didn't have enough fight left to do it anymore. Taking another drink, Chris put the bottle down and picked up his gun.
As he studied his firearm, a bitter smile came to his face. He liked this gun, he always had. It was a beautiful weapon. When it came to something like a gun Chris didn't give much thought to looks, so long as it fired it was good enough for him, but he really liked this one. He'd bought it soon after he'd left home and it had cost him more than he'd ever thought he would pay for something as common as a revolver, but it had been worth it. He remembered at the time having the somewhat odd thought that it signified the start of something new, his life away from the farm and Indiana. As he looked at it now he couldn't help but think that maybe it was time for it to signify the end of something as well, the end of his life with Sarah. Or maybe just the end of his life period.
It wasn't the first time since losing Sarah and Adam that Chris had thought about killing himself. It actually shamed him to think about how many times he had thought about it, but never before had it occurred to him just how easy it would be to actually do it. All he had to do was pull the trigger; he probably wouldn't even feel anything. Just a single, simple squeeze of the trigger, an action that was as natural as breathing to Chris Larabee, and all the pain and the memories would end. And why shouldn't they end? Buck was right; he was slowly killing himself with his drinking anyway. Why not do it quickly?
Slowly Chris turned the gun around in his hands, taking in every detail. The antler bone grip; the artistry in the scroll-work on the barrel; the six, bright .45s nestled in the cylinder. Yanking up his bottle, Chris took another healthy gulp of the whiskey before slamming the bottle back onto the dusty floor. Taking a deep breath Chris placed the barrel of the gun just inside his mouth. I'm sorry, Sarah, he thought as he closed his eyes. I'm so sorry. I just can't do this anymore.
Chris jerked his gun back with a gasp. Chest heaving he quickly scanned the room with wide eyes. He was still alone but he could have sworn he heard a voice. A voice that sounded oddly like...Sarah's. Unbidden, the memory of Sarah the day he and Buck had left for Mexico came to mind. His beautiful wife, standing in front of their home, Adam by her side as they waved good-bye. And her last words to him, "I love you".
Tears filled his eyes as he looked down at the gun in his hand. A sob rose in his throat and he drop the gun as if it had burned him. He'd nearly done it. He'd had the weapon in his mouth ready to pull trigger. He'd been half a second away from actually killing himself. Oh, God, what had he been thinking?
Tremors began to run through his body as Chris thought long and hard about the fact that he'd almost killed himself. How many times during the last six months had Buck told him Sarah wouldn't want him wallowing in a bottle, drowning in his grief, drinking his life away? It had been a lot, and he was right. Sarah wouldn't want any of that; she certainly wouldn't want him to kill himself. Yet he'd been fully prepared to put a bullet in his brain and give up. And what would it have gotten him? Well, if someone had heard the shot, he'd have ended up in a shallow grave. If he were lucky, he would've gotten his name wrote on a wooden marker that would have disappeared in a few weeks. If no one had heard the shot, well, they would have come looking for him when more rent was due, maybe…and he'd still have landed in a shallow grave.
Chris buried his head in his hands. This hurt. Losing his beautiful wife and precious little boy was type of pain unlike anything he'd ever known before, pain he didn't know how to deal with. But he was going to have to deal with it, one way or the other, and suicide wasn't an option. Feeling his anger slowly building, Chris picked up his half-empty bottle of whiskey and flung it across the room. He was a coward! He didn't even try to stop the tears that were now rolling down his face as he let that truth sink in.
He wasn't sure how long he set there but eventually his tears dried and he felt like a weight had been lifted off him. Leaning his head against the wall it occurred to him that not once since he'd been told of the fire that had taken his family from him had he allowed himself to actually grieve. Ever since the initial shock of his lose had worn off Chris had refused to allow himself to really mourn. If the urge had ever come he had buried it deep inside and had only let anger show through, if that had been too hard, he'd drowned it with whiskey. He couldn't do that anymore.
By the next morning Chris had come to a decision. What he'd been doing the last six months wasn't grieving and it wasn't coping, it was hiding and nothing more than a dishonor to Sarah and Adam's memories. He was done with hiding now, he had to start living again and Chris finally knew how he was going to do that. He was done with cowering in the shadows and wallowing in his self-pity. There was a man out there who had gotten away with murder and Chris was going to find him. And God as his witness, he was going to make him pay.