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by KLH
Rated: E · Fiction · Fanfiction · #2265085
This is a fanfiction for the show The Young Riders; it occurs after the end of the PE.
by Karen

“Yes, Jeremiah?”
“There’s a strange man talking to Teresa over at the stock pens. I tried, but I couldn’t get her attention to get her back in here 'fore he rode in.”
“Why’d you want her to come in?” asked Louise coming to the door.
“Don’t know that I like the way this guy looks. He’ kinda dirty from riding, and I ain’t seen him 'round here before,” explained Jeremiah.
He took a deep breath and continued, “Besides, I think he might be injun, and what with all the latest trouble and all . . . “
“I’ll go check. You go get Kid from the far pasture, and then the both of you get cleaned up for supper,” said Louise. “And remember what I told you about calling people injuns.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
Louise watched Jeremiah as he hurried out the back door towards where Kid was working. She couldn’t help but notice what a fine young man he’d grown into over the past few years. She also couldn’t help but notice how much of a young lady Teresa had turned into. Jeremiah was right, there had been some trouble of late; guess it was best to be careful. Louise wiped her hands on her apron, looked out the front door, and stared toward the stock pens.
The setting sun behind them made it hard to see the people there, but she could just make out the two forms. The man was leaning easily against the top rail of the fence. He appeared to be no threat so Louise decided not to worry about taking the shotgun.
No use inviting trouble.
As she crossed the short distance between the house and the pens, she began to get a better look. There was something familiar about this person. She stopped short. Could it be? No, he’d disappeared out of their lives shortly after the wedding and the disbanding of the pony express. “Buck?” she called.
The stranger turned. He smiled when he saw her. She was still as beautiful as ever. He tipped his hat, “Howdy, Ma’am. I’m trying to find some old friends of mine. Was told they’d settled in these parts. Problem is I don’t have a family name to go with them -- Kid never told.”
“It is you! Where did you come from?” exclaimed Louise running the final few steps and throwing her arms around her old pony express friend.
“Around,” was all Buck said. He stepped back and looked at her. “Heard you and Kid had taken over the stockyard. Looks like you’re doing a good business.”
“We sure are,” smiled Louise as she looked into his face. He smiled, but there was still sadness in his eyes. She wondered if it would ever leave. “In fact,” she continued, “if you don’t have something pressing we could use some help. Last of the boys we had working took off yesterday. Went to try and find fame and fortune fighting Indians down in Texas. I think I’ll shoot the next army recruiter who shows up here just for sport.”
Buck grinned. “I can stay as long as you’ll have me. I don’t want to cause no trouble with folks around here though.”
“You won’t,” said Teresa with a big smile. “Folks here is mostly accepting of others. Those that ain’t seem not to stay around long.”
Buck looked at Teresa. “Say, Lou, is this your little sister?”
Louise smiled at the use of her old pony express name. “Yep,” she replied.
Buck smiled, “Sure has changed.”
Teresa blushed. She carefully crawled through the fence and took hold of Buck’s reins. “I can tend your horse and show you where to wash up, Mr. Cross, if you’d like.”
“I’d like very much if you’d just call me Buck.”
“Okay, Buck,” said Teresa. “Follow me.” After a few steps she stopped, “Louise, where should he put his things? Seems kind of silly for him to sleep in the bunk house all by hisself.”
“Have him bring them up to the house,” called Louise.
“That’s okay,” said Buck. “I’ll just sleep out here in the tack room.”
“But . . .” started Teresa.
“No use arguing,” called Louise. “He’ll win. Always does. Stubborn as a mule, he is.”
She watched them go and then returned to the house to set another place for supper. She was pleased to see Buck. She’d often wondered what he’d gotten into when he left Rock Creek. She’d understood the need to leave --- too many painful memories, but she still wished he’d kept in touch. Oh well, now was her chance to find out what he’d been up to these past six years.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Days past and Louise still hadn’t learned much about what Buck had done or even where he’d been. His eyes still looked sad, and it was obvious that he still missed Ike’ presence. The only time he seemed to not be missing Ike was when he was with Teresa.
Fortunately for him, because Teresa had attached herself to him like an extra appendage. Since the first morning after his arrival, she followed him as he went about his work. Asking him question after question about himself, his family, her sister, Kid . . . anything she could think of. Finally, after a few weeks, Kid sat her down, “Teresa, you need to leave Buck alone. He can’t hardly do anything without worrying about tripping over you. Besides, it ain’t proper you following him around all the time.”
“Why, Kid,” said Louise. “When did you start worrying about people being proper? Leave her be. Buck will let her know if she’s a bother. Besides, it does him good to have her around. Makes him less sad.”
Kid just shook his head.
Teresa beamed.
Jeremiah and Buck entered from checking on the stock in the outside pens. “I still think we might want to move them in,” Jeremiah was saying.
Buck nodded. “Let’s ask the boss.”
“Ask the boss what?” said Kid.
“Storm’s coming,” said Jeremiah. “I think we need to move the stock inside, Buck isn’t so sure.”
“Storm’s coming from where?” quizzed Kid eyeing the horizon.
“South,” said Buck pointing.
Kid turned. Sure enough there were clouds building.
“How long?” Kid asked.
“Two, maybe three hours,” said Buck. “Just not sure it’ll be bad enough to warrant putting all those animals inside.”
Kid checked the sky again. “Don’t know. Last time storm blew in from the south it about knocked the house down. Let’s start moving animals. Louise, maybe you and Teresa should board up the house.”
“Okay,” said Louise. “Let’s go Teresa.”
As the men left to go back to the stables, the wind began to blow.
“Nice pick up,” Kid said to Buck.
“Wasn’t me,” answered Buck. “Jeremiah pointed it out to me as we were finishing up checking that last pen. We decided could wait until we finished. From the way the wind started, I’d say he was right to be concerned.”
“Where’d you learn how to do that?” Kid asked Jeremiah.
“From watching you two,” Jeremiah answered.
“Nice work,” praised Kid.
The three soon had the animals all inside the barn. Kid and Jeremiah headed back to the house. “Aren’t you coming,” Jeremiah asked Buck.
“Think I’ll stay here. That way I won’t have to come out in the storm to get to bed.”
“Sleep in my room,” said Jeremiah. “It’s liable to get wet out here in the tack room.”
“Sure you don’t mind?” asked Buck. He glanced at Kid, “I’ve been told I snore.”
“Just get your stuff and come on,” laughed Kid, “or we’ll all get soaked.”
As they entered the house, Louise said, “Good. I don’t have to go down there and drag you back. Figured you’d try and stay out in your room. Still don’t know why you refuse to stay here in the house. It’ not like we don’t have room.”
“Wouldn’t be proper,” said Buck with a quick glance at Teresa.
Why not?” asked Jeremiah.
“Just wouldn’t,” was all Buck would say. “Where do I put this?”
Louise said, “Here, I’ll show you.” She led him to an extra room. “Use this,” she said. “That way you can sleep on a bed instead of the floor.”
Buck looked at the room. It had a bed, shelves, and small chest.
“It was supposed to be the nursery,” said Louise. “After I lost our first child, and the doctor told me I probably couldn’t have any, Kid burned the crib and about torn the room apart. Jeremiah helped me straighten it up and make the bed so we could have an extra place for friends to stay. So far, no one’ come to visit. Not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner.”
“Don’t apologize,” said Buck. “I’m not a visitor, I’m an employee. Help sleeps in the bunkhouse or the barn. Especially help like me. That’s just the way it is. Besides, like I said earlier, my staying in this house wouldn’t be proper.”
Louise glanced up at Buck’s face. “Why not?” she demanded.
Buck sighed. He knew he’d have to tell her. “It’s not proper to live in the home of the girl you want to court,” he explained.
“Does she know?” asked Louise.
Buck nodded. “Just needed the right time to tell you and Kid. Wasn’t sure how you’d feel.”
“I think it’s great!” exclaimed Louise.
Buck smiled. The sadness was gone from his eyes this time. “I’m glad,” he said. “She’s a wonderful person.”
“She is,” agreed Louise, “and so are you. You are perfect for each other.”
“I hope Kid and Jeremiah agree,” said Buck.
“About what?” asked Kid coming up the stairs.
“Buck and Teresa,” guessed Jeremiah trailing along behind. “Was wondering when you’d get around to saying something.”
“How long have you known?” asked Louise.
“Since the first night he was here,” said Jeremiah. “Teresa told me she was gonna marry him. This time I believed her.”
“What do you mean this time?” asked Louise.
“She told me the same thing seven years ago when you came and took us back from Pa,” explained Jeremiah. “Then I thought she was crazy, but this time I could tell she meant it.”
“Looks like you girls have a wedding to plan, and I’ve got some legal business to attend to in order to make my new brother-in-law my partner,” said Kid.
Teresa worked her way over to Buck and slipped her arm around his waist. “Told you folks around here was accepting of others,” she said.
Buck put his arm around her shoulder and drew her close. “That you did,” he said. “That you did.”

Disclaimer: The characters of The Young Riders were created for television by Ed Spielman. The series aired on ABC TELEVISION from 1989 - 1992.
© Copyright 2022 KLH (klhorak at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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