Michael Biehn Archive

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Vin was nearly ready to leave, Peso tacked and his saddlebags full and secure, when he heard the livery door open and quickly close back up. Not suprising, since it was cold outside. There was no surprise in the identity of the person that entered in the brief interlude.

"Chris." Vin acknowledged as he finished tying down the last stays.

"Vin." He returned as he leaned back against the stall.

There was a pause as each man waited for the other to make the next move. And, if it wasn't so cold, even inside the solid building, the wait might have been much longer since neither man was inclined to talk much.

Chris broke first, as his annoyance at finding Vin ready to bolt boiled to the surface.

"You just leaving, just like that?"

Vin paused for a moment to try to interpret the hostile tone of the question, then answered quietly. "Figured I'd head out for a few days."

"Now? In this weather?" Another, more important question left unsaid for the moment.

Vin turned to look at his friend, "been out in a lot worse."

"Yeah," Chris growled, "when you had to -- there's no reason for you to go out now."

Vin figured it was time to stop dancing around the real reason that he was cutting out, he turned to face Chris and saw the hurt beneath the anger. "Hell, Chris, I never done this Christmas thing before -- not like other folks, at least not since I can remember, just don't know how -- or what to do."

Chris sighed, releasing the tension in his muscles, then he almost laughed in relief as he realized that Vin's reason for leaving had nothing to do with the recent change in their relationship.

Wasn't because Vin didn't want to be with him.

No, Vin was afraid of Christmas.

Well, maybe not exactly afraid, but obviously uncomfortable with the trappings and celebrations that the rest of the seven and the townsfolk were embracing so enthusiastically.

He let a small smirk escape as he reached out to take Vin in his arms.

"Ain't no secret rules or special handshake or anything, Vin," he whispered into the soft curls. "Ya just eat a bit more than usual, share some time with friends, and try to relax for a day or so -- it's not like there is a much else to do when it's this cold out."

Vin leaned back into the strong embrace and sighed. He wanted to be a part of things, but he just felt uneasy and out of place. It seemed like everyone else knew exactly what to do and say -- even the kids -- everyone but him.

"Can we just go out to yer place?" Vin breathed out softly. The thing he wanted to leave behind least of all was his new closeness with his best friend.

His lover for the past two months.

"Sure, Vin, whatever you want." Chris smiled evilly before adding, "but I ain't half as good a cook as Nettie or Mrs. Potter. He knew the towns' shared dinner was one of the things that made Vin nervous.

"You cook better'n Mary."

Chris grinned. "Everyone cooks better than Mary."

"Okay." Vin agreed as he turned in Chris's arms and leaned in for a soft kiss.

"Okay -- you'll stay?"

"Yeah, long as I git one'a them drumsticks."

"Hell, Vin, you brought every one of them turkeys in -- you can have as many of them drumsticks as you want."

"And a piece of Nettie's pie?"

"Try to tell her you don't want one..."

Vin pondered a moment then nodded his head slowly, "Sounds like a plan ta me."

Chris smiled as he helped Vin pull the loaded saddlebags and tack off Peso. Then they made sure he and Pony each had an extra portion of grain before they headed for the saloon. It was Christmas Eve and the rest of the men, and most of the unmarried locals were spending the evening there.

As they reached the door, Vin turned back toward the stalls.

"Merry Christmas, Mule, and you too Pony."

"That's it, Vin -- see how easy it is?"

Vin smiled his little half-smile, blushing at Chris's comment. Then he turned towards the door and was swept into an embrace and kiss that left no doubt in Vin's mind that Chris was glad that he was staying.

As they parted, panting for air a few minutes later, he whispered.

"Merry Christmas, Cowboy."

"Merry Christmas, Vin."


Merry Christmas, to all the C/V folks out there.