Disclaimer: This is for fun, no money is made. The boys are not mine but they live in my heart.
Thanks to my beta Ronnie. Remaining mistakes are mine.
He had taken the first watch.
After having made his rounds around the camp and looking after the horses to make sure everything was all right, he sat down near the fireplace and leaned back against a boulder.
Stretching out his long legs, he tilted his head back and looked at the moonlit sky. It was the same moon that shone over Boston and the same stars that he had identified with his grandfather years ago. He remembered several of their names and found the constellations Harlan Garret had shown him while they watched the sky together in the rare moments his grandfather had time for him.
Sometimes, on nights like this he felt a painful longing for his hometown. He remembered the noise of that lively city and the businesses at the harbor. He smelled the typical scent of the water and heard the whispering of the waves splashing against the shore. He felt the brisk fresh wind disheveling his hair and he saw the many ships rocking up and down on the harbor waves.
Sometimes, on nights like this he missed that all very much.
A movement on the other side of the campfire drew his attention. Johnny had shifted on his bedroll and now lay on his back, his face turned towards Scott and bathed in the reddish shimmer of the low burning fire. His lips were slightly parted and his left hand rested near his face. Although he slept soundly and seemed to be totally relaxed, Scott could still sense some tension beneath the calm surface. Unconsciously Johnny had positioned his right hand near his hip.
Scott knew that if something happened Johnny would be on his feet within a second, gun in hand ready to face whatever danger occurred.
But at the moment, with his ruffled hair, his gunfighter brother resembled more a slumbering little boy than the dangerous man he actually was. While watching the sleeping man Scott realized that this was the first time since they had known each other that Johnny had given himself into his hands like this.
Finally, Johnny trusted him with his life.
Scott felt strangely moved by his discovery. He knew how hard it was for his brother to let go. When had Johnny decided that his brother was a man he could lean on?
They had spent more than one night at a campfire together since they knew each other, but when it was Scott's turn to take the watch Johnny never really slept. He would lean against a tree or boulder, and draw his hat low over his eyes. Even though he seemed to sleep his muscles were tense and Scott thought he had one eye open. Johnny tried to hide that he did not really sleep, but Scott was not a fool. He knew Johnny didn't trust his abilities during his first weeks at Lancer. Being a gunfighter, Johnny was very careful until he knew who he traveled with. His life could depend on his comrade and Johnny didn't trust anyone but himself.
But the gunfighter quickly learned that his brother from back east was capable of more than polite dinner conversation and reading Shakespeare. He was a greenhorn all right but he had been a soldier, knew how to handle weapons and stood his ground. He had proven to be tougher than he looked.
Johnny maintained his habit of "alert sleep", though, and Scott also knew that Johnny had become attached to him, was being protective of his big brother and wanted to keep him out of harms' way.
But this night Johnny had tossed his bedroll on the ground, rolled it out, plopped himself on it and yawned.
"I'm kinda tired, Boston, you take the first watch?" And much to Scott's amazement he had been asleep within a minute.
Looking at his brother Scott granted him the rest. He knew well about Johnny's restlessness and badly wanted to help Johnny to find his peace and a place to relax.
He quietly shifted his weight and carefully tried to sit more comfortably against the bolder, mindful to not disturb Johnny's sleep.
His gaze went up to the sky. He again looked at the moon, and pondered that his grandfather could see the same moon. In Boston he had grown up and would never forget the city. He would long for it sometimes on nights like this. He was even sure he would go back and visit Boston and his grandfather.
But here was the family and especially the brother he loved and had longed for ever since he had been a little boy. This could never be replaced by Boston and his grandfather.
He needed his brother and his brother needed him.
"You sleep, Johnny, I'll keep watch over you," he whispered.
~ Fine ~
Becky W., September 2009