(Another Brothers Old West AU ; )
Disclaimer: I donít own them Iím just taking them out to stretch my imagination. Iíll put them back when Iím finished.
Judge Orrin Travis sat down in his chair with a sigh.
It had been a very long week in Four Corners. It almost seemed like the crime
rate went up since he moved here permanently. After his son and daughter-in-law
died, he and Evie moved closer to their grandson Billy. He never knew how much
his life was going to change when he made that one decision over three years
Now, Four Corners had a US Marshall and was becoming
quite a busy town. Rumor had it the railroad was going to add a spur to the town
sometime in the next couple of years. The biggest change that had come however
was personal. Three years ago, Orrin had adopted seven children when an orphan
train was caught in a flash flood. The train had been carrying twenty-five
children when the flood hit. All but one of the adults survived and if it
hadnít been for the heroics of seven boys, all of the children would have
died. Those seven boys stayed calm and helped everyone get to safety. They were
heroes and the town people started calling them "The Magnificent
In the aftermath, the Marshall and Judge found homes
for all of the children, except the seven. Every time someone would express an
interest in one, the other six would cause some kind of trouble and ruin it.
Orrin suspected that the bond the seven formed during the flood, was keeping
them all together. Josiah kept saying it was destiny. Finally, the Judge had
offered to take the seven until they could find someone who wanted all seven. A
year later, Orrin and Evie loved all seven too much to let them go, so Orrin
officially adopted them. He loved his boys, but some days he wondered what his
life would have been like without all of the extra chaos.
"BUCK! Give that back!" six year-old JD
yelled as he entered the house.
"No JD. This gawd-awful hat has to go,"
twelve year-old Buck replied as he held JDís hat out of reach.
"País at the jail JD," seven year-old Vin
added as he followed into the house.
"Nope," ten year-old Nathan said.
"What?" fourteen year-old Josiah asked.
"He said País home," twelve year-old Chris
added with a smile.
"Yes, I am home. Home trying to get some peace and
quiet. What is the problem?" Orrin said with his fists on his hips.
"Pa? Buck wonít leave my hat alone," JD
"Buck?" With one word, Buck put his head down
as he handed JD back his hat.
"I was just playiní."
"You know how sensitive he is about his hat."
Orrin made a mental head count. "Whereís Ezra?" Six shrugs were his
answer. "Was he in school?" Six nods. "But he didnít come home
with you?" When he again got no answers, he asked, "Chris? Do you know
where Ezra is?"
"No sir. He headed off after school with some
friends. I didnít see where."
"Okay. I want you boys to get to your chores,
homework and stay out of your maís way in the kitchen. Iíll be back when I
find your brother." Orrin headed toward the saloon to locate nine-year-old
+ + + + + + +
Chris and Vin were in the barn mucking out the stalls.
"Where do ya figure Ez got off to?" Vin asked.
"If heís smart, anywhere but the saloon. But I
think thatís where he was headed."
"Why didnít ya tell pa?"
"I wasnít sure, besides, I wasnít gonna rat
Chris and Vin finished up and were heading in to wash
up when Ezra appeared. "Hey Ez? Whereíd ya get off to?" Vin asked.
"Ah, Vin. Chris. Just some afternoon diversion
"Sure Ezra. Did pa catch you this time?"
"Whatever do you mean Chris?" Chris didnít
get the chance to respond when they heard a loud voice from the porch. "I
said NOW Ezra."
Chris and Vin noticed Ezra wince and turn toward the
woodshed. It didnít take much to figure out what was next for Ezra. No one
liked to be sent to the woodshed, unless it was their turn to bring in wood.
+ + + + + + +
Dinnertime was never a quiet time, but Orrin wouldnít
change any of it. He cleared his throat and the table became quiet.
"Boys? I have to go to Sweetwater for a couple of
days, so I want you to be on your best behavior while Iím gone. I donít want
to come home and have a line waiting at the woodshed. Understand?"
"Yes sir," was heard from eight boys.
"How long you gonna be gone?"
"Iíll be back for Saturdayís picnic, I
promise. Donít worry." Orrin knew the five year-old didnít understand
time yet, but the picnic was an important reference.
"I want you boys to help your ma and to obey her. I
also want you to leave the Marshall alone. He doesnít need your help."
"We helped last week to find little Suzy
Carterís puppy." Vin said.
"Yes you did, but I was referring to setting traps
for bank robbers. Loosening cinches of men you think are rustlers. Am I getting
"Those were very effective deterrents that allowed
Marshall Brice to apprehend the miscreants."
"Ezra, youíve already felt my strap today, would
you like to push for a second?"
"Good. Behave. Itís that simple. You know what I
expect and you know what to expect if you donít. I love you all very much and
I want to keep you safe. Now finish up your dinner and go get ready for
As children were asking to be excused, Orrin stood up
and beckoned for Josiah to follow him into the den. Everyone else ohhíed like
Josiah was in trouble.
"Would you like to come with me to Sweetwater? I
thought we could swing through Vista City on the way back so you can visit your
"Iíd like that a lot. Thanks."
"Good. The stage leaves at 9AM so you should get
to bed early."
Josiah headed upstairs to his room that he shared with
Nathan. "You in trouble?"
"No Nate. Pa just asked me if I wanted to go with
him and swing through and see Hannah."
"Hey thatís great. Tell her I said hi."
"I will Nate and thanks."
Orrin checked on all of the boys before he went to bed.
First was Chris and Vinís room. Chris was helping Vin practice his spelling.
He told them to get to bed and tucked them in. Next stop was Buck and JDís
room where he found them both sound asleep already. Nate and Josiah were already
in bed so he headed to Ezra and Billyís room. Billy was sound asleep but Ezra
was still awake.
"Time for bed Ezra."
"Yes sir. Pa?"
"I apologize for my poor judgment earlier."
"I know Ezra. I want you to stay out of the saloon
while Iím gone. Okay?"
"Thanks you, now get to bed. I love you."
Orrin headed to his own room and collapsed into bed and
was instantly asleep.
+ + + + + + +
Four days later, the stage pulled into Four Corners. As
Orrin and Josiah got out of the stage, Evie and Billy met them.
"GRANDPA!" Billy hollered as he jumped into
his grandfatherís arms.
"Hey Billy. Were you a good boy?"
"Yes sir, but Chris, Buck, Vin and Ez are in jail.
Nateís at the clinic and JDís home with a cold."
"Whoa Billy. Letís find out what has been
happening." Orrin put Billy down and asked, "Okay. What happened? Is
"Certainly sweetheart. Nathan is helping the doc
because he enjoys it, not because heís sick or anything."
"Good. Why are the others in jail?"
"Thatís a long story and I think Iíll let them
tell you about it. Theyíve only been in there for a few hours. Marshall Brice
knew you were coming home today so we let them stay until you could get them. He
thought it would make a bigger impression on them."
"The only thing thatís going to make an
impression on them is my strap. I told them to stay out of trouble."
"They actually did very well until last night and
this morning. They lasted longer than I thought they would." Evie laughed.
"Heís fine, just a little cold. I left Mrs.
Potter with him because Billy wanted to meet you at the stage."
"Iíll go get the boys and be right along. Josiah
could you take my bag home please."
"Sure pa." Josiah,
Evie and Billy headed home as Orrin headed for the jail.
+ + + + + + +
"Heís gonna kill us," Buck groused.
"This is all your fault
anyway," Chris countered.
"Chris is right Buck, you and your stupid
"Remind me in the future not to entertain any more
of your ludicrous notions."
"Hey you guys all thought it was a good idea at
the time. Besides we did stop that guy from stealiní from the
"Buck, he was Mrs. Potterís nephew. He wasnít
"I didnít know that at the time."
They all became quiet when the door opened. "Hey
Marshall. What did they do this time?"
Marshall Brice laughed. "Have a seat Judge. They
decided to break into the mercantile and caused quite a bit of damage trying to
'capture' Mrs. Potterís nephew."
Orrin groaned. "When will they learn?"
"Well, it was a misunderstanding, and if the man
had been a crook the plan worked well, but Jake was just trying to help Mrs.
Potter and didnít expect to get jumped in the storeroom and end up tied
"They tied him up?"
"Like a prize Christmas dinner. Then they came and
got me. By the time we got back to the mercantile, Mrs. Potter had found Jake
and was coming to get me also."
"Was she angry?"
"At first yes, but once she knew what happened,
she thought it was funny. Even told me I should watch out, that the 'Magnificent
Seven' would someday take my job."
"What about the damage?"
"Mrs. Potter agreed to let them clean up after
school and on Saturdayís to pay off the damage. Ezra was the only one who
complained about it."
"He would. He hates to get dirty. Can I take them
"Sure. I only locked them up to prove a point. I
also figured they would scatter once you got home and I was saving you the
hassle of hunting them down to kill them."
"I appreciate that. Iíll just take them home to
kill them. That way I can hide the bodies under the barn."
Both men were laughing as Marshall Brice retrieved the
keys. As the approached the cells, Orrin put on a stern face. "BOYS!"
All four of the boys jumped up to face their father.
"Correct me if Iím wrong, but didnít I tell you to behave while I was
"Yes sir," was heard from all.
"Then why are you in jail?"
"It was all Buckís fault." Ezra pointed.
"I see. Letís go home, boys. We will discuss
this there and then move it to the woodshed." Marshall Brice unlocked the
cells and four very subdued boys followed their father home.
+ + + + + + +
The house was finally quiet. Orrin sat down in his
favorite chair to enjoy his cup of coffee and the quiet. He was almost finished
his coffee when he heard footsteps on the stairs.
"Yes Vin? Why arenít you in bed?"
"Can I come down fer a minute?"
"Sure son." Orrin patted his lap and Vin
climbed up and snuggled for a minute.
"Ya still mad?"
"No son. Iím not mad any more."
"Love you," Vin whispered.
"I love you too Vin. Did you need something
"I.." Vin hesitated.
"Itís okay Vin. Go ahead."
"I got a eighty on my spelliní while you were
"Really? Thatís great Vin." Orrin reached
into his pocket and pulled out some change. "Hold out your hand son."
Vin put out his hand and watched as his father put two shiny pennies in his
palm. "There you go. Maybe next time Iíll have to shell out more."
"Thanks pa." Vin snuggled back down and was
quiet for a few minutes. "Pa?"
"Should I give my pennies to Mrs. Potter fer the
mess we made?"
"No son. Mrs. Potter said you boys could work off
that debt. You keep your pennies."
"Why donít we get you back up to bed. The picnic
is tomorrow and I donít want to go with grumpy kids."
Vin giggled as he was set on his feet and lead
upstairs. Orrin tucked him in and checked on all of the boys before he headed to
bed himself. He would need the energy to get through a picnic with "The
Magnificent Seven" and the trouble that seems to follow them.