Disclaimer- The Young Riders belong to MGM/SONY and was created by Ed Speilman. I only own the story and the original character mentioned.

A/N- My fist attempt at writing a Buck centered fic. Feedback greatly appreciated

First it had been Ike.

Now it was her.

Who would be next? Who would be the next that would leave him, that would be taken from him? Would he survive it? Did he care? Did he honestly care anymore, now sitting there in the wooden floor of the haphazard, once tidy room that had held such warmth? If he truly thought about it, fought past the vast grayness of his thoughts and the numbness of his feelings he found he really didn’t care. Not now. Not now that she was gone. Gone and somewhere he couldn’t follow. Gone and forever cold and frozen in a state of fear and pain. Gone and no longer holding the love and happiness that she had showered him with only hours ago. Hours ago… Had it really only been hours ago that he had last seen her beautiful smile, or her dark eyes shining with merriment? How could so much go wrong in such a short amount of time?

The answer eluded him.

His hands shook as he reached for her broken and battered body. Whether he shook from anguish or anger was debatable but more than likely an extreme combination of both. He gathered her in his arms and pulled her into his lap, cradling her limp body against his chest. He pushed her dark locks out of her face. Dark locks that had always been well taken cared of and like the finest black silk. A broken sob escaped him. Though tears could never express the magnitude of loss and emptiness he felt deep within the depth of him, he could do little else. Could do little else but sit there in the wreckage that was his home, had been their home, and hold his beloved Catalina. Tears streamed from dark eyes clouded with torment and rolled steadily down his cheeks; he did nothing to wipe them away. It would prove useless anyways; they would only be replaced by more of the salty, scolding liquid flowing freely without shame down his face.

So he sat there, on his knees, a broken man with his broken, lifeless wife held tightly but gently against him, almost as if afraid to damage her frail body more than it already was.

A laugh, full of bitterness and anger, almost escaped his mouth past his sobs. Frail. Never had ¬his Catalina ever appeared frail. Never would he or anyone else ever use the word ‘frail’ to describe her. So full of life with her dark hair and eyes, a mixture of Mexican darkness and Germanic lightness, she had been a true beauty full of fire and stubbornness. Never one to be bossed or sassed, she had been a force to be reckoned with when angry. And now… now it was inconceivable to him to see her in her current state. Flesh chilled, lip busted, lacerations, bruises, and blood covering her body, hair that was once incredibly neat and lovely ringlets in disarray, red dress ripped in a brutal manner…

Incomprehensible fury welled within his entity, dominating over his misery. Those foul, vile animals, in addition to murdering his Catalina and killing the life that had been growing within her, had dared use her for their own pleasures. Had dared touch her in some horrible and unforgiving mockery of intimacy. Had dared… Had dared destroy something she had worked so hard on and that she liked so much. Had dared touch her and destroy the life growing within her. He saw red, felt the overwhelming need to seek retribution on those that had hurt Her and his unborn child. Felt the fingers of rage that beckoned to him grasp him completely, and felt the devastating need to answer it. He wanted to hurt whoever had hurt him, that had hurt Her just as much, if not more. No, he defiantly wanted to hurt whoever had committed this heinous act much worse. Wanted them to feel pain beyond anything they had ever experienced. He wanted to extract justice… He wanted revenge. Wanted to hurt them beyond pain, beyond any describable words…. He wanted… He wanted…

He wanted her back. And just as quickly as it had come, the anger was depleted and buried underneath the emptiness that once again took him over, burrowing a void darkness in his heart, in his soul. And he found, if he concentrated hard enough, that he just didn’t give a damn anymore. Maybe, however, just maybe this was all some horrible nightmare that he would wake up sweating from when dawn crested the sky in all its glory, and he would roll over and be met with her beautiful, worried filled eyes. He would take her into his arms then, and chase away all her worry and all lasting memory of the horrid, lifelike nightmare that plagued him while making love to her. Yes, that was it. That had to be it. Had to be the only plausible explanation to all of this. This was merely a nightmare. A horrible, dreadful, atrocious nightmare that he would wake from, yes that had to be it. She wasn’t… she wasn’t dead. He would wake and she would be there, as alive and as beautiful as always.

It was merely a nightmare. Yes, that was exactly it.

A clap of thunder sounded. All illusions and misconceptions he willed so hard to delude himself into believing shattered. The painful clarity that he would never see his unborn child, and that she was, and would forever be dead hit him like a bullet to the heart; physical pain intertwining with inner was almost enough for him to kneel over. He couldn’t deceive himself any longer. She was gone.

His scream was a dreadful thing, gut wrenching and heart stopping to even the coldest of creatures.

He had no will, no desire to live any longer. Without her, life was a meaningless voyage that he wished to disembark from. Not bothering to wipe at his face and not noticing he had stopped crying, eyes dead and distant as he stared straight ahead, he fumbled at his belt and retrieved what he sought. He cocked the gun and brought it to rest against his temple. He didn’t care any more, the loss of her the last and final straw he was able to take. He applied pressure to the trigger, resolution firmly set in his mind. He pulled- and was awarded with nothing more than a weak ‘click’. He pulled yet again… and again… and again… He let the gun drop to the floor with a thud, his shoulders sagging in utter defeat. Was he now cursed to live and go throughout the years alone with the haunting memories of what was and what could have been? Tortured and haunted with the knowledge that he would never see his beloved Catalina again, or get to hold his child in his arms and play the role as the proud father? Tortured and haunted without cease with the knowledge that it was because of him, because of his heritage, his blood, that his wife and child were dead? Cursed to live his remaining days guilt ridden and in a state of everlasting numbness?

He screamed yet again, holding her tightly to him. His shoulders shook violently, sobs ransacking his being.

Outside, the first raindrop fell. The Heavens wept with him.


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