Word Count 1,800
An episode tag for The Buscaderos
It was well past midnight and everyone in the hacienda was sleeping peacefully, except for one.
Scott Lancer struggled to free himself from the ropes binding him, spread-eagled, to his bed but was unable to do so. Blood dripped from his wrists as he twisted and writhed in an almost frantic effort to pull loose. Time was running out.
The sound of heavy footsteps in the hallway caused him to cease his efforts and hold his breath. He turned his head towards the door just as it opened. A gaunt, pallid figure clothed all in black glided into the room and approached the bed.
“Hello, Blue Eyes,” he purred. “Miss me?”
He reached out a long fingered hand and ran it gently through Scott’s hair and down the side of his cheek. The blond turned his head away but was unable to escape the caress.
Chapel chuckled at his prisoner’s obvious distress and climbed onto the bed, straddling the bound man.
“So handsome. The beauty of Apollo, indeed.”
Scott’s breath caught in his throat as a large, sharp hunting knife appeared in Chapel’s hand as if by magic.
“No,” he whispered, mouth suddenly dry.
“Yes,” Chapel hissed softly, baring his sharp teeth. “You and I are going to have some fun.”
The former Bostonian’s eyes were glued to the burnished blade as it descended towards his stomach. One by one, the buttons fastening his shirt were cut loose and flicked away. The sound they made as they hit the floor was loud in the stuffy room as was Scott’s harsh breathing.
“Please don’t do this.” He pleaded.
“Shh…” Chapel admonished, placing the blade against, Scott’s lips. He used his other hand to brush aside the loose remnants of the shirt, exposing Scott’s chest to his avid gaze. The burning light in his hazel eyes made the bound man tremble.
Chapel ran his fingertips lovingly over the smooth skin.
“Very nice. Very, very nice.”
One clammy, cadaverous hand came to rest over Scott’s heart. The black clad man smiled coldly when he felt the wildly hammering organ beneath his palm.
“Fluttering like a little bird. So desperate to escape. Will you sing for me, Little Bird?”
Scott shook his head as he twisted in his bonds. “No…”
“Oh, I think you will.”
The knife dipped again and slowly began to trace intricate, bloody patterns on his chest and stomach. The sting of the blade made Scott bite his lip in an effort not to cry out. He would not give this monster the satisfaction.
After what seemed like an eternity, Chapel pulled back and shook his head sadly. His ministrations were not garnering the response he wanted. He trailed his fingers through the blood and brought them to his lips. Maintaining eye contact with Scott the entire time, he licked every last drop from his fingertips.
“So stubborn,” Chapel smirked. “But I will break you. Of that you can be sure.”
He raised his arm high, blade coated with blood and gleaming wetly.
“Oh yes, Little Bird, you WILL sing for me.”
The knife came flashing down and plunged deep into Scott’s chest.
With a strangled cry, Scott threw himself upwards, hands flailing blindly. The room was dark and silent except for the harsh gasps as he fought to regain control of his wildly beating heart.
It was just a nightmare.
It hadn’t really happened. Chapel was dead. Johnny had shot him just that morning.
Scott listened intently as he fought to regain control of his breathing. As the minutes passed and there was no other sound, he was flooded with relief. No doors opening and closing. No footsteps hurrying along the corridor. Nothing stirred. No one was coming to fuss over him and ask him questions he didn’t feel like answering. Questions he didn’t think he could answer even if he wanted to.
Throwing back the covers, the blond sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. The events of the last 48 hours had left him with more than just a few scrapes, burns and bruises. No, the injuries weren’t all visible ones. Something had broken deep inside him. The covetous looks Chapel had given him throughout his captivity had rattled Scott deeply, leaving him bereft of his usual sense of security and well being.
Knowing that he would get no more sleep tonight, Scott grabbed his clothes from a nearby chair and threw them on. He padded, barefoot, out into the hall and down the stairs. The only sound was the slow ticking of the Grandfather clock in the Great Room.
Glancing about, he saw that the majority of the mess left by Drago’s bunch was gone; Furniture had been righted, spilled food and wine wiped up and the broken glass swept away. All appeared calm and serene.
Appearances were deceiving.
The house was suddenly stifling and he felt an overwhelming need to see the sky and to breathe fresh air untainted by anyone’s jealousy or obsession. Turning abruptly on his heel, Scott flung open the door and headed outside.
Without conscious thought, the slender blond found himself drawn to the courtyard where he had faced the Gatling gun. He took a seat on the bench beneath the tree and contemplated the bullet-hole riddled wall which was clearly illuminated by the full moon overhead.
When he realized that Drago and Chapel were planning to test the gun on him, his soul had cried out at the injustice of it all. He didn’t want to die. It was too soon. He had just found his family. He had just found the home his heart had yearned for all his life. Up against that wall, he had come within a hair’s breadth of losing everything. By all rights, he should be dead. Even now he couldn’t quite understand why he wasn’t. Scott had never been a religious man – not even on the battlefield – but some supreme being had obviously been looking out for him. There was no other explanation that offered any satisfaction.
Between his brush with death and Chapel’s unhealthy obsession with him, Scott was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it was all over – that he had survived. He had made it through the fire and come out the other side. Now he just wanted things to get back to normal.
Unfortunately, that was damn hard when Chapel was invading his dreams. He had made the blond’s skin crawl while he was alive and that hadn’t changed one bit now that he was dead. The man had slithered past Scott’s defenses and gotten under his skin with his covetous looks and menacing demeanor like some sort of insidious plague. Rubbing tiredly at his burning eyes, Scott sighed deeply.
“It’s over, damn it,” he whispered to himself. “It’s over.”
If only he could believe it.
The soft scuff of a boot brought his head around with a snap.
Johnny stood by the courtyard opening, moonlight glinting softly off the barrel of his gun and a look of confusion on his handsome face.
“Scott?” He asked, as he holstered his gun and slowly approached his brother. “What you doin’ out here, Hermano? Kinda late to be goin’ for a walk.”
“I’m fine, Johnny,” Scott replied tonelessly, as he turned back to his study of the bullet holes. “Just thinking. Go on back to bed.”
The dark haired man eased himself down onto the bench beside his brother.
“Well, I’m thinking I might just rest here for a bit. It’s a nice night and that moon sure is pretty.”
The two men sat there in silence for about 15 minutes. Finally, Johnny turned to his brother. “You know you can talk to me about what happened, right?”
“Yes, Johnny,” Scott sighed. “I know.”
“Do you want to? Talk about it, I mean.”
Scott exhaled sharply and ran a hand through his hair before turning to face his brother.
“Johnny, I’m not sure I can. The words won’t come. It was just so…..intense.”
The dark haired man nodded. He knew how that was. Sometimes you just needed to think things through in your own mind, to understand them yourself, before you could try and explain them to someone else.
“Well, when the words do come, I’ll be ready to listen.”
Scott’s lips quirked in a half smile. “Thanks, Brother. You’ll be the first to know.”
“You just make sure I am. And don’t be waiting too long, neither. If ya do, it’ll eat at ya and that’s no good.”
Scott thought about the nightmare he’d had earlier and rubbed the spot on his chest where the “knife” had plunged in. “I know. It’s just….I…I need to come to grips with a few things first. Just give me a few more days.”
Johnny nodded and gave his brother a gentle punch to his arm. “I’m gonna hold you to that, Boston. If you don’t come clean by the day after tomorrow, you’ll have ta answer ta me.”
“Fair enough.” Scott chuckled.
Satisfied, for now, Johnny stood and stretched. “Well, as much fun as moon gazing with you has been, I’m ready to head back to bed. You comin’ in?”
Scott looked from the bullet holes to Johnny and back again.
“Johnny, what happened to Chapel’s body? Where was it taken?”
Johnny paused, surprised at this abrupt turn in the conversation. He scratched at the stubble on his chin. “We put him in the ice house for the time bein’. He’ll be hauled back to town tomorrow for burial.”
“He really IS dead, right? You checked, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, yeah I did. You wanna see him?”
“NO! No….that’s… not necessary.”
Scott stood and moved to follow his brother out of the courtyard. At the entrance, he paused and turned to look back at the bullet holes one last time.
“C’mon, Hermano.” Johnny said, softly, as he wrapped an arm around his brother’s shoulders. “Let’s get you to bed. I’ll even tuck you in.”
“Will you bring me a nice cup of warm milk and my favorite blankie, too?” Scott asked wryly.
The dark haired man stopped and faced his brother, expression solemn.
“If that’s what it takes, Brother, then yeah, I will.”
Johnny’s serious tone made it sound like a vow and that gave Scott comfort. It made him feel safe. It gave him back a little of the security that had been stolen from him.
“It’ll be okay, Scott. You’ll see.”
The blond searched his brother’s eyes and saw affection, loyalty and a firm resolve.
He nodded. “Thanks, Johnny.”
“Any time, Hermano Mio. Any time.”
The two Lancers entered the dark house and shut the door.
The full moon continued to shine down serenely on the deserted courtyard.
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