Author's note: This moment falls in the middle of Season 1, Episode 20, Matched Pair.
The Home Front: Jimmy
Home Fires Burning
Jimmy stepped out the bunkhouse door, closing it carefully behind him, and began to pull on his gloves as he moved toward the barn to saddle his horse. Teaspoon had been right, as always. He’d needed a good night’s sleep and sunrise had come early enough. He still felt guilty as hell for Clara’s death, but he could now look at the situation and know he wasn’t, really, responsible. He’d tried to do what was right, and been misled. But now, he knew who to aim his anger at and he fully intended to make the man responsible pay.
Stepping down off the end of the bunkhouse porch the sound of a horse’s hoof hitting the ground to his side caught his attention. He turned and stopped to look.
Kid, Ike and Buck walked their mounts up to him, his own palomino, already saddled, at their side. They came to a stop a few feet in front of him and just waited.
That’s when it hit him. These boys knew him. They knew him in ways even his own mother and sisters didn’t, never would. They knew his temper, his stubbornness, all his faults, really, as well as his strengths. They knew the mistakes he’d made, the needless risks he’d taken in an effort to prove himself to the world. Or, a small corner of his brain mocked, more accurately, to himself. And they didn’t care. Even though those same mistakes, those same risks had sometimes put them in danger, they still stood by him. Even now they were ready to ride against one of the most powerful men in the territory. For him.
Lou would be out here, too, he knew, if she hadn’t already been out on a run. Heck, she may well have been the one to come up with the idea. Although, honestly, he could smell Teaspoon’s fine hand behind this show of solidarity. He shook his head slightly. It didn’t really matter. What mattered was that, wherever the idea came from, they’d all chosen, chosen to be here at the crack of dawn.
Taking a deep, fortifying breath of the chill morning air, he smiled at them. Their strength allowed him to let go of some of this anger and bitterness. It gave him hope that he could have a future worth living. As long as he had their support.
“Figgered it was a nice day for a ride,” Kid smiled at him understandingly.
He felt some of the fire of his anger banking a bit more, settling down to a low burn instead of the raging flames it often was. A soft, almost rosy glow that represented the safety and strength of a home replaced the burn with a gentle warming around his heart.
A family. A home. That’s what he’d found here. Jimmy slowly nodded, not so much at Kid’s words but at the rightness of his own thoughts, even as his eyes moved from Kid to Buck to Ike, all with similar expressions on their faces. Yes. A home.
Now, to take care of the biggest threat to that, and avenge Clara’s death.
Biting back his grin, he said, “Hope you boys can keep up.”