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As Nathan finished examining JD he turned to face four pairs of
questioning eyes.
Finally Chris broke the silence asking the question they were all
dreading the answer to.
Did they get there soon enough?
“Nathan,will he make it?”Larabee asked softly as he stood at the foot of the small bed.

Jackson sighed inwardly as he glanced back at his patient. JD looked even younger than his nineteen years and frail under the mountain of blankets.
“I just don’t know,Chris.”Nathan replied quietly as he turned to meet the gunslinger’s gaze,”I’ve done all I can for now,but hypothermia cases
are tricky. If we aren’t able to get his body temperature back to
normal....”

Before anyone could reply the door to the clinic banged open revealing a disheveled and snow covered Casey and Buck.
Vin quickly moved forward taking Wilmington’s weight from the teen,”How ya doin’,pard?”
“Besides not bein’ able to see a damn thing I’m fine.”Buck replied
tersely pushing himself away from the tracker,”I heard you found the
kid,how’s he doin’?”

Dead silence answered him which caused Wilmington’s fear to intensify.
“Nathan?”Buck demanded as he took an unsteady step forward.
Chris caught his friend before he nose-dived into the floor,”Easy. JD’s fine,Buck. Let Nathan take a look at your eyes.”
Buck shook his head as he turned sightless eyes on the center of the
room,”No offense,Chris,but I’d like Nathan to answer my question.”
Nathan moved to his friend’s side easing the gunslinger into a nearby
chair,”JD’s going to be fine. Especially after we get a few good meals in him. Now let me take a look at those eyes....did you hit your thick head on anything?”
Buck didn’t respond to the friendly insult which worried Chris as he
knelt next to his friend.
“Buck,”Chris prompted gently,”What happened out there?”

“I was almost half way to Blue Creek when the snow got so bad I had to stop.”Buck replied quietly,”One minute I could see the next I’m blind as a bat.”
“Snowblindness.”Nathan explained,”If the sun reflects off the snow just right it can cause loss of sight.”
“Is it pernament?”Buck asked softly the exhaustion starting to catch up
with him.
“I wish I could give you some answers,Buck.”Nathan replied as he placed a supportive hand on the older man’s shoulder,”But there’s just not enough known about it. It could last a few hours or a few years.”
Wilmington nodded wearily,”Chris can you sit me over by JD?”
Chris shook his head,”You need to rest.”
Buck started to stand with Nathan quickly moving forward to guide
him,”Even if I can’t see for myself that he’s okay I need to tell him
that I’m here. That I’m not going to let him go nowhere.”
Larabee glanced at Nathan who nodded. Chris put his arm around his friend’s shoulder’s and led him over to the small wooden chair that was sitting to the right of JD’s bed.

Once Buck was seated Chris glanced over at the door in time to see
Josiah leaving.
Vin and Ezra had left a few minutes earlier satisfied that at least for
the moment all the Seven were accounted for. Both moving on to make sure that the storm hadn’t done too much damage to the town.

Chris nodded gratefully at the former preacher and Sanchez touched the brim of his hat briefly in acknowledgment before closing the door behind him.
That left only Casey Wells standing near the window. Chris glanced at
his old friend one more time before quietly moving to stand next to the
young woman.

Larabee looked down at the teen and saw the tears starting to form.
Without a word Chris gently placed an arm around the girl’s shoulders
drawing her into a supportive hug.



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