Summary: The Cartwright brothers -- Jack, Sawyer, Sayid, and Boone -- are extremely unlucky in love.
Pairings: Many and various implied pairings
Spoilers: Up through "The Shape of Things to Come"
Word Count: 1323
Note: Crack!fic born when I realized that Lost really is Bonanza! Merci to zelda_zee for the beta. Dedicated to her, bachlava, eponine119, cmonkatiekatie and anyone else who needs a larf!
Everyone in Widmore country knew the Cartwrights by reputation if not by sight, as sturdy, strapping lads who could always be counted on to get the better of the orneriest steer or the meanest bar drunk. Used to be that all the marriageable women -- and even some already spoken for -- daydreamed about someday being swept off her their feet by a Cartwright.
Their daddy was a somber, unsmiling widower named Christian who ran his ranch with an iron hand. His sons were brothers, sure enough, but you couldn't have come up with four fellows who resembled each other less. There was tall, brooding Jack; blonde womanizer Sawyer, dark-skinned, serious Sayid and the youngest, nearly as pretty as a girl himself, blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked Boone. There were rumors that each son had been borne to their daddy by a different woman. A cold-hearted madam in the next town was said to be Jack's real mama. Sawyer's mama, the story went, had been killed by Christian in a fit of rage when he caught her in bed with another man. No one knew who Sayid or Boone's mothers might be, but such was the Cartwright sway on the town that no one spoke their best guesses out loud.
The Cartwright boys were considered the biggest catch in the county, but none of them had ever married. Any lady lucky enough to land one of the brothers was far too likely to meet an untimely end before any marriage vows could be exchanged.
There was Joanna, who drowned in the swimming hole despite Boone's heroic efforts to save her. Nikki was buried in a cave-in at the mine and her beau, Sawyer, had the gruesome task of looking for her body. Then there was Nadia, the shy school marm who was captured by Indians. Although Sayid spent many long years looking for her, he finally had to admit defeat. He thought he'd found happiness with the mayor's daughter, the pretty blonde Shannon, but a stray bullet fired during a bank holdup caught her in the stomach and she died in Sayid's arms in the middle of Main Street. It was rumored that Boone had set his cap for Shannon as well and had sworn if he couldn't have her, he'd kill her himself. But anyone could see it was just an accident, plain and simple. Any rivalry between the brothers was chalked up to the fact that there were fewer and fewer women to choose from.
Even Ana Lucia, the town's tomboy, got herself shot up riding posse with Jack. He never forgave himself and swore off women, although he nursed a secret crush on Kate, the sad-eyed girl at the local saloon who poured all the Cartwright men their drinks and listened to their troubles. Kate knew better than to fall for one of the Cartwrights -- the townspeople didn't speak of the "Cartwright Curse" for nothing -- although Sawyer was often seen leaving the saloon in the wee hours of the morning, tucking his shirt back into his jeans, a satisfied grin on his dimpled face.
It wasn't just the Cartwrights who were unlucky: No one could forget the fate of Danielle and beautiful young Alex, the mother and daughter who ran the local trading post. They both died from a holdup man's bullet when Alex's miserly father, Ben, wouldn't pay the ransom the outlaw demanded. After that, Ben spent day and night muttering at the bar about revenge. No one paid him any mind, just as they'd learned to ignore the ramblings of the burly coffinmaker Hugo, who never got over tragically losing his love, Libby, to a cattle stampede. From then on, he etched her name into every coffin he built.
And John, the butcher, lost Helen in a freak-saw-blade incident. After that, he went a little mad as well, often forgetting to wash the blood from his work off his hands. But in a town of muttering madmen, he hardly stood out.
Now, being without the gentling influence of womenfolk, it must be said that the brothers were a rambunctious lot, prone to getting into all kinds of trouble. Sawyer spent more than his fair share of nights in the local jail for disorderly conduct and even Jack got himself locked up for being drunk and picking a fight on at least one occasion. Truth be told, it was his daddy that he punched out, for he suspected Christian of seducing his new bride, Sarah. Yes, Jack had finally found himself a woman, a teacher he'd nursed back to health after she broke both legs in a fall from a horse. They'd spent long hours talking as she healed and before he knew it, he had proposed and they were wed.
But he was a jealous sort, like his daddy, and took to drinking and following his wife wherever she went. Sure enough, she was visiting another man's bed, although it wasn't her father-in-law's, but a gambler who lived on the very edge of town. With a pistol heavy in his hand, Jack laid in wait for the other man one dark night, determined to put a bullet in his head the way his daddy had supposedly done before him, but fate saved him the trouble. An Indian raid caught both Sarah and her lover, burning their love nest to the ground. Jack cried manly tears of relief and rage when he identified Sarah’s bloodied scalp and he vowed to never love again.
After Sarah's gruesome death, Kate had come to believe in the curse of the Cartwrights so strongly that she wouldn't even wait on the brothers at the saloon anymore. Soon even Sawyer stopped coming into town at all.
The only unwed woman who would go near the Cartwrights was the doctor's aide, Juliet, who carried a terrible curse of her own: her first husband was dragged to death underneath a coach, while her second husband met his death on the battlefield, impaled on a savage's lance. Only the widower Ben courted her, but she would have none of him and no other man would have her. It seemed the whole town was full of people who had loved and lost and would rather get drunk and fight than try their luck at love again.
The brothers seemed destined to die bachelors, never finding happiness or the soft touch of a woman. Never let it be said (although they were really only half-brothers at best), that they turned to each other in their loneliness. There was absolutely no sweaty fumbling in the hay loft, no writhing in the tall grass of the field and no stifled moans in the middle of the night when their father was away buying up more cattle.
If there had been, well, no one would have blamed the poor, doomed brothers, who, (everyone was almost positive), weren't even related at all.
Oblivious to such talk, the men lived out their days on the Cartwright ranch, handsome and strapping as ever. It's true that when Boone died, cruelly crushed by a wagon wheel, some said that they'd always known he was too pretty to be a man. Maybe, they said, he'd merely dressed in men's clothes like Ana Lucia had done to avoid all the terrible tragedies that could befall a woman in the great Wild West.
So the Cartwright line died with Jack and Sawyer and Sayid, although people say they each sired a bastard or two. One little blonde girl had Sawyer's dimples, another had Jack's sad, dark eyes while there was nearly a whole generation born with dark, curly hair like Sayid's.
Maybe the idea of a bevy of Cartwright brats was just wishful thinking. It was a damned shame none of them had ever found true love, but life was hard on the frontier, as everyone knew. It was just sad to see the last of the Cartwrights. They were such handsome fellows.