Together Again
by: Maggie Smith

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Rating: S for sorry
Disclaimer: Ain't mine.
Warnings: Okay, it seems my medication induced ramblings have ticked off a few people, (CASSIE) and in order to keep the revenge tactics, (NAMELY C-HARLOT) out of the picture, here's a sequel.

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The five men sat in the back table of the saloon trying to drown their sorrows in their second bottle of whisky. They had been in this position since returning from the graveyard. It had been a emotionally draining ordeal that none of them would ever get over.

"I figured JD would outlive us all." Vin drowned his shot in one gulp and then slammed the empty glass on the table.

"So did I, Brother Tanner. So did I." Josaih stared morosely at his untouched drink.

"I can hear Buck yelling at JD now, for doing a fool stunt like killing himself." Nathan half smiled as he was remembering all the tongue lashings Wilmington had bestowed on the kid.

They resumed their quiet vigil, each now to choked up to say anything. The sun had set hours ago and they had been left in the saloon alone. No one really knew what to say to the lonely gunmen, so they ignored them and their grief.

"How long till the honorable Judge Travis graces our prescence?" Ezra shuffled his cards never breaking stride as he spoke what had been on all their minds.

"Said he would be here on tomorrow's stage. I figure we could go after that." Chris's solemn tone told the story of the pain they were enduring.

The other four wasn't surprised by the leader's statement, because they had all planned to leave.

"I guess a good night's rest is needed then. Good night, brothers'." Sanchez rose slowly from his chair never looking at the others.

"Josiah right. I think I'll turn in also." Nathan stood and followed the big preacher.

"I for one am in no mood for a game of chance, so I do believe I shall retire also." Standish swiftly put his deck back in his pocket and bowed his head to the two remaining men.

"I don't know about you, cowboy, but sleep is the last thing on my mind." The tracker couldn't make himself look at Larabee, but felt the gunslinger was the same way.

"Yeah. I think here is just as good a resting spot as any." Chris reached for the whisky and poured himself and Vin a shot before settling back for dawn to come.

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The stage was right on time for a change. Noon. The only passenger to get off was the judge and he didn't look none too happy. Especially, when spotted two of the seven emerge from the tavern looking like hell.

"Afternoon, boys." Orin extended his hand first to the man in black and then to the buckskin. "I came as soon as I heard. If theres anything..."

Chris raised his hand to interrupt. "Actually, there is judge. The boys and I resign. We'll be leaving in the next hour."

Travis had expected as much when he recieved the horrible telegraph. "I understand. I just wish things could have been different."

Larabee turned his face away, fearing he would reveal his true feelings, so Vin answered for him.

"So do we judge. So do we." Tanner also turned from Orin and began walking to the livery with Chris beside him.

Orin stood staring at the retreating backs and hoped all their hard work for this town wouldn't go up in flames as soon as they left. The man shook his head sadly and headed to the Clarion to talk to Mary.

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The five left right on schedule, never once looking at the town they were leaving behind. The townspeople wandered around the streets watching the dust die. Some sad, some a little glad, and a few were down right happy.

"How lucky could we get, Ralph. The boss is gonna love this." A burly teenager stood beside a weather worn gunman.

"Yep. This is gonna make his day. Lets go. I'm tired of this two-bit town." The older stepped off the sidewalk and grabbed his horse's reins from the railing. The two men rode swiftly in the opposite direction of the departing protectors.

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"Nobody move and I won't kill ya." Ralph's voice boomed loudly in the little bank evoking screams from women and children and immediate surrender from the men. "Good. Now if you'll fill these bags with that there gold your hiding, we'll be on our way."
 
The six gunmen ranged in age and in builds. They all looked like they'd never seen an honest day's work. There was two guarding the outside entrances and somewhat slack in their duties. Ralph had relayed the trajedy befallen the seven protectors and their departure, so none of them expected any resistance.

That was their first mistake.

"Come on mister. These people worked hard for their money." The teller, a boy in his teen's, tried to reason with the outlaws.

"Yeah, and we sure do appreciate all their hard work, kid." Bart, the presumed leader of the bandits, laughed heartily at the youth and then spit tobacco juice on his white shirt.

"Now they wasn't no call for that, mister. The boy was just trying to do the right thing." A man about a head foot taller then the teen stepped beside him and glared menacingly at the outlaw.

"Well, well. Looka what we got here boys. A coupla bonafide heroes. Why don't you 'boys' just get back to doing your job and leave us to ours."

"Well, thats right kind of ya. Did ya hear that kid, he wants us to resume our sworn duties." The tall man slapped the boy on the back and smiled.

"Okay, if he wants us too." JD Dunne pulled a colt .45 from under his designated counter and pointed straight at the bandit's heart. "Your under arrest mister."

Bart stood stunned beyond words as Buck Wilmington also drew a colt from under the desk.

"You've got to be kidding me. Theres only two of you and eight of us." The outlaws began laughing the protectors.

"Let me ask you something. After you robbed this here bank, who was you gonna get to divy up the money. Because I hate to tell ya this fella, but you just ain't much on adding." Buck cocked his head to the side and chuckled lightly.

"Your beginning to annoy me, boy. I can count just fine." All pretense vanished as the bandits realized the real threat.

"Oh, well then you wouldn't mind counting now, would ya?" Wilmington stepped back a few steps and motioned JD to follow.

"Alright. Lets see, theres one smartass, and one fool kid. Add them together and you get two stupid jackasses." Bart let a huge snort and started to turn to retrieve the full sacks of gold. But instead of getting the bags, he was greeted with a .22 derringer right between the eyes.

"I must agree with my compadre, sir. Your schooling in lacking in the mathematics department." Ezra grinned so wide his gold tooth almost blinded the outlaw.

"I've had enough of this, take 'em boys." The leader attempted to raise his weapon but resounding clicks stopped him. The outlaws glanced around them to find four sets of eyes and pistols trained on their hearts.

"That would be a foolish endeavor, my friend." Josiah sauntered to the two goons nearest him and retrieve their useless weapons.

"I'd really hate to doctor one of you. I've just had a coupla bad days and I think your the cause of it." Nathan also grabbed the guns closest to him. Which only left two armed gunmen, except for the two guards outside, who met an unfortunate fate and now were residing in the town jail.

"Doc's right. We've already went to two funerals this week, and I don't think we're exactly in our right minds." Vin's hoarse growl tried to warn the bandits, but brains apparently weren't their strong points.

The sound of gunfire lasted only a few seconds and as the smoke cleared the two outlaws lay dead at the seven's feet.

"They never learn." Chris reholstered his gun and gazed to the two men he had put in the earth not even 24 hours ago. "You boys' alright?"

Wilmington grinned widely and replied. "Hell yes. It feels damn good to be alive." The gunslinger let out a whoop and grabbed the youth beside him in a BUCK-hug.

"Damnit, Buck. Put me down." JD's protests would have sounded better if he hadn't been laughing so hard. Wilmington let go of the boy but didn't let him go far.

"I sure am sorry about that JD. I know how hard that had to have been for ya." Buck's eyes shone with unshed tears as he remembered the fated scene from earlier.

"I know, Buck. Everythings okay now. We did what we had to and we got the job done. Thats all that matters." The teen squeezed his best friend's arm to reassure himself this was real.

"No its not okay, JD. I know that would never really happen, and I hope you realize that." Wilmington grasped the boy behind the neck and pulled them until their foreheads touched. "And I want you to know your important to me, kid. And as much as I wish I could keep you from this kind of thing, I know you wouldn't want it any other way."

JD smiled broadly at the words as his mind erased the trajedy and replayed the fun times they had been through.

"None of us would JD." Larabee stepped up to the two and patted both of them on the back. "But next time you come up with a crazy idea like this, you'll be going to our funerals' kid. Our old hearts can't take the abuse." Chris smiled softly to take some of the sting from his words.

"Speak for yourself. I ain't exactly long in the tooth, myself. But as for you, Ezra, Josiah, and Nathan, well thats a different story." Tanner let a slow grin crease his lips as he caught the deadly glares and returned them with a challenge.

"Whats say we take these old bones to the saloon as soon as we drop off our guests. I do believe a celebration is in order." The preacher motioned the prisoners toward the door with his gun and was immediately followed by the other seven. Well, almost all of them.

"I really am sorry, Buck. I didn't know how hard that was gonna be." JD face had paled slightly as he watched the sadness and grief pass over his friend's face.

"I'll tell ya what, kid. If one of us every has to die, make sure its me. I couldn't take not having you around." Wilmington's voice caught as he finished his sentence.

"Well, in that case, I guess it'd be best if we both just keep on living. I couldn't take not having you here, Buck." The two men locked gazes and made a silent vow to never leave the other behind.

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Well, I hope some people, who shall remain nameless, are happy.
The End or is it?