The New Law
Summary: A series of 'missing scenes' for the original OW series from the author's and JD's POV
Disclaimer: Just playing. I know I can't keep 'em...damnit!
Thanks to Phyllis for betaing this. Comments welcome.
My thanks also to Nancy and Blackraptor for the transcript archive, and for giving my stories a home.
Standing just off the boardwalk, his mind reeling, JD swallowed as he watched the men he had grown as close to as family, each say goodbye... and leave. His heart and head were screaming 'please...don't go...' but his mouth refused to form the words. As he stepped further into the street, JD barely heard Josiah's question. He raised his head to look at the man on the horse.
The easterner smiled, thinly. Josiah had been the only one, apart from Buck to give a damn what happened to him. He shook his head.
"No...I'm gonna stick around and wait on Buck."
Josiah nodded his understanding, smiled and rode away. JD watched him leave, then walked away from the boardwalk toward the jail, his heart heavy as he turned and looked left and right, deciding what to do or where to go next. He sighed heavily as Marshal Bryce approached, stopping just in front of him.
"Time's up, JD. You know the Law. Hand over your firearms."
Just for a moment, the boy wanted to say no and dare the man to throw him in jail. At least he'd be with Buck, he wouldn't be...alone. But he relented; unhooking his coat from the butt of his gun and snapping open his buckle. With a huge lump in his throat, he handed over his gun belt and guns.
Bryce took them and nodded his approval. "Well done, son."
As JD watched the Marshal walk away, he felt around his hips and back. They felt bare and...strange. He decided to head for the saloon.
Sitting there nursing his beer, JD felt as if the eyes of the town were on him. The few times he had dared to glance up, he saw men whispering and looking his way. He heard one conversation which positively gloated over the fact the other five men were gone. That hurt him. How could these people think like that? Those men...his friends...had regularly risked their lives for this town. He hoped Buck might want to move on when Bryce released him, these people didn't deserve their friendship, or loyalty.
He looked again at his beer, sighing as he realized he didn't really want it. He glanced around the table he was sitting at...alone. If he concentrated real hard he could see Ezra shuffling cards, his gold tooth catching the sparse light as he challenged them all to a game of poker...Vin relaxing back in his chair, drinking his beer as he scanned the room...Josiah and Nathan talking, Josiah wearing that old blanket coat of his, while Nathan, puffed on a cigar.
Buck...he'd be catching hold of one of the saloon girls as she giggled and wriggled playfully in his lap and, just for a moment, JD swore he could hear the familiar chink of Chris' spurs and the pungent smell of his cheroot, as the man in black ambled in to take his seat next to Vin. Fighting the emotion that was building, JD pushed his beer away, stood to put on his jacket and walked out of the saloon. He'd go see if he could visit with Buck.
Bryce looked up as JD entered the jail. The youth swallowed as he looked at the seat he had often occupied, feeling absently behind his lapel. The Sheriff's star was still pinned there. JD decided it would stay there too...at least for now.
"JD, what can I do for you, son?"
"I...was wondering if I could visit with Buck." He looked at the brunet, who seemed equally keen to talk to him.
The marshal stood and placed his hat on his head. "I have a few things to do. You have until I return."
The two nodded to each other and Bryce left, swinging the cell keys as he went. Sighing, JD leaned against the outer bars as Buck did likewise to his cell bars.
"You alright, kid?"
JD sighed again. "They're all gone, Buck, every one of them. I can't believe they'd just up and leave like that. I thought they might have..."
Buck looked at the youth compassionately. "Don't take it personally, kid. They're all proud men...don't take kindly to bein' told they're not wanted. It's what they had to do."
"I wanted them."
JD's words were barely audible, but Buck heard them clearly in the silence of the dismal room.
"Well...you still got me."
JD offered a small smile. "Yeah, I guess I do at that. When are you gettin' outta here?"
"Couple days, I reckon. Fool's just makin' his point, is all. You wanna stay here, JD...in town?"
Dunne shook his head. "Naw, I reckon maybe it's time to move out, too."
Buck grinned. "Well, boy, you surely won't regret that decision. Me an' you...we'll set the west alight. Got me lots of towns you're gonna love, kid. JD."
The boy finally looked into Buck's eyes.
"We're gonna be fine, kid. Ya hear? Soon as I'm outta this place... we're outta here."
JD nodded. "Sure hope it's soon. Maybe we can catch up with..."
"JD." Buck waited for the easterner to look at him again. "Let it go, son. We all had some good times, and likely we'll never forget 'em... but...it's time to move on, okay? Just like the others are."
The door to the jail opened and Bryce stepped in. He looked at JD and held the door open.
"Good day, JD."
Recognizing a dismissal when he heard one, JD straightened from his lean against the bars, then, keeping eye contact with the lawman, walked around the desk and opened the top drawer. He took out the Dime novel that rested there, closed the drawer and shuffled past the marshal and the still open door.
"See you later, Buck," he called. As he stepped onto the boardwalk, the jail door slammed shut behind him, causing him to shudder a little.
That afternoon, JD walked to the church and sat for a while, then up to Nathan's old clinic, it didn't look much different, except, the dried herbs and books were gone. He stared at the stalls in the livery, thinking to himself how empty it looked with just his and Buck's horse and one other in there, then at the spot Vin's wagon was still parked up. He shrugged his shoulders, 'didn't want to go looking for no stupid artillery wagon, anyway'. As he walked to his room at the boarding house, he took one last look up at Chris' old room, then went inside.
JD looked, as the proprietor of the boarding house approached him.
"I understand the Judge is no longer paying for your board and room." Aww hell...that was something JD hadn't even considered. "Yes, ma'am."
"Well, son, you have until the end of the week, then I will be coming to you for remuneration if you wish to continue the arrangement. Do you understand?"
Dunne nodded. "Yes, ma'am, I surely do."
He watched her leave then trudged wearily on to his room. Once inside, he kicked off his boots, sighing again as he went to unbuckle his gun belt. Throwing his jacket on the chair, JD dropped onto the bed, his Dime novel still in his hand. As he lay there, thumbing through it, he laughed softly as he heard Chris' words in his head about such literature...the literature that had captivated the imagination of a teenage stable-boy and fired dreams of a life in the west.
And he had lived those dreams...with men he was proud to call friends... brothers, almost, or at least, how he imagined brothers to be, seeing as he had no real experience of such things. Hell, he'd had no experience of anything until he met those six men.
And now it was over...well, this bit, anyway. There was still Buck. He smiled, thank God for Buck, at least he wanted him around. His stomach rumbled, but he didn't feel like eating.
Eating. Hell...what was he gonna do for money? His thoughts turned to Casey's suggestion of him finding work. He had laughed at her. Now she might have a point.
JD waved it off, Buck would be out of jail soon, and they'd be gone.
Soon, he fell asleep, his dime novel resting on his chest, and images of gunfights and good friends filling his dreams.
When JD stepped out the next morning, his first stop was the jail. The news there was not good and he stomped off along the boardwalk, meeting Mary and Billy just outside the Clarion office.
"Hey Billy, Miz Travis."
Mary smiled. "I've been looking for you."
Totally missing her point, JD gestured toward the jail. "Did you hear that Buck's got to stay in there for two more days? Two more days....this marshal has got his head up his a..."
Mary looked to Billy, then JD. "Uh, yes...well..."
JD blushed a little, looking at Mary, then Billy. "Oh right...sorry Billy."
Mary bit back a smile. "JD, would you be interested in working for me?"
JD looked at her, shocked. 'Well...how about that? Can ladies read minds?'