Author's Note: See first chapter for all other story information.

**********

Act One

Detective Larimer Finch glanced up for just a moment as Marshal Stone walked into the jail, but he quickly dropped his gaze back down to the wanted posted that he held in his hand. The quiet snort of laughter that Stone let out, however, let him know that his quick glance had taken too long.

"Finch, what happened to your face?"

A slightly sheepish expression on his face, the detective looked up with a wry grin. The skin around his right eye was already darkening, a large bruise becoming more and more apparent.

"Our friend decided to start a brawl over at Luci's. I politely asked him to cease and desist, and he let me know just how much he appreciated my idea."

Stone shook his head in exasperation before taking a quick look at the man sitting inside of the cell. As his eyes moved over the man's own bruised face, he shot Finch a quizzical look. The detective merely shrugged before handing the wanted poster in his hands over to the marshal.


"After his show of appreciation, I felt obligated to present my own feelings."

The sound of muffled laughter from the doorway caught both of their attentions, and Stone let out another sigh before addressing the two young men that stood behind him.

"Are the two of you coming in here or not?"

As both Chipper and Jimmy entered the room, Stone glanced down at the paper that he now held in his hands. After a moment, he let out a quiet whistle and glanced at the young man who was now standing behind the bars of the cell.

"Murder, rape, robbery... Is there anything you've not done, Mr. Rogers?"

The man sneered slightly, a cold expression on his face. His gaze drifted over both Stone and Finch for a moment, a rather calculated light shining in his eyes.

"I haven't had the pleasure of killing a lawman yet, Marshal. Since I'm only twenty-five though, I figure that I'll have plenty of chances later on. And you can drop the 'mister'. Just call me Adam."

The marshal shook his head, his gaze never leaving the younger man.

"I can assure you, Adam, that you won't be having that chance."

Adam smirked coldly, his gaze drifting past Stone and focusing in on the detective that stood behind him. When he had caught Finch's eyes, he shot him a knowing look.

"We'll see."

Stone let his gaze move between the two men, obviously sensing that there was something going on there that he didn't know about. Shaking his head, he turned toward the door.

"Finch, you come with me. Chipper, do you think that you could watch our 'guest' for a while?"

Chipper nodded, his own gaze focused on the prisoner. At the same time, Finch let his eyes move away from the call and quietly started to follow Stone out of the building. When the older man stopped suddenly, however, the detective almost walked straight into him. Raising his eyebrows slightly, he started to comment--but instead remained silent when he saw the reason for the marshal's abrupt stop.

Jimmy Hutchins was standing near the cell, staring at the man within. There was a curious expression on his young face, replacing some of the grief that had taken up an almost permanent fixture on his face. When the marshal cleared his throat, however, he immediately looked away from Adam, his embarrassment showing clearly.

"Sorry, Marshal Stone. It's just that I've... never seen a murderer up close."

Shooting one more quick glance behind him, he nodded at the marshal once more before hurried pushing past the two men standing in the door. They both stood there for a moment, watching the young man hurry down street, before finally walking out of the jail's doorway.

**********

After several minutes of silence, Stone finally looked over at the man standing beside him. The detective's eyes were clouded, and there was a faraway expression on his face.

"So, are you going to tell me exactly how you managed to capture our friend in there?"

At the marshal's question, Finch broke out of his reverie with a start. He immediately saw Stone's raised eyebrows and couldn't help but smile sheepishly.

"I'm sorry about that, Marshal. I was thinking..."

His voice trailed off, and for a moment Stone stood there patiently. When it became apparent, however, that the younger man wasn't going to say anything else, he quietly cleared his throat. Once again, Finch's attention was brought back toward him--but this time, the detective seemed to comprehend the marshal's irritation.

"Oh! You wanted to know the details of his arrest."

Stone nodded, his aggravation slowly becoming more and more apparent. Finch nodded, the expression on his own face showing that he had noticed his companion's frustration.

"It really isn't much of a story. I was talking to Chipper when we heard the sounds of an... altercation... taking place inside of Luci's. I went to investigate, noticed a certain Mr. Rogers preparing to draw his gun, interfered..."

"Was punched in the face?"

Finch glanced at the amused expression that had made its way to the marshal's face. When he continued, his voice was considerably drier.

"Yes, as you so eloquently put it, I was 'punched in the face'. Needless to say, I did not just stand by after that. After a brief exchange, Chipper and I escorted him to the jail. It so happens that the wanted poster for him had only just arrived, meaning that it was laying out in the open, and the rest is, as they say, 'history'."

Stone shook his head, his eyes moving through the jail's entrance for a moment. There was a curious expression on his face as he turned back toward Finch.

"And the meaning behind his words to you? I believe that they were 'we're see'."

Finch shrugged slightly, his eyes refusing to meet the marshal's.

"He might possibly have mentioned something about how, once certain people heard that he was in jail, he wouldn't be there for long. Personally, I believe that he was merely bluffing."

Marshal Stone turned towards Finch, his eyebrows once again raised.

"And do you think that it's possible that he might not have been bluffing?"

The detective let his own gaze drift towards the jail, focusing in on Chipper, who was now sitting at marshal's desk--obviously unaware that he was being watched.

"Perhaps one of us should keep a close watch until someone arrives to take our prisoner off of our hands. Just as a precaution, of course."

"Of course."

**********

Smiling tiredly at Stone, Finch slowly pulled himself to his feet. His eye, though only slightly bruised that afternoon, was now surrounded by a ring of darkened skin that ranged from dark black to deep blue, and it was obvious from the exhausted expression on his face that it was starting to cause him some pain.

"I believe that I'm going to turn in, Marshal."

Stone nodded absently, his attention focused more on Luci, who was heading in his direction, rather than the detective who was already heading for the door. Before Finch actually had the chance to leave, however, his words seemed to finally sink in to Stone's mind. The detective couldn't help but flinch slightly at the overly teasing tone that the marshal's voice held as he called out behind him.

"You might want to put something on that eye of yours, Finch. It might give people the wrong impression of you."

Shaking his head slightly, Finch smirked slightly as a perfect comeback sprang into his mind. An amused smile on his face, he turned back towards where Stone was sitting. As he turned, however, the sound of a gunshot echoed through the room, while--at the same time--a portion of the wooden doorframe that was mere inches from the detective's head splintered with the impact of a bullet.

**********

The morning sun shone brightly down on the streets of Silver City, but even its warmth couldn't thaw the iciness that hung between the two men walking underneath its rays.

"Damn it, Finch, you might have been killed!"

"As I told you last night, Stone, judging from the angle at which the bullet hit the doorframe, it suggests that I was not its intended target. Whoever shot that gun could have been aiming for anyone near the entrance of Luci's."

Stone started to say something, but--at the last minute--he seemed to think better of it. Letting out an exasperated sigh, he muttered a few choice words under his breath before quickly cutting his mumbling off.

Finch shot him a slightly inquisitive look, but it was quickly replaced by one of understanding as he caught sight of Katie Owen hurrying in their direction.

"I just heard the news. How are you doing..."

She trailed off for a moment, her eyes focused on his face.

"My God, what happened to your eye?"

The marshal let out a snort of laughter, his irritation at Finch already momentarily forgotten. The detective merely glared at him for a moment before reaching up to gingerly touch his eye.

"It's a rather long story, Katie."

"Involving Adam Rogers, the man you arrested yesterday?"

Stone grinned and started to say something, but a quick glance at Finch changed his mind. He quickly sobered up as he also noticed the slight cuts on his face that had been caused by the wood splintering the night before.

Almost as if he could read the marshal's mind, Finch let out a tired sigh before answering Katie's other question.

"As I was tell the marshal just a moments ago, I'm fine. From what I could gather, the facts seem to point towards someone else being the intended target."

Katie shot him an incredulous look, her eyebrows rising ever so slightly as she met Stone's own skeptical gaze.

"Are you sure about that, Finch? I mean, you could have..."

"Been killed. So I've heard. As I said, Stone and I just went through an entire conversation on the matter."

She shook her head, her attention focused on Finch as she noticed the small cuts on his face that had been caused by the wood slivers flying through the air.

"You have to admit, Finch, you seem a little blasé about all of this."

Finch turned toward her, his irritation starting to show.

"As I've been saying, it was merely a coincidence. And really, Katie, I'm surprised that you even know what that term means."

A moment too late, he realized what he had said. His face immediately reddened, and a regretful expression made it's way onto his face. Finch could tell that it was too late, however, by the furious expression on Katie's face.

"Of course, Detective Finch. A poor, uneducated person such as myself wouldn't have a clue as to what the term 'blasé' means. Isn't that right, Marshal?"

Stone quickly held up his hands, his feet already taking a few steps backward. He shot Finch an disbelieving look before glancing back at Katie.

"Don't look at me. I'm not involved."

Katie glanced back at Finch for just a moment, her hands clenching and unclenching slightly, before letting his gaze drift around. After a few seconds, she paused and gestured in the direction of Luci's. A dark-haired man who seemed to be in his late-twenties was standing there, his attention focused on the three of them.

"I just wanted to let you know, Detective Finch, that there was a rumor going around that his name is Ben Rogers. The older brother of a certain Adam Rogers."

Her eyes burning, she turned and started walking away from them. Both Finch and Stone flinched as she suddenly called back over her shoulder.

"Of course, I'm sure that Detective Finch already knew all about that. Isn't that right, Detective Finch?"

Finch slowly reached up and rubbed his temple, his eyes flashing with self-irritation. For just a moment, his eyes glanced over at where the dark-haired man was still standing; then, with a sigh, he turned his attention back towards the marshal.

"And that was one of the most foolish things that I've ever said."

"Sorry Finch, but I'm not going to argue with you there."