"Sunlight Dancing on Coffee"
by Greywolf Lupous

Disclaimer: Hi. How ya doing? Good? That's great. Feeling nice is always a good thing. Don't ever let anyone else tell you otherwise. Because if they do, they're evil, and... oh, uh, I mean... I don't own any of these characters, I just had a sudden burst of inspiration at work, and they told me they wanted to play. I'm harmless, really. Well, I admit I do harm certain members of the cast in some stories... but I was a good little girl this time. Honest. I left Rowdy's poor abused skull alone. You know, it's a wonder he hasn't had a serious concussion or brain damage from how many times they've bashed him on the head. I mean, they've used rocks, guns, fists, I mean, just about everything imaginable. He must have a remarkably thick head. I think he starts to develop an immunity to it after a while, because in the later seasons, he seems to just jump right up after the-villain-of-the-day clubs him on the head. Whoa, he's like Superman or something. Well, not really. I don't own Superman either, so please don't sue me for mentioning him in my disclaimer. That would make me sad. And if I'm sad, I don't write happy, fluffy, weird fics like this. You don't want me to be sad do you? Good. Neither do I. Now go, read, be merry. I've wasted a good five minutes of your time with this disclaimer. Don't you feel abused? You shouldn't, but that's another story. For another time. I mean it. Go. Read. Be Merry.

The light shone like tiny diamonds on the black surface. It bounced around the edges of the cup, as if it were performing a ballet in the small arena as Rowdy gently twisted the cup around in his hands. He was completely absorbed in the performance, much like a child would be at his first circus.

Quickening the movement of the cup, the light shattered into tiny fragments, leaping and spinning erratically across the sloshing black liquid. Every now and then a fragment of light would come close to joining another before being savagely wrenched away. It was a mad dance full of life and energy, but at the same time it was a mystifying frenzy that was filled with confusion and misdirection. It was as if each fragment was looking for something, a connection to another piece of light, within the madness of the raging waves.

Slowly he let the cup come to a halt, and the black liquid splashed against the side in complaint, before settling down. All of the tiny fragments fused together, creating a giant sparkling mass of light against the darkness of the coffee. For a moment he was filled with a profound sense of clarity, and for a single moment in time, everything seemed to make sense.

"Must be something mighty interesting in that coffee," the deep voice next to his ear startled him. He hadn't even heard his boss approach.

Rowdy flushed and tried to recover by taking a big gulp, and immediately wished he hadn't. There was almost nothing worse than cold coffee. His unsuccessful attempt to hide his grimace earned a chuckle from Favor. Oh, he could already tell it was going to be one of those days.

"Unless your coffee is telling you a faster way to Missouri, I suggest you get movin'."

He gave the now cool black liquid a final look. The light rippled slightly at the thought of the long day ahead.

"I know exactly how you feel," he said to the breakfast drink before unceremoniously flinging it across the camp.

Favor looked at him strangely, and then eyed his own mug with suspicion. After a moment, the trail boss twisted the cup upside down and dumped the contents on the ground. He gave his ramrod a look of concern before he stalked towards the chuck wagon muttering something about lousy cooks spiking the coffee.

For a few seconds, he was able to keep a straight face, but as soon as he heard Favor bellow for Wishbone, his self-control began to slip. Soon, the complete and total seriousness in his boss's stance and Wishbone's wild hand gestures forced him to dissolve into a fit of laughter. He tried to regain his composure as he headed for the remuda. Oh, it was definitely going to be one of those days.