As the Sun Sets

Summary: A somewhat different take on the scene after Jim's death when Frank and Jesse are talking.

Disclaimer: I do not own American Outlaws or its characters.

Jesse sits alone on a rock at the base of an overhanging cliff. He is silent with his thoughts and grief. Frank approaches and

takes a seat beside his brother. Jesse does not look at him but continues staring out at the setting sun and then hangs his head

to look at the blood on the palm of his hand, fighting back the emotions that want to take him. Frank feels for Jesse, he can't

stand the sight of his brother broken like this, but at the same time, he knows its good for him, to realize the possible

consequences that came with this and that its not all a game.

"He was just a kid" Jesse says after a moment."Jim was old enough" Frank tells Jesse in an attempt to comfort Jesse and

keep him from thinking he was to blame. Jesse snorts."He was a boy riding with the most famous outlaws in the West. How

was he supposed to say no to that?" Jesse can barely look at his brother fearing he may see blame in his eyes and turns his

glance back to his hand. Jesse holds his hand stained with the dried blood of Jim in the palm of his other and slowly rubs at

the red with his thumb, almost afraid to touch it, that he might wipe it off for some reason. Frank watches Jesse as he

continues staring outward, his gaze distant as he is in thought. "Railroad burned him out too. You couldn't have stopped him"

Frank assures Jesse."You're a piss-poor liar for the smartest man I know" Jesse says finally looking to his brother for a

moment, managing a smile. Frank knows that he can't say anything to convince Jesse that he wasn't at fault for Jim's death

because in a way, he was, they all were, but at the same time, Jim made his own decisions and chose to ride with them, but

none of them had really protested. None of them had ever really believed that anything like this could happen, it would have

been too unreal. They had been naive. After all, they were too good and it was all too much fun right? The last part of what

Jesse said, about Frank being the smartest man he knew, touches Frank. Of course, he knows Jesse loves him and looks up

to him, but he doesn't know that Jesse wishes he could be more like him sometimes. Jesse knows he is reckless, and that had

helped lead to Jim's death. If he had been more like Frank, thought things through more, maybe Jim could have been spared,

somehow. Jesse also carries guilt about Frank. This whole thing had been Jesse's idea and Frank had come along, as he

always did, probably to make sure that he didn't do anything too rash. Frank is always there for him, no matter what he puts

him through, and it wasn't fair to Frank. Frank smiles. "Yeah" he says in a low, warm voice with a slight laugh. "A war against

the railroad, what the hell was I thinking?" Jesse asks after a pause facing Frank but not looking at him, his brow furrowing as

if he realizes the whole idea had been a bad and stupid one, his eyes shimmering with building tears which he fights not to let

fall. "I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time" Frank replies looking at the ground as Jesse turns away again, looking at

the heavy sunset. Jesse looks back up at Frank, catching Frank's attention who looks back to his brother. "Im sorry, Frank"

Jesse tells him on the verge of crying. Frank looks at Jesse bewildered and is about to say something when Jesse continues; "I

can't do this anymore" Jesse says. Jesse can't hold back anymore, or maybe he just doesn't want to. Tears begin slipping

from his eyes and he sniffs as he turns his eyes downward, as if embarrassed. Frank's face is etched with concern and sorrow

for Jesse. He throws his arm around Jesse's shoulders and squeezes. Jesse leans into Frank, his head resting against his

shoulder, sobs wracking him as he tries to keep them silent. Frank lets his cheek rest against the top of Jesse's head, gently

tightening his grip as he holds Jesse's shaking frame. Frank feels a tickle in his throat and a sting at his eyes. He takes in a

quivering breath and steadies himself, for Jesse's sake. "Its gonna be okay, Jesse" Frank breaths into Jesse's hair, his body

being slightly shook with each sob that shakes Jesse's body against him.

When Jesse finally begins to calm himself, he leans back upright and Frank removes his arm from around him but keeps his

hand on Jesse's shoulder. Jesse sniffles, and wipes away the drying tears from his face with the fingers of his unstained hand.

He draws in a breath and turns to face Frank. "You okay?" Frank asks him. Jesse nods and manages a soft "Yeah" smiling

half-heartedly as he collects himself. Frank removes his hand from Jesse's shoulder and gives him a soft rub and pat on the

back as they both stand and Jesse finishes wiping away the wetness on his cheeks and eyes with his sleeve. Jesse sighs

looking out once again at the now almost set sun. Frank just watches Jesse. "You know, Jesse, whatever you decide, Im with

you little brother." Jesse's eyes meet Frank's which are filled with affection and loyalty having said that. Jesse nods as in

saying 'I know.' Together, they make their way back down to find the rest of the gang.