Title: Stone Soup

Author: Aimee DuPré, copyright January, 2006

Chapter: Teaser

Comments to: feedback to the list or to my email address, new scenes, new story, new characters

Rating: PG -- This story may contain some mild violence.

Pairing: none (of original series' characters)

Spoilers: The story contains references to another short story by the author, Stone Cold Heart.

Archive: Yes, at http/ http/tv.groups. and at author's website, http/aimee-dupre. NOTE: Author's website includes pictures from the original series.

Summary: How can a collectible pistol and a calculating invention bring two distrustful conspirators together? The lawyer with a swindler's past could give the passionate widow everything – his hopes, his dreams, his secret thoughts. But could she trust him? Only U. S. Marshal Jared Stone can show them they are after the same things: justice . . . and love.

Warnings: This story contains some mild violence and veiled references to sex.

Disclaimer: The characters in the story (with the exception of new characters created by Aimee DuPré) are the sole property of Peacemakers, USA Networks, and in association with Michael R. Joyce Production. This is a work of fan fiction that intends no infringement on copyright or trademark.

New Characters: New characters created by Aimee DuPré include Mrs. Emily Jordan (Katie Owens' aunt), Mr. Elliott Stone (Jared Stone's cousin), and Tevis Carver, Bank President, and are the sole property of Aimee DuPré, copyright January, 2006.

Author's Notes: none

Stone Soup

By Aimee DuPré

Copyright January, 2006

Stone awoke to the sound of a hard rain on the tin roof. He was slightly confused from his deep sleep, but then he realized he was in his own bed on the second floor of the U.S. Marshal's office. He flung back the quilt covering and woolen blanket, sat up and stretched his arms back over his head. One shoulder cracked and he rubbed the aching muscles. Damp weather always made his joints ache more than ever. He knew he was in for it today. He listened to the sounds of the thunderstorm outside his windows. The sky was overcast, and it looked to be another cold, miserable day.

"Marshal! Marshal Stone!"

He heard Chipper calling from his office below.

"Up here," he answered.

"Marshal!" Chipper yelled as he took the stairs two at a time. "Come quick!"

"Slow down, son. You're all outta breath."

"You gotta hurry, Marshal." Chipper was soaked through with the rain, and it dripped off his nose in a large drop that almost make Stone laugh.

Stone reached for his pants, stood up, and pulled them on over his long johns.

"Where's the fire?" he quipped.

"No fire. A killin'."

Stone stopped right in the middle of buttoning the fly.

"Who killed who?"

"Not yet. That's why you gotta hurry."

Chipper excitedly pushed Stone's boots closer to him while Stone kept dressing, grabbing yesterday's shirt off the floor where he'd thrown it late last night. He didn't bother with the buttons as he grabbed his gun belt off the poster at the head of the bedstead.

"Sure wish I had time some morning to leisurely go to the outhouse," he grumbled. "Is Finch back from Durango yet?"

"No, sir," Chipper said as he pushed Stone's boots to him.

"Who's gonna kill who?" he asked again.

Chipper took a deep breath as Stone sat back down on the bed to pull his boots on.

"Katie's aunt is gone to kill the banker."

Stone stopped with his right boot halfway on. He looked at the serious expression on his young deputy's face and began to laugh.

"Marshal, it's serious. I swear. Mr. Carver called the loan on the mortuary and Katie Owens can't pay it, and Miz Emily said she'd take care of that banker herself, and Amy told me she took her father's old Mexican war pistol and took off headed for the bank. Amy said she's fixin' to kill him, and Marshal, you've gotta stop her!"

Stone laughed again. "Mrs. Emily Jordan wouldn't hurt a fly, Chip. She's the most genteel Christian lady I . . ."

Kaboom! It sounded like a small cannon as a gunshot rang out over the noises of the storm.

As the marshal and Chipper looked at each other in surprise, they simultaneously said, "The bank!" and they raced each other down the stairs.