Title: Beginnings

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1037

Characters: John/Abigail, Bonnie

Summary: John remembers an early encounter with a teenage Abigail.

"Are you any good? Like as good as Bill?"

She was just a girl. Skinny, short. Loud-mouthed. And John Marston still wasn't quite sure where or when they'd picked her up—some city up north, turning tricks in a room above the bar in some saloon.

Abigail...something. She didn't have a last name as far as she was concerned. Just an orphan like the rest of them, and a perfect candidate for Dutch's gang.

As good as Bill? John could've scoffed—and would've—if he wasn't so sure that if his father was any kind of father, he would've taught him better.

"Bill? Bill Williamson couldn't shoot his own hat off his head."

"Is that right?" Abigail wore a coy smile, a bit too practiced, maybe, but kind. Playful. Her feet were bare and the underskirts a proper lady like the ones in Black Water would wear beneath their dress were bunched up in her lap, showing off her legs for all the world and God to see.

John shrugged easily, bracing the butt of the Winchester against his shoulder. Lined up the sights with the very top of a cactus bushel. A sideways glance found Bill still spouting ideas at Dutch some ways off by the horses; he clearly hadn't heard a thing. "Might be a slight exaggeration."

"You scared of 'im or something?" Abigail inclined her head in Bill's direction, kicking at the dry soil with her heels. She'd noticed the wary glance and right away got the wrong impression. She was the perceptive sort—perhaps without even knowing it herself.

John kept his eye on the cactus in the distance. He aimed for one with a large bleeding red blossom on top, almost as bright as the setting sun. "Scared? Nah. Just not stupid enough to get him in one of his tantrums."

Abigail looked back over her shoulder, flushed red with the desert heat, and made a face, her eyes wide and wondering. It was the most innocent look John had seen on her so far. "He is an angry sort of fella, ain't he?"

"If my name was William Williamson, I figure I'd be pretty ornery too."

Abigail laughed, a more rambunctious sound than one would expect from a skinny, orphaned working girl, and John shot the cactus blossom and the top of the cactus clean away, the horses whinnying loudly at the sound. He hadn't grown up too much, living life in Dutch's gang; he was still a little arrogant, still a little headstrong. Still trying to impress easy girls with easy words.

"Are you always this funny, Mr. John Marston?" She smiled still, only a little less impressed than John would've liked. She was amused though, but for the wrong reasons, of course.

John cleared his throat, pretending to hunt for more plant life to destroy, or a coyote, at least. Concentrating entirely too hard on the horizon. "Depends on what you call funny, Ms. Abigail." He spared her a curve to the corner of his mouth, sarcastic almost, but lightheartedly so. "In that case, no, not always."

"Well," Abigail brushed off her hands of the fine layer of dust that had settled on the old wooden bench she was seated on and pushed herself to standing. Slipping her feet back into her shoes. "If you ain't funny, then you'd better at least be good at something."

"I'm good at shootin'." John supplied and Abigail sidled up close, a finger tracing the length of the barrel of the Winchester. He swallowed as she pushed herself against him, not unlike the previous girls of her profession had done before. With her painted lips small and red and full and her dark hair falling in wild curls all around her shoulders. She had all the wiles of a grown woman and an innocence that only really applied to her age.

"That's something." She murmured, her slender, feminine fingers closing over his for a brief moment, like silk on sand, like the hands of someone's daughter—and then she abruptly plucked the gun from John's hand while he was still wondering how many times she'd used herself like that on a man. "Now," Abigail propped the rifle against her shoulder like she had seen John do earlier. "teach me how to use this thing."

"I know how to shoot a gun, Mr. Marston." Bonnie MacFarlane rested her backside against the porch railing of the farmhouse, arms crossed firmly over her chest. If one didn't Bonnie MacFarlane that well, they'd probably assume she was being difficult and stubborn, but John knew that was just her way—and like an old dog, she was very set in her ways. She flicked a strand of blonde hair that had fallen over her nose away, squinting at the tall grass along the borders of the ranch where tan shapes moved back and forth restlessly. Coyotes. "I'm not one of those delicate city girls that you're so used to."

John allowed himself a wry laugh, lining up a shot against one of the younger coyotes bold enough to come out of the grass and onto the dirt road. It sniffed the air cautiously, then hunched down against the ground. "Ain't all city girls delicate, Ms. MacFarlane." One shot, a single pop of sound, a brief spray of blood and the young coyote was flat on its belly, unmoving. The others scampered off, back into the wilderness to hide. "You should meet my wife."

Had John Marston been a more intuitive man, he might've noticed it at the time, the tightness that gathered around the corners of Bonnie's lips, the crease of her eyebrows. The way she fell silent behind him, leaning against the porch railing like a crutch.

"Maybe I should." She said, tonguing the corner of her mouth. She didn't say anything more for a few long seconds and by the time John noticed, her expression defaulted into a coarse smile. Not exactly the sunniest of dispositions, but it was the Bonnie he had come to grow used to. "Who knows? Maybe some of her luck'll rub off on me."

Urghhhh I hate that I won't allow myself to write John/Bonnie, they're just so cute together. But I love John/Abigail more, so...none of that. But that won't stop me from throwing in as much UST as possible. *mwahaha*

First time writing Red Dead fiction, so feedback would be much appreciated.