A/N: I had been putting off finishing the game for two weeks now, because I knew that John died. I finished it tonight, and was inspired, but sad.
He braced himself against the closed barn doors, laying his gloved palms flat against the worn wood that he had used to build himself a new life all those years ago. Slowly, he closed his tired eyes and gulped down a hard breath of air. He did not have to open those sturdy doors to know that they were there; coming into his home to take his life and finish the war they had waged. He moved his right hand and placed it over where he knew his heart was frantically beating. To his own great surprise, he found that it was shaking uncontrollably. He pulled it away from his body and watched as his steady fingers trembled and shook, opening his eyes to gaze interestedly at the tremors.
He could probably count on that one trembling hand how many times he had been truly afraid in his life. The first taste of true fear had been when he was a boy and realized that he was alone in the world. The second when his wife lay in childbirth for the first time; the third was when he lay in a pool of his own blood as his brothers escaped and left him behind. The fourth when he watched his tiny daughter lay in bed dying. The fifth was less than a minute ago as he watched his only remaining family flee on horseback.
This time as he watched his hands shake, he surprised himself again when he realized that he would not allow this as a sixth count of fear. He felt nothing as he listened to the boots of twenty men bent on shooting him come shuffling behind the wooden curtain of his final performance. He felt nothing as he opened the door a sliver to peek out at them. Their rifles were poised as they waited patiently for him to come out.
He closed the sliver. Those men and John had an understanding. He knew that if he fled with his family, those shiny poised rifles would continue to plague his loved ones with their death. He also knew that if he allowed himself to be killed, the life he desperately wanted his only child to lead would be ruined forever. John quirked a melancholy smile as he thought about his boy. He had no chance at the life of books and writing that he so wanted and deserved. John knew then, in that strange purgatory between loved ones and death, that his Jack never did have a chance at that life.
With this knowledge, John once again lay his gloved hands on the wooden barn doors and pushed them open. He was completely surrounded. Run, and he was dead. Stand still, and he was dead. Beg, and he was dead. Scream of injustice, and he was dead. The men holding the rifles were dead, but they knew it not. Their eyes were blank with the orders that they carried out, and they held no judgement or no thought. The only one who actually looked at John was Ross, who raised his salty eyebrows over his cold, beetle black eyes. John stepped foreward, barely even feeling his legs move.
Quite suddenly, he was standing in front of the dead men and their ringleader. The men tensed their death machines and waited for provocation. John whimsically wondered if they would stand there, still for all eternity if he failed to move at all. He went over the beauty of this prospect, before letting a slow smile creep onto his scarred face. He knew that it could never be. He knew in his heart, in his brain, in his body and in the hand that held his pistol that he would go down fighting. Time seemed to go in slow motion as he raised his faithful little gun and picked out the blank eyed men that would fall with him. He felt his hand pull the trigger and he felt the men silently fall to the dusty ground. He heard the gunshots that exploded from all around him but he did not feel the ten bullets hitting his body. He staggered for a moment and looked down at his chest. The little red bullet holes blossomed blood like flowers in the hard desert. Flowers...
John Marston looked up from himself and stared. He looked straight past this life and past his killers. He looked past his ranch and the harsh land that he had known for so long. All he saw were flowers, red beautiful flowers. Poppies and roses and tulips and his daughter was in his eyes.
In his last moment, John Marston only felt sorry that Jack couldn't be there to see them. Here you go, Jackie... Flowers to press in your books...