Title: Pain

Author: S J Smith

Rating: General

Disclaimer: Don't I wish.

Summary: John Holliday hates the pain.

Pain distorted life. It was wrong, a body didn't want to endure it. It sought out ways to chase it away, but some pains lingered, continued, grew worse as time went by. Some pains, people didn't recover from.

So they sought out ways to make the pain go away. Liquor worked, for a while; distorting the senses, turning things around, but sometimes, the person drinking the alcohol grew accustomed to what the liquor did to him. He could function with it, live with it, sublimate it.

Which is what John Holliday did. The liquor dulled the hard, bright edge of the knife slowly slicing up his lungs.

"Holliday! You gonna play cards, or you dyin' right here on the table?"

He blinked, slow, canting his head to look up from hand he held. Reaching over, he took his glass with the whiskey, throwing back the liquid. He barely noticed the burn, only feeling it warm his belly. Something else ignited, too, the thought Ike Clanton had a bad hand, and thought his bluff would win the pot. His fat red tongue traveled nervously over his lips and his eyes cut back and forth.

All tells to a sporting man. The pain in his lungs faded as he picked up a stack of chips, tossing them into the center of the table. "I call, and raise."

Clanton's face fell as Doc Holliday smiled.