A/N - Here is chapter 20! *party popper* Woo~ 20 chapters! 20! I'm so proud of this story! *sniffles* A mahooosive thank you to PassionPaint, my loyal reader. You're amazing! And of course, thank you's to everyone who has reviewed, favourited, or even just read! I'd appreciate it if everyone who does read could leave a review... I'd really like to hear from you other guys, then I can get a good idea as to how many people read this... Oh, also, at the bottom of this chapter is a sneak preview at the beginning of another RDR story I have in the making... Look below for details.
DISCLAIMER: I do not, nor will I ever own Red Dead Redemption, or anything related to it. This FanFiction is purely fan made and I only own characters and places tat are new. I apologise if any of this material offends any one. I assure you I don't mean to offend in any way, shape or form. This story will contain coarse language and graphic violence.
Chapter 20 – On the road again.
The morning sun was still gaining height in the sky, the massive boulders casting cool shadows down onto the brush. A lone figure was perched on top of one of the boulders, his shadow long and thin. The man spotted us approaching and shouted down to his fellow gang members. "It's the marshal!" he shouted. He waved and pointed in our direction, and Marshal Arrington grumbled. "Dang it. He's spotted us. Well boys – and girls – let's show them how the law works around 'ere!" With that, Jonah and Eli let out whoops of excitement and we all started sprinting forward, aiming for cover. "Jack, take out that sniper!" Jack followed orders and aimed his gun while we were still sprinting. Three seconds passed before Jack pulled the trigger and the sniper tumbled from the boulder, dead. "Nice shot!" I complimented, sprinting alongside Jack. Jack turned to me, ready to reply, but a bullet skimmed between us, barely missing us as it struck the group. I flinched and dove for the cover.
We were crouched low behind rocks, bullets pelting the tops and ripping chips off as they rebounded. Jack was beside me, our arms touching as we both peered over the rock. "Whoa," I gasped as I ducked down as a bullet hit the rock.
"Careful," Jack warned. I looked sideways at him, seeing his worried face. I felt bad, knowing I was causing this anxiety.
"Sorry, I don't mean to worry ya..."
"I know, Eva, I do. Just save the apologies for later. One of us is gonna get a bullet through the brain in a minute!" No sooner had Jack said this did another bullet chip the rock. I swallowed and looked sideways round the rock, the next band of cover being the crooked wall fencing off the small buildings of Twin rocks. "Let's run," I said. Jack paused.
"Do ya think we can make it to the wall?" I asked. Jack saw where I was looking and almost dropped his gun in shock.
"Eva, are ya crazy?" he asked, eyebrows raised and almost hidden by his hair. I grinned at him, my eyes turning skyward as I pretended to think.
"Weeell, I've been told I'm lackin' a large part of my sanity." Jack rolled his eyes but smiled.
Sighing, he joined me in peering over the rock. "So, we're runnin' to the wall?"
"Yup. You ready?"
"I am. But I swear, if you get hurt!"
"I know, I know. I'm faster than you so it's all good." Jack blinked and stared at me.
"What was that?" he asked, but instead of answerin' I sprung forward, sprinting round the rock, flinching every time a bullet whizzed past me. "Hey! Eva!" Jack cried. I daren't glance back to see if he was followin' me, but I was sure he was.
"What in God's name..." The Marshal trailed off as he watched us charge the gang. "Alright, let's follow 'em!" Marshal and the deputies ran forward also, all of us now completing a charge. The gang members began to back off from the wall and retreat to further cover. I pulled my gun up and aimed haphazardly, the uneven ground causing my strides to alter suddenly, making it harder to aim. I pulled the trigger, letting off a bang and a puff of wispy smoke. One man was caught in the arm, the force sending him to the ground. I told myself it was bullet that hit him, even if it wasn't.
I was at the wall and threw myself down, thumping against the bricks and taken by surprise at how crumbly and unstable the whole thing was. Another body jumped down beside me, the hat nearly slipping of their head. "Eva," Jack began, catching his breath. "Warn me next time." I smiled as I panted and shrugged.
"I told ya I was gonna run..." Jack mock glared at me.
"You know what I mean." I laughed breathlessly and watched as everyone else joined us along the wall.
"Right, now let's get shootin'!" I cheered, jumping up and shooting at the half-a-bodies that leant around walls or over fences. I managed to hit a few men, feeling proud as a storm of bullets rained down on the gang. Eventually, the rotten men dropped like flies and the area was clear of people.
As the last man fell we all rose, giving the area one last sweepin' glance. "A job well done," the Marshal spoke, walking forward, followed by the rest of us. "Susan, you go check the buildin's. Let us know if it's all clear." Susan nodded and followed out the orders. I watched her go, a strange smile findin' its way onto my face. It's nice to see her like this. She just... fits. A few moments passed before she re-emerged. "All clear, Marshal," she reported, flicking rubble off her shoulder. The Marshal nodded before moving back out of the area. "Right, let's head on back to Armadillo. We're done here." Jonah and Eli were slow to leave, still checking out the area for any men that were still clinging to life.
Meanwhile, I trotted up to Susan with a smile on my face. "So, how does it feel to be on the other side of the law?" I asked. Susan shrugged, a small (almost non-existent) smile on her rosy lips. "It felt good," was all she said. She may not have said much but I knew there was a lot of meaning and emotion behind those words. I patted her on the back. "You did real good! I'm sure the Marshal will be more than happy to have you as a deputy." Susan's smile grew and I could tell she tried to fight it. I giggled and poked her upper arm. "Jus' smile already! I know you want to..." Susan's eyes flitted to me for a second before she huffed and looked away.
"Oh, shut up you." I laughed and dodged out of the way as her arm shot out to shove me aside.
"Missed me," I teased. Susan glared and shot her arm out again. This time I brought my hand up to block it. She caught my hand and a sudden shock of pain went through my wrist. I flinched at the jolt and looked down at my bandaged wrist. I clenched and unclenched my fist, testing the muscles. The pain was dull now, but I frowned down at it. Why was it still hurting? It needed to be better!
"Is your wrist hurtin'?" I looked up to see Susan staring at my clenched fist. I quickly let my arm drop.
"Oh, no, it's fine," I lied, plastering a smile on. Susan raised an eyebrow but didn't question it further.
"If ya say so... Now, hurry up, we're falling behind." I blinked and realised we had stopped walking. I quickly jogged to catch up with Susan and we eventually rejoined the others at our horses.
"Well, that was a shootin' and a half," the Marshal sighed, dropping his hat down onto his desk. Jonah rattled the bars of the cell the foul man was in and chuckled,
"You said that right, Marshal."
"Well, I'm still curious as to where Eva got the idea that she can run faster than me from," Jack commented, hands on his hips and a grin on his face. I tore my eyes from a wanted poster on the wall to look at Jack. "Huh? I am though..." I replied innocently. Jack chuckled then leant against the frame of the door.
"Is that so?"
"Well, why don't ya prove it?" he challenged. I raised my eyebrows and grinned.
"Is that a challenge?" Jack nodded.
"Sure is." I grinned and stood tall.
"Well then, Jack Marston, I think it's 'bout time you were put in your place," I retorted, asking confident and sassy. Jack laughed and shook his head.
"I think it'll be you, Eva White, who will be put in their place."
"Nu-uh, I can beat you any day! Everyone here knows I'm faster," I said, motioning to the Marshal who watched, shaking his head and laughing.
"You two are like kids sometimes, I tell ya." I laughed and shrugged. "Well, what can I say? It's all Jack's fault..."
"My fault?" Jack asked, pointing to himself and walking forward. I nodded with a playful smirk on my face.
"I believe it is entirely your fault." Jack stopped just in front of me, now pointing at me.
"Me? I aint me, it's you." I poked him in the chest, hoping to send him back a few inches but he didn't move in the slightest. I blinked slightly. Was he that strong?
"No, it's you." This time Jack was the one to poke me in the chest, sending me tripping back two steps. I blinked at how he was that strong.
"Yeah well... I'm still faster..." I muttered, sticking my tongue childishly out at him. Jack laughed and l pouted, crossing my arms.
"Well, Eva, I think it's time we took you to the doctors," Jack laughed. I blinked and dropped my arms.
"To get your wrist checked out?"
"Oh, right, yeah. I kinda forgot about that..." I muttered, feeling a little like a fool. Jack chuckled and ruffled my fringe. I flinched and felt my cheeks suddenly heat up at the touch. There was something about it – something that made my heart skip a beat. I gulped and offered Jack a weak smile. "Well, how about we get goin'?" I suggested, hoping no one saw my red cheeks.
Jack nodded, "Sure." With a tip of his hat, we left the Marshal's office together, passing Susan on our way out. She was leant against the rails to the Marshal's office, under the shade of the porch. She nodded to us as we passed. "See ya, jus' goin' to the doctor's," I explained. Susan didn't answer, she just eyed my wrist. I automatically shied away, trying to hold my wrist out of view. Her eyes narrowed before I turned and focused on walking forward, ignoring the eyes boring into my back.
"So, how is your wrist feelin'?" Jack asked as we halted to let a man pass carrying a sack of grain.
"It's fine now. Good as new!" I put my hand up and rotated it and flexed it, all to show Jack it was fine, and that I was fine. Jack watched my hand twirl in the air before his dark orbs slid to the bandage on my wrist. "Are ya sure?" I dropped my arm and sighed.
"Didn't ya see me today? I was fine. I can use a gun as good as ever and everything!" I grinned and spread my arms out, reinforcing the point. Jack finally caved and accepted my answer. "Fine, fine, I believe ya."
"Ya do?" He nodded with a smile.
"I do. Now let's go check in with the doctor." Jack entered first, giving a quick rap on the door before pushing it open.
The doctor, Nathaniel Johnson, was sat at his desk, perched over papers with writing scrawled over them, and glassed sitting on the end of his nose. Upon our entering, he looked up then smiled widely. "Ah, if it isn't Jack Marston and... Eva White?" I nodded in confirmation. "Right, right, come in. Now, I do believe ya'll is here to see me about that wrist of yours?" I nodded.
"That's right doctor." Doctor Johnson nodded then rose from his seat before approaching and taking my wrist in his calloused hands. He bent my hand, getting me to do precise movements. "Does this hurt?" he asked as he pulled my hand back. It was uncomfortable, but it didn't hurt.
"No," I answered. He hummed and now flexed my wrist the other way.
"How about now?"
"Now?" My wrist we being pressed upon in specific places.
"It's still pain free, sir." Doctor Johnson finally released my wrist, happy with the results.
"Well, I'd say your wrist is fully healed. I'd still be a little easy on the strain, but it as good as new." I smiled cheerfully down at my wrist before unwinding the bandages hastily. Once they were off I felt the air finally get to the skin underneath. "That feels so much better." The doctor chuckled and plucked off his glasses.
"Well, a lotta' people say that. Now, you be careful with that wrist, you're a delicate girl, Eva White." The doctor gave me stern look and pointed a finger at me, but a kind smile remained on his face. I smiled back softly and nodded, "Yes, sir. I'll be more careful from now on." Doctor Johnson nodded and moved back behind his desk. "Well, ya'll good to go. Bandages go into the bin and that's it. Don't hesitate to ever come back, should som'thin' ail you." I nodded politely and thanked the doctor, as did Jack. "Thank you, sir." Nathaniel Johnson smiled and tipped his hat and raised his hand. Walking out, I dropped the bandages into the bin and left, walking back out into the heat.
"Well," I begun, waiting jus' off the porch while Jack closed the door to the doctor's office. "What now?" Jack looked to me then shrugged.
"I aint sure. What do ya wanna do?" I smiled and opened my mouth to reply but was cut off by Jack. "Wait, don't answer. I know what you wanna do." I shut my mouth and grinned.
"So... can we get packing?" Jack stared me dead in the eye, our gazes locking. He inhaled deeply before releasing the breath.
"Well, I guess so." I immediately sprung forward, wrapping my arms around a startled Jack.
"Oh, thank you! We can finally be on the road again! I've been itchin' to go for days!" Jack laughed and pried me off him.
"We can go, but you have to promise to be-"
"More careful. Yeah, you've said," I interjected, grinning. Jack rolled his eyes and squeezed my shoulders.
"Eva, I mean it. Recently I jus'... I dunno," he sighed, letting go and stepping back. I frowned, prompting him to finish his sentence.
"You jus' what?"
"I just feel like somethin' else is gonna happen – somethin' bad." My gaze softened and I smiled, stepping forward.
"Jack, you don't need to be so worried. What happened – It was just a freak accident, it aint gonna happen again, promise!" Jack was still sceptical, and he was still worried. "How about we go get the horses tacked up?" I asked, trying to get him to move, to stop dwellin' on his thoughts. He sighed and finally, a small smiled worked its way onto his lips. "You really wanna go huh?" I grinned and gently took a hold of his hand. I felt him flinch, obviously still not used to the contact.
"I do. Now, let's go get ready, otherwise we'll jus' be standin' outside the doctor's all day," I spoke, leading him towards the stables, chatting and laughing. Jack followed, his hand now holding back.
We went to the paddocks out back where both of our horses where nibbling on hay quietly. I smiled and whistled, watching with amusement as my horse's ears pricked and his head rose sharply, face turned in my direction. Dash laid eyes on me and whinnied excitedly, before trotting over to the fence. Jack's stallion rose his head in curiosity and also walked over, coming to see what all the fuss was about. I ran over to my horse and greeted him fondly, throwing my arms around his neck and giving him a fond fuss. "Hey, boy," I spoke softly. "How're you? You ready to head back out?" Dash snorted and shook his mane, the thick hair falling in odd strands. I eyed it and hummed. "I think you need a little upkeep. Remind me to cut his mane?" I asked Jack, looking over my shoulder. Jack nodded.
"Sure, as long as ya do my stallion's while you're at it," he replied, with a grin on his face. I mock scowled and rolled my eyes.
"I guess so." Jack laughed and fussed his own horse.
"Right, well, we best be gettin' them ready and outside the saloon." Jack stepped into the pen and slipped his fingers around his horse's head collar before leadin' him over to the barn. I did the same and followed with Dot-Dot-Dash. Dash pawed and pranced, making me giggle as I nearly lost my hold. "Whoa boy, calm it." I patted his neck, trying to soothe the animal.
In the barn we had stored our saddles and bridles; and luckily nothing had been stolen. We swiftly tacked up the horses. Everything felt wonderfully familiar. The smell of the leather, the fluent movements of slipping a bridle on a horse or adjusting the saddle, the firm grip on the reins. I had missed it all so much. I buried my face into Dash's withers, inhaling deeply and the smell of horse invading my senses. A rush of familiarity and comfort flooded me. I heard a deep chuckle ring out and I snapped out of it, bringing my head up to see Jack watching me curiously, a grin on his lips.
"What?" I asked, feeling my cheeks heat a little. Jack shook his head.
"Nothin', nothin'. Let's take these horses round the front." I nodded and followed him silently as he led first. We emerged around the side of the Saloon, a steady flow of people filling in and out of Armadillo.
We hitched our horses before walked over to the Marshal's office, finding everyone gathered in there. Susan was sat casually on a wooden chair, with her feet propped up on the table. Jonah and Eli also sat round the table, each with a spread of cards in their hands. I eyed the cards before focusing on the Marshal. "Well, what was the verdict of the doctor?" I flashed him my bandage free wrist.
"I'm good to go!" I declared, grinning widely. The Marshal tipped his hat and chuckled.
"Well then, miss, well done to ya. By the grin on your face I'd say ya'll be ready to head out?" Jack stepped beside me and nodded.
"We're gonna be headin' to Mexico I think." I blinked and snapped my head to Jack.
"Mexico? We're goin' to Mexico?" I gasped. Jack looked down at me and nodded.
"It's where you wanted to go, right?" A grin I hadn't smiled in a long time suddenly stretched across my face.
"Yes! Finally! We're goin' to Mexico! Exotic Mexico!" I giggled and almost jumped up and down on the spot. Jack laughed and dropped a hand down onto my head.
"Alright, calm it," he teased. "It's only Mexico."
"It's Mexico. I aint ever been outside the US before!" The Marshal and Jack laughed at my sudden excitement and my childlike attitude towards the prospect of going into Mexico for the first time. "You're leavin'?" We turned around to look at Eli, who was looking at us over his shoulder. I nodded in confirmation and caught Susan's stare. "My wrist is healed so we can leave now..." Susan suddenly took her feet quickly off the table, spurs clinking. She stood up and walked over, a new star glinting on her chest. My eyes stared at it. She's now officially a deputy? She stopped just before me, scrutinising my face. I blinked at her sudden closeness and could feel Jack's eyes on Susan and I. "Yes?" I asked hesitantly. She just stared at me, her eyes boring into mine.
Suddenly she brought up a hand and pointed her index finger. The digit approached me, making me go cross eyed as I stared down at the finger. She poked me sharply in the chest, making me blink and bring a hand up to rub the sore skin. "What?" I asked, raisin' a brow.
"You best take care of ya self. Ya hear?" Susan waggled the vicious finger in my face, her eyebrows knitted and her eyes hard.
"Yes, ma'am," I said, straightening and puffing out my chest. Susan rolled her eyes and poked me again.
"Don't take me lightly, Eva!" I flinched at how the poke got harder and her scowl got sharper.
"Okay, okay. I swear, I'll take care of myself! I already promised Bonnie..." I trailed off as I suddenly remembered the blonder woman. A feeling of home-sickness churned in my gut, making me suddenly fidgety. Why was I feeling this now? Huffing, Susan retracted her finger. "Well good. As a deputy you have to obey me anyway..." she finished nonchalantly. I smiled and rolled my eyes playfully.
"Looks like someone's proud of their new rank..." I spoke, tilting my head to her. Susan looked down at me with a small smile on her lips.
Soon, we were mounted up and ready to leave Armadillo and head out to the sparse plains again. I was itchin' to go and, by the way his ears were pricked and his head bobbed, Dash was too. I patted his neck and whispered, "Soon boy, jus' hold on." Eli had wished us a safe journey and Jonah had just frowned and tipped his hat, apparently not caring in the slightest. Susan had stopped on the porch of the Marshal's office, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning against the post, watching Jack, Marshal Arrington and I walk towards the saloon. "See ya'll soon! We'll keep safe, don't ya worry!" Susan just nodded, offering a small, discrete wave. Now it was the Marshal who wished us a safe journey as well as thanking us. "Thank you, for ev'rything ya'll have done here. Have fun in Mexico, but be careful – I head it's politically unstable right now." I untied Dash and mounted him, my stallion getting excited beneath me.
"We'll be careful, sir," Jack said, in that naturally polite tone he had. I smiled and felt butterflies attack; this time not from home-sickness, but from (I was sure) Jack. The Marshal plucked his hat from his head and raised it up into the air. "Get goin' you two! Go have fun!" With that he made a sharp yell and waved his hat near Dash's rear, startling the horse into a canter. "Whoa!" I cried, as my hands quickly snatched up the reins I had dropped. "See ya! Thanks for ev'rything Marhshal!" I yelled over my shoulder. The man just waved before placing his hat back onto his head, where it belonged.
Facing forward, I inhaled deeply before giggling. Finally, we were on the road again.
BONUS: extract from beginning of 'Blackbird', Jonah/OC fic.
I hope you guys enjoy this - feel free to send me PM or whatever if you want about this, should you have any questions or such. :)
Rain had been slaughtering the whole of Cholla springs for most of the evening and it was now, when the lustrous moon had taken her place in the sky, that the rain was at its hardest. Soot coloured clouds obscured the night sky and cast obsidian darkness over the small settlement. Marshal Leigh Johnson leant against the door way to his office, arms crossed over his chest and his broad shoulders filling much of the frame. A scowl was set on his lips and he inhaled sharply on a glowing cigar that protruded from his mouth. He gazed out at Armadillo, the town he had sworn to protect. People were all tucked away in their homes, with only a few men making a mad dash to the saloon. Light radiated from the building along with the cheers of many drunken men, the melodic giggles of working girls and the up-beat piano music played by Reid Kinsey. A few horses stood miserably outside the saloon, hitched to the posts with their heads shoved under the shelter as far as they could. Marshal Johnson felt a cold water droplet hit his cheek, and moved his blue eyes to look above him. Rain had begun to work its way through a crack in the old wood of the sheriff's office. The marshal frowned and plucked his cigar from his lips. He then flicked it out into the rain, leaving it to extinguish.
Inside the office sat Jonah and Eli, the two deputies under the marshal. Both had pulled up crooked chairs and played cards at a crooked table. Neither was playing fair. Marshal Johnson turned away from the rain and strode over to his desk, his spurs clinking with every step. He then sat back in his chair and put his feet up, exhaling through his nose and staring out from under his hat at the two deputies. A slight smirk graced his features as he watched the two try and sneak glances at the others cards without the other knowing. "Jonah, Eli," he said suddenly with a cool, assertive voice. It was enough for the two to snap their heads in his direction and for Jonah – who was in the middle of try to cheat – to jump back into his seat. "Go give the town a quick sweep." A scowl instantly came over Jonah's face. "But it's rainin' outside!" he complained in a nasally tone accompanied by a thick southern accent. The marshal inwardly smirked but outwardly scowled. "A little rain never hurt nobody. Now get a move on." The two men sighed in defeat and laid their cards face down on the table. Jonah walked out first, scowling and muttering while Eli simply followed, more than content to follow the marshal's orders while tolerating the rain.
Jonah wrapped his arms around his chest and tucked his hands under his arm pits in an attempt to keep warm. The rain was cold and in a matter of seconds the two were drenched through. "Aw, dang it," Jonah cursed, absentmindedly kicking a stone that lay in his path. The two had begun walking down the main street. Eli looked around dutifully, checking all was in order while Jonah simply scowled at the ground. They couldn't see far, barely to the end of the street where the rail station sat. A rainy haze obscured the distance from their view. "Looks like ev'ry things in order," Eli chatted to himself. "That's 'cause every ones inside," Jonah replied, adjusting the black bowler hat on his head. At that moment a shrill whinny echoed through the air. Eli froze and stared straight ahead while Jonah kept walking. He took three steps before stopping and looking back to his companion. "What?" he asked.
"Did ya hear that jus' then?" Eli asked. Jonah rolled his eyes.
"It was jus' a horse." Eli opened his mouth to reply but was cut off by another distressed neigh. This one caught Jonah's attention as he turned around and also faced down the street. The sound of hoof beats slapping against puddles could be heard, even over the rain drops hitting wood. Eli crept forward to stand by Jonah's side. Suddenly, flying round the corner, came a horse, snorting and whinnying with distress. The two men shied back slightly, before seizing up the creature. "What the! What's wrong wit' that horse?" Jonah asked, frowning as the horse cantered awkwardly towards them. The stirrups swung idly on the saddle, banging against the horse's sides and a dark, shapeless lump bobbed on its back. The reins swung dangerously in front of the animal's legs and its breaths left its nostrils in billowing plumes of white. A shrill whinny pierced the night air as the horse threw its head back and half reared up. Eli and Jonah began waving their arms, trying to get the horse to halt. "Whoa!" Eli cried as the animal skidded to a halt and spun in two circles and pawed at the ground. Deep grooves were left in the mud.
The horse was caked in mud, from head to toe. It was impossible to tell what colour the horse was underneath. The only colour came from the creamy whites of its eyes and the blood flushed nostrils. Its sides heaved as it gasped for breath; foamy sweat dripped from its mouth and neck as well as collecting between its hind legs and under the saddle. Eli reached out and seized the horse's reins before talking softly to the animal to calm it. "What on Earth..." Eli gasped, startled by the sudden of appearance of the animal. Jonah, however, was more fixed on the black bundle that sat on the horse's back. "What's this?" he asked, forgetting his earlier mood and the lashing rain, his curiosity piqued by the enigmatic bundle. He reached out a hand and grazed the fabric with his fingers.
Jonah's fingers met with rough, water-soaked cloth with something harder underneath. He frowned and retracted his hand before seizing the cloth roughly and yanking it off cleanly to reveal a small, curled shape. A woman lay before them on the horse, out cold. Jonah's heart skipped a beat. Who was this girl?