A/N: this will include all the Deadwood characters over time.

This is based on the fire of September 1879, which burned down most of the town and is as historically accurate as possible, with a liberty or two taken along the way

All characters and concepts other than historical ones belong to David Milch and HBO

No money getting made here

According to Milch, Season 4 would have included the fire. I have no idea where he would have taken that, but this is my imagining of how it would have gone.

This will be only my stories, but on LJ, I am collaborating with two fine writers who also mourn Deadwood's untimely passing, and there they have added their own chapters featuring the characters I seem to have given short shrift here.

Fire!

The last of the customers was buttoning his pants while Dolly was stifling a yawn with one hand, stroking his shoulder with the other. As he left her room, she slipped his dollar tip into her drawstring purse. She went to her washstand to clean up before joining Mr. Swearengen upstairs. She was dead on her feet; midway through washing between her legs and under her arms, she decided to take a quick nap before going upstairs.

Miner payday always ran the girls ragged and knew she'd catch hell if weariness made her give him a careless blow-job while she fought sleep. She threw a clean sheet over the come-stained one and wrapped up in the sheet and blanket. He would still be awake an hour from now…he rarely slept before false dawn anyway. She could nap for a little while, blow him with some energy, and both could sleep before the business day proper began. She curled into a ball and drifted off.

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Trixie was restless in Sol's bed tonight. He was sound asleep, stretched thin that day by a big order of supplies coming into the hardware store while Bullock had spent the day in horse-trading business with the livery owner. Then Mrs. Ellsworth had needed his help at the bank, with deposits of cash and specie coming in one after another. Trixie had been through the false door for a good two hours before he finally got home to a now-cold supper of elk roast, bread, and the last of the tomatoes and corn from the greengrocer's. She'd made sandwiches and poured a glass of beer for him, having eaten hours earlier.

A lifetime of working in the wee hours made it hard for Trixie to fall asleep before midnight. She finally got up and paced in the living room, occasionally looking out at the night sky. Her skin prickled as goose-bumps rose and fell on her arms. The evening wasn't that cold for September…she pulled her shawl around her shoulders as she paced, feeling that something was not right in their world. She opened the front door and stepped out to light a cigarette. Sol hated her to smoke inside. It was close to 2:00 AM; she doubted any prying eyes would see her on his front porch.

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Al put the day's receipts in his safe. He went to the hallway and looked over the sleepy saloon. Johnny and Dan were leaned back in chairs at a back table, idly playing a hand of cards while waiting for the last customers to leave. Davy was half-asleep at the bar, stirring now and then to wipe down the wood from habit. Once, the joint would have been jumping until cock's crow. Now, especially when the clientele had ample money to spend and no need to stretch out a dollar, business hit hard and fast. Al figured he'd finish tallying up the receipts, prepare deposit slips for the next business day, and send for Dolly.

Taking up sharp pen and ink to write out tomorrow's paperwork, he thought of getting to the bank early, right after opening. With any luck, Mrs. Ellsworth would be there and Starr would be starting his day at the hardware store before stepping over to the bank. He enjoyed taking a few minutes to chat with her before the day's rush began. He decided to forgo Dolly's comforts before retiring tonight. He expected she was pretty fucked out anyway, and a decent night's sleep would do them both good.

Finishing his next day's paperwork, he took off his reading glasses and rubbed his eyes. He poured the night's last shot of whisky and checked his pocket watch. Already past 2:00 AM. He stepped out on his balcony, the bracing September air momentarily blowing away his sleepiness. The shot would help with that, he thought, as he leaned against the outer wall and drank. He looked up at the blazing stars in the coal-black night sky.

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At the livery, Fields stirred on his office cot, unable to get settled. Damn horses were restless tonight. Normally, at this hour of the morning, all would be standing like statues, head down, legs stiffened in sleep. The wall next to him trembled as a horse's flank on the other side bumped against it. Now he could hear shifting hoofs, a curious wicker. He sighed. Attuned to possible danger from a lifetime of close calls, he rose and laid his hand on his rifle. He was sure he'd locked the livery against potential horse thieves, but another walk-through wouldn't hurt. Then maybe he could get a few hours solid sleep before the day began.

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E.B. Farnum got up to piss and heard soft footsteps on the stairs. He poked his head out incuriously, expecting one of the hotel guests arriving back after some late-night depraved debauchery so readily available in Deadwood. He was surprised by the sight of Richardson on the landing, his antler talisman raised towards the stuffed moose head in supplication.

"Richardson! You imbecilic toad! What in God's name, or whatever pagan god you deify tonight, are you doing? It's gone 2:00 in the morning! I'll not have you frightening the returning fornicators and drunkards with your nonsense. Explain yourself!"

The hollow-eyed old man turned and looked sadly at the hotelier, hair flying in all directions.

"I'm prayin' no one loses their life this day, and that we all be delivered from the coming destruction. Failing that, I'm prayin' that those who must leave this earthly life have a quick and painless journey."

"Richardson, have you polluted what passes for your mind with strong drink and other intoxicants? Leave off your pagan antics and go to bed at once!"

The old man looked solemnly at the mayor. Normally acquiescent to Farnum's wishes, he drawled a soft "No," and held up his antlers again.

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Al took a last look at the night sky, wondering for a split second why the moon had become not only full, but was casting a flickering light. Then the smoky smell of burning bread and wood reached his nostrils.

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Trixie stubbed out her cigarette yet it seemed to go on burning. She felt along the side of the house to see if she'd accidentally scorched the wood. The wood was cool, but the burning smell continued, growing stronger.

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General Fields saw no one in the barn, but the horses continued to move restlessly, a few now whinnying. He opened the door to see if anyone lurked outside. He saw the wisps in the night air before the smell of smoke reached his nose.

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All across Deadwood, the thought began dawning on those still awake a little after 2:00 AM…something was burning.

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Something big.

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From his perch on his balcony, Al was the first one to see the flames shooting up from the bakery down the thoroughfare. He was at the door into his office when he looked back and saw flames leap to the next building. He grabbed the brass bell still on his desk, ran into the hall, and starting ringing it as he yelled "FIRE!" Over his own din, watching his boys spring to life, he could hear echoing racket from the street, as bells, whistles, and other screams of "FIRE!" filled the air.

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September 26, 1879, was barely two hours old when Deadwood went up in flames.

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