Obviously, I do not own Brisco or Bowler or Socrates or anybody in this story, except for those not in the original series. Takes place between episode 11 "Deep in the Heart of Dixie" and episode 13 "Steel Horses". Hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing. Let a gal know, huh?

"You have ten minutes, Mister, then I expect to see you standing right outside this bank!" Virginia Lloyd called after the fair-haired little boy as he darted excitedly across the street to the general store. "Do you hear me, Asa Lloyd?" she asked, fighting to be heard over the din of the busy street.

"Yes, ma!" her little one called back, without breaking a stride, as he pushed past the dusty miners and cowboys that dotted the landscape. The eager young boy breezed through the front door of the crowded general store, his big blue eyes in search of the one thing he wanted most. Then, he saw them. The stacks of freshly printed dime novels neatly placed on a shelf near the cashier. He was so excited, he could barely contain himself. He rushed up to the small shelf, grabbing the new copy of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. There was his hero, Brisco County Jr. himself, gracing the cover, the trusty Peacemaker in his hand, the barrel smoking from a recent shot fired at the band of desperados behind him on horseback.

"Where Loyalties Lie" he read quietly off the cover.

"Just got those in today, young man." the stout cashier said as he handed Asa a peppermint stick from the jar next to him. "You a fan of Brisco County?"

Asa nodded enthusiastically. "Oh, yes sir." he said as he accepted the gift. "I have every story about Brisco. He's my hero."

"Well, I think you're gonna like that story. It starts out with Brisco battling with one of Bly's men, and he has to escape from the Westerfield Club before it blows up." the cashier said with a wink.

"Oh, I know he'll get outta it." Asa announced proudly and turned the book to the first chapter. "He has to. He's Brisco County Jr."

The cashier smiled and turned his attention to a customer, his arms stacked with supplies, as Asa hungrily scanned the first page.

"'Chapter One, One Day, Out West'. Winston Smiles, one of John Bly's deadly assassins, grinned wickedly at Brisco County Jr., as he stuffed the handmade bomb into the safe, slamming the door shut before Brisco could recover from the kick to the chest.

'"Now I don't have to worry about the cylinder, or Miss Cousins, anymore," Smiles sneered, straightening his tie as a look of self-satisfaction spread across his face. "I hope you like dessert flambé, Mr. County."'

"No, I don't." Brisco answered before delivering a well-placed punch to Smiles' chin. As Smiles crumpled to the ground, Brisco dove for the wall safe, trying in vain to open the door. He looked up in despair, in search of an answer, a clue, anything to help him get out of this dilemma.

"Brisco!" he heard Dixie call out from the next room, her voice strained and urgent. Brisco abandoned the safe and took off as quickly as he could to come to whatever rescue Dixie now needed.

"Get outta here!" he yelled, helping Dixie to her feet, as his loyal friend, Socrates Poole, and the woman Brisco couldn't know at the time was working with Smiles all along, Rita Avnet, noticed the terror in Brisco's voice and ran as fast as they could to the exit of the Westerfield Club.

"Not you, County!" Smiles called out, tackling Brisco as he tried to exit the room. Their life-or-death struggle continued, with Brisco fighting back fiercely, the bomb planted securely inside the wall-safe never far from his thoughts. Smiles fought back like a mad-man, deranged with the thought if he was to die, he would take the son of the West's most famous lawman with him.

As Brisco tried to crawl away, Smiles grabbed his legs, pulling Brisco back. Brisco grabbed the door jamb, and turned over on his back, mustering the last of his energy to pull one leg free. He kicked hard against Smiles' chest. As Smiles rolled backward, Brisco scrambled to his feet; the sound of the bird form the coo-coo clock used to light the fuse of Smiles' bomb echoed forewarning from the other room.

Brisco ran as fast as he could toward the exit of the Club, not daring to look back, his heart pounding, his chest tight with fear.

"Asa Elijah Lloyd." he heard his mother's stern voice behind him.

"Ma." Asa sheepishly turned around to meet his mother's unamused gaze.

"I thought I told you to meet me by the bank in ten minutes." Virginia said, her hands on her hips.

"But, ma, Brisco's in the Westerfield Club, and it's about to blow up! He was fighting with Winston Smiles…he planted the bomb inside the Westerfield Club to kill off Dixie, Brisco's girlfriend, but she got out to safety, along with Socrates, thanks to Brisco." Asa said breathlessly. "I have to see if he gets out!"

"Well, of course he's going to get out, Asa." Virginia said softly. "He has to. He's Brisco."

"Well, can I have a dime, ma?" Asa begged. "I have to see what happens." Virginia smiled as she reached into her coin purse. "You'll have to share with Josiah."

"I will, ma." A wide grin spread across his pale face as his mother handed him a shiny dime. He paid for his new novel and skipped out of the store behind his mother, reading aloud as she led him to their carriage.

'"Brisco ran as fast as he could toward the exit of the Westerfield Club, not daring a look back, his heart pounding, his chest tight with fear. He rushed through the open doorway that led him to the one place he desperately wanted to be. He could hear Dixie calling his name, but she sound miles away as the sound of his own heartbeat roared in his ears.'"

He had almost made it to the gate when the building erupted behind him, the force of the blast knocking him to his feet, pieces of wood and glass peppering his back. He buried his head into the ground, covering the back of his neck until he was sure the last piece of debris had fallen.

"Brisco!" Dixie cried out, rushing to his side as he struggled to stand. He wrapped his arms around her, thankful to be alive. The explosion kept echoing in his head and the adrenaline continued to pump through his body as he realized just how close he came to death, yet again.

"Wow." Asa breathed.

"I knew he'd get out of that one." Virginia said proudly as she coaxed the horse down the trail toward the small ranch that lay just outside of town.

"Yeah, me too, but I was starting to wonder…" Asa shook his head as he turned his gaze back to the page. " "There is no rest for the wicked", the old a-ad-Mom?" Asa peered up at his mother, the book held up like an offering.

"Sound it out." Virginia said plainly, her gaze never leaving the road.

"A-ad-adage?"

"Very good. Adage. It means 'saying'." Asa smiled proudly.

"' "There is no rest for the wicked", the old adage promises. Never was it truer. It had only been a day and a half when Brisco and Bowler received their next assignment.'"

"Two nights ago, a train enroute to Seattle was robbed. The only things taken were the bank bags bound for the First National Bank."

"So." Bowler snarled, his mouth full of eggs from the breakfast feast in front of him. Socrates tossed an agitated look the bounty hunter's way before turning his full attention back to Brisco and continuing.

"Those bank bags were filled with money belonging to Ethan Emerson. There were bags for four other banks in that car that didn't belong to Mr. Emerson; not one was touched." Ethan Emerson. One of the Westerfield Club's founding members, Brisco's employer and the owner of nearly every bank west of the Mississippi. The man was rich, powerful and no nonsense to boot. Whoever crossed him would have an unhappy ending to his story.

"Now, I thought we discussed this, Socrates. I'm not their errand boy. I was hired to catch John Bly and his gang and that's all I plan to do for them." Brisco emphasised the last part of the sentence with a dismissive wave of his hand.

"The train was robbed just west of the Nevada border, near Boca, California." Socrates continued. "And you'll never guess how the train was stopped." Socrates smiled knowingly as he glanced from one bounty hunter to the next. "The driver ran into a rock painted to look like the opening of a tunnel."

"How does that trick still even work?" Bowler grunted.

"You're kidding me." Brisco said, wanting to be surprised and finding he wasn't. Socrates shook his head.

"Mr. Emerson is willing to pay twice your normal rate. He's eager to bring whoever did this to justice. Especially since it's obviously one of Bly's men." Bowler let out a low whistle.

"Twice your normal rate. How much is that?" Bowler asked, leaning in close to Brisco.

"Bowler, I don't think it concerns you since you are not in the employ of Mr. Emerson." Socrates declared.

"That ain't fair." Bowler replied. "We're partners. That ain't fair."

"Bowler, what are you complaining about? You always get the bounty anyway." Brisco turned back to Socrates. "That area is where Juno Dawkins usually holes up."

"Juno Dawkins?" Socrates asked, the name unfamiliar to his ears.

"Only the most fearless of John Bly's gang." Brisco answered.

"Deadly, too." Bowler added. "Juno Dawkins does anything John Bly asks. No questions asked. That man ain't afraid of death and that makes him a very dangerous man. Which is why you need to hire me, too. There's no way he's gonna be able to do this alone." Bowler jerked a thumb his partner's way.

"Now, wait a minute, Brisco just said you get the bounties. That should be reward enough."

"Huh uh."

"Bowler, what's your problem? You can have the bounty on Dawkins and whatever Soc is gonna pay me, or you can just sit here and see if I care." Brisco tucked the last piece of toast into his mouth, suddenly eager to get on the road.

"I want my own paycheck." Bowler responded, crossing his arms tightly over his chest, his breakfast forgotten. "It ain't no fair I don't get any recognition or money from those robber barons, even though without me, you'd be lost."

"Ha, I'd be lost?" Brisco scoffed.

"Yeah you would." Bowler countered, sitting straighter in his chair.

"Ha."

"Without me, you never would have been able to bring Brett Bones in. Or Blackbeard Lacutte. Or…"

"Fine. I get it. Socrates?" Socrates stared at Brisco for a long time before finally heaving a deep sigh.

"Alright, Bowler, you'll get your own paycheck, too." Bowler grinned, a low chuckle rumbling from his throat.

"The same as Brisco's."

"The same as Brisco's." Socrates parroted. The grin widened.

"Good. What are we waiting for?" Bowler pushed himself away from the table, breakfast a distant thought in his mind. "Let's go."