Matt reached the school house. He saw blood stains along the way and knew that Doctor J's arm must be bleeding pretty heavily. He also knew it was the right arm, so chances were that the man wasn't much use with a gun.

Matt walked to the side of the building and crouched down to peek in an open window. They were in there. Kitty's hands were no longer tied, and she was sitting in a chair, holding her side. Her face was bruised from the Brad's slap. She didn't move as Doctor J tore pieces from her petticoat to make a bandage for his arm. Billy was in the back of the room opening a closet.

Pulling a large sack out of the closet, Billy opened it and announced, "Here's the money. They put it just where we told them to."

"OK, OK just come here and help me press this on my arm, I have to stop the bleeding, then we can get out of here."

Billy put the sack down on the floor and walked over to help. Both brothers had their backs to the window, but Matt couldn't make his move. Kitty was right next to them and Matt didn't want to risk having her get hit with a bullet.

He found himself willing Kitty to look at the window, whispering to himself, "Come on Kitty, just look up so I can signal you. Come on honey, come on."

Seconds later Kitty looked up at the window. Matt signaled her to get down. She immediately threw herself to the floor and Matt yelled, "Hold it."

The brothers turned. Billy reached for his gun, but before he got it out of the holster Matt shot, hitting him in the chest. Doctor J put his hands up, "I give up, don't shoot."

Matt climbed in through the window. Kitty was starting to get up from the floor. He ran to her, helped her to her feet and wrapped his arms around her pulling her close, "Kitty are you alright?"

She closed her eyes and leaned into him, "Cowboy, I am so alright."

Matt stroked her hair. He could feel that she was trembling, "I saw you holding your side. Do you think anything is broken?"

"No, Matt. I'm pretty sure I'm just bruised."

They heard horses galloping and turned to look at the door. Within seconds Nick, John and several other men burst in with guns drawn.

The men looked around and saw Doctor J sitting down, head hanging and arm bleeding, Billy lying on the floor dead and Matt with Kitty in his arms.

John holstered his gun with a shake of the head, "We're just in time I see."

Matt looked at him with a small smile, "Yep. John can you take care of the body and get that other one to jail? I have a lady here I'd like to take back to town right away. Oh, and the money is over there in that sack."

Matt looked at Kitty with concern, "Kitty, can you ride up on Buck with me, or should I go get us a wagon?"

"Cowboy, let's get on Buck. That guarantees that you'll hold me tight for the ride back."


Later that night Kitty and Matt were sitting in the Golden Nugget with John, Claire and Nick.

Kitty's side and back were bruised and sore from being tossed around by Billy, but nothing was broken and the bruise on her face was already fading a little.

Matt shook his head, "I still don't understand how they knew about Kitty and me."

Kitty hesitated, but knew she had to tell him, "Matt, I overheard them talking. One of them heard about us from a friend of their's – Will Stambridge.

Seeing Matt frown and mutter under his breathe, "Some taste in friends," Kitty added, "Matt, he had no way of knowing how they would use that information or that I would be kidnapped. It was an innocent mistake, I'm sure."

Matt's jaw clenched, "I know you're right. I just don't like it."

Kitty smiled and she squeezed Matt's arm, "I know. But it all worked out, and we're here together."

Claire wanted to lighten the mood and said with mock seriousness, "Matt, it's strange, but it seems to me that the last time you were here, there was trouble too. I just can't figure out if it's you or Kitty that brings trouble to our fair town."

Matt relaxed a little and looked pointedly at Kitty, "Seems to me the trouble is always already here when I arrive." Giving a small smile he added, "So I don't think I'm the one bringing it. Kitty what do you think?"

Kitty laughed, "Well, seems to me that it may not have anything to do with me or Matt. Maybe it's just an exciting town."

Nick and John laughed too. Nick lifted his glass, "To the town of Ballard, may the blessing of being boring be placed upon it now and forever. "

After downing their drinks John looked at Matt and Kitty, "When do you two plan on heading back to Dodge?"

Kitty gave a little laugh, "Well now that this is a boring town, we'll be leaving soon. We plan to take the stage back to Dodge tomorrow. "

Nick looked over, "Do you need a room for the night Matt? I have a spare if you need one."

Claire looked at Kitty and rolled her eyes before answering for Matt, "That's considerate of you Nick, but there is plenty of room upstairs, right Kitty?"

Kitty nodded looking serious, "Yes. Plenty of room."

Later that Night

Matt and Kitty were in a big comfortable bed in an upstairs room at the Golden Nugget. Kitty was nibbling on Matt's ear, and he felt himself getting excited.

"Kitty, please don't."

"What do you mean don't?" she muttered as she continued kissing him down his neck.

"Honey, we shouldn't. You're bruised and sore. I don't want to hurt you."

Kitty stopped and looked into his eyes, saying sternly, "Matt Dillon, you've been shot, stabbed, beaten, bruised and all manner of other things and how often has that stopped you? A few bruises aren't going to stop me when I not only have you all to myself for the night, but there is no chance of interruptions."

Matt gave her the slow smile she loved to see, as he said softly, "'l'll be really careful to..."

The rest of his words got swallowed up by her kiss.

The End