Reversal of Fate Conclusion
I don't own these characters; I just like to spend time with them. No other profit to be had.
After jumping two of the renegades keeping guard along the water's edge, Matt and Chato rode out of the mountains and down to the river. Kitty sat in front of Matt, his arms wrapped around her. Once they reached the river, the men rode in to the deepest part, then climbed off, leaving Kitty on Buck and slumped over the horse's neck. Matt kept one hand on his horse and the other on Kitty.
There were still many eyes watching them, as they swam beside the horses down the middle of the river. Eerie calls were heard echoing off of the canyon walls and the hair on Matt's head was standing on end, as chilling cries sounded in reply. Though it was dark, they weren't invisible and the Hikirias wanted them to know it.
When they finally reached a shallow part of the river, they steered the horses towards the opposite bank. The men walked along the side of their horses, using them as cover. Kitty clung tightly to Buck with what little strength she had. Once they reached a certain spot, Matt slapped the rump of his horse. "Kitty, go!" He yelled, as he and Chato ran to the shelter of some nearby rocks. With the last of her strength, Kitty clung to Buck as he carried her to safety.
The men crouched for only a few minutes, looking up at the hundreds of Hikiria warriors watching from atop the mountain. Chato looked at Matt. "We are safe." He said solemnly.
Without another word, Chato jumped on his horse and Matt climbed on behind him. They rode in the direction Kitty had gone, finding her not too far away. She had fallen off of Buck, and was lying unconscious on the ground. The big buckskin stood nearby munching grass.
Since they were no longer in danger from the Hikirias, they decided to wait till morning. Kitty's wound had started bleeding again and she was beginning to show signs of an infection setting in. She would need the rest.
The next morning, Matt sat beside Kitty watching her sleep, as Chato approached from behind him with a filled canteen. "You should leave soon." He advised.
Matt nodded. "I know." He took the canteen and lifted Kitty up slightly, tilting the canteen to her mouth. A couple of sips were all she could manage. Matt tenderly laid her back down. Closing her eyes, she drifted back off to sleep.
Matt looked lovingly down at her. "She's the good in me." He said softly, sadly. "If there is good. I know you don't know me Chato, or my reasons for doing things. But I do have reasons, good reasons, I always thought. But now…."
"A man does what he has to, Lawman." Chato said frankly. "You're badge dictated your actions, as my history, the history of my people, dictated mine. The women we love, have no part in that. I should not have taken your woman." He gave Matt a level stare. "It was wrong of me to use her, to get to you. For that I am sorry."
Matt didn't answer for a moment, as Chato rose and walked a few paces away.
Kitty stirred and reached for him. "Matt," she moaned. Matt could see the pain in her eyes.
Reaching over, he lightly caressed her face. "Kitty, it's going to be alright. I'm going to get you to the doctor, and you're going to be fine."
Kitty looked at him hopefully. "Then we'll go home again?"
Matt nodded. "Home." Was all he could muster.
"Children." Kitty moaned. "Matt, I wish I could have given you children. If we'd had more time or together longer, I'd given you a child."
Matt shook his head. "You've been everything to me, Kitty. I didn't need anything else. I will never need anything else but you."
"If I don't make it, Matt…"
"Sshh," Matt stilled her. "You'll make it. You're my life, Kitty. You have to."
Chato stood off to the side, watching the two. Matt could only guess at what the renegade was thinking, but he supposed it had something to do with being grateful; it wasn't his woman lying there on the ground.
The ride into the army station wasn't long, but Kitty had lost consciousness long before they made it. Pensively Matt stood by while the army surgeon examined her.
"Later on tonight, after that bullet comes out, if we can beat the fever, she has a good chance." The doctor finally said.
Matt took off his hat and coat and settled down to wait. Several hours later, when the doctor thought she might be strong enough to endure the surgery, he began to operate. Matt couldn't bear to watch. He paced over to a small window and stood looking out, praying for her life.
Kitty lightly moaned. The doctor paused for a moment and looked over at the Marshal, seeing the alarm in his eyes, echoing his own. Kitty moaned again then stopped.
The doctor removed the probe he was using to find the bullet, swiftly checked for a heartbeat then checked her pupils. Grasping her wrist he tried one last time to find a pulse. Finally, sadly, he looked up to the grieving man before him. "I'm sorry." Was all he could say. "She's dead."
Matt stood, breathless for a moment, staring at first the doctor, then Kitty's lifeless form on the table.
"Nooooooo!" he screamed, sitting straight up in bed, sweat covering his body, and his breath coming out in gasps.
"Matt," Kitty was beside him, running her cool hands over his panting chest. "Matt, are you okay?"
Matt looked over at her in terror for a moment, before it dawned on him, it wasn't real. It was just a dream. It wasn't Kitty that had died; it was Chato's woman, Mora.
Desperately trying to calm his ragged breathing, he reached over and pulled Kitty tightly into his arms. "Oh God, Kitty." He moaned. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."
Kitty said nothing for a moment, though Matt was holding her so tight it was making breathing difficult. Finally he released her. "You want to tell me about it?" she asked, love and understanding in her tone and gaze.
Matt shook his head then just as quickly nodded. "I… I had a dream. A nightmare really. About what happened in New Mexico. I dreamed things were reversed and Chato had taken you, to draw me out, instead of the other way around. I dreamed you died, Kitty."
Kitty could feel him trembling beside her, and she reached up, cupping his face so he would look at her. "Matt, you've got to stop blaming your self for that woman's death. It wasn't your fault. You didn't know those Hikirias were out there, and you had to stop Chato. It was your job."
Matt shook his head. "It wasn't my job to involve an innocent woman, whose only crime was to love a man, Kitty." He took her hands from his face and held them tightly. "I couldn't have stood it, if that nightmare had been real. I know now how Chato must've felt. He loved her, Kitty, as much as I love you. "
"I believe he probably did, Matt. But he had to know that living the kind of life he did, was no good for him or her. He knew he was placing her in danger, just by what he did."
Matt's expression saddened even more. "Just like I know, that by wearing that badge, I'm putting you in danger. Don't you see, Kitty? Chato and I aren't that much different."
Kitty disagreed vehemently, "Matt, you are not like him. You are on the side of the good. You're not a murderer."
Matt shook his head. "That's not what my heart tells me."
Kitty took a deep breath, pulled her hands from his and wrapped her arms around him. "That's your head telling you that, Matt. Your heart knows, just like I do, that you are a good man. If you had've known how things would turn out, you might have done something different. But you didn't. You did the best you could, and in the end, that is all that is required of anyone."
Matt didn't reply and didn't move. Kitty's loving embrace was what he needed right then, more than anything.
Kitty held onto him until she felt him relax. Finally she pulled back from him a little, and looked up into his warm and grateful gaze. "Now," she smiled. "How about you lay back down here beside me, and get some rest."
Matt hesitated for a moment, then finally lay down and pulled her into his arms. "Thank you, Kitty." He whispered. "I'm not sure what I would've done, if you hadn't been there when I woke up."
Kitty smiled against his chest, softly kissing him. "Let's hope you never have to find out, Cowboy." She murmured, as they both fell asleep in each other's arms.