So...yeah...been awhile. Turns out, when you write for a living, writing for yourself becomes incredibly difficult. So I'm easing back into it with a little Longmire piece. I'm in love with that show...cowboys...monosyllabic men...scruffy jaws. Good lord, just send me to Wyoming and leave me be. ;-)

Longmire doesn't belong to me...unfortunately.

Something brittle cracks in Vic's chest as the cell phone cuts out and Walt's voice disappears into the ether. She yells his name once, twice, gives up when she hears nothing but silence in her ear.

She hands the phone to Ferg, sits down on the bench.

Ferg takes the phone, slips it back into his pocket. He pauses, then, and Vic knows what he's thinking. Good cops know themselves; great ones know other people.

Vic shakes her head, eyes down and shoulders tense.

Ferg slinks back inside the office, the door closing with a click that echoes in the empty quiet of the hallway.

"You spend more time with Walt Longmire than you do with your own goddamn husband."

Vic doesn't tell her father that her husband spends more time with an oil drill than he does with her.

Seems like a mute point, really.

Ferg tells her the mountain's clear enough for a chopper to go up and her heart beats faster than it shoulder. They're halfway down the road when his cellphone chirps. She hears Henry's voice on the other end and she has to remind herself to breathe.

They found him, Henry and Branch did, half frozen but alive. The FBI profiler, too. The bad guy's dead, though. The crazy sonovabitch who killed half a dozen people is dead and Walt Longmire is alive.

All is right in the world.

Vic doesn't realize she's crying until Ferg's hand settles on her shoulder. He squeezes and she nods. She looks down at her own hands, sees the yellow gold band wrapped around the ring finger of her left hand. She cringes; Ferg pulls his hand away, misunderstanding.

The bad guy is dead, Walt Longmire is alive, and her husband is somewhere out in the wilderness forgetting he was ever married.

Mostly all is right in the world.

"You look like hell."

Walt cracks a smile that looks more like a grimace and motions for her to come closer. She crosses the hospital room with hesitation.

"Ferg told me what happened with the FBI guy."

She blushes without meaning to, shrugs out of her jacket. "Ferg's got a bad habit of telling tales."

Walt eyes her while she sits in the chair next to the hospital bed. "Some nasty bruising on your left hand, Vic."

She looks down, sees the bruising from where her knuckles connected with Agent Idiot's face, and hides her hand in the crook of her arm.

"I'd have done the same thing," Walt says and she feels a tiny wave of relief wash over her. "I've certainly done worse in my life."

"Like run off into the wilderness by yourself in search of a homicidal maniac in the middle of a snowstorm?"

He stares at her for a second or two before starting to laugh, wheezing when his broken ribs get the better of him. Vic smiles and laughs along with him, happy to hear his voice, his laugh.

"You're an idiot, Walt," she says around the smile on her face.

He nods, still grinning. "Yup."

Vic opens the bottom drawer of her desk, trying to find her notebook, and the care package from Lizzie Ambrose for Walt stares back at her. She'd nearly forgotten about it, but there it is...hiding away in her desk drawer and mocking her.

She thinks of how her chest hurt when she thought Walt was dead. She's been married for six years to a man who works around heavy and dangerous machinery and not once has she felt her chest hurt that way.

She closes the desk drawer, stares at her wedding ring. Maybe there was something to Omar's assertion that married women didn't make a point of appearing unmarried unless they were unhappy. On impulse, as if needing to prove Omar wrong, she calls her husband...and isn't surprised when a woman answers the phone. She takes the ring off, pockets it.

"To be honest, we kept waiting for this phone call. You never should've married the guy, sweetheart. Didn't seem right, moving you across country just so he could stick a drill in the ground."

Turns out, her husband wasn't just sticking a drill in the ground. She doesn't tell her father that, though.

Seems a mute point, really.