by Flaw

Notes: A companion piece to Smiling

I must be going out of my mind.

That’s the only possible explanation for it. Josiah’s at the church, Nathan’s up to see Rain, and I’m pretty sure Ezra ain’t seen the town before noon since he’s been here. That leaves just the four of us, and Chris ain’t said one word since yesterday morning when he told that cowboy that he’d better hightail it out of there or by God he’d....

We all know what Chris’d do, anyway. There ain’t no point in recalling it.

Chris and I been sitting on the boardwalk for some time. Buck and JD’re over by the livery. We’s all the people I can see out right now. It ain’t exactly a nice day, though, so I ain’t blaming the townsfolk one bit. Only thing is, that just means for sure that I’m going out of my mind.

Ya see, Chris ain’t just sitting next to me. He’s sitting next to me, smoking his cheroot and smiling.

Chris Larabee, the lethal gunslinger, perpetually in black and glaring at ever’thing that moves, and ever’thing that don’t.

Yeah, that Chris Larabee.

And the thing is, there ain’t nobody around to see it but me, so I’m pretty sure it ain’t really happening.

The other day, I was with Josiah when Chris sauntered by, and I could swear I heard him whistle, just a bit, but I looked over at ‘Siah, and I guess I musta been wrong. He hadn’t heard a thing.

A man’s got a right to whistle though, and I ain’t blamin’ him none. Probably he whistles a lot and it ain’t nothing to worry on.

But this?

I mean, I see him grin a lot. He’s got that cocky lopsided grin when you know he’s amused at Buck ‘n JD playing around, or at Ezra’s attempts to act legit. And he’s got that smirk, when you know he’s pissed off all but royal and some cowboy’s about to lose some blood.

This, though, this is a smile, full blown and tearing at his cheeks.

I’m looking at him out of the corner of my eye though, not quite ready to turn my head and confront it full on. I’d blame it on the sun, say it was glare causing me to see things, but like I said, the weather ain’t too friendly today.

So I stare ahead, out at the street, at the buildings across the way, at the clouds rolling through. Anywhere but at him.

I figure whatever it is, it’ll pass.

But after a little time goes by, he’s still at it, near as I can tell without actually looking, and I clear my throat to catch his attention.

He looks over at me, still smiling.

“Something on your mind, Vin?”

I finally work my nerve up to look back at him, and sure enough, there it is, plain as daylight.

“Was wondering the same about you, Pard.”

He doesn’t reply. Just turns back away to face the street. I do the same. Cain’t stand the way that damn smile come out of nowhere and got to bothering me so much.

He whistles a little and shakes his head. Josiah must be losing his hearing.

“Just thinking on how nice a day it is.”

I look back up at the cloudy sky, ain’t seen a pinch of sunshine since sometime yesterday. I look up and down the street, and there still ain’t a single soul hangin’ about.

I shrug, but don’t reply. I figure if something’s up, sooner or later he’ll get to telling me.

Only he don’t. He just keeps sitting there, keeps smiling out at nothing, and I keep trying to wrap my mind around it.

Well, he didn’t have to shoot no one yesterday. The cowboy left sure as Chris is sitting here smilin’.

We ain’t been in a gunfight in some time, and ain’t none of us been injured lately either.

And the town is quiet.

The sky though, the sky’s got me stumped. Never thought Chris didn’t appreciate the weather...

Then again, it has been awfully hot and sunny lately. I’m wearing my coat and feeling fairly comfortable.

Must be it.

Things are just pretty good.

I turn to look at him. I guess I should be appreciating the smile while it’s there.

Eventually he looks back at me as well.

“What, Vin?”

“You like to whistle, Chris?”

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