by Englishspirit

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I make no money and all I have are the DVDs.

Main Characters: The Seven

Summary: This short piece was inspired by the episode ‘The New Law' of season 2. It's were the guys are on horseback getting ready to go their separate ways. I noticed the looks on their faces, esp. Ezra's (ok I just like Ezra best and yes, I watch those DVDs way too much).

Thank you to everyone kind enough to comment.

He was accustomed to departures, usually quick ones. It was inevitable really in his profession. He couldn't count the number of times he had been forced to leave a town. He did his best to ensure the success of his endeavors but nothing was foolproof. Oh yes he was quite familiar with slipping away at all times of the day or night and in all kinds of weather. If he were very lucky, disgruntled losers hadn't chased him, he mused to himself.

He didn't know how to say goodbye however; and he felt the awkwardness keenly.

It was understandable; after all he never really had to worry about farewells before. It wasn't prudent to get too close to his marks during a con. He most certainly didn't want to see any of them again afterwards. He never inquired as to the names of his fellow players at the poker table. They were just faces to read, clues to decipher as to whether they were going to raise the stakes, fold the hand or try to shoot him. They had just been faces before.

He felt unsettled and he wasn't used to that either, nor did he like it. He always had a glib answer or a charming excuse. He used words to hide the truth or to re invent it. He was not proficient at facing it be it regarding his feelings or his words and it made him distinctly uncomfortable.

Even the best of cons must end. He found himself feeling uncharacteristically regretful of this fact. He had liked this place, these men but peacekeeping was not profitable. Marshal Brice was welcome to one dollar a day, with room and board. Mother, at least, would be pleased to know that this particular venture had come to an end.

He guided his horse up to the others, felling that damn awkwardness as they glanced around at each other. He couldn't stand it any more and quipped. "I suggest we leave before the cold shroud of Puritanism smothers us all." The tension he felt seemed to lessen a little and suddenly Bucks voice was heard from the jail in an unending tirade of abuse. They laughed, smiled at each other and he knew he would remember them like this.

He had gotten used to J.D.'s enthusiasm and optimistic naiveté, and the way Buck tried to temper it with advice and gentle teasing. He would miss Nathan's never-ending criticisms and Josiah's practical faith. He would even miss Chris's glare and he found himself sincerely hoping that Vin would be able to clear up that unfortunate matter in Tarcosa.

He didn't know how to say goodbye and he found that he really did not want to. He didn't want to say it and he most certainly didn't want to hear it. The term meant never seeing these men again, never laughing at shared jokes, never experiencing the thrill of riding or fighting together. Never again standing victoriously in the middle of the street after a hellish gunfight, flushed with adrenaline and camaraderie.

He had lucked upon something in this backwater dust bowl of a town. He hesitated to give a name to it, after all such a term had rarely applied to him in the past. It was alien to his nature and to his upbringing, this thing called friendship. Good Lord, it was like an addition, one always seemed to crave more.

It was probably a good thing that it was over; eventually the others would have realized just what he was. Good things never lasted, he had learned that early on. It was best that this little sojourn into law enforcement was over. It would only have turned out badly in the end. He wasn't really like the others. He was a gambler, a conman, a cheat and most definitely not someone that anyone would have called a friend.

They sat on their horses looking at each other. No one really wanted to be the first to say it but no one seemed willing to ride off without some word. He felt somewhat relieved that he was not the only one who felt uncomfortable with this situation.

The world was a large place and the chances of ever seeing any of them again were small, but there was a chance. His horse shifted impatiently underneath him and he took a final quick glance around at his…friends. He raised a hand to his hat, nodded in respect and wistful memory and simply said "Gentlemen" and rode out.

Ezra didn't say goodbye.

The End