The Greatest Con

(aka: Fighting Babies)


NOTES: Thanks Nancy, Judy, Ronnie & Laura for your input on the "altercation." Thank you, Kerry, for great beta-ing!

Nathan had been busy helping one of the townsfolk, so he left Vin alone with Ezra for a short time. He would send JD over in a bit in case something happened to help out. Once he started talking again, Vin had asked JD to go to Ezra's room and get a book of poetry that Vin attempted to read to the con man. Vin had hoped that since the book was one of Ezra's favorites, it just might help. His reading was rough and stilted, having to pause and sound out words, but Nathan noticed that when Vin would read, Ezra would turn his head slightly toward the voice as if he was really listening to him.

As Nathan left to do his errand, Vin sat down on the edge of the bed, finally finding himself alone with Ezra. He smoothed out the Southerner's unruly hair with his good hand. Taking a moment to straighten the cloth wound around his friend's head, he thought briefly of how upset the normally impeccably groomed gambler would be if he knew what he looked like. "Ez," he said in his gritty, low voice, "I am so sorry 'bout what happened pard... " He pulled the sheets up a little higher and tucked them in around Ezra's chest. "I wish I'd never gone up on that roof. Wish I'd never snatched that book of yers. Damn, it's all my fault you... " Vin closed his eyes, trying to keep the tears inside. "Ez, I'd do anything iffen I could jest change places with ya." He took the Southerner's hand in his and squeezed it just before JD came in the door of the clinic. "I'm sorry, pard."


Nothing made sense to the Southerner. He felt as if he were trapped in a dark place and that he couldn't find his way out. The image was terribly unsettling to the con man, bringing back horrible memories of times that he had been locked up in a cellar as a child. He struggled against the darkness, desperately trying to find the light but, found he couldn't move. His body wouldn't cooperate. His heart pounded in his chest as he realized he was trapped with the blackness imprisoning him.

Ezra struggled against his prison. He hated darkness. He despised the creatures that lived there, rats and creeping bugs. He loathed the filth and the coldness. He shuddered inwardly as irrational fear overwhelmed him. He had to get out, and get out now! He screamed in his mind, unable to move to find the doorway to freedom. Sobbing in panic, Ezra slid down the wall of his darkness and curled up into a small ball, huddling in the corner.

Eventually voices began to filter through the darkness and suddenly it didn't seem quite as black or as terrifying. The words made no sense but he felt calmed by the sounds. His mind was familiar with the voices and hearing them soothed his fear of the darkness. The sounds seemed to free his paralysis, enabling him to move. Having no sense of time or awareness of what was really happening, Ezra wandered through the room of his mind, searching for an escape. He knew that someone was with him and that comforted him but he still had to get out of the darkness.

A lilting voice entered the darkness. The pitch raised and lowered with the excitement of a storyteller. It was a friendly, happy sound that made Ezra want to smile. He reached blindly for the voice but couldn't find its owner.

The happy voice was replaced by a rapid-fire sound that seemed not to even stop to breathe. He knew this voice, too, but his mind wouldn't let him identify it. He was reminded of Eddie Caldwell, a boisterous childhood friend who never stopped asking questions. JD. A name finally matched the voice, but he still couldn't grab hold of him in the sea of darkness.

The boisterous voice transposed to low rumbling tones. Josiah. The name came quickly this time and the voice in the darkness sometimes had distinguishable words. But for the most part, the con man's mind refused to wrap itself around the words in understanding. He wanted to tell Josiah to slow down so he could understand him. He knew that Josiah would lead him out of the darkness. He had to get out. Feeling the panic rising again, Ezra began to struggle with all his energy against the hated darkness.

Then there was silence. But he wasn't alone. Ezra could feel the security of someone else sitting with him in the blackness. As his awareness continued to penetrate his private prison, teasing with breaking him free, the con man knew it was Larabee who was with him. The few words spoken were very distinct. "Your safe Ezra. Come back to us. We need you." And then he was gone.

A soft raspy drawl replaced Larabee's presence and he felt like the light of pre-dawn was beginning to creep into his black prison. He turned his face toward the comforting voice that was leading him to the doorway. Vin...Poetry? The halting speech with a slight lisp allowed Ezra's dulled mind to keep up. He recognized the words spoken and even recalled the author of the poem. A smile twitched at his face. Keep reading, Vin. Show me how to get out of here. The tone changed and he knew the Texan was no longer reading, but calling to him directly. No, Vin, not your fault... don't want you to trade places with me. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Ezra jerked as he felt his hand gripped and squeezed tightly. Tanner had a hold of him and was leading him home.

"I'm sorry, pard." The words banished the darkness and Ezra opened the door to freedom.


"Nathan!" JD burst through the bat wing doors of the saloon and stumbled into the first table in his haste. "Nathan, come quick!"

The healer leapt from his chair at JD's urgency. He had sent JD to sit with Ezra and Vin while he ate, and now he raced up the stairs after the young man, closely followed by their three other worried friends. It had been five very long days.

The men anxiously crowded into the room to find Vin sitting on Ezra's bed, holding the gambler's hand with his good hand.

"Vin, what is it?" asked Nathan gently.

"He opened his eyes Nate. It was just for a minute, but he opened 'em," said Vin anxiously.

"You sure about that?"

"I saw it too. He did. He opened his eyes Nathan. Is he gonna be alright?" rattled JD.

Nathan gently pried open one of Ezra's eyelids. The gambler absently squinted his eye closed and scrunched up his nose in displeasure. Nathan grinned. The con man was hiding in there somewhere, he might not be alert, but he was no longer in a coma. "Ezra, can you hear me?"

They all waited, holding their breath, hoping for the Southerner to respond.


"C'mon Ez. Ya slept long enough. Hell, it's almost afternoon," said Vin.

Eyelids fluttered. A hand twitched.

"That's it Ez. C'mon. Open them eyes," encouraged Vin.

Finally, the gambler forced his eyes open, if only for a brief moment.

"All right, Ez!" said Vin with a smile.

Ezra's green eyes tracked to Vin. He blinked several times, and one corner of his mouth twitched toward a smile before the eyes drifted closed again.


"Let him rest, Vin." Nathan laid his hand on Vin's shoulder and spoke so only he could hear, "Ya did real good."

"Is he going to be okay Nathan?" asked JD.

"I wish I could say for sure JD, but this is good. He seemed to know Vin."

"But he was only awake for a minute."

"Yeah, that's how these things go sometimes, JD. We just gotta make sure every time he wakes we get some water in him and some food when we can." Nathan looked at the men surrounding him. There was still concern on their faces, but they were noticeably less stressed. "Ok, let's go. These two need to get some rest."

"Aw, Nathan!" complained JD. He wanted to stay.

Buck cuffed JD, knocking his bowler hat off his head.

"What was that for?"

"Let's go JD," said Buck with a grin, wrapping his arm around the kid's shoulder, dragging him playfully out of the room.


The weary sheriff entered his hotel room in Eagle Bend. He took off his bowler hat and laid it on the dresser. He was unhappy with the whole situation. Chris had sent him in Ezra's place to pick up a package. Having started late in the day, JD had ridden as hard as he could without injuring his horse. He wanted to get that package and get back to be with Ezra and make sure he was okay. As he hung his coat on the hook, it thumped against the wall. That's strange. Checking the pockets to see what had bumped against the wall, he pulled out the book he had picked up in the alley. In all the excitement of the accident and taking care of his injured friends, he had totally forgotten about it.

Curious as to what it was and who's it was, JD opened the front cover and saw it was a diary - Ezra's diary to be exact. A small voice in his head told him he shouldn't read the book. It was Ezra's private thoughts, but his curiosity had a much louder voice. He wanted to know what made Ezra tick. The con man was so guarded that you couldn't ever tell what he was thinking. His weariness forgotten, the kid flopped down on the bed and began to read the book.

JD had lost all track of time in his fascination of what he was reading. Several of Ezra's cons were outlined in the book. No surprise there. It was the con man's early days before he had become a part of the seven. JD laughed to himself. Even in his writing, Ezra was guarded. Entries were carefully worded to avoid incrimination, and actual feelings were almost never described, just hinted at. However, as he read further JD began to feel edgy, and gradually more disturbed.

Pre-dawn was beginning to filter through the window, casting its light over the tired sheriff who was oblivious to it. JD rolled over to his back in an effort to relieve his aching shoulders that had been caused by lying on his stomach all night while he read the diary. He held the book above him, squinting at the fine print. He no longer felt a desire to read the words but, rather, felt it was his duty to finish the book. JD shook his head, hoping something would tell him it wasn't true, that it was all a joke. The young man frowned at the words. "No, that can't be... " he muttered. "Dammit. It's not true, Ezra!" As each page that he read was turned to the next, JD's ever-growing anger moved that much closer to the surface.

As the sun rose over the horizon, JD finished the now hated book and cursed the day he ever met Ezra Standish and his deceitful, conning ways. He hurled the journal across the room in utter disgust, knocking the water pitcher off the dresser, shattering it. He didn't care. All that mattered now was getting back to Four Corners and warning the others about the con man's lies.


Back in Four Corners, Ezra was finding that the stupor of unconsciousness was preferable to the pain and confusion he felt when he was awake. However, he forced himself to stay awake as long as he could. He feared that he would be trapped in the black cellar again. He quietly suffered with his fiercely pounding head. He could not find one comfortable position. His shoulder ached terribly and his ribs burned with every breath.

"Ya with me, Ezra?"

"Yes," hissed Ezra with his eyes closed tightly against the pain.

"Yer head hurting?"

"Sick... "

Josiah helped Nathan roll him to his right side as Ezra began to retch. The gambler's right hand slid to his left side in an attempt to support painful ribs. After he had lost what little was in his stomach, he was hit by the dry heaves. Ezra groaned and tears trickled down his cheeks from the pain. The Southerner felt a cup pressed against his lips and heard Josiah say, "Rinse and spit, Ezra." He obeyed the command, keeping his eyes closed tightly. "Good, now drink."

"No... sick... "

"Drink it, Ezra," said Nathan. "It will help yer stomach."

Too weary to argue any further, Ezra sipped the awful tasting brew and clenched his teeth as the two men rolled him as gently as possible onto his back.


"I know, Ezra. The tea will help."


The tracker came over and sat by his bed. "I'm here, Ezra."

"Not... your... fault."

"The hell it isn't. Iffen I hadn't snatched yer book... "

Ezra opened his eyes and looked wearily at his friend.

"Takes two... to chase... didn't have to... follow... "

"Enough, you two," said Josiah. "It was an accident, plain and simple."

"But... "

"No, Brother Vin, you don't get to claim the fault for this. If Ezra hadn't been on the roof. If you hadn't taken his book. If Brother Ezra hadn't chased you. If Chris hadn't hollered at you. If the roof had better shingles. If, if, if! It was an accident. Plain and simple."

Ezra nodded in agreement and squeezed Vin's hand trying to make his friend understand.

"JD?" Ezra whispered.

Vin looked helplessly at Josiah. They had been through the same conversations with Ezra several times today. First, he'd try to make sure Vin didn't blame himself and then he would ask for JD. Everyone else had been here to see him and the con man somehow thought since JD hadn't come that something had happened to the kid. No matter how many times they told him, he didn't seem to comprehend that JD had gone on an errand and would be back in a day or so.

Josiah just nodded to Vin, telling him wordlessly to go through it again with the confused con man.

Vin looked down at his friend. "Ezra, JD went to Eagle Bend. He's fine. He'll be back tomorrow."

"Where's JD?"

"He went to Eagle Bend, Ezra. Go back to sleep."

The con man complied with Vin's request and closed his eyes. He was too tired to argue.

Vin sighed. No matter what anyone said, he was the one who had knocked Ezra off the roof and he was the one who had nearly killed him. His friend was in this confused state because Vin wanted to play games. The tracker felt the grip on his hand go limp as Ezra slipped into slumber again.


JD had stewed on the ugly words all the way back to town. Every jog of his horse just made him angrier. JD was a good horseman, and it was his practice to take excellent care of his mount, feeding, watering, and brushing the horse after each ride. So intense were the young man's feelings against Ezra as he arrived back in Four Corners, that his horse was forgotten, left standing at the hitching rail in front of the saloon with the reins hanging down.

It was early evening when JD stormed through the bat wings into the saloon. The doors swung furiously in his wake. He stalked angrily over to the table where Chris and Buck were seated and dropped the package on the table in front of Chris without a word.

"Everything all right, JD?" asked Chris quietly, easily sensing the obvious turmoil in the young man.

"No!" he replied tersely.

The gunslinger stiffened at the kid's outburst. Nobody yelled at Chris Larabee. With the mood that JD was in, the young man was completely oblivious to the glare Larabee sent his way at his uncharacteristic show of impertinence.

"JD!" said Buck through clenched teeth. "Ya wanna get yourself killed?" he whispered in the kid's ear.

"I don't care, dammit!" shouted JD.

Buck looked at Chris, his eyes pleading with his oldest friend to give the kid some leeway. "What's wrong with you, kid?" asked Buck.

"It's... I... Dammit!" JD let out a string of curses with his anger and frustration. "I'm so damn mad... I can't talk about it!"

Buck and Chris exchanged glances. Neither man had ever seen JD so riled up.

"Well kid, when yer ready to talk... "

"I ain't no kid, Buck!" he spat.

"Whoa! Whoa, I didn't mean nothing by that JD. Look, why don't you take a few minutes ta calm down? Get a better hold of things. Ezra's been asking for ya. Why don't ya go on up and say hello so he knows yer okay?"

"No!" The simple incensed word took Buck by surprise. Buck knew that JD had been worried about the gambler. That was the reason why he hadn't wanted to go to Eagle Bend at all, but now he was back in town and was refusing to see Ezra.

"I don't know what's got yer britches twisted, JD, but ya'd best figure it out and get over there and see Ezra. He's worried about ya for some reason and he won't take nobody's word for it that yer okay. Nathan says it ain't good for him to be so upset, so yer gonna go over there, say hello, and tell him yer okay so he can rest easy." Buck paused, looking at the enraged countenance. Maybe this ain't such a good idea. "Move it boy," he ordered, "You say hello and then we'll sort out what's botherin' ya."

With fire in his eyes, JD snapped, "Fine!" He turned, banging into a table blocking his path. He flipped the table over and stormed out the door without another word.

"What the hell was that about?" asked Larabee as he watched the bat wing doors swing rapidly in JD's wake.

Buck shrugged, "I don't know, Chris. I never seen him like this. Somethin' really bad musta happened in Eagle Bend."


The door to the clinic flung open, slamming into the wall, startling both Vin and Ezra. Nathan had left ten minutes earlier to go over to the livery to bandage up Tiny who had been bit by a surly horse.


JD ignored Vin and walked over to Ezra and spat at him, "I'm back you lying, conniving son of a bitch! I don't ever wanna see your face again. As soon as you can ride, you can get the hell out of town!" JD looked as if he was going to take a swing at Ezra.

Ezra shrank back away from JD, pressing deeper into the pillows in bewilderment.

Vin sprung off the chair and planted himself between JD and the defenseless man on the bed. "What the hell do ya think yer doin'?"

"I'm telling that... that... " unable to find words in his fury, JD became even more irate. "I'm telling that damn liar what I think of him. Now, git outta my way." He poked Vin in the chest with his index finger.

"I don't know what the hell is wrong with ya, but Ezra ain't up to this so back off." Vin pushed JD back a step with his good arm.

JD shoved Vin's arm off his shoulder. "Get the hell outta my way, Vin."

Vin stood his ground and shook his head, "Ain't gonna happen, JD."

JD started to step around Vin and the tracker moved to block him. "Get the hell outta here JD. Come back when yer brain's workin'!"

Incensed at the insult and captured in the heat of the moment, JD punched Vin in the mouth.

Staggering back from the force of the blow, Vin brought his hand up to his lip wiping at the blood that was trickling from the cut. His eyes flicked to the blood on his fingertips, then back to JD's face. The kid was reminded of a cornered cougar as he saw the ferocious look in Vin's eyes. For the briefest moment it crossed JD's mind that this wasn't such a good idea, but his overwhelming rage at Ezra overruled any other reasoning.

"JD... what's wrong?" The frail voice from the bed behind Vin did nothing but add fuel to the fire of JD's intense anger and Vin's over-protectiveness.

"Last chance, JD," snarled Vin advancing toward the younger man. "Get the hell out!"

"How the hell can you defend that no good, lying, cheating piece a... " JD was rocked backwards by Vin's right fist connecting with his jaw. Pain shot through his face and he momentarily saw stars. He reeled backwards several steps trying to catch his balance. "You hit me!" he said in disbelief.

"Pfft!" Vin scoffed as if he thought JD was an idiot. The kid turned the fury that had mounting inside him since reading the diary the previous night toward the outraged tracker. Blinded to Tanner's injuries, JD drove his shoulder into the Texan's mid-section and they sprawled, rolling across the deck. Exchanging blows, the two bounced roughly down the stairway into the street.


"Fight! Fight! It's a fight!"

Buck and Chris leapt out of their chairs in the saloon and ran to the street. Both men groaned at the sight that met their eyes - Vin and JD brawling in the dirt.

"Ah hell!" complained Buck. "I'll get JD... "

"And I'll get Vin, before they hurt each other."


"Jimmy! Hey Jimmy!" Billy Travis burst into Mrs. Potter's store calling for his best friend. He wanted Jimmy to watch the fight with him. In his excitement, Billy ran right past Nathan and smacked into Josiah.

"Hold up there, son," said the giant of a man.

"Mr. Sanchez... Mr. Jackson... um... you'd better come quick. JD and Vin is fightin'!"

"What! Vin's gotta broken wrist. What the hell are they thinkin'!" stormed Nathan as they rushed out into the street.


Chris and Buck reached the battling twosome just as Vin landed a punch to JD's midsection that sent the younger man to the ground. Gasping for breath, JD scrambled to his feet and charged Vin, tackling him. Both men tumbled into the hitching rail bringing it down with them as they hit the hard packed soil again.

Buck grabbed JD's upper arms and dragged him off Vin. He was caught off guard by the strength of the younger man. He'd teased and wrestled with JD numerous times, but he'd never tried to hold him off another man. The kid was slipperier than a fish.

Larabee grabbed Vin as his gained his feet, prepared to go after JD. He had his hands full with the struggling tracker. Somewhere during the battle Vin had lost or discarded his sling, but he didn't seem to notice the pain he should be feeling in his arm. The gunslinger would have hated to see what would happen if these two were allowed to continue to fight. JD was heavier than the wiry tracker, but Vin was quicker and had no qualms about fighting dirty. The Texan, who had spent quite a bit of time with the Kiowa and the Comanche tribes, considered anything fair game in a fight.

JD threw his head back and caught Buck in the jaw, making the taller man see stars. JD escaped his grip and lunged at the tracker, successfully landing a right to Vin's eye while Chris was still holding him. Larabee let go of the tracker in an attempt to seize JD while Buck was down, but JD twisted out of his grasp. Buck got to his feet and grabbed for the closest fighter, which happened to be Vin. The tracker spun away from him and charged JD. Chris and Buck found themselves in each other's face.

"What the hell, did ya let go of him for?" Chris yelled at Buck.

"Me? Why'd you let go?" Buck barked back at Chris. They were toe to toe, but before they could think about taking it a step further, JD and Vin smashed through the rickety porch support post taking it down with them. The porch roof came crashing down around the brawlers.

Buck watched the pair scramble out of the debris. "Aw hell, we'd better stop them before they really hurt each other."

Chris wrapped his arms around the tracker, dragging him off of JD. Buck grabbed the kid in a bear hug lifting him off the ground. JD wasn't about to give up. His boot connected with Buck's shin just about the same time Tanner's flying elbow connected with Chris's nose.

Finding himself free once more, JD swung again at Vin, but suddenly his fist was caught up in the much larger hand of Josiah. "Enough!" bellowed the large man. Vin swung at JD but missed as he was jerked off his feet by Josiah's hand on the back of his collar. Josiah deposited the clawing tracker into the nearby water trough. As Vin fell into the trough, he hit his broken wrist on the edge of it. He gasped in pain as he went under, sucking in a lungful of the murky water. The drenched tracker came up gulping for air, coughing and sputtering.

"Hah! Serves ya right!" JD taunted as he stood grinning at Tanner's predicament. Suddenly, he felt pain in his captured arm. Josiah twisted the fist he still held and forced it behind JD's back roughly propelling him to the next water trough where he pushed him in face first.

"Now, cool off!" thundered the former preacher. Josiah turned, fuming at the grinning Larabee and Wilmington, "You two! What the hell we're you thinking? Were you going to let them kill each other? You take those... pups and get them dried off and cleaned up." He paused and glared at JD and Vin, "We'll meet in the saloon in twenty minutes and talk this out like the grown men you claim to be!"

Everyone gaped at Josiah, stunned by his outburst. He glared at Chris and Buck, "Time is wasting, boys!"

Buck waited until JD climbed out of the trough and then pulled the protesting kid down the street towards the boarding house.

Vin hadn't been able to climb out of his water trough yet. Between the throbbing pain in his wrist and the water he'd swallowed, he didn't feel so good. He grabbed the edge of the trough, leaned over and threw up.

Nathan frowned. I should just let him suffer for being so stupid! He sighed. No, he couldn't do that. He just didn't have it in him.

"Bring him upstairs Chris, I want to check that wrist, see if the fool hurt it again," ordered Nathan. He turned towards the stairs and saw the con man with a blanket wrapped around him, sitting on the top step clinging to the banister. "Aw Hell! Now what? Josiah, could you give me a hand?"

Josiah glanced up at the pale gambler and felt his anger draining away at the sight of the weak, distressed man. He quickly made his way up the steps and helped Nathan put Ezra back into bed. Chris followed them guiding the soggy tracker to the cot.


"Shh, Ezra, just rest." He gently brushed the younger man's hair back off his forehead and then tucked the blankets around him.

"JD?" mumbled Ezra

"Don't you worry yourself, Ezra," said Josiah as he helped hold the gambler up. Nathan gave him some tea laced with laudanum. "Just rest, son. I'll take care of those two." Ezra lay back into the pillows, exhausted from his effort.

"Ow! Dammit Chris!" growled Vin from the cot. Chris wasn't being very gentle in helping Vin get out of his wet clothes. "Lemme do it m'self."

"Fine!" he snapped as he backed away abruptly.

Nathan tossed a pair of his pants and a shirt at the tracker. "Put those on and let me take a look at that arm."

Vin complied as quickly as possible since he only had one hand that worked. It didn't make sense to provoke the flames any higher. He knew that he was outnumbered three to one with Chris, Josiah and Nathan all mad at him.

Nathan began to work on Vin's wrist. "Why don't you two go ahead? I'll bring this 'pup' when I finish up," he grinned and winked at Josiah. "See if ya can't get Mrs. Travis or Mrs. Potter to sit with Ezra for awhile whilst we have that meetin'."

Josiah nodded as he and Chris left the clinic.


"What the hell is wrong with you JD?"

"Leave me alone Buck!"

"What made you get into a fight with Vin? He's gotta broken wrist!"

"I can get dressed by myself!" JD's fury had barely broken the surface during the fight. Buck treating him like a baby only fueled his fire.

Buck tossed a dry shirt, hitting JD in the face with it. "Hurry it up, kid!"

"I... ain't... no... kid!" he spat one word at a time.

"Well having a fist fight with a man who was hurt sure proved that," said Buck sarcastically.

JD pulled on his pants and tucked in the shirt. "Let's go," he growled. "Who does Josiah think he is anyway, ordering us around like that?"

"Someone ya don't want ta mess with boy. Someone ya don't want ta mess with."


In the relative quiet of the clinic, Nathan re-splinted Vin's arm and cleaned up the cut on his lip. They were just about to leave when a feeble voice called them back, "Vin?" The tracker walked back and sat on the edge of the bed.

"What's wrong Ez?"

"JD... "

"Don't you worry. I ain't gonna let him bother ya again," said Vin protectively.

Ezra shakily grabbed Vin's right arm. "No... not... fault."

"What do you mean?"

"Journal," wheezed Ezra.

"What?" Vin bent down to hear the muffled voice.


"Journal? What about yer journal?"

"Where... "

"I dunno, Ez. I lost it when we fell off the roof."

"JD... "

"JD what?"

"JD... journal... mad... "

"Vin, let him rest," called Nathan from the doorway, "Hello, Mrs. Travis. Thanks for helpin' out, Ma'am," he said to the blonde newspaper editor who had agreed to come and sit with Ezra.

"No problem, Nathan. Is there anything I should know?"

"No, I gave him some laudanum so he should sleep through the night. I won't be gone long. I know you need to get back to Billy."

"That's all right, Nathan," Mary said with a gentle smile. "Billy's spending the night with the Potters. Take all the time you need."

Nathan nodded his thanks to her. "C'mon, Vin, let's go."

"Don't worry none. I'll be back later, Ez." Vin tucked the blankets around Ezra, and stood, tipping his hat to Mary. "Ma'am." She moved further into the room and sat in the chair next to the bed as Vin followed Nathan out.

Vin frowned at the con man's words as he headed for the saloon. What did he mean, 'JD... journal... mad... '? Does he think JD's mad because I knocked him off the roof? Nah, that doesn't make sense, but then again, Ezra ain't makin' much sense neither. Vin tucked the thought into the back of his mind. He'd deal with it later if Ezra brought it up again.


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