Disclaimer: Vin Tanner (sigh) and Nathan Jackson don't belong to me, they belong to Trilogy, MGM, etc.
Spoilers: Mainly for Serpents, with references to Manhunt, Ghosts of the Confederacy, Penance, and The Trial
I ain't rightly sure if I got through to him. If what I said made any difference, or if I just muddied the waters more. But I had to try, when he started talkin' like that. Comparin' bein' a bounty hunter to bein' an assassin. He wasn't really with me, when he spoke about those years. He was in another time, in another place. But no matter what he says, I can't believe that the man who risked his life to save mine is a murderer.
He's been both hunter and hunted to survive. He may have his doubts about that, but I don't. I know he's a good man. I know that like I know my own name. But he ain't so sure. I know he's doubtin' himself. Oh, he never come right out and said it, but he is. I know that look in his eyes. Know that tone in his voice. For most people, self-doubt' ain't a word to be used when speaking of Vin Tanner. I'm one of the exceptions. This ain't the first time I've seen him like this.
He did this after Claire Moseley was murdered by her father, a few months after we started ridin' together. Doubtin' his instincts, what years of experience told him. Now, he ain't sure if there's a difference between him, a former bounty hunter, and Lucius Stutz, a hired assassin. And I ain't sure if I got through to him. I told him that he knows the difference between right and wrong. But is it enough?
See, Vin has had to do things in order to survive. Bad things. He knows that. And at the time he made his choices, he thought they were the right ones to be made. But what he don't see is that doin' bad things don't make him a bad man. It don't make him bound for hell. Josiah and me, we talked about that. Ever since Vin took up for him so fiercely with that Pinkerton agent, Josiah has . . . I don't know. Become more protective of Vin? Don't know how else to say it.
Josiah. Maybe he could have gotten through to Vin. The man tries to heal souls, the way I heal bodies. Or maybe not. I don't know. Don't stop me from wishin' he was with me just a few minutes ago. Maybe Josiah woulda been drawn to the wagon. He sees crows, and they tell him when trouble is comin.' I don't have nothin' which tells me when one of my friends might need me. If only to provide a sympathetic ear.
I was just gettin' a breath of fresh air and stretchin' my legs, when I saw Vin with that thing of Lucius Stutz. I never seen that look on his face before. If Ezra had seen his expression, he would have used one of his five dollar words. I remember one of em. Enraptured.' But I ain't real sure if that's the word I want to be usin.' He seemed lost . . . and enchanted, like somebody put a magic spell on him. He talked about what he mighta become, with that rifle and $100, 000 as temptation. Might turn any man into a monster . . . any man, of course, bein' him.
I believe every man, and every woman, has their limits. Whether it's money, or their family, their home, their town. Every person has a breaking point. But I don't believe Vin Tanner's price, his limit is $100, 000. Would he think about it? Hell yes! Vin's a good man, but he's still just a human bein' like the rest of us. He'll be the first one to tell you that, too. The thing about Vin, though, is I reckon he feels guilty for even thinkin' about it. He has his own personal code, and even thinkin' on that money betrays that code, accordin' to him.
I can't tell him that I know he wouldn't do somethin,' because I even don't know what I would do in that situation. I know what I hope I would do, but I'm just a man too. I ain't perfect. That conversation is proof a' that. I know how to set a broken arm, and I know how to dig a bullet outta somebody. Don't rightly know how to give someone their confidence back, or how to heal a broken heart. All I know to do is tell Vin that I have faith in him. That I know, he knows the difference between murder and huntin.'
And I do. I have faith in him. No matter how hard it is for him, he always done the right thing, even if he lost his way for a time. Now, no body ever said that doin' the right thing is easy. Hell, if it's easy, it's probably the wrong thing to do. And we all lose our way. But when all is said and done, it all comes back to one thing. I trust Vin Tanner. I trust him to watch my back, whether it's in a fight or bein' there as a friend. Like he done when I found out the truth about my mama's death, and about my daddy's life.
Yeah, I got faith in him, and I can tell him that. But he's gotta have faith in himself, or it don't work. He's gotta face his demons, I can't do that for him. He's gotta find out, on his own, that he's got the strength to face those demons. He's gotta accept, for himself, that he ain't a monster. No matter what kinda rifle he uses. Don't mean I can't be there if he needs me. Don't mean that he's gotta do it alone. No matter what he thinks . . . he ain't alone now, he don't gotta do things by himself.
I reckon, though, that facing this demon by himself is a matter a' honor with him. Well, I done said my piece. Vin knows I have faith in him. I can only hope that gives him a bit a' strength. That what I done is enough. And even if it ain't, I hope knowin' someone believes in him will make a difference
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