by Xaneth

Disclaimer: I do not own the Magnificent Seven nor do I make any money whatsoever from this story. All copyrights apply.

Thanks to Nancy and Joy, as well as my Beta readers.

It was Josiah who first saw the seven men riding into the town of Four Corners, from the top of the church where he was fixing a long overdue leak.

They rode abreast, and the former preacher was struck by how much they looked from a distance like the seven protectors of the town, but as they came closer he realized they were all around the same age and they were also all fair.

Josiah sat still, watching them ride all the way into town until he lost sight as they rode up to the saloon; he then climbed down from the roof and headed in the same direction, curious about the new arrivals. When he entered the saloon a few minutes after them, he saw the seven new comers lined up with their backs against the bar, drinks in hand.

A quick sweep of the rest of the bar saw Chris in his usual spot with his back against the wall looking at the seven at the bar and Vin sitting next to him, in the shadows. Ezra sat up at the poker table involved in a game, but he to had noticed the arrival. Finally Chris decided it was time he introduced himself and wandered over to bar, the obvious leader of the new group watched him with caution in his eyes.

The two came to stand face to face and looked hard at each other for a good moment. The other three peacekeepers in the saloon shared a look before going to stand behind their leader.

"Something we can help you fellas with?" Chris asked the man in front of him.

"Yes, sir-ree. We heard this town had some Indian troubles, so me and brothers decided to come help ya’ll out with it!"

Chris’ face remained indifferent, then he said slowly and carefully.

"Well, I hate to disappoint you but we don’t have any problems with the Indians and we’re unlikely to in the future. So you best just be headed back the way you came." The leader of the seven made to turn but the young leader of the other group sneered and grabbed Larrabee’s arm, "And who the hell are you to tell me what to do?"

Chris turned back ever so slowly and glanced at the hand on his arm then directed a incomparable glare at its owner, who got the point and removed the hand but didn’t back down with his argument.

He stared defiantly at the man in black, "Well, who are ya’ll?"

Chris gave a humourless smile, "We’re the law in this town, along with three other men, so if you boys are looking for trouble.." he left the rest unsaid.

The man gave a slight smirk but his face quickly fell, "We ain’t lookin’ for no trouble, we jist thought we could help."

"Appreciated," said Chris making it very clear it wasn’t, "But like I said-,"

The leader of the young men raised a hand, "I heard ya, but me and my brothers still need a place to stay for the night. So, if you don’t mind, we’ll just finish our drinks then head over to the boarding house."

Chris stared hard at the men, trying to measure him up. His gut was telling him these men were trouble, but he couldn’t very well run them out of town without a good reason.

He turned away, giving his men behind him a brief glance, which spoke volumes.

Keep an eye on them.

+ + + + + + +

The seven newcomers had yet to introduce themselves to Chris or anyone else yet, so Ezra decided it was time to gather some information about them and meandered over to them, still standing at the bar.

He gave them a winning smile, "I don’t infer several of you refined gentlemen would care for a match of cards?" he said shuffling his worn deck with one hand.

The main man gave him a puzzled look and Standish immediately realized he was not dealing with the sharpest tool in the shed. He sighed, "Fancy a game?" he amended.

The man grinned then, and him and a couple of the others joined the gambler at the table for what was bound to be good game for Ezra. As he dealt cards the gambler took the opportunity to study the four men at the table as well as the three still standing at the bar, and it struck him that they had taken great pains to ensure that they would be taken as brothers.

They all had the same sandy blonde hair, but it was obvious to Ezra that most of the locks weren’t that colour naturally and had to assume that they used some sort of bleach on their hair to achieve that effect. They also dressed alike in complete charcoal black, not unlike Chris’ clothes.

Ezra also took note of the identical chain and silver crucifix they each wore around their necks. He looked at the "leader" of the seven blonde men who was squinting at his cards in an almost comical manner and Ezra gave himself a mental kick, this man not only went to great lengths to appear fair, he also went to great lengths to appear stupid.

"I’m Ezra Standish, by the by," said the gambler to his latest victim.

The charlatan blonde gave him a surprisingly charming grin and introduced himself and his "brothers", as he called them, as William, himself; John; Richard and Harold, at the table and at the bar, Henry; Charles and James Crow. Each of the men gave Ezra a grin, which seemed more like baring of teeth, as his name was called.

"Charmed, I’m sure," said the gambler, despite the insincerity, "You gentlemen are going to a terrible amount of effort just to come help out a dusty little town with a few Indians, if what you say is true."

William Crow gritted his teeth, "You calling me a liar?" he demanded his cards forgotten.

Ezra set his face in a blank façade and put down his cards, "You misunderstand me gentlemen, I’m merely asking what your incentive for this little escapade is."

William gave him an appraising stare and smiled slowly, "Smarter than you look, gambling man," he said pointing at Standish, who wondered at the implied insult. The eldest Crow stood up and his men followed suit, "And you ain’t making any friends fer yourself, neither."

Ezra looked hard at William Crow, then put on an absolute poker face, "You seem to be trying very hard to appear different than what you truly are Mr Crow, and I advise you, if you are in this town to incite trouble where there isn’t any, you may be making trouble for yourself instead," the gambler swept up his cards, "You go and tell that to whomever sent you and your men here," he said.

William Crow looked suitably surprised but quickly covered it with a stony look and stalked out the batwing doors, followed closely by the six other Crows.

Standish smiled lightly to himself, shuffled his cards once, put them back into his breast pocket then stood and wandered over to Chris’ table, where he sat opposite him, needing no invite. Vin was lounging next to Larrabee, but sat up straighter when the gambler took a seat.

"They ain’t brothers, are they?" he asked.

"Definitely not," the gambler replied as he poured himself some whiskey and downed it. Larrabee raised an eyebrow at him and he smiled almost sheepishly before telling him, "Just anticipating the time ahead."

Chris smirked, "You smell trouble?"

"Hell, yes!" both Ezra and Vin retorted at the same moment.

Larrabee turned his attention to Standish, "What else did you find out?"

"They’re Catholics," Ezra told him thinking back on his conversation with the Crows, "They’re definitely not brothers."

Chris and Vin nodded sagely.

"And someone definitely sent them here with the intent purpose of stirring up trouble," the gambler finished.

"Trouble with the Indians," Vin seethed.

"Probably someone looking to make a name for himself," Chris said.

"Or someone we already know," Ezra added cryptically.


"There’s been a long standing debate in this town, as I’m sure you know, about whether or not we’re enough, whether or not this town needs a sheriff and deputies."

"Four Corners has a sheriff," Vin said in JD’s defence.

"Not according to the towns folk. These people are fickle; they are quick to take sides. I believe if something beyond our power where to happen in this town loyalties would soon alter and the people of Four Corners would expediently forget anything we’ve done for them. That may be precisely what this someone wants," Ezra told his companions.

The three peacekeepers sat in the dim light of the saloon for a few moments contemplating the gamblers last statement.

"You may be right," Chris said quietly at last, his voice filled with regret.


The next day all the seven where up fairly early unwilling to leave the Crows alone about the town, Chris and Vin stood on the steps of the church with Josiah watching the seven men getting their horses ready for travel at the livery.

They made quick work of it and where soon on their way, as they past the church on their way out of town William Crow tipped his hat toward the watchers with a grin. The courtesy was not returned.

Chris was quite prepared to feel relaxed again now that the Crows where out of town, but Vin couldn’t shake the feeling that Four Corners hadn’t seen the last of the seven catholic men. He said as much to Larrabee and despite himself, the man in black had to agree this was far from over.

The seven peacekeepers where restless for the remainder of the day and toward midday all their suspicions came to a head when a nearby farmer came hurtling into town on horseback.

He immediately made his way to the sheriff’s office where he met Chris on his way out. The farmer, who’s name was Logan, held an arrow in his hand and a foul expression on his face as he addressed the leader of team seven.

"I’ve been attacked by Indians," the man announced, he held the feather tailed arrow aloft as proof.

"An entire crop of Lucerne was burned and two of my horses have been stolen," Logan went on, "I found this stuck in my front door." He handed Larrabee the arrow, which the leader of the seven took with a sceptical frown.

"Are the Indians announcing themselves now?" he asked a little sarcastically.

"Well, a little irregular, I’ll admit," Logan said, "But it’s definitely the Indians and I want to know what you intend to do about this!"

"When exactly did this happen?" Chris wanted to know.

"I reckon it was this morning while I was out huntin’," Logan told him.

"So, you didn’t actually see anything?"

Logan hesitated, "No," he admitted, "But that doesn’t mean a thing. That arrow proves it was them heathens."

"You will call them Indians Mr Logan, as is proper," Larrabee told him, "Look, I can understand stealing horses but the Indians have no reason to burn your crops."

Logan narrowed his eyes, "You saying you’re not going to do anything about this?"

Chris gave the farmer a steady stare, "No," he told him, "I intend on looking into this matter, I just think it’s highly unlikely that Indians are involved. In the meantime I suggest you go home. Oh and I’ll be keeping this arrow. For evidence," he added in mock seriousness.

Logan nodded sombrely and Larrabee managed not to laugh, at least until the man had mounted his horse and rode back out of town.

Spotting Vin across the street, the man in black stopped chuckling and set across the road towards the tracker.

"Hey, Chris," Vin greeted him in reserved tones sensing the man in blacks demeanour.

"Vin," Chris said with a nod, and then held the arrow aloft for him to see.

Tanner frowned as he took it from Larrabee, his expression clearly asking a question.

"Farmer came in a few minutes ago, claiming his crops had been burned and he found this arrow in his front door. Some stolen horses as well, he’s saying Indians must of done it," Chris started towards the saloon, and Vin fell into step beside him.

The tracker gave a light laugh, "Indians? That ain’t right."

"I agree," Chris told him, "But still, someone did and we have to go out there, find out who," the man in black sighed, "Why do I get the feeling that those Crow brother will be showing up very soon."

Vin looked over his shoulder, "Maybe ‘cause their riding in to town this very minute."

Chris didn’t bother to look around, "I thought you where the one who was supposed to have premonitions."

Vin gave a lopsided grin, "Ooh, big words Larrabee," he joked, "You’ve been spendin’ too much time around Ez."

"What the people in this town seem to forget," Chris said mostly to himself, "Is that I happen to own a gun, which I rarely use with restraint," and carried on towards the bar.

Tanner chuckled to himself, but his amusement died as he turned back to watch the seven blonde men headed for the livery and had one of those premonitions.

+ + + + + + +

Chris and Vin took Buck and JD with them later that day to Logan’s farm to check on the damage. The sight that greeted them was indeed exactly as the farmer had described, three fields of what was once crops where black with the occasional scorched roots sticking out of the ground, the smell of smoke still hung in the air.

Chris took a moment to marvel at how contained the fire had burned, barely going over the line formed by the posts and fencing, looking over at Vin, Larrabee noted that the tracker was looking at that as well.

They reined in and tied their horses to the post out front the house for that very purpose. Logan came out in a rush, followed by a woman, presumably his wife.

"Gentlemen," the farmer greeted them.

"If you say so," Chris commented, throwing the man for a second or two, but he recovered magnificently and went on smoothly.

"I see you’ve noted the damage," he said sweeping an arm at the burnt fields, "And see, here’s where we found the arrow."

Logan pointed to a gouge in his front door, it wasn’t awfully deep.

Chris frowned but refrained from commenting on it, Vin on the other hand had no such reservations.

"It ain’t awfully deep is it?" he said in a conversational tone.

Not wishing to appear ignorant, Logan didn’t reply, so Vin carried on, "The hole in your door," he clarified, "It’s to shallow to have been shot by an Indian, more than likely, that arrow was shot by an amateur."

Logan appeared to think about this, "So, you’re saying this wasn’t Indians?" he asked a little slow on the uptake.

"Yup," Buck made a contribution to the conversation, while JD hung back still looking at the smoking remains of the crops.

"Mr Logan," Chris cut in, "If Indians had really done this do you really think they would left evidence of it?"

Logan was silent for a while, "No, I suppose not," he agreed reluctantly, "But then who?"

Chris gave a grim smile, "I think I have a pretty good idea."

+ + + + + + +

The remaining peacekeepers in the town, Ezra, Josiah and Nathan, kept close watch on the Crow brothers. They were all in the saloon so Ezra sat at the poker table and Josiah at the bar. Nathan sat on a chair out side the door, keeping an eye on the town at the same time.

The Crow brothers were not oblivious to the scrutiny but chose to ignore it, opting instead to sit around one of the large round tables laughing and drinking. They stayed this way until the other four of the seven returned from Logan’s farm later that evening, as soon as the others came through the bat wing doors, Ezra stood and excused himself from his game and Josiah came forward from the bar, Nathan stayed outside for a few minutes later all his comrades spilled out of the saloon onto the boardwalk.

"What did you find?" Nathan wanted to know.

"Definitely not Indians!" Vin said adamantly, and the other three nodded in agreement.

"Indians wouldn’t leave evidence of themselves and have no reason to burn a farmers crops," Chris said.

"And other than that the crime was quite obviously committed by the Crows. But at whose command I wonder?" Ezra turned to look saloon doors as if trying to read the seven blonde men’s minds.

"I don’t like the idea of people goin’ around causin’ trouble where there ain’t any," Vin said, "Trying to cause a rift like Ez said."

"Why don’t we just go and ask the Crows," JD wanted to know.

"No evidence," Buck told him, "We can’t be sure it’s them."

Ezra let a feral smile creep across his face, "Not yet, we can’t."

The other men looked at him, waiting for him to elaborate. When he didn’t, Chris sighed and said impatiently, "Meaning?"

"What if we let the Crow brothers believe their scheme is working, they seem like the type not to be able to resist a good revel," Ezra told them, "What could be better than an outright confession."

Chris nodded slowly as he came to realize what the gambler was talking about, the others joined in after a moment.

"But how?" Nathan asked.

"Let them believe," Ezra started, "That a rift has indeed been created as per their plan between the seven of us, and that our control over the crime in the town has been compromised," the gambler frown as he tried to think of a simple way to put it, "Let them believe we have failed," he said at last, "And then let them rejoice."

At that the rest of the seven looked at their leader looking for his response, Chris for his part looked thoughtful for a long while before he smiled a malevolent smile and nodded, "Let the con begin," he said simply.

+ + + + + + +

If the Crow brothers knew anything of the elaborate plan involving them, they didn’t show it. Chris and Vin where to be the players in the first of the acts that would seal the suspicion of failure in the minds of the seven brothers and thus whomever sent them to Four Corners.

That night the two gunslingers sat opposite each other at a table in the saloon trying to keep straight faces as they waited for the Crows to enter the bar. The rest of the seven were at various places around the bar.

Ezra sat at the poker table playing a game of solitaire, which was only half on his mind as he kept an eye on the entrance to the saloon. Nathan stood at the bar with Josiah and JD also keeping watch while they drank and talked.

Just a few moments later the seven blonde men entered the saloon and made their way to the bar, they studiously ignored the seven.

Chris caught Vin’s eye and nodded slightly, at that signal the tracker leapt to his feet and faced off with the man in black, "Ye can’t rightly say that," he yelled, "Ye ain’t got no proof it was them Indians!"

Chris stood as well then, "I do have proof," he said in a quieter tone.

"Yeah? What proof?" the tracker demanded.

"The arrow," Chris replied with a smirk and held it aloft for not just the two of them to see.

By now the Crow brothers’ attention had been caught and they where blatantly watching the scene. Ezra sidled up behind them, ready for his part.

Vin snorted, "That ain’t proof," he said, "Could have been shot by anyone."

Chris gave an evil smile, "Well I can’t say I ever trusted those Indians," said carelessly.

Vin, for his part, yelled, "I knew it! If ye don’t trust them you might as well not trust me."

Larrabee didn’t reply but instead just raised an eyebrow and smiled knowingly.

Tanner’s mouth fell open, "Ye mean…" his words stumbled to a halt, then he set his face in a glare directed at Chris and strode out the door. The leader of the seven merely shrugged and sat back down.

Buck, his face red with the effort not to laugh, put down his drink and came forward for his part. He sat down opposite his friend.

"Chris, you can’t have meant that," he said in a cajoling tone.

Larrabee looked up menacingly, "I’m so sick to death of that tracker and his precious Indians."

Buck looked suitably shocked for a second at how realistic his friend sounded.

"You can’t mean that!" he repeated.

Chris looked mock confused for a minute, "Can’t I?" he asked innocently, then gave Buck a look and stood to leave.

Buck opened his mouth to reply but closed it again when Chris stormed out the batwing doors. He looked over his shoulder at the men at the bar and received shrugs and mock confusion in return. Behind the Crow brothers, in Ezra’s eyes, the lion roared.

+ + + + + + +

Chris stepped off the boardwalk and grinned, then chuckled and before long was outright laughing. Vin stepped out from around the side of the building.

"Well!" he said with a smile, "I never knew you were such a good actor, Chris."

Larrabee managed to stop laughing long enough to say, "Speak for yourself."

Tanner smirked then became serious, "Ya think they bought it?" he wanted to know.

Chris looked back toward the saloon with a thoughtful expression, "We’ll have to wait and see," he said.

+ + + + + + +

Back at the bar Josiah, Nathan and JD had joined Buck the table Chris and Vin had recently departed. JD couldn’t take it anymore; he leaned towards Wilmington with his back to the "brothers".

"Ya think it worked?" he whispered.

Buck merely shrugged indicating they would have to wait and see as Chris had told Vin only moments before. He looked at Josiah, who sat opposite him looking at the Crow brothers over his shoulder, and raised his eyebrows in question; the preacher shook his head in answer meaning Ezra was still talking to the Crows as his part in the elaborate plan. The three men at the table were getting restless and impatient.

Ezra on the other hand was in full swing. When Chris had followed Vin out of the bar he had commented how sick he was of the seven in general. The speed in which William Crow had latched onto that had to be some sort of record, "What was that?"

Ezra turned to him and raised an eyebrow, "Just commenting on my colleagues," he told him.

William did his best to appear casual as he asked, "And what about them?"

Ezra gave a half smile and narrowed his eyes at him, "Aren’t you the man who threatened me yesterday?" he said.

William waved his hand dismissively, "You must excuse that, I loose my head when I’m drunk."

Must? Ezra thought, noting the lack of trying-to-appear-stupid speech the man was using, "I see," he said, "Clearly I could not be more dissimilar from these men if I tried and one can only expend so much time around individuals that are so," he appeared to grope for a word, "beneath them."

William Crows eyebrow shot up in surprise; "Really?" he asked in what would best be described as a malicious tone of voice.

Ezra nodded in exaggeration hoping to make the Crow believe him drunk, "I’m quite up to here with it," he told them waving vaguely at his own chin.

Crow smiled and shared a glance with his the "brother" behind him, "Quite," he agreed and turned back to his drink.

Ezra turned back to his drink as well then and smiled, clearly pleased.


Anyone thinking to look above eyelevel at the roof of the telegraph office might have seen two figures moving furtively along behind the façade in the direction of the Clarion News. On that roof they stopped and hunkered down to spy at the entrance to the saloon.

"Are they still in there?" Buck wanted to know.

Vin lowered his spyglass, "Yup, still munchin’ away at their breakfast," he replied.

The two of them had been told by Chris to keep an eye on the brothers for the morning while the rest of the seven worked out their next move. So far they had done nothing more exciting than eat breakfast at Inez’s.

Buck still didn’t see why they had to watch from the roof though, "I mean, why can’t we just sit outside the bathhouse."

"Fer cryin’ out aloud Buck, quit yer whining. They might spot us if we sit there."

"Well, from what Ez says about them Crows, that William probably knows anyhow," Buck replied.

Ezra had taken the time to explain to the others that the leader of the seven blonde men, who called himself William, was not nearly as stupid as he appeared and would catch onto them soon enough if he had not done so already.

Vin didn’t reply but concentrated on the view through his glass. Only five of the seven blondes were sitting around the table near the window, the rest, Vin had to assume, where by the bar. The tracker, with his superior eyesight, could see they were almost done and would soon either leave the bar or go to the bar, either way they would soon be out of sight.

Vin lowered his spyglass, "We’ll need to move soon," he told his companion.

Buck nodded, "Where to?"

Vin grinned, "Somewhere with a better view," he said, then frowned. He raised the glass back to his eye and realized William Crow was looking directly at him through the window. The Crow waved.

"Damn," Vin cursed and ducked down, Buck followed suit without knowing why.


"We’ve been spotted."

"Damn," Buck echoed, "Who?"

"William," Vin said wryly.

Buck nodded knowingly, "Now what?"

"Guess we’re out of the game for now," the tracker replied.

+ + + + + + +

William Crow was worried. His brothers didn’t seem to share the feeling but William was sure their boss would not be happy that the seven where on to them. He looked at the man he thought of as his second in command.


John Crow looked up from his breakfast, "What?"

"Does it not worry you that two of the seven men we where sent here to destroy were just seen watching us from the top of the Clarion News," when he spoke in his regular voice William Crow did not sound unlike Ezra Standish.

John gave his "brother" his full attention, "These men ain’t stupid, Will. They prob’ly had us figur’d from the moment we came inta town," he said, "But still, at least our plan is workin’."

"Is it?" William asked planting the seed of doubt.

John frowned, "Meanin’?"

"The man we played poker with on our first day here was not only a gambler but a con man. The two professions seem to compliment each other well, does this not tell you something?"

John pushed his plate away and pulled the napkin out from his collar, after wiping his mouth with it he said, "Yer sure?" He did not like the implication.

"Yes," William said, "John, these men are playing us much better than we ever intended to play them."

John was silent for a while, "Well, I don’t know what te say," he said eventually, "What do you want to do?"

William did not need to think about it, "Our cover’s blown," he said, "They know what we’re here for and we know they know. I say we go and tell that bastard who hired us to find someone else."

"Why?" John looked appalled.

"Because, if we go back and say it didn’t work, you know what he’ll say?"

John shrugged.

" ‘I’ll settle for just having them killed then!’ " William told him putting on an affected British accent.

"So?" John wanted to know.

"Well, I may not be a nice person, but I’m not a killer. I’ve never killed anyone except in self-defence and I’m not going to start now!" William said vehemently.

John looked incredulous, "You’ve got to be kidding?"

William shrugged, "No," he looked slightly sheepish, "Promised someone," he admitted.

John resisted the urge to roll his eyeballs, "Really? Well, I don’t care what ye think of our boss, or what ye do and don’t wanna to do," he told the other man, "I’m in this fer the money and I’ll do jis about anythin’ te get it. So iffin you don’t mind, I’ll be goin’ te wire said boss," he stood and put his hat on his head, which he tipped toward his partner before exiting the saloon.

William sat where he was and not for the first time seriously questioned his choice of partner, as well as occupation. The person he had mentioned earlier when he told of is promise not to kill had meant a lot to him and he knew they would never have approved of his current occupation. He sat this way for a long time, the remainders of his breakfast getting cold and only roused himself when Inez came to the table.

"Can I get you anything else, snor?" the pretty barmaid asked him.

William looked blankly at her for a second before saying, "No. Thank-you."

Then he stood and with a look of determination set out to find a certain someone.

+ + + + + + +

Chris Larrabee was in a foul mood. He knew he couldn’t blame Vin and Buck for getting spotted but this still meant that the Crow brothers were smarter than they looked. Even Ezra agreed his plan was now redundant, but the Crow problem was still highly relevant. The seven protectors gathered in the sheriff’s office as Crows overran the saloon. None of them expected the knock on the door, and certainly did not expect the person who did the knocking.

Nathan, closest, opened the door at the persistent rapping, revealing the head Crow, William. He shrank back slightly at the scrutiny of seven men but quickly recovered and looked at Larrabee.

"May I come in?"

"Why?" Chris asked still glaring at the man.

Ezra grinned, "I believe Mr Crow has something to tell us, don’t you Mr…?" the gambler raised his eyebrow at the unspoken question.

"Gibson. My name is Will Gibson."

Chris narrowed his eyes, "What is this about, Mr Gibson?" he wanted to know.

William Gibson sighed, "About my, and my associates, presence in your town," he told the assembled men.

Chris nodded for him to continue all the while keeping a close eye on the man.

Will Gibson seemed to be wrestling with himself as he assembled his thoughts, when he looked up he had a determined look on his face.

"I know what you are trying to do, just as you know what we are trying to do. Things are not going according to plan and I for one would be quite happy to leave town and just write this off as a big foul up on our part, but my associates have other plans and have already wired our boss to tell him of the latest developments. I fear he will merely order your deaths by the hand of my associates." The man did look truly regretful.

"And you have a problem with this because…?" Buck asked.

Gibson looked a little affronted, "I am not a murderer."

Ezra smirked, "Just a killer, am I right?"

"No," Will frowned, "What would the difference be?"

"Murderers kill for no good reason, killers kill for freedom, self preservation, the life of a friend, these things make the consequences worthwhile," the gambler told him.

Will Gibson narrowed his eyes slightly, "I guess," he said.

Chris had something on his mind, "You said your boss…"

"Don’t even ask," Gibson cut him of sharply, making it clear he would not divulge his bosses name, "I have no death wish."

Chris was not happy about this but instead of pursue it further he leaned forward and said, "So let me get this straight, you where paid to come to our town with your six men intent on destroying our reputation in the surrounding areas by someone you fear to much to even speak his name but now you’ve decided the stakes have become to high and you’ve come to warn us?"

Will Gibson nodded slowly, realizing himself how foolish it sounded, "I know how it sounds," he told the gathered men, "But I didn’t sign on for this."

"But you didn’t have any trouble burning Mr Logan’s crops," Vin pointed out.

Gibson ducked his head regretfully, "Yes, we burned his crops and we even stole his horses," he looked up, "But his horses are safe and we dug trenches around the fields so the fire wouldn’t spread."

"How kind of you," Chris said sarcastically.

"I’m not looking for redemption, I just thought you should know," Gibson looked resigned, "Are you going to arrest me?" he asked.

Chris smiled for the first time in the presence of the former Crow, "Yes, Mr Gibson, we are."

They put him in one of the cells, where he promptly lay down and stared at the ceiling clearly lost in his thoughts. The seven left him to it and headed back toward the saloon to find the remaining six troublemakers, no one thought guarding Will Gibson was necessary.


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