Once More With Feeling

by Ness Ayton

This follows my short story No and actually will make more sense if you have read that first. It’s a story I definitely hadn’t planned to write. It hadn’t even occurred to me as the old west setting seemed to lend itself so well to the idea; but then someone in their feedback mentioned that the ATF Vin should talk to “that woman”. And, well, you all know the saying about mighty oaks and acorns! So, here goes. I hope it’s different enough from the original for you all.

Thanks to Mog for creating this universe which has added a new dimension to the seven. Oh yes and in the meantime, if anyone knows where I can buy these characters I’d be eternally grateful, as they don’t belong to me – at the moment.


Vin Tanner stood in the middle of a seedy warehouse in downtown Denver, hands on hips, bullets flying around him and glared his best Larabee glare; fair shouting the word.

“Huh?” The woman bent over the keyboard looked up and stared at him.

“I said no. Whatever it is I ain’t gonna do it!”

“Excuse me?” The woman’s eyes opened wide and then she gave him her own version of the Larabee glare. “Oh no, not you as well!”

“Pardon?” Vin was slightly nonplussed by her response and then it dawned on him. “Ah, I see that my original persona has been talking to you already about this penchant you have for hurting us, has he not?”

The woman gulped and glanced down at her keyboard in dismay.

“Since when did you start speaking like Ezra?” she demanded.

“Since you stopped thinking about what you were typing,” he snapped back. “Can’t say’s I blame him neither. After all I’m just as p…. sick of it as he is!” he continued, remembering that this was supposed to be genfic.

“Can’t we sit down and discuss this like two civilised human beings?”

“Ain’t never been called civilised before and you ain’t getting 'round me that way.”

The woman flinched at the bad grammar pouring from him and glanced down in concern at her keyboard, which she half expected to see quietly smoking in protest.

“Okay, so what exactly is the problem, Mr Tanner?” she asked sweetly, returning her gaze to those baby blue eyes of his and imagining them clouded with guilt and tears.

“Where d’ya want me to start?” he snarled back, oblivious to the sweetness.

“At the beginning?” she suggested.

“Well, I ain’t gonna do it.”

“Yes, I’ve got that bit. It’s the rest of it I’m having problems with. What exactly did you have in mind that you aren’t going to do?” She sucked in her breath sharply; bad grammar was obviously catching.

“Well, in addition to everything you’ve already heard, there’s being beaten up; drugged; kidnapped; tortured; being allergic to prescription drugs; falling ill with strep throat, flu, pneumonia; being scratched by cats, bitten by rats; falling off various things, including rock faces (if my memory serves me correctly); being dyslexic; suffering from amnesia and you know what the worse thing is?”

“Ah, no, but I’ve a feeling you’re going to tell me.”

”It’s having to think and be artic…..artic……making sense when I’s sick! Who the hell thinks straight when they’re sick?!” He stood checking the calamities off on his fingers as he listed them

“Yes, but…..”

“No buts. You see I know the whole lot and that……”

“…….Doesn’t even begin to cover all those things you can’t mention in genfic,” the woman finished for him. He glared at her again and fingered his rifle thoughtfully.

“I don’t care, I ain’t doing it!” he repeated.


He glared again.

“What part of ‘no’ don’tcha still understand?”


“No, I’ve had more than enough. You writers can really give me a rest now. I’m outta here.”

“But you suffer so……..well.”

“Well, I’m not doing it no more!”

“That’s still a double negative,” the woman commented.

“Go to hell,” he snapped. “Do yer worst.”

“Fine, after all there’s always Chris…….” She left the threat hanging once again in the air between them.

He glanced across at his team leader hunkered down behind a pile of disintegrating crates and swallowed hard before making up his mind.

“Okay, shoot him then,” he said, in what he hoped was a disinterested voice, and ambled off as nonchalantly as he could. Out of the corner of his eye, however, he spotted one of the drug dealers raising his rifle and taking deliberate aim at Chris.

“Aw, hell,” he murmured, spinning round and racing towards the crates.

As he threw himself at Larabee, knocking the blond out of the way, he felt the bullet tug at the shoulder of his jacket before it flew past, ricocheted off a nearby iron girder and embedded itself neatly in JD’s thigh. The youngster fell with a piercing shriek.

“No,” Vin screamed at the woman. “That weren’t supposed to happen.”

She arched an eyebrow at him in surprise.

“Wasn’t it?” she asked.

He marched towards her, glaring and pushing his hair back in frustration.

“No it weren’t. I’s the one supposed to get shot, ‘member?” He tapped his chest to emphasise the point.

“I don’t remember saying anything about you getting shot,” she mused. “But having you go through the emotional wringer will be just as rewarding – lots of guilt, angst and feelings of responsibility. You know the sort of thing.”

“I refuse to feel responsible for your perverted mind,” he hissed, metaphorically digging his heels in as they stared at each other and glad for once that, despite appearances to the contrary, he did listen to Ezra at times.

“Oh that’s a real shame,” she said, taking a deep swig of coffee. “In that case Chris will just have to feel responsible. After all the shot was aimed at him before it got……diverted.”

“You’re evil,” Vin spat out.


“Yeah, you.” He stood for a moment, eyes cast down and shoulders slumped, tapping the butt of his rifle thoughtfully against his foot.

He sighed softly.

“Aw hell,” he breathed again. “Can’t have Chris feeling ‘sponsible; he feels enough of that already. Okay, I’ll do it.”

He turned and ran back through the warehouse, leaping a couple of crates that lay in his way and fell to his knees at JD’s side. He laid a gentle hand on the young man’s shoulder, trying to stop his writhing.

“God, JD, I’m so sorry. Should’ve stopped him from firing. If I’d…..”

“Not your fault,” JD hissed in pain. “Accident.”

Before Vin continued he glanced at the woman poised over the keyboard.

“Okay, I’s feeling ‘sponsible,” he hissed. “Now, can we get this over and done with, please?”

“Vin?” came JD’s confused voice.

“I thought you’d come round to seeing things my way,” the woman whispered with a smile.