With minds intent on one thing, Buck, Vin, Ezra, and Josiah quickly left the church; they had to find Olivia and the crooks who had kidnapped her. Moments later, Ezra spotted Coltrane and his gang as they rounded the corner at the far end of town. He and Buck quickly ducked into the deep shadows of the alley beside the jail and waited as the bank robbers — Chris and Terry among them — rode casually up the street.

"Ezra?" Buck whispered.


"Tell me about JD." Buck had walked into the church just in time to hear Nathan say that JD would be all right. JD had been on a table at the back of the building, with a wide stain of red on the shirt Nathan had pushed from his shoulder. Buck quickly crossed to Vin who seemed to have taken charge in Chris's absence, but one look at the man's face told him he wouldn't be getting any answers.

"It's a long story," Vin had said and Buck had no choice but to believe him. Clearly it was not the time to indulge in details. To his left he could hear JD's ragged breathing and refused to allow himself to look, because if he did, he'd be at JD's side — berating him for whatever damn fool thing he'd done that had gotten him injured, which would only upset JD and make it difficult for Nathan to do his job. If Buck were to go to his friend's side, even for a moment, he knew he wouldn't be able to stop himself from taking JD's hand and staying by his side until Nathan was finished and the kid was resting easy.

And he knew there wasn't time for such indulgences, not until Olivia was safe and Coltrane was stopped. "What happened to JD?" Buck repeated to Ezra across the dark alley.

"Nathan said he'll recover," Ezra whispered back.

"I heard that. How'd it happen?" Buck asked tersely. He tried to keep his voice calm and low, but he knew they only had a few moments before Coltrane's men would be close enough to overhear them.

"Olivia strayed from the church and two of Coltrane's miscreants found her before we did. JD attempted a rescue, but a knife to the shoulder allowed the kidnappers enough time to escape," Ezra explained.

"Thought Vin said it was a long story."

Ezra scoffed in the darkness. "Maybe the way he tells it, what with all those big words he's so fond of using."

- The End -

April 2005

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