WeedaweedaWhooooo- wah, wah wah.
The whistle echoed across the dusty western street as several god fearing citizens clamored back behind doors and shuttered windows. A tumbleweed danced idly in the wind before coming to a stop by a pair of well worn cowboy boots. A kick and the tumbleweed continued down the street, passing by the barber shop, the saloon, the bank, and the young man in black at the end of the road, shadow disappearing to nothing between his feet.
"Huh, noon already?" A tip of his hat and W. West, fastest gun in three territories, was taking steps out into the street, letting each impact jingle the rhythm of his spurs before progressing further. His lips curled into a repeat of the dramatic tune.
WeedaweedaWhooooo- wah, wah wah.
When he reached dead center he spit to his left and stole a look down the straightaway. The young man's black hat tipped forward enough to mask his eyes in dark shadow.
"Did I keep you waiting Marshal? It's not often that someone has the brass to call me out."
"You're late to you're own funeral. Kid." Fingers popped a few buttons of the pristine leather vest to reveal two silver revolvers. Good ones, from the looks of them. Somethings never change. "But that doesn't surprise me." The voice was steady and flat, unrecognizable from the voice he grew up with.
"You don't have to be so cold. We were closer than brothers once." And Wallace had to hope that those hot, rowdy summers they shared at the swimming hole together had meant something between all the learnings they got from their fathers and the League of Sheriffs.
A flicker of a smile crossed Richard's mouth before turning to ice.
"That's why they sent me. Since Artie died you became a mite too good at not just shooting but killing too."
"You shouldn't have called me out. I could be explaining it to you over drinks in the saloon right now, but instead I've got an image to protect."
"'Call out Wallace West, the kid will have you dead in a Flash.' I've read it as far east as Gotham. I guess I had to see with my own eyes how far you'd go. I told em you'd never let me take you in alive. This seemed the only way."
"You're a damned fool! They all are! How could they judge me?" West exploded suddenly in a fit of rage. "Those damned outsiders just waltz in and shoot Artie in cold blood, and nobody was doing nothing!"
Richard looked like he wanted nothing more to take a frustrated step forward but held his ground. There were rules to this sort of thing.
"It wasn't your place, Kid..."
"What? Taking the law into our own hands? That's what we DO, Dick. What we've always done. My perspective hasn't changed any; it's everyone else who's become blind."
"You became one of the outlaws we used to hunt together. I lost my partner and friend that day , I don't reckon to forgive you of that so easily." His hands eased slowly to hover above his holsters as he stared the Kid down.
Wallace let his hands mirror his former partner's. It was a sign of respect. Everyone knew only his father could beat him on the quick draw, but if Richard needed to do this then he would do it right to honor what they once had.
"For what it's worth, I'm sorry. Not for what I did to those bastards for Artie. I'll go to my grave not regretting that. But this ending, I'm genuinely sorry."
A small grin formed on Richards lips again, this time warm and sly.
"Well that makes one of us."
They stared at each other, letting the heaviness of the moment, the heat of the air blanket them. A hawk called somewhere from above and in a flash the gun was in his hand, firing the shot. The bang-bang of dual revolvers following close behind.
Wallace felt his body tug backwards as he was brought to the ground, his back crashing painfully to the dirt. His triumphant smile was evident. It was true. He couldn't kill Dick ,and if he was going to ever be brought down, there was no other Marshal he'd want to do the deed. What surprised him was the lack of pain.
A familiar shadow fell over his face, and, finally, he could see Dick's full face smirking down on him.
He leaned down, his mouth coming a thistle length from Wallace's ear; his breath tickled with languid warmth.
"Missed me, missed me..." The red-head shivered at the whispered tone despite the oppressing heat.
With a hard yank Dick pulled two arrows that had been pinning him to the ground. Roy's arrows. Richard took his hand into his and helped lift him to his feet as their old friend nimbly jumped down from the rugged saloon roof.
"The idiot refused to just tell you that the court convened and absolved you of fault. You don't have to run anymore."
"I...I can come home?" Hope caught in his voice and at Richard's nod he nearly sobbed.
"You can come home."
Wallace West had Richard Grayson in his arms in a very (he thought) manly and appropriate hug before shoving him back at arms length aghast.
"YOU WERE GOING TO LET ME SHOOT YOU!"
"I knew you wouldn't." Dick waved the thought away.
"But I could have! You idiot! You damn fool!"
"If you did then you had changed too much to come back. Besides, I told you I wouldn't forgive you so easily," he huffed.
"You! You! You ass!"
Richard shrugged in admission.
"I suppose rightly I am. How about I buy you both a drink to make up for it?"
Wallace grinned and loped an arm around his partner like old times.
"You damn well better! It's a long way home."