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A Cappella

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"You know what I wish?"

"What, Kid?"

"I wish you had a guitar."

Heyes leaned back in his chair in surprise. He couldn't have said what he was expecting, but he sure wasn't expecting that.

"Of all the things in the world to wish for, that's what you want?"

Kid gave the question a few moments of thoughtful consideration, then nodded.

"We're out in the middle of nowhere on Christmas Day. All our worldly possessions amount to nothing more than the clothes on our backs and the contents of our saddlebags," Heyes felt duty bound to point out. "We've got all of forty-three dollars between us. And don't forget, we're still wanted men."

"I know."

"But you want a guitar. Hell, why not wish for the moon?"

"'Cause I already got the moon," Kid said. He pointed to the window, through which the full moon could be plainly seen, shining bright in the clear night sky. "And the stars, besides." He got up to fetch the coffee pot from the stove.

"Everything you said is true, Heyes. But we're warm and dry." He gestured with the pot to encompass the tiny cabin they'd found, spartan but sound. "We've got a roof over our heads and food enough to keep us for a while. No one is chasing us right now." Kid poured more coffee into both their mugs, and added a little whiskey for good measure. "And like you said, it's Christmas."

And we're together, Heyes thought. That was a gift more precious than any other. He smiled and tapped his mug against Kid's.

"I'll drink to that," he said, and did. "But why a guitar?"

Kid shrugged and stared down into his coffee. "Thought it might be nice, is all. You haven't sung in a while."

"I guess I haven't," Heyes said, after a beat. "Well. Let's see if we can manage without one." He cleared his throat and began to sing quietly:

"Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant, so tender and mild"

Kid joined in and their voices, soft though they were, filled the room:

"Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace."

"Merry Christmas, Heyes."

"Merry Christmas, Kid."