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Always been lucky

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Billy

Billy woke up. Violently. Jolting up with a sudden hacking cough that made him smack his forehead against a hard wooden surface seemingly inches away from his face. The coughing did not stop and only seemed to get worse and wheezier as he tried to fill his very air deprived lungs. His body was sore and the muscles of his chest and abdomen felt like they were on fire.

At first, his brain didn’t even register the reason for any of this. Why did everything hurt so much? Why…

Then things began to slowly fade into realization.  

Bogue…The fight…the Gatling gun…Faraday riding and…Goody. Goody’s cry as bullets tore through his chest and he went toppling from the church steeple. Billy’s own pain as a mass of bullets buried in his chest. Goody’s flask lying just out of reach as darkness ate his world.

Billy inhaled sharply and suddenly it wasn’t just his body that hurt. He remembered and wished he hadn’t even if it put reason to the pain. He died.

Died…

Had he really..?

Had he really died?!

Billy’s hands were shaking now as he slowly and carefully tried to raise them to his eyes. Wherever he was, space was limited and his hands didn’t get far, landing carefully on his chest. In the moment, he felt very much alive, if not visible shaken and loudly gasping for air. It took another few moments for his thoughts to really snap into the present.

This space was dark…smelled of copper, damp earth and fresh wood and it was remarkably difficult to move around, let alone breathe. And Billy had died. One didn’t need to be a genius to figure out where this was.

Immediately, Billy tried to regulate his breathing. It stood to reason that if he had really died, then this was his grave. And the last thing Billy wanted to do was to die again from suffocation in his own grave. In fact, if Billy was honest with himself, he didn’t much fancy dying again anytime soon. This really meant that he had to try and escape his grave, and preferably as soon as possible while oxygen lasted in his tiny prison.

Billy set to work immediately. The process was slow and Billy had to work his newly awoken muscles far more than his body appreciated. At least it was his luck that the coffin he lay in didn’t seem to be the best put together, likely from lack of time and scarcity of resources. At this point, he couldn’t even really be upset. If he was buried, the chances were good that the battle had gone well at the end. No enemy buried the ones they butchered. Burned them, maybe, but a burial for people you were paid money to kill was unheard of. Billy worked faster, breaking through the wood far easier than he anticipated.

It took time. Almost more time than he had oxygen but in the end, Billy fingers broke through the upper most layer of dirt, shoving it aside frantically. It felt heavier on top and when his fingers gripped at it, Billy realized it was more mud than dirt. He grappled with it, shoving aside dirt, grass, mud and chunks of wood before finally, mercifully, hauling himself up and out of the grave. The muscles of his arms screamed in protest and Billy only made it that far out, slumping feebly forward with his legs still dangling below. It didn’t matter.

After a few moments of mustering all of his strength, Billy kicked himself out of the grave completely, rolling over onto his back and heaving for air as if it was his first time discovering it. Rain poured on his face and thunder cracked high above but for the first time, it didn’t bother him. Air. Blessed air filled his lungs as he lay there gasping. If he had to imagine what being born was like, this would be about it, minus maybe some rain.

Billy wasn’t sure how long he lay there; in the mud and the rain, panting for breath until it was almost too much. But the rain felt good on his burning torso and aching muscles and Billy felt like the opposite of moving for what was probably hours. Eventually, finally, his breathing calmed and slowly but surely, he allowed himself to sit up, brushing a hand through his wet and slightly muddy hair.

It was dark and aside from the thunder cracking overhead and rain pounding all around, all was quiet. Billy inhaled deep, finally allowing himself a good look around. The area where he sat was practically pitch black but flashes of lightning helped him see first his own grave and the cross behind it, then the other three crosses. In the distance, the lights of Rose Creek twinkled through the rain like dozens of tiny fireflies.

Then through the silence came another noise. It was so soft that Billy almost missed it entirely but after he caught it, it would not stop being noticeable. Concentrating hard, Billy finally realized what it was. A voice. Maybe more than one. So muffled by layers of dirt and probably wood that it was almost impossible to hear but Billy, spinning around where he sat, started frantically clawing at the ground of the grave next to his.

It didn’t matter that he didn’t even check his wounds. It didn’t matter that his muscles screamed at him with every motion and that he could barely see, rain water clouding his eyesight. That was definitely a voice coming from below and a voice he recognized even through layers separating them. Billy dug faster, wishing for a tool…a shovel…anything.

How long it took him to dig, he wasn’t sure and his hands felt wet from mud and rain and probably blood from his own knuckles but Billy kept clawing at the dirt until he finally hit the wooden lid of another coffin. Billy was shaking, essentially sitting in the hole he had dug before reaching down to yank at the coffin lid. He didn’t have to yank for long as hands came from bellow, shoving at the wood forcefully before finally, mercifully, Billy could make out the shape beneath him.

That was all the motivation he needed and in no time flat, most of the coffin lid went flying into the dirt in pieces and Billy sat on a small section of it staring straight into the face of Goodnight Robicheaux. For a moment, he forgot how to breathe again.

“…Oh Goody…”

Goodnight stared at him as if he had never seen him before, having to squint over the rain water that kept falling into his eyes, panting heavily for air. It was Billy who found himself first, carefully reaching down and pulling Goodnight up. They practically tumbled out of the grave together, Billy barely having the strength to pull the Cajun with him.

Moments passed in silence, Goody rasping for air almost on top of him. “I knew my angel’d look like you, cher,” the Cajun breathed at last and Billy couldn’t help the weak, bubbling laugh that escaped his throat, careful arms wrapped around the other man and not really wanting to let go.

“’Course,” Goody added, almost right into his ear, “maybe I didn’t think I’d deserve one.”

It was a weak thought, partially mumbled as Goody’s breathing regulated but Billy frowned. “You’re not dead, Goody,” he whispered quietly in response.

“What’s that now?”

“You’re not dead,” Billy repeated a bit louder and Goodnight finally shifted, partially propping himself up on his arms to stare at Billy through the rain. Billy could feel his breath on his face.

“That’s not right…”

“You’re not dead,” Billy repeated again and, as if to confirm it, carefully reached up a hand to press ever so gently to the Cajun’s cheek.

“But…”

“I know, Goody.”

“That goddamn Gatling gun…I fell! I remember I fell and you,” Goody trailed off again, staring at Billy with wild eyes.

“I know, Goody,” Billy whispered again, pulling his hand back.

“What sort of devilry…”

“…If I knew that,” Billy snorted and Goody leaned down briefly, touching their foreheads together, letting his eyes close. When they finally opened again, Goody had the good grace to roll off.

“Did we dream all that?”

“Both of us?” Billy questioned dryly, seeing a shrug in response as lightning cracked above and Billy, peering around Goody, realized something in a jarring moment. “Goody.”

“Hmmm?”

“If we’re here,” he said slowly before indicating behind, “we should check if they’re here too.”

“Wh…oh!” Goody spun around and finally noticed the other two crosses. “I’ll be damned.”

“Not yet,” Billy replied, painstakingly hefting himself to his feet despite his every muscle’s protest not to. Goody couldn’t help the snort before he followed suit, moving to the third cross in line. If Billy was right in his hunch, they had to move fast. There was only so much air in those coffins and suffocating down there just as you started living again was not a good way to go out.

Working with the two of them was easier and it took far less time to dig out the third grave, especially since whoever was down there was definitely digging as well. When Billy’s hand met another hand, he yanked and almost went toppling backwards again, Goody catching him before he could, pulling a man free of dirt.

“Shit, hell, damn, you’re gonna pull my arm off,” rasped a very familiar voice of their local Irish drunk as they finally pulled Faraday onto sturdier ground, wheezing for air as he was.

“Easy, son, easy,” Goody muttered, both he and Billy giving Faraday some space to breathe. It took far longer for Faraday to compose himself and he finally let his eyes open, squinting upwards at them through the rain.

“Is this hell?”

Goody snorted loudly and Faraday groaned, reaching up to shakily rub at his face. “Can’t be hell then,” Faraday muttered before slowly and carefully sitting up. It seemed to take him some moments before realization hit in force and he stared at Billy and Goody like a lost and hunted deer. “…Wait…”

Billy could see the cogs turning behind Faraday’s eyes and reaching over, carefully patted the other man’s shoulder. “You’re not dead,” he said softly. Faraday’s wild eyed stare turned to Billy.

“How in the hell am I not dead??” The Irish man asked incredulously, staring at Billy as if he was suddenly seeing a ghost in the darkness.

“Hell don’t go for selfless men, son,” Goody said after a moment and Faraday’s bewildered gaze turned to the Cajun.

“I ain’t…”

“The Gatling gun,” Goody reminded him and the full memory and realization almost bowled Faraday over.

“…Shit…” he swore loudly, then staring at the two of them again, “shit!”

“What happened, exactly?” Goody asked after a few moments of Faraday swearing at nothing, making his gaze shoot back up.

“Dynamite happened, Goodnight. I...I mean...shit…well…I guess I got lucky,” he finished lamely and frowned. “Those men of Bogue’s weren’t as smart as they looked. And they ain’t smart lookin’ to begin with.”

Goody couldn’t help a small laugh at that, Billy cracking a careful smile. “You blew up the Gatling gun?” He asked. Faraday grunted.

“Like I said, got lucky…but…yeah.”

Billy could just feel Goody beaming next to him even if Faraday couldn’t see the Cajun’s face. At last, Billy snapped his fingers.

“There’s one more to dig up…” he said at last, indicating the 4th cross. Faraday stared at it in the gloom before hoisting himself up. For a man who claimed he couldn’t be selfless, he set to digging at the dirt with a fervor, Goody helping in kind while Billy only barely managed. Unlike the other two, he had already dug through 3 graves worth of dirt and the strain was starting to get to him.

“Sit easy, cher,” Goody muttered to him without even needing to be told of just how tired Billy was. Billy made a small noise of gratitude and carefully sidled back, letting them finish. Before long, Jack Horne was half hauling himself, half being hauled from his own grave by the other two men. He looked more like a hunted animal than even Faraday and as they hoisted him up to the surface, he almost knocked Faraday over.

Had it been any other situation, Billy would have almost laughed. He didn’t.

Slowly, Billy stood, approaching Jack with caution as the older man gasped for air, clutching painfully at his knees.

“Jack?”

“What in God’s name…Billy? That you?”

“Yes, Jack.”

“What…what is th…?” He demanded through his choking, having to stop mid-word and take several long gulps of air.

“What is this?” Jack tried again.

 “Easy, big guy,” Faraday said from somewhere by Jack’s shoulder and as lightning flashed above them, Billy noted a hint of almost sympathy painting Joshua Faraday’s face. A slightly strange sight to be seen…

“I was dead,” Jack rasped without prompting, his gaze shot up, staring at the three of them now crowding around him in accusation. “This ain’t right.”

“Ja…”

“It ain’t right. I shoulda stayed dead. The good Lord had his plan for me and now I…” he trailed off, frowning deeply.

Billy frowned slightly. He was never much of a religious man and while Jack was a good enough companion and great to have backing you up in a fight, he sometimes got what Billy would describe as “over-zealous.” Faraday shot Billy a look.

Beside him, Goody sucked in his cheeks for a moment before clapping a hand to Jack’s shoulder. “Think of it this way, Mr. Horne. If the good Lord has his plans for you, this’s all just part of his plan right? If He didn’t intend this then you wouldn’t be back. Maybe he thinks you still have some good left t’do on this Earth.”

Jack seemed to be considering, finally letting out a slow and steadying breath. “You just might be right,” he said at last and Billy allowed himself to exhale. Faraday couldn’t help a snorting laugh.

“Lord’s will or not, boy will we be a sight if we try to go into town,” he joked without much humor, peering at the sky as the rain had begun easing up and the first inklings of dawn crept over the horizon.

“Corpses come to walk again,” Goody muttered. Billy nudged him.

“We need supplies,” he pointed out before motioning first to himself then to the others, “…and new clothes.”

Faraday snorted again. “Which one of them town’s people will raise a damn alarm first, do you think?” Billy leveled him with one of his infamous looks and Faraday simmered considerably, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Though I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be grateful for a bath. We stink something mighty,” he added lamely.

Goody clicked his tongue. “Well, it’s not like we have much of a choice, my friends. Especially if we wanna know where the others got up to.”

Billy considered. Now that it was getting light out and the rain was dying to a light drizzle, the prospect of finding the others of their company felt welcoming. “Do you think they stayed?” He asked.

“Doubtful. The wounds are too fresh to rub salt in them,” Goody said easily, while Billy caught Faraday’s expression from the corner of his eye. It almost made him laugh. Almost. If Faraday really considered this one of Goody’s weird poeticisms, he’d have another thought coming soon enough. Clichés were the opposite of poetic, he would have told him if Faraday’s expression wasn’t so dang amusing. Billy shot Goody a very fond smile when Faraday wasn’t looking.

Still the prospect of going into town was both frightening and welcoming. Billy found himself hoping that maybe the others stayed in town, but Goody was likely right. He doubted they’d want to stay in a town where so much blood was shed, especially the blood of comrades.

“It’s worth a try,” he said at last while Faraday hefted himself to stand, checking over for possible injuries. For a man who had gotten himself blown up, his body looked remarkably…well…unmarked. The worst Billy noted was some old blood and holes where bullets ripped through cloth but outside of that…

Billy gave himself a quick inspection, coming away with about the same result. He assumed from what Faraday said, his injuries weren’t nearly as bad but it was remarkable and a little frightening how little injury they showed. Sure, his knuckles were bleeding but that was for entirely different reasons. Goody as well, bore no marks that Billy could see of not only being shot but taking a tumble off a rooftop. And whatever injuries Jack had sustained during the battle, Billy did not know nor could he see.

“Well,” Goody said at last, clapping his hands together as Faraday helped Jack stand, “we’ll do no good by standing here catching flies in our mouths. Let’s give it the ol’try, shall we?” He said, inclining his head towards the not so distant town.

After a few moments passed, Faraday grunted. “Might as well,” he shrugged in what he seemed to think was a nonchalant manner, “if I’m lucky we’ll be able to find my horse.”

If they’re all lucky, Billy thought, there’d be more than Faraday’s horse there for them.

 

 

Chapter Text

 Faraday

So going into town was decidedly a terrible idea, Faraday thought to himself. They had run into Emma first and she almost screamed, clapping a hand to her mouth and dropping the basket she was carrying. Pecans rolled everywhere and Goody was the first to scramble to pick them up while Emma stared at them with wide, almost terrified eyes.

Yup, this was definitely a bad idea.

Still, he tried his best to wear as innocent a smile as possible while Goody scooped up the last of the spilled pecans, offering the basket back to Emma.

“Ms. Em…”

“You died!” She said, loudly, before clapping her hand back over her lips, eyes still wide.

Goody looked about ready to say something more but Emma snatched the basket from him quickly before grabbing him by the sleeve and tugging him along. Faraday frowned and, exchanging looks with a concerned looking Billy, followed the young woman from Main street, Jack Horne trailing behind them.

They didn’t go too far but just out of sight of most of the town before Emma stopped, spinning around on her heel to stare at the 4 of them in full.

“You died!” She said again, this time quietly.

Goody coughed a bit awkwardly.

“Well…”

“We buried you!”

“When?” Billy asked suddenly.

“What?”

“When did you bury us?”

Faraday winced slightly at the bluntness of the question but Emma seemed to really consider it. “A week ago now. You were stone cold dead…I don’t understand…how is this possi…” As he watched her, he could see the wetness in her eyes…hear the strain in her voice. Swallowing thickly and taking in a deep breath, Emma looked at the 4 of them again. “I don’t understand.”

“Well, that makes 5 of us then,” Faraday quipped, trying to ease the tense air while Jack shifted.

“The Lord works in mysterious ways, Ms. Emma,” he said knowingly, putting on an air of one that was far more sure about this than he had been about an hour ago. Faraday didn’t question it. Emma sniffed.

“I…” she trailed off, studying them again and Faraday could see how white the knuckles of her hands grew as she clutched at her basket of pecans for grounding. Goody seemed to see it too and he moved slowly to her side. He didn’t touch her like he had them in reassurance but his expression was sympathetic.

“We’re honestly as confused as you are, Ms. Emma,” Goody admitted. “We didn’t mean to frighten you.”

Emma couldn’t hold back a light snort. “Well, good job on that front,” she muttered and Faraday couldn’t help but grin. He always did like her even if now that liking had developed into more of a platonic feeling than before. Her disinterest in him was all he needed and Faraday may have been a lot of things, but a creep wasn’t one of them.

Goody’s face broke into a weak but sincere smile. “I can’t imagine how us showing up in any fashion would work out well,” he said and Faraday snorted.

“That’s what I kept saying.”

“Yes, yes.”

From the corner of his eye, Faraday could see the faint smile playing on Billy’s lips.

Emma shifted, adjusting her hold on her basket and letting out a long, deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment. When she looked at them again, she actually managed a real, if weak, smile.

“I’m sorry,” she said at last, “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. You all did so much and here I am…hollering like the world’s ending.”

“I mean, I’d be scared if I saw US coming over the horizon,” Faraday joked and Emma “tsked” under her breath, taking a moment to steady herself. The grip on her basket eased.

“Well, something strange’s going on here,” she said, eyeing the four of them, “but I ain’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth.”

There was a moment’s pause. “I’m not dreaming am I?”

“I dare say not,” Goody chuckled gently, rubbing a hand through his not so neatly trimmed goatee.

“Well,” Emma considered for a long moment, “then I won’t feel so strange inviting some dreams over for supper. I dare say you boys have earned a good meal.”

“That’s very kind of you, Ms. Emma,” Jack said gently and Faraday saw him smile for the first time since they’ve been resurrected. A good start.

What was even better was the prospect of a home cooked meal. Faraday couldn’t say he remembered the last time he had one of those and the idea itself was appealing. “Ms. Emma, you sure know the way to a man’s heart,” he grinned and Emma visibly rolled her eyes at him.

“I reckon this at least proves you’re you, Mr. Faraday,” she sniffed before beckoning for them to follow her.

“That’s mighty kind of her,” Jack was muttering softly to himself as he fell in step with Faraday and he was more than happy to agree. It was only now that Faraday realized just how hungry and more importantly, THIRSTY he was. He would kill a man for a gulp of water and he supposed that wishing for anything extra was over-doing it.

It turned out that the Cullen’s small and humble farm lay not too far outside the town-proper and it wasn’t that long before Emma busied herself around the house, setting down her basket of pecans. Each of them had tried to offer her help either together or separately but she shooed them away to go scrub up. And they hadn’t even mentioned clothes to her, Faraday being ready to slide back into the dirt stained and sweaty garments he had on him when Emma lay out a pile of clothing.

Faraday just knew and he felt mighty awful. Goodnight, who seemed to have appointed himself the asker of awkward questions for the group, eyed the clothing.

“Ms. Emma, are these..?”

“Yes,” she chewed on her bottom lip for a moment before finally managing a smile, “I reckon I don’t have use for them anymore and it’s the least I can do.”

“I don’t know if we can accept…”

“Oh hush. You’re all blood and sweat. Now wash up,” she said before leaving. There were basins of water and towels and Faraday felt like a whole new person after a good and thorough scrubbing. Still, putting on Matthew Cullen’s old clothing was mighty strange. Jack seemed to be the only one left out but Emma had done her best to scrounge some suitable clothing for him as well and he looked incredibly thankful, muttering praises to their host as they joined her for dinner.

It was a pleasant enough meal. Goody, it seemed, managed to talk himself into helping Emma despite her protests to the contrary. “You’re my guests, Mr. Robicheaux and it’s the least I can do,” she kept saying and Goodnight thanked her kindly and the like, and continued helping regardless. Eventually, Emma relented.

Faraday studied her as they ate, the conversation a bit easier than it had been. She seemed…well…a grieving widow needed time to heal and all that but she seemed…lighter. He had to wonder what happened at the very end of the battle. Bogue must be dead, by his reckoning. But what about the others? Where did they go? He remembered Vasquez getting shot and….

Vasquez. The thought made him stop mid-chew, staring absently at his plate. How could he forget that dumb Mexican with his dumb face and his dumb handsome grin that seemed to light up any room be was in and his…Faraday’s thoughts trailed off. Come to think of it, Faraday considered, maybe there had been something there. Something small and in the background and every time he looked at Vasquez he could feel his stomach light up with butterflies.

So what better way to demonstrate that then to do some really dumb shit while drunk off your ass? In hopes of what? Wooing Vasquez? Oh yes, if there was one thing Faraday was great at was wooing people. He snorted into his food and resumed eating, only vaguely paying attention to the conversation.

“…where they went?” Faraday caught Goodnight saying and finally snapped himself out of his dreamy reverie. Emma considered.

“Mr. Chisolm didn’t say. They rode off mighty quick,” she replied after a moment, taking a sip of water. “Still, I reckon they’d be going north. Maybe looking out for more bounties?”

“That’s just like Sam,” Goodnight said fondly and Billy smiled into his food. Faraday watched Emma for a moment.

“They all went together?” He asked.

Emma nodded, Goody clicking his tongue. “Ain’t no surprise. Things like this…they change people, you know? Bring them closer.”

Faraday couldn’t say he disagreed and took a long gulp of water just as Emma snapped her fingers at something, hefting herself from the table and disappearing from the room. They heard her clattering about before she reappeared again a few minutes later, carrying multiple weapons in her arms, as well as…

“My knives..?” Billy asked slowly as she Emma lay the knife belt before him. She smiled carefully.

“I know people bury the dead with their prized possessions and the like…but it…didn’t feel right.”

Billy looked as sentimental as Billy could possibly look and gave Emma the fondest of smiles that Faraday saw him ever only give Goody. “Thank you, Miss Emma…I didn’t expect to see them again,” Billy said at last, carefully running his fingers over the ivory carved handles of the knives. Emma then proceeded to dump the rest of the weapons in the middle of the table, Faraday forgetting his food for the moment to look for his pistols. He found Maria but…

“Wait…where’s Ethel?” He demanded, Emma blinking at him with a quirked eyebrow. Then realization dawned on her face.

“Well, Mr. Vasquez seemed to have taken your wife with him when he left,” she shrugged. Faraday was aghast. That scoundrel! Emma settled back at the table, carefully picking up a fork. “Seems he’s the sentimental type, Mr. Faraday,” she added and the twinkle in her eye suggested she was practically making fun of him.

Faraday clicked his tongue, puffing out his cheeks. It was just a gun, after all. They’d just have to track the other three where ever they’d gone to and Faraday would get his Ethel back and maybe give that Vasquez a piece of his mind…and tongue and…there he went again. Fighting down the heat in his face, Faraday turned to Emma.

“Thank you kindly, Ms. Emma. At least you looked after Maria for me,” he said with a bob of his head.

“Well, you lot saved us,” she replied, finishing her food and pushing her plate aside. “Least I could do.”

Jack, who had finished eating, lowered his glass from his lips. “You don’t need to feel like you owe us, Miss,” he said in an almost fatherly manner and Emma sighed.

“But we do, Mr. Horne. I don’t intend to ever forget what the seven of you did for this town. None of us will ever forget. It was…magnificent,” she breathed and offered Jack the gentlest of smiles.

Talk drifted from there and Faraday dipped into his own thoughts once more while Emma cleared the table, Jack standing to help and refusing to settle until she did. She looked mostly amused and only a tiny bit overwhelmed, finally setting some shot glasses and a large bottle of whiskey on the table.

That snapped Faraday right out of his thoughts and he beamed. “Ms. Emma, you sure know how to read my mind,” he said brightly, troubles forgotten. Emma snorted but poured him a glass anyway.

It was only a couple of shots in that Faraday remembered the most important bit. “I don’t suppose you know where my horse is?”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Vasquez left ol’ Jack with Teddy Q,” Emma answered, sipping on her whiskey.

“Teddy?!”

Well that sure did it right enough, Faraday considered, downing the rest of his glass in one gulp. He’d have to have a good word with Vasquez for sure. Provided they found them, of course. But for once, Faraday had some faith that they would. If Jack Horne could find them when they were snaking their way through some canyon, Faraday was convinced they’d find Sam and the others easily.

But first thing was getting Jack back…in the morning…after as much sleep as humanly possible. Sleep sounded great…

Faraday didn’t even notice himself drifting off against the table and it was only in the middle of the night did he find himself on a cot with Jack snoring somewhere in the room. Billy and Goodnight slept quietly enough but Faraday could hear their breathing mingling together and if he squinted in the darkness of where they slept, they seemed entwined together.

Really, where Goodnight went, Billy went with him. Whether it was sleep…or death.

Faraday felt almost a little jealous and maybe somewhere deep in the back of his thoughts he hoped…hoped that maybe Vasquez had some sort of inkling of the feeling Faraday held for him.

Maybe. If he was lucky.

After all, luck seemed to be Faraday’s best friend as of late.

Chapter Text

Goodnight

 

Hips swayed to one side, head tilted to the other and arms crossed, Goody watched Faraday in amusement as Faraday all but demanded his horse back from a very scared looking Teddy Q. It was no wonder the young man was scared, considering 4 dead men showed up on his doorstep with Emma, one of whom began throwing out demands before Teddy’s door even opened all the way. Billy, who had stopped next to Goody, all but mirrored both his pose and look of amusement, even if it was toned down. Emma rolled her eyes at the lot of them.

“Morning, Teddy.”

“Ms. Emma…what…what is…”

“Seems we have a surprise, Teddy,” she said matter-of-factly while Jack had to pull Faraday back so Teddy could have space to move. Teddy looked hesitant and would have probably slammed the door in all of their faces in sheer terror if Emma hadn’t been standing with them. Slowly, they watched him force himself onto his front porch.

“I don’t understand…they’re…”

“We’re quite alive, son, if that’s what you’re worried about,” Goodnight said affably. He supposed he understood the boy’s confusion and fear. He was right there only a day ago.

“But…how? We buried you!” Teddy asked incredulously, mirroring Emma’s very reaction from the day before. His eyes shot to Emma. “How?”

“Oh Teddy, if only I knew,” the young woman sighed and Teddy’s bewildered expression moved from her to each one of them in turn. Billy offered nothing more than a shrug of one shoulder while Goody cleared his throat.

“Well, son…if we knew that, maybe it’d clear a lot of confusion we got ourselves,” he tried. Jack Horne licked his bottom lip.

“Maybe the Lord still has use for sinners like us,” he murmured and Teddy’s expression went from bewildered to guilty.

“Sir…” he started but Jack shook his head.

“You’re fine, that’s all that matters.”

“But Sir…I could’ve…I dunno…I just…” Teddy tried to string his words together, frowning hard and Goody found himself wondering exactly what happened. He hadn’t seen either Jack nor Teddy when he blazed his way back into town but whatever happened, Teddy seemed to think himself responsible. Jack tutted.

“Now, now. You’re alive?” A nod. “Healing up?” Another nod. “That’s all that matter then.”

Teddy sucked in his cheeks before finally nodding. “Sir…If you hadn’t…I mean…if this didn’t. I’m just…” he struggled for words before sighing loudly and rubbing a hand through his hair. “What I’m trying to say is…thank you.”

Jack smiled his fatherly smile and clapped a hand on Teddy’s shoulder as if to say “you’re welcome”. Teddy seemed to find it rude to jump out of his skin in terrified surprise so he did his best to pull himself together.

“The Lord surely provided with you,” Jack said before letting Teddy go.

Faraday, who Goody noted, was practically vibrating on the spot, saw his opportunity and snuck right back into the conversation. “This is all well and good, Teddy, but where is m’ horse?” He demanded. Teddy inhaled.

“You’re gonna have to give me a moment, Mr. Faraday. I just…”

Faraday tried to open his mouth but Goody saw fit to override him, patting Faraday’s elbow. “Now, now. He just needs to process all if this, isn’t that right? Gotta learn to walk before you can run,” Goody added and earned himself the look from Faraday almost instantly while Billy smirked quietly beside him.

Teddy needed far more than just one moment, letting his eyes close and frowning to himself. After some time, he finally dragged one of his eyes open to peer at them as if thinking they would’ve all just disappeared. Goody gave him a friendly little wave.

Sighing, Teddy let both eyes open before finally, mercifully, letting them inside.

“Your horse is doin’ just fine, by the way, Mr. Faraday,” Teddy said as he led them to sit, “almost trampled a bandit t’ death just the other night.”

Faraday beamed with pride. “That’s my Jack.”

“I suppose you’d be wanting him back then?”

“You’re supposing right, Teddy,” Faraday nodded as he sat, Goody settling as close to Billy as he could without it seeming too obvious. Teddy nodded.

“In my defense, Mr. Faraday, Mr. Vasquez is the one who left him with me,” he said as he took to standing for the time being.

“Oh I know. And I intend to have some words with him. Who does he think he is, giving away my horse?” Faraday muttered almost to himself and Teddy couldn’t help the timid smile that cracked his features.

“He was mighty broken up about what happened,” he said, Faraday’s attention snapping back to Teddy.

“Was he now?”

“Very much so, I think.”

Goody saw Faraday’s lips crack in that slightly shit-eating grin that he sometimes wore. Teddy quirked an eyebrow at that before looking around them.

“Well…I don’t rightly know what to say,” he confessed and Goody laughed good-naturedly.

“Neither do we, son, but we figured if we’re gonna reintroduce ourselves back into society, you and Emma are where we’d start.”

“Aren’t we lucky,” Emma quipped from where she sat. Faraday snorted.

“I’m thinking then you’d be wanting to go after the others?” Teddy asked slowly.

“It’s a good thought, Teddy,” Goody confirmed, leaning forward so his elbows rested on his thighs, “you don’t happen to know where they went, do you?”

Teddy considered for a moment. “No, sir, Mr. Chisolm didn’t say.”

Goody snapped his fingers, frowning in disappointment. Billy shrugged. “It’s no more than we expected,” he said soothingly, adjusting where he sat and restraining himself from putting his legs up on the table in front of him. Goody considered, watching Teddy grimace and find himself a seat while Jack regarded Teddy as well. The younger man seemed in pain still, Goody noted, eyeing Teddy’s leg as he all but avoided putting weight on it. A slightly foolish part of Goody wished that whatever had brought them back from the grave could also heal the living. But that was wishing too much as he wasn’t even sure what in the hell brought them back to begin with. Or how? Or why?

It took Goody all his willpower not to sink into his worried thoughts and he focused on Teddy instead. “You alright, son?”

Teddy looked a bit ashamed and gave a wry smile. “I’m fine, sir. Just…recovering,” he said after some thought, his gaze nervously dashing to Jack Horne as if in fear that the man would take back what he had said earlier. Jack Horne shook his head.

“Dealing with guilt, more like,” the older man said, rubbing a hand through his beard and seeing Teddy wince visibly.

“I just…”

“Let me tell you something, son,” Jack said, leaning back and watching Teddy earnestly, “I don’t regret that death.”

Teddy stared at him and Jack Horne smiled so serenely Goody was sure he was 100% serious. Jack’s gaze had wandered somewhere into the distance. “I’ve done a lot of things, son. Things I regret. It was…a worthy death,” he finished. Teddy chewed on his lip.

“Isn’t it…odd to be back?” He asked, Jack’s attention snapping to him again.

“More than you know…”

Goody saw a pained expression cross Jack Horne’s features but he said no more on the topic, fingers idly toying with his belt. Spotting his chance, Goody swept into the conversation.

“If I may, Teddy,” he said, speaking carefully, “if fame is a sarcophagus, guilt is a rapidly filling grave and you’re alive beneath the falling dirt.”

Now it was both Faraday AND Teddy giving him the look but Teddy’s seemed to be fraught with sudden recognition. “It will bury you,” Goody said helpfully, feeling Billy smirk beside him.

“I know, sir, it’s just…hard,” Teddy relented, sighing.

“Well, we’re back aren’t we?”

“Unless I’m talking to your ghosts, I reckon yes.”

“Consider this then; there was no way we were all gonna come out of this unscathed,” Goody reasoned, leaning back where he sat with an almost casual air, “the fact that you’re alive and we’re back might as well be a goddamn miracle. And to blame yourself for something you had barely any control over is just burying yourself further and further. There’s only so much one man can do, son.”

Teddy chewed on his bottom lip, considering while Goody gave him a good-natured smile.

“I suppose,” Teddy said at last, shoulders sagging as if whatever weight they had carried had suddenly lifted. He looked a bit more at ease now and Goody’s good natured smile remained, brightening.

Emma shifted where she sat, adjusting her skirts. “I don’t suppose you boys know how long you’ll be staying?” She inquired, looking between the 4 while Teddy stretched out his bad leg with a groan. Goody rubbed at his scraggly goatee.

“I don’t think it’s been considered, Ms. Emma,” he said honestly after exchanging a look with a thoughtful looking Billy.

“The longer we wait, the colder their trail will be,” Jack muttered and Goody sighed.

“I suppose that means we best set out tomorrow, if you’ll have us till then,” he added politely. Emma chuckled.

“Well, I’d be a stone hearted biddy to turn out our saviors to the cold so you’re more than welcome to stay as long as you need,” Emma said affably, Goody’s good natured smile turning to her.

As much as he appreciated the offer and appreciated Ms. Emma for making that offer, Goody figured it would be best to not abuse her hospitality as well as get a move-on as quickly as possible. If Jack was right about one thing, it was that the trail would go cold the longer they sat in Rose Creek.

“We need supplies,” Billy said suddenly from next to Goody, having moved to peer at Emma, who nodded in turn.

“Leave that to me,” she said and at Billy’s quirked eyebrow, she couldn’t help but laugh, “we don’t need you scaring the rest of the town like you did me and poor Teddy.”

Billy nodded, gently thanking her while Teddy hefted himself up to stand with a pained grunt. “Well, Mr. Faraday, I’ll take all this as a clue to grab Jack.”

Faraday surged to his feet without prompting, as if he had been waiting for hours and days to hear those words. Goody watched as he joined Teddy and then offered his shoulder for the injured man to lean on. It was an oddly compassionate gesture but Goody reasoned that Faraday was a. not as bad as he put on and b. not drunk enough to be entirely insufferable. Teddy seemed to be thinking along those lines and actually accepted the offered help, leading Faraday out the door to go to his horse.

After a discussion with Emma about their needed supplies, their lack of funds and her dismissal of their insistence on paying her back, she departed in a hurry, giving them access to her house. Goody saw that as a good opportunity to repay a bit of karmic debt and help her with housework she never said she needed help with and it didn’t take much to convince either Billy or Jack Horne to join him. Faraday stayed to help Teddy Q, the two of them returning when Emma did. She looked incredibly flustered to see what they’ve done and had to chase them off to prepare food.

Dinner that night was a pleasant affair and Goodnight couldn’t remember the last time it felt so…homey. It made him a bit sad to leave the next morning but it would probably be good to find their friends. Maybe help them with what they were doing. Maybe scare the holy hell out of them. Or maybe a little bit of both. Goody had to contain a laugh when imagining the face of Sam Chisolm, duly sworn warrant officer from Wichita, Kansas, also a licensed peace officer in Indian territories in Nebraska, Arkansas, and 7 other states, as he saw 4 dead men riding to meet him. Quite the sight to behold.

When dinner was done and everything was put in order, Goody wandered outside to the Cullen’s back porch, finding Billy leaning against a beam, cigarette in his mouth. Goody said nothing as he approached the other but found the cigarette already being handed to him. Comfortable silence passed between them, Goody taking a drag of the cigarette before handing it back.

“Odd, isn’t it?” He said at last, shooting his partner a look and seeing Billy’s lips quirk in a barely contained smirk.

“That’s mild, Goody.”

“Mhhmm. Still, guess no one really expects to be back and walking around after being pumped full of lead.”

“You can’t expect anything when you’re dead,” Billy shot back. Goody barked out a laugh.

“True, cher, true. Still, it’s a mighty wonder, isn’t it?”

“Mhm,” Billy breathed over the cigarette, peering at Goody. “Any bad dreams?”

Goody considered, head tilting to the side as if listening for any signs of an owl. The night was quiet around them, outside of Faraday’s cackling from inside the house as he told one of his drunken stories.

“Not since we came back,” Goody admitted at last, passing the cigarette back to his partner and earning himself a thoughtful “hmm” from Billy.

“Takes death to get rid of death omens, huh?” Billy said at last as he finished the cigarette off, putting it out on the railing and tossing it into some sand. Goody couldn’t help a snort.

“I don’t plan on dying again if they come back.”

“A good plan,” Billy affirmed, shifting where he stood and pressing into Goodnight, whose arm instantly found its way around Billy waist. He leaned in, nose burying in his partner’s neck, breathing him in.

“God I’ve missed you, cher.”

“I’m right here, Goody.”

“You know what I mean. It felt…I don’t know…It felt…” he trailed off, sighing into Billy’s neck and finding Billy’s hand gently pressing to his arm.

“It’s alright, Goody.”

“Is it?”

“Yes.”

“I’m glad…you’re here,” Goody breathed, leaning back only slightly to peer at Billy’s face, his partner raising an eyebrow at him and making him chuckle weakly. “I was afraid when I woke up in that grave. Afraid that I woke up and you didn’t.”

Billy’s expression softened and he turned in Goody’s hold so they were facing each other. “Oh Goody,” he breathed ever so gently, fingers pressing to Goody’s cheek.

Goody knew Billy had no answers for him to that fear but the contact was enough and he smiled, letting his eyes close and leaning into the hand. It had felt like so long since they touched. Traveling with a large crew prevented them from getting as intimate as he had perhaps wanted but it was okay. For the most part. He had Billy. Billy was with him and nothing would ever take Billy away from him if Goodnight could help it.

When Goody’s eyes opened again, Billy was studying his face thoughtfully. “You’re getting grayer,” he said and Goody barked out another, louder laugh.

“You’re stressful, cher,” he shot back, making Billy grin in response, finally leaning forward so that their lips connected. Goody shuddered despite himself, letting his eyes close and his lips part into the kiss. God, it had been ages and even if they both tasted like cigarette there was a taste to Billy that was definably Billy and Goody was gratified in the knowledge that he was the only one who could know that taste. He deepened the kiss, coaxing an appreciative noise out of Billy as their tongues met, Goody pressing both hands to Billy’s cheeks.

It felt like hours until they finally pulled apart, a little breathless and a little laughing, Billy ducking his head against Goody’s chest, shoulders shaking. Goody was chuckling as well, breathless and red lipped.

“God, I love you, cher,” he breathed at last as Billy finally looked up at him, eyes meeting. His partner’s expression was soft, leaning up to press another, shorter kiss to Goody’s lips for good measure. He pulled back but the soft expression remained.

“Love you too,” was the response at last and Goody snorted.

“Keep a man waiting, huh?”

“A bit of suspense,” Billy shrugged before finally pulling away, pushing stray strands of hair from his eyes. He still kept it up, Goody noted, spotting the conspicuously missing hairpin.

“Well, cher, I’m supposing I’ll need to get you a new hairpin, hmm?” He offered with a quirk of the brows and smirk on his lips. Billy “tsked.”

“You’re quite good at supposing, Goody,” Billy replied with an uneven shrug before finally jerking his head towards the house, “we should get ready.”

Goodnight nodded, sighing slightly and licking his lips. He could still taste Billy on them and it made him smile privately. He’d cherish that taste…these moments they had together and just Billy. Billy as a person. Goody got to see the sides of Billy no one would ever, EVER get to see and just the knowledge of that was enough to put a bit of a swagger to his steps. Goody chuckled.

“Think we’re ready to find the others?” He asked Billy as they finally headed back inside. Billy snorted.

“The question is; is Faraday ready to find Vasquez again?” He shot back. Goody laughed again.

“We’ll just have to see who pulls their head out of their ass first, hmm?”

“My money is on Vasquez,” Billy replied and Goody couldn’t help but definitely agree with that sentiment as they walked through the now empty downstairs of the house to journey upstairs.

“I wonder who will punch the other first,” Goody thought aloud.

“My money is on Vasquez,” Billy deadpanned and Goodnight barked out another loud laugh, also being inclined to agree.

Either way, their journey promised to be interesting. And their meeting with the others? Also interesting. He hoped beyond hopes that luck would be on their side and they’d find their comrades again. Goodnight wasn’t sure he’d be ready for a fruitless search and if he was to hope for something to go right in their short but close companionship, it would be this. Reunions were Goody’s favorite thing.