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Alex pushed Showdown to his breaking point, the buckskin panting heavily by the time they had arrived at a wooded area on the edge of town. Looking around, Alex checked to make sure they hadn’t been followed. The coast appeared clear, the dust kicked up by his arrival had settled and he sighed with relief as he took his hat and wiped his forearm across his sweating brow.

“Looks like we made it Show, there’s no one back there.â€

His hat placed back on his head, he slowly climbed down from his horse. With a grasp of the reins he guided Showdown down a small path that went from the dirt road to the line of trees.

“Things went down bad in town Show; I just hope Brian is all right. I didn’t want to leave him but he had a reason I couldn’t argue with, namely his Colt in my face.†He kicked up a few rocks as he walked, sighing.

“He’s right of course, given the choice between my trail and his, they’ll take his once they see the blood.â€

It suddenly grew darker; the tall trees overhead had swallowed up the sunshine and the air grew cooler thanks to the canopy. Alex brushed back some wildly overgrown foliage and high grass, a rickety barn revealed. The wood had faded to a slate grey with age and part of the gambrel roof had become perforated; the timbers lay scattered on the ground around the doors.

“And there it is Show.â€

Alex released the buckskin reins, the leather strips dragging on the ground as the butter-hued horse followed his master. With a tug, the pair of wooden doors swung open, the rusting hinges creaking in protest.

The smell of rotten hay and mildew greeted Alex and he waved his hand in front of his face. He looked around at the old bales, dusty grain barrels and the rusting equipment that lined one wall. He felt a nudge at his back and started, whipping around he saw a pair of big brown eyes looking at him and he sighed.

“This place is creepy enough without you sneaking up on me Showdown.â€

The horse looked apologetic and nudged Alex in the chest with his nose.

“All right all right, you’re forgiven.†He chuckled, then raised the horse’s head and stroked his fingers over Showdown’s velvety nose.

“Let’s go check on your buddies.â€

Turning back around Alex walked through the center of the barn, his boots crunching on the fetid hay that covered the floor. The race horses were situated in the last three stalls on the right and snorted at his approach. They eyed the blond man suspiciously and marched in place, their hooves stomping the ground.

“Hey Boys, remember me? Sorry to spoil the fun but I have to relocate you and this time I’m all by my lonesome so I’d appreciate it if you cooperated.â€

Showdown moved closer, the buckskin staring at the three thoroughbreds. They seemed to calm down at his presence and Alex breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thanks Show.â€

He opened the first stall and gently gripped the first horse by the halter and led him out, then attached a lead line.

“Don’t worry; the next place will be much nicer. I promise.â€

(cue anyone!)

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The blond drifter had been more concerened about who might have been following him than he was about who might already be there watching him. Across the dirt road, opposite the trees and brush Alex had directed his horse into, a rider sat a top an Appaloosa horse, hidden behind some trees and brush of their own.

Deputy MaryAnne Coltrane and her horse, Phoenix, had heard the sounds of distressed whinnying coming from the woods as they were riding back to town. The young deputy sheriff had investigated, found the three very healthy looking horses and came to her own conclusions. When she had mounted her horse to ride back to town to tell the Sheriff, she looked in time to see the distant dust of an approaching rider and got her and her horse out of sight before the arrival.

There had been no mistaking with the amount of dust and the sound of the hoof beats that somebody was in a hell of a hurry. MaryAnne didn't recognize the other rider when he arrived but knew by the way he was looking around that he was making sure he was alone. MaryAnne pushed her brown stetson hat back on her head and contemplated what she saw.

"I think Phoenix, we have something...."

The Appaloosa's ears twitched back and forth in response and the horse remained steadfast. They would wait, Phoenix knew. They would wait...

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Alex tied the horses together, their three lines made into one. He left the horses alone and poked his head out a moment having another look around.

"Maybe we should wait till it gets dark Show, that's how we moved these horses the first time. It might be best to wait until then, use the darkness to hide us."

He slipped back into the barn and closed the door, preparing to wait until the sun went down before he made his move.

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Several minutes went by. Fifteen....twenty. MaryAnne dug her pocket watch out of her brown suede vest and opened it. It would be just a couple of hours until dark. Given that the blond stranger had not come back out of the brush, alone or with the other three horses, MaryAnne concluded he was waiting for darkness before moving, one way or the other.

She closed the pocket watch. She had time and she too would wait.

"I don't think he wants to come out yet. Make yourself comfortable, Phoenix, we're gonna wait for 'em."

Phoenix softly snorted in reply and she adjusted her stance, relaxing a little. MaryAnne dismounted and took her pack roll and blanket from the saddle, placing them down on the ground near the tree. The young deputy sat down, leaning her back against the tree and keeping an eye on the opening of the trail that led to where Alex was biding his time.

(cue anyone!)

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Alex paced back and forth, his arms crossed over his chest. He didnt like hiding out, and he grew more and more agitated with each passing minute. From the center of the barn, the horses watched him.

"Maybe we shouldnt wait Show, maybe we best get out of here now."

The more he walked across the rickety barn's floor, the better the idea sounded. Finally he stopped; his mind having been made up he went over to barn doors and pulled back the latch, then gave the big doors a shove.

He gathered up the lead line and then going over to Showdown, Alex gripped the horn on the saddle and mounted. Taking a hold of the reins he gave them a flick.

"Come on Showdown, the sooner we get rid of these horses the better off we'll be."

Nudging the horse to walk, Showdown made it through the open doors and out into the open air.

(cue anyone!)

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Surgery on the young Duke boy was long and tiring, Doc. Applebee worked long and hard to save the boy from a painful death. Chet was lucky to be young and strong, it would help him in the long run if he managed to survive the surgery.

“Well that’s about it Nancy.†The Doctor spoke to his nurse still holding the Ether soaked cloth over there young patients nose and mouth. “That’s all I can do for this young man, its in the Lords hands now.â€

His Nurse only nodded and drew the cloth away from Chet’s face so that he could return to consciousness if he was able. Doc. Applebee placed his tools in his tray of alcohol and wiped his hands on a towel. He carefully wiped away the access blood left behind, the wound was successfully closed and the internal bleeding stopped, now only time would tell if he would live. The Doctor cover Chet up, tucking the sheet and a blanket under his arms.

“Nancy, tell that girl that came in with him that she can come in and see him and sit with him if she wishes, but she has to stay calm and quiet.†The Doctor instructed.

Brandie followed the nurse in and sat down by Chet’s bed, holding in her tears for his sake. By late evening a high fever was scolding Chet’s body an he was boldly fighting it and the pain that cursed him. The Doctor checked on him often and Brandie stayed with him all through the night.

“If he survives the night and the fever breaks, he should be out of the woods as long as infection doesn’t set in.†Dr. Applebee said at 2:00 AM.

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Bo and Luke had been hunting in the woods when they noticed the curvy blonde that Cletus had told them about. The dark haired man seemed familar. And with that in mind, they hurried away to find Cooter and MaryAnne.

Daney at first thought the trail had been lost because Examiner had been spooked by the handkerchief’s odor. And she hadn’t been sure where they were going to end up since the bandana could’ve been someone else’s. A distinct red pattern on the ground had been difficult but not impossible for a trained individual to follow.

She really wasn’t sure who or what she would find. She slid off Examiner’s back, hazel eyes on a cabin and two horses.

(cue Garrett, Kristy, Val or anyone)

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Inside the cabin, one reluctant patient was removing his long coat. Meanwhile, the lady gambler lit up an old kerosene lamp that rested on a rickety table. Oily smoke sputtered up from the flickering flame, and the scent of burning dust was heavy in the air. There was no avoiding the necessity of the lamp; the cabin had one small window, and the overgrowth of the surrounding trees choked off any natural light.

Unsteadily, Brian folded the coat over the back of a rustic chair. He removed his low-brimmed black hat and placed it on the table. His fingers then worked at the buttons of his black shirt, which clung to him with his own sticky blood. He pulled the shirt off, keeping himself from looking at it, though the dampness of blood could be felt on the material. He tossed it aside, and then took a few swaying steps to the woodframe bed that was situated in the corner. Still wearing his boots and black jeans, he ungracefully collapsed into the straw-filled mattress, laying on his right side.

He kept his dark eyes open, though pain and loss of blood made them heavy with the need to close. His breathing, now slow and shallow, seemed to take all of his concentration. He watched the lady gambler as she puttered around. If she intended to help him, he was ready to welcome it. If she intended to simply wait for him to expire....

...at least he wouldn't be alone at the end.

( cue anybody )

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Daney crept up to the window about the same time that Examiner followed Gambit and Damascus away. She shrugged and looked in the window to see a blonde woman and dark haired injured man.

Daney untangled herself from the brush. She listened for more sounds that some one else was in the vicinity. If Rosco had followed the blond fella after attending to Chet, that left Enos or another deputy... She stepped quietly over to where the Mustang and Perchron had been. She stooped down and her right hand slid along keratin substance. Hesitantly her other hand went down, very carefully and lifted a Pigmy rattlesnake.

The Sistrurus miliarius buzz’s was faint, it’s small size offered the dull gray reptile to go undetected most of the time. Having not been next to Gambit and Damascus, she couldn’t be sure if both had been spooked or one had reacted to the other’s activity. It was also possible that mosquitoes had bothered one of the horses. Woods were full of different creatures.

She walked about twenty feet from the enchanted cabin. At the base of a pine tree, she laid the snake. She peeked over her shoulder, hoping Min’s friend was able to aid the gentleman. She blinked in surprise at the horses’ return.

Two on the cabin’s right side, one on the left… guard type positions. The three were not protected from the miscellaneous flying insects and crawling critters like Chance, Brian or herself.

(cue anyone)

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Chance gathered the needed supplies for the job; brandy, some cloth for bandages, a packet of local herbs she kept on hand, a needle...and a small pair of pliers. By the fact there was only one ugly wound and way the gunman losing carrying himself, the bullet was still inside. She would have to probe for it before closing the wound. Otherwise the possibility of infection was high. All this Chance knew from her rather unusual unbringing, which she had not shared with anyone. She also bolted the heavy door. On the odd chance of unexpected company, they wouldn't be able to surprise them.

She sat on the bed next to Brian, she noticing the wary look in the dark eyes. He probably believed she was going to kill him. Ignoring the look, she passed him the bottle of brandy.

"Here, you're gonna need this." After he took a long couple of swigs to numb some of the pain, Chance applied a good portion of the burning liquid to the wound, doing her best to clean it. Fortunatly, most of the bleeding had stopped, but the reprieve may be temperary as Chance would probe for the wound. She could seal the wound completely through cauterizing it, but hopefully that would't be nessacary. She then handed the bottle back to Brian, he would need it more than her. "You better brace yourself, this is gonna hurt, whiskey or not."

Focusing herself on the wound, she spoke quietly, distracting both him and herself from what she was doing.

"By the way, I don't think we ever got around to introducing ourselves, my name is Chance."

(Cue Brian)

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Brian flinched as the liquor was poured over the wound. He accepted the bottle as it was passed back to him, taking a long, fast drink. This woman was going to dissect him like a frog, by the looks of it. But there was something in the sureness of her preparations, the steady movements of her hands, that made him believe she knew her stuff.

Still, the first poke into the raw wound caused him to yelp in pained surprise. "EEYAAH! @#$%&!"

Brian panted out a sharp breath, then forced himself to engage in the small talk. Otherwise, he might pass out, and Lord knew if he'd wake up again. "Chance, eh?" He commented in response to her name. "Good name for a lady gambler..."

He hissed in a breath as the excursion for the bullet continued. "My name's Brian. Brian Coltrane. " He winced and took another long drink from the bottle. "Didn't reckon on any favors from you, ma'am....seein' as how we'd crossed each other earlier. An' right now, ah'm not sure if I should be grateful for your help....GAH! Ow! @#$&! Or, if ah should be wishin' you'd of nevah found me again."

The pain sharpened, and Brian dropped the now-empty bottle, clenching his left hand closed in a fist. Fresh blood seeped from his body as the lady gambler, appropriately named Chance, tried to give him better odds.

(cue anybody!)

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"I'll let you know which as long as I find that...hold still, will ya? You're not making this easy. Dammit, I'm a gambler not a doctor, you know."

Chance flinched the same time as Brian did, and by the pale tone in her skin, she decided right then she wasn't cut out for the world of medicine in this lifetime. But she was gentle as she could be until she felt the pliers click against something metal, and a few seconds later, extracted the small bloody piece of lead from the wound.

Stepping away for a moment, she got some hot water from the kettle she had placed on the fireplace, and washed the wound as carefully as she would. It was still bleeding, but only a bit, the majority had stopped. She used the water and dried herbals to make a poultice on the bandages, and placed that over the wound, wrapping the bandage around the waist to hold it tight.

For a moment, Chance thought her heard a crack of the brush outside, but when she glanced over her shoulder, there was nothing in the view of the window, for as much view was possible there. Except for the horses, which were grazing in a nearby thicket. She shrugged it off, probably some woodland varmint, too curious for its own survival... or in heat.

She turned her attention back to the outlaw. "The honey and marigold poweder will keep the wound clean and stop the bleeding. But you lost alot of blood, you need to rest for a bit."

(cue anyone)

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Weakly, Brian lifted his head and looked at the bandage that was wrapped snugly around his lower torso. Wrinkling his nose, he gave a sniff at the poultice. "Honey and marigold powder, and hot water? Ah've been garnished like a roast duck."

Brian eased his head down on the mattress again. Exhaustion was plain in his dark eyes, but his face held a smile as he gazed at the lady gambler. He watched her as she washed the last of the blood from her delicate fingers. He wanted to thank her, and say something charming, but the medicinal booze and the loss of blood was taking it's toll.

Unable to deny the beckoning call of unconciousness, Brian gave in to the pleasant numbness and shut his eyes. He murmured a few words to himself before drifting off to sleep. "Discarded a spade....picked up the queen of diamonds."

A deep sigh followed, and he was aware of nothing else.

(cue anybody!)

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(*This is a joint post*)

Chance heard what Brian whispered before he fell asleep and smiled. She was getting to see why Min liked this outlaw so much. Which reminded her...

She was gonna need help. With the loss of her whip, she was weaponless to protect Brian if one of his seemingly many enemies came calling. And Brian himself was in no shape to protect either of them. Plus they would need provisions for the next few days while he healed.

Currently, there was only one person in town she trusted with the task.

Stepping outside the cabin, she whistled for Gambit. As the mustang trotted up, Chance withdrew her pack of cards from her saddlebag. She separated two from it....the queen of diamonds and the king of spades. Tying those cards together, she added one of the bloody buttons from Brian's black shirt.

Chance figured her saloon girl friend probably got a very good look at those recently. After placing the message in her saddlebag, she grasped the grey horse's head to look into its eyes, speaking softly but firmly.

"Go find Min, old friend." With that, she gave the Gambit a firm swat on the rump with her hat, sending the horse galloping towards town.

Gambit, trained by Chance early on to carry messages between the gambler and on her partner, used his instincts and backtracked to town. He neither stopped or slowed down, except once to drink quickly at a nearby stream. But with the distance from town to the small cabin, it was a few hours before the grey approached the familiar saloon, headed into the back alley, under Min's window.

Chance watched the grey disappear through the woods. There was little she could do now, but wait and watch over the sleeping man.

She pulled a chair up next to the bed, and propped her feet onto another. But watching the steady breathing had its own hypnotic effect, and soon Chance's own eyelids lowered as she dozed in the chair, hat dropping down to cover her face.

(Thanks, Jax, for posting for me. Just tacking this onto the end.)

Min sighed heavily as she climbed the steps up to her room. Things in town had been quiet after the shootout, a little too quiet. The few cowboys that were daring enough to venture into the saloon seemed more interested in whiskey and cards then her, and that suited her just fine; she had other things on her mind and would no doubt make for poor company.

Shutting the door to her room, she went over by the window and opened it, wanting a breath of fresh air. She started to turn away, wanting to change into something more comfortable, when the chuffing of a horse caught her ears. Poking her head out, she looked down and saw the familiar grey horse and for the first time since the bloody gun battle, a smile came to her face.


Climbing through the window as lady like as possible, Min hurried down the back steps. Gambit approached her, nuzzling her hand in search of a treat as she scratched his nose.

“I know what you want, but you’ll get some hard candy in a second.â€

Min saw the saddlebag and untied the leather strings that held it closed. Reaching inside her fingers brushed something and she pulled out two cards and a black button. She untied the cards and studied the button a moment, recognizing it and the crimson stain that covered it.

“Oh no...†She whispered, swallowing hard. Everyone in town knew that one of the strangers had been injured in the battle, now Min knew which it was. Working quickly, she took the saddlebag off of the horse, slinging it over one shoulder.

“I’ll be right back Gambit and I’ll bring you some candy, I promise.â€

Turning back, Min raced up the steps as fast as she could.

She came down a short time later, looking very different than she had just moments ago. The fancy silk dress had been replaced with a more modest one, a tan calico. Her hair, minus the curls she usually put in it, now hung loose down her back with only part of it tied away from her face.

“Here you go, as promised.â€

Min flatted her hand and stuck it under Gambit’s nose giving the horse two pieces of strawberry candy. He crunched on them while Min slung the now full saddlebag across his spine, then tied a much heftier cloth bag to the saddle horn.

“I hope I’ve got everything.â€

Setting her left foot in the stirrup, Min swung up onto Gambit’s back ride then shifted to the side as she wrapped a dark shawl around her shoulders trying to look as inconspicuous as possible.

“All right Gambit, take me to Chance.†Min turned Gambit in the opposite direction, then gave his reins a flick.

The grey horse didn’t stop until it reached the cabin.

(cue anyone!)

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Day light came with the begging of the next morning, Doc. Applebee stood beside his young patients bed waiting to see if the Duke boy was going to awaken with the dawn. He placed a gentle aged hand on Chet’s forehead to feel the heat of his temperature, the fever still plagued him but it had gone down considerably. The Doctor wiped a wet wash cloth over Chet’s face and spoke to the young man urging him to awake and open his eyes if he could.

“Come on young fella, wake up. Come on.....Chet, open your eyes if you can son.†Doc. Applebee squeezed the Duke boys shoulder further urging him.

Brandi sat beside the bed watching the doctor try and wake her friend, he had squeezed her had many times through out the evening hours and at one point he had open his eyes and glanced around. He passed out moments later an hadn’t stirred since, but now it was critical that he awake so that the doctor could get him to drink some water and take some ladanum for the intense pain in his abdomen.

As the cold water of the wash cloth touched Chet’s face he wrinkled his brow and his eyes darted back an forth under his eye lids. He began to move his legs an bend them under the pure white sheet that cover him, his hand tightened around Brandi’s and then released. Chet brought his left hand up to rub his face incoherently an turned his head from side to side.

Suddenly he half sat up, his eyes shot open and he yelped in pain as his mid section bent with the movement. He trembled in pain and struggled unsure of where he was an who he was with. Quickly the doctor pressed Chet down by his shoulders and held him there speaking to him kindly to calm him down.

“Easy there son, easy....calm down, your alright. Lay still....just take it easy, we can’t have you pulling those stitches out.†Doc. Applebee spoke in a soothing voice assuring the young Duke that he was alright.

Chet glanced around, blinking his eyes to clear them of the blur, he looked at Brandi and squeezed her hand. The pain wailed up in his side and he put his hand over the wirery stitches in his abdomen, it all came back to him, the black clad stranger and the blonde haired stranger. All the events that had gone over the last few says of his life.

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(looks like our timeline is a little outta whack. Lesse if Alex and MaryAnne can catch up. LOL)


Phoenix and MaryAnne both saw Alex clear the tree line with his horse and the other three in tow. MaryAnne didn't move immediately, not wanting to cause too much of a stir. She simply watched as Alex and the horses came up on to the road. She waited to see what direction they would go.

(cue Alex)

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Alex gripped the lead line tightly and pulled his horse to stop. He glanced in one direction down the dirt road. The left would lead him back to Hazzard, where the shootout had been.

"That's no good Show, we can't go back to Hazzard, not after what me and Brian did."

He then glanced to the right and gave a heavy sigh.

"That's the road that leads to a couple small towns, then Atlanta. That might be our best bet, maybe I can find some sucker to take these horses off my hands."

Showdown tossed his head back, taking a few steps backwards. Alex steadied him a moment petting his neck.

"Easy Show...I know, I'm not fond of this either. Believe me, I'm thinking about ditching these horses or maybe just leaving them in the livery in the next town we come to. But we can't do nothing with them just standing here so come on, let's get going."

Turning Showdown towards the right he nudged the buckskin into a jog, the three horses following closely behind.

(cue MaryAnne!)

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Once Alex started to ride away, MaryAnne got up and quickly gathered up her blanket and packroll. She affixed them back to Phoenix's saddle and then mounted the Appaloosa mare and then turned Phoenix around and negotiated the horse through the woods. They picked up a small trail and followed it until it reached the road Alex was on.

MaryAnne brought Phoenix out onto the road and they stopped, waiting in the middle of it. Alex wouldn't see them until he came around the turn in the road....

(Cue Alex!)

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"Whoa Showdown--" Alex pulled the buckskin to a stop, taking a moment. The road had been clear up until this point, but now that was about to change. The dense forest lay up ahead and the thick foliage and heavy trees were a perfect spot for bandits and other undesirables that might make his trip a little more dangerous then he planned.

Alex unbuttoned his coat and moved it aside away from his holster, if trouble came he'd be ready for it.

He took a quick glance over his shoulder, seeing the horses were all right and turned back in the saddle.

"All right Showdown, let's go--" He nudged his horse to walk; the trail up ahead appeared overgrown, the long branches reaching out on either side of them.

"So far so good--" Alex said to himself as he looked around, his senses on alert. The road took a sharp curve ahead and Showdown followed it, they had just come around the bend when Alex suddenly pulled his buckskin to a stop.

He saw a horse and rider smack dab in the middle of the road. His first reaction was to go for his gun and put his right hand on his leg. Letting Showdown take a few more steps closer, his dark eyes widened when he saw that the rider blocking the way was a woman. His right hand moved away from his gun, once more gripping the reins.

Now Alex and Showdown stood in front of the lady rider and her horse. He watched her a moment, something seemed familiar about her face but what was even more recognizable was the shining badge on her suede vest and he swallowed hard. Not wanting to rile the law officer, and to make sure he kept his hands in plain sight, he gave her a respectful nod.


Alex kept his gaze locked on her and his demeanor calm as he waited to see if this chance meeting with the local law was simply that or if this had to do with the shootout in town. Either way, things were about to get interesting...

(cue MaryAnne!)

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Alex gave a small smile then glanced over his shoulder at the horses.

"Thanks...they're good animals but just a little high strung."

He swallowed hard, trying to keep his expression from betraying his pounding heart. The horses were stolen, not by him but they were stolen just the same and here he was caught literally red handed by a Deputy. But how much did she know? And why was it that she looked so familiar? He looked at her a moment trying to place her face but then realized he was staring and cleared his throat.

"I'm new around here and was just heading down the road, seeing what's around these parts."

Alex watched her and waited, whether she bought his story or not he couldn't tell.

(Cue MaryAnne!)

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"Oh, I see...." MaryAnne nodded. "Well, I can tell you that the road that way leads to the town of Hazzard, and in this direction it'll take ya to Atlanta, eventually. And back in the direction you just came from there's a rickty old barn that I saw these three horses in earlier and that I saw you come and collect. Call me suspicious but...it seems a little strange that three very healthy looking horses would be left in an abandonded barn when it's obvious they're in the kind of condition that would fetch top dollar from somebody." MaryAnne leaned forward in the saddle. "Legitamately or otherwise."

She paused, studying the stranger's face. She wasn't sure what it was that was making him look so startled. The fact that he'd come face to face with the law, or face to face with a woman wearing a badge, which was rare all things considered. Or maybe her suspicions were right and the horses were stolen and he was trying to figure how to talk his way out of the situation.

Whatever it was, MaryAnne kept a cool gaze upon the stranger. "What's your name, stranger and where'd you get the horses?"

(cue Alex!)

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*She knows they're stolen, and now she's about to haul you off to the pokey. But it doesn't have to be this way! Just draw your gun and get the drop on her and then you can get away!*

Alex's instincts were welling inside him again screaming at him to do something. The lady Deputy probably knew the horses were stolen, or at least suspected they were and now here he was practically delivering them into the hands of the law. His fingers gripped the reins so tight his knuckles were white and his right hand especially itched to draw his gun yet he fought this and kept his hands were they were.

"My name is Alex Jackson..." He started; the Deputy was gazing at him, a gaze so intense that it somehow seemed familiar. But where had he seen it before? He saw a tuft of dark hair peeking out from under the brim of her hat and a pair of intense blue eyes. For a brief moment he flashed on a pair of dark eyes that were just as stern and a wave of realization broke over him.

*Brian...she looks like Brian!*

That shut up all of the nagging instincts that were going off in Alex's head, if this lady law officer was indeed related to Brian, he wasn't about to harm her.

The blond man's spine stiffened and he raised his chin slightly; his white knuckled grip on Showdown's reins vanished as he relaxed and stared the Deputy straight in the eye.

"If I tell you the truth Deputy, you just might be hauling me back to Hazzard in irons."

(cue MaryAnne!)

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The whole time Alex had been studying MaryAnne, MaryAnne had been watching him, waiting for him to make the wrong twitch and try to go for his gun.

But he didn't. And when his posture relaxed, MaryAnne was only put on more alert. It's a trick....he's trying to appear casual and then get the drop on ya....

"Yeah, that's pretty much likely," MaryAnne said in reply to his statement. "Of course, if you lie to me I may just have to shoot you."

(Cue Alex! Sorry for delay y'all)

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Alex saw the lady Deputy tense, her spine grew rigid and the gaze in her blue eyes intensified.

"Yeah, I understand that Deputy--" He nudged Showdown closer and let go of his reins, raising his hands.

"I know you probably think I'm trying to get the drop on you but I'm not."

Moving extremely slow and carefully, Alex brought his right hand down and touched his belt. His fingers worked open the buckle on his holster and gave the thick leather a tug. He pulled until the holster with a pair of pistols emerged from beneath his coat and he stretched his arm out towards her.

"Here... I've got more guns in my coat pockets, you can take them if you want."

He waited to see if she would take the guns and more importantly.. if she would believe what he was about to say...

(Cue MaryAnne!)

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