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Hit Me If You Can

Chet Duke

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MaryAnne watched Jumper pull ahead of her a bit and she shifted Maverick into his top gear, bringing the bird back in line with the Shelby. The two cars went through the broad turn, side by side and MaryAnne pushed Maverick for everything the V8 could give. The blue Firebird screamed past Jumper and drove ahead, pulling infront of the Shelby. MaryAnne let off the gas, slowing down and forcing Hilery to slow down or plow into Maverick.

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"No!" She yelled and took a swing at Maryanne, which was easily missed. Hilery fell to the ground and placed her face against ehr arms adn layed sobbing against teh dirt road. Her body shook like crazy with every sob. "Why did this have to happen," she asked the two coltranes between sobs. "It didn't have to, CHet was so young." she winned and then began to cry even harder. "He was practically my brother." she mumbled as she continued crying hard.

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Daney threw the cb mic back on the floorboard of Ghost. “Dammit,†She muttered under her breath. The dispatcher had informed her that the ambulance had unfortunally broken down. And another one wasn’t available for several minutes.

The town square was unusually deserted... Daney glanced around and walked back over to the younger Duke.

She sighed, stooped down and looked him over. The brunette shook her head, a shiver went up her spine. Thoughts were a mixture of shock, denial and grief. Daney had tried her best to be a friend to Chet and Hilery just as she had been to Brian, MaryAnne, Kristy, Min, Val, Essy and others.

They had all lost someone who couldn’t be replaced. Chet wouldn’t grow, learn and experience like the rest of them had and still were.

Daney reached her hands out. One brushed Chet’s shoulder, the other touched the wound. “Hilery is really gonna miss ya. We all will-†she paused. Her hazel eyes grew troubled knowing how close the twosome had been. She prayed silently.

She sat and cried until the roar of car engines and a siren wailing filled the air.

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"It's all right Cousin."

Daney lifted a tear stained face over her shoulder to see her cousin standing behind her. Min knelt down, touching her back lovingly.

"Come here."

Daney wiped her eyes with the heel of her hand. "Chet's gone."

The two women embraced, Min rubbed her cousin's back, fighting her own tears.

"I know." She squeezed her eyes shut, hugging her cousin.

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Back at the roadside where Hilery wept, Brian heard the pain in the young woman's heaving sobs, and it broke his heart. He knew that if he and Chet hadn’t fought, Hilery's friend would still be alive....

Slowly, Brian knelt down next to Hilery, and gently touched her shoulder. The thought that he was responsible for Chet's death, albiet indirectly, could not be driven from his mind. Brian had cost Hilery the one person in life she was closest to, he knew there was nothing, absolutely nothing, he would ever be able to do to make this right.

Never, during his time in Hazzard, had he been involved in someone losing their life. He took pains to behave in this county; MaryAnne and Rosco had trusted him enough to give him a home here, a life away from the Atlanta Syndicate, away from his own past and the misdeeds in it….

...and now, here at his feet, was the result of his battle with Chet. Brian remained the number one bad guy in Hazzard...but a life was lost, and the fact it was an accident did nothing to ease Hilery's tears....

...and did nothing to ease the guilt in Brian's soul.

"Hilery...." he choked out, trying to reach through her pain. "Hilery...c'mon...let's get you somewhere safe. Please calm down….we’re gonna help you….please don’t cry so hard….â€

Brian bowed his head, and his eyes shut as Hilery’s tears spent themselves. “...Forgive me...†he whispered inaudibly, and whether he was speaking to Hilery, or to MaryAnne, or both, was uncertain.

Finally, he lifted his face to look at MaryAnne, dark eyes meeting blue…and in that moment, the weight of it all was too much, and he blinked back the moisture as it sprang to his eyes. His throat tightened and he tried to speak, but there was nothing to be said….nothing that would make Hilery feel better or bring Chet back.

Most of all, there was nothing to ease the memory of that one, fleeting moment, where he had grasped Chet’s hand and felt the weak clench in return…and in that moment, two enemies, Duke and Coltrane, had gained peace…and with it, the first chance of friendship…

…and as quickly as it had come, it was lost forever.

His vision blurred, and Brian looked away.

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MaryAnne was kneeling beside Hilery as well and her own eyes weren't very dry. She could feel Hilery's pain and Brian's guilt, especially when his dark eyes turned up to look at her. The deputy in her, however, knew there were some things that needed to be taken care of. The first of which was getting Hilery back to town safely.

"Hilery? C'mon, I'll take ya back to town, to the garage. We'll have Cooter come out and get Jumper here. I don't want you drivin' any more today like this, ok?" She tugged on Hilery's shoulder eventually getting the young Davenport to pick herself up off the ground. She stood up brushing tears away and MaryAnne put an arm around her shoulders. "I know it hurts, Hilery, but ya gotta stay strong. Ok?"

MaryAnne looked at Brian. "Wait for me at the courthouse..."

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At MaryAnne's softly-spoken command, Brian gave a downcast nod and turned away. He knew Hilery would be alright in MaryAnne's capable care; his own presence, however, was unlikely to offer any comfort.

Diablo's motor rumbled as the long black Chevy pulled away from the scene. Brian knew the instructed destination of the courthouse wasn't a random selection on MaryAnne's part. He was fully aware of what it implied.

There were a number of different roads that he could take, a number of evasive options that briefly crossed his mind out of habit.

But as he looked in his rear-view mirror and saw Hilery standing there, wiping tears...

...there was no thought of disobeying MaryAnne. None.

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Hilery took a seat silently in the passanger seat of Maverick, and placed her head back on the headrest. Within seconds she was asleep, her emotions having worn her out. Not long having fallen asleep though, she kept seeing Chet's death time and time again in her mind. The memory was horifying. There was no need for Maryanne to wake her up though because she jerked herself awake after they were mid way to town. She had awaken in tears.

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