** I’m finally free!**
His so called “friend” Buck Wilmington had been driving him insane all week.
**He just won’t let the hat thing rest. I don’t see why it should even bother him, I’m the one wearing it!**
Plus there was the whole “you’re too inexperienced” thing. okay, he was still technically a “kid.” But that didn’t give Buck the right to order JD around. And so what if he was from the East? Not all great gunslingers are from the West.
But what really drove him mad was the fact that Buck and the others had decided that he couldn’t come along on their latest ride. They said it was “for his own good”.
**Yeah, right,** JD thought, getting angrier with each passing second.
Okay, it was dangerous this time. Way more dangerous than all the rest. Hell, probably more dangerous than all the rest combined.
Right at this moment the now Magnificent Six were on the trail of one of the most deadliest gangs around. The O’Malley gang. David O’Malley, the gang’s leader, had just been convicted of twenty counts of murder last week. And these were only the ones people knew for *sure* he had committed. There were countless others that no one even knew about. He was sentenced to hang, but on the day of his hanging his twelve younger brothers helped him escape.
Now the seven were hot on his trail.
Except for JD, who had to settle for a ride to Miller’s Lake right out of Four Corners.
**Well, at least it’s better than sitting in the saloon.**
That had been hell for JD. No one to talk to, no one to play cards with, and no one to tease him. Which JD would have welcomed, because it was just so lonely.
JD hated being alone. That was one of the reasons he came out West, so he could join up with some riders. That and the fact that he wanted to be just like Bat Masterson.
JD broke out of his silent reverie when he saw thirteen riders stopped at Miller’s Lake.
“Hey?” he called out.
If JD had been even a tad bit less eager for anything, he would have realized the danger of making himself known to thirteen armed men, especially these thirteen armed men. But JD was probably the most eager, energetic person on Earth.
The thirteen men all turned at the sound.
“Well, well. What do we have here, boys?” asked the one JD figured was the leader.
“I don’t know David, looks like some little prep boy lost his way,” said a tall dark haired man who was at the moment filling his canteen.
“Hey now, John. You shouldn’t judge a boy by the three piece suits he wears.”
Even though it wasn’t funny, the rest of the men burst into laughter, not wanting to upset their leader.
JD tried to give them his best glare, which apparently wasn’t that good because it just caused them to laugh even harder.
“What do want us to do with him?” asked John.
“Patience. Do you know who we are, boy?”
JD looked around, thinking. He saw the thirteen men and realization dawned on him.
“You’re, you’re....... “
“Now he’s getting it! Of course, though, you realize we are going to have to kill you ?” David said, smiling an evil grin.
JD looked around, suddenly scared. There was no way he could shoot all thirteen of them. Not a chance. Even though JD claimed to be fast, he wasn’t that fast.
“I’m sorry, kid. But now that you have found us, we have to make sure you don’t tell anyone.”
And with that the thirteen men all shot at JD, causing his horse to buck. JD was thrown backward, hitting his head on one of the many large rocks surrounding the lake.
**I don’t want to die like this,** thought JD, just as the blackness closed in.
The thirteen men on horses looked down on the now bloody body.
“Looks like we won’t have to worry about him anymore.”
“I can’t believe we didn’t find one trace of the O’Malley gang,” Vin Tanner said, sitting down at a table near the bar.
“Yeah, they just seemed to vanish without a trace,” added Josiah Sanchez.
“Anyone up for a game of chance?” asked Ezra Standish.
“Ezra, is that all you think about?” answered Vin.
“Hey, has anyone seen JD? I’m surprised he isn’t here, bothering us with all of those annoying questions of his,” interrupted Buck, coming up behind them.
“I, for one, am glad for the moments peace,” said Chris Larabee, “That kid is too eager for his own good.”
“Exactly, that’s why I’m surprised he isn’t here.”
“Well, Mary said he left for Miller’s Lake, said he was pretty angry for being left behind. But still. . . He should have been back hours ago,” said Nathan Jackson, the local healer.
“Oh damn. That kid hasn’t got a sense in his head. He probably went and drowned himself,” muttered Buck.
“Now, Buck, I’m sure he hasn’t drowned himself. Could’ve shot himself, though,” Vin reflected.
The rest of the table burst into laughter.
“No, I’m sure the kid is fine. Now, Ezra, you still up for that game of poker?” asked Chris.
Chris sighed, "Would it make you feel better if we went by the lake and looked for him?”
“Yeah, it would,” Buck answered solemnly.
“Hey guys, you better come over here!” yelled Vin from the edge of town.
Buck and Chris raced over to see what Vin had been so concerned about.
There stood JD’s horse, but no JD.
And when Vin lifted his hand off the saddle they all saw the blood on it.
“Oh shit. Vin, get everyone and tell them to saddle up. We’re going to ride.”
Buck was already on his horse by the time all the others came out.
“What’s going on?” he heard Nathan ask.
“Looks like JD might have been shot. Bring your buckboard,” Chris replied.
Buck noticed that his voice was unusually strained.
**Oh God, let him be all right. He’s too young to die.**
And with that they all rode out towards the lake.
Buck was feeling guilty. If anything happened to the kid he would never forgive himself. What made it worse was that they hadn’t exactly parted on good terms. Buck had been the one that insisted he stay at Four Corners while the others go out and look for the O’Malley gang. Hell, Buck was even the one that suggested he take a ride to Miller’s Lake. Pretty ironic, Buck thought he was keeping JD safe, instead he could be lying dead somewhere.
JD was like a little brother to Buck. Sure he teased him a lot, but it was only Buck’s way of showing he cared. And if JD had been hurt, or worse, Buck would make the person that did it to him hurt even more. It was as simple as that.
The lake came into view and Chris thought it was too quiet. Way too quiet. He got an uneasy feeling. There was no sign of JD.
“Let’s go around the lake. Buck, you go that way. I’ll go this way. Vin, check for any tracks. The rest of you go look over there.”
“JD! Where are you, kid!” shouted Buck.
About five minutes later Buck was about to give up when he noticed what looked like blood on a side of a rock. He started to feel uneasy, something wasn’t right. He went over to the rock, which was partially hidden by weeds, and froze.
There was JD, his head laying on the rock and the rest of him sprawled out in an unnatural way. But that wasn’t what alarmed him. What alarmed him was the amount of blood. It was everywhere. On JD’s forehead, his chest, his whole body.
“Jesus Christ,” he whispered, becoming pale. “NATHAN!”
Chris was about to go over to Buck when Vin called him over.
“Chris, you better come see this.”
“What is it, Vin?” he asked, slightly worried by his friend’s tone.
“Look, I found thirteen tracks. Thirteen! Do you realize what this means? They were here the whole time! We tracked all day, found nothing. If we would have looked in the most obvious place we would have found them.”
“Damn it! There was no way JD would’ve even had a chance against them. God, I wish we had allowed him to come with us.”
“Hey. Buck found him. Doesn’t look too good. Nathan said we better get him to town real quick.” Josiah said softly, coming up behind them.
“If the kid dies. .”
“I know, Chris, I feel the same way. We better get going. “Vin got back on his horse and the others followed suit.
Chris looked over at JD who was lying on the buckboard. He was still, too still.
“Damn O’Malley. The kid probably didn’t know what hit him,” he whispered.
Chris then noticed Buck. He too was looking at the kid. Chris noticed that he looked dazed, like he had just gotten hit over the head with a hammer. He also saw the guilty, pained expression on his face.
“Buck, it’ll be all right. The kid’s tough.”
“I sure hope you’re right, Chris. I sure as hell hope you’re right.”
“Well, he’s lost a lot of blood. Looks like he was shot three times. I got all the bullets out, none of them hit anything major,” Nathan told everyone as he came out of the room where he was keeping JD.
“Thank God,” Buck said, breathing a sigh of relief. “So he’s going to be all right?”
“I didn’t say that, Buck. I’m worried about his head wound. He must have gotten thrown by his horse. He’s been unconscious ever since he got shot. That must have been fourteen hours ago. It isn’t normal.”
Buck stopped his pacing, which he had been doing ever since they got back.” But he’s going to wake up, right?” he asked nervously. He couldn’t go on if JD died, but the fact that they had last parted on bad terms made it even worse.
“I’m confident our young acquaintance will be up and about in no time, Mr. Wilmington,” said Ezra, though even he didn’t sound like his usual confident self.
This surprised Chris because usually the southern gambler only cared about himself. It sounded to Chris that Ezra was actually worried about the kid. He looked around at the others and realized they all wore similar expression on their faces.
**Maybe he means a lot more to us then we’d care to admit.**
A few weeks had gone by and there was still no change in JD. Nathan had said all his wounds had healed up, even the head wound. But he still hadn’t woke up, he hadn’t even moved. He was unconscious, but Nathan has seemed to be hinting that it was more than that.
All the men were really scared now, they didn’t know what was happening. They were all worried, but Buck even more so. He had been in a daze ever since they had found JD, nothing could bring him out of it. He was constantly by JD’s side, begging him to wake up. But he never did.
“He hit his head pretty hard,” Nathan began one day, deciding to voice his suspicion. “I think it triggered something. I’m not sure. I’ve read about something like this. . . . I think he may be in a coma,” he finished.
Everyone looked at him curiously, everyone except, of course, Buck who was visiting JD.
“What, pray tell, is a coma?” asked Ezra.
“I’m not really all that familiar with it...It’s hard to explain. It’s a deep sleep, really. Nothing can wake you up,” he tried to explain.
“Is it possible for him to wake up own his own?” questioned Chris.
“Yes, but it can go on for days, months, even years! There is no way of knowing when, or even if, he will wake,” said the former slave, exasperated at his own helplessness.
“I’m going to pray for the young child.” said Josiah, getting up and heading for the church.
Everyone else stayed there. Each lost in his own thoughts and memories. Each wishing they had done things differently.
Buck was scared. JD looked so young and vulnerable lying on the bed. Buck was scared the kid might actually die.
“JD, come on kid. Wake up and tell ‘ole Buck how angry you are at him for leaving you behind.”
Nothing. Not even the slightest movement. Buck laid his head on the bed and covered it with his hands. He started to cry softly, despite his promise to himself to stay strong.
“Jesus, JD. You gotta wake up. It just ain’t the same with out you. Too quiet,” Buck made a weak attempt at a smile.
Still nothing. Buck was feeling helpless.
“JD, I promise if you wake up I’ll never tease you about your stupid bowler hat again. And I’ll let you come ride with us whenever you want. Please, God let him wake up.”
A moan. Practically silent, but it was there.
Buck lifted his head, “JD?”
JD’s eyes started to twitch and another moan escaped from his lips.
“Nathan! I think he might be waking up! Get in here!”
Everyone came rushing in, including Josiah who had just gotten back from the church.
“What is it, Buck? You think he might be waking up?” Vin asked anxiously.
“Sure looked like he was. And sounded like it, too.”
“I think you might be right, Buck. Let’s back up and give him some room.” Nathan said, backing up and motioning for everyone else to do the same.
“JD? Come on, kid,” said Buck.
They all watched as the figure on the bed let out a small moan. Then the figure moved and slowly opened his eyes.
“JD! Good to see you awake, son. You had us worried,” Buck said, smiling as he went back to his place by JD’s bed.
“What?” asked JD, confused.
“Don’t you remember, son? You got shot up pretty bad and hit your head.” explained Chris.
“Yeah,” added Buck, “you always seem to know where to find trouble.”
“What are you talking about?” asked the still confused JD, “Who the hell are you?”
The rest of the men looked at each other, shocked.
“You mean you don’t know who we are?” asked Nathan, suddenly worried.
“Of course he does,” Buck said stubbornly, “He’s just messing around, aren’t you JD?”
“No,” said the now annoyed JD, “I don’t know who any of you are.”
“Now, JD, just think,” Buck said, placing a hand on JD’s arm, “It’ll all come back in a second?”
JD was obviously getting angrier by the second. He pulled his arm out of Buck’s grasp and glared at him.
“I don’t know who any of you are,” he repeated.
“Do you know your name?” asked the slightly shaken Ezra.
“Of course! I’m not an idiot.”
“What, pray tell, is it then?”
“JD Dunne. What’s yours?” asked JD, who seemed to be fascinated by Ezra’s red jacket.
“Mine? Ezra Standish. Are you sure you don’t remember any of us?” he asked, still surprised that JD could have no recollection of him, or any one else for that matter.
“Oh,” JD said, narrowing his eyes a bit as if he was really trying to remember. “No. I don’t know any of you.”
“JD, you’re sure? Because I find that hard to believe-” Buck started to say.
“Buck, leave him alone for now. I’m sure he’ll just be a little hazy for a while,” offered Josiah.
JD tried to sit up, but couldn’t because of the pain in his chest.
“Ow!” he said, “What happened to me?”
He gave Buck a glare when he tried to help. “Back off. I can do it myself.”
“I was just trying to help you, kid. It’s me, Buck. Don’t you remember?”
“No!” shouted JD, who was now becoming very agitated. He covered his ears with his hands. “I don’t know you! Just go away!”
“Buck, maybe you should leave. You seem to be bothering the kid.” Nathan said apologetically.
“At least some things haven’t changed.” muttered Chris.
“Yes, please leave. All of you! Just go!” said JD.
“Let’s go. Nathan, you should stay,” Chris said, grabbing Buck and pulling him out the door. He started to protest but was silenced with a warning glance from Chris. "We’ll check in later.”
Nathan sighed and sat in the chair that Buck had occupied.
“Do you know where you are, JD?”
JD looked around. He hadn’t even noticed his surroundings yet.
“I’d usually say New York. But this isn’t anything like New York.”
“That’s because you aren’t in New York. You’re out West. In Four Corners.”
“How did I get here?” JD asked, very astonished to find out he was out West.
“JD, what’s the last thing you remember? Nathan asked seriously.
“Um. . . I don’t know. I don’t remember coming West, though. That’s for sure.”
**Well, kid, I hope you remember soon.**
“Damn it!” Buck exclaimed as he kicked over a chair in the saloon. “I can’t believe he doesn’t even remember us!”
“I know, Buck. But what can you do?” asked Chris, sitting down at a table.
“Kill the O’Malley gang,” he muttered back.
“Touché, my friend, touché,” said Ezra as he took the seat across from Buck.
Everyone turned and looked at Nathan expectantly as he came and sat at the table.
“Well, he’s sleeping right now. He appears to be in good health.”
“That’s a relief. Wouldn’t want to add to our problems,” Buck said bitterly.
Chris turned to look at his oldest friend. There seemed to be a shadow of guilt in his eyes. Chris figured he probably felt responsible for getting the kid shot.
“I’m thinking he has some sort of amnesia. Which means he doesn’t know who we are, what happened, and he doesn’t remember coming out West. He does know who he is, though.”
“Did you tell him anything?” asked Vin.
“Yeah, I did. I told him who we were, where he is, and what we think happened. He’s a bit confused.”
“Well, one can discern that. If I awoke in a foreign locality, I would like wise be a bit disconcerted.” said Ezra.
“Will he get his memory back?” questioned Buck, a worried expression on his face.
“I don’t know,” Nathan said simply.
“Can I go see him?” asked Buck, getting to his feet.
“Well, he’s sleeping right now-”
But Buck was already gone.
As Buck walked toward Nathan’s clinic he couldn’t help but remember the look on JD’s face when he earlier told Buck to leave. It was one of annoyance, like he couldn’t stand Buck. It wasn’t like the look of annoyance he usually got from JD when he would tease him. No, this was deeper. It was like JD didn’t even like him. That bothered Buck more than the fact that JD couldn’t even remember him.
**I’ll think more on it later. Right now I’m going to see how JD is.**
“Hey, kid,” he called out as he stepped into the room, “time to get up.”
“What do you want?” JD asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.
“What do you mean by that? JD, you may not remember it now, but I’m practically your best friend, hell, I am your best friend.”
“I find that hard to believe,” scoffed JD.
“Now why is that? Hell, kid, I saved your life more times than I can remember and this is how you treat me?”
“Would you prefer me to kiss the ground you walk on?” JD asked sarcastically.
Buck sighed. Why couldn’t JD magically get his memory back?
“JD, I want you to look me in the eye, okay, and tell me if you see any familiarity.”
JD looked up. He looked into Buck’s eyes. He tried, he really tried. Even though right now he considered the man to be a very bothersome person. But he saw nothing.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know you. And if I do, I don’t remember you.”
And strangely he was sorry, because he saw the crestfallen expression on the man’s face.
**Maybe I was wrong. Maybe he isn’t as bad as I thought.**
“Well,” boomed Buck, ”That’s your loss, kid.” With that Buck slapped JD on the shoulder and left.
JD glared at the retreating figure. **Then again, maybe I wasn’t wrong,** he thought in disgust as he rubbed his now sore shoulder.
Buck didn’t want to leave so abruptly, but he couldn’t stay in there. When JD looked into his eyes he had thought for sure he would remember something, anything. But he hadn’t. And it was like a blow in the stomach to Buck.
**Maybe if I act like nothing has changed he’ll start to remember. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.**
JD sat in the saloon playing cards with Ezra. Nathan had decided that he could finally go out today. But he shouldn’t overdue it, Nathan had warned, or he would make him stay in the clinic. JD was excited when he first stepped out into the street. The West! He still hadn’t remembered anything and was shocked that he was actually out West. He had always wanted to come out West. He had read dime novels ever since he was a kid. He went around town, looking at everything and everyone. Unfortunately, with Buck right at his heels. JD had been becoming even more annoyed with him. Buck had been acting like nothing had even happened. It was making JD angry. He figured that even if he did remember Buck, he still wouldn’t like him.
“Hey, Ezra, you know who you remind me of? “
Ezra looked up questionably. He had been spending a lot of time with JD lately. It seemed to Ezra that JD only felt comfortable with him, even though he had no idea why. It might have something to do with the fact that whenever Buck came near the kid tended to try to run and hide. Or the fact that he looked at Chris in complete awe, like had done when he first arrived out West. It may have been even the fact that he seemed fascinated by the way the southern conman dressed and talked.
“No, Mr. Dunne, who do I remind you of?”
“Doc Holliday,” JD replied, studying the cards in front of him.
Ezra raised his eyebrows, surprised. No one had ever told him that before. He figured it was a very high compliment, coming from JD who probably idolized the man like he did Bat Masterson.
“Why, thank you. That’s most likely the kindest compliment anyone has ever paid me.”
JD smiled and laid his cards on the table. "Ha! Try and beat that,” he said proudly.
Of course, Ezra could have, but he decided to let the kid win. Just this once. Kindness does that to a man.
“Looks like you’ve beat me, Mr. Dunne,” he exclaimed, acting surprised.
But no one was more surprised than JD.
“I did? Wahoo!” he cried, as he took all the money on the table.
“I’m delighted you haven’t lost your ardor for life,” Ezra said wryly.
“What do you mean he’s still alive?!” shouted David O’Malley.
“Well, it seems he was one of the seven hired guns in Four Corners and they went looking for him. There was also a doctor and he fixed him up,” explained his younger brother John.
“There’s more,” piped in Mark, “he doesn’t remember anything from the past year. He probably won’t ever. So I don’t see why we even have to worry-”
“You don’t see why we have to worry! We are going back and finishing him!”
“David, if you go back to the States you’ll be arrested!”
“That’s a chance I’m willing to take.”
“It’s not open for debate!”
“Buck, why don’t you leave JD alone for awhile,” asked Josiah.
“What? You may not care, but I’m trying to help him remember.”
“Buck,” Chris began, “Josiah’s right. The only thing you are making remember is how much of a pain in the ass you are.”
Buck glared at Chris.” I don’t care what you guys say.” And with that he went to look for JD.
“One of these times JD is gonna snap, and then Buck will wish he had listened to us,” said Vin, shaking his head sympathetically.
“You got that right, brother,” answered the preacher.
“Hey, kid! Wait up!” yelled Buck as he spotted JD coming out of the bar.
JD turned at the voice. He had a wary look on his face.
“What do you want?” he asked guardedly.
“I’m going to Wick’s Town later and I-” Buck began.
“Can't you just leave me alone?” JD yelled all of a sudden. “Don’t you know that I don’t remember you? I’m sick of you following me around. Just leave me alone, okay? Can you handle that?” And with that JD turned around and stormed over to the boarding house.
Buck stood there, shocked. He didn’t think he was bothering JD that much. Obviously he was wrong, very wrong.
Nathan came up behind Buck and put his hand on his shoulder. “We tried to tell you Buck, but you wouldn’t listen. Just let him cool down a bit. It will be all right.”
“No, it won’t. It’ll never be ‘all right’ again.”
Buck had never felt so miserable in is life. He had become resigned to the fact that JD didn’t remember him and probably never would. So Buck was getting drunk. He had been in the saloon for an hour, but he just couldn’t seem to get drunk. Maybe he just didn’t have it in him. Whatever the case, he would keep trying.
“Maybe you should ease up, Buck,” Chris said softly.
“You’re one to talk,” Buck said, glaring at Chris.
“Fine,” Chris said, holding his hands up in surrender. “I’ll just let you get drunk, though you don’t seem to be getting anywhere.”
Buck was about to give a snappy reply when Vin came rushing into the saloon.
“Looks like thirteen riders coming this way,” he said, giving Chris a meaningful glance.
“Shit. Did you tell everyone else?”
“Yeah. They’re all outside waiting with their guns.”
“Come on then, let’s go!”
When they got outside JD was in the middle of telling Nathan how excited he was.
“I’ve never even seen an actual gunfight! I can’t believe I’m going to actually be in a gunfight! This is the best day ever!” he exclaimed excitedly.
“You’re not,” Chris said coming up behind him. “You have seen a gunfight before, and you’ve even been in a lot of them, but you just don’t remember. I’m not taking the chance to see if you remember how to shoot a gun. These guys are dangerous, they’re the ones that shot you up. They’re probably coming to look for you. So I want you out of sight, okay?”
“But-” JD started to protest.
“Go!” Chris said, not budging an inch.
“Fine. But can I at least watch?”
Chris sighed. **Well, at least he’s still stubborn.** “All right, as long as you stay out of sight.”
“Thanks!” And with JD went to hide behind the wall by the jail.
Buck noticed that JD hadn’t even looked in his direction and it hurt him. More than he cared to admit.
“You sure that’s a good idea, Chris?” asked Vin, “You know how trouble always seems to find him.”
“Yeah. But I’m sure he’ll be fine. Now, everyone get ready."
The six men waited as the O’Malley gang came in. The gang shot first, but the six quickly retaliated in a split second. Buck hit one, Chris hit another. The O’Malley gang was good, but not good enough. They were all down in a matter of seconds, where as none of the six were shot.
“Well, looks like God was on our side today, brothers.” said Josiah.
“You got that right.” Vin answered, smiling.
Buck was still feeling a bit uneasy. Something was wrong. He began to count the bodies and found out why he has so uneasy.
“Chris!” he yelled, “There are only twelve bodies here. I don’t see David O’Malley!”
Chris turned, “What?”
“He’s right,” Vin said softly, “I saw thirteen men come in. David was in front, but now he’s no where to be found.”
“Shit! Where’s JD?”
“JD!” Buck and Vin both yelled.
“Hey there, kid. Bet you don’t remember me, do ya? I sure as hell remember you.”
JD turned at the voice. No, he didn’t remember this person. Of course, he didn’t remember anyone he had met in the past year.
“I told you before that I had to kill you. Thought I did. But apparently I was wrong. So now I’m gonna have to try again. And this time I’ll succeed.”
With that he raised his gun at the unarmed JD, who was still confused. He was about to pull the trigger when Buck knocked him to the ground.
“No!” he shouted.
David’s gun went off. Buck punched him and he went unconscious. He looked to where JD was and fell silent.
The bullet had missed JD and instead hit a sign that was above the jail. The sign, which was already unstable, had fallen and hit JD in the head.
“Ow!” he exclaimed. And then promptly passed out.
The rest of the seven came in and Josiah and Vin lifted David and carried him to the jail.
“Is he okay?” asked Chris.
“I think so. He just got hit on that hard head of his. C’mon, Nathan. I’ll help you carry him to the clinic.
JD opened his eyes and stretched. “Gosh, my head hurts.”
“Good to see you’re awake,” Nathan commented.
“How long have I been out?”
“Oh, about an hour.”
“Really?” JD frowned, “It seemed longer than that.”
Nathan shrugged, “You did get hit in the head pretty hard. Maybe that’s why.”
“I guess,” JD said, still frowning.
“Hey, kid. You feeling all right?” asked Chris as he came in.
“Yeah. Can I get out of here now?”
Nathan and Chris exchanged a look.
“Well, I suppose. If you feel up to it. . .”
“Thanks,” he said, hopping off the bed. “Whoa,” he said, the room seeming to spin a bit.
“Maybe you should lie down a bit longer.” Chris said worriedly.
“I’m fine. Hey,” he said, looking at his chest, ”wasn’t I shot?”
“JD, are you feeling all right? “ Chris asked, concerned. “That was awhile ago.”
JD stopped, confused, “No it wasn’t. That’s how I hit my head. Are you feeling all right?”
Nathan and Chris exchanged another look.
“JD, do you remember how you hit your head?”
“Yeah,” JD replied, looking at Chris like he was crazy. “I went to Miller’s Lake because you guys left me behind, and I was ambushed.”
“So you remember everything? Like, say for instance, when you came out West?”
“Look, you guys are acting weird. I’m outta here.” And with that he was gone.
Nathan and Chris looked at each other.
“Looks like he got his memory back.”
“Should we tell Buck?”
“Nah. I wanna see the look on his face. We can tell everyone else, though.”
“Saloon,” Chris confirmed.
Buck, to say the least, was mildly surprised when JD sat down with him.
“Hey, JD,” he began, choosing his words carefully, “You up for a game of poker? I hear Ezra’s trying to round up some players.”
JD ignored him. He was still angry at Buck for leaving him behind.
Buck sighed. Obviously the only reason the kid sat with him was because there was no where else to sit.
Vin, Ezra, Josiah, Nathan, and Chris all came into the saloon. Each laughing a bit when they saw JD and Buck sitting together, but neither one of them talking.
“Let’s sit over with them. I wonder when Buck’s gonna realize-” Vin couldn’t finish because he burst into laughter.
“I think JD is a little mad at Buck, though,” Chris commented, “For making him stay.”
“Yeah, and Buck thinks it’s because he’s annoying,” Josiah said, finding it all a bit humorous.
Ezra raised his eyebrows, “Mr. Wilmington is annoying.”
“That’s true,” Chris said as he sat down with Buck and JD.
“What’s true?” asked JD.
“Nothing you need to know, kid,” Vin said, as he too sat down.
“Well, I’m up for a game of poker. How about anyone else?” Ezra drawled.
“So, Buck,” Chris began, “Good thing you jumped David before he could shoot JD.”
Buck nodded. JD looked up from his cards, confused.
“What are you talking about? Buck didn’t stop David from shooting me.”
“Yes, I did,” Buck said indignantly. “Where were you, kid? I saved your life!”
“No, you didn’t!” JD yelled.
The rest of them all sat back, amused as Buck and JD continued to argue. Finally, it was back to normal!
“You weren’t even there, Buck! You were out tracking the O’Malley gang with the others, very badly I might add.”
Buck stopped, “That wasn’t what I was talking about.” Then he realized what this meant and burst into laughter? “Well, I’ll be damned."
The rest of them joined in the laughter, all except JD.
“Oh, my,” gasped Ezra in between his laughter, “I haven’t laughed like this in a prolonged duration.”
JD looked at all of them strangely, “You are all crazy.”
That just made them laugh even harder.
“ You see, kid, it’s like this. The time you’re thinking of, no, Buck didn’t save you. But the time he’s thinking about he did save you. Which was today,” said Josiah.
“You were in a coma for a while, then you woke and didn’t remember anything from the past year. Today you got hit in the head again. Apparently you don’t recall the past month. That’s why you thought you were out longer.” Nathan tried to explain.
“Yeah, right,” JD said, nodding as if to humor them.
All of a sudden Buck got up and pulled JD to his feet. "Good to have you back, kid,” he said, giving JD one of his infamous bear hugs.
“Cut it out, Buck!” the kid cried, struggling to free himself.
Everyone laughed as Buck just hugged him even tighter.