okumen: Kanata | Shinigami x Doctor (9)
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Drifters
Toyohisa/Butch; Butch

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The sky far above was ashen, the color right before the blush of dawn started to bleed into it. It was a color he saw far more often than others did. It was the same color as he saw his hair, even when nobody else did.

He never mentioned it to his parents, that things simply seemed…off to him. Instead he observed, took in all the information that he could get hold of, to gain a clear image of what it was that was nagging at the back of his mind. When his brothers and sisters spoke of the colors their gazes could not see as they were, he listened but said nothing. It was children’s talk, he said if they tried to involve him in their conversation. Only children got excited over trying to figure out what the person behind the missing color was like. When they would protest against being called children, he would say that as long as they were younger than him, they would be children in his eyes.

Robert LeRoy Parker, Utah boy of faithful Mormon blood, knew that in the end, it didn’t matter if he found his soulmate or not. Black eyes, he learned that whoever she was had. Because his hair was supposed to be black, but it didn’t look that way to his eyes. People didn’t have black eyes in Circle Valley, though very dark eyes of some different color happened on some.

Nonetheless, he knew that once he was of an age, he would be made to marry some Mormon girl from the community, probably because it would benefit the family and the Church. A woman good for bearing children, if his Maw got any say in it. Which she would, he knew. If he got to choose he didn’t want to marry at all, but nobody around these areas cared about a boy’s or a girl’s preferences. Everything was for the Church and the Lord, and it didn’t matter if the two young ones getting married were soulmates or not. If somebody around these parts did manage to find and marry their soulmate by the time it was their turn to marry, those people could count themselves as very lucky.

LeRoy managed to escape it though, by leaving before a marriage was decided upon. He was happy for that, though he was sure his family wasn’t. But they were unhappy about many of his life choices, so in the end, that was simply one of many problems they saw in him.

*****


Riding the Outlaw Trail enabled him to see a great deal more of the world, see a great deal more people. Even people who supposedly had black eyes. But none of them were the girl he was supposed to be with, since the colors of the world never changed.

LeRoy Parker became George Cassidy, and then became Butch Cassidy, and as the years went by and he still didn’t find the girl meant for him, he had to assume that by now she had married and moved on with her life, so he should too. Women didn’t necessarily bring good either way, and not marrying was not a loss in his opinion. But if he kept an eye out for women with that particular shade of gray in their eyes eyes, wondering if they in truth were black, he never told anyone, not even Elzy, despite the many years they had spent together on the trail.

The other men on the trail met their women, sometimes married them, sometimes left them behind. He saw enough of the trouble either caused, and didn’t want it for himself. Just because you were soulmates didn’t mean you would stay together forever, even though they carried a piece of each other with them for all eternity. Or so it was said, in the old, old stories. But to be frank, he had not been very interested in the first place. Curious, yes, the color he saw - or rather, couldn’t see - was different enough from those his siblings spoke of to make him wonder just what kind of a girl had coal black eyes.

Being on the trail was dangerous, living in their beloved West was dangerous. It wouldn’t do to bring families on it, though some did, sometimes. It never ended well.

*****


He blew white smoke toward the sky, the color of ashes making him wonder again. Making him wonder if the girl was even out there somewhere. It made him sentimental, remembering the days he did the same at home, early in the mornings, watching the winter breath paint a cloud in the American sky. He wondered if perhaps it was an injun girl, from a tribe somewhere he had not visited yet, a tribe he never would visit, so long as he was forced to hide so far from where he considered home. Wondered if she was already dead, even.

Even on mornings before a robbery he sometimes started to think of it. His life was probably nearing an end, he always lived by that thought, that today might be his last day and tomorrow might come without him. Meeting yet another sunrise was something he welcomed, but rise too early and reminders would present themselves.

At least he didn’t think about it in the middle of the robberies, not on trains and not in banks, and not while fleeing posses or hiding among the cliffs or trees. The Trail was a freedom he never would have had, had he stayed on with his family. No soulmate was a freedom, too. He didn’t need one. The horses, the guns and smokes - and, before South America, his Wild Bunch - was all that he needed, and nothing but death (or a prison cell) could, or would, take his freedom from him.


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Contrary to popular belief, Sundance was not Butch's best friend, it was actually Elzy Lay, who founded the Wild Bunch together with Butch.
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