okumen: Mu | Magi (CRAU) (10)
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Drifters
Toyohisa/Butch; Butch, Sundance, Haruakira, Hannibal

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Ending up in a different world while half riddled with bullets had not been a very enjoyable experience. But getting totally filled with lead and dying in Bolivia would be even less enjoyable so he figured the only thing they could do was get used to it and continue on with their lives, taking it one day at a time as they always had.

The first period of time back then had been more than rough, digging bullets out of each other and cauterizing each other's wounds with red-hot knife blades had been excruciating. Each wound took time, and they had feared the other a goner several times because of it. Passing out from the pain was temporary bliss for one party, constant fear for the other. They did not want to lose each other when in such unfamiliar waters, and definitely not so soon.

Living on the Trail was always dangerous, it was something they had been well aware of when setting out on it, many years ago, but this world was a completely different type of danger, putting them between a proverbial devil and equally proverbial deep sea. Before the Octobrists found them, it was a battle between them and their wounds, one they eventually headed for victory in, they thought, and after it was a war they never asked to be dragged into, with no end in sight. Butch was grateful for the additional treatment that they received, and he felt he owed them for that. He always repaid his debts and he would continue to do so. But participating in a war that wasn't theirs was just ridiculous.

Haruakira and his organization might have magic, and other things unfamiliar to the two members of the Bunch, but he had to wonder if it really was worth it. He loved adventure and living on the edge but he preferred it to be on an edge that he chose, not one that was shoved into his face one afternoon when he was failing to catch fish from the river.

Maybe it was better than going around wondering, unable to get any answer because of the language barrier. Though they had gotten around language barriers in the past, given some time. At least there was something to actually do, working with the Octobrists, they couldn’t very well go back to the old life they had lived with the lack of knowledge that they had, or in such an impoverished area as the one they had ended up in.

*****


“They ain’t on our tail no more, should we turn an’ look for him?” It would be risky of course, it wasn’t that long since they had managed to shake the odd posse made up of the weirdest pursuers they had ever seen, but Sundance still posed the question.
“I will send out my subordinates to search,” Haruakira said, perhaps to reassure them. “for now we need to go to the castle ruins and meet the Drifters there.”
“You ain’t supposed’a leave no brother behind for the enemy,” Butch said over his shoulder, only half an eye on the team of horses in front of the carriage. The enemy was usually the law, and brothers were usually other outlaws, the code that of those running the outlaw trail would follow, and Butch was one of those who found it the most important, as a very loyal person. Scipio may not be wounded or a brother, but that didn’t matter.
Sundance, sitting in the wagon behind the driver’s seat, was in agreement with his friend. “Allies are more right than brothers,” he said, voicing Butch’s brief thought “but it’s of the code we live by.”
“We don’t have the time now!” Haruakira proclaimed. Hannibal said nothing, meanwhile, staring out in the distance, silently muttering words blown off by the wind into the direction which they had come from. The two outlaws glared at the mage from beneath hat and hood, and Butch pulled the reins to stop the horses. They blew heavy air through their nostrils, sides heaving from the exertion of the escape.

“So we’ll have to risk the enemy to get holt a’him get whiles we escape out’a harms way, is what you say?” The driver scowled, loosening his grip on the reins almost entirely and sat one leg in the cart, the other on the box seat. “If we’ve been given a job, we intend’a be finishing it properly. We ain’t gonna be able to do that with only one of them old timers here.”
The mage seemed to grow more and more frustrated with the stubbornness of middle-aged men set in their ways he was faced with. “This is no time to argue. Please get the horses going again, Cassidy.”
“They ain’t movin’ ‘less I want ‘em to.” There was a reason why he was the one driving the team--beyond the fact that Sundance was the better one with a gun--and that was that nobody beat Butch in handling horses. The horses wouldn’t budge an inch if he didn’t want them to, no matter what anyone else might try.

Haruakira let out the most frustrated sigh that they had ever heard him let out during the short period of time that they had known him. “We will return, and find him once we have taken Hannibal to safety,” he finally said, sounding as if he was relenting to their wishes while he in truth wasn’t relenting at all. “I was the one who asked you to do this in the first place, can’t you compromise, and allow me to alter it a little bit? It’s not that big of a change, and this really need to take priority.” He continued his spiel, not masking his bull shit as a compromise very well. Butch had heard much more convincing lies over the years. The man clearly had his convictions, but Butch held his as well, had since he was a young boy, as he had held his morals and codes. What Haruakira called a compromise was not a compromise at all and what he was trying to convince them with was nothing but an attempt at pretty words.

Sundance tapped Butch’s leg without making any notice of it, pulling his attention to him, and sent him a look and an expression the others wouldn’t know to read. Butch returned the unsaid words, the quiet looks between them forming a conversation, while Haruakira continued to talk (he should just save his breath for breathing, instead of talking so much as he seemed to like to do) and eventually Butch cut him off. “Pshaw. Fine. We’ll be doin’ it your way this time. But we ain’t goin’ with your ways easily iffen you go a’changin’ yer mind so quick again, tenderfoot.”

Though confused at the last word, Haruakira seemed pleased to have won; this time. They did owe him and his organization, but they didn’t owe him their allegiance or to change their principles or codes. They owed that to no one. The problem was that they had too few options to be able to cut on the Octobrists like this, and not even getting one old man to the intended destination would leave a sour taste in Butch’s mouth.

With annoyance boiling under a serious expression, Butch turned back to the horse, their ears prickling, alert to the attention and understanding that they were not the ones he was irritated with, and they easily fell into a quick trot at the reins. Under his hand they would willingly run forever if they had to, with much more vigor and more willing than under any other’s. And the sooner they reached those so called ‘castle ruins’ the better for it; then they could head back and search for Scipio, and finally finish their job. Then they would decide how to go about the future, on their own terms.

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