Part 5

The fire crackled as Kiari stared up at the stars. She was trying to get to sleep, but too many things were occupying her mind. Was it just a few nights ago that she and Autolycus had gazed at the same constellations? She wondered where he was, what mischief he had gotten himself into. She didn't doubt that he was in some kind of trouble. How was she going to find him and how were they going to get back home?

She sighed and turned to her side, her eyes on her present companion. Brisco County Jr. He was sipping his drink, his profile to her. It really was no mystery as to why she found him so attractive. Even if he didn't look exactly like Autolycus, there was something about him that appealed to her.

Kiari closed her eyes just as Brisco glanced over at her. He studied her for a moment, wondering how on so short an acquaintance she got under his skin. A strange woman from somewhere faraway, long ago. He sighed, listening to the night...

Autolycus stared up at the stars, sighing as Oscar's snoring got louder. Eddie was talking in his sleep. How was a man to sleep with all that noise?

He closed his eyes, determined to figure out how to get out of his current situation. He was sure to get out of it somehow...

Their dreams began together. The air was misty and cool, then they emerged from the shadows.

"Autolycus!" Kiari flew into his arms.

"My lovely Kiari," Autolycus laughed into her hair.

She drew back, a beaming smile on her face. Then she realized that he was wearing his king of thieves gear. She looked down at herself and saw that she was in her priestess browns.

"Uh-oh," he sighed. "We're dreaming, aren't we?"

She nodded. "I think so."

Autolycus, after having a dream with Ares, did not question Kiari's sudden appearance in his dream. Certainly it was more to his liking.

Kiari shook her head at him. "Autolycus, I can see everything you're thinking."

"And that's a bad thing?" He grinned at her.

"Where are you, do you know?" She asked, changing the subject.

"Hah! You would not believe it! Someone in Joxer's family must've procreated. And Iolaus too." As he remembered them, Kiari got a good image of them.

"I found Brisco," she volunteered.

Autolycus' eyebrows lifted in surprise as Brisco's face appeared. "Well, your horse wasn't joking, was he?" Autolycus got a good inkling of Kiari's feelings as well. "He strikes your fancy, does he?"

Kiari punched his arm. "Autolycus!"

"Oww! You might wake me up before I can tell you where I am. Actually, I don't know where I am. I had to join his gang." Autolycus began to fade away.

"His gang? Wait, don't go." She reached for him.

"Oscar's snoring too loud," Autolycus mused. "I'll find you, my dear priestess weaver." He disappeared within the mist.

"Damn," she swore softly.

"Now, swearing isn't very ladylike," a voice said behind her.

Kiari turned around and watched as Brisco emerged from the misty shadows.

"What are you doing here?" She asked.

"You must be thinking about me," he smiled. "I think your mindshield slips when you sleep."

"I can usually maintain it, but like I said before, there's something about you."

He took his hat off. "So, is that what you usually wear?"

She almost forgot about her priestess gear. "Oh, yes." She was feeling a bit brave. She stepped closer to him and took his hat, tossing it aside. She smiled up into his eyes.

He traced her jawline with a gentle finger, then touched her lips.

"Go on," she invited softly. "It's just a dream."

He hesitated, so she tiptoed up and brushed her lips against his.

"Well," he whispered, licking his lips.

She took his face in her hands and brought him closer to her, this time giving him a long, sweet kiss. His arms came around her, his mouth suddenly coming to life against hers.

"Should we wake up?" He asked as they parted.

She shook her head. "Nah, we can do so much more here."

His smile matched hers as they found themselves in a meadow of spring. The grass was cool and soft as they settled down, entwined.

"I thought you said you didn't bite," Kiari giggled as she felt a little nip on her neck.

"Like you said, it's just a dream," he smiled, dropping his lips on hers again...

Kiari awakened to the coming dawn. She yawned, then stretched. Her stomach rumbled and she wished for a moment that she was back at home to enjoy one of Carnation's wonderful breakfasts. She sat up and glanced over at her companion. Brisco County Jr. certainly knew how to take advantage of a dream, she smiled to herself. She wondered if he would remember it at all.

A horse was approaching from a distance. Kiari listened and knew that the rider was heading towards them. She hoped whoever it was would just ride on. She didn't like the idea of interacting with too many people in this time period. She had feeling she was going to get in trouble for being there as it was.

Comet neighed softly from his spot. Kiari got up and made her way to the horse.

"So," she said softly as she nuzzled him. "A friend approaches?"

Comet nodded as a horse does.


The rider came into view. A tall, dark man on a dark horse. He slowed to a trot, his eyes narrowing at the sight of Comet with a strange woman. Brisco was sleeping a few feet away.

"County!" The man called.

Brisco awoke with a jerk. "Bowler?" He stood up, dusting off his pants.

Bowler dismounted, his eyes on Kiari, his hand on his gun. "Who's that?"

Brisco glanced over at Comet and saw Kiari just watching the two men. "Lord Bowler, Kiari."

Bowler approached her, his usual gentlemanly manners absent. He didn't like the look in the woman's eyes. Comet neighed.

"Shh Comet," she chided. "He just doesn't know what to make of me."

Bowler's eyes widened. No one but Brisco could understand Comet, but this woman could?

Brisco sighed...

Autolycus awakened to the hearty smells of breakfast. He imagined himself back at the temple, Carnation's creations beckoning him to the dining hall. Then he heard Eddie singing.

"Home, home on the range
where the deer and the antelope play..."

Oscar was blowing into his harmonica, accompanying Eddie's rather melodious voice. Autolycus groaned and opened his eyes to the brightening sky.

"Rise and shine!" Oscar greeted.

Autolycus glared at the Joxer lookalike, then at the Iolaus lookalike. Both of them were much too chipper this time of the day.

"Come on, Eddie made a great breakfast. You'll need the energy," Oscar grinned.

The plan unfolded during breakfast. They would go into the next town, which Eddie had been casing the last couple of days, and head for the local jeweler's shop. While Autolycus charmed the lady owner, Oscar and Eddie would clear the place out. Autolycus would act like an innocent bystander, then pretend to chase them. It was perfect.

"What if some other guy wants to chase you guys?" Autolycus asked.

"Nah, this town ain't like that. She's at one end of town and the saloon is at the other. No one will even know what happened. You just make sure she doesn't scream or anything like that," Oscar said. "Then make your getaway and meet us back here."

Or not, Autolycus thought to himself...

The plan should have worked, but the moment Autolycus walked into that jewelry store, he knew he was in for some trouble. The lady was lovely to be sure, but something in her steely blue eyes set off warning bells in Auto's head. He wanted to turn around and head out, but he could also feel the dastardly duo watching him. So he plowed ahead.

The woman raised an eyebrow at him, giving him a slow onceover. "Don't tell me, you're getting married and need an engagement ring."

An idea, he thought, his lips spreading into that irresistible smile. "Why how did you know, my dear lady?"

"You look like you don't want to be here," she said. "Shotgun wedding then, eh?"

Autolycus, clever man that he was, quickly deduced the correct meaning behind 'shotgun wedding.' He shook his head. "Oh no, she's stolen my heart."

The woman smirked, but began showing him the rings she had.

It really should have worked, Autolycus thought, as they tightened the rope around his neck.

"Hey, that hurts!" Oscar whined.

Eddie yelped when the man pulled on his rope.

The man stepped back to join his gang, the real outlaws of the town. The leader of the gang regarded the trio with a grim smile. "You boys were way out of your league. Now we're going to make an example of you. No one comes to our town and messes with our business."

"Apparently," Autolycus managed to squeak out.

"Any last words?" The leader said.

"It should have worked!" Oscar whined.

The leader grinned. "All right, pull the floor!"

Just as the floor pulled, shots rang out. Autolycus, Oscar, and Eddie fell through the opening instead of hanging. Bedlam broke out and before Autolycus knew it, Kiari came bounding by on a horse.

"Come on! Get on the horse!"

He didn't need to be told twice. He jumped on and they rode away. He didn't look back, but he knew someone was behind them. A bullet whizzed by and he held on to his dear priestess.

They finally slowed to a trot and their companions rode up beside them.

"You okay?" Brisco asked Kiari. He ignored the flabbergasted stare from her riding partner.

"I'm all right," she smiled. "This is Autolycus, by the way."

The two just stared at each other. Brisco had Eddie, who looked from one then to the other.

"Scary," he said to himself.

"Damn Brisco! You got a twin?" Bowler laughed. Oscar rolled his eyes.

"Shut up Bowler. Let's stop and figure out what we're going to do."

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