Chris struggled to get up, to fire on the insane woman who raised a gun on him, but he found his body unable to rise on its own.
Ella smiled and pulled the hammer back. "We'll finally be together," she pronounced imperiously. "In death!"
Chris waited for the pain, for the darkness -- but none came. He painfully raised his head, to find Ella gazing in incredulous shock at the bleeding lump of flesh where her hand and the stolen gun had been a second before.
The one word drew both Chris and Ella's eyes to the speaker. Both eyes widened in surprised shock.
She strode out into the street, pumping another round into the rifle chamber as she did so. Cerulean eyes narrowed in fury as she stopped a gunfighter's distance from the pair. "Surprised t'see me, Ella?" she asked conversationally.
"You?" Ella half-growled. "But you're dead....."
"Hardly." Her chin raised. "Your first mistake was attacking my family. Your second mistake was hiring inept killers." Her hands re-gripped the rifle. "Your third mistake was coming back."
Ella's lip curled. "He's mine! He's never been yours, never will be yours!" She lunged toward Chris.
The rifle roared, and Ella flew backwards, blood spewing upward as she did so. For a long second, the only sound was the clicking of another round chambering in the rifle.
Then -- impossibly -- Ella sat up. Slowly, stiffly, one hand at her profusely bleeding throat -- but she sat up, fueled by insanity. Mine she mouthed, eyes on Chris.
Reading Ella's lips, the riflewoman shook her head. "Never yours, bitch."
The rifle roared one final time, and Ella's beauty vanished forever. Her body toppled to the ground never to rise under its own power again, and the dirt street hungrily drank her blood. After a moment, a stray dog walked out to investigate the new fresh meat that littered the ground for yards.
The sight of the wagging tail and the sounds from the street were too much for two of the Seven. Both JD and Ezra whirled from their positions and lost the contents of their stomachs at the gruesome tableau. As he held Ezra's heaving form, Josiah whispered, "As it was with Jezebel .... a more fitting fate we couldn't have imagined."
Shakily climbing to his feet, JD whispered, "Is it....?"
"Yeah, kid," Buck said softly, supporting him as he watched Vin and Nathan help Chris to his feet. "It's over. It's finally over."
Chris shrugged off both their hands and limped forward, reaching for her. He pulled the rifle from her hands and threw it to the ground before enfolding her within a convulsively tight embrace.
She clung to him and trembled. Slowly, the others formed a tight circle around them, both protecting them and shielding them as a sound many of them had only heard once before -- when she had first arrived at Four Corners -- began to come from the centre of the circle.
Together, Chris and Sarah Larabee wept tears of release and gratitude...and of a love too deep for words.
Their nightmare was, indeed, over.
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