Arthur had collapsed back onto the bed after his rather loud outburst, out cold. He slept until morning came.

Sadie received no such luxury. She sat beside the bed, his hand clasped in hers, unable to sleep. It was not until dawn that she finally nodded off and got a wink of sleep.

She woke for the second time in as many days to find herself locked with a familiar blue gaze. Arthur smiled.

"Wha-wha's up with you?" She asked, still groggy.

"Nothing," he chuckled, "just let me..." He reached toward her and rubbed at a spot near the corner of her mouth. "There. You was drooling in your sleep."

Sadie came to notice the novel sensation of her chin having been soaked by her own saliva. She wiped vigorously at her mouth, then wiped her hand off on her pants. She glared out the window.

Arthur chuckled to himself and sat up on the edge of the bed. Leaning over to bridge the gap between them, he lightly took Sadie's chin in one hand and turned her face toward him. He gently pressed his lips to hers in a silent good morning.

He pulled back, smiling. "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever known."

Sadie's scowl broke into a grin. She punched him in the arm lightly. "Shut up, you romantic."

Arthur gave her a smirk in response. "Maybe I am, but you love me for it." Suddenly, his face paled, and he broke into a coughing fit. He turned away from Sadie as the coughing became worse, trying to suck in a breath between bouts.

Sadie held him by the shoulders with one hand, rubbing circles into his back with the other. "Arthur? C'mon, honey, breathe for me."

After what seemed like ages, Arthur's coughing finally subsided. He breathed deeply, grateful for the respite.

"Alright," Sadie said, stepping back with her hands raised in surrender. "That's it. I'm takin you to a doctor."

"Sadie, I told you, I'm-"

"Fine? Bullshit, you're fine. What the hell, Arthur?" Sadie started pacing from the door to the foot of his bed. "Where's the doctor in Strawberry?"

"If I tell you," Arthur said, "you have to promise me you won't worry too much. I'm gonna be fine."

Sadie groaned. "Ugh, fine. I promise."

"See, wasn't so hard, was it?" Arthur said, laughing when she punched him again.


Strawberry was warm than usual today, hovering just above freezing. Sadie dressed in her regular outfit, but put on a black leather duster for the cold. She'd bundled Arthur in his massive woolen shotgun coat and put a big valley hat on his head.

They decided to walk from the hotel to the doctor. Arthur wanted to give himself some time to clear his breath.

"I'm sure I just got something caught somewhere," he insisted as he broke into another coughing fit.

"There ain't no way it's that simple, Arthur," Sadie replied, supporting him once again.

"Sadie, if I ain't fine, I will be. You gotta stop worryin-"

"Sadie?" Both of them were startled by a man across the street. "Sadie Browning?"

Sadie turned toward the man, adjusting her hat to better view him. "It's Adler now, but yes. And who..." Her voice trailed off as she stared at him in stunned silence.

The man crossed the street and removed his hat, revealing his sour face. His cheekbones were placed high, but he didn't look gaunt by any stretch of the imagination. His eyes were set in a permanent squint, from long days under a hotter sun. His thick handlebar mustache swayed slightly in the light breeze. His hair, which was swept back over his head, was brown, though some faint streaks of silver shone through. His mouth was set in a permanent frown, though it broke from tradition now in a massive grin. "Sadie, my God! Look how you've grown!" He exclaimed, jubilant.

"Wyatt?" Sadie replied, dumbfounded. She looked him up and down, her mouth slowly breaking into a grin as well. She let out a single barking laugh. "It's been years! How the hell are ya?"

"Sadie, I am rolling," Wyatt replied. "How's your old man been? Still stiff as a board?"

"Pretty much," she said, laughing. "We ran into him a few days ago."

Arthur looked back and forth between the two of them, utterly lost. "Sadie, who is this guy?"

Sadie turned to him with a look of mild surprise, then laughed again. "I'm sorry, Arthur, I forgot you were there." She motioned to Wyatt. "This is Wyatt Earp, an old friend of my father's."

Arthur's jaw fell open. "Wyatt Earp?" He turned to the other man. "As in Dodge City? Deadwood? Tombstone?"

Wyatt's smile faltered significantly. "The very same, unfortunately." He looked away and off into the distance and let out a sigh.

Sadie looked at him, concern in her eyes. "You alright, Wyatt?"

Broken from his reverie, he turned to them with grief in his eyes. "No. No, I'm not."

For a moment, there was silence. Nothing, not the birds in the air, nor the animals on the street made a noise. "What happened, Wyatt?" Sadie asked.

Wyatt took a deep, shaky breath. "Tombstone... It was..." He looked down, blinking away tears. When he looked back up, his eyes were set. "I lost a lot of friends there."

"Oh," Sadie replied simply. She put a reassuring hand on Wyatt's arm.

"I'm sorry I brought it up," Arthur said.

"There's no need to apologize," Wyatt replied. "There's no way you could've-" He was interrupted by Arthur suffering another bout of coughing, bent over as all air was expelled from his lungs. When he came back up, he brought his hand down and Sadie saw blood on his lips. Wyatt stumbled backward, horrified.

"Mr. Earp?" Arthur asked, confused.

Wyatt recovered, clearing his throat. "Sorry, it's just... I'm sorry, son. My friend Doc had tuberculosis as well, God rest his soul. It's a hell of a way to go."

"But I ain't-" Arthur was interrupted by Sadie.

"You got TB?!" She shouted. "When?!"

Arthur put up a hand to try to calm her. "Sadie, I don't have TB. I'm not sick."

Wyatt regarded him with a confused gaze. "But... you're coughin blood. That only happens if you've got TB."

"Well I don't know why I'm coughing blood, Mr. Earp, but I can assure you, I am not ill."

"That's it!" Sadie said. "I'm takin you to a doctor, NOW. I don't care what you got or what you don't. We are going there now to find out what the hell is wrong with you." She grabbed him by the arm and pulled him toward the doctor's. She stopped momentarily, turning back to Wyatt. "I guess we'll see ya around?"

"Of course," Wyatt replied. "I'll write you."

"Send the letters to Tacitus Kilgore," Sadie said. "And don't worry about the name."


"Good morning, sir. What can I do for you today?" The doctor asked with a painted-on smile, one that instantly disappeared when he saw the blood glistening on Arthur's lips. He rushed forward to replace Sadie in the role of supporting Arthur, guiding him to the examination chair.

"Well, I'm fine," Arthur began, "but she insisted I come down here to talk to ya and get checked out."

"You are most definitely NOT fine," Sadie replied scathingly. "Tell him, Doc."

The doctor frowned. "All I will be telling him is what I can deduce from my tests. I will check him over, and if he is in fact ill, I will tell him as such. Although," he said as he examined the back of Arthur's throat, "I may find myself agreeing with your diagnosis, ma'am."

He conducted a few more tests, at times instructing Arthur to take a deep breath or to look in a certain direction, taking notes as he complied. When he was done, he left them in the room, heading off to his study to peruse his findings.

They sat alone, the two of them, for almost an hour. Sadie kept still for the first minute and a half before she got up and started pacing from the window back to her chair.

"Sadie," Arthur began, his voice hoarse. He cleared his throat and filled a glass of water that had been set out at the start of their stay. "I swear to you, I ain't got TB. With God as my witness, hopefully, I give you my word."

Sadie whirled on him, her eyes blazing. "Then what the fuck is going on with you? First you pass out after winning that duel, then you have a coughing fit this morning and every five minutes after. Then when we're talkin to Wyatt, you have the worst one yet. If you're not sick, what is it?" Her voice broke, and she turned away.

"I..." Arthur trailed off, searching for words. "I'm not sure, but I think it's something to do with Deadeye."

"I suppose that would make sense. You passed out after using it to win a duel. But then it showed up without you using it in the hotel room. I don't see-"

Arthur cut her off. "It's a him."

"What?"

"Deadeye," Arthur clarified. "Deadeye is a him."

"How do you know that?" Sadie asked.

"He told me, just now."

"He told you?" Sadie parroted, flummoxed. "What, is he in your head?"

"Yes," he replied simply.

"Oh."

"So what I'm trying to tell you," he continued, "is that something's changed. He didn't look like this before that day at Hanging Dog Ranch."

"What, the skull with the demon eyes?" Sadie asked. "No offense. Can- can he hear us talking?"

"Let me ask him." Arthur went silent for a moment, his gaze taking on a distant look. "Only if he wants to. And he says none taken." He chuckled. "Anyway, back to what I was saying. He looks like that now, but I first found out about it, or him, I guess, the only thing that changed was my eyes. I wasn't made aware of the whole 'skull' thing until you mentioned it."

"So what changed?"

"Well, he's talking to me now. He's never done that before. And he's never been this active either."

"Active?"

"Yeah," he replied. "For the longest time, I've only used it, or... called on him, I guess, for very specific things. Like a firefight going south real damn fast. He was a sort of last resort. But recently, I've been using him more and more, so I guess him becoming more active and getting to talk to me is the result of that."

"So because you're calling on him more, he's... growing? Spreading?" Sadie wanted to say more, but the doctor chose that moment to walk back in, so she held her tongue. She imagined that the two of them discussing a being living inside Arthur would sound rather insane. Best to keep it between them until they knew more.

"Well, sir-"

"Arthur Morgan."

"Mr. Morgan. You, sir, are quite amazing." The doctor flipped through his notes, checking one last time. "You are one hundred percent healthy. There is no trace of significant illness in your body. However, I did notice some problems in your breathing. How much do you smoke each day, Mr. Morgan?"

Arthur chuckled, which turned into a cough. "How much water does a fish drink?"

The doctor nodded. "Well, that seems to be your only notable issue. I'll make sure to write up a full report, but I'll release you now with a clean bill of health."

He turned away, but whirled back around when Arthur burst into his worst bout of coughing yet. His chest heaved, trying to draw breath that would not come. Sadie and the doctor both rushed to support him, each taking a side.

"Arthur?" Sadie pleaded. "C'mon, honey, you gotta breathe for me."

His coughing seemed to subside for a moment. "It's Deadeye," he said.

"What's Deadeye?" The doctor asked.

Arthur stumbled forward, clutching at his head and yelling incoherently. "He... he wants out," he said, in a voice that reverberated in a much deeper tone than his own. His back arched, and Sadie watched his hair and scalp burn away, leaving only Deadeye.

Deadeye straightened, shaking and tossing his head like he'd been concussed. He looked around, the scintillating colors in his eyes giving him the look of an avenging fury. Behind him, Sadie and the doctor stood locked in place, frozen by the sight before them.

Sadie took a deep breath to steady herself. "Arthur?" She squeaked. Cursing her voice for failing her now, she cleared her throat. "Arthur."

He turned toward her, those baleful eyes showing nothing to suggest any trace of humanity. Sadie took a step forward to close the distance, putting her hand up to his cheek. Their eyes remained locked for what seemed like an eternity until finally, Deadeye spoke.

"You want to speak to him," he said in a voice that boomed like he was in a cathedral. "But I can't let him back out. I... I don't want to go back."

"Where?" Sadie asked. "Where are you running from?"

He looked away, with something in his eyes that in anyone else Sadie would've called fear. "Hell."

"I'll help you," Sadie said. "But I need Arthur to help me with that. Can I talk to him?"

He nodded, bowing his head. When he looked back up, he was gone and Arthur was back.

"You okay?" He asked. Goddammit, she couldn't help but love him.

"I think I should be askin you that, honey," she said, chuckling. She tilted her head up and kissed him gently. "It's good to have you back." She hugged him close, and he wrapped his arms around her. They broke apart when they heard a quiet cough behind them. They turned to the doctor, who looked rather pale.

"I think, in my professional opinion," the doctor said, "that you may have need of a more spiritual treatment, Mr. Morgan. This seems a bit outside my area of expertise."


And that's it for this chapter! I hope it doesn't seem like I'm cramming in references to history and pop culture in place of story. Looking back at my story, I realize that I don't have quite as much of the characters' thoughts, instead opting for more external events. I hope that's not taking away from the story, but I'll try and see if I can fit some more inter character interactions into the writing. Hope y'all liked Mr. Earp, '93 Tombstone is one of my all-time favorite films, so I wasn't going to not have some reference to that in here. Work on the next chapter starts soon. Don't forget to favorite and review!

Seriously, please review. I require sustenance- I mean feedback on my work. I really want to hear what y'all think of my content.