Teaspoon squinted at the decorations that Delores was setting up around the Cantina. The assortment of skulls and other odd items didn't look like much of a celebration. "I'll never understand you, darlin'."

Tossing a sultry look over her shoulder, Delores gave him a smile. "You don't have to understand someone to love them, mi amor."

She turned back to her work and Teaspoon admired the rounded curve of her hip as she leaned over to adjust some of her decorations. He was certainly more than partly in love with the hot tempered woman before him, but he knew he'd always feel like there was something missing between them. "You think you're gonna get any business durin' the festival if you put up these… things around the place?"

"It's tradition, my darling, and we must always observe tradition." Her voice was full of saucy energy, but there was a deep commitment in the tone that caught his interest.

"What if I wanted to… help celebrate? You got anythin' for me to do?"

Her hands stilled and she turned to face him, her hands bracing against the counter behind her. She looked at him for a long moment and he began to feel as though she was almost looking through him. With a smile and a nod at some silent conversation she reached into a cupboard and pulled out a bottle dusty with age.

Delores walked over to him, her eyes dark and full of something he couldn't name. She set the bottle down on the table beside where he stood and pressed a kiss to his lips. "You'll ruin my decorations if I let you… your hands… they are too clumsy for what I need to do in the Cantina. I think I will give you another job." She looked at the bottle for a moment and then back into his curious expression. "Some use this time to speak with the dead… to tell them anything you have left to say… things you could not say before they passed. I think you should talk to some of your friends…"

She walked away, leaving him staring after her as his hand reached blindly for the bottle.

*** ***

He wandered around for a bit, passing by the cemetery where others gathered. He saw the toys left for little ones gone and flowers for those who had loved them in life… he didn't feel at ease there… or anywhere in the town.

He thought of who he should talk to… the folks he had unfinished business with and suddenly he stopped, a nod of recognition his only acknowledgment of his decision. He sat down on a bench outside the Cantina and set out the cups he'd carried with him. With a sigh of satisfaction he opened the bottle of tequila and poured a generous measure into each cup.

He took his own cup up in his hand and took a sip to test the quality of the drink. It hissed down his throat leaving him gasping for air and pounding on his chest.

"That good, eh, Hunter?"

Teaspoon's hand reached out and wrapped around the neck of the bottle. "Yep, that good, Crockett."

"Better grab that bottle 'fore he drinks it all himself."

"Shut yer trap, Bowie, I poured some for you first," Teaspoon answered back and opened his eyes, blinking into the dark night around him. He was surrounded by the past… pale images of friends long gone… all laughing and joking with each other. They lacked the pain and suffering faces of men killed too early… of men who died without mercy… they smiled and drank their fill of joy.

Teaspoon nodded as he watched the assembled group, swiping at his cheeks so they wouldn't notice his tears. "Yeah," he whispered into the night, "it's that good."

Author's Notes: Written for FanFic 100 - New Year

Email Miss Raye