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up against a wall
e_delmar wrote in milliways_bar
Ennis isn't drunk anymore. Or maybe he's just not drunk right now. He does have the bottle of whiskey - well, a new bottle of whiskey, anyhow - on the table, but it's there, on the table. Harmonica's tucked safely in his pocket, and his hat is pulled down over his eyes as smoke floats up over it from his cigarette.

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Lilly's flipping through her notepad, not really paying attention to the bar around her as she heads for a table. The quick side-glance toward the couches is an unconscious and unbreakable habit, though, and tonight is no different.

Except it is. The ghost is back.

It takes a second for the figure to register in her mind and when it does she freezes. She's seen him there before, after all. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye becomes a hand raised in greeting and a warm smile and when she turns her head there's nothing but firelight flickering on an empty couch.

She still looks. Every time.

Tonight is... tonight is different.

Tonight, he doesn't vanish.

"...'lain?"

He doesn't vanish, he doesn't notice, either. He simply puts out his cigarette and lights another, a quick easy move with a flick of his wrist and a deep inhalation as he slides backwards a bit, crossing one leg over the other.

His name's barely out of her mouth before Lilly's moving toward him, her heart suddenly beating too quickly and her steps a little shaky. He's back.

He's back, and she's smiling, her eyes bright with joy and tears and just a hint of a smirk because of course he's back, no one really leaves Lilly Kane, just like she doesn't leave them and he's back and Bert and Susan probably are too but most importantly Alain, Alain-

Alain doesn't light his cigarettes like that.

Ennis moves easy, sure, but he doesn't have the grace or the hands of a gunslinger. She slows, stumbles, momentum carrying her just a little closer still. The firelight is flickering on a blonde cowboy that she's trying desperately not to notice has the wrong build, the wrong shoulders, wrong posture...

Lilly stops a few feet away, far enough that she can still cling to- to something. Hope or fear or doubt or maybe all three.

"'lain?"

This time he hears it, just quietly, on the edge of something, enough to make him turn his head and see the girl standing there. He tips his hat at her, nodding as he does to most, wanting to question what it was she said, but figuring that if it's important, she'll ask again.

She doesn't ask again. No point.

"You're not 'lain."

It's not accusatory. Just soft, and flat, and all Lilly can manage before her throat is too thick for words.

"Nawp. Can't say I am."

He looks her over, sees her white face, sees the way she ain't so steady on her feet, and moves to stand.

"You all right there, miss?"

He's not Alain. She's not all right and for once, she can't think of anything to say.

She can't seem to move, either, as much as she'd like to run the hell away from this... this stupid blonde cowboy, sitting in Alain's spot, smoking cigarettes and fooling her and why won't her legs work, damnit?

That about answers that and he heads over, taking her by the arm and putting her where he'd been sitting. A bit rougher than he'd intended, but that's often the way things are with Ennis, and he doesn't mean no harm by it. He stands, then, arms crossed, watching her, looking as if he's afraid she'll keel right over, there on that sofa.

Lilly hasn't sat on this couch for... for exactly four months. For a moment, it seems as if Ennis is right to be afraid, before she takes a breath and looks up at him.

"I... I thought you were someone else."

She don't seem to be dying, at least no time soon, and so he sits down, content to continue his vigil from next to her, 'stead of from looming above.

"Ain't nobody but who I am, sorry to say. Your friend usually sit here?"

"No. I mean. He did-"

Before he moved on. Before the call of the fucking door took him out of Milliways and away from her and to the peace of the goddamned clearing that she'd traded away for another man's life. Before he left her.

She stands abruptly, grabbing the arm of the couch to steady herself.

"I- I have to go."

He reaches up, taking her wrist in his hand, not tightly, but not softly, either.

Lilly jerks away, more sharply than she meant, but... she doesn't want him to touch her. Not him, not here, not now.

She's biting her lip, hard, but the tears are falling anyway and in her blurred vision he looks like Alain again and that sends her another step away, and another, and she's running blindly away from him and the front door, out through the back door and into the snow.

- Lilly -

*Meg's sitting across the room, reading; she'd seen her friend come down out of the corner of her eye, seen her sit down on the couch.

And now she sees her running out the door, and she's cursing herself for not thinking - she of all people should have known, Lilly doesn't go near that part of the room, that seat - and then she's running herself, leaving the book where it lies open and face-down on the floor.*

Because Xander's timing is always impeccable, he chooses approximately this moment to stumble into Milliways.

The first thing he sees is a streak of Meg.

"Whoa, whoa!" he calls after her. "Where's the fire?"

Frowning, he follows.

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