Fandom: Shanghai Noon/ Shanghai Knights
Archive: yes to shanghai_slash and my own site
(http://www.mediafans.org/rachael/) All others please ask.
Disclaimer: "Shanghai Noon", "Shanghai Knights" and all characters are the
property of Spyglass Entertainment. I make these stories up for fun, not
because any money is being made.
Author's Note: Many thanks to Rosa, who did a lovely job of betaing this for
me on very short notice. And also to sockii, for pointing me to the archive.
See what happens when I read too many stories in one sitting?
Summary: Simplicity and champagne.
The parlor lights were on low, the scent of fine pipe tobacco and cigars
scenting the air. A couple of the tables had men playing poker, all of them
in fine shirts and vests. A few other men drifted by to pause and gaze at
the game, before drifting out of the back room and into the main hall.
Sometimes a woman drifted by, before being neatly escorted out; this was a
Roy O'Bannon watched them all go, fingering the key in his hand. The red tag
proclaimed room number twelve as his for the night. Twelve was a good
number. Double sixes on a pair of dice. Roy poured himself a glass of
champagne and stared up the stairs behind the tables, his hands sweating. He
wondered why this had to be so complicated.
Simple's good, he thought. Being an outlaw had been simple: Ride. Shoot. Get
money and spend it on women and alcohol. 'Course, in with that came a whole
lotta heat, a whole lotta dust, and a whole lotta nights spent flat out on
the ground staring at stars, knowin' that there were five guys on your tail
tryin' to put you away. Ignoring that, he thought, sliding deeper into his
chair, the yellow fabric of his shirt bunching up tight about his chest,
ignoring that, everything about being a bandit was laid out nice and easy.
Don't think beyond the next job, the next train, the next card, the next
fight, the next time you get laid.
Bein' a lawman, though...hell, that had been complicated. He never could see
the difference between himself and most of the guys that landed in the
Carson City jail, no matter what Chon --
Chon. He tightened the grip on his key, then forced his fist to relax. Chon
wanted it all respectable like, but there weren't a one of them that were
that way inclined. His Princess scandalized everyone, her own people
included, by workin' harder at the camps than she did on her marriage. An'
Falling Leaves...well, they'd had some good times, sure, but neither of 'em
liked being tied down too much. So when the Wild West show came through,
lookin' for a new act, and she picked up her rifle to join 'em, he didn't do
a thing to try and make her stay. He didn't pack her bags or anything, but
he couldn't blame her for going; he just been amazed that she'd left first.
The sex had been incredible, but outside of bed, neither of them was that
interested in the other.
He sat forward in his chair, and put his empty glass down. He smoothed out
the fabric of his shirt, and looked up the stairs again.
Warm beds and good food aren't part of an outlaw's tale -- not outside of a
whorehouse, anyway -- and he should have just stuck to that. He should never
have come to New York. Get him around city folk, and hell, he don't know how
to act. He considered himself to have been something of a chameleon all his
life, blending in to whatever was around him, be it farm boy or gun slinger,
outlaw, cattle hand.
Sliding into those roles was easy, simple-like. People would let him know
how they wanted him to act, and he'd do it, if it gave him what he wanted.
Preacher's daughter needed someone to save? Hell, he'd be saved. It was so
Of course, once he got to the city, he started getting ideas. Roy swallowed
hard around the lump in his throat. Maybe it was a delayed reaction to all
of Chon's lectures, but being there, in with people who thought
respectability was something to be desired...well, he started thinkin' he
wanted that too. That he wanted a hot bath in clean water at least once a
week, and three regular meals a day, but it turned out to be so complicated.
You couldn't just throw money around and get what you wanted. If you dressed
wrong, people stared at you funny. Order the wrong thing to drink, and again
there were stares. Say the wrong thing -- Hell, it weren't natural, not for
someone like him. He wasn't the respectable type. He didn't need it that
Roy ached for a whiskey to slug back, but had to settle for a sip of
champagne. Turned out, things that weren't respectable suited him just fine.
He stared into the bubbles, the amber colored liquid reflecting the elegant
room around him in distorted sepiatone. He watched the bubbles float up to
the top of the glass and pop, not moving out of his chair. Six months in New
York had driven home just how 'not natural' he'd become. Oh, he could drag
out a tale about parents and tough times, but the fact remained that he'd
lit out from the respectable life by choice, and never looked back. He
enjoyed being an outlaw -- he liked the flash, he liked the show, he liked
the looks he got when people realized what he was up to -- and he'd never
worried about how he was dressed, or what he said. He was a disreputable
hound-dog, like as shoot ya as talk to ya, and everyone knew that.
Made life simple.
With a barely audible thunk, he placed the heels of his boots on top of the
coffee table and leaned back in the chair for a moment, then quickly set
them back on the floor, before anyone noticed. He shook his head. There he
went again, being all respectable like. Setting the key down on the table,
he picked up the glass, twisting it between his fingers, watching the liquid
swish back and forth. Chon had made him look back. Made him think about --
The way Chon had looked at Goldie's, just stepping into the bath, his long
hair cascading down his back. Tight skin playing over hard, wiry muscle.
Strong callused hands, that could still be so gentle, touching him --
Roy thought about things that weren't very respectable, or very complicated.
With a jerk of his head, he stood and snatched at the key, cutting himself
on the tag; he glared at the tiny cut, daring it to bleed. Grabbing his hat
with his other hand, he headed toward the stairs. He ignored the muttered
'took him over an hour to get up there' as he passed the card tables; seems
that he'd been watched just as much as he'd watched them.
In the morning, it would all be over, his body satiated, satisfied. He
focused on where he was going as he pounded up the stairs, the feel of the
wooden banister under his hands, the flash of carpet under his feet. In the
morning, it would all be simple again, with no more thoughts of dark hair
wrapped around him. He walked to the last room on the left. No more dreams
of hard muscles under his hands. He put his hand on the doorknob and pressed
his head against the door. No more desire when staring into a respectable
Straightening, letting his hand fall from the door, Roy took a deep breath,
set his hat on his head with a disreputable tilt over one eye, and let
-- the end --