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22 April 2013 @ 01:49 pm
Never Judge a Horse by its Color pt 3/?  
Title: Never Judge a Horse by its Color 3/?
Rating: NC-17
Characters: Steve/Danny
Summary: This is an Hawaii Five-0 Old West AU, with horses and everything! In which Danny is a Detective and Steve is a fugitive from justice. (But not necessarily an outlaw, if you know what I mean.)
Words: this part ~2750
Warnings/Notes: This is one of those chapters in which not a lot happens. But we have to have those to get to the next chapter where all proverbial hell breaks loose!

Gracious thanks to thtwzjustadream for looking this over for me!! All errors are mine.

~o0o~


The next morning they arrived at the telegraph station at precisely 7:30, waiting as the clerk unlocked and opened the door. Danny paid to have a telegram sent to the home office informing them they would arrive a day later than he had originally planned.

That done he pulled Steve by the chain at his wrists, tugging harder when Steve slowed.

“What? What are you doing?” Danny asked, studying all six feet of him and trying to blot out the thoughts of what his skin looked like under those clothes.

Steve nodded wistfully at the barbershop next to the telegraph office.

“Ah,” Danny said. “You want a shave?”

“You gave my razor to the sheriff,” Steve reminded him. “And you don’t have one. Because surely I’d use it as a weapon.”

“All right,” Danny said reluctantly. “We’ll go back to the hotel and eat. Then we’ll have a shave before we get the ferry.”

“First crossin’s at 10:00,” the clerk informed them from where he stood leaning in the open door of the telegraph office.

“We have plenty of time then,” Steve said.

“Yeah,” Danny said, tugging again on his wrists.

“Don’t pay the ferryman until he gets you to the other side,” the clerk said, Danny nodding as they walked away.

When they got back to the hotel, they had a huge, hot breakfast with endless coffee, to Danny’s enjoyment. He still managed to complain about anything and everything, but Steve couldn’t stop smiling at the sound of his voice.

“What? What’s with the stupid grin?” Danny demanded, peering at him over the edge of his cup.

Steve shrugged, eating more eggs.

“You are not right in the head,” Danny said, smiling despite his best effort not to.

Steve might or might not be an outlaw, but the fact remained that he was undeniably charming. Danny hoped he wouldn’t regret being taken in by his charm, but as he was a good judge of character, he really was beginning to believe that Steve wasn’t guilty. The scars he’d seen last night had also helped to solidify that opinion.

“I guess we won’t be sleeping in a hotel tonight,” Danny said as Steve finished Danny’s neglected toast.

“No,” Steve confirmed. “There are no towns of any size between here and Buffalo Springs.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Danny said. “This shave will be our last until we get there.”

“Yeah,” Steve agreed.

“Once you finally have had enough to eat, I want to go to the mercantile and get some extra supplies. I think we have plenty but since we’re here, we may as well make sure.”

Steve nodded at that, putting down his fork and cup for the last time, wiping his mouth. “That was delicious.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it. For the price they charge, you should have,” Danny grumbled.

Steve shrugged, standing up after retrieving his hat and saddlebag.

“Come on,” Danny said, leaving the hotel to walk down the street to the mercantile. They attracted some attention but not like they had the evening before. Mostly they were left alone as they made their way to the only store in town.

“Hello,” the shopkeeper said as they entered. The store was filled with goods, almost no space empty except for the aisles to walk down. There were barrels and bins and boxes everywhere. “What can I help you with?”

“We need some trail supplies,” Danny said, pointing at the jerky on display. “Enough for three days.”

The shopkeeper took down the bin and selecting an amount he deemed to be sufficient. “What else?”

“Do you have dried fruit?” Steve asked from where he was leaning against one of the counters surreptitiously watching Danny.

“Figs and apples,” the man said, taking down that bin to show Danny.

“That good?” Danny asked Steve who nodded. “We need half a pound of coffee. And four of those cigars.”

The shopkeeper added them to the small pile of items, inquiring if there was anything else they required. Danny glanced at Steve who shrugged, Danny nodding. “That’ll do it.”

The shopkeeper added up their purchases, telling Danny the total. He handed it over, gathering their purchases to stow them in his saddlebag. The fruit he placed inside Steve’s, Steve watching him through half-lidded eyes.

“Thanks for your help,” Danny said to the shopkeeper who thanked them for stopping in.

From there, they went to the barbershop, finding it open and conveniently empty.

“We’d like a shave,” Danny said to the barber.

The tall man looked them up and down, focusing on the chain between Steve’s wrists. “What’d he do?” he asked in suspicion.

Danny looked over at Steve like he was surprised to find him in irons. “Keeps eating all the jerky and leaving me without,” Danny lied.

The barber frowned at them both before finally nodding, gesturing to the chair.

“Go ahead,” Danny said to Steve. Steve nodded and sat down.

“You want a trim?” the barber asked as he draped the cloth around Steve’s shoulders.

“Nah. Just a shave,” Steve said, watching Danny in the mirror on the wall.

Danny caught Steve’s eyes, a secretive smile on Danny’s face. Steve had the temerity to wink at him before his face was covered with steaming hot towels. Danny took out his book, half an eye watching Steve, most of his concentration on the page. At least that’s what he kept telling himself.

Once Steve was clean-shaven, they traded places, Danny enjoying the feel of the hot towels softening his beard. The barber was good at his craft, of that there was no doubt.

Also clean-shaven and only smelling slightly like the inside of a whorehouse, Danny paid the barber for his services, thanking him for his steady hand.

As they were leaving the barbershop, the clerk from the telegraph office called out to Danny, handing over the envelope.

“Thanks,” Danny said, standing next to the building to open it. Inside was an acknowledgment of his telegram and a preliminary description of his next assignment.

“They keep you on your toes,” Steve said as he looked over Danny’s shoulder to read the telegram.

“Nosy,” Danny said, trying for gruff. He had to shake his head at the telegram, wondering if they had heard of rewards for a job well done.

“You don’t get any time between assignments?” Steve asked, settling his hat more firmly on his head as Danny started them toward the stable to collect their horses.

“Depends,” Danny said with a shrug.

“Haven’t you been chasing me for an entire year?” Steve asked.

“Not quite. Well. Hardly matters. Either I’m fired for consorting with the enemy or I quit in order to continue consorting.”

“Consorting,” Steve repeated, making Danny frown at him. “I’ve heard it called many things but never consorting.”

“Shut up. Please,” Danny said, trying to ignore his laugh as they entered the stable. Danny ha paid the stablehand a little extra for having their horses already saddled so they were able to mount and ride directly to the ferry station.

“We need passage for two,” Danny told the man inside the station after they had hitched their horses to the post.

“Horses too?” the man asked, utterly uninterested.

“Yes,” Danny agreed. He paid the requested amount, inquiring how much longer it would be before the ferry arrived.

“Fifteen, twenty minutes,” the man said with a shrug. “Maybe a little longer. Hard to know when spring thaw’s raising the river.”

“All right,” Danny agreed, leaving to find Steve sitting on the bench up against the building. “You heard?”

“Yeah,” Steve said with a nod. “Sit down. Pacing isn’t going to get the ferry here any sooner.”

“Shut up,” Danny said, no heat in the words. He sat as instructed, leaving a respectable distance between their bodies. “You have kin besides your father? Your sister still alive?”

“As far as I know she’s still alive. I haven’t seen her in five years. She left home as soon as she was old enough.”

“She doesn’t get on with your father?” Danny asked.

“It’s not that they don’t get along as much as they have nothing in common. Mary’s just like my mom. Why Dad ever married her is a question for all time. How do you fall in love with someone and then resent your child for being just like her?”

“Matters of the heart don’t make sense,” Danny had to agree.

“You got kin?”

“My mother and father,” Danny said. “One brother and three sisters. It was a noisy house growing up.”

“The happy ones are,” Steve said. “Ours was not. You’ve never been married?”

“No,” Danny said. “I saw how it ought to be with my parents. I’ve never met anyone who makes me feel like that.”

“At least coming from an unhappy family lowers my expectations,” Steve said.

Danny frowned at that. “Have I just been insulted?”

 “Not at all,” Steve laughed, shaking his head. “But we aren’t what anybody would call ordinary.”

“There is that,” Danny had to agree. “I’m still not sure you and me is a good idea.”

“I thought after last night you’d be certain,” Steve said.

“Yeah. But sex and long term aren’t the same.”

“Well,” Steve said. “I’m sure enough for us both.”

“Okay,” Danny said with a smile. “For now, I’ll take that. What’s your father going to say when you show up on his doorstep with me in tow?”

“He’ll probably show you where the kitchen is. He hates to cook and is too cheap to hire it done. I cook whenever I’m there.”

Danny nodded at that.

“You know your way around a kitchen?” Steve asked.

“I do,” Danny said. “I’m the oldest of the kids. Meant helping Mom with the cooking.”

“Good,” Steve said.

They stood when they saw the slow approach of the ferry, three men with their horses aboard, as well as two horses hitched to a tall wagon. Once the passengers had cleared the ferry, Steve and Danny led their horses onto it as the ferryman conferred with the man from the office. They couldn’t hear the conversation but the ferryman did periodically look over at them, a frown on his face.

“You think that’s about me being in irons?” Steve asked from where he leaned against the wooden railing that lined two sides of the ferry.

“Probably,” Danny said, approaching the two men still deep in conversation. “There a problem here?” he demanded. The other men turned to take his measure, the ferryman looking over his shoulder at Steve.

“I don’t cotton to criminals on my ferry,” the ferryman finally informed him.

“He’s not been convicted of any crime. I’m transporting him to stand trial,” Danny told him firmly.

“He must be dangerous,” the ferryman said.

“Not dangerous as much as slippery,” Danny said. “I take full responsibility for him. He isn’t going anywhere and he isn’t going to hurt anyone.”

“You got coins to back up them words? If he damages me or the ferry?” the ferryman asked.

“I can get them from the home office. Do I need to send them a telegram to confirm it?” Danny asked, his temper growing shorter with each word.

“I reckon not,” the ferryman finally conceded. “What’s your name?”

“Detective Daniel Williams of the Pinkerton Agency. I report directly to Samuel Denning, head of the Agency.”

“All right,” the ferryman said with a nod. “Got more coming?”

“Nope. Just those two,” the man from the ferry office said.

The ferryman nodded, going back to the ferry, Danny following and frowning at him the entire time.

“We getting underway?” Steve asked, looking down at Danny.

“Finally. Try not to do anything overtly criminal. He’s not keen on you being here.”

“Got it,” Steve agreed with a smile. “I hadn’t really planned on starting at any rate.”

“Being a criminal, you mean?” Danny asked, leaning against the railing next to him.

“Precisely,” Steve said, watching the water flow beside them as they made their slow way across the wide river. “This ferry’s seen better days.”

“Surely it will hold together long enough to get us to the far side.”

“Yeah,” Steve agreed, tilting his hat a little further down to shade his eyes. The sun was streaming down on them, promising a warm day.

They talked of inconsequential things as they crossed the river, mounting their horses once they arrived on the far side. The ferryman frowned at them until they were out of sight, Danny looking behind them to make sure.

“You do something to harm him?” Danny asked Steve as they continued up the trail.

“Never laid eyes on him before,” Steve said. “Some people hate criminals just on principle.”

“There is that.” Danny spurred his horse to a faster rate, Steve’s horse keeping pace as Danny still had his reins. He’d thought about returning them to Steve but decided that was just a tad too much trust. And Steve hadn’t protested so Danny left the reins lashed to his own saddle.

~0~

They stopped for the night as the sun was disappearing behind the trees, Danny making the fire with no effort. He brewed some coffee as Steve ate his dried fruit.

“How can you eat that?” Danny asked as Steve chewed it.

“It’s better than that shoe leather,” Steve said nodding at the jerky Danny was eating.

“You didn’t complain about the jerky earlier,” Danny pointed out.

“Not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. You had it. I ate it,” Steve said reasonably.

“Yeah,” Danny agreed, pouring him more coffee. When they had finished eating, Danny took out two of the cigars. He lit one, passing it to Steve before lighting his own.

“How’d you know I’d want a smoke?” Steve asked, enjoying the familiar burn of the cigar smoke as he inhaled it deep into his lungs.

“Don’t all sailors smoke when given the chance?” Danny asked.

“All sailors,” Steve repeated. “We’re not made with biscuit cutters.”

“Similar habits. Similar outlooks or you couldn’t be on a ship for months, years at a time.”

“I suppose,” Steve said.

“Did you enjoy it? Being at sea for so long a time?”

“At first. I loved it. Got old. Being wet and cold or wet and hot all the time. Hard work. I was thinking of resigning. They assigned me escort duty to see if I would adapt to being on land.”

“Would you have? If you hadn’t been robbed?” Danny asked.

“I think so, yeah. I have my land legs.”

“Once you recovered from your wounds, why didn’t you tell the Navy what had happened?” Danny asked, taking a strong pull from his cigar.

“I tried. But every time I got close to one of the outposts, I was stalked by lawmen. It gets old, being a criminal. Even if you aren’t guilty of anything.”

“I guess so,” Danny said with a nod. “Who cared for you after you were shot?”

“Friends not far from Green Tree. I’ve spent most of my time hiding in and around there,” Steve admitted.

“Hmm…” was Danny’s only response.

“Hmm…what?” Steve asked, tension in his body that hadn’t been there before. “Are you planning to find my friends and arrest them?”

“No, absolutely not. I was thinking that if we ever go there again, I’ll need to thank them,” Danny said, the fire bright enough to reveal his smile.

“Oh. That’s fine then,” Steve agreed, relaxing back against the log supporting his back.

“Why would I arrest anyone for helping you when you aren’t a criminal?”

“I’m still in irons. You keep the reins of my horse,” Steve pointed out.

“Until we can prove your innocence, you are still under arrest,” Danny said firmly.

“Until we prove it?” Steve repeated.

“What? You thought I’d just turn you over to them and go my merry way?”

“I guess I did,” Steve said.

“Think again. You’re stuck with me,” Danny told him.

“Good,” Steve said with a nod. “Are you chaining me to the tree like a dog?”

“No. You’ve said you aren’t escaping. I’m holding you to that.”

Steve smiled at him, tamping out his cigar. “I’m turning in. You?”

“In a minute,” Danny agreed, watching as Steve stowed the cigar in his saddlebag. “Wake me at dawn if I sleep through.”

“You got it,” Steve stretched out on his bedroll, hat pulled over his eyes. “’Night Danno.”

“Goodnight Steve,” Danny returned, smiling to himself as he watched Steve relax into sleep.

 
 
 
kaige68: SD ridingkaige68 on April 23rd, 2013 12:52 pm (UTC)
YAY COWBOYS!!!!

YOU ARE AWESOME!!!