this is the rope

Desert Flower [snippet]

@purely-a-trashcan wanted a leak so she gets a leak. This is part of a rough WIP so please forgive mistakes.

Get some sleep bby.

“Wanna see some horses?” Xander had said to him. Like it was the most casual thing in the world to ask out of nowhere. But Jesse had been struggling to pay attention to his homework and was pleased with the offer of a distraction. They had loaded up into Xander’s beaten up old truck and headed off, soon driving on one of the many backroads Xander knew.

And now here they were, parked on the side of some dirt road behind someone’s ranch land. Xander leaned against the half-rotten old wooden fence near the road, clicking his tongue and calling to the grazing horses nearby. Jesse had been incredulous that it would work, but was in awe when the horses had slowly perked up their heads and wandered towards them, looking mildly interested in the two humans. Jesse took a nervous step back as the creatures’ large heads swung over the short barrier, nudging at Xander curiously and attempting to do the same to Jesse.

“Don’t be frightened, now,” Xander drawled, resting a hand on one side of a horse’s neck and petting the other side with his other hand, “They won’t nip you unless they think you’re holding out on ‘em. Learned that the hard way. When you got food, they want it.” That didn’t make Jesse feel any better, but he inched forward anyway, mouth parted slightly as he observed the beasts. They were so tall. Jesse knew they could be ridden and it took a good swing of the leg to get onto one, but he never realized just how tall the damn things were!

“This here’s a roan,” Xander pet one’s nose, “One beside ‘er is an Arabian. Beautiful girls. They used ta have a paint horse but I think they sold ‘er.” Jesse was finally touching one’s nose, albeit gently. He sucked in a nervous breath when it snorted, not enjoying the tickling it was feeling from such a gentle touch. Xander had laughed, rubbing one behind the ears before running his fingers through the dirty mane. “They’re not fragile, not by miles. Don’t be scared to give ‘em a good pattin’. They like it.” Sure enough, a firm rub and a pat along the same one’s side did not seem to irritate her further.

Jesse puffed out a sigh of relief, smiling at Xander. “You ever rode one, Xan?” He asked. The roan flicked its tail hard, smacking into Jesse’s arm and startling him just slightly. It stung like little whips! He hadn’t been expecting that.

Xander hummed in thought, his eyes looking distant. “Ayup, sure have. Old man who owned this place caught me out here once. Thought he was gonna tan my hide for touchin’ on his prized palamino. Taught me how to put the tack on a horse and let me ride her instead.” His mouth perked to one side, like it did when he got slightly irritated with something. “I wanted to work for him after that, right on this ranch. Take care of the horses and the land.”

Jesse blinked at that. His hand that hand been petting a horse’s neck had slowed as he listened, finally stopping without his notice. “Why didn’tcha? You obviously know ‘em and love ‘em. You’d be perfect for the job.”

“I dropped out of school, realized I didn’t need no smarts for a job like that. Wasn’t keen on education anyway. I came up to the ranch house one day, lookin’ to find the old man and beg for a job workin’ for him. But when I arrived, his sons were divyin’ up his things and arguin’ over what to do with the land. They had already sold the damn palamino—“ Xander’s mouth twisted further, “Was loadin’ up the poor thing in a trailer. They told me to beat it and I couldn’t do nothin’ but comply. I think one of the brothers still owns this, but I believe he pays someone else to run it.”

Jesse was quiet, leaning against the fence as he had listened. Xander didn’t talk much about himself or his past. He was a handsome enigma to Jesse, sometimes.

Without prompt, Xander continued, still staring off at the horizon. “Fell on hard times. Deadlock found me with a hand in one of their member’s pocket, tryin’ to fish out his wallet. Instead of beating me to death, they initiated me. Liked my guts, they said.” Xander scoffed softly, shaking his head and looking down for just a moment to do so. “Dumb sonsaguns to trust some dirty kid like I was. But Deadlock was the first to ever show me care. I felt like they maybe cared if I lived or died while I was in their ranks. I had a mama an’ an older sister back at the home who didn’t bat an eye when I went missin’ sometimes, or when I dropped out of school, or even when the police brought me home. But Deadlock gave a shit, y’know. Especially that I’m runnin’ some business for them now.”

Xander had turned his back to the horses, leaned back against the fence with his eyes on the ground. The large mares had lost interest once he had stopped petting them, wandering back to their pasture. Jesse moved closer to his now silent friend, in front of him, not used to such a brooding attitude from him.

“I care aboutcha, Xan. If you live or die. I care a lot.” Jesse’s voice was quiet, sincere. His heart flipped in his chest when Xander smiled, looking up at him through his long, wavy hair. He hadn’t been prepared for the tanned arms that reached out to grab his own, pulling him close. Jesse’s legs rested on either side of Xander’s outstretched ones, Xander’s grip causing his torso to be close to Xander’s own. Jesse swallowed, unable to look away from the green eyes boring into his own.

“You do, don’tcha?” Xan murmured, studying Jesse still. Jesse could only nod dumbly, noting in the back of his mind the setting sun and how the golden rays behind Xander made him look angelic just then. Xander’s gaze dropped slightly lower, and Jesse felt himself get pulled closer.

And they were kissing.