This year I dabbled in one of my lesser-written fandoms. Please enjoy and I'd love to know what you think!
Title: Mal Hombre
Fandom: Tombstone (1993)
Characters: Doc Holliday & Wyatt Earp
Words/rating: 1000 / PG with slight swearing.
PROMPT PHOTO: LINK
Summary: Doc Holliday has never been in habit of naming his horses, but one horse is about to change that.
He'd never been in the habit of naming his horses, and didn't see the point in such sentimental matters.
A horse was just a horse; a method of transport, a mouth to feed, and more often than not (in his experiences) a source of irritation and frustration when the animal refused to cooperate for one reason or another. He preferred alternative methods of travel whenever possible, choosing to traverse the territories by train, steamboat, or even a dust-ridden ride in a stagecoach. Travel on horseback was slow, uncomfortable, dirty, and oftentimes the hazards that one faced would greatly outweigh any of the potential benefits of the mode of transport - not that Holliday would ever admit that there were advantages, of course.
But it wasn't as if one could simply hire a coach to criss-cross the deserts of Arizona territory on a whim, and the Cowboys certainly weren't going to stick to the well-traveled trails and tracks of modernized convenience just for his sake.
Wyatt was in charge of securing the animals; he'd not kept a horse in Tombstone since shortly after he'd arrived in the silver town, not having any desire to pay the men at the livery to feed and house the creature, as well as not having any reason to keep one on hand. If trouble came to find him, he'd certainly not run away from it.
Sheltered in the shade of the porch in front of the sheriff's office, Doc wiped his forehead with his handkerchief, removing the beads of sweat from his skin as he sat on the bench nearest the doorway. The sun was already oppressively bright for half-past nine, and the walk from his rooms at McFly's boarding house had left his lungs heaving for oxygen and his body trembling with exertion.
(Internally, he wondered how in the world he would last on this ride to round up the remaining Cowboys if he could hardly take a stroll down Allen Street without ending up winded - but that wasn't a thought he dared to contemplate, not with Ringo and Brocius and their other bastard friends out there still breathing and above ground.
Besides, it had been said many times before that John Henry Holliday would most definitely die with his boots on, and if a vendetta ride with his best - and likely only - friend was the lead-up to his demise, then he'd accept that.)
Wyatt arrived at ten-fifteen, by his estimation, leading a small group of horses behind him.
Doc surveyed the prospective mounts and found himself relatively unimpressed by the options presented. "Did you insist on scraping the bottom of the barrel, Wyatt?" He inquired, rising slowly to his aching feet.
"I made sure to ask Crabtree for some particularly ugly ones, just for you."
Smirking, Wyatt dismounted and tied the other horses beside his own on the post. "They're healthy, all right?"
"I do believe this one has fleas, Wyatt."
"I didn't take you for a veterinarian, Doc." Wyatt shoved a bag into Holliday's chest as he walked past, pausing only briefly as he headed into the office. "Stopped and got you some provisions as well. You're welcome."
"I packed," Holliday protested, hands closing around the canvas satchel that had been thrust upon him. As Wyatt's footsteps echoed into the distance, Doc undid the straps and opened the bag, surveying the contents - a healthy-sized bottle of laudanum, as well as a pint of whiskey and two packets of rolled cigarettes. His eyes narrowed slightly after identifying the contents, and he turned smartly on his heel, making his way to follow his friend inside.
Wyatt stood behind the desk, organizing a few sheets of paper into neat piles, and glanced up as Holliday entered. "Why the look?"
Doc held up the bag. "Either you have suddenly decided that my maladies require a rather unorthodox method of treatment, or you're attempting to win my favor for a reason I have yet to determine."
"I'd never consider bribing your loyalty," Wyatt lied. (Though they both knew it was a lie, and both knew it wasn't necessary.) "Consider it a gift."
"Mmmhmm." Doc glanced over his shoulder at the horses tied out on the rail. "Which one is mine?"
And there was the hesitation on Wyatt's face. Doc grinned, a wicked expression that might have unnerved any other man but the one in front of him. Wyatt Earp was rarely rattled, and it would take more than his friend to do so.
"The dun," Wyatt replied. "You should go get to know him, before we ride out."
"I didn't think introductions were usually necessary, for this sort of endeavor."
"They usually aren't," Wyatt admitted. "But Jack informed me that you'd be smart to make friends before tryin' to ask for any favors."
"That tends to be my approach with women, Wyatt. Not my horses."
"This is a special horse."
"Well, as Jack put it," Wyatt finished with the papers on the desk and looked up. "He's a real 'mal hombre' at times."
"Wonderful," Holliday rolled his eyes towards the ceiling and turned to move back out onto the porch. "I'm sure we'll get along splendidly." he called over his shoulder.
The animal in question was a fine-enough looking horse, if he had to admit to it; a solid frame was covered by a well-defined musculature, and despite the possibility of it having fleas, the coat was shiny and eyes bright.
"That's one of the reasons I picked it for you, actually," Wyatt commented from the doorway where he leaned, watching Holliday extend his hand to the horse for inspection.
"I asked Crabtree for a horse befitting a cranky son-of-a-bitch like yourself, and he said he had just the one."
"My word, Wyatt. Your attempts at flattery simply slay me." Doc drawled, smirk hidden. His focus returned to the horse; perhaps he'd name this one.
"Hombre," he tested. The horse pinned his ears back, and Holliday simply grinned wider. It would do nicely.
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