Title:I Gave My Soul To Jesus, But I Left My Heart For You, 1/?
Pairing/Rating: Buffy, Spike/PG-13 fer cussin' and swearin' and stompin' by horse flesh on tender girl legs
Summary (heh): Based on the gud summries: "Buffy was a yound [sic] and promising Barrel Racer. Then she had an accident. Spike was a young and promising Bull Rider. Then he met Buffy." Yep. That pretty much sums it up.
A/N: Sit by a campfire when the doggies are done howling, get the cooky to hum a tune on his harmonica, and let my Texas narrator tell you a tale of promise, heartbreak, and a woman scorned. Get a long, little doggies. This is the very embodiment of crack!fic. Hallelujah and pass the hooch. Also: =& is a spur, and % is a horse's ass, which I may have made of myself.)
"Shoo-ee! That shore was some fine ridin', Miss Buffy!"
"Thank ya kindly, Mr. Taggert. Me and Blue here been practicing pert near all week from mornin' 'til Johnny kicks us out at night. I'm hoping that first place trophy comes home with me Saturday night."
Buffy patted her horse Blue on his dusty neck and clicked her tongue to move him along. With a tip of her hat and a smile, she moseyed on back to Blue's stall to give him a rub down and an apple before heading home for a good night's sleep. In less than 24 hours was the big Region Finals at the Resistol stadium, and Buffy was a sure-fire first-place winner. She'd won all the local races by whole seconds. There just weren't any other cowgirls around that could match her barrel racing, and that was something everyone could agree on in Sunnydale, Texas. And aside from the football team and the inherent greatness that was God and Country, there wasn't much else of which those folks could come to an accord.
A lot was riding on her Saturday night ride. More than just her perky size 2 Rocky Mountain turquoise ass and coordinating boots from the outlet mall. Riding on Blue was a dream for a better life. A dream to move out of the trailer with the tires on the roof; a dream to get her mama a trip to the salon where they could properly lift her brown all the way to blonde, and not the current brass that was teased into complicated loops and whorls; a dream to get all the way to Big D, little a, double l, a, s. Basically, everything was riding on her and Blue.
She finished up Blue with his curry comb and brush, slipped him a tuna sandwich on Piggly Wiggly brand white bread - Blue had unusual tastes for an equine - and kissed his furry nose.
"We're gonna win it, boy. We're gonna win it, and I'm gonna get one of them groomers to French braid your mane and put all them spangles in it and match your forelock wraps to the ribbons. And then I'm gonna get me some Justin's to match."
She scratched his favorite spot between his eyes and smiled as Blue nosed her behind the ear and whickered. Buffy turned out the main light to the Broken Spoke Stables and stood in the wide doorway watching the glow worms winking to life on the grasslands while the horses behind her snuffled and whinnied themselves to sleep, and she imagined taking that trophy and check up on the corrugated-tin dais as she flashed her pearly whites to the crowd, a winner.
Buffy sat high in the saddle, ignoring her hunger pangs - a light rider was a fast rider - and watched as Typhani White circled the second barrel, almost knocking it over, raced to the center third and cut too wide, then as the girl missed her mount's beat and stood up too late, costing her precious time on the long home stretch to the finish line. She smirked to herself. Twenty seconds was practically a canter to Buffy. She could make it in 15 seconds, no problem. When she and Blue were in top form, count on her crossing the line at 13.67. The trophy was as good as hers.
She listened to the announcer give the official time: 25.23. Buffy looked into the arena. Sure enough, Typhani had managed to tip a barrel over. She lost her hat, too. There went twenty five bucks for that penalty.
"Okay, boy. Knock this one out of the park."
She patted Blue, got light in her seat, toes in the stirrups and spurs at the ready. A horn blasted and she gave a light touch to Blue's sides and they were off! Full-neck speed towards the first, careful turn and angle into the barrel, and Blue's feet were fleet and tight under him. Light touch again to his sides and they flew across to barrel number two. Buffy shifted in her seat as she and her ride canted to the other side to make the new turn, and off they were to three. She felt in her bones that they were making good time. She never felt so light, nor did Blue ever feel more like liquid speed under her. Same angle as two and all the way around, her leg brushing along the edge just like a textbook turn. Blue gathered up his back legs and leapt forward, nose out like a race-horse. Buffy was up high and on his neck, reins loose in her hands, all they had to do was cross the line and the trophy and money and fame and all the cowboy she wanted was hers forever and ever, amen.
The crowd was on its feet, whoopin' and carrying on and screaming her name. They were screaming. She caught sight of something in her peripheral vision but it was too late. Someone - later determined to be Sonny, one of the tack hands - hadn't taken a proper holt of one of the broncs' leads; that mare was a greenbroke and pissed as hell. Spooked by something, she had broken loose of her reins as Sonny tried to back her into a trailer and charged into the only open space available: the arena. The mare and Blue collided with tremendous force - the townsfolk talked about it for years to come. Buffy's legs, so light and sleek in her chaps and clamped to the sides of her horse, were trapped between the two powerful bodies and broken, plum near pulverised. Her arm and Blue's reins became entangled with the mare's lead and Buffy dangled helplessly between their bodies as the two animals reared and pawed at each other, blind with pain and fear.
Buffy came to on a stretcher, the sound of the arena announcer telling the murmuring crowd that Buffy was gonna be okay as the medics wheeled her to the ambulance.
"Blue... Is he-?"
"Shh. He ain't gonna need to see the end of a shotgun, if that's what you're worried about. Just some scrapes and skeert somethin' awful, but he's gonna be alright. You need to worry about yerself now, y'hear?"
The last thing Buffy saw as she fell into unconsciousness was flashing lights, red splashed on a white sheet covering her once strong legs, and all her dreams of being the Rodeo Queen spiraling up into the darkening sky with the dust from racing horse hooves in the stadium.
"Shoo-ee! That shore was some fine ridin'! Don't you think, Miss Buffy!"
Buffy Summers, failed queen, broken-legged and broken-hearted, turned slightly in her wheelchair to face Mr. Taggert. "Sure 'nough. She keeps on riding like that, and she stands a good chance of winning tomorrow night. Skyler! Skyler you keep your legs tight on that horse, or she'll damn near bolt away from you!"
Skyler Bull pulled hard on the reins, forcing her Paint into the sky, its forelegs pawing at the air. "You got it, Buffy."
"Miss Summers, or I'll have you mucking stalls all night."
Skyler chuckled cruelly under her breath and muttered. All Buffy caught was "broke-ass hick," but Skyler had raced back to the center of the ring to work on her turns and Buffy, unable to chase after her in her chair through the thick sand, slumped back in defeat and rolled a smoke from a pouch of American Spirit she kept in a side pocket on her chair. She took a hard drag off it and picked at a fleck of tobacco on her lower lip, trying not to notice the shiny buckle Skyler wore, or the new boots that matched her chaps and her horse's saddle. Skyler had come just after Buffy in the Region Championship and walked away with her fame, her glory and her prize package of $2500 and a gift certificate for a day at the Beauty Box. She tried not to notice her own chipped manicure, her roughened voice from endless smoking, or her bad dye job.
Teaching shits to drop their primadona acts and circle some god damn barrels for prize money didn't pay well. She had tried not to be bitter at first, tried pulling herself up on Blue and strengthening her broken body, but she had finally come to realize what the doctors had been gently telling her for months. Buffy Summers, the blonde gal who held the hopes and dreams of the Almost Heaven trailer park, heck, the dreams of the whole town, were gone in the blink of an eye. She heard Mr. Taggert had sold off that wild mare to some outfit in Quinine, but to tell the truth, she was too soul-broke to care. She only took the job of hollering at pudgy, slutty gals in coordinating outfits to help pay for her medical bills and keep her mama in Schlitz and off the torn vinyl stools at The Bar Fly where the ranch hands went after a long day.
Buffy was young in body, but darn near ancient in spirit. Yep, she thought there weren't nothing left for her in this life, probably nothing in t'other one as well. That is, until he showed up.
It was like a moment out of a movie picture show. There she was, reclining in her chair, endlessly smoking and muttering to her trainee to move her fat ass faster around number two when all of a sudden the light shone brighter, the dust cleared at the entrance to the corral, and the soft chingching of spurs could be heard over the fading noise of horse hooves. The slickest looking cowboy Buffy'd ever laid eyes on was standing there, dressed head to toe in black, toothpick working between his full lips. Why, that cowboy had cheekbones so sharp, they could cut mud off a vato's boots after a three month slog in Chihuahua during the monsoon. Skin white as snow - not that any self-respecting Texan knew what snow looked like. But she'd seen the picture books. And this fella looked like he stepped right out of a John Wayne movie. Except for that hair.
There's no other way to tell it, but the hombre had white hair. Not white like your grandpappy, but white... on purpose. And it was slicked back like an Arkansas football coach. Buffy felt something long dead in her loins stir when she saw he had cold blue eyes. Clint Eastwood eyes. Shooter's eyes. Nawsir, them was bull rider's eyes.
He walked buckle first into the ring all swagger and balls, then looked at the brunette in the tight Wranglers on her jumpy tobiano Paint. He tipped his black hat back to look up at her on her horse, thumbs hooked behind his Championship Bull Rider buckle.
"Well, hey there. I'm Skyler. Whatchall doing here during training?"
"Only one of me, love. I'm looking to ride a bull."
"You talk funny. I like 'at. Say, you ain't from around here, are you? Where y'all from? Boston? One of them uppity cities?"
"Oh, you're a real sharp one, aren't you? Say, what's a fella gotta do to get laid, get drunk, and win a buckle around here?"
Skyler slowly circled the newcomer on her horse, swung one leg over and rode standing on her right in the stirrup and fixed her best Merle Norman smile on her pancaked face. "You could start with me, cowboy."
Spike smiled and off in the distance, a wolf howled. "Lead the way, pet."
Skyler slid off her horse and tossed the reins into Buffy's lap without a backwards glance. She slipped her fat hand - the one with the gold Krugerrand ring her daddy gave her for making it through high school without overly embarrassing the family and costing him any of the Ford Dealership money he'd worked so hard to earn - into Spike's back pocket and they walked past Buffy without a by your leave.
"Skyler! You get yore ass back here and wipe down your horse!"
"That's what my daddy pays you for. I got things to attend to." There was a visible squeeze on the taut nether regions of leather-clad bull rider ass on "attend," and before Buffy would whip out a retort, or send that horse to trample its petulant and ornery owner to death, the newcomer with the sky-blue eyes that pierced Buffy's dried out and dusty heart smarted back without the decency of even looking at her, "See to it that mare gets better treatment than that pathetic cowgirl with broken legs received."
The salty tears that ran into the corner of her mouth tasted bitter and reminded her of her defeat all that time ago. But something grew in her withered soul that moment as she watched the handsome stranger that talked funny a'walking off to make time with the local whore. Something that turned into fire and damn near burned her up inside and through. If Buffy were a gal of letters, she'd've known to call it vengeance. In her simple mind, she just called it a plan.
~TBC! Right here, to be exact