Request: Could I have a cowboy AU? Any popslash pairing.
Joshua Chasez took his spectacles off and carefully wiped the dust from them with a handkerchief. When he replaced them he stared down the trail again, but there was no sign of anyone approaching. This *was* where they'd agreed to meet, though; he hadn't written it down for fear of even the smallest scrap of paper being found, but he remembered.
It was almost too quiet, only the occasional rattling of leaves in the breeze interrupting the silence. This gully was the perfect place for ambushes. Chasez probably wouldn't have noticed, but for the stories that Joe told him late at night when they were wrapped in each other by the fire.
He could keep Joshua rapt for hours -- stories of vast open plains, of snow-peaked mountains and of all manner of things Joshua'd never seen himself. Joe had spent his whole adult life working the range and had a story for every day of it. The first time Joshua woke up to the howl of coyotes, not long after he'd journeyed west, all he could think of were the stories Joey had told him the first time they'd met, when Joshua was still a city dweller. It was then he knew he'd made the right choice.
Gallant shied beneath him, and Chasez thought the horse was, like him, responding to the oppressive silence until he heard the unmistakable sound of hoofbeats approaching from around the bend in the trail. There was no reason for anyone to come through here but Joe, but he still edged to the side and just out of sight to anyone who wasn't looking for him.
But the hoofbeats slowed and Joe rode up to him, looking like he stepped right out of one of his stories -- hat perched firmly on his head, shirt and chaps covered in dust from the road, cocky grin on his face. "Follow me," he said, turning back the way he'd come. "I know a place we can go." Chasez dug his heels into Gallant's sides and urged him forward.
Stories were a part of a schoolteacher's trade, but Joshua wanted to live it.