Queer Eye For The Western Sky
Disclaimer: Don't own them or the show they rode in on. No money is made from this.
Author's Note: Originally for Cowboy Dreams Ash Challenge 2005
Completed: 25 February 2005
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"No, no, no!" Ezra waved his hands back and forth in frustration. "That is NOT going to work." With a sigh, he stalked forward and tugged at the edges of Buck's leather fringed jacket, swinging the taller man around. "Here." He handed him a rope.
"What do you want me to do with this, Pard?" Buck asked patiently. He and Ezra had been trying on different outfits for over an hour, but nothing seemed to satisfy his friend.
"I don't know. Wear it!" Ezra seemed at the end of his rope as well. Then he stopped and paced across the room and back. "Wait." Plucking the coil of rope from Buck's unprotesting hand, he caught it at the man's hip, unsnapping and re-snapping a belt loop to hold the new rope in place. "Hum." Ezra backed away with his head tilted to one side. "Yes. That adds just the right touch of work-ethic."
"Work?" Buck scratched at his jaw. "All I want to do is impress some little filly with my western style."
"Yes, yes. And, that would work, too, if you had any." Ezra fussed at the bolo tie under Buck's chin. "Now, you are the very epitome of a rodeo star."
"You think?" Buck stared at himself in the floor length mirror in Ezra's bedroom. Ezra had dragged him to at least three western outfitters, plus a boot store and two riding stables. The boxes and bags were tossed all over the floor, the bed was draped with jeans, 'cowboy' shirts, belt buckles, vests and neckerchiefs. Buck favored a light plum colored gingham one but Ezra had lowered BOTH eyebrows at that choice.
Now, he did look rather dashing, he had to admit, as he studied his image. Ezra's research books were in piles, scattered about on bureau, chest, and desk, all open to photographs of real cowpokes of the Old West. Standish had declared that if Buck wanted his help, he had to accept his directions. So be it. Buck played with one end of his waxed mustache. That had been a bit he hadn't expected. Kind of nice when Ezra waxed it, those sure, deft fingers twirling the bristles with the hair wax, knuckles brushing against his cheeks. Goosebumps rose on Buck's forearms as he remembered that touch. He slewed his eyes around to see where Ezra was.
Ezra was balancing two hats, one on each hand. One was tan, and sagging a bit, but definitely had distinctive character. The other was more pristine looking, a true ten gallon wonder. Ezra tossed it aside and took the tan one over to where Buck was primping. "Try this."
"Not too much shape to it," Buck said doubtfully.
"Trust me." Ezra stood back when Buck accepted the hat gingerly. He folded his arms and nodded as Wilmington lifted the hat with two hands and lowered it onto his head.
"Well, well." Buck thrust out his chin and eyed his new 'look' in the reflecting glass. The hat gave him a very old-fashioned look, a good one for him, he decided. He turned sideways and checked his profile from the corner of his eye. "Yep, this'll work."
"Indeed." Ezra slowly turned around to view the disaster that was his room. His work was done. He had produced 'Buck, the rodeo star' and now all he had to do was clean up the after-effects. Pursing his mouth in a tight moue, he began to pick up the discarded items, checking each for store tags and neatly folding them back into the appropriate bags. Tomorrow he would spend in the returning lines. He cautiously stole a look over his shoulder at Buck. The very image of a modern horseman, a ruggedly good-looking westerner. Devastingly handsome, Ezra thought, with a hopeless sigh. He turned back to his efforts at tidying away their experiment in couture.
Buck threw a hip out and rested a fist there. The lasso hanging down was a nice touch, if a trifle awkward. He'd discard it later, when Ezra wasn't paying attention. His animal magnetism didn't seem to be working yet. Oh, well, the night was young. He shot a calculating look over at his friend's hunched over form where the man was gathering armfuls of shirts and then sorting them on the bed. Yeah, we need to get that bed clear.
"Think Maryanne will like it." He smiled. "Thanks, Ezra."
"I thought it was Joyce?"
"Well, figure if it works for one..."
"Yes, I see what you mean." Ezra's depression deepened.
Buck looked at his watch. Time to play the next card. "We gotta leave soon if we're going to be at the opening event."
"We?" Ezra straightened and turned to face Buck, his arms still full of shirts.
"You aren't deserting me now, Pard?" Buck managed quite a decent worried tone in his voice.
"What is the event?" Ezra slowly sat back down on the edge of the still overloaded bed.
"Bull riding." Buck ambled over and plopped himself down on the mattress, making the whole bed bounce and Ezra spring to his feet again, edging back away with a look of nervousness that pleased Buck. He's losing his poker face now.
"Brahma bulls. Mean sons of bitches." Buck let himself fall back on the bed, ignoring the tumble of jeans and vests beneath him, and folded his arms behind his head to stare at the ceiling. "I used to ride 'em."
"You did?" Ezra stopped his retreat. He stared at the long, long legs that sprawled out in his direction, splayed wide. He swallowed.
"Nearly took away my appetite for the little ladies," Buck laughed and dropped one arm so that he could cup his groin suggestively, "if you know what I mean." He laughed again and tucked his arm back under his head.
Ezra stood as if turned to stone. Something about Buck's behavior was beginning to puzzle him. Why are you still here? Why do you want ME with you at this event? You have never shown any indication of being gun shy before. What is happening here? "Buck?"
"Um?" Wilmington tucked his chin so he could look down his chest at Ezra. He raised both eyebrows.
"Shouldn't you be leaving now?"
"We, Pard, we."
"I still don't understand."
"It's easy, Ez. I want you to absorb the ambiance of the rodeo so you can see if this outfit is really the right one to attract the fillies that line the rails there."
"Ambiance?" Ezra looked at Buck suspiciously. Where had that word come from? He backed into his rocking chair and sat down. "Buck, believe me. Anyone who sees you will fall in love with you instantly. One look at you and they'll see their future."
Buck rolled over onto his side and propped his head up with one hand, elbow poking down into the bed. "So, Ezra. Do you see yours?"
Ezra clutched the shirts to his chest defensively. "Buck! You know what I meant!"
"Yeah, Pard, I do." Buck pushed off the mattress one-handed, coming easily to his feet. He ambled over until he stood above his seated friend. "And," he squatted down so that he was on eye-level with Ezra, "so do you." Then he firmly took hold of the half-dozen layers of shirts and pulled them free of Ezra's arms, dropping them to the side without looking, his eyes still locked with Ezra's.
"Buck?" Ezra's voice came out in a whisper. "Buck," he cleared his throat and tried yet again, "What are you doing?"
"Guess." Buck pitched forward onto the toes of his boots and braced himself with hands on the arms of the rocking chair. He leaned in until his mouth was mere fractions of an inch from Ezra's.
"What about the ladies? The rodeo?" Ezra's whisper was very small now, only a breath of air.
"Guess they'll have to find their own doggies to ride, Ez. I already got me one." Buck closed the remaining distance by tipping a bit more forward and pressing down on the rocker so that Ezra was moved towards him as well. He pressed his lips on the southerner's and held them there, waiting.
Ezra would have licked his lips if free to do so. His dream was coming true and he couldn't quite believe it. And, suddenly, he DIDN'T believe it. He brought up both hands and shoved Buck away, watching as the man overbalanced and fell back on his rump on the floor.
Buck sat there and cocked his head to the side, watching Ezra. "One thing I still got as a rodeo rider is the willingness to get back on when I get thrown." He reached out and caught Ezra's shirt with both hands and jerked back.
Ezra was hurtled out of his seat, still in shock, and falling before he could think enough to counter Buck's move. And then he was lying atop Wilmington, staring at the man as Buck wrapped both arms about him. "All of this was just to-"
"Just to finally get you where you are supposed to be. In my arms." Buck's tease turned serious as he drew his head back onto the carpet and looked up into Ezra's eyes. "I care about you, Ez. Think it might be love. Think you might feel the same. Been watching you watching me."
"I never." Ezra tried for indignant but knew his sudden welling of color betrayed him.
"You did. I did." Buck slid one arm up Ezra's back until he could slip his hand into the man's lush hair and press his head closer. "Think it's time we did." And he kissed Ezra again. This time he felt a response before he loosed the man.
"Oh, what the hell." Ezra sank down until his body fit nicely onto Buck's and pressed a kiss of his own on those marvelously soft and sweet lips.
When they parted a second time, Buck smiled up at Ezra. "About damn time."
"What about the rodeo?" Ezra asked coyly.
"Someone else'll have to ride the bulls today." Buck leaned up to nuzzle at Ezra's neck.
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