A/N: This is my first Phantom Stallion fanfic, so please be nice!
A/N: This is a one-shot, and I must warn you, the characters might be slightly OOC.
Summary: My take on how Sam and Jake admit their feelings
Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it belongs to Terri Farley.
"I told you, Jake, the Phantom did not steal that mare!" Sam insisted, glaring at him from where she sat in the saddle.
"I'm not saying he did, Brat," was the quiet reply from next to her. Sam sighed. Two days ago, Linc Slocum's newest mare, Nevada, a black Appaloosa, had vanished from Gold Dust ranch. Slocum automatically suspected the Phantom, a fact that had made Sam bristle. He had hired Jake to track the mare down, and Jake had brought along Sam, hoping that she could help him find the Phantom.
"Do you know where he is?" Jake's question startled Sam, and she stared at him before shrugging. "Where did you last see him?"
Sam glared at him. The last time she had seen the Phantom, he had come to her two weeks ago on the banks of the La Charla, letting her touch him for just a second before wheeling away and galloping back to the cliffs.
She shrugged again. "By the La Charla, but I'm telling you Jake, most of the time he finds me, not the other way around."
Jake studied the trail ahead of them as Sam continued to glare at him. Seeing that she got no response, her glare softened, and she watched him as he urged his black mare, Witch, into a lope. Sam grinned to herself as she let her mustang, Ace, catch up with Witch.
Unbeknownst to Jake, Sam had crush on him. She hadn't known until a few weeks ago, but she knew that she could probably never tell Jake. Besides Sam and Jen, Jake didn't really talk to other girls, except Rachel Slocum. He had a reputation for being notoriously shy around girls, and when Sam tried to introduce him to the other girls from the HARP program, he bolted like a skittish horse for the barn or the horses.
"She could be anywhere," Sam commented as they stopped their horses by the lake in War Drum Flats. Jake's grunt was her only reply. Dismounting, Sam ground-tied Ace next to Witch, and after drinking some water, wandered towards the sandy cliffs in the distance, wondering if the Phantom would come down one of the almost invisible trails that routed the cliffs to meet her.
A hiss dragged her back to reality, and she halted in her tracks. Staring down at the ground, she mentally kicked herself for letting her imagination get away. Coiled in her path was a rattler, poised and ready to strike. The hiss came again, and the snake drew itself up. Sam glanced around for Jake, but she knew that he was too far away to do anything. She would have to get out of this one herself.
Standing so still she almost couldn't breathe, Sam waited for the snake's lightening strike. The snake's tail rattled one more time, and then it struck for her boot. Sam had been counting on that, and at the last moment, turned and angled her boot so the snake's fangs pierced the leather, but not her skin.
The snake drew back, and Sam wondered if it would strike again. Defeated, the snake slithered towards the brush, and Sam let out the breath she didn't even know she had been holding.
A second later, Jake's worried eyes filled her vision; he had come to her side and was checking her over for injuries. "Brat, are you okay?" He asked, and Sam saw the worry and guilt in his eyes. If she had been injured, he would have felt responsible, for the second time.
"Sam?" The question jolted her, and she looked at him.
"I'm okay," she told him, showing him where the rattler had struck her boot but not any deeper.
Relief shone in his dark eyes, and as Sam stared at him, he gently pulled her into his arms. Surprised, Sam hesitantly exchanged the embrace, and instead of pushing her away and acting embarrassed like he usual did, Jake hugged her tight.
Pulling away, Sam stared up Jake's dark eyes—mustang eyes, she had called them when she was little—those mustang eyes that said everything he couldn't say. She watched him, and as his lips met hers, the world around them was swept away.
When they parted, Jake rubbed the back of his neck, the way he did when he was embarrassed, and looked at Sam. He didn't mention what had just happened; that wasn't his way. "So," he asked, "you going to show me that hidden valley now?"
For a second, Sam's eyes hardened, but the next second, she had pulled the brim of his black Stetson over his eyes and sprinted back towards the horses, laughing. "Not a chance!" She called over her shoulder.
"Brat!" She heard him shout, half-laughing, half-exasperated, and she heard him run after her. Tackling her to the ground, they both sent up small dust clouds when they landed. Sitting up, Sam found she was coated in a thin layer of dust, but looking past Jake, she found something far more interesting, and she stared, transfixed.
A band of horses stared down at them from the cliffs, and they looked almost comical, with their forelocks and manes flopping into their eyes, but that's not what held Sam's attention.
The Phantom stood halfway down the trail.
Zanzibar, Sam whispered in her mind, and the silver stallion nodded, as if agreeing with her. She looked from the Phantom to Jake, but the stallion did not seem aggressive, merely inquisitive. Her gaze was drawn from the Phantom to Ace and Witch. She was afraid that the horses might bolt for the wild mustangs, but she shouldn't have worried.
The black mare stood trembling slightly, but Ace welcomed the stallion with a whinny. The Phantom turned his head and snorted in Ace's direction, but he soon turned his gaze back to Sam.
She stared at him, looking into his brown eyes, and somewhere in their depths, she saw a glimmer of approval. But it was gone the next moment as the silver stallion tossed his head and his forelock covered his eyes. Sam watched him pick his way back up the trail and disappear into the cliffs, where his band waited.
Jake stood and helped her to her feet. Sam stood there for a moment, a small smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Jake noticed she hadn't moved and turned back.
Sam grinned at him. "I told you he'd find us."
No sooner had the words left her mouth then a whinny was heard, deep in the cliffs. The whinny reverberated on the rocks, growing louder as it reached their ears. It was almost as if, somewhere, a silver stallion was agreeing with her.
A/N: Good? Bad? Tell me what you think by reviewing, and no flames please!