A/N: I'm back with another Kiro fic which is SOO AU! That's becoming redundant eh? HAHA! It's exclusively K and Hiro as cowboys XD! Yeah I know cliche! But I wanted to write something of a romance novel type story, and who doesn't like cowboys? Please don't compare this to Brokeback because it's nothing like that! It's angst that becomes love and all that sappy shit. Sorry, I totally made Judy out to be the biatch in this fic...I love her really, but I needed K to be torn and so I manipulated things. What else is new? lol Besides it makes for interesting storytelling.
This fic takes place in British Columbia, the Rockies, on a ranch which K owns. There isn't any Bad Luck in this story as I said it's AU. But life would suck if I couldn't write AU stories with my favourite muses XD The ranch is researched and so is the Rockies a bit. I hope Kiro fans will enjoy!
Big Thanks! I also want to thank my dearest friend Zelly for taking the time to listen to me whine and read this fic, give me tips, help me develop plot. She does this for almost all my fics and I would be lost without you! --squishes her forever-- I also want to apologize for leaving you hanging at the horny parts XD! Luv ya!
A large Greyhound bus came to a halt in front of a sleepy looking truck stop with a small café. There were a few truckers stopped there for re-fueling and probably catching up on some much needed rest in their cabs. There was an old timer sitting out front with a golden retriever curled up by his feet. He was looking at the bus speculatively, as if it were a rare sight. In the window of the gas station a sign advertised that they sold worms and leeches for fishing tourists. But the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun shone down on the place, giving it a picturesque look.
"Silver Creek!" announced the bus driver.
This looked like a good place as any to get off.
Spontaneously grabbing his knapsack and strapping his guitar to his back, the only parcels he'd taken from Vancouver, Hiro hurried to the front of the bus.
Only one other person was getting off here, this little old lady with a distinct odor of moth balls he noticed. Hiro helped the woman down the steps and outside the bus where the driver was enjoying a pit-stop cigarette. She patted his cheek and called him a good boy and the bus driver gave a 'g'day' to the old woman and tossed him a peculiar look. "I thought your ticket said Calgary? This isn't the right stop, we got at least another three hours sir."
Hiro shrugged. He didn't really care, this bus was headed nowhere as far as he was concerned. There was no destination for him, just happenstance, that's what he'd decided.
What did he have to lose?
He just wanted to get away; he was tired of the city life, tired of a life that was going nowhere fast. The decision wasn't hard when the band he played with went down a shit spiral. The bass player discovering he couldn't go a day without his fix, the drummer getting charged with beating up his girlfriend and the last show…the lead singer overdosed and dropped like a ton of bricks on the stage.
Then there was him…
Hiro forced himself not to think of him. He had had enough…
Getting lost was the only answer because that was no life for him. Anyplace where there was no smog, no crowds, and no drug deals going down…no nothing. Something completely different that's what he yearned for.
The bus driver shrugged also and went inside the stop. Hiro was in no rush; instead he sniffed in the fresh air, closed his eyes and let the sun warm his face. He sighed peacefully. When he opened them he scanned the earth's most majestic visage. The Rocky Mountains surrounding him in every direction, their snow-topped razor-sharp peaks crowning the land. The scent of pine was also noticeable with the large Douglas firs blanketing the hills all over the place.
Hiro smiled. This was more like it!
At first it wasn't easy. He'd left Japan and his family behind years ago when he was simply eighteen. He wanted to be a rock star, but that all changed when his father demanded he give up that pipe dream and become a doctor.
Nakano's aren't musicians. Get a real job!
That mantra of his father's still rang loudly in his mind, but he'd gone out and done exactly that—he'd become a musician. In the end his family disowned him for the disgrace he'd brought upon them and the shame. Now he only kept in contact with his older brother Yuji who was the only person he truly loved in the world. Leaving Japan wasn't hard and he'd hopped on the boat with so many other Asian folk to Vancouver, the sister city to the country of Japan and China alike. By the time he was twenty-three he'd been in two rock bands, toured across the States and Canada, but ultimately settled back in Vancouver.
Now it was done. That life was finished…
"If yer lookin' fer the circus it's thatta way," slurred the old man that sat on the front porch wearing dusty looking slacks and a dark button up shirt with the dog, pointing back at the bus.
Taken aback a little Hiro guffawed at the old man's remark. "I'm not part of the circus," he said in perfectly clear English. "I'm…err...I'm looking for a job," he came back with much to his own surprise. He hadn't thought of a job yet, but Hiro guessed he had to get one, right? "I was part of a band, but that's over now."
The golden retriever wandered over lazily and sat on its hunches in front of Hiro, its tongue lolling from its mouth. The dog let out a happy yip.
"I reckon he's asking for a pat," said the man in the rickety old chair.
Is that so? Smiling, Hiro knelt to scratch behind the big dog's ears. The big mutt obediently offered its left paw. "Oh, you want a handshake now eh?" Hiro took the paw into his hand and shook it, "Nice to meet you my name is Hiroshi, but you can call me Hiro."
I soft pleasant cackling came from the old man. Hiro stood back up surprised.
"Hunter isn't usually so nice to strangers, but he seems to like you," said the man, looking amused. "If yer lookin' for a job, why not check out the help wanted board inside," he added and directed a gnarly thumb behind him. "Although I must warn ya, there is only one person hiring in these parts and well…"
"Well what?" Hiro urged.
"You're a little green for his likin' I imagine," the man replied looking over Hiro with his long red hair, leather pants, flashy blue shirt and biker styled boots. "Like I said, I thoughts you was fer the circus."
This time Hiro chuckled. "I know. I'm probably not dressed for this place…but I can work hard. I'll do anything. I just…don't want to go back. You know what I mean?"
The old man nodded. "Name's Bill," Bill said and held out a hand.
Hiro took it and straightened, lighting a smoke. "What kind of job is it anyways?"
Bill clucked his tongue. "Look, I likes ya, but you don't want this job kid. It's not the job you need to worry about, it's the boss." The old man looked around to make sure no one would overhear him. "He's just not himself anymore. Can't says I blames him."
Intrigued, Hiro exhaled a breath of smoke to ask, "Who are we talking about?"
"Claude K. Winchester…" whispered Bill and Hunter whined and recoiled back to his master's feet just at the mention of the name. "…owner of he the Six Shooter Ranch, used to be the most profitable ranch in all of Cranbrook County. Oh, it still operates but not like it used to…not since…"
The bus driver came out of the building with a coffee and eyed Hiro and the old man. "You sure you're not continuing to Calgary mister?"
Looking around, Hiro shook his head. "Nope," he assured, "I dunno but there's something about this place. Thanks again and have a safe journey," he told the driver.
"Alrighty then, good luck."
The doors of the bus hissed shut and the rumbling of the engine grew as the bus was put into drive. Both Hiro and the old man watched it disappear down the mountain road. Looking back at Bill, Hiro was curious about his interrupted tale and this rancher. Grinding his cigarette out under his boot he asked, "So 'not since' what?"
Bill looked around once more and leaned forward.
Hiro leaned in too, keeping an eye out for eavesdroppers.
"It was once the talk of the town…yer know, small town…these things git around. But story has it; the Six Shooter's missus was a famous actress. She liked the seclusions of the ranch; it was quiet away from the hustle and bustle. We'll one day she up and took ol' Claude to the cleaners! Dragged his blonde ass to court, took his son and ran away with some shiny-toothed used car salesman from Los Angeles. Story made all the papers. Reporters hung around town for weeks looking for the scoop. Poor Claude was tossed in jail so many times for shootin' those buggers off his ranch, never actually hurt anybody, he was just threatening them. Can't says I blames him," repeated the old man sitting back in his chair, nodding.
Wow, Hiro thought his eyebrows rose.
"Indeed," said Bill at the look on Hiro's face. "Now Claude can't keep a soul working for him…his heart is cold, hardened, like a piece of coal. Don't git me wrong, he still comes to town, but he don't smile like he used to…even poor ol' Hunter is scared of him."
Hiro let it all soak in, "That's a rotten deal." Undeterred, he asked, "So, how can I get to the Six Shooter ranch?"
It just couldn't be that bad.
The old man looked up astounded, "You still want the job?" He scoffed, "You're crazy, it'd been better off if you'd just gotten back on that bus. You dunno what you're gittin' yourself inta," Bill warned. "But if you wanna see fer yerself, the ranch is off of Highway 9, take the rural road one on yer right, and then look for a red barn with "The Six Shooter Ranch" written on it in the field. It's close to the main house. It's out in the valley boy; it'll be a long walk."
"Long walk to where, maybe I could give a lift?" someone offered.
Hiro and Bill looked over at a middle aged woman with dark brown hair neatly tied behind her back with large green eyes. She wore a pretty summer dress over her hefty frame, holding a propane tank. It looked much too heavy for her.
"G'day Charlene," Bill said. "Fancy seeing you here…this here boy wants to git out to the Six Shooter ranch, even though I've warned him."
Two pairs of eyes settled on Hiro.
He balked. "Look, I'm new to town and I sure could use a job I guess. I'd like to see this ranch for myself. I'm a hard worker," he guaranteed them. He could feel Charlene looking him over, his city clothes receiving another tongue cluck.
"What cat dragged you to Silver Creek?" she wondered animatedly.
"It's a long story," Hiro sighed.
"Well, you're lucky. I'm actually getting these tanks filled back up and was taking them back to the S.S. Ranch. I swear that man would run out of propane if it wasn't for me. I'll give you a lift out there, K could use a hand with the fodder harvest up coming…that's if you're not hightailing it by the end of the day," she added with a snort.
Who was this woman?
"Oh, don't look at me that way! I'm just the neighbor and happily married for twenty years I might add. Our four boys keep us plenty busy let me tell ya. We own the Blue Ridge corn farm next door to Six Shooter," she explained and took the tank to the back of her blue pick up truck.
Hiro blushed at how easily his accusation was noticed. "Alright, I appreciate the offer. Can I give you a hand with anything?" Hiro offered.
"Nope, I think I got everything," Charlene mentioned but then her eyes lit up. "Can you cook?"
Blinking, Hiro thought about that. "I can but why are you asking?"
"You see, K doesn't just need a ranch hand, but he could use someone to take care of the house a little. Bring it back to its original state; it's real sad, real sad. If you can bake biscuits I'm betting it might help your cause," she informed. "That's my advice anyways, take it or leave it."
Bake biscuits eh? Fix up the house? Hiro had to wonder what he was getting himself into. He gulped involuntarily.
Charlene laughed at him and clapped him on the back. "Don't be listening to all of old Bill's stories. K isn't that bad…just a bit rough around the edges."
"Why do you call him 'K'?" Hiro wondered.
The woman looked all serious, "Oh, whatever you do. Don't call him Claude. Now come on, get in."
Shrugging, Hiro waved good-bye to the old man and Hunter and got into the old blue Ford pick up. Tightness in his chest flared from the rush of events that were happening so fast. One minute he was in a fussy city and the next in a yawning little town. But he stretched his legs out in the truck and thought…it'll be great to learn how to ranch. Already it was so great being out here in this mountain air, wildlife and acres of nobody and, the scent of the pine tree shaped air freshener hanging in Charlene's rear view mirror.
The drive took a good thirty minutes, winding around paved country lanes—miles of mountain range to glance upon. But soon they got to an area where the land rolled gently here and there, like waves on the ocean, other ranches and farms appeared some growing things that Hiro could not identify. All had rather large homes, two stories, one stories with siding, some stucco and brick. Most had long driveways and gnarly cedar fences, barns with livestock and some silos. Hiro saw sheep, cows, horses and goats, their smell also introducing itself to his nose. Ack! He hadn't thought about this part until now, egads, he better get used to this quickly. Charlene tried to make small talk, tried to ask some questions about why he was here. But Hiro couldn't divulge his true reasons, only that he needed out.
Before he knew it they were turning into a long dirt driveway. Slowly Hiro made out an aged red barn with the name "The Six Shooter Ranch" on it. What he saw around him wasn't good. The main house was shabby looking, white paint chipping away all over the wooden siding with a wrap around porch, over grown flower gardens, broken fences, and rusty tools lying about. There were two vehicles parked on the right side of the house, a black Chevrolet pickup that needed a washing like no tomorrow, and a burgundy Buick. On the right also was a crab apple tree near the cars were a tire swing hung, but weeds from underneath had grown so tall it partially hid the thing. To the left and nearing the back of the house was the entrance to the red barn. From here Hiro could see a big machine parked outside, although he didn't know what it was called. There were other large machines parked around the barn and near a shack.
Charlene parked the truck, and Hiro dropped his stuff to the ground to go help her with the propane tanks. He followed her to the front porch and placed them down. On his way down, his foot went through a board.
The woman only gave him a look like 'I told you so'. "Did you want me to stick around while you go talk to him? Never know if you'll be running from buckshot in a minute." The woman snorted again.
"Nah, I think I'll be alright. Thanks for giving me a lift," Hiro explained and couldn't believe she was serious about the buckshot comment.
"K!" she hollered, making Hiro jump. "Propane's here and you have a visitor!" She turned to Hiro, "Dunno where he's at, just go around back and take a look."
With that she got back into the truck and drove back down the way. Hiro watched her truck make a left and continue down rural road one. He looked past a large pasture but he couldn't see a neighborly house. It must be pretty far down the road.
Leaving his stuff on the ground, Hiro stuck his hands into his pockets and wandered around back. "Excuse me?" he called out.
No one answered.
He began to feel prickles on the back of his neck as he went further. There were no sounds, except a distant mooing and a squawk of a bird up in the sky. Crickets and grasshoppers chirped as he looked over golden, some mottled fields which were sectioned off by wooden fences like a grid. Along the fences that divided the land were tall oaks, it was beautiful like a painting, Hiro thought. Being surrounded by the mountain scape made it seem like Mother Nature had slapped him across the face! He also noted the overgrown weeds in the backyard though. And there was a greenhouse on the other side of the yard for growing plants indoors, but its windows were covered in a crusty yellow film.
Hiro couldn't imagine what grew in there now…
The property was very immense; Hiro imagined this place must have been impressive once upon a time. There was evidence of a grand back patio and a barbeque— the parties that must have been thrown here, seemed like it could've been a lot of fun. He could still see party lights that resembled beer cups from a baseball game hanging between the trees and around the posts of the grand wooden deck, he could make out the logo Budweiser on them. But the lights were faded and looked as if they probably didn't work anymore.
"Hello?" Hiro called again, wafting through a clothesline of sheets and socks that looked sun bleached and worn, seemed like they'd been hanging here for a year.
Over by the massive red barn, along the side, inside of a water trough, Hiro saw movement. Only his eyes flashed over the wet tanned naked skin belonging to a very lean muscled body, accompanied by the longest head of wet blonde hair he'd ever seen! Someone was taking a bath there, or was, because the man was now getting out. His eyes lingered and traveled up long male legs, a perfectly tight bottom and a back draped by blonde hair that made his eyes follow back down to that ass once again. Hiro could feel his pants tighten, body flush.
He stood there like a deer in the headlights.
The man turned around and their eyes locked for a moment.
Like a speeding locomotive had hit him, Hiro almost fell backwards.
His face burned when he realized he was staring and fled back around to the front of the house. Be stilling his thumping heart, Hiro sat on his knapsack and tried to catch his breath. Only a few moments later a shadow loomed over him and his heart lurched up into his throat again. Up he looked at one very tall man with a beard and the most striking set of sapphire blue eyes. The man was dressed now in well worn jeans, thumbs in his belt, cowboy boots and a fresh looking light blue shirt that was open since he wore a white undershirt and a stringed necklace around his throat. Over his wet hair was a tanned cowboy hat, one which looked as if it didn't leave his head very often, because the thing was battered and frayed around the edges.
"Don't you knock?" gruffed the man.
Um, where did he want him to knock exactly?
Struggling to find his voice Hiro recoiled a little at first. But he wasn't that easily intimidated; he'd seen a lot rougher looking guys before. He stood up and he stood tall.
"I'm sorry I barged in on you, my name his Hiroshi Nakano…Hiro will do just fine. Charlene, your neighbor, she dropped me off," he explained and pointed to the front porch at the propane tanks.
Then he held out a hand to shake.
The blonde crossed his arms and looked at him impatiently.
Hiro put his hand down uneasily. "I…well; I came looking for a job. And I heard you were hiring and I'm new in town—"
"—save it," the man barked, cutting him off. "If this is some kind of joke then I ain't laughin'," the man said as he grabbed a silver polished gun from the back of his pants. He seemed to be checking the barrel for bullets, satisfied, he slapped it back in and pointed the gun at his intruder.
Hiro's eyes widened. "Ahh! No, wait a minute I came here looking for a job!" he cried. "I swear it! Some old man said you need a ranch hand and I want to do that."
"Never had no city boy handlin' my ranch," drawled the blonde.
Gulping, Hiro waved his hands over his clothes. "I know I don't look the part…I…err…just came from Vancouver…long story, but I needed to get away from there. Besides, how could I not love this place, it's so beautiful," Hiro said genuinely.
The man named K, pulled the hammer back on his gun.
Now sweat appeared on Hiro's brow. "I can cook and clean too!" he exclaimed, remembering what Charlene said.
The gun lowered a fraction. "Keep talking," advised the man.
Hiro narrowed his eyes, "You know, you're not being very nice. I'm a hard worker and I'm offering you my services and here you are pointing a gun in my face, Claude!"
A blonde eyebrow rose slightly. Swiftly the gun went back into the back of K's jeans and he grabbed Hiro's hands, turning them around.
The moment the rancher touched his skin, Hiro felt his blood rush. For an instant he felt completely vulnerable to the bigger man, but he shook it off. He ripped his hands away and croaked, "What the hell are you doing?"
"Too soft, you'll be crying home to your mamma in two days," K told him righteously.
Of all the arrogant men he'd ever met! "How dare you speak of my mother?!" howled Hiro, his hands clenched into tight fists.
Now K smirked a little.
Hiro wanted to wipe the smirk off K's striking face so bad. What was he thinking?! This was stupid, how could he work for a man like this? Old Bill was right! But he didn't want to go back…
"Alright, I'll give you the job."
Man, he'd have such a long walk back…what? Hiro looked up into K's face.
"You can have one of the spare rooms upstairs, first room on your right across from the bathroom. STAY out of the other rooms. You can use the kitchen and anywhere else. Oh, and don't call me Claude again or I'll shoot your left nut off…it's K, got it?"
Hiro stood blankly. "Got it…"
A/N: Still working on this fic, so I'll post again soon! Hope you enjoyed