This is for Angela, hope you get well soon… and Jake, Sam and Nate, awesome brothers that you are. With such great guys and everyone at Ungen rallying behind her she just has to get better.

This story was written specifically for the "Get Well, Angela" challenge at the Supernaturalville Ungen site for our fellow writer, danrac1066, who is in the hospital. The prompt was to write a story about family and if we managed to throw in some gratuitous boys in showers scenes then all the better, 'cause nothing says "Get well, soon" like the mental image of those fine-looking men... naked and wet! LOL

No showers in the Old West so I improvised… hot boys in chaps became my inspiration, but I did manage to find some water…

Don't let the names confuse you. These are the early Winchesters circa 1875, first seen in my western prequel, Valentine, Texas. Rest assured it is not at all necessary to read that story. Hint; just remember the first initials correspond to the modern day Winchesters with the same talented actors playing them.

The original inspiration for Valentine was to see Jensen, Jared and Jeffrey strutting around in leather chaps and cowboy gear… Oh, and we mustn't forget riding sweaty horses and being cowboys. Yeah, they make mighty fine cowboys! Hope the images brighten your day, Angela.

A Horse is a Horse Unless of Course She's Deke Winchester's Black Beauty

"Goddammit!"

"Deke, just settle down."

"Settle down? Sonuvabitch! That bastard stole my horse, Scott!"

"I know… I know. We'll get her back."

"Outta my way. NOW! I'm gonna string up that miserable, lowlife, thievin', half-wit scumbag."

The spurs on his boots jangled with intent as Deke paced up and down the wooden boardwalk outside the livery. He suddenly bent over gasping for air, his breathing passage closing off in his panic. His brother swiftly moved to his side, gripping his shoulders, slapping his back, offering words of encouragement that fell on deaf ears. Deke wasn't the sort to listen to rational thoughts at a time like this.

Blaze was gone. All his thoughts centered on his most prized companion. He sprang upright, a huge gulp of air filling his lungs, his eyes watering from the relief.

"He hurts a hair on her mane and he's not only dead… he's… " He wildly waved his hands about in frustration, his mind barely working, the oxygen still sparse and the adrenaline flooding his synapses. "He's… he's… crowbait! You hear me?" He turned to face his brother, poking his chest with his index finger, his eyes wild and crazed. "I know a thing or two about torture. I'm gonna stake him over an anthill. Smother him in lard and sit there watching. You with me, bro?"

Scott tried to steady him, his hand resting beneath his elbow but Deke flew from his grasp, off again to rant about his horse. A horse, goldurn it! Granted it was Blaze and he knew what that meant to his brother; given to him by their dad when Deke turned sixteen. A rite of passage commemorated by the gifting of an incredible animal, sleek, black, the fastest horse in the territory, but still only a horse. Scott knew enough to keep his thoughts to himself though; he was, after all, the smart one.

"Deke, trust me, we'll get her back. C'mon, we best get to tracking them before nightfall."

Deke perked up, trust in his kid brother shining in his emerald eyes; a clear course and a purpose again focusing his mind. He was a hunter, after all; this is what they did, the family business. Only now it wasn't a supernatural evil they were hunting, it was far, far worse… it was a two-bit horse thief. A loser who had the distinct misfortune of stealing Deke Winchester's prized mare.

"Right, I'm ready. Let's get the bastard."

"First.., you need a horse." Scott stepped into the livery glancing about at the pitiful excuses for horseflesh stabled there. His mouth twisted and his eyes narrowed as he surveyed the situation, definitely slim pickins'. His own horse was at the far end, still in the stall where they'd left her last night. The stall next to her empty and he steered his brother past it and to the corrals out back. Five horses lazed under the afternoon sun. Two looked to be on their last legs, old and feeble, one was hobbled up with a hoof injury and the other two didn't seem to be in much better shape. As they got closer it was clear one was with foal which left only one possibility.

Deke perused the nag, his lips curving into a grimace. "I'd rather walk."

"Deke, we'll have to make do."

"No, you make do. Give me your horse… I'll get the sonuvabitch myself."

"No."

"What?" Deke looked shocked and hurt and incredulous. "Quit fooling around, I don't have time for this."

"Deke, no. I'm not gonna let you go after that guy by yourself."

Deke's eyes flashed and his brows quirked. "What? You think I can't handle it?"

"No, it's not that. I can't trust you not to kill the guy."

"Dude, c'mon. You know me. I'm just gonna get my horse back and bring the guy in. I am a Texas Ranger."

"Your alias is a Texas Ranger… and this is Blaze we're talking about. I know how you feel about that horse."

"He's human, Scott. I'm a professional. I don't kill humans… " Unless necessary, this is the West, after all…

"Not what you said a minute ago."

"Alright, I admit it… I was upset." Deke pulled out his most easy-going smirk, the friendly cowpoke one meant to disarm any mangy outlaws who wandered across his path. "I mean, c'mon… the West… horse thief… the law-of-the-land. I think we can break the hunter code this one time."

"No."

"Dammit, Scotty, it's Blaze!"

"It's Scott!"

Deke shook his head in resignation like a thousand and one times before. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. The important thing to remember here is, IT'S BLAZE!"

Scott maintained his firm stance, his voice calm and composed, a direct opposite to the increasing inflection in his brother's voice. "Which is why you are not hunting this thief by yourself, so get used to it."

"You're a pain in my ass, y'know that?"

"Yeah… And you're welcome."

"Bitch."

"Jerk."

--

Scott had to admit it was a heady feeling, being on the more powerful horse for once. Deke looked dejected and thoroughly miserable riding that broken down excuse for a horse that the livery sold him. It was more a horse for a fragile old man who possibly lost a leg in the war, or a dainty lady who trembled at the thought of horseflesh pounding between her legs, or an imbecile kid who'd never been astride a horse and his folks wanted a money-back guarantee their little darling would come home safe from his first adventure.

The kind of horse that wouldn't have the energy to buck off its rider, which made it precisely the sort of horse that Deke had never before ridden and furthermore had no desire to ever ride in this lifetime.

"This is humiliating, Scott. I feel like a greenhorn."

Scott grinned to himself, this was dangerous territory. As a brother it was his duty to rib his sibling, but he needed to be wary. Deke had been known to lose his temper on occasion… on quite a few if memory served, and being embarrassed usually ranked high on the list of triggers. Caution seemed to be in order, at least until he was safely seated back on Blaze… then all bets were off.

"You're still you, Deke."

"God, listen to the professor. Ya wanna spout that college mumbo-jumbo crap somewhere else, 'cause not much interested."

"Fine. You still have your gun, your badge, your boots and your spurs. Not to mention that fine hat of yourn."

Deke pulled his cowboy hat lower to his brow, glaring from beneath the brim. "What, now I'm reduced to inventory? The spurs ain't gonna do much good on this nag. I dig in and she'd probably fall over dead from the shock."

Scott glanced at the barren landscape surrounding them and grinned. "Well then, I'd find the restraint to hold off. Don't exactly see a replacement 'round abouts."

"I can't believe this is freakin' happening," Deke muttered.

"Won't be much longer. You said the tracks were only an hour out."

"Yeah, good thing this yahoo doesn't realize the power that's under him. If he'd lay her full out he'd be in the next county and we'd never get 'em."

"Once he beds down for the night we'll catch up."

Deke smirked beneath pin-point dimples. "That's when the party starts!"

"Deke, remember the code."

"Yeah, yeah, he's human… Got it. Don't mean I can't have me some fun."

--

The thief did the expected and bedded down for the night once he lost light. Being seasoned hunters and expert trackers gave the Winchesters the obvious advantage. With darkness upon them skill was now needed to continue on with just a half-moon and a torch for illumination, but the Winchesters were known for their skill.

If it hadn't been Blaze they were tracking they would have considered bedding down themselves and taking back up at first light. As it was, Deke wasn't gonna stop until she was safely back where she belonged and the scurvy scumbag was trussed up like a side of beef.

A man and his horse… Yeah, it was somethin' to see. Scott had watched the love affair bloom over the past ten years. Deke was loyal and true, no question there, his family most important in his life, followed by their job to rid the West of all the supernatural scum they could find. Besides Dad and Scott, Blaze was all the family Deke had and he held on to his family with a vengeance.

This poor bastard was in for one hell of a thrashing.

--

The campfire was still burning and the mangy culprit was off to the side snuggled into his bedroll sound asleep. Deke slipped into camp and sidled up beside him, easing the six-shooter out of the holster propped by the thief's head and then gently tapping his ribs with the toe of his boot. As the scoundrel's eyes rolled open Deke greeted him with a smile and a fist to the face.

"That's for being a no-good, thievin', scumbag horse thief," he yelled as he dug in for seconds. His opponent startled awake in time to block the next blow. He kicked out his feet and knocked the hunter over as he connected with his shin. Deke landed on top of the guy and they thrashed and struggled, rolling in the dirt and taking turns beating the holy crap out of each other.

Scott stood by with his long legs crossed, leaning against a tree getting comfortable; his right hand gently resting against the grip of his colt while the thumb of his left hooked beneath his leather holster. He yawned as the fight progressed and they were now standing toe-to-toe slugging it out. He never considered helping his brother; after all, this was Deke's fight and two against one just wasn't fair. Their daddy taught them to always be fair… at least when it suited them; and for Scott, this suited him just fine.

For being a slimy, horse-thievin' jackass this guy could fight. He was about the same height of around six foot, but he packed an additional thirty pounds of hard muscle in comparison to Deke's muscular, but lean frame. All in all he was making a good showing of beating the crap out of the hunter until Deke determined he'd had enough. With one final crushing blow to his jaw the guy wavered for a moment and then fell backward into the fire, sparks and kindling flying as he settled down into the flames.

Deke stood for a moment watching with a satisfied smirk lighting up his handsome, but now bloody face. As the fella's jacket started to smoke he exclaimed with disgust, "Oh, hell… " and rolled him out of the fire and patted his back down. The ne'er-do-well was left lying face down in the dirt and Deke offered his brother a quirk of his brow. "You coulda helped, y'know."

"What? And spoil your fun?" Scott eased up from his position against the tree and strolled over to the remains of the fight, pulling the manacles out of his saddlebag as he went. He fastened them on the rascal still unconscious in the dirt and gave his brother his own bemused grin. "Feel better?"

Deke was dabbing at the blood running from his split lip and massaging his aching jaw, but he looked up with a sparkle in his eyes even though the left one was already beginning to swell shut. "Yeah, actually, I do."

Blaze was tied over by the small creek the thief had made camp beside and Deke moseyed on over to her, a little unsteady on his feet but he made it; releasing her lead and burying his face in her muzzle, scratching her ear and inhaling the familiar scent of home. She too was glad to see him and playfully nuzzled his chest like she often did to greet him. Being a little disoriented and off-balanced and not entirely prepared left Deke unable to avoid the inevitable; as Blaze pushed against him he fell backwards landing with a splash on his ass in the creek. Blaze followed him in, the game all the more fun with the added dimension of water.

After the initial shock wore off Deke simply sat there in the creek, soaked from head to toe and not caring; Blaze was back where she belonged and one more horse thief was headed to the pokey.

Scott had to admit it was a sight for sore eyes, his big brother acting like a kid again, happy and content, the weight of the world off his broad shoulders for one precious night.

Deke climbed to his feet and stood next to Blaze, rubbing his hand along her flank inspecting her for damage. When he was satisfied she was still in tip-top condition he relaxed and led her out of the water and again tied her down for the night. Not that Blaze would ever run off, she was too well trained for that; only a reprobate lowlife could ever part this horse from her man.

Deke stood there dripping wet, his leather chaps already tightening around his muscular thighs and trim hips, becoming ever more form-fitting and matching every curve of his manly frame.

Scott raised an eyebrow toward him and commented, "Better not take 'em off 'til they're totally dry or you'll never get 'em back on again."

"Yeah, Scott, I know… leather shrinks… It's why the Indians used it to torture sonsuvbitches back in the day. Roll 'em up in a hide and leave 'em in the sun to bake. Squeeze the life right out of 'em." He offered up his most deviant smirk as he observed the horse thief just now regaining consciousness. "Hey, you, I'm thinkin' that might be just what you deserve… How 'bout it? You up for a little torture?"

The bastard's eyes grew wide as he considered whether the threat was real.

Deke turned his back to him and casually rubbed at his sore butt; he'd let the sonuvabitch stew for awhile. It was a fun thought, but he knew his sensible, by-the-book brother would never go for it.

Running his fingers through his short, spiky hair, Deke shook out the excess water before he undid the buttons on his shirt and peeled the sopping wet fabric from his chiseled chest. His muscles flexed as he released the shirt from his toned arms and hung it from a tree branch to dry. It was a warm night and his flesh tingled as the night air caressed the droplets of water evaporating off his glistening pecs. His tan skin with its light dusting of freckles basked in the warm glow of the flames as he knelt down by the fire and poured himself a cup of the thief's coffee. Sitting there on his haunches he savored the hot brew as a contented smile turned up the corners of his full lips.

The End

bjxmas July 2008

All standard disclaimers apply.

Yes, I went there… into the shallow depths, but only for a good cause. Hope you feel better and get out of the hospital soon, Angela. Everyone please join me in wishing her a speedy recovery. It's been touch and go lately and all your good thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

Thanks for reading. Take care, B.J.