Disclaimer: I don't own the Gundam Boys, they belong to Bandai, Sotsu and associated parties. I just borrow them from time to time and return them a whole lot happier. I don't own the song 'Rodeo' either. It belongs to Garth Brooks and as such all rights remain his. This fic is based loosely on the lyrics. Written for pleasure not profit.

Pairing: 2x1x2, past 1xR (sorry!) 3x4

Rating: NC 17

Warnings: Angst, fluff, sap, yaoi, Lemons, Lime, AU

Summary: Heero is a rodeo rider, the best on the circuit and looks set to remain there until an up and coming young cowboy appears on the scene.

AN: This fic is based loosely on the lyrics of 'Rodeo' by Garth Brooks - although it is not a song fic.

Dedication: To my lovely beta; Sakura for giving me the plot bunny and for all her hard work in editing my stuff. (No easy feat!) Thanks hun! You're the best!

"Cowboy"

October 2010 ShenLong

Chapter 1

[His eyes are Cold and Restless
His wounds have almost healed
And she'd give half of Texas
Just to change the way he feels
Rodeo - Garth Brooks]

"Just what are you doing out of bed?"

"If I stay in there any longer I'm gonna go stir crazy," he growled in response and hobbled over to the kitchen table, pulling out a chair and sitting heavily in it. Whilst he would never admit to it, that small effort had drained all his reserves.

"You know what the doctor said, Heero..."

"Relena, can it," Heero scowled, cutting her off. "I'm not spending a moment longer in that bed. I know what the doctor said and I know what I'm capable of doing and not doing."

A sigh escaped her lips as she knew it was fruitless to argue the point. "If you're not going to stay in bed, then at least promise me you will sit and rest."

"Fine," he snapped, agreeing to the compromise.

She placed a mug of tea in front of him. "I'll be making lunch soon, anything in particular you want?"

"Anything is fine," Heero replied.

Turning her back, Relena continued to wash the dishes. She knew in her heart he wasn't deliberately being nasty towards her, it was just a part of who he was and what he was going through at the moment. She would just have to be patient.

"I'm gonna go watch some television," Heero announced when he felt strong enough to move again.

"Okay." No offer of help, no point as she knew he would just refuse. Having been with him for a little over three years now, Relena knew him pretty well.

Gritting his teeth, Heero heaved himself up and pulled the crutches under his arms, Balance regained, he moved slowly and cautiously into the lounge room and collapsed gratefully onto the sofa.

When Relena entered the lounge room half an hour later with a tray bearing Heero's lunch on it, she found the man snoring softly, television droning on in the background. Placing the tray on the coffee table, she smiled at the sight and allowed her eyes to peruse his slumbering form.

Heero wasn't tall, but he wasn't short either. His body was compact and wiry, all lean, hard planes and muscle - although the muscle tone had declined a little over the past three weeks. Her eyes strayed to the cast encasing Heero's right leg from just below the knee to his ankle and she frowned.

The cast would be coming off in another three weeks; from there it would be a couple more weeks of physiotherapy to regain the use of the limb and build the wasted muscles back up. Once that happened it would only be a matter of time before she would lose him again for several weeks.

She had hoped that this accident would have cured him, shown him just how dangerous the sport could be and was at times. She may as well have tried to piss in the ocean and wait for the tide to rise - it just wasn't going to happen.

But still she had to try, try to convince him to give it away, to settle down and get married. A soft grunt from the sofa alerted her that Heero was waking up. Putting on a smile, she spoke softly. "Your lunch is ready."

Heero rubbed his hand across his eyes, blinking awake and vaguely hearing the words. "Thank you," he managed to get out once he'd woken up enough. He ate mechanically, not tasting the food and not really interested in it either. His appetite had waned since his accident but he knew he needed to eat to keep his body nourished for when the cast came off and he could resume his sport once more.

Relena sat and watched him for a while, but when she realized he wasn't about to make conversation, she left and continued with her work around the house.

#

The sun was just starting to dip low in the sky when Heero shoved the crutches under his arms and got to his feet. He wasn't sure where Relena was and moved cautiously through the house to the back door. He managed to get the door open and hobbled out onto the back porch.

He paused for a moment, taking a few deep breaths of fresh air and letting the last of the day's heat wash over him before negotiating the two steps that would lead him from the porch to the dusty ground of the back yard.

A slow shuffle saw him move across the parched earth, small puffs of dust dancing around his ankles as he made his way laboriously towards the corral and barn that sat to the side. Sweat began to run down his back, his underarms ached and protested, unused to the pressure of the crutches, but Heero ignored the discomfort. He had one goal on his mind - and that was getting to the corral.

A soft whinny greeted his ears followed by a miniature dust storm as the paint stallion trotted towards the high fence. Heero smiled and hobbled a touch faster. Reaching the corral, he leaned heavily against the rails and stroked the velvet nose.

"Hey, Wing," Heero said in a soft tone. "You miss me?"

The horse snuffled and lipped gently at the hand.

Heero raised the hand and brushed the forelock away from the horse's eyes. "Want your dinner?" he asked.

Wing gave his hand a gentle nudge.

"Come on then." Heero pushed his crutches back under his sore arms and started towards the barn, Wing followed on the other side of the fence. Reaching the large barn doors, Heero had a bit of a dilemma. How to get them open when he needed both hands on his crutches.

He managed to balance himself and pushed the door a little way. The door slid along the runner and then stopped. It took him five minutes, a lot of swearing and cursing before he had the door open enough for Wing to fit through. The sweat was running down his back and his leg ached fiercely.

Wing waited patiently for Heero to move to the side and only when his master was out of the way did he step into the barn and make his way to his stall.

Taking a few moments to recover, Heero watched the stallion enter the barn and then his stall. His heart swelled as he watched his horse, the animal meant the world to Heero and Wing was a damn good 'cow pony'.

"Heero!"

The peace was shattered with Relena's shrill cry and Heero sighed. "In the barn," he yelled back and moments later she was beside him.

"What do you think you're doing?" Relena demanded. "You're supposed to be resting."

Heero resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He thought it was quite obvious what he was doing. "Relena, I came out to feed Wing..."

"You're supposed to be keeping the weight off that leg and letting it heal. I can feed Wing, I've been doing it for the past three weeks and as you can see, he's not starving." Relena shifted and moved towards the feed room.

Heero sighed and closed his eyes. He was too tired and worn out to argue, but he'd had to get out of the house, he was going mad in there.

Relena walked past, bucket in hand and went to the paint's stall where she tipped the contents into the feed bin and left the stallion to his dinner. Heero, having regained a little of his strength, hobbled over to the stall and ran his eye over the horse.

"Now what are you up to?" Relena asked, coming up behind him.

"Just checking him over, making sure he's okay," Heero replied.

Relena huffed. "Come on, it's back inside for you. Dinner will be ready soon and you have your medication to take."

Reluctantly, Heero allowed Relena to assist him back to the house.

# # #

"Who'd you draw?"

Duo looked at the piece of paper in his hand. "Reaper," he replied.

Trowa whistled through his teeth. "Nice knowing you."

"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?" Duo rounded on the clown.

"Oh, nothing. Just that only one person has ever managed to stay on that bronc for the full eight seconds," Trowa replied.

"Really?" Duo cocked an eyebrow. "Well, it's about to become two," he added firmly.

"Did I also mention the fact that when he'd finished his eight seconds and managed to get off, Reaper came after him?"

"Errr... No."

"That's one mean spirited bronc, Duo. Whether you manage to stay on for the full count or hit the dirt before time, get out of there quick." Trowa's eyes told Duo the clown wasn't bullshitting.

"What happened to the other guy? For that matter, what does this bronc do?" Duo was having a difficult time believing that a bronc could hold a grudge.

"He's nasty, seems to resent anyone getting on his back. He will come after you, try to have a go at you. There's several guys around that bear scars inflicted by Reaper, bites, kicks, that sort of thing. The one guy that did manage to stay on him, Reaper broke his leg."

"Shit!"

"Yeah, I didn't quite believe it myself and I wouldn't if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Yuy, that's the guy, managed to get off and as he was about to climb the gates, Reaper came after him, seemed to take it as some sort of personal insult that someone had actually managed to stay on for the full count. Anyway, he eyed Yuy up where he was about to climb the gates and then turned around, lined him up and lashed out. Yuy went down like a sack of corn and Reaper came back for a second shot. If it hadn't been for the pick-up guys, I swear that animal would have trampled him into the ground," Trowa finished.

"Why the hell do they keep him in the string if he's so dangerous?" Duo growled. It was one thing to keep a bronc that simply bucked, but to keep one as mean spirited as this Reaper seemed to be then that was plain stupid.

Trowa shrugged his shoulders. "Money I guess. He does draw the crowds."

Duo frowned and looked at the piece of paper in his hand again. "Oh well, I can't change things now. Guess I'm just gonna have to keep my wits about me and get out of there as quickly as I can."

"I'd better get back to work, breaks over. I'll see you in the ring. Good luck." Trowa gave his arm a friendly squeeze and disappeared.

Duo watched him go and drew in a deep breath. They said the cowboys had it hard; riding the bulls and broncs; but the rodeo clown had it harder - in Duo's opinion anyway. Turning, he headed back towards the competitors area to get ready for his ride.

# # #

Heero ate his dinner and suffered through Relena's constant chastisement in silence. It wasn't worth arguing back, the woman just didn't know sarcasm if it were to bite her on the ass.

With the dishes cleared away, Heero thought he might a well take his shower and watch some television. He managed to secure the plaster cast in plastic to protect it from the water and made his way to the bathroom. Just as he was entering, Relena appeared behind him.

"Will you be okay?" she asked. "I can come in and help you if you wish."

"I'll be fine," Heero replied curtly. He'd suffered through the indignity of bed baths from her for the past couple of weeks, but now he felt capable of managing a shower by himself. Seeing the hurt look in her eyes, he softened his tone a little. "I'd like to try this by myself, Relena. I appreciate your offer of help, but you've already done more than you should in taking care of me. If I do need help I'll be sure to call out for you."

Relena gave a soft smile. "I understand. Just make sure you do call if you need help. Don't go getting all stubborn with male pride and all; you could end up being in plaster for longer if you're not careful."

Now that gave Heero a jolt. He hadn't thought about that. He nodded. "Don't worry, I'll leave the door unlocked and I will call you if I need you."

Satisfied with that, Relena leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his lips. "I'll be in the lounge room."

Having returned the kiss, Heero entered the bathroom and began the trial of taking his shower.

He managed okay, with just one slip up and that was dropping the soap. Luckily there was more just outside the cubicle and he was able to grab another bar to finish off with. Having toweled himself off, he found he needed to sit on the toilet seat to get his boxers and sweat pants on.

"You okay in there?" Relena's voice asked.

"Fine. Almost done," Heero replied.

"Okay. I'm making cocoa if you want some?"

"Please." Having hung the towel up, Heero exited the bathroom and headed for the lounge.

Sitting in the comfortable recliner with his cast propped on a small stool and mug of cocoa in hand, Heero began to feel much better.

"What's on?" Relena asked when she entered after having taken her own shower.

"Not much," Heero replied and began to flip through the channels. He paused when he spotted something familiar. Relena grunted softly when she noticed what he'd opted to watch.

"I thought you would have had enough of that," she said with a frown.

Heero gave her a sidelong glance. "Just because I'm out of action for a while doesn't mean I can't keep up with what is going on," Heero replied moodily.

"Heero... I thought, maybe..."

Heero didn't give her a chance to finish what she was going to say, he already had an idea what it would be and he didn't want to hear it. He really wasn't in the mood for a full on argument with her. "Relena, I fully intend to go back once I'm healed," he stated flatly.

Relena gave a frustrated sigh. "You will need to get clearance from the doctor first," she pointed out.

"I know that," he growled.

"Heero, it's dangerous," she stated softly. "You could have been killed... I – I don't want to lose you," she whispered.

Heero turned to look at the woman he'd spent the last few years with, noting the tears welling in her eyes and his heart softened a touch. He reached across and put an arm around her shoulders, pulling her to his side. She snuggled up against his hard body and draped her own arm across his lap.

"Relena, please don't ask me to give up the rodeo, I can't do that. It's in my blood and without it I would be lost," he said quietly.

"But, there's other things you can do, things that aren't so dangerous."

"There probably are, but I'm not interested in those things. There's something about the rodeo, the camaraderie amongst your fellow riders, with the other people that work there, the thrill of pitting your wits and strength against a bronc or a bull, knowing you've done a good ride and earned the points."

"An adrenaline rush," Relena whispered. "That's all it is, an adrenaline high."

"Well, yes, there is that too. I can't explain it, Relena. The thrill, the excitement and the danger, it all adds up and I can't give that up, not now."

She knew she was fighting a losing battle and gave up the argument for now. She was still intent on winning the war though. "We'll talk about it again, later," she whispered and drew her fingers up across his abdomen, tracing lazy patterns across his skin.

Heero shivered, the touch causing his muscles to twitch, but he didn't dissuade her. He turned his attention back to the screen and focused on watching the show. It was last week's rodeo and the television was Heero's only way of keeping up with who was doing what in the rodeo world right now.

The bull rides had finished and the bareback broncs were about to start. Several familiar faces passed on the screen, most of them were friends. Heero knew most of the riders, workers and their families, having been in the rodeo game for the past five years. Currently he was sitting on the top of the table for all round cowboy of the year, but with his injury it would be hard to maintain that position.

He needed to know who was breathing down his neck, how the others were scoring and just how much ground he would need to make up once he returned to the game.

The announcer was busy with his spiel on the next rider; Heero didn't take too much notice as the name wasn't one he was familiar with. Another upstart and wannabe cowboy was what he presumed. They were a dime a dozen, all coming to the rodeo with stars in their eyes and dreaming of being bull riding champion or saddle bronc champion. After one season they usually left, tail between their legs and licking their wounds. You didn't hear of them again, obviously the danger had been more than enough to quell their desire.

When the commentator announced the name of the bronc, Heero's attention was switched fully to the screen and his breath hitched.

Reaper.

This new cowboy had drawn Reaper for his ride.

"I hope he's got full medical insurance," Heero muttered and then fell silent, jaw hanging slightly open as the camera switched to where the cowboy was getting ready for his ride.

Heero shook his head. Surely it wasn't a girl? The long hair gave that impression. Then the figure moved, tucking the braid of hair down the inside of his shirt and Heero knew he was definitely male.

He couldn't make out much of the facial features given the large hat he was wearing, but Heero caught the barest glimpse of the man's eyes.

Violet. What an unusual color.

With an even more keen interest, Heero blocked everything else from his mind and concentrated on watching the new cowboy and the deadly ride he was about to take.

tbc...