Title: Tornado's Play

Author: Robin aka icyfire

Disclaimer: I still haven't managed to get the copyright holders to hand them over. I still don't own them, and I don't make money from them.

Summary: A "during the episode" story of the episode "Child's Play". The episode from Tornado's POV.

Recently switched computers. Started going through my old fanfic. It's been awhile. Finished Innocenzio. Finally. (Anyone willing to beta?)

I also realized that several old post-ep stories, such as this one, were never uploaded here. So over the next few days, I'll be putting up some old stories.

ZZZ

Tornado waited patiently for his master to come out of the little home. He was unsure about what exactly was the problem today, but he knew that another man had a hard heart. At least, the blonde stallion in charge of the pueblo was not the cause today. Another stallion was forcing herds from their homes, herds that had colts.

Tornado slowly gnawed on some grass as he thought about the one whom he served. The Dark One was a very passionate stallion, a very sensitive stallion. Tornado had trusted him from the moment he had first seen him. He had been nervous for his colt, but he had trusted the other one almost against his will.

They had quickly formed a bond, master and horse. Somehow, they had a common mission. Tornado knew that his destiny was linked to the one who dressed in black, and he knew that his offspring's future was tied to the smaller stallion that took care of him, but refused to make a sound. They were united to make the world, at least their world, a better place.

As a streak of black, his master raced from the house and jumped onto his back. Tornado did not even wait for the signal to run. He knew his place in this partnership. He was to get his master away from danger using the abilities he was born with and had developed running in the fields over the years.

He felt his muscles contract and felt the gentle tug of his ligaments as he ran. He loved the thrill of the chase; he loved the feeling of running free. He understood that he would never be free again, but when he was running as fast as possible he could dream that he was again alone, having to answer to no one or no thing.

Suddenly, a searing slice of pain cut across his leg, and he heard the echoing boom of a pistol. Tornado was unable to prevent the soft neigh of pain that escaped him, and he realized immediately that he had been shot, but that the bullet had only cut him. He only slowed a little in his shock, but his master reined him to a complete stop.

Tornado felt his master's legs tense, and recognized the sign. His master was mad. He felt the gentle pull on his reigns and knew that he was about to become the chaser instead of the chased.

He ran hard after the men, straining to gallop as fast as he could, but the throbbing pain in his leg refused to let him. The Dark One, so use to his even stride, realized that he was in pain and immediately stopped the chase. He jumped down from his saddle and began looking at the wound, saying words that Tornado did not understand, in a soothing tone that he could.

He was surprised when his master began to unbuckle the shiny saddle. He had grown use to its weight on his back. After all, the Dark One was so often needed at a moment's notice. His horse had to be ready quickly, and that horse often had to be saddled and ready to go. However, Tornado had never grown use to the restraint that it symbolized. He hated to feel that belt being pulled tight against his chest, because it reminded him that he was no longer free.

He felt his master pull the saddle off his back. Even while he was enjoying the feel of the cool air across his sweaty back, he was busy wondering why he was being stripped here in a field. The master needed to get home. Tornado was anxious to get him there, because he knew that the Nice Slow One and the others dressed in blue and red would hurt the Dark One if they caught him.

However, the Dark One tells him to run off without him. He hesitated for a moment, fearing that his master will be unable to escape without his help, but Tornado reluctantly accepted the fact that he was unable to aid him at the moment. He trotted for a few moments, anxiously listening for the sounds of other horses. Relieved that he could only hear the gentle whoosh of the air and joyful chirping of the birds, he began to gallop home. He knew that the man would get home safely without him.

He was only a short distance from home before he acknowledged the feelings that had been coursing through him every since his master had released him. He was free! His heart pounded in excitement and his breathing was labored. For a short time, he could run without the heavy weight of a saddle and a man on his back. It was the first time in months that he could feel the wind caressing his back as he ran.

In his joy of the moment, he forgot the dull throbbing of his leg. He found himself running in circles, no reins telling him which way to run. He felt like he did before the Dark One had found him. He was free-not only of a saddle and bit. He was at liberty to be unconcerned. Neither the Dark One nor the Quiet One needed his help, and he was unable to aid the people of the pueblo. He had to answer to no man or idea.

At first, he felt the eyes watching him. Slowing down to look around, he noticed the small colt watching him run in the field. The young boy reminded him of the Quiet One. He talked with the same soothing tone of the man, but his manner was like the little one who watched over him in the cave. They both seemed saddened by something, but both also had a joy for life that touched Tornado's heart.

He let the boy approach him, a privilege that he had only granted to the Dark One and Quiet One before now. The boy threw down the tiny wooden sword, and pointed at the painful laceration on his leg. He slowly undid the beautiful sash at his waist, and wrapped it around Tornado's leg. The pressure of the bandage helped soothe the pain. Tornado realized that the boy was also wounded, wounded in spirit somehow.

The boy needed his help. He could leave, and go home now, but he did not have the heart to leave the Wounded One. He knew his master well. As he trusted the Dark One to take care of himself, the Dark One trusted him to take care of himself. When he did not come home, the Dark One would look for him and he would find him here with the boy. Then, he could help the Wounded One.

He let the boy tie a rope around him, and did not even whine in protest when the boy attached the other end to the tree. He understood that his presence gave the Wounded One comfort somehow, and he was giving that boy the only aid he could. Tomorrow, the master would come and the helpful colt would be aided. The Dark One always knew how to assist the members of his herd.

Before the sun had even risen over the mountains, the boy was back with him. Jumping and swinging his wooden sword, the boy seemed happy. However, his constant prattle to the horse showed how concerned he was today. While the horse's wound was healing, the colt's was growing worse. His master had better arrive quickly, or Tornado feared that the wound would become permanent.

The Wounded One had fallen asleep before his rescuer could arrive. The horse was enjoying the hay that the boy had brought to him when he heard the approach of the Dark One. Having known that the man would arrive soon, Tornado just continued to eat his breakfast. He enjoyed the gentle pats that the man gave him, as well as the gentle sound of his voice, having missed the man for the one day they had been apart.

It was amusing to watch the Wounded One wave his sword at the Dark One. Tornado had watched grown men run in fear at the thought of fighting his master, yet the young boy faced his fear and challenged him. He understood that the one that had helped him was worried about his true master taking him away, and he was honored that the one so young was willing to confront anyone to keep him.

The Wounded One's head dropped when Tornado responded to his master's whistle. Tornado felt hurt for the colt, but he knew where he was needed. He also understood that the boy needed relief that he could not provide. The Dark One would alleviate the pain of the boy's wound.

Later that night, enjoying the feeling of being home, Tornado thought about the day's events. His master had, of course, handled the bad men wonderfully. The horse had enjoyed the feeling of chasing after the men even more than he had enjoyed the brief run in the fields the previous day. Tornado had been touched when the Healed One had proudly handed his reins back to his master, since he no longer needed the horse to comfort him. The wounds were gone, and the joy shined through the boy's eyes.

He neighed softly as the Quiet One left to go to bed. The horse had come to understand something the previous night, tied to the tree. Instead of enjoying his freedom, he had stopped and aided a small colt, and he had let that colt take away his precious independence. As he looked around the dark fields that surrounded him, the fields that once meant so much to him, he had asked himself why. Then, just before the boy had come back, he had understood a simple truth. He was where he wanted to be, doing what he wanted to do, and that was all the freedom that he wanted.

The end!

Thanks for reading!