I'm fond of Cowboy!Marty in Back to the Future. And that's all I have to say about the inspiration for this. Its quarter to bloody three and here it is - finished in all its horrifc and shitty unbeta'd glory. Its disorganised, strange, and probably not very good. Don't care. Tired. Must sleep. Tell me what you think, anyway. Enjoy.

THIS IS YOUR FAULT MATTHEW. That is the last time we watch Back to the Future, in case I'm stuck writing nonsense at three in the morning again.


1890, Texas.

The outlaw and his girl ride through the dusty plains, their horse sure and sturdy beneath them. He is a thoroughbred, a champion, a stallion worth the hardy times and their occupation. He falters not under their weight nor under their baggage nor even the pressure of the rising storm that whips sand and dust into his big, dark eyes. The outlaw wears leather which is dark and dirty from use, but around the most of his face is a white kerchief embroidered with red thread. With one hand he holds the reins of the stallion, and the other he uses to hold the hand of his girl who sits in front of him astride their horse, his arm around her waist and her face buried into the crook of his shoulder. She is a beautiful woman, for sure, even though her white dress is dirty and the wind tugs relentlessly at the red ribbons in her raven hair. She also has a kerchief tied around her face, white with red thread. It is clear that the outlaw's kerchief is a token of her undying love, along with how surely her arms lock around his slim strong waist.

They have been riding for hours, and the storm has not yet peaked. The outlaw knows that they must soon find shelter or risk being caught in the fatal onslaught of dust and dirt that will clog their lungs and stop their breath. The pins in the hair of his girl are coming loose, and raven locks whip in the outlaw's face as he looks out with squinted eyes to the horizon – a gloved hand comes up to shield his face as he looks closer at what appears to be a black, square spec in the distance, with others dotted around it. He cannot rely on his own sight alone, for he knows that the desert is the devil and can play tricks on a man.

- Clarissa!

His girl stirs, taking her face from his shoulder and looking up at her love briefly before looking to follow his gaze. – Do you see it, Clarissa?

- I do! A saloon?

- I sure hope so!

He pulls down his kerchief – a gentle mouth with a harsh, white scar running downwards across taught lips is revealed. It is set in a determined grimace now. His girl pulls hers from her face, revealing beautiful and divine lips that God would surely deem a sin if He hasn't already. His gloved hand reaches up to hold her face, and she looks up at him boldly.

- I swear by the Lord, what we set out to do'll be done tonight.

- Perhaps you should swear by something more substantial.

He kisses her. She lets go of his hand to lock the both of hers around his neck. It is full of passion, and a front to the storm and all it stands for. It howls. They part to hastily pull up their kerchiefs again, and he clutches her tightly.

- Ya!

He kicks the horse into a gallop – the beast rears, hooves kicking at air, before coming down heavily on dirt and sand and lurching into a run that bests all the other stallions in the world, for he is a noble beast. The outlaw is sure in the saddle, and manages to balance holding his girl and the reins as though he were born in the saddle itself. His girl has no fear that she will fall, for she knows he would never let her, and buries her face back in the crook of his shoulder and circles his waist with her arms.

It soon becomes clear that that spec on the horizon is no mirage but something real – something made of sturdy wood. A battered sign swings on the wind, and it creaks on its hinges. The illustration is worn from years of dust and sand, but a red cross is still visible, and under it the words:

THE KNIGHT'S BURDEN.

The outlaw and his girl eye it for a moment, and then each other, but they say nothing as he reins in their stallion and swings himself down and reaches out wordlessly for his girl. She slips off the horse and into his arms, and he takes only the briefest of moments to hold her close to him before setting her on the ground. She takes shelter in the porch as he takes the stallion by the reins and clucks gently to him, leading him out round the back to the stables and out of the worst of the rapidly rising storm, and he soon returns, pulling the kerchief down from his face and leaving it around his neck. She unties her own from around her throat, and stuffs it in her pocket. She crosses her arms over her chest as her outlaw looks at her unhappily.

- I ain't happy with you taking the risks you said you would.

- I don't break as easy as most floozies. I ain't made of glass. She lifts herself up, those beautiful, sinful lips inches from his, and she breathes heavily. – Get used to it. And as he bends his head to kiss her, she pulls away.

- Damn woman.

With nothing else left to say, he opens the saloon doors. They swing inwards, and his boots click on the wood, his silver spurs clinking, and the lamplight falls something that the storm missed as he walks inside. The belt around his waist carries an emblem, a gorgeous, curved triangle – the ends of its base don't meet but the detail on the silver is elaborate – wings arch over the tip and are centred over the most crimson of all rubies. The outlaw grasps it in a sign of dominance over every face that turns from games of poker at the tables or drinks at the bar, and leisurely chews the tobacco he was careful to place in his mouth as he'd tacked up his horse. His thumbs rub over the wings and he watches each and every man from under his hat. His girl takes the kerchief from the pocket of her dress again and holds it loosely in her fingers as she takes his right arm and traces the silver designs on the brace he wears there – her nails scrape against that same unfinished triangle, shamelessly embossed and polished for all of Texas to see. She makes her eyes big, and looks up at him adoringly, but he doesn't return her look.

The saloon has fallen silent. The outlaw and his girl step forward together – he takes long, confident strides, and she sways her hips in time with his footsteps, eyeing each man she passes as if she doesn't belong to another. The men's hands reach for their hats as she passes and they lay them over their hearts, lest Cupid's arrow pierce them and rip them apart. Cigar smoke rises up like fog, dimming the lanterns on the walls.

They walk up to the bar in complete silence. The man behind it spits into a glass and wipes it clean with a dirty cloth. Two well dressed gentleman – one grey all over with a handlebar moustache and the other much younger and shaven – eyed the outlaw and his girl with deep suspicion. They have our Lord and Saviour's Cross around their necks and a tin badge of the same cross pinned to their jackets.

- What can I get you, Sir?

- Just a whiskey for me and the lady.

The barman raises an eyebrow, and bends to take a few shot glasses and a bottle of amber liquid from under the bar. He eyes the outlaw's girl, and sneers. – She ain't no lady.

- Clint!

The barman yelps as the outlaw seizes his collar and yanks him across the bar to thrust his face into his angrily. The men behind them forget their poker game and look around, all too easily entertained by the lure of a fight. The men of our Lord jump to their feet, surprised by the sudden outburst of violence.

- What did you just say?

- Clint, leave it! He don't mean no harm! The outlaw's girl tugs at her lover's arm, wrapping her lovely hands around his bracer and pulling with all her might. The barman stutters in his fear.

- The lady's right, I didn't mean no harm, forgive me for steppin' outta' line –

- You said it though, didn't ya'? The outlaw shakes him, and he whimpers. – And maybe now I mean you harm!

- Clint, don't do this! The outlaw's girl is becoming all the pretty picture of desperation and fear. – You know I don't like to see you violent!

She cries out as he knocks her aside, and she stumbles, and looks at her outlaw with wide eyes as he shouts in her face. – Keep out of this, Clarissa! It ain't your place to stop me!

- Why, maybe it is! The older of the men of the Lord speaks now. The outlaw looks at him with wide, suspicious eyes, and he holds up his hands in a sign of peace. – The lady's gettin' all upset!

The outlaw's girl looks flustered and red in the face, and seems to tremble as the man of our Lord approaches her, offering her his hand. – Here, lady, come sit here with us, while your fella' calms down a little.

- Why thank you, good sir. I think I might. The outlaw's girl says, taking the man's plump hand. He leads her away and guides her to his stool, and casts the outlaw a reproachful look.

- What're you playin' at boy, letting the lady get all flustered like that? You let that man be now and calm down a little. His eyebrows go up, and the outlaw's glare swivels from him to the bartender, who whimpers a little. With a curl of his lip, the outlaw lets the bartender go, dropping him abruptly back behind the bar. The bartender stumbles back, the bottles behind him clinking as his back knocks the glass they're behind. The man of our Lord smiles and nods. – Bartender, a round of drinks for our new friends. He looks over his shoulder at his young companion. – Willis, fetch this good man a seat. The younger man nods, reaching for an occupied stool and offering it to the outlaw. The outlaw takes it, giving the younger man a curt nod before sitting down on it, taking up the glass the bartender slides nervously to him. His love gives the men of our Lord a grateful look as they take up seats either side of her.

-Now, I do believe we didn't get your names, the first man says, clapping the outlaw on the back – the look on the outlaw's face makes it clear that he doesn't appreciate the contact.

- You're right. You didn't. The outlaw sips his drink, and the man laughs.

- Oh don't mind him, The outlaw's love says. He's Clint and I'm Clarissa. Clarissa Williams.

The younger man takes up her hand. – Charmed. He kisses it. When he lets her go, his eyes flicker up to the outlaw's glare, and he smirks.

- Well now, Clint and Clarissa. Whatta' pair. The older man chuckles. – You got a surname, Clint?

The outlaw puts down his glass. – Miller.

- Clint Miller. Fancy soundin' name, that one.

The outlaw makes no response, but stares stonily ahead of him. The older man, realising he isn't going to get much more out of the outlaw, turns to his love. She smiles widely at him. – So tell me – what's the reason for your being out here? Why, if I had a woman like you I'd be sure you'd never be seen dead in a place like this.

The outlaw's love laughs, and the sound peals like bells. – Why, where Clint goes, I go! We're in love, y'know. It's what lovers do.

- Lovers? The man of our Lord frowns. – You ain't married?

- I'm sorry, Father, but I do think the concept's a bit outdated. The outlaw's love laughs, and touches the man on the arm.

- Well mighty me, I never knew that religion got old fashioned. He peers around the outlaw's love to address his companion. - What do you say to that, Willis?

Silence. The man frowns.

- Willis?

His friend is swaying on his stool, his eyes staring blankly. Perhaps this change is something that can be felt even in the most sinful souls, for all of the smoking men turn from their cards and watch the young man of our Lord slowly sink forward onto the bar, his forehead hitting the wood with a thud. And there in his back sticks the most beautiful knife, the handle metal and curved with that strange symbol on the end. Gaping in horror, the older man turns back to the outlaw's love – she's not sweet and smiling Clarissa but something else entirely, and it's dragging another bloody blade across smiling lips. Her sleeve begins to soak up the blood pumping from the dead man's throat. His friend gapes in horror – he didn't even see that bitch move. She must've slit Willis's throat when his back was turned.

And the man of our Lord knows then that he is going to die.

The air behind him is disturbed, and he turns – the outlaw is leaping for him, a wicked smile on those scarred lips and his arm thrown wide. From under the wrist, from under that shining bracer slides a blade – hidden, quick and sharp. The man has had nightmares about this moment – he always knew it was coming. He can do nothing but scream as the outlaw knocks him from his stool and onto the floor, straddling him and bringing the blade to his throat. Men jump up from their seats, men of his, pulling out their guns from their sides, but they're too slow. The bartender moves, reaching out under his bar and pulling out a shot gun, which he tosses over the bar to the outlaw's love. She takes it in hands that know how to work a weapon, and she blasts every single man away with unnerving accuracy. The blasts knock the sound from the holy man's ears, and he looks up at death. It smiles back at him, before plunging its blade into his neck. Blood sprays forth onto leather, and under the outlaw the holy man jerks as his jugular is torn. It isn't long before sweet, blessed darkness claims him, and life leaves his eyes. The hand that was clutching our Lord's symbol around his neck falls to his side. The outlaw's eyes narrow, before taking the cross and snapping the chain from the dead man's neck. He dips it in the blood, and pulls the kerchief from around his neck before dragging the bloodied pendant across it – it leaves the most beautiful mark. The outlaw puts the kerchief back in his pocket, and clenches his wrist to retract his blade. It sings as it rubs against the metal. The outlaw looks back to the dead man, and lays two dirty fingers on the man's eyelids before closing them shut.

- Rest in peace.

The outlaw stands, stepping over the Templar's body. He won't be terrorising the people of Texas anymore with his speeches, full of hell and hate. And his younger friend, with his blood dripping off the bar and onto the wood beneath him, will no longer be taking women against their will and knocking them from grace.

No more.

The outlaw's love places the gun back on the bar and takes her own kerchief, soaking it in the blood of both men before stooping to tuck it in the breast pocket of the dead man on the floor, over his dead heart. She is sure to leave the corner visible, the one with the Assassin symbol stitched there.

- Rest in peace. She murmurs, and stands next to her outlaw. They both look to the bartender, who is looking around his ruined establishment. The rest of the customers fled when they saw how quickly death tore through the place.

- Consider your debt to us paid. The outlaw says. The bartender glares at them both, before looking away and waving his hand.

- Just get out of here. I want nothing more to do with you people, not for as long as I live.

It is time the outlaw and his love left. The outlaw nods, as does his love, and they walk from the saloon together. The saloon doors swing shut behind them.

It is a clear sky in Texas now. The sand storm has passed quickly.

The outlaw fetches his horse from around the back of the saloon, and allows his love to place her boot in the saddle and lift herself up onto the stallions back. The outlaw goes to follow her on, placing one hand on the horse's flank and the other on the edge of the saddle, but his love bends down and catches his lips with hers. The horse shifts impatiently under her as her hair falls around the outlaw's face – he doesn't break the contact, not even for a second as he pushes it back behind her ear and leaves his bloodied hand on her cheek. Their mouths move for a moment that seems like forever before she pulls back, smiling down at her outlaw. He smiles back, and lifts himself up onto the saddle, seating himself behind her. Her arms come about his waist again, holding him tightly as he urges the horse into a gallop. It obliges eagerly, and is soon gone from the place, pounding on the dirt. They are soon specks in the desert, a supposed hallucination for anyone that might see them.

Perhaps a few hours later, the sun sets over Texas. A big red ball in the sky, sinking behind the horizon like a drop of blood from a blade.


GOING TO BED NOW N'NIGHT.