Notes: This piece was done on request from an anon who requested something from "Royal Flush," which is the first half. The second half is based on events that happened in "Monkees in Texas," and was also done on a request from macberly; I actually have a full-length fic planned that'll take place in Texas, but that isn't for a long, long while yet, and I didn't want to make macberly wait that long! So, here's this. Also, the names of the horses? Yep, totally intentional.
The Embassy of Harmonica:
The newly-ascended Queen Bettina, upon the arrest of her traitorous uncle Otto, had wasted no time in declaring the Monkees to be honored heroes of Harmonica. Bestowing upon all of them kisses on their faces—giving an extra one to Davy, the Champion who had dueled for her—she looked to all of them in gratitude.
"Are you certain that you can't come to Harmonica with me?" she asked. She looked to Davy. "Not even for a little while?"
"I don't think so," the English boy said, seeming somewhat forlorn. "Sorry."
His bandmates were quick to sense this, and Mike made the assumption that Davy was still shaken by his narrow escape. He had, despite his valiant efforts, lost the duel against Otto and would have been skewered had Peter not announced that it was Midnight, and that Bettina was now queen.
Mike certainly didn't blame his younger friend; he was so sure his nerves had recovered, either—he hadn't even had a chance to try to reach out to him… to try to help him… All he could do was just stand there, helpless, as Otto held the tip of the blade to Davy's chest, ready to run him through…
The Texan suppressed a shudder. If anything, Davy probably was in a state of shock, albeit refusing to show it. The sooner they got him home, the better.
It wasn't for another couple hours that they were able to leave, given the send-off of heroes.
"I wish they hadn't done that," Davy said, glumly, as he threw himself into the front passenger seat of the Monkeemobile. "I don't feel like a hero at all."
"You did duel for the lady's honor," Micky reminded him, through his yawns.
"That was a heroic thing to do," agreed Peter.
Mike would've cast a baffled glance at Davy had he not been driving. It sounded as though the English boy wasn't in shock after all; he sounded… bitter.
Micky and Peter certainly noticed; they exchanged glances with each other before deciding that Davy did not want to talk about it, and they decided that changing the subject would be the best thing for them.
It turned out that it wouldn't have mattered; Davy didn't take part in any conversation at all, and instead of heading to bed like Micky and Peter did upon reaching home, Davy crossed to the kitchen area.
"What are you doing?" Mike asked, halfway up the stairs.
"Making some coffee," Davy answered.
"…At 2:30 in the morning?! Tiny, get some sleep!"
Davy sighed, sitting down at the little table.
"I don't think I'll be able to sleep well for a while," he muttered.
Mike was down the stairs and by his side in an instant.
"You're okay now, though," he said. "It's all over; you don't have to worry. You're safe."
"Safe? What are you talking about?" Davy asked.
"…Isn't this about the duel?" Mike asked. "Specifically, the end of it?"
"Of course it is," Davy muttered. "I was this close to winning the duel for Bettina, and I lost!"
Mike stared at him.
"Can we just run through your priorities for just a moment?" the Texan asked. "Davy, you were nearly turned into a shish-kebab!"
"Mike, you don't understand! I lost the duel—I was supposed to win! How can they call me a hero when I lost?!" Davy exclaimed. "I didn't earn the title of a hero! I didn't win! I failed! I failed her! I didn't do anything right!"
Mike seized him by the shoulders.
"I don't care," the Texan said. "I could've cared less if you had just run from him like a Texas prairie chicken. All that matters is that he didn't skewer you like he intended to. Do you know what it was like, from where I was standing?! Knowing that I was too far away to do anything… That I'd have to stand there and watch him run you through…!? And you're complaining about your pride getting wounded?!"
"Well…" Davy began, but he trailed off. Only now, he was beginning to appreciate his narrow escape—not so much because he had been nursing his wounded pride, but because his mind had hastily tried to banish the thought.
He gripped Mike's arm, and the Texan regretted his harsh words.
"Hey," he said. "You gave me a scare, okay? But, for what it's worth… You probably knew going into that fight that Otto was playing for keeps, didn't you?"
"Of course I knew that," Davy said, shuddering. "But we had to save Bettina. We had to…"
"…Sounds like a hero talking."
Davy looked up, managing a wan smile at Mike.
"Not quite the same thing as actually winning," he admitted. "But it helps."
"Glad to hear that," Mike replied. "And I'm just glad that you'll be around to try to save the day again."
"Fail to save the day again, you mean…" Davy sighed. "Every time I try to be a hero, something goes wrong. …That's what upsets me the most about this while, thing, actually. If I couldn't save Bettina when she needed me, what happens when you or Micky or Peter get into some sort of trouble, and you need my help to get you out of it—and I can't do it? I don't think I could deal with that."
"I don't think you'll have to," Mike said. "Davy, you've got the three of us watching your back, not to mention each other's. You shouldn't have to worry—"
"There you go again…" Davy sighed. "Mike, I don't want to be the one just sitting back and watching you three help me and each other, just because I'm the youngest or the smallest. I want to be able to jump right in and help someone, just like you always do. I want to be able to help Peter. I want to be able to help Micky. I want to be able help you."
Mike placed a hand on his younger friend's shoulder.
"Well, let me rephrase what I said before, then," Mike said. "You shouldn't have to worry, but if the moment comes, and I need your help… You'll be the one I call out to. I'll put my faith in you, Tiny. And you'll be my hero."
"And I won't let you down, Mike," Davy promised.
At least, he hoped so.
New Gallifrey, Texas, a couple years later:
Davy sighed as he relaxed on the porch of the ranch house that belonged to Mike's aunt Kate, just watching the scenes around him.
Oh, he had tried to find an opportunity to be a hero in the days following the disastrous duel against Otto. But none really turned up; the few chances he did have were simple, petty things—saving the others from a binding dance contract just didn't have quite the same feel to it. The others ended up saving the day from more important things; Micky got to impersonate Baby Face Morales and help the police round up his gang. Peter saved a Russian dancer who had a secret message in her shoes. And Mike… good old, reliable Mike… he had beaten the Devil himself.
And Mike was out saving the day again even as Davy sat there; Aunt Kate had called them back to New Gallifrey, Texas; Black Bart, released from prison, was at it again—and targeting the Nesmith ranch with a vengeance. Mike had refused to take that lying down; he had ridden out on his horse, Amy, to survey the outer areas of their spread and make sure that everything was as it should be.
Micky and Peter now joined Davy on the porch.
"There're other horses, you know," the blond offered. "You wanna go for a ride?"
"Yeah, we may as well," Davy said, getting up. That was the benefit of staying at the Nesmith Ranch; there was no shortage of horses—something that the English boy appreciated, given his love of riding.
But the three had only been halfway to the stables when a shrill whinny caught their attention. Amy, the mare, was galloping frantically towards them, and Mike wasn't with her; in fact, Mike was nowhere in sight.
Davy rushed out, grabbing Amy's reins and calming her down.
"Where's Mike?" Micky exclaimed, once Davy got the mare under control.
"I don't know, but I'm going to find out," the English boy insisted, leaping onto the horse's back. "You two grab two more horses from the stables and head on out, too; I'll meet up with you later!"
"Right!" Micky and Peter chorused.
Davy had ridden off in the direction Amy had come from, keeping his eyes open for any sign of Mike. Had he fallen off somewhere? Was he unconscious?
Amy suddenly came to a halt, whinnying in fright. There was a large dust cloud up ahead, and Davy could hear the bellows of furious bovines.
"Cattle stampede?" he asked, softly. "Yeah, they're longhorns… But what are they doing out here—?"
He cut his train of thought off at the pass, where it was quickly replaced by another, horrifying one.
"Mike…" he whispered.
He quickly urged the horse ahead towards the dust cloud, despite her resistance. As he got closer, he could see the individual bulls in the stampede—each of them bearing the same mark.
"They're Black Bart's cattle!" he gasped.
And then the truth sunk in. This had been deliberate. Black Bart had probably been waiting for Mike.
"Mike!" Davy yelled, frantically, as he rode parallel to the stampede. "Mike!?"
It was the most horrifying sound Davy had ever heard, despite it being his own name. Mike's voice—the voice that had won a court case against the Devil—was filled with an unbridled panic.
"Where are you?!" the English boy cried.
An answering cry from up ahead showed Davy the answer. His eyes widened further in horror upon seeing Mike holding onto the horns of one of the stampeding bulls for dear life. And he couldn't hold on for much longer.
Horror was quickly replaced by determination as Davy now urged Amy to gallop faster.
"Hold on!" he ordered, his voice miraculously calm and trying to be reassuring—just as Mike's usually was whenever Davy was in trouble. "Just hold on, Mike!"
Mike gritted his teeth, his arms feeling about ready to rebel and quit. He mentally repeated Davy's works as a mantra—a survival mantra.
"Faster, Amy!" Davy hissed, pushing the mare to gallop even faster.
The gap between him and Mike was closing now, slowly but surely—twenty feet… then fifteen… then ten… now five…
"Mike!" Davy yelled, holding onto Amy's reins with one hand as he leaned sideways out of the saddle, his other arm outstretched. "Mike, take my hand!"
The older boy could only give Davy a helpless glance. He couldn't let go; even just releasing one hand would likely cause him to fall…
"You have to!" Davy cried. "Mike, please! Remember your promise—and the promise I made in return!"
And, unbidden, came the words they had exchanged that night after the events at the Hamonican Embassy:
"You'll be the one I call out to. I'll put my faith in you, Tiny. And you'll be my hero."
"And I won't let you down, Mike."
The Texan boy drew a deep breath and reached for the English boy's hand.
He felt himself go flying off of the steer's back, but felt Davy's hand tightly grip his own. The sudden tug of gravity nearly pulled Davy off of the saddle, but he managed to remain, having wrapped Amy's reins around his other arm.
Mike's feet dangled in the empty air as Davy used his rein-wrapped arm to guide Amy away from the stampede and to relative safety; it was fortunate that he was so scrawny. At last, Davy had allowed Amy to slow down to a stop as they reached a safe point, and he pulled Mike up to the saddle.
Mike took a moment to catch his breath, as did Davy. And as the two of them exchanged glances, the sheer weight of what had just happened came crashing onto their shoulders. Mike drew the younger boy into a tight embrace, which Davy returned.
"Are you okay?!" Davy exclaimed, once his voice returned to him.
Mike still had to inhale and exhale a few more times before he could finally manage an answer.
"I will be," he said, his voice still with a noticeable quiver to it. "Thanks to you." He managed a flicker of a smile as he looked down at his little hero.
The air was soon filled with Micky and Peter's frantic calls as they finally caught up on two more horses—Rory and Melody; they were nowhere near as experienced riders as Davy had been, and had only been able to reach them now.
"You guys okay?" Micky asked, his eyes filled with concern.
"What happened?!" Peter added.
"Davy just saved my life," Mike said, still keeping an arm around the English boy's shoulders.
He launched into a semi-breathless explanation of how Black Bart had been waiting for him to look over the edge of the spread and had frightened his herd into stampeding. Amy, in her fright, had reared up on her hind legs, causing Mike to fall off as she fled; mercifully, he had held onto one of the bellowing bovines, though he had quickly been approaching the end of his tether.
"If Davy hadn't turned up when he did… I wouldn't have made it," Mike finished. He looked to his youngest companion. "Tiny, I owe you one."
"Yeah, Man," Micky said, shaking his head. "All those years of jockey training really came through."
"You're the hero of the day, Davy!" Peter said, trying to smile through his concern.
The English boy blinked.
"I guess I am…" he said, and he looked up at Mike again.
The Texan managed another weary smile.
"Is it everything you hoped it would be?" he asked, softly.
Davy shook his head.
"Seeing you okay was everything that I hoped for," the English boy responded, sincerely. "And I'm glad that came true."
"I second that!" Micky said.
"And I third it!" Peter insisted.
Mike let out another sigh, and a nod.
"Hey, listen, we've gotta get back to the ranch house and form some sort of plan," he said. "We can't let Black Bart get away with this."
He was met with three nods of agreement, and as they headed back to the ranch house, Davy took a moment to reflect on how he would be looking forward to seeing Black Bart answer for what he had tried to do.
Until then, though, he was more than content with the knowledge that his best friend was safe.