I have been reading way too many Westerns recently and after watching Avengers for the fifth time this was what came to mind. If you need a visual at any point I recommend you check out Pink's "Trouble" video with Jeremy Renner playing the sexy sheriff. My inspiration in a nut shell. *swoon*

I am not an expert on the late 1800's, so if anything I mention is out of place or incorrect I apologize.

As always I have no beta therefor any spelling/grammar mistakes are my own. I apologize in advance.

PLEASE REVIEW! And on with the show…

Law of the Land

The midnight moon hung high in the inky sky providing the perfect cover for the cloaked figure stumbling down the dusty trail.

Natasha ran, she ran like the hounds of hell were nipping at her tattered heals, and for the entire world she swore they were. Light, sure steps kept her at a blinding pace but as the minuets ticked by she could feel her self tiring.

Three days, she had been running for three days, only daring to stop when her body would go no further without rest or nourishment. She had exhausted what few supplies she had been able to pillage before her escape a day and a half ago and had been living off the land since.

Only she wasn't familiar with these lands.

In her native Russia she had known the lands and how to survive but this western terrain was different and full of new, unexplored dangers. Wide open spaces offered an array of obstacles and although she could hunt just as well as any man she couldn't risk starting a fire to cook the meat nor did she have the luxury of time.

Her knees had begun to shake wildly and each breath came in ragged bursts, like sandpaper scrapping from within her breast. One more step and a jagged branch bit at her ankle sending her flying to the cold earth. She turned her body as she had been taught to avoid catching and breaking a wrist but instead her head knocked viscously against an errant rock littering the ground.

Pain exploded through her head while white flashed before her eyes in pretty patterns that had her stomach rolling and a groan spilling from her lips. She had a vague sense of something wet and sticky running down her neck but the more she tried to concentrate, the pain in her head only worsened.

This is it.

She had come so far, sailed away from the frozen hell of her childhood and escaped Ivan's clutches only to be brought to her death by a stumble. The very thought made her want to scream to the empty heavens above but her voice had deserted her several miles ago.

As her vision started to fade from stark white to a dull gray she heard a thunderous pounding in the distance, growing closer with each passing breath. Black spots dotted her sight, a sure sign she was seconds away from unconsciousness but before the blackness could steal her away a figure materialized before her eyes.

A ray of stray moonlight illuminated the face for a second before the feather like clouds above stool her divine vision. The last thing Natasha saw before oblivion took her was the most beautiful pair of steel blue eyes she had ever seen looking down on her with concern.

"We'll be home soon girl." Clinton soothed the buckskin mare softly patting her strong neck, urging her on just a little farther.

It had been a long ride back from Willow Springs. He would have been back at the home stead hours ago but for all the family business that kept him tied up at the old ranch till well after sunset. Staying the night would have been the prudent course of action he knew, but the walls were haunted with one too many ghosts for his comfort.

A twinge of regret nagged at him but Clinton was determined to leave the past where it belonged, in the past.

The trail ahead was dark but as the wind blew through the tress and the full moon shown down he spotted what appeared to be a figure blocking the path. Clinton was immediately on alert, his colt revolver in hand and ready should the figure prove to be a trap.

It was not uncommon in these parts for thieves to lay in wait and rob unsuspecting travelers, not to mention with the increased military presence the native Indians of these parts were known to set traps of their own.

Drawing nearer Clinton dismounted his mare and advanced on the figure only to realize the body blocking his way was that of a woman. Instincts told him to run to her aid but he remained cautious and scanned the area for any signs that this could be a rouse, seeing nothing suspicious lurking in the dark he was at her side in an instant.

Even in the gloom he could make out thick waves of flaming red hair and a petite figure encased in a well worn gown. Calloused fingers brushed back stray curls to reveal porcelain skin marred with a trail of crimson streaming down her left temple.

She was beautiful and thankfully breathing.

War ragged in his head as to what to do with her. He couldn't leave her for the coyotes but a nagging voice told him she would be nothing but trouble if he brought her with him.

Ruby lips parted in a silent moan and her dark lashed fluttered to reveal breathtaking moss green eyes. After a few seconds she fell back into unconsciousness but it had been enough for Clinton to come to a decision.

She was coming with him and damn the consequences.

AN: Just a teaser for now. I hope to flesh this out into a full on chapter fic; which I normally avoid, but I am hoping with some encouragement and patience I can actually make something of this idea. Tell me what you think and if there is anything anyone would like to see happen. I am always open for suggestions.