6-18-2002

Dawn Hanging
By: Lyssira Miokii
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam Wing. Duh. Please don't sue me for the use of any of its characters or settings in this piece of fiction. I'm broke anyway. It is only for my enjoyment and (hopefully) the enjoyment of others. Heheh. Yeah right. I'm not making any money off this. Believe me, if I was, I wouldn't be writing from this crappy used computer.
Warnings: AU. Shounen Ai. Violence. Language. Blood. Sap. Cliche.
Pairings: 1+2+1 (So much for a hiatus ^^) 3+4+3 Probably various others. Not sure yet.
Part: Prologue/?
C&C: Pwease! I'll wuv you foweva! nekophile@hotmail.com OR looneybakachik@hotmail.com
Note: Heheh..Don't hurt me? I couldn't help it! I was watching ˜Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' and I decided I just had to write a real gun-slinging GW western. Does anybody know of any others? Cuz they're prolly tons better than this! ^___^ Anyways. Yee-haw!

~.~.~.~.~

Dawn Hanging

 

Even by Heero's standards, it was bad day to live in that godforsaken clay oven.

The sun blazed like a ball of fire in the indigo sky, shining so bright and hard it hurt to look up. Clouds had long since fled. The air was still, only dancing with the heat waves. No wind blew, the brick-red western dust did not stir. Even the famed tumbleweeds of the West dared not to move. Vultures stayed in their prickly cacti nests, watching the worn road as it wound through the desert.

The land itself looked like it was an old women's face, cracked, wrinkled and ruined by the sun, by time and man. The expanse of it waited, frozen by time, though he couldn't tell what for. He shifted uneasily in his saddle, letting one hand drift down to comfort the iron-gray Stallion. The Stallion was surprisingly placid for a male horse [1], almost stoic as his rider. But now he shifted uneasily on the sandstone of the painted cliffs.

"Yeah, I know," Heero Yuy, clad head to toe in sun-baked leather, murmured to his restless companion. The Stallion snorted but ceased his fidgeting, ears twitching for any whisper of danger. The boy straightened his stained (but once crimson) handkerchief that blocked the dust from his nose and mouth. He pulled his hat lower over his eyes. It's ragged brim was a familiar, comforting border on his field of vision. His dark blue eyes, far darker than the sky, remained glued to the winding travel road below him. Likewise attached, his hand rested on the handle of his favorite pistol.

Man and horse did not have to wait long.

A rectangular, black carriage appeared over the farthest ridge of the Painted Valley. It was drawn by two black horses, at a breakneck speed. The trimmings were black. The uniform of the driver was black. Even the wheels were painted that same, unrelieved ebony. The rig zoomed across the valley's floor, scuttling like a hunted insect. Foam had begun to spread across the paired beasts' flanks-Heero could practically feel their sides heaving beneath his own legs. His forehead beaded with sweat out of sympathy.

As the carriage's driver urged his horses on, another shape sped over the horizon. This one was smaller, probably a single rider. The horse was nearly invisible, probably so similar in color to the cliff's that it could blend right in. The driver turned to see his pursuer racing up behind him.

Heero's eyebrows raised appreciatively. The chaser's horse had yet to break out a sweat. It flew over the hard-packed dirt of the road, as falcon flies over the deepest, darkest canyons. The black carriage, which rattled loudly as it fled, did not stand a chance. It finally skidded to a stop, the vehicle itself nearly toppling over.

Heero sighed softly, giving the Stallion as slight squeeze with his thighs. Time to go to work.

By the time he reached the scene, a gun shot hand rung out across the valley. Three men and two women stood outside of the near-fallen carriage. The horses wheezed not far away, looking near death. Heero flinched at the loss. They seemed to be good beasts, of better stock than most, now probably run into the ground by fools. Didn't they know once an outlaw sighted you, there was no escape? Not in this place, anyway. These men knew every thorn on every cactus on every meter of the desert they ruled. The lucky were set free once they were robbed.

He neared them from behind, in the blind spot beyond the carriage. The three men were old, middle-aged and young. The first must have been the carriage driver. His silver hair lay pulled back in a short tail. The second sported a large handle-bar mustache and glared hard at their captor. He also had a large, golden pocket watch, which glinted in the sun. The third's bleach-blonde hair nearly blinded him and it was the third who's top hat now had a hole to ventilate his pale locks. The women both had honey blonde hair, one older, one younger. Mother and daughter. Heero snorted to himself. These were fat turkeys, ready to be dressed and cooked.

Their captor appeared more like himself-definitely not upperclass. His riding outfit was the same used dark leather, he wore a Stetson and kept his kerchief close around his lower face. In one hand was a pearl-handled gun, still smoking. There were others strapped to his hips, inside of his coat, at his boots, but Heero could tell the pearl-handled gun was special. Favorite guns were like a good friends-they could be trusted not to misfire. He urged the Stallion a little closer.

"I'm not gonna tell ya again, "the outlaw drawled, sounding only slightly annoyed, "Gimme the money and you can all go free."

"You don't know who you're dealing with!" the blonde young man retorted. His blue eyes seemed to want to blaze in defiance but only managed disdain. As if the robber was servant who'd left him the lapdog's steaming pile of crap to deal with.

"Oh really?" His voice was coarse and rough, but cheerful. He probably enjoyed his occupation of choice.

"The Darlians are an important influence! You won't get away with this!" the young gentleman sniffed.

"Oh I believe I will, bud. You see, you won't be able to find a sympathetic law-officer till you reach the capital. By then, I'll be long gone. The money. Now."

"Why are you doing this?" the younger woman wailed, crystalline tears sliding down her cheeks.

"Why? Why?" he laughed and advanced on the girl, "Why am I doing this?"

"Yes, why would do you such a terrible thing?" she truly didn't understand-her eyes were wide with disbelief and naivety. When he took hold of her chin, she whimpered.

"Why are you sitting in your fancy house, eating imported cakes and drinking fine wines when people are starving?" the outlaw growled, only inches from her face, "Your money is up for grabs now, sweetie. And I intend to make use of every shiny, upperclass dime!"

He shoved her away and she stumbled into the dust, sobbing her bright blue eyes out. Then he raised his gun to the sky, firing off three shots. The people cowered in the dust from the noise and from his temper. Heero could have sworn he caught a flash of violet between the brim of his hat and the kerchief. He smiled, a little. This was a rare kind of outlaw.

"The money. NOW," he growled.

The young man made to grab for the stranger's arm. Instead of getting hold of it, his hand closed around a bullet. He screamed, clutching the bleeding appendage.

Impressive.

After that, the man with his pocket watch handed over the bulging canvas bags of money with little argument. His daughter wailed over the young man's injury, trying to stop the bleeding with her frilly, white handkerchief. Mother and driver simply stood there, accepting, unquestioningly. The criminal tied the sacks to his saddle easily, still pointing the gun at them. But not in Heero's direction...

"I'm afraid you won't be getting away with that," he said, sliding from the Stallion's back, pistol drawn.

The robber didn't say anything, simply throwing himself under the cover a boulder while Heero's shot rang over his head. He didn't stir.

"Oh thank you, sir!" the young woman cried, pulling outanother handkerchief to fan herself with.

"How much?" her father sighed. He looked Heero up and down. The dark haired boy smirked and bowed with a tip of his chin.

"Papa-"

"Half."

"Half?!?!"

"Or I could chase this young gentleman down later and take it all," Heero replied.

"Fine," the older man waved his hand, acquiescing. The other slid over his eyes, wiping away the collected sweat.

"You," he called to the boy in hiding, "Out. The ransom on you must be a prize."

He stuck his hands out, first, then his head. He appeared to be unarmed, "Not as good as I'd like."

"Don't move."

Heero moved over to the horse. Up close it was the ugliest creature he'd ever seen. It's coat was a muddy brown. The legs were too long, the body too short. Its forehead was wide and its eyes stuck out like a bullfrog's. He unwound the ropes from its saddle, weighing the moneybags appreciatively. He could live off this for a while.

The dark eyed boy moved over to his captive, planting the barrel of his gun in the small of his back. He forced him onto the Stallion's back. The Stallion would not have moved for God Himself when given the ˜prisoner' command. Next he guided the other horse over, planning to tie him (her? He couldn't tell under the dust) to his own saddle.

But the horse had other plans. It spun and kicked. Hard.

Heero went flying into the side of the black carriage, while gunshots rang out all around. The robber launched himself from the Stallion's saddle, landing in his own. They sped off into the distance, a cloud of dust the only indicator of their existence. The daughter wailed and ran over to Heero's prone form. He groaned when she touched him, feeling a throb in his head and side.

"Oh no!" she shrieked.

"Urgh...Stop that please," he moaned, pulling himself into a sitting position.

Damn, that hurt.

The older man and woman headed over, leaving the driver to deal with the young gentleman, who's blood still stained the ground. Each carried two of the recovered canvass bags. A fifth had been carried off by the robber. He was now little more than a memory. A painful memory that would have left bruises by morning. The man tilted back his head, shaking his own thoughtfully.

"You're fortunate your skull isn't broken," he said.

"Yeah? Well, I'm a lucky son of a bitch," Heero replied, pulling himself shakily to his feet.

"Job's half done. You get half the payment," he continued, "Finish it, I'll give you the rest."

He barked out a laugh, "It'll be a pleasure, sir."

They shook on it and Heero took his money. It was still a good amount for a man like himself. Maybe he could afford those new shoes for the Stallion. Bullets for himself. And a shot of brandy at the nearest saloon. Then, he could go find that robber, maybe get some more money on the way. No matter what, though, he'd find him. Oh yes. No one got away from Heero Yuy.

 

TBC

 

[1] Stallions are notoriously bad tempered. No one really would've ridden them in the West because they're more likely to throw the rider and are a lot less reliable. But Heero's riding Stallion for a reason, so horse buffs don't worry. I know! ^_~