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OrDaisy - Of Elves and Men
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January 2007
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Western Lovers: Cowboys & Biologists (1/31)

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Title: Western Lovers: Cowboys and Biologists <1/31>
Beta the lovely charlieisagirl
Pairing: OB/DW
Rating: NC-17 for the series, PG-13 this chapter.
Summary: David is a hard, jaded warrior, Orlando is a biologist tracking Big Cats on the Double L.
Feedback: Feedback is my writers crack, which is not to be confused at all with plumbers crack.
Disclaimer: Not at all true in reality. These men whilst adorable and perfectly happy to slash themselves, their actual relationship is something that they only know. This story is adapted from a series of books that I adored when I was younger written by Elizabeth Lowell.
Word Count: 2337
Previous Story: Can be found here
Posted to: fellowshippers and ordaisy
Header Art: Courtesy of the incredibly talented loki_girl.
Author’s Notes: Thank you to everyone who has pushed and prodded me into working on this. Y’all know who you are. Special thanks to dylan_dufresne.


The big appaloosa threw up his head and snorted.

“Take it easy, knot head,” David soothed. Then without turning around he added, “Morning, Pip. Hear anything from Miranda?”

Billy Boyd was accustomed to his half brothers uncanny ability to tell when he was being approached and by whom. Even so, Billy had hoped that after close to two years on the Double L, David would lose some of the habits of a guerrilla warrior. But he hadn’t. He had the same fighting edge to his reflexes and senses that he had honed in the mountains of Afghanistan, teaching warriors with flintlocks to defeat soldiers with tanks.

David had the same intense disciplines and concerted lack of emotion that he had learned in Afghanistan as well. Even the Double L’s cowhands had given up betting on when – or why - David Wenham would truly smile.

Billy already knew and saw true smiles every evening as David spent time with his namesake, Daisy-May. Sitting in her carry seat on Billy’s back, she waved her arms and giggled gleefully, reaching for her favourite uncle. David’s leather-encased fingers stretched out to run across her baby-soft face before turning his attention back to his brother.

“Dom called this morning,” Billy spoke, tilting his shoulders just a fraction so Daisy-May could reach out and bat at David’s hand. “Miranda’s surgery is later this morning. Apparently Daisy-May won’t be an only child by tonight.”

“Good. Still can’t believe you two are having a baby.” He paused. “She missed the flu that was going ’round?”
Nodding, Billy’s eyes narrowed. “Speaking of sick, are you sure you should be on your feet? That was a damn good fever you were running yesterday and I know as well as you do that you’re not over your flu yet.”

“I’m glad Randy isn’t sick,” David said, lifting the saddle from the fence rail and settling it gently over the skittish appaloosa. “She and Dom or you, for that matter should have healthy, beautiful children. I’m looking forward to having another baby around here hollering for its next meal. Liv’s newest is really something.” David cinched the saddle girth with a swift, smooth motion, moving so quickly that the trembling horse had no time to object.

“Like Daisy-May.” Billy reached up to tug playfully on one of her glossy, curly ponytails. “For a little girl that was silent for so long she sure has developed a fine set of lungs. She and Milo make a real pair.” He smiled dryly and accepted that David wasn’t going to talk about his flu, or rest up before a cold ride into the mountains. “Glad you like having babies around; Dom will be bringing home two little screamers.”

David looked over his shoulder, his eyes dancing. “Twins?”

“Yeah, Dommie is so excited he can barely speak. Yes, I know.” Billy noticed his brother’s questioning glare. “Secretive, weren’t we? We’ve known since the first ultrasound but we didn’t want to say anything.” He paused, grinning madly. “We didn’t want to jinx it.”

“She needs to be extra careful. Twins tend to be born small. Small babies have a harder time.” David’s serious tone belied the huge grin that creased his face, obviously delighted by the impending arrival of his niece or nephew or both.

“You can tell her yourself. If it all goes well, they’ll all be here in three days.”

“I won’t.” David gestured with his head towards Mortensen Ridge. “I’m going to spend a few days tracking cats. Supposed to
be fresh snow by this afternoon up toward Fangorn Canyon. It may be the last tracking snow of the winter.”

And maybe, just maybe, when I’m chasing cats rather than fighting fever dreams, I’ll be able to see something other than extraordinary chocolate eyes and a warm, lush mouth that trembles at the smallest touch of my finger.

The back door of the ranch house slammed as someone left the dining room. The appaloosa shied wildly. David cursed in the silence of his mind and dragged his attention back to the horse, Billy stepping away to protect Daisy-May from the animal.

“I can see why Viggo gelded that one,” Billy muttered. “Brego has more brains in his spotted butt than ’tween his ears.”
David shrugged. “As long as you pay attention, he’s the best winter horse on the Double L.” With the unconscious ease of a man performing a familiar task, David mounted in a single easy motion. “Especially in fresh snow; Brego is big enough not to
get bogged down in drifts.”

“Wouldn’t life be simpler if you just shot the cougars with a tranq, put a radio collar on them and tracked them on the net?”

“Simpler? Maybe. A hell of a lot more expensive for sure. And even less fun for the cats and for me.”

Billy laughed softly. “That’s what Viggo said. I didn’t argue.” Billy started to turn away. “You know that old cabin just beyond Fangorn Canyon?”

“The one at the end of the abandoned logging road?”

Billy nodded. “A guy from the government called yesterday to tell us that the cougar specialist will be back and using the cabin as a base camp for the next month or two, depending on the cats. So if you find signs of someone moving around up there in the high country, don’t worry. Vig and I agreed to give free access to the Double L as long as we get a copy of whatever report is being filed about the cougars.”

At the word “cabin”, David went very still. A conversation that was over twelve months old and a kiss that had seared itself into his psyche echoed in his head.

There’s no other store between here and the government cabin.

“Did anyone mention the name of the cat expert?” he asked.

“They did, but I didn’t quite catch it. Unusual name. Why?”

For a moment David said nothing, remembering Orlando’s gentle voice and strong hands, the utter lack of fear in those eyes when he had seen the elemental violence in his own.

“Do you make a habit of collecting and taming wild animals?”

“No. I’m a wildlife biologist, not a zookeeper.”

Orlando’s voice, his scent, the tactile memory of his alluring warmth….they haunted David’s waking hours. They might have haunted his sleep as well, but he would never know. It was a pact he had made with himself years ago. He never remembered dreams.

“There was a young guy in Helms Deep last fall,” David said evenly. “Orlando. He said something about being a wildlife expert.”

“Last fall?” Billy said his green eyes narrowing.

Though they hadn’t spoken of the altercation that had occurred the day that Billy had sent Dom away, word of the short but violent fight had gone through the entire Four Corners area like forked lightning.
David nodded.

“Orlando, huh?”

David nodded again.

“Hot?” Billy asked, his handsome face expressionless.

“Why? You getting tired of Dom?”

The idea was so ridiculous that Billy laughed aloud. Then his smile vanished and he looked every bit as hard as his younger brother. “The next time you go one on five,” he said, “I’d take it as a personal favour if you’d invite me, and not just to guard your back. Viggo made the same offer. So did Sean.”

The left corner of David’s mouth turned up very slightly, as close as he ever came to a smile. “Sean too, huh? Does that mean he’s finally forgiven me?”

“When a man is unsure he’s apt to be a bit snarky,” Billy stated blandly.

“You mean apt to be a horse’s butt.”

“Your turn will come.”

“Yours sure did,” David retorted, remembering the tense months before Billy had finally admitted that he was irrevocably bound to Dom. “I’ll tell you, Billy. If I never tangle with you again, it will be too soon.”

“Yeah, well, the hands are taking bets on that one too, especially since word got out that Craig’s coming back as soon as he gets off this mission. Guess he’s finally gotten his fill of jungle fighting.”

“At least they don’t need to worry about Craig getting in a brawl over a lover. Not since Ian.” David leaned forward in the saddle. A flick of his hand freed the pack horse’s lead rope from the corral rail. “The real shame about Ian is that I wasn’t there.” David continued reining Brego toward the mountains. “IF I were there I’d have killed him.” Before Billy could speak, David kicked the big Appaloosa. “Shake a leg, Brego. We’ve got a long ride ahead.”

Billy watched his brother ride out of the home yards, Daisy-May gurgling happily as she waved her little hands over her head toward David. His brow furrowed in concern. David definitely wasn’t his healthy self, but he was too confined by the constraints of civility to spend much more time surrounded by people.

Even with the eager, powerful Appaloosa beneath him, it was afternoon before David rode into Fangorn Canyon’s wide mouth. In all but the worst winter storms, the canyon’s alignment with the prevailing winds kept the flat floor swept relatively free of snow. Patches of evergreens clothed the sloping sides of the canyon, tall trees whose ages were almost all the same. A fire had swept through the canyon almost 80 years before, burning the living forest to ash, leaving behind a ghost forest of heat hardened skeletons. A few of those skeletons still stood upright amid the new forest, their weather smoothed shapes silver and black in the full sun or moonlight.

The on again/off again warmth had melted the snow in places, revealing dark ground. Snowdrifts remained in narrow gullies and ravines and beneath the most dense forest cover. Water sparkled and glittered everywhere, testimony to the melting snow. Drops gathered into tiny rivulets, joined in thin streams, merged into small rushing creeks. Today the drops would freeze again, but only for a short time. Soon they would be free to run down to the distant sea once more.

Soon, but not yet. The storm that had threatened three days before hadn’t materialized. It was coming now though. As Brego followed the zigzagging trail that led out of the northern end of Fangorn Canyon, David could smell the storm on the wind, feel it in the icy fingers ruffling his beard and making his eyes sting. Even the rocks around him weren’t impervious. They had known the grip of countless winters, water silently freezing, expanding, splitting stones everywhere in the high reaches of the canyon where slopes too steep to grow trees were covered with angular stones that had been chiselled from boulders and bedrock by countless picks of ice.

At the top of the steep trail, David reined in and let Brego rest for a few minutes. Between gusts of wind the silence was complete. The tiniest sound came clearly through the air – a pebble tolling from beneath steel-shod hooves, a raven calling across the canyon. Brego’s ears flicked and twitched nervously as he tried to hear every sound. When a pebble dislodged by water clattered down the slope, the horse’s nostrils flared, the skin on his shoulder flinched and he shied.

“Take it easy, boy,” David said in a soothing voice as he gathered in the roping rein more tightly.

Even as David’s left hand managed the reins, his right hand checked that the rifle was still in its saddle holster. The gesture was so automatic that he was unaware of it, legacy of commando training and years spent in places where to be unarmed was to die. The rifle’s cold, smooth stock came easily into his hand, then settled back into the sheath.
Brego snorted and bunched his haunches, wanting to be free of the pressure of the bit. David glanced at the packhorse. Lily was ignoring Brego’s nervousness.

“Settle down, knot head,” David said calmly. “IF there was anything around but wind and shadows, Lily would know. She has a nose like a hound.”

Brego chewed resentfully on the bit as the wind gusted suddenly, raking the landscape with fingernails of ice. David tugged his hat down more firmly and guided the horse out onto the exposed slope. For the first hundred years, a faint, ragged line across the wind-scoured scree was the only sign of a trail. The line had been left by generations of deer, cougars, and occasional Indians. In modern times, deer and cougars still used the game trail, as did Double L cowhands who were working both Fangorn Canyon and the leased grazing lands beyond.

Brego was in the centre of the scree when the black flash of a raven skimming over the land spooked him. Between one heartbeat and the next, Brego tried to leap over his own shadow.

There was no time for David to think, to plan, to escape. Reflex took over. Even as Brego lost his footing on the loose stone, David was kicking free of the stirrups and grabbing the rifle, and throwing himself toward the uphill side of the trail. Inches away from his rider’s body, Brego’s powerful hooves flailed as the horse lost its balance and began rolling down the slope in a clattering shower of loose stone. David fell too, turning and rolling rapidly, surrounded by loose rocks, no way to stop himself, nothing solid to hang on to.

At the bottom of the slope, a massive boulder stopped David’s body. Before the last stone in the small landslide had stopped rolling, Brego staggered to his feet, shook himself thoroughly, and looked around. When nothing happened, the horse walked calmly to the edge of the recent slide and looked for something edible. A few minutes later the packhorse joined Brego, having found a less dangerous way to the bottom of the slope.

Before long, the grey sky lowered and dissolved into the pale dance of countless snowflakes. The horses turned their tails to the wind and drifted before the storm.

Chapter 2

Current Mood: crazycrazy

Oh sure leave it just hanging there!!
Great start, and I'm glad Billy and Dom did have children.

Sorry, but you should be used to me and my cliffhangers by now. They'll make the most adorable children won't they?

ok. this is a literal cliffhanger. of course he had to pick the crazy horse to ride.

Don't forget I'm almost always about the cliffhanger. We'll just have to call him Crazy Horse from now on, no?

Yeah! I've been waiting for this. I kept checking your site. Lovely as the last one and you'll be posting frequently - that's even better.

Glad you enjoyed the last one, I hope you enjoy this one as much. More frequent posting I hope will mean you'll get to enjoy it even more.

This post makes me happy. :) I look forward to seeing where you take these men now.

They have a long and sometimes painful journey, but hopefully they'll get through it in one peice.

Can't wait for more! Thank you.

Glad you're enjoying it, hope you like the rest.

I'm so glad that the little hint in your earlier story finally got written! Orli and Daisy! Way to go!!

- Lorelai

They do make a pretty pair don't they? Glad to see you're enjoying.

Yay! I've been waiting for this, and I'm glad you're finally posting it.

I wanted to make sure I had it finished or as good as before I started so that I didn't keep anyone waiting. I hope you enjoy it.

He had the same fighting edge to his reflexes and senses that he had honed in the mountains of Afghanistan, teaching warriors with flintlocks to defeat soldiers with tanks.

great character set up.

“The next time you go one on five,” he said, “I’d take it as a personal favour if you’d invite me, and not just to guard your back. Viggo made the same offer. So did Sean.”

I love the unconditional support.

yay! I'm so glad this is seeing the light of day!


Kerry =)

I thought you might be pleased when i posted this.

Glad you like it sweetie.

Well, I finally gave in and read this! You know how much I loved the previous story, but I wasn't sure about OrDaisy. I started at Chapter 3 and worked back and it's great!

I was thinking, though... You might want to post a link back to the one chapter of the previous story that was all OrDaisy... call it a prologue or something? I know you link back to the whole story, but anybody knew wouldn't know where to find the relevant chapter... and it really helps! *G*

I'm glad you're liking it hon, I think there might be enough monaboyd throughout to keep you amused.

I've added a link to the appropriate chapter in the header information as of chapter 4. Thanks for the tip sweetie.

Thanks! *S*

Ah, yes... a spoonful of monaboyd helps the OrDaisy go down!

p.s. Glad you were able to interpret my "knew" in the comment as "new"! Can't tell you how many times my fingers type that by accident.