“Yeah, okay, thanks. See you tomorrow, Doc.” Jesse hit the End Call button on his phone and sighed. The appointment for Icarus was set for Friday.
That gave him two days, today and tomorrow, to tell Jamie that his favorite horse would be put down… Jesse wasn’t sure how he’d take it, probably not well.
He wasn’t even sure how he was going to break it to him. Maybe Hanzo would have some ideas.
“Just tell him.” Jesse’s best friend was as gruff as ever. Twenty-six and acted like he was the grumpy old man at the end of the neighborhood.
Jesse rolled his eyes. “I mean, obviously, Han.”
There was a slight pause before Hanzo asked, “Which one was Icarus, again?”
“The dark Orlov Trotter.”
“That doesn’t help me, Jesse. I haven’t even begun working there, yet.”
Jesse laughed. “Oh yeah... It’s the dark grey one with all the lighter spots that I sent pictures of the other day.”
“Right.” Another pause. “Be gentle. Don’t beat around the bush. Probably not in public.”
“…Thanks, Han.” Jesse said. Hanzo ‘mmm’ed at Jesse, and they said their goodbyes. Hanzo only told him what he pretty much already knew. All he was doing was procrastinating the inevitable.
A barely audible ringing sound caught Jamie’s attention. He had left his phone inside while out in his garage/workshop. It wasn’t like he ever expected many calls.
Lucio usually just showed up unannounced like the hyper-active extrovert he is, Mako only ever texted, and Jesse—Jesse usually only called when it was work related.
As he frantically tried to grab for the phone before it cut off, it slipped from his prosthetic and tumbled to the floor. By the time he had scooped it back up, the ringtone had stopped.
The voicemail tone beeped, and Jamie pulled it up.
“Hey, Jamie. I need to talk to you about something important. Meet me at my place whenever you can.” Jesse’s voice cut off abruptly. He had sounded a tad nervous, rushed.
Jamie’s heart leapt into his throat. Had Jesse—? No, it couldn’t be. The cowboy… He would never feel the same way about him as he felt about Jesse.
It didn’t matter how many times he looked up to see Jesse already looking at him, the light touches when they would meet.
That stupid little goatee that was beginning to connect with the scruff on his cheeks. Jamie had convinced himself it was all platonic. This call must be about something related to the horses.
Jamie put his projects aside and jumped onto his motorcycle. He hadn’t even stopped long enough to change from his little shorts and baggy t-shirt, just added his helmet to the mix.
It was ten minutes to the ranch, and Jamie sped the entire way.
When he arrived at Jesse’s, he parked next to his old truck and went right in without knocking. This must be how Lu feels. It’s pretty great.
Jamie found Jesse pacing in the kitchen. Any other time he would’ve sat at the bar, but Jesse was making him too anxious.
Once he walked in, Jesse stopped dead in his tracks, hand frozen at his mouth.
Was that his old shirt he had leant to Jamie when his literally got torn off his back? A light blush spread spread across his cheeks like a pink sunrise on a wheat field.
Jamie was also wearing shorts and boots, a combo Jesse had gotten used to seeing him in, even if these were shorter than those he worked in.
He cleared his throat, hoping his coworker and friend hadn’t seen straight through his gay ass.
“What’d you need to talk about?” Jamie put on his fake Southern accent, perfected as a way to attain this job in the first place, and steeled himself.
Jesse swallowed. It was now or never. “It’s, uh, it’s about Icarus.”
“What about him?”
“I-I know he’s your favorite—one of mine, too—so I thought you should know…”
Jamie took a step closer, his eyes narrowing. “Should know what? What happened to him?”
Jesse squeezed his eyes shut. “He’s hurt his leg. Bad. He can’t work. Doc says… he’ll have to be put down. That he can’t live with the injury.”
The silence in the kitchen, in the house, in the country, was deafening. Not a single thing made any noise. Jesse had opened his eyes but was too afraid to look up.
He hated that this was the outcome and to Jamie’s favorite horse at that.
“Jam—” Jesse began as he looked up. The rest of his name fell like boulders from his tongue. Jamie had frozen into a picture of horror, betrayal, and despair.
Jesse could feel his own heart shattering, knowing he was half to blame.
“What do you mean: put down.” Jamie’s voice was low.
It rose to a shout. He knew his accent was melting into his original Aussie one, but he didn’t care. “What d’ya mean: PUT. DOWN.”
Jesse took a step back, his hands raising defensively. “They’ll put him to sleep, won’t feel a thing.”
“Why the fuck would you let them do that?!” Anger. Hatred. Confusion.
“It-It’s the only way.”
Jamie scoffed. “The only way? The only way?!”
“Jamie—” Jesse was cut off by a click and hiss then a prosthetic arm being shoved into his face.
“When I lost me arm and leg in that accident years ago, and you were there, d’you think it would’a been the only way for me, too?
‘Cause I couldn’t ‘work’ properly without all me limbs, d’you think I should’ve been taken out back and put a bullet between m’eyes?!”
“What? No! Of course not, darlin’. This is di—”
“So help me, Loki, if you say ‘This is different’ I will shove my leg so far up your ass.”
Jesse could feel his own anger bubbling, feeding off Jamie’s, and rearing its own ugly head.
“Y’know, I called you here to try and break it to you ‘gently’ as Hanzo put it, but all you’ve done is yell at me, and now you’re, what, Australian?
What d’ya expect me to do with a horse that cain’t work?”
“Can’t work? Why does something have to work for you for it to be important?” Jamie couldn’t hold back any of his feelings anymore. Emotions were high, and he had lost control of his filter.
“Is that all I am to you, too? A useless grunt unless doing work? Would you even care if I never came back? Is that the thanks we get for loving you?! Fuck you, Jesse McCree.”
Jamie threw his prosthetic arm at Jesse and stormed out of the front door. The slam of the door rocked Jesse into motion.
Still gripping the prosthetic, Jesse ran after the man who had practically said he loved him. Dust flew up as Jamie sped off, expertly controlling his bike one-handed.
The lone cowboy fell to his knees, wondering just how much he had fucked it up this time.