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New Love In New Texas

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In a distant time, and far away place, the planet of New Texas floats deep in space. Assigned to keep law and order over the inhabitants is the planetary marshall named BraveStarr. He protects the citizens of New Texas with the help of his deputies, 30-30 and Fuzz. Our story starts on another regular day on New Texas, BraveStarr and 30-30 had just finished thwarting Tex Hex's newest annoyance and were headed back to Fort Kerium and as they were riding back to town, they slowed to a trot and got to talking. BraveStarr had noticed 30-30 acting a bit off and wanted to take the time to check on his partner before they got back into town and had to start writing up the report on the most recent incident.

"Hey, Big Pard, you seem a little off today. Something bothering you?" BraveStarr patted the back of 30-30's neck and was given a snort and sigh as a response.

"Eh, I'm fine, Marshall. I've just had a lot on my mind recently..." His words seemed to trail off, causing BraveStarr to look at his friend in concern.

"What sort of stuff? You know you can always talk to me."

"It's nothin' to concern yourself over, I'll work it out." 30-30 was walking along almost fast enough for the children to walk past him in the streets of Fort Kerium as they arrived back at the police office. BraveStarr sighed and dismounted in his usual fashion, waiting for his partner to return to his two-legged state before approaching him again.

"Why don't we take tomorrow off, maybe go out somewhere you can clear your head."

30-30 looked over at BraveStarr and shook his head. "Nah, I'll be fine. It's the usual issues, they're just gettin' to me more than usual." He glanced over to see his friend's worried expression. "Really, I'll be fine. You know I'm no good at talkin' anyhow."

BraveStarr was the one to shake his head next as he walked back into the office and went to sit at his desk. He'd noticed 30-30 getting steadily more distant and seemingly distracted by whatever had him down, and it was starting to affect his work performance. BraveStarr wished that his Equestroid friend would talk to him about it, but he knew that was as likely as getting Tex Hex to take an extended vacation from the galaxy. He decided to turn back to his work, hoping that 30-30 would come around and confide in someone before it was too late...

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30-30 slammed his head against the metal wall in front of him, cursing under his breath. He'd been letting his feelings get to him again and was letting the issue affect him enough for the marshall to notice. He'd caught himself more concerned about BraveStarr than himself in the battle earlier and nearly got shot in the shoulder by one of Cactushead's nastier attacks. He had managed to snap back to the immediate danger in time, but the marshall had still noticed. He had been beating himself up about it in silence the entire way back to Fort Kerium and was taken aback when BraveStarr has pushed so hard for him to open up.

"I could never tell him, he's a planetary marshall and I'm just some dumb horse who happened to be here when he got here. Hell, for all I know he could be reassigned if his bosses found out there might be a conflict of interest, and I can't risk losing him...I'd rather just stay quiet and hope he never finds out. But it's starting to drive me out of my mind...." He flopped down onto his bed and rummaged around in the side table drawer for his stash of whiskey, taking a swig before laying down and staring at the ceiling. "I gotta fight this off like I always do, it's starting to affect my work and I almost got hurt bad today." He took another swig, more of a chug, from the bottle in his hand and covered his eyes with the other.

"Hell, I'm sick and tired of being alone all the time...I aint never gonna see my family again and I aint never gonna get to be with him. If only I could just end it, but I know what he would say. 'People need you here.' Yeah, that's exactly what he'd say. They don't need me, they need someone who won't get work and their feelings mixed together. I can't even keep my anger in check most of the time. No one needs me...." He downed the rest of the whiskey, tossing the bottle across the floor and listening to it spin before it stopped against the wall with a small clink. He groaned and reached over for another bottle, stopping for a few moments before deciding to keep drinking. "No one'd miss me anyways..."

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BraveStarr was starting to get worried. It wasn't like 30-30 to be gone so long. Normally after they got back from a round-up he'd be gone long enough to diffuse and then head back to work, but it was fast approaching six PM and he hadn't shown back up yet. BraveStarr asked Fuzz to keep an eye out for anything and started walking around the town, looking for any sign that maybe his partner had just gotten distracted. But for six hours? BraveStarr feared the worst, but knew that 30-30 could take care of himself and would surely be fine.

After about half an hour he was feeling more worried than before, wondering if 30-30 had decided to leave for the Hall of the Equestriods again. He let out a heavy sigh and decided to go look for clues at 30-30's place. It wasn't really a home so much as his own barn. In a sense, it was his home. He was the only animal housed there and he had everything he needed; a bed, electricity, running water, etc. BraveStarr knocked on one of the doors, hearing the response of a large bottle shattering against the same door from inside. Shocked and a bit panicked, he pulled his pistol out of the holster and held it at the ready, slowly opening the barn door.

"I'm coming in." The words had scarcely left his lips when another bottle came flying towards him, this time hitting the wall next to the doors. They were coming from 30-30, and he seemed to be heavily drunk. BraveStarr let out a loud sigh and holstered his gun, closing the barn door and walking towards the intoxicated equestrian. "30, what the hell are you doing? Is this where you've been since we got back into town?"

30-30 stood up, staggering a bit as he tried to keep his footing. "Ye, what's it matter? Been trying to ferget shit. Or drink myself to death...I can't remember which anymore..." He attempted to walk...some direction and ended up falling onto the bed, barely catching himself fast enough to sit down instead of landing on his face. He dropped his head into his hands and just held them there, not sure whether he should look at the floor or at his friend who looked like he was either concerned, furious, or both.

"What in blazes is wrong with you? Drinking doesn't solve anything and drinking to excess is insane! Are you actually lost in your own issues enough to try and drink yourself to death instead of trying to fix the problem?" BraveStarr tried not to yell but failed miserably. He was furious, but also scared because he'd seen how bad drinking too much alcohol could end up.

"I can't 'fix' the damned problem because I aint willing to risk everything by telling you!" 30-30 had retaliated in an even louder voice. "What, you expect that if I just tell you that I have feelings for you that it's just gonna fix everything? Cause it's not! I'd rather be dead than watch them ship you off somewhere else if your superiors found out!" The words escaped like water through a pipe. BraveStarr just looked at him, mouth open and eyes blinking and all 30-30 could do is sit there in shock at his words. "I..."

BraveStarr sighed and walked over to sit next to his friend. "Is that what this is about? You honestly think you'd be better off dead? How many times do I need to tell you that I need you for you to get it through that thick skull of yours?" He smiled softly, touching 30-30's shoulder.

The Equestroid just sat there for a few minutes, his brain slowly piecing together what he had blurted out before he could even attempt to respond. "It aint the same...you say you need me but you could find someone just as skilled, and with more control. I aint nuthin' but a liability at this point..." He slid down a bit, letting his head hang and his hands fall to his lap. "All I know is we don't feel the same way and it's been eating away at me for too damned long. I can't do this anymore...."

"I...I don't want you to give up, no matter what. There's always a reason to go on."

"That's a load of bullshit and you know it, don't try to feed me that crap. You got J.B. and I got nuthin' but watchin' you two be all flirty round people."

BraveStarr laughed. "Her and I never went anywhere and I lost that chance a long time ago. She may still have feelings for me, but there's no way either of us would act on them now." He turned back to 30-30, his eyes full of worry and kindness. "What do I have to do to get you to not give up?"

30-30 straightened a bit, standing up and successfully managing to keep his balance and turned around to face the man sitting on his bed. "I aint got no reason to believe that any of this is real. I've had shit like this happen before when I'm drunk and it always ends up the same. I wake up alone and feeling even worse..."

BraveStarr looked up at 30-30, worry written plain on his face. He stood up and walked towards his partner, touching a hand to the grey chest in front of him. He took a deep sigh before looking up into the face above him.

"What do I have to do to show you that this is real and that I care? I can't let you do this to yourself."

30-30 looked down at the hand against his chest, a sadness filling his eyes as he then moved his eyes to meet BraveStarr's. “I...can't wake up alone again. I'd rather die happy from a dream than wakin’ up ever again....” He closed his eyes, trying to fight back tears. He felt sick to his stomach for a few reasons, and all he wanted was to fall asleep and never wake up. “But this always ends up the same. You always leave and I always wake up knowin’ this is a dream. There's no point wastin’ words anymore.” He went to step back, but was stopped by the hand moving from his chest to the harness around his neck and lightly pulled forward.

“You don't get it, I'm not letting you go and this isn't a dream. Let me prove it. Tell me how to prove it and I will. You're not going to go off killing yourself on my watch.” BraveStarr felt tears welling up in his eyes. He couldn't bear to lose the man he held in place in front of him.

30-30 closed his eyes and looked away, unsure how to reply. The two of them stood there in silence until the Equestroid turned back to look down at BraveStarr. “Stay with me, please. Even if it's a dream, at least I'll have that for once. All I've wanted for so long is to be with you at least once, but it's never gonna actually happen. Maybe, just once, I can dream about it....I'll make it be enough for me if it means never havin’ to see you cry again, even in my dreams...” He stepped closer to BraveStarr, his fingers grabbing at the hat his friend always wore and tossing it to the side. BraveStarr looked up again and smiled softly, letting go of his friend's harness and just standing there.

“I know I'm gonna wake up alone, but I can at least pretend this is real.” 30-30 took another step closer and brought a hand up to pull BraveStarr's face up. “And if this aint a dream after all, and you really do feel the same, please don't stop me....” He leaned down and pressed his lips against the marshall's, his other hand reaching down for the man's belt buckle. His kiss was returned and a hand reached up to grasp his own, fingers entwining between his and pulling him even closer. He started walking forward, guiding BraveStarr over to the bed before detaching and rolling himself down, surprised that he again didn't faceplant as he hit the bed. He reached out to grab BraveStarr and was met with fingers being entwined with his again and the marshall joining him on the bed. He proceeded to kiss his partner again, pulling himself up over him and fiddling with the belt buckle more. In his drunken state he only managed to infuriate himself, at which point he was all too grateful when BraveStarr took care of that for him, along with slowly removing other things until he was down to just his underwear.

30-30 felt a rush of heat come over him and he closed his eyes, feeling lips press against his again and hands at his belt. He just stayed there, letting the kisses continue as he felt his belt and suspenders slide down and away, not even caring what came next as long as he had the memories when he woke up. He decided to start trailing kisses down BraveStarr's exposed body, the hand holding his friend's closing tighter around the fingers he held and moving their arms up higher. Once he got to the navel, he started nibbling at his lover's hip bones and reached his other hand down, two of his fingers stroking past the bulge a little farther down and hearing a small huff of air for a reply.

As he continued to nibble, he started licking softly once in a while, noticing this new decision met with more gasps and soft moans. He continued to stroke his fingers over the twitching, growing member below where he had been teasing with his tongue, feeling his own loins twitch with every little noise that escaped the man's lips. It finally became too much for him to stand so he reached his free hand up and slid BraveStarr's underwear down, smirking as his lover's twitching cock was exposed. He looked up, noticing a soft smile and warm gaze looking down at him so he slid himself up to answer the warmth with another kiss, this one deeper than the others. As he was about to pull away to return to what we was planning to do, he felt an arm slip through his mane and around his neck, keeping him in place and returning his kisses with earnest.

This can't be real, it's gotta be a dream. There's no way he's actually letting me do this...no way he actually feels the same about me. His worry and doubt were nagging at him, and it started to show. BraveStarr noticed, sighing and looking into 30-30's eyes with concern. “Just relax, don't worry about whether this is real or not. We'll deal with that in the morning, together, you hear?”

30-30 smiled and sighed softly, a quiet whinny escaping his lips. “You'd better be here in the mornin’, then.” He nuzzled his lover's neck a couple times before sliding back down, leaving a trail of kisses as he made his way to BraveStarr's groin again. He continued the nibbling, kissing and licking from earlier as he wrapped his fingers around the throbbing cock below and started to stroke it slowly. He felt the hips he was toying with buck softly and smirked, feeling pleased with himself as he continued to make BraveStarr gasp and moan.

He had never heard the strong, handsome man sound so soft and vulnerable. It made 30-30's mind haze over for a little bit with each noise, which at this point had become constant. It made his entire body ache for more, but he was afraid he would hurt the man he cared for so much. He kept wanting to think he was dreaming, but he wanted so badly for it to be real that he feared what might happen if he went too far. In his haze, he failed to notice the hand reaching down for his harness again and by the time he realized it he had been yanked up, face to face with BraveStarr again. The man beneath him pulled him into a deep kiss and separated their entwined hands, his now free hand tracing along 30-30's muzzle, going down his neck and chest until a he felt a finger slip into his underwear.

“I think you've had these on long enough, Big Pard...” BraveStarr spoke in nearly a growl, causing 30-30 to shiver with lust, his eyes closing and him begging internally to hear it again. He had no idea something like that would turn him on even more, but now that he knew he wanted nothing more than to hear it again. He opened his eyes and looked into BraveStarr's eyes.

“Oh? I thought I was the one calling the shots here.” Another smirk crossed his lips and the words were met with a playful glare and a tug on the only thing holding his own erect cock even remotely contained, along with more words that made it hard for him to contain his lustful urges.

“Last time I checked I was the marshall around here. Now, take them off, deputy. That's an order.” The growl behind his words sent another shiver through 30-30 and he gladly obliged, unsnapping the sides and pulling them off. Yes, his shorts had an easy removal, they practically had to with how difficult dealing with removing regular garments would be over his cybernetics. He tossed the shorts to the side and looked back to BraveStarr.

“There, you happy?” He kissed his lover again, one of his hands reaching back down to grab the man's hip and pull himself closer. He moved to kissing and nibbling on BraveStarr's neck and ear, his other hand reaching to entwine itself in the thick black hair atop his head. “So, what now? I've...never done any of this before so I have no idea what to do from here.”

BraveStarr laughed softly. “To be honest, I've only ever had sex once and it was with a woman so I'm not exactly an expert, but I do think that the 'what now' will involve some lubrication.” He wrapped an arm around 30-30's neck and returned the kiss, his free hand rubbing the Equestroid's muzzle softly. 30-30 smiled and moved to get up, grunting as he was pulled back down. “I didn't say right now, let's just enjoy this for a bit longer.”

BraveStarr traced back down 30-30's muzzle and jaw, past his neck and chest, all the way down until he could wrap his hands around the Equestroid's thick cock. A gasp escaped the horse's lips as the man beneath him started to stroke him slowly. He trembled softly and his breath caught in his throat, coming out somewhat heavy and labored. He had jacked off plenty of times, but the sensation of the man he was so infatuated with stroking him was something else. He closed his eyes tightly as he felt his mind cloud again, his head dropping to rest on the bed as he felt his loins crying out for more. He felt BraveStarr pick up the pace, and a moan was the next thing to escape his throat. His voice shook and his thoughts blurred together.

He shuddered and reached his hand down, stopping his lover's strokes. “If you keep that up for much longer I'm not going to last very long.” His words came out shaky and labored, which made BraveStarr smirk. He kissed the smirking bastard and reached over once more for what he was grabbing for earlier. He plucked a bottle of liquid out of his side table drawer and set it onto the table itself. “There, now we have something to use when we're ready. I still don't exactly know what's next.”

“I can take care of it from here Big Pard, at least at first. I have a pretty good idea of how this works for two guys.” He motioned for 30-30 to roll onto his back, which the Equestroid gladly did. The man straddled his friend, the horse's cock raising behind the man's back like a flagpole. BraveStarr leaned forward and rested his hands on 30-30's chest, a blush finally crossing his cheeks.

30-30 quirked a brow and smirked. “Ok, now you blush. Should I be concerned?”

BraveStarr laughed softly and shook his head. “Nah, it's just...I've never imagined I would...let someone do what I'm about to ask you to do is all. I'm just nervous about it.” He leaned his face closer to the Equestroid's, his voice soft and low, the words coming out slightly shaky.

“I...uh...need you to...help loosen me up, if you get my meaning.” He grabbed one of 30-30's hands and placed it on his own rear, tapping on one of his friend's fingers. 30-30's eyes widened for a moment in recognition before he reached over to the bottle of lube he had pulled out earlier. He let a few drops land on the tip of his finger before moving his hand back behind BraveStarr. His gaze softened and he nuzzled his lover's cheek before planting another deep kiss on his lips as he slowly slid his finger inside of the man's asshole. BraveStarr made a noise mixed with pain and surprise, causing 30-30 to stop in concern until he felt the man push his hips into it ever so slightly.

With that confirmation, he continued sliding in until his entire finger was inside, deciding it would be a good time to start pulling out. After a few strokes he noticed that BraveStarr didn't seem to find it uncomfortable anymore, in fact he had started moaning softly with each stroke. After a few minutes he was burying his head into 30-30's neck and the moans had steadily gotten louder and perhaps a little more high-pitched too. When 30-30 pulled his finger out, the action was met with a moan of disappointment.

“Don't worry, I'm just grabbing some more so I can see about two fingers this time.” He smirked, gladly returning the kiss that was the reply. Once he was ready, 30-30 started to slide the two fingers in, feeling his lover tighten again. He slowed down and again had BraveStarr push into his hand, this time with more force causing his fingers to slide in rather quickly. Hearing the wince of pain, he brought his free hand up to BraveStarr's face. “I don't want to hurt you if I can help it...”

The man in his arms breathed heavily and nodded. “Yeah, sorry. I...uh...got a bit too eager with that, didn't I? I'll be more careful.” He smiled softly and kissed the horse again, resting where he had been previously and letting the Equestroid continue his finger play. Once 30-30 was satisfied that BraveStarr had gotten used to the addition of a second finger, he started to move them more quickly, stroking in and out of his lover at a good pace and feeling a shiver through his body with every moan that escaped his lover's lips.

After a while BraveStarr stopped him, pulling up so 30-30's fingers slid out and grabbing the bottle of lubricant. He let a good amount fall into the palm of his hand and reached back to stroke 30-30's cock, making sure it was thoroughly coated before raising himself up higher and slowly pushing the head of the thick black horse cock into his ass. 30-30 tilted his head back and closed his eyes, letting the feeling wash over him as he felt BraveStarr slowly lower himself down.

Equestroids weren't exactly hung like their forever-four-legged counterparts, and in most cases were more likely to have human-like lengths. 30-30 had nine inches to work with, and it was quite thick. His size made him worry that he would hurt BraveStarr, but he trusted that his lover would take his time and stop if he needed to. Eventually BraveStarr leaned in and planted another kiss on the Equesroid's lips, his hands landing on either side of the horse's head. 30-30 gave a warm smile and grabbed BraveStarr's legs at about the knees, holding on tight and flipping them both over in a swift movement, landing his lover in his back before resting on his own arms and slowly pulling out. The sensation of being so deep inside of BraveStarr caused his loins to ache even more and with every thrust, no matter how slow or shallow, he felt his body respond more and more strongly with the urge to take BraveStarr completely.

After a while the only semblance of words exchanged between the two consisted of moaning, gasping and grunting. BraveStarr had wrapped his arms around 30-30's neck and had buried his hands in the Equestroid's mane, his fingers deeply entwined in the white silken hair. They shared kisses often as 30-30 slowly picked up the pace, the occasional nibble on an ear or jawline happened as well. For what seemed like hours, 30-30 stroked his cock in and out of BraveStarr, each thrust bringing him closer and closer to climax. He never wanted the night to end, especially if it ended up being a dream. He wished with every fiber of his being that the night they were sharing was real, that he would wake up with the wonderful man he was making love to next to him.

“You can stop holding back now.” BraveStarr's voice came out in a whisper, with a tone 30-30 couldn't place. His lover's eyes were half shut and a sweet smile spread across his face. 30-30 gave those lips a soft kiss before picking up the pace and starting to thrust harder. He was at a good pace now, and every thrust caused BraveStarr to moan louder than earlier, it was starting to cloud 30-30's mind once again. After what seemed like another hour or so 30-30 could feel himself reaching climax. He was stroking pretty hard and fast now, and BraveStarr seemed to be enjoying every minute of it. He had pulled 30-30's head down so their foreheads were together, and had held him there for quite some time. 30-30 felt so close to him and he knew it would end soon, he was starting to fear what would happen afterwards and BraveStarr saw it. “Don't worry so much, I'm not going anywhere, you hear me? I'm yours now, and the dawn isn't going to make that change.”

Those words caused a wide grin to spread over 30-30's face and he pulled BraveStarr as closely as he could as he continued to thrust into him, feeling his climax quickly approaching. With a loud moan he felt his entire body shake as he came inside of BraveStarr, a look mixed with overwhelming pleasure and an apology on his face. Before he could feel bad about getting off before his lover, he noticed that in the last little while BraveStarr had been stroking himself and was also nearing the end of his orgasm. 30-30 pressed his forehead against BraveStarr's again, closing his eyes and sighing, a smile on his face that told the world how happy he felt.

He slowly pulled out, groaning as his cock protested, being sensitive to the point of it being painful. After he was out, he slid down to lick away the mess BraveStarr had made over his hips and chest, causing the man to moan again. Once he was done, he gave a coy smirk and looked up at BraveStarr. His smirk was met with being shoved down onto his back and a firm, deep kiss being placed on his lips once more. BraveStarr broke the kiss and then cuddled up to 30-30 as the horse closed his eyes, his body exhausted and his brain crying for sleep. The shifted to spooning and he finally let sleep overtake him, but not before giving BraveStarr one more kiss and nuzzling him softly.

“I love you.” The words escaped his half-asleep brain and he didn't even notice enough to care. As he drifted off to sleep, the words made BraveStarr blush and a wide smile stretch across his face. BraveStarr laid awake for a while, knowing it would take him longer to drift off, thinking about everything that had happened in the last few hours. He was relieved that 30-30 had opened up to him, overjoyed that he was able to save his partner and best friend from killing himself, and content with the outcome of the night. He thought to himself that content wasn't the right description, but he was too tired to think of a better way to explain it. He finally drifted off to sleep, finding comfort in 30-30's arms.

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30-30 woke to the sound of knocking. He tilted his head and instantly regretted it, a hangover announcing itself. The knocking was followed by a voice, it was J.B.'s, she was probably looking for BraveStarr, who was surprisingly still asleep in his arms. 30-30 slowly got up and threw his shorts on, instantly regretting not being able to stay awake long enough to clean himself up. He walked open to the barn doors and opened one a crack. Sure enough, it was J.B.

“Sorry to wake you up, but have you seen BraveStarr? He's not at the station yet.” She looked worried, and he just smiled. He stepped back and pointed over to his bed. Her eyes widened and she gasped, but when he looked at her there was a grin on her face. “Oh, I see! It's about time you two worked that whole 'sexual tension' issue out.”

“Wait, excuse me?” 30-30's eyes widened and he looked at J.B. With a tinge of anger. She just laughed and walked away, waving her hand at him.

“Don't worry, I meant that in a good way. Just make sure he's not out too much longer, Fuzz is panicking being there alone.” She continued to walk away and he neighed loudly after her, giving her the finger before closing the door and walking back to sit next to the man in his bed. BraveStarr started to stir and looked up at 30-30, the sweetest smile the horse had ever seen crossing his face. 30-30 then remembered the last thing he said before he fell asleep and started to blush furiously, which caused BraveStarr to laugh.

“So, do you have anything to say?” BraveStarr propped himself up on one elbow and looked up at 30-30 with an accusatory look on his face. 30-30 sighed and hung his head, the shame of his actions finally catching up with him.

“I...I'm sorry. I should have tried to talk to you about my feelings a long time ago. I feel terrible, and I was a complete ass. I hope you don't hate me for last night...” 30-30 put his head in his hands, feeling like a complete fool.

“Hate you? I'm only upset that you didn't come to me about this or tried to do something about it sooner. You were bent on drinking yourself to death yesterday evening, and I'm pretty sure you'd been drinking since after we got back to town. I was worried that something had happened or you'd left again. I come to find out that you were hiding your feelings to the point that it was unhealthy.” BraveStarr sat up completely and reached out to 30-30, touching his head and turning it so their eyes met. “Last night you came out and told me your feelings, even if that was the alcohol talking at first, by the end of the night you weren't drunk anymore. You told me you loved me, is that still true?”

30-30 blushed again and lowered his eyes. “I...yeah. But...don't expect me to be able to say it very often. I...I aint no good at that kind of thing.”

“I know, but I also had a feeling that it'd be a little easier after last night. Now, think you could try it again?” BraveStarr smirked and 30-30 whinnied at him.

“Don't push yer luck, we aint even figured out what we are now.” He glared playfully at the man, waiting for a reply as BraveStarr sat there silently thinking for a moment.

“Well, we're already partners, but last night was something more than that.”

“And J.B. knows.”

“...what?”

“Yeah, she came askin’ me if I knew where you were so I...uh...pointed at the bed. She said it was about time and left. Somethin’ about sexual tension between us.”

BraveStarr flopped onto the bed in a huff. “Are you serious? At least she took it well.” He looked up at 30-30, who soon followed suit of laying back on the bed. 30-30 looked over and leaned in to give BraveStarr a small kiss, a smile following it. He kept his face close, looking like he was trying to muster the words for something. “Don't strain yourself too much there, Big Pard.”

30-30 flipped him off before leaning in for another kiss. “I love you, but yer a dick, you know that?”

“You didn't seem to have a problem with that part of me last night.” BraveStarr grinned as 30-30 went red.

“You know what? Maybe I didn't, but at least I came out and said how I feel.”

“I did too, unless you've forgotten.”

“Nah, you went all cryptic metaphor on me again. 'I need you' don't tell me much.” 30-30 returned a wide grin and watched the taken-aback BraveStarr sift through his own words.

“You know what? You're right and I'm sorry.” BraveStarr scooted closer to 30-30 and snuggled up to him, propping his arms and head on the horse's chest. “I've honestly felt I cared about you as more than a friend for a long time, but last night gave me a definite answer.” He shifted again to straddle 30-30, positioning himself to share a deep kiss with 30-30, and as he pulled away continued to speak. “I love you too. I know that now without a doubt, and you're never going to have to feel alone again.”

30-30 blushed again and smiled. “Does this mean we're together and get to call each other pet names?”

“You, maybe. I'm pretty sure I already call you by one.”

“Big Pard doesn't count, you call everyone partner. I mean like 'honey' and 'babe' and shit like that.”

BraveStarr gave an odd look. “I'm not sure about any of those. 'Lover' sounds better to me. Or love, if that's alright. But I don't know how comfortable I'll be using it out and about at first.”

“Yeah, I know. I was thinkin’ the same thing. But at least we know what we are now, right?”

“Yeah, and you still owe me something else.”

“Oh? And what's that, huh?”

“I told you it wasn't a dream and I would be here when you woke up. You were convinced that was wrong.”

“And now I know better. Can we move on and forget how much of a shithead I was being yesterday?”

BraveStarr laughed as 30-30's face twisted in anger. “Yeah, I guess so. Now, we might want to get ourselves cleaned up and ready for the day. I bet Fuzz is panicking about being in the office alone all day.”

30-30 laughed at the mental image as they both got up and headed into the bathroom that had been built into 30-30's barn.

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The entire day at work, 30-30 kept catching himself looking over at BraveStarr and thinking about the night before. He saved my life last night. I feel so damned stupid for not saying anything sooner, and even dumber for having to be drunk off my ass to say it at all...but at least it's mutual. He'd also occasionally catch BraveStarr looking over at him more than usual too. They'd exchange a smile, 30-30 would attempt not to blush and would look away, then he would hear BraveStarr chuckle to himself. The idea of being a couple was going to take them both some getting used to, but BraveStarr seemed to be doing a far better job. 30-30 blamed it on the fact that BraveStarr was the first person he'd ever been in a relationship with, let alone ever had intimate feelings for.