Chris likes riding up ahead, where he can be the first to meet trouble coming, but today he's riding behind Vin, close on his heels. Dust is flying up in a choking swirl and his eyes are stinging, but it's worth it for the view.
Vin rides in a loose, easy slouch most days. Chris barely notices; how else would a man ride? But he's noticing today. Vin's shoulders are tense, his horse responding with an irritable head toss as Vin's unbalanced weight shifts again.
If he was a cruel man, he'd have made a joke about ants in pants, but he knows what's got Vin struggling to find a soft place to sit and he just grins, spits out grit, and remembers the night before with a certain fondness until his own horse neighs a warning. He shakes his head at himself and rides up front again in a self-imposed penance, giving Vin a sidelong smile as he passes him and getting a rueful one back, with enough sweetness there to let him know Vin isn't regretting a thing.
Chris lets his reins slide through his fingers the way Vin's hair had done in the darkness, wind-tangled so his fingers had been frustrated, teased. He licks his dry lips and tastes a memory of salt and whiskey and Vin, their chapped lips fleetingly gentle against each other before the fire rose between them and a man watching from a distance could be forgiven for thinking they were fighting not fucking.
The others are waiting at the agreed meeting place; looking ahead, Chris can see them under a stand of trees; a darker clump of shadow, a glint of sun on metal. He glances back at Vin and his lips twitch in a grin.
"Want to race?"
Vin gives him a purely disgusted look, sets his teeth, and takes off, leaving Chris to chuckle, urge his horse forward with a click of his tongue, and eat Vin's dust for the second time that day.
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