A Perfect Pair

by Anneack

AU: Seventh Heaven Animal Sanctuary

Notes: this was written in response to the finished the story Challenge. Thanks to Teri for the opening paragraph.

The school of hard knocks had taught Vin determination if nothing else. No one would ever call him a quitter. "You're a Tanner, don't ever forget it." His mother's words resounded in his head as he picked himself up yet again.

Grinning he turned to the black gelding. "Bet you thought that was funny don't you?"

Standing just out of his reach, the horse shook his head.

Vin approached the horse that was always dancing just a step out of his reach. Without manners this horse would not be adopted; so he was going to learn them even if it killed him.

When he had come into work he had been told that the barn had another resident. He had looked in the stall to check out the new horse. He had finally saved enough to buy and support his own horse. With all the horses turned over to them and in need of homes, he had decided to adopt rather than buy. For the last six months he had examined every horse and some had even caught him interest as he worked with and trained them so they could be adopted. As much as like them all, however, none of them were his horse.

Then he had seen him standing at the back of his stall watching and waiting to see what would happen next. The information posted on his stall said he was a four year old, fifteen hand quarter horse, black gelding with a white blaze. The notations from Nathan were that the horse was too thin and not to turn him out until his lab work was back. Chris' scribbled notes from the weekend looked like it might have said Pain in the Ass.

Stepping into the stall he smiled, as the horse allowed himself to be touched. When he lifted the horses hoof, the animal leaned all his weight on the Texan. He elbowed him and moved out from under the horse. He could have sworn that horse was grinning. Patting him, Vin stepped out and got the correct feed mix and amount; nothing like food to help make friends. After filled the feed bucket, he found himself pinned in the corner between the horse, the pail, and the walls.

"Peso, move it," Vin snarled at him.

The horse leaned his nose in and start nibbling on Vin's hair.

Chris chuckled from the door. "Vin, meet Peso."

The blond smirked as Vin finally managed to get the horse to move; but not before having his hair thoroughly slimed.

Vin could have sworn the horse was laughing as left the stall. He whole heartedly agreed with Chris' assessment of the nag.

+ + + + + + +

After borrowing Josiah's shower and shampoo, Vin went back to the barn. Thankfully, Buck had been able to pitch in on the stable chores so the work had gotten done.

Peso watched as Vin and Chris were groom, riding, and working all of the horses in turn.

When Vin got to him, he could have sworn that the horses ears went up. He opened the stall and haltered the horse.

Peso lunged for the open stall door only to be brought up short when Vin caught him in the chest with two fingers placed just right.

Put in the cross ties, Peso sighed in pleasure and leaned into the brush

Vin smiled, and patted him. Peso certainly enjoyed being brushed.

He turned and glared at the horse shaking his hat and pawing at it.

"That's mine!" Vin stated, taking it back.

Chris chuckled as the ornery mule headed critter followed Vin, still making passes at the now recovered cap, out to arena. Since they couldn't turn him out, they would take him out for exercise.

As Peso went through his paces on the lounge line, the lean Texan was quite pleased; he looked like he had a real smooth gate and caught on quick to what you wanted.

Josiah walked by carrying a lamb with the ewe right on his heels. Vin smiled, lambs had to be among the cutest babies the animal world.

"Ooooffff," Vin sputtered as he hit the ground face first.

Peso stood quietly now, a look of perfect innocence on his face. No, of course he had not leapt in the opposite direction yanking the line and face planting Vin.

"Brother, that horse has a sense of humor," Josiah laughed.

Vin smiled and made a rude gesture in the direction of the older man.

He felt the warm breath on his neck just before he had another face full of dirt from Peso shoving him.

"I can't turn my back on you for a minute," Vin chuckled.

Tying Peso to the fence by his gear, Vin tacked the horse up. It was time to see what he was like under saddle.

The long haired man shook his head as Peso would wait until he almost in the saddle and take a half step.

Vin took a deep breath, and this time was in the saddle before his mount could do his hop.

Once Vin was up, Peso seemed to figure it was no big deal and behaved perfectly.

Having decided that he could give Chris his assessment of the horse, Vin dismounted.

And Peso sprinted to the other end of the arena with his rider half on and half off swearing a blue streak.

Vin hit the ground get again when Peso skidded to a halt.

Grinning he turned to the black gelding. "Bet you thought that was funny don't you?"

This was a horse that liked to play. All the time. Every time. He was a good horse, as long as you kept your wits about you the entire time.

"Tanner, you okay?" Chris called.

"Fine. Reckon I found my horse, cowboy," Vin told him.

Chris stared at him. This could not be happening! Vin wanted that ... that ... that menace!

Vin smirked as he led Peso past his friend. It was worth it just to see the look on Chris' face. He swore the man was almost in tears.