story time

Jul. 13th, 2009 08:03 pm
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[personal profile] damalurbackup
This story from Robin McKinley's blog is too adorable to not share. It comes to you in screengrab form, because I now have a Firefox add-on that will save the entire page. (So cool!)

And snippet!fic, McCoy/Jocelyn. This isn't set in the story proper, but I was trying to work out how they'd met, and now that story wants to be written.

She was sixteen when they met and had two inches on him. He wasn't short at that point, but she was already five-nine and just about done growing.

It was June and hot. Her hair stuck to the nape of her neck, and she was constantly shoving it over her shoulders to keep it out of her way. It might have been that that caught his eye, or that she was the only one around every day that summer.

He came over to the stall she was cleaning and stood just outside, not leaning cockily the way some of the boarders did; his boots were old and layered with mud and manure.

"Hey," he said. "Want a hand?"

She rested the pitchfork against her shoulder and shoved her hair back. "You serious?"

"Yeah," he said. "Can't ride much more in the heat, or Lucy Long will keel over."

"You're Dad's new boarder?" She pushed her hair back again; it was nearly halfway down her back and should have stayed put by itself, but she'd forgotten to bring a band with her when she'd come down from the house.

"That's me," he said. "Leonard McCoy." He was solemn-faced, with eyes that looked gray against the blue of his shirt.

"Hi," she said. "I'm Joss Darnell. I've seen you around a couple of times. I'd shake your hand, but..." She held up one stained glove, and he grinned a slow grin that lit through her veins like quicksilver.

"I'd rather you not," he said.

"Well, if you're gonna be that way about it," she said, and picked a piece of straw out of her hair, "you can start on the next stall over. Sure you don't mind helping?"

"Not at all," he said, and then pulled a piece of twine from his pocket and handed it to her. Puzzled, she took it from him. "For your hair," he explained.

"Oh," she said, and, "Thanks."


Lucy was a pretty good horse. She was a quarter horse, maybe, or nothing particular at all, with a bright chestnut coat and a tendency toward laziness. Len was a pretty good rider, too - not as good as Joss, sure, but she'd been riding for longer than she could remember.

She propped a boot up against the fence as she watched him; he was running barrels today, not for anything other than the fun of it. Lucy was hyped up and prancing, catching her bit between her teeth and rattling it, but he made her hold still before he set her at the barrels. So many riders didn't get that, that it was important to make the horse listen to you, because any one-ton animal that wouldn't obey was a danger to everyone around it.

Luce took off for the other end of the arena with her ears laid flat against her neck. They worked through the cloverleaf pattern in a matter of seconds, although the second barrel rocked and almost fell over. Len pulled her to a walk and patted her on the neck; he was straightening up when he caught sight of Joss.

"Hey!" he called, and then swung out of the saddle. "Wanna walk her out with me?"

"Sure." She ducked under the fence and jogged over to meet him.

"All the stalls cleaned?" he asked her, teasing; it was hard to tell when he was teasing her, but she always knew. His eyes looked green today.

"For once. Just about everything's done. Matty's fixing the fence in the back paddock." She bumped her elbow against his. "We can't put you to work today."

"Thank God," he said, even though he was always the one to volunteer. "Is he older than you, Matty?"

"Younger by a year," she said, "but I've got an older brother, too. He graduated two years ago." A horsefly landed on Lucy's neck, and Joss smacked it without thought. "How come I never see you at school? You walk here, right?"

"Yeah, I live just over - " He twisted around and pointed past the barn and the indoor arena and her house - "about ten minutes in that direction. But I'm probably a couple grades ahead of you."

"How old are you? I'm sixteen."

"I am, too, but I just graduated last spring," he said, and scowled at the ground. Ah, Joss thought, he Didn't Want to Talk About It. Matty got the same look on his face anytime her mother brought up the intramural chess league.

"You must be smart, then."

"I guess." He tangled a hand in his horse's mane. "I'm going to Mississippi for college this fall."

"Oh," she said. "So you won't be around for long, I guess."

Something of her thoughts must have leaked into her tone, because he looked at her sideways. "I'll be back next summer."

"Promise?" she asked, lightly.

"Yeah," he said, "I promise."
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