Pairing: Frank/Gerard, Pete/Patrick, Ryan/Brendon, Jon/Spencer, Bert/Jepha, Mikey/Ray
Disclaimer: Don't I wish this was real.
Summary: “Shearing season soon,” Pete announced one day as he returned from the other side of the pasture. “And there are lambs!”
A/N: in which I wanted to write a bandom as animals fic and drove past a field of sheep... the rest is what we have before us.
Gerard had always been the black sheep. In his younger days, he had kept to himself on the far side of the pasture, away from the other white sheep that snickered at his wool and whispered behind his back. Mikey stuck with him, snubbing the rest of the sheep and butting Gerard’s shoulder comfortingly as they would stand under the maple tree on the far edge.
As Gerard got older, he found he liked being the black sheep. He got more attention from passers-by, and he managed to form a group of tight-knit friends.
Mikey was first, of course. He would never dream of leaving his brother’s side, and he bleated loudly whenever the farmer took Gerard away from the field for whatever reason. Mikey had attracted Frank, the tiny little sheep that Gerard had first mistaken for a lamb. But Frank was hardy and very proud of his curly horns that weren’t really horns, but Frank liked to say they were.
“Look at my horns!” he always cried, showing off for the ewes in the adjacent pasture, most of which ignored him and went on grazing. Frank wasn’t discouraged, instead heading over to Gerard and nudging his shoulder.
“I like your horns,” Gerard murmured, and Frank was happy.
Then there was Ray. Ray had fucking awesome wool. He was the envy of the whole pasture, and Gerard was happy he liked to graze with them most days, keeping Mikey distracted when the farmer would pull someone out.
Bob had come to the flock from another farm, and he was different too, but he was big and had a black face and legs, so no one tried to mess with him.
Gerard and his group stuck mostly to the north side of the pasture, hanging around with Pete and Patrick, the two llamas that stood guard.
Well, Patrick stood guard. Pete was always running around, showing off for the sheep. He seemed to be inordinately pleased that he was taller than the sheep for some reason. He stretched out his long neck all the way over the fence to grab the leaves off the alder trees on the other side.
Patrick stood stoically by the fence, ignoring Pete and keeping a sharp eye for wolves and other predators while Pete chewed his leaves and nosed his neck.
“Shearing season soon,” Pete announced one day as he returned from the other side of the pasture. “And there are lambs!”
Pete always loved lambs. They were always adorable, stumbling over their feet and bleating loudly whenever they got lost in the flock.
Gerard wasn’t so keen, and he disappeared to a far corner of the pasture after that, Frank following along carefully, knocking into him occasionally to let him know he was still there.
He settled down in the cluster of Jimsonweed, something the other sheep usually avoided. They saw what it had done to Brent the year before, and generally left the cluster of spiky leaves alone.
But Gerard had always been the black sheep, and he didn’t care. The onset of lambs always put him in a depressing mood and the weeds, although they didn’t usually help, they made him forget.
Frank was the first there when Gerard started to shiver and shake after only a few bites. Gerard claimed he could see the sheep heaven and it was swathed in blue and green, despite the fact that he was colorblind. There were sheep angels and not a lamb in sight.
Frank curled up close to Gerard, keeping a barrier between him and the weed while Gerard talked of the sheep heaven with all the good, clean grass they could eat with no herding dogs to bother them and no wolves prowling on the edge of the pasture.
Nudging him carefully, Frank bit Gerard’s ear lightly, tugging on it. Gerard’s eyes were big and dark as he flopped down on his side, flank trembling against the grass.
“And every lamb is black,” he mumbled, staring blankly at the nearby tree.
Nervous, Frank butted his neck lightly. “Gee, you shouldn’t eat those weeds,” he said quietly, and watched worriedly as Gerard’s leg trembled uncontrollably.
Gerard shook a little as he tried to push himself up, but a wave of nausea passed over him and he collapsed near Frank instead, blinking dizzily.
“The world is spinning,” he mumbled weakly, nosing Frank’s shoulder as Frank sighed and edged him away from the weeds.
Mikey and Ray wandered over not too much later, Mikey snuggling in against Gerard and Ray standing over them. Bob went away and bleated at the farmer until he came over. Gerard blacked out for a while, and when he woke, the Jimsonweed had been pulled and the spot was bare for over a year until the grass grew in.
He only nudged Frank later on, whispering a “thanks” into his wool. Frank never mentioned it again.
The lambs this year were indeed very cute.
Ryan and Spencer had been born in the very same hour so naturally they became fast friends. Jon wormed his way in only hours later, knocking Spencer over at the feeding trough and not backing down under the combined glares of the two little lambs.
Brendon was a Bummer. Pete always felt bad for the Bummers, those little lambs rejected at birth by the mother, and he took Brendon under his wing, or hoof, as it was, nudging him over to Ryan. Despite his unfortunate circumstances, Brendon clambered all over Ryan, ignoring his indignant bleat, and stepping on his back.
The lambs were inseparable after that, and they took to following Pete around. Pete found it all highly amusing.
“They think I’m a sheep,” he told Patrick one night when the lambs were all flopped together in a pile, sleeping soundly under the full moon while he and Patrick stood guard.
“You’re not a sheep,” Patrick responded, biting at his shoulder and stretching his neck.
“You know what I like best about you?” Pete asked, changing the subject as he sidled up to Patrick.
Patrick sighed and didn’t respond, peering around the dark pasture.
Gerard was almost invisible in the dark, surrounded by his group. Frank was lying half on top of him, head nudged into his shoulder. His tail flickered as he slept and Mikey snuffled by his feet, curled up against Ray’s thick wool.
Pete nosed Patrick’s shoulder. “This big splotch of brown on your shoulder, kinda like a shield.”
Patrick glanced down, coming nose to nose with Pete. “Be quiet and guard the sheep,” he said softly instead.
Pete only lifted his neck and settled down onto his knees, lying his head down.
“You’ll protect me,” he murmured, closing his eyes, and Patrick would.
Shearing season was one of the worst for Gerard. It meant they had to be herded into the barn, and he hated when the farmer let out Bert and Jepha.
Bert was kind of vicious, and he’d snapped at Gerard on more than one occasion to get him to follow the flock. Frank stuck close to Gerard as Bert came streaking towards them, only veering slightly as a whistle from the farmer caught his attention. He nipped at Gerard’s heels, dark eyes gleaming behind his disheveled black and white fur. He had a touch of brown wrapped around his muzzle, but it didn’t help anything as he snarled at the sheep, following the commands of the farmer. Jepha was the sleeker of the two, with a merle grey coat and one blue eye and one brown eye.
“I’ll gore him with my horns,” Frank offered as they were herded into a tight group, Bert and Jepha circling them. The lambs looked frightened as Jepha barked at them and shunted them into the rest of the flock. They were too young to be sheared, but the dogs always brought everyone in.
Gerard didn’t reply to Frank, but jumped as Bert nipped at his heels again.
Mikey pressed into Ray’s fur as they shuffled along, and behind them, Patrick had to block Pete from going after Bert.
Brendon was scared at the strange, high-pitched noise Pete was making, and he tried to follow Pete, but Bert went after him, creeping along the ground and herding him back.
“It’s shearing,” Patrick told Pete as he wheezed at the dogs.
Pete hated the dogs, and after all, it was his job to protect his lambs from other dogs, so why not Bert and Jepha, who seemed to enjoy scaring the sheep whenever they had to bring them in?
Pete didn’t stop trying to attack Bert and Jepha, but they’d been around long enough, and with the farmer’s commands, they separated Brendon and the other lambs, snapping them into the rest of the group.
The dogs weren’t the only reason Gerard hated shearing season. He never cleaned himself if he could manage, liking that his black coat just absorbed all the mud and the dirt. Frank’s own wool was always muddy and tangled by the time shearing season came around.
Bert and Jepha took them into the barn with little disruption. Brendon tried to make an escape, but Bert snapped at his heels and he crowded back, trampling Ryan a little in his haste. Ryan didn’t seem to mind Brendon’s little hooves clambering all over him in his haste to escape the biting teeth. Spencer only bleated when Brendon ran into him and he was jostled against Jon.
The barn was crowded with sheep Gerard never saw and purposefully avoided.
“Baaaaa!” cried Gabe, the crazy tall sheep from across the pasture. “It’s the black sheep!”
Frank glared, stamping the ground, but they were separated by a lot of sheep and it was impossible to get to him.
The farmer and his wife separated them pretty quickly, the shears coming out, and Gerard’s eyes widened in fear. He hated the cutters; the buzzing and the vibrating and how he always came out looking like an idiot.
Gerard wasn’t the only one who didn’t take the shearing in stride.
Ray kicked and bit the farmer when he tried to drag him back. Gerard didn’t blame him. He had fucking awesome wool.
But Ray didn’t escape – no one did. And they all came out with super short cuts, blinking in the summer sun and wrinkling their noses.
Gerard sighed as he looked down at his coat. He was shorn short, almost to the skin. He didn’t see why he had to be sheared. No one bought black wool anyway.
Frank stumbled out with Mikey a few minutes later, shoulder twitching and he automatically pushed himself down against the ground.
“I feel too clean,” he complained, rubbing against the grass.
“Hey, Gerard,” Gabe called as he came out, newly shorn with his own flock trailing behind him, looking just as stupid.
Gerard turned reluctantly, Frank climbing to his feet and turning to face Gabe as well. They all knew Gabe could be kind of a stubborn sheep, stupid too.
“You know what you look like?” Gabe said, and the sheep started gathering now. The lambs hung back, looking fruitlessly for Patrick or Pete, but they were busy eating apples over by the fence. They didn’t look too worried with Pete laying his neck over Patrick’s back as they sat comfortably on the grass.
“Baaaaa!” Frank warned Gabe, shuffling sideways into Gerard. Bob loomed in the back, still sort of scary with his black face and longer legs.
The shears could still be heard back in the barn, but they clicked off as the last of the sheep were released back into the field.
“Like a misfigured rain cloud with nowhere to go!” Gabe cried, snorting his laughter as the rest of the sheep bleating along.
Frank snorted angrily, and Gerard shrunk back. Mikey slunk close to him, nudging his shoulder.
“Take it back!” Frank said, nostrils flaring as he glared at Gabe.
“It’s true,” Gabe crooned, and the bleating growing louder.
The dogs sat at the door, watching them. Bert wagged his tail.
“Stupid sheep,” he muttered, turning to Jepha and pouncing instead.
The farmer, with the last of the sheep done, emerged into the sunlight just in time to see Frank charge forward, headbutting Gabe almost straight on, hitting him with a thud in the chest. Gabe staggered back into William, looking dazed as Frank backed up, ready to charge again.
“Frank,” Gerard put in, trying to step in, but Frank still had his head down, staring at Gabe.
Brendon backed up into Spencer, falling over his back and pushing Spencer down on the ground into a pile of gangly legs as Jon stumbled against him.
Jon nosed Spencer in apology, and Spencer didn’t push him away.
“Frank,” Gerard murmured again, edging between him and Gabe, nudging him away. By now, Pete was up, trotting over to check it out.
The lambs crowded around Patrick as he rose, and they followed obediently as he led them back to the far corner.
“That little ram’s kinda aggressive, huh?” the farmer asked his wife as Frank tried to kick Gabe on his way past.
His wife sighed, placing a hand on his shoulder. “But they’re our flock,” she said simply. “And I think the little black sheep might be sad if we took him away.”
Gerard didn’t hear any of this, forcing Frank to walk back to where Patrick was calming down the lambs.
“You’re not a misfigured cloud,” Frank muttered as he flopped down on the ground, pulling up a tuft of grass violently with his teeth. He chewed it long and hard while Gerard settled down next to him.
“But I am a black sheep.”
Frank paused, watching Pete return and check over Brendon and Ryan, nudging their shoulders. Mikey and Ray settled down with Bob a ways away
“You’re my black sheep,” he said instead, edging over to Gerard and lying his head down on his back. Gerard paused for a second, then slid his head down against the ground, watching the lambs tucking into each other. It wasn’t so bad… being a black sheep.