by Sammy Girl
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.
Pairings: Ezra/Vin; Buck/Chris
Feedback: Yes please. :0)
Note: This fic is in response to Katherine's challenge - My challenge centres around a detail I think the canon failed to address. I'm sure the writers never saw the need to cover this little titbit, but I would very much like to have it filled in. In the pilot episode, the only character whose arrival in Four Corners that we actually see is JD... everyone else is already just THERE. Fair enough. But I want to know why they were there in the first place.
"Been here long?"
"Maybe - you?"
"Got a job, fer now anyway."
"Pay any good?"
"It'll do fer now. You staying here? At the hotel?"
"No, if I need a bed for the night I can always find one - someplace, with someone, you know me."
Chris finally looked up from his whiskey into the dancing blue eyes he knew so well. Yeah, he knew Buck alright, in a thriving little mining town like Chokes Cross there were more then enough saloon girls, showgirls and widows to ensure Buck never lacked a warm bed for the night or someone soft, and willing to share it.
"Oh indeed I do, so who is it tonight?"
Buck shook his head. "No one, I just finished working and in case you haven't noticed, it's hotter than a rattlesnakes ass in a wagon rut. So I'm heading up into the mountains. Found me the prettiest little spot, right on the edge of the canyon, great views, little stream, plenty of firewood and shade and a nice cool wind. All you have t' do is head for the notch, out on the horizon, west of here, then when you find the rim go east along the edge. You can't miss it. An' I'll tell yer, the sunset's are amazing." He stood up straighter and stretched his shoulders. "So anyways that's where I'm off to right now."
He hadn't said 'come along if you want' but the very detailed directions were a clear enough invitation. Chris raised his glass. "Sure sounds peaceful," he commented and Buck knew, just from the tone of his voice and slightest hint of smile that he wouldn't sleep alone tonight.
"Well Mom, it's like this, I know you wanted me to go to college, but there just isn't going to be enough."
The very young man, dressed in his best, his only, suit looked over at the small plain headstone beside him. It was no more than a foot high, the only lettering on it a name and two dates, it was all he could afford.
Rachel Dunne had worked hard and saved hard so that her son, her dead husband's only child, could have a better life. For Rachel the way to that better life was education. After Martin was killed she took a job as a nursery maid and JD went with her. He was allowed to play with the older children of the house and take lessons in the school room with them, but when the youngest child turned five, it was determined that a nursery maid was no longer needed. With good references Rachel secured a position as housemaid in a large country house. It was a good job, few employers wanted domestic staff with children. JD however, was no longer welcome in the schoolroom, and was expected to pay his way working in the stables. But Rachel wouldn't give up the idea of a college education for her son, so much of what little free time they had together was consumed with study.
"I worked hard Mom, you know that, so did you, but I just don't have enough book learning to get into college, they said I was smart enough, but I'd have to go back to school for a year or two. If I did that I might even get a scholarship, but I can't afford to go back to school full time, and…" He looked away from the simple stone, almost ashamed of himself. "I don't want to. I want to go somewhere else, anywhere else. I thought about going to sea, but there'd be no horses and you know how I feel about horses. So I'm going west."
JD had been reading dime novels about the Wild West for as long as he could remember. His mother indulged his passion, seeing that it brought him such pleasure. She had even fashioned a holster for him from scraps of leather and canvas. One of the grooms carved him a wooden gun and he would play endless games with it, practising his 'quick draw'. Much later, and without the knowledge of his now very sick mother, he had purchased a real gun and holster from a pawnshop. Rachel finally died from the consumption that had been consuming her from within for two long years. He didn't ever tell her, but much of her hard worked for savings, his college fund, went on doctor's bills and the extra fresh food the doctor said she needed. Then there was the rent on the small room they shared over the city livery stable were JD had worked after Rachel lost her job.
Of the money that was left, some he used for a headstone, some on a saddle that his employer had sold him at a knock down price. The remaining money he had divided in two, one half to live off, one half to pay his way west.
Rising from the ground he said a final goodbye to his mother, the city of his birth and his old life and headed for the railway station.
"I want to buy a ticket west, how far can I get for this much?" he asked the bored looking man at the ticket counter.
Giving him the pitying look the ticket clerk gave all the young men who came to his window demanding a ticket west, he counted the money and then pointed to the large map on the wall. "Carson City or you can get off at Salt Lake and take a stage south."
JD crossed to the map and studied it for a bit, trying to decide what he wanted to do. He had a yearning to see the pacific one day, and while Carson City would get him that much closer to it, he had other ambitions to fulfil first. Returning to the window he chose Salt Lake City. From there he would take a stage, where or how far he didn't know yet.
Chris headed out of town as the working day began to wind down. He headed for the notch, seeing evidence of another horse having passed this way; Buck wasn't making any attempt to hide his trail. As he headed upwards he had to admit the countryside was pretty, the valley and the town dropped away behind and below him as he climbed into the mountains. It was peaceful and quiet; it even smelt good. The breeze picked up and blew away the stifling heat so that it stopped being sweltering and became pleasant.
After almost two hours he reached the notch Buck had pointed out, once through he continued on to the canyon rim, not that he could see much through the trees and scrub. With the mountains rising up to his right and the canyon dropping away to his left, he had no option but follow the narrow strip of relatively flat land, then the land opened out as the canyon rim curved away, and there before him was a campsite. The fire was well alight, contained in a ring of well blackened stones; Buck, it seemed, had been making use of this spot for some time. A larger and thicker than normal bedroll was spread out alongside it, over the fire a simple iron spit with a fine hunk of what looked like prime beef rib roasting on it, a coffee pot sat on a rock beside the fire. Beau stood in the shade of one of the bigger trees; he was un-saddled, tethered by only a simple halter, dozing, his big head hung low, tail absently swishing in time to the breeze. Of Buck, there was no sign.
"Hello the camp?" Chris called, just because you couldn't see Buck, didn't mean he wasn't around. "Hey Buck, where are you?" he tried, as he walked further in.
When there was still no response he just shrugged and dismounted, setting about seeing to Pony. He was just setting his saddle on the ground when he heard a familiar voice, singing a bawdy song very loudly, as the singer reached the chorus he really let go, giving it all he had. Chris shook his head, that was Buck all right, never do anything by halves.
"You keep singing like that you're liable to make women in the next county blush," Chris reprimanded as Buck came into view, carrying two large canteens.
"Hey there Stud!" Buck greeted as he spotted Larabee. "Saw you coming, though I should get more water."
"Saw me coming?" Chris asked sceptically.
Buck hung the canteens on a convenient branch and pointed. Chris turned and looked so that he could see what Buck could see, the far side of the notch, clear as day, as he rode Chris hadn't even noticed he had been moving in a semi circle.
"Told you this was a sweet little spot," Buck reminded.
Shaking his head, and chiding himself for underestimating Buck yet again, Chris had to agree. He was still taking in the camp's strategic advantages as Buck picked up his saddle and put it down again next to his own bedroll. When Chris gave him a questioning look, Buck winked at him.
"No need t' act like strangers - right?"
Father Timothy pulled back the big doors of the mission church and the morning light streamed in behind the high altar, making the crucifix, with its golden sunburst, glitter, it was a sight that made the good father smile each and every time he saw it. He moved around the church pulling open the heavy shutters one by one. As he approached the one beside the confessional he all but tripped over a dark bundle huddled in the corner. Once he had steadied himself, Timothy looked down to find the bundle was a large - very large - man, seemingly sleeping or possibly unconscious in the corner between the wall and the wooden confessional. It looked to him as if the man had almost tried to burrow his way into the tiny space.
"Hello there?" he called softy, there was no response.
Hitching up his black cassock, Timothy squatted down, he knew the man wasn't dead, his breathing was all too audible.
"Hello? Sir?" he tried again, this time he gave the broad shoulder a gentle shake. "Come on sir, you can't be sleeping there, so you can't."
Damn - sorry Lord - I must stop saying that! Timothy shook his head, the Indians at the mission had started to use his idioms and it drove Father Martinez crazy. 'You can take the boy out of Ireland but you'll never take Ireland out of the boy' his old bishop used to say. While he was remonstrating with himself the man in the corner began to unwind and sit up.
"Well hello there," the young priest greeted, when he finally made eye contact with a pair of bloodshot, pale blue eyes.
"Hello," came a deep, rumbling reply.
"My name is Father Timothy O'Leary, welcome to Saint Jude's mission."
A slight frown creased the large brow of the man before him. "Josiah Sanchez." For some reason Timothy found that amusing. "What's so funny?"
"Sanchez? With those eyes?"
Josiah sighed. "Yeah, I have my mother's eyes, her name was McNamara."
"Oh now that is a fine Irish name, welcome brother."
Josiah visibly flinched at the use of the word 'brother'. "Why did you call me that?"
"We are all God's children and thus all brothers, or sisters, are we not? But especially the Irish," he added with a wink.
"Now I have a few shutters to open up, then I'm away to my breakfast. So you take yourself out to the pump and the outhouse - around the back to the left as you go out." He pointed to the wide open main doors. "And I'll come find you there. I've managed to teach Anita how to bake soda bread - you like soda bread Josiah Sanchez-McNamara?" Josiah nodded even before he registered he'd done it. "Of course you do, sure but I bet your Ma made fine soda bread, can't all true Irish mothers?"
With that the young man bustled away to open up the rest of the church for the day. He was small, no more than five feet three or four, his red hair already thinning, with freckles covering his face and strong looking forearms. His old leather sandals made a 'shuffle-slap' noise as he walked over the flagstone floor. He hadn't asked if Josiah wanted to join him for breakfast, it just seemed to be a done deal.
Clean and refreshed, Josiah followed his new saviour into the kitchen at the presbytery. There he was assaulted by the wonderful smell of fresh baked soda bread, and it transported him back to that brief period in his childhood when he had been happy, that short span between when memory begins and his mother's death when he was twelve. She had cooked bread every morning. In his memory, their home always smelled of bread and wood smoke, just like this kitchen. Butter was placed on the table, it sat in a shallow stoneware dish, its rich golden hue hidden under a weighted muslin drape. No doubt Anita had churned it from last night's milking and - just as his mother did - left it standing in a second larger, deeper dish of cool well water over night, probably with some kind of lid to keep out the sleek tabby cat he saw sunning itself on the terrace outside the kitchen.
"Gracias Senorita," he acknowledged as she handed him two warm hunks of bread.
"De nada Senor."
Once Timothy had said a short grace they ate in relative silence, there was honey, fresh fruit, cheese and scrambled eggs, as well as the bread and butter.
"There is no tea, I can't get it here, but I am developing a taste of coffee, so I am," Timothy announced with pride. "Can I pour you some?" By now he was holding up the enamel coffeepot.
"Thanks." Josiah held out his own mug.
Eventually, the meal over and cleared away, the young priest turned to his new houseguest. "Mass is in about two hours, in the meantime there is wood to cut and floors to clean - what do you choose, chopping or sweeping?" Josiah looked over at the chopping block, and smiled.
"Ah good man, I knew you wouldn't let me down. Just those logs there is fine."
With that, and a wave of his arm at the dozen or so cut logs that needed cutting down for the stove, Father Timothy headed for the church.
In need of exercise, in need of a way to shut out everything except the here and now, Josiah went at the wood with a will, such a will, that the job was done in less than half an hour. With his job done he found himself drawn to the church, where Timothy was sweeping the daily accumulation of dust into a neat pile. As he swept he whistled, not a hymn, but a traditional Irish ballad. Josiah had seen and met priests like the young Irishman before, eager, optimistic, full of enthusiasm and energy. He had never been like that, long before he entered the seminary young Josiah knew about the hypocrisy and contradictions of religion and the Catholic Church in particular. In the end he guessed that was why his own vocation had not held true. By the time young Timothy saw what he had always known, he would probably be so deeply embedded in the church he could no more leave than he could cut off his own arm. Josiah found himself committing a deadly sin - envy, he envied Timothy his certainty of faith, his lack of cynicism.
"Now if you want a boot full of dust that's fine by me, but if not I think you need to move." The amused voice cut through Josiah's thoughts and made him jump aside, just as a pile of dust was firmly deposited outside the door, just where he had been standing. "Well now?" Timothy was leaning on his broom and wiping sweat from his brow. "Now that you're awake, and clean, and fed, are you ready to tell me what you were doing in my church last night?"
"I was drunk, needed a place to lay my head, didn't look too closely at which door I chose," came the smooth reply.
"Liar, I've roused my fair share of drunks and I'd lay good odds you were stone cold sober last night, besides, there is only one cantina in town and I was there myself until it closed. You're an educated man Josiah Sanchez, you did not seek the shelter of the Church accidentally, any more than you chose to sleep where you did once you were in there." An edge had crept into the young man's brogue. "Do you want me to hear your confession?"
"No!" came the fast, almost panicked reply.
"It doesn't matter that your faith isn't strong you know, only that you mean what you say."
"No," came the firm but more considered reply again.
"Because you will listen and then grant me forgiveness, I don't want forgiveness, I haven't earned it, I don't deserve it."
"We are all worthy of God's forgiveness, if we repent - do you repent, my son?"
"Yes, oh God yes, but I can't promise I won't do it again - I just can't, I'm not sure I want to."
"What have you done? What is it that troubles you so? Don't worry, it may not be a confession, but anything you say will be in the strictest confidence."
Josiah looked away. "What have I done? Oh, so many things and so many things I didn't do, things I should have done. But…"
"I don't know, I need to find a way to, to - payback, to…"
"Yes, yes do penance."
"Was there something specific you did or didn't do this time?"
"I killed a man."
"Oh," came the eventual response.
"I didn't murder him, he was attacking someone half his size, I couldn't turn the other cheek, and I hit him."
"He died when you hit him?" the priest asked incredulously.
"He fell back and hit his head on a stove, hit it very hard - the thing is…"
"I'm not sorry, I should be full of remorse, but I'm not. He was a bully and a drunk and he was hurting someone, I tried to stop him, I killed him, I didn't mean to, but I did and the world is better off without him."
"That is not your decision to make, only God can take a life."
"How do you know he didn't, how do you know I wasn't God's instrument?"
Timothy frowned and then very slowly his frown spread into a grin and then he laughed. "Ah now I know you're Irish, for don't you have the gift of the blarney? But," his voice became serious again. "if that were all that was bothering you, you'd not refuse God's forgiveness, there is something else that ails your soul." It was a statement not a question.
"Like I told you Father, many things, things past, things undone, things done that can't be undone."
"Ask God, he can help you, if you give him a chance. Ask him and keep your eyes open, in my experience the Lord can be sneaky, he likes to makes us look for his gifts."
"Sneaky? You can't say that about your God," Josiah protested with a smile.
"Our God, Josiah Sanchez-McNamara, our God, he's my father as much as yours and therefore family, and if you can't tell the truth about family who can you?"
It was meant to be a light hearted remark, but the mention of family and telling the truth took the smile and the joy from Josiah's face.
"So, it's family that troubles you so is it? Ah now isn't that the very divil of it. You can choose your friends, you can't choose your relatives. You have to love them, even if you don't like them."
"That is the truth right enough," Josiah admitted.
"I have the very thing for you!" Timothy suddenly announced.
"A quest, you need a quest to keep you on the straight had narrow - like ol' Don Quixote in the book - do you know it?"
"Very well. Though I don't see many windmills around here."
"No, your own quest is to find a new family."
"A new family?"
"Sure, a second family, your own, one you choose - that is your quest!" Before Josiah could respond the little priest bobbed up to look over his shoulder. "Now there is Miguel, come to ring the bell for mass, and me here not even changed, I have to go." He turned to go, then looked back. "I hope you'll join us?"
Josiah looked up at the mission church. "St Jude huh?"
"Patron saint of lost causes."
"Now don't go reading anything into that, come to mass, I find there is nothing raises the spirit, like a good mass."
There had been a time Josiah would have shared his evident joy, part of him longed for that joy and inner calm again, but he knew his questioning mind would never allow that to happen. Even so, he followed the good Father into the church.
Chris sat himself down on the fallen log on edge of the canyon, with a mug of coffee - laced with fine whiskey in one hand, and a plate of freshly roasted beef, a potato baked in the embers, and a portion of beans heaped on his plate. He had to admit Buck had done them proud.
"Here." Buck handed him a fork as he sat himself down next to Chris; the sun was low on their left, already lighting the strange rock formations of the canyon in a dazzling variety of reds, oranges and pinks.
They ate in silence, chewing the succulent meat right off the bone and watching nature's light display. As the light faded, they moved back to sit around the fire.
"You always were a good cook, when there was no one else to do it," Chris commented as he eased himself down.
"Is that your way of saying ya enjoyed the meal?"
"I reckon so."
"So what are you doing? You said you had a job?"
Buck had already stretched out on his bedroll. "I bring in the payroll every two weeks, for the mine."
"At Choke Creek?"
"Nope, the next one up the valley - Bell Falls - sounds pretty, don't it?" Chris nodded. "Well it ain't, it's dirty and smelly and there ain't but one woman to twenty men - but - they pay me well enough."
Chris knew that what Buck wasn't saying was that he didn't stop in Bell Falls because it would be risky if anyone realised he was the man who brought in all that cash every fortnight. He was also sure Buck spent a good deal of time varying his route and checking his back trail. He had no doubt his old friend was earning whatever the mine was paying him.
Josiah frowned up at the dark man on the old horse and almost automatically reached for his canteen. Lifting it to his lips all he got was a dribble, he held it up, peered into its dark interior - why he didn't know, it wasn't as if the water was hiding.
"Need a drink?" the stranger asked. Josiah nodded. "I don't know, darn fool thing to do, run out of water." This mumbled comment accompanied the canteen that was passed down to him. "Do you know how hot it is today?"
"Um?" Josiah managed to say.
"No 'um', just drink."
Josiah obligingly drank some more. The water was warm and a little stale, but he found he had just needed more and more.
"Not so fast, I don't need you throwing up as well."
"Who are you?" Josiah finally managed to get in.
"Nathan Jackson." He looked around the barren ruin. "What are you doing here anyway?"
"Looks like you're trying to rebuild the cemetery wall of this old mission to me."
"Need a hand?"
"Fair enough. But I'd recommend taking a break in the shade mid day, and getting more water."
"You some kind of doctor or something?" Josiah asked.
"Or something," Nathan admitted.
Intrigued, Josiah invited Nathan back to his camp in the mission ruins, sitting in the shade they shared each other's simple food and water.
"So what's an 'or somethin'?" he asked the younger man.
"Call myself a healer, learned how to treat wounds while I was a stretcher bearer in the war, but I already knew something of healing. There were no doctors for slaves, so we learned to doctor ourselves. I always found it interesting so I tried to learn as much as I could."
Nathan found Josiah easy to talk to, he went on to explain how his master, Mr Jackson, took him with him to the war as a personal steward.
"As soon as I could I ran, ran as hard and fast as I could across to the Yankees," Nathan explained with a smile. "Man named Captain Gilbert got me the job as a stretcher bearer, he was a good man Captain Gilbert, he got killed, it was a real waste."
Josiah nodded. "War is all about waste."
"That is the truth. I saw so many young men, dying, mutilated, their lives destroyed, lives wasted."
"So how did you come to be here?"
"Just wanted to see what was out here, and I wanted to be able to heal people, no one is gonna let me doctor them if there's a real doctor about - and I wouldn't want them to. I ain't naive, I know most white folk don't want a Negro healing them, so I worked my way west, where there are no doctors, and few healers, when I'm all they've got, people will come to me and I can help them."
Josiah regarded the very serious young man beside him. He was impressed, he had some inclination of the obstacles he had overcome, and had seen the kind of prejudice he must have faced.
"So where were you headed today?" he asked.
"Actually I was on my way home, just been out delivering a baby."
"Everything go alright?"
"In the end, the little guy wanted to come out backwards, but he's fine, nice healthy boy, mother doing fine as well."
That a white woman would let a black man, a black man with no real training, help her with something as intimate as a breech birth, spoke more about Nathan than anything else.
Chris lay down and stared up at the stars, aware that beside him Buck was getting ready to sleep, which - Buck being Buck, and the night being hot, meant he was stripping off. He turned his head to watch, as he had so many times before. The combination of the moonlight and the firelight was more than enough to give him a fine view and he never tired of the sight. True, while he was courting and during his marriage, all he had ever done was catch the odd look when they were swimming or washing in a creek while on the trail. But before Sarah and occasionally after, he had looked long and appreciatively at Buck's long, lean, hard body.
Buck was standing, he'd already pulled off his boots and rather ratty looking socks, now he was unbuttoning his shirt, it dropped unceremoniously to the ground as he began to undo his flies. Despite the heat, Buck was still wearing his long red underwear, though truth be told it was more pink than red these days.
"You ever go without them things?" Chris asked lazily, still enjoying the view.
"Well now, that depends on who's gonna see me take them off, don't want to give the audience everything too fast." He looked over at Chris and waggled his eyebrows. "Too much Buck all in one go can be too much for some folks."
Chris was about to splutter a protest that he wasn't going to be overcome by the sight of a naked Wilmington, when Buck peeled the union suit down and his full naked glory, as long, straight, thick and proud as Chris remembered it, made him catch his breath.
"Told you so!" Buck laughed.
"Damn it! You could warn a body before you unleash that thing!"
Buck said nothing, he just stroked his cock lovingly, long, slow lazy strokes that had Chris wriggling in his tight black pants. Well aware of his old friend's discomfort, Buck continued his self pleasuring, enjoying the free feeling of standing there with the soft, warm breeze blowing over his naked skin.
Tracking men was easy, most of them didn't have a clue how to hide their trail, some were so dumb they didn't even check their back trail, catching them, especially alive, could be tricky, but he had managed so far. Collecting the bounty, with a price on your own head, now that was downright hard, even impossible at times. Vin pulled out a simple leather pouch from his pocket, studied the contents and smiled. He'd just managed to pick up a bounty without being recognised, so just for once, life was good. Down's Creek was a small place, but it did have a bank. Vin had, with little effort, tracked and cornered one Mortimer Sprat, a con man and thief who had conned the bank of Down's Creek out of nearly $1500. When Vin brought in not only Sprat but also the money, they were very relieved and handed over the ten per cent reward happily. He used some of the money to purchase some necessary supplies, grain for Peso, coffee and sugar, flour, salt, and jerky. Finally he was persuaded to buy a new shirt.
"It'll bring out the colour of your eyes, all the ladies must just swoon over those blue eyes, son," the elderly owner had cooed.
Vin was a sucker for little old ladies; he just didn't like to disappoint them.
He hadn't lingered in the little town; instead he headed down the valley to the much bigger and more anonymous settlement at Fort Laramie.
He booked himself a room at the hotel and headed for the bathhouse. Fort Laramie, it turned out, had a superior bathhouse, long deep enamel baths in individually screened compartments. Lying back in the steaming water, he couldn't help but let out a deep sigh of contentment. It had been a long time since he'd bathed in anything other than a cold mountain stream or a muddy water hole. In no hurry, he let his muscles relax, and just drifted for some time.
"Sir?" The sudden voice on the other side of the screen woke him.
"More hot water?"
Sitting up and pulling the wash rag over his groin, Vin called the attendant in. He was a slightly tubby Chinese man, the whole bathhouse was an extension of the thriving town laundry owned and run by Chinese. With the water refreshed, Vin set about actually cleaning himself. As his hand rubbed soap over his cock it began to swell and harden, he didn't stop. It felt good to stroke himself in the warm water; it had been a long time since he'd last slept with another human being. Sometimes out on the trail alone, he'd pleasured himself; it often made the loneliness easier to bear. Now he was just enjoying the sensations, letting his newly washed hair fall back over the end of the bath he stretched out and stroked ever harder, while his left hand played with his balls as they floated in the warm water. Release, when it came was long, and sweet, and satisfying, but it wasn't the same as being with another.
"Damn I need to get laid," he muttered under his breath as his heartbeat returned to normal.
The hotel come saloon was already busy when he headed over to buy some supper. As he ate he took time to check out the place, there were several poker games going on, and even a faro wheel. Saloon girls moved among the tables, chatted to customers, served drinks, and occasionally led men up the stairs at the back of the room to the second floor. Smoke hung around the low roof, an ever-present indoor fog, and the smell of whisky, beer and tobacco was thick. There are those who professed to love the smell of a good saloon, but not Vin.
He was about to give up on the place when something caught his eye. A pair of eyes caught his and held them, they twinkled with merriment and passion in equal measure. Vin took a second to compose himself then take in the face that went with those eyes, and the sight went straight to his groin. Ah Shit! No one has the right to be that pretty in a place like this. The man was smiling at him, a smile of pure seduction. It was risky, he could be getting his signals wrong, he could be walking into a trap, maybe the man wanted the bounty on his head, maybe he just wanted to expose those who engaged in 'unnatural acts'. But damn he was hot!
Tentatively Vin raised his glass and gave a slight smile. The smile was returned with a two-fingered salute. Vin pulled out some money and paid for the meal, then drifted lazily to the bar. Less than a minute later the man was beside him. Close up he was even more beautiful, auburn hair that fell in slight waves, eyes as green as a summer meadow, dimples that showed when he smiled and served to emphasise how smooth and unblemished his skin was, he even smelled nice.
"New in town?" the stranger asked, his accent soft and unmistakably southern.
"Yeah, you?" Vin replied.
"You're a long way from Texas."
"You're a long way from home yerself."
"Ya didn't answer m' question."
"No I didn't. Well I am retiring for the evening, room 4 calls to me, it's the finest this surprisingly good hotel has to offer, with a particularly large and comfortable bed." With that he once more gave Vin a two-finger salute, and smiled so that his dimples showed. "So long sir."
Vin watched him go, watched the way his fancy red coat swung as he all but sashayed through the throng toward the stairs, and his heart quickened. Risk or not it was an invitation Vin was going to accept. It had just been so damn long and the stranger was so beautiful, it was worth the risk.
"You're looking a mite 'hot' there pal, why don't you get cool?" Buck asked softly as he dropped slowly to his knees, his hand still around his now throbbing shaft.
Chris had already decided to give in to temptation way back in the saloon, and he was fairly sure Buck knew that, but he was going to make sure Chris would remember this encounter. He sat up, and keeping his eyes on Buck, pulled off his shirt - he wasn't wearing any underwear. Even as he was doing this he toed off his boots. Once his shirt was off he pulled his socks off, which, it turned out, were in no better shape than Buck's, and then lay back on the bedroll and began to undo his buttons. His cock - as he knew it would - sprung up straight and proud, slimmer and somewhat shorter than Buck, but still nothing to be ashamed of. Resisting the urge to pleasure himself he lifted his hips to push his pants down past his lean hips.
"Need a hand?" Suddenly Buck was there, at his feet, tugging on the dark material.
Once the pants were gone, Buck didn't move, he stayed were he was, kneeling between Chris' knees.
"Well now, I haven't had Little Chris to play with for a long time," he announced with a grin.
"Watch what you call little," Chris snarled.
"You wanna have a little comparison here?"
"Just 'cause you're a freak, don't mean the rest of us are actually little - you know?"
Buck sat back on his heels, his hand over his heart. "I'm wounded, maybe me and my freakish dick will go play on our own."
"Don't you dare!"
"Are you saying you want me to fuck you Stud?"
"You know I do, so get on with it."
"Yer such a romantic!"
Ezra closed the door of the spacious corner room behind him, and leaned against the door as he caught his breath. What would mother think? He had made a killing in the saloon that night, true it was early yet, but you had to know when to walk away, and tonight was a night to walk away while you were ahead. But now he was risking it all for what? Not money, for base gratification, but the slim stranger with the long hair and crystal clear blue eyes had taken his breath away. Beauty like that was rare indeed, and that slightly lopsided grin held such promise he'd just had to risk an approach. When his subtle overtures were picked up and returned he's gone weak at the knees. Now he had to wait, wait and see if his new 'friend' would actually turn up. One hour became two and then three, he was about to give up when there was a barely audible tap at the door. Ezra - who had already removed his jacket, tie, boots and socks, slipped off the bed.
"'S me," came the dismembered voice from the other side.
Once the two of them were safely in the room and the door locked - with the key in the lock - they faced each other.
"M' name's," Vin began, only to find a finger pressed to his lips.
"No names," Ezra warned.
Vin nodded. He reached out and ran a finger through Ezra's soft hair. "My, yer pretty." Ezra chuckled. "What's so damned funny?"
"Nothing, I was just thinking the same thing, that is all."
"Me? Ya think I'm pretty?" Vin asked, clearly amazed.
"Oh yes indeed, pretty, handsome, and most desirable."
Vin blushed, but it didn't stop his fingers moving down Ezra's neck to ghost under the fine linen shirt. Ezra just stood there and let this stranger explore him. One by one the mother of pearl buttons were undone and the shirt slipped further and further down his pale shoulders, until it fell down to hang from his wrists. Vin didn't bother to undo the cufflinks, he was more interested in exploring Ezra's smooth powerful chest, the nipples in their dark haloes already hard with desire. His callused fingertips explored each one, testing and teasing.
"My," he breathed again. "Who'd a thought a fancy man like you could feel like this, so hard, so smooth."
"One tries. Now I think it's my turn." Ezra shifted his arms and shimmied the shirt back on to his shoulders so he could reach up to Vin's plain bone buttons. "Let me compliment you on your choice of shirt, it complements your eyes perfectly."
"That's what she said," Vin remembered.
"The lady that sold me the shirt."
"Well she is clearly a lady of taste and perception."
Ezra hadn't lingered as Vin had, nimble practised fingers made short work of the buttons and he was already pushing the heavy cotton aside, he - unlike Vin - had had the foresight to undo Vin's cuff buttons, so the shirt slipped smoothly to the floor. He didn't stop to pass comment on the lean hard body before him, Ezra's lips were otherwise engaged.
Vin gasped and arched his back as Ezra's kisses moved over his newly exposed skin and became more and more insistent. Ezra dropped to his knees, kisses following the line from Vin's navel to the waist band of his pants, which, with his suspenders already hanging at his sides, were sitting dangerously low on his hips, a small tuft of silky smooth hair already peeking out over the top. It only took three buttons before the pants too were sliding down. Ezra caught his breath and looked up.
Vin grinned. "Never did cotton to drawers in the summer much, too hot."
"Indeed. A most commendable policy." With that Ezra returned his attention to the cock before him, it was smooth and almost fully hard, a good length and width, rising up from luxuriant dark blond curls. Ezra couldn't resist, he leant in and kissed the very tip, happy to see the little twitch his ministration produced.
"Please," Vin gasped. "It's been so long."
Ezra didn't need any more invitation than that, he knew what to do and he enjoyed doing it. As he worked Vin's engorged cock with his mouth his hands explored further. One arm snaked around Vin's lean hips to stroke and knead his firm ass cheeks, while the other he pushed between the young Texan's legs, fondling his balls and stroking that sensitive patch of skin behind them. His combined efforts brought groans and gasps from the other man, strong fingers dug into his shoulders, hard enough to leave bruises come morning. It didn't take much, after waiting so long, and with someone as skilled as Ezra working him, Vin came quickly, exploding into Ezra's mouth.
As he struggled to swallow it all Ezra heard a cry of joy suddenly stifled so as not to attract unwelcome attention, then there was a low breathy muttering in a foreign tongue. Ezra finally sat back on his heels and licked his lips, smiling up at the swaying man he had just pleasured.
"Are you alright?" he asked, suddenly concerned the younger man was about to collapse on to him.
"Need t' sit," came the hesitant response.
Ezra stood quickly and guided him the two paces back that brought the bed up against his legs. Vin sank down gratefully and then gazed at Ezra, eyes still dilated, a sheen of perspiration covering him so that he positively glowed in the soft oil light. He placed his arms on the bed and leaned back, head thrown back, tousled mane of hair hanging down, in lank, sweaty tendrils.
"My," Ezra gasped.
Finally Vin looked up. "Thanks."
"No thanks needed, I enjoyed it."
"But there's things you enjoy more." Vin tilted his head and focused his gaze on the prominent bulge in Ezra's dark pants.
"Well now that is true." Ezra began to undo his flies, while Vin watched in rapt anticipation. He wasn't disappointed. While Ezra wasn't as thick as him, he was long and ramrod straight.
"Hot damn!" the young Texan exclaimed.
"Want a taste?" Ezra asked.
"Sure," came the response, but there was a hint of regret in the voice, which didn't escape Ezra.
"Unless there is something else you want to try?"
Vin looked up, eyes shining bright but still with a look of uncertainty. "Was kinda hoping you'd wanna …you know, in me."
Ezra smiled, he did know and he did want to, but it was a lot of trust to ask of someone you'd only just met, and besides he got the impression his somewhat skittish new companion didn't trust easily. But then again he had admitted it had been a long time since he'd last lain with someone, a man could get desperate!
"I'd like that very much," he admitted.
Even as he said it Vin was grinning like a loon and turning over, bracing himself on the bed and presenting his beautifully proportioned, unblemished ass to Ezra; who was a very appreciative audience.
Fumbling in his valise, he pulled out the small tin of ointment he used to keep his hands soft, soft hands equalled better card manipulation.
"Come on!" Vin urged.
"My, we are eager, believe me young Tex, I am as anxious to begin as you."
Ezra made short work of slicking both his dick and his fingers, before he stepped up behind that oh so pretty ass. One slicked finger trailed over the puckered opening that was so lewdly and openly presented to him. Then even before Vin had stopped quivering from this touch he pressed one perfectly manicured digit home. Vin instantly arched, head flung back in pure relief.
"Oh yes!" he gasped. "More, harder."
Ezra didn't say anything, he just worked the opening a little wider and then added a second finger. Vin moved back to meet it willingly. In truth Vin needed little preparation, he was already relaxed and needy. With little more work, Ezra pulled his hand back and pressed the head of his now weeping member to the entrance and pushed home.
A gasp of pure joy accompanied his penetration, the young Texan pushed back so that Ezra was buried to the balls in him. Suddenly, as if struck by a lightning bolt Ezra's young partner tensed all over.
"Yes!" he exclaimed. "That's it! There, harder, more!"
Ezra shook his head, this one was a wild one alright, but he was hot and tight, so very tight, he was already close himself. Pounding in as fast and hard as he dared, he made the younger man shudder and shake, stifled shouts of ecstasy coming out as strangled unintelligible sounds of pure lust.
Ezra remembered to reach around in search of the other man's cock, only to encounter a hand already around it.
"Let me," he managed to pant out.
The hand moved aside, and he was a little surprised to find the cock already as hard as it had been only minutes before. It really had been a long time for the young Texan he realised with a smile. Intelligent, cohesive thought like that however was quickly lost as they moved together in a fast, desperate lovemaking.
Ezra came first, releasing into Vin with a shudder that overtook his whole body so fast he almost passed out. He wasn't even aware he was still pulling on Vin's cock until he felt a smaller but very similar shudder run through his partner, as Vin's seed spilled out into his hand.
They remained like that, joined, bent over the bed for some time, panting, sweating, Ezra resting on Vin. Eventually they pulled apart, cleaned each other up and crawled into bed.
Buck leaned down and lapped at the tip of Chris' cock, savouring the taste of the pre cum that glistened at the tip.
"Mmmm sweet as ever," he complimented.
"You're welcome - get on with it."
"You try to give a guy a good time and all he can do is demand his fuck. Well if I'm doing the fucking, I'm in charge. Meantime, why don't you stick yer hand in my saddle bag there."
Chris decided to shut up, and lay back to let Buck torture him slowly, while he pushed his hand into Buck's saddle bag, he knew what he was looking for, a small stoneware pot, with a cork stopper. Even as his hand closed on it he gasped as Buck's hot mouth engulfed him. His hips arched off the ground and he almost lost his grip on the precious jar.
"Oh shit!" he gasped.
"And you wanted to skip this bit," Buck chuckled, before he went back to deep throating Chris, running his tongue up the underside of Chris' cock, the tip encircling the head as he reached the top and then slipping back down.
Chris was writhing now, hips undulating, jutting up to force himself deep into Buck's skilled mouth, fists balling in the bedroll. He was close, very close, but just as he was about to come, Buck pulled back.
"Buck," Chris growled in desperation through clenched teeth.
"Patience Stud, it's coming." Buck held out his hand, and Chris had just about enough conscious thought left to know what he wanted and hand over the jar.
Vin slipped out of the big feather bed just as the dawn began to light the room, and looked back at the beautiful man, curled, warm and comfortable in the sheets. His golden rule was never to stay long in any place. Doubly so if had done something that might get him noticed. It wasn't that he believed anyone had seen him enter the hotel room, but he had already taken enough risks for one place. He didn't like to leave without saying goodbye, but it was the safest thing to do. Preparing to pull on his clothes, he found a small piece of paper, neatly folded and placed on top of his discarded shirt. In the weak dawn light he looked at it for a second, then shrugged. When he needed something read, he generally asked in a post office, they were used to reading things for people, but not this, it was most likely to be about stuff no post master - or worse still post mistress - should read. Nevertheless he stuffed the note into his purse to keep it safe from prying eyes, cast one last regretful look as the vision of beauty in the bed and slipped out.
Peso nickered as him as he came into the livery, shifting in his stall, and stamping his foot impatiently.
"Yeah, yeah I'm coming, you old mule you," Vin muttered as he lifted the saddle off the hook and headed for his ill mannered, but much loved horse. His gun belt, which he had slung over his shoulder as he exited the hotel room, he hooked over the saddle horn while he tightened the cinch, his rifle he leant against the wall of the stall, where it was close at hand and easy to grab.
"Now are you gonna be good or are we gonna have a fight on our hands?" he asked Peso as he approached with the bridle. Peso was in one of his 'difficult' moods and it took a few tries and a few curses to get the bit in.
"Got yourself a real mouth on you there boy."
For a second Vin froze, then silently cursing that the gun belt hanging on the saddle was on the far side he reached for the rifle propped in the corner of the stall.
"No you don't." This command was accompanied by the familiar sound of not one but two rifles being cocked.
Vin froze where he was, daring to look over toward the sound of the voices, but they emanated from the dark shadows on the far side of the barn.
"See now you're wondering what's going on - ain't you, slim?"
He was, all he could think of was that they were bounty hunters out for the $500 dollars on his head.
"Money boy, plain and simple, hand it over."
"I ain't go no money, not more than a dollar or two," he protested.
"Wrong answer, see we came in last night, recognised that mean old blaze face of yours." Vin instinctively cast a look at Peso. "You're the man that got the money back for the bank in Down's Creek, and the rumour is, you're a wanted man. So we're gonna take a walk over to the army and see if that's true, but first - hand over the money."
"I told you I ain't got no money," Vin protested.
"Now don't give me that, you got all that money back fer the bank, you didn't do it out of charity," the dismembered voice sneered. "So hand it over - now!" Vin began to reach for his knife, still tucked into his waistband. "No you don't, not the knife, the money, this side."
Vin spat out a Comanche curse as he changed hands and pulled out the small pouch.
"Toss it over here, half breed."
Vin, seeing no alternative, tossed his hard earned money across into the darkness. He heard someone move, a hand appeared out of the shadows and scooped up the bag. By now the sunlight was streaming against the half open barn doors, and soon, very soon it would crest them, then it would shine - if his estimate of where the thieves were standing was right - right in their faces.
"Well will you look at that, there must be over a hundred in here!" a second voice exclaimed.
"What's that?" the first voice asked.
There was a rustle of paper being unfolded. "A note."
"Says - Thanks for a wonderful night, take care, you were being watched in the saloon. - that's all."
"Pity you didn't read it. Seems your whore knew more than you - doesn't it?"
Vin didn't respond, he was readying himself, the sun was almost there, any second now, this was a one shot deal, no time to reach back and grab his rifle, no time to try and get his money back.
"What the!" The morning light passed the barn door and shone, strong and full and low into the thieves' eyes and Vin was moving. He slapped Peso on the rump and taking hold of the saddle horn at the same time ran a few steps beside his horse as he cleared the stall. Then - without man or beast breaking stride - he swung up into the saddle and was out and heading down the street into the light.
Blinded by the low sun, his would be pursuers had no chance.
Vin let Peso run for a good half-hour before he pulled up and began to circle around to check his back trail. No one followed, no doubt the money, his money, over a hundred dollars, was enough for them, clearly they didn't know exactly who he was or what he was worth. He debated going back for it, but decided it was just too risky. He'd been poor before and survived, he could do it again, freedom was more important, and at least he still had his supplies. The rifle, on the other hand, he would sorely miss.
He travelled steadily south for some time, living off the land, just as he had when he lived with the people, eventually, he felt he was far enough south that he might risk looking for some work. He needed more coffee and sugar and he needed a rifle. The first place he came to after making this decision was a dusty little town called Four Corners. Jobs in Four Corners were few and far between, and he ended up sweeping floors. Vin wasn't so proud as to turn down honest work, but he didn't have to like it.
Pushing the cork off the jar, Buck dug two fingers into the slippery ointment. First he slicked his cock and then pressed one long finger into Chris's waiting anus, which was openly presented to him.
"Yes," Chris gasped as he was finally penetrated.
It took no time at all for Chris to relax as Buck worked him, loving that feeling of internal stimulation.
"More," he gasped.
Buck knew he was close now, he wasn't going to make Chris wait much longer. Nevertheless he was big and he wasn't going to risk hurting him. A second finger joined the first, once he'd worked them in and out a few times he began to scissor, slowly and gently making the opening wider and wider.
Chris was writhing again, every so often Buck would penetrate deeper, and brush over his prostate, then he'd buck and gasp, demanding Buck work him deeper and harder.
"Easy Stud, I told you, I'm in charge, and I'd not gonna let you get hurt." A third finger joined the others. Finally, with both their cocks leaking and aching with need, Buck pulled his fingers out and pressed the head of his shaft to the well-stretched hole. "Ok buddy, here we go, Buck's gonna take you to the top of the mountain."
With that he pushed home with one long steady movement, Chris's only reaction to this penetration was to gasp until Buck hit his prostate with the full force of his cock head.
"Christ!" Chris shouted, his hips arching off the ground in one sudden convulsive movement. "Oh sweet Jesus!" Nothing and nobody made him feel the way he did when Buck filled him like this. When Buck was in him, pounding him deep and hard, possessing every part of him, he didn't understand how he could live without it.
Knowing how close he was and seeing and feeling Chris convulse, Buck took hold of Chris's cock. All it took was three strong, steady pulls and Chris was cascading all over his hand, white pearls dropping back to decorate his hard, washboard stomach. Now he had taken Chris over the edge, Buck finally let himself go, and as he came deep inside Chris, he threw his head back and howled his ecstasy to the full moon. That same full moon shone down as they lay together, still joined, Buck draped over Chris, their deep, gasping breaths in perfect synchronisation.
Ezra had seen the men watching the young Texan in the saloon. Then, when he had awoken in the night and made use of the chamber pot, he took a look down into the street, and there, picked out in the moonlight, was one of the same men, positioned where he could see both hotel and livery. Looking back into the room he cast his eye over the lithe body of the young man who had given him so much pleasure and shown him so much trust. He had no doubt that, come the morning, he would be gone - his kind always seemed to be early risers. So he pulled his pocket notebook out and wrote a quick note to thank and warn him, what more could he do?
In the morning he did indeed wake up alone, as he knew he would. Ah well Ezra, it was a pleasant interlude, now we need to return to the business of making money, I wonder if the good citizens of Fort Laramie are interested in railway stock?
His plan all went well until a new judge arrived in town who was a lot more quick-witted than the army officials he had anticipated dealing with, and the wily old man trapped him. Ezra was furious - not with the judge, though he wasn't happy with him - but at his own stupidity. Well, bail or no bail he wasn't about to stick around and wait to be sent to jail. Ezra packed as many of his worldly goods as Chaucer could carry and headed south, where there was no effective judicial system.
Dawn broke over the canyon, and from where Chris lay, on his side, Buck pressed up behind him, one arm resting protectively across his chest, he watched the pale tendrils of light turn the red canyon walls a strangely beautiful pink colour. With the dawn came a gently cooling breeze that raised goose bumps on his exposed shoulder. He lay still, watching the changing shades of light and listening to and feeling the deep rhythm of Buck's breathing. By his reckoning it was about an hour before Buck began to stir. He smiled as he sensed Buck wake and then make sure he didn't move.
"I'm awake," he said gently, so that Buck could relax.
"Oh, okay." Buck didn't move, if anything he pulled Chris closer. "So what about you?" he asked.
"What are you doing these days?"
There was a long silence, then Chris gently rolled away from Buck, who didn't resist. He too lay back, so they were now lying side by side, gazing up at the sky.
"I sold the land," Chris finally admitted.
Buck froze, he didn't say anything, waiting for Chris to continue, he knew that 'the land' meant Chris' ranch, abandoned by him since the fire, but didn't include the homestead itself. Chris would never sell the land containing the charred remains of the house and more importantly, the graves of his family.
"Seemed the thing to do," Chris finally continued. "I'm thinking of gettin' back into raising horses, but not there."
Buck understood that, there would be too many memories. He was pleased that Chris seemed ready to settle down again. Raising horses had always been his ambition, even way back when they met in the war, long before Chris met Sarah. In those dark times, surrounded by death and destruction, they would talk about horses, about what kind of stallion to look for, how many mares to get, how often to have them covered, the relative merits of breaking the horses or selling them un-broken. When Chris didn't say anything else, Buck decided to press for a bit more information.
"So, where are you looking to buy?"
"Not sure, got any ideas?"
Buck considered the question, Chris looking to settle down again was a good sign, the best, he was a man who was happy when he was settled. Chris, unlike him, had been raised on a farm in a settled, respectable family; with an older sister and two older brothers, a mother and father all of whom loved him. True, one of his brothers didn't make it through the war, and life on a farm was hard work. But life on the Larabee farm in Indiana was good - very good, at least according to Chris if you listened on the rare occasions he spoke of his past. Chris wasn't meant to be a loner or a drifter.
Buck was different - or so he liked to tell himself. He didn't grow up in a 'happy ever after/apple pie' home. He was loved, even adored, he was well fed, he had clothes on his back and a roof over his head, but it was a less than ideal childhood. He'd seen and even experienced more ugliness in his first fifteen years than most men see in a lifetime and much as he tried to push it back and pretend it didn't affect him, it did. He wasn't meant to have the kind of life Chris had with Sarah. It wasn't that he was a loner, he liked people, but he'd been betrayed and kicked back so often as a boy and a young man, that deep down he believed, on some level, he really was the good for nothing, useless, whorehouse bastard he'd always been told he was. But not Chris, Chris was meant to have a home, a real home.
All that said - in Buck's head at least - Chris wasn't ready to be a 'respectable' member of society, and probably never had been. Even when he was married, he let Sarah go to the church picnics on her own. Then there was the homestead. In the intervening years since the tragedy Chris had drifted, and Buck had drifted in parallel. They had lost contact at times but most of the time they knew where each other was, more or less. Buck would make it a point to stop off in any town Chris stayed in for any length of time, he didn't necessarily seek him out, but liked to think he was there if Chris needed him. Most times when he stepped in to help, it had been against Chris' stated wishes, not that that stopped him, and on more than one occasion Chris had been so drunk he just hadn't known about his old friend's intervention. Yet in all these years it hadn't escaped Buck that Chris had never strayed more than a three day ride from his family's graves.
"What about Four Corners, you heard of it?" Buck suggested.
"Sure, the stage runs through there, right?" Chris sought to confirm.
"Right. Don't know it personally, but they say there's good land around there, town's a might woolly still."
"No bad thing - I'll think on it. When do you have to go to work?"
"Today, got a shipment to pick up in three days, need to set out this afternoon."
"Well that gives us a few hours yet."
"Yup, got any idea what we can do?"
"Oh one or two."
If you enjoyed this story, we're sure that Sammy would love to hear from you.
HOME | SAMMY GIRL'S FIC | TITLES | AUTHORS | UNIVERSES
This website is maintained by Donna and Barb
with corrections and additions