It Hurt
(Old West)

by Phantom Black Sheep

Disclaimer: I don't own them, and like every other fan, I wish to hell I did.
Rating: PG13 to R. Nothing too explicit.

It hurt.

That was all his numbed mind could piece together, all he could comprehend, all he could see and feel.

It hurt.

Just watching him. Watching those elegant, beautiful hands moving with such a dexterous grace that they would have put a swan to shame. The green eyes, sparkling and ever changing, so perfect and inviting, yet also showing the deadly power of the man. Like the ocean, which he had never seen, but could picture so perfectly within his mind due to the silken tales, spun from the man's lips. Tales that he secretly listened to with a need as furious as the need of a grizzly bear when protecting its young. This man was his young, and he would protect him to the death.

If he could, he'd wrap his arms tightly around that perfect form, holding him close and not letting go. But he couldn't. He couldn't say anything about these feelings for fear of losing this man forever. He had to keep it all to himself, just watching from afar, unseen like the wind, but his gambler couldn't feel his presence.

And it hurt.

It hurt that his love, a love that he thought had died a long time ago, wasn't returned. To know that the one person who could promise him future happiness sat only a few tables away but was somehow untouchable.

He tossed back a shot of cheap whiskey, finding comfort in the steady burn which ran down the back of his throat, caused by the amber liquid. Tomorrow he'd have a hangover, he didn't care, he was a glutton for punishment.

The center of his world smiled at something said by one of his marks, sending a thrill of possessive jealousy running down his spine. The gambler was his, and his alone, if he couldn't have him, couldn't make his eyes twinkle or his lips curl back, if he couldn't make that groan of ecstasy roll from his throat, then no one could.

He would do something about it, he'd drag him from his seat. Kiss those lips until they were swollen from lustful passion. He'd take him away, away from here, away from prying eyes. Take him to a quiet place, silence broken only by their deep breaths, take where he could hear him, see those beautiful eyes. See the fear, the confusion, the disbelief. The disgust.

Ezra wouldn't understand. He wouldn't understand this need burning within him, not only in his groin, but also in his heart. He wouldn't see the love in his eyes; he would only see the lust, and the fact that he was a loner, a drifter, a drunk.

No, he wouldn't drag Ezra away, he wouldn't kiss those lips. He would just sit here and drink his life away. At least the Ezra in his dreams trusted him; he cried 'Yes' rather then 'No'.

The Ezra born of the light rather then the shadows laughed at that moment. The rich, bubbling sound caused by a joke uttered by one of his marks. Jealousy once more ran through him, he'd never been able to do that. He'd only been able to bring forth the sarcastic self-mocking smirk; there was always a guard up between them. Shields that suffocated both of them, yet Ezra preferred to hold his breath rather then risk breathing through the reed beneath the water.

Letting out a soft growl born of frustration, he pushed himself to his feet and strode to stand behind the gambler, stealing a chance to breath in his soft scent, soap and powder, with the underlying tang of must and spices.

"Game over," he growled. The quietness of his voice not hiding the venom in the least.

Ezra turned to look at him, one brow raised above glittering green eyes.

"Excuse me?" he asked.

"I said game over, sick and tired of you makin' trouble here cause of your greed." A lie, yet not a lie. Yes he was both sick and tired, but of lusting for what he could never have, not for the reasons he had just ground out.

Ezra smirked again, something flashing in his eyes. A calculating light, he was adding together the odds of resisting, finally, with a deliberate slowness, he tilted his hat to his marks and dropped his royal flush down onto the table. Gathering together the meager amount he had won, he stood from his seat and with an icy nod to the one standing behind him, he walked out of the saloon. Out of his reach, his life.

Chris sighed quietly to himself and turned back to the shadowy corner he had risen from, dropping down into his seat in a defeated posture.

Why did he have to be like that? Why, whenever those eyes met his, did he have to chase him away? Why did he have to snap out at him?

He loved Ezra, more then life itself, but that's what made it so hard. What if Ezra could love him back in the same way? What if he could trust him with everything he possessed.

He couldn't, handle Ezra loving him more then his own life. He couldn't handle losing anyone again, as he had lost Sarah.

He promised himself he'd never go through it again. Why couldn't his heart just listen to his brain?

Untitled Series Index On to: The

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