By: Kaed

Disclaimer:  Don’t own ‘m, don’t profit from ‘m, get over it and lets move on.

Pairing:  Ezra and Buck.  My first, but not theirs.

Universe:  ATF

Warnings:  M/M sex, language, scenes of illness. In other words, don’t read this if you’re not into explicit sex, bad words and people losing their lunch.

Notes:  Written for Judith, in celebration of her birthday.  She wanted Ezra paired with Buck, and an emphasis on the relationship.  So no violence, but lots of Buckomfort and Ezragony.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIRL!  Also, thanks to Kerry, Annie and Jill for checking this over for me.  You’re great, ladies!  If I missed anything, it’s all on me.

Graphics by: Ninheve

He woke to the sound of rain splashing against the windows and, for once, the sound made him smile.  The thought of being ‘stuck’ inside due to bad weather was appealing.  It was Saturday, and there wasn’t anyplace he needed to be… they needed to be.  They could stay in bed all day if they wanted, and that was a very appealing option.  Hell, it was a three day weekend, and they could spend the entire time there if they wanted to.

A soft sigh pulled Buck Wilmington from his thoughts, and he looked to see the body beside him move slightly before settling back.  Ezra Standish lay curled on his side, his back to the bigger man, one bare shoulder visible above the thick satin comforter they shared.  He reached out gently, running his hand lightly along the silky smooth skin that covered the well-muscled body.  The mustached man moved a little closer to his lover, his hand moving beneath the covers until it discovered what it was searching for.  His own body responded as the other man’s cock began to swell beneath his touch.  Wilmington teased it, brushing his hand gently along the thick shaft of flesh.

A growing need began to pull the Southerner back from slumber, and he moaned softly.  Slowly he registered the rather pleasurable pain located directly between his legs.  He shifted slightly, lips parting as he softly sighed his contentment.  Ezra opened his eyes, peeking from beneath the lids to search for his lover.  In a voice raspy from sleep, he said, “you’re insatiable.”

“So they tell me.”  Buck ran a whiskered jaw along the other man’s shoulder, eliciting a groan.

“You could also do with a shave.”

“Reckon I could.”  Wilmington pressed warm lips to warmer flesh, running his mouth lightly up the long neck.

“Buck,” Standish said, his voice little more than a sigh. 

“That’s what they named me.”  His mustache tickled the other man’s jaw.

“Mm,” Ezra gave up any thoughts of further protest.  Instead he wriggled around until he was on his back.  His eyes opened fully now, taking in the sleep rumpled vision that was his friend, co-worker and, for the last five months, lover.  With a smile, he said, “good morning.”

“Morning.”  Wilmington’s hand was still massaging the thick cock hidden beneath the covers.  Leaning down, he pressed his mouth against the other man’s. 

They shared a long, deep kiss, Ezra’s lips parting to give Buck’s tongue entrance.  By the time they broke off, both men were breathless.  Standish’s mouth remained open, his eyes slanted half-closed again as the big man’s talented hand brought him fully erect and aching for release.  “Oh Lord… please…”

Smiling at the writhing body beneath him, the bigger man pulled back the comforter and slid around to tend to his partner’s needs.  Leaning down, he ran his tongue along the thick cock, tracing the pulsing vein that ran its length.  He felt the body he half covered tense, the smaller man moaning with pleasure.  Moving back up to the thick head, he rimmed it with his tongue before taking it into his mouth.

“Oh… God… yes!!”  Ezra cried out, his hands fisted into the sheets.  He strained upward, his body rigid beneath the other man’s.  As he felt his cock taken into the hot mouth, he cried out, throwing his head back. 

Feeling the man bucking below him, Wilmington smiled around a mouth full of hard flesh.  He slid down as far as he could, feeling Standish’s cock slip down his throat, then back up until he was sucking only on the bulging head.  Then down once more, until the big cock slid past his tonsils.  And then he swallowed… once, twice, three times.

“Oh God… yes, yes Buck… oh yes… oh… oh… oh-oh-oh… BUCK!”  Ezra screamed out his lover’s name as his body arched off the bed.  Only his head and heels remained in contact with the mattress as he slammed upward.  The exquisite torture sent him over the edge, and he felt his hot seed fill the other man’s mouth.

Wilmington kneaded the twitching balls, milking his lover dry.  As Standish collapsed back onto the bed, he stayed with him, still sucking at the now wilting flesh.  Then, letting the limp cock slip from his mouth, he moved upward, stretching up until he covered the smaller man with his own body.  Sliding his hands along well muscled arms, he found Ezra’s hands, and their fingers intertwined.  Leaning down, he captured the parted lips, muffling the Southerner’s soft, panting breaths. 

Standish pressed his tongue against the other man, coaxing his lips apart.  He tasted himself inside his partner’s mouth, salty cum mixed with Buck’s own taste.  For several minutes he allowed himself to drift, half asleep and sated, enjoying the lingering sensations that caused his body to twitch from time to time.  Then, he became aware of the swollen cock buried in the hollow of his thigh.  Breaking off the kiss, he looked into the close blue eyes, smiling at how wide and glassy they seemed.  “It seems that we are neglecting something.”

“Mm,”  Wilmington said softly.  “Reckon we are.  Kind of enjoyin’ things though.”

“I never thought of you as someone with a great deal of patience.”

Running whiskers and mustache along the flushed flesh of the other man, he whispered, “some things are worth the wait.”

They lay like that for several minutes, Ezra shifting from time to time, teasing at the rigid shaft that was nestled against him.  He felt Buck release one of his hands and knew what to expect next.  Smiling wickedly, he spread his legs, opening himself to his lover.  He expelled a sharp breath as he felt one long digit push past the tight ring of muscles of his ass.  The room grew still, the sound of the rain outside seeming loud as Buck once more covered his lover’s lips.  Standish’s pants and soft cries were released into the other man’s mouth as Wilmington prepared him for what was to come.

Feeling the tight ring begin to relax, Buck pushed a second finger inside, feeling Ezra twitch beneath him.  As it loosened a little more, a third finger massaged the muscles along the hot channel.  Finally he knew it was time, his own aching cock jerking in anticipation. 

Reaching up, the big man searched blindly for a foil wrapper on the bedside stand.  Finding one, he quickly tore it open and, with slightly trembling hands, slipped the rubber over his swollen cock.  Then, grabbing a pillow, he coaxed Standish’s hips up.  Slipping the thick foam rectangle beneath the other man’s ass, he quickly crawled between widely opened thighs. 

Ezra felt the sheathed shaft press against his ass, and took a deep breath to await the inevitable tremor of pain that followed.  He cried out, drawing his legs up to open himself even wider.  As Wilmington’s cock pushed up inside him, he moaned, wrapping his legs high around the other man’s back. 

Balancing himself above his lover Buck waited, watching for signs that the other man was relaxing.  As Standish’s breathing began to even out, he began to slowly thrust and retreat, feeling the muscles along the tight channel spasm and contract.  “Oh… damn… you feel soooo… good.”

In response, Ezra released his grip on the sheets and grasped the broad shoulders above him.  He thrust himself upward, trying his best to draw his lover deeper inside.  He cried out as Buck’s cock rubbed hard against his prostate, sending a jolt through his body.  Head thrown back, he was lost in the moment, reserve and decorum left the building as he thrust down with a guttural scream.

Thrusting harder and harder, Wilmington’s voice joined Ezra’s.  Both men cried out over and over again, their minds reeling with the pure release of sexual energy.  He felt his body gather, tensing almost painfully as he neared orgasm.  Then his body seemed to be floating, and he thrust hard enough to bang the other man’s head against the headboard as his cum exploded into the condom’s reservoir.  He continued rocking, moaning as he rode the wave toward the final thrust of completion. 

Finally he collapsed against the heaving chest below him, spent.  He could hear Ezra’s heart beating.  At first it was a rapid tattoo, but gradually it slowed until it had returned to the normal strong, steady beat.  He eased up, grasped the base of his cock, and pulled out of his lover.  On slightly unsteady legs he moved to the bathroom, returning a few seconds later after having disposed of their latex protection.  He carried a damp washrag and, after crawling onto the bed, he gently coaxed Ezra onto his back and bathed the other man’s stomach and groin.

“Mm,”  Standish breathed.  “Thank you.”

With a chuckle, Wilmington tossed the rag over the side of the bed and settled on the mattress beside his lover.  He reached down and pulled the thick covering up over both of them.  The smaller man rolled to his side, and Buck spooned up behind him, wrapping an arm over the narrow waist beside him. 

They drifted, half asleep and sated for a while, listening to one another breathe, and the rain outside.  Neither of them felt the need to talk, they found the peace and comfort they craved in the body beside them. 


Standish yawned and stretched, feeling the deep tug of well-used muscles that brought little pain but a sense of contentment.  He had taken many lovers over the years… female and male alike.  None of them had meant a lot to him.  Some were convenient, others part of an undercover assignment, still others simply friendships.  Sex had been more of a means to an end in those relationships.  A way to relax, to gain information, to ‘scratch an itch’ as it were. 

In the beginning his relationship with Buck had fallen into the category of a friendship.  He wasn’t certain exactly when it had gone past that, had become something he wanted, needed, craved and depended on.  He knew when he had recognized it for what it was…

They had all gone out to the Saloon, their favorite after hours hang-out.  The men of Denver’s ATF Team Seven were celebrating the end of a very rough assignment that had not been without its cost.  As they sat around their usual table, he had looked around to see the physical reminders of all they had been through. 

Chris Larabee leaned back heavily against the thick cushions of the booth, nursing a club soda due to the pain killers he was on.  A thick bandage along one side of his face and darkening bruises told of the fight he had barely won.

Vin Tanner sat beside him, smiling wanly at the conversation being carried on around them.  His left wrist sported a cast, and he moved stiffly, the result of heavily bandaged ribs.

JD Dunne, Josiah Sanchez and Nathan Jackson all sported cuts and bruises from their own battles.  Of all seven, only he and Buck Wilmington had managed to remain unmarred by the battle.  They had been designated team ‘baby sitters’, who would make certain that the more badly injured and totally inebriated managed to get home safely.

He watched from where he sat between Vin and JD, as Buck sauntered up to the bar with a very big grin.  The others chuckled, making guesses as to how long it would take Inez Recillos, the young Hispanic bar owner to rebuff his all too obvious ‘come on’ lines.

With the possible exception of Chris Larabee, Ezra was the only person at the table who knew the truth.  While he very openly flirted with most of the women he came in contact with, there was another side of Buck Wilmington.  He kept it quiet about the fact that he bedded men as often as women.  Ezra had been one of those men a few times, more because of proximity than anything else.  At least that was what they told themselves.

As he watched Buck making a complete fool of himself as he leaned over the bar, Standish found himself becoming more and more annoyed.  He put it down to the fact that Buck was ignoring his duties to their friends by lingering at the bar rather than returning with their drinks.  He insisted to himself that what he felt was nothing even remotely close to jealousy, even when he felt his cheeks flush with anger.

“Hey, Ezra?  You okay?”

He turned to see the wide, innocent eyes of JD Dunne staring at him.  “I’m fine.  Why?”

“Because you’re turning an interesting shade of red,”  Josiah answered, only slightly slurring his words.

“I’d call it crimson, wouldn’t you?”  Nathan added.

“More of a scarlet I think,”  Vin chimed in.

“Crimson… scarlet… ruby?”  Dunne asked, his eyes focusing and unfocusing on the men around him.

“You are all far less witty than you appear to believe yourselves to be,”  Standish admonished over the sound of laughter, his Southern drawl deepening as his anger flared.

“Knock it off, boys,”  Chris ordered.

Ezra looked over to see something in the hazel depths that shocked him.  Larabee was reading his soul, and what he saw was a truth that the smaller man continued to deny.

“Go get him before he makes a fool of himself.  Tell him I want to go home.  I’m tired and my pain pills are wearing off.”  Larabee ordered.

Nodding, the perturbed former FBI agent managed to climb past a fading Tanner.  As he straightened up, he looked to see that his quarry was no longer in sight, although Inez was still behind the bar.

“Think he went t’ th’ bathroom,”  Josiah muttered as he saw the younger man’s frown deepen.

Nodding, Standish strode across the big room, heading for the back hallway.  Not slowing, he moved down the dimly lit corridor toward the men’s room.  He rapped sharply on the closed door.  “Buck?”


“Chris wants to go home.”

“I’m a little busy here, Ace.”

Pushing the door opened, Ezra entered the small room, cursing as he did.  “Damn it Buck, how can you be so – “

The Southerner stopped abruptly, shocked to see Buck Wilmington sprawled out on the toilet, his pants around his ankles.  The big man’s hand was clamped firmly around his swollen penis.  He paused in mid-stroke, looking up at the other man with an expression as shocked as the one on the smaller man’s face.  Breathlessly he said, “fuck, Ezra, don’cha knock?”

He would never know what possessed him to do what he did next.  Turning, he fastened the lock on the door, making certain that it was, indeed, locked.  With two strides, he was across the room, where he knelt before the big man.  That part of his mind that registered such things was very glad that Inez kept the restrooms scrupulously clean.  Looking up, he locked eyes with the other man, and smiled.  He gently coaxed the hand from around the swollen shaft, and replaced it with his mouth.

He sucked Buck off, right there in the little cubicle.  As the big man shuddered through the end of his orgasm, he helped him off the toilet and slipped the man’s tight jeans up the long legs and over the trim hips.  Letting Wilmington close the denim over his limp cock, he looked up into the slightly glazed but devastatingly blue eyes.  He saw something there that took his breath away.  Buck wanted him.  Not for an occasional fuck, but for something far more important.  He… wanted… him

Reaching up, Standish pressed his lips against the mustached topped mouth of the shocked man.  His jade colored eyes glittered with desire and a touch of mischief.  Wrapping his arms around the bigger man, he slid his hands over the tight, twin mounds of ass, he squeezed.  “There’s more where that came from.”

While their relationship might have started out in the toilet, it had been nothing if not a joyous venture.  Buck spent more and more nights in his townhouse, the two of them exploring not only one another’s body, but the growing feelings that became more and more intense as time passed. 

The others spent a lot of time speculating as to the reason for the change in Wilmington.  While he continued to be pleasant and charming around Inez and the other women he came into contact with, he no longer flirted and made attempts to bed them.  JD was interrogated mercilessly as the others tried to figure out what had happened, but Buck’s young housemate wasn’t able to shed any light on the subject.

From time to time, Ezra caught Chris giving him a look.  A knowing glance that told him that the blond knew their secret.  And he would keep it.  Neither he nor Buck worried that the senior agent would share his knowledge with the others… 


Stretching again as he pulled himself from his reverie, Standish realized that he was alone in the big bed.  Flipping back the comforter, he threw his legs over the side of the mattress and pushed himself to his feet with a faint grunt.  Reaching for his robe, he wrapped it around himself as he padded from the bedroom in search of his partner.

The unmistakable sounds of Elvis Presley coming from the stereo drew Ezra toward the living room.  He heard noises coming from the kitchen, and stepped in that direction.  As he entered the room, he couldn’t help but smile. 

Buck stood at the stove, dressed in nothing but an apron.  Hips swaying as he worked over a skillet, he crooned along with the stereo.  “Love me tender… love me true…”

Slipping his arms around the lean body, Ezra leaned against the bigger man.  “I do.”

With a chuckle, Buck said in a soft voice, “you do what, Ace?”

“Love you.”

Moving them both back away from the hot stove, Wilmington turned in the smaller man’s arms, wrapping his own around the well muscled body beneath the thick robe.  “Y’ do, huh?”

“Very much,”  Standish replied.

Grinning broadly, the former ladies man said nonchalantly, “that’s good, ‘cos I love you, too.”

He found it impossible to read the bigger man for once, not knowing how much of what he said was truth and how much simply Wilmington’s version of ‘pillow talk’.  Deciding to pursue that thought later, Ezra watched as Buck leaned forward and the two of them met in a passionate kiss.  Everything else was forgotten for several minutes while they stroked and caressed one another. 

Then Wilmington pulled back with a curse.  “Ah hell, breakfast!”

With a laugh, Standish watched him turn back to the stove.  His keen eyes didn’t miss the way the apron, which was emblazoned with the rather trite ‘kiss the cook’, tented below the tie.

Buck managed to save breakfast, and they ate together at the kitchen table.  As he cleaned his plate, Ezra couldn’t help but stretch his leg beneath the table, his foot sliding along the other man’s muscular calf.  Watching Wilmington’s face light up, he continued moving upward, sliding beneath the canvas apron.  His toes ran lightly along the long, hard thigh, and he heard the other man’s breathing quicken.

“You know, I do believe that it’s getting a bit warm in here,”  the Southerner drawled.  With a mischievous glint in his eyes, he pulled at the tie holding his robe together.  As the thick, plush garment opened, he slipped it off his shoulders to hang over the back of the chair.  Sliding his arms out of the sleeves, he idly ran a hand across his broad, well muscled chest.  “Yes, that’s better.”

Buck was having trouble breathing and had all but given up on coherent thought.  The warm foot had found its way to his groin, and was rubbing gently against his cock.  Already aroused, he expected to simply explode at any moment.  The man across from him was running his hands over his own body, bringing the brown nubs of his nipples erect between thumbs and forefingers.  Standish’s green eyes were slowly being replaced with a fathomless blackness as he responded to his own touch.

Gently pushing the playful foot away, Wilmington managed to get to his feet, and stumbled stiffly around the table, untying his apron as he did.  Pulling it off over his head, he dropped it to the floor and reached out to pull Ezra to his feet.  “You’re gonna pay for that.”

Grinning drunkenly, the smaller man said, “I certainly hope so.”

They spent the rest of the stormy Saturday in bed.  They wrestled over the rumbled sheets in a wild sexual frenzy, and curled around one another as they gently made love.  They drifted in and out of exhausted sleep, and simply lay together, talking.  When hunger called them from the room just as the already gloomy sky began to darken toward nightfall, they fixed dinner together.  They ate wrapped together in a blanket on the big couch in the living room.  Ezra lay with his back against Buck’s chest, watching the rain fall against the big glass doors that led to an open balcony. 

Wilmington heard a contented sigh escape the other man’s lips and tenderly stroked a hand through the thick chestnut locks.  In a gentle whisper he said, “you sound like a man who doesn’t have a care in the world.”

With a wry chuckle, Standish said, “I’m not certain I’d go that far, but I honestly cannot think of a thing I could desire right now that I don’t already have.”


They had drifted off to sleep like that, spending several hours lying there together, Ezra nestled in Buck’s embrace.  The smaller man woke slowly, taking a minute to sort out where he was in the darkened room.  A soft snore brought everything back, and he smiled.  Then he moved, and bliss was replaced by a pure, unrelenting pain. 

With a stifled cry, Standish managed to gain his feet, staggering away from the living room, fingers woven through his thick hair in an effort to keep the pain at bay.  He stumbled through the house, only managing to navigate due to the familiarity of the rooms.  The pain made it impossible to see past the agonizing glare of the fireworks that were going off inside his head. 

Getting to the bathroom, he dropped to the floor beside the toilet with a whimper.  With clenched fists pressed hard against the porcelain surface, he attempted to rid himself of the pain, along with everything he had eaten that day.  He lost track of time… indeed he lost track of everything, including where he was and why… as the sickness overwhelmed him. 

Finally, after centuries of retching, the Southerner slumped limply against the wall with a whimper.  Then he felt something.  A warm touch against his clammy flesh.  Whispering, in an attempt to keep his head from exploding off his shoulders, he said, “Buck.”

“Yeah, it’s me.”  The bigger man knelt beside his lover, tenderly stroking the knuckles of one hand along the gray face.  He watched Standish for a minute, seeing the lines of pain etching ever deeper across his handsome features.  He had seen this before, a couple of times.  “Migraine?”

“Yes,”  Standish managed to choke past the bile that threatened to erupt once more. 

That was all the bigger man needed to know.  He pushed himself to his feet and went to the medicine cabinet.  Retrieving an amber bottle, he shook two capsules out and replaced the receptacle on the shelf.  Filling a glass with cold water, he knelt beside his lover once more.  “Open up.”

The Southerner’s lips parted and he felt the capsules deposited on his tongue.  A warm hand cupped around the back of his neck, and a cool glass pressed against his mouth.  He drank slowly, savoring the liquid chill that soothed his ravaged throat. 

Buck set the now empty glass aside, and moved across the room for a wash cloth.  Wetting it, he gently bathed the sweat covered face and neck before leaning down to deliver a soft kiss to the pain etched lips.  “Come on, let’s get you up off this cold floor.”

Ezra allowed himself to be lifted to his feet, and managed to stagger into the bedroom, wrapped comfortingly in Wilmington’s arms.  He was led to the big bed and helped to settle onto the mattress.  As he wearily eased his head onto the cool pillow, he felt Buck lift his legs up onto the bed.  The comforter was pulled up over him, and a hand tenderly stroked along his face.

This was a bad one, Wilmington could tell from the ashen pallor and general weakness his lover displayed.  He left the lights off, and pulled the heavy drapes over the bedroom window.  Returning to the bathroom, he came back to where the smaller man lay with another cool cloth.  Folding it, he lay it over the closed eyes.  Carefully settling on the edge of the mattress, he squeezed one lax hand.  “Pills ‘ll take care of it soon.”

He knew better.  It had only happened twice before in his life, but he remembered only too well the difference.  Not even the medication meant to quiet the pounding of his migraines would quiet this pain.  Only time and rest would bring an end to his agony.  He felt the mattress shift and, without thought, grasped at the hand holding his.

“Sh, it’s okay.  I was just gonna go get you a drink of water.”

“No, please.  I’m not thirsty.  Stay?”

Brushing his hand across the whitening knuckles, he said, “ain’t goin’ nowhere then.”

Wilmington sat there for the next few hours, simply watching his lover.  He left for only a few minutes at a time, making certain Ezra knew exactly where he was going.  He cooled the cloths and brought blessed relief in the form of glasses of water and more of the pain medication.  He coaxed the ill man to eat a few crackers in an effort to quiet his tumultuous stomach. 

As Ezra finally collapsed into an exhausted sleep, Wilmington slipped away only long enough to take care of his own needs.  Quickly eating a sandwich and downing a glass of water, he rinsed off the dishes and set them in the dishwasher.  Making certain the house was secure, he took a hurried shower before returning to the room where the smaller man slept.  Pulling off the towel he had wrapped around his waist, Buck slipped into bed beside his lover. 

Standish moaned softly but didn’t wake.  The mustached brunet gently stroked a hand down the clammy flesh of the ill man’s upper body, quieting him as he did.  Then, satisfied that the Southerner had sunk back into the depths of sleep, he settled in beside him, one arm protectively across the heavy chest.

It took three doses of the migraine medication to begin to ease the pain.  Buck tried from time to time to coax Ezra to go to the hospital, but the smaller man assured him that time and rest would be a better cure than being subjected to the harsh lights and loud noises of the busy ER.

Sunday was more than half over before Standish could bear the faint light that showed around the heavy drapes at his window.   He moved restlessly on the rumpled covers, but couldn’t find the energy to do anything about the growing discomfort. 

Buck noted the agitated movements from where he sat near the other man on the bed.  In a hushed tone he asked,  “what’s wrong?”

“What?”  Standish grimaced at the sound of his own voice.  “Nothing… I’m fine.”

“No you’re not,” it was a statement rather than a question.

“It’s the bed,”  he finally admitted.  “It’s rather… “

“Rank?”  Wilmington guessed.

A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.  “In a word, yes.”

“Reckon it would be after all th’ action it’s seen th’ last couple of days.  I’ll see what I can do about that.”

Standish heard the other man walking softly across the room, tracing his movements to the bathroom.  A minute later he heard the sound of water running, and knew Buck was drawing a bath.  He allowed himself to drift, hours of unrelenting agony and the effects of the pain medication making him hazy.  The next thing he knew, he felt the cool touch of air on his flesh.  With a wisp of a smile he said, “and what do you have in mind, sir?”

He couldn’t help but sigh at the sight of the smaller man lying there, naked and vulnerable.  He knew they wouldn’t be following his train of thought so, with a slightly embarrassed chuckle, Wilmington said, “don’t think you’re ready for what’s on my mind.  Think we’ll settle for cleanin’ things up for now.”

Standish gasped as he felt the bigger man slip his arms beneath his shoulders and knees and lift him into the air.  “Good Lord Buck, I’m not an invalid.  I can walk to the bath on my own”

Softly, the big man said, “I know.”

Ezra Standish heard something in that voice that filled him with a feeling of pure joy.  Complete and unrelenting love.  With a contented sigh he snuggled against the broad chest and allowed himself to be carried away.  Not just in the physical sense, as his mind spun with thoughts of how happy this amazing man had made him.  He no longer considered himself a lonely, solitary man who lived outside the circle of humanity.  He no longer carried the baggage of the child watching through the window as others enjoyed the love and camaraderie that was shared so unthinkingly.  He loved, and was a loved man.

He felt himself lowered into his deep, old-fashion style tub.  The water was the perfect temperature, and lightly scented with bath oil.  He moaned long and low as he sank into the water.  He felt something placed behind his head and realized it was his little air filled bath pillow.

Reaching down into the water, Buck drizzled a little over the other man’s broad chest and then stroked it through his thick chestnut hair.  “Okay, you just lay here and soak, and I’m gonna go take care of things in the other room.”

He nodded, the heat of the tub soaking into his aching muscles.  He heard Buck leave, pushing the door closed as he did.  After a few minutes he opened his eyes to near darkness, a single candle providing the only illumination in the room.  Running wet hands over his face, he slid a little lower until he was beneath the water to his chin.

Ezra wasn’t certain how long he had drifted there in the water, but the sound of the door opening once more brought him awake.  Soft footfalls came near the tub and he opened his eyes once more to see Buck silhouetted in the candlelight.  He reached out with one hand and felt it taken in the other man’s. 

“Thought I’d see if you’re ready to get out of there,”  Wilmington said.

With a sigh, Standish said, “if I must.”

“You can stay in there as long as you like.”  Buck dropped to his knees beside the big tub and softly splashed the water over his lover. 

“I suppose that if I stay in much longer I’ll turn into a shriveled prune.”  He started to push himself up, but felt the bigger man’s hand on his chest.

“Allow me,”  Wilmington said with a soft growl.  He took up a washcloth, poured scented soap into the center, and began rubbing it over the man’s well-honed body. 

“Oh… oh my,”  Ezra gasped at the feel of the soft cloth rubbing over his arms and upper body.  by the time Buck had coaxed him up to bathe his back, he was trembling.  As the big man began bathing his lower body, he was certain he’d pass out from shear ecstasy. 

Wilmington pulled the detachable shower head from the wall and ran warm water through the other man’s thick locks.  Filling a palm with shampoo, he washed Ezra’s hair, rinsing it while the smaller man leaned against him.  He knew Standish’s posture was less about feeling ill and more about the comfort of being in his arms.  He smiled, kissing the damp forehead. 

Pulling the plug, Buck lifted Ezra out of the tub and settled him on the edge.  He gently dried the cooling body, then wrapped a thick towel around his lover.  Toweling the man’s hair dry, he brushed it carefully, acutely aware of how sensitive the other man’s senses remained.  Finished, Wilmington lifted him into his arms once again, carrying him back toward the bedroom. 

Not protesting this time, Standish snuggled in the warm embrace.  “I do believe I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

Grinning broadly, the bigger man said, “nah… you’re just in Wilmington’s care.”

“Mmm.  I’m not certain there’s a difference.”

Kissing the forehead that was graced with damp curls, Buck said, “you’re delirious.”

“No… I am simply in love.”


Startled at his own admission, Ezra tensed.  No matter how long he lived, he doubted that he would ever be rid of the fear of rejection that his mother had taught him only too well.  Preparing for the worst, he stammered, “y-yes.”

Hugging the body in his arms, the big man said, “good, ‘cos I wouldn’t want to be the only one.”

Gasping at the admission, the Southerner could only turn his face into the broad shoulder, trying with only some success to stifle the soft cry of happiness.

Settling his lover on the mattress, Buck slipped the towel off him and replacing it with the fresh sheet and comforter he’d covered the bed with.  He looked into the other man’s face, seeing the play of emotion on the still pale features.  Tenderly stroking the curls edging the handsome face, he said softly, “I love you Ezra.  I thought you knew that.”

Unable to look into the guiless blue eyes, Standish picked at the comforter as he said, “I had hoped… had even prayed… but I could never… would never… allow myself to believe it to be true.”

Shaking his head, Buck said, “I know you grew up learnin’ not to trust other people, Ace, but you need to believe that I’d never say anything I didn’t mean.  Not with you.  So I reckon I’ll have to keep working on making certain you believe I love you.  If that means I tell you every day, then so be it.  I love you Ezra Standish.  I love you today… and I’ll love you tomorrow.”

He could blame it on the throbbing that was only now beginning to lessen behind his eyes after over a day, but he knew the truth.  The ease and honesty with which the big man professed his feelings ripped away the walls he had built with such care over the years, to expose the need he had denied for so long.  The need for a love such as that which the other man offered him.

Rather than be repulsed by the candid show of emotion, Buck felt it touch his heart.  He reached out and cupped his hand around the man’s jaw and leaned down to capture his eyes.  “It’s all right… I know you haven’t had a lot of this, but I can’t give you anything less.  I love you with everything I’ve got, Ezra, and I don’t see that changin’ anytime soon.  Not in this lifetime.”

Beyond words, Standish reached up, wrapping his arms around the other man’s neck.  He felt himself lifted up as Wilmington pulled him into his arms and cradling him against his chest.  Strong fingers stroked through his hair and gently rubbed across his shoulders. 

Buck began to rock, caressing the smaller man and humming tunelessly against the top of his head.  He held him like that for long minutes until he felt the other man begin to relax.  As Ezra lay heavily in his arms, he listened to the slowing breathing, waiting until Standish dropped off to sleep.  Only then did he lay his lover back on the bed, continuing his gentle litany as he covered the lax form to the chin.  Delivering a gentle kiss to the finally cool forehead, he whispered, “I do love you, Ezra.”


Ezra stretched, luxuriating in the freedom from pain.  It was Monday afternoon, and he was enjoying the sunlight that glittered through the open windows.  The smell of rain washed air filled the room, and even the sounds of holiday traffic filled him with contentment.  He pushed himself up against the arm of the couch, reaching behind himself to fix the pillow behind his back.  A sound drew his attention, and he turned to find Buck coming in from the kitchen, a covered tray in his hands.

“Buck, you’re going to end up exhausted yourself at this rate.  I’m fine now, you don’t need to continue taking care of me.”

Feigning a crestfallen look, the big man said, “what, you don’t like my cookin’?”

Rolling his eyes, Standish said, “well considering the only thing you’ve fixed for me since the headache left has been toast, I don’t feel I’m qualified to make a judgment.”

Laughing heartily, the bigger man said, “yeah, well, this is a bit more than toast.”  He settled on the coffee table and carefully placed the laden tray on the other man’s lap.

Ezra gingerly lifted the red and white checked cloth from the tray as if expecting a sneak attack.  He relaxed when he found only a bowl of chicken soup, a pack of crackers and a tall glass of ginger ale.  He nodded appreciatively toward his lover.  “Quite the feast for a convalescent.”

Grinning, Wilmington said only, “thought we’d better get something solid into you before you waste away.”

Spreading the cloth over his chest, the smaller man sampled a spoonful of the warm soup.  Smiling, he said, “this is quite good.”

Shrugging, Buck said, “can’t go wrong with Campbell’s.”

Almost choking as the comment caught him off-guard, Standish recovered, smiling as he shook his head.  “You’re becoming quite the gourmet cook.”

“Yep, didn’t even have to have help getting the can open.”

Ezra chuckled, “you’ll become civilized yet.”

“Oh Lord, I hope not.”

The reclining man grew quiet then, his expression serious.  “I’m sorry Buck.”

“For what?”

“I’ve ruined our entire holiday weekend with this cursed headache.”

“Ah hell, Ace, you didn’t do it on purpose.”

“No, but still – “

Reaching out, Wilmington cupped his hand beneath the other man’s chin, turning the handsome face toward him.  “You’ve got nothin’ to apologize for, stud.  None of this was your fault, so stop feelin’ guilty.  Besides, nothin’ was ruined.”

“How can you say that?  You’ve spent almost the entire weekend trapped inside with me, acting as my nursemaid when you could have been out enjoying the holiday.”

With a shake of his head, Buck smiled.  “Ah hell, Ezra, I didn’t miss anything. I had everything I wanted right here… rainy days… chicken soup… and you.”


The End