A Game of Chance
by Tarlan
Summary: Sometimes weeks would pass before they felt it was safe enough to spend time alone together.
May 2008 Choice 1: Tell a story that includes a backstory of how one of the seven acquired an item that we associate with him. I've chosen a pack of playing cards.

Sipping at the rotgut that passed for whiskey in this backwater saloon, Chris narrowed his eyes as he watched Ezra, both of them seated alone at their respective tables. Ezra's pale fingers fluttered almost daintily like a woman's, and yet Chris knew there was strength in them. He knew they were soft, with any calluses from riding or playing cards eased away each night using fancy, expensive hand creams bought from Mrs. Potter's store.

The cards in Ezra's hands looked old, the edges worn and a little ragged, making it harder to shuffle them with ease and yet Ezra still managed to turn the dealing of those old cards into an art form. Each card was placed meticulously onto the table, mostly facing down as he laid them out for a game of Solitaire. The nimble fingers were a match for the razor sharp eyes and mind, swiftly turning cards until he had been removed all of them from the game. A glint reflecting off that gold tooth gave the only indication of personal pride in the achievement, and then the next game was in motion.

Chris knew he could sit at this table all night if necessary, not requiring any company beyond the single shot glass and the half-full bottle of Red Eye. He knew he could keep his distance and merely watch those dancing hands and that tiny triumphant smile, until some stranger rose to the bait and asked for a game where more was gambled than mere pride. That old pack would disappear into an inside pocket and Ezra would draw out another; newer, crisper cards that held no secret past.

Chris knew all this and yet, moments later, he was sliding into the seat opposite Ezra; still mesmerized by the agile fingers and by the flash of green eyes whenever Ezra glanced towards him. He placed his bottle of whiskey and empty shotglass down onto the table in front of him.

"A game of chance, perhaps, Mr. Larabee?"

"Ain't gambling with you for money, Ezra." He kept his voice soft and low, with just a hint of bite to hide the affection he felt for this man.

Ezra had gathered up the cards quickly and was stacking them carefully, making them ready to slip back into their battered case but Chris reached out, covering the cards and Ezra's hand with his own. His fingers closed around the cards, half expecting Ezra to pull them away firmly. Certainly, he felt a little tension in the hand beneath his own before those fingers relaxed and opened; a trust given. Chris didn't know a lot about card manufacturing but he felt the difference in the weight and feel. He debated asking about them outright but Ezra wasn't one to be silent about such things except with good reason, and even then, most of it was bullshit.

"They were my father's."

Chris looked straight into guileless eyes, seeing the truth in them, having long since learned how to spot the lies.

"He taught mother every trick he knew before the Gamblers' Curse took him, and she taught me."

The air felt heavy with old hurts re-surfacing as Chris turned one of the cards over in his hand, thumb moving along a worn edge before stroking across the faded picture; the Ace of Spades, Ezra's calling card. He smiled softly, realizing this pack of cards held a lot of history for Ezra, for good and bad. Handing the cards back, he picked up the bottle and sloshed a little into both his and Ezra's glasses before raising his own in a toast.

"Hell, Ezra, all I ever got from my pa was a pair of old boots with a hole in them."

The dark mood broken, Ezra grinned, picking up his own glass to salute Chris in return. They downed the shots in one swallow, both of them grimacing at the roughness that never seemed to smooth for Chris no matter how drunk he got.

"I don't believe there will be much of a crowd here tonight, seeking my company."

"Circle boys will be in tomorrow, according to Buck."

Ezra gave a moue of distaste but Chris knew he took a lot of pleasure in relieving the Circle's hands of some of their hard-earned monthly pay. As long as he left each with enough to cover their drinks and whoring, nobody paid much mind to having a professional gambler in their midst.

"Perhaps I might best retire early for the night, in preparation."

"Sounds like a plan."

"Then perhaps you might care to join me for a small libation in the privacy of my room before retiring, Mr. Larabee." He glanced at the Red Eye. "I can assure you that I have a far superior blend to offer a gentleman such as yourself."

Chris smiled his agreement and let Ezra lead them from the saloon, leaving the bottle behind for the barkeep to put back under the counter until the following evening. Climbing the stairs gave Chris a good view of Ezra's strong back and shoulders, accentuated by the perfect fit of his favorite red jacket. Unfortunately, the longer cut hampered the view of one of his favorite portions of Ezra anatomy; the curve of his firm ass.

Once the door had closed and locked behind them, any pretense of indifference faded, and the greed shining in Ezra's eyes was for pleasure rather than monetary gain. While Chris dropped his hat and gun belt onto the cupboard beside the door, Ezra shrugged out of his velvet jacket, smoothing it carefully before hanging it up beside the green one. Sitting on the bed, Chris toed off his boots, looking up in time to watch Ezra remove his little derringer contraption before pulling on his cravat. Those agile fingers worked on the buttons of his ruffled shirt, slowly baring himself for Chris's pleasure until all Chris could see was the expanse of a smooth chest with small nipples already standing taut with desire.

Beautiful, he thought, though he'd never let that particular word slip in case it offended Ezra.

Ezra grinned though, and Chris knew he could read him as easily as he read his marks at poker. He turned away, presenting Chris with the unobstructed view of his fine ass that Chris had been denied earlier on the stairs. When he turned back, he held two filled glasses, and offered one to Chris. The whiskey was as smooth as Ezra had promised, gliding down his throat and coiling warm in his belly. He placed the glass on the bedside cabinet and reached for the waistband of Ezra's pants, using the material as a handhold to draw him closer still. Ezra made no complaint as Chris opened the expensive pants and pushed them down along with the underwear. He cupped his hands over the smooth skin of each perfect ass cheek and leaned in, breathing in the heavy, exciting musk of his lover before lapping at the dewdrop of precome beading at the tip. The taste exploded on his tongue, sending sparks of desire firing through his body, and he moaned at the tight pressure of his trapped cock as it strained against the unyielding cloth of his pants.

Fingers carded through his hair as Ezra began a litany of soft encouragement, culminating in a soft gasp as Chris took pity on him and wrapped his lips around the hard cock, letting Ezra thrust gently into his mouth. He sucked and licked, fingers digging into the firm, creamy-white globes of Ezra's ass to control his lover, to stop him from thrusting too hard, waiting for Ezra to find the rhythm he liked before easing his grip and letting one thumb slide between the cheeks to rub over the hidden pucker of muscle.

"Oh my!" Ezra choked out a cry as he found his release, pouring his seed into Chris's welcoming mouth.

It took but a few moments to strip off the remainder of Ezra's fine clothing and arrange him face-down on the bed, ass raised invitingly using a thick feather pillow beneath his narrow pelvis. It took a few moments more for Chris to pull off his own clothing and release his hard cock. The fancy smelling hand lotion was exactly where Ezra kept it in the side drawer, standing alongside other oils, perfumes and preparations that would put most women's dresser tops to shame. It was a side to Ezra that most imagined from his fancy clothes and mannerisms but that few had been privileged to see.

Chris used the lotion liberally to prepare his lover, sinking one then two fingers into the pliant body. He smoothed more lotion along the length of his shaft, enjoying the friction of his fingers over the sensitive flesh, before lining up and sliding into the tight heat of Ezra's body.

"Fuck!" So good, so good, he thought over and over as he pulled back out halfway and pushed back in, one hand wrapped around a hip bone, the other pressed against the curve of Ezra's back. His release swept over him too soon; he'd wanted it to last forever, and he moaned as he filled the tight hole with his seed, finally collapsing over the perspiring back.

Eventually he became aware of Ezra pushing back and, with shaking limbs, he pulled out carefully, unable to resist the amazing sight of his seed dribbling from the well-used hole, running in a creamy rivulet down the inside of one thigh. A tremor shook him to the core every time he saw this. His, he thought, seeing it as a visible brand on the perfect skin, letting him believe Ezra belonged to him, if only for this one sweet moment in time.

Leaning in, he lapped at the trail, grinning as Ezra squirmed, probably in disgust but Chris paid no heed to such fastidious behavior, eyes closing in renewed pleasure.

Chris hadn't the heart to insist on Ezra cleaning them both up even though he'd done all the work so far, instead he took pleasure in running a washcloth over the blemish-free skin before lying down beside Ezra. Ezra wasn't a man given to outward displays of intimate physical affection after sex but he tolerated Chris's arm slung low across his back, both of them aware that Chris would be gone long before morning.

It wasn't a perfect arrangement. Sometimes weeks would pass before they felt it was safe enough to spend time alone together, for neither of them wished to bring down the wrath of the township upon them, forcing them to abandon the lives they had built here.

No. Not perfect at all, but it was the best they could afford.

The End

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