by Charlotte C. Hill
30-minute timed writing challenge
Universe: any modern one you like; it's non-specific

Buck leaned in the bedroom doorway, just watching Chris sleep. He did it often-more than he'd ever admit to the man lying in that bed, maybe more than was, he thought, healthy or normal. Not that he'd ever put much value on "normal", or he wouldn't be here at all.

Chris slept half-on his belly, one knee out that Buck knew kept him from mashing his dick flat against the mattress, and the position made his butt stick up a little, drew an intriguing lump in the covers that typically drew Buck's eyes, his hands, his cock. He grinned; Chris liked to call him predictable, and in some ways he sure as hell was.

He pushed off the doorframe and shook his head, turning for the kitchen and the coffee maker. It was new, one of those Starbucks specials that brewed coffee so thick you could stand a spoon up in it, and for weeks after they'd bought it, Chris had walked around tight as a piano string. Buck had started buying the coffee, mixing half-decaf into it on the sly, and Chris had settled down after that. He pushed buttons, stuck one cup of water and one of milk into the microwave to heat, and brewed shots. When the timer pinged, he grabbed the cups out, poured about a pound of sugar into Chris's, and dumped the shots in, watching the water turn rich and dark. He'd never been much for milk, but the first time he'd accidentally chugged a swig of the syrup Chris drank, he'd gagged for what felt like an hour; milk was an easy price to pay to avoid mistaking that sludge for his own coffee.

"Keeps my bones strong," he'd said when Chris asked him about it.

He returned to the bedroom, cups in hand, but stopped again in the doorway. Chris had rolled onto his back, one hand reaching out to the empty side of the bed, and a tiny frown marred his face. Buck smiled. Chris rarely said it, but he didn't like waking alone, not if he hadn't gone to bed that way. And Buck understood; Chris still had dreams sometimes, of Sarah's death, and if the way he woke up with Chris octopussed around him most mornings didn't say "I love you and don't want you gone," Buck didn't know what did.

Chris would certainly never say it, he thought, and chuckled into his coffee cup.

He strode over to the bed and set both cups on the nightstand, then parked his hip on the edge of the mattress. Chris's hand lay there, palm up, fingers grasping, and Buck wondered what his lover was dreaming, wondered if it was a good dream or a bad one. He wished Chris would tell him, but he'd known who he was getting when they'd gotten together, known just how close-mouthed Chris could be about things that embarrassed him, and missing Buck, after years of friendship and a whole lot less time of this, embarrassed the hell out of him.

"Couldn't get rid of you even when I tried," Chris was all too fond of saying, "so I gave up trying."

"Guess you weren't trying too hard then," Buck would reply, and usually Chris would touch him after that, silent apology for the fact that he was basically an asshole who had no intention of changing.

Buck ran his fingertips over Chris's palm, smiling when the hand twitched, and did it again. And again. Eventually the twitch traveled up Chris's arm and to his face, and his nose wrinkled, his eyes blinked open.

"That coffee?" Chris mumbled, still more asleep than awake.

"Yeah. Want some?"

"Mmmm." Chris rolled to his side and blinked, looking for the cups on the nightstand. Buck watched him though, not fetching the cup, because if he waited long enough Chris would haul himself up and wriggle across the bed, right in front of him, to get it himself. The bedclothes always slid down, exposing smooth, tanned skin and sometimes, if Chris was sleepy enough or the cups were far enough away, the smooth, hard curves of his neat little ass. It was worth fetching coffee, just to see that show. Better'n the premeditated gyrations of the best stripper. Better than some of the things they did to get the other's attention. Better than almost anything, that natural movement, that bare, sleep-warm skin, that total comfort in Buck's presence.

That was new, something Chris had only gotten after they'd fallen into bed together that first time. Buck shook his head; he still couldn't believe it had taken them almost twenty years to figure out that they were good together in bed. That guys could be good together.

He'd never been more grateful to Jack Daniels in his life, even though they'd woken with hangovers the size of Texas the next morning. Buck still remembered every word, every detail: the ache in his ass that had made him cringe, wondering what it said about him that he'd let his best friend roll him over like a bar pick-up and fuck him through the mattress, and wondering what it said about Chris that he'd do that; the tacky feel of come on his belly, and when he'd checked, Chris's hand; the familiarity of waking up next to someone he'd known so damned well in every way but this one. Hell, even the stench of sex-sweat and booze wasn't foreign to him, not with Chris. They'd been pretty wild in their day, but always with women in the picture.

He'd been breathing fast, not sure then if it was the urge to puke or panic, until Chris opened his eyes and glared at him, obviously headache-laden and just as obviously determined to control the fallout. "You gonna be sick?" Chris had asked him.

"No," Buck had said, though he hadn't been sure.

"You gonna run off?"

"Maybe." because it was weird, and frightening like nothing else ever had been with Chris.

Chris had rolled over, arm and leg blanketing Buck's body and confining him. "Let me get some more sleep first," he'd mumbled, and started nuzzling at Buck's neck. The panic had risen higher, and Chris hadn't seemed to care or even notice.


"Don't, Buck," Chris said flatly. "Don't get scared on me, not now."

"Well why the hell not!" Buck had yelled, and finally shoved himself out from under Chris and off the bed. His ass felt funny, his whole body felt funny, and if there had ever been a better reason to panic about something he'd gotten up to in bed, he didn't know what it was.

"Because I love you, and I'm hung over and I don't want to have to chase your ass down," Chris had snapped back.

That had stopped him moving, stopped even the gears in Buck's brain. "Huh?"

"Quit fishing," Chris sniped at him, eyes closing. "Why the hell else do you think we're here?"

"Huh." When Chris said it like that, it did make a certain amount of sense. And after taking a leak, and drinking about a gallon of water from the sink tap and splashing water on his face, Buck had figured that Chris was right. He'd stared at himself in the mirror for a long minute, trying on words: love. Loved. I love you. Those felt pretty good. Then he tried some others: gay, queer, homosexual, and decided he didn't care after all. Hell, he'd never minded being called a slut or a carouser or a horndog, so why should this be any different?

The way it had happened wasn't even different, for Chris. He wasn't the kind of guy who sat around discussing things, especially emotional things. He just decided what he was going to do, and then he did it, and coped with the fallout like the stubborn, independent cuss he was.

When Buck had come back into the bedroom, Chris had been sitting up in the bed, elbows hanging loosely over his upraised knees, a wary look on his face. He'd clearly been watching the bathroom door, and Buck had grinned. "You're a lying sack of shit, Larabee," he'd chided from the doorway.

"You mind telling me why?"

"Acting all cool. It was nice though, the way you planned it. I never saw it coming."

He watched a look of relief sweep Chris's face; had Chris thought he'd be pissed? Hell, maybe he should have been, because in the cold light of day he'd been able to see Chris's whole plan. But it was hard to be pissed when you knew that what you never thought you needed had been right there with you all along.

A sharp poke to his side made him flinch and brought him back to the present. Chris, butt exposed just like Buck liked it, coffee cup held in one hand, glared balefully at him. "What," Chris asked, but it sounded more like an accusation.

Buck smiled and shook his head, then reached out to put his hand on Chris's hip, rubbing gently over the smooth curve of it, a curve that his hand fit so damned well. He walked his fingers over the mound of it, inching toward the deep crease. "Nothing. What're we doing today?"

Chris shrugged. "It's Saturday, so, mucking the stalls, yard work, laundry... the usual. Could take the horses out, ride onto the preserve if you want."

Buck took Chris's coffee cup from his hand and stretched out in front of him, fitting them together slant-wise across the bed. His dick was hard, which wasn't any surprise; something about remembering that first time always did that to him. "Okay. Just... a little later, all right?"

"Slut," Chris said affectionately.

"You betcha."

-the end-

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