Winter's Turn

by Sue Kelley
ATF, C/B, thanks to Mog for the ATF universe
Warning: death story
A story in 4 drabbles

Clouds 1/4

He ran his fingers down his mate's back. Gently traced the plane of his ribcage.

A random worry, quickly fled washed away in pleasure.

Was it the next week? He went in the kitchen and found Buck in the kitchen, a bloody towel pressed to his nose.

Just a nosebleed. Hell, altitude. Who didn't have a nose bleed every once in a while.

Chris wasn't worried. He told himself that at three a.m. when he'd wake from a sound sleep and be unable to close his eyes again, when all he could do was lay there and listen to Buck breathe.

And then the clouds moved in thick and fast.

Buck and Vin both went to the local hospital for the quarterly Blood Drive.

Three hours later Vin called the office. Vin was fine.

Buck was not.

Lightning Strike 2/4

Chris broke all speed records getting to the hospital. He found Vin. He couldn't see Buck. "They" were running tests. Nobody would tell Chris anything. He asked politely and then he demanded, ordered and threatened but it made no difference. "You just need to wait, sir. More coffee?"

Finally, he had Buck's room number. He could be with his lover. The elevator seemed to take an hour to travel five floors but the doors opened and Chris stepped out.

And his world shattered.

A simple sign on the wall, "Oncology".

The very word a death knell in Chris' mind.

Snow 3/4


One. Two. Then another.

Just keep breathing.

He stared out the window, at the frozen night. Snow was falling again, but it was gentle now, soft and silent. He needed the quiet. He had to be able to hear the breaths.

Outside the room, down the hall, the family was gathered.

They'd said good-bye, through tears, choked voices. Buck couldn't hear them; he was already sinking away, but Chris knew they were in the living room, for him, drawing strength from each other, but knowing he needed to be alone now with the man he loved.

Just listening for that final breath.

Ice 4/4

Chris stood on the porch, chilled fingers wrapped around a mug of long-cold coffee. Someone had cleared all the booze from the house. Vin was sacked out in the recliner, moved in front of the gun cabinet.

The snow already weighed heavy on the branches. Now as the ice plummeted from the frigid night sky in shards of glittering death, the branches bowed, then splintered under the weight to fall with a ripping scream to the ground.

Chris screamed his grief, his rage. Let the daggers of ice shred his body. Let the storm take him away.

His heart was already gone.