gift
horse

All this big white, with its scratchings of black and green, is made of magic. I just know it in my gut, and I feel it in my lungs, and I see it, right in front of me. It's just there, big as the horizon and sometimes weird like twisted black trees, but always close as the glittery sparkly frost on Fraser's eyelashes when I wake up; so close I can reach out and touch it and it touches me back until his eyes open and he smiles. The kinda magic I always already knew was out there somewhere, and knew if I found it I could just look at it and know it was real. I found it in Chicago but I didn't know Fraser was just one little piece of it, a snowflake that blew into the city and charmed what it landed on, and did it without melting because it was still connected to here.

And silence is all settled down around me, like white and quiet just go together. When my eyes see exactly what my gut is telling me, and my brain isn't asking, *what's the catch what's the trick what's the angle gimme the answer*, nothing needs saying. We talk, yeah, for hours sometimes, but its about music and muscle cars, and existentialism, which I haven't really figured out, and how to make a fire that doesn't go out, which I'm getting good at.

We don't talk about the Hand of Franklin any more. We never mentioned Vecchio. I haven't said *Chicago* since we went in the opposite direction from it. Most of all we haven't said anything about the the layers fading from between us and weaving around us, so that one morning when I woke up there was a hand molded loosely around my stiff and I wasn't too surprised. I just pushed into it a bit, and it squeezed some, which felt pretty good, and I came. Then I squeezed the cock that was in my hand, until Fraser buried his face in my neck and sighed, and we slept a bit more before we got up and kept going. We wake up like that a lot now, and sometimes it happens before we go to sleep, and sometimes we lay down together and don't sleep at all.

Obviously it's summer, because the sun just winds around like some weird lassoo or a hypnotising thing, and it doesn't exactly go down, the world just tilts a bit so that it's out of sight for a while. I'm wired as Silicon fucking Valley and the sun spinning in circles makes me think we're walking round and round the North Pole. Fraser tried to explain the path the sun really would take if we walked around the North Pole at midsummer, but I got so dizzy I fell down and rolled around in the snow like a total boonie.

But he said midsummer, which is definitely in June or something, and I remember March the Eleventh, and even though Welsh said *as long as you need*, I really don't think he meant *don't worry bout calling or coming back or any of that freaky uptight stuff*. So I finally broke the spell and said something, maybe it was two days ago, maybe three--who knows, when it's day all the time? It was just something like, *haven't we seen that mountain before, cause I remember that part there, it looks like an eagle*. And Fraser looked up at it and said that he didn't want to invalidate me or insult my eyesight or anything, but it didn't look like an eagle to him.

Later, when it got less bright and we tried to sleep, with my fire on one side of me and Frase on the other, I said, *are we lost?*

Fraser rolled back and looked at the wishy-washy sky and said, *to be lost you have to want to be somewhere you're not*.

*Okay*, I said, cause it made sense in that way of his that I like. Fraser rolled close again and pulled the furs tighter around us and we went to sleep together.

Now, though, I wonder just how dumbassed I was to say anything, because I've walked over a ridge, and ridgy-didge, there's a cabin. It sits there like a huge fat beetle, the first shelter we've had in, who knows, weeks or maybe months or however long, but I'm not happy to see it. It gives me that stomach jolt, like when your car goes off a pier, or when you fall out of a window, and for a second all you know is that you're really, really hollow inside. That thick box of logs looks like a sign pointing to the city, and I didn't know until now that I don't want to go back yet. If we were going around in circles, Frase, I'm not complaining, let's just do us another lap. We drive right up to the door while Fraser looks all inscrutable, and I swear I'll be quiet from now on, swear it silently to the snow and the sky.

But Fraser says that he and Dief smelled a blizzard--what, like you'd smell bad socks?--and it would be a good idea to have some shelter for it. And besides, he says, opening the cupboards and showing me, the place is *plenished*, with bread and cheese and canned vegetables, and our diets have been quite deficient in something-or-other lately. I suppose now I can see that our rations ran out a while back, and we've mainly been eating rabbits whenever Frase and the dogs catch them. So the two of us sit down at some empty table in the middle of whoknowswhere and eat, and the hard bread tastes so good, and the bitter cheese, I can't stop eating it, and jeez, louise, I never licked the plate clean after canned peas before, but I sure am now.

I was such a dumbscuzz before this. Back in Chicago, I told him, *food only tastes better in the Yukon because you get hungrier there*. I was so fucking wrong. Food tastes better out here because it just plain tastes better, and if I wasn't this hungry all the other times I ate, then I was just plain missing out, and a sucker. Telling him that makes him smile, the way he smiles when he's secretly pleased but not saying, and when I want to know why, he gives me a look which is a tight beam of juggernaut, the Mountie-polite version of Just You Wait Mister. It shuts my trap so fast I can hear my guts throbbing. That look is promising something like the end of cold buddies-in-the-wilderness groping and the start of something way hotter, and I ain't gonna say a word to risk it.

It happens in the funny round bathtub which took hours to get ready, all that putting snow in a cauldron and chopping all that wood and starting a fire so that, crickle-crackle, like magic, the wood turns itself into coal and the snow into hot water. This is the kind of magic I really believe in, now, in the place in my heart which has been remade pure and white and untouched and *huge*, huge as the white world we're wandering around in, empty in the way Fraser talks about here and the existentialists talked about nothingness, something gravid and immaculate, something that's always pure inside of you.

In the bathtub, after we've both shaved and scrubbed one another down, and when our hands start smoothing across pink skin beneath the water, he touches my cheek and closes his eyes, some beyond-words emotion on his face in the firelight, and he's beautiful. When his lips touch mine, in the screen on my eyelids I still see snowflakes falling, but I'm growling into his mouth and gnawing at him. His lip is bleeding and I suck it while his teeth tear at mine. I've been so hungry for this, and he tastes as good as bread and cheese and vegetables, and feels as good in my mouth.

It's good to know it's this good when we're starving, cause if we go back to Chicago together--*together* together--there'll be crime and dirt and most of all, rules, all spiky and prickly and thick, which say this is totally, in a thousand ways, forbidden. Good to know it'll always be this good, after weeks of yearning for him till my guts are all knotted and my chest is cramped and I'm dying of separation.

That's not for thinking about, though, all those Ifs and Whens when there's Now, and Fraser moaning urgently against my mouth. We're entwined in water that's warm like a body, in a room heated by fire, so that I can't feel what's him or me or water or air, there's just one big *us*, all mixed together like magic has made it. He shudders, or I do, and soon one of us is deep inside the other, and, a fuzzily urgent later, somebody cries out. We kiss some more, for maybe days or maybe weeks, until the fire gets good and blazing again.

Now I think it's me who's sucking on his fingers as we rumple one another into blankets... Yeah, yeah, it's me. I'm clutching his wrist as he tries to pull his hand away, but, please Ray, please, he says, and there's a beautiful shiny cock that I suck on instead. It feels like it's my body twisting under me, and my body shoving against it, and everywhere around all of me is Fraser, like the skin that holds together all the bits and pieces of Stanley Ray Kowalski. Then he falls apart and his *ah ah* noises unravel me too, and all of my bits and pieces go flying, hoping to collide with bits and pieces of Fraser so I can take them and keep them and be sure they're in good hands...

... this time it's the kitchen table; I love fucking on a table but who knew I'd ever climb up Fraser and slide down the other side and make him hold me down and have his puzzled but willing way with me. He does it so fantastic, until I squirm right off the edge and knock all the chairs over. We spin around on the carpet like a compass at magnetic north, and I'm laughing on top of the world, but mid-laughter I freak out and only his kisses stop me blurting that now we're up here, every direction is south, south, south...

... and now the outside has gone as close to dark as it gets. Funny, I think: this is about as dark as it gets in the e-lectricitied city, and the wind screaming past the cabin sounds like a hundred sirens on their way to some huge disaster site, with twisted metal and yellow tarpaulins filmed from a helicopter for the Late Breaking News.

The two of us are less mixed up and more knotted together--distinct parts touching everywhere, under a pile of fur. I squirm myself deeper into the warmth of him, trying to escape the noise. He still smells all crisp and glowing, all soap and ice and a bit of woodsmoke. His chest under my cheek is hard, but the skin is so damn soft that he seems half a baby. Fraser is tricky like that, with his whole Mountie thing. I don't know when I finally figured it out, that he's a man like a rugged mountain, and a baby with beautiful eyes for the world, and that those are exactly the same thing about him.

He's dozed off, and I should sleep for a year but I can't, I'm too wired by all this twilight. And I still don't know where this place is, or when this is happening, or even what we're doing, or who I am, or why he likes having me with him, and how come it wasn't Vecchio, or even what's next, let alone the big nasty one, the kicker, the giant capital-lettered How The Fuck Does It All End?

I don't know.

But lying here, tonight, I'm sure of something more sure than I've been of anything: when a clean, warm Mountie wraps his arms around you, and rests his head on your shoulder, and says your name as he goes to sleep, you just hold onto him as tight as you can, and you don't ask any questions.


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