Magnificent Seven Slash, The Runaway by Raven Davies

Chapter V

No words came forth the rest of the day, and Vin's life story had not yet finished. Chris watched the young man slowly withdraw deeper into a sadness never before witnessed; greater than the hostility and duress expressed before he left Four Corners that past winter. With no ideas as to what to do, the anxious gunman just watched and waited, hoping for an opportunity to get Vin to react to anything. If the man, who could save his dying soul, faltered, so would he; and Larabee lamented in his own deepening sorrow with a whispered request to the heavens, "All I want is you, Vin, and make you happy. Why can't I tell you directly?"

Beyond being consoled, the younger man disappeared into his shelter, curled up in a dark corner, to stare blankly out the door at the rocks forming part of his sanctuary. Nothing remained for him: no peyote to take away his sorrow, fears, and shame; no jimsonweed to enhance the euphoria of bright colors, sweet nature sounds, and thoughts so real he felt them; no sweet scent to allow him sleep except the remains of dead mescal blossoms in a jar that sealed in the deadly aroma. His stomach ached with stinging pain, while Chris Larabee stood guard, believing him loco for behaving so foolishly in front of the Kiowa. The warrior leader had embarrassed him. Acting out of character, with his Comanche and Kiowa training, the man had given him a stern lecture, as if speaking to a child of five. His only hope lay in Chris never knowing everything said to him, layering another burden on his shoulders. Now titled a betrayer of the rituals and beliefs of the people he honored--his family, his Comanche, his Kiowa, all those who never asked for anything in return for raising him--guilt built his load higher. Remembering he had lied to Larabee, saying he had only hunted buffalo with the bands, created more self-disgust, for he had done so much more wearing a warrior tag. Disgraced in front of the natives of the Southwest, and distrusted by his own people, both groups had reason for righteous retaliation. No tears, no words, no understanding, his depression grew throughout the afternoon. The gunslinger waiting outside, wringing his hands, and raking his fingers through his hair, elevated his duress; and the tracker's solitary life turned upside down and his mind whirled out of control. Vin Tanner was lost in mind and spirit.

The tall, lanky blond took his time, stopping his nervous pacing to stretch, before starting the necessary chore of cooking dinner. The hot solar orb descended slowly on its way to touch the horizon. Chris took a deep breath of cooling, calming air and headed into the shelter. Vin was a mess, lying in the dirt for endless hours; his white cottons stained with grime, discarded weeds, and dried lavender-colored flowers. Nothing but garbage remained following the Kiowa's raid; and a scrawny figure huddled in the middle of it, pawing through every inch of waste in his attempt to find just one button. "Time to eat, Vin. Best clean up." Chris' voice resonated through the brick walls, startling the prone man into some sense of reality, but receiving only a grunt to acknowledge the gunslinger's presence. "Come on, Vin. I'll help you to the stream."


"That's a 'yes' to me, Button. You haven't finished telling me why you left the Kiowa, and I hate waiting for the end of a good book. Get moving or I'll scrub you down myself." Chris wanted to be helpful, but too weary and worried over another unusual display of animosity. The emotional strain Vin battled also took its toll on the gunfighter, but he still held out a friendly hand to the tracker. An angry and mortified man ignored the offer and struggled to his feet alone. With Tanner at least standing, Larabee took solace in the response to move, but the telltale signs of distress could not be wiped away with a dirty shirtsleeve. The sorrowful, vacant look in the sapphire eyes upset Chris further, and the gunslinger had to look away, veering his gaze to the left and clenching his mouth, as was his habit. The tracker, a grown man and potential killer, could break a heart, looking like a child who had fallen and hurt himself, with a dirty face and a few clean lines from fallen tears that streaked through the mud on the boyish features. The volatile Larabee melted, wanting to care for a man who seemed helpless and fragile; yet knowing a tiny flint spark would set him off like gunpowder. The new nickname suited him that moment. "Come on, Vin. You'll feel better, and I'll wash your clothes."

Tanner staggered passed him, annoyed that his mourning had been interrupted, and ntentionally shoved Chris aside with his shoulder; it meant to be harsh and cruel, defending the remnants of his manhood. The gunslinger ignored the insult and followed the young man to the trickling falls. Without hesitation or embarrassment, Vin stripped down, leaving his clothes in a pile on the ground, stepping into the small pool formed by the continually falling water, and carefully sitting in the shallow stream to wash away his unhappiness. Chris picked up the clothes, placed some soap in Tanner's limp hand, and walked downstream to wash the filthy rags. Once again, Larabee played nursemaid, and it reminded him of another time. It had been his greatest joy to care for his baby son, and the same feeling flooded over him with this wildcat, a man whom he grew increasingly smitten.

The empty, uncaring younger man sat cooling his body and temper, numbing the last of the emotions plaguing him. An important decision loomed over him, and there seemed no right or wrong answer. He had gone through his options a dozen times, until reality smacked him hard in the face. He had to re-enter 'civilized society' and remain until the next spring when peyote would yield more euphoria. It frightened him, and in his mindless confusion, he discarded the black-clad man in his plans. He had forgotten the answer to his vision quest in his sullen, depressed state.

While his young friend continued contemplating his future, Chris quietly cleaned the flimsy, white clothing and quickly had them drying with the aid of a steady breeze blowing across the desert. He turned to witness Vin emerge from the small hidden pool, allowing the same warm wind to dry his naked, rakish body, and tangled wet hair. Tanner remained unflinching and unaware, until he felt dry clothes thrust into his hand. Peering up from under dark lashes, he saw the dark shadow before him; and he fought to remain in control for the blond gunslinger who wanted more answers to questions Vin felt irrelevant.

Choking back the gasp in his throat, on catching a glimpse of an erotic vision, Larabee quickly returned to the fire, where a pot of stew began burning for lack of stirring. The horizon of the far off mountains glowed golden as the sun descended behind them, silhouetting a forlorn, lonely figure for his viewing and dismay. The brief coloration and shadows cast upon the deeply tanned body sent shivers up Chris' back and his pole reacted, pushing upward against his buttoned black pants.

Vin dressed and timidly sat by the fire. Under the covert observations of the gunman, the tracker appeared to see something in the flames that haunted him. He had taken hold of his long shirt, slowly twisting it with his tight fists. It was not a good sign for the once easy-going, confident young man, but it opened a door for Tanner to apologize. "Sorry, Chris. Been acting stupid. Never felt so ashamed."

"No problem. Over and done with. We'll just sit here and eat this slightly burned stew and a few biscuits."

Vin ignored the offer, but accepted a tin mug of sweet coffee, swallowing it quickly, and politely asking for seconds. Chris obliged him, and the morose tracker seemed satisfied with only a strong flavored drink. Again, silence filled the evening air, until an abrupt, harsh question broke from Vin's cracked lips. "Why did you kill him?"

Confusion filled the crystal-green eyes, and they squinted into the disturbed blue ones on the other side of the fire. "Here we go again," Larabee mumbled quietly, deciding to remain quiet and continue picking at his dinner. He had lost his appetite.

"You killed him so I'd be trapped with y'all, ain't that right? Thought I couldn't leave your protection if he was dead."

Chris sighed and looked directly across at the man who was accusing him of something. "Okay, Vin, who, what, when, and why?"

"Now you're laughing at me, just like Ezra."

"Fine, let's start there. Why did Ezra laugh?" Chris sounded defeated, beginning to wonder how he could live with Vin on a daily basis. He shook the thought away, knowing it did not matter--Tanner would be his--a destiny to be fulfilled. The vision quest, the young man had been searching for and now had forgotten, etched itself in the gunslinger's once cold, stone heart. Chris would play a part in this man's life; their first sexual encounter confirmed the fact.

"My poem."

"Probably as surprised as I was, until I read your work in The Clarion. I liked it, but you didn't give me a chance to say anything. Thought you'd have enough confidence in my writing skills to ask me. Wouldn't have crossed my mind to belittle you for something that's common in our part of the country. I certainly would have written the poem out for you, and any others lurking in that head of yours. Now, tell me everything you're trying to say. Start with who I killed, and maybe I can understand what the devil you're talking about." Becoming annoyed, his conversations with Tanner had never been this intense. There had not been a time that just a glance and two words would have completed both their thoughts. Chris now had to drag everything out, fighting to fit fragments together like a jigsaw puzzle, and it started months before the tracker left Four Corners. With no reasoning behind the sudden hostility hurled at the entire group, he dismissed it as an unsolvable mystery, and his thoughts returned to the enlightening conversation in progress.

"Eli Joe. You killed the only man who could clear my name, without caring what it did to me. You didn't give a damn, just left me there alone, sitting like a fool on the roof. Felt like jumping off myself, right there and then, but it was too short a drop."

"He had a blade ready to pierce your heart. Didn't have a choice, Vin. You know that. After it happened, thought you needed time alone to collect your thoughts." Chris stayed calm, lighting up a cheroot, and watching the agitation growing in his friend. He had done it again, hurting someone too mentally fragile, and not considering the after-affects. The gunman felt like the executioner of this young man's spirit.

"It was an easy shot, but you meant to kill him. Barely said two words about it; only a simple apology and a touch to my arm, while I watched the only person, who could have helped me, roll away dead in the back of a buckboard. Didn't mean a thing to you: just another day, another shooting, and who gives a damn. I'll be wanted and hunted forever. You should have let him kill me." Vin buried his face in his arms, which crossed over the top of his bent knees. His entire body tensed, and his hands turned into tight fists.

"Couldn't let him kill you, Vin, and you had six friends backing you up. Besides, the man would never admit to the murder. No man would, particularly a crazy desperado like Eli Joe. Know you were upset over the incident, but I won't take the blame. Just like you and your guilt over Claire Mosely, we both did what we had to do." Chris stood up and looked down at a mess of man because of his mistakes, taking everything in, and wondering what more he could say. With the tracker in severe trouble, showing emotional distress over necessary actions, the gunslinger began to see some of the damage he had created over the time they had known each other. If there was a guilty party in all this, it would be him; and if Chris could turn back the clock, he would. His consolation came with knowing Vin wanted him, at least under peyote influence, along with the Kiowa warrior's words. Necessary to rectify a few misconceptions on the young man's part, and to prove he could be trusted, it had to be now. He loved Vin Tanner. Larabee caught the thought in his throat, but decided to persevere.

"Okay, Tanner, spill the rest of your journey from the safety of the Kiowa." Larabee returned to his seat, on the other side of the fire, to wait for an answer that made sense.

"Learned a lot from two men who took care of me. Became a warrior, fought my own people on numerous raids, learned to shoot a rifle, throw a lance and knife, whatever skill was required to keep our band safe. When the battles grew more intense, the various bands began to organize. When Civil War commenced, another Indian War started, and my family made me leave. They had enough clothes and equipment to give me the appearance you see now, and then sent me on my way, to find my own people further west. With my training and ability to speak English, I became a tracker for the Texas Rangers before finding out that bounty hunting was a job and an easy one."

"You were a warrior, as well as a buffalo hunter and a bounty hunter. Makes sense, considering your many talents."

"Sorry, Chris, I lied to you. Didn't need people knowing my war experience, with so much going on. After I left, and as you asked, I was young; the world I knew became areas of drawn lines you couldn't see. Never knew where I was, so I just stayed out of the white-man's war and hunted down killers and thieves. Rode into Four Corners one day, looking to put a few coins in my pocket, and search the wanted posters that had pictures on them. Didn't see anyone I'd heard about, but the town was small and out of the way, and I ended up staying because of you." Vin stopped abruptly, finished with his story.

"Because of me?" Larabee smiled at the young man, hoping this would be a confirmation of the young man's real feelings.

"A job needed doing, and you were the only one who reacted, besides Mary. Liked her when she tried to stop those drovers, but she turned on us, until her father-in-law offered us a job. Needed the money, and although Pergatorio was good hunting for a time, the folks in that town of outlaws knew me as a hunter. You understood the first time we had to find someone there, and you sent me back to Four Corners to get the others. Seems you forgot the trouble that rode beside you when we went back several more times. Spent my time waiting to hear a shot, and then fire ripping through my chest."

"Reckon I did put you in peril, and many times over." Larabee lamented dragging Vin into dangerous situations, but the man always agreed. Erroneously assuming the former bounty hunter had his back; it was Tanner who needed his protection. The young man had sacrificed his safety to get him out of prison, under the guise of their friends turning Tanner over to the local law. The plan had worked, but the event could have taken a nasty turn, freeing him but terminating Vin. Now, the gunslinger felt guilty, having never thanked the one who had designed the escape and helped uncover the sordid game devised by the citizens of the infamous town of Jericho.

"Reckon so, but it never bothered me when there were seven of us." The sharpshooting tracker grew more at ease; the conversation veered from a possible catastrophe.

"We're all very different men, with many secrets. Sure happy you trusted me today, telling me about your life. You still haven't told me how old you are."

"How old are you?"

"Not as old as I feel right about now." Larabee laughed aloud, as did Vin.

"Guess I could say the same thing, but trusting you... reckon I do but..." Vin stumbled, wondering if they needed to continue further serious admittances.

"...but what? Don't shut me out now."

The amicable dialogue grew intense with just a look between the two men. It was Vin's turn; he had to say something. "You don't want to talk about her."

"Not this again. Which one... Mary, Lydia, Casey, Charlotte, Ella, Maria, Inez... the list is long, Vin?"

"Good, you said it, which means I can say it: Ella Gaines, the mastermind behind the killing of your wife and son. Said I've always trusted you, but still don't know if you trust me. Should've said something as soon as I entered the bunkhouse. It hadn't been used in years, so I slept outside while the others tried to make the best of it. After you announced you'd be staying with Mrs. Gaines, I walked away from further talk amongst your friends you so easily dismissed. That's when I went into Red Fork to find out who Ella Gaines really was. Told you she owned the Gaines property and the Culpepper Mining Company, but you called me a liar and never wanted to see me again. Ain't never lied in my life, Larabee, just hid a few things. Just like when you told me to leave the wagon train, I was leaving you for good when you dismissed the truth about Ella and told me to get out of your life. Without a good-bye to anyone, I packed up and headed out that night, and set up camp a mile or two south. Again, I had to turn back, seeing the men who worked for her, heading for the ranch. Had my horse going so fast and for so long, thought we wouldn't make it in time. Guess I didn't, since you had discovered the truth, standing in the middle of a bust-up, firing off your guns in every direction, wasting bullets, and leaving yourself open to die. Saw you get shot, and I couldn't help but stand over you and keep shooting. Ella's sister-in-law, Hilda, died in Buck's arms, and I thought you would die in mine. After Nathan fixed you up, you said nothing to me, but we brought you back to Four Corners to mend, while Buck and I retraced Ella's getaway. Didn't find a trace of her, and you couldn't even thank us. You went back to mourning another loss and thinking of revenge. Don't understand you, Larabee."

"I am sorry, Vin. Have always been a stubborn, controlling man, and the thought that I had misread Ella nearly drove me loco. This adventure, we're on now, has helped me realize what I've always needed, but neglected, and that's a good male friend. Just like you, I've known for years, but as you said, it's not a good day to die." Larabee looked up to see blue eyes twinkling, but the lips remained so tightly pressed together, a white line encircled them. "Is there anything else, Vin? I'm sure there is, but we can discuss it on the ride home. We're leaving tomorrow, Button."

"Nope. I'm staying."

"Promised I'd bring you back. Didn't you understand what I just said? I need you there." Chris had thought he had explained his desire for the younger man, but Vin seemed lost in another fog of misinterpretation.

"What for? Mary and the others are waiting for you. I don't have any reason to return."

"You have me. Been waiting since I met you. Come home with me."

"Nope, ain't reason enough. Don't need to be teased and tortured until I'd rather shoot you than look at you."

Larabee shook his head in dismay. He had to say exactly what he wanted, and if the tracker blew his head off for speaking the truth, then he would be buried in the sand close to the one he had always needed. "Listen carefully, Vin. I want you; I care for you; and Christ knows I want to bed you." Finally said, Chris inhaled deeply, ready to duck behind the largest boulder. He checked to see if the sawed-off Winchester lay in sight, or a knife at the ready to thrust into his racing heart.

Vin snapped his head up to look squarely into the flashing green quartz eyes. "Now you want to bed me? What's next? Do I have a choice, or is it just something you'd like to do tonight?" Seemingly horrified at the blatant remark, Vin did exhibit excitement at the unexpected possibility, by the noticeable quiver in the drying voice and the dilation of his pupils, sure signs of arousal.

"Could end up in prison for this, but I want you beside me for a long time to come. I've been working on my cabin, making it a home for you and me. You didn't hang around long enough for me to surprise you with it. Did you think I would let you sleep in the livery, or that wagon, another winter? Had to figure some way of taking care of you, you stubborn fool."

Vin's mouth dropped open and his eyes widened. Sparkling sapphires danced in the firelight unblinking, not quite knowing what to say at this surprising confession. "Are you lying to me, Larabee?" The tracker's eyes turned into a mistrusting squint, as he stared up at the gunslinger who appeared to tower over him.

"I don't lie." Chris sighed and gave his best friend a weary smile. "So can I take you home, or do we rot out here in this desert together?"

"Chris! I... I ain't sure."

"Have you been with other men before, Vin? You obviously slept with Charlotte."

A little nervous laugh came from the headstrong tracker, and a definite peach blush ran up his cheeks. He looked up and out toward the desert again. "Think Charlotte had me. Didn't know what to do, but she did, and I just let her. Sure didn't feel right. Made a fool of myself in front of her, not to mention all over her."

"Was Charlotte the first woman you've ever been with?" Chris was shocked. Vin may be young, but not that young.

"I guess. We played mostly."

"You didn't sleep with her?"

"Yeah, but never mounted her, just kissed her; and I reckon she had her way with me. Didn't know how, or really want to, although she sure tried hard to show me."

"Christ, you're a virgin! What about men?"

"Been asked more times than not, but stayed away, except in my head. My Comanche family knew from the time I was real tiny, that's why my Kiowa kin were two men. They raised me to be a warrior, and not some silly man wearing too many beads. They'd have whipped me plenty if I didn't walk and talk like a man. Still a scared virgin. Don't make much of a man of me, does it?"

"You're a man all right, Vin, and bedding women doesn't prove you're more manly than the next. Sounds like you'd prefer a male partner for sex. So, tell me the truth, no shame or embarrassment, because I need you, Tanner; and I don't feel much like getting my heart stomped on." Chris stared and waited, as again he watched the man nervously attack the tail ends of his white shirt. Those blue eyes darted every direction except toward the gunslinger.

"I... I reckon so. You're my vision, Chris. It has to be this way." With the revelation of his quest remembered, his heart skipped a beat, bouncing over the fire to land in Chris' hands for the taking. It sank into his consciousness slowly; the dangerous man in black wanted him too. His best visions were all coming true.

"You felt your last vision, and if it was me, I'd welcome you into my life, Vin Tanner." The gunslinger waited, intrigued to see if the man would open up to tell him the truth.

Vin's big eyes filled with awe and surprise, returning the stare of the man standing exceedingly close.

"You know I'd never intentionally hurt you, Vin, and certainly not if I made love to you?"

"I'd let you do anything you wanted. Just don't know what I'm supposed to do."

Hushing the soft intake of breath, Chris stepped closer to take the scratched and calloused hands in his and squeezed gently, while he gazed into an innocent spirit he vowed never to hurt again. "After living with two men for part of your life, I reckon you saw and heard something of making love between two men."

"Heard them but never saw. They hid under blankets and buffalo rugs."

"It's okay, Peyote Button. I know what to do, and I promise to make you happy. Please, come home with me."

"Got to promise me something."


"I... I like being alone, but hate being... being lonely. Don't ever leave me again without saying good-bye." Vin released his hands from Chris' gentle grip and put them ever so gingerly on the taller man's shoulders. Chris, in turn, encircled Vin's narrow hips and waist with his long slender fingers and thumbs.

"When have I ever done that? Seems like you're the one who forgets to say good-bye."

"You didn't neither, when the Judge brought in that Marshall that died; or when you took off and got thrown in prison in Jericho. You'd go missing for days, just to find your favorite whore. Buck always seemed unconcerned about your whereabouts, but I never knew if you'd come back. The day we met, you promised to come to Tascosa with me. When the seven of us looked like we were splitting up, we could have left that day, but you didn't ask about my plans. Told you I was heading east to find the army's artillery wagon, but you just turned and walked away, saying something about going south. Never said you'd be back, good-bye, good luck, or that you might want me along. Might as well have never existed in your life."

"Like you, Vin, I'm a loner, wanting to get away from responsibility occasionally, and you've become one of my biggest. Didn't expect to be gone more than a couple of days, in search of who hired Cletis Fowler, and then return to gather my things, along with you. Thought you'd be waiting for me in Four Corners when I got back, so we could head off together, but Mary came looking for me while you and the others rallied the townsfolk to fight for their homes. Never expected Ella Gaines to show up, only to discover she was the enemy. I've turned you inside-out and backward, and don't know what to say." Chris pulled Vin into a warm embrace, and the two men stood together, shedding unseen tears, remembering all that had gone before. The gunslinger just wanted to make a clean start, keeping the fence firm, never to be broken again. He would start that night.

Lost in time again, Vin stood quietly leaning against the man who declared his love for him. The cold night air made him shiver, but he did not intend to move away from the taut, lean body he longed for. An arm released, and he groaned at its loss, but Chris' hand lifted his chin, forcing him to gaze up into green crystals. The gunfighter's eyes were startling pale, changing color from peridot green to misty gray, almost disappearing at times into clear quartz; but the flash and fire always remained, whether in fun or fury. Vin studied every line etched around the amused eyes; each one earned from a lifetime of torment, anger, and lost loves. The older man appeared more handsome than he remembered; and he delighted in all the colors of the blond hair, each strand highlighted in the fire's glow; every hue from straw, oat, wheat, to corn, with a touch of stark white-gold, which added a hint of maturity, blended together. Tanner smiled shyly up at the man who still held his chin and cupped it softly in a gentle hand. The thumb stroked his lips ever so lightly, and serene bliss fell over him at the simple gesture. Still studying Chris' face, he marveled at the flawless skin that should have some scars; even the man's nose, delicate in line but masculine in its design, remained straight after dozens of fistfights. The lips and mouth caught the tracker's interest, as his gaze wandered to the close proximity of the crinkled smile glittering with white teeth that slightly pushed forward, forcing the lower lip to protrude when in a relaxed state. Unlike most men, his own teeth appeared brilliant white, rather than the harsh yellow of those who would lose them too young. He wanted to bite the lip, teasing him with a serene smile, and in turn have his own lips nibbled on by the slight overbite. The shivering from the cold turned to trembling heat of anticipation, as he watched those lips coming closer to his own panting open mouth. Chris gently and persuasively brushed against his mouth, and an instant sensation ran through Vin's body at the touch and smell of his gunslinger.

The natural blush of the younger lips drained away, as blood rushed to darken the hardening pole pushing against Chris' thigh. Feeling the happy surprise, it created a rare, amused grin on the gunman's face, one that could not stop spreading in delight at the uprising. Larabee pulled Vin closer, happy with the physical reaction. "Mi amante, mi corazón, mi alma."

Vin nearly swooned at the voice dripping with low, sweet sounds. Lips again brushed over his mouth, onto his cheek, and then nibbled an earlobe, for the simple reward of the smallest gasp of a new pleasure. Back to his lips, the pressure upon them grew firmer, forcing them to give in to the intensifying affection, and they willingly opened further. A tongue slowly and delicately traced the inner lining of his lips until they burned and tingled, softened and moistened. Chris continued, feeling and enjoying the taste of the hot, moist cavern; and Vin passively submitted to let him play with his tongue, exploring every detail of his mouth.

The younger man returned the gesture cautiously, his tongue entering the darkness of unknown pleasures. A taste of bitter cheroot smoke, black coffee, and something else--something distinctly Chris Larabee--created a deep ache and giddy sensation from his stomach to the puckering muscles that protected his lonely cavern of lust. With the man's scent so embedded in this senses, he knew Chris would taste delicious. The inexperienced tracker tried harder, and the older man responded in kind. Each one took every opportunity to touch and caress the inside of the other's mouth. Intensity escalated, and Vin's body could barely take the strain of the new experience and the sweetness of it. His knees started to buckle, and a soft breath blew into his mouth, tickling his palate and arousing him further. Each moan became a humming sound, whenever the gunman's tongue explored deeper. A small whimper of discomfort, and it was quickly withdrawn. Vin tried hesitantly to insert his own tongue into the gunman's mouth, repeating what had been done to him. He was learning and willing to repeat whatever the older man did to him. A little suck on Chris' part almost swallowed him, and he pulled away in fright, separating himself from the succulent lips. Breathing heavily, Vin's body involuntarily jerked forward, sending his precious fluid through the lightweight pants and up onto Chris' clean clothing.

"Chris, I'm... I'm sorry..."

"Was expecting it. You'll come again." Larabee mused at the quick response to his kiss. Inexperience always showed during the first time of sweet rapture.

Vin tucked his head in Chris' neck; embarrassed he came with the intense caress. The same thing happened with Charlotte, but this felt so intense, and certainly more natural to him. He could not control himself when aroused, and his need grew beyond imagining with the gunfighter, than with the crazed woman who persisted in sucking and squeezing him until he had no choice.

Larabee pulled away and languidly smiled at his soul, his heart, his love. "Where's the oil you use for your hair?"

"Over there, in that can. Why?" Vin did not want to release his hold, but pointed toward the outside of his now empty shelter.

"Something to make you feel good." Chris winked and went to fetch the oil, sensing a little help may be required. In his arms, he felt Vin more tentative than when in an entranced state. He turned to gaze at the young innocent, standing quietly but tightening his fists. Tanner looked like a startled, frightened animal, not knowing whether to flee or fight: a strange mix of man and child, innocent yet all knowing, strong as steel but fragile as porcelain, intense at the same time gentle, good natured but overly sensitive. The contradictions of the man seemed endless, and certainly unexplainable; but there he stood, a man of courage and self-will, a deadly and cunning bounty hunter, hiding out in the desert to escape from one simple fact that his feelings were hurt.

The tracker's eyes only moved, darting about his hideout, while he remained where he was set, shivering, trusting Chris not to betray or hurt him. The gunfighter would not, and made a vow to himself to save the sorry spirit from feeling rejected or left out. Picking up the can, he turned again to stare longingly at the slightly built body, a number of inches shorter than himself, but just as strong and nimble. Sharing Vin's secrets, it drew Larabee closer with increased admiration. With one look, he knew how gentle he had to be with the man whose youth became increasingly apparent through his tough, independent disguise, and written in his runaway's big blue eyes, which glittered in the firelight, expectantly waiting, but not really comprehending what he waited for. Chris knew he wanted this, and the handsome young man would not be hurt, or disappointed. The man, dressed in black, promised to fulfill Vin's vision quest under a star-filled night, having come to understand the deep, emotional battle the tracker had endured, and now recognizing the innocence and fear behind the menacing squint. Watching him, Chris felt the strong attraction he had for the figure in front of him, who shook from the cold, yet remained aroused in anticipation.

As the gunslinger approached, a cool breeze stirred Vin's longer hair, feathering it across his face. His slender hand, calloused and overworked with veins and tendons protruding, brushed the strands away from his eyes. They were expressive hands, although normally kept still, unless holding a gun, adjusting his hat, or blowing on his harmonica. Chris had never met a man he wanted as a partner for anything, but this one he needed and lusted for; and there Vin stood, ever so quiet, quivering in the night breeze, waiting for him, willing to sacrifice his virginity for the dangerous gunman's pleasure. The tracker's vision of carnal hunger would remain a dream; and tonight, Mr. Tanner would remember everything in explicit detail, filled with gentleness and adoration.

Wanting no disruptions this very important night, Larabee finished preparing: the can of naturally harvested oil placed in easy reach, the bedrolls unfolded lying side-by-side, wood added to the fire, and blankets warmed and put in order. Looking over the little camp, the layout satisfied the tall blond who turned his infectious crooked smile back to look at the silent, unmoving tracker. "Come here, Vin. You're cold and those clothes are sticking to you."

Approaching with noticeable nervousness, the tracker stopped and stood directly in front of a real man, and not one of his accommodating apparitions. Only a foot separated them, and it felt too close for the younger of the two men. Understanding his fright, the gunman quietly placed his hands on either side of the worried face. Tilting his own, he gave Vin a reassuring smile and a sense of love and trust through his eyes. "Are you scared, or just cold, Button?"

"Both, I guess." A slight tremor in the voice, and Chris had to be very gentle with this virgin, wild cub.

"Do you want me to take you tonight, or just sleep quietly in my arms?"

"Yes... No... Yeah... I don't know."

Larabee smiled mischievously at the response, finally understanding the sensitivity of this man whose ideas led to many misinterpretations. A proven fact by his running away, Tanner took everything literally, not understanding the innuendo, or underlying meaning to certain statements.

"Want my first time to be special, Chris. Don't know if it's my time."

"Think it's the best of times. You sound like a romantic; and a beautiful night full of stars and solitude sounds perfect."

"No I ain't. Just a man, Cowboy."

Chris mused at the statement; Vin was far from average in every way. His first instinct and action were to closet the man tight against his chest, whispering in his ear, "Don't have to do anything, Button. If it hurts, tell me; if you like it, tell me. The important thing is to relax and enjoy it. You'll feel real good afterward, and you'll never need peyote again."

"Yeah, I know." Tanner whispered softly, as he looked down at his feet.

"You know to relax, or are you giving up chewing buds?" Chris again lifted the chin to stroke the soft lips opening to reply.

"Just know it'll feel good."

"You're my savior, Button."

"Think I hate that name as much as you hate being called a 'cowboy'."

"Suits me fine when you say it. Seems the appropriate name, considering what we're going to be doing." Chris chuckled; Vin smiled back.

"We riding tonight then, Cowboy?"

"Sure hope to, and I promise not to wear my spurs, if you behave."

They both laughed, one a little nervously and one as steady as a rock. Chris gently slipped Vin's long shirt over his head, watching each wave of long, brown, sun-gleaned hair fall over well-defined, but slender shoulders. Vin seemed a paradox physically as well: too thin, yet surprisingly muscled. The arms dangled loosely, not knowing what to do, but again they were toned to perfection. Mysteriously hairless, as smooth as silk, it still had the gunman wondering. A quiver of goose bumps up the arms brought his attention to the golden-tanned chest and hardened nipples that stuck out sensually for the taking. The thought of remaining here, in this wilderness, with both of them running naturally naked and free, intrigued the older man, and gave him an instant desire to rip off the last of the thin threads. Calming his lustful imaginings, he waited for the shy man to catch up, before gliding his hands over the smooth skin, feeling every tight muscle and stretched tendon. Even the numerous scars, from knives, arrows, and bullets, enticed the need to caress every one, wishing he could heal, with a touch, the recently exposed pains and memories. He placed his hands on Vin's shoulders, drawing them slowly over the pectoral muscles, his fingers lingering on each nipple, pinching them ever so gently between his thumb and index, musing whenever Vin gasped. Tracing down the rib cage, he could spread his fingers out far enough to encircle a good portion of the slender body. On reaching hipbones, Chris stopped to stare into the young man's bewildered eyes, and smiled a consenting nod at the puzzled face.

Vin felt a heated rush, a mix of embarrassment and arousal, his neck and cheeks burned along with his cock and straight up his wanton hole, until he clenched his arse muscles, and wished he could bend over to press his hands just above his expanding shaft. Even his lower back seemed to ache for some relief. With Chris down to the drawstring of his pants, and the playful actions of the older man with his upper body, he started shaking again. Excitement and urgent need built rapidly, but he refrained from what may be inappropriate. He reached up gingerly, placing his hands on the gunslinger's covered chest, and looked up for approval. Larabee smiled and nodded his head. Unsure of the meaningful body language, Vin fingered one of the buttons on the black shirt and looked again into laughing eyes.

"Go ahead, Vin, unbutton them all."

One-by-one, Tanner's usually steady hands fumbled with the buttons, and then pulled the shirttail out of the tight pants. He noticed the large bulge pushing against the black trousers, and it increased the length of his own arousal, rising visibly through the see-through white pants. With quivering movements, he brushed against Chris' flat, taut stomach, and his excitement grew, but still afraid to move too quickly, wanting to remember how good the object of his desire smelled and felt. Using feather-like strokes, he brought his hands upward to touch the hard purple nipples, so much larger than his own, and to push away the front of the shirt. His fingers rested, like innocent butterflies, on broad, sculpted shoulders, and he dared himself to try. With eyes peering upward, and staring questioningly from under his dark, thick lashes, he leaned forward, taking one teat into his mouth, and stroking it with his tongue. The reaction created surprised him, as the gunslinger closed his eyes, arched his head backward, and growled in unabashed pleasure. The nipple grew harder and redder as Vin started to suck, feeling fingers lace in his hair, drawing his head further into the chest, and caressing him tenderly at the same time. Continuing with the other nipple, he cautiously slid Chris' shirt off the broad shoulders; slowly and sensually removing the unwanted black cotton, while stroking the hard muscular arms he had felt only in a benign, friendly manner. Entranced and mesmerized by the rangy, well-built body, it seduced him, giving in to whatever the blond gunslinger wanted.

With Chris' arms free, he continued to stroke the head, its mouth latched to his nipples, spreading the rapture between them. He groaned at each suck, loving every little touch and sensation, delighted Vin instinctively reacted and participated. With a swift, covert motion, he untied the drawstring holding up the white pants, and they floated to ground on a whispered wish to envelop the tracker's bare feet and ankles. Taking a step backward, he coaxed Vin to follow one pace, to step out of the white cheesecloth. Inhaling deeply, he gazed up and down at his tracker in a new light, and he admired what he saw: the extended pole, its darkening pink color, the purple veins ready to burst through the skin, and the silky texture of a circumcised head. Having only a small amount of pubic hair, Vin's cajones hung from the smoothest pouch, visibly pulling closer to the body as they hardened and reddened, perfect for handling and mouthing. Chris held his breath at the attractiveness of the man, which always caught him off guard with the seductive impact it held. He had tried to ignore the sensuality of the man since they met. One last look down, he could almost feel the long, slender legs wrapping around him. Vin was perfectly proportioned for Chris' taste: a little leggy, rakishly thin, fine-boned, with a silken face, and eyes that entrapped you in their depth. The young man had discarded his usual scraggily facial hair in some manner that left the skin baby smooth. A cool breeze hit Chris' crotch, and he sucked in more air when he realized Vin had unbuttoned his pants. Adept with more than guns and knives, the gunslinger chuckled at his tracker, realizing how easily, and without noticing it, Tanner could rob you blind, and you would walk away happy. The tall blond was thankful he had stripped off his undergarments, many days previously, to fend off the stifling heat.

Grateful for other reasons, Vin thought about all the clothes the two men normally wore; undressing this man would have taken him days with his shaking hands. He never understood why white-men needed so many clothes; and when he started to dress like them, it confused him further, but decided the only way to carry them was to wear them all, considering heat never bothered him, only the cold. He slowly crouched down, pulling Chris' pants with him until he had to stop at the knees. Embarrassed and nervous about the next step, he avoided looking up, knowing what would come into sight. He had seen the gunslinger naked before, as well as the others, although they had never seen him in a like manner. Exposing himself seemed inappropriate amongst prudish white-men, and he refused to participate even in a cooling, playful swim. The fear of showing an arousal stopped him, and now, Chris Larabee stood before him in exactly that position without shame. The gunslinger appeared as he had done in his visions. With determination to control his aching cock, he did not want to come again so quickly. While struggling to remain calm, he faced a dilemma over his next move.

Chris saw the trouble Vin faced, trying to get his pants off, and he joined the younger man in a crouch. "Can you help me pull my boots off, Button?"

"Reckon so." Tanner's anxiety showed; and Chris smiled at him knowingly.

"You're doing fine, Vin. Now, help me out of my damn boots." Sitting back on his behind, he raised one of his booted feet.


"I know, but I've seen a few butts before." Chris laughed and winked at him.

Vin's mortification heightened, and another flush of pink ran up his neck and into his face. He hesitantly stood up and turned around, bending over to grab the extended leg, and pulling off the boot with some effort, and then the second one. The sight of the small derriere, attached to the slim legs, increased the gunman's excitement, thinking how bright red its rim would become when teased and played with, glistening with oil to reflect the firelight; and its own hot interior ready for an invasion. Vin turned around, still a little flushed, but caught Chris' lustful stare. The unnerving moment passed with Chris playfully flipping off his pants with his feet, and holding out a hand to the tracker. Softening his expression, the gunslinger induced Vin to accept, only to suddenly force him down on top of him: skin melting skin, crotch rubbing crotch, and mouth engulfing mouth. Vin's face and neck immediately paled, as he groaned and thrust upward, covering them both with creamy white fluid.

"Told you, you'd come again."

"Why can't I wait? I'm supposed to ain't I?"

"That's the beauty of being young and inexperienced, Vin. You have an endless supply, and it doesn't take you long to harden back to life."

"Played with myself for years. Ain't that green."

"Just a touch by someone else does that to a body."

Chris was right; Vin was unprepared for the feel of every touch and every movement. Although his vision felt real, he sensed this as entirely different; his feelings stood in the way. Every emotion experienced mixed, from guilt to pleasure, while lying on top of the infamous gunslinger, and having spilled cum over the man in his haste; but he could not stifle the moan of his pleasure, stuck to his lover with his own life-giving essence. As dangerous as Larabee may be, he smothered Vin with kindness, continuing to stroke the brunet hair from the top of the head down to the end of each strand that clung to a sweating body. The other hand massaged the slight curve in the tracker's lower spine; a very erotic feeling for a back with a slight twist, especially when each stroke pushed his crotch gently against the gunman's, snuggling them together as if separate living beings wrestled with each other.

Larabee rolled him over, quickly maneuvering between his legs, spreading them out, exposing his arousal that twitched on his abdomen, seen by every star in the night sky. A look of terror crossed Vin's face, but soon passed as the older man quietly smiled and kissed his cheek, removing more strands of hair and wiping the sweat from his brow. "Shoosh, mi amante. Relax. I want to see your handsome face when we make love."

Vin could not reply to these new endearing terms that embarrassed him, but also made him feel he belonged and was wanted. With Chris whispering them constantly in his ear, the hot breath made his body tingle; and he floated away on another caress. Again, he felt fire and passion; both men now knowing the delights of the other's mouth, and Vin sucked gently on a deliciously wet tongue. His natural instincts came into play; and he put his arms around Larabee's neck, pulling the man down tighter into the kiss, taking some control himself. The action felt magical. He pulled his knees up and gently pressed his thighs and calves against the sides of the sleek body on top, and Chris groaned approvingly into the kiss. Hands gently pushed the smaller thighs further forward, until the boney kneecaps were close to Vin's shoulders and his toes pointed skyward.

The heated crotch, hidden in a light brown nest of hair, moved away, and the body weight Tanner carried lifted. He opened his eyes to see the handsome ghost staring down at his exposed hole, making it clench and ache deep within. Again, hands slipped into the bend of his knees to push his thighs further apart, and Chris' lips fluttered kisses up and down the inside of each. The feeling made Tanner swoon in euphoric bliss. With the intimate, affectionate gesture, Vin panted and gasped heavily; his breath still impeded by his overuse of peyote and jimsonweed. Chris heard the raspy sound and lowered Vin's feet to the ground, still keeping his knees bent. He would slow the pace, even though the man needing air seemed eager to continue and willing to be penetrated.

"Take a few breaths, Vin. One more. Good, now just relax."

Vin calmed with the innocent rubbing of the outside of his thighs, soothing away the trembling. Comforting sounds and a soft smile slowly appeased the nervous, but excited tracker. Not wanting to rush, Chris felt the inner fright, and refused to give the found runaway another reason to scurry off like a skittish colt. "Sure you want this, Vin?"

"I... I..."

"It's okay, maybe we should stop. This is very new for you. We have lots of time before we get home."

"No, now." Vin stopped shaking and settled down. Grim determination replaced the fear on his face; and Chris could see the wheels spinning behind those eyes. The gunman smiled to himself.

"You're too tense, Button. Close your eyes and let all your muscles relax. They start to tense and strain by themselves, when the time comes."

"Easy for you to say, Cowboy."

Chris laughed and bent over, kissing Vin's forehead. "Everything will happen naturally, once we start."

"Thought we already started."

"You did. Time for me to catch up. Now, shut up, relax, and close your eyes." Chris grinned at him, while covertly sticking his fingers in the can of jojoba oil. Perhaps he would only need to do this once in their relationship, but for now, he would ease his new lover into the carnal act of sodomy. With one oily finger, he started to trace the crease of a very much tighter and smaller opening. A noticeable shiver went up Vin's spine, but immediately settled. The experienced older man waited, and then gently pushed the relatively calm thighs further apart and pushed them forward. "Hold them there, Button." Without hearing a protest, Larabee gingerly played with the unyielding rim of the beckoning orifice, until his new lover issued a few moans and sighs, and the sphincter muscles puckered and released with each labored breath and beat of a young heart. Intrigued by the sight alone, and trying to match the rhythm the tiny hole danced to, the quick-draw gunman took a chance and slid one finger in slightly upon a releasing motion, only to be quickly clenched hard by extremely strong muscles: the guardians of Vin's inner fancy.

A hand went to the tracker's dampening forehead, soothing the strained face. Tanner tried to relax, and felt the finger slip in a little further. Unable to stop his insides from trying to expel the intruder, he cried out in frustration; but Chris remained steadfast, waiting for him to take a breath and the muscles to ease, allowing further entry. Soon an entire finger filled the dark cavern of great treasures, searching for something, and Vin cried out a second time at the pleasurable sensation, arching his neck back, spreading himself with his own fingers. As his excitement increased, he squirmed and moaned with a newly found euphoria, as he tried to draw the finger in further. His upper body tensed, and the veins and tendons in his neck were clearly visible in the fire's glow. Chris made a slow withdrawal, and the tracker squealed ecstatically to feel the thickness of two fingers pushed into his pulsating hole.

Playing with a body that continued to thrust upward and beyond relaxing, Chris found the protrusion he searched for, and started a slow in and out movement, intensifying the stimulation created by rubbing the one teasing spot. While his fingers manipulated inside, the thumb, of the same hand, pressed between Vin's intruded arse and his cajones, making the younger man jerk upward, then push back hard against the searching fingers, while his moans of pleasure filtered through the desert air. Heavenly music to the gunman's ears, and the devil's dance to witness, Larabee wickedly watched Vin squirm, desperately thrusting his hips up and down, needing those fingers to push further. Slowly withdrawing, he heard the tracker issue a regrettable soft sigh.

"Hold on." Chris quickly covered his fully extended and over-due pole with oil and placed the slick head in the crease that protected the tracker's steaming opening. He stretched the shaking thighs up further and wider, simply touching the prepared orifice to feel the life and heat of his own shaft. "You're scorching hot and tight, Vin. You feel so good inside." Gentle and smooth, he took only seconds to slip into the greased, sensitive hole, impaling it completely. The hot cavern squeezed his pole unmercifully, igniting it to burn with the need for this man, but he refrained from exploding too soon. Set aflame for rougher action, Chris slowed down, concentrating solely on a smooth even thrusting rhythm. Intoxicated at the tight fit, he had to accommodate Vin's first real time. The gunslinger's body strained and tensed, pulled and pushed, back and forth, back and forth, finally feeling the young man respond inside with the tightening and releasing of his inner muscles, and the constant attempt to drive his narrow hips to meet Larabee's thrusts.

Vin fell into ecstasy, floating in time and space, but his muscles continued to strain, trying to pull Chris' roughly textured pole deeper into his virgin hole, wishing it would hit his throat, and rub violently against everything en-route. His hands were in frenzy, along with his body, which could not stop thrashing about, unable to get enough. The rapture grew more intense, and the sensitivity, up the full length of his lustful cavern, was so extreme, he gave in and cried out for the gunman.

"Chris! Chris! I... I'm coming!"

"Let me, Vin. Hold on. You feel so good, little Button."

Vin felt his cock encircled by the gunslinger's hand, obliging him to lunge through the fingers at each thrust of the invader in his behind. The hard jarring of one induced the other, and the once virgin matched the gunslinger's short, sporadic rhythm, bucking furiously as more cum spewed over them. One final invasion from Chris came in hard, smacking the tracker's backside with rock-hard cajones. Tanner felt the deep end of his channel, already filled with a jolting shaft, doused with a slight cooling sensation that continued to fill him. Several more quick jerks and the taller man withdrew, leaving his fluid to trickle over Vin's pleasure point, stimulating it further. The powerful feeling, of pure magic and gratifying bliss, made the younger man fall limp and moan in complete satisfaction.

Chris slowly rolled onto his back gasping for air and covered with sweat from the exhilarating exertion of sexual gratification. Exhausted, but still strong, he easily maneuvered the lighter body on top of him. Both breathed heavily, both hearts pounded matching beat for beat, and both men shone oily slick with the reflection of the smiling, new moon light. The gunman chuckled, suddenly aware of the tickling sensation of Vin licking the perspiration off his neck and chin, slipping down to lap up more from his shoulders and chest.

"Come here, Vin," Chris demanded softly, lifting the sweating, smaller body up to look into two blue eyes that danced to the tune of the devil, and a smile that could not grow wider. Pulling his lover's head down, the silky brunet hair spilled over either side of Larabee's face, as he kissed the delicious mouth again, tasting his own salty sweat. Underneath the salt was the flavor of the tracker--an odd mix of flowers, pepper, and lemon--but to Chris he had discovered the most enticing, delectable flavor he would ever experience. He wiped the droplets coursing down the surprised face, and buried his nose in Vin's wet neck and sweet smelling hair. His Button's scent lingered in his nostrils, always to be remembered as that of the flowered night desert air. At the slight quiver of the thinner body, the gunman reached for the blanket beside him, and with a single toss, the woolen cover floated over the two men. Larabee breathed a long sigh of satisfaction and relief: dreams did come true.

"Feeling all right, Vin?"

"Ah hunh."

"Did I hurt you?"


"Did it feel good?"

"Real good." Vin fell asleep immediately, lying on top of his lover. He had come three times, never having experienced giving so much of himself; and Chris smiled down at the damp strands of hair; the shiny, long waves that glittered in the moonlight. With the young man satisfied and floating away naturally, without the help of the poison, Chris Larabee became a new man, a happy man who would start the long journey home on the morrow, riding beside his own euphoric enticement: Vin Tanner.

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Chapter VI

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