Reed '04: Visitors

Authors note: This is a new series: AU set in Four Corners and the small private college founded in the 1880's by the ancestors of the current day professors and students. Professor Josiah Sanchez is the Dean of the Philosophy/Religion department; Buck Wilmington teaches ancient history; Nathan Jackson is the head of the Botany department; Vin Tanner teaches Native American studies; Chris Larabee is a world renowned musician who heads the Fine Arts department; and JD Dunne is a student in Paranormal studies.

********* Josiah *********

I looked up when the bell above the door rang. "Good morning, JD."

"Good morning, Professor Sanchez." The young man grinned at me and I couldn't help but smile back. He's one of those bright souls that make life as a college professor such a joy. "Did you find a reprint of the Aztec Chronicles yet?"

"I did and it's waiting for you right here, along with another little known text on the Codex of Montezuma." I brought up the small books I'd found in the back room of a rather shady bookseller in Boston the week before. "They made fascinating reading on the flight back."

"Cool," he practically bounced over to my counter. "I can pay my balance now, too."

Extending credit to my favorite students was something I'd been doing for years. "You don't need to, JD. I know you're good for it."

He grinned and began to count out twenties. "My quarterly check came from the lawyers and it was a big one. You know, I think my guardian is psychic or something. Sixty, eighty, one hundred," he finished counting. "Every time I have new expenses, my check has extra in it." His eyes twinkled into mine. "If I didn't know better, I'd say a little bird was telling him all about me."

I winked at him and crossed off his outstanding balance. "You're free and clear, son. Perhaps he simply understands a young man needs a little extra when he's become a college junior?"

He chuckled and reverently stroked the shabby binding of the Chronicles. "Maybe, but whatever he knows, I'm just glad I can keep buying books. Hey, what kind of coffee did you make today?"

"Blue Kona, it finished perking a few minutes ago." I nodded towards the side counter where I had one pot of coffee and one of tea brewing. It didn't cost much and it made the shop a little cozier. Like the leather wing back chairs I'd scattered throughout the old Victorian house that was my home and shop, I strove to create the ambiance of a British club of the turn of the century.

The bell rang again and my lover of fifteen years strode in like a breath of spring air. Bucklin Wilmington was another of those bright souls who lighten a heart with just their smile. But the beaming grin was mine alone and I smiled a welcome to the man who held my heart. He must have just finished his first class of the day. He delighted in getting his students up at 0600 to be at his class by 0700. Of course, he'd gotten me up at the same time with one of those blow jobs he so excelled at.

"Good morning again, Light of my Life." He breezed over and kissed me sweetly before turning to the student watching us with another smile. "Morning, JD. How are you doing this fine spring morning?"

"I'm doing good, Buck. I've got that set of Chronicles I wrote into my preliminary bibliography," the young man said eagerly and I watched Buck sling an arm around his shoulder.

My lover is an excellent teacher because he loves his subject and he loves the students like they were his own. He loved children so much, if there'd been a way for him to bear mine, he would have volunteered. Neither of us were getting any younger so perhaps it was time to look into either adopting or becoming foster parents.

Little did I realize the Fates had already set in motion the granting of my wish.

********* Buck *********

I hugged JD and wished again that instead of an unknown guardian off in Boston, I was his real kin. From the moment I met him, I felt like I'd received the gift of a little brother. Josiah and I had talked about my urge to bring him into the family unit we'd created here on Professor Row. Of the five houses that nestled into the foothills of the Pecos Mountains at the far end of the sprawling campus, we owned this Victorian monstrosity. It served as home and business the same way Nathan's did.

Only Nathan's had long greenhouses and extensive gardens for his botany classes and his side business of herbal apothecary. He had almost ten acres planted with the help of the free labor he received from his classes. The one herbal knot garden just behind his large adobe ranch was my favorite and when ever Josiah needed a fresh cooking herb, I'd pop over and snip a bit off.

If Nathan and his daughter Rain were there, I'd tickle the little five year old until she was shrieking with laughter while her daddy watched us indulgently. Rain was the sweetest little girl I'd ever met but she'd have to be with the parents she'd had. Julia dying in that plane crash had almost destroyed Nathan but we'd gathered around him and held on tight. I like to think it was our love and support that had seen him through the worst of his grief but a good deal of his healing came from taking care of two-year old Rain and his gardens.

"Buck?" JD's voice sounded a little worried and I felt Josiah's big hand caress my shoulder.

"Sorry, for some reason I was thinking of Nathan and Rain. My mind is wandering." I shook my head and turned my head to brush a kiss over Josiah's fingers. "I'm thinking we should have a barbeque this weekend. What do you say, JD? Would you bring some of that great coleslaw from your Mom's recipe?"

He lit up and nodded eagerly. "I sure could, Buck. I've been kind of missing it myself. Do you think Professor Jackson would let me have some of his greenhouse cabbage?"

I chuckled. "He likes your coleslaw as much as we do so I bet he'd be more than happy to let you do some picking."

For some reason he blushed. "I could, um, go ask him now if you'd go with me."

Josiah squeezed my shoulder surreptitiously and I wondered why. "JD, why don't you run to the rooming house and put your new books away while I give Buck our grocery list? He'll meet you in front of Nathan's home."

"Sure, I'll see you in a few minutes, Buck." JD nodded and left the shop with a cheery wave.

"What, `Siah?" I asked him and watched his eyes crinkle up at the corner.

"JD has a crush on Nathan." My perceptive lover said calmly.

"No way," was my first response then a couple of little things came together in my mind and I found myself nodding my head while slipping my arms around Josiah's waist. "Wow, what should we do? Has Nate ever given you any idea he might be bisexual? For that matter, I thought JD was dating Casey?"

"We should do nothing, sweetheart. When Nathan came out of his depression, I think he put all thoughts of dating out of his mind." My lover got that analytical look on his face that always turned me on something fierce. "For the last year, I've seen him get more and more comfortable with JD as a student and as someone we've semi- adopted. The fact he lets JD babysit Rain is a pretty good indicator he's accepted him as a part of his circle of friends."

I love him dearly but he sure can talk around a subject. "That's all good to know, Light of my Life, but what about sex?" I wiggled my hips just a little against his groin and felt him swell. "I think JD might have experimented with his last roommate – that idiot Jan. Do you think one bad experience might sour him on male loving?" Josiah's other arm came around me, holding me loosely in his warm embrace. "He has not let Jan's perfidy best him. He's dating Casey to make sure he doesn't want girls instead of boys. I think he's coming down on the male side of the equation. Nathan, however, is very hard to read. He's a sensual man with a large appetite for love but I don't know if he'll ever see JD as a potential partner."

"It's two hours till my next class, `Siah." I tightened my grip. "When does Nettie come in to watch the bookshop?"

"Right about now, boys." Nettie's sharp voice came with the ringing of the bell. "You shoo and I'll watch the place."

I know my gaze was hopeful when I looked into his beautiful blue eyes. Those laugh lines around them deepened a little. "Thank you, Nettie. I'll see you after my two o'clock class. However, Buck, you have an appointment with JD in a few minutes so I'll tell you to hold that thought for a little later."

Pouting wouldn't do any good, I could already tell he wasn't in the mood for a quickie. I let him go regretfully after whispering `later' in his ear. He just laughed and headed for the back while I dashed out the front door to go meet JD.

********* tbc