Ash '05: Mail Call And Memories

Mail arrivin' here at Camp AWOL is somethin' of a common, almost daily phenomena the way it is nearly everywhere in the US. Not really a big deal. Hardly ever pay attention to it other than to nod to the mailman. Usually just crap---junk mail and bills-- for Chris, so I don't pay it any mind.

But every once in a while we get a package. A real package-wrapped in brown paper, delivered special and has to be signed for. Always sparks a renewed interest in the mail. Reckon we're all just like little kids on Christmas mornin' eager to see what was hidden from view. That and it's a definite break from the routine, somethin' we all sort of keep a weather eye on.

More often than not, those packages are for Ezra. Not that strange considerin' he's the only one with much family to speak of, and he just seems to know lots of people. Sometimes he opens them in the communal barracks, sharing whatever is in them. Sometimes he simply takes them to our barracks. If he wants me to know what's in them, he tells me. I don't go rifling through his stuff. Got too much respect for him to do that.

Buck likes it when Ezra gets stuff from whoever he knows in England. There was always candy of some kind that he just casually hands over. Buck don't know that Ezra special ordered his favorites. Only know 'cause I overheard him order them once. Whoever he was talking to asked him why he was ordering stuff he knew Ezra didn't like. Ezra just smiled and said it was a gift for a friend.

Nathan and Josiah both like it when Ezra gets packages from Hong Kong. Always have a new tea of some kind for them to sample and experiment with. Don't personally care much for tea 'less it's ice cold and sweet, but those two love havin' it in the afternoon. You would think they were Brits the way they act. Ezra will occasionally join them. He brings out an entire tea set when he does. Got himself this delicate lookin' little pot and cups that would be right at home at high tea in a Victorian tea house. I'm afraid to even look at the things much less touch them.

My favorite--JD's too-are the ones that come from Switzerland and Germany. They always have chocolate in them. Hell, they are even packed in dry ice in the summer to keep it from meltin'. I like the dark chocolate. Love that rich, dark and just a hint of bitter flavor. JD favors the milk chocolate. He says it's better sweet and creamy. I don't agree, but at least I don't have to share either. Never enough to really satisfy either of us, but still a damn sight better than anythin' we can get here in the states.

Chris favors the packages that come with newspapers from countries around the world. Don't quite get it. Most of that stuff he can download off the internet if he wanted. But he says he likes the weight and feel of paper. I can't really blame him for not wanting to spend all his time inside staring at a computer screen. At least with the real thing he can go read outside, which he does most of the time.

Pretty sure there is stuff in the paper that wouldn't make it to the net anyway---little stories that likely give Chris valuable information on the political and economic environment of future job sites. He always seems to have the low down on what's going on no matter where we end up. Sometimes he gets Ezra to go over those papers with him. Reckon Ezra's translatin' or offerin' input if he's ever been somewhere. Know Chris asks Josiah for his input that way too. Former spook knows a lot about places I've never even heard of.

All of us sit up and take notice when a package comes from Joe and Levon. One we got today is no exception. Since we've met them stuff comes real regular. 'Bout once a month or so. Never exactly the same time o' the month so it's always still a surprise. Don't know if they do that on purpose or not. Knowing them, probably.

They always got somethin' for everyone on the team. Kind of amazing when I think about it, but they basically adopted us---me more so than the others since Ezra and I are together, but they take a special interest in the whole team. Wouldn't have thought they knew the others well enough to send stuff they liked or wanted, but Joe and Levon are quick ta pick up on stuff like that.

Ezra opens Joe and Levon's package in the communal barracks. Makes it easier to hand out the stuff. Especially since they all hang 'round the table like a flock of vultures. Damn glad they know about me and Ez bein' together 'cause I always get the seat next to him.

Ezra hands a small pack of three by five note cards to Josiah. Guessing it's recipes from Joe. Josiah was thrilled to get his spaghetti sauce recipe. Big man might be followin' the same steps, but none of us got the heart to tell him it just isn't as good as Joe's. Edible, but not the same.

Ezra gives Nathan a packet of seeds for his herb garden. Most of them I've never heard of, but Nathan is always thrilled to get new ones. I have no idea what is supposed to just smell good and what is actually meant to go in food. I leave that to other people. Only cookin' I ever did the stuff came out of box and went into the microwave.

I know I blushed when JD got a copy of the Gay Kama Sutra the last time. Hell, the kid did too. Still not sure if the book was for him or Buck or both of them. Guessin' they both enjoyed it. Was tempted to borrow it some time until Ezra told me he already owned a copy. Some of the positions are a little tough, but definitely worth it.

This time JD got a catalog list for an auction. Levon had said he was going to another one soon. He knows the kid likes antique weapons. Told him he'd send the list, mark whatever he wanted, what his price range was and Levon would see what he could do. Doubt anything there will be something the kid can afford, but it's nice of Levon ta offer.

Must be Joe that sent Buck another manual for a chopper. No idea which one but I'm betting it isn't one I'll ever have a chance to ride in. Used to think I knew something about engines until I met Buck. He's got one hell of a library of his own when it comes to those. Think he's got one for everythin' ever designed to burn gas, diesel or jet fuel. Won't swear to it, but I think he's got them all memorized too.

Ezra hands Chris another box of expensive cigars. I don't smoke, never have, but even I can appreciate these. They don't stink as badly as those little cheap ones Chris tends to buy. And those little boxes are great for storage. Got a number of them in the weapons locker for stray rounds. Know pretty much everyone uses them to throw in odds and ends in their barracks.

Levon usually sends me a letter, same as he does to Ezra. And he also includes a little silver flask that's full of expensive single malt scotch. Course that's only there if I remember to send it back when it's empty. Spoiled now. Can't stand to drink the cheap shit anymore.

I grin when Ezra hands over the flask and my letter. He lightly taps the side with one long, elegant finger drawing my attention to the engraving. That's new. My initials….done in fancy script. Wow. Guess this means the flask is really mine now.

In addition to the letter from Levon, Ezra usually gets somethin' more too---he's gotten a leather bound book I couldn't make heads or tails of until Ezra told me it was written in Russian; he's gotten CDs for his already impressive collection; he's gotten a silk tie that even I wouldn't object to wearing.

Know Ezra returns the favor sending little stuff back. I usually put the flask in that box along with a letter back to Levon. Kind of nice to have me a penpal of sorts. Wish I'd had that when I was in the service. I'll have to come up with something nice to send back this go around---way to say thank you.

This time Levon or Joe, don't really know which yet, included a second wrapped box. Everything else has been handed out, so this box is definitely for Ezra. He reads the note attached to it, laughs lightly but didn't say anything.

"You going to open that?" Chris asks, just as curious as the rest o' us, already fingering one of his cigars.

"In due time, Larabee." Ezra responds with an arched eyebrow.

"Aw, c'mon, Ez." JD insists, not quite whining. His fingers stray to the twine neatly wrapped around the box. "You always show us what they send."

Ezra lightly slaps his fingers, smiling enigmatically. "Not always."

I fight to keep from blushin'. There were a couple of things they sent the boys really don't need to know about. Got us a leather box Ezra calls the 'toy chest'. Keep that sucker well hidden and locked.

"C'mon Ez. Open it." Buck encourages with a smile. "Can't be any more embarrassing than what they sent the kid the last time." He pats JD's shoulder. "Not that I didn't already know some of that." He strokes his mustache reminding me of a preenin' peacock. "But always up for somethin' new."

"Buck." Chris manages to somehow make his name sound indulgent and a warning at the same time. It's a neat trick and always reins Buck in before he can get too carried away. Damn glad that since him and JD got together he doesn't tell quite so many stories any more. Don't mind them bein' together but I don't need ta hear the particulars. But Buck is still Buck---really can't imagine him any other way.

"Perhaps this is something of a private nature. Not so much embarrassing as simply not meant to be fodder for others." Josiah says, curiosity tempered with compassion. No other way to describe the way he's looking from the box to Ezra.

Ezra tips his head in that way o' his, accepting what Josiah said but not necessarily agreeing with it. Hard to tell if Josiah is right or if Ezra just wants to let everyone think he is. Bottom line---it doesn't matter. If Ezra doesn't want to open it in front of the team he isn't going to.

Buck and JD both look a bit contrite. Neither would knowingly hurt any of us, or do anything out of deliberate malice---Ezra knows that. He won't hold their nosiness against 'em. Nathan looks disappointed but doesn't say anythin'. Chris just lights up his cigar, waiting.

Ezra sighs. Green eyes meet mine and he holds out a hand to me, palm up. I dig into my pocket and hand him my little knife. Pretty sure he could undo the knots but easier just to cut the twine. Thinking about it, the box has to be from Levon. Joe would have used ribbon.

"It seems Joe and Levon have undertaken the arduous annual task of spring cleaning." Ezra says as he neatly parts the twine. There is an undercurrent of amusement in his voice that makes me wonder what sort of history that statement implies. I make a note to ask him later.

"My cousin unearthed a bit of ancient history he thought I might enjoy having." Ezra hands back my knife, neatly folded, and lightly pulls the twine aside.

Nathan leans forward for a better look as Ezra lifts the lid. I would tell the medic to back off 'cept I'm doin' the same thing, and I got a better view anyway. I do elbow Josiah though…he's leanin' inta me and I don't like havin' people look over my shoulder.

No one says anything as Ezra smiles when he looks over what's in the box. His fingers ghost over things before he actually picks them up. That's how I know this stuff is important, something he values more for the emotional significance than monetary. He handles expensive stuff with care, but not reverence.

Ezra lifts out a pair of what have to be antique silver spurs, neatly placing the tissue paper they were wrapped in off to one side. The spurs got little jingles on them and most new ones are more humane, without real sharp points like these got. He lightly fingers the rowels setting them to spinning musically.

"My grandfather, Elijah, won these in the first rodeo they held in the area when he was just fifteen."

Ezra hands the spurs to me and I take them very carefully. I admire the craftsmanship and weight of them. Suckers are definitely meant more for show than genuine use, but still very well made. I hand them to one of the others knowing they'll make their way around the table and back safe and sound.

"Levon has a similar set his grandfather, Elmer, won the following year."

Ezra hands me a framed black and white photograph of two teenage boys, both dressed in button down shirts, jeans and boots. Their spurs are just as identical at they are. Can see some resemblance to Ezra---similar jawline and nose, same refined facial features, same light colored eyes, although I'm guessing Elmer and Elijah's are blue not green. Ezra said Levon favored his mother's side, but I can see a bit of him in them too---height, curly hair and lean builds are suggestive of him.

"Someone from the family has competed in that rodeo every year since that first one." Ezra sighed. "Although I spent several weeks each summer at the ranch, I was never able to even witness the event until I turned fifteen."

Levon told us about Ezra being at the ranch in the summer when me and Buck and JD were up to visit the ranch the first time. Didn't realize right away that he only got a few weeks a year there. Stories they told made it sound like they had lots o' time together----had a lot of fun in what time they did have. We all enjoyed listenin' to stories about Ezra as a kid. And it was great to see him laugh so hard recounting those times that he was almost cryin'.

"Usually I was there for the end of June and the first week of July. But when I was fifteen, I was able to convince my recently acquired stepfather to extend his honeymoon with my mother. Doing so afforded me the rare opportunity of spending the entire summer with my cousins."

"You get to the rodeo?" Buck asks, blue eyes lit up with childlike delight. Chris told us once night when we sat around drinking that Buck had been a bullrider for a year before he signed up in the Marines. Quit when he realized he was never going to break even doing it no matter how good he got at it.

"I did." Ezra grinned. "And I even got to compete."

Nathan and Josiah looked skeptical, but they'd never seen Ezra ride. I have. So have Buck and JD. Man rides like he was born to it. Chris just raised his eyebrows.

"It was a matter of honor after all." Ezra grinned, gold tooth glinting. "The bet notwithstanding."

"Bet?" Chris passed the black and white photo to Buck.

"Somehow I'm not surprised." Nathan observes with a faint smile. "You and Levon bet on damn near everything."

"How much?" I can't resist asking.

"Ten dollars."

I grin, whistling. They usually bet a buck or less. "High stakes."

"As I said honor was involved." Ezra's green eyes twinkled. "And the bet was not between us but rather with the loud mouthed, brutish Royale brothers."

"What event were you in?" JD asks. "Did you win? Sure it was something to see. Don't suppose you got pictures or maybe a home video-"

Buck clamped his hand over JD's mouth. "Kid, you have to shut up if you want him to answer."

Ezra held up a picture, offering it to JD. I bit my tongue, not wanting to be pushy and demand to see it first. They had to wait their turn before, no reason I can't do likewise.

Ezra pats my hand and offers me another photo. I recognize the moment captured there immediately. Team roping. Not hard to tell the kid doing the heading is Levon. Guessin' he's about nineteen, maybe twenty. Would have to be about that if Ezra is only fifteen.

Ezra is the heeler in this shot. Can't quite take my eyes off the younger version of my lover. Not quite filled out yet, but I'm bettin' he was never as awkward as I was the same age. Ezra's just too damn graceful to have ever been a klutz. And being stocky, I'm betting he never looked like I did---a fledgling stork.

I've seen that look of focused concentration before. Rather like having it directed at me, truth be told. Love the way his pupils dilate and the way he starts to just barely nibble on his lower lip. Lord. I hand the picture over to one of the others.

"Roping?" Josiah looks impressed. And he should. In my opinion, team roping is one of the more difficult rodeo events. He requires not just the ability to ride, good eye hand coordination and a great sense of timing, but you also had to be able to work together. No good for you to do your part if you mess up giving your partner a chance to do his.

"Levon taught me how." There is a definite note of pride in Ezra's statement.

"Did you win?" Chris blows out a small smoke ring, a certain surety in his eyes.

"Naturally." Ezra grins. "There was money riding on it." He pulls out a belt buckle. One of those big, gaudy suckers that every rodeo cowboy has at least a dozen of.

Buck whistles. "Damn boy. You ever wear that thing?"

Ezra snorts delicately. "Only once."

"To rub it in." Buck laughs knowingly.

Ezra shrugs one shoulder, green eyes dropping a bit coyly, with an expression that says butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Like that look too. Ezra does that when he's suggesting a new use for some o' our toys. I have to look away before I do somethin' stupid.

"You ever compete again?" Nathan asked, offering the pictures back to Ezra.

"Yes." Ezra answers as he takes the photos back, placing them neatly beside the box. Since he didn't put them back in it, I'm betting there's more in there for us ta see.

JD rolls his eyes after a moment, huffing out a breath in annoyance when Ezra doesn't say anything else. "That's not enough of an answer Ez and you know it. "

Ezra arches one eyebrow. He's waiting. I know. I can almost hear him countin' to see how long it takes for JD to just burst out with more questions than a normal person could cram into twenty minutes let alone one breath.

"Ezra." Chris growls. Someday I gotta learn how to use one word, just a name, to get people to snap to. It's a mighty useful skill.

Ezra smiles, dimples appearing as he pulls another two belt buckles out of the box. "Our family was the team roping champion three years running." Shadows suddenly appear in his eyes, smile fading as his fingers lightly ghost over the buckles. "Levon was not able to participate those years."

I reach out to squeeze his shoulder. Got a good idea where Levon was during that time. No one says anything for a bit. All of us got shit we'd rather not remember, and we all know better than to throw salt in an open wound. Shit like that never really heals---more like it just becomes a pain you get used to.

"Who was your partner those other two years then?" Josiah asks gently after giving Ezra a chance to regain his composure and neatly shunting his thoughts away from Levon.

"My younger cousin, Cori." Ezra smiles warmly, shadows banished again. "She went to college on a roping scholarship."

"We ever going to meet her?" JD leans forward, looking into the box. "Didn't know you could get a roping scholarship. You got any pictures of her in there? What does she do now?"

Buck lightly slaps the back of JD's head. "Will you breathe, please."

"I am breathing." JD insists with a dirty look at Buck. "Not my fault you listen slower than I talk."

Nathan chuckles, dark eyes sparkling at our youngest's retort. Kid has been getting better at that sort of thing. Hangin' out with the rest of us he sort had to.

"Many colleges in Texas have rodeo teams the same way they have ones for football, so a roping scholarship is not unheard of, JD." Nathan points out. "Personally, I always thought it weird that some schools even have golf teams."

"Golf." Chris snorts derisively. He only tried the game only once that I know of, and we were all a bit drunk at the time. It's a wonder he didn't just shoot the ball before he'd made it even half way through the course. Nathan was even worse, which surprised all of us that he'd get so mad about a stupid game. Could have just been the booze, but none o' us want ta risk goin' again with either o' them.

Ezra shakes his head. "No pictures of Cori in the box, I'm afraid. Perhaps next time JD. And to answer your other question---Cori and her husband run one of the family farms. I believe her son will be competing this year."

"He a roper too?" Buck asks.

"No." Ezra grins. "I believe Seth will be mutton busting."

I laugh. "Must still be a little squirt then." Mutton busting is an event for children---kids ride a sheep out o' one of the gates, and the winner is the one who stays on the longest. Most don't make more than a couple o' yards. They usually give 'em helmets and vest ta wear to keep the kids safe.

"Seth is four." Ezra smiles slightly. "Quite scrappy little boy I've been told."

I catch the implication there. He's not actually seen the boy. And he totally ignored JD's question about whether or not we'd be meeting Cori. Ezra might have more family than the rest o' us, but only ones he seems to have regular contact with is Levon and Joe. I'll ask Levon about it in my next letter---don't know if Cori might not be another estranged relative for reasons I know nothin' about. Don't want ta ask Ezra in case it's somethin' he don't want to talk about. Levon will give me a heads up without sayin' anything Ezra wouldn't want him to.

Ezra starts putting the photos, buckles and spurs back in the box. It's a nice clue that he's done talking about this. JD looks like he might say something else. He always wants to know more---part of the reason he's so damn good at what he does, but Buck squeezes his shoulder and shakes his head slightly. Kid doesn't always get the signals, but he's learning.

"Thank you, Ezra, for sharing with us." Josiah's bass rumbles and the rest echo his thank you.

"You're welcome." Ezra tips his head. "If y'all will excuse me." A more effective dismissal I have yet to hear. He's always polite, and maybe that's what makes it so hard to argue with him.

Chris gives me a look. I roll my eyes at him. Like I need to be told to make sure Ezra is okay. We dug up more shit in a few minutes than we had the first year he was here---doesn't take a genius to know Ezra might need someone to make sure he's okay. I'm up and followin' him out the door with nod and a wave to the others.

Ezra is waitin' for me, eyebrow arched slightly. He smiles sweetly, eyes warm. "They are worried."

"Nah." I try to dismiss it. If it's not a big deal to him, no reason for him to think it was a big deal to them.

He grins outright. "Liar."

Busted. "Well," I stuff my hands in my pockets, rocking back on my heels, "ya did leave kind of abrupt like."

Ezra shrugs, looking a little sheepish. "It never hurts to remind them from time to time that there are boundaries, lines to be looked for before they so blithely plow ahead."

Hard to argue with that. Still, I wanna be sure. Know better than to let him sidetrack me too far. Not when it's important. I catch his eyes and hold 'em with mine. "You okay?"

Ezra smiles again and leans in to give me a light kiss on the cheek. "I'm fine, Vin."

I smile back at him, taking him at his word. Knowing it's okay to tease him a little, I can't resist doing it. "Didn't know I was sleepin' with an honest to god cowboy."

Ezra snorts delicately. "Cowboy?"

"A regular rodeo champion." I grin.

He gives me a sly look. "Would you care to go for a ride with a 'champion' then?"

"Hell, yes." Like I'd say no.

He makes a 'come with me' motion and I'm moving like a well trained dog. I'd be embarrassed about it if I could be bothered to give a damn. The man offered me a ride, and I'm not passing that up. Sure as hell wouldn't want him to think I might have changed my mind.

We don't quite run to our quarters, but we aren't wastin' any time getting there either. Ezra sets the box down carefully on the counter. Pretty sure we'll be discussin' where to display the buckles and spurs, and hangin' the pictures some time later. Got us more important things ta do right now.

Ezra's striping out of his shirt. And just like always I get a sidetracked from whatever the hell I'd been doing by that beautiful expanse of pale skin. I'm damn glad he's modest enough to stay covered most of the time 'cause I simply can't not touch him when he's exposed. Can't keep my hands to myself, or resist the need to taste.

His skin is like silk-warm, smooth and just plain incredible. I nibble and suck my way down his chest, aimin' for those little hot spots that make him gasp and moan. I mark him as mine right over his heart.

His hands are in my hair, clenched inta fists. Ought to hurt when he does that, but it doesn't. I don't resist his pull, eager to kiss him. Ezra is one hell of a kisser. My knees are like jelly and if I wasn't hanging on so tight, I'm not sure I'd still be standin'.

My hands busy glidin' up and down his back, tracin' out those nicely defined muscles I love. He's so damn reassuringly solid. Know I can lean on him… anytime, anywhere, for any reason. Love him.

"Love you," I whisper when we pull apart to breathe.

He cups my face, pupils of his eyes so large they nearly block out the green. He smiles, and kisses me gently. "I love you too, Vin Tanner."

I shiver, always surprised by how those words continue to affect me. Never expected to hear them an' now I'm not sure I could make a day without 'em. I close my eyes and pull him close to me, huggin' him hard. I breathe in the scent of him like I have countless times before. Never get tired of that. Never will.

He rubs against me like a cat. Never sure if he's just being affectionate or marking me somehow. Don't care. I like it and he knows it.

"You said somethin' 'bout a ride." I whisper in his ear, nibbling on the lobe just enough to get that little shimmy he does every time.

"I seem…to recall…mentioning something along…those lines." Ezra pants a bit, tilting his head to give me better access.

I like being able to feel his pulse with my lips. That heartbeat, strong and steady, surging just 'cause I touch him. Like seeing his skin flush with color, radiatin' warmth like a campfire ember.

I can feel his hands movin', plucking at my shirt, a little whimper of frustration escapin'. Have to force myself ta let go, ta put enough space 'tween us so I can wiggle out of my clothes. Want skin to skin as badly as he does.

Wasn't all that long ago that I screwed up my courage ta ask him to do a strip tease for me---given how graceful he does stuff, how damn sensual he is, I figured it would be one hell of a turn on. And it was. I'm still workin' on actually bein' able to jus' watch, but so far every time the need ta touch and taste makes it more of a full contact sport than spectator. At the moment, I'm just glad he's as eager ta be naked as I am, and he's not wasting any time in getting rid of the rest of his clothes.

Pretty damn sure we aren't going to make it to the bedroom. Don't matter. Right here in the living room is just fine. We didn't lock the door, but the guys no better than ta walk in.

I sigh when were both finally naked. Another thing I like about Ezra bein' modest---aren't too many people who have ever gotten to see him like this. Like thinkin' all that beauty is reserved for me. A gift I get to unwrap. My own private treasure.

Not sure anyone has ever touched me like he does. Think sometimes the man's got to have more than just two hands. It's like everywhere all at once. Can't separate one sensation from another. Doesn't matter. It's all good. Damn good.

He pulls back just a bit, and I follow not wanting to lose contact, stealing kisses along the way. Another step, maybe two and we're against the couch Ezra had delivered a couple o' months ago. Gotta admit it's a lot better than that lumpy, ancient thing we used to have.

He turns just enough that I'm braced against the back of it, and I moan at the feel of that micro-fiber stuff against my skin. Christ, that's good. I'm rubbing against it an Ezra both, not sure which feels better.

He pushes me away and smiles slyly. "Turn around." He orders quietly, voice deep and rough. I shiver as I obey.

"Bend over." He whispers in my ear before nibbling the back of my neck. His warm, slightly rough tongue is sweeping over that spot that makes me moan.

Ezra doesn't get like this very often---dictatorial, he calls it. Hell, I don't mind. I got no problem with following directions like these.

His hand on my back pushes me into the couch, so my chest rest against it. I can't stop myself from rubbing my nipples back and forth against that sinfully soft material. I bite my lip to contain little mewling noises that embarrass the hell out of me. A grown man shouldn't sound like that.

Ezra's hands are everywhere again. Can feel him stroking up and down my back… he's got this magic touch that's some blend of soothing and arousing. I gasp for breath when he moves on to kneading my ass. I'm rocking a bit, damn near humping the couch.

"Spread your legs." He leaned into whisper that, and I shudder to feel all that warm skin against me. I widen my stance without a thought. Anything he wants, anything, as long as he doesn't stop touching me.

I don't know where he got the lube---not like he's got pockets or ever got more than an arm's length way, but I'm damn glad he's got that knack for being prepared. That's my Ezra.

I moan deep when I feel his fingers inside me. His lips are so warm against my spine, like hot coals. He's taking his time, slow and easy. I want to tell him to hurry up, to just take me; I'm ready and willing, but I'm so lost in how good it everything feels I can't do anything but ride it out, letting him do what he wants at his pace.

I'm rocking back and forth, moving with the pace Ezra's set. I'm never gonna be able to look at this couch again without thinking about how amazing it feels against my nipples. Sweet mother of god. I can hear some sort of whimpering noise and it takes me a minute to realize I'm the one making it.

"Easy, Vin, easy." Ezra's crooning softly, gentling me.

Course his efforts ta calm me down are pretty much wasted when he replaces his fingers with something a lot bigger. I can feel myself trembling. Just being so connected…like we are one person is so incredible I don't have words for it. We aren't just moving in sync, we are breathing together, hearts beating in concert. I brace myself against the couch, rocking back into him with each thrust. His hands are on my hips now, bracing both of us. I am begging him for more…harder, faster, please, please.

I can feel that tingle at the base of my spine. Can't quite figure out how I got this close when neither of us got around to actually touching my cock, but I don't care. Ripples of pleasure spike through me as Ezra changes the angle of his thrusts and picks up speed. I'm panting so hard you'd think I was runnin' a marathon.

There are pinpoints of light behind my eyes, and I am clutching the couch desperate for something to ground myself. I can feel my whole body spasm, muscles twitching and quivering. I tip my head back, gasping out Ezra' name as I let go and free fall into that endless moment when the whole freakin' universe comes together and explodes.

Through the blood rushing in my ears I can just barely hear Ezra hiss out my name. His thrusts are strong but no longer smooth and its only a second later he's shuddering against me, hands moving from my hips to wrap around me in a tight, secure hold. I smile knowin' he came with me. Wouldn't be right to not share this moment.

We stay like that for a bit, just catching our breaths. Like this moment as much as everythin' that comes before. Would like it better if we were lying down, curled up around one another, but I'm not complaining.

Ezra sighs, his hands ghosting over me before he slowly pulls away. I'm still weak in the knees. I look over my shoulder at him and smile.

"Damn good ride, Ezra." I managed to straighten up a bit, still leaning against the couch. "Got a whole new appreciation for your many talents."

Ezra smiles broadly, gold pre-molar glinting slightly. "I'm thinking you have a new appreciation for that couch."

I laugh. No point in trying to deny that. I pat it fondly, hands stroking that wonderful fabric. I look down. Oh shit. The couch. The brand new couch that is going to be sportin' one hell of a stain.

"No worries, Vin." Ezra pats my arm, and gives me a quick kiss on the cheek. "Not only does it feel good, it's easy to clean. It won't stain."

"Thought of everythin' didn't ya?"

Ezra chuckles. "If I'd thought of everything, I'd have bought sheet made from that fabric."

I swallow hard just thinkin' about that. Lord. "They make-"

"I'll find out."

I nod. If anyone could find that bit of luxury it's Ezra. I look toward the bedroom. Still wouldn't mind a chance to just lay down and cuddle together.

Ezra pats my ass. He points with his chin toward our room. "Let's go warm up a spot."

Don't got to tell me twice. I'm already moving. Curling up with Ezra in that big bed he had custom made is the best way I know of to spend the afternoon.

I slide in and make sure there's room for Ezra. Like curling up around him, with my head on his shoulder. We usually start out that way and somehow end up on our sides, spooned together.

I sigh as we settle in. "Can I ask you somethin'?"

"Certainly." Ezra's voice is soft, his fingers a tracing some sort of pattern on my back.

"Will ya tell me more about the stuff in that box?"

I feel him place a kiss in my hair. "What would you like to know?"


"Ah." I can't see him smile but I know he is. "That might take awhile."

"Got time," I tell him. Got a lifetime.

"From the beginning?"

"Best place ta start." I rub my cheek against his chest, snuggling in.

"Let's start with the spurs then." Ezra places a kiss in my hair again.

I listen to him talk, not sure I'll be awake to hear it all. That's okay. He won't get to it all right now anyway. And he won't mind if I ask him to do it again tomorrow. Knew when I asked this would be somethin' we'd probably end up talkin' about for days, not minutes or hours. Don't mind that. Not one bit.

I let his voice roll over me….soft and warm. My eyes seem awfully heavy and I can't seem to keep track of what he's sayin'. But he's talkin' slower too, so I'm not sure that's all my fault.

I can feel him relaxin'. Not like he was tense before, but I know the difference between him just being at ease and fallin' asleep. I smile. Looks like neither of us is gonna get too far with this story.

I snuggle in closer, and he wraps his arms around me in a move that's too slow to be deliberate, gotta be more habit than anythin' else. Not sure when his voice drifted off completely. His breathing is deep and even, matching mine.

I sigh, too comfortable to be disappointed. I don't want think any more anyway.