Oak '05: Getting There

Ezra says trains are the wave of the future. Not sure I know what the hell that means, but I hate 'em. So whatever wave they're on I hope it takes a good long time for them to hit the shore. I am NOT giving up my horse until I am too old and busted up to ride any more. Next time someone else can make this trip ta St. Louis. Still not sure why the hell we had to do this in the first place.

I know Judge Sanders is some old friend o' Judge Travis'. Know he's comin' from St. Louis to New Mexico Territory for his new job and the powers that be want to make sure he arrives safe and sound. Snort. Man his age oughta be able to get himself to and from just fine for crying out loud. Shouldn't need an armed escort.

I rub a hand over my face and try once more to get comfortable. Trains make too much noise and they stink. Blowin' ash and cinders all over the place like a snot nosed kid making a mess. And they remind me of being on a boat the way they rock back and forth as they move. Only time I was on a boat, I puked my guts up, so I guess it's safe to say Ezra was right when he called my dislike 'the unfortunate product of a negative association'.

Have to admit takin' the train is faster. Two days and we're already more than half way there. And yeah, it is easier than riding a horse, but not by a whole hell of a lot in my opinion. First stop we got off at I was movin' like I was a hundred years old. Never been so damn stiff in my life. Ezra says I'll get used to it, and it won't be so bad once I learn to relax, learn how to walk up down the car without feeling like a new born foal trying to get my legs under me. As much as I trust Ez, not sure I'm taking his word for that.

Only real consolation I had was Chris wasn't movin' any better'n me. Hah. He looked like nine miles o' bad road. Wonder if he's got himself 'a negative association' o' his own that makes riding the train bad for him too. Kind o' mean spirited of me to hope he's sufferin' but I blame him for my havin' to be on this stupid trip so I can't really help bearing him a little ill will.

I shift again wondering if my ass is totally asleep yet or not. These stupid seats are harder than rocks and way too damn close together. Would it kill them to pad the suckers a little? And how about givin' a little more space while they're at it? Hate rubbin' elbows with strangers.

Damn glad Ez let me have the window seat, and made sure we got a place at the back of the car. Makes me shudder just thinkin' about having someone behind me when I can't reach my gun easily. Just isn't safe or natural to have your back exposed like that.

Know Chris feels the same way. He managed ta get a seat all to himself by glarin' at people. Would have done that myself, but I want Ezra sittin' next to me. He's a good buffer and I always feel better when he's close by.

Wish the porter would quit givin' me dirty looks. Ezra says it's all in my head, but I don't think so. Figure that prissy little bastard is wonderin' what a fine, upstanding gentleman like Ezra P. Standish is doing travelin' with the likes of me and Chris.

Hell, I know I look more like I was drug behind the train than riding in the damn thing. And Chris jus' looks meaner than an angry rattlesnake. He damn near made the porter wet himself when the stupid bastard had the gall to tell Chris he had to share his seat.

But ol' Ez definitely looks the part of a 'fine, upstanding gentleman', even after two days on this god forsaken train. Got on his black jacket, the one he don't wear often. Pinstripe pants and a white shirt that is so crisp it's a wonder it don't cut somebody. Nary a wrinkle in it despite how long he's been wearing it. Amazin'. Vest he's got is shot through with silver threads and does a damn find job of showing off that he's still in his prime, stomach still flat and hard---not like that salesman fella who got off at the last stop.

Thank god that fat blowhard is gone. Can't believe he really thought he was going to sell Ezra anythin'. And if he hadn't stopped eye balling Ez like he was meat on a hook, I'd have popped him one. Only one who should be lookin' at Ez like that is me.

Ezra sighs. He's been shuffling his cards for the last hour. I'm still impressed by the number o' different ways he can do that. Guess he's bored or tired of it 'cause he's putting the deck back in his pocket. We'd tried playing a few games but there really wasn't enough room for it when I could look over his shoulder and see his cards. And with Chris across the aisle we couldn't include him. Didn't seem right to play a round when all of us couldn't participate.

Chris looks like he's sleepin', but I know he isn't. Would mean he's got to relax enough to let down his guard and I can't see that happening while the train is moving. Ezra says some people find the motion o' the train soothing, but I'm not one of them and neither is Chris.

Ez has dozed off a few times. His head just resting natural like on my shoulder. Didn't give a shit what the damn porter thought about that. Still don't.

Wasn't the same as being in bed together at home, but best we could do given the situation. At least one of us will be somewhat rested when we get to St. Louis. Supposed to spend the night there. Figure I can catch up on my sleep then.

Ez stands up in one smooth movement that I can't help but envy. Has got to be a trick to that. He adjusts his cuffs, discretely shifting his weight from one leg to the other, riding out the movement of the train as he works out kinks I know he's got to have.

"Where ya going, Ez?” Chris asks softly, eyes opening just a slit.

“For some fresh air.” He smiles, tipping his head toward the door behind us. “Would you care to join me, Mr. Tanner?”

I don't even have to think about it. I'm up and moving, ready and willing to go anywhere with him. At this point I'd kill for the chance to move even if all we're doing is stepping out on to the platform at the end of the car.

Chris just grunts at us and goes back to pretending to be asleep. I know he'll keep an eye our stuff, what little we brought with us. And he'll make sure no one takes our seats. Not that matters much. If it came down to it, I think I'd be more comfortable riding on the roof.

I take a deep breath once we get outside. Feels good after the stuffiness of the train car. I don't have to hang on to the rail anymore, so I guess I'm getting used to the motion of if. Can't decide if I'm happy about that or not.

Neat as you please, Ezra steps across the gap between cars. I scowl at him, but brace myself to follow. Hell, I've seen that pompous little porter do this, so I know I can too. I make a point of not looking down at the ground rushing by underneath. Know it's only a foot span or so but it still makes me real uneasy to think about what would happen if I slipped.

“I would not let you fall.” Ez says to me, patting my shoulder. Gives me a warm feeling to know he'd catch me. Would do the same for him.

Before I can say anything he's opening the door to the car we just stepped on to. He walks into the car like he owns it, tipping his hat to the ladies and nodding to the men, moving easily with the motion of the car. I try to follow his example, careful not to bump into anyone. Don't quite have Ezra's grace, and I need ta put a hand on the back of the seats now and again for balance, but at least I'm not tripping over my own two feet any more. Reckon that's progress.

Feels real good to stretch my legs a bit. Not quite so cramped and stiff, muscles complaining a little but not as bad as they were. Maybe Ezra was right and I won't be feeling ancient when we reach St. Louis.

We're through the car and on the next platform in almost no time. Ez offers me his flask with a wink and a smile. No idea when he had time to fill it but I'm damn glad he's willing to share. The burn of good whiskey is comforting and familiar.

Train has a 'dining car' and a 'smoking car' too. Can get a drink in either one but it's too pricey. And mostly those cars are reserved for 'first class' passengers. Ezra might pass for one of them, but no way Chris or I would. Not a big deal really. Chris bought a bottle of Red-eye at our last stop. We've already polished that off.

Matronly lady a few rows up from us kept shooting us dirty looks and spouting off stuff about a temperance league. We ignored her. Wasn't like we got drunk or rowdy. Was just passing the time like we do at home.

I lick my lips after I take a shot from Ez's flask. Damn glad Ez had the foresight ta fill it before we left home. I hand it back to him with a grateful smile. He just dips his head a little and smiles. He takes a sip before slipping it back into his jacket pocket.

Now that I think about it, I'm real glad Mrs. Potter packed us some vittles too. Wasn't much really, just some bread, cheese, a few apples and a little bit of pie. But beat the hell out of hard tack or trying to scrape together enough money for the dining car. Know Ez could afford to eat there if he wanted to but he said the food wasn't that good. “Certainly not worth the exorbitant price they charge.” Those were his exact words.

Ez stepped over to the next car, and I follow him. Feeling a lot more confident each time I do it. This is the last car on the train. Everyone in this one appears to be sleeping. Most of these people have been travelin' even longer than we have. Got on in California or something like that. They have to be more tired than I am.

Ezra threads his way through the car as silent as a big cat. I go down the aisle after him, careful to maintain my balance so I don't bump into anyone accidentally. Not sure why we are making an effort to be quiet, but I follow his lead.

Ez carefully closes the door behind us once we're both outside again. Kind of nice to look out see nothing but open prairie. Sun dipped below the horizon not too long ago so there's just a bit of daylight left. Plants are all still green and lush from spring rains. In another month everything will have dried up again.

I brace both hands against the rail and lean out a little. The rush of air feels good against my face. This far back from the engine there isn't any soot or ash to contend with so the air smells clean and fresh.

Ez wraps his arms around me from behind and pulls me back to lean against his chest. God that feels wonderful. Even though we haven't been more than an arm's length apart for the past two days, all but living out of each other's pockets, we still haven't had the chance to be this close, and I missed it.

Ez sighs and nuzzles my neck. I tilt my head to one side to give him better access. Never missed Four Corners more than I do right now. If we were there, all this would lead to being naked, getting hot and sweaty. But here - on this stupid train - likely won't go anywhere.

I can feel his hands running over my chest, just the way I like. And I moan a little, low and needy. Feels like it's been forever since we last made love instead of just a few days ago.

I shiver when suddenly I feel cool air against my skin. Hadn't even realized he'd undone the buttons on my shirt until then. Much as I am enjoying this, I can't help but worry about the other passengers. Hell, anyone could walk out here.

“I locked the door.” Ezra whispers in my ear before he starts nibbling on it. I can't help leaning into him, my knees always get a little weak when he does that.

“The shades are drawn so no one will see.” He says real soft as he moves on to bite the back of my neck. I can feel the soft wetness of his tongue against my skin.

“No one will hear a thing over the train.” He's sucking on that spot right where my neck and shoulder meet. God. I really can't think when he does that.

Feels like his hands are everywhere. Fingertips just ghosting over my skin, making goosebumps before he starts playing with my nipples. His hands are so hot compared to the rushing breeze the train makes. So… god…so good. I want to turn around and return the favor, make him feel good too, but Ez has got me trapped between him and the rail, just holding me there.

“Let me do this for you.” He whispers, sucking on my earlobe again.

I want to shake my head, tell him no, that it should be both of us, but he's doing that thing with is tongue again. And those fingers….those incredibly talented fingers are doing things to me…lord, I just nod my head. Can't say no to him. Don't really want to.

I can hear myself whimpering and bite my lip to stop it when he starts working my belt loose and get inside my pants. Real glad I went without the union suit so there's nothing to slow him down. He's sucking on my neck real gentle like. Can't hear myself panting as I try to catch my breath, to say something, do something, but I can't get my mouth to do more than gasp and beg him not to stop.

“Sweet…mother…of god.” I hiss out when he's got me free and jacking my cock real slow. I can't keep my hips from moving, just thrusting into his fist nice and easy, rocking in time with the movement of the train.

For the first time in two days the swaying thing of the train feels natural, right. Moving in time with that rhythm is so damn easy like this. That stupid klickty-klack of the wheels sounds like a great big ol' heartbeat, steady and strong, comforting rather than annoying.

I can hear Ez saying something, but I can't concentrate on the words. I'm too lost in how it feels to have him touch me. Like I was dying o' thirst and finally found water.

He's moving faster now. Adding that little twist…little rougher, little harder and tighter…God. Just the way I like it. I want to slow down, to make this last, but I can't. It's just been way too long.

Ezra bites my shoulder, while one hand pinches a nipple and the other keeps jacking me hard and fast. I can felt my spine tingling and I know I'm close. So close.

The grip I got on the railing is so tight I can feel it cutting into my hand as my whole body clenches. I arch my back when I come, white light sparks behind my eyelids. I think I might have shouted Ezra's name but I can't be sure.

I can feel myself shaking and panting as I try to catch my breath. At the moment, the only thing holding me up is Ezra. I should be embarrassed about how fast I went off, and how damn shaky it left me, but I can't bring myself to care.

“You with me now?” He whispers in my ear, voice gentle and just as warm as his breath against my skin.

I take a shaky breath, then another. I sound like I've been screaming, hoarse and raspy when I answer him. “I'm with you.”

“Good.” He pats my chest and then cleans me up with one of his fine linen handkerchiefs. Don't know how or when he got a chance to even get that out, but I'm not going to complain.

Ezra starts putting my clothes back in order. Could do it myself, but I like letting Ez do it. Feels almost more intimate than what he just did a few minutes ago.

When he's done I turn around and kiss him. Long and slow, mapping the inside of his mouth with my tongue like I might never get to kiss him again. He tastes good. Blend of scotch and that last apple he ate hours ago and something that is just him.

He smiles when he finally pulls away, one hand cupping my face, green eyes sparkling. He shakes his head a little, looking regretful. “We should get back before Mr. Larabee misses us and begins searching.”

“But what about--“

His smile turns sly and he winks at me. “You can return the favor on our trip home.”

I grin. Suddenly this whole train thing don't seem like such a bad deal. Never thought I'd find myself actually looking forward to riding another one.

Ezra unlocks the door. Not sure exactly how he locked it in the first place until I see a key in his hand. I laugh softly.

“You swiped the key.”

“I did.” He grins at me, gold tooth glinting in the fading light of the setting sun. “I will return it in due time, not to worry.”

I roll my eyes. Like I was worried about that. Wouldn't care if that prissy porter got fired over losing it. Might bring him down a peg or two.

Moving back through the cars is easier now. Feeling more relaxed than I have since I found out I was going on this trip. Amazin' how being so tense can make a man slow and clumsy. Feel tired now but not wore out and exhausted like I did before me and Ez got us 'a little fresh air'.

Don't even hesitate to cross from one car to the next. I just leap lightly across like Ezra does. I pat his ass jus' cause I can and I want to and I feel really good about life in general at the moment. Earns me a quick smile and a knowing look.

Feels great to be able to move like I normally do and less like some toddler learning to walk. Half tempted to tell Chris that getting laid would make this trip a lot easier for him, but then I'd probably have to explain how I know, and I'm not going to get inta that with him. Love Larabee like a brother but I'm not going ta talk about my sex life with him.

We make it back to our car. Chris looks us over, reminding me of a mother hen makin' sure her chicks are all back in one piece. I just smile at him as I settle into my seat. He grunts and closes his eyes again.

Ezra removes his coat, and folds it neatly across his lap. Under it, where no one can see, I hold his hand. I rest my head on his shoulder and close my eyes with a sigh. Given the way I saw other people sleepin' on each other in that last car, no one except maybe that self-important porter will even bat an eye at me using Ez as a pillow.

The klickty-klack of the wheels still sounds like a heartbeat to me. Not the same as Ezra's, not as familiar or quite the same tempo, but close enough for now. The sway doesn't seem so unnerving any more either. Think I better understand what Ez meant when he said some people find the motion soothing.

Reckon if I catch me a little shut eye, me and Ez won't spend all our time in St. Louis sleeping. Feel like I can at least nap now. Hell at this point, I'm not sure I could even stay awake.

I squeeze Ezra's hand, just to say thank you. He rests his head against mine for a moment and I know he got the message. I'll sleep easy knowin' he's keeping watch.