by Mirna Cicioni

Webmaster Note: This fic was originally posted in the winter of 1998, and was one of the first M7 slash stories. It was moved to this site in July 2001.

You’re leaning against the doorframe, watching me.

I’m lying on the bed, and the bottle on the floor is almost empty.

It takes longer than three years to get over grief. And guilt. It may never happen.

You know all that. Without me needing to spill my guts.

You knew tonight, when you sat down opposite me in the saloon, and told me you wanted to get an early start for Tascosa.

And I said that I was thinking about whisky, then bed, then more whisky.

You half-smiled. That wry half-smile of yours, like when you’re assessing a situation. And its risks. Just like when you walked up beside me with the shotgun you’d borrowed from the storekeeper. And trusted me with your surname.

"I’m leavin’ in the mornin’," you said. "Wouldn’t blame you if you preferred to stay." And glanced at me, to see how far you’d pushed. And caught me looking at your lips. Wondering. Just for a second.

"What are the women like in Tascosa?" I asked, with a small grin, to cover up my confusion and the bunch of butterflies that were starting a dance in my stomach.

And you matched my grin. "Don’t come any livelier." You just knew, damnitall. That I was sounding you out. I bet you knew about the butterflies too, when I stood up and said that I’d see you in the morning, and you nodded, without smiling.

And now here you are, looking at me, and knowing that my guts are twisting with booze, and the grief and guilt that are with me every second of every day, and other feelings, new ones, that I’ve never had before in my goddamn life, and are scaring me shitless.

We’re measuring each other. Just like the moments before a gunfight. Both of us remaining in control, and determined to go ahead with it. Whatever the outcome.

My flesh is stirring and hardening. My mouth is dry, my hands damp.

You take one step inside, close the door, take your hat off. Your movements are slow and sure, your eyes are soft.

And you give me that half-smile again.

And I return it, and shift a little on the bed to make room for you.


Continues in: Doors

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