The last vestiges of a summer storm drizzled down from the sky, its lazy cascade of rain blanketing the town of Tombstone in a drowsy, wet embrace. The Oriental Saloon welcomed the afternoon deluge. All of its windows stood wide open in hopes of capturing the elusive breeze of cool damp air.
An oppressive silence had settled over the few patrons foolish enough to venture forth in the rain. The men were scattered throughout the establishment, some milling at the bar while a few solitary souls sat nursing their drinks at distant tables. Moving back and forth amongst the patrons was Bill Joyce, owner and bartender of the saloon. He accommodated their whispered requests with a quiet grace.
Several of the customers from the bar settled at a nearby table, and it wasn’t long before a deck of cards made its appearance. Kings and Queens abdicated to a full house while aces high debated a royal flush. The sound of coins tripping over each other kept company with the soft slither of wrinkled paper bills and shuffled cards.
One voice, rusty with age, called out an invitation. "Come visit with us, Doc," it invited. Discarded cards were collected, winnings scraped into a growing pile. "Come on, Doc. Got a fresh bottle of whiskey, and it's calling your name."
"Yeah, Doc,” another voice added. “I need to win back some of my money. Gotta get a new skillet for my little lady."
One pale hand raised a small ornate metal tumbler in salute. "Another time, dear friends,” Doc Holliday answered. “This weather has petitioned my mind, and it is requesting an afternoon of reflective meditation."
The tumbler was emptied, the burning warmth of the consumed whiskey savored with a hushed sigh. "But do not worry your souls. I will be more than happy to lighten your purses again tomorrow."
A collection of chuckles, snorts and friendly retorts acknowledged the challenge along with mugs of beer raised high in the air.
“Tomorrow, Doc. We’ll be waiting.”
Bill swiped a damp rag across Holliday's table before placing a clean ashtray and fresh bottle of whiskey in front of the silent man. "Meditation, eh, Doc?” The saloon's owner stepped back, his gaze drifting over the lean form of the young gambler. "What's tickling that mind of yours, Holliday? A new love interest?"
The pale imitation of sunshine crept across the room and found its way into Holliday's shadowy hiding place. Teasing eyes were caught by the light, their blue-gray depths dancing with guarded secrets. "A new love interest?” Holliday repeated.
The whiskey bottle was uncorked, and a measure of the amber fluid splashed into the small tumbler. "Bill, you are a very learned man. With one guess you have uncovered the subject of my rainy day contemplation."
Holliday stroked his neatly-kept mustache, the knowing grin on his face sheltered from view by his hand. The illusion of innocence quickly replaced the mischief, and with a nod of thanks, he sent the gray-haired saloon owner back to his post at the bar.
Reaching inside his jacket, Holliday pulled out a small leather case. Selecting a fresh cheroot, he set a match to its end. Several draws later he exhaled slowly and watched the blue smoke spiral toward the ceiling. "Oh yes, dear sir. My thoughts are indeed tangling themselves around the one who has laid claim to my heart."
John Henry Holliday lifted his eyes to the ceiling and smiled. His lover resided upstairs, naked and hungry, no doubt, for his touch. Just the thought of what awaited him in that darkened room on the second floor had his legs spreading wide, providing space for his awakening erection. Fingers that could make a deck of cards dance whispered across the heated flesh, re-acquainting it with a hint of the pleasure to come.
Holliday chuckled at the double entendre of his words. To come. He took a sip of whiskey and briefly closed his eyes. "Yes, my love. To come with you will indeed be a gift from the gods themselves."
One saloon hostess sashayed by the gambler's table, her hips swinging seductively. The blatant invitation was summarily ignored, her presence shunned and quickly dismissed.
“Not tonight, my dear sweet thing,” Holliday whispered.
No, not tonight. Tonight the pursuit of female charms was not on his personal agenda. His desires wandered in a direction that was completely unconventional and unacceptable by society's bible-toting, scripture-spouting, hypocritical inhabitants. His need, his passion, answered to only one person, and that person was a man. A strong, virile man. His man. His Wyatt.
Wyatt Earp, US Deputy Marshall, a legend in the West. This hero, this mortal god, was waiting upstairs, tangled in crisp cotton bed sheets, his body, and his heart ready for the taking, ready for the loving.
A husky groan was captured and swallowed, the sound stifled in the same instant hardening flesh was disciplined by a firm hand. Amused at his lack of control, Holliday smiled then glanced around the room, ensuring his respectability, what was left of it, was still intact.
“Appearances, Doc,” Holliday muttered under his breath, mimicking his lover. “We must maintain a certain appearance of decency, if nothing else.”
The mocking curve of Holliday’s smile softened. There was absolutely nothing immoral or indecent about his feelings for the man upstairs. He loved Wyatt Earp with his entire being. The lawman was his shelter and his shield during these dangerous and uncertain times, and the two of them were friends first, a bond forged in blood. It was only recently that their relationship had deepened into a love that defied description.
It took several months, but the understanding touches, the concerned looks, the words weighted with unspoken meaning --- all had communicated the emotions the two of them were finally forced to acknowledge.
His gaze drifting toward the window, Holliday noted not the gentle rain that fell outside but a rain of the past, a hard, brief night shower that had compelled him to seek shelter in a shadowed doorway. Much to his surprise, his refuge was already occupied by the solid form of one Wyatt Earp.
An articulate apology had been offered along with a chagrined smile when his cold hands accidentally fumbled across neighboring masculine anatomy. Wyatt’s blue eyes had glittered dangerously, a warning Holliday failed to notice in his rush to excuse his inappropriate groping. He did not, however, miss the husky voice that had requested one kiss as a token of recompense. There followed a look of surprise, a shudder of answering need, and Holliday had willingly offered his mouth to Wyatt, his heart completely in tune with that of his friend’s.
The kiss had quickly progressed to an embrace followed by trembling caresses and knee-weakening spasms. They had remained hidden in that dark alcove for the remainder of the storm, their true needs at last recognized and acted upon.
His eyes dark with desire, Holliday stubbed out his cheroot. Memories were nice, but they did nothing to quench the fire in his blood. Upstairs was the solution. Upstairs was Wyatt.
Boots encrusted with a day’s worth of mud and muck fell to the pine wood floor with a thump. Ignoring the dried flakes of dirt that scattered across the clean floor, Wyatt rubbed a hand through his hair and looked around the room that he and Doc shared.
Doc’s fancy clothes hung in the wardrobe across the way while his own plainer garb was folded neatly in the bureau. The rented room was small, simply furnished, a few personal items here and there. In the corner sat a table, an unfinished game of chess crowding its narrow surface. It was flanked by two, well-worn armchairs. A book resided on the seat of the chair nearest the fireplace and tucked between its pages was a card, the King of Hearts.
Chuckling, Wyatt slipped his hand inside his waistcoat and fingered the frayed card that occupied the pocket next to his heart. He carried the Jack of Diamonds, and its presence brought to mind a specific memory.
The two of them had been engaged in a private, late night poker game with Doc, of course, the winner. Wyatt had been clearing the table when, without warning, his lover had caught his hand. There’d been a wicked gleam in Doc’s eyes, which immediately put Wyatt to imagining all sorts of things, none of which would have put him in the good graces of the church.
True to form, his companion picked up on his thoughts and began licking and sucking on his fingers in a most indecent manner.
“Uh, Doc? You want me to rustle you up a late night snack? My fingers can’t be all that tasty.”
Doc had remained silent and by the time he was finished, Wyatt was hard as a rock. He stared dumbfounded at the card Doc pressed into his hand.
“You wanna play another hand? At this late hour?” Wyatt asked. Doc shook his head.
"Another game of cards is not what I had in mind,” Holliday replied. Taking one last, leisurely lick of the hand he still held in his possession, the gambler continued. “Your Jack of Diamonds is quite frustrated and desperately ready to claim his prize.”
Wyatt almost dropped the bottle of whiskey he held in his other hand. It wasn’t often that Doc took the lead in their lovemaking, and Wyatt nearly came in his pants at the thought of being ridden hard by his slender lover.
“Frustrated, are ya?” Wyatt had more to say, but his words were delayed by the hungry groan that acknowledged the fingers dancing lazily over his crotch. Taking a deep breath, he carefully returned the bottle to the table then shuffled through the pile of cards still scattered across its highly polished surface. He offered his selection to his grinning lover.
"If you don't behave, you lusty reprobate, your King of Hearts will damn well give you your prize right here and now."
The fingers measuring his length gripped him hard, and the fire in his loins ignited into a full-blown blaze. Acting quickly, Wyatt pulled Doc out of his chair and sucked the very breath out of him. Clothes were discarded as they hastily stumbled across the room to their bed, each one claiming and bestowing kisses in equal measure. The loving that followed had left the bed in shambles and them both gasping for air and grinning like love-sick fools.
Wyatt pulled out his card and looked at it. He could still hear Doc's grumbled complaint as they’d tumbled naked onto their bed.
"And just why, may I ask, dear sir, are you the King? I do believe my genteel upbringing is more suited to that title."
Wyatt returned his lover's token to its home, patting it reassuringly once it was hidden from sight. Shouldering out of his coat, he threw it over the back of the armchair and picked up his lover's book. "I may be the King, Doc, but you're the one who rules this simple gunman's heart."
Returning the book to its place on the chair, Wyatt then removed his guns and sat them on the table beside their bed. Next to go was his shirt, tossed carelessly into a far corner. He knew he should put the garment away as was proper, but he didn’t. He liked it when Doc took him to task for his messy ways.
Lips curved slightly, Wyatt recalled last night's loving -- the frantic, hard kisses, Doc’s lean frame under his, their bodies moving together in perfect rhythm. He could still hear the sound of Doc’s voice hoarsely calling his name, not to mention feel the heat of Doc’s surrender as it coated their bellies and chests.
Messy, indeed, Doc, he mused.
Wyatt smiled then, one of his rare, full-blown smiles, one that few saw. He wasn’t called ‘the frowner’ by his family for nothing.
Doc had changed all that. The eloquent gambler had brought joy to his lonely existence, had offered him friendship and loyal support, and on the heels of those feelings, had developed a genuine affection and love.
Glancing out the window at the approaching darkness, Wyatt sat down on the bed and rubbed his hands over his bare chest. There was a brief flare of discomfort, and he looked down, noting the bite mark near his left nipple. He touched the small bruise and felt a slight shudder of need in his groin.
They’d never said they loved each other, but oh by God, he loved Doc, had a deep personal affection that went way beyond friendship. His love for the man was so deep and so fierce; hell, he’d do anything for Doc. Die for him, if need be.
Wyatt had loved Doc from the first time he’d seen him, sitting alone in Shanssey's bar, playing a game of Solitaire and drinking whiskey. The moment their hands met, he’d known his life had changed, and it had warmed his heart to see those feelings reflected in the depths of the other man's eyes.
Wyatt clasped his hands together and rested them between his knees, another memory stirring to life.
He’d never forget how Doc had saved his life that night at the Long Branch Saloon. Ed Morrison and his boys had ridden into Dodge raising all sorts of hell and damnation. Not content with scaring half the population senseless with their whooping and hollering, they’d taken over the saloon, vandalizing the place and harassing its customers.
Unaware of what was going on inside, he’d entered the establishment and found himself face to face with a group of armed gunmen, each one with a weapon trained on his person. His sidearms had remained holstered; he was brave but not stupid. Pulling his guns would have signed his soul over to the devil that night. Hence, he stood there, his fists clenched, his tongue firmly held between his teeth, listening to Morrison's taunts and hoping the man was too drunk and too much of a coward to follow through.
Wyatt reached across to the table beside the bed and lit the kerosene lamp, the flare of the match glinting off the steel barrel of his revolver. He could still recall the overwhelming feeling of relief that had coursed through his body when a familiar voice eclipsed the brawling ruckus of noise in the saloon.
Doc. Doc had come to his rescue.
"I beg your pardon," Holliday had said in that refined Southern accent of his.
The gambler's gun was pressed against Morrison's temple, the weapon cocked and ready to fire. "In case you haven’t noticed, you gentlemen have interrupted a most satisfying evening of pleasurable camaraderie, and my associates find they cannot continue with our game because of your presence."
Wyatt watched as his friend led Morrison into the middle of the room. Doc's steel blue eyes connected with his and never wavered the entire time he was talking to the rebel rousers.
"Not only have you distressed my associates, but you have interrupted a game in which I was holding the winning hand. Not good, gentlemen. Therefore, I suggest you surrender your firearms to the Marshall or else your leader here will lose what's pitifully left of his brains."
Pistols and rifles hit the saloon's wooden floor a second later, and Doc had offered Wyatt one of his secret smiles. Pushing a pale, trembling Morrison into the lawman's waiting arms, the gambler had tipped his gun in a salute of introduction. "John Henry Holliday at your service. Please do not hesitate to call if you require my assistance again, dear friend."
The kerosene lamp sitting on the bedside table sputtered, snapping Wyatt out of his memories.
“John Henry.” Wyatt shook his head, bursting out in a laugh. “You’ll never be anything but Doc to me.”
Wondering where the man of his thoughts was at that moment, Wyatt looked unseeingly across the room to where the rain splattered against the panes of glass. He hesitated for a moment, thinking maybe he should go in search of his missing lover. Shaking his head again, he muttered under his breath, "Lady Luck probably has her arms wrapped right tight around ya, huh, Doc?"
Certain his lover was hard at work emptying the purse of some poor fool, Wyatt undressed. He stared at the bed for a moment, unwilling to slip between the covers without Doc beside him. Yeah, he was tired, but he doubt he’d get any shut-eye. He was too used to sleeping with Doc glued to his side, their arms and legs tangled like some stubborn knot.
A face-splitting yawn halted his musings. Maybe he’d take a short nap until Doc made his way back upstairs. Get a little rest before taking his lover to task for leaving him hard and wanting.
Yeah, a nap. Perfect.
Tossing his remaining clothes to the floor, Wyatt slipped under the covers and fell fast asleep.
Darkness had descended when Wyatt woke. Prying his face away from Doc’s pillow, he grumpily looked around the room. Something had disturbed his sleep, disturbed his dream, the one of Doc driving him wild with his tongue. Mumbling an oath, Wyatt wriggled a bit and immediately identified the familiar pair of arms circling his waist, not to mention the mustache tickling his back.
“Doc, is that you?” he asked and groaned softly when the answer to his question came in the form of a kiss to the spot between his shoulder blades.
“Wyatt. In bed all ready?” Holliday softly inquired. “The night is still young.”
Wyatt smiled sleepily. He did so enjoy Doc’s teasing. “Waiting for you, Doc,” he answered after clearing the gravely sound of sleep from his voice.
The hands that warmed his belly traveled lower, and Wyatt nearly growled when they expertly cradled his slumbering organ.
”Why thank you, Mister Earp. I’d not meant to keep you waiting,” Holliday laughingly said.
Playful fingers teased the heated flesh of his groin, and Wyatt turned, wishing nothing more than to view the face of the man he loved. “You’re welcome, Doc. Now kiss me proper.”
Holliday smiled for a moment, looking down at Wyatt before kissing him gently. His lips lingered, his tongue teasing the bushy growth of Wyatt's mustache. By the time the kiss was finished Holliday was extremely short-winded, and it took a full minute before he could speak without gasping for air. “There you are, my fine paid in full.”
Disguising his ever-growing concern with a grin, Wyatt rolled on top of his lover. He made sure he kept the majority of his weight off Doc’s chest. The man was looking a little blue around the lips, more so than usual. “You’re not ever gonna be paid in full, Doc. Hope you know that,” he declared.
“Now, Wyatt, you do realize I always pay my debts?” Holliday drawled.
Wyatt heard the question, but instead of answering, he concentrated on the hands roaming up and down his back. A groan slipped free when those same hands gripped his rump. “Feels damn good, Doc. Do it some more.” Wyatt bent to kiss Doc again, this time sliding his tongue between his lover’s lips.
Holliday pulled Wyatt closer, pressing against him, letting their hardening cocks slide against each other. “Your wish is my command.”
Wyatt was still trying to catch his own breath when Doc shifted his hands lower and explored the shadowy crevice that split his rump in two. Seconds later his pucker was teased mercilessly, and Wyatt seriously considered retribution but was distracted by the teeth adding to the possessive markings of passion on his upper chest.
Growling, he answered his lover's actions by closing his mouth over the juncture of Doc's shoulder and neck. He sucked on the pale skin until abruptly sidetracked by the blunt nails scoring the sensitive skin of his scrotal sac. Clawing at the sheet, Wyatt ripped his mouth away and threw back his head, sucking in a lung full of air. "Shit, Doc! Where the hell did you learn that?"
Holliday answered by pulling Wyatt’s head back down. He licked the swollen lips hovering over him before whispering, “I am a man of many talents. All of which I plan to share with you.”
“Good, ‘cause I'm all for sharing.” Wyatt laughed and lazily moved his larger frame over that of his rail-thin lover. His movements didn’t stay unhurried for long.
“Doc, damn it. Stop it with the teasing. Move those fingers of yours or else.”
Doc complied, and the two of them panted for air as they strove to maintain the delicious friction between their bodies. Control soon evaporated, forcing their kisses into a frantic mating of lust and need rather than the gentle caress of affection. Moans of relief and satisfaction were offered to the darkness the moment Wyatt stiffened, his steamy ejaculate sliding between their sweat-slicked skin. Doc’s hoarse cry followed soon after as he came in like fashion, the sounds of his surrender captured by Wyatt’s hungry mouth.
They held each other for a few moments, gaining their breaths, enjoying the lassitude that came with fierce lovemaking. Wyatt was the first to move. He was well aware of his lover's compulsive cleanliness and wanted to get the cloth he’d started keeping by the wash basin to clean them up before falling asleep.
“No, Wyatt, stay,” Holliday slurred, holding tight to his arm.
Surprised, Wyatt stared down at his lover thinking that maybe he’d imagined Doc’s uncharacteristic protest. The tight grip on his arm remained, forcing him to change his course of action. Pressing close to his lover’s lax body, he hid his face in the curve of Doc's neck while trailing his fingers through the warm stickiness of their mingled seed.
The gambler stifled a yawn and cracked open an eye. “Wyatt? Is something wrong?”
Wyatt shook his head and pressed light kisses to the area behind his lover's ear. Moving his hand to where it lay over Doc’s heart, he fumbled with the words he felt he needed to say. "Doc . . . Doc, I . . . I . . ."
Holliday turned to his side, his gray-blue eyes alert and piercingly intent. Lifting Wyatt’s hand to his mouth, he licked away the evidence of their passion. “I know, Wyatt.” He placed his fingers against Wyatt’s lips. “I know, and I feel the same way."
Wyatt welcomed the tender kiss bestowed upon his mouth. He welcomed even more the body that snuggled against his. Soon his lover had relaxed completely, and he smothered a grin when one of Doc’s hands found its way to his hair while the other made its way down to his groin.
Pressing his lips to Doc’s forehead, Wyatt sighed, his heart nearly bursting with the love he had for his Southern gentleman, for his Jack of Hearts. “Yeah, Doc. Hold me.”
The night was half gone, and he was tired as hell but none of that matter. Too soon another day would be announcing itself to the world, stealing precious time from both him and his lover. It wasn’t fair, Doc being so sick with consumption that his existence on this Earth could be measured in days instead of years.
Wyatt shook his head slightly, making doubly sure he didn’t disturb the man resting peacefully in his arms. No, it wasn’t fair, but it was the hand Fate had dealt him, and by God, he’d play it until the very end.
Settling in for what remained of the night, Wyatt watched as Doc dozed off. He stayed that way for a good long time, making certain he memorized every inch of Doc’s face and wasted body. The loving smile he had worn earlier was soon replaced with one that was sad and grim and would have distressed Doc to no end if he’d seen it. Therefore, Wyatt did what he always did and buried his concerns and his fears in the deepest part of his being. Unfortunately, that didn’t keep him from brooding about the business of maintaining law and order in Tombstone, and it wasn’t until the sun poked its head above the horizon that he finally allowed Doc’s fitful breathing to lull him to sleep.
Author’s notes: This was a zine story co-written years ago with the author known as Bast. All current mistakes and revisions are mine and mine alone.