Dream Weaver

by Riley Cannon

Disclaimers: I don't own them, Fontana & HBO do.

Summary: Toby brought Chris a special delivery letter in the previous story, "Where Angels Fear to Tread" -- now Chris gets to read it. Basically, it's Toby Does Slash. Whether or not this is a good thing...? :)

"Dream Weaver"

"And you'll keep an eye on Cyril, talk to him and stuff?" O'Reily was saying as he gathered up Chris and Hoyt's dinner trays.

"Yeah, yeah," Chris said, sympathizing with O'Reily but also wanting him to hurry up and go away so he could finally get to Toby's letter. "You want me to sing him a lullaby, too?"

"Nah, that'd be what they call cruel and unusual punishment."

Chris shot him a curious look, thinking that sounded like O'Reily all right -- and yet not quite. Like his heart really wasn't in it. Well, Chris could understand that. At least he had a tiny ray of hope shining out there now, even if he was going to be pretty cautious about believing it. O'Reily didn't have anyone like Tobias Beecher ready to go to bat for him, though. And the latest in a long line of unexpected realizations was that Chris was actually felt bad for him. "You got an appeal or anything going for him?"

O'Reily shrugged. "Yeah. My mom and Sister Pete, Father Meehan are working on some things, but..." He shook his head, not exactly coming across like he was filled with optimism. "Sometimes I think," he paused again, like he was looking off into the distance and seeing something pretty dismal, "maybe it'd be the best thing."

"For you or him?" Chris saw that hit home, but it didn't get quite the reaction he expected.

Instead of bristling, O'Reily just looked more bleak and beaten. "Both?" he said, with a sad quirk of his mouth.

Okay, something was seriously out of whack when he started feeling sorry for O'Reily. There wasn't exactly a smooth way to change the subject or anything, either, which Chris also kind of resented. "Yeah, well, things turn out funny sometimes." Whatever the hell that meant.

Nodding like it made sense to him, though, O'Reily said, "Yeah, they do."

"Man," Hoyt groused from his cell, "you gonna kiss him, too, O'Reily?"

They both glared over at him, telling him, "Fuck off," in unison -- then trading dubious looks with each other.

"Yeah, well, you need anything, K-boy?" O'Reily said after a moment.

"Nah, Beecher's got it covered."

Something close to a classic O'Reily smirk flashed across the Irishman's face then. "Yeah, figured he would. Even so, you look out for Cyril and I'll owe you."

"Yeah -- you already owe me for not bothering to mention Howell was a fucking nutcase."

Of course O'Reily didn't look especially apologetic about that. "Some things a man's just gotta find out on his own." He leaned a little closer, whispering, "But if you'd wanted a certain individual to be unavailable for a court appointment, something could've been arranged. Maybe it still could."

Chris shook his head, thinking how some things never changed. "I'll keep it in mind, O'Reily." Piling up more dead bodies probably wasn't the ideal solution to his situation, but he guessed the mick meant well. "You want to do something for me, just keep an eye on Beecher. I mean, I know Schillinger's outta commission for the time being, but..." He shrugged, knowing O'Reily'd understand.

"Consider it done," he said as Lopresti came along, telling him to move it. "See ya later."

"Yeah." Chris watched him leave then eyed Lopresti as the hack came on over. "Something I can do for you, Officer?" Christ, he hoped not.

Manner conspiratorial, Lopresti said, "Rumor has it you got to know Howell pretty well, Keller. There anything to that?"

With a glimmer of where this might be going, Chris said, "Well, I don't like to gossip behind a lady's back."

"Nah, sure you don't, you're the perfect gentleman." Lopresti sidled closer, the smile on his face making Chris think of those old Roadrunner cartoons: that moment when the coyote thought this was going to be his lucky day -- right before the anvil fell on his head. "So? What's she like in the sack?"

Wearing the same look of earnest solemnity with which he had pulled off every Ponzi, Chris told him, "Oh, she's like something outta your wildest dreams." The kind that made you wake up screaming in a cold sweat.

"Yeah? Real wild, huh?"

"She'll blow a guy's...mind." Yep, Lopresti looked just like that coyote, practically licking his chops in anticipation.

"This conversation never took place, right?"

"Oh, shit no, I'll take it to my grave," Chris vowed.

Satisfied with that, Lopresti nodded and went on his merry way, leaving Chris to finally get to Toby's letter. And not a moment too soon as the suspense was just about driving him nuts.

He crossed to his bunk and took the small, crumpled envelope out from under his pillow. Sitting down with his back propped against the wall, he looked it over again. All he could really tell was that the letter inside was a long one. No surprise there; Toby wasn't exactly into verbal conservation. His behavior had been kind of goofy when he'd been handing this over, like the contents of this letter were something really special. Chris was stumped as to what the might be, however. Nothing new about that, either. Toby'd been springing surprises on him practically from day one.

And Toby's letters were always good. Kind of long and sort of rambling around all over the place, true enough, but it wasn't like Chris'd had a whole lot else taking up his time. He could think of a fuck of a lot worse ways to pass the time. All things considered he was real glad Toby hadn't paid a bit of attention to him last Valentine's Day, that Toby'd just kept on writing to him. It had taken a while to work up his courage to finally write back but it hadn't turned out so bad. It had hurt, no question about that, thinking how this was all they were ever going to have now, but it was a good kind of hurt. It was funny how putting words down on paper like that had made certain things easier to say. Chris had even been able to explain why he'd tried chasing Toby off like that, how it had just sort of spooked him because he thought it would be too hard to only see Toby through a glass barrier. How he didn't think he'd be able to stand never touching Toby again, and his pride didn't want Toby knowing how bad that got to him.

He'd wound up writing down a lot of things, more than he'd have ever expected. He'd worry about saying too much about something, or how Toby might react, but somehow that hadn't kept him from going ahead with it. Some of the things he wound up writing down for Toby - Chris had never told anyone about them, not even Bonnie. Funny, no matter how bad it was, like all that shit with Uncle Phil, Toby never wrote back and told him to please keep that to himself.

Actually, Chris had been more embarrassed about some of the sappy stuff he'd written Toby, gushing away like some kind of love-struck nutbar sometimes. That was funny, too, how Toby'd never written back sounding like he minded, like he thought Chris ought to get a grip. In fact Toby had gushed right back, even quoting song lyrics and stuff that he said made him think about Chris, about the two of them.

If that's what was in this envelope it didn't strike him like Toby would be making that big a deal over it. So...? Chris looked it over again, realizing there was only one way he was finding out what was in there. He slid his thumb under the flap and popped it, taking out several sheets torn from a writing
tablets, folded twice and filled with Toby's neat, precise writing. Chris smoothed out the sheets and settled back more comfortably, beginning to read ----


Did I ever tell you I once flirted with creative writing? Yep, I had this idea about giving John Grisham a run for his money. Nothing much came of it, of course. It just became something I'd do every once in a while for my own amusement. So please keep your expectations low. You will not confuse my style with that of F. Scott Fitzgerald, for instance. (I saw you reading The Great Gatsby once, so no playing dumb, okay?)

Anyway, if you're reading this -- and I'm not even going to entertain any other possibility -- then we've finally seen other and spoken face to face. I'm willing to bet we have done a little bit more besides. We probably haven't done quite as much as we would both like, however, so the enclosed is meant to take the edge off -- and I hope it's
as good for you as it was for me.

Chris, I want you to know ... I want you to believe that you're not alone and you're not forgotten. You never will be. And I know I've picked some wacky ways to show that to you in the past, but every now and then I do actually show the capacity to learn from my mistakes ... and I'm trying to do better. This thing between us? That's really high on my list of things to get right. The only thing ahead of it are staying sober and being the kind of father my kids need and deserve. You, loving you, is part of that, a huge part. I want you to know that, too.

When I tell you how much I miss you, how I much I need you, you know how I mean that, right? Yes, I miss all the physical stuff, pretty desperately sometimes ... I lie awake at night, remembering how it felt to have you stretched out beside me, our legs tangled together, your breath slow and warm against my skin ... I miss your mouth, your hands, and all the things they did to me: from your smile lighting up our pod and my life to your kisses; your hands holding me, soothing me, teasing me with just the right stroke ... I miss the taste of your skin; I miss your scent -- clean and fresh right after a shower, muskier with sex and sweat after we've made love; I miss the power of your body -- I miss feeling that power surrounding me, moving inside me. I miss loving you in all the ordinary ways of just sitting beside you in the cafeteria or watching television, playing chess, just being quiet in our pod while I read a book and you read your biker mags (by the way, did I ever tell you it did a lot for my ego when you tossed all your skin mags and told me it was because with me around what the fuck did you need with fantasy?). I miss all those little moments of sharing and connecting. I miss the not so little moments after lights out when you watch me brush my teeth for a while before coming up behind me and slipping your arms around my waist, nuzzling the back of neck and slowly pushing your hand under my t-shirt... I miss all of that, I want it all back.

But I need you to know it's so much more than lusting for your undeniably fabulous body. There's so much more to you than that, Chris. I'm not sure you always know that, though.

Anyway... What I meant to say was that I get to thinking about you sometimes -- thinking about us -- and wondering how it would have been if we'd met somewhere else, some other time. Christ, if we could have bumped into each other five years ago... Maybe you could have been my waiter at the restaurant that day when I was putting away more martinis than food. Instead of me climbing into my car for that rendezvous with destiny, though, you could have flirted with me and offered me a ride home, to a whole different kind of rendezvous, and we would both be in a whole different place today. Do you think that could have happened? I can't believe you'd have even looked twice at me back then -- and yet I always get this feeling you see something in me that has never been obvious to anyone else, something only you can perceive. I don't know.

I don't know if that's remotely realistic, but that doesn't keep me from thinking about it a lot, how it might have been if we could have met without all this baggage between us -- no Oz, no Vern, none of it. Just us. Do you ever do that? Imagine us somewhere else, living different lives but inevitably drawn to one another? Do you ever picture us just living a normal life, raising the kids, being together? (You'd be great with them, I know you would.)

Well, that's what this is, this ... well, calling it a story is giving it way too much weight ... Call it a daydream; maybe a memory of something we did have once -- or a glimpse of something to come. Call it Toby Has Way Too Much Time On His Hands, if you like -- but even if it strikes you as too goofy for words at least know it's utterly sincere in said goofiness.

I love you like crazy, you know. Make of that what you will.

Okay, this was only going to be a little note, actually, but be that as it may -- I hope the following at least gets you a little hot and bothered. I won't object if you're inspired to respond in kind. You know, something where I'm on your turf ... maybe you're hanging out in some smoke-filled pool hall when you see this guy come in, obviously lost and clueless, and take it from there. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just, you know, write down a dream about us.

Always yours,

Chris shifted on the bunk, one knee
raised up, and read the letter over again. He really liked that part when Toby was telling him about how much he missed him. He wasn't so nuts about Toby kind of putting himself down a few times, but that wasn't exactly new either. It made him wish he could tell Toby exactly what he did see him, what made him so hot, but Chris wasn't sure he had the words for that.

And sure, he thought about how it might have been if they'd met somewhere besides Oz. Most of the time he figured it never would have happened. They were too different to have ever run into each other anywhere else. If they ever had collided before, would it have even been to Toby's benefit? Probably it would have come about because Chris'd picked him out as a likely candidate for a Ponzi. Of course... That might mean them spending a whole lot of time together and getting to know each other. Some sparks would have flown, all right - he'd have made sure of that because there wasn't a doubt in his mind that all the things that drew him to Toby in the first place had always been there. If no one else'd ever picked up on it that was their fucking loss.

There was a whole lot wrong with that, of course. Number one being that it would just amount to a different kind of Operation Toby, and that didn't exactly set things up for any kind of happy ever after ending. Chris' imagination always failed him at that point. He could see them meeting, see the attraction building - but he didn't see how it could ever turn out right in the end. If Toby could cross that bridge, though, and spin out some kind of romantic illusion for them Chris guessed it wasn't going to hurt anyone. Long as Toby knew that's all it was.

He stretched out on his bunk, propping his pillow behind his head as he put the first part of the letter aside and picked up the second, this daydream or whatever that Toby'd written down. If nothing else, he was curious to see what Toby pictured in the way of make believe for them.

"How Tobias Spent His Winter Vaction"

One look at Tobias and you knew here was a guy who had spent the better part of his life getting in touch with his inner dork--

Chris stopped right there, glowering at that line and thinking how if that was really how Toby saw himself then he might just have to thump him one. He riffled through the pages somewhat more skeptically, wanting to give Toby the benefit of the doubt but already feeling inclined to be a bit critical. It better get good from here on, no more Toby knocking himself like that.
"How Tobias Spent His Winter Vacation"

One look at Tobias and you knew here was a guy who had spent the better part of his life getting in touch with his inner dork. At least that's what he assumes everyone thinks when they look at him. Generally speaking he can't really point to much in the way of evidence to the contrary.

That was part of what brought him here to this sun-warmed Caribbean island. Maybe here, away from the expectations of others, he can be someone else, if only for a little while. Of course it also feels a little bit like he's running away from home - and he concedes he might be a bit old for that. Which might be why he prefers thinking it could be that he is running towards something. What that might be...well, he's stumped there, but likes to think he will know it if ever he catches a glimpse of it. All Tobias knows for certain is that he isn't content with life as he knows it. There must be something more, something better out there.

Checked into his cozy beachside cottage and welcoming the privacy accorded guests at this resort, Tobias unpacks and puts away the few things he has brought with him. With that quickly accomplished, he changes his clothes, glad to at least be able to shed his prescribed uniform of suit and tie and sensible shoes, swapping them for shorts and a t-shirt, and a pair of sandals that would not be remotely practical for the wintry weather he's left behind in his more usual environment.

Wishing it could be that easy to slough off a way of life that no longer gave any pleasure or satisfaction, Tobias strolls down to the beach, looking around with pleasure at the lush, tropical growth. Hibiscus and orchids, other flowers providing vivid splashes of red or pink, white or yellow, that livens up the rampant green growth all around him. Enjoying the warm, soft breeze on his skin as he gets to the beach, Tobias already feels a million times better. He might have stepped into a whole other world, this is so different from the cold, hard and frantic world he's left behind.

Shading his eyes, Tobias scans up and down the stretch of beach, pleased to have it to himself. Well -- almost. Someone has left a towel spread out over the sand, a white tank top and a beat up pair of sandals beside it. Tobias considers his own clothes once more, realizing everything is so new it might as well have the price tags still attached, and feels a twinge of that dorky sensibility trying to creep back.

He firmly shoos the feeling away, however, and squints out over the deep blue water, curious to catch sight of his companion on this beach. As he watches, eyes a dazzled by the bright sunlight, the water ripples as someone comes to the surface. Tobias absorbs this vision -- a sculpted body rising from the water, tanned skin slick and wet -- and is reminded of ancient stories of mythic gods coming from the sea.

Tobias blinks and looks again, suspecting his glimpse of the other man had been some optical illusion -- or some fevered dream. Perhaps that's it. He was really sick in bed with the flu, loopy on Nyquil and just imagining all this. But no, he looks again and the man was still there, clad in nothing but a pair of orange swim trunks as he walks to his towel. And for a long moment all Tobias can do is drink in the way the man moves, confidence and power in every stride, grace and elegance in every long line of the lean body. He looks some more, eyes tracing the stark, black lines of a beautiful tattoo -- the beauty all the more striking because of the image of a crucified Christ, and because of the smooth and perfectly toned muscle of the arm it adorns. Tobias can't recall ever being quite so fascinated by a bicep in all his life and has to make an effort to look away, to let his gaze slide along the man's chest, watching him swipe the soft terry cloth over his skin. His gaze lifts to the man's face, at first thinking he hadn't been so wrong in that idea of myths because surely a profile like that, putting him in mind of some fierce and handsome bird of prey, should be stamped on ancient coins squirreled away in forgotten Roman ruins. This face is very much alive, though, eyes as blue as the sea gazing back at him now -- and Tobias thinks he glimpses a flash of curiosity in those eyes, he thinks they might hold some invitation as they lazily rake him up and down.

In the next instant, though, he is just as sure he must have imagined that ... and even if he hadn't, if the invitation had been real, he isn't sure how to reply.

After a long moment of just watching each other, the man pulls his white t over his head, looks over at Tobias once more time, shrugs and turns to walk away. Tobias follows his progress until he has disappeared behind a stand of palms. Then he sighs and thinks he might have just have had his rendezvous with destiny - and blown it.

It was evening now and Tobias, thinking he should at least join the other guests in the dining room, has gone to mingle. He has eaten the perfectly prepared food set before him -- fish and vegetables, fruit, and all of it was delicious. So he doesn't know why he still feels hungry.

For a time he amuses himself by observing his fellow guests and speculating on which of them has also run away from their lives, who else might be here pretending to be someone else. That doesn't entertain him for long, though, since even if some of the others had arrived here on their own, he is the only one sitting all alone in this setting designed for intimacy and romance.

Quickly wearied of all those smiling faces and cheerful voices, Tobias wanders out onto the verandah that surrounds the dining room. He leans against the railing, and lets the background mix of voices and laughter, the buzz of insects, music drifting on the air -- reggae, he thinks, but wouldn't want to swear to it -- lull him and wash over him as he watches the sunset. For a moment as he lounges there he wonders why he never stopped to look at a sunset back in that other world, wonders why he'd always thought there was something more important he should be doing. There is too much beauty in this present moment to waste any time regretting lost chances in the past, though. Tobias just soaks up the sight of the sky painted in lighter and darker shades of blue and pink and crimson, that artist's palette of colors reflected in the water--

And in the next instant Tobias couldn't care less about any sunset because he's there, standing down on the beach and gazing out across the water. He was more fully clothed now, in black pants and a white shirt, the loose fabric tugged by a soft breeze. Barefoot still, water splashing over his feet, his shirt is unbuttoned most of the way down his chest, the sleeves rolled up over powerful forearms. Watching him stand there, hands in his pockets and completely unselfconscious, Tobias thinks this is a man who only dresses for adornment, never concealment -- and he feels a twinge of envy over that.

He feels something else, too, drawing him irresistibly to join the other man. He starts down the steps towards him, not wanting to hurry or appear too anxious, but also knowing this is no time to dawdle. He has to know if this is real or something spun from a dream.

The man doesn't seem aware of his presence, yet as Tobias comes alongside him, he says, "Took you long enough."

"Was I expected?"

The man turns to look at him then, a smile lifting the corners of his mouth. There is warmth and familiarity in that smile and in those deep blue eyes. Maybe that's why it doesn't seem odd when he answers, "Always."

Tobias isn't quite sure how to respond to that, however, and falls back on the mundane. "My name's--"

"Toby -- I know." The man smiles again and explains, "I asked around."

And although that is unexpected, Tobias can't deny the thrill of pleasure he derives from it as well. He also things maybe he didn't just imagine that invitation after all. Nor does he object to the easy familiarity of that `Toby,' rolling so naturally off the man's tongue. Only those few people who know him best ever call him that, and it already feels right to include this man among that small group.

But when the man says, "Did you ask about me?" Tobias has to admit that no, he hadn't.

"I wasn't sure you were real," he confesses and still feels some doubt about that. Maybe if he touches him...? Suiting thought to action, he runs a hand along one of those forearms. The skin is warm, fine hairs tickle the pads of his fingers; he feels the pulse of the man's heart as he curls his fingers around the wrist, his thumb rubbing over the tender skin inside, the delta of veins where the life's blood flows. "So," Tobias says after another moment, "is your identity a secret -- like Batman?"

That makes the man smile and that warms Tobias as much as if the sun were still shining. "No secret -- and no batcave. I'm Chris."

Tobias repeats the name, "Chris," and decides he likes the sound of it on his lips. He looks into those wide blue eyes and thinks that isn't all he might like to feel on his lips.

He looks a long time into that remarkable face, memorizing every feature. Memorizing or recognizing? he thinks because there is such a sense of familiarity to everything that's happening. This -- Chris -- is the something more he hoped to find. He feels that with an absolute certainty and sees the same awareness in Chris' eyes.

"I feel like I've dreamed you," Tobias says, placing both hands on the broad shoulders and kneading them. "You feel real enough, though," he adds, smiling at that.

Chris touches his face then, long, slender fingers brushing the hair at his temples. He seems to be waiting for something as he searches Tobias's eyes so intently. Then a corner of the well-shaped mouth lifts with a tiny smile as if Chris had found just what he was looking for. That serious look comes back into his eyes, as if this the most solemn and profound moment of his life, and he brushes a thumb across Tobias's mouth. There's only an instant to enjoy that fleeting caress because Chris is angling his head closer in the next moment. And the moment after that Tobias feels Chris' lips touch his. The kiss is so soft that Tobias can't be certain it even happened. That doubt barely starts to register, though, before Chris comes back for a second kiss, a third, and more. Enough that Tobias can be in no kind of quandary at what might be going on.

Tobias has, in fact, never been in less of a quandary in his entire life. He doesn't notice the surf as it splashes over his shoes and soaks the bottoms of his khakis. He does register that Chris is pushing his light jacket off his shoulders and down his arms, and that it falls to the sandy beech to get soaked with salty water. He doesn't care about this, however. He can buy a new jacket any time. This could be the only chance he'll ever have to be in this man's arms, to embrace him just as tightly as they kiss like they're going for a world's record.

He isn't going to let this be the only time, though. It's too much of a mind-blowing revelation and he already craves another deep, deep kiss as Chris pulls away and nuzzles at his cheek, his temple. Tobias scratches his fingers through Chris' short, dark hair and tugs him back. He frames Chris' face, fingertips mapping his features almost like a blind man. Touching him like this, just this dance of fingers along an ear, a cheek, the silk of an eyebrow, hits him with the richest sense of intimacy he has ever known. He retraces his path with his lips, tongue flicking out to taste and add a jolt to the caress -- swiping over an ear, outlining the curve of lips, slipping between them to fill Chris' mouth. A deep-throated groan of pleasure wells up from his chest as their tongues slide together, their arms tightening around each other.

Tobias shivers and tilts back his head as Chris kisses a path along his throat, bites interspersed among the press of lips, the rasp of tongue. He shudders again as he feels a hand slide down his back and over his ass, squeezing. His own hands knead and pull at Chris' trim waist, taking his time sliding his palm over the lush, full curve of the other man's ass. He dares a little more and squeezes -- and smiles at the moan that pulls from Chris.

Growing bolder by the moment, Tobias brings his hands back up to cup Chris' head and hold him still long enough to kiss his mouth again, slow, savoring his lips. He pushes the loose white shirt off broad shoulders and lowers his head to kiss him there, lingering over the hollow of his throat, hands pressing against a spectacular swell of pectoral muscle -- feeling incredibly turned on by the hard little nipples that jut against his palms. Needing to taste them he dips his head lower and runs his tongue over one, then the other, before closing his lips over it to suck. He feels a tremor run through the strong body, he feels Chris' fingers running through his hair, gripping the back of his head. He hears his name growled, throaty and rough -- "Toby." -- and it is the sexiest thing he has ever heard, the timbre shooting straight through his groin.

He knows what he wants, he knows why he came here: it's standing there before him, breathing hard with arousal and anticipation, giving him a look that makes Tobias think of Little Red Riding-Hood and the Big Bad Wolf -- only somehow Tobias knows he isn't going to have any qualms about how this wolf devours him. He feels sexy and desired and powerful as those blue, blue eyes eat him up. It's the most exhilarating sensation he has ever known and he suspects only one thing can make it more spectacular.

And with that thought he reaches out to take Chris by the hand, to invite him into his cottage and into his bed.

Comfortable in the big hammock that graces the verandah of their cottage, Tobias feels warm and drowsy, more content than he remembers ever feeling. He raises his head to look at the source of this wonderful feeling and smiles as he watches Chris stretched out beside him and snuggled into him. He thinks this must be how it would feel to have a tiger slumbering in your arms, and he smiles some more, wondering if Chris would purr if he rubs his belly.

There isn't much else he hasn't...rubbed. Eyes falling shut, he pulls Chris a minute fraction closer, remembering every moment of the night before. He remembers clothes dropping to the floor -- he remembers drinking in the sight of that sculpted body once more, nothing left to inhibit imagination. He remembers the delicious eroticism of laying himself bare to his lover's ardent gaze. If it had crossed his mind to worry that he might seem lacking in comparion -- pale, too thin -- Tobias hadn't been allowed to hang onto any such notion for long. No, he had felt handsome, profoundly desirable as Chris had looked at him in the soft, warm glow of the candles.

He holds Chris to him and nuzzles his nose into the cropped dark hair, breathing him in as he remembers hands sweeping over him, remembers being kissed so hungrily he thought his knees would give out for a moment. They almost did, later, when Chris had knelt to take him in his mouth, those beautiful hands gripping his hips, hard. Tobias remembers the sounds Chris had made as he sucked, primal growls as if he really was that savage wolf or tiger and would not tolerate any disturbance while he fed. Tobias wouldn't have stopped him for the world. Tumbled across the bed after Chris had made him come, he remembers how wanton he felt, spread-eagled there as Chris looked at him again, as Chris settled beside him and petted and kissed him again.

Devoured was exactly the word, he thinks, sighing as Chris shifts in the hammock as if he might be awakening. He sighs again, remembering how Chris had not left a spot untouched. Even now he feels a flush burning his face as he thinks of all the places Chris kissed him, licked him. He remembers that luscious mouth kissing and tenderly gnawing a path upward along one leg. He remembers squirming and groaning with sensual delight against the sheets as Chris readied him with fingers and tongue. Tobias buries his face in Chris' shoulder, smiling and shivering with the recollection of Chris entering him, filling him, each thrust feeling so exquisitely more gratifying than the next. Stripped of words, all he had been able to do was chant a mantra of, "oh god oh god," over and over, naming the one he worshipped, "Chris!" in a cry as he felt his lover climax inside him and trigger his own.

A long, gusty sigh escapes him as he rests in the hammock, eyes flicking open a moment and catching sight of a butterfly resting against the railing. Tobias thinks of the butterfly he discovered last night, he dwells on how he kissed it -- just a light, barely there graze of his lips as Chris watched him with needy eyes, biting his lip and bucking his hips up to draw attention where it was most desired. He remembers brushing his lips along that shaft, licking around the tip and taking it between his lips. That will always be a particularly sweet memory: watching Chris' face as he played with his balls, fondling, tasting them -- teasing his cock with quick laps and slower swipes, only taking him all the way in when that beautiful chest was heaving, the dark head thrown back, whimpers of delight welling up in heartfelt gasps.

In the hammock, Tobias slides his hand along Chris' side, lightly tickling his ribs for a moment until his lover utters a cross little grumble. He smiles and rests his hand at the slim waist, ever so slowly working his fingers under the waistband of the white boxers -- all that Chris is wearing. Tobias rubs his hand along the warm, smooth flesh, wanting to wake him up all the way so they can do everything over again, but also wanting to stay in this perfect moment a while longer. Forever, he thinks, would not be a bad deal.

One hand in Chris' boxers, the other stroking his hair, Tobias nuzzles his jaw and kisses the corner of his mouth and remembers how it felt to be contained inside this powerful body. He thinks how that should not have been such a revelatory moment for him. He had never known such complete surrender before, though. Or, no, maybe surrender isn't exactly the word he thinks, and worries about it for a moment. A gift. Yes, it was more like being given a gift, something he'd never dreamed he wanted but so absolutely wonderful and perfect once it was presented that he doesn't know how he ever lived without it before.

He watches Chris awaken, watches those dark-fringed eyelids slowly lift, beautiful blue eyes gazing sleepily back at him. His breath catches for a moment at what he sees in those eyes -- a mirror of his own contentment and satisfaction. And Tobias wonders if Chris sees him as a gift, something to treasure as precious beyond price. He finds his answer in the sweet smile that curves the world's most kissable mouth. He finds his answer in the arms that slide around him, a hand digging into his hair to bring him closer -- close enough to kiss. He finds his answer in that kiss, how it cherishes him even as it inflames every passion.

And Tobias thinks that if isn't love, then no such thing exists.

~nothing like the end, baby~

P.S. Sweet dreams, baby.


Geez.... Chris shuffled the pages together again, reading some passages over again, wondering how the fuck Toby expected him to ever get to sleep after that.

Stretching out on his bunk, though, he closed his eyes, thinking about what Toby had dreamed up for them and finding it wasn't so hard to imagine some far off paradise where it was just them in the sun, free to love each other forever.

It wasn't ever going to be real, but -- yeah, it could get him through a lot.

...the end....

Dream Weaver -- by Gary Wright

I've just closed my eyes again
Climbed aboard the dream weaver train
Driver take away my worries of today
And leave tomorrow behind

Ooh dream weaver
I believe you can get me through the night Ooh dream weaver
I believe we can reach the morning light Fly me high through the starry skies
Maybe to an astral plane
Cross the highways of fantasy
Help me to forget today's pain

(chorus again)

Though the dawn may be coming soon
There still may be some time
Fly me away to the bright side of the moon And meet me on the other side

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