It wasn’t the first time that Jeremiah found himself with a strange man wrapped around him, yelling at him to go faster, but it certainly was the oddest time he could recall. For starters, they were both fully dressed, both of them on one horse, and headed out of town like the law was after them. Which, to be fair, it probably was. It was also the first accidental jailbreak Jeremiah had found himself involved in.
To be fair, all he had been trying to do was find a place to tie up his horse so he could see if the sheriff had any miscreants he wouldn’t mind letting a roving part-time lawman (of sorts) bring in for a little reward money. Either he had vastly underestimated the strength of Gunpowder’s kick, or the town jail had been in serious need of shoring up. It needed a lot more than simply shoring up after his mare had taken offense to the ubiquitous biting flies and kicked out in frustration after her tail had failed to deter the little varmints. Hooves met wall, he jolted forward in his saddle, and suddenly there was a crumbling hole large enough for a skinny red-haired prisoner to squeeze out and heft himself up onto Gunpowder’s back, right into the saddle behind him. The escapee had yelled at him to go, and Gunpowder had decided to listen to someone other than Jeremiah for once. And so, he found himself on the run, sharing a horse with a convict.
Jeremiah could feel Gunpowder starting to tire, running hard with twice her usual number of passengers, and the sun was just about down. He’d been following a creek for the past mile or so, looking for a spot with enough trees to offer some cover and somewhere to tie Gunpowder’s halter. She probably wouldn’t wander off, but her luck was just about as bad as his. Traveling after dark was not exactly his favorite thing to do. He might be able to do it if Gunpowder was fresh, but she needed to rest, and he could probably stand to get some sleep, too. Presuming his stowaway wasn’t planning to murder him in the night and steal his horse and all his worldly possessions. He hadn’t even gotten a good look at the man, just a flash of jailhouse stripes and stringy red hair down past his chin. Well, he’d see him a lot better once they stopped to make camp for the night. He eased Gunpowder up.
“Why are we stopping? This isn’t the safehouse and we cannot let them find me,” the stranger said, trying to impress the severity of the situation onto Jeremiah. “If they find me, they are going to send me to the Federal Penitentiary in Detroit, and probably you along with me. Do you want that? I certainly do not!”
“Look, we’re not going anywhere if my mare’s too tired to go. She gets even crankier than usual when she’s tired,” Jeremiah replied, slowing Gunpowder to a walk. “We’ll have to make camp here. I don’t know what safehouse you’re talking about, and if you hope to get there in one piece, we’re going to have to wait until morning so you can point me in the right direction.”
“Hold on just one moment,” the stranger said, reaching around Jeremiah to grab Gunpowder’s reins. He brought her to a full stop and jumped down, reins still held firmly in his left hand and frowning up at her rider. “What do you mean you do not know where the safehouse is? How can you not know? Did—did they—” he paused to think, lifting his right hand to his chin, and Jeremiah could see, even in the fading light, that he was missing most of his first three fingers and the tip of his little finger. The man lifted his head again and asked, “Did someone send you to kill me? I thought they were all dead or in jail, and I swear, I only told what I did because I thought I was dying, and anyway, they knew what was coming to them, sooner or later. Every man who outlaws up knows what he is a-coming to, whether he is in it for the gold, the thrill, or because civilization frowns upon him. If you’re going to kill me, do it quick and bury me proper, ok?”
“Nobody sent me, and I’m not going to kill you,” Jeremiah said, cautiously dismounting Gunpowder and reaching out slowly to take the reins back from the stranger. He didn’t know how he had come to lose those fingers, nor who might be upset with him and might or might not be dead. “I don’t even know who you are. One moment, I’m trying to find a hitching post, next moment, the jail wall’s falling down and you’re telling me to run and for whatever reason, Gunpowder decided to listen to you. She doesn’t usually like other people. Hell, she doesn’t listen to me half the time, and I’m the only one she even will.”
The stranger squinted at Jeremiah as if he wasn’t sure if he wanted to believe him or not, letting him take hold of the reins, but not releasing them himself. After a long minute of crickets and other night sounds starting to make themselves heard, the man spoke again. “You tell me your name, and I’ll tell you mine. Deal?”
“Deal,” Jeremiah said, holding out his free hand to shake. “I’m Jeremiah Gage.”
“You can call me Moon,” Moon said, hesitating a moment before taking Jeremiah’s hand to seal the deal.
“Just Moon?” Jeremiah asked.
“Just Moon,” Moon said with finality. “You are not a U.S. Marshal, are you?”
“I am not,” Jeremiah replied.
“Are you a lawman?”
“Are you going to arrest me and take me back?”
“I don’t know, what were you in for?”
“That is none of your business.”
“Alright. Can you assure me at least that you haven’t committed murder or done violence to women or children?”
“I have not done any of those. Am I free to go?”
“If you really want, I guess I can’t stop you,” Jeremiah said, relaxing a little and unfixing his pack from behind Gunpowder’s saddle. His luck might not be the best, but he was getting a good feeling about Moon. He might be outlawed up, but he wasn’t doing it out of greed or a desire to hurt people. He wasn’t sure how he got caught up in it the first place, but he seemed honest enough for a convict. “But it’s getting dark and I was going to make camp for the night. You can stay if you’d like, or go if you’d like. Might be a bit conspicuous in those stripes, though.”
Moon looked down at his jailhouse clothes and back up at Jeremiah. “I suppose I am. Are you perhaps offering me a change of clothes?”
“I don’t know how well they’d fit you, but they’ll at least get you to your safehouse for a proper change, I’d say,” Jeremiah replied, giving Moon a look-over. He guessed they were about the same height, but Moon was a scrawny sonofa. He’d be swimming in Jeremiah’s spare shirt and pants.
“I will make it work,” Moon said, letting go of Gunpowder’s reins and letting his hands drop to his sides. “Would I be correct to assume you have some sort of food in that pack of yours as well as clothing?”
“I’ve got biscuits, hominy, coffee, beans, but they’d take too long to cook up right now, and I’d have to check what else I might have that might still be good,” Jeremiah said, pulling a halter and rope out of his pack so he could get Gunpowder’s bridle off and give her some room to wander and graze while they settled in for the night.
“It will do,” Moon replied with a nod. “If you wouldn’t mind getting supper started and getting out those clothes you offered, I am going to go wash up.”
With that, Moon turned and headed down toward the creek, limping slightly and following it along well away from their campsite. Jeremiah watched him go for a moment or two longer than strictly necessary, wondering what his story was—and perhaps a couple other things—then continued to unload his pack to make camp for the night.
Moon had been gone long enough that Jeremiah had begun to wonder if he had changed his mind about the clothes and dinner and had made a run for it anyway. Well, it couldn’t hurt to go check on him, right? Make sure he hadn’t fallen into the creek and drowned or managed to get lost on his way back. The moon was close to full, so there ought to be enough light, but if Moon wasn’t inclined to stick around, there would also be enough light to run by. He gave the fire a prod, the hominy a stir, and rose to his feet.
A beauteous, if somewhat unexpected, sight greeted Jeremiah as he picked his way down the creek. Apparently when Moon had said he would wash up before supper, he hadn’t just meant his face and hands. Oh, he was washing his face alright, but he’d also stripped down naked as a jaybird. He was crouched down, leaning over in the creek and splashing his face with water, but with his backside quite visible and looking awfully nice, pale and round like his namesake. Jeremiah considered his options. One: be a gentleman, go back up to the fire and keep making supper like he hadn’t seen anything. Two: step on a twig, clear his throat, make some kind of noise to let Moon know he had company. Three: compliment Moon on his ass and hope he wasn’t offended.
Or, there was a fourth option he hadn’t considered, even though with his luck, he probably should have: trip over a root and fall into the creek, clothes and all because he was watching Moon’s ass and not where he was stepping.
Moon stood up quickly, covering himself and looking around for the source of the yelp and splash.
“Oh, it’s just you,” he said, looking relieved. “Are you alright?” he added, watching as Jeremiah picked himself up, dripping wet, from the creekbed.
“Wet, but other than that, unscathed. I’ve had worse. Now who else did you think might be out here right now?” Jeremiah asked, glancing around, but returning his gaze to Moon, unabashed. Moon certainly was skinny and carried a messy-looking scar on his right thigh that had probably come from finding himself on the wrong end of a gun, and a narrower scar, possibly an attempted stabbing, on his right shoulder, but he was not a bad looking man. This was perhaps not the right time to be having thoughts about him, but he had eyes, did he not?
“I don’t know, could have been anyone,” Moon replied, relaxing further and letting his arms drop to his sides—letting Jeremiah look? “I’d ask if you brought those clothes down with you, but you seem to be in need of a change, yourself.”
“I did not, but if you don’t mind, I was going to let these dry out by the fire while I ate. I can cover myself with my blanket if you do mind,” Jeremiah replied. “But no, I had wondered if you might’ve decided to run after all, wanted to check if I was gonna have to eat your supper, too.”
“Is it ready?”
“Hominy’s probably done by now, I just have to get it off the fire and boil up the coffee.”
“Well, then I suppose I will cut my ablutions short and join you for supper. I can make the coffee, if you wanted to get out of those,” Moon said, gesturing broadly towards Jeremiah and wading back out of the creek. “Are the clothes you offered me still in your pack, then?”
“I set ‘em out for you when you got done washing up. As long as Gunpowder hasn’t decided to eat them in my absence—she ate the band off my hat once, I swear she’s got a goat somewhere in her family—they’ll be ready. Once you’re dressed and I’m not, we can sit down to our supper.”
“That sounds like a plan.”
“What are you doing?” Jeremiah asked, cocking his head as he watched Moon tuck his shirt into his belt and stuff a handful of leaves down the front.
“Insulating,” Moon answered. “Have you never slept rough?”
“Well, yes I have,” Jeremiah replied, continuing to lay out his bedroll, “but I’ve got a perfectly good bedroll. It should fit both of us comfortably enough.”
Moon raised one eyebrow, looking unconvinced. Jeremiah hesitated, wondering if Moon might be uncomfortable with his nudity. He had shown no sign of embarrassment at being interrupted while washing, or during supper, but this would be much closer quarters.
“I mean, if you don’t mind sharing. If you want to keep stuffing leaves down your shirt, that’s alright by me, but I’d maybe give ‘em a check for spiders, first,” Jeremiah said with a chuckle, hoping to put Moon at ease.
“You do have a point about spiders,” Moon replied after a moment. He untucked his shirt and shook it, letting the leaves—and any potential spiders—fall out. “I do not mind; I was only unsure if we would both fit. If you don’t mind my saying so, you are not a small man.”—he attempted to suppress a little snort-laugh at that—“But if you are sure there will be enough room, then I will join you.”
Maybe it was just his imagination, a trick of the moonlight, but had he imagined that little laugh? Had that statement been accompanied by a roving eye? It had been quick, if it had, but Jeremiah found himself wondering, maybe even hoping.
“Is that what I think it is, or do we have an uninvited guest?” Jeremiah asked sleepily, gently nudging Moon, sleeping at his back, with his elbow. At some point during the night, Moon had managed to snuggle up even closer and even throw an arm loosely around his chest.
“I apologize, I didn’t mean to intrude. You were fast asleep, so I was hoping it would resolve itself on its own,” Moon said, sounding contrite. Hesitantly at first, then startling as if he had just realized what he was doing, he began to pull his arm back.
“I don’t mind,” Jeremiah said, quickly reaching up to place his hand on top of Moon’s. Gently enough that, if he wanted, he could pull away, but hoping that he wouldn’t. Hoping to ease that door open as an invitation to Moon. Hoping it wasn’t just a coincidence. Hoping that they had both been speaking the same language over the course of the evening.
Moon was silent.
Jeremiah pressed on. Either they were going to have a very good night, or a very bad one. “And if you don’t mind, I think between the two of us, we could figure out a way to resolve it.”
“Be blunt with me, please. Sometimes I worry and overthink things where they do not need overthinking, or get ideas where there was nothing to have ideas about. Are you suggesting what I think it is you are suggesting?” Moon asked.
“I’m suggesting that there’s more that the two of us could do in a bedroll besides sleeping, if you are so inclined,” Jeremiah said, trying to put as much innuendo into his voice as he could to assure Moon that he was not wrong. He hadn’t thought Moon would be the shy type, seeing how he wrangled him into being a participant in a jailbreak with no hesitation or even a ‘how do you do,’ but he supposed there were a couple differences between running from the law and propositioning a man.
“Now, I mean, while I do believe I am so inclined, there would be some things we might not find feasible to do, seeing as we still have a good ride ahead of us in the morning. But since there is no one around but the crickets, I was wondering what it was that you had in mind,” Moon said, sliding his arm back around Jeremiah’s torso and petting his chest.
“Well,” Jeremiah said, drawing out the word as he untucked the edge of the bedroll, stretching one arm out from under the blanket and tarp and groping for his pack. “If you’ll stay where you are, I’ve got one idea and we can go from there. Stop me if I do anything you don’t want.”
Feeling Moon nod against his shoulder, Jeremiah made a little noise of victory as his fingers found and closed around the little bottle of gun oil. It wasn’t his favorite option, but it got the job done. He pulled his arm back into the bedroll and, not letting go of the bottle, untucked more of the blanket and rucked it back to expose the tarp. It might be a bit lumpy and might let in a bit of a draft, but the night was not too cool and he didn’t particularly want to have to deal with sleeping on a wet spot and also having to wash his blanket in the morning. With that in mind, he carefully unscrewed the bottle and, cupping his hand, poured a generous portion of oil into it. With only a couple mumbled curses, he got the bottle closed up again and slid his hand between his legs without spilling any of the oil onto his blanket.
As he greased up his thighs, Jeremiah could feel Moon shifting behind him, wiggling, grunting a little, and finally getting his pants unfastened and shoved down enough to free his erection. Well, this was what he had been waiting for, wasn’t it? Jeremiah shifted a little, withdrew his hand and reached back, groping until his hand found Moon’s prick. Pushing his hips back, he gently guided it between his thighs and was rewarded by Moon’s little moan and the way his arm squeezed him tighter as he settled himself in more comfortably.
“Good?” Jeremiah asked a little breathlessly as he wrapped his oily fingers around his own prick and slowly jerked himself hard.
“Next time I should like to be wearing a little less, but yes, this is good,” Moon replied. His words dissolved into a groan of pleasure as he gave an experimental thrust of his hips, quickly finding a comfortable position and speed.
Moon’s breath was hot on Jeremiah’s neck, his body hot against his, and his prick hard and hot as it slid between his thighs. Jeremiah closed his eyes and sighed, stroking himself to the beautiful, obscene little sounds Moon was making. He knew a lot of men looked at him, looked at his size and made assumptions. And he’d let them, he didn’t mind too much, if it made the both of them happy enough. He might have a long string of bad luck that followed him as unshakable as a pack of bloodhounds, but he really did want to do right by people. So when he found someone willing to let him take a different role? A nice little piece of good luck, for a change.
Moon stifled a yelp, burying his face in Jeremiah’s shoulder as he came. Jeremiah could feel him breathing heavily, chest rising and falling against his back, warm and comfortable in his embrace like he had been meant to fit against him. As Moon came back to himself, his hand drifted downward.
“How close are you? May I?” came Moon’s whisper as his hand found Jeremiah’s.
“Getting there, and please,” Jeremiah sighed, withdrawing his hand and letting Moon wrap his hand around his prick.
It was a slightly different sensation than he was used to, the injury to Moon’s hand meaning what was left of his fingers didn’t wrap all the way around, but Jeremiah certainly wasn’t going to complain. He gave a quiet moan as Moon pressed his prick up against his belly and began to stroke the length with his palm, fondling the head with his thumb. Almost hesitantly, he reached down again to place his hand over Moon’s. Not leading, barely even guiding, for Moon seemed to know what he wanted without having to ask. Simply being with his partner. Moon murmured something, words Jeremiah couldn’t quite make out as pleasure stole his other senses, but he understood him nevertheless. Two bodies trying to become one, figuring out together what made the two of them tick.
Biting his lip, Jeremiah came. He grunted as he spilled into his hand, Moon’s voice soft at his ear, full of praise and wonder. After a moment to catch his breath and collect his senses, he scooted forward under the blanket, letting Moon’s prick slip free from between his thighs. He extracted himself from his bedroll, careful not to make a mess of the blanket. Moon made a sound that wasn’t quite words and propped himself up on one elbow, looking up at Jeremiah with a pout.
“I’m just going to clean up a little, I’ll be back in no time at all,” Jeremiah replied as he got to his feet. “I liked all that, but I don’t exactly enjoy sleeping sticky, you understand?”
“I suppose it is not the most comfortable feeling,” Moon replied with a nod. “I will join you, give myself a little wash, too.”
Together they picked their way down to the creek. When Jeremiah had woken up this morning, this certainly hadn’t been where he had expected to be at the end of the day, but he didn’t think he minded one bit.