Title: Western Lovers: Cowboys and Biologists <27/34>
Beta regularly by the patient and talented charlieisagirl
Rating: NC-17 for the series, and for this chapter.
Summary: David is a hard, jaded warrior, Orlando is a biologist tracking Big Cats on the Double L.
Feedback: Feedback is my writers crack, which is not to be confused at all with plumbers crack.
Disclaimer: Not at all true in reality. These men whilst adorable and perfectly happy to slash themselves, their actual relationship is something that they only know. This story is adapted from a series of books that I adored when I was younger written by Elizabeth Lowell.
Word Count: 2189
Previous Story: Can be found here
Previous Ordaisy chapter: As suggested by mystery_ink can be found here
Chapter 1|Chapter 2 |Chapter 3|Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6| Chapter 7| Chapter 8| Chapter 9| Chapter 10| Chapter 11| Chapter 12| Chapter 13| Chapter 14| Chapter 15| Chapter 16| Chapter 17| Chapter 18| Chapter 19| Chapter 20| Chapter 21| Chapter 22| Chapter 23| Chapter 24| Chapter 25| Chapter 26
Posted to: fellowshippers, monaboyd and ordaisy
Header Art: Courtesy of the incredibly talented loki_girl.
Author’s Notes: Special thanks to dylan_dufresne.
Billy slid out of the car quickly and moved around to the passenger side. His passenger was tired, anxious and more than a little fractious. That was part of the reason why Billy had decided to make this journey at night, under cover of darkness and away from curious eyes.
Craig sat in the front seat, the heel of his hand pushing aggressively at the stabbing pain in his thigh. Each jarring movement of the car as it traversed the unpaved roadway into the ranch was like a knife twisting in the tortured tissue that had once been a strongly muscled thigh. His thigh. He couldn’t even probe the muscle with his fingers, the bone and ligament damage to both of his hands had stolen the fine motor skills he required even to live without help. His teeth clenched tightly together, grinding them as he tried desperately to swallow the anger that threatened to overwhelm him.
He glanced at Billy as he opened the door for his brother. He tried to push aside the unreasonable rage at Billy’s attentive care. He tried desperately to stop the erroneous feelings that Billy was the reason why he was in so much pain, but sometimes, when the pain and frustration consumed him he couldn’t help it. In the time between his medications, when the pain overwhelmed the medication and there wasn’t a part of his body that wasn’t consumed with the need to escape the blinding agony that was his body, he blamed his brothers for it all. He had followed them into the military, which truthfully was his choice not theirs. Billy had fought him long and hard about it, the military was the last thing Billy had wanted for his baby brother. When he had been captured and tortured Craig had been happy to let go. But they wouldn’t let him go. They had followed him and found him and forced their own strength onto him. In the hazy days after his rescue there had been one constant. Billy. If Billy had just let him go the pain spearing through him now wouldn’t be an issue.
“Do you need a hand, Craig?” Billy asked softly, his hand reaching out to close over Craig’s shoulder.
“Don’t touch me!” Craig hissed sharply, instantly regretting his outburst as he watched Billy immediately step back his hand’s plunged into his jeans pockets.
Billy squatted down beside the car, looking up into Craig’s face. “Craig?” he murmured quietly, “I know this is hard, I know that you hurt. But the sooner we can get you settled in your room, the sooner we can give you more painkillers.”
“Just fuck off.” Craig muttered darkly. Closing his eyes, he gripped either side of his thigh and lifted his leg, drawing in a sharp breath as he swiveled in the seat, pushing himself until both feet were on the ground.
“Let me help you, Craig.” Billy spoke softly, the accent he had never lost thickening his voice, his nails digging into his palms as he struggled not to reach out and help his baby brother.
“Fuck off, Billy.” Craig whispered. “I don’t need any help to get out of a fucking car. If you really wanted to help me, you should have fucking left me in that godforsaken pit.”
“You don’t mean that.” Billy stood, his eyes wide with disbelief.
“Like hell I don’t. This is all your fault. If you’d just let me die, I wouldn’t be fucking suffering now. Do you know what it’s like, not being able to stand on your own, I can’t even button my own fucking shirts or zip my pants. You will never know. I just want to die. Why the hell didn’t you let me?” Hot sharp tears burnt at Craig’s eyes as he struggled against the remorseless pain and the anger that was searing through him.
“Let me,” Daisy clasped Billy’s shoulder as he stepped up behind his brother. “Sugarplum wouldn’t sleep, Dom could probably use a hand, and I’m sure Craig and I can handle getting him moved in. Can’t we bro?”
“Whatever.” Craig whispered through tightly clenched teeth.
“Are you sure?” Billy frowned.
“Absolutely.” David nodded, “We’ll be fine, go.”
Billy stood watching as David kneeled in front of Craig, speaking softly to him. Craig silently acquiesced to David’s firm ministrations. Once he had assured himself that David and Craig were coping, he turned on his heel and walked down the hill to his own home, his shoulders slumped and his head bowed.
“That wasn’t fair, Craig.” David murmured softly as he reached into the car and extracted Craig’s cane, waiting patiently for Craig to gather the strength to stand.
“I know.” Craig replied.
“He did what he did because he loves you.” David explained.
“David!” Craig snarled at him as he slowly pulled himself to his feet, his eyes squeezed tightly closed as stars swum before his eyes. “I know why he did it, that doesn’t fucking change the fact that I wish he didn’t. Just drop it okay.”
“Don’t burn your bridges little brother.” David pressed the cane into Craig’s hand and stood beside him.
“What bridges, I’m fucking blessed just to be here aren’t I. The doctors keep telling me so.”
“It’s been six weeks Craig, give it time.” David reassured him, a large warm hand pressed against his back.
“Six weeks. Six. Weeks. Let me tell you about it. I need to be walking, moving. Being myself. Doing what I have always done.” Craig waved his cane into the air, wobbling as he struggled to stay upright. “I can’t even take myself to the fucking toilet Daisy.” He stopped mid tirade, “I don’t want to do this anymore Daisy. I won’t be dependent on anybody. I’m a man David, not a child, none of you can fucking see that.”
“You have to give it time Craig. We’re thankful to still have you.” David stroked Craig’s back gently, struggling not to reach for him as he shrugged away from David’s touch.
“I’ve already given it six weeks David. I can’t do this. I hurt, Daisy. I can’t do the simplest of things. I can’t dress myself, I can barely feed myself. This isn’t the life I want, this is hell.” Craig surged forward, shuffling towards the open door in front of him, leaning heavily on his cane.
David waited at the side of the car, his hands jammed in his pockets, worry for his baby brother creasing his brow. Watching as Craig struggled through the door of his new home, David waited giving Craig the few minutes he obviously needed to assert his independence.
Seeing Craig sitting on the edge of the bed, David moved closer.
“That wasn’t so bad was it?” David asked cheerily.
“obviously not from your side.” Craig growled, his fist grinding into the sharp, throbbing pain in his thigh. “I want painkillers Daisy, and I want them now.”
“That’s not the way to get them, little buddy.” David sighed.
“I need them Daisy.” Craig looked up into David’s face, tears clinging to his lashes, unable to conceal his pain any longer.
“You get changed and into bed and I’ll get them from Billy.” David offered, his heart breaking at his brother’s suffering.
“I can’t.” Craig whispered through clenched teeth.
“Can’t?” David murmured, confused.
“I told you outside.” Craig grated out, unwilling to put words to his weaknesses.
“I missed it Craig, you’ll have to tell me again.” David apologized.
“Don’t make me say it again Daisy, please.” Craig begged him.
“It’s just me, little buddy, you don’t need to be embarrassed.” David assured him.
“I can’t change my own clothes. I can’t climb into bed on my own. I can’t even take my own fucking shoes off. Do you get it now?”
David knelt in front of Craig and unlaced his sneakers. Shoes off and tucked safely under the bed, David pulled Craig’s socks off before he stood in front of him and unbuttoned Craig’s shirt and unzipped his pants.
David could feel the tension in Craig’s body as he carefully undressed him. “There’s no need to be embarrassed Craig.”
“I haven’t had to have someone undress me since I was a toddler Daisy. I can’t do this.”
“You can and you will.” David sat beside him on the bed and wrapped an arm around his waist. “This won’t last, you’ll get stronger and you’ll adjust.”
“You have more faith than I do.” Craig sighed, as he struggled to stand and let his jeans drop to his ankles. As he dropped back down onto the bed, a groan of deep pain and suffering squeezed from between his lips. David pulled Craig’s shirt from his trembling arms and waited long enough for Craig to regain his breath, his lips pinched, and his eyes glistening with tears he refused to shed.
Standing in front of Craig he carefully lifted him to his feet and flicked the blankets on the bed back. Wordlessly he settled Craig back onto the clean sheets. Slowly he bent and lifted Craig’s legs onto the bed, wincing at the angry, red, barely healed scars that crisscrossed Craig’s legs. Waiting briefly for him to settle back against his pillows, David pulled the sheet back up to cover Craig’s legs.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.” David stated as he walked towards the door, Craig’s silence bothering him more than he cared to admit.
Closing the door behind him, he came face to face with Liv’s brother.
“What do you want?” David asked him shortly.
“To help Craig.” Sean replied softly.
“He’s fine, Billy and I can handle it.”
“Certainly sounded like it.” Sean’s answered sarcastically, “Why don’t you let me talk to him, it can’t hurt.”
“Why should I?” David snarled, more than happy to take his temper out on the older man.
“Because this is hurting you as much as it’s hurting him, I’ve been where he is before, you have no idea what to do for him and it might just work, and because I went and got his medication from Ramrod.” Sean gestured by shaking the pill bottle in his hand.
“You hurt him and you’ll answer to me.” David informed him, his voice chilled.
“Listen to yourself. You’re not his mother David, he’s a grown man and he knows what and who he wants. Let him think for himself.”
“He nearly fucking died, Bean, he needs time to recover and heal.”
“That’s bollocks and you know it.” Sean stood with his hands on his hips, fingers brushing the waistband of his low slung jeans. He hadn’t bothered to pull on a shirt when he had heard David and Craig arguing. He had stepped out on to the verandah, watching from the shadows as they argued and moved towards Craig’s room. “he needs to have his brothers, his heroes, to treat him like they used to. He needs to be allowed to recover without being smothered. He needs to be Craig. Not the invalid, not the cripple, just Craig.”
“I meant it Bean, you hurt him, your ass is mine.” David warned.
“Duly noted.” Sean nodded, his hand on the doorknob. “Go back to your boyfriend David, you look like shite.”
Stepping through the door, Sean smiled as Craig turned his head and looked at him as he came through the door.
“Go away.” Craig muttered his face flushing pinkly with embarrassment.
“No can do.” Sean smiled, quickly flipping the bottle of pills onto the bed, well within reach of Craig’s hand, as he walked through to the bathroom and filled a plastic glass with water.
“I wanted to come and say hello Soldier Boy, so I told your brothers I’d bring your pills for them. Figured you could use a break from Florence Mk 1 an 2.” Sean watched Craig’s trembling hands struggling with the child proof lid as he spoke. “Want a hand?” he gestured towards the bottle as he put the glass on the bedside table.
Craig nodded and lifted the bottle towards Sean, his eyes downcast, ashamed at his new disabilities. Sean quickly snapped open the bottle and tipped two pills into his palm. Lifting Craig’s hand in his, Sean tipped the pills onto Craig’s palm and closed his hand over Craig’s for a moment before lifting the glass of water and handing it to Craig. Waiting just long enough for Craig to eagerly swallow the pills, he took the glass from him and put it back on the bedside table.
“give me your hand.” Sean commanded him.
“No.” Craig clenched his fists as tightly closed as he could, ignoring the cramps that immediately bit into them and pushed them under the edge of the sheet.
“Don’t be a prick, Soldier boy.” Sean smiled as he watched Craig relax back against the pillows, the lines of stress and pain draining from his features. “Give me your hand.”
Without waiting for Craig to move, Sean reached across the bed and lifted Craig’s hand between both of his. Feeling the tension in Craig’s hand, Sean balanced it on both of his hands and gently began to rub his thumbs across the back of Craig’s hand.
“Can you tell me what happened?” Sean asked quietly as he gently massaged Craig’s hand.
Craig shook his head, reluctant to voice his experiences.
“I’d like to know what did this to you.” Sean probed, “I’d like to kick the bastards ass.”
‘Billy already did.” Craig sighed.
“Someone needed to.” Sean replied, knowing full well the extent of Craig’s injuries and the reason for them, after extensive conversations with Billy. “Is it just your hands?”
Craig shook his head slowly, sinking into the soothing relief of Sean’s hands and his medication.
Placing Craig’s hand back on the bed, Sean lifted the other hand and massaged it gently.
“A few years ago I had a fall, broke a few bones, the pain meds only worked for a couple of hours. I had a nurse with magic hands. Taught me how to massage the muscles, it went a long way towards extending the potency of the pain killers.”
“Sometimes the pain in my thigh is like someone is slicing it with a machete.” Craig murmured, his eyes closed, his head tilted back, relaxed and breathing deeply.
“I’ve been there. I think I might be able to help. Can I pull the sheet back?” Sean asked quietly as he placed Craig’s hand back against the bed.
“I don’t think so,” Craig sighed.
“It’s fine.” Sean soothed him as he folded the sheet back, his mind whirling as he saw the angry red scars and cruel damage done to such strong and perfect legs. His rough, calloused fingers trailed across the deepest, angriest scar, unaccountably enraged with whoever had done this to Craig.
“Please just cover it up Sean.” Craig’s words slurred almost drunkenly as the medication tightened it’s hold on him.
“Not a chance.” Sean answered, “These scars are part of what makes you, you.” Sean’s hand traced carefully over Craig’s thigh, testing how much his touch hurt Craig. Leaning closer to Craig, Sean’s fingers and thumbs caressed and massaged, his deft touch loosening the tense muscles slowly.
“ ‘S good.” Craig whispered, his eyes closed wearily as he relaxed. “Don’t stop.”
“Won’t unless you tell me too.” Sean murmured softly, glancing up at Craig, he noted the way the deep grooves of tension around his mouth had eased in the last few minutes.
“Magic fingers.” Craig sighed, one hand lifting to trace Sean’s short hair.
“I think it’s more to do with the drugs than my fingers.” Sean replied an ironic chuckle in his voice.
“No. You. Spesh…Magic.” Craig’s words run together almost drunkenly as he finally relaxed, his head turned on the pillow, his eyes closing wearily, a gentle moan escaping his lips, his fingers brushing against Sean’s thigh as sleep claimed him.
“You’re the special one, Soldier Boy.” Sean murmured, his fingers stilling on the tortured muscles of Craig’s leg, as he allowed himself, finally, to hungrily watch Craig as he slept. Pulling the sheet back up to Craig’s chest, Sean stood and bending over Craig, he carefully cradled him against his chest as he slipped two of the pillows that were propping him up from beneath his head. Smoothing his hair back, Sean pressed a tender kiss against his forehead before straightening and flicking on the bedside lamp and walking out of the room. At the door Sean paused to look back at him, then turned off the overhead light, plunging the room into the soft muted light of the lamp’s weak illumination.