Notes: This story was written early in my fic writing career and published in the multi-media zine, It's Raining Men #2 from AngelWings Press. Since it has long since timed out, I decided to go ahead and throw it up here for now, as it was then, even though I've intentions to revise and expand on it, up to and including a sequel. Chimera presupposes a different first meeting for Ezra and Buck, one that preceded the action of Ghosts of the Confederacy.

Chimera by Lumina~

Late afternoon sunlight slanted through the open window, dully illuminating the small room as it diffused through the veil of dust motes that hung in the air. Buck Wilmington cast a quick eye around the cramped quarters, noting the paint peeling on the unadorned walls, the bare wooden floorboards, and the shabby quilt covering the bed. Plain and colorless, he knew it would appear drab to the man standing just inside the door.

Sighing inwardly, he turned, a wry smile curving his lips. "It ain't much, but it's clean."

Buck watched the assessing eyes of the smaller man languidly sweep the room, a hint of dismissiveness tingeing their expression, before they met his own steady gaze. A sly glint of mischievousness sparkled within those eyes as they swiveled again, this time focusing pointedly on the bed, before returning to Buck's.

Head tilted, his mouth twitching in amusement, he said, "It seems to have the one thing we need."

Buck let his breath out in a light huff of laughter, the unaccountable nervousness jumping in his belly easing somewhat as his companion's smile widened. Slipping off his jacket, Buck tossed it across the chair by the door and stepped away to pull down the window shade, only to have a restraining hand grasp his arm.

"Leave it. It'll be sunset soon anyway."

Buck glanced out the window at the sallow yellow of the sky, at the undifferentiated shadings of brown wooden buildings and dusty street and, with a shrug, gladly turned back to the only color, the only life he'd seen in this town, this day. The man's red jacket had burned like a beacon in the dim saloon, his green eyes sparking with humor as they'd surveyed the clientele, his gold tooth catching what light there was and gleaming as his dimples winked in and out. Buck had been drawn to his light, like many of the bar's patrons, only the opportunity to lose his money to the quicksilver skill of the gambler had not been his intention.

He reached for the center of that light, that life.

"The one thing I like about this country is the sky as the sun goes down."

The silky Southern drawl washed over Buck, igniting fluid warmth within, as did the nimble fingers that had unbuttoned his cuff and were now gliding underneath his sleeve and across his bare flesh. This man offered a different heat than the arid desert air standing stagnant in the room, one that inflamed rather than enervated.

He stepped closer to that heat.

A shadow of wistfulness flit across those green eyes, a faraway place holding them captive. Intent on bringing his focus back to the here and now, back to him, Buck moved to block the other man's view of the window. Buck leaned into the touch moving absently over his arm now, a slow easy smile forming on his lips as the other man's gaze drifted up to his. Sultriness overtook the shadows there, making Buck's blood race, his hands reach out to touch.

The gambler's mouth twitched again into a teasing grin as he slipped beyond Buck's grasp, his fingers sliding down and away from Buck's arm in the whisper of a caress. He flicked those slender fingers towards Buck's clothes in a graceful wave and, his voice honeyed smoothness, said, "I want to see you."

Buck's eyebrows raised speculatively, his hands lifting to his shirt buttons, then pausing, as his own pointed glance swept the clothes worn by the other man. A throaty chuckle was his reward followed by those flashing hands whisking off the red jacket and laying it carefully across the dresser behind him. Buck's hands went to work on his own clothes, his eyebrows raising further as his companion divested himself of the small armory adorning his form. A Colt Richards Conversion in a leather shoulder holster joined the Remington sidearm already on the dresser, followed by a Deringer in its accompanying sleeve rig, deftly removed and set aside. Elegant weapons to suit an elegant man.

A dangerous man.

Buck wondered what other weapons he might have hidden under the remainder of his clothes. Glancing at the Deringer, he said, "You use that peashooter much?"

"It's proved useful. You never know when a scoundrel might exhibit less than gentlemanly behavior over his losses at the gaming tables." A cocky grin accented his words as the gambler replied then lifted his eyes, their green fire burning brighter as they roved over Buck's body.

Buck slowed his movements as he felt the scorching burn of the other man's stare trailing across his skin. With a smug smile, he gave a little extra shimmy as he slipped his pants and underwear over his hips and down his legs. Dumping his clothes in a disordered pile on top of his jacket, Buck turned around and was met with a gaze now filled with wanton hunger. Its strength caught him off-guard, and he felt a warm blush stealing across his cheeks. His own lust, his own carnal need, felt countless times but rarely reflected in the eyes of another, was now staring at him in unabashed frankness.

He felt a matching hunger awaken within himself as he tore his eyes from that smoldering green fire and let them wander over the body before him as it was slowly revealed. It was a study in contrasts, that slender neck and frame offset by lean, hard muscles that Buck could now see shifting under smooth skin as the gambler laid the last of his clothes aside. The cool paleness of that skin was complemented by the fiery green of his eyes and by the softly shimmering chestnut of his hair. It was a beautiful body, used not to entice, hidden as it was by layers of loose-fitting clothes, but to deceive with its dandified disguise.

A beguilement of a different sort was offered by his face and by his voice now. They sought not to separate Buck from his money, but to lure him to his body with the wicked glint in his eyes and the sinfully curving lips, and with the low rumble of laughter that sounded like a thrumming purr to Buck's ears. And Buck was beguiled. Not content to feel the other man's heat across the inches separating them, he moved forward, wanting to feel as much of it as he could along the length of his own body.

He pulled the gambler into a light embrace, a sigh escaping his lips as their bodies touched. Buck looked down into the face tilted up towards his, into the gently taunting eyes and, with the purpose of man desiring hard, sweat-inducing sex, took that teasing mouth with his own. The lips softened beneath his and opened eagerly to admit his questing tongue. Buck took his time exploring that mouth, finding its taste as sweet as the voice that passed over its tongue. It was talented, too, meeting each nibble, each thrust, each stroke with a matching movement of its own. It devoured with a ferocity both urgent in its single-mindedness and arousing in its thoroughness.

Visceral reaction played with Buck's senses as their mouths worked and as his hands traced along the satiny skin covering the spine of the man in his arms. The musk of sweat, smoke and soap tickled his nostrils, as tantalizing as the breath of the other man, hot and rushed against his skin. A low growl rumbled in his own throat as Buck felt those little puffs of air and as he heard the accompanying ragged pants, the sighing exhalations he tasted in his own mouth. His hands roamed and his eyes followed as he pulled back and again studied the contrasts presented by the gambler's body – Buck's own tanned skin dark against the paler flesh he caressed; delicate bones hugged by muscle and power; soft skin running smoothly beneath his callused fingers.

Fineness and fragility. Sinew and strength.

His grip tightened reflexively as agile fingers found their way between their bodies, skating along his ribs till they met his nipples. Sure palms drew lazy circles over the hard nubs eliciting a harsh moan from Buck as, panting, he pulled the smaller man harder against himself. And he felt the other's power as the gambler pushed against him, Buck suddenly finding himself off-balance and toppling onto the bed, the man in his arms tumbling on top of him. His first instinct to flip their positions, to move atop the form now pressing his into the mattress, was quelled, however, as that skilled mouth was joined by equally talented hands working a seduction on his flesh.

And just as he had been beguiled, now he was seduced, as lips and tongue flowed across his skin, laving and soothing where sharp teeth nipped and tasting afterwards with gliding kisses. Buck arched up into the hands that stroked and fondled as they followed that mouth, and into the strong fingers that kneaded the muscles beneath his skin until they quivered from the attention. He moaned in frustration as the firm pressure of those deceptively slender hands became the lightest skimming touch, trailing across his ribs and belly, down his hips to his legs and up again along his inner thighs.

Green eyes slanted up at him, mischievous and secretive. He thought his tormentor looked like nothing other than a cat slanting his head as if questioning what Buck wanted, then flicking the tip of his tongue out to delicately lick his lips. Buck watched, impatient, as that tongue tip slowly lowered and as those sweet lips formed around his erection. Buck thrust his hips upwards, wanting, needing, more access to the velvet wetness beyond those lips. Again he was rewarded by an enveloping heat and that swirling wetness, and by the scraping of teeth and gently squeezing lips as they ran up and down his length.

That moist heat retreated on a sigh of breath that coasted across his skin, eliciting a shiver as those teasing hands passed within a hairsbreadth of his shaft, their warmth felt without ever touching skin to skin. The other man sat back from his crouched posture and looked up at him with falsely guileless eyes and an innocently curving smile.

Demure temptation. Proper seduction.

Growling, he reached for the gambler's shoulders, hauling the slighter form up his body till they were face to face. Those green eyes stared down at him, watchful and, Buck thought, wary. And just as unexpected as his earlier tension had been at this man's reaction to the meagerness of his room, Buck now felt a surge of tenderness unfurl within him.

Reaching up a hand, he swept his thumb across the smooth skin of the gambler's cheek and brushed aside the sweat-dampened tendrils of hair that had fallen over his forehead before cupping the side of his face. Buck watched the green eyes darken as the pupils dilated and saw one eyebrow quirk in question at the gentleness of his touch, then heard the raspiness of his own voice as he whispered, "Darlin'-"

Those slender fingers touched his mouth, cutting off his words as the flowing Southern cadences of the other man became a sibilant murmur. "Shhhhh…"

The nerve endings of his lips tingled as they caught that warm exhalation and as brushing fingertips traced the outline of his mouth. Tangling his fingers in the other man's hair, Buck pulled his face down till their mouths met. Buck sought to tantalize as he had been and to heighten his own pleasure by touching every bit of skin he could reach as their mouths continued to couple.

Soft rumbling moans met his ears, the heady musk of sweat wafting to his nostrils as the gambler's body wriggled atop his. He felt the lean, strong muscles bunching under the deceptively delicate skin as his hands explored and aroused. And Buck knew the familiar tingle at the base of his spine and in the quiver of his belly, the rocking of their bodies creating an unbearable friction as their erections caught between them.

Just as Buck moved to change their positions so that he could cover the gambler with his own body and prepare him for taking, he felt the smaller man straining against his hands, pulling away and sliding back to sit astride his hips. Frustrated again, he was still gratified to see his own breathlessness matched in the soft pants escaping from the parted lips and in the slightly heaving chest of his companion. Buck hoped as well that the dusky sheen creeping across the pale skin was due to his ministrations and not to the red blaze of the sunset slipping its way into the room.

A sultry smile danced across the gambler's face, his hair on fire in the sun's waning light as the glittering green of his eyes gazed down. And Buck was struck anew with how lucky he'd been to find this color, this life, on this day, and more than anything, at this moment, he wanted to know it in every way possible.

Moving once more to shift the other man's body beneath his, he was again thwarted as the legs straddling his hips tightened and as his hands were gripped in the gambler's smaller ones. An impish grin crossed that man's face as he plunged the fingers of Buck's right hand into his mouth, thoroughly wetting them as tongue and lips mirrored their earlier actions on Buck's shaft.

Buck watched in fascination, the warmth of desire kindling further, as the other man drew his fingers slowly out of his mouth, releasing them with a subtle pop of suction and guiding them to his backside. Buck took what was offered, caressing the rounded cheeks and relishing the feel of the satiny skin, before dipping his fingers in to a different kind of heat than they had found in the gambler's mouth. His gaze was drawn to the face above him as he prepared the other man's body, compelled to stay there as he watched the rapt expression of satisfaction cross those features.

Then his own hand was being pushed away, a smaller one grasping his shaft as it was guided to the gambler's opening. Buck uttered a hoarse, "No!" as he moved to stop the other man from taking him without sufficient lubrication, but his hands were quickly grasped in fine-boned steel, his fingers interlaced with the gambler's as he lowered himself onto Buck's arousal.

Buck pulled his hands away, gripping the other man's hips, but found them covered again with the gambler's own as he continued to take Buck's length until fully sheathed. Buck stilled as the other man's body shuddered and a long, drawn out sigh escaped his lips. Then he was moving, his body undulating against Buck's, his back arching and his head dropping to the side.

Buck moved as well, his hips thrusting upwards, as he watched the man he was fucking, the man who was fucking him. Never before had Buck felt so out of control when fucking someone, so acquiescent to another guiding his actions. He realized something else as he watched the other man's head bobbing in time to their thrusts and saw his enigmatic smile, as he saw the sweat-glistening body again capture all the light left in the room. Buck knew, at this moment, with this life, what it was to want to watch another's pleasure more than to receive his own.

Plundering or plundered. Taking or taken.

Sweat slick skin slid against sweat slick skin. Powerful downward thrusts matched Buck's own in rhythm and in strength. Muscles and hands clenched tightly around him as Buck sensed his imminent completion, and finally he flipped their positions, capturing the gambler's erection between their bodies as he settled on top of him. He'd expected resistance to this reversal, but Buck's momentary triumph was short-lived as the other man's smile merely widened, his eyes drifting shut as he pulled Buck closer with his arms and with his legs. He held Buck fast urging him silently with hitching gasps, with fingers digging into the flesh of Buck's back, and with his insistent lunges upward, thrust for thrust.

Buck grunted, his seed filling the gambler, that man's own spurting between them moments later, before he fell in a boneless heap on the man beneath him. Buck withdrew his softening member and quickly removed his weight, shifting to lie on his back beside the gambler. As he lay panting, Buck heard a soft chuckle as his companion raised himself on one elbow and trailed a finger along Buck's ribs, gathering up a bit of the creamy liquid that pooled there. Buck laughed then at the sensation of the gently tickling tongue that dipped to his skin, cleansing, and he drew the other man's face up to his, thinking again of a cat cleaning its whiskers as he saw the gambler lick his lips.

Buck pulled those lips to his for a kiss, tasting the essence of the other man before the gambler drew away, smiling down at Buck as he placed one last, almost chaste kiss on his mouth before turning away and rolling off the bed.

Buck frowned as he watched the other man lift the edge of the sheet, toweling himself off with it before moving over to his pile of clothes.

"Hold on there, darlin'. You don't have to go and rush off." Buck saw that eyebrow raise again at the word "darlin'."

The gambler's green eyes drifted to the window as, the earlier languid tones of his voice now sharper, he said, "It's almost nightfall. Time for me to go to work."

"I'll come with ya then," Buck said regretfully, as he threw his legs over the side of the bed.

The other man smiled briefly. "That would not do. You'd be too much of a distraction." His eyes lingered on Buck's face and traveled over his body before he repeated, "No, that would not do at all." Turning away, he started to dress.

Buck watched him, frustration building as each article of clothing was put on and his lover of just moments ago disappeared behind the professional demeanor of the gambler.

"Well, hell. Can I at least see ya again?"

Another smile greeted his words, one devoid of genuine warmth but imbued with the falseness of the gambler's profession. "I highly doubt I'll be remaining in this municipality long enough for us to renew our acquaintance."

Buck crossed the room in two long strides and gripped the gambler by the shoulders. Staring intently into the green eyes, now cool and detached, that met his, he said, "I'd really like to see you again." Buck thought he saw a trace of confusion in those depths before it too disappeared and was shuttered behind the poker face of the gambler.

"Nonsense. You must be suffering some deleterious effect of the desert air. This," the Southerner drawled as he waved his hand between them, "this was just a moment's worth of pleasure, nothing more."

Buck stepped back, folding his arms across his chest as he watched the other man arm himself again with his array of weapons and with the indifferent demeanor of his occupation. As the gambler pulled on his red jacket and straightened his cravat, Buck's irritation gave way to anger as the other man headed for the door. Buck snapped, "Can I at least know your name?"

The gambler's hand stayed on the doorknob as he hesitated and looked over his shoulder.

"May be hard for you to believe, but I do make a habit of knowin' the name of someone I fuck," Buck said sardonically.

Buck thought he saw bewilderment again in those green eyes, for a brief moment, as one eyebrow raised in a now familiar gesture, before a mask of wry humor dropped into place, shutting out that gleam. Settling his hat on his head, the gambler touched its brim in a two-fingered salute, his reply light and amused. "Ezra Standish." Then, before Buck could stop him, he slipped out the door, closing it quietly behind him.

"Damn!" Buck exclaimed, as he picked up his pants then threw them back down in disgust. He moved to the window, leaning against the wall beside it as he gazed down to the street.

He was angry, too angry, and he didn't understand why. How could he feel so keenly the loss of a man he'd just met? He'd known, for only that "moment's worth of pleasure," the man and not the chameleon. Yet he felt that loss as surely as he did the warmth of the day and of that body he'd held, as the evening breeze now crept through the open window and cooled the sweat on his skin.

A flash of red in the street below caught his eye. Ezra Standish's red jacket as he stepped onto the boardwalk and walked towards the saloon. Once again he provided the brightest light around, proving drab even the faint rosy hue of the sunset still tingeing the dusty streets of Four Corners. Buck's eyes followed that spark of color and the desire to know that man, Ezra Standish, grew.

Distraction or distracted?

At this moment, on this night, Buck didn't know why, but he determined to be both as, turning, he picked up his clothes and dressed hurriedly. Looking at himself in the small mirror above the dresser, he ran his hands through his hair, smoothing it back into order. With a roguish grin, he winked and, placing his hat on his head, said, "Prepare to be distracted, Mr. Standish." Then, with one last look at his reflection, he opened the door and followed the light.

The End

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