by rebecca

Quiet, and dark, and the night is alive with silence. Moonlight glimmers on the water and stars sparkle in the tiny lapping waves that brush against the shore. It's past midnight and long before dawn, and the sky is a rich velvety black that begs to be stroked like a woman's thighs.

What will happen if he does? If he reaches up and touches the sky and coaxes it to open for him? Is he ready for the secrets he'll learn?

Then again--can they truly be any worse than the ones he already knows?

He looks at the water, black liquid shining under the moon. It's smooth and beckoning him to dive in, to surround himself with its soft cool caress. It's too tempting to resist and in any case, he doesn't really want to. He just wants to dive in and submerge himself in the water's comfort until it gently, inorexably, presses inward, filling his body.

It's colder than he expected; for a moment he shivers, unused to the bite of the water. But his body adjusts quickly and he dives under, swimming strongly toward nothing.

He loves the water; he always has. He feels--free, here. He supposes that's a bit ironic. Well, no one needs to know his own private dreams except him. So he can swim all he wants and no one need ever be the wiser about how he dreams of it. How he'd love to just--stay.

When he surfaces, there's another figure standing on the shore, an outline of shadows and light. He's not surprised; the other person has a knack for showing up at times like these. It's something they both need.

Only in darkness can they do without the words that cut them in the daylight.

He emerges from the water, sleek and dripping, and stands before his lover, looking into guarded eyes for some sort of sign. There isn't one, of course; there never is. And to call this man his lover seems somewhat presumptuous. No words of love or affection have passed between them in years. But there really isn't another term that fits.

He sinks to his knees, resting his head against his lover's stomach. He feels the gentle hands that stroke his head and shoulders, smoothing the water from his skin. His own arms come up to wrap around his lover's waist; it's an oddly childlike gesture. He's seeking comfort from the one person who can never give it to him.

The other man sinks to a kneeling position opposite him, their foreheads resting against each other. Hands cup his face, bringing him closer for a kiss. And this, too, is gentle. Unhurried, with the easy passion of long-time lovers. He feels tears prick his eyes and closes them; he will cry later, perhaps. But not now.

Moonlight and starlight dapple their bodies with patterns of light, iluminating the curve of a hip, the plane of a back, the sweep of hands and mouths on skin. As much is concealed as is revealed--the night does not show the conflicting emotions in his eyes, or the way his lover's caresses and kisses have an air of desperation to them.

He knows they have to make this last, for they have no way of knowing when their next chance will be. So it has to be enough--these bittersweet, silent nights are all either of them has. It's more than he ever thought he'd have and nowhere near enough.

When he sinks into his lover's body, he bites back a moan, not wanting to spoil the silence around them. It's so right to be joined like this, to become one being with no worries or cares save that of shared passion and need. He closes his eyes, wanting to make this last. The scent and taste and feel of his lover, whose body welcomes him as if reclaiming a lost part, the soft sounds of their bodies moving in unison--he's afraid to open his eyes, afraid it will overwhelm him.

The other man's on top, moving on him with a rhythm that leaves him panting for air, caught up in the spiral to release. All he can do is lie there and surrender, a welcome sacrifice to the temple of his lover. If he opens his eyes he'll see his head thrown back, eyes tightly shut and mouth the tiniest bit open, abandoned in the way no one imagines he can be.

He doesn't ever want this to end. He wants to be like this, with his lover, forever. Just the two of them, without the layers of defenses and traps they lay for each other in their endless game of love and hate.

And he knows it's impossible, just as his lover does. They can't be together; they'd destroy each other within a week. Maybe once, a long time ago--but then is not now, and now is all they have.

His lover makes a soft low noise in orgasm; the first sound either of them has made since this began. His own climax is silent; if he were to speak now he'd crack. He can't take that chance. Once, he whispered 'I love you' when he came.

He didn't see his lover again for six months.

So he learned his lesson. No words, no promises of love, just silence. And if he thinks phrases behind his closed lips--phrases like 'I love you' and 'I need you'--no one needs to know that, either.

They don't cuddle; they can't afford to. It's hard enough to rebuild their separate defenses after making love. If they were to stay together, it might become impossible. So they separate slowly and go to the water to clean up, deliberately not touching. He ducks underwater, as much to wash the hidden tears from his eyes as to give his lover a chance to leave unnoticed.

When he breaks the surface again, the other man's gone. He closes his eyes, the first word of the night escaping his lips. His lover's name.


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