Snowy, Snowy Nights


"Maybe yes," Bran answered in a small voice. "I've been working there." He didn't think it would go well with him to lie about that. He too hadn't slept, more because of being aroused by what he'd seen this man doing to Caleb than because of the cold.

"You one of Levi Yost's boys?"

Bran hesitated, but yes, over the past couple of days he had definitely become one of Levi Yost's boys—and a favorite of the customers, who were always pleased with fresh meat and who were showing up at the saloon in droves now, probably at least partly because of the Christmas spirit Bran had introduced by suggesting they put up a tree.

"Yes, I was. Not anymore, though," he said.

"Well, we can work out your sheltering and some grub for breakfast in a barter exchange unless you're not willing."

Bran was willing.

"Oh shit, oh fuck. You're so fuckin' big," Bran cried out as Jeremiah started to stuff his cock in. The older man was crouched between Bran's legs. Both of them were fully dressed except for Bran missing the britches Jeremiah had pulled off him. Jeremiah had an arm under Bran's waist, lifting his pelvis up to the cock, while Bran had his arms thrown over his head, clutching at the rough boards of the stall, trying to hold steady at what became the thrusts of a huge battering ram.

"God, I've never had it this big!"

"I can—"

"No, no. I seen you doin' Caleb. I knew it would be big. Do it. Ram it in me!"

Soon, Bran was reduced to sobs and moans and groans as he clutched at Jeremiah's neck with his hands, fighting to bring the older man's lips down to his, and eventually succeeding, even though Jeremiah hadn't wanted this to have any intimacy at all. He just wanted the meeting of his animal need, to fuck someone hard to forget, in only briefly, Seth.

* * * *

Bran once again was awakened by a kick to his boots. It wasn't day yet, but there was a good five inches of snow on the ground, which was reflecting light from the attempt of the sunrise to peek over the Hahn Peak ridge to the east, across the Slater Creek valley.

"Figured you could use some hot breakfast," a gruff voice said. Bran opened his eyes to see Jeremiah standing over him, a plate of porridge in one hand and two mugs of steaming coffee in the other, his fingers laced through the handles. Bran was sore, but he didn't regret the previous night at all. Jeremiah was, indeed, the biggest man he'd ever taken. And he would be OK to be taken by him again.

He sat up and accepted the plate and one of the mugs. Jeremiah crouched down on his haunches and held the other mug of coffee in both hands, letting the warmth penetrate his hands.

"It snowed again last night."

"I could tell," Bran answered.

"Definitely no going over Antelope Gap today."

"Oh . . . well."

"How did you come by that painted pony there, son? You didn't steal it, did you?"

"It's from Toliver's livery down in Hayden," Bran answered. "I did work for the Tolivers. They didn't pay me."

"But they didn't give you the horse, did they?"

"No, not exactly."

"Being as you are coming direct from Pennsylvania . . ." he said it so both knew he didn't believe that one, ". . . then you probably don't know that men get strung up around here for stealing horses. No trials necessary."


"I should turn you in. Take you down to Hayden and turn you over to Cale Toliver—and maybe even to Levi Yost. I doubt Levi gave you leave to go either. Bet you have some sort of contract there. Place is owned by Warren Savage, owner of the Big O ranch. Mean son of a bitch. Bet you didn't know that either. He's not likely to let an investment run away."

"I . . . just . . . want to be movin' on," Bran said in a small voice. "So . . ." He gave Jeremiah a plaintive look.

"So, I'd say, seein' as how the snow is only slowly getting' here from over the mountain, that I'd best take that painted pony back down to Hayden and leave it where it will be found but folks will think it broke out of the livery by itself."

"Oh. You'd do that for—?"

"I should be overnight doin' it and I'd best get to doin' it. Eat up on that breakfast and then come into the cabin. You can stay there while I'm gone. I'll show you what's what there."

There wasn't much to show, and Bran stood by the door to the corridor to the outhouse, trying to keep out of the way, while Jeremiah rummaged around for what he needed to take with him.

"It's mighty nice of you to do this for me," Bran said.

Jeremiah answered with a grunt.

"I wish there was something I could do to show how grateful—"

Jeremiah looked up at him. Bran could see it in the man's eyes. There was certainly something Bran could do.

They fucked on the braided rug, Bran on all fours and Jeremiah crouched over him, fucking him like a dog. Bran had moved toward the bed when they'd both realized what they were going to do, but Jeremiah had pushed him down on the rug, saying in a rough voice, "No, not on the bed. Not there. The floor's good enough."

Once Jeremiah was gone, Bran looked around the cabin. He needed to do something else to show his gratefulness. The cabin was so drab. It wasn't long until he was out in the forest, picking out a tree and chopping it down with an ax he'd found in a stump in the yard. He brought that in and got it stood up in a corner on the fireplace wall. He went out and chopped wood and brought it in and stacked it on the other side of the fireplace.

He looked critically at the tree. It needed something else to make the cabin look Christmassy. He went out in the barn and scrounged around, finding an old stirrup here and some tops of tin cans there, and bits and pieces of metal elsewhere. The tree looked better with those stuck in its branches, but it still didn't look very Christmassy.

He threw open the shutters inside the two windows and let the light in. That did it. The light shining off the metal ornaments really brought in the spirit. Candlelight and light from the fireplace would do it at night.

Having brought in the light, though, he saw how dusty and dingy it was in the cabin. He used most of the time Jeremiah was gone cleaning out the cabin. Then he went back into the woods and brought in branches of holly, with a profusion of red berries. Putting those here and abouts in the cabin really brought in the season.

He didn't know why Jeremiah didn't want him to use the bed to fuck him, but he respected that he didn't—and he thought the aversion might extend to him being on the bed at all—so he slept on the braided rug the night he was alone. With the fire going, it was much better than trying to sleep in the barn had been.

It snowed again that night, bringing the depth outside to more than six inches. Bran went to sleep thinking of Jeremiah's big cock—and what he'd done with it—and masturbating himself to sleep.

* * * *

Bran sensed more than heard Jeremiah return in the late afternoon of the second day. The falling of the snow made a sound, which surprised him. Only being on the silent mountainside as he now was brought home to him that snow—in conjunction to the whistling of the wind—could make a distinctive sound. But so too did the clop of the horses and the jangle of their straps and bridles and of Jeremiah's spurs.

The horses. More than one.

Bran went out on the porch of the cabin to welcome Jeremiah and saw that he had an extra horse. It wasn't the painted pony, however.

"Another horse?" he asked as Jeremiah dismounted.

"I came back by way of my ranch. The horse is packing extra food supplies. And you'll need a horse if you're going across the mountain."

"But I have no way of paying."

"Yes you do," Jeremiah said, giving Bran an intense look, a bit of a smile on his lips.

Ah, yes, I guess I do, Bran thought—on my back, with my legs open. There's always that. Jeremiah led the horses into the barn, which was not easy—there now was more than eight inches of snow on the ground. While he was doing this, Bran went back into the cabin and walked over and sat down by the fireplace. He felt a little deflated that he'd still be thought of as just a hole to relieve Jeremiah's needs. He'd been euphoric when they'd fucked in the cabin—even if it had been on the floor. It's like he was being let into the man's world. It's what had led him to do all of the decorating and . . .

Jeremiah had moved into the cabin and just stood there, his jaw dropped and his eyes wide open.

Bran smiled, waiting for Jeremiah to compliment him on what he'd done to brighten the place up and make it feel more Christmassy.

But Jeremiah's reaction came in a bombastic explosion. "What the fuck? What's all this for? And, you, get out of that chair. That's Seth's chair."

Confused and wounded, Bran sprang from the chair. "What's wrong?" He also wanted to yell, "Who the fuck's Seth," but he didn't.

"What the fuck have you been doing while I was gone? Moving in on me? Trying to be Seth? Well, you're not Seth, dammit. Get the fuck out of here."

"No, I'm not Seth. I'm not trying to be anybody but me. I'm Bran. Bran." It hit him then that they had never, even in their most intimate moments, referred to each other by name. He didn't know this man's name, and this man had never asked him for his name. "My name is Bran. I'm a person. I'm not just a fuck toy. My name is Bran. Not Seth, whoever the hell that is."

"What the fuck? Get that tree out of here. Get out now. NOW!"

Close to sobs, Bran grabbed for the tree and pulled it out of the cabin, past Jeremiah. He dragged it through the snow, to the barn, and propped it up in a corner there. He collapsed into a sitting position leaning up against the side of the stall not occupied by a horse, and cried and rocked himself back and forth, staring at the tree, trying his damnedest to try to pull some sense of Christmas out of it.

He heard the shutters in the house slam shut and went to the barn door. The holly branches had been tossed out into the snow as well. He went back into a fetal position, facing the tree, and rocked back and forth, back and forth. Well after dark he pulled some hardtack out of his saddlebag and made a dinner of that. He went to the door and scooped up some snow to quench his thirst. The cabin was dark, buttoned up tight. But there was smoke coming out of the chimney. He hadn't thought to look up there before, but he did so now.

At least the man had some warmth.

It was cold in the barn, and it was still snowing. It must have been more than a foot deep out there by now. Even with the snow falling, the moon was peeking through from somewhere and reflecting off the snow. The landscape was ethereal even if Bran had no reason to appreciate that.

Then he calculated. It was Christmas Eve. He went back into the barn and sat, cross-legged, in front of the Christmas tree, his teeth nearly chattering from the cold despite the blanket he'd wrapped around himself.

"Silent night, holy night." He found he was humming the tune. Then he started to sing it to himself, in low, hesitant Pennsylvania Dutch, almost the original German, phrases, his Omar—his grandmother—had taught him, the notes coming between slight sobs.

He felt so alone, so utterly alone. And rejected. He had no idea what he'd done wrong. And now what? What was he supposed to do? What did the man want him to do? He could saddle that horse and leave now, tonight. But how far would be get in this snow? And in what direction? And would the man come after him as a horse thief? He hadn't earned the horse yet. The man had made clear he had to earn it on his back. Was what he had already let the man do enough? Probably not. He could go out on foot. He wouldn't make it far in this snow. But did it really matter anymore? Was there anyone who cared?

At length he drifted off into a fitful sleep, resolved from moment to moment to rise and trudge out into the snow, but much too cold to start doing it.

* * * *

"I'm so sorry. So very sorry."

Bran wasn't awakened by a boot nudging him this time, but by the man scooping him up off the ground in the barn, moving his cramped and aching limbs out of the fetal position, kissing him on the cheeks and mouth, tears streaming down the man's face.

"I'm sorry. Forgive me . . . Bran, was it?. My name's Jeremiah."

Something had happened to the man in the night, something had worked on his heart in the snowy, snowy night and had turned him completely around. Bran didn't ask him what. He was just thankful—considered it a Christmas present and miracle—that it had happened.

Jeremiah carried Bran into the cabin and over to beside the fireplace, where he had a roaring fire going. He rubbed Bran's hands and feet and limbs as he pulled frozen clothes off the young man, stopping only long enough to get a good slug of brandy down Bran's throat before he was sitting in his chair by the fire, Bran in his lap, facing away from him, with one leg draped over a chair arm, and commencing to rub other areas of Bran's body—his lips, his thighs, his belly, his pecs and nipples, his cock, and, finally, the inside of his channel with a pumping cock as he gripped Bran's waist and raised and lowered the young man's channel on the cock.

He was repeatedly whispering, "Your name is Bran; your name is Bran."

Jeremiah fucked Bran in the chair and on the bearskin rug in front of the fireplace, with Bran on his belly and Jeremiah closely covering his back and, with Bran slightly raising his hips, Jeremiah stroking slow and deep inside him.

And, at last, Jeremiah took Bran to the bed, covered them both with the quilt and side split the young man while turning Bran's face to his by cupping his chin and holding his lips in a deep kiss. An arm was wrapped around Bran's back and a thumb was thrumming his nipple.

Bran gently turned the older man on his back, licked his way down through the hair on his chest, while Jeremiah moaned—and then grunted and groaned as Bran's mouth opened over his cock. After riding the cock to a mutual ejaculation, Bran collapsed onto Jeremiah's chest and the two men drifted off to sleep.

When Bran woke in the morning, the cabin was flooded with light. The shutters on the windows were open. He could only see glittering white beyond the panes of glass. The tree was back in the cabin, standing, not particularly straight, but standing in the corner. The holly branches were back in the cabin, if haphazardly scattered about. Jeremiah, bare-chested and in skivvies, was kneeling by the fire, frying a mess of eggs and bacon. He was humming. The smell that permeated the cabin was of fresh-roasted coffee.

He turned and saw, Bran, still naked, sit up in the bed. The quilt dropped to his waist.

"It's Christmas morning," Jeremiah said.

"Yes," Bran answered, wondering if anything, anything at all was going to be said about the previous day and night.

Evidently not. "There must be at least a foot and a half of snow out there." Jeremiah said it like it was the best possible news he could have to convey on a Christmas morning.

"Is there?" Bran asked.

"It's stopped now. But it will be days, a week or more probably, before Antelope Gap will be passable." Again, he made that sound like it was a present. And Bran took it that way. But a present for which one of them? Or maybe both.

Jeremiah stood up from the fireplace and turned, the frying pan in one hand and a spatula in the other. His skivvies were pulled down in front by the weight of his heavy cock and balls so that Bran could see a line of curly pubic hair along the line of the man's lower belly. The tenting promised that he was in erection. His body was magnificent. A heavily muscled mature man at his peak.

"Three eggs or four?" he asked.

"Three, but for now I want a cock. Just one, but it's got to be big. Inside me. Now." Bran was tossing away the quilt, turning toward the side of the bed, grabbing his ankles, and lifting and spreading his legs.

The eggs were stone cold by the time they ate them. Neither of them complained.

* * * *

It was eight days later. Eight nights of Bran being in Jeremiah's bed, but rarely sleeping there at night. Catching naps in the afternoon as Jeremiah chopped wood and cared for the horses, so that he would be awake and aware of everything Jeremiah was doing with him—to him, inside him—in the night.

The snow was almost completely melted outside the cabin now, and when Bran looked up the mountainside toward Antelope Gap, he could see more rock than snow—and blue skies overhead. But each time he looked up there, Jeremiah would come up beside him, put an arm around him, and say, "Not yet, I don't think. Not safe up there yet." And more often than not, he then would pick Bran up in his arms and carry him back into the cabin and fuck him—in Jeremiah's chair or on the bearskin rug, or bent over the table, or on all fours on the braided rug. Rarely on the bed during the day. But always on the bed, repeatedly—in the dark—in the night. Repeatedly because Jeremiah almost always apologized for the size of what Bran had to accommodate after the first fucking and Bran would respond by demanding a second one.

The afternoon of the eighth day Bran was laying a fire in the fireplace and Jeremiah was standing at the window at the front of the house. The windows had been unshuttered, except in the dead of night, since Christmas day.

"You need to take a crap," Jeremiah said in a soft voice. "And you need to stay back there and quiet until I come and get you."

"I don't—"

"You need to go on back there now," Jeremiah said, giving him a hard look and standing at the front door.

As Bran was moving in the connecting corridor behind the cabin to the outhouse, he heard the front door open and Jeremiah go out onto the porch.

He crept back into the cabin and took a peek out of the window to the front porch. Four riders were strung out across the front of the cabin, one more forward to the other. Bran scurried back to the outhouse.

"Hello, Warren," Jeremiah called out. "What brings you up into the mountains in the winter? I ain't seen no stray cows—yours or anyone else's."

"Strange that you'd be up here in the winter too, Jeremiah," Warren Savage, owner of both the Big O ranch and the Hayden saloon, said. His voice was a friendly one. The two men were both cattle ranchers. Such men normally held together, sharing interests against the increasing encroachment in the region of sheepherders and farmers.

"Christmas. I like to celebrate it alone in beautiful surroundings. Have done it for years," Jeremiah answered. "Even have a tree, which I understand are real popular in the East now. Want to come in and see it?"

Bran started to creep back to the corridor to the outhouse in panic, but Savage's answer stopped him and he returned to standing beside the window and straining to hear.

"No, thanks. They put up a tree in the saloon this year too. Good for business. I guess we'll continue doing that for Christmas."

"So, what brings you and your boys up this way?"

"Looking for a missing man. A city boy from down in Hayden. Been missing since before Christmas. His name's Branton Niederman. Goes by Bran. You ain't seen anyone like that up here, have you? Short, but in good shape. Blond. Looks young, but isn't a child no more."

"Old enough to make his own decisions, is he?" Jeremiah asked.

"Left some obligations in Hayden. But mostly we're worried about him. His folks want him back real bad."

"His folks?"

"Yep. You seen anyone like that up here from before Christmas?"

A fifth man was nosing over toward them. Jeremiah could see that he'd been in the barn.

"Two horses in the barn," the newly appearing cowboy said to Savage as he approached.

"Both with brands from my ranch on them, did you see?" Jeremiah quickly said. "Needed an extra one to carry supplies up here. I'll be staying a spell." He then turned to Savage. "Just me up here, Warren. If I see a man answering that description, I'll surely let you know. But until then, a Merry Christmas to you."

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