WARNING: This fictional story includes scenes of intimate relations between two people in love.  The story is not about sex though. It is primarily about love and redemption, about family, friendship and forgiveness.  If you are under 18, just go away.  If you are offended by stories with gay themes, just go away.

Notes:  Thanks go out to our good bud Rob who made us take the time - fed us cookies and milk when both of us were overstresses and tired and introduced us to the joys of kite flying on the beach.

Sorry it's taken so long to get this out, but since the move, our free time has been virtually non-existant.  Thanks to all of you who wrote: its the only way writers get feedback, so keep letting us know how we're doing.  M&A

Houseboat on the Bay:


Chapter Three: Dreams in the Mist

   The New Year eve celebration had left both of us with only minor headaches and queasy guts. Janice and Maria, a lesbian couple that owned a houseboat at the marina gave the party. I don't know if its just me but it seems that all of our "Family" friends have spectacular holiday decorations around and in their waterborne homes, where so many of other straight friends find minimalist the way to go...odd. I suppose it's the interior decorator in all of us.

   There were a lot of people there, many more than we expected to be. We knew many of the gay couples at the party because Tom and Jack had been introducing us to the lively and active gay community scene in Seattle over the past two years and many of them lived along the coastline too.

   Since Darren turned 21 in November we'd also been to some of the bars and clubs together, but neither of us liked the loud, smoky atmosphere that Tom and Jack call the "meat market scene," but which they enjoyed immensely. It wasn't that unusual to see some young "stud" leaving their
houseboat the day after a visit to the clubs.

   Many of the people at Jan and Mari's party were artists and musicians, so there was great entertainment, lively conversation and tons of food. There were a number of our mutual friends from the marina in attendance too and the joyful yell of children playing on the outside deck was a welcome difference to the usual all adult parties. Ed and Irene had just returned from visiting their children and grandchildren in New Mexico where they'd lived for thirty years prior to retiring and moving to Seattle. They had brought back wonderful dried red chili's hung in large bunches that she and Ed turned into the best chili con carne (no beans please) that anyone had ever eaten. We must
have consumed a couple of bowls each during the evening.

   Rick, who hasthis "thing" for pyrotechnic displays, floated a small barge out into the bay and set off fireworks he made himself since last Fourth of July.  For almost an hour and a half the bay was illuminated with brilliant colors and loud reports. It was one memorable New Years Eve party.

   Darren has become something of a celebrity in our ever-expanding group of friends since his exhibition at Reflections, the local gallery that Janice and Maria own together. Irene was right on that Thanksgiving Day three years ago: Darren does have talent, so much so that almost everything that he does for the gallery sells quickly. He has built quite a nest egg from the proceeds of his charcoal sketches, watercolors and pastels. There had even been an inquiry from an art dealer in Berlin, Germany...a Marcus something or the other, wondering about availability of larger format works.

   My lover still hasn't gotten used to the idea that people will actually pay real money to buy his pastels and watercolors!  We'd moved his workspace into the old marina office a year ago. Darren had set up his studio on the second floor overlooking the bay and the marina. There are windows completely surrounding three sides and since the marina only uses the bottom deck for storage now, Rick is letting Darren use it for the cost of utilities and general upkeep for the time being.

   I'd gotten a job with the Navigation District just after our first Christmas together. I had a 25' Glastron inboard tied up at the pier too, one of the most basic tools of the work I was doing. I felt like I was finally doing something useful with my life again, with my focus on pollution source point detection and management, like when I had worked at the EPA a several years ago.  I wasn't in the enforcement unit like I had been then, what I do now is just investigation and testing water quality around the sound and in the numerous small bays and inlets that made the coastline so beautiful. My area was adjacent to our marina home so I was close most of the time. I came to grips with commuting to work daily via water early on and with the radar, even fog and zero visibility wasn't an excuse for an extra day off!

   Darren and I had quickly fallen into our new and very satisfying domestic routine, with him sketching and painting and me playing on the Sound and in the harbor. We continued to grow closer together, something that I didn't think was possible, but we'd agreed to keep exploring the depth of our love for each other not only physically but spiritually. On both counts, Darren kept surprising me with his understanding and his love.

   I took Darren to meet my cousins and Grandfather this past summer. I was surprised that the Old Man seemed to know about how Darren and I had met in Texas, but he explained he'd seen it in a dream! He also knew that Darren's love had freed me from the nightmares of my past too. Just how
Grandfather knew these things I didn't understand fully at the time.  He and Darren became good friends quickly and at first I was kind of miffed at his taking to my partner so fast. They would talk late into the night around his campfire of life, spirituality and destiny: those very subjects that had
mystified me as a child trying to deal with abusive parents and their rejection; still later as an adult, coping with the effects of that god dammed war.  But he found in Darren and now me too, willing students of his teachings.

   Grandfather was very pleased.

   Grandfather had to leave for several days, so we took advantage of his absence to do some exploring...like I'd do years ago when I'd come to the reservation in the summer. We camped out on the plains of North Dakota, the two of us, alone and in love. We'd walk for miles in the rolling hills of the reservation carrying everything we needed in one backpack. I taught Darren how to snare jackrabbits and to find sweet water to drink. He taught me about light and beauty in everything we saw before us.

   One night when we were camped in a small copse of trees, Darren sketched me laying nude in the firelight, surrounded by tiny flying embers of orange and red against a starry night sky. We made slow passionate and repeated love on our blankets under the clear black starry sky that night too, a sliver of waning moon the only witness to our passions; our lovemaking so intense that we were both senseless for a long time from the explosion of our simultaneous orgasms.

   One misty morning a couple of days later, we woke up surrounded by the small herd of buffalo that the tribe kept on the vast reservation. I didn't understand at the time, but this small herd in the foggy dawn was to represent a strange and wonderful change in our lives.

    A very young calf seemed to materialize out of the foggy air. I was stunned when my still drowsy brain realized that it was a white calf!  The young bull came over to us, licked Darren on the face then stuck its nose into my hair before lying down at my lover's feet. We were absolutely still, hardly
breathing watching the calf watch us, his large golden eyes seemed filled with...understanding and compassion. Out of the foggy gloom, we heard the deep bellow of a single animal call-out, most likely the calf's mother and our visitor scampered off to rejoin the small herd. Darren also got up and after
smiling at me, walked very slowly into the mists following the amazing animal.

   I still clearly have a picture in my mind's eye of a nude Darren walking calmly along side of the buffalo calf and his mother in the thinning fog, the mists golden and bright from the morning sun, while the other animals just ignored him and went about their grazing.

   "No one will ever believe us Darren." I told him after he sat down in front of me and leaned back into my chest.

   "Grandfather will," he told me in a whisper.

   Darren had been calling him Grandfather from the first day they met, something that the old man both expected and appreciated from my lover. His acceptance of my heritage and my extended family had made me love him even more deeply.

   "He told me this would happen. He had a vision, before we even came to visit," my partner told me speaking just above a whisper.

   "Grandfather saw me standing among the buffalo. He said that my...guide... would come to me, like this, naked and exposed, with you at my side," Darren told me, my eyes huge with amazement.

   "His name is Thunder-in-the-Wind and he likes you a lot, my lover."

   I was stunned by his words.  Grandfather had seen Darren in his dreams!  He saw his spirit guide too. I had never heard of such a thing happening before, but then for so many years I had tried to ignore...abandon...my heritage that I had mixed-up with my fathers abusive ways: his drunkenness, the violence, my own pain and confusion...the war.

   My Shaman grandfather had a vision of the White Buffalo, symbolic of strength, purity and tenacity before he'd even met Blake!  But a white buffalo bull calf? I didn't know that much about the belief's of my people, except that a white buffalo is something extraordinary. How was this possible? These things only happen in stories told to children around the campfire! I walked that morning in a complete daze, oblivious to the land and man who walked beside me, leading me really, back towards...whatever awaits us.

   Darren had sensed a change in me as we walked across the prairie back towards my Grandfather's summer camp. I had told Darren long ago about the male descendents of my family having the seer's gift, but this went way beyond that. I had never heard of such visions or of a spirit guide making
itself known to another person. I had never told Darren of my guide...because I still didn't have one. I had never gone on a spirit quest. Is that what had happened? Was this Darren's spirit quest, this walk across the plains?

   I wasn't distant, or anything like that, our lovemaking and conversation was, if anything, better than it had been before we came to visit. I had grown closer to Darren than I'd ever dreamed was possible. When we were about an hour away from Grandfathers camp I stopped to put on my clothes.
Darren asked me not to.

   "It isn't necessary Blake. He knows all about us - he knows everything. He saw you find me on the boat, in his dream it was a canoe. Grandfather knows about your nightmares and the real reason for them. He knows about how much I love you and how much you love me. Even though he doesn't understand why two men love each other, he says that there isn't enough love in the world...he thinks it's beautiful...he said like a rainbow after a thunderstorm.  Quite appropriate, don't you think Blake?" I was so overwhelmed at that moment I fell to my knees weeping.

   The reference to a rainbow had struck me hard. There had been a huge rainbow stretching from horizon to horizon in the aftermath of the tremendous thunderstorms - on that morning I'd found Darren on the boat in Corpus Christi. The afternoon that Tran and I first made love, the sun
broke through the monsoon clouds for a few minutes, creating a huge rainbow that stretched across the valley below his mountain side home. The afternoon I finally had walked away from my childhood home, there was a rainbow over the city.

   Rainbows had great significance in my life, something my Shaman grandfather had surely recognized. Was this a message to me...via his speaking to Darren about our love?

   Darren knelt in front of me and brought me into his chest, hugging me tightly. I felt dizzy and my eyesight dimmed. I felt Darren touch my face and wipe the tears away from my eyes, then everything was black.

   I saw Micky laying in bed, our old bed in Portland. The implements of his addiction and self destruction surrounded him: a bottle of cheap vodka, a bag of multicolored pills, a package of brown powder and syringes. In the bed next to him was a young man so thin and pale he looked like he was already dead. Micky lifted a glass pipe to his lips and then expelled black smoke from his mouth.  He lifted the boy's legs onto his shoulders and plunged his erect member into the boy's ass. He thrust rapidly in and out, climaxing with a scream...not of passion, but of pain ans anguish, then fell onto his partner's chest. When he pulled out, his member was covered with blood and my former lover screamed and screamed, yet no sound was heard.

   Micky turned to me and with his outstretched hand, reached for me to help him up. I turned and walked away into the blackness surrounding me, never once looking back.

   The wind blasted me back so hard I had to hang onto the boat's wheel to keep from being tossed overboard.  A hundred yards ahead of me in the stormy gloom I could still make out the other boat's running lights: My quarry was running straight into the squall line. The twenty-five footer's engine was screaming, churning out as many revs as was possible, keeping up and then gaining slowly on the larger, faster, more powerful yacht.  The flashing blue strobes above my head seemed to stop the rain as it fell - the sting of the drops reminded me it was all an illusion - that I was just dreaming, the pains and anger I felt - a figment of my subconsious.

   Then the cold Bay waters covered me when I ploughed through a large wave. This seemed no dream, this is too real!

  Then I saw it happen...the figure of a small boy running out of the main cabin door and climbing up the ladder to the flying bridge followed by the man I was chasing...the man responsible for the poisoning of the bay...the human who caused the whale pods to sicken and die slowly and in great pain. I couldn't see his face...the man who I was chasing, but the sadness I felt upon seeing him again like this, here, now, running away into the blackness of the squalls brought tears to my eyes and great grief to my heart. But I did know him...Carter Hobbs, my old friend and comrade in arms.

   "Carter...NO...NO...Don't do it Carter...for God's sake...NOOOOOO!" I screamed out into the storm's teeth.

   He caught the small boy and in one movement, lifted him above his head and threw him overboard, into the black seething waters. I didn't see the boy come up before my boat hit a large wave allowing the gale to reach under the bows and lifting...upward...tossing me out while my boat flipped up and over and over, caught in the maelstrom.

   'At least I'm wearing my vest this time,' I thought while flying above the waves. Then I was in the icy waters

   The gentle nudges I felt in the small of my back was enough to get my attention so when I finally opened my eyes I knew that I had died. I had to be dead. There in front of me was the largest killer whale I had ever seen. The huge male was just floating a few inches from my body, creating a break in the gale winds  that had been drowning me, pushing me under as wave after wave broke over my head. One big golden eye looked at me...and I understood, before blackness once more washed over me.

   When I woke-up I was under Grandfather's lean-to, still far out on the plains at his summer camp. Darren was asleep by my side, an arm thrown protectively over me, he'd spooned in against my back and I could feel his gentle breath ruffle the hair on my neck. I so felt safe in his arms.
   Grandfather was sitting by the fire stirring a pot of what smelled like rabbit stew. I was ravenously hungry and my throat was dry, but I was so weak that I could hardly move. Finally I was able to get enough strength to slide slowly out from under Darren's arm without waking him and tried to stand, but when a strange weakness made my head swim, I started to fall backwards. Suddenly I was
wrapped up in Darren's arms again, holding me from falling and helping me to stand. He kissed the back of my neck once then helped me over to the fire.

   Grandfather handed me a cup of cool water, which I drank slowly, savoring the clean sweet flavor of the liquid.

   "How...how long was I...?

   "Two days, my son." Grandfather told me.

   'Two days...?' I thought.

"Yes Blake, you've been out for two days now," Darren whispered into my ear.

   "I was really very worried and despite what Grandfather said, I was afraid that I'd loose you. I know that he is right now. He said after two days...." I heard Grandfather clear his throat, interrupting Darren.
   I looked at my Grandfather.

   "You have been in a dream Blake. A waking dream...to where I do not know. Why though...I do know. There is a rift in your spirit; two sides are at war with each other. There is an evil spirit loose and it hates you. This spirit is very subtle, clever and scheming.  It is very dangerous. This is something that you will have to deal with at a time not of your choosing...for this spirit will seek you out and try to hurt you...to destroy you and those around you," the old man said.
   "Yet from this confrontation, your own animal guide will make itself known to you when you need it the most. I will speak of this no more because it confuses and disturbs me. I will seek out the spirits for guidance my son, but I fear this is a test you must face alone."

   True to his word as always, my Grandfather never did speak to us about his vision again. I was still confused and now very apprehensive, but my lover wrapped me in his embrace and I lay back into his chest. Darren handed me a bowl of the stew and I proceeded to eat quietly, deep in thought. I had no memory of my dreams, except that I felt like I had lost something very precious, irreplaceable and yet terrifying as well.

   Grandfather wandered off after a while leaving Darren and me alone by the campfire. It was a very good stew but with my best friend, my touchstone in life holding me close, any doubts I had about coming to North Dakota had vanished like my memories of the dream. While I ate the savory bits of
rabbit and potato mixed with the pungent herbs my grandfather used, I felt strength flow back into me.

   "Do you remember anything of your dreams Blake?" Darren asked me while he licked at my earlobe.

   "Ahhhh, you feel so good Babe...but no, I don't remember much. Just some images that don't make sense...and, well I felt frightened too, of some kind of storm...but I can't remember why."

   I finished the bowl of stew and turned in my lover's arms and straddled his legs. I could now look into my Darren's eyes and what I saw there was a mix of love, understanding and need. Our cocks were touching, engorging, when I pulled Darren into my chest and our lips were crushed together in raw sexual passion.

   "Oh Blake, I missed...you...so...much...I was so...scared...you weren't going to...wake up," Darren told me softly, panting with lust, between each word, his arms holding me closely.

   "I'll never leave you Darren...never," I moaned as his long fingers fondled my balls. We were both slick with pre-cum flowing in spurts from our hard cocks. I needed my man to love me.

   "Make love to me now Darren...please...right now. I have to feel you inside of me. Take me please...lover...take me."

   I could feel my soul mate shiver in anticipation with what we both knew would happen now as he gently laid me back onto the blanket beneath us. I gasped in pure pleasure and lust when I felt Darren guide himself into me in  one slow continuous thrust.

   "Love me Baby, love me hard...."


   I remember awakening the next morning in the lean-to with Blake's cock still inside of me, loose and soft, but still buried in me from our lovemaking last night. His cock felt like it belonged there, part of me, our connection, so strong that I sometimes couldn't remember what my life was like without him.  Blake held me close and I reveled in it.  I have never felt so loved as I did at that moment. Tears rose in my eyes...tears of joy.

   Grandfather...Running Elk's sleeping form lay wrapped in his blankets outside near the fire where he'd sat last night. Last night!  What had happened last night?

   Grandfather had spoken to us both for a long time around the fire. I remember being transfixed by the flames dancing, by his quiet words so full of mystery and mysticism. Magical. That's the only word that comes to mind. It had been a night of magic, old and ancient magic, with spirits roaming in the darkness around us, occasional glowing eyes peering at the three of us from the blackness. The smell of a wolf...low growls and animal like panting circling us. I had no fear though. I was in Blake's arms sitting by Running Elk's fire.

   Ghosts of ancient warriors came to speak with Grandfather...with the powerful shaman Running Elk, who sought their knowledge and...their protection...for us: for Blake and for me! I watched the flames dancing telling us stories and showing Blake and me the ribbon of life that flows from mother
earth into each of us, man, animal, plant. I saw what was right and good...what was bad and evil.  I understood for the first time, just who I am and my place in the web of life:  I am Darren, lover and soul mate to Blake, bound by spoken and unspoken vows made with our love...and that we are watched over by powerful spirits and Thunder in the Wind.


   A few days before we left the reservation, I was walking with Darren down into the tribe's main corral when we spotted about sixty adult buffalo and their calves in a large feed pen. There were even more milling about feeding on bales of fresh grasses in other larger pens near-by. I was curious about what was going on and I could see Darren's eyes light up with the prospect of seeing the white calf again. But there was no white calf.

   I spotted Harold Iron Hand, the head wrangler over by the fenced enclosure.

   "Hey...Blake! I heard you were here," he called to us.

   "Hello Cousin Harold!"  We embraced and looked at each other, taking the measure of time on each of us since we'd last met...just before I left for Boston College...a lifetime ago.

   After visiting for a few moments, I took a deep breath and introduced Darren
as my "significant other."

   "So, what they said is true? You are gay?"

   "Yes Harold, I am and Darren is my partner.  Do you have a problem with that?"  I felt my anger beginning to rise at the tone of his question and at the look he was giving Darren: a deeply calculating stare, as if he was deciding to leave us, stay and talk or lash out and attack.

   Then Iron Hand eyes softened and he tipped his head back and laughed out-loud!

   "NO! No, I don't have a problem with that Blake, or have a problem with choosing a white man as your lover." He rolled the sleeve of his white t-shirt up over his shoulder to expose a tattoo.

   There, prominently showing on the corded muscles of my cousin's shoulder were interlocking male sex symbols, the universal sign of gay love.

   "You've been gone a long time Blake. We've both changed since we were 17." His grin told me everything...he'd been testing me, testing both of us.

   I noticed that Darren had clenched his fists and held himself loose, ready to dodge and parry blows, before he would have delivered his own punishment to my seemingly hostile cousin.

   "Relax Darren, you're with a friend now," Harold told him.

   Darren's eyes never left Harold's but he did unclench his hands.

   "Its okay lover. Harold would never have revealed himself unless he is a friend."

   I reached out and touched Darren's arm and when I did, he sagged a little on his feet, his legs suddenly weak. I put my arm around my soul mate, pulling him close to my side.

   "I'm sorry Darren. I didn't mean to scare you, but I had to be sure. Even here, a gay man must be careful," Harold, explained to us. There had been "incidents" on the reservation.

"Do you remember the little boys...our cousins Matthew and Little Eagle?

   Well, they have had some real problems around here. Running Elk had to put a stop to it...to protect the kids."

"I guess that things have changed a lot around here."

   Darren and I accompanied my cousin on a private tour of the reservation's Bison Research Facility, but as we walked, I couldn't get what he'd said about our youngest cousin's out of my head. Things had changed; where before the boys would have been at least tolerated if not allowed to follow
their hearts, now it seems that homophobia has overtaken our tribal beliefs of live and let live to follow the rest of the bigots in condemnation.

   The research facility is the place where the tribe's efforts to bring back a healthy and biologically diverse gene pool to the plain's native animals was centered. The facility was state-of-the-art and represented the tribe's commitment to bring the buffalo back, among other animals.

   "Impressive place Harold," Darren told him. But I don't see the calf here. Are there more animals out on the plains right now?"
   "No more buffalo out in the grasslands right now Darren," Iron Hand told my curious lover.

   I understood what he was asking but before I could cue him not to...

   "We saw a small herd a week ago out there with a white buffalo calf."

   Iron Hand stopped walking and looked at Darren closely. His eyes were getting bigger while he gazed at Darren.

   "Is this true Blake?" my cousin asked me in a shocked voice, barely above a whisper.

   "Yes. I saw it myself. A bull calf with a white coat...and golden eyes. It lay at his feet and even nuzzled my hair too."

   "The entire herd of 231 animals is right out there in the pens," Iron Hand told us pointing to the corrals.

   "If there was a white calf out there, there'd be news crews here already.  That's not something that can be kept quiet.

   Harold Iron Hand, cousin, tribal elder and a university-educated biologist, had tears streaming out of his eyes when he pulled Darren into a tight embrace. My boyfriend looked at me and I nodded to him.

   Darren returned Iron Hand's hug.

   "I have to speak with the Elders and Grandfather about this.  Darren...Blake...when were you planning to go back to Seattle?"

   "At the end of the week." I told my cousin.

   Our tour appeared to end with Darren's revelation of the white calf on the plains. I had a suspicion that what Darren has let slip to Harold was significant enough for Harold to seek out our tribal Elders and my shaman grandfather's advise. Why he did so would remain hidden from us for a long time.

   We finished our trip on a high note though, as Darren was initiated into our tribal family as my blood brother after a long day and night of dancing, chanting and ceremony. We both still have the leather straps that were used to bind our arms together in brotherhood.

   Grandfather never talked to us about our relationship again while we were visiting and although we made no secret of who and what we are, no one seemed to mind at all. There were some overt hostile stares from some of the other men and I suspected that the only reason we weren't being harassed was the "word" was out. We were to be left alone.  I was concerned that we'd have an "incident" here, much as Harold had hinted to us about, but we were only treated with courtesy and respect during our entire three weeks on the reservation.
   We never did meet Iron Hand's lover and I understood why now.

   There were many teenaged boys and girls around more curious than hostile for the most part and I'd noticed two of my numerous cousins, Little Eagle and Matthew Ramirez watching us from a distance during our last few days visiting with Grandfather. Eventually, shyly and with great hesitancy, Little Eagle (he refuses to use the white name his long absent father gave him) and Matthew approached us one evening as we walked in the grasslands away from the main reservation.

   They had followed us and they were both nervous as hell. Darren chatted with them for a while and while he was doing so, I could see the fear and anxiety leave their faces.  Eventually all four of us were laughing together.

   The boy's wanted to know what it was like...being gay...living together...being out to friends. Their story slowly unfolded with our own questions: the two have been lifelong friends and lovers since they were fourteen, but they were dying slowly on the reservation, unable to be open about who they are. They had been jumped a couple of times in the past year by town boys and some of their own people too.  That was so sad, that my people had always prized openness and honesty among all of us, yet both boys were in great pain and anxiety because they had to hide their feelings for each other.

   Yes, homophobia is alive and well even within our Lakota family, regardless of what we had experienced during our visit. Another sign of the rot in our traditional ways...like welfare, cheap liquor and drugs that numb the mind and body. There are several suicides yearly...mostly young men and teens.

   Both cousins turned seventeen in September and were supposed to go to UND in the fall, but their hearts weren't into going to college, instead they were focused on each other. I gave them our Seattle address and phone number, telling them to come if they wanted to, at least for a visit. Darren
and I would help them if we could. They are both so cute together, my dark haired cousins and in such pain. We both hope that they'll come west and spend some time on the houseboat with us.

   I came away from our summer vacation with a new respect and even deeper love for Darren. But there was Grandfather's dreaming of an evil spirit trying to hurt me hovering in the background yet to be explained. There was more too...I just couldn't remember what it was.

   Were they connected in any way? What about the White Buffalo? A powerful symbol to be sure, but
what role would Darren play in all this? Only time would reveal to us the meaning of each. We are both very patient men too.


   After the trip to North Dakota and Grandfather's summer camp, life onboard the houseboat returned to it's normal routine for us. I painted and sold some work, Blake drovearound in the District's boat inspecting, testing the water and checking possible pollution sites.

   We made wonderful love together almost every night and kept trying to make each other "pregnant;" our little inside joke for that most intimate sexual expression of our love. So far no luck...but not from a lack to trying!

   I had also given-up trying to understand the meaning of my "vision" on the plains. I knew it was a lot more than a dream...it had been so real...Blake had seen the white calf too...felt his coat, smelled his sweet breath on our faces, only when I tried to make sense of the revelation...I usually wound up with a terrible headache. So I stopped...and accepted what would be...would be. I sometimes felt like a leaf blowing in the wind and I know that Blake did too.

   That fall, Tom and Jack took us to the State Street Baths a couple of times, but we were both turned off by the crudeness of many of the men seeking sexual partners, propositioning everyone who looked interesting to them. I suppose that we have a romantic view of love: that two people fall in love and are monogamous.

   We appeared to be in the minority, as even such a committed couple as Tom and Jack would drift off from the other and find another partner, or two, or three. Blake was hit on many times for a quick
rendezvous, and because of my apparent youth, many of the "twink lovers" targeted me too. We spent most of our time in the big pool, making out with each other, ignoring the envious stares of the others around us.

   After the second visit, we'd beg off and eventually Tom and Jack stopped asking us to go to the baths with them.  It was 1983 and we were just beginning to understand what the new "gay plague" was all about too.

   We did go other places: Kings basketball games, Mariners baseball games and our favorite pastime the Seattle Seahawk's. Blake got us season tickets in the seventeenth row on the fifty-yard line. We also went out to dinner a couple of times a week.

   That was our other entertainment goal: to eat in every two, three and four-star restaurant in Seattle. We had some great food, but also got burned badly a couple of times as well. Blake would write a letter to the Intelligencer restaurant reviewers and food critics either confirming and praising their
reviews or blasting them as "idiots with no taste or taste buds," then explaining why they were wrong. After a couple of years of his letter writing, he was offered a semi-regular spot in the Food section as a guest reviewer.  Blake loves it too and he still writes his monthly column today. Life was

   My artwork has continued to sell fairly well and the "girls," Jan and Mari had another exhibition at the gallery just before Christmas this year. They put together a catalog of my watercolors, pen and ink drawings, charcoals and pastels that got good circulation in galleries across the region. I have had to dedicate myself to working several hours each morning and afternoon to keep up with demand though and they both want me to try some larger formats and to try different materials before next fall.

   I finished the watercolor of Blake by the campfire just before our Thanksgiving birthdays. My lover added it to the growing collection on our bedroom walls.

   At Christmas, we gave Irene and Ed a portrait of the two of them fishing together at the end of the pier one foggy morning. The sun had turned the fog a golden-orange color and Ed had laid his head on Irene's shoulder when I sketched them from the Blake's boat. It is the kind of pose that you'd never be able create artificially. Both of our dear friends were teary and very effusive with their thanks.

   Tom and Jack became more distant with all of us late this past winter.  They were in LA for Christmas, but even at our annual Thanksgiving and Birthday feast, they were very quiet and withdrawn. It was very sad to see and even "Momma" Irene couldn't find out what the problem was.

   That spring, Blake had started to realize that he had found his niche with the Navigation District when he was assigned to monitor water quality in the Sound and Bays. In the past two years, he'd seen serious increases in pollution and felt that the declining fish and wildfowl stocks were a result of the degradation of the water, but try as hard as he could, identifying the source of the pollutants was fruitless.

   Then there was suddenly a witches brew was discovered in the bay not far from our inlet where the marina was located.  They all were trying to identify, so many chemicals, so many poisons, so many heavy metals, and there was no outfall, no stream, brook, creek, spring or small river that was spared
time consuming, repeated testing without result, except to eliminate another possible source point.

   The problem began to wear on Blake in subtle ways. He would get up during the night and stare out at the bay from our bedroom window. He began to loose his appetite; even our weekly visits to a new eatery stopped.

   I was shocked to my very soul when one morning just before dawn Blake came in from a night on the water and burst into tears. I gathered my lover into my arms and held him while he cried. He'd found a dead baby Orca, covered with lesions and sores. The creature was grossly underweight too.

   "I don't know why...this effected me so much Darren...I've seen dead whales before...dead animals of all kinds...and dead men too...but this baby just was too much...I suddenly felt like I'd lost my best friend," Blake explained between sobs.

   We spent the rest of the day together. I tried to comfort Blake, but I felt a distance growing between us that scared me. Eventually we ate a small meal and went to bed. Blake woke up at sunset to find me looking into his eyes. I'd been shedding my own silent tears while we lay together tightly
embraced, chest to chest, my leg thrown over his, our cocks warm and semi-turgid, rubbing together when either of us moved. Blake reached over with his hand and wiped my tears away before gently
kissing me on both eyes and my lips.

   "I'm so sorry Darren, please forgive me? I got too wrapped-up in this thing...I feel like I'm being consumed...eaten from the inside by all this crap in the water and what it's doing to everything around us. I just feel so helpless...I don't know what to do...where to turn...except to you and that
just isn't fair."

   "I love you Blake. I love you so much that I really don't have the words to express...how...how...." I couldn't finish because the welling tears overflowed and the tightness in my throat betrayed my voice anyway.

   "Ssshhh lover...I know...I'm the same way. You are the light of my life Babe...I would never have imagined how happy I'd be with you...and I hope that you are happy with me too."

   "Always Lover...since that day in Corpus...I've never been unhappy with you in my life."
Blake kissed me then...gently, but with great passion. Our cocks grew hard.

   "Love me Blake as I love you. Let go of all the grief you feel...love me instead...let me take the hurt away...please my lover...please."

   I couldn't help but flash back for a moment to a lean to out on the plains last summer, back when Blake needed me once before in a special way that only his lover could fulfill.  Once again we would let each other release the pain and anguish with our lovemaking.  Our uniting is a very powerful thing, almost magical in its own way, certainly wonderful. Blake rolled over on top of me and I felt that shock of pure sexual energy I always feel when our almost painfully rigid cocks touched.

   Blakes lips and mine came together in deep passion, our tongues warring with each other. My lover worked his way down my body, laving and biting gently at my stiff nipples before he kissed his way further down my body, stopping at each rib and at my navel. My cock was pouring out pre-cum in pulses, throbbing with each tender kiss on my body.

   "Ahhh baby, please, please take me now...I want to feel your strength fill me...."

   Blake licked my throbbing penis up and down slowly, running his tongue lightly around the head of my cock, lapping up the flow of pre-cum as it spurted out while he massaged my balls gently. 

   I couldn't hold back much longer but I wanted to cum with my lover, so I lifted my legs to give Blake access to my most precious possession...his most precious possession...for I am...all his and his alone.

   Blake knew it was truly time now, knew that I couldn't hold back much longer, so in one slow and easy movement, my lover slid his own pulsing, well lubricated member deep into me. I felt each inch sinking into me, exquisitely sensuous, sending jolts of pure sexual energy flashing through both of our bodies. I wrapped my legs behind Blake's back and locked him inside me, while my lover  withdrew, leaving only the tip of his cock head in me before slowly thrusting back in until I felt his pubes tickle my nuts.  I remember us screaming loudly when our nearly simultaneous climaxes
shook us both to the roots of our souls that day...it was like...like nothing I had ever felt before.

   I felt the presences of many others next to us at that moment; I heard the chants of Lakota voices, smelled the grasses of the prairie and felt the lapping of the waves against our Houseboat. There were whale songs filling the air too. Something very special was happening to us while I also felt my lovers explosion of searing hot spunk shooting into me and our love, like a bright sun, driving away all our fears and concerns.

   As we lay together, still coupled, still spasming from the intensity of our climaxes I thought I heard a distant voice say:

   "You are not alone. We are here to guide and protect you."

   Blake lay his head lay next to mine and I swear to this day, he was whispering chants in his native tongue that sent shivers through me, the words were so powerful. The thing is...Blake doesn't speak Lakota except for a few words of greeting.


   Over the following weeks we made love every day - sometimes 3 or 4 times a day - like we used to after we first fell in love. We went to Mariners games and made up for all the fine dining that had been put on hold while Blake was obsessed with finding the polluters. We were very happy and Blake
even tried his hand at painting too. His subject: a family pod of Orcas cavorting in the Sound.

   The poisoning of the water had stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The tests came back clean week after week and even Blake had to admit that it seemed the source of the chemical toxins would never be found. Still, his anger over the death of the young whale and other sea creatures never
really left him, it just sort of hung there without closure.

   A necropsy indicated that the young animal had died of starvation...the sores in its mouth may have prevented successful feeding and the suspected reason: chemical poisoning.

   Blake began to frequently work late at night watching areas he suspected were pollution sources. He and the rest of the water quality investigators caught some illegal dumping going on: a gang of kids rolling stolen cars into the water; a garage owner who was caught dumping old batteries into
the bay; a company with old equipment that failed, allowing a small spill of detergents to reach the blue waters.  All were stopped. Some arrested, some issued warnings or given summons to appear in court. But the frustration Blake felt was directed now. Whoever was responsible for poisoning the Bay and Sound was in for a bad time. My lover had declared war.

   I began to spend more time with Blake on the boat too. I wanted to do a series of seascapes in watercolors, so with sketch pad in hand we'd pack a good lunch and shove-off from our marina home. I would watch Blake when we were out on the Sound together idling along slowly, he'd become very animated when we'd spot a pod of Orcas.
   I just loved sketching Blake when he is so alive, so excited. He knew one particular family group very well. Late one afternoon, under a rare cloudless autumn sky, that same pod came very close to the boat. Blake simply glowed with joy, like a little boy finding a new bycicle...his first...under the Christmas tree.

   They were the most magnificent creatures I think I've ever seen. I always thought that they looked alike, but close-up I could see the differences between each one. A spot of white shaped differently, the rake of their tall dorsal fin or its shape; some with old wounds that looked like a shark bite, but we saw no sores or lesions on their smooth glistening skin. Later on, as I too became more familiar with the pod, I was able to see which were playful around the boat, which one's stayed away from us and one early morning we actually saw a newborn calf being supported by its mother as it took its
first few breaths of new life.

   We stayed much further away that day; Blake insisting that it would be too stressful for us to be closer. I did manage to see the baby's unique coloring pattern though through the clear waters of
the bay. I would later paint a water coloring of that day and from memory, adding the calf and its mother as the focus of the work.

   In September I finally returned to school. Both of us did. Blake began to take chemistry and biology courses at the University of Seattle and I entered as a freshman taking the required courses for a fine art major. Blake returned to a daylight schedule but with both of us working more or less full
time, study and homework began to slowly erode our time together, but amazingly enough, except for a couple of silly arguments over the most mundane things that all couples have, our relationship continued to flourish and grow.

   Irene opened a small shop that sold specialty foods of her own making. Her cakes, pies, breads and of course the chili (in three levels of heat) are a big hit in our part of the world along the coastline. If you weren't in there by a little past noon, forget it. Everything was gone. Of course Ed is chief bottle
washer and general helper. Both our "retired" friends still lead a simple life though, joining us for dinner and spending time with each other in Ed's canoe, paddling around our inlet and the Bay at sunset. It's so cute...even after so long, they are still so in love with each other that Irene just giggles
sometimes like the beautiful young woman she was when they first married. I hope that Blake and I can feel the same when we're their age.

   Tom and Jack just seemed to fade out of the marina community, while Janice and Maria bloomed. The gallery was a big success - it would have been so even if I weren't involved.

   Other than a few short letters, we heard nothing more from Running Elk, Blake's grandfather.  Odd though, in each letter he mentioned how well Little Eagle and Matthew were doing at UND, like he knw of our concern for Blake's young cousins.

   We began to plan next year's vacation; a month in Europe: Spain, Portugal and Italy...on motorcycles. Then for the last week we'd cruise of the Greek Islands on a large schooner.

   As Thanksgiving approached we both sat around the old pot bellied stove and made love every night reveling in the heat that kept the chill away and we reflected a lot too. So much had happened to us in the past year and a half.


   "Hummm?" My lover responded drowsily in the afterglow of our climaxes.

   "I love you."

   "I love you more Darren, I always will. Now hush and kiss me."


   Lucas Running Elk lay in his bed trying to sleep.  He realized that he'd drifted in and out of a restless slumber for several hours only by the changing of the wall clock's hands.  The wind howled outside his sturdy home tucked into the small valley, surely the snow would begin soon.  Sometimes the wind was so strong that the house vibrated from its passing.

   'Arrggg, this is useless,' he thought to himself.

   He gave up trying to sleep and got out of his warm bed, pulling on his robes against the slight chill. Lucas shuffled over to the wood stove and standing there, warmed his hands in front of the ancient glass door of the hot Franklin stove.  Lucas watched the coals and flames glow in their fiery heat, keeping his mind clear by focusing on the the.

   Lucas allowed the soft deer hide robe fall open to warm the rest of his body too, the revealed dark skin absorbing the radiations from the stove heat.  He looked down at the front of min, his hands rubbing his tight belly and strong pecs and chest as if trying to spread the heat.  He felt his soft 5" uncut penis, begin to swell slightly in response to the warmth being absorbed by the dark skin.  He
reached down between his legs and rolled the full hanging full ball sack around in his hand while his cock swelled to its full 7, the deep purple head peeking out from under the heavy layer of skin.  It glistened with moisture in the reflected firelight.

   With a deep sigh, Lucas pulled the robe closed then put the kettle on the top of the stove to heat for herbed tea.  He sat in his easy chair ans sipped the hot drink slowly trying to clear his thoughts, but the unease he felt would not leave his mind.

   His inability to figure-out the source of his agitation disturbed him deeply.  In all the time he'd served as one of his tribes Elders and as Shaman, he'd never felt so disconnected from his mother the earth and the spirits of his long dead ancestors.

   'There is something missing, something essential but so subtle it's...being hidden from me?'

   Was this possible, was something being hidden, something so important to the tribe?  Had all the Spirits abandoned him in...in...his own hour of need?

   "My own need, or someone else's need?" Lucas whispered to himself.

   He heard the pickup coming up the road long before he saw the headlights through the blowing snow.  Lucas smiled to himself as he thought about the driver. He would gladly welcome some company tonight and this man was one he'd be very glad to see.

   A lot had happened to Lucas since spring, so much good, so much learning, so much love and he'd finally come to grips with his own emotions after suffering from the loneliness and doubt for so many years, by facing the truth about himself.  It had been the man pulling up to his door now, who had shown him the way: a younger man, one of his own family who had finally broken down Lucas's walls of resistance and fear.

   He walked over to the door and let his guest inside, away from the gale that was quickly turning into the season's first blizzard.

   Nothing was said - only smiles were exchanged, each man's eyes locked with the others - while his guest pulled the heavy coat and boots off next to the stove.  He unbuttoned his heavy flannel shirt and removed it, letting it join his coat and boots in a pile on the floor, then pulling his thermal undershirt over his head exposing the rippled muscles of his chest and abs, it too joined the coat, boots and shirt near the stove. Tall and lean, he reached down and unbuckled his belt, opened the buttons, then in one slow but continuous movement, shed his pants and long-john bottoms, where they too joined the growing mound of discarded clothing.

   Fully nude, his thick, long cock leaked glistening drops of precum as he stood up, Iron Hand walked over to Running Elk, who opened his robe to accept his friend and nephew into his arms, then closed his warm deer skin robe around them both. Iron Hand kissed the older man with deeply felt emotion, their tongues snaking into each other's mouths.

   When Luke began to suck and kiss along his lovers neck Iron Hand began to chuckle.

   "I just knew you wanted company tonight."

   Hours later, Iron Hand lay nestled in Running Elks strong arms, their long black hair spread about them like a shawl about their pillow.  He was so relaxed and on the verge of sleep when Running Elk suddenly sat-up in bed, pulling Iron Hand close into his chest.

   "How could I have been so blind?  How could I have not seen it coming?  Have you all abandoned me?" Running Elk shouted.

   "What is it Luke?  What?"  Iron Hand asked him, frightened by the sudden outburst, but alert for the unseen danger he immediately felt around them.

   Iron Hand was shocked when he looked at Lukes face...tears ran down his cheeks, leaving moist trails that reflected red from the reflected firelight and there was fear in his black eyes.

   "I was all wrong...the threat is not from the here and now, but from the past...the past!"

   The wind suddenly shook the house on the plains in it's icy fury, shrieking like a woman's scream and rattling both the doors and the windows.  Iron Hand realized that his lover was having a vision. He was being shown things that only another shaman would understand, but as Iron Hand sat in  Running Elk's lap clutching him as hard as he could, visions began to dance in his eyes as he too was drawn into the powerful magic that swirled around both men like a physical force.

   Two days after the blizzard cleared, workers at the research center began to worry when Harold hadn't shown-up at the lab.  That afternoon, Lucas's absence was noted too.  Matthew and Little Eagle took snowmobiles out to their grandfathers cabin 10 miles from the main reservation center.

   They both knew about Iron Hand and Rinning Elk's newfound relationship...something that was hard to hide when the signs were so obvious...to another gay couple.  They didn't know if Grandfather was gay or not but it didn't matter to them except for the joy they knew Iron Hand had brought into Running Elk's life:  he looked 10 years younger because of it. 

   The boys stopped atop a small rise that looked down into the tiny valley that sheltered their grandfather's cabin.

   "There's no smoke Matt...no smoke in the chimney."

   "I see that and no pickup either, but we both know Iron Hand was here. Lets get down there."

   "Yes...I have a bad feeling about this Matt."

   "Me too Lover, me too."

   A couple of minutes later the boys were standing on the ice encrusted steps at the front door.

   "Go ahead Matt open it, I'm freezing." Matt opened the door and they walked in.

    The house was indeed cold, but nothing looked our of place.  The bed had been slept in, covers thrown back revealing some staining that both boys knew was from passionate lovemaking.

   "Matt look at this," Little Eagle said to his boyfriend, holding up a piece of paper with their grandfather's handwriting on it.

   "Whats it say?"

   "Dear Matthew and Little Eagle. Tell the Elders that Iron Hand and I have a task to do. We'll be gone for a while.  Don't worry.  Its signed, Grandfather."


End of Chapter Three...to be continued

Notes: We hope that you enjoyed this chapter. There is a lot more of Blake and Darren's lives to explore yet.

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