I Must Be Dreaming

by Jason Finigan

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. This story may contain scenes which involve sexual situations between young males. If this type of material is offensive to you, or it is not legal for you to be reading this type of material, please do not read any further. This story is copyright © 2007 by Jason Finigan, all rights reserved. Please do not copy this story for distribution or post on any online server without the author's permission. Please send all your comments to: .

From the last chapter:

"I've never met anyone else who is gay before," I said.

"Oh I bet you have, you just don't know it," he laughed.

"Probably," I said, thinking back on the number of times I've looked at another guy and thought that he might be gay.

"Look, I'm going to let you get some rest. Those pills should begin to work in a few minutes."

"Thank you for everything you've done for me," I told him.

"Well, I couldn't very well let a gorgeous man like you die out there alone, now could I?" he said, smiling once again at me, before leaving the room. His parting comment caused me to blush something fierce. I had never been called gorgeous by anyone before, and to have this angel of a man who rescued me say that I'm gorgeous made me feel so good inside. I lay my head back onto the pillow and looked over at the two wolves, who were still sitting beside the bed.

"And thank you two for finding me. I owe you my life," I said to them. I could have sworn I saw them nod their heads at me, but I brushed that thought aside as being ridiculous. I could feel the pills Ben had given me already beginning to take effect, and as I began to drift off to sleep again, I saw the two wolves lie down. So much had changed in a short amount of time and I was, for the first time in a long while, truly happy with who I was.

Chapter 3

I will never forget the sound of the wolf call the next morning. The sound shattered the dream I was having and jerked me awake suddenly. Never before had I heard a real life wolf call, and was certainly not ready to hear one so near to me. So startled was I that I ended up landing in a crumpled heap on the floor beside the bed, the comforter tangled about me. A laugh began to fill the room, and I looked over at the door where Ben was standing, holding a steaming cup of coffee in his hands. I could tell he was having trouble steadying himself, and for a second I was annoyed over the fact that he was laughing at me. Then I began to imagine what I must have looked like falling out of bed and ending up in a tangled mess on the floor. My anger soon gave way to amusement, and I couldn't help myself as I too began to laugh at the situation. The sound of someone else laughing made me stop, and I looked over to see Ben standing in the doorway with a cup in his hands. Whatever it was that was in the cup was definitely hot as I could see the steam rising from it.

"I see you are awake," Ben chuckled, walking over to the side of the bed and putting the cup on the end table, then leaned over to help me up. For the first time I found myself staring up into his light grey eyes. A guy could get lost in those pools of brilliance. There was no denying it, he was a stunning man, standing just under six feet tall with wavy blond hair, and he was obviously fit. Aside from the goatee which he had on his face, his skin was perfectly smooth. I couldn't even see the hint of any wrinkles at the corners of his eyes.

His eyes. There was something about them that captivated me so much. It was then that I remembered that the night before, they were blue, a deep brilliant blue, and this realization made me gasp aloud.

"Your eyes..." I started, staring into them more intensely.

"You noticed, huh?" he asked, his voice taking on a slightly amused tone. "Yes, they have a tendency of shifting colours."

"Wow. I have never seen that before," I said, lowering my gaze in embarrassment for having stared at him so intensely.

"Don't be embarrassed," he laughed. "You're not the first person to notice them shift." He helped me back onto the bed, and made sure the blanket was wrapped around me tightly. With everything that happened that morning, I didn't even realize that I was naked, and I began to blush.

"Um, where are my clothes?" I asked.

"They're drying as we speak," he laughed, noticing my discomfort. "I couldn't let you keep them on. They were soaked, and the last thing you needed was to catch Pneumonia. Besides. You have nothing to be ashamed about. You are a very attractive young man." Now it was his turn to blush, which I couldn't help but think made him look even cuter than he was.

Here I am, lieing naked in this angel's bed with him sitting down beside me, and all I could think about were those eyes of his, and his sweet angelic voice. There was no denying that this man, this wonderful angel who saved me last night, was the most beautiful person I had ever met. I could feel my heart in my chest beating faster and harder, and despite my earlier embarrassment, I reached out my arm to bring him closer. At first I thought he was going to pull away, but instead I felt him relax and allow me to hold on to him and rest my head on his shoulder.

"Thank you, Ben. I don't know what I would have done without you. I was ready to give up."

"No reason now to give up, Chris. I am going to make sure you are well again. Had Akela not picked up your scent and found you when he did, you would not have survived the night."

"Um, where are they by the way, I woke up and thought I heard a wolf howl," I said.

"That was probably Mia," Ben said. "They're out hunting right now, like they do every morning. They will come back when they have finished. Or they may stay out."

"It is still strange to me to know that wolves would welcome the company of humans," I said, still confused by their behavior.

"You have to know something of wolves before you can understand how they act, my friend."

"I won't argue with you on that point. Honestly, I don't know much about wolves," I admitted.

"When you have rested a bit, and feel like joining me in the living room, I'll tell you the whole story and maybe then you will understand them a little more."

"I would like that. I actually like being with you like this," I said softly, squeezing him closer to me with my arm.

"It has been a long time since I have had human company, Chris," he said. "I have to be honest with you, I am beginning to like you."

"You are?" I asked, sitting up straight and looking over at him, staring deep into his grey eyes.

"I cannot help it. For most of last night, I actually sat here watching you sleep. I wanted so much to lie down beside you and hold you close to me. Don't ask me why, but I really don't want you to ever hurt again."

"You... you don't?" I stammered. "I... I don't know what to say, Ben. The only one I ever thought I had feelings for was my best friend. But being with you like this feels so much different from how I imagined it to be with him."

"I think I know why too," Ben said. "I think it's because you were jealous of him."

"What?" I asked incredulously. "What would make you think that?"

"Because I know what can happen to someone when they hide who they are for so long. You saw your friends being happy, and finding someone special in their lives, while you were off to the side. Even though they included you in their lives, you couldn't help but feel like they just included you so you wouldn't feel left out."

"Yes," I said, resting my head back onto his shoulder. "You're right. It was so hard to see them so happy, and I just felt so alone. I wanted to have what they had."

"And you being gay, you clung onto the one person that made you feel more alive. You hoped that he would notice you and want to leave the girl he loved to be with you."

"Yes," I whispered, tears beginning to form in my eyes. I held onto Ben tightly as the flood of emotions I had been holding inside me began to come out.

"Let it all out, Chris," Ben whispered. "Let all the pain go. You can't be with your friend without hurting him and his true love. But there are other's out there. People that you could love and who will love you in return. They will give you the love you want, the love you deserve. But you have to let your friend go, Chris. Let him go, and I promise you will feel better about yourself."

I couldn't say anything in return, but simply sobbed into his shoulder. He sat there with me, holding me, and rubbing his hand over my back as I cried. We sat like that for several minutes before I was able to stop crying. He was right. I did feel better. I knew now that it wasn't love that I felt for my friend, at least, not the romantic type. Knowing this allowed me to see that he really was my friend, and was worried about me. Even though he wanted to be with his fiancÚ, he always included me. Just so I wouldn't be alone.

"Why couldn't I have met someone like you a long time ago? I've needed this for a long time," I said, still holding onto him.

"I could tell, Chris. I could see how restless you were when you slept, and I knew there was something you were fighting deep within you. I am glad you came up here to try and work through this. Otherwise I would have never met you, and helped you figure things out."

"Despite having been caught out in the storm, and having a tree fall on me, I think you are right. Coming up here was the best thing for me. It is almost as if we were meant to find each other last night. I've needed a kick in the ass for so long," I said.

"Well, maybe not a kick in the ass," Ben laughed. "But I think we have dallied here long enough. Your coffee is getting cold, and there are things that I need to get done."

"Just one question, you have anything for the pain in my leg? Some Tylenol or something?" I asked.

"Of course, just give me a minute," he said, and left the room. I stared down at my left leg, and saw that it was in a tightly wound splint made from two boards and heavy gauze wrapped around them. I could plainly see an area just below my knee that was soaked in blood. At that moment, Ben returned to the room with a small glass of water and a couple of pills in his hands.

"So, how bad is the leg?" I asked him, taking the pills and popping them into my mouth, then washing them down with the water.

"Well, when the tree fell on top of you it broke one of the bones in your lower leg. You've suffered a compound fracture, which is when the bone breaks through your skin. I had to set your leg and splint it, and stop the bleeding as best I could. The weather is still pretty bad out there, so I can't get you to the hospital yet."

"That's okay, but I think it's still bleeding," I told him, pointing to the growing red spot on the bandages.

"You're right. I'll go and get some more bandages. Try not to move," he said, after taking a quick look at the bandages.

"Not going to be a problem," I said as I lay back down on the bed. He returned shortly afterwards with a large first aid box. Setting it down on the bed beside me, he opened it up, and began to take out some more gauze bandages and a pair of scissors. As carefully as he could, he began to cut away the bandage holding the splint in place. I tried not to move, though a sharp pain in my leg almost made me pull away from him. I have never experienced that kind of pain before, and I hope I never will again. It was excruciating, as if the pain was shooting up and down my leg.

An involuntary gasp escaped my lips as I felt the splint fall away.

By now I was covered in sweat due to the pain, but eventually it subsided enough to be somewhat bearable. Looking down, I could see a large hole in my skin, with blood running down from it. As carefully as he could, Ben covered the wound with a wad of gauze bandage, securing it tightly with strips of tape that he had cut with the scissors. I then felt him set the two boards against the sides of my leg, and began to tightly secure them into place with more gauze bandages. It wasn't so tight that the circulation would be cut off to my leg, but tight enough that the boards as well as my leg were immobile.

Sometime during all this, the pills that Ben had given me began to take effect, and the excruciating pain I felt before soon became a dull ache. Even though I knew the damage was severe, I couldn't help but thank modern medicine for inventing pain medication.

"Thank you," I whispered to him, still breathing hard and recovering from the pain I experienced.

"I'm sorry it had to hurt, Chris. I tried to be as gentle as I could," he said, and I could see it in his eyes that it hurt him to see me in pain.

"I know you were, Ben. I wish we would have met under better circumstances."

"Me too, but one good thing did come of it," he said.

"What's that?" I asked him, wondering just what out of all this he could be thankful for.

"I've got a gorgeous man in my bed," he said, suggestively, and winking at me. I couldn't help myself and began to laugh at this comment, stopping only because of the pain in my leg.

"Please don't make me laugh," I said, still chuckling.

"Sorry, but I couldn't help myself," he replied, presenting me with another of his cute smiles.

"Just you wait until this leg heals," I told him.

"Oh? Planning something already are you?" he asked.

"Maybe," I answered honestly. "I... I think I'm beginning to like you. A lot," I said, for the first time admitting to him and to myself the feelings that I knew were there, and had been since I first heard his angelic voice.

"Chris, are you sure? You thought you were in love with your friend remember. How can you be sure your are beginning to have feelings for me and aren't confusing it with your gratitude for my help."

"Yes. Because I realize what I felt for Jim wasn't love. You helped me see that. Before I even knew what you did for me, I heard your voice. It was like the voice of an angel to me, and I wanted to see the face of the person that voice belonged to. And when I saw your face, I saw the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life. I just didn't know how I should have felt, or whether I should have felt that way, especially since I wasn't clear about my feelings for Jim. But I know my feelings now, Ben. I do like you, and I really would like to get to know you better. Maybe see if we could get closer."

"I would like that," Ben admitted. "I thought that since I had been alone for so long that, that is what my life was going to be like. If it weren't for Akela and Mia, I probably would still be alone. In a way I think they helped us both."

"So what do we do? I've never done this before," I said.

"Well, silly," he laughed. "The first thing we're going to do is find a way to get you into the living room where we can sit and talk for a while. Then I'm going to try and find a way to get you to the hospital to get that leg taken care of."

"Those pills you gave me sure are working," I said, noticing that the pain in my leg was virtually gone.

"They had better, those were Tylenol three's I gave you. The strongest stuff I have."

"Wow, how did you manage to get those? I thought they could only be had with a prescription," I asked.

"You're right, they are. I suffer from migraines, and use those pills to treat them. Thankfully I don't get migraines often, so I can afford to give you some to help with the pain."

"Thanks," I said in wonder. "You didn't have to do that."

"Oh yes I did. If I didn't give you those pills, trust me, the pain would be so bad you wouldn't be able to rest much. And you need as much rest as possible to help your body deal with the wound. Besides. I'd like to be able to talk to you, and I couldn't do that if you were too preoccupied with the pain in your leg now could I?"

"No, I guess not," I said, laughing slightly.

"Now, would you like to join me in the living room?" he asked me.

"Sure, but how am I going to get there? Don't tell me you have a wheel chair in this place."

"Not likely," he laughed. "But I can carry you."

"Ben, I'm a hundred and seventy pounds," I said, looking at him as if he was nuts.

"Don't worry. I'm used to it. I do a lot of weight training when I'm not at work," Ben said, standing up. "So, do you want to?"

"I guess, but be careful," I said.

"Don't worry. I'm not going to let anything happen to you," Ben said, and bent forward, sliding one arm under my knees, and another under my back, just below my arms. "I need you to wrap your arms around the back of my neck, okay?" he asked, and I did as he asked. Once I had my arms secure behind his neck, I felt myself being lifted off the bed. He was so careful and gentle that my splinted leg barely moved at all. There was some pain, as the pills weren't able to block all of it out, but it was nothing compared to what it could have been had I not had the pills in the first place.

Slowly he moved me through the door to the room and out into the hallway. It was the first time I noticed that the home he brought me to was only a single level home, so there weren't any stairs for him to have to deal with. I am pretty certain that he was glad for that. He took me around front, where the living room was. On the far end was a fireplace, with a pretty decent fire going. Large windows provided most of the light in the room, as he had the curtains open. Outside I could see the storm blowing still, the snow piling up and covering everything in a thick blanket of white. He said he was going to try and find a way to get me to the hospital, but looking out there, I couldn't imagine anything that would be able to travel in this weather.

He set me down on a large couch so that I was sitting up, with my broken leg resting on the couch. I could feel the warmth from the fireplace since the couch was next to it and was facing the windows. Like most homes in the area, it was slightly chilly inside, but with the fireplace going, I actually felt quite cozy.

Ben then went and grabbed a blanket from a closet at the end of the hallway. Returning, he threw it over me, leaving only my arms and head showing, then he sat down in a chair by the couch.

"This feels nice," I said, practically purring with contentment.

"I can tell," he said, smiling down at me. "How's the leg?"

"It's throbbing a little, but most of the pain is gone," I answered.

"Well, your coffee has gone cold, so I'm going to go heat it up for you." And with that he got back up to go to the room we had been in earlier, and brought with him the coffee mug he had brought to me. Going into the kitchen, he placed it in the microwave, and I could hear him punching buttons on it to warm up the coffee. About a minute later, he came back and placed the mug on the coffee table in front of me.

"What did you put in it?" I asked him.

"Nothing, I didn't know if you had cream or sugar with your coffee. Did you want me to get you some?" he asked.

"Nah, I usually drink it black anyways," I said, reaching forward to grasp the mug's handle. Bringing it towards my face, I blew gently over the lip of the mug then gingerly took a sip before placing it back onto the coffee table.

"That hits the spot," I sighed.

"I know what you mean. I can't get going in the day without a nice strong cup of coffee. The wolves don't like the smell too much which is why I think they leave in the morning."

"And they're okay out in that weather?" I asked, looking once more at the storm raging outside.

"Oh yes. They're adapted to this weather. It would take more than a storm like this to hurt a wolf."

"Pretty tough," I said, taking another sip of coffee.

"Wolves have to be to be able to survive in the world today."

"So, what is the story with those wolves? How did they come to be with you? You said that you rescued them after their mom died and the rest of the pack abandoned them, but I get the feeling there is much more to it than that."

"You're right there is. Let me go get you another cup of coffee, and I'll tell you about the whole thing," he said, getting up from his seat, and grabbing my mostly empty cup of coffee.

"Actually, do you have any hot chocolate?" I asked him.

"One hot chocolate coming right up, handsome," he said, which caused me to blush furiously. He then walked back into the kitchen. For a few minutes, all I could hear was him taking things out of cupboards, and mixing something in the cups, followed by the unmistakable sound of a microwave after it had finished heating something up. When he came back, Ben had in his hands two steaming cups of hot chocolate, complete with those little marshmallows that I love so much.

"You trying to spoil me?" I asked him accepting my mug from him, and eying the contents.

"Well, maybe not, spoil you, but I always love hot chocolate with marshmallows. I should have asked if you wanted some," he said.

"No, that's okay. I love marshmallows,"

"Good," he replied, taking a sip from his cup.

"So, let's hear it," I prodded him for his story.

"Well," he said, putting his mug down on the coffee table. "I guess I should start off by telling you that I didn't use to live up here. In fact, I also have a home in Burlington by the lake. I've only recently started spending more time up here since last Spring. You see, I had a falling out with my family when I came out to them. They were very traditional, and wouldn't accept the fact that their only son was gay. My sister has no problems with it, but neither of us were able to do anything to change how our parents felt about me, now that they knew that I was gay.

She was as disgusted with their behavior as I was, and even though she is only 17, decided to move out. She's now living with a friend of hers in a two bedroom apartment. I had enough money saved up that I was able to buy this house, as well as pay the rent for my apartment in Burlington."

"Wow!" I exclaimed, definitely impressed. "You have to have one sweet job to afford that!"

"Not really. I work for an Internet service and cable TV provider in Burlington called Cogeco. They pay pretty well, but I had saved up my money for a long time.

Anyways, so my sister and I moved out, or rather, she moved out and I was kicked out. She went to live with her friend, and I found a one bedroom apartment for myself. I still go there every now and then, but it's not as relaxing as it is up here. A couple months after moving there, I bought this place from a friend's parents who wanted to move back into the city to be with their children and grandchildren. Didn't take me too long to get the furnishings for this place. Most of it all came from Ikea."

"Yeah, I wondered about that," I said, pawing against the fabric of the couch I was on. I thought I had recognized it before. "It must have cost a fortune to get it up here."

"Not really. I rented a U-Haul truck, and unloaded everything at once. Took me a few days to get everything put together though. You know how Ikea loves to package everything in boxes and make you put it together," he said, laughing softly.

"I know," I said, laughing with him.

"The first thing I did was make sure the bedroom furniture and living room furniture was put together, as well as putting away everything I needed in the kitchen. Then I went to town and stocked up on food and any supplies that I didn't bring up with me. I was so tired by the time I was done that I needed to go out for a walk to unwind. I'm not the kind of person that lays down when tired. Going for long walks does wonders for me. So I grabbed my jacket, and put on my hiking shoes, and also grabbed my gun. That was one thing my friend's parents told me I would need up here. It took forever to get mind you, but eventually I received my permit, and was able to purchase a small caliber gun.

"I hadn't gone too far from my home, when I started to hear some shouting and what to me sounded like dogs barking and crying. At first I wasn't going to pay it any attention, after all, I had been told that people like to let their dogs run and play up here, but something in what I was hearing told me that things weren't right. I followed the shouts and the cries until I came to a creek bed where several men with shotguns and several angry dogs were cornering two large grey wolves by what to me looked like a small cave. One of them was on the ground bleeding, while the other was trying to protect, what to me, looked like it's mate. But with the men and dogs cornering it, I knew that it didn't have a chance. I could also tell that it too was bleeding, and obviously getting weaker by the minute.

I did the only thing I could do, I took out the gun I had brought with me, and fired it into the air. That single shot startled the men, and scared the dogs. They all turned towards me, the shock evident on their faces. There was no way I was going to let the men get away with what they were doing so I lowered the gun at them, and walked slowly forward, not allowing myself to take my eyes off any of the men. One of the dogs began to charge towards me, and I had no choice but to shoot at it. It was the first and last time I had ever fired a gun," Ben said, finishing off in a voice that was almost a whisper.

I watched as his eyes began to tear up, reliving this memory of his. I could tell that shooting the dog hurt him greatly, as it would me. Like me, he had a profound respect for all life, and the thought of harming any creature would make me break down as he was doing now. There was nothing I could do but reach out with my hand to hold onto his as he wept silently. This simple act seemed to calm him slightly, raising his tear stained face up to look at me, nodding to me slightly in silent thanks. It took him several minutes for him to continue, which he did after taking a long sip from his hot chocolate.

"You have no idea how awful the sound an animal makes when it dies, it is one I hope to never hear again, but when that bullet struck the dog, I could tell right away that it would not be getting back up again.

"The men were furious, and began to make their way towards me, forgetting for a minute the wolves that they had been harassing earlier. That, as it turns out was the worst mistake they could ever had made, for when their backs were turned, the lone standing wolf launched itself at the nearest one. How it could still attack in the shape it was in was beyond me, but it seemed as though it had gathered some untapped strength deep within, a final effort to protect it's family.

In seconds I saw the first man go down, blood pouring out of a large wound on his neck, caused by the teeth of wolf ripping into him and tearing the flesh from his neck. I could only stand there in shock as the wolf turned on the next man, only to be stopped by the last of the dogs. But the dog had no chance against the fury of the wolf, as it too lay motionless and bleeding on the ground beside it's master.

The wolf was quickly beginning to weaken, I could tell, but still it would not give up. The last man backed up, and raised his gun to the wolf at the same time the wolf lunged towards him. Everything seemed to move in slow motion and I saw the gun go off, and the bullet hit the wolf in its lower chest, just before it crashed into the man, and forcing the two of them to tumble about, until they both came to a rest against the base of a tree. So hard had they fallen that the man was sitting up against the tree, his neck bent at an unnatural angle, while the wolf lay on top of him, still breathing, but not moving an inch.

I don't know what it is that made me, but I went towards the wolf, kneeling down beside it, and placed my hand upon it's head, gently touching it. I remember myself whispering to it, words I would never have thought I'd say to an animal. I said: 'rest now brave dad. Your family is safe from the hunters. Go, and be at peace.' Stupid thing to say, I know. But I felt that I had to say something to honor the sacrifice this wolf made for its family, but at the same time let it know that I would do what I could to ensure the survival of his family.

It passed away right then. I can remember watching it take it's final breath and was finally free of the pain I knew it was in. I was crying by now, weeping for the courage and strength and determination this wolf had. Turning my attention back towards the other wolf, I saw that it too had passed away. It was then that I could hear sounds coming from within the cave, and I made my way towards it.

Getting down on my hands and knees, I entered the cave. Inching forward slowly, not knowing, but suspecting what I would find within, I soon found myself in a large den, warm and humid, sheltered from the cool spring air outside. At the far end of the den were two white wolf cubs, sitting up, and staring at me intently. One of them growled at me, and came towards me. Part of me wanted to pull back, but I held firmly in place, and reached out with my hand. It sniffed at the hand I offered it, the one that I had placed on the cub's dad's head, and watched as it licked my hand before laying down on it's back, looking up at me with what I could have sworn was a huge smile on it's face. I couldn't help but laugh, tears of joy running down my face as it did what all dogs do when they want a belly scratch. Before long, the other wolf wanted the same attention as the first, and pretty soon I was sitting there, scratching the bellies of two very contented wolf pups.

These two beautiful wolves were the last of the dead wolves' family, and I silently vowed that I would do everything I could to look after them, and teach them what they needed to learn to be able to survive in the world. But for now, I had two hungry, but playful wolves that I needed to take home with me. I knew from that moment on that they would be in my life for a very long time. And they have been with me ever since."

Editor's Notes:

Well, I admit I am s sucker for a story of rescuing someone in need. Here we have a story of two rescued or is it three or maybe, in a way four. I have a feeling that there is going to be a wonderful relationship between the two men and, somehow, I am sure the wolves will be an integral part of that relationship. The story is building up nicely and we are learning more with each new chapter. Jay has a wonderful way of bringing life and detail into a character and making us believe in and love each one. I, for one, am now completely hooked and I really have to know what happens next. I hope it won't be too long before we get the next chapter of this wonderful story.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher