Rain takes both of Leon’s hands and laces their fingers together. “Do you want to take a walk,” he asks, “and look at the stars?”
Leon nods. It’s all he can seem to manage at the moment. They walk away from the firelight, slowly, hand-in-hand. “Tell me about art,” he says when he finds his voice again.
“Well,” Rain says. “What does art mean to you?”
“I… ” He lets out a self-deprecating chuckle. “I don’t know how to begin to answer that.” He steals a sidelong glance at Rain, just in time to catch him doing the same. Happy warmth suffuses his face, and he realizes that perhaps this is what a blush feels like. When was the last time he grinned like a shy idiot? “I don’t think I’ve made art in a very long time. Once, maybe.”
“It’s still in you,” Rain says, squeezing his fingers, still twined with his own. “You just need to find it again.”
Something overwhelms Leon, stealing his breath. He stops, looks at Rain, brings a hand to his cheek. The next thing he knows he’s pushed him against the bell tower, the one they ring for dinner, and his mouth is on Rain’s. Lips part, tongues touch, and they open to each other. One of his hands is on the back of Rain’s neck, the other on his chest, and he has no memory of putting them there. Nor of when Rain’s wrapped around to the small of his back.
They break off, both breathing hard. Leon’s fingers come up to trace Rain’s lower lip. “I want…”
Rain takes his face in both hands. “Yes,” he says, and pulls him in to kiss again. Their lips melt together, and Leon feels Rain starting to go hard against his leg. Himself responding in kind.
Sounds of laughter interrupt them, and Leon squints at an approaching flashlight. Five, perhaps six people walk past. With the light in his eyes, he can’t tell who they are, but one scornful voice floats out of the pack. “Another one? I saw him with Skye earlier!”
Heat flushes over his cheeks again, but this time it’s anything but happy. “Shit,” he says, taking a step away and withdrawing his hands to clutch his own elbows. “That’s… yeah. That’s true.”
Amazingly, Rain doesn’t look especially upset. Or upset at all, really. “What happened with him?”
Does he want to hear this? “Not a whole lot.”
“Meaning?” He sounds more curious than concerned.
“Meaning he couldn’t get off, and we gave up.”
“Ha!” Rain pushes himself up off the bell tower. “What about you?”
Leon shrugs. “I didn’t ask, and he didn’t offer.”
“That’s Skye, alright. My brother is nothing if not self-absorbed.” Rain takes Leon’s hands again, unwrapping him from himself. “Let’s get further away.” He slips both arms around Leon’s waist, steps in for another kiss. “Away from all the lights. Somewhere we can see the stars.” Leaving one arm where it is, he begins walking across the field, drawing Leon along with him.
“You don’t seem to like him very much.”
“Skye?” Rain begins gesturing with his free hand, a motion Leon is coming to recognize as frustration with his own inability to keep up when his thoughts starts spinning ahead. “Skye, he’s, he’s – he’s my brother, and I, y’know, of course, of course – I love him, but we’re, we’re – we’re too different. He, he, he – he just leaves me to, to – to be in charge while he runs around and, and – and spends money, and I can’t, I can’t – ” He breaks off and puts his hand to his forehead. “I can’t keep up with him, and, and – and I think – I think he just hates me.”
“That can’t be true,” Leon says, though the words lack conviction. By some unspoken agreement they come to a stop near the sleeping cabins and both turn their faces up to the night sky. The slight gap they kept between their bodies while walking closes again.
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?”
Leon turns his face and touches his forehead to Rain. “Do you have a poem about them?” The words are barely more than a whisper into the curve of his ear.
“I don’t – I don’t – ” Rain ducks his head, embarrassed. “I don’t, don’t – don’t memorize them. I, I – I write them down, and, and – and Skye – Skye sings them. It’s, it’s – it’s Skye who, who – who gives them life.”
“Stars are never sleeping,” Rain begins after a long pause. His voice is pitched low and he takes on a cadence, different from his own, smoothing the line in places he would normally emphasize. “Dead ones and the living.”
He stops abruptly and grimaces at Leon. “You don’t want to hear this.”
Tightening his arm around Rain’s waist, Leon kisses his hair. “I do. Go on.”
Rain takes a deep breath. “We live closer to the earth, never to the heavens. The stars are never far away. Stars are out tonight.”
He breaks off again and steps out of Leon’s embrace. “It’s, it’s – it’s shit, I, I – I probably won’t even finish it.” He stuffs both hands in his pockets and stares up at the sky.
Leon moves up behind the boy and slips his hands under his elbows to wrap around his waist. Pulls him close, ducks his head to nuzzle Rain’s jaw.
The boy turns in his arms. Puts his own around Leon’s neck. Their heads come together, the kiss slow and sweet, opening softly into an exploration of tastes and breath and occasional bumping teeth and ensuing laughter. Arms tighten, and hands touch and caress from faces to shoulders to backs to hips, until sweetness gives way to heat.
They find their way under a tree and stretch out on the grass, already beading with dew.
“I want you,” Leon whispers, pressing himself into Rain’s hip. Their legs are interlaced, Rain’s hands stroking his chest as Leon holds himself above the boy, leaning in to kiss his forehead, his eyes, his temples. Both their breath is coming hard and fast, uneven gasps of desire.
“Yes,” Rain whispers back. “Yes.” He reaches for Leon’s zipper as Leon does the same, fumbling over each other in their eagerness, laughing as hands and arms collide, and linger every time they touch. Finally they get each others’ pants off, legs still tangling up as they twist and rearrange. Leon gets up on his knees and undoes his shirt; Rain does the same as soon as he sees him. They embrace again, naked skin on naked skin, warmth seeping into one another as they share another passionate kiss.
“Turn over,” Leon says at last. They tumble onto all fours. Leon moves behind Rain, then he realizes: he has only spit again, and this… this doesn’t seem like the moment for it. “Oh, hell.”
“What’s wrong?” Rain twists his head to look over his shoulder.
“I don’t… fuck!” He holds his erection lightly in one hand. “I forgot to grab lube. Or… I mean, I didn’t even think…”
Rain suddenly laughs, a spontaneous outburst that ends in an undignified snort. “My shirt pocket,” he says. “Sorrento… earlier…” He collapses and rolls to one side, his shoulders shaking with barely-contained mirth. “He left it with me after we…” He stops to gasp for air. “I can’t forget this: he said, ‘Take it, kid, and use it in good health.'”
Leon throws his head back and joins in the laughter. “Oh my god,” he says. “That’s Sorrento.” He extricates himself from between Rain’s legs and pats around blindly in the dark, looking for the discarded shirt. Finally finds it, with a tiny bottle of lube in the pocket, just where Rain said it would be.
“Okay,” he says. “I’m ready.”
Rain gets up on his knees to kiss Leon once more, hard and hungry, hands closing tight on fists full of hair. “I’m ready too.”
And they begin.
“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” © David Bowie, 2013
Songs used without permission.