Long Road Home

A/N: This is my answer to the latest photo challenge on BBMSlash LJ. I am using #4 for the purposes of this story.

http://pics. looked up at the sign on the side of the road, 'Welcome to Childress.' He'd made it, the long fourteen-hour drive and here he was at last. He drove to the house, it looked more like a mansion white with a wrap around porch sitting on a small hill at the end of a long driveway. He stopped the truck and took a long hard look. He considered getting gout to speak to Lureen, but what would that prove? He knew he wouldn't be welcome here. He sighed and drove off, he could never truly feel at home here in Texas.

He stopped at a gas station, filled up his thermos with coffee and his truck with gas and picked up some food and beer for the road. He asked about a campground and found a small one o the outside of town and slept in the bed of his truck. He looked up at the stars and thought of the empty space in his heart. Of the one person who should be here sharing the stars with him like they did so long ago on Brokeback Mountain.

"Wish you were here, bud," he cracked open a beer and raised it and drank a drink to his absent partner. He sighed and settled down into the sleeping bag and fell asleep.

He woke up feeling resolved to return home to Wyoming. He got behind the wheel and drove for a while till he was far away from Texas. He stopped at a diner for a short spell in a tiny town somewhere in Colorado and had something to fill his stomach. He paid the waitress and hit the road once again. Guilt permeated him thinking of Jack and all the years he put him through this long-distance travel. Their times together were like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day and their partings were like a knife cruelly cutting a path through their hearts.

Ennis drove the long, lonely road north, he pulled over to the side of the road to take a break. He drank some coffee from the thermos and opened some beef jerky.

"This is what it was like for you, driving this same road, comin up to see me. Fourteen hours, fourteen damn hours of hopin and dreamin of a life you wanted for us. I sure did put ya through hell when I turned you away after my divorce didn't I?" he felt the sting of tears in his dark eyes. He scanned the horizon and spotted a hawk flying overhead and a rabbit scurrying to get away less it became a meal for the hungry bird.

""I never wanted this for ya bud, I swear if I'd known what it was like for ya. Long drive, coulda gotten killed anywhere on these roads. All those wasted years, Jack. Makin ya do this drive I wish I could make it up to ya." He took in his surroundings, the road pretty desolate and lonely, just like his heart would've been like if he hadn't met Jack. He took this trip cause he owed it to Jack. Had to know what he sacrificed all those years of traveling back and forth. How lonely and depressed he must've felt making this trip. Despite how he hated thinking of it he felt he drove Jack to Mexico, to satisfy the hunger that he couldn't because of his pigheadedness.

He got back in his truck and started it and put it in gear and took a deep breath and continued his drive north. He decided to drive through Denver, he'd never been to a city this big. Laramie and Casper were hick towns compared to Denver.

The long lonely road only added to the loneliness in his heart. He couldn't relive the past, he'd have to learn how to move on.

His trip through Denver was an eye opener. He'd taken a wrong turn and ended up in the red light district and saw a sign for a peep show. He couldn't stop himself from looking at the scantily clad prostitutes that were eye balling him. And when he stopped for a red light one of them came over to the passenger side window and leaned in and wanted to know if he'd want her to keep him company. He politely said no and drove off as fast as he legally could.

He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the sign saying leaving Denver. His heart started racing when he saw a sign indicating how far it was to the Wyoming border.

He'd moved out of Riverton about a year ago moved out of that small trailer and headed south. He needed to get away, move to someplace new. He loved the mountains, loved looking out his window and seeing the snowcaps in the wintertime and he just had to have a place where he could have horses again. Before he knew it he had entered Medicine Bow National forest and the town called Mountain Home. He parked his truck right outside the small ranch house. Took a deep breath of this fresh mountain air. Looked over at the barn and the pasture that held a few horses. He had always wanted to breed horses. Now he wasn't wishing it he was really doing it. He was tired and he went inside and took off his hat and wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a beer. He walked over towards the couch but stopped by the picture window and starred at the beautiful scenery.

He heard quiet footsteps coming up behind him and arms circling his chest and a chin resting on his shoulder.

"So did you finally find some peace?" the voice whispered in his ear. "Have you found a way to forgive yourself Ennis and the past?"

He didn't turn around, just leaned back into the comforting embrace. "I didn't know how hard it was, that long drive. I know I couldn't have done it. Just shows me how much a body will go through for the one ya care about, the one ya…"he paused the word was always hard for him to say. "Love."

He looked over at a plague that hung on the wall near the couch. It was an Indian prayer. 'Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.'

"Ennis don't punish yourself, the first thing you have to do is forgive yourself." Hands were rubbing his chest in a comforting way.

"It ain't never been easy, ya know. After all that happened, especially after the divorce."

"I know ya told me that, there's nothing wrong with remembering all the good times but don't dwell too much on the bad. Can make ya sick. And I don't want that to happen to ya." The arms gently turned him around and Ennis was looking at a view that out shined the one he'd been looking at outside the window. The bluest eyes he'd ever saw and something he'd never thought he'd ever have. A second chance.

"Jack," he whispered and the blue eyed angel leaned forward and their lips met in a hungry kiss.

"I missed you Ennis. I wish you didn't feel you had to find out for yourself what it was like for me comin up all them years to see ya."

"After what I done to ya, darlin, it was only right I seen first hand. And I am mighty sorry I didn't agree to that sweet life back in '67."

"Well maybe things happen for a reason. Maybe we were meant to be together now, now that we're in our 40s"

Jack had said at their last meeting in the mountain he had wished he knew how to quit Ennis. But he knew he couldn't, not really, and not after he'd heard a news report on the radio that there had been a bad accident near Riverton, and accident involving a ranch worker that worked on Stoutamire's ranch. Jack had to find out if it was Ennis. Turned out he was hurt pretty bad and wouldn't be able to come back to work for a long time. He'd need someone to care for him. It was a turning point for both. Jack was going through a divorce, Was going to take Randall up to his parents to whip the place into shape. BUT with Ennis in need of care this was some kind of sign, Jack had thought, it had to be. So Jack went to see Ennis in the hospital. Got real scared when he saw his condition, doctors didn't know if Ennis was going to pull through but he did. And while Ennis was still in the hospital Jack set in motion their new life together. He bought this small ranch in Mountain Home, which he thought sounded just right for them. Laramie was not too far away and he could take Ennis for his rehab there. Ennis woke up and Jack was there, told Ennis how close he came to dying and about the ranch and told him that this was a sign, it was now or never. "You want that sweet life with me or not?' Jack remembered how he held his breath.

He thought he was dreaming or maybe he heard wrong but it was barely a whisper but as far as he was concerned it could have been the shot heard round the world. "Yes' came out of Ennis Del Mar's mouth and that is all that mattered to Jack.

It didn't happen overnight. But they slowly fixed up the place, Ennis recovery was nothing short of a miracle according to the rehab nurses. And then one day Ennis said he had to take this trip to Texas wanted to retrace Jack's trip. He didn't want him to go, he had nothing to prove to him, but Ennis was stubborn and he told him what route he took.

Now his man was home, home for good and that was how it was going to be, Jack Ennis and one wonderful sweet life.

Jack looked over to the couch where Ennis had fallen asleep, he joined him and joined his lover.

End