White Christmas

A little something for the festive season. Hope you like :) I don't own the characters - they belong to Annie Proulx. I'm not doing this for profit - just for fun ^^

Ennis stood by the living room window at Jack's house, staring out at the evening through the glass and watching as snow began to fall. It was Christmas Eve and a long, long time since a white Christmas but Ennis didn't really know what to think or wish for. On one hand, He had to go home to the girls for the holidays the next morning and he really didn't want the weather to get too extreme. Driving through feet of snow across the states wasn't exactly his favourite thing to do yet he knew that he had to get back to his daughters. Being in the same room as Alma hadn't crossed his mind as of yet – that would have been the least of his problems in the snow and ice got too bad.

However, one part of him couldn't help willing the snow to come down heavier, and not just because of the desire to have the first white Christmas in ages. If things really did get terrible, he wouldn't drive – not unless he didn't value his life on these unpredictable roads – and he'd have to stay here in Texas with Jack. Something inside him wanted nothing more than to spend Christmas with the rodeo cowboy but the only excuse he'd have to do this would be the wild weather. He had his girls back home yet he had Jack here and he was torn about what to do or feel.

It was down to nature from that point on. He hoped she made the right choice. He hardly trusted himself anymore.

Suddenly, from behind him, there was the sound of the door opening and he glanced round, propping his suitcases against the wall. Jack smiled in that usual warm way at him as he entered and not for the first time, his heart ached, overwhelmed with emotions and pulled between what he wanted and what he needed. He could only smile back.

'' Ennis,'' Jack started, reaching out to take his arm. Ennis averted his eyes. '' Are you still down here? You been starin' out that window fer ages. Somethin' interestin' in mah front lawn?''

'' Ah was jus' checkin' on the snow. Ah don't wanna be drivin' in a blizzard t'morrow.''

'' Damn right yer not. Ya could git yerself hurt.'' Ennis was touched by Jack's natural sweetness. ''...seems alright now though. Let's hope it stays like that so yet alright t'morrow.''

Ennis shrugged, looking down. '' Yeah, let's hope...'' he muttered but Jack didn't seem to hear. Instead, he let go of his arm and smiled softly, once again empathetic.

'' Anyway,'' he said gently, tilting his head a little. He always did that when Ennis turned quiet and he was trying to talk to him. Such a tiny thing but Ennis couldn't help noticing it. ''...ah came ta see if ya wanted to come upstairs. All our hard work paid off, y'know.''

Jack was talking about the decorating they had done over the past few days. Lureen had been away to see her family with Bobby and Jack had wanted to do something festive for their arrival back so, considering they house had looked a little bare, he'd set to work hanging up tinsels and baubles and lavishing the rooms in Christmas colours with Ennis. It had started off as a treat for his wife and son but in the end, it had turned into something for him to do with Ennis after ages away from each other. The look on the cowboy's face as they spend that time together had made his day and soon, he was inventing jobs for them to do so they could be in one another's company. He tried not to let it show too much, lest it made him seem selfish wanting Ennis like this when he had his girls to go back home to, yet he was devastated that he had to leave.

He wanted to make the most of the time they still had together.

In response to his question about going upstairs, Ennis nodded and then followed Jack out of the lounge, letting him lead the way to his bedroom. The house looked beautiful with all the Christmas lights turned on and Ennis had to admit they had done a good job but when they reached Jack's room, his breath was almost completely taken away. As he opened the door, there was revealed a cosy, dim space lit with candles only, the curtains drawn and lights off. Everything looked so homely and....romantic and Ennis didn't know what to say. He tried not to say anything but Jack's blue eyes were gazing at him, almost begging him to.

'' We did a good job, right?'' he smiled and Ennis had to nod, even though he hadn't helped Jack with his room. This had been done recently, probably while he was standing down by the window, watching the world go by. He couldn't help wondering whether Jack had done this for him.

'' Jack, did you –'' he started yet Jack was already beaming wider, his gaze so content in the flickering amber glow of the candles. Ennis's heart ached again, staring at the room before him. It must have taken so long to light everything. He found himself smiling dreamily, the snug atmosphere making his head start to spin.

'' Oh...'' he said quietly. '' Th-thank you...''

'' That's alright. My Christmas present to you. Considering you're off t'morrow...''

The atmosphere immediately felt like it cooled as Jack said that. Ennis's heart started to throb for a different reason and he slowly nodded, looking back down. Jack didn't notice though and instead, turned away, shutting the door and walking over to the record player in the corner of the room. There were a few vinyl records stacked up beneath it and by the time Ennis had glanced up from the carpet beneath his feet, Jack had already slid one in. He had never heard Jack play any music before, apart from the times he had brought his harmonica along with him on their trips, so he wondered why he was putting any on now but as the song started to play, he allowed Jack to coax him into his open arms, their eyes suddenly unable to part.

Wise men say only fools rush in

But I can't help falling in love with you...

Shall I stay, would it be a sin

If I can't help falling in love with you

Ennis held on for dear life to Jack as Elvis' voice began to fill the room, speaking the words he had been trying to ignore ever since he had left Brokeback all those years ago. He had never intended for anything like this to happen to him but after marrying Alma and entering a life with her, his feelings started to eat their way into his mind and heart, withering so much at times he didn't know what to do with himself. He had tried to pay no attention to them, to bury them under his emotions for his wife and daughters, concentrate on his work rather than his heart's voice, yet recently, they had strengthened and it was becoming harder and harder to make them go away. And of course, he had tried that – tried to desperately abandon him, wrap his arms around Alma when they had been married and pretend that was what he wanted. She had been beautiful and sweet and kind and of course he had loved her yet ever since they had spoken their vows at the wedding, there had been an empty space in his heart that he thought nobody could have filled. Since then, somebody had filled it but he refused to acknowledge who that was. The notion of it was just too frightening for a small town ranch hand like him. It couldn't have happened to him. But, deep, deep down, he knew it had.

He remembered the anger he had felt as Alma had made that remark about Jack, the way he had almost hit her, almost hit a woman. He had tried to feel bad about that, knew he should have done because it was horrific to hit a female, yet every time he thought about the occasion, he felt fury not pity. What she'd said had really hit a nerve inside him and as he wondered why, it soon became even more apparent. These feelings within would not go away and there was nothing he could do to stop them surfacing at some points. No matter how much he tried.

Like a river flows surely to the sea

Darling so it goes

Some things are meant to be...

Ennis gulped and found himself burying his face in the crook of Jack's neck, starting to tremble. Jack arms weaved tighter around him but it didn't help anything. The world felt like it was spinning and falling away around them and Ennis couldn't do a thing as his legs began to give way underneath him. Jack caught him when he tripped but the feeling of his hands on his body was once again, almost too much.

Take my hand, take my whole life too

For I can't help falling in love with you...

The words pulsed through Ennis's mind and he clutched onto Jack, a heavy lump in his throat that he just could not swallow. His eyes started to get hot, tears gathering too fast, and he immediately squeezed them shut, not allowing this to happen to him. Jack's hands were running affectionately through his hair and he was whispering quiet words of comfort, telling him everything was alright, but in reality, nothing was. Ennis didn't know if he wanted to be experiencing these emotions or not yet he knew one thing for sure. It damn well hurt and he couldn't do a thing about it.

From the record player, Elvis repeated the words he dreaded to hear again and it seemed to go on forever, torturing him into getting closer and closer to admitting things he didn't want to. Jack held him closer, sensing he was shaking even more now, and as a sob rose from his throat, he rocked him gently, trying to soothe him.

'' Sssh, ssh...'' he muttered, nuzzling his hair. '' Sssh, it's alright...''

Ennis shook his head and attempted to say something – anything to ease this heavy atmosphere – but nothing came out, just another whimper. At this sorrowful little sound, Jack gradually pulled away and looked straight at him, beautiful blue eyes piercing his soul. Ennis gulped and tried to look away yet Jack held him, sighing as a tear trickled down his cheek.

'' Oh Ennis,'' he whispered quietly. '' Ennis, it's alright...''

Jack seemed to know what was wrong but Ennis refused to realise that, the prospect too scary. He didn't want Jack to know, didn't even want himself to know...

'' It's not...'' he choked out yet Jack was already drawing him into another embrace, hands tangling in his blonde hair. His lips found his forehead, then his cheek and Ennis could only close his eyes as he kissed his neck, fingers finding the buttons on his shirt.

'' Ennis, believe in me...'' he muttered and Ennis bit back more tears, nodding. Jack smiled against his skin and then his shirt slipped off onto the floor, followed by his undershirt. His hands reached his bare flesh and Ennis gasped, suddenly hypersensitive.

'' Jack...'' he started but they were already falling back onto the bed together, Jack on top. There were more short, wet kisses on his neck and chest and he became powerless as his jeans were unbuttoned and slipped off, joining his shirts on the floor. The covers came back and Jack helped them underneath, drawing them into a cosy heat and then undressing himself in front of Ennis's hazy, tear clouded eyes. He sobbed helplessly and couldn't help reaching out to touch him, suddenly needing contact more than anything.

Jack complied and leant back over him, their arms and legs tangling. Vaseline was grabbed from the bedside table and Ennis was showered in more kisses as Jack slicked his fingers with it. '' Jack...'' he whispered, completely lost and Jack helped him slide his legs over his shoulders, his heart skipping at the nervous anticipation on his face. Ennis was so beautiful. He'd tell him that one day.

'' Don't be scared...'' he muttered instead and Ennis slowly opened his eyes, watching as Jack entwined their fingers together. '' Ah'm not gonna hurt you...''

And with a warm smile, he kissed his mouth once again before whispering more gentle words of comfort and leaning over him...

***

Jack returned a little later with two glasses of wine in his hand and a big, heart-melting smile on his face. Ennis couldn't help smiling back as he climbed back into bed next to him and handed him a glass, clinking it gently with his. Jack had just treated him so nicely and his whole body felt like it was tingling with affection and satisfaction. Whenever Ennis led, it always seemed to be so fast and lustful, over usually quite quickly but just now, it had been different. Very different.

It was safe to say Ennis had been scared at losing his control over them, taking a while to get used to Jack holding that position. He couldn't remember if he'd cried or not to start with yet as Jack drove them to new heights, letting them make love instead of just have wild sex, he felt tears on his cheeks and whimpers rising from his throat. Jack had embraced him closer, told him it was alright, but he was no longer weeping because he was frightened. Quite the opposite in reality.

He couldn't recall whether Jack had cried or not during the time they had passionately made love yet as they finally finished, hitting a climax that Ennis had never, ever felt before, he had fallen into his arms, his whole body trembling. Ennis had held him tight, still sobbing, and he had no longer been able to deny anything. Everything was as suddenly clear as day and there was no use trying to hold it back.

Still smiling, Jack pulled the covers back over them and nestled his head against Ennis's shoulder, skin glowing in the candle light. Ennis couldn't help wrapped an arm around him and stroking through his dark hair, hands shaking a little. Jack noticed and immediately glanced up at him, concern in his blue eyes. Ennis could never get over that look. '' Ennis?'' he asked softly. '' What's wrong, friend? Did ah do somethin' you didn't like?''

Ennis shook his head, smiling to prove he was alright. '' No, no...ah'm fine. It's jus'...''

'' Jus' what? Ennis, you've been so quiet over the last day or two...And t'day, when we were dancing...Why were you – why were you cryin'?''

Ennis looked down, watching the wine swirl in the glass. '' Ah don't know if ya wanna find out, Jack,'' he said slowly.

'' Of course ah wanna find out, Ennis – after all, I....I...''

'' You what?''

Jack paused, his eyes never leaving Ennis's. He had looked at him a lot of ways before, some Ennis liked and some he didn't, but he had never seen this look so far. It was somehow sad yet at the same time, longing, as if he didn't want to say anything that would upset Ennis but wanted to, maybe needed to. Ennis understood that feeling very well.

'' Jack? C'mon, Jack...''

'' Ennis, please don't be angry if ah tell you this...And please don't – don't...''

'' Ah won't do anythin' bad, Jack...Ah'll try not to.''

'' Well then, Ennis...I...I...'' Jack paused again and took a breath, deeper than usual. ''...I love you.''

Ennis's heart almost stopped. Deep down, he'd known this all along but to actually hear Jack saying it was completely different. It felt like everything they'd ever done had just been completed in three simple words and now they were ready to move on to the next part, whatever that was. Ennis could feel another lump forming in his throat and he couldn't believe he was going to cry again – he never did, especially not in front of people – but he couldn't help himself. Another weight felt like it had just gone from his shoulders.

'' Oh Jack...'' he whispered and his heart ached as he saw Jack's eyes grow a little red. '' Jack, don't cry...''

'' Ah'm sorry, Ennis, but...but...ah don't know...''

'' No, don't be sorry now. It's alright...because, Jack, ah...ah got somethin' to say too. About what's bin botherin' me over the past few days...Well, not jus' the past few days, ta be honest. Ever since ah...ever since ah left you on that mountain all those years ago.'' Ennis stopped for a while, let Jack come back to his senses – or as close he could get to them – and then allowed him to reach out for him, their fingers entwining. He could feel him trembling again. ''...Jack, ah...you know ah'm not very good with words. Never was, never will be but...ah have ta say somethin' ta you....ah love you too.''

At this, Jack didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The honesty in Ennis's eyes was almost to much to bare and he very almost just fell into his arms, babbling and whimpering. He had always dreamt of Ennis saying those three words to him and although he thought it would never happen for a lot of reasons, he had somehow hoped that one day, he would. And now that day had come, a sense of ecstasy that he had never experienced before came flooding into his body, making his heart swell with joy. '' Oh Ennis...'' he muttered, his voice shaking and weak with the tears he was trying to hold back. '' Ennis, ah don't know what ta say...''

And at that moment, he really did fall into his arms, burying his face in his neck and sobbing, drunk on rapture. Ennis held him back and then admitted something more, knowing that now he couldn't deny this either. After so many years of troubling over it, he knew this was true also. '' An' Jack, ah...ah wanna ta come an'...come an' live with you down here. Jus' like you wanted. We'll have that sweet life t'gether...''

'' Ennis!'' Jack cried and his sobbing got louder, unable to stop. '' Ennis, oh God, thank you, thank you...''

'' An' ah have ta go home t'morrow, but at soon as ah'm done, ah'm comin' right back here. For good this time.''

Jack nodded, tears spilling freely from his eyes. Ennis embraced him closer and then pulled back the sheets again, letting them sink down underneath them so they were lying together. Jack pulled away for a minute and looked at him with a hazy but loving gaze, a smile gracing his beautiful mouth. '' We'll find a way ta make it work perfectly, Ennis,'' he said softly and there was so much sincerity in his voice, Ennis believed him completely. '' Ah promise...''

Ennis nodded and they embraced again as the snow outside began to fall a little harder. Nature had made the right decision and when the candlelight hit the mistletoe above the bed, causing it to glow softly, both Ennis and Jack realised that this was the best Christmas they could ever wish for.

THE END