"You can't sleep on my couch forever."

The growled words were accompanied by a none to gentle nudge with what felt like the tip of a boot. He blinked sleepily as he stared up; groaning as the light hit his face. The blurry visage of his longtime friend soon cleared and he rubbed the dried evidence from his rough night of sleep from his blue orbs; putting on a slight smile.

"C'mon, you know you like waking up to my sexy face every morning."

His teasing grin was met with another one and large hand ruffled his sleep tousled hair.

"Maybe if you didn't snore like a freight train I would."

"That's not me, that's your large snout there making all the racket; I can barely sleep at night."

"Even more a reason to go looking for your own place."

His clothes were tossed at him; a smile behind the launched material helped him take the dose of reality that he'd been hiding from. Gathering the shirt and jeans he forced himself of the couch and into the bathroom; staring at himself in the mirror as the water heated to the right temperature. With a sad sigh he touched the lines on his face; wondering when it had went all downhill. Just two years ago he was on top of the world, the owner of the one of the best restaurants' in the city; a loving wife at home that supported him from the beginning, but then it changed; and seemingly overnight he had gone from the tip top of the mountain to the sticky, murky depth of the worst swamp.

Thankfully his good friend had been there to help pick up his shattered pieces; letting him cry on his shoulder when his wife had left; telling him that it was only a slump and things would turn around when his days were nothing more than dark shadows. And slowly they had; he managed to salvage some of his belongings before his home had been sold; and while his credit and reputation were still in the shitter he was able to find the odd job here and there to keep him supplied in food and beer. The whole staying on his friends' couch had only been temporary but soon he couldn't face going home to his empty apartment with nothing but the mice as company and after some extensive pleading he had convinced his friend to let him stay on the couch.

Still he had known that the time was coming to an end, his friend had been trying to pursue a relationship with a pretty young brunette at his office; granted she was the bosses daughter but still, she seemed nice enough, had always been friendly to him despite the glaring interruption he was on his friends love life. He had just finished brushing his teeth then heard the TV from the other room playing some commercial for a new realtors business that had just opened up, 'The Calahart corporation'. He was swishing the clean mint Listerine around his mouth as he moved into the door way and watched a tall solemn looking red head talk about how he and his partner could find you the perfect home. The number and address flashed across the screen and without thinking he grabbed an eyeliner pencil and jotted it down on the mirror over the sink.

He hurriedly dressed after that, brushing his blond hair back into a pony tail to keep the bulk of it off his neck in the hot Texas sun. He wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a paper towel from the roll and a permanent marker and made his way back to the bathroom and copied down the number and address; tearing the towel in half and scribbling down a note for his friend.


Went out for a bit, not sure if I'm gonna be back in time for dinner. If not, tell Stephanie Hi for me and that I owe her an eyeliner pencil. Also leave the mess on the mirror; I'll clean it when I get home.


He smiled as he grabbed his keys and cowboy hat; taping the note to the front of the refrigerator so that Hunter was sure to see it when he got his after work beer. With one look around the small home to make sure he wasn't leaving anything on that could be dangerous he locked the door and loped down to his beat up Ford; sliding in behind the wheel and turning the engine over, smiling as it gave off a satisfying rumble. With a glance down at his directions he pulled out of the driveway and headed to the Calahart office; hoping that he'd be able to find something in his price range.

The drive itself wasn't too long and soon enough he was standing at the pristine doors of the realtors office; the large banner over the door protesting that it was the buildings grand opening. With a deep breath he stuck his hat on his head and climbed from the truck, patting his rear right pocket to make sure that he had his wallet with all his identification. Just the short walk from the parking lot to the door left him sweating; his shirt sticking to his back and the few errant tendrils of wheat blond hair clinging to his stubbled cheek.

He pushed the glass door open and sighed in relief as the blast of cold air rushed out and kissed his skin; sending goosebumps skittering over the exposed skin and making it sensitive where it brushed against his clothing. He smiled as the short brunette behind the counter greeted him cheerfully and he slowly ambled over; leaning on the counter and bidding her a good morning. Her voice was soft and chirp like as she addressed him, her hazel eyes accentuated by her glasses and her hair pulled back into a pony tail just barely swept her shoulders.

"Good morning Sir. Welcome to the Calahart Corporation. Do you have an appointment?"

"No, 'fraid not. Do you know if they take walk ins?"

Her lips pursed up as she shuffled through her paperwork; looking for something that would confirm or deny the question. When she looked back up she was wearing a confused expression and was about to say something when a deep timbered voice sounded from the left.

"Under normal circumstances we don't. But seeing as how this is only our third day open and no one has of yet decided to take a gamble on us, I don't see why not."

He hoped that the blush on the secretary's face didn't match his own, but he found it extremely hard to look anywhere but at the broad chest of the solemn faced man from TV. He coughed and finally wrenched his eyes away; but not before noticing how nice a shade of green the large mans' eyes were.

"C'mon in, let's see what we can do for you today."

He nodded and thanked the secretary before following the auburn haired man; his blue eyes sweeping up and down the tall frame and wondering briefly how he managed to fit it all in his clothing without the poor cloth splitting at the seams. Once inside the office he was motioned over to one of the chairs that faced the large ornate mahogany desk and the door was pushed nearly closed; effectively closing him and the large man in together. He fought to keep a neutral face as his shoulder was patted when the man moved around the side of the desk and took his spot in the large wingback leather chair.

"First off my name is Mark Calaway and I'll working on your behalf today to find you the perfect home."

He extended his hand and with only a moment's hesitation he reached out and gripped it firmly; hoping that his hand wasn't sweaty in response.

"My name is Shawn."

"Pleasure to meet you Shawn, now; what exactly are you looking for in a home? Split level? Condo? Ranch? Victorian? Colonial?"

Shawn felt a tiny pang of loss when the hand shake ended but he squashed it down as he forced his mind back onto the task at hand.

"Well, I'm not sure; I don't need anything really big. It'll just be me living there, possibly a hunting dog or two a little later on."

"Hmm, alright, I have a few that might be what yer looking for. Any preference as to where they're located?"

"No. Right now I'm living with a friend that helped me after a rather nasty divorce and some financial troubles."

His face burst into flames and he mentally screamed at himself for laying his personal business out on the table for the green eyed man.

"Well it's always nice to have friends willing to do that, they are few and far in between."

A smile played on the man's lips for a bit and Shawn had to fight to keep from sucking in a breath. It was starting to concern him about his reaction to the large red head; he had never been attracted to someone of the same sex before so his off the chart reaction to the innocuous contact they'd had left his mind reeling. With a mental snarl he forced his mind to stay quiet as Mark turned the monitor of his computer around and began showing him the different houses that he had up that matched what Shawn was looking for.

Most of them were outside of his price range and just as he was giving up hope they came the last one; a small ranch style with a large back yard, two bedrooms, fire place and just down the street a ways from Hunters'. He smiled as Mark brought up the price; it was even five grand under his spending limit and he nodded emphatically.

An equally large smile flitted across Mark's face and after going through a bit of the paperwork they were heading out to the property so he could look it over before finishing the buying process. They had taken Mark's Dodge crew cab; the inside immaculately clean while the outside sparkled and sent sun dancing off the hood from its wax job. The ride itself was comfortable, both men talking idly about different things and finding out that they had quite a bit in common.

When they finally pulled into the driveway Shawn was laughing from an accounting of what had Mark had gone through when his best friend of twenty odd years showed up on his doorstep naked and covered in lipstick.

"I bet that was a sight that your Mrs. wanted to see." He chortled as he wiped a tear from his eye.

Mark was silent for a minute or two, staring out the window of his truck at the house in front of them; his hands clenching and unclenching on the wheel before he answered.

"There is no Mrs. Calaway, hasn't been for quite a while now."

The jovial mood was broken and Shawn nodded, knowing the feeling and heartache all too well that where playing across Mark's face. He turned his head to stare out the window at the small home, clearing his throat as he climbed from the trucks' cab.

"So, stone facing, attached garage; looks like new windows were put in. What's wrong with the inside?"

A grateful smile was spread across Mark's lips as he joined Shawn in looking at the front of the house.

"Nothing, just had the home inspected; it passed with flying colors. New cabinets, new water heater and furnace, all new carpet and paint. It's really just waiting for a person to move in and her their own." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys; jingling them before walking towards the ornate storm door. "Let's see what yer about to call home Shawn."

Elation at Mark's simple sentence had Shawn hurrying after him and he could hardly stand still as the key gave a moments protest in turning in the lock. Finally the door swung open and they stepped through the portal into the large living room. Shawn's eyes began to water as he walked from room to room, each one painted in a soft white eggshell color while the carpet was a medium beige color. In the kitchen the cabinets' gleamed bright white against the dark tiled floor and leading out to the back yard was a large sliding glass door.

Unable to stop the tears in his eyes he turned and grinned, his voice thick as he spoke.

"Ah definitely want this house now. Ah don't need to see any more, let's go do the paperwork."

Mark nodded and the ride back to the office seemed to take forever; each light turning red just as they were about to coast through it and traffic starting to back up in the noon day lunch rush. A couple of times he tried to calm his nerves by turning and looking at the man in the driver's seat; but each time it was as if Mark could feel his gaze and he would look over. Not many words were exchanged as they slowly crawled back to the Calahart office and for that Shawn was glad, he didn't know if he could trust himself to speak.

Just when Shawn didn't think he could take much more they pulled into the parking lot and the two men sauntered over to the building; Mark's gait very fluid while Shawn was forcing himself not to run to the door like an impatient child on their way to a toy store. They both smiled in greeting at the secretary again before they closed themselves off; Mark sitting behind his desk and rifling through the paper work for the appropriate forms.

"Ok, now comes the long part Shawn, each paper has three copies, one for you, one for me and then one for the bank that holds the mortgage on the home. Make sure you fill them all out and once yer done I'll fax them through to the bank and we'll know here in a matter of minutes if you have the house. I'll be getting the homeowners packet together, if you need anything just give a yell and I'll come running."

Shawn smiled and picked up a pen from the desk; taking his hat off and setting it to the side as he started to read through the paper work. True to Mark's words it did take a while and Shawn had lost complete track of time as he shuffled through them all, triple checking each form in the end to make sure he wasn't missing anything. With a triumphant 'HAH!' he set the paperwork in order and placed his pen on top of the stack; leaning back to stretch and crack his spine and neck. He turned in his chair to call out for Mark but as if the tall man could read his mind he was standing in the door way; a large packet of papers held in his hands.

"You all done?"

"Yup, done and ready for you send them off to whomever to get approved."


Mark handed Shawn the large packet as he made his way back to his seat; sorting through the papers and putting them in the correct pile before turning and firing up his fax machine and feeding one third of the documents through. Next came the waiting game and while Shawn had always prided himself on his patience he found it as hard as child on Christmas morning found it to wait quietly for their folks to wake up.

Across the table Mark was looking through the newest listings of houses in his possession and his distraction gave Shawn ample time to look and drink in the profile of the large man. While he wasn't classically handsome, he had a rough and tumble quality about him that just boasted of his strong personality. His auburn hair though not curly had a slight wave to it and off set his green eyes; all in all making up a quite pleasing picture to look at. Shawn was startled out of his thoughts by the fax machine beeping loudly before burping out a stream of papers.

His heart thudded to a stop in his chest as Mark gathered the loose pages and put them in the correct order; the blank look on the strong features not a source of comfort for Shawn as he fidgeted. Silently Mark read through the paperwork, every once in a while looking up at Shawn over the top of the paper before going back to looking everything over. After a couple more minutes of Mark's regard Shawn cleared his throat.

"Well?' He prompted with a slight waver to his voice.

"Well…Mr. Michaels, you just bought yerself a house."

Mark stood up and extended his hand over the desk, pumping Shawn's a couple of times before sitting back down and doing a couple of things on the computer and then taking a stamp out and pressing it against the paperwork that had come from the fax machine. He held his hand out for the packet in Shawn's hand and after it was turned over he placed the papers into the very back then handed it back.

"Everything is in order Shawn." He fished the keys out of his pocket again and placed them into Shawn's hand, smiling widely. "Here are the keys to yer new home."

The smile on Shawn's face threatened to split it in two and he held them up, staring at the plain silver keys as if they were the keys to the riches of the world. While part of him was saddened by the knowledge that he was leaving his best friend the other part was dancing and screaming on the inside; it was as if the purchase of his home was the first step in rebuilding his life and he suddenly felt invincible.

"Mark, join me for a drink in celebration?" He asked as he looked down at his watch; noting that it was just fifteen past four.

The large man done the same and for a moment Shawn had the worry that he'd refuse, but a shrugged shoulder indicated differently.

"Sure. It's about closing time here anyways. My partner is in now so there's really no reason for the two of us to be here bored to death." He smiled as he stood and removed his tie, flinging it over into the corner of the room and undoing the top button of his shirt. "You have no idea how liberating it is to do that." He laughed as he grabbed his brief case and shoved some paperwork into it.

"I bet. Well there's this nice little bar just down the road, we can go there if you like or do you have a certain bar you go to regularly?"

"I like to mix it up every now and then…but I have a better idea. What if we get a bottle or two, depending on yer taste and go and toast the new house?"

Shawn's face lit up and he nodded.

"Y'know I like that idea a lot better."

After a few moments of debating on what to get to drink they slipped behind their respective wheels and after a stop at the state liquor store were heading back out to the house. The minute Shawn pulled up into the drive he took a deep breath; loving the feeling of being home in a place that was his and his alone. Mark's truck pulled in alongside his and together they walked up the flagstone walk, the bag with the straight Jack whiskey held in Mark's meaty fist and the two new tumblers balanced in Shawn's arms as he fitted the key into the lock and turned; pushing the door open for them to enter.

The effects of the hot Austin sun beating against the house for the majority of the day left it overly warm so Shawn went around and opened the windows to let the place air out; taking in a deep breath of his new home and smiling widely as he joined Mark again in the kitchen. With a nod Mark handed Shawn a tumbler half full of the amber liquid and the clinked rims; Mark raising his glass as like a best man would a wedding before speaking.

"Here's to new beginnings and clean slates."

They clinked rims again and tilted back the tumblers, the warm drink slipping down throats and leaving a pleasant burn in its wake. Once half full tumbler wasn't enough and it wasn't long before they were cracking open the second bottle, both laughing and rambling as they raised the glasses again and again.

"To not having to listen to the moans and groans of a couple in heat." Shawn laughed as he leaned against the counter, his glass tilted to his lips.

"To being a couple in heat without the worry of someone walking in." Mark added, his lips smirking as he tilted back his own glass.

Both their glasses were drained at nearly the same time and as one they reached for the bottle of Jack; their hands colliding and sending little sparks up Shawn's arm. The blush from the morning when he had first seen Mark returned and he turned away, hiding the red stain on his cheeks. Gentle hands turned him around and before he could utter one word lips were slanted over his and he was being held in place by a hand in the small of his back that molded him against Mark.

At first Shawn had no idea what he was doing, his alcohol soaked mind functioning slowly while his body responded to the stimulus of Mark's hands on his body. Finally his brain kicked itself into gear and he broke the kiss, panting for air as the blush on his face grew deeper.

"I...uh…Mark. See…"

Mark shook his head and easily lifted Shawn up onto the counter so that they were more eye to eye, his lips swollen from the kiss and sparkling from where he wet them. Shawn had thought that Mark was going to speak but instead Mark leaned in and captured his lips again; this time his tongue snaking past them to taste and explore the moist heat of Shawn's mouth.

A tiny whimpering moan clawed its way up Shawn's throat and it wasn't long before he found himself gripping Mark's shirt tightly as his tongue twisted and parried with Marks. The innocence of the kiss didn't last long either and soon there were clothes being tossed to the side as hands gripped and groped unfamiliar skin, sweat shining on the tanned skin as the explorations grew bolder and bolder until both men were naked; Shawn being pressed back against the counter as Mark pinned his hands to the marble and gently pressed his knee against Shawn's swollen shaft.

The jolt that went through Shawn's body jarred him back into a semi reality and he worked his jaw for a moment before any sound would come out.

"M-mark…" He stuttered; the man in question having taken it upon himself to lick and nip at Shawn's throat as he rubbed his knee back and forth.


"I—I…I've never…uh…y'know…I'm not…"

The words were accompanied by a hard blush and when Mark pulled away his face mirrored Shawn's and he leaned in again to murmur against Shawn's lips before taking them.

"Then I guess we're gonna learn together…"

The admission was the preamble to a passionate kiss that left Shawn clinging to the strong frame of Mark as he his body was slowly being teased to a fever pitch. One by one Mark had suckled and nipped at his fingers before kissing his way down Shawn's palm and biting gently at the pulse point on the wrist then moving on to kissing his way across Shawn's chest before stopping and paying special attention to the hard rose nubs that Shawn's nipples had become. And the entire time that Mark was taunting with his lips and teeth his knee was steadily rubbing and grinding into Shawn, causing the engorged member to leak pearly essence over Mark's upper thigh.

Just when Shawn thought he could take anymore he was turned around and his feet kicked apart. He squawked in protest but it died off into a choked moan as he felt two fingers working their way past his ring of muscle to prod and stretch the virgin orifice. The initial movement was a bit painful but after a few shallow thrusts and teasing flicks to a spot deep inside that Shawn never knew existed; he was writhing against the counter and Mark; practically begging for the next step. With his hair sticking to his neck and back he turned his head and looked at Mark over his shoulder; his eyes clouded and glazed as he smirked and rubbed back against the large man.

He watched as Mark closed his eyes and growled deep in his throat; obviously trying to find control but in the end, it only took one more taunting grind backwards before his hips were gripped tightly and the large mushroom head of Mark's own dripping sex was being working into the slightly widened entrance. Shawn scrabbled at the counter as he tried to roll his hips or rock himself back to help the process along and it only took a matter of seconds for the entire hard length to be ensheathed as Mark took a deep breath and just rammed it home.

Shawn couldn't help the scream that erupted from him and his body felt as if it were going to tear in two if Mark so much as moved, but his hips wouldn't stay still and he whimpered as he rocked slowly; the feel of the hard shaft dragging his insides and catching that spot again turning the pained noise into pleading. He felt Mark lay against his back; his strong arms wrapped around Shawn's waist as he started a slow rhythm and he turned his head to the side to capture Mark's lips as they moved in sync.

The slow steady pace gave way after a while to steady pounding, the sound of flesh meeting flesh driving them on until Shawn tensed, his nails scratching against the counter top as he screamed; his release firing from him rapidly to splash against the cabinets. His head spun as he gasped for breath and went limp against the cool wood and stone. Through his post orgasm high he felt Mark speed up and then jet after jet of molten heat splash his insides. He shivered hard as Mark slipped free but the cold only lasted a moment as he was pulled into Mark's arms and his neck and cheeks nuzzled and covered in light kisses.

Though chaste in nature at first the kisses soon led to nips and then explorative touching; which all too soon led to each room in the house being christened in a most spectacular manner. As they lay spent in the living room Shawn smiled; having come to the conclusion that his luck was finally on the upswing of things.