'Twill Endure Wind and Weather

I.

Spring smelled better than winter. Especially when it rained.

Spot Conlon stood on his bridge in his shirtsleeves and filled his lungs with the richness of it. The rain drummed against his bare arms and neck and face, and plastered his hair to his head, cool and steady and refreshing. If he'd been of a spiritual or fantastical bent he might have imagined the rain was washing away his sins; as it was he just felt clear, sharp, alive.

He felt rather than heard the footsteps behind him, and let his fingers shift visibly on his cane, a silent warning.

"Hey, Spot." Racetrack. Spot's fingers eased off, but he didn't turn. Mild resentment prickled along his skin at the distraction from his bridge, his rain, his spring - but it was mild, and part of him wondered why.

"Racetrack." He wouldn't ask why he was here. "What are you doing here?" Damn.

"Dunno." Race stood next to him, folded his hands across his stomach, and waited.

"Okay."

A warm breeze swept in from the east. It smelled of earthworms and crocuses and the promise of spring.

II.

Spot laughed into the wind and let rainwater fill his mouth, and wasn't at all surprised when Racetrack was beside him. He didn't bother to ask why, this time, just waited, shaking water out of his eyes and grinning toothily at Race.

He didn't have long to wait before it was warm lips and wet tongue and cold fumbling hands that brushed his arms, chest, waist, before seizing great handfuls of damp clothes and holding him fast. Spot resisted the natural urge to break away and retreat to a better tactical position, just attacked from where he stood, all awkward angles and the armholes of his shirt cutting into his underarms and his shoes slowly filling with puddle water. It was entirely worth it, and the battle was declared a draw, with both sides duly satisfied and the bloodlust settled for the day.

III.

And the rain drumming on the roof almost drowned out Spot's strangled moan. The shadows of the rain cast mottled patterns on Race's back, and he smiled wickedly as Spot's world imploded.

IV.

Spot was glad of the rain; it would wash away the blood and the dirt before his boys could see him. He hadn't known Race could hit quite that hard, and he groped tentatively for the cut at his temple and blinked blood out of his eyes. The memory of Race's nose breaking beneath his fingers should've mollified him a bit, but instead it made him sick to his stomach, like he hadn't felt since he found his father's body. He dropped to his knees and retched onto his bridge. Just one more thing for the rain to wash away. The crocuses were dead now; he could smell the decay in the air.

V.

Spring smelled better than winter. Especially when it rained.

Spot's lungs were full of Race, as they stood clutching each other's shirtsleeves, foreheads pressed together. Rain trickled down Spot's open collar and dripped from the tip of Race's nose, but it was warm and sweet and there were no complaints to be made.

It was better here, on the bridge, in the rain, all pink cheeks and drenched hair. They were a matched set, after all, like sturm and drang. And the whiff of promise was carried on the air, late spring flowers trumpeting their arrival like the dawning of the sun.

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