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Silver Lining

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Fine feathers do not make a fine bird, Will observed reluctantly, adjusting his tie and smoothing the collar of his white shirt as the doorbell rang. He wheeled away from the hallway mirror and toward the front door, reminding himself sternly that the goal today was not seduction, so fine feathers mattered little. Today's objective was to ensure Ben's continued presence in his life.

But only as his physical therapist and friend, not his lover, Will lectured himself even more severely as he opened his front door to reveal Ben standing on the porch, wearing the tight spandex shorts and loose tank top that were his normal working attire. The shorts ended mid-thigh, making his golden legs look endlessly long, and the thin straps of his shirt revealed plenty of smooth skin. He would make an excellent Adonis, Will thought every time he saw Ben on his porch with the sun behind him, illuminating him. His skin tone and figure were perfect for a toga tied over one shoulder, the drape of the fabric leaving a nipple exposed.

"Hello," Will said, smiling. Ben not only looked good, he had the power to make Will feel good, even in the early days after his accident when every motion jarred his wrecked body, making him curse and cry. Ben's presence was soothing and comforting while his energy was infectious, making him the perfect assistant and coach for Will as he struggled to regain his mobility.

"Hi," replied Ben, smiling back. "You look great."

"Thanks." Will preened a little, even as his inner voice mocked his own foolishness. Ben's compliments and admiration were likely trotted out for all his clients.

"Did you have a visitor?"

Rolling his wheelchair back, Will answered, "Yes, my editor. We finalized the details for my book tour."

Ben stepped into the hallway, carefully keeping his sports bag from swinging at Will. "He rates then. I usually see you in sweats."

"We've only talked over the phone. I thought he should meet me as I intend to appear at signings."

"You're going to be a wonderful speaker. You'll have the audience eating out of your hand."

"Thank you."

"Now let's get you undressed, hmm?"

Will felt the familiar jump of his cock at Ben's casual flirting and once again ruthlessly suppressed his desire. Ben might tease and joke, but he was a dedicated professional, intending nothing sexual by his words. "Lead the way."

He wheeled after Ben, watching with appreciation as the rounded butt cheeks outlined by tight spandex gracefully flexed with each stride. Truly Ben was poetry in motion padding in his sneakers on the hardwood floor, down the hallway and into the back bedroom that had been converted into a workout room. Will was grateful that his house didn't have carpeting. The details to life had seemed so insurmountable after the accident - adding ramps to the front and back walkways, lowering counters and rearranging furniture, having bars installed in strategic places so he could get himself in and out of the bed and bath. At least when his strength had begun to recover, he'd been able to roll around the house to oversee the workmen.

Reaching the workout room, he locked the wheels and swung himself onto the table. "I'm so much stronger than I was."

"You are." Normally Will was dressed more suitably for working out, but they worked together efficiently, without embarrassment, to change his clothes. Ben took off Will's dress shoes and socks while Will removed his tie and shirt, then Will laid his upper body on the table so Ben could swing his legs up and take off his creased slacks, before easing loose shorts up the motionless legs and onto trim hips. "Though you've always been a strong man."

"I didn't feel like it. I felt like a mewling kitten."

"You've recovered much faster than many of my clients. And are quite impressively self-sufficient."

"Yes, I wanted to talk to you about that."

"About what? Your strong muscles?" Ben grinned cheekily, his suggestiveness eternally friendly, never quite stepping over the boundary between a therapist and his client. No matter how much Will might wish it.

"My self-sufficiency."

Ben began Will's therapy, the routine of moving, stretching and flexing each leg to make the muscles as strong and supple as they could be, despite Will's inability to control them. "Yes?" Raising one leg, Ben bent it to Will's chest, holding it there, frowning intently.

Will loved that look - the little wrinkled frown lines around his eyes and the crease down the middle of his forehead. That look made Will want to smother Ben's face with kisses, relax the concentration and restore his smile. "I'll be traveling soon."

"The book tour. Too many cities in too few days."

"The new laws have certainly helped access for the wheelchair-bound in this country, but I still expect to encounter a number of obstacles."

"We've got a long way to go," Ben agreed, flexing his palm on Will's feet, making every toe bend.

Faint heart never won fair gentleman, Will reminded himself before baldly announcing, "I'd like you to go with me."

Ben paused, looking at Will in surprise, then continued his work. "You don't need a full-time therapist."

"As both my therapist and personal aide. I want someone around in case I need help when traveling. You'll have a lot of free time though, after I'm settled in the hotel or when I'm speaking. My schedule will be busy but not too hectic."

"And we'd continue your normal sessions?"

"Yes, though we may have to do them at different times."

"I thought your editor was going to arrange help for you?"

"He worked on it but I found the arrangements unsatisfactory. I don't want to rely on a succession of strangers."

Ben was silent, still working Will's legs, his blue-green eyes pensive.

"Your salary will be excellent. And I know you're interested in traveling. I'll make sure you'll have a chance to see as much of each city as you can." He was on the verge of pleading, Will realized, but unable to help himself. There was no fool like an old fool, and Will felt so very ancient next to Ben, this dedicated and charming therapist who'd dragged him kicking and screaming through the darkest hours of his life. He'd hated the younger man's calmness, his ability to deflect insults with mild quips while forcing Will to exercise his body, strengthening his arms, back, and torso to carry the burden of his lower half. Hated him with passion each and every session... until he realized he loved him with an even greater intensity.

Loved him and didn't want to lose him, even in this limited capacity as therapist and friend. He hated to think of traveling months without seeing his face, perhaps returning to discover that Ben's schedule was too full to handle an old client.

"Money has never been a strong motivating factor for my decisions."

"You always have seemed motivated by a sincere desire to help people. It's one of the qualities I most admire about you."

"One of my many admirable qualities." Ben flashed that teasing grin before the intense expression returned. "Seriously, I prefer the challenge of helping people just after their incident. I like to feel I'm making a real difference in their lives. Under normal circumstances, I would have transferred you to another therapist last month. Until there's another advance in medical technology, you're on a maintenance status now."

The thought that Ben might have left his service weeks ago pierced Will with an unexpected pain like a rusty old knife with a sharp point digging into his chest. He loathed the thought of being just another client, another challenge no longer intriguing to Ben. He wanted to be his world, not his hard luck case. But then Ben's choice of words registered and Will asked, "What are the abnormal circumstances?"

Ben stretched Will's leg out fully, his flexibility even better than before his accident, his foot inches away from his face. "The book tour. It's been fascinating to hear about your plans."

"I see," Will said, watching Ben's eyes, mesmerized by normal blue-green expressiveness shading into the flat gray blankness. Almost excessively professional, Ben looked almost like a doctor hiding the most dire news from a dying patient. Was Ben lying to him? "So that's all? You've been hanging around to learn my travel plans?"

"Of course. It'll be fantastic for the handicapped community, the number of people you'll reach, the lives you'll touch. I'm very excited about it."

"You don't look excited."

Ben shrugged, guiding Will's leg back to the table, beginning with the other.

No response? Ben had no response? Ben always had a response, sometimes teasing, sometimes sincere, but he was never at a loss for words. Why was the younger man so quickly dismissing Will's offer? Was there some impediment in his life that stopped him from going? A personal problem that he wouldn't reveal to Will? Or was he simply not interested in spending months with Will as his main companion? Had he been hiding a disdain or dislike for Will behind the professional veneer?

"You're hiding something," he accused.

"Don't be absurd," Ben snapped back, not pausing in his work.

"If you were so interested in hearing about the tour, why won't you consider going with me? Surely you'd like to see the results first-hand. You're not even giving me the courtesy of thinking about your decision for an evening."

"I have a life. I have obligations."

"Your roommate would be delighted to have the apartment to himself. And you haven't taken on any new clients lately. Surely another therapist can be found for your current ones? Aren't they close to maintenance status?"

"I'm glad to know you can just wrap up my life like that." Ben took one hand off Will's leg to snap his fingers. "All for your personal convenience."

Though he could no longer run, Will almost crowed like a hunter spying wounded prey. Ben was never snide. Will's offer had truly flustered him and he was running scared, the gray in his eyes chased out by an angry green. Will grabbed onto Ben's shoulders, his fingers digging into the solid muscles, hauling him close. The position was awkward, with Will's bent leg trapped between their bodies. "What are you hiding? Why won't you go with me?"

As if letting primal instinct overrule his trained professionalism, Ben jerked back to break Will's hold. The older man lunged after him, grabbing wildly for Ben, refusing to let go. He succeeded in capturing him, but Ben tripped as he was backing up, and Will was unbalanced over the edge of the table, unable to catch himself. The two sprawled to the floor in a tangle of splayed limbs. Ben's body cushioned Will's fall, but the heavy weight of the older man knocked the breath from the younger.

Cursing his crippled legs, Will dragged himself off Ben. "Are you alright? I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

Ben struggled for breath, concern instantly driving out the anger. "I'm fine. Are you okay?"

Lying sideways, propping his torso off the hard floor, Will responded, "I'm fine. But please. Please. Consider my offer. Go with me. Or at least tell me the truth why you won't." Truly he was an old fool, but he was too committed and Ben's reaction too extreme to give up easily.

"Because I love you, of course." And cupping Will's head in his hands, he hauled the bigger man down on top of him and kissed him.

The sudden confession and abrupt action startled Will, but he'd always been a man to take action, and the accident had taught him the brevity of life. He kissed Ben back hungrily, savoring the sweetness of the younger man's mouth until Ben lifted Will's head away from his, not seeming to have accepted the meaning of Will's intense response.

"A few hours a week is bad enough but days in your company?" He shook his head, smiling sadly with regret. "It's inappropriate to molest a client, no matter how much I'd like to."

"This is a joke."

"No, it's not."

"Then an infatuation. Something like the Stockholm Syndrome."

A muscle in his cheek twitched and Ben's frown intensified. "I'm not a teenage fool, Will. Or a novice therapist. I know what love feels like. I know I love you like I've never loved another soul in my life. I could spend my life with you."

His turn for speechlessness, Will shook his head in disbelief. Were ice crystals forming in hell, or was Satan laughing in glee at tricking another silly victim?

"I just made you fall and endangered your health rather than tell you the truth, and now you won't believe me?"

"I want to."

"Then do so. You know what Yoda says."

"There is no try, do?"

"You've learned your lessons well."

Impulsively, Will asked, "Marry me?" And he kissed Ben with all the repressed passion that he'd never believed he would be able to release, the day's nervous fear and worry magically dissolved by Ben's burning response, the younger man's arms closing around Will's shoulders, holding him fiercely.

"This is madness," Ben sighed when he could speak. "I thought I would be saying goodbye to you soon and now I have everything I've ever wanted handed to me on a silver platter."

"It is madness." A sliver of insecurity, insidious and nagging, sneaked back through the golden glow surrounding them. "How can you love a crippled wreck like me?"

For a moment, the encouraging yet strict therapist of their first sessions took control again. "You're not a crippled wreck and I don't want to hear such words." A laugh of joy escaped from Ben's chest, and he rolled the two over, making himself comfortable on Will's body, his legs on each side of Will's, his forearms braced on Will's big chest so he could look at him easily. "Don't you realize what kind of man you are?"

"I know what kind of man I've been since the accident. Frustrated, cranky, miserable, complaining, helpless. I've been an ass."

"You've had the natural reactions of anyone who's suffered the type of trauma you've had."

"So you fall in love with all your patients for their bad tempers? I didn't think you were a masochist."

Temper flared in Ben's eyes. "Don't demean me. Or yourself. Yes, you've been unhappy and you've taken it out on me. That's a part of my job and I accept it. But you've also shown more courage and determination than I've ever seen. You've growled and complained but you've worried more about the others in the accident than yourself. You've come to terms with your condition and moved on. You're kind and intelligent and resourceful and..." Ben's words faltered, watching the hope and doubt chase each other in Will's blue eyes. He laid back down on Will's chest and kissed him, persuading him with physical affection.

Will kissed him back, tilting his head and opening his mouth again. A small groan emerged as their tongues met, caressing slickly, this time not out of surprise but with full awareness of who they were and what they wanted, no longer constrained by their professional roles.

Will placed his hands in the dip of Ben's back, sliding them delicately up and down, feeling the lean muscles and ridged spine of a body nurtured and molded into perfect shape, a living example of achievement for his clients.

"Touch me. Everywhere."

The freedom to touch every precious inch of skin, to fulfill his secret fantasies of taking lusty liberty with Ben's body made Will giddy with happiness as he took greedy advantage of Ben's request. "Everywhere? Here?" He cupped the rounded cheeks of Ben's ass, squeezing tightly, bringing their bodies together as their cocks swelled against the spandex and cotton of their shorts, seeking a closer connection as eagerly as their souls and minds. Ben's "yes, there" was a moaned breath against Will's skin.

"This is madness," Will said again. "Sweet madness. Unbelievable madness."

"Believe it," Ben said dreamily, nuzzling at Will's neck. "Believe in me. Believe in yourself."

The soft skin and strong body rubbing on his made Will groan with wonder and desire. His legs may not work, but his arms and hands suffered no such weakness, learning Ben's body as directed and craved. They'd touched so many times in their sessions, the friendly yet clinical touches necessary to restore his body. But this - this was so different. No healing or pain or careful consideration, just passion, pure and simple and hot.

The well-trimmed nails dragging on the crease where butt flowed into thigh made Ben jerk and laugh. "Like to tease, do you?"

"I like everything." Catching the bottom of Ben's shirt, Will yanked it upwards, impatient to see what he could finally touch.

Ben sat up, continuing the disrobing. "Since when?"

"Since what?"

"Since you first wanted me. Loved me."

"The first day."

"You hated me the first day. You hated the world. You were my wounded lion."

"And you were an unyielding taskmaster who quoted old platitudes at me." Will had never seen Ben's bare chest, and stroked the revealed skin cherishingly, plucking at the brown nubs of his nipples, running his fingertips over the downy chest hair.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. You called me a sanctimonious prick."

"Did I?"

"You did."

"I don't remember that. I remember you could always make me feel good. Your smile..." He traced Ben's lips with one finger. Ben sucked the finger into his mouth, drawing strongly, wetting the full length before releasing it with a popping sound. Will shuddered.

Ben persisted. "Since when?"

"I don't know," Will admitted. "There was never a single moment. Somewhere between the swearing and the triumph, between hating you and knowing I needed you, I knew I didn't want to ever live without you in my life. I love you."

"I know exactly when I feel in love with you."


"Maybe I'll make you wonder."

"Tease me, will you?" With a growl, Will yanked Ben back in his arms and rolled onto him, using the strength of his torso to flip his legs on top of Ben, catching Ben's arms and holding them over his head. He then proceeded to kiss him thoroughly before latching onto his neck, sucking on one spot, determined to draw the blood to the skin and create a bruise, feeling more powerful than he ever had in his life at his ability to make Ben quake.

Pinned down by Will's strength, Ben could only shake and shiver under the relentless loving. If truly determined, he could have escaped, but the sensation of Will being domineering was too delicious to end abruptly.

"You won't talk?" Without waiting for an answer, Will scooted down Ben's body, blowing a raspberry on Ben's stomach, making him laugh helplessly.

"I'll talk! I'll talk!"

"So when was it?"

Ben smoothed Will's tousled short brown hair. "The day I had to put my dog down. None of my other clients even noticed that something was wrong. But you did. You were barely recovered yourself. You were demanding and grumpy. Then you showed this streak of empathy wider than the Grand Canyon. And I thought I could love someone who had such problems but still cared for others more than himself. And I did."

His throat too tight to speak, Will shimmied back up Ben's body, answering his honesty with soft kisses all over his face, closing his eyes, and taking his lips once more in a thorough kiss.

"Or maybe it was the day I helped you bathe and realized you were hung like a bull," Ben teased, slipping his hand between their bodies to cup Will's erection. "Sexual dysfunction is obviously not a problem."

"I hope not. I've masturbated since the accident but ... you'll be my first lover."

"I like that. Your first."

"And my last. You'll have to be on top," Will rolled to his back.

"Not a problem, I can assure you. Blast - condoms?"

"There should be some in the drawer in my nightstand. If they're still good."

"They'd better be." He gave a firm caress to Will's stiffness. "Keep this up for me."

"I will," Will promised as Ben scrambled off his body and started toward the door. Instead of leaving, the younger man stopped and turned toward the wheelchair.


"Our first-time won't be on the floor. We're waited months. We can wait a few more minutes." He pushed the chair next to Will's body as Will sat up. Moving as one, Will pushed, Ben pulled, and Will was lifted up to be deposited into the chair.

"I think these can come off now." Ben peeled his clothes off rapidly while Will watched the lithe perfection emerge.

"You have a beautiful body."

"It's time for you to be in it." He straddled Will's lap, catching his head in his palms, uniting their lips again.

Will groaned at Ben's easy suggestion as he surrendered to the kiss. He started the chair, wheeling them down the hall, into his bedroom, and up to the edge of the bed. Ben refused to break the kiss during the trip, devouring Will's lips, greedier than a starving man faced with a feast of steak and champagne.

"Perfect positioning." Again, moving flawlessly together, Ben stood, bringing Will with him. Will shoved against the wheelchair arms, adding momentum to help Ben move him. The chair rolled back, hitting the wall as they fell to the bed.

Will marveled at the dexterity with which Ben rolled him, flipped the covers down, and rolled him back to the sheets, ending on top once more. "You've had practice."

"A little. Though I don't usually wind up in such an agreeable place."

"Where were we?"

"Here." Their lips met, devouring, their breath growing harsh as they tried to steal the life from each other.

Ben knew Will's body well; he'd helped sculpt the upper body muscles that made him independent, coaxed the lower to stay in shape. Now Will took the liberty of expanding his own knowledge. A body that he'd only admired was learnt with care and devotion, skin touched and stroked, ticklish spots found and teased, the contrast between the soft dusting of hair on his chest and arms and the coarser fuller hair surrounding his cock examined.

A hasty scrabble in the nightstand revealed the condoms and lube. Dropping the latter on Will's chest, Ben said, "Yours to handle."

An odd fear made Will's hands shake as he coated his fingers with the slick substance. It seemed like forever since he'd completed this small task, so necessary to avoid causing pain and yet so erotic. Ben obligingly scooted forward, widening the spread of his legs to allow better access. Will's finger slipped in easily, eliciting only a gasp from Ben. He searched for and found the tender gland within Ben, drawing a deeper groan from his new lover. The sound reassured him, restoring his confidence, and he grinned as he added another finger, teasing and playing with Ben's prostate until the younger man was writhing on his fingers, riding him hard, a young god of love and carnality in the throes of passion.

"Put it on me." Will wondered from Ben's dazed expression if he understood the instruction. He tapped lightly inside his body, then gave a long sliding stroke. "I want to be in you."

"Oh yes!" The fumbling was unusual for the normal sure-handed therapist and for a moment, Will feared Ben would tear the condom in his haste. But then Will was sheathed by clingy latex and seconds later, by the tighter heat of Ben's body.

Frustration with his limp and useless legs had become an accepted part of Will's life but there was nothing limp or useless about his penis, urgently stiff and full of blood, a lightning rod ready to be struck by the charged particles in the air. He tried to buck, needing to drive himself deeper, but Ben tightened his knees on Will's hips, holding him down, preventing him from becoming discouraged by his pointless attempt to move. "Let me."

His groan an assent, Will relaxed into stillness, his eyes fixed on Ben's body. The younger man rode Will, his body rippling from head to bent knees as he plunged up and down. Ben threw his head back, nostrils, flaring, his panting breath causing his Adam's apple to bob in the graceful long line of his throat. The well-defined muscles of his chest and abdomen expanded and contracted, and his penis pointed at Will, fluid dripping as it swayed with every grind of those slender hips.

Unable to resist, Will rubbed the fluid into his belly before wrapping his hand around Ben's penis, stroking the impressive length in time to his increasingly rapid plunges. A bird in the hand... and two in the bush, he thought with a touch of amusement, cradling the heavy balls with his other hand.

Never had Will felt so vibrant, so alive, so aware of the sounds of sex, Ben's panting and his own groans. The sheets were cool on his back, the warm covers puddled around his feet, the brightness of the bedroom's light hot on their writhing bodies. Their skin was wet with sweat, their throats dry, starved for air as they panted and strained for completion. Ben's body was so tight, so intense as it surrounded his, Will's arms uncoordinated, flailing wildly against the bed. He felt all these sensations keenly, distinctly, and yet also as a combined whole igniting every nerve ending in his body. The final hot pleasure came as lightning from an electrical shower striking his rod, shooting through the fallow ground, sending his senses reeling into overload, causing a momentary black-out in his mind.

Ben slumped on Will, grinning victoriously as he recovered from the pleasure. "Now for what I've really wanted to do."

Will moaned. "I have no energy left."

"Shhh." Ben's expression softened as stroked Will's face tenderly, the powerful features, the trim beard covering the jaw line, the places where cuts and bruises had healed to leave unmarked skin.

"My face?"

"It's the only part of you I've never had a reason to touch." Ben's gentle touches revealed the depth of his admiration for Will's handsomeness before he kissed him a last time and lifted himself off Will and the bed.

Instantly missing the warmth, Will called after the departing figure, "Come back."

"Just a moment." Ben returned with a warm wet cloth, cleaning Will's body and his own, before turning off the light and curling next to him, resting his head on Will's chest. "I think I need a nap now."

"A nap would be lovely."

"And then we have to finish your session. If I'm going to be your personal assistant and therapist, I won't neglect your health."

Will dropped a kiss to Ben's forehead, reminding him. "And my husband."

"And your husband," was Ben's sleepy response.

Smiling, Will drifted off to sleep, reflecting that sometimes the old clich were right. There always was a silver lining behind every dark cloud.

~ the end ~