Peter stacked tender in a triangle. Outside of the small clearing, he had hand cleared of the tallest weeds, his horse ate what he had pulled. A large swath of sweat still stood out on her sorrel coat, but as the temperature dropped, she would dry out. Peter watched her skin twitch from flies as his fire caught.
Through the thin trees, he could see the lake.
It had taken a few days to work his way over the ring of mountains that concealed the deep blue water. As the fire slowly took, Peter picked his way through the underbrush until he stood on the stony bank of the clear water. Miles of coast were visible and his was the only fire.
Then again, it was a lake in the middle of the Appalachian mountains. He could be the only man for hundreds of miles and never know it.
He crouched by the water’s edge and took off his hat. Then he sloshed water over his head and face, tasting sweat and dirt on the seam of his lips for a few passes. When he felt clean enough, he wiped his eyes and looked out over the calm water.
He had crossed the ocean with his parents when he was three from Ireland. He had gone West with them when land opened. He had seen seas of water and land and the still water with trees as green as his mother’s emeralds put a fire to all of it.
Peter jerked and looked to his side. A man younger than him stood on the bank a few hundred feet away.
“Good evening,” Peter said, standing up, wiping the rest of the water from his face. The kid’s pants and shirt were wet. “You’re not supposed to swim in there.”
The man laughed. He was a beautiful thing. He was prettier when he laughed. His eyes were something better than flat brown in the dying sun.
“The Scots says she’s got a Kelpie,” Peter said.
The kid laughed slightly. “There’s no kelpie in there.”
The kid had an accent, but Peter couldn’t fix it. When he drank his own Irish accent would settled into his words. Even mention of a kelpie set his blood stirring, but he was more than a clansman with folktales. He was charting the continent and he still hasn't found a monster worthy of those stories.
“Live here?” Peter asked.
“No one lives here,” the boy said. Then he came closer and held out his hand. “Stiles.”
“Peter,” he said, shaking his hand. It was as cold as the water.
“Where’s your crew?”
“I don’t have one.”
Peter smiled slightly, staring at him. He couldn’t be more than twenty-two. Old enough to travel alone, but young enough that he shouldn’t. Not without a gun at least and Peter didn’t see one on him. He could see his collar too well. His face and color was still warm enough, though. He wasn’t sickly. Peter had showed up at a campsite more than once with no more recommendation than the boy in front of him.
“I'm about to put dinner on. Do you want to join me?”
“Do you have enough?”
“I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t.”
Peter walked back to his bank with Stiles picking through the undergrowth quietly behind him. The back of his neck tingled, but he ignored it as they emptied into his campsite. He pulled his kit to him on the ground as Stiles sat near the fire. His clothes were dripping. It made the edges of the fire sizzle. His lips looked blue in the firelight.
“You’ll catch your death swimming like that.”
“I’m not that cold,” he said.
Peter left him alone as he cut salted pork and put it near the fire to heat it a little. He took a flask from his pack and took a long drink before handing it to Stiles. Stiles took a long drink before passing it back. He didn’t flinch.
Dinner was simple, but Stiles ate well and Peter enjoyed the company even if it was quiet. Eventually Stiles’s clothes stopped dripping, but he still laid close to the fire, nearly curled around it. His clothes were worse for wear. Coming from Peter, it was significant. His shirt was so thin it was see through.
Peter was staring at him when Stiles looked back at him. The sun had gone down, leaving only the orange glow on his pale face. His eyes had gone from that bright glowing color to a deep brown that was somehow just as entrapping.
“Want to fuck?”
Peter laughed slightly, “Do many people say no to that?”
“Then who am I?” Peter asked.
Stiles pushed himself to his knees and came over to him. Peter spread his legs where he sat and let Stiles crowd against him. Peter kissed his fire-warmed lips and started to pull at his clothes . He hadn’t had sex in months and he hadn’t had sex with someone he thought was beautiful in years. He kissed him deeper and Stiles gave as good as he got, digging his nails into Peter’s skin, pushing Peter when he tried to put him on his knees until Peter was on his back, then he did his best to suck Peter’s soul out through his cock. Peter was more than willing to sell it to him to finish in his full-lipped mouth when Stiles pulled off.
Stiles laid on him and Peter shivered. It had been so long since he felt the weight of another person on top of him. Even longer since he’d felt the mass and strength of another man. He kissed Stiles deeply, spreading his ass cheeks and pulling his hips down against his own.
When Stiles groaned, Peter brushed his fingers against his hole.
“Take it up the ass?”
Stiles nodded, drawing his knees up until he was straddling Peter’s hips. Then he pulled away from their kiss long enough to lube three of his fingers in his own mouth. He started to kiss Peter again as he rocked back on his own fingers, whimpering into Peter's mouth and grinding against his hips.
His skin was warm, but his hair was still damp as Peter ran his fingers through it. It felt good against his heated body. Then Stiles sank down on him and Peter lost all thoughts that weren’t the tight circle of muscle around him.
Then Peter rolled them and fucked Stiles hard as he laid between his legs. They kissed for a few seconds at a time and Peter tasted blood. He didn’t know if it was his own or Stiles’s from how hard their lips met and how hard their teeth were. He could feel Stiles breaking the skin on his back and it only drug him closer to finishing.
Stiles going over the edge made his body ripple. Peter bit the side of Stiles’s neck as he came and tried to keep from yelling like a sex-starved boy. He thought he would lose consciousness as his finish rolled through him over and over again until he was left shaking.
He pulled away slightly then dropped his forehead against Stiles’s.
Stiles laughed slightly, cupping his cheek.
Peter laid there for a moment longer, his heart attempting to beat out of his chest before he rolled onto his back, his dick deflating in the cold. Stiles laid beside him, staring up through the tree tops.
“Is this the most beautiful place you’ve seen?”
Peter listened to the few night birds as his breathing slowly evened. It felt like they had had sex for no time at all and yet the signs pointed to it being late. The stars were in full bloom above them. The moon was somewhere fat and full with the blue glow on the leaves.
“Me too,” Stiles said.
Peter laid beside Stiles and listened to the crackling of the fire, the bugs, the birds, the lake, and nothing at all. The low drone that became the sound of pure peace.
“I’m going to wash off,” Stiles said, getting up and going toward the lake.
“Good idea,” Peter said, but he waited.
He didn’t want Stiles to see his legs still weak. When he heard the quiet splash, he stood up and followed Stiles back through the thin tree line. The moon was above the lake. It glowed in the center like an opal.
He stepped into the water and shivered. It tracked like a thousand needles from his tailbone to the base of his spine.
“Should you be that far out?” Peter asked.
Stiles laughed. In the hallowed land, it came back from the hills.
“Will the Kelpie get me?” Stiles asked before he fell backward in a move that looked like dancing. His pale mole covered stomach flexed before he was beneath the current.
Peter swam farther out laughing to himself. Small bubbles of air rose to the surface as he tracked Stiles beneath the surface. Then the water rumbled and he popped up with his back to Peter. The water glinted beneath the moon like silver.
The water rose around Peter’s chest up to his collarbone before he began to swim to where Stiles was. Stiles treaded water as he reached him. Then he wrapped his arms around Peter’s shoulders. He wasn’t the strongest swimmer, but Stiles was still moving his legs enough that Peter couldn’t feel them and he was helping keep them afloat.
Stiles kissed him and his lips tasted like the lake. Peter slid his fingers into his wet hair and held him closer. His thin torso was so cool against him. His tongue was hot in his mouth.
“Was it worth it?” Stiles asked, pressing his forehead against him.
“Was what?” Peter asked.
Stiles laughed slightly and kissed him again. Peter was melted into it. Then something moved against his lips. Something in Stiles’s mouth. He kissed him again before he pulled away. Stiles’s mouth was lumpy on either side. Peter began to pull away, then he felt something thick and smooth wind around his legs.
Peter started to jerk away and it tightened.
“Go easy on yourself and inhale,” Stiles said.
Then he shoved Peter beneath the water as the thick band tightened around his legs and hips. He clawed at Stiles, but he only brushed him. The water burned his eyes as he stared up at Stiles’s pale face. He struggled against the band around his legs, shoving at it. It was slick and thick. All he could think of were the drawings of oceans. The raising and falling humps of monsters. As his eyesight began to pound and go dark, it looked like Stiles was standing in snow. His skin was covered in crystalin etching.
Then he did exactly what Stiles said.
He gasped and water flooded his insides.