Before the Rain

Ciaran hugged his dark cowl closer to his head, keeping the coarse material from falling away from his face as he broke into the field of barley. A storm built steadily on the horizon. If he turned back now, he could still get to the monastery before the rain. He should have gone back. It was foolish and sinful to continue. Yet on he went, through the barley, past the giant stalks of gold spouting around him.

Sean probably hadn’t gone beyond his door. If he did it was to drive his animals to safety. He would have more important things to do.

Still Ciaran pressed forward, his mind focused ahead of him to the stump in the middle of the field. His robes bellowed and caught at the stalks as if the plants could restrain him. He tried not to break any of the barley, though if the storm was as bad as its threatened, most of the stalks would be broken by morning.

Sean would not be there. Even if he was, he could not possibly stay. The rain would come and they would part quickly. They would speak a few words. The rain would come. God would send the chilled water to divide them.

Up ahead, Ciaran could see the neat rows of grain surrender their military precision, interrupted by a wavy-edged stump. The stump was the remains of a giant tree that had been so wide around a man could not circle his arms even halfway around the trunk. The farmer who had cut the tree had been persistent and it took him over a week. The lumber had made him a small fortune and it allowed him to extend his crops through the area that the giant tree had once kept in a shadow.

The stump was so massive all of the farmer’s horses had been unable to move the thing. They had tried to dig it out, but the roots were too deep and tangled for them to separate it from the earth. Over time, the earth weakened its hold on the roots and someone – perhaps that persistent farmer- had continued trying to dig out decaying remains of the once great tree, cutting back at the roots on the underside until he had formed a ceiling of wood. This digger’s efforts had failed and the stump remained. Children would often play beneath the sturdy roots; the crevice was deep enough to hide three or four people.

When Ciaran reached the clearing in the golden stalks and the cooing wind, he stood panting before the giant stump. The monk sighed. Sean was not there.

Sean wasn’t there leaning against the lower edge of the stump as if he could pry the colossal tree away from the earth himself. Sean didn’t sit inside the flat circle, one brown arm flung over his raised knee like a new spring looking to grow out of the decay. He wasn’t lying in the soft earth underneath beckoning Ciaran to join him. He was somewhere else, working his land, tending his animals, waiting for the thunder.

Ciaran sighed again, the sound beginning as an expression of relief but transforming quickly into the dying whisper of disappointment. Sean had more important things to do.

The monk was out of breath from his run and leaned forward against the stump to catch his breath. The stump was taller than his waist and wide enough to be a Giant’s butcher board. He had the passing thought of flattening himself on the wood and waiting for the Giant to come along with an axe.

Instead, Ciaran put his back to the stump and slumped to the ground. The earth was still dry against his stockings. He didn’t care about how his robe gathered immodestly about his waist. He considered praying for forgiveness, though technically he had not committed any sin, yet. There was very little salvation found in praying to forgive the thought of a sin. Why waste God’s time with fruitless forgiveness if he would eagerly commit the sin… if Sean had been waiting. Sean with his dark eyes and beard, with his enormous body stretched luxuriously across the top of the stump, as if he were bathing in the damp air.

Ciaran groaned into his hands. He could still smell the pungent scent of incense.

He had not caught his breath when he heard a gentle rustle in the barley loud as thunder. He gripped at the stump, digging into the fragile bark of the wood, when he saw the grains moving from a force more determined than the wind.

For a moment, Ciaran wondered what would happen if he darted under the stump and avoided the man strolling casually towards him. Sean would think he had not come out for fear of the storm. Ciaran could ask another monk to buy and collect Sean’s goods for the church and this business could stop that easily.

Ciaran didn’t move. Just kept considered the consequences of movement. Sean broke the final barrier of golden stalks. The farmer saw him instantly, and when their eyes confronted at that distance, Sean lowered the bag across his back, dropping the bag of produce he had come to sell. Forgotten, it fell to the pliant earth with a softer thud than Sean’s footstep as he came nearer.

The monk watched Sean circled the stump slowly. His boots sank into the yielding earth. His strides were confident, the muscle in his legs, strong. His tunic stretched to fit his body and was as grey as the sky overhead. His face, rugged and stern, was browned by the sun that dared not witness this day.

When Sean planted his feet firmly into the earth, he stood directly before Ciaran, who continued to stare up at him, satisfied with this view of his tempter. The monk was suddenly aware how his robe was gathered and tangled about his waist. He looked away from the man towering over him to reach down and straighten the coarse material.

His body froze when Sean crouched down before him, his thick knees framing the monk’s vision and his left hand touching the earth between them. Ciaran only looked at him again when Sean’s right hand touched his face.

Sean smiled. He had said once that Ciaran had enough fear in him for both of them, and he always seemed amused by the monk’s desperate shyness. Sean leaned in to kiss him. Ciaran moaned quietly, felt like he could taste the soil in the man’s lips.

Ciaran shivered as Sean pressed closer lowering one knee to the ground, afraid of the swelling lust that accompanied the kiss, the closeness. Yet he didn’t resist, he lifted his hands around the man’s powerful shoulders, embracing his sin.

The farmer taunted him with short shallow kisses, as if he was considering turning back and abandoning their unspoken agreement. Maybe he had resolved to go home before the storm, to leave the bag, take the money, and not … stay. This may have happened accidentally. So many things between them happened accidentally. That was the way temptation worked; it was up to man to resist the accidents of fate.

As if the farmer where aware of his doubts, Sean pulled away. Ciaran resisted, tightening his grip on the man’s arms and rising to his knees to keep kissing him. His robe got in his way. There was so much passion in his movement, that Ciaran lost his balance and knocked Sean onto his back in the barley.

Sean laughed at him, but Ciaran didn’t notice. He came to his knees again, stretching his body between Sean’s legs and sinking his pelvis deeper between the man’s legs. His left hand followed, crawling down to stroke at the hot dark places where their bodies pressed tightly together. He kissed Sean’s mouth as if he could recover his own lost breath from the man’s lips.

Sean’s feet reconnected with the earth and he lifted his hands to Ciaran’s waist, rocking him gently and urging the man to rub against his body. Sean’s thumbs locked under the leather about the monk’s waist and he loosened the belt until it slipped away. Ciaran tried to pull their mouths apart to see where Sean would abandoning his belt, where his tunic and robe and cowl would quickly follow. Sean did not allow him to stop kissing now, holding his head.

Ciaran shivered with lust and braced his hands around Sean’s head to hover over him and kiss. Sean’s hands pushed under his robe. Big hands cold against his skin. Rough hands kneading the tense muscles of Ciaran’s thighs. Skilled hands tugging away the robe and pulling it up Ciaran’s back.

The stinging chill of the air shocked his overheated skin and if Ciaran had any breath left to give the surprise of the chill would surely have taken it away. Still, he sat back on his knees and lifted his arms in meek acceptance, allowing Sean to strip him naked.

Both men paused when the simple metal necklace slipped out of the robes and fell around his neck. The cross landed with a heavy thud on Ciaran’s chest.

The monk swallowed hard, ashamed. He usually remembered to take the necklace off and pocket it before he got to the field. When he lifted his hand to remove the cross, Sean took his hand and stopped him. For a moment, Ciaran expected Sean to send him away. The reminder of his lover’s holy vows, the reminder of how unnatural this lust was would chase him way. Instead, Sean leaned forward pushing Ciaran’s hands to the damp earth behind him and kissed him. His powerful arms made a cage around Ciaran’s cloistered body and bent him back.

Sean reached down and pulled Ciaran’s legs around his waist. He paused only long enough to grind his hand into Ciaran’s erection and smirk at the monk’s moan of pain and pleasure, before he began to pull down his lover’s stockings. Sean knocked Ciaran’s shoes off and the monk’s legs fell bare and spread wide around Sean’s knees.

Naked except for the cross, Ciaran closed his eyes and let Sean guide him to the damp ground. He was still panting for breath. He squeezed his eyes shut when he felt Sean’s hands shift from his thighs to his chest, tracing his fingers over his skin as if Ciaran were precious to him. He gloried in the touch. He knew if he opened his eyes he would see Sean’s dark eyes scrutinizing him, watching his every reaction, and he would see the foreboding heavens rumbling behind his lover. So he kept his eyes closed, shutting out the light, and only felt the powerful need in the other man’s rough hands.

Sean pushed his hands beneath Ciaran’s back, lifting his stomach and kissing him. Then Sean’s hands tucked under Ciaran’s bare thighs and drew him closer until the monk was no longer lying flat on the ground, but half on Sean’s knees. Ciaran was vaguely aware of Sean’s intention and he simply accepted the path as the best. There was no point in resisting anything Sean wanted.

Not when he ground their pelvises together, rubbing his coarse trousers against Ciaran’s unprotected flesh. Not when his rough hand circled Ciaran’s erection, stroking it hard, burning his skin with the pleasure. Not when Sean kissed him again.

And Sean took no effort to resist him, when Ciaran reached up to rub the thick bulge in the man’s pants, then carefully opened his trousers and pulled the other man’s heavy erection free. Ciaran’s squeezed his hand around the thick head and the long shaft. The sensation of just holding the other man’s cock made his own jump. He stared at the red and pulsing shaft in his hand and glanced down at his own which seemed an innocent blush in comparison. There was nothing to do, but stroke the more impressive and wait patiently for the man attached to issue the next command.

This was how it started. Sean was injured -maybe sick, Ciaran couldn’t recall- but he’d been in the monastery for treatment. He was lying on the bed, asleep and Ciaran had seem him become aroused, how seen his cock pushed up at the blankets. He had wanted to see more, to touch more; he was always too curious. He should have resisted that first temptation. He should have resisted Sean when he woke up. Sean had remarked how different it was to feel soft un-calloused hands around his shaft. And before the monk could speak, he had grabbed Ciaran’s head and pulled him down to his groin. He had wondered, as if speaking to himself, what it would be like to feel a scholar’s lips around his shaft.

Outside, under the stormy skies, Sean grunted and squeezed Ciaran’s thighs hard enough to hurt him. Ciaran released him and gasped when Sean jerked hard at his legs, lifting his lower back clear of the earth and slamming his hard arousal between Ciaran’s thighs. The monk lowered his hands to steady himself on the ground. He knew what to expect now.

Yet still, he gave a cry when he felt the intrusion of the man’s grainy calloused thumbs into his body. He sucked in a deep breath and held the precious air deep within his stomach. He only allowed the breath to escape when the pain of the thick fingers circling his cock and others plunging deep within him slipped into pleasure.

Sean did not take long. His thumbs abandoned Ciaran’s entrance, yet his hands remained on Ciaran’s thighs, pushing away the flesh that might have defended against intrusion. He felt the head of Sean’s cock press against him, forcing its way in.

Ciaran remembered the first time this had happened as well. Summertime, in Sean’s barn. Sean had thrown him down among the hay in such a sudden blistering moment of lust that neither of them really knew what was happening. Up until that day, it had all been mouth and penis. That first time, Ciaran had screamed from the pain, as if finally realizing the full brunt of his unholy urges, finally receiving punishment. But then the pain had left and in its place-

Sean grunted again as he pushed in and Ciaran swallowed his own heartbeat to stop from crying out. His eyes rolled up involuntarily taking in the grey sky and then the dark bark of the tree stump and the dry earth beneath it. Sean held his cock inside a moment, and Ciaran felt the throbbing and the pounding of another body inside him, stretching him and filling him.

Ciaran whimpered when Sean thrust into him. When they had time, when they could rest after their frantic coupling and recover, when they inevitably became aroused by each other again, Sean was always gentler the second time. Ciaran understood his brutality. He knew what it was like, knew how everything built up and there was such a need that you could forget there was a person receiving the force of your lust.

Sean moved faster now, still holding Ciaran off the ground, still sliding far out then slamming back in. A steady churning that lifted the monk away from the earth and then pushed him back towards it. Ciaran tried to lift his hand and bring it to his agonized groin, too seek some relieve for his own frustrated lusts, but he was not strong enough to balance. He ended up dropping his head and groaning from the pain and the growing need and the pleasure that each thrust spread. Sean knew how to reach deep into Ciaran’s body. Hammering as if he could forge a perfect receptacle for his pouring lust. Sean could wait to find his relief, could control himself, and just keep on striking forbidden places of Ciaran’s lust.

Sean’s hands slid down from Ciaran’s thigh, relaxing his hold and moving his hands to the monk’s lower back. Ciaran understood this command too, and he reached his hands around Sean’s shoulders when he bowed down to kiss him. When Sean drew back up, he lifted Ciaran with him, drawing the monk into his lap and leaning his own torso back.

Ciaran immediately took advantage of the position to gyrate his body, striving hard for his own pleasure. He looked down at Sean, his eyes flashing with the intensity of his lust and he saw Sean’s handsome face grit tighter with effort to hold back. Sean never lasted as long as he wanted when he let Ciaran take charge.

When Ciaran kissed him grinding hard over his cock, Sean pushed him back and separated their bodies. Ciaran moaned with displeasure and tried to hold him. But the farmer was stronger and the monk slipped off his lap and onto the hard earth. Sean staggered to his feet and Ciaran looked up at him with amazement and misunderstanding, reaching his hand towards him, but not bold enough to touch or to speak.

When Sean began to pull his shirt over his head, Ciaran sat back against the stump relieved. He realized that he was no longer cold in the damp air and when Sean’s gray tunic fell beside the brown robe, Ciaran saw that Sean was covered in sweat.

Ciaran leaned his head back into the stump and kneaded his cock between his fingers watching his lover open his trousers and push them down his muscular legs. Sweat formed beads from Sean’s tanned brow to his powerfully muscled chest. His arms rippled with movement as he pulled off one of his boots.

Then Sean noticed Ciaran quietly pleasuring himself as he stripped. Sean hesitated, then chuckled a little and ran a hand through his hair, embarrassed. So Ciaran looked away, hiding his blush. He pushed his palms into the earth, trusting his fingers against the dirt more than against his own skin. Even with only the metal cross for clothing, Ciaran must have looked the picture of innocence in that moment.

Ciaran wasn’t looking when Sean set his booted foot on his cock. He jolted and gasped, but the sound caught in his throat as the grainy texture of the farmer’s boot rubbed against the tenderness of his shaft. Sean flexed his foot a little and then back, very carefully, very gently stroking the other man. Ciaran let him. He braced his hands on the earth and rocked upwards into the pressure of the boot. He looked up at the naked man standing over him, his cock dangling swollen with desire before his eyes, his chest filling and emptying as he breathed calmly, his eyes sparkling down to the man he was tormenting. Ciaran groaned. He couldn’t stand it any longer. He brought his hands to the boot and held the other man’s foot still.

Holding the boot, it suddenly occurred to Ciaran that Sean meant for him to remove it. The monk bit his lip and pulled the shoe away, feeling like a simpleton, because the simple silent command hadn’t occurred to him sooner.

Ciaran stared at the ground around the man’s feet as Sean kicked his trousers away. The other man’s bending knees fell into his view followed quickly by Sean’s dropping pelvis, straining erection, smooth abdomen, heavily defined chest, and the smile beneath his beard. Ciaran couldn’t help but smile weakly in response to the man kneeling again between his legs. He closed his eyes living for the feeling of the other man’s thumb caressing his lip before Sean leaned closer to kiss him.

Sean guided him away from the stump and lay him down on the ground as he kissed him. His hands stroked over his chest, brushed against the cross, then down to his legs. Ciaran lifted them around Sean’s back and moaned softly with need.

It was more comfortable when Sean entered him this time, which may have been why Sean stopped before. Ciaran was more open, more relaxed, and twice as willing. He cooed with pleasure when the man moved inside of him.

Deeper in, further out. Ciaran began to clench his muscles to hold Sean inside, tightened his legs around the farmer’s back. He groaned, no longer from intrusion, but from the swelling arousal that he was in no position to combat. He rocked his own hips into Sean, moving with him. He moaned and encouraged his lover’s powerful shaft to stroke parts of him that radiated sharp pleasures and stinging lusts, parts of him that God was cruel to have created.

Ciaran was unable to control any of the sensations bursting from his body. His eyes flashed open to see Sean’s dark curling hair falling into his face as he churned harder into his body, to see the heavens curling overhead with their disapproving menace. He grunted, closing his eyes again, and felt the divine pleasure striking through him like lightening. “Oh God!”

Sean chuckled coldly, amused by the man writhing beneath him. When Sean allowed himself release, Ciaran felt the powerful bursts washing his insides. He tilted his head back and sighed, swallowed the first drops of rain finally beginning to pour from the overburdened sky.

*****

The rain continued to fall, but not underneath the stump where Ciaran still felt the weak pulsing of Sean’s member tucked inside of him. Sean lay with his arms across Ciaran’s chest, pressing their bodies tightly together in their earthy shelter. Ciaran didn’t mind. He still felt warm and dazed from the gentler second time.

Their clothes remained outside in the growing mud puddles, but for that moment neither man was a farmer or a monk and the clothing meant nothing. Sean rubbed his nose through his lover’s thick brown hair and spoke first. “Were you here long before me?”

“What?” Ciaran hadn’t been expecting any questions from Sean, but the moment he spoke he heard the deep mellow voice repeating the question in his own mind. He turned his head slightly to face the man more. “Oh no, not at all. Not even long enough to catch my breath.”

Ciaran chuckled and added. “This is the first time since I left the monastery that I’ve been able to catch my breath.”

Sean smiled and kissed his shoulder, a soft innocent expression that was more befitting of love than… whatever this unholy union was. Ciaran looked away, trying to keep down the sudden sense of shame and regret that filled him now that his body was sexually satisfied. The cross around his neck was covered with mud.

“It’s a long walk back to the monastery.” Sean nuzzled against Ciaran’s neck.

Ciaran answered quietly. “It’s a long way back to your farm.”

“If you had come to my farm to collect that bag, it would have been raining and I would made you spend the night.” Sean tightened his arm around the other man. “It’d be the only decent thing to do.”

Ciaran shifted out of his tight grip and separated their tangled bodies. Decency? What did either of them know about that? The monk turned onto his back and looked up at the bottom of the stump.

“I would refuse. I have my duties to the monastery.” Ciaran’s protest weakened even as he spoke, feeling Sean’s arm slid tight around his chest again.

“I would insist. They aren’t expecting you back tonight.” Sean said firmly. The finality in his tone was unquestionable, as if he already had Ciaran in his house and was now locking the door.

Ciaran had to agree. So he shifted again, turning to face Sean. His palm drifted over the curve of the other man’s shoulder, the bone in his hip, the strong muscles of his thigh.

They lay in silence, curling into each other for warmth as the rain began to pour into the hollow beneath the stump. Ciaran shivered as the water began to pool at his back but said nothing, not wanting to be the first to disrupt the comfortable embrace.

Sean notice the water when he brushed his fingers over Ciaran’s back and felt the mud. He leaned forward and laughed at the puddle the monk had allowed to accumulate. “Let’s go.”

Sean crawled into the grey daylight and Ciaran shivered after him, following his lover into the rain and letting the chilling water wash the mud off his back and the cross around his neck. Sean was already half dressed.

Ciaran tugged hard to try to untangle his wet stockings and Sean watched his struggle long enough to laugh, then took the ankle of the stockings and folded them in his hand. “We’ll put them by the fire and dry them out. Just put on your robe, then.”

The monk furrowed his brow and stared at the mud around his feet. He wished he had hidden under the stump. At this moment, he would be sitting in mass, or reading quietly, or any number of things more suited to his vows and devotions, than standing naked in the rain. Instead, he was going to Sean’s house, to pass a night which undoubtedly would be filled with the lust and wantonness that had brought him out in the first place. His body reacted to his thought, anticipating the same night that his soul dreaded.

The monk sighed and shook his head. “This… this is not wise, Sean.”

The farmer handed him the drenched robe. “It never was.”

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We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. –Oscar Wilde

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