Cembran was happy, truly happy for the first time in a very long time. He sat in his small shelter tending his family’s flock of sheep on the mountain slopes of a small valley in what are now known as the Jura Mountains of Switzerland. The sheep grazed contentedly as Cembran sat with the last of the day’s sun shining on his back, warming him on the outside as the memory of Gathod warmed him on the inside. Even more exciting was that he knew Gathod was coming to him. Cembran knew that tonight they would join together for the first time and his body tingled with anticipation, mixed with a touch of fear. His father would be angry if he found out about them, but his love for Gathod vastly outweighed his fear of his father.
Cembran’s father was very strong and powerful, particularly in their little village deep in the mountains. Even though he was almost thirty years old, his father still controlled much of his life. His brother Fartham, on the other hand, was always his father’s favorite, so he always got whatever he wanted. Lucky for Cembran, Fartham was basically a good brother who looked out for him and even stood up for him with their father.
As the sun set behind the mountains, he saw Gathod walking along the path to his shelter. Cembran stood and smiled broadly as his lover approached. Gathod dropped his pack in the shelter and without wasting time, wrapped Cembran in a tight embrace, kissing him deeply. They’d been apart for less than twelve hours, but it seemed like much longer.
As darkness approached, Cembran built a small fire near the shelter entrance. Even during the summer months, the temperature dropped dramatically at night. Gathod sat near the fire and Cembran sat at his side. Strong arms wrapped around his back, pulling him into a deep, penetrating kiss.
“Have I told you I love you?” Gathod’s deep, rich voice swelled with passion.
“Not since you arrived, no,” Cembran whispered playfully.
“Well, I do love you.”
A gentle but determined set of lips pressed to his. Cembran opened into the kiss, giving himself over to the sensations and his own desire and need.
Gathod broke the kiss reluctantly, “We should eat. I think we’ll need our strength.”
Cembran brought out the food he’d planned for dinner and the two of them ate. He watched each bite Gathod took, the way his lips moved, the way his tongue savored the cheese, the way the wine lingered on his lips. Finally, Cembran could wait no longer.
“Gathod, I need you.” He turned and headed into the shelter. “Love me.”
After a few minutes, Gathod joined him. Cembran was lying on his back on a bed of soft, thick blankets, his clothes folded and stacked at his feet. Gathod followed his lead, slowly removing his clothes as Cembran watched every movement. After what seemed like an eternity, Gathod was nude as well. His body was wide, strong, and it felt good as his weight pressed Cembran into the blankets. Their lips kissed, hands explored, legs entwined, cocks rubbed. Each movement, each sensation felt new, heightened, special.
“I love you, Gathod.” The words were whispered as lips found and sucked Cembran’s sensitive nipples. Those lips continued down his body, opening for him, taking him in. The hot wetness of Gathod’s mouth nearly sent him over the edge. Gathod added suction and worked his tongue across the base of the head, again and again, making Cembran moan and plead for more. It wasn’t long before he felt his climax building. His lover must have felt it too, because he sucked harder, sending Cembran over the edge. His climax seemed to come from deep in his soul as he spilled himself into Gathod’s mouth.
Gathod smiled as he swallowed everything Cembran could give him. Bringing their mouths together, he kissed Cembran deeply as he parted and lifted Cembran’s legs to expose his most private opening. Gathod looked at Cembran, questioning.
Cembran responded by pulling his legs up farther, completely exposing himself, giving himself to this man, the man he loved. Gathod reached for the small bottle of oil he’d brought with him and slicked his fingers, slowly and carefully making Cembran ready for him: first one finger, and then two, checking for any sign of discomfort or doubt. There was none. A third finger had Cembran opened and ready. After oiling his cock, Gathod pressed the head to Cembran’s entrance. Slowly, deliberately, he pressed into Cembran’s strong, hot body.
Cembran had waited for this for a very long time. He had longed to be with Gathod since that first awakening of desire years before, but he never dreamed it could be like this. Gathod pushed into his body, entering him, filling him, completing him. Looking into Gathod’s eyes, he saw only love and affection.
“Love me.” The words came breathlessly as Gathod filled him to completion. The rest of the world faded away as they started to move, slowly at first, then increasing speed and intensity.
Gathod leaned forward, kissing Cembran deeply, pulling on his lips. He returned the kiss, thrusting his tongue into Gathod’s mouth, kissing passionately. “I love you, Cembran. I want to be with you forever.”
Uttering those words made Cembran’s heart swell and his soul fly. He never thought he’d be loved like this and it filled him with absolute joy. He could deeply feel every movement Gathod made inside his body, every inch, as he filled and retreated only to fill him again. Cembran reached to Gathod, stroking his face letting his hands run down his chest, wanting as much contact as possible.
Pressure again built deep inside and he tried to signal Gathod, who kissed him again whispering, “Come with me, Cembran.” The words were barely out of his lover’s mouth when Cembran came on his stomach as Gathod spent deep inside his lover. Gathod slowly separated himself, then lay down next to him on the blankets.
“Stay with me, please.”
Gathod nodded, “Of course I’ll stay with you.” The small fire cast shadows into the shelter, the darkness beyond wrapped them in quiet and peace. Gathod banked the fire before pulling the blanket over both of them. Wrapping his strong arms around Cembran, he pulled him to his body, pressing his chest to Cembran’s back. “Sleep, my love.”
He slept, contented and happy, in the arms of the man he loved.
Cembran woke to Gathod shifting next to him, rolling over to see him getting out of their warm blankets, saying “I have to get back before I’m missed.” It was still dark, but the first rays of the sun had started to turn the eastern sky from black to gray. Gathod leaned forward, kissing Cembran fully and lovingly. After breaking the kiss, he dressed hastily and, turning to kiss Cembran again, disappeared into the early morning darkness.
He got up, dressed, gathered his things into his pack, and headed home with a spring in his step, a smile on his face, and a soreness that reminded him of last night’s joy with each step he took.
Entering the house through the back door, Cembran was surprised to see his father sitting at the table, and he appeared to be waiting for him. His face showed little emotion.
“Cembran, sit down. I will speak with you.” The voice was rough, the tone clipped. Cembran put down his pack and sat across the table. “I know where you were last night. I know what you did and I know who you were with.”
His father cut him off. “I know, and I won’t tolerate it. I will not have a son of mine acting like a woman.” Cembran tried to say something, but his father cut him off again. “I have decided that you have two choices.” His father’s voice was getting louder. “I have decided that you are to marry and stop this foolishness, or you must leave.”
Cembran’s breath caught. “Leave?”
“Yes. Either you stop this foolishness with Gathod or you will be banished from my house and this village.” His father’s eyes were as cold as stone. “What is your answer?”
Cembran was stunned and shocked into non-movement. He couldn’t breathe and he couldn’t think. “I—” No further sounds would come out. What a choice: marry someone to satisfy his father or leave the only place, the only life, he’d ever known.
His father continued, ignoring Cembran’s reaction completely. “I will be out for most of the day. If you are here when I return, I expect you to marry; otherwise I expect you to be gone! Never show your face here again!” With those last words, Cembran’s father stormed out of the room and a few seconds later he heard the front door slam hard enough the shake the small house.
He sat at the table, head in his hands, completely despondent. He jerked as a pair of hands rested on his shoulders. Turning his head he saw Fartham standing behind him.
“I’m sorry, Cembran.”
“What am I to do?” Tears were starting to well in his eyes.
“There are worse things than getting married.” Fartham sat in the chair that their father had occupied a few minutes before. “I’ll help you find a suitable woman.”
Something either broke inside Cembran or crystallized into clarity; he was never sure which, but at that moment, he knew what he had to do. “Fartham, I cannot get married. It wouldn’t be fair to her. I could never love a woman, not in that way.”
He held up his hand. He knew he’d have only one chance to make his brother understand. Cembran’s voice was slow and measured. “Fartham, you love Lita. With everything you have?”
Fartham nodded. “Yes, with all my soul. She’s perfect for me.”
Cembran smiled weakly; he knew Lita would make his brother very happy. He could see it each time he saw them together. “The way you feel about Lita is the way I feel about Gathod. I love him with everything I am.”
“But Cembran, Gathod is….” Confusion was written all over his face.
“The way you feel about women, I feel about men. I can’t change it and,” taking a deep breath he continued, “I love Gathod.”
Fartham sat still and quiet for a long time. “Then you have no choice; you must leave.” He looked at Cembran with sadness. “I will miss you, but you deserve to be happy and you can’t be happy here.” He paused. “Does Gathod love you?”
“He said he did and I believe him.” He had too. His happiness and sanity depended on that belief.
“Maybe Gathod will go with you.”
It was almost a thought spoken out loud, but it made Cembran’s heart jump. Yes, maybe it was possible.
“Come with me, I’ll help you get ready, we have much to do.”
Fartham turned into a whirl of activity. He pulled the small chest out of his room. It was sturdy, with a single drawer on the bottom. “You can use this, it’s not too heavy and it should travel easily with you.” Clothes, boots, blankets, and other items were neatly and carefully stowed in the chest. Once it was packed, Fartham put the chest back in its usual spot in case their father came home.
He turned to Cembran, opened his shirt, and pulled the pendant from around his neck and placed it around Cembran’s neck. “Take this with you, to remember me and protect yourself.” Cembran hugged him tightly. “Go find Gathod.”
Cembran thanked his brother and headed out of the house. He knew he’d find Gathod tending his family’s flocks and he raced to find him. He had gone only a few steps when he saw Gathod coming toward him.
“I was just looking for you.” Gathod was smiling.
“I was looking for you as well. I need to talk to you.” Cembran led Gathod back to the house. Fartham left the room as soon as they entered.
“What’s wrong? You look so serious.”
“My father knows about us.” His lover’s face fell, smile replaced with fear. “He told me this morning that I must leave you and get married, or leave the village.” Gathod started shaking. “I cannot get married, so I have decided to leave.” Gathod looked at the floor. “Come with me.” Cembran’s voice was urgent. “We’ll find a place where we can be together,” he said, his eyes full of hope, his heart full of love.
Gathod still looked at the floor. “I don’t know. This is all so sudden. I….” His feet shifted nervously as he ran his fingers through his hair.
Cembran knew his heart was breaking, right then. But he also knew he couldn’t force Gathod to come with him and he wouldn’t make his lover feel guilty. Placing a hand on his shoulder, he said, “I understand. It’s a lot to ask.”
“Cembran, I do love you. I just don’t know.” The indecision was plain on Gathod’s face and Cembran knew.
“I know you do and I love you.” He gently kissed Gathod’s lips. “I have to leave today. Will you meet me at the shelter on the high ridge at sundown?” This shelter was near the top of one of the mountains surrounding the village.
Gathod nodded, “Okay. I’ll meet you there.” He walked to the door and with a glance back, stepped out of the house.
Cembran collapsed into a chair as the door closed, tears streaming down his face, sobs wracking his body. It took some effort, but he finally regained control of himself as his brother came back into the room.
“Gathod’s not going?”
Cembran shook his head in response.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Fartham had always looked out for Cembran and he was still doing it.
“Would you take the chest to the high shelter on the ridge? I have an errand that I need to run before I leave.” Fartham nodded his assent. “Thank you.”
Cembran stepped out of the house and walked through the village to the home of his most trusted friend. He had known Old Hans since he was a child and trusted him completely. He approached the house and knocked softly on the door.
“Come in, Cembran.”
He opened the door and stepped inside.
“I was expecting you.” From the tone of his voice, Cembran figured Old Hans already knew. “My boy, are you all right?”
He nodded. “As well as I can be. I’m leaving the village today. I will not marry to satisfy my father.”
Old Hans nodded and disappeared into another room. After a few minutes, he returned carrying a small bag. “I figure you’ll need this.”
Cembran nodded; it was his life’s savings. Actually it was almost every cent he’d ever earned in his life. He’d never trusted his father with his money, so Old Hans had held on to it for him. He took the bag and threw his arms around Hans’s shoulders. “I will miss you.” Tears welled in his eyes again.
“I will miss you too. Have you eaten?”
Cembran shook his head.
“Then come and we will eat a last meal together before you leave.” Hans set out a fine meal and they ate together quietly, Cembran lost in his thoughts. “Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. I’ll decide in a few days when I’ve had a chance to think.” Hans just nodded. After eating, he hugged his friend again and said goodbye. Placing the bag under his clothes, next to his skin, he stepped out of the house.
Late in the day, after he had made all his arrangements, he headed up the mountain to the shelter. This one was near the summit and, unlike the shelter he and Gathod had used the previous night, this one wasn’t known to his father; Fartham, Gathod, and Cembran had only built it last spring.
Cembran found his brother waiting for him in the shelter; the small chest was sitting near the back.
“I wanted to say goodbye.” Fartham hugged Cembran tightly. “Please be careful and take care of yourself.”
Fartham hugged his younger brother again and handed him a small bag of coins before turning quickly and heading back towards the village. He turned and waved just before he stepped out of sight.
The sun was setting when Cembran heard Gathod approaching the shelter. He saw him a minute later. Gathod started to speak, but Cembran silenced him. “No apologies, no regrets.” Gathod opened his small pack and took out the food he’d brought while Cembran started a small fire. They ate quietly together, watching the sun set and the darkness descend around them.
After they’d eaten, Cembran took Gathod’s hand in his. “Love me, Gathod. Give me something to remember forever.”
Gathod quietly led him into the shelter. Their lovemaking was intense and passionate, lasting well into the night. Knowing they would part in the morning, they both made the most of the time they had together. Satiated and exhausted, they fell asleep in each other’s arms, clinging together tightly for those last few hours.
The sun was rising as Cembran woke, Gathod’s warm, strong body entwined with his. Gathod’s hands stroked his back. Cembran reluctantly got out of the blankets and dressed quickly in the cold morning air. Gathod dressed as well and handed him the last of the food they had shared. They held each other as Cembran ate. Finally, he packed the blankets away and was ready to go.
“Cembran, I made this for you. I was saving it for your birthday, but—” Gathod’s voice broke and tears ran down his face. He tugged Cembran into his embrace and kissed him deeply. “Goodbye.”
With that Gathod turned and walked slowly down the path back toward the village. Cembran wrapped the gift in a blanket and stowed it in his chest. He’d open it later when he wasn’t feeling so distraught. Slinging the chest onto his back, he headed down the mountain toward something he’d never known − the outside world.