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Riding across the vast grass plains of Kansas, Gyro recalled the events that had unfolded over the past few days, his mind revisiting the fierce battle the two had encountered against a particularly fearsome enemy stand user. Not long after beginning the 3rd leg, venturing into the unassuming surroundings of an orchid, they had stumbled upon the man.  Ringo resided in an old shack, which was located at the centre of the orchid, within a small clearing. They had been challenged by the man, informed that the only way of leaving the orchid was by defeating him in a stand-off. After witnessing Gaucho’s demise, the two were keen to search for any alternative means of escape.

Trapped in the orchid for what must have been hours, Johnny and Gyro were puzzled by their surroundings. The Italian and ex-jockey had attempted to escape the labyrinth of twisting trees, mapping out each route they ventured by marking every turn. This was to no avail, as the men continued to find themselves passing by trees that had already been marked. Thankfully, the two had not been alone. They had gained an unlikely ally in Hotpants, a fierce competitor of the race who happened to wield a stand with very unique abilities. The three of them had joined forces, devising a coordinated plan of attack against the gunslinger to ensure their victory and subsequent escape. They had, however, been thrown for a loop, as they had severely underestimated Ringo’s tactical skills and impressive wit. Shortly after the battle had commenced, Hot Pants had been knocked unconscious. Johnny had been the next to fall victim to Ringo’s onslaught, and Gyro had watched helplessly as Ringo dragged his near lifeless body into the confines of his wooden shack.

Wounded, Gyro had seen a vision of his father, who had warned him not to go back to the cabin to save Johnny. The apparition of his father had chastised him for becoming sentimental, how it would eat its way into his heart, leaving him vulnerable. His father had believed that it was an act of weakness. All unnecessary emotions or attachment would ultimately lead towards the destruction of the Zeppeli family, along with the art of the Steel Balls. He had been ordered by the patriarch to leave the orchid instantly, and proceed by removing himself from the race. The Steel Balls were a power which was only to be wielded for the King. They were never supposed to be used in combat.

Always a rebel at heart, Gyro chose to defy his father’s orders. A newfound sense of passion had been ignited. As if a fire had been lit deep within, his father’s words, meant to smother these flames, only served as fuel. This fire continued to grow into an all-consuming inferno, spurring him onwards as he carved out his own destiny, a path towards victory. ‘My path to understanding is the ultimate priority,’ he exclaimed, storming back into Ringo’s firing range to challenge the other to a final standoff. 

He had devised a strategy to defeat the time warping stand user, utilising both his extensive medical knowledge and elements of the dilapidated shack to his advantage. The Italian had been injured by the first shot, but he had also successfully landed a blow to his opponent. They appeared to be an equal match. Both men knew that the second round would surely determine the victor, while the other would lie dying in his own pool of blood. Gyro made sure to warn the other of his intent, making the other privy to his knowledge of the gunman’s weak point. The enemy stand user responded by changing his stance to one of defence. This would ultimately be his undoing.

Gyro had thrown one of his steel balls at a stray shard of wood, launching the projectile straight into Ringo’s left collarbone, piercing a weak point where a previous injury existed. This had been the final blow. Sure, the gunman had been able to land an additional shot, but by taking a defensive stance due to placing his hand over his left shoulder blade, his aim had been a few centimetres off, therefore missing the Italian’s vitals. Ringo was unable to rewind time to a point where he would be safe from the projectile. With his mortality fading, he had attempted to fire a final shot at Zeppeli, but the action had been in vain. Avoiding the shot, Gyro had launched his other steel ball towards the dying man, making contact once more with the already shattered collarbone. Victory. After watching the life fade from his opponent’s sullen eyes, the Italian sought out his injured friend.

Gyro had retrieved Hot Pants’ skin canister, utilising the other’s ability to heal both himself and Johnny. After checking their opponent’s vitals, Johnny had informed Gyro that the other man was still alive. He decided to take mercy on the unconscious stand user, leaving the canister for the other to use when they awoke. He was not so merciful when deciding to raid his belongings, claiming his stash of beef sandwiches, before urging Johnny to leave. The two continued on their way.

When Gyro had questioned about whether the recent enemy stand attack had wavered Johnny’s motivation to complete the race, and search for the other corpse parts, Johnny had replied earnestly. Without breaking eye contact, the ex-jockey had stated that he had no intention of dropping the race, rather he felt emboldened. Gyro could only nod in approval, glad that his partner was still as invested in this journey as he had been when completing the previous leg. Johnny was a man who existed purely to defy all expectations. His perseverance, despite all he had been dealt by this cruel world, inspired Gyro to strengthen his own resolve.

Gyro reached up to swat away a stay fly that had been pestering him for the better part of an hour, occasionally landing on the tip of his nose before buzzing away momentarily. The air was muggy with the promise of rain, but it had been that way for the better part of 3 days. The clouds continued to swell until the sky was completely grey, yet not a single drop had fallen from the heavens. The arid heat of Arizona had been hellish, but the chill of the nights had at least offered a sense of relief. The Italian did not enjoy the humidity. It reminded him of summers past, spent in Naples, a time he truly wished to forget.

Sweat trickled down the rider’s back, his damp shirt uncomfortably clinging to his skin. The heat felt as if it was seeping into his bones, leaving the Italian with a sense of fatigue. Reaching behind him to retrieve his water canister, which was fastened to Valkyrie’s rump, he was disappointed to find only a few drops left. Letting out a groan in frustration, Gyro stuffed the empty canister back into his satchel. 

“You run out?” Johnny questioned. He sounded thirsty; his voice raspy. Gyro slowed his pace down to a trot, which his companion matched. They had been riding at a gruelling pace, trying to recover time they had lost due to their previous encounter with the enemy.  The two had devised a tight schedule, keen to snatch the lead from their competitors. Gyro had his heart set on victory, he was desperate to achieve 1st place within the leg of the race.

But all that be damned right now. If they had no water between the two of them, how were they supposed to continue onwards any further? Wiping the lingering sweat from his brow, Gyro hummed in thought. “It’s getting close to sundown, yeah?”

“Around 4pm,” Johnny responded, a pocket watch in hand. Gyro pivoted slightly, turning his upper body to face the other man. He looked both hot and tired, his skin tinged a pinkish hue. His short hair seemed matted, as a few strands clung to his damp neck. “Do you wanna’ call it quits for the day, early start tomorrow?”

Johnny’s proposal was truly tantalising, and as Valkyrie whinnied in agitation, Gyro could only nod in approval. “S’pose we look for a watering hole? Set up camp?”

After venturing for another 20 minutes, Gyro was pleased to spot a flowing creek within the distance. Nestled around the creek were large oak trees, creating a canopy which stretched outwards and above the body of clear water. Smaller shrubs lined the creek bed.

It didn’t take long for Johnny to also spy the body of water, picking up his reigns and steering Slow Dancer towards their refuge. Gyro followed, the two riders picking up speed, eager to cross the short distance before darkness began to settle in. Before long, the two had made their way past the small cluster of trees and had settled by the creek bed. Gyro was first to dismount, leading Valkyrie over to the pool of fresh water. Johnny dismounted rather gracelessly, landing on his bottom in a small patch of grass. He let Slow Dancer venture over to the creek, who strode over to join the other horse in a much-needed drink. Gyro grabbed both of their water canisters, filling them before returning to Johnny. He sat down beside the other, handing over Johnny’s canister before taking a swig from his own. The two sat in silence as they drank, watching their horses frolic around in the shallow waters of the creek bed.

“You feelin’ any better now?” Johnny questioned. His face looked sincere as he examined the other man. He had placed his canister down and was now removing his signature beanie. His hair was a tousled mess.

“Yeah, just the humidity y’know.” Gyro pulled at the collar of his shirt, hoping the cooler air surrounding the creek would ease his boiling skin. Removing his own hat, now that he was under the shade, Gyro combed a hand through his hair. “It’s been getting’ to me lately. I’m all sticky now, covered in dirt and crap.”

Johnny reached down to manoeuvre his legs before removing his boots. He rubbed at the skin absently, unable to feel any sensation. “I know how ya’ feel.” Johnny sighed, “Ain’t used to riding such long distances in this weather.” The ex-jockey lifted up his arm before taking a quick whiff. He recoiled, his face contorting in disgust. Gyro let out a hearty chuckle in response, earning a glare from the young rider. “Well, I’m sure as punch that you don’t smell like daisies right now either!” Johnny retorted, huffing in annoyance as he crossed his arms in defence.

“Touché,” Gyro responded with a grin as he busied himself removing his own boots. Glancing back at the two horses, who were now resting quietly on the river bed, Gyro had a grand idea. His eyes lit up in realisation. He startled Johnny slightly as he jumped to his feet, rushing over to Valkyrie. The ex-jockey watched on quizzically as the rummaged through his satchel. “Why don’t we bathe in the creek, it’s a good way to beat the heat and we can clean ourselves up a little.” Gyro retrieved a small towel and a bar of soap. He turned back towards the other, flashing him a toothy grin (that was all grill).

Johnny’s eyes widened in surprise, but his expression was quick to fall. Huffing once more, he began to pout, his eyes shifting to the side. “Yeah, go ahead,” he muttered.

“What?” Gyro was dumfounded by Johnny’s response. The boy had been complaining only minutes prior about how bad he smelt, and now he was passing the opportunity of having a bath. “Why not?” he questioned in confusion, gesturing back to the clear body of water behind him.

“I can’t,” Johnny sighed in resignation, gesturing towards his legs. “How am I supposed to get in the creek when my legs don’t work?”

“Oh?” Gyro responded lamely. Johnny was right. It had been a silly idea for Gyro to suggest, considering his travel companion wasn’t in what would be deemed ‘peak’ physical condition, or even standard for that matter. Gyro stroked his bearded jawline, deep in thought as he considered an alternative.

“Just go on without me,” Johnny broke the silence, willing to wallow in self-pity as his friend enjoyed the cool body of water. “I’ll just have to bathe whenever we stumble upon another town.”

“Nonsense!” Gyro exclaimed, “we could make this work, we can just…” The Italian continued to ponder, searching for any possible solution to their current predicament. They were not carrying a pail so a sponge bath was not a viable option. Furrowing his brow whilst staring at his sulking friend, an idea flashed in his mind. It wasn’t…ideal…or it wouldn’t be, for Johnny at least. Gyro had no issue with the scenario, but he wasn’t sure if the other rider would be as keen. Hell, Johnny might even take offence to the proposition, but the Italian was all out of ideas. There was no other way Johnny could bathe without also entering the water.

Johnny noticed the change in the other man’s features, the way his brow softened as he came to a realisation. “What?” Johnny questioned impatiently.

“Well…” Gyro scratched at the back of his neck, his eyes shifting away from Johnny to stare at a distant boulder. Clearing his throat, he continued, “…I could help ya’ into the water.”

Johnny did not respond. Gyro continued. “I could hold ya’ if that would be alright,” he chuckled nervously, his eyes shifting back to gauge his friend’s response. Still nothing, silence. Gyro pressed on, “it wouldn’t be strange or anything, just helping a fellow rider out in his time of need, ya’ know?” With a shrug of his shoulders, attempting to ease the awkward tensions that had settled between the two men, Gyro forced a grin.

“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt…” Johnny responded.

Gyro was shocked by the other’s response. He had expected Johnny to put up some kind of fight, to shut down such a wild proposal as the one the Italian had just made. Gyro had been sure that the other man would need a great deal of convincing before he surrendered, finally agreeing to his offer. Gyro could only stand there, completely dumfounded.

Johnny was not a patient man. “Well hurry up then, go grab my towel,” he ordered, “and remember to secure both Slow Dancer and Valkyrie before they get the chance to wander off!”

“R’right,” Gyro regained his composure, depositing his belongings before going back to complete the other tasks. He grabbed Johnny’s towel from his bag and tethered the ropes of both horses to a nearby branch. Once satisfied with his work, he returned to Johnny’s side, setting his towel on the grass between them. He shouldn’t have been so surprised when he found that the other had already began to disrobe, his hooded shirt laying behind him in a crumpled heap. Johnny did not acknowledge Gyro’s presence as he continued to undress, now working on shimmying his way out of his tight leggings. 

Knowing it was rude to stare, Gyro busied himself with removing his own layers of clothing, starting with his gloves and arm bands before moving on to his shirt. He felt relieved when the offending garment was finally off, exposing his bare chest to the cool evening air. Next went his steel balls, unfastening their harnesses from his belt. Continuing with the task at hand, he unfastened his buckle and removed his belt before standing up.

Whilst unbuttoning his pants, Gyro glanced back at Johnny. His breath hitched. He was still seated in the patch of grass, but was now completely naked. With his upper body twisted away, the ex-jockey was busy organising his pile of discarded clothing. He was unaware of Gyro lingering above him, or how he stared at the younger man. Gyro paused in the act of disrobing, now distracted by the mere sight of Johnny’s naked flesh. His skin was rather pale. A speckling of light freckles was peppered across his arms and shoulders, his skin taking on a pinkish hue from weeks of direct sun exposure. Johnny’s upper body was all muscle, sculpted from years of physical exertion required to manoeuvre without the use of his legs. His shoulders were broad, his biceps flexing as he reorganised his pile of clothing. Gyro’s gaze continued to wander, venturing further down. Manors be damned, he could not help himself but look. Johnny had a beautiful chest, firm pectoral muscles and pebbled nipples. He waist tapered in and his stomach appeared soft. This was understandable, seeming the nature of Johnny’s injury. His legs were not muscular or defined, rather his thighs were a little plump. They appeared milky and soft to the touch. Gyro had to admit that he was surprised by Johnny’s body. The man was both unique and exceptionally beautiful, undeniably so. Both fascinated by his newfound attraction, and now slightly aroused, Gyro’s gaze finally settled between Johnny’s legs, which were slightly parted.

It was that exact moment when Johnny finally turned back around. Upon noticing the other’s wandering gaze, Johnny covered his crotch in embarrassment. “Quit lookin’,” he chastised the Italian, his cheeks stained pink.

Caught off guard, Gyro raised his hands in surrender. “Sorry, I was…,” he grasped at any excuse he could find, which was admittedly limited. “I was just waiting for you to finish up,” he offered weakly.

Johnny stared back, his brow furrowing. “So, you are going to bathe in your pants?” he questioned, examining the other with suspicion. His eyes landed on Gyro’s fly; the button open from where he had left off.

“Oh!” Gyro looked down to see where Johnny was staring. He prayed that the other would not notice the slight bulge in his pants. “How silly of me,” he hurried to remove his pants, hopping on one leg then to the other as he slipped out of them. “I’m so tired I almost forgot,” he lied, chuckling at the end in desperation, almost begging Johnny to accept his blatant lie. Once his right ankle was free, he bent over to pick up his pants before throwing them onto his own pile of discarded clothing. He was quick to cover his crotch with his nearby towel. Gyro had never been one to be modest, but considering the context of this evening he felt it necessary.

Turning back to his companion, Gyro was surprised to find Johnny watching him attentively, wearing an expression that the Italian couldn’t quite place. Stepping forward to close the distance between them, Gyro knelt before Johnny. “Now how should we go about this?” he questioned aloud. Being within close proximity to the ex-jockey sparked a sense of thrill and excitement within Gyro. His eyes venturing across Johnny’s features, he examined every faded freckle which graced the younger man’s cheeks. His breath hitched a little, both in excitement and in embarrassment. They were so close that Gyro could feel Johnny’s body heat radiating from his skin.

“Umm…” Johnny’s eyes had shifted, fixated on his bare legs, that were splayed out limply in the grass. “I guess you should pick me up bridal style…” he offered quietly. Naturally embarrassed, his voice was barely above a whisper.

“Oh yeah…,” Gyro could only respond as he shifted awkwardly in preparation, his arm repositioning the other’s legs until they were together. Gyro handed Johnny his bar of soap. He shuffled closer to the boy as he hooked an arm behind the underside of his knees, placing his other hand around Johnny’s far shoulder. Johnny, in turn, reached forward and hooked his arms around Gyro’s neck, still clutching the bar of soap. With a low grunt he stood up from his kneeling position, the smaller boy strategically held in his arms. Standing up had only brought the two of them closer, as Johnny’s head pressed against Gyro’s collarbone. The position was intimate, and Gyro felt extremely tempted to rest his chin upon the ex-jockey’s soft head of curls.

But now was not the time for lustful temptations. Gyro was a gentleman and Johnny was his dear friend. The younger man had entrusted Gyro in his time of need, exposing himself and his vulnerabilities to the other rider. Gyro would not take advantage of this opportunity to fulfill his own selfish desires, despite how desperately he yearned for the other. Besides, Gyro reasoned with himself, Johnny had shown no interest towards him that could be interpreted as anything more than one would expect from a close friend. Hell, Gyro was almost 99% sure that Johnny was a hot-blooded heterosexual, never daring to bed another man, or to even consider another male as a potential partner. Johnny had been more than open about his ‘experience’ in bed. When exchanging campfire stories, he had mentioned his past sexual escapades with various beautiful woman, all of these encounters occurring before his accident. Gyro couldn’t help but wonder if Johnny had experienced any action since he had become paralysed.

Swatting the annoying swarm of thoughts away and clearing his head, Gyro adjusted his arms until he felt stable. Gyro wandered onto the pebbled creek bed. Reaching down with his arm that had held Johnny’s shoulder, he untied the knot holding his towel in place, allowing it to fall to the ground. He was glad that Johnny had not seen his exposed cock, as it was still partially erect. Hopefully the other would not notice his arousal, as Gyro was almost certain that it would not be going down for some time. As long as he positioned Johnny so there would be no contact, the other should remain none-the-wiser. Besides, Johnny had limited feeling below the waist. Even if Gyro was to accidently brush up against Johnny, it was unlikely that the other would even react. This knowledge eased Gyro’s nerves.

“I’m not too heavy, right?” Johnny spoke up, his voice sounding bashful.

Gyro chuckled in response. “Nonsense,” he exclaimed as he held Johnny tightly, wading into the shallow water. “It’s like ya’ weigh nothin’ at all.” His answer seemed to ease away some of the tension that had been brewing between them, a grin returning to the Italian’s face. “Ya’ must be skin and bone’s Johnny-boy, need to get some meat into you.”

Johnny retaliated by swatting playfully at Gyro’s shoulder, his cheeks reddened in embarrassment. “Shut up, I bet I could still lift you up with my arm strength alone.”

“Nyo ho ho ho,” Gyro let out a hearty chuckle, reaching out to ruffle Johnny’s hair. He continued to wade into the water until its surface rippled around their chests. The water was cool and refreshing against their skin, rinsing away three days’ worth of sweat and grime. Once their bodies were submerged Gyro’s initial embarrassment receded. Surrounded by a privacy screening of lush foliage, there was no fear of prying eyes. Besides, the nearest rider couldn’t be closer than a few miles away, leaving the two to enjoy one another’s company without the disturbance of another soul.

“Hold me whilst I wash myself off,” Johnny ordered. Gyro tightened his grip as Johnny unlaced his fingers from around the Italian’s neck. Using the bar of soap, he began to lather his arms before moving up towards his neck. The soapy suds began to trail down, pooling in the dip of his collar bone before dripping onto his chest. His nipples had hardened into two erect nubs, coloured the same flush pink as his cheeks. Gyro tried to busy himself by looking away, taking interest in watching their horses as they rested on the riverbank.

Biting down on his lower lip, Gyro tried to ignore the alluring sensation of wet skin again skin. He spared Johnny another glance to see how the other was doing. He was currently lathering soap upon his chest, too absorbed in the process to even notice the Italian watching. His face was wet, his signature blue lipstick smeared across his left cheek. Droplets of water sat upon his fair eyelashes. “Could you dip me under, I wanna’ wash my hair.” Johnny proposed.

Gyro raised his hand to cradle the back of Johnny’s head before lowering him carefully until his head was nearly fully submerged. His blonde locks splayed out in the water, floating on the surface to form a golden halo around his head. Gyro could only stare, his mouth suddenly dry.

“Don’t just keep me like this!” Johnny barked, waking Gyro from his trance, and shattering the angelic allusion. “Pick me back up, I need to clean my hair,” Johnny ordered, a small pout forming at his lips.

“Right, sorry…” Gyro awkwardly chuckled, raising Johnny back to their previous position. Johnny began to lather his hair. Gyro felt helpless. There was nothing he could really do when holding Johnny, his arms already occupied with supporting the other. Not that he was complaining. He enjoyed the strange intimacy of the situation, even if his mind kept teasing him with his darkest perversions. Once Johnny was satisfied with his job the two leaned back once more to rinse his hair.

“Could ya’ lift me up a little, I wanna’ wash my legs,” Johnny asked, his tone changing to one that sounded sheepish. Gyro complied, shifting Johnny’s weight slightly and raising his legs. He supported Johnny as he lent forward, scrubbing away at a few patches of dirt that clung to his skin. “You’re watching again…” Johnny commented quietly as he continued, now lathering his thighs.

“Ah, Johnny,” Gyro stammered, his head shifting suddenly to look away, “ain’t no big deal, we’re all men here.” He knew it was a weak excuse, but prayed that Johnny would bite. “We all have the same parts, nothin’ I haven’t seen before.

“Sure…” Johnny responded, suspicion lingering in the air between them. The silence was deafening as Johnny continue to thoroughly clean himself, and Gyro only moved to accommodate any are Johnny needed to reach. Johnny announced he was finished. Gyro felt relieved, until a new predicament arose.

“Wait…” Gyro thought allowed, “how am I supposed to clean myself when my arms are busy holding you?”

Johnny tutted in annoyance before doing something unexpected. He reached out with the soap and began to lather Gyro’s arms. Their eyes met and Johnny looked for affirmation to continue. Gyro nodded, swallowing a lump in his throat that had begun to form. His cock jumped as Johnny’s hands roamed his biceps, massaging the soapy suds into his skin. Johnny shifted even closer, working the soap along his shoulders and across his collarbones. Gyro hummed in approval as Johnny scrubbed at his neck. He made his way across to the other shoulder and worked his way down Gyro’s other arm. Gyro helped reposition Johnny, but noted that the current angle was awkward. “Do you mind if I move ya’ around a little?” he offered, “might need to change positions if this is gonna’ work.”

The Italian completely overlooked his current ‘predicament’, too caught up by the chance to seize this opportunity to consider his throbbing erection. Maybe he was becoming too comfortable with Johnny, bearing all to the ex-jockey as he cradled him close. Under the convincing guise of two friends bathing together, he no longer feared the embrace of the other man.

“Ok,” Johnny responded, too preoccupied with cleaning his partner to really consider what Gyro’s words might entail. Gyro suddenly shifted his arms, moving the hand placed under Johnny’s knees until it rested just below the swell of his ass. Johnny gasped in response, his head swivelling to look down. “What are you…?

“Sorry, I know it’s awkward but bear with me?” Gyro grunted, shifting Johnny and moving his limp legs until they wrapped loosely around his waist. Johnny stayed quiet as Gyro manoeuvred him, their bodies now facing and their chests barely more than a few inches apart. Heightening the level of intimacy, this new position felt extremely suggestive. Johnny pretended to ignore the energy that had sparked between the two, as he worked on cleaning Gyro’s chest. His fingers brushed against one of Gyro’s erect nipples, causing the Italian to shudder.

“You alright?” Johnny questioned whilst pulling back, examining the Italian’s face. Gyro only nodded in response; his cheeks reddened. Johnny continued to stare at the other’s face as his hands roamed lower, dipping down across his abdomen. He watched as Gyro bit his lip, trying to stifle any noises from escaping. He was staring out across the water, towards the opposite creek bed. Urged on by his bizarre behaviour, and wishing to gain the older man’s attention, Johnny allowed his hands to wander even lower. Johnny shifted slightly to gain better access.

Although Johnny had lost the use of his legs, it would be wrong to think that he did not experience any feeling below the waist. It had been numbed a great deal, but he could still feel some dulled sensations. That being said, he was stunned when he registered something hard brushing up against his inner thigh. Johnny had to confirm his suspicions. Feeling brave, he glanced down between his legs. The head of Gyro’s erect cock was pressed against his right thigh. Johnny cried out in disbelief, causing Gyro to shift in surprise, holding onto the ex-jockey even tighter.

“You’re hard!” Johnny spat out accusingly, gesturing between Gyro’s legs. Gyro spluttered in response, nearly dropping Johnny in the process. Johnny could not look away as he continued to stare at Gyro’s arousal.

“I’m sorry, so sorry…” Gyro pleaded, desperately searching for any means of escape. “It’s just… a physical reaction,” he offered awkwardly, attempting to hold Johnny as far away from him as possible.

“Wait.” Johnny thought back to earlier when the two had undressed. He had caught Gyro watching him as he undressed. He reflected upon how Gyro had apparently ‘forgotten’ to take off his pants, and how he had covered his crotch afterwards with a towel. He had not allowed Johnny to see his privates. The ex-jockey had just assumed that it was because the other had felt modest, but now he wasn’t so sure. “Were you hard this entire time?”

“What do you mean?” Gyro had begun to wade back towards the shoreline.

“Earlier, on the bank,” Johnny reached up between them and placed his hands on either side of Gyro’s face. He moved the other’s head so their eyes would meet once more. Gyro attempted to shift his jaw but Johnny did not relent. There was no way Gyro was going to get out of this without answering honestly. “When you were undressing,” he continued to recall the events, “you were hard then, weren’t you?”

Gyro bit his lip, his eyes darting in an erratic fashion as he attempted to find any alternative means of escape. “Johnny…” he began cautiously, refusing to maintain eye contact with the other, “I don’t believe you want me to answer that honestly.” He continued to approach the bank. “I like the partnership we have going on here and I don’t want to ruin anything,” he continued, selecting his words carefully. “I don’t want to scare you or nothin’.”

“Bullshit!” Johnny shot back, “I asked for an answer and you’re trying to dodge.” Johnny wasn’t sure what he wished to achieve by interrogating the Italian like this, but he certainly wasn’t satisfied with the response he had been given. He wanted to press forward and get to the bottom of this, whatever ‘this’ was. There was no denying that something had been brewing between the two of them since they had arrived at the creek. Hell, Johnny would say that this ‘something’ had been around, following the two of them, for far longer.

He had been undeniably drawn to Gyro ever since he had first laid eyes upon the other man. Johnny was ecstatic when the other had agreed to take him under his wing and allow him to accompany the Italian throughout the duration of the race. But what had once started as pure admiration had morphed into something Johnny couldn’t quite pin point. He knew that him and Gyro shared a kinship much stronger than casual friends. Their partnership had been forged over the past few weeks, after countless fearsome battles against enemy stand users. They relied upon one another a great deal, and had risked their lives to save one another on multiple occasions.

In his 19 years of life, Johnny had never felt as close to another being as he currently felt to Gyro. There was no denying his attachment to the other man, but where admiration stopped and attraction began…Johnny was no longer sure he could draw the line. All Johnny was certain about was that he didn’t want to part from Gyro, and he definitely wasn’t against the idea of their relationship evolving into something more intimate. Johnny was a man that wasn’t afraid to act upon his desires. Considering all of the unusual behaviour that the Italian had exhibited throughout the evening, Johnny was almost certain that their feelings were mutual.

Gyro had remained silent, his feet finally reaching the pebbled shoreline. He bent down awkwardly to retrieve the towel he had discarded earlier that evening. “I don’t know Johnny,” he sighed. His voice continued to waver, as if addressing the situation was pure agony. “I didn’t mean to offend you or nothing, my body just reacted to the situation. I must be pent up, ya’ know?” Making his way over to the patch of grass, where the two had sat only a short while ago, Gyro attempted to lay out the towel. He carefully lowered himself to his knees, attempting not to brush up against Johnny once more with his partially erect cock. He deposited Johnny on his towel, which was splayed out across the grass. “Been a while since I’ve gotten any action,” Gyro forced a chuckle.

“Me too…” Johnny offered as he continued to openly stare.

As soon as the other was sitting comfortably, Gyro retreated with the other towel, hastily wrapping the fabric around his waist. He made sure to collect the bar of soap before heading back towards the creek.  Gyro turned around once more to address the other, “I’d like if we could just forget all about this, if you’d be so kind.” Without waiting for the other to respond, he quickly dropped his towel upon the pebbled creek bed and dashed back into the cool water. Johnny was left stranded on the grassy null, watching as Gyro waded back out into the water by himself.

If Johnny had been annoyed by Gyro’s previous cowardly response, he was now livid. Crossing his arms and letting out an audible huff, he continued to watch the other as he resumed bathing. Gyro’s back was turned to Johnny, his broad shoulder muscles and biceps flexing as he scrubbed at his armpits. His dirty blonde hair was wet, falling gracefully in soft trendles against his back. The sun had begun to set, the golden rays casting a soft glow across the water’s surface, illuminating the Italian’s every feature. Johnny began to pout. He felt helpless, unsure of how to proceed with the current situation.

Maybe he had misread the situation? Johnny hummed in thought as he picked up a side of the towel and attempted to dry the ends of his hair. Maybe Gyro had been honest and it was purely a physical reaction? Johnny only entertained the theory for a second before shaking his head, trendles of water flying in the air from the motion. That couldn’t be it. Besides, Gyro had originally become erect when watching Johnny undress, before there had even been any physical contact between them. He had to find Johnny physically attractive, at least to some degree. Did Gyro find Johnny hot? The thought alone excited Johnny, goosebumps forming on his skin and arousal stirring in his loins.

Gyro was lathering his hair. He bent forward, dipping his hair into the water and rinsing it of the soapy suds. He flicked back and straightened once more, his hair forming an arc momentarily from the swift motion. The scene only served to heighten Johnny’s sense of lust. He wanted Gyro, badly.

Feeling emboldened, Johnny shifted on the towel and manoeuvred his legs until they were spread wide apart. He lent back slightly, placing his left hand behind him to support his weight. He allowed his right hand to wander down his abdomen, tracing teasing patterns across his hips and upon his pubic bone. He felt no shame in continuing his actions reaching between his legs to grasp his half-hard cock. Gyro wasn’t watching, and even if he did turn around, maybe it would encourage the Italian to finally surrender to his desires.

He whimpered quietly as he played gently with his foreskin, spreading the beads of precum that had begun to form. The scene of Gyro bathing in the soft evening light was all Johnny needed to elicit some truly sinful fantasies. The image of Gyro’s erect cock, pressed flush against Johnny’s inner thigh, left the boy feeling light headed. All blood continued to rush south towards his cock, which was now fully erect.

Johnny did not experience arousal in the same way he did prior to his accident. Due to his paralysis, the ex-jockey found it considerably harder to become erect without direct physical stimulus. Maintaining an erection was another battle itself. But over the past few weeks, and countless nights sleeping under the stars beside a man who was undeniably attractive, sporting the physique of a Greek god, and a face that had the power to break countless hearts, Johnny’s body had started to experience changes. He found himself regaining his libido, using the screen of darkness to pleasure himself as the Italian lay unknowingly only a foot away.

Johnny had briefly considered what his newly discovered attraction might mean. He had only ever been intimate with women, finding himself drawn to their soft features and feminine physiques. He had never even considered another man in an intimate setting. The concept alone, and the stigma which surrounded it, admittedly frightened him. He wasn't gay! Not that Johnny had an issue with men that sought the company of another man. What people did in a private setting was none of his business, as far as he was concerned. Despite his own mind insisting that he was straight, Johnny could no longer ignore the alluring presence of his Italian friend. What this meant, he was not sure, nor did he wish to dwell upon this new development any further.

Using his precum as a source of lubricant, Johnny began to pump his cock. Slow, languid strokes became teasing as he ran his fist down the base of his cock, and back up in a fluid motion. He released his erection to gently press against his taint, tracing the sensitive skin before cupping his balls. Massaging the sensitive flesh, Johnny could not stifle the load moan that escaped his parted lips.

The sound travelled out across the creek, causing Gyro to turn around. He wore a concerned expression, but only momentarily. Once his eyes met Johnny, and he examined the scene before him, his jaw fell open in surprise. In a moment of shock, Gyro fumbled with the soap, almost dropping it into the depths of the water. “Johnny!” he cried out, as if scolding the other for his lewd display.

Johnny did not respond. The attention made his breath hitch in excitement, spurring him on as he continued his ministrations. He maintained eye contact with the Italian, his tongue darted out to wet his plump lips. Gyro did not dare to move. He stood motionless in the waist deep water, watching from a safe distance as Johnny continued to pleasure himself.

Feeling encouraged by the other, Johnny lifted his right hand to tweak his erect nipples. He no longer made an attempt to stifle his moans, wishing to prompt some kind of response from the Italian.

He was pleased when he saw Gyro mirror his actions, following Johnny as he grasped his cock once more. Johnny was slightly disappointed that he could not see the other’s erection, still submerged beneath the water’s surface, but his imagination could definitely fill in the blanks. For now. Johnny set a slow but steady rhythm, and by gauging the movement of Gyro’s right arm, he could only assume that the other man was copying his actions. Their intense stand-off continued for a few minutes, until Johnny no longer wanted to play games.

Clearing his throat, Johnny found his voice once more. “If you stay out there, you’ll catch a cold,” he offered, encouraging the other to close the distance that remained between them. Johnny felt as if he was attempting to lure in a wild animal. Any sudden movement could send the other scurrying away from his reach. He had to be calculative if he wished to gain what he truly wanted.

Gyro paused his ministrations, wading closer before standing in the shallows, the water pooling around his calves. His hands lay limp by his sides, making no move to cover his arousal. Johnny took in the sight of the other man, his eyes wandering across Gyro’s chiselled physique. The Italian’s skin was olive in complexion. Johnny had been well aware that the other man was incredibly handsome, but seeing him in this light was foreign yet thrilling. His eyes followed the trail of blonde hair which began just below Gyro’s belly, continuing downwards to a darker patch of hair which rested upon his pubic bone. Nestled in the patch of hair was Gyro’s cock, which appeared to be considerably larger than the average male. Johnny’s mouth watered as he took in every detail, noting that the other man was circumcised, and how his erection curved upwards towards his abdomen, leaning slightly to the right.

Gyro cleared his throat expectantly, gaining Johnny’s attention. “Johnny,” his tone sounded serious, but it was laced with his yearning desire. “I wanna’ make sure we are on the same page here,” he explained, crossing the shallows and making his way onto the pebbled shoreline. He briefly knelt to pick up his own towel, wrapping it hastily around his shoulders before continuing forward. With a sense of anticipation, Johnny could only watch silently.

Gyro made his way over to the patch of grass where Johnny lay. He knelt down directly in front of the other man, reaching out to cup Johnny’s jaw, returning the gesture the other had initiated earlier that evening. Their eyes met once more. “I intend to fuck you, if you would be agreeable.”

Johnny gasped, caught off guard by Gyro’s advance. He had not expected the other to be so forward about their interest, having planned to seduce the other a great deal more before the Italian would reciprocate. Lost for words, Johnny placed his hand over the one that was still holding his jaw. Coaxing the other to continue, Johnny reached out with his other hand to mimic Gyro’s gesture. He stroked the other’s bearded jawline before resting his fingers upon Gyro’s chin, his thumb stroking at the other’s bottom lip.

Interpreting Johnny’s actions as confirmation to continue, Gyro closed the distance between them. His lips crashed against the other’s in a fierce, heated kiss. They initially battled for dominance but Johnny was quick to surrender, allowing Gyro to control the kiss. Their lips locked, Gyro placed his other hand by Johnny’s side, using the arm to support his weight as he hovered over the other. He pushed Jonny down upon the towel laid out beneath them. Gyro bit down gently on Johnny’s bottom lip, causing the younger man to gasp. He wasted no time when deepening the kiss, his tongue entering the warm cavity of Johnny’s mouth.

The two only parted momentarily for air before meeting once more. Their tongues danced together, slipping between each other’s mouths. Johnny had moved his hands, now wrapped around Gyro’s neck as he held him close. Johnny played with strands of Gyro’s hair, occasionally pulling on the locks. He was rewarded with a moan, Gyro enthusiastically exploring the heat of Johnny’s mouth.

No longer feeling the need to restrain himself, Gyro’s free hand traced along the side of Johnny’s neck. The moment their lips parted his head darted down, assaulting the expanse of Johnny’s neck with a series of kisses. These pecks quickly morphed into gentle nips, causing Johnny to whimper. Fingers buried in honey blonde locks, he pressed Gyro’s head closer, urging him to continue. His teeth bit down upon the sensitive flesh, his tongue darting out to lap at the superficial wound. Littering Johnny’s neck with love bites, he sucked at the skin until a collection of small bruises began to blossom. Johnny was at his mercy, surrendering to the pleasure as he moaned loudly.

Gyro moved back to give the ex-jockey a moment to breathe. Sitting back on his haunches, he took his time to admire his handywork. Johnny looked completely wrecked, his face flushed. His hair had fanned out beneath him, splayed wildly upon the towel beneath them. His neck was now littered with purple marks, the indent of Gyro’s teeth even visible in some spots. Johnny lifted one of his arms to wipe away a stray tear that threatened to spill from his eye. “Don’t just stop now!” he cried out desperately, “finish what you started!”

Gyro chuckled, “with pleasure.” Parting his legs and lowering himself to sit upon Johnny’s upper thighs, his hand was now free from supporting his weight. He surged forward, his mouth finding a new target. He drew his tongue out to drag across Johnny’s sternum, while his hands fondled the other’s chest. He pinched and tweaked at Johnny’s nipples until they were both hardened nubs. His tongue continued to lap at Johnny’s chest, tracing intricate patterns across his pecks before drawing close to one of his nipples. The moment he trapped a nipple between his lips, pulling lightly at the sensitive nub, Johnny screamed in pleasure.

“Fuck!” Johnny cried into the warm evening air, thrashing his head side to side, drawn mad by ecstasy. “God yes! Gyro, keep going!”

Gyro had always been an extremely giving bed partner. His tongue continued its assault, sucking harder on the nub before applying the same treatment to the other nipple. His hands continued to wander further down, tracing Johnny’s sides. He grasped the other’s hips. Sitting back, he cleared his throat. “Now I know ya’ no virgin but…” Gyro traced soothing patterns with his thumbs into Johnny’s hipbones, “have ya’ ever been with a man before?”

Johnny opened his eyes and turned his head towards the other. Gyro looked so good on top of him, it made his chest feel weak. “N-no,” Johnny stammered, “I’m not a homosexual.”

The statement made Gyro howl with laughter, clutching at his gut as he almost doubled over. Johnny was not impressed. He was being honest. “What?” he questioned defensively, “I ain’t ever fucked a man before, never even wanted to.” Johnny paused, watching as the other’s laughter died down. Gyro straightened back up, listening intently to the other man. Biting his lip, Johnny pressed on. “I ain’t ever been attracted to another man…before you.”

“Oh,” Gyro responded. He seemed lost at first, considering Johnny’s words, before he shifted to lean forward. He pressed his lips gently to Johnny’s pouted pair, soothing any tension between them. “That’s alright, no need to be embarrassed,” Gyro leant up to kiss Johnny’s temple before moving to sit back. “I can show you the ropes.”

Gyro moved to lay on the towel, beside Johnny. He helped direct Johnny, moving his body until he was also on his side. Now facing one another, Gyro’s hand reached between Johnny’s legs, teasing fingers ghosted across the base of Johnny’s hardened cock. Gyro pressed another gentle kiss against Johnny’s lips. Leaning back, he asked softly, “is this alright?”

Johnny nodded, his own hands wrapping around Gyro’s form and grasping desperately at his broad back. Gyro’s hand wrapped around Johnny’s cock, giving a few strokes before playing with the head. He collected the precum that had leaked from the tip of Johnny’s cock. Using the liquid as a form of lubricant, he fastened the pace of his strokes.

Johnny moved to rest his head upon Gyro’s chest, mouthing profanities into the Italian’s collarbone, leaving a wet patch upon his skin. He reached blindly between the Italian’s thighs, eager to reciprocate. Finally touching Gyro’s cock, Johnny teased at the slit before wrapping his hand around the girthy length. He mimicked Gyro’s motions, moving in unison with the other, hoping to bring the man to the same level of euphoria that he was currently experiencing.

“Fuck Johnny!” Gyro moaned. He shifted Johnny’s head back up, their lips meeting in another open- mouthed kiss. Gyro’s free hand moved behind Johnny, groping at his ass as he pulled him even closer. Johnny was quite numb around his backside, but he definitely could feel the weight of the other man’s hand against his cheek. “So fucking good,” Gyro mouthed breathlessly against Johnny’s lips, “so gorgeous!”

Gyro’s hand did not relent. Pulling Johnny closer, he swatted the other man’s hand away from his own length before moving to place both of their cocks together. Johnny gasped before whining, more pre-cum spilling from the swollen head of his cock. Gyro wrapped his large hand around their two lengths and resumed his ministrations. The combined friction was pure ecstasy. Johnny’s hands, now free, had made their way back to Gyro’s hair. He pulled at the strands, causing Gyro to buck wildly, grinding his hips forward and pressing his cock flush against the other. His movements were now erratic, but Johnny didn’t mind. He was so fucking close.

Their breaths mingled as their tongues continued to meet. The whole experience felt so needy; animalistic. Johnny felt like a live wire. Wherever Gyro touched, a spark of pleasure sent jolts of electricity throughout Johnny’s body. The Italian had awakened something deep inside of Johnny that had laid dormant for years. He felt alive, in the best way, and he had never felt so desperate for release.

Gyro was first to lose control. Crying out Johnny’s name as if he were a divine force, he ejaculated. Hot spurts of cum sprayed out, coating Johnny’s abdomen and chest. Johnny watched as the other man’s face contorted, now completely drunk on pleasure. Gyro continued to move his hand, knowing it wouldn’t take much more for Johnny to orgasm.

The sound of his name on Gyro’s tongue, the sight of the Italian entering a state of nirvana, the feeling of hot semen against his chest. Johnny suddenly felt incredibly overwhelmed, arching his upper back as much as he could bare as his cock began to spasm. He cried his lover’s name as he finally found his release. His seed sprayed out in hot jets, landing upon his own chest and mixing with Gyro’s semen. With a few final tugs, Gyro released their spent cocks.

The two men laid together in silence, enjoying the afterglow as they caught their breaths. Gyro’s hand traced calming circles against Johnny’s lower back, pressing soft kisses against his forehead. “Thank you,” he whispered gently, moving back to stare lovingly into Johnny’s eyes.

“You sap,” Johnny responded, playfully slapping at Gyro’s shoulder and causing the other to let out a hearty chuckle. They continued to lie there, embracing one another and sharing tender kisses as the sun continued to set. Soon it was dusk. Gyro reluctantly freed himself from Johnny’s arms. He retrieved his pants and put them back on, forgoing his boots for now. Johnny did not move, too comfortable to bother hauling himself over to his own discarded clothing to get changed.

He grabbed his towel; the item having fallen off of his shoulders earlier. Wandering over to the creek, he squatted down and wet the fabric before returning to Johnny. He cleaned the other’s chest, removing the thick layer of semen before it could harden into a flaky mess. Satisfied with his work, he went back to the creek and rinsed out the towel, hanging it on a nearby tree branch to dry.

Making his way over to Slow Dancer and Valkyrie, he finally removed their saddles and gear. He made his way back to the grassy null, depositing their bags next to the towel, where Johnny still lay.

“Thought I better start setting up camp,” Gyro explained as he unravelled his own sleeping bag. Johnny dragged himself over to the bedding, climbing inside. Gyro let out another warm chuckle as he continued to unpack. He set up their belongings in a makeshift camp, making a small campfire on the pebbled creek bed nearby. Johnny’s mind was hazy, feeling exhausted after a long day’s travel and the sensual activities that had transpired only moments earlier. He couldn’t recall when he had fallen asleep, only that he was awoken by a gentle nudge of his shoulder.


His eyes fluttered open. Moving his hand, he covered his mouth as he let out a yawn. It was now dark, the starry night sky obscured by the canopy of tree branches above. Rubbing sleep from his eyes, Johnny’s vision began to improve. Gyro was hovering above him. He was now fully dressed. Reaching out, he offered Johnny a hot mug of coffee. “How ya’ feelin’, cowboy?”

“How long have I been out?” Johnny responded groggily while accepting the warm beverage. He took a small sip, the boiling hot liquid scalding his tongue.

“Careful there, it might be hot,” Gyro joked, patting Johnny’s bare back in a lame attempt to soothe the pain. “Not long, only an hour.” He moved away momentarily before re-joining Johnny, his clothing now in hand. He took Johnny’s mug as the other redressed, stealing glances of the younger man as he put on his shirt. Johnny couldn’t help but feel slightly embarrassed. Sure, he had sex with Gyro earlier that evening, but this was an entirely different context. Besides, he didn’t know where the two of them currently stood, and he was honestly afraid to approach the subject. Had their relationship changed? Were they still considered friends after exchanging such an intimate embrace? Would Gyro get cold feet, wishing to pretend that what had transpired that evening had never happened?

Gyro seemed to read Johnny’s body language, moving away to offer the other some privacy. The Italian made his way back to their small campfire, placing some more kindling into the centre to feed the dancing flame. He was roasting a few small fish above the open flame, each impaled upon a sharpened stick, strategically suspended above the fire. Johnny hummed as he watched Gyro continue with his meal preparations, utilising what little the wilderness provided, to create a passable meal. He appreciated Gyro’s efforts, continuously going out of his way to ensure that both he and Johnny remained in their best condition. He did so much for Johnny, and yet he never complained. Despite insisting that his real intentions for the Steel Ball Run only concerned his own victory, Gyro was a compassionate man.

Johnny shimmied back into his tights, placing his socks and boots back on. He used his fingers to comb down his unruly head of hair. He placed his signature beanie back on, completing his usual ensemble. He dragged himself out of Gyro’s sleeping bag, heading over towards the other, who was currently preoccupied with turning over the half-cooked fish. Johnny manoeuvred his body until he was sitting upon a nearby log. Gyro looked over his shoulder as he tended to the fire, flashing Johnny a toothy grin. He had removed his grill at some point whilst Johnny had been sleeping, the pearly whites of his teeth now visible. He moved to pick up Johnny’s hot mug of coffee, moving to the other’s side and offering him his beverage once more. “Hey,” the Italian said just above a whisper, sounding almost giddy.

“Hey,” Johnny responded lamely, taking the beverage in hand.

“How you feelin,” Gyro questioned, casually sitting next to the ex-jockey, his own drink in hand. Johnny sipped on his coffee, glad to find that the liquid was no longer scalding hot. Gyro waited patiently, mimicking Johnny’s actions as he sipped from his own mug. His eyes remained focused on the other, seeming genuinely concerned.

Johnny cleared his throat before meeting the Italian’s gaze. “I’m alright, I think I was just feeling a little tired after a full day of riding. Sorry if I made you worry...”

Gyro reached out with his free hand to squeeze Johnny’s shoulder, the comforting gesture causing the younger to blush. “It’s alright Johnny,” Gyro offered reassuringly, his hand lingering upon the other’s shoulder, “I didn’t wake you up because I wanted you to rest.”

“Thank you,” Johnny mumbled, chewing on his bottom lip, “for everything.” There was so much more Johnny wished to say, numerous questions he wished to ask the other man. All danced at the tip of his tongue, left unspoken. He feared what impact his words may have. Johnny did not wish to disrupt the dynamic he had established with Gyro. They made a great team, drawing upon each other’s strengths whilst covering for the other’s shortcomings. They had achieved a perfect balance, working in unison to defeat any enemy stand user they encountered, charging forward in their pursuit to uncover the remaining corpse parts. Johnny was afraid of losing what they already had. He didn’t want to risk his only true friend due to his own selfish, physical desires. Gyro meant so much more to him than just a casual fuck.

Stewing in his own thoughts, Johnny hadn’t noticed that the Italian was currently suffering a similar dilemma. Gyro was the first to give in. Placing his empty mug by his foot, Gyro turned his body to face the other. “Johnny,” he began, “I don’t know if I’m saying this right but I know I have to say something.” Gyro reached over with his free hand. Grasping Johnny’s other shoulder, he turned the ex-jockey’s upper body until they were both facing one another. He did not let go. “I really enjoyed your company this evening.”

“Me too,” Johnny offered quietly, urging the other to continue. He wished to also reach out and touch the other man, but his hands remained in place, gripping his mug.

“Oh, good,” Gyro chuckled awkwardly, though Johnny could tell that the small smile he wore was genuine. “I just…I don’t want us to just…pretend like nothin’ happened, ya’ know.” Feeling awkward, Gyro retracted one hand to rub at the nape of his neck. Maintaining eye contact with Johnny, he braved on. “I really like ya’, more than just a riding partner.” Gyro reached back, his hand now cupping Johnny’s cheek, “…more than just a friend.”

That was all that Johnny needed to hear. Surging forward, he closed the distance between him and Gyro, placing a chaste peck upon the other’s lips. Not wanting to get carried away, he quickly retracted, waiting for a response.

Gyro seemed shocked by Johnny’s spontaneous display of affection. He raised his hand, his fingers lightly tracing his lips, where Johnny had kissed him only moments before. After a few seconds, Gyro’s mind caught up. He leaned back in, resting his forehead upon Johnny’s own. “I take that as meaning you reciprocate my feelings, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Johnny whispered back, his hot breath falling upon Gyro’s lips. “By the way…the fish is on fire.”

“Oh, fuck!”