Ennis was dozing next to the fire with his hat tugged down over his eyes. He could feel the heat from the fire, raising a flush on his cheeks. The only thing he could hear was the crackling of the wood as the embers danced into the night’s sky. Without looking, Ennis knew the embers would flicker and die off all too quickly. He knew this because he had watched the same dance night after night on this mountain.
And without looking, he knew what else was going on. “Stop it.”
“I never touched my fuckin’ harmonica!”
Ennis shifted around, tugging at his coat. “Never said ya did.”
Ennis heard Jack make a grumbling noise. He also knew the damn cowboy would be reaching for his harmonica if Ennis hadn’t hid it in Jack’s saddle bag this morning. The warmth and drowsiness from the day’s hard labour was calling him, but still he couldn’t doze off.
Ennis kicked Jack with his booted foot. “I said, stop it!”
“Ow! What in the hell was that for?”
Ennis grunted when Jack kicked him back. He tipped back his hat and sat up. “You’re watchin’ me.”
“So what if I am? It’s a free country.” Jack was rubbing his thigh and glaring at Ennis. “And never said I was.”
“You were.” Even half asleep he could feel Jack watching him. Hell, even up on the mountain with the sheep, he swore he could feel Jack watching him from down in the base camp. “Felt it.”
“You watch me all the time.”
Ennis shook his head. Jack’s head was already big enough that he didn’t need to be knowing that Ennis did watch him. “Do not.”
“Well, maybe I watch ya ‘cause there’s nothin’ else up here ta do. You’re more interestin’ than the damn woollies.” A quick smirk dawned on Jack’s face. “But not much.”
“Asshole.” Ennis shifted again, telling himself he was getting closer to the warmth of the fire. If that happened to be closer to Jack, then that was merely a coincidence.
“Bastard,” Jack shot back with that same smirk. With the heel of his boot, he kicked one of the logs deeper in the flames. More sparks took flight into the night. When Jack settled back down onto the ground, it happened to be right beside Ennis. “Nice night.”
Now Ennis felt not only the warmth from the fire, but Jack’s own tantalizing body heat. “Yep.”
Jack yawned, his arms outstretched as he stretched. One arm settled along Ennis’ shoulders. Ennis never said anything. He just let Jack settle against him and let the warmth settle in after being cold for so long.
They watched the fire together, studying the sparks dance with a freedom only ever found on Brokeback Mountain.