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A Man Out Of Time

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February 14, 1937 & December 12, 1948

Dick is 20, Nix is 30

 

Dick had left the apartment he shared with his roommate upon a very late request. George had asked for the place to himself for a few hours.

 

“Rather last minute, isn’t it?” Dick asked, looking at his watch. It was already dark outside, and Dick liked to be up by 5:45am at the latest to train.

 

“You worry about things if you have too long to think about them,” George said, and he looked so hopeful Dick just sighed and grabbed his jacket and gloves.

 

So now he was running through the woods. It was one of the few places he could be sure he wouldn’t see any happy couples. He had never had a girlfriend, though girls had sent him keen smiles in church. His mother had said it was sensible to focus on his studies and not girls, and Dick agreed. But there were times where he felt unbearably lonely. Running had always proven an effective distraction from any distressing emotion. And then after, when he was tired and sore, he would think of his aching muscles instead of lingering on any sort of emotional pain.

 

This all would have done for the night. It wasn’t as though anything horrible had happened. But it’s easy to miss ice in the dark, and a moment later, Dick lost his footing. As he fell onto the hard ground, his ankle came down hard on a rock. He groaned, and winced when the pain hit. He hadn’t heard the bone shatter, but that was little comfort now. In the dark, he could barely see his foot. He crawled off the patch of ice and tried to stumble to his feet. As soon as he put weight on his foot, he knew he wouldn’t be able to stand.

 

For the sake of his wrestling career, he hoped it was only a sprain. He sat there for a split second, but soon came to the realization that nobody would walk down this trail this late at night. It was cold enough to get frostbite, or else hypothermia, and that was the last thing he needed. He could not simply give up. Back on his hands and knees, he began to crawl the way he came, back towards town. At least it would keep his body temperature up, even if it took him all night to crawl a mile.

 

Dick jumped when he heard a man call his name behind him. Had he hit his head too?

 

But then he heard it again, “Dick, what are you doing?”

 

It did not take long for the man to catch up with him, since he had the use of two good legs.

 

“Are you alright?” the man asked.

 

“How do you know my name?” Dick asked.

 

The man was silent for a moment, like he was thinking of what to say. It sent a shiver down his spine.

 

“I love sports,” he managed, “and I’m a fan. C’mon… Richard, let me help you get to a hospital. We can’t afford to lose our prize basketball player this season.”

 

This made sense to Dick. He couldn’t help but be flattered that he had an admirer. “I slipped on some ice and hit my ankle.”

 

“You can’t walk?”

 

“I didn’t want to risk it.”

 

The man was silent for a moment. “I suppose I’ll have to carry you then. You don’t mind, do you?”

 

Dick’s cheeks flushed, but he wasn’t entirely sure why. It was the only reasonable way to get him to a hospital. “No, I would appreciate it. If you can lift me.”

 

The man laughed, “I’m a bit out of shape, but I think I can still manage it.”

 

He might be a stranger, but there was something warm and familiar in his voice. Dick wasn’t afraid when the man scooped him up into his arms.

 

It occurred to Dick then how strange it was that this man knew his name, but Dick didn’t know his. It didn’t seem entirely appropriate to ask now that he was being carried by him through a dark trail. God had sent him, Dick was sure of it, and he didn’t want to appear rude.

 

The man kept a good grip on him, and Dick felt safe in his arms.

 

“What were you doing running through the forest at night, anyway?” the man asked.

 

“Just ... training.”

 

“Maybe bring a friend next time. I’m not usually creeping through the woods of Lancaster at night.”

 

“What are you usually doing?”

 

Dick felt the man exhale, and he wondered if he had asked the wrong question.

 

“Farming,” he said at last.

 

That explained why he was so strong, Dick supposed.

 

“I’m Lew – Lewis, by the way,” he said. “I forgot I had you at a disadvantage.”

 

“Nice to meet you, Lewis.”

 

They fell into a silence that Dick wasn’t sure how to fill. That sort of thing had never been his strong suit, and it seemed that it wasn’t Lewis’ either. Or maybe he was simply struggling with the weight of him. They’d been walking for a few minutes now, and he could feel Lewis’ breaths growing shorter. At nearly two hundred pounds, Dick wasn’t exactly light.

 

“Do you want to take a break?” Dick asked.

 

“And let you crawl away again? I don’t think so.”

 

Dick laughed. He was glad it was dark, because he wouldn’t have wanted anyone to see him looking so pitiful.

 

By then, they had come close enough to the town that light began to stream through the trees. Dick took the opportunity to look up at Lewis’ face and assess it. He’d worried that he knew Lewis, but had forgotten him, and that he seemed callous and rude. But Dick knew he would have remembered his handsome face. Something deep in his belly tightened the same way it did when he was paired with a particularly well muscled wrestling opponent.

 

“I’m sorry if I ruined your plans,” Dick said.

 

“Ruined my plans?” Lewis asked.

 

“It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m assuming you were out there to meet somebody.”

 

Lewis looked bemused, but said nothing.

 

“And I know I’m not exactly your type.”

 

“Not my type? Yeah, right,” Lew laughed, but it didn’t seem like he was laughing at the joke Dick had thought he was making. He felt uncertain again. “Don’t feel too bad for ruining some forest rendezvous, Dick. I was just… well, sometimes I end up in places I don’t expect.” He was silent, and Dick could tell he was thinking. “We don’t need to worry about that now. Where should I take you at this hour? Is there a doctor in town? A phone so I can call for an ambulance?”

 

“There’s a phonebooth up there a ways,” Dick said, gesturing with his hand towards the street.

 

Soon they’d made their way to it. Dick was glad they hadn’t passed anyone walking arm in arm in the streets. He wasn’t sure what they’d think of the display. Not that he was doing anything wrong. People get injured all the time, and sometimes they need to be carried through the street towards phonebooths. There was nothing queer about this. Dick blushed at even the thought.

 

“You can let me down now,” Dick said, “I’m sure you’re tired.”

 

Dick was surely just imagining it, but Lewis almost seemed reluctant to release him from his arms. “Are you sure you can stand to make the call?”

 

“I can do it,” Dick assured him, but Lewis didn’t seem to believe him. He set him down on the park bench beside the phone booth, and went into it himself. Dick didn’t mind, though. He relaxed into the park bench and tucked his hands into his sleeves, hiding them from the night’s air. He listened to Nix dial the phone, and his voice tell the operator he needed help. It seemed colder than before now, and Dick cursed himself for not bringing proper winter attire. If George had prepared him, none of this would have happened.

 

A few minutes passed, and Lewis still hadn’t left the phone booth.

 

“Lewis?” Dick called, but there was no answer.

 

He slid down the bench to get a better view of the phonebooth, but it was empty. Dick squinted and moved his head to look around the street. But nobody was there. It all seemed impossible, and he wondered again if he’d hit his head and not realized it.

 

Dick didn’t have much time to contemplate it. The ambulance arrived, and soon he was in the hospital, with morphine flowing into his veins. And then, relaxed and happy, Dick knew he’d seen an angel.


 

March 5, 1937 & May 12, 1952

Dick is 20, Nix is 34

 

“Lewis?” Dick asked, as if he wasn’t sure it was him.

 

Lewis , so oddly formal. He didn’t mind Lew, but Nix was the only thing that felt right coming from him. But then, he’d introduced himself as Lewis years ago, so it was all his fault.

 

“Dick,” Nix said, grinning. Nix couldn’t help but smile when he saw Dick. It didn’t matter that he’d been taken from bed to Lancaster fifteen years ago, or that he’d had to break into a house to steal a misfitting jacket to put over his silk pajamas. As soon as he saw Dick, it was all okay.

 

“I tried to find you, to thank you, but the ambulance came, and…” his voice trailed off.

 

“You haven’t seen me since then?” Nix asked.

 

Dick shook his head.

 

God, Dick looked young. There was a glow in his eyes that Nix could barely remember, the glow that had been there before Normandy. Nix had been to his own past enough now that he could remember how different he had been too. Charming, and not a mess. He was drunk, too drunk to see Dick so young. He’d do his best not to mess up their future together by acting like the mess he was. His Dick, overworked on their farm, already had to deal with this bender. Nix didn’t need to be that much of a burden to a kid who didn’t even know him yet, no matter if he looked and felt like his lover.

 

“Do you want to sit?”

 

“Alright,” Dick said, and then he did.

 

Nix tried to remember what Dick had told him about this. About how he’d explained everything to make him understand. But Dick was always reticent to share details. Dick thought that if he knew, then it would make everything different, and he was afraid of losing what they’d had. Nix wasn’t sure time worked like that, but he didn’t want to lose Dick either. He was the only thing worth a damn in his life.

 

“I’m sorry for disappearing,” Nix said.

 

“You don’t need to apologize. You saved me.”

 

Nix waved it off. “I’ll do it again.”

 

“Save me?”

 

Nix laughed. “No. Disappear.”

 

Dick furrowed his brow. Nix couldn’t help but keep smiling, though he knew he must look like a drunken fool. It was just that young Dick was so easy to read, with his emotions playing out over his face. He wasn’t so guarded, but there was still something solemn and serious about him.

 

“Why?” Dick asked.

 

“I don’t know if you’ll believe me until you see it,” Nix said, remembering now the time Dick had told him that he’d thought that God had sent him a miracle in the woods. That Nix was an angel. That had been a laugh when he’d needed one, in the trenches of Bastogne.

 

“You’re going to show me how you did it?” Dick asked.

 

“I’m not a celestial being, Dick. I don’t have control over it. It just happens. And eventually you see, and you believe me.”

 

“Believe what, exactly?”

 

Damn, he was explaining this terribly. “What are you doing in a bar, anyway?” Nix asked, not answering the question, because he wasn’t sure how yet. He’d come here because he was such a goddamn mess, and he didn’t want to see Dick like this. He was stuck in Lancaster by fate, but thought the little bar was a place he’d be sure not to see Dick. That, and he was back on the bottle again.

 

“Uh, I’m here with the guys. We won. It’s a celebration.”

 

Nix looked over at the other side of the bar and saw a bunch of college aged kids. Half of them must be the wrestling team, but a few of them seem to have brought their girlfriends. Some of them were glancing over at them, so Nix didn’t stare. He wondered how Dick had explained wandering over to talk to some old drunk.

 

“You here with anyone?” Nix asked, looking over them.

 

“No, but you’re welcome to come sit with us.”

 

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Nix said. “I’m confusing you, aren’t I?” he asked.

 

Dick nodded, and Nix sighed. He’d thought he’d be better at this when the time came.

 

“Well, I suppose I’ll just say it. But you’ll think I’m crazy until I disappear. I’m from the future.”

 

“From the future,” Dick repeated slowly. Nix could see him straining to keep a straight face, something he’d grow much better at in the future.

 

“I’m a time traveler. At one moment I’m in my present, and then I’m not, and then eventually, I go back.”

 

“And you went back when you were in the phonebooth?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Why?” Dick asked.

 

“Well I don’t really have a choice about when I stay and go. I didn’t mean to abandon you on a park bench with a broken leg,” Nix said, somewhat defensively.

 

“No, why do you randomly appear and disappear through time?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“I see.”

 

Except Dick didn’t see, he plainly thought Nix was crazy. And Nix knew enough about trying to explain this to people that he knew that in defending himself from being crazy, he would end up sounding even crazier.

 

“You’ll see,” Nix said.

 

“I’m sure I will.”

 

Nix sighed, and for once, he wished that time would pull him away from Dick Winters. He waved to the barkeep and asked for another whiskey. Drinking usually made it worse, and maybe he could trigger it. “I’d offer to buy you a drink, but I know there’s no point.”

 

“No, there’s not.”

 

He didn’t get the drink, though that might have been for the best. He’d been trying, with no success, to dry out for a week now. Instead he felt nauseous, and when he opened his eyes he was back home, in the barn, in the present. Things weren’t as he’d left them. It was daybreak now, and Dick was in his riding boots and helmet and brushing out his horse’s coat.

 

They’d been fighting the night he disappeared. He’d been sleeping in the guest room, with two of his dogs to keep him company. He expected the silent treatment, and knew he deserved no better. He had ruined Dick’s life, after all. But instead Dick’s lips curled into a small smile. He walked towards Nix, and threw his arms around him. “Missed you,” Dick whispered into Nix’s neck.

 

Nix closed his eyes and inhaled Dick’s familiar scent. “Was I gone long?” It had only been a couple of hours for him, not even long enough to sober up if he’d wanted to.

 

“Nearly a month,” Dick said.

 

“Jesus,” Nix said, and held onto Dick a bit tighter. It was getting longer every time now. He didn’t blame Dick for being mad at him, not when he was practically courting all this chaos now that he was drinking again. Dick had told him once that it got lonely without him, and it had nearly broken his heart. “I’m going to give it up, I promise.”

 

Dick released Nix, and turned away, back to his horse. He resumed brushing her. “Good,” he said in a steady voice.

 

Addicts always lie. They both knew it, and Nix had broken too many promises already. 

 

“I will, Dick. I’ll go back to the sanitorium. You can watch me pour it all down the drain.”

 

Dick stopped brushing the horse, but he didn’t say anything, and the silence was worse than anything he’d ever said in anger.

 

“I’ll go to New York and see that analyst that’s helping my sister, even,” Nix said, cringing as he did, because he hated psychiatrists.

 

“I was thinking, after you left, that I remember those silk pajamas.”

 

“Yeah?” Nix asked, glad the topic had shifted from talking about his feelings.

 

“At the time I didn’t realize they were pajamas. I thought they were just pants an eccentric man would wear.”

 

“Well, you weren’t wrong,” Nix said, because he did enjoy wearing pajamas all day. “You didn’t tell me what an idiot I was.”

 

“Were you?” Dick laughed. “That’s not how I remember it.”

 

Sometimes Dick could make Nix feel unbearably tender. It was never when Dick was trying to be romantic, though sometimes he did try. It was always when he let Nix know how deep the devotion ran.

 

When Nix had married Kathy, it had just been the thing to do. He’d liked her, and he’d wanted to fuck her, and his parents liked her. Maybe he’d loved her for a weekend, or a month, sometime in their brief courtship. More than that, he’d wanted to be loved. At the beginning of their marriage, she’d looked at him with such pride. She had loved him, and Nix wanted to be loved by her, to feel like he was worth something. But he didn’t cherish her, and pretty soon it all turned to ashes.

 

To be loved by someone who you also loved was entirely different. He didn’t think he could stand to lose Dick.

 

So he’d try. He really would.

 

“You look exhausted,” Dick said. “You should get to bed.”

 

Nix was happy to do as he was told, and fell asleep easily in a bed that smelled of Dick.


 

June 26, 1937 & December 24, 1944

Dick is 20, Nix is 26

 

Nix was still trying to make sense of whatever the fuck this time travelling thing was, and trying to figure out if he’d lost his mind when he took that bullet in Holland, when he was thrown back again.

 

It had only happened three or four times so far, and he only lost a couple minutes, but he’d had to go back to Nixon, had to haunt his own childhood. He’d convinced himself it was a dream, caused by drinking too much and worrying he was going to die, and that he didn’t need to go to a medic about what he thought he’d experienced. He didn’t need to end up in a sanitarium.

 

One moment he’s shuddering in Bastogne, making his way through the woods to the foxhole he shared with Dick, and the next he’s walking through an entirely different forest. It’s the first time he’s ever been happy about it. He might be insane, but he could feel the sun on his face for the first time in a week. He looked up at the sky and allowed himself to be warm. Alone in the forest, he didn’t need to do anything. He’d just soak it up for awhile, until his brain saw fit to bring him back to the hell it kept trying to escape from.

 

His pistol and helmet and dogtags were gone, but he was still wearing his fatigues and boots. He loosened the neck of it, and walked towards a clearing in the forest. Nix let himself lay down in the meadow, on a bed of thick grass and dandelions. He looked up at the sky, and smiled when a bright orange butterfly flew past him. He hadn’t realized just how tired he was until now.

 

He must have fallen asleep like that, because before he knew it he heard his name being called.

 

“Lewis!”

 

He expected to wake up to an attack, but it was still blue skies and green grass when he opened his eyes. And Dick was walking towards him, wearing running shoes and shorts even tinier than the ones they’d all had to wear at Tacoa. Nix liked that view more than he should. He was entirely sure that God-fearing Dick Winters didn’t want anyone thinking about him like that, let alone Lewis Nixon.

 

“Dick,” he called back, because he might as well play along with this stupid fantasy.

 

When Dick reached him, he stood there for awhile, just staring at him. Nix didn’t know what to say. At long last, Dick broke the silence.

 

“I believe you. But…”

 

“But…?”

 

“Why me?”

 

Nix felt like he was missing the first half of this conversation. His own delusions shouldn’t leave him so confused. He raised an eyebrow.

 

“You know me, in the future, don’t you?”

 

Nix looked at Dick. He looked a lot cleaner than he could remember, though he was covered in sweat. His hair was a couple of shades lighter. Nix ran his hands through his hair, and forced a smile. “Yeah. Yeah, we’re friends.” He might as well lean into this fantasy. For all he knew, he was bleeding out somewhere and these were the last thoughts he’d have before he died. “I come here a lot?”

 

“You don’t remember?” Dick asked, and frowned. “That makes sense. You look younger than before.” Dick’s eyes sparkled with something that looked like wonder. He could feel his heart beating in his chest. Dick then squinted and looked down at Nix’s legs. “You’re bleeding,” he stated.

 

“Am I?” Nix asked, shrugging his soldiers.

 

Dick fell to his knees and began to roll up the leg of his fatigues. Sure enough, there was a cut there. “How’d this happen?”

 

Nix had no idea. Sometimes one stumbled on shell craters when they were drunk in a warzone, so he supposed that could be it. “Oh, it’s nothing,” he said, and attempted to roll the leg of his fatigues back down.

 

Dick’s hand caught his and stopped it. Nix breathed in, staring at Dick’s hand on his. He had a strong grip, though this shouldn’t surprise him. “It needs to be cleaned out, at least,” Dick said.

 

“You got some alcohol and cotton in your pockets?” Nix asked, gesturing to Dick’s tiny shorts.

 

Dick shook his head, returned to his feet. His hand was still on Nix’s, and instead of letting go, he twined their fingers together and pulled Nix up with him. “You can come back to my place,” he said. “I have a First Aid kit.”

 

Now that Dick was holding his hand, Nix wasn’t in a hurry to let go. He sighed. Nix knew how hopeless he was. He’d always go where Dick went. This travelling through time had always felt like insanity before this. It had been reliving the worst moments of his life, every stupid hurt, every time he’d done something callous and stupid. But this was different. Dick felt real, and Nix suddenly believed it all.

 

“Can you walk?” Dick asked.

 

“Yes, I think I’ll be alright. No need to be a hero.”

 

Dick laughed at that, shaking his head. Nix wasn’t sure what was so funny, but he loved the sound of Dick’s laugh, so he smiled anyway. He hadn’t heard it enough recently.

 

At first, they walked in silence. Dick kept glancing over at him, doubtless with a thousand questions. But then, Dick was always polite and quiet. Nix was a stranger to him. A time traveling stranger, no less.

 

“Yes, we’re friends in the future,” Nix said, after walking a couple hundred paces, answering the question that Dick had asked when he was still getting his bearings. “You’re the… you’re the best friend I’ve ever had, Dick Winters.”

 

“Am I?”

 

Nix glanced over and saw the sweetest smile on Dick’s face. “More than friends, really,” he said, not realizing what he’d let slip until it was too late.

 

“More than friends?”

 

“Like family,” Nix said, in what he thought was a smooth recovery. And that was true, in a way. He certainly loved Dick more than he’d ever loved anyone. He was more than family, though. His love wasn’t fraternal, as it was for Harry. But then, whatever it was that Nix wanted could never be. So there was no point in talking about that.

 

“And how are things, in the future?” Dick asked.

 

“Right now? I’m glad to be here with you.”

 

“That bad?”

 

“Well, this cut on my leg is nothing.” Nix sighed. “I don’t want to think about it.”

 

“Oh,” Dick said.

 

Nix didn’t want to worry Dick, even if there was lots to worry about. No point on getting him anxious over anything. “It’ll be okay, Dick. The nature of being a paratrooper, life can get a little rough. We’ll make it through though, you and me.”

 

Dick just nodded. They fell into another silence, but it was more comfortable this time around. Nix opened his mouth to speak, but all that came out was bile which landed in the snow of 1945.

 

“Nix, are you alright?” he heard his Dick say.

 

He looked around and he’d landed right outside his foxhole. Nix opened his mouth to answer, but more vomit came out.

 

“Get in here, where it’s warm,” Dick said. Dick was eyeing him knowingly, looking at his bootless feet and then up at his helmetless head. Nix crawled into the foxhole. He was losing bodyheat quickly, though he’d just been sunbathing in a meadow. “I found your helmet and boots on patrol.”

 

Nix blinked slowly. “You knew the whole time,” he said.

 

Dick nodded.

 

“I thought I was losing my mind, Dick. You weren’t going to fill me in?”

 

“You told me not to tell you a long time ago,” Dick said, shrugging sheepishly.

 

“I’ve always been my own worst nightmare.”

 

Dick laughed, “no, you told me you didn’t want to mess up everything good you had in the future.”

 

Nix sighed. Dick held out his boots as a peace offering, and Nix accepted it.

 

“I need to go out on patrol,” Dick said. “But we’ll talk after, okay?”

 

“Yeah, okay,” Nix said, and watched Dick leave. It was for the best. He wasn’t sure what to say to any of this. What he really needed was a nap.

 

Chapter Text

July 10, 1937 & May 8, 1945

Dick is 20, Nix is 27

 

When Dick told Nix he’d had a surprise for him, a hundred dirty thoughts raced through his mind. He licked his lips as the jeep tore through Berchtesgaden. Dick had little to say on the ride, but the knowing smile on his face, and refusal to tell Nix what was in store for him gave him some idea. It had been far too long since he’d gotten naked with Major Winters. Whenever they managed to shake Harry, Zielinski would appear. Nix was so sexually frustrated he couldn’t even enjoy his long-awaited bacon sandwich.

 

 His gift was more alcohol than he’d ever seen in his life. 

 

What he wanted was Dick. Booze was almost as good as sex, though. And man, it was some nice booze.

 

When they were back at the Berchtesgaden Hof, alone and half-dressed, Nix appreciated the weight of Dick’s body on top of his. He liked the way champagne tasted on Dick’s tongue and wondered if it was wrong that he was getting off as much on Dick giving in to the temptations of the day as the now familiar feeling of Dick’s soft lips running along his jaw. He’d finally done it – gone and corrupted Major Winters.

 

Nix started laughing as Dick kissed his neck. He pulled back and looked him in the eye. “Ticklish?” he asked.

 

“I just realized how sneaky you really are. Machiavellian, really.”

 

Dick smirked. “I needed some alone time with you.”

 

“And nobody would say anything if you wandered off from a party. And they wouldn’t be surprised I planned to drink myself into a coma alone.”

 

“You deserve it,” Dick said, his small smile growing into a grin.

 

“I do, don’t I?”

 

Nix ran his hands through Dick’s hair before pulling his head down and kissing him again. He could kiss him like this forever. And maybe he would if he could sort things out well enough to keep Dick around. He’d seen things in the future, a whole life just waiting for them. His Dick assured him that this love, and this terrible magic of being out of time with everyone around him, was real. Dick’s kisses certainly felt real.

 

“We need to get you out of these,” Dick said, tugging at his fatigues. Nix was hard as a rock underneath them, and he certainly agreed.

 

“You want to see me in my dre—” he started, attempting to be witty, but then Dick moved his leg in between Lewis’ and the shift in weight made him moan and told him that he didn’t need to flirt anymore, it was time to fuck.

 

Dick rolled off of him and lay his head back on thick down pillows. He smiled, clearly drunk off of two glasses of champagne. “I want to see you undress for me, Nix.”

 

Somehow it was always Nix who ended up blushing in the bedroom. Dick was so earnest about fucking, confident that he could get Nix to do whatever he wanted, he didn’t bother to feel embarrassed about the whole thing.

 

“Whatever you want, Major Winters.”

 

It shouldn’t have surprised Lew that Dick liked to be in control, but it had. He’d imagined what sort of lay Dick Winters would be since OCS, and back then he’d thought Dick would probably prefer it under the sheets in the dark, if at all. Lew would have to be the seducer, the one to say ‘oh, what’s a blowjob between friends?’ before sucking him off. But the Dick Winters who seduced him in their Haggenau billet had been a confident and unnervingly competent lover. ‘How many times have we done this?’ Lew had asked, because Dick seemed to know just what to do with his tongue. But Dick had refused to tell him any of the sordid details of his future.

 

Maybe this time travel thing wouldn’t be so bad after all, if most of it was going to be spent giving Dick his sexual awakening.

 

Nix forced himself up to his feet. He’d been spoiled by Dick in bed the past few months, who let Nix be lazy and seemed happy to do most of the work. He supposed he owed Dick a strip show or two. He didn’t have much to take off though, as Dick had nearly ripped the buttons of his jacket off in haste to get it off, and he’d rid himself of his undershirt just to feel Dick against his skin. So he made do with what he had on.

 

He kicked his boots off. He was wobbly from the champagne and nearly fell, but he recovered in what he hoped was a sexy way.

 

He peeled a sock off and threw it at Dick, who laughed amiably.

 

“You know just how to turn me on, Nix,” he said, casting it aside.

 

“I saw that you got us adjoining rooms, Major Winters, so I feel I can press my luck and still find you sneaking into my bed at night.”

 

“That’s a fair assessment, Captain Nixon.”

 

Nix removed his other sock and tossed it to the floor, not actually wanting to press his luck. He wanted Dick inside him, after all.

 

“Take off your pants, Captain,” Dick ordered from the bed.

 

Nix unbuttoned his pants but didn’t remove them. Instead, he pulled his cock out and gave himself a few tugs. Dick tilted his head, looking at the display with interest. Dick licked his lips but seemed to catch himself from growing too distracted. “I told you to take your pants off, Captain, are you disobeying a direct order?”

 

“No, sir,” Nix said, and pushed his fatigues down and stepped out of them. He left his skivvies on the floor too and stood naked before Dick. He did not feel self-conscious, though he knew his body was being assessed by Dick in the golden sunlight that streamed in through the open windows. It was clear Dick liked what he saw, and that made Nix want to jump op top of Dick and wrestle until Dick inevitably pinned him down and took him. “Permission to speak, sir?”

 

“Granted.”

 

“I’d like to suck your cock.”

 

“Get to it then, Captain Nixon.”

 

Dick made no effort to move, so Nix crawled on the bed with him. He unbuttoned Dick’s pants and undid the fly, pulling Dick’s hard cock out. He was still getting used to touching it, and his ineptitude at fellatio had haunted him since the first time he’d accidentally used his teeth. Dick still seemed eager to let him try, though. ‘You’ll get better,’ he’d said, with a knowing smile. Nix wanted to get better. The thought of having Dick in his mouth made his blood run hot.

 

Nix held Dick’s cock in his hand at first, rubbing his thumb along the tip. Then he leaned down and took him in his mouth.

 

This time, he made sure not to use his teeth. It was all tongue and lips, and soft toot, because though Dick could be rough, Nix had noticed he preferred when Nix was slow and gentle. This was the first time Nix had a chance to fuck Dick in a real bed, with a lock on the door, so they didn’t have to rush. Nix stole a look up at Dick. Dick’s eyes were closed and his head thrown back onto the down pillows. His chest was rising and falling evenly. Nix had never seen anything so beautifully peaceful. 

 

The windows were closed, but Nix could still hear the chaos from down in the streets. Their men were drunk and yelling, happily destroying things. Dick didn’t seem to mind, though. Nix slid his hands under Dick’s shirt and ran the tips of his fingers along Dick’s perfectly flat stomach. Dick’s body drove him wild. He’d been staring at it since showers in OCS. Back then, he hadn’t known what he was hungry for. Now he knew.

 

Dick was Nix pulled Dick’s shirt up to his chest and moved his lips up to his stomach, running his tongue in between the muscles. 

 

“What are you doing?” Dick asked, looking down at him with a raised eyebrow. 

 

“Don’t worry about it,” Nix muttered against Dick’s skin, and then pressed his lips back to Dick’s skin and sucked long and hard. Nix thought he heard a soft moan, but he couldn’t tell if it was his or Dick’s. He pulled his head back and admired the mark he’d made. 

 

“Possessive?” Dick’s eyes were shining, and Nix knew how long Dick had been waiting for this.

 

“Maybe a little.”

 

“Well, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Dick said. He ran his hand through Nix’s hair.

 

Nix took that as permission to leave more marks. He pushed Dick’s shirt up further, leaving trails of kisses and bruises up Dick’s chest until Nix was straddling him. Dick kissed him properly then and rolled him onto his back. Dick pulled off his own shirt and threw it to the floor.

 

Nix rubbed his hips up into Dick, hoping for some sort of release. But instead, Dick disappeared and his stomach lurched and he was laying in a prone position a cold tile floor. It only took him a second to realize he was naked.

 

He’d time-traveled a couple of dozen times by now, but he’d yet to do it in the nude. 

 

Fuck ,” he said, forcing himself to his feet. He had no idea where he was, but it was clearly in somebody’s house. He didn’t recognize the kitchen he was in, which was hardly a good sign. He could only hope it was the kitchen of some future house of his, and some future him would come out with a robe and a roguish grin. Or, even better -- a future Dick would come out and they could finish what they’d started in 1945. 

 

Desperate for some sort of coverage, lest he was forced to flee from angry homeowners, he grabbed the first item of clothing he saw. A homemade apron hanging on a hook by the door. It didn’t do much, he would still be arrested for indecent exposure if anyone caught him like this, but he had to take what he could get. 

 

Nix was still tying the straps into a bow when he heard a noise behind him.

 

“Lewis?” 

 

He recognized Dick’s voice immediately, and he sighed in relief. When he turned around, he caught Dick staring at his ass, and grinned. This Dick wasn’t his Dick, but he knew Nix. Nix knew by now that he had been Dick’s lover for years before OCS. Dick would take care of him. 

 

“Sorry for showing up like this,” Nix said.

 

“Well, that’s alright,” Dick replied. Dick swallowed, and his Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. There was something about the embarrassed look on his face that reminded Nix of his hard-on, somewhat concealed beneath the apron. 

 

“Mrs. Winters make this apron?”

 

“She did.”

 

“Bet she didn’t think it would end up like this.”

 

“No, I rather think she didn’t. I -- I, I know you don’t choose where you go, Lew, but if my parents catch you like this I don’t think I’m going to be able to explain it.” Dick pulled at his collared shirt. It was buttoned up to the very top button. Nix wasn’t sure why he found that so hot, but it was just so Dick , and Dick drove him crazy with lust, especially when he wasn’t trying to.

 

“This is your parent’s house?”

 

Dick nodded, “the kitchen stairs lead to my room.”

 

Nix smirked. He’d had a lot of fantasies about Dick, some truly fucked up ones too, but the thought of doing him in his childhood bedroom had yet to occur to him. “Lead the way.”

 

Dick stayed quiet as he led Nix up the kitchen stairs. There was a small hallway, and then two doors. Dick led him through one.

 

“So this is where Dick Winters grew up,” Nix remarked, taking it in. It was as neat as he’d imagined it would be. It was homey too. His mother had clearly made the quilt that covered the single bed. It was worn but well mended. There was a bookshelf and a desk with a small lamp. On the top shelf was a cluster of athletic trophies. Nix walked over and looked at them, forgetting his ass was exposed and he was only wearing an apron. Dick never bragged about his athletic feats, but the State and Regional championship trophies didn’t surprise Nix. Dick was strong, and his body, well… Dick was skinny, but he was well-toned in a way he could never be. 

 

“It is,” Dick said. “Lewis, can I ask you something?”

 

“Sure,” Nix said, running his finger along one of the plaques on the wall.

 

“Why are you naked?”

 

Nix grinned. “Funny you should ask,” he said, turning around. “We were just in the middle of something.”

 

“In the middle of something?”

 

“You were about to have your sordid way with me, Maj - Mr. Winters.”

 

Dick was blushing, and Nix’s heart swelled at how adorable his lover was. He took a few steps toward Dick to close the distance between them and took Dick’s face in his hand. Nix kissed him, rather sloppily, because he was still drunk from VE Day champagne and usually Dick led the way. Dick’s mouth was hard under his for a moment.

 

Nix pulled back. “You don’t want to do this with your parents here?” he asked.

 

“No -- well, yes -- I, um,” Dick cleared his throat. 

 

“Is everything okay?”

 

“Yes,” Dick said, and then looked down at the floor. Nix studied him. “Yes, it’s alright. It’s just, you’ve never kissed me before.” Dick glanced up at him and caught his eye.

 

Nix filled with a familiar self-loathing, one he rarely felt with Dick around. “Oh. Fuck.” He scratched the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, Dick.”

 

“Don’t -- no -- can we just try that again? I didn’t think I was very good.”

 

“You can kiss me as much as you want. I’m yours.”

 

“Are you?”

 

“Mmm hmm,” Nix said.

 

This time Dick took Nix’s face in hand. Dick ran his thumb across Nix’s cheek. The pad of his thumb caught on his five o’clock shadow. On Dick’s face was the same soft look that was always there, but there was apprehension too, as though Dick didn’t know what to do. Nix wasn’t used to that. It had always been Dick leading the way. But Dick had to learn how to do that somehow. It took a few moments before Dick got the nerve to lean over and kiss him, and when he did, the kiss didn’t feel right. Nix did his best to make himself pliant, he closed his eyes and opened his lips. Dick was still stiff, though, and Nix wanted to pull him out of his own head. He nibbled on Dick’s bottom lip, and then when Dick’s mouth was open, pressed his tongue to the tip of Dick’s. 

 

Dick didn’t take charge as Nix had wanted, instead he pulled away. “Thank you,” he said, the picture of politeness. 

 

“You’re welcome,” Nix responded. “You know, you’re taking all of this very well. A naked man appears and steals your mom’s apron, and you kiss him.”

 

Dick flushed red, making Nix grin, as it always did. “One does not refuse a gift from God,” Dick said.

 

 Nix just nodded, because what could one say to that? Dick would find out soon enough that Nix was no angel. Nix didn’t need to ruin Dick’s first kiss by letting Dick know what a mess he really was.

 

“Can I get you some clothes?” Dick asked.

 

What Nix really wanted was Dick to get out of his clothes, but he didn’t want to push his luck. “Sure,” he said.

 

Fitting Nix into Dick’s pants was hard. The guy was lean. At last, Dick provided him with a pair of itty bitty shorts. He remembered them from the meadow, which was yearly ago for him now. They were even smaller on Nix than they had been on Dick, and he hoped he wouldn’t be forced out of Dick’s room in them. Even with the apron on top of them, it was all rather vulgar.

 

“I, uh, I gotta mow my neighbor’s lawn. Sorry, but they’ll come to check on me if I don’t,” Dick said, once he’d assured Nix’s modesty. “You can stay here if you want. I could bring you some food later if you’re still here.”

 

“That would be nice,” Nix said.

 

“Okay then.” Dick nodded and left Nix alone in his room. A surprising amount of trust for a stranger, but then, Dick had called Nix a gift from god . Not that the two of them had much privacy in 1945, but that Dick knew him well.

 

Nix didn’t abuse Dick’s trust. His hardon was long gone, but the champagne was still in his system, and he needed a nap. He got underneath Dick’s cotton sheets and quilt and fell asleep easily. 

July 10, 1937

 

As Dick descended the staircase back to the kitchen, a hand rose to his mouth. He ran a finger across his bottom lip, and then the top. His lips still felt the same, and yet they were suddenly different. He had never been kissed before, hadn’t known what all the fuss was about. 

 

Dick had seen Lewis half a dozen times now. It had only been a few minutes here or there over the past five months, but Dick looked forward to Lewis’ visits more than he could say. Dick knew it was wrong that he should feel so strongly for Lewis, but he couldn’t have said why before today. He’d just felt an intense urge for Lewis to like him, for them to be friends. He was a handsome man, and interesting, more interesting than anyone else in Lancaster. Lewis had confessed a secret to Dick that only Dick got to know, and it somehow infused everything with meaning.

 

And now there was a new meaning. He felt it in each step he took. 

 

Nobody would suspect Dick Winters to be queer, least of all Dick himself. He returned home every weekend to attend Church with his mother, he spent all his time training with the lads for sports, or else practicing wrestling. When he’d had urges, he’d pushed them to the back of his mind. If he didn’t act on them, he was not sinning. 

 

But Dick had no doubt now. And he had faith that God still loved him. Why else would God send him Lewis? Dick had been faithful, and the Lord was sending him a sign. He no longer believed Lewis to be an angel, for angels would be more cognizant of what was going on. But God had given him someone to love, and brought him here to reward his faithfulness. He couldn’t help but grin as he walked over to Mrs. Norris’ house to mow her lawn. He kept grinning as he mowed it. He knew he must look dopey, for the sun was shining down on him hard, and sweat poured off of him, and still, he smiled. He was glad that nobody was around to hear the giggle that accidentally escaped when he thought of Lewis waiting for him in his room.

 

It seemed to take forever, but at last, he got his forty cents from Mrs. Norris and headed back to his house. 

 

“Oh Dick,” his mother said, frowning. “I thought you were in your room. I could have sworn I heard snoring in there.”

 

“I was, I just went out for a minute,” Dick said, keeping his face neutral to avoid his half-truth being detected as a lie. 

 

“Oh, alright then, dear. Would you like some shortbreads?”

 

Dick nodded and took a plate from the cupboard. He loaded it with shortbreads, and put a bit of jam on the side.

 

“Oh Dick, that’s too many! You’ll spoil your supper!”

 

“No, I’m starving mom. Trust me, I’ll eat my supper.”

 

“Will you help me spool some wool later? Mrs. Henderson got some extra wool from the dumpsters outside the carpet factory, and I need to make more manageable balls.”

 

Dick pressed his mouth into a straight line to avoid a display of mild irritation. Mrs. Henderson never got extra wool from the dumpsters outside the carpet factory, she stole wool and involved half the church ladies in her crimes. As much as Dick wanted to wrap strands of itchy wool around his hand for a few hours, he had Nix up in his room, and there were things he wanted from him.



“Can I do it after supper?” Dick asked.

 

“Alright, but call your sister down to help.”

 

Dick nodded, glad to be out of it. Anne sighed dramatically when pulled away from Black Beauty to spool wool, but she left without too much complaint. 

 

Finally, Dick was as alone as he was going to be, so he walked into his room with the tray of shortbreads. 

 

He wasn’t sure how he’d expected to see Lewis. Probably reading, or gazing soulfully out the window. Maybe smiling that lazy grin of his, giving him a wink. Instead, he was curled into a ball under Dick’s quilt, fast asleep and snoring. He reminded Dick of a very large cat. Dick tried to close the door softly, but Nix stirred anyway. 

 

“Are those for me?” he asked.

 

Dick nodded and pushed the plate forward as a humble offering.

 

“Thanks, Dick,” Lewis said and took the plate. 

 

Despite the fact that Lewis was usually a mess, he ate the cookies surprisingly neatly. No crumbs got into Dick’s bed. 

 

Dick had spent the last few months dreaming of Lewis, the mysterious man who appeared in the woods to rescue him and disappeared in phonebooths, who literally vanished into thin air. He had dreamt of him more than once and woke up covered in a mess. It had been shameful, but pleasant. It reminded him he was a man.

 

He’d done things with Lewis in those dreams, things he should be ashamed of. But now that Lewis had finally returned, Dick wasn’t sure what to do with him. 

 

“You have a bit of jam on your mouth,” Dick said, gesturing to the corner of his lip.

 

“I was saving it for you,” Lewis said.

 

Even though Dick knew that he hadn’t really meant to smudge jam on his lip and that Lewis was just flirting with him, his face felt hot. He knew he was blushing, and wanted desperately to seem unaffected by the jam. He took a breath.

 

“Strawberry’s my favorite,” he said at last.

 

That made Lewis laugh, but Dick cut him off with his tongue. He’d struggled with kissing those first few times, but he’d gotten the hang of it now. He just needed more practice.

 

“You smell like freshly mown grass,” Lewis murmured against his lips. “Like a sexy gardener.”

 

“That’s what I was going for.”

 

“So, you like this kissing thing, huh?” Lewis asked, looking up at him almost coquettishly. 

 

“I could get used to it. I think I’d prefer it if you weren’t wearing my mom’s apron, though.”

 

“You can take it off me, if you want.”

 

At first, Dick thought that it was a dare. But there was a sparkle in Lewis’ eyes that told him it was something else. If you want . An invitation. Lewis was letting him know he could do whatever he wanted with him. Despite the fact that Dick had no idea what he was doing, Lewis had been eager for Dick to take the lead. That stirred him. He couldn’t help it, he was growing hard at the thought of undressing Lewis.

 

Dick responded with a shaky nod, before wrapping his arms around Lewis and pulling at the straps. The knot came undone easily. Dick lifted the top strap of the apron up over Lewis’ head, and then cast it aside. 

 

He hadn’t gotten a good enough look at Lewis when he’d shown up naked in his parent’s kitchen. Then it had been a matter of avoiding having to explain the naked fellow to his parents. He hadn’t even thought to have Lewis lead the way up the stairs so he could get a good look at his ass. Now he let himself look, though. 

 

Dick was used to being around naked men. Athletes were always in the locker room and taking showers together. Though he’d certainly admired men’s physiques before, it had been an appreciation of physical form or athletic prowess. Lewis’ body was softer than the other’s he’d admire. He didn’t look like a college student, he looked like a man. He had tufts of dark hair on his stomach and thicker hair on his chest. His chest was defined, but the rest of his muscles were covered in a thin layer of fat. He was strong, but he was soft too. 

 

Free of the silliness of his mom’s hand-sewn apron, Dick leaned down and kissed Lewis again. Lewis seemed happy to sit there and let Dick do whatever he wanted, so Dick experimented with what he could do with his lips. They took it slow until they found the right pace. Dick thought he had finally mastered the open-mouthed kiss when Lewis’s tongue came back into the fray. Lewis ran the tip of his tongue along the top of Dick’s mouth. Instinctually, Dick sucked on Lewis’ tongue. Lewis moaned against his mouth, and that made him feel powerful. He wanted to elicit more moans like that.

 

Dick gave Lewis a little push, and without really trying had Lewis on his back. Bound by some sort of sexual magnetic energy, Dick was on top of him. Without thinking, he was kissing along Lewis’ jaw and down to his neck. There was a rhythm to necking, and once he felt it, his body seemed to take care of the rest. It was strange, for Dick wasn’t a particularly good dancer. It was a lot like wrestling, though. He followed Lewis’ body with his own, looking for moments of weakness to push him further. 

 

After a few minutes of wandering hands and heavy breathing, Lewis pulled away from him. “Hey Dick?”



“Yeah?”



“We moving a little too fast for you?”



“What?”



“I only just kissed you for the first time, and now you’re getting off against my leg, and I always figured you’d want a little more romance than this.”



“I--” Dick stopped, because he wasn’t sure what to say. He pulled away and looked Lewis in the eye. He really didn’t want to stop, but he wasn’t sure if this was Lewis’ way of saying he wasn’t enjoying himself.



“Don’t get me wrong -- I want you, Dick. But I’m going to vanish sooner or later, and I don’t want you to feel… used,” Lewis sighed. 



“I’ll see you again, though, won’t I?” Dick said, tilting his head. He didn’t want to appear desperate, but he was. He felt like he’d been waiting for this his whole life, though he hadn’t known quite what it was that he wanted. 



“Eventually,” Lewis said. 



Dick could feel Lewis was hard, and that he wanted this too. He held back a groan. Now that things were less hot and heavy, he remembered suddenly where he was. He could hear his parents moving around in the kitchen below him. He couldn’t bring himself to care, though. He may be a virgin, but he wasn’t a fainting Victorian maiden. He was still a man. He had urges.



“I don’t mind,” Dick said, “I’m used to being alone.”



“Oh Dick,” Lewis said, and sighed. “I just want things to be good for you. You made them good for me, during our first time.”



“What did I do?”



Lewis opened his mouth to speak, but then his face twisted into a crooked grin. “You’re just looking for dirty talk, aren’t you?”



He hadn’t thought about it like that, but it had indeed been what he was after. So he nodded. 



“And here I am thinking you’d want it to be romantic.”



He did, sort of. “Maybe the dirty talk would help me figure out what I’m supposed to do with you. That’s a sort of romance.”



It didn’t seem to take much seducing to have Lewis back into it. “Well, you like it a bit rough. You like to run your hands through my hair, and pull on it when I give you head.”



Dick wasn’t familiar with that particular sex act. “Give me head?”



“When I suck your cock,” Lewis said. He had the nerve to lick his lips.



"And you like it when I do that? Pull on your hair?”



“It’s nice.”



“Okay let’s try that then.”



“What? Me giving you head while you pull my hair?” Lewis looked amused, but not altogether disinterested. 



Dick nodded. He parted his lips, thinking about it. Lewis leaned in and kissed him again, this time running his hands through Dick’s hair. His fingers were soft against Dick’s scalp until they’d looped through Dick’s hair. Then Lewis gave a tug and Dick yelped in surprise. 



“Alright, if you want it that bad. Let’s just hope Edith or little Anne doesn’t walk in,” Lewis said, warming Dick. It was strangely comforting that this man knew everything about him. It didn’t feel like he was being reckless. He might not really know Lewis, but Lewis knew him… and the way Lewis looked at him was irresistible. 



Lewis got out of the narrow bed. Dick rolled over and sat on the bed. Lewis moved to his knees and moved his hand to Dick’s fly, unzipping it. Dick wasn’t sure what to do as Lewis pulled his hard cock out of his pants, so he merely stared at Lewis in amazement. 



“We do this a lot?” Dick asked.



“Not enough,” Lewis said, and lowered his head. 



Dick sucked in his breath and did his best not to make a show of himself when Lewis took his entire cock in his mouth. Lewis’ tongue curved around the shaft and his head began to move up and down. When Lewis sucked on him, Dick couldn’t help the gasp that escaped from his mouth. He forgot he was supposed to be doing anything, let alone pulling on somebody’s hair until he’d just about come. He groaned and did his best to fight back relief. Dick ran his hands through Lewis’ hair, but couldn’t bring himself to be rough with him. Instead he just pulled him closer.



When it was over, Lewis swallowed with relish. 



“Was that okay?” Lewis asked.



Dick nodded eagerly. It was certainly better than what he’d been doing with his hands. He wanted to repay the favor, but he wasn’t sure if he knew how. Lewis was clearly very well practiced with his mouth. Dick leaned over to kiss him in thanks for services rendered, but his lips caught only air. He vanished as suddenly as appeared, and Dick was all alone. 

Chapter Text

April 13, 1938

Dick is 21

 

Summer came and went, and then an entire school year too, and Lewis had yet to return to Lancaster. Lewis had told him that he’d always return eventually, so Dick remained hopeful. It added a bit of excitement to his day to day life that Lewis could return at any time. Maybe they could finish what they started. Dick had been trying to think about what they could do, what he would even want. He knew the ancient Greeks had certain proclivities, so he’d stolen into the library on more than one lonely Saturday night to read about it. He’d hoped it would help him find some clarity, but he left only feeling more confused.

 

George, his roommate, remained happy with his girlfriend Elaine. Elaine liked Dick, and would often find girls for Dick to take out on the town with the two of them. It was clear they hoped that one of these relationships would stick. 

 

On one of these dates, someone had mentioned queers going at it in Times Square. 

 

“What do you mean?” Dick had asked, curiosity taking hold. He gripped his coke in his hand, and forced himself to take a gulp to seem less curious.

 

“Oh poor Dick, he’s scandalized!” Elaine said, “Greta, don’t corrupt him!”

 

“I’m not a child,” Dick said. There was an edge to his voice he regretted. He softened it with a smile.

 

“Greta’s father is a policeman in New York City,” Elaine explained. 

 

Greta nodded. “Yes, they’ve got him in vice. He was in homicide before, but apparently the queers are causing a ruckus and they needed him elsewhere.”

 

“What are they doing?” Dick asked.

 

“Oh, don’t make them say it,” George said to Dick, “you don’t want to know anyway. It’s unnatural.”

 

“I pity them,” Greta said with a sigh, “at least my dad is helping them. They’re not able to stop. It’s compulsive.”

 

Dick drank his coke and thought of New York City. He’d been once with his father, and they’d spent the day at the MET looking at art. He’d been too naive back then to look around for queers, but it made sense they were there. Small towns could be claustrophobic. Despite the fact that the city was stuffed with people, it could provide anonymity. 

 

“I was just wondering where I should avoid when I went into the city,” Dick said, though he’d had no plans to go to New York.

 

“Oh, that I can help with!” Greta said eagerly.


 

May 10, 1938

Dick is 21, Lewis is 37

 

Dick had thought about Time’s Square and what he’d find there for weeks. He had the team and exams to fill his time, and couldn’t get away without drawing attention to it until a month later. He’d brought a copy of Plato’s Symposium, the queerest piece of literature he’d been able to find in the local library, to hold in hand. Hopefully it would send the right sort of signal without him getting picked up by Greta’s father. 

 

Time’s Square was crowded and dirty. Dick hardly knew where to walk. He did a couple of laps around the streets, looking around and searching people’s faces for a hint of something that would tip him off. Dick had his suspicions about some men in college, but he couldn’t exactly ask them about it. It was too risky there, where everyone knew him. 

 

By his fourth lap of the block, he’d found a group of young men who couldn’t have been out of high school. They were smoking and standing around pointedly, and Dick could tell the had the answers he was looking for. He stepped into the alleyway with them. 

 

“You need something?” one of them asked. The man -- boy, for he couldn’t be older than eighteen -- looked Dick up and down. 

 

“Uh…” Dick balled his hands up in fists and pushed through the discomfort. “You know anywhere a fellow can get a drink around here?”

 

“A drink all you looking for?”

 

“Well, I don’t drink. But maybe you do?”

 

That made the man laugh. “Are you asking to buy me a drink? Or do you want to buy something else?”

 

What Dick really needed was someone to talk to. He certainly wasn’t planning on buying sex. “Just the drink, I think,” Dick said. He cleared his throat and looked at the man hopefully.



“Alright. I know a place,” the man said, “I’m Sidney, by the way. And you are?”

 

“Dick,” he said, and then wondered if he should have used his real name. 

 

“Nice to meet you Dick. C’mon.” 

 

The place Sidney knew was back through Time’s Square and across the street. Sidney led him into a place that was unmarked. Sidney uttered some sort of password to get the two of them in, but Dick didn’t catch it.

 

Dick had been to bars, but this wasn’t the same. The place was small and grimy. There was no stage, but instead a large gramophone with a stack of records set up against it. The room was dominated by a large bar and a dance floor, where a dozen or so men danced. Dick gulped. This was it. It had been so easy to get here. Like he belonged.

 

Sidney and Dick walked up to the bar. Sidney called over the bartender, “amaretto sour. On him.”

 

Dick pressed down twenty five cents, and the bartender took it. He sat on the barstool beside Sidney. He had so many questions, but he wasn’t sure where to start. Before he could even open his mouth, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

 

“You’re a long way from home, Dick.” 

 

Dick turned on the barstool in shock. It was Lewis. Dick almost didn’t recognize him. He was older, and had put on a few pounds. But it wasn’t that. He hadn’t seen Lewis in almost a year. Enough time had passed for Dick to wonder if he’d made it all up, or if it was over. 

 

“Lewis,” Dick said, repeating the name he’d said like prayer for the past year. “What are you doing here?”

 

“I followed you.”

 

“Really?” Dick should probably look afraid, not smitten. 

 

“Looks like you’re busy,” Sidney said, slightly annoyed. He looked Lewis up and down, and decided he didn’t like what he saw. He walked off, sipping his amaretto sour. 

 

“I called out to you, but you didn’t hear me. And I didn’t want to make it too obvious, given that you were walking into a place like this. I can escape arrest by disappearing, but you can't.”

“Do you want to get a table?” Dick asked.

 

Lewis nodded and they headed over to one of the few open tables. It was tucked into the back, and with the music playing, nobody would disturb them. It wasn’t as nice as the privacy as his bedroom, but Lewis was here and that alone was something to celebrate.

 

“When are you coming from? Or is this your present?”

 

“Nah, there’s another me out there somewhere. I’m coming from ‘55.”

 

“What’s going on in ‘55?”

 

“Not much. Things are peaceful. I just got a new dog.”

 

“And me?”

 

“That’s classified.”

 

“Not even a hint?”

 

“You’re working too hard. But that’s typical for you, it’s hardly a hint about the future.”

 

Lewis really did know him. “I’ve missed you, Lew.” He’d never called Lewis that before. It seemed rather familiar, but then, they were familiar now. 

 

Lew reached out and took his hand. He didn’t object to the nickname. Lew squeezed his hand, “I’m sorry I’m so fly by night, kid.”

 

“Kid?”

 

Lew shrugged. “You’ll be a man soon enough, no need to rush it, Dick.”

 

The waiter came by to take their orders. “I’ll take a ginger ale and the kid’ll take the same.” The order couldn’t have been more than ten cents, but Lew laid down a twenty. “Keep the change,” he said. Dick looked at the waiter curiously as he walked away. “Here’s another hint for the future. You’ve got me off the booze.”

 

“Lewis, did you rob a bank?”

 

He laughed. “I raided my father’s safe. And his closet too. I don’t usually dress like this.”

 

Dick looked down and assessed Lew’s outfit for the first time. He was wearing an expensive looking trench coat, a checkered silk scarf and wool pants. “You look nice,” Dick said. “I liked your silk pants a lot, though.”

 

Lew’s forehead creased, but then a look of recognition took over his face. “You bought me those pyjamas.”

 

“I did?” Dick couldn’t decide what intrigued him more: that Lewis was revealing something about the future, or that Dick had given him such an intimate gift. 

 

Lew nodded. The waitress returned with the drinks, and Dick busied himself with his while he tried to put the clues of his future life together. 1955 was 17 years in the future, and Lew still knew what he was up to. Dick had bought him pyjamas a few years before, and gotten him off the booze. Had that been hard? Lew had been drunk almost every time they’d met up, and once it had been in a bar. Dick couldn’t imagine that he’d end up with a drinker, or that a drinker would have much interest in him. Lew also seemed to throw around money without thinking about it. 

 

It all seemed so unlikely. But Dick trusted God, and he trusted Lew too, even though he might as well be a stranger.

 

“Dick, what’s a nice boy like you doing in a place like this, anyway?” Lew asked once he’d set his drink down. “You don’t drink, it’s hard to get you to dance, and it’s a long way from Lancaster.”

 

Dick considered whether he should tell Lew. Lew seemed fine with keeping him in the dark about the future. But then, he wanted to talk about it. “I got lonely,” he said.

 

“It’s hard having a time-traveling lover, I suspect,” Lew said.

 

He warmed at the word. Lover . Lew had said it with no hesitation, as a matter of fact. It had only been the one time, hurried and in Dick’s bedroom. Lover implied permanence.

 

“I didn’t know if you were going to come back.”

 

“I will. I told you, I’ll always come back eventually. But you shouldn’t feel bad about all this,” Lew gestured to the dance floor, where men danced openly with one another. “It’s okay to be curious.”

 

“You wouldn’t be jealous?”

 

“Oh, I’m jealous. But it’s 1938, and I won’t meet you until 1941. So I can’t really complain.”

 

Dick’s eyes widened. “That’s three years from now,” he said.

 

“It’s a long time to just wait around, even if I don’t like the thought of you with someone else.”

 

Dick hadn’t wanted anyone else. That wasn’t what he craved when he felt alone. It was the weight of his secret. He’d discovered this whole new part of himself and he couldn’t tell anyone about it. “Seems like God didn’t want me with anyone else either, if He sent you here to stop me.”

 

“I don’t think God has anything to do with it, Dick,” Lew said.

 

Dick frowned. He didn’t want to upset the mood of the night, he’d waited so long to see Lew again, but he didn’t know how Lew could think God wasn’t involved in sending him to Dick. 

 

Lew reached out and took his hand. He weaved his fingers through Dick’s and held it there on the table, plain for anyone to see. “I’ve just had to see a lot of shit that isn’t this good for me to think there’s any method to the madness.”

 

“It’s not for us to understand God’s ways,” Dick said. “He teaches us through adversity.”

 

“I’ve learned more from you than I ever have from adversity.”

 

Dick said nothing, he just let warmth wash over him. He ran his thumb against the back of Lew’s hand. 

 

“So, how long have you been here? In 1938, I mean,” Dick asked. He took a swig of ginger ale with his free hand.

 

“A week or so.”

 

A week? Dick nearly spit out his drink. “You should have looked me up,” Dick said, doing his best to cover the steel in his voice.

 

“I was going to, but you’re busy. It’s exams, isn’t it? And my sister’s going through a hard time right now.” Lew’s tone was apologetic, and he searched out Dick’s eyes and held held eye contact. He was older than he had been the other times they’d met. Maybe ten years older than he’d been the last time, when they’d necked in Dick’s room. There were wrinkles around his eyes now. Dick still thought he was disarmingly handsome. 

 

“I didn’t know you had a sister,” Dick said. “Do you have any other siblings?”

 

“Just the one.” Lew pulled his hand away, and ran his hands through his hair. “It was enough, though.” Lew’s eyes flickered down to his ginger ale, and he let out an uneasy breath. 

 

Dick wasn’t sure how raw that was, or if he should press further. “I have a sister, too.”

 

“Yeah, little Annie’s a good egg,” Lew said. 

 

Lew still looked sad, and Dick reached out to take his hand again. Dick didn’t realize Lew’s hand was shaking until he steadied it. “What’s going on with your sister?”

 

Lew still wasn’t looking at him. He’d seemed so put together tonight. Now it looked like he was near tears. “Nothing, really. She’s fourteen now. I don’t think I knew her very well when we were younger. It’s my fault, she was just a kid. I should have been around more, to help her with my father. I didn’t see how unwell she was.”

 

“It’s not too late. You can still help her,” Dick said.

 

“That’s the thing. It is too late. She died this year.”

 

“Oh,” was all Dick could say, because he’d never loved someone who had died, and he didn’t know what words would help. 

 

“She died doesn’t really sum it up very well.” Lew forced his face into a twisted smile that was somehow more worrying than his sad expression. He pulled his hand away from Dick’s again, and lifted it into the air to signal for the waitress. Dick sat there in silence as they waited for the waiter to come back over. 

 

“Another ginger ale?” the waiter asked.

 

“Whiskey. Vat 69 if you got it.” Lewis pressed a $5 bill into his hand. “Make it a double.”

 

“Anything for you, sugar?” the waiter asked Dick.

 

“I’m alright for now,” Dick said, offering her a polite smile.

 

“Vat 69 coming right up,” he said, and walked back towards the bar.

 

“Quit looking at me like that,” Lewis said.

 

“Like what?”

 

Lewis just sighed. “I’ll just have the one.”

 

Dick nodded. He was out of his depth on this. He didn’t know what was going on with Lewis’ drinking, or what to say about his sister. 

 

“You’re wondering if it’s always going to be like this?” Lew asked.

 

Dick shook his head. “I just don’t know what to say.”

 

“Yeah, neither do I.”

 

The waiter returned with a single lowball glass on a tray. In it was a dark brown liquid. He set it on the table with an enthusiastic smile. No wonder, he’d probably never made tips this good before. Dick made $30 a month doing all his odd jobs, and he’d already racked up at least $24 in tips. Dick wondered if Lew was broke in the future, because this was exceptionally poor money management. 

 

“I was going to ask you not to tell, but then, you’re the one I don’t want to know. And you have an annoyingly good memory.”

 

“You don’t have to drink it. You could send it back, and I promise I’ll forget.”

 

“Yeah, I could,” Lewis said. He looked down at the glass for a few long moments, then moved it to Dick’s side of the table with the back of his hand. “We should dance, Dick. That’s why you came out, right?”

 

“I’m not much of a dancer,” Dick admitted. 

 

“I don’t mind if you step on my feet.” Lewis held out his hand, and Dick took it. 

 

There were only ten or so couples on the dance floor. Dick didn’t have much time for listening to the radio, and he didn’t attend dances unless he could help it, so he didn’t recognize the song that played on the record player. Dick wasn’t good at dancing in any case, and he wasn’t sure what he should do with another man. But Lew took the lead, placing a hand on his waist and holding the other one. Dick placed his hand on Lew’s arm. The beat was a bit faster than he would have liked, but he let his body follow Lew’s. 

 

Dick didn’t have to focus much on what he was doing with his feet, instead he held onto the moment. He focused as best he could on the way Lew’s hand felt in his, the look of adoring wonder on Lew’s face, the smoky smell of the room and the music. 

 

Always and always I'll go on adoring the glory and wonder of you ,

 

He wanted to remember this night. Who knew when next he’d see Lew? He could keep this memory close to his heart for when he was back in college, alone with his secret, forced to endure the endless double dates...

 

Always and always my love will go soaring to heaven far under the blue.

 

Without knowing how it happened, Lew sent him into a twirl. And just as quickly, Dick was brought back to Lew’s chest, closer than he had been before. Pressed right up against him, Dick could smell his cologne. He wanted to remember that smell too.

 

Life is strange and ever changing, doesn't make reason or rhyme, but through all the centuries time endures.

 

Dick leaned over and kissed Lew, in front of everyone in the room. He didn’t know what came over him. He’d wanted to do it since he’d seen Lew tonight, and he didn’t want to stop now. 

 

Darling, we'll be together forever and ever for always and always I'm yours…

 

“You want to get out of here?” Lew whispered.

 

Dick nodded eagerly.

 

They held hands as they walked from the dance floor back to their table. Lew put his trenchcoat back on and left another dollar bill on the table. “You already paid,” Dick reminded him.

 

Lew shrugged. “It’s my dad’s blood money.”

 

Dick pressed his eyebrows together trying to make sense of that statement. But before he could put things together, Lew was kissing him again. It was messier than any kiss they’d had yet. Lew’s arms wrapped around Dick’s waist. Kissing him like this was easy. He did it with abandon, not focusing on technique. Lew’s hands slipped down and grabbed Dick’s ass. Dick yelped in surprise, and opened his eyes. 

 

Sidney shot him a knowing look as the two of them walked out onto the street. Dick did his best to look respectable, but all he could think of was being alone with Lewis. 

 

“I don’t have anywhere to go,” Dick said, feeling a bit pathetic. He only had two dollars and a train ticket in his wallet. 

 

“I’ve got a hotel room already,” Lew said. 

 

Lew hailed a cab, and the two of them got in. Lew gave the cabbie instructions on how to reach the hotel. Dick rested his hand on the empty seat between them, and Lew absently rested his hand beside Dick’s. Dick reached his fingers out and touched the side of Lew’s hand. Nix smiled knowingly and shook his head. Dick didn’t pull his hand away, though. 

 

They were let out in front of the Waldorf Astoria. It felt all too grand for Dick, in his humble little suit. Lewis seemed to fit right in though, and Dick was with him. He followed like a baby duck, trying not to let his eyes linger on anything or anyone in the lobby lest they realize he didn't belong there. 

 

The elevator attendant seemed to know him. “Good evening, Mr. Nixon.”

 

“Good evening,” Lew said. “My cousin Dick.”

 

Mr. Nixon, Dick thought. Lewis Nixon.

 

“Evening,” Dick said, wondering what he could do with this new information.

 

Mr. Nixon gave him a look that said don’t start , but Dick wasn’t about to forget this. 

 

The door to the room said it was a suite, but that didn’t do it justice. The hotel room was the biggest he’d ever seen, with a dining room, a living room, and three bedrooms. It seemed like way too much for Lewis, but given the way he was tipping at the bar, it made sense.

 

“Is this yours?” Dick asked, picking up a pink silk scarf that was on the floor.

 

“My sister’s,” Lew said, loosening the buttons of his coat. “She’s run off though.”

 

“Run off?”

 

“We came up here to go to her sailing competition. My father usually goes with her to watch them. He’s the one who got us into it, you know? But he’s having a bender. She wasn’t going to go, but I was here, and I came up with her instead. I can’t go to the sailing competition though, because everyone there knows me and my father, and I look like some weird combination of the two of them in my current state,” he sighed. He’d undone all the buttons on his coat, and slid it off his shoulders. He tossed it onto one of the couches, along with his hat. “Anyway, that was yesterday, and she hasn’t returned. She did sent a note, though, saying not to worry.”

 

“Are you worried?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“That’s what you were doing when you found me? Looking for her?”

 

“You got it.” Lew clicked his tongue and winked. “She’s probably run off with a secret boyfriend. I feel bad getting mad at her, given what I’m up to right now, but she’s only fourteen. I’ll look around again tomorrow if she doesn’t come back.”

 

“And if she comes back during…?”

 

“During what?”

 

“When we’re in the middle of it…”

 

Lew laughed, “awfully confident you’ll be able to get me in bed, are you?”

 

Dick shrugged.

 

“My bedroom door has a lock. And it’s got a bathroom and some nice closets if you need to hide. But I doubt she’ll be back anytime soon.”

 

“Which one’s yours?” Dick asked, looking from room to room.

 

“You sure you want to fuck an old man, Dick? You could wait till a fitter version of me shows up.”

 

Dick looked back at Mr. Lewis Nixon, his time-traveling lover. He shook his head. “You look pretty good to me.”

 

“I really am that easy,” Lewis said, and he walked into one of the bedrooms. 

 

Dick followed and locked the door behind him.

 

After sex, Lew took a cigarette from the bedside table and lit it. He didn’t offer Dick one, but Dick wouldn’t have accepted it even if he did. 

 

“Can you help your sister?” Dick asked.

 

“I don’t know,” Lew said. “I’ll try.”

 

“So, you can change the future?”

 

“To tell you the truth Dick, I’ve spent the last decade trying desperately not to change it.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Well, my life was a bit of a shitshow when I met you. It was only dumb luck that I managed to get it together enough to make you stick around.”

 

“But I do? Stick around, I mean.”

 

“You have so far. And for the foreseeable future, I think.”

 

Dick didn’t think it could be as miserable as all that. Lew’s sister had just died, so he was bound to be upset. Lewis Nixon made him happier than anyone ever had. Even tonight, with Lewis so clearly upset, Dick felt the quiet joy of being seen and understood. And last time Lew had been happy too. Only a few minutes ago, as they’d been making love, Lew seemed to forget about his grief. 

 

“You’re a good lover,” Dick said, making light of it.

 

“Well I’ve had some practice,” Lew took a last drag of his cigarette before butting it out on the ashtray on the nightstand. “I can’t believe I’m letting you see me like this.”

 

“I always like seeing you.”

 

“God, I love you, Dick. You know that?”

 

Dick shook his head, because Lew had never said it before. 

 

“Don’t say anything to that. I shouldn’t have said it either. You barely know me.”

 

“I know your name now,” Dick pointed out.

 

“Yeah you do. But you can’t do anything with it, Dick. It’d mess everything up.”

 

Dick didn’t want to mess anything up. But even though he didn’t really know Lewis Nixon, he  did feel something like love when they were together. He had since that first kiss, and he’d sat with that all year. He wouldn’t say it yet, though. He’d sit with it a bit longer. “How do we meet?” Dick asked.

 

“I can’t tell you that,” Lewis said.

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because it’s good. It’s the best. And I don’t want to tell you, and for it to happen differently, and for everything to change. I don’t want to lose you, Dick. And there’s other things that happen too, things you don’t want to know about.”

 

It was a lot to deal with. “Can you tell me anything, then? I feel like you know everything about me, and I know nothing about you.”

 

“Well you’ve probably already figured out I’m an alcoholic, though I’ve been off it for awhile now. And you know my sister dies.”

 

“And that you can dance,” Dick said, trying to be helpful.

 

“I was born the same year as you.”

 

“And what are you doing now?”

 

Lew closed his eyes, as though he was thinking about it. “Getting kicked out of Yale.”

 

“For what?”

 

“You can find out in 1941.”

 

Dick sighed in annoyance. “Where are you from?”

 

“New Jersey.”

 

“Do you get along with your parents?”

 

“Not really. My mom’s okay when the dog’s there.”

 

“Is the dog a mystery too?”

 

“No. I’ll tell you anything you want to know about the dog.”

 

“I’ll take what I can get. Breed?”

 

“German shepherd.” 

 

“Name?”

 

“Olive.”

 

“Cute.”

 

“Yeah, she was a good dog.” Lewis slid his arm under Dick and wrapped it around him. He pulled him closer, so Dick’s head was resting on his chest. Dick looped his arm around Lewis, and nuzzled his face into his skin. 

 

This was sweet and soft, but clinging to Lew’s naked body was more than that. He grew hard against Lew’s leg.

 

“Round two already?” Lew asked.

 

Dick blushed. “Are you too sore?”

 

“I’m just admiring your stamina.” Lew’s spare arm slipped under the sheets and he took Dick in hand. He ran his thumb over the tip of Dick’s cock. Dick shuddered. “I’m an old man, Dick. I can’t keep up.”

 

“You’re not that old.”

 

“Said the kid.”

 

“I’m twenty-one years old.”

 

“Exactly,” Lew gave Dick’s cock a squeeze. “I should be in jail for corrupting you.”

 

The front door of the suite opened. Dick sat up abruptly, and searched for his clothes. Lewis moved to get dressed too, but at a much slower pace. 

 

“Lewis!” A woman’s voice called out. Dick tensed, but continued to put his pants on. He heard the woman try to turn the door, and then a dramatic sigh. “Why is the door locked?”

 

“I’m a grown man, Blanche. I sleep naked. I didn’t think you needed to see that,” Lew said through the door. He pulled on a pair of underwear, and then a plush robe. He turned to Dick, and said quietly, “you want to meet her, or you want to hide in the bathroom?”

 

“How are you going to explain this to her?” Dick asked.

 

“I don’t know. But I guess it’s a way to test fate. To see if I can change the future?”

 

That made Dick nervous. He wanted Lew to be able to help his sister. He couldn’t imagine the lengths he’d go to to save Anne from an early death. But he suddenly felt selfish, and didn’t want to risk his own future to help Blanche’s. He went into Lew’s bathroom without saying a word, and closed the door.

 


 

“You had me worried sick,” Nix said, upon seeing his sister. She was too young to be out this late. New York wasn’t a safe place for a teenage girl, especially after dark.

 

“Oh, you’re too much,” Blanche said. She set her purse down on the coffee table and reached in. She pulled out a bottle of Vat 69. “Brought you something to make up for it.”

 

It was tempting, but he shook his head. “I’m okay for now.”

 

“Suit yourself,” Blanche said, and got out a crystal glass for herself.

 

A double whisky had felt necessary in the moment earlier, but he’d resisted. Now Lew worried about what sort of impression he was leaving on Dick. How did his Dick have so much faith in Lew’s ability to turn it around? He couldn’t stop thinking about the lapse, or about how careless he’d been about keeping the truth from Dick. He’d wanted him, and this had been easy. He hadn’t thought enough about the consequences. He didn't know why he was so messy tonight. Was he just sad about Blanche? Or had he just been in the past too long?

 

“Did I wake you up?”

 

“No. I was reading.”

 

“What?”

 

“The bible,” he said.

 

“Don’t tell me you’ve gone religious in your old age,” Blanche gave an exaggerated frown.

 

Nix would never become religious, not even after spending half a lifetime with Dick as his constant companion. But he didn’t have another book, and the nights were long. Nix was having trouble sleeping. He had since Blanche’s suicide. His chest seemed to tighten more than it should these days, and Nix had wondered if he had some sort of condition. He’d gone to the doctor and asked if an early death by heart attack was inevitable. But the doctor had told him it was merely stress, and to stop drinking and smoking. 

 

All in all, Nix hated time-travelling. He liked 1955, or had, a few months ago. He liked his present, where he raised abandoned dogs and helped Dick on the farm when he could. But this time it had been different. It felt like an opportunity to fix things. He’d found himself back in Nixon, in a house abandoned except for Blanche. He hadn’t had to explain time-traveling to her, because a future Nix had told her all about it. Their parents were fighting again, and they’d both retreated to go stay with their respective lovers. They’d kept it together better when Lew was still living with them, though that wasn’t saying much.

 

Blanche had seemed happy when big brother appeared. He’d clearly come by before, since she didn’t need to be explained why he was all of a sudden seventeen years older than he should be. She’d helped him pack up a suitcase of daddy’s finest clothes and the two of them had gotten in the big cadillac and driven up to the city. 

 

“Why are you drinking, anyway? You’re fourteen. Aren’t me and dad cautionary tale enough to scare you away from it?”

 

“Whiskey helps me sleep,” Blanche said with a shrug.

 

That’s how Lew’d got on it in the first place. Stanhope didn’t believe in lullabies, but he’d let you have a glass of whiskey if you had a bad dream. And it had worked at first. 

 

“Want me to tell you a bedtime story instead?” Nix asked.

 

“Sure,” Blanche said with a laugh, though she took the whiskey in hand when she walked into the room she’d claimed as hers. “I better take off my makeup, though. Mother keeps getting after me for clogged pores.”

 

Nix wasn’t sure why his mother wasn’t getting after her for wearing makeup altogether. After all, she’d yet to make her debut. She was still a kid. But then their parents hadn’t seemed to care that he was out at night drinking and sleeping around, so at the very least they couldn’t be judged for having double standards.

 

Blanche went into the bathroom and Nix settled down on the chair beside her bed. “You should brush your teeth too,” Nix called out to her. 

 

“Yes, dad, whatever you want!”

 

Nix couldn’t help but think about the day he’d found Blanche with a bullet hole in her head and a lifeless expression on her face. He’d spent the past five months wondering why she’d done it. She’d left a note, saying that she was sorry, but she couldn’t go back there. Nix had assumed there was the sanitorium, where she’d spent a year during the war after their mother found her with a razor blade in the bathtub. But sometimes the things Blanche said when she was in a state of mania didn’t make sense, so maybe it meant something else entirely. He’d have to wrestle with the question forever. 

 

He couldn’t help but feel guilty. Blanche hadn’t gotten better, but slowly, he had. He’d finally relented and seen an analyst a couple times a week. It had seemed so frivolous when he’d gone before, though he had for Dick’s benefit. He didn’t like talking about his father’s violent drunken rages or his mother’s long absences, or about the war. He didn’t like  talking about sex like that, either. No matter how accepting the analyst, they thought what he did with Dick was pathological. He didn’t like talking about his own son, or how he’d broken Kathy’s heart. But he had. 

 

Blanche was the hardest thing to talk about. He was still working up to that.

 

He’d been so casual with her love. Blanche had always been there, and he’d expected her to keep being there. So he left her alone, even though he knew she was hurting. She’d been hospitalized twice after the war, only for a month or so at a time, and Nix had barely visited her. Nix had nothing but time, and God knew their father wasn’t a frequent visitor, but he just couldn’t be there

 

He’d been to the sanitorium too, to dry out and to get his life together. His father had signed the papers committing him after the war. Confessing to the time-travel had done him no favours before he found Dr. Wisel. Dick had been forbidden from visiting him, too, because according to Stanhope he was part of the problem. Being there had only made things worse. Things only got better years later, when he’d realized he needed to shape up or he’d lose everything.

 

Blanche came out in a nightgown and with a hairbrush in hand. She sat on the bed and began to brush out her long dark hair. His sister was pretty. She always was, until the end. She’d had a closed casket funeral. “So you’re going to tell me about the future?” Blanche asked.

 

“Why is it people in the past are so obsessed with their future?”

 

“Lewis, come on. Do I marry Matthew?”

 

“Who the fuck is Matthew?” Nix asked, furrowing his brow. His sister was far too young to have a boyfriend.

 

“I guess not then,” she sighed. 

 

He’d given Dick some information about their future, but Blanche couldn’t have any. Dick could be trusted. Oh, he’d probably angst over it, but he angsted over everything anyway. Blanche was not somebody you could trust the future with. Even being with her now was risky. She was impulsive. She would rat him out to their father for some attention. 

 

“Why don’t I tell you about when you were a kid?” Nix asked.

 

“Lewis, I was there for that.”

 

“Not really. Children are barely people.”

 

Blanche scoffed. 

 

“Alright, not kids then. I’ll give you something juicy, though. Something you can torture present me with.”

 

“You make me sound so mean. I’m the nice Nixon, you know.”

 

Now it was Lew’s time to scoff. “Right. Anyway, I won’t be going back to Yale in the fall.”

 

Blanche gasped. “Daddy is going to kill you.”

 

“Yes. That’s why I’m going to disappear to California for a year. Go stay with mother for awhile.”

 

The heat never really blew off the getting kicked out of Yale thing. His father was still mad about it all these years later. “I want to go with you.”

 

“What about boarding school? You seemed so desperate to go.”

 

“Will you come visit me when I’m there?” Blanche asked, her eyes needy, reminding him of a sad puppy.

 

He wouldn’t. At least, twenty-one year old Lewis Nixon wouldn’t. He didn’t know where he’d end up now. Young Lewis Nixon would be wasting his time and his father’s money in California. And then he’d be occupied with wooing a Miss Katherine Page. He hated to look back upon it, but he only saw Blanche once before he went off to basic in 1941. 

 

“You’re not gonna want me around. You’re going to be too busy living that independent life you wanted. And studying, of course. I assume you’ll study a bit.”

 

“Makes sense,” Blanche said with a grin, not knowing the loneliness that awaited her. “Daddy probably banned you from the state, anyway.”

 

Lew nodded, though the opposite had been true. Stanhope had sent a series of increasingly agitated letters hoping to get him back. Nix had taken great pleasure in not responding to a single one and letting them stack up in his desk drawer. He only went back when his mother made him promise not to ruin the legacy she’d helped build. 

 

“Lew, I’m sorry for running off like that. I just get carried away sometimes, you know? It seems harmless, but then…” her voice ran off, and she shrugged.

 

“Get some sleep,” Nix said. 

 

Blanche slid under the blankets and Nix leaned over and kissed her forehead. 

 

“Goodnight,” Blanche said.

 

“Sweet dreams,” Nix said. He turned the light off and closed the door on his way out.

 

He’d almost forgotten about Dick. Dick was still hidden in the bathroom when he returned. 

 

“Sorry that took so long,” Nix said.

 

“She’s your sister,” Dick said, like it needed no further elaboration. Nix was reminded again why he loved this man. 

 

“You want me to sneak you out, or are you going to stay the night?” Selfishly, Nix wanted Dick to hold him. That’s why he’d brought him back here, even though his sister was also staying here. It seemed worth the risk. 

 

“I’m supposed to catch the four o’clock train, so I might wake you in the morning. But if you don’t mind…”

 

“I mind, Dick. I haven’t got up that early since the war, but I’ll hire a car to take you back if you want to stay.”

 

“The war?” Dick asked. Nix hadn’t even realized that he’d slipped. And this wasn’t a small slip, or a hint either. This was something that would torture Dick for years. 

 

“Oh, yeah. A family dispute between me and my father.”

 

“That you call The War ?”

 

“I’ve too dramatic for my own good,” Nix said with a forced shrug. “You come to love it, I think.”

 

“I read the papers, Lewis. Does Germany invade America?”

 

Lew laughed. “No, don’t be preposterous. They’ve not got a good enough Navy to invade England, let alone America. We’ve got an entire ocean to fight them off.”

 

Dick nodded like that made sense, and laughed. “You really are over dramatic, then. You could tell me about The War, you know. Maybe I could help.”

 

“I’d rather get naked again than talk about my tortured relationship with my father. Whattya say? Want another blowjob?” 

 

Fellatio had worked to distract Dick and to avoid fights many times, and it worked again today. It didn’t take much to get Dick off now. Back in ‘55 he’d have to spend a good fifteen minutes bobbing his head for the same result, but this Dick had barely jerked off as a kid. 

 

“You’re lying about the war,” Dick said when Nix was still swallowing down his cum.

 

Nix wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “What do you mean?”

 

“The third time I ran into you, you were in dirty fatigues and bleeding from the leg. You mentioned paratroopers that day too. I read the papers. Germany just marched into Austria and took it.”

 

“You’re assuming a lot there, Dick.”

 

Dick shook his head. “How else would someone like me meet someone like you?” he asked.

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

“I’ve never stayed in a hotel like this.”

 

Could he really lie about this? He’d already made so many mistakes. He’d still thought it was a delusion when he’d mentioned paratroopers. And Nix knew that wasn’t the last time he’d visit Dick in some semblance of a uniform. 

 

“You make it out okay. We both do.”

 

“I figured, since I bought you those pajamas.” Dick sighed, and closed his eyes tightly. 

 

Nix moved back onto the bed and took Dick in his arms. “It’s going to be hard, Dick. War is hell. But you do good. You help people.”

 

“I kill people,” Dick said as a correction.

 

“You keep a lot of people alive.”

 

“I don’t really want to talk anymore,” Dick said. Nix understood. “I should go. My train’s in a few hours, and my mom’s expecting me at Church at eleven.”

 

“Dick. I’m sorry. It’s too much to keep a secret, I shouldn’t have told you.”

 

“I asked,” Dick said. He stood up and dressed. He turned to go.

 

“You forgot your library book,” Nix said before he could unlock the door.

 

Dick nodded, and grabbed it from Nix’s hands. “I hope I see you soon,” Dick said, his eyes apologetic. “I just need to think is all.”

 

Nix nodded. He hated seeing Dick go, but soon he’d be home with his Dick. “I really do love you,” he said.

 

Dick nodded and leaned over to give Nix one last kiss. “Thank you. And thanks for the…”

 

“For the fuck?”

 

“Yeah. It was good.”

 

At least that left him with a smile on his face.