Prologue: A Blink of Deyna

When he reached Hidalgo a pack of dogs

Was coming up the street at a high trot

And as they crossed in front of him

One of their number slipped

And scrabbled on the wet stones

And went down.

The others turned in a

Snarling mass of teeth and fur

But the fallen dog struggled up

Before he could be set upon

And all went on as before.

-All the Pretty Horses

Don't look at me like that. Please.

My stomach's in knots. I'm sure it's the only one. Grinning and snickering. Enjoying themselves too much for what is about to happen- God, it hasn't even happened yet; already my friends are transformed: a pack of street dogs. Growling and snapping. I don't want to be here- to see this- I don't hate him. I don't.


He isn't looking at me. He's looking at him. Fool. Moron. Jackass.

"Fucking queer."


More snickers. Shut up! Time for that later!

He throws an arm- casually, natural ease conveyed in every subtle shift- around his shoulders. My heart smolders. Their thighs are touching- his smile is soft- fooled completely. This will be so hard on him.

Why should I care?

I turned my face against the wind, lingering cold cooling my hot cheeks; I can't watch. They are too close; leaning.

My eyes are drawn, regardless, when a collective intake of breath surrounds my rough companions, waiting for it to spring.

He is leaning over him so close; but he doesn't see, doesn't recognize that glint. Predatory.

Don't. Don't look at him like that.

And my heart constricts- I'm not sure whose face I want to wipe the floor with- his for lying, or his for looking so warmly into those lying eyes.

Snapping and rustling.

Not so loud! Wait for it! Closer, closer.

I edge away from them, I walk, and run, 'till I come upon the little path that leads to their niche- and there.

Hoots, howls of morbid laughter, snaps of bright light; camera flashes. The pack has descended.

"I've got it! Proof! Proof right here!"

"He kissed me! Give him what he deserves, guys!" A dull thud, a far off cry. I can't let this happen.

"Fuck you, queer!"

I turn and run back, having no idea what I can do, how I can handle this. I know one thing: how it will change nothing.

I come upon a scuffle of shadows, each melting with each other when fists connect, hands thrown up, feet scrambling. Austin's eyes and teeth glint in that satisfaction of cold in the moonlight; my eyes burn.

I reach them in seconds, many too soon, but he's on his feet, and just like a pack of street dogs, they leave off for a second. Just long enough for him to slip through their chokehold.

"Fuck, get em' Deyna!"

Gravel skitters against my sneakers mingling with the encouraging yells, I stop and he almost barrels into me in a blind panic- time pauses. I can feel him. In that breath of a moment, when he slides roughly against me, his fear, his panic- I smell it. And his cry is in my ear, and his hands are pushing my ribcage, and his breath is hot on my neck.

The cold wind takes it away; and with it the sound of his flashing footfalls, the "Get back here, faggot!" and their rushing. The wind also takes something else- any wish that I felt no connection to him, that I didn't just imagine the sympathy for the lump that will be in his throat, and the tears that will coat his cheeks. It leaves me blown, swept past me and left me feeling vulnerable.

I pull away from his gaze when Austin asks me if I enjoyed the show. This isn't over yet.

Author's notes, yay:

If you dropped by to read this please tell me what you think. Could anyone tell me how you get spaces in this thing? All my stuff is bunched together!