Ok , a few words before I begin…
Firstly you’ll be relieved to know that the music on this is not obligatory (or at least, I’ll let you know if I really want you to listen!) It’s more of a mood enhancer!
This fic leaps around in time a bit, so if people get mighty confused, please let me know!
Oh, and I'm writing in third person now, mainly to challenge myself, but the piece does add onto Sleepless.
I hope you enjoy it, it’s probably going to be longer than Sleepless (assuming people read it and like it!)…
On Top of the World
Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes- Thievery Corporation
The dark haired man sighed and rolled over to grope in the dark for his beeping phone, turning off the alarm that had broken his fitful sleep and stretching out his limbs in the cold bed.
His head was thumping again. He felt like he’d gone ten rounds in the ring and was exhausted from the last few weeks of travel. If it hadn’t been for the insistence of his blond-haired lover he’d have given up long ago, accepted defeat and flown back to Kathmandu. But he was here now, they’d finally made it.
The guide, Mymar, knocked at the door gently, and in a low soft voice told him it was time to get up. He remembered with a start why his phone had been set to 3am, an ungodly hour, and he slung his legs out of the bed. Heavy feet connected with the freezing floor and he thanked the heavens that he didn’t have to shower. Well, he couldn’t, there was no hot water in the monastery anyway.
Minutes later he was dressed and running his hands through dirty, uncombed hair. He looked in the mirror, as his partner’s blue eyes sparkled at him from behind, arms slipping around his waist. He closed his eyes and leaned back into the embrace, feeling his beloved’s breath warming his neck as he kissed his ear and whispered
-thank you for bringing me here
The brunette smiled and turned. It was time for them to go. Tugging on his North Face jacket, he turned the door handle and stepped out into the dry freeze of the night air. It was so crisp it caught in his lungs and made him pause for a second as he adjusted again to movement at such altitude. He felt John Paul’s arm around him as they stepped out into the courtyard, walking past a couple of dark shapes, lit up only by the cigarette they were sharing.
They huddled round the small stove in the communal room- trying to trap the feeble heat it emitted. As they slurped on the hot salty tea, handed to them by a smiling lady with a gold tooth, the thrill of where he was really hit Craig and he smiled with the realisation, felt the release of adrenalin course through his body. The tea was vile, but the heat was much needed and the salt vital to re-hydrate for the journey ahead. Ignoring the stench of yak butter and the all-pervading aroma of rancid grease and dried meat, the men threw back the brew and headed out into the dark.
This was the final leg, an hour’s trek, in the pitch black across rough terrain. Craig was grateful for the experience of the guide in front of him, nervous as he took each faltering step; the lack of oxygen turning his stomach and numbing his brain. It was making him question every movement, each expense of energy. His legs felt like lead, each step as if he was wading through treacle. However, each time he felt like turning back, of giving up and crawling back into bed, the sight of the excitement of his lover, almost skipping ahead of him, made him continue, determined to see this through. He fought through the foggy haze of his mind, sleep and oxygen deprived as footstep followed footstep, carefully placed in the torch’s beam on each piece of unsure ground. Once or twice he stumbled, but the taller man was always there to catch his arm, support him, seemingly knowing when he needed him most.
Then finally, abruptly, the guide announced their arrival. He gestured to a small hill, topped with brightly coloured flags and a pile of stones. He walked away from them to where a small group of tents had been set up, knowing that space and privacy was needed. Craig watched the man’s back disappear behind the tent flap before turning to read the sign in front of him, forbidding those without permission to go further and trembled slightly at the thought of where he was.
Anticipation filled the air as they climbed the final hill. Then a strange calm descended, the only sound in the dead air that of the prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, sending the hopes and dreams of those who had been there before up to the gods. Craig shivered slightly as he sat down, knees pulled into his chest, his olive skin telling the tale of a man much more accustomed to warmer places. He felt John Paul sit down behind him, wrapping both arms and legs around him, shielding him from the wind, from the extreme cold of morning. He felt his soul-mate’s hand stroking his hair, then smoothing the fine lines on his forehead, the marks of time passed. He once again felt completely and utterly surrounded in the love of this man, his partner of so many years. He felt the total ease and happiness of someone who knows what it is to be totally and utterly loved and to completely give his heart in return.
- I love you
He whispered. In response he felt the arms around him tighten, holding him as close as humanly possible. Relaxing into the moment he settled back to wait for the dawn, to enjoy this moment. His eyes fixed on a point far in the distance, becoming faintly outlined against the deep blue of the night sky as it slowly moved towards dawn.