Galileo On The 41
by Lar

The nights are cold enough for a jacket, and the old brown leather feels slightly stiff along his neck as Lindsey leans against the back of the truck and waits. Sundown was hours ago and he's still waiting, legs getting stiff as he stays still and watches the cars go by on the 41. Out here in the foothills, there's a fair amount of traffic. Lots of gas-hogging SUV's with tires that will never see anything but asphalt, no matter that they were built for harder things. Lots of sleek foreign cars that make Lindsey's hands itch, memories of how it felt to drive something that cornered like it was on rails, that would jump ahead when his foot hit the gas pedal. He misses his goddamn company car sometimes. Like now, when he'd be happy to get in and drive into the desert and see how fast the bastard could really run. Flat out and no reason to stop until he hit Vegas, maybe.

There's a whistle from across the road, interrupting his train of thought, and when he stands up to see better, his legs complain and threaten to cramp. He stamps down on the ground, boots sending up puffs of dust and he works his fingers from the front pockets of his jeans. One hand on the night-chilled bumper, the other raised in answer to the call.

Xander's grin would be visible no matter how far away he was, Lindsey swears it. It's been a hell of an adjustment to be with someone who finds a smile the easiest expression to wear, someone who's not brooding or trying to find the quickest way to use him on the way up whatever ladder they're climbing. He still catches himself waiting for the blow behind the simplest of words; one that he's slowly begun to realize won't be coming. Not from Xander at any rate.

He's wearing that grin as he crosses the road from the strip mall, the one that's been tastefully designed to look like it was built in Victorian times. Fake gingerbread trim all along the lines of the bakery, the shoe store, the pizza parlour, the home and garden store, all painted in subtle tones of brown, tan, red. The neon signs contrast with the architecture?s solemn faux-refinement so completely that it looks like a cartoon panel at night, purple/pink/green lights washed out to pastel over the wood, melted watercolors at the edges. Lindsey shakes his head as Xander jogs over the pavement towards him.

"Took you long enough, you get all caught up in a new delivery of hammers and couldn't tear yourself away?" Lindsey asks him, as he finally gets close.

Xander grabs Lindsey's wrist and points to the dial of his watch. "The little hand is on the nine, Lin, and the big hand is on the six. That's nine thirty, yeah? Which is when I get done." He grins as Lindsey pulls his hand away and adds, "Just because you wanna sit out here and stalk me doesn't mean you get to blame me for you getting bored. Them's the risks you take."

"Don't flatter yourself, if I was stalking you, you'd never see me til I was ready." Lindsey opens the door of the truck, but Xander's pulled down the tailgate and he's sitting there, legs swinging, white plumes just barely visible when he breathes out. "Don't you get enough of this place?"

Xander looks up. "Mars is right there. Come see," he says, pointing up to one of the dots that as far as Lindsey can tell is the same as every other dot. Or maybe it's not, he's not even sure which damn one Xander's pointing at.

"I can see from here. In fact, I bet I can see it from home. Looks even better when I'm not freezin' my ass off and I got a beer in the other hand." He waits, gets ignored and gives in with a sigh, shutting the door as another car whips by on the road doing about forty miles more than the speed limit and blows gritty wind up in its wake. Lindsey hunches his shoulders against it as he walks back to the end of the truck. "OK, Galileo, which one's Mars?"

Xander grins at him, the eye patch making his mouth look more quirky somehow, unbalancing the lines of his face and leaving him... not vulnerable, but something else. Something that makes Lindsey's chest feel tighter when he notices it. Open, maybe, in a way he's not used to and never has been himself.

"Sit, relax; God, Lin it won't kill you." He pats the bed of the truck beside him. "Besides it's a better view from here than from home, there's no lights on this side of the road."

Lindsey hops up easily, sitting close enough to feel the heat of Xander's body where his hips rubs against Lindsey's own. He nudges Xander's shoulder and tips his head back. "This is as relaxed as I get, boy. Start pointin' or I'm goin' home to my beer and you can commune with the stars on your ass in the dirt all night." The accent drops in without him thinking about it, softening the ends of his words, and taking his voice down closer to his roots.

When Xander's shoulder presses closer to him, Lindsey leans into it. Leans and then tilts his head so he's almost cheek to cheek with Xander, follows the trail of his upraised arm and the finger that's pointing towards the moon. "Right there," Xander says, his own voice lower. "Look at the moon, then down some."

"They all look the same," Lindsey tells him, not really looking much at anything other than Xander's fingers and remembering very clearly that they're talented in more ways than he's going to start bragging to anyone about. Carpenters' hands, Lindsey decides, are about as fine as it gets. He's lost in thoughts of a firm, calloused grip when Xander clears his throat.

"It's orange, how can you miss it? I can see it and I've got one less eye than you do."

"Show off." Lindsey squints up at the sky again in an honest effort to find what he's being shown, and sees it finally. It's obvious now that he knows what he's looking for, and he watches for a few minutes. "OK, so that's Mars."

"Try to sound a little less impressed." Xander nudges him, a slow press over that's all long body leaned into Lindsey's thigh, hip, shoulder, the brush of a scratchy chin against the lobe of his ear before Xander says, "What's it take to get you interested, Lin?"

Lindsey deliberately keeps looking up. "Oh I was pretty interested this mornin' when you woke me up."

Slow exhalation of warm breath against his ear, and suddenly there's not much need for the leather jacket when the tip of Xander's tongue flicks over the curve of Lindsey's jaw. He asks, "I was impressive? Wait, I was impressive and you didn't tell me?"

Lindsey raises an eyebrow and turns to look at him. They're nose to nose in the back of the truck, and he can smell the cold on Xander's skin, sharp and clean. "I thought I was pretty clear on lettin' you know how well it was workin' out." He fits his mouth to Xander's, tongue rubbing over his top lip before he pulls back again and looks back up. "So... Mars."

Xander's mouth is still parted and he can taste the teasing hint of Lindsey's tongue there. He looks up, mimicking Lindsey's pose. "Yeah, Mars. That's it right there. The red planet, only in a more orangey kind of way. I'd say it was fascinating but that just sounds like a really bad Spock imitation and it only works with the pointy ears." He nods his head slowly when Lindsey doesn't reply and then adds. "So, I'm all chock full of astronomy goodness, how about you?"

Lindsey grins at him. "You gonna come home and impress me some more?"

"With astronomy?" Xander asks as he jumps down from the truck bed and walks to the passenger door. "I pretty much shot my wad with 'that's Mars'. And hey, I'll give you a dollar if you forget I just said that whole thing about shooting."

Lindsey shakes his head as he gets behind the wheel. "A dollar? No, you're gonna have to work a hell of a lot harder than that, boy." He watches Xander's body slide into the seat next to him wit the ease of familiarity, the spread of his knees against the dashboard, the way he reaches to change the radio station before Lindsey even starts the truck.

"I _was_ employee of the month in May," Xander says earnestly. "That gettin' me anywhere?"

"No, but keep tryin'." Lindsey starts the truck and glances at the road, not the least bit surprised when he feels that warm hand drop to his thigh. He doesn't look down, just pulls onto the blacktop and drives. He takes the short way home and glances out the windshield at the stop sign. The moon is still bright, and he can see Mars.


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