Title: Whiskey River

Author: Pyro

Rating: NC-17 to R

Disclaimer: Credit goes to Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana, and Ang Lee

Notes and Summary: What if Ennis had said yes when Jack came up to see him after the divorce? What if Jack had then divorced Lureen and they bought a ranch? This is that story. This is just a snippet of what is to come. I will get off my ass and write, I swear! Just, not right now. Yes, I am a horrible tease, and a massive procrastinator. Procrastinators unite!...Tomorrow.

Whiskey River

Chapter 6

Weak morning sunlight streamed though the ice caked windows. Snow blanketed the ground and icicles clung to the trees and eves of the house and barn. Outside, the cattle lowed plaintively, their breaths steaming in the air. They pawed at the water trough, breaking the thin layer of ice and drinking deeply, only to have small crystals form on the whiskers of their muzzles.

Inside Ennis and Jack pulled on their coats and gloves, preparing to do the absolute minimum amount of chores. Feed the cattle and horses, clean out the barn and make sure there was plenty of hay and water. That was it. It was too cold to move the cattle up to the far pasture, and in any case, they would be safer right where they were. Jack, true to form, bitched constantly about the cold. He'd gotten used to the warmer winters in Texas, and this early snow showed just how unused to Wyoming weather he really was. Ennis worked in comfortable silence, mouth turning up at the corners now and then at Jack's complaints. For his part, the harder Jack worked, the more he griped. Within a few hours, they had finished the chores and were headed back inside with arm loads of wood. They dumped them by the fireplace in the main room and the wood burning stove in the basement. Heat was pumped though the house by pipes running up under the floors. It was the most efficient way to heat the whole house, rather than the spotty warmth put out by the fireplace alone.