Butterflies by Amy Lane

January 12, 2015

Title: Butterflies

Author: Amy Lane

Pairing: Patrick and Whiskey from Clear Water

Prompt: butterflies

 

Patrick might not have seen it if he hadn’t forgotten his shoes.

In the early breaths of spring he’d clambered up to the deck to drink his coffee, but even though it was February and they were out on the houseboat, he’d forgotten his shoes.

The deck was frickin’ cold in February.

His foot hit a patch of ice and he skid for a terrifying moment, flailing, coffee going everywhere, fully aware that he was heading for the side of the boat and about to fall off.  He coordinated enough to chuck the coffee cup overboard, and the splash reached his ears just as he threw himself in the air so he’d land, sprawled, on his stomach, his lean body making a hollow thump as he threatened to cave in the ceiling of what was probably his and Whiskey’s bedroom.

He was laying there, counting stars, hearing the “Holy fuck Patrick what in the hell was that?” echoing from the hold of the boat, when it fluttered stiffly to the prow and sat for a moment on the chrome railing of the boat.

He stared at it, dumbfounded, vaguely aware that his chin hurt and he was probably going to have a big honking cut on it when the dust cleared.

“Patrick?”

“Palos blue,” Patrick mumbled.

“Oh my God—Patrick!  Are you okay?”

“No. I think my chin is bleeding.  And the neighbors in the next boat are laughing their asses off.”

“They can go fuck a frog,” Whiskey swore.  Patrick felt big, reassuring hands assessing his arms, his legs, his cold and bruised toes.  “Jesus, Patrick—did you hit your head?”

Gingerly, Patrick got to his knees and then to his feet, looking unhappily at the blood patterning his shirt.

“No. Just my chin. Fucking hurts.  Did you see that?” he asked, making sure Whiskey had heard him the first time.

“Yeah, you said Palos Blue.”  Whiskey hadn’t shaved in days, and his beard was almost full, but that didn’t stop his warm brown eyes from being accessible and concerned over it.  “That’s why I thought you’d hit your head.”

“Yeah—noLook, Whiskey—it’s right there!”

Now see?  Anyone else Patrick had ever known would have just chivvied him off down into the boat and fussed over his chin, which was going to need stitches.

But Whiskey knew that Patrick would think this was important too.

“Oh my God—Patrick what in the hell is that thing doing here?”

They were extremely rare—and extremely rare in California in the winter.

“Someone must be breeding them,” Patrick mumbled.  “Is that illegal?”

“I don’t know,” Whiskey muttered.  “It’s damned hard to breed butterflies.  I don’t know what kind of impact that would have.”

As they both stared at the thing, it stuttered and fell over.  Whiskey left Patrick’s side with a reluctant pat on his shoulder, and took off his moccasin.  Very carefully, he picked the dead butterfly up by its leg and deposited it into his shoe, where it wouldn’t get more banged about before he went downstairs and got a sample bag.

When that task was done, he let out a curse.  “Holy hell, is it cold up here.  C’mon, Patrick—let’s get you downstairs and dressed.  We’re going to need to see the doc about your chin.”

Patrick groaned.  The doctor—if they got the same one, and they’d been seeing him practically every time they’d been to Kaiser in the last two months—had made his opinion clear.  He’d made it clear when Patrick had nailed his hand to the deck, and he’d made it clear when Patrick had slid down the houseboat stairs and banged his head on the last step.

He’d definitely make his opinion clear now.

“You know what he’ll say!” Patrick whined.

“He’ll say we need to move into a real house and not the houseboat where you’re going to kill yourself,” Whiskey recited grimly.

“Yeah.  That.”

“Well, I’m starting to think he’s got a point.”  Whiskey sighed, and helped him down the stairs.

“But Whiskey, we’ve got to find out about the butterfly!  It’s important, right?  An ecological anomaly?”

“Yeah.  We’ll find out about the butterfly.  But maybe we’ll find out about an apartment too.  I’d really like you to stop bleeding on the carpeting.”

Patrick’s chin opened up into a giant ache.  Maybe Whiskey had a point, but he didn’t want to talk about it now.

“Whatever.  Just give me some toilet paper and I’ll bleed on that.”

Whiskey grunted and did what he said.  “Palos Blue,” he murmured half to himself, setting the shoe down on the breakfast table.  “You’re probably the only one who could find that.”

“Yeah,” Patrick said, feeling spiteful.  “But only if we live here.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Whiskey returned, but he was already pulling his phone out of his pocket and dialing the doctor, so Patrick wasn’t sure how much he meant it.

Patrick rooted around in the shoe for a moment.  “Palos Blue,” he mumbled, “Palos Blue… let’s think of a way to stay home where we belong.”

 

Did you enjoy Amy Lane’s story? If so, check out the rest of her books and take 25% off at checkout with the code AmyLaneFlash. Coupon code is good for one order per customer through February 12, 2015.

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