Series. Karl May
Beta reader: Thanks to Lady Charena for the beta. For all remaining errors, blame me.
Summary: The silver-lake reveals some truth
Disclaimer: The characters in this story don't belong to me. I only borrowed them for some fun. No moneymaking, no violation of copyrights are intended. The story is mine and it is just fanfiction. If you are under age, please stay away. If you have a problem with this topic, then look elsewhere for your entertainment. English is not my native language, so please be patient with my mistakes.
How peacefully the silver-lake lays now in front of us. Hardly to believe that it had been such short time ago the place of dramatic events. Now the incredible treasure was forever buried in the unattainable depths of the water, therefore we were about to save a much more real treasure. The engineer was already busy making mining-planes with Old Firehand. And how it looked it would be a profitable business.
For myself there was no need to remain any time longer at this place and also Winnetou was ready to leave. So we had decided start our journey at the dawn of the next day. Until then a mild evening at the lake laid ahead of us.
I had used the time to hike once more around the place of our last adventure and stood now reflecting over it on a rock, looking down into the water. Despite this peaceful scenario, the Westman (Keine Ahnung, vielleicht müsste man im engl. Trapper nehmen, obwohl ich finde, das trifft es nicht. Denn das waren ja eigentlich die Fallensteller. Bloß Scout ist er ja auch nicht, Cowboy schon gar nicht. Hunter auch nicht.) in me remained always alerted - so I heard the soft steps long before I saw the approaching person.
Old Firehand stepped at my side. "I hear, you will leave us tomorrow," he said and added - after I had nodded - affirmatively: "Before you leave I want to thank again, Sir, for..."
"There is no need," I shut him off, but he interrupted me immediately.
" I don't refer to the latest events. It's because of Winnetou. I would like to thank you for all that you give to him. That you can give him the only thing I couldn't. I have never known know a more noble soul than his and I'm happy, that he has found you."
I have to admit, that I was surprised about the hunter's words, as they made little sense for me. I was of course aware that Firehand had known Winnetou long before I had set my foot for the first time into the West. They had once sought after the love of the same woman - Ribanna, the Rose of the Assiniboins. The white hunter had been at least been successful but Winnetou's friendship did even then never fail. And finally they had fought together a long time ago - and as later also with me - against Ribanna's murderer.
Yet I wasn't entirely sure about what Firehand was talking now. My relation to Winnetou was of course something special. We are brothers in spirit and blood. Yet - why should Firehand thank me for this? And why did he say, "I had been able to give Winnetou something he couldn't?" I' ve got a feeling that behind his words might lay more then it was obvious. I sensed however also that I hardly could asked him outright for the meaning.
So I answered somewhat vaguely: "Winnetou is my blood brother, as you know. I would give my life without hesitating into his hand and for him and I know that he would do the same for me, but I don't understand what you..."
With a silencing gesture the hunter interrupted me. "You don't have to explain it, Sir. I fully understand your discretion and I only wanted to let you know, which pressing burden you have taken from my soul. And for that I will be eternally grateful to you."
After saying this he turned around and disappeared before I found time for an answer - or better a question. Pondering about his strange words I stared for a long time onto the lake.
The sun approached in the meanwhile quickly the horizon as I pulled myself together again in order to see after our horses. Because of the terrain I approached them from a side, where rocks protected me from being seen. Because we felt absolutely save now, we hadn't any watchers by the animals, but I heard voices as I approached.
Unmistakably it was Winnetou and Firehand talking - how I realised soon. I've just wanted to make myself known to them as I heard how my name. It was more instinct, then logical reaction that that bid me to stop.
"I've told Old Shatterhand how happy and grateful I'm for your relationship. Winnetou - you don't know how my regrets over my repulsion plagued me all the years. To see my brother now happy with Old Shatterhand eases my heart."
I was sure to hear an air of fear in Winnetou's otherwise so controlled voice when he asked: "You told my brother Scharlih about us?"
"No, I didn't mention this, although I supposed he knew. I only said that I'm happy that he is at your side and that he now gives you what you desire," Firehand assured.
Winnetou sighed in relief. "Then not everything is lost yet."
"I don't understand..."
"My brother is wrong about Old Shatterhand. Winnetou loves him more than his own life. He's Winnetou's soul-brother, but..." He stopped for a while then added so softly that I hardly could understand him: "he don't know nothing about Winnetou's secret wishes and desires."
Now it was obviously Firehand who was confused. "You're not...?" he asked. "He don't know...?"
"No. Winnetou believes to know Scharlih well enough to know that he would at best react like Old Firehand years ago. Winnetou couldn't bear to lose Scharlih's friendship and confidence, when he is less understandable than Old Firehand. And he does not know if he can endure the pain of another repulsion... so Winnetou's mouth will for ever remain silent."
"But how can Winnetou be so certain that Old Shatterhand will not answer his feelings? Your friendships is so intensive and extraordinary, perhaps..."
"Winnetou senses it and he would ask his brother Old Firehand not to tell Scharlih anything."
I felt bad because I had overheard this conversation which obviously wasn't meant for my ears and yet I was unable to go away or to make myself known to them so that they could stop their conversation. So I just listened further.
"Of course I'll be confidential. Winnetou can relay on me, but I wish so much, my brother might find happiness."
"Winnetou is satisfied with what ever he has. Also if his body's needs will be unfulfilled, his soul finds satisfaction. This must be enough,", he answer, but I was sure to hear pain in his voice.
As I heard him leave, I quickly withdrew into) the shadows of the rocks. I was completely unable to see and talk to him right now. My mind whirled. Did I understand the right meaning of Winnetou's words? Could he see possibly more in me than his blood-brother, his soul-mate? Did he - as he spoke about the desires of his body - really meant...? I couldn't even think such a thing. We are both men! And I knew that his people as well as mine wouldn't be accept an intimate relationship between members of the same sex.
But perhaps I had interpreted all his words wrong. I could hope that much. But I needed to be certain. The only one who could answer my questions now was Old Firehand. Determined not to return to our camp before I had got an answer I stepped forward.
Firehand seemed to guess that I had overheard the conversation because he asked immediately: "How long have you already been here, Sir?"
"Long enough, I fear," I answer.
"Then please forget, what you have heard. For Winnetou's sake, when he means something to you - please forget."
"But I can't. Please tell me the way I have to understand his words and yours and what happened in the past between the two of you?"
He was still for a long time and stared over to the rocks behind me. When he finally spoke, his voice was soft - yet urgent. " I know you've heard about me and Ribanna from Harry. Yet it is the only truth the boy knows... I always tell it that way and so Winnetou does) It's true, Winnetou sought Ribanna's love, but more to fulfil his people's expectations than his own desires. There was somebody else, he would have preferred as his companion."
"You... mean - it was... you?" I asked as he stopped.
Firehand nodded. "I'm certain that I've never done anything to encourage him. But feelings often go their own strange ways. Winnetou felt he was in love with me and he found the courage to admit these feelings to me. For that I admired him at that time and I admire him still today. How would you or I have acted into his shoes? I'm certain, I would rather had cut my tongue out then to speak about such feelings. I tried to tell him, about my refusing him having nothing to do with his person but rather with the fact that I simply was not attracted to men. He understood and so we remained friends. Yet I fear, I have hurt his soul in way never can be forgotten). He'll never be able again to entrust his feelings to somebody. Not you - or probably especially not you."
"And now he loves me - I understood," I said softly.
"And his feelings for you are certainly far more intensive than they were for me in his younger days." Firehand put a hand on my shoulder. "However - Winnetou never will do the first step. He fears too much another no and possible repulsion. Rather he'd be content with your friendship and his longing then risk anything that precious than your friendship."
"So what do you advise me?" I asked softly.
"Don't let him know what you learned today about his feelings, except you are completely sure that you can respond them. ut then it's onto you to do the first step."
Hiding my newly acquired knowledge and the serious thoughts it provoked in me was easier said than done. As we left after a sleepless night - for my part - at the next morning Winnetou eventually noticed that something was troubling me. Yet I calmed him by saying, nothing earnest - only an approach of homesickness - was on my mind.
Winnetou loved me - and that in any meaning of this simple word. I couldn't stop thinking this. I always considered myself a modern and enlightened person, whom his numerous contacts with other races and cultures had let to overcome the boundaries of his upbringing. I also could say that I surely would have accepted a same-sex-relationship between others without regarding the general opinion.
But for myself? Was I able to see more in Winnetou than a friend? We were blood brothers, yes! We had acted more than once as if we were one and the same person. And it was true, what I had said to Old Firehand, I would give my life for him. But also my body?
Was this of any concern? Wasn't that what connected us already called love? A love in its purest, noblest form because it united two hearts and souls in harmony. Would it not be the logical next step to give this relation a new, yet deeper - more physical - dimension?
As much as I was pondering about it, I wasn't able to make any decision. There were moments I was ready to give myself completely to Winnetou. And then the anxiety came back again. What if I did not acted out of my own wishes but rather to do Winnetou a favour? He would realise it and that would destroy our impartial intercourse (unbefangenen Umgang miteinander im Original) and probably even our friendship. What if my body wouldn't cooperate with the heart in the a vital moment?
Too large a risk! No, as long as I wasn't absolutely certain about myself and my reactions I couldn't act. Finally I've realised that I wouldn't come to any rational decision this day. The impressions of the last evening still too fresh. Heart and intellect fought each other. I needed some distance to make a decision.
Tomorrow, tomorrow was another day. Or the day after tomorrow. I would make it then.
Winnetou's long hair stroked tenderly over my chest when I pulled him firmer into my arms to kiss him. His lips felt warm and soft onto mine, his manhood was pressed demandingly against me equally hard penis.
Moaning I pressed my abdomen to his, stretched one hand out to stroke through his wonderful hair, using the other to pull him even closer to me and...
...grasped into the void.
A cold shower couldn't have woke me more soberly and more suddenly, than the end of my dream. Moaning I sat upright and placed myself against the cold stone behind me, as if its cool surface could give me any inner hold.
Slowly I shook the last daze of the sleep off. It had been no good idea to come to Winnetou's grave. I had hoped, this place would help me finally come to terms with the past and bury all the shadows which hunt me day for day.
Yet the opposite is obviously the case. The memory of Winnetou is just superior. In many moments, I turn around because I believe I have heard his voice behind me, believing I felt his dark eyes into me.
I know that I play with fire. The place wasn't save at all and momentary I am in no condition to way I exercise the necessary watchfulness, let alone to defend myself in an emergency.
Awake I'm plagued with the memories of my lost brother and in sleep I dream things, that become more and more intensive. Wish dreams! Because I never found the courage to do the first step. While I was certain in one moment to love Winnetou enough that I could express this lover in any way, I feared I the consequences in the next.
And so I delayed the decision always for tomorrow - until it was too late, until there was no tomorrow any more. Only now - as the noble chief of the Apache rests in his stony grave - I find the courage to admit myself my true feelings. Only now I recognize that I shared his desire, that his - our - love would have been the most precious treasure that life would have been able to give us.
Yet it is lost now for ever. Like the treasure of the silver-lake rests into the depths of the water, must I have to bury my love for eternity deep into my heart.