by Sammy Girl
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.
Author's Note: My thanks to Kerry for the beta work.
Archivists' Note: This story features C/V only, but is included for the completeness of the series.
Back to: The Long Weekend
Prologue from The Long Weekend
Buck and Ezra were not the only members of Team Seven flying home to Denver that day. Chris had cut his journey short and flown home. He didn't want to bother anyone, so, despite the expense, he took a cab to the end of his driveway and walked the last half-mile. The sun was warm, the breeze sweet with the smell of summer and horses, home. As the house came in sight he spotted Vin's jeep. It wasn't unexpected; no doubt Vin was tending the horses before heading over to Josiah's house. After checking the house and dropping off his bags, he headed toward the barn. Sure enough, he found Tanner mucking out the stalls, whistling tunelessly as he did so. He had his back to Larabee, stripped to the waist, wearing his faded old jeans, the ones with no pockets left and that were so threadbare, Chris reckoned one tug would cause them to just fall apart in your hands.
"Vin?" Chris called, trying to concentrate.
Vin looked up and over his shoulder. "Hey Cowboy! You're early." He straightened up and turned around, leaning - as he always did - on the pitchfork. "Thought you weren't due back until t'morrow?"
Chris just stood there, staring at him, trying to think straight and breathe normally.
"What's up? Chris?" Vin took a step closer, his whole posture suddenly stiffer and ready to move fast. "Is something wrong, is someone hurt? Is it Ezra?"
Chris finally gathered himself together. "No, everyone is alright as far as I know. Why would it be Ezra, what's wrong with Ezra?"
Vin visibly relaxed again, going back into his customary slouch. He related what he knew about Ezra's mishap. Buck had called him the day before, to say they were on their way home.
"Trust Ezra," Chris muttered. He looked up into those sky blue eyes. "You better put your shirt on." *'Cause if you don't I'm never gonna be able to concentrate,* he thought. "And come in the house."
Vin took a step closer. "Why?"
"We have to talk", was all he would say, as he turned to go.
Vin grabbed his shirt and followed Larabee into the house.
*Shit, that isn't helping!* Chris thought as he watched Tanner walk in, tugging down his tight muscle shirt and dropping unselfconsciously on to the couch, putting his bootless feet up on the coffee table.
"Where the hell are yer boots?" Chris enquired.
"Outside covered in horse shit - what the hell is wrong with you?" Tanner asked, having noticed Larabee's agitated state right from the start.
"Nothing's wrong with me, I..." Chris turned away and crossing the room, poured two large measures of scotch. He handed one to Tanner.
Vin tilted his head to one side and looked up at Larabee as he took the drink. "Am I gonna need this?"
Chris took a long pull on his own drink. "Yeah - probably," he said ominously, as he sat in front of Vin, perching on the edge of the old recliner, avoiding the younger man's gaze. "Buck and Ezra," he started.
"Yeah, what about them?" Vin asked. *You better not make any trouble for them,* he thought.
"I haven't been very supportive," Chris confessed.
"No, you've been an asshole," Vin stated bluntly.
Chris looked up, seeing anger in those blue eyes, he was about to snap that he hadn't been that bad, but he was here to confess the truth, so why lie now?
"Well I wasn't thinking straight. This weekend I met someone, someone who made me look at things again."
*She? On no not a she, don't say that!* Vin silently begged.
"...well she made me look at things a little differently."
*Oh yeah Cowboy - how differently?*
"See a man, he..." Then the words seemed to die in his throat. He stood and began to pace the room, occasionally he'd look back at Vin, then turn away and continue to pace.
*Shit - how can one man's ass be so Goddamned tight - it ain't natural. Yeah Chris, you keep pacing an' I'll just enjoy the view.*
But finally Chris seemed to come to some kind of decision, he turned where he was, now some way off.
"When Buck told us about him and Ez - that day in the office, you didn't seem that bothered."
Vin put his drink down. "Weren't bothered at all, happy fer the two of them."
"So it - them being gay - it's really okay by you?"
"Sure, why not? Happens all the time, more than most folks realise. I reckon it's just the way some people are made, it's natural. You know," He sat up a little. "...the People don't have a problem with it - or they didn't until the fucking missionaries got to them. What's your point?"
Chris regarded Tanner, despite the long hair and wonderful bone structure, sometimes he still forgot his friend was one quarter Native American and had been raised on a reservation for much of his early childhood.
"I didn't know that."
"'S true, don't tell Josiah, but I fucking hate Christianity - not the people, most of 'em are right decent folk, but if you ask me the whole thing's done more harm than good."
"What if? I mean what would you - that is - oh hell!" Chris downed his drink more in frustration than the need for Dutch courage.
"What would I want Cowboy?" Vin asked softly. *'Cause if you're about to ask what I think you are - what Buck promised me you would one day - just spit it out and let's get on with it!*
Larabee poured another drink. Then, still with his back to Vin, he began to speak again. "I've known Buck a long time, we were very close at one stage, closer than we are now - but... I never knew, I had no idea he... you known that he was... I mean that he..."
"Fucked with men?" Vin offered.
"Shit Tanner!" Chris spun around so fast half the contents of his newly filled glass flew across the room. "You do like to cut to the chase don't you?"
Vin shrugged. "Ain't no point dancing around like a lot of Goddamn women. So Buck's bi and you didn't know - so what?" *Here goes nothing, 'cause if we don't move this on, he'll be so drunk or wound up or pissed off by the end of it, we won't get no place.* "And I'm gay - what of it?"
There was a stillness and a silence in the room that defied description, eventually Vin became aware of a sound, a gentle dripping.
"Yer spillin' yer drink," he observed, pointing idly at the trickle of amber liquid that was running from the glass Chris was holding at his side, his arms having dropped down in sheer physical shock.
"Say that again," he commanded in a harsh rasping whisper.
Vin gave him a sly smile. "I'm gay, didn't ya know? - Buck knew," he added, knowing full well it would piss Larabee off.
"You told Buck, but not me?"
"I didn't need to tell Buck, he just knew, and as fer telling you - after the way you treated them - what do I look like? Fucking nuts?"
Chris finally came to his senses and, downing what was left of his drink, re-took his seat opposite his young friend.
"So," Vin began, "what do ya wanna know?"
"How long, are you... that is are you gay or bi, I mean, I've seen you go on dates."
"You've seen me on the phone making dates, and you've seen me leave the office to meet someone, don't reckon you've ever seen me with a girl," Vin corrected.
Larabee thought back, Vin was right, he'd seen him leave on dates, but never seen him with a date, and on the phone, what were the names he'd heard - Sam, Lindsay, Jo; he'd just assumed they were girls." *Shit, Larabee 'never assume anything without evidence', first damn thing they teach you in cop school!*
"So you're gay, no girls - none at all?"
Vin finished his own drink and sat back. "I tried, in high school, but m' heart wasn't in it and..." he patted his crotch. "...little Vin just weren't that interested." *But damn he's all attention now - down boy, not yet, we got ourselves a way to go yet.*
"What about in the army?"
Vin smiled. "I went in t' the army to get an education, not as a career. But it is one of the reasons I got out - all that 'don't ask, don't tell' crap. Shit - there's so many men fucking each other in the army it's a wonder they have the strength t' get outta bed in the morning! But all the time yer looking over yer shoulder, in case some redneck sergeant's gonna come along and either end your career or make you suck him off t' shut him up - ain't worth it."
Chris was struggling to take in and assimilate all the information and his own feelings. In Washington, it had all seemed so simple, so easy. *Just tell Vin how you feel, tell him the truth, just like he just told you the truth. He just made it easy for you after all - come on you coward - just speak, open your mouth and speak.*
"The thing is I've think I'm... ah hell!"
*Yup, here it comes I'm gonna get me a piece of that Larabee ass, come on Cowboy just say it.* Vin watched Chris, the poor man looked like he was gonna have a conniption. *Oh well, I guess I'm gonna have t' kick his butt.*
"Chris," he started. "I don't know what you're trying to say, but - I gotta tell ya - that you're about the sexiest man I ever laid eyes on."
Chris visibly gulped - not something you associated with 'bad ass Larabee', he even seemed to turn pale.
"Breathe Larabee," Vin advised, with some amusement.
"Me? You think *I'm* sexy?"
"Oh shit, yeah - I mean there's a lotta fine looking men around, Brad Pitt for one - but you can't count movie stars - Ezra's right pretty and Bucklin - well hot damn if that ain't one fine looking man! But, you, you light my fire Cowboy, always have."
*He's got the hots - for me? Oh fuck! Oh shit! YES! 'Cause damn it Tanner, you are pretty damn fine looking yourself.*
"I'm a lot older than you," Chris offered, somewhat lamely, he wasn't even sure why he said it, his mouth seemed to be on auto-pilot.
"Not that much, and ya wear it well. So, what are you trying to say to me?"
"That I find you attractive - I think."
*Well it's a start, this is like pulling teeth! Okay second kick up the - damn, fucking, amazingly tight - ass, hope I survive.*
"Stand up," Vin commanded.
"What - why?"
"This works better standing up - I hope - 'cause I've never done this before, well not quite like this." Vin stood and looked down at the uncharacteristically bewildered looking Larabee, giving him the slightly shy, lopsided grin that always seemed to help him pull in a bar.
Deciding that Vin knew best at the moment, Chris stood. Since he was in boots and Vin was barefoot, the two inch height difference was more like four so he found himself looking down at Vin, and that tingle in his groin instantly went to a full on - well he wasn't sure what it was but it was good. Vin smiled at him again.
"Trust me?" Vin asked softly.
"Good." With that Vin snaked his hand out and put it on the back of Chris' neck, he let it rest there, giving his very nervous boss the chance to get used to it.
Chris' body reacted to Vin's touch with that very pleasurable sensation he got when anyone touched him tenderly, even the doctor placing a hand on his back during his medical - the very fact that this had been happening told him he had gone too long without intimate human contact. But these fleetingly pleasurable, accidental contacts were as nothing to this, his whole body tingled and the sensation just grew and grew the longer Vin's warm hand lay there on the nape of his neck. He looked deep into the sky blue eyes of the young man before him, seeing only desire and concern. The hand on him moved, a thumb stroked his neck, the hand squeezed softly, rhythmically.
"Relax, just listen to yer body, go with what it wants," Vin whispered as he raised his other hand and trailed a finger down Chris' slightly stubbled chin.
Then he pulled down a little, there was no resistance, Chris allowed Vin to pull his head down, while all the time Vin's own face was rising to meet it. The kiss was soft, Vin pressed his lips to Chris', not seeking entry, just a surface kiss, not much more than platonic, he didn't want to scare Larabee. But to his surprise, the lips he pressed to his parted easily, his tongue slipped inside almost without him realising. Larabee tasted of whisky - not surprisingly, his mouth was warm and pliant and welcoming. He still didn't want to push too far too fast, so he pulled back, allowing his lips to hold on to Chris for just those extra few seconds. Finally they parted, Vin's hands still on either side of Chris' neck.
"Well?" he asked softly.
Chris gazed at him, there was a slight frown, but his eyes sparkled with a light Vin didn't think he had ever seen, and he had spent a good deal of time 'Chris watching'.
"Shit," the older man breathed, licking his lips to savour the last vestiges of the kiss.
"Good?" Vin asked hopefully.
"Fucking amazing," Chris admitted.
"Wanna try again?"
*Yes! Larabee, don't reckon you really know what's coming, but I promise yer gonna love it!*
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