The Decent Thing

by SueN

Only as he started toward the saloon did he remember that Vin was out riding patrol, and he changed directions, heading for the livery. Once inside, he saw that Peso’s stall was still empty, and couldn’t help the sigh that escaped him. More and more, he found himself craving the quiet peace of the tracker’s company, especially after some trouble like today’s. He’d gotten so used to handling such things, and his own inner turmoil, on his own, had told himself that’s how it would be from now on. Sarah’s death had taken from him his last refuge, his last oasis of calm in a violent world, and he’d been certain he’d never find another.

Until he’d met Vin. And from the first, he’d recognized the Texan as the sanctuary he so desperately needed. Younger than him by a good ten or fifteen years, and carrying his own demons and hurts, Tanner nonetheless exuded a quiet, a peace, that had drawn Chris to him at once. The wide blue eyes were like deep, calm pools on a summer day, and Chris had dived into them at once, finding through them a soul older than the hills, more restful than shaded ground, and more healing than all the medicine he’d ever known. He’d found his own peace in Vin, and, in the midst of that peace, had also found passion, a passion that could set his blood boiling and his body burning, a passion he could only quench with the tracker.

He’d never really felt an attraction to men before, had never thought of himself that way. Women had always been his first choice. Oh, he was no stranger to a man’s hand -- who out here, where women were so few and far between, was? -- but there had never been pleasure in it, only desperately needed relief. And it was certainly never something he’d sought out where women were available. But with Vin...

God, with Vin, there was pleasure in it. Pleasure, and so much more. The first time he’d been with Vin, he knew he’d come home. It was a feeling he’d only known with Sarah, and had been sure he’d lost with her death. It was a feeling he knew should be wrong, but knew with everything in him was more right than anything he’d had in a very long time. Hell, it was more than a feeling. It was love. He wasn’t sure just when or why it had happened, but he’d fallen in love with Vin Tanner.

And damn him if it wasn’t one of the best things he’d ever done.

He smiled to himself, shook his head at his own sentimentality, then left a message for Vin with Yosemite. With that, he left the livery, went to the boardinghouse for supper, and had Mrs. Collins, the motherly proprietress, make up a plate for Vin, as well. He couldn’t help but the notice the extra portions she doled out for the tracker, and shot her a teasing glance.

She merely stared down at him and set her hands on her hips, daring him to object. “That boy’s too skinny,” she said pointedly. “He’s like a stray dog that lives off what others throw away. Well,” her dark eyes took on the fierce, maternal gleam that Chris had seen in Sarah’s and knew better than to go against, “he’s not a stray anymore. He’s got a place here now, even if he don’t use it, and that makes him mine to look after. So you glare all you want, Mr. Gunfighter, but I’ve never sent a soul away from my table hungry before, and I ain’t about ta start now.”

Chris smothered his laugh and nodded, though his green eyes gleamed warmly. “Mrs. Collins,” he said soberly, “I’ve faced down a lotta men in my time, some of ’em real bad. But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned,” he beckoned her down closer with a finger, and whispered into her ear, “it’s never ta get between a woman and her young’uns. So don’t worry, I’ll see he eats every bite.”

She straightened and smiled down at him, easily able to see the man behind the fearsome name. She knew he’d suffered, knew what he’d suffered, and, though he was certainly a hard, cold man capable of looking after himself, couldn’t help but seeing in him also the same lost and hurting soul she’d seen in the young tracker. They were good for each other, she decided. And they both needed fattening up.

“You eat, too,” she ordered, eyeing his half-finished plate warningly. “Man can’t protect a town on an empty stomach.” She surveyed his plate, took note of what he’d eaten and what he hadn’t, and sighed in exasperation. “Men, all the same. You eat those greens, Mr. Larabee,” she commanded, pointing a finger at the untouched heap, “else there’ll be no desert for ya. And it’s my best pecan pie.”

Chris’s eyes widened, then he scowled deeply, but stabbed his fork obligingly into the detested pile of greens and shoved a bite into his mouth. Pecan pie. His favorite.

Just like a woman to find and take advantage of a man’s weakness...

+ + + + + + +

Darkness had fallen over the town, and Chris was up in his room, stretched out on his bed with a still-full bottle on the stand beside him, waiting patiently for Vin. He understood the appearances they had to keep up, knew the tracker couldn’t just come bounding up to him the moment he hit town. He’d get Yosemite’s message, then wander around a bit, checking in with the others, taking a drink at the saloon to wash down the trail dust, then go over to the boardinghouse to eat. And Mrs. Collins, God love her, would tell him he’d missed supper, but that she’d made up a plate and left it with Mr. Larabee.

And likely the woman would give him a cookie or piece of pie she’d stashed away just for him, and watch while he ate it with childish pleasure...

Chris licked his lips and slid a hand to his crotch as he envisioned that expression on Vin’s face. He’d seen it only a few times, usually when someone did Tanner an unexpected kindness, and it always took away his breath. The blue eyes would widen, the beautiful face and lean body would go absolutely still, and a slow, shy smile would spread over the luscious mouth. At such moments, with those blue eyes shining brilliantly, Chris would see just how young Vin really was, just how little he’d ever had, and he’d want nothing more than to take him into his arms and hold him forever, to kiss away every hurt and make sure there’d never be another.

“Jesus, Tanner,” he whispered, letting his head fall back and closing his eyes, “what’ve you done ta me?”

Thoughts of the tracker filled his mind, his heart, and his hand strayed once more to his crotch as those thoughts worked their usual spell upon his body. Blue eyes laughed at him, golden-brown curls danced on the breeze, a full mouth curved into a wicked, lopsided grin, and his flesh grew hard and hot at the image. A soft, raspy drawl whispered in his ear, the smell of leather, sand and fresh air filled his nose, and he hurriedly unfastened his pants, freeing the thick flesh straining against them. He saw Vin lick his lips, and did the same, his long fingers slowly stroking his swelling cock as he felt the warmth and hardness of Tanner’s body brushing against him. He’d been with Lydia, her hands all over him, and hadn’t felt the smallest twinge of desire. Now, the mere thought of Vin had him throbbing and aching with need.

“Goddamn it, Tanner,” he growled, still stroking himself. “Hurry your scrawny ass up here!”

As if in obedience -- which, with Vin, Chris knew had to be an accident -- a soft, single knock sounded at his door, and Larabee shuddered and exhaled sharply in relief. Hurriedly stuffing himself back into his pants -- and wincing when his still-swollen flesh didn’t want to go -- he tried to fasten his pants, couldn’t, and swore softly as he rolled off the bed. He plucked a pistol from his holster and thumbed back the hammer, crossed the few steps to the door and took a deep breath, praying it was Vin.

“Yeah?” he called hoarsely.

“Heard ya got my supper with ya,” came the welcome gravelly voice.

Chris smiled wolfishly. Supper. Yeah, that’s exactly what he had for Vin. “Come on in,” he invited, lowering the hammer on his gun and stepping aside to let Tanner enter.

As was his habit, Vin opened the door only slightly and slipped through, then closed it at once behind him. Immediately, his blue gaze took in Chris, sweeping over his gleaming golden head, chiseled features, and bare, powerful chest. Unable to help himself, he licked his lips at the sight, his soul rising sharply in the presence of this man’s beauty, and reached out to run long, shaking fingers slowly down that inviting expanse of smooth flesh.

“Reckon I’m hungrier than I thought,” he whispered, stepping closer and letting his hand come to rest on one lean, black-clad hip. Then he noticed the state of Larabee’s pants, and that wicked smile came out. “Reckon you’re a mite hungry yerself,” he drawled, brushing his other hand against that open fly.

Chris jerked as if he’d been shot, and every drop of his blood immediately raced to his cock. A strangled gasp escaped him, a shudder racked him, and he all but dropped his gun.

“Best let me have this,” Vin teased, taking the pistol from unresisting fingers and tossing it onto the bed. “I’d hate fer you ta have t’ explain why ya shot me.”

“Anybody who knows ya’d understand,” Chris gasped in a ragged voice. “You need shootin’.”

“Yeah, I know,” Vin breathed, stepping closer, his eyes fixed on Larabee’s. He slowly played at the man’s crotch, opening the fly wider and dipping his fingers inside to find the hard flesh straining to get free. “Reckon I ain’t no good at all.” He eased Chris’s cock out and closed his fingers about it, slowly stroking the rigid length. “Prob’ly oughtta be punished fer m’ sins.”

Chris snarled and grabbed him, wrapping long, strong arms about the slight frame and crushing Vin to him, burying his mouth in Tanner’s. Heat swept through him in searing, pounding waves as he suddenly possessed what he’d been thinking of all day, and he clutched Vin more tightly still, losing himself in the tracker.

Vin groaned and shuddered hard, melting into Chris and twining his arms about the older man, left breathless and dizzy by his assault. Chris’s mouth was moving savagely against his, demanding entrance, and he submitted eagerly, desperate for the taste of this man. Everything in him cried out for Chris, and he knew he’d die if he were denied.

Chris tore his mouth from Vin’s with a low growl and swept it along that square jaw, licking, kissing, sucking, drawing moans and hisses of sheer pleasure from the tracker. While his mouth feasted upon that jaw, his hands worked to strip the clothes from Vin, snatching off his hat and tossing it aside, then all but tearing off his coat and shirt. His need for Tanner was like a fever in his blood, and he knew of only one cure.

“Missed ya,” he whispered against the throbbing pulse in Vin’s throat. “Been too long without ya.”

Vin tried to answer, but couldn’t. He was trembling uncontrollably and had to clutch at Chris to keep from falling, made light-headed by the force of his own hunger. He ached -- Lord God, how he ached! -- from his want, and he knew if he’d been one for screaming, he’d be screaming now from that ache.

When Chris finally had Vin stripped down to his skin -- one hide jacket, two shirts and an undershirt later; Jesus, what’d anybody need with so many damn clothes? -- he exhaled unsteadily and ran his hands slowly, lovingly over the sinewy shoulders and slim chest, marveling anew at the beauty of the man in his arms. Except for the various scars that marked it, Vin’s flesh was startlingly smooth and wonderfully warm, and Chris loved just touching him, stroking him and hearing him nearly purr with pleasure. He knew Vin normally shied away from physical contact, had a few ugly suspicions why, and he’d made it his mission in life to teach the wary tracker that there was one touch at least he need never fear.

So he let his hands roam now where they would, stroking lightly, caressing gently, pressing his fingers into supple flesh and muscle and kneading slowly, scraping calluses lightly over the hard ridge of bone. Vin was panting and moaning, and when his head lolled back on that long, slender neck, Chris chuckled softly.

“Like that, do ya?” he breathed, leaning close and tailing his lips down Tanner’s throat.

“Like it,” Vin gasped weakly, clutching at Chris as his knees threatened to buckle. “Like you.”

“Well, I’m real glad ta hear that, pard,” Chris whispered, sliding his hands down Tanner’s narrow back and pulling him close. “’Cause I like you, too.”

“Y’ do?” Vin asked, unable to think clearly, unable to do anything except shiver and writhe beneath that mouth and those hands.

Chris laughed again, his breath fanning warmly over Vin’s shoulder. “’Course I do,” he murmured, showering a series of slow, light kisses over that shoulder. “You don’t think I do this ta just anybody, do ya?”

“Hope not,” Vin moaned as that mouth burned against his flesh. “Hate ta think I’d hafta go on a killin’ spree. Chris...” he whimpered as strong, sure fingers began working at his gunbelt.

“Ssh, it’s all right,” Larabee assured him, returning his mouth to Vin’s and kissing him gently. “Just gonna get rid’a this. Don’t want nothin’ in my way.”

Within moments, he had the gunbelt off and started on Vin’s pants, easily able to feel the hard bulge straining against the fabric. Each time his fingers brushed against that bulge, Vin gasped sharply and dug his fingers into Chris’s back, tortured by the hideous pain throbbing in his cock.

Chris undid the trousers, then guided Vin to the bed and pushed him down onto it. Immediately, though, quick, strong hands snaked out, latched onto him and yanked him down. And, never really knowing how it had happened, all at once he was laying on his back and staring, startled, into the face of the Texas tracker perched atop him. Blue eyes glittered darkly in the flushed face, and brown hair fell forward in a curtain of curls. Tanner’s hands held his shoulders pinned to the bed, and the younger man straddled his hips, his ass at Larabee’s crotch.

“Gotcha!” he growled, his mouth curving into a feral grin. “’N I ain’t ever gonna letcha go!”

Chris shivered at the hunger in those eyes, in that low, husky voice, and he wondered just what kind of wildcat he’d unleashed. He’d been startled at first by the ferocity of Tanner’s passion, had been misled by the man’s usually laconic demeanor. But he’d quickly discovered the wildness hidden beneath the calm, and had discovered, to his own surprise and delight, that Vin had a talent for awakening an answering wildness in him.

“Gonna be kinda hard t’ explain my disappearance to the others, ain’t it?” he teased.

“Fuck ’em,” Vin whispered, leaning down to lap with his tongue at Larabee’s throat like a cat at a saucer of milk.

Chris shifted, bunched his muscles, and abruptly flipped Tanner onto his back, covering the Texan’s body with his. “Better not,” he warned in a low, harsh voice, green eyes dark and smoky with desire. “I told ya, I ain’t one for sharin’.”

Vin smiled slightly and freed his arms, twining them around Larabee and pulling the man to him. “Don’t wanta be shared,” he said in that low, throaty rasp. “Don’t like bein’ shared. Jist wanta be yers alone.”

Chris frowned at Vin’s words and pulled back slightly, gazing in confusion at the young man beneath him. “When--”

“Ssh,” Vin hushed him. “Don’t wanta talk about that now. Don’t wanta think about it. All’s I wanta think about is you ’n me.”

Chris saw the shadow that suddenly appeared in the blue eyes, and his frown deepened. “Vin--”

“Please?” Tanner whispered, laying a hand against Chris’s cheek. “I’ll tell ya someday, I promise, but not now. I don’t want nothin’ spoilin’ this. I been thinkin’ about ya all day, wonderin’ if we’d git a chance ta be t’gether. Now we got it, ’n I don’t want nothin’ ruinin’ it. Ain’t like we git all that many of ’em.”

Chris recognized the truth in those words and nodded. “You’re right,” he sighed, smiling slightly and reaching down to brush the hair away from Vin’s face. “Shouldn’t spoil what little time we got. I’m sorry.”

It was Vin’s turn to frown. “Fer what? Fer carin’ enough t’ ask?” He slid his hands to Chris’s shoulders and pulled the man slowly to him. “Don’t apologize fer that, cowboy,” he breathed. “I ain’t ever had nobody who cared that much b’fore. I like it.”

“I do care, Vin,” Chris whispered, lowering his head and pressing his mouth to Tanner’s. “More than you’ll ever know.”

Words ceased between them as they came together, mouths meeting tenderly at first, hands stroking and caressing gently. Soon, however, as was the way between them, all gentleness was swept aside by the rising tide of passion, by the force of the hunger, the need and the want and the love that raged through them like a river in spring flood. As ever, they were powerless to control it, and wouldn’t have tried if they could. Instead, they simply gave themselves to it, surrendering without a fight to the depth and ferocity of what they had found with each other.

Vin moaned and writhed beneath Chris, against him, in a mounting frenzy as the gunman tormented him without mercy. Larabee’s mouth and hands were everywhere, kissing, stroking, licking, pinching, biting and kneading, until every nerve in Vin’s body screamed from the glorious assault. But he gave as good as he got, hands raking down the long expanse of Larabee’s back, mouth biting and sucking at the man’s taut nipples, his hips thrusting to drive his aching hardness into Chris’s. Fire swept through him, consumed him, and he wondered how he’d ever lived without this sweet torture before.

Made desperate by his own need, Chris ruthlessly stripped Vin of the remainder of his clothes, then all but tore the pants and underwear from his own body. When they were both naked, they sought each other again, mouths meeting in deep, demanding kisses, bodies surging together, hands exploring, stroking, kneading and caressing with a shattering thoroughness.

“Want you, Vin,” Chris gasped in a ragged whisper. “Wanta be inside ya.”

“Hell, cowboy,” Vin rasped, “I thought you’d never ask!”

Chris got to his hands and knees and reached across Vin to open the drawer in the bedside table, fumbling through it for the small tin of oil there. When he felt a warm tongue slide over the head of his cock, he yanked out the drawer and very nearly screamed.

“Jesus!” he hissed instead as fire shot through him.

“Made a mess there, cowboy,” Vin teased, grinning wickedly up at his lover.

Chris glared down at him. “Y’know,” he warned quietly in the tone that usually sent big, bad men hunting cover, “I seem ta recall mentionin’ once or twice how much I hate bein’ called that. You slow or somethin’, Tanner?”

Vin shrugged, still grinning. “’R somethin’. Ya gonna git that oil ’r not?”

Chris’s eyes narrowed a fraction further. “Goddamn mouthy Texan.”

Vin slowly ran his tongue over his lower lip. “’S part’a my charm.”

Chris watched that tongue, that mouth, in rapt fascination, almost forgetting to breathe. With an effort, he roused himself and scooted off the bed, snatching the tin off the floor and hurrying back to Vin. “Play nice,” he warned, wrenching the top free.

“Aw, now, Chris,” Vin pouted, reaching for Larabee’s cock and sliding his fingers slowly over the thick, hard length, “where’s the fun in that?”

Chris uttered a strangled gasp as those long, talented fingers tormented him, and dropped the oil twice before he could get his own fingers into it. When Vin scraped a thumbnail across the head of his cock, he gave another croak and nearly came on the spot.

Vin chuckled at the sight of the mighty Chris Larabee reduced to a clumsy, shaking wreck. Then, wanting to see just how far he could push the man, he sat up slowly, still stroking his cock, and latched onto a taut brown nipple with his mouth, sucking hungrily.

Chris shuddered violently and dropped the oil again, then just brushed the tin onto the floor. His breath came in ragged, tearing gasps as Vin sucked at and stroked him, as the Texan slowly shredded his reason, and a series of low, wordless moans broke from him.

Vin delighted in his power over Chris, loved knowing he had such an effect upon this man. Chris held himself under such rigid control, kept so much of himself locked away, that Vin delighted in shattering that control and reminding him what it meant to feel.

“I’m waitin’ on ya, cowboy,” he whispered, lapping his tongue against Larabee’s nipple. “Been waitin’ on ya all my life. Don’t wanta wait no more.” And he withdrew his mouth and lay back.

Chris needed no more invitation than that. Gathering the scattered remnants of his thoughts, he smeared the oil over his hands and cock, then reached down for Vin. “Wait’s over, pard,” he whispered hoarsely.

Vin gasped sharply and bucked wildly as Chris’s hand closed about his cock, as long, sure fingers began stroking and squeezing, as his every nerve was brought to screaming life. He bit his lip to hold back the cry beating against his throat for release, and knotted his fingers in the sheets as Larabee paid him back in full for his wickedness.

Oh, Jesus, he was gonna die!

Chris stroked Vin with a maddening slowness, then slid his fingers lightly over Tanner’s balls and to the dark puckered opening behind them. He rimmed the hole with his forefinger, then slid the digit within, tearing another strangled sound from Vin.

“Easy, pard,” he soothed, “gonna take care of us both real soon.”

Vin bit his lip harder and thrust down upon that finger, awash in white heat. Then Chris found and pressed against his pleasure spot, and he bucked again and very nearly screamed.

Chris pressed a hand to Vin’s hip to hold him down and inserted a second finger. Breathing hard himself and bathed in sweat, he carefully worked the tight ring of muscle, not wanting to hurt Vin in his haste. He slid in a third finger, and smiled slightly at Vin’s whimper.

“Chris, please...”

Knowing they both were ready -- hell, beyond ready -- Chris withdrew his hand and positioned his cock at the softened hole, then pushed himself inside. As ever, the feel of Vin enveloping him, of the man’s moist heat taking him in and closing about him, flooded him with waves of fierce pleasure and tore a sharp cry of wonder from him. He wanted to plunge into Vin, to drive into the man and lose himself there, but knew he had to wait.

But, God, he felt so good!

Only when he felt Tanner relax did he slide in further, moving slowly until he was completely sheathed in his lover. Heat assailed him from every side and he clamped his hands hard on Vin’s hips, still fighting the urge to rush.

“Shit, Chris, move!” Vin pleaded frantically, arching his back as Larabee’s size and heat filled him in a way no other ever had. Not until Chris had he known it could be like this, so good and so right and so perfect in every way, setting him free in body and soul, more powerful than anything he’d ever experienced in his life.

Chris began to move, slowly at first but with a mounting urgency, thrusting in and pulling out, then plunging in once more, burying himself in Vin. Then they were moving together, their bodies a perfect fit, their rhythm a natural one, the two coming together as one in every way, their hearts, minds and souls joined as intimately as their bodies.

Still driving into Vin, Chris reached for the tracker’s cock and wrapped long fingers about it, stroking and pumping in that same rhythm, wringing harsh, thick cries from him. Worked inside and out, Vin writhed on the bed and thrust frantically against Chris, consumed in searing waves of pain and pleasure. Again and again Chris hit that spot inside him, and it was all he could do not to shriek aloud as he exploded into his climax.

As Vin arched off the bed, the smell and feel of his seed erupting sent Chris over the edge. With a harsh, barely strangled cry, he shot himself into his lover’s body, shaking from the force of his release. When at last he was empty, he withdrew his softening flesh carefully and collapsed onto the bed, reaching for Vin with rubbery arms and gathering him close against him.


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