On Any Given Sunday

by Sue Necessary

Disclaimer: Shoot, if I owned them, I'd be alone on an island with Vin, doing all sorts of creative things with him, instead of here writing fanfiction. Sadly, though, he and his cohorts belong to the usual suspects: Trilogy, Mirisch, MGM, CBS, TNN, M-O-U-S-E. As for the Dallas Cowboys, if I owned them they'd fer damn sure be playing better, or I'd be withholding their paychecks! Instead, they belong to Jerry Jones, who has more money than God and fewer scruples than Guy Royal.

Pairing: Those of you familiar with my genfic stories will no doubt be stunned beyond coherent thought to hear that this is about (wait for it) Vin/Chris. I know. Came as a complete shock to me, too.

Notes: <Drum roll, please> This is my FIRST-EVER slash fic (ta da!). It's for Hilary, who's been studying her little self to death and (horror of horrors) has no time to write. So, knowing how important an education is, understanding the immeasurable value of book-larnin', I have graciously decided to completely shatter her concentration and derail her train of thought. Also, Vin and I share the same unfortunate and agonizing addiction to the Dallas Cowbags. Er, Cowboys. He and I also have matching bruises on our hands, which we got in exactly the same way. Go figure. And Chris' arguments against the Bums, uh, Boys, are pretty much the same ones my husband gives me every time I sit down for another torture session. This hasn't been beta-read (my usual betas don't do slash, and there's no way I'm letting hubby get his eyes on this!)

Feedback: Oh, yes, please! But be nice. I have a frail, fragile li'l ego.


"Aw, hell! Son of a bitch... Shit! Goddamn it... NOOO!"

At the bar, restocking on beer and chips, Chris Larabee heard the howl of fury and frustration from the couch, and hung his head and sighed heavily. Jesus, why did Vin do this to himself? What streak of masochism in the sharpshooter's otherwise quiet, sensible nature forced him to subject himself to this kind of agony? It was sick, it was twisted, it was...

It was Sunday, and the Cowboys were playing. Or, more accurately, the Cowboys weren't playing. But Vin Tanner, sick, twisted, masochistic soul that he was, insisted on watching anyway. And was suffering cruelly for it.

Larabee reached for a new bag of chips, opened it and poured its contents into the large ceramic bowl, puzzling yet again over this bizarre quirk in Tanner's personality. Vin -- the finest sharpshooter he'd ever seen, his best friend and, for several months now, his lover -- was, normally, the most reasonable, level-headed, clear-thinking man he'd ever met. He was not a man to tolerate foolishness, or to cause himself needless aggravation. And he didn't like pain. He was used to it, had known far more than his share, and could tolerate incredible amounts of it, but he didn't like it. And, like most rational people, he would do what he could to avoid it.

Except where the Cowboys were concerned. They were the one hurt, the one torment, the one source of endless aggravation and misery that Vin insisted on inflicting upon himself. The Boys might no longer be America's Team - - hell, there were some who questioned whether they were still Dallas's team -- but they were still Tanner's team, and he watched them whether they were good, bad or ugly. And lately there'd been an awful lot of ugly. Yet Tanner remained faithful. Hell, the man defiantly sported a Cowboys bumper sticker on his Jeep, heedless of the fact that he lived in Denver, where Bronco-mania was in full swing. He'd once nearly started a brawl in Inez's bar by being the only one there rooting for Dallas in a game against the Broncos. He even watched the preseason games, which barely qualified, in Larabee's mind anyway, as football. Nothing -- not coaching changes, not losses to free agency or retirement, not player arrests, not the ignoble decline of his team from invincibility to mediocrity -- could sway Tanner's loyalty.

And, certainly, Chris had to admire that kind of unwavering dedication, of unyielding fidelity in the man. After all, if Tanner gave such unwavering loyalty to a mere football team, how much deeper, then, would be his devotion to his lover?

Still, it would be nice to see Vin enjoying a football game, instead of simply enduring one...

Chris sighed again, shook his blond head slowly, then picked up the tray with fresh beers and refilled bowls of chips and salsa, and went to give aid and comfort to the tortured, slowly-dying man. Moved by pity, he tossed a handful of Russell Stover's Pecan Delights onto the tray.

This was, after all, a division game, and those were always the hardest on Vin.

He crossed the large room to the couch and sighed again. Three empty beer cans lay on the floor just in front of the big-screen TV, obviously having been flung at the screen, and Chris again congratulated himself on the wisdom of switching from bottles to cans when Dallas played. Or didn't. He'd never forget the sight of that bottle flying across the room toward Troy Aikman's head last season when the quarterback had thrown an interception and destroyed the last of Tanner's fragile control. Fortunately, Vin had had an Aikman moment himself, and hit the outside edge of the set instead of the screen.

Choosing not to remember how close he had come to needing a brand-new television, Chris shifted his gaze from the cans to the man who had thrown them, and shook his head at the pitiful sight. Vin half-sat, half-lay at one end of the couch, apparently having collapsed over the arm, his face buried in a pillow and hidden by his long hair, one hand knotted into a fist and furiously pounding the cushion beneath him. He was still muttering, his soft litany of curses muffled by the pillow.


Chris carried the tray forward, set it on the coffee table, then sat down on the couch next to the younger man. Reaching out, he brushed the thick brown hair back from the face he loved above all others, wincing at the agony written there. "Somethin' happen, pard?" he asked innocently. Vin sat up abruptly at that and turned blazing sapphire eyes upon Larabee. "Warren fumbled th' goddamned ball!" he rasped, his drawl thicker, his voice huskier than usual. "It's third and fifteen 'cause Larry Allen was caught holdin', again, they're on their own goddamn ten yard line, they got a lower conversion rate than th' Jehovah's Witnesses, an' they try a fuckin' screen pass, which didn't fool nobody! Then Warren trips over his own blocker an' fumbles th' goddamn ball in fronta three -- THREE! -- Eagles! Shit, yeah, somethin' happened!" he shouted. "Sonsabitches fergot how ta fuckin' play th' goddamn game!"

Chris sighed at the hoarse shout and shook his blond head slowly. "Vin, why d'you do this to yourself? Why watch the Cowboys when you know they're only gonna turn you into a raving maniac? Look here," he leaned forward and reached for the remote, "I've got, what, a couple hundred channels here, with that football package that lets you watch just about any game bein' played in this country... Y'know, we are in Denver, pard. You could actually be watchin' the Broncos play! Accordin' to the radio -- which, by the way, is what I've been reduced to usin' to keep up with the home team, while you use the TV for target practice -- they're winnin'. So why don't we just do the smart thing, save your blood-pressure from shootin' through the roof, and go from watchin' Dallas humiliate themselves to watchin' Denver take the Raiders apart--"

"Change that channel an' I'll break yer wrist," Vin growled, glaring at his lover. "Ya don't quit watchin' a team jus' 'cause they're losin'. Not if ya call yerself a loyal fan. 'Sides, they ain't down by but seventeen points, an' it's only th' first half. They c'd still come back an' win this thing. An' I'll be watchin' when they do. I ain't ever give up on 'em before, I don't aim ta start now."

Chris exhaled heavily and put down the remote, then sat back and stared in confusion at the younger man. Only Vin Tanner could turn watching a football team fall apart on the field into a character issue. "What is it with you Texans?" he asked in utter bewilderment. "First the Alamo, now this. Do you all enjoy gettin' the crap beaten outta you?"

Vin stiffened, his blue eyes narrowing. "Don't be sayin' nothin' you'll regret 'bout th' Alamo or th' Cowboys," he warned in a low, menacing voice. "Jus' 'cause you come from a place that ain't got no traditions--"

"We've got traditions in Indiana," Chris interrupted coldly, his pride stung by Vin's words.

"Name one," Tanner challenged, crossing his arms against his chest. "Name one tradition that don't involve farm animals or a John Deere tractor."

"Now, look here, Tanner--"

"Aw, shit, what th' hell's happenin' now?" Vin asked sharply, his attention again riveted to the television. "Pass interference?" he yelped, the words escaping him in a hoarse squeak. "How th' hell can that be pass interference? Shit, that ball wasn't nowhere's near bein' catchable--"

"Well," Chris sighed with a strained patience, "it would've been catchable if Reese hadn't been draped over the receiver like a damn tarp. Now," he reached again for the remote, "why don't we change channels, just for a few minutes, watch the Broncos while you cool down--"

Before he could get his finger to the button, however, his wrist was caught in a powerful grip, encircled and imprisoned by long, strong fingers with no give or mercy in them. Chris looked down at the hand holding his, and saw the ugly greenish-yellow bruise along its edge from the base of Vin's pinky to his wrist, a left-over from last week's game against the Cardinals when Tanner slammed a fist into the couch arm and found the stout wooden frame under all the padding.

A touchdown had been called back because of offensive holding, if Chris recalled correctly...

"Y'ain't changin' channels," Vin warned softly. "I don't run out on my teams."

Chris stared at the irate young man beside him, his confusion deepening. "Why, Vin?" he asked again, searching that determined face with his gaze. "Why do this to yourself? It's not like they're worth the effort. These aren't the Cowboys of the past! These guys are past their prime, they've lost their discipline, their character and their hunger. That isn't a football team!" he said contemptuously, waving his hand at the TV as the Eagles running back waltzed into the endzone untouched. "That's a collection of rejects, felons, and fuck-ups that couldn't find the goddamned ball unless it was covered with cocaine! Hell, the only way these Dallas Cowboys're gonna get to the Super Bowl is to buy tickets! If you're gonna pick a team, at least pick one that won't tie you inta knots!"

Vin only glared harder, his blue eyes blazing, his square jaw set hard. "I don't run out on my teams!" he repeated hoarsely. "I bin watchin' th' Cowboys all my life, hell, I grew up on 'em! No matter what home I was throwed into, Sundays meant two things -- church services an' the Dallas Cowboys. An' in some a them homes, there wasn't even no church. But there was always th' Cowboys. They was th' one thing I could count on, th' one thing that never changed, th' one constant I had ta hang onto. No matter where th' foster folks placed me, no matter how nice or how shitty th' placement was, I knew -- I knew -- I c'd look up on Sundays an' see that star. An' for a few hours at least, I had somethin' ta look forward to, somethin' that b'longed ta me."

The blue of his eyes grew deeper, denser, and his firm chin lifted slightly, defiantly. "I watched th' Cowboys, an' I seen players that wouldn't no other team pick 'cause they's too small or too slow or too old or too dumb, an' I seen them fellers play their hearts out, doin' things they wasn't s'posed ta be able ta do, playin' on sheer heart an' guts 'cause they just didn't have nothin' else. They wasn't fast an' they wasn't flashy an' they wasn't no goddamn superstars, but they was there, an' they was playin' fer all they's worth. An' I watched 'em an' I held onta that, 'cause somethin' in me figgered if they was doin' it, mebbe I could, too. Not play fer th' Cowboys or nothin', but just hang in there an' keep scrappin' away, makin' it when nobody thought I would, either." He stared hard at Chris, willing him to understand. "I don't run out on my teams," he rasped. "I don't give up on what's mine. I've had too many folks run out or give up on me. I know what it's like. So come hell'r high water, Super Bowl'r toilet bowl, I'm stickin' with 'em, an' I'm watchin' 'em. 'Cause I remember what it was like when they was all I had."

Chris swallowed hard as he gazed into those wide blue eyes and caught a glimpse of the pain behind the determination. He was utterly unable even to imagine the kind of childhood Vin must have had, one where just watching a football team was a means of survival, where watching some no-name, less-than-gifted player hinted to a boy there might be some way out of the dark pit that was his life. And not for the first time, he wondered how Vin had managed to hang on, had managed to grow up with not just his sanity intact, but his decency and the strong, noble soul that Chris so loved in him.

But, hell, if the Dallas Cowboys had played any part in that, then Chris was deeply grateful. And would let Vin watch them -- shit, would watch with him -- no matter how truly awful they got. He owed them that much, at least, for what they'd done for Vin.

"Well," he said quietly, "maybe they'll get it together in the second half. I mean, what's twenty-four points, right?"

Vin smiled slightly and relaxed, letting go of Chris' wrist and moving closer to him as he sensed the man's understanding. "Reckon mebbe they might," he murmured, taking the remote from Larabee's hand and claiming the hand with his, lightly brushing a callused thumb against the back of it. "Y'never know what us rejects c'n do."

Chris shivered and licked his lips hungrily, struck again to his soul by the beauty of the young man leaning against him. Those eyes, their blue even denser and darker than usual, swam with a thousand different emotions, shimmered and shone with light and life, while the lean, impossibly tight body radiated a warmth that ignited an answering heat in his own. A slight flush was slowly darkening the tanned, smooth skin, and that perfect jaw seemed to have been drawn by an artist's hand. Chris could see the pulse throbbing at Vin's throat, could see the younger man's slim chest rising and falling heavily in the quickened rhythm of his breathing, and absently, helplessly, reached out, laying a large, strong hand on the exact spot where he knew he would feel the forceful hammering of Vin's heart.

"You're not a reject, Vin," he murmured huskily, feeling a sudden surge of heat at his groin. He smiled slightly into the wide blue eyes, slowly stroking Vin's chest over that throbbing heartbeat, rewarded by a sharp intake of breath from Tanner and a further tensing of the already taut body. "And I can't imagine anybody ever bein' stupid enough to give up on you." His smile turned teasing, and he shifted his hand slightly on Vin's chest, seeking and finding the nipple beneath his white t-shirt. "You're a helluva lotta work sometimes, but you're well worth the effort."

Vin sucked in a sharp breath as Chris' fingers stroked his nipple through his shirt, as the older man's other hand dropped to his thigh and caressed it through his worn jeans. Heat surged anew through him and his breathing quickened yet again, but this had nothing to do with anger. Instead, it had everything to do with the strong, skilled hands playing so masterfully with him, the long, lean body pressing so invitingly against him, the shimmering green eyes gazing so knowingly at him, and the firm lips so close to him. Without conscious thought, he raised a hand and ran his fingers lightly over those lips, licking his own in anticipation of their taste.

"Reckon mebbe... you c'd show me some'a that effort now?" he asked softly, shuddering and gasping as Chris' hand slid slowly up his inner thigh and ignited a raging fire in his hardening flesh. As much as he loved the Cowboys, they weren't nearly as enticing as the man stroking and caressing him.

"I guess it is about time for the half-time show," Chris whispered, leaning forward and capturing Vin's mouth with his own, his lips moving hungrily over the younger man's, devouring their sweet softness. "God, Vin, ya taste so good!" he whispered into that warm and willing mouth. "I could feed on you for days--"

"Ya talk too damn much!" Tanner growled, snaking his arms about Larabee's neck and pulling the older man closer to him, burying his mouth in Chris' and silencing him with a ravenous kiss. He slipped his tongue through Larabee's teeth and plundered him with a wild abandon, seeking and finding Chris' tongue, licking and sucking and biting those firm, full lips, feasting upon his lover's exquisite mouth like a starving man at a banquet. The taste and scent of Chris went through him in a powerful, heady rush, fueling the fire raging in him and sending his hot blood pounding heavily through his veins.

Chris heard the familiar growls low in Tanner's throat, felt those long, strong fingers digging into and raking down his back, and again marvelled at the man who was his lover. Normally so quiet, so calm, so self-possessed, Vin had within him a wildness that broke free in the throes of passion, a primal, almost feral ferocity that Chris hoped was never tamed. The younger man was pressing hard against Larabee now, the lean body moving slowly, slowly against his, that demanding mouth and those greedy hands still ravaging him without mercy. Chris was in agony, his every nerve on jagged edge, his blood on fire, his aching, needy flesh surging painfully against his jeans.

Another growl tore from Vin, then the sharpshooter was straddling his boss, his slim legs locked around Chris' waist, his forehead pressed against Larabee's, his smoldering blue eyes gazing into his lover's glittering green. A slow, wicked smile curved about Tanner's lips, and he brought a hand around to Chris' throat, then trailed it slowly down his chest, delighting in the feel of the taut muscles beneath the black t-shirt.

"No buttons, cowboy," he breathed in his distinctive raspy drawl. His deep blue eyes were dark with desire, and his strong fingers toyed lightly with the collar of Chris' t-shirt. "But I don't reckon we really need 'em--"

"Don't even think about it!" Chris warned in a low, stern voice, grabbing Vin's hands and holding tightly to them. He knew full well his lover was easily capable of ripping the t-shirt from him, had been startled the first time Vin had done it, and had lost several undershirts to the younger man's impatience. But this was a new one, bought only two days ago, and he was not going to lose it. "You behave, y'hear?"

Vin shifted slightly in Chris' lap, finding the hard swelling at the crotch of the black jeans and grinding his tight butt slowly against it. Next he bowed his head and pressed his mouth to Chris' throat, planting a series of slow, hungry kisses against the warm flesh there, licking and biting his way down to the intersection of neck and shoulder.

"Didn't think ya wanted me ta behave," he whispered, his warm breath fanning against Larabee's skin and inducing a hard shudder in the man. "Thought we was gonna see how much work I c'n be." He freed his hands and ran them slowly over Chris' chest, caressing the hard body through the thin fabric, but wanting -- needing -- far more than this.

Chris groaned and let his head fall back as that wild and wanton mouth wrought havoc with his senses, as those glorious hands teased and tormented him ever nearer madness. Vin had pulled his t-shirt out of the waist of his jeans, was tugging it up, and Chris let him, allowed the younger man to take from him whatever he desired.

Vin already had his heart and his soul. What use to deny him anything else?

Vin pulled the t-shirt free and tossed it carelessly over his shoulder, smiling wolfishly at the sight of Chris' naked chest. Giving another low, hungry growl, he bowed his head and pressed his mouth to one brown nipple, licking and biting it into pebble-hardness while rubbing a callused thumb lightly over the other.

"Jesus!" Chris gasped, shuddering convulsively and clutching at Vin as the sharpshooter's talented mouth and hands sent torrents of fire raging through him. Breathing hard and heavy, he hurriedly stripped Tanner of his white t-shirt and sent it sailing, then pressed one hand to the younger man's slim back and wound the other through his long, silken hair, effectively imprisoning Vin in his arms. Pulling slightly at Vin's hair, he tipped Tanner's face up and leaned forward, reclaiming that hot mouth with his and losing himself in the ferocity of Vin's kiss.

Fire sped through every nerve in Tanner's body, and white heat engulfed him. Groaning harshly beneath the savage assault of Chris' hungry mouth, he reached around to his own back and lifted Larabee's hand from it, then brought it around and down, pressing it to the throbbing hardness of his need.

"I'm hurtin'," he gasped into Chris' mouth. "Need ya... ta help me out!"

Chris gave a low, throaty laugh and slowly stroked the swelling at Vin's crotch. "Help ya out, huh?" he whispered as Vin groaned harshly in agony. "I figure I can do that." He unfastened the button and carefully pulled down the zipper, then reached in to slip Tanner's erection free from the restraints of briefs and jeans. "Reckon you do need my help here, pard," he murmured, sliding his fingers along the length of hard, hot flesh.

Vin cried out harshly and bucked violently as Chris stroked and fondled him with a devastating slowness. He dug his fingers into Chris' shoulders and let his head fall back, closing his eyes and thrusting into that maddening, masterful hand.

"Oh, no ya don't, cowboy," Larabee warned, lifting his hand from Vin's cock and smiling at the dejected whimper that escaped his lover. "Not yet. Don't wanta get ahead of ourselves. You know what they say -- football's a game of inches."

"Wanta get ahead," Vin gasped, reaching for Chris' hand and bringing it once more to his swollen, throbbing flesh. "Need ya, Chris," he moaned in torment, pressing his lover's fingers to him. "Need ya so bad! I'm hurtin'... Ya gotta make me stop hurtin'!"

"Count on it!" Chris growled, grabbing Vin and abruptly flipping him onto his back on the couch, leaning over his young lover and supporting himself on his hands and knees. He stared down at Tanner through green eyes glittering with hunger, struck anew by the man's beauty.

The long brown hair wreathed his face and throat in a tangle of silken curls, and blue eyes dark and hazy with longing gazed raptly up at him. Vin was licking his lips and breathing hard, his lean, firmly-muscled body writhing beneath Chris in the agony of arousal. As one of Vin's hands strayed to his thick, weeping cock, the long, slender fingers closing about and pumping his own length, Chris suddenly felt a desperate need to rid himself of his much- too-tight jeans.

"God, Vin, what you do ta me!" he whispered hoarsely, raising up on his knees and fumbling with his button fly.

"Git away!" Vin scolded, sitting up and slapping at Chris' hands, pushing the bigger man back against the couch arm and leaning over him. "'Smine." He frowned in concentration, the tip of his tongue peeking through his lips, as he struggled with the buttons. "Damn, Chris, cain'tcha wear these things any tighter?" he snarled in frustration. One button came free, then another, and he leaned closer, intent upon his work. His forehead furrowed, his slender brows knit, and his tongue extended a bit further as he leaned closer still. "Almost done," he murmured.

Chris gasped and shuddered as Vin's breath fanned over his stomach. The long fingers at his crotch were an exquisite torment, the nearness of his lover almost more than he could bear. He groaned thickly and reached out, burying his face and hands in Vin's long hair, delighting in the scent and feel of the silken wealth.

Jesus, the man was a marvel!

The last of the buttons slipped through the hole and Vin felt a hot surge of triumph. Giving a low growl, he stripped his lover of jeans and briefs and bowed his head, pressing his tongue to the head of Chris' thick, hard cock.

"Shit!" Chris shouted, his hips bucking as Vin's tongue swirled against him, as that hot mouth closed about him. Vin was taking him deep, licking and sucking hungrily, and Chris could feel it all the way down to his toes. He knotted his hands in Vin's hair and strained into that ravenous mouth, his breath tearing from him in harsh gasps.

Jesus God, one day Tanner was gonna kill him!

Vin opened his throat to take Chris deeper still, and reached up to fondle his heavy balls, even now amazed by the ferocity of his need for this man. It went far beyond the physical, even beyond the spiritual. He could not describe it, knew only that every aspect of his being was forever tied up in Chris Larabee.

Nothing had ever mattered before him, and nothing would ever matter without him.


"Oh, God... God... Vin..." Chris groaned, clutching the younger man to him and thrusting himself ever deeper into the wet chasm of Tanner's mouth. Then he felt it, the burning and boiling that started at the base of his spine and surged through him with an unstoppable force. He gave himself over to it, surrendered to the searing tide sweeping through him, and plunged further into Tanner's mouth as the first white-hot wave erupted from him. "VIN!"

And Vin caught the potent stream, sucking ravenously and swallowing, and milked Chris' balls for still more. He took the salty essence greedily, gratefully, nourishing himself in body and soul upon it. And only when Chris slumped back, trembling and empty, did he let his lover's softened cock slip from his mouth.

Chris slipped his arms about Vin's shoulders and held the smaller man to him for long moments, revelling in his warmth and nearness. Then, sliding a hand between them and getting it under Vin's chin, he lifted until his eyes met blue ones, then ran his fingers lightly, lovingly, over that beautiful mouth.

"Cowboys could use you, pard," he said huskily. "Ain't ever known you to fumble." He smiled slowly and slid his hands to Vin's shoulders, gently pushing the younger man back against the couch cushions. "Now, I believe I get the ball. Let's see what I got in my playbook."

"'Kay," Vin breathed in a soft, strained whisper, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the lithe power and beauty of the long, lean body above him. "First of all," Chris murmured, sweeping his jewel-bright gaze over Tanner's slender frame, "we gotta get you in the right uniform." With an ease born of practice, he grasped the waistband of Vin's jeans and pulled them down over the sharpshooter's narrow hips, tight butt and long legs, dropping them and the briefs that came with them over the edge of the couch. Gazing upon Vin, he drew a sharp, hissing breath at his naked beauty. "Goddamn, Tanner," he whispered tightly, "you are incredible!"

As ever, the passionate sincerity of the words sent a dark flush spreading beneath Vin's flesh and he turned his head in embarrassment. Immediately, though, his chin was cupped in a strong hand, and his head was firmly pulled around until his gaze met and locked with Larabee's.

"Don't look away from me, Vin," Chris pleaded softly. "I wanta see you, all of you." He tenderly stroked Vin's cheek. "You're a beautiful man, Tanner," he breathed, his whole heart in his words. "I'm sorry if it embarrasses you. God knows, I don't ever wanta make you uncomfortable. It's just that you're as magnificent to me, and as sacred, as sunsets and mountains are ta you, and I'll never get tired of lookin' at you." He ran a thumb lightly over the planes and contours of Vin's face, tracing the level brows, the straight nose, the high, hard cheekbones, the chiselled jaw and chin, then moved up to the beautiful mouth, slowly caressing the warm, wet lips. "Jesus God, you're amazing!" he breathed in sheer worship.

Vin opened his mouth instinctively at that touch and pressed his tongue to Chris' thumb, licking slowly along its length, needing any taste of the man he could get. He hungered for Chris in body and soul, ached for the man with an intensity that stunned, and sometimes frightened, him. He'd had so little in his life, and lost so much of that, and was sometimes terrified at the thought of losing Chris, at what that loss would do to him. The only real life he'd ever had was right here, with this man, and, having had it, he knew he could never live again without it.

"Y'ain't ever gonna let me go, are ya?" he whispered suddenly, the fear again knotting in his gut and showing in his eyes. "Y'ain't ever gonna decide I'm too much work, an' walk away--"

"Ssh," Chris breathed, leaning low and pressing his lips to Vin's. "I'll never walk away," he promised against Vin's mouth. "How could I, when everything I am is tied up in you? No more fears, okay? Just let me love you."

Vin circled his arms about Chris and pulled the older man to him, pressing himself tightly against his lover. "'Kay," he breathed, wanting nothing more from life than this.

Chris kissed and caressed Vin at first not with passion, but with love, treating him with a tenderness Larabee knew had been sadly lacking in his young, hard life and that he knew Vin's scarred soul deeply craved. His mouth and hands moved with a wondrous gentleness and intimacy over Vin, drawing deep sighs and soft moans from him, and slowly laying to rest every one of the younger man's fears and insecurities. He wanted Vin, wanted him desperately and deeply; more than that, though, he cherished him, and wanted Vin to understand that.

And Vin did. Secure in the haven of Chris' strong arms, he firmly pushed away the frightened, hurting foster child who had risen so suddenly from the dark recesses of his soul and again let himself be the whole and happy man Chris had made him. He knew he had Chris' love, and now was ready for his passion. Smiling slightly, he took Chris' hands in his and guided them brazenly over his body, pressing those strong fingers to where he most needed them.

Chris felt Vin's body arching against him, and gave free rein to his own mounting desire. Groaning hoarsely, he slid his hands slowly down Vin's sides and down to his narrow hips, stroking lightly, while he kissed, licked and bit his way down Vin's throat, over his shoulder and down to one nipple, closing his mouth hard about the taut, dark bud and devouring it hungrily. One hand slipped beneath the slender, straining body to cup and caress the firm butt, while the other strayed to the thick, hard cock surging against him.

Vin cried out sharply and thrust himself wildly against Chris as the man's fingers closed about his throbbing length, as Chris stroked him with an agonizing skill. "Oh, God... God... I need... need... Chris... Please..." he gasped incoherently, clutching at Chris and moving frantically against him, his need more than he could bear. "Hurts... Please... Chris... God..."

Chris moved his mouth back and forth between Vin's nipples, swirling his tongue over them, then trailing it down Tanner's slender chest, licking the smooth skin and blowing over it. All the while, he continued to fondle Vin's hard, hot cock and heavy balls, stroking the rigid length and squeezing the full sacks, driving his young lover into an ever greater frenzy. As Vin whimpered and gasped and pleaded, his hips bucking, his long fingers driving into Larabee's back, Chris brought his mouth still lower, tonguing the sharpshooter's navel, then the flat, hard-muscled abdomen below it, delighting in every aspect of his lover.

Vin was writhing in mindless agony, his eyes closed tightly, his head moving back and forth, his body thrusting of its own volition. Wordless cries of anguish tore from him as heat swept through him in pounding torrents, as Chris reduced him to his most basic, primal self. A harsh groan escaped him and he tore his hands from Chris' back and plunged them to his own tortured cock, only to have Chris take them firmly in his and carry them away. Then Chris' mouth descended and engulfed his hard and hurting staff, tearing something very like a sob from him.

Chris feasted on Vin like a child with candy, savoring the wondrous taste of him. He ran his tongue over the weeping slit and down the thick vein, licked and sucked his heavy balls, tongued the sensitive space between his lover's cock and balls. Still holding tightly to Vin's hands, he turned his attention fully to that swollen, needy shaft, and took it into his mouth.

Vin cried out hoarsely and thrust himself into Chris' mouth, pumping furiously in a desperate quest for relief. He could feel the heat building, could feel it slamming through him, and abandoned himself to it. He clung to Chris' hands and bucked wildly, then arched frantically upward as his climax exploded upon him.

"CHRIS!" he screamed, shooting himself into his partner.

Chris sucked ravenously and swallowed eagerly, taking every drop of the salty seed. He tore one hand from Vin's and closed it about his balls, milking him for still more. And when at last Vin shuddered and groaned and lay back, finally spent, Chris let the softened cock slip from his mouth and moved up, capturing the younger man's lips once more with his in a kiss of deepest tenderness.

Vin closed his arms about Chris and pulled him close, burying his mouth in Larabee's, amazed at the wealth and depth of feelings the man unlocked in him. A single touch from those hands could plunge him into the fiercest agony, or sweetly ease whatever hurt plagued him, and the mere sound of that voice in his ear could send him spiralling out of control, or let him know his world was still safely intact. For so long, Vin had known what it was like only to survive. With Chris, though, he was learning what it meant to live.

Chris gently lifted his mouth from Vin's and raised his head, smiling into those dark blue eyes and cradling Vin's cheek tenderly in his hand. "Half-time's nearly over," he breathed. "Wanta get back to watchin', or playin'?"

Vin reached up and ran long, slender fingers through Chris' touselled hair, then slid them slowly down that lean, chiselled face. "Want you ta love me," he rasped.

Larabee shivered as that low, throaty voice went straight through him and reawakened his desire. "Can't think of anything I'd rather do," he whispered. He kissed Vin again, then sat up, and smiled at his lover's puzzled look. "But not on the couch, pard. You can buck harder than any bronc I've seen, and I ain't about to get flung inta that coffee table." He winked. "You sit here, watch the kickoff and hope the Cowboys remember what to do with the ball, while I get us all set up."

Vin nodded and sat up, folding his legs Indian-style and crossing his arms against his chest. "Maybe build us a fire, too?" he asked with a shiver. "'S gettin' kinda chilly in here." When Chris hesitated, he shrugged. "'Course, I reckon I c'd jus' put my clothes back on--"

"I'll build a fire," Chris agreed immediately. As his lover smiled triumphantly, Larabee scowled. "Smug bastard, aren'tcha, Tanner? You'll get yours one day."

Vin reached for Chris' hand and brought it to his mouth, eyeing the older man steadily as he ran his tongue lightly over the tip of Larabee's index finger. "'S what I'm hopin' for," he growled, just before sucking the finger into his mouth.

"Shit!" Chris gasped as a powerful shudder ran through him. "Evil son of a bitch!"

"But ya love me anyhow, huh?" Vin asked, wide-eyed, running his tongue again down that finger.

Chris groaned harshly and snatched his hand from Vin's mouth, then rose to his feet without a word and walked away. But Tanner's low laugh assured him that his wicked lover had plainly seen what else had risen with him.

Goddamned sharpshooter never did play fair!

Chris was still muttering under his breath when he returned some minutes later, clutching an armload of pillows and comforters. Vin's attention, he saw, was riveted once more to the game, assuring him no help would be forthcoming. His grumbling increased.

Tanner, however, was not nearly as oblivious as he seemed. Even as he watched Dallas begin yet another march -- or crawl -- down the field, he kept Chris in his field of vision, admiring the play of sculpted muscles beneath firm flesh, delighting in the controlled grace of his lover's every movement as Larabee spread their "bed." Chris was beauty itself to Vin, and watching the man was as much a religious experience for Tanner as worshipping in a cathedral was for others.

Who needed statues and stained glass when he had the man before him?

Chris felt Vin's gaze upon him and smiled in spite of himself. Unlike Tanner, he was completely unselfconscious about his body, had spent too many years in too many locker rooms to harbor any shyness or modesty. He enjoyed seeing Vin's eyes widen and darken at the sight of him, relished knowing a man almost fifteen years his junior and exquisitely beautiful in his own right could be made breathless by his appearance. He just wasn't sure, though, whether it was vanity, or satisfaction at seeing that smug smile knocked off Tanner's face.

Hell, it was probably both.

When he had the comforters and pillows arranged, he moved to the large fireplace and built a fire, secretly pleased Vin had suggested this. While their lovemaking would certainly generate an abundance of heat, he always loved holding Vin afterward while the fire kept any chill at bay.

God knew, he didn't want the younger man covering that body with clothes any sooner than he had to...

Vin shifted his attention from Chris back to the TV, then stiffened and sucked in a hissing breath as Aikman barely avoided a sack. The big quarterback, not the most mobile man ever to play that position, darted desperately about the crumbling remains of the pocket, anxiously seeking a receiver, any receiver. Suddenly he spotted someone downfield, was grabbed by two Eagles defenders but fought to stay on his feet, pumped his arm and released the ball, falling backward--

"YESSS!" Vin shouted, leaping off the couch and into the air as "Rocket" Ismail caught the pass for a thirty-four- yard gain. "Hell, yes! About damn time!"

Chris chuckled quietly and shook his head, then turned and froze. Vin was standing, hands clenched over his head, a wide smile on his face, his blue eyes shining brilliantly. He was so fiercely exuberant, so beautiful, so completely unaware of himself, that Chris was rocked to his soul by the vision, and fell more deeply in love than ever.

And took back every unkind word he'd ever said about the Dallas Cowboys.

Three minutes later, Dallas scored on a quarterback sneak, and Vin's whoop filled the room. "Didja see that, Chris?" he cried happily. "Not bad for an old guy, huh?"

"OLD?" Chris snapped, glaring at the grinning sharpshooter. Aikman was, what, thirty-three, thirty-four? And he was... "Get yer ass over here, Tanner!" he growled. "I'll show you old!"

Vin watched the point-after kick sail through the uprights, then moved toward the comforter with a lithe, feline grace, his whole attention now on the man kneeling before him. "Promise?" he asked in a low, raspy voice, his wide, dark blue eyes focused intently on Larabee.

Chris watched Vin approach and swallowed hard, again feeling the heat of desire searing through him. His breathing and heartbeat quickened, and he marvelled anew at the effect the Texan had on him. After Sarah and Adam had died, he'd sworn he'd never love again, had been convinced he'd buried his heart and soul with them. His whole world had gone black and cold after that...

Until a pair of blue eyes had brought back the light, and a cocky, lopsided grin had restored the warmth. First had come friendship, the silent, soulful camaraderie, the understanding that made words unnecessary between them. When that friendship had deepened, ripened, into love, Chris had been as surprised as anyone else.

But now he could not imagine his life without it. Without Vin. Without moments such as this between them.

In silence, he held up a hand.

Vin took the hand, then entwined his long fingers with Chris' as he knelt slowly, gracefully, onto the comforter only inches away from the older man. "Lookin' a mite thoughtful there, cowboy," he murmured, reaching out with his other hand to brush the blond hair out of those jewel-bright green eyes. "Somethin' wrong?"

Chris smiled slightly and shook his head. "Not a thing," he breathed, gently pulling Vin to him. "From where I sit, everything's perfect."

Vin gasped and shivered as Chris' firm, full lips claimed his and began moving insistently, hungrily against them, as Chris' hand slid caressingly down his back, the strong fingers feather-light against his burning skin. He groaned and opened his mouth willingly to his lover's onslaught, pressing himself urgently against Larabee's hard body and shuddering as fire again erupted within him.

"Oh, God, Chris..."

"Ssh." Chris silenced Vin's moan with another deep and searching kiss, then slowly bore the smaller man back against the bed he had made, covering Vin's body with his own. "Need you," he whispered into the inviting wetness of the young man's mouth. "Jesus, Vin, I need you so!"

Vin groaned harshly and clutched at Chris as Larabee's erection ground against his own, heightening the pain of his raging arousal. He plunged his tongue into Chris' mouth and drove his fingers into the powerful back, all the while arching his hips frantically upward in instinctive invitation. White heat seared through his swollen, throbbing cock, and his every nerve screamed for relief.

They explored and devoured each other with the fierce urgency that seemed theirs alone, hands and mouths roaming with a greedy intimacy, each knowing every inch of the other yet seizing upon every find as if it were a new one. Tongues darted and danced against hot flesh while hands stroked and fondled, the two lovers growing ever more demanding as their need for each other mounted.

Vin pushed his head back into the pillow and groaned thickly, digging his fingers into Chris' lean hips and thrusting his own upward, straining desperately against the man who was torturing him without mercy. Chris was biting and sucking ravenously at the tender flesh at the intersection of his neck and shoulder, was rubbing a thumb over one taut, throbbing nipple. All the while, Larabee's other hand was moving slowly up and down Vin's thick, burning shaft, driving him ever nearer the edge.

"Please!" he gasped, tearing a hand from Chris' hip and slipping it between them to join Larabee's in stroking himself. "Need... hurts... Chris..."

Chris raised his head at that incoherent plea, looked into the glazed blue eyes, and knew Vin would not last much longer. Slowly he lifted himself off his young lover, and smiled at Tanner's forlorn cry. "It's all right, Vin," he soothed, getting to his knees and reaching for the oil he had brought. "We're almost there." He lifted the small bottle and poured a generous amount into his hands. "Just stay with me."

Vin cried out again, then bit his lip and closed his eyes tightly. The fire was pounding through his flesh and he closed his hand desperately about himself, stroking helplessly.

"No you don't," Chris scolded gently, removing Vin's hand and kissing it. "Don't worry, pard," he said in a low, throaty voice, his own rock-hard cock twitching painfully at the sight of Vin's full arousal. "Gonna take care of ya real soon." He grasped Vin's hips and pulled him down, settling the younger man's legs over his thighs, then slid his oiled hands over Tanner's tight, flat stomach. At that touch, the sharpshooter bucked wildly, but Chris held him down, drawing another whimper from him. "Ssh," Chris whispered, moving his hands over Vin's slim hips and down to his inner thighs, stroking as he went. "Just a little longer," he promised, his voice growing strained as his own cock throbbed and burned agonizingly. "Oh, God, Vin, what you do to me!"

Vin was almost beyond hearing, his hands tightly gripping the edges of the pillow, his head thrashing wildly back and forth. He was panting harshly, heavily, his whole body straining, his cock leaking with imminent release. And when Chris' oiled fingers slid between his ass cheeks and brushed against the tight opening there, he bucked violently and loosed a wordless howl.

Chris held Vin down, and fought to hold himself in check, his own heat demanding release. Breathing through clenched teeth, he slipped one oiled finger into the tight, puckered hole and worked it carefully, then inserted a second finger, and finally a third. When the muscles there had given way enough, he removed his fingers and poured more oil into his hand and coated his thick, rigid cock. Vin again reached for himself, and Chris again moved the hand away, then positioned the head of his shaft at Vin's opening and slowly, slowly pushed.

"JESUS!" Vin shouted, bucking frantically as Chris entered him. "Now--"

"Wait," Chris gasped, struggling against his own need to plunge himself furiously into his lover. He knew better, knew rushing meant running the risk of hurting Vin. And not for anything would he do that. Only when he felt Vin's body adjusting to accommodate him did he give in to his need to thrust. "Oh, God, yes!" he groaned harshly, finally sheathing himself in his lover.

With Chris filling him, plundering him, Vin was beyond words, beyond anything but sheer sensation. Each powerful thrust, each furious stroke, drove him ever nearer madness, ever deeper into exquisite agony. And when Chris' hand closed again about his tortured shaft, he loosed a thick, savage cry and thrust desperately into that grip.

Chris was pumping Vin's cock and driving hard into him, stripped of his senses by the tight, moist heat engulfing him. Again and again he plunged into that hot chasm, undone by the feel of Vin closing about him. Ever deeper he went, needing to be as far into Vin as he could get.

Vin cried out harshly as Chris slammed into him and hit his pleasure spot. The force of it exploded through him and he cried out again, jerking wildly against his lover and erupting into his hand. Again Chris hit him there and his seed shot forth in a boiling stream, tearing his lover's name from him in a howl.


The bucking of Vin's body against him, the spew of his seed and the sound of his voice, all combined to send Chris over the edge. He felt the sharp tingling at the base of his spine, felt the hot boiling in his balls, then cried out and slammed into Vin as his flesh erupted. He cried out again and thrust furiously as he emptied himself into his lover.

"Jesus!" he moaned, shuddering and collapsing against Vin when at last he was empty. "God, Tanner, one day you're gonna kill me!"

Vin laughed softly and closed his arms about Chris, then lightly kissed him. Larabee raised a hand and tenderly stroked Vin's cheek, spent, sated and happy. Then, conscious of his greater weight, he shifted slightly and took Vin into his arms, sighing contentedly as the younger man nestled his head against his chest.

"You're somethin' else, Tanner," he murmured tiredly.

"Y'ain't so bad yourself," Vin drawled, snuggling closer still for warmth. "Reckon for a reject and an old guy, we do purty good."

Chris chuckled quietly. "I guess we do." He reached around for another comforter and pulled it over them, cradling Vin close against him beneath it. "Kinda gives me a whole new respect for the Cowboys."

Tanner lifted his head from Larabee's chest and smiled crookedly into the sleepy green eyes, his own shining with peace. "'S why I keep watchin' 'em," he murmured, lightly tracing Chris' mouth with a long, slender finger. "Mebbe they ain't but outlaws, rejects an' old guys, but on any given Sunday," he leaned forward and kissed the older man softly, "they c'n do th' damnedest things."

Chris smiled as that kiss went straight to his heart, then started working its way lower. "Any given Sunday, huh?" he murmured, absently stroking Vin's slender back. "Well, hell, then, I guess we'll just have to keep watchin'."


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