Suddenly he frowned, feeling the stillness of Vin's body against him, the muscles relaxed. "Hey," he called softly, tugging lightly on a lock of hair. "You're not goin' ta sleep on me, are ya?"
Vin raised and turned his head, smiling lazily into Chris's eyes, his own eyes heavy-lidded. "Nope," he rasped. "Just listenin'."
He turned and laid his head back down, but with his face toward Chris, that smile still teasing his lips. "Ta you. Yer breathin', yer heartbeat. Learnin' the sound of 'em, so's I'll always have 'em with me."
Chris folded one arm under his head and stroked Vin's hair with his other hand, his gaze intent upon the younger man's face. "Why hasn't somebody found you before now?" he murmured, astonished that such a treasure had gone unclaimed.
Vin shrugged. "Reckon didn't nobody know I's lost." He frowned slightly. "Ain't ever spent much time with folks," he said. "Don't feel real comfortable around 'em."
"'Cause'a the bounty?"
"Nah. Well, yeah, that's part of it," he amended. "Hell, these days I guess that's most of it. But even b'fore then, I wasn't much fer people. Ain't got no fam'ly. My ma died when I's five, I never knew my pa. My gran'pa raised me 'til I's mebbe nine, ten, then he died 'n I sorta got passed around from one fam'ly t'another 'til I got tired of it an' lit out on my own."
"How old were you?" Chris asked softly, still stroking Vin's hair. Sorrow filled him at the young man's words. He tried to imagine his Adam having been forced into such a life, and ached at the thought. But Vin spoke as if it were nothing at all.
Tanner frowned thoughtfully. "Reckon mebbe I's thirteen or so. Mebbe younger, mebbe older. Cain't rightly say. But I done all right. Got real good at takin' care'a myself. Had to. Wasn't nobody else ta do it fer me."
Chris frowned and gently tapped Vin's cheek with a forefinger. "You're not alone now," he said quietly, firmly. "You know that, don't you?"
Vin smiled. "Reckon so. It's awful new ta me, though. Still ain't real good with people. Don't know what ta say or how ta act around 'em."
Chris chuckled softly. "Well, you're doin' fine so far, pard." He winked. "At least with me. Now," he traced a finger down Vin's cheek, "ain't there somethin' I can do for you?"
Vin frowned slightly and sat up, sitting cross-legged and bowing his head. "Aw, hell, Chris, y'ain't gotta," he said softly, wanting it so much it hurt, but still not daring to believe he would be granted it. "I mean..." He shrugged and fidgeted with the bedcovers, his head bowing a fraction lower. "I know some fellers... they don't like... I mean, once they git their needs took care of, they ain't... they don't..."
Chris strained to hear that soft, raspy voice, tried to see the downturned face through the curtain of hair. He couldn't quite make sense of the words, and knew if he could see Vin's face, it would be bright red right now. "Vin--"
"Y'ain't gotta," Vin said again, more softly still, bracing himself for the disappointment to come. "I know you was married--"
"Be quiet," Chris ordered gently, sitting up. Reaching out, he slid a finger under Vin's chin and lifted his head until their eyes met. "I know I 'ain't gotta,'" he said quietly. "But I want to. This wasn't -- isn't -- just for me." He looked into those blue eyes, saw the lost little boy in them again, and felt a sudden surge of protectiveness for this most capable of men. "Goddamn it, Vin, I don't know what all's been done ta you in the past, and I ain't sure I wanta know. 'Cause I got a feelin' I'd only wanta go out and kill a few folks, and I just ain't in the mood ta kill nobody right now. But what I am in the mood for is this." And he leaned forward and pressed his mouth to Vin's in a slow, deep kiss.
That kiss took away Vin's breath and stripped him of his senses, sent his heart spiralling and his head spinning. He felt himself being borne back against the bed and did not, could not, resist, was willing to let Chris do whatever he wanted to him at that moment.
Chris fed ravenously upon the tracker, feasting on his lips, his jaw, trailing his mouth down Vin's throat to the strong, rapid pulse, then down to the junction of his neck and shoulder. All the while, his long fingers played over the younger man's body, stroking, caressing, pinching, kneading, until he had Vin writhing and moaning beneath him in unbridled ecstasy. Still, he did not stop. He licked and bit his way down Vin's slim chest to one brown nipple, taking it in his mouth and sucking at it while his fingers played with the other. He could hear Vin's gasps and moans of pleasure, and intensified his assault.
Vin clutched at Chris and dug his fingers into the older man's shoulders as his world spun out of control. He was on fire, in pain, his whole body burning, his hard flesh throbbing, his mind and soul in flames. Chris's mouth and hands were wreaking havoc with him, were driving him into a frenzy, and he prayed it would never stop. As the fire sped through his blood, he slid a hand from Chris's back and reached for his own aching, swollen cock, needing desperately to be touched there.
But Chris growled low in his throat and knocked the hand away, taking possession of Vin's cock himself. He closed his fingers about the hard, thick length and began to stroke, feeling Vin buck wildly and thrust against him.
"Jesus!" Vin gasped as that hand sent heat exploding through him. "Oh, God, Chris!" Then the hand was gone, and he whimpered in abandonment, only to cry out and buck again as a hot mouth engulfed him. "Shit!"
Chris sucked hungrily at Vin, wanting to devour him. He had to hold Vin's hips to control him, but was delighted by the young man's wildness. He lifted his mouth from Vin's cock and moved to his balls, licking and sucking the heavy sacs, his tongue darting snake-like over them. From there, he moved to the puckered opening behind them, and was almost bucked off the bed when his tongue rimmed it.
"JESUS!" Vin cried harshly as agony exploded through him. He drove his fingers into Chris's hair to push him lower, moaning and whimpering wordlessly and thrusting desperately.
Chris could see his young partner was in pain, was near the edge, and took pity on him. Once again, he slid his tongue along the hard length of Vin's cock, then took it deep into his mouth.
And Vin could take no more. He's waited so long for this man, had wanted him for so long, and the full weight of that want now came crashing through him. Clutching at Chris' shoulders, driving his long fingers into those powerful muscles, he cried out hoarsely and thrust wildly into that hot mouth, and erupted with a shattering force.
Chris welcomed the stream, relishing every drop. He sucked and swallowed and milked Vin for still more, mouth working at Tanner's cock, hands working at his balls, the gunslinger not wanting to miss or waste a morsel. And when at last he had wrung Vin dry, he let him slip from his mouth and slid up on the bed, taking the spent and shaking young man into his arms and holding him close against him.
Vin reveled in the feel of the strong arms about him, the hard body against him, and worked himself still deeper into that embrace. He felt safer now, here, with this man, than he had in a very long time. He clutched that feeling to him, never having known its like.
Chris said nothing, merely held Vin close, stroking his hair, his back, awed by the rightness of it. He tried to imagine this feeling, this moment, with Buck or any of the others, and couldn't. He knew it was for Vin alone.
At last, it was Vin who broke the silence. "Ain't never had nothin' like that b'fore," he whispered. "Never knew it c'd be so good." He lifted his head and gazed into Chris's eyes. "Don't reckon it'd be that way with nobody else."
Chris laughed to hear that his and Vin's thoughts had been following the same path. "Nope, don't reckon it would." He reached up and swept the unruly brown hair out of dark blue eyes. "This is just for you an' me." He ran a thumb slowly over Vin's lips and smiled when they parted beneath his caress. "And it's for as long as you want it."
Vin flicked his tongue over Larabee's thumb and smiled when the older man gasped. "Reckon I'm greedy then," he drawled, "'cause I want it fer as long as I c'n have it." He took the thumb in his mouth and sucked gently on it.
"Jesus, Tanner," Chris gasped as a thrill of heat shot through him. "Ain't you had enough?"
Vin released the thumb and shook his head, his blue eyes gleaming wickedly. "Nope. Like I said, I'm greedy." He bowed his head and licked a trail down Chris's chest, chuckling when the older man stiffened and groaned. Lips, tongue and teeth worked devilishly at Larabee's nipples, across his belly, and, finally, down to his stiffening shaft. "Somebody's wakin' up," he drawled, his breath fanning against Chris's cock and bringing it to full hardness.
"Jesus!" Chris gasped as heat erupted in his thick and throbbing flesh. "Shit, Vin, you tryin' ta kill me?"
The former bounty hunter raised his head and looked solemnly at Chris. "Any posters out on ya?"
Chris's eyes narrowed to slits. "No," he growled.
Vin sighed, shrugged, and went back to Chris's cock, licking it and blowing across it. "Wouldn't be worth it, then," he drawled.
Chris gave a strangled laugh, then yelped as that hot tongue slid once more down his aching length. "Hellcat!" he gasped.
And suddenly Vin was straddling Chris's narrow hips, gazing intently down at the older man. Sweat bathed Chris's flesh and plastered the golden hair to his head. His eyes were half-closed and he was breathing through his mouth, his expression one of mingled agony and ecstasy. Vin's heart clenched at the sight, and he felt a sudden and fierce surge of possessiveness, of protectiveness, toward the gunslinger who had to be a good ten or fifteen years older than himself.
"Ain't ever gonna letcha go," he vowed, bending down and trailing his lips over his that strong jawline, those beautiful cheekbones, that high forehead and those jewel-bright eyes. "Y'know that, don'tcha?"
Chris moaned and shuddered and let that mouth do with him what it would. "Don't wanta be let go," he rasped, feeling this young man, this shy, wild, fierce creature, awaken things in him he'd thought dead for three years. "I been alone too long, Vin, same as you. Thought it was better that way, but..." He hissed and stiffened as Vin's teeth nipped sharply at his ear. "Shit, Tanner, I gotta say, you're makin' me pretty damn sure I was wrong!"
"That's me," Vin chuckled, sliding a tongue around the pale shell of Chris's ear. "Showin' folks th' error of their ways. Always glad ta help a feller out."
Suddenly Chris grabbed Vin, pulled him close and flipped him onto his back, pinning him to the bed with his own body. As Vin yelped in surprise and stared up at him through wide, startled eyes, Chris glared down at him and clenched his teeth, suddenly very much the deadly gunfighter. Vin swallowed uneasily at the change.
"Just wanta make one thing clear," Chris growled, his hands kneading Vin's shoulders even as he held them down. "I don't want you 'helpin'' any other fellers this way, you got that? I ain't ever been real good at sharin', and I figure I'm too damn old ta start mendin' my ways now, you understand?"
Vin nodded, and shivered as a thrill of arousal shot through him. Chris's powerful body was pressing so close against him, imprinting itself along every line of his, impressing itself into his soul, and those hands and eyes were working a powerful magic upon him. He nodded again, and slowly licked his lips.
"Don't wanta be shared," he rasped softly, eyes wide and dark with desire. "I been passed around a time 'r two, didn't care fer it much." He lifted a hand and pressed it to CHris's chest, just over that fiercely beating heart. "Yer mine, 'n I'm yers. Reckon I prefer it this way."
Chris frowned slightly, wondering at what "passed around" meant, then decided he didn't want to know. Not yet, not now, not when there were still so many pleasant secrets to unlock about this man. Slowly a smile replaced the scowl. "Reckon I do, too," he breathed, bowing his head to recapture Vin's mouth with his.
Vin groaned harshly and twined strong arms about Chris, holding tightly to him and arching himself against the powerful body. Chris's erection ground against his, sending torrents of heat crashing through him and tearing a hoarse, wordless cry from him.
Lord God, he was in agony!
Chris unleashed the full force of his passion, of his hunger, upon the tracker, laying claim to the lean, supple body with a devastating thoroughness, wanting -- needing -- Tanner to know he was his. No longer the lost little boy, no longer the stray wandering from fire to fire, no longer the lonely soul craving comfort but wary of being preyed upon by others. He'd been found, he'd been given a place, he belonged.
And, goddamn it, he belonged to Chris Larabee.
Determined to make Vin understand that, he launched a shattering assault upon the tracker's body, upon Tanner's senses, upon his soul. With hard, hungry mouth and demanding, masterful hands he explored, claimed and devoured every inch of the tracker, kissing, biting, caressing and stroking his way over Vin's chest, down to his taut, flat belly and across to the narrow hips, then slowly, slowly down the long, slender legs. He sucked at Vin's toes, licked along his arches and over his insteps, then started back up, nibbling and kneading at hard calves and slim but powerful thighs. And though his own body ached fiercely from the force of his need, he forced the pain into the back of his mind.
His sole purpose now was to show Vin Tanner what it was to want, and how it felt to get.
And Vin was very much in the throes of that feeling. His eyes were closed tightly, his face twisted into a mask of torment, his head thrashing from side to side, his body arching off the bed. Harsh gasps and hoarse, incoherent pleas tore from him, and sweat bathed his flesh and soaked into his hair. When he could reach him, he drove his hands through Chris's hair, clutched at his shoulders, dug his fingers into the powerful shoulders. When Larabee was out of his reach, he knotted his fingers in the bedcovers or reached for his throbbing, swollen cock, only to have his hand knocked away. But as Chris began licking, kissing and biting his way along the inside of his thighs and along his groin, Vin's need to clutch at himself, to thrust against something, grew ever more desperate.
<<Oh, God! OhGodohGodohGod...>>
Chris heard the younger man's gasps, groans and whimpers, and delighted in knowing he had reduced the cool, steady, unflappable tracker to near hysteria. Tanner was trembling uncontrollably and writhing madly, clutching at and clinging to whatever he could reach, lost in the mindless frenzy of arousal. But Larabee only intensified his assault, determined to wipe away all Vin's memories of past pain and abuse, and replace them with new ones of sheer, soul-searing pleasure.
With a low growl, he parted Tanner's thighs roughly and slipped his head between them, licking and kissing up to and all around -- but never touching -- that thick, hard-swollen shaft. While his hands slid under the tracker to cup and squeeze the firm cheeks of that beautiful ass, his lips and tongue found and swept over the man's heavy balls, tearing yet another harsh cry from Vin. Chris licked the full sacs and blew over them, sliding his tongue between and behind them, worshiping them with his mouth. And when he finally took them into his mouth, Vin bucked so hard he nearly flung Chris off the bed.
But Chris grabbed Tanner's hips and held him in place, and continued his onslaught. From Vin's balls, his mouth wandered at last to that rigid, inviting pole, and he licked his way up, then down, and again up and down, feeling the younger man rapidly nearing his breaking point.
Vin was almost sobbing, his whole existence reduced to unbearable pain and unspeakable pleasure. Unknown to him, tears were streaming down his face, and his breath tore from him in harsh, hitching gasps. Never, ever in his life had he known such a powerful barrage of feelings, of sensations, never had he felt so near dying and so very much alive all at once. And for the first time, for the absolute, very first time, did he understand what the words "making love" meant.
And what it meant to have someone making love to him.
"Ple...ease!" he whispered hoarsely, certain he'd die from the pain. The pleasure. "Chris... hurts... please!"
The desperation in that ragged voice tore at Chris's heart, brought to him the realization of just how much Vin was suffering. Feeling for him, knowing how badly he needed relief, he placed a light, teasing kiss upon Vin's cock, then raised himself up and reached across the shuddering, writhing tracker to the bedside table for the jar of oil he'd set upon it. When he had it in hand, he lowered himself once more over Vin and pressed his lips to the younger man's in a tender kiss.
"Easy, cowboy," he whispered against that wet mouth. "Gonna take care of ya real soon. Gonna make the pain go away."
"Need... need ya!" Vin gasped, reaching once more for his tortured cock. "Oh, God, Chris..."
"Ssh, hush now, hush," Chris soothed, kissing him again and gently removing Vin's hand from his cock. "Don't want ya startin' nothin' without me." He sat up, his legs folded beneath him, and opened the jar. But as Vin started to roll over onto his stomach, Chris reached out and grabbed his shoulder, holding him in place on his back. "Not that way," he rasped to the startled tracker, his own voice harsh, his own breathing labored. Vin's deeply flushed face, his naked beauty, and the thickness of his stiff, weeping cock had him hard and hungry as well. "This first time... I wanta see ya," he said hoarsely, his green eyes glittering like gemfire as he pulled Vin's legs over his thighs to bring his ass off the bed. "Want you ta see me. Want you ta see how I feel about ya."
Vin bit his lip and nodded, his blue eyes gone almost black. He tried to speak, but couldn't, and knew there was no need. Was never a need. Not with Chris.
Larabee dipped his hand into the jar and brought out a good amount of the rich, lightly scented oil. Normally he used it to ease sunburn or soothe wind-cracked skin, but figured it would serve equally well for his present needs. With a slight, wolfish grin, he closed a heavily oiled hand around Vin's cock and slid it slowly down, then ran it lightly over his heavy balls and finally -- finally -- to the dark, puckered opening behind them.
Vin cried out and almost bucked off the bed as one oiled finger penetrated his hole. But Chris's free hand pressed into his hip, holding him down, and he whimpered in agony.
Oh, Lord Jesus Christ Almighty God, he was gonna die!
Chris worked the hole carefully with his finger, massaging it, oiling it, wanting nothing more than to plunge his own burning, throbbing cock into it but knowing he could not. He had to go slow, had to take his time. Not for anything in the world would he risk hurting Vin.
God knew how many others had done far too much of that already.
When he felt the tight ring of muscle begin to soften, he slipped another finger in, and again had to hold Vin down. With rhythmic motions that matched his breathing, he scissored the two fingers, stretching carefully, then inserted a third. And again had to bat Vin's hand away from his needy cock. Still working Vin's hole, he at last began oiling his own cock, nearly coming into his hand.
But that wasn't how he wanted it...
On fire in every part of his body and praying he could hold on, he shifted slightly, removed his fingers, and pressed his hard shaft against and carefully into that beckoning opening.
"Jesus!" he whispered harshly, shuddering as he pressed himself inside Tanner.
Vin only barely bit back his scream as Chris entered him, as he felt the man's hard, hot flesh penetrate his body. For long moments, there was the familiar burning, cramping pain, and an instinctive flinch of fear ran through him as he recoiled from the memory of past hurts. But then Chris's hands were on him, calming, steadying him, and that low, gentle voice was soothing him, bringing him out of the past and into the present. He reached for Chris's hands and held tightly to them, willing himself to relax and breathing deeply until the pain passed.
Chris waited with a patience he would never have dreamed he possessed until he saw Vin's fear pass and felt his tension fade. "Better?" he rasped, struggling to hold himself in check; Vin nodded. "Ready?" he asked; Vin nodded again and bit his lip.
Chris slid slowly, carefully in, fighting the urge to simply ram home and bury himself in Vin. With a woman, he would've; but a man's body required far more caution.
And at once he found the slowness of it held a pleasure all its own. His breath tore from him as Vin's moist heat surrounded him, engulfed him, and intensified the heat pounding through his own flesh. The tight, narrow channel closed about him and pulled him ever deeper, accepting -- welcoming -- him, until he and Vin were as much one in body as they already had been in soul.
"Oh, sweet Jesus, Vin!" he whispered shakily as a powerful shudder racked him.
Vin was beyond words, was incapable of thought, could do nothing but cling to Chris's hands and pray the man would never stop. Larabee's size and heat filled him, consumed him, threatened to tear him in half, yet still he wanted more, and knew with this man he could never have enough. Chris was moving so slowly, so carefully, but all he wanted was to thrust himself further, faster, against the man, and feel Chris thrusting inside him.
God help him, he'd never known this terrible, wonderful want before!
At last, unable any longer to restrain himself, Chris began to thrust, carefully at first and with short strokes, then faster, longer, sliding in and pulling out until only his head remained, then starting all over again. Vin immediately began thrusting against him, and soon the two had a perfect, powerful rhythm set, their bodies coming together with a fierce urgency. Breathing harshly, heavily, Chris imbedded himself in that willing body and tore his hands free from Vin's to close them about the younger man's cock.
Vin loosed a strangled gasp and arched violently off the bed as Chris began pumping urgently at his aching flesh. The rhythm of Chris's hands on him matched that of the man's cock inside him, and it sent the tracker over the edge. He wrapped his legs tightly about Chris and pulled himself up higher on him, opening himself further to him, needing to feel still more of him inside. He wanted to beg, but had no words; wanted to scream, but had no voice. In the end, he could do nothing, except let his overwrought body react however it would.
Tanner's primal, unbridled savagery unleashed an answering ferocity in Chris, and he loosed himself within and upon the tracker without restraint. He thrust wildly, deeply, and pumped ruthlessly, giving free rein to his passion. Nothing existed for him now except the man writhing against him.
Vin was overwhelmed by the onslaught of sensations unlike any he'd ever known. Wave after pounding wave of heat slammed through him as Chris worked him mercilessly, and he thrust frantically into those hands, did all he could to drive the man ever deeper into him. Then Chris slammed against his pleasure spot, and hit it again, and Vin nearly howled as the shattering force of it exploded through him. The hot tide rose and he drove himself against Chris, and had to bite back his cry as he shot forth his stream.
Tanner's frenzied bucking and the pungent smell of his seed combined to drive Chris over the edge. The boiling wave exploded through him, and he cried out harshly and thrust hard into Vin as his tortured flesh erupted with an elemental force. He threw back his head and strained furiously, pouring every ounce of himself into Tanner.
"Jesus!" he gasped, collapsing onto the bed beside Vin when at last he was empty. Spent and shaken, he reached out and drew the tracker into his arms, cradling the trembling body close against his own. "Goddamn, Tanner," he whispered hoarsely, "that was... that was..."
"Yeah," Vin rasped, resting his head against Chris's chest and closing his eyes, completely drained. "It surely was."
They rested together for some time, merely feeling each other's heartbeats, listening to each other's breathing, and reveling in this wondrous closeness. For the first time in what seemed forever, each was truly and wholly at peace, at ease, Vin no longer hounded by the bounty that hung over him like a dark shadow, Chris no longer haunted by the visions of his dead wife and child. For now, their entire world comprised only them.
At last, Chris shifted Vin gently out of his arms and got up, going to the washbasin on less than steady legs and soaking a cloth in the water. He returned to the bed and gently cleaned the sticky seed from Vin's body and his own, conscious all the while of two brilliant sapphire eyes that never left him, of the slight, sleepy smile that hovered about that beautiful mouth.
"Ain'tcha ever been told it's rude ta stare?" he asked gruffly. "You got no manners at all, Tanner."
Blue eyes sparkled, and that sleepy grin turned wicked. "Didn't seem ta bother ya a li'l while ago," he drawled. "You always this crotchety after?"
Larabee shot a glare at his lover that failed to have the slightest effect. Except to widen that goddamn grin. "One day, you're gonna be surprised as hell when I finally shoot ya," he growled.
"Well," Vin stifled a yawn and reached out, idly brushing long fingers lightly through the blond hairs gleaming on Chris's forearm, "so long's ya do ta me first whatcha jus' done, I don't reckon I'd mind. Least I'd die a happy man."
Chris dropped the cloth onto the floor and stretched out once more on the bed, again gathering Vin close against him. Feeling those arms twine about him and that head take its place against his chest, he smiled slightly and ran gentle fingers through the sweat-matted brown curls.
"I wantcha ta be happy, Vin," he murmured. "I wanta make ya happy. I figure both of us been unhappy long enough. It's time for somethin' else."
"Seems we had that tonight," Vin murmured, raising his head and gazing into those green eyes. "'Cause this was surely somethin' else!"
"Yeah," Chris breathed. Then, as that head sank back onto his chest, as that slight body snuggled ever more closely against him, he marveled again at the young man who had shown him so many sides tonight -- lost little boy, shy youth, wary survivor, mischievous playmate, hellcat -- and was amazed at what he'd found. He wasn't sure what he'd done to deserve it, but he knew he'd fight the legions of hell to hang onto it. To hang onto Vin.
For his part, Vin knew only that he'd found what he'd never known he'd been missing, that he'd been granted a favor -- hell, a damn miracle -- by the fates that more usually took delight in stomping all over him. This man beside him was everything he'd never let himself want before, was every prayer he'd never voiced, every desire he'd never acknowledged, every need he'd never admitted. For once in his life he had what he wanted, and for what once in his life it had come so easily to him. The wonder of it left him in awe.
Chris could feel Vin relaxing against him, felt the breathing slow and deepen, and knew the young man would soon be asleep. A strange tenderness overtook him at the thought of Vin, who never trusted, who never relaxed, trusting him enough simply to go to sleep in his arms.
"I gotta say," he sighed, feeling sleep coming for him as well, "you're right about folks in Tascosa, Vin. They don't come much livelier!"
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