The Thrill of Defeat

by SueN.

ATF Universe

Disclaimer:Oh, the agony of it... I don't own them. Those people over there in suits and ties with all the lawyers and the luck do. I don't own the Cowboys, either. That dubious honor goes to Jerry Jones (and you'd think with his money he could buy better hair!)

Pairing: C/V, Ravens/Cowboys ('cause the Cowboys got good and screwed!)

Notes: I lost a bet (Kim, you can stop gloating now). But y'all get a fic, and Chris and Vin get each other, so I guess the game wasn't a total wash. Thanks to Judy for giving this the once-over.

Feedback:Would you be so kind?

"NO! Aw, Jesus Christ... Son of a bitch... Shit... Goddamn it... SHIT!"

Chris Larabee cringed at that shout and covered his eyes with a hand as the yellow flag went flying onto the field, and so never saw the handful of tortilla chips -- all covered in salsa -- that went flying into his television screen. Only when he heard the referee call the false start against Cowboys right tackle Erik Williams did he look up, and see the red mess oozing slowly down the wide screen.

"Uh, Vin..."

"Williams, you fucker!" Vin Tanner shouted, his face aflame with rage. "Goddamn it, that puts 'em at third and nine... Third and NINE! Jesus Christ, they all oughtta be shot!"

"Vin, there's salsa on my TV screen," Chris pointed out calmly, watching the stuff paint Troy Aikman red. "How'd salsa get on my TV screen?"

"What?" Tanner asked, breaking off in mid-tirade to turn seething blue eyes upon his boss, best friend and lover. "You say somethin'?"

Larabee narrowed his eyes and stared hard at the younger man, his own anger beginning to rise. "Yes, I did," he said crisply. "Look at the TV screen and tell me what you see."

Vin did, and scowled murderously. "All's I see is a bunch'a no-account fuck-ups masqueradin' as a football team!" he spat. "Look at that!" he jeered, flinging an accusing arm toward the screen as Aikman, at his best never a runner and now hampered by a bad back and a history of more concussions than all of Team 7 put together, was forced to scramble to evade the ruthless Baltimore rush. "Aw, hell, Troy, throw the goddamn... NOOO!" he howled, jumping off the sofa as the low and ugly pass fell into the hands of Ravens free safety Rod Woodson. "You goddamned cross-eyed Okie!" he raged, reaching for yet another weapon.

"Vin, NO!!" Chris shouted, erupting from the chair and hurling himself at Tanner before the sharpshooter could launch the jar of salsa -- one of Nettie's quart jars -- at the offending quarterback. "Gimme that!" he yelled, knocking Tanner back onto the sofa and landing atop him, wrenching the jar from his hand. "Goddamn it, Vin, it's only a game!"

"Ain't a game!" Vin argued, wrestling furiously against the older and bigger man. "It's a goddamn felony! Now, lemme up--"

"No," Chris seethed, straddling Tanner and holding him down. "Not until you promise to stop throwing things! Shit, you've already been demoted to beer in cans. You want me ta ban ALL food and drinks during the games from now on?"

Vin stared up at Chris in horror, his blue eyes wide, all the fight draining from him. "You wouldn't do that," he rasped softly, "would ya?"

Chris struggled not to soften before the look of hurt on that face. "You take a look at the TV," he said in a low, harsh voice, "and tell me what I should do." With that, he got off Tanner.

Vin sat up, looked at the TV, and saw the red trail. "Oh," he breathed as a flush crept into his cheeks. "Is that salsa?"

Chris scowled. "Either that, or the TV's got stigmata. Now," he glared at his abashed lover, "you wanta clean that up before it eats through the screen?"

Vin swallowed hard and nodded. "Sorry," he murmured, rising to his feet. "Reckon I got carried away." His head bowed, he turned and walked slowly to the bar to get the needed items for clean-up.

Chris's heart sank at the young man's dejected posture. "Jesus, Vin, don't look like that!" he groaned. "Damn, now you're makin' me feel guilty!"

"'S all right," Vin consoled him in a mournful voice. "Y'ain't gotta feel guilty. Ain't your fault. I'm the one that done wrong." He returned with glass cleaner and a wad of paper towels. "Reckon I just let 'em get to me. Agin."

Chris sighed heavily and shook his head as Vin went to the TV and began cleaning up the mess. He had a sneaking suspicion Tanner had adopted that drooping posture, that despondent expression, on purpose, realizing how it would get to him, and knew he should probably feel angry at being so easily manipulated.

But, goddamn it, it was real hard to feel angry when all he wanted to do was grab the man, fling him down to the floor and kiss him senseless...

He chuckled ruefully and shook his head. Yeah, some big, bad agent he was, bein' played for a sucker by a scrawny, long-haired Texas sharpshooter who used those expressive blue eyes every bit as skillfully as he did his sniper's rifle.

Face it, Larabee, Tanner's had you in his cross-hairs from day one!

Vin sprayed the screen and wiped half-heartedly at the globby mess of glass cleaner and salsa, paying far more attention to the action on the field. Baltimore was making the most of the interception off Aikman, marching downfield behind the leadership of Trent Dilfer. They'd run off three plays already, and now the Cowboys, sensing another pass, were showing a blitz. Unfortunately, Dilfer was not fooled for a moment. He easily escaped the poorly executed rush and found Shannon Sharpe on the Cowboys' 40-yard line. The big tight end caught the ball with ease, and took off for the end zone. As Vin watched in horror, Dallas safety Greg Myers caught up with Sharpe, but failed to bring him down. Sharpe rambled into the end zone, and Baltimore went up 16-0.

"SON OF A BITCH!!" he screeched, slamming the plastic bottle of glass cleaner into the screen. Moments later, the point-after kick sailed through the uprights, bringing the score to 17-0.

And it wasn't even halftime yet.

"Vin, get away from the TV," Chris ordered harshly, easily able to envision the sharpshooter putting a fist through the glass. "Get back on the couch, and stay there. And if I see just one more thing sail across this room, I'm gonna exile you to the porch with the 13-inch black-and-white, you hear me?" Silence met his question, and he narrowed his eyes, his mouth tightening. "You hear me, Tanner?" he demanded.

All the anger died in Vin, and he sighed heavily, his shoulders drooping. He turned slowly to face Chris, his expression one of utter dejection. And this time, it was not feigned.

"They're gonna lose," he rasped in a soft, sad voice, his blue eyes filled with something very like betrayal. "They jist cain't do it no more." He raised his sorrowful gaze to Chris. "You were right all along," he breathed. "They suck."

Chris winced at that tone, at that expression. He knew what the Cowboys meant to Vin, knew how badly the young man wanted to believe in his team, knew how staunch in his defense of them Tanner had remained even when the once-invincible Cowboys had become easy meat for almost any team in the league. Now, though, all that was gone. Vin had suddenly come to realize what everyone else had known for some time -- the glory days were over, the gods of the gridiron had turned mortal, and the silver stars on the helmets no longer shone with anything like their former splendor. Tanner was watching his heroes fall from the heights, and it hurt like hell.

"Now, Vin," Chris heard himself saying, "it's just the second quarter. There's still a whole other half to play. They might still come back." He forced a smile. "Hell, Emmitt Smith hasn't even been uncorked yet, and Aikman's starting to find receivers--"

"Yeah," Vin sighed, "but they're all on the other team." He rose slowly to his feet and walked back to the sofa, waving a hand at the TV. "You kin turn it off now," he said, "or turn it to another game. See if there's a real team playin'."

Chris was stunned. In all the time he'd known him, Vin had never once, not once, turned off a Cowboy game before it was over. No matter how badly the team was losing, Tanner watched stubbornly to the bitter end, enduring shabby defense, inept offense, and piss-poor kicking, cursing the team foully and fluently and wondering why the hell somebody didn't just shoot Jerry Jones, whom he regularly called "Arkansas trash made good." And always, always, Vin was back again the next week, taking whatever punishment "his" team dealt. Because, he'd said, the Cowboys had been there for him in his bad times, and it was his turn to be there for them in theirs.

But now, it seemed, the Boys had pushed that loyalty a little too far. They'd let Vin Tanner down once too often.

Chris rose from his chair and went to join Vin on the sofa, sitting close and slipping a strong arm about the bowed shoulders. "It's all right, Vin," he soothed, pulling the younger man to him. "It's just a game. Hell, I know they make you crazy, but they're just a football team! Every franchise goes through this. I remember the Steelers in the '70s, with Bradshaw and Harris and Green. Nobody could touch 'em, nobody could beat 'em." He grinned slightly. "Hell, they manhandled the Cowboys in a few Super Bowls, as I recall. But those days are gone. Teams rise and fall. And, sometimes," he gently pulled Vin's head onto his shoulder, "they break your heart. But it's all just part of the game."

"But they ain't s'posed ta lay down and die," Vin murmured miserably, watching as the Ravens again started to move. "Ya gotta keep fightin', keep tryin'--"

"Look at that!" Chris interrupted sharply as Cowboys cornerback Phillippi Sparks intercepted Dilfer at Dallas's 25 and took off with the ball. He nudged Vin hard. "Look! He's not givin' up! That look like he's layin' down and dyin' ta you? Seems like there's still some fight left to me."

Vin lifted his head and watched. Sparks was tackled after 16 yards, but the run injected a frail stream of hope into the sharpshooter. Aikman and the offense took the field, and Vin hissed a sharp "yesss!" as the big quarterback completed back-to-back passes of nine and 15 yards. Life returned to his blue eyes just as it seemed to return to his team.

But that life was short-lived. Aikman launched a pass to Jackie Harris, but Ravens safety Corey Harris stepped in front of it and scooped it up, returning it for 42 yards.

"Aw, shit," Vin moaned, dropping his head once more onto Chris's waiting shoulder.

Chris sighed and cradled the dejected young man to him, holding both arms about Vin and resting a cheek on his hair. Baltimore's field goal team took the field, and Larabee braced himself for another blow to his already-wounded lover. The kick was short, but it didn't matter. Baltimore was up 17-0. The Cowboys -- and Vin Tanner -- were down for the count.

+ + + + + + +

By the time it was over -- a mere two hours and 48 minutes after it had begun -- the carnage was complete. Two Cowboys had been taken off the field with injuries, Aikman could barely move, Emmitt Smith had gained a paltry 48 yards, and Ravens running back Jamal Lewis had rushed for almost as many yards as the entire Dallas offense gained combined. The score was 27-0, Dallas's first shut-out since 1991, and its seventh loss in 11 games.

Worst of all, at least to Chris, rather than shutting off the television and launching into a furious diatribe against the Cowboys, Vin merely sat silently, hunched over, his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands. He couldn't muster a single curse.

Chris raised the remote and turned off the TV, sparing Vin the agony of the post-game dissection. Exhaling slowly, he tossed the remote onto the coffee table and sat back, pulling Vin once more into his arms and holding the younger man close against him.

"Ain't fair," Vin murmured dejectedly. "Ain't right. They ain't s'posed ta be this bad. They're the Cowboys. They're always s'posed ta win."

Chris sighed and gently stroked Tanner's hair, hurting for his lover. He knew the Cowboys were more than a mere football team to Vin. Through all the hell of his youth, the Cowboys had been a symbol of possibilities, of overcoming adversity, of rising above defeat and triumphing just when all hope seemed lost. Throughout a childhood no one should have suffered, Vin had looked up from the depths of whatever hellhole he'd been consigned to at the time and seen that silver star shining like a beacon, assuring him that scrap, grit, guts and determination were all he needed to lift him from the darkness.

And now Vin was watching that star lose its luster. Was watching one more promise to him being broken.

"It's all right," Chris murmured consolingly. "There's always next week. They're playin' on Thanksgiving, and you know they always do well in those Thanksgiving games."

"Thanksgivin' is the Vikings," Vin sighed. "Randy Moss. Shit, they're gonna git slaughtered. Ain't even no point in watchin'."

"You're gonna watch, and you know it," Chris said firmly. "You'll be right there with 'em like you always are, livin' and dyin' with every play, but there just the same. Hell, one day they oughtta put your name up in that Ring of Honor in Texas Stadium just for bein' their most devoted fan."

"They suck," Vin said again, a hint of anger creeping into his voice. "Yep," Chris sighed, "they do that."

"Ain't got a chance in hell of makin' the playoffs. Shit, they shouldn't even be allowed to buy tickets!"

"Oh, I don't know." Chris frowned thoughtfully. "Maybe if they went and watched a real team at work, they just might learn somethin'."

"Hell, they saw a real team today!" Vin spat, pulling away from Chris and staring through eyes burning with fury at his lover. "Got worked over real damn good by one! 'N the sonsabitches ain't learned nothin'!" He threw his hands into the air. "They all oughtta be lined up and shot!"

Chris arched a brow and tried to bite back the smile threatening to break through, greatly relieved to see Tanner's anger -- and his spirit -- returning. "That's, uh, a bit extreme, don't you think, Vin? I mean, you know, it's a football game, not a threat to national security..."

"And Aikman... AIKMAN!" Vin raged, shooting to his feet and pacing angrily. "Goddamn cross-eyed, muddle-headed Okie threw three interceptions! THREE! Shit, cain't he even recognize which is his players and which ain't?" He exhaled sharply in disgust. "Hell, he oughtta jist retire 'n git it over with! He's too goddamn old ta bein' playin' anyway--"

"Now, hold it right there!" Chris said sharply, his 40-year-old pride stung by the insult to the 33-year-old quarterback. "I wouldn't call him old--"

"Well, what would ya call him?" Vin challenged hotly, staring fiercely at Larabee. He set his hands on his lean hips and shook his head. "Ain't got no business bein' out there in his shape. Man ain't got no legs worth shit, his head's took more hits than one'a my targets at the firin' range, his back's tighter'n yer jeans, 'n now he's so goddamn senile he cain't tell his receivers from th' other team's fuckin' safeties! If that ain't old, then what the hell is it?"

In a single lithe, lightning-fast motion, Chris shot up from the couch, lunged at Vin, grabbed him and flung him down onto the cushions, then leapt catlike atop him. Covering Tanner's body with his larger one, forcibly holding the young man down, Chris bowed his head and took Vin's mouth with his in a hard, demanding kiss even as his hands sought and found the excruciatingly ticklish spots along Tanner's ribs.

"Let's discuss this 'old' crap, shall we?" he growled against his lover's mouth, intensifying both the kissing and the tickling.

"God... Chris... Jesus!" Vin squeaked breathlessly, gasping and giggling beneath the twin assaults of Larabee's mouth and hands. Chris's tongue was thrusting hard against his lips, demanding entry, and Vin opened his mouth with another squeak to admit it, shivering in delight as it began to dance intimately with his own. Thrilling to the feel of the powerful body against his, he wrapped his legs tightly about Chris's, clamped his arms about him, and let his hands freely explore the broad shoulders and tightly muscled back. "Oh... God... Chris!" he moaned into that all-consuming mouth.

"Gonna teach ya some respect for your elders, Tanner!" Chris whispered harshly, devouring the man greedily. As ever, the taste, scent and feel of Vin brought his blood to a boil and sent spasms of desire shooting through him, ignited the fire that only the sharpshooter could extinguish. The warm, wet mouth moving so hungrily against his, the long, strong fingers digging into and kneading his muscles, the legs wrapped like bands of steel about his, the lean body thrusting so frantically against him -- all combined to shatter his reason and restraint and plunge him into a frenzy of need.

Vin moaned and shuddered as Chris's mouth plundered his, as the man's hands claimed and explored him with a ruthless ferocity. Before he knew it, Chris had unbuttoned his shirt and pulled up the t-shirt beneath, exposing his chest and stomach to those skilled fingers. Larabee's thumbs found the dark ovals of his nipples and rubbed lightly, bringing them to pebble hardness and tearing a harsh gasp from him. Then Chris's erection was grinding into his, and lightning shot through his every nerve.

Chris laughed low in his throat as Tanner bucked wildly under him. "Want somethin', cowboy?" he teased, thrusting his crotch again into Vin's.

Pain erupted through Vin as his cock surged and strained against his jeans. "You!" he gasped, staring through glittering blue eyes up at his lover, his face flushed and bathed in sweat. "Want... want... you!"

Chris laughed again as the words ended on a pitiful whimper. "You gonna behave?" The tousled head nodded fervently. "No more cracks about anybody's age?" The head shook, and Chris pressed his mouth once more to Vin's. "I'll think on it," he whispered, laving his tongue over the wet, swollen lips.

Vin whimpered again, then shuddered as Chris began rubbing himself slowly against his aching, throbbing erection. Desire rioted through him as the older man wrought havoc upon his body, as Chris kissed, stroked and fondled him with a devastating mastery. Pain and pleasure coursed through him in hard, hot torrents, tearing harsh, wordless cries from him, and he writhed beneath Chris, against him, in a mounting frenzy, his need more than he could bear.

Larabee delighted in Tanner's growing wildness, in the younger man's growls, gasps and moans, in the mouth and hands that sought him with an unrestrained urgency. He loved bringing Vin to this point, where all shyness and reserve were stripped away to reveal the savagery beneath, where Vin gave free rein to the ferocious passions that burned beneath his coolly composed surface. Tanner guarded himself so carefully, kept so much of what he felt, what he thought, what he wanted and needed deeply hidden from the fear of having such vulnerabilities used against him, that Chris had dedicated himself to shattering that control, to proving to Vin that he need never conceal any part of himself from the man who loved him, that he would protect and treasure Vin's soul as if it were his very own.

Because, in a very real way, it was.

And Vin opened himself up to Chris as he never could to anyone else, allowed the older man to shatter his defenses and take possession of all that lived within him, trusting implicitly, completely, that no harm would ever come to him at this man's hands. He held nothing back, kept nothing hidden or in reserve, but simply let all he felt come pouring through him, from him, joining him to Chris in a way more deeply intimate than mere physical union could ever be. All that he had, all that he was, he gave willingly, freely to Chris, without a moment's hesitation.

Larabee did the same, allowing, welcoming, Tanner into places he'd never known he possessed, feeling the man's strong and gentle presence winding through his soul and claiming it for his own, knitting together all the brokenness, closing all the wounds, healing all the scars. Vin made him whole as no one else could ever do, brought him a peace he'd long since forgotten existed. Tanner had banished forever the darkness that once had held him fast.

Yet they sought each other now with an urgency born of their need to complete with their bodies what they had already accomplished with their souls. Wet mouths met in a crush of deep, demanding kisses, each man seeking to lose himself in the taste of the other, while strong hands swept searchingly over hard and heated bodies, exploring thoroughly what was already known by heart. Now and again impatience surfaced as clothing interfered, and more than a few buttons were lost in the fray. But soon discarded garments littered the floor in heaps, and each man was able finally to look upon and marvel at the naked beauty of the other.

Chris sat up and pulled Vin to him with a harsh, thick groan, burying his mouth once more in Tanner's and drowning himself in the taste, scent and feel of the man in his arms. Vin went to him willingly, eagerly, straddling Larabee's hard thighs and pressing himself close against the powerful body, needing desperately to feel this man in every part of himself. Chris's hands were moving slowly, slowly down his back, the long, strong fingers raking against his flesh and kneading his muscles until he was shuddering and moaning wordlessly in need.

Hearing the moans, Chris raised his hands and plunged his fingers into Vin's long hair, pushing the younger man's head back. He tore his mouth from Vin's and pressed it to his long throat, nuzzling hungrily at the warm flesh, sucking ravenously at his throbbing pulse. He licked, kissed and bit his way up and down that throat, over to the sinewy shoulders and down to the taut, thick nipples, feasting upon Tanner like a beggar at a banquet. His hands, meanwhile, slid down that sculptured chest again and over the flat stomach, finally settling upon the swollen, rigid length of the man's raging hunger.

Vin bucked wildly and cried out hoarsely as those talented hands stroked and fondled his burning cock, as that luscious mouth and teasing tongue ignited a thousand fires in his flesh. His breath tore from him in harsh, heaving gasps, and his heart pounded wildly against his ribs as Chris's fingers played agonizingly over his length. Then he was being pushed off Larabee's lap and back against the cushions, and strong hands were spreading his legs. All at once, a warm, wet tongue pressed itself to the head of his cock and Vin very nearly screamed.

"Oh, Jesus, Chris!" he gasped, arching his hips frantically upward as that tongue traced slow and lazy circles against his weeping cock, as it slid down the prominent vein and darted snakelike against his heavy balls, sending jolts of white heat streaking through every nerve in his body.

Chris grabbed Vin's hips and held him down, lost in his ardent adoration on his lover's exquisite body. He turned his head and pressed a series of slow, hungry kisses to the inside of one thigh, trailing his mouth along the tender flesh to Tanner's groin, then doing the same to the other. All the while, the rich, heady scent of Vin's arousal washed over him, filled him, heightening his own increasingly urgent need. Shuddering heavily as his desire coursed through him, he tightened his hold on Vin's thrashing hips and swept his tongue over Tanner's heavy balls, then downward to the puckered opening behind them.

"JESUS!" Vin yelped as that hot tongue rimmed his hole. He arched himself off the couch as Chris's mouth tortured him without mercy, his head twisting feverishly from side to side, his breath tearing from him in moans and whimpers, his every nerve consumed in white fire. "Oh, God! Oh, shit! Oh, GodGodshitGodshit..."

Hearing the pain in the torn and ragged voice, Chris knew it was time to end his partner's suffering. Raising his head slightly, he returned to Vin's cock and lapped his tongue slowly against it, working from its thick base to its spongy head, then took it into his mouth.

Vin howled hoarsely and bucked violently as the wet cavern of Chris's mouth engulfed him, as his lover began sucking at his shaft while kneading his balls and stroking his hole. The powerful rush of feelings, the ruthless assault upon his senses, sent him immediately over the edge, and his overwrought body responded in the only way it could.

"Jesus... Jesus... CHRIS!!" he screamed as he exploded into orgasm.

Larabee swallowed greedily as Vin erupted into his mouth, taking every drop of his lover's stream and working him for still more, sucking his cock and milking his balls, determined, desperate, to take every bit of Vin into himself that he could. When at last Tanner was empty, Chris let the softening flesh slip from his mouth and moved up, immediately claiming Vin's mouth in a slow, deep kiss.

Groaning softly, Vin opened his mouth to his lover's and closed trembling arms about him, clinging to the older man and pressing himself close against him, shivering in delight as Chris's warmth and strength began seeping into him. He could taste himself on his lover's lips and tongue, and marveled yet again that such a man as Chris Larabee should want to share this with him.

"Oh, God, cowboy, don't ever leave me!" he whispered against that mouth, running his hands through Larabee's hair.

Chris raised his head and gazed down at Vin, his green eyes heavy-lidded and smoky with desire. With love. "Don't intend to," he rasped. He pressed a trembling hand to Vin's face and caressed it slowly, his unsteady fingers lovingly tracing the level brows, the straight nose, the high cheekbones and beautifully sculpted jawline. "I've done a lotta stupid things in my life, Vin," he breathed, "but even I draw the line at that." He ran a callused thumb lightly over Tanner's full lips, smiling softly as they parted beneath the caress. "You got me well and truly hooked, cowboy, and there ain't a twelve-step program in the world that can help me."

Vin's sapphire eyes shimmered with light and love as he smiled up at his lover. In a flash of wickedness, he snaked out his tongue and lapped at Larabee's thumb before drawing the digit into his mouth and sucking happily on it.

Chris groaned as that sweet, talented mouth worked its wonders upon him. Not content with only his thumb, he took Chris's hand and, one by one, worked every finger, licking his way slowly between them and then up, taking one into his mouth and sucking long and hard upon it before moving onto the next.

Chris's whole body stiffened and trembled as Vin launched his sensual onslaught, and his breath escaped him in heavy, strangled gasps. To his delight -- and torment -- Tanner finished sucking on his pinky, licked his way down it and to the back of the hand, sucking then on each knuckle. All the while, the impossibly blue eyes stared up at him, dark and deep and wide, drawing his unresisting soul into them.

When Vin finished with Chris's right hand, he started on the left, repeating every step with delicious, agonizing slowness. He could feel the heat pouring from Larabee's taut, shaking body, could hear the hitching rasp of the man's fast breathing, could see the naked want in the blazing green eyes, and took unabashed delight in knowing this man -- this hard, fierce, unbreakable man -- was his, body and soul.

Larabee shuddered violently and groaned thickly as wave after wave of molten fire swept through him. His tortured cock, trapped between his and Vin's bodies, ached and throbbed hideously, and he shifted slightly, sliding a shaking hand toward it.

God, what Tanner did to him!

"Sorry, cowboy," Vin purred, grabbing Chris's wrist and holding it away from his cock. "No touchy, no feely." He licked the tip of Larabee's middle finger, then blew across it, laughing softly at his lover's strangled cry. "Got somethin' in mind fer that."

"Jesus, Vin," Chris croaked, his body darkly flushed and bathed in sweat, "you're killin' me!"

"Am I?" He frowned and made a soft "tsk"ing sound behind his teeth. "Now, that'd be a damn shame." He licked Chris's ring finger, and blew on it. "Real waste'a material." And he sucked Chris's pinky into his mouth.

"Goddamn you ta hell!" Chris shouted hoarsely, tearing his hand from Vin's mouth and grabbing the smaller man's shoulders, jerking him up into a fierce embrace and crushing Tanner's mouth to his. "Evil, evil bastard!" he snarled into that luscious, wicked mouth.

Vin groaned and buried his mouth in Larabee's, running his hands through the man's hair and down his back, pressing close against his lover as his need reignited. "Reckon I need ta be punished," he gasped, sliding his tongue over Chris's. "Reckon ya need ta teach me a lesson!"

"Reckon I do!" Chris growled. He flung out a hand behind him and groped blindly for the comforter draped over the back of the couch, still kissing Vin with a savage ferocity. Yanking the cover down, he shifted and lurched clumsily to his feet, pulling Vin up with him, never releasing him, never taking his mouth from him.

Together, their bodies still locked, their mouths still joined, they made their way around the coffee table, and Chris let the comforter fall to the floor. He wound both arms tightly about Vin and crushed the smaller man mercilessly to him, imprisoning him in a steel embrace.

"Goddamn your evil soul!" he whispered shakily into that mouth.

"Shut up and fuck me, you stupid bastard!" Vin growled, dropping to his knees and bringing Chris down with him. "Before one of us dies of old age!"

"Goddamn lippy kid!" Chris snarled, thrusting Vin to the floor and flipping him onto his stomach before the sharpshooter could react. Covering the slender body with his bigger, more powerful one, he buried his face in the thick hair at the nape of Vin's neck, holding his lover's wrists against the floor at his sides with iron hands. As Vin tensed and gasped, Chris found the skin beneath the hair and nipped sharply at it with his teeth.

Vin yelped in pain, then growled and purred in pleasure as Chris's mouth made love to his neck, shoulders and back. Heat pounded through him as his lover kissed and bit at his burning flesh, as Chris sucked at his shoulder blades and licked his way down his spine, showering a series of searingly tender kisses over its slightly misshapen curve near his hip. Then the mouth moved, lips, tongue and teeth were playing at his ass, and, before he knew it, Vin was thrusting himself up on his knees, moaning and whimpering in wordless invitation.

Chris tore his hands from Vin's and slid them down the young man's sides, grabbing his hips and steadying him. He swept his tongue down the cleft between the firm cheeks, rewarded by a sharp, incoherent plea. Then his mouth found what it sought, the dark and beckoning hole, and he seized greedily upon it.

Vin cried out hoarsely and thrust his hips upward as Chris's hot tongue penetrated him. Fire ripped through him and he cried out again, grabbing at Chris with one hand and at his swollen, needy cock with the other. Desperately in need of relief yet again, he began stroking himself with shaking fingers, panting harshly, heavily, as his heat continued to build.

"No, no, no," Chris rasped, reaching down to snatch Vin's hand from his cock. "No touchy, no feely, remember?"

"Fuck you!" Vin squeaked.

Chris raised his head and arched a golden brow. "Thought you wanted me ta fuck you," he said. "Unless my hearing and memory are failin' in my old age."

"Just do it then!" Vin pleaded, rocking back and forth on his knees and knotting his fingers in the comforter as pain and frustration swept through him. "Please!" he almost sobbed.

"Ssh, hush, hush," Chris soothed, leaning over to place a tender kiss against Vin's back. "Gonna take care of ya, cowboy, I promise. Just gotta get somethin' ta help us along."

"Got... salsa," Vin rasped, fighting the urge to clutch at his aching cock.

Chris chuckled and lightly slapped Vin's ass. "Don't think so, pard. You're hot enough without that stuff. Be right back."

"Oh, shit, I'm gonna die!" Vin whined as Chris rose to his feet and left.

Chris laughed again, deeply satisfied, as always, that he could reduce the coolly composed and utterly unflappable Vin Tanner to such wretched helplessness, and equally pleased that the man could do the same to him. It was amazing, he thought, what love could do.

He went to the small table at the end of the couch, yanked open the drawer and pulled out the tube of thick lotion, then quickly returned to Vin. Kneeling once more behind the sharpshooter, he pressed himself against that alluring ass, sliding his thick cock between the firm cheeks.

"Miss me?" he whispered roughly as Vin yelped and bucked.

"Bastard!" Vin hissed. "Fuck you... no... oh... God, fuck me!"

Chris slid his length again between Vin's cheeks and against his balls, slowly sawing in and out. "Ain't God," he ground out between tightly clenched teeth, feeling his own heat rising to a dangerous pitch. "But I guess I'll have ta do." He opened the tube and poured a generous amount of the thick, oily lotion into his hands, still sliding himself back and forth against Vin. Tanner was whimpering, almost sobbing, and Chris knew the young man was close. "Easy, pard," he breathed, coating his fingers heavily, "gonna help ya now." He slid a finger carefully into the tight opening.

Vin cried out sharply and thrust violently against Chris as that finger penetrated him. Shudders racked him and breathless moans escaped him as Chris skillfully worked his opening. Again he reached for his cock, and again had his hand snatched away.

"Ssh, ssh," Chris soothed, holding Vin's wrist in one hand, and softening his hole with the other. As the tight ring softened slightly, he slipped a second finger inside, still murmuring to Vin as he continued to stretch him. Tanner was thrusting himself against the fingers now, and that movement was adding to Chris's own heat, was sending shards of pain through every nerve ending in his cock. He added a third finger, worked them a few moments longer, then withdrew them, drawing a soft cry of abandonment from Vin. "Easy, pard," he consoled, pouring more lotion and slathering it over his hard length, then positioning himself at Vin's opening. "Gonna put us outta our misery now," he whispered, pressing himself into his lover.

"JESUS!" Vin shrieked as Chris entered him and slid slowly inside. He stiffened at the momentary pain, but felt Chris's strong, sure hands upon him, helping him through it until his body adjusted to the intrusion. Then another sensation gripped him, tearing a thick groan from him. "Please... now," he gasped in torment. "Need ya... ta move!"

Chris nodded tightly, but could not speak, could barely keep himself from thrusting furiously into Vin as the wet heat of the tight channel engulfed him. Clutching at Tanner's narrow hips, controlling himself with an iron will, he pressed slowly, slowly forward, then pulled back just as slowly until only his head remained. His wrenching gasp mingled with Vin's breathless cry as he slid in again, sheathing himself in Tanner's body.

The long, sure strokes were an agony for Vin, and he began thrusting himself against Chris, desperate for more. Gradually, they built into their familiar rhythm, coming together with a mounting intensity, driven wild by the perfect union of their bodies. Imbedded in Vin, surrounded by the heat that fed his own, Chris leaned forward with a sharp hiss and found Vin's cock, closing long fingers about its hard length and working it in time to the movements of his hips.

Vin cried out in wordless agony at the shattering assault upon his senses. Chris's heat and hardness pounded mercilessly through him, while the man's hands wrought exquisite torment upon his throbbing cock. Stripped of all reason, driven beyond conscious thought, he simply reacted in mindless ecstasy, thrusting ever harder against the flesh that filled him, driving ever deeper into the hands that pumped him.

That wildness unleashed an answering ferocity in Chris, shattered all restraint and loosed the full force of his hunger. He could no more control himself than he could lasso a tornado, and so merely hung on and rode out the raging storm that was his need for Vin Tanner.

And when it came, release hit them both with an elemental fury. Chris surged deep into Vin, felt the tight passage grow tighter still as Tanner contracted his muscles, and hissed as the pleasure of it exploded through him. Unable to help himself, to stop himself, he trust frantically into his lover, sending them both over the edge as he rammed against Vin's gland and erupted with a staggering force.

Vin howled as Chris came inside him, and as his own seed shot from him in a burning stream. He strained and drove into Chris's hand, loosing another cry as those masterful hands pumped him dry.

"Oh, Jesus!" he gasped at last, collapsing onto the comforter, weak, trembling and spent.

Chris dropped at Vin's side, then reached out with shaking arms to pull his lover to him. Cradling the smaller man against him, pressing Vin's head to his chest and resting a cheek against the tousled hair, he closed his eyes and tried to will breath and strength into himself.

Vin slid an arm around the powerful chest, smiling tiredly as he listened to the strong beat of Chris's heart. "Reckon this here's what they call 'the thrill of defeat,'" he managed to rasp.

Chris chuckled deep in his throat, resting a hand against Vin's back. "Hate ta tell ya, pard, but it's 'the agony of defeat.'"

Vin shook his head and pressed a light kiss to Larabee's chest. "Nope. Not with you doin' ta me what you jist done. That was definitely a thrill."

"Just wanted to make ya feel better," Chris said softly, combing gentle fingers through Tanner's tangled hair. "I'm sorry about the game, sorry the Cowboys letcha down."

"'S all right," Vin breathed. Raising his head from Chris's chest, he gazed down into the glowing green eyes and ran a feather-light forefinger over the chiseled jaw. "Dallas Cowboys might break my heart, but I got me a Colorado cowboy ta put the pieces back together."

"Always," Chris breathed, pulling Vin's head down and claiming that sweet mouth with his own. "Any time you need me."


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