Deja Vu I:
Wounded Doves

Orithain and Rina

November 2002

Disclaimers: You don't actually think they belong to us, do you? If they did, we'd be off on a cruise ship somewhere. All things OaT belong to Alliance-Atlantis, and Kindred: The Embraced and all its characters belong to John Leekley Productions and White Wolf Publications.

Zane sat on a street corner in downtown Vancouver, singing one of the songs he'd composed and accompanying himself on the guitar that was almost the last thing he owned, and he wondered again if he hadn't been too quick to leave San Francisco. But there had been something about that woman... she'd creeped him out.

He'd been singing on the streets at home too, usually managing to bring in enough money to support himself and his habits, when one night this gorgeous woman had offered to 'save' him. She said she was a club owner and she could make him a star, but there'd been something in her eyes... Zane had taken her card and said he'd come see her the next day.

Instead he'd gone straight home, packed his few possessions, and hopped on a bus going as far as he could afford. That had brought him to Vancouver, fortunately in the summer, and here he was. An illegal alien with no place to call home, no money, and no fucking source of drugs!

He sang his songs, hoping to get enough cash to score something that night if he could find a dealer. He was getting desperate now that his stash had run out. Seeing a gorgeous guy approach, Zane allowed himself to fantasize about getting fucked while high, something he hadn't felt in longer than he cared to remember.

Running through the list of restaurants he wanted to try while he was in Vancouver, Victor Mansfield strolled down the sidewalk. Half his attention was on the recipe he wanted to try out tonight while the rest kept an eye on the area around him. He wasn't expecting any trouble, but you never knew; this neighborhood was bordering on bad, and it didn't pay to let your guard down.

He heard the music before he saw the source, and curiosity had him turning down a side street in search of whoever was playing it. The guitar player was leaning against the brick wall of a building, his head bent over his instrument as he played. Vic stopped, head cocked to the side, amazed by the man's singing and playing. God, he was talented; he should be on stage somewhere, not out here playing for loose change.

Reality hit as to the probable reason that the guy was playing on the street, and Vic sighed even as he dug into his wallet, pulling out a twenty and stepping forward.

Bending over, he set the bill down in the musician's case, turning his head to catch the other man's eye. "You're good, man. Do me a favor and use this on food and somewhere to sleep rather than..." The singer looked up at that, and Vic's jaw dropped as he stared into soulful brown eyes.

"Mac? What the fuck are you doing out there?" Shit, if he'd just screwed up surveillance for an assignment, the Director would have his balls for earrings.

About to thank the guy for the twenty, Zane stopped and eyed him strangely for the last comment. "Hey, sorry, guy, I think you have me mixed up with someone else. The name's Zane. I don't know any Mac." Fuck, this guy was gorgeous. Zane figured he was worth a few jerk-off fantasies, much better than any of the girls he'd run into since hitting this town. "But thanks for the cash, man."

He had enough for a meal, a bottle, and a place to sleep for the night, so Zane figured he should get out while he could. The way this guy was looking at him was really weird, and he'd had enough weirdness, thank you very much. "I will get dinner with this," he said, brandishing the bill. "Thanks again."

He'd gathered his money up and was ready to go, just hoping that this guy wouldn't do anything weird. He had a knife in his boot, but he'd really hate to mess up someone this pretty.

Frowning now, Vic took a step back but kept staring at the younger man. "C'mon, stop the act, Mac. If you're onto something, just tell me. We're supposed to be working together on this, remember?"

He ran a hand through his hair, wondering if he had, indeed, missed something in the briefing, but he could have sworn he hadn't. In fact, when he'd left the hotel earlier, Mac had been snoring up a storm in the next room, the connecting door open. Looking, if he dared to admit it, even in the privacy of his own mind, like a little kid and damned cute to boot.

Zane backed away, giving himself some room to maneuver. "Look, I told you, my name is Zane. Zee-A-N-E, Zane. My name is not Mac, and I've never seen you before in my life." Shit, and they said drugs were bad? This guy was way out there, and he seemed clean.

"Why don't you go find your friend, and I'll just be on my way," he suggested, backing up a little more toward the corner, ready to bolt.

"Okay, okay, buddy, just take it easy." Vic held his hands up, trying to appear as harmless and calm as possible. He didn't want the other guy to run, not before he figured out what was going on here anyway.

"You just really look like a friend of mine is all. Listen, I'm Vic. How about I let you keep that money for later and get you a meal right now? You look like you could use something real to eat. Nothing else, just food, okay?"

Looking closer, Vic saw that while this guy could be Mac's twin, he was also dirty, scruffy and thinner than his partner, all things Mac would never let himself get if at all possible. But if this guy wasn't Mac undercover, just who was he? Even though he tried to steel himself against it, Vic felt all his protective instincts come to bear on the stranger. Wounded dove complex. Mac would ride his ass for the next month over this one.

Don't I wish, he thought, shaking his head to clear the errant thought away, concentrating on the wary man in front of him again.

Zane eyed the guy, Vic, warily, wondering if a free meal was worth taking a chance with a potential nutcase. He seemed like a nice guy, but didn't the neighbors always say that about serial killers? Still, if he was going to kill him, it wasn't like his life was anything spectacular, and at least he'd get a meal first. He shrugged.

"Okay, dinner it is. I'm not exactly dressed for the Ritz or anything though," he pointed out. He wished he was. He'd love a good steak, but if Vic wanted to spring for Mickey D's, hell, he'd take it.

Vic had to smile at that; at least the guy seemed to have a sense of humor. "Nah, not the Ritz type myself. I was thinking more of this place I heard about, has good normal food, good music and good dr- coffee. Work by you?"

Zane had to laugh at Vic's obvious attempt not to mention alcohol. "It's your dime, man. Anything's fine by me. And for the record, I'm many things, but an alcoholic isn't one of them." He knew Vic probably wouldn't believe him, but alcohol had never been his drug of choice; he usually just got sick. Pills were the way.

He hefted his guitar case, then smiled inquisitively at Vic. "After you?"

Shaking his head in wonder, Vic watched Zane devour the food on his plate. It was plain the guy hadn't been eating well at all, and he'd urged the younger man several times to order more. This place wasn't too expensive, and even so, he hated to see anyone wanting.

"So, where'd you learn to play the guitar like that?" he asked, being careful not to ask anything leading about Zane's past or current situation.

Zane paused in his eating - he was starting to slow down a little anyhow - and looked up at Vic. "I just always did. I can't remember the first time I picked up a guitar or sang, literally. My parents got me lessons when I was young. I wanted a career, and I actually started to make a name for myself. Then the drugs caught up with me; I screwed up gigs a few times; next thing I knew, no one would have anything to do with me. So here I am." He shrugged as if to say it was no big deal.

Vic's eyes darkened in sympathy, but he tried not to show it otherwise. Zane didn't seem like the type who'd appreciate open empathy. "But which do you want more?" he asked quietly, lifting his glass of beer and taking a drink, watching the other man the whole time. Maybe it was because of Zane's eerie similarity to Mac in looks, but he wanted to help the kid any way he could.

"If you could choose one, would it be the drugs or the music?"

Zane froze. It was such a simple question, so basic, and yet he'd never put it to himself in just that way. Because you didn't want to, asshole. You knew what the answer would be, and you didn't want to have to deal with it. He stared at Vic almost helplessly, brown eyes suddenly filled with sorrow. "The music," he said softly. "Always the music."

He looked down. "But it's too late. I fucked up, and now the drugs let me forget or at least not care as much for a little while." He smiled painfully. "Pretty stupid, huh?"

Vic shook his head, feeling his heart twist in sympathy at the forlorn look on Zane's face. It was an expression he'd seen on Mac once or twice, first when learning that Li Ann and he were engaged, more lately during the whole mess with Michael and Pucci that had almost gotten them all killed. It always made him want to hug the younger agent, and now seeing it on another man's face had nearly the same result.

"Won't argue with you there. Never saw what was so amazing about taking stuff that could kill you every time you snorted or injected it, but that's just me; too straight-laced for my own good as I've often been told." He smiled at that, hoping his own self-deprecating behavior would put the other man at ease.

"And I don't know about it being too late. People get second chances all the time; it's what you do with them that counts. You've got a gift, Zane. You should share it, not hide it away behind a screen of dope."

Zane stared down into his Pepsi, unable to meet the other man's eyes. "I'm not sure I can anymore," he admitted painfully, wondering what it was about this man that made him look at himself and answer honestly. "I don't think I remember how to be me without the drugs anymore. I don't know where to start." He nervously toyed with the silverware, watching his hands move rather than meet Victor's gaze, not wanting to see the familiar disappointment and disgust there.

The Director was going to kill him. Mac was going to kill him. Hell, even Jackie and Li Ann were going to kill him, but he couldn't turn his back on this wounded kid - and that was precisely what Zane was.

Reaching out, Vic placed his hands over Zane's, quieting their fidgeting. "You start by letting people help you. You took the first step when you didn't bolt on me; now take another. Let me help you, Zane. I know people who have... resources. It won't be easy, but we can help you beat this thing so you can know yourself again."

Zane stared at their overlapping hands, and he slowly released his grip on the flatware. Even more slowly, he turned his hand over beneath Vic's, then their fingers meshed as Zane gripped the other man's hand like a lifeline. "Why do you care?" he asked, finally raising his eyes to meet the warm green gaze across the table. "Is it because I look like that guy Mac?" He couldn't imagine that Vic would actually care about a total stranger like this, but he had said that Zane reminded him of a friend of his.

"No," Vic began, before realizing that he shouldn't--couldn't--lie to the younger man. "Maybe a little, but other than looks, you're not anything like Mac. He calls me a do-gooder out to save the world; if I can do something to help someone, I will. Question is, are you going to let me?"

A harsh laugh was Zane's immediate response. "Saving the world would probably be easier," he rasped. "But... I'd like to try." He smiled crookedly. "Don't know how good at it I'll be, but I'll try. Good thing I'm not a Jedi, huh?" He tried to lighten the mood.

Vic squeezed the other man's fingers tightly for a second before drawing his hand back, his eyes sparkling as he laughed but still holding a note of seriousness. "There is no try, only do," he quoted, using his best attempt at a Yoda voice. "And the first part of doing is to get you full. Want something else? Another steak? Some dessert? Coffee?"

Finally comfortably filled, Zane was about to refuse when he spotted a waitress carrying a dessert to a nearby table. A chocoholic's dream, it had a fudge brownie base, chocolate ice-cream with chocolate chunks and fudge swirl, and hot fudge and dark chocolate chips poured over the whole thing. Eyes wide, he watched it all the way to the table, only managing to pry his eyes away from it when the teenaged couple began eating it. A bedazzled expression on his face, he turned back to Vic. "That!"

Trying his best not to grin at the wide-eyed wonder on Zane's face, Vic waved the waitress over and ordered one of the chocolate monstrosities and a cup of decaf coffee for himself. "You sure you can eat all that?" he teased, grinning at Zane, enjoying the way the other man's world-weary mask had fallen away, at least for the moment. That was something else he and Mac had in common. It didn't happen often, but once in a while, he'd see behind the front his partner put up and know that there was a lot more to Mac Ramsey than the high maintenance flirt he pretended to be. What Vic did wonder was what lay behind Zane's mask.

Zane hunched over the chocolate concoction, brandishing his spoon like a sword. "Don't even think about touching my chocolate!" he threatened, narrowing his eyes and trying not to laugh. For the first time in a long time, he felt carefree, and it was thanks to this man whose whole name he didn't even know. "Thank you," he said suddenly, smiling sincerely at Vic. "No matter what happens, thank you."

He dipped the spoon into the treat, then held it out to Vic, offering him a bite.

Vic's smile died away at Zane's words but bloomed again at the offer. He was right; there was a really good, not to mention gorgeous, person under the street-grimed and hardened exterior. "I know what's going to happen," he answered, meeting Zane's eyes, his expression resolute. "You're going to beat this thing, and I'm going to do whatever I can to help."

Saying that, he leaned forward and closed his lips around the spoon, giving a soft moan at the rich taste of the chocolate sliding down his throat. A flare of heat blossomed in the pit of his stomach as he watched Zane's eyes fix on his lips, but Vic shoved it down resolutely. He wanted to help the kid, not anything more. Besides, that would be too much like messing around with Mac, and he didn't want that - did he?

Watching Vic eat the chocolate was a sensual experience in itself, one that had Zane shifting in his chair as his jeans grew overly tight. He wanted the other man badly, wanted the oblivion of sex, the so often missing closeness of feeling another person touch him in any way, and most of all Vic himself. He wanted Vic to touch him, and he stared at the older man with naked need in his eyes.

Taking a sip of his coffee, Vic looked up from his cup to see if Zane was all right, and his mouth went dry. Despite the fact that he had his dessert sitting in front of him, Zane was looking at him like he was the true dessert and one he wanted to eat whole.

Vic swallowed, his pulse rate increasing as he tried to ignore the blatant carnality of Zane's expression. It was amazingly close to the wolfish look Mac got when chasing women, but Vic had never had it directed at him before, and he had to admit he liked it. "Your ice cream's melting," he husked, managing to look away and concentrate on his coffee again. He was trying to help this kid; getting ideas like that didn't mix with that at all.

Zane's eyes flickered down to the melting chocolate, then rose again to meet Vic's helplessly. "Heat'll do that," he said softly, then raised a spoonful to his mouth, his tongue appearing to lick it sensually.

"Yeah, it does tend to," Vic rasped, forcing himself to look away from the carnal sight of Zane lapping at the dripping treat. "Do you need to go somewhere to collect your stuff?"

"C-collect my stuff?" Zane stuttered, a spoonful of melting chocolate ice cream forgotten halfway to his mouth. Vic couldn't mean what he thought he meant--could he? "I'm not checking myself into some clinic, Vic," he warned harshly. "I don't do well locked up." Oh please, let him mean that he wanted to take Zane home with him! Zane knew that given enough time, he could get past whatever was holding Vic back so they could enjoy each other. Back before all this, he never had trouble getting the lovers he wanted.

Victor frowned slightly at that and at the realization that he was going to have to get Zane back to Toronto with him if he wanted to help the other man. "I didn't mean to go to a clinic, Zane," he soothed, catching the singer's hand in his again, feeling the racing of his pulse under the skin there. "I meant back to the hotel with me and then, if you're serious, back to Toronto when my business here is done. No clinics though, I've seen enough of some of them not to trust them."

"With you?" Zane repeated, starting to feel like a parrot, mimicking everything Vic said. "Why would you want to do that?" he demanded, startled. "Shit, Vic, you can't take home every hard luck case you meet." Jesus, it looked like Vic was the one who needed protecting from himself. Zane decided that he needed to keep the older man from getting himself into trouble, so he nodded. "Okay," he said slowly. "But... Toronto?"

"I don't take home every hard luck case I meet," the older man answered flatly, before breathing deeply and putting aside his defensiveness. It wasn't Zane's fault that Mac had him touchy about that subject. "As for why I want to... I don't know; I just do, okay? And yes, Toronto, gotta go back there or my ass will be grass."

Zane chewed his lip uncertainly, then hid behind more of his dessert. Was this guy for real? Did he dare take a chance and trust him? And what the hell was he going to do in Toronto? "It snows there!" he suddenly remembered, sounding disgusted. Even as he spoke, however, warily hopeful brown eyes rose to meet Vic's, the expression in them reminiscent of a puppy who's been abused but who still wants to trust.

Vic chuckled. "And it rains a lot here. Me, I prefer the snow, nothing better than curling up in front of a fireplace while it snows outside." He squeezed Zane's hand once, then let go. "You still game for giving it a try?"

"I... Yeah. But uh...donvarfr," he mumbled, blushing and staring down at his plate.

"What?" Vic asked, tilting his head and straining to hear as Zane repeated his mumbled sentence a tiny bit more clearly. "Hey. I didn't expect that you did have airfare. It's on me, same as dinner. A gift. No strings, nothing expected in return except for you to try to kick the junk. And to remember me if you get famous." He smiled faintly at the last.

Zane raised his head, meeting Vic's eyes. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to repay you," he admitted painfully. "And I still don't understand why you want to do this, but... thanks." Glancing around, he saw that most of the place had emptied out in the time they'd been there, so he half stood up and leaned over the table to kiss Vic quickly.

Vic blinked, then smiled, shaking his head even as he tried to quell his reaction to Zane's actions. "You can repay me by helping someone else when they need it, okay?" Glancing at the now melted dessert, he smiled again. "And if you're done with that, maybe we should see about finding you a bed?"

With his own glance at the mess on his plate, Zane nodded. As he stood up, he wondered if he was going to have to jump Vic and tie him down to get through to him. Even if Vic hadn't been trying to help him, he'd have wanted him, but his genuine niceness just made him all the more attractive. "You sure you're gonna be okay with me at the hotel with you? What about this Mac guy?" He surprised himself with a twinge of jealousy at the thought of someone else who had a claim on Vic's time.

Vic shrugged as he stood. "Separate rooms, which is a damn good thing considering who Mac brings home." He frowned again after that, both at the memory of when it had happened frequently and the idea that of late Mac hadn't bragged about dating at all. "Besides, he's my partner, not my mother. That role goes to my... boss. Now come on, you can get a shower and some sleep."

Hopefully not too much sleep, Zane thought but didn't say. Aloud, he simply agreed and followed Vic back out to his car, silently plotting how he would end up in the other man's bed that night. He had no intention of lying across the room from the gorgeous do-gooder when he could be getting his brains fucked out. Now how to convince Vic?

Deciding not to press the issue till later, not wanting to make Vic shy away, Zane behaved on the way to the hotel, answering some of Vic's questions but avoiding any about his family. "Look, Vic," he said finally, "that part of my life is over. I'm dead to them, and I refuse to even use their name anymore. It's just Zane now."

Waiting until he'd pulled into a parking space and turned off the engine, Vic turned his full attention to the man sitting next to him. "You don't have to explain, Zane. Hell, my folks probably wish I'd drop 'Mansfield' at times, and I can't say I haven't thought about it, especially when... A few years ago. But hell, you keep going, right? Keep going and things'll get better."

"They already have," Zane murmured before getting out of the car, not wanting to get into an emotional scene. "So come on, show me this room," he called back over his shoulder, heading for the elevator. "I need to see if you're keeping me in sufficient luxury."

Snorting lightly, Vic had to wonder if Zane was more like Mac than he'd thought in the beginning. "And if I'm not?" he joked, running his key card through the reader before opening the door to the perfectly serviceable hotel room - the hotel room with just a king-sized bed in it. Fuck.

"Looks like we need to share tonight; hope it's not a bother. I'd change rooms, but this one adjoins Mac's, and that's important."

"No problem," Zane replied with commendable understatement. No way Vic was getting away from him now. "And if you don't keep me in the luxury to which I'm accustomed," he laughed, "I'll just have to bitch and moan about it till you do." He smiled wickedly.

"Nice try, kiddo," Vic laughed, plucking the pillow off the bed and tossing it at Zane. "But I have a high tolerance for bitching and moaning, have had to put up with it for years!"

Zane caught the pillow and started to pummel Vic with it, laughing almost giddily in reaction to the release of tension. "Aha, a challenge!" he gloated. "That means I get to see how much you can take." By now, he was kneeling on the bed, straddling Vic as he whacked him with the pillow.

As he lay there, arms crossed in front of his face, Vic gave in to his laughter. He had no illusions that he could take Zane down and out before the younger man knew what hit him, but just to play like this was wonderful. "Brave words from someone with all the ammo!"

"If you think you're gonna talk me into handing the pillow over, you're nuts!" Zane snorted. "You're goin' down, Vic!" He laughed uncontrollably as he continued his attack, the blows weak with laughter.

"Hand it over? Maybe I'll just take it from you then!" With a quick move, Vic had the pillow in his hand and Zane under him, their faces only a hand span apart as they laughed, their breath brushing each other's faces.

Vic fell quiet as his eyes locked with Zane's then he started to roll off the other man, not wanting to admit to the heat that blossomed in his stomach at the expression on Zane's face. "It's late, should get some sleep."

Zane's arms came up around Vic, holding him in place. "Don't go," he begged quietly, raising his head to press his lips to Vic's. "Please, Vic, I want you so bad."

"Zane..." Victor's voice was hoarse, and his eyes were wide, his senses filled with Zane's touch, taste and smell. "I can't - it wasn't about this. I just wanted to help..." He broke off, his mouth full of Zane's tongue, and suddenly Vic didn't want to fight it any more. Groaning, he stopped pulling back and began participating in the kiss, his tongue sliding against Zane's, his fingers carding through the younger man's soft hair.

Moaning his pleasure when Vic started kissing him back, Zane went boneless, collapsing under him in a sensual sprawl. His mouth sought Vic's hungrily, tongues tangling together, then parting to explore each other's mouth, his body arching upward to rub their groins together. It felt so good, so right and hot. He wanted so much.

"Zane- " Vic tried once more to pull back from the other man but found it impossible with Zane's fingers clenched in his hair and shirt. He could feel the hard length of the younger man's erection pushing up at him, burning him even through the layers of cloth that separated them.

His own cock was throbbing, aching, and it was all Vic could do not to pull apart the fabric of their clothes and rub himself catlike all over Zane's body, marking the other man as under his protection if not as his possession.

"Yesss," Zane purred, fighting to pull Vic closer, his own hips thrusting upward to rub against the hard cock he could feel, whimpering when their erections stroked over each other. God, it felt so good, almost as good as getting Vic inside him would, but he didn't think he could last that long, at least not this time.

The musician's legs rose to twine around the other man's waist, aligning their cocks perfectly, and he writhed and moaned beneath him.

"Yeah," Vic echoed, beyond caring that their clothes were going to be a sticky mess when this was over, that Mac might overhear, or that he hadn't come from dry humping someone in at least a decade. Continuing to plunder Zane's mouth, Vic slid a hand down to the other man's ass, kneading his butt at the same time he pulled them tighter together, the tension rippling through his body duplicated in the other man's.

Tiny whimpers fell from Zane's lips, swallowed by the voracious mouth covering his, and he squirmed and humped against the gorgeous cop hungrily, his whole body shuddering as the pleasure mounted. Christ, he was enjoying humping Vic more than he had fucking anyone else in years! The added pressure of Vic's hand on his ass only made it better, made him more eager, and his cries increased in volume as he started to shake, his body trembling on the brink of orgasm.

The second he felt Zane shudder under him and the warm dampness begin to seep through their clothes, Vic came as well, his orgasm ripping up from the depths of his soul, leaving him breathless, sweaty and shaken from the force of it.

Once he was able to catch his breath, he lifted his head to look down into Zane's passion-dazed eyes and gave a half-smile. "Damn..." he murmured, reaching up to stroke the younger man's tousled hair.

"Wow," Zane replied fervently, a sated smile curling his lips. Finally forcing dazed brown eyes open, he stared up at Vic, arms and legs still wrapped around him. "That was amazing," he panted, tiny aftershocks still rippling through him.

"Can we sleep like this?" he asked wistfully, feeling comfortable and cared for and not wanting to move. He loved the sensation of Vic stretched out on top of him, his weight a pleasurable burden.

"May want to get out of these wet clothes and into something clean first," Vic replied before kissing Zane lightly, then more thoroughly as he'd found he really enjoyed the younger man's taste. "But after that... I like the idea too; you're really comfortable, y'know."

He also had the feeling that Zane wasn't going to have a quiet night, depending on what he was hooked on, and if his being there helped the other man, well, Vic was all for that - and for distracting him any way he could.

"Mmmm, a shower together sounds good," Zane agreed eagerly, trying to ignore the faint tremors deep in his muscles. Fuck, what had he been thinking to let himself get addicted to that shit? Then again, how was he to know that his life wasn't over, that he would meet someone like Vic and it would actually make a difference?

He smiled crookedly at Vic. "That means you have to get off me first though," he pointed out. "Temporarily, at least."

Vic laughed at that. "That does mean you have to let go of me," he retorted, shifting a hand to tweak Zane's nose. "Temporarily of course."

"Oh, yeah, I guess that would help, wouldn't it?" Zane grinned, unabashed, releasing the other man and stretching luxuriously beneath him. "Man, I feel better than I have in... I don't remember how long." He lay supine, perfectly content to remain where he was, wet, sticky pants notwithstanding, until Vic decided to move.

Sitting up and stretching, grimacing at the feel of cool, wet fabric sliding over his skin, Vic still had to smile. Zane looked like a lost, dirty kid lying there, but, damn, the man was no kid; that was for sure. "Once you get cleaned up, and have a good night's rest, I bet you feel even better," he murmured, scooting off the bed and tugging Zane's foot to get the other man moving as well. "And hurry it up, kiddo, or I'll use all the hot water, and you'll be stuck."

Kiddo? Zane snorted slightly. "Yeah, right, old man. You need me to wash your back, old and creaky as you are. You could never reach it yourself," he taunted laughingly, giving the tremors a chance to subside before sitting up and gracefully swinging to his feet to follow the other man into the bathroom. His clothes formed a broken trail behind him, leaving him naked by the time he reached the shower, not sure if he was looking forward to the hot water or touching Vic more.

"Oooo, that wounded me to the core!" Vic snorted, popping his head out of the shower and holding the door so that Zane could join him. At the same time, he got his first look at his - well, his new lover's unclad body, and he could only say he approved. Zane was too thin, and there were some disturbing scars on the insides of his arms, but, on the whole, he was beautiful.

Must be what Mac looks like nude too... he mused, before shaking his head, promising himself he was not going to compare his partner and Zane, especially in this way! "Come on in and clean off, brat, then we can both rest. Since I'm so old and all, I obviously need it."

"Yeah, you need to rest up so you can keep up with me," Zane retorted, sliding in against the older man, rubbing against him far more than was necessary in the spacious enclosure, but neither man seemed to mind. Soap in one hand, he paused, pressing close and kissing Vic hungrily, needing the reassurance that yes, there really was someone with him, someone who cared if he lived or died.

Stroking Zane's back slowly, trying to decide if the other man needed reassurance or comforting or something else, Vic fell into the kiss with abandon, only breaking it when their feet threatened to slip out from under them. "I don't think keeping up with you will be a problem," he murmured. "I have three partners who are all between ten and fifteen years younger than I am, and I manage to survive just fine with them."

"Well, unless you're partners in more than work, I'm planning to give you more of a workout than they ever could," Zane purred, a hand curving over Vic's ass as he pressed close. "You know what they say about guys, always thinking about sex."

Still grinning, he lathered up his hands and began to stroke them over Vic, admiring the firmly muscled, lean body that he was eager to explore.

Vic colored slightly at that and coughed as if to clear his throat. At Zane's questioning look, he offered a small grin. "Well, I was engaged to one of them - until she decided she'd rather be just friends." The last was said in a slightly wistful tone although Vic had long ago recovered from Li Ann dumping him. There was also the strange semi-flirtation he seemed to have with Jackie and even, or so it seemed, with Mac at times, and God, how could he ever explain the Director to Zane?

Eyebrows rising, Zane shrugged slightly. "Well, her loss is my gain. And quite a gain it is too. Or is there someone else?" he questioned, a bit worried. It didn't make sense that someone who looked like Vic and who was actually a nice guy too should be alone. He stared down into the gorgeous green eyes, hands still stroking soap over him, waiting nervously for the reply.

"Nah." Vic smiled ruefully and curved a hand around Zane's neck to draw him in for a kiss. "I have a really bad track record in relationships, so I've just avoided them lately - until now when it seems that I've fallen into one without looking." He looked back at Zane on the last, hoping that this wasn't just a repayment for the help he was giving the younger man.

The sunny smile that blossomed on Zane's face at that comment made him look his age for a change, and he hugged Vic delightedly. "Glad to hear I'm not alone in this," he replied, trying not to sound as excited as he felt. "How did I ever get lucky enough to meet you?"

"No clue," Vic laughed, shivering a bit at the warmth that blossomed inside him at Zane's response. "But I'm not complaining one bit." The water pressure dropped suddenly, and he glanced up at the showerhead. "Mac's back. How about we get cleaned up and curl up in bed? I... I'll introduce the two of you tomorrow."

A bit curious about this partner he kept hearing about, Zane would still rather crawl into bed with Vic than just about anything, so meeting the other man was a far distant second choice. "Sounds good to me," he replied, head falling back to allow the water to pour over him as he luxuriated in the steamy heat. His life, which only that morning he wouldn't have regretted saying good-bye to, was now something to look forward to, just as soon as he got himself cleaned up.

"Thank you," he said softly, his heart in his eyes as he looked at Vic.

Vic shook his head and pressed a soft kiss against Zane's full lips when he started to speak. "Nothing to thank me for. It was and is my pleasure, and as soon as we get you off the junk, it'll be even better, right?"

Pulling Zane from the shower after turning off the water, he wrapped the taller man in a towel and carefully dried him off, shooing him toward the bed before running the thick terrycloth over himself as well. "Need anything?" he asked, pausing by the mini-fridge and looking over to where Zane was curled up under the blankets.

"Just you... and maybe some water for later," he added as an afterthought. "I'm going to get thirsty when I'm coming off the shit," he admitted shamefaced, looking down, unable to meet Vic's eyes. "But right now, all I want is you." He looked over at Vic pleadingly, anxious to feel the older man's arms around him again and the pleasurable weight of his body pressing him into the mattress.

"You've got 'em both," Vic promised, grabbing a bottle of water out of the fridge and setting it on the bedside table before climbing into bed beside Zane and curling up around and over the other man. "If you feel sick or anything, let me know, okay?" he murmured, resting his forehead against Zane's for a moment, his expression serious.

Zane nodded, knowing from the bone-deep tremors that this was going to be a long night, but the gorgeous, green-eyed man wrapped around him was more than worth it. "You'll be the first to know," he said wryly, cuddling close. "And hopefully not because I got sick on you." He didn't want to scare the other man away, but he had to be honest about what Vic might be in for.

"It's not going to be pretty, you know."

"I've been through worse," Vic promised. "Can't be any more horrific than getting shot by clowns." He gave a small smile at the last. "I'll do what I can, Zane, I promise. Once we get back to Toronto and get you straightened out, then we'll have a big celebration. Just think of that and maybe it'll help."

"I'll think of you," Zane vowed fervently. "That's all I need, Vic." He eyed the older man curiously. "But... shot by clowns?" He started to laugh, looking at Vic expectantly as he shifted a little to find a comfortable position.

"Told you it was bad," the older man smiled, glad that his confession had distracted Zane, at least for now. "And it was on a case, a bunch of fur-thieving clowns who decided that I'd look better with a piercing somewhere other than my ear."

"Fur-thieving clowns?" Zane laughed harder, shaking his head. "Please, no more. Man, I thought my life was weird. Maybe I'll end up protecting you," he said, obscurely pleased by the notion. He liked the idea of contributing something Vic needed, of not simply being a drain on the other man. Maybe, just maybe he would try to get a musical career started again. When he'd been younger, they'd told him that he had the kind of voice that made stars, and God knew he had lots of experience that would make for some good songs. Maybe once he and Vic sorted themselves out...

"Sounds good to me." Vic sighed and rested his head on Zane's shoulder for a moment. "That mean you're going to be the responsible one? Wait, that means I have to be the frivolous one, and that just doesn't work too well with my personality. Guess we'll have to sort things out at they come."

"No way!" Zane sounded horrified at the idea of being responsible. "I just don't want to be a parasite, Vic. That doesn't mean I'm suddenly turning middle-aged," he teased lightly. "But sorting things out works for me... I like the long-term sound of that," he admitted almost shyly.

"Me too," Vic answered, his heart contracting at the young, almost innocent expression on Zane's face. "And don't worry, you aren't going to be a parasite. I'll come up with plenty for you to do around the place. As for middle-aged... I'm going to be there all too soon, so we'll see what you say about it then!"

"If you're middle-aged, then I have nothing to worry about," Zane scoffed, eyeing the fine body curled around him and pressing closer. "You're gorgeous, Vic." He remembered then that they would be going to Toronto, and he moaned faintly. "Oh God, Toronto gets snow!" He shuddered as he repeated his complaint. "Are you going to keep me warm, California boy that I am?" Suddenly a cold climate sounded good to him.

"Baby," Vic laughed, pulling the blanket up over them both and tucking it in around Zane's lean body. "Yes, I'll find a way to keep you warm, even if my heating bill costs me my paycheck to do it."

"You know, body heat is the most efficient way to keep warm... and it doesn't cost a thing," Zane murmured, somehow moving closer, still trying to tempt Vic into fucking him. "And it's definitely a lot more fun!"

"Body heat is fine, but if you want more, you've got to get off the junk," Vic said quietly even as he stroked a hand over Zane's back, feeling another shudder run through the younger man.

"You're a cruel man," Zane sulked, biting his lip as he stiffened, trying not to let the muscle spasm show even though he knew it was hopeless. "God, what does someone like you want with a fuck up like me?" He was so afraid that he'd found Vic but could never really have him... and there was still this mysterious Mac he apparently resembled to deal with.

Vic smiled and continued to stroke Zane's back, hoping the contact helped in some way. "Maybe to see you become the person I think you can be, the person you're hiding from."

Zane stared at him, both of them ignoring the tremors wracking his body, knowing there was nothing to be done but ride them out. "I'm not sure I know who that is anymore, Vic."

"Then we'll just ride this out and find him together," Vic promised, pulling Zane closer to him and kissing the younger man's forehead.

"You sure you want to go through all this with a junkie?" Zane asked bluntly, needing to know, not sure he could do this alone. "I'm not this guy Mac, you know. And I won't be even if I do get straight."

Vic frowned and pulled back enough so that he could look Zane in the eyes. "I know that, Zane. I know you aren't Mac and that you'll never be him. I don't want you to be him. What I do want is to help you and, once you've beaten the junk, to show you what I can really do in a bed." He offered a bit of a smile at the last.

Zane smiled finally. "With that for inspiration, this is going to be the fastest detox in the history of the world!"

"Fine by me." Vic pulled Zane close again. "Now try to get some sleep, kiddo, okay? Tomorrow's going to be a long one." And how, he thought. Tomorrow I get to explain this to Mac.

END

  since 02-03-07

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