October 2000

Disclaimer: Once a Thief belongs to John Woo and Alliance Atlantis.

Vic had stayed in Mac's empty apartment for some time, not thinking, just standing there, staring in leaden disbelief. Finally, he'd forced himself to move, turning and leaving with dragging steps. As he went, the memories started, every moment he'd spent with Mac, every smile and shared laugh, every supposedly innocent touch, and underlying it all, at first grudging affection, then trust and lust, and finally love.

Why hadn't he told Mac he'd loved him? Why had he been so damn scared of admitting that vulnerability that he'd pushed the other man away? If he'd only told the truth, Mac would still be here with him. He could still feel the faint ache from the previous day's unaccustomed activity, but that was the only reminder he had of the man who'd so briefly been his lover. He didn't have so much as a photo, since the Agency frowned on photographic evidence of its agents' existence.

He somehow found his way home and lay on his bed, fully dressed, staring blankly at the ceiling. Mac was gone, and it was all his fault. He might even be dead, though Vic couldn't bring himself to believe that. The day passed into night, and the next day dawned while Vic lay there, but he didn't move. He wasn't sure he would ever move again.

After a while he became aware that the Director was there, standing in the open doorway of his bedroom, watching him. He gazed at her indifferently, green eyes muddy with pain.

"Did you kill him?" he asked finally.

"Why do you care?" she riposted.

The tortured eyes closed slowly, and a shudder wracked his body. "Because I love him."

One russet eyebrow rose slightly. "Then shouldn't you have told him that?"

Vic laughed painfully. "I couldn't. I was afraid it would hurt too much to admit it. Ironic, eh?"

The Director sighed. "Victor, Victor, Victor. When will you admit that I know best? Two days ago everything was simple, but as usual the pair of you managed to make it painfully complicated. You hurt each other, and Mac needed to get away somewhere where he wouldn't see you every day. He made that perfectly clear."

Vic winced, but his eyes focused on her with painful intensity.

"Yes, Victor, Mr. Ramsey's alive. Did you really think I'd kill him?"

He just looked at her.

She smiled faintly. "I suppose you have grounds. Mac is alive and well, but I'm not going to tell you where." She held up a hand to silence him when he would have interrupted. "Not yet. You hurt him, Victor. You have to give him time to heal."

"But I need to tell him that I'm sorry, that I love him," Vic protested.

She only shook her head. "He won't listen to you right now, Victor. It's too raw. You're going to have to give him time."

"Time to think that I don't care, that I've forgotten him," Vic snapped angrily.

The Director's eyes narrowed. "Be careful, Mr. Mansfield, or I may decide never to tell you where he is."

Vic subsided with a sulky frown. "Having fun throwing your weight around? This is my life you're toying with!"

"Your life that you screwed up," she added coolly. "Your life that belongs to me. I told you that years ago, Victor. Now you will wait until I decide that Mac is ready to see you. You don't have a choice.

"Now get up! You have work to do."

Vic sulked some more but stood up, then immediately sat down again, woozy. As he clutched the bed covering to prevent himself from falling over, the Director shook her head.

"When was the last time you ate?"

Vic shrugged indifferently. "I dunno. Yesterday, no, two days ago now. I made dinner for Mac."

"Planning to starve yourself? How romantic," she scoffed.

Vic gazed up at her, not even having the energy to get mad. "I wasn't hungry."

"But now you are?"

"No." He stood up again, more slowly this time, then moved toward the bathroom, knowing that he needed to shower if she was going to drag him out. He'd been wearing these clothes for nearly two full days now. When he heard the sounds behind him, he glared over his shoulder half-heartedly. "Planning to watch live this time?"

"Just want to make sure you don't slip and kill yourself," she returned. "I have to protect my investment after all."

Vic sighed and elected to ignore her, shedding his clothes into the hamper and stepping into the shower under the hot spray. He desperately wished Mac was there with him. This was something else they hadn't shared because of his stupidity. He could see the Director's silhouette through the frosted glass of the shower door, and for a moment he seriously considered drowning himself. Unfortunately, he knew she wouldn't let him, and the thought of her giving him mouth to mouth ended that idea.

He stepped out and towelled himself off, indifferent to her appreciative gaze and faint murmur of approval. "So now what?" he asked as he shaved. "You're missing one third of your team."

"Ah, but we have Jackie, don't we? Such an interesting threesome you, Li Ann and Jackie make," she purred. "It's a pity there are no romantic entanglements, but Li Ann really does best solitary, and Jackie, surprisingly enough, seems uninterested in anyone other than Dobrinsky. That even surprised me," she murmured. "Ah well, we'll make do."

He glared at her through the mirror. "I don't want anything to do with that psychopath!"

"You don't have a choice, Victor dear. You lost your options when you drove Mac away," she said brutally. Vic flinched, and she was hard-pressed to maintain her fašade of cool indifference in the face of his pain. Fortunately, years of practice stood her in good stead, and she was able to meet his eyes without showing any remorse.

"Please," he begged hopelessly, desperately afraid that he would never see Mac again or that she would make him wait until it was too late for Mac ever to forgive him.

"All in good time, Victor. Trust me."

He laughed bitterly.

He had a point. "Hurry up and get dressed," she directed, finally leaving the room as he finished shaving.

When he stepped out of his room a few minutes later, fully dressed and as armoured against her as he was going to get, the smell of coffee drew him to the kitchen. His eyes widened when he found the Director frying bacon and eggs, a pot of coffee nearly ready beside her.

"You cook?" He couldn't have sounded more shocked if he'd found her eating young children.

She sighed. "Yes, Victor, I cook. Contrary to what you seem to believe, I need to eat too. Put the toast on."

Still stunned by this surreal scene, Vic obeyed then leaned against the counter, watching her suspiciously till she handed him a plate. It was surprisingly good.

That morning set the tone for the next several months. The Director chivvied Vic into taking care of himself, turning up at his apartment at irregular intervals to make sure he ate a decent meal and occasionally letting him know that Mac was well.

Vic sometimes wondered if she was lying to him in an attempt to salvage what was left of her hand-picked team, but he didn't ask. If Mac really was dead, he didn't want to know. The illusion, if it was one, let him continue to function.

His indifference to his own well-being had grown obvious, and Li Ann and even Jackie watched him worriedly. He did whatever was necessary for their assignments, then went home. He no longer joined Li Ann for a beer after a case or sat in on the weekly poker games with Murphy and Camier. He trudged through his daily routine like an automaton, the expression on Mac's face when he'd kicked him out constantly floating before his mind's eye.

One morning about six months later, Vic arrived in the briefing room, as usual ahead of Li Ann and Jackie, and the Director walked in and dropped a file and an envelope on the table in front of him.

"What's this, the new case?"

"Not exactly," she replied with a hint of amusement in her voice. She watched with interest as Vic opened the file, and the blood drained from his face.

"Is this for real?" He clutched the envelope in a white knuckled fist.

"Yes, Victor, that's Mr. Ramsey's current address and a plane ticket. I believe it's time for the two of you to patch up your differences."

Vic stared at her, almost unable to believe that this was really happening. He'd nearly given up hope and resigned himself to being miserable and alone for the rest of his life. "Vancouver?" he asked blankly.

She shrugged. "His desire to leave was serendipitous. The western region has not been totally effective since I moved my headquarters to Toronto, and Mr. Ramsey can be quite efficient when he puts his mind to it. I put him in charge as my assistant director for the region, and matters have improved dramatically."

She paused, then added, "I'm told that he frequently works 18 hour days, as if he were driven... or trying to forget something."

Vic stared at the papers in his hand. "What if he doesn't want to see me?" he whispered.

"Oh, I can guarantee you that he won't," the Director replied heartlessly. "At least at first. Our Mr. Ramsey has a strong instinct for self-preservation. You hurt him once, Victor; he's not going to want to open up to you again."

Vic flinched, his shoulders hunching. "So why should I go?"

"Because you love him. And because despite his instincts, he will eventually let you in. He loves you far too much not to. And because I want my best team back." She gave him a toothy smile that put him in mind of Jaws.

Vic stared at the photo of Mac in the file. He'd lost weight that he didn't have to spare, and he looked older. Vic wondered if this was how Mac'd looked after he'd lost Li Ann and ended up in jail. Selfishly, part of him hoped so, hoped he meant as much to Mac as she had.

"All right," he said quietly, not looking away from the picture, "I'll go."

The Director nodded, never having doubted it. "While you're there, Victor, you'll remain under my direct authority. You won't be subordinate to Mac." At least not on the job.

Vic had five long hours on the plane to stew about what would happen when he saw Mac again. Much as he wished otherwise, he knew that the other man was not going to greet him with open arms. And as the Assistant Director for the Region, if he didn't want to see his former partner, he could make it very difficult for him.

Fortunately, the file the Director had given him included Mac's home address, if it came to that. There were no hangouts listed because he didn't seem to do anything but work.

Vic claimed his rental car and drove downtown to the hotel where he'd be staying until he convinced Mac to forgive him, needing to unwind after the flight. He eyed the king-size bed in his suite wistfully, hoping Mac would join him there soon. He unpacked, showered and shaved, and dressed in a pair of tight black jeans and a green shirt that he'd noticed Mac eyeing with approval in the past. Now to beard the lion in his den.

Vic easily gained access to the Agency's Vancouver headquarters, familiar to him from the years he'd worked there before the Director moved herself and her main teams to Toronto. He wondered if Mac ever thought about him, reminded by being back here where they'd first worked together. His Agency ID got him past security with ease, and he found himself standing outside the door to Mac's office, once the Director's.

He stared at it for long moments, his heart pounding in his chest. He was so nervous that he thought he might throw up. Eventually, knowing he couldn't stand there forever, he knocked. The prosaic "Come in" that he heard through the door seemed out of place in view of his terror, but he somehow didn't mind. It was Mac's voice, the first time that he'd heard it since that wonderful, awful afternoon. He took a deep, steadying breath and stepped into the office.

"Hi, Mac."

After giving the Director his ultimatum, Mac had sat there in front of her, indifferent to his fate. He honestly hadn't cared whether he lived or died at that moment, and it was that very lack of emotion that made her give him what he wanted. Three hours later he was on a plane heading for Vancouver, with a new title and responsibilities and not a single remnant of his previous life. He'd told the Director to do whatever she wanted with his possessions, not wanting any reminders, not even his clothing. The only thing he'd asked her not to dispose of but rather to store for him was the Rembrandt that had been delivered to him shortly after his father's death. He'd considered taking it with him, but every time he looked at it, he remembered the night he and Vic had stolen it from Michael. He couldn't bear to have that reminder in front of him every day, at least not yet.

He settled into his new position with ease, cracking down on the problem areas and bringing the sometimes lackadaisical agents back in line now that there was visible authority again. He maintained his distance from everyone, not wanting to let anyone get close enough to poke at his barely scabbed over emotional wounds, and he realised with bitter amusement that he was becoming like the Director. He wondered vaguely what had made her pull back from people, knowing that he'd probably never find out and he would certainly never ask. His own pain made him more respectful of others'.

Mac worked relentlessly, driving his agents as he drove himself, and soon Vancouver became known in criminal circles as a place not to set up shop. He went after arms dealers and drug dealers with an especial zeal, once even bringing down a man he'd known and partied with during his days with the Tangs.

Restless, he worked long hours, rarely leaving his office before midnight and often simply sleeping on the sofa in his office. He ate when necessary, finding it easier not to think, not to feel, if he concentrated completely on work. He would have been shocked if he'd ever realised that it had been six months since he'd left Toronto; it seemed like yesterday to him. He could still see Vic's cold expression as he'd ordered him out of his apartment, hear his voice telling him to leave. He did see and hear that every time he closed his eyes, so he slept less and less.

He carried on almost in a fugue state until the day a knock at his door made him look up in time to see Vic walk into his office, an embarrassed half-smile on his face. Mac stared in disbelief, certain that his mind had finally snapped, and he heard that beloved, hated voice say hi as if nothing had ever happened.

He saw red.

The next thing he knew, he was kneeling over Vic's prone body on the floor of his office, his hands around the older man's throat while Vic clawed at them and gasped for air. Swearing, he released his former partner, rose to his feet and backed away, shaking his head.

"What are you doing here, Mansfield?" Why now?

Vic winced at the deliberate distance in Mac's tone and his refusal to call him by name. "I came to see you, to apologise," he said painfully. "The Director only told me where you were this morning."

Mac watched him expressionlessly. "You've seen me. Now you can go."

Vic hardly recognised the cold, hard man watching him. Did I do this? God, Mac, I'm so sorry. "Not until I make you understand. I... I never meant to hurt you, Mac. I'm sorry. I was just... just trying to protect myself. I went to see you that night to try to explain, but you weren't home." He looked away. "And then you were gone." He looked up pleadingly, meeting Mac's eyes and flinching at the indifference he saw there.

"What makes you think I care?" Mac ruthlessly quashed the burst of joy that had bloomed in his heart, not letting a hint of it show in his eyes.

Vic's eyes closed, hiding his pain. "Please, let me make it up to you. Give me a chance, give us a chance, Mac." He abandoned his dignity to plead, knowing that Mac mattered more to him than anything else. "I'll do anything, Mac."

Mac eyed him coolly. "Sorry, Vic," he replied cuttingly, seating himself at his desk once again. "Not interested."

Vic took the last few steps necessary to bring him up to Mac and sat on his lap, twining his arms around Mac's neck and kissing him hungrily. Mac's face remained expressionless, but his body betrayed him, hardening almost instantly when Vic touched him.

"Yes, you are," Vic said softly, his own erection making him shift uncomfortably, and he tried not to think about how Mac was sitting stiffly beneath him, not touching him any more than was unavoidable. "It was good between us, Mac; you know it was," he reminded. "I know I screwed up, but I'd like the chance to make up for that."

Mac looked at him finally, his eyes still cold despite the erection he couldn't control. "That was sex, Vic. Nothing more. I can get that anywhere."

Vic refused to give up. "So take it from me." If sex was the only way he could get close to Mac, he'd take it. He was sure that given time, he could make Mac believe he loved him and trust him again. It wasn't like sex with Mac would be a hardship. He still got hard every time he remembered that afternoon.

"Is that what you want? To be my fucktoy?" Mac asked harshly. "Because that's all it would be."

Vic nodded, a little nervous but determined.

"Fine." Mac shoved Vic off his lap so he landed in a sprawl at his feet, half under the desk. "Blow me." He turned his attention back to his paperwork, ignoring Vic completely.

Vic lay motionless for a moment, shocked. Slowly, he pushed up to his knees and moved between Mac's legs. He knew Mac expected him to break and run, but he was willing to do anything to get another chance. He nudged Mac's legs farther apart and reached for his belt with fingers that trembled slightly. He fumbled the belt and pants open, darting a nervous glance upward, half-afraid that Mac would use his clumsiness as an excuse to push him away.

When Mac continued to ignore him, Vic pushed the other man's pants open and tugged his underwear down, freeing his erection. Vic stroked the rigid shaft, petting him, surprised to realise that after only one time together, he recognised Mac's scent. He leaned closer, his tongue delicately licking at the head, gathering up Mac's flavour. One hand pushed under the bunched up waistband of Mac's silk boxers to cup his sac, gently rolling his balls in the palm of his hand. He hungrily lapped at Mac's cock, tasting him and arousing him further, then rubbed one freshly shaven cheek along the length, nuzzling his nose into the nest of hair at the base. He slowly nibbled back up along the prominent vein on the underside until he reached the sensitive ridge. He traced around and around with his tongue, concentrating so completely that he never noticed when Mac stopped pretending to be working and gripped the edge of his desk. Vic slowly sucked the head inside his mouth, letting his teeth scrape ever so lightly, and he smiled when Mac shuddered.

He suckled hungrily on the bulbous head between his lips, tasting the sticky strands of pre-come and delving into the small slit with the tip of his tongue for more. His head slowly sank toward Mac's belly as he took more and more of his lover inside his mouth and throat until the entire length was buried and his nose was pressed to Mac's belly. He pulled back equally slowly, then repeated the motion. He kept that up until Mac's fingers buried themselves in his hair and Mac started to thrust in and out of his mouth. He relaxed his throat and allowed Mac to do what he wanted, licking at him and swallowing to make it better for him. He swallowed every drop eagerly when Mac came, then licked him clean before tucking him back into his pants and sitting back on his heels to look up at the younger man.

Mac sighed, meeting the guardedly hopeful green eyes. "Go sit over there," he said, nodding toward a leather sofa against one wall. "I won't be done for a while."

Vic nodded and moved over to the comfortable looking piece of furniture, moving slowly because of the heavy erection between his legs. He understood that Mac was going to decide when he could come, and he bit his lip as he lowered himself to the sofa. He curled up on one side, watching Mac, content to be able to see the other man again. He'd accept a lot more than this if it gave him a chance to win Mac back.

Several hours later, Mac glanced over and saw that Vic was sound asleep on the sofa. After the many nights he'd spent on it, he knew it was comfortable, but he was a little surprised until he glanced at the clock and remembered that it was three hours later for Vic. Unobserved, a hint of tenderness momentarily crept into his gaze until he hardened his heart again. Whatever Vic's game was, he wasn't going to fall for it this time.

He crossed the room and shook Vic's shoulder roughly to wake him. The heavy eyelashes rose, and for an instant, before Vic remembered the circumstances, an expression of pure joy lit his face when he saw Mac standing over him. He was already reaching for the younger man when he woke up enough to remember, and his expression closed and his hand fell back to his side. He sat up, wishing things could be different but knowing that he had no one to blame but himself. "Is it time to go?" he asked, wondering what Mac had in mind.

"Yeah, I'm done here." He frowned. "Where are you staying?"

Vic named his hotel, unsure where Mac was going with this.

Mac nodded sharply. "How convenient. Not far from my apartment."

Vic nodded, not pretending that he didn't know. "The Director chose it."

Mac shrugged. "You can stay there tonight. I don't want you right now. I'll call you tomorrow and let you know if I want you, and when and where." He intended to keep his emotional distance until Vic tired of this game and went home. "On second thought, be here in the morning. No reason I should have to wait for you to get here if I decide I want you."

Vic winced, realising that Mac intended to treat him like a whore. He prayed that he could convince Mac of his love before the other man destroyed him. "Okay," he said quietly, knowing this wasn't the time to try to convince him of anything. Realising he'd been dismissed, Vic left, driving around till he found an all-night diner where he could get the meal he'd missed. Back in his hotel room, he lay at one edge of the big bed, wishing he could turn the clock back. Exhausted after the long, stressful day, he soon fell asleep.

He was up early the next morning, knowing that Mac expected him to return to his office to wait until he was wanted... or to flee back to Toronto with his tail between his legs. He was tempted to jerk off in the shower to relieve the frustration of the previous day, but even though it hadn't been spelled out, he knew that Mac intended him to wait until allowed. He shuddered, remembering how Mac had controlled the one time they'd made love and how he'd remained in total control the day before while making Vic blow him. He looked down at his renewed erection with a groan and stepped out of the shower.

He dressed in a pair of leather pants and a soft, well-washed cotton shirt, grabbed his leather jacket, and went down to the restaurant for a quick breakfast before going to the Agency.

Mac looked up briefly when Vic entered his office after a quick knock. "Help yourself to the coffee."

Vic settled back into a corner of the couch with a cup of coffee and picked up one of the newspapers off the table. He read quietly, the only sound in the room the rustling of paper. After about an hour, Mac suddenly raised his head and looked at him.

"Come here."

Vic instantly laid aside his paper and moved across the room to Mac, starting to sink to his knees, but Mac stopped him. Instead, Mac pulled him onto his lap and started to pet him. Vic moaned, shocking himself with the raw sound of his hunger.

Mac smiled faintly and continued his explorations of Vic's body. He stroked Vic through his clothes, feeling the shudders of helpless arousal, and then he kissed him. His tongue traced Vic's lips, and they parted eagerly for him, allowing him access to Vic's mouth. He tasted the bitterness of coffee and the flavour that was pure Vic. The older man half lay in his arms, legs parted and mouth sealed to his. Mac licked playfully at his tongue, and it hesitantly followed his back into his mouth, where he could suck on it.

His fingers were inside Vic's pants, toying with his cock, when there was a knock on the door. Mac had already taken a breath to bid whoever it was to enter when he noticed the bright spots of colour on Vic's cheekbones. Despite his supposed unconcern for Vic's feelings, he couldn't find it in himself to make the other man sit there like some kind of whore in front of someone he'd likely known.

"Go sit on the couch," he sighed, and Vic immediately bolted for its relative safety. The newspaper rattled open, hiding his burning face and aroused body, and only then did Mac give permission to come in.

The agent glanced curiously at the anonymous figure on the couch but didn't make the mistake of asking any questions. He simply handed Mac a report and left, though not without a backward glance at the mysterious visitor.

As soon as he was gone, Vic lowered the paper back to the table and looked a question at Mac. The younger man stared at him for a long moment, then shook his head, turning his attention back to his paperwork. Vic picked up the paper again, amusing himself with the crossword puzzle while Mac ignored him. He wondered if Mac would ever let him talk to him, try to explain.

The day passed quietly, Mac almost completely ignoring Vic, his sole concession to his presence being to have two plates brought in at lunchtime. Even then, he continued to work, not speaking to Vic, who was coming to the conclusion that he'd wasted his time coming here. He was willing to do almost anything to get his partner back, but if Mac wouldn't talk to him, he didn't have a chance. Finally, he couldn't stand it any more.

"Are you ever going to talk to me?"

"No." Mac didn't even bother to raise his head.

Vic's eyes shut against the painful baldness of that reply. "Then why am I here?"

This time Mac did look at him, his eyes as cool and distant as the Director's ever were. "You seem to want to be. And I'm not going to turn down a free fucktoy." He shrugged. "You're still attractive, regardless of what I may think of you personally."

Vic flinched. "Damnit, Mac, I know I screwed up! But you didn't have to run without even giving me a second chance!"

"I'm not into masochism, Vic."

"I love you, you bastard! What's it going to take to prove it to you?"

An indifferent shrug was his reply. "You don't need to prove or disprove it. I frankly don't care, Vic."

Vic thought but didn't say that if that were true, he wouldn't still be here. Mac would have kicked him out long since. "Then I guess I just have to make you care."

"It's your time." A smirk crossed Mac's face suddenly. "If you're so determined to stick around, you can join me tonight... at The Nero. Of course, we'll have to go shopping to get you the appropriate wardrobe."

Vic stared at him, knowing this was Mac's version of throwing down the gauntlet. "Fine." He didn't know the club, but judging by the name, he had a pretty good idea of what he was letting himself in for.

Mac stood up. "After you, then." He motioned to the door and followed Vic out to his car. "Leave it here. You can come with me." He drew the older man to his vehicle and let him in before settling behind the wheel of the racy sports car.

Three hours later, Vic was wondering if he'd perhaps been overly quick to agree. Mac had brought him to a leather shop specialising in B&D products and apparel, and he'd spent the last two and half hours standing naked in a dressing room while Mac and the sales clerk discussed and measured him and had him try on a variety of outfits and accessories. Currently, the clerk was out rounding up a few things Mac had asked for, and Mac was eyeing him like a man considering buying a horse.

"Put the first collar back on."

Vic retrieved the two-inch wide strip of black leather with metal studs and a D-ring and fastened it around his throat.

"Very nice. We definitely want that one. Now add the matching harness."

Vic slipped the matching harness on and fastened it with some help from Mac. He wondered if the blush would ever fade from his face. The salesclerk slipped back into the fitting room while this was going on and offered Mac a selection of cock rings, ball stretchers and cock cages.

Vic eyed them with alarm, but Mac immediately refused the stretchers, concentrating on the cock rings. He selected one and turned to Vic, waiting rather obviously. Vic flushed even darker, but he wrapped his hand around his cock, stroking himself into tumescence while keeping his eyes fixed on Mac, trying to ignore the other man. When he was hard, Mac motioned him to come closer, and once he did, fastened the restraint around the base of his cock and balls.

Vic bit back a groan, knowing this was going to be a very long night. Mac eyed him and nodded.

"Very nice. It's almost a shame to cover you up, but we'd hate to get arrested for indecent exposure." He tossed Vic a pair of tight, black leather shorts that barely covered his ass. Vic wiggled into them and carefully fastened the button fly, blushing once again at how the tight leather accentuated his erection.

"You could make a lot if you wanted to share him around..." The salesclerk's words died away at the look Mac gave him, and he bolted from the room, heading for the cash to ring up the sale.

Mac made Vic stand at his side as he paid, petting him almost absently, and Vic stared at the floor as he waited for the younger man to finish up. When Mac led him from the store, he was hyper conscious of the cock ring and the tight leather rubbing against his aching cock, and he was aware of the picture he made. A few wolf whistles increased the dull flush on his cheeks, and he began to wish he'd never come to Vancouver, at least until he glanced at Mac and remembered what the stakes were.

Mac brought Vic to the club he'd mentioned earlier, The Nero, and Vic looked around in surprise. Though the name had given him a clue, he hadn't expected it to an almost exact duplicate of The Caligula. Mac led him to a private room at the back and ordered dinner for them both.

"Relax, Vic. You're safe till after dinner," Mac said, a hint of laughter in his voice.

Vic turned to him, still nervous. "And afterward?"

"Afterward, I play," Mac replied, a hungry leer momentarily crossing his face. "Of course, all you have to say is no, and I'll stop."

"And the catch is?"

"I stop for good. We leave here and you get on a plane back to Toronto."

Vic swallowed hard, wanting Mac but not sure he could handle this.

"I won't hurt you, Vic," Mac unbent far enough to reassure.

Vic nodded jerkily and sat down to wait for their meal, not looking at Mac.

Vic wondered why he hadn't made dinner last longer, delayed this as much as possible, then he wailed. Mac had him up on the stage, sitting comfortably in a leather armchair while Vic rode his cock. The older man thought he would go insane as every stroke pressed the head of Mac's erection against his prostate, and Mac played with his restrained cock and balls. He'd long since abandoned dignity in favour of pleading to be allowed to come, but Mac didn't seem to have any inclination toward mercy. They'd been here for hours, and Mac had already come twice, once in his mouth and once fucking him hard.

They were the focus of all eyes in the place now, the other masters watching with approval as Mac made him squirm and beg, and Vic couldn't find it in himself to give a damn. All he cared about at that moment was the hard cock impaling him and his own aching erection. His hands clenched on the arms of the chair, and he whimpered when Mac told him to jerk himself. As long as the restraint was on him, he wouldn't be able to come, no matter how much he needed to.

Mac's fingers suddenly tightened on his nipples, and he shuddered as he came again. Vic wailed desperately, writhing on the hard shaft, then sobbed when Mac made him climb off a few minutes later.

"Lie on the edge of the stage," Mac ordered harshly, and Vic bit his lip, hesitating for a split second before obeying. He turned his head to the side, his eyes closing, trying to distance himself from what was about to happen. He wasn't sure he could let another man fuck him, but his only other choice was to give up on Mac forever. He whimpered.

He could feel hands touching him, stroking his legs and pushing them apart, and he started to shake. A hand was pumping his cock, making his back arch despite his feelings, and a finger pushed inside his ass. The pleasure made him writhe, but his head tossed from side to side as he attempted to deny it.

"That's enough." Mac was suddenly there, yanking him away from the grasping hands, fierce eyes fixed on those who were touching him. When one man was brash enough to protest, Mac's brown eyes narrowed and focused on him. "He's mine. I don't feel like sharing." Mac drew him off the stage and got him back into his shorts, then pulled him out of the club and into his car.

Vic huddled in the corner, squirming and moaning with his unabated arousal, and Mac finally reached out a long arm and tugged him over against his side. Vic gravitated to his warmth, rubbing against him hungrily, tiny whimpers escaping him with every breath. He followed Mac mindlessly, barely registering the fact that they were not in his hotel room but not really caring.

Mac stripped off his shorts again, pushed him down onto a bed, took the head of his cock into his mouth, and removed the restraint. As he did, he took Vic's full length into his throat, and Vic screamed as he came, actually blacking out for a few moments from the force of his climax. When the world swam back into focus, Mac was still sucking on him, and he whimpered, pushing the other man away from his sensitive flesh.

"Why?" he finally whispered.

Mac didn't pretend not to understand. "I realised that I couldn't stand to see anyone else touch you," he admitted. "No matter how much I want to deny it, you're under my skin."

Vic rolled toward him, dazed green eyes focussing on him. "Does that mean you'll give me, us, another chance?"

Mac smiled a little. "Doesn't seem like I have a choice. I love you too, Vic."

Vic reached for him, but Mac caught the hand before it could make contact. "That doesn't mean it's going to be easy, Vic. I love you, but I still don't trust you."

Vic flinched. "Just give me a chance to make it up to you, to make you trust me again," he begged.

Mac nodded slowly and pulled him close. "I want to, Vic. We can try together."

END

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