Tulips II
Ride 'Em

Orithain

September 1998

Disclaimer: They don't belong to me, they belong to John Woo and Alliance. But since the show has been cancelled, I'm keeping them!

Vic, Mac and Li Ann all sat silently staring at the image on the screen, wondering who would be the one to say it. Finally, Vic took a deep breath and carefully not meeting the Director's eyes, pointed out, "That's a horse."

"Very good, Victor. For your next trick, do you count to ten by stamping your foot on the ground?" The Director's tone could have sliced flesh from bones. "Of course, it's a horse." She glared at Mac for his imperfectly stifled snicker. "The victim of this kidnapping is a horse, or more precisely 36 horses. Someone has stolen the entire stable of specially trained RCMP Musical Ride horses and is threatening to turn them into dog food if they don't receive the ransom of ten million dollars - American."

"Do they still use horse meat in dog food?" Mac wanted to know.

"I'm not sure. I guess so," Li Ann seemed ready to discuss the idea until the Director stopped between them, resting one hand warningly on each of their shoulders. Mac cringed and began to seriously consider wearing a football player's padding to the next briefing. The Director was becoming much too fond of digging her claws in. Vic winced in sympathy beside him, having felt those nails recently himself.

"If we might continue?" The Director's near purr warned them that her limited store of patience was evaporating. Without waiting for a response, she continued. "Obviously, our government is not prepared to give away nearly 20 million dollars. You are going to Ottawa where the horses were stolen from, and you're going to find out who took them and get them back."

"How could anyone steal however many horses without being seen? It's not like you can stick them in your pocket and go," Vic pointed out.

"Obviously," the Director's gaze warned Vic about the consequences of any more of these little observations. "That's why we believe that someone on the inside is involved. It'll be up to you three to find out who."

Since Vic was temporarily cowed into silence, Mac was the one to ask "How? We can hardly announce to a bunch of Mounties that we think they might be horse thieves. It even sounds ridiculous! This isn't the old West!"

"Of course not. You, Mac, have just been hired as an assistant horse trainer. The RCMP wants the younger horses trained as quickly as possible in case they don't get the missing ones back."

"Horse trainer?! I can't even ride!!"

"Learn. Quickly."

"What about us?" Li Ann asked.

"Victor will be an RCMP officer just transferred in from Vancouver, and you, Li Ann, will be his wife."

"His wife!" Mac was not happy. Li Ann couldn't help a faint feeling of smugness that Vic and Mac both still wanted her.

"Yes, Mac. Or were you thinking of volunteering for that job?" Vic and Mac both froze at the cool question. At their silence, the Director arched one perfect brow and passed each of them the files containing the information on their new identities.

After the meeting, as soon as they reached the corridor, Li Ann grabbed hold of Vic and Mac to stop them. "What was all that about?" she demanded.

Mac was unsettled to see that Vic wouldn't meet Li Ann's eyes. Is he changing his mind now that he's had time to think about it? He's embarrassed by us. Before Mac could work himself into a full-fledged panic attack, Vic sighed and looked up. He moved closer to Mac, taking the younger man's hand in his own.

"This isn't the way I wanted to tell you, Li Ann. I don't want to hurt you." He sighed again. "But Mac and I are together now."

"What do you mean, Mac and you are...to...gether?" Her voice trailed off as she realized what he meant, her mouth hanging open for an instant before she shut it with a snap. "What about us? We were engaged."

"Come on, Li Ann. You're the one who 'postponed' our engagement. Jeez, you couldn't have just said you didn't want to marry me anymore? I got the message loud and clear. And guess what, I got over it."

Li Ann stared at them. "So what, you're punishing me for not choosing between you by making sure I can't have either of you?"

"This isn't about you, Li Ann, it's about Mac and me. I don't know where this is going, but I want to find out. And even if it doesn't work out, you and I could never get back together. You're still my friend, and I trust you as my partner, but I could never trust you with my heart again." Vic turned to meet Mac's eyes with his heart in that green gaze.

Mac reached up with his free hand to stroke Vic's face, smiling when the older man turned his cheek into his palm. Neither noticed when Li Ann walked away, muttering to herself about alien possession.

"So, do you trust me, Vic?" Mac asked.

Vic looked away uneasily. "This whole thing's outside of my experience, Mac. Let's just take it one day at a time, okay?"

Mac pulled back angrily. "Fine, Mansfield, never let it be said that Mac Ramsey stuck around where he wasn't wanted."

"Oh, for-" Vic grabbed Mac, pushing the younger man against the wall and moving to claim a deep kiss. The ex-cop undulated against his partner, leaving Mac in no doubt that he was wanted. Vic pulled one of Mac's hands to his chest, letting him feel the nipple ring he still wore. He pulled back to grin at Mac when he felt the other man's hips surge forward involuntarily. "I thought that turned you on the other night. Now, you'll always be wondering if I'm wearing it."

"You're a tease, Vic," Mac announced with surprise.

"Not really, I always deliver on my promises." This time the kiss went on until they heard the Director's voice.

"Gentlemen, I believe you've gotten the wrong idea about performance evaluations. This is not the sort of performance I had in mind." She stopped briefly and smiled at them, making the two men very nervous. "Although, I suppose it could be a new category for the Agency Awards."

The men stared after her. "You don't think she'd really...Do you?" Vic groaned.

"Yeah, I do. And I know for a fact that my apartment's been bugged before. What do you think the chances are that she has pictures? I don't want to be an exhibit."

"She can't actually know-"

"Remember, boys, I know everything" came floating down the hall.

"That's it, let's get out of here. Even horses have to be better than this," Mac claimed, taking hold of Vic's arm and pulling him down the hall.

A week later Mac was ready to eat his words. Nothing, but nothing, was worse than horses, great, big, dumb animals. 'Trainer' she said, hah! Stable boy's more like it. I'm an animated pooper scooper! At least if I was dumped back in Hong Kong, the Tangs would kill me quickly! And then there's Vic. I hardly see him, but Li Ann's living with him. He hung on to the idea of being in love with her a lot longer than I did. What if he changes his mind again and decides he really does want her? Mac was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn't notice he was no longer alone until he walked right into the new arrival.

"Hey, Mac, you know I'm always glad of a chance to get my hands on you," Vic laughed, "but this really isn't what I had in mind." The younger man looked so bewildered that Vic couldn't resist pulling him in closer for a kiss. As soon as their lips met, the frustration of the past week surged up in both of them, and they couldn't get close enough. When Mac would have unfastened his pants though, Vic drew back.

"Hold that thought, lover. Much as I want you, I don't intend to put on a show for anyone who happens to wander by. Anyway, that's what I came to tell you; Li Ann-"

"Sure, 'Li Ann'. I knew you'd go back to her. So, did you even wait till the second day to get her back into bed with you?" Mac snarled.

"What! What the hell's gotten into you, Ramsey? Are you nuts or are you just trying to prove that you're still the most irritating person in the world? I'm outta here. Talk to me when you get over whatever your problem is." Vic turned to leave, totally infuriated by Mac's attitude.

Mac's suddenly quiet voice stopped Vic in his tracks. "I know you've never had a man as a lover before, and I know you were in love with Li Ann. We had one, admittedly incredible, night together before the Director threw you into playing house with Li Ann. I've barely been able to talk to you since we got here, and I just figured you realized you'd made a mistake and went back to Li Ann."

"Jeez, Mac." Vic hesitated, suddenly realizing Mac's brashness hid a multitude of uncertainties. And why not? What kind of security had the ex-thief ever known? The Tangs were the closest thing he'd ever had to a family and even that had been torn from him brutally. "I can only tell you what I told Li Ann. I'll always love her, as a friend, but I'm not in love with her anymore. Am I in love with you? It's way too soon to tell, but sometimes, when you don't make me so mad I want to shoot you, I think I could. But you have to trust me too, Mac. I'll never intentionally hurt you, and I'll always talk to you about anything that affects us. So please, stop deciding you know what I'm thinking. If you want to know something, ask me." Vic moved back to Mac and hugged him. "And to get back to what I originally wanted to tell you, we got a lead on who might have been the inside man. Li Ann's taking off for a few days to follow up. She told some of the neighbors she was going to visit her sister, so nobody'll ask any questions. Anyway, I thought we could take advantage of the time alone. I was hoping you'd come over tonight."

Mac grinned at his lover, grateful he hadn't completely messed up. "When do you want me there?"

"I want you right now, but after dark'll have to do. I'm sure you can manage to get in without being seen. God, I'll be glad when we're back home and can be together without all this sneaking around! See you around 8:00." With another quick kiss, Vic was gone.

After spending the afternoon fantasizing about the night ahead, Mac was slipping through Vic's back door the moment it got dark. Not hearing anything, he assumed Vic must have gotten hung up at work and decided to wait for his lover in the bedroom. Mac stopped dead in the bedroom doorway at the sight that greeted him. Vic had had a similar idea and was lying on the bed, wearing nothing but that nipple ring Mac liked so much. Vic was already half-hard, making Mac's mouth water in anticipation. Mac started for the bed only to stop at the husky sound of Vic's voice.

"Don't you think you're a little overdressed for this party? Undress for me, Mac."

Mac saw the aroused glitter in his lover's eyes and decided to tease him a bit. Staring directly into Vic's eyes, Mac tugged the hem of his shirt loose from his pants. As he began to pull it up over his head, he turned his back to Vic, bending forward slightly making his slacks pull tightly over his ass. Hearing Vic's gasp, he glanced back over his shoulder once the shirt was off, finding the older man stroking himself. "Uh uh, Mansfield, that's mine," Mac said, staring at Vic's engorged cock. "You don't touch yourself."

Vic moaned slightly but drew his hand away with one last stroke. "Okay, but if it's yours, don't you want to take possession?"

"All in good time, Victor my love, all in good time." Mac continued stripping for the ex-cop, slowing unfastening his slacks and pushing them down with some unnecessary shimmying of his hips. Vic started to pant when he saw that Mac hadn't bothered with underwear. Mac toed off his shoes and socks, stepping out of his slacks to stand naked before Victor, letting the older man get a good look.

Staring at the drops of moisture visible on the head of Vic's cock, Mac came toward him like some jungle cat stalking its prey. Unlike that prey, Vic was eager to meet his fate, arching his hips forward to entice Mac. With a growl, Mac pounced on his lover, burying his face in Vic's groin, letting the older man's scent overwhelm his senses. He nuzzled against the sensitive balls, causing the other man to moan, then drew them into his mouth. After sucking for a few moments, Mac moved on. He licked the sensitive area behind the ball sac before lightly flicking his tongue over Vic's anus.

Vic whimpered with pleasure and spread his legs wider, arching up to give Mac easier access. He clutched desperately at the sheets, praying for the pleasure to continue.

Mac swirled his tongue around the opening several times, listening to Vic's moans and pleas, before working the tip inside. He plunged his tongue into Vic several times, prompting a near scream. When he brought up one hand to play with Vic's balls, the older man lost the battle for control and came hard.

"I wanted you inside me when I came," Vic moaned.

"I will be. And you'll be inside me. And anything else we want. We've got all night, lover." Mac grinned up at Victor before starting to lick him clean.

Vic groaned at both Mac's estimation of his capabilities and the pleasure of the tongue bath he was getting. When the younger man moved higher, Vic felt the proof that he hadn't come yet. Wanting to give Mac the same pleasure he had felt, Vic reached for his lover only to have his hand slapped away.

"I'm not done with you yet, Vic. Just lie back and let me love you." Mac rubbed against Vic's slowly wakening groin as he drew one of Vic's nipples into his mouth. Vic arched into the touch, pleading incoherently.

Mac understood what Vic wanted and shifted to his lover's other side to catch Vic's nipple ring in his teeth and tug. Vic cried out, prompting Mac to continue his game, listening carefully to be sure he didn't cross the line into true pain. After a short time Mac slithered back down Vic's body, moaning himself at the wonderful friction. He briefly drew Vic's renewed erection into his mouth, lapping at the head before releasing it with a kiss. Mac smiled at Vic's moan of protest as he pulled away to lie flat on his back at the other man's side while positioning a pillow under himself.

Vic forced passion-glazed eyes open to meet Mac's gaze questioningly.

"I want you in me, lover, and I want to see you while you're loving me."

Vic flushed even more and for a moment was speechless. Swallowing hard he asked, "Tell me how?"

"First you get me ready just like before. Fuck me with your fingers and open me for you," Mac breathed hotly.

Vic fumbled at the bedside table till he managed to get hold of the tube of lubricant without ever taking his eyes off his partner. He squeezed a goodly amount onto his fingers and, moving between Mac's splayed legs, spread some of it around his anus. He stroked one finger over the tight ring of muscle several times, provoking a yearning moan from his lover. He probed gently, easily sliding one finger inside Mac and starting to thrust. He rubbed the prostate, making Mac shudder with pleasure and push back onto his finger, which was soon joined by a second, then a third. When Mac was riding his fingers eagerly and begging for more, Vic pulled out of him, then hesitated.

Understanding Vic's inexperience in this situation, Mac reached to grab the back of his neck, pulling him forward for a kiss. Releasing the older man, Mac put his feet on Vic's shoulders, positioning himself for him. Vic was quick to get the idea and pushed the head of his cock inside his lover. Once there, he waited till Mac relaxed before starting to push the rest of the way in. Mac pushed up against him, wanting him harder and deeper. Vic still hesitated until Mac reached up one hand to grasp the nipple ring. With a cry Vic started to thrust harder, losing control, exactly as Mac wanted. They plunged together, Mac pulling Vic down to latch onto his mouth, fucking him with his tongue in the same rhythm. Victor's tongue in his mouth, his cock in his ass and the friction of Vic's belly against his own erection finally pushed Mac over the edge, and he came, semen spurting over both their bellies and chests. The feel of Mac's muscles tightening on him, rippling along his length, made Victor come at nearly the same moment.

Collapsed bonelessly on top of Mac, Vic muttered something about needing to clean up, but he made no attempt to move from his perch. Mac chuckled, managing to drape one arm around Victor, stroking his hair. "Come on, Vic, we'll be glued together if we don't get ourselves clean."

"So what's your point? I don't have a problem with that."

"Intriguing though the possibilities are, I don't intend to explain our becoming Siamese twins to the Director."

"God! You really know how to spoil a mood, Mac!" Vic said in disgust before climbing off the younger man and staggering slightly on his way to the bathroom. He returned with a damp cloth a few moments later, still muttering to himself.

Mac pushed himself up from where he was sitting on the edge of the bed, grabbing Vic and kissing him. "Sorry, love, it was the only way I could think of to get you moving. Trust me, you don't want to get stuck together. Hairs get pulled in very sensitive areas when you try to pry yourselves apart."

"Ouch!" Vic winced at the thought.

"Exactly. So, am I forgiven?"

"I guess. Just don't ever mention her in our bed again."

"'Our bed'?"

Vic looked at Mac in surprise. "Did you think I was kidding the other night? I do not share my lovers."

"Uh, Vic, I'm a little confused here-"

"Now there's a news flash!"

"Vic! What's going on between us? Are we partners who share a bed when the opportunity comes along; are we lovers, what? Tell me, I don't know what you want."

Vic sighed, something he seemed to be doing frequently lately. "I -- God, why do these things always happen to me?! -- I think I love you. No, I do love you, and I'm also in love with you."

Mac stared in shock, never expecting to hear those words from Victor.

"Hey, Mac! I was kind of hoping for something similar from you!"

"Oh. I...I love you, too," he mumbled. "I have for a long time now."

"Was that so hard to say?"

"Yeah, it was. I only ever said it to Li Ann before, and that was when I thought I was about to die. But I do love you, Victor." It was getting easier to say with each repetition.

"Good. Everything else, we can work out. Now let's get some sleep; it's going to be a long day tomorrow."

"Vic, tomorrow's Saturday, and you're off."

"I know. We have all day to find out what we both like."

Mac actually whimpered.

Vic pushed his lover back into bed and draped himself over him in what Mac was beginning to realize was going to be his preferred sleeping position. We'll definitely need air conditioning for the summer, Mac thought hazily before falling asleep.

Like most plans, Vic's for the next day were doomed to failure. At barely 5:00 A.M. Li Ann came into the bedroom, already talking before she even turned on the light. "Vic, I got him. I know who-" She stopped abruptly, staring at the two men who'd both sat up abruptly when she burst in. Unfortunately for all concerned, they'd managed to lose the sheet during the night so were fully displayed to her shocked gaze.

Vic and Mac stared back at her, unable to move. Finally, Li Ann spun around, facing away from the bed. "Sorry," she choked out. Seeing them like this made it real to her; she really had lost both of them.

"'Sokay," Mac managed. "We, uh, weren't expecting you back yet."

Vic rolled his eyes at that comment, thinking duh. "Why don't you give us a minute, Li Ann; put some coffee on and we'll be right down."

Li Ann nodded and fled.

Vic turned to Mac, looking deep into his eyes. "Are we okay?"

"Always. I could have done without the embarrassing scene, but I still want to be with you. Even when you're driving me nuts with your 'integrity' and I go out of my way to bug you, I'll still love you."

After a not-too-quick kiss, Vic got up, saying, "We'd better get some clothes on and get downstairs or we'll be giving her something to listen to, too. Here," handing Mac a robe, "you can borrow this." Vic grabbed a pair of jeans and headed for the door.

Mac stopped Vic at the door, fastening the top button Vic hadn't bothered with. "I don't care if she's seen it all before. You're mine now, and no one else gets to see you undressed." Vic smiled and kissed his lover again.

When they finally made it down to the kitchen, the coffee was ready. After getting a cup, Mac turned to Li Ann. "Did you say you know who the inside man is?"

"Yes, one of the members of the Musical Ride is a fervent animal rights activist."

Vic and Mac looked at her blankly.

"He apparently decided that the specialized training was against nature and had to be stopped. He never intended to kill the horses, and the ransom was meant for their upkeep. He wanted to return the horses to their quote natural habitat."

"He let 36 Thoroughbreds run wild? Is he nuts?" Mac exclaimed.

"How'd you track the guy down?" Vic asked.

"I was searching property records of the surrounding area for someplace where the horses could be kept unseen, and I discovered that Turner - that's his name by the way - recently purchased a very large parcel of land. When I found his link to an animal rights group, I decided to check it out. I found the horses and called the local police. Turner's in jail awaiting psychiatric evaluation, the horses are back in their stable, and the Director wants us back immediately." Li Ann hesitated, then teased, "See what happens when you sleep on the job, guys?"

They glared at her, refusing to dignify her remark with a response.

"So, boys," the Director pinned them with a cool gaze, "It appears that the teamwork is all being accomplished by one member of the team."

"I can explain," Vic started.

"Please." She held up a hand to stop. "I don't want to hear the details. Just make sure it doesn't happen again."

Li Ann had stepped out the door and Vic and Mac had almost made their escape when the Director spoke again. "By the way, gentlemen, I've already had your belongings moved from your former apartments to a nice little house with a white picket fence. Li Ann took care of getting a garden planted for you, tulips I believe, some red and white variety called Make Up." She smiled with saccharine sweetness and left.

"Is this good or bad?" Vic finally asked.

"I don't know, but let's get out of here before she comes back to tell us. At least we know Li Ann's okay with it."

"Let's go home."

The Director laughed to herself moments later as she heard Vic ask Mac how they were supposed to find out where they lived.

END

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