Disclaimer: Since John Woo and Alliance stopped playing with them, I
suppose it's okay for me to grab the boys and have some fun.
Consciousness equaled pain.
That being the case, Mac wasn't too thrilled to wake up, especially when
he found himself sprawled face down on the floor, his hands bound behind his
back. Every inch of his body hurt and his first attempt at moving led to the
conclusion that his right arm was either broken or dislocated.
All in all, not a good situation at all. What the fuck had happened? Last
thing he remembered was talking to Li Ann on his cell phone and answering
the door, then everything was blank.
Hoping to get some clue as to what had occurred, Mac opened his eyes just
enough to get a glimpse of his surroundings. His smashed stereo was right in
front of him, surrounded by shattered CDs. The only problem was that he had
done that in a fit of anger and desperation upon returning home after his
disastrous meeting with Victor.
God, I am such an asshole. Should have found another way to tell him,
wonder if I'll ever get the chance to explain now.
Never one to discriminate based on gender, he'd been attracted to Vic
from the start, even when they were trying to kill each other in Li Ann's
apartment. He'd buried that interest under wisecracks and jibes back then,
concentrating on trying to woo his former lover away from her fiance.
Then Li Ann had dumped Victor and Mac had found himself more interested
in pursuing the older man then the woman they supposedly both loved. The
only problem was that Vic gave no indication of knowing that the other side
of the street even existed, let alone wanting to take a stroll down it.
Frustration with both himself and the situation goaded Mac into saying
things that he normally wouldn't have, just to get some kind of reaction
from his partner. He knew the Director was irritated with them for their
'inability to cooperate', and he knew that the majority of the blame was on
his shoulders, but Mac couldn't break himself of the habit of goading Vic.
Until this case and the knowledge that while Victor wasn't as straight
laced in regard to his sexuality as Mac had thought. So out came CJ, someone
who could befriend the overwhelmed ex-cop and earn his trust.
Juggling two screennames had been a bit of a challenge, but thanks to
some of the new devices the Agency's R and D area had come up with, Mac
managed it with little problem. Initially, he had meant to tell Vic what was
going on after their first few chat sessions, but, as their talks became
more in-depth and intimate, he found he couldn't. Their conversations were a
stark contrast to the degrading sessions he had with Kirkdon and Mac found
himself needing the illusion of Vic's companionship as much as it seemed the
older man needed CJ's.
Kirkdon. Fuck. Now he remembered opening the door to see the other man
standing there, arm extended, before the world went black.
No chance Victor was going to show up any time soon. Hell, he'd probably
load the gun for the psycho killer at this point, and applaud when he pulled
the trigger. It didn't matter that everything Mac had told him over the
computer was the truth - or as close to it as he could manage - in the end
it had been a lie and Victor Mansfield did not tolerate lies or liars.
Maybe Li Ann would get here in time. Or maybe it would be best if Kirkdon
put him out of his misery now. Maybe that would bring Vic and Li Ann back
together, though Mac doubted that they would really make each other happy.
At least he wouldn't have to deal with the consequences of his actions.
Yeah, and maybe the Director would leave the Agency and join a convent.
"Finally awake, babe?"
At the question, Mac turned his head, biting back a curse at the way the
motion intensified the ache in his shoulder. "Yeah, finally got enough
beauty sleep," he quipped, managing to grin at the other man while
studying him intently.
Kirkdon looked much the same as he had in the surveillance photo. One of
those people you pass on the street without noticing twice. The small black
object he held, did grab Mac's attention though.
Taser. That explained why every nerve in his body felt like it had been
overloaded, the debilitating jolt of electricity the small weapon fired did
"Mr... Ramsey is it?" Kirkdon asked, smiling thinly at Mac's
nod. "I'm quite saddened by the fact that you deceived me. Here I show
up at your residence, hoping for an enjoyable evening, and I find that
you're some sort of law enforcement official. Most distressing."
"Tell you what, let me loose and I'll see what I can do to make it
up to you," Mac said, offering his most ingratiating smile.
Kirkdon shook his head, before examining the setting on his Taser.
"It's much too late for that Mr. Ramsey. Such a shame too. I was quite
looking forward to our time together this evening. Unfortunately what I had
planned would be too risky at this juncture so I will have to make do."
"Don't hurry on my account, I've got all the time in the world,
"Actually, you don't. Pity, but then those are the sacrifices we
must make. Don't worry though, you won't feel a thing, just like the others
didn't. I am a kind man after all."
The jolt of pain that streaked through his shoulder as he rolled over
made Mac grind his teeth together, but damn if he was going to make this
easy for the fucker. "You want me? Come and get me." With a lurch,
he was on his feet and edging away from the killer.
"Would that I could babe, but playtime is over and I have to run.
Goodbye." Kirkdon pressed the activation button on the Taser, launching
the small dart into the air to embed itself in Mac's chest. The jolt of
electricity sent the ex-thief to his knees, his last sight one of Kirkdon
raising the revolver he held in his other hand for the killing shot.
A glass of single malt Scotch in his hand, the remainder of the bottle on
the table nearby, and the Delta blues on the stereo. That was life was
about, right? If so, then why didn't Victor Mansfield feel any better?
Damn Mac anyway. What gave him the right to screw with people's minds
like that? And why the fuck did he have to choose Victor as his chief
The ex-cop downed the remainder of his drink, closing his eyes as the
undiluted alcohol burned it's way down his throat before settling in his
stomach and creating a warmth that did little to dispel that wintery chill
that had settled on Victor's soul.
Stupid, naive, trusting idiot... Fell right into it, didn't you? Had
me believing that he really cared, really was interested in me. Jesus, am I
pathetic or what?
Amber liquor splashed on the coffee table as Vic refilled his glass and
slumped back into the chair, his head falling forward onto his chest. For a
while there he had believed it, had given himself over to the possibility
that this guy had been the one, the one who would drive away the loneliness
that plagued him and the hidden insecurities that even now swarmed over his
"Should have known..." Vic muttered, downing half his drink in
one swallow, then grimacing. "Used to be able to see a set up a mile
away..." But when it came to Mac and in some extent to Li Ann as well,
he was constantly being blind-sided. How could you read people who had been
raised in deception, who practiced it with the ease of breath?
It was like McCoy had said during that case involving Alexa and her
eco-terrorists. Vic saw things in black and white while his partners dwelled
in the gray areas. "Ex-partner, you mean," he growled. "Never
again. Can't trust him, don't want him near."
By avoiding Mac maybe, just maybe, Victor could forget this whole thing
happened. He could repress the memories of how he had looked forward to
their nightly conversations, and, most of all, banish the memory of that
last night from his brain.
As if called by that slim invitation, the image appeared full blown in
Vic's mind. The lake, the deck, the music, only now instead being with a
faceless stranger, he was dancing with Mac then the song ended and they
"No!" Vic bellowed, heaving his glass against the wall where it
shattered, leaving an abstract splatter of Scotch against the paint. "I
do not want this and I don't want him!" He lurched out of the chair,
grabbed the bottle, and stumbled into the bedroom, intending to drink
himself into an oblivion where today's events had never occurred.
Mac woke to the sound of gunfire and by the time he dragged his eyes
open, Li Ann was crouched over him, examining him for injuries. "Don't
touch the - ah!" he yelped as she grabbed his shoulder to turn him
"Sorry." From her tone, Li Ann wasn't sorry at all. In fact,
she sounded downright angry at him. "What did you think you were
"Umm... Catching Kirkdon?" Mac offered sheepishly. There was a
moment's pressure as Li Ann undid the handcuffs, then he sighed in relief as
the strain on his arms eased.
"That was not your assignment."
Uh-oh. The Director was here too and man did she sound pissed. Great,
"Li Ann, go and help get rid of Mr. Kirkdon. I want to have a chat
with Mac before I go." The younger woman looked ready to object, but
then nodded, something in the Director's eyes telling her that arguing right
now was not a good idea.
"So then." As she spoke, the Director crouched down at Mac's
side, the move straining her skin tight navy suit to the limit. "You
decided to use my case as a social hunting ground. Not a wise move, darling.
In fact, if we had arrived a little later, I wouldn't be having this
conversation with you at all." She stroked her fingers across Mac's
cheek, noting the bruise on his cheek with interest. "I see that Victor
wasn't too happy about that either, but then you know our Victor - hates
deception and all that. Very much the boy scout."
At this point, Mac decided that staying silent was the safest bet, so he
simply waited, dreading whatever was coming next.
"I'll deal with him next, but never fear, my dear. I have some
special plans for you once you've recovered." At that, the Director
smiled and patted Mac's injured shoulder, her expression changing to one of
phony sympathy when he winced. "Don't fuck around on the job, Ramsey,
or I won't leave you anything to fuck around with." That said, she
turned and strolled out of the apartment, leaving her agent in the hands of
the paramedics who had just arrived.
"Victor darling, wake up..." The throaty words were accompanied
by a light tickling at his ear, and Vic squirmed, enjoying the sensation.
The feeling turned far less pleasant when the gentle touch turned painful
as long nails dug into his earlobe and he woke enough to recognize the
seductive voice as that of the Director.
The Director? In his bed? Shit! Vic scrambled for the far side of the bed
with a yelp, intending on putting as much space between him and the harpy as
possible - and grateful that he had fallen asleep in his clothes earlier
The abrupt movement and the loud applause that followed it, made Vic's
head ache. It was all he could do to keep from trying to hide under the
pillows to get away from both his boss and the hangover that dogged him.
"Now Victor, I have one thing to say to you and then I'll let you
get back to sleep." As she spoke, the Director ran a fingernail over
the soft cotton sheets, idly tracing designs on the plain white fabric.
"Well, two things actually, but they're both brief."
"Yeah?" Vic sat up at that, watching the Director warily,
remembering what Mac had told him about the time the woman showed up in his
bed in the middle of the night. All he needed right now was a lecture about
getting along with others or a come on from the queen bitch.
"First of all," she began, "Kirkdon is dead.
Unfortunately, he almost took Mac with him. If I had lost an agent because
the two of you can't decide whether you want to fight or fuck, I would have
been most annoyed. If you have a problem, figure it out on your own time,
not mine. Am I clear on that point?" At Vic's shallow nod, she
continued. "And Victor dear, if you're going to drink Scotch, do stick
to the good brands. Those second rate blends can leave you with a wicked
headache." Smiling benignly, she slid from the bed, leaving the
apartment as silently as she had entered.
Vic watched the doorway until he was sure that she was gone, then lowered
his head into his hands, swallowing harshly to fight the nausea that
threatened to claim him. When had he lost control of his life? And how did
he get it back?
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