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Dare to Dance the Tide

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Warm oil ran down the inside of his thigh, feeling sensuous and exciting. Actor’s large hands, slippery with the oil, smoothed over his back, slid down to tease at the relaxed entrance to his body. Chief moaned slightly, coming to his knees with need. The enticing hands stopped.

Actor shifted, pulling Chief so he was on top of the tall conman. Chief stared down into the chocolate eyes he’d come to know so well in so short a time. Actor was feeling especially playful tonight, even a little aggressive. He didn’t mind, any aggression was well tempered with erotic attention. Chief couldn’t blame his handsome lover for feeling freer tonight. It was one of the rare occasions when they were alone. A hand skimmed down his chest, pinched hard on each nipple. He moaned, not worried about being loud. The walls of the Paris hotel were thick for a reason.

Once more Actor rolled them, pinning Chief to the large bed, tongue pressing deep into his hot welcome. Chief sucked on the hard invader, relishing the feel of being possessed by his dark lover. The need was building fast now and he arched up, loving the heat and weight of Actor’s body pressing him down. Actor didn’t return the hard press, he only chuckled.

“We have all night, Chief,” he purred. “And I intend to make every minute seem like an eternity.”

The hot tongue that had filled his mouth now circled each nipple, leaving a trail of wet fire. “Actor...” Chief pleaded.

Actor eased away, staring down at him, eyes glowing. “You are so handsome,” he stated softly. Chief answered as he always did, with a soft snort.

“You don’t believe me?” Actor accused with a touch of hurt in his rich voice.

“I believe you believe it,” Chief returned.

A smile traced across Actor’s face. “Well said.”

Chief gasped as Actor large cock rubbed across his own. He arched up, only to have the pressure again vanished. He whimpered.

“Tell me what you want, Chief,” Actor requested, kissing him along the chest.

Actor’s insistent demands for him to talk had at first been irritating, until Chief had realized that for Actor words were as arousing as any touch. Chief had learned to use words to fire his Italian lover. It was one of many things the tall conman had taught him in their months together. Lifting his arm, he pulled Actor’s head down, claiming his mouth in a long, breathstealing kiss. When they broke apart, Chief only let him easy away a few inches.

Keeping his eyes locked with the glittering ones above him, he said silkily, “I want you, want you to suck me and kiss me.” He eased his hand between their pressed bodies, stroked along Actor’s large shaft and was rewarded with a gasp. “Want to feel you in me. Want to feel that big cock slid all the way in, feel those balls pressed up against my ass.”

The dangerous sparks in Actor’s eyes turned to flame. “Chief...” Actor breathed softly.

They shifted together, the moves familiar. Chief raised his legs, pushing up on his shoulders. “Come on, man,” Chief urged. “Want you to fuck me till I can’t think straight.”

With a soft moan of desire, Actor grabbed Chief’s narrow hips, pushed him up a little higher and with one thrust shoved in. Chief cried out with complete pleasure, raising, wanting more. But Actor stopped there, staring down at Chief. Chief smiled, hand stroking down Actor’s long body to where they were joined. He slipped his fingers over the stretched entrance to his body, played lightly around Actor’s large shaft, barely touching the heavy balls. Actor sighed at the touch, eyes closing in pleasure.

Actor eased almost out, pausing at the point were Chief was stretched the tightest, where just the flared head of his cock held the muscle open. Chief couldn’t control the hard moan that rose from his chest at the feeling of near painful pleasure. His hand reached for his own groin, carding through the light spray of curls that surrounded his shaft. Strong fingers pulled his hand away. Actor moved, his strokes slow and short, at the same time he pressed down hard at the base of Chief’s cock, teasing at the slight surgical scars covered by the black hair. Chief gasped, the twin pressures arching him off the bed.

“Actor...”

To his building frustration, Actor stilled his thrusts. “You are such a joy to watch,” he said with a smile.

Chief’s only answer was to push himself up higher on his shoulders, giving Actor even more access, more freedom. Actor answered with a hard, deep shove. Chief held himself still, feeling the lightning start in his blood, fighting down the charge he was getting. He loved watching Actor, loved when the handsome man responded to his attention and body. Before he had become Actor’s lover he had never worked to get a response from anyone. Likewise, in prison when he’d sold his body for survival, he had never come under another man’s attentions. At the time he had believed it to be because of his castration.

Then a tall boy scout named Garrison had come into his life. The man had casually thrown him in with three other cons, demanding that they learn to work, live and, most importantly, trust each other. To the surprise of all four, especially Chief, they had done just that. With Garrison as their anchor, they had become a team that could do almost anything and would do anything for each other and their warden. Most importantly for Chief, life had, for the first time, became more than just something to be endured another day.

The back of Actor’s hand trailed lightly down Chief’s smooth cheek, emphasizing the gentle sensuousness of their loving. Leaning over, Actor kissed lightly along Chief’s lips, teasing until Chief raised his head and demanded a deep kiss. He was not disappointed; Actor plundered his mouth, dueling with his tongue as he shoved his cock deep into Chief’s body, filling him. Light danced in Chief’s vision, flooded his veins.

“Yes,” he hissed. “Harder, Actor.”

With the wicked smile that Chief had learned to treasure, Actor again stopped the maddening rhythm of his hips. “How hard to you want it, love?” Actor’s smooth voice trickled along his nerves.

His first response was to demand everything Actor could give him but the dare in the rich voice and the sparkle in the dark eyes sent erotic fear in to his stomach. Carefully, he said, “Do it. Fuck me. I’m yours.”

Actor’s eyes softened, the dare changing into warmth. Chief smiled. He and Actor were not forever lovers; they were not in love with each other. But while they had never used the word, they did love each other, as equals, as friends, as men who would die for each other. Those feelings and pledges had brought them both a long way.

Slowly, Actor eased from Chief’s body, pushed his legs down. Before Chief could protest or question, Actor’s hand gripped his cock, stroking firmly, mouth teasing over his nipples.

“The position is not comfortable for everyone,” Actor purred. “It is hard on the shoulders and back.”

The soft touch of Actor’s breath across his wet skin sent chills along Chief’s chest. “You gonna talk all night,” he complained.

Actor chuckled. “No.” Shifting slightly he took Chief in a probing kiss. When he pulled away, he said seriously, “If you don’t like it, you will tell me.”

It was worded like an order but Chief heard the concern behind it. He let his hand drift down Actor’s chest. “Liked everything so far.”

“Well,” Actor smiled, accepting his friend’s assurance, “there may be a first time.”

“Fuck me,” Chief returned.

Rolling away, Actor reached for the two large pillows that had been shoved against the carved oak headboard. “Raise up,” he told Chief.

Chief did so, a little puzzled. Actor had fucked him with his back raised like this before; it was a good position, one he liked. He waited, content to let Actor lead. Kissing across his face, Actor moved to kneel between Chief’s legs. Chief arched up, resting most of his weight on his shoulders so Actor could shove the pillows under him. In one smooth move, Actor gripped both of Chief’s narrow ankles and pulled him nearly onto his head.

Looking down, Actor asked, “Are you all right?”

Chief nodded. He was limber enough that the position didn’t hurt but it did leave him feeling awkwardly balanced. He didn’t get a chance to worry about it. Spreading Chief’s legs apart, Actor sank his cock into Chief’s body in a deep, hard stroke. Chief cried out, the fire flaring, the pressure of the large cock shooting all the way to his stomach.

“God damn...” he breathed.

“Okay?” Actor questioned, rocking his shaft sideways in the tight passage.

“Yeah,” Chief urged, looking up and meeting the glittering eyes. “Do it, man.”

For just a second Actor stared at him, judging, trying to see if there was pain to override the pleasure. What he saw made him smile. He started thrusting, driving into Chief. Chief cried out again, arching up onto his shoulders, letting Actor nearly hold him up. The cock sliding in and out of his body seemed to sink deeper with each move. The friction ignited what little of his body wasn’t already burning. He banked down hard against it, forced himself to concentrate on something else. Looking up passed his own engorged shaft, he feasted on the sight of Actor fucking him.

The cold, always in control conman was gone, lost to passion. In his place was a man totally devoted to the pleasure he was feeling and giving. The immaculate hair was in complete disarray, sweat ran off a face flushed with excitement. Chief laughed, amazed and delighted at the change he could bring in his lover. Actor was moving faster now driving any control Chief had beyond his reach. He couldn’t push up but he shifted sideways, and Actor drove down, panting, groaning. The blood streamed in Chief’s veins, the heat too much to contain. He threw his arms out, bracing himself as Actor arched into him. Actor’s head went back and he cried out, offering flooding Chief’s ass. It was all Chief’s heightened senses could take. His whole body jerked, cock twitching as the flames reached their highest. Actor released one leg, dropping it to shoulder and grabbing Chief’s cock. The touch alone dropped Chief into the fire. His eyes closed as he came, spilling fluid over Actor’s hand and down his own stomach.

For a long time, they stayed that way, Chief still up on his shoulders, Actor’s softening cock still buried in his body, Actor’s strong hand holding him. Only when Actor slipped from his ass did Chief let out a long, exhausted sigh, sliding his leg off the broad shoulder while Actor lay his other leg gently to the bed. Chief didn’t have the strength yet to open his eyes but felt Actor stretch out next to him.

“Roll over,” the cultured voice whispered.

Forcing his eyes open, he gave Actor a very disbelieving look. Actor chuckled richly. “Don’t be silly, Chief. After that wonderful loving I am incapable of doing more than laying here.” He stroked a hand through the come staining Chief’s chest. “I will rub your shoulders. I don’t want you to be sore in the morning.”

Chief stared into the chocolate eyes for a minute, letting Actor see what neither of them could say. He rolled over without a word. Actor started to knead and Chief felt his muscles go limp. Beyond the feeling of complete exhaustion, he felt the trust that surrounded them, a feeling rare and more precious than anything else they might share. A few minutes later, with Actor’s sure hands rubbing his back, he drifted to sleep.

 

The phone rang at three in the morning. Actor rolled over, awake and instantly worried. In all his experience there was never a good phone call at that hour. Chief was just really awaking, which surprised Actor. Normally the slightest noise would bring Chief to his feet with his knife in hand. Actor wondered, as he reached for the phone if his reaction was due to exhaustion or knowledge of his safety.

“Hello?” Actor answered in French. Behind him Chief switched on the bedside lamp.

The voice on the other end of the line spoke three short lines also in French. Actor felt the cold start up his spine, the images that ran through all his nightmares suddenly becoming very real.

“Yes, of course,” he said calmly, hanging up with exaggerated care.

He took two deep breaths, trying to dispel the chill. It didn’t work. When he turned to tell Chief the news his gaze was met with undisguised fear in the black eyes. Chief already knew. Actor wasn’t surprised.

 

“Blimey,” Goniff said with a whoosh of relief. “I thought you’d never get here.”

Actor started forward and was shoved hard aside. Chief leaned across the table, coming nearly nose to nose with the little thief. “What happened?” He demanded harshly, dangerously. “You were all out! Why did...”

Risking the Indian’s anger, Actor reached out and grabbed his arm. “Stop, Chief,” he ordered. “It won’t help.”

Jerking away, Chief marched to the small farmhouse window and stared out. Goniff stared after him, eyes roving nervously. “I’m sorry,” he stammered. “I don’t know what happened. I had the bag and was on the train. Everything was nice and calm, no Krauts or nothing....”

“It doesn’t matter what happened,” Actor suddenly interrupted. “What matters is getting them back.”

“That will not be easy,” Kyle Perrier volunteered from behind them. “Goniff followed them after they were taken. They are not in the local jail. They were taken to the old Revues chateau on the edge of town where the Gestapo has it’s communication unit.”

“Don’t matter,” Chief said quietly.

Their contact offered no argument, having heard the steel in Chief’s voice. Actor nodded. “What can you tell us about the location, Kyle?”

“Only a little,” the Frenchman admitted. “But there are two others in the Resistance that will be here shortly that have knowledge of the chateau.”

Actor glanced nervously at his watch. “Garrison and Casino have been held almost ten hours now. Much longer and they may not be alive to be rescued.”

From the edge of his vision he saw Goniff flinch; Chief merely raised his head a fraction and took a short breath. Actor’s worry over his two missing companions was over shadowed for an instant by his worry for Chief. He knew, maybe even more than Chief himself did, how much Chief loved Garrison, how much Chief was in love with Garrison. The need to offer some touch of comfort was powerful but Actor fought it away, turning to Kyle instead.

“How soon will the others be here?” He demanded.

“An hour, no more,” the older Resistance agent told them. “Once they are here I am sure we can devise a plan.”

Actor pulled a chair away from the large carved table. “We can start now with some basic information.”

 

It was not a good plan. There was no time to forge any papers the Gestapo would believe; there was no time to arrange a visit from a higher ranking SS; there was no Wehrmacht officer that could override the SS. That left only one option, the hard way. Actor straightened the collar on his slightly tight Wehrmacht uniform. Next to him Goniff and Chief, also in the enemy uniforms, managed to both look dangerous and disciplined. They would get inside, then the small band of local resistance would stage an attack on the outside. There was no hope of them actually fighting their way in, but it would serve as a distraction for the men trying to get out.

The staff car stopped at the bottom of the stone steps. Four guards stood outside, two at the bottom of the stone steps, two more at the door. They came to stiff attention as the three fake soldiers walked through. The SS officer came to attention, giving the raised arm salute; even the SS weren’t arrogant enough to ignore a Wehrmacht colonel. Four more interior guards came to attention, two near the inter door, two near the outer door. Actor returned with a standard salute.

In crisp German, he said, “I am here to see Major Mueller concerning the prisoners you captured in the train station yesterday evening.”

“I’m sorry, Herr Colonel,” the man returned. “Major Mueller is away for the morning. Captain Birgit is in charge.”

Looking displeased, Actor nodded. “Very well. Take me to the prisoners. Then find the captain and send him to the cells.”

The man hesitated. “It would be better if the captain were present when you interrogated the prisoners.”

“I do not intend to interrogate the prisoners,” Actor snapped. “I am here to confirm their identities as important Allied commandos. As for your captain, I thought he might be interested to know a rumor has reached my command that the local resistance plans to attack this chateau in an attempt to free the prisoners.”

That statement brought the officer up short. “I will sound the alert immediately.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Actor said calmly. “The attack will not come until tonight. And I do not want them scared off.” Glancing at his watch, he said, “I don’t have time to explain my plan to you. Take us, then find the captain.”

His sharp order was instantly obeyed. The corporal jerked open the drawer of his desk and grabbed a ring of keys. “Follow me, Herr Colonel.”

They went through a large library and a smaller dinning room then through the kitchen to the stairs leading to the cellar. Actor glanced sideways at his two companions, then pointed to his watch and held up five fingers. The other men nodded. The corporal lifted a bar from across the door, hit a light switch and lead them down. Chief hung behind, staying at the top of the stairs.

Luck was with them for the moment and there were no more guards in the cellar itself. Across the makeshift cell two cots held their missing teammates. Actor’s instincts wanted him to go to the two still bodies lying chained to the narrow cots, instead he turned with surprising speed and hit the unsuspecting German hard enough to crack bone. The man went down without a sound. Goniff was moving toward Casino as Actor turned to Garrison. He knew they had no time to do more than a cursory check of their injuries.

Garrison didn’t seem to be badly injured. A long gash that looked like a bullet graze marred the right side of his head just above the ear. It was the only wound he could see. Actor reached for the man’s shoulder to try to wake him and stopped as he looked closer. Garrison was breathing very lightly, his complexion bone white and his muscles so limp it looked like he was dead. Taking a deep breath, Actor turned to see how their other companion was doing.

“Goniff?” He asked as he stepped over.

The little thief looked up, worry filling his blue eyes. “Bad.”

His assessment took only one look to confirm. Casino had been questioned. Bruises darkened his entire face, blood still oozed from cuts over his eyes, cheeks and split lips. One shoulder looked crooked, probably dislocated, several cigarette burns dotted his right arm.

“Couple of ribs are broken,” Goniff added. “It’s gonna be dangerous to carry him far.”

“If this works, it won’t be far,” Actor said in encouragement.

“How’s the warden?” Goniff asked.

Actor shook his head, not sure out to answer. “He hasn’t been beaten. But he has a nasty head wound.” Looking between the two men, he added, “Garrison must have been wounded when they were captured. That would explain why only Casino has been questioned.”

“Blimey, Actor, that would mean the warden’s been out a whole day,” Goniff said quietly, displaying a quick intelligence that Actor frequently overlooked.

“Yes,” he sighed. “I know.” Coming to his feet, he said sharply, “Can you carry Casino or shall I get Chief?”

Not insulted by the question, Goniff nodded. “I’ll get him.”

Actor glanced at his watch. “We have two minutes. Let’s go.”

Reaching for Garrison, Actor heard a soft grunt from behind him. “Putting it on there, mate,” Goniff said in complaint.

The pain of being lifted over Goniff’s shoulder was enough to bring a groan from Casino. Actor’s worry was increased as only silence filled the room when he lifted Garrison.

Grabbing the stair railings, he shifted Garrison up higher on his shoulder. “Go!” He ordered.

Goniff struggled up the steps, Actor and his burden right behind. They pushed open the door and from around Casino’s limp form Actor saw Chief’s eyes widen with worry at the sight of his two companions. They all stopped at the door into the kitchen, waiting. Balancing Garrison carefully, Actor managed to get a look at his watch.

“Get ready,” he warned.

Chief hoisted the machine gun, clicked it back. Twenty seconds later an explosion shook the outside stone wall. “Stay behind me!” Chief ordered, charging out into the kitchen.

Two guards crashed through a double glass door that opened into a walled garden. Chief machine gun cut them down. Even as they fell, more could be seen running from what had once been a carriage house. Chief looked over his shoulder, checking the others then started through the den. The Resistance was hitting the south side, hopefully pulling soldiers away from the eastern entrance. Actor nodded and they followed Chief on into the gauntlet.

The walk into the house had taken only minutes, now as they battled their way out, time seemed to stretch, the distance to safety becoming further and further away. From somewhere in the house there was the smell of smoke. They charged into the library, Chief’s gun once more cut a bloody path through the Germans. They hugged the book lined wall. Chief stepped into the den, gun ready.

A barrage of returning fire, slammed into the wood and paper opposite the door, driving Chief back into the room. He cast one quick glance at Actor. From across the archway, Actor saw the desperation in the dark gaze. Before he could do more than take a quick breath, Chief stepped into the open and raked the enemy. Bullets riddled the area around him but he held his ground, firing until the returning fire stopped.

“Blimey,” Goniff said quietly.

“Yeah,” Actor breathed, fear making his heart pound.

Chief motioned and they plunged on. Two more soldiers fired from the front room, another explosion rocked the house, then they were in the open and running toward the waiting van. There were no guards in the yard and they made it across to the van without a shot being fired. Chief crouched behind them, aiming for the side of the house the guards were most likely to come from. Actor handed Garrison to Kyle, Goniff handed Casino to another agent. They stepped up as gunfire again filled the bright afternoon. Chief’s weapon answered it.

Actor shoved the little thief into the dark van. “Chief!” He yelled back.

The Indian backed, still firing. He reached the van in three strides, leapt inside and swung the door shut. The vehicle lurched forward, bullets slamming against the solid metal doors.

“Can they follow?” Actor yelled over the engine.

“No,” Kyle promised. “We took care of their cars first.”

The words seemed to drain the energy out of Actor’s legs, he sat down hard on wooden bench next to the Frenchmen. The adrenaline still rushing through his body became a slight tremble that he could do nothing about. He took two deep breaths, and turned to check their unconscious teammates. Both men were lying on blankets in between the two benches. Kyle handed him a first aid kit and passed several more blankets to Goniff.

“Get them both covered,” Actor ordered. He looked to where Chief was sitting on the edge of the bench, near the door, still turned back, as if expecting the Germans to open fire again. “Chief, see if you can....”

Chief turned and even in the dim light of the speeding van Actor saw the pain in his eyes. His lover started to say something, then slumped silently toward the floor.

“Chiefy!” Goniff caught him by one arm just before he landed on Casino, jerked him up to the bench.

Actor was on his other side instantly. Chief was looking at him with a dazed expression. “Just a scratch,” he said in bewilderment.

The buttons on the thick coat came open quickly under Actor’s fingers and he shoved the uniform off. Bright red blood had soaked Chief’s coat, was even now dripping off his fingers.

“Just a scratch,” Actor cursed softly. He struck his fingers into the wound, bringing a sharp cry of pain from the Indian. “Damn thing has hit an artery.”

“Dizzy...” Chief fell against him.

“Actor?” Goniff’s voice was very thin.

Actor frowned. “As long I hold the pressure point, he will be alright until we can get him to a doctor.”

“There is a doctor waiting at the rendezvous,” Kyle said quickly. “After being in the hands of the Gestapo, we knew they would need one.”

“Excellent thinking,” Actor agreed.

He leaned back against the swaying wall, holding Chief’s lean body close, fingers still clamped over the now slow bleeding wound. Goniff finished covering Casino and Garrison. Neither man had shown any sign of regaining consciousness. Actor sighed. They had been badly hurt on this mission; looking at Garrison he wondered if they had yet to find out how bad. He shook away the thoughts. They were alive and on their way home. That was all that mattered.

 

“Hey, Chiefy,” Goniff said lightly. “How’s the arm?”

“Fine,” Chief said shortly. He knew Goniff was trying to be optimistic, knew the man talked when he was nervous. Goniff stood up and let him have the chair sitting next to Casino’s bed. Chief sat down, not offering any conversation.

But Goniff’s next question surprised him. “I can stay here, mate, if you want.”

Chief looked up, met understanding in the bright blue eyes. For a moment he was startled to know he had been so transparent in his concern for Garrison. Thinking about it he realized he shouldn’t have been so surprised. They were all close, had to be to survive. The feelings he had for Garrison had been there from the beginning, it would be impossible for the rest not to know. Yet, what he saw in Goniff’s gaze said the other man had seen beyond the camaraderie due a teammate. Chief let out a hard breath. He didn’t know what to do or say so he turned away, letting his gaze drop to the injured man on the bed.

“No,” he said quietly. “I’ll stand my turn.”

He could almost see Goniff shove his hands into his pockets and nod. “Whatever you want, Chiefy.”

Just before the door closed, Chief said, “Thanks, Goniff.”

“Yeah,” was the only response.

Casino stirred slightly on the bed. Chief looked over at the man, checking him closely. He was still out, though his struggle toward consciousness was becoming more marked. Without wanting to Chief compared Casino’s condition to Garrison’s. Two doors down in the quiet English hospital Garrison was slipping further toward death. The doctors hadn’t said so in those words but he had seen their looks, had seen Garrison’s handsome face grow gaunt, lax, had felt the fierce spirit growing fainter.

He wished Actor were with him. In the two days since they had made it home they had all seen very little of each other. It was Actor’s shift at home while he sat with Casino and Goniff sat with Garrison. In four hours he would sit beside the man who had changed his life; Actor would take his place next to Casino and Goniff would go home. The rotation would change soon. Already Casino was fighting off the enforced sleep. Once they had assured themselves he was out of danger they would cut back to sitting beside their warden. For as long as it took.

“Ward...en?” Casino’s hoarse voice shook Chief away from his dark thoughts.

Casino was blinking hard, not quite aware yet of his surroundings. His hand moved on top of the crisp white sheet and without hesitation Chief reached over, holding it tight.

“Casino?” he said softly.

There had been a time, only a few months earlier when he might have wished it were Casino they were slowly losing. As with everything else in the passed year, that had changed. He and Casino’s dislike had become grudging respect and eventually a brotherly rivalry. Watching Casino struggled toward the light a shocking tenderness filled Chief’s chest and he tightened his hand around the safecracker’s larger one. As much as he needed Garrison back he couldn’t conceive of sacrificing another of them, expect for himself.

“Casino,” he said a little more firmly.

The single eye that wasn’t swollen shut blinked several more times before focusing on Chief. Confusion clouded Casino’s damaged face then memories flooded back. His grip locked around Chief’s hand.

“Chief?” His tone said he was afraid to believe what his vision was telling him.

“Yeah,” Chief assured him. Seeing the questions start up, he added, “You’re in St. Vincent’s, near the mansion.”

Casino shook his head, searching Chief’s expression for another answer. Chief knew the question but it was an answer he didn’t want to give. “Warden’s down the hall. It ain’t good.”

Casino closed his eyes for a long time. When he looked up at Chief again there was pain and guilt in the dark gaze. “I tried.... I tried... to cover him...” The skilled hand squeezed Chief’s harder. “Please, Chief... you got to know... I tried ... he went dow... They were on us... so fast...”

To both of their surprise, Chief reached out and gently wiped the sweat off Casino’s cut cheek. “I know, Casino. Warden knows, too.”

The New Yorker took a slow breath, blinking against both the drugs and the guilt. The drugs won out taking him back into sleep, and allowing a single tear to fall. Chief wiped it off, knowing Casino would never have let go if he hadn’t been hurt. Another surprise rippled through him as he realized that maybe the tough con would have after all.

 

He started to open the door, and stopped. Sagging back against the wall, Actor took a long, deep breath. The doctors had broken the news to him nearly an hour earlier. And for an hour he’d been trying to decide how to tell the others, especially Chief. It seemed so simple -- they could take Casino and Garrison home.

For Casino, going home meant two weeks in bed, two weeks of being waited on, two weeks of complaining.

For Garrison, going home meant death.

Actor refused to acknowledge the sob that nearly broke free. Chief was sitting inside next to Garrison, waiting for Actor to replace him. How did Actor tell his lover that the doctors had given up, that they were sending Garrison home to die in his own bed, surrounded by his friends? How did he tell Chief that the world that had changed them all for the better was about to end? How did he tell him the most important person in the world to him, the man he loved and treasured above all others, even his lover, was dying?

Schooling his features, Actor opened the door and stepped inside. Chief looked up at him, the constant worry and fear immediately deepened. Actor was not surprised the Indian had seen through his neutral expression. Chief remained next to Garrison, his hand going out, taking the limp, cold one.

“We can take him home, Chief,” Actor said quietly, his voice only barely breaking.

He waited for the questions, waited for the outrage, the denial. There was only silence. Very slowly the onyx eyes closed. Actor took a step forward and stopped as if he’d hit a solid wall. The sorrow surrounding Chief was as solid as the anger he’d used at the beginning of their team. For the first time in many months, Actor didn’t know what his friend needed or wanted.

“Chief?” he said softly, not even sure it was a question.

Chief only shook his head but Actor understood. He turned and left, going to tell Goniff and Casino the news, thinking it would be easier to tell them, but knowing that it wouldn’t be.

 

“Actor?” Goniff called quietly from the door.

Actor looked up, and was caught by how weary Goniff looked. With a bit of a start he realized that he probably looked just as bad. It had been three days; three days of hell, days of hoping and denying hope, days of waiting for Garrison to draw his last breath. He put down the book he’d been pretending to read. The silence settled in around him. The absence of chattering, of Casino and Goniff arguing, of Garrison quietly helping Chief with his new found interest in learning, grated on his nerves.

Shaking himself, he answered, “Yes, Goniff.”

The blue eyes flickered from him to the floor, then the little thief straightened, met his gaze. “Chiefy’s back in Garrison’s room again.” Actor came to his feet, stepped over to his teammate. “I thought maybe you should take him out of there. He’s looking rough.”

“We all are,” Actor reminded him gently.

“Yeah,” Goniff conceded. “But Chief ain’t been to bed in a long time. I thought maybe, you know, you could get him to lay down, take a rest.”

The sky blue eyes met his and Actor saw his love for Chief acknowledged and understood. He put an arm on Goniff’s shoulder, rubbed lightly along his neck. “Thank you, Goniff. I will do my best.”

He slipped past the blond, then turned back. “Will you be okay? That only leaves you to sit with the warden tonight. If Casino needs something...”

Goniff waved it off. “Nah, Casino and me already talked about it. Was his idea, mate. He said he’d suffer quietly as long as Chief got some looking after.”

Actor smiled for the first time in five days. He wondered if Chief knew how much these two loved him. When Garrison died there would be little any of them would be able to do to help the Indian, but maybe the knowledge that he wasn’t alone would soften the loss. Actor nodded to Goniff.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he promised.

 

Chief was in the same position beside Garrison that he’d been in at the hospital. Only the soft colors of the room and the patch of warm sunlight marked the change. On the table next to him was a sandwich with a single bite out of it. Actor smiled sadly, only now realizing how useless he’d been in the passed days. It seemed that Goniff had taken on all the work, had shouldered more than he would have given the small thief credit for. An incongruous rainbow shone from the bottle of saline that was keeping Garrison from dehydrating. Twice a day a nurse came by and took care of the comatose man. On her first visit she had tried to offer Chief words of comfort. A single glare had stopped her, since then she’d come and gone in silence.

“Chief?” Actor said quietly.

Eyes dulled with exhaustion and hopelessness met his. He took a deep breath. It was a look he was becoming familiar with; they all had it, only with Chief it went soul deep. Coming across the few feet, he knelt next to the straight backed chair and lay his hand on Chief’s. Silently, he cursed himself for letting this go on. He had let Chief’s sorrow push him away, thinking that his lover would come to terms with the loss alone. Now, he knew what Chief needed was not time alone but someone’s touch, someone’s comfort. With a sigh, he admitted that convincing Chief of that might take some work.

Squeezing the small hand, he said firmly, “Come away, Chief. Goniff is going to sit with the Warden. You need some sleep.”

Chief shook his head, eyes back on Garrison. Actor sighed. Telling Chief he needed to leave would not do any good. As much as he hated to do it, he changed tacks.

“Please, Chief,” he pleaded. “Come away. Just for a little while. Come lay down.”

Again the sad eyes met his. Actor reached out and gently ran his hand through limp hair. “Just an hour. Just a little while.” Meeting the broken expression, he let all his concern reach his own face. “For me.”

Slowly, Chief took a deep breath, sighed. Nodding once, he stood, swaying with exhaustion. Slipping an arm around his waist, Actor led the Indian across the hall into the guest bedroom. Chief eased away, walking unsteadily to the bed. Actor paused in the hall, and saw Goniff give him a slight nod of approval. He closed the door behind them.

Chief was sitting on the bed’s edge, looking old and lost. Actor knelt in front of him, pulled his boots off and removed his belt.

“What will happen?” Chief whispered hoarsely.

Actor looked up, startled at the question. He knew they had all wondered about their future, but he was surprised Chief had voiced it. “I talked to General Walker. We’ll have some leave, then be given another lieutenant. We won’t go back to prison.”

Blinking, Chief looked down at him as if he were speaking German. “No,” he tried to explain, “us... all of us. What do we do without him?”

Meeting the dark eyes, Actor said firmly, “We’ll be alright. We’ll be together and we’ll make it. Do you know why?”

Chief shook his head, though whether at the question or the impossibility of what Actor was suggesting, he wasn’t sure. “We’ll make it because Garrison would expect us to make it.”

It was not just a line, it was what he really believed, and it was the right thing to say. A little light and a little defiance came into Chief’s bleak expression. Actor took his arm, urged him up into the bed without trying to finish undressing him. Dropping his own shoes off, he slipped in next to Chief. Mindful of his lover’s wounded arm, he pulled him close, resting the dark head on his chest. Chief’s arm went across Actor’s chest.

“Go to sleep now,” Actor whispered.

He rubbed slow circles around Chief’s strong back. After a few minutes, even the sorrow could not hold off the exhaustion. With a single sigh, Chief slipped into sleep. A few minutes later Actor was surprised when his own eyes insisted on closing. Reluctantly, he joined his lover in uneasy sleep, fearful of what they would find when they awoke.

It was a soft sound that woke him. Chief lay where he had, his arm loose on Actor’s chest. Actor had slipped down off the pillows. The sound came again and Actor’s heart stopped. Chief was crying in his sleep. The pain of Chief’s sorrow reached through the careful distance he had put between himself and the reality of Garrison’s loss. Tears flooded his own eyes. He loved Garrison, as a friend, an equal, a man of honor. He would miss him; his company, his humor, his concern for a motley bunch of cons that had forced them to become a force second to none.

But he knew the tears were really for Chief, for the withdrawal he could already feel, for the loss of hope that Garrison had given a man who had known very little in his life. It would be a long time before Chief recovered from this, even with Actor’s help. Actor knew he would stay as long as Chief needed him. That stopped his thoughts. There had been many lovers in his life, male and female, and never had he considered their future before his own. It was a strange idea.

Gradually, Chief’s nightmares released him, letting him rest again. Actor sighed, closing his eyes and wishing he could do the same.

 

The door burst open, slamming back against the solid wood of the dresser. Chief jumped, straightening against Actor who had also come awake at the startling sound. Goniff was standing in the dark hallway, hair disarrayed, eyes wide with panic. Fear gripped Chief.

“Actor! Chief! Come quick.... the Warden...”

Actor nodded, struggling for control. “Goniff, we knew...”

“He’s waking up!” Goniff nearly shouted.

There was a single instant of shock that kept them from moving. Then Chief was nearly falling over Actor as they both staggered up. Actor’s long legs carried him into the hall just in front of Chief. Goniff trailed after them, looking like he was afraid to believe what he had just told his teammates.

“Call the hospital!” Actor shouted over his shoulder. “Tell them to send a doctor!”

Actor yanked open the door, stopped, so that Chief nearly ran into him. Around the taller man’s shoulder Chief saw Garrison tossing weakly on the wide bed. They moved as one, each taking a side of the bed; Chief knelling on one side while Actor sat on the other, leaning over. Chief watched Garrison’s hands clenching on the bedsheet. Was this good or bad?

“...sino...” The hoarse voice caused them both to jump.

Chief started to reach for Garrison’s hand but hesitated. He looked helplessly up at Actor. He desperately wanted to touch the struggling man, wanted to be assured that this was not the end, that it was the miracle it seemed to be. The concentration on Actor’s face did not give him the comfort he wanted.

His lover’s eyes met his. “Hold him, Chief.” Actor ordered. “Talk to him. Give him something to concentrate on.”

Chief climbed into the bed and pulled Garrison into his arms. He swallowed twice. “Warden?” It was shaky.

“Talk to him,” Actor urged. “Be firm. You have to bring him back to us.”

Chief nodded. “Lieutenant! Craig.”

“Casi...”

“Casino’s okay,” Chief said, stroking the lieutenant’s arm.

Goniff came running in, stopped at the desperation that filled the other two men. Actor looked up at him and Goniff nodded. There would be help soon.

“Warden. Come on,” Chief urged, fighting to keep his voice from breaking with fear. “You’re home. You’re safe.”

The tossing died down and Garrison turned toward Chief’s voice. Chief stroked through the dark blond hair. His voice was still firm but there was a softness to it now, a promise and a plea. “Warden, you have to come back. We need you. All of us.”

The slightest flicker of the man’s eyelids stopped his breath. “I need you,” Chief explained in a whisper. “Please, wake up.”

Garrison sighed once, and suddenly Chief was looking down into a hint of sea green eyes.

“Warden?” Chief questioned.

For a long time there was no other movement from Garrison. Then he blinked twice and confusion filled his expression. He glanced at Actor and Goniff, searching for someone else, then up at Chief again.

“Casino?” He whispered again, voice weak and dry.

Chief met the dazed look. He felt the tears in his throat, blinked at the mist that obscured his vision. “Casino’s okay, Warden. You’re both home now.”

The light of recognition filled Garrison face. “Chief?”

It was the single most wonderful thing he had ever heard. “Yeah,” he confirmed.

There was movement in the hall and Chief turned to stare in that direction. Casino stood on shaky legs, hanging onto the door frame for support.

“Casino!” Goniff exclaimed. “Mate, you shouldn’t...”

Casino wasn’t listening. He was staring at Garrison. “Warden?” He whispered, as afraid to believe what he was seeing as the rest of them.

The frail body held tight in Chief arms responded, Garrison shifted, trying to find the voice. “Casino?”

Trying to take a step forward Casino stumbled and would have fallen if Goniff had grabbed his arm. Moving him carefully, Goniff sat him down on the edge of the bed next to Chief. Chief wanted for Casino’s dark eyes to met his, waited for the shock at the intimate, protective hold he had on Garrison. Casino only smiled warmly at Garrison.

“Hey, baby,” he said hoarsely.

Garrison blinked again. “You okay?”

“Me?” Casino smiled. “I ain’t the one been in bed for three days.”

“Yes, you have,” Goniff supplied.

“Shut up, Goniff,” Casino said without thought.

Garrison shifted again, looked down at the needle in his hand, back up at Chief. “Are we home?”

“Yeah,” Chief said firmly. “You’re home. We’re all okay.”

“Glad you came back, Chief,” Garrison muttered, his eyes closing. “New York’s too big to search...”

Chief glanced up at Actor, letting his worry show. Actor smiled. “He’s still confused. Keep talking to him.”

“You look awful,” Garrison said suddenly.

Chief glanced down, not sure whom he was talking to, since he suddenly realized the description fit all of them. The green eyes locked with his. “Be okay now,” he said quietly. “All of us.”

Without question Garrison snuggled into the haven of Chief’s arm and slipped into a healing sleep.

Chief took a deep breath, feeling like it was the first time he’d breathed in months. A smile started along his mouth, he tried to stop it but all his control was devoted to stopping the sob that nearly choked him. From nearby he heard a soft sniff. He looked up to find Goniff scrubbing determinedly at his eyes. Across from him he watched Actor blinking hard. Casino, always so quick with his anger, was equally free with his relief; he made no attempt to hide the tears that drifted down his cheeks.

Reality hit Chief and he looked at all of them. “We got him back,” he whispered.

In a single heartbeat the relief changed from tears to smiles, and melted into laughter. Goniff bounced to his feet, jigging. “Yes, yes!!”

“Silly Limey,” Casino said from between an odd combination of laughs and sobs.

Chief looked once more down at the man sleeping in his arms. He looked up at Actor, nearly dizzy with relief. “We got him back,” he repeated.

Actor leaned carefully over, lay an arm over Chief shoulders, holding Garrison’s shoulder at the same time.

“Yes, Chief, we go him back,” Actor confirmed, voice filled with tenderness and love for both of them.

 

The room was warm, collecting the heat from the dying sun in the glass of the large windows. Actor was not surprised to find Chief standing at the window. He knew the Indian had watched Garrison start his walk every afternoon for the passed week. The glass reflected Chief’s handsome face as well as any mirror, allowing Actor to see the love shining in his eyes.

It was time. Part of him argued it was too soon but he shoved the protest away. Since that night in the cold Italian countryside he had known this would come. A sad smile touched his expression. Now, all he had to do was convince Chief.

Chief glanced up at that moment, though Actor knew he had been heard long before. He took the glance to be an invitation. Joining his lover, he wrapped his long arms around Chief’s shoulders. Chief leaned back, but Actor knew his thoughts, and feelings, were on the man walking slowly toward the pond. Below, Garrison stopped, leaning heavily on his cane for a moment. Against his chest, Actor felt Chief tense. He moved his hands up to Chief’s shoulders, kneaded.

“The dizziness is fading. He just needs time to heal. And he needs you.”

Lowering his hands to Chief’s upper arms, he turned him. Actor smiled, one hand stroking along Chief’s cheek. “I will miss you,” he said softly. It wasn’t at all what he had wanted to say.

Chief’s eyes darkened with suspicion. “Where you going?”

Laughing lightly, Actor said, “Not me. You. You’re going to follow that man and when you find him you’re going to tell him you love him, and then, if I know you, you two will have a night of slow, loving sex.”

Fear lit the black eyes, making Chief edge away. “No,” he shook his head. “I can’t do that.”

“He loves you.” Actor cut off Chief’s protest, holding him still. “Do you know why he asked about New York when he awoke?”

“He asked about Casino first,” Chief argued, trying to ignore the significance of Garrison’s mention of Chief’s disappearance in New York.

“Yes,” Actor agreed. “The last thing he remembered was their capture. He was afraid Casino had been killed. And the last time he had worried about losing someone was when you vanished in New York.”

Chief took a sharp breath, and Actor watched him fight the reality his heart desperately wanted. “Actor, what you’ve done... I can’t leave...”

Actor smiled, cutting him off. “Thank you,” he said quietly, gaining another confused look.

“What did I do?” Chief asked. “You taught me how to not be ashamed, how to love...”

His hand came up to cover Chief’s lips. “No. You knew how to love. What I taught you was nothing special, it was merely technique.”

“That’s not...”

“What you taught me,” Actor continued, “was infinitely more important.” Chief stopped, intrigued in spite of himself. “I have always been a selfish person, Chief. Until you. You taught me that even I can care for someone, can want forever.”

Before Chief could protest, Actor wrapped him in a tight hug. “You taught me to love, Chief.” He took a deep breath, and eased away, breaking the contact. “Now, go on. There’s a man alone out there that has loved you for a long time.”

There was still fear in the obsidian gaze. Chief studied him for a moment, then glanced back out the window. He turned back to Actor, and kissed him very gently.

“Thank you,” he said quietly.

“Go on,” Actor urged again.

Taking a deep breath, Chief seemed to steady himself with the confidence in Actor’s gaze. He nodded once to the tall conman and walked out. For a moment Actor closed his eyes, feeling sad and proud, and unsure to either emotion.

“That was a wonderful thing you did,” a voice said from the hall.

Actor turned to find Goniff smiling at him. He nodded in answer to Goniff’s compliment.

“You love him, don’t ya?” Goniff said as he joined Actor by the window, handing him a brandy.

“Oh, yes,” Actor admitted. “But I knew, even at the beginning. Chief belongs to Garrison, and has since before they even met.”

With surprising gentleness, Goniff asked, “You gonna be okay?”

Actor looked down at him. “Yes. I wasn’t just being kind to Chief. He did teach me more than I taught him.”

A comfortable silence claimed them. Actor turned back to the window, watched Garrison disappear toward the trees. A slow smile touched his mouth. Chief’s loss was muted by the love he felt toward both men, and the firm knowledge that he had been right on that dark night in Italy when he had seen the love shining in two sets of radically different eyes. Garrison loved Chief; he would take care of him, give him a steady life that Actor only now realized he was capable of offering someone. One day he would find the person he would make that offer to. That knowledge was worth the of pain Chief’s separation.

After a minute, Goniff said, “Well, come on, mate, you can help with dinner.”

Actor threw an arm around Goniff. “An excellent idea. I will show you how make a casserole second to none.” Smiling widely, he asked silkily, “Perhaps there is something else I can teach you later.”

“Here now, mate,” Goniff laughed. “Those charms of yours won’t work on me. Strictly a ladies man I am.”

“Ah, well, your misfortune,” Actor said, following the small thief toward the kitchen.

 

Chief stood in the shadow of a large oak, close enough to watch Garrison but far enough and hidden enough so that the warden wouldn’t see him. He believed Actor about Garrison loving him. Actor knew people like he knew fine paintings; with Garrison he could almost complete the lieutenant’s sentences. Chief turned, started away, stopped and leaned back against the tree. With a quick uncharacteristic surge of violence, he pounded his fist against the rough bark. He loved Garrison, Garrison loved him. It was that easy. So why was it so hard?
“Chief?”

He jumped, spinning around, knife appearing in his hand. Garrison stared, obviously amazed at having taken Chief so completely by surprise. Chief straightened, slipping the knife back into the sheath. Garrison’s surprised turned to concern.

“You okay?” He asked quietly.

Nodding, Chief took a step forward. He met the curious eyes, started to say something, but all the words, all the phrases he’d remembered from Actor, died. He saw Garrison’s concern turn to gentle puzzlement.

The taller man put his hand out. “What do you want, Chief?”

Chief wanted to tell him about the love that filled his blood, wanted to tell him of the terror during those days watching Garrison nearly die, but all Chief could do was stare into the emerald green eyes. All his doubts, all his self consciousness, so carefully destroyed by Actor’s gentle hands now came surging back. With a near growl, he turned away. The hand he had refused gripped his arm, urged him back around. He looked at the ground, refusing to humiliate himself any further by facing the pity he knew would be darkening Garrison’s expression.

In the space of a single heartbeat, the hand that was holding him became Garrison’s whole being. Chief found himself wrapped in a tight hug that encompassed more than just his body. The warmth of the strong arms reached through his cold fear and he sagged into the embrace like a drowning man. Garrison tilted his head down and kissed him gently.

It was a simple, light kiss, no more than a brushing of lips, and it tore through him like a firestorm. The doubts vanished under a flash of love brighter than the sun sinking behind them. He pushed up, returning the kiss, deepening it, offering his mouth to Garrison’s request, wrapping his arms around the man’s waist. Garrison’s tongue slipped into his mouth. His moan this time was a combination of relief and lust.

Garrison leaned back, eyes glittering with sunlight and happiness. Chief felt a smile lift his own mouth.

“I love you,” Chief said softly. “I’ve never said that to anyone.”

“You love Actor,” Garrison stated quietly.

Chief nodded without the slightest hesitation. “Yeah, guess I do. But not like this, not like I’ve wanted him my whole life.”

To his amazement he saw the tiniest doubt fill Garrison’s expression. “Are you sure, Chief? I know that sometimes almost losing someone can....”

Chief’s answer was to once more take Garrison in a slow kiss that spoke of need as well as love. Garrison’s arms tightened, holding him as if he were the most valuable thing the officer had ever touched. They stayed that way a long time, listening to each other’s hearts over the sound of summer insects.

“You’ll have to teach me,” Garrison whispered into his ear. “What you like, what you don’t like, what you can do.”

Once the questions would have panicked him, the mere idea of talking about the castration would have brought anger. Now, excitement filled him at the possibilities he could share with Garrison, all the loving and eroticism he’d learned from a very willing teacher.

“Better at showing then telling,” Chief replied huskily.

The statement straightened Garrison a little and his smile took on a hot expectation itself. He kissed Chief again. Chief moaned as the heavy tongue filled his mouth and sucked against it like it was a Garrison’s cock. The taller man reversed the move, sucking Chief’s tongue into his mouth. The heat that flared in Chief’s blood at the moves told him there wasn’t much he was going to teach this man.

They eased apart and Chief laughed. “Damn.”

“It’s beautiful out here tonight, Chief,” Garrison said conversationally. “But I prefer something a little more comfortable than a forest floor.”

Chief needed no further urging. He bent down and picked up the cane that Garrison had all but forgotten. Handing it to his soon-to-be lover, he started toward the house. A few weeks before he would have never thought to have experienced the joy filling him.

 

“Slow down, Chief,” Garrison laughed.

Chief stopped his near frantic exploration of Garrison’s now bare chest. They had been in the breeze cooled room less than five minutes and already Chief had managed to shed his shirt and shoes, and help Garrison out of his shirt. Leaning away, a worrying thought touched him.

“You okay?” he questioned.

“I’m fine.” Garrison assured him. He reached for Chief, and stopped, staring at his arm. Chief looked down, the wound all but forgotten over the passed few days. “When the hell did this happen?” Garrison demanded.

“When we came in for you,” Chief answered honestly. “It’s nothing.”

Pain flickered in the bewitching green eyes. “I hate when one of you guys gets hurt.”

Chief reached up, stroked through the fine hair. “We know,” he said quietly. “That was one of the things made us love you.”

The phrasing made Garrison smile. “Us?” He asked jokingly.

Nodding, Chief said seriously, “All of us. You know that.”

Garrison’s smile turned soft and warm. “Yeah, guess I do.” Leaning forward, he kissed along Chief’s mouth. “You’re the only one I want though.”

“I know,” Chief agreed. “Don’t know why, but I’m glad you do.” The fire was banked now, giving him a chance to move slower, ease his pants off.

“And I want to make it this special for both of us,” Garrison said softly as he watched Chief undress.

Trailing his hand down Garrison’s temple, Chief said softly, “Anything with you will be special.”

To his amazement, Garrison actually blushed. The next few minutes faded into a sensuous haze of scattered clothing, hot touches and deep kisses. Every move, every slight brush of flesh against warm flesh, every lingering kiss heightened the need in Chief’s blood. He stroked along Garrison’s shoulders and back as the blond dropped his shorts to the floor. Chief studied his warden, entranced by the strong body, by the fair skin and pale gold hair. Garrison was already half-risen, cock filling even as he watched. Garrison was shorter than Actor but thicker. The sudden fiery image of that cock sliding deep into his ass made Chief gasp.

Stepping back, he reached for his own shorts and hesitated. Even after Actor’s tender loving, it was hard to over come a lifetime of shame. Garrison didn’t give him a chance to think about it. Kneeling in front of him, Garrison trailed soft lips down Chief’s stomach, tongue tracing just above the band of his shorts. Very slowly, the cotton was pulled down off his hips to his knees. Leaning heavily on Garrison’s shoulder, Chief stepped out of the last of his protection. The kisses never paused, touch slipping directly into his blood. He moaned, feeling lightheaded.

“You’re beautiful,” Garrison told him, coming to his feet, wrapping Chief in another strong hug. Chief shook his head. “Actor told you that too, didn’t he?”

Chief nodded. “Yeah. Never thought about it.”

The featherlight kisses that Garrison started along Chief’s collarbone made any other thoughts impossible. Strong hands tightened around his waist and he found himself lifted just enough to be laid back into the wide bed. He wiggled up, opened his arms in invitation. Garrison lay full on him, hard cock prodding his stomach. New embers fell into his blood, filling his vision with sparks. With a deep moan, he shoved up, claiming Garrison’s full mouth. He plundered the wet offering, hands pinching each nipple, bringing a groan to answer his. Garrison slid down, breaking the kiss and coming to his knees between Chief’s legs.

Chief watched, nearly forgetting to breathe as Garrison reached out and slowly stroked along his cock. His eyes snapped closed at the incredible feel, at the so long desired touch.

“Tell me, Chief,” Garrison whispered.

Opening his eyes, he found intense curiosity staring at him from behind the lust filled green eyes. “What?”

Garrison brushed his fingers through the curls that surrounded his cock. “Is there anything that you don’t like? Is there something that...”

Smiling, he said, “Actor looked it up.”

For an instant Garrison stared at him, then he started laughing, hand still moving on Chief’s slowly hardening shaft. “Just like Actor,” he finally said.

A thought came to Chief and his smile faded a little. “You don’t mind me doing that? Talking about Actor?”

The smile on the handsome face softened and one of Garrison’s hands cupped his chin. “No. I’m glad he was with you; I’m glad he loves you.” Suddenly serious, Garrison continued, “Actor was good for you. You’ve changed, Chief. You smile now and laugh..”

Not surprised by either statement, Chief nodded again. “Yeah. He was. Is.”

Garrison leaned away, expression once more serious. “You know why I couldn’t come to you, don’t you?”

“Don’t at first, thought you just didn’t want a... me,” he confessed softly. Before Garrison could protest, he added, “Figured it out though. You were afraid of looking like you were forcing the idea on me, like a warden and a prisoner.”

A large hand cradled his cheek. “I never wanted you to feel that way.”

Chief turned his head and kissed Garrison’s wrist.

“Show me,” Garrison requested hoarsely.

Sitting up, Chief kissed along his knuckles. “Two things, right away we had to get clear.” Garrison leaned back a little, giving him all his attention. “I can’t get it up as often as you can. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to make love, just don’t always work. You can’t feel you’re using me or not making me want it. And I can’t feel guilty about not responding.”

Garrison’s eyes lit with understanding, knowing both men and seeing exactly what their reactions had been. He leaned forward, kissed Chief gently. “I won’t, if you won’t.”

“One more thing. You’re not going to want me to talk all the time, are you?” He tried to make the statement come out serious, but his happiness reached his voice, giving him away. He was pounced on.

The kisses this time rained down on his face fast and teasing. “I don’t care,” Garrison said in between, “if you never talk, just as long as I can make you yell.”

Chief laughed as the assault continued. Garrison sucked on each nipple, sending tracers of heat along his chest that centered on his cock, swelling it. Chief suddenly found it hard to breathe, tried to arch up to Garrison’s body, begging for contact. His pleas were answered in spectacular fashion. Garrison smiled up at him, mischief dancing in the fair expression and engulfed Chief’s cock in hard suction. Chief arched up off the bed with a cry of near pain. Garrison’s tongue swirled around his slender shaft, lips pressing hard against the head, teasing the slit. Chief’s hands tangled in Garrison’s thick blond hair.

“Damn,” he whispered. His eyes slid shut, blocking the too erotic sight of his cock sliding into Garrison’s prefect mouth.

One of Garrison’s hands rubbed slow circles along his stomach, the other formed a ring around the base of his cock, adding pressure to the suction. The fire in his blood flared, threatening to take him over too soon. When the talented fingers came down again, he shoved away. Garrison looked over at him, faced flushed with the exciting he was feeling and causing.

“What?’ He asked with a touch of worry. “Did I do something...”

“Oh, yeah,” Chief panted. “Something too good.”

Relief carried away the tension and Garrison watched, waiting. Chief took Garrison’s hand, put one finger at the very base of his cock, a spot that would be hard to reach on a normal male. Holding his breath, he moved Garrison’s hand slowly down.

“Right there,” he explained tightly. “Bunch of nerves Actor said. You want it over fast and hard, press right there.”

Garrison’s chuckled. “I’ll have to remember that when I’m too tired to keep up with you.”

Chief snorted. “Like that’s gonna ever happen.” Leaning forward, Chief kissed Garrison chin, fingers teasing each dark nipple. “Things were kinda one sided. You weren’t getting much.”

Garrison smiled wickedly. “I’d planned on getting plenty.”

Taking a deep breath, Chief said silkily, “You planning on fucking me, Warden?”

The emerald eyes picked up the glitter of heat in Chief’s blood. “Yes,” Garrison whispered back. Picking up on the play that Chief had started, he began to kiss along Chief’s tight throat, pausing over the jugular, letting Chief feel his own pulse under the press of Garrison’s lips. “You’re going to lay in front of me on your side and I’m going to take you from the back. Know why?”

The fire he had temporarily cooled, flashed into life and Chief could only shake his head, not trusting his voice.

“Because then I can feel you. I can wrap my arms around you, play with that beautiful cock, rub your nipples, kiss along your neck. And I can watch my cock slid into that prefect ass.”

“Yeah,” Chief agreed between kisses. “Want to feel those big balls shoved up against me.”

“I thought you didn’t want to talk,” Garrison teased.

“Only when I got something to say.”

Garrison smiled and reached across the bed to the nightstand to retrieve the same tube of gel that Actor had used.

“Damn. You too?” Chief wondered.

Glancing at the tube in his hand, Garrison smiled. “Have I used it? No. You and Actor aren’t the only ones who have though.”

Chief was again surprised. “I must be losing it, man. I never heard anyone.”

“Well, even Casino and Goniff can be sneaky if they have enough of a reason.”

“Casino and Goniff?!” Chief questioned.

“Not together,” Garrison laughed, seeing how his wording had sounded. “They prefer the local girls. And the girls certainly seem to return the preference.”

Anything Chief might have wanted to say was cut off by Garrison’s kiss. With a deep sigh, Chief dueled with Garrison’s tongue, savoring the taste and feel, letting it fill his soul. Garrison leaned back, kneeling between Chief’s legs. He started to squeeze a handful of the slick gel into his hand, but Chief reached out and stopped him.

“Let me,” he requested softly.

Handing him the tube, he stared up, the glittered in Garrison’s eyes, sending sparks into his blood. With slowly moves, Chief filled his hands, then almost reverently smooth along Garrison’s shaft, stroking slowly with both hands, circling the rosy head. He cradled the heavy balls, rolling them until he heard Garrison moan quietly. Garrison leaned forward, hot mouth sealing over his, tongue teasing over his lips. Garrison eased him back down, still locked in a kiss, hard cock rubbing across Chief’s shaft. Chief broke the kiss with a cry, his body aching with desire.

Once again Garrison broke the contact, rolling to his side, hands drifting over Chief’s nipples, pinching quickly then moving lower, barely brushing across his shaft. Chief grabbed Garrison’s wrist, pressing his palm over his dark cock. Garrison took over, pressing hard, fingers teasing at the head.

“Please, please, Warden....”

Garrison smiled gently down at him. “Craig. I’m not the warden here.”

The simple declaration flooded Chief’s chest with warmth, and threatened to take him over without another touch. He fought the love off, wanting, for now to be taken by the passion. Garrison moved, reached for the gel, taking a palmful. Chief’s eyes drifted closed as Garrison’s hand spread the slippery gel across the tight entrance to his body. Without warning, his cock was sucked into tight heat and wet velvet. At the same time, Garrison shoved two fingers deep into him. Pain and pleasure ripped through him and he arched back with a cry. Just as suddenly, both sensations vanished.

He opened eyes as Garrison put one hand on his good arm and urged him over. Only now remembering the earlier promise, Chief took a deep breath and rolled to his side, immediately raising one leg toward his chest. Garrison’s arms came around him, thumbs flicking lightly over too sensitive nipples.

“You have the most prefect ass,” Garrison whispered hotly in his ear.

Chief’s answer was stolen along with his breath as Garrison ran his cock down the cleft of his ass. Feeling the strong chest against his back, feeling the security of the man’s large hands on his stomach, a wave of love joined the lust, filling Chief’s heart as well as his body. A slight push, a ripple of pain and Garrison was one with him. Chief sighed, holding, treasuring the sensation of being pocessed by Garrison, a sensation he had dreamed, a sensation heightened by the love that echoed through it. Garrison rocked forward slightly, and pure passion ripped along his nerves. He moaned, wanting the hard thrust that would complete their union. But Garrison held there, barely inside, cock only teasing the entrance. Chief tried to push back, but Garrison shifted just far enough away to hold his position.

“Craig...” Chief drew his name out, savoring the right and the trust in that simple word.

He was ready, waiting, hurting with need. Garrison kissed across his shoulders, each featherlight mark searing into his flesh. Shifting slightly he managed to steal a quick kiss from the taller man. Garrison shoved, just a little deeper, stopped again.

“Do it, man,” Chief whispered.

Garrison’s answer was to cover Chief’s cock with one large hand, pressing it down into his own stomach. He started to move, barely in and just as little back out, but each thrust was a little deeper, a little harder, a little faster. Teeth nipped at his neck, tugged on his ear and hair.

“Wanted this so long,” Garrison moaned. “To be part of you. Feel myself deep inside you.”

Garrison’s oiled hand gripped his shaft now, squeezing and pumping in a rhythm to match the building thrusts pounding his ass. Each move into his body sent shots of heat along Chief’s nerves, each pounding move echoed through his blood. He tried to fight the building feelings away, tried to bank the flares.

“I love you,” Garrison smooth voice sounded in his ear.

“Finish it.... ,” Chief pleaded. And even as he said it he heard the sob in his throat.

A sharp groan answered him and Garrison’s rhythm changed, became harder, more frenzied. The sharp sound of pounding flesh filled the room, nearly drowned out by their moans and uneven breathing. Chief felt the chills start, felt the earth drop out from under him. He cried out, heard it echoed by Garrison. His cock spasmed, sending fluid over Garrison’s hand and onto his stomach. The ricochets bounced through him, and he trembled with reaction. Garrison’s arms locked around him, and he felt the pulsing of his lover’s shaft. Garrison groaned, shoving deep and hot liquid filled Chief’s body. His own body shuddered again in reaction, the love swamping him was as strongly as the lust had.

Gradually, he became aware of Garrison lightly kissing along his shoulders, softening cock still in his body. He also, in embarrassed amazement, became aware of the mist in his eyes. Chief shifted, easing away to turn over. The look of complete love that he met sparkling in Garrison’s emerald gaze was almost too much, threatened to embarrass him further.

Chief looked up, smiled. “Never thought this would happen.”

“What? Falling in love?” Garrison wondered.

Frowning, Chief tried to find words to explain what he meant. “No. Been in love before. This... is different. Sometimes you can be in love and not be happy.”

A large hand tightened on his neck. “You haven’t had a lot of that, have you?”

Not wanting to get heavy, not thinking he could with the joy singing through his body, Chief said, “I think I’m gonna start making up for it.”

He kissed Garrison’s chin, and found his thoughts going to someone else.

“I hope Actor finds someone,” he said quietly.

Garrison shifted, until Chief was lying across his chest. Stroking through Chief’s hair, Garrison said, “He was good for you. But you were good for him, too. He’ll find someone and this time he’ll know he can make it last.”

“I love you,” Chief whispered, savoring the words.

“I love you, Rainey,” Garrison returned, smiling.

He had never liked his name. Until now. Now, those four words contained all the love he’d ever imagined. Snuggling close to his lover, Chief knew he was right about the future possibilities on happiness.