Warning: Some elements may be unsuitable for sensitive readers.
Authors notes: It would help if youre familiar with the whole "Obsession" episode and history of Ella Gaines & such.
The silver moonlight spilled upon the landscape in a gossamer veil. The leaves rustled their contentment in the cool spring night. The sound of small creatures rustling the grass filled the darkness with life.
Chris Larabee sat, dressed in black, upon the back of Pony, his black horse. A shadow sitting in the shadow of a copse of trees, certain he would be unnoticed even if someone were to wake.
He stared intently at the house before him, thinking of the one he loved so dearly, allowing bitterness to fill his soul at the thought of his love in the arms of another. Many nights he had stared at the house, for so long he had dreamt of being the one holding that supple body next to his in the silvery darkness of night. But he had lost that chance because he had delayed, had denied his own feelings for too long.
Five Years Before
Chris sat quietly, watching Vin try and tie the bowtie of his tuxedo. Ezra finally huffed in frustration and tied it for him.
I should have done that, Chris thought. Thats my responsibility as best man. The last words echoed in his mind leaving nothing but a bitter residue on his soul.
He tried, once more, to convince himself that Vin deserved this chance. That Marta would give Vin the happiness he so richly deserved. That Vin loved the soon to be Mrs. Tanner ripped Chriss soul as few other things had. Chris had been telling himself for months that Vin deserved to know the joys of a wife and children, just as Chris had known them so many years ago.
Once more, as it had so frequently lately, the attempt failed. Marta would never be able to keep Vin happy, not like Chris could. She would steal Vin away from him, first taking up the time they used to spend together and then slowly poisoning his mind against him. That he, Christopher Larabee, was the only person on Earth who would ever be able to keep Vin happy, was Truth at its most basic.
Oh, yes. Chris had taken his chance to spend his life with Vin and thrown it away. That mistake stood as a glaring failure in his life. Having spent so long obsessed with Sarah, he had never thought that his feelings for another man would ever be anything but those of a friend. Somehow, though, Vin Tanner had claimed him, heart and soul. How else could he explain his inattention to Mary and his failure to act upon the attentions of the very attractive widow?
Ever since that first moment when their souls touched and an understanding passed, the truth of what Vin meant to him had been growing within Chris. Chris cursed himself for being so slow to recognize those feelings, and cursed himself again for the time he wasted battling them. It had been while he battled against the truth of his feelings, denying their truth, that Marta had been able to find an opening and blind Vin to the reality of his and Chriss relationship.
Now, Larabee lived behind a mask of friendship. The connection between the sharpshooter and the team leader still flowed, but that seemed to make it only that much harder for Chris to live day by day. When Vin had asked him to be best man at his wedding, Larabee had wanted to cry, how could he watch his best friend, his soul-mate marry another? How could he allow the man he loved to buy into the deception that bitch had sold him on? How could he knowingly allow his friend to live a lie?
Still he had put on a brave face and jumped in with both feet as any best friend should. He cherished every touch, every opportunity to be close to Vin. Ezra would sometimes give him odd looks and Chris thought he caught Ezra spotting him as he checked out Vin far more closely than friendship allowed during their tuxedo hunt. It didnt matter, though. Not anymore. He would just have to put on a brave face and settle for what he could get.
Unfortunately, Chris Larabee had never been a man to settle for less than everything he wanted.
Chris sat quietly on the back of Pony. Vin and Marta had purchased a ranch adjacent to his so "Uncle Chris" could be close to his "nephew" and "niece," Vin and Martas twins.
Chris had tried so hard over the past five years to maintain his cover of friendship. For the most part he had succeeded. Ezra would have been jealous if he had known how completely Chris had delved into his false role.
But that needed to change. His carefully hidden collection of Vins things wasnt enough, the fantasies couldnt sustain him any longer. Locked in the bottom drawer of his dresser, Chris had collected various items of Vins in an attempt to be closer to the man. He had found an old belt buckle of the young man's, some pictures of the two of them, an old shirt Vin had left behind that still carried his wonderful scent. For a time after the marriage, that had been enough. It wasnt enough anymore. It was time to free Vin from the lie that was his life with Marta.
For five years he had watched the young couple and, though he tried not to, noted every one of Martas failings. Chris was well aware of everything Marta couldnt give Vin that he, Chris, would have. Chris found himself more and more convinced that the woman Vin Tanner still mooned over, the woman he claimed as wife, the woman that kept him from Chris, was nothing more than a failure, unfit to be with a man as amazing as Vin Tanner.
Chris had begun to suspect that Vin saw through Martas lies.
Chris had proved that to himself eight months ago.
Eight Months Ago
The ambulance wove through the streets of Denver, rushing the conscious and not very happy sharpshooter to the hospital. Vin had been hit during a shoot-out, though he claimed it wasnt too bad and complained about going to the hospital.
Frowning in exasperation, Chris allowed his concern to leak through his voice. "Just sit still, Vin," he commanded. "The bullet is still in there and if you keep moving around it might move too. Listen to the paramedics, theyre trying to make sure youre OK."
Vin grumbled something Chris wasnt sure he heard. Hating the words even as they formed in his mind, Chris offered a carrot he knew Vin wouldnt be able to deny. "Do you really want me to call Marta and tell her you could have been home to greet her and the kids, but because you wouldnt follow medical instructions youre still in the hospital?"
Thats low, Larabee," the hurting Texan had rasped. But it had settled the young man; he would never do anything to upset Marta or his kids.
The rest of the trip to the hospital had been quiet since the sharpshooter passed out shortly after the exchange.
The doctors had had to use a general anesthetic on Vin in order to do the surgery required to remove the bullet. The injury itself hadnt done too much damage, but given the resting place of the bullet, it would be best for Vin to be unconscious for the operation.
Knowing his long time friend well enough, he knew Vin would have trouble coming out of the anesthetic. The general usually made him extremely nauseous and left him disoriented. Vin would need a friendly face when he awoke and Chris could think of nowhere else hed rather be.
Vins unconscious state also gave Larabee the opportunity to indulge himself. With Vin unconscious, he could hold his loves hand without anyone raising a question. And if they did ask, he would simply say he was making sure Vin knew he wasnt alone.
After an hour or so, Chris saw some movement from Vin. He knew Vin would still be out for a while longer, but this was the opportunity Chris had been waiting for. Feeling his heartbeat and breathing increase, Chris checked the door. The nurse had just left and the boys would be in the waiting room. No one would be around for a few minutes. It would be now or never.
Standing and stepping next to the bed, he allowed his hand to release Vins. Running his hands over the sleeping mans chest, he relished the feel of the body he had wanted for so long to touch. Smooth, hard muscles shifted beneath his caress causing him to groan softly in pleasure as he leaned down and caught the scent of his soul mate. He wanted this man. He needed this man.
Looking at the relaxed face, Chris unconsciously licked his lips. His head bowed down toward that of the sleeping man. Their mouths met. Chris felt another moan growing within him at the exquisite taste of the man he loved. Though unconscious still, Vin began responding to Chriss insistent kissing. Finally breaking off the kiss, Chris stepped away, breathing too quickly, his pants far too tight.
Vin. Chris had finally tasted the man who had haunted his dreams for so long. The fact that Vin had begun responding to Chriss insistent exploration of the young mans mouth created a conviction within Chris that the sharpshooter knew he belonged with Larabee, not the undeserving Marta. Vin had to know it was Chris kissing him, and only now, with the albatross who was his wife out of town, was Vin able to respond to Chris as the young sharpshooter truly wanted, as they both truly wanted. Marta had lied to Vin and made Vin lie to himself for too long. Vin Tanner belonged to Chris Larabee heart and soul.
Chris could taste Vin now as he lightly ran his tongue over his lips, the feel of that beautiful Texan mouth under his own. It had probably been a mistake to give into such temptation, but the rightness of being with Vin, of the taste and feel of Vin A soft moan escaped the man in black.
After that kiss, Chris had begun noticing things about Vin. He noticed how frequently the young man sought to spend time with Chris. He noticed that when the team was invited over to watch a game, the young Texan lingered at the ranch, arriving early and staying late to spend extra time. Chris noticed Vin looking at him every now and then when he thought Chris wasnt paying attention. Chris noticed how frequently Vin would brush against him or rest a hand on his arm or shoulder.
Yes, Vin understood. Vin knew he belonged to Chris; that he belonged with Chris. Vin just felt trapped by his obligations to his kids and his wife.
Chris could help him out with that, though. He knew exactly how to help Vin.
The case they were just completing had offered the perfect opportunity, the perfect excuse. Chris would finally be able to remove the wife and children that stood between the two men and their happiness.
Vin had been undercover with Ezra. The group they infiltrated made bombs and sold them throughout the country. Even after months of work, the ATF team still didnt know the full extent of the group, how large they were, how well funded, or how much they would want revenge.
They had run the bust, which at the time seemed successful, though one or two of the players were not there. The bomb makers had left enough blueprints around that when they gathered together the evidence to be catalogued, Chris had been able to slip some aside and make photocopies of the prints.
It had been a risky move, one that could have ended his career, but he had done it. He had to if he and Vin would ever know true happiness together. Now he just had to wait.
Looking at the lightening sky, he smiled to himself. In a few hours the roadblocks that stood between Vin and Chriss happiness would be removed. In a few hours, Chris would be able to be on hand to offer Vin the comfort he would so desperately need after Vin watched the car containing his wife and children explode when a bomb went off in it.
Yes, Chris would offer comfort. Chris would be a shoulder to lean on, a pillar of strength. After all, hadnt Chris been through the exact same thing with Sarah and Adam? And after a time, that comfort would take on some physical aspects and Vin would be his forever, as they were meant to be.
Of course, the fact that the explosion would be found to be revenge sought against Vin by the group they had just brought down would be a definite benefit to this plan. It would also offer Chris yet another in, another opportunity.
Yes, a few hours time would deliver Vin from the deceit of that woman. A few hours time and Vin Tanner would be his forever. Just a few hours and they would be together as they were meant to be, just the two of them, forever.
+ + + + + + +
Chris sat bolt upright in bed, sweat pouring off him, a strangled cry escaping his throat. He felt the body next to him rise and a comforting arm slip around his shoulder and press against him.
"Whats wrong, cowboy?" the tender voice asked, concern and sleep adding a huskiness to the voice.
"Nothing," Chris replied, releasing a shaking breath. It had been the nightmare. It had only been the nightmare, he reassured himself again and again. This same nightmare that always seemed to haunt his dreams.
The residue of the powerful dream remained, leaving him uncertain and shaken. Glancing at the clock he saw it read 3am. He knew sleep wouldnt return to him this night, but he could feel how heavily the need for rest resided in his lover. "Just a bad dream," he reassured, settling back down on the pillows.
"Oh," came the mumbled reply as the already-asleep body laid down next to Chris, molding itself to his side. One arm shifted and draped itself across his chest as the head found a pillow on Larabees shoulder.
Chris shifted his arm down so it wrapped around the naked body beside him, a body he knew intimately, a body he had loved and worshipped at, a body that contained a person he loved dearly. Turning his head, he bent down and kissed the top of it. Uttering a soft, "Good night, Mary," before curling up with his wife, Chris tried, once more, to forget the dream. Vin, Marta and their kids were safe. Chris loved Mary. The dream was nothing more than a nightmare.