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by Calico

T he last door in the corridor looked significantly more welcoming, simply because the alternative was to turn back and give up the stealth game and face far more many security men than they had bullets. Plus, it wasn't locked: it must be fate.

They slipped inside, pushing it shut and locked and listening for the thunder of their pursuers coming down the corridor, then ran to the window. Vic stared blankly at the welded catch, realising he'd have to smash the window open, wishing it was lower so he could get the angle right and risk less in the way of being shredded to pieces by flying glass, and then he ducked sideways as Mac barrelled past him and jumped and forced the lock.

"Nice one," Vic said, and they both scrambled through the window and stopped suddenly, staring down at the ground forty feet below.

"Shit," Mac muttered, and Vic felt an awful lot of him want to scramble backwards and pull the window fast behind them—instincts ignoring the fact that that wouldn't relieve their situation at all.

"Gotta jump," he said, forcedly neutral, fiercely alert for the sound of the opposition behind them.

"Yeah," Mac said, as they started edging down the sloping roof until their toes dipped into the gutter and their heels rocked on uneven slates.

"Okay," Vic said, casting his eyes across the dizzily-distant ground, looking for something—anything—to break their fall.

Swimming pool. Might reach it. If they could get a running start—but that was leaving them to the mercy of the loose roof tiles, at risk of sliding and falling altogether, bad idea—so maybe, dive and pray, hope to hit the water. A gamble: to fall uninjured into shallow water you needed legs spread, arms spread, head high. To land like that on dry land would leave a big bloody pulp of splintered bones piercing through skin and flesh like a Halloween pincushion.

There again, to fall onto dry land in any position would probably disable too many limbs for them to flee bullets successfully. So, the pool seemed to be the only chance at survival, even if they were gonna have to sacrifice even the remotest possibility of landing uninjured on grass.

Whatever happened, they needed to do the same thing. He opened his mouth to speak, became aware Mac was watching him. "Swimming pool," he said lamely, pointing, watching Mac nod, unsettled by the fierce heat in Mac's eyes.

"Too risky, but our only hope," Mac agreed, then touched Vic's shoulder, steadying them. "I love you, Vic," he bit off, low and earnest. The air froze and rocked around them. "You have to know that."

Vic drew in a shocked silent breath, mind stuttering and churning, feeling like his thoughts were flying out his eyes. It was too soon. They weren't here yet. Mac hadn't shown any indication of this, of love. Mac's love belonged to Li Ann, they all knew that, even if it was only to be shattered on her gracefully studied indifference, each aftermath leaving Vic pick up the morosely ardent pieces and fuck them into an oblivion strong enough to make Mac habitable again.

Mac was watching him closely, intense, hanging on the shocked parting of his lips. What was he supposed to do, say it back? Before they died, because it was foolish in the extreme to imagine they could take this fall and land running away from the guns at their backs—and about those guns—

"I love you too," he said quickly, fervently, realising abruptly that Mac wasn't gonna jump until he said it, and it wasn't true, wasn't wasn't wasn't, except that why then was ice running through him, why was his heart beating double time?

Adrenaline, you stupid fuck.

"I know," Mac said, and jumped, and Vic heard a rustle behind them and then smashed glass, and then a crush of sound like white noise and realised yes, Mac had made it—He jumped, toes pushing hard off the edge of the roof, giving him that extra momentum, Mac's voice fizzing through his nerves, and the air was cushioned but the ground was reaching for him fast, and then the furious blue glass of the water was chopping beneath him and he was hitting it hard—

He was underwater, ringing with the absence of noise, eyes stinging, lungs demanding air. The soles of his feet slammed into the unyielding bottom of the pool, shock lashing up his legs and ringing in his thighs, and he almost gasped before catching himself and feeling a flick of grim humour stop his throat. Bad idea, Mansfield. Don't play with the fishies just yet. He tensed his legs, almost concerned they might not function, then summoned strength into the abused muscles and pushed himself up hard.

There was a moment of sickly smoothness and then he was seeing the light grow before him, water thinning and thinning, finally breaking the surface and snatching a mist-laden lungful of air.

"C'mon," Mac hissed. He already was crouched at the edge of the pool, eyes fixed on the roof they'd jumped from—impossibly far away, Vic realised, skin stinging indignantly everywhere—with his hand outstretched to pull Vic out.

Vic lurched for the side, dragged himself out, let Mac's strength ease the weight on his sore arms. Mac hauled him up, and they broke into a sodden sprint, feet slapping the ground like wet hands clapping, trying to run on jarred legs without staggering with pain.

"Shit," Vic managed, because he had to say something, even though it was instantly eaten away by the wind. Mac's words, curling up hotly inside him, were buoying him even as they weighed him down.

They reached the edge of the carpark, skittering on tiny loose stones, and dove for the cover of a bristly half-height ornamental hedge. The gunshots had disappeared, but that didn't mean they were safe. In fact, one false move—

"This way," Mac said quietly, crawling along the ground, knees scrunching in the crisp white gravel, leaving indents for Vic to follow in.

Vic followed. He kept his head low, shivering in wet clothes, reloading his gun in almost-nerveless fingers. He concentrated on not concentrating on Mac, dripping and sexy, blackness unconsciously picking up white dust and wearing it like an invitation.

Vic wanted to lick it off his skin, taste chlorine and chalk and the saccharine bitterness of Mac's sweat mixed into an outdoors cocktail. Wanted to grab the thighs flexing in front of him and drag them to a halt, strip down Mac's pants and roll onto his back and wriggle his head between Mac's parted knees, wanted to make Mac fuck his mouth into the hard spiky ground.

Imagine, Mac's angry helplessness, Vic's hands gripping his chilled thighs, fingers sliding up to spread his naked ass to the thorn-laced wind. Warmth growing beneath his hands, blood churning beneath Mac's skin, a few muttered curses as Mac swayed and then capitulated and started working his cock deeper into Vic's mouth.

The salt would rise against his lips as he sucked harder, Mac's hips starting to snap faster, unwilling and involuntary, sliding deep, helpless to stop as Vic welcomed him yet deeper and held him there.

Mac's eyes would stop focusing, attention sliding and shattering, staring at his hands, white fists clenching and unclenching around handfuls of small spiny rocks, dropping his head and staring viciously at Vic's mouth and closed eyes, watching him swallow his cock against the cold unyielding ground.

And Vic would suck harder, forgetting to be provocative and just trying to inhale him, like a junkie striving for heated oblivion, desperately seeking to eclipse the rest of his life. Harder and harder, climbing, adrenaline whiting out everything but the present, the gravel, the lurid salt-sweet and agitated blood, and his heartbeat, fluttering around his ears.

Okay, this really wasn't love.

Or professional.

He shook his head, concentrating on not concentrating on Mac, concentrating on his discomfort instead. Sharp stones dug into his palms, his knees. Their progress seemed impossibly slow, impossibly loud. His pants were too tight, affecting his balance. Blood banged into his brain and was shunted off round his body, clumsier than usual.

"Okay," Mac said eventually, stopping at the end of the hedge. Vic crawled up beside him, and they both rose to one knee. The landscape was familiar, ornamental grounds sloping away in a criss-cross of polite horticulture, a web of intricate greenery and stark white gravel, the stern bulk of the house set as a redbrick spider.

"On three," Vic said, nodding at the dark, thorny area behind the maze, and Mac nodded.


"Wait," Vic said, words welling up sour into his mouth. "Earlier."

He had to say something, had to elaborate. He enjoyed Mac, knew that was mutual, but didn't feel they could qualify it... that way. He could live without Mac, if pressed; he liked the sex, liked the edge to their contact, liked the distraction from the rest of his life—but he could survive without him. This was light: every time he fell, he left parts of himself behind when they walked away. So. It wasn't love. And it was important for Mac to know that.

"What about it?" Mac looked preoccupied, eyes zeroed in on the house, on a figure searching furtively round some bushes. He was still some distance away, totally safe, but there were always more.

"On the roof," Vic qualified, hoping he wouldn't have to spell it out.

"Oh, that," Mac said, with a kind of crooked grin. "Don't worry about it."

He didn't look like the sort of guy who'd just made an impromptu declaration. The words, curled in Vic's stomach, reared up into a seething sort of anxiety. Anger. "Worry about—wait, what, lemme guess, that was for dramatic effect? Before you jumped?"

Mac shrugged, meeting his eyes, sparkling with amusement. Slightly cruel. "Of course. As last words went—Well, you know. But don't worry about it, really."

"I didn't mean it either," Vic said honestly, helplessly. "It just seemed the right thing to say."

Mac actually looked kind for a moment, a sympathy of sorts rising in his eyes. "Yeah," he said, "okay."

"I didn't," Vic insisted, frustrated that Mac's expression was bordering on an indulgent smile.

"Vic, it doesn't matter," Mac said, and Vic knew he'd protested too much, just secured the whole damn thing to a certainty in Mac's mind. "Now, let's get going," Mac said, and Vic forced himself to look away and focus on the thorny hedges, the men in the distance, the shouts as someone found something and brought a whole lot more men scampering down.

"On three, two, one—"

They were running, shivering, fists cramped around guns, Vic no longer buoyed.



Okay, lemme think. The story's called Apropos, an OAT with Mac and Vic, complete with nc17esque moments. It's too short to summarise: look at the title if you want hints. The author's Calico, you can find more of her stuff at http://members.dencity.com/anhedonia/calico/ , and she makes no money or claims of ownership. Which is a pity, really.
What else? julad told me which words to change, so thanks go in that direction. And oh yes. Feedback, the currency of the web. Go on, thrill me. ;) Calico@76sg.freeserve.co.uk

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