Birthday In The Life
by Charlotte C. Hill
A day in the life, with a side of dawn, leather, and what's he doing in my -oh.

Chris Larabee popped awake before dawn, still and silent and warm enough that getting out of bed didn't seem like such a great idea. But it was going to be a good day-a great day, if he had anything to do with it. The kind of day he looked forward to celebrating.

There weren't a lot of days that he celebrated anymore. He tried not to celebrate, or even much acknowledge, his wedding anniversary. He couldn't quite avoid remembering the day Sarah and Adam had died, but "celebrate" wasn't a word he'd have used even at his most bitter.

His birthday was more something he dreaded, especially since he'd finally settled down with Buck. Buck liked to make a big deal out of it, loved to embarrass him with bawdy attention and too-sincere gifts. Even their anniversary annoyed him, mostly because the first year Buck had tried to celebrate it like, fifteen times: the first time they'd met, the first time they'd shared a woman, the first time they'd fucked... the second time they'd fucked. When Buck tried to make him celebrate the first time they'd made love, Chris had warned him that it could be their last anniversary, and Buck had reacted like he usually did, laughing in Chris's face and then telling him he had no romance in him, none at all.

Still, Buck's birthday seemed cause for celebration. Especially this one.

He'd be 40 this year, and that fact alone made it a date worth noticing, as loudly and publicly as possible. Chris had already been looking for gray hairs in the places he hadn't caught Buck examining in the mirror, the vain bastard.

He smirked at the thought, and at how damned easy it was to distract Buck when Chris did anything at all down there. In fact, with sunrise still a ways off and Buck's warm breath dampening a patch on his shoulder, the thought of doing something down there right now seemed pretty damned appealing. He rolled into Buck's body, lining them up for a little early morning fondle, pleased when Buck's groin pressed into his. Even asleep, Buck was responsive. Still, he had horses to tend and the workday ahead of him, and the party after that; he could afford to wait until the chores were done.

The party. He sighed again, less interested in it than he was in the slumbering body rubbing against his own. Buck would like the huge banner hanging at The Saloon, baldly announcing his entry into old age, but the party had been an embarrassing pain to organize. He wasn't the surprise party type. Chris was more the dinner and a movie and opening presents in bed type, but Buck liked surprises, even at his own expense, and Chris had decided it wouldn't kill him to do it this once.

He'd already bought the obligatory presents: a tee shirt that proclaimed, "Hill? What hill? I didn't see any hill," a walker he'd borrowed from a guy on Team Four who was just coming off physical therapy for a gunshot wound, and a prescription bottle full of Viagra. He'd talked Vin into going to a doctor for him, and owed his friend big for being willing to fake impotence just as a gag gift. But Vin was a little like Buck in that he'd go a long way for a good joke. Vin would be cackling with glee right alongside Chris and the rest of the team at the look Buck would get: part horror, part speculation, and plenty of good humor.

He hadn't figured out what kind of "real" present to get though, and it was troubling him some. Buck was usually easy to buy for, because his tastes were eclectic and he appreciated just about anything, but forty was a big, round number, and one Buck hadn't been looking forward to. Finding something special was harder than he'd expected. A piece of him couldn't believe he'd put it off this long, because that was pretty much the opposite of his way.

It was Buck's way, in fact. Buck would window-shop for days or weeks before an event, and ask for hints and act like he was cogitating possibilities, then he'd buy the first thing he saw on the day of whatever the event was; Chris sniffed in a deep breath of the man and traced his fingers over the warm, smooth skin of Buck's shoulders. This was Buck's way too, taking advantage of a man in his sleep. Chris smiled, and shifted his hips an inch closer.

His own way was more methodical. He liked to assess his options, measure them on their merits and the recipient, and then buy the right gift months in advance, a skill that had served him well in his marriage and outside of it, too. This time, though, for this birthday, nothing had seemed quite right.

So even though he was looking forward to tonight's celebration, his to-do list was annoying: finding something that was sincere and mature but that wouldn't get him laughed out of the room by their friends, and keeping JD quiet. Which was going to be a challenge in and of itself.

He eased out from under Buck and off the mattress, listening as his partner shifted on the bed to strangle his abandoned pillow and burrow deeper into the covers. It was cold, this early, so he felt around fast for the jeans he'd stepped out of last night, bare toes digging into the cool carpet. There they were, by the chair, and-

"Shit!" he hissed when his toe made sharp contact with a chair leg, stinging like a sonofabitch.

Behind him, Buck muttered in his sleep and shifted some more. Chris pulled on his jeans and felt around more carefully for a sweatshirt and socks-harder to find in the dark, but he sure as hell wasn't gonna go outside barefoot and he wasn't going to turn on the lights and wake up Buck, either. To this day, lights turning on in a dark bedroom would rouse Buck quick, some vestigial instinct that made him want to avoid trouble with jealous boyfriends and inattentive husbands. How the hell had this man gotten into his bed?

Simple answer, that; he smiled.

But how his life turned so hard that Buck had stayed there, was welcome and wanted there, that was the more interesting question. Right along with his dirty jeans in the hamper that Chris usually ended up washing, and his classic pick-up squeezed into the garage next to Chris's Ram, and his junk scattered throughout every drawer, every closet, every room of this house, Buck had parked his boots for good. And just about everything else he owned, too.

His world was messier with Buck in it, but then it always had been. Messier, and livelier, and more heartfelt, and he supposed the answer to his question lay right there. Buck led with his heart no matter how much Chris had tried to teach him to use his head, and today-most days-Chris was damned grateful Buck had never listened to him.

Shirt and socks in hand, he tiptoed out of the room and snicked the door shut behind him so he could turn on the hall light. Chris made this effort to let his partner sleep in almost every day. It was an easy thing to do, an easy gift that typically landed him breakfast and a blowjob in the kitchen, so it wasn't like he was being altruistic. He dressed in the hallway before he plodded through the kitchen for his boots, and coat, and the flashlight he sometimes needed to find his way to the barn.

Chill air, refreshing and damp, got his blood flowing as he walked up the gravel road. He propped the barn door open and grabbed a bale of hay, flaking it out in the corral, breathing deep of manure and sweet feed, horse and earth. Then he strode down the barn aisle, opening stall doors, whistling to get the horses moving out.

"Come on, boys and girls, daylight's gonna be burning soon." Pony went first, trotting through the open door and throwing his head with Dancer right behind him. The rest plodded along, not caring that he had breakfast to eat and a shower to take, an hour's commute to the office and nine or ten behind a desk waiting for him. He smacked Don Juan on the rump, urging him last out the door, grinning at how the horse could drag his feet just like his owner, when he wanted. Leaning in the doorway, Chris measured the creeping yellow in the sky while the horses snuffled at the ground, following their noses to fresh hay.

Their ease made him want to call in a vacation day and just stay out here, get some barn work done that he'd deferred for too long. Not that he would; Vin teased him mercilessly about how he'd be retired for a year or more before anyone realized he wasn't just using up his back leave, and Vin was right. He felt this way on most of the easy mornings, felt it again if he got back to the house and Buck was lively, because Buck could be counted on to nuzzle against him, smelling of toothpaste and coffee and desire, and do his best to sweet-talk him back to bed for a morning romp.

It was, Chris decided as he pocketed the flashlight and strolled back toward the house, a pretty good way to greet the day.

The kitchen lights shone out the window, competing against the sun as it broke the horizon, which meant Buck had at least made it to the coffeemaker. Chris let himself in and shrugged off his coat, eying Buck who stood in front of the stove wearing boxers and a sleepy smile, spatula in one hand and coffee in the other.

"Find your way out of bed?" Chris asked, rubbing a hand across Buck's bare back in passing, chuckling when Buck flinched away from the cold touch.

"I'd be willing to find my way back in," Buck tried.

Most people would laugh in his face if he said one of the things he loved about Buck was the man's predictability. "Turn that off and come take a shower with me," he offered instead.

The pan clattered as Buck shoved it off the hot burner, and Chris caught himself grinning as he retraced his steps to the bedroom. Buck had straightened up, just like he did every morning, making the bed and stuffing the dirty clothes he'd dropped any old place last night into the hamper where they'd be waiting for Chris come Saturday. He pulled off his sweatshirt, adding it to the top of the pile, and the smell of coffee drifted in when Buck did.

Chris turned and took the second cup from Buck's hand. "Thanks."

"Horses out?" Buck asked, as if Chris might have been doing something else outside this early.

"Yeah." Chris slurped down a swallow and set the cup on the dresser. "Come on. If we hurry, that'll still be warm when we're done."

"You know, Chris, it's not a race," Buck chided him, but Chris still chuckled because Buck was moving fast enough to belie those words.

He turned, sliding his hands around Buck's waist and into the back of his shorts, liking the way his flinch pushed Buck's hips into his. "Never said it was," he replied, and tilted his head up. Buck didn't argue, just pressed his mouth to Chris's and hummed contentedly.

"So," Buck said while his hands worked the buttons on Chris's jeans, "is this an early birthday present?"

"Might be your only birthday present," he mock-threatened, squeezing deep into the muscle of Buck's behind.

"It'd be plenty," Buck said contentedly, and Chris felt it again, just like he had for those precious years with Sarah: that warmth in his gut, the pleasant sensation of home. When Buck dropped to his knees in front of him, that sensation buoyed up on a rush of easy lust; he couldn't remember a time Buck had said no without a damned good reason.

Fabric slid roughly over his ass but gently over his groin, where Buck used one big hand to cup his genitals, and then Buck just kissed him there, soft mouth pressed to the tip of his hardening cock. Chris sighed his pleasure, combing his fingers through Buck's wavy hair and sneaking a peak for any hint of gray. He chuckled.

"Hmm?" Buck asked him, hands massaging around his hips.

"Nothing you wanna hear, old man," he said. "Come on."

They separated long for Chris to step out of his pants and Buck to shuck his boxers, and met again under hot water. "What do you want?" Buck asked him, a casual and easy question that Chris had learned to answer honestly, over time, because Buck really wanted to know. Chris didn't always get what he asked for, but Buck really did want to know.

Today though, he was less interested in cajoling Buck to finish the blowjob he'd hinted at, and more interested in the wants of his partner. "Your call; you're the birthday boy."

"Mm hmm, give me a minute," Buck answered as he stepped under the spray and wet his hair. Chris poured a little shampoo into his cupped palm, then handed Buck the bottle when a hand reached back blindly. He reached around, soaping Buck's groin while Buck scrubbed his hair.

"Gettin' any ideas yet?" he smirked, getting a few of his own as Buck's cock filled and lengthened in his hand.

"A few," Buck said, and shower spray hit Chris in the face when Buck ducked back under to rinse his hair. "How about you wash what you're rubbin' against, and we'll see what happens?"

Chris could do that. He let go of the thick shaft with a last, fond squeeze and cupped his palms over firm buttocks, let his fingers trace the crease in between. He'd figured he might end up fucking Buck this morning, because on his birthday Buck liked to be tended, done for, done to. They didn't actually fuck as often as he'd expected they would when this had started for real, almost two years ago now. Chris had a real penchant for blowjobs that Buck enjoyed satisfying, and Buck liked to kiss and cuddle, as happy with getting jacked off as he was with Chris's mouth on him. So Buck's passage was tight and warm, muscles clenching hard as Chris eased a slick finger into him, then two, all the while rubbing his cock against his partner's hip.

Who'd have ever thought an embittered widower, hard and worn as old saddle leather, could have come alive again like this? Chris certainly couldn't have predicted it. But the proof was in the ease between him and Buck-old friend, newer lover, partner in all the ways there were, now-and in the smile he kept feeling stretch his face, and the tension in his cock that pulsed its anticipation of pressing into Buck.

Buck sighed, and dropped his head forward, and again warm water splashed onto Chris's face and chest.

Buck wasn't much of a talker this early in the morning-but then, they didn't need much talk to get the day started right. They just fit together; getting ready for work or in the shower or standing side by side at the stove, they fit together. He reached for the lube on the shelf and slicked his cock, ready to fit them together this way too, while Buck widened his stance and pushed his rump out toward Chris's groin, silently asking for penetration.

He pushed in slowly, listening to Buck's low groan and feeling the tightness all along his shaft; he loved the way they fit together.

Everything that happened next didn't require thought so Chris didn't spare any; he just felt, and gave, and pumped deep and steady, watching the fine tremors that ran through Buck's muscles, and the way his right hand dropped to his own groin, the way his shoulder moved as he pulled himself until Buck cursed and shuddered, and deep muscles clenched, milking Chris's cock. Then Chris gave some more, shuddering himself.

"I love you," he panted against Buck's wet back.

"It really must be my birthday," Buck replied, laughter in his voice.

Chris wrapped his arms around Buck's waist; he knew he probably didn't say it enough, too caught up in how silly the words sounded or whether he was just paying lip service to something that deserved a whole lot more. He liked to think he showed it plenty, though. "Good enough birthday present for you, old man?" he asked, reaching down to fondle Buck's heavy balls.

"You can quit that 'old man' shit any time, Chris," Buck groused.

Damned if Chris didn't grin again. "Well as I recall, you were calling me an old man at thirty-nine. I think you said something about getting me used to the reality of it for when I hit forty."

"And you proved me wrong, pard, so you can cut it out now."

Buck was taking forty surprisingly hard, examining himself in the mirror for signs of age instead of the expected bragging about getting better, not older, but Chris wasn't about to give him an ounce of sympathy. It wouldn't help Buck any, anyway. "Don't see why… old man." Buck squeezed his muscles on purpose, drawing out that post-come pleasure that bordered on pain, and Chris reluctantly pulled out, pausing to feel the tip of his cock kiss that softened opening as he drew away. "Move over, I need to get cleaned up."

Buck did, kissing him quickly before he finished his shower even quicker, then slipped out of the shower so Chris could finish in peace. Chris stepped out a couple of minutes later to elbow Buck away from the mirror. Blow dryer in one hand, brush in the other, and scowl firmly in place, Buck gave him all of two inches so he could reach his electric razor and his toothbrush. Chris bumped Buck's naked hip with his own wet one, and snatched the toothpaste.

Birthdays. Buck was forty now, and Chris forty-three. They had maybe thirty or forty birthdays left together, if they were lucky. He could almost see them, stretching out in front of him like a country road, easy and smooth, pleasure-filled….

"What've you got planned?" Buck asked him, suspicious.

He spat out toothpaste. "What?"

"You're grinning like a hyena. Been doing it most of the morning. Come on, spill. What are you planning?"

Chris shrugged and bent to suck water from the tap, rinsing his mouth out. "Nothing much. Little more of what I just had," he lied, and patted his partner's ass. "Maybe a lot more."

Buck grinned, looking intrigued at the prospect. "I don't suppose I could talk you into taking a day off? Spending my birthday in bed?"

"Nope," Chris said, and picked up his razor. "I've got to sign off on next week's op, go over paperwork-got a couple of recommendations and your reprimand to submit today, too."

"You're gonna submit an official reprimand on my birthday? That's cold, Chris."

"Not my fault you had to be an idiot on Tuesday," Chris replied, because it wasn't. If anything, he'd warned Buck off the female and extremely beautiful IT analyst within 30 seconds of her entering the bullpen. Not that he'd expected Buck to listen. "I'm surprised she didn't file formal charges."

"You're just jealous," Buck argued. "You don't like me flirting and you're using your authority against me."

Chris shrugged; it was partly true. "Then you should learn to watch your mouth. It'll keep you out of trouble with the brass and with me."

The IT analyst had just been too much temptation, and while Chris thought she'd been asking for it in low-rider jeans that showed off a neat, round ass and pink g-string and a tee shirt short enough to flash her pierced navel, she had complained to him directly. He had listened, annoyed at her and at Buck, and told her if she filed formal charges he'd reverse them for her dress code violations. Actually what he'd said was, "You try to charge my man formally and I'll file counter-charges for you flashing your ass-crack above those kids' jeans you're wearing." She was a temp, she was young, and she probably didn't know any better-or if she did, she was of that age where she thought flaunting convention was cool. But if she was going to keep a government posting she'd better learn. Just like Buck had. So he'd agreed to write Buck up for his infraction because rules were rules and because Buck deserved it, and once he'd calmed down enough, he'd even managed to give her a little helpful advice instead of bitch at her for wearing club clothes on the job.

"She's beautiful, Chris," Buck muttered.

"Yeah, she is. And she didn't need to hear about it while she was trying to get the garbage off your computer. Buck…" he sighed, tilting his chin to work the razor down his throat. "I thought you'd settle down some, when we did."

"I settled down a lot when we did, and you know it," Buck sniped. "But I didn't die."

"You're gonna, if you don't get a handle on your mouth."

"I thought she liked it."

"You always do," Chris chided him. "You were wrong this time."

"You're ruining my birthday, you know," Buck said, almost sullen.

Chris raised his eyebrows, surprised. "You've only got two on your file, in a dozen years of law enforcement. You really think you don't deserve it?"

Buck frowned at that, and Chris watched his reflection in the mirror. Buck was a fair man, when his temper or his balls weren't running him. He knew his partner would get there eventually.

"Come on, give me the hair dryer and go start breakfast."

Buck did, the annoyed look still on his face, but Chris left it be. He was going to do it, he knew and Buck knew, so there was no point arguing about it. It was just another of the petty messes he had to deal with as a federal employee, and he wasn't about to be talked out of it. Buck knew that too.

Bacon sizzled in the pan when he got to the kitchen, dressed for work while Buck had only managed to drag on clean underwear. He pulled out eggs and topped off his tepid coffee, working around his partner to get plates on the table. Buck had apparently decided to let the reprimand go, because his good mood was back. "So what am I getting for my birthday?" he started in again.

"Thought I already gave it to you," he said. "Thought I'd give it to you again when we get home tonight." The thought appealed to him, frankly, doing Buck enough times today that he'd be sore and smiling tomorrow. They did that sometimes, worked each other over for the simple pleasure of seeing the effect of their labors-Buck more than Chris, he knew. He smirked.

"That was just the pre-present. What's the real present?"

"You really want to know?" Chris asked, hedging because he still didn't have a fucking clue what he was going to buy. "I'll tell you, if you do, but I thought you liked surprises."

Buck's grin widened. "I knew there was gonna be a surprise."

Chris rolled his eyes.

They finished breakfast in silence and Chris left before Buck did. They usually drove in together, but Buck was dragging ass today so Chris left him to fight the traffic that would be heavier in 15 minutes' time. There was a narrow needle he could thread on the highway; he got to work in 50 minutes if he left by 6:20, and an hour and twenty if he left late. He never left late.

Vin was already in, staring at the coffeemaker as it gurgled away.

"Mornin', Vin," Chris said.

"Chris." Vin looked around. "Buck with you?"


Vin rubbed his hands together. "Good. Look what I found."

Chris followed him to his computer, dropping a hand to his shoulder as he leaned in to look. "No fucking way am I buying him a motorcycle."

"You should, Chris. He's been eying this for a while now and I know you ain't come up with shit yet. Caught him at it again yesterday and asked him about it."

"Then let him buy his own. That thing's gotta cost fifteen grand."

"Good guess," Vin grinned. "Means you've been thinking about it too. This one's probably closer to twenty, though."

Chris had thought about it, when Buck had admired one on the highway a couple of months ago. He'd thought about it and discarded it as being too expensive, too much like an old geezer buying a Corvette to make himself feel young again, too flashy. But a piece of him latched onto the idea with some relief; there was a Harley Davidson store not three miles away, and he could stop worrying about what to get.

Vin sensed his weakness and pounced on it. "If you get the bike, I'll buy him his first set of leathers." Vin grinned.

"Really generous of you there, cowboy."

"You don't know how much leathers cost," Vin groused good-naturedly. "Okay now, listen. He's not likin' turning forty, and this thing'll distract him for months."

Chris could see the appeal in it: big Harley, taking it out on the country roads past the house, copping feels from the passenger seat… and Vin was right. Buck was keeping his chin up about this milestone, but he'd been dreading it for a while now, and the bike solved his problem about what to buy, too. Maybe Buck needed a biker's version of that Corvette right now. "I'll think about it," he allowed.

"Think fast. We can buy it at lunch, park it outside The Saloon."

"Twenty grand?" Chris asked. It wasn't like he couldn't afford it; hell, his biggest expense was the horses, and the guys chipped in plenty. The ranch was paid off, his retirement accounts were fully funded, and… and Buck really would like that motorcycle. He'd like it a lot. "Check with me around ten, I'll tell you then."

The look on Vin's face made him wonder if he'd already decided; Vin certainly thought he had.

The morning went pretty much as expected, which meant that to his trained eye, nobody worked except him. He wasn't sure Buck even turned on his computer the first hour he was in, and a trash-can basketball game had started before Ezra arrived. He called Trisha Allen, the IT analyst, at 9:20. "You have time to drop by my office?" he asked her. "I've got the reprimand ready for your signature."

"Yes. Thank you."

She showed up five minutes later, wearing khaki pants and a shirt that covered her midriff, so Chris supposed both she and Buck had learned something. He watched her as she read over the three paragraphs, perched on the edge of her chair, and nodded when she looked up. "So that's it? I sign, he signs, it's official?" she asked.


She pulled the cap off the pen, then hesitated again. "He apologized yesterday. Did he tell you that?"

"No," Chris said, wondering why Buck hadn't.

"I still think…" she sighed, and signed the document. "A couple of people have told me he doesn't mean any harm. But he still shouldn't do things like that."

"I couldn't agree with you more," Chris said dryly. "Thanks for stopping by."

While she was still in the doorway on her way out, he hollered, "Buck! Get in here!"

Various versions of "You're in trouble now's" rang out from the bullpen, and Chris just barely resisted rolling his eyes. Buck walked in though, his footfalls heavy and a hound dog look on his face.

"Yeah?" he said, hand on the doorknob like he had a hope in hell of getting out without signing off on his reprimand.

Chris just raised his eyebrows and held out a pen. "Sign."

Buck dropped into the chair and read over it slowly. Painstakingly slowly. As he signed he muttered, "I hate thinking I've upset a woman."

Chris softened the blow a little with, "Then you shouldn't have teamed up with me. No doubt you upset plenty of 'em when you took yourself off the market."

"Come on, Chris, I'm serious here!"

"Yeah, yeah. Times are changing right before your eyes, Buck. And you're not getting any younger, so stop being a dinosaur. Now, you mind getting a little work done?" he asked before Buck could voice his offense. "It's not a national holiday, you know."

Buck flicked the pen at his head and wandered out, and Chris watched through the glass wall as Buck finally flipped on his computer and settled down. Probably, he'd just been waiting to get this over with. And Chris really couldn't blame him; if his mother were alive, she'd have killed Buck for shit like this.

Glad that his computer monitor couldn't be seen from the bullpen, Chris pulled up the Harley Davidson website, trying to give it serious consideration, to weigh the pros and cons. The cons were easy; Buck could kill himself on that thing, or decide he was nineteen again and look for fights in biker bars and get himself busted up. But the pros were easy too; Buck had ridden in his teens and twenties, a beat-up Honda that he'd babied like he babied his truck, and Chris remembered the joy on the man's face when he'd come back from a good ride, his hair wind-blown and pleasure sparking in his eyes. Hell, maybe if he bought this bike for Buck, Buck would buy him one come his own birthday in July and they'd both take off on occasion. Go down to Mexico where it was warm and cheap, get dust in their teeth and wind in their hair, beers in dive bars and sex in low-rent motels.

Vin had him pegged, all right.

When Vin stuck his head in not much later, Chris merely nodded, saying, "I'm gonna regret this."

"No you won't," Vin shot back. "Hey Buck," Vin called as he headed back to his desk, "JD and I are takin' Chris out to lunch, you wanna go?"

"Hell no," Buck said. "Make sure whatever he's buying me, it'll be something I like, will you?"

"Oh shit, it's your birthday," Vin said like he'd forgotten, and Chris shook his head. It really was hard to surprise somebody who knew you so well. On the other hand, he was pretty sure this very pretty Harley was going to do it.

He reviewed and signed off on operational changes he'd requested for next week's op, and dropped them in his out basket for Orrin's review. It wouldn't be messy, mostly because Ezra and Josiah had done incredible background work, but it had the potential to be technically difficult. Still, Chris had every intention of seeing it through without a hitch, and his people wouldn't disappoint him.

Lunchtime came around fast after that, and JD looked like he was going to pop a woody when they pulled up in front of the Harley Davidson shop. "Oh man, Chris, Buck is gonna freak out!"

"That's good, right?" Chris asked dubiously, sharing the joke with Vin.

"Oh man, that's so good," JD answered, not even realizing he was being teased. Did the kid think he'd been born in the dark ages?

The Harley shop only accepted credit cards up to $10,000, so he wrote a check for the rest. Buck damned well better like this.

"Want me to drive it somewhere for you?" JD offered, clearly eager to get his hands on the thing.

"Sure, JD. Take it over to The Saloon, Vin and I will follow you."

"You got it," JD said, never taking his eyes off the new motorcycle. For a man who liked rice rockets, JD still showed the proper excitement for Buck's birthday present. He popped his own credit card down for a helmet that matched the bright yellow of the bike's frame, and Chris stayed behind to buy one for himself while Vin made good on his word and got Buck a set of road leathers. They weren't cheap.

"You sure you're not going overboard?"

Vin shook his head, staring doubtfully at his credit card receipt. "You two just remember me on my fortieth and get me something half as nice. I need a new saddle," he hinted.

"You'll need two by the time you hit forty, Vin," Chris said, happy. At thirty-two, Vin was the youngest of them save for JD, and he got plenty of mileage pointing that out.

"Buy early then. I hear thirty-five's pretty rough too," Vin said slyly, tossing him a grin. He picked up the emblazoned Harley Davidson bag, then frowned, raising his eyebrows Chris's way. "Gonna give the game away if he sees it-and you know he'll be lookin'."

Chris shook his head to try and clear the visions of Buck sneaking down to the parking garage and going over his truck like a forensic investigator. "You can leave it at The Saloon," he offered. "Bring it out after I give him the keys. And give me those pills," he added, remembering. "I need to wrap them." He'd already typed up an anonymous "to/from" card to stick on the outside of the box.

Vin snickered and dug into his jacket pocket. "You know he's gonna want to try them, don't you?"

Chris felt the blood leave his face, a wave of dizziness stopping him in his walk back to the truck. Vin was right. Buck would try the pills, and Chris would… blood rushed back to his cheeks. Chris would no doubt enjoy it. "Maybe I oughtta swap them out with sleeping pills?" he asked, trying-and failing, from the look on Vin's face-to hide his own excitement.

"Yeah, right," Vin chuckled, and ambled on over to the Ram's passenger door.

What talk there was in the truck revolved more around work than Buck's birthday, a fact for which Chris was grateful. The new, shiny Harley sat just outside the door of The Saloon, and Chris paused when Vin did to admire it one more time.

"You know, Chris, I'd fuck you myself if I thought it'd get me presents like this," Vin said absently, absorbed enough in the bike's curves that Chris wondered why the man didn't just buy one. It wasn't like that ratty Jeep kept out much more wind and rain than a motorcycle would.

Then he processed what Vin had said, and snorted. "It wouldn't," he taunted, dropping a friendly arm over Vin's shoulder. Of the whole team, Vin was the one who had expressed nothing but pleasure when he'd found out that Chris and Buck had gotten together. Vin's ease with it had bled off to JD first, and the rest of them over time, as the guys figured out that they were serious, and that criticism was only going to lose them friendships and access to the horses they kept on Chris and Buck's property. Chris knew Vin had done more than his usual share of talking to their friends, easing them into the idea that had been as foreign to Vin as it had been to the rest of them, and Chris worked hard to show his appreciation for that support. "Little late in life for you to be switching teams anyway, don't you think?" he asked on a grin.

Vin shrugged, then dug an elbow into his ribs. "I might have said the same about you, not too long ago."

Chris said nothing. He'd never told Vin that this wasn't the first time he and Buck had gotten together, nor that Buck wasn't even his only man. Some things, you just didn't get drunk enough to talk about. "Come on in, I'll buy you lunch."

It turned out JD already had, ordering the daily special for all of them, and Chris dug in fast. Buck would be suspicious no matter what he said, but a too-long lunch was a dead giveaway. JD chattered on, partly admiring the Harley and partly deriding its very American lines compared to his own rice rocket. Chris didn't care much one way or the other. He was just looking forward to seeing Buck's face when he realized he'd gotten a real present, and a lavish one at that. It'd be worth the money, he reckoned. And if it wasn't, well, all the rewards he was sure to receive in the coming months would make up for it.

Vin had his leftovers packed up to eat later in the day at the office, and they piled into the Ram for the short drive back. "Buck is going to love that motorcycle-hey, do you think he'd let me borrow it sometime?" JD went on, much as he had during lunch.

"I doubt he'll let Chris borrow it, kid," Vin said from the passenger seat. "Settle down now. Buck's already gonna know we did something for him, but if you go in bouncing off the walls he's gonna know what."

"Then you shouldn't have let me ride it over to The Saloon," JD said, sounding so much like Buck to Chris's ears that he smiled. JD had grown up plenty since he'd joined their team, with five big brothers and an imposing father-figure to live up to. The fact that Buck had the most influence on him reminded Chris, sometimes, of just how much Buck liked to teach people things. Liked to teach Chris things….

They pulled into the parking garage and piled back out. "Vin's right, JD. You'd best think about the op next week, get your mind off that bike."

JD nodded, and Chris watched him suck his enthusiasm somewhere deep inside. "I won't give the game away, Chris," JD promised. Chris still planned to ride herd on Buck as needed, and keep him from cornering JD to pump him for information.

When they got back to the bullpen, Buck shot out of his chair like a jack-in-the-box. "What did you boys get me?" he asked.

"Today still your birthday, Buck?" Vin asked, playing it for all he was worth.

"Bite me, Tanner."

"Gentlemen," this from Ezra, "could we please focus here? I'm in the middle of analyzing an extremely detailed building schematic and I'd like to finish this before I turn forty. Which is years from now," he added under his breath.

Buck ignored both the jibe and the request. "National holiday, Ez," Buck said merrily. "It'll catch on, you mark my words. March 19 is going to live in infamy." He sounded cheerful enough, though Chris could tell that his enthusiasm was a little forced. He'd never have guessed that Buck would have worried about his age, but with them living together he'd seen the evidence, in the box that had appeared in the medicine cabinet just last week, some kind of men's mustache anti-gray rinse that Buck hardly needed, his mustache as dark and even as it had always been, and especially in the way he'd caught Buck staring at his own face in the mirror the past few days. There had been none of the usual pleasure in his own good looks and a lot of silly woe. He shook his head.

"I can hardly wait," Ezra griped, eyes focused on his monitor.

Chris was tempted to look over Ezra's shoulder to see if he was actually working, but he let it slide. Ezra's analysis was due by tomorrow morning, so Chris didn't care how Ezra accomplished it; for all his attitude, Ezra was probably the most consistent man on their team for turning in his work on time.

"Buck. My office. Now," he said, waiting in the doorway until Buck obeyed him.

Buck made a show of parking his mouse so that the screensaver popped up, a collage of pictures of the team mixed in with old photographs of himself and various old girlfriends, and Chris wondered why Buck didn't have a pile of sexual harassment complaints against him as tall as he was.

Buck shut the door behind him and leaned against it. "More birthday presents?" he asked, waggling his eyebrows.

"Has that ever worked?"

"Hell yes!" Buck said, then grinned. "Just not on you."

"I don't want to know," Chris said, though he was actually tempted to ask for the details. They would doubtless be mostly about women, and certainly be years-old, even though Buck's reputation was still pretty much intact even after two years of living at the ranch. They'd have the double benefit of entertaining him and distracting Buck for a while. "You want the afternoon off?" Chris asked him, leaning back in his chair.

Buck frowned. "Huh?"

"You're obviously not getting shit done, and you're distracting everybody else worse than usual. You ought to take off, go watch a movie or something."

Buck sobered a little, thinking about it. "Sorry," he said then, taking the rebuke in stride. "I'll buckle down."

"If you're short on work you can check me on those position reports for next week," Chris said, nodding toward his out basket.

"I've got plenty to do," Buck admitted. "I'm even doing it. Mostly."

"Okay then, get back to it. I'll take you to The Saloon for dinner, booze you up." After a quick check to be sure no one was watching them from the bullpen, he offered up a very private smile. "Get you ready for more birthday presents tonight," he said, low.

It was always a pleasure to see the way Buck responded to him, proof that the magic hadn't worn off and wasn't likely to any time soon. Blue eyes widened, then half-closed in speculation, and a hand reached to brush over his mustache. "Somebody feeding you raw meat?" Buck asked him. The anticipatory look in his eyes did more for Chris's ego than he liked to admit.

"Nope. Let's just say I'm happy to have company in my old age."

Buck straightened up at that and growled, "I told you to lay off the 'old' shit."

"And I told you you could forget it," Chris shot back. Helping Buck avoid it wasn't the way to see him through this, Chris was pretty sure. "Now, are you sure you don't want to take the afternoon off?"

Buck thought about it for a second, then shook his head. "I'm sure. But I was reading about this place in Idaho while I was eating lunch. They've still got snow on the slopes. Thought maybe you and I could take a few days, fly up there and do some skiing."

"You don't ski."

Buck shrugged, good-natured. "I can learn. I guess what I was really thinking was how nice it'd be to stretch you out in front of a fire and do things to you."

"I'll build us one tonight," Chris said, because the idea of having "things" done to him was a sweet one. But then, so was a vacation; they hadn't taken one since they'd gotten together, and this was the first time Buck had even mentioned the idea. They could get Ezra to come up and rough it at their place, offer to let him bring a girlfriend or whatever he needed to make the "isolation" bearable.

"How about I start a fire right now?" Buck asked, and the hell of it was that Buck wasn't kidding. Just because Chris had never said yes on federal property didn't stop Buck from thinking that one day he'd get lucky.

"You already did," Chris told him, not because it was strictly true but because of the way Buck smiled when he said shit like that, happy and flattered and as vain as a man could get. Those kinds of words chased the shadows out of Buck's eyes and got his mind off the whole "old" problem right quick. "Get to work," he said gruffly. "Think about what you're gonna do to me in front of that fire tonight." He made a show of shifting in his chair, also completely unnecessary, and pulled his keyboard toward him.

"You are the wiliest, meanest man I have ever known," Buck said, not an ounce of heat in his voice. Or not the wrong kind of heat, Chris amended in his head.

"Go on," he said, dismissing Buck. "If we time things right we can get out of here by five, and be drinking by five-fifteen."

"Yeah, all right. Want me to invite the boys?"

Chris frowned. "I was thinking just the two of us," he said. "Hard to do the romance thing if we've got them with us."

"Hard to do it at The Saloon too," Buck countered. "I could make a reservation someplace nicer. Quieter. Candlelight dinner?"

Chris wondered which of them was playing whom. "Whatever you want," he said. "You're the birthday boy."

Buck stared at him for a long minute, then shook his head. "Saloon's fine. I still think you're planning something, you know."

"Think all you want," Chris replied and turned his eyes to his computer. "But don't act all disappointed when it doesn't come through for you."

He focused on work, feeling Buck's eyes on him for another minute until his lover let himself out of the office. He kept focusing on work, refused to even look out into the bullpen in case Buck was watching him. Surprising that man was a serious pain in the ass.

He shut down his computer just before five and headed out into the bullpen, jacket in hand. "Buck. We're leaving."

"Yes sirree! Boys, let's go! And you'd better have presents for me," he said warningly. He jangled his truck keys in his hand for a second, then dropped them into a desk drawer. "Chris, you mind if I hitch a ride with you? I c'n bring my truck home tomorrow."

"Fine. Where's Ezra?" Chris asked, looking around.

"He left a few minutes ago," Vin said, ambling over.

"Ezra left half an hour ago," Buck corrected. "Gave me this on his way out. " Buck snatched a birthday card off the edge of his desk. "Cheapskate," he muttered, actually sounding annoyed.

Chris ignored him. "Let's go."

In the truck, Chris glared in his rearview at the caravan behind them: Vin and JD in Vin's Jeep, Josiah and Nathan in their own cars. "So much for an intimate birthday dinner," he said.

"We'll do the boring thing for your birthday," Buck said dryly. "I promise. But me, I am at the very least gonna have a few beers with my friends, and then take you home and have you too." Buck chuckled at his own joke, while Chris sighed theatrically.

"I thought you wanted something special," he said. "Now it's gonna be just like any other Friday night get together."

Buck shrugged it off, working hard to keep up his good mood. "I have faith in my friends, pard. There'll be presents."

"Yeah," Chris agreed, because pretending otherwise was as good as telling Buck he had the party planned. He reached across the seat between them for Buck's hand. "You're not serious about this 'I'm getting old' crap, are you?" he asked, as much to pass the time as to air it out.

"I didn't think I'd be," Buck said, and fingers stroked the backs of his knuckles. "But I look in the mirror some mornings and don't quite recognize the guy staring back at me."

Chris thumped his hand harmlessly onto the seat. "Don't be an ass. You look better now than you did when you were twenty."

"No," Buck said soberly, "I don't."

"Yes," Chris said just as soberly, "you do. You know what you look like to me, you vain bastard? You look good. Distinguished."

"That's code for old," Buck groused.

"No it's not," Chris replied. He still wasn't going to pander to Buck's vanity, but he figured the truth wouldn't do that too much. "I swear, Buck, you looked good when we were kids. But now… now you've got more than just a kid's good looks. You're handsome and you know it, so don't expect me to repeat that too often. But you've got maturity on you now-"

"Another code word for old."

"Shut up and listen to me," Chris said, irritated. "You're getting older, yes, but Buck, you're getting better, too. Smarter, tougher, and better looking. Worry about the alternative instead, all right? And for God's sake, if you start dying your mustache I'm gonna shave it off you in your sleep."

Buck's free hand went immediately to his upper lip, almost like he was protecting it.

"I'm serious," Chris added for good measure, because he was.

"Asshole," Buck said, but he didn't sound depressed.

"I love you too," Chris replied. It was his birthday, after all. Buck squeezed his hand.

They pulled into The Saloon a few minutes later and, as Chris had known he would, Buck paused by the Harley parked next to the entrance. "That is bee-you-tee-ful," he said admiringly.

"It's an accident waiting to happen," Chris said, trying not to smile. Oh yeah, this was going to be good.

JD almost ruined the whole thing when he jogged over and actually sat on the bike. "Damn, this is great!"

"JD! Get off that thing," Nathan said, all in ignorance but it worked well enough for Chris. "You want whoever owns it to come out here and kick your butt?"

JD looked chagrinned, but he hopped off quick enough.

Chris left them standing there and pushed on through the door, looking around. The place did look much as it did any other Friday, the early crowd already settled in to welcome the coming weekend. But the stupidly expensive banner hung over the bar, welcoming Buck into old age, and whoever it was who handled these things had decorated, big red balloons and streamers hanging everywhere. Their regular table was dressed, also in red, with silly party favors and plates already set out, and two pitchers of beer. Ezra lounged in his corner, sipping from a cognac snifter. An ornately wrapped package sat in the empty chair beside him.

"It's about time you showed up," Ezra said, and looked around. "Where's the birthday boy?"

"Admiring his present," Chris said, and slid into the bench seat along the back of the table, reaching for a pitcher. "Don't say anything, he doesn't know it's his yet."

"What on earth would I say, since I have no idea what you're talking about?"

Ezra had a point. Vin, Nathan and Josiah wandered in next, and Chris had a moment of worry that JD would still manage to give up the game. But when Buck and JD ambled in, Buck had his head down in deep argument over who knew what, and made it several feet before he stopped in his tracks.

He looked around. He frowned at the banner, making Chris wonder again whether or not he'd been pushing the "old" joke a little too hard. But then Buck lifted his arms like some high school quarterback and yelled, "The birthday boy is here!"

Amid laughter and well wishes, from acquaintances and staff alike, Buck made his way slowly to their table. Chris turned his eyes away when Buck tried to cop a feel off Inez; some things would never change.

"I knew there'd be a party," Buck said when he slid onto the bench next to Chris.

"You didn't know shit," Chris said, and handed him a beer.

"Where're my presents?" Buck asked the table at large, and Ezra coughed his up immediately. It was, Chris reflected, extremely tasteful and typical of Ezra. Too tasteful for Buck, in fact; the expensive brandy must have set Ezra back a couple of hundred dollars. "Whoo Ez, nice," Buck said, making all the appropriate noises as he examined the black label.

"Another thing that improves with age," Ezra said, earning an "aw, shucks" grin from Buck and a nod of thanks from Chris. "Try not to swill it down."

"Ez, that's real nice. I'll do my best." He set it aside. "Who's next?"

Chris let Josiah and Nathan cough up a new pair of boots Buck had been making pointed noises about, and watched when Buck reached for the unmarked box on the table that he'd ignored until now. Vin snickered even as Buck opened it, and Chris hid his own smile; he was happy to let Buck blame Vin for this one as long as possible.

Buck shook the little box. He frowned when he couldn't identify the faint rattle of pills rolling around in plastic. He ripped off the packaging and dumped the pills into his hand, confusion evident in his eyes.

"Viagra, pard," Vin said then, an evil look on his face. "Chris seemed to think you might be about that age where you'd need it."

If Buck was truly offended he did a good job of hiding it, grousing good-naturedly that all the pharmaceutical companies had to do to keep people going was figure out a way to bottle his charisma, and then he read the label carefully. "What're the instructions?" he asked intently; the fake label they had stuck over Vin's prescription label didn't say much.

"Why?" Chris asked him. "You think you're gonna need 'em?"

In answer, Buck unscrewed the cap and popped one into his mouth, washing it down with beer. Everyone at the table groaned, including Chris, even when Buck leaned over to whisper into his ear, "I do a lot of things I don't need to do, if I think it's gonna be fun."

Great. Chris shoved Buck hard to get him off, then shoved him again to get him out of the booth. "I have to go and fetch yours," he said, beating a retreat before the guys started teasing him about the night he was now sure to have. He'd been sure before, damn it.

He'd tied the bike key to the handle of the walker at lunch, a big green ribbon letting it dangle a bit. When he parked the walker at the end of the table, Buck opened his mouth to bitch and then spotted the distinctive HD logo on the dangling keychain. His eyes went wide. "You didn't."

"I did."

"You didn't," Buck repeated, practically salivating as he untied the bow and the key dropped into his waiting palm.

"Yes I did! Now go and play with your new toy."

Buck slid out of the seat and stepped almost against him, as close as he ever got in public. "I'd kiss you right now if I didn't think you'd belt me one," Buck said, a familiar, joyful heat flaring in his eyes.

"I would," Chris warned with a friendly smile. "Go on."

Buck bolted out the door using every inch of his long legs to carry him, with JD, Nathan and Josiah on his heels. Vin stood to follow while Ezra stayed put, sipping loftily at his cognac. "You're not comin', Chris?" Vin asked him.

"Are you kidding? He's gonna tell us about it ten times tonight. I don't need to watch him too."

"Besides," Ezra said airily, "Chris is afraid for his virtue. And he has every right to be." Ezra mock shuddered. "Can you imagine that man with a blue pill in him?"

Chris snorted into his beer, but Ezra was half right; there was no way Buck would restrain himself from trying to pick him up off the ground and stick his tongue down his throat, drugs or no drugs. Every one of the boys had grown comfortable enough to handle their more casual touches and Buck's innuendo at the ranch when they were up, and Chris had no intention of setting that clock back any.

"You're crazy, Larabee," Vin said as he started toward the door. "This is the best part."

Chris gave them five minutes, knowing that Buck would come back inside when he realized Chris really wasn't going to follow him, knowing too that he'd be playing defense under the table for the rest of the night. And he did. Through JD's handing over of the matching yellow helmet and Vin's presentation of the Harley Davidson bag, one of Buck's hands stayed focused on trying to get into his crotch.

Chris finally elbowed Buck in the ribs. "If you're gonna get old, you might as well grow up too," he said, giving Buck a warning when Buck met his eyes.

"No chance there, pard," Buck said, but at least he put both his hands on the table. He actually stood up to hold the leathers out in front of himself and try on the jacket, laughing as he showed himself off to everybody, and he looked… he looked wild, joyful, a lot like he'd looked years ago when he would come back from one of those long rides on country roads. And while yeah, almost twenty thousand dollars was a ridiculous price to pay to put that look on Buck's face, and probably a glow-in-the-dark vibrator or bringing him coffee in bed would have put that look there too, Chris was glad he'd done this.

Buck waited until they were ready to leave to go to the john and don those fine, expensive road leathers, and the whole team headed out together. Chris read the look in Buck's eyes well enough to put Vin and JD between them once they made it out the door. He was especially glad that they had the kinds of friends they did, but no fucking way was he going to let Buck give him a tonsillectomy or try to dry-hump him against the brick wall of The Saloon.

Vin grinned like a loon at him, reading Chris's nerves or Buck's hard-on well enough to guess the risks Chris was taking standing less than ten feet from his partner in a semi-dark place. He rattled his truck keys. "See you at home," he said, as Buck threw a leg over the big bike. "Thanks, guys. Soup's on for whoever wants to come out on Sunday."

Vin followed him to his truck, the throaty idle of the motorcycle filling up the background. "Thought I'd come up in the morning, maybe bring JD with, and take Peso and Dancer out." That lunatic grin was still on his face, though.

Chris felt himself flushing, glad of the poor street lighting. He cleared his throat. "You'd best call first," he said, faking more discomfort than he felt. "God knows how those pills are gonna effect him."

Vin snorted. "Guess you won't want to go ridin' with us tomorrow, then," he teased, and Chris grinned, good-natured about it because Vin was.

"That's a damned good guess, cowboy."

Buck had pushed the bike off its stand while they talked, and idled it over. "This-hot damn, Chris, this is a sweet ride," he said from behind the bright yellow helmet.

You're gonna be a sweet ride too. He'd have said it out loud, if Vin weren't standing so close. "Yeah. Get on home, I'll be right behind you."

He and JD had helped Vin haul Buck's birthday stuff to the truck, and together they dumped it into the passenger seat. Chris pushed the speed limit but couldn't pull into the garage when he got home; Buck had parked the bike right in front of his space, and bounded outside as Chris turned off the engine. He didn't struggle, didn't do anything at all as Buck tugged him out from behind the wheel and pressed that long, leather-clad body up against him. He could barely feel Buck's hard-on through the stiff cowhide.

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to straddle a purring, throaty, vibrating machine when you've got a hard-on?" Buck breathed against Chris's mouth.

Actually, Chris did, but he didn't say anything, just pulled Buck's head down right there in the yard and accepted the tonsillectomy Buck tried to give him as no more than his due.

"Come on," Buck said, after kissing him half-blind.

Chris dug his feet in. "Where?"

"I'm gonna take you for a ride."

"It's after dark," he started.

"And damned if the thing doesn't have a headlight!"

"All right," Chris gave in, then squeezed Buck's ass through the leather, "but I'm driving."

Buck didn't even seem to care, and when they got to the state road Chris figured out why: Buck's erection tried to drill through his spine, and the hands around his waist dropped into his lap and cupped his cock. "I'm keeping it warm for you!" Buck yelled over the rising wind.

He really should have known better, but with cold wind on his face and warm hands in his crotch, with the headlight cutting a ribbon of light out of the darkness, he didn't really care.

They got back to the house chilled and uninjured, and Buck pushed the bike into the garage, right in the middle of Chris's space.

"You're not keeping that thing there."

"The hell I'm not!"

"Where do you expect me to park my truck?"

Buck eyed the Ram abandoned in the drive, then eyed the garage with a critical eye. "We'll think of something. Come on, stud, you've got a fire to build me."

Chris shook his head, happy, and went on into the house to get one fire started. The other one was already blazing, right there in Buck's eyes. When Buck stripped off his leathers in the living room, Chris grinned down at his crotch. "Now see, I don't know if you're happy to see me or if it's the Viagra," he said.

"I'm always happy to see you," Buck grinned, then frowned and wiggled his hips a little. "But I think that's the Viagra. Weird."

"Never heard you call an erection weird, pard," Chris said, and pulled off his shirt to move things along.

"You never had one grow out of you of its own accord either," Buck said, palming his cock through his underwear. Then he grinned, stroking with more attention. "Let's see if it all works the same way."

It did. Nestled into the vee of Buck's thighs, Chris sucked him slowly and methodically, winding him higher and higher until Buck's hands grabbed at his ears to hold him steady. Chris relaxed, would have smiled, as his partner pumped down his throat and spilled, holding tense for long seconds before he relaxed his hips back to the floor. But his hands still cradled Chris's head against him, and his cock stayed hard in Chris's mouth.

"Damn," he muttered when Buck eventually let him go.

Panting, half-frowning, Buck said nonetheless, "I could get used to this."

"Don't even think about it." Chris warned him, but he let Buck draw him up that long body and nestle his ass against the firm erection. Let Buck do more than that, and then more still, riding him until sweat broke out all over them both, riding him longer than he'd have lasted on his own before Buck's hands clenched spasmodically into the meat of his ass. His very sore, very satisfied ass.

And still, Buck was hard. Chris pulled off him and frowned down at his erection. "Don't go gettin' any ideas," he said, wary.

"Already got 'em," Buck said, sounding far too hungry for a man who'd just come in both of his body openings. When Buck tried to get him going again twenty minutes later, Chris put the kybosh on it and stood up to go fetch a washcloth. In the bathroom, he paused long enough to retrieve that unopened bottle of mustache coloring and called Buck with him on the way to the kitchen. He dumped the contents out of the box, then crushed the box and threw it into the trash on top of the rest. Buck didn't even seem to care, his typically accepting style returned as he said, "Well now that I am forty, it doesn't really matter anymore."

Chris joined him back on the blanket, where Buck's blue pill was making him exceed Chris's expectations, and where Buck's good mood or their combined horniness made Chris fuck him again; they'd both be sore tomorrow.

Lying on the floor with Buck's arms wrapped around him, body zinging with fading pleasure, nervously eyeing Buck's still-stiff dick and having successfully mentored Buck into his forties, Chris thought about what Vin had said earlier tonight, and he knew that Vin was wrong. Watching the glow of the coals while Buck talked lazily about nothing and everything and that new motorcycle, until his voice was just a sweet, familiar song to Chris's accustomed ears-this was the best part.

The End

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