Series: break loose ranch; follows: at the end of the sun on a long hot day; fills in that triangular circular love thing
Characters/Pairing: David Boreanaz/Christian Kane; cameos by Jaime Bergman, Jared Padalecki/Jensen Ackles, Steve Carlson, Tom Welling/Michael Rosenbaum, Chad Michael Murray.
Word count: 3996
Summary: They've been fucking for years, but this is different.
Dave's never understood the point of feeling sorry for yourself. He had enough practice at it playing Angel to know it won't get him the girl or her son. Still, when he comes home to a quiet, clean house – no Sponge Bob on the living room tv, no Transformers in the hall – it's tempting.
"Where's Jaden?" he asks, playing it cool, as he pops the top off his beer against the kitchen counter.
"At his dad's," Jaime answers, and hops up onto the island, smiling at him like nothing's wrong. She's better at it than Sarah Michelle ever was, but he's still not buying it.
He pulls a long swallow, then nods to the way-too-neat living room through the door behind her. "S'up with that?"
Tilting her head, she studies him for a long time. Like she's looking for something in his face. If he had a clue what she wanted to find, he'd show it to her, but last he knew, everything between them was great. So, he just drinks his beer and lets her look.
The beer's half-gone by the time she shakes her head. "We're moving out." It's not mean or nasty; Jaime doesn't have an unkind bone in her pretty petite body. It is final, and kind isn't the same as pushover; he'd pit Jaime against Sarah Michelle or Charisma any day and love her odds.
It stings, but they've never pretended this would be forever. He figures he ought to at least argue with her, though, make it clear he doesn't like it. "Didn't seem like you were planning to leave last night when you were screaming 'oh god' and 'I love you'. Something happen?"
She gives him the sad smile he first loved about her, the night she told him about being pregnant with Miller's kid. "No, and that's the problem."
Okay, now he's confused. He sets his beer down on the counter behind him, leans back on his hands. "Jaime, I know this all makes perfect sense in your head, but I'm out here. So help me out a bit. What's supposed to be happening that isn't?"
Palms rubbing the worn edges of her jean shorts, she's looking nervous and her lip's trembling.
He crosses to her, frames her hips with his hands. "No secrets, no lies. That's what we always said. What is it, baby?"
She sighs and puts her forehead against his. That's never good; it makes his stomach knot up. "What'd you do last night, Dave?"
"Had phenomenal sex with the prettiest girl in Hollywood." It's not even a line; they did, and she is.
Even cross-eyed close he can see her lips curving into a smile. "Besides that."
He has to think about it for a minute; nothing special stands out. "Made us a tofu scramble, put Jaden back to bed after his nightmare, talked Kane down from the ledge about Jenny and the dude ranch kid."
White teeth worry at her animal-safe pink-glossed lips. "What'd you do last weekend?"
He draws his brows together, brooding Angel-style. "Flew to Nashville to see Kane's show."
"Two weeks ago Wednesday?"
Backing away, he scrubs his hands over his face. "How the hell am I supposed to remember?"
"Drove out to Cahuenga to catch Steve at Hotel Café because Chris was coming to down."
Okay, so she remembered. "What's your point, Jaime?"
"You're in love with him, not me."
Jealousy, from Jaime? Unreal, and totally out of character. He stares at her. "Is this about me fucking him?"
"No. You know I don't care who you fuck. It's just…" She shrugs, pushes her ponytail over her shoulder. "It's just I've been waiting five years to be more important than him and it's not going to happen."
"We're not like that, he and I. He's a friend, that's all." One who gives better blowjobs than even Angelus ever got, smells like back home summer and feels like freedom when they fuck, but that's why they stayed friends after the show tanked. They've been friends forever; they just work.
Jaime pushes off the counter and lands light on her feet. Curving her hand around his jaw, she leans up to peck him on the cheek. "Yeah. You are. And that's cool. I'm not mad about it. I just figure it's time I got out of the way."
It makes less sense than the fourth season of Angel, but he'll figure it out later. After she's gone, since clearly, she's going. "What about Jaden?" His heart clenches at that; he loves the kid.
Her breath catches and her eyes go soft. "You can see him whenever you want."
It's not until she's at the kitchen door, sun hitting dust motes and making her glow that he realizes she's really doing it. He catches up quick, takes her by the elbow. "What about you?"
Arms going around his waist, Jaime leans against his chest. "I love you. Always will, you stubborn shit. I'm not cutting you off, just setting you free."
It hits him that she deserves a lot better. He curves a hand around her ponytail, leans down to kiss the top of her head. "So what do I do now?"
She pushes him away, then grins up at him in the way that always makes him slap her ass; only he doesn't now, and, even if she's totally wrong about Kane, he probably never will again. He's a realist.
"Go get your boy."
Go get his boy, she said, like that makes sense to anyone but her. Still, Dave's stubborn, not stupid. Say whatever you want about Angel (he's heard it all from, "Evil Cordy, wtf?" to "Spike's hotter than you, anyway"), he learned a lot from doing the show. Mostly matured enough to realize you can't just live your life, sometimes you've got to stop and think about it, figure out what you want, unless you want to just keep bouncing from one thing to the next like one of Jaden's superballs.
So, even though he thinks it's the stupidest thing he's ever heard (not including the dumbass shit that comes out of Kane's mouth when he's high or strung-out from a week on the road, bad dope, worse beer and girls who don't know he likes an arm around him to help him sleep), he's going to park his ass on the couch out here and give what Jaime said some consideration. Crap or not, he owes her that much.
Three beers, a free-range chicken breast sandwich with organic lettuce and tomatoes, and half a J later, he's figured out two things: one, Jaime's not coming back unless he can tell her he's in love with her and wants to marry her, and that's not going to happen; two, he needs to change his socks, because they're the orange and pink striped ones Jaden picked out for him last year Christmas and if he looks at them too long, he might change his mind about the first thing.
It's July and he doesn't really need socks, so he pulls them off, instead, tosses them on the floor. But then they're staring at him, accusing, from the floor where Jaden's toys used to be, and he—
And he's never seen the point in feeling sorry for himself.
Three more beers, another J and he's past all that. The socks are in the dirty clothes, he's got some red and gray ones he bought in Georgia, and he's flipping through his datebook. Jaime said he'd been putting Kane before her, made a big point out of the couple of times he'd seen him lately. Dave scratches his head and tries not to think how much that sounds like Drusilla, because either that would mean Jaime's nuts, or Drusilla had something approaching a point about Buffy.
He's been to Nashville four times since January. It's July. So what? He likes Nashville, and he hates missing Kane's shows. The trip to Europe to hang with Kane and Carlson while they played was maybe a little extravagant, but he could afford it, and it wasn't every day you're best smoking buddies went to Amsterdam.
He flips past fourth months in which he'd called Kane and made him drag his sorry ass out to LA for one of Carlson's shows -- so they could "hang"…a trip to Georgia to hang on the set of Kane's new movie (another indy Western; he keeps telling him he's going to get typecast, and he really ought to think about this shit, but Kane just laughs and shoves him)… four of the last fifteen calls on his cell are from Kane, and probably he's called at least as often.
All right, yeah. He hits the J, coughs when it hotboxes, then pinches out the roach. They've been seeing a lot of each other, Jaime's right about that. But in love with him?
Dave holds smoke until his lungs burn and his eyes water, then blows it out toward the ceiling. Kane's the guy he calls when he needs someone to tell him he's full of shit or when everything else is, not a…boyfriend or lover or whatever the hell a guy who likes to dick other guys calls the guy he sees regularly.
His head's spinning and not just from trying to get it around him and Kane as whatevers. He makes a slow crossing to the glass doors, cracks them open to let out some smoke, but ends up leaning his head against them.
The problem isn't with being queer; he's been since as long as he can remember. If it breaks to the media (no one but the fangirls made anything of the pictures of him and Kane in full-body press at the Whedonverse event, and they'd have made the pictures themselves given a chance, hell, they've been writing porn about him and Marsters since season two Buffy), he'll just add it to his activist agenda and let his agent do his job.
The problem is he and Kane just aren't like that.
Six a.m. rolls around real fucking early when you've been smoking and drinking, he forgot that, too, having a kid around the house. Still, he figures it's the price you pay.
For about five minutes, he contemplates going back to sleep. Girlfriend moved out with the kid that calls him 'Daddy', he's got it coming. He tries it out, but it feels too much like brooding and Angel did enough self-pity to keep him rolling in it for years. Besides, it's his job to look good, and that means working out.
He rubs his eyes, drags his ass out to the kitchen to make coffee – Peruvian Fair Trade – and flips on the tv to keep his brain from shorting out before it brews. Wouldn't you know it? TNT plays reruns of Angel at 6. He hasn't watched himself in so long, it's kind of disorienting, and not just because he's hanging.
He's blaming the smoke, though, for the fact he doesn't turn it off as soon as he realizes it's the evil hand episode. Before he knows it, he's leaning back in his chair, feet up on the kitchen table, watching.
Watching him and Kane and the way they spark every time their eyes connect.
And trying not to feel the twist in his gut when he sees Kane bleeding, even though he knows it's fake, or the pull when he sees him play.
Fucking L.A. Song; he remembers the takes on that scene. Remembers how they kept having to redo it, because he and Charisma kept sliding into the music. Kane has that way about him, honest and real (except when he's completely full of shit with his top dog swagger and "I'm just a laid-back good ol' boy never worried a day in my life" sunshine up your ass, because Kane's as intense about what matters to him as anyone he ever met). The raw ache in his voice just makes you stop.
The front chair legs clatter against the tile; Dave looks down at his lap, finds his hand inside his boxers, wrapped around his dick. It's weird, jacking off to himself and Kane on screen doing nothing much except trading angst-ridden glances. But he's hard and flushed. The kitchen has that haze it gets when he's got Jaime bent over the table and his pupils dilate to take in too much light.
It's not just morning wood. He's not just spanking it. He's thinking about Kane: the smoke and whiskey sound of his voice when he sings or when he comes, the cut of his hip under Dave's hands when he's lining up to push in, and the thick fall of his hair pulling through Dave's fingers when he's holding it back to fuck his mouth.
It's weird, weirder than jerking off to Angel's fantasies about Buffy (the one about chaining her face down to a coffin with a gag in her mouth might've been his; there were days he'd have done any fucking thing to get Sarah Michelle to shut up) or that one time with Sponge Bob in the background.
He tries to picture Jaime's face splashed with come; it usually works just great for him, but today it's going nowhere fast. Dave doesn't dwell on it, just goes back to Kane's fingers spread over his guitar and his lips spread over the head of Dave's cock. Sex is like that. You want what you want and there's no point trying to tell your dick it likes vanilla if it's got a craving for Chunky Monkey.
A few more jerks with his mind on Kane and he's coming like he hasn't since he hit thirty; freight train, vision graying out, wet sticky mess all over his hand and his belly, the whole deal.
Dave's not sure if it means what Jaime thinks it means, but he's not going to figure it out on his own. He's got to talk to Kane.
It's another mark in the "Jaime's right" column when he doesn't even have to call to figure out where the boy's going to be for the next week, and one more when he doesn't bother calling before he packs. Two and a half hours after he's washed the come off his hands, he's dressed in wife beater, jeans, and boots, has a duffel packed and tossed into a rented convertible (no way he's driving the Benz to Texas and leaving it in the July sun on a dude ranch; that's just not happening), and he's headed out the 10 to Phoenix.
He spends the night in a Super-Eight outside El Paso, and at half-past ten he's pulling onto Kick Back Road (he likes the place already, and the owner; Kane likes him for Jenny even if he's worried about how hard the boy's gone and fallen, but Dave just likes the way he 'feels' from the name on the sign and the way the entire place rolls out long and slow and tidy without being 'neat'). Fifteen minutes later, he's waiting for one of the ranch hands to take him out to where the boys are camping. No fuss, no bother, no ID checks, he just says he's Dave Boreanaz come to see Jensen Ackles and Christian Kane, no they're not expecting him and he'd like to make it a surprise, and the guy's grinning like they've been friends for their entire life.
The cowboy, Slade, is a hell of a guy, talks with a low Texas twang that starts unwinding the knots in Dave's guts as soon as he opens his mouth. The campsite's a solid hour ride at a walk (he signed the release papers, but he hasn't been on a horse for way too long and he's got plans for his thigh muscles that don't involve being sore from riding, not a horse anyway), but ten minutes into it, he's breathing slow and even and loving the sun on his back. It's hot as hell, like Kane said the other night, but there's something honest about the Texas heat – no blacktop to make it chemical and ugly, just grass and trees and dirt, and somewhere down the trail, his two best buds, a couple of guys he knows and likes, and one he's expecting to.
The thing about letting Slade talk and the horse walk and the sun beat down is, it's like being in a car. No place to go but where you are, and nothing to think but your own thoughts (Kane would tell him to quit the zen soundbite shit if he heard him say that, but it's true, even more true than in the car where at least there's music and commercials to mock). His brain keeps rolling over the phrases "best bud" and "in love" and a thousand different images of Kane doing everything from slinging a guitar case over his shoulder to stripping down to shower off sticky red corn-syrup blood, and by the time he's handing Honey off to Slade, between eighteen hours in the car and one in the saddle, he's got a hard-on like you wouldn't believe, and he's thinking Jaime might've had a point.
Heart beating far too hard, he dusts his hands on his jeans and walks toward the firepit Slade pointed out. Steve sees him first, and Dave's never been happier to see his 'boy howdy' grin. Kane's got his back to him until Steve elbows him in the ribs.
Kane turns. His head dips low under his hat, his lips curve high, and hell yeah. Why he never noticed it before he can't even begin to process, but he's never seen anything better in his life than that smile.
"Man, look what the horse dragged in. Jenny, Jared, you two know this bitch was coming for a visit?" Kane nods to him, cocky as the rooster in Dave's belt buckle.
Jenny's shaking his head, smiling a bit, and more relaxed than Dave's ever seen him. There are introductions happening and he's trying not to be rude, so he shakes hands, smiles, decides he likes Jared. The boy's got a look about him; under the floppy bangs and wide open green eyes, there's a stubbornness to his mouth that says he's not someone you fuck with. More than that, Dave likes how he looks at Jenny, gaze going soft and fingers always reaching but never grabbing.
It's stretching out too long, though, Mike and Tommy, Jared's pal Chad, and when someone breaks out a story about Eliza, he's through. He's here for a reason, and if there's one thing he and Angel share, it's that when he's on a mission, he's on a mission.
He's here to get his boy.
Dave slides Kane the look, Kane blinks slow, and that's all the yes Dave needs to wrap his arm around his shoulders. "Jared, man, thanks for letting me crash the party. I'm going to borrow my boy Chris for a bit, but there's Patron Silver in my bag, fresh lime and an ounce of Northern Lights. Help yourself."
Jared gets the strangest expression on his face, like he's trying not to swallow his tongue. Dave's got no clue what's so funny, but as long as it's not stopping him from getting Kane to himself, he doesn't care either.
Jared pushes a hand through his bangs, grins at no one in particular, then says, "Not a problem, man. Always glad to see a friend of Jen's. M'sure our boy Chris can show you all around," with wicked mischief sparking in his eyes.
Jenny's chewing on his lip, nervous, and Rosenbaum whispers something sharp to Welling, who smacks him in the head. Steve's wearing the weirdest smirk he's ever seen and sharing it with Jared's boy Chad.
Under his arm, Kane tenses. "You kids behave now, hear?" he drawls, turns on his heel and hauls Dave after him.
Dave lets him have his head for about a minute, long enough to get them away from the campsite into the shadow of some huge tree. Then he grabs Kane by the bicep and spins him around. "What's up with you?"
"You can't call first?"
"Didn't think I needed to." Planting a hand high on the tree trunk, he crowds into Chris's space. He saw that smile; he knows he didn't. "You seemed glad enough to see me ten minutes ago."
"I'm still glad to see you, fucker, I'd just be gladder if you called first." Kane shoves him in the chest.
Dave's seen him all kinds of mad; this isn't it. "Something crawl up your ass and rub you raw?"
"Sure as hell wasn't you."
He smiles at that, an Angelus smile, toothy and all the more threatening for it, then leans in, chests touching, to purr across Kane's ear. "Not yet."
Kane pulls his head away with a sharp jerk. "Cut it out, Dave."
"Don't think so," he says, then does something he's never actually done before with Kane. Slides a hand up under his hair, curls it around his neck, and kisses him.
In all the years they've been sucking and fucking each other, they've never just kissed (biting at each other's mouths, licking them come-clean, leaving bruises on each other's throats and chests, that's not the same thing). As soon as his mouth covers Kane's, he knows why.
This mouth, he's watched it around his dick, watched it form 'I'm sorry' when Ingrid bailed, watched it sing a thousand ballads, speak a hundred thousand words, and having it soft and warm against his…there's just no way to pretend they're doing anything but what they're doing.
No way to keep thinking of him as "Kane" instead of "Chris" or "CK" or "cowboy" like he used to.
When he slants his head and slips his thigh between Chris's, Chris backs off, hard, but there's nowhere to go unless he wants to duck under Dave's arm. So when Dave breaks the kiss to look at him, he's just standing there, eyes sharp with accusation. "We don't do that."
"Do what?" Dave asks, putting on the air of innocence he's had so much practice with.
Chris lifts his hat, pushes his hair back, then resettles it. "Make out like randy teenagers in the back of Dad's Chevy." He's trying for cool, and it'd be working on anyone but Dave. He knows Chris way too well to buy it, especially when he can feel the heat of his dick getting hard against his thigh.
"We could, if you like."
Chris rolls his eyes, his head, his whole upper body. "Don't pull that Angel crap on me. Liking your dick up my ass does not make me your bitch."
"Yeah," Dave says, smiling, because he gets it now. Chris's got a thing going here with these boys, top dog, only Dave would give even odds to Jared where Jenny's concerned, and he's said more times than Dave can count that the whole world follows where Dave leads. He knocks Chris's hat off with his wrist, and leans in again, whole body pressing him into the tree. "It kind of does."
"Maybe later, thanks." Grinding his hips against Chris's, he makes damned clear there's no maybe about it. "It's been a week since I've seen you, and I want a proper kiss hello…cowboy." He says it soft, like he's saying 'baby', and he knows Chris hears it from the way his gaze slips from sharp focused to confused.
"We're not like that," his mouth's saying, but his hips sling lower and his fingers worry at the frayed denim on Dave's waistband.
Dave's looking down into eyes he's looked at a million times but never seen, and maybe it ought to be weird, but it's really not.
Thumb rubbing the unshaven edge of Chris's jaw, Dave slants him a new look, warmer but more determined than the old one. "Yeah, Christian. We are."