Disclaimer: The standard one. Not mine. No profit.

Warning: Slash(no explicit sex) C/V

by Tiffiny

/God, it's hot in here. And crowded./ Vin Tanner wondered why he'd never noticed how small this room was before. It seemed hardly big enough for one person, let alone two. He listened to the soft voice reading over his shoulder. Now he couldn't breathe. Squirming desperately in the hard, unforgiving chair, Vin felt warm breath caress the back of his neck. He couldn't stand much more of this. He needed to get out of this room. Away from that voice. He needed some air. He...

He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. Even through his layers of clothing, Vin could feel the heat of that slight touch all the way down to his toes.

"Vin? Is something wrong? You're wriggling worse than a fish on a hook." The voice was carefully neutral, but Vin could hear the mingled amusement and exasperation underlying it.

"Nothin's wrong. I'm just a little hot is all." Vin stared fixedly at the desk in front of him as he spoke. He was afraid of what the blonde standing just behind him might see on his face if he turned around.

"It aint that hot in here, Vin. Take the coat off and you should be fine."

/A reasonable suggestion, except for one thing./ Vin thought with grim amusement. /If I take off this coat, there won't be anything hidin' this embarassin', and damn inconvenient, erection I got. How in the hell would I explain *that* to Chris?/

He risked a glance back and found the blonde staring down at him with a thoughtful frown. The hand was still in place, fingers unconsciously kneading his shoulder as their owner stood there, entirely unaware of the effect it was having on Vin. His pants were starting to feel painfully tight in a certain area and if he didn't do somethin' real quick, he was goin' to lose all semblance of control and *really* embarass himself.

"Uh...maybe some water would help?" Vin croaked desperately.

The fingers stilled and then the hand was removed altogether. Vin heaved a sigh of relief. Leaning back in his chair, he tried to relax. /Only 7 more days of this, Tanner/ he told himself. /You're halfway there. It aint like you're gettin' shot at or havin' to track some outlaw across the hot, barren desert. It's just readin'. A little poetry won't hurt ya none./ He'd had this same talk with himself every day for the last week. It never did any good. Because to Vin Tanner, sittin' in this room and listenin' to that voice read him poetry was worse torture than bein' staked out over an anthill, worse than bein' shot and definitely worse than trackin' some outlaw.

"Here you go." A cup of water was offered along with the words and Vin took it gratefully. He watched warily as his companion took a seat on the edge of the bed a few feet away.

"Are you sure you're ok with this, Vin? I know you agreed to continue your reading lessons with me while Mary's visiting her in-laws, but you seem awful uncomfortable. You don't need to feel ashamed. You've been doing fine. I know I'm not the teacher Mary is, but it appears to me you've learned quite a bit this last week."

With this uncharacteristically long speech out of the way, Chris Larabee propped his feet up on a footstool near the bed and moved back til he was able to lean against the wall.

Staring at those long legs stretched out just a few feet from him, Vin swallowed hard. He'd learned a lot this past week. That was for *damn* sure. He'd learned that long legs in tight black denim were about to drive him wild with desire. He'd learned that he wanted his best friend in ways he'd never imagined. He'd learned exactly why poetry was called the language of love. Although, hearin' Chris wrap that soft, smooth voice of his around the words had Vin thinkin' less of love and more of..., well anyway, he reckoned that he ought to have known better. The people who said book learnin' brought a man nothin' but trouble sure knew what they were talkin' about.

Vin sat there, lost in thought, staring at Chris' denim clad legs, until a soft sound from his friend made him realize that the blonde gunslinger was still waiting for him to say something.

"No. I appreciate what you're doin'. Takin' the time to help me and all. It's just that the poetry... It's...I would prefer..." Vin trailed off, unable to think of a way to explain his sudden aversion to poetry.

"I thought you liked poetry, Vin." Chris was eyeing him strangely.

"I do. It's just...Aww hell. Never mind." Vin gave up any attempt at explanation. He'd just have to endure the next seven days somehow. Then Mary would be back to take over his lessons and maybe things could go back to normal. He'd be able to look at his best friend without tryin' to imagine what that icy gaze would look like filled with passion instead of anger. Or what the smooth skin on Chris' back felt like when you touched it. Or what that full lower lip would feel like if it touched *him*. Maybe things would go back to normal. But he doubted it.

"I've got some things need takin' care of. You mind if we finish the rest tomorrow?" Vin jumped to his feet as he spoke and began inching nervously towards the door leading out of Chris' room. He hoped Chris wouldn't ask him any questions, because he didn't really have anything that needed doin' and he knew he wouldn't be able to make up a convincing story right now. His thoughts were too muddled with the feelings he was tryin' so hard to escape.

"Sure, Vin. See you later at the saloon, maybe."

"Yeah. Maybe." Vin agreed hurriedly as he fled the room.

Chris Larabee watched the normally unflappable tracker run out the door as if all the hounds of hell were nipping at his heels. A wide grin spread across his face, softening the severe features and turning them into a breathtaking sight.

/I never knew poetry could be such fun. It sure wasn't like this in school./Chris knew he was being cruel, but he couldn't help himself. Watching Vin squirm around like his pants were on fire was too much fun. Besides, he figured the tracker was getting off easy. Chris had suffered months of agony when he'd started having feelings towards Vin. Feelings that had formerly only been directed towards women. He'd been certain that there was no possibility Vin would ever return those kinds of feelings. It wasn't until they'd started reading the book of poetry Mary had left for the lessons that Chris had begun to hope. And then to be sure. He had Vin Tanner right where he wanted him. Another week of poetry wouldn't kill the ex-bounty hunter. Smiling wickedly, Chris began flipping through the book, planning tomorrow's lesson.

/This is the last day./ A flood of pain accompanied that thought. Despite the anguish and discomfort, this time with Chris had become the highlight of his day. The highlight of his life, if you wanted to get down to the nitty gritty. He only wished Chris felt the same way. Glancing at his companion, Vin saw that Chris looked as cool and collected as always Completely in control. Unlike a certain tracker who was *this close* to grabbing his friend and...

And ruinin' the best thing in my life. Vin concluded glumly. He sighed and Chris looked up from the book he was reading.

"We're almost done, Vin. There's just one more I think you should read. Actually, I'll read it first and then you can try."

Vin nodded in agreement, hoping it was a long poem. A *really* long poem.

"Close your eyes." ordered the gunslinger.

"It'll help you concentrate." added Chris, forestalling Vin's question. Vin shut his eyes. If he concentrated any harder on Chris, he'd explode, Vin thought wryly.

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

Vin felt the words wash over him. He was so carried away by the hypnotic sound of that silky voice that the accompanying touch almost failed to register. *Almost.* His eyes flew open and he stared wildly into Chris' face which was barely an inch away from his own. Chris brushed his lips gently across Vin's mouth once again. Then he sat back and grinned at the stunned and sputtering tracker.

"You knew! The whole time! You read that poetry on purpose! You..." Vin sputtered to a halt as words failed him momentarily.

Before Vin had a chance to get started again, Chris leaned forward with a devilish gleam in his eye.

"You ever hear of something called poetry in motion?" he asked innocently.

As Vin shook his head, Chris reached out and pulled him close. "Let me show you how it works."

Turned out, Chris was a much better poetry teacher than anyone would've given him credit for.

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