by Sammy Girl
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were, never will be.
Note: Thanks to Firefox and Tina for the beta work.
Back to: Play Acting
Ezra stepped out of Nathan's car with a sigh and stretched, squinting in the bright sunlight.
"You okay?" the medic asked.
"Just tired." Ezra smiled at his well-meaning friend.
It was Friday, and both men had been testifying in court all week. Ezra had been on the stand being cross examined for the last two days, but then events beyond anyone's control meant the case was adjourned, at least until Monday.
"Buck'll be pleased to see you anyway."
Ezra smiled, these days the whole team was at ease, not only with his and Buck's relationship, but also that of Chris and Vin. It hadn't always been that way; Chris had been uncomfortable with their relationship until he acknowledged his own feelings for Vin. Nathan himself had been uneasy, but had come to an acceptance that had blossomed into a genuine pleasure in his friends' happiness.
As soon as he was inside the door, Ezra pulled off his shoes. Even as he was doing it he noticed the music drifting down the long corridor that ran almost the full length of their apartment. His first thought was that the cleaner - who would have called that morning - had left it on. Yet as he headed down the hallway toward the bedroom, he got the impression someone was there, moving about in the room. Since it was only four o'clock and he wasn't expecting Buck for at least another two hours, Ezra drew his gun and flattened himself against the wall. As he approached the open bedroom door, he would be able to see into the room without - he prayed - the intruder seeing him. As he edged closer the music changed, Shirley Bassey began to belt out 'Goldfinger'. Finally he could see into the master bedroom.
Ezra not only owned the apartment, he owned the whole building and had converted two apartments into one for his own use, the master bedroom had once been two good sized rooms, now knocked into one, it was vast. When he finally caught sight of the 'intruder' he had to stop from cursing out loud. There was Buck, his own beloved Buck, dancing in the bedroom. Ezra didn't stop to wonder what his partner was doing home in the middle of the afternoon; he just stood and watched.
Buck was wearing a cut-off pair of sweat bottoms - and nothing else. He was dripping in perspiration, his thick hair, wet and clinging to him, as rivers of sweat ran down his face and over his torso, making his whole body glisten. He was dancing, long limbs moving in time to the music, hands caressing his skin in a manner that was highly suggestive. Buck only really had to smile at Ezra to get him hot, this dance that his lover was performing so sensually, was having a profound effect. As Miss Bassey sang about '...a spider's touch,' Buck ran his left hand down his right arm and then flung it out. That was when Ezra realised what he was watching, a strip, Buck was performing - or more accurately miming - a strip routine. As he watched it became clear it wasn't a man's routine, there was no grabbing at the crotch or gyrating hips, this had the long lingering moves he had - on very rare occasions - seen women use when performing what were now called 'exotic dances'. The song reached its climax and it was clear that the imaginary dancer was now quite naked and flaunting it. As the music ended, Buck suddenly relaxed, the CD moved on to another James Bond theme, and he grabbed the remote from the corner of the bed to silence it, then he stood there, bent over, hands braced on his knees, panting.
Ezra was frozen where he was, watching Buck, watching the way his stomach pulled in and then blew out as he drew in deep breaths, the way the perspiration dropped from his hair. He watched the way his arms trembled slightly as he braced them on his knees. He knew he was intruding, he should move away, but the old floorboards would give him away, he was sure his breathing was so heavy Buck must hear him. He closed his eyes and rested his head gently against the wall in an attempt to get his breathing under control. When he opened them, Buck was walking around the bed, only too late did he realise Buck was heading for the CD player and that when he turned to pick up the case, lying open on the bed, he would be found out. There was nothing he could do as it all happened as he had envisaged it would. With the disk and its case in his hand Buck caught sight of Ezra, the emotions that played across his face were as clear as day to Ezra, even though most were gone as soon as they arrived - surprise, shock, anger and finally embarrassment. Buck dropped the disk back onto the bed and bolted for the bathroom before Ezra could say anything or even make himself move.
"Buck please don't!" he called, even as the bathroom door shut. "I'm sorry!"
Ezra sank down to sit on the edge of the bed, dejectedly. He hadn't ever seen Buck look so hurt since the beginning of their relationship, when his selfish, thoughtless words had almost lost him not only the best thing that had ever happened to him, but Buck's very life.
"I'm so sorry, please?" he called to the shut door, but he could already hear the shower running. "Wonderful Ezra, nicely done," he chided himself sarcastically.
As he sat there, waiting, he noticed an old white top of Buck's on the floor by the bed, clearly he'd pulled it off early in the routine. Picking it up he took a long, deep breath and settled down to wait. There had been a time in his life, when, if he had upset someone, Ezra would have done nothing to put things right. In the past no one had ever cared about his feelings, his mother - on the rare occasion she had even noticed he was upset - had always made him feel he was the one who was to blame. So if no one cared about how he felt, why should he care about how they felt? He would even tell himself it was all their fault. But ever since he joined Team Seven his attitude had begun to change and falling in love had only hastened the change. There was no way he was moving, until he had put things right. Twenty minutes later the water shut off and after a short time the bathroom door opened. Ezra was still there. Buck's skin still looked flushed from the shower, water still clung to his hair, a thick white towel was wound around his waist, which was telling, he usually didn't bother with any kind of covering.
Ezra stood up. "I'm so sorry I didn't mean to watch, I..."
"Stop," Buck held up a hand. "If I'd have come home early and found you dancing, I'd have watched." He gave a half smile. "Guess you want an explanation."
"Only if you want to, it's okay, I'm not..." he paused, searching for the right word, "...freaked out?"
"You're not? Hell I would have thought coming home to find your lover doing a... well a dance like that, would be freaky, at least a bit."
"I've learned not to let myself be taken in by first impressions." Sitting back down, he patted the bed beside him.
Taking the invitation, Buck sat down. "You know how my Ma made her living, I ain't never tried t' hide that from you," he began. Ezra nodded. "Well, for a time, from when I was ten, I think, 'till I was about fourteen, she was also a stripper. 'Goldfinger' was her most popular routine, she used to practice it at home. Not the stripping," he added hastily. "She just practised the moves, and I learned with her. I'd been working out, when I came in here the song came on the CD."
Both of them worked out in the small gym behind the bedroom on a regular basis, and they often played music to help relieve the boredom, especially if they were alone. Buck looked up at the ceiling and took a deep breath.
"It's weird, I've played that CD before, but for some reason, this time I remembered the routine. I can see Ma now, cut-off jeans, old white tee-shirt, dancing in her stilettos in the living room. I used to sit beside the tape recorder and play and rewind the tapes over and over again while she practised. I guess she was hoping she could get good enough so she didn't have to..." Buck suddenly hesitated, for the first time since Ezra had known him Buck was reluctant to actually name his mother's profession.
"It really is ok, you don't have to tell me anything," Ezra assured and placed his hand over Buck's.
Buck looked down at the hand and then up to finally make eye contact with his lover, the love of his life.
"It's not as easy as it looks, and Ma had no formal dance training, but she tried, she tried real hard. It wasn't that she was ashamed of how she made her money, she was her own boss, she was a good mother."
"Of that no one can have any doubt," Ezra assured.
Buck ducked his head in acknowledgement, then he continued, "But she was breaking the law and she was afraid that she'd be arrested or the social services would try and take me away. She was beginning to do okay, getting better gigs, making more money, and then..." He took a deep breath. "She fell on stage, it ain't easy t' dance in them high heels." He looked down at his own feet. "That was why she practised, to get used to the heels, get her balance. Anyway she fell badly, damaged her knee and ankle. I'm not sure exactly what was wrong, but I remember her having a cast on her ankle and a sort of brace thing with straps on her knee."
As he gestured to his own knee, Ezra nodded his understanding.
"She couldn't dance and there were bills t' pay, so she had to go back to working as soon as she could. I guess in the end it wasn't so bad, she made a good contact just after that, and that's how we ended up here in Denver, Ma got a steady job at the Belmont and we had a real home, for a while at least."
Buck's mother had died in a car crash when he was nineteen.
"I just don't know why I wanted to dance today."
Ezra pulled his hand away and placed it on Buck's back, where he rubbed gentle circles.
"I can't answer that for you, and I suspect there may be no simple answer. For what it's worth, you looked liked you were enjoying it," he offered softly.
"Yeah?" Buck gave a little laugh. "Yeah I guess I was."
"And it was hot as hell."
"Well it is a strip routine."
"Come here you." With that Ezra moved his hand to Buck's neck and pulled him down and kissed him. "I have been known to enjoy a dance myself, my tango is renowned."
Buck kissed Ezra. "Well we will have to see about that, I cut a mean samba myself. So how come you're home? Thought you were gonna be in court until late?"
"The defence attorney had a stroke, case adjourned until a new one can be briefed."
"He gonna make it?"
Ezra shrugged. "Nathan said it didn't look good. So why are you here so early?"
Buck grinned. "Well, with you and Nate in court, and Josiah and the kid up north checking out that cache of dynamite the local cops found on the border, it was just the three of us in the office, so Chris said we could quit early, it being Friday."
"Ah, yes, love has done much to soften our illustrious leader."
"Love? More like lust, don't reckon those two will be coming up for air until we all turn up for the game on Sunday," Buck joked.
"Well I don't see why they should have all the fun - have you seen the weather forecast?"
"Terrible - rain, hail, snow, tornadoes, hurricanes, plagues of frogs."
"That bad huh?"
"I am afraid so, I fear we will have to remain inside all weekend."
"Wonder what we can do?"
"Teach each other to dance?"
"Now there's an idea. How are you at the horizontal tango?"
"I told you, my tango is renowned, in any position."
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