Tr uth or Dare

h3> by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: I haven't quite seen all the eps yet, but I think I've avoided any horrible inconsistencies. This is another one of those stories that started out as a quick PWP, an odd idea floating around in my head. Then it took on a life of it's own and became more of a character study than anything else. This is the first OAT story I've written without a sex scene! Wow! (grin) But there is a pretty good kiss. BTW, I don't use betas, so all mistakes are my own.


"This is so...juvenile!" Victor muttered, settling himself on the concrete floor.

"Oh, come on, Vic," Li Ann cajoled. "We're locked in this safe until 9am, for better or for worse, and I'm bored to death. What's a little game of Truth or Dare going to hurt?"

"Hey, it could be worse!" Mac said mischievously.

"What could possibly be worse than being locked in a safe with you for another," he checked his watch, "3 hours?" Vic asked, glaring.

"We could be in a safe with no air circulation," Li Ann suggested.

"Worse," Mac added, "the Director could be locked in here with us."

"Alright, alright, I surrender!" Vic said, throwing up his hands. "I just don't see why I have to play that stupid game with you."

"Well, Vic," Mac said slowly, as if to a child, "since you can't challenge the person who just asked you, it doesn't really work with two people." A grin quirked his lips. "Or maybe there's a truth you don't want to admit...or a dare you're afraid to do."

Victor stiffened, his pride threatened. "I'm not afraid! I just don't see the point!"

"For God's sake, Vic," Li Ann exclaimed, "relax. It won't kill you, just a little time."

"Fine," Vic gave in, irritated.

"You start," Li Ann offered. "A peace offering."

Vic just sighed and considered his options. There were a few truths he's like out of Li Ann...but that meant he left himself open to Mac's challenge. Choosing to safeguard himself over his curiosity, he asked, "Mac. truth or dare?" Vic didn't see Li Ann's lips quirk in satisfaction. There were a few things she wanted to ask Vic...

Mac considered for a moment. "Truth," he said.

"Why'd you pick truth?" Vic asked, forgetting himself.

"Do you see much in here that adds up to a good dare?" Mac replied. "And I consider that you're turn, Vic." The ex-cop opened his mouth to protest, but then just shrugged. He'd have another turn. "Li Ann," Mac said, though all three knew that was the only person he could challenge. "Truth or Dare?"

"Truth," she responded immediately.

Mac considered for a moment. "Why were you so upset when I told you I was marrying Claire?"

Li Ann regarded him incredulously for a moment. "She was a terrorist, Mac. You didn't mean anything to her. She would have just used you. I still care about you Mac. You're my best friend."

Nodding, Mac was surprised to realize that he didn't feel the disappointment he'd expected. He guessed he really had gotten over Li Ann. //I knew that already,// he thought, //I guess I just wanted to see if she really was over me.//

"Okay, Vic," Li Ann said, grinning, "Truth or Dare?"

"Truth," he said, after a moment.

"Why were you so upset with me when I chose to pull you up onto that roof instead of Mac?" Li Ann asked curiously, hoping she wasn't reopening old wounds.

To her complete surprise Vic looked away and squirmed uncomfortably. Mac looked delighted and leaned forward, eager to hear Vic's answer. The ex-cop sighed in resignation and, glancing over at Mac, answered. "He's my partner," Vic shrugged, "I didn't want him to die. Partners make sacrifices like that. There's a...a trust there, a loyalty that's different from any other relationship." //Well,// Vic thought, //that's most of the reason. That's all of the reason I was admitting to myself at the time.// He squirmed again, letting his partners think it was because of what he had said, not because of what he hadn't.

"Aw, Vic, thanks," Mac said, throwing an arm across Vic's shoulders. Vic rolled his eyes and looked over at the other man, expecting to see a mocking smile. Instead he found a sincere grin, and couldn't help but return it.

"My turn," Vic said. "Truth or Dare, Mac?"

"Truth," Mac said, withdrawing his arm. Vic missed it.

He briefly considered the question he really wanted the answer to, but decided on another, first. "Are you really as happy go lucky as you act, or do you want something...more?"

Mac looked surprised by the question. He briefly considered lying, but decided the game would be pointless if he lied. Vic looked startled but pleased when he realized Mac was taking the question seriously. "I guess...I just..." he sighed, "I want to be in love more than anything else," he admitted reluctantly. "When I said I needed stability, before that whole thing with Claire, I wasn't joking around. Sure, I want to have fun. I mean, what's the point of life if you can't enjoy it? But I'd like someone to share that with too."

Vic smiled. "Thanks," he said sincerely, "for not lying." Mac shrugged.

"Truth or Dare, Li Ann," he challenged.

"Truth," she answered.

"Do you ever miss the old days? You know, when we worked for the old man?" Mac's voice was soft, as if to ease the question out.

She shook her head. "No. Unlike you guys, I chose to work for the Agency. No one forced me into this life. I wanted to live an honest life, to do some good. I didn't want to be a thief anymore, and I didn't want to be reminded of Michael," she glanced apologetically at Mac, "or of you. I'm happy." There was a pause before she asked, "Truth or Dare, Vic?"

"Truth, of course," he smiled.

"Did you enjoy stealing that Diamond with Mac and the Rivers family?" Li Ann smiled mischievously.

"Okay, yeah, I admit it," Vic grinned. "It was a thrill. It was...fun."

Mac crowed triumphantly, " I knew it! I knew there was a little bit of thief in you! You watch out, I'll corrupt you yet." He grinned. //Too late,// Vic thought, grinning back.

His expression grew sober as he finally got around to the question he really wanted to ask. He shot an apologetic look in Li Ann's direction. "Are you still in love with Li Ann?" he asked slowly.

Mac felt a little ache go through him at the question. //He still wants her...// the ex-thief thought sadly. "No," he said aloud, also apologizing to Li Ann with his eyes. "I haven't been for a long time, really. Truth or Dare, Li Ann."

"Truth, once again," she said. She looked right at him, and he knew she realized what question he was going to ask, and didn't mind.

"Are you still in love with either of us?" Mac asked. //I have to know if she still wants him... It's a horrible thought, but if she doesn't, maybe I still have a chance.//

Li Ann was shaking her head. "Sorry guys. Once, I loved you both very much. Now, I know we're weren't right together," she shrugged. "Surely you knew that already?"

"Had to ask," Mac said. //But not for the reason you think.//

"Vic," Li Ann said, "you'd better say Truth."

"Okay," he said, knowing what was coming. After all, he was the only who hadn't been asked.

"Are you still in love with me?"

Mac forced himself to watch Vic, to look at him closely enough to know if he was lying. This answer was important.

"No," Vic said, smiling a little. //Thank god she didn't say 'either of us',// he thought to himself, which prompted a little smile. "You're my friend, Li Ann. That's all I want, now." Mac found himself nodding, and struggled to hide his relief at Victor's response. "Truth or Dare, Mac."

"Guess," Mac said, rolling his eyes.

Vic grinned. Then he paused realizing he didn't have another question ready. "Give me a minute," he said, "I need to think up something good." Mac and Li Ann waited impatiently for him to think up something. Finally, shrugging fatalistically, he just asked, trying hard not to look too interested in the response. "Have you ever slept with another guy?" His partners gaped at him for a moment. "What?" he asked defensively, "It's a legitimate question!"

"Yeah, I have," Mac said finally. Li Ann looked surprised. "Truth or Dare, Li Ann?" he asked hurriedly, trying to get attention off himself and his admission.

"Dare."

Mac blinked, the answer not what he expected. However it certainly had its advantages. "I dare you to ask Vic the question he just asked me on your turn." Li Ann's lips quirked into a smile, and Mac realized she'd done that on purpose.

"Well, Vic?" she asked.

"Don't I get to pick Truth or Dare?" Vic asked defensively.

"Face the music, Vic," Li Ann said insistently, "You started it."

"Fine, fine!" Vic threw up his hands. "Yes, I have." Both his partners gaped at him. "Oh give me some credit!" he said, "I'm not that much of a stick in the mud. Truth or Dare, Mac."

"Truth," Mac said warily.

"What do you think of me? Really."

Mac held back a blush and bit his lip, looking at Li Ann for help. Unfortunately, she was looking at him as expectantly as Vic was. "You've got a really sad taste in music," he started. "You don't let yourself have nearly enough fun. You follow orders way too strictly." Vic was starting to look downcast, so Mac sighed and gave in. "But you're loyal in a way I value highly. You're good at heart...you can't help but want to help people. I can't help but admire that. That and the strength, the fire I sometimes see in you. You're a great shot...and there's no one I'd rather have at my back." Vic smiled, obviously pleased and touched by Mac's words.

"Hey, Mac," Li Ann said, "you're not going to skip over the whole physical thing, are you? Come on, 'me' includes how he looks too." Victor quirked an inquiring eyebrow.

"Oh, sure, just go and make me undermine my whole teasing, mocking campaign!" Mac exclaimed in mock despair.

"Answer the question, Mac," Li Ann prodded.

"Okay, okay. So you're drop dead gorgeous too," Mac blurted, abruptly feeling better for having said it.

"Are you jerking me around?" Vic asked incredulously

"No!" Mac said. "I haven't lied through this whole thing. I'm not gonna start now. Truth or Dare, Li Ann."

"Truth."

"Uh...hold on a second," Mac scoured his mind for a good question. Finally, he settled for an easy one. "How did you come to join the Agency?"

"The Director approached me at..." she hesitated, "at your funeral, Mac. When I thought you were dead, I arranged a service. She asked me there if I wanted to join her, and explained the Agency. I accepted." Mac nodded in acceptance. "Truth or Dare, Vic?"

"Truth."

"How do you really feel about Mac?" Vic's heart leapt into his mouth at the phrasing. //Why didn't she just ask me what I thought of him? I could've got around that, truthfully. What do I say now?//

"Can I change that to Dare?" he asked before he even realized he was going to. Li Ann and Mac looked surprised. Why would he refuse to answer the question? Li Ann's eyes narrowed in suspicion. The she smiled devilishly.

"Sure," she said, "but you have to do the dare. No going back to Truth."

"Okay..." Vic said slowly.

"Kiss Mac."

"What?!" Mac and Vic exclaimed together.

"You heard me," Li Ann said, folding her arms across her chest and leaning back against a shelf full of money. "Kiss Mac."

"But Mac..." Vic protested weakly.

"Won't mind, do you Mac?" Li Ann asked her friend.

"I guess not," Mac answered reluctantly. //I never should have told Li Ann how I was feeling about Victor.//

"So, Vic. No going back to truth. Kiss him. And not a peck, either. On the lips, five seconds minimum." Li Ann was looking at him in obviously challenge.

//How am I going to do this?// Vic asked himself in alarm. //He'll know as soon as I kiss him how I feel... You can't hide that sort of thing. I guess...I have to try.// Sighing fatalistically, Vic stood up and motioned for Mac to do so as well. "I can't kiss you properly sitting down," he explained.

//Properly?// Mac wondered to himself as he stood, his pulse quickening at the thought of what 'properly' might mean.

Vic stepped close to Mac and, reaching up to place on hand on the back of the other man's neck, drew him down for the kiss. Vic pressed his lips to Mac's gently, then took his lower lip tenderly between his own lips, releasing it slowly. Pressing more firmly against Mac's mouth, he couldn't stop himself from flicking out his tongue to taste his partner's lips. To his surprise, Mac's lips opened beneath the caress. Vic felt the other man's tongue tentatively meet his own. Then Mac was nibbling gently at Vic's bottom lip, his hands framing the ex-cop's face. Vic pulled his lip from between Mac's teeth, parting his lips and recapturing Mac's mouth. Neither gave any thought to the fact that five seconds had long since passed, or remembered that Li Ann was watching...hardly at all surprised. The kiss deepened, each man tasting the other, lips and tongues tangling for long moments.

When they finally parted, Vic found himself looking into eyes as heated with desire as his own. "I didn't know you..." he trailed off, at a loss for words.

"I didn't know you...either," Mac replied, his eyes twinkling.

At that moment the time lock on the safe released and the door began to swing open, forestalling any more conversation. Mac and Vic jumped away from each other quickly...and were glad they had done so when they saw the Director standing on the other side of the door.

"How is it," she said dryly, "that two expert thieves and a decorated detective got themselves locked into a safe?"

"Long story," Li Ann said, getting to her feet. "I need to go home and shower and eat."

"You do that," the Director said, indicating the three of them, "then I wanted you to report to the Agency for debriefing."

"Sure thing," Mac said impudently. "Come on, Vic. I need to talk you about something."

"Right," Vic said, moving to follow Mac.

"You didn't have enough time to talk while locked in a safe?" the Director called out with a raised eyebrow. The two guys just waved back at her. Turning to Dobrinski, a mischievous grin graced her lips. "I truly doubt," she said to Dobrinski, "that they'll be doing much talking. More like...screaming." Dobrinski wrinkled his brow in distaste. The Director just laughed.

***

Mac lay curled up in Victor's arms, savoring the feeling of being held. "I love you," he whispered, thinking his lover asleep.

"I love you, too," Vic murmured in response. Mac smiled in pleased surprise and settled down to sleep himself.