Disclaimer: This is fanfic, based on the show Once A Thief. Characters are property of Alliance. This story was written for fun, not profit.

Guilty Pleasures

by: Shadowscast

Seeing the way Mac was smirking when he came into the living room, Vic instinctively went on the defensive. "What?" he said.

Mac plopped himself down on the couch beside Vic, and put a friendly arm over Vic's shoulders. Vic put down the magazine he'd been reading, and let Mac give him a quick kiss on the lips. But Mac was still smirking. "What?" Vic asked again, more exasperated this time.

Mac revealed a small, brightly-coloured piece of paper he'd had hidden in his palm since he came into the room. "Found this in your pocket," he said.

"Hey!" Vic snatched the lottery ticket out of Mac's hand. "What're you doing going through my pockets?"

Mac crossed his arms, looking very smug and superior. "Didn't Li Ann ever tell you that lottery tickets are a tax on stupidity?"

Vic felt his ears getting warm. "I never let her know I bought them," he mumbled. And for the same reason he'd never let Mac know he bought them. Vic knew they wouldn't understand.

"You know, your odds of winning the ten million are lower than your odds of getting hit by lightning," Mac informed him.

Vic resisted the urge to strangle his adorable, incredibly annoying young partner. "Look, my odds of winning ten million dollars are better than my odds of earning ten million dollars," he explained self-righteously.

Mac raised an eyebrow, unconvinced. "And the odds that the Director would let you keep it if you ever did win...?"

Vic knew the answer, and hated it. "Fuck off," he growled at Mac. "And stay out of my pockets." He stood up abruptly, slapping away Mac's hand, and stalked off to the bedroom and slammed the door behind him.

"Shit," Mac whispered to himself. He didn't know what it was that always drove him to tease Vic - he loved him, but he loved teasing him, too! He'd hit a sore spot this time, and he should have seen it before he'd said that last thing. Stupid Mac. Now he was going to have to apologize, and he hated doing that.

He knocked on the bedroom door. "Hey, Vic?" No answer. "I'm sorry." No answer. "I shoulda shut my mouth about the lottery tickets. It's your business what you do with your pocket change." No answer. "You're not stupid for buying them." No answer. "I think I understand why you buy them. It's not about the money, right? It's about the dream. The dream of being free."

The door opened a crack. Vic leaned against the edge of the door on the inside, his expression weary and wary and raw. "That dream doesn't hold up to inspection, y'know?" he said softly.

"It could," Mac said. "If we work at it. Let me in and we can try dreaming it together, maybe."

Vic smiled, and Mac felt like he was melting. The door opened. Vic took Mac's hand, and pulled him inside.

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