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Some Call This Fun (12/?) Part 1
omgwtfway
btp248
Title: Some Call This Fun (12/?)
Summary: On a remote Brazilian island, 22 contestants are separated into 2 teams to compete against one another through a series of challenges. But they’ll soon discover that there are more challenges to be had than just the competition. Hook-ups, fights, partying, back stabbing, secrets and lies take center stage as the crew watches their reality show spiral into insanity. Various pairings.

Cross posted to Camp Toccoa

In this chapter: The game is afoot in more ways than one as people begin to plot and scheme. With a killer of a challenge planned, the contestants will have to survive what Nixon has in store for them.



Meet the Crew
Meet the Contestants
Oh Captain My
Captain?

Capture The Flag
We All Fall Down
Tequila Is Not Your Friend
Who Can You Trust?
Saving Me
Look Out Below
Blaze a Trail
Eat It or Beat It






Disclaimer: I’m not making any money off of writing this story. It’s entirely fictional and based on the performances given in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and not the actual soldiers. Any ideas or challenges borrowed from a reality show belong to the creators of that show, not me. I don’t own anything…so please don’t sue me. I wrote it for your enjoyment so…enjoy!

A/N: Both the challenge and the Casa de Losers idea are inspired by Total Drama Island.





Things on the blue team were pretty stressful. They had just been handed their second consecutive loss and by tomorrow they were going to lose the one player advantage that they had over the red team. However things were even more stressful for Malarkey as he struggled to decide who he was going to vote for.

As usual, the losing team had returned to the mansion in silence as the other team roamed the house loud and carefree. Don had never felt more alone. It wasn’t like Penkala and Frank hadn’t immediately tried to talk to him about who he was going to vote for, it was just that he felt like an outsider on his own team. Plus he really missed Skip.

He realized quickly that he had to make a decision. Webster, Gene, Babe, Bill and Liebgott were all hanging around the couch in the living room and talking in low tones whenever they thought anyone was watching. Don not only wasn’t sure that he was welcome to discuss the vote with them, but he didn’t actually think he wanted to.

After his enquiry into the previous vote, he knew that he couldn’t trust Bill or Liebgott and that they must have been to blame for Skip getting voted into the arena. But did he really want to team up with Sobel? It wasn’t a popular option but it seemed to be the only one he could come up with given the situation.

He scanned the large, open space of the first floor and saw that Sobel and Evans were seated in a couple of chairs on the far side of the game room where the pool table and dart board was. He glanced over at the majority of his team to see if they were paying him any attention before slinking through the kitchen and heading towards his team Captain.

Sobel didn’t look all that surprised to see him. “Malarkey,” the pale man greeted while Evans looked up from where he’d been fiddling with his shoe laces to smile at him.

“Uh…hey Sobel.” Don said and gave Evans a little wave. “Can I talk to you about the vote?”

Sobel looked around, “No one’s stopping you. Talk away.”

Don nodded, not sure why he felt so nervous. “I know you hate Bill and Liebgott and that you want them both out of the game. The things is…since I’m pretty sure that they not only voted for Skip, but that they lied to me about it….I want them gone too.”

Sobel smiled, “Interesting. Well I’m sure it was Joe’s doing but the little bastard is safe from elimination.”

“What about Bill?” Don asked and couldn’t help but feeling like a traitor for being there even though Sobel was on his team. And he had been betrayed first damn it!

Herbert studied the trusting and nervous young man for a moment. Finally he nodded, “Sounds
good to me.”

A relieved sigh came from the red headed contestant before he nodded slightly. “Okay. Thanks.”

Evans watched Don’s hasty retreat in confusion. He looked at Sobel, “So we’re voting for Bill?”

“Nope.” Sobel remarked with a knowing smile.

“Why not?” his blond ally asked.

“Because as much as I hate to admit it, Bill is our strongest player. We can’t afford to lose him if we want to win any challenges. Plus there’s a high chance I could get voted into the arena at this point and I’d rather not have to go against him.” Sobel explained.

Evans nodded slowly, as if he understood. “Wait...so who are we voting for?”

“We’re voting for Don of course. He was the first one to drop out of the challenge. Not to mention he did it voluntarily. Plus he’s too close to the red team and someone I actually stand a chance against in a one-on-one challenge scenario.” Sobel told him.

“Riiiight.”




“So everyone up for voting for Sobel?” Liebgott asked the assembled blue team. It was about time they actually made a move against that prick.

Bill shot Joe an amused look. “You realize that you don’t get a vote, don’t you?”

Joe glared, “I’m still part of the damn team, aren’t I?”

Bill shrugged as if to concede the point before he said, “Well I’m all for that course of action. Anyone else?”

Gene nodded, “Yeah the sooner he’s gone the sooner he can stop holding his vote over our heads. I’d rather anyone else be Captain than him.”

The other man’s statement got Webster’s attention. “He pulled that shit on you too? I knew he was a sneaky bastard. I don’t much care for being manipulated. I’m 100% in agreement- Sobel has to go.”

Joe gave Webster an honest to God grin, “Someone’s seen the light, huh?”

David rolled his eyes but smiled back, “Yes, yes I’m SORRY already.”

They all turned to look at Babe, who merely blinked at them. “What?” the young man asked.

Gene smiled and bumped the younger man’s knee with his shoulder as Babe was seated behind him on the arm of the couch. “Are you going to vote for Sobel?”

Babe watched them all stare at him a moment before he sighed, “No.”

Liebgott smacked a hand to his forehead, “Oh my God. Why not?”

“Because he tried his hardest!” Babe answered. “Don was the one who gave up!”

“It’s not going to make much of a difference.” Webster told the exasperated Joe but the other man just ignored him.

Bill didn’t seem too fazed by Babe’s decision either. “Even without his vote we should still get Sobel into the arena. And at least he has some sort of morals in this game.”

“Screw his morals.” Joe grumbled. “But I guess you’re right.”

Webster gaped at the two of them. He had basically said the same damn thing! Argh! Was Liebgott purposely hoping to drive him insane with this whole ‘hot then cold’ act? Because if so? It was really working…


Speirs watched as the blue team shuffled out of the house to go and cast their votes. He was glad that things were starting to even out on their teams. It would be 7 to 7 by the next challenge. He let his gaze run over his own team momentarily and began to assess what their group dynamic currently was.

Luz was still causing trouble and a rift amongst them all by practically jerking Buck around and pining after Jo. Speirs still wasn’t sure whether the status quo was preferable or if he wanted Luz to man up and be honest about whom he really wanted. He supposed if he did that then he might not have Buck’s support on voting Toye into the arena any longer. Either way Luz knew what he was doing but simply didn’t care.

However Speirs liked the guy, despite himself, and Luz was universally loved as well as a good competitor so Speirs didn’t see himself intervening.

Penkala, on the other hand, was shaping up to be their weakest player. He didn’t have too many attachments on their team, which helped, but Speirs knew that his own vote was reserved for Toye. If he wanted Penkala out then the man was going to have to screw up a challenge first.

He took a break from his…well he wouldn’t call it scheming…but whatever it was he took a break from it to seek out Lipton with his eyes. He saw that the blonde was seated outside by the pool, reading. It was strange how much the other man occupied his mind.

Ron had kissed plenty of people before, but he had never been so concerned about what they were thinking afterwards. Try as he might, he couldn’t get a read on what was going through Lipton’s head. He wanted a chance to spend time with him, alone.

He gave the object of his affection one last look before going over to talk to his rowdy team. They were all crowded around the pool table- drinking and laughing.

Ron gave a sharp whistle and they all quieted down. “Alright.” He addressed them, “I’m going outside to talk to Lipton and I don’t want any of you going out there the rest of the night. Understand?”

They all stared at him, making no move to confirm that they, indeed, understood. “Well?” he prompted them with a stern look.

They all began to nod and talk at once.

“Yeah sure-”

“Whatever you say.”

“I will definitely stay in here.”

Ron nodded curtly, “Good to hear. You be sure to pass that message on to the blue team when they return.”

That said he turned on his heel and headed outside, uncharacteristically nervous about being alone with Lipton.






On the Beach





Babe dropped his ballot into the stupid box and walked back towards the logs to sit. Gene followed after him and sat down beside him.

“You know I can appreciate the way you approach these things.” Gene whispered into his ear.

“But?” Babe prompted, because he knew it was coming.

Gene nodded seriously. “But what are you going to do if the person who screws up next time is Bill or Joe? Are you going to vote for them over the others even though they’re your friends?”

Babe frowned, giving it serious thought. On the one hand, he couldn’t imagine knowingly putting either of his friends up for elimination over Sobel or Evans…and yet he remembered the last time he tried to play the game. Joe went to the arena anyway and Shifty was sent home.

“I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” Babe said just to deflect the question.

But Gene honestly wanted him to think about it. Because the last thing he needed was for Babe to start voting for himself again. So even though he knew it was kind of an unfair question he asked it anyway.

“Okay- so what if it were me?”

“Of course I wouldn’t vote for you.” Babe automatically answered.

Gene was surprised that the answer came so quickly. Yet he was pleased by it, not just out of flattery but also because he saw his opening to ensure that Babe wouldn’t sabotage himself again.

“Well then how is that fair?”

“Because you’re different and our relationship is different...” Babe answered and then frowned at him. “You know I can see what you’re trying to do. But I’m not going to be limited by my own moral code. I can adapt it in a manner that’s going to add to my happiness. Seeing as I’m abiding by this code because it pleases me and is simple. There’s an exception to every rule. And you’re the exception to this one.”

Having said that he leaned over and pressed a kissed to Gene’s forehead just to be irritating and sat back to enjoy the look of astonishment on the other man’s face. He laughed for a moment as Gene gathered his thoughts.

“That makes…sense I guess. Wow I think you just won that argument.”

Babe nodded and made a smug face. “I don’t know if I should be insulted that you think I’m so easily swayed or happy that I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.”

“You’re certainly full of surprises.”

Their attentions were drawn away from one another as Nixon began to make a nuisance of himself, as usual. All the contestants watched Winters and Nixon doing their typical song and dance as they looked over the tally.

“They flirt an awful lot.” Babe noted. Gene smiled, nodded in agreement and asked, “I wonder if they’ve even noticed?”

Joe rolled his eyes from where he was sprawled on the sand. He was laying on his back and tying Sobel’s shoelaces together unbeknownst to the other man. “Who cares?” he asked before tilting his head backwards, looking at Winters and Nixon upside down.

“Hey!” Joe hollered at them both. “Will you tell us the damn outcome already? I’m exhausted!”

“Hold your horses!” Nixon snapped back.

Webster leaned forward, from where he was seated on the log, to look down at Joe. “You’re exhausted?”

Liebgott glared at him and motioned to the dark circles under his eyes. “Don’t I look it?”

“But you’re never tired.” David pointed out in concern. He watched as Joe’s eyes slipped close and wasn’t shocked to discover that he was once again being ignored by the other man. He couldn’t help but wonder if this had something to do with Joe’s mysterious illness.

He knew that Liebgott had only told him about it initially out of frustration and Webster might have written it off as a lie or maybe even a truth of little importance, but then Joe had been adamant that they never discuss it again. Plus that whole scene he had witnessed in the phone room... He was going to get to the bottom of this.

Nixon cleared his throat and addressed them. “So we’ve looked over your votes-”

“Finally.” Joe mumbled sleepily.

“-and the two contestants with the most votes who will be competing in tomorrow’s elimination challenge are Sobel and Malarkey.”

“YES!” Joe bolted up with renewed energy and pumped his fist in the air. Everyone stared at him. He let his arm drop slowly, “I meant about the Sobel thing…uh…sorry Don.”

Don sighed…this was just his luck.

While Sobel wasn’t surprised by the vote, he certainly wasn’t happy to be going into the arena. How the Hell was he going to fix this problem? Even if he managed to win, he couldn’t just keep going into the arena. The three votes between him and Evans could only go so far.

He needed another vote on his side.

Unfortunately he wasn’t sure how to get it. Malarkey would have been the ideal choice under different circumstances, but Sobel knew that facing Don in elimination had been his best shot at staying in the game. He wasn’t the strongest of competitors and his presence in the arena wouldn’t turn any more people against Sobel. The next best target then was Webster.

He merely had to find a way to alienate Webster from the rest of their team, and he had a feeling that he could use Webster’s strained relationship with Liebgott to do just that. Mind made up, he quickly stood up to return to the house.

Unfortunately for him his feet were laced together and he fell flat on his face. Apparently Liebgott wasn’t too tired to laugh his ass off. Sobel spit sand out of his mouth and glared at the skinny man.

Liebgott might never admit it…but Sobel could tell that the man actually liked Webster. Not only was Sobel going to alienate Webster from the team…but he was going to ruin Liebgott’s chance at happiness.

He felt determined to keep the number of couples on their team to a minimum. He saw the way Babe and Gene were acting during the vote. Couples never voted each other off. The two of them may have a sweet and secure little alliance but there was no way Sobel was going to let Webster and Liebgott have one as well.






Back at the house, Speirs was closing the glass doors that led from the mansion and out to the pool area. Lipton heard the faint noise and looked up to see Ron standing there in a swimsuit.

“Taking a dip?” He asked, trying not to be obvious as he watched his team captain pull off his shirt.

Ron smiled, “Yeah. You should join me….I mean…if you want.”

‘You should join me?’ How much more ridiculous could he sound, Ron wondered. However Lipton just shyly ducked his head and nodded.

“I just might.” The blonde agreed before looking around. “This is usually a hot spot. Where is everyone?”

Ron attempted to look just as surprised by the empty pool as Lipton did. “Not sure. Not that I’m really mourning their absence.”

Setting his book down, Lipton leaned forward in his seat as Ron slowly slipped into the pool. “I noticed.” Lipton commented. “You know I don’t think you’ve ever been in this pool.”

“Maybe I was just waiting for it to be less crowded.” Ron said.

“Should I give you some privacy?” Lipton teased him.

Ron gave him an astonished look. “You can’t leave me all alone out here. I might drown you know.”

Lipton laughed and toed his shoes off. He was wearing his swim trunks already as he had learned that if one was by the pool it was always a good precaution to take. He wandered over to the edge and dipped his feet in.

“Our fearless leader?” he asked Ron jokingly. “I’m sure you can handle a little water.”

Speirs lips curled into an amused grin as he studied Lipton. “Well I’d feel safer if you stayed nearby all the same.”

Ron swam over towards him and propped his arms up on the concrete near his legs. “You know it might not be as popular of a spot now because so many people are going home.”

“There are still 15 people here.” Lipton pointed out.

“It’ll be just 14 soon though.” Speirs corrected, “It makes me wonder…”

Instead of asking what he was wondering about Lipton asked, “Do you ever feel like you’re in a madhouse?”

Speirs looked up at him. “Sometimes…I guess. How about you?”

“That’s really the only way I can describe it.” Lipton answered. “This whole thing is just…insane. People fighting and getting hurt…you know...this whole crew makes me fear for my safety and my sanity. Well…except Winters.”

“I wouldn’t let anything happen to you.” Ron said seriously and then realized that he may have sounded a bit dramatic.

Lipton smiled at him brightly, “That sounded awfully sincere.”

At this point Ron figured that Lipton had already discovered he wasn’t a complete hardass. There was no point in trying to deny that he cared. Instead Ron maneuvered himself subtly in front of Lipton, and placed a hand on both sides of the man’s hips, hoisting himself up out of the water until they were face to face- Ron in between Lipton’s legs.

“I guess that’s because it was.” Speirs told him, their faces mere inches apart.

Lipton could feel his body tense from Ron’s close proximity and tingle in all the places where Ron’s arms or hips were brushing against him. He relaxed, however, once Ron leaned forward to press their lips together softly and Lipton immediately brought a hand up to lace through Ron’s wet hair.







Dick watched the private moment on a monitor, feeling more than a little creepy. But Nixon had insisted he had to go and get a scotch or the world would end. Therefore he’d asked Dick to keep an eye out for any ‘interesting developments’.

He didn’t suppose that Lipton and Speirs kissing was much of a development but he decided to call Gordon anyway and make sure they had a cameraman on the two of them. Dick wasn’t particularly fond of this part of their jobs but he knew if he didn’t do it then Nix would.

All he really wanted was for Lewis to stop thinking about the show 24/7 and remember that the contestants were people, not merely there for exploitation. And if he were being honest with himself, Dick knew that it had less to do with looking out for the players and more to do with looking out for his best friend.

Lewis was, in Dick’s opinion, too good at his job. He wanted to remind his friend that he was more than a TV show host- he was a good, decent person. Who was clever and funny- but most importantly he wasn’t this brash character that he pretended to be.

Perhaps he was worrying too much about Lewis. It seemed that this was something that occupied his thoughts whenever he was alone. Lewis had survived before Dick had come into his life….somehow. But that didn’t matter. Somewhere along the line of their friendship Dick had made it his job to watch over the other man, to ensure that he didn’t do any harm to himself.

Could he be suffocating Nixon? Spending too much time with him? Maybe Dick’s presence was causing Nixon to act out? The fact that they were so different making Lewis feel the need to behave outrageously so that he could widen the difference in their temperaments.

It wasn’t like Dick didn’t have other friends…it was just that Nixon was his favorite. But could Lewis’s behavior really be in anyway Dick’s fault?

Lord…why was this bothering him so?


The Next Morning




Liebgott could hear people milling around out in the hallway outside of his room, but he couldn’t bring himself to move from his bed. He’d passed out around fucking 10 o’clock last night and he was pretty sure, judging by his position on the top of his sheets, that he hadn’t moved an inch since then.

He sluggishly raised his head to check and see Gene’s bed, but the other man wasn’t there. The bed had obviously been slept in though and seeing as Doc had still been fairly awake when Joe last saw him the night before, he must have slept in. Which meant it was way too late for Joe to still be asleep.

Goddamnit...he knew exactly why he was so tired. His talk the other day with his friend Tipper had been like a slap in the face. The wake-up call he so desperately needed.

He’d been straight up lying when he told Winters in that interview that he worked at a bar. Back in San Francisco Joe used to work as a cabbie. It was a good job and if he were being honest? He’d had a pretty good life. That is until one day a couple years ago this smarmy douche had shown up and hired him to be his cabbie for the entire day. Before Joe knew it the guy, Norman Dike, was asking him if he wanted to make extra cash on the side by being his personal driver. It had sounded like easy money and Joe had said yes.

Unfortunately he hadn’t been told that he’d be driving Norman and the rest of his creepy family to and from various shady drug deals. Not that there were any drug deals that weren’t shady. Apparently the guy’s family moved meth shipments around the city and somehow their last driver had wound up in jail.

But Joe had always had a fairly relaxed moral code and he made a shit load of undocumented money being Dike’s driver so he hadn’t worried about it too much. Then after one apparently big sale, Norman and a couple of his cousins had insisted that they all go out and celebrate- Joe included.

And celebrating with them meant dipping into their stash. Once Dike had hooked him on the drugs they were selling Joe was pretty much doing whatever the guy wanted, including making visits to manufacturing sites out of country where they smuggled drugs back into the states. Dike’s family was pretty serious about what they did and Joe had gotten sucked in so deep he couldn’t remember what the sun even looked like.

Tipper had been his support through all of the bullshit and Joe honestly couldn’t have asked for a better friend. Of course Eddie was always trying to talk him into going to rehab. Joe didn’t think he was addicted to shit…but that never stopped his friend.

However much Joe wasn’t a good guy, he did have his lines. He’d never laid a fist on anyone for the job and one day…almost a month ago...he’d found another line he was unwilling to cross. His reaction to the incident had been pretty bad and was what had landed him in the situation he was in now…$100,000 in debt to a very pissed off and violent family of drug dealers.

Things had gone bad when he’d been with Norman, who was trying to close a big deal with some rich Italian prick that Joe hadn’t really paid much attention to initially. It wasn’t much of a secret that Joe slept around with guys but at the same time it wasn’t really something he broadcasted. So when Norm had told him that the client would only buy from them if Joe slept with him- Liebgott had kind of lost his shit.

But who wouldn’t have been pissed? You could call Joe a druggie, a low life or a criminal but he wasn’t some goddamn whore and he sure as fuck wasn’t going to screw some jackass just to close a drug deal. He’d pretended he was cool with it but the moment the guy had made a move on him-Joe, who was a little high at the time, busted the man’s head against the wall, grabbed the drugs that they had sold him and ran for it. It probably hadn’t been the smartest move.

When the guy eventually came to-he’d wanted blood. But for whatever reason Dike had convinced his family to simply let Joe pay them back...with interest of course. He’d given them back most of their drugs but had skipped town with the rest, which he’d smuggled into Brazil with him. He sure as Hell didn’t have the $100,000 he owed them and this had seemed like the best way to try and get the money and get away from the people he was pretty sure wanted him dead.

Only now his stash was running low and he was trying to slowly get off of it but it wasn’t working out so great. He felt like death warmed over and he knew that if he didn’t have another hit soon…things were going to get really ugly.

He groped for the box he kept the premeasured doses in, small, black and tucked securely underneath his pillow. He pulled it out with a sigh and struggled to sit up. He let out a yawn before heading to the bathroom, eager to get the drugs into his system so that he could stop feeling like shit.

Of course, in the back of his mind, a voice tried to remind him that everything that went up must come down. His crash was going to come sooner or later and it was not going to be pretty. He didn’t ignore the rational voice, he just gave it a mental shrug because even if the voice was right…there wasn’t anything he could do but wait and hope he could handle the consequences of his using when they finally caught up to him.





In the Arena



“Wait…we had five right?” Nixon asked Winters, head tilted upwards and eyes squinted to give off the appearance that he was deep in thought.

“I think so.” Dick answered. “There was the duel, the food game, push me, tug of war and the flag struggle. Yep…five. Why does it have to be five?”

“Anything lower than five hardly constitutes being worthy of a wheel of doom.” Lewis answered.

Dick shot Harry a look as the producer approached them. “We’re not really adding the ‘of doom’ part in there are we?”

Harry shrugged, “Nixon’s pretty much winging it all at this point. So Lewis? Has Floyd told anyone about Babe only being 17 yet?”

Nixon shook his head. “Nah I told him to forget about it. He obviously doesn’t do well at infiltrating that house. It’s kind of sad really. But if it doesn’t come out on its own soon then I think we should hold on to that information until Babe and Gene have sex. And TRUST me…that train is coming fast.”

Dick shook his head. They were promoting underage sex now? Well…technically 17 was the age of consent in multiple…wait what was he thinking!?

“Well let’s get this arena challenge on the road!” Nixon said before bouncing off to check on the Wheel of Doom.




“Of Doom? Really?”

Nixon glared at Perconte. “Yes really! I’m the host and I reserve the right to name whatever I want!”

The contestants looked over the large blue and red wheel that had five pie slices drawn upon it, each with the name of a different challenge. Challenges they had already seen take place.

“On the plus side at least now I can prepare for my time in the arena.” Jo joked to Luz with a half smile.

Luz seethed silently, still upset at not knowing who was voting for Jo time and time again. He watched as Malarkey and Sobel made their way down to the bottom of the bleachers.

“Which one of us spins it?” Don wondered.

Nixon rolled his eyes. “Please. Neither of you do, I get to spin it. Do you know WHY I get to spin it?”

Don sighed. “Because you’re the host?”

“That’s right!” Nixon fixed his creation with a determined look. “Let’s do this then.”

Reaching up, he grabbed the handle next to the slice that read Push Me and jerked it downward with as much force as he could muster.

They all watched as the wheel went around and around and around and around and around and…

“AHA!”

The wheel came to a slow stop and landed on….

“Looks like you guys are playing Tug of War!” Nixon exclaimed before gesturing to the side of the arena for the crew to set the appropriate stage and bring out the corresponding equipment.

Don frowned. That particular outcome was very bad for him. Sobel was notably bigger than he was and this challenge was going to require him to pull the other man’s entire body across the line.

Nixon waved his arms to get the contestants attention. “In case some of you don’t remember this is the challenge that eliminated Grant and I’ll give you the rundown once more of how this works. In it each contestant will wear a harness that is attached to one end of a rope that is run through a pole in the center of a set up circle. The object of the game is to reach the outside of that circle. Don, Sobel, you two need to suit up. Remember that the loser of this challenge will be eliminated and must leave the island.”



As he stepped into his harness, Don tried to ignore the sky that was beginning to turn gray, as well as the sounds of thunder off in the distance. He was nervous enough already without focusing on the odd weather.

He figured that maybe he should just do what Toye had done and crouch down. It certainly seemed to have worked out for him. As they took their places, an equal amount of space from the central pole, back to back and inside the circle, Don crouched down low.

Sobel, for his part, couldn’t see what Don was doing, but he felt a small downward tug by the rope on the back of his harness and assumed that the man had squatted down. Which may have worked for Toye…but it wasn’t going to work for him.

“Alright,” Winters called out to the two of them. “At the signal…” the bullhorn sounded, “Go!”
Don immediately dug his fingers into the dirt beneath him but it didn’t do much help as he was quickly jerked backwards and into the air by Sobel, who made a quick dash to the front.

What neither Don or any of the others knew was that Sobel was quite a sprinter.

Herbert knew he wasn’t the most athletic person on their team but he was far from the least and as he rushed forward he felt almost no resistance by Malarkey.

Don realized pretty quickly that he wasn’t going to win by holding fast. As he was pulled backwards, he struggled to get his feet back under him. He swung his legs from the front of his body so that he was on his stomach. He propped a foot up underneath him, and lunged forward with the other. It effectively stopped Sobel and he began to make slow progress towards to edge of the circle.

Sobel glared as he was slowly jerked backwards. His main strengths in this one-on-one were his size and the element of surprise. He needed a way to get Malarkey off of his feet once more, but the smaller contestant had a pretty good stance right now and Sobel running for the outside of the circle would only result in him falling down.

The blue captain looked around quickly, realizing that none of the people or cameramen in the arena were watching him too closely, all of them too preoccupied with Malarkey’s sudden comeback. So, knowing that he needed the extra pull and that no one was watching him, Sobel hooked his thumbs under his vest, gripping tightly the harness that connected him to Don, and pulled at it. When he heard the thud of Don’s fall and the crowd’s reaction he quickly let his hands drop so that no one could see what he had done.

The point of the game was to pull against each other by going the opposite way. Pulling at the harness wasn’t clearly banned…but it certainly wasn’t IN the rules.

When Sobel heard his opponent fall he sprinted forward with all of his might until he heard the bullhorn sound.

Malarkey cursed and struggled to sit up. What the Hell had happened? He had been winning and then all of a sudden he was on his ass as though someone had shoved him down.

The teams in the stands were not particularly pleased with the outcome and Sobel glared at them all as they cursed and hollered. Fortunately for him though, none of them were accusing him of cheating.

He walked over to help Malarkey up. Don, however, went against his normally polite nature as he glared up at him and slapped his hand away. The arena got quiet as everyone watched Don stand up and stare Sobel down.

“I know you screwed me on this.” Don hissed at the blue captain. “I was stupid to ever trust you and that’s my fault. But guess what? These guys,” the red head jerked his thumb back and in the direction of the blue team. “They aren’t going to put up with you for much longer. Enjoy watching your back. Because no one is going to watch it for you.”

Sobel watched him go, stunned, before there was suddenly a cameraman poking him in the shoulder and asking him how he felt about that.

Both teams rushed to say goodbye to Don and Bill got to him first. “I swear to you Don.” He said. “We didn’t vote for you.”

Don nodded, “I know you didn’t Bill. Please get rid of that asshole Sobel will you?”
Liebgott gave him a salute, remembering having made the same promise to Shifty. “Glad to.”

Penkala engulfed him in a bear hug. “WHHHYY?!”

Don shrugged, unable to breath, “I…don’t…know?”

“This sucks! First Skip and now you?” Penkala frowned, obviously bummed.

“Alright everyone time for him to go!” Nixon hollered at them all.

“Good luck guys!” Don called out to his team as Floyd led him off towards the front of the house where an SUV was waiting to take him away. Both he and Sobel had packed their things the night before and Harry must have radioed the crew the results of the arena challenge, because his things were already in the vehicle.

He opened up the door and got in the car, surprised when he saw Harry get in behind him. He gave the producer a curious look. “Can I…help you?”

The producer’s eyes were glued to his blackberry. “I have to come with you and give you the rundown. We found that out the hard way with Grant.”

“The rundown of what?” Don asked, “I thought I was just going home?”

Harry laughed, “You thought wrong.”

“Well then where am I going?” the contestant wondered.

“You’ll see.”






The rain started to pour the moment that Nixon opened his mouth. “Damn it!” The host cursed as he observed the horrid weather. “Okay guys, it seems the weather has taken a very UNWELCOME turn for the worst…which means that the challenge for today has been cancelled.

All the gathered contestants blinked at him. “Say what now?” Perconte asked.

Nixon just glared at the short man. “You heard me.” He answered grumpily, “No challenge. Go back to the house and be happy….bastards.”

“Hell YEAH!” Luz cheered as he leapt to his feet, glad that they were finally going to have some time to sit back and relax. “Let’s get wasted- who’s with me?”

The others cheered and left the arena.

Dick walked over to stand next to the unhappy Nixon, giving him a cautious look. “This may set production back if the weather persists.”

Suddenly Lewis turned to him with a large smile on his face. “Oh no. That was all a ruse. We have a challenge planned alright. Assemble the crew!” The host called out with a wave of his finger as he turned and walked away.

Winters stared at his retreating friend in confusion. What challenge? And why did no one ever tell him anything?






“What the Hell?” Don gaped at the large lodge that he had been driven to once their ferry had reached a nearby island. “What am I doing here?”

Harry grinned at him, “This is what Nixon likes to call the Casa de Losers. We keep all the eliminated contestants here for production reasons.”

“Which are?” Don asked.

“None of your concern.”

“Right.”

Don dragged his things into the fancy cabin-like structure and didn’t make it two feet before he was tackled to the ground by a recently departed friend.

“Thank God you’re here!” Skip babbled as he sat atop of the red head’s chest. “Well not that you lost- that sucks- but that you’re here! With me!”

Don grinned up at him, and just as Skip was about to say some more nonsense, he leant up and placed a not so quick kiss to the other man’s lips. The blonde stilled as the kiss deepened and they probably would have remained that way if Harry hadn’t cleared his throat.

Skip pulled away and stared down at Don in shock. “Umm…what?”

Malarkey just continued to beam at him, “I’m sorry I’m so thick sometimes. I missed you.”

“Can you two do this later?” Harry asked them, “I have to get back. You’re going to love watching what Nix has planned for those suckers.”

“Watching?” Don looked curiously to Skip as the other man got off of him and helped him to his feet.

Skip waved Harry off. “I’ll explain everything to him Welsh.”

Harry shrugged and left the lodge as Skip grabbed Don’s wrist excitedly and began to pull him further into their new residence. “We basically get to just chill here, shoot the shit AND we get to watch ALL the footage from the show!”

“Seriously?” Don asked before realizing, “Then you must have seen that thing…with Sobel.”

Skip stopped momentarily to glare at him playfully. “YES I did and while I’m saddened that you were tempted to go over to the dark side I know that you saw the error of your ways and also…it was sweet that you were trying to avenge me…or whatever.”

Don blushed. “So…seen anything interesting?”

That caused the other man to laugh. “Have I seen anything interesting? Well Don- Joe’s got a secret of colossal proportions, Luz is a sneaky bastard-”

“HE DRUGGED ME!” A voice interjected from out of sight. “HOW IS THAT FAIR!?”

“YEAH YEAH CHUCK AND HE OWES ME 40 BUCKS! WE GET IT!” Skip hollered back. He addressed Don again, “And get this- Babe is only 17!”

“Really?”

“Yeah and he- oh Shifty don’t give me that look everyone already knows you don’t have to keep it a secret anymore!”







Luz decided that this was the perfect time to facilitate a game that had somehow managed to not be played thus far. He hopped up on the couch and gave a quick whistle. Everyone smirked and looked over at him.

“Holy shit- you’re almost as tall as your boyfriend,” Liebgott snarked at him. Luz flipped him the finger but smiled at the sentiment, sending a sly look at Jo before Buck laughed and looped an arm around Luz’s leg and the brunette remembered just who Liebgott had been referring to.

“Whatever. BOOZE guys! Collect it! Cherish it! Bring it back here to the living room. It’s time to bring back a poker classic and I want you ALL in. Haha get it?”

There were eye rolls, shrugs and possibly some fear, but everyone seemed cool with it and in a matter of moments there was a gathering around the pool table, which was the widest surface on which that many people could play poker.

Although it seemed there were a couple less to worry about. Luz frowned, “Where are Babe and Gene?”

“Not here.” Webster replied as he switched the tequila bottle between him and Joe with one filled with vodka.

George grumbled. He could get SOBEL to play but he couldn’t get Babe to play? That was sad. “Alright,” he spoke up. “If you don’t know the rules to THIS game…then I feel for you. Because it’s pretty much the best invention since shower sex.”

“I think shower sex came after this.” Toye commented, causing George to lean forward across the pool table and smirk at him.

“And how do you even know what I’m talking about?” he asked.

Jo actually laughed at him. “Please. I know how your freaky mind works. I’m surprised you haven’t initiated a game of strip poker earlier.”

Luz clapped his hands together and grinned, “You DO know me!”

“Strip poker?” Bill asked dubiously. “This sounds like a bad idea all around.”

Jo nudged a can of beer at him, “Chug three of these and you’ll like the idea better.”

“You just wanna sneak a peek at my hot body.” Bill deadpanned causing Liebgott to snort.

Toye did the exaggerated stretch move that allowed his arm to come to rest around Bill’s shoulders. “I have NO idea what you’re talking about.”

The others laughed at the insinuation as well but Sobel could tell that Luz was none too amused by it. God the man was so OBVIOUS. Herbert wished they made it that easy on his team because he would have exploited the shit out of the Buck/Luz/Toye situation a long, long time ago. Although, Sobel considered with a look at the red team’s Captain, Speirs had to be doing something with it. It was a testament to the other Captain’s finesse that Sobel couldn’t for the life of him figure out what it was.

Sobel was surprised they even wanted him to stay and play, though it was likely because they assumed or hoped that he might get embarrassed. But this was a game that was kind of like those Truth or Dare or I’ve Never games. Reactions could tell you things about people. So he might as well stick around.

“Alright everybody shut up and listen to the rules!” Luz hollered in his best Nixon impersonation which sent a wave of laughter around the table. “Here’s how this works. No ante but if you want to bet you put whatever piece of clothing you want out there. To call, you have to at LEAST match that piece of clothing. If they bet a shoe you have to call a shoe, a shirt then a shirt. If you raise, be sure it’s with something better than you bet with. ‘The object of this game is to collect as many of your competitors clothes as possible’. And obviously if you’re butt ass naked then you’re out!”

“What game?” Speirs asked from beside Lipton.

Luz grinned as he shuffled the deck, “With so many people? Texas Hold ‘Em.”

“Man I don’t wanna sound like a pervert,” said a voice from behind Speirs and they all looked to see Babe standing there, “but it’s too bad Christenson isn’t here to play. Because he’s hot AND he sucks at poker.”

Perconte waved a finger, “No, no. He SAYS he sucks as poker. But he’s probably great at it even though he only learned it like a week ago.”

“Where do you think you’re going?” Luz asked as the young red head began to move away from the table.

Babe looked confused. “Upstairs?” he answered with a point to the ceiling.

“Why?”

“Because I have a hot, half naked Cajun in my room?”

“….You’re excused.”








“I’m not really sure about this.” Gene muttered as he propped his chin on top of his folded arms. When Babe had pulled Gene’s shirt over his head and told him to lie down on the bed, for SOME reason he hadn’t anticipated that it was because he had wanted to give Gene a massage.

Gene felt the mattress dip slightly as the younger man straddled his waist and he heard Babe snort behind him, “Please-you’re incredibly tense. I’m not sure who’s more tightly wound- you or Speirs.”

Babe rubbed his hands together quickly and blew on them so that they wouldn’t be cold when he brought them to Gene’s bare shoulders. He smiled, thinking that it was pretty adorable that Gene was so nervous about a little massage. Though Babe couldn’t see his face he had a feeling that the other man was blushing.

Slowly, just to get Gene used to the feel of his hands, he ghosted over Gene’s dipped spine with his fingertips. When the other man shivered Babe asked, “Are my hands cold?”

“No.” Gene whispered.

Babe flattened his palms on Gene’s back and slowly slid them up to his shoulders. He traced the other man’s shoulder blades with his thumbs and applied a slight bit of pressure. He grinned when he heard the smallest of sighs escape Gene’s lips.

This was going to be fun.








“Son of a BITCH!” Frank cursed as he lost his third hand in a row. Both of his shoes and socks were gone and he had managed to convince the others to let him add his watch. Now his shirt was in the pile as well.

“Just you and me now, Lip.” Luz, who was wearing Frank’s watch in triumph, smiled over at his blonde teammate.

Speirs eyed Lipton’s cards and then studied Luz’s face. Lipton was doing fairly well having only lost a shoe. And while Speirs certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him in less clothes, he didn’t like the idea of Lipton having to get naked in front of everyone. So, even though they were a long way from that, Speirs scooted his chair closer to Lipton’s.

He leaned over to whisper into the blond man’s ear. “Luz has a tell.” He informed him. Lipton paused before looking at Speirs in confusion.

The other man put his mouth comfortably close to Ron’s ear and asked. “How can you know what it is so early on?”

Instead of telling Lipton that he was just that good at reading people, even poker hustlers like Luz, he answered with, “When his cards are bad, he looks off to the right and he smiles at everyone. When his cards are good, he stares you down and only smiles at Toye.”

Lipton trusted Ron’s advice enough to observe Luz before making the decision whether to bet his shirt, to be added to his other shoe already in the pot, or fold. Luz grinned over at Jo before piercing Lipton with his gaze. Lipton sighed at the alleged tell which indicated that Luz’s poker hand was a good one. “I’ll fold.”

He tossed his cards into the center of the pool table and Luz crowed triumphantly. He now had four shoes, a shirt, a watch and a chain necklace that Penkala had been wearing. Webster frowned at him, “What on Earth did you have?” he wondered.

Though Luz didn’t normally like to show his cards he flipped them over just to gloat. “Just a little royal straight is all.”

Lipton figured that beat his three of a kind pretty solidly and gave Ron a grateful grin. “Thanks.”

Ron smiled back at him, “You’re welcome. Though don’t expect much more help from me, I gave you a tip on your stiffest competition. You should do pretty well on your own.”

“Speirs you have to stop smiling, it creeps us out,” Penkala said in response to the gentle smile the red captain had given Lipton, only to have Speirs glare fiercely at him, “…or you could do whatever you want to.”

Luz laughed and handed the cards to Webster, who was seated to his left. “Shuffle up and deal, Web.”

Webster sighed at the fact that Joe’s nickname for him had stuck so definitively, but did as he was told.

“Maybe you’ll actually play a hand this time.” Joe teased him taking in Webster’s fully clothed appearance. Liebgott himself had lost both of his shoes- one to Luz and one to Bill.

Webster dealt the cards and Toye took a peak at his first one, an ace. That was always a promising start. The next card was…another ace. Pocket rockets. He attempted to play it cool, not wanting anyone, least of all Speirs, to see that he had a good hand.

The bet fell to Webster, who checked. Liebgott snorted, called him a chicken, and then bet both of his socks. Bill called, tossing his shoes on the pool table and Jo matched it with his remaining shoe and a sock. Speirs called with both his shoes, Lipton and Perconte folded, Penkala called with his socks and Sobel had at this point declined to play because he didn’t want to touch ANYONE’S socks. Evans was already down to his shirt and boxers and folded.

Buck called with his shoes and said, “And I’ll raise a shirt.” He then pulled off his shirt and tossed it to the pool table.

Luz gave his bare chest an appreciative eye. “Way to raise before the flop. I’ll fold.”

“Me too.” Webster decided and Liebgott rolled his eyes at the move. “I’ll call.” Joe said and tossed his shirt in. Bill, momentarily distracted by counting Liebgott’s ribs, added his shirt to the mix only to reveal he had a wife beater on underneath it.

“Seriously?” Toye asked in regards to the undershirt before pulling his red team shirt off and adding it in.

“Shit man. Cut much?” Liebgott asked in awe as he saw Toye’s remarkably flat abs.

Jo laughed at the attention and stood up to jokingly trace a line over his six pack and toss Liebgott a flirtatious grin, “Hell yeah. You like?”

Liebgott raised an eyebrow as though it were a dumb question. “Uh yeah? You could bounce a fucking quarter off those.”

“You’re welcome to try.” Jo laughed.

“Are you two done flirting yet?” Luz snapped at them.

“Yeah do you guys need a room or can we play cards?” Webster asked with a roll of his eyes.

Toye shook his head and sat down as all the other guys folded their cards. Liebgott made an annoyed face at David. “Webster you aren’t even playing this hand so don’t get your panties in a wad.”

David just glared at him before slapping the flop down incredibly hard in the middle of the table and then taking an exaggerated swig from the vodka bottle he and Liebgott were sharing.

Jo tried not to suck in a breath when he saw the ace, queen and three of spades in the flop. Now he had three aces and knew for a fact that Buck didn’t have two aces as well. The bet was to Liebgott, who folded with a grumble, apparently not finding the hand he had been hoping for.

Bill shrugged and peeled his wife beater off to put in the middle of the pool table. Jo knew there was no way he could pass up the chance at four of a kind or a possible full house with aces high. So he stood up and put his fingers under the waist band of his athletic shorts and slowly shimmied out of them to catcalls and whistles.

“Toye,” Perconte said as the other man put his shorts on the table to reveal his maroon boxer briefs, “as one of the lone straight guys in this house- you seriously could be an underwear model. Your body is sick.”

Luz silently agreed but was too busy looking at Toye’s lean and muscled body to say anything. He was so distracted by his hip bones that he didn’t realize people were now hollering because Buck was taking off his pants in order to call Bill and Jo’s bets.

When David placed the next card out on the table, the turn was an ace and Bill cursed and tossed his cards towards Webster. “I fold.” He groused.

Jo stared at the ace, it was possibly the best hand he’d ever had. He grinned. “I’m going all in.”

“No fucking way!” Penkala gaped. “How many hands have we played and people are already getting naked?”

“I fucking love this game.” Luz announced.

Just as Toye was about to take his underwear off, there was a brief flickering of lights and then total darkness.

“Oh come ON!?”


Part 2

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