“They’re fucking dead!” the voice screeched over the phone.
Chase rubbed his eyes and pulled the phone away to squint at it. Five am. He put the phone back to his ear and willed himself to sit up.
“The hell are you talking about?”
“I fucking told you. I told you all,” Caceda continued, voice high and agitated. “They found both the runners stabbed to death this morning in county lockup.”
He threw aside the sheets, suddenly awake. “Did the ID come through on the body?”
There was a pause while she took a few angry breaths. “It’s him. Coroner says he was dead before he went in the water. Shot. Been at least two weeks.”
“They had no idea he was dead when they gave Hernandez the name.” He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “My source suggested he was working with someone else. Maybe that’s who told them to drop his name.”
“It doesn’t matter. We don’t have shit,” Caceda spat.
“I’ll be in in a couple hours. Get me the coroner’s report and whatever they’ve given you about the murders in lockup. We’ll see what Cagg wants to do with it. I have to follow up with him about an op anyway.”
“An op?” Caceda’s voice had dropped down to a reasonable tone. “Chase . . .”
He cut her off before she could continue. “Yes, mother, I’ll be careful.”
“Some of us would miss you, you know. Mandy would cry. Big salty tears.”
He grimaced. Bartlet wasn’t joking about the rumors. “Yea, yea.”
“All over the floor.”
“I get it,” He groaned.
He hung up.
He took the extra time to hit the weight set in the basement. It gave him a chance to think.
Felix’s feet coming down the stairs pulled him out of his thoughts.
“Morni—” He stopped suddenly, eyes on the built in dog kennel. “Oh, my, god. You have a dungeon.”
The bar suddenly slipped off the top of Dorian’s feet, the weights slamming down with a metallic echo. “I have a what?”
Dorian’s expression went flat. “That’s for dogs.”
He squinted and looked back at the structure. “A dungeon for . . . dogs?”
The older man sighed. “It’s a kennel for dogs. It is not, nor has it ever been, a dungeon.”
“Well now you’re just lacking imagination,” Felix replied with a frown.
“How can you manage to be this kinky at five a.m.?”
“It’s six,” the teen responded, detached. His fingertips ran over the aluminum fencing. “Does this lock?”
“Are you serious?” Dorian gave up on finishing his set.
“Dude, do you have any idea how hot this is? You could, like, tie me to this thing.” Felix’s voice got quieter with each word as if he were slowly realizing what he was saying.
The older man swallowed, mind suddenly racing with possibilities. He cleared his throat. “I, uh, have to go to work.”
The teen laughed loudly, nervous tension melting off his shoulders. “I didn’t mean now, but I’m totally flattered.”
“Bah!” Dorian threw his towel at him. “Youths these days. The hell are you doing up at six anyway?”
Felix side stepped the sweaty towel and shrugged. “I didn’t see you last night. I thought if I got up early,” he trailed off, shoulders raising in another nervous shrug.
Dorian couldn’t help but smile. “You’re adorable.”
“Shut up,” the teen muttered, rubbing his elbow with the opposite hand.
The older man simply stood and came toward him. The closing distance between them made Felix back into the wall. Dorian bent in fast and forceful, but the kiss was gentle. His tongue trailed over soft lips, light and brief.
A long breath left Felix so deeply that he slumped against the wall. “I thought,” he swallowed. “You had to go to work.”
“Just a preview,” Dorian grinned. “I’ll be home on time.”
He left the flustered teen slumped against the basement wall and went to take a shower.
Caceda met him at his desk with paperwork and dark rings under her eyes, a scowl marking her pretty features.
“You talked to Cagg yet?” She shook her head in response as he took the folder.
“He kicked me out of his office for ‘sounding like his ex wife’.” Her lip curled.
“Hah! We’ll see if I remind him of his fatherly disappointment, then.”
He gave the reports a cursory skim. His brow furrowed as he came across a picture from the coroner’s report. He flipped to the pertinent findings.
“Three inch long reticular burn on right forearm in the letters ‘BC’. Approximately a week old upon death.” He closed the folder, lost in thought. “He was branded.”
“So?” Caceda responded. “Lots of gangs use branding.”
“See if you can find out if ‘BC’ is significant to any of them. I’m going to see Cagg.”
The Sergeant was steeped in phone calls and none of them seemed particularly pleasant. Chase slipped in quietly and sat across from his desk, happily toeing the line between slightly annoying and outright impertinent.
“You are not what I want to see first thing in the morning.” Cagg lamented upon returning the receiver to its cradle. “It means my day is going to be complicated. If you’re here for ‘I told you so’, Caceda has that base covered. Thoroughly.”
Chase cleared his throat. “Actually, I was wondering how in the loop we’re going to be with county.”
“Not at all,” Cagg responded, a sneer flickering for a moment.
“Well, at least it will be a familiar screwing.” The Sergeant grunted in agreement. “Speaking of being screwed, any word on that op request?”
Cagg sighed and leaned back, his long limbs making his crossed ankles jut from under his desk. “Saturday. You and Spenser.”
Chase groaned. “He has shitty situational awareness. And he doesn’t like me much.”
“Good,” the older man replied. “Maybe he’ll actually have your back if he’s not distracted by thinking you’re pretty.”
Chase gasped and placed his hand on his chest. “Someone thinks I’m pretty?”
“Get out,” was his only response. Chase graciously complied.
“Do you think I’m pretty?” Mandy didn’t look up from her computer screen, so the batting eyes were lost on her.
“You are a beautiful man, Dorian. Now go away, I’m busy.” She continued typing.
“You say the nicest things.”
“Pretty enough to go temporary gay for.” The comment made Chase turn and he only stared at the unfamiliar uniformed back that had passed behind him without slowing. He looked back at Mandy.
“Do I know that guy?”
“He’s married,” she replied, still fixated on her monitor.
“Didn’t sound like he wanted a commitment anyway.” He tossed his head dramatically. “Men these days.”
“You’re awfully fabulous this morning.” Caceda cut in, handing him a cup of coffee.
He accepted the paper cup and swirled his wrist vaguely. “I’m getting into character for my weekend performance.”
Mandy looked up for the first time. “He’s letting you do the gay bar thing?”
“Gay bar?” For a moment Caceda seemed to forget her ire and only laughed. “He’ll be made in a heart beat.” Mandy and Chase only looked at her. “You keep working on that, honey.” She walked away laughing.
Mandy cleared her throat and straightened her keyboard.
Chase sipped his coffee. “Well, that was awkward.”
“She likes you, you know.”
He raised a brow. “Pretty sure Davey is next on that roster.”
She rolled her eyes. “I said she likes you, not that she wants to marry you.”
“Is that all I am to you people? A piece of meat? I have feelings, Mandy. I am a complicated man.”
“Uh-huh.” She went back to typing.
“Davey!” Spenser had been just coming in the door and flinched at Chase’s greeting. “Boy, do I have a surprise for you.”
It didn’t take long to explain the op to him.
“You can’t be serious.” The younger detective had pulled up a chair to Chase’s desk. “I’ve never gone on anything like this before. Take Bartlet.”
Bartlet had arrived shortly after Spenser and had eavesdropped on most of the conversation.
“Son, I couldn’t act queer to save my life.”
“And I can?!” Spenser squeaked back.
“You do have that whole metrosexual thing.” Bartlet guffawed.
Chase sighed. “Cagg named you. Just don’t puke if you see two guys kissing and you’ll be fine.” Spenser shuddered visibly and Chase fought down the urge to slap him. He just kept telling himself that the rookie was one hand job away from a pride parade.
“We have to act like we’re . . .” The dark haired man’s expression soured. “Together?”
Chase rolled his eyes. “You’re not going to need lube, for Christ’s sake. Just don’t punch me if I put my hand on your shoulder.”
“You are the last person I ever need that mental image about.”
“Good,” Chase beamed. “Then it won’t be too difficult controlling all those bubbly, confusing feelings.”
The remainder of Chase’s day was consumed by meticulously planning Saturday. Researching the club and its owner, meeting with the tech team, getting the building plans from the city planning office. It had been a long time since he had done an op and he didn’t want to admit to himself that he was nervous.
Sometime around five he found himself watching the clock and ignoring the pangs of excitement that rose as it came closer to shift end. He didn’t want to admit that to himself either.
It was ten minutes before Chase had planned to hit the door when Caceda dropped the file back on his desk.
“I have no idea. I can’t find anything on the brand. And county has cut us out of the homicide investigation.”
Chase eyed the file as if it were a dangerous animal. “I, uh, kind of have to leave in a minute.”
“Hot date?” Caceda smirked. The split second of hesitation from him was enough. “Oh. Uh.” She laughed awkwardly. “Yea, no problem.” She reached for the file but Chase quickly put his hand flat on it.
He rolled his tongue against his cheek and closed his eyes, preemptive regret setting in. “I’ll take it with me.”
“Are you sure?” Her dark brown eyes were apologetic. “I mean, if you have plans . . .”
He gave her a wan smile. “It’s nothing. I’ll see what I can find.”
She placed her hand on his for a brief moment. “Thank you for having my back in this.” She straightened, pushing her hair behind her ear. “Well, go on! Don’t keep the lady waiting.”
An amazing smell greeted Dorian at the door.
“How do you keep finding things to cook?”
Felix leaned into view and smiled. “Imagine what I could do with real food!”
Dorian dug in the shopping bag he held and tossed a box onto the counter. “Tada! Not expired.”
The teen looked down at it, then back up at Dorian. “Seriously? You’re down to beef broth and pickles in here and you got condoms?”
Felix snorted and went back to whatever it was he managed to make smell good.
The older man peeled off his jacket and hung both it and his holster by the door before sitting down at the bar counter with the file. He rubbed his face and yawned.
“Uh-oh. Work follow you home?” Felix nodded his head toward the folder with the large PD emblem on it.
“Despite my best efforts. It’s not even technically my case.” He tapped his fingers on the brown surface of the folder, mind suddenly wandering over its contents.
“Do you need to start working on it?” The edge of disappointment in the younger man’s voice pulled Dorian out of his thoughts.
“Eh? Oh, no. I’ll do it later.” He slid the packet to the side and tipped his head toward the oven.
“What’d you make?”
“The world’s most disappointing shepherd’s pie.” Felix frowned toward the oven.
“I still had beef?”
“Yea, sure . . .” Felix peered at him from the corner of his eye. “‘Beef’. It’s definitely not stray cat. To be honest it was just an unrecognizable block of ice in the freezer. Don’t get your hopes up.”
“I’ll leave you my card in the morning. You can go up the road to the store.”
His green eyes widened. “That’s pretty trusting of you.”
Dorian snorted. “I’ve left you with my fish. That’s a way bigger deal. Besides, my junk has been in your mouth. That’s pretty trusting.”
Felix laughed and shook his head. “That’s more of an equal trust kind of thing.”
“Sure, but my dick doesn’t have teeth.”
The teen coughed. “That image is going on the list of things that keep me up at night.”
The oven timer went off and Felix busied himself with extracting what looked remarkably like shepherd’s pie and sliding a serving in front of Dorian.
“Here you are, sir. Pie ala disappointment.”
He scoffed. “I live out of vending machines most days, ‘disappointment’ is a strong word.”
It tasted remarkably like shepherd’s pie, too. Felix only watched him eat until Dorian stopped mid chew, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.
“Why aren’t you eating any? Is it poisoned?”
“I ate earlier. I didn’t want it to, uh . . .” Felix looked away, blotches of color blooming on his face. “Interfere . . . with things.”
The older man paused, fork suspended in front of his mouth as he raised a single eyebrow. “That’s awfully presumptuous.”
Felix leaned his elbow on the counter and picked up the box of condoms, shaking it slightly. “Says the man who came home with a twelve pack of condoms.”
“Touché . But condoms aren’t nearly as time sensitive as your empty colon.”
The younger man’s lips were drawn in a fine line of disapproval. “I’d like to report a crime. I just witnessed a man murder the moment in cold blood.”
Dorian waved his fork vaguely. “I don’t do homicides. Call me when The Moment OD’s.”
Felix snatched the fork out of his hand, shoveled a heaping mass of food in his mouth and stuck out a mashed potato coated tongue before walking off.
“I guess you’re not interested in this then?” Dorian pulled the remaining item out of the drug store bag and dangled it on his finger. He couldn’t see the younger man, but he heard him swallow forcefully from the living room.
“You seriously walked into a store and bought condoms and a blind fold?”
The older man twirled the black, elastic bound strip of satin around his finger. “Technically it’s a sleep mask. But I did get a few entertaining looks.” He slipped off the bar stool and approached Felix, who was trying his best not to stare at the eye mask.
“Sit.” Felix nearly missed the edge of the couch in his haste to comply. Mud-green eyes were fixed on Dorian’s steely blue until the last moment that the satin mask covered them. The larger man secured the elastic strap and then bent to the teen’s ear. “Don’t move.”
Dorian took his time making sure things were in place. He brushed his teeth. Changed out of his work clothes. He stood in the hall for a minute, watching the dark haired teen with a grin. Felix never moved.
Felix shot to his feet, wavering slightly, balance compromised by lack of sight.
“Come to my voice.” He took tiny steps, feeling furniture, arms outstretched.
“Getting warmer,” Dorian taunted in a low voice. “Warmer . . .”
The pale outstretched hand came closer and the older man took it, pulling Felix’s palm flat onto his bare chest. Without a word he started stepping backward, guiding the shorter boy down the hall and to his room.
Felix’s breath quickened as the wooden floor of the hallway give way to carpet in Dorian’s doorway. The larger man’s heartbeat was a steady, primal drum under his hand until they reached the middle of the room.
Dorian slid behind him, hand smoothing around his slim midsection the whole way. Large hands closed on lithe hips, his pelvis pressing against Felix’s back as he guided him a few steps forward until his thighs touched the bed. His legs started to shake.
“Relax,” Dorian whispered, a hand reaching around Felix’s chest and pulling him back for stability. He started unbuttoning the teen’s shirt, mouth smoothing over the fading bruises along his neck and shoulder. Felix leaned forward, peeling the shirt off his arms. He lost balance for a moment, palms landing flat on the bed.
His brows furrowed over the eye mask and he groped at the fabric under his hands. “Did you put a towel down?”
“Shush, I like these sheets.”
“You are seriously weird about bodily fluids.”
Dorian grumbled and spun the teen around, shoving him back onto the bed. He straddled the smaller man before he could right himself.
“Maybe you shouldn’t leak so much.” He pressed his palm firmly against the crotch of Felix’s jeans. The teen sucked in a breath and arched against the pressure.
Dorian reached an arm around Felix’s lower back and positioned him fully on to the bed. He eased the length of his body onto him and kissed him deeply. His fingers traced the pale boy’s jaw, his collarbone, lips and tongue meeting, sliding, tasting.
He trailed a path of light kisses behind the shell of the teen’s ear, working down the tight cables of neck tendon, down his chest. Hands smoothed down his sides, along the outside of his thighs.
Felix’s breathing had slowed. The flush had gone out of his face and Dorian was fairly certain that all that was poking his belly was the younger man’s belt buckle. Despite his touches and kisses, Felix was losing interest.
No, because of them, Dorian realized. Easily rectified. He shifted a hand to the back of the boy’s head, fingers tangling in his hair, pulling his head back and taking his lips. Felix’s response was immediate; a soft gasp in the intimacy of Dorian’s mouth.
Felix didn’t just want to be taken, he needed it. This realization lit a fire of equal need in Dorian’s belly that he happily stoked. He dragged the teen’s arms above his head, pinning them there, letting the bulk of his weight pin the rest of Felix’s body.
“Dear Penthouse,” Dorian began, a hand pulling at Felix’s belt buckle. “He doesn’t even need warming up.” He ripped the belt free of its loops as Felix choked on a laugh. He bent to the teen’s ear. “If you move your arms, I will be very disappointed.”
“Yes, sir,” Felix purred. He knotted his fingers in the bedspread, keeping his arms firmly above his head.
Dorian released him and leaned back to unbutton the younger man’s jeans. No underwear again. Felix arched his hips up as his pants were peeled down. “Is commando your form of an invitation?”
“I, uh,” Felix cleared his throat. “Don’t have any clean.”
“The washer and dryer are in the basement, genius.” The larger man slapped the outside of his thigh, eliciting a yelp.
Dorian closed his hand over Felix’s mouth, cutting him off as he leaned back to his ear. “We’re not having a discussion. Turn over.”
He took a quivering breath in through his nose and started to roll. He didn’t notice that he had lowered his arms in his haste to comply, but Dorian did. He let the slight man get most way through the roll before he roughly grabbed his arms and dragged them back over his head.
“I don’t think you take me very seriously. Maybe we should stop.”
“No,” Felix responded hastily.
“No? That’s bold,” Dorian chastised, pleased by the way the body beneath him squirmed in response.
“Please.” The voice had gone soft and needy, hips rotating back against the thin flannel pants that separated him from Felix’s bare flesh. “Don’t stop.”
For a moment, he completely forgot his role, lost in the hot friction of Felix’s movements. He allowed himself one slow roll of his hips in response before letting his weight still the motion. He breathed into the space of Felix’s neck and shoulder, surrounded by his smell.
“Are you trying to tease me?” Dorian growled.
“N-no,” Felix stammered. He let out a sharp yelp as Dorian pinched the sensitive crease of his inner thigh.
“No lying on my playground.” A smile grew on Felix’s mouth before he bit his lip to stop it. Dorian grinned to himself. “If I ask you a question and you lie, I stop. Understood?”
Pleased with the established rules, Dorian shifted slightly to slide his hand down Felix’s back. Down the curve of his buttock. His fingers skirted inward and trailed up the cleft of his rear, making the young man gasp and flinch.
“Do you touch yourself here?” The question was quiet and breathy in Felix’s ear and earned an immediate ‘yes’. He swirled the flat of a finger in gentle circles around the tight ring of muscle, making Felix twitch uncontrollably. “Do you ever think of me?” Dissatisfied with the lack of answer, the touch stopped.
“Yes,” the younger man whined. “Please.”
Dorian sat up and hummed with amusement. The sound of him opening the nightstand drawer made the teen’s breath hitch. He knew full well what was in there. He would have gotten an eye full when he was sent to get a condom. The older man let him wonder for a few seconds before thumbing open the bottle of lubricant. He leaned back over the pale, compliant body prone on his bed. He gripped one buttock against the inevitable clenching and tipped the bottle to dribble down the cleft of the teen’s incredibly distracting ass. Felix gasped and jerked his hips away from the sudden sensation.
Dorian recapped the bottle and tossed it to the side. “So,” he began, fingers following the viscous path of the lubricant. “How often do you think of me?” A single, slick digit continued its circling.
Felix only moaned, lips tucked, brows furrowed over the black satin, pinned hips desperately grinding.
“Your eyes are covered, not your ears.” The older man scolded, hand suddenly still.
“Every time,” Felix blurted desperately.
“Every time?” Dorian mused, continuing the touch with greater pressure.
“Yes.” The moaned reply ended with a hissed breath as the digit slipped inside him.
“Jesus, you sure you’ve done this before? Are you Captain Kegel?”
“Your fingers . . .” Felix bit down a moan mid sentence as Dorian began moving his hand. “Are bigger . . . than mine.”
He suddenly stopped. “You only use one?! Christ, you’re going to make me work for this.” He hooked his free arm under the teen’s hips and dragged him to his knees. “Hands behind your back.” His new position ensured he couldn’t raise to all fours, his rear end up in the air at Dorian’s mercy.
The teen tried to rock back against his hand as Dorian renewed his efforts. “More,” he mewled. “Please.”
It took profound willpower not to give the slim teen exactly what he wanted. “Kid, you can’t handle the ride you’re asking for.” Felix had been about to argue when the intruding digit pressed hard against his prostate. He half screamed in response, toes curling. “Have I made myself clear?”
“Yes, sir,” Felix responded weakly.
“I’m going to make you cum,” Dorian explained, finger swirling. “Then you’re going to do something better with your mouth than talk back. Understood?”
The younger man bit his lip through a smile. “Yes, sir.”
The sound of the shower played softly through the quiet and dark of the house. The case file laid open on Dorian’s desk, photos arranged in macabre collage as he stared through them, mind working. A sound from the fish tank broke his attention.
“Oh, hell, I haven’t fed you guys.” He looked at his phone. Midnight.
He busied his mind with the task of spot cleaning the tank and feeding the fish. The meticulous routine had always been a meditative experience for him. He could get lost in the motions and not have to think about anything.
When he finally turned away from the tank he saw Felix—fresh from the shower—with a crime scene photo in hand. He stumbled forward and snatched it from his fingers.
“You’re not supposed to see that.”
Felix only blinked in surprise as Dorian hastily shoved everything back into the folder.
“Was that a burn on his arm?”
Dorian gestured in a slow arc. “You saw nothing.”
The younger man watched him neaten the file for a moment. “Was he a soldier?”
Dorian paused. “What? Why?”
“The brand. That’s the only place I’ve seen it before.”
He stared at the teen for a moment and then jerked the photo in question out of the folder. “This brand? You’ve seen it before?”
“Well, in books.”
The older man squinted. “What books?”
“Archaeology books about the British Empire . . .” Felix trailed off.
Dorian rolled his eyes and tucked the photo away. “Meanwhile, in reality. Don’t snoop around in my work.”
The young man raised his hands placatingly. “Whatever you say, boss. It was just laying there for the world to see.”
“I don’t usually bring shit home,” Dorian mumbled. “And fish don’t snitch.”
Felix frowned. “I’m not going to tell anyone. Remember? Trust? Junk in my mouth?”
The older man thumped the file against the top of his head, black hair still damp. “Go to bed.”