Skip to main content

Painted Blue

Summary

Dorian Chase is a thirty-three-year-old Detective in Narcotics Investigations. Felix is an eighteen-year-old runaway who knows exactly what--and who--he wants.
The rigid lines Dorian allows himself to live within start to blur as Felix's existence in his life gives him permission to discover who he is and what he wants.

A note on BDSM:  Unless you are familiar with the "scene", whatever you think this story is going to be, it's not.  You'll find no coercion, manipulation, or disregard for autonomy here.  This is no "Fifty Shades of Gay".

Chapter One

 "What's your full name?"

"Felix Thompson." The boy made a point to avoid eye contact.

The detective clicked his pen a few times. "Do you understand the trouble you're in?"

"I can imagine," Felix answered, detached.

Detective Chase ceased fiddling with his pen, a flash of annoyance crossing his face. "You've been eighteen for a week and you've already managed to get yourself into big-boy trouble. The maximum of these charges could put you away until it would actually be legal for you to stumble around parties drunk."

Felix lolled his head toward Chase, leveling his eyes at him with disinterest. "Look, officer—"

"Detective."

"—detective. We both know you're not going to lock me up for getting drunk and high, so who is it you're wanting me to narc on?"

Chase crossed his arms and rocked back in his chair. "That easy, huh?"

"That easy." Felix turned his hands up with a shrug. "I have no loyalty to any of those guys. It was just a party."

"A house full of booze, pot, Ecstasy and minors doesn’t sound like 'just a party' to me." Felix said nothing. "Who brought the drugs?"

"The weed or the X?"

Chase hadn't decided if the kid was a smart-ass or not. He opened his note book and sighed. "Both."

"The weed was Terrance. The X," Felix paused, staring off for a second. "That was Mister James."

Chase looked up. "'Mister' James?"

Felix shrugged a single shoulder, discomfort apparent. "He tells people to call him that." He raked his hand through his black hair.

The detective's steely eyes narrowed suspiciously. "He the one who invited the minors?"

Felix shrugged. Everyone has a nervous tick. Felix had a nervous shrug.

"He the one who invited you?" Chase noted how quickly Felix's green-hazel eyes swept back toward him. And how quickly he turned them away. His slight shoulders shrugged again.

There was an unexpected twinge in the detective's stomach as he mulled over the possibility that the lean boy across from him just might be a prostitute.

“If you need help getting out of prostitutio—”

Felix's nostrils suddenly flared, his brow furrowing as he snapped; “Fuck you, dude. I'm not a whore.” Chase clicked his pen again. “He let me stay there,” Felix continued. “I didn't know he was into that.”

“Didn't stop you from participating.” The detective made notes, not looking up at the young man, who bristled.

“What was I supposed to do? Launch a twink underground railroad?”

Chase snorted. “You could have called the police.”

Felix tipped his head back. “I did.” The detective looked up suddenly. “You got an anonymous phone call, right?”

Chase glanced at the paperwork then eyed Felix with annoyance. “Why didn't you say something before you were left to dry out in a cell all night?”

The pale boy rubbed his neck and looked away. “I didn't want anyone to know I snitched. I don't think Mister James would let stuff like that go.”

Chase stood up with a heavy sigh and headed for the door of the interrogation room.

Felix gulped and sat up straight. “Where are you going?”

The older man eyed him flatly. “You hungry?” Felix only nodded. “Sit tight.”

Chase pulled the door shut behind him and strode over to Officer Shaw, who was milling around the booking station. Chase slapped him roughly on the shoulder with his notepad.

“Hey, man!” Shaw's wide, dark lips split into a grin. “You got the supplier out of the little shit yet?”

“You gave me the tipster, you dumb-ass.”

Shaw blinked. “That kid is the one who called? Shit. We stuck him in with the others all night. Did they know?”

Chase shook his head. “Seems the kid sat on it all night. He's scared of the old guy. Made it sound like a child toucher's summer camp. I'm going to grab him something to eat and go back in there. Now that I know I'm talking to a goddamn witness, not a suspect.”

Shaw winced and put his hands up placatingly. “Hey, man, I just made the arrest. He didn't say shit to me. You sure you shouldn't hand it over to Mandy?”

Mandy was the the criminal investigator for sexual crimes and crimes against children. The soft-touch they called in to rock children and hold the hands of trafficked women. Unfortunately, as was the case now, the two often coincided.

“He'd be insulted. He's not a kid. She walks in there and starts treating him like a victim and we'll get nothing. Besides, she was up all night interviewing the actual victims.”

Shaw shook his head, disgust plain on his sable features. “Fucking sick, man. Goddamn pedo-faggots.”

Chase pointed his notepad at him as he backed toward the break room. “Now don't you go insulting upstanding faggots.” He chuckled as he backed into the door, nearly knocking the coffee out of Mandy's hand.

“Christ, Dorian!” She screeched.

He pivoted on a heel and managed to keep the door from swinging shut on them both. “Ah. Didn't see you.”

“You never do.” Mandy muttered as she retreated back into the break room for napkins. No one mentioned how short Mandy was as much as Mandy mentioned how short Mandy was. “You get anything on the drugs yet?”

Dorian Chase peeked outside the door before pulling it closed and turning to the round brunette who was dabbing coffee off her shirt.

“Funny you should ask. The pale kid with the black hair is our caller.”

She paused and looked up, her brown eyes softening. “Oh my god.” She shoved her neat dark hair behind her ear and busied herself with snatching napkins and scooping up her coffee. “Let me get my things and I'll be in right away.”

Chase stepped in the way of her egress, one hand extended. “Hold on. I think I should handle him.”

She stared at him agape. “Are you out of your mind? The poor kid must be terrified.”

“He's not a kid. He just about ripped my head off when I assumed he was a hooker, he's not going to take well to your approach.”

“Dorian! You called him a hooker?! What is wrong with you?”

Chase sighed. “I didn't call him a hooker. I asked if he was a hooker.”

She huffed and stammered, “Well that's so much better! I'm talking to him.” Mandy bustled passed him as he silently lamented to the ceiling.

He could at least still bring the kid something to eat.

He had been heading back to the interview room with a soda and a vending machine ham and cheese when the door opened. A flustered Mandy stepped out.

“He's asking for you,” she said, chin thrusting out.

“Me?” For a moment it was all he could do to hide his smugness.

“He said I reminded him of his mom and he couldn't say bad words in my company.”

Chase let out a sharp bark of laughter. She frowned and pressed the file into his chest.

“Just be careful with him.” Chase only nodded and tried to step forward, but she pressed harder, holding eye contact. “I mean it.”

He took the file and gave her a solemn salute. She stepped around him, seemingly satisfied. Chase took a deep breath and reentered the room.

“I heard you gave our Care Bear a ration of shit.”

There was a sudden shadow of shame that fell over the young man's face. “Just didn't seem right talking to someone so . . . ” He trailed off.

“Motherly?” Chase supplied.

“Caring.” Felix looked toward the door. “She'll go home later and wonder if she did enough. She'll remember all the faces of those kids.”

Chase was quiet for a moment and then sat down. “Sounds like personal experience.” He slid the food toward Felix, who snatched it with a scowl.

“You don't know me.”

He eyed the teen for a moment then sighed, rubbing the end of his pen against the short blonde hairs of his temple. He opened the case folder and flipped through papers.

“Here's what's going to happen. I'm going to ask you some questions and I'd like you to answer them to the best of your ability. I'd also like you to make a statement. This conversation is being recorded from cameras there,” Chase pointed, “and there. You may be asked to testify in the future, so it is paramount that you are truthful and thorough with your answers. Do you understand?”

Felix set down the soda after a long drink. “No.”

Chase blinked. “No?”

“I won't testify.” His jaw tensed. “I'll tell you what I know. Who had the drugs. But I didn't see anything and I won't testify.”

The detective sucked on his cheek, annoyed. “You do realize you could still be charged if you refuse to cooperate?”

The boy's pale rosy lips puckered in childish defiance as he crossed his arms. “Charge me. I have no where to go anyway. I might as well have a roof over my head.”

Chase was annoyed that he found the punk's demeanor endearing. And he was annoyed that he was annoyed. He would either need to bring a charge to the judge when the court house opened in an hour, or he would need to cut the kid lose. He really didn't want to charge him. He was certain that if he did, any information he got as a result would be unreliable. And he was right, he had little to lose when he was looking at being out on the street. No, if the kid was going to talk, it was going to be on his terms.

Chase sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I tell you what. I'll get you a place to stay for a couple nights if you'll think it over”

Felix's pout deepened. “The shelter won't let me in anymore because I'm eighteen.”

“I meant a hotel.”

The boy's face went slack. “Why would you do that for me?”

“It's not for you,” Chase stated coolly. “It's for a house full of teenagers drugged up by a nasty old fart who passes them out to his friends like party favors.”

Felix seemed to turn slightly green and his eyes clenched closed. “Alright,” he said softly. “I'll think about it.”

“Do you have any belongings back there?”

He nodded. “A blue backpack. In the downstairs suite. It's got . . .” he shook his head. “Everything I have left.”

Chase slapped his palms on the table with finality. “Lets go get you a room, then. I'll check on the status of the warrant for the house. Soon as I can, I'll grab your stuff and bring it by to you.” Felix had begun to stand when the detective turned back to him suddenly. “Is there anything in the bag I need to know about before I find it?” His eyes were locked on Felix's.

The boy gulped. “No, s—” he clenched his jaw shut on the 'sir', which Chase noted with amusement. Felix cleared his throat. “No.”

“Lets go, then.”

Chase had only just paid for Felix's hotel room and gotten back in his car when his phone rang. The warrant for the residence had come through. With the owner—“Mister James”—in custody and the testimony of six teens between thirteen and seventeen, it was no question that it would be granted. Now it was just a matter of digging through a mansion for evidence.

A portly, older beat sergeant tipped his chin to him on the porch. “Decided to do some real work today, Chase?”

Chase waved him off with a grin. “Just here for the circus, Boswell.”

“You won't be disappointed then.” Boswell tipped his head slightly for Chase to step closer. “They're taking an axe to a goddamn secret door. Worried there might be more kids in there. Got EMS on standby.”

Chase's eyes widened. “You're shitting me. I gotta see this.”

The house had all the tastelessness of a Florida retiree's bachelor pad condo. Complete with a big white furry rug in the formal living room that looked like it may leap to life. A crystal chandelier hung low over the entry, its reflection gleaming off of the over sized white tiles. All the fixtures were a shiny gold finish. The wood accents were pristine white. The walls and furniture were shades of yellow. Overall it had the effect of a gaudy attempt at a golden palace. James Hawthorne must have been new money.

He spotted Shaw at the top of the spiral carpeted stairs and took them two by two. “I hear there was a hidden door?” Shaw nodded to him somberly and gestured for him to follow.

They passed a couple other cops taking pictures and ferrying back and forth evidence bags. Chase stepped into the large study and immediately saw the splinters of what used to be a panel of the wall.

A forensics technician stepped out of the hole, shaking his head. “Everything is clean,” he announced. “I'll need to get some tools in here, but doubt we'll find anything. Seems like the consensual sort of thing.”

“Consensual?!” Shaw snapped. “You think some faggot drugging kids into slaves is consensual?”

The technician's angular face betrayed nothing. “I mean to say we will have little evidence because there was little overt force, Officer Shaw. Excuse me.” He stepped past Chase.

Shaw growled as he left; “Look at this shit.”

Chase stepped up to the obliterated doorway and peered in.

The most compelling feature was a large wooden X in the center of the room. Each point was affixed with a large iron ring from which leather cuffs dangled. There was a wall with a padded leather panel and a pair of chains affixed to it. Against the two opposite walls were wooden tables full of a BDSM buffet. The last wall housed a large leather-topped frame with straps for various configurations. Everything was polished, oiled and gleaming.

Chase licked his lips, his mouth suddenly dry.

“Sick shit.” Shaw's voice next to him pulled his attention away.

“I see you're not into the kink scene.”

“None of you white folks blink an eye, man.” He started to stomp away, shaking his head wildly. “Crazy-ass crackers.” Chase chuckled as he went. He ventured one last glance at the hidden room before setting off to find Felix's bag.

He found the downstairs suite and no longer questioned why Felix would accept the near stranger's hospitality. It was larger than Chase's first apartment. The bedroom was spacious, housing a bed that a could sleep a horse. The bathroom had a large garden tub and a slate walled shower. He found the worn blue backpack next to the bed.

“Lets see what we've got.” He sat down on the bed and pulled the bag open.

It was the first time since high school that he had seen a book bag actually contain books. There were clothes, some basic toiletries. He found Felix's wallet and driver's license, taking note of the address listed there. And tucked in a side pocket he found a leather collar.

He just sat for a moment, the collar limp across his palm as he stared at it. It was smooth and black and unremarkable but for a steel ring attached to the front. He couldn't help picturing how stark the polished black leather would be against Felix's pale neck. Before he could stop the thought, he remembered the upstairs room and a hot knot of anger tied in his throat. He shoved the collar back in the bag and headed for the door.

 

Chase lifted the bag up in offering when Felix opened the hotel room door.

“Thanks,” Felix muttered, taking the bag and turning toward the bed.

Chase stepped inside, anger still hot in his belly as pushed the door closed. “You knew about the hidden room.”

The boy tensed, his back to the detective as he lowered his bag onto the hotel bed. “Yea.” was his meek response.

“Did he ever make you go in there?” The detective's voice was harder than he intended. Colder. Felix only shook his head. “What about the collar?” The pale boy went absolutely still and Chase was deeply annoyed that he couldn't read his expression. He strode forward, gripped the boy's shoulder and wheeled him around.

Felix's face was red with embarrassment, his eyes glistening. Chase readied himself for the wave of pity, but it never came. Instead his pulse quickened and there was a distinct stirring in his belly. He was confused by this reaction until he took in the details. The boy was flush in the cheeks, his pupils dilated, his lips parted and full. He wasn't embarrassed, he was turned on.

Chase swallowed thickly, willing his mind to get back on task. “Were you involved?” His tone was nearly a growl.

Felix's eyes shot up to his, the color suddenly draining from his face. “No!” he spat. “It's mine, OK?! I met him at a stupid leather bar. I didn't know he was a fucking creep! He said he would . . .” The fire went out of him and he looked away, his cheeks brightening again. “. . . show me things.”

Chase stared in sudden realization, his mouth stuck on unspoken syllables. “You went out looking for a master?”

“Fuck you,” Felix snarled. “It's none of your damn business.”

Sudden, raw imagery flooded Dorian's mind uninvited. Felix in the leather collar. Felix flush with need. He shook his head clear of it and took a step back.

“You can't testify,” Chase muttered.

“No shit,” Felix said weakly, dropping to sit on the bed. “They'll just think I'm a freak.” He wrapped his arms around himself and closed his eyes. “Or that I'm like him.”

The detective's shoulders dropped and he sighed. “Cut that out. You're just, well,” he searched for a better word and gave up. “Kinky.”

Felix stared at him for a few heart beats and then belted out pure, child-like laughter. Chase couldn't help but join him.

After a moment he grew still again, looking at his feet. “I can't stay here, can I?” He ventured a glance at the detective who merely tipped his head in question. “You said I could stay here for a couple days if I thought about testifying.”

Chase waved his hand dismissively. “Don't worry about it, kid. You got a job?” Felix slumped his shoulders and shook his head. “Family?” No response. “You in to anything stupid? Besides weed and old guys.”

“I don't smoke,” Felix muttered. “I just didn't want them to get suspicious.”

“So you are into old guys.”

Felix rolled his earthen-toned eyes toward him. “Are you always this charming?”

Chase snorted. “I can help you get a job. I just need to know that you'll actually follow through.”

“I won't,” Felix replied flatly. “Look, dude,” He rolled his shoulders. “I know you're just trying to help and do your job and all that, but I'm not your problem.”

Chase narrowed his eyes and pointed at Felix. “I'll be back tomorrow.”

The young man sighed. “Don't you have a job to do?”

“I'll mark it off as a wellness check.”

 

Predictably, James Hawthorne had lawyered up by the next morning. Mandy's investigation into the child endangerment and assault charges had slowed to a crawl.

“Did you get a formal statement from the caller?” Mandy asked without looking away from her monitor.

Chase swiveled in his chair to face her desk. “Not yet. He won't testify, but I'm going to try to get a statement at least.”

She sighed and pressed her forehead in her hands. “I have a couple of the kids who were willing to give statements, or were sober enough to be reliable. And one of the perps wants to make a deal.”

She lifted her head, resting her chin in her hands with a sullen expression. “They don't even talk like kids anymore, Dorian. I don't know that a judge is going to be very sympathetic to a sixteen year old who talks about prostitution like it's a game.”

Chase shook his head slowly to himself. “What about the youngest one?”

“Thirteen,” she muttered. “He was unresponsive when EMS got there. He's not a reliable source.”

Chase cursed under his breath. “I'll see what I can work out of the caller. The kid is homeless. I've got him put up in a hotel for now.”

Mandy arched a thin brow at him. “Does the Sergeant know?”

“Nope.”

“Can you lean on him to testify?”

Chase clicked his pen for a moment, remembering the collar with a frown. “No. If you put him on the stand, Hawthorne's lawyer will start a line of questioning that will ruin your case.”

“Ah,” she leaned back and didn't ask any further.

Chase glanced at his watch. “Might as well bring him lunch and see if he's given it some thought. You have one of those employment lists you hand out?”

Mandy was about as involved with her cases as you could get. She always had a compiled list of employers willing to hire people in bad situations.

“How old is he?” She asked.

“Eighteen.” He stood, pulling on his jacket.

She nodded thoughtfully. “I'll put one together.”

“Thanks. Hopefully I'll be back with something for you.”

 

Chase had to knock a few times before he heard movement in the hotel room. When the door finally opened, it was clear that the teen had just rolled out of bed. His somewhat curly hair was a haphazard mass on his head and he squinted into the sunlight.

Felix muttered something indistinct before clearing the doorway and shuffling back into the room.

“You realize it's noon, right?” Chase stepped in, toeing the door closed behind him.

The pale boy yawned openly. “Sorry, I didn't exactly sleep much in jail.”

Chase grunted and dropped a fast food bag on the small round table. “Brought you something to eat.”

Felix shuffled to the table and flopped down into the roughly upholstered chair, petting his hair down with another yawn. “Thanks.”

Chase did a casual plain-view scan of the room. “Keeping out of trouble?”

The teen paused with a cheeseburger in hand. “It's been like twenty-four hours. Did you expect to find me shooting up?”

“I don't know you from Adam, kid. I always come prepared not to be surprised.”

Chase let him eat for a moment before sitting down opposite of him, taking out his notepad. “You remember when this 'party' started?”

Felix slowed his chewing for a moment and shrugged. “Six? I don't know. It wasn't dark yet.”

Chase began writing. “Do you know how many adults were there?”

The teen narrowed his eyes. “Can't you just count them in jail?”

The detective gave him a look.

“I don't know. I told you, I didn't see much. I stayed in my room most of the night.”

Chase raised a brow. “There was a party going on and you were in your room?”

“That's what I said.”

“Why?” Chase pressed.

Felix squirmed, putting down the remainder of the cheeseburger. “It got weird. At first it was just the old guys and they were too . . .” He looked away. “Friendly.”

Chase endeavored to keep the concern out of his voice and face. “Did they touch you?”

Felix rolled his eyes. “Look, I'm not a kid, remember? No one made me do anything. It was just getting weird so I stayed in my room most of the time.”
“When did the minors show up?”

Felix frowned in thought. “I'm not sure. It was dark. Nine? I don't know. Some people had pushed drinks at me by then.”

“You said you were in your room.” Chase clicked his pen.

“Yea.”
“And yet people pushed drinks at you?”

“I said I was in my room most of the time. I'm not lying to you.” His brows furrowed in contempt. “Mister James just didn't like it when I closed the door.” Felix looked away again. “So people just kept wandering over.” He shrugged.

“You weren't allowed to close your door?” Chase narrowed his eyes. Felix only shrugged again, nervous tick taking over.

“What happened after the minors got there?”

“I don't know. I didn't know how old they were. Some of them were taller than me. I wasn't checking ID or anything.” His head tipped slightly to the right, eyes distant in recall. “There was weed. X. Drinking. I just pretended I was tired, but . . .” he paused, features twisted with disgust. “There was this kid. He looked like he couldn't be more than twelve. He was out of it and they were . . .” he looked nauseous and swallowed heavily, closing his eyes. “So I called the police.” He looked back at Chase, expression flat.

Chase didn't know how Mandy did it. Felix wasn't even a direct victim and the detective's belly was already a tight knot of disgust and anger. Mandy had to talk to all of those kids. She had to interview the youngest at the hospital. Then she had to talk to the perps and somehow not put them all down like rabid dogs in the interview room.

Chase couldn't do it. He only breathed for a moment, choosing his questions carefully. “Why did you stay after you called the police?”

“I think people would have noticed if the cops show up five minutes after I crawl out a window.”

“Are you afraid someone will retaliate against you?”

Chase noted how Felix didn't shrug nervously. “No.”

“Then why stay?”

Felix's brows tented and he looked down at his hands. “I didn't know what would happen to them. The younger ones. I thought . . .” he trailed off and shook his head. “I couldn't even talk to any of them. When the cops came they just put everyone under eighteen to one side and I went with the others.”

Chase winced. “Sorry. That would have been Shaw. Bald black guy.” Felix only nodded at his hands. “He's not a bad officer, he's just,” Chase rolled a shoulder. “Overly critical.”

“He asked if I was gay,” Felix muttered.

Chase's brow darkened. “He what?”

The teen's nervous tick resurfaced. “I said yes, he put me with the others.”

The detective's jaw tensed. “If you want to make a complai—”

“No. It doesn't matter.”

There was a moment of tense silence that Chase filled with the thought of punching Shaw in the face.

“They're all OK.” Felix looked up at Chase's comment. “The kids. Mandy is working with them. She'll contact parents—if they have any—CPS will be involved in the investigation. Whatever their situations were, they're safe now.”

Felix's eyes fell shut, his shoulders dropping. He nodded slightly to himself. “Thanks.”

Chase considered the slight teen for a moment. “You're a good kid.”

He hadn't been expecting the hard look in Felix's jade and brown eyes. “Don't patronize me.”

Chase frowned. “I'm not. I'm serious. If you hadn't called it would have been just one more nightmare for them. It wouldn't have stopped there either.”

Felix rolled his eyes. “I don't need to be patted on the back for doing the right thing. I'm not a candidate for the dark side, leather fetish aside.”

Chase smiled slightly. “No one ever thinks they are. Bad guys rarely know that they're bad guys. Most of those guys dragged out of that party have wives. Important jobs. They don't know they're scumbags.”

“I think this encouragement speech has gone awry,” Felix said.

Chase laughed. “I suppose it did. All I'm saying is you made the right choice when you didn't have to. No one else ever did for them.”

The teen shrugged and went back to the cheeseburger. “If everyone made the right choices, you'd be out of a job.”

Chase flipped his notebook closed with a sigh. “Guess I'd have to go back to stripping.”

Felix stopped mid-chew. He leaned slightly to look Chase over. “Seriously?”

“No,” the detective replied, suddenly regretting the joke.

Felix made a show of looking him over again. “Because I would totally believe you.”

Being checked out by an eighteen year old was the oddest combination of flattering and just awkward.

“The suit is misleading,” Chase said. “I'm a disaster under this.”

“Uh-huh, I bet.” The slight boy shoved the rest of the cheeseburger in his mouth.

“You willing to make this a written statement?” Chase waved his notebook.

“No,” Felix replied simply.

Chase frowned. “Any particular reason why not?”

Felix brushed his hands off and leaned back. “If you submit my statement to court, they can subpoena me.”

Chase couldn't quite help a smirk. “While that's true, it's unlikely. How'd you know that anyway?”

“I can read,” the teen responded flatly. “Are you going to give me a speech about how it's my civic duty to drag every personal detail of my life into court so Mister James can serve an extra month in white collar prison?”

Chase slipped the notepad into his pocket. “Nope. I'm going to go pay for another day on this room and go back to work.”

Felix blinked and looked away, ashamed. “Thanks.”

“I'll be back tomorrow to discuss your options from here. Mandy is putting together some things for me.”

Felix nodded, eyes fixed on the floor as Chase left.

 

Mandy's list wasn't exactly ideal for the situation at hand. Many of the options were geared specifically toward female victims fleeing abuse. Some were designed to provide employment and housing opportunities for people with prior convictions. A good number of them were for people struggling with addictions.

Felix fell in an awkward grey area of not being troubled enough for most programs, while still needing some measure of assistance. The average unskilled labor job isn't very forgiving about having neither an address nor a phone number. They wouldn't be willing to work with a homeless teen.

“How about a call center?” Chase asked between bites of a meatball sub.

Felix leaned to look at the list with a frown. “I don't really have a good phone voice.”

Chase scoffed. “My voice was a mess at eighteen. Your voice is fine. I'll mark it as a maybe.” He dragged a streak of blue highlighter through the line.

“I doubt anything about you was ever a mess,” Felix said, picking at his sub.

Chase raised an eyebrow at him. “You're kidding? If I hadn't burned all photographic evidence of my larval stage, it would give you nightmares.”

Felix rolled his eyes and nibbled a fry. “Whatever, dude.”

“I had this horrible long hair cut because I wanted to look like a surfer without, you know, surfing. But it was so greasy you could have wrung it out. My face was this mess of pimples and patchy facial hair and I got tragically tall before I gained any weight so I was somewhere around five ten and one twenty.” The teen had started laughing half-way through the description. “You got lucky. You don't even smell like you're secret lovers with a skunk.”

“That's because I shower.” There was something about how he said it. The way his head was tipped slightly down, looking at Chase with those pond colored eyes and a bright smile.

The detective looked away with a cough. “So, uh, what's the deal with your parents?”

Felix went absolutely still, his face losing all trace of expression. The moment was thankfully gone. “What about them?”

“Are they alive? Do they know where you are? Are they drug running, abusive gang members? Hand wringing, fretting Mormons who are desperately looking for you? Adoptive parents who never got the chance to bond?”

Felix shrugged. “Pick a combo. It doesn't matter.”

“I know if my kid was off gallivanting with leather daddies and ended up in trouble, I'd want to know.”

Felix arched a dark brow at him. “You have kids?”

“No,” Chase answered quickly. “It's a hypothetical.”

“That's a pretty big hypothetical if you don't even have kids. And he wasn't my 'leather daddy'. He was just some guy who knew about the scene. He offered me a place to stay and said he'd help me . . .” Another shoulder twitch. “Find someone.”

Chase shook his head in disapproval. “You make it sound like you're trying to fill a position or something.” The teen grinned at his wording. “Goddamnit, you know what I mean.”

“I kind of am,” Felix responded, a playful edge to his voice. “It has to be the right kind of person. Bigger than me. Stronger. Has to know when to take what he wants.” Color had begun to bleed into the teen's pale cheeks and he avoided eye contact.

Chase cleared his throat for the second time and looked at his watch. “Yea, so, I have to get back to work now.” He slid the sheet across the table. “Look that over. Mark the ones you're interested in.”

Felix groaned in protest.

“You can't just live off of my goodwill forever. You teenagers these days,” Chase began his rant.

“OK, OK.”

 

Detective Dorian Chase sat in his two-door compact in front of the address on Felix's license. There were perks to having both a good memory and working knowledge of the city.

He told himself he wouldn't pry into the kid's family situation. He was an adult, it was none of CID's business. But what else was he going to do? It had been three days and the kid was absolutely resistant to getting a job. He always had some sort of excuse for why he couldn't do a particular job. It painted him as a willful, lazy, pampered brat. Chase wasn't going to put him up in a hotel for ever, so it was time to see if his parents knew his situation.

Chase sighed heavily, adjusted his tie and jacket and stepped out of the car. The house was modest, but neat. It was a single story with a tawny brick face and two off-set roof peaks. The lawn was tidy and short and an oak grew in the side yard, its roots creeping out of the top soil in places.

He strode up the narrow walkway and knocked firmly on the ash door. There was rustling and the door slowly opened to a short, round woman with blonde hair and hazel eyes, but unlike Felix's green-brown, hers were a green on backdrop of blue. He could see why Mandy reminded Felix of her.

“Mrs. Thompson?”

She blinked and opened the door wider. “Yes?”

“I'm Detective Chase with Mesquite PD. I'd like to talk to you about your son Felix, if you have a moment?”

Her hand flew up to her chest and her eyes went flat. “Is he dead?”

Chase was startled by the frank question. He had worried they would assume something had happened to him, but he'd never seen a parent so quickly and dispassionately jump to the “dead” conclusion. “No, no, ma'am.”

The door opened wider and a tall man peered back at Chase. He was well-built for his late forties. His hair was a shock of black on pale skin, his temples greying. Though his eyes were dark, Felix certainly took after his father.

Chase tipped his head slightly. “Mr. Thompson. As I was telling your wife, I'm det—”

“I heard you.” Mr. Thompson cut in abruptly. “What has he done?”

Chase cleared his throat awkwardly. “Nothing, sir. He unfortunately ended up party to an investigation. He's done nothing wrong and wasn't arrested. Since he's not a minor, I was not required to inform you, but due to the circumstances I thought you should know that he doesn't seem to have a place to stay.”

“He chose his path,” Felix's mother said ineffectually.

Mr. Thompson squeezed his arm around his wife's shoulder and looked back at Chase, unreadable. “Felix turned away from God, Detective Chase. We can do no more for him.”

The detective looked between them, debating how to proceed. “Is this about him being gay?” Mrs. Thompson winced at the word, her fingers finding her necklace in a nervous gesture.

Mr. Thompson's jaw skewed and clenched. “Felix is welcome in our family and our home when he seeks the Lord's forgiveness.”

There was a moment of baffled disbelief on Chase's face. “You understand I'm telling you that your son is currently homeless?” They didn't reply. “So, because he's gay, you don't care if he dies on the street?” Mrs. Thompson closed her eyes and turned toward her husband. The vat of anger in Chase boiled over. “What if I told you I'm gay?”

There was a flash of pure contempt across the man's face as he slammed the door. For a moment, the detective cut an imposing, still figure against the pale brick work, his jaw and fists clenched. The tension eased out of him over a few seconds and he turned abruptly on his heel and back to his car.

He knew that look. He could dismiss using religion as an excuse. Could understand being old fashioned. But that look. It was the face of the Ku Klux Klan. The face of Muslim extremists. The face of neonazi fascism. It was the face that carried a baseball bat in one hand and hatred in the other. Chase didn't doubt that Mr. Thompson had used both on his son.

Felix had nowhere to go.

Chase was at his desk making phone calls well past shift change. Night shift milled around him as if he were a fixture. He had compiled a modest list of employers and programs willing to take on Felix in his particular situation. It was a bitter irony that he would have more options if he were a drug addict or had managed to contract HIV.

“Still here?” Mandy slid one hip up on his desk, coffee cradled between her hands. There were fewer days that Mandy went home on time than ones she didn't.

“Yea.” He rubbed his hands over his stubbled face. “You know any resources specifically for gay runaways?”

Mandy tipped her head at him in consideration. “Minor?” Chase shook his head in defeat. “Mm.” she hummed, sipping her coffee. “Is this that kid who called on the Hawthorne case?” He nodded and she sighed. “I told you to be careful with him, Dorian.”

He gestured at her, palms up. “I am! I'm trying.”

Her expression softened, her head tipped in a motherly fashion. “I don't think you understand what I meant. You have a history of getting too invested in street kids' lives. It nearly got you killed, Dorian.”

He rolled his eyes, and began to form a protest, but she kept talking.

“And that's just the young and vulnerable ones that set off your crusade bells. This one is young, vulnerable and not exactly difficult to look at.”

He scowled, a spike of adrenaline setting his pulse wild. Mandy was the only coworker who knew he was gay. “What are you insinuating?”

She leaned away. “Nothing.” She swirled her coffee, her expression solid again. “If I were insinuating anything, it wouldn't matter. He's an adult and no longer directly involved in a case.” She sipped her coffee again. “I'll see what I can find.” Mandy slid off of his desk and walked away.

He watched her go, tension easing. The most annoying part was she was right. He was getting too close to this. He kept bringing the kid food, paying for his hotel room, talking for hours at a time. The tone of the conversations had edged way too close to flirting way too many times.

No one would deny that Felix was attractive. His large, muddy-pond eyes were framed with thick black eye lashes. The paleness of his skin offset by full pink lips. He was lean and tone, just enough adolescence in his frame to give him a softness. And God he was vulnerable. And the way he kept looking at the detective was far from indifferent.

Chase clicked his pen incessantly, a stress twitch setting into his left eye as he stared into space. He needed to let Mandy handle this. He needed distance. He dropped the pen on his desk with a sigh and stood, dragging his jacket with him.

Time to cut the cord.

 

Felix opened the door with a bright smile that lodged a stone in Dorian's sternum. The happy puppy look was wreaking havoc on his guilt. He had hoped to make it a short conversation at the door, but Felix had already stepped away. Reluctantly he eased the door closed.

“Here.” He held out a business card between his middle and fore fingers. Felix tipped his head curiously and took it. “Mandy Smith. You met her before. She's going to see what she can do to get you off the street.” He also handed him the slip of paper he had compiled earlier. “That's all I've got.” He gestured, palms up.

“Thanks,” Felix muttered, staring at the card blandly.

“I'll put you up here for one more night so you can make some calls.”

Realization set into Felix's features in the form of a lost orphan expression. Chase tore his eyes away and went for the door.

“Hey . . .”

Chase made an effort to look bored as he turned back to the teen.

“Thanks. For everything, you know?”

“Good luck, kid.”

Felix took a step forward. “Wait.” Chase sighed, not hiding his annoyance. “It's just . . . um . . .” He fiddled with the business card nervously. “I was serious. I mean about Mist—” He shook his head to himself for a second. “James. I just, you know . . . don't want to end up with another creeper. I don't think she'll be able to tell me the good clubs.” He waved the card with a lop sided, nervous smile. Chase only stared at him. “Do you . . . I don't know . . . know anyone?” His eyes were wide, dilated and fixed on Chase. The older man turned away.

“Christ, kid. I need to get away from you.” He made the distance to the door, but Felix's voice spoke softly to his back.

“Why?”

Dorian closed his eyes. “You keep looking at me like that and asking me questions like that and you're getting to get way too much of my attention.” His hand gripped the door handle.

“What if I want your attention?” The question was soft and sincere.

Something broke in the detective. He felt it go. Every sensible caution, every logical complaint was suddenly absent. What replaced it was primal and overpowering.

Raw, burning need tore through Chase and clawed out of his chest in a low growl. He turned, grabbed fistfuls of Felix's shirt, pressed him to the wall and claimed his mouth with his own.

There was no resistance. Only Felix's hot, lean body melting into Dorian's grasp. He needed to consume the boy. Own him. His blunt fingers tangled in thick black hair, pulling the boy's head back as he stole his breath.

He broke from the kiss, hoping to regain some control. Instead he was greeted with the sight of Felix's half-lidded eyes, flushed cheeks and red lips, parted and panting. Throbbing, desperate heat shot straight to his loins. He tightened a fist in Felix's shirt and tugged down.

“On your knees,” he rasped.

There was not a moment's hesitation. Within seconds, Dorian's palms were pressed against the wall, his fly open, Felix's torrid breath uneven and wanton against his crotch.

“Suck it.” Dorian breathed, nearly a whisper. The obscenity of the command rippled another wave of desire through him and Felix moved to comply immediately.

It was too few minutes of hot lips and tongue, plunging into the wet well of Felix's welcoming mouth. It was too much, too fast. He was spilling over too soon, but every moment was bliss.

His legs were shaky when the stars finally cleared from his vision. As the haze of desire lifted, reason and regret took its place. He tucked himself back in his pants and zipped up.

“I need to go,” he muttered, backing away.

Felix fumbled to his feet. Before he could form a coherent sentence, Dorian closed the distance to the door and swiftly strode down the hall.

What was he thinking? He chastised himself all the way down the stairwell. He was fifteen years older. He could technically have kids his age. But he's not a minor. Chase shook the thought away. He was in a position of authority. He clearly took advantage. But he clearly wanted him to. He was practically begging. He was a kid! He didn't know what he wanted.

Dorian wrestled internally the whole drive home. Were he honest with himself, the thought of a young, submissive thing like Felix handing himself over on a platter would be like Christmas and his birthday all in one. It was his age and the ethics of their relationship that was the problem. Not to mention the fact that Felix's reasons could be directly because of said ethics.

Dorian parked in the driveway of his duplex. His head leaned back and eyes closed. He needed to shake this. It was on Mandy now. He needed to forget it ever happened. Forget Felix. Forget his tight lips. His hot tongue. His—

There was a sharp rapping on the passenger side window. Chase's elderly neighbor waved affectionately.

She flapped her wrist at him when he got out. “Falling asleep in the driveway now?! You work too hard!”

He smiled awkwardly, making sure she could clearly see his face. “Sorry, Mrs. Fairfax. Long day.” She waved him off and turned back to her side of the duplex, shuffling back to her door. He didn't bother saying goodnight. She wouldn't hear him anyway. He sighed and went to his own door.

Once inside, he flipped on the living room light and the gleam shone off of the one hundred gallon fish tank in the center of the room. Its blue glow reached for all the shadows the ceiling light couldn't reach. Dorian didn't watch TV. He didn't even own one. He watched fish. And he had over a dozen.

He peeled off his jacket and his shoulder holster and inspected the tank. “You eat anyone today, Gonzo?” The large blue gourami angled his golden eye in Dorian's direction and slowly eased behind the decorative driftwood stump.

A pair of cichlids peeked out of a tipped ceramic planter. “Bonnie and Clyde, how do you do?” Clyde flitted across the tank, gravel and freshwater moss quaking behind him.

The redtail sharks were the first to dart up to the surface when he dumped in a scoop of mixed fish food. The spotted pictus bade his time in the gravel, watching bits of detritus descend from the frenzy.

He watched the fish for some time before checking the pump and gauges. It would be time to cycle the water soon. Satisfied with the tank, he started unbuttoning his shirt and heading for the laundry room in the basement.

There wasn't much use for the basement except for the washer, dryer and a weight set. The bulk of the space was taken up by a huge chain link dog kennel, the aluminum posts set into the concrete. The original owner had bred hunting dogs. In the worst weather, they were brought in to the climate controlled basement. Chase had found bedding hay in odd places for months.

Now Belinda Fairfax owned the building. She rented out the left half and lived in the right. She had originally settled on the duplex arrangement so her ne'er-do-well son would always have a place to land. He married rich and she hadn't heard from him in years.

Dorian pulled his badge from his belt and was unzipping his pants when the image of Felix on his knees in front of him wormed back into his mind. He grumbled and stripped all of his clothes into the washer before heading back upstairs to the shower.

The cold water did nothing for the heat pooling in his loins.

“That kid will be the death of me,” he muttered to himself, his fingers descending to the length of his erection. He worked his thumb in lazy circles around the head. His eyes closed in concentration. He didn't even bother with the mental pretense of thinking about anything other than Felix.

Was he a virgin? Surely not. Not with a mouth like that. Virgins don't carry around leather collars looking for a master. Remembering the collar set Chase's hand on a rhythm. Felix was untouchable. Too young. Too naïve. But in the safety of his imagination, the pale submissive boy was stripped bare. On his knees. Face on the floor. Moaning as Dorian rode him hard.

Chapter Two

 By the morning, the events of the previous day had been gladly shoved back into the seedy corners of memory. So it was no small amount of alarm that Chase felt when Mandy announced “Felix Thompson is here to see you” the moment he walked in the door.

“You talk to him,” he blurted.

She put her hands up. “He flat out will not talk to me, Dorian.” She started to walk away.

Chase tailed her. “No, you don't understand, he can't be here.”

She turned and searched his face for a moment before throwing up her hands. “Jesus Christ, Dorian!” He shushed her, looking around for who might be in ear shot.

She pointed a finger in his face. “He's your problem now, cowboy. Maybe it'll teach you to stop giving out free samples.” He stared agape as she bustled away.

“It wasn't free!” he protested.

“Clearly!” she called back without slowing.

He grumbled and eyed the desk clerk until he went back to his papers.

Felix had been made to wait in the public conference room. Chase had no idea how long he'd been waiting. It was only eight AM, but the kid had his head lolled back, dead asleep. He made a point of slamming the door. The teen jumped and nearly fell out of the chair.

Chase hooked a thumb in the direction behind him. “You need to leave.”

Felix blinked, bleary eyed as he took in his surroundings. “What? Why?”

“You can't be stalking me at work, kid.”

“I'm not stalking you,” Felix snarled.

“How did you even get here?” The hotel Chase had put him up in was a good five miles away with little in the way of public transportation in between.

“I walked.”

Chase crossed his arms. “And you're not stalking me?”

There was a shadow of betrayal in the young man's pale features. “I just thought . . .” He shook his head and looked away. “Never mind. You don't owe me an explanation.” He grabbed his backpack limply.

Chase sighed. “Look, things got out of hand. I'm sorry. It was unprofessional and unethical. I like you, you're a nice kid. But I can't have you hanging around my work. If you want Mandy to help you out with some of those resources I'll get her for you.”

Felix shook his head and swallowed. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but closed his eyes, shook his head again and fell silent. He shouldered his backpack and walked out the door.

And Dorian felt like shit.

He managed to push Felix out of his mind most days. It was nights that were a bitch. It was becoming some sort of Pavlovian association. He'd get home, unzip his pants and that image would hit him like a ton of bricks. Felix on his knees, mouth wrapped firmly around rigid flesh. It was a routine. Work. Come home. Feed fish. Unzip. Jerk off to Felix's memory. Fall asleep guilty.

It wasn't even truly Felix's memory anymore. It took on a life of its own. He was a character in a fantasy out of control. Sucking. Fucking. Bondage. Humiliation. Things he never thought about before. Trying to distract himself with BDSM porn was an incredibly bad idea. It just gave him more to imagine.

Another week came to a close with the sun throwing ribbons of peach and fire across the sparse clouds in the sky. Chase was flipping through his mail on the way to his front door.

“Hey.”

A sudden unexpected voice in the direction of his front door made him jerk and reach for his firearm. It was half way out of the holster when he realized.

“Sweet fucking Jesus, Felix!” He threw his mail violently at the boy on his doorstep. “Don't sneak up on someone with a gun!”

Felix flinched and started picking up mail. “I didn't 'sneak up'. I was just sitting here.”

Startled adrenaline rolled straight into anger and amplified it. “What the fuck are you doing on my doorstep, Felix?”

The young man held out the collected mail, stammering; “I-I didn't know where else to go. You said not to bother you at work.”

Chase snatched the envelopes from him and shoved them in his jacket pocket, still half convinced that drawing his gun was a good idea. “How did you find out where I live?” He stepped forward, cornering him on the small patio. He had hoped to intimidate him into succinct answers, but the scene threatened to play out in his head like a cheap porn flick.

Felix swallowed, his back to the wall. “I watched your car. I mean . . . I narrowed it down.” Chase's expression darkened and Felix talked faster. “I saw which direction you car went after work and if I lost track I'd just wait where I last saw it the next day.”

Tense silence fell as Dorian processed.

“That is some serious stalker shit, Felix. Turn around.”

“W-what?” Felix's eyes widened.

Chase spun a finger in the air. “Turn around. I search all my stalkers. Hands on the wall.” He tried not to be swayed by how compliant the kid was. Even when he kicked his feet into a sprawl. “You have anything I need to know about?”

“No,” the teen replied, his voice small with an edge of panic.

Chase dug in his pockets and found his wallet, change and a burger coupon. “Stay right like that.” He reached for the blue back pack. Books. Clothes. Razor. Toothbrush. Shoes. He reached into the side pocket and froze when he felt the collar. He didn't take it out. Just feeling it was enough to make him dizzy. It was suddenly too hot outside in a suit jacket.

He unlocked the door. “Get inside.” He shoved Felix roughly by the shoulder and stepped in behind him, dropping the backpack just inside the door.

“Why are you here.” Felix was looking around, somewhat dazed. “Hey!” Chase snapped his fingers in his face. “I am all out of charity, kid. I'm looking for a compelling reason not to file for a protective order.”

Felix frowned. “I'm not dangerous.”

“That's what all the psychos say.”

“Dude, you're like twice my size and have a gun. What am I going to do? Show tunes?”

Dorian put his hands firmly on his hips, being sure aforementioned gun was visible. “Why.Are.You.Here.”

“My dad . . .” Felix started. The memory of the contempt on Mr. Thompson's face set Chase's hand into a fist. “I tried to go back. Home, I mean. I didn't have anywhere else.” He wrapped his arms around himself and shook his head. “He said if he sees me again, he'll have me committed. Says I'm crazy. That I need counseling.” His pale eyes searched Chase's face. “Can he do that?”

Dorian sighed and eased out of his jacket. “Maybe . . . yea. In your situation. If you had a job or something . . .” He hung up the jacket and dropped his arms to his sides. “You're homeless. He can make an argument for erratic behavior.” He shrugged. “I don't know. It's not really my area, kid. I do drug crimes.”

Felix stumbled to lean on the wall, his legs suddenly weak. “I'm fucked.” Tears suddenly welled in his eyes. “He'd rather I was dead than gay.”

Chase pulled him away from the wall. “Come sit down.” The teen slumped down onto the teal couch. “You hungry?”

Felix looked up, eyes wide, moist and thankful. “Yes.”

Dorian shook his head, passing through the entryway and into the kitchen. “You don't look like you can miss many meals, kid.”

“Limited options in a parking lot,” Felix muttered.

“I'm tired and wasn't expecting stalker company, chicken pot pie OK with you?”

“I decided to be a vegetarian.” Chase met his eyes in silent dismay. The teen smiled broadly. “I'm kidding. Yea. Whatever. I'd eat shoe leather at this point.”

Dorian did not just picture the pale teen in a leather gag, for the record. Never crossed his mind. He preheated the oven and took a deep breath.

“Alright, here's what's going to happen. You can stay here for the weekend.” Felix's eyes lit up. “But, first thing tomorrow and Sunday you're pounding the pavement looking for a job. First thing Monday you're going to talk to Mandy about housing services. Deal?” Felix nodded. “Do anything creepy and you'll spend the weekend hogtied in the bath tub.”

Felix's eyes narrowed. “Is that a punishment or a reward?”

Chase fought down a wave of interest and shook a finger at the teen. “You see, that? That's creepy.”

“That is not clarifying things for me.”

Chase sighed. It would be a long weekend.

“You like fish?” Felix tipped his head at the tank.

Chase set the timer for the pies he had just put in the oven and came into the living room. “Weird hobby, I know.”

Felix smiled, shaking his head. “Nah. I've never seen a tank like this though.”

Dorian settled on the couch. “It's aquascaping. You try to make the tank look like a natural landscape, just under water.”

“You did this?” He seemed genuinely interested.

Dorian smiled proudly. “Yea. You see what looks like an old tree? That's manzanita drift wood. The grass is moss. The path between those two cliffs is gravel.”

Felix was fixated, light from the aquarium playing over his skin. “What are the fish?”

The older man pulled his attention back to the aquarium, clearing his throat. “Well, uh...the tiny quick iridescent ones are neon tetra. The black ones with the red caudal fins are red tail sharks.”

Felix blinked. “Those tiny things are sharks?”

“Well, yes, but not like the sharks you think of. Two different groups. These are more closely related to goldfish than great whites.” Felix nodded. “The three orange ones with black fins are platies. The bright blue one with the orange fins is a loach. The silver spotted catfish down there is a pictus. His name is Carl.”

“You named a catfish Carl?”

“Don't hate on Carl. Carl got shit to do. He's a bottom feeder, so he helps keep the tank tidy. That big blue bastard back there with the large anal fin is Gonzo the gourami.”

“Tell me you did not just say 'large anal fin'.”

Chase huffed. “I can't help that's what its called. That group of iridescent spotted fish with the orange fins are danios. And those two striped fish in the ceramic pot are convict cichlids.”

The teen snorted. “Convict cichlids? You're a cop with convicted fish?”

Chase held a finger up. “I'm a detective. It's like a cop, but better. And they're called convicts because of the striping.”

“Detective. Uh-huh. What are their names?”

Chase scowled. “You'll laugh.”

“Probably.” He was already smiling.

“Bonnie and Clyde.” The laughter was loud and unabashed.

Chase stood up as the timer went off. “You keep giving my fish shit and I'll put you in with Gonzo. He keeps eating his friends.”

Felix pursed his lips for a moment. “All your fish are black, white, blue or orange.”

“So is my living room.”

The teen blinked and looked around. Teal blue sofa. Orange rug. Black coffee table.

“Dude, you matched your fish to your furniture? That is incredibly gay.”

“Are we still using 'gay' as a pejorative these days?” Chase grumbled, walking over with the two plates.

Felix took a plate gratefully. “Only when it applies.”

The older man sat on the floor, his back to the couch, a beer for him, a soda for Felix. The teen had already started devouring the pot pie.

“Seriously though, kid. How do you not have a single friend to stay with? You seem decent enough. Besides the whole stalker part.”

Felix gave him a look, his mouth full. “I'm naw a sthalker.” He swallowed. “I was home schooled. Parents didn't think there was 'enough god in classrooms'. Only people I ever knew were from church or the home school group.” He picked at his food somberly.

The detective shook his head in disbelief. “You're a pervert's wet dream.”

Felix nudged his knee. “Don't be so hard on yourself, dude.” It wasn't apparent whether the joke was lost on the older man, or he just didn't find it funny. Either way, the look Chase gave him was not amused.

He started pealing off the edge crust. “Do fish like bread?”

“Do you like poison?” Dorian replied.

Felix shifted his gaze away, then back. “Do wine coolers count?”

Dorian's nose curled. “Now that is gay. I do need to feed the fish, though.”

“Ooh, can I do it?”

Chase shrugged. “Sure. It's that bag over there. It has a scoop in it. Just sprinkle a full scoop over the top.”

“They all eat the same food?” Felix got up and peered into the bag.

“No. It's a mix I made, but I'm going to have to adjust it if Gonzo keeps eating his friends.”

A quiet moment fell while Felix carefully sprinkled the food in the water. His back was to Dorian, who took the opportunity to sweep his eyes over the lithe teen slowly. He started thinking this arrangement could be a very bad idea.

He didn't notice he was biting his lip. He also didn't notice Felix was watching him over his shoulder. Not until his eyes took a slow sweep back upward. He looked away immediately, nursing his beer with a frown.

“What's your first name?” The quiet question broke through the sounds of the burbling aquarium.

“Uh, what?”

Felix shrugged. “I only know you as 'Detective Chase'. And that much I had to get from Mandy.”

He cleared his throat. “Dorian.”

The boy considered this for a moment, then wrinkled his nose. “Doesn't suit you.”

Dorian laughed. “Oh? What does?”

“Chip.” He nearly spit his beer.

“Chip?? Chip Chase?! No more porn for you.”

Felix rolled a shoulder. “Don't watch any.”

Chase paused, the neck of his beer against his chin. “Uh-huh. Just decided on your own you wanted a leather daddy?”

The teen's eyes slid toward him. “Yes. I've always . . .” He looked back at the fish tank, color blooming in his cheeks. “I just didn't know what to call it. Or that there were other people like that. I just thought there was something wrong with me.” He swallowed. “Sometimes I thought maybe that's just what being gay did to people.”

Chase silently considered the kid's situation. Growing up gay alone. No one to talk to. Being constantly told that it's a perversion. Then throw in the kink. Wanting to be bound and fucked by a man probably wouldn't go over well at Sunday service.

He raised his beer ceremoniously. “You will be happy to know it's not just a gay thing. I have never had the desire to put on a collar and call someone 'master'.”

Felix sat next to him. “Well, duh. You're a dom, not a sub.”

Dorian eyed him sideways. “Am I, now?”

Felix swallowed, his tongue appearing to wet his lips. “Yea.”

He hummed in response, draining his beer. His heart jumped when he felt Felix's hand on his thigh and he snatched it by the wrist. There was a moment of internal struggle where he seriously deliberated between pushing it away or pulling it higher.

“Don't,” he breathed.

Felix was absolutely still, his arm limp in Dorian's hold. “Why not?”

“That's not why I'm letting you stay here.” He shoved the hand away.

“It could be,” Felix replied.

Dorian stood, creating distance before he did something stupid. Again.

“You don't even know me, kid.”

Felix leveled a look at him. “I'm not asking for a ring.” He met the larger man's eyes squarely. “I,” He swallowed. “I need you.” There was an awkward heartbeat of silence. “I mean . . . someone like you.”

“You need someone your age,” Chase replied, tired.

“Is someone my age going to have handcuffs and self control?”

“What makes you think I do?” Felix raised a brow and lowered his eyes to Chase's badge. “I meant self control,” he clarified.

Felix twitched a shoulder. “You haven't fucked me yet.”

Chase rolled his eyes. “You've been here for two hours. How did you even know I was gay?”

“Your cock in my mouth was a clue.”

Dorian rubbed his sinuses with a sigh. “I meant before that.”

“I didn't. I just . . .” His nervous shrug made an appearance. “Hoped.”

“Kid, don't take this the wrong way,” he paused in consideration. “Actually, no, take it however the fuck you want. You clearly have terrible judgment. A week ago you were throwing yourself at a sixty year old man with a dungeon, a bucket of Ecstasy and a personal collection of nubile young boys. Now you're just latching on to literally the first guy who gave you a sandwich. Even if I were interested in the complicated bullshit you're selling, I'd like to think it would take more than a sandwich to buy it.”

Felix only stared at him for a moment, his brows tented and eyes searching. When he looked away, his jaw was trembling.

Chase sighed and left the room for a moment, coming back with a blanket and pillow. He dropped them on the couch and flipped off the aquarium light.

“Get some sleep.”

He didn't let himself jerk off that night, even though he desperately wanted to. It would have been too much knowing Felix was in the next room, all but begging to be touched. He wouldn't be able to resist plowing him into the couch cushions. The kid was absolutely unhinged and riddled with baggage, but damned if Dorian didn't want him anyway. Somehow, that made it worse. No matter what he leveled at him, the kid kept coming back.

Would it be so bad to indulge? It's not like he was looking for something serious. He said so himself. He wanted someone to tie him down and fuck his brains out. Sure, that kind of arrangement came with its own drama and there was a level of responsibility on either side, but it was no more complicated than what most people called relationships.

No. It would be terrible to indulge. He was a fresh out of home school horny kid. Naïve, irresponsible and frankly kind of creepy with his persistence. A few quality fucks might cost him his job. And might set the dumb kid on a downward spiral. Not to mention his parents were trying to get him locked up. Dorian had been an idiot and gone to their house. They would recognize him. He told them he was gay. Stupid. Stupid.

He chastised himself to sleep.

Chapter Three

 The clock read seven a.m. when Dorian rolled over, blinking at it and rubbing his eyes. He yawned and stretched. His brain decided to remind him by way of sudden pulse jump that Felix was out on his couch. In his house. He made sure he had sweats and a tank top on before leaving the room.

It was Saturday. Never skip leg day.

When he went into the living room to turn on the aquarium light the couch was empty. The blanket was folded with the pillow on top of it, as if they had never moved. Felix was no where in sight. There was an unexpected hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach.

The hall bathroom door suddenly opened and he turned to see Felix step out. He was shirtless. His pants were hanging low on his hips, showing his bright blue trunks. His long, thin torso was wet and pale. He was drying his hair with a towel and had no idea he was being ogled.

“Morning,” Dorian said, voice headier than he wanted.

Felix pulled the towel off of his head, his sleek black hair a mess of wet locks. He blinked. “Morning.”

“I'm going to work out and shower, then we'll head out.”

Felix snorted. “I think you're done.” His eyes swept casually over Dorian's functional muscle.

Dorian shook his head. “It takes maintenance when you're older, kid. Will be about an hour.” He waved a dismissive hand. “Do whatever it is teenagers do these days.”

Felix arched a brow. “Touch myself?”

Chase stepped past him to the basement door. “I assume that's what the shower was for.”

“Yea but that was like ten whole minutes ago.”

Chase rolled his eyes and descended the stairs.

He poured sexual frustration into his sets until he was drenched with sweat, his muscles spasming. He hoped the rigor would drain him enough to keep his mind off of things.

All pretense of curbing the sexual tension was out the window when Chase came up to get a protein drink.

Felix was on the couch, panting audibly, his shirt hitched up, left hand roaming freely over his chest. He couldn't see the teen's right arm from his angle, but he could imagine what it was doing. The fact that the whole scene was obviously fake didn't stop him from imagining.

Dorian pressed as much indifference as he could muster into his voice as he walked by. “Don't get cum on my couch.”

Felix stopped the farce with a frown, yanking his shirt down. “You are a cold man, Dorian.”

Dorian shook the can of vanilla protein drink. “Are you done embarrassing yourself or should I walk by again?”

Felix stuck his tongue out and went back to the book in his lap.

“Why do you carry all those books around anyway?” Chase asked.

“I'm studying,” said Felix. “I want to go to college.”

The older man paused drinking. “Really? For what.”

“Archaeology.”

Chase snorted. “You're that desperate for a good bone?”

Felix slowly rolled his eyes toward him, his expression flat. “That was beneath you.”

“There has been more than that beneath me,” he quipped.

Felix looked off into the distance. “I am the most mature person in this room right now.” Chase had been about to speak, but Felix cut him off; “Shh . . . I'm basking in the moment.”

Chase dropped the empty can in the trash. “I'm taking a shower. We leave in fifteen.”

 

Felix was one of those people that most just genuinely liked. Most places were happy to let him fill out and turn in an application on the spot. The older women thought he was adorable. The older men saw a clean-cut, all-American kid. The girls flirted with him, though he was oblivious. He seemed to only have radar for men over twenty five. It was awkward to watch. Perhaps it was a result of never really having friends his own age.

“I just don't see why we have to eat in the car,” Felix complained, shoving an errant pickle back in his sandwich.

“You just applied for a job there. It wouldn't be professional to then sit there and stuff your face. Don't get sauce on my seats.” Chase frowned.

“How is it unprofessional to eat at a sandwich place? I'd be eating there if I worked there anyway. Is there something wrong with how I eat?” The teen crunched loudly on a chip, maintaining pointed eye contact.

The older man sighed. “You want them to remember you for how you asked for and returned the application. Not for the kid who sat there filling his face for thirty minutes.”

“Whatever,” Felix replied between bites. “There's no way they'll hire me anyway.”

Chase wadded up his empty sandwich paper, stuffing it back into the bag. “I don't know why you have this image of yourself as unemployable, kid. People obviously like you.”

Felix groped at his hands with a napkin. “That's before they actually start talking to me. You said so yourself, I'm a creepy stalker who blows people for sandwiches.” He rolled his head toward Chase and batted his eyes. “Thanks for the sandwich, by the way.”

Chase grimaced. “Keep the change.”

“I'm not a slut, for the record,” Felix muttered to the remains of his sandwich.

“Look, kid. What you do with who is your business.”

“I'm not!” he shot back, brows furrowed. “I never did anything like that before.” He turned his gaze out the window.

“Bullshit!” Chase barked. “You didn't get that technique from a PBS special.”

Felix looked back at him with wide eyes, his cheeks flushing crimson. “I,” his voice cracked, “don't know if that was an insult or a compliment.” He looked away again. “There was one time . . . outside a club, but it wasn't . . .” He shifted slightly. “Like that.”

Chase narrowed his eyes. “You trying to tell me that you lived with the creep we just arrested for child trafficking and he never touched you?”

Felix shrugged. “He wanted to. He tried to a couple times. I think he was afraid I would snitch if he pushed.”

“And you did,” Chase added.

The teen smiled. “Guess he was right, then.” He crumpled up the sandwich remains, shoving them into the bag.

“I just don't want you to have this image of me as some sort of harlot,” he said simply. Dorian made an effort not to fixate on how he wrapped his lips around his straw.

“The hell do you care what I think?” Dorian grumbled. “I'm just some guy.”

Felix's cheeks were slightly pink as he kept his eyes on the dashboard, but he said nothing.

“I forgot to feed my fish,” Dorian announced suddenly, as if it were an emergency. “You came out all wet and sassy and I fucking forgot.”

Felix put his seat belt on as Dorian started the car. “Wait, what? 'Wet and sassy'?”

“Gonzo better not eat anyone because of you.”

Gonzo had, thankfully, not eaten anyone.

Dorian fed the fish, checked the gauges and removed detritus as Felix watched.

“You're kind of crazy about the fish, dude.”

Chase didn't look up from the tank. “At least my fish don't spank me,dude.”

“Have you asked?” Felix taunted. “I've seen how Carl looks at you.”

Chase eyed the catfish suspiciously. “I knew he was gay.”

“That is one limp-wristed fish, sir.” Dorian arched a brow at the teen who was already turning red from the slip. “Habit,” Felix mumbled, looking away.

“There are worse habits to have,” Chase started, his attention back on the aquarium. “Like flirting with men twice your age.”

Felix scoffed. “You're not twice my age. You're like thirty or something.”

“Or something,” Chase replied. “Point stands, kid, you're barking up the wrong tree.”

“Then why do you flirt back?” Felix's voice was soft and sincere. The same tone that had set Dorian on him in the hotel room. Dorian couldn't decide if that was intentional or not, but it spoke to his reptilian brain all the same.

He set his jaw for a moment before replying. “Guess we all have bad habits. Speaking of,” He pointed accusingly at the crumpled towel tossed over the back of the couch. “There ain't no maid service here.”

Felix scrabbled to pick it up. “Sorry.” He came back from hanging up the towel, wringing his hands. “I can clean, if you want.” Dorian paused in picking up dishes and eyed him suspiciously. “For letting me stay here, I mean.”

“Pfft.” Dorian shoved the dishes into the teens arms. “Onward, gift horse.”

Felix scuttled away as Dorian's phone rang.

“Chase,” he answered.

Detective Barlet's voice came through. “You won't believe how much cocaine I'm looking at right now.”

“A metric fuckton?” Chase asked.

“Close. We stopped a stolen truck with a false bed headed into the metro. Packed to the rim, brazen as you like. Know what he got stopped for?”

“Road head?”

Bartlet hesitated. “No, but I like yours better. Tail light was out. We just pulled fifteen kilos of cocaine on a busted tail light. Meeting in an hour, conference to follow. Put on your big boy pants and come party.”

Chase let out a low whistle. “Give me fifteen.” He hung up and shoved his phone back in his pocket.

Felix gave him a curious look. “Road head?”

Chase chuckled. “Gotta go, kid. Duty calls.” He pulled his holster on over his t-shirt and checked the clip on his SIG Sauer P226. “No idea when I'll be back. Big case just hit. Don't steal anything.” He clipped his badge onto his belt.

“Dude, you just put on a gun. You don't have to tell me not to steal from you.”

Chase pulled his sport coat on. “All the same. If I'm not back by ten, feed the fish.”

“Yes, sir.”

Chase gave him a look, but Felix only smiled in return.

Once in the car, Chase slipped in his ear bud and rang the investigations desk.

“Criminal investigations, how may I direct your call?”

“Talk to me, Steve.”

There was a shuffle of paperwork. “Two Hispanic males driving a blue Ford F-150. Stopped on traffic at eleven fifteen AM for a broken tail light. Suspects both fled on foot.”

“They always do,” Chase remarked.

“Suspects were apprehended and taken into custody. Upon search of the vehicle, a false panel was revealed to contain what was suspected to be cocaine. During impound, the panel was dismantled and fifteen parcels, each weighing approximate one kilogram, were retrieved.”

“That's a shitton of coke, Steve.”

“I believe that is the technical term, Detective Chase. Lab confirmed parcels contained ben-benzoylmethl . . . ecgonine.”

Chase grinned. “I'm going to have to ask you to repeat that, I didn't catch it.”

“I'm afraid I have to ask you to bite me, Detective.”

“Ten minutes,” Chase quipped.

“My heart is aflutter.” Steve hung up.

The investigations room was chaos. The chief had been called in for the impending press conference and was being briefed while detectives and arresting officers chatted.

“That is a shitton of coke,” Chase repeated, watching two officers arrange the bricks on the table of the press room.

“Mm,” Bartlet hummed.

“Someone is coming up short this month,” Chase mused. “Think it was MS-13?”

“Guess we'll know if we start turning up a bunch of dead bangers.”

Chase grunted in agreement. The Salvadoran gang didn't take well to intercepted loads. It wasn't unusual for there to be a trail of bodies following a dead shipment.

“Who's interviewing the mules?” Chase glanced back into the CID room to see who was unaccounted for.

Bartlet tipped his head. “Caceda and Hernandez.”

Chase scoffed. “Hernandez couldn't interview a taco truck. I need to learn Spanish. That's where all the fun is at.”

Hernandez and Caceda both generally worked homicide, but given that they were the only two native Spanish speakers, they ended up supplementing a lot of cases.

“Caceda and her twins will have them talking.” Bartlet gestured in front of his chest.

“You're a dirty man, Harry.”

Bartlet's dark eyes gleamed. “Everyone knows it.” He nudged Chase with his elbow. “You tagged Smith yet?”

Chase shot him a look of horror. “Mandy? God, no. What the hell, man.”

Bartlet huffed, rubbing his knuckle under his ruddy nose. “Everyone thinks you're an item.” They watched the conference room begin to fill.

“We're friends. You know it's possible to be friends with women, right?”

“Sure. If you're gay.” He barked with laughter and clapped Chase on the shoulder with a massive paw.

“That's me,” Chase said flatly. “Big ol' queer.” Bartlet only laughed harder.

 

The press conference had been the usual circus of blame and bravado. No, this isn't indicative of a sudden crime wave. Yes, our best and brightest are on the case. Yes, of course this is a big win for the “war on drugs”. What do you mean it's an ineffective waste of tax money?

Bartlet was the face of CID for the cameras. The portly detective worked robberies for the most part, but Chase did his best to stay out of press conferences. You didn't want your face out there if you were vice.

Aside from meetings and conferences, paperwork was still biggest time sink in law enforcement. And you need a lot of paperwork for fifteen kilos of cocaine. It was after midnight when Chase finally got home.

Felix was asleep on the couch and didn't stir when Chase came in. Shadows of fish passed over his face as street light shone through the tank from the window. His lips were parted, his hands curled under his chin like a child. Wisps of black hair trembled against his forehead, stirred by the ceiling fan.

Dorian watched him for too long. He pulled his eyes away and shuffled to bed.

Light poured through the blinds. It was that incredibly annoying mark of mid-morning that the sun was in just the right position to shoot a precise beam through the blinds and straight across Dorian's pillow.

He groaned and squinted at the clock. 8 am. He groaned again and slid out of bed. He was half way to the kitchen when he remembered Felix was there. And that he was in nothing but flannel pajama bottoms.

“Hi.” The teen leaned out from the kitchen as he heard him coming. He stared long enough for Chase to shuffle the rest of the way to the kitchen. “I m—”

Chase made the hand gesture of a mouth closing. “Shhh . . . coffee.”

“—made coffee,” Felix finished. “And pancakes!”

Chase narrowed his eyes with suspicion and sniffed in the direction of the coffee pot. “What coffee did you use?”

“Um. The black tin in the freezer?”

Chase deepened his glare for a moment. “You may live.”

It wasn't until he had poured a cup of coffee with sugar that he realized how clean the kitchen was. He looked around in confusion and turned in a circle.

“Is this my kitchen? It looks kind of like my kitchen. But my kitchen smells funny and doesn't have pancakes.”

Felix set a plate of said pancakes on the breakfast bar with a fork. “The smell was a three-year-old beer can that popped in the cabinet.”

Chase tipped his head back in sudden realization. “Ahh.” He considered the pancakes with a frown. “I don't have pancake mix.”

Felix laughed. “You had flour, baking powder, milk and eggs. That's all you really need.”

“You cook and clean, too? Goddammit.” Dorian sighed.

The young man beamed. “Maybe you should keep me.”

Dorian drenched the pancakes in syrup. “My lease doesn't allow pets.”

“They'll never know. I'm hypoallergenic.”

Dorian gestured through a mouth-full of pancake. “Landlord lives next door.”

Felix blinked. “Well, that must be awkward when you bring dates home.”

“Luckily, she's deaf.”

Felix's eyes widened. “Dude. You could have so much wild sex up in here.”

The older man scoffed, downing another fork full of pancake. “I doubt this place has seen wild sex since the Clinton administration.”

Felix splayed his hand across his chest. “Please tell me you just moved in. You are not going to sit there shirtless and say that to me.”

Chase glanced down. “I could put on a shirt?”

Felix tossed the hand towel he was holding in exasperation.

“I hate to break it to you, kid, but when you grow up you have to go to work and pay bills. You don't have time to stalk people twice your age.”

“Oh.My.God. You are not twice my age.”

“Only three years short,” Chase muttered.

“Oh, no! You're thirty-three! Call the police!” Felix flailed his hands.

“You're less tolerable when I'm less clothed.” Chase pushed away the empty plate and stood.

“Then we're clearly doing it wrong.”

Chase snorted. “Get ready to leave.”

Round two of job applications wasn't going well. Felix had some sort of excuse for half the places they went and subsequently refused to leave the car.

“This is your last night at my place whether you find a job or not, kid.”

“Why?” Felix asked with a pout.

Chase sighed. “Because I said so, and my word is law, young man.” He shook his finger at him.

“I can dig role play if that's your thing,” Felix responded.

Dorian let his forehead drop on the steering wheel, rolling his head side to side in disapproving frustration. “A lesser man would have crippled you by now, kid.”

“See?” Felix grinned. “I told you you had self-control.”

There was a sudden silent tension in Chase, his eyes fixed at a point out the windshield. Felix followed his gaze to two men in their early twenties, standing close on the side of the convenience store.

Chase nodded his head in their direction. “Just as well you didn't apply here. The one in the red hat just bought a dime bag.”

“Uh,” Felix looked between Chase and the apparent drug deal. “Are you going to tackle them or something?”

“Nope.” Chase replied, pulling his radio out of his cup holder. “625, be advised, I have a 1031 hand off at 2405 East Terrant and Winding Way.” He proceeded to describe the two males to dispatch.

“10-4, 625, 831 en route.” Chase clicked off the radio and started his car.

“You're just going to leave?” Felix asked.

“Yup. 831 is Shaw's badge number. I really don't need him seeing you with me. Pretty sure he suspects I'm gay.”

Felix stared at him as he pulled away from the convenience store. “You're . . . not out?”

“Hell no,” Chase said. “In what world do you see that going well in your mind? I had to do my time as a beat cop, just like everyone else.”

“What does that matter?” Felix scowled.

“You have to be able to trust everyone you work with in this job. Guys can't be worried about me checking out their ass while we're chasing a suspect, no matter how stupid that sounds. Cops can't have their minds on anything but the job. The day they think I'm eyeing them out in the locker room is the day my backup takes just a little too long and I end up in a bag.”

“That's insane.”

Chase wrung the steering wheel. It wasn't something he let himself think about often. “It's how it is.”

“They'd just let you die?” Felix's expression was that fleeting look of social betrayal. Most people only get a few of those looks before it's not a surprise anymore.

Dorian shrugged uncomfortably. “I don't know now. In the beginning, yea. Fresh out of the academy, some of them would have put a bullet in me themselves. It's not just me. Everyone has secrets, kid. Cops just know theirs could get people killed, so we keep them to ourselves.”

No one knows?” Felix implored earnestly.

Dorian chewed his cheek. “Mandy.”

Felix winced. “Does she ask you for shoe advice and take you on spa dates?”

“No,” Dorian laughed. “Mostly just makes concerned looks at me. And tells me to stay away from people like you.”

“People like me?” Felix flattened his hand on his chest questioningly.

“Yea. The young, vulnerable, good-looking male kind.”

Felix flushed and looked away, the corners of his mouth betraying a smile.

Chase parked in front of a coffee shop. “She'd probably punch me square in the dick if she knew I was doing this.” Chase shoved the slight teen by the shoulder. “Go get a job, you hippy.”

Three stops later, hunger called a close to the hunt.

“One of these days, you're going to treat me to a proper meal.” Felix unwrapped the burger in his lap. “One with chairs.”

Chase stuffed fries in his mouth and watched people traverse the parking lot. “You are incredibly high maintenance. Next you'll be asking for respect or something.”

“Heaven forfend!” Felix gasped.

“So,” Dorian started. “Do you need anything? Before you're out of my hair for good, I mean.” Felix gave him a puzzled look and the older man shrugged. “It didn't seem like you had much for clothes. You need to make a good impression at interviews.”

Felix's eyes softened and he smiled gently. “You're a nice guy, Dorian.”

Chase scoffed and shifted in his seat, looking out the window. Felix's expression turned solemn and he shook his head.

“I know you didn't need to do any of this. And that you think I'm weird.”

Dorian sighed. “I don't think you're weird. I think you're . . . confused.”

Felix's nostrils flared. “I'm not confused. I spent most of my life confused, I know what it feels like. For the first time, I'm not.”

“I hate to sound like a goddamn cliché,” Chase began, “but none of this will matter to you in five years. You'll look back and just cringe at the shit you did. Unless you keep doing this stupid shit you're doing, then you may not be around to cringe in hindsight. Or you'll be too fucked up to care. I don't think you're weird. Hell, I even like you. I'm just trying to make sure you have the chance to regret being a dumb teenager.”

Felix rolled his eyes. “You make it sound like I'm snorting crack off of gay bears in bath houses.”

Dorian rubbed his sinuses. “You smoke crack. You snort coke. And this is what I mean. You're smart, but you know just enough about the world to get into some serious trouble. Do you have any idea the kind of people who look for kids like you? They make James Hawthorne look like Hugh Hefner. You'll spend years locked in a basement, drugged out of your mind while faceless creeps run a never ending train on you. And when they've completely wrecked your body and you cost more to feed than you make sucking off strangers, they'll leave you half starved in a ditch and you'll live out the rest of your days incoherent, shitting in diapers.”

Felix set his jaw and kept his eyes fixed out the car window. Chase shook his head and drove home.

It was early evening when Hernandez called him out to the bar. They had gotten a name out of the coke mules, which was nearly unprecedented. CID was celebrating.

Dorian did a once over in the hall mirror. The jeans hugged all the right places. The black button-up was slim enough to be fashionable without edging into awkwardly sexual. His dark blonde hair was combed back neatly. He pretended not to notice that Felix's book had lost his attention.

“Feet off the table.” Chase pointed at him. “I'll be back later. Feed the fish by ten.”

Felix frowned. “How do they eat when I'm not here?”

Chase slipped on his shoes. “They are fine missing a meal or two, but youarehere, so feed them. And get to sleep at a reasonable hour. I'm dropping you off with Mandy in the morning.”

A genuine pout settled into the young man's features. “Will I see you again?”

Dorian sighed. “I'll be back later.” He was out the door before those puppy eyes could pile on any more guilt.

The celebration went how it always did. Mostly Chase sat at the bar with a scotch, watching with detached amusement. It was a bunch of overworked law enforcement, drunk, riled up and with too much to prove. Hernandez had already tried to pick a fight with some jock and the unspoken rule was when one of your boys jumped, you all jumped. Didn't matter if he was wrong. That's just how it was. The jock's friends were keen enough to see badges and drag him out the door.

Meanwhile, the only way the new fish could have been trying harder to get into Caceda's pants is if he had brought the jaws of life. He'd probably get there, eventually. He wasn't a bad looking guy, and he wasn't the first. It's not like she was Criminal Investigations' communal bicycle or anything. She just wasn't squeamish about getting involved when the mood hit.

Chase had pegged the new fish, David Spenser, as a closet case. He sniffed around anything with tits. Anyone who tried that hard didn't really have their heart in it. It didn't stop him from sleeping with whatever woman would have him, but it apparently left him unfulfilled and he was right back at it as soon as possible. Chase had seriously considered some light poking at the rookie's sexuality. Just to send him into a tail spin, but it wasn't worth the risk. Last thing he needed was some pumped up newbie with something to prove finding out he was gay.

It was the third song when Caceda decided she had enough of Spenser's brazen hands and cut off the dance.

She flopped down at the bar next to Chase and gave him an exasperated look. “Didn't feel like rescuing me?”

Chase glanced over at Spenser across the room. “Nah, you can take him.”

Her deep red lips revealed gleaming white teeth in a wolfish grin. “I think that's what he has in mind.”

She combed her fingers through her rich chocolate tresses. “What's your drink?”

He tipped the nearly drained tumbler of amber liquid. “Scotch.”

She flagged down the bartender and ordered two.

“This isn't a celebration, you know.” She sipped the drink, large dark eyes peering over the rim.

“Oh?” Chase asked, tipping back his glass.

“Hernandez got a name out of one of the guys, but it's complete bullshit.” Her petite nose curled as she took another drink.

“How so?” Chase turned toward her with interest.

She squinted into the distance, shaking her head slightly. “It was too clean, you know? Neither of them had any tattoos. No records. And they just drop the name of some minor MS pusher.”

“They've used clean runners before,” Chase remarked.

“Not like this. As soon as they transfer them to county, they're dead, Chase. Then we'll actually start looking. And it won't matter.”

She drained the glass, grabbed his arm then pulled. “Dance with me.”

“That is an incredibly bad idea. Have you seen me dance?”

She pulled him onto the small dance floor. “I'm not keeping score. I'm just tired of Spenser's hands on my ass.” She pressed close and pulled his arm around her. “And we've never danced.”

“You'll have to settle for hands on your waist, then.” They began stepping in tune, muscle memory drifting them across the floor.

“No one likes a gentleman, Chase.” She settled her head against his chest, fruity scented shampoo tickling his nose. “Should I be offended that we've never danced?”

Chase swallowed thickly. “No. You're just . . . not really my type.”

He felt her cheek tighten into a smile. “Only date white girls?”

“Nah,” he replied. “I just don't like knowing you can kick my ass. I saw how you put down Bartlet in defensive tactics.”

Her laughter was rich as she leaned away from his chest, her dark eyes gleaming. “Some guys like a challenge.”

“I'm afraid I'm just not enough man for you, Caceda,” he sighed.

She grinned and leaned to kiss his cheek chastely as the song ended. “I won't tell anyone.”

It was only midnight when Hernandez made good on his attempts to start a fist fight. The very short lived brawl ended with them all various degrees of drunk on the curb. The others, determined to party on, shuffled down the street to another bar as Chase called a cab home.

 

Felix was still awake when he came through the door.

Chase frowned, pointing as he kicked off his shoes. “You're supposed to be asleep.”

Felix closed his book. “Couldn't sleep. Have fun?”

Chase unbuttoned his shirt down to a white tank top. “Hernandez punched a guy in the armpit.” He squinted at the teen. “The armpit. Who does that?”

Felix arched a brow with a slight smile. “Are you drunk?”

“I invoke my fifth amendment rights and decline to answer that question without my lawyer present.”

He held up a finger. “But! I think Caceda was right. I think this case is going to be a goat screw.”

“Caceda?” Felix asked.

Chase flapped his hand dismissively. “The lady with the legs. Doesn't matter.” He flopped down on the couch next to him. “Point is, she's right. No way MS ran fifteen kilos of coke on the rep of a nobody. They're too careful ever since the Latin Kings tried taking them out.” His eyes widened and he stared into space. “What if it was the Colombians?”

Felix only watched him for a moment. “You are really talkative when you're drunk.”

He turned and pressed his finger to the tip of Felix's nose. “I'm not drunk. You can tell because I'm not slurring or having gross motor impairment. I'm just buzzed.”

The teen reached up and pulled Chase's hand down. “You're talkative when you're buzzed, then. 'The lady with the legs'?”

Chase sighed, rolling his head back. “We just danced. But it's OK, because she thinks I only like white girls.”

“Danced?” Felix asked, a hint of accusation in his voice. “Isn't that kind of . . . intimate?”

Dorian glanced over to gauge whether or not he was serious. When he determined he was, he laughed. “It's just dancing.”

“I've never danced with anyone,” Felix muttered. “It just looks . . .” He shrugged.

Dorian scoffed and stood up, half dragging Felix with him. “I'll show you.” He pulled him into the space in the hall. “We're pretending you're the woman because it's funnier that way.” He flopped the teen's hand on his shoulder. “Other hand over here. And now we shuffle around and act like this is fun. Left, right.”

Felix looked down at their feet, concentrating. “This is it? Why do people do this?”

Dorian shrugged. “Hetero mating ritual. People get closer, or use fancier moves, but this is basically it.”

“How do you not just step all over each other closer?” The younger man gasped softly as Dorian shifted his palm to the flat of his back and pulled him in.

“Like this.” They continued the slow circle, stomach to stomach. “Same thing, just smaller steps.”

Felix couldn't quite rest his chin on the taller man's shoulder, so he pressed his forehead there instead, presumably watching their feet. His hair smelled like spring and Dorian found himself turning his face toward him and breathing deeply.

The dance stopped abruptly when he felt Felix's finger tips skirting the outside of his thigh.

“Felix.” His voice was a low, leonine warning.

He felt the boy's breath against his chest shorten. The fingertips inched inward. He put his hand flat against the teen's chest, shoving him away and into the wall behind him. There was a hitch in his breath, but his hand never moved.

“What are you doing.” He felt Felix's heart quicken under his palm. The boy's face was bright with color, the flush spreading through his neck and pale collar bones.

“Whatever you want.” His thumb brushed against Dorian's crotch. “Sir.”

Dorian caught him by the wrist, dragging both his arms above his head and pinning them against the wall with one hand. Felix positively mewled with the action, his body a tight arc toward the larger man. Dorian stilled his hips with his free hand, pushing them back against the wall.

Please,” Felix whispered.

The slight teen's eyes were dark and shining. His chest rising in ragged, heavy breaths. His shirt was hitched up, hip bones jutting starkly between its hem and the top of his underwear. Dark, soft hairs formed a line down from his belly button, thickening until they disappeared into his trunks. The outline of his erection strained against thick fabric, a dark stain of anticipation soaking through the crotch of his jeans.

“Jesus Christ,” Dorian muttered, drinking in the sight. “We're both going to regret this.”

Felix's eyes widened.

“Turn around.” Dorian's voice was firm and the teen tripped over himself to comply.

Dorian nudged his feet into a splay and pushed him forward by the shoulders. Lack of balance forced Felix to put his palms flat on the wall. The familiar terry-frisk position sent a bolt of excitement through Dorian. He gripped the boy's hips and pressed his body into the teen's back. Felix shuddered in response, rolling his hips back and panting.

“Touch yourself,” Dorian whispered into the younger man's ear.

Felix immediately pulled a hand from the wall and begun fumbling with his belt.

Dorian grabbed his wrist. “No.” He nudged the hand downward. “Through your jeans. I don't want your spunk on my wall.”

The older man figured it would be some time due to the caveat, but the teen's breath was ragged and broken within a couple minutes, his exhales melting into quiet moans. Dorian waited until Felix took a sharp breath and then abruptly snatched his hand away. A moan turned into a frustrated whimper as he rocked out what had to have been an incredibly disappointing orgasm.

Dorian waited until his quivers subsided and leaned back to Felix's ear. “I didn't tell you to cum.”

He stuttered on what might have been an attempt at an apology, but Dorian had already released him and walked away.

He let himself casually slump onto the couch, knowing Felix was watching him. He slid his hips forward and unzipped his pants. The Pavlovian image played in his head, but he didn't need it.

“Care to make it up to me?” He looked at Felix over his shoulder.

And then he was there. And it was real. Felix on his knees on the floor, his mouth working Dorian's length with desperation. His head rolled back, fingers tangled in thick black hair, an orchestra of Felix's muffled moans and the bubbling aquarium playing in his ears.

Chapter Four

 The headache throbbed in time with the alarm. Dorian slapped in the general direction of the noise until it stopped.

His eyes flew open as the events of the previous night came back to him in a rush. His stomach did a flip and then promptly sank when he remembered it was Monday. He was supposed to hand Felix off to Mandy. The thought of never seeing him again did unexpected things to Dorian's emotions.

No, he grumbled to himself. The kid had to go. This was getting too personal and too complicated.

Nevertheless, he found reasons to take his time.

Unfortunately ready, Dorian went into the living room and found Felix where he had left him, asleep on the couch. His face was lax, lips parted, pale skin absent of the flush Dorian had become used to.

He jumped when his phone suddenly rang.

“Chase,” he answered, barely above a whisper. Felix stirred.

“Good morning! This is Terrance Phillips with 'Wich World. I'm trying to get a hold of Felix Thompson regarding his job application?” Dorian had completely forgotten about letting the teen use his phone number for applications.

He was looking down at Felix when the young man gave him a bleary eyed smile.

“Hello?” The voice on the phone pulled Dorian back.

“You have the wrong number.” He hung up abruptly.

He tipped his chin at Felix. “Go back to sleep.”

“Nn,” was his only response, one of his arms flopping off of the couch as his eyes fluttered closed.

Dorian watched him for a moment longer, his pulse thrumming in his ears. It took no small amount of will power to pull on his sport coat and walk out the door alone.

The conference room table was a war zone. Someone had brought in doughnuts. Chase triumphantly made it out with a doughnut in each hand. This sadly left him without coffee, but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

“Alright, what's the name?” Mandy leaned her hip on his desk as he sat down.

He looked at her obliquely. “Who?”

“Whoever it is you slept with last night.” She slid a cup of coffee toward him with a smile.

Chase paused chewing a mouthful of doughnut. “I didn't thleep wif anyone.” He swallowed. “I went home alone last night. I have witnesses. Why the hell do you think I slept with someone?”

She crossed her arms. “You have a walk.”

“What?” He drew out the vowel. “Maybe I'm just happy? Fifteen kilos of coke makes everyone happy.”

She shook her head, short hair tumbling. “That is not your happy case walk. I see your happy case walk way more often.”

“Oh, I have a happy case walk too?” He arched a brow at her.

“Your case walk is like this.” She pulled her chest up, hips rigid as she strode from Chase's desk to Bartlet's. “And this is your slept with someone walk.” She loosened her hips and took wide steps back to his desk.

“There is no way I walk like that. Those both look like stages of rectal prolapse.”

“You would know,” she replied.

He dropped his forehead into his palm. “I'm never telling you secrets again.”

You didn't. Jose Quervo told me many things.”

“Damn you, Jose,” Chase muttered.

Bartlet came around the corner into the wide hall that pretended to be an office. “Meeting is on.”

Caceda caught up to Mandy and Chase on the way. She shoved a print out at him. “This is the guy they're trying to pin the shipment on.”

Chase took the booking sheet with a frown. Petty theft. Assault. Minor drug charge. Enough to be believable, but small game for someone hustling coke.

“Did you get laid?” Caceda asked.

Chase snatched the paper down by his side. “Oh my god, why do you people think I got laid?”

She shrugged. “You have a walk.” Mandy nodded on Chase's other side.

“I do not have a walk!” Chase exclaimed. “This is a conspiracy. Like this.” He shook the booking paper at them. “A conspiracy!”

The meeting was the usual fare; related arrests from the previous shift, warrants, case updates. The cocaine deal inevitably came up in the form of Sergeant Cagg mostly congratulating himself.

Chase interrupted with a shake of the booking sheet. “Does anyone other than Caceda think this stinks?” She gave him a thankful look. It was no coincidence that she hit him with it before the meeting. Cagg didn't have a sparkling history of listening to females.

“Please, Detective Chase,” Cagg gestured with both hands, “speak your mind.” Anyone who knew the Sergeant knew that was tantamount to 'please, hang yourself'.

“A truck load of coke on a twenty-five-year-old banger? Come on, none of us are that stupid.” The eyes in the room split evenly between Hernandez and Cagg.

“Watch out, everyone. Chase doesn't think the drug dealer is a drug dealer.” Hernandez scoffed. The goose egg on his cheek from the night before was a purple blemish on his deep orange skin.

“Man, you punched someone in thearmpit, some scrutiny is warranted,” Chase returned. Hernandez worked his jaw and took visual stock of who laughed.

“I'm just saying, rolling over on this red herring is going to bite us in the ass.”

Cagg smiled tightly. “Tell you what, Chase. You can go interview the suspects. We'll hire you a pretty translator. When you turn up something better, we'll throw you a party. I'm sure Caceda will give you a special present for being her knight in shining armor.”

Caceda bowed her head, jaw locked, nostrils flaring. She was silent.

Chase was sorely tempted not to let it go. He may have had a chance if it were only the three of them, but the room full of detectives would come piling down on him. It didn't matter if Cagg was out of line. Like Hernandez at the bar, when the Sergeant said jump, everyone put in both feet.

Chase seethed and said nothing.

He was three hours deep into paperwork when Shaw rapped on his desk.

“Good news for you, my man. Just got the word that Hawthorne rolled over on your MDMA supplier.”

Chase happily looked away from his monitor. “You're shitting me?”

Shaw hooked his thumbs in his gun belt. “They gave him a deal. Shit makes me sick, but that's the game. File should be over in a minute. Let me know if you need an escort on a shake down. Would help me sleep better if I saw someone go down for this shit.”

“You'll be the first to know if I need someone punched in the mouth.”

Thanks to Shaw, Chase got to end his day on the happy note of building a file on the supplier. Though his stomach kept doing little unexpected flips the closer he got to going home.

Would Felix still be there? Of course he would. Where else would he go? Much less after last night. Last night . . . what was last night? He kept waiting for the pangs of regret and guilt, but they never came. What the hell did that mean? What now? He couldn't just let the kid stay . . . could he? What would happen if he did? Maybe a whole lot of the same.

He nearly ran a red light unpacking the thought.

The house was clean. Not just the clean you can see, the clean you can smell. Light switches had been wiped down, fixtures dusted. The wood panel floors had been swept and mopped, the rugs beaten and laid down again with precision. There was no longer a cobweb in the left corner of the living room that Chase had begun to think of as part of the floor plan.

It's not like Chase was a messy person, he just had little time or care for maintenance. The fish tank was always kept pristine, and that's all that mattered to him. Who cared if the light bulbs were dusty? Felix did, apparently.

“What happened to Charles?” Chase asked. Felix had initially been on his way to greet him at the entryway, but stopped in confusion.

“Who?”

“Charles. Dark brown. Eight legs. Lived over there.” Chase gestured to the corner.

Felix looked and frowned. “Charles was removed from the lease.”

“Bon voyage, Charles.” Chase said wistfully, shrugging out of his coat.

He caught Felix's eyes tracking down toward his badge. “Don't tell me you're a badge bunny now too,” he remarked.

The teen turned away in an attempt to hide the start of a smile. “It's not the badge.” Chase rechecked and remembered his hand cuff case snapped on between his belt and gun holster, just behind his badge.

“Ah . . . they're really not that comfortable.”

Felix passed him into the kitchen, the start of a blush on his cheeks. “They're not supposed to be. That's kind of the point.”

Chase frowned as the slight boy dug around in the refrigerator. “Don't tell me you're into pain.”

“Not for it's own sake,” Felix murmured as he pulled out ingredients. “But if it happens in the course of events . . .” He shrugged.

Chase eyed the miscellany on the counter. “What are you doing?”

“Making some sort of chicken and rice thing. You don't have much else.”

“I don't eat at home much.” He watched the lithe youth move about the kitchen with confidence. “You going to do this every day?”

The depth of the question was not lost on Felix and for a moment he looked at Dorian with a flash of giddiness. “If you want me to.”

He mussed his hair and tried to look disinterested. “Just seems like a lot of work.”

“I don't mind. Gives me something to do. It's incredibly boring here with no TV and your laptop has a fingerprint scanner.”

Dorian almost shot back a comment about getting a job, but decided not to. The thought of the dark haired boy sticking around set a comfortable warmth in his belly. He tried not to analyze that too much. Besides, the money he would save on take-out would more than cover Felix's upkeep.

“So,” Felix started. “What do you actually do all day?”

Dorian grunted. “Paperwork. Some times it's digital!”

“You don't do under cover drug deals and speed around in a black Ferrari?”

Dorian scoffed. “I haven't done anything 'under cover' in a year. And I don't own a single white linen suit. I also doubt my Fiat is going to be speeding around anywhere. Aren't you a little young for that reference, anyway?”

I actually had a TV at home.”

“I don't have time for TV,” Dorian muttered. “I save lives!”

“I thought you did paperwork?” Felix smiled.

“Never underestimate the power of paperwork.”

Dorian and Felix ate at the coffee table, watching the fish tank. Neither of them brought up the night before, as if it were a fragile thing that could be shattered with a whisper.

“Do you ever take that thing off?” Felix tipped his head at the red leather shoulder rig.

Dorian pushed away his empty plate and shrugged. “Usually not until I take the shirt off. Why?”

“It's distracting,” Felix said around his last fork-full.

“Because of the handcuffs?”

“And the leather,” Felix added, making a point to fixate on his plate. “And it looks ridiculously good on you.” Dorian laughed. The teen glanced at the gun. “Isn't it dangerous, anyway?”

“The sig? No. It's locked in the holster and the trigger is shielded.”

A crease formed between Felix's eyebrows. “What if it falls out?”

“It won't,” Dorian answered simply. “Even if it could, it's a DAO trigger, so it's drop safe. But it won't because it's a double retention holster. It's locked in there. Someone wouldn't even be able to get it from me without a lot of trouble.” The younger man eyed the device with interest. “Here.” Dorian made a point of blocking Felix's view of the action as he pulled the fire arm out of the holster. He dropped the clip and cleared the chamber before returning it to the holster. “Try to get it.”

Felix eyed him warily. “You're not going to go all police brutality on me, right?” Dorian merely gestured to the gun as a challenge and leaned back on the couch. “OK,” Felix said, rubbing his hands together.

He stood in front of Dorian and eyed the holster for a moment. The strap securing the hammer was obvious, though the snap for it was close to Dorian's ribs. Seemingly satisfied with whatever method he thought would work, he closed his hand on the grip of the gun. It took him a second to unsnap the strap and the rest was just useless tugging.

“You glued it in there.” Felix frowned.

Dorian laughed. “Look.” He re-snapped the strap. “I draw right handed.” He reached across his torso, gripping the butt of the gun. “Unsnap with my thumb, then I have to lift and angle it this way.” The gun smoothly came free.

“That doesn't take too long? I mean, if people are shooting at you or something.”

“Nope.” Dorian returned the gun to the holster, re-snapped and then drew it smoothly in a fraction of a second. “You train enough and it becomes instinct. But it's designed to be easy for me and a pain in the ass for anyone else. Try again, now that you know how it works.”

Felix grinned smugly. It took him two whole seconds to unsnap and lift against the first lock. He was attempting the twist when Dorian trapped his hand with his arm.

“That's not fair,” Felix complained.

“You think I'm just going to sit here while someone tries to get my gun? I gave you three seconds.”

“Someone could still hit you.” Felix made a show of waving with his free hand.

“And I could break their arm.” Dorian tapped Felix's elbow that was locked against his palm. He pressed, straightening the arm in demonstration and Felix's eyes widened as he went up on his toes. Dorian suppressed a grin. “Or I could do this.” He reached forward with his free arm, hooked his hand behind Felix's left knee and pulled. The teen gasped as he stumbled into the older man's lap.

Felix stared at him for a moment, a slow burn building in his face. “I don't think this would be a good idea with a criminal,” he muttered.

“Well,” Dorian began, dragging Felix closer by the backs of both knees, “good thing you're not a criminal.”

It was the first time Dorian had kissed him in earnest, and he made it count. There was softness and wet heat. Lips and tongue gliding, teeth grazing, breath mingling. Fingers trailing down the boy's spine.

The kid had no sense of pacing. He was already grinding his hips down against Dorian. His movements were erratic, unskilled and impatient.

Dorian was surprised at his lack of annoyance. Instead, he found himself rather excited about the prospect of being able to teach the teen exactly what he wanted out of him.

Training starts now, Dorian decided.

He broke from the kiss and trailed lips and teeth down Felix's jaw line, hands slipping under his shirt, fingers raking down his back. When his hands reached Felix's pants, he gripped the boy's belt, pushing down and back. The action stilled Felix's hips with a whimper.

Dorian began bucking softly up against him, using his leverage on his belt to rock him with the motion. It only took a few seconds for the teen to start rolling with the rhythm independently. The angle caused the strain in their pants to drag against each other with each movement.

Felix's head dropped forward, his eyes closed. Dorian mouthed the curve of his throat, the boy's quiet moans a deep vibration against his lips. It was only a few moments of this before Felix wanted more and started peeling his shirt off.

The older man waited until Felix's arms were over his head, his shirt hitched up to his shoulders before he took hold of his arms and stopped him. Only his chin and mouth were visible, the rest of his head was lost in the folds of his shirt. He was panting. The older man smiled to himself, leaned forward and brushed his lips against Felix's. The teen immediately ducked in to deepen the kiss, but Dorian had already pulled back. He had only begun a mewl of disappointment when the sudden crush of the larger man's mouth molded it into a moan.

Satisfied that his point was made, Dorian pulled the shirt the rest of the way over Felix's head and was met with needy eyes, framed with dark lashes. The resistance had long gone out of the boy's limbs and he easily shifted them behind his back. He pulled the teen's shirt down the length of his arms, but stopped at his wrists. All it took was grabbing the fabric between his wrists and twisting to trap his hands.

Felix squirmed, obviously not too interested in wrenching free.

“Is this what you want?” Dorian whispered into his ear.

A breathy, shuddering “yes” was his only reply.

“Mm,” Dorian hummed, his mouth trailing down from Felix's collar bone.

When he reached one of the small, pert nipples, Felix tried to press into the sensation. Dorian decided that was a bit brazen, given the circumstances and pressed down with the hand tangled in his shirt, forcing him to arch his back. From this position, he was denied the same delicious friction Dorian was treated to when he started rolling his hips upwards again.

Felix's chest heaved. Ribs stretching obscenely with each breath. Tendons taught. Lean muscles a network of cable under his skin. Dorian watched him writhe, desperate for sensation until denying him became too painful.

He loosened his grip on the shirt and kissed him, the fever from the teen's face heating his own skin.

“You'll do whatever I want?” Dorian breathed the question into the younger boy's mouth.

“Yes,” Felix answered immediately, anticipation boiling in his voice.

A slow grin stretched Dorian's lips. “Yes, what?”

“Yes, sir,” Felix purred.

“In my room,” Dorian began, mouthing Felix's jaw between words. “In the table by the bed.” He nipped the boy's ear. “Left side.” He released him and gave his butt a light slap. Felix stumbled to his feet and hurried off.

He returned a few moments later, peering at the condom in his hand. “Um.” He held it out to Dorian, hand and voice shaking. “It's expired.”

Dorian took hold of his wrist and nudged it back towards Felix. “Doesn't matter. Put it on.”

Felix only stared at him, every part of that statement met with disapproval.

Dorian snatched him by the belt buckle and dragged him forward, eyes serious. “Put it on.

Felix swallowed thickly, unsteady hands descending to comply. Dorian only leaned back and watched.

The younger man managed to drop the condom twice while undressing. Definitely a virgin, then. Dorian tried to avoid them under normal circumstances. His disapproval was slammed into the back of his mind the moment Felix peeled his trunks down.

A shock of thick, black, curly hair rimmed the base of his erection. The shaft was pale and lean like the rest of him, supple foreskin pulling back from the dark pink glans. Dorian swallowed and licked his lips, watching the boy hold back the prepuce and roll the condom down his length.

Whatever it was Felix had been expecting, it wasn't being pressed down on his knees. Dorian wrapped his legs around Felix, locking his feet against the crease of younger man's inner knees. Using this leverage, he pulled him forward into another kiss. For the first time, the boy's lips were uncertain, his body tense. His hands were pressed into the leather couch cushions on either side of Dorian's knees, ready to push himself away.

So he wouldn't do whatever Dorian wanted, the older man noted.

“Do you trust me?” Dorian asked.

Felix met his gaze and swallowed. “No.”

The larger man let out a short bark of laughter. “Smart.” And then he tangled his fingers in the boy's hair, pulling his head back as he stole his mouth. Felix arched with the action, hands shifting to grip Dorian's shirt.

He dropped his mouth to the boy's neck. Every time he thought he nipped a little too hard, Felix pushed closer, his breathing heavy. It wasn't until teeth closed on the meat of his shoulder that he yelped, but even that came out as more of a moan. Dorian settled on the range of pressure that made Felix eventually melt into an involuntary swaying of his hips. With his ankles pressing against the boys thighs, he dragged the boy closer until his pelvis was flush with the couch, firmly trapped between Dorian's knees.

Fingers smoothed firmly down Felix's back, gripping the flesh of his buttocks, guiding him into a slow grind against the couch. He murmured into the stubble of Dorian's jaw, hands finding the smooth leather of the holster. He sucked in a sharp breath as Dorian's hand snaked between them, forefinger and thumb closing on Felix's length. The contact was minimal and the teen mewled with need, his hips bucking. Dorian held the base of the condom securely and, using Felix's thrusts to his advantage, angled his erection directly between two leather couch cushions.

He had expected some level of surprise. Hesitation. Maybe even him trying to pull away. Instead Felix only let out a shuddering breath against his ear. It almost seemed like relief. Dorian grinned and guided the boy's thrusts with the legs wrapped around him and the hands on his rear. He shifted closer, weight increasing the pressure between the couch cushions and Felix outright moaned, hips jerking with abandon.

Dorian brought a hand up to grip the boy's chin. He tipped his head back and watched his face closely. Color had bloomed all the way to his ears. His lips were a pressed line of focus. Eyes closed tightly. Brows furrowed.

“Jesus,” Dorian breathed. “You're filthier than I expected.”

Felix's eyes flew open, dark, black discs surrounded by dull green. His forehead dropped to Dorian's shoulder as his last few thrusts lost all semblance of rhythm, his rich voice filling the room as the throws of orgasm gripped him.

He panted against Dorian, his fingers slowly loosening their hold on his holster, thighs twitching.

“Well,” he rasped. “The condom makes sense now.”

Dorian laughed. “They're seriously all expired?” Felix nodded, still leaning against the larger man limply. “Damn.” He disentangled from Felix and stood, heading down the hall.

“Um,” the teen called from behind him. “What about you?”

“You haven't earned it,” Dorian replied, dragging the bathroom door closed behind him.

He was self conscious about his walk all the way to his desk the next morning. The last thing he wanted was Mandy somehow catching on to the fact that he had an eighteen year old on retainer squirreled away in his house.

He had only just shrugged out of his coat when Sergeant Cagg poked his head out of his office.

“Chase. You're on the follow-up interview for the Hawthorne case. Mind your ass and don't piss off his lawyer. Spenser is your shadow for the day.”

Spenser looked up suddenly from his temporary desk against the wall. Chase and he exchanged looks. He wasn't sure what Spenser had done to deserve it, but he knew what he had done the day before.

Chase sighed and pulled his jacket back on. “Lets go, FNG.”

Chase hated follow-up interviews after suspects made deals. It was a charade of niceties that served no other purpose than inflating the DA's ego. The fact that Hawthorne had bank to blow on lawyers wasn't going to help matters.

Hawthorne was waiting in a public conference room as if he weren't a complete scumbag. He and his lawyer stood as Chase and Spenser stepped in the room.

“Detective Chase.” Smiley Maverick only nodded his head in Chase's direction. Speaking of scumbags. No decent person was born named Smiley Maverick and decided to keep the name.

Chase hooked a thumb at Spenser. “This is Junior Detective David Spenser. I have his leash today.”

Spenser and Smiley awkwardly shook hands.

“Detectives,” James Hawthorne extended a hand with a smile. His watch hung limply from his wrist, likely solid gold and worth more than Chase's car. Chase only regarded the outstretched hand for a moment and then sat down.

Spenser was king of the awkward hand shakes.

Smiley cleared his throat as everyone sat. “My client has agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation in exchange for judicial leniency. He has—of his own volition—agreed to supply the Mesquite police department with any and all details regarding the procurement of MDMA on the evening of April twenty-fourth.” He slid paperwork across the table to Chase and Spenser.

Chase clicked his pen, leaning over his note pad. “I want a name.”

Hawthorne glanced at his lawyer who gave a curt nod of approval. “Jason Mink.” Hawthorne supplied. “We met through an . . . acquaintance.”

Chase looked up at his use of the word, watching his face. “Acquaintance?” A smile and a shoulder twitch were the old man's only response. Chase had the sudden urge to grab him by his stupid pink polo and slam his balding head into the table. He clicked his pen instead. “Who is this acquaintance?”

“Irrelevant to my client's cooperation.” Smiley interceded. Chase gave him a look as Hawthorne continued.

“Jason is a partner at Pink Pansies. Everyone knows to ask for him,” the old man shrugged, palms up.

“Everyone?” Chase asked.

Hawthorne cleared his throat uneasily, glancing once again at his lawyer. “People who might be looking for that sort of thing.”

“What sort of thing?” Chase pressed.

Hawthorne's jaw skewed and he shifted in his chair. “Ecstasy, detective.”

“So,” Chase pursed his lips and frowned, nostrils flaring. “Just sidle on down to the queer bar, ask for the hook-up on some candy for little boys?”

A flash of annoyance crossed Hawthorne's face and he had opened his mouth to speak, but Smiley's hand on his arm silenced him. “The allegations of indecency with a minor are not open for discussion, Detective Chase, and my client will not be tolerating slurs regarding his lifestyle.”

Chase tore his attention away from Hawthorne, fixing it squarely on Smiley. “It's not a slur, you idiot. It is literally a queer bar. And it's not a lifestyle, it's an orientation. If I were remarking on his lifestyle I'd accuse him of ephebophilia.”

“OK,” Spenser cut in, patting Chase's shoulder. “Do you have any other identifying information about Jason Mink that might help, Mr. Hawthorne?”

Hawthorne shifted uneasily and turned to address Spenser. “He's around forty. Dark hair. Mustache. Tattoo of a sailor on his arm.”

Chase made sure he wasn't the one to break eye contact with Smiley. Score one for the home team.

“Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Hawthorne.” Spenser played the game well.

Chase rapped his knuckles on the table and stood. “We'll be in touch.” He and Spenser were half way to the door when Chase abruptly turned and pointed at Smiley. “Oh, by the way, you should make sure your client knows that angry fathers in prison don't care much about plea bargains. Ta!”

Spenser wiped sweat from his brow, keeping stride with Chase down the hall. “Did you have to ride his ass like that?”

Chase grimaced. “I wasn't riding his ass. He would have liked it if I was anyway. It was pertinent investigative technique,” he gestured vaguely. “Did you see how he rolled his shoulder and swallowed when I asked about the acquaintance? Dollars to donuts that's his hook up on the kids. And when I called them little boys he was genuinely insulted.”

“OK,” Spenser said, nodding as he took it all in. “What were you trying to get out of the lawyer?”

“Oh, Smiley? Nothing, he's just a dick.” They rounded the corner into the hall office.

He handed the junior detective his note pad. “Write up everything he gave us and add it to the Hawthorne file. I'm gonna ask dad if I can go out this weekend.”

Sergeant Cagg was not keen on the idea. He was rarely keen on any of Chase's ideas.

“We're not going to get shit on him with a casual arrest,” Chase complained. “He's dealing out of a goddamn club. He's not going to be holding, it's not going to be at his residence and there's no way we're getting a warrant for the club. We need to set up a deal.”

“It's an uncontrolled environment, Chase!” Cagg rocked in his chair, squeezing the life out of a stress ball. “We'll have no surveillance, a crowd of civilians and a cornered drug dealer. Are you out of your goddamned mind?”

“Wire me!” Chase exclaimed, arms open. “You know I can do this, Cagg. We can have this fuck arraigned by Monday.”

Cagg gripped the stress ball and chewed his cheek. “Put in the paperwork andI'll think about it.”

“I could kiss you, Leroy.”

The Sergeant grimaced. “I said I'd think about it. Get out of my office.” Chase slid out the door nonchalantly.

He was in the break room, grabbing a cup of coffee before paperwork claimed the rest of his day when Officer Perry wheeled in, closing the door behind him.

“Let's say my friend has gotten involved with a woman,” he began.

“This should be good,” Chase remarked.

“And this woman left heroine at his house and he found it.” Perry's blue eyes were wide with panic. “And my friend wants to do the right thing, but he really likes this woman.”

Chase sipped his coffee. “Is this friend worried about how this would affect his job?”

“Very,” the middle aged cop replied.

Chase leaned against the counter thoughtfully. “Does your friend have a trash can?

Perry blinked. “Er . . . yes?”

“Then he throws away the smack. Every time. He gives her resources for getting clean, but beyond that,” he shrugged. “You can't save someone who doesn't want saving and eventually you just abandon a sinking ship.”

“You mean my friend,” Perry stressed.

“Right . . . your friend.” He sighed. “Look, Perry, you're not a Mandatory Reporter for someone shooting up. Make sure she keeps it out of your house, don't cover her ass and you're fine.”

“What would you do?” Perry asked, looking slightly defeated.

“Doesn't matter what I would do. We're talking about your friend. Besides, I don't date people blonder than me.”

Perry's eyes widened in absolute horror. “How did you know she's blonde?”

Chase stepped forward and pulled a long pale strand of hair from Perry's uniform. The young officer only stared at it as Chase left the room.

A light rain was falling on the warm pavement; Chase's car was wreathed in a fine mist, windows fogging. He sat in the driveway, his head back and eyes closed, listening to the quiet patter, smelling the clean earth.

The transition from work and home was as physical as it was mental. On the days where things got too personal, this ritual was the only thing that kept nightmares at bay. The only thing that kept him from coming back the next day with a mantle of vengeance. And today, the only thing that kept him from seeing Hawthorne's face every time he thought of Felix.

When he finally stepped inside, he could hear Felix in the kitchen.

“What's cookin', good lookin'?” He stepped out of the entryway and froze.

Felix was standing at the breakfast counter inside the kitchen, giving Dorian a wary look. Seated at one of the stools in front of him was Mrs. Fairfax. She noted the young man's expression and turned, smiling broadly at Dorian.

“There you are!” she exclaimed.

“Mrs. Fairfax,” Dorian began, shooting Felix a quizzical look. The teen only shrugged, looking at a loss. “Is there something wrong?”

“No, no,” she waved delicately, dark eyes creasing with a smile. “I baked you a pie, you see, but it seems I lost all track of the day. I thought it was Saturday! Your darling cousin was good enough to answer the door anyway.” She gave Felix a fond look. “He was simply indulging me for a spell, but I ought to be getting home.”

Dorian moved to help her down from the stool, his face only visible to Felix. “Cousin?”

The teen threw his hands up. “I didn't know what to tell her!”

Dorian lead the small woman to the door, waving with a smile. He shut the door abruptly and turned on his heel.

“Diabolical!”

Felix frowned. “What? She seemed nice.”

“That's what she wants you to think.” Dorian peered at her through the blinds as she shuffled across the driveway. “She must have seen you when we came back on Sunday and just waited for the right moment to pounce.”

“I don't think she's the pouncing sort,” Felix interjected.

Dorian spun suddenly. “The pie!” He pointed at the foil pie tin on the breakfast counter. “That woman is an arthritic mess, she didn't bake me a pie.” He strode forward and lifted the tin, peering at the bottom. “Aha!” He ripped the price tag off and held it out to Felix. “Diabolical!”

Felix only stared for a moment, eyes tracking between the price tag on Dorian's thumb and his accusatory expression. He laughed. “I don't know which is worse; the fact that she devised this scheme or that you knew.”

Dorian's eyes were pulled toward a splash of color. His expression dropped when he saw the line of bright red and purple bite marks all the way down the teen's pale neck. A jolt went through him that was a confusing mix of concern and pride.

“I didn't bite you that hard.”

Felix's hand flew up to his neck and he looked away. “I bruise easily.”

The older man frowned, concern winning out. “Sorry. I'm sure Mrs. Fairfax gave you an earful.”

The teen shook his head. “She didn't. I mean, she obviously saw them but didn't say anything. And don't be sorry, I . . .” he ventured a glance at Dorian, cheeks brightening, “. . . like them.”

Dorian arched a brow. “You like bruises?”

“I like remembering,” Felix muttered. Dorian swallowed. “Like this one.” The younger man hooked his fingers in the collar of his shirt, pulling it aside to show an angry purple splotch on his shoulder, its edges ragged and stark on pale flesh.

Dorian remembered that one.

Generally, he found hickeys and bite marks to be distasteful. They were a hallmark of sloppy teenage make-out sessions, evoking imagery of oily faces and gangling limbs, groping inexpertly. But on Felix . . . all he saw was echos of abandon, flesh marked and claimed. The boy's body bore evidence of his yielding to the older man. And it drove him wild.

He came around the counter swiftly, grabbing Felix by the wrist and pulling, their mouths meeting partway through the motion. He gripped the teen's buttocks through his jeans, enamored with how they were both soft and firm. Dissatisfied with a handful of denim, Dorian wedged a hand into Felix pants and was rewarded with supple flesh against his palm. He wasn't wearing underwear. He moaned into Dorian's mouth, rising up on his toes and arching his back into the touch. And all at once it wasn't enough.

Dorian pulled away from the kiss, a heady growl on the edge of his voice. “You're mine.” Felix's eyes widened and he yelped with surprise as Dorian whipped his belt off.

The fabric belt relied on a double D-ring closure that was particularly useful when Dorian cinched it around the teen's wrists. He had only begun to process that much when Dorian hooked his hands behind his thighs and lifted him straight off the floor.

His sudden panicked writhing made it clear he had never been handled in such a way before. His flushed cheeks and large pupils suggested he wasn't wholly uncomfortable with the notion. His back was suddenly pressed against the counter top, his hips off the edge. His arms were above his head and Dorian pinned his bound wrists with one hand. From his tenuous position, he had to rely on Dorian's hips to keep him on the counter. He wasn't going anywhere.

Dorian leaned over the slight teen, free hand working slowly down his body as he watched him. “I could do this all day,” he mused.

Felix shuddered, tongue appearing to pull his bottom lip between his teeth. His brow furrowed and he tried to arch into the hand that was drifting lightly over his crotch, but he lacked leverage. Dorian repeated a pattern of feather light touches down the outline of the strained denim.

“Do you want more?” Felix mewled in response, hands wringing against the belt. “Use your words,” Dorian taunted.

“Yes,” Felix hissed. “Please.”

Dorian tapped a finger against the damp stain in the fabric, as if bored. “Yes, what?”

Yes, sir,” Felix whimpered.

Mollified, Dorian popped the button on the jeans and slipped his hand inside. Felix sucked in a breath, his head falling back, lost in sensation. His skin was smooth velveteen under Dorian's rough fingers, Cowper's fluid pooling in the flat of his hip. The older man's thumb worked light, slick circles against the sensitive frenulum, glans cupped against his flexing palm, fingers pinning back pliant foreskin.

Felix turned his head, nonsense bubbling from his lips, breathing into the crook of his arm, desperate for intensity. And Dorian watched him with fascination. The way his thick, dark eyebrows tented and twitched. The way his eyelashes jutted sharply from tightly closed lids. The way his lips formed unspoken words. His cheek bones. His jaw. The sharp lines of tendon and muscle down his neck.

The pressure and pace increased slowly, Felix's hips making every desperate motion he could manage from his position. The crest of sensation came over him gradually and crashed down all at once with blinding intensity. Orgasm seized his limbs, bound hands scrabbling for purchase as he cried out.

And the pie came crashing to the floor.

Chapter Five

 Wednesdays were always a circus in CID. They always had just the right mix of case momentum without the steam loss of Thursdays and before the desperate scramble of Fridays.

Wednesdays and Fridays were also Chase's consistent overtime days and this Wednesday wasn't shaping up to be any different. It was already well past lunch by the time he managed to tear himself from his desk.

He had been nearly out the door when Cagg called after him and pointed to Spenser meaningfully.

Chase sighed and tucked his lip, letting out a sharp whistle in Spenser's direction. “Here, boy!” The dark haired junior detective looked up in questioning disapproval. “Daddy says I have to take you for a walk.”

“I have a name,” Spenser scowled, getting his things together.

“Sorry, Davey.” Chase only beamed in response to the glare.

“Are you this much of a dick to everyone?” Spenser asked as they crossed the parking lot.

“Nope.”

“So this is the new guy treatment?”

Chase shrugged. “Cagg clearly keeps putting you with me to see if I will force you out, I'm just obliging.”

“I've put in my time in patrol, just like everyone else,” Spenser protested, sliding into the passenger seat of the grey fiat.

“Cagg seems to disagree.”

Spenser glared at the passing scenery for a moment. “So you're the attack dog he uses when he wants people out?”

Chase laughed suddenly. “No. If he wanted you out, he'd put you with Hernandez. I'm the guy he uses when he wants people to learn. And he thinks I need guys like you to make me a 'team-player'.”

“Yea?” Spenser snorted. “What am I learning by you treating me like a dog?”

“You're learning that your ego distracts you. You haven't even asked where we're going.”

Spenser blinked and shifted in his seat. “Where are we going?”

“Pusher shakedown bingo!” Chase exclaimed excitedly. “You been keeping up on the 15 kilos case?”

Spenser nodded. “The two suspects transporting the drugs independently named Lorenzo Mora as the dealer they were working with. I know Detective Caceda thinks there's more to it.”

“So do I,” Chase added. “We're going to see if we can get some local info on Mora. Patrol hasn't been able to flush him out. If it's a legit lead, he may have bolted when the shipment didn't turn up. If it's not, we're likely to get a bunch of blank stares. It would be pretty damn suspicious if someone who's supposed to have 15 kilos coming to him is a ghost on the street.”

“Want to know what I think?” Spenser began.

“No,” Chase cut in curtly. There was a moment of stunned silence. “You've been on CID for a month and five minutes ago you didn't even know what case you were on. So, no, I do not want to know what you think.”

The rest of the ride was quietly tense.

“Predictable little bastard,” Chase muttered as he slowed to park on the curb in a questionable neighborhood. He tipped his head toward the other side of the street. “See the guy in the white shirt?”

“The black guy?” Spenser asked.

Chase looked back at him with slight annoyance. “Do you see any white people over there, detective?”

“Uh . . .” He scanned the area in front of the small strip mall. “. . . no.”

“Then his race isn't particularly helpful or relevant is it?” Spenser only shook his head. “So, do you see the guy in the white shirt??”

“Yes,” Spenser answered.

“He goes by Richie Smooth. Which is only slightly improved by knowing his real name is Eugene Turnbuckle.”

“That's really unfortunate,” Spenser mused.

“It's a damn shame,” Chase agreed.

“Eugene there sells weed. Stays out of everyone else's game unless he sees an opportunity. If someone was making noise about that much powder hitting the street, Eugene will know about it. We're going to have a friendly chat with this upstanding citizen of Mesquite.”

Spenser looked around uncomfortably when Chase made no move to exit the vehicle. “. . . are we going to talk to him?”

“You're an impatient little jackoff, aren't you?” Chase tipped his head toward 'Richie Smooth'. “We wait until we know he's holding. He's not going to give us shit if we have nothing to lean on him over. He has a street rep to maintain, can't be seen rolling over for the cops every time we show up.”

They sat in silence, watching Eugene until Spenser decided it was awkward conversation time.

“Have you and Caceda ever . . . ?” He let the pause speak for itself.

Chase slowly slid his eyes toward him in what he hoped was clearly baffled annoyance. “Is this somehow relevant?”

The younger detective decided that was an affirmative, his brows furrowing. “Has everyone fucked her?”

Chase's lips curled back from his teeth in a snarl. “Detective Caceda's personal life is none of my goddamn business, and it's sure as hell none of yours.”

“Hand off,” Spenser announced, thrusting his chin toward the scene across the street.

They were across the street and half way through the parking lot by the time Eugene's “associate” noticed them and quickly moved on.

Eugene turned on heel, took one glance at Chase and dropped his shoulders with a grimace. “Man, come on.”

Chase grinned at him. “Morning, Eugene.”

Eugene clicked his tongue and averted his eyes, dreadlocks draping the side of his face. “You all up in here usin' a nigga's slave name and shit.”

Chase frowned. “Your mother would weep.”

Eugene shifted his weight. “Damn, son, now you bringin' my moms into it. Whatchu want?”

“Need to know if you recognize someone.”

Chase had been reaching in his pocket for the booking sheet when Eugene turned away dramatically, voice rising. “I ain't gotta tell you shit, dawg.”

Chase rolled his eyes with a sigh. “You know I just watched you deal, Eugene.”

Spenser cut in; “We can always continue this conversation down town.”

Eugene turned to the junior detective as if noticing him for the first time. He gave him a quick once over, then turned back to Chase, pointing indifferently with his thumb. “Who's this punk ass?”

“Be nice, he's new,” Chase supplied. “He's still learning. He doesn't know you like I do.”

Eugene laughed abruptly, suddenly looking very young. “Don't no body know me like you do, dawg.”

He sidestepped to Spenser, rubbing his hands. “Real talk, yo. Imma hit you up with some life saving intel.” He thumbed his nose and looked about briefly. “It's all about respect, you feel me?” Spenser nodded uncertainly. “You ain't gettin' shit you don't give. Me'n my homeboy got a system. We both got a rep. He can't just let shit go cuz that's his job, but I can't be out here givin' him shit for free, naw what I'm sayin? But he knows the deal.”

Spenser's original air of professional annoyance had given way to genuine interest.

“Me'n him go way back. I was just a lil' niglet when he rolled up in the hood. He was just on the beat in them days. Didn't do none of this detective shit. Didn't no other cops give a shit bout no dyin' niggas. This dude be buyin' lil' kids ice cream and shit. Knew us all by name. He wouldn't just lock yo ass up for doin' no stupid shit neither. He be sittin' your ass down askin' whats up witchu. Actin' all disappointed and shit.” Spenser side glanced at Chase, whose discomfort was becoming apparent. “His Aryan ass the closest thing half us got to a daddy. Didn't nobody do no crazy shit in front of him cuz it's about respect, feel me? This dude bled for us. 'Bout died right over there.” The junior detective turned with shocked interest as Eugene pointed. “We got his back down here.”

Spenser whirled back toward Chase. “You nearly died?”

“He's exaggerating,” Chase replied curtly. “All of it.”

Eugene clicked his tongue again. “Nigga, please.”

Chase thrust the booking photo at him. “Just tell me if you've seen this guy.”

The young man looked at the photo for a moment, lips pursed in a frown. “Nope.”

“Hear anything about a load of powder hitting the streets?”

Eugene looked up sharply. “I don't touch that shit, man. Not since Reggie died. I gave you my word. That shit's gold.”

Chase's expression softened, a dull ache settling in his chest. “I'm just asking what you know.”

The man shook his head, dark eyes distant. “I ain't heard nothin'.”

The older detective folded back up the photo. “Alright. Thanks. Stay safe and say hi to your mom for me.”

Eugene tipped his head back, expression somber. “Gonna be another year before you come this way again?”

Chase snorted, a bitter smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Been stuck behind a desk. Stay out of trouble. I don't want to see you again unless I come looking.”

Eugene waved him off.

“Reggie?” Spenser asked on the way back to the car.

“His brother. Got involved in some hard shit. Ended up dead. Their mother,” he paused. “Didn't take it well. Told him not to make her have to bury both her boys.”

The drive was quiet. The kind of quiet that comes with someone reevaluating their initial summation of you. Chase hated it.

“Was hoping to get enough out of him that we wouldn't have to go where we're going.”

Chase's statement pulled Spenser out of that annoying silence. “Where are we going?”

“MS territory,” Chase replied. “It's dangerous. Keep your mouth shut and maybe you'll get to go home tonight.” He tried not to smirk as the familiar air of unease settled into Spenser's shoulders again.

“Should we call for a unit?”

Chase winced. “You're going to learn fairly quickly that black and whites aren't an advantage. You're not one of them anymore. You can walk in places plain clothes with far less flack than in your blues. You're going to have to stop thinking like a uniform, or that's all people are going to see.”

Spenser considered this as they passed walls of graffiti. “Do you miss it?”

“The beat? Every day. Not as much politics. I miss the days when all my papers could fit in a clip board. But I don't miss having my ass dangle in the breeze while the brass congratulates themselves for better numbers.” Chase wrung the steering wheel. “I don't miss dead kids and crowd control. Dragging screaming parents out of bloody crime scenes.”

The younger man mulled over this for a moment. “Why Vice?”

Chase snorted. “Seemed simpler. Find the guy with the drugs. Kids stay out of body bags.” He slowed the car onto a crumbling curb. “Shit's never simple.”

The house across the street couldn't have been more than four hundred feet square. The yellow side paneling looked new. The small yard was neat, the grass strictly manicured. It was the only house on the block that seemed to have any care put into it. Many of the others could scarcely be called “houses” for all the shelter they would afford.

“Seriously?” Spenser asked, eyeing the neat little home.

“Keep your mouth shut,” Chase reminded, turning off the engine.

The scent of honeysuckle reached across the street, cutting through the ammonia of cat piss. Or a meth lab. Or both. By the time they had reached the porch, only the sweetness of the vines could be detected.

Chase rapped twice on the sturdy storm door.

“Entra,” answered a voice from somewhere within.

Spenser shot the other detective a cautious look, but they went in all the same.

The interior matched the same level of meticulous care. The carpet was new. The molding was pristine. A can of paint sat on a folded down card board box, dried stains of blue the same hue as the walls running down its side.

A shuffling toward the kitchen drew the two detectives through the narrow doorway, facing the back of a large, heavily tattooed man who was much older than his musculature suggested.

“What can I do for you, Detective Chase?” He spoke without turning, accent thick, voice deep.

“Information,” Chase replied.

The man finally turned away from his task at the counter, a large sturdy mallet firmly in his right hand. Chase saw the flinch out of the corner of his eye and snatched the junior detective's arm before it could instinctively move to his side arm.

No one moved. Small brown eyes glanced at Spenser the way an eagle would look at a fly, they then focused back on Chase.

“Your dog is jumpy. Maybe next time leave him in the car. Crack a window.” The man gestured to the small round wooden table. “Sit.” He himself sat at one of the two chairs opposite of the detectives, hands folding over the mallet on the table.

Chase released Spenser's arm with a sigh and sat. Spenser stood, looking as useless and dumb as Chase hoped he felt.

“The house is looking great, Roman.”

A smile swept across the man's tattooed face, wrinkles appearing all at once. “Retirement is good for me.”

“Your retirement seems to be good for a lot of people. Like this guy.” He pulled the photo from his pocket.

Roman pulled wire frame glasses from where they hung on his working tank top, sliding them on his weathered face. He looked at the photo for less than a second, recognition subtly marking his face before looking back to Chase. “Explain.”

Chase considered carefully for a heartbeat. “Word has it he's come into some lucrative business.”

“Word is wrong,” Roman interjected, returning his glasses to hang on his shirt. They only looked at each other for a still moment before Roman continued. “His employment recently came to a close.”

Chase's heart leapt and he leaned forward. “When?”

There was a quiet sound as Roman's feet shifted under the table. His lips tightened slightly. “A month or so.”

Chase kept his breathing even, his face placid as his mind raced. “Is there any way I could confirm that?”

Roman's eyes crinkled slightly at the edges, apparently pleased with the question. “I hear he likes to swim down at the reservoir.”

“Who else knows that he was,” Chase tipped his head slightly. “Let go?”

Roman turned his hands up with a small smile. “The people in this room and his--” He mimicked the head tip. “Manager.”

“No one else in your organization knows of his sudden unemployment?”

“No.” The large man's lips tugged down slightly as he shrugged. “He was not with us long enough to earn a retirement party.”

Chase smiled warmly. “I'm glad you were seen off with more generosity.”

“My loyalty was never questioned,” Roman replied, smile equally warm.

“I should leave you to your projects.” Chase placed his hands on the table and pressed up casually. Roman followed suit.

“Thank you for your visit, Detective. I hope you, too, know retirement some day.” His large hand was open in offering and Chase took it in a firm shake.

Spenser followed him to the door, out onto the porch and across the street before he finally spoke. “Why the hell did you hype me up for no reason? You had me thinking he was about to take that mallet to both of us.” Chase said nothing until they were in the car.

“Fucking Christ, rookie, how did you make it through the academy without managing to shoot yourself?” Spenser only looked back at him in confused annoyance. “I told you he was dangerous because he is. That man could bludgeon both of us to death, feed us piece by piece into the garbage disposal and have time to clean up before anyone knew we were missing.”

“And then he goes to prison,” Spenser protested.

“Does he look like he gives a flying fuck?” Chase shot back, voice rising in frustration. “The only thing that has ever kept me on his good side is knowing what not to ask and being polite. He kept his hands over that mallet the whole time and the moment I started pressing for information he flattened his feet on the floor. He was one insult from flipping that table and beating both of us to death.” Spenser worked his jaw and looked away.

“Now, if you think you can manage a phone like a big boy, call Caceda and have her meet us at the reservoir with a unit. We have a body to find.”

 

Wisps of clouds made purple streaks across the sky, the promise of stars barely starting to twinkle as Caceda and Chase stood shoulder to shoulder on the muddy embankment.

Two officers with rubber waders tugged a bundle of landscape fabric the rest of the way onto land, a pale blue arm jutting from the mass of rope and black fiber.

“We should hear back by morning about the ID.”

Caceda didn't respond immediately. Her nostrils were flared and she swallowed a number of times, fighting down the reptilian instinct to vomit and run away when faced with the dead of her own species. If it was a struggle for her, it didn't show.

“We need to pull the runners back under our roof before they join him.” She turned to Chase, glimmering, dark eyes betraying her solemn expression. “I was right.”

Camera flashes strobed in the growing darkness as the landscape fabric was carefully peeled away from the body.

“Not yet,” he replied absentmindedly. “Cagg is going to want an ID before he goes dancing on desks.”

The renewed chorus of Spenser's retching pulled Chase's attention back to the bushes behind them. He smirked at Caceda. “You never forget your first soggy body.”

“Mine was a floater,” Caceda scoffed. “He's getting off easy.”

“Mine was a baby,” Chase muttered, staring out at the dark water.

“Jesus,” she breathed.

“What about a baby?” Spenser asked as he approached, wiping at his mouth and looking pale.

“Nothing. Next time puke outside the crime scene tape.”

Groans of complaint drew their attention to the crew attempting to load up the body. Someone had hastily grabbed an arm and the skin had peeled down the limb.

A choking gurgle rose in Spenser's throat and he abruptly turned and ran for the tape line.

“Attaboy,” Chase called after him.

“Don't be so hard on him,” Caceda gave him a nudge with her elbow. “He was a good officer. He'll be a good detective.”

“You just think he's cute,” Chase scoffed. “Pukey lips and all.”

She bit her bottom lip with a smile, glancing back at Spenser's egress. “Being cute definitely doesn't hurt.”

“Cute isn't bullet proof,” he grumbled, shoving his hands in his jacket pockets.

Her russet lips peeled away from her teeth wolfishly. “Is that jealousy, Detective Chase?”

“Yes,” he pouted. “He never asked me to dance.”

She threw her head back in a laugh, dark hair falling behind her shoulders. “I'll let you have my sloppy seconds.” Her dark eyes gleamed as she turned back to her car.

 

It was nearing midnight when Chase made his way home, and past that when he left his car in the driveway.

The lights were off. The fish had been fed. The tank's gentle bubbling and Felix's quiet breathing were the only sounds in the blackness of the living room. Dorian let his eyes adjust until the teen's pale features bloomed out of the darkness. He was on his side, hands curled under his chin, lips parted. It was becoming a familiar sight for Dorian and he suddenly felt guilty for making him sleep on the couch this long.

Before he could over-think it, he bent and gingerly scooped Felix up from the couch. He stirred for a moment, an exhale fading into a mumble as he nuzzled against Dorian's chest. He carried the younger man down the dark hallway, to the unused room and nudged open the door he had nearly forgotten was there.

The room was bare but for a small twin bed, a lamp and a small desk. It had clearly been intended for a child that never was. Dorian had thought to use it as an office or study, but there was something sad about the little empty room that made that seem an unjust use of the space.

Felix stirred once more as he was lowered on to the bed, a soft sound in his throat as Dorian brushed a black curl back from his forehead.

“Hey,” he whispered in greeting, rosy lips melting into a smile.

“Hey,” Dorian answered.

The moment suddenly felt as fragile as their whispers. Felix's pale skin—blue in the darkness—threatened to dredge up images of cold flesh in muddy waters. Dorian found the younger man's lips with his own in the dimness. Warm and alive and smiling. Soft fingers found his face, the smile under his lips deepening for a moment before Felix turned onto his other side and slipped back into sleep.

Chapter Six

 “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.

“Inconsolable.”

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?”

Felix pointed.

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?”

“Priorities.”

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.

“Stand up.”

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.

“I didn—”

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?”

“Yes, sir.”

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.”

Chapter Seven

 The tech dry run was taking too long. Budget was never very roomy for the PD and even less so for CID. Half of the equipment had been in service longer than Chase.

The equipment room was one of many basement rooms under the PD. Like all of them, Tim Williams' little alcove smelled faintly of mortar and mildew, though he had imposed a strict sense of order that was lacking in the rest of the building.

“I'll have to rewire it,” the technician mumbled, turning the fake glasses—affixed with a camera—around in his hands with a frown.

“Tim, buddy, pal, bro,” Chase forced a smile. “We need this perfect.”

“I know,” Tim replied dispassionately.

“You don't want Davey here to get shot, do you?”

Tim finally looked up, scratching his thinning hair. He blinked pale brown eyes at Spenser. “Who are you?”

“I'm new,” Spenser replied simply, shifting his weight in agitation.

“You won't get shot,” the tech supplied, tone as indifferent as ever. “I'll fix it.” He turned back to his desk and started taking apart the glasses.

“How long do you think—”

Chase placed his hand on Spenser's shoulder, shaking his head. “We have ceased to exist to good ol' Timmy. Observe; Tim! Fire!” Chase flailed his arms, but Tim only grunted, eyes fixed on the parts in front of him. “See? Don't worry, if he says he'll fix it, he'll fix it. Come on.”

“You're not the one who has to wear them,” Spenser complained as they made their way back upstairs.

“Right, because after they figure out you're a cop, they're just going to let me go. And we've discussed this. My hair isn't dark enough to hide the wire.”

“You could dye it.”

Chase turned to him with a gasp. “Mar these golden locks? You shut your whore mouth.”

Spenser sighed. “I'm building my sexual harassment claim.”

“Good for you,” Chase patted his shoulder. “I'm sure it's class-action by now.”

They stopped in the hall and Chase started thumbing quarters into a vending machine. He gave the dark haired detective a look. “Why are you following me around? Go ask Caceda to lunch or something.”

“Er, what?” The junior blinked. “I don't think she's interested.”

“Hah!” The older detective barked, punching his selection into the machine. “Trust me, just ask her. Tonight may be your last night on Earth. Go! Be fruitful!” He retrieved his bag of chips and left Spenser standing there.

Mandy was the only one at her desk in the hallway that passed as their office. She looked up at his approach, but said nothing. He passed her on the way to his desk, sighed and turned.

“Yes, OK? I have a walk.”

Dimples erupted in her round cheeks. “Bartlet owes me and Caceda twenty bucks each.”

He grunted and slumped into his chair, prying open the bag of chips. After a moment of uncharacteristic silence, he slowly looked back over at her. Her expression hadn't changed.

“What?!”

She pursed her lips and looked around pointedly. “No one else is here.”

He snorted and shoved a chip in his mouth. “You don't want to know.”

She twirled a pen in her hand casually. “Oh, I so do.”

He cleared his throat and looked around before putting down the bag of chips. He crossed his wrists and held them over his head, raising his eyebrows at her.

“Wha—oh! Oh, wow.” Her mouth was stuck on syllables and he went back to his chips. “Wait, you?!”

“No,” he drew out the vowel dramatically. “Not me.”

“Wow,” she repeated, staring into space for a moment. “Handcuffs don't hurt?”

“Didn't need any,” Dorian replied, crunching on a chip.

Mandy eyed him, mischievous grin pulling the corner of her mouth. “Oh, really?”

He interrupted with a sharp cough just as Hernandez came through. The stocky, muscled detective stormed straight to Chase's desk.

“You and Caceda trying to make a fool of me?”

Chase regarded him carefully and put his chips down. “No, I think you've got that covered all by yourself.”

Hernandez balled his fists and swiped his hand across Chase's desk, a stack of papers fluttering harmlessly to the floor. “They took me off the case and put your fucking name on it. This is my job, pendejo. I don't need you sticking your nose in it just because you want a piece of her.”

Chase sighed and rolled his eyes to Mandy. “Why is everyone obsessed with who I am or am not fucking?”

“I have three cats, Dorian. Let me have this in my life. Are those Bar-be-Que?” She thrust her chin at the bag of chips.

Hernandez shifted on his feet, deflating over the lack of response as Chase held out the bag for Mandy to take a chip.

“Look, man, I'm not trying to step on your toes. Fact is, Caceda saw it and you didn't. I understand you feeling a certain type of way over it, but that has nothing to do with me. Or Caceda. And I really don't want to be punched in the armpit today.”

Hernandez's nostrils flared. “You're a real funny-man, Chase.”

The riled up detective was too distracted to notice Cagg in the doorway of his office.

“Chase. In my office.” Hernandez jumped at the Sergeant's voice and took a step back from Chase's desk.

The blonde detective shoved himself to his feet and casually stepped around the papers on the floor. “No eating my chips.” He pointed to Mandy with narrowed eyes.

“Close the door,” Cagg ordered as Chase stepped in. “Was that something I need to know about?”

Chase latched the door and sat. “Nope.”

The Sergeant met his eyes for a moment then only nodded.

“Spenser got more information through Hawthorne's lawyer, no thanks to you,” he paused pointedly.

“All part of the plan.” Chase wiggled his fingers mysteriously. A grunt was his only response.

“He got you a meeting with this man.” Cagg handed over a DMV photo of a slightly overweight, balding man in his mid 40's with a mustache. “Jason Mink. Nine p.m. tomorrow night. Hawthorne gave us a name to use. Marsten. Small time MDMA supplier. You met at the baths, if he asks, but he won't.”

Chase frowned. “Why won't he?”

“Marsten is in a coma,” Cagg explained. “AIDS complications. According to Hawthorne, he referred all his 'clients' to Mink.”

“Spenser got all this?”

The Sergeant grunted. “Seems your influence is paying off.”

“Seems so,” Chase mused. “He's still shitting himself over the idea of going on an op.”

“Good. It'll keep his head on,” the Sergeant replied gruffly.

“Why the hell are you sending him on this, anyway? He misses big things, he wears his mind on his face and we don't exactly have a rapport.”

“Anyone else would get him killed,” Cagg said flatly. “And he needs to learn.” He went quiet for a moment and leaned forward. “You should know Lieutenant Howard didn't want to approve this. At most he was willing to let me send Bartlet.”

The detective's nose curled. “Bartlet? He'd never make it in the door. Everyone knows his face after the press relea—” He stopped in realization. “Ah. Well, that's worrying.”

“Don't fuck this up. Dot your i's. Watch your ass.”

Chase nodded seriously. “Understood.”

 

Tim came through by the time Caceda and Spenser got back from lunch.

The scrawny tech was fitting the glasses onto the young detective as if he were inanimate.

“What if they pat me down at the door and find the transmitter?” Spenser asked apprehensively.

“Yes, that was a problem,” Tim excitedly pushed his chair to his work bench and then back. “I put it here.”

Spenser looked down at the flip phone. “In a phone?”

“Yes. You plug it in the charging place.” He demonstrated. “It goes in your pocket. The wires will be under your shirt. Keep the phone in your pocket and don't plug it in until you're through. If you are scared someone knows—” He reached around to the back of Spenser's head, gripped the wires and yanked. “You unplug. Drop them down your collar.”

“Holy shit, Tim.” Chase whistled in appreciation. “You MacGyver'ed the hell out of those things.”

Tim ducked his head and hunched his shoulders, smiling slightly. “Davey won't get shot.”

Chase stifled a laugh. “Damn right. Are you on the surveillance team?”

Tim nodded, pulling the glasses off of Spenser. “I'll be behind the building. In the van. It's blue this time. Like robin's eggs. Bill will be with me.”

“Bill Boswell? You'll be in good hands. He's a nice guy.”

Spenser had clearly had his fill of being the willowy tech's mannequin and skirted toward the door the moment he was clear of the equipment. “So, uh, thanks. We'll see you tomorrow, then.”

“OK,” Tim responded, turning back to his table and immediately consumed in a task.

“That guy is weird,” Spenser whispered as they climbed the stairs.

Chase leveled him a look. “He's autistic. Or Asperger's. One or the other. He's a good guy. And a great tech. It's just easy to hurt his feelings.”

The younger detective said nothing for a moment. “Now I sound like a dick.”

“Don't worry, Davey,” Chase clapped his hand on the other man's shoulder. “You always sound like a dick to me.”

Spenser shrugged off his hand with an annoyed sigh. “Do you just enjoy pestering me?”

“Yes,” the older man responded simply. “And I'm going to keep doing it until you learn how to hide that it bothers you. You are way too goddamn expressive.” He waved a hand in the junior's face. “All this you got goin' on here is going to make your job a lot harder.”

Spenser frowned and peered into the distance for a moment, expression going slack.

“Now you just look constipated,” Chase remarked. “You and Caceda got a date tonight?” The older detective pried.

Spenser managed his lack of expression for less than a second. “As much as I'm capable of making her forget you, that's not my job,” he snapped.

Chase stopped in the hall before they were in ear shot of anyone. “Dude, seriously, I have not been with her. I'm pretty sure I haven't banged anyone in this building.”

Spenser narrowed his eyes. “'Pretty sure'?”

“Tequila does strange things to me,” Chase replied simply. “She thinks you're cute, you idiot. Go crawl up her skirt or whatever.”

The other man crossed his arms. “Why are you suddenly so interested in me getting laid?”

“I'm hoping she'll wiggle that stick out of your ass.” Spenser nearly glared. “In all seriousness, she's had a crap week. She could use the distraction.”

“Are you asking me to fuck the tension out of her?” The younger man couldn't quite conceal a smile.

“Take one for the team, buddy.” Chase gestured with an encouraging fist.

“Yes, sir.”

Spenser was long gone by the time Chase composed himself over the memories the familiar phrase dredged up. Suddenly the day was entirely too long.

Shaw intercepted him on the way to his desk. “Been looking for you. They need you for an interview. Your contact on eighth got picked up.”

“Eugene? What happened?”

Shaw shrugged. “Typical gang banger shooting bullshit. Perry thinks he might know something.”

“He OK?” Chase gathered his note book and pen before following the uniformed officer.

Shaw's broad features screwed up for a moment. “Didn't ask.”

Shaw had a low tolerance for any form of criminal conduct and judged anyone who partook with some measure of ire. Eugene was no different.

Chase checked his gun outside booking and did a once over on the sparse report.

“He's in four.” Herring pointed with her pen from behind the booking desk.

“Thanks, Kathy.” She only hummed a monotone response.

Eugene Turnbuckle was seated slumped at the interview table, handcuffed behind his back, his leg bouncing impatiently.

Chase whistled low. “That bad, huh?”

Eugene struggled to sit up and sucked his teeth. “Nigga, I ain't seen shit.”

“You talked to your mom yet?” Chase sat down.

Eugene shook his head and slumped further.

“Anyone offered you a drink?”

Eugene looked up, mouth skewed sarcastically as he leaned to wave his cuffed hands. “That big ass angry nigga act like I'mma start some shit. Shawshank or whatever the fuck.”

Chase sighed and fished out his handcuff key. “Just don't get all irate and make him run in here to taze you.”

“I ain't doin' shit, dawg,” Eugene grumbled as Chase removed the handcuffs.

“Now,” he made a point of dropping the cuffs on the table as he sat back down. “What happened?”

“I. Aint. Seen. Shit.” The dark skinned man thumped the flat of his hand on the table with each word.

“I'm not trying to trip you up, man. No one has told me a thing.” The detective turned his palms up at the other man.

Eugene sighed and leaned back. “Some punk-ass from the hood tried to roll up to East side and set up business. They took him out. Real slick like.”

“East side? That's bold.” The upper East side was well-known for catering to posh foreigners and their off-shore bank accounts.

“For real, though. I didn't see a damn thing. Was just one pop all quiet and this big ass black car pulling away all slow and easy like they was leavin' McDonald's or some shit. They found that nigga dead across the street, man. In the back of the head. He didn't see that shit comin'.”

“You didn't see anyone in the car?” Chase asked, writing in his notepad.

Eugene shook his head solemnly. “Windows was up by time I saw. Tinted too. For real, though, that nigga was a good fifty feet away. In the head, dawg. That's all I got to say.”

“Know anyone who might have seen more?”

Eugene worked his jaw, shaking his head slowly, suddenly distant. “I gotta watch my own, man. I can't be getting' killed for this shit. My girl is pregnant, dawg.”

Chase's shoulders slumped. “Jesus Christ, Eugene. You need to stop this bullshit.”

“That's what I'm sayin'! I ain't gonna be like my daddy. I got a job interview n' shit. Then Shawshank's bald headed self gotta snatch me up when I'm tryin' to get me a work shirt. I can't be up in this shit, man.”

Chase looked at his notes for a moment and sighed. “Sit tight.”

Shaw always hung around booking whenever he was the arresting officer. Finding him was the easy part.

“Shaw, let me talk to you for a second.” Chase angled his head in invitation to the officer who stepped away from Kathy's desk suspiciously.

The detective offered his notebook. “He told me everything he knows. If you need more info from him, I know where to find him, but he's not going to give you anything in a cell.”

“He had marijuana on him, detective,” Shaw responded seriously, hooking his thumbs in his gun belt.

“Less than distribution?” Chase raised a brow. The officer's shoulder came up in acquiescence. “Look, he's got a job interview. His girlfriend is pregnant and he's trying to clean up his act. I know I can get him to work with me if you cut him loose.”

“It's your ass,” Shaw grunted disapprovingly. “But I'm ticketing him for possession.”

“I would expect no less of you,” Chase gave the officer a sharp salute before returning to the interview room.

He held the door open and tipped his head. “Get your shit together. Shaw is going to process you, then get the hell out of my building.”

Eugene happily launched to his feet. “That's my nigga!” He ambled over and bumped his fist against Chase's.

“You're going to call me if you hear anything, you understand?” He eyed the younger man seriously.

“I feel you, dawg.”

 

Chase managed to slip out early given that Saturday would be dipping into the over-time clock. He didn't waste a moment in the driveway and was pleased to find that Felix hadn't yet returned from the store. Chase had ample time to research and print out things on his laptop.

He was sitting at the seldom-used dining room table between the couch and his desk, feet up on a chair, when the door opened.

“You're home early,” Felix remarked, hefting bags to the island counter.

Dorian peered at him over the papers in his hand, watching him put away food. “Lucky you, since you locked yourself out.”

Felix was still for a moment, then looked at the door thoughtfully before turning back to Dorian. “You, uh, have a spare key?”

Dorian ignored the question. “What did you get?”

“Milk, butter, rice, chicken, beef, bread, orange juice, pasta, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes,” he trailed off while putting things away. “Other stuff I've forgotten. I would have gotten more but I didn't know how much you wanted me to spend and it's a lot to carry.”

“No beer?” Dorian teased.

“Give me your ID next time,” Felix responded, sitting down at the table with him and sliding his credit card back.

“I don't think you'd make a convincing six foot blonde.”

“I bleached my hair once. My mom freaked out. What's that?” The teen craned his neck at the papers.

“Rules,” Dorian replied with a grin. “But first.” He held up his spare house key between middle and index fingers. “You get this on one condition.”

“OK . . .” Felix narrowed his eyes, leery.

“This is not a halfway house. I don't do charity. You get a job or you go to school. I'd prefer you went to school. You're too smart not to.”

Felix only stared at him for a moment. “Seriously?”

“That's my condition.” For a minute Dorian was actually concerned the young man would say no.

“Let me get this straight.” Felix leaned forward on the table. “You're going to regularly feed my fantasies and I get to go to school? You had me at 'blind-fold'.” He went to grab the key but Dorian pulled it away.

“And no parties. I'm prone to shooting strangers I find in my house.”

“Done.” Felix snatched the key and gripped it with a grin.

“Which brings us to item two.” Dorian dropped the papers on the table and spun them toward Felix. “I already filled out my part.”

The teen's brow furrowed as he looked at them. “I, blank, do of my own free will, being of sound mind and body, offer myself in consensual submission to—whoa.” Felix suddenly looked up, eyes comically wide. “Is this a kinky contract?”

Dorian only grinned in response and Felix started flipping through the papers. “Holy shit, there's a check list.” He frowned and tipped his head. “What's scat play?”

“No,” the older man cut in abruptly. “You're going to check no.”

The room was tense as the teen read through the papers silently. Dorian ignored the fact that his heartbeat refused to slow. Felix could always rip up the papers and run out of the house screaming, but that would mean he read the pale boy wrong. Unlikely. So why was he so nervous?

He jerked himself out of his thoughts when Felix suddenly put his hand out. “Pen.” He made a slight grabbing motion, eyes still fixed on the contract. Dorian passed him the pen, watching him hastily fill in his name, sign, and flip to the next page.

“Dom will be referred to as Sir or Officer.” Felix flicked his gaze up and grinned. “I thought it was 'detective'?”

“I don't nitpick your fantasies. Just don't make me call you Bitch.”

Felix grimaced. “You don't have to worry. Do you care what the safe word is?”

The older man shrugged. “Long as it's not something you'd usually say and you're not going to forget it.”

“The section to write in hard-limits is entirely too long for my needs.” Felix scribbled shortly, signed it and moved on. “How does this check list work?”

“One for don't like. Two for will tolerate. Three for might like. Four for turn on. Five for hell yes. Write 'no' if it's absolutely non-negotiable. You fill out the sub column. I already did mine.”

Felix started reading and marking. “Blindfolds. Yep. Bondage, five. Public bondage, under clothing.” He looked into space for a thoughtful moment, color making its way into his cheeks. “Three. Being locked in a cage.” He eyed Dorian while slowly filling in a five. “Aw, you said no for choking. Cattle prod?! No. Collars. Five, five, five, fivety-five. Wow, you put a five for orgasm denial.”

Dorian pinched the bridge of his nose with a sigh. “You don't have to do it out loud, you know.”

“I'm not going to be coherent for much longer anyway,” Felix muttered, cheeks in full bloom. “What if we both put five on something?” Felix's voice had gone heady.

The older man smirked. “Then things get interesting.”

“Exhibitionism, it is!”

By the time Felix had finished filling out everything he was clearly distracted, squirming in his chair.

Dorian reviewed the paperwork in what he hoped appeared to be professional indifference.

“You sure you want to be called 'kid' and 'boy'?”

Felix chewed his lip. “It's different when you say it. It doesn't sound all creepy.”

“Fair enough. Your safe word is butterfly?” He raised his brows at the teen.

“You said you didn't care.”

Dorian shook his head slightly to himself and moved on. “Uh, you put a two for sexual experience.” He turned the paper toward the young man. “Virgin is supposed to be one.”

“I'm not,” Felix said flatly.

Dorian blinked at him, head tipped in a moment of dazed confusion. “I'm not sure you understand what that word means. I've been back there and you—”

“It was with a girl,” Felix cut in curtly.

“Wha-at?” Dorian's voice cracked mid-word. “How? When? Again, what?”

Felix sighed. “I think you already know how. It was like three years ago. I knew her from church group. I thought that . . .” He closed his eyes, shaking his head slowly. “I thought I could . . .” He went silent.

“Make yourself straight?” Dorian supplied.

“Yea,” the young man's voice was small and distant. He forced a smile. “It didn't work, obviously.” He looked away. “I just ended up ruining our friendship and hurting her feelings.”

“No, but seriously, how?” The older man pressed. “There's no way I'd be able to keep it up.”

“I thought about someone else,” Felix muttered. His lips tugged into a frown, shame stealing the warmth from his face. “She thought we were going to get married. Be together forever. That sort of thing.” He hugged himself tightly. “I was just using her. Trying to fix myself.”

“You're not broken,” Dorian said firmly. Felix snorted dismissively. “Hey.” The older man reached across the table, taking Felix's chin in his fingers and pulling his gaze. “You're not broken.” He held his eyes for a moment until the slight boy let out a deep sigh, lids fluttering shut.

Without a word, the teen suddenly pushed himself back from the table and disappeared down the hall. There was a moment of rustling before he returned, casually took Dorian's hand and dropped something across his palm.

The smooth, cool weight drew Dorian's attention down to an unremarkable black leather collar with a steel ring on the front.

“I'm all yours, Officer.”