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We Lost a Good Man Today

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            The sheriff’s office was quiet, unnaturally so. It was deafening as Todd crossed to the now-empty desk and flicked on the lamp. He ran his fingers across the old, worn wood. His fingers came up clean; no dust, even though it felt like years since its occupant had gone missing, since, they’d lost him.

            No, don’t think about it like that, Todd berated himself. We’re gonna find him, we’re gonna get to Wendimoor and find Amanda and the boy and everything’s going to work out just –

            A choked sob cut off his thoughts. It sounded like it came from the living space adjacent to the office area.

            Todd walked around the desk, careful not to disturb anything or break the delicate silence. As he approached the room, he could just make out a red leather jacket on the armrest balled up underneath a full head of dark brown hair.

            Dirk was shaking and desperately trying to hold back his tears, so he didn’t hear Todd come to stand in front of him until Todd gently laid a hand on his back.

            Todd felt Dirk stiffen a little and there was a break in the sobs before they returned. He began rubbing small circles into Dirk’s back.

For a good five minutes, neither moved much, just letting themselves be.

            It didn’t look like his tears were letting up any. “Dirk?” Todd asked quietly.

            Dirk finally looked up. Todd pulled his hand back, only for Dirk to reach out and grab it with both of his and pull Todd towards the couch.

            Todd quickly situated himself in the space next to Dirk, and Dirk latched onto Todd, wrapping his arms around Todd’s midriff as well as they could on the couch together. He nudged his face into the crook of Todd’s neck and resumed his fierce crying, but now Todd could rub even bigger circles into Dirk’s back with both of his hands and help ground Dirk.

            He tried to whisper sweet nothings to his boyfriends, words of comfort to help him back down to normal. “Just let it all out, okay?” He felt Dirk nod his head slightly against his chest, more tears joining the rather large stain on his shirt.

            The silence wasn’t so maddening with those little sounds coming from Dirk. It wasn’t so terrifying with Todd’s solid heartbeat to listen to, strong and sturdy against Dirk’s ear.

            When he finally felt dry several (who knows how many) minutes later, Dirk lifted his head to face his partner, eyes red rimmed and swollen.

            It broke Todd’s heart to look at Dirk and see him so broken. This is exactly what he was worried would happen, losing the others, losing Hobbs without being there to sacrifice himself to save them. Todd felt his eyes prickle with sharp tears, but fought to hold himself together; Dirk needed him now.

            One hand was still absent-mindedly rubbing Dirk’s back. Todd brought the other up to softly cup his face and wipe some of the tears away.

            Dirk hiccupped and smiled one of his rare, tiny, genuine and barely-there smile. It was wobbly, but it was better. Crying had lifted some of the weight from his soul and his wearied body.

            It doesn’t really matter who leaned forward first. Their foreheads rested together for a moment, their breaths mingling together in the intimate space between them.

            Dirk’s lips tasted salty, and Todd didn’t push the kiss. It was gentle on both sides, reassuring, loving. Todd began peppering kisses along Dirk’s face, cleaning away the tear tracks even as more tears spilled out against Dirk’s better will. All along, Todd whispered to him, “I love you. Dirk, you’re safe. Everything will be okay. I love you. I love you.”

            Dirk’s head fell back to Todd’s chest, snuggling up against him for a round two of pure emotion pouring out of Dirk.

            Todd’s head fell to rest on top of Dirk’s. He felt the stinging at his eyes again but didn’t care about holding them back anymore. As Todd’s first tears finally fell he placed a sweet kiss on the crown of Dirk’s head.

            There they sat, two lovers mourning the loss of their friend, holding on to each other for dear life.