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I will let you down, I will make you hurt

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"Abiade, just think about this for a minute!" Chance said, keeping his gun trained on the young man's head. "Whatever you do to Guerrero isn't going to bring your father back!"

"I know that!" he snarled. "But I will have justice for what he did!"

Chance wished that Guerrero would at least show a little concern over his predicament, but he seemed content to kneel on the floor of the shipping container with his hands tied behind his back and Abiade's gun pressed to the base of his skull. Chance knew that his blasé attitude was in part due to the after effects of whatever Abiade had used to drug him. He wasn't sure what he'd used, but Guerrero was swaying slightly with the effort to keep himself upright. Unfortunately it also seemed to be making him very talkative.

"Give it a rest, Abiade," Guerrero sighed. "Things haven't exactly worked out all that badly for you, have they? Don't give me any of that tribal vengeance bullshit. You're doing pretty well for yourself in the good old US of A aren't cha? "

"Guerrero, that's not really helping!" Chance said.

"No, go on! Please, explain to me why you think I should be so grateful to you!"

"Well, first up you're here, living it up in the western world with all mod cons. I noticed you chose to ditch the accent by the way, so don't bother with all the proud African prince crap, okay? Your father was a businessman, not whatever romantic fantasy you've chosen to remember, and he wasn't even a very good one at that."

"My father was a brave and noble man-"

"Your father was a third rate arms dealer who should have stuck to selling hand guns to kids instead of dabbling in trafficking drugs. He didn't have the muscle to pull off that kind of gamble, he pissed off the wrong people and it bit him in the ass. It's as simple as that."

"That's not true! You set him up!"

"Didn't need to, dude."

"You're lying!"

"He set the deal up himself."

"What you did killed him!"

"If I didn't do it, someone else would have," Guerrero shrugged. "It wasn't my call to make. I had my instructions and I took care of it."

Chance could see that Guerrero was only making things worse, and although his friend's faith in his ability to get him out of the situation was flattering, there wasn't much he could do whilst Abiade still had that gun pressed to his head.

"I know your father must have been very important to you, and you hold Guerrero responsible for his death, but don't you think you should be looking for whoever ordered the hit? I can help you do that. I can find who was really behind your father's death."

"I didn't kill him, bro," Guerrero sighed.

"What?" Chance frowned.

"That wasn't the gig. I just tipped off the authorities and greased a few palms to ensure he went to jail."

"So why-"

"Do you know what happened to him?" Abiade demanded. "After your friend here lured him into receiving a massive shipment of drugs?

"Make your mind up, dude. If you're going to blow my head off, at least keep your story straight…"

"How you did it doesn't matter. You made it happen. He went to jail because of your actions!"

"And he died there?" Chance asked, working on the assumption that Abiade was unlikely to shoot Guerrero until he'd said his piece, which might at least give him some time to figure out how the hell he was going to get them out of this mess. Guerrero himself obviously wasn't in any shape to be much help.

"No, what happened to him was far worse!"

Chance had an idea as to where this might be heading, and it didn't look good.

"Huh," Guerrero grunted. "It was hardly a fate worse than death. It happens all the time in jail. Practically to be expected really…"

"My father was a devout man! What happened to him was a crime against God and nature!"

Chance heart sank. It would almost have been better if Guerrero had just killed Abiade's father.

"Funny that. People are always banging on about how unnatural it is, and yet as soon as you lock up a bunch of men with no access to chicks, someone always-"

"Guerrero!" Chance snapped. "Just keep your mouth shut!" He couldn't let him finish that sentence. Chance knew Abiade was Nigerian, and homosexuality was an offence that was punishable by death in parts of his home country. If his father had been raped in jail, he probably did consider it a fate worse than death. It didn't matter that the sex wasn't consensual, he'd still see it as a grievous sin. He knew Guerrero must be aware of that, but he didn't seem either willing or able to stop himself from running his mouth off and provoking the guy.

"My father had no choice! He could not allow himself to be violated like that, again and again! He was a good man, a devout man. He did not deserve to be locked up with the very worst of the worst!"

"Hey, your old man was no saint…"

"If you don't shut up, Guerrero, I'll shoot you myself!" Chance snapped. Guerrero frowned, and it looked as if he was finally starting to grasp the seriousness of the situation. It confirmed Chance's suspicion that he was still trying to shake off the effects of whatever Abiade had doped him with.

"He did the only thing he could do," Abiade said. "He took his own life."

"But that was his choice," Guerrero said slowly, as if he were trying to keep a tight rein on what words made it out through his mouth. "Just like it was his choice to get involved in running drugs."

"You put him there!" Abiade shouted. "You made it all happen!"

"But he didn't kill your father, Abiade," Chance said. "If you kill Guerrero, that's not justice, it's payback. Are you really capable of murder? 'Cause that's what it will be."

For the first time since Chance had tracked them down to the docks, he saw a hint of doubt on Abiade's face. It wasn't nearly enough to make the distraught man lower his weapon, but it was enough to give Chance hope that he could talk him down.

"What happened to your father was a terrible thing. No one is disputing that," Chance said, glaring at Guerrero and willing him to keep his mouth shut. "But if your father was such a devout man, how do you think he would feel about you killing a man in cold blood?"

"Don't you dare try and tell me how my father might feel! This man deserves to suffer and die for what he did!" He was shaking with anger, and Chance was worried that his gun could go off, whether he intended it to or not.

From what he'd been able to find out about the guy, Guerrero kind of had a point; life in the US had worked out quite well for Abiade. He had full citizenship, a good job and a wife with a young child at home. If family was an important to him as it seemed to be, Chance couldn't see him jeopardising all that by committing murder.

"I don't know about you, but my arms are getting a little tired now," Chance said. "I'm going to lower my weapon now, okay? There's no need for you to rush this."

Chance slowly lowered his gun, but Abiade still kept his weapon pressed against Guerrero's head.

"I don't trust you any more than I trust him!" Abiade said. "That is an empty gesture, nothing more!"

"Okay, well I'm going to put my gun on the floor and slide it over to you. Then you'll be in complete control here and you can lower your gun and we can talk about this."

"Fine. Do it. And you need to show me that you are not carrying any other weapons."

"Dude, don't…" Guerrero warned.

Abiade kicked him in the back sending him sprawling face first onto the floor, but didn't take his eyes of Chance for a second.

"Hey, it's okay. I'm doing it, see?" Chance said, carefully placing his gun on the ground and shoving it towards him. He'd hoped that Abiade might bend down to pick it up so he could rush him whilst he was distracted, but he merely kicked the gun in to the corner.

"Take off your jacket and lift up your shirt."

Chance did what he was instructed, showing him that he didn't have another weapon.

"Take off your boots and show me your feet."

"My feet?"

"You could have a knife strapped to your ankle."

Chance sighed. The guy had good instincts, he had to give him that. He removed his boots and showed him that there was nothing strapped to his ankles or in his boots.

"No knives, no guns. It's just what you see, okay?"

Abiade crouched down and grabbed Guerrero's hair, hauling him back up to his knees. Guerrero had long since lost his glasses, and the impact with the concrete had split his lip and grazed the side of his face.

"And what's to stop me killing him now?"

"If you were going to do it, you would have done it by now," Guerrero said, licking the blood from his lip.

"Really? You think so?"

"He's right. You don't-"

"You think I'm bluffing?" Abiade dropped his arm and shot Guerrero straight through the foot.

"Son-of-a-bitch!" Guerrero yelped.

Chance felt like he'd been kicked in the gut. He'd been so sure Abiade wouldn't shoot, and now he was regretting handing over his gun so readily. His options were shrinking by the second. He might have been able to do something to disable Abiade and get Guerrero out of there, but that was out of the question now. The bleeding from the gunshot wound didn't look immediately life-threatening, but there was no way Guerrero was going to be able to put any weight on that foot. Like it or not, Chance was now committed to talking Abiade down.

"What do you want from this situation?" Chance asked. "If it was just to kill Guerrero, you could have done it already, so what is it you really want? If you wanted to hear him plead for his life, to beg for mercy, you must see by now that that is not going to happen. He won't do that."

"I want him to suffer and die!"

"But then what?" Chance asked. "You really think that you're going to feel better once he's dead? Is it going to make your loss any less painful? I can tell you right now that the feeling of emptiness isn't going to go away. It may even get worse because you won't be able to focus on getting your revenge, because there won't be anyone left to blame."

Abiade wrenched Guerrero's head back and shoved the barrel of his gun into his mouth. "I'm willing to risk that!"

"This isn't justice!" Chance was grasping at straws now. "Go ahead and shoot him, but it's a pretty quick and painless way to go. It will be a clean death and he won't suffer." He finally seemed to have hit a nerve.

"You don't deserve a clean death," Abiade muttered. "You deserve to suffer as you made my father suffer." He paused, frowning as he thought that through. "You are too proud to beg for your life, so perhaps your pride is worth more to you than your life. I think it would be more fitting to make you suffer exactly how my father suffered!"

Up to that point Guerrero had maintained a fairly dispassionate expression, trusting that Chance would find a way to extricate from the situation, but his eyes widened as he realised what Abiade was thinking.

"Drop your pants," Abiade ordered, glaring at Chance. "Do it now if you want your friend to live!"

Chance felt sick to his stomach at the thought of what Abiade was going to make him do, but the alternative was watching Guerrero die. He forced himself to imagine what effect Abiade's gun would have at such close range, forcing himself to see in his mind's eye the blood, bone and brain tissue spraying into the air, and the dull thump of Guerrero's lifeless body as it hit the ground. It didn't take much to build the image in his mind; it was a situation he'd seen many times, usually from the perspective of the person pulling the trigger. He could not let that happen to Guerrero.

His fingers seemed unnaturally slow and clumsy as he unbuckled his belt and undid his jeans. He avoided looking at Guerrero, but he could feel him staring at him.

"Stand there!" he said pointing to the ground in front of Guerrero.

Chance's feet felt leaden as he did what he was instructed, and he still couldn't meet Guerrero's eyes. Abiade had already pulled the trigger once. It would make it that much easier to do it a second time.

"Suck him," Abiade said, removing the gun from Guerrero's mouth and pressing the muzzle beneath Chance's chin. "Suck him, or I'll kill him and then you."

Chance couldn't bear to look down and see Guerrero's expression. It would only have made an impossible situation worse, and the more he could block out, the better. He was relieved that the gun was now pointing at him and not Guerrero, and it helped a little to know that his friend was given a choice, of sorts. It wasn't much of a choice: to go along with Abiade's twisted idea of justice, or for both of them to die, but it was still a choice that was Guerrero's to make.

Chance wanted Guerrero to spit in the man's face and tell him to go to hell, but he knew that he wouldn't, not when there was a loaded gun held to Chance's head. Abiade seemed to understand that Guerrero was more likely to comply if he threatened Chance. Neither of them would submit to him for the sake of their own lives, but they would each do whatever it took to save the other.

"Do it!" Abiade snarled. "Do it or he dies!"

Chance could feel the heat of Guerrero's breath against his skin for a moment, and then the slight scratch of his moustache against his dick as his lips closed around him. Chance was sickened rather than aroused, and his body flat-out refused to respond to Guerrero's half-hearted efforts.

"I can't do this," Chance said, hating how pathetic he sounded. It was all his fault. If he hadn't misread the situation so badly, he'd still have his gun, and perhaps a way out of this situation.

"There's only two ways this can end," Abiade said, grabbing Guerrero's hair and jerking his head back, forcing him to look at the gun pressed under Chance's chin. "Either he fucks you and I let you both live, or he doesn't and you both die. I suggest you put a little more effort into getting him hard!"

Chance screwed his eyes shut and tried to think of something that would make his body respond the way he needed it to, anything but Guerrero on his knees. He searched his memories until he found one that might work for him.

He must have been about twenty-five at the time. It was certainly back when he was working for the Old Man. There had been a girl with freckles and long brown hair…

He couldn't remember her name, or even how they met, but he remembered sneaking into to the theatre where she worked. She would drag him into the back office, fall to her knees and suck him so hard that it felt like she was stealing a part of his soul every time he came in that hot, pink little mouth.

He couldn't recall them ever doing anything else, except making-out occasionally. He guessed that they must have at some point, but all he could remember was her eagerly taking his cock into her mouth and the way she let out these contented little moans, like that was all she wanted, all she needed...

He vaguely remembered it ending badly. There was a fight with a boyfriend, or perhaps he was her husband? Either way, she was horrified when Junior punched him so hard that he broke the boyfriend/husband's jaw, and there were no more clandestine blow jobs after that.

Chance focused on the memory of that girl's mouth, and tried to block out the reality of what was actually happening to him in the cold, dank shipping container. When he felt a tongue gently lapping at his dick, he felt a slight twinge of what could be arousal starting to kick in.

He pictures the girl's face as she took his cock into her mouth, trying to remember in as much detail as he could about the way she looked up at him beneath long, dark lashes…

The tongue sliding against his dick grew more insistent as Chance started to get aroused, licking more firmly, until suddenly he felt his dick surrounded by a hot, wet mouth sucking him hard, as the tongue flicked across the sensitive head.

Carrie. Her name was Carrie…

He willed himself to remember the colour of her eyes, a soft chocolate brown, with the tiniest flecks of green in them. He thought of the way she smelled, a light vanilla scent with a hint of jasmine.

He poured everything he had into making that memory as real as possible, and it seemed to be working…

"Open your eyes!" Abiade ordered, bringing Chance's fragile fantasy crashing down, and dragging him back to reality. "Look at him!"

Chance forced himself to open his eyes and look down, and Abiade grabbed at Guerrero's hair again, forcing him to meet his eyes.

Seeing Guerrero like that knocked the breath out of him. It wasn't just having to face the reality of what was happening to them, it was the unexpected jolt that struck deep in his abdomen. He'd never felt anything remotely like desire for another man, but seeing Guerrero on his knees sent sparks to a part of him that he didn't know, and didn't want to know, even existed. His body's response was beyond sick, no matter how involuntary it was.

He hoped that Guerrero couldn't read what was going on his head from the look on his face. What they were doing was necessary to get them through this alive, but to enjoy it in any way was unforgivable. He never wanted Guerrero to even suspect the existence of that guilty pang of desire that shot through him. Guerrero's eyes looked cold and dead, giving nothing away about what was going on in his own mind, and Chance wondered if the drugs in his system were doing anything to dull his senses. He hoped they were.

"That's enough," Abiade said, yanking Guerrero's head further back, so that Chance's dick slid out of his mouth, leaving a string of saliva hanging from the tip. Guerrero closed his eyes as he struggled to catch his breath, and Chance was momentarily relieved that he couldn't see that empty look anymore. He prayed to a god he had never even believed in that Guerrero would think his erection was a purely physical response that he had no control over. After all, until Abiade forced them to open their eyes, it had been.

Abiade released Guerrero's hair and shoved him so that he fell sideways to the concrete floor. "Strip him."

Chance knelt down next to him and tried to undo his jeans. For whatever reason, Guerrero had not to worn a belt that day, and Chance weighed up what his options might have been if he'd been wearing the belt with the blades concealed in the buckle, but it was a pretty pointless exercise.

Guerrero opened his eyes, suddenly appearing a lot more alert and aware of what was going on.

"This isn't worth dying for, bro," he hissed in a barely audible whisper. "Just give the sick fuck what he wants. We give him enough of a show, we might just get out of this okay."

"I can't do this," Chance murmured. "I just can't do this to you Guerrero. I can't…"

"Then we're both dead."

Guerrero's eyes took on that dead look again, and he lay there, neither resisting or doing anything to help as Chance worked his jeans and his underwear down over his hips.

Chance felt sick with guilt and confusion. All of this was his fault. He was so sure that Abiade wouldn't pull that trigger, he'd literally bet their lives on it. How did everything get so out of control so fast? His mind was still reeling from the fact that he'd been aroused by Guerrero's mouth on his cock. Yeah, it took a memory of an old girlfriend to get the ball rolling, but Guerrero had done the rest, and it was the sight of him on his knees with his mouth wrapped around his cock that had kept him hard. That was still keeping him hard.

Guerrero's apparent pragmatism over the whole situation only made things worse, and Chance was unsure how much the drugs in his system were effecting him and how much he was faking.

Chance pulled Guerrero's jeans down as far as his knees and stopped, unsure what to do next.

"Take them off! All the way!"

Reluctantly, Chance did as he said. Guerrero wasn't wearing any shoes. Abiade must have removed them when Guerrero was still unconscious, and perhaps he had found a knife or two tucked away, which would explain why he was so thorough about checking Chance for weapons. Chance took the opportunity to have a quick look at the gunshot wound to Guerrero's foot. It seemed his initial assessment had been correct, no major blood vessels seem to have been hit, but walking on it would be impossible.

"Stop wasting time! Do it! Fuck him!"

Chance had never done this before, not with a man, but he'd had anal sex with women, and he knew he trying to force his way into Guerrero without any preparation was a bad idea. Proper lubrication was out of the question, so he would just have to improvise. He stuck two fingers in his mouth, coating them as best he could with spit, before pressing one gently against Guerrero's asshole.

Guerrero's body tensed immediately, and he tried to push Chance away with his hands, which were still tied behind his back. The deadness in his expression was replaced by a look of wide-eyed distress as he struggled, trying to twist his body away from Chance's hands.

"Don't," Guerrero said. "Just let him kill me, I don't care. Just don't do this, Chance. Don't do this to me!" His voice sounded panicked, but Chance could see a shadow of the resigned look in his eyes that he'd seen earlier. Chance knew Guerrero would never really beg like that, and that he was only doing it for Abiade's benefit, but it didn't make what he had to do any easier.

Chance rolled Guerrero onto his stomach and used one hand to keep his hands pinned against his back, as he pressed the fingers of the other hand against his puckered ring of muscle.

"Chance! Don't do this to me! Just stop!" Guerrero's voice sounded more urgent this time and Chance did his best to block it out as he straddled his legs, pinning them to the ground so that he couldn't struggle or kick.

Abiade seemed to be enjoying watching Guerrero's distress, which did at least give Chance the time to try and prep him.

"Stop! Please… just fucking stop!"

The line between the struggle that Guerrero was putting up for Abiade's benefit, and his genuine resistance to what was happening was starting to blur in Chance's mind. It hadn't been too bad to start with, because his pleas had sounded so fake to him, things Guerrero would never say. But the tension in his body was clearly not faked. He could have fought harder and made things more difficult for Chance, but he was letting this happen because the alternative was a bullet in Chance's brain.

"Please Guerrero, try to relax. I don't want to hurt you, but this is the only way. I can't let him kill you…" Chance pressed a little harder, and managed to slide a finger inside him, despite Guerrero's resistance.

"It's going to be more than just his fingers inside you in a minute," Abiade said. "But like your friend said earlier, there's no need to rush. My father had to endure three long weeks of being used like this, before he found the means to end his life."

Chance didn't have a clue what he was doing, or how he could make it easier on Guerrero. He slid his finger out and spat on it again, hoping that a little more lubrication would help, and this time he managed to get two fingers inside him.

He went as slowly as he dared, working his fingers in a circular motion and trying to flex them about a bit to try and loosen Guerrero up. He couldn't drag it out for too long because he was starting to lose his hard-on, and there was no way he was going to put Guerrero though the humiliation of sucking his cock again.

Guerrero's cries had settled down to an endless repetition of: "Don't do this to me Chance. Don't do it. Please don't do it…" and when Chance glanced up at Abiade, he saw a look of sadistic satisfaction on his face.

He flexed his fingers a bit harder, and this time Guerrero let out a startled cry as Chance's fingertips brushed against a particular spot inside him. Chance repeated the movement and Guerrero's body gave an unmistakable jerk as he moaned weakly.

"That's it, just let go, okay?" Chance murmured.

"I can't… I can't…" Guerrero moaned.

Chance repeated the motion again, and for a split second he felt Guerrero push back against his hand, leaning in to the that touch. The thought that he might have stumbled on a way to make it easier for Guerrero gave him a moment's hope, but it was chased away by a fleeting curiosity as to what it might feel like to bury himself in the tight, slick heat of Guerrero's ass, finding that spot that made him shiver, and pounding it until Guerrero screamed out his name.

Chance snatched his hand away, and closed his eyes, but there was no way for him to un-think that thought. He had to do this to give them a chance of getting out of this alive, but he couldn't take pleasure in it. Despite whatever involuntary physical response he was provoking in Guerrero, he was playing along because it was the only way out of a shitty situation. What he was doing was little better than rape, and he needed to remember that, not delude himself that Guerrero could on any level enjoy what was happening.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Chance said, his stomach churning at the thought of what he was going to do next, and loathing the foul, despicable animal part of himself that actually wanted to do it.

He forced a knee between Guerrero's legs and pushed them apart until he was kneeling between them. Guerrero had fallen eerily quiet, staring off into the distance again, detached from what was happening.

"What's it going to be?" Abiade sneered. "Either you fuck him right here, right now, or I put a bullet in his brain. Your choice."

Chance spread Guerrero's cheeks and spat what saliva he could muster up onto his ass. It wasn't much, especially as his mouth was already parched, but it was all the lubrication he had. He leaned in, bracing one hand on the floor as he guided his cock into position.

He muttered one more "I'm sorry" before forcing his dick slowly into Guerrero's ass.

Guerrero moaned wordlessly as Chance pushed further inside him, stretching his body to its limit. Chance knew he must be hurting him, but inflicting pain and humiliation was the whole point, as far as Abiade was concerned. Chance tried to be gentle, but there was little he could do to mitigate the brutality of the act itself.

"Tell me Guerrero," Abiade smirked. "Just how natural does that feel? Is it really such a trivial thing to endure?"

Chance hoped Guerrero would curse and shout his defiance at him, to show him that despite what he was making them do, he was still Guerrero, unbroken and unbreakable, but there was nothing but the sound of their ragged breathing to break the silence. He tried to ignore the hot clench of Guerrero's body on his cock, but that deeper, primal part of himself that had been awoken by the sight of Guerrero on his knees, sucking him off, surged through him again, urging him on.

"Don't just lie there!" Abiade said. "Fuck him! Fuck him like a whore!"

"It's okay. Just do it," Guerrero mumbled. "Better this than a bullet to the head."

But nothing about this situation was okay.

Guerrero's head was turned to one side, his face pressed to the filthy floor. Chance tried to move slowly, struggling to hold back, to make only short, shallow thrusts into him, but his body was still pinning Guerrero down, crushing him, grinding him into the dirt.

"Harder!" Abiade snarled. "I want to see you rip him apart!"

Chance grit his teeth. "I can't. The angle-"

"Then get him on his knees!"

Chance pulled back, grateful for the short reprieve. He pulled off his shirt, and tucked it between Guerrero's face and the floor. He looked at Abiade, but he didn't object, merely waving the tip of the gun, indicating that Chance should hurry up and get on with it.

Chance put his hand on the back of Guerrero's thigh, helping him draw one knee, then the other up beneath his body. Chance steadied him by placing his hands on his hips. Guerrero's ass was even more exposed now, and Chance winced when he saw that it was red-raw, but thankfully not bleeding. He spat into his hand a couple of times and smeared it across the tip of his cock.

Guerrero didn't struggle this time. He just gave a long, pained groan as Chance eased back inside him, forcing his cock a little further on every thrust until he bottomed out. Chance stopped, gasping for air as he tried to bring his body under some kind of control, and giving Guerrero a moment to adjust.

"Move!" Abiade ordered.

Guerrero was tighter than anything Chance had ever experienced, but the knowledge that he wouldn't last long was poor consolation in the light of what he was doing to his friend.

Guerrero cursed and cried out in what sounded like genuine pain as he drew back and thrust back in. Abiade's voice was a constant drone in the background, urging Chance to fuck him harder and faster, to make him scream and bleed and beg. Chance closed his eyes, trying to block it all out, but however hard he tried, he could still hear Guerrero's cries of pain.

It was a little easier now that Guerrero's muscles had been stretched out a little, but he was still so tight, so gloriously tight that Chance was having to fight his body's need to just let go and fuck him hard and fast. Despite his best efforts, he was starting to lose control as his climax started to build, making him thrust wildly whilst his fingers bit deep into Guerrero's hips.

Suddenly Guerrero tensed, his muscles clamping down hard around his cock and Chance threw back his head and groaned as his orgasm was wrung from his body. He pushed himself away, his cock sliding free from Guerrero's ass as he fell back on his heels. He didn't want Guerrero's ordeal to last a single second longer than it had too.

He was blinded for a moment, his vision whiting out with the force of his climax, but when it cleared, Abiade was turning towards Guerrero, levelling the gun at his head. Something inside him snapped as he realised he was going to kill Guerrero anyway, even after everything he'd made them do.

Chance launched himself from his kneeling position, barrelling into Abiade and grabbing the gun and twisting it out of his hand. He had the gun pressed to his chest and he fired, again and again, not stopping even when the clip was empty.

"Chance, it's over. He's dead."

Guerrero had to repeat himself several times before he got through to him.

Chance dropped the gun.

"Chance?"

He couldn't even look at Guerrero.

"Snap out of, dude. I need you to untie me."

Slowly Chance got to his feet. He pulled his jeans up and fastened his belt.

"I'm so sorry," he said, still with his back to Guerrero.

"It doesn't matter. None of it matters. It's over."

"But what I did to you…"

"You did what you had to. I'm okay. We're alive."

Chance's shoulders began to shake, and even with his back to him, Guerrero knew that he was crying. He gave him a moment before speaking again.

"Chance, I need your help here, buddy."

Chance took a deep breath to steady himself, and turned around.

Chapter Text

 

Guerrero didn't need to see Chance's face to know that he was holding himself responsible for what just happened.

"Chance, I need your help here, buddy."

There wasn't time for them to deal with the enormity of what they'd done; their priority had to be to get the hell out of there before anyone found them. The sound of a single gunshot might be dismissed as any number of things, but the volley of shots Chance had just fired off were unmistakable as anything but gunfire.

"Guerrero, I-"

"We have to get out of here. You think you can untie me?"

Chance nodded.

Guerrero could feel Chance tugging at the knot, but he couldn't tell if he was making much progress. It was taking far too long, and he was on the verge of telling Chance to look around for something to use to cut the rope when it finally slackened and fell away. He rubbed some feeling back into his hands and Chance silently handed him his jeans.

"You need to find your gun," Guerrero said, struggling to redress himself, but reluctant to draw attention to his injuries by asking for Chance's help. "See if you can find my boots too. We can't leave anything that will link this back to us."

It didn't take long for Chance to find what he was looking for; the shipping container was empty aside from a few crates stacked haphazardly at one end. Guerrero inspected his foot. It was a mess, and he'd need to wrap it with something so as not to leave a bloody trail behind him. The first thing that came to mind was to use Chance's shirt, but when he caught sight of him standing there bare-chested holding his boots, unable to meet his eyes, he thought better of it.

"Here," he said holding the shirt up for Chance to take. "Put this back on. Your jacket too."

Chance looked confused, as if unsure of what to do with the boots he was holding, as if the task of putting them down in order to take the shirt were to complicated for him to figure out.

"Just drop those," Guerrero prompted.

He did, and took the shirt and put it back on, followed by his jacket. He had at least found his own footwear and put it back on without Guerrero having to talk him through it.

Guerrero pulled his boot on to his uninjured foot, and then shrugged off his own shirt so he could wrap it around the injured one. Unlike Chance, he was wearing an undershirt so he could afford to lose a layer without it being conspicuous.

"Chance, I'm going to need a little help to get to the car."

Again, Chance nodded, but he didn't move.

"Chance!"

He was startled for a moment, but then saw Guerrero holding out his hand, waiting for him to help him up. Guerrero saw the way he flinched when their hands made contact, as if he couldn't bare to touch him.

"I'm okay. I just can't put any weight on this foot," Guerrero explained, trying to reassure him.

Chance gave a barely perceptible nod, and allowed Guerrero to put his arm around his shoulder. After a couple of awkward steps, he picked up Guerrero's other boot and put his arm around his waist, cautiously though, as if he wasn't sure whether Guerrero would object.

They made better progress after that, although Guerrero had to prompt Chance to shut the door to the container behind them. Chance was clearly in shock, but as long as Guerrero gave him simple instructions, he seemed to be able to function okay.

"You're gonna have to drive, buddy," he said when they finally reached the car. "I don't have my glasses, and that shit Abiade gave me is still fucking with my head. I can see about six of you right now."

Chance silently helped his into the passenger seat, and Guerrero hoped that he was really up to driving. Chance got in the car and started the engine, then hesitated.

"Take us back to the office," Guerrero said.

"But you're hurt."

"Yeah, but it can wait," he replied, relieved to hear Chance say something other than that he was sorry. "Winston will be worried. We need to let him know we're okay."

"Are we okay, Guerrero?"

"Yeah, we're fine," he assured him. It wasn't quite the truth, but it was what Chance needed to hear.


Winston was furious for the ten seconds it took for him to realise that there was something seriously wrong. He ground to a halt mid-rant, and helped get Guerrero to a chair.

"What happened?" Winston asked, addressing his question to Guerrero. Chance sat on the couch, his head in his hands.

"It's complicated," Guerrero replied. "Get the first aid kit out of the kitchen. Check the drawer by the microwave too. There should be a spare pair of glasses in there somewhere."

Winston frowned. "You're going to need more than a band aid for that foot."

"I know, but there should be some sedatives in there. You need to give them to Chance. ."

"Is that really necessary?" Winston asked. "He looks almost catatonic as it is! What the hell happened to you two?"

"I can't go into that right now," Guerrero said. "But trust me, Chance is going to need those sedatives. Give him as much as it takes to knock him out completely. And pass me the phone. I've gotta get someone to fix up my foot."

Ten minutes later Guerrero's contact showed up. She took one look at his foot and shook her head.

"You're going to need x-rays and almost certainly a cast too. Sorry Guerrero, but this isn't something I can patch up with a field kit. You'll have to come back to the clinic with me."

Guerrero sighed. He knew Ellen wouldn't insist on him going unless it was absolutely necessary, but he hated the thought of leaving Chance passed out on the sofa. He knew that once got past the initial shock, things were only going to get worse. Chance would have to face what happened sooner or later, and when he did he was probably going to turn his anger in on himself. Best case scenario: he would run, he'd try and put as much distance between himself and Guerrero as he could. He'd cut himself off from everyone and everything he cared about, not just to punish himself, but also out of some twisted belief that he'd be protecting them. Guerrero tried not to think about worst case scenarios.

"Fine," Guerrero said. "But it's got to be quick."

"We're swamped right now. I'll try but-"

"Just name your price, Ellen. I haven't got time for this right now."

He still hadn't told Winston what happened at the docks. He'd have to tell him something eventually, but he couldn't just blurt it out and then leave. Keeping Chance doped up wasn't ideal, but at least it dealt with the risk of him taking off.

When Winston went to help Guerrero to the elevator, Guerrero stopped him.

"You need to stay with Chance."

"He's passed out. He'll be-"

"Don't let him out of your sight! Not for a second! If he wakes up, dose him again."

"Why? What the hell is going on here, Guerrero?"

"I'll explain later, just… please do what I say."

He saw that the 'please' had caught Winston's attention. He hoped it was enough to convince him to follow his instructions to the letter.


Ellen did her best to expedite things at the clinic, but there was still plenty of time waiting around that gave Guerrero the opportunity to mentally process the events in the shipping container.

He didn't blame Chance for what happened. He wasn't there when Abiade told him how his father had committed suicide. After an attack so brutal it had left him with internal injuries, Abiade's father had been moved to the hospital wing. Unable to face being moved back into the general population, he managed to get hold of some industrial strength drain cleaner and he drank it. It was an excruciating death. Even when the staff realised what he had done, there was nothing they could do to help him. Abiade had recounted every gruesome detail of the last moments of his father's life to Guerrero. There was no way he was going to be talked out of taking his revenge, but Chance couldn't have known that.

Guerrero hadn't a hope in hell of surviving the confrontation with Abiade until Chance had shown up. Whatever he'd jabbed him with had hit his system like a freight train. One minute he was stopping for gas, and the next he was being hauled to his knees in the shipping container. He wondered if there had been a little sodium penthanol in the mix, because he'd had serious trouble filtering his thoughts before opening his mouth. On its own it wouldn't have been a problem, but in combination with whatever else was in that cocktail, it had been pretty effective. He had a vague memory of asking Abiade for his recipe, to satisfy his professional curiosity. That hadn't gone down well.

He probably would have been honest with Abiade even without the drugs; there was no strategic advantage to him denying his involvement in what happened to his father. It wasn't even one of the worst things he'd done whilst he was in Joubert's employ. He hadn't really thought about what would happen to the guy once he was locked up, and even if he had known what would happen, he doubted that he would have cared.

He couldn't honestly say he felt guilt over what he'd done to the guy's father, but he did feel the responsibility for it. He'd made a lot of concessions to Chance's new-found sense of morality, but he certainly didn't agree that nobody deserved to die, and he'd have killed Abiade in a heartbeat if he'd had the chance. Getting revenge for what happened to his father was one thing, he might have even deserved it, but what he'd done to Chance…

That was the heart of the problem: what Abiade had done to Chance. What had happened was fucked up, but Guerrero could deal. It had been painful and degrading, but objectively, he'd been in worse situations. Chance wasn't actively trying to hurt him, far from it. Guerrero knew he'd tried to make it as easy on him as he could; but in putting on a show of being in terror and pain for Abiade's benefit, he knew he'd made it worse for Chance. But then if he hadn't have given the impression of suffering more than he actually was, Abiade might have escalated the situation, maybe even taking his frustrations out on Chance.

Guerrero considered himself to have gotten off lightly with a busted foot and a dull ache that wasn't improved by sitting on a hard plastic chair, but Chance had been wounded in a way that was going to be a lot harder to fix. He was going to have to find a way to tell Chance that if anyone was going to do what he'd had to do, he was glad it was him, the only person he really trusted. What he'd been forced to do in no way broke that trust, and Chance hadn't let him down.

The psychological impact was much more difficult for Chance to deal with than Guerrero's physical injuries. He'd had to achieve and maintain an erection under repugnant circumstances, and Guerrero had played a key part in getting him aroused. Guerrero's own feelings about going down on him were complicated. He hadn't wanted to it, but at the same time he wasn't disgusted by it. The circumstances were horrific, but the act itself…

Yeah, it was complicated.

Between the loss of his glasses and the effects of the drugs, everything had taken on a distant, unreal quality. At first he hadn't even tried to get a reaction out of Chance, but Abiade made it abundantly clear that that wasn't going to cut it. The gun pressed under Chance's chin snapped him out of his daze, but it was when he caught Chance's familiar scent that he finally managed to ground himself, and face what had to be done.

That smell, Chance's smell, Junior's smell, was hard-wired into his subconscious. Even masked by whatever products Chance was using at any given time, there was still and underlying note that was just him. All the years they'd worked together, all the times they'd dragged each other out of whatever shit-storm they'd been embroiled in, and patched each other up were all a part of the sense memory that came with Chance's scent; offering hope and the reassurance that they had each other's back.

That onslaught of feeling that came with the smell of Chance's skin made it easier for him to do what was demanded of him to protect him, but the real complications started when Chance's body started to respond to his efforts to get him hard. He had no explanation for the effect that having Chance's hardening cock in his mouth had on him. It was like he was drunk on the taste of him, his scent musky and intoxicating at such close quarters. Guerrero had never wanted this, and he was very aware that what he was doing was being forced on Chance against his will but…

Fuck it, he hadn't wanted to stop. The drugs may have shot his inhibitions to hell, but they hadn't created that want. That had been all him. How the hell was he supposed to explain that?

After Abiade had knocked him to the ground, Guerrero had muttered something to Chance about just getting on with it, and he had alternated between shutting down completely and giving Abiade all the begging and pleading he needed to hear. Guerrero had heard enough pleas for mercy over the years to be able to work off a kind of internal script that didn't require him to actively think about it.

He detached himself from what was happening and that feeling of unreality snuck back in. He'd been doing okay until Chance's fingers had brushed against his prostate, and he'd been helpless to disguise the intense bolt of unexpected pleasure that shot through his body. Chance must have known because he did it again, and by the third time it was all Guerrero could do not to moan out his name.

Again he urged Chance just to get on with it, and to his relief, he did. It had hurt when Chance first attempted to penetrate him, but it was worse once Chance helped him to his knees, making him exposed and vulnerable, before sinking himself balls deep in his ass. It had burned as Chance had worked his cock inside him, and he did feel the shame and the humiliation that Abiade was trying to provoke, but it was the guilt of violating Chance's body and his own fucked up responses that troubled him most.

He could deal with it, he could accept that they'd done what they'd had to do to get out alive, but what he'd learned about himself in the process was troubling. He wished that the whole thing had ended when Chance emptied that clip into Abiade's chest, but it was far from over. Guerrero could bury what had happened, but for Chance it wasn't going to be that simple.

Guerrero was so deep in thought that he didn't hear the nurse call out his alias. It was only when the surly teenager next to him elbowed him in the ribs that he snapped out of it and identified himself to the staff. It was a mark of how exhausted and worried he was that he didn't so much as scowl or threaten the kid who'd nudged him.


As soon as Guerrero hobbled out of the elevator on his crutches, he knew Winston hadn't followed his instructions. The place looked like a bomb had hit it. Everything that could be broken had been, and everything else, including most of the furniture, seemed to have been hurled at the wall.

"Winston?" Guerrero yelled, his stomach knotting painfully at the sight of the empty couch. "Winston, you here?"

"Keep your voice down!" Winston hissed as he appeared at the top of the stairs leading to Chance's living quarters. "Chance finally crashed about ten minutes ago!"

"I see you didn't follow my advice," Guerrero said, selecting a chair that didn't look too bent out of shape, setting it right side up and lowering himself carefully into it. He propped his crutches up against the arm of the chair and let out an exhausted sigh.

"Yeah, well after you left, Chance started talking."

"And?"

"He wasn't making much sense to begin with, he was too busy trashing the place. But I picked up the odd word here and there. Nasty words like 'rape' and 'no choice'."

"Oh."

"What happened, Guerrero? What did you do?"

Guerrero wasn't fooled by Winston's apparent calm. If looks could kill he'd be little more than a stain on the floor right now. He'd got the gist of what happened from Chance, but now he wanted the specifics. He'd obviously come up with some assumptions that didn't seem to err in Guerrero's favour.

"I was abducted. Apparently he was the son of a mark I dealt with some years ago, back when we were still working for the Old Man. Chance found me, but the guy used him to punish me."

"What does that mean he 'used him'? Used him how?"

Guerrero looked down at the floor, giving Winston a moment to figure it out so he wouldn't have to spell it out for him.

"How?" Winston demanded, unable to keep the anger from creeping into his voice.

"How do you think?"

"What did you do to him, Guerrero?"

"I didn't…"

"Didn't what?"

Guerrero had been about to say that he hadn't raped Chance, but he couldn't make himself say it. He had performed a sexual act on him against his will, and if that wasn't the definition of rape, then what was?

"The guy… Abiade… he made us fuck. He put a gun to my head. He was gonna kill us both if Chance didn't…"

"So Chance was the one who…?"

"Yeah."

Winston turned his back on him, but not before Guerrero saw the murderous look on his face.

"How could you let that happen?" Winston asked quietly. "I've seen both of you take on half a dozen men single handed at one time or another. How did one guy with a gun force you to… do that?"

Winston's words stung, but Guerrero knew what he was trying to say. One man with a gun shouldn't have been too much for either of them to deal with.

"He drugged me. I couldn't… I'd be dead if Chance hadn't have shown up when he did."

Winston turned towards him, frowning. Guerrero could see that he was trying to take in what he was saying, and was surprised to find that he wanted Winston's understanding.

"But how-"

"Chance underestimated the threat. He thought he could talk the guy down, but…" Guerrero shrugged.

Winston retrieved another chair from the debris and set it down opposite Guerrero. He sat down, rubbing his eyes before crossing his arms and staring at the floor.

"Start from the beginning. Who is this guy?"


Guerrero told him about Abiade and his father. He didn't go into any detail about what Abiade made them do; Winston had the general idea already and that was bad enough. Winston clenched his jaw, and Guerrero cold see a vein pulsing in his forehead.

"So there's a shipping container full of forensic evidence and a dead body just sitting there, waiting to be found?" Winston asked.

"No. I made some calls. The container will be on its way to Europe by now. I have a guy who'll take care of the clean up when it arrives. If and when it ever shows up again on US soil, there'll be nothing to tie it to us or Abiade."

"What about his wife and kid? They'll be looking for him."

"I'll hack his email and fake a suicide note. They often don't find the bodies of jumpers from the Golden Gate Bridge so…"

Surprisingly, Winston didn't object, he just nodded.

"Maybe it's not a good idea for you to be here when Chance wakes up."

"No," Guerrero replied. "He needs to see that I'm okay, that he's not to blame for what happened."

Winston looked doubtful.

"He needs to see that we can get past this," Guerrero insisted. "You know what he's like. He's going to blame himself, and the guilt is going to eat him up. I'm not going to let that happen!"

Winston sighed. "I wish I knew what the right thing to do here was."

"I'm not going to leave him to deal with this alone, thinking the worse of himself. I just can't."


Winston set about cleaning up the mess left by Chance's earlier rampage. He was glad that Guerrero hadn't asked how he managed to sedate him once he'd become violent. Shooting Chance with a tranquilliser gun wasn't exactly his finest moment, and he felt guilty about not taking Guerrero's word for it and keeping him sedated as he'd asked. He'd carried Chance up to his room, and sat with him a while. He knew the tranqs should keep him knocked out for at least eight hours, maybe longer, but it didn't seem right to just leave him there alone. He only left him when he heard Guerrero shouting from downstairs.

Guerrero was in no shape to help with the clean-up, so Winston didn't object when he moved to the couch, stretching out his legs to keep his injured foot elevated. He wondered how he managed to be so calm after what happened, but he kept his questions to himself and didn't comment, even when Guerrero asked to bring him his laptop, and a glass of water so he could take his antibiotics.


Guerrero decided to do some snooping into Abiade's life. There wasn't much to find, he seemed to have lived a fairly average existence, not that Guerrero was really expecting to find anything unusual. He worked in the sales department of a small printing firm, had no savings to speak of, and had a mortgage he could barely afford on a tiny two bedroom house in the suburbs. His wife worked part-time as a music teacher and their son had turned four years old just last month.

Life was likely to get very difficult for Abiade's widow and son. Guerrero sighed. It took him a while, channelling small, untraceable amounts through several different off-shore accounts, but at least it was a distraction. He took the money from various accounts where he knew the loss was unlikely to be reported, if it was even missed in the first place, and funnelled it into a high interest savings account in Abiade's wife's name. It wasn't a huge amount, but it would be enough for her to keep up the mortgage payments for a while, and maybe set up a college fund for the kid. She was likely to be curious as to where the money had come from, but there wasn't much he could do about that.

He read through Abiade's old emails, trying to get a feel for his writing style. Thankfully he seemed to be a man of few words, even when emailing his wife. Guerrero type out a couple of lines and added the details of the savings account he'd created, taking care to falsify the ip address. He hoped that the email and the money would be enough to give the kid the kind of closure that Abiade never got with the death of his father.

When Winston had cleared up the worst of the debris, he suggested ordering some takeout. For once Guerrero didn't feel much like eating, but Winston knew that it would help combat the nausea he must be feeling taking antibiotics on an empty stomach, so he insisted.

They sat in silence until the food showed up. Guerrero pretended to be checking his emails, and Winston was staring at a novel, although he never seemed to turn the page.

When Winston handed him the carton of Chow Mein, Guerrero found that he was ravenous after all. He wolfed it down, and Winston handed him a second helping without a word. He was in the habit of over-ordering to ensure that there was something more tempting than his lunch in the refrigerator for Guerrero to pick at, but from the way he'd put the first helping away, he figured Guerrero needed it now.

Winston fetched a blanket and a pillow for Guerrero, and told him he'd crash upstairs on Chance's couch.

"You need to check on him in the night," Guerrero said.

"I know. I'll set my alarm to wake me every couple of hours. I don't think I'll need it though. I can't see myself getting much sleep tonight."

Guerrero was inclined to feel the same way, but exhaustion got the better of him, and he eventually slipped into an uneasy sleep.

Chapter Text

Winston didn't get much sleep. He was still trying to get his head around what Guerrero had told him, and he wasn't entirely sure how long the dose of tranquillisers that he'd given Chance was likely to last. The dart had been left over from a job, and the dose was calculated to knock out a smaller man for twelve hours. By Winston's calculations, Chance should wake up after about eight hours, but he wasn't a hundred per cent sure, so he monitored him carefully throughout the night.

What he was actually going to do once Chance woke up was another matter entirely. He hoped that the drug would wear off slowly so that he could talk to Chance before he was alert enough to do anything rash, but he had no idea what he was going to say.

After talking to Guerrero, he understood how the situation had gotten so out of their control, how they'd complied to the man's demands in order to protect each other. Abiade probably had no concept of the depths of the cruelty he'd inflicted on the two men. His objective had been to hurt and humiliate Guerrero; he probably had no idea of the damage he was doing to Chance in the process. Guerrero was right, Abiade had used Chance. Maybe that was what he had to get across to Chance when he woke up, that he was as much as a victim as Guerrero was in all of this.

Winston had dealt with rape victims when he was a cop, but Chance's situation was way beyond anything he'd faced before. The support and understanding of close friends and family was often important in helping a victim rebuild their life, but Guerrero himself was the closest thing Chance had to family, and what happened might have tainted their relationship beyond repair. On the face of it Guerrero seemed to be coping quite well, but there was no telling what was really going on his head. It seemed as though his main concern was Chance. He'd made it crystal clear to Winston that he didn't want to talk about it.

Winston gave up even trying to sleep around four am, and left the couch in favour of the shabby armchair that sat in the corner of Chance's bedroom. At least from there he could actually see Chance, instead of having to keep getting up every time he thought he heard him stir, only to find that he had imagined it.

Despite his vigilance, his head was beginning to nod a little when Chance started to stir in his sleep. Winston sat bolt upright and rubbed his eyes, before checking his watch. Chance had been out cold for just over nine hours. He checked that the tranq gun was still close to hand, hoping that it was just a precaution that he wouldn't have to use. He waited, letting Chance wake up in his own time, unsure of which Chance it would be who woke up: the silent, almost catatonic one Guerrero had brought back to the office, the enraged violent one who'd trashed the place, or a completely different Chance altogether.

After a few minutes, Chance raised a hand to his face and groaned. Another minute or two passed, and he sat up and rested his head in his hands.

"Winston?"

"Yeah?"

"Did you drug me?"

"Yeah."

Chance nodded.

"Do you remember why?" Winston asked gently.

Chance seemed to give the question some thought. Winston saw the precise moment that Chance's memories of the last twenty-four hours came rushing back. His body slumped slightly, the movement so subtle that if Winston hadn't been watching him so closely, it would have been easy to miss.

"I remember," Chance said. "I remember all of it."

Winston nodded.

Chance looked up and saw the tranq gun on Winston's lap. "Do not even think about using that on me again."

"I was afraid you were going to hurt yourself," Winston said. "I'm not got to let you do that. If that means I have to tranq you again…" He shrugged.

Chance glared at him, but Winston didn't back down. He just sat and waited for Chance to speak.

Chance dropped his eyes, staring at his hands. "Do you know what happened yesterday?"

"Yes."

Chance nodded. "Is Guerrero…?"

"He seems to be okay. His foot is busted up pretty bad though. He's going to be on crutches for a while."

"He called?"

"No."

Chance nodded, looking even more despondent. "No, I guess he wouldn't."

It suddenly occurred to Winston that the last Chance knew Guerrero had left, and in all the chaos last night, maybe he hadn't appreciated that Guerrero had only gone to have his foot patched up, and that he'd come back.

"No, I mean he didn't call because he's here, downstairs."

Chance looked up, a mixture of panic and relief in his eyes. "Is he really okay?"

"Apart from the busted foot? I honestly don't know. He seems to be, I guess. Mostly he's just worried about you."

"About me?" Chance asked. "After what I did to him, he's worried about me?"

"It wasn't your fault, Chance. He doesn't blame you."

Chance didn't reply, and looked down at his hands again.

"Chance?"

"I need to take a shower," he said, standing up too quickly and having to grab hold of the headboard to steady himself.

"Okay, but don't lock the door."

"For fuck's sake Winston! I'm not going to-"

"I know, I know. But you're still shaking off the effects of the sedative. I don't want to have to break down the door if you pass out in the shower!"

Chance sighed. "Fine. I'll leave it unlocked."

"And make it quick. I promised Guerrero that I wouldn't let you out of my sight."

Winston didn't miss the pained look on Chance's face every time he mentioned Guerrero's name.


Chance closed the bathroom door behind him and immediately stripped, dumping his clothes in the corner of the room. He'd toss them in the trash later, maybe even burn them if he could slip away from Winston's watchful eye long enough to do so. He ran the water in the shower as hot as he could bear it and stepped under the spray. He grabbed the soap and a wash cloth and methodically scrubbed his entire body from head to toe. His skin was flushed and over sensitive from the almost scalding heat of the water, but he ignored it, scrubbing harder until his skin was red raw, and yet he still didn't feel any cleaner.

The heat was starting to make him feel dizzy, so he turned off the hot water and switched to cold, and began the process of scrubbing his entire body again. The water was cold enough that he was soon shivering, and he was about to wash himself a third time when Winston banged on the door.

"Chance! If you don't get out of there in the next thirty seconds I'm coming in!"

"Alright! I'm coming out! Just give me a minute, okay?"

Chance reluctantly accepted that no amount of soap and water was going to make him feel any better, and he turned the shower off. He towelled off his hair and wrapped the towel round his waist before brushing his teeth, keeping his eyes down so he didn't have to face his reflection in the streaky mirror.


Winston thumped the door again, and was about to tell Chance that he was coming in, when the door opened and Chance pushed past him. "Give me a minute to get dressed."

He waited what he thought was a reasonable amount of time before following Chance back into the bedroom. Chance had thrown on a t-shirt and some sweat pants and was sitting on the edge of the bed, staring into space.

"Chance?"

"How I am I ever going to be able to face him?" he asked softly.

"He doesn't blame you for what happened."

"It didn't just happen, Winston. I did it. I raped him."

"You saved his life!"

"If I hadn't have fucked up in the first place and given up my gun-"

"Yeah, and if Guerrero hadn't let himself be kidnapped, and if he hadn't sent that Abiade guy's dad to jail… Ifs don't help anyone here, Chance! The situation came out of nowhere and you both dealt with it the best you could!"

"Do not blame Guerrero for what happened!"

"I'm not blaming anyone, except the twisted bastard that did this to you, to both of you! You're just as much the injured party here as Guerrero is!"

"That's not true! What I did to him-"

"He is alive! From what he told me, the only reason he is alive is because you did what you had to do to protect him! It's not like you wanted to do it, or that you chose to do it. It was something that was forced on you. You had no choice!"

"I'm sick. I must be sick to even be able to…"

"No, I don't believe that, Chance. And neither should you. I certainly don't think Guerrero thinks that either. You did what you had to do. Nothing more, nothing less."

Chance didn't look convinced. Winston let him sit for a while in silence, but when it became apparent that he would sit there staring blankly ahead of him indefinitely, he knew he had to do something.

"Guerrero is downstairs," he reminded him. "He's worried about you. Maybe you should go talk to him…"

"I can't!" Chance said, recoiling from Winston's suggestion as if he'd been slapped across the face.

"You know he isn't going anywhere until he's seen you." Winston steeled himself for what he knew was a low blow, but he couldn't let Chance cocoon himself in his guilt until he had retreated beyond his reach. "Don't you think you owe him that much? He doesn't deserve to be shut out and punished. He needs to see that you're okay, that you don't blame him for what happened."

"Of course I don't blame him!"

"Guerrero doesn't know that."

Chance was torn, the conflict evident on his face for Winston to see. He knew he was being manipulated, but there was also some truth to what Winston was saying.

"How do I even…?"

"Just remember that it's Guerrero. He's still the same person you've known all these years. Nothing has changed, not really. He's still going to steal my lunch from the refrigerator, still going to fuss if anyone leaves so much as a smudged fingerprint on that damn Eldo. He'll still be the guy we go to when we need to hack into a secure military database to get the intel we need to save a client's ass. Give it time and he'll still be the guy who spends sixteen straight hours playing Call of Duty when another map pack is released for that stupid Xbox of yours. Your friendship has weathered a lot of storms over the years; it can survive this. But only if you go talk to him!"

Winston was nowhere near as confident as he sounded, but he felt the only way to help Chance deal with the situation was to get him in the same room as Guerrero, and at least give them a shot of working things out.

"Think about it, Chance. But don't take too long. It's only going to be more difficult the longer you leave it."


Guerrero had not slept well. At first physical exhaustion had forced him into a fitful sleep, but the tension never left his body enough to give him the rest he needed. He'd only managed to doze for a couple of hours before he was woken up by the sound of Winston's heavy footsteps as he went to check on Chance. He waited, holding his breath as he listened for any sound that might indicate that Chance was waking up, but there wasn't one. He exhaled slowly as he heard Winston walk back to the couch upstairs.

He was so goddamn tired, but his mind was unwilling to let his body rest. He tried not to dwell on what happened in the shipping container. What was done was done, and they'd got out of it alive, so what did it matter what they had to do to get through it? The important thing was that they survived.

Only it did matter. It mattered a lot, to both of them.

Guerrero knew he could bury the memory of what happened so deep that it might as well not have happened, but that wasn't going to help Chance, and what he wanted more than anything else was to make things okay with Chance. If their friendship didn't survive this mess, if he lost Chance over this, he might as well have died in that shipping container.

The stark finality of that thought, that he'd rather die than lose Chance's friendship, shook him to the core. He'd faced he idea that he or Chance might die many times over the years, it was unavoidable not to give it at least a fleeting thought when they'd taken so many risks, and dealt with so many dangerous people and situations. He questioned how he would cope with Chance's death, should the worst happen, and the thought of having to do so was probably the only thing that truly frightened him. But now there was another terrifying possibility: that he'd hurt Chance so deeply that there was no way back from it. He could lose Chance over this. He'd endure a self-imposed exile from Chance's life if it would save his friend from facing the pain and guilt of what they'd done, but there would be a raw, festering wound left by their absence in each other's lives. Chance would suffer, they both would.

He had to fix this.

He lay on the couch for what seemed like hours, running through dozens of scenarios in his head, different versions of the conversation he needed to have with Chance, searching for the magic combination of words and actions that would set things right between them. If such a thing existed, he couldn't find it.

He gave up on checking the time on his watch; the night seemed to drag on forever, and the pain in his foot was only getting worse as the painkillers he'd been given at the clinic wore off. They'd given him a small supply to take later, but he'd so far resisted taking them, in a futile effort to stay sharp and figure this whole mess out. He didn't feel that he really deserved a respite from the physical pain anyway, not whilst Chance was suffering.

Finally he accepted that lying there, exhausted and in pain, as the night crawled by wasn't going to change anything. Maybe a little sleep would even help him clear his head. He retrieved the painkillers from his pocket and took a couple, washing them down with the remains of the tepid glass of water Winston had brought him earlier.

He did sleep after that, but it was anything but restful.

He dreamt that they were back in the shipping container, only this time instead of submitting to Abiade's demands, Chance refused. Guerrero tried to call out, to warn Chance, but he couldn't make a sound. Abiade pulled the trigger and Chance fell down dead with a bullet hole between his eyes, and still Guerrero couldn't even scream.

Then the scene seemed to reset itself. Chance was trying to reason with Abiade, who this time had a knife instead of a gun. Guerrero was shouting, but no one could hear him. Abiade slashed Chance's throat, and again Guerrero had to watch him die, bleeding out on the floor.

He must have dreamed Chance dying a hundred times that night. Sometimes he was shot, sometimes he was stabbed, or Abiade would simply beat him to death; but every time Guerrero was powerless to stop him.

On some level he knew he was only dreaming, but that didn't make it any easier. Every time he saw Chance die it felt like his heart was being ripped from his chest, and he was incapable of making a single sound.

Daybreak came as a relief, although he was dreading the confrontation it would bring. Losing Chance over and over in his nightmares had only strengthened his resolve to do whatever it took to set things right, even if that meant leaving for good.

He dragged himself off the couch, and limped into the kitchen, cursing the clumsiness of having to move around on crutches. He managed to make himself a cup of tea, only to find he had no way of transporting it back to the relative comfort of the couch. He foraged around in the refrigerator, and he looked longingly at the bacon that he found, but decided that it was a bit ambitious to try to cook it in his current condition. He settled for toast instead.


Winston experienced a brief moment of panic when he and Chance finally went down stairs and he saw that the couch was empty. He glanced at Chance, but he showed no sign of being concerned and headed straight for the kitchen, where Guerrero sat at the table nursing a cup of tea. Winston told himself that he hadn't really believed that Guerrero had bailed, but the given the current situation, anything was possible.

Chance hesitated in the doorway, still unsure of quite what reception he was going to receive, despite Winston's assurances.

"Hey dude."

"Hey."

Winston sighed as Chance and Guerrero eyed each other cautiously. "So, I think you guys need to talk."

Guerrero seemed to notice Winston looming behind Chance for the first time. "The Eldo has been towed. You'll need to go down to the impound lot on 7th. Make sure there's not a mark on it before you leave the lot."

"Seriously? You expect me to just-"

"A little privacy would be appreciated right now," Guerrero said. "Besides, it's not as if I can go get it myself, is it?"

"Fine. But if you think that I'm gonna-"

"Winston, please?" Chance said, pinching the bridge of his nose, as if he had a headache coming on.

"Okay, I'm going!" Winston said, backing away and throwing his hands up in a helpless gesture.

Guerrero waited, giving Winston time to reach the elevator before he spoke.

"Sit down, Chance."

He pulled out the chair opposite Guerrero and sat down. Guerrero waited until Chance looked him in the eye before speaking.

"What happened yesterday was fucked up," Guerrero said. "But it was not your fault."

"I underestimated Abiade. If I'd have taken the threat more seriously-"

"You got me out of an impossible situation, bro. Can't we just call it a win and move on?"

"I fucking raped you, Guerrero! How can you call that a win?"

"Okay, so it wasn't exactly the proudest moment of my life, but I told you to do it! More than once, as I recall. I said it wasn't worth dying for, and I stand by that."

Chance ran his hand through his hair, scratching at the back of his head, even though it didn't itch. "But what I did-"

"What we both did, Chance. I'm not letting you take all the responsibility for this. It only happened because I weighed up the situation and decided to let it happen. It was as my choice as it was yours."

"What I did was unforgivable."

"Is that what you need?" Guerrero asked, leaning forward across the table. "Forgiveness? 'Cause you've got it, okay? I forgive you!"

Chance shook his head. "Those are just words. You don't really-"

"No, I mean it. If you think you need to be forgiven, I'll forgive you. But I'd take what happened yesterday over being responsible for your death every single time."

They sat in silence for a while, and Guerrero leaned back in his chair and sipped his tea. He could have pointed out that he wasn't completely passive during the previous day's ordeal, but he wasn't going to discuss the fact that he'd performed oral sex on Chance, not unless he absolutely had to. He was still conflicted about his own feelings, and Chance knew him far too well not to pick up on that there was something he was trying to hide, even in his current agitated state. It was safer not to talk about it.

Chance was relieved that Guerrero didn't mention it too. He was still struggling to rationalise how and why he'd been so aroused during something that objectively he found so abhorrent. Guerrero was more than willing to forgive and forget, but Chance couldn't let it go that easily, not without at least trying to face up to the horror of what he'd done.

"I hurt you."

"Yeah, you did. But not as badly as you think. I had to put on a show for that sick fuck. I'm fine."

"I just don't know how to deal with this," Chance admitted.

"Dude, we've done some pretty messed up things before, and for far dumber reasons than because our lives depended on it. If you need to psychoanalyse everything that happened… I won't do that. I don't see the point. I'd rather just move on."

"I can't just forget what I did to you."

"You have to let it go, Chance. It's done. It's over. Move on."

"Just like that? We carry on as if it never happened? Like everything's okay?"

"Do you want me to leave?" Guerrero asked, staring at his half-empty mug so that Chance wouldn't see how badly he wanted him to say no. "Would that make it easier?"

"No! Of course not!"

"Let me rephrase that: do you need me to leave? Because if you do-"

"Jesus, no! Don't you dare pull a disappearing act! I just… If we're gonna get past this, you need to be here. I can't deal with this on my own."

"You wouldn't be alone. You've still got Winston," Guerrero pointed out.

"Yeah, well I guess what I'm saying is that I need you." After an uncomfortable pause Chance added: "I mean, I need you around."

"I knew what you meant, dude," Guerrero sighed, "and I think you're right. If I take off, your gonna build this up into something bigger than it needs to be. You'll torture yourself with it."

Chance shook his head. "How can you be so calm about this?"

Guerrero shrugged. "I just don't see the point of obsessing over it. It's not like we had much choice. If it had been anyone but you, it would have been different. But it was you, and as screwed up as the whole thing was, I trusted you and you didn't let me down."

"Well, it feels like I betrayed your trust."

"But you didn't."

Chance sighed. "This is gonna take time."

"Then take all the time you need. I'm not going anywhere."

It was shaky, but it was a start.


Winston returned to the office about an hour and a half later, and a six hundred bucks lighter. Retrieving the Eldo had gone about as smoothly as it could, considering the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy these things involved. He hadn't been happy about leaving Chance alone with Guerrero when he was still so distraught, but he couldn't really argue with their need for privacy.

They hadn't moved from the kitchen, but evidently Chance had been cooking. A dirty pan sat on the stove, and they were each finishing off a plate of bacon. The atmosphere seemed to have lightened somewhat since he left, but Guerrero still looked pale and tired, and Chance seemed a little too serious and thoughtful than his usual easy-going self. It looked to Winston as though they'd made a few steps in the right direction, but they still had a long way to go.

"Please tell me you did not eat all the bacon!" He grumbled. "There were at least two full packs in there!"

"Three actually," Guerrero corrected him.

"You just ate three packs of bacon? No eggs, not toast, nothing that might have, oh I don't know, constituted an actual meal?"

"Couldn't be bothered," Chance shrugged. "Just felt like eating bacon, I guess. I didn't think you be bothered, not with your new diet and all."

"There's still plenty of cottage cheese left, dude," Guerrero smirked.

Winston couldn't have cared less about the bacon; I was just a relief to see them a little more at ease in each other's company, even if things were still tense between them. He scowled at Guerrero, more to keep up the fragile sense of normality they'd managed to create than out of real anger.

"You get the Eldo? Is it okay?" Guerrero asked.

"The car is fine. Not a mark on it. But you owe me six hundred dollars."

"What for?"

"For paying your damn fine!"

"I never told you to pay the fine. I just asked you to pick up the Eldo."

"But in order for them to release the vehicle, you have to pay the fine!"

Guerrero grunted. "I wouldn't have paid it, so I don't see why I should cough up the dough because you were dumb enough to hand over your money."

The argument waged back and forth, neither of them willing to back down. When Winston saw a hint of a smile on Chance's face, he had to resist the urge to smile with relief. He kept the argument going long after he'd accepted that he was never going to see a dime from Guerrero, and he suspected that he too was milking the situation to distract Chance from their earlier conversation.

Maybe this was the best they could hope for, for now at least. If they kept Chance distracted with the everyday and mundane, perhaps he'd be able to start to put the whole mess behind him.

Chapter Text


 

Guerrero needed to stay close so he could keep an eye on Chance, but after spending another night on the couch, he was forced to reconsider his sleeping arrangements. As if the discomfort of the couch and recovering from a gunshot wound weren't bad enough, he was still plagued by nightmares about Chance dying.

Returning to his own apartment was out of the question. He wasn't keen on the idea of anyone chauffeuring him back and forth to the warehouse everyday, and his apartment was on the fourth floor of his building and the elevator was permanently out of service. If he was ever going to get a decent night's sleep and still be able to monitor Chance, he was going to have to come up with another solution.

There had at one time been talk of converting one of the warehouse's many storage rooms into emergency accommodation for any client who needed to keep a low profile whilst the team worked their case, but nothing had ever come of it. When Winston looked into it he found that the building regulations were a nightmare, and although they could have found contractors who would turn a blind eye, they were likely to charge way over the odds to do so. The whole idea had been dropped as an unnecessary expense.

Winston, however, did not have Guerrero's contacts. An hour after Guerrero had made a few phone calls, workmen showed up and began clearing the room. By the time Winston turned up mid-morning with a box of donuts, work was already underway on sectioning off part of the room and installing a small bathroom area.

"What the hell…?" Winston's mouth dropped open with surprise at the unexpected hive of activity.

"I'm not spending another night on that couch, dude," Guerrero said, opening the box that Winston was holding and helping himself to a donut. He stuck it in his mouth, so he could keep his hands free for his crutches, and limped back to the kitchen, followed by a hopeful looking Carmine.

Winston caught sight of Chance holding up a sheet of drywall as one of the workmen nailed it in place. The man said something in an eastern European language that Winston couldn't identify, making Chance laugh and reply something equally unintelligible. It caught Winston completely off guard to see Chance looking a lot more back to his normal self, but as soon as the workman returned his attention back to the drywall, Chance's smile dropped from his face too quickly for it to have been genuine.

Winston sighed. It seemed that Chance was no more at peace with himself than when he left the office yesterday, he was just a little bit better at hiding his feelings. It was progress of sorts, but not the kind Winston had been hoping for when he'd seen him laugh.

Chance looked around when the workman was done and caught Winston's eye. Chance tried to smile, but the expression didn't quite reach his eyes.

"Looks like we're gonna get that client accommodation after all," Chance said as he walked over and relieved Winston of the box of donuts. "Hey, what happened to your new diet?"

"I'll start it next week," Winston said. "How the hell are we going to afford all this?"

"We only have to pay fifty percent of the cost of the materials."

"And what about the rest?"

"You'll need to uh… ask Guerrero."

"Why am I not surprised?" Winston huffed. Chance started to turn away, but Winston stopped him, catching hold of his arm. "Are you-"

"Don't!" Chance said a bit sharper than he'd intended to. "I can't… I just want to get on with it, y'know?"

Winston nodded and let go of his arm. If keeping busy helped Chance keep his mind off things, he wasn't going to argue.

He found Guerrero in the kitchen, hunched over his laptop at the table.

"What's the deal with the renovations?" he asked.

"I told you: I'm not spending another night on that couch."

"So you figured you'd just fork out the cash to get the storeroom converted?"

Guerrero let out an amused little snort. "It's not costing me anything. I just called in a few favours."

Winston frowned, "If you knew you could have gotten the work done for free, why didn't you say so when we first discussed it?"

"How much was it supposed to cost? Thousands, right? Especially if you wanted it done on the sly. Well, did you really want to owe me a favour worth that much?"

"But it wouldn't have-"

"Not the point, dude. You'd have owed me, big time. This way I get the use of the room whilst my foot heals and you get the work done for a fraction of the cost. It's win-win."

"Then why do I still feel as if I've been screwed here?" Winston regretted his poor choice of words as soon as they'd left his mouth, but Guerrero merely gave him a cold look before turning his attention back to his computer.

Winston let the matter drop.

He was annoyed that Guerrero hadn't offered his help with the project until it benefited him personally to do so; but even after working with the guy for years, Guerrero's complicated system of favours and debts was still a little beyond him.

He thought about what Guerrero had said about owing him a favour that large, and it struck him that Guerrero's help on the project was not something he would have expected payment for in monetary terms. From Guerrero's perspective, Winston's biggest asset was his connection with the police, and he realised how problematic the prospect of owing him a substantial favour would have been. As much as he hated to admit it, in Guerrero's twisted view of the world he'd probably been looking out for him by avoiding putting him in a difficult situation with his former colleagues.

That still didn't explain why he didn't help out for Chance's sake, but he couldn't question either of them about that now, not when everything was so precariously balanced. Chance seemed to benefit from working on renovating the room. Whether it was just the distraction of physical labour, or the idea that he was doing something to help Guerrero, to somehow make amends, Winston wasn't sure. Either way, it seemed to help, and for that he was grateful.


The basics were in place by the end of the day, although the plumbing was going to take a little longer to finish. The important thing, as far as Guerrero was concerned, was that there was now a decent bed for him to sleep in.

The bed was a huge improvement, but it didn't solve the problem of him not getting a decent night's sleep. He'd hoped that once he'd talked to Chance and started to mend what Abiade had broken, the nightmares might stop, but if anything they'd only got worse. It wasn't just what happened, or could have happened, in that shipping container that he was forced to relive now. It seemed that every situation in which Chance's life had ever been in danger was bleeding from his memories into his dreams, but always with the same outcome: Chance died and he was powerless to do anything to prevent it.

Guerrero had built up so many barriers between himself and his feelings over the years, necessary barriers that stopped him from hesitating or having doubts. During the daytime he managed to keep them in place, but at night they were gone, and there was nothing to protect him from relentless surge of emotion that accompanied seeing his worst fears re-enacted endlessly in his nightmares.

There seemed to be an infinite number of scenarios, but they all had the same thing in common: Chance died and Guerrero couldn't do a thing to help him. Sometimes he was completely paralysed, other times he could move but only in slow motion, far to slowly to be able to do anything to prevent what was happening. Sometimes he shouted and screamed but no one could hear him, but mostly he was unable to even make a sound.

He woke up exhausted, tangled up in sweat stained sheets, his heart pounding as if he'd been running flat out. He had to fight the urge to haul himself up to Chance's quarters, on his hands and knees if needs be, to check that he was still alive, to chase away the images of death that haunted him.

He forced himself to lie motionless on the bed, waiting for his breathing and heart rate to slow down. It took longer than it should have, but eventually the panic receded, leaving him feeling wrung-out and weak. He began to wonder if he'd ever get an uninterrupted night's sleep again.


Chance had found sanctuary amongst the workmen, whose initial distrust of him melted away when he'd spoken to them in their native Ukrainian. They were soon cracking off-colour jokes, correcting his rusty pronunciation, and generally accepting him as another member of the work crew. Chance found that he was concentrating so hard on keeping up with the conversation that he had little time to focus on anything else, and for a short while he could let himself forget.

It couldn't last though, and when Chance watched them pack up the last of their tools and leave, he considered going with them, tempted by the idea of a less complicated existence. He couldn't do it, not when Guerrero had dropped everything to be there so they could work things out. It would have been easier for him to just turn his back and leave, but he hadn't. He'd promised Chance all the time he needed to put what happened behind him, and the very least Chance could do was to try. Besides, he couldn't just abandon Winston like that. Like it or not, he had responsibilities.

He believed Guerrero when he told him he could put what happened behind him. Chance knew it wasn't a matter of how he felt about it, if Guerrero chose to leave something in the past, he had the strength of will to do just that and never give it another thought.

It wasn't the first time that a plan had gone awry and Chance had had to deliberately hurt Guerrero. He'd had to pull an Aunt Suzie on at least two occasions, and there had been more fistfights over the years, staged or otherwise, than he cared to remember, including one that required Guerrero taking a knife to the chest. Those incidents were easy to shake off though, with no real lasting consequences for either of them, other than the addition of a new scar and the promise to make it up to Guerrero with an expensive single malt.

None of it had ever stripped Guerrero of his dignity, and forced him to beg in the way he'd had to in that shipping container, reducing him to something less than the tough, unbreakable person that Chance knew so well. No matter how much of it was an act, Chance hated himself for forcing Guerrero into being that weaker, diminished version of himself, who was fragile enough to be hurt and used that way. Even if Guerrero didn't see it as a betrayal, Chance knew that it was.

He hoped that given time, that memory would fade, eroded away by seeing Guerrero back to his usual hardened self, and it would be easier to accept that the diminished version Chance had witnessed was a necessary ruse and nothing more. But Chance's deception would need to strengthen, rather than fade away, if he was going to be able to hide from Guerrero the ugly truths that he'd discovered about himself.

When he could actually see Guerrero, it was easier to pretend that nothing had changed; but when he was alone in the privacy of his living quarters the unwanted image of Guerrero on his knees returned, stronger than ever. He tried to convince himself that his body had been reacting to the memory of Carly, Kylie, Carrie or whatever the hell her name was, but now he couldn't even dredge up even a vague recollection of what she looked like. The details just weren't there anymore. It was like they'd been overwritten the second he looked down and saw that it was Guerrero's mouth that had coaxed from him such an intense response. He hadn't even wanted it to be the girl from the theatre any more, he wanted it to be Guerrero.

And then there were those moments when he'd been trying to prep Guerrero for what Abiade was forcing him to do, those moments when Chance had managed to curl his fingers inside him in just the right way to make Guerrero shudder and moan. The memories of those moments were almost worse than those of what followed, because they fuelled the futile hope that Chance could ever do that to Guerrero with his full consent. He convinced himself that he had imagined Guerrero leaning into his touch, because he had to kill that hope before it grew and took root, allowing him to believe that what had taken place was anything other than the brutal rape of his oldest friend.

The rest he tried to block out completely, but his body remembered, even when his mind tried to push it away. When it came to the act itself, he hadn't had to force himself to do it. No, he'd had to force himself to hold back…

Those were the truths he had to hide from Guerrero, but he couldn't hide them from himself. Neither could he face trying to figure out why he'd reacted the way he did, because that would involve choosing to think about what he'd done to Guerrero, and he couldn't do that without bringing back that shameful knot of desire that twisted inside him.

To find that he had those feelings for Guerrero would have shocked him at any time, but finding them in the darkest of circumstances was what made them unforgivable. He had no right to those feelings, just as he'd had no right to do what he'd done to Guerrero.


"So, you got everything you need?" Winston asked, looking around at the finished room. It was sparsely furnished with a bedroom suite consisting of a bed, a chest of drawers and a nightstand, with a simple matching desk and chair in one corner. It didn't exactly look homely with its bare, magnolia walls and lack of natural light, but then again it wasn't exactly intended to be. It was a temporary place for someone to sleep whilst they waited for something better.

"Pretty much," Guerrero replied. "I always keep a bag here just in case anyway. I could use a new toothbrush and some other stuff though."

"Just leave a note on the refrigerator and whoever gets the groceries next will pick up whatever you need," Winston said, knowing full well that the chore was likely to fall to him anyway. Chance would live on take-out indefinitely if it meant he could avoid having to set foot in a supermarket.

"Cool."

Winston hesitated in the doorway.

"What?"

"Do you think Chance is doing okay?" Winston asked. "I don't want to push him into talking about it, not when he seems to be doing a little better, but maybe he should talk about it to someone, maybe a professional?"

Guerrero exhaled slowly though his nose before replying. "I think what he needs now is time and a distraction. The best thing you could do right now is to find him a case."

"I don't know," Winston frowned. "Is he really ready to go back out there when he's still so preoccupied? I'm not happy with the idea of putting him a dangerous and stressful situation until things have gotten a bit more back to normal around here."

"Dangerous and stressful are normal for Chance." Guerrero pointed out. "But I get your point. Maybe just put out some feelers and see if you can't find something low risk and time consuming. He needs to be kept busy right now, and I still think finding him a case to work on is the best way to give him that."

"I'll see what I can do," Winston sighed.

Having Guerrero at the warehouse twenty-four-seven was requiring more of an adjustment than Winston had anticipated. Within the space of a couple of days, he'd managed to eat his way through food that would usually be enough to last Chance a week or two. He'd always assumed that Guerrero's eating habits had been deliberately cultivated to be as annoying as possible, but it became clear to him that the man had an insanely fast metabolism.

Winston didn't mind the occasional trip to the store to pick up a few groceries, but there was no way he was going to play housekeeper on a daily basis. Bearing in mind what Guerrero had said about providing Chance with a distraction, he decided that it was about time Chance did his own damn grocery shopping.

Chance tried to wriggle out of it when he strongly suggested that it was his turn to hit the supermarket, and Winston almost smiled at that glimpse of the old Chance surfacing again. But as soon as he mentioned that Guerrero needed a few things from the store, Chance dropped his half-assed protests and took the shopping list from his hand without a word.

It was painful to see Chance struggling under the burden of his guilt, but at least he was trying to move on. The wall still bore the scars of the night when Chance had lost all self-control and smashed up anything and everything he could lay his hands on, until Winston had brought him crashing down with the tranquiliser gun. Winston would never forget Chance's anguished howl of despair as he realised that he'd only been shot with a dart and not a bullet. He daren't ask Chance if he remembered what he said as the drug started to take effect, how he'd pleaded for Winston just to kill him, to put him out of his misery.

Maybe it was better not to know if he remembered. It was bad enough knowing that he'd meant it.


Chance bought Guerrero the various toiletries he'd asked for: a new toothbrush, a razor, shampoo, shower gel and a can of deodorant. Chance was still visibly on edge whenever it was just the two of them talking, without Winston there to smooth over the gaping silences.

"I uh, didn't know what brands you prefer," Chance said, dumping the plastic bag on the kitchen table, beside Guerrero's laptop, "so I just grabbed what I usually use. I hope that's okay?"

"Thanks, dude. That's cool."

Chance nodded. "Winston's gone home for the night."

"Yeah, he said goodbye before he headed off."

Chance nodded again. "I've kind of got some energy to burn. I'm gonna go for a run."

Guerrero raised an eyebrow in a mild look of surprise. Jogging was Chance's least favourite form of exercise and it was already past ten. "Okay, but keep your eyes peeled. This isn't exactly the best neighbourhood to go running in after dark."

"I'll be fine," Chance shrugged. "Is there anything you need before I go?"

"No, I'm cool."

Guerrero wondered if Chance was actually hoping for a confrontation with one of the lowlifes that crawled out from under their rocks after dark, just so he could blow off some steam, but Chance hurried out of the kitchen before he could ask. He tried not to think about it; Chance was more than capable of taking care of himself. He was more bothered by the fact that Chance was still so uncomfortable in his company, but he just had to remind himself that it was still early days.


Guerrero felt a little ridiculous as he duck-taped a garbage bag over his cast, but he hadn't had a proper shower since before he was abducted, and he was sick of washing himself piecemeal with a washcloth. The garbage bag may have looked stupid, but at least it did the job. He'd had to tape it directly to his skin to form a decent water-tight seal, which was going to make it hurt like a bitch when he took it off, but Guerrero figured it would be worth the discomfort.

He limped to his new en-suite, naked but for his cast wrapped in plastic, and set the shower running. He spent a couple of minutes dealing with the several days worth of stubble that had built up, taking extra care around the cheek that had been grazed by hit impact with the floor of the shipping container. He looked slightly less dishevelled once he was done, but there were deep shadows beneath his eyes due to lack of quality sleep. It was no wonder Chance still found it difficult to look him in the eye: he looked like shit.

He carefully manoeuvred himself into the shower cubicle, painfully aware that if he slipped it he'd have to wait for Chance to return from his run to help him up. Fortunately the shower tray had a textured pattern to it that made it fairly non-slip, so as long as he used the wall for balance he was okay.

The shampoo was a fairly generic one, and although washing his hair one-handed was awkward, it felt good to rinse away all the sweat and grime of the past few days. The shower gel was more of a problem. As soon as he popped the cap and poured some into his hand, he caught a familiar herbal minty scent. It lacked that intimate underlying note of fresh sweat and subtle musk that would have completed it, but it was part of Chance's scent just the same.

He'd caught a hint of that smell clinging to Chance's skin as he'd teased him to readiness with his mouth back in the shipping container. It was faint, but he could almost taste it on the soft, clean skin of Chance's cock. He'd chased the taste of it with his tongue, savouring the way it blended into the salty-sweet stickiness that was leaking from Chance himself. He'd lost himself for a moment, and it was only when Abiade jerked his head back that he'd remembered what he was doing was not something Chance wanted, it was a violation of his body and their friendship.

He hadn't expected going down on Chance to affect him the way it did, but some weird way he wasn't overly concerned about it. The usual rules simply did not apply when it came to Chance, and Guerrero had stopped even trying to question why. From day one of their friendship he'd made choices that in hindsight were totally at odds with his lifelong philosophy of looking out for number one. He'd tried to figure it out after Joubert sent him to track Junior down over the whole Katherine Walters thing, but the closest he'd got to an explanation for why he'd turned his back on everything he'd ever valued was: 'because it's him'.

That was the only explanation he was able to come up with for why he was okay with what happened: because it was him. Truthfully, there were a couple of aspects of what happened that he was kind of okay with, it was the circumstances that twisted them into something cruel and distasteful.

He was already half hard from just the smell of Chance's shower gel, and the memory of the taste and feel of his cock in his mouth was enough to take him the rest of the way. He felt only the slightest pang of guilt as he took his dick in his hand, coating it with the shower gel and working it firmly over his hard-on. After all, Chance would never know…

That particular justification didn't sit right with him after he finished his shower, and made his way carefully back to his bed. He couldn't let himself fall into the habit of fantasising about Chance whenever he jerked off. He needed to put what happened behind him, not relive it for his own twisted gratification.

He ripped the duct tape from his leg more forcefully than was really required, taking a fair amount of skin and hair with it. He focused on the stinging pain, reminding himself that it was real, and any fantasies he had regarding Chance were not.

He dried himself off, but found he was too tired to even try to wrestle on a pair of sweat pants; they were about the only thing that would even fit over his cast. At least jerking off in the shower had eased a little of the tension in his aching body. He crawled under the sheets and closed his eyes, too exhausted to even get up and turn out the light. Maybe tonight he would actually get some decent sleep.


Chance lost track of time as he ran. He wasn't even really aware where he was going, although he did pay close attention to his surroundings, carefully assessing the threat posed by every pedestrian and vehicle he passed. He wasn't looking for trouble, but he had his Walther P99 tucked away beneath his sweatshirt just in case. It wasn't exactly comfortable, the holster chaffed against his side as he ran, but it was a necessary precaution, and there was something reassuring about its weight.

Running gave him the illusion of escape, with the added bonus of pushing his body to the point of exhaustion. It felt good to be in motion after spending so much time in the warehouse. The three of them had been trying so hard to make everything seem normal that they'd all lost touch with what normal was. The air in the building seemed thick with the pressure of maintaining the illusion, and it was starting to choke him.

Chance wasn't a sedentary person by nature. Although Winston tended to bitch about him slobbing out on the couch feeding Carmine junk food between jobs, such moments were actually pretty rare. When there wasn't a case demanding his every waking moment, he still had to work out to keep himself in fighting condition.

Spending so much time cooped up in the warehouse just seemed pointless. It wasn't like they just had to wait an allotted period of time and then everything would be okay again, like he'd just wake up one day and be fine with the fact that he'd raped Guerrero. He was never going to be okay with that, even if Guerrero himself could forgive and forget. Yeah, he needed time to get over what he'd done, but that time needed to be filled with something constructive.

Chance knew he had even more to atone for now, and the sooner he got on with it the better. Standing still and hoping it would all get better would suffocate him. He needed to keep moving.


Chapter Text

 

Chance had a nagging feeling that something was wrong as soon as he entered the building. He drew his weapon, and tried to pinpoint what was bothering him. There didn't seem to be any sign of trouble; the elevator was still on the ground floor and there was no evidence that anyone had tried to enter the building by force. He stepped inside the elevator and hit the button. His heart rate was still elevated from his run, and all of the tension he'd managed to work lose through prolonged physical exercise started to creep back into his tired muscles as the feeling of apprehension grew.

It wasn't until the doors opened that he heard Guerrero shouting his name.

He ran from the elevator and found Carmine scratching at the door to Guerrero's room, making pining noises. Chance hoped that it was a good sign, because if there had have been an intruder they surely would have chosen to deal with him, even if it was just to shut him away in another room. He shooed the distressed dog away and wrenched the door open.

Guerrero was sitting bolt upright in bed, his eyes wild and staring, his hands twisting and clawing at the sheet that covered the lower half of his body. He was shouting Chance's name, over and over in a tone of rising panic.

Chance checked the bathroom, just to be sure that there really was no intruder, and as he did, he realised that Guerrero's eyes weren't tracking his movements. Whatever Guerrero was staring at was not in the room. It seemed Guerrero was dreaming.

Chance froze. It seemed there was no real threat, and he was extremely uncomfortable about having barged in on Guerrero, whose nudity was barely covered by the thin sheet. But it was obvious that he was extremely distraught, and Chance couldn't just leave him like that.

He carefully laid his gun down on the desk, out of Guerrero's reach. He may have been asleep, but Chance wasn't going to take any unnecessary risks with his reflexes.

"Guerrero? Can you hear me?" It was a stupid question, but Chance hoped that maybe he could try to calm him down with the sound of his voice. Just standing in his bedroom already felt like far too much of an intrusion. "Guerrero, it's Chance. I'm right here."

Guerrero fell silent, and for a second Chance thought his voice might be having the desired effect, but Guerrero's face distorted into a look of abject horror, and he began to scream.

"Nooooo!"

Chance ran to him before he could even stop to question what he was doing. He grabbed Guerrero's shoulders and tried to make him look at him, but Guerrero was still staring into the distance at something only he could see.

"Guerrero! It's okay. It's Chance, I'm right here."

Guerrero stopped screaming, and slumped forward, shaking and struggling for breath. Instinctively, Chance wrapped his arms around his shoulders and held him, rocking back and forth gently, as if he were comforting a child.

"He killed you," Guerrero moaned. "You're dead and he killed you."

"I'm not dead, Guerrero. I'm right here. I'm okay!"

"I couldn't stop him! I tried, but he killed you, Chance. It's my fault you're dead."

"Shhhh, it's okay. Nobody is dead! It's just a dream. I'm alive and safe. We're both safe."

"But you're dead. I saw you die!"

"It's not real, Guerrero! We're safe, we're both safe. I promise you."

It took a while, but Chance was persistent, murmuring constant words of reassurance to Guerrero until he finally settled down and stopped insisting that Chance was dead. He never seemed to actually wake up, but after a while he closed his eyes and fall back into a more normal, restful sleep.

Chance was reluctant to let go, and it was only the prospect of having to explain the situation to Guerrero when he woke up that made him relinquish the embrace and lay him gently back down on the bed. He hadn't thought twice about holding him when he'd been agitated and almost hysterical, it had been the most natural thing for him to do, but now Guerrero had settled down, he felt ashamed at how easily he had violated his privacy.

He was sickened by the thought that he'd just gone into Guerrero's room uninvited whilst he slept and held him, touched him without his knowledge or consent. Guerrero was naked, for fucks sake! He'd just had a bad dream, that was all. It was no excuse for him to charge in there, and certainly no reason to linger once he realised that there wasn't really a threat. His actions had been motivated by nothing but the best of intentions, but that didn't matter now. Everything he did felt tainted by what he'd done to Guerrero in that shipping container.

Chance backed out of the room and switched the light off, before gently closing the door. Carmine nudged at his hand, but when Chance failed to respond, he let out a huff, circled the spot in front of Guerrero's door a few times, and then flopped heavily onto the floor.

Chance climbed the stairs to his loft, wondering how it was possible for him to hate himself even more then than when he'd woken up that morning.


Guerrero woke up slowly for a change, feeling more relaxed and well-rested than he'd felt in a long time. The only discomfort came from the dull ache in his foot, and an itch beneath his cast that experience told him was best ignored. It took him a moment to realise that someone, probably Chance, had turned out the overhead light, but he'd left the bathroom one on so he wouldn't have to stumble around in the dark.

He took a deep breath and stretched out his arms, splaying out his fingers, enjoying the fact that they hadn't been cramped from gripping the sheets as he slept. He could smell the scent of Chance's shower gel rising off his sleep warm skin, and he had to remind himself that he'd used it when he showered the previous night.

But it wasn't just the shower gel.

Guerrero tried to put it down to an over active imagination. Even if Chance had been the one to turn out the lights, there was no way he could still smell him in the room hours later. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, and the scent faded. Just as he was about to dismiss the matter entirely, he noticed the gun on his desk. Chance's gun.

He frowned for a moment, before reaching for the sheets, pressing them to his face and inhaling deeply. Chance had been there.

He soon put it together: his nightmares, Chance coming home from his run and hearing something that alarmed him enough to make him investigate, him leaving his gun on the desk when he realised he didn't need it, then… what?

Guerrero pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes and tried to remember. He had dreamed last night, but something had been different.

It had started out how it usually did: they were in the shipping container and Abiade had shot Chance point blank in the head. Guerrero had tried to cry out, first as a warning but then out of despair, but he couldn't make a sound. Then Abiade was gone, leaving him alone with Chance's lifeless body.

Even the memory of the nightmare was enough to make Guerrero shiver, and a painful lump formed in his throat.

He'd fallen apart, lying shaking on the floor as he was crushed by the feelings of loss and guilt. But then Chance had sat up and started talking to him, insisting that he wasn't dead even though Guerrero could clearly see the entry wound on his forehead. He'd tried to explain to Chance that he was definitely dead, but he just wouldn't accept it, insisting that he was fine until Guerrero started to believe him, and the gunshot wound just faded away.

And then there was nothing.

Guerrero couldn't remember any more, which was unusual because lately he'd been waking up with endless images of Chance dying in increasingly violent ways still fresh in his mind. Instead he felt calm and well rested, although the question of what he might have been doing in his sleep that had alarmed Chance to the extent that he'd entered the room at all, let alone with a loaded gun, bothered him. In his nightmares he tried to call out, but there was no sound. Could he have been yelling in his sleep? It seemed the most likely explanation, and if Chance had really been there, talking to him, calming him down, it would explain why the Chance in his dream had insisted he was not dead.

Guerrero was embarrassed, even ashamed that he must have been making a hell of a noise, but he was also touched that Chance had put aside his own feelings to comfort him like that. He still flinched every time there was the slightest contact between them, even if it was accidental. The idea of Chance being close enough to leave a trace of his scent on the sheets was dizzying, and he didn't know what to make of it, or even if it meant anything at all.

Had Chance held him as he had chased the nightmare away? And if so, for how long? Guerrero felt an irrational stab of jealousy towards his sleeping self. Chance had been there, holding him, reaching out to him and he'd missed it. Maybe it didn't mean anything, but maybe it did. Maybe it meant that there was still hope that the chasm that had opened up between them wasn't completely insurmountable. Maybe it was already starting to heal.


Winston had found them a case, one that shouldn't pose much of a challenge, but that was part of its appeal. Lieutenant Peale had put him on to it, after he heard an officer at the precinct tell a woman that her ex-husband hadn't broken any laws and that she should come back if and when he did. Peale had taken her aside, bought her a coffee, and listened to her relate numerous incidents of harassment which had been escalating for some time, building up to reveal a much more disturbing wider picture that the officer had failed to see. Peale contacted Winston with the hope that maybe he could help her.

"So is this woman-"

"Zoe Emerson," Winston said, passing Chance a cup of coffee and sitting down at the table.

"Right, Zoe Emerson, is her life actually in danger?" Chance asked.

"It's hard to say," Winston admitted. "He's been incredibly careful not to threaten Zoe directly, and he's covered his tracks in everything he's done so far. If you're asking me whether he will kill her himself, my answer is: no, probably not. He's too careful to do something that direct, especially if it could be traced back to him. This campaign he has against his ex-wife is too well organised for him not to have a goal in mind though, I'm just not sure what it is yet."

"And you're sure this isn't just some domestic dispute that will blow over?"

"Take a look for yourself," Winston said, turning his laptop around so that Chance could see the screen.

"Shit! The ex-husband set this up?" Chance asked.

"Yeah, he's a website designer. Would you believe that the assholes at SFPD actually suggested that she'd created the site herself?"

Guerrero limped into the kitchen, and when he saw what was on the screen he raised his eyebrows and gave Winston a curious look. "Dude! I had no idea that your tastes were quite so exotic!"

Winston scowled and slammed the laptop shut. "Don't be so disgusting, Guerrero! The woman in those pictures, those heavily doctored pictures, I hasten to add, is our new client."

Guerrero gave a non-committal grunt, as if it was all the same to him whether the pictures were related to a case, or were for Winston's personal use. He leaned back against the countertop behind him, propping up his crutches to one side, out of the way.

"But it's not just this one site?" Chance asked.

"No, not even close," Winston said. "He's hacked her social networking profiles and email accounts, as well as breaking into her home, changing her alarm codes and leaving handwritten notes for her to find. He's been careful though, there's not enough evidence to prove that he's the one responsible. In fact, he's so good that SFPD are half convinced that it's all in Zoe's mind, that she cracking up and doing most of the stuff herself."

"I need to see those notes he left her, to figure out exactly what we're dealing with here," Chance said.

"She'll be here this afternoon," Winston replied. "Guerrero, can you do something about this website?"

"Sure, I can try, but if this woman's ex is any good it could take a while, and there's no guarantee that he won't just put it up again under a new domain name."

"Do what you can," Winston said. "The fewer people see this, the better."

Guerrero nodded.

As Winston got up to go back to his office, Guerrero leaned forward and handed Chance a gun. The colour drained from Chance's face, and he hesitated for a moment before taking it from Guerrero's hand.

"Thank you," Guerrero said.

"Right," Chance said, looking embarrassed and slightly flushed.

Guerrero nodded, and took Winston's place at the table, opening the laptop. Chance got up and pushed past Winston, heading for the stairs.

What the hell was that all about? Winston wondered.


Chance needed to clear his head before meeting the new client. The run he'd taken the previous evening had helped him to unwind, or at least it had done until he returned to find Guerrero in his anguished state, calling out his name. He'd didn't have a couple hours to spare this time, and it wouldn't have been the same in daylight hours anyway: too many people around.

He decided a simple workout would have to do, working out some of his tension and aggression on the old punch bag that had somehow survived since the previous Christopher Chance was in residence. It helped a little, but the question of what Guerrero had meant by saying thank you still troubled him.

Forgetting that he'd left his gun in his room was careless, but Guerrero didn't seem bothered by the intrusion. He'd assumed that Chance had been in his room in order to help, which he had. He was just surprised that Guerrero saw it that way.

Chance had seen the dark, bruise-like shadows beneath Guerrero's eyes, and had guessed he hadn't been sleeping properly, but he was only now starting to put that together with the nightmare he'd witnessed. If nightmares involving him were the reason Guerrero hadn't been sleeping well, it had to be as a result of what happened in the shipping container. Chance had never known Guerrero have nightmares before, except once after a bullet wound in his shoulder had become infected, and that had been due to the resulting fever.

The nightmares just added another level of guilt, knowing that he'd hurt Guerrero psychologically as well as physically. He'd been counting on things getting easier as time went on, not more difficult, but the more he tried to push it behind him, the more evidence he saw of just how badly he'd fucked things up.

Guerrero had thanked him for checking up on him, but he couldn't know that he'd held him, drawing strength from being so close to him even as he tried to talk him out of his nightmare. It wasn't quite as innocent as he'd intended it to be. True, he'd had no ulterior motive when he'd rushed to comfort him, and he hadn't done anything physically inappropriate, but he had gotten something from holding him that felt stolen because Guerrero wasn't awake to give it to him willingly. It was hard to put a name to, because it wasn't something he'd ever put into words. It was a mixture of feelings and emotions that blended the concepts of home, safety, friendship, acceptance and unspoken affection that were the result of a friendship forged over many years. He given up any right to have all that when he'd held Guerrero down and raped him to satisfy Abiade's hunger for revenge.

The fact that Guerrero had thanked him, unaware that Chance had taken something that was no longer his to take, made the bile rise in his throat. How could he have let this happen?

He checked his watch, relieved that there was still time for him to take another shower, hoping that maybe this time he'd be able to wash away the stench of what he'd done.


Chance only had to look at the woman to realise that SFPD's theory that Zoe Emerson was imagining or faking the harassment was totally out of order. She looked like she hadn't slept properly in days, maybe even weeks, and the way her hands shook as she accepted the tea Winston gave her was an obvious indication of long-term stress. He tried to ignore the obvious similarities between the haunted look in her sunken eyes and how tired Guerrero looked. Chance needed to focus on the client and her case, and stop looking at Guerrero like a victim. He would never see himself that way, and if there was going to be any hope of them resuming a normal working relationship, Chance needed to stop thinking about him in those terms.

"I don't understand why Charles is doing this to me," Zoe said, in a shaky voice that was barely more than a whisper, dragging Chance's attention back to the case. "We parted on pretty good terms over a year ago, but about three months ago he just changed."

"You maintained contact with him after the divorce?" Winston asked.

"No, not really, but we still had a lot of friends in common. I'd see him at social events from time to time. Everyone commented on how well we both handled our break-up, how nice it was that no one had to pick sides. Our friends wouldn't think anything of inviting us both to the same party, even when we began dating other people."

"So what changed?" Chance asked.

"I don't know!"

"Try to remember for me, Zoe," Winston asked. "Did you meet anyone new three months ago? Did you make any changes to your normal routine? Did anything change for you at work? Did you see your ex-husband around that time at all?"

"No, not as far as I remember. There was nothing out of the ordinary at all!"

Winston and Chance exchanged a look. They were going to need some kind of clue as to what had set Zoe's ex off if they were going to be able to help her.

"Okay, let's look at this a different way," Chance said. "What was the first thing that made you believe he was up to something?"

"I don't know," she frowned. "I guess it started when I thought someone was tampering with my mail."

"Why did you think your mail was being tampered with?" Winston asked.

"I couldn't prove it. I just had a feeling that my bank statements had been opened and re-sealed. There wasn't really anything to see. It seemed…"

"Go on," Chance urged.

"This is going to sound silly, but they didn't seem as flat as usual. Like they'd already been unfolded and re-folded, if you know what I mean."

"It sounds like your ex-husband's motives might be financial then," Chance said.

"But he knows I don't have any money! The only thing of value I own is the house, and I inherited it from my grandmother. There was never any question of dividing up any assets in the divorce. He wrote off the money he spent helping me fix the place up in lieu of paying me alimony. He was happy with the deal!"

"Who would inherit the house in the event of your death?" Chance asked.

"I don't have any living relatives, none that I'm close to anyway. I'm in the process of having a will drawn up to leave it in trust to a children's charity that was very close to my grandmother's heart."

Winston and Chance exchanged a look.

"Is this the first time you've changed your will since the divorce?" Winston asked.

"Yes, why?"

"And you contacted your attorney about changing it about, what, three months ago?" Chance asked.

"You think this is about…? No, I've been trying to draw up a new will for the last year, but there was some kind of complication to do with the fact I wanted to leave it to a charitable organisation. I got so frustrated about it taking so long, that I did the research myself. My lawyer finally seems to be making some progress with it but…" she shrugged.

"This research you did, was it about three months ago?" Winston asked.

"Yes, but-"

"And this attorney, he wouldn't happen to be one of those mutual friends you referred to earlier?" Chance asked.

"Yes, but I don't think…" her voice trailed away as she began to catch on. "Oh god! I've been so stupid! He was a friend of Charles' from college! He was deliberately stalling so that Charles would still inherit the house if-"

"Don't' worry. We're going to help you sort this out," Winston said, placing a reassuring hand over her trembling one.

"He really is going to kill me! Isn't he?"

"No, Zoe," Chance said. "We're not going to let that happen."


Dealing with tearful clients fell into Winston's area of responsibility, which meant Chance would have to be the one to get Guerrero up to speed on what they'd discovered so far. At least now they had a case to focus on.

"Looks like this comes down to money," Chance said. "Zoe Emerson owns some real-estate that the ex wants to inherit should she meet her untimely demise before she gets to change her will."

"I'm way ahead of you, bro," Guerrero replied without looking up from his laptop, "First thing I did was take a look in to the ex-husband's finances, and it's not a pretty picture. He made some bad investments, and if he doesn't get an injection of cash soon, he's likely to lose his software company. It took some digging, but I've found a trail that indicates he's been making regular cash payments to Zoe's lawyer."

"Yeah, to delay changing the will. I guessed as much," Chance said. "Shouldn't you be working on getting that website shut down?"

"I've got Sergei working on it, but there could already be another version of the site popping up somewhere else."

"So what do we do?"

"I'm working on that now, dude."

"I know the website is pretty unpleasant, but I'm not sure how it fits into a plan to kill her."

Guerrero looked up. "You only saw the landing page. The website contains a lot more than some seriously fucked up porn with Zoe's face photoshopped in."

"Like what?"

"Like enough details about her daily routine to make it easy for any wack-job worth his salt to track her down, dude. I don't think the only purpose of this site was to humiliate her. He's done a good job of leaving her vulnerable to all kind of crazies, but I'm willing to bet he's not going to leave it to chance. He's probably already got someone lined up to take her out."

"Well, we're going to have to draw him out into the open then."

"And find a way to neutralise the ex," Guerrero pointed out.

Chance nodded, and for the first time in days, things actually felt halfway normal again.

 

Chapter Text


 

Once Guerrero realised that Charles Emerson had been using a credit card he'd fraudulently obtained in Zoe's name to fund the pornographic website, he knew he'd found the connection he needed. He understood why Emerson had used a card in Zoe's name; if the police had investigated the website it would look as though she had set it up herself. All Guerrero had to do was make sure that the card was traced back to Charles, and not his unfortunate ex-wife, and they would have the evidence to prove that the threats and harassment were real. Proving that Charles Emerson was planning to have his wife killed would fall to Chance and Winston.

Guerrero wasn't worried about Chance facing whoever Emerson had hired; he'd checked the guy's background and finances, so he knew that he had neither the money nor the contacts to hire a professional killer. Chance just had to intercept the threat and shake him up enough to make sure he co-operated with the police. Guerrero would normally be the one to interrogate the would-be killer, but the cast on his leg undermined the necessary air of menace that the situation required. Looking a bit beat up was fine, it suggested that he was willing to let things get physical, but a broken limb sent the wrong message: that someone had gotten the better of him.

Guerrero's psychological methods worked best on people who had the imagination to appreciate what he might do to them, and they were even more effective when they were already familiar with his reputation. But when it came to intimidating amateurs, Chance had a natural advantage in his taller, more obviously muscular build. It didn't take much imagination to see that he had the physical strength to inflict pain and injury if he chose to.

When they'd first met, Junior had a much slighter build, but the easy-going charm, that light inside him that people couldn't help responding to, was always there. Guerrero had been dismissive of Joubert's new golden boy to begin with. It took him a little while to appreciate how useful it was to be working with someone that people wanted to like, trusting him right up to the moment when he put a bullet in their brain. Guerrero learned to respect the ease with which Junior dealt with people, but he recognised the vulnerability in it to. It wasn't long before Junior dazzled the wrong man's wife with those blue eyes and dimples, finding himself in a situation that no amount of charm would get him out of. Guerrero stepped in to help him, but only after Junior had had the beating of his life. After all, Guerrero had reasoned, the kid has to learn sometime.

Junior took the lesson to heart, and somehow pulling him out of one nasty beat-down led to Guerrero becoming a mentor of sorts. It was hard to say when that mentor/student relationship had morphed into a respect between equals, although Guerrero could pinpoint when their friendship started to concern Joubert. They'd been scheduled to take down a mark in Singapore, and had already flown out there when the job was called off at the last minute. With twenty-four hours to kill before their flights back to the US, they had hit the local bars hard; they wound up in a backstreet tattoo parlour, laughing their asses off as a massive Malaysian man tattooed their arms with matching dragons. Explaining to Joubert why that had given themselves such obvious and memorable distinguishing features wasn't nearly so funny; shortly after that, the Old man had decreed that Junior would be working with the new guy, Baptiste, and Guerrero found himself working alone far more frequently.

Junior had toughened up a lot physically and emotionally in the years he worked for Joubert, building up endurance and muscle mass, honing his body and his skills so that he could more than hold his own in a fight. Guerrero was familiar with every inch of that body, thanks to having to tend to numerous wounds at various times. Wounds caused by bullets and knives generated mandatory police reports, so they often tended minor injuries themselves when getting to one of the doctors on Joubert's payroll was too much hassle. Guerrero tried not to think about all the times he had touched Junior…Chance… him. The memories were too overwhelming now that he looked back at them overlaid with the desire to do more than tend his to his wounds.

Working for Joubert had dimmed that light inside Junior for a while, but it was always there, drawing Guerrero in, feeding his need to be near him, to watch out for him, and ultimately forcing him out of his old life and into the strange new world of Christopher Chance. Guerrero had seen that light grow brighter again as Chance set out on his personal mission to help those who had no one else to turn to, and Guerrero felt warmed by it, despite his deep rooted cynicism about the whole idea. But because it was him, he followed.

Chance could hide that light when he needed to, snatching it away to leave a person feeling disorientated and uncertain when abruptly faced with the empty-eyed mask of a killer. Chance would have no problem dealing with Charles Emerson's hit man, but Guerrero felt a pang of regret that he couldn't deal with it himself. He wished he could spare Chance the necessity of reviving the darkest part of himself, especially since the events in the shipping container had started to dim that light inside him again.

Guerrero had always known that he was built to handle the darkest side of the business; he had no illusions about the fact that he was capable of cruelty and violence that would be unthinkable to most. Chance was not like that, despite what he thought of Junior's numerous crimes, and more recently what he'd been forced to do to Guerrero. It was in Chance's nature to protect people, and it was that trait that the Old Man had manipulated with lies, telling him that the people he sent him to kill deserved it. It was the need to protect Guerrero that Abiade had exploited to make him force himself on Guerrero. Guerrero wished he could make Chance see that, and understand that although as Junior he'd sank to his level for a while, as Chance he was still a better person than was ever in Guerrero's nature to be.

Guerrero was used to the deep, subconscious pull that bound their lives together, but he felt ill-equipped for the way his thoughts were now dominated by Chance, and what they'd done in that shipping container. So much of it had been so wrong, and he still felt a lingering sense of shame for his part in what happened. And yet there was still the memory of Chance's cock in his mouth, his body singing when Chance's fingers curled inside him and the rush of knowing that it was his own body that made Chance come.

It had never occurred to him that he might be sexually attracted to Chance, but it wasn't quite the shock he would have expected it to be either. Guerrero had always treated sex as an occasional itch that needed to be scratched. He tried to never get close enough to anyone for real feelings to be involved, so being attracted to someone he cared about was a totally alien experience. If only he could have come to that realisation on his own terms, instead of it being forced upon him, maybe then he'd have been able to figure out how to deal with it. If Chance wasn't still so fucked up about the whole thing, he could have just blocked it all out and pretend it had never happened, burying his feelings along with the details of that day.

Guerrero hoped that getting back to work would help Chance realise that things could be okay again, but he knew that there was still something about what happened that Chance couldn't let go of. It wouldn't matter how many cases they worked on, things would never be right between them until he did.

He pushed aside the impossible daydream of how things could have been if he'd figured out how he felt about Chance earlier, and what could have been, if Chance had felt the same.

Guerrero tried to get his head back in the case, and decided it was about time to check up on Sergei.

He called him and found that he had been busy, shutting down what proved to be multiple websites containing graphic images and the personal details of their client one by one. Guerrero was not impressed, and had a quiet word with him regarding efficiency. After that, a customised virus systematically put an end to any porn site that contained Zoe's likeness or personal information.

Guerrero just needed the word from Winston telling him that they were ready to put the next phase of the plan into action, and then Chance could return to the warehouse. Only then would Guerrero be able to work on getting Chance to let go of whatever was causing him so much pain.


Winston and Chance divided up Zoe's schedule between them: Winston covered her workplace, posing as a publishing rep visiting the bookstore where she worked, and Chance was Zoe's new handyman/gardener. Chance left each night at nine, driving off with a pick-up full of tools, only to sneak back into the house under cover of darkness via the back yard, which backed onto a small copse of trees. A professional killer would have monitored the house more closely, and in all likelihood would have caught on to the ruse, but Chance agreed with Guerrero's assessment that whoever Charles Emerson had hired was likely to be an amateur.

Chance studied the notes that Charles had left for his ex-wife to find, but they didn't really provide any new intel. They were carefully worded, and impossible to date, which meant that unless you were familiar with the context in which they were written, it was easy to read them as affectionate, if a little overbearing, love notes from a man to his wife. Chance guessed that their purpose was to put Zoe under even more pressure, to make it seem as if she were paranoid and delusional. It would have provided another line of defence against her being able to change her will if her mental health were to be called into question.

Zoe was reluctant to carry on with her normal daily routine, and it took a lot of reassurance from Winston to convince her that drawing her would-be killer into the open was the only way to deal with the problem permanently, and gain the evidence they needed to put her ex behind bars. Chance understood her impulse to flee, and did what he could to ease her anxieties, trying to keep the conversation up-beat. He even made her laugh on a couple of occasions, something she clearly hadn't done for quite some time.

Being away from the claustrophobic atmosphere of the warehouse, and focussing on someone else's problems rather than his own, helped Chance regain some equilibrium, although Guerrero was never far from his thoughts. In some ways it was easier not having to see him hobble round on crutches, his injured foot a constant reminder of that day, but he missed having him close, knowing exactly where he was at any given moment. He'd never really had that before; Guerrero was usually around, but not necessarily present in his life on a daily basis. Seeing him was difficult to deal with at the moment, but Chance found that not seeing him was proving to be harder still.

He could have gone back to the office whilst Winston was watching over Zoe at her workplace, but Chance kept making excuses not to. He wasn't sure if he could face the awkwardness of trying to maintain the forced atmosphere of normality without Winston there acting as a buffer between them. He didn't know what to say to Guerrero anymore, and whenever there was a silence between them, Chance had to fight the urge to apologise over and over. Guerrero had been perfectly clear about how he wanted to deal with the situation: forget it and move on. As much as Chance wanted to respect that, he just couldn't do it.

How could Guerrero forgive him when he didn't know everything he needed to be forgiven for? The rape alone was bad enough, but Guerrero didn't know the half of it. Chance needed to tell him, to confess those dark impulses that had caught him unaware as he'd acted out Abiade's revenge upon Guerrero's body. The thought of telling him made him feel physically sick, but Chance couldn't accept his forgiveness without Guerrero knowing the whole story. But once he knew, even if he could forgive what Chance had felt that day, what he still felt towards him, it would be impossible for things to return to the way they once were.

Chance had to choose: either tell Guerrero everything , but have to live the fact that he knew; or he could continue to hide what really happened, sacrificing the forgiveness he so badly needed in order to maintain the illusion of what their friendship once was. Neither option was a real solution, but all he could do now was to try, and to hope that something of their former relationship could be salvaged.


It was a relief when, on the evening of the fourth day, Charles Emerson's man finally made his move. As Guerrero predicted the man was an amateur, and no match for Chance. He was young, in his late twenties at most, with a wiry build and long, lank hair pulled back in a ponytail. He'd been relying on using a taser to subdue a lone, scared and vulnerable woman, and hadn't prepared for the eventuality of dealing with a impatient ex-assassin with a lot on his mind.

Chance waited for the man to let himself into the kitchen and disarm the alarm. Once he had passed his hiding place, Chance jumped him with almost laughable ease, grabbing the pony tail and smacking his head sharply against the wall, knocking him unconscious. He took a quick look inside the backpack he'd been carrying, which brought home just how badly things could have gone for Zoe, had Chance not been there. It contained several lengths of rope, a selection of knives, a full-face leather mask and a digital camcorder.

Chance dragged the man down to the basement and handcuffed him to an old metal pipe running along the back wall, tugging on it to make sure it was secure. He checked the man's pockets, but he wasn't carry any ID, additional weapons or anything he could feasibly use to pick the lock on the handcuffs. Satisfied that he wasn't going anywhere, Chance went back upstairs to check on the client.

"Did you get him?" Zoe asked.

"Yes. He's out cold, for the moment anyway. I've got him tied up in the basement. Once he wakes up, I'll question him, and in the morning we'll hand him over to the police. By then we'll have all the evidence we need to prove that your ex-husband was the one behind all this."

"Is it safe? Keeping him here? Won't you get in trouble with the police?"

"Just let me and my colleagues deal with it, Zoe," Chance said, giving her a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, we won't do anything that will jeopardise the case against your ex. We're just going to make sure we have this guy's full cooperation before we call in the cops."

Zoe frowned for a moment, but nodded. "Okay, if you're sure that's best."

"Trust me, it is."


Winston arrived twenty minutes later, to find Chance pacing back and forth in Zoe's kitchen with a look of barely contained rage.

"Chance? Is everything okay?"

He stopped facing for a moment and nodded towards the camcorder sitting on the table.

"What's that?" Winston asked.

"He brought it with him," Chance said.

"He's been filming her?" Winston asked.

Chance shook his head, and resumed pacing. "No. Hit play."

Winston watched about ten seconds before shutting the camcorder down and placing it back on the table.

"Oh my god, Chance, I'm so sorry. I had no idea-"

"It's him. The guy in the basement. The mask was in the bag too."

"Did he-"

"No, he didn't kill the girl on the tape."

"But he-"

"He raped her. The time stamp on the file is from about a week ago."

"I'm sorry. If I'd have known this was where the case was going…" Winston stopped, not quite sure what to say. If they hadn't have taken the case, it was unlikely that their client would have survived the night.

"Doesn't matter how I feel about it. She needed help: we help."

"But-"

"That's all I have to say about it, Winston. Don't push me!"

He could see that Chance was only hanging on by a thread, so he decided the safest thing to do would be to focus on the case. "Do we know for sure that the guy in the basement was sent by Emerson? He might just have come after Zoe because of the website."

"I need to question him. To make sure."

"I don't think that's a good idea," Winston frowned. "This isn't just about Zoe Emerson anymore. That camera contains evidence of another serious crime, and we need to be careful not to do anything to compromise it. The woman on that tape deserves justice just as much as our client does."

"But if we can't link him to Charles Emerson, all we can prove is the harassment, not the attempted murder. With a good enough lawyer, he may not even get a custodial sentence!"

"A confession given under duress is going to be worthless, Chance! You know that! And even if you did get him to own up to a connection with Emerson, there's nothing to say he wouldn't change his story once we handed him over to SFPD! We need evidence, solid evidence that will prove that he came here to kill Zoe under Charles Emerson's orders; assuming of course that he isn't just some crazy stalker that saw the website."

Chance stopped pacing again, looking deep in thought. "No. He's Emerson's guy," he said. "I'm sure of it. He had the alarm code, and that information was not on the website. Emerson must have given it to him."

"Okay," Winston said. "That's good. We've got our guy. Any idea who he is, what his name is?"

"He wasn't carrying any ID."

"If we can find out his name, maybe Guerrero can dig something up that will prove the connection with Emerson. An email, phone records, something."

A dark look descended on Chance's face, and Winston was reminded of the early days of their partnership, when he'd had to monitor him carefully, reining him in when he took things too far. Chance had always abided by the rule that nobody deserved to die, but Winston was acutely aware that there were all manner of thing that Chance could do that would top short of killing a man. It hadn't been easy to hammer out boundaries of what Winston could live with and what was unacceptable, and he wasn't about to let Chance backslide now. Winston was, of course, aware that Guerrero didn't abide by such rules, but he was smart enough not to flaunt them in front of him. That said, he wished that Guerrero was there to handle this for Chance.

"I'll get his name then," Chance said, moving towards the door to the basement.

"No!" The sharpness of Winston's tone stopped Chance dead in his tracks. "You are going to sit this out. No arguments."

"But-"

"We need to keep everything above board if this guy's not going to wriggle out of this on a technicality. This is not my first interrogation, Chance. Have a little faith in me."

Chance took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. "Fine. But if he doesn't talk, I want five minutes alone with him."

That was a lot more than Winston had expected to be able to get him to agree to, so he took it. "Just remember that we need this guy to get to Charles Emerson. He's no used to us tortured or dead."

"I'll bear that in mind."


The first thing Winston did when entered the basement was to take a snapshot of the man handcuffed to the wall and send it to Guerrero, so he could run it through a facial recognition program which would cross check it with the police database of mug shots of men the right height and age with any priors. From what little he saw of the tape, Winston was willing to bet that it wasn't the guy's first time. With any luck he should be on file as a sex offender.

"How's Chance?" Guerrero asked after Winston brought him up to speed.

"Not good" Winston replied. "He wanted to handle the interrogation himself, but right now I'm not sure that he wouldn't just kill him."

There was silence at the other end of the line, and for a moment Winston wondered if Guerrero had hung up.

"Just don't let him do anything he'll regret. Call me if you get anything more to work on."

"Okay. Make sure-" This time Guerrero really had hung up. Winston sighed, and tucked his cell phone back into his pocket.

He looked around the basement and spotted a sink in the corner. After a little more poking around, he found a bucket full of dusty rags. He tossed the rags on the floor and filled the bucket at the sink. The man with the ponytail was still unconscious, so Winston threw the bucket of musty smelling water into his face. The man coughed and sputtered for a moment before moaning and opening his eyes.

"I have questions," Winston said. "Questions that you are going to answer."


Chance couldn't stand still, but even the continuous pacing wasn't enough to dampen the restlessness he felt. He'd watched the video of the anonymous woman's rape to the end to make sure that she hadn't been killed, although he had fast forwarded through a lot of it, unable to stomach what he saw. He'd still seen too much though, and it took all the self-control he had not to go down in the basement and beat the man to a pulpy mess, breaking every bone in his body. He'd muted the sound on what parts of the video he had seen, unable to listen to the woman crying and begging the leather-masked man to stop. He already had the echoes of Guerrero begging him to stop reverberating in his mind, he couldn't take carrying the sound of the woman's pleas for mercy with him too.

Chance knew that the case was supposed to be a simple one; Winston had chosen to take it because he thought it would help Chance to keep busy. Instead it had reminded Chance of the evil he was capable of; he was a rapist and a murderer. He was no better than the man tied up in the basement; in fact he was probably worse. He'd undoubtedly killed more people, and probably in much worse ways then whatever the ponytailed man had planned for Zoe Emerson.

How did I ever think that anything I did would ever change that?

He could see now that there was no way back from the things he had done. Maybe forgiveness was only possible for those who deserved it, but it was far beyond his grasp now. Raping Guerrero was just the most recent of many steps that had lead him down this path to hell. There would be no redemption, no balancing of the karmic books; nothing could make up for all the things he'd done, the monster that he'd become. Perhaps his fate had been sealed the first time he took another man's life, not that it really mattered. Living as Christopher Chance had been a dream, one that he had no right to.

This would be his last case.

He knew the most practical thing to do would be to leave whist Winston was still questioning the man in the basement, but he felt he owed it to the client to see the case through to the end. He also wanted to see Guerrero one last time. There was no way he could make either Guerrero or Winston understand why he had to end this, but the least he could do was to finish the job they started together. Maybe Guerrero and Winston could keep working together after he was gone. He liked that thought, but he knew it was highly unlikely. He'd been the one to draw them into each other's lives, and once he was gone there probably wouldn't be enough to hold them together.

Maybe Winston would finally retire; it was about time he started looking after himself. Chance knew that he had high blood pressure. A less stressful way of life was likely to do him some good; it was almost certain to make him live longer.

Guerrero… Guerrero would be okay, and this way he need never know what Chance was struggling to hide. Guerrero would look for him, but that couldn't be helped. He wouldn't find him.

Once Chance had made the decision, he started to feel the restlessness ebb away, replaced by a bone-deep weariness. He sat at the kitchen table, and tried to put a name to what he was feeling. It wasn't peace, it was more like acceptance of the inevitable.

He could finally stop fighting. The end was in sight.


Chapter Text


 

The search parameters were just too broad to yield a result, and the picture Winston had sent him wasn't from the best angle either. Guerrero understood Winton's reluctance to put Chance in a room with their prisoner, but without something else to go on, there was little hope of identifying the man in Zoe Emerson's basement. He left the facial recognition software running its fruitless search, and headed down to the garage, where there was a decent set of tools.

He'd put up with the cast for over a week but enough was enough; he wouldn't be able to drive with it on, and neither Chance nor Winston were up to the job of interrogating the prisoner. He set to work with a hacksaw, and once he'd cut as far as he could without the blade coming into contact with his leg, he wedged a chisel into the cut and levered it open. A power tool would have been faster, but one slip could have left him bleeding out; besides, there was something very satisfying about wrenching the hated cast off his leg with brute force.

Once the cast was off, Guerrero carefully peeled away the dressing on the wound beneath. It didn't smell too good, but it looked reasonably clean and free from infection. He wiggled his toes, and although his foot was still painful, he saw no reason why he couldn't drive, as long as he was careful. He was in the process of applying a fresh dressing when his cell phone rang; it was Winston.

"You got something?" he asked, answering the call on the second ring.

"Yeah, a tattoo on the inside of his left forearm. It's a tiger's head with some kind of Chinese script underneath. I'm sending you a picture now."

"Anything else?"

"No, he's still not talking. I'm having a hard time keeping Chance from going down there and beating the crap out of him. It was his idea to check for scars and tattoos . He translated the text from the tattoo when I showed him the picture though."

"And?"

"He thinks its supposed to say 'No lies, no mercy, no place to hide' but its looks like the tattooist had a joke at his expense. Chance recons it actually says 'No pies, no mercy, no place to hide'."

"Is it prison ink?"

"No, it looks like a professional job. Will that help narrow the search?"

"Maybe, if it was logged by the cops when they took his mug shot. I'll have to take a look at the picture, but there's something about that deliberate misspelling. I recognise that sense of humour. I'll get back to you."

Guerrero hung up and took a look at the photo Winston had just sent him. The lines were sharply defined and the colours bright; it was an exceptionally good tattoo, barring the deliberate substitution of the word 'pies' for 'lies', and obviously recently done. He knew if he blew up the image large enough there would be a letter 'Z' hidden in the shading somewhere, but the style of the tattoo and the pie gag were already enough to tell him who the artist was.

He glanced at his watch; it was late but he knew that most of the shop's business was done after dark, so it shouldn't be a problem. He flicked through the contacts list on his cell and made the call.

"Hui-Zhong, it's Guerrero. What can you tell me about a white dude, long hair, pony tail, a thing for tigers and an issue with pies?"


Winston was impressed. Half an hour after he had contacted Guerrero with the details of the mystery man's tattoo, he'd got back to him with the his full name and a list of priors. He also had a detailed log from the chat room where their prisoner, Greg Mayer, had first came in contact with Charles Emerson, as well as the subsequent emails they had exchanged. He'd even found the message in which Emerson gave him the alarm code for Zoe's home. Mayer had priors for assault and sexual battery going back to his early teens, but murder was a new development.

Now that they had the dirt they needed on Charles Emerson, Winston knew that he had to get Chance out of there before they called in the cops. He was in no shape to bullshit experienced detectives, and they really didn't need anyone taking a closer look at who he really was.

Shit, I would have arrested him on sight looking the way he does right now, Winston thought, he sure as hell looks guilty of something.

Zoe Emerson was a little confused as to why she was being asked to say that it was Winston who apprehended the intruder instead of Chance, but ultimately she was too grateful to really care so she went along with it.

Winston had expected some token resistance from Chance, but he seemed relieved to be leaving. He was uncharacteristically formal with the client when he said goodbye, and was visibly uncomfortable when Zoe hugged him. If Winston hadn't have been so concerned about getting the story straight for the police, he would have been worried about it, but instead he just sent Guerrero a text to let him know Chance was on his way back to the warehouse.


"You lost the cast."

Guerrero looked up from his laptop and saw Chance lurking in the doorway to the kitchen. He wondered how long it would be before Chance would actually walk into the same room as him without hesitating first, but then they both had a tendency to hang back, keeping a line of retreat open when entering an unknown situation. It was a habit born of having to make a quick exit should they encounter a threat, but it saddened Guerrero to think that Chance felt it was necessary when entering the same room as him, even if it was just a subconscious thing.

"Winston wasn't making any progress with Mayer. I figured I was going to have to drive over there and provide him with the incentive to talk. Couldn't drive with that damn cast on my foot so…" Guerrero shrugged.

Chance nodded.

"If you'd sat in that pick-up any longer I was going to come down there and check for a pulse," Guerrero said.

"How did you…?"

"I checked the security feed. Winston texted me over an hour ago to say you were on your way back."

Chance shrugged. "Had a lot on my mind. I guess I lost track of time."

"You okay?" Guerrero asked.

"I'm fine," Chance said, although his body language was screaming otherwise. He looked so tense that one hard knock might have sent him shattering into pieces. "Good work, recognising the tattoo artist. With what you dug up, Winston is confident that the cops will have enough to make sure Zoe never has to worry about Emerson or Mayer again. I'm, uh, heading out for a while, so…thanks for your help. We wouldn't have cracked this one without you."

Guerrero frowned. Giving him a pat on the head like that was not Chance's style. "Where are you going?"

"I've just got some stuff to take care of." He started to turn away.

"Don't bullshit me, Chance. What exactly are you planning to do?"

Chance froze. "It doesn't matter."

"Then why are you being so evasive?" Guerrero stood up and grabbed the crutch that he'd found was still necessary to keep some of the weight off his injured foot.

"Just… look out for Winston for me, okay?" Chance started to walk away, but he underestimated how much faster Guerrero could move without the cast to slow him down. He grabbed Chance's shoulder and forced him to turn around.

"I know a goodbye when I hear one, dude. You gonna tell me what the hell you're thinking?"

"I'm leaving."

"Yeah, we pretty much already established that. Why?"

"You know why."

"I thought we were getting past that."

"I can't."

"Isn't it a little early to just give up?" Chance looked away, but didn't reply. "It's difficult, I know that, and probably more so for you than it is for me, but I'm not going to let you just walk away! Besides, you can't hide from me, bro. How far do you really think you'll get before I catch up with you?"

"Far enough," Chance mumbled.

Chance's words and his tone of voice made Guerrero's guts clench. "This isn't about you leaving. You're planning on checking out, aren't you?"

Chance didn't reply, but he didn't have to; Guerrero could see the answer written in the flat, empty look in his eyes.

"If you think I'm going to let you just walk out of here and-"

"You'll do what, Guerrero? Drug me up again? 'Cause that works so well! That just solves all my problems doesn't it?"

"And you think offing yourself will? This is because of the case, isn't it? You scared 'cause you think you have something in common with Mayer."

"Well I do, don't I?"

"You have nothing in common with that sick son of a bitch!"

"No? Rape, murder… it's all sounding like familiar territory to me!"

"You're nothing like him! Sure, you've killed people, but you're not Junior anymore; you're different now."

"Yeah, I'm the man who raped you."

Chance shook off his grip on his arm, but Guerrero refused to back down, crowding him and shoving at him until his back was against the wall. He let the crutch fall to the ground, maintaining his balance with the grip he had on the front of Chance's shirt instead.

"What happened… What we did…" Guerrero tried to stall, struggling for a way to put what he needed to say into words in such a way that wouldn't leave himself vulnerable and exposed. "I gave you my consent, and in my book that means it wasn't rape, not exactly. I know you weren't getting off on it; you acted out of necessity, not choice, and I don't hold it against you in any way."

Had Guerrero not been standing so close to Chance, he may have missed the fleeting look of guilt in his eyes. Suddenly it all fell into place and he saw what it was that Chance couldn't let go of. He'd felt it too, something about that fucked up situation that they'd both responded to and couldn't rationalise away. Guerrero was stunned into silence for a moment as he struggled to assimilate this new piece of information. He needed to tread very carefully to find out what exactly Chance was trying to avoid acknowledging to even consider such desperate measures. Was it the idea of rape, or the fact that it had involved Guerrero?

He decided that the only way he could hope to get Chance to open up was to be more honest himself.

"I'm not saying that what happened didn't raise some questions for me, questions that I'm still not sure of the answers to. I hate that I forced you to respond in that way, but… I didn't exactly hate what I had to do to make that happen."

The colour drained from Chance's face as he finally met Guerrero's eyes. "If you're trying to make me feel better about what he made you do-"

"I'm trying to be honest, bro, 'cause if one of us isn't, you're going to walk out of here and do something terminally stupid." Guerrero took a deep breath before continuing. "I… didn't hate going down on you. I'd never thought of you like that before, and I don't know why I felt that way then, but… I just did."

Chance shook his head, and when he spoke, he sounded a little less sure of himself. "Regardless of how you felt about it, I hurt you! I forced myself on you!"

"And you're scared because maybe you didn't completely hate it. Just like I didn't completely hate what I did."

"Of course I hated it! I'd never want to do that to anyone, least of all you!"

"Which proves my point about you being nothing like Mayer!" Guerrero said, silently a little relieved that it wasn't the element of force that had appealed to him. "And I'm not talking about the circumstances here, I'm talking about the act itself."

"What's the difference?" Chance sounded tired and defeated, as if the futility of the argument was draining away what little energy he had left.

"That's what we need to determine: how would you feel about the same act under different circumstances?"

"Guerrero, I can't… I don't… To me it doesn't matter. I felt something I should never have felt whilst I was raping you! Don't you see? I can't live with that! It's too much! I can't forget that, or forgive it, even if you can. A big piece of me died in that shipping container, and what's left isn't worth fighting for anymore. I'm done. There's nothing left to salvage."

"Well, it sure as hell matters to me! I am not going to lose you over some misplaced sense of guilt for something that you had no control over! You did what you had to do to for us to survive, and you had no more control over the way your body reacted to it than I did mine. The only difference between us is that I will own up to the fact that I enjoyed parts of what happened! Not all of it, especially not the circumstances, but parts of it. When you had your fingers in my ass-"

"Guerrero, don't! I don't want to hear it!"

"Tough, 'cause you're gonna hear it anyway! When you had your fingers inside me-"

"Guerrero! Just stop!"

"…. it felt fucking good!" Guerrero knew he was pushing Chance too hard, but if he didn't make him break, he could lose him altogether.

"Stop! Please just shut up!"

"I didn't want you to stop…"

Chance was struggling to catch his breath. "Guerrero, I can't…"

"Didn't you hear me?" Chance closed his eyes and let out a sound somewhere between a groan and a whimper but still Guerrero pushed on. Now that he'd opened that door, there was nothing to hold back what he needed to say, and he was going to tell Chance everything. "Didn't you feel me push back against your hand? Couldn't you feel I wanted more?"

"I know you're a manipulative bastard," Chance said, his eyes screwed tightly shut and his voice shaking with the effort of trying to speak even halfway normally. "But this is fucked up, even for you."

"It's the truth."

"No-"

"Open your eyes and fucking look at me!" he snapped.

"Guerrero-"

"Look at me, Chance," he insisted.

Reluctantly, Chance opened his eyes. "I know what you're trying to do, but this isn't you," he said.

"It is, so you'd better get-" Guerrero started to reply but was cut off when Chance placed his hands either side of his face and kissed him.

Guerrero didn't hesitate; he kissed his back, opening his mouth, pressing his body against Chance as their tongues slid against each other. He needed that kiss, and he didn't care if Chance felt his desperation. From the way Chance was responding, he dared to hope that he wanted this just as badly as he did. Guerrero cupped one hand around the back of Chance's neck, and the other slipped around to the small of his back, drawing their bodies even closer together.

Guerrero's mind started to unravel, and he was only aware of what he was feeling right there, in that moment. He was overwhelmed by the need for more, to taste Chance, to touch every inch of him, to lose himself completely in doing whatever it took to make him feel that this was real, and it was okay. Better than okay, it was too fucking good to push away just because of what it took for them to find it.

Eventually they had to breathe, and Chance pulled back, although he kept his hands where they were, holding Guerrero's face and stroking one thumb across his cheek.

"You weren't bluffing, just to keep me here," Chance said. It was somewhere between a question and a statement.

Guerrero stifled a moan at the rough, breathless quality in Chance's voice. "Does it feel like I'm bluffing?" he asked, scraping blunt fingernails down the back of Chance's neck, and pressing himself against his leg so Chance could feel how much he wanted this, removing any lingering doubt. Chance shivered slightly, but didn't push him away.

"I don't know what this is, where we go from here," Chance said.

"We don't go anywhere. We stay here and work it out."

"But you want this? Even after-"

"Yeah, I think I do."

"I don't know if I can-"

"We'll figure it out. There's no rush. Not as long as you stay."

Chance sighed, and rested his forehead against Guerrero's. "Can this even work?"

"I don't know," Guerrero admitted. "But I want to find out."

They stood there, both struggling to catch their breath, unwilling to move away, but not yet ready to act on the tentative understanding they'd reached, when they heard the dull hum that signified that someone had pressed the call button for the elevator.

"Must be Winston," Guerrero said.

"Yeah," Chance agreed, reluctantly sliding out from where Guerrero still had him pinned to the wall. Guerrero made no move to stop him, but Chance felt his reluctance to let go. He picked up the discarded crutch from the floor and handed it back to Guerrero.

Part of him was raging at the interruption, but objectively Guerrero knew Chance needed some time and space to get his head around what had just happened.

"You'll stay?" he asked.

"Yeah, for now," Chance replied. He still looked impossibly tired, but he'd lost that tense, brittle quality he'd had when he'd returned to the warehouse.

Guerrero nodded and headed back to the kitchen, taking refuge behind his laptop so Winston wouldn't see the evidence of the hard-on he was fighting. Chance flopped down on the couch and waited for the elevator to return.


He'd only kissed Guerrero to shut him up, when he couldn't bear to hear him talking about what happened as if there was anything about the whole rancid mess that he'd enjoyed. Chance had been so certain that Guerrero was bluffing, and the kiss was the result of the fight or flight response that had kicked into overdrive when Guerrero had pushed him against the wall. But as soon as Guerrero returned the kiss full force, it felt as if the world had slipped out from underneath Chance's feet. The kiss was real, more real than the wall against his back or the air they were struggling to breathe. Guerrero had made damn sure that there was no room for misunderstanding, and Chance was reeling from knowing that he was the focus of all that desire.

Chance was still so at odds with his feelings that he wasn't even sure if he could handle the idea of starting something with Guerrero. Yeah, he wanted to, but his only point of reference was what happened in the shipping container, and he wasn't sure if the memory of how he'd hurt Guerrero would even allow him to be close to him without being overwhelmed with feelings of self-hatred and despair. The kiss had been mind-blowing, but they hadn't had to do that in front of Abiade; what would happen if Chance tried to touch Guerrero and he had a flashback to that day? Could they even give each other what they wanted without it being tainted by those memories? It wasn't as if Chance had any other experience of with being with a man to draw on either; taking things any further than a kiss with Guerrero was going to take him completely out of his depth.

He needed time to make the mental adjustment from having lost his grip on everything that made his life worth living, to being offered something he hadn't dared to let himself consciously want. Despite the decision he'd made in the kitchen of Zoe Emerson's house, his plans had been vague: to find a quiet unpopulated area and think it all through one last time before he…

It probably would have involved a gun. Quick and decisive. No opportunity to change his mind once the deed was done.

The idea of finding a place where he could think things over on his own still held a lot of appeal, but Guerrero had picked up on what he had been planning, and was unlikely to let him get far, just in case. He seemed willing to give him time to think things through, not that there had been the opportunity to continue their conversation once they heard the elevator spring to life.

Chance knew that Winston would want to tell him how things went down once he called in the police, so thinking things over was going to have to wait a while. Guerrero had said that there was no rush, and Chance was fairly sure he'd meant it. Besides, if he brushed Winston off, it would make him suspicious, and there was no way he was ready to talk to anyone about what was going on in his head. Thinking it through would have to wait, for now at least.


Winston was glad to see Chance sitting on the couch when he walked in; he'd half expected him to pull a disappearing act after the way he'd been brooding at the client's house.

"I thought you'd still be dealing with the cops for a while," Chance said.

"Yeah, ordinarily I would be, but unfortunately the lead detective on the case is Lieutenant Broward. Not exactly my biggest fan. He kicked me out of the crime scene as soon as he had my statement and a copy of the data Guerrero dug up. I had to get hold of Peele to get the low-down on what's going on."

"And?"

"Hang on, where's Guerrero? I might as well tell you both at the same time. Save me having to repeat myself."

Chance nodded towards the kitchen.

Winston wasn't sure whether or not to read anything into the fact that were sitting in separate rooms. Chance seemed a bit out of it, so maybe Guerrero had decided to give him a little space, but as far as he could tell, they hadn't seen each other in days. How much more space would Chance need? The situation between them was difficult, and Winston was all out of ideas for how he could help. The case had provided a distraction of sorts, until Chance had seen that tape, which only made things worse. Winston was kicking himself for not foreseeing the ugly twist the case had taken; he should have realised that the website was a warning of what Charles Emerson had planned for his wife.

Guerrero didn't even acknowledge him as he walked into the kitchen.

"I'm about to get Chance up to speed on the case so…"

Guerrero didn't look up from the laptop. "So what?"

Winston sighed. "So are you going to come through to the other room so I only have to go through the details once?"

"Is the client safe?"

"Yes."

"And the police got the bad guys?"

"Yes, but-"

"Then I'm up to speed."

"Suit yourself," Winston grumbled, grabbing a couple of beers from the fridge and heading back to where Chance was waiting, deep in thought on the couch. He handed Chance a bottle, and sank down beside him. Usually at the end of a case they'd drink something a bit stronger, but considering Chance's precarious mental state, Winston decided a beer would have to do.

"Thanks to what Guerrero dug up from that chat room, Charles Emerson is looking at a lengthy custodial sentence. Peale told me that they've already arrested him, and the DA is satisfied that it's a slam dunk. He won't be cutting any deals."

Chance frowned. "They've taken it to the DA already?"

Winston nodded and took a slug of his beer. "That video Mayer had with him, well, it turns out it was just the tip of the iceberg…"

Chance sat motionless, staring at the bottle in his hands as Winston talked.

The police had been looking for a serial rapist who had assaulted at least over thirty-five women over the last four years. It was difficult to put an exact number on how many women had been attacked because not all of the victims came forward straight away. No one had been able to give a good description of the attacker due to the leather mask he wore, and he would force the victim to bathe after the assault, washing away any forensic evidence he might have left behind.

Mayer had been on the shortlist of suspects, along with a dozen or so other names, but the lack of forensic evidence meant the investigation kept stalling. SFPD had even tried to get the FBI Behavioural Analysis Unit to consult on the case, but it had not been considered a priority because no one had died and there were no minors involved.

"You see, you haven't just saved the client this time, Chance. You've helped dozens of women get justice for what Mayer did to them. And from his correspondence with Charles Emerson, we now know that he was on the brink of escalating to murder."

Chance nodded, and picked at the label on his beer.

"I know this case has been really hard on you," Winston said. "But you've done a lot of good here, and I thought you should know that."

Again Chance nodded, but Winston wasn't really sure he'd heard a word he'd said.

"Chance?"

"I heard you. It's just a lot to process, y'know?"

"Yeah, I know."

Winston sat with him for a while, drinking his beer, but Chance kept picking away at the label on his bottle until Winston had to fight the urge to snatch it away, just to make him say something.

"I wasn't sure you'd even be here when I got back," Winston said, when silence grew too oppressive. "I half expected you to take off."

Chance finally stopped picking and frowned at the bottle, as if he'd only just noticed that he was holding it. "I kind of promised Guerrero I'd stick around for a while," he said.

Winston nodded. "I'm glad to hear that."

Chance took a swig of his beer and pulled a face. "It's warm."

"Well, you have been holding it a while," Winston pointed out.

"I guess I'm just not in the mood for drinking right now."

"Probably a good thing."

Chance set the bottle down on the floor and scrubbed his hands over his face. "I've had more that enough for one day. I'm going to bed."

Winston retrieved the bottle and took it out to the kitchen, along with his own empty.

"How's he doing?" Guerrero asked.

"I wish I knew," Winston replied, shaking his head.


Chapter Text


 

Chance needed to think. If he had enough time he would surely be able to process all that he was thinking and feeling, but it seemed there was never enough time, and the answers remained just out of his reach. It was exhausting, the way that he kept running through the events of the last week or so, trying to find the truth in all the fucked up, conflicting feelings that inundated his overloaded mind. He struggled to reconcile the memory of Guerrero, hurt and begging him to stop, with the kiss and the confession that he had found something good in what Chance had done to him. Even if he could have made sense of those two situations, how was that ever going to fit with everything he knew about Guerrero? They had known each other for so long, and there had never been even the suggestion of an attraction between them; how could two straight men suddenly stumble across such intense feelings for each other?

The kiss was meant to be a challenge that Guerrero couldn't meet, but instead it had exposed feelings that Chance hadn't trusted himself to acknowledge. It had left both of them exposed with no place to hide, and one way or another they were going to have to face whatever this new situation was. The kiss had confirmed his feelings for Guerrero as being something beyond his body's automatic response to physical stimuli. There had been no mental substitution on Chance's part, no imagining that it was someone else's lips pressed against his own. He'd felt the day-old stubble beneath his fingertips, breathed in the scent of Guerrero's skin tinged with the familiar smell of the shower gel he'd given him; and he tasted his mouth, softer than he'd expected, but still undeniably male. Those sensations should have been a complete turn off, but instead they added up to Guerrero, and the effect on Chance was overwhelming.

Chance knew he wanted Guerrero, without even being sure of what exactly it was he wanted from him.

Was it just about getting off, or was there more to it than that? None of it made any sense. Chance had never been attracted to men, and he still wasn't; was he?

The problem of trying to reconcile Guerrero, his friend and ally, with this new Guerrero who seemed to reciprocate the attraction that Chance was struggling to understand, was just too large a problem. Perhaps the best way to try and make sense of what he felt for Guerrero was to establish whether or not he was even attracted to other men. Could it be that he was bisexual and he didn't know it? Was that even possible?

The more Chance thought about it, the more it made sense to somehow define what his sexual boundaries were before trying to figure out where exactly Guerrero fitted in. An obvious way to do that would be to hit one of the city's many gay bars, but Chance immediately rejected the idea. He didn't want to subject himself to other people's scrutiny like that, and there were far too many variables involved for him to be able to focus on his own reactions. Besides, it was possible for him to walk into a bar full of women and not be particularly attracted to any of them, and there was nothing to say the odds in a gay bar would be any different; it wouldn't be a fair test.

The only way to see if he responded to another male body in a controlled situation that didn't leave himself vulnerable was simple: porn. Normally he wouldn't think twice about hitting the internet and scanning though a few of his favourite sites until he found something to suit his tastes, but that was totally out of the question with Guerrero at the warehouse full time. Chance knew how to cover his tracks enough to fool Winston, but he knew that if Guerrero decided to check up what sites he'd accessed recently, his basic precautions wouldn't mean a thing.

Chance was going to have to do this the old fashioned way.


"I'm going for a run."

Winston barely even looked up from the piles of paperwork he was sorting through. "I didn't think you liked jogging?"

"Well, Guerrero isn't exactly up to sparring, so it's about the only cardio I can get at the moment."

Winston grunted and riffled through the documents in front of him. "Just stay out of trouble. We can't afford to have both you and Guerrero out of commission. We need to get a case that's going to pay well and soon."

"I'm sure you'll figure something out. You always do."

Winston sighed and shook his head.


As Chance made his way to the elevator, Guerrero stepped out of the kitchen and intercepted him.

"Going out?" he asked.

"Yeah. Going for a run. I figure I need the exercise, and it will blow away a few of the cobwebs, y'know?"

Guerrero raised one cynical eyebrow. "Just going for a run?"

Chance knew that there was no way that Guerrero could know his intended destination, but his stomach twisted a little anyway. "Yeah. I'll be back in an hour or two."

Guerrero nodded. "So I'd don't have to hack a military spy satellite to keep tabs on you then?"

Chance couldn't help smiling. Although it would be overkill, he wouldn't put it past Guerrero to do just that, and he felt a warm surge of affection at the knowledge that Guerrero would still take ridiculous risks to ensure his well-being. "Not necessary, Guerrero. Really. It's just a run."

"Okay. Well, enjoy."

Chance could feel Guerrero watching him as he stepped into the elevator and began his stretches. It was almost a relief when the doors closed behind him, putting an end to Guerrero's scrutiny.


Guerrero sat down at his laptop and quickly hacked into the city's traffic camera network. It only took a moment to locate Chance, and he sat back and watched his progress, switching feeds as he passed from one camera's field of vision to another.

Chance was right. Hacking a surveillance satellite really wasn't necessary.


The proprietor of L'Amour des Anges Emporium didn't even look up from his book when Chance walked into the store in his workout clothes, still sweaty from his run. Chance guessed that he was probably not the first customer to visit the adult bookstore using running as a cover. Out of habit he looked around, assessing his surroundings for potential threats, but aside from one other customer, a college kid judging by the scruffy goatee and oversize book bag, it was just him and the bored looking clerk.

Chance scanned through the covers of the magazines on display, and was genuinely surprised by the range of sexual preferences that were catered for. Online he could just jump straight to what he was looking for, so it was a little strange to see all the options laid out on display like that.

He decided to start by checking out something that fell well within the range of what he was used to, and after a moment or two of being blinded by so much choice, he picked up a copy of something that advertised 'slutty secretaries!' on its cover. It was pretty standard fare; large breasted women in lace underwear that was bursting at the seams, the same women in various states of undress performing sexual acts on rather smug looking male models in bland business suits. Chance decided that it was kind of hot, and in the right state of mind it would definitely do something for him, but the bored, almost clinical expressions of the models were a little off-putting

He placed the magazine back on the shelf, and wandered into the next isle where he found an equally overwhelming variety, but they were still geared towards the heterosexual market. Nothing really caught his eye though, so he moved on to the next isle, where he found what he was looking for: the gay porn.

He looked around but the clerk was still preoccupied with the novel he was flicking through, and the goateed student was busy making his own selections. No one noticed or cared what Chance was looking at, but his heart was thumping in his chest and his palms were sweaty as he reached for one of the magazines. He took a deep breath and started flicking through the pages.

Nothing. The images of oiled young bodies contorted into every conceivable permutation of man on man erotica did exactly nothing for him. Not the images of oral sex, hand jobs, anal penetration, or any of the acts that Chance wasn't even sure of the correct terminology for. Nothing. He almost laughed out loud with relief. He was still who he thought he was, and although that didn't really make the situation with Guerrero any clearer, it was a weight off his mind.

He could have left the shop right then, secure in the knowledge that he definitely wasn't gay, but a small, persistent doubt stopped him. There must have been hundreds of different titles spread out on the shelves in front of him, and he'd only looked at one. There would be no point in having come here at all if he didn't satisfy himself that he was completely, one hundred percent sure. Besides, the models in the magazine he'd looked at bore absolutely no resemblance to either himself or Guerrero; they were too young for a start, and bordering on effeminate in their looks. That he hadn't felt any kind of response to those images only proved that Chance wasn't attracted to pretty boys, and Guerrero was no pretty boy by any stretch of the imagination.

Chance frowned. He wanted to be sure, after all wasn't that the reason he was doing this?

He looked at the magazines again, forcing himself to pay more attention to what each title had to offer. He finally settled on one that seemed to have a vaguely military theme, reasoning that it was likely to contain models who more closely resembled Guerrero's body type. He flicked through the first few pages, and he was more annoyed at the way the models were mishandling the obviously replica weapons than he was interested in the men themselves. Although the cover had promised 'real marines!' Chance had his doubts. Most of the models were sporting buzz cuts, but there were a couple whose hair was far too long to pass muster. One even had a small ponytail, for fuck's sake!

Chance continued flicking through the magazine, idly making mental notes of all the mistakes in the details that were supposed to lend the pictures some kind of authenticity, when he found a photo that made his heart stop. A bare-chested 'marine' was standing with his back to a wall whilst another 'marine' knelt in front of him and gave him a blow job. It was the man on his knees that caught Chance's attention. It was probably the man with the ponytail, but his hair wasn't tied back this time; it fell just long enough to touch his broad, well-muscled shoulders, and the other guy had his hands tangled in his hair in an encouraging sort of way. There wasn't much of a resemblance: the hair was a shade or two too dark, and it didn't have that slight curl that Guerrero's had, but it was enough to send a wave of intense heat through Chance's body, pulling into a tight knot deep in his abdomen.

Chance knew he should have closed the magazine or looked away, especially as he felt himself respond in a way that was going to be tough to conceal in his loose sweatpants, but he couldn't tear his eyes away. It wasn't Guerrero, but damn it, it was close enough, and the image was effecting him far more deeply than the slutty secretaries had. He couldn't help thinking of what it felt like to have Guerrero's mouth on his cock, and the blinding jolt of desire that nearly knocked him off his feet when he was forced to open his eyes and actually see that it really was Guerrero on his knees for him.

Chance must have zoned out for a moment, because he jumped when a voice came from right beside him saying: "Found something you like, dude?"

He spun round and found himself face to face with the college kid.

"Huh?" Chance mumbled, remembering belatedly that a lot of people used the word 'dude', not just Guerrero. Unfortunately, parts of his body seemed slow to catch on that it wasn't Guerrero who'd spoken, just some greasy college kid who couldn't mind his own business.

"That good, yeah?" The kid smiled at him, and tried to look over his shoulder. Chance wasn't exactly sure of the etiquette regarding customers asking each other for recommendations in this situation. Thanks to the internet it had been years since he'd set foot inside a store like this, but the last time he had, everyone had avoided even making eye contact, let alone trying to initiate conversation.

The college kid reached for Chance's left hand, pulling it towards him, closing the magazine so that he could see the cover. "You like the whole military thing then?"

It took a moment for Chance to twig: the invasion of his personal space, the guy's hand lingering on his, the coy tilting of his head to one side… The beardy college kid was trying to hit on him.

The shock of that thought hit his libido like several gallons of ice water. He cringed internally at the hopeful look on the younger man's face. "Sorry. You're not my type," he mumbled.

Chance pushed the magazine into the guy's hands and headed straight for the exit. He wrenched the door open and ran.


Guerrero wasn't particularly surprised when Chance ducked into the adult book store. Although he was curious as to what specifically Chance was looking for, Guerrero suspected that he was trying to put his feelings into some kind of context, to give himself a frame of reference. Chance's privacy was by no means guaranteed when he was using his computer at the warehouse, so it made sense that he'd sneaked off elsewhere to investigate what pushed his buttons and what didn't.

He understood that Chance was gathering intel before he chose to act; it was something that Guerrero had taught him to do a long time ago. The memory of trying to teach an impatient Junior the value of preparation was still something that made him smile.

"Okay, okay, I get it! You need to study the mark so you can predict his behaviour! It's not exactly rocket science, Guerrero, is it?"

"It's not just about knowing how he's reacted to things in the past though. You need to understand his values and priorities. In that second that he realises he's going to die, who or what does he try to protect? When everything else is stripped away, what does he hold onto?"

"Does it matter? He's going die anyway!"

"Of course it matters! It's not always about just killing the mark. Sometimes you're there to gather information as well. And it's not really a case of predicting what he's going to do anyway. It's about understanding the way he thinks."

Junior rolled his eyes. "So the most important thing is understanding the mark."

"No."

"No?"

"The most important thing is understanding yourself." Guerrero ignored Junior's impatient groan. "Neutralising your target is only part of the job. Getting away cleanly is the important part, and to do that you need to be acutely aware of your own capabilities. If you hesitate to consider whether or not you can make a jump or negotiate an obstacle in your way, you lose momentum and increase the likelihood of being hurt or killed. If you're confronted by something you've never had to deal with before, you have to have the confidence to take it in your stride, to believe that you can handle it without hesitation."

"But what if it's impossible? What am I supposed to do then?"

Guerrero shrugged. "You find a way."

Guerrero never could have predicted their current situation, but there was some comfort in knowing how Chance would go about trying to understand it. Guerrero knew that a rational analysis of the situation was unlikely to reach a conclusion in his favour, and he worried that Chance would decide not to act on the fucked up attraction between them. The less time he gave him to brood on the matter, the better the odds were that Chance wouldn't choose the logical option, but Guerrero had promised him time to work it out, so that's what he had to give him.

Chance left the porn emporium after five, maybe ten minutes, but the poor quality of the video feed didn't give Guerrero enough detail to draw any conclusions about his state of mind. Guerrero watched him for a while, until he was satisfied that Chance was on his way back to the warehouse, then he shut down the feed and waited for him to return.


Chance pushed himself hard on the run back to the office. He was in no particular rush to face Guerrero burdened with the knowledge that he seemed to be bisexual, but the harder he ran, the easier it became to ignore the scared, sinking feeling that he was losing control. He wasn't much closer to understanding what he felt or what he wanted; the only thing he was sure of that was all centred on Guerrero.

And Guerrero had kissed him back.

Fuck.

Could he really do this? Could they really risk an almost lifelong friendship to find out if there was some kind of sexual compatibility between them? Chance still hadn't gotten his head around how Guerrero could even look at him after what Abiade made him do, but now there was the possibility, not just for forgiveness, but for something they both wanted.

It was too much to take in. He felt like everything he'd ever valued had been snatched away from him, only to be returned, just as abruptly, with interest. One way or another, he needed Guerrero in his life, and ignoring the problem wasn't going to make it go away. Trying to think it all through wasn't working either; he couldn't apply logic and reason to something he had no hope of figuring out on his own.

The warehouse loomed up in front of him far too quickly, and Chance considered running around the block a couple of times just to delay the moment when he had to go inside. As he hesitated, Winston's car pulled up beside him and he rolled down the window.

"I got a call from the DA's office. Looks like they want to run through my statement regarding the Zoe Emerson case."

"Oh, okay," Chance said. "You don't think there's going to be a problem do you?"

"Nah, it's just red tape. They've just got to tick all the boxes. Don't worry about it. It's likely to take up the rest of the day though, so will you be alright?" Winston didn't need to add 'alone with Guerrero'; Chance knew exactly what he meant.

"We'll be fine." Chance thought his voice sounded a bit strained, but Winston either didn't notice, or he chose not to comment.

"I'll call you later, but odds are that I won't be back in 'til tomorrow."

Chance nodded, and Winston rolled up the window and drove away.

He walked into the building and forced himself to unwind some of the tension in his body with some cool down exercises. He reasoned that it didn't really count as stalling because if he didn't stretch properly he ran the risk of his muscles seizing up and getting stiff. If it took longer than usual it was just because he was being thorough.

Yeah, right.

He was stalling.


When Chance stepped out of the elevator, Guerrero's mouth went dry. Was this how Chance had looked the night he'd checked in on him, and left his gun on the desk? Chance was flushed, his hair all rumpled, and his t-shirt clung to his torso, damp with sweat in a way that outlined the solid muscle beneath. Guerrero wanted to breathe in the scent of him, hot and raw, and maybe lick away the bead of sweat that was slowly running down the side of his neck. He could almost taste the saltiness of it, mixed in with the faint trace of mint and the taste of Chance himself, musky but almost sweet.

Time. He was supposed to be giving Chance time, but somehow seeing him fresh from his run had changed from a fairly mundane, everyday event into something bordering on pornographic. It didn't require a huge leap of imagination to transform the image of Chance sweaty and dishevelled from his run into Chance sweaty and dishevelled in his bed, moaning Guerrero's name as he…

Fuck! This wasn't getting any easier. Guerrero dug his fingers into the arm of the couch beside him, frantically trying to ground himself in reality instead of indulging in idle fantasy.

"Good run?" Guerrero asked. It was an innocuous enough question, but the rough edge to his voice made it sound far more intimate than the casual tone he'd been aiming for.

"I… Yeah. It was good."

If Guerrero was right about what Chance was doing in the adult bookstore, and he was pretty sure he was, Chance wasn't giving him any clue as to what he'd found there. Guerrero considered just asking, but it didn't seem fair to push him like that.

"I guess I should take a shower," Chance said, although he didn't make a move towards the stairs.

"Don't."

"Why not?" Chance asked, and it was only then that Guerrero realised he'd said the word out loud.

Shit.

"No reason," Guerrero said, hauling himself to his feet, determined to put some distance between them before he said or did something stupid. "Forget I said anything."

Chance did move then, but it was towards Guerrero, not the stairs.

"Then why did you-"

Guerrero flinched as Chance touched his arm. He regretted it immediately as Chance recoiled with a mumbled apology and a hurt look. Guerrero had only been trying to steer clear of temptation, but Chance had obviously read something much darker into his reaction. He grabbed Chance's wrist, preventing him from turning away.

"Chance, I didn't mean-"

"It's okay. I don't blame you. I get why you can't stand me touching you."

"No, you really don't," Guerrero insisted, trying to get him to meet his eyes. "Anyway, I thought we were past all that! I'm pretty sure I didn't just imagine what happened yesterday."

Chance looked uncomfortable, and although it was difficult to tell as he was still a little flushed from his run, Guerrero suspected he was blushing.

"Look, I'm trying really hard to give you some space here, but you're not making this easy for me. Do you have any idea of how you look right now?"

Chance looked at him and wrinkled his nose. "Hot, sweaty and kind of gross?"

Guerrero laughed softly, and let go of his wrist, running his hand up Chance's arm, settling it on his bicep with his fingers gently stroking the skin beneath the sleeve of his t-shirt. Guerrero could feel the hair on Chance's arm stand up in response to his touch, and it gave him an oddly warm feeling to know that he was giving Chance goose-bumps.

"'Kind of gross' is way off the mark, Chance. But I'll give you 'sweaty' and 'hot'. Definitely 'hot'."

Chance's eyes widened a little in surprise, sweeping away what remained of Guerrero's good intentions. He really hadn't meant to kiss him, but it was just too tempting when he was standing so close, looking so vulnerable, and the smell of his body enveloping them both like the promise of sex. One moment he was standing there with one hand on Chance's arm, and the next his hands were on the back of his neck, pulling him closer as he licked his way into his mouth. Chance moaned a little as he met Guerrero's tongue with his own, his hands gripping Guerrero's hips for a moment, before he began pulling at the back of his shirt until he could run his hands over the bare skin of his back.

Guerrero pulled away suddenly. "Shit! I'd didn't mean to… Is this cool? Are you okay with this?"

Chance looked startled. "Yeah. I mean, if you are? I'll understand if this is too weird but… I want to know. I mean if this could, um… be good?"

Guerrero nearly laughed with relief at Chance's inarticulate answer, but instead he grinned and resumed kissing him, pulling him closer until they were pressed together and struggling for breath. Chance's hands felt so good against his back, and Guerrero broke away from the kiss with a sigh, resting his hands on Chance's shoulders as he kissed along his jaw to his neck.

Everything began to blur together as Chance tried to strip Guerrero of his shirt, his efforts hampered by Guerrero licking at his neck, distracting him further by grinding himself against him.

"Off. Take it off," Chance mumbled, realising that they needed a little more cooperation in order to expose more skin.

Guerrero made a muffled growling sound against his neck, but stepped back long enough to slip out of his shirt and start peeling Chance's t-shirt off too. Then there was so much bared flesh to touch and taste, fingers burning new trails across already familiar territory with an urgency fuelled by hunger instead of concern. Guerrero nuzzled in to the juncture between Chance's shoulder and neck, sucking and biting at his skin as he dragged his fingers through the hair on Chance's chest.

Chance made a needy little sound that wasn't quite a word as he let his head fall forward onto Guerrero's shoulder. He clung to him, running his hand's over Guerrero's back and shoulders, luxuriating in the feeling of all that naked skin beneath his hands, his to touch and explore. He shifted his hips slightly, lining them up so that he could press his hard-on against Guerrero's and the sudden pressure and friction where it was so badly needed made them both gasp.

Guerrero's fingers found Chance's nipples, and when he gave them a sharp squeeze, Chance moaned and ground harder against Guerrero, who was caught a little off-guard by the strength of his response. He had to step back to maintain his balance, but unfortunately that put too much weight on his injured foot, and he yelped and cursed.

"Fuck! I'm sorry! Are you okay?" Chance asked, wrapping his arms around Guerrero's waist to support him.

"Yeah, I just can't put much weight on it yet."

Chance eased him back towards the couch, and pushed him down into the cushions. He knelt down and swung Guerrero's legs up onto the couch.

"I'm fine, seriously. Forget my damn foot!"

Chance pushed him firmly until he was laid out on the couch, silencing his protests with kisses and vaguely soothing words that Guerrero didn't quite catch. Reluctantly he settled down when it became apparent that Chance wasn't finished with him just yet. He sighed as Chance ran his hands over his chest, leaning in to lick and bite at his nipples before working his hands further down his body. Getting rid of the cast meant that he'd finally been able to wear jeans again, but when Chance ran his hand across the bulge at his crotch, giving his cock an experimental squeeze, Guerrero wished he'd been wearing sweat pants; it would have been so much easier to just pull them out of the way.

Chance sat back on his heels and stroked him again though the thick denim, a little harder this time, a little more sure of himself, and Guerrero couldn't help bucking into that touch.

"Is this okay?" Chance asked, nervous but kind of hopeful and awestruck at the same time.

"Fuck yes! That's good… really good…"

Chance flashed him a smile, before leaning back in and picking up where he left off, exploring Guerrero's body with his mouth. At first Guerrero was too distracted by Chance's mouth licking and kissing his belly, to register that Chance's hands were working on unfastening his flies.

"God! Chance…" he murmured as he finally caught on to what he was doing, just moments before Chance pulled at his jeans, freeing his straining erection. "You don't have to… Fuck!"

Without even a moment's hesitation, Chance had leaned in and swiped his tongue across the weeping tip of his cock. He glanced up at Guerrero, his mouth curling into a tentative smile when he saw how wrecked he looked, flushed and all but panting at the sudden and unexpected stimulation.

Chance gripped the base of his cock, gently squeezing it and pumping his hand slowly a couple of times, watching Guerrero's face to see how he responded. Encouraged by Guerrero's sharp intake of breath, and the way his hips twitched in time with the motion of his hand, Chance stopped. Guerrero gave a disappointed grunt, followed by a drawn out groan and Chance licked a broad stripe along the length of his cock, from root to tip.

At first Chance just licked him, exploring the different texture and sensations: the smoothness of the head, slick with sticky, salty-sweet pre-cum; the softness of the skin of his shaft, velvety and taut; then the looser, musky tasting texture of his balls, nestled amongst the thick tangle of hair. Chance tasted them all carefully, inhaling deeply so that he could memorise the scent of Guerrero's body.

Guerrero moaned his name, running his fingers though his hair, and Chance knew that although he was clearly enjoying all the attention he was getting, he needed more. He gave one last teasing lick to the underside of Guerrero's cock, before taking him deep into his mouth. Guerrero groaned as Chance began to bob his head, lapping at his slit as he hollowed his cheeks, trying to find the right combination of suction and friction to make it good for Guerrero. His hands were still stroking and pulling at Chance's hair, but there was no pressure or force to it; his touch was gentle and encouraging in a way that made Chance try even harder to find what would please him. He seemed to be succeeding, as he could feel Guerrero struggling not to thrust into his mouth. Chance wasn't exactly adverse to the idea, but it was probably a bit too much for his first time.

Guerrero tasted good, really really good. Chance hadn't expected that. He'd felt a little queasy at the thought of having a man's cock in his mouth, but he'd wanted to test his boundaries, to see how far he could go, what he could tolerate in order to be able to reciprocate what Guerrero might do to him. He'd been totally unprepared for the possibility of actually enjoying giving him a blow job, but now he was doing it, it was a real turn on, listening to Guerrero practically whimper.

He reached up, splaying his hand across Guerrero's chest so he could feel its ragged rise and fall, and rapid thrum of his heartbeat beneath his fingers. He could tell that Guerrero was close, but he didn't want to stop, despite the growing ache in his jaw. It was too much of a rush, knowing that he was the one responsible for all the breathy moaning sounds Guerrero was making.

Guerrero tried to warn him, shoving at his shoulders, trying to make him back off, but Chance wanted to finish what he'd started. Guerrero dug his fingers into Chance's shoulders, his body suddenly rigid for a second before he shuddered, giving a deep rumbling moan as he came, pulsing into Chance's mouth. Again, Chance had expected there to be something unpleasant about the experience, but he was swallowing almost before he realised what was happening, and although it was an odd sensation, it didn't really bother him.

Chance gently pulled away as Guerrero inhaled sharply, suddenly over sensitive in the aftermath of his orgasm. Chance watched him trying to catch his breath for a moment, and for the first time his doubts about what they were doing seemed to ease away.

Guerrero raised himself up on his elbows, and Chance was about to ask him if he was okay, but he was pulled into a fierce kiss before he could even form the words. Chance had been so focussed on Guerrero that he'd almost forgotten that he was hard himself. It hadn't escaped Guerrero's attention though, and as they kissed, he tugged at the drawstring of his sweatpants and pushed them down. Chance moaned as Guerrero's hand gripped his cock and began to work it in firm measured strokes.

Chance knew he wasn't going to last long, pushed too far by the feeling of Guerrero's cock in his mouth and the noises he'd made short-circuiting his brain, bringing him close to breaking point before Guerrero even touched him. He thrust into Guerrero's hand, desperate just to get to the point of release. Guerrero seemed to understand, and sped up to meet Chance's movements, and when he ran his thumb through the pre-cum oozing from his tip, pressing on the sensitive spot on the underside, Chance threw back his head and groaned Guerrero's name as he came.

Chance's vision whited out for a moment, and there was a brief sensation of falling, but then he felt Guerrero's arms pulling him in. When he came to his senses he found himself still kneeling beside the couch, but with his upper body sprawled across Guerrero's chest. It shouldn't have been comfortable, twisting his body like that and with the stickiness of his come sandwiched between their bodies, but Chance felt like he was exactly where he needed to be.

Guerrero was scratching his fingers against Chance's scalp in a very soothing way. "I guess we're going to do this then," he said.

Chance turned his head and pressed a kiss on to Guerrero's chest. "Yeah, I think we are."


Chapter Text

A lot of the unspoken tension between them had dissipated, and superficially things seemed to get a lot more back to normal. Chance was smiling again, and the shadows beneath Guerrero's eyes finally started to fade. Winston began to grumble about the inconvenience of having Guerrero around, constantly eating them out of house and home, but to Chance's relief he showed no signs of moving back into his own apartment. Considering the monumental shift in his relationship with Guerrero, Chance was surprised how little changed. They were discreet, of course, and Winston had no idea what went on when he left the warehouse for the night, but during the day it was more or less business as usual.

Chance still wasn't at peace with what happened in the shipping container, but time did seem to lighten the burden a little, as did the new situation with Guerrero. Every time Guerrero responded to his touch it made it a little easier for Chance to believe that he could be forgiven, that maybe he hadn't hurt him quite as badly as Guerrero led Abiade to believe. It was by no means the only reason why they ended up on the couch together, night after night, but it was something they were both aware of. Neither of them suggested moving things along to the bedroom; it was a line that they seemed reluctant to cross, something Chance wasn't sure he was ready for.

It didn't mean he didn't think about it though.

A week after they closed the Emerson case, a long, tedious week during which Chance stripped and cleaned every piece of equipment he could get his hands on just to avoid Winston's complaints about him sitting around doing nothing whilst he was busy looking for a new case, Guerrero went back to using two crutches instead of one. Chance watched him closely, and noticed that his foot seemed to be causing him a lot more discomfort than usual. He had let it slide because he knew Guerrero was capable of tending the wound himself, but his limp was getting worse so he decided it was about time he confronted him about it.

He waited until Guerrero was in the kitchen, struggling to make himself a cup of tea, figuring that it would be harder for him to deny there was a problem when his crutches were obviously getting in the way.

"How's the foot?"

"Fine."

"Then why are you back to using two crutches?"

"I just banged it up a little getting out of bed the other day. No big deal."

"Why don't you let me take a look?"

"'Cause it's fine. Just a little sore."

"Yeah, I can see that, what with the way you're clunking round the kitchen with almost cat-like grace. Here, give me that." Chance took the kettle from Guerrero's hand and filled his mug with boiling water. He ignored Guerrero's hand reaching out for the mug, and put it down on the table so he wouldn't have to lurch across the kitchen with it.

Guerrero glowered at him for a moment, but then sat down at the table. "I said it's fine."

"Yeah, well if you let me take a look I'll know it's fine and I'll stop bugging you about it."

"Dude, it's my foot. If I say it's fine, it's fine."

"But I can see it's bothering you. Why don't-"

"Right now you're the only thing that's bothering me. Drop it."

"Guerrero, if the wound has got infected-"

"It's not infected!"

"How do you know? Can you even get a clear look at the sole of your foot right now?"

"It's my goddamn foot! I'd know if it was infected! Fuck! Is this the way it's going to be now?"

"The way what's going to be?"

"Us! Just because we're fuck buddies now, you think you've got the right to interfere?"

"Fuck buddies?"

"We're buddies who fuck. What else would you call it?"

"I guess I hadn't thought about calling it anything," Chance said, folding his arms and leaning back against the worktop behind him, looking defensive. "But you are still my friend, and if you think I'm gonna let you ignore the fact that you clearly need that foot looking at-"

"Fine! I'll call Ellen again! Happy now?"

Chance nodded, but really he was far from happy.

Fuck buddies. Huh.


Guerrero knew he was being a prick, but it was his last line of defence. There was something horribly intimate about the idea of letting him tend to his foot and he couldn't handle it if Chance was gentle with him, tender even. It would reek of intimacy and the kind of emotions that neither of them handled well. He should have had his foot checked out when it first started getting worse, but he'd chosen to ignore it, mostly out of stubbornness, although maybe on some level he knew that prolonging his recovery would put off the day when he'd have no reason not to move back to his own apartment.

He knew he may have already fucked things up, judging by Chance's reaction to the term 'fuck buddies'. It sounded a lot harsher than he'd intended it to; all he'd meant by it was that they were friends first, and the fact they were now screwing around shouldn't change the dynamics of their relationship. But the dynamics were already changing. He started to feel responsible for Chance's happiness, and everything he did, or didn't do, had much bigger consequences now.

Getting involved with Chance had been an insanely bad idea. The man was already buried so far under his skin that Guerrero's life practically revolved around him anyway, adding sex into the equation could only make things more complicated. If they could stop at jerking each other off after hours and exchanging the occasional blow job, Guerrero might just keep this thing under control, but he had to face the fact that sooner or later things were going to go further than that.

It was the kissing that was his weakness. Guerrero had never really placed any particular value on kissing, other than it tended to be a necessary step in order to get things moving along, but with Chance it was different; it actually affected him. The taste of him hotwired his senses, firing up something deeper than just lust. He didn't just want Chance, he needed to feel his skin beneath his hands, to hear him moan his name and know that he was the one making him fall apart, that Chance was letting him do that to him. It was addictive, and like any addict Guerrero wanted more.

He fantasised about lying in Chance's bed, letting his fingers coaxing him open - and yes, there was some decent lube in this particular daydream - stretching the tight ring of muscle just right, until Chance could just slide his cock inside him, like that was exactly where he belonged. Guerrero would be able to see his face as he realised that what they were had nothing to do with Abiade or what happened in that shipping container, that it was all about what they wanted and needed. He would reach up and pull Chance into a kiss, drinking in the taste of him as they fucked each other into oblivion.

But there would be a cost to that kind of intimacy between them. Boundaries would fall, emotions would come into play, and it wouldn't just be about getting each other off. He couldn't let Chance past his defences, only to step aside when a better offer came along, and that line of thinking only led to ideas like commitment and fidelity, concepts that he'd chosen to avoid his entire life. Giving up sex with women wasn't exactly a deal breaker for Guerrero, not when being with Chance was so much more intense than anything he'd ever felt before, but it was a lot to ask of his friend. If they took that next step Guerrero couldn't share him with anyone, not when even the thought of it made him sick to his stomach, and start looking for someone to punch.

It would have been so much easier not to have even started down this road, but Guerrero couldn't let Chance's guilt destroy him, and confessing his own feelings had seemed like the only way to offer him a lifeline. If he'd have known just how all-consuming his desire for Chance would get… Who was he kidding? He wouldn't have done anything different, not when Chance was on the edge of a precipice and about to self-destruct. Chance had needed to know that the situation wasn't anywhere near as bad as he thought it was, and when it came down to it, Guerrero would do whatever it took to keep him safe.

Was it really such a huge step to do whatever it took to make him happy? If Chance really wanted him the way that he craved Chance, would it really be such a bad thing for them to be together?


"So how long did the cast last then?" Ellen asked peeling away the dressing from Guerrero's foot.

"'Bout a week," Chance said.

"So, six days longer than I expected it to."

"Then why did you bother with it in the first place?" Guerrero snapped. He didn't flinch, even when the gauze stuck to the wound, but he couldn't keep the irritation out of his voice.

"Because I had hoped it would discourage you from putting any weight on it, and I had this stupid idea that maybe Chance would have dissuaded you from hacking it off before the wound started to heal."

"I was on a job," Chance explained. "I didn't even see him do it."

"I'm not a fucking child! Chance isn't my keeper!"

"No, but he's about the only person you bother listening to, you ingrate!" She inspected the wound. "I'm guessing he's the only reason you called me today, and it's a good thing too! We can probably get away with giving it a good clean and putting you on stronger antibiotics, but if you'd let it get any worse you'd have needed surgery to clean this mess up."

"I told him it was infected."

"Well there's no need to be smug about it," Ellen said, shaking her head. "If you knew it was that bad, you should have called me sooner."

"One more time: Chance? Not my keeper!"

Ellen ignored him and spoke to Chance instead. "He needs to keep off his feet for at least the next few days, a week if you can manage it. I'm talking total bed rest, you understand?"

"Screw that! What about when I need to pee?"

"Piss in a bottle, or get Chance to carry you to the bathroom."

"Uh, we'll work something out," Chance said, scratching at the back of his neck, and looking uncomfortable.

"Dude, there's no reason why I can't just use the crutches to get to the bathroom and back."

"No crutches!" Ellen insisted. "You've already proven that you can't be trusted to use them sensibly, so Chance is going to lock them away until you've rested up for a few days." She stared at Chance until he nodded.

"Oh for fuck's sake!"

"You brought this on yourself, Guerrero," Ellen said. "If you want to keep that foot, you have to start following orders. I can't keep dropping everything to come over and patch you up. Like it or not, Chance is going to have to take care of you for the next few days. It's that or you go check into a proper hospital."

Guerrero silently glared at her as she cleaned and re-dressed the wound. There was never any question of him going to hospital, and they all knew it.


"Maybe I should bring the Xbox down here and hook it up for you," Chance said, as he carried an old portable TV into Guerrero's room and started setting it up on a table at the foot of his bed.

"Don't bother," Guerrero replied. "There wouldn't be much point trying to play on that thing anyway. Screens too small."

Chance frowned. "I didn't think of that. I could bring down my TV from upstairs and-"

"Dude, seriously! It's just for a couple of days-"

"A week, Guerrero. She said a week."

"-and I have my laptop and plenty of stuff to read." He looked meaningfully at the stack of novels on the nightstand that Winston had dropped off earlier. "Although the complete works of John Grisham wouldn't be my first choice."

"If you tell me what books you do want, I could-"

"Just stop it, Chance! I've got everything I need already, okay?"

"I'll keep my cell switched on, so if you need to use the bathroom just-" Chance managed to duck out of the way as a paperback sailed over his head and hit the wall behind him.

"Do that again and I'll tell Winston what you're doing to his books!" Chance grinned.

"Get OUT!"

Chance slipped through the door just in time to avoid another missile.

At least they weren't hardbacks.


Ellen had been deadly serious about Guerrero needing rest, and Chance knew the best way to ensure he got it was to steer clear of Guerrero's room. Left on his own with a lap top and cell phone, Guerrero would be able to entertain himself, and even get a little work done on his various side projects, or at least those that didn't require him to menace anyone in person.

Chance decided to limit his visits to taking him his meals, and helping him get to the bathroom. He refused to give in to Guerrero's demands for the return of his crutches, but thankfully actually carrying him to the bathroom wasn't necessary. They managed just fine with Chance's arm around Guerrero's waist, in much the same way that Chance had helped him to the car at the docks. The first time Chance helped him to the bathroom, it had been an awkward reminder of that day.

"Just like old times," Guerrero said, trying to lighten the mood.

"Shut up or I'll drop you and you can pee on the floor."

Guerrero was about ninety percent sure that he was joking, but when Chance caught the smirk on his face, they both laughed and the tension was gone.

It was a relief to get back to their usual joking and sniping at each other, reinforcing the old pattern of their friendship. Guerrero referring to them as fuck buddies had thrown Chance, and at first he wasn't sure why. Granted, he wouldn't really class this new thing between them as a relationship as such, but whether they were fucking or not, Guerrero had never been just a buddy, their relationship went deeper than that, and the snarky comment made it feel like Guerrero was trivialising their friendship.

When he thought about why Guerrero had been so determined not to let him check his foot, Chance realised that there had to be a reason he was pushing him away. Guerrero was obstinate at the best of times, and although he hated having to seek medical treatment, he'd never neglect an injury that required it. When he took the fuck buddies comment into account, Chance came to the conclusion that what Guerrero needed was a little space, and really he couldn't blame him for that. Ellen's insistence on bed rest gave them both a chance to step back for a while without actually having to call a time out.

Chance missed their evenings together on the couch, and he hoped that once Guerrero's injury was on the mend they could pick up where they left off. Despite what he suspected was an introverted little freak-out on Guerrero's part, he was pretty sure that neither of them wanted to call it quits. If Guerrero wanted out, he would have said so, and he certainly wouldn't have agreed to stay at the warehouse to recuperate if he didn't want to be there. He had the resources to come up with an alternative option that wouldn't include hospitalisation, so Chance was reassured by him choosing to stay.


The first day of Guerrero's bed rest went pretty smoothly. He seemed content to watch a couple of old movies, and do whatever it was he usually did with his laptop. Chance took him his meals, and helped him to the bathroom as agreed. Winston sat with him for a while and they played cards, until he got fed up with the fact that Guerrero was obviously cheating and he couldn't figure out how. It was the most uneventful day they'd had in a long time, and Chance knew the peace and quiet wouldn't last.


On the second day Guerrero kept bugging Chance and Winston for drinks until they each took him a large bottle of water, not realising that he'd asked both of them. Guerrero waited until the afternoon then drank the lot, amusing himself by pestering Chance to keep taking him to the bathroom. Chance knew he was messing with him, but he couldn't really argue with the fact that each time Guerrero really did need to go. Finally he left Guerrero stranded in the bathroom and searched his room, finding that somehow he'd managed to stockpile another four litres of water.

Chance confiscated the bottles and helped Guerrero back to bed.

"I know what you're up to," Chance sighed.

Guerrero grinned, totally unrepentant.

Chance emptied one of the bottles and returned it to him with a funnel.

"Don't bug me again until you've filled that thing up!"

Chance remained stony faced until he shut the door behind him, then he laughed.

"We've got to put up with five more days of this?" Winston asked, failing to see the funny side.

"What did you expect?" Chance asked. "This is Guerrero we're talking about. Do you really think he'd just lie there like a good little patient, waiting to get better?"

"No, I guess not," Winston frowned. " But we're going to have to watch his fluid intake a lot more closely now."

Chance laughed. "Trust me Winston, he won't pull the same trick twice. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what he does next."

"Children," Winston said, shaking his head, "I'm working with damn children!"


On day three Chance had to go out of town to meet up with one of their contacts to secure delivery of some not very legal supplies. It was fairly routine, just stocking up on a few basics that experience had taught him were useful to have around. After all it wasn't always easy to find explosives from a reliable source at short notice.

Guerrero wasn't particularly happy about Winston taking over from Chance for the day. He was ruder than usual, but Winston watched him like a hawk, looking out for any sign that he was planning anything that would cause a nuisance. When Chance returned mid-afternoon he was happy to report that Guerrero had behaved himself.

"As far as you know," Chance said with a smile. "The day isn't over yet."

Sure enough, when Winston tried to log on to his computer to check his email before heading home, he found himself locked out of the system.

"Guerrero! What the hell have you done to my laptop!" he roared, storming into Guerrero's room. Chance followed him, intrigued to see how it would play out.

"Have you tried turning it off and back on again?" Guerrero dead-panned.

Winston glared at him for a moment, then put the laptop down on the desk in the corner of the room. He put his finger on the power button, and after a moment's hesitation he pressed it.

"I'm not sure that was the best thing to do," Chance said. He'd seen the satisfied look on Guerrero's face and just knew that there was more to it than just having to re-boot the computer.

Winston grunted. "Well it's too late now." He hit the power button again, and after a moment the screen flickered into life. "What the…?"

An animated figure appeared on the screen and Chance started to laugh. It was a hula girl with Winston's scowling face grafted on.

"Wait, it gets better," Guerrero smirked.

The little figure counted to four, then music started blaring out of the computer, and the hula-Winston figure began gyrating its oversized bottom in time to the music.

"I like big butts and I cannot lie! You other brothers can't deny…"

Chance and Guerrero were laughing, as much at Winston's horrified expression as the sight of the hula-Winston's grotesque dancing.

"Yeah, yeah, that's just hilarious. How do I switch it off?"

"You can't," Guerrero grinned. "It has to play all the way through then it switches the laptop off."

"I hate you."

When the song ended, the laptop did switch itself off, but when Winston switched it on again the hula-Winston reappeared and started the dance routine again. At that point Chance was laughing so hard he had to wipe a stray tear from his eye.

"What the fuck have you done?" Winston demanded.

"Don't worry, it will only keep doing that for a while, then it will go back to normal," Guerrero said.

"How long is a while?" Winston asked.

"Oh, only about the next twenty or so times you switch it on."

Winston slammed the laptop shut. "If you think I'm gonna watch that twenty times-"

"Thirty now, dude," Guerrero smirked.

"What?"

"Every time you shut it down before it has a chance to finish, it adds another ten plays to the program."

By now there was a vein on Winston's forehead pulsing visibly, and Chance knew that it was about time to step in before Winston lost it completely. He grabbed the laptop and hustled him out of the room whilst Winston's mouth was still gaping and he didn't have the chance to say or do anything he'd regret.

"Leave it with me, Winston," Chance said, struggling not to smile. "I'll keep starting it up until the program has run it's course. Go home and calm down before you give yourself a heart attack."

Winston refused to even set foot in Guerrero's room after that.


On the fourth day Chance decided that maybe spending some time with Guerrero wouldn't necessarily be such a bad idea, providing that he didn't let him exert himself. Guerrero was clearly bored, and his pranks were only going to escalate if Chance left him to his own devices. Chance helped him to the bathroom and brought him his breakfast as usual, and whilst he ate, Chance dragged in an battered old wingchair he'd found amongst the clutter of one of the old storage rooms. He shoved it against the wall, facing Guerrero's bed so he could prop his feet up.

Guerrero raised an eyebrow as Chance sat down and made himself comfortable, but didn't say anything until he'd cleared his plate.

"What's with the chair?"

Chance shrugged. "It's more comfortable than that crappy desk chair, and I'd rather my butt didn't fall asleep."

"Not that I don't appreciate the company, but how long are you planning to sit there?"

"That's up to you."

Guerrero frowned. "You've been avoiding me ever since Ellen was here. What changed?"

"I wasn't exactly avoiding you, Guerrero. I just figured you needed a little breathing room."

"What gave you that idea?"

Chance shrugged. "You pretty much told me to back off, that I didn't have a right to interfere."

"Oh, that. Yeah, I guess I was kinda cranky about it."

"Besides, you needed the rest. You've been, er, exerting yourself when we were, um…" Chance voice trailed off and he made a vaguely suggestive gesture.

"Right. Although that didn't exactly involve my foot, did it?"

"No, but it wasn't exactly restful either."

Guerrero laughed. "Fair point I guess. So what changed your mind? About staying away, I mean."

Chance smiled. "You missed me."

"You sound pretty sure of yourself there, bro. What led you to that conclusion?"

"Just the shit you've been pulling the last couple of days."

"I was bored."

"Yeah, I know. But it was what you did to relieve your boredom that gave it away. First there's the thing with the water."

"So?"

"So you knew I'd have to come in to help you get to the bathroom. It was the one way you could guarantee I'd have to keep coming in here. Being annoying was just an added bonus. What you really wanted was my attention."

Guerrero grunted, but didn't deny it.

"And then there's the way you reacted to Winston taking my place for a few hours. It wasn't exactly subtle was it? You were like a bratty little kid misbehaving to make sure you never got stuck with the baby sitter again!"

"You're reading too much into it, dude. I set up the hula thing months ago when Winston was having trouble networking the computers."

"Yeah, but you chose to activate it now."

"Like you said: I was bored."

Chance looked at him, and Guerrero met his gaze, his expression giving nothing away.

"Okay, maybe I misread the situation," Chance said, standing up. "I guess I'll just leave you alone to get some rest."

"Don't," Guerrero said.

Chance paused, standing at the foot of his bed. "You want me to stay?"

"Yeah."

"Are we going to talk?"

Guerrero rolled his eyes. "If we have to. Or we could always-"

"Winston is still in the building, so don't get any ideas," Chance said firmly, although he couldn't help smiling at what Guerrero had been about to suggest. "Besides, you're supposed to be resting, remember?"

"If you don't want to, you can just say."

It hadn't even occurred to Chance that Guerrero might think that he'd lost interest . It was a reasonable assumption to make given the fact that he'd backed off without explaining why. Chance suddenly realised that Guerrero's neutral expression was a bit too neutral; he was trying to keep his feelings hidden, and that probably meant he had something significant to hide.

Chance glanced at the door, making sure it was shut, before sitting on the bed beside Guerrero. "I haven't changed my mind, Guerrero. But I wanted you to have the chance to for you to think about this, to figure out if this is what you really want."

He saw a flicker of relief pass over Guerrero's face. "Just don't leave me guessing like that again, Chance, or a hula-dancing Winton will be the least of your worries. If either of us wants out, we have to say so. No games."

"Agreed."

Chance leaned in and gave him a brief kiss. Guerrero grinned. "You know, I really am feeling a whole lot better..."

"I think I'd better go sit back in my chair," Chance sighed. "Less temptation that way."

They spent the morning watching crappy TV and playing cards. Chance was wise to most of Guerrero's tricks, so there was little opportunity for him to cheat. Winston still wasn't talking to Guerrero, so any time he wanted to speak to Chance he texted him, which amused Guerrero no end.

"What do you think it would take to make him stick to this arrangement permanently?" Guerrero asked.

Chance laughed. "Don't even think about it, Guerrero. We all still have to be able to work together."

"Not necessarily," Guerrero smiled.

"I suppose it's too much to ask that you apologise to him?"

"Damn right."

After lunch Guerrero put a movie on his laptop and Chance balanced it on top of the portable TV so they could both see the screen. It was a illegal download of a new release that promised plenty of action and special effects, but little in the way of a story. Despite all the explosions and gunfire, Chance fell asleep about halfway through, and Guerrero found himself watching him sleep rather than following the flimsy plot of the movie.

Chance looked younger whilst he slept. It wasn't just that his face was relaxed, it had a slightly scrunched up quality that put Guerrero in mind of a sleeping child. It was something between a slight frown and an exaggerated pout, and really it should have looked ridiculous, but Guerrero found himself smiling at the thought that he looked like an overgrown kid.

Jesus, I am not sitting here watching him sleep! What am I, a fucking schoolgirl now?

He tried to focus on the movie again, but every now and then Chance would shift in his sleep or make a snuffling noise like he was about to start snoring, and Guerrero's attention would be dragged back to his sleeping form.

When the movie ended, Chance still hadn't woken up. The laptop was out of Guerrero's reach at the end of the bed, so he settled for reading one of Winston's books that were still sitting on the nightstand. After a few pages he started to get into the story, and he decided that maybe it wasn't such a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Chapter Text

Guerrero decided that Chance was taking this bed rest thing way too seriously. If sitting propped up on the bed on his own for three days had been boring and frustrating, being alone with Chance and not being able to coax more than the occasional kiss from him was sheer hell. Even when Winston left for the night Chance refused to be drawn into anything more, telling him that no sex, even really good sex, was worth losing a body part for. With two more days left before the week was up, and Chance insisting that he wasn't getting his crutches back until he'd rested for the full week, Guerrero decided he was going to have to take things into his own hands.

He waited until Winston popped his head round the door to let them know he was heading home before he put his plan onto action. Sadly Winston's anger over the whole hula-girl incident had passed and he wasn't avoiding Guerrero any more, so he had to be sure he had gone for the night. He gave it another ten minutes before sitting up and pulling his t-shirt off.

"What are you doing?" Chance asked. They were watching a re-run of an old X-Files episode and it was just getting to the good part.

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm taking my shirt off."

"Why?"

"I got food on it."

Chance frowned. He hadn't noticed Guerrero spill his dinner, but he supposed it was possible. "You want a clean one?"

"Nah, I'm good." Guerrero went back to watching the TV, sighing as Scully once again tried to rationalise away the bizarre events that she'd just witnessed, much to Mulder's frustration.

Chance figured Guerrero was up to something, but although seeing him shirtless was a tempting distraction, it was going to take more than that to really test his resolve. He focused on the TV and tried to get back into the convoluted explanation that Scully was giving.

The credits were rolling when Chance caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. He looked over at Guerrero and saw that he'd pushed his pants down past his hips. He had his cock in his hand and was leisurely stroking an impressive hard-on.

"Guerrero!"

"What?"

Chance's eyes flicked between Guerrero's cock and the satisfied little smile on his lips. He'd never seen Guerrero touching himself like that before, and his own dick was responding to the sight of it even as his brain struggled to form the words to voice his objection.

"That's not… um… resting."

"No, it's not."

Chance couldn't seem to look away, and when he had to adjust his jeans to relieve the pressure against his own growing erection, Guerrero gave a contented little moan and started to pick up the pace.

"Jesus! You look good like that." The words slipped out without any conscious thought on Chance's part.

"It is good, but it doesn't feel as good as your hands. Or your mouth."

Chance ran his tongue over his lips at the mention of his mouth. He was beyond tempted now, and Guerrero seemed pretty determined to get off one way or another. Still, he'd made a promise to himself not to let things get too physical between them before the week was up. He could just watch though. It wasn't like he could really stop Guerrero from jerking off, not without restraining him, and that would definitely result in him fighting back and risk aggravating the injury to his foot.

"I'd rather it was you touching me," Guerrero said. His voice had a husky quality to it that shot straight to Chance's dick. "It feels so fucking good when you touch me. You look really hot with my cock in your mouth. You like that, don't you? Using your mouth on me?"

"Fuck… Guerrero… Don't even… just don't!" Chance pressed his hand down on his own cock, willing himself not to rise to Guerrero's bait, but the contact just made the situation worse, and he found that he was stroking himself though his jeans. He snatched his hand away, clenching it into a fist and trying to focus on his fingers digging into his palm.

Guerrero swiped his thumb across the tip of his cock, collecting the drop of pre-cum gathering there and licking it off slowly and deliberately. "Do you like the way I taste, Chance?"

That was the last straw. Before he was even aware of what he was doing, Chance was leaning over the bed, kissing him, trying to chase that taste of him into his mouth. Guerrero guided his hand down to his cock, smiling against his mouth as Chance grip replaced his own.

"I knew you couldn't resist me," he smirked.

"Just shut up, Guerrero," Chance murmured, pressing kisses into the side of Guerrero's neck. "Shut up and let me take care of you."

Guerrero ran his fingers through Chance's hair as he kissed his way down his body. Chance was distracted for a moment by his nipples, biting and sucking at them until Guerrero moaned and began to squirm beneath him.

"If you don't lie still I'll stop," Chance warned him, squeezing his cock a little harder than necessary, before relaxing his hand so that he was doing little more than holding it.

"I'm trying, Chance, but… " Guerrero's hips jerked as Chance's mouth closed around his cock, and the rest of his words deteriorated into an incoherent moan.

Chance braced one forearm against Guerrero's hips, holding him down as his other hand stroked what his mouth couldn't reach.

Guerrero ran his fingertips lightly over Chance's neck and shoulders. His touch so gentle it was almost reverent, and the tenderness of the gesture sent shivers down Chance's spine.

"Chance… God!… just keep doing that… fuck!…you look so…fuck…Chance, your mouth…"

Guerrero had never been this vocal before, but Chance loved hearing his voice urging him on, telling him how good it felt. Guerrero was being so open with what he was feeling, and his willingness to let Chance call the shots whilst he just lay back and took everything he was giving him was breathtaking.

Guerrero knew it would be good. After five days of forced abstinence with nothing but his own hand and a vivid imagination there was no way it could be anything else, but Chance's arm holding him down heightened the sensation of what his mouth and hand were doing to him. It was so different from the way they had fumbled their way around each other's bodies on the couch, when the need to get off was too strong to allow for much finesse. Chance was moving with purpose, taking his time and, honing in on the techniques that Guerrero reacted to most, but drawing it out, making it last so that he kept bringing him close, but easing off again before he went too far.

"Don't stop… just…perfect… so fucking perfect…only you…want this…just you…"

Chance could read the way Guerrero's body responded to him, even without the verbal encouragement. Hearing Guerrero's voice was a turn-on, but the fact that he felt comfortable enough to talk like that meant much more than the words themselves. He felt they were finally communicating their feelings on a level that stripped away self-consciousness and misunderstandings.

He wished he could keep Guerrero like that indefinitely, held beneath him, his skin flushed and slick with sweat, telling him how much he wanted and needed what Chance was doing to him. But Chance needed to feel him come, to feel him lose that final thread of self-control.

Chance tilted his head, making eye-contact with Guerrero, and seeing how wrecked he looked, how openly the need was written on his face made him moan involuntarily, and the vibration it sent through Guerrero's cock was all it took to push him over the edge. Guerrero cried out, a broken wordless sound, as Chance drank down his release, easing him through the aftershocks until Guerrero pulled weakly at his arm, telling him to stop.

Chance shifted round until he was sitting beside Guerrero on the bed, and softly ran his hands over the flushed skin of his chest and abdomen, savouring the slight roughness of the hair beneath his fingers.

"You didn't hold anything back," Chance murmured.

"Neither did you," Guerrero smiled, looking a little dopey. He took Chance's hand, lacing their fingers together, before tugging him towards him for a deep, aching kiss. Chance moaned into his mouth as Guerrero's other hand began squeezing and rubbing at his cock through his jeans.

Chance reluctantly pulled back. "Don't, Guerrero. I can take care of that. I think you've had enough excitement for one day. You're supposed to be resting."

Guerrero was insistent though, dragging him closer for another kiss, before sucking and nibbling at his ear. "Take off your clothes," he murmured, his breath hot and wet against his ear. "I want to see you, see all of you. Let me watch you like you watched me."

Chance groaned, but the idea of jerking off over Guerrero's half-naked body as he watched appealed to an exhibitionist side of himself that he didn't know he had. He ignored the niggling doubt that Guerrero was still up to something, stripping off his clothes and kneeling on the bed. He was so hard, so aroused from Guerrero's responses as he sucked him off, that he knew he was going to have to take it slowly. Guerrero wanted to watch him, and as insanely hot as that thought was, he wanted to make it last.

"Fuck! Do you know how hard it is not to touch right now?" Guerrero sighed as Chance's hand circled his cock and he started to work it slowly back and forth.

"Guerrero, don't…"

He managed to keep his hands to himself for a while, savouring the sight of Chance naked and aroused, knowing that it was for him, because of him. It was tempting just to watch, to soak up every detail, from the way Chance's lower lip was caught between his teeth, to the way he liked to touch himself, adding a little twist to his grip at the end of every stroke. But he did have a plan, and he was going to stick to it.

Chance groaned as Guerrero started pulling at his leg, encouraging him to straddle him. Weakly reasoning that changing position couldn't really do any harm, Chance allowed him to manoeuvre him into place, so that he was kneeling with his legs either side of Guerrero's body.

When Guerrero began running his hands lightly up and down his thighs Chance grunted. "No touching!"

Guerrero sighed and let his hands fall away. He just watched for a moment, before taking of his glasses and dropping them on the nightstand.

The thought suddenly hit Chance that if he came in his current position it would fall on Guerrero's face, and perhaps that was what he was planning, was the reason why he'd taken off his glasses. And shit, he had no idea that that would be a turn on… He closed his eyes and pressed down at the base of his cock, trying to fight the need to come there and then.

"Dude, you okay?" Guerrero's voice sounded more amused than concerned.

"Uh… just give me a second." He took a couple of deep shuddering breaths, trying to think of something that would cool him down. The image of the hula-Winston popped into his mind unbidden, and the inappropriateness of it seemed to do the trick.

He opened his eyes when he felt Guerrero's hands on his thighs again, urging him to move further up his body.

"Let me take care of you now, Chance."

His hands were getting more insistent, on his hips now, drawing him towards his face.

"Guerrero…"

"You'll be doing all the work. Trust me, it'll be fine."

"Oh shit…"

With one last determined tug, Guerrero had Chance in a half-kneeling half-crouching position with his dick within easy reach of his mouth. Chance had to lean on the wall above him to maintain his balance as Guerrero licked every inch of him, messy and wet, with not nearly enough friction.

"I need your cooperation here, Chance. I'm resting remember?" He guided Chance's cock into his mouth, and then gripped his hips again, pulling him towards him, encouraging him to thrust.

"You want me to…? Oh fuck…fuck…Guerrero…"

Chance tried to keep his movements slow and shallow, but Guerrero wouldn't let him. Every time he didn't thrust deep enough, Guerrero would lift himself off the pillows and take more of his cock into his mouth anyway.

"Stop! I don't want to hurt you!" Chance gasped, pushing him back, and letting his cock spring free of his mouth.

"Not going to happen," Guerrero smiled. "I wouldn't let you. So are you going to fuck my mouth properly or what?"

"Oh God! You're killing me here!"

"Not tonight, not if you just let yourself go…"

"Okay, but stop me if…" but Guerrero was already pulling him in closer, and Chance's cock was sliding into his mouth again.

He was cautious at first, but Guerrero kept urging him on, digging his fingers into Chance's hips and sucking him down into his mouth with such confidence that Chance slowly began thrusting faster and deeper.

"Fuck…I can't believe…just taking it…letting me fuck…your mouth…just taking it…do you like it?…me taking your mouth like this?" Chance wasn't usually a talker in bed either, but it had felt so good to hear Guerrero's voice as he'd sucked him off, and once he started the words just kept tumbling out. He found himself saying things that he hadn't even let himself think, not after what happened in the shipping container, but his mouth seemed to be bi-passing his brain entirely. "…want you to do this…to me… hold me down…make me take it…"

Chance was leaning against the wall, with his head resting against his forearm, and he managed to balance so that he had one hand free to cup gently under Guerrero's jaw, stroking his cheek with his thumb.

Guerrero tilted his head back, looking up at him, and suddenly something just gave and Chance's full length slid down deeper inside him. Guerrero held him there for a moment, his throat clenching around him, his face pressed to his belly, before letting Chance pull back, then dragging him back down towards him.

"Oh fuck… Guerrero!"

Chance only managed a couple of thrusts before his orgasm struck like a roll of thunder, surging through him, deep and hard and going on for far longer than he expected. He was faintly aware of calling out Guerrero's name, and of hands steadying him as it felt as if all the air was sucked out of the room.

"Chance? You okay?" Guerrero's voice sounded rough and gravely.

Because he just had your cock in his throat, Chance thought, his mind still reeling as he shakily eased himself down onto the bed beside Guerrero.

"Talk to me, dude. Are you okay?"

Chance looked dumbly up at Guerrero, still propped up on his pillows and looking pretty pleased with himself. He managed a nod.

"You had me worried for a second there. I thought you'd had a stroke!"

"How did you…?"

Guerrero smiled and ran his fingers down the side of Chance's face. "Did a little research online. Knew it couldn't be as difficult as chicks made out. Never had much trouble controlling my gag reflex so…" Guerrero shrugged.

"Fuck!"

"I'm guessing from the look on your face that you enjoyed it."

"It was so-"

"Unexpected?"

"I was going to say incredible, but yeah, unexpected."

"Cool."

"You planned this!" It was meant to sound like an accusation, but Chance sounded as awestruck as he felt.

"You left me in here alone for days. Got me thinking maybe you needed a little convincing that this is really what I want."

"You really do want me? Us?" Even after all the stuff I just said, Chance added silently.

"What, you think I'd learn to deep-throat for just anyone?"

Chance groaned and struggled to sit up muttering, "Fuck no!" before pulling Guerrero into a deep kiss.

Chance was tempted just to stretch out beside Guerrero and fall asleep there, but he wasn't quite up to explaining the situation to Winston in the morning if he came looking for him and found him naked in Guerrero's bed. He wasn't ashamed of what they were doing, but he wasn't quite ready to shout it from the rooftops yet either.

After many long, lazy kisses, Chance reluctantly got dressed. Guerrero nearly asked him to stay, but he knew he wouldn't so he kept quiet, preferring not to hear Chance have to turn him down. Besides, the week was nearly up and his foot was healing well. It wouldn't be long before he could handle taking the stairs up to Chance's room, and even moving back to his own apartment needn't be such a bad thing, not if it meant they had somewhere where they could spend the whole night together uninterrupted.


Winston felt that there had been a weird vibe over the last couple of days and it was beginning to really bother him. Guerrero was always up to something, but he was starting to suspect that Chance was hiding something too. He decided it was probably time to try to start looking into exactly what was going on.

"You don't think maybe Guerrero is pushing it with this whole foot injury thing do you?" Winston asked. "His little relapse seemed just a bit too convenient. A whole week of us running around, fetching and carrying for him, while he just sits there in bed? Something about that stinks."

"Yeah, if it was anyone else I might agree with you, but Guerrero hates sitting on the sidelines. Being forced to rest up and rely on other people to do stuff for him goes against his nature," Chance explained. "It drives him just as crazy as it does you."

Winston grunted. "Somehow I doubt that!"

"Besides, I got a look at his foot when Ellen was here. The wound really was in a bad way. If he didn't start taking it easy it might never have healed properly and he could have even lost his foot!"

"Maybe, but you can't blame me for being suspicious."

"He's got weaknesses, just like anyone else. He just doesn't like being reminded of that fact. Try to cut him some slack."

"I don't want to see him take advantage of the situation, or you. How are things between you now anyway?"

"We worked some stuff out."

Chance could be a tough person to read when he wanted to be, but Winston had a sharp eye for deception, and he knew when he wasn't being told the whole story. "Uh-huh. And?"

"And nothing."

"Right."

"I don't know what you want me to say, Winston. It was a nasty situation, but we're trying to put it behind us."

Chance was definitely holding something back. "As simple as that?"

"No, actually it wasn't simple! It was pretty fucking complicated, but we're doing the best we can. So just drop it, okay?"

"Okay, okay! I'm just trying to look out for you," Winston said, deciding that the situation definitely merited further investigation.


Mid-afternoon Winston heard Chance talking to someone by the elevator. His first thought was that it was probably Guerrero up and about, despite his alleged need for another day or two's bed rest, so he was surprised to see a nervous looking man shoving a small package into Chance's hands.

"Can you tell Guerrero that I had some trouble getting hold of what he asked for? I know he wanted this like yesterday, but I had a few supply issues. Tell him this one's on me, no charge. And that I know I still owe him one, okay?"

"Are you sure you don't want to speak to him yourself?" Chance asked, smiling slightly at the guy's twitchy behaviour.

"No no. It's cool. I got somewhere I gotta be," he replied, stepping back into the elevator and repeatedly pressing the button for the ground floor.

"Well, if you're sure…"

"I'm sure!" The guy sagged with relief when the doors finally slid shut.

"What was that all about?" Winston asked.

"No idea." Chance turned the package over, looking for a clue as to what was inside, but it was just a plain brown padded envelope.

"Should we be worried?" Winston asked, but his frown suggested he was already worrying.

"Don't know. Got to ask Guerrero I guess."

Guerrero looked up from his laptop when Winston followed Chance into his room.

"Delivery for you," Chance said, dropping the package onto his keyboard.

"Cool. It's about time." He started to open the envelope but stopped. "Actually this is for Winston. You wanna do the honours?"

He held the package out towards him, but Winston took a step backwards. "Hell no!"

"Dude, it's not going to bite you!"

"Yeah, well I'm not going to risk it, if it's all the same to you."

Guerrero shrugged and ripped the parcel open. "Actually it's kind of a peace offering." Inside the envelope was a small black box wrapped in bubble wrap.

"What is it?" Winston asked, curious but still suspicious.

"Fingerprint scanner," Chance said, taking the box from Guerrero and looking it over. "But I've never seen one like this before."

"It's 'cause it's a prototype, dude. It hasn't hit the market yet. It can tell the difference between human skin and synthetic duplicates, which means you can't just get hold of an example of the user's fingerprint and copy it."

"And you're giving it to me? Why?" Winston asked.

"You got your panties in a bunch over the whole hula-girl thing, but your laptop is ridiculously easy to hack into."

"I never had any problems until you started poking around!"

"That you know of," Guerrero pointed out. "Look, I know you like keeping records and stuff, and I'm assuming that I might be mentioned here and there, so I'd much rather that you had some kind of security on that machine that a five year old with a bit of imagination couldn't crack."

"He kind of has a point, Winston," Chance said. "And this thing really is top of the line."

"How do I know that it's not going to give you access to all my files?"

Guerrero sighed. "'Cause I've already read all your files, big guy, and they really weren't all that interesting. You want it or not? That little gizmo would be worth quite a lot to the right buyer…"

"I'll think about it."


Chance knew that he was being a bit too defensive about Guerrero, and that it only made Winston more determined to figure out what he was hiding, but he couldn't help himself. Chance was having to make some major adjustments in his own mind to accommodate everything he'd faced recently, and he couldn't face having to justify it all to anyone else just yet. He had no idea what Winston's reaction would be, but his gut feeling was that it would not be good. Maybe Winston would assume the relationship was a misguided attempt on Chance's part to deal with his feelings over the rape, and Chance didn't want his feelings put under the microscope like that. What happened in the shipping container was relevant, in a way, but that didn't make his feelings for Guerrero any less valid, and the idea that they were only together to soothe his guilt was kind of insulting.

He would tell Winston, hopefully before he figured it out for himself, but he wanted to do it when he was ready. Chance was still figuring out what there was to tell. After the previous night, he was beginning to feel that there was more going on between him and Guerrero than just sex, and he didn't want to expose it to other people's scrutiny whilst it was so new and fragile, even if that person was Winston.

Chance knew he was unlikely to back off without making some attempt to find out what he was hiding from him, so he wasn't surprised to see him heading into Guerrero's room with the fingerprint scanner and his laptop.

"Need some help with that?" Chance asked casually.

"Yeah, I'm just going to ask Guerrero a few questions about how it works," Winston replied, trying to sound equally nonchalant.

It was obvious that the scanner was just a handy pretext, and Winston knew that Chance had guessed that the real reason he wanted to talk to Guerrero alone was so that he could check up on him. If Chance really objected, he could call him out on it, but after a pause Chance nodded his head and walked away.

Guerrero wasn't going to tell him anything significant, and he might even manage to persuade Winston that Chance was doing okay, which would buy them a little more time to work out what exactly was going on between them.

Chapter Text

"This thing doesn't work," Winston said, tossing the fingerprint scanner to Guerrero and sitting down in the chair beside his bed. "I plugged it into my laptop but nothing happened."

"That's because you don't have the right software," Guerrero said. "It's a proto-type. It's not exactly plug-and-play,"

"Huh. Why didn't you say so?"

"I would have done if you'd said you actually wanted it. Give me your laptop and I'll set it up for you. Sergei already emailed me the files I need, so it shouldn't take long."

Winston hesitated. "No hula-girls?"

"Scout's honour. You gonna give me the laptop?"

He sighed and handed it over. He watched as Guerrero it opened up, drumming his fingers impatiently as it powered up and then typing with a speed that Winston could only dream of achieving, even with decades of paperwork behind him. He couldn't see the screen, and even if he could he doubted that he'd be able to follow what Guerrero was doing. Deliberately giving Guerrero a free rein to make changes to his computer rankled, and there didn't seem to be any point in trying to hide that, so he sat and scowled at him, arms crossed with a 'don't try messing with me' kind of attitude.

Installing the software and modifying a few settings didn't take long, but Guerrero knew that the scanner wasn't the only reason for Winston's visit. Ordinarily he would have told him to spit it out already, but it wasn't like he had anything else to do, so he decided to just wait it out until Winston decided to get to the point. He passed the time by browsing through Winston's email inbox. The amount of spam he was receiving was bordering on the ridiculous, so he set up some decent filters and went through a list of some of the worst offenders, unsubscribing Winston from their automated newsletters. Winston was bound to bitch about it when he realised Guerrero had been through his email, but he was kind of looking forward to the fall-out. Baiting Winston was one of the simple pleasures in life that wasn't hampered by his injury.

"How's the foot?" Winston asked, just as Guerrero was considering whether the benefits of updating the operating system on the laptop would be outweighed by the additional effort of dealing with Winston's reluctance to accept change.

"A lot better. If Chance wasn't so insistent on following Ellen's instructions to the letter, I'd be up and about by now. Lying around all day isn't exactly my idea of a good time, y'know."

Winston grunted. "Yeah, Chance said as much. He also said that the two of you have worked some stuff out.

"Yeah," Guerrero smirked. "That about sums it up."

"Is that all you've been doing?"

"No, he's been teaching me to tap dance. What do you think?"

"That's cute Guerrero. Really cute."

"Well, ask a stupid question…"

"I don't think it is such a stupid question to ask, not under the circumstances. It's plain to see that something is going on when the two of you are locked up in her for hours, and I want to know what the hell it is!"

The smirk faded from Guerrero's face and was replaced by a closed off, hardened look. "What exactly gives you the impression that you have a right to know?"

"I do my best not to even think about what you get up to on your own time. I'm just looking out for Chance. He's been spending a lot of time in here lately, and if you're involving him in some shady plan that you can't execute on your own because of your injury, I have a right to know, as his friend and as his business partner."

Guerrero gave a little snort of laughter and shook his head. "You think I'm scheming to lure Chance back to the dark side? I honestly don't know what's more amusing: your lack of imagination, or how little faith you have in Chance."

"I have every faith in Chance! That doesn't mean that you wouldn't take advantage of the situation to get him involved in something questionable."

"I wouldn't do that to him, and you should know that already," Guerrero said. His tone was deceptively mild, but anger blazed in the look he gave him.

Winston sighed. "Fine, maybe you're not getting him involved in one of your nefarious deals, but there is something going on and I want to know what it is!"

"Ask Chance."

"I'm asking you."

"And I'm telling you to ask Chance, or better still mind your own business! There's no reason why you should be party to everything that happens in Chance's life."

"So there is something going on?"

"If and when there is, it's up to Chance to tell you, not me."

"I just need to know that Chance is okay. If you know something-"

"It's done," Guerrero said closing the laptop and handing it back to him with the scanner.

"I'm sorry if I offended your delicate sensibilities, but what I am I supposed to think? You avoid each other for days, then all of a sudden you're as thick as thieves. I know there has to be something going on, and I don't appreciate being kept in the dark!"

"Feel free to think whatever you like, just do it somewhere else."

"Guerrero-"

"Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."

Winston took the laptop and left.

He knew that the direct approach was likely to get Guerrero's back up. He'd hoped that he might have been annoyed enough to give something away, but all he'd got was confirmation that there was something going on with no indication as to what. Both Chance and Guerrero seemed intent on keeping whatever it was to themselves, which he was inclined to believe was a good sign for their friendship. Winston didn't like being shut out though. He didn't really believe that Chance was in danger of back-sliding into his old way of life, but on a personal level he couldn't help but feel a little rejected. He considered Chance a close friend, and although he hadn't known him as long as Guerrero had, he'd assumed the feeling was mutual.

As much as he hated admitting Guerrero was right, he realised that he had little choice but to wait for Chance to tell him what was going on. He would keep a close eye on both of them, but there was little hope that they would give anything away unless they intended to. Given what they'd both been through recently, a change in behaviour was perhaps to be expected, and the kindest thing he could do would be to let them work it through without interfering. Besides, what else could he do?


"So, did you get the third degree from Winston?" Chance asked, handing Guerrero a cup of tea before settling into his chair.

"Hardly! He sat and glared at me for a bit and then accused me of taking advantage of your good nature."

Chance paled. "You don't think he knows about us?"

"No, I meant that he suggested I might be trying to get you involved in a job that doesn't meet up to his high moral standards. I don't think it's crossed his mind that I might be corrupting you in other ways."

Chance breathed a sigh of relief. "Good. I'm not quite ready for that conversation just yet."

"As far as accusations go, it was fairly half-ased. He was just fishing for a response."

"What did you say?"

Guerrero shrugged. "I pointed out that it was none of his business, and that if he had questions he should ask you."

"Damn. He must know we're hiding something now."

"So what if he does? I seriously doubt he'll work it out, and even if he does, what can he really do about it?"

"It's not what he'll do that I'm worried about, Guerrero. It's how it's going to make him feel when he realises that I've been hiding this from him."

"What are you afraid of? That he won't handle the fact that you're bi, or the that you're involved with me?"

"A little of both, I guess. But it's more the fact that I hid it from him."

"So tell him."

"Tell him what exactly? That we're sleeping together? Or…"

"Or what?"

"You tell me, where is this heading?"

Guerrero took a slow sip of his tea before replying. "I don't know how to answer that, dude."

"Try. I need to hear something, Guerrero."

"I can't promise you anything, and if you ask me to, I will let you down."

"I'm not asking for promises, just the truth, as it is here and now."

"The truth is that I should put a stop to this before you get hurt. But I don't want to, and honestly I don't think I could. If you're looking for an out, you'd better walk away now."

"I'm not looking for an out."

"Maybe not right now. But further down the line, who knows? And although I'm not usually the jealous type, you should know that I... " Guerrero frowned for a moment. "If there's ever anyone else, you have to be up front with me. We're already taking a huge risk here, and if you got involved with someone else… I wouldn't handle that well."

Chance smiled. "Okay, no fooling around with anyone else, but the same rules apply to you too."

"I can live with that."

"So this is… We're exclusive?"

Guerrero nodded. "Don't read too much into it, I just think it's safer that way. Don't expect too much from me. I'm no good at this shit and that's unlikely to change now."

"I don't exactly have the best track record either."

"So we keep it simple."

"Right."


Guerrero had hoped that once the week was up Chance would return his crutches with a minimum of fuss, but he wasn't entirely surprised when he insisted that Ellen take a look at the wound first. Fortunately, Chance had badgered her into stopping by the loft before her shift started at the clinic, so at least he didn't have to spend another day confined to bed.

"I see Chance has been taking good care of you this time," Ellen said, examining the wound.

"Yeah, he was a regular Florence Nightingale. Do I get my crutches back or what?"

"It's healed well, and there's no sign of infection. Is there any pain?" she asked prodding and flexing his foot, checking the range of movement.

"It's fine."

"That's what you said last time, Guerrero. Give me specifics."

"There's still a bit of a twinge when I wiggle my toes," he admitted begrudgingly. "Other than that, it just feels a little stiff."

She gave him a stern look. "Then don't wiggle your toes."

"Wasn't planning to."

"No fighting, no running, no kicking of any description for at least another couple of weeks." She paused, waiting for an objection, but Guerrero merely nodded. "Use the crutches if you need to, and try not to spend too much time on your feet for the first few days, and you should be back to what passes for normal in no time."

"At last I can get out of this fucking room!"

"Just do me a favour and stay out of trouble for a while."

Guerrero grinned.


It was much easier for Winston to keep an eye on Guerrero once he was up and about again, but he was soon looking wistfully back on the week he'd been shut in his room. Granted, he'd been concerned about what he and Chance had been up to, but at least he'd been able to get on with things without Guerrero's constant interference. He always seemed to be looking over his shoulder, pointing out errors in his book-keeping, or a typo in what was supposed to be a private email, and when he couldn't find anything to correct, he started messing with his files, just to see how long it would take him to notice. Winston's lunch was no longer safe, and every bad habit that had once been only a minor annoyance became infuriating after the week of blissful quiet when Guerrero was confined to his room.

It didn't help that Chance was such an appreciative audience. He never openly encouraged Guerrero's activities, but he didn't lift a finger to stop him either. The way Chance leaned against the nearest wall, smiling in silent amusement every time Guerrero found a new way to double his workload was almost as irritating as Guerrero himself.

Winston was beginning to suspect that what they'd really been up to whilst Guerrero was recuperating was conspiring to find ways to make his life as difficult as humanly possible.

"Chance, if you don't get Guerrero out from under my feet right now, I swear to God I'll shoot him in the other foot just to get some goddamn peace and quiet!"

Guerrero laughed. "You owe me five bucks, dude," he said to Chance.

He rolled his eyes and handed it over. "Seriously, Winston, you couldn't have held out a bit longer? If you'd have made it to three days without threatening Guerrero with physical violence-"

"Five bucks?" Winston roared. "That's what my sanity is worth to you two? Get out! I don't want to see either of you for the rest of the day!"

"But-"

"Out! Now!"


Guerrero was keen to get back to his apartment to pick up some fresh clothes, and after a token argument, Chance gave in and let him drive. He could see how much it meant to Guerrero to regain the simple freedom of being able to go wherever he wanted, when he wanted, so he sat back and enjoyed the ride as he took a scenic route to the apartment, windows down and with the stereo blaring.

"You sure your foot is up to handling all these stairs?" Chance asked as he followed Guerrero into the lobby of his building.

Guerrero smiled. "It doesn't have to be." He opened his mailbox and handed Chance the few letters it contained, utility bills for the most part, and retrieved something that had been taped to the inside of the box.

"What's that?"

"Dude, you don't think I couldn't have fixed the elevator myself anytime I wanted? All it needs is a new fuse and a little re-wiring." He stepped inside the elevator and popped open an access panel. It only took a moment to swap out the fuse and reconnect a few loose wires to the appropriate places.

"Why do I get the feeling that the elevator worked just fine until you moved in?" Chance asked, shaking his head.

"It gives me an extra minute or two's warning when someone enters the building, and it never hurts to have any unexpected visitors a little out of breath before they show up at my door."

Chance followed him into the elevator, and when they arrived at Guerrero's floor, he wasn't surprised when he removed the fuse from the panel and dropped it in his pocket.

"Wait here a second," Guerrero said as he unlocked the front door and stepped inside. Chance waited whilst Guerrero disengaged whatever counter-measures he had in place to deal with unwelcome guests, and only entered the apartment when he was given the all clear.

He looked around the hallway but there was no sign of anything out of the ordinary, and it made Chance wonder why he went to the trouble of maintaining the illusion that it was a normal apartment. Did it mean that he sometimes brought people here, and if so for what reason? He felt a wave of dizziness and nausea at the thought that Guerrero might have entertained women in the apartment, and by entertained he meant had enjoyed hot heterosexual sex with them. Chance was suddenly painfully aware that Guerrero had been living in a bubble for the last few weeks, separate from his usual day-to-day life, and now that he wasn't dependant on him perhaps he wouldn't feel the same way anymore. Being surrounded by his own belongings in his own home was bound to remind him of who he really was and the fact that he had a lot more options other than just killing time with Chance.

"It's all clear, bro. You can come on in," Guerrero called out. Chance hadn't noticed that he was still standing in the hallway, staring off into space.

"Yeah. Sorry." Chance followed the sound of his voice into what turned out to be the kitchen. Guerrero opened the fridge and handed him a beer, taking another for himself.

"What's up? You've got that look you had when you found Carmine chewing on a 9mm."

Chance tried to force a smile but his face didn't seem willing to cooperate, and he could see Guerrero wasn't fooled. "Nothing. Just thinking it's gonna be a lot more convenient when you move back here."

"I guess I should apologise for getting in your way," Guerrero said, with a cool, flat look. "It's pretty obvious I could have moved back earlier."

"I meant more convenient for you."

Guerrero sighed. "Staying at the warehouse wasn't just about convenience, Chance. I thought you knew that."

"But it's time to go back to the real world now, isn't it?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing," Chance said, putting his beer and Guerrero's mail down on the nearest surface. "I need a little fresh air. Meet you back at the Eldo in an hour?"

"Sure."

Chance left the apartment walking at a normal pace, but his heart still hammered in his chest as if he were running. He needed to get out of the oppressive atmosphere before he lashed out. He hadn't been to the apartment since Guerrero had moved in years earlier, and suddenly that seemed incredibly meaningful. They'd worked and fought side by side for years, and although Guerrero knew everything there was to know about him, there was still a lot of Guerrero's personal life that Chance knew nothing about. He thought he knew everything of significance, but it was the details of everyday life that seemed to matter now. He hated the idea that Guerrero had been in the apartment with someone else, that she was probably more familiar with his home than Chance was, and had seen Guerrero in a light that he never had. It bothered him almost as much as the thought of Guerrero fucking some unknown woman.

He tried to seek solace in the agreement that he had reached with Guerrero that they wouldn't get involved with anyone else without being up front about it, but it struck him that all it really guaranteed was that Guerrero would put an end to their relationship when he met someone. It would have been pretty pathetic if Chance had seemed willing to overlook Guerrero sleeping with someone else, so he'd insisted on the agreement being mutual. He was already regretting it, knowing that even sharing Guerrero's affections with an unknown person would be better than being shut out entirely.

Guerrero had chosen to stay at the warehouse though, and Chance tried to believe it was not just down to convenience and the opportunity to wind Winston up. Nothing felt certain anymore, not the way it had when he had Guerrero's cock in his mouth, his hands caressing his shoulders as he moaned Chance's name. Chance wanted that certainty back, but couldn't ask for it, couldn't risk that it would all be different now that Guerrero was back in control of his life. The best he could do was to wait, and hope that they might share a few more moments together before Guerrero came to his senses and ended it.


Guerrero poured the two beers down the drain and ran the faucet for a moment to wash away the smell of alcohol. He hadn't felt like drinking anyway; he'd only opened them in the hopes that a beer might help Chance relax. He wasn't sure why Chance had bolted, but maybe the idea of them spending some time together with no danger of being interrupted was too much, coming so soon after Guerrero had effectively asked him to swear off sleeping with women.

He could understand why his apartment held little interest for Chance; it was just somewhere to sleep and eat when necessary. Guerrero felt not particular attachment to the place, and truth be told Chance's warehouse felt more like home than anywhere else did. It was almost an embarrassment to show Chance the empty shell of what other people could have turned into a real home. He felt it reflected something that was lacking in his character, and Chance had seen that once he saw his soul-less apartment. It had always been a point of pride that Guerrero could walk out the door and never leave anything of himself behind, but it seemed like a hollow boast when compared with the warmth, affection and sense of peace that he'd found with Chance at the warehouse.

Guerrero hadn't any specific plans for what they might do in the privacy of his apartment, although his large, comfortable bed had featured in the not too distant future. That was obviously out of the question now, so he walked through to the bedroom and started packing a bag of fresh clothes to take with him back to the warehouse.

Chance hadn't seemed bothered by his deception regarding the elevator, and he hadn't specifically said anything about Guerrero not coming back to the warehouse, so he chose to assume that he could stay there for a little while longer, despite the fact that it was clearly not necessary. He was sure that at some point Chance was going to ask him to leave, but until that happened he was going to make the most of the situation. Seeing his apartment again had only confirmed how empty his life would feel without Chance, so he was going to do everything in his power to stay close to him, and hope that somehow they would figure out a way to make things work.

He kept a careful watch on the time whilst he wandered listlessly from room to room, tidying away what little evidence there was that he ever spent anytime there. He wasn't a particularly tidy person, but it was just easier to keep the place as bare as possible to minimise the risk of anyone seeing something they weren't supposed to on the rare occasions when the landlord stopped by or he had to let workmen in to perform any kind of building maintenance. He retrieved a couple of guns from beneath a loose board in the floor of his closet and packed them in with his clothes along with a portable hard drive. Cleaning the guns would give him something to do, and the hard drive contained details of an upcoming job.

The hour crawled past, and Guerrero ran out of things to do long before it was up. He fiddled with a couple of apps on his smart phone for a while, before deciding that he might as well wait in the car. There was still another ten minutes to go before he was supposed to meet Chance, but when the elevator doors opened he was waiting for him in the lobby.

"You been standing there the whole time?" Guerrero asked, allowing Chance to take his bag so that he could disable the elevator again.

"No, I went for a walk but found that 'fresh air' is definitely a relative term in this neighbourhood." Chance's smile was cautious, but definitely genuine.

Guerrero nodded sympathetically, adding: "I'm guessing that I don't need to tell you to keep quiet about the elevator. Winston doesn't need to know that it's working."

Chance laughed and followed Guerrero out to the Eldo, placing the bag carefully on the back seat, mindful of its weight and the likelihood that it contained more than just clean clothes. "I don't think he could handle finding out that you've got one over on him yet again. You've been kind of merciless with him lately."

"Yeah, but he's been too busy watching his back to spend much time obsessing about what we've been hiding from him."

"Just ease up a little for a few days. It can't be good for his blood pressure."

Guerrero smiled. Chance envisioned him spending at least the next few days at the warehouse, maybe longer. That knowledge warmed him more than he cared to admit.

Chapter Text

"It's still kind of early to head back. I wouldn't want Winston to shoot you on sight 'cause he's still pissed," Chance said as the Eldo pulled away.

Guerrero considered pointing out that they were driving away from an empty apartment with a comfortable double bed, but decided against it. Chance couldn't get out of there fast enough, and he didn't really want to enter into a conversation as to why.

"I hear Vic has a new shipment of modified P90s. Wanna go check them out?" Guerrero suggested.

"What would I want with assault rifles?" Chance asked.

"He always lets me try before I buy. And he doesn't have to know that I have no intention of buying. I figured we'd just go shoot the crap out of some pig carcasses, y'know, just for fun."

"Pig carcasses?"

"Yeah, he likes to show his customers what kind of damage his products are capable of," Guerrero smiled.

"With dead pigs? Seriously?"

"He used to use live pigs, but some asshole just winged one with an AK-47 and it got away. Some do-gooder caught it and took it to a vet. Caused quite a scandal when he dug out the round and reported that there was a maniac on the loose shooting live stock."

Chance frowned. "Yeah, I think I remember something on the local news. That was Vic?"

"Yeah, or rather one of his customers."

"Okay. Guess it makes a change from the shooting range."

Guerrero glanced across at Chance and saw that he was still frowning. "What?"

"Nothing," Chance shrugged. "Just, shooting at live pigs? Seems a bit cruel."

"It's not like they saw the gun and knew what was coming! It was probably no worse that what would have happened at a slaughter house. Besides, you know I'm a great shot. Porky never suffered."

"Yeah, I guess," Chance sighed.

"Besides, after the things you know I've done to people over the years…"

Chance threw up his hands in defeat. "Okay, fair point."

Guerrero was glad he never mentioned test-firing the RPG. Or the flamethrower…

"How about we stop for something to eat first?" he suggested. "I'm starving."

Chance laughed. "You're thinking about bacon, aren't you?"

"Maybe."


They stopped at a diner, and Guerrero didn't need to point out Chance's hypocrisy when he ordered a bacon sandwich, one raised eyebrow did the trick.

"Hey, I never said I had anything against meat!"

"Sure, dude. Just shut up and enjoy the sandwich."

Chance couldn't help wondering if, in a weird way, this was their first date. The thought made him smile, but he wasn't quite sure if Guerrero would be amused or appalled by the idea. He was still weighing up whether or not to say something when they turned off onto the driveway to Vic's farm. It wasn't much more than a dirt road, and after a couple of minutes the buildings came into view.

"Something's not right here," Guerrero frowned.

There were three Harleys parked up in front of the barn, and Chance recognised the green and black winged insignia painted on one of the fuel tanks.

"Looks like Fenton Falcons."

"Yeah, but Vic doesn't do business with biker gangs," Guerrero said. "Especially not when they're one percent-ers."

"You sure?"

"Vic was a cop back in the day. He hates bikers. I think we're looking at trouble here."

"I don't like the idea of the Falcons getting their hands on assault rifles."

"If they are after weapons, Vic is likely to have more than just P90s hanging around, bro."

"How do you want to handle this?" Chance asked, knowing that Guerrero was more familiar than he was with Vic, the Falcons and the layout of the farm.

"Looks like there's only three of them, and I don't see Pa Fenton's ride, so there's a good chance they won't recognise me. You look like a threat though, so maybe we should do a Cousin Sammy."

"Okay, one mouth-breather coming up."

Chance slipped off his jacket, un-tucked his shirt and rolled the sleeves up.

"Don't forget the hair, dude."

"Right." Chance mussed up his hair a bit. "Will that do?"

"Always works better with a plaid shirt, but yeah. That's good enough."

Chance caught the hint of a smile and slightly distant look on Guerrero's face, and he wondered if he was thinking about how his own fingers had messed up his hair recently, under very different circumstances. He filed it away to think about later.

He let Guerrero lead the way, and when they were only a few feet away from the door of one of the barns, he gave a nod to show he was ready. They could hear the sound of voices and raucous laughter.

"Just let me do the talking, okay?" Guerrero said in a voice loud enough to carry to the people inside. "You just stand there and look tough. You got that?"

"Yeah, I got that, Steve."

"Don't start getting creative. No hitting anyone unless I say. This guy has guns."

"I know, Steve. You're going to buy one."

The noise inside the barn abruptly stopped, and Guerrero knocked loudly. After a brief pause, the door was opened by a man with a shaved head, and what was once probably a very muscular physique that had deteriorated into something hovering between stocky and pudgy. From the brief look of surprise on his face, Chance surmised that he recognised Guerrero.

"Vic."

"Uh, Steve, right?"

"Yeah. You said you could get me a Berretta?"

"Yeah, an M9. You got the cash?"

"I wanna see it first."

"Get rid of him!" a voice called out from inside the barn.

"Hey fellas, I'm trying to run a business here!" Vic called over his shoulder. He was trying to keep his tone of voice friendly, but the look he gave Guerrero and the discreet hand signals told a different story: three men, armed, one hostage and I'm pissed! "This'll only take a minute."

Guerrero gave an almost imperceptible nod, and Vic opened the door wider and beckoned them in. The reason why he hadn't dealt with the bikers himself was obvious: all three bikers were armed, probably with Vic's own guns, and one guy had a P90 assault rifle in one hand and the other arm wrapped around the waist of girl in her late teens. Chance spotted the family resemblance straight away, and guessed the girl was Vic's daughter.

He didn't know the bikers, other than recognising that they were wearing Fenton Falcon colours, but they ticked all the usual boxes: long hair, unshaven or bearded, enough muscle mass to pack a decent punch, and attitudes that stank almost as much as their personal hygiene. The guy with the P90 seemed to be the one in charge, so Chance took several quick glances at him, careful not to draw attention to himself by staring. His dirty blonde hair, held back in a ponytail, and grimy jeans didn't tell him much, but the patches on his vest confirmed that he was someone fairly high up the food chain.

The guy with a dirty blonde ponytail openly looked the newcomers over with calculating expression. He dismissed Guerrero right away, fooled by his short stature and the limp he'd taken care to exaggerate as he walked into the barn, but Chance seemed to be more of a cause for concern. Chance tried to make his expression a little more vacant looking and gave the biker a twitchy, nervous smile before looking away and stuffing his hands in his pockets. It seemed to do the trick and the guy relaxed slightly.

"Honey, can you run next door and get the M9 for Steve?" Vic asked the girl, speaking the name carefully and clearly, nodding towards Guerrero. Luckily she caught on with barely a change of expression to indicate that she knew Guerrero by any other name.

"Sure, dad." She tried to move away, but the biker kept her pinned in place.

"Now, why would you want to be running off just when we're getting to know each other?" the lead biker asked pulling her even closer. She clearly wasn't thrilled about being man-handled like that, but she grit her teeth and didn't say anything.

Chance glanced across at Vic; he was trying to keep a lid on his temper, but his hands were clenched into fists at his sides and he looked about ready to blow his top.

"Sammy, stay here whilst I go with Vic," Guerrero said. Chance nodded, showing that he understood the code. Calling him Sammy meant that he had to get close to the hostage; if he'd called him Samuel it would have been the signal to tackle the nearest bad guy and start shooting. Vic didn't look happy about leaving his daughter with Chance and the bikers, but he must have known Guerrero had a plan because he led him out of the barn.

Chance scuffed his feet against the dirt floor of the barn and gave the bikers another awkward smile.

"What are you grinning at fucktard?" the guy standing off to Chance's right asked. Chance took note of the scar running down the side of the man's face, barely missing his left eye. The skin was puckered, probably thanks to the wound being inadequately sutured, and the way it distorted his left eyelid probably affected his peripheral vision on that side.

"I like your guns," Chance said, smiling shyly.

The guy with the blonde ponytail laughed. "Yeah, and what do you know about guns?"

Chance took a couple of step towards him, stopping when the man tensed, aiming at him.

"I know that gun!" he beamed, pointing at the weapon. "I've seen that one! Colonel Sheppard has that gun. And Teyla. And Dr McKay!"

"What the fuck is he talking about?" The guy with the scar asked. "McKay, that's Star Trek, right?"

"Nah," the third biker disagreed. "Star Trek was McCoy, an' he didn't have no gun. He was the doctor."

"What the fuck, Ike?" the blonde guy said. "Since when were you a fucking Trekkie?"

"I'm not! It's the old lady, she digs Kirk."

"Kirk doesn't have a gun, he has a phaser," Chance supplied helpfully. "But Colonel John Sheppard has a gun just like yours."

"Jeez, is this guy retarded or what?" the guy with the scar laughed. "How desperate would you have to be to bring him as your back-up?"

Chance frowned, as if he was trying to work out whether or not he'd just been insulted. "I'm right. That's just like Sheppard's gun. I know I'm right."

"Yeah, well who the fuck is this Sheppard guy anyway?" the blonde guy asked. He let Chance move closer to get a better look at the P90, confident that he wasn't bright enough to pose much of a threat.

"Colonel John Sheppard is the military leader of the Stargate Atlantic mission to the Pegasus galaxy and he's a pilot and he's really brave and-"

The bikers started laughing. He waited until the blonde guy threw back his head, howling at Chance's earnest description of the heroic qualities of a fictional character as if he were a real person, before he made his move.

A quick jab to the blonde guy's throat with one hand, whilst he twisted the P90 out of his grip with the other, and he had the lead biker gasping for breath at his feet before the others even stopped laughing. Vic's daughter landed a kick to the fallen man's ribs and ran out the door, leaving Chance standing over him with the assault rifle pressed to the back of his head.

As soon as the other two bikers realised what had happened, they aimed their own weapons at Chance.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Guerrero said from somewhere behind them.

The scarred man looked behind him and saw Guerrero standing at a second, concealed doorway, with another P90 riffle pointed right at him. The other guy, Ike, looked down and saw the telltale red dot of a laser sight hovering on his chest, and followed it back to its origin atop Vic's semi-automatic, pointing at his from the doorway. Reluctantly, they laid down their hand guns on the ground.

"Do you have any idea who you're fucking with?" the blonde biker wheezed, still struggling to catch his breath.

"Who I'm fucking with?" Vic snarled. "You fucking walk in here and dare lay a finger on my daughter? I'm gonna-"

"Cool it Vic," Guerrero interrupted, walking into the barn, leaving the rifle at the doorway and pulling out a vicious looking combat knife. "Let me handle this." He walked over to where the blonde guy was sprawled on the floor and hauled him up onto his knees. The scarred biker started to take a step forward, as if he was going to try an intervene, but Vic fired a warning shot into the ground in front of him, and he stopped.

"Just give me an excuse, asshole," Vic said. "Just put one toenail wrong and I'll blow your fucking head off!"

The scare-faced biker spat on the ground, but stayed where he was.

"I know exactly who you are, Walt. But do you know who I am?" Guerrero asked, laying the edge of his blade against the blonde biker's throat.

"You're a fucking nobody! My old man-"

"Your old man and I have an understanding, Walt," Guerrero interrupted. "He stays out of my way, and I let you and your friends keep riding."

"Bullshit! No one tells Pa Fenton what to do!"

"I know you jut finished a ten year stretch, so I'm going to cut you a little slack." Guerrero emphasized the world 'cut' by letting the blade slide an inch or two across the man's throat, just hard enough to break the skin and make a drop of blood form and trickle slowly down his neck. "The name Guerrero mean anything to you?"

"No," he replied, unconvincing considering the look if horror on his friend's faces.

Guerrero sighed. "You're a shitty liar, Walt. And not too good at following orders either. I know your dear old dad would have given you explicit instructions to keep your head down, but instead you bust your way in here and try to take advantage of one of my associates. That's downright impolite, dude."

"Yeah, well, live with it!" Walt said, still determined to cling on to his bravado, thinking he could intimidate his way out of trouble. "Once my old man hears about this-" His words were cut off as Guerrero applied a little more pressure to the blade, forcing Walt to shut his mouth and strain his head upwards to avoid getting cut again.

"I can't let this kind of rudeness slide, Walt. And your pa knows that."

Chance started to feel a little uneasy about the situation. He knew that Guerrero had to be seen to live up to his reputation, and that even a small act of mercy could be perceived as a weakness and cause trouble for him. The look on Vic's face suggested that he wouldn't be adverse to the idea of killing Walt for daring to even touch his daughter, and Chance watched him closely for any sign that he was going to do something impulsive. He was prepared to be the voice of reason if he had to be, but he was hoping that Guerrero wasn't going to let it come to that.

"Look, we understand the situation now," Ike said, holding his hands up in a placating gesture. "We never meant no harm to you an' yours. It was just a bit of fun. We heard Vic here had some decent tools an' we just stopped by to try them out, is all."

"He touched my daughter," Vic said, his tone making it clear that it was a capital offence in his mind.

"See, that's a thing a father just can't let go of, Walt," Guerrero sighed.

"So how do you think his pa is gonna react to you killin' him then?" the scar faced biker sneered.

Guerrero laughed. "I'd imagine he'd apologise for the inconvenience and offer to refund me the cost of any ammunition I had to waste on his sorry ass."

Walt managed to make a doubtful sounding grunt.

"Yeah, I figured you'd have trouble understanding just how insignificant your life is in the grand scheme of things. Maybe I should let your pa show you your place." Guerrero grabbed Walt's ponytail and made short work of hacking through it with his knife, tossing the hair, still bound together by an elastic band, at the feet of the scar faced biker. Walt made a lunge for the knife, but Guerrero smacked him back down with a well placed punch.

"Take that to Pa Fenton. Tell him I've got his boy, and if he doesn't come get him in the next hour, I'll send him home in instalments."

The biker looked doubtfully at the hair at his feet, but didn't make a move.

"Or I can just kill you and send your pal, Ike," Guerrero said, as casually as if he was were offering the guy a beer.

The scar-faced picked up the ponytail and stuffed it in his pocket, and backed carefully away from Guerrero, who gave him a chilling little smile of encouragement. There was an awkward moment when it looked like Vic wasn't going to let him pass, but he stepped aside when Guerrero called his name, and the man left without further incident.

As soon as they heard his bike start up and drive away, Guerrero smiled at Vic. "So, you got any cable ties around here?"


Once the two remaining bikers' hands were tied, Chance suggested taking them out to one of the other farm buildings to await their fate. He didn't need to spell out the reason to Guerrero; Vic still looked as though he'd happily put a bullet in Walt's head for the way he'd been pawing at his daughter.

Chance and Vic marched the bikers at gunpoint to one of the pig sheds, as Guerrero's foot wasn't up to him making his way over the uneven muddy ground. Vic took a great deal of satisfaction in shoving Walt face down on to the ground, ensuring he got a face full of pig shit before tying together his ankles and securing them to his bound wrists. Chance was tempted to make a comment about the appropriateness of hogtying the guy in a pigpen, but Vic didn't look in the mood for jokes, so he secured Ike's feet and followed Vic back to the barn after he's secured the shed door with an impressive array of locks.

Chance was deep in thought, wondering what Guerrero's game plan was if Pa Fenton didn't show up to claim his son, so he wasn't paying enough attention to where he was putting his feet. One second his feet were on solid, if slightly squishy ground, and the next his right foot slid out to one side and he was landing ass first in what he hoped was only mud.

Vic started laughing, looking more relaxed and significantly less likely to try to kill someone. Chance wasn't sure that it was really worth the discomfort of falling on his ass to achieve, but it did at least diffuse some of the tension.

"You gonna help me up or just stand there laughing all day?" Chance asked.

Vic extended a meaty hand and hauled him to his feet. "And I thought the idiot routine you had going was all for show. Maybe not, huh?"

Chance attempted to brush the filth from his jeans, but all he managed to achieve was to spread it around a bit more, provoking even more laughter. "I guess I have my share of blonde moments," he conceded, following Vic back to the barn, paying more attention to where he put his feet.

Chance knew that the Fenton Falcons clubhouse wasn't that far away, but the scar-faced biker must have gunned it all the way because it wasn't long before they could hear the sound of motorbikes arriving in alarming numbers.

"Sounds like the whole gang is here," Chance said, sounding more calm than he felt. "You sure you got this, Guerrero?"

"Relax, bro. It's not gonna be a problem."

Vic looked on edge too, but seemed willing to let Guerrero handle the situation.

It was an anti-climax when the barn door opened and just one grizzled biker walked in. He didn't look happy, but he held up his hands to show he was unarmed.

"Fenton."

"Guerrero," he said. "I hear my boy's been causin' some bother. I'm sorry to hear that."

"I take it he wasn't acting on your orders?" Guerrero asked.

"No, this damn fool idea was all his. I sure appreciate you makin' me aware of it though."

"I hope you're not having discipline problems, dude. 'Cause if you can't keep your men in line, we're gonna have a problem."

Fenton looked worried, and Chance wondered what exactly Guerrero had on him.

"No, I got no problems with discipline. Just a case of freedom going to my boy's head, is all. He needs a little reminder to mind his manners. He won't be causin' no more bother once I've set him straight."

Guerrero just stared at him for a moment, making him sweat. Chance felt a rush of pride and admiration at watching him pull the guys strings. To anyone familiar with his reputation, Guerrero's name was synonymous with pain and suffering, but really that was only a small part of who and what he was. He was a master manipulator, and usually understood other people better than they understood themselves.

He sure as hell understands me, Chance thought, and I probably shouldn't find that hot…

Finally Guerrero nodded. "Okay, I'll let you deal with him."

"Thank you. I won't forget this."

Chance went with Vic to retrieve Walt and Ike from the pig shed, so Chance didn't have the opportunity to listen in on the rest of their conversation. He could ask Guerrero about it later, but he knew he was unlikely to get the full story. As curious as he was about Guerrero's relationship with the bikers, a certain level of ignorance of his friend's business was necessary to keep things running smoothly. If today was anything to go by, Chance was reassured that Guerrero was willing and able to avoid unnecessary nastiness when the threat of it worked just as well. Even when faced with Walt's disrespect, he'd chose not to get his hands dirty.

Walt complained all the way back from the shed and told them that his old man was going to rip them to shreds when he arrived, so he was more than a little surprised to find Fenton and Guerrero laughing together in the yard in front of the barn, with the rest of the biker gang looking on.

"Pa?"

Fenton ignored him and spoke to Ike instead. "This what you call keeping my boy out of trouble?"

"Things got a bit… out of hand, boss," Ike said sheepishly.

"Huh. I'll deal with you later."

One of the gang stepped forward and cut the ties binding Ike's wrists, and they both stepped back into the crowd.

"You gonna let them treat me like this, Pa?" Walt asked in disbelief.

Fenton stepped forward and took a long slow look at his son's dishevelled and manure stained appearance. "It ain't them you should be worried about boy." He gave Walt one last disgusted look before punching him, knocking the surprised look off his face.

Fenton whistled, and two of the largest bikers stepped forward and cut the cable ties off Walt's wrists and dragged him back onto his feet.

"Pa, no!" Walt pleaded, obviously aware of what was coming next.

One of the bikers punched him in the gut, and the other stripped him of his vest as he doubled over in pain.

"You gotta earn those colours, boy, an' when you do you have to make damn sure you deserve to wear'em!"

The two bikers hauled Walt off and disappeared into the crowd.

"This ain't the end of it, Guerrero, but it's club business an' we deal with that in private," Fenton explained. "He'll be ridin' bitch back to the clubhouse. I'll send someone back for his hog, but don't fret none. He ain't gonna be ridin' for a long while yet. You have my word."

"Good," Guerrero said. "'Cause if I see him anytime soon, I won't be calling you again."

"Understood."

The sound of the gang riding away was deafening, but it took surprisingly little time for the yard to empty.

"I know losing his colours is a big deal to a biker, but I was still hoping for a bit more in the way of bodily harm," Vic sighed.

"Trust me, dude, he's not getting off lightly. When Fenton said he won't be riding for a while he also meant he won't be walking for a while either. Aside from pissing me off, Walt got his vest covered in pig shit. That alone would earn him the beating of a lifetime. Biker gangs consider their colours sacred."

Vic grinned. "I never should have doubted you."


They never did test fire the P90s but Vic gave them a crate of ammo and a box full of stun grenades as a thank you.

Guerrero insisted on covering the passenger seat of the Eldo with heavy duty plastic sheeting from the stash he kept in the trunk, pointing out that if it had been anyone but Chance he'd have been walking back to the warehouse.

They drove away to the sound of Vic bawling out his daughter for being in the barn to start with. Guerrero saw the concerned look on Chance's face.

"Don't worry, bro, he's all bark and no bite with his kids. He's not gonna smack her around."

"You sure about that?"

"Yeah, I'm sure," Guerrero smiled. "Quit worrying."

Chance smiled back at him. Apart from the bit when he fell into a pile of pig shit, it was actually a pretty awesome first date.

Chapter Text

"Okay," Winston took off his reading glasses and rubbed at his eyes, "so you went to see one of your friendly local arms dealers to buy assault rifles-"

"No, we were only going to test fire them," Chance interrupted.

"And, for reasons I'm not exactly clear on, this arms dealer is also a pig farmer-"

"Not exactly. He-"

Winston held up one hand, indicating that he hadn't finished. "He has a farm, he keeps pigs, let's just call him a pig farmer for now, okay?" Chance nodded, and Guerrero rolled his eyes. "So you stop by the pig farm to shoot some guns, and find you've stumbled into a hostage situation involving members of one of the most notorious biker gangs on the East Coast, which you deal with and send said bikers on their merry way."

"That about sums it up," Guerrero said.

"I get that," Winston said, frowning. "I mean, it's not exactly how I'd chose to spend my time off, but for you two? It's pretty much an average day. What I don't understand is at what point during in this obviously eventful afternoon did it become strategically necessary for Chance to roll around in manure?"

"I'm a bit fuzzy on that point myself," Guerrero dead-panned. "Chance, why did you cover yourself in pig shit?"

"I slipped, okay?" Chance huffed as they started to laugh.

"You let him in your car like that?" Winston asked, grinning.

"Yeah, but even though I put plastic sheeting on the seat and had the windows down, it's not going to be much fun to drive the Eldo for a while."

"I can imagine," Winston sympathised, wrinkling his nose. "Being in the same room with him right now is no picnic."

"Okay, okay! I get it. I stink. This isn't much fun for me either, y'know!"

"So why are you still standing here, dude? You know where the shower is…"


Chance decided that although his clothes were salvageable, he would always know that they had been covered in pig shit, so he cut his losses and bundled them up in a garbage bag to be thrown out. The worst of the muck never even came in contact with his skin, but he still took his time, scrubbing his body thoroughly with plenty of his mint scented shower gel to make sure he was rid of the lingering odours of the farmyard. He'd found that the clean, fresh scent of mint would cut through the stench of just about any noxious substance that he'd ever been in contact with, and he never really felt clean until he'd used it.

Fully intending to slob out for the evening, he dried himself off, slipped on some sweatpants and an old t-shirt, and padded back downstairs bare-foot. He found Winston and Guerrero in the kitchen, unpacking cartons of take-out, and it struck him that it had been a while since all three of them shared a meal together.

"Guerrero insisted on ordering, so we've got enough food here to feed a small army." Winston said, handing Chance a beer.

Chance smiled, accepting the beer and pulling up a chair. "Well, he does know his take-out, and no one is gonna go hungry for the next couple of days."

Guerrero tipped his chopsticks to his head. "Know the menu by heart, dude. And I never forget the dipping sauce."

"One time, Guerrero," Winston grumbled. "I forget your damn sauce one time and I never hear the end of it!"

"Yeah, like you won't kick up a stink if I forgot part of your order," Guerrero smirked, digging into his noodles.

Chance got stuck into his own meal, and listened to the familiar sound of Winston and Guerrero winding each other up, only speaking to provoke further argument whenever the bickering seemed to have run its course. It had been too long since they had just hung out together, and despite the snarky comments from Guerrero, and Winston's scowling face, Chance knew that they had all missed this.

Despite Winston's insistence that Guerrero had over-ordered, they managed to eat their way through most of the food, assisted by Carmine who sat with his head in Chance's lap, eating the scraps that he fed him, along with anything that fell off his plate. Winston pointed out that Carmine was already overweight and should have been on a diet, which left him wide open for jibes about his own weight from Guerrero.

"You've eaten at least as much as I have, Guerrero," he complained.

"Yeah, but I burn it off, big guy."

"You've done nothing but sit around for weeks!"

Guerrero shrugged. "I guess I have a naturally fast metabolism."

"There's nothing natural about the way you eat."

"There's nothing natural about the size of your ass," Guerrero replied. "I hear that that thing has it's own gravitational pull. NASA has to factor it in to shuttle launches."

Chance hid his smile by taking a swig of his beer. Winston was obviously gearing up to launch a verbal counter-attack that he had no hope of pulling off, so Chance decided to step in before it deteriorated into name calling. "So, did you manage to catch up on all your paperwork?"

Winston scowled at Guerrero for a moment, unwilling to let the NASA comment slide without some form of retaliation.

"Winston?"

He dragged his gaze away from Guerrero and his smug expression. "Actually I did. It's amazing how much faster I can get things done without someone peering over my shoulder."

"I was only trying to help, dude. What is your first language anyway? 'Cause judging from your spelling, I'm guessing it's not English."

"I was planning on spell-checking it when I was done, smart-ass."

What happened next was a perfect example of the non-verbal communication between Chance and Guerrero that was useful when they were in the middle of a job, but infuriated Winston when they used it to talk over his head at the warehouse. He only caught Guerrero's end of the conversation because he happened to be looking in his direction at the time, but he could guess what Chance was saying.

Chance: That's enough.

Guerrero: (with the quirk of one eyebrow) Seriously?

Chance: Yeah, quit it.

Guerrero: (with a one sided shrug and a slight eye-roll) Whatever, dude.

Annoying as was, Winston knew from experience that it was pointless complaining about it; they were likely to plead ignorance, or flat out deny that they had been sending each other silent signals. It wasn't as if he didn't know them well enough to interpret what was being said, it was just that it tended to happen so quickly that he often only managed to see half of the conversation.

Winston let out a heavy sigh and shook his head.

"Any word on a new case?" Chance asked.

"No, not yet. I've actually had my hands pretty full with tying up the loose ends of the Emerson case."

"Oh. Okay."

Winston caught the flash of concern from Guerrero, but when he looked at Chance he could see that he'd closed himself off, staring at his food without really seeing it.

Guerrero gave Winston a sharp look. "The case is solid though. There isn't going to be a problem with securing a conviction, right?" he asked pointedly.

"No, it's fine. The DA is confident the case is airtight. They just have to be careful when handling a case of this magnitude." Chance nodded but didn't look up. "Actually, I wanted to warn you. There's going to be a pre-trial hearing later on this week, so the media coverage of the case is going to kick up a notch."

"There's going to be a full trial?" Chance asked.

"Yeah. Once Emerson and Mayer realised that the DA wasn't interested in cutting a deal, they decided to take their chances with a jury."

"Shit!" Chance finally looked at him. "That means you'll have to testify and-"

"Don't worry about me having to commit perjury on the stand. I'm the last person the defence would want to call as a witness, and the DA isn't crazy about my involvement either. It makes SFPD look bad. I think both sides are going to do everything they can to avoid having me testify."

"But what about Zoe Emerson?" Chance asked. "If she lets it slip that you weren't the one who apprehended Mayer, it could jeopardise the case. They could walk!"

"Zoe understands what's at stake," Winston said. "She's not going to slip up."

"But there's no guarantee-"

"You have my guarantee, bro," Guerrero said. "Regardless of the trial's outcome, Emerson and Mayer are never going to draw breath as free men."

The looks that passed between Chance and Guerrero this time were a lot more complicated. The fierceness in Guerrero's expression was chilling, but was tempered with something else that Winston couldn't quite identify. Whatever it was, Chance seemed to understand, as Winston could read gratitude in the look he gave Guerrero, but again there was something else in his expression that he couldn't quite decipher.

"Yeah, well that will be a last resort," Winston said, dropping his eyes down to examine what was left of his meal, trying to shake the feeling that he'd somehow intruded on something private by observing the silent exchange.

"We've got options," Guerrero shrugged. "That's all I'm saying."


Chance needed to know that the case was going to court, but Guerrero resented Winston's timing. The impromptu rescue at Vic's farm had left them both in high spirits, and Chance had been relaxed and happy just to enjoy the meal in the company of friends, until Winston opened his big mouth. Chance didn't bother joining in on the conversation after the subject of the trial was dropped, and although Winston and Guerrero traded insults for a while, they were half-hearted and fell flat without Chance laughing in the right places.

Winston finally caught on to the fact that he'd managed to kill the mood, so he made his excuses and went home, leaving Chance and Guerrero to stash the leftovers in the refrigerator out of Carmine's reach.

"You okay, bro?"

"I'm fine."

"You've gone kinda quiet."

"Just got a lot on my mind, I guess."

Guerrero put his hand on the back of Chance's neck, gently pulling him down towards him until their foreheads were touching.

"You need a distraction, bro. Something to get that overworked brain of yours to shut off for a while."

"Yeah? What did you have in mind?" Chance's mouth curled into a soft, lopsided smile, and for a second Guerrero was tempted to trace the curve of his lips with his tongue. As appealing as the idea was, he didn't think sex was what Chance needed right then.

He stepped back, slapping his hand on Chance's shoulder. "Think it's time for a movie marathon. They're showing three Van Damme films back to back on one of the movie channels tonight."

Chance groaned. "Seriously? You know how much I hate that guy!"

"Yeah, but I also know the only thing you enjoy more than watching a good movie is laughing and complaining your way through a really bad one."

"True," Chance conceded. "But there's a monster movie on the SciFi channel."

"Sharks or dinosaurs?"

"Both, I think."

"Okay, monsters it is then."

"We watching it in your room?"

"No, I think I can handle the stairs now."

Ten minutes later they were settled on the couch in front of Chance's widescreen TV watching a truly dire movie. Usually they would be making bets on the order in which the characters would be killed off, but instead they sat in silence, not even bothering to comment on the crude CGI or the paper-thin plot.

"I'm bored," Chance admitted.

"You chose the movie, dude."

"Yeah, well, it blows."

"Wanna change channels?"

"I'm not really in the mood for a movie right now."

"Oh, okay. Xbox?"

Chance switched the TV off and turned to look at Guerrero. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but it's not necessary."

"Don't know what you're talking about, bro."

"Yeah, I think you do. You're putting so much effort into being casual and making everything seem normal… it's getting kind of hard to ignore." Chance sighed. "You don't have to handle me with kid gloves, okay? I'm not fragile."

"I've had reason to be concerned lately," Guerrero said carefully. "And when Winston mentioned the court case… you shut me out."

"He caught me off guard."

"I could see you starting to withdraw, and I know where that kind of thinking takes you. So yeah, maybe I feel like I'm walking on eggshells at the moment, but can you blame me?"

"What got to me about Winston mentioning the case, it's not what you think."

"So you weren't worried about Winston committing perjury on the witness stand?"

"Okay, that was part of it…"

"If you're still identifying with Mayer, I may have to physically beat some sense into you, you know that right?"

"I'd be lying if I said I was okay with all that… but no that's not what I meant."

"Then what?"

Chance sighed. "Sometimes it feels like it would be so much easier to just take the bad guy out, instead of leaving it up to twelve strangers who've been fed a twisted version of the truth by egocentric career liars."

"The system sucks, but I think Winston is right: there's no way those guys are going to walk. Besides, what happened to 'nobody deserves to die'?"

"I believe it, but it doesn't mean I always feel it."

"You think you fucked up by letting Winston hand him over to the cops?"

Chance sighed. "I don't know. Maybe. I mean, if he gets away with it then yes, definitely."

"That's not who you are any more, Chance. Winston understood the risks of letting the cops handle Mayer, and you've got to accept that he knows what he's doing. If, and it's a big if, the court case goes pair-shaped, I will deal with Mayer."

"And you're still trying to protect me!" Chance shook his head. "You don't need to-"

"Yeah, I do, because I know how this shit affects you. You said it yourself: you may not always feel it, but you still believe nobody deserves to die."

"But you don't."

"You know I don't."

"What do you believe in, Guerrero?"

"Don't make me answer that, Chance. It's not fair."

"Tell me."

"Getting paid in cash and surviving the job," Guerrero shrugged, but Chance wasn't buying it. He wanted a real answer.

"I'm serious! What do you believe in?"

"You," Guerrero said softly. "I believe in you. Happy now?"

A wide smile slowly spread across Chance's face. "Actually, yeah. I kind of am." He leaned across and kissed him, slow and soft, until Guerrero's hands found their way to the back of his neck, pulling him closer. Chance twisted round until he was kneeling on the couch, straddling Guerrero, taking his face in his hands, kissing him so deeply that Guerrero had to fight for every breath.

"So is this you showing me how not-fragile you are?" Guerrero panted when they finally surfaced for air.

"Something like that," Chance grinned.

"Huh. Okay." Guerrero slid his hands under Chance's t-shirt, smoothing them up his chest. Chance squirmed a little as he brushed his thumbs lightly over his nipples, teasing them into tight, sensitised nubs. When Chance's eyes seemed to lose a little of their focus, Guerrero slammed his hands flat against his chest and rolled his hips to the side, throwing Chance back onto the couch so that he was on top, pinning him down.

"Okay, this works too," Chance said breathlessly, as Guerrero shoved his t-shirt out of the way, resuming his assault on his nipples with his fingers on one side and teeth and tongue on the other. "But I think we're gonna have to move to the bedroom for me to really prove my point."

Guerrero stopped what he was doing and rested his forehead against Chance's chest, his ragged breaths creating an odd alternating rush of hot and cold against his skin. For a moment Chance was worried that a deliberate invitation to his bed was somehow too premeditated for Guerrero in light of how seemingly spontaneous things had been between them up to that point, momentarily forgetting the way Guerrero deliberately seduced him when he was still supposed to be resting.

His concerns evaporated when Guerrero lifted his head, and he saw his pupils blown wide. "That might make things a bit clearer," he said, giving Chance a smile that could only be described as predatory.

Guerrero pressed a kiss to his chest and rolled to his feet so fast that Chance was left lying on the couch, his t-shirt bunched up under his arms and his erection tenting his sweatpants, wondering how he seemed to have lost the upper hand.

Guerrero reached down, offering him his hand and hauling him to his feet, and Chance took advantage of the momentum to push him back against the wall and shove his shirt off his shoulders as he licked and sucked at his neck.

"Not that I'm complaining, bro, but this would be a lot easier on my foot if we did it on the horizontal," Guerrero murmured as Chance stripped him of his undershirt and dropped it to the floor.

"I guess I did just offer you my bed," Chance said, stepping back and pulling off his own t-shirt.

Guerrero followed him to the bedroom, allowing himself to be ambushed by Chance who pulled him down onto the bed beside him, rolling onto his side so that he could grind himself against Guerrero's leg as his hands were busy working his belt loose.

Guerrero licked along Chance's lower lip to the corner of his mouth, and gently nipped at the lightly stubbled skin along his jaw line. He bit down harder when he reached Chance's earlobe, making him catch his breath before sucking it into his mouth to soothe away the sting.

"What do you want, Chance?" he moaned, as Chance's hand closed around his cock. "Just tell me what you need."

He froze, still with his hand inside Guerrero's jeans. "I want to blow you, like.." he hesitated.

"Like when you fucked my mouth?" Guerrero breathed against his ear, his voice not much more than a whisper.

"Yeah, like that," he murmured.

Guerrero smiled and pulled Chance's hand away from his crotch, rolling him on to his back. He'd taken off his boots earlier at Winston's insistence so that he wouldn't track mud all over the warehouse; all that remained for him to remove were his jeans, socks and underwear, which he did in record time.

"What?" Guerrero asked when he saw Chance propped up on his elbows, taking a long, deliberate look at his naked body as he knelt on the bed. "It's nothing you haven't seen before."

"I know," Chance said, giving him a crooked smile. "But not like this…"

Guerrero laughed, and stuffed the pillows behind Chance so that he could lean back and be at the right level. Chance sank back into them, but when he reached towards Guerrero's hips, intending to drag him forwards like Guerrero had done to him, Guerrero grabbed his wrists and pinned them to the wall above his head with one hand. Chance's eyes widened slightly as he realised that Guerrero remembered every word he'd said, and was planning to give him exactly what he'd asked for, including holding him down.

As Guerrero got into the same half-kneeling, half-crouching position that Chance had used, his cock was tantalisingly close, and Chance strained to lift his head, trying to reach it. Guerrero used his free hand to guide it towards his mouth, muttering: "Fuck! You really want to do this don't you?"

Chance looked up at him, giving him a quick smile, before swiping his tongue across the pre-cum beading at the tip of Guerrero's cock.

"Open your mouth," Guerrero ordered, in a low growl. Chance obliged, and Guerrero gave a drawn out sigh as his cock slid into the wet heat of his mouth.

He took it slowly at first, letting Chance stroke and tease him with his tongue, circling the head, pressing into his slit and gently fluttering against the sensitive spot on the underside that sent shivers through Guerrero's body.

"Fuck, that's good… really good…."

Guerrero began to thrust a little more, careful not to push too fast or too deep, not wanting to make Chance gag.

"Can you take more? I bet you'd take it all if you could…"

In answer to his question, Chance increased the suction, hollowing his cheeks and humming as Guerrero picked up the pace, running his fingers through Chance's hair, and murmuring words of encouragement. He knew Chance was unlikely to be able to return the favour and deep-throat him, but the sensation of his cock hitting the back of his throat, combined with Chance's eagerness, was more than enough to bring him to the edge.

Chance felt the tension building in Guerrero's body, feeling the hand grasping his wrists squeeze tighter a second before he came, pulsing into his mouth as Guerrero groaned and shuddered.

For a moment Guerrero couldn't seem to move, then he slumped sideways onto the bed.

"Fuck! How are you so good at that?" he moaned.

Chance laughed, rolling onto his side so that he could observe Guerrero's blissed out stupor. "Must be natural talent, 'cause you're the only one I've ever done it to."

"Good to know."

Chance smiled, content to just lie there, tracing random shapes on Guerrero's thigh with his fingertips as he waited for him to catch his breath.

Guerrero raised his hand to his face, smacking into the glasses that he'd forgotten he was still wearing. "Shit!" He took them off and tossed them onto the nightstand behind him, before sitting up and rubbing at his eyes.

"Do you normally lose so many IQ points when you come?" Chance teased.

"No. Only when you suck them straight out of my dick," he replied, leaning in and kissing him. Chance responded enthusiastically, and for a while they were both lost in the hot slide of tongues and lips.

"I can't believe that that was what you wanted to do most," Guerrero said, pulling back to lay a trail of kisses along Chance's collar bone as his hand wandered down to his crotch, palming his erection through the cotton of his sweatpants.

"No, it was what I wanted to do first," Chance corrected him, lifting his pelvis to increase the friction between his cock and Guerrero's hand.

"So, what do you want to do next?" he asked, nuzzling against Chance's neck for a moment before sliding further down the bed, turning his attention to his belly button. Chance moaned as his tongue circled his navel, and then traced over his abdomen, just above the waistline of his pants. "Chance?"

"Uh… top drawer…nightstand…" he muttered, finding it hard to think with Guerrero's mouth in such close proximity to his dick.

Guerrero found what he was looking for straight away, and when Chance saw him holding the bottle of lube, he realised that he probably should have warned him as to what his intentions were.

"So, I guess you want to do it properly this time then," Guerrero said, his expression blank and unreadable.

"No, that's not what I… I don't want to… I mean I do, just not right now…in the future maybe, if you want to…"

"It's okay," Guerrero said with a fond looking half-smile which may or may not have been tinged with relief. "You just caught me a bit by surprise. Why don't you just tell me what you do want me to do with this cherry flavoured lube?"

"Shit!" Chance threw his arm up over his face, covering his eyes but failing to hide his embarrassment. "I swear I didn't notice it was flavoured!"

"Relax, dude. It's fine. I kinda like cherry."

Chance groaned, but didn't move his arm, so Guerrero moved it for him. Chance opened his eyes, and felt a little better once he saw Guerrero smiling down at him.

"How about we just pretend I didn't notice it was flavoured either, and you tell me what you had in mind?"

"Okay."

Chance still looked mortified, so Guerrero thought it might be easier to ask for whatever it was he wanted if he didn't have to make eye-contact. He had a pretty good idea of what it was, but if Chance couldn't bring himself to say it, the odds were that he wasn't ready to do it. There was no rush, so he began toying with Chance's nipples, pinching and rolling them between his fingertips and grazing them with his teeth.

The distraction seemed to work, and Chance began to relax a little, dragging his fingers through Guerrero's hair and letting out a contented little sigh.

"You said it felt good," he said, barely loud enough for Guerrero to hear, "when I… fingered you."

Guerrero smiled, resisting the urge to sit up and look Chance in the eye. "Yeah, it really did."

"I've never had someone do that to me," Chance said, his voice a little shaky. "But I want to try it. With you."

"We can do that," Guerrero said, risking a glance up at his face, glad that he did when he saw his expression, nervous but relieved that Guerrero wasn't freaking out. "I've not done this before either, so we'll take it slow, okay?"

Chance smiled and nodded, before pulling him into a slow, tender kiss. Guerrero gently pushed him back into the pillows, and kissed his way down the centre of his chest as he slowly slid Chance's sweatpants down and off, leaving him lying completely naked on the bed.

Guerrero took a moment to appreciate the sight of him laid out naked in front of him. He knew it was important for Chance to be relaxed, and seeing his cock lying rock hard, flush against his belly was just too enticing to ignore, so he settled in between his legs and took it into his mouth.

Chance moaned a little as Guerrero sucked him slowly, as if he was content to keep up the languid pace indefinitely. He barely noticed when Guerrero gently made him bend his knees and pushed them apart so that he was spread open and exposed. He only knew that Guerrero had discretely opened the bottle of lube and poured some onto his fingers when he caught the faint scent of cherries.

He tensed a little, braced for the shock of the cool wetness of the lube against his entrance, but Guerrero must have warmed it in his hands because when he felt something brush against him, it was warm and gentle, and nothing like what he'd been expecting. Guerrero maintained the slow, patient rhythm of his mouth on his cock whilst his finger gently stroked around and over his hole. He let Chance get used to his touch without applying much pressure, and he could feel him starting to relax.

Guerrero glanced up, about to ask Chance if he was doing okay, but he saw that his eyes were shut and he was biting his bottom lip, and decided that it was better not to drag him out of the moment. His jaw was beginning to ache a little, so he poured a generous amount of lube into his hands, warming it for a second, before sitting back and replacing his mouth on Chance's cock with his hand.

Chance's eyes opened just a little as he made the transition, and he let out a little moan of approval at the stronger sensation provided by the firm grip of Guerrero's hand.

Guerrero resumed his gentle massage of the firm ring of muscle, and gradually nudged just a fingertip inside him. When Chance didn't tense up, he pushed a little harder, and Chance sighed.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. It's a little weird but it feels kind of nice."

Satisfied that he wasn't hurting Chance, he began to work his finger a little deeper, before sliding it in and out a few times, and adding some more lube.

Chance could only consider asking Guerrero to do this because he trusted him completely, but he was still a little surprised by how gentle and patient he was being. He'd expected a lot more in the way of pain and discomfort, but the whole thing felt a lot more tender and natural than he'd thought possible. There was a bit of a burn when Guerrero introduced a second finger, but it was somehow a good sort of pain that soon eased into a sensation of being stretched that wasn't entirely unpleasant.

The real revelation came when Guerrero changed the movement of his fingers from a simple in and out to flexing and curling them. He quickly found his prostate, and when he did the sensation was intense, sending waves of pleasure through Chance's entire body. He was soon moaning, and pushing back against Guerrero's fingers, seeking out the contact that was wiping his mind clear of anything but the need for more, harder, now.

Chance was really starting to lose it, and Guerrero was half-hard again just from watching him buck against him, his spine arched and his hands grasping at the sheets as he moaned a halting stream of gibberish. The only word he could make out was his name, but even that was slurred. Had he not come so recently himself, Guerrero knew the temptation to fuck Chance, to bury his cock in the slick, clenching heat of his ass, would have been too strong to resist. He knew that although Chance was physically ready, and probably receptive to the idea, emotionally they were still in uncertain territory.

Chance's cock was impossibly hard and heavy in his hand as he worked it in a rapid counterpoint to his fingers caressing him on the inside, and as badly as he wanted to take him into his mouth and suck Chance dry, he wanted to watch him more.

Chance's orgasm was beautiful, and seeing it happen took Guerrero's breath away. As the waves of pleasure crested, then broke, every muscle in Chance's body seemed to go rigid, perfectly defined, and highlighted by the sheen of sweat glistening on his skin, only softened by the light dusting of hair on his broad chest and the thick tangle of curls at his crotch. He moaned, a guttural sound ripped from deep inside his chest, as Guerrero's hands coaxed surge after surge of hot, creamy fluid from his cock, making him shake uncontrollably.

Guerrero gradually slowed the movements of the hand still wrapped around Chance's cock, and carefully let his fingers slip out of his ass, but even these gentle movements made Chance twitch and whimper. Guerrero sat back, watching and waiting as Chance slowly regained control of his body and senses.

"Guerrero?" he said hoarsely, without opening his eyes.

"Yeah?"

"Get over here. Now."

Guerrero smiled, and stretched out on the bed beside him. Chance opened one sleepy, unfocused eye, and rolled onto his side, throwing an arm around Guerrero's waist and resting his head on his shoulder. Guerrero lifted his arm and tucked it around Chance's shoulders, letting him snuggle into his chest. Chance was obviously too boneless and spent to do anything about the sticky mess rapidly cooling on his stomach, so Guerrero used a corner of the sheet to wipe it up as best he could without disturbing him.

"G'rrero?"

"Yeah?"

"Thank you."

Guerrero smiled and kissed the top of his head. "Any time, bro."

Chapter Text

Chance had a pretty good internal clock, and when he woke up sprawled across Guerrero's chest it told him that it was somewhere between three and four am. He lay listening to Guerrero's steady heartbeat for a while, the slow rise and fall of his chest and the slight rasp to his exhale confirming that he was still fast asleep. Chance knew that any movement ran the risk of waking him up, but as soon as he thought about moving, he needed to stretch his legs, and the skin on his stomach began to itch where Guerrero's efforts to clean him up with the sheet had been less than thorough.

It was no good; he had to move.

He rolled away from Guerrero as gently as possible, but he still woke as Chance stood up.

"Chance?" he said sleepily.

"It's still early. I've got to use the bathroom. Go back to sleep."

Guerrero gave a soft grunt, rolled onto his side and promptly did just that. Chance smiled at the thought that he was so comfortable in his bed; he even seemed more relaxed there than he had been in his room downstairs.

Chance was wide awake now, but the harsh glare of the bathroom light dazzled him, a reminder that it was still ridiculously early to be out of bed. He relieved the pressure on his bladder, then stood at the sink, looking at himself in the mirror. He was a mess, his hair flattened on one side and sticking up at strange angles on the other; and the itchy residue on his stomach was clearly visible, making him scratch.

Aside from looking dishevelled, Chance was surprised to see something else in the mirror. It had been a lifetime since he'd felt anything like being at peace with himself, and yet there it was in his reflection staring back at him. Okay so maybe it wasn't complete peace, but it was certainly a lot closer than it had ever been before. Maybe it wouldn't last once subjected to the cold, hard light of day, but he knew what, or rather who, was responsible for him glimpsing it there in the mirror.

Chance had given up control of his body completely, trusting everything to Guerrero, and he felt like he'd been stripped down and rebuilt. He'd let go of the constant struggle to do or say the right thing, and stopped forcing himself into trying to be the impossible ideal, detached from the crimes of his past and all his flaws. Guerrero knew it all, but brushed it aside, showing him that he was also this man, the man who could give himself without reservation to someone else, and Guerrero could find the good in him. Guerrero had redefined him as someone worth being treated with care and devotion and…

The certainty that he was loved hit Chance like a physical blow, and he clung to the edge of the sink just to stop himself from doubling over. Guerrero didn't have to say it, and in all likelihood he never would, but Chance knew it all the same: Guerrero loved him. It wasn't something that had just happened either. It had taken them so many years, not to mention a man out of his mind with grief and the burning desire for vengeance, for their relationship to get physical, but in hindsight the love had been there, growing and strengthening between them, maybe even from the start.

To a casual observer it might seem that Guerrero was a selfish man who put his own interests in front of everyone else's, coveting money and his personal freedom above all, but Chance knew that wasn't true. If that was all he cared about Guerrero would have killed him as soon as he found him holed up with Katherine Walters, and he would still be working for Joubert. Chance had always known that if it had been anyone but him in that situation Guerrero wouldn't have hesitated in taking him out, but instead it had been a turning point for both of them. Guerrero chose to walk away from his lucrative arrangement with the Old Man, putting his own life at risk; and Chance, with Katherine's support, allowed himself to do what felt right and had disabled Guerrero, instead of doing what was strategically correct and killing him. Either of them could have ended the other that night, the openings were there, but they chose not to.

Ever since that point Guerrero had been putting Chance first, and Chance had either taken it for granted or not consciously noticed. Even after violence and humiliation of what Abiade put him through at the docks, Guerrero's only concern had been Chance's safety, Chance's wellbeing. He could have easily recuperated from his gunshot wound in the comfort of his own apartment, but he stayed because he knew Chance needed him close by. It was all startlingly clear to Chance now, so clear that it defied belief that he could ever have been so blind as to not see it before, to not understand the depth of what they meant to each other.

Chance made a vow to himself never to take Guerrero for granted again, and as awkward as it would undoubtedly be, a good start would be to tell Winston that there was something going on. He hoped that Winston wouldn't treat them any differently, but it was an important step to take to prove that he wasn't ashamed of what they were doing. It wasn't a dirty little secret and he shouldn't be treating it as such, not with someone as close to him as Winston.

Smiling at everything finally clicking into place in his mind, Chance turned the shower on, deciding that a quick wipe down with a wash cloth wasn't really going to cut it. It would be hours before Winston would arrive at the warehouse and Guerrero was sleeping soundly, so he could take his time. He knew there was little hope of going back to sleep, so a long leisurely shower, a pot of coffee and a movie or two would have to see him through the rest of the night. He'd wake Guerrero up in a couple of hours to give him the option of concealing from Winston that he'd spent the night upstairs sharing Chance's bed, something that, hopefully, they wouldn't have to hide for much longer.


Guerrero awoke to find the bed next to him empty. It was light outside but still early, and as he reached for his glasses he remembered waking up and Chance telling him to go back to sleep. Chance obviously hadn't come back to bed, and he wasn't sure what to make of that. He hoped Chance wasn't freaking out, although he could understand it if he was. Everything about the previous night had been intense, and Guerrero needed a moment to come to grips with it himself.

He would have fucked Chance last night if he could, and Chance would have let him. Somehow, even after everything else they done recently, that still shook him up. He couldn't kid himself that they were just fuck buddies or friends with benefits anymore; their self-inflicted emotional barriers had come crashing down and hiding behind them was out of the question.

Guerrero tried to think about it rationally, and although he could see that there was a kind of logic in falling for his best friend, it still had its dangers. Neither of them exactly had experience at being in a long-term relationship with anyone, let alone another man, and Guerrero wondered if that could be a positive thing. After all, if they had no definite expectations of how being in a relationship was supposed to go, they could just figure out what worked for them. Or they could try, assuming Chance wasn't hiding out somewhere having an emotional melt-down.

Well, there's only one way to find out, Guerrero thought as he got up and dressed himself in yesterday's clothes.

He found Chance in the kitchen downstairs, and from the way his face lit up when Guerrero walked into the room, it seemed as though he wasn't likely to freak-out anytime soon.

"Hey, you're up. I was just about to make you some tea and bring it up," Chance said.

Guerrero grimaced. "It's not that I don't appreciate the thought, dude, but I'm sick of lying in bed having things brought to me."

"I guess I didn't think of that," Chance laughed. "Maybe you should just make your own tea from now on."

"Might be best," Guerrero said, crossing the room and taking the mug from Chance's hand and placing it on the counter behind him. Chance slipped his arm around Guerrero's waist, and it seemed the most natural thing to do for Guerrero to slide one hand around the back of Chance's neck and pull him into a slow, easy kiss.

"I could get used to this," Chance sighed. "Not that it would ever get old."

"Yeah, well make the most of it," Guerrero said. "Winston's going to be here soon."

"About that," Chance said, looking serious. "I want to tell him about us. It doesn't seem right to keep hiding this from him."

"Okay." Guerrero nudged him out of the way so that he could get on with making his tea.

"You don't mind?"

Guerrero shrugged. "You were the one who didn't want to tell him in the first place. I don't really care if he knows or not."

"You're not worried about how he's going to react?"

"There's nothing he can say or do that's going to have any impact on how I feel about all this, so no. Why? Do you think he's going to talk you out of it?"

"No! Of course not! It's just, well, it's Winston. He's bound to have a lot to say about it."

"As long as I don't have to stand here and listen to it, I don't really care."

"Maybe I should talk to him alone then. You really don't mind?"

"I really don't mind. Now are you just going to stand around getting in the way, or do you think you could rustle us up some breakfast? I'm fucking starving here, dude."


Winston showed up just as they finished eating, and Guerrero made himself scarce. His vague excuse about having to 'go do that thing' wasn't exactly subtle and it immediately made Winston suspicious.

"What's he up to?" he scowled.

"It's not important," Chance said. "He knows I wanted to talk to you alone, that's all."

"No, he's up to something. I can tell," Winston insisted, staring at the doorway through which Guerrero had just left. "I thought you went and picked up some fresh clothes from his apartment."

"We did."

"Then why is he still wearing that shirt that he'd had on for the last three days?"

"That's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about." Chance took a deep breath. "He slept upstairs last night. With me."

"I knew it!" Winston said triumphantly.

"You did?"

"How long has that bastard been running up and down the stairs behind my back?"

"Uh, well technically just last night. Before that we, er-"

"Yeah, that you know about maybe! I knew he was milking that damn injury. He thinks he's so damn clever getting us to run around after him."

It dawned on Chance that there were two entirely different conversations going on at once, and Winston was focusing on the wrong one.

"Would you forget about Guerrero's foot for a minute. I'm trying to tell you something important!" Chance snapped. That caught Winston's attention. Chance never snapped at anyone.

"Sorry. What were you trying to say?"

Suddenly faced with Winston's full attention, Chance nearly lost his nerve, but he'd made up his mind and he wasn't going to back down now.

"Guerrero slept upstairs last night. With me. In my bed."

"Yeah, you said. But what does-" Winston stopped mid-sentence as he finally took in the last part of what Chance had just said. "You, er, spent the night together? As in together-together?"

Chance nodded.

Winston let out an explosive sigh and shook his head. "Shit."

Chance waited for a moment, expecting him to launch into a tirade detailing why exactly getting involved with Guerrero was a bad idea, but Winston just stood there looking a little shell-shocked.

"That's all you have to say? Just 'shit'?"

"Give me a moment here, Chance. It's a lot to take in."

Winston sank heavily onto a chair, still looking dazed, whilst Chance poured him a cup of coffee and sat down at the table opposite.

"I take this is a recent thing?" Winston asked. "I mean, it started after-"

"After Guerrero was shot, yeah," Chance interrupted. He doubted Winston would have actually said 'since you raped him' but he didn't want to risk it.

"Well I guess that explains all the time you spent in his room," he said mildly.

"We weren't, uh, you know, when you were here in the building."

Winston shuddered. "I should damn well hope not!"

Chance smiled, relaxing a little because Winston seemed to be taking the news a lot better than he'd expected.

"Don't worry, we're not planning on flaunting it. I just thought you should know."

Winston sipped at his coffee. "I didn't think either of you were even interested in men. You always did so well with the ladies."

"It was kind of news to us too," Chance admitted.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but are sure this is really what you want? What happened at the docks was a nasty business. Are you sure that you're not trying to, I don't know, rewrite what happened to make it somehow more acceptable?"

Chance's face darkened. "Nothing is ever going to make that more acceptable, Winston. I'm not denying that it played a part in us getting together, but in many ways we hooked up despite what happened, not because of it."

"Are you really sure about that, Chance? Post-traumatic stress can manifest itself in some pretty unexpected ways and-"

"It's not PTSD, Winston."

"But how can you be sure? You never even-"

"Trust me, I'm sure."

Winston went quiet, drinking his coffee, but Chance knew he was using the time to put together a fresh wave of arguments.

"You've always avoided serious relationships," he said eventually. "You were scared that if you let anyone too close they would be in danger and you wouldn't be able to protect them. I can see that being involved with Guerrero would solve that problem, because he can take care of himself, so-"

"Jesus, Winston! Do you really think I'm that calculating?"

"Maybe not on a conscious level, but-"

"It would be a whole lot more convenient not to feel the way I do about Guerrero. This hasn't exactly been an easy thing to get my head around!"

"So how do you feel about him then?"

Then question caught Chance off-guard, and for a second he just stared at him, struggling to put what he felt into words.

"It's complicated."

"So simplify it for me," Winston said. "Are you in love with him?"

Chance felt the heat rise into his face, and although he knew the answer to Winston's question it didn't feel right to just blurt it out. "That's between me and Guerrero," he said, folding his arms across his chest defensively.

Winston studied his face for a while, long enough to make Chance feel even more self-conscious. He was just about to stand up and leave, when Winston sighed.

"I can see you feel very strongly about this, and as you say: it's between you and Guerrero. It's not really any of my business."

Chance wasn't sure what to say, so he just nodded.

"I do appreciate you telling me though."

"It didn't feel right to hide it from you," Chance said.

"Well, full disclosure is one thing, but I'd rather you kept the, uh, physical mechanics of the relationship to yourselves."

Chance smiled. "Just knock before you walk into my room and we should be fine."


Winston's conversation with Guerrero was a lot more succinct.

"If you hurt him, I will kill you."

"If I hurt him, dude, I'll let you."


Even though Winston knew what he was looking for now, there were few outward signs that Chance and Guerrero were more than just friends. There were no obvious displays of affection, physical or otherwise, and the few lingering looks he saw them cast at each other would probably have gone unnoticed if he hadn't been watching them so closely.

It was an odd situation, and it was difficult not to feel like a third wheel. Chance tried to compensate by hovering next to him, ostensibly to help him sort through some old case files, which Winston found almost as disconcerting as Guerrero staying out of his way and leaving his lunch untouched in the refrigerator. It felt as if everyone was trying just a bit too hard to be nice, and Winston was actually longing for an argument just to restore some kind of normality to the situation.

By the end of the working day he'd had enough. If Chance was going to be so damn helpful, and Guerrero was going to keep his smart-ass remarks to himself, then Winston was just going to have to pick a fight himself.

Chance ducked out to pick up a few groceries, and by the time he'd returned Winston and Guerrero were a each other's throats.

"You deleted my entire inbox!" Winston bellowed.

"Dude, that was days ago, and you've only just noticed now?"

"I didn't know you'd deleted it all! I thought you'd just moved it around, like you have been doing with everything else around here!"

"I didn't delete anything personal, just the spam. You should be thanking me."

"It wasn't all spam. There was stuff I needed in there!"

"Like what?"

"There were money off coupons!"

Guerrero sniggered. "So you don't get a buck off your next pizza. I think you'll survive."

"Actually there was a 10% off coupon for a new set of tyres!"

"There's nothing wrong with your tyres, dude."

"No, but it's the principle of the thing! I might have needed new tyres and it would have cost me more 'cause you deleted my coupon!"

At that point Chance tried to step in and smooth things over by asking if there was some way that Guerrero could recover the deleted emails, but he flat-out refused, insisting that he'd done nothing wrong and that Winston should be grateful that he'd saved him the hassle of sorting through over 2000 spam messages.

Chance had asked Guerrero to rein in his usual caustic remarks for a while, and stay clear of Winston altogether if he couldn't resist the urge to be antagonistic, but Winston seemed determined to provoke him. Chance could see that Guerrero was enjoying the confrontation, but if Winston kept pushing the same argument over and over there was the danger that Guerrero would get bored and escalate the situation just for the hell of it.

"It's not just a few coupons though is it?" Winston yelled. "I'm sick of your cavalier attitude towards my money! I have to pay for the lunches that you steal from the refrigerator, and let's not forget the six hundred bucks I had to spend to get your car out of the impound!"

"Like I said at the time: you chose to pay the fine, dude. I only asked you to pick up the car."

"Winston, can I have a word?" Chance asked stepping forward and grabbing Winston's arm, steering him towards the relative safety of the kitchen.

Winston scowled as Guerrero smiled and gave him a mocking little wave goodbye.

"What the hell was all that about?" Chance asked. "I'm out of the building for ten minutes and I come back to World War Three!"

"He had no business deleting my emails," Winston grumbled.

"Is this really about 10% off a set of theoretical tyres? 'Cause if it is I know a guy who runs a-"

"What did you want to happen when you told me about you and Guerrero?" Winston asked.

The sudden change of subject caught Chance by surprise. "Huh?"

"Humour me for a moment. What was your best case scenario for what would happen when you told me?"

Chance thought about it for a second. "I guess that you wouldn't have a problem with it, and that nothing would really change. We'd just carry on as usual."

"Uh-huh, 'carry on as usual'. That's what I thought you'd say."

"So?"

"So why have you both been behaving like pod people?"

"I don't-"

"For Christ's sake, Chance, for someone who's so keen for things to get back to normal around here you've gone out of your way to make things weird!"

Chance frowned. "I just felt bad about having lied to you. I thought keeping Guerrero off your back for a while was the least I could do."

"No, the least you could have done was to carry on as usual!"

"I'm sorry I upset you, Winston. I was just trying to make things a bit easier for you."

"Nothing about working with you and Guerrero is ever easy," Winston sighed. "But we have a system, and it works. It's sometimes infuriating and more than a little messy, but we all know where we stand. If you start meddling with that it throws everything off balance."

"It sounds like you're worried that my relationship with Guerrero is going to be a problem," Chance said.

"Only if today's weirdness is indicative of how things are going to be. What you and Guerrero get up to on your own time is none of my business, but if you keep tiptoeing round me like you did today, we're going to run into some serious problems."

Chance thought about it for a moment, and it did seem to make sense. Guerrero wasn't likely to keep his remarks to himself for too much longer anyway, and there was only so much paperwork he could feign interest in himself without becoming a hindrance to Winston. It had been a nice idea to try and make Winston's life a little easier, but he could see now it was totally impractical and a little unfair on everyone involved.

"Okay," Chance said.

"Okay?"

"I see your point. I've been trying a bit too hard."

"It's not that I don't appreciate what you were trying to do…"

"I know," Chance smiled awkwardly. "But best intentions and all that."

"How about we just start again tomorrow?"


Chance found Guerrero working on his laptop in his room.

"You busy?" he asked, leaning against the door frame.

"Not really. Just looking over some books for a client. Guy's been fleecing his boss for months now."

"Who's the client?" Chance asked. "The boss or the thief?"

"At the moment, the thief. But the situation is flexible."

Chance nodded. It wasn't that unusual for Guerrero to switch sides mid job. Sometimes it was about the money, but not always. A favour owed by the right person could prove to be even more valuable in the long run.

"I talked to Winston."

Guerrero smiled and looked up form the screen. "So I take it this is the end of Operation Walrus?"

"Yeah, it turns out us being on our best behaviour is just too weird for him. Did you really delete all his emails?"

Guerrero sighed. "No, like I said: I only deleted a bunch of spam."

"You sure? He seemed pretty pissed."

"That coupon for new tyres he was bitching about expired two months ago, dude. And the rest of the coupons were just as useless."

"So why didn't you just tell him that?"

Guerrero smiled. "He wanted an argument so I gave him an argument."

Chance laughed and shook his head, realising just how much he'd misjudged the situation. Winston was right; it might not always be plain sailing, but there was a certain dynamic between them that worked well, and it was best not to try to tweak it into something different.

"Feel free to snark away tomorrow," Chance said. "But do me a favour and stay out of Winston's email for a while."

"It's a deal."

Chapter Text



The main reason Guerrero had agreed to Chance's request to stay out of Winston's way was simply because it was convenient. He'd let his own projects slide whilst he was waiting for his foot to heal, but it was time to get back on top of things. He'd been making steady progress until Chance interrupted. He should have just told Chance that he was busy, but he figured he'd be done soon anyway.

He tried to concentrate on the work in front of him but the figures kept swimming out of focus, and he was distracted by Chance's presence on the bed behind him. Chance was just lying there, flicking through one of the novels he'd found on the nightstand, but it was enough to wreck Guerrero's concentration.

They'd crossed a line the night before, and Guerrero couldn't shake the feeling that Chance was waiting patiently for him to finish working to see if they couldn't cross a few more now that Winston had left for the night. He stared at the screen without really seeing it, and thought about how close he'd been to fucking Chance. Coming clean with Winston about their relationship was a pretty major step for Chance, so maybe now was as a good a time as any to move things along to the next level. After the way Chance had responded to him the night before, he knew they both wanted it.

He decided to call it a night when Chance began to snore. It wasn't that surprising considering how early he got up that morning, so Guerrero left him to catch up on his sleep whilst he went to investigate the groceries. Chance wasn't much of a cook and Guerrero recognised the makings of mac and cheese, one of the only dishes he cooked on a regular basis. A quick search through the kitchen cupboards turned up the ingredients to make a more palatable dish, and by the time the pasta was ready Chance appeared bleary-eyed at the kitchen door.

"I was going to cook," he said, sounding a little put out.

"I saw that, dude."

Chance's mood improved once Guerrero handed him a steaming dish of pasta with olives and tuna, and they ate in companionable silence.

"This is a bit weird," Chance said.

"Not that weird. You had two helpings," Guerrero pointed out.

" No, I didn't mean the food. Us, sitting here. Being all…"

"Domesticated?"

"Yeah, I guess that's a good a word as any."

"Everyone has to eat, bro. And I've cooked for you before."

"I know. It just feels… different somehow."

"Don't, Chance. Just don't."

"What?"

"Don't start with the analysis, okay? We are who we are and that's not going to change just 'cause we're sleeping together."

"I suck at relationships. You know I'm gonna screw this up, right?"

"Stop trying so hard. It's just me, and I've known you forever, dude. It's gonna be weird for a while 'cause we're still getting used to this, but it's not necessary for you to keep making a huge fucking production out of everything."

"I'm just trying to be honest, Guerrero."

"Yeah, well how honest was it trying to manipulate Winston into being okay with this?"

"I wasn't trying to manipulate him!"

"Dude! You didn't even let him get used to the idea on his own terms! Instead you had to fucking meddle, trying to control all the variables, like you'd be able to make him be okay with it. Me and Winston get on just fine, or at least we usually do. He's either going to be alright with it or he won't; obsessing about it isn't going to make it any easier."

"I don't know what you want me to do."

"Just… be yourself. Only, try to keep a lid on the neurosis, and stop over-thinking everything. You're fine. We're fine Don't try so hard, okay?"

"I really want this to work."

"It will, if you let it." Guerrero watched him, waiting for a response.

"Okay," Chance sighed. "I get it."

Guerrero nodded, then got up and walked out, leaving Chance to clear up the dishes, proving that some things would never change.

Chance knew that Guerrero wasn't really angry with him, just frustrated that he was making things more complicated that he felt they needed to be. For Guerrero it was as simple as deciding that if they were going to be together, that's what they'd do and everyone else could just go fuck themselves. Chance wasn't looking for Winston's blessing, but he did need the re-assurance of knowing that he wouldn't be jeopardising their friendship by choosing to be with Guerrero.

Winston was committed to their work, and it was extremely unlikely that he would walk away from it just because of who Chance was sleeping with, but on a more personal level it could still cause a rift between them. Winston's attempts at rationalising away his feelings for Guerrero were pretty much what he'd expected, but Chance wished that he'd come up with a better explanation than 'it's complicated' when asked what exactly those feelings were.

At least Guerrero himself seemed to understand.

Chance half-expected Guerrero to be waiting for him upstairs, but once he'd finished tidying the kitchen and found that he wasn't, he assumed that he'd returned to his room to finish what he'd been working on. Deciding that crowding him probably wasn't a good idea, Chance stretched out on the sofa and flicked through the channels, looking for something to take his mind off what a mess he'd made of the day.


Later, when Guerrero hauled him to his feet, silencing his awkward apology by kissing him speechless and dragging him into the bedroom, Chance remembered how simple things could be when he let them. He could let go and Guerrero would still be there holding him, stopping him from fucking it all up.

They stripped each other's clothes away slowly, taking the time to caress every inch of exposed flesh, savouring the careful exploration of their bodies. There was nothing furtive or hurried in their actions because there was nothing they needed to hide anymore. Winston would rather walk over hot coals than return to the warehouse and interrupt them, so they had all night.

It seemed to Chance that they spent hours lying together naked on his bed kissing, sharing feather-light touches that mapped every sinew and muscle of each others bodies until every nerve ending was singing. The anticipation of a firmer, more rewarding touch was so great that when Guerrero bit down on Chance's shoulder, simultaneously squeezing a nipple between his fingertips, Chance cried out and very nearly came right there and then.

"Easy," Guerrero murmured, kissing the reddened patch of flesh that now bore his teeth marks.

"Can't help it. You make me crazy."

"Yeah? Well the feeling's mutual."

Guerrero rolled Chance onto his back and licked at the nipple that was enticingly hard and pink from being treated so roughly. Chance sighed, trying to drag Guerrero on top of him so he could at least feel the weight of his body pressed against him, but Guerrero stubbornly resisted, refusing to budge.

"What's the rush?" Guerrero asked, before turning his attention to Chance's other nipple.

"Want to feel you."

"Can't you feel me now?" he teased, running one hand along the inside of Chance's thigh, lightly cupping his balls and tugging on them gently.

Chance groaned and another surge flooded his already hardened cock making it twitch upwards. "Yeah, but I need more…"

"I know," Guerrero smiled, sliding his hand up and gripping the base of Chance's dick. "And I'm going to give it to you."

He leaned in and took Chance into his mouth, letting his hips buck and thrust but always maintaining the firm squeezing grip on his cock that ensured that he wouldn't be able to come until Guerrero let him. Chance's fingers were in his hair, stroking and rubbing at the back of his head, sometimes twitching and tugging painfully in an involuntary response to what Guerrero was doing with his tongue. Guerrero didn't mind, considering it a small price to pay to hear his name from Chance's mouth between gasps and moans of pleasure.

"Fuck! Are you ever going to let me come?" Chance all but whined.

Guerrero sat back on his heels. "Not yet. You need a moment?"

"Yeah. Just don't move your hand."

"If this is going to be a problem, I'm going to have to get you a cock ring," Guerrero smiled, joking right up to the point when Chance grunted and covered his hand with his own, making him squeeze down what must have been painfully hard on his cock.

Guerrero raised one eyebrow in surprise and Chance blushed.

"For the record, this is never usually a problem for me, but if you keep saying stuff like that, this is going to be over way too quickly."

"I'll take it as a compliment then."

Guerrero gave Chance a moment to regain his composure, thinking about his response to his suggestion. There was also his request to be held down whilst Guerrero fucked his mouth to consider. At the time he had just put it down to Chance wanting to reciprocate something Guerrero had done for him, but he was beginning to wonder if it was something more than that; he certainly seemed to enjoy it. Any form of bondage would have been an impossible kink for Chance to fully explore due to the level of trust required to put himself in such a vulnerable position. An image of Chance laying helpless and bound to the bed flashed through Guerrero's mind and he had to admit it did have a certain appeal. He decided that he would have to raise the matter with Chance at some point.

"Okay. I'm good," Chance said, easing his hand away from Guerrero's.

As soon as Guerrero's hand released his dick, Chance pulled him down on top him and locked his arms around his waist. He hooked his legs around Guerrero's and held him immobile as he kissed him.

Guerrero didn't even try to fight it, holding Chance's face between his hands and returning the kiss with equal fervour, biting and sucking at his lower lip. Chance grunted and deepened the kiss, sucking Guerrero's tongue into his mouth, and the whole world receded until there was nothing left but the urgent press of naked flesh and hungry mouths.

Chance eventually loosened his grip and began licking and sucking at Guerrero's neck. "Do you think we could use that lube again?" he asked softly.

"I was about to suggest it when you got all grabby," Guerrero protested.

"I didn't hear you complaining," Chance smiled, sucking Guerrero's earlobe into his mouth and biting it. Guerrero shivered, then sighed and rolled to the side so that he could reach the bottle on the nightstand.

Chance drew up his legs, with his feet planted flat on the mattress, spreading them a little further apart as Guerrero knelt between them.

"Tuck a pillow under your butt," Guerrero said, "Better angle."

Chance did as he suggested, although he looked a little self conscious about it.

"Don't look so worried," Guerrero said.

"Just feeling a bit on display here."

Guerrero smiled, thinking that was definitely a good thing, and ran his hands up and down the inside of Chance's thighs until he relaxed a little and let them fall open. He watched nervously as Guerrero opened the bottle and poured the lube onto his fingers, letting it absorb some of his body heat before smoothing it gently over Chance's entrance. He used the same light stroking motion that he'd used the previous night, and Chance soon relaxed into it, content to let Guerrero take his time.

Guerrero leaned in and began kissing his way along Chance's thigh until he was nuzzling and mouthing his balls. He sucked one then the other into his mouth in turn, licking gently as Chance whimpered, and clawed at the sheets. Chance's eyes rolled back in his head, his breath hitching a little as Guerrero gently squeezed them in the palm of one hand. He made a disgruntled little noise when Guerrero's fingers pulled away from his ass, only to gasp as they were replaced by something warm and wet that could only be Guerrero' tongue.

He raised himself up on his elbows, his eyes wide open in disbelief.

"Fuck! What the…?"

Guerrero lifted his head for a second. "I told you, I like cherry. Lie still."

Chance groaned and sank back onto the bed, shocked at what Guerrero was doing, but enjoying it too much to protest.

Guerrero alternated between using his fingers and his tongue, stroking and opening Chance up and reducing him to needy, incoherent sounds. He hadn't planned to do this, intending only a playful swipe of his tongue just to make Chance squirm, but he could almost taste the musky scent of his body beneath the cloying artificial sweetness of the lube. Chance's shocked but enthusiastic response was all the encouragement he needed to lick deeper, pushing his tongue inside him, face pressed to his groin inhaling the scent that was uniquely Chance beneath the smell of cherries.

The lube was what gave him the excuse to do this, but it was just a distraction now. He wanted to lick away every trace of it until it was all Chance, hot and musky, and his alone to taste. It was intoxicating and addictive in a way that was driving Guerrero steadily out of his mind with want and need. Chance spread his legs further apart, allowing Guerrero's tongue to dart deeper inside him, and his keening cries spurred Guerrero on past the point where his jaw ached until he was struggling to remember how to breathe.

When he finally drew back, drawing deep shuddering breaths, he had two fingers sliding easily into Chance. He was relaxed enough that there was only a little resistance when Guerrero twisted, adding a third finger, and Chance was pushing back at his hand, trying to drive Guerrero deeper inside him.

"Chance, I-"

"Fucking yes! I want you to… Please?"

Guerrero's hands were shaking a little as he slicked up his cock and lined himself up.

"Look at me," Chance said. "I want to see you when-" His voice faded into a broken cry as Guerrero slowly pushed inside him. Their eyes were locked onto each other, the only thing grounding Chance, steadying him against the onslaught of emotion and sensation as Guerrero stretched him, filling an emptiness inside him that ran soul-deep. It wasn't painful, not after the thorough way that Guerrero had prepped him, but it was intense and overwhelming, so much more than he had thought it would be.

Guerrero was sweating with the effort it took to take it slowly, his arms braced against the bed on either side of Chance's head, taking his weight. As Guerrero bottomed out, Chance ran his hands up the straining muscles of his arms, lacing his fingers together behind his neck and pulling Guerrero down to kiss him. It was urgent and messy, Guerrero was nearly knocked off-balance both by Chance pulling him down and with surprise that he was so eager to kiss him considering where his tongue had just been. Chance didn't seem to care, licking deep in to his mouth and wrapping his legs around Guerrero's waist, taking him as deep as he could and holding him there.

"You okay?" Guerrero asked when Chance finally let him up for air.

He nodded, his eyes wide and dark, staring up at him.

Guerrero brushed his lips against Chance's and began to slowly rock his hips. It wasn't the first time Guerrero had had anal sex, but it was the first time with a man and fuck, it was Chance, Chance, who was letting him do this, and that thought was as mind-blowing as the tight, slick heat of his body clenched around his dick.

Something wasn't quite right though. Chance's hands were gripping Guerrero's arms tight enough that there would be visible bruising later, but although he was making breathy little grunting sounds every time Guerrero's cock slid home - and God yes, it felt like home - he was far too quiet. Guerrero slipped an arm under Chance's left leg, lifting it up, and his next thrust was deeper, the angle subtly different, but enough to make Chance shudder and moan Guerrero's name.

The new angle meant Guerrero's cock was hitting Chance's prostate on every thrust, steadily ratchetting up the waves of pleasure radiating throughout his body. He wasn't sure that the desperate sounds that he could hear were even coming from his own mouth, or even if they were words, but Guerrero understood them, and thrust faster and harder.

Chance's eyes drifted away from Guerrero's face, watching the bunch and flex of his muscles as he channelled his strength into thrusting so deep into Chance that some part of him would never leave, permanently staking his claim on him, body and soul.

"Chance…"

He looked up into Guerrero's eyes and knew that Guerrero felt it too, the overwhelming sense of completeness.

"Chance, I can't… Want you to come with me…"

At first he couldn't make sense of what he was hearing. He wanted to tell Guerrero that he would go anywhere with him, that they'd never leave each other's sides, but he couldn't find the words. He stared dumbly at him for a moment, before Guerrero's eyes flicked down to his cock lying neglected against his belly, so hard that Chance knew it wouldn't take much to… oh right.

Understanding finally bloomed, and Chance closed his hand around his own cock and managed a couple of rough jerks before he came, his back arching off the bed as his orgasm seemed to tear through every muscle in his body. A split second later, Guerrero was coming too, crying out Chance's name, his thrusts stuttering, then stopping as his strength gave out and he collapsed panting on top of Chance.


It was impossible to tell how long they lay there, tangled together, reluctant and pretty much unable to move. Eventually Guerrero pulled himself together enough to extract himself from Chance's embrace, missing the warmth of his body as soon as he slipped free. He walked a little unsteadily to the bathroom and returned with a damp washcloth, carefully wiping the mixture of rapidly drying sweat and semen from their bodies. Chance caught him by the wrist and pulled him back onto the bed beside him, and Guerrero discarded the soiled cloth on the floor.

"I honestly didn't know it could be like that," Chance confessed, rolling on to his side to look at Guerrero, lacing their fingers together.

"I think that's the way it's supposed to be though," Guerrero agreed, "with the right person."

"Then you're definitely the right person."

"Good. I think we've established that your ass is officially mine," Guerrero grinned, giving said ass a playful slap. The way Chance took a sharp intake of breath, his face reddening when he saw Guerrero watching his reaction, was definite food for thought. More pressing was the need to sleep, and Guerrero's eyelids were already beginning to droop.

"I'm sorry," Chance said softly.

Suddenly Guerrero was wide awake. "What for?"

"I'm sorry that it wasn't like this for you. The first time. Your first time, I guess."

Guerrero exhaled slowly, unsure of how to reply. "It wasn't ideal, no."

"Jesus, Guerrero! Not ideal? It was-"

"It was you, Chance. That's the only part that matters to me."

Chance knew that was supposed to be reassuring, and in an odd way it was, although it was still difficult to face up to what he'd done to Guerrero.

"Anyway, the next time it will be different. More like tonight."

"You mean you'd actually consider it?" Chance asked. Besides the initial misunderstanding with the cherry lube, they'd never even talked about him topping Guerrero.

"I want to, Chance, but... I'm just not quite there yet, y'know?"

"I can wait. Or we can just keep doing what we did tonight. If you don't mind..."

Guerrero laughed. "I guess you were too preoccupied to notice, but fucking you? Not exactly a hardship, dude."

"Oh, I noticed!"

"Good. Now if you've finished yapping, maybe we can get some sleep."


In the morning Chance woke to find that he had curled himself round Guerrero in his sleep, one arm slung around his waist and his face nuzzling into his back. He snuggled a little closer and let out a contented little sigh.

"Hey, you're awake," Guerrero said, trying to roll over.

"No I'm not," Chance replied, tightening his arm around his waist a little. "You're imagining it. Go back to sleep."

Guerrero managed to turn to face him anyway. "Nice try, dude, but you're not exactly convincing."

Chance gave up the pretence of being asleep and opened his eyes. "Okay. You got me." He started to move in for a good morning kiss, but Guerrero turned his head at the last moment so it landed on his cheek instead of his mouth.

"Uh, aren't you worried about-"

"Ass breath?" Chance grinned.

Guerrero jabbed him in the ribs with a sharp elbow. "I was about to say 'morning breath' you douche! Way to kill the mood!"

"There was a mood?" Chance frowned in mock innocence.

Guerrero sighed. "If you're going to be this damn cheerful every morning I may have to reconsider staying the night. And yes, since you asked, there was about to be a mood. I was going to ask you if you wanted to join me in the shower."

"Oh. Well in that case you'd better let me join you so that I can apologise properly."

Guerrero looked thoughtful for a moment. "I guess that's fair."


The shower took a lot longer than it should have. Technically they were pretty clean after the first few minutes of soaping each other up, but after Chance's apology, delivered on his knees with Guerrero leaning against the shower wall for support, followed by a very slippery hand job for Chance, just to show there were no hard feelings, they pretty much had to start over again.

Once their teeth had been brushed there was plenty of kissing, and the 'ass-breath' comment wasn't mentioned again. Guerrero wasn't really as offended as he pretended to be, and Chance didn't want to do anything that would seriously hurt the odds of Guerrero doing that to him again. Chance hadn't hesitated in kissing Guerrero last night anyway, so they both knew he'd been joking.

Whilst they were eating breakfast, it occurred to Chance that there were all sorts of new sexual possibilities for them to explore together, and they'd barely even scratched the surface. Guerrero obviously had virtually no inhibitions, but Chance had little idea what kind of sexual fantasies he had. After last night, Chance was determined to surprise him at least once.

"What are you grinning about?" Guerrero asked, snatching the last piece of toast from Chance's plate.

"Actually, I'm not sure yet. But I plan to find out."

 

Chapter Text

The atmosphere in the warehouse was still a little strange but the situation had at least improved since Chance called off Operation Walrus. Winston was wary about walking in on them and tended to announce his presence loudly before entering a room, despite the fact that that neither Chance nor Guerrero showed physical signs affection towards each other when anyone else was around. It was an unspoken mutual decision that suited them both but Winston obviously wasn't going to take any chances. It amused Guerrero, and he wasn't above telling Chance loudly to put his clothes back on when he heard Winston's noisy approach, but Chance hated the idea of Winston not feeling comfortable being in the warehouse and told Guerrero in no uncertain terms to quit it.

The question of Guerrero's living arrangements was something that all three of them avoided addressing directly. It was obvious that Guerrero could have easily moved back to his apartment but he didn't, only returning there a couple of days a week to run a few errands and pick a few personal items. Chance never questioned him about his comings and goings; he knew the fastest way to drive him away was to crowd him. Chance was certain Guerrero didn't do wet work anymore but he also knew that there were still aspects about the work he did on the side that he probably didn't want to know about. Besides, if he did know what he was up to he might have to do something about it. A lot of things went unsaid between them but then again they always had so Chance considered it one of the perks of sleeping with a man he'd been friends with for so long. Women always wanted to talk about everything but with Guerrero there was never any pressure to hash out every little thing.

Still, there were things Chance wanted to know but was too afraid to ask, preferring uncertainty to the potentially painful truth. Mostly they were variations on one basic question: did Guerrero miss screwing around with women? It was the one thing that Chance knew he couldn't compete with, and he felt sure that it was what would eventually bring about the end of… whatever it was they now had. Even in his head Chance shied away from calling it a relationship. What they had before, their friendship, that was a relationship, something they both understood and could rely on. What they had now felt more tenuous and Chance couldn't rely on it always being there the way he always could with Guerrero's friendship. Even the knowledge that Guerrero loved him, in his own way, was not in and of itself reassuring, so Chance resolved to make the most of what they had whilst it lasted.

Surprising Guerrero was a great idea in theory but in practice Chance had no idea how to pull it off. A lifetime's worth of sexual experience went straight out the window when they'd started this thing and most of the time Chance was floundering, relying on Guerrero to take the initiative. He decided that a little more research was necessary but he was unwilling to run the gauntlet of the adult bookstore again, so he decided that he'd take his changes on surfing the 'net at the warehouse. He wouldn't be able to hide what he was doing, not from Guerrero, but he was hoping that he'd put it down to curiosity rather than a part of a specific plan on his part.

Searching the internet for ideas proved to be quite an eye opener but not in the way he'd hoped. He certainly learned a lot more about his own kinks, and there were a few things he'd definitely like Guerrero to do to him, but the majority of the ideas he found were pretty intimidating for a novice and not the kind of thing it was wise to spring on a guy, especially not when that guy was a former assassin with literally killer reflexes. Trying to extract information out of Guerrero himself was out of the question, especially if he wanted to surprise him. Although they'd talked about sex plenty of times over the years they rarely discussed specifics, and when they did it tended to be in reference to the woman's preferences or physical attributes. Knowing what Guerrero appreciated in a female sexual partner was of absolutely no use.

Chance wasn't in any way dissatisfied with their sex life, far from it, but his lack of practical experience bothered him. Most of the time he felt it was a good thing that they were working it out together but, aside from the brief misunderstanding over the cherry flavoured lube, Guerrero always seemed to take everything in his stride. Chance wanted to rattle him a little for once, to take him out of his comfort zone, but that was still tempered by his lingering guilt about what he still thought of as the rape. He wanted to surprise Guerrero but the thought of springing something on him that he might not be comfortable with was a real concern.

When he did finally come up with an idea it was brilliant in its simplicity, and all Chance had to do was wait for the right moment.


Winston had found them a job but he had a hard time selling Guerrero on the idea until Chance stepped in.

"Okay, so it's not exactly the kind of work we usually handle, but it's good money and it's only going to take a day or two, tops."

"Isn't this the kind of job we normally kick over to Harry?" Guerrero asked.

"Yeah, and nine times out of ten he screws it up and we end up getting involved anyway," Winston pointed out. "It makes more sense to take the job ourselves and get the full fee."

"And did I mention that it's a very generous fee?" Chance smiled.

Guerrero sighed. "Yeah, several times. It's just, running surveillance on a cheating husband? It's so-"

"Tacky?" Winston said.

"Boring?" Chance added.

"Well, yeah but I was gonna say pointless. Most of the time when a woman thinks her husband is cheating, he usually is. Either they have their suspicions confirmed and you've got to deal with a hysterical client, or you can't find any evidence of any wrong-doing and they try to stiff you on the fee 'cause they think you didn't look hard enough."

"Not going to be a problem with the Andersons," Chance said. "Mrs Anderson already has plenty of evidence that her husband is cheating on her. That part isn't in question. What she needs us to find out is whether or not he's been selling proprietary formulas to her rivals. She's unlikely to get much in the way of a divorce settlement but if she can prove he's been deliberately sabotaging her business she can still sue him for everything he has."

"What kind of business are we talking about?" Guerrero asked. "If the husband has been selling company secrets and business is bad, can she even afford to pay us now or are you looking at payment if and when she wins the court case?"

"She's good for the money. She's offered to pay half up front in cash."

"And we could really use the money right now, Guerrero," Winston added.

"Why are you avoiding my question?"

"What question?" Chance asked, radiating innocence.

"What exactly is the nature of Mrs Anderson's business?"


"Winston, this has to be the lamest job I've ever worked. And that includes the time I was hired to assassinate a poodle," Guerrero said. He was sitting in an unmarked van watching the surveillance feed from the department store they were staking out. Winston was doing his fifth circuit of the kitchen department, which proved to be every bit as uneventful as the previous four.

"Granny Anderson's Home Baked Cookie Company is worth millions, Guerrero," Winston muttered over the comms link, "and it's about to be worth a whole lot more when it buys out its main competitor. But that deal isn't going to go through if Scott Anderson sells the bestselling recipes to- Hold up, did you just say you were hired to assassinate a dog?"

"It was a slow week."

"But a dog? Someone paid you to kill a dog?"

"Yeah, wasn't as easy as it sounds either. The little fucker had round the clock security."

"But why-"

"Belonged to a tennis ace. Someone had a lot of money riding on her opponent in the final of a Grand Slam and wanted to make sure she was distracted and off her game."

"Did it work?"

"She lost in straight sets. My point is that cookie espionage is right up there with assassinating dogs when it comes to dumbass assignments, okay?"

"But it paid well? Killing the poodle?"

"Yeah."

"Well so does this, so quit bitching!"

After a minute or two's radio silence Guerrero started complaining again just for something to do.

"What's with all this cloak and dagger bullshit anyway? He could have just emailed the fucking recipes instead of arranging a cold drop in a public place."

"Maybe he's read a few too many spy novels, or maybe he's smart enough to know that e-mails can be traced by wiseasses like you! What does it matter anyway? All you have to do is sit there and watch the damn feed! I'm the one who has to hang around pretending to be interested in tableware! And where the hell is Chance?"

"Your guess is as good as mine. He just sent me a text saying he was running a little late but he'd be here in time for the drop."

"The idea was for us to alternate covering the kitchen department to avoid attracting attention!"

"You'd attract a lot less attention if it didn't look like you were talking to yourself, dude."

"If he doesn't turn up soon I'm going to have to buy something!"

"Then I suggest you move away from that two thousand dollar coffee machine 'cause that will take a serious bite out of your cut."

Guerrero was smirking at the sight of Winston fending off the advances of yet another sales assistant when he heard the backdoor of the van inch slowly open. Acting on instinct he reached for his gun, aiming at the door, but when it swung open Chance climbed inside and closed it quietly behind him.

Guerrero holstered his weapon. "What the-"

Chance shook his head and put a finger to his lips.

"Guerrero?" Winston hissed. "Is something wrong?"

"Uh, no. Just found the other half of that sandwich I lost down the back of the seat," Guerrero said aloud before mouthing to Chance: What are you doing?

Chance grinned at him and mouthed back: Trust me.

Guerrero was about to hit the switch that would cut the microphone on his headset but Chance stopped him with another shake of his head.

"This is getting ridiculous, Guerrero! Where the hell is Chance?"

"Just go browse through the table linen again. The sales assistant is dealing with an irate customer so you should be good for ten minutes. Chance probably isn't far away."

There wasn't enough headroom for Chance to stand up in the back of the van but rather than sitting down next to Guerrero on the bench seat he dropped to his knees and slid the computer off Guerrero's lap and onto the seat. Guerrero had a suspicion as to what Chance had in mind, and he pointed at his headset and raised an enquiring eyebrow. Chance shook his head and made a gesture that indicated that he should leave it on. Guerrero's eyes went a little wide as Chance nudged his legs apart and slowly and silently began unbuckling his belt.

"Did he say where he was going?" Winston asked.

"No, just that he had something important to take care of," Guerrero replied, trying to keep his voice level as Chance popped open the button and began easing down his zipper. He had no idea what had brought on Chance's wanton behaviour but the fact it was unexpected and inexplicable only made it hotter.

"I know this job isn't exactly up to Chance's usual adrenaline junky standards but is it too much to expect him to actually grace us with his presence?"

Guerrero bit his lip, stifling a sigh as Chance's hand slipped into his pants, coaxing his already semi-erect cock into full hardness. When he didn't reply to Winston's largely rhetorical question Chance stopped and gave him a nudge to the ribs and pointed to his headset.

"He's just running a little late. He'll be here giving it his all any minute now. Stop getting your panties in a twist."

Guerrero barely even heard Winston's grunted reply; he was too distracted by Chance, who gave him an approving smile before leaning in and taking his cock into his mouth. Winston, however, did not miss the muted moan that escaped from Guerrero's mouth as Chance started to bob his head, mercilessly skipping the usual preliminaries and starting to suck him off with a slow, steady determination that made Guerrero's balls ache. He raked his fingers through Chance's hair and was rewarded by Chance looking up at him, dark-eyed and beautiful with his mouth full of his cock, and he very nearly lost it right there and then.

"Guerrero?"

"Yeah?" Guerrero's voice came out rough and pitched a little lower than usual, but considering what Chance was doing to him he considered it close to miraculous that he could even reply. The pressure to keep quiet, to not give away any sign of what was happening, was heightening his arousal, honing the sensations to a razor sharp edge of searing pleasure that cut straight to his core. It was exquisite torture not to be able to cry out or tell Chance how good it felt and how amazing he looked. All he could do was run his fingers though Chance's hair and stroke his head, hoping that the gentle squeeze of Chance's hands on his thighs was an acknowledgment of all the things Guerrero couldn't say out loud.

"Did you just moan?"

Guerrero shut his eyes, hoping that he'd manage a more convincing answer without the visual distraction of Chance on his knees. "I, er… just spilled my soda on the keyboard. Nothing to worry about…"

"Jesus, Guerrero! You're supposed to be monitoring the surveillance not having a damn picnic! You are cleaning that van when we get back to the warehouse, before it gets infested with bugs. I am not spending the next job fighting off giant ants and cockroaches attracted by all your crap left lying around the van!"

"Uh-huh." It wasn't much of a reply but it was the best Guerrero could do.

"Are you even listening to me?"

"Sure. Giant bugs. You're going to clean the van."

"That's not what I- No, no thank you I don't need any help I'm just browsing thanks."

Winston had obviously just been waylaid by another sales assistant and either Chance was already wearing his earpiece or it was sheer dumb luck, but the timing was perfect. Chance's fingers encircled the base of Guerrero's cock and his hand and mouth worked together, upping the tempo of his movements. Even as Winston's voice droned on in his ears trying to persuade the shop assistant that he really was just that indecisive, Guerrero was losing the battle to stay silent and the microphone was beginning to pick up on his laboured breathing. As he felt the building pressure of his imminent release he knew that he couldn't meet the challenge Chance had set him, and that the second Winston was no longer distracted by the sales assistant he would pick up on the noises coming through his earpiece.

He grabbed the microphone on his headset, hoping to at least muffle the sound of his voice, and with the other hand he clung to Chance's shoulder as he came.

"Fuck!"

He managed to reign in the torrent of expletives that were fighting to be let out, hoping that the one that escaped would sound more like an expression of anger or pain rather than the cry of a man who'd just come in his lover's mouth.

Once he'd sucked him dry, Chance sat back, wiped his mouth and grinned before climbing out of the van without saying a word.

Guerrero sat struggling to get his breathing back under control before carefully removing his hand from his microphone. His hands were shaking as he tucked himself away and did up his jeans and belt. Miraculously Winston still had his hands full with the shop assistant who seemed to think a couple more minutes giving him the hard sell would yield positive results.

The last few minutes had already taken on a surreal quality, and but for the fact that his body was still buzzing and sweaty, it would have almost been easy to write them off as a vivid daydream. Chance hadn't spoken a single word aloud, just bowling in, blowing his mind and taking off again. As Guerrero picked up the laptop and resumed the tedium of watching the security feed from the store he smiled. Chance had just upped the ante which definitely called for payback.


Once Chance finally showed up, flushed and a little out of breath, the rest of the job went pretty smoothly. Chance only had to feign interest in coffee makers and espresso machines for ten minutes before Scott Anderson showed up, conspicuous in a baseball cap and dark glasses with his collar pulled up to hide his face. He placed an envelope in in a display model microwave, a drop so obvious that Chance had to run interference with the pushy saleswoman who'd been badgering Winston just to make sure that Anderson's contact got to it first.

Winston tailed Anderson out of the store, and as soon as he reached the street Guerrero pulled up in the van and they bundled him inside before he really knew what was happening. Chance followed the guy who picked up the envelope but didn't bother detaining him. He waited until the guy got back to his car, climbing in the passenger side as the man checked the contents of the envelope. The poor guy looked about ready to pee his pants, and thrust the envelope into Chance's hands before he'd even finished asking for it. Chance reached across and took the guy's wallet out of the inside pocket of his jacket and took a look at his driver's licence, telling him that if Mrs Anderson had any further problems with stolen recipes his would be the first door he knocked upon.

After twenty minutes in the back of the van with Guerrero Scott Anderson decided that it would be a nice idea to sign over seventy-five percent of his assets to his soon to be ex-wife, saving her the bother of a costly court case.


"What do you want, Chance?" Winston asked, not bothering to look up from the coffee machine brochure that was spread out in front of him.

"Peace offering," he replied, walking in a placing a cup of coffee by his elbow. "I thought it might go well with the cookies Mrs Anderson sent over but I see I missed the boat on that. You do know that they were for all of us, right?"

Winston glanced at the empty gift basket on his desk and was genuinely surprised to find it empty. "Huh. Well seeing as I was the only one who actually did anything on this job I think I can live with having eaten your share."

"I was only a little late, and I did say I was sorry," Chance said, folding his arms in an unconscious defensive gesture.

Winston sighed and closed the brochure. "I have this sneaking suspicion that if I asked you why you were running so late I wouldn't like the answer."

"So don't ask," Chance shrugged.

Winston stared at him for a moment but Chance's face gave nothing away.

"I know this thing with Guerrero has helped you turn things around, and I'm even willing to admit that it might be doing the both of you some good." Winston took off his reading glasses and placed them carefully on his desk. "But if it means you're losing your focus, that you're not taking what we do seriously, I can't in good conscience send you out on jobs where people's lives are at stake."

"I understand your concern but you've got nothing to worry about."

"I hope you're right."

Chance smiled. "If I were you I'd be more worried about Guerrero finding out that you scarfed all the cookies."

Winston winced as he looked at the empty gift basket. "I'm never gonna hear the end of this, am I?"

"Nope."

Chapter Text

The stunt in the van was so typically Chance, impulsive and reckless, putting everything on the line before taking off to avoid having to apologise or explain. Guerrero recognised its significance on Chance's part, understanding that such a bold move wouldn't have been easy for him. From Guerrero's perspective it had been perfect though, a sign that Chance was starting to gain confidence, and that the blow job itself ranked right up there as possibly the best in his not uneventful sex life didn't hurt either.

Chance had been spending a lot of time online recently, and Guerrero wasn't surprised to find that he'd been trawling sites that offered advice and tips for gay men. What was more interesting were the porn sites he'd accessed, in particular which videos he watched repeatedly. They confirmed some of the suspicions Guerrero had been harbouring since he made that comment about getting Chance a cock ring, and although he was pretty sure that Chance would never come right out and ask him to do some of the things he'd seen in those videos, the repeated viewings spoke for themselves.

As tempting as the idea was of simply handcuffing Chance to the bed and seeing just how he responded to some of the techniques he'd been drawn to watching online, Guerrero preferred to bide his time. As far as Chance was concerned Guerrero's payback for the silent blow job was dealt out when Guerrero lured him down to the garage under the pretext of needing some help replacing a faulty security camera. Chance found that he couldn't say no to Guerrero, not after he'd already slipped a hand into his pants and told him exactly what he had in mind.

In all honesty he'd forgotten Winston was even in the building by the time Guerrero's slick fingers were working inside him, opening him up. It was only Guerrero's hand hastily clamped over his mouth that stopped Chance from crying out loud enough to alert the entire block what they were up to when those fingers were replaced by Guerrero's cock breaching him so fast and deep that his legs nearly gave out. Winston was waiting impatiently upstairs to check the feed on the new camera as Guerrero had Chance bent over the Eldo, fucking him so hard that Chance accidentally ripped off a windshield wiper as his hands scrabbled for purchase on the hood of the car. That mistake was met with an outraged "Dude!" and a slap on the ass from Guerrero, and Chance came over the hood of the Eldo with a helpless moan, and Guerrero followed not long after.

There was definitely something liberating about a fast, dirty fuck sprawled over Guerrero's beloved car, although he didn't really twig to how much he was getting off on being in a submissive position until he snapped the windshield wiper and he felt the sting of Guerrero's hand. The force of his sudden orgasm wiped his mind completely for a minute or two but when he regained his senses he was all too aware of what had tipped him over the edge and he was a little unnerved by it. Guerrero laughed off the damage to his car, saying that he'd been willing to lose a limb to get Chance into bed so what did a windshield wiper matter in comparison? Chance was relieved that he'd chosen to focus on the damage to the Eldo rather than his response to being slapped, although there was something about the thoughtful look in Guerrero's eyes that made him think that his reaction had been filed away to be investigated further at a later date


.

"What took you so long?" Winston demanded the second they stepped out of the elevator.

"Had a few problems with the wiring," Guerrero lied smoothly.

Winston wasn't buying it. "Yeah, like what?"

Guerrero didn't bat an eyelid at Winston calling his bluff and launched into a complicated technical explanation that was next to impossible to follow. It sounded impressive though and Winston couldn't really question what he didn't understand. Chance somehow managed to keep a straight face when Guerrero shamelessly worked a few Stargate quotes into his explanation but Winston's eyes had already glazed over by then and the references to naquadah sailed straight over his head.

Chance felt bad that they'd used Winston twice now to provide element of danger of being caught in the act, especially as he'd had every intention of keeping his promise to keep what he and Guerrero got up to behind closed doors. The important thing was that they'd apparently gotten away with it, even if Chance had to put a bit of effort into walking normally. He kind of liked that he was a bit sore, and the way Guerrero always managed to catch his eye as Chance sat down never failed to send a thrill through his body as he knew they were both thinking about the exact reason for his discomfort.


Guerrero silently moved spanking up a few places on his mental 'Things to do to Chance' list.


Winston finally landed them a case Guerrero had to put his plans for Chance on hold for a while. A bestselling writer with extensive connections to some of the West Coast's most notorious crime bosses had received death threats, threats she only began to take seriously after she returned from the supermarket to find twenty pounds of offal strewn across her front lawn. She refused to go to the police, knowing that doing so would spook her contacts and risk making herself even more of a target than she already was.

Chance was apprehensive from the moment Kitty Benoir strolled into the office impeccably dressed in a designer outfit, the cost of which would have probably covered the mortgage on the warehouse for a month or three. Everything about her screamed wealth but she still had that difficult to define social grace that Guerrero tended to refer to as class. It was all too easy to imagine him falling for her flawless 1940's pinup look, and the way she flirted with Winston revealed at least part of the reason she'd managed to befriend so many influential people in the still predominantly male world of organised crime. The slight Southern drawl was probably what irked Chance most as it hadn't taken much digging to discover that she was born and bred in Iowa. Chance recognised a con-woman when he saw one, and although he knew Guerrero was just as likely to see through the performance as he was, he was concerned that it would only add to her appeal.

Winston lapped up her act like the cat with the proverbial cream, enjoying playing the part of the gentleman, holding open doors and guiding her solicitously to a seat in his office. It was behaviour that would normally have led to Chance and Guerrero rolling their eyes behind his back accompanied by a snicker or two but Guerrero was disturbingly well behaved, hanging back and fading into the background so well that Winston skipped him in the introductions. Not that long ago Guerrero would have been quite open in showing his appreciation of her slender legs and deep cleavage, and just because he didn't do so didn't mean that he hadn't noticed her very obvious charms. Chance thought that his restraint had more to with consideration for his feelings than any new-found sense of professionalism, but beneath the surface he knew Guerrero had to be attracted to her, and that hurt.

She brought with her a large box of files containing all the recent threatening mail she'd received in the hopes that within lay a clue to who was behind the death threats. Even at a glance Chance could see that there were too many letters from multiple senders to be of any immediate use, although Winston still promised to have them examined for prints and trace evidence. The common theme in the letters seemed to be moral outrage at the glamorisation of crime and violence in Benoir's books, which Chance suspected was par for the course to a successful writer of crime fiction.

"I understand your predicament, Miss Benoit," Winston said earnestly, "and I believe we can help you."

"Please, Mr Winston, call me Kitty," she all but purred at him.

I suppose she'd have a hard time maintaining her femme fatale persona as plain old Carol Lynne Baker, Chance thought, but Kitty? Seriously?

"Have you any idea who might be behind the threats made against you?"

"Quite honestly, no. I don't."

"Really?" Chance asked, earning him a sharp look from Winston. "I mean, you rub shoulders with mob bosses and the heads of crime syndicates, all of whom are in direct competition with each other, and that's never caused you any problems?"

Kitty Benoir had to twist around in her chair to face Chance and he made no effort to move into her line of sight. Somehow she still managed to make her awkward position look elegant, as if she were posing for a photographer.

"I can assure you that I am regarded as neutral as Switzerland, Mr Chance. I have cultivated personal friendships with some very powerful men in order to better understand the psychological and social relationships within the world of organised crime. It provides an insight that lends a deeper truth to my fiction that other writers can only dimly grasp."

"And these powerful men, they don't mind being studied?"

Kitty smiled. "Not at all. My friendship has become a status symbol of sorts, so much so that I have to carefully allocate my time so as not to be seen to be favouring any one above the rest."

"So perhaps whoever is threatening you is more concerned about being ignored than angry about being included in one of your books," Winston said.

"Although I draw inspiration from real people, all of my work is pure fiction. No one is ever really included in my books."

"Maybe someone has trouble making that distinction," Chance said.

"Yes, I suppose that is possible."

"You've really never used real events as part of the plot for one of your books?" Chance asked.

"I assume you are referring to the Turnpike Murders?"

Chance nodded.

"That was proved to be a case of life imitating art, Mr Chance," she said, her chilly tone confirming that Chance had hit a sore point. "Not vice versa. My computer was hacked and the manuscript of the book I was working on was leaked on the internet. The murders were staged to imitate the plot of my book which was not published until several months later. I was cleared of any wrong doing by the police. I can hardly be held accountable for the acts of a deranged fan, can I?"

"Families of the victims might not see it that way," Guerrero said from the doorway. "Seems like we've got quite a large pool of suspects here."

"Whoever it is, I want it dealt with quickly and discretely," she said. "Things could get very out of hand if my friends decided to intervene on my behalf."

Guerrero smiled, stiffing a laugh.

"Something amuses you, Mr…?"

"Guerrero, and yeah, it does if you really consider these people to be friends."

Her eyes widened and she gave the first genuine smile since she'd arrived. "I had heard rumours… Please forgive me, Mr Guerrero. I am familiar with your reputation but alas nobody could be persuaded to provide me with a physical description."

"Didn't notice him lurking?" Winston said. "He does that a lot."

"I would be honoured, Mr Guerrero, if you would consider-"

"I don't do interviews," Guerrero interrupted.

"I quite understand, but-"

"Perhaps we should focus on your case first," Winston said smoothly.

Kitty hesitated, obviously reluctant to drop the idea of charming Guerrero into a private audience, before nodding. "Yes. Of course."


It was decided that Kitty would stay in the Devonshire Grand in San Francisco rather than return to her home in LA, so as to make the most of the hotel's in house security and surveillance. The head of security was an old buddy of Winston's from the force, and all of his staff had been handpicked, rigorously trained and subjected to in-depth background checks. Staying at the Grand was prohibitively expensive for many of Chance's usual clients but Kitty Benoir could afford it and she booked herself in to a suite. Chance's cover was to be her new driver and personal assistant, a position she suggested Guerrero might take until Winston convinced her that his skills would be better put to use in an investigative role.

Chance wasn't exactly pleased with the prospect of spending so much time in her company. It wasn't just her interest in Guerrero that bothered him, or the idea that Guerrero was probably attracted to her, there was something else, something much harder to define. He could understand the necessity of her having to keep her cards close to her chest, especially if she really did have the connections she boasted of, but her mask never slipped to reveal any genuine emotion beneath, except perhaps when she had heard Guerrero's name. He asked Winston to delve further into her background whilst Guerrero looked into her hate mail, hoping that a better understanding of her past might shed light on what she was really up to.

Despite having been briefed as to how Chance preferred to work, melting into the background in order to make the client seem vulnerable so the threat made itself known, Kitty Benoir seemed reluctant to put herself out there. She was content just to stay within the hotel, firing endless questions at Chance about his work, his clients and, of course, Guerrero. He refused to be drawn into conversation about anything other than her own case, and after a couple of days of her venturing no further than the hotel bar he issued her an ultimatum: start doing things his way or find someone else to help with her problem. After that she began venturing out into the city, attending public engagements and shopping at exclusive boutiques, but there was still no sign of anyone prepared to carry out the death threats she'd been receiving. Winston and Guerrero were having little luck sorting through her mail either, and the whole case was starting to look more and more like a wild goose chase.

He watched her, waiting to see if there was more beneath her flawless façade but she gave nothing away. He once caught her without her make-up on and her hair curled into the Veronica Lake style she favoured, and was vaguely annoyed that she was still a natural beauty without having to make a concerted effort. After nearly a week following her every movement it was a relief when a man tried to knife her in the elevator.


"Something about this doesn't feel right," Chance said to Guerrero via his cell phone as the police arrived and took Miss Benoir's statement. Guerrero was at the warehouse running the name of the man Chance had disarmed and restrained in the elevator. "Has this guy even got any priors?"

"Just looking now." Chance could hear the clatter of Guerrero's fingers hitting the keyboard as he typed. "Matthew Smith, age twenty-seven. Most recent offences have all been drug-related. Possession rather than dealing. Nothing hard-core, just a bit of weed. He was arrested a couple of times for taking part in rallies in support of legalising cannabis. Going back further… huh."

"What?"

"Seems he's an animal lover. Did some time for breaking into a research lab and liberating all the rabbits that were used for testing cosmetics. He's got a bunch of social networking profiles that he hasn't updated in a while. Mostly posts in favour of veganism and animal rights."

"Shit. Maybe he's not our guy."

"Having seen his blog entry arguing that rats have souls, it does seem unlikely. The dude is a seriously old-school hippie. Did the attack seem genuine?"

"Yeah, I have a few doubts about that. Why make his move in a confined space? I was right there. He must have known that even if he managed to get Benoir he'd still have to deal with me. He had no escape route planned."

"You think it was a set up?"

"She took it all very calmly. In fact she's spent more time trying to make me talk about you than she has worrying about her life being in danger."

"Really?"

Perhaps Guerrero was just amused by the idea of having a fan but Chance could read all sorts of things in to that one word and his stomach clenched at the thought that Guerrero might return the woman's interest. The only good thing about having to follow her around all week was being able to make sure she didn't return to the warehouse and spend a single second alone with Guerrero. Chance had tried to hide her on-going fascination with him but now that Guerrero knew he was worried that he might actively seek out her company.

"I don't think Matthew Smith was ever really a threat to her. I wouldn't be surprised if she drops the charges against him and he suddenly comes into a bit of money. The whole thing might have been a ploy so she could meet you."

"Even if that's true, it doesn't explain the offal in her front yard."

"No, and that's what's bugging me."

"You think she made that part up?"

"That's what I need you to find out. We need to know if there is a genuine threat to her life or not."

"Okay. I'm on it. What are you gonna do?"

"Once the cops have finished taking statements I'll see what she has to say for herself."

"If you want to bring her back here I could-"

"No!" Chance winced as his voice sounded much harsher that he'd intended. "If someone is still out to get her it makes sense to keep her out in the open until he makes his move."

"Right." Guerrero paused. "Chance, is everything okay? You seem a bit off."

"I'm fine. Just a bit fed up of living in a permanent cloud of Chanel No 5."

"I'll call you when I have something."

Chance didn't find Kitty Benoir's tearful account of the attack particularly convincing but the detectives taking her statement didn't seem to find anything amiss. One of the uniforms who showed up to take Smith away even asked for her autograph, his ears pink with embarrassment as she smiled bravely and signed 'to San Francisco's finest' on a sheet of hotel notepaper. The young officer was delighted, especially by the three kisses she added beneath her name. Chance gave a short statement too, confident that the cover ID Guerrero had provided for him would stand up to a police background check.

Once the police left Kitty poured herself a whisky from the well-stocked bar and sank down on a sofa. It was the first time Chance had seen her drink anything stronger than a white wine spritzer and there was something satisfying about seeing her finally crack. He poured himself a bourbon and leaned against the bar, waiting for her to speak.

"At least it's finally over," she said.

"Did it work out the way you hoped?" Chance asked.

"What an odd question," she replied, frowning. "Of course I'm happy that man didn't stab me!"

"There was never any chance of that happening though, was there?"

"I should hope not, Mr Chance. After all, I'm paying you very well to make sure that it didn't happen!"

Chance nodded. There was definitely something else going on but he decided to wait for confirmation from Guerrero before pushing her further.

"What will you do now?" he asked.

"I have no immediate plans. I think I might stay in San Francisco for a while, do a little research for my next book. Mr Winston was kind enough to offer his time to show me around some of the city's less frequented areas, off the beaten track as it were."

He knew it was too much to hope that she'd just slink back to LA. Spending time with Winston would give her an excuse to return to the warehouse and have another crack at talking to Guerrero. Whether her interest in him was professional or personal didn't much matter to Chance; she was everything that Guerrero liked in a woman: intelligent, classy, beautiful and probably up to no good, and he hated the thought of all that temptation seducing Guerrero away from him. Spending the best part of a week away from Guerrero hadn't done his confidence much good either. The few times they'd talked it was away about the case, which didn't really mean anything because neither of them were much for talking about their feelings, but Chance still ached to hear a simple 'miss you' or 'hurry up and get back here already'.

Chance was saved from having to formulate a polite comment on Kitty's plans by an incoming call on his cell.

"Hey dude. The story about the sheep guts in her garden checks out. There's a complaint on file from one of her neighbours, reported it as a health hazard. And you were right about the latest notes. Pigs blood. Not that that really helps. It's easy enough to get hold of from a butcher's shop."

"Okay. Anything on Smith?"

"No unusual activity on his bank account but his sister paid in $10,000 dollars in cash last week. Could be a payment from Benoir that they were trying to hide from the cops. Us too probably."

"Thanks."

"No problem."

Chance dropped his phone back into his pocket and watched his client's unsuccessful attempt to look disinterested in his phone call. She finished her drink, placing the empty glass on the small table beside her and smoothed her hands over her skirt.

"I'm sure the police will be able to deal with Matthew Smith. There's really no need for you to pursue this…"

"I thought the idea of getting us involved was to avoid involving the police."

"I didn't want to be part of an active investigation but now that the man has been apprehended their involvement seems unavoidable."

"And you're happy for it to go to court? You'll give evidence and see him prosecuted for attempted murder?"

"Well, I-"

"Because that seems a little harsh considering he was only doing what you paid him to do."

She stared at him for a moment, cold and unflappable, before laughing softly. "I really shouldn't be surprised that you saw through my little ruse. It was rather lacking in sophistication…"

"So why do it?"

"How could I resist? A man rumoured to be an assassin, a man whose name is spoken in hushed tones with one eye on the doorway by men who should fear no one, a man working beneath the radar of the authorities to influence and manipulate events in his clients' favour. A man who-"

"Okay. I get the picture. This was an attempt to get close to Guerrero."

She laughed again. "No. Guerrero was a delightful surprise. I had heard of him, of course. He does have quite the reputation but his motivations are equally well known. His services are, and always have been, for sale to those who could afford them. No, I am more interested in the legend of Christopher Chance."

Chance frowned. He so hadn't seen that coming. "There's no legend, Miss Benoir, just me."

"And who are you? Christopher Chance the fifth? Sixth? Records of your predecessors are sketchy at best, but from what I can tell there has been an active Christopher Chance in your very particular line of work for a very long time."

"So?"

"So you're obviously not in this for fame or money. What drives you to do this? Who were you before you assumed the name Christopher Chance and why did you choose this life? I am primary a student of human nature, Mr Chance, and you and your predecessors are something of an irresistible enigma."

Chance took a deep breath and let it out in a heavy sigh. "I can't give you the answers you want, so let's just get to the point."

"Can't or won't?"

"First of all, you need to drop the charges against Matthew Smith. We have proof that you paid him to fake the attack anyway."

"That was always my intention, but I am a little concerned that he went beyond the boundaries of the brief I gave him. Covering my garden with animal entrails speaks to a deep rooted psychological-"

"Would you please cut the pop psychology crap for a moment, Carol Lynne? I'm well aware that you flunked that class twice at Community College." The colour drained from her face and her mouth hung open in surprise; Chance didn't feel the slightest guilt at the satisfaction he felt at witnessing her shock and discomfort. He'd had about as much as he could take of her bullshit and he wanted to close the case and get her the hell out of San Francisco as soon as possible. "Matthew Smith was not responsible for the offal dumped in your garden. Nor was he the person who sent you threats written in blood."

"Blood? I don't remember there being anything written-"

"Blood doesn't stay red once it's dried. It is easily mistaken for brown ink by the untrained eye. There was a note amongst the letters you brought us and two more have been delivered here to the hotel. You need to face facts: someone really is planning to kill you, Miss Baker."

Chapter Text

The new client was smoking hot, and Guerrero could sense the hostility towards her rolling off Chance like a thick fog. Winston's office had never seemed so small and airless as it had with Kitty Benoir sitting across the desk from Winston and Chance looming over them both, looking like he was about thirty seconds away from dragging her out by her hair. It was the first time she'd met Chance so she had no basis of comparison to tell her that there was anything unusual in the way he glared at her, but Winston should have known better, should have picked up on the fact that Chance wanted her gone.

Guerrero kept a tight check on his emotions, remaining as outwardly impassive as possible even as the lizard part of his brain perked up and screamed for his attention, bombarding him with speculation as to what Kitty Benoir would look like with her blouse ripped open and that tight skirt rucked up to reveal the tops of those whisper thin stockings. Giving up on theoretic sex with theoretical women was all well and good but Guerrero's resolve was seriously shaken when she heard his name and her lips, those full plump blood red lips that would look so good wrapped around his cock, curved into a seductive smile. If he hadn't have been so aware of Chance standing there, waiting for his heart to be ripped out of his chest, that smile alone would have been enough to get a physical reaction.

Of course they had to take the damn case. It was too much to hope that once temptation had strolled in the door she would leave just as quickly. Guerrero wasn't surprised when Chance formulated a plan that would keep Kitty safely across the other side of town whilst Guerrero stayed at the warehouse searching for answers in the death threats. An opportunity to pull Chance aside and reassure him that he was still the only person he wanted didn't present itself, and Guerrero didn't go out of his way to create one. If Chance asked point blank if he was attracted to their client the truth would wound him deeply, but if Guerrero lied there was a good chance he'd see through it and be just as hurt. Lying to Chance and him accepting it was perhaps the worst outcome of all. What he had felt for Chance, what he still felt for him despite his attraction towards Kitty, was very real, and he didn't want to pollute it with an outright lie. He'd never placed much value on honesty but he felt he owed it to Chance, and until he could look him in the eye and tell him truthfully that he wasn't tempted to act on the attraction it was safer not to have the conversation at all.


Chance was staying at the hotel so as to keep a close eye on the client, and on the first night Guerrero decided to leave the warehouse at the same time Winston did. He figured spending the night at his own apartment might be easier than trying to sleep in Chance's bed without him there, and although he'd considered staying in his own room at the warehouse, that didn't feel right either.

He had second thoughts the moment he let himself into his cold, soulless apartment, realising that it lacked even the basic creature comforts. There wasn't so much as a single teabag in the kitchen, let alone food, and there was little on TV to capture his interest. He hadn't realised how much he'd gotten used to the plethora of channels at the warehouse and the mediocre selection at his apartment was frustrating. He smiled as he remembered Winston bitching about the cost of having a subscription to every TV channel known to man, and Chance telling him with a perfect deadpan delivery that lives may one day depend on them having access to the Bolivian weather channel. Of course eventually Winston figured out that Guerrero had hooked them up illegally and it wasn't costing them a penny but it had been fun to watch to watch him stew over it for a couple of days.

A quick trip to the corner shop fixed the tea-bag shortage and he picked up an extra-large pizza that would serve as breakfast as well as dinner, and headed back to the empty apartment. It didn't take long to download a couple of movies and hook his laptop up to his TV so he could watch them on a decent sized screen in relative comfort as he ate. It was a relief to just switch off and suspend his disbelief, letting the highly improbable stories unfold before him, but by the time the second movie finished he'd had enough distraction for one night.

He decided to forgo brushing his teeth after he discovered some kind of weird smelling mould on his toothbrush, and as he was out of mouthwash he just splashed his face with water and stripped off before sliding between slightly musty smelling sheets. They'd been due for a wash weeks ago but he'd never bothered because he was never there, and now he was too tired and lazy to strip and remake the bed.

He'd spent most of the day trying to supress idle fantasies centred on Kitty Benoir but now he was lying alone in bed he let them bubble back to the surface. In truth that was probably the reason he decided to spend the night at his apartment; lying in Chance's bed whist he fantasised about someone else would have only confused the situation further, as well as making Guerrero feel even more of an asshole. Ignoring his attraction to Kitty was only going to work to a certain point; he needed to think things through to their logical conclusion, whatever that might be, so that he knew for sure that he wasn't going to do anything stupid that risked hurting Chance.

He lay back and let his body respond to the images that crept back to the forefront of his mind

She was on her knees for him, his thumb brushing over those perfectly painted lips, smudging her lipstick across her cheek as he guided his cock into her eager mouth. She let out a disappointed sound, pulling against his fingers caught in her hair as he pulled out and used the wet tip of his dick to smear her make-up further before plunging back in, watching her swallow him down.

She laid sprawled the ground; he pulled open her blouse to reveal full firm breasts beneath lace so delicate he tore through it to suck and bite at the hardened peaks of her nipples. 

He pressed her breasts together, lapping messily at her cleavage until it was slick with saliva before straddling her and pushing his cock between the wet, yielding flesh, the angry red of the head an obscene contrast sliding through the valley of milky white skin.

She was begging for him to fuck her and he made her finger herself as he watched, her skirt pushed up around her waist to reveal her lace topped stockings.

He buried his face between her legs, drinking in the taste and smell of her arousal, alternating between sucking and licking at her clit and fucking her with his tongue. Her legs trembled and twitched but she couldn't cry out much beyond a muffled whimper as he thrust his cock deep into her mouth.

When she couldn't take it anymore, when that elegant poise was broken, her make-up wrecked, her hair tangled, clothes ripped apart and she was about ready to cry if she couldn't have his cock inside her right now, he relented. He laid back and let her ease herself down onto his cock, her breasts heavy in his hands as she rode him hard and fast, his hips snapping up to drive himself even deeper inside her.

It was with that image of Kitty above him, skin flushed and slick with sweat, eyes heavy lidded, moaning his name that Guerrero gave a visceral cry and came, his semen coating the back of his hand as he jerked through the final spasms of his climax.

He'd never felt any inherent sense of shame about jerking off, after all it was something most men did on at least a semi regular basis, but what he'd just done made him cringe. His first thought was to clean himself off, to wash away the evidence of how much he'd gotten off on the fantasy and he got as far as running the water in the shower before he realised that there wasn't any of the mint shower gel in his bathroom, only his usual brand. He knew it was irrational but he felt as if he stepped into that shower and cleaned himself off with anything but Chance's shower gel it would be like washing away Chance himself. He turned the shower off and wiped himself off with a damp towel instead, feeling stupid about the whole thing but still unable to make himself get in the damn shower.

Usually getting himself off helped him unwind and fall asleep but he was feeling more tense and alert than he had done since the days immediately after he was shot. Resigned to the fact that sleep was still a long way off, he searched through his dresser drawers for a clean t-shirt only to find that they were empty. It was only then that he thought: what the hell am I doing? There is nothing here for me now.

For the first time in his life he was homesick. All he wanted was to curl up in Chance's bed and find comfort in the lingering smell of his lover's body on the sheets, secure in the knowledge that Chance would join him one night soon once the case was over.

As he drove back to the warehouse, making excellent time in the 3 am traffic, something clicked into place. Yeah, he'd been tempted, and in all likelihood he wasn't going to stop fantasising about women any time soon but, judging by how he felt himself after just imagining being with someone other than Chance, he knew he would no more act on those stray thoughts than he would shoot himself in the face.

Guerrero took a long hot shower once he got back to the warehouse and once he'd crawled into Chance's bed, their bed, he quickly fell into a deep restful sleep surrounded by the familiar scent of home.


There was no practical way for Guerrero to let Chance in on his late night epiphany. He could hardly call him up and say: Hey buddy, I whacked one out last night whilst I was thinking about the client and guess what? Chicks still get my motor running but I now know that you're the only one I want to do the nasty with.

He wasn't even sure Chance would hear much past the part about him jerking off whilst thinking about Kitty Benoir, besides his neurosis was always better handled in person. So he did what he could to speed things up with the case. His phone conversations with Chance were short, terse even, but Guerrero knew that they needed to be able to put aside their personal relationship so that neither of them was distracted whilst Chance was actively working a case. It wasn't easy but it was necessary, and Guerrero hoped Chance understood that.

He and Winston sorted through hundreds of letters ranging from the vaguely alarming to graphic threats that reeked of sexual dysfunction and violent fetishes. Guerrero was no psychologist but he was uniquely qualified when it came to the language of violence and it was easy enough for him to filter out about a third of the letters as being written by garden variety weirdos. The rest needed further investigation and that, unfortunately, was going to take time, even with Winston's help.

Slowly they whittled away at the stack of hate mail until they were left with a dozen or so letters written by no more than three different people. Guerrero suspected that one of the letters was written in blood but it took a while for the results to come back from Winston's contact at a forensics lab to confirm, and by the time they did two more notes had been delivered to Kitty's hotel.


"We ran checks on everything you told us," Chance said. "FBI surveillance backs up your claim to knowing some very disreputable people."

"You can do that?" Kitty asked. "Just call up the FBI and-"

"You're not the only one with friends in high places, but that's beside the point. How can you be sure that one of your 'friends' isn't behind this?"

"Because, Mr Chance, you know as well as I do that they wouldn't bother risking leaving evidence like death threats lying around. If they wanted me dead I would probably just disappear."

Chance had to concede that she was probably right. "That leaves us with someone who is, or was, part of your private life, or someone who objects to your work. What's your gut feeling?"

"I don't know, that this thing is all just a mistake? I should have known I'd be tempting fate by coming to you with a fake case."

"Fate has nothing to do with it. The threat would be real whether you lied to me or not, but the more we know ahead of time, the more we can do to prepare. So I need to know: is there anything you're holding back?"

Kitty stared at her hands for a while before replying. "My work, my books… No one has ever accused them of being literature. Since I was first published the letters I've received, from fans and critics alike, have always been… rather colourful. I try not to let it get to me. In fact I don't normally bother reading any mail forwarded on from my publisher; it just goes straight in the shredder. What I gave you to look at was just from the last month or two and I only kept it because I thought it would make my story more credible."

"So the letters we have that we believe are genuine threats are probably not the first ones?"

"I have no idea."

"Which could explain why he dumped offal on your lawn. He wanted to be sure of getting your attention." Chance fetched her laptop and pulled up the email containing pictures of the three notes that had been written in blood and handed it to her. "He doesn't know that you haven't read them. Is there anything here that means something specific to you?"

The colour drained from Kitty's face as she read the notes. Chance suspected that she was responding to something more than the crude language and the explicit threats but she shook her head and handed the laptop back.

"Nothing?"

"No."

"Tell me about your personal life. Friends, family members, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends. Is there anyone in your life who might be holding a grudge?"

"I don't think so. My family aren't exactly thrilled by what I write about, but they'd never… And I don't date much. I don't have the time."

"What about friends, acquaintances, anyone you have contact with on a regular basis?"

"Again, I don't have much time for socialising. I have a few old high school friends I keep in touch with, and I occasionally meet up with my agent but that's mostly to talk about business. I've answered all these questions before!"

"Yeah. You did. But that was when you were lying to me."

"I don't know what else to say!" Kitty looked like she was on the verge of tears and Chance had to remind himself that although he'd been bogged down by this case for a week now, to his client it had only just become real. The emotional reaction that she'd failed to experience before, the lack of which had made her seem so cold and calculating, was now hitting her full force.

Chance sighed. "We didn't get off to the best start, but I'm still going to help you."

"Thank you."

She looked so pathetically grateful that Chance felt his hostility towards her melt just a little. "Take a moment to compose yourself and we'll start again from the beginning, okay?"

Kitty gave him what was probably meant to be a brave smile but looked more like a brief grimace of pain, and walked out to the bathroom. Chance downed the almost forgotten glass of bourbon he was still holding and was contemplating pouring another when he felt his cell phone vibrate with an incoming call.

"Yeah?"

"Did you show her the notes?" Winston asked.

"She said there was nothing that meant anything to her but-"

"She's lying," Guerrero cut in.

"I guessed as much."

"I'm sorry," Winston said. "I should have spotted it. I've been reading her books but I didn't notice-"

"On a hunch I ran a search on some of the key phrases from the notes against digital copies of Benoir's books," Guerrero interrupted. "Each note contains direct quotes from one of her books."

"All from the same book?"

"Yeah."

"Which one? Was it anything to do with the Turnpike Murders?"

"I think there might be a connection but the quotes were lifted from her previous novel, 'Educated Darkness'."

"Chance, we need to question her properly," Winston said. "We have to find out what she really knows."

"I know. I'll-"

"I think Guerrero should do it."

Chance fell silent, the instinctive 'Hell no!' caught in his throat.

"She's done nothing but lie to you for the last week, bro, and we need some answers."

"I'm not saying Guerrero should break out the thumbscrews or anything-"

"Dude! I don't even own thumbscrews!" Guerrero muttered.

"But she needs to know we're done with all her bullshit, and I think Guerrero is the best qualified person to send that message."

Chance hated to admit it but Winston was right. Kitty knew Guerrero by reputation and that alone was likely to lead to better results than anything he or Winston could achieve at this point.

"You want to interrogate her here or back at the warehouse?" he forced out between gritted teeth.

"Bring her in. She's likely to take it more seriously is she's not surrounded by the comforts of a five star hotel," Guerrero said.

Chance cocked his head to one side. He could just make out the sound of Kitty running the shower in the bathroom. "Fine. We'll be there in an hour."

"Cool. That gives me enough time to check out a couple of things. Chance?"

"Yeah?" There was a pause, long enough to make Chance wonder if Guerrero had cut the connection already.

"I've got a feeling where this is heading and… Be careful, okay?"

"Yeah." Guerrero hung up and Chance was left with the impression that for a second there he'd been about to say something else, something more personal.


Whilst Chance waited for Kitty to finish her shower and get dressed, he listened to the hotel security staff as they checked in with base over the radio. Winston's friend had upped the hourly reports to every twenty minutes for the duration of Kitty Benoir's stay but so far they hadn't reported anything out of the ordinary. Winston's friend obviously ran a tight ship as there was a marked lack of banter between the men on duty and they kept the chatter to a minimum.

Kitty eventually emerged from the bathroom wrapped in one of the thick, fluffy bathrobes supplied by the hotel. "Get dressed. We have a lead and we need to get back to the office ASAP."

She nodded and stepped into her bedroom, closing the door behind her. He rolled his eyes as he heard the sound of a hairdryer being used; obviously ASAP didn't mean quite the same thing to his client as it did to him. Fortunately the sound cut out again after a minute or two and Chance was familiar enough now with her daily routine to know that she was at least trying to hurry. The radio crackled and he checked his watch but it was a couple of minutes early for the latest situation report, and no voice followed the noise.

Chance frowned. Something didn't feel right, but before he could check in with the head of security Kitty stepped out of the bedroom dressed surprisingly casually in jeans, a low cut t-shirt and sneakers.

"Okay, I'm-"

Chance raised his hand, cutting her off, and walked to the door to the suit and listened.

"What?"

He heard the faintest sound of a thud outside the door, and as he backed away from the door the hotel fire alarm kicked in. Kitty started towards the door but Chance grabbed her and pulled her away, towards the window. "It's a trick. There's no fire."

"But there's smoke! Look!" Kitty said, having to yell above the sound of the alarm. There was smoke beginning to curl under the main door into the suite but it didn't smell right.

"Homemade smoke bomb. Ignore it," Chance said as he reached behind the floor length drapes and dragged out a large holdall that he'd stashed there the first night.

"What's that?" she asked.

"Our exit strategy," he replied, unzipping the bag and pulling out two safety harnesses, the type that climbers might use.

"You're kidding right? We're on the sixth floor! Can't you just shoot out way out or something?"

"In smoke filled corridors full of panicking people? No. Put your legs in here and here," he said holding the straps out for her. He was glad that she'd ditched the short, slinky skirts in favour of jeans. He guessed that her change of wardrobe had been a symbolic gesture on her part to show that she was taking things seriously now and not hiding behind the glamorous public image she'd constructed for herself. Whatever the reason, it certainly made things easier.

He pulled a coil of rope out of the bag and tied it off on the heavy cast iron radiator that was bolted to the wall beside the window before stepping into his own harness and clipping it on to the device already attached to the rope that would slow their decent. As he wrenched open the heavy sash window and threw the rope out Kitty asked: "Is this safe?"

"Safer than going through that door," he replied, checking her harness and clipping it to his own. Before Kitty had time to reply, they were through the window and hurtling to the ground below.

Chapter Text

Kitty sat in silence in the passenger seat of the car Chance had just stolen, her skin pale with shock but for the pink flush brought to her cheeks by him dragging her at a run through the back roads. The unconventional way they had left the hotel seemed to have gone unnoticed thanks to the chaotic evacuation going on at the front of the building. Chance drove carefully, observing the speed limit but maintaining the hyper-vigilance that was second nature when he was wary of being followed; only when he was certain that he wasn't being tailed did he head towards the pre-arranged rendezvous. He knew Guerrero and Winston would already be aware of the situation, even if the hotel's security team had been incapacitated and unable to report the fire alarm. It was just a case of getting the client to the safe house as quickly and safely as possible so they could regroup.

"Hey, you still with me?" he asked. Kitty wasn't going to be much help if he let her sink into full blown shock so he had to get her talking. "Kitty?"

He glanced across at her and when he saw her staring at the dashboard with a slightly unfocussed look, he reached across and placed his hand on hers. She startled at the unexpected contact and looked down at his hand with a slightly puzzled expression.

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"Somewhere safe."

"Your office?"

"No. Whoever is after you has been watching us for a while, long enough to familiarise himself with the hotel's security procedures. That tells me that he's organised, that he has a plan. There's a good chance he's had you under surveillance for weeks and he knows you came to me for help, in which case the warehouse is the last place we want to be right now."

"But what about Mr Winston and Mr Guerrero?"

"They would have left as soon as the hotel alarm was tripped. You don't need to worry about them. They'll be fine."

"Oh."

Chance squeezed her hand reassuringly before returning his to the steering wheel.

"Guerrero has a theory. He thinks your situation has something to do with one of your books."

Kitty nodded.

"You can wait until we get to the safe house and answer Guerrero's questions but time is kinda of the essence here and… well, I think you've probably heard enough about him to know that he doesn't mess about." Chance let that sink in for a moment. "All things considered, maybe you should tell me what you know."

"I… I don't know where to start!"

"Tell me about 'Educated Darkness'. I know that the notes contained direct quotes from that book. Why would anyone be particularly interested in it? What was it about?"

"Two families fighting over control of a city."

"Which city?"

"A fictional one. I made it up."

"And?"

"Well, it all centred on the question of whether the ends justified the means and if a fair society could be built on a lie so big that it threatened-"

"I don't think this guy is bothered by philosophical questions about the nature of modern society, unless he's the world's harshest literary critic. You said you never write about real people but maybe some of your characters are inspired by people you've met?"

Despite the fact that she was now aware of the seriousness of the situation Kitty still bristled at the implication that her writing was anything but fiction of her own creation. "I do not use real people as characters in my books! I'm not stupid you know! Yes, I spend a considerable amount of time with criminals but I am not naïve enough to believe that I could get away with changing a few details and using real people as characters!"

"Okay, but you do research, right? Do your fictional characters do stuff based on real events?"

"That would amount to the same thing!"

"Something in your book has made someone angry enough to want to kill you. There has to be something that hit a bit too close to home because no one goes to the kind of lengths this guy has without it being personal. You need to figure out what has got him so pissed! Think back: where did you get your inspiration for 'Educated Darkness'? Who did you speak to? What information from your research made it into the finished book?"

"I got the idea for one of the main characters after speaking to an ex-mercenary," Kitty frowned.

"Okay, that's a good place to start," Chance said in a flat tone that did little to hide his annoyance. "It would have been helpful if you'd mentioned this earlier."

"I would have if I thought it was relevant! But he died a week after 'Educating Darkness' was published so it can't be anything to do with him!"

"Maybe not directly, but he might have told you something he shouldn't. How did he die?"

"A deep vein thrombosis. He was an amputee. The medical examiner's report said that it was due to his condition in combination with the fact that he was a heavy drinker and smoker and he refused to do any physical therapy."

"What did you and this mercenary talk about?"

"Ex-mercenary," she corrected him.

"Whatever."

"Mostly he was just lonely and wanted to reminisce. He told me about pretty much every physical altercation he'd had since grade school but he was always very careful not to give me details of who he worked for. Violence wasn't just a way of earning a living to him; it was his passion. I think he only wanted to talk to me so he could relive his glory days. A lot of what he told me was, in a way, educational, in the sense that it gave me a better understanding of the kind of violence that a hired killer will inflict on his fellow man. It was helpful when I came to write the more gory passages of my book, I suppose, but these days much of that kind of information can be found online."

Chance gripped the steering wheel a little harder at the mention of hired killers, but Kitty didn't seem to notice. "He inspired one of your characters?"

"Not exactly. As I said, he was a heavy drinker and one time, when he was extremely inebriated, I asked him if there was anyone who had ever frightened him. He laughed but something about the look on his face made me push for an answer."

"And?"

"Well, that was the first time I ever heard Mr Guerrero's name."

Chance smiled. "I think we can rule him out."

"Indeed. Although Guerrero was someone he never wanted to come up against, he told me there was someone he feared more."

"Who?"

"He never gave me a name and I don't believe he even knew it. To be honest the man he described was so vague the whole thing sounded more like an urban legend than a real person."

"What did he say?"

"He said there was an assassin so skilled at disguising his kills as natural causes that the victims themselves didn't know that they'd been murdered."

Chance frowned. He'd heard rumours when he'd been working for Joubert about a so-called perfect assassin but nothing substantial enough to prove that there really was a real person behind them. He'd always felt that no one was so good that he could operate without a single hit being flagged as a suspicious death.

"What else?"

"That's all he told me! It was nothing really, just this idea that there was a killer out there committing perfect murders. I assumed that his fear was based on paranoia, that after all the things he'd done in his life he was afraid of some kind of karmic payback."

"So you used it as the basis for a character?"

"Only after I did some more research. I spoke to as many of my contacts as I could, to see if anyone had heard of this perfect assassin. If I'd found that there was any evidence of there being such a person I wouldn't have used the idea but every single person I spoke to told me that there was no truth to it!"

"And it never occurred to you that they might be lying? That maybe they were just as scared of this guy as your ex-merc?"

"But that makes no sense! These people know me, they know how I work. If they wanted to warn me off using the idea they knew that all it would have taken was to tell me that there was some truth to the rumour and I would have dropped it!"

"You're assuming that your 'friends' had your best interests at heart. You must see that they were willing to let you run with the idea, regardless of the consequences."

"But I've built relationships with these people!"

Chance gave her a humourless smile. "The only relationship that matters to these people is the relationship with their money. If you're fool enough to trust them something like this was bound to happen."

"I don't believe that!"

"You said it yourself: they knew how to warn you off but they didn't."

"I've yet to see any evidence that this phantom killer even exists," she said stubbornly. "And if he did exist, wouldn't he just have picked me off quickly and quietly? Death threats and smoke bombs aren't exactly his MO, are they?"

"Not when it's business, no. But I think his beef with you is personal. If there's one person who knows anything about this guy, it's Guerrero."

Kitty fell silent for a while, staring out of the window.

"The things I've heard about Guerrero…" she said eventually. "Are they-"

"Probably all true. But be honest with him and you should be fine."


Kitty tried to walk into the safe house with her head held high, ready to face being interrogated by Guerrero but to her surprise it was Winston who opened the door and led her through to the kitchen, leaving Chance and Guerrero to talk in hushed tones in the hallway. Sitting down at the kitchen table and being handed a steaming cup of coffee and blueberry muffin was the last thing she'd been expecting and she found herself biting her lip to stifle a sob of relief.

"They're going to be talking for a while," Winston said in a soothing tone. "I took my own car over here so I had a chance to stop off for a few supplies so we can at least make ourselves comfortable. I try to make a point not to drive anywhere with Guerrero if I can help it. He's the worst backseat driver and he does nothing but bitch about me putting too much stress on the suspension when I sit in his damn Eldo, so it's just easier not to carpool."

She knew he was trying to put her at her ease but her head was still spinning from the escape from the hotel and her conversation with Chance. She was normally an expert when it came to small talk but she couldn't think of an appropriate response, so she just blurted out a question instead. "Is jumping out of windows on the end of a rope normal for Chance?"

Winston laughed. "Yeah, pretty much. Although he doesn't always bother with the rope."

Kitty nodded, although she wasn't sure why.

"Miss Benoir-"

"That's not my real name you know."

"I know. I can call you Carol Lynne if you'd prefer."

She shrugged. "That seems fair. After all, I'm not exactly dressed as Kitty right now, am I? I do hope you're not disappointed. I could see you were quite taken with the whole sex doll look."

Winston sighed and ran his hand over his head. "There's not much point in me denying that, is there?"

Kitty gave a small smile. "No, not really."

"But then I guess that was the reason you…" he made a vague gesture. "I have to say though, after reading your books I'm kind of interested to meet Carol Lynne."

"It's odd that anyone even thinks to make that distinction," she laughed.

"But there is a distinction. Isn't that what the change of wardrobe is about?"

"Kitty gets noticed; it's her job, her purpose. Considering there is someone out there who wants to kill her… I guess being plain old Carol Lynne is just more appealing to me right now. Mr Chance believes it is some kind of super-secret assassin who I have offended with my books, but that seems a little farfetched to me."

Winston frowned, pulling up a chair and sitting opposite her. "I was sceptical when Guerrero told me his theory but the fact that both he and Chance reached the same conclusions independently makes it seem a whole lot more credible."

"How…?"

"Don't ask me how Guerrero's mind works, or Chance's either for that matter. I don't know and I don't think I want to know. I can tell you this though: they are without question the best people to handle this situation."

"I don't think Mr Chance likes me much. I guess I can't blame him after I tried to waste his time with a made up case. He probably thinks I deserve this."

"No, Chance is… kind of complicated, but there is one thing he honestly believes: nobody deserves to die. You might not have been the easiest client to deal with, but you're far from the worst and that doesn't mean he will give anything less than his best to help you."

Kitty looked doubtful but she nodded, staring into her cup of coffee. "When I started this, ingratiating myself with gangsters and criminals… I went into it with my eyes open. I knew that I was dealing with people who'd kill their own grandmothers to stay ahead in the game but I thought I could observe without becoming involved. It was a rush, being a part of that world. I don't even know when I started believing my own hype… Chance is right, something like this was bound to happen sooner or later. It started as just a gimmick but somehow this is my life now. I should have known it couldn't have ended well."

"You're not the first person to put her faith in the wrong people, and there's nothing to say that any of your… contacts had anything to do with the guy who is after you now."

"No, but Chance did point out that none of them warned me off what they must have known was a dangerous subject."


As good as it felt to see Guerrero again Chance knew it was neither the time nor the place for any display of affection. Guerrero barely even glanced at Kitty now that she was dressed simply, her make-up scrubbed away and her hair pulled back in a ponytail, and Chance took a small amount of comfort in that.

"Either someone did talk to her or Kitty is a better psychologist than she is a writer because she was right about this guy having a god complex," Guerrero said. "I think getting the physical description right was just guess work though. Doesn't take a genius to figure out that a guy of average height and build with no obvious distinguishing marks would be able to fade into the background when necessary."

"So you know this guy?" Chance asked, trying to keep his voice low so that it wouldn't carry through to the kitchen where Winston was keeping Kitty occupied.

"Our paths crossed but I wouldn't say I actually know him."

"Well that's more than anyone else can say!"

Guerrero sighed, obviously reluctant to talk about it. "About ten years ago Joubert heard rumours about this undetectable assassin." Chance folded his arms defensively at the mention of their ex-boss's name but waited for Guerrero to continue. "He always kept a close eye on the competition."

"I remember," Chance said. "He wanted you to recruit him?"

"Yeah, or failing that to kill him."

"But you did neither."

"Dude, I spent months trying to track him down but I never found a solid lead. In the end he found me and offered me a deal: if I went back to the Old Man and told him there was no truth in the rumours, he'd leave us alone."

"By 'us' you mean…?"

"You, me, the Old Man, Baptiste and the others. The whole happy fucking family. He knew everything, bro; the location of every hole we'd ever crawled into to lay low after a job, the name of every quack that has ever stitched us up."

"So why didn't you…?"

"Kill him?"

"Yeah."

"I would have if I'd been in any shape to do it but the fucker somehow infected me with some gastro-intestinal bug that had me puking and shitting blood for days. He showed up on day two and told me I could either die in a puddle of my own filth or I could take the deal. I took the deal, he hooked me up to an IV and I woke up twenty-four hours later in a hospital bed in Queens, checked in under my full legal name."

"Fuck!"

"Yeah."

"And you think this is the guy who's after Kitty?"

"It has to be. She didn't know that she was dealing with a real person so she took some liberties with fleshing out the character that would piss anyone off."

"So what? It's not like anyone will really know it was based on him."

"She kicked up a real mess with all her questions. It was common knowledge that she was looking for the guy and who knows? Maybe certain people would have believed the book was based on truth."

"I don't know, it still seems a bit-"

"You're not getting it, dude. This guy is all about ego. He prides himself on being the perfect killer; his work is indistinguishable from an act of God and in his mind that makes him godlike. By using him as a character in her book what Kitty has done is something like blasphemy and plagiarism all rolled into one. He doesn't just want to kill her, he wants her to understand her crimes."

"How?"

"Well for a start he acted out the murders from one of her books."

"The Turnpike Murders."

"Yeah, I think that was his first message to her."

"The death threats and the offal?"

"I think he got tired of waiting for her to figure it out," Guerrero said. "I can only assume that's why he tolerated our involvement, he knew we'd find out what was going on."

Chance frowned. "If Kitty had never come to us…"

"He'd still just be fucking with her life from afar, but now we've figured it out he's going to cut the cat and mouse bullshit and move on to the end game."

"Fuck, she has no idea!"

"We also have to face the possibility that now we've served our purpose he may decide to eliminate us too. We have no choice here, bro. Kitty Benoir has to die."

Chapter Text

"We've pulled this shit before but I don't understand why we have to use my blood!" Winston grumbled, wincing as Guerrero stuck him with what seemed to be an unreasonably large needle.

"I told you, this guy is a pro," Guerrero replied, hooking up an empty IV bag to the tubing and opening the valve. "Corn starch and food colouring will fool most people at a distance but he's gonna be up close and personal. Real blood has a metallic smell that is hard to duplicate and if he smells something is wrong-"

"Yeah, but why does it have to be my blood?"

"'Cause, big guy, you've got more than the rest of us and you can spare it. Just lie back and relax. You'll get your cookie." Guerrero gave him a friendly punch to the shoulder and Winston flinched as the movement jostled the needle in his arm painfully, which he suspected was the point of the gesture.

"We're going to have to do something about her clothes," Guerrero frowned, openly staring at Kitty's cleavage and scratching his chin thoughtfully. She didn't seem too bothered by his scrutiny but she jumped when Chance gripped the handle of the mug he was holding so tightly that it snapped off in his hand and the rest of it smashed on the tiled floor.

"Sorry," he mumbled as Guerrero gave him an enquiring look. "Guess I'm a bit tense."

"Check the closet in the second bedroom on the right. There's a teenage daughter who's about the right size."

"Hang on just a minute," Winton said. "You said this was a safe house!"

"It is," Guerrero replied as he checked the bag of blood and swapped it for a fresh one. "The family is out of town. Won't be back 'til next week. It's perfectly safe."

Chanced returned with a pale blue hooded sweatshirt and held it up to Kitty to check the size. "Just about enough room for the Kevlar."

"Why do I need Kevlar?" she asked.

"Because I'm going to shoot you," Guerrero said.

"Yeah, but you're going to use blanks, right? I mean that's the idea, to fake it?"

"If I had the time and the equipment we could have used squibs and blanks but I'm not sure they'd have held up under close scrutiny anyway. It's easier just to shoot you. The vest should stop the bullets and the only blood you'll be bleeding is Winston's."

"What do you mean should stop the bullets?" she asked, her voice starting to get a little shrill.

"There's a small chance that they might penetrate the vest but most of the force will be deflected so we're talking minimal damage," Guerrero shrugged. "Either way you're gonna feel it."

"Oh God!"

"It'll just feel like a hard punch," Chance explained. "It might hurt a bit but you won't be in any danger. Plus the good thing about using live rounds is that you don't have to worry about timing your reaction right. You'll feel the kick and know when to drop."

"I think I'm going to be sick…" Kitty said.


Once everything was in place and Chance and Winston left the house there was little to do but sit and wait. Kitty wasn't very comfortable with the idea of sitting on the couch with a couple of bags of Winston's blood taped to her chest beneath the stolen sweatshirt waiting to get shot but Guerrero only had to tell her once to stop fidgeting. As the minutes ticked by she couldn't help but dwell upon all the stories she'd heard about him. It was only Guerrero's reputation for ruthless self-preservation that made the plan feasible but Kitty knew if anything went wrong she would discover first hand just how well deserved that reputation was. Every time she tried to focus on the book she was pretending to read her eyes would be drawn back to the gun that rested beneath Guerrero's hand on the arm of the chair he was sitting on.

That's the gun that is going to shoot me, she thought. That's the gun that will kill me, one way or another.

It was almost a relief when the door to the lounge swung open revealing an unremarkable looking man in his fifties with slightly thinning hair. Kitty froze, silently praying that she would get out of the room alive.

"You got my message," Guerrero said.

"Yes. Is there any point in me asking how you acquired my phone number?"

Guerrero shrugged. "I'm not in the game anymore but I still watch the players."

"I suppose you have had a decade to catch up."

"True but it didn't take anywhere near that long to put a name to your face."

"You're bluffing."

"No, Clinton, I'm not. Is it okay to call you Clint, or is that just what your wife calls you?" Guerrero stared at the man in a calm, almost disinterested way but his hand didn't move from his gun.

"You may call me Clint."

Kitty had been instructed to keep quiet and let Guerrero handle the situation but when faced with the man intent on killing her she lost her nerve. "Just shoot him! He's not even armed!"

Guerrero threw her a look of contempt and calmly aimed his weapon at her. "Sit down and shut up."

Kitty wavered for a moment, uncertain if Guerrero was going to shoot her there and then, before slowly sitting back down.

Clint smiled. "But that's the problem, isn't it Guerrero? The last time we met you wouldn't have had a problem killing me on sight but now you have acquired a conscience-by-proxy. How is Junior by the way?"

"Chance is fine."

"And I assume that you invited me here to ensure that he remains that way, yes?"

"That about sums it up. He wants to save the girl, you want her dead. Someone is going to be disappointed and I'd rather Chance didn't become the focus of your next pet project."

"So you're just going to hand her over? Somehow I don't think that will sit well with your friends."

"I think we could all live with an accidental shooting." Guerrero fired two rounds into Kitty's chest without taking his eyes off Clint.

It didn't feel so much like being punched as being hit by two freight trains in rapid succession. Kitty crumpled back onto the couch. At first she was too stunned to react which was good, it was what Guerrero had told her to do, but then her brain registered the pain of the bullets' impact and that she was covered in blood, too much blood. She knew what was supposed to happen and that her life depended on her playing dead but even that awareness did nothing to stem the rising tide of panic. She was in pain, much more than she had expected, and every shuddering breath made it worse. She had seen exactly how much blood was in the bags that had been taped to the vest and it didn't seem enough to account for what was splattered across her face and still oozing through her stolen sweatshirt. Although she managed to resist the urge to check whether the bullets had penetrated the vest, she could do nothing to stop herself from shaking and the more she tried to control her ragged breathing, the more she started to hyperventilate.

"She doesn't look very dead to me, Guerrero," Clint frowned. "It's not that I don't appreciate the theatricality of this little tableau you've laid on for my benefit but I am familiar with your work. I know a fake when I see one. The double tap was nice but the second shot should have been to her head."

Guerrero sighed. "I'm sorry, dude. I tried it your way, but she's a writer not an actress." He then slowly and deliberately took out his earpiece and dropped it in his shirt pocket.

Kitty began to sob uncontrollably, unable to catch her breath enough to even beg for her life.

"I take it that was for Chance's benefit?" Clint asked.

Guerrero nodded. "He'll be hightailing it back here as we speak."

"Then I'll be brief. Before you get any ideas about shooting me, I'd like to point out that I did not come here without an insurance policy."

"I expected as much."

"If I don't leave this house unharmed, Chance and Winston will not live through the night."

"I can't let you take her. Chance would go after you and that would lead to a confrontation I am not willing to risk."

"Then we are at an impasse."

"Not quite." He retrieved a syringe from his jacket pocket. "I give her this, she dies, you leave before Chance arrives and he'll never even see your face. All he has is your first name; he'll never be able to find you without my help, and I've already established that that is never going to happen."

"I'm not leaving until she's dead."

"Please," Kitty hissed, her voice not much more than a whisper, "please don't kill me!"

The stabbing pain in her chest prevented her from drawing in enough breath to force out more than a few words and Guerrero was already pulling the protective plastic tip from the needle with his teeth. She managed one more desperate little "please" before he jabbed the needle in her neck. She felt her body begin to jerk but then she was falling into darkness…

Clint and Guerrero watched as Kitty threw her head back, her spine arched backward, rigid for a second before violent convulsions tore through her body. She began frothing at the mouth, white at first but then tinged pink with blood as her arms flailed and her legs jerked and kicked. The fit lasted less than a minute and when it had passed she went completely limp and slid to the floor.

"Well that certainly looked more impressive," Clint conceded.

"Check for yourself; she'd dead. Just do it quickly. If Chance sees your face I'll shoot you and take my chances with your insurance policy."

Clint warily edged his way around the room keeping one eye on Guerrero at all times. He bent down and checked for a pulse, then peeled Kitty's eyelids back, finding only the whites of her eyes. He stood up and gave her chest an experimental kick right where Guerrero's bullets had impacted but there was no response.

"Satisfied?" Guerrero asked.

"It wasn't quite what I had planned, but yes. It will suffice."

"And your insurance policy?"

"Will not be necessary. You and your colleagues are safe. You have my word."

"Good. But just in case anything should happen to them, or me for that matter, everything I have on you – and I have a lot more than just your name and face – will be automatically emailed to every law enforcement agency in the country. I may not have the details of every hit, but I have enough. There may even be time to help that judge you're dosing with thallium; I recon he has another couple of days before organ failure is a certainty."

Clint laughed, a humourless sound that set Guerrero's teeth on edge. "Well played, Guerrero. Just be sure we never cross paths again."

As soon as Guerrero heard the door shut behind him he put his earpiece back in and gave it a slow count to ten before speaking. "He's gone. Get in here NOW!"


The first thing that cut through the darkness was a feeling of warmth radiating through her right hand. Other details nudged at the edge of her consciousness, trying to get her attention but the soothing heat clasped around her fingers was the anchor preventing her from slipping back into the void. Slowly the other sensations pressed for her attention: the tightness in her chest, an electronic beep that seemed to sound regularly at first before speeding up a little, and soreness in her throat that was making it hard to swallow. She wanted to open her eyes but somehow the instruction was lost between her brain and her eyelids. She tried to cry out but she began to gag, her vocal chords unable to deal with whatever was irritating her throat, but as she began to struggle something squeezed her hand…

"Hey, relax," a deep voice rumbled, fingers stroking the back of her hand. "You're in the hospital. You're going to be okay. I know the breathing tube is uncomfortable but the doc is on his way. Just hang in there and he'll take it out in a minute."

She couldn't place the voice but it sounded kind so she tried to take the man's advice and lay still. If she was in a hospital she was probably safe and she had a vague feeling that that was important for some reason. She could hear people moving around her bed and although she couldn't follow the specifics of the medical jargon, but from the general tone she thought the news seemed to be good.

She focused on the hand gripping hers, trying to remember who it might belong to. She tried to open her eyes again and this time she managed to pry them open just enough to see a pair of brown eyes staring down at her from a worried face before she had to blink against the bright fluorescent lights.

"Cough please," a female voice instructed. She tried to comply and then there was a pulling sliding sensation in her throat and all she could do was cough. "The doctor will come and talk to you soon, but I think you should listen to what Winston has to say first."

Winston? Of course…


Chance had half expected Guerrero to suggest torching the living room of the safe house; it certainly would have been faster than cleaning up the blood spatter. Surprisingly Guerrero seemed to be in no hurry to leave and insisted on Chance staying to help him rather than accompany Winston and Ellen as they took Kitty to the hospital. He pointed out that there was little Chance could do for her so he may as well help him get rid of the evidence of the shooting. It had been a while since they'd worked together to clean up a crime scene but at least the hardwood floors and the dark leather of the couch made it a relatively easy task.

Guerrero seemed distracted as they worked, frequently leaving the room to make or take phone calls and eventually Chance, fed up with being left doing it all alone, followed him out to the kitchen.

"You sure?" Guerrero asked then paused to listen, raising his finger at Chance to indicate that he was nearly done. "And he says we're good? … Okay, stay there and call me if anything changes."

"What was all that about?" Chance asked.

"Clint said he had a failsafe in place in case he didn't get out of here alive. I had someone check it out but it seems as if he kept his word; we're in the clear."

"What was it?"

"Sniper overlooking the warehouse. O'Neil actually. Not Clint's usual style but I guess he had to put something in place in a hurry."

"O'Neil? Shit, that could have been nasty. Wait, did you know what his failsafe was when you let Winston leave?"

"No but I was sure Clint was gonna keep his word. Well, pretty sure."

Chance sighed. "Best not mention that to Winston. Does this mean you're gonna stop dicking around and actually help me clean this shit up now?"

"Uh, no. Just waiting on one more call."

Chance glared at him but he obviously wasn't going to budge. After spending a week apart, and with Kitty finally being watched over by someone else, scrubbing bloodstains off the walls was not what Chance had planned to be doing once he finally got Guerrero alone. He'd hoped they could sidestep the issue of whether or not Guerrero was attracted to women in favour of some more hands-on reassurance but it seemed the phone call took precedence over finishing up and going home.

"Look, this call is going to make the difference between us having to keep looking over our shoulders and being rid of Clint for good," Guerrero said.

"Is he really so much of a-"

"He threatened you. And I mean you specifically."

"Yeah, but he's done that before. It's nothing we can't handle."

Guerrero looked uncomfortable for moment. "I need to be certain, okay?"

Knowing that Guerrero was looking out for him was nothing new, but the awkward way he was justifying his actions stirred such a wave of affection that Chance found himself grinning like an idiot. "Okay. But you are going to make it up to me later. After we stop by the hospital."

"Deal," Guerrero said with a look that promised a very thorough hands-on apology once they got home.

Guerrero's phone rang again and Chance shook his head and went back to the living room. With the promise of Guerrero making up for slacking off on the clean-up as an incentive, he figured he could be done in less than half an hour.


Ellen closed the door to Kitty's room and turned to face the two men waiting in the corridor. Guerrero had at least washed what she had been told was actually Winston's blood from his hands but the cuffs of his shirt were still stained, probably from when he gave Kitty CPR. He looked tired, as did Chance, and she had to remind herself that whatever the hell they'd put her patient through they'd been doing it for the right reasons.

"How is she?" Chance asked.

"She's regaining consciousness and breathing on her own. The fractured ribs were a complication that she could have done without but it seems that you managed to administer the antidote and get her heart pumping it through her system in time to prevent irreparable organ damage. The fact that her heart stopped so quickly after the poison was administered actually worked in her favour, but she was extraordinarily lucky."

"Will she be okay?"

"Between the oxygen deprivation and the trauma of the event itself, there may be some memory loss. She may never remember all the details of what happened."

"Make sure that she sticks to the alias we gave her," Guerrero said. "And no visitors. No one can know she's here."

"I know the drill, Guerrero. Winston is in there with her now, getting her up to speed. He's volunteered to stay with her until she's ready to be released."

"When will that be?" Chance asked.

Ellen gave Guerrero a stern look. "It would help if I knew exactly what was in the substance she was given."

"Nothing you're even likely to come across again," he replied. "It breaks down fast. If she's breathing on her own it's already out of her system. She'll be fine."

"In which case it's just a matter of keeping her under observation for a while. The ribs will heal themselves, given time and plenty of rest. Why don't I take a look at that foot whist you're here, Guerrero?"

"Go ahead," Chance said before Guerrero had a chance to decline. "I want to check in with Winston anyway."


"How's the patient?" Chance asked.

"Sore," Kitty said croakily, "but alive."

"Well, it's still a bit too soon to be certain, but we may have some good news for you. Guerrero might have the intel he needs to put Clint out of business for good, which means you might just get your old life back."

"He couldn't have dug this up a bit earlier?" Winston said. "Say, I don't know, before he shot and poisoned the client?"

Chance couldn't help smiling at Winston's outrage and the way Kitty reached for his hand as if to sooth him. Winston didn't seem notice that they were now holding hands and they both seemed comfortable with the gesture.

Interesting…

"He's been working on it since he realised who was behind the threats," Chance explained, "but it took time to dig up something solid and Clint wasn't going to wait around. Faking Kitty's death was the only way to buy us some time."

"Didn't feel fake," Kitty grimaced. "Could've warned me!"

"Yeah, sorry about that. We were hoping that he'd fall for the shooting and there was no point in making you any more anxious than you already were. The cracked ribs were just bad luck though. Even Kevlar isn't perfect."

"S'okay," Kitty smiled. "I'm alive! Thank you."

"So what's the plan?" Winston asked.

"Well, this guy is good, and I mean really good. I doubt that Guerrero will be able to come up enough to satisfy a prosecutor but there are certain interested parties that will be only too happy to act on what he's found."

"Who?" Kitty asked.

Winston slowly smiled. "I imagine some very unpleasant people."

Chance grinned. "Yeah, I think there will be some very bad people amongst the friends and business associates of Clint's victims. Guerrero has to be very careful how he handles this though. If anything tips Clint off we'll be back to square one. We should know one way or the other in the next twenty-four hours though, so just lie back and enjoy the hospital food."

"Don't worry," Winston said, squeezing Kitty's hand, "I'm not going anywhere until we know for sure."

Kitty smiled back at him. "Thank you."

Definitely interesting, Chance thought as he made his excuses and left them to it.

Chapter Text

They sat in companionable silence on the drive back to the warehouse, content just to be in one-another's company again without the pressure of an on-going case demanding their full attention. Chance smiled, remembering Kitty and Winston holding hands back at the hospital. He was finally starting to let go of some of the anxiety that had been gnawing at him from the moment Kitty Benoir had walked into the office.

"What are you smiling at?" Guerrero asked.

"Back at the hospital, Winston and Kitty were holding hands."

"Well, she was technically dead for a while there."

"I know but they were holding hands, as in holding hands, like it meant something."

Guerrero raised his eyebrows. "Really? Good for him. It's about time Winston got a little action."

"Huh."

"What?"

Chance shrugged.

"You were worried."

"She is kinda hot," Chance said carefully.

"I noticed."

"I know."

Guerrero smirked. "You noticed me notice?"

"Something like that."

They drove on in silence for a couple of minutes, but Chance kept picking at a spot of blood on his shirt and it started to get on Guerrero's nerves.

"You wanna talk about it?" Guerrero sighed.

"No." Chance stopped picking at his shirt and stared out the window for a while. "But you thought about it, right?"

"I thought about it." He glanced across at Chance and saw him tense up. "Don't."

"Don't what?"

"It was just a thought. I was never going to act on it."

"You sure?"

"Don't be such a fucking girl! Of course I'm sure."

Chance smiled.

"We cool?" Guerrero asked. "'Cause I find these long winded relationship conversations a bit tedious."

"Yeah, we're cool," Chance replied, his smile broadening into a wide grin.


Carmine was overjoyed to see Chance after his week long absence, almost bowling him over the second the elevator doors opened then following his every step, licking at his hand. Guerrero managed to lure the dog into the kitchen with a fresh bowl of food and shut him in as he wolfed it down, his tail still lashing happily from side to side.

"You've been gone for a week and I am not competing with the mutt for your attention," Guerrero said, pulling Chance close for a long awaited kiss. Chance felt he could live with that, sliding his hands beneath his shirt, and things were just starting to get interesting when Guerrero pulled back.

"What's wrong?" Chance asked.

"You smell like bleach and Channel No 5."

"So?"

"Go take a shower."

It sounded more like an order than a request and something in Chance's gut twitched in response to his tone of voice. "You gonna join me?" he asked.

"In a minute," he replied, shoving him towards the stairs. "Go get naked."


Taking a hot shower had always been a bit of a post-mission ritual for Chance and it felt good to wash away the case. For once there were no injuries requiring his attention, just the odours of Kitty's perfume and the cleaning products that Guerrero had complained about. He was just rinsing the shampoo from his hair when he heard the shower curtain pulled back and felt Guerrero step in behind him.

Chance had already washed pretty thoroughly but he didn't complain when Guerrero poured shower gel into his hands and began washing him again. He was hopeful that this was the start of Guerrero making it up to him and he started to lose himself in the sensation of his confident hands smoothing over his wet skin. He started on Chance's back and shoulders, his fingers finding any knots and working them out with just the right amount of pressure to draw a content hum from Chance.

"Put your hands on the wall," Guerrero said, "and keep'em there."

He'd been half hard since he'd been ordered into the shower but the combination of Guerrero's voice and hands made Chance's cock achingly hard, standing proud against his belly. Guerrero was thorough, washing Chance's arms and torso, reaching around to stroke the lather over his chest and abdomen but bypassing his crotch altogether to work down his legs. Chance let out a low groan of complaint. He'd felt Guerrero's hard-on press briefly against him but it seemed he was holding back until he'd washed Chance to his satisfaction. He even crouched down and washed his feet, lifting each one and carefully massaging between each toe, which Chance found equal parts touching and unnerving.

Finally Guerrero straightened up and poured out some more shower gel, rubbing it between his hands to build up a lather and Chance let out a shivery sigh as he felt his soapy finger stroke down the cleft of his ass and circle the tight ring of muscle before slowly pressing in.

Guerrero worked slowly, taking his time to open him up, and although it was good Chance was frustrated by the fact that he seemed to be deliberately avoiding stimulating that one spot that he knew would make his bones melt. He spread his feet a little wider and tried to push back against his hand but Guerrero grabbed his hip and said: "Don't!"

Chance bit his lip and tried to hold still but it was now impossible to overlook just how much Guerrero's orders were turning him on. He was tempted to tell him to hurry up and fuck him already, unsure of what would be the better result, being fucked or being told to shut up and just take what he was being given. As much as he tried, it was difficult to remain motionless as Guerrero slowly built up to three fingers sliding inside him and he couldn't help the way his hips jerked every time his fingers grazed his prostate despite Guerrero's effort to avoid it.

Chance closed his eyes and tried to focus on remembering to breathe, and suddenly Guerrero's other hand was wrapped around his cock jerking him too hard and fast for his over sensitised body to cope with.

"Fuck! Guerrero, slow down! I can't-"

"Just let go. You're not going to last anyway."

"I don't-"

"Quit whining and let me take the edge off. Just come already."

As if in response to Guerrero's command, Chance moaned and shuddered as his body gave it up, painting the tiled wall with his release. He stood there dazed as the water from the shower washed the tiles clean, disappointed that it was over so fast.

Guerrero gripped his wrists and pulled his hands away from the wall, pressing a kiss against his spine that made Chance shiver.

"Go wait for me in the bedroom. You can dry off but don't get dressed."

It was easy just to let Guerrero take control, reassuring too to know that he was doing what Guerrero wanted, that he still was wanted. Oddly he wished Guerrero's instructions had been a little more specific as he was unsure of whether he should be standing up or lying on the bed. In the end he reached a compromise, sitting on the edge of the bed and standing up when Guerrero walked in, naked himself but for the towel wrapped round his waist and his glasses. Strangely it was the latter than made Chance feel even more naked and exposed.

Guerrero gave him a long, appreciative look, and a sly smile that told Chance that, okay, he was really not done with him yet.

Guerrero closed the distance between them without a word and then they were kissing, the way Chance had been looking forward to, bodies pressed together, all hot and hungry and demanding, hands wandering freely over naked flesh. The taste of Guerrero's mouth was enough to make his cock stir again but as he tried to encourage things along by rubbing himself against his towel covered leg Guerrero kicked out and shoved him, and somehow he ended up face down on the bed with his arms pinned behind his back.

Under normal circumstances instinct would have made Chance counter the move and break free but he'd already made the subconscious decision to submit to whatever Guerrero asked of him the second he'd obeyed that first order to take a shower. Besides, he'd been harbouring certain fantasies for a while now that were centred around the idea of Guerrero being more forceful in bed and having his hands held behind his back was sending more blood surging to his cock, not that he was in any position to do a thing about it.

"I know what you want, Chance. And I'm going to give it to you. All you have to do is say yes."

"Fuck!"

"That wasn't an answer." Guerrero shifted his grip on Chance's wrists just enough to send a stab of shooting pain up into his shoulder before easing back again.

"I… Fuck! Yes."

"That's better. If you tell me to stop, I will. Understood?"

Chance nodded and then muttered a hoarse "yes" when Guerrero failed to respond. He couldn't think too hard about why he was so keen to be following orders and why it was so inexplicably hot, all that mattered was Guerrero understood it.

"I'm going to let go but I want you to cup your hands around your elbows and stay exactly where you are."

When Guerrero let him go, Chance held his arms in place as instructed but it was difficult. He'd fallen in such a way that most of his body was on the bed but without Guerrero's weight pinning him down he was starting to slide off onto his knees. He could hear Guerrero moving around behind him and the anticipation of whatever he was planning made his heart pound so hard he almost expected Guerrero to hear it.

Seconds dragged past like ice ages, and Chance was no longer certain that Guerrero was actually doing anything but making him wait, maybe just to see if he would do as he asked. He told himself he could wait, that any moment Guerrero would reach out and touch him again but a thought popped into his head that sent a sickening chill through his gut.

Guerrero knew he would get off on being restrained, and in a way that was at least a little reminiscent of what happened in the shipping container. What kind of sick bastard did that make Chance to want that? How could Guerrero do something for him that-

"Stop thinking so much," Guerrero said. "I can hear the gears grinding in your head from the other side of the room. I want you to stop thinking and just... just feel. Okay?"

"But I-"

"You don't have to say anything. I know, okay? I know you and I know the way your brain works, so just shut up and trust me."

"I trust you. It's just-"

Guerrero sighed and placed his hand on his shoulder and Chance couldn't help leaning into it a little.

"I wasn't planning on gagging you tonight, but I will if I have to."

Chance took a deep breath and nodded. Guerrero was in charge here and he had to trust that he was fine with what they were doing or he wouldn't be doing it.


Guerrero ran his fingers through Chance's damp hair and smiled. Only Chance could turn the fulfilment of his own sexual fantasy into a source of anguish and guilt. He'd been prepared for the possibility of Chance making the connection between what he had planned and what had been forced on them by Abiade, it couldn't be helped, but Guerrero didn't see the point of talking it to death. Far better to just show Chance how good it could be if he just let it.

While Chance was obediently waiting for him with his arms still clasped behind his back, Guerrero retrieved a coil of rope from the back of the closet, something he'd purchased especially for the purpose of tying Chance up. It hadn't been cheap but it was worth the added expense for the raw silk and bamboo fibres that made it so soft and pliant. With it he could bind Chance as tightly and securely as he wished without the risk of rope burns, and it would hopefully help Chance make the mental distinction between consensual bondage and the times either of them had been restrained under less desirable circumstances.

Chance gave a startled little sigh as Guerrero slipped the rope around his wrist and began binding it to his opposite forearm. He kept it simple, just wrapping the cord around Chance's forearms tightly enough so there was no give but taking care not to restrict his circulation. He tied off the ends when he was done, satisfied that there was no way for Chance to free his arms without the use of a knife.

"Stand up," he ordered, hooking one arm beneath Chance's to help him balance. He took a second to check that the rope had held and was not too tight before gently turning Chance around.

Chance kept his gaze fixed on the floor and the flush in his cheeks showed that he was quite sure if he was comfortable with what Guerrero was doing, although his body was clearly very interested. He stared at Guerrero's towel that had, unsurprisingly, fallen to the floor.

Despite outward appearances, Guerrero was a cultured man and had travelled more than most. He didn't have much time for art galleries, generally finding them too overrun with tourists, pretentious assholes, or both, but he'd been based in Rome for six months and had grown to admire the classical and neo-classical sculpture he'd seen there. He'd seen dozens, probably hundreds of breathtakingly sculpted marble figures, each one a reflection on an artist's vision of the perfect body. He'd thought them beautiful at the time and he thought of them again as he looked at Chance standing naked in his Spartan yet untidy bedroom with his arms tied behind his back. If it weren't for the fact that Chance was flesh and blood instead of cold stone, he wouldn't have been out of place among them. The thought of anyone else seeing him like this, naked and bound, sent a surge of possessiveness through Guerrero that brought a lump to his throat.

"Fuck, you have no idea, do you?" he asked softly.

"What?" Chance was flustered and could barely meet his eyes.

"How you look right now. What you're doing to me. You really thought I walk away from you, from this just because of a broad with big tits and a short skirt?"

"I… didn't know. Not for sure."

Chance stared at the floor again.

"Well I'm telling you now," Guerrero said, taking Chance's face in his hands, forcing him to look at him.

He pulled Chance into a kiss, and with his arms bound he could do nothing but let Guerrero take control, parting his lips and letting him in. He pulled against the rope, more out of reflex than any hope that he might free himself, and he felt Guerrero smile against his mouth as he moaned with frustration.

"For the record," Guerrero breathed into his ear, "this isn't just your fantasy we're dealing with here." He heard the way Chance's breath caught, followed by an almost inaudible moan as he sucked his earlobe into his mouth.

He was tempted to step back and just look, committing every detail to his memory, but Chance was already a bit skittish about being tied up so he opted for distraction instead. Still biting and sucking at Chance's ear, he ran his hands slowly down to his nipples, taking them between his fingers and pinching them sharply. Chance jerked and swore, but made no attempt to back away.

"You can have a safe word if you want one," Guerrero said, releasing them and pulling back to look him in the eye.

"No," Chance said, a little breathless. "I trust you." He almost had second thoughts when Guerrero grinned at him and went to get something out of the nightstand. At first he assumed it would be lube but whatever it was it was small enough to fit in the palm of Guerrero's hand. "How long have you been planning this?"

"Guess."

Before Chance could reply Guerrero was kissing him again and curling his fingers around his cock, stroking him slowly. Chance barely had time to enjoy it before Guerrero's other hand snapped a leather cock ring on him.

"Fuck!" Chance was all but panting, knowing that he wouldn't be able to come until Guerrero let him, that he had complete control over his body now.

"Later," Guerrero smirked, stroking his thumb through the pre-cum that had collected at the tip of Chance's cock, smearing it in slow circles around the crown, pleased by the tremors in Chance's legs as he tried to stand still. "There's something else I want to try first. Lie on the bed and roll onto your stomach."

Chance did as he asked and Guerrero tossed the pillows on the floor so that he could turn his head to the side and rest it directly on the mattress.

"Can you get your knees underneath you?" Guerrero asked.

Chance realised that would put him in the exact same position that Guerrero had been in in the shipping container and he suddenly doubted he could do what was being asked of him. "Guerrero, I can't…"

"You said you trust me."

"I do but-"

"Chance you can either trust me with this or you can hang on to what happened and beat yourself up with it. You can't have both. Do as I say and we both get what we want. It's up to you."

For a moment Chance didn't move, but then slowly he none too gracefully managed to shuffle his knees up underneath him. He tried not to think of what he must look like, face down on the bed with his ass in the air, and he could feel his face burning with shame.

Guerrero sat sideways on the bed beside Chance on the side he was facing and ran his hand up his spine in a soothing gesture until it rested on the back of his neck. "This isn't about humiliation, Chance, or punishment, or reminding either us about what happened. Consider this building a new memory."

"What if I did ask you to stop?" Chance asked hoarsely.

"We would both miss out." Guerrero shrugged like it was no big deal, letting Chance make his own decision, but his insides were like churning liquid ice at the thought that he'd messed things up by pushing too far too soon.

Chance thought about it for a minute before replying. "I trust you."

He watched Guerrero move so that he was kneeling beside him and the second Guerrero's hand began stroking over his ass cheeks, he knew what was going to happen next.

The first slap didn't have much force behind it but even so Guerrero's precautions, jerking him off in the shower and then putting the cock ring on him, now made perfect sense. He would have lost it right there with the first slap if Guerrero hadn't have planned ahead. Guerrero's hand came down again, harder this time, a pleasant sting that melted into a spreading warmth. The third blow was harder still, the sting a little sharper but not by much. Guerrero kept it at that level for another half dozen blows, alternating which cheek he struck, slow and steady until Chance began to squirm.

"Harder?" he asked so quietly that he wasn't sure Guerrero would even hear him. He knew Guerrero must know how much being spanked was turning him on but he still couldn't quite let go of his embarrassment enough to speak up any louder.

Guerrero evidently had heard him though, and the blows came harder and faster after that, giving Chance less time to recover after each one before the next one landed. Chance was very familiar with the feeling of a pain induced endorphin rush, but this was different, more intense, made even more so by the knowledge that Guerrero was fucking spanking him.

Soon he was making little grunts and groaning sounds but he was too caught up in the rush to care anymore. He began to twitch every time Guerrero's hand connected, not flinching but reacting as if electricity had arced between them. His ass was burning, his nerve ending aflame with hyper-sensitivity until his mind finally shut down and all he could do was feel.

Guerrero saw it happen, the exact moment that Chance let go, and even if he hadn't seen it he would have heard it as Chance's cries changed from stifled little grunts to loud, unselfconscious moans. He slowed his rhythm and came to a stop, stroking his own tingling hand across Chance's glowing cheeks. If, no, when they did this again, he was going to have to invest in a paddle of some kind.

"How you doing there?" he asked, smiling when all he got in response was another groan.

He left Chance to his revelry while he got the lube from the nightstand and then knelt behind him on the bed, nudging his legs apart. He slowly slicked himself up, taking a moment to enjoy a little much needed friction on the hard on he'd had since following Chance into the bathroom. He poured a little lube onto his fingers and easily slid two inside Chance, his muscles still relaxed from all the attention in the shower.

Chance made more contented noises, whimpering when Guerrero withdrew his fingers, but then he felt Guerrero's cock pushing inside, burning a little as his body stretched to accommodate him but in the best possible way.

"Fuck… oh fuck… yes…"

Guerrero eased himself in slowly until he was flush against Chance, waiting to give them both a chance to adjust. He ran his fingers along Chance's arms until he reached the rope, trying to focus on the texture beneath his finger tips to distract himself from how good it felt to be buried inside him.

"Jesus, Guerrero! …move …please?"

Guerrero did move, but slowly, savouring the hot slide in and out of Chance's body. He knew Chance wanted more, that his cock had to be aching now from being so hard for so long, but he wanted to prolong the moment a while longer yet. It had taken a lot to get Chance here, in the moment instead of wallowing in guilt, and he didn't want to rush it.

"Fuck… fuck me… just fuck me…" Chance was almost begging now and Guerrero started thrusting harder and faster without even making the conscious decision to do so, pulling Chance's hips back to meet every thrust.

Chance was moaning his name, his body glistening with sweat, but Guerrero wanted more, deeper, harder…

He wrapped one arm around Chance's waist and the other across his chest and pulled him backwards until he was kneeling, straddling his lap. They both groaned as Chance's weight drove Guerrero's cock even deeper inside him. For a second Guerrero just held him there, and then Chance adjusted his stance a little and raised himself up before grinding back down again.

Guerrero had to keep one arm around Chance's waist as he couldn't use his own arms for balance, but it was Chance who did all the work, raising and lowering himself back down onto Guerrero's cock in an almost frantic rhythm. Guerrero's other hand stroked over the powerful muscles of Chance's thigh, enjoying the hard, compact strength flexing beneath his palm.

"God! Take it off, Guerrero… take it off!"

It took moment to realise Chance was talking about the cock ring, but instead of removing it, Guerrero took Chance's dick in his hand so every time he raised himself up he was thrusting into it. Chance groaned and his movements became wilder and jerky as he tried to maintain the pace despite the fresh rush of sensation.

"Please… take it… take it off!"

Guerrero could feel the heat and tension building at the base of his spine and knew his climax was imminent. He waited until the last moment before flicking the cock ring open and Chance immediately came with a shout, his body clenching down hard and wringing Guerrero's orgasm out of him.


Everything went hazy for a while but Guerrero managed to keep his arms clinging around Chance's waist so they didn't slump forward onto the bed. After a minute or two he noticed his legs were starting to cramp and Chance was shaking a little with the effort to stay on his knees. There was no graceful way to disentangle themselves but Guerrero shuffled backwards a little until his cock slipped free and he guided Chance down as gently as he could onto his side.

"You okay?" he asked, but only got a mumbled reply that seemed to be an affirmative.

Guerrero stood up, his knees complaining with a cracking sound. Chance looked halfway to falling asleep, rope or no rope, but after stretching his legs for a moment, Guerrero began to carefully unpick the knots.

Once he'd removed the rope, Chance moaned and rolled onto his back, bringing his hands over his head in a cat-like stretch. Guerrero dumped the rope on the floor and flopped down on the bed next to him.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"We good?" Guerrero asked.

"Better than good," Chance smiled sleepily, rolling on to his side and throwing an arm and a leg over Guerrero's body.

"I should at least get us cleaned up," he said, scratching at the fine hairs on the back of Chance's neck, knowing that he was fighting a losing battle.

"Uh-huh," Chance murmured, more asleep than awake. "In a minute."

A minute later Chance was fast asleep. Guerrero watched him for a while, fascinated by how much younger he looked when he was loose limbed and sleepy. He looked peaceful, and Guerrero hoped that he would be able to hold onto that when he woke up.

Guerrero felt as if they'd finally laid at least one of Chance's ghosts to rest, and he drifted into sleep with a smile on his face.

Chapter Text



"She can't stay at the hospital, Chance," Guerrero said. "Ellen said she's ready to be released and it's going to draw too much attention if she stays."

"Okay, well I guess we could put her up in the in the new bedroom. It's not like you're using it anymore," Chance said, not exactly thrilled with the idea.

"Uh, guys…" Winston tried to interrupt.

"No way dude. You think she's gonna just overlook the fact we're living together? She's not exactly the soul of discretion, is she?"

"It won't be for long, Guerrero. You said so yourself, we're just waiting for final confirmation that Clint has been taken care of."

Winston tried again. "Guys…"

"It's not about how long she would be here, bro. It's about her being here at all. The fewer people know about us the better! If she spends any amount of time here you know she'll probably stick us in her next book."

"I doubt she'd be that stupid. You've killed her twice already, and I'm pretty sure that scared her enough not to risk pissing you off."

"I guess I could stay at the apartment for a couple of days," Guerrero sighed.

"Or she could," Chance said. "As long as she kept her head down, no one would even know she was-"

"For the love of God, will you both just shut up!" Winston boomed.

They looked at him with genuine surprise.

"Jeez," Chance said mildly, "if you had something to say why didn't you-"

"Carol Lynne will be staying with me until you can confirm that Clint is no longer a threat," he said, glaring at them, daring them to comment.

Guerrero smirked as Chance mouthed 'Carol Lynne?' at him when he thought Winston wasn't looking.

"She's decided to kill off her Kitty Benoir persona for good," he said. "And don't think I didn't see that, Chance!"

Chance gave him one of his best wide-eyed look of innocence but Winston wasn't buying it.

"So, you and Carol Lynne," Guerrero said, cocking an eyebrow, "getting quite friendly then?"

"Not that it's any of your business, but yeah, we're friends."

"Uh-huh. And by 'friends' you mean…"

"Quit baiting him, Guerrero!" Chance said, smiling. "If Winston is willing to put her up for a few days, problem solved."

"Just so long as he doesn't bring her here. I'm still not convinced she can be trusted."

"She's not going anywhere until I get the all clear," Winston said. "And right now she's waiting for me at the hospital."

"Okay, just make sure you don't aggravate the poor girl's injuries. A punctured lung can be a bit of a passion killer," Guerrero smirked, slinking off to the kitchen.

Winston shook his head, "I still don't understand how you can find that attractive."

Chance was surprised at his remark; Winston tended to avoid making direct references to his relationship with Guerrero. "He's an acquired taste," he shrugged. "He grows on you."

"I'll have to take your word for that," Winston sighed. "But I guess he makes you happy, and he's always gonna watch your back, so maybe that's all anyone can ask for."

"You giving us your blessing, Winston?" Chance smiled.

"Hell no!" he replied gruffly, grabbing his car keys and heading for the elevator. "Pair of damn maniacs! Don't need any encouragement from me!"

Chance laughed and went to find Guerrero. He was sitting at the kitchen table, reading his email on his laptop with a cup of tea at his elbow.

"You really haven't heard any news yet?" Chance asked.

"I've caught the odd rumour that he's been taken care of, but I think it's better to wait until something is verified by the authorities before we give Kitty the all clear."

"Carol Lynne," Chance corrected him. "And by verified by the authorities you mean when someone finds the body?"

"Yeah." Guerrero glanced up at him, trying to gauge his response.

Chance nodded. "Probably wise."

"You okay with that?"

"With him being dead or holding off on telling the client she's out of danger?"

"Both I guess."

Chance let out a heavy sigh. "It was him or us. There wasn't a whole lot of room for compromise. I doubt anyone in Law Enforcement would have been able to handle him, so I guess turning him over to the wolves was the safest option all round. At least neither of us had to pull the trigger."

Guerrero nodded, deciding against telling him that Clint's death hadn't been as quick and simple as a shooting. When the body was found it was bound to hit the news in a big way once the press got hold of the gory details, but Chance didn't need to hear it from him.

"And as for telling Carol Lynne and Winston… there's no rush. A few days holed up together can only help things along."

Guerrero grinned. "My thoughts exactly."

Chance laughed. "I wouldn't count on him mellowing out any, just 'cause he's getting laid!"

"No, but if he's busy with lil miss Kitty then we get the place to ourselves a bit more often."

It didn't take long for them to take advantage of Winston's absence from the warehouse. Chance got bored of watching Guerrero messing around on his laptop, solving the problem by surreptitiously disconnecting the power supply and waiting for it to run out of juice. He knew Guerrero was running several different programs at once and it only took twenty minutes for the battery to drain completely, making Guerrero curse and snap it shut.

"You could have just asked me to shut it down!" he said once he realised what Chance had done.

"And that would have worked?"

"No," Guerrero conceded, "probably not. But at least I wouldn't have lost what I was working on."

Chance smiled and decided not to point out that Guerrero always auto-saved his work every thirty seconds anyway. "You wanna bitch about it or shall we go upstairs so I can make it up to you?"

Guerrero leaned back in his chair and pretended to think about it for a moment. "It had better be a really good apology."

It took a while for them to make it all the way to the bedroom. They had the place to themselves so there was no reason why Chance shouldn't pin Guerrero against the refrigerator and suck bruises into his shoulder until Guerrero retaliated by yanking his head back by the hair and biting down on Chance's lower lip. Things deteriorated rapidly from there in the struggle to remove one another's clothing and still head in the general direction of the bedroom. They stumbled and bumped into the furniture, more concerned with grabbing, kissing, sucking and biting at each other than with paying any attention to their surroundings.

Guerrero was naked but for his socks by the time they reached the foot of the stairs but somehow Chance had made it that far still wearing his jeans, although Guerrero had managed to get them undone. Chance was determined to make it to the bedroom, and twisted himself out of Guerrero's grip, making a break for it. He got as far as the top of the stairs before Guerrero tackled him, knocking him to the floor and wrestling the offending garment off him. Again Chance managed to give him the slip, and he bolted into the bedroom leaving Guerrero cursing on the floor. He dusted himself down, kicked off his socks and walked into the bedroom with about as much dignity as was possible for a naked man covered in bites, bruises and scratches with his cock bobbing along at full mast, but the second he set foot in the bedroom Chance bowled into him and they ended up in a heap on the bed.

"You definitely get points for enthusiasm, dude," Guerrero panted, rolling so that Chance was on top of him and dragging his nails down his back. "But I'd really rather have a blow job than a sparring match, if it's all the same to you."

Chance grinned and shifted his hips so that their cocks slid against each other in the sticky mess of pre-cum and sweat between them. "Is that an order or a request?"

"It's whatever will get my dick in your mouth right now," he mumbled, grabbing Chance's ass and thrusting against him.

Chance groaned and nuzzled against his neck, before lightly nipping at Guerrero's jaw with his teeth. "You sure? 'Cause this, right here," he ground his hips slowly and deliberately, making Guerrero curse, "feels pretty damn good."

Guerrero hooked his legs round Chance's and reversed their positions so he was back on top and pinned his wrists to the bed either side of his head. "I'd get the rope out but I think you'd enjoy it too much."

"True," Chance grinned. "But if you want me to blow you maybe you should just hall your scraggy as up here and make me."

Guerrero narrowed his eyes. "Dude, you are so gonna pay for that later!"

"Let me sit up and I'll pay for it now."

Guerrero rolled to his knees and let Chance prop himself up a bit on the pillows, and he made good on his offer, hauling him in close enough for him to get his mouth on Guerrero's dick. After the stunt he pulled in the surveillance van he knew that sometimes Guerrero like it hard and fast, so he set about driving him out of his mind, using every trick he knew. From the sound of Guerrero's rapid uneven breathing, it was working.

But in contrast to all the rough foreplay, Guerrero stroked his fingers gently through Chance's hair. Picking up on the tenderness of the gesture, Chance responded by slowing down, trying to draw the sensations out instead of trying to bring him to the edge as quickly as possible.

"Fuck… yeah, like that…" Guerrero murmured.

Chance tugged at Guerrero's leg, encouraging him to take up the position straddling him that had worked so well for them before. He let Guerrero control the speed and depth of his thrusts as he dragged his fingernails over Guerrero's chest and abdomen, making him shiver and moan.

"Chance, use your fingers…"

He gripped Guerrero's cock, working his hand along the shaft as he licked and sucked at the head, but Guerrero moaned and pulled away.

"No I meant…" Guerrero grabbed the lube from the nightstand and put it in Chance's hand, "use your fingers…"

Just the thought of it sent a jolt to his cock, and it was on the tip of his tongue to ask Guerrero if he was sure, but they had moved past all that now. If Guerrero was asking for it, he was sure.

"Come here," he said softly, sliding one arm down between his legs and taking Guerrero's cock back into his mouth.

Guerrero was too caught up in soft slide into the wet heat of Chance's mouth to see how he co-ordinated it, but suddenly he felt a well lubricated finger gently stroking across his ass hole.

"Fuck…"

Chance was almost too soft, too gentle, and the light teasing caress was at once not enough and too much for him to take. Guerrero realised that the whimpering sound he could hear was coming from his own mouth and he was about to tell Chance to get on with it already when the pressure increased and he could feel the finger sliding inside him.

He was moaning now, as Chance gradually worked his finger in and out, sliding a little further each time until, at last, he hit his prostate, flooding his body with sensation. Suddenly the feeling of Chance working his mouth over his cock was too much, and he pulled out, clamping his fingers around the base of his cock to stop himself from coming.

Chance froze. "You okay?"

"Yeah, just… don't stop what you were doing… with your finger… feels good."

Chance smiled and lay back, happy that he could now watch his lover's face. Guerrero moaned and pressed down against Chance's hand.

"You want more?" he asked, knowing how good the stretch and press of two fingers felt inside when Guerrero did this to him.

"God yeah…"

Chance couldn't help but flash back to that time in the shipping container when he'd been forced to do this to Guerrero with nothing but spit for lubricant, but was surprised to find that the shame and guilt, whist still there, were not strong enough to tarnish his enjoyment of the moment. He could appreciate that what they were doing was so very far from what happened before. Guerrero wasn't lying bleeding in the dirt, enduring a violation of his body because he had no other choice, he was kneeling over him, writhing on his fingers because he wanted it, and if anyone was in control here it was Guerrero.

And Jesus! He looks fucking incredible…

Chance twisted and scissored his fingers inside him, just to hear him groan louder and see the muscles stand out in Guerrero's arms as he grabbed his shoulders for support. His cock was oozing with pre-cum and Chance knew all it would take would be for him to take the head into his mouth and slowly suck to bring him off. He resisted the temptation though, he'd never gotten to do this before, to see Guerrero like this, and he was in no hurry for it to be over.

Guerrero was taking his fingers easily now, and he only had to moan Chance's name to get him to add a third.

"Fuck, I think I could come just from watching you!"

Guerrero reached behind him and grabbed his wrist, stilling his hand. "Don't. I want you to fuck me first."

Chance nodded, too dumbstruck to reply. He'd been trying not to consciously hope for this, knowing that when it happened it had to be at Guerrero's instigation, not his. He eased his fingers out from Guerrero, letting him shift back until he was straddling his legs. Guerrero took the lube and smoothed it over Chance's cock, smiling when he hissed at the cool liquid against his overheated flesh.

"Guess I should have warmed it a little."

"Doesn't matter," Chance muttered, running his hands lightly up and down Guerrero's thighs. He kept them there as Guerrero moved into position and guided his cock into place.

Chance held his breath as Guerrero lowered himself down, biting his lip hard enough to draw blood as the head of his cock breached him. Guerrero paused, drawing deep shuddering breaths as he reminded his body to relax, before letting his weight push Chance even deeper.

It took every ounce of willpower Chance had just to lie still, but gradually Guerrero managed to take him in all the way.

"Y'okay?" Chance asked, placing one hand over Guerrero's braced against his chest.

"Fuck! … just gimmee a minute."

Chance nodded and smoothed his hands up and down Guerrero's thighs. He knew that it possibly wasn't the easiest position for what was essentially Guerrero's first time but he sensed that Guerrero needed to be in control and maybe it was better this way.

Guerrero started to move, agonisingly slowly at first but with building confidence, varying the angle slightly until he found one that worked.

"Oh god… there…" he shuddered.

Chance's fingers were biting deep into Guerrero's thighs, and as much as he wanted to push up into him, he wouldn't move until Guerrero told him to.

"Jesus! Chance… just fuck me!"

As soon as the words were out Chance bent his knees and braced his feet against the mattress, thrusting up to meet him. Guerrero moaned and slumped forward, his arms shaking with the effort of holding himself up as Chance fucked him.

Chance reached up, cupping one hand round the back of his neck and pulling him down into a messy kiss whilst the other gripped his hip, pushing him down on to his cock.

"God, I wanted this so much," Chance moaned as Guerrero buried his face in his neck, too breathless to keep kissing. "I never thought we'd… I wanted you so fucking much…"

"Don't stop… don't fucking stop…"

"Guerrero… my fucking Guerrero…"

"Yeah, yours…"

Guerrero kissed his neck and pushed himself back upright, one hand splayed against Chance's chest as he started jerking himself off with the other.

"Come for me Chance. I wanna feel you come for me…"

Chance thrust harder, his eyes flicking between Guerrero's face contorted with pleasure and his hand fisting his cock. He was close but he wanted Guerrero to fall first, so he held on for as long as he could, and then, more by accident than design, they came together. Guerrero threw his head back, crying out Chance's name as Chance himself groaned string of obscenities, losing his rhythm as his hips bucked and jerked up off the bed, riding out his orgasm to the very end whilst Guerrero's cum spurted hot and fast over their bodies.


When they came back to their senses Guerrero was sprawled across Chance's chest, cradled in the protective embrace of his arms with his face pressed against his neck. For a while they just lay there, Chance rubbing soothing circles on his back until Guerrero found the strength and will power to move, almost whimpering as Chance' softening cock slipped from his body.

Chance was unwilling to let go, so they ended up lying facing each other with his arms still encircling Guerrero.

"That was…"

"Yeah," Chance agreed, burying his nose in Guerrero's hair and breathing deeply.

"Thanks for, y'know, waiting."

"Totally worth it."

"Totally."

They lay there for a while, reluctant to move but knowing sooner rather than later they were going to have to clean themselves up.

"Guerrero?"

"Yeah?"

"I… y'know…"

"I know. Me too."

Chance pulled him a little closer and gave a contented little sigh. Perhaps it wasn't the most articulate declaration of his feelings, but for them it was perfect.

THE END