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Daryl leaned against the side of the car, hands on the driver's side door, legs spread in the specified manner.

He tuned out the rent-a-cop who was taking his sweet time checking his license and registration. His eyes were glued to the flowerbed in the yard in front of him. Vibrant color assaulted Daryl's eyes: marigolds, impatients, Gerbera daisies and a host of other flowers he couldn't identify. Spring had fucking sprung.

Chad was staring at him, he could feel it. Daryl had already tamped down the initial rush of shame when they'd been pulled over. Had stopped Chad from calling his father and submitted to the indignity of being grilled by a man who could only be a reject of the Cascade PD.

"Had a report of some gang activity in the area. You're not from around here and I had to be sure."

That was the reason the rent-a-cop gave when Daryl had politely (and carefully) asked why they had been stopped. When he had seen the flashing lights in his rear view, he spared Chad one look and said, "Don't say anything, okay?"

"D? What the fuck...?"

"Stay quiet and I'll deal with it," Daryl said firmly. He squeezed Chad's hand quickly before the rent-a-cop could see then put both hands back on the steering wheel and waited for the inevitable.

Simon was no fool. Once Daryl got his driver's license, the two of them sat down for a very long talk. "It'll happen to you at least once, maybe twice, here in the city, Daryl," Simon had said. "Once you're up in the hills, well, that's a whole different ball game." They ran through the drill together: don't sass the cop, hand over your license and registration when asked, and if you had to, assume the fucking position because that was the only way you were going to walk away from it in one piece. Get a badge number or a name if you could but other than that, do what you had to do.

Which brought him back to this moment. Staring at a flowerbed with his boy friend (or the guy he hoped would be his boyfriend) sitting in the car.

Finally, finally, it was over and he was back in the car and pulling away from the curb. He didn't look at Chad. "I'll get you home, man." Didn't want to look at this guy that he liked so much. Didn't want to see shame in the sky blue eyes.

As he drove, Daryl rested his right hand on the seat. He heard Chad shift then the football player's big warm hand slipped beneath Daryl's and their fingers laced together.

At a stop sign, Daryl looked down at their hands and then at his passenger. "I'm sorry," Chad said softly. He didn't say any more. Just squeezed Daryl's hand. Daryl held on tight.