"What the fuck is this?" John says, when Sherman hands him the printouts: 9:20 AM, Los Angeles, CA (LAX), 12:20 PM, Vancouver, BC (YVR), with tomorrow's date along the top edge and the American Airlines logo on the bottom. His name on one, Sherman's on the other, and—John flicks over to the back of the stack—return tickets for four days from now.
"You'd better clear your schedule," is all Sherman says, turning to grab the shotgun from the trunk and ducking into the car while John's still standing there staring at him.
John slams the driver's side door a little harder than necessary. There'd better be a goddamn good explanation for this.
Gone are the days, though, when the kid would crack if John was silent for a few minutes. Sherman doesn't twitch under his scrutiny, just peers out the window, scanning the streets. John gives in. "Kid, you want a vacation, put in nine more months and then ask for the time. I don't know what you think this is, but I can't afford the days off."
In his peripheral vision, John catches Sherman's gaze flick towards him, then away. "It's paid time, sir. The LT strongly suggested I take you somewhere, get you to relax."
Fuck. If the LT's noticed— "Fuck, kid, he meant get me laid, get me drunk, and let me sleep it off on your couch," John says. "Not 'go play with the Mounties'."
"Yeah, well," Sherman says. He's got a stubborn set to the line of his jaw. "I'd rather get out of town, and the LT approved the time, so." He turns to the window, as clear a dismissal as possible given John's his superior officer.
John sighs. If the tickets are paid for—well, it's not like he had weekend plans, anyway.
And if there's a traitorous part of him that's insisting he doesn't mind the idea of a few days out of town, alone with Sherman—well, it's fucking pathetic, is what it is, but hell, John's used to that, by now.
* * *
"Jesus Christ, Richie Rich," John says, when they start passing mansions fancier than in the Palisades, about an hour north of Vancouver. Sherman's driving, and it makes John jittery; he doesn't like not being behind the wheel. "What, a mansion in Stone Canyon's not enough, your family has a place up here, too?" Sherman doesn't answer.
Whatever John was expecting, the place Sherman stops isn't it. Fifteen minutes out of the rich neighborhoods, Sherman had stopped to put on the tire chains; then it was twenty minutes of bumpy dirt road surrounded by unbroken forest until they'd pulled up in front of—well, "cabin" is too charitable. It's a fucking shack in the fucking woods.
He lets Sherman grab the bags from the trunk—after those roads, his back is killing him—and follows him inside. "What the hell, Sherman," John says. It's tiny, one room and a galley kitchen, with a huge woodstove, a couch, one bed, and not much else. "What is this place?"
"I thought you'd decided it was my family's place," Sherman says. "What, did you want me to actually contribute to this conversation?" He's trying for easy-going, but his eyes are angry.
John sighs and scrubs his hands through his hair. "Sorry, boot," he says. Sherman's gaze flicks towards him, startled. "I'm tired and my back is killing me," John says. He hates apologizing, but if he's gonna be here with Sherman for the next three days, he'd better not be too much of an asshole. Marriage taught him that much, at least. "Can we try this again?"
Sherman's smile is slow, but brilliant. "You serious about that?" he says, looking thoughtful.
"Sure," John says.
"Okay," Sherman says. He brushes past John, pushes the door open with his hip to grab wood from the woodpile. And then leans in and brushes his lips, casually, against John's. "It's my place," he adds. "Not my family's. Mine."
John stares. Did he just—
Sherman's smiling. "I thought it'd be good to get out of the city," he says.
"Yeah?" John says. He takes a step forward. Sherman drops the wood on the hearth with a clatter. "I like the way you think, kid."
Sherman's grin is blinding. "Good," he says, and tugs John in to kiss him again.