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Chocolate and Chile and Cloves

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Really, the whole thing started – Well, the whole thing probably started thirty years ago, but Eliot doesn't want to think about that. But for them, at least, the whole thing started when Eliot suddenly had to cause a distraction for a job ("What – How!?" "Public indecency, I don't care, but if you don't do something we're going to be on the Cosa Nostra's shit-list"), and ended up getting arrested.

Not serious, obviously, he could have knocked out the deputy and high-tailed it out of the town, a little one-street nothing in the ass-end of nowhere, but Nate said "Go quietly," and Nate said, "It'll be taken care of," and Nate was down at the town's community center and too far away to sucker-punch, so Eliot sucked it up and took the "Drunk and Disorderly" ("Do I smell drunk to – " "Don't make this harder on yourself than it needs to be, son") for making an unsubtle pass at the High-school football coach.

And because the town didn't have a jail, and the drunk-tank was being used to store the hockey nets in the off-season, ("Oh, this is embarrassing") he was cuffed by one hand to one of the drawer handle of a locked drawer of the Sheriff's desk. It was about an hour, and the secretary/dispatcher was willing enough to make conversation, but he wasn't willing to indulge her horrified fascination ("We don't have – you know, like you, in our town. I never would have guessed, to look at you!") and rummaging through the Sheriff's desktop while she wasn't looking was entertaining for about five minutes. Then he tried to nap in the Sheriff's, seriously, surplus from Soviet Russia chair, and think of revenges on Nate.

He woke up, with a stiff neck, at the sound of Alec's voice. "Ma'am? Trooper Paul Darrow. I heard you caught our man. Good work, he's been causing trouble all up and down the highway, scamming motorists with the old 'Gas Money' con."

"Gas money?" The dispatcher was clearly disappointed it wasn't anything salacious. Obviously Hardison had heard the Drunk and Disorderly, but not the gossip, or it would have been something incredibly disgusting, just because he thought it was funny. Eliot hunched his shoulders and didn't make eye-contact with either of them, but from under his lashes, he could could see that Alec had picked up most of a Highway Patrolman's uniform, although he was still wearing the pants he'd put on that morning.

It turned out she wasn't too eager to notice any flaws in his performance, though. "Thank god, I've been waiting for someone to relieve me so I could go for my lunch– I haven't eaten anything since 5:00 this morning!" She signed his paperwork, and Alec scrawled something across hers, and then she was gathering up her purse and was almost out the door before Alec said:

"You got a key for those handcuffs?" and Eliot winced, because really, a Highway patrolman ought to have his own, but apparently she wasn't too critical of anything that would get her her lunch, and flapped a hand at a notice-board with a key hanging from a nail in the corner. "Gotcha!" Alec called after her, but the door was already swinging shut.

Alec's wide grin appeared the moment the door clicked, and Eliot studiously kept his own expression as neutral as possible, in the hopes of forestalling whatever comment Alec obviously thought was going to be incredibly funny, but Alec's grin stayed silent as he very obviously looked Eliot up and down. Eliot caught himself shifting awkwardly in the chair, which was just because it was damn uncomfortable, but it made Alec's grin wider.

"Look at you," Alec observed. "You're in a whole heap of trouble, young man–" which Eliot judged best to cut off immediately.

"No," he said, and evidently forcefully enough, because Alec shrugged and snagged the key, threading his way past desks and an overflowing wastebasket toward Eliot.

"Seriously, man, role-playing is not even that kinky. Married people do it."

In Eliot's experience, that wasn't much of an argument, but since it looked like he'd dissuaded Alec, he left it alone. Eliot held out his free hand for the handcuff key, since it would be quicker than opening it with the paper-clip he'd unbent and been holding up his sleeve for the past fifty-eight minutes, but Alec ignored him and kept on coming, stepping in too close and then leaning in and grabbing the chair's arm-(so-called)-rests, bracketing Eliot. "All tied up and no-place to go?" Alec said, his grin, if anything, only gotten bigger.

Eliot rolled his eyes. "I am not having sex with you in the cop-shop of a an interstate truck-stop town just because handcuffs get you hot."

Alec stood up fractionally and unlatched the cuff around his wrist, one-handed. "Okay," he said agreeably, and unlatched the cuff from the drawer handle too. "Does that mean you might somewhere else?" He offered Eliot the handcuffs in one hand, like a pair of cards.

"You keep 'em. They go better with your uniform," Eliot said, and knew he hadn't exactly said no.


Alec didn't bring it up again on the job, although he apparently talked Parker into something, because the two of them disappeared into Alec's truck for forty minutes and Parker came out again looking pleased, and more disheveled than usual. (Alec knew better than to suggest his truck to Eliot; he'd persuaded Eliot to try it once, and then Eliot had bashed his forehead on something blinky and Alec had been more worried for his machine than Eliot, and the encounter had not ended satisfactorily.) Eliot thought he'd maybe persuaded Parker to indulge his thing for handcuffs, but refused to ask, as Alec would probably take it as an expression of interest in helping him explore his bondage fetish. (Which, for the record, no, and Eliot was pretty sure Alec already had it pretty well mapped.)

But when they got back home for their week down, and after Eliot had caught up on the Germany vs. Brazil match that Alec had tivoed (Eliot had suspected an ulterior motive, but decided he didn't mind being a cheap date), Alec wandered back in and leaned over the back of the couch. "Hey, man," he said, maybe a little too studiously casual. "This work better for you?" A pair of handcuffs dangled from one finger, and although Eliot didn't really pay that much attention to handcuffs except when he was wearing them, he suspected they were the pair from the Little River lockup.

He spent a moment debating it, but Alec had programmed the tivo to catch his games, and there was nothing else on TV. "What the hell," he agreed, "just let me piss first." Alec made a comically outraged face, but he heard him gathering up Eliot's emptied beers for the recycling. In the head, he caught himself trying to figure out what Alec had in mind. Maybe a chair, to recreate the scene in the sheriff's office, or maybe with both hands behind his back? Not that Eliot cared, particularly, he reminded himself, except maybe he wasn't entirely indifferent.

He washed and zipped up, and then laughed at himself silently, since he was pretty sure his pants would be coming off again. But no point seeming eager.

And once he came out the door, it turned out Alec was plenty eager for both of them, because he sort of bounced off of Eliot trying to shove him up against the wall. He rebounded quickly, and grabbed the unbuttoned edges of Eliot's shirt and pulled Eliot closer. Eliot laughed into his mouth, and when Alec separated, pointed out, "It's hilarious when you try to be butch."

"Whatever, man, you love it," disagreed Alec, and since Eliot was more or less helping Alec to shove him along the wall toward the bedroom, it wasn't worth arguing about. And it was maybe secretly kind of cute.

Eliot wasn't quite sure what his part in it was supposed to be, and when he settled his hands on Alec's ass (where, he could be honest, they often found themselves,) he could feel a pair of handcuffs in his back pockets, so he stuck one hand on Alec's hip and used the other to get up inside his dumbass shirt. Groping and wrestling their way toward the bedroom wasn't any different than how this usually happened, except that Alec had gone from zero to sixty pretty fast even for him. "You must have had-" and then Eliot got distracted by the corner of Alec's jaw, and the hint of beard that his tongue could find even though it was still invisible to the eye. They rolled down the wall, and Alec nearly tripped before Eliot caught him, and he remembered what he'd been about to say. "You must have had the world's most awkward erection in juvie."

"Juvie?" said Alec, although his offended tone was belied by the hand he was trying to work inside Eliot's fly without unbuttoning. "'Scuse me, some of us are too good to be caught. Besides, it ain't me–" and then they both fell through the open door of Alec's bedroom, and a bit of footwork was called for to avoid landing on one of Alec's laptops which was lying on the floor.

Alec gave Eliot a shove, and Eliot added a bit of torque to it so he'd bounce square on Alec's bed instead of hitting a corner. He was wrestling his shirts off before he stopped bouncing, but when he got them over his heads, Alec was standing back, one hand on his dick through his pants.

"What?" asked Eliot, a bit defensive, and then told himself not to be stupid because even if it was a bit weird to be looked at like that, Alec clearly liked what he saw.

"Can you put the outer one back on?" asked Alec, and Eliot looked at the shirts still in his hand. It was just his old blue flannel, which he wore when he figured no one would see him, but Alec had sounded hopeful instead of bossy, and he guessed it wasn't any skin off his nose.

"Okay," he agreed, and shucked it out of his t-shirt. "Just don't get your jizz on it."

Alec's eyes were intent on him as he stalked toward the bed and Eliot, and normally there would be something funny about watching him trying to prowl, since Eliot knew he could be taken down by a teenage crack-head, but it sort of wasn't funny right now. He looked like he could handle a crack-head.

"Yeah," said Alec approvingly as Eliot pulled the shirt back on. "Like that." He pulled out the handcuffs, "can I…?"

"I said so, didn't I?" said Eliot, and made himself give Alec a wrist. Alec came up on the bed to kneel straddling his waist, and took Eliot's wrist in one hand, a bit more carefully than the situation really called for. The click-click of the ratchet seemed unnaturally loud, and they both stared at the cuff.

"Yeah," said Alec again, a bit unfocused, and then breathed out through his nose and came back in focus, settled on his heels, and got his logistics look. He sometimes bit his lip while figuring out multi-part problems, which Eliot hoped he didn't know. "Right. Is over your head okay?"

"It's fine," Eliot huffed, but when Alec leaned up over him and bore him down to the mattress, Eliot suddenly decided he needed to distract himself, so he pushed himself up the few inches and nipped the exposed gap between Alec's pants and his shirt. Alec swatted at his head, and rather more effectively kneed him in the rib, which suggested that part was accidental.

"Ooof," said Eliot, to cover the sound the other handcuff made locking around his wrist, and then made himself not tug.

Alec pushed himself up so he was on his hands and knees over Eliot, so Eliot had to tip his head back to look Alec in the face. "Okay," said Alec, "You have a safeword?"

"A safeword?" echoed Eliot incredulously, which was a mistake, because Alec was always eager to explain stuff he thought you didn't know about.

"Yeah, like, a word you wouldn't say normally during sex if I'm doing something you don't like," Alec said, sounding a bit like Nate explaining how his genius plan had worked, which was a pretty big turnoff.

"I don't need a safeword," Eliot said, annoyed. "If you're doing something I don't like, I'll break your neck."

Alec pushed back up on his heels. "See, man, that's why you do need a safeword. It's all fun and games until somebody breaks a neck. Yours can be 'lollipop.'"

"I'm not saying–" but Alec raised an eyebrow at him and he wasn't sure if saying it now counted, so he bit it off and glared. Alec grinned, pleased.

"Take off your shirt," said Eliot, giving up on the safeword thing. "I'm not having sex with a guy who's wearing a shirt that says 'Hail to the Geek.'"

"Well, I wouldn't want you to lower your standards," said Alec, and pulled off the tee over his head, and then sat back and looked Eliot up and down in a distinctly possessive way, which, Eliot supposed, was under the circumstances possibly not entirely unwarranted. Alec flashed white teeth at him, and then carefully folded Eliot's shirt open, so the tails were spread on either side of his ass.

"Look at you," said Alec, and for a second Eliot thought he might be trying to play bad-cop again, and he'd have to kick Alec in the head – but this time his voice was his own, no stupid fake accent or cheesy lines. Alec unbuttoned the top button of Eliot's jeans, which was just enough of a relief to be a tease and scraped the blunt edge of his thumbnail up the line of hair that started under his zipper, around his navel, to where it thinned and scattered over his breastbone. Eliot twitched.

"Ticklish?" asked Alec, with palpably insincere concern.

"Nope," said Eliot, and took his weight on his shoulders and bucked up to try and unseat Alec. Didn't work, but he could feel Alex's ass flex in his lap, and watching his abs work to keep him from tipping justified the effort. "Getting a bit bored, though," he said, just because he could.

"Nothing's keeping you" and then they both went quiet to listen to the sound of soft scuffing sounds at the front door.

"Housekeeping?" asked Eliot, deciding he would be really annoyed if after all this they were interrupted.

Alec listened a moment longer, than relaxed forward, and started biting his way up Eliot's left bicep. "Nah," he muttered into Eliot's arm. "Parker. She's the only one who can get that lock open without rattling." He apparently felt Eliot tense. "What? You don't want her in?"

Eliot tried to figure out how to say "Just. She's more creative than you," he said, leaving out the more obvious 'and crazy.'

Alec rubbed a slow circle on Eliot's side, "I'd protect you," he said, and his voice was – it wasn't that he wasn't teasing, but that he was also serious.

"Yeah, fine," said Eliot, trying not to sound like it meant anything.

Out in the hall, the door clicked open and swung shut. "Sophie's memorizing lines!" called Parker into the apartment. "I'm not here!"

"Come on back here," Alec called back, "I'm doing filthy things to Eliot!" and pinched Eliot's nipple. Eliot snapped at his wrist.

There was silence from Parker, and then, suspiciously, "Literally or metaphorically?"

"Metaphorically, right this now!" yelled Alec, and Eliot muffled his snicker against his arm, because Parker hated being laughed at.

Having bit his way up the flexors, Alec brought both hands up, and scratched down both arms with his blunt nails, with this weird, pleased look on his face.

Eliot looked away, which was how he saw Parker's face in the doorway, white.

"Jesus! Shit!" he exclaimed, and jerked hard on the handcuffs, which didn't give at all.

"What?" asked Alec, sitting upright. "Did that tickle?"

"No, Parker!" said Eliot, and threw Alec to one side so suddenly he rolled off the bed. "Go get her!" Eliot rolled to his knees and pulled against the cuffs again, but now he could see they wrapped around an inch square wood slat decorative thing. "Shit!"

Alec was staring at him from the floor like Eliot had gone insane.

"Go get her! Lollipops, okay?"

Alec scrambled to his feet and bolted out into the hall still pulling himself upright on the frame, which, at least was gratifying, but Eliot was still locked to the bed. Fuck. Since he didn't hear any slamming doors or screams, he downgraded the emergency and took the two minutes to get a paperclip out of Alec's bedside drawer with his toes instead of breaking his bed.

As soon as he got loose, he tracked them down easily. Alec was kneeling outside his broom-closet, and speaking into the gap under the door. "Well, can I get you anything? A glass of water, maybe?"

"I'm fine!" Parker said back, muffled through the door, but loud and frustrated. "Go back to your orgasms!"

Eliot tapped on Alec's shoulder, and raised an eyebrow when he looked up. Alec shrugged bafflement at him, looking worried.

"Parker," said Eliot, "can I come in?"

She took a moment to think about it. "Yeah, okay," she allowed, finally, so Alec crab-walked clear, and Eliot slid in, and hunkered down opposite Parker, who was curled in a ball with her chin hiding behind her knees, nose and eyes peering out cautiously. His shoulders were too wide to really close the door behind himself, though, and Alec stuck his head in the gap.

"Hey," said Eliot, and then wasn't sure how to proceed. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine go away go away," said Parker, voice rising, so that he hastily said:

"No, no, you're fine! I uh. Um. You know that wasn't real or"

"I'm not stupid," Parker said, "I know. I just don't like to" and she stuck her hand out of her huddle and flapped it aggressively, to denote, he guessed, 'see handcuffs used in sex.'

"Right," said Alec, overhead. "Is there… something you maybe want to talk about…? Or not!" he hastily added, catching Parker's outraged glare.

"Stop looking at me!" Parker demanded, and then flailed an arm randomly, smacking the point of his elbow. "Ow," she added.

"I want you to know we didn't mean to make you, um, uncomfortable," said Alec ("I'm comfortable," muttered Parker into her knees), "And I wouldn't have, um. I mean, if I'd known it was something you," Alec trailed off feebly, "Were. Uh. Allergic to?"

Parker raised her head to give Alec a withering look.

Eliot put his chin on his knuckle. "Want to pretend nothing happened and you can make fun of Nate and steal cookie-dough while I make the Mexican chocolate cookies?"

"Yes okay," said Parker gratefully, speaking so fast she slurred her words together, and bounced to her feet. The door bounced open and then bounced back shut again off something that might have been Alec, but Parker scrambled past Eliot before the door started its return. Eliot levered himself up carefully so as not to bash his head on anything; it really wasn't a two-person closet.

Alec was leaning against the opposite wall with a hand cupping his nose, and Eliot winced sympathetically. "I dure know how to show you a good tibe," said Alec, sounding rueful.


By the time the cookies were in the oven, Parker had a smear of chocolate on her nose that Alec and Eliot had silently agreed neither would mention. Alec hung back, occasionally poking at the baking ingredients Eliot had produced from his cupboards like he was mystified by them. Parker drummed her heels against the ribs of the stool she was sitting on.

Eliot said, eventually, because he had to, "That thing we're not talking about– if you ever wanted to, you know we'd listen."

"Talking's not a thing I do," said Parker, and ate an entire chile.

"That ain't right," complained Alec. "At least drink some milk with it so I can pretend. Anything else is wrong."

"Wrong is a thing I do," she conceded, and gave them both a slanted look. "Want to go be metaphorical?"

Alec seemed to be overcoming his chile-related moral scruples but self-preservation compelled Eliot to stipulate, "Not until you scrub all the chile off your hands."

Parker glanced at her hands, then hopped off her stool for the bathroom sink. Neither of them said anything until they heard the water run.

"That went okay," Alec said. "Not good, but-"

"Nope," Eliot disagreed, "that was straight up terrible." He hooked his fingers into Alec's pants. "You're going to have to make it up to me some time so that I'm not left with a bad impression of handcuffs. But this time we'll put a sock on the doorknob."