It’s Monday morning, and there’s a lily of the valley on his desk. Eight o’clock though, so the two idiots are still on their Dunkin Donuts trip, and haven’t been in yet—not their work. Too subtle for them, even if his gardening is a constant source of mockery.
He approaches the plant with caution, and rubs some sanitizer between his palms absently before glancing at the tag attached to the pot. For Alex is scrawled on the purple slip of paper, and Wes scowls, turns around to see Travis grinning down at the incident report he’s writing.
“You’re not allowed to hit on my ex-wife, I thought we went over this.”
Travis swivels around, tapping his pen against the desk. “I’m giving her flowers. As a friend. Besides, she probably won’t even plant it herself—that’s what her gardener’s for, right?”
His tone is completely without inflection, innocent to a fault. “He’s on vacation.”
“Which would be why you’ve been watering the lawn and trimming the shrubs for the past week?” Travis has put the pen down and his fingers are laced together, all his attention focused on Wes now.
“The lawn needs a lot of attention. The soil there has a delicate pH balance that has to be maintained, she doesn’t know all the—”
“So how exactly did you work out the custody settlement over your grass, again?”
Wes scowls and pointedly ignores the plant. “I can see that it’s going to be difficult working together, since Alex apparently won you in the settlement as well.”
Travis actually laughs, and turns around back to his desk. “Just take the damn plant, Wes. I promise she won’t get any preferential treatment during work hours.”
“Says the man who brings lilies for my ex into the office.” Wes mutters, but after they spend an entire day trying to track down a victim of domestic abuse, he snags the flowers on his way home.
On Tuesday, there are seed packets for lemongrass, lavender, and sage stacked neatly next to his computer. He shuffles through them, wondering if Travis has been going through his gym bag and found his deodorant.
“Alex mentioned the herb garden you had out back.” Travis offers, and Wes tries his very best to not throw the packets at his stupid face, and mostly manages.
He throws a paperclip instead, after carefully storing the seeds in one of his desk drawers, and does his best not to smirk when Travis squawks about the lethal qualities that tiny twisted pieces of metal possess and how Wes should not be allowed to throw them at important people.
Wes counters by remarking that it’s a good thing there aren’t any important people in the room, and before they know it the Captain is out of his office and telling them they have another counseling session, godammit, or he’s going to take their guns away and make them do another stint at Juvie.
They go to counseling.
“I think Wes missed his calling as a Victorian gardener.” Travis tells Dr. Ryan earnestly, who starts taking notes to Wes’s horror. “He’s so devoted to his ex-lawn—is that the correct term? I mean, he doesn’t own it, technically, so I’m pretty sure they’re not in a relationship anymore—”
“I was never in a ‘relationship’ with it. I took care of it. Because that is what you do, Travis. You water the lawn, otherwise it gets brown, and dies, because that’s what happens when plants don’t get water.” Wes grits out, and does his best to ignore the woman cooing at them.
“Yeah, but Wes. Partner, friend, dear—” Wes tries to latch his hands around Travis’s throat but is foiled when the other man quickly ducks out of his grasp “I feel like you’re cheating on me with a plant. You spend more time with it than with me, dude, it hurts. Really.”
“You know what else hurts?” Wes hisses, furious when the couple across from them start making sympathetic noises and nodding their heads. “A bullet. To the face.”
“See what I mean?” Travis gives Dr. Ryan the puppy-dog eyes, and tries to grasp Wes’s hand in his own. Wes snatches it back and makes another attempt at strangulation. “A previous therapist told me that subconsciously, I equate his abuse to love.” He smiles soppily at Wes, who snarls back and is heartily sorry that he’s been forbidden from bringing firearms with him in sessions because of that one time with the holes in the ceiling. “I just can’t quit you.”
Wes throws himself bodily at Travis, and topples them onto the floor, Dr. Ryan scribbling furiously on her notepad while she looks on.
It’s chrysanthemums on Wednesday, but Wes is too tired from the shouting match he and Alex had carried on late into the night to pay them much attention. He slumps at his desk, head on one elbow, and wonders which stupid fucker he’s going to have to shoot for using his hand sanitizer this time.
“Alex says she’s sorry.” Travis says solemnly. “And she doesn’t want you to have any regrets.”
“Is she your best friend, now?” Wes bites out. “Because I thought that’s what I was, but I guess it’s no surprise I’ve been replaced.”
Travis chuckles and swats his shoulder. “Naw, I could never paint someone else’s toenails while watching Dawson’s Creek marathons. That’s strictly reserved for you, man.”
Wes has tried to wipe his memory of that particular incident, but Travis likes to bring it up every now and then to remind him that he’s got blackmail material. “Well, she’ll like the chrysanthemums. They’ll match the shingles.”
“They’re not for her.”
He checks the tag, cornflower blue to match the flowers. Your secret’s out, idiot, it says, and Wes smiles for the first time that morning.
“So someone was actually clever with their homicide for once. I haven’t found any trace amounts of poison in the initial toxscreen, so I’m going to run it again. But it’s almost definitely some kind of paralyzing agent, which is interesting.” The coroner sounds thrilled, and Wes figures that this is the probably the high point of her day. She absolutely loves when people are poisoned, especially when it’s done covertly.
Travis is eyeing her with trepidation, and backs slowly away from the dead body on her table. “That’s, uh. Nice? You should definitely follow up on it, get back to us.”
She contemplates the body, poking dead flesh carefully with a scalpel. “Of course, if they wanted to be really fascinating, they’d have dissolved the body in acid. Untraceable. Much more exciting that way.” She looks up, and eyes Travis. “That’d definitely be the way to go, if you didn’t want to deal with evidence.”
Wes smirks as Travis’ eyes widen almost comically. “You know just what to say to get a boy hooked.”
“Well, we could discuss it over dinner sometime, maybe.” She’s eyeing him appreciatively, but Travis latches onto Wes’s hand and drags him out the door.
“I’m sorry, I don’t allow my partners to date possible murders. Don’t want to mix work and play, you know?” He calls behind them, and Wes is still laughing when the doors slams shut and Travis is fleeing down the hallway.
Alex eyes the miniature bonsai tree he brings to the house on Thursday. “So, who’s your botanical sugar-daddy?”
Wes splutters, clutching the tree to his chest protectively. “There’s no—I’m not, um. The lily was for you!” He finishes accusatorily, but Alex just chuckles and comes over to look at it.
“Those things are pretty expensive, Wes.” She eyes him, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “At least they know you’re not a cheap date.”
“I am not to be won over with any manner of material goods, even this precious beauty.” Wes knows he’s cooing at the tree, but he can’t help it; she’s so pretty.
Alex rolls her eyes. “So have you figured out why exactly you’re so agreeable about couples therapy with Travis yet?”
“Not really.” Wes says absently, trying to figure out where he’s going to be able to get a pair of clippers that won’t lobotomize his baby.
“Maybe you think about it.” Alex says, pointedly, and disappears into the kitchen.
Wes looks up from the bonsai, confused. “Hey, wait—we’re not married anymore, you don’t get to pull the mysterious advice card with me.”
“Sweetheart, it’s only mysterious because you’re too dumb to figure it out for yourself.” She calls back, and Wes thought he had at least one ally, but apparently she’s gone to the dark side as well.
The enormous bird of paradise doesn’t appear until lunchtime, and Wes stares at it for a full five minutes before collapsing into his chair.
Travis leans against the wall of their cubicle. “So. I was thinking maybe you could come by after work and show me how to not kill my window beds.”
“How did you know about—” Wes flails a hand, trying to encompass the giant plant towering over him.
“I have inside connections.” Travis shrugs, crossing his arms. He’s staring at Wes intently, and there’s something poking at him in the back of his brain.
“I just. Um. Why—” Travis raises an eyebrow, and that something makes a connection. Wes inhales quickly, and coughs. “Oh. Um.” Travis still isn’t smiling. Wes wishes he would.
Oh. Well. That was interesting.
“After work, you said?” He asks, doing his best to sound nonchalant.
Travis relaxes, uncrossing his arms and grinning widely. “Thank god. I thought I’d have to bring in a cactus next, and say what you want about the people in here, they’re not that oblivious—”
“Well, how was I supposed to know you were secretly—” Wes glances around suspiciously, lowering his voice to a whisper “wooing me with plants.”
“Wooing? Really? Are we secretly characters in a bodice-ripper now, Wesley?” Travis wiggles his eyebrows, and Wes is not blushing. At all.
“Whatever. Just. Go about your business, idiot.” He hisses, and turns his back on his traitorous partner in order to contemplate his hideous life decisions.
“It’s a date, then.” Travis says, not bothering to keep his voice down, and smirks when Wes shushes him frantically and tries to throw a rubber band ball at his head.
This might end badly, considering that both of them have easy access to guns. Somehow, Wes is pretty sure it won’t.