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Pursuit (The Pay to Play Remix)

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Brian lived for the cars. Sure, the brick wall was cold and rough against his back, the wind cut straight through his thin tank, and the soles of his fucking Doc Martens were about to fall out if he couldn't pull a decent couple tricks tonight, but shit, the cars. He could watch them go past him like a parade—an Impala here, a Z34 there, even a retro Skyline that made his hands itch to pop her hood, see how they used to play the game. They made all the shitty SUVs and hybrids look like nothing next to them.

Brian had extra fun with the johns who drove the shitty cars.

He had his eyes on a black Escape with an asshole in a suit in it—he'd driven past three times already, slowing down right where Brian was holding down the pavement—and as it came around for a fourth swing, Brian took a step forward.

A hand slapped against his chest and shoved him back into the wall. "Where the fuck you think you're going, dipshit?"

Brian shoved back, instinct winning out over sense, as usual. "Don't touch me, Logan."

Logan's laugh was ragged and mean, like the man himself. He was high on something, thank God. When he was jonesing, that's when you had to brace yourself. He shoved a chunk of greasy brown hair off his forehead and tried to loom over Brian. "I want my rent."

Brian wanted to shove him again, wanted to plant a fist in his face and see how many teeth he could shake loose, but the guy in the SUV was starting to pull back from the window, and Brian needed to get there before the asshole lost his nerve and took off. "You'll get it," he forced himself to say, then sidestepped Logan and put a hand on the frame of the Escape. "Hey," he said with his most persuasive smile. "Nice car."

~

The asshole closed the door behind him. Brian leaned back against the dresser and smiled slowly, thinking about new shoes and another week in his dump of a flop and another few dollars in his escape fund. The john smiled back. His hands shook on his belt, and Brian almost felt for the guy as he fumbled his pants open. He really did.

As soon as the asshole's suit pants hit his knees, Brian shot across the room and grabbed the guy's wrist. Three swift moves and he was flat on his stomach across the foot of the bed, flailing helplessly.

"Allow me to introduce myself," Brian said. He shoved the badge into the asshole's line of sight. "Detective Brian Spilner, LAPD." He pocketed the badge and pulled the handcuffs out. They rattled convincingly.

"Shit, oh shit, no!" the asshole said. His body jerked under Brian's. "Please, I'm begging you, I have a wife, I have kids—"

"For Christ's sake," Brian said.

"I'll never do it again! I swear, I swear to God, please don't do this to me."

Brian tilted his head, making a show of considering. "I believe you."

The asshole started to blubber again; Brian twisted his arms up higher against his back until he squealed with pain. "Shut up. Okay, fine. My boss is gonna give me shit for this, but this one time—this one time--are you listening?"

More blubbering. Brian stood and put the handcuffs away. He leaned down and snagged the asshole's wallet out of his back pocket before letting the guy go.

He had over three hundred in his wallet. Brian could just imagine what that was supposed to have paid for. He extracted the bills and a business card—it had a studio logo on it, he fucking figured—and then tossed it back to the john, who tried to reach for it and pull his pants up at the same time, and ended up dropping both.

Brian rolled his eyes. "Go home," he said. "Tell your wife you got robbed. And if I ever see you around here again, you are fucked, you understand me?"

"I do, yes, thank you, I promise!"

"And remember." Brian held up the business card and smiled thinly. "Bribing a police officer is an even worse crime than solicitation."

He slammed the door behind him and headed for the back hallway. He needed to be out of there when the asshole came out, so he wasn't looking around for backup or a car or anything.

He reached back to settle the fake badge more firmly in his back pocket and grinned to himself. This cop business wasn't bad. Best scam yet.

~

In the next month, Brian pulled off the cop act another dozen times, fought his way out of bad situations a couple more, and fell in love.

"Here it comes again," he said.

DeeDee shook her head next to him. "Honey, if you looked at johns the way you look at that car, you'd have the boys lined up down the block."

Brian grinned over at her. "Sweetheart, if I had that car, I wouldn't need a boy to keep me happy."

She shook her head at him, curls bouncing along her shoulders. "It's not a boy that drives that car. Did you see those shoulders?"

Brian had, and the smooth curve of a bald head, and once, while the racing-cut Honda had been idling in front of him, waiting for a light change, he'd ducked his head to get a better look inside and seen an expressionless face looking right back at him.

He was imagining that he'd seen the car more often since then. It was just some guy's commute home. Probably an asshole.

"Look at the bones on that thing," he sighed as it sped off.

Next to him, DeeDee was laughing, choked off giggles that brought Brian back to himself.

"I meant the car," he said, feeling himself blush for the first time in about a million years.

"That's what they all say, honey," she said.

~

Another night, another asshole. Brian was giving the eye to another suit, this one driving a Prius, for fuck's sake, when he caught movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see two guys in cop shoes headed for him, and Logan scuzzing his way off down the street.

Shit.

The badge that got flashed in his face was not all that better than his own, Brian was proud to note. "Detective Peter Martinez, LAPD."

He could bluff. He could run. Or. Brian put his hands on his hips and looked Martinez straight in the eye. "Here for a blowjob, Petey?"

The first blow took him under the jaw, knocking him back into the wall. The second landed right at the bottom of his ribcage. He lost track about three or four punches after that.

He was on his hands and knees, bracing for the first foot to his side, when suddenly the legs coming his way vanished. He heard scuffling and a deep voice, but by that point his vision wasn't so great, so he just sort of flailed around on the ground, confused.

Finally he felt a hand on his arm and squinted up— "DeeDee, get out of here," he gasped.

"That's my line," she said. "Get up, get up."

Someone else took his other arm and nearly picked his feet up off the ground—or that could be the almost passing out. He lost a minute or twelve there, and all of a sudden, he was in a car, peeling away from God knew what.

"...the fuck? Who are you?" he asked, looking around. And then, "Oh, shit, you're the car!"

The driver looked over, and a fierce grin made Brian almost want to smile back.

"I'm Dom. Hang on," he said, and gunned it.