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Perks

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Title: Perks
Fandom: Donald Strachey Mysteries (movieverse)
Pairing: Donald and Timothy
Rating: R (love scene for grown-ups, reference to violence)
Word Count: about 2,215
References/Spoilers: Missing Scene and Spoilers for "Ice Blues"
Disclosure: I wish they were mine. Alas, they are not, so I'm just taking them out for a spin.
Summary: When he finally makes it home, Don gets a little much-needed TLC from Tim.
Author's Note: My first fanfic in the Strachey universe. Many thanks to Jean for a quick beta and some great feedback.


PERKS (A Missing Scene from Ice Blues)


by


Candy Apple



Don locked the rented Corvette and made his way wearily to the front door, turning his key in the lock and pushing the door open. Tim was sitting at the bottom of the staircase, and sprang to his feet as soon as he walked in. He was enveloped in strong, gentle arms, and he felt Tim's breath against his ear.


"Thank God you're all right," he said, holding Don close. "I was so worried."


"I guess I make you do that a lot, huh?" Don asked, pulling back and laying his hand gently on Tim's face.


"It's okay. You're worth it," he said, taking Don's hand in his and kissing it. "It's almost dawn. You must be exhausted." He ran his hand gently over Don's hair.


"I just need a hot bath and a really long back rub from you."


"Tomorrow, we're staying in, and you're getting some rest. No arguments."


"And miss a day of skulking around in dark alleys?" Don quipped, giving Tim a crooked smile, but it didn't dispel the concerned look on Tim's face.


"You look like you're asleep on your feet, honey. Come on. Let me take care of you."


"See, getting banged up on the job isn't without its perks," he said, climbing the stairs tiredly, holding Tim's hand.


"I hate to break this to you, but you could have the same perks being home more at night - - who knows, maybe better ones."


Don couldn't remember being so happy to see their bed and their bathroom as he was that night, and even Tim's mild complaint about his nocturnal work schedule didn't change that. While Tim filled the tub with warm water and some good-smelling bath oils, Don went to work at stripping off his clothes, throwing them in a pile on the floor. He usually didn't do that, since Tim seemed compelled to pick them up and either put them in the hamper for the laundry or hang them in the closet. Tonight, he was too achy and wrung out to care. Timmy would take care of it, and him.


"Your bath's rea - -" Tim froze in the doorway between the bedroom and bathroom. "Donald, what did they do to you?"


"Huh?" Don looked down at the skin just under his ribs, on his sides. There were a number of red marks, contact burns from the stun gun. "It was a stun gun," he said, not seeing much point in lying to Tim about it.


"How many times?" Tim asked, sitting on the bed and taking one of Don's hands, urging him to move closer.


"I lost count...I don't know," Don said, finding an odd comfort in Tim knowing what happened to him.


"Do they hurt?" Tim asked, not looking up at him. Instead, he was examining the little red spots left behind by the stun gun. "They look painful," he said, swallowing. Don felt a rush of love for Tim when he leaned forward and kissed one of the burn patterns. "Is that what they did to you when they called me? What made you scream?"


"It doesn't do any lasting damage. It's just painful when it hits you." Don touched Tim's shoulder. "Guess they don't call me 'sparky' for nothing, huh?"


Tim didn't say anything to that. He stood, took off his robe, and threw it on the bed. Don took that as a signal they were going to head for the bathroom, but instead, Tim took Don in his arms and just held him. He returned the embrace, surprised at how good it felt to have Timmy's warm, naked body against him, how much he needed it. "I'm going to take good care of you, baby," Tim vowed, stroking the back of Don's head gently. "I'm so sorry I got you into this mess." Don had to pull away enough to smile at Tim, to look him in the eyes.


"Honey, if we added up all the times you've been threatened, pushed around, endangered, or otherwise grossly inconvenienced by something I got you into, I think we can let this one slide. Now are you going to get in the tub with me, or what?"


"Let's get in the tub for now. But I reserve the right for some 'or what' later, after we've rested up."


The warm water started loosening up his aching muscles, and the soft, soapy sponge Tim was running across his back in soothing swirls was relaxing him. He didn't resist his partner's efforts to bathe him, even though he was certainly capable of doing it himself. As the sponge very carefully moved over the area of his skin marred by the little contact burns, Tim kissed the back of his neck.


"I'll put some ointment on those before bed."


"But after my massage. I really want that massage," he said, putting a little whine into his voice, resting his head back on Tim's shoulder so he could look up into his eyes. Tim cradled his face with a wet hand, resting his cheek against Don's.


"Your wrists look raw. I didn't notice that before," Tim said, taking one of Don's hands and examining the wrist. There was a wide band of irritated skin, though it wasn't broken. "How many times did they think it was necessary to wrap the ropes around your wrists to keep you still?" he asked rhetorically, anger in his voice.


"It's probably better to have a wider area of rope. With all my weight on it that way, a narrow restraint would have really cut into me," he said, not thinking of the fact that Tim didn't know what he'd been through before they were reunited.


"All your weight on it? What are you talking about? I thought you were tied up."


"I was, but I was hanging by my wrists from a rafter."


"Oh, baby, no wonder you need a massage," Tim said softly, his voice shaky. He put his arms around Don from behind, their heads against each other. "How long did they keep you like that?"


"I couldn't exactly see my watch," he joked, but Tim didn't seem able to see the humor in his lover being tortured. "I was up there a while, I guess. It's nothing serious, sweetheart. My arms and my back are just achy."


"Why don't you lie back and soak a few minutes while I get a couple things ready in the other room?"


"Just stay with me a while." Don leaned back, and Tim leaned against the tub, pulling Don back against his chest. "I don't care what anyone calls and tells you," he began, taking Tim's hand and kissing the back of it. "Don't ever put yourself in the middle of that kind of danger again. Call Bailey, but don't come after me yourself."


"I heard you screaming," Tim protested, tightening his hold on Don. "They said they'd kill you if I called the police, and they were implying they were going to keep torturing you until I they got what they wanted. I couldn't stand that and I wasn't going to risk them killing you."


"Every kidnapper threatens the victims not to call the cops, and the cops know that. The truth is, if you were killed in that mess today, I wouldn't have given a shit about getting out of it alive, either. You're very precious to me, Timothy."


Tim was quiet a few seconds before he replied.


"And you're very precious to me, and I couldn't live with the sounds of your screams echoing in my head while I sat around and did nothing. I may not be a private investigator, or a cop, and God knows I obviously am useless with a gun, but you're still my life partner, and as long as I'm alive, I won't sit back and let someone hurt you."


"I wouldn't want you to do that. Just involve Bailey, someone we trust."


"I called Kenny and we did involve Bailey. It all worked out."


"Kenny's not a cop, either, and while I think the world of the guy, I don't think I'd want to put my life in his hands in a showdown with armed criminals. Honey, I don't mean you shouldn't worry or shouldn't be involved, but if I can't come home to you, I've got nothing to come home to, so I'd just as soon they finished me off than to be rescued and then bury you."


Don found even the words hard and horrible to get out, and the thought of his beautiful Timmy laid out in one of those crisp, handsome suits of his, dead, twisted his gut in a way nothing else had. He'd thought losing Kyle, coping with his suicide, had been traumatic, but the mere thought of losing Tim caused him more pain than a thousand stun guns, or any other loss in his life. Their slight age difference bothered him enough, wondering how he'd ever cope with losing Tim years and years from now. But coping with it now, when they were both so young, terrified him.


He turned so he could rest his cheek on Tim's shoulder and wrap his arms around him. He needed to be held, and Timmy filled that need readily, sheltering him with his arms, reassuring him with little love words.


"Keeping you safe is the most important thing to me. I know how much danger you were in today, and I don't want it to happen again."


"I don't want someone to shoot at you, beat you up, torture you, or threaten your safety again, either, but I bet it'll still happen."


"Do you still want me to quit the PI business?"


"Do you want to quit it?" Tim asked, stroking Don's hair, kissing his forehead.


"I don't know what else I'd be," Don said honestly. He had all the admiration in the world for Tim's intelligence and professionalism and the way he was respected by his colleagues and considered invaluable by the senator he supported with all his hard work. But Don knew he could never sit behind a desk, play office politics, be charming and engaging at fancy parties, or stick to such a demanding and regimented schedule. He'd left regimentation and following orders behind in the army, along with so many other things. That, he didn't miss, and didn't want back.


"I love you, Donald, and I took a vow to be by your side for the rest of our lives. I'll be there if you're a PI or anything else you decide to do. I don't want to stifle you and keep you from being or doing whatever you want."


"Right now, I just want to be your husband." He closed his eyes, savoring his place in Tim's arms, listening to his heartbeat.


"You're always that, first and foremost, and I'm yours."


After toweling off, they went into the bedroom where Don stretched out on his stomach on the bed and, after slipping into his robe, Tim sat next to him, pouring a little massage oil into his hands, warming it there. A moment later, Don felt those talented hands rubbing his back, unerringly locating exactly where it hurt and lovingly massaging the sore muscles. He groaned contentedly, feeling a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. The only thing closer to heaven than this was making love with his Timmy, which he planned on doing as soon as he got his second wind. He didn't want Tim doing everything for him...after all they'd been through, he wanted to dote on him and shower him with all the right touches in all the right places he liked best.


As he started to doze, he felt the massage giving way to a gentle back rub, Tim's touch lightening from the pressure he'd put on unknotting muscles. Now it was just soothing, comforting, relaxing, and Don felt himself drifting. Tim urged him to move a bit so he could put ointment on the little red burns, and put a light gauze bandage over them.


He was vaguely aware of Tim moving around again, covering him, slipping into bed next to him. Without opening his eyes, he moved toward Tim's warmth, scooting into his arms, preferring Tim's chest to a pillow anytime he was given the choice.


Lulled by Timmy's heartbeat and a gentle hand in his hair, he let go of the stress of the day, and let himself fall toward sleep. His last thought was that, somehow, they'd pulled off the impossible - - no, the miraculous - - and both lived through a situation that, by right, should have left one or both of them dead.


Maybe occasional miracles are another perk of being married to an angel, he decided, smiling as sleep finally claimed him.