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Nines worked hard to get where he was now. Growing up under the shadow of two older brothers was bad enough – factor in that they were twins and you have yourself an impossible situation. He loved his brothers, he really did, but fuck did they annoy him. Constantly bickering, teasing him, and just being generally loud and irritating. Nines may be the youngest of the three, but he liked to think that he was the most mature of them.

He still somehow ended up working alongside one of his brothers – Connor – as a homicide detective, placed at the DPD. It had been a coincidence, really. Although, some days, Nines questions whether it was a lucky one or not.

Luckily, Sixty had decided that the route of the law wasn't for him and instead ventured into a life of the military. His plan was to become one of the youngest sergeants before he retired and, by the looks of his fast progress already, he was well on his way to achieving his goal. Nines was proud of him.

Being only a year younger than his brothers, and literally working with one of them, meant that they were pretty close – as far as siblings were, at least. They argued, of course, but Nines knew that he could always rely on them to have his back.

Which explained why, after another gruelling shift of a dead-end interrogation and heaps of paperwork, Connor was insisting that he joined them on this weeks work night-out: consisting of a small group of work friends, getting drunk and spending time together outside of the precinct. They engaged in them weekly, of course, but Nines would rarely go; finding that he preferred his strict routine of waking up, going to work, passing out at God knows what time in the morning and occasionally fitting in a session at the gym. Besides, he usually stayed late to finish off reports – finding it easier to focus on them in the peaceful emptiness of the precinct.

He thought it was a perfectly adequate set-up. Unfortunately, Connor disagreed; insisting that it was no life for a 27 year old. Hell, it wasn't even the life for Connor’s 50-something year old partner – Lieutenant Anderson. Although, Nines was pretty sure that Hank wasn't a regular guy in his fifties.

It was useless arguing with his brother, especially since Connor could quite clearly see the stress built up in him. Curses of knowing someone your whole life.

So, Nines finds himself being dragged out of the precinct as his shift ends, Connor beaming. “It'll help you relax, Nines, trust us!” Us being his brother, Hank, Chris, Kim and Zach. All detectives at the DPD, mostly Connor's friends but Nines was comfortable enough around them. “You work too hard. You need to allow your self some pleasures in life.”

Nines disagreed with his brother but couldn't find the heart to say so, seeing the excited look on Connor's face that had almost become a rarity with the cases that they handled on a daily. Nines kind of wished he could smile so freely, be less rigid and just enjoy life.

He immediately regrets that thought as they stop outside a building, familiar enough from the countless times he's passed it on his drive to and from work. Neon pink sign flashing overheard, casting shadows on the dark street, pulsing music already audible from outside and a distinct smell of body odour and booze.

‘Eden Club'

Nines scoffed. Typical cheesy strip club name.

Nobody else seemed deterred, in fact they were all smiling and joking together as they filed through the double doored entrance, dragging Nines along with them.

Inside is...well, Nines can't decide if it's better or worse than it's exterior appearance. Black leather booths line the walls, dim lighting meaning he has to squint to see clearly. It actually looks quite classy, compared to the grungy state of it outside. However, the stench is definitely worse inside; mingling with overpowering perfumes. Nines gags.

Dancers are parading along a platform stage in the centre of the room, attracting the attention of a large amount of the customers inside. Granted, even Nines can't help but linger over them, captivated by their fluid movements. Each dancer wears clothes that leave little to the imagination as they drape themselves around the two poles on stage.

Nines looks away, feeling embarrassed and slightly uncomfortable. He's not used to these sorts of social situations. He doesn't know the protocol.

“This place isn't quite what I'd expected when you said you'd ‘found a good nightclub’, Connor.” Hanks gruff voice said, and Nines huffed an agreeing laugh. This definitely wasn't what he'd expected either.

Connor waved his partner off with a dismissive hand, “Markus chose it! We've been before bu-"

“Woah, no, okay. Don't need to know the details of your sex life, Connor.”

Connor smirked, clearly enjoying his partner's mild distress. Nines felt pity for the man; he knew Connor could be a handful. Especially now that he's dating Markus – the rebellious, aspiring politician. Markus was a good man, Nines wouldn't let him near his brother if he wasn't, but he definitely brought out Connor's more...disorderly side.

He made Connor happier, though. Nines could live with that.

Speaking of the devil, Nines caught sight of his brother's boyfriend sat in a nearby booth waving them over. His close friend, Josh, was also with him.

They joined the two friends, sliding into the booth and greeting each other. Nines was perched on the edge of the booth. A fast escape if he needs it.

Connor wastes no time in seating himself on his boyfriend's lap, leaning into Markus’ hand as it drags through his hair.

 

An hour. That's how long Nines lasts.

The conversation has drifted to something he's not really interested in. He figures he's done enough socialising anyway; he learnt that Kim's just gone through a rather messy break-up with her long-term girlfriend, Zach plans on buying a new car (next model up from his current one) and Chris and his wife are expecting a baby.

By now, most of them are too drunk to form a coherent sentence that would make sense to someone sober. They don't seem bothered though because they can all understand each other in their inebriated states.

Across the table, Connor his kissing his way down Markus' jaw in a display that Nines find rather indecent – even more so since that's his brother. Connor has no worries for other people's thoughts of him, however, and makes no attempt to stop. Not even when Markus' hands travel questionably lower.

Nines grimaces, averting his eyes. He tries to focus on the club, the people milling around, the dancers on stage. Anything.

It doesn't help.

He considers slipping away, going home and getting an early night ready for tomorrow's shift. Knows he should; those here that are working tomorrow will definitely be hungover. Nobody would probably notice his absence.

But just as he's about to get up and leave, movement on the stage catches his eye and he looks over just in time to see a new dancer walk on – all the others gone so that he's on his own. He seems unfazed by being the centre of most of the customers’ attention. Nines settles back into the booth, eyes following the new dancer as he walks further out onto the stage, hooking an arm around one of the poles.

Soft, tousled hair compliments a light dusting of stubble, shades lighter than Nines’ own hair. Grey eyes blaze viridescent under the flashing lights above him. He wears a seductive smile, red-tinted lips curled into a luring trap, capturing the attention of all who look at him.

Then there's his drop-dead gorgeous figure. Nines is ashamed to even think of someone like that but he can't help it; dressed in skin-tight, leather pants and only a loosened tie around his neck – tanned chest and toned stomach exposed with no shame. Fuck, Nines really can't stop the fast derailing of his thoughts.

The dancer demonstrates practised grace as he flaunts along the stage, bending down to brush fingertips along strangers' jaws, biting his lip teasingly and swaying his body to the sensual music pulsating through the club. Nines is enthralled, watching the show from a distance.

He thinks he's safe, tucked away in the booth surrounded by his drunken friends, watching without being noticed. Nobody can make fun of him because nobody has noticed.

Yet, somehow, he thought wrong. As the dancer drapes a leg around a pole, twirling down and bending backwards in a way that should surely be impossible for the human body, he catches Nines’ gaze. Nines is sure he does; feels the silvery eyes burn into his with such intensity that he almost jumps up and leaves.

He doesn't though. He can't. He's enthralled by this stranger, who's now smirking in his direction as he drops to the floor with delicate movement. Neither break eye contact.

Nines watches as the guy trails his own hands down his chest, lower...fuck, he palms at his dick on stage to an eruption of lewd catcalls from those closer to him. Nines clenches a fist, determined not to get turned on by this indecent display.

But then the guy's bucking into his hand, arching his back like a cat and smirking like he knows. Which is ridiculous; how can he know what Nines is thinking?

The eye contact is broken as the guy closes his eyes, dropping to his knees and carrying out a series of obscene movements that have Nines flushing red. He's thankful for the dim lighting.

When the guy looks back up, he seems to seek out Nines’ gaze immediately – which is a ridiculous thought, really. It's just a coincidence. Surely?

Nines doubts himself when a suggestive wink is thrown his way, stomach flitting. The guy's back on a pole now, attention no longer on Nines. He can't help the disappointment that he feels however, that doesn't stop him from watching the dancer.

“He's insanely attractive.” a voice states from beside him, and he laughs seeing Kim watching the dancer too. “If I swung that way, I'd totally hit that.” The statement catches him off guard and he hums in agreement, stealing Connor's abandoned pint of beer to distract his thoughts from how he would also ‘hit that', as Kim had put it.

Perhaps he doesn't need to leave just yet, he decides. He does deserve a break, after all. And so he settles in for a few more hours out, consuming more alcohol than he'd originally intended to and sharing comments about the good-looking dancer with Kim.

He didn't return home until gone midnight but he found that he didn't particularly care; he felt more relaxed than he'd felt in months. He fell asleep with the steady buzz of alcohol in his system, smiling at thoughts of tousled hair and grey eyes.

 

 

Nines didn't expect to find himself back there so soon.

Things had been going fine, perfectly normal; he'd wake up to his blaring alarm, eat breakfast on his journey to work, drown himself in coffee during his shift, stay back until ridiculous hours of the night and then trudge home in time to collapse on his bed. Or his couch, if he couldn't make it as far as the bedroom. He'd happily pretend that lingering thoughts of a certain dancer didn't lurk in his mind at the most questionable moments, plaguing his thoughts worse than most unsolvable cases did.

Besides, he didn't have time to be visiting strip clubs. Especially not with the new case that he'd just been assigned.

Half 10 on a Saturday morning, Nines is still only on his second coffee of the shift, when a call comes through from a motel downtown. Young woman, presumably stabbed to death.

Nines arrives with a team of investigators minutes after 11, making sure someone gets the motel manager to the DPD for questioning before heading up to the scene of the crime. Room 204.

The smell, luckily, isn't as bad as a majority of his cases; the incident can't have happened any earlier than 2am, he predicts. Forensics will get a more accurate time, though.

It's dark in the room, blinds left unopened and no light filtering through besides what makes it through the opened door. Empty beer bottles litter the floor, half-eaten take-out left on the dresser. The TV is still on but it's muted.

On the bed, sheets rumpled and stained red, lays the victim. A young woman, dark complexion with wavy black mid-length hair, once glossy but now clotted with dried blood. She's wearing a black mini-skirt, white tee (soaked in blood and tainted a dirty red) and an oversized denim jacket. Black, heeled boots have been discarded by the foot of the bed.

The whole scene looks natural, she doesn't seem to have been forced into the room.

Nines spies a handbag tucked under the desk of the room, crouching down to pull out a phone and a purse. The phone is useless, battery drained and no obvious details of the woman's identity on it. The purse however, proves more promising.

Pulling out a driver’s license, dated back 4 years ago (the picture showing the same woman but with much longer hair), he's able to confirm the victim as 28 year old, Lana Dexley.

Her injuries suggest that the attack was personal. A random murder would usually result in uncoordinated attacks against the victim. This time, that wasn't the case.

She'd received a strong blow to the spinal column, back angled unnaturally, along with several stab wounds – deep and precise along her ribcage and one right under her throat, just short of bursting a vital artery that could have been fatal. The final cause of death appeared to be due to a sharp, blunt force to the skull – most likely causing lasting damage to the brain and cutting off her oxygen supply. She also had darkened bruises, small circles dotted along her wrists and arms.

The angle of the hits were mostly from the front, suggesting that she wasn't attacked unexpectedly. Yet, she hadn't managed to get away. Perhaps there had been someone holding her down?

It doesn't take long for Nines to do his research on the victim, returning to the DPD after a thorough scan of the crime scene before it's cleaned up. He doesn't leave the precinct until gone 10pm that night, well over his shift's end, but he's satisfied with his findings.

She was born in Chicago, but had lived in Detroit for the past 11 years. Had no living relatives other than an aunt that lived in Canada and she only saw her once or twice a year by the looks of it. She’d been training as a teaching assistant and her boyfriend, Gary Turner, worked as a heavy-goods vehicle driver. Surprisingly, she had limited social media accounts from what Nines could find, and only a small group of friends – most of whom didn’t actually live in the state.

 

It takes another two days for them to find their main suspect – her boyfriend. They found him hidden away in his apartment, only a couple blocks away from the motel, rocking in a dark corner and muttering unintelligible words to himself. He hasn't washed, eaten or even bothered getting up to pee by the look of it. He confesses to them the moment they break in through the door.

He screams, voice hoarse and broken, for hours as he's held in one of their empty cells.

When Nines eventually takes him into the interrogation room is when things start going wrong. The man admits that he killed her without any probing, but other than that Nines isn't able to extract anything from him (besides constantly being told how beautiful the guy thought his girlfriend was). Nines can't find out why he killed her, if there was anyone else involved or even what fucking weapon he used. Because there's no way the damage she received was caused by only a human force.

It's frustrating to all ends.

Nines doesn't sleep, scouring over the case details again and again. Certain that he's missed something. He exists on only caffeine and energy bars, head pounding and body aching for some fucking rest. He can't though; he needs to solve this case. It should be simple enough. So why is it so hard?

Connor can tell that he's not holding up so well. He tries to convince Nines to go home and sleep, to put the case files down for just a few hours and focus on himself. Nines shrugs his concern off.

And he continues on doing so for the next couple of days, until he's being called into Fowler's office and demanded to take at least 2 days off. They're paid days – ones he didn’t use up last year. Nines hates taking paid days off work; he doesn't see the need for them. But Fowler's face is set, stern.

Regardless, Nines still argues. Shouts about how he needs to finish his case, can't have it left unsolved and just arrest the guy under just a confession. Claims there's something missing. States that Fowler would be stupid to send him away now, when he's so close to solving it. Just give him another week. Fowler crosses his arms, frown deepening.

His boss tells him to cool down, voice surprisingly calm considering Nines just had a complete meltdown in front of him. “Connor and Hank can take over the case for now. They're more than capable and you need to rest. I'm not having one of my best detectives driving themselves to an early grave.”

Nines wants to argue, wants to scream about how it's not fair. It's his case; he should finish it. Not anybody else. Especially not his brother; why should Connor get the credit for doing what Nines is also capable of doing? But he holds his tongue, sensing that if he pushes Fowler any further he may not have a job come the end of the day.

Instead, he leaves the office, making sure to slam the door with enough force to cause a satisfyingly shaky rattle of glass to echo behind him. He can feel his colleagues eyes burning into him, unasked questions hanging heavy in the air.

He doesn't speak, snatching up his stuff, throwing on his jacket, and storming out of the precinct.

Nines hadn't planned to end up stood outside Eden Club, brisk night air prickling his skin as he contemplates entering the club. What else was he going to do, though? Sit at home, alone, raging about the unfairness of his life like some ungrateful kid? He'd rather not. Much rather prefer a strong whiskey and a view of a certain attractive dancer.

Mind made up, Nines pushes into the club.

 

 

For the most part, Nines remains invisible. He slides into the crowd of drinkers, avidly avoiding anybody that looks like they might start a conversation with him. Choosing a booth tucked away in the corner, with a decent view of the platform in the middle of the club, Nines finally relaxes. A strained sigh escaping him as he rolls his head back into the cushion supporting him, pinching the bridge of his nose with a pained expression. When a waitress walks by, he orders a glass of their strongest whiskey. She flashes him a smile, balancing empty shot glasses on a tray as she heads to the bar across the club.

He spends almost an hour sat, swirling the last dregs of his drink around and watching over the array of dancers that keep coming out. His dancer doesn't show. He can't help but frown at the disappointment he feels. Seriously, what had be been expecting?

As the waitress walks by again, or was this a new one he couldn't tell, he gruffly orders another drink – double this time because he figures he may as well get drunk whilst he's here. It's not like he has work tomorrow. Placing a bill on the table when the waitress returns, he doesn't bother looking up as he says, “Keep the change.”

“Don't mind if I do,” a light-hearted lilt responds, deeper than the waitress from earlier. “Twice in one week? How come I've never seen you here before?” His glass is placed in front of him, hand definitely not feminine or with the painted purple nails the waitress had had.

He tilts his head up, previous annoyance seemingly melting from his body as he makes eye contact with familiar muted silver eyes. His heart flutters involuntarily. Traitor.

“I- uh...” his mouth dries up and his fingers tap against the glass in front of him, itching to down the drink in one.

Panic strikes across the guy's face and he twirls the now empty tray in his hand. “Hey, nah, you don't gotta answer. I'm just being nosy again, shit, sorry man. Just wondered how I'd missed a pretty face like yours.”

Usually, Nines would have grimaced at the awful grammar the guy used. However, he somehow found it endearing coming from the devilishly handsome guy, spoken in a deep, sultry voice.

Fuck, he was definitely blushing now. Either from his own thoughts or from the guy's words. He doubted it mattered and he only felt worse realising that surely the guy could tell from this close distance.

He doesn't think, blurting out the first words that come to mind upon seeing the dancer. But, if he's  a dancer, why is he serving him a drink right now?

“How come you're not up there?” Nines immediately chastises himself for the bluntness of his words but the guy simply raises his eyebrows, sending him a coy smile as he slides his tray onto the table.

“Why? Were you looking for me?” the guy leans down, teasing glint in his eyes. Nines’ breath hitches.

There's a moment's pause before Nines is challenging, “What's it to you if I were?”

“I think I deserve to know if someone's interested in me. Don't you?” he's trailing calloused fingertips down his arm now, Nines only wearing his black tee – jacket thrown on the seat opposite him the moment he sat down. The hungry look in the guy's eyes doesn't go unnoticed, almost predatory when paired with his wicked smirk.

Nines bites his lower lip, yearning to reach out and touch the other man; to grab his hips and pull him down onto him...fuck, what's gotten into him?

“I have loads of jobs here,” the guy says, answering Nines' previous question. Shit, he hadn't spoken in a good minute or two. Thankfully, the guy seems unbothered. “You just missed me on stage, sorry babe.” The term dripped from the guy's tongue, luring him in deeper. As if Nines wasn't already hooked.

“Shame,” Nines found himself saying. Maybe the alcohol was finally kicking in. “Guess it was a wasted night out then.”

Much to Nines' disbelief, the guy's smirk spreads further as he pushes Nines into the booth, hands placed firmly on his shoulders. “Doesn't have to be. I could give you a private show.” As he speaks the last two words, he drags his lips over the shell of Nines' ear and sends a puff of hot air down his neck. He shudders.

Before he knows what's happening, the guy is straddling his lap, leaning over him slightly because of the position he's in. Nines feels crowded in the cramped booth and he fucking loves it, blinking up expectantly at the gorgeous face hovered above his.

Unable to control himself any longer, Nines slides his hands over the guy's ass. He's wearing a fitted, short-sleeved black button down and tight-fitting black pants – not as revealing as his other outfit but still enough to allow Nines to visibly see his growing arousal. Squeezing the soft flesh under his hold, harshly tugging the dancer closer to him, a restrained groan falls from his lips. He receives a teasing grind into his lap in response, the guy leaning forwards to press his lips to Nines' heated skin. He begins trailing kisses and sharp nips along his jaw, down his neck – lingering over a particularly sensitive area and leaving a bruising mark – before continue further down to his collarbone, fingers brushing over him as they push away the material covering him. He tee was going to get a stretched neckline now, but he couldn't find it in himself to care.

He doesn't know what's come over him but he allows it all, stress-ridden body loosening under the feverish touches of the man on top of him.

“Not gonna lie, I preferred your outfit from the other night,” the guy mumbles against his skin, tongue licking a hot swipe along the base of his throat. “I'm a sucker for a guy in a tie.”

A chuckle escapes Nines as he tilts his head back to give the other man better access to his neck, groaning when he feels teeth toy over the sensitive skin. “Perhaps I'll have to come back?” he doesn't intend for it to be a question, hands playing with the hem of the guy's shirt, fingertips tracing the dimples in the small of his back.

The rut against his hips, and the needy moan that follows, has him smirking. “Fuck,” the dancer grunts in his ear, grip on his shoulders tightening.

He's hard, they both are. It's not exactly something that one can miss when quite literally grinding against each other. Nines’ brain short circuits, desperately wanting more. Needing more.

Luckily, the guy seems to be able to read his mind. Or perhaps he just wants the same as Nines. Either way, he slides off of Nines' lap and grabs for his wrist. With a sharp tug, Nines is pulled to his feet and stumbling behind the slightly shorter guy, manoeuvring through the intoxicated club. He's pushed into the restrooms at the far end of the club, miraculously empty.

Confused, Nines turns to glare at him. “What the fuck are yo-" he's cut short when he's pushed against the door and the guy drops to his knees, blinking up at him. He tilts his head innocently, silently nudging him to continue his complaint.

Obviously, Nines shakes his head, instead deciding to tangle his fingers in tousled brown hair that's as soft as it looks. He moans ludicrously loudly as the man mouths at his clothed erection.

The sound of a zipper echoes through the open space around them, deft fingers springing his cock free. Nines hisses at the sudden cold air that hits him, but he soon relaxes as a hot tongue laps at the already leaking head of his cock. When a wet heat engulfs him, taking almost all of him in one, Nines throws his head back against the door and doesn't even react to the bang it causes. He's too far gone, hollow cheeks easing off of him before moving down again.

He has to bite at the inside of his cheek to muffle his moans, metallic taste greeting his tongue. He couldn’t care less. Especially not as he feels a nose nudge his lower abdomen, dick hitting the back of the guy's throat.

Looking down, he's met with the most euphoric sight – hooded grey eyes blinking up at him through long lashes, red lips stretched over his dick with ease, hollowed cheeks sucking him encouragingly as he drags his mouth back again. The guy's hair is dishevelled, Nines' fingers twisting at loose curls and drawing him closer.

He doesn't think he'll last much longer, says as much to the other man. This only causes the guy to lick a wet stripe down his length, latching his lewd mouth back onto his dick with nothing but a pleased smirk. Allowing Nines to direct his movements, back and forth – holding his dick to the back of his throat for maybe a moment too long but being met with no complaints – Nines fast approaches his orgasm.

And, fuck, if it's not one of the most delicious feelings he's experienced as pleasure runs through his body, fisting at the hair in his grasp and releasing a strained moan as he comes down the guys throat. When he's done, easing slowly from his high, the dancer releases him with a filthy pop, smiling up at him with reddened lips.

“I reckon my break’s over.” he jokes, voice absolutely wrecked. Nines doesn't even feel bad, only a rush of pride and arousal. The guy makes no move to get up from the floor as Nines tucks himself back in, chuckling at his words.

When he does stand up, though, Nines has the sudden urge to kiss him. He doesn't know why, doesn't know where the thought came from. A frown settles over his face. He resists the urge, not wanting to make things complicated.

Nines has a habit of complicating simple things.

“What time do you usually go on stage?” he asks instead, if anything it's to distract himself from his own thoughts.

The dancer shrugs. “Any time. It depends on when the boss decides he wants me up. Why? You gonna come watch me again?” that teasing smirk returns and Nines has to bite his lip to stop the smile that's threatening to appear.

He doesn't answer, mind wandering as his eyes trail over the guy's body and he remembers how he'd looked dressed in his outfit from the other night (if one could even call it that).

“Are you seriously gonna wait, possibly hours, just to see me perform?” the guy's shaking his head in disbelief. Nines doesn't see the problem; who wouldn't?

“I might.”

He doesn't.

 

 

Gavin sighs dramatically, throwing the broken eyeliner pencil across the dresser and slumping in his chair. Tina chuckles at him from across the room, shimmying out of her hot pants in favour for some slouchy joggers, Japanese text printed down the side of one leg. Gavin had no clue what it translated to and he was pretty sure his best friend didn't know either.

Tina had been his friend since he started working here, just over 4 years ago. They grew close quickly, and he felt proud to call her his best friend. She's pretty much the sister he never had and he can say, in all honesty, that he loves her.

At 19 years old and he'd been kicked out of his parents' house, forced to rent a dingy apartment in a questionable area of the city with what little savings he had from the countless jobs he'd juggled during his school years. It hadn't been enough though and he'd found himself dangling on his last thread, one missed payment away from living on the streets. Of course, seeing the job offer for a new stripper at the Eden Club had been a blessing; Gavin figured it was easy money and they weren't asking for qualified employees only.

So he'd rocked up to the audition, strutted along the platform, winked at the employers and hey presto. Landed himself a new job.

Granted, he hadn't expected all the extra roles - waiter, bartender and cleaner - but it was nothing that he couldn't handle. Besides, the wages were more than decent; he managed to keep on top of his rent with ease now, even splurging once in a while to treat himself. And if he needed some extra cash? Well, there was plenty of customers willing to pay up for a ‘private session'.

He was happy, though. Earning his own money from a job that he actually enjoyed with people that liked him for who he was. No more pretending to be something he's not, shying away from his parents and being generally unhappy. Not anymore. His life was his life and he intends to keep it that way.

“What's the plan for tonight, babes?” Tina asks, draping her arms around his shoulders and meeting his eyes in their reflection of the mirror he was sat at.

Gavin shrugged, unable to shift the weird disappointed feeling that was weighing him down. All night, he'd scanned the crowd in the club for that familiar face, cool blue eyes and gelled brown hair. The cute smile, or smooth voice.

He didn't know why. Didn't see why he should care whether the guy turned up again or not; he was just another customer. Why would he come back? And especially so soon? Fucking hell, Gavin sucked him off last night - didn't even charge the handsome devil – and now what? What was he expecting, some fairytale story where the guy is smitten over him and whisks him away to live in a cottage in France for the rest of their lives?

What a fucking joke.

The truth is, the guy got what he wanted, didn't he? He had no reason to come back.

At least, that's what he kept bitterly reminding himself.

“Pizza and a movie? Maybe cadge a cheap bottle of wine?” Tina pushed, getting up to tidy the odd make-up brushes scattered across the dresser, but not before ruffling his hair with a soft smile. Gavin found himself returning it, mood lifting slightly at the promise of greasy food and alcohol. Those were the best nights; when he and Tina would vegetate on one of their couches and make fun of old movies.

He only catches himself thinking of steely blue eyes twice in the remainder of the night.

 

 

As each day crawls by and still no sign of the handsome stranger, Gavin finds what little hope he'd been clinging to slowly diminishing. His mood fluctuates from a pitying glumness to an irritable anger, only strengthened as he scolds himself for even having hope in the first place. No good came from hope.

Tina, bless her stupid soul, had noticed his permanent scowl and tried her best to cheer him up. She cracked terrible jokes at every opportunity she found, told him exaggerative stories of men trying to hit on her whenever she worked the bar and even bought a pack of his favourite biscuits – leaving them in their shared dressing room with a cute sticky note presenting a goofy love heart. It had as least managed to make him smile, brief and fleeting but a smile nonetheless.

As days shift into a week, Gavin is just managing to convince himself that he's over it. He's not bothered. It was just a random stranger that he may or may not have grown a tiny bit fond of, but he was a customer and customers didn't always stick around long.

He was over it.

Strutting out onto the platform, black heels extending his legs impossibly long, he sways his hips – years of practice walking in these shoes paying off finally. They're higher than your casual heels, ankle strap fastened tight to prevent them from falling off when he works himself around the pole, one leg hooked round the cold metal and body curving backwards.

Crude leers are thrown his way but it just encourages him. He's learnt by now that they simply mean that he's doing his job well, putting on a good performance. He knows he is, anyway; knows he looks good because he'd made sure to put on his best outfit tonight. Working as a pick-me-up, to distract his thoughts from blue eyes.

He's in all black: leather shorts with lace up sides that hardly class as anything more than underwear, really; a long-sleeved crop top (half mesh, the actual fabric cutting off after his chest), glossy heels and even a heavy dash of eyeliner shadowing his pale eyes. His skin glowed a tinged olive under the club lights.

Tina sends him a shit-eating smile from behind the bar, winking at him as he drops to the floor and slowly, teasingly, rises back up – ass in the air because he's a little shit and always has to be extra. He winks right back at her, biting back a smile.

As he twirls, elegantly poised with one arm wrapping around the pole to hook himself in place, his eyes flit over the crowd gathered around the stage. Men and women of varying ages cheer him on, others dancing with each other or simply laughing. Everyone was at least mildly happy. That was one of the things Gavin loved about his job; making people happy and offering a place where they can just relax. People didn't judge each other at the Eden Club. There were far more interesting things to do.

It's as he's climbing the pole, strong leg hoisting his body off the ground, bending backwards and holding position just long enough for the hazy feeling in his head to appear, that he spots him. Porcelain skin glimmering under dim lights, icy blue eyes piercing into him and making his skin itch. It's a burning stare, relentless and hungry, and fuck if Gavin doesn't love every second of it. He catches the hard gaze, biting his lower lip as he slides down the pole and splays his body along the floor, one leg propped up to reveal firm muscles. He contorts his body, twisting onto his front without breaking eye contact, smiling faintly as he notices the knowing smirk twitching at the corners of the man's lips.

That look, it does things to Gavin – his stomach flipping ridiculously, clenching and relaxing on its own accord.

He tries to focus on his performance, he really does, bending low and dipping to the ground as the bass of the music drops, grinding and rutting against the pole that he clings to. Each movement is carried out with an ease that one naturally gets from doing this daily for years. Lures and cheers can be heard from the people closest to the stage, the rest blending into background noise. Gavin acknowledges the people interested by trailing fingertips along jawlines, blowing kisses towards random onlookers and throwing winks over his shoulder. Tina calls him a flirt. Gavin says he's just doing what he's paid to do.

None of it distracts him from his wandering thoughts, unfortunately. Mind fixating on replays of a deep, smooth voice, moaning sinfully above him and encouraging him to keep going. He'd do anything to hear that voice again, stare up into those fucking intoxicating eyes and watched as every last drop of tension oozes from the man's face. That voice that was able to literally bring him to his fucking knees. All he wants is to hear that voice moaning low and guttural like that night. He wants so desperately to hear his name drip from the man's tongue, dirty and wrong but so fucking good.

Shit, he's working himself up too much. He can feel the tight strain of his shorts, the familiar twist in his stomach.

As his last song finally comes to an end, Samantha entering stage in her glittery bikini top and ripped hot pants, he says a silent thank you to whatever higher-being exists. Samantha sends a friendly smile in his direction that he returns before slipping off stage and joining the crowd, luckily going unnoticed since everyone's attention has been drawn to the new dancer. He dodges through the crowd of drunk, loud customers as he heads in the direction that he'd spotted the guy sitting, teetering dangerously on his heels when an older man stumbles into him.

He waves the drunkenly slurred apology off, along with the tasteless compliments, already continuing through the club. He should have taken the outer route, along the booths – since that's where the guy was sat – rather than try to manoeuvre his way through this sea of people.

In his distracted state, he's caught by surprise when he suddenly crashes into someone, a blink of white before he topples backwards. Hands grab his biceps, holding him steady as he regains his balance. “Woah, slow down there. You could get hurt.”

Shit, shit, shit. Gavin blinks up and yeah...wow, thank you universe. Standing in front of him, fingers pressing into his arms and smiling down at him with frosty eyes is the very guy he'd been looking for. That fucking voice again, too.

“Fuck, sorry man. Didn't see you there.” Gavin stumbles over his words like a fool, cursing himself.

The guy just laughs, low and gravelly and fuck it goes right through Gavin, sending shivers down his spine. Gavin can't find it in himself to say anything else, mouth drying up as he finally takes in the guy's appearance – now able to actually see him properly.

He's dressed in a fitted white shirt that leaves little to the imagination – and that's coming from Gavin, wearing his own revealing outfit – the thin material revealing pale skin and a toned chest. Tight black pants fit snugly around his lanky legs, the perfect length, fastened with a belt. A matching tie hangs from his neck, loosened slightly since it's the end of the day. His hair isn't in its usual gelled-back style as he's seen it before, ruffled messily in a way that makes the man look impossible cute.

There's also an air of tiredness about him, drained from a presumably long shift. Gavin doesn't even know what he does for a living. Hell, he doesn't even know the guy's name.

That can be left for another time however, Gavin decides as he grabs the man's tie and tugs him through the rowdy crowd, smirking in what he's been told is a seductive manner. It works; the guy stumbles after him, eyes flashing with want and intrigue.

Letting them into the backroom, Gavin wastes no time in locking the door and forcing the guy up against the wall beside it, hands pressed to a toned chest. Worry crosses the man's face for a moment but it soon diminishes as Gavin snakes an arm behind his head and draws him down into a searing kiss of teeth and tongue. It's hot and needy. A moan vibrates between them and, in all honesty, Gavin isn't sure who it came from.

Pulling at the man's lower lip with his teeth, gentle enough to not hurt but with enough pressure to bring a growl from the man he's pressed against, Gavin slides a tongue into his mouth. Hands grip at his hips, holding him close, nails digging into exposed skin and causing a deep shudder to travel through him. It's not long before he's bucking against the man, impatient whines swallowed into the kiss, his erection straining uncomfortably in the leather shorts he's wearing. The man's hands are now all over him, touching hot skin with delicate traces and fuck it feels so good.

“Fuck, please,” he begs, moaning into the guy's lips. When the man pulls away from the kiss, Gavin chases his lips – an embarrassing needy sound escaping him.

The guy smirks, tilting his head down to press his lips to Gavin's neck, trailing kisses along the exposed skin, down to his collarbone, his shoulder...

Gavin's burning up under the touch, hands gripping tightly around the man's neck and pulling at loose brown curls. A rush of pride floods him as a subdues groan leaves the guy's mouth, sending vibrations through Gavin's body.

When he feels a wandering hand ghost over his erection his knees buckle and he can't stop himself from rutting into the contact, head thrown back as a hot tongue toys over the base of his throat. Suddenly, he's being pushed backwards, stumbling in his heels as he allows himself to be manhandled onto the only solid surface in the room – his boss’ desk. Hands tight around his waist, hoisting him up onto it, before lips are once again ravishing his body. It's bliss. Hot and rushed but fuck if Gavin cares. He can't even find it in himself to care that he's sat on his boss' desk, unfinished wage slips and other shit littered over it.

His legs wrap around the man's thighs, drawing him closer until he can feel his arousal rub against him, a groan falling from his mouth. Fuck, he's never been so turned on before. He wanted to drag this moment out as long as he humanely could, fingers tracing his figure as kisses and sharp bites are scattered over his skin and marking him up. But, at the same time, he wanted this man to fuck him, melt him into a moaning mess underneath him, crying out as he comes. He wants to feel the memory of tonight for days to come.

“Shit, g-grab that jacket,” Gavin stutters out, rutting his hips up again as the man grinds down onto him, hand waving in the general direction of the employees’ jackets hung up by the door. “The- ah- the green one.”

As the man moves to follow his orders, a coldness envelops his body and he feels impossibly exposed – sprawled out on the desk, propped up on his elbows, legs spread and shorts riding further up his thighs and leaving nothing to the imagination. If the hungry look the man shoots him from across the room is anything to go by, he's a pretty sight.

Catching the jacket as it's thrown to him, Gavin reaches into an inside pocket and pulls out a miniature bottle of lube and a condom. He's sent a questioning look but Gavin just smiles innocently as he throws the jacket onto the floor. He holds eye contact as he kicks off his heels, each shoe clattering satisfyingly to the floor, as the guy walks back. Gavin would be lying if he said he didn't enjoy how the man crowds him into the desk, an arm either side of him, tucked between his legs and looming over him – tall and broad and fucking handsome as hell.

“Gotta be prepared,” he mutters, dumping the items onto the desk in favour of tangling his finger through soft curls. An agreeing hum in response before lips are pressed to his.

When the guy pulls back again, a frown is etched into his pale face and Gavin wants nothing more than to run his thumb over it and erase it. Such a pretty face doesn’t need stress lines.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” the man asks, looking concerned for Gavin.

Gavin tenses, “Course I do, why wouldn't I?” he snaps, not meaning to get defensive but he's not used to people looking at him like that. Not used to people being kind and caring over him – especially not in a situation like this one.

“I’m just checking, I- uh-“ the man runs a hand through his hair, “Fuck, I don't even know your name! Oh my God-"

Gavin laughs, pulling the man down into a chaste kiss. “Gavin. It's Gavin.”

“Right,” the man nods, looking so fucking uncertain about everything that Gavin finds himself falling for him more. Shit. “I'm Nines.”

“Nines?”

“It's a nickname, just stuck.” He waves dismissively and Gavin feels like there's a bigger story behind it but decides to drop the subject. Now was not the time for deep life stories.

“Nines...” he repeats the name, smiling, “I like it.”

There's a chuckle and then suddenly hands are on his body again, pulling at his clothes. Gavin allows the man, Nines, to remove what little clothes covered him, using his own hands to undo the man's belt and tug his pants and boxers to the floor in one swift movement. Nines goes to shrug off his shirt, after Gavin's unfastened the buttons and slid his hands over heated, pale skin, but Gavin stops him. “Leave it.”

Nines’ eyes catch his and hold them in a long stare until his hands eventually drop from his shirt. Gavin smirks, lips moving to the man's chest and hooking onto a nipple, tongue swirling around the nub and earning himself a lewd moan from Nines.

Nines bends forward, pushing Gavin back onto his elbows and forcing him to claw at the man's back to balance himself – red lines most likely appearing over porcelain skin – a moan carrying through the cramped room as he feels the man's hard dick brush over his ass, back arching into the sensation.

No time is wasted in Nines rolling on the condom, slicking up his fingers and sliding them into Gavin, who clenched down on the intrusion with a guttural moan and bit his lip. Nines slowly works him open, other hand moving to wrap long fingers around his throbbing dick and stroke it with the intent of pushing Gavin to the edge. The over stimulation had Gavin a whimpering, quivering mess before Nines had even started fucking him, and he flushed red at the realisation that the man could have such an affect on him.

When Nines eventually pulls his fingers out, Gavin hardly has time to mourn the emptiness he feels before the man is aligning himself at his entrance, slicked and hard. He doesn’t stop the attention on Gavin's dick, either, still working him up and down at an increased pace as he eases himself inside. He's not small, and Gavin throws his head back, shifting his hips to adjust to the new feeling. He's so full and he loves it.

As he urges Nines to move by grinding down onto his cock, he's brought into another tirade of broken moans – desperate and needy as they fill the air around them. The slow drag out followed by the harsh thrust back in has tears building in the corners of his eyes and Gavin can't help but think how he's never been fucked this good. At least, not for a long time. Nines varies the pressure around his dick, thumb swiping over the head to gather the leaking pre-cum gathered there before leaning down to lick a hot strip from the base to the tip of his dick. Gavin stutters, heat pooling in his abdomen. His eyes squeeze shut and he moves into Nines' thrust with more enthusiasm.

When lips, warm and salty, press to his he wastes no time in kissing back, tongue slipping into Nines' mouth and rubbing over his as a hand works its way up to tangle through the man's unruly hair. A positively pornographic sound escapes him as he tastes himself on the man's tongue, causing Nines to growl and bit at his bottom lip. Two hands grab the backs of his thighs and his whole body is shifted further back to give Nines a better angle - something that Gavin is definitely thankful for when he feels the man hit that bundle of nerves that sends numbing tingles of pleasure through him with each precise thrust. It grows needier, Nines' usually cool blue irises turned deep sea sapphire, pupils blown black with lust.

“Fuck, baby, you're so good.” Nines groans out, voice strained as he chases his nearing orgasm. Gavin whimpers in response, not trusting to open his mouth for fear of what sounds will come out.

Nines doesn't seem to mind; each desperate, muffled noise that comes from Gavin seems to spur the man further.

“Shit, I'm close, fuck-“ Nines’ breath is heavy, chest rising and falling under the shirt he's still wearing, which will definitely smell of sex in the morning. Gavin can't help but feel smug.

Pulling Nines down by using the tie wrapped loosely around his neck, Gavin captures Nines' lips with his own in a bruising kiss, pleasure building overwhelming until he spasms under the man's touch, shooting hot spurts of cum over both of their stomachs. Nines doesn't pull away, following Gavin's orgasm through until it verges on painful with a stuttered cry as he crashes over his own high. It's a beautiful sight, the hooded eyes and swollen lips looming over him as the man's figure visibly shakes with pleasure, dick twitching inside Gavin. When Nines slides out, carefully removing the condom and dumping it in the trash can by the wall, Gavin finds himself just admiring him with a hazy glowing warmth inside him, chest fluttering.

He smiles, blushing when Nines is pulling him into an upright position, thumb tracing his bitten lips before melting back into another kiss. It all feels too perfect.

Nines grabs a tissue from the desk, cleaning them both up before handing Gavin his clothes. They dress in a comfortable silence, Gavin taking the liberty of ruffling Nines' hair further to the displeasure of the other man – who, in turn, hooked fingers into Gavin’s waistband and pulled him into a kiss. Not really the worst punishment he's had, Gavin notes with a smirk.

“I should get going.” Nines whispers against his lips, sad smile playing at his lips. His thumbs trace circles into Gavin's sides, leaving trails of goosebumps behind. “But, I promise, I'll be back as soon as I can.”

Gavin raises his eyebrows, remembering how he'd said something similar before and then disappeared for over a week. He didn't find any hints of a lie on the man's face however, noting the small dimples of his cheeks and the reassuring look in his eyes. He smiled (fuck, he'd been doing that too much lately), “Okay,” he says and leaves the man with a soft, lingering kiss.

 

Tina takes one look at him as he sidles into their dressing room, spinning on her chair with her make-up now gone and a large knitted cardigan draped over her shoulders, and raises her eyebrows accusingly, “Who’d you fuck?”

Gavin gaped, shutting the door behind him and flopping down onto the old couch. “Who said I fucked anyone?”

Tina snorts, turning back to the mirror she was sat at to finish her daily skin care routine – Gavin admired her dedication; he struggled to keep up with shaving regularly, leaving light stubble to grow across his jaw most days. She catches his eyes in the mirror's reflection.

“C'mon, I can just fucking tell, okay? So spill!”

Gavin rolled his eyes up to the ceiling, considering his options whilst fighting back a smile that threatened to appear just at the thought of Nines. He trusts Tina, he does, but he wasn't sure what he and Nines were. If they weren't anything yet, then was there actually anything to tell?

“He's just a customer.” is what he finally settles with, nonchalant shrug accompanying his words.

Tina remains quiet, squinting her eyes at him. It's obvious that she doesn't believe him but she doesn't push him into answering any further questions – something that he's extremely grateful for. After all, he hardly knows anything about Nines yet. He knows his name (well, nickname), knows that he's fucking gorgeous and a great fuck. He'd prefer to see what might actually become of them – find out whether they're even anything at all or if Nines really is ‘just a customer’ – before starting pointless gossip.

Besides, the man might not even return for another fucking week.

Chapter Text

“Hot guy, ten o'clock.” Tina said, sliding him two pints of beer across the bar. Gavin glanced over his shoulder in the direction she gestured to, eyes immediately falling on Nines. He was sat in one of the more secluded booths, finger running round the rim of an empty whiskey glass. He hasn't seen Gavin yet.

Ignoring the clench of his stomach, Gavin hummed in agreement with Tina – trying to seem as nonchalant as possible, thankful for the dim lighting that masked his blush – as he turned to place the beers onto the tray in his hand. He could feel Tina's questioning stare burning into him but he offered her a smile and walked off into the crowd with the tray balanced precariously in one hand.

After delivering the drinks to the right customers, flirtatious smile and all, Gavin tucked the empty tray under his arm and made a beeline for Nines’ booth. Approaching him from behind, he delighted in the way the man jumped when he brushed his lips over his ear, gestured to the glass on the table and asked, “Need a refill?”

Nines tilted his head back, nose brushing Gavin's jaw. “If you're offering?”

Gavin couldn't hold back his laugh as Nines passed him his glass with a smug smile, waving him off. “Cheeky bastard.” He muttered, loud enough for the other to hear, whilst swivelling on his heels in the direction of the bar. Luckily, Tina was busy serving some regulars so she hadn't spotted him.

As he starts to walk away again, long fingers curl around his free wrist and tug him backwards. Gavin raises an eyebrow at Nines as the man forces him to turn around again, breath hitching when a hand cups his jaw and yanks him down until lips ghost over his own. His body betrays him as he instinctively leans into the touch, eyes fluttering shut and pressing deeper into the kiss. It's over before it has chance to properly begin and Gavin finds himself feeling lost and cold when Nines pushes him back again, thoughts hazy with fragment memories of last night – those lips, those eyes, that voice. That man.

Shit, what's coming over him?

Rolling his eyes at Nines' complacent expression, he heads back to the bar to fill up the man's drink – deciding that now's as good a time as any to take his break.

Sliding into Nines’ booth and scooting along plush leather until he was sat next to the man but tucked away into the corner, out of people's sight, he handed the freshly filled glass across to Nines. “On the house,” he winked, melting into the warm press of lips against his temple.

“You're a doll,” Nines speaks into his hair, hand snaking up the inside of Gavin’s thigh but stopping just shy from his crotch. Gavin squirmed, shifting closer into the man's side.

A playful smile teases at Gavin's lips as he brings a hand up to fiddle with the hem of the black turtleneck that Nines wore, fingers skimming soft skin hidden underneath. “I wasn't expecting to see you again so soon.” Gavin admitted, blinking up at Nines through long lashes.

The meek smile Nines offered him felt like gentle pulls at his heart, steely blue eyes clouded in stress and an all too familiar sadness.

“It's been a stressful week at work. Couldn't face going back to my apartment just yet.”

The confession was quiet, almost ashamed, and Gavin didn't question why he decided to pull Nines into a warm hug, tucking his own head under the man's chin and wrapping arms around a thin waist. Muscles loosened under his touch, Nines burying his face into Gavin's hair and breathing evenly – grounding himself as he traced nonsensical patterns down Gavin's back. Gavin smiled, lips caressing the pale skin of Nines' jawline, noting the light stubble grazing his mouth with each kiss. They stayed in that position for what felt like hours, but in reality was mere minutes, bodies flush against each other in a way more innocent than every other time they'd been together.

The musky scent of old spice surrounded Gavin, an oddly reassuring aroma that brought his lips into a serene smile as he nuzzled closer to Nines whilst inhaling deeper. A hand slipped into his back pocket, resting over his ass like it was the most natural thing in the world. Like snuggling up with a practical stranger was a normal thing. Like feeling this safe and wanted wasn't completely foreign for Gavin.

Fiercely blinking back tears, Gavin pulled back just enough to meet Nines’ gaze. “What do you even do anyway?”

“Homicide detective,” Nines said, adding as a smug afterthought, “One of Detroit's finest.”

Gavin chuckled, impressed. “So you ain't a boring office guy?”

Nines shook his head, lips twitching into a fond smile. “’fraid not, babe.”

Trying his best to disregard the warm fluttering feeling spreading through his chest at the term of endearment, Gavin ran his fingers down Nines’ arm, stopping at a posh gold watch fastened around his wrist. “Explains how you can afford all this expensive shit.” he mused, thumb circling the face of the miniature clock.

“Actually, that watch was a present from my brother for my 25th birthday. But, yeah, the job does have it's perks.”

Gavin's thumb stilled, brows furrowing as he glanced back up at Nines. “Shit, dude, you're 25?”

Nines tilted his head, looking all too similar to a confused puppy and Gavin had to fight off a smile, a deep line etching into his forehead. “I-"

“I'm only fucking 23! So unfair, man.”

“I'm actually 27?” Nines seems to question himself. “Fuck, I should have told you, shouldn't I? I'm sor-"

Gavin closes the small gap between them, catching Nines’ lips with his own in an attempt to quieten his worries. Nines muffles inaudible words into his mouth, tongue sliding past Gavin's parted lips and running over his own when Gavin brings a hand to the back of his head and draws him closer. He feels hands grasp his hips, fingers moulding into soft skin and sending shivers through his body. When they pull apart, Nines' lips are a beautiful swollen red and Gavin finds himself panting for air. He chuckles, causing the older man to tilt his head at him in a silent question.

“It's a good thing I like older men then, isn't it?” he smirks and Nines huffs a disbelieving laugh, melting against Gavin's lips when he drags him down into another heated kiss.

This time, Gavin falls back into the corner of the booth, cushioned by the leather seat, and hooks his legs around Nines' waist to lure him closer – out of any nosy onlookers' line of view. He keens under the man's body, loving how he crowds his smaller frame into the booth, moaning when their growing erections make contact. Nines adds to the friction by slotting a thigh against Gavin's crotch, hands cupping his face and fringe tickling over his forehead, bringing a smile onto Gavin's lips. He could feel Nines' heavy breaths, sharp gasps for air as they both refused to break the kiss, tongues moving together with undeniable need.

Without warning, Nines pulled away, sitting back on his heels. Gavin propped himself up on his elbows to get a better look at him, an uncomfortable tension settling in his stomach.

Half-formed words halted in his throat as Nines spoke, “I want to take you out,” Gavin watches as he stresses a hand through his hair. He wants to touch it, feel the soft curls under his fingers. He restrains himself.

“What?”

“Out. Somewhere nice.” the older man gathers himself, one hand still resting on Gavin's hip, “I want to take you on a date.”

Gavin splutters, a burning red crawling onto his skin. “On a-a date?” he stutters. Wow...smooth, Gavin.

He can't help his surprise however; nobody has ever asked him out on a date and Nines looks so serious – so genuine – worrying his lip between his teeth as he watches Gavin with calculating eyes.

“Why?” Gavin hates how broken his own voice sounds.

“Fuck, why?” Nines exclaims, leaning down until their faces were inches apart, “Jesus, Gavin, I'm fucking obsessed with you! Why not?” The confession has Gavin's stomach in a nervous flutter of unidentifiable feelings as he blinks up at Nines.

He can't think of a reasonable response, choosing instead to grab Nines by the nape of his neck and crash their mouths together in a kiss – more passionate than their previous ones – the usual hunger and desire diminished and replaced by a new feeling that Gavin doesn't recognise. A splitting smile spreads over his face as he melts into Nines, relishing in the warm weight of his body pressing into him as their legs become a tangled mess of limbs, the shadows created by the dim lights in the club obscuring them both from others' view. It didn't last long; Gavin's break ended after twenty minutes. But it was enough to cause Gavin to spend the rest of his shift in a daydream. And if he made unnecessary amounts of eye contact with Nines during his performance on stage...well, he couldn't find it within himself to care.

 

 

Nines leans against the only table of the precinct's break room – they could really do with more furniture in here – only half-listening to the ongoing news report showing on the screen above him as he send Gavin a quick text. They'd exchanged phone numbers before he left the club last night in preparation of their date. The date that Nines is currently trying to organise, asking Gavin what the soonest day he's not working a late shift is. It's not long before he receives a reply.

Gav: I finish at 7 on Thursday.

Two days away. That works.

69s: So, I'll meet you at Milo's just after 7?

Gav: Sounds good x

Nines smiled, ignoring the flutter in his chest that the text caused. He glanced up as he heard someone walk into the break room. His brother. Flashing a brief smile towards Connor as he walked towards the coffee machine, Nines quickly looked back down to his phone.

69s: Seriously, though, 69s?

Gav: I thought you'd let this go!

69s: I can't! It's ridiculous.

69s: And immature.

Gav: :( are you calling me immature?!

69s: Maybe...

A minute passed and Nines tapped his fingers mindlessly on the tabletop he leant against, fond smile playing at his lips simply from talking to Gavin. It was nice to have such a pointless conversation, fun to talk to someone other than his brothers or colleagues. Someone with a sense of humour, too.

Gav: Fine.

‘Gav set your nickname to Sexy Detective’

Nines had to bite the inside of his cheek to muffle his laugh, rolling his eyes at the new nickname.

Sexy Detective: At least that's better than 69s.

Gav: accurate too ;)

Fucking flirt. Nines smiled.

He looks up from his phone again when Connor joins him at the table, freshly brewed coffee in his hands. His brother leans his elbows on the table, quirking an eyebrow at the rare smile on Nines' face.

“What's got you so happy?”

Nines shrugs. He puts his phone on the table, screen off.

“Have you finally got someone to fall for your moody ass?” Connor teases, taking a sip of his drink.

“Fuck off,” Nines bites back.

Connor laughs, playfully hitting his arm. “That wasn't a denial!”

They fall into a familiar brotherly argument of throwing teasing insults back and forth. It's not meant to actually hurt the other; it's just something they've always done. It always eases Nines' nerves – he remembers Connor and Sixty luring him into pointless arguments before he had an exam at school. It was also just fun to get on each other's nerves, Nines would admit that.

When Nines' phone pings, screen flashing with a new message, Connor surprises him by using his fast reflexes to their best uses – snatching Nines' phone before he could even register what had happened. The phone's locked and Connor doesn't know his password, luckily, but he can still see the latest unread message – as can Nines, peering over the table and deciphering the words, despite them being upside-down to him now.

Gav: will I see u before? x

The excited squeal that Connor makes shouldn't be possible and Nines frowns when he jumps at the sound. Connor is grinning wide, lips stretched ear-to-ear and eyes twinkling in the way that they do when he's just discovered something important.

Ignoring the creeping flush of red over his face, Nines scrambles for his phone, thankful once again for the extra few inches he as over his older brother. “Shut the fuck up!” he tries to sound stern, threatening, but his voice wavers uncertainly.

Connor chuckles, taking another sip of his coffee. “So,” he drawls out, “Who is it?” Nines wants to wipe that stupid smirk off of his dumb face.

He doesn't want to answer but the look Connor's giving him shows that his brother won't let this go.

“Just some guy I met.”

Connor huffs, “Well, obviously.” There's a pause and Nines can feel the exasperated roll of his brother's eyes. “Is it serious though? Do you like him? Oh my God, have you fucked?” Nines smacks a hand over Connor's mouth, perhaps using more force than necessary but at least it lowers his brother's voice (which had steadily grown in volume with each intrusive question).

With a sigh, hand pulling at his hair, Nines counts off on his fingers as he says, “I don't know. Maybe. And yeah.”

It takes a moment but then Connor is gasping, hands gesturing wildly. “Jesus, Nines! You can't just fuck every guy you meet!”

“I don't!” Nines defends, the grip on his phone tightening, “And besides, why not? It's not doing anyone any harm.”

His brother scoffs, a pitying smile on his face as he rests a hand on Nines' arm. “Sure. Just, be careful, yeah?”

A warmth floods through him at the caring words, but it's overpowered by the anger that flares inside him at the pitying look Connor's giving him. He's sick of being fucking babied. It aggravates him to no end. He shrugs off Connor's hand, fixing him with a cold glare, “If I get hurt, I can take care of myself. I don't need you to babysit me, Connor.”

He regrets his harsh words almost immediately when he's met with the crestfallen expression on his brother's face. Sighing, he mumbles out a half-hearted apology to Connor, spitting bullshit about work stressing him out and other stuff. It's not a lie, technically.

Connor's face is understanding as he pats a reassuring hand on his back, the small quirk of his lips enough to let Nines know that his brother accepted his apology. “I'll see you later,” Connor says, squeezing his shoulder before picking up his coffee and returning to his desk. Nines watches him for a moment, seeing his brother listen to something Hank tells him before laughing.

He looks happy. Content. Nines hates that; he feels the usual ugly green feeling building in his chest. The feeling that always appears whenever his brothers are getting on with their lives, advancing at work and making new friends. It's not fair.

He's starting to sound like a little kid again.

Switching his phone back on, Nines smiles at the message from Gavin and types out a reply.

Sexy Detective: Do you want to see me before?

It's another minute before Nines gets a response, two coming through at the same time. He splutters a laugh behind his hand as he reads them.

Gav: depends

Gav: wouldn't it be unclassy to fuck before our first date ;)

Sexy Detective: I think it's a bit late for that.

Gav: true xD

Sexy Detective: I'll try to hold myself back. It's probably best I don't visit you...just in case...

Gav: fuckin’ tease

Gav: fine b like that

Gav: guess I'll just have to wait till Thursday

Sexy Detective: Guess you will x

Nines smiled behind his hand, pocketing his phone when he realised his break was up. The thought of not seeing Gavin for two days was dismal, but as long as he remembered that he was actually taking the younger man on a date he managed to keep a small smile throughout the remainder of his shift.

 

 

The next two days fly by in a blur of caffeine and little sleep, Nines focusing on a bland case of an old woman found dead in her home. Nothing too strenuous. Mind numbing enough to keep his stress levels at bay.

His old case was still open, an ongoing investigation into Gary Turner's motive taking place. Hank and Connor worked it, Fowler sticking to his decision despite Nines trying his best to reassure the Captain that he was better now. That he wouldn't go over-the-top obsessive again. Unfortunately, Fowler saw right through his lies; he knew Nines well enough by now. Nines wasn't sure if that was a blessing or a curse.

Connor even refused to fill Nines in on how the case was progressing, telling him that it wasn't healthy to drive himself to far up the wall over his job – using his typical older brother ‘I know better than you' voice. It was infuriating. Nines only wanted to help! He just wanted to do his job.

Why did everyone think they knew what was best for him?

Needless to say, he couldn't be happier when his shift rolled to an eventual end on Thursday night.

Milo's – the quaint coffee shop not far from the Eden Club – was where Nines had decided his and Gavin's first date should be; something simple and peaceful, not likely to scare Gavin off like a posh restaurant might do.

It was just after 6 when he walked out of the precinct, so he caught a ride home. Once back at his apartment, nothing fancy but nice enough for him to live comfortably, Nines stripped from his work ‘uniform' (because, does a shirt and jeans even count as a uniform?) and hopped in the shower. Hot water burned through his skin, easing tension from his muscles as he let the day be washed down the drain. Dressing in a black shirt and skinny jeans, leaving the top two buttons of his shirt undone, Nines checked his reflection in the bathroom mirror. His hair was quick to towel-dry, and after running his hand through it a few times he deemed it acceptable enough. He couldn't be bothered gelling it back now.

As he gathered his wallet and phone, he tried to calm his nerves – hands clammy and heart racing. Why was he nervous? Seriously. It's Gavin, not some stranger.

Or, perhaps the fact that it's Gavin was the reason he's so nervous in the first place?

 

He makes it to the coffee shop ten minutes after 7, exactly on time, claiming a little table by the window. Gavin shouldn't be much longer now; once he's sorted out whatever he does at the end of his shifts. To pass the time, Nines scrolls through the random notifications on his phone from today that he's yet to check. None of them are of any importance, anyway.

A melodic tune rings through the shop as the door's pushed open, a small gust of cold wind filtering through the gap. Nines glances up, smiling the moment he catches sight of Gavin.

Then he actually takes in the younger man, breath catching in his throat because fuck he's gorgeous. Nines hasn’t seen Gavin in anything besides his uniforms. He decides that Gavin could probably wear a garbage bag and have people lusting after him. Tonight, he's dressed in a simple grey tee, black jeans that cling to his figure – his ass in particular, which Nines is silently grateful for – and a brown leather jacket to finish the look. He looks like the definition of ‘fuckable'.

It's an actual struggle for Nines to drag his eyes away from Gavin's figure when the man comes to sit opposite him, offering him a bright smile.

After ordering drinks for them both – coffee, black, no sugar for Nines and a cappuccino with chocolate dusting for Gavin – they fall into a comfortable conversation of their day.

Gavin told Nines about some douche who refused to leave the club at the early hours of this morning, having to be dragged out eventually. He spoke animatedly, eyes alight with joy when he mentioned how his friend had almost chucked a shoe at the guy. Nines chuckled, finding himself intrigued by the way Gavin spoke, captivated by his words and smile. When he questioned why Gavin wasn't working now, he listened intently as Gavin explained that he was on a double shift tonight: 4pm-7pm and then back again to work 11pm-5am. He'd just been cleaning and working the bar earlier. He'd have to run home before his second shift to grab his things.

He also learnt that Gavin got managed to get his job through his past in gymnastics; it allowed him to be more flexible and deft on his feet, so when he went for the interview he at least had some experience. Gavin glossed over the reason why he'd needed to apply for the job in the first place, hinting at troubles at home and ‘other depressing shit'. Nines decided not to push it further.

“Anyway, enough about me.” Gavin said, stirring his drink lazily, “I want to know more about you. What made you become a cop? Was it a film? Some hotshot in a uniform save your life or some shit like that?” The smirk on his face was endearing. Nines crossed his arms and leant closer on the table, snorting a laugh at Gavin’s assumptions.

“Not exactly, no.”

Not at all, in fact. Once he left school, Nines had his mind dead-set on joining the military. He wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps, serve for the country and prove his worth. He wanted the exhilaration that Sixty constantly spoke of, the pride and danger of being on the firing line.

Unfortunately, his brothers didn't share his dream. When he'd mentioned it to them, he'd been met with an onslaught of, “No!”, “What the hell, Nines?”, “It's too dangerous!”, “We won't let you. No. Never.” Basically, he was being held back by two very over-protective brothers. It would have been sweet if it hadn't have been so fucking hypocritical! Sixty literally did the same job that he wanted to do. Yet, they wouldn't allow him to do it? It was unfair. Nines didn't understand it; he was only a year younger than them and taller than both of them, yet they still refused.

He didn't speak to his brothers for months following the argument. Ignored all their calls, and their messages and even refused to answer the door when they came knocking at his new apartment. He had been too annoyed, too worked up and resentful, to look at them let alone speak to them. He just didn't understand why they always had to control him. He didn't see why his safety should be of such a concern to them.

Since he wasn't on speaking-terms with his brothers, they didn't know about his decision to become a detective instead – aiming to be Detroit's youngest Captain instead of the youngest sergeant. Which explained why, when he turned up at the DPD wearing the designated uniform, Connor had gasped and pulled him into a rib-crushing hug. “I thought you'd fucking run off to the military without even saying bye!” his eldest brother had sobbed against his shoulder. The guilt Nines had felt in that moment was unbearable.

When Sixty next saw him, he'd made sure to hit him. But then he'd also choked out a watery laugh and pulled Nines into his arms.

Nines told all of this to Gavin, who sat and listened whilst dropping random comments about how ‘cute' something was or how ‘stupid' Nines was. He hadn't actually told anyone this story before, Nines realised. Resisting a smile had never been so difficult.

He gave up fighting the insistent tug at his lips when Gavin took a sip of his drink and pulled back with a tiny foam moustache, erupting into a soft laugh as Gavin just flushed red and shot him a cheeky grin. Gavin's face only reddened further when Nines leaned forward and wiped the foam away with his thumb, licking it off with a smug smirk and a wink.

“What did I tell you? You're a fucking tease!”

Nines just laughed again.

 

It's almost half 9 when they get up to leave, Nines making sure to leave a generous tip in thanks of the owner allowing them to stay so long. The air outside had grown brisk, sky a black blanket over their heads with hints of blue weaved amongst faint stars. Gavin tugged his jacket closer to him, not unnoticed by Nines.

“Come on, let me drive you home.” Nines said, gesturing to his car parked just down the road. Gavin shook his head, protests already falling from his mouth that Nines silenced with a finger pressed to his lips. “I insist.”

Gavin's gaze fluttered down to where Nines’ other hand was resting on his waist, blinking back up at him with a shy smile. Nines would never get over how different the younger man acted when not at work. He was adorable, either way.

Seemingly giving in, Gavin allows Nines to guide him to his sleek black car – opening the passenger side for him with a smile and a laugh. Gavin rolled his eyes playfully as he clambered into the car.

Taking directions from the other man, Nines drives Gavin home within minutes since he lives in the area. Pulling up outside an apartment block, identical to most of the buildings surrounding them, Nines lets the engine rest as he turns to face Gavin. The younger man is worrying his lip between his teeth and Nines wants nothing more than the pull it free and heal the fresh wound with his lips in a gentle kiss. However, he refrains. Somehow.

Instead, Nines leans overs the centre console and brushes his lips over Gavin's cheek. He lingers. Perhaps longer than necessary. He couldn't help it though; breathing in the intoxicating scent of the dancer before him – apple and mint and something else, something familiar yet unidentifiable. Gavin breaths a laugh when he eventually pulls away, light blush spreading over his cheeks (much to Nines' delight).

“Thanks for tonight,” Gavin says, smile ghosting over his lips.

Nines returns the gesture, “Anytime, Gavin.”

With that, one last smile, Gavin's gone; slipping out of his car and jogging up the steps into the tower building. Nines watches, waiting a few moments before heading back home, an unbreakable peace settling in his chest.

 

 

“Nines? Nines are you there?”

Groaning, hand rubbing tiredly over his face, Nines hummed out an agreeing sound to the Lieutenant over the phone. His neck was cricked, face pressed into the couch uncomfortably. Afternoon light had turned into a deep blue sky. He must have fallen asleep again.

“Fuck, I'm sorry.” Hank spoke again. This time, Nines registered the exhaustion in his voice. The pity, too. Shit, what was he pitying Nines for? “He's stable bu-"

Nines sat upright with such speed that he was surprised he hadn't got whiplash, phone clutched in his hand tighter now. All thoughts of curling back into the couch and falling asleep until morning now non-existent.

“What happened?”

“Nines...I-"

“What. Happened.” Nines snapped. Hank's sharp inhale could be heard through the line.

“He's in hospital, okay? Just...just get down here and I'll explain it to ya.”

Hardly bothering to thank Hank for calling him, Nines grabbed his keys and left the apartment – not even taking the time to pick his jacket up from where he'd draped it over the back of the couch.

The drive to the hospital was short, long after the afternoon rush of people leaving work. In fact, finding a place to park in the hospital's carpark took up the majority of his time.

By the time he made it to the front entrance, Hank was waiting for him – tired face and sagged shoulders, eyes darting from person to person. That was a trait that came with the job – actually, they all were, Nines noted, realising that he probably mirrored the Lieutenant.

“C'mon, he's sleeping but we can go sit with ‘im.” Hank says, taking Nines under his arm as he leads him into the hospital.

“I thought I told you to keep him out of trouble?” Nines grumbled, fixing the older man with a stern look.

“’m sorry, okay? He took off without a word. Next thing I know, he's got a broken arm and bruised fucking ribs. Doctors said he's lucky he didn't snap ‘is neck from the fall.”

Nines sighed. Typical Connor. Always acting before thinking, and more often than not it resulted in an injury.

Visiting his brother in hospital had become somewhat of a regular occurrence during their childhood. Apparently, their adulthood too.

They reach a secluded room, Connor resting in the single bed with an almost serene look on his face. He's hooked up to a drip and a machine to his side breaks the silence with each heart beat it detects. A large white cast has been set over Connor's right arm, more bandages secured around his chest. Nines shakes his head, sitting down in one of the two chairs beside his brother.

“He's a fucking idiot.”

Hank chuckles, lowering into the other chair. “You can say that again.”

“Have you filled Fow-"

A hand stops him mid-sentence, “Already let ‘im know, he's given the lucky shit a week or two off. Then he's stuck on desk duty until his arm's fully healed.”

Nines scoffed, “He's going to hate that.” An agreeing hum comes from the other man. “What about Markus? Does he know? I thought he was away in Washington for the week?”

Hank nodded, “He was called earlier, poor guy was ready to catch the next flight back. I told him to not even think about it; Connor's got enough people here to look after him.”

That's true, Connor has a seemingly endless circle of close friends and colleagues that would go out of their way to help him should he need it. Another thing that Nines seemed to lack in...

 

Connor was discharged the next day under the promise of resting his body for the following 24 hours – no vigorous moving and definitely no exercise. Nines dragged his older brother back to his apartment, despite Connor's protests that he could take care of himself, mainly just to keep an eye on the hyperactive idiot. But also, because it's his brother and hell would freeze over before Nines sends either one of his brothers away if they're hurt or upset.

Settling a grumbling Connor onto his couch, Nines makes sure he has enough blankets and food for them both. It was going to be a long week.

 

In the days following Connor's ‘accident', Nines finds himself pulled in all directions; one moment he's making sure Connor's comfortable (has enough food and water and the TV remote on hand), then he's rushing off to work where he's stuck filing stupid old reports because Fowler still refuses to let him help Hank with his old case – despite Hank's current big drug case now crossing into this one. He hardly finds time to take care of himself, let alone visit Gavin.

Luckily, he still has the dancer's number.

Unluckily, Gavin apparently finds it very hard to believe that Nines is genuinely taking care of his brother and hence hasn't visited.

A sigh leaves Nines as he flops down onto the sofa besides Connor, his brother barely sparing him a glance and instead finding the game show on screen much more interesting. That's alright by Nines; it means he can continue messaging Gavin without Connor blaming him for being anti-social.

Sexy Detective: I'm telling the truth! Why would I lie about any of that?

Gav: Well I dunno do I? Could be a married man with kids and shit, how would I know?

Nines pinches the bridge of his nose, his patience thinning. It's much harder to read tone of voice through texts – but something tells him that, at least somewhat, Gavin's words aren't a joke. Of course, the younger man would be the last to admit to feeling insecure.

Switching to his camera, Nines subtly snaps a picture of Connor curled under his blanket. His brother's hair is a mess of unwashed curls, cheeks red from the heat, arm still in it's cast (plus a few crude ‘get well soon’ messages from their colleagues). Connor doesn't even notice.

Sending the picture to Gavin, Nines waits. He doesn't have to wait long.

Gav: Holy shit, u never said ur brother was hot!

Gav: seriously tho, is he single??

Nines rolled his eyes.

Sexy Detective: Unfortunately, you missed out. By a long shot. He's in a happy relationship.

Gav: shame :’(

Gav: ur hotter tho bby x

Gav: I promise ;)

Sexy Detective: Shut up.

Gav: pfft like u actually want that, u love talking to me don't even try lying

Gavin had him there. Nines chuckled, typing out another teasing response. He was just happy that he and Gavin were okay; he'd been worried that Gavin would have lost interest in him by now.

By some miracle, he hadn't.

After a few minutes, a picture comes through and Nines finds himself biting back the already wide grin on his face when it loads up; it's a cute selfie of Gavin, in what appears to be his dressing room, a pink feather boa draped over his bare shoulders – revealing prominent collarbones and beautiful olive skin. He's smiling, bashful and so fucking adorable, and it just makes Nines wish that he was there with him.

There's a quiet shuffling and Connor shifts beside him, leaning into his side and tugging his blanket closer with his non-broken arm.

“You're smiling.” Connor states.

Nines looks down from his phone, fixing his brother with a curious look and willing the blush on his cheeks to disappear. “Yeah?”

“I haven't seen you smile properly in a long time. You're happy.” the words are simple enough but the meaning behind them is heavy. Connor smiles nonetheless, reaching up to poke Nines' nose like he used to do when they were young, wearing a shit-eating smile. “I worry about you, dipshit!”

The use of their old nickname for each other manages to ease some of the strong tension formed by Connor's confession, something which Nines is grateful for because he seriously hates dealing with emotions. He's lucky that his brother understands that and tries his best to help. Connor's words still hit him, though, and Nines finds himself blinking back tears.

He wants to tell Connor that he doesn't need to worry about him but he knows, from countless similar conversations that they've had in the past, that Connor would merely insist that it's his ‘job as his older brother’. Nines knows that there's no point arguing with him.

Instead, Connor decides to change the topic with a gesture at their position on the couch, “Thanks for helping me out.”

Nines smiles, ruffling his hair. “I've got to look out for my clumsy brother, haven't I?” That brings a laugh out of Connor, the older brother leaning further into Nines' side as he tucks his feet onto the couch – shimmying under the blanket until it reaches his chin.

They remain in a comfortable silence – excluding the soft buzz of the TV, neither of them paying it much attention – until Connor tilts his head back up to look at him.

“Keep him.” is all that he says, already drifting into a much-needed sleep, but Nines knows what he meant. He could see it in his eyes, the unspoken words, “He makes you happy. Don't fuck things up. He's good for you.”

The acceptance from his brother, despite Connor having yet to meet Gavin, means more to Nines than he'd expected it to. A stupid smile creeps over his face and he's unable to shake it off whilst he glances back down to his phone and sees a new picture from Gavin – the younger man drinking what looks to be coffee from a mug, cross-eyed, and the words ‘my bitch juice’ written underneath it. He's a dork. But Connor's right; he makes him happy.

 

 

Nines lasts two whole days before finally deciding that Connor can fend for himself for a bit longer whilst he goes out. He tells his couch-ridden brother that he's going out – pointedly ignoring the knowing look that he receives – and heads to the Eden Club.

It's not that late when he arrives at the club, only around 9pm. Gavin's on stage as Nines walks in. It looks like he's just started his performance. Perfect timing.

Nines can hardly drag his eyes away from Gavin, quickly finding an empty booth and getting comfortable – already enjoying the show. Gavin is beautiful – understatement of the year – dressed in those same, skin-tight leather pants from the first night Nines visited the club. Only, this time, he's also wearing a black leather jacket (undone to reveal a bare, toned torso) and, as if that wasn't already enough to drive Nines crazy, he had a white leather, studded choker fastened around his pretty little neck. Nines has to bite his lip to hold back a restrained moan at the sight.

As a waitress walks by, Nines asks her for a whiskey – already handing her the money with a polite smile. She nods and disappears back into the sea of people watching Gavin, allowing Nines to get comfortable in his seat and enjoy the show. He didn't expect Gavin to spot him so soon, the dancer catching his eyes and winking at him as he runs a hand through his hair and grinds into one of the stage poles – biting his lip to mask the smile on his face, which Nines found fucking adorable.

His usual cockiness on stage is still there, but Nines can tell that Gavin's flustered. That doesn't make him look away from the younger man though; if anything, it makes the show all the more endearing. So entranced by the lean figure poised elegantly on the pole, Nines is startled when a glass is placed firmly in front of him. The waitress from before watches him with a hard stare.

She's pretty, not Gavin pretty, but pretty nonetheless. She also looks rather intimidating, and Nines swallows thickly as he tries to hold her gaze – using his best detective authority skills to hold his cool.

“Nines, right?” she asks, voice sweet but laced with something poisonous.

“Uh- yeah. How did yo-"

The waitress holds a hand up to silence him, “If you seriously think I'm gonna let my best friend run off on some date without telling me who he's meeting, you're mad.” there's an underlying threat laced within her humour and it has Nines on edge. “Besides, I totally saw you guys sucking tongues last week.”

A red hot blush rushes to Nines' face at her words. She was clearly referencing the night that Nines had asked Gavin out on a date. He'd thought they were out of view...apparently not.

The girl's smirk melts into a smile as she rests a hand on Nines’ arm, glancing quickly over her shoulder to watch Gavin dancing on stage. “He seems to really like you. I haven't seen him smile so much...probably ever.” she admits, her tone softer now.

Her words have a strange impact on Nines, who finds himself looking over at Gavin with more than just the younger man's good looks on his mind; flashes of cute smiles, shy laughs, lingering touches and those endearing grey eyes bombard him and suddenly he realises how much Gavin means to him already. How had he not noticed his own feelings until now?

“I'm happy as long as Gavin's happy. You seem cool. I definitely get what he sees in you.” Gavin's friend laughs, nudging his shoulder with a wink before her face suddenly turns serious, “But, if you even so much as think about hurting him, I'll stab you with these heels. And that's not a threat, hun, that's a promise.”

Nines gulps, glancing down at her heels - they're very pointy and he really doesn't fancy being stabbed by them. Then again, he also doesn't fancy hurting Gavin, so he should be safe.

Agreeing with the girl, assuring her that he wouldn't dream of hurting Gavin, Nines sighed in relief when she finally smiled and walked away to serve more customers. Looking back to the stage, whiskey glass in hand, Nines notices that Gavin has proceeded to remove his jacket – leaving it discarded on the stage floor – a hand running down his faintly outlined and to an encore of leers and shouts for more. Nines watches with a smirk, occasionally sipping on his drink.

However, as great as the sensual show is, Nines finds that he's much happier when Gavin perches himself on his lap, the moment his break begins, and begins peppering fresh marks down his throat. It feels oddly like a mini lap dance; pornographic moans and pants coming from Gavin as Nines grabs him by the ass and forces him to grind down onto him, the friction sending waves of pleasure to his dick.

“I- ah- I saw you talking w-with Tina earlier,” the dancer's words melt into a groan right above Nines’ ear and the older man groans, “What'd sh- ah- she want?”

Tina. So that was his friend's name?

Nines latched his mouth to Gavin's jaw, tongue laving at the skin – the bitter taste of sweat and aftershave not deterring him – teeth grazing teasingly over a sensitive area by the underside of his jaw.

Gavin whines, nails digging into Nines' back where they'd slid underneath his top. Nines bucks his hips up at the harsh contact, hissing in pleasure.

“J-Just saying hi,” he pants out, hooking long fingers under Gavin's gorgeous fucking choker and using it to jerk the man down, finally capturing his lips in a steamy kiss.

Chapter Text

There was at least one positive to Connor being forced on sick leave until he was fit enough to return to work; it meant that Hank was left to work the ‘Gary Turner' case alone. Which made Nines' job of begging to be involved again a lot easier.

Hank caved in two days. Nines couldn’t be more relieved; as much as he loved his job, there was nothing better than working a difficult case. And this one was proving to be a challenge.

Something about Gary's confession to the murder of his girlfriend didn't add up; whilst he admitted to being responsible for her death, he refused to explain why. He wouldn’t even hint at a motive behind the killing.

Nothing.

That didn’t make sense. Nines found it more than just a little bit odd.

After some intense research, searching through any file linked to Gary Turner and questioning various associates and family members of both the man and his deceased partner, Hank and Nines finally managed to scrape up a few leads. Two names – surnames, presumably – and a serial code that had made frequent appearances during their searches. Juan and Hatcher were two strong leads. There was only one Juan living in the area and a possibility of three Hatchers. Nines strongly believed that they were connected to the death of Lana Dexley.

The code, however, had both him and Hank baffled. RT600. Neither of them could find any records of it used in the city. Yet, it’s frequent appearances made it seem important.

Nines returned home after each shift exhausted and confused. Connor would ask if they'd made any progress, insisting that just because he had a broken arm and some bruised ribs didn’t mean he couldn't use his brain. Nines retorted that, if Connor ever bothered use his brain, he wouldn't be wrapped in bandages right now. Connor just laughed and stole the case files from his hand before he had the chance to stop him.

But even Connor didn’t understand the meaning of the number.

Luckily, Gavin would often text Nines at night – after his own shift at the club – and offer a short distraction from his plagued mind. Nines would purposely ignore Connor's smug face whenever he smiled at something Gavin messaged.

By the end of the week, a second date between him and Gavin had been agreed on. Nines hadn’t managed to get down to the club lately; he'd been staying late at the precinct scouring the DPD's database for any further leads, which meant he didn’t get home until well after the club shut. Gavin understood, though. Besides, since he still made time to talk with the dancer there was no immediate need to visit the club.

Other than actually seeing Gavin. But that was why they were going on another date.

 

When the end of the week rolled around, the day of their second date, Markus returned home. He thanked Nines for taking care of Connor, though obviously Nines didn’t mind, and carried his boyfriend out to the car whilst muttering about how idiotic he was. Nines smiled as he waved them off, forcing Connor to promise that he wouldn’t try sneaking to work any time soon and chucking when his brother pouted.

Stepping back into his apartment, it felt oddly empty. Having company for a week had definitely made him forget how quiet it usually was here; he’d gotten so used to Connor’s constant commentary over whatever show he was watching, or his music, or hearing him calling Markus. With Connor around, there had been constant noise.

Now it was just silent.

But that was how he preferred it. Right?

Nines shook his head, pushing himself up from where he’d leant against the closed door and walked into his bedroom. He had a date to get ready for. Wallowing in self pity could come later.

 

 

“Y'know, for a cop, you ain't half bad.” Gavin mused with a smirk as Nines opened the passenger door to his car for him. After a rather exaggerated curtsy, Gavin ducked into the car.

“Well, for a stripper, you’re not too bad either.” Nines retorted with a playful smile. Shutting the passenger door, he laughed when Gavin stuck his tongue out at him through the window. When he slipped into the driver's seat, Gavin was sprawled comfortably across his side of the car with his feet up on the dashboard and seat reclined. At least he'd kicked his shoes off, socked feet crossed at the ankles and toeing at the windscreen.

Nines found it rather charming – in a strange way.

“So, you’ve wined and dined me.” Gavin said, twisting his head to quirk an eyebrow at Nines, suggestively. “Is this the part where you take me back to your place and fuck me on every available surface?”

It was a miracle that Nines didn't choke on the very air that he was breathing. He was especially glad that he'd yet to start driving.

Swallowing thickly, he composed himself. “I wouldn’t say every surface, but I was thinking my bed might be sufficient enough?”

Gavin swung his legs down, grinning like a kid on Christmas. “Fuckin' perfect, baby.” Nines laughed, causing Gavin to swat his arm impatiently. “Get a move on then! We haven’t got all night!”

Nines turned the ignition key, the low rumble of the engine vibrating through the vehicle. “Actually, I think you’ll find we d-"

“Shut up.”

Nines did, biting into his smirk as he drove them through the empty streets and back to his apartment.

 

True to his word, Nines lead them straight to his bedroom the moment that they stumbled into his apartment. Shoes were kicked off by the door, creating a tripping hazard for later, and clothes were shrugged off and thrown across random pieces of furniture. Once they reached his bedroom Nines pushed Gavin backwards, lips joined in a searing kiss, until the smaller man's legs hit the edge of the bed.

Breaking apart with a lewd wet sound, Gavin bit his lip and blinked up at Nines. Like this - hair ruined by Nines' wandering hands, lips kissed red, eyes blown black with lust – Gavin looked absolutely delectable. Debauched. And they hadn’t even started yet.

With a greedy smirk, mouthing hotly at the light dusting of stubble covering Gavin's well-defined jaw, Nines slid his hands to the dancer's chest – feeling the rapid flutter of his heart – and pushed until they were both sprawled over the bed. Nines encased Gavin's body, fingertips trailing seductively up and down his sides and teeth grazing over the exposed skin of the man's neck. Gavin had lost his shirt in the process of getting here, but so had Nines. They were left in their jeans, clothed erections rubbing against each other with each steady roll of Nines’ hips.

Under his fingertips, Nines left a trail of goosebumps along Gavin's skin. The younger man shivered, back arching and hips rutting up to join Nines' whenever he took too long to grind down. He was gorgeous. Gorgeous and needy.

“Fuck, Ni-" Gavin’s whine was cut short by Nines pressing his lips to the other man's, tongue darting out to dance with his. A muffled moan vibrated between them.

This position was much better than a desk, Nines decided, as he took the time to admire Gavin's lithe body and how pretty he was – legs spread wide to allow Nines to slot into the space, face blissed out already, chest heaving with each ragged breath. “So gorgeous, darling.” he whispered, unable to help himself.

Gavin was about to retort back with something sarcastic – Nines was sure of it – but whatever words had been on the tip of his tongue were quickly swallowed up as Nines leant down and took a nipple into his mouth, tongue swirling around the bud. Hands flew out to the side, fingers twisted into the once tidy bedsheets, as Gavin's body shuddered at the touch. Nines smirked, letting his teeth graze ever so slightly along the sensitive area as he pulled away, hands on Gavin's hips in as bruising grip.

Another whine escaped Gavin as Nines brushed fingers over his clothed erection, taking his time as he undid the buttons on the dancer's skinny jeans. “Fuck, Nines- hurry up!” Nines chuckled, catching the man's lips with his own and finally sliding Gavin's jeans down. Gavin lifted his hips, wiggling to help Nines get the damn skin-tight material off, hands wrapping around Nines' neck to keep him from breaking the kiss off. Nines didn’t complain, a pleased hum emitting from his throat when he felt deft fingers curl at the hairs along the back of his neck.

When Gavin was free of his remaining clothes, shit he hadn’t even been wearing underwear the cheeky bastard, Nines raked his eyes over him. Sprawled out underneath him, dick curved in arousal and already leaking drops of precum, sweat glistened skin and toned abs. He was perfect. Like something pulled straight from one of Nines' wet dreams.

Fuck.

Not holding back, Nines left bruising purple marks all across the tanned skin offered to him, humming at the salty taste. He nosed his way down the trail of hair that lead him lower, peppering soft kisses along Gavin's abdomen and smiling when he heard the quiet gasps leaving the man's mouth. Not giving Gavin any warning, Nines licked a hot stripe up the length of the other's cock, tongue lingering over the slit, before taking him in to the back of his throat. A broken cry bounced around the room and Gavin's hands flew out to grab at Nines' hair, pulling the curls with an unexpected strength.

Nines moaned around Gavin's dick, smirking when it sent a very noticeable shiver through the man's body. Bobbing his head rhythmically, Nines hollowed his cheeks and closed his eyes as he let the burning sensation in his throat become strangely pleasurable. He continued this until Gavin was writhing under his touch, moaning out his name with each fractured breath- and then he stopped. Mouth pulling off with a crude pop, Nines sat back onto his heels.

Gavin watched him, a whimper almost hidden behind his hand. “Shit- fuck- I...” his words were forgotten, green eyes following the motion of Nines’ tongue when it swiped along his lower lip to gather the precum left there. “Christ!

Chuckling, Nines slid off of the bed to work his way out of his own jeans. A relived sigh escaped him when his aching erection was finally freed of the confined space it'd been trapped in, slipping his boxers off along with his jeans and kicking them somewhere across the room.

Gavin watched, propped up on his elbows, still looking like he was teetering dangerously on the edge of orgasm. It was a great look on him.

Eyes scanning his room and landing on the half-opened draw of his bedside table, Nines went to grab the lube and a condom. However, as he pulled the condom out he felt a hand grab his. Glancing over his shoulder, he found Gavin knelt looking up at him with furrowed brows.

“Don't bother,” the younger man said, waving a dismissive hand at Nines but taking the lube from his hands and throwing it on the bed.

“You sure?” Nines asked, fiddling with the condom in hand, because fuck as tempting as it was he needed to be certain.

Gavin nodded, inching closer and reaching up to draw him in for a deep kiss. “Positive,” he insisted. And, well, who was Nines to argue? Chuckling the unopened condom back into the draw, Nines crawled back onto the bed and pushed Gavin into the mattress with a hot kiss, tongue running along the younger one's with a shuddering moan.

As they kissed, Gavin’s fingers curling into Nines' hair once again, Nines felt blinding across the bed until his hand came into contact with the bottle of lube. He busied himself with smearing it over his fingers, warming the cool liquid up until it was a reasonable temperature, and sliding his hand down to ghost over Gavin's rim. Gavin gasped into the kiss, giving a sharp tug on Nines' hair and drawing a long groan from the older man. The kiss was broken when Nines slipped a digit past Gavin's tight rim; Gavin throwing his head back with a deep moan and rutting against the intrusion as he squeezed his eyes shut. Nines watched the display in awe, getting insanely turned on just from the languid expression on Gavin's face and how his body was reacting to him. Adding a second finger, Nines relished in the expected moan that echoed through the room.

“Fuck- ah- yes!” Gavin cried, hooking his ankles around Nines' hips and pulling him into the space between his legs. Nines looked down, watching his fingers disappear inside Gavin and curl upwards, revelling as it caused the man to arch his back delightfully.

When he removed his fingers, Gavin looked lost. Suddenly empty and overwhelmed with lust. Nines loved it.

“One second, darling,” he said sweetly after Gavin had whined at him. Pouring more lube over his hand, Nines slicked up his dick and pressed the head to Gavin's twitching hole.

The moan, low and guttural, that left Gavin's mouth as Nines pushed in was music to his ears – intoxicating and mesmerising. His hips stuttered, unintentionally thrusting himself deeper into the other and receiving another utterly pornographic cry. “Fuck, Nines-"

Slowly dragging himself out to the hilt, Nines dug his fingers into Gavin's hips and moaned. Gavin was clawing down his back now, no doubt leaving burning red marks scratched along his pale skin. He didn’t mind, rolling his hips forward with another harsh thrust. Gavin was fucking beautiful like this, pliant body writhing underneath his with each thrust, moans spilling from his mouth like running water. The dancer's legs were trembling around Nines' waist, heels digging in and one hand dropped to clench around tangled bedsheets so tight that his knuckles had turned white. Hair stuck to his forehead with sweat, cheeks flushed red and mouth dropped open.

Shit. Nines could come just from the sight alone.

“Fuck- fuck- fuck-" Gavin chanted, eyes rolling back as he rocked himself back against Nines. Nines groaned, dropping his head to Gavin's shoulder and grasping when he felt Gavin clench tight around him; an obscene moan leaving his parted lips as he shot white streaks of fun across both of their stomachs. “Shit.”

Nines wasn’t far behind, already chasing his orgasm and brought to the edge with the lewd display played out before him. With one final, stuttering thrust of his hips, Nines sunk his teeth deep into Gavin's shoulder as he slipped come inside the younger man. Gavin groaned, head turning to the side as he caught his breath, blushing when Nines eventually pulled out of him.

Nines couldn't help but watch in wonder as his own come followed after him, messing the bedsheets underneath Gavin's spent body. His dick twitched weakly at the sight, but he ignored it in favour of flopping down besides the man and throwing on arm over the both of them.

Gavin sighed, a content smile over his lips. “That was...something else.”

“Yeah, it was.” Nines panted, staring up at the ceiling above them as he pushed down the ridiculously giddy smile threatening to show. It was a wasted effort though; the corners of his mouth turning up when he felt Gavin shift closer into his side and nestle under his arm. Small puffs of warm air ghosted over Nines’ overheated skin like a gentle caress, and he smiled as he slid a hand down to rest at the dip of Gavin's back.

They must not have laid their for long, listening to the racing beats of their hearts and their ragged breaths, before they both drifted into a peaceful sleep – covers forgotten and a drying mess on the sheets.

 

 

Waking up besides someone wasn’t something Nines had ever expected on experiencing (at least, not anytime soon). Yet, here he was, the morning light filtering through his open curtains and casting a warm glow over the room – which was a mess, clothes strewn across the floor and bedsheets rumpled at the bottom of the bed. Gavin was curled under Nines’ arm, nose brushing against his armpit and the hints of a smile playing at his lips.

Nines hadn’t seen the younger man like this before – vulnerable and at peace. He looked adorable, for lack of a better word.

Unable to stop himself, Nines pressed a brief kiss to the top of Gavin’s head. A tiny, almost inaudible sigh escaped the man and he shifted impossibly closer to Nines. Eyelashes fluttered over Nines’ skin, soft like dainty angel wings, and a quiet yawn left Gavin as his body tensed in a stretch. Nines tightened his hold on Gavin, admiring how the morning sun danced over the man’s naked body. His olive skin contrasted Nines' ghastly pale complexion, shimmering gold under the sun. He looked delicate. Heavenly. Beautiful.

“Mmph...” Gavin mumbled into Nines’ side, twisting his spine and tilting his face up to shoot Nines a sleepy smile.

Nines laughed fondly, running his fingers through Gavin's hair. “Morning, sweetheart.”

The term of endearment rolled off his tongue so naturally that he had hardly noticed it, until Gavin flushed a lovely pink and swatted his arm to hide the way he'd smiled in response. “Fuckin' dork.”

“But you love it.” Nines sang, bumping his nose against Gavin's cheek with a smug smile. Gavin huffed but he didn’t deny it. Sliding two fingers under Gavin’s chin, Nines pulled the other up into a loving kiss. Gavin sank into his lips, eyes closing and his tongue joining Nines' for a wonderfully brief moment before he pushed them apart with a scowl.

“Gross. Morning breath.”

Nines laughed, pecking Gavin once more before sliding off of the bed. “You want a coffee?”

Gavin’s eyes sparked up at the question, rising up and stretching his arms upwards – ribs showing as his back arched and Nines had to look away. “Fuck, please!” Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, Gavin grimaced at the sweat covering his body and the grime that they'd slept in. “Can I use your shower?” he asked, glancing hopefully over his shoulder at Nines.

Nines licked his lips, eyes trailing over the muscles of Gavin’s back, before he nodded. “Yeah, sure. It’s the room at the end of the hall.” Throwing an unused towel left folded on the floor at Gavin, Nines headed out of the bedroom to give Gavin whatever privacy he might need – not before shoving on some (probably dirty) boxers and a pair of grey sweatpants.

In the kitchen, Nines distracted his wandering thoughts by popping on the kettle and grabbing two mugs from the nearest cupboard. As the distant sound of the shower kicked up, bathroom door clicking shut, Nines had to put the radio on and lean against the counter. If someone had told him that, in a few weeks, the dancer from the local strip club his brother dragged him to would be showering in his bathroom – after spending the fucking night – he would’ve laughed in their face. Perhaps Nines just wasn’t any good at predicting the future. Or perhaps Gavin just defied all logical outcomes and created his own path.

The latter sounded more accurate, when Nines thought about how brash and outgoing the dancer was.

So lost in thought, Nines hadn’t noticed the kettle boiling until the high-pitched whistle was ringing through his ears and making him jump. It was only then that he realised he had no idea how Gavin took his coffee. Deciding to let Gavin add milk and sugar if he desired, Nines stirred the drinks and took a sip of his own.

 

Gavin padded down the hall, bare feet on glossed floorboards, following the muted sound of a radio into where he presumed the kitchen was. He hadn’t had much chance to look around last night. But now, Gavin could tell that Nines respected his living space; the apartment was minimalistic and clean, a perfect reflection of the man that lived here. Unlike Gavin's own apartment, covered in cat hairs and discarded food trays.

Stepping into the little kitchen, black marble and white counters lining the wall, Gavin smirked at Nines swaying his hips to whatever song was currently playing through the radio sat atop the fridge. He was still only dressed in sweatpants, which hung lopsided on his prominent hipbones, and his hair was the messiest Gavin had ever seen it – an oddly domestic sight that had Gavin’s heart soaring. If he could wake up to this every morning, he’d be more than content in life.

Nines must have sensed his presence, spinning around to greet him with a warm smile. Gavin returned it, stepping further into the room at the same time as Nines came closer. They met in the middle, Gavin peering up through his damp fringe.

Nines leant down and pressed a light kiss to his lips, those stupidly blue eyes sparkling like crystal clear water under a summer sun.

“Hey,’ Gavin smirked up at the man.

Nines chuckled, a soft and beautiful sound, cradling Gavin’s face and stroking his thumbs along his cheeks. “Hey.”

Gavin couldn’t resist the urge to cover Nines’ hands with his own, brushing calloused fingers over long ones. Nines’ hands were delightfully soft to the touch; his skin like silk. Gavin would stand here for an eternity, he muses.

“Toast?” Nines suddenly says, waving to a plate of freshly made toast and butter sat beside two steaming mugs of coffee.

Gavin’s stomach rumbled and he moaned, “Oh fuck, yes!” which made Nines laugh and pass the plate to him, after stealing a slice of toast for himself. The man then let Gavin help himself to milk and sugar, which Gavin thanked him for, and they leant against the counter eating in a comfortable silence – save for the radio playing in the background.

Until Nines spoke up again, “Is that my shirt?”

Gavin blushed, distracting Nines from his own embarrassment by brushing his lips across the man's cheek before hopping up onto the counter. Nines watched with an amused quirk of his eyebrows.

“I couldn’t find mine,” he finally admitted with a shrug, shooting Nines what he hoped was a cheeky smile. He held his arms out, looking down at the pale blue shirt, the sleeves falling well past his hands. “Besides, I quite like this one.”

Judging by the glimmering look in Nines' eyes as he looked over his new attire – Gavin hadn’t bothered with anything other than some boxers, which were also Nines' – the man liked it too. Smirking as Nines stepped between his legs and cupped his face, Gavin stole another chaste kiss, crumbs of toast littering their lips. “You look cute.” Nines whispered against his mouth.

“Shut up,” Gavin snickered, shoving the rest of his toast into Nines' mouth and rolling his eyes when Nines just bit into it and exaggerated a moan. “You're insufferable.”

Nines poked his side and kissed his cheek, a ridiculously simple gesture that had Gavin a blushing mess. “Stop complaining and drink your fucking coffee.” And then he was stepping away, saying that he needed to shower and change the sheets – though he used cruder words – telling Gavin to ‘make himself at home' in the meantime.

Gavin did exactly that, flopping onto the couch in the adjoined living-room and switching on the TV, feet kicked up underneath him and mug of coffee clasped in his hands. He could get used to this.

 

 

Work had been gruelling; Nines and Hank had searched the databases for any traces of ‘RT600' and came up empty-handed (other than finding out it was the model number for an old line of computers years ago, now discontinued). Nothing to help them solve the case.

And to make matters worse, the coffee machine had broken yet again – leaving Nines without his regular caffeine fix and relying solely on his last pack of cigarettes. He'd need to buy some more on his way to tomorrow's shift.

Really, the only thing that was getting him through the day was the promise of seeing Gavin again. It'd been a couple of days since their last date but Gavin had sent him a text that morning asking if he would be dropping by the club today. And, really, why would Nines refuse?

It’s not even like it’s out of his way. Besides, he could really do with seeing Gavin's beautiful face; a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise hellish day.

Weaving his way through the rowdy crowds gathered outside the club, Nines slipped through the doors and into the familiar low-lit room. The musky smell of sweat and alcohol abused his senses, but Nines found he'd come to like it much more than he had done the first time he'd visited the club. Especially when he knew who would be waiting for him.

Walking by the customers inside, Nines spotted Tina by the bar. She caught his gaze over the crowd of heads, flashing a bright smile his way and waving him over. A quick scan of the room showed no signs of Gavin yet so Nines returned the smile and slid through narrow gaps between dancing, inebriated people – cringing whenever someone tried to get closer to him.

Finally making it to the bar, he let out a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding and hopped onto one of the free barstools. “I hate drunk people.” Nines joked, smiling when Tina laughed and nodded as she slid an order over to a guy seated a bit down the bar from him.

“Yeah, they’re not the best.”

Rolling his eyes, playfully, Nines scoffed. “You don't say. Too touchy-feely for my liking.” Then he pulled out some cash and passed it to Tina, “A whiskey, please.”

“Ah, the usual.” Tina smirked and Nines raised an eyebrow.

“What do you mean, the usual?”

“Gavin said you usually order a whiskey. Fuck knows how he knows that ‘cuz he's usually on stage when you’re here.”

Nines felt the heat rush to his cheeks, the knowing look Tina sent him enough to let him know what she was insinuating. But, hey, of course he’d visit when Gavin was on stage! He isn’t going to pass up on a show like that.

Instead of voicing those thoughts, however, Nines merely clicked his tongue with a smile. “What can I say, I appreciate a good show when I see one.”

Tina laughed, a lovely wholehearted sound that made Nines smile. He could see why Gavin was friends with her. Passing him his drink, she leant her elbows on the bar top and looked around the darkened club. When her eyes fell on someone just out of Nines’ view, over his shoulder, she smirked devilishly. “Looks like someone else is enjoying the show, too.”

Frowning, Nines swivelled around on his seat to follow Tina's eye line. He had to squint at first; the dim lights blurring most people’s faces into unrecognizable shapes, but when he saw what she was referring to his scowl only deepened. Gavin was tucked away in a corner booth, facing Nines but not looking his way because he apparently had better things to focus on.

Legs placed either side of someone – a man, from what Nines could tell, although he couldn’t see his face – Gavin straddled the guy’s lap with his arms draped lazily around his shoulders. Dressed in nothing more than tight leather shorts and a strappy crop top, Nines would usually be drooling over the dancer by now. But Gavin was grinding his hips down onto another man, kissing the guy’s neck and whispering something in his ear. The display looked frighteningly familiar. All too similar to the encounters he’s had himself with Gavin.

Nines couldn’t make much else out from this distance, which was probably for the best; judging by the sudden flare of rage that sparked up inside him. There was a pang of something else too – either jealousy or hurt, perhaps both. His fist clenched by his side, grip on his drink tightening as he watched the display in front of him.

That was when Gavin looked up. Maybe he'd sensed the burning daggers Nines was shooting his way. That didn’t matter though. Oh no, what mattered was the angelic fucking smile Gavin sent him, almost looking perfectly innocent, as he circled his hips in the stranger's lap. Nines growled. He'd deny it if he was asked, but that was definitely an animalistic sound.

Shit, he was getting way too possessive. Wasn’t he?

But then Gavin straight up sucks a hickey into this guy’s neck whilst remaining eye contact with Nines the whole time and honestly – pride be damned – Nines loses it. Slamming his unfinished whiskey onto the bar, he rises from his seat with a face of thunder.

“Nines?” Tina’s sugar-sweet voice calls from across the bar, and really he's thankful that she cares but at this moment in time all he wants to do is get out of there. Hardly sparing the time to shoot Tina an apologetic look, Nines storms his way to the exit. He sees Gavin watching him leave, feels the temptation to stay, but then sees the lustful gaze of the stranger that he’s straddling and the anger flares up again.

He can’t. Not today. Maybe not any day. Nines doesn’t take well to sharing, it's been a well-known fact since he was young. It might be the older sibling thing. A stupid jealousy over not having something that he wants just for himself.

Nines doesn't care, though. Because Gavin wasn’t a fucking toy, Gavin was more than that. Or, at least, he'd thought so.

He was being irrational. He knew that. He and Gavin weren’t even official; he’d just thought...

He’d assumed.

Fuck.

The rush of cold air as he pushed his way out of the club was welcomed, bitter and harsh on his skin as he trudged his way back to his apartment. His cold, dark and empty apartment. A sour laugh left his mouth as he thought about how different the place had felt with Gavin in it, his smile brightening up every room and his laugh contagious. Even when he was making fun of Nines and his shit taste in music, it'd felt so much better than sitting alone with a bottle of gin and his last cigarette.

Chapter Text


“He was not happy.”

“I know, Tina.”

“Like, really, Gav.”

I know, Tina.”

“He was pissed, man.”

Gavin threw his arms up and snarled, “I fuckin’ know, Tina! Do you think I didn’t see? Do you think I haven’t tried fuckin' messaging him? He doesn’t want to know, alright?” 

Tina sighed, perched on the arm of the couch – that Gavin was currently sprawled over. Dropping his hands to his face, he groaned.

 
“He doesn’t fuckin' want to know anymore...I fucked it up."

A gentle hand lay on his shoulder, “Hey, I’m sure that’s not true. Give him time to cool off. He seemed like a nice guy?” 

Gavin shrugged, squeezing his eyes shut. He was being ridiculous, almost crying over some stupid fucking customer – because that's all Nines was, right? Yeah, maybe Gavin let himself get too caught up in it all, but at the end of the day Nines was only here for someone to fuck. Surely. It’s not like they were actually dating. Gavin just fell too easily.

“C'mon, I have a tub of fudge ice-cream at my place with our names on it. We can stream a movie, I’ll let you choose.” Tina said, patting his back as she stood up and offered a hand to him. Gavin smiled gratefully at her, taking the hand and letting her pull him up from the couch. 

“You better have some fuckin' vodka too, bitch.”

Tina laughed, slinging an arm around his shoulders as she led them out of the club through the back exit (reserved for staff). “What do you take me for?” she nudged his side with her elbow and put on her ‘mom' voice, “But you're not getting wasted! Not after last time, you wanker. I’m on the early shift tomorrow.”

Gavin let out a weak laugh and saw the smile form on his friend's face. “You watch too many shitty British shows. When are you gonna catch up on Brooklyn Nine Nine? You’re a whole season behind now!” he whined, bristling as Tina pushed open the door and they were met with the cold night air. 

“They're not shitty! You’re just uncultured.”

Scoffing, Gavin pulled out a cigarette and lit it. “Fuckin' traitor.”

Tina shook her head at him, stealing his cigarette and taking a drag on it and smirking when she handed it back. Gavin scowled accusingly at her, flicking the ash on the sidewalk. “You really gotta stop stealing my cigs. Get your own!” Tina only laughed and he knew that she wouldn't. He didn’t really mind anyway, not after everything she does for him. Leaning his head on her shoulder as they walked, he shrugged, “I’m still not gonna promise I won't get drunk.”

That earned him another sharp stab in the sides.

 


Gav: Nines? [received 21:39]

Gav: hey, what’s up? [received 21:57]

Gav: Nines talk to me [received 22:02]

Gav: baby?? [received 22:29]

Missed call from Gav [22:32]

Gav: Nines answer your phone [received 22:33]

Missed call from Gav [22:47]

Gav: answer the goddamn phone you fuckin coward [received 22:47]

Gav: seriously wtf are you ignoring me for??! [received 22:53]

Nines groaned, throwing his phone on the pillow beside him and rolling over. His head hurt like a bitch, his room was a mess and he's pretty sure he slept in his clothes last night. An empty bottle of gin clattered to the floor when his foot accidently nudged into it and he cursed into the pillow. He didn’t want to get up yet; knew that the moment he did, he'd feel ten times worse.

It took another five minutes for his second alarm to blare through the room, slicing his head open with it's insistent, shrill tone. He growled, turning it off and sitting up, only to be met with a sudden wave of nausea. 

Making it to his bathroom in time to not throw up over his own bed was a miracle in itself. The burning acidic taste lingering at the back of his throat as he leant over the toilet bowl however, was not. He spat, grimacing as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and fell back onto his heels. His head felt worse than earlier, palms pressed to his eyes as he tried to will the migraine away. It was no use, though, and he knew it; he was just going to have to force himself through today’s shift and rely on coffee and painkillers to help him. 

With any luck, Hank won’t say anything.

 

 

Gav: what was all that about last night? [received 9:21]

Nines clicked the message away, shoving his phone into his pocket as he scanned his way into the precinct with his ID. He got a few curious looks, most likely people wondering what the 'pristine twin' was doing slinking into work late with sunglasses on and stinking of booze. Not caring for gossip, Nines ignored everyone's gaze as he made a beeline for the coffee machine in the break room.

“Ah, somebody decided to show up then?” Hank cried out, clapping him on the back. Nines shot him a glare, pulling his sunglasses off and hooking them through the top button of his shirt. “Fuck, kid, you look like shit.”

“Yeah. Thanks.” Nines deadpanned, pouring the freshly brewed coffee into his designated mug (the text ‘I'm not grouchy, it's just my face' printed around it – a present from Connor, of course). 

Hank shook his head at him, reminding Nines of a worried parent. “Whatever. Just get your shit together. We got a lead.”

That at least managed to perk him up, and Nines followed Hank to his desk with bright eyes – well, as bright as one can be when this hungover. Perching himself on the edge of the Lieutenant’s desk, he took a much needed swig of coffee. 

“A lead? What on?”

Hank chuckled at his impatience, bringing up some webpages on his screen and turning it so that Nines could read them over. “RT600, that computer model? Well, it turns out that the engineer behind that line was Elijah Kamski.”

Nines shrugged, eyes flicking from the screen (showing pictures of Kamski and the various computers he's released over the past decade) and Hank. “Yeah, so? What’s this got to do with Turner?”

Hank clicked his tongue. “Ah, see, this is where it gets interesting.” the older man brings up a social media page – Gary Turner's – and points at a list of names. “It turns out that our suspect has connections with Kamski.”

Nines hummed, sipping his coffee as he thought the new information over. “But, that doesn’t mean anything.”

“You'd think.” Hank points out two other names. “But then I saw this.” Nines leaned closer, squinting at the small text. 

“Juan and Hatcher?” he looked up to find Hank looking smug. Juan and Hatcher were the two names they dug up from Hank and Connor’s current drug case, both having ties with Turner. They hadn’t managed to find anything else on them though. “Kamski knows Juan and Hatcher?”

The other man shrugged but his smile was telling. Nines laughed, shaking his head as he sat back up. This was great, finally a new lead – and something promising by the looks of it. If Kamski knew something, or was maybe even involved in some way...shit. They could actually solve this case!

 

 

Nines groaned when his phone pinged with a new message. He didn’t need to look at the screen to know who it was from.

Gav: Nines...c'mon [received 11:23]

Why couldn’t he just get the message? Going to throw his phone into the glove compartment of the car, he caught Hank’s curious side-eye when it pinged again.

“Fucking hell...” he mumbled, swiping the message away just as another came through.

Gav: I miss you... [received 11:24]

Gav: fuck that sounds hella gay [11:24]

“Someone’s popular.” Hank chuckled, turning the ignition on and pulling out of the DPD staff parking lot. Nines rolled his eyes, pinching at the bridge of his nose as he sighed.

“You have no fucking idea...”

“Who is it? Or is that none of my business?”

Nines shrugged. He didn’t really want to tell Hank about Gavin – nor did he particularly want to explain the situation of the previous night. “Just some guy. He’s not important.”

Almost as if proving him wrong, Nines’ phone dinged with another two messages.

Gav: Tina told me to tell you that her threat still stands [received 11:29]

Gav: I don’t know what that means but I’m scared for your safety [11:30]

Hank made a thoughtful sound, turning in the direction the car told him to go – built in GPS systems were one of the best technological advancements of the decade. “Are you sure?”

Groaning, Nines switched his phone off. Gavin wasn't important. He was just after a quick fuck, last night was proof enough. 

Yet, something at the back of his mind told him otherwise.

Nines put it down to still not being fully sober, taking a swig of water from the bottle he’d brought with him.

 

 

“He’s ignoring me. I can feel it!” Gavin whined, feet thrown up on Tina’s coffee table as he sunk further into the couch. Tina scoffed, pulling his phone from his hand and reading over the spam of messages he'd sent.

“Maybe he’s just working.”

Gavin shook his head. “He still used to message during his shift.”

His friend sighed sympathetically as she flopped onto the couch beside him. “Just give him time, Gav.” 

“What if I’m waiting for nothing though? What if I was just an easy fuck to him and he doesn’t even wan-" he was cut off by Tina shoving a chocolate biscuit in his mouth. He scowled at her but ate the snack anyway, folding his arms over his chest like a sulking child. 

Tina laughed, nudging his foot with hers as she stretched her legs out. “C’mon, we haven’t finished Finding Nemo yet!”

Gavin groaned, “It’s such an old movie though!” 

“Exactly! It’s a classic.”

Clicking his tongue, Gavin stole another biscuit from the tray in Tina’s hand. “The Matrix is a classic. Finding Nemo isn't.”

That earned him a shove, falling into the arm of the couch with a laugh. 

“Shut the fuck up and watch the goddamn film!” 

Gavin sighed but he couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face as Tina shifted closer to him, swinging her legs to rest them on his lap. The happiness was short lived, however; Tina managed to drift off twenty minutes into pressing play on the film and his fingers twitched beside his phone. It hadn't gone off, but that didn’t necessarily mean that he didn’t have a message.

Snatching the phone from the coffee table, he unlocked it. The disappointment when he saw no new notifications was drowning, a heavy weight in his stomach that he just couldn’t shift no matter how hard he tried. 

Without thinking, he quickly typed out another message to Nines.

Gav: babe...pls...can we just talk? [sent 12:14]

He waited, staring at his screen for well over ten minutes, but there was no need to because he didn’t get any messages. What was he really thinking? Why was he so obsessed? It was ridiculous.

But Nines felt different to any other customer that had gotten close with him; Nines was different. Gavin didn’t want to just let that slip away without at least fighting for it.

 

 

"Shit," Nines mumbled under his breath as Hank pulled the car to a stop outside a large one-storey mansion. It was located just on the outskirts of Detroit, with a stunning view of both the surrounding countryside and the city.

Ducking out of the car after Hank, Nines took a quick scan of the place.

"Impressive." Hank stated, already heading up the walkway to the front door.

Nines hummed, squinting at the licence plate of a Lamborghini parked outside as he walked by it. "Yeah. How does an engineer afford all this?"

Hank shrugged, ringing the doorbell before turning to face Nines. "Beats me." If he was going to say anything else, he didn’t get the chance to because he was cut off by the door opening to reveal a beautiful woman. 

She was blonde, with pale skin and perfectly puckered lips. "Hello, do come in!" she chirped and Nines bristled; her voice was too shrill - feminine and smooth. Much too high-pitched for his migraine to cope with. 

Hank thanked her, leading the two of them inside the extravagant home. The woman offered to take their jackets, but they declined – stating that they wouldn’t be here long, they just had a few questions for Mr Kamski. 

“Questions?” a voice asked, velvety smooth. Nines followed the voice, eyes landing on a figure sweeping into the large entrance room with a swagger only gained from a man overflowing with confidence. “Chloe, my darling, why didn’t you say we had visitors?”

Watching as the man brushed the back of his hand along the woman’s cheek, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear and smiling almost devilishly, Nines shuddered. Something about the man oozed creepy. Yet, at the same time, there was something about him that struck Nines as familiar – he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

Pushing it aside and blaming his hungover state for over thinking, Nines assumed he simply recognised the man from TV, since he must have been in a handful of interviews back in his day.

“How can I help you officers?” Kamski asked, turning his smug face towards the two stood awkwardly in the middle of the room. Hank had been scanning his eyes around the room, searching for something – anything – that might progress the case. Unfortunately, it seemed Kamski only kept expensive-looking, contemporary artworks in view.

Letting Hank take the lead, Nines stood to the side and watched for any tells that the man may know something related to the Turner case. Yet, Kamski appeared as bleak as his surroundings, showing no interest in Hank’s words and rather paying more attention to the woman beside him. His smug smile when Hank eventually gave in, thanking Kamski for his time and saying they’d let themselves out, was enough to make Nines' skin crawl. Feeling the creep’s eyes on them until they were truly out of the building, trudging back down to their vehicle, Nines growled in annoyance.

“I don’t trust him,” he stated, fists clenched at his sides as he kicked a stray stone down the path. Hank huffed in agreement, turning to face him when they reached the car.

“Yeah, me neither, kid. But, until we get any evidence that the man knows anything, he’s innocent.”

Scoffing, Nines threw himself into the passenger seat. “Innocent my ass!”

Hank laughed, sliding into the seat beside him and starting up the car. As the older man drove them back to the DPD, Nines switched his phone back on. In his anger towards their lack of progress on the case, he’d almost forgotten about last night. 

Almost being a key word because the moment his phone was back on he was met with another onslaught of messages.

Gav: I can ring you again? We don’t have to speak in person. Just answer your fuckin phone will you?! [received 12:21]

Missed call from Gav [12:23]

Gav: Nines I know you’ve read these [received: 12:42]

Gav: Fine. Fuck it. [received 12:47]

Gav: I thought you were different [received 13:12]

Gav: Guess I was wrong [received 13:12]

Something about those final two messages struck Nines, a painful twist of the gut as his eyes scanned over the words again and again. It was almost as if he could picture Gavin's face as he said them, disappointed and heartbroken and fuck Nines felt like shit all of a sudden. He'd been acting like such a dick; didn’t even give Gavin a chance to explain.

But of all things, Nines was stubborn. So even if he knew he may have overreacted the night before, that didn’t mean he'd admit to it.