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J looked Agent Dean up and down. “Your chances of getting into that club are about nil. You’ve got cop written all over you.”

“I’m not a cop,” Agent Dean said, affronted. “I’m an NSA Agent.”

John smirked. “Math nerd with a gun and a badge.” Not that he was one to speak, having gotten his masters in combinatorial design theory.

Agent McAllister smirked. John suspected she’d read his file. She seemed the type.

Agent Dean looked outraged for about half a second, but then Agent McAllister cleared her throat.

“You two are forgetting something,” she said.

“What?” John asked. “Obviously I’m the one going in. I don’t look like a cop.” Or at least he looked un-cop-like enough to get in on some serious poker games around town (and, okay, almost lose his ass, but whatever).

“You do look like a cop,” Agent McAllister said. “You just don’t look like a federal agent.”

Agent Dean smoothed a hand down his button-down shirt. It was exactly the color shirt that John’s ex-wife said made his eyes look very green. “I look nice enough for a club, don’t I?”

“I don’t look like a cop,” Agent McAllister said, and it was true. With her clingy little black dress and tall boots, she looked like a grad student out for a night on the town. “And in case either of you missed the memo, that’s a gay club.”


“So go stand in front of the bouncer, smooch a little, and while all the pretty gay boys standing in line faint over your perverted hotness, I can slip in through the back.” Agent McAllister smiled, pleased with her own genius.

John was horrified.

Agent Dean actually looked like he was considering it.

“But - are you even field rated?” John asked.

Agent McAllister tugged up the hem of her skirt and displayed a tantalizing length of golden-tan thigh - and a pistol in a thigh holster. “Brendan made sure I was.”

John cast Agent Dean a look. “You can’t be seriously -”

“Let’s do it. Freya can get the intel, easy. Won’t even need to grab anybody.”

“We’re here on recon,” John began.

“And Freya is better than a black van full of parabolic mics.” Agent Dean snagged John’s wrist. “Ready, Freya? Synchronize watches.”

But Agent McAllister just rolled her eyes, a sister amused by her brother, and started for the back of the club.

John watched her go and felt horribly betrayed, but Agent Dean was tugging him toward the front entrance to the club.

“How will she even know we’ve caused a distraction?”

“Trust me,” Agent Dean said. “She’ll know.” He stepped up to the bouncer. “Hey, what’s the cover fee?”

The bouncer, who looked terrifying for a man wearing a rainbow tank top, looked Agent Dean up and down and sneered. “Yeah, we refuse service to cops. On principal.”

Agent Dean smiled brightly. “Oh, I’m not a cop.”

“Oh yeah? Prove it.”

Agent Dean proved it, all right. With a lot of tongue and roaming hands and it was worse than going through TSA at the airport. Except John had never come away from an encounter with TSA breathless and a little turned on and wanting to go for a second round.

The men (and few women) standing in line behind the velvet rope hooted and hollered, and the bouncer, now looking hungry and a little lustful, unhooked the velvet rope.

“Cover fee’s on the house,” he said, looking John up and down and actually licking his lips.

Agent Dean actually blew the guy a kiss before he towed John into the club.

Which was loud and crowded.

John leaned in close to shout in Agent Dean’s ear. “What now?”

“Now we keep being a distraction till Freya says it’s time to go.”

“How will she tell you that?”

But Agent Dean just plunged onto the dance floor, dragging John with him, and then they were pressed close, swaying together in the press of bodies. They were of a height, and John could look right into Agent Dean’s - Brendan’s - eyes. Brendan wound his arms around John’s neck and kept him close.

John darted a nervous glance around the dance floor, but no one was looking at him like they wanted to shoot him. In fact, a bit of a space had cleared around them, and people were staring, hooting and hollering appreciatively.

Brendan stroked a hand down John’s spine, which was actually kinda pleasant, soothing, and -

Whoa! He grabbed John’s ass and pressed their hips flush together in a delicious circling grind in time to the music. John’s breath hitched in his chest, but Brendan kept one hand on the nape of his neck, pressed his forehead to John’s, and John could taste his breath.

And then something vibrated against his thigh, and he jumped.

“What the hell?” he hissed in Brendan’s ear.

Brendan leaned closer to speak in John’s ear, was practically blowing in his ear or nibbling on his earlobe or -

“Text message from Freya. Recon is done. Time to go.” And he tugged John into another kiss, this one wetter and filthier than the last, and someone hollered get a room!, but it was goodnatured, and other people cheered, and when Brendan towed John to the door, there was a whole lot of yeah, baby! and attaboy! that followed them.

Freya met them two blocks over, where John had parked his car.

She was smirking. “Nice job.”

“It’s just a job,” John said, but he had to reach up to loosen his collar.

He was irritated to see that Brendan looked completely composed and just as cop-like as before. “What did you find?”

“Buy me tacos,” Freya said, “and I’ll tell you.”

“You owe me blueberry muffins,” Brendan reminded her.

Freya darted a glance at John, amused, and said, “That I do. You surprised me with your boldness.”

“Well, you know how much I like my blueberry muffins.”

John had a feeling that Brendan wasn’t just talking about blueberry muffins, and he wasn’t sure what to do about that, but then Freya was telling them about a cocaine shipment scheduled to arrive soon, the names of several gang leaders who were known dealers in the city looking to split the shipment and the profits, and John was halfway through his tacos before he realized that Freya hadn’t said one word about who she’d talked to, to get this info.

Chapter Text

“So you’re a PI now.”

John swore and almost dropped the pizza box.

Brendan Dean was sitting in the chair behind his desk in the dingy one-room office that was Sheppard Investigations, looking every inch a federal agent.

“What are you doing here?”

“Got dispatched to look into a weird case with the LVPD, and when I asked to see my favorite detective, they said you’d retired. After nearly dying.”

John wanted to say, After saving the planet from total annihilation by aliens, but somehow he didn’t think even the NSA was privy to that little detail. Instead he said, “Well, the job seemed bad for my health.”

“Understatement.” Brendan’s gaze is hooded, his expression unreadable.

“So did you need a PI instead of the LVPD?” John recovered enough to lever his pizza onto the corner of the desk and set down his two liter of soda (that he’d fully intended to consume all by himself while he trawled through pages and pages of hacked emails from a man whose wife had hired John to see if her husband was cheating on her).

“No,” Brendan said. “I just wanted to see you.”

And - oh. John hadn’t expected that. After their last case together - successful, to say the least - John hadn’t been sure where they stood. There had been that kiss in front of the club, and then dancing in the club, and then kissing in the club, and all the heated glances they’d traded after, but Brendan hadn’t made a move, and John still had too much Air Force in him to take the first step.

Brendan had no such Air Force in his bones, so here he was, in John’s shady office, like an old flame from an old noir film.

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…

“And when you get done with your case and leave?”

“You can be a PI anywhere.”

“Jumping the gun there a little, aren’t you?”

“Go big or go home.”

John stared at Brendan for a long time. Then he shook his head. “Go home.”

Brendan raised his eyebrows. “Are you sure?”

John nodded.

Brendan was on his feet and around the desk and crowding into John’s personal space before John could blink. John opened his mouth to protest and then Brendan was sucking on his lip and licking his way into John’s mouth and clutching desperately at his hips and when John had to pull back for air, Brendan said again,

“Are you sure?”

“Maybe not.”

Brendan kissed him again.

John was dizzy from lust and heat and lack of oxygen. “Okay. You make a good case, Agent. Stay.”

Brendan kissed him a third time.

Third time’s the charm.

“I might be able to be persuaded to follow you back to wherever it is you come from.”

And Brendan smiled, slow and sweet against John’s mouth, and said, “Good.”