Jack spooned out the shrimp and rice onto his plate. He watched Kermit while he ate, and found himself wondering what the deal was with this nearly silent man behind the green shades. He felt himself being studied just as intensely by a pair of eyes he couldn't see.

"You haven't always been a cop, have you?" Jack asked in between bites.

"Nope, not until a few years ago," Kermit answered, sipping on the Coors that Barns had brought with the meal.

"What did you do before that?"

"You don't really want to know," Kermit responded casually.

"Yeah, I do, I'm just curious," Jack assured him, trying to coax a little conversation.

'Okay, kid, you asked for it,' Kermit thought to himself. "I used to kill people."

Jack choked a bit on his own swallow of beer. "You what?"

"I used to get hired to kill people for money," Kermit said, holding back the knowing smile at the thought of what must be going through the younger man's mind. "I used to be a mercenary. I got paid to fight other peoples dirty little wars in dirty little places you probably have never even heard about."

"How did you end up in a job like that?" Jack asked, deciding he was more comfortable studying his food than meeting Kermit's face.

Kermit shrugged his shoulders and took another swallow of beer. "I had a sister and a kid brother to look out for after my parents died, so I just did what I had to do."

Kermit went back to eating his chicken once he was sure Jack had decided to let the subject drop. The younger man busied himself with clearing his own plate. While the ex-mercenary was content with the silence, he should have known it wasn't going to last.

"You know, I never did thank you," Jack said softly after swallowing a mouthful of food.

"Thank me for what?"

"For saving me back at Peter's place."

Kermit took another swig of beer to wash down his food. "No big deal."

"It was to me," Jack said, taking in another bite of his shrimp.

Kermit squirmed around a bit. He hated being thanked for just doing his job. He'd promised the kid he wouldn't let anything happen to him and he'd meant it.

"It's Peter, isn't it?" Jack asked quietly.

"Peter what?" Kermit asked, confused.

"Peter...he's the male friend of yours that you were attracted to."

Kermit's eyes glared. "That's none of your business, Jack."

"I thought so," Jack said. "Not that I can really blame you anyway, he's a pretty special guy."

"How did you meet up with him anyway?" Kermit asked, trying to refocus the turn in the conversation.

"We met at a bar when Peter was undercover," Jack stated. "So why was he off limits for you?"

"Say what?"

"You had told me that you'd always considered Peter off limits, I just wondered why," Jack explained.

Kermit sighed. Somehow he had the feeling that the younger man was 'not' going to let the topic go. "Because when I first met him, he was only a fifteen year kid whose foster father happened to be my best friend."

"So you felt like you would have been betraying your friend if you'd tried to make anything work with Peter."

"Something like that, not to mention the fact that since Caine came back, Peter hasn't had much time for anyone else," Kermit muttered. "Not that I blame him about that though, I'm happy the kid found his real dad again."

"Convenient excuses," Jack mumbled mildly.

"Excuse me?" Kermit's glare deepened.

"It just sounds like a series of excuses to me. I think you probably just felt it was better not to risk it than trying to do anything about it."

Kermit slowly lowered his carton and bottle of beer onto the coffee table. "Are you calling me a coward?"

"I think you're someone who's not willing to take certain risks," Jack responded, his own voice lowering.

"I think this conversation should be considered dropped," Kermit warned, his voice frighteningly soft as his fingers dug into the arm of the sofa.

"See what I mean? Did you even take any time to think about our conversation at the museum?" Jack challenged.

Kermit could feel his pulse throbbing against his veins, the seething anger pounding through his system, blurring his vision. Thought about it? For the fucking last two weeks it had been the 'only' thing on his mind! Over and over again, like a worn out record, Kermit had played the their meeting through his mind. He'd lost track of how many hours of sleep his thoughts had cost him, or how his concentration at work suffered. Every time he'd seen Karen or Peter, Jack's words had haunted him...the questions he'd raised plagued the ex-mercenary.

"Oh yeah, like I'm really going to take relationship advice from someone with your kind of judgement," Kermit snarled.

"At least I'm not hiding behind a pair of sun glasses and an oversized gun, trying to rationalize why I'm still alone," Jack returned bitterly.

Before he even realized what he was doing, Kermit was off the sofa and in a blink of an eye, had Jack up off his feet and pressed against the nearest wall, Kermit's forearm against his throat.

"Kid, you're coming dangerously close to exceeding my patience," Kermit snarled angrily.

Jack glowered at him. "What do you think you're going to do, Detective?" Jack dared. "There's nothing you can do to me that I haven't already put up with anyway."

Kermit was momentarily taken aback. "What?"

Jack's eyes flared like liquid blue flames. "What are you really afraid of, Detective Griffin? Why do I threaten you so much?"

In the space of a heartbeat, Kermit's arm dropped from Jack's throat as both hands grasped Jack's upper arms. Moving without thought, Kermit's head bent forward and his lips sealed over the younger man's mouth.

Firm lips met resistance, the tension in Jack making him rigid against Kermit's body. Gradually, Kermit released his grip slightly, his warm lips sliding back and forth across Jack's supple ones. Jack relaxed even more, and Kermit moved one arm behind the younger man to pull him away from the wall and closer against him.

Jack heard himself moan slightly, his lips parting nearly against his will, even as his hand moved up to twist into the salt and pepper curls of Kermit's hair, his fingers holding tight as Kermit's mouth fused against his.

Kermit's chest was tight, his heart pounding relentlessly against his ribcage as he growled softly himself. Jack's body felt so warm against him, and he smelled all fresh and clean and slightly spicy. Feeling Jack's lips parting under his just slightly, Kermit's tongue crept out to tease across Jack's mouth, barely probing, but enough pressure to be felt.

Skimming across the plush skin, Kermit increased the pressure, his hand cupping Jack's face, fingers against the nape of Jack's neck. Kermit's thumb brushed across Jack's jaw as he held him steadfast. The ex-mercenary wasn't quite prepared for the feeling when Jack's lips gave way a little more and he felt the tip of the younger man's tongue meet his.

A soft groan escaped as Kermit's tongue pushed the rest of the way until he entered the warmth of the other man's mouth. In a tender assault, Kermit's tongue invaded the inner-depths, exploring the silken lining of the younger man's cheek, running against the smooth enamel of Jack's teeth, tasting the remnants of beer, sweet and sour sauce, and so much more that was Jack's natural flavor. Their tongues sparred against the other, entwining, thrusting against each other. It was a subtle battle of domination and submission, each taking and receiving, soft moans of pleasure equally coming from both men.

Kermit's tongue curled around Jack's and drew it into his mouth and he softly suckled it, coaxing and urging small gasps. Pressing himself even more solidly against Jack, Kermit could feel a small shudder running through the younger man's body as the heat in his own started to increase. Kermit released Jack's tongue, only to capture and draw in Jack's bottom lip, biting lightly, sucking softly, letting his tongue draw across the inner flesh of it.

When the need to breathe couldn't be ignored any longer, Kermit didn't pull away immediately. Instead he rubbed his mouth back and forth against Jack's, each of them sharing the heated, moist breath of the other. When Kermit did pull away, the air he dragged into his lungs was shallow and shaky, but other than that, the ex-mercenary schooled his body and his features not to betray the upheaval his senses had just experienced.

Hazel eyes through tinted shades bored into stunned azure ones.

"Don't think for one second that you're any threat to me," Kermit whispered in a husky, thick voice.

Clearing his throat, Kermit then turned his back on the younger man. "We've got a long day tomorrow and I need my rest, so I'm getting ready for bed. I get the shower first and the bed. There's extra blankets and stuff in the closet."

With that, Kermit didn't look back as he went into the bathroom. Peeling off his clothes climbing in the shower, he found himself leaning against the cool tile of the shower stall as the hot water ran over the length of his body. He squeezed his eyes shut as he let the spray strike him in the face, then shook his head and hair a lot like a dog caught in a rainstorm.

With a deep sigh, he rested his forehead against his arm as the spray pounded against his back. 'Shit!', he cursed himself silently. 'What the hell just happened in there?' he yelled at himself. 'You have become completely certifiable, Griffin, do you know that?" He curled his hands into fists so tightly that his knuckles turned white and he felt his nails digging into his palms. "What the hell is coming over you?" he whispered to himself.

He had absolutely no clue whatsoever. He'd remembered being furious, then noticing how close Jack was, how soft the other man's lips had looked, and....

With a soft groan, Kermit reached out and jerked the faucet over to cold and bit his lips as the icy water hit him hard. The pain of the freezing water on his over-heated skin was almost enough to mask a softer, deeper ache as he forced thoughts out of his mind and scrubbed himself briskly with the complimentary soap.

Once soaped up, Kermit let the chilled water just flow over him. How long he stood under it, he didn't know, but he didn't shut it off until his skin and mind had been numbed from it.

Quickly, he dried off and pulled his boxers on. His hand hovered over the knob of the door for just a split second before he threw it open. When he stepped back into the living area, it was dark, as Jack had shut off the lights. His eyes adjusting, the detective saw that while he'd been showering, the young architect had made up the couch and looked to be asleep.

'Good', Kermit thought to himself. He hadn't wanted to have to deal with anything more tonight anyway. Wearily he made it to the bedroom and crawled under the covers. Laying his shades on the night table, Kermit threw an arm over his eyes and attempted to lure the illusive creature of sleep and tried to forget the taste of the younger man only a few feet away.


Caine looked down as his darling boy. Peter was once more resting with his head on his lap, his face turned and watching the flickering screen of the television. The cable station was currently showing a rerun of Starsky and Hutch and Peter was quite engrossed in one of his favorite childhood shows.

Caine could see how all of the action and excitement of the show would be quite appealing to both the small boy his son had once been as well to the man his lover had grown into being. Peter's eagerness for action as a child had never been curbed, if anything it only grew as he did. Caine let his fingers drift through Peter's hair, Peter signed and snuggled back against him.

Watching the show, Caine also noted the interaction between the two lead characters. He found himself fascinated by the way the two men behaved towards each other. There was much devotion to their partnership, a deep caring that he found quite admirable. And he was also oddly grateful that whenever Peter was partnered, it was usually with Jody Powell or Mary Margaret.

Pop let his hand shift under Peter's shirt, his fingers skirting across the planes of hard muscles that moved in waves at his touch. His boy's skin was softer than the finest silk and he found himself unable to stop his appreciative caresses, it was an inexorable need he had no desire to ignore. His knuckles rubbed across Peter's abdomen. Peter squirmed slightly and nuzzled his cheek against Pop's thigh.

Peter felt his father's hand move from his stomach to rub against his hip and flank. Strong fingers cupped one cheek of his rear and squeezed possessively. The heat and electric tingling it caused wound around and found Peter's groin and took up residence there. Peter rolled over onto his back, while Pop's hand moved to stroke Peter's thigh, curving his fingers around the inner-thigh and moving further up. He stopped just short of the blossoming bulge that was pressing against the denim cover of his sweet one's jeans.

"Mmm, I like that a lot, Pop," Peter murmured softly, nuzzling his nose against his father's stomach.

Pop's eyes sparkled. "I had not noticed."

As the show continued, so did Pop's touching. He let fingers and thumb stroke the inner crease of Peter's leg, occasionally straying to barely rub back and forth across Peter's growing erection. Still feigning interest in the television, Peter moved a little and opened his legs slightly to give his pop greater access.

Caine heard the faintest groaning as his hand slid further over to squarely possess Peter's gonads, cupping them and squeezing lightly. Peter's leg drew up, his breathing becoming a little more strained. Caine once more thought how arousing Peter was to him when his son's passions flared, that he was unable to keep from touching his treasured lover. His palm covered Peter's sex, the pulsing heat threatening to burn through the jeans. Slowly, he rubbed small circles over Peter's firming sex, gaining more soft gasps as his prize.

During a commercial, Peter turned his face to look up at Pop with a gentle, beckoning smile. Pop leaned down and brushed his lips back and forth against Peter's. Peter curled his arm around Pop's neck, holding him close and deepening the kiss. When Pop started to pull back and break the kiss, Peter looped his other arm around his father's neck and followed him up.

Planting his knees on either side of Caine's thighs, so he straddled his dad's lap, Peter continued the teasing kisses and nips. The officer watched Pop's tongue snaking out to slowly wet his lips, and Peter was filled with the desire to feel that tongue on every inch of his rapidly warming skin. Capturing the tongue, Peter sucked on it gently, stealing Pop's breath as Caine stole his.

Caine's hands came down to clamp onto Peter's taut rear, pulling his cherished lover even closer against him so that Peter's stiff sex pressed and ground against his stomach, his own sex stirring and filling to match it. Their tongues mated and mingled while the embers of passion started to smolder.

"I thought you wished to watch your television program?" Caine asked, his hands sliding down into the back of Peter's jeans in order to hold bare skin. His finger gently trailed back and forth against his son's hot cleft.

"Screw the TV," Peter whispered in a low rumble. Reaching behind his pop, Peter took the band off of his father's hair. Releasing the silver veil of strands, Peter worked his fingers through it.

The corners of Caine's mouth turned up ever so slightly. "I would much prefer doing that with you."

Peter groaned, rubbing himself more firmly against his dad. "Then why don't you do something about it?"

Pop suckled the skin on Peter's neck, feeling his boy shiver in his arms. "And what did you have in mind, Ti'ande Yi (Sweet One)?"

Peter's dark eyes, seething with unveiled lust looked deeply into his father's. His lover's hands kneading his bottom was making it hard to think. "Well, when I was in the bathroom earlier, I 'did' notice a tub big enough for the both of us."

"So, that is your desire? To share a nice, long bath?" Caine asked, finding the thought very pleasing himself.

"One of my desires," Peter conceded, nipping at the soft skin of his father's lips.

"Then go prepare the water and I will join you," Caine told him.

Peter was torn between not wanting to leave his lover's embrace and the chance of having said lover in a tub where he could enjoy the feel of his dad's slick, soapy skin against his, his lover bare, wet, and totally accessible to tease and torment. Decision made, Peter laid one more kiss against Pop's lips and pulled himself free of too-talented hands and walked off towards the bathroom.

In the bathroom, Peter started the water and let the large porcelain tub fill up. He added some complimentary musk scented body oil to the warm water, and was glad there was a second small bottle that could be used...later. Shedding his clothing, he looked about and decided that it was a shame that his father hadn't brought any candles with him. The soft glow would have added just the right touch. Oh well, they'd have to make do without that piece of ambience tonight.

When the tub was near overflowing, Peter finally turned it off and sunk into the abyss of liquid warmth that was immediately soothing. Closing his eyes, he let the water relax him for a few moments before starting to wonder where his wayward lover was.

"Hey, Pop, c'mon, the water is gonna get cold," he called out.

"I am here, Beloved," Caine answered softly.

When he opened his eyes again, Peter saw that his dad had shed his clothes in the other room and came walking in with three lit votive candles. He sat them down along the edge of the tub.

"Pop, where did you get those?"

"I had carried them in my bag," Pop answered, walking over to turn out the lights and let the radiant glow of the candles take over.

Peter watched the graceful moves of his father as he walked. Peter loved the sight of his dad's bare body, the sheer strength he possessed, the agility in which he moved. He loved just watching his father, period.

Caine stepped into the tub, Peter's arms instantly around his waist and pulling him down into the water and in between Peter's lap. Caine leaned his head back to rest again his younger lover's shoulders while Peter wrapped his long legs around his own.

Peter pulled his father's silvery white hair over one shoulder so his lips could trail back and forth in warm, moist kisses, letting his tongue dip into the hollow of his dad's collar bone, and across the broad ridge of his shoulder.

"That is quite nice," Pop murmured, his arms wrapping around Peter's.

"Mmm hmm," Peter hummed against his dad's neck. "Very nice," he agreed, his hands starting to wander across his dad's chest, fingertip brushing against Caine's dusky nipples, Peter rolling them until they were taut and erect. Caine groaned in response, turning himself over to his boy's knowledgeable hands.

Peter picked up the small bottle of shower gel and squirted some into his palms. Rubbing his hands together, Peter then started to spread the suds over his dad's body. His fingers glided over his dad's hard muscles, feeling the pulsing energy he knew vibrated just under the surface, seething and simmering.

The cop couldn't help thinking, as his fingers molded against every arch and dip of his father's chest, that not many had ever had the chance to experience receiving that powerful force of his dad's energy. He was always grateful that Pop shared it with him, when he let his defenses down and gave fully of everything he had. The depth of it was intense, but Peter didn't want it any other way.

Urging his father to sit forward a little, Peter then took more soap and slathered it all over Pop's back, working the corded muscles with strong strokes to work out the knots he found. He worked all of the muscles of Pop's shoulders and neck and was rewarded with soft murmurings of pleasure rolling from Caine's throat.

Peter couldn't get enough of times like this. Though he very rarely ever mentioned it, he got a lot of pleasure himself from indulging and spoiling his dad a little. He just loved him so much, and he never felt like his words were adequate enough even though he was certain his dad knew how he felt without the words. Besides, it was almost like paying penitence for his occasional attacks of acting like a shit-head. Why his dad put up with some of his antics in the past, he'd never know, but he was grateful anyway. He thought about the time he had been drugged, then the time his mind had been influenced by the warlock. He had said so many spiteful, hurtful things to Pop. Oh, he could easily blame those times on external forces, the words not being his own. But what about all the other times his sharp tongue had sliced into his father when he himself had been hurt, angry, or scared? He had no one to blame for those times except himself, yet Pop had always stood by him...always loved him no matter what.

"What are you thinking about now, my darling?" Caine asked softly, pulling Peter out of his thoughts.

"Just wondering why you keep putting up with me sometimes," Peter answered softly.

Caine turned around in the tub, the water sloshing around as he moved, and faced Peter. He reached out and pulled Peter forward until Peter straddled his bare hips.

One hand held Peter's back while his other brushed Peter's hair back from his forehead. "What is this about?"

Peter shrugged a little. "I dunno, I guess I just got to thinking all the times I yelled at you, said things I didn't really mean, and just acted like a class-A bastard with you," he answered. "How come you put up with all of that?"

Caine smiled softly, raising a wet hand to caress his boy's cheek. "That is not hard to understand. I loved you then as I did when you a child, and as I do now," Caine said, lightly brushing his lips against Peter's, "I love you with all of your strengths as well as your flaws." Caine's embrace tightened around his son's smooth, slick body. "Besides, it took us a long while to get accustomed to being in one another's life once more. I accepted that."

Peter's heart was pounding in his chest, his throat felt like it was threatening to close up on him. "Did I ever tell you how glad I am that you never gave up on me?"

Caine's dark eyes held Peter's. "It is I am who is grateful that you allowed me into your life once more, opened your heart to me and gave me your love."

"Ba'ba, wo' re'ai ni' zhe'me da'-lia'ng (Pop, I love you so much)," Peter whispered.

Instead of saying anything in return, Pop kissed Peter hard, letting his tongue run amok in the warm, sweet interior of Peter's willing mouth. He sucked his son's lips and tongue, and let his hands roam at will over the solid contours of his child's body until he felt his lover's passion starting to ignite and his body responding.


"Hmmm?" Caine murmured, halting in his claiming of Peter's throat.

"What's it gonna be like when we make love...after....? Peter let the sentence trail, feeling his cheeks starting to heat up.

"After the ceremony?" Pop supplied.


Pop brushed his fingers through Peter's damp hair. "After the ceremony and we are bonded, we will be so attuned to one another, that we will be able not only to see each other's thoughts, but to be able to feel everything the other does." Caine cupped Peter's rear and brought him close enough that their stiffening lengths could rub against one another. "It will be as though we are each half of a whole."

Peter groaned, a shiver running down his spine at the thought of what his father was saying as he humped against his dad's firming erection.

"God, that sounds fantastic," Peter murmured throatily, "but...."

"But...what?" Caine asked, licking at Peter's swollen lips.

"But...it sounds like something like that would require practice," Peter said, capturing Pop's bottom lip within his teeth and nipped. "Lots of practice."

Caine pretended to pause for a moment. "Yes...I believe you are quite right. We must be well prepared to accept such changes." Pop's hands curled around Peter's hips, his own groin grinding against his son's. "And I believe we should start the training right now."

Peter bit at Pop's neck, suckling under his chin. "And how are we going to conduct this practice session?"

"I do not know," Caine responded, cupping Peter's face and bringing Peter's eyes to meet his own. "You shall tell me."

"What?" Peter whispered.

"Tonight, you shall tell me what you wish of me," Caine explained further. "Anything." Caine's hands drifted over Peter's chest lovingly. "Tonight, my greatest desire is to fulfil yours in any way you wish."

Peter found himself trembling at the promise, the passion, in his dad's voice. The throbbing in his groin amplified at the thought of what was being offered to him. "Anything?"

"Anything," Pop repeated, his hands dragging down his son's torso, his thickened sex straining in contact with his lover's. "So tell me your desires," Pop said in a low, husky voice.

Peter took in a deep breath, trying to clear his mind so he think coherently. There was so much he loved doing to and having done to him by his lover, what was he going to do with so many options available to him? His father's eyes blazed into his own as his mind turned over the possibilities. There was one thing he enjoyed immensely....

"Touch yourself for me," Peter whispered. His teeth nipped and nibbled on Caine's. "I want to watch you bring yourself off for me."

Caine's eyes bored into Peter's. He saw so much lust and want raging in the hazel depths that it stirred him to the core. It would be no burden at all to turn himself over to his sweet son's passion, as the benefits would be most selfishly favorable for himself.

Pulling away from Peter, Pop moved out of the water, rivulets flowing down his body, and pulled himself up to sit on the edge of the tub.

Peter turned himself around so that he could fully see his dad in front of him. His lover's sex was already thick and ruddy with hopeful arousal and his entire groin glistened with beads of water. Peter's eyes didn't stray from Caine's hand as it began to move.

Caine opened his legs wide enough so that everything was well within Peter's view. His fingers drew up his thigh where they brushed against his testicles laid full against his body. The wiry hairs were coarse against his palm as he rolled them, squeezed them. He groaned softly at his own firm touch.

Caine then slid his forefinger up and down the underside of his shaft, feeling the heat pooling in his engorged length. Peter watched his dad's plump sex twitch in excitement at the caress, demanding more. Caine encircled his eager erection within his grasp.

Slowly he pumped the shaft, twisting a little as he reached the rounded purplish-hued head. The precum leaked copiously from the small slit at the tip and he smeared it generously.

"Like this, Sweet One?" Caine asked, a slight hitch taking his breath as the sensations of his own hand grew more and more pleasurable.

"Oh yeah, Pop, just like that," Peter all but whispered.

Peter couldn't believe how aroused he was starting to get. His own erection throbbed softly between his legs, aching for some strokes of its own, but the cop ignored it for the time being. His father's eyes were growing dark, like a brewing storm late at night, filling with the same hunger growing in him.

"You have no idea how I love watching you like this," Peter murmured softly. He slid his hands from Pop's knees, up to his inner thighs, and back down again. "Watching you let go like this...and knowing you're doing it for me." Peter squeezed Pop's thighs.

"Did you ever do this alone, Pop? Before we got together?" Peter whispered hotly. "Did you ever touch yourself late at night, thinking about me?"

Caine groaned as he felt Peter's scalding lips against the skin of his thigh from a kiss. "Yes," he confessed in a jagged voice.

Peter smiled at that. "Me too," he said. He nipped kisses all along Caine's fleshy inner-thigh. "Sometimes after we'd work out, I'd get so hard just being around you, from the feel of you touching me, that I'd have to go home and make myself come before I exploded," Peter murmured, switching his attention to his dad's other thigh. "I'd get undressed, lay down on my bed and started stroking myself while thinking about you."

"You did?" Caine asked, his breathing getting harder as his hand sped up.

"Mmm hmm," Peter hummed against Pop's thigh, catching some skin between his teeth and tugging it. "I'd imagine it was your hands instead of mine touching me, fondling me, caressing me all over. I wanted you so bad and I couldn't stop myself," he whispered, licking slow circles on his father's heated skin. "Then I'd start making up all these little fantasies about how you'd make love to me."

"What...were...these fantasies about?" Pop asked gruffly, his eyes closing as his fist steadily worked his shaft. His breathing was starting to come in short, shallow pants and he felt beads of moisture breaking out along his forehead. He could feel Peter's hot breath coming in waves against his skin as the sharp scent of his own arousal drifted up to him.

Peter flicked his tongue in a burst of short, light licks against the crease of his lover's inner thigh, then suckled hard enough to imprint his own love-mark. "There were lots of 'um," Peter murmured softly. "Sometimes they were about you not being able to control yourself and taking me right on the Kwoon floor," Peter told him.

Peter's tongue daring closer to Caine's trembling manhood. The tears of milky liquid pooled on the tip and Peter was hungry to taste it, but he wanted to hold of just a little longer. Instead, as he licked and nibbled on a creamy thigh, he fondled the heavy sac of his lover's scrotum, drawing a long moan from his father. Caine shivered, his hand working his sex almost in a frenzied pace. Afraid his father might come too soon, Peter wrapped his own hand around Caine's and forced the apothecary to slow his rhythm.

"But most of the time I'd use one of my favorites, Pop," Peter murmured. "Wanna hear it?"

"Yes!" Caine moaned out, his voice raspy.

Peter's eyes glowed wickedly with lusty desire. He could feel his dad's hot flesh burning through their joined fingers. "It starts off with me at work. You stop by and ask me if I'd like to go with you to lunch. I've had a really shitty day and you've shown up at the wrong time," Peter whispered, his voice dropping in tone. "I run off at the mouth and do a lot of yelling that gets everyone's attention."

"And...how do I respond?" Caine asked weakly. The flames of want licked along his skin, raced across his nerves.

"You seem calm, but I know I've made you angry, so I start to apologize, but before I get it out, you order me into Paul's office, then walk off like you expect me to follow you," Peter whispered.

"And do you?" Behind closed eyes, Caine could see every detail colored with his son's smoky voice.

"You'd better believe it," Peter responded. "I'm so surprised, I don't have any choice. Once I'm in there though, I'm even more surprised to see you close and lock the door behind me."

"Where is Blaisdell during this?" Caine managed to ask. His erection was so hard, throbbing with every heartbeat. The sweet mixture of pain and pleasure caused sparks to dance behind closed eyelids.

"Luckily he's out of town for the day, because before I know what's happening you've got me pinned back against his desk." Peter's murmurs were muffled against his dad's skin. "I try to ask you what's going on, but I can't because you're kissing me so hard and long I damn near pass out." Peter turned just enough so he could hump his own rigid shaft against his dad's leg. The sparks of pleasure made him moan, mixing with Caine's.

"Then you tell me you're tired of me being so disrespectful, that it's time you pushed in a lesson I wasn't soon going to forget." Peter trembled, and he wondered if 'he' was going to be able to last, Pop's steady moans pushing him even closer to the edge.

"T...th..then what?"

"Then you sweep everything off Paul's desk, sending everything crashing to the floor. I'm scared that people outside are hearing all this, but I'm so turned on I don't give a damn. You grab me, pull my pants down, barely giving me any time to get out of 'em before you shove me back onto the desk."

Caine mewled deep in his throat, too weak with want to even moan any longer. The thought of claiming Peter in the very office his foster father resided in...Paul Blaisdell, the same man who stroked the fires of jealousy in him until they were a raging inferno. It was such a delicious temptation.

"When you're out of your clothes and on top of me, you're so hot and hard, and you're ravishing me with kisses and touches, like you're possessed or something, but I somehow realize it's just you wanting me so bad." Peter groaned, and could feel the tension in his dad's muscles, knowing the internal struggle his lover was having to keep his control under reign. Still, both of their joined hands worked his lover's aching shaft, while Peter's thrusting against his dad's leg picked up it's pace.

"Then you're in me, filling me, splitting me until I think you're going to make me burst at the seams, pounding into me and it's feeling so good and so right, and I'm crying out from under you." Peter's hot kisses peppered Caine's chest, rained down across his stomach.

"Oh, Peter..."

Peter didn't relent. "I know they're listening outside, knowing they're wondering, knowing there'll be questions, but I don't give a shit. All I want is you in me as hard and deep as you can go, and you're giving just what I want, what I need...."

"Peter, Peter, Peter," Caine chanted out.

"Then it happens, I feel you tremble and come inside of me, feeling that rush when you explode and I take all that heat inside me."

Caine gasped. "Peter, I think I am going to...going to..."

"Do it Pop, come for me," Peter encouraged, his own breathing ragged.

Pop whipped his head back, wet hair flying, as he cried out. The apex was rushing towards him and he surrendered to it, having no other choice. He choked on a gasp as Peter's hand suddenly pushed his own to the side and his son gripped the base of his sex firmly. Wave after wave of pleasure surfed and crashed through his body as his son's free hand gently petted and soothed him as he was rocked with bliss.

When the squall of sensations finally blew past, and Caine's eyes drifted open, he found himself pulled against Peter's chest, being held and kissed as Peter's warm body pressed against his. He wrapped his arms around Peter's body, pulling him close, and when their groins touched, Caine realized they were both still hard...Peter had prevented him from spilling his seed while still having him climax.

"My sweet, sweet, lover," Caine murmured, nibbling on first Peter's top lip, then the bottom. "I can never get enough of loving you."

Peter's lust-filled eyes glowed, his beguiling smile teasing the edges of his mouth. "I'm glad, because now, Pop, since this is my night, I want something else...."

"What is that, my precious one?" Caine asked, in-between nips and licks at Peter's long throat.

Peter reached up and cupped his dad's face as he looked him deeply in the eyes. "I want you to make love to me all night long."

Standing up on still somewhat shaky legs, Caine took both of Peter's hands and pulled him out of the tub. Grabbing a large, fluffy towel, he pulled it around his son's still wet body and into his arms for a kiss.

"All night and into the morning. I want to fall asleep inside of you," Caine promised, before tugging his lover into the direction of their bedroom.

Peter quickly climbed onto the full sized bed and shed the towel. Laying back on it, his head hitting the pillow, Peter was immediately covered by his dad's warm, large body. He shivered, but it wasn't from the cool air hitting his skin.

Pop molded himself against his lover, his body straining to make contact with every inch of Peter it could. The heat as their skin met was scalding. Their groins met and nestled together, their manhoods seeking the other's warmth.

Peter's soft moans were swallowed by Caine's kisses he thrust against Peter's eager body. Caine's driving tongue swirled and around the wet, hot interior of Peter's mouth, thieving his breath and returning it to him with Caine's own.

Peter quickly lost track of how long they stayed like that, completely content to stroke the fires that were burning between them, relishing in the delicious ache as their bodies rocked back and forth together. Peter was quickly becoming absorbed in the heady, hazy web of arousal as it drew around him, pulling him under its potent spell and sweeping him closer and closer to the racing pinnacle.

"Pop, please," Peter whispered pleadingly, tugging on his dad's earlobe. "Do it now, I need you now."

Caine could tell that his sweet lover was more than ready and so eager for him. He too, felt the rush of passion that threatened to submerge and drown him. He did not think himself capable of delaying their joining much longer either.

Grabbing the bottle of oil he'd taken from the bathroom, Caine quickly coated his erection with the oil. He then reached out and pulled Peter's thighs up and over his own, opening Peter and exposing his lover to him. Peter moaned in anticipation as Caine poured some of the oil over Peter's body, letting the slick liquid roll down around Peter's tightly drawn testicles. He dribbled in a thick stream down the crevice of his buttocks until Peter glistened with it, and neither caring about the mess it made of the bed.

"Xi'ngjia'o wo, ba'ba, (Fuck me, Pop,)" Peter pleaded, "fuck me now."

Caine cupped and squeezed Peter's cheeks firmly, leaning over and kissing him deeply while his finger rubbed at Peter's ringed opening, eliciting groans of pleasure and need before dipping his finger in. Though it wasn't absolutely necessary any longer to stretch Peter before making love, Caine took pleasure in the intimate act. He enjoyed the cries it elicited from his lover, enjoyed the heat of the clenching muscles that pulled him in, loved taking the time to show Peter how precious this act was to him.

A second, then a third finger joined in the efforts as he stretched and prepared Peter, his fingers pushing in deeply until his knuckles all but disappeared as he slowly stroked the small gland that brought Peter arching off the bed. He worked them in and out, Peter's hand clutching at him with growing desperation.

"Please, Pop, God, please!" Peter lamented.

Using his hand to guide him, Pop moved to align himself with Peter. With a quick thrust, he entered Peter part way as each keened with satisfaction and utter rapture. Covering Peter's body with his own, Caine gave a long, loud groan as he pushed himself the rest of the way into his lover until he was flat against Peter.

Caine explored Peter's mouth in a hot kiss, while his sex explored Peter's tight passage. His long sex filled Peter up, drawn in further into that heated cavern as Peter was split open to him.

Peter felt the waves of delight as Caine ground into him, rooting himself in deeply and stroking the white hot spot inside that sent his world tilting and spinning. He loved feeling so stretched and filled the sweet combination of heat and friction. It made him feel so alive, so loved. The cop kissed and suckled on every available inch of his lover he could reach, weaving a trail all around Caine's neck, chin, and shoulders. His fingers dug into his pop's hips, urging him to move faster, even as he fought his own passions in an effort to make the moment last longer.

Caine pulled away from Peter and reached down to lift Peter's legs, lifting them and opening them as far as he could. He thrust hard, pulling out almost to the tip and slamming back in. Skin slapped against skin as Caine's fingers dug into Peter's hips, pulling him even tighter against him.

"Oh damn, Pop!" Peter exclaimed. "Christ, harder, please fuck me harder."

Peter's hand reached down and started stroking his own painfully hard penis. The pressure building in his testicles were sweet agony as his hand slid up and down his shaft in time to his father's pounding thrusts. The mixture of oil and his own leaking juices lend to his efforts as his harsh panting mixed with his dad's moans.

Caine continued to ram into Peter, his thighs working to fill Peter as deeply as he could. The thrusting was getting faster as his body shifted and he changed the angle just enough to gain another moan from his beautiful boy's throat. He watched Peter's strained and flushed face, the beautiful play of agony and ecstasy flashing in concession on his features, watched his lover's sex pulsing to his touches. It was too much. The thrusts came in shorter, harder bursts.

Peter moaned loudly as his dad's pistoning thrusts sent the headboard slamming against the wall. Somewhere off in the furthest reaches of his mind, Peter was grateful that their bedroom was the furthest room away from the joining suite. He frantically tugged at his erection while his dad seemed to go so deep that he felt it in his guts.

Caine could feel the tenseness in his son's body, felt the same in his own. He knew it wasn't going to be long before both of them reached their peak. With harsh breaths, he pulled out of Peter all the way and grabbed at his son's hand, preventing him from bringing himself to completion. Peter groaned out an indignant protest.

"Stop, Peter," he whispered huskily, looking down into stunned, lust-drugged hazel eyes. "Not yet, Beloved."

"Wha...why?" Peter demanded, tears of aching need glistening in his eyes.

"I made you a promise," Pop whispered back, kissing pouting lips. He was determined to try his best to live up to it.

Without another word, Pop urged Peter to roll over to his side and spooned up behind him. Moving his knee in between Peter's legs, he pulled Peter's top leg over his own and reinserted his sex inside of Peter's wanton body. Holding Peter tight for several minutes, Pop waited until the trembling in Peter's body stilled as he petted and kissed the nape of his neck.

"Oh yeah," Peter sighed happily as Pop started a slow rhythm, filling him with smooth strokes.

Peter pushed back to meet his father's hips, feeling his dad's manhood grinding against his cheeks. The wiry hair of his dad's groin rubbed against his skin. The slow, languid rhythm they fell into was no less sweet then the intense one from a few minutes ago. Peter closed his eyes and bit his bottom lip as he swiveled his own hips and clenched his muscles to increase the pleasure for his dad. He wasn't disappointed when he heard the low moan murmured against his neck.

Pop slowly rocked back and forth into Peter, letting his hands caress Peter's body, pinching and rolling his son's nipples, exploring the washboard stomach, gripping his hip bone. Peter writhed against him as his sex was gripped tightly by Peter's body. He nuzzled and bit Peter's neck.

Peter could swear he was in heaven. His lover seemed to be consuming him, totally surrounding him and leaving no part of his body untouched or unloved. It had to be sinful to feel so damn content and happy, but he found it too hard to care. His dad's love was like sunlight to his shadowed soul and he felt starved without it.

They swayed together in slow measure, the passion between them rippling like soft waves, the embers smoking and simmering between them in a steady swelling. Caine's hand stroked in broad sweeps over Peter's chest and stomach until finally coming to rest around Peter's length, lightly pulling the hard flesh enough to amplify the aching suffusing in Peter.

Both men lost track of the time, hours slipping by as Pop teased Peter to the fringes of ecstasy only to bring him back down over and over again until Peter wept with need. Only then did they both come with soft cries and uttered endearments as their sweat soaked bodies trembled with release.

Staying curled protectively around his sweet one, Pop caressed Peter's shaky body and stroked through his damp hair as he let kisses fall all over Peter's heated skin. Together they fell into an exhausted, sated sleep, Caine's softening sex still burrowed inside Peter's spasming chasm.


They were everywhere around him, he couldn't escape. Their faces blurred together as their laughter echoed through out the room. His hair was grabbed as his mouth was stuffed full of someone's sex. They rammed it down his throat so far he almost gagged, but he relaxed his throat enough so he could still breathe. The pungent, musky odor filled his nostrils. Jack's own flaccid cock was being sucked painfully hard.

'Go with it," he thought to himself. You can do this, it's not the first time, just get them off as fast as you can, like you learned from....' The thought shattered in his mind as intense pain radiated through him. A hard cock slammed dryly into his ass without warning.

"That's it, you little cock tease, I'm gonna fuck you so hard you won't be able to walk."

He couldn't tell who owned the voice to the cock splitting his ass in half because they were all mingling into one indistinguishable voice.

"I wanna fuck him, too," another voice growled from somewhere near.

"Don't let me stop you," the voice of the cock in his ass spoke up. "He can take both of us at once, can't you Pretty Boy?"

He whimpered as the cock in his mouth pulled away slightly, giving him a moment's reprieve while his face and lips were splattered with cum.


Kermit shifted around in the bed, stirring as something chewed on his subconscious, dragging him from his state of sleep. His ears perked up when he heard muffled cries coming from the other room.

"No, don't, stop...."

It was Jack's voice. Shaking sleep off within a heartbeat, Kermit was out of bed with loaded gun in hand. Racing into the living room, he scanned the for the other man, only to find Jack's body drenched in sweat as his legs restlessly kicked at his sheets.

"Don't, don't touch me! Stop it, get off!" Jack cried out, his body twisting and writhing as he battled some nightmarish apparition.

Kermit lowered the gun, crouched down next to the sofa and gripped Jack's shoulder. Shaking him, Kermit reared back when Jack started swinging.

"Whoa, whoa there," Kermit said gruffly. "It's okay, kid."

Startled blue eyes snapped open and looked around, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings. "K-Kermit?"

Kermit sighed and sat back on his haunches. "Yeah, Kid, it's me. You were having a nightmare or something."

The younger man sat up, completely revealing his bare chest. "A nightmare?"

"Yeah, a nightmare," Kermit replied, trying to keep his eyes focused on Jack's gaze. "And by the sounds of it, it was a hell of a one, too."

"I...um...I don't remember," Jack lied in a whispered, his features turning rigid.

Kermit's eyes leveled with Jack's. "Does it have something to do with your history with Adam?"

Jack pursed his lips together in a thin line. "I just said I didn't remember."

"And you're lying to me," Kermit retorted, his voice flat.

"How would you know?" Jack challenged.

"Call it instinct."

Jack sighed. "Leave it alone, Kermit, you don't know what you're setting yourself up for."

Kermit could disagree with the other man easily. He too, had dealt with nightmares...usually after a particularly gruesome mission. Echoes from the past that stirred up memories in the darkest of nights. Not like any ordinary nightmare.

"Try me."

"I...can't...I just..."

"Fine." Kermit rose and started to head back to his bedroom. "Good night."

"Kermit...." Jack called out before he could stop himself.

"What?" the ex-mercenary asked, looking over his shoulder.

"Don't...don't leave me alone, please?" The request was out before Jack knew he was going to make it. He shivered as the images of the dream resurfaced in his mind.

Kermit took a couple of steps back into the room. "What do you expect me to do?"

"Just...stay with me?" Jack couldn't explain the need he had for the nearness of another person at the moment. It was so intense that he couldn't ignore it.

"Until you fall asleep?"

"Yeah...just until I fall asleep again," Jack answered, feeling his cheeks burning. The sweat on his skin was cooling and it made him tremble slightly.

"Well, I'm sure not going to spend the night on the floor," Kermit stated. The hard surface of the floor would end up leaving him stiff and sore in the morning. "C'mon."


Kermit had his back to the architect. "The bed is full sized, big enough for both of us, so c'mon."

The detective waited for the younger man to get off the sofa and come over to him. He then waited as Jack paused in the doorway and stayed there for a long moment. Finally, tired of waiting on him, Kermit climbed back into the bed and pulled the covers over him. Letting out a fatigued sigh, he rolled over on his stomach and closed his eyes.

A moment later, he felt the bed move and shift as Jack laid down as well, far enough away that they didn't touch at all. The black shadows of the room mixed with the steady silence, the only sound either man heard was the other's breathing.

Jack's thoughts were doing circles in his mind. The dream had left him shaken. He could still feel them covering him, smothering him, forcing themselves into him. Every time he had the dream he had the same reaction...wanting to vomit and then take a long, scalding hot shower. The bile churned in his stomach even now as he recalled the vivid images from his dreams...and the demon invaders that had terrorized his nights for far too long.

He was sick of keeping quiet, sick of the secrets, sick of being haunted.

"Kermit?" he whispered.

"Yeah?" came the voice in the dark.

"They raped me." Oh god, had he really said that out loud? He'd never admitted it to anyone else, never had spoken the words before.

Kermit rolled over onto his back. "Who did?" he asked softly, as he looked up into the ceiling.

Jack swallowed hard. "Adam's friends. A group of them. They were at our apartment one night and drugged my drink."

Kermit's lip twitched and pursed in a tight frown. By his sides, his fists clenched and unclenched as he tried to keep his voice calm and even. "Adam didn't stop them?"

Jack's throat clamped up on him and when he spoke, his voice was strained. "It...was his idea." The betrayal he felt burned in his heart and gripped him so tightly that he could barely breathe.

The muscles in Kermit's face jerked, his eyes glaring into the pitch black. He couldn't imagine what Jack must have felt having gone through that. There was no need for Jack to go into any details in order to paint the picture for Kermit, because his imagination was already doing a damn good job of filling them in and it made his skin crawl. Jack's willingness to testify took on a different angle to the detective. He thought the kid had more guts than he gave him credit for earlier to be willing to face a bastard like Adam.

He was going to enjoy meeting up with Adam Haun finally, because once he did, he was going to teach Adam a few lessons...with mercenary rules.

Surprising himself, Kermit reached out lightly ran his hand down Jack's arm. The kid flinched a little, but didn't pull away, which gave Kermit an odd sense of satisfaction.

"You trust me?" Kermit asked, barely above a gruff whisper.

There was a long pause. Jack didn't know how to answer that question. He barely knew the ex-mercenary, and what little that he knew about Kermit's past should have had him terrified. His mind said Kermit was danger, but everything in his gut reminded him that he actually felt as safe with Kermit as he did with either of the Caines.

"Yeah, I do trust you," Jack whispered back finally.

"We'll get Adam, that's a promise," Kermit stated, not hiding the edge to his tone. He'd make sure of it personally if he had to. In the dark, Jack squeezed his hand before letting it go again.

To Jack's surprise, Kermit reached out and pulled Jack over until the younger man was laying atop his chest and he found himself held tight in the detective's embrace.

"Does this bother you?" Kermit asked softly.

Jack's pulse was racing erratically, but he forced himself to breathe normally as his cheek laid against the older man's chest. "N-no, it doesn't bother me."

"Good," Kermit said gruffly. "Now sleep."

The sound of Kermit's beating heart drummed against the architect's ear as he felt the heat of the other man's body against his own. Slowly, the tension melted away from his muscles, the stress of the last twenty-four hours leaving him completely limp and exhausted. Unable to keep from it, he drifted off of into a dreamless sleep.


The next morning, Peter woke up to the most delicious feeling. Warm lips were leaving wet kisses along his neck, as his lover's sex was gently working back and forth in his fairly tender and abraded passage. He hummed happily at the thought that 'this' was the only way to wake up in the mornings.

"Mmm, good morning, Pop," he sighed, pushing himself back against his dad's body in a slow rhythm, as his chest was fondled and caressed.

"Good morning, my sweet love," Caine murmured back, his hands roaming freely over his son's torso and hips.

Peter felt his own body stirring to awareness as his dad's caresses tenderly brought him fully awake. Caine pulled free from Peter's body only long enough to move on top of his son.

Peter found his face covered in kisses and his lips suckled while his legs came around his dad's hips. Peter's hands ran over Pop's back and shoulders and down his dad's lean flank to mesh their bodies tightly together. Caine, with slow, hard thrusts, worked his groin against Peter's. Peter's eyes fluttered shut with mounting pleasure.

The abrupt ringing of his cell phone made them snap open again.

"Damn it," the cop groused, as Pop stopped his movements long enough for Peter to grasp out for the phone. Fumbling with the pad, he answered it. "What?" he snapped angrily.

"Am I disturbing you, Detective Caine?" asked the smooth voice of Captain Karen Simms.

Peter gulped as Pop started kissing his way down Peter's body, lips delaying long enough to swirl around his nipples, then quickly down his ribs.

"Detective Caine?"

Pop wiggled down on the bed until he was between Peter's legs. The officer had to stifle a gasp when Pop, without warning, took his shaft past his lips and drew it into his mouth.

"I...uh...no, you're...not disturbing me," Peter said a little breathlessly.

"Well, I'm glad to hear that, Detective."

Peter swallowed a groan as Pop's tongue flicked back and forth over the head of his sex, then began to bob back and forth. The intense pressure of his older lover's mouth, lips, and tongue had Peter squirming.

"Wh-what can I do for you, Captain Simms?" he asked huskily.

Caine reached between Peter's legs and used his thumb to stroke against Peter's moist opening. Soft sucking sounds reverberated in the room as Peter's hips involuntarily started thrusting up to meet his lover's mouth.

"What you can do for me, Detective, is to get over to County General Hospital immediately," came the response from the other end of the phone.

"What's happened?" Peter asked, his free hand moving to drive through Pop's hair.

"The woman who had been attacked two nights ago has finally regained consciousness," Simms stated. "You and Detective Griffin need to get over there and interview her if she's up to it."

In the small part of his mind, Peter realized that this woman had fit the profile of the other attacks he'd been investigating. This friend of Ariel's was the only living witness that they were aware of.

"All right, Kermit and I'll get there just as soon as we can," Peter said, almost squeaking when Caine's finger pushed inside of him.

"Fine, Peter. Keep me informed," Simms as she hung up.

Peter hung up, tossed the phone onto the stand, and reached down to pull his dad up until he could capture Caine's mouth in a long, heated kiss. He then smacked Caine without much force across his bare cheeks.

"I was on the phone, Pop," Peter chastised before being silenced with another kiss.

"So I noticed," Pop responded, eyes glittering with mischievous delight. "You tempt me beyond reason."

Peter wiggled against him. "You are insatiable."

"No more than you, my sweet delight," Pop retorted, then noticed the serious expression on his loved one's face. "What is it, my darling?

Peter sighed. "That was Simms. Ariel's friend has finally come around."

"Arial will be pleased," Caine commented, rolling off Peter and holding him in his arms. "She was very concerned."

Peter nodded. "Kermit and I need to get to the hospital to get a report from her. Will you be able to help O'Mally and Barns keep an eye on Jack until their relief gets here?" Peter asked. "It's not that I don't trust them, but..."

"You wish for me to give them additional help," Caine supplied.


Pop kissed Peter's forehead. "Of course."

Peter smiled. "Thanks, Pop. Now, to tell Kermit," Peter said, and glanced down at his burgeoning erection he was sporting between his legs. "After I rinse off in some ice water."

Pop chuckled as Peter attempted to get up, but he reached out and snagged Peter's wrist, pulling him back down into bed. "I have a much more...pleasurable...alternative solution to that problem."

"Pop," Peter protested as Pop started kissing him again. "I... I've got...to...." Pop's hand reached in between Peter's legs to start stroking his young lover's length. "Work...gotta go...to work. Ah, shit, let Kermit sleep in a few minutes longer."


Kermit stirred and moved in his sleep. He threw his leg over something and in the nether reaches of his subconscious, he realized that what his leg was resting on was warm, solid - and decidedly muscular. With a start, his eyes jerked open.

The ex-mercenary noted, with much discomfiture, that somehow he and the younger architect had managed to get turned around and lying on their sides, facing each other. Kermit's arm was still holding him tight and his leg had been tossed over Jack's thigh. 'Not how you figured on spending the night, was it, Griffin?' Kermit asked himself as he looked into the sleeping face of the blond man. 'Kissing him wasn't enough, so you had to spend the night holding him too? What's wrong with you?'

Then again, what was the big deal? So they shared the same bed, so what? It wasn't the first time he'd shared the same bed with another guy over the years. 'Yeah, but you didn't kiss any of those guys either,' the back part of his mind challenged. 'Doesn't mean shit,' he told that part of his mind. The kid had been going through a lot last night, needed someone close at hand...period. No more, no less. Kermit had just reacted out of anger of what Adam had done to the other man.

Suddenly Kermit became acutely aware of the fact that while these thoughts were springing to mind, he was 'still' holding Jack. Shaking himself, he tried to gently pull himself free of the tangle he found himself in, not wanting to rouse the younger man until he was free and clear.

Clear blue eyes opened up and looked at him. Kermit watched the dawning flicker across Jack's features and the ex-mercenary abruptly pulled away from him.

"Um, good morning," Jack said hesitantly.

"Yeah, good morning," Kermit said, as he got out of bed and began to pull on his clothes from the night before. He carefully avoided Jack's eyes as he dressed.

Following his lead, Jack got up and headed to the living room where his clothes were and quickly dressed.

"What do you want ordered for breakfast?" Kermit asked, tucking in his shirttail, trying to keep from looking at the body he was just holding moments ago.

'Look at him, he can't even stand to look at you,' Jack's mind told him. "I don't care, a couple of bagels and some coffee."

Kermit nodded without saying anything and called out the door to O'Mally and Barns that they wanted a half dozen bagels and coffee.

Kermit slung his shoulder harness on. "Look, Jack, when Barns gets back, its going to be change of shift. They're sending Benson and Tate to replace them in about a half an hour. When they do, don't let anyone besides them, the Caines, or myself in the room, got it?"

"I'm not that naive, Kermit," Jack snapped back, tucking in his tee shirt.

"I didn't say you were, Greyson," Kermit grumbled, his eyes swinging to the younger man's. "Haun has a good idea what's going on now and it's going to make him nervous, and that's going to make him more of a threat." Kermit broke the gaze and turned his back on Jack as he checked his gun. "So just be careful."

"Sure thing, Detective," Jack murmured.

Kermit walked over to the window and peered out onto the street below. The silence in the room hung listlessly around them. He knew he should probably say something, but what was he supposed to say after what Jack revealed to him the previous night?

Jack watched the older man's movements, could see the tension in the muscles that bunched under the cop's dress shirt and could tell that the other man was uncomfortable. 'Not only can't he look at you, but can barely tolerate even being in the same room with you. And why should he? You were such an asinine idiot for even telling him about what happened in the first place. You should have just left your damn mouth shut, but no, you couldn't do that, could you? You deserved what you got, and he knows it. The only reason he was nice to you last night was because he was feeling sorry for you.' A simmering anger started fueling inside him. 'Well, if that's the way you want it, Griffin, fuck you. The last thing I need is your damn pity.'

The silence was starting to eat at Kermit. He knew they couldn't avoid the discussion completely, so he figured it was better to get it over with now instead of leaving it hanging between them. "Look, Jack, about last night..."

"Just forget about it, okay? Just forget I said anything at all," Jack interrupted edgily.

Kermit glared at the brusque tone, ready to say something further when there was knock on the door that joined their suite with the one next to them.

"What?" Kermit barked out.

"Kermit, Simms called. We've got to get to the hospital right now. The witness Pop and Ariel found regained consciousness."

Kermit grabbed his jacket. "Okay, Pete, I'll meet you downstairs." The ex-mercenary looked over his shoulder once at the younger man standing in the middle of the room before turning and leaving. Maybe he'd get the chance to talk with Jack later on.

When Kermit got down stairs and to the street, he saw Peter waiting for him.

"I'll drive," Kermit muttered as he climbed into the Corvair without waiting for Peter to protest.

Peter watched the traffic out the window and tried not to let the grin on his face get too big as he was still thinking about the send off he had gotten from his lover. It was definitely a good start to what he hoped would be a good day. He wanted to be optimistic about the witness they were going to talk to, but he still had doubts she'd be able to remember much after such trauma that she'd received. Peter watched as Kermit gripped the wheel in a tense hold. The ex-mercenary cursed various drivers in the early morning work traffic. He found himself wondering if Kermit's tension was related to Jack somehow. When they'd split up into different suites, Peter had wondered how Kermit was going to get along with Jack since he was fully aware of Jack's sexual orientation.

Peter hadn't thought that Kermit wouldn't do his best to protect Jack, or be outwardly hostile because Jack was gay. That just wasn't Kermit. If Kermit didn't like someone, he usually had a better reason than something like that. Still though, he wondered if there had been some strain if Kermit was uncomfortable around Jack?

As Peter watched the cars, he wondered if Kermit 'did' have a problem with Jack having a preference for men, then what was it going to mean when Peter asked Kermit to be his witness for the bonding ceremony? After all, if Kermit couldn't get past Jack being gay, he was 'not' going to be able to handle the idea of him and Pop being involved.

'Remember what Pop said, don't underestimate Kermit,' Peter told himself.

"So how'd last night go?" Peter asked, pulling himself from his own thoughts.

"What? What do you mean?" Kermit asked, not risking taking his eyes off the road to look at the younger cop.

"With Jack, did everything go all right?"

Kermit glared at the detective through his green shades. "Why wouldn't it?"

Peter shrugged, wondering why Kermit was sounding so hostile. 'Probably in one of his 'moods' again,' Peter told himself. "I just wondered. I know you don't exactly 'like' having to watch a witness, so I just thought..."

"I'm tolerating it," Kermit snapped.

Peter's eyes narrowed. "So then you and Jack are getting along so far?"

"So far," Kermit responded blandly. "The kid's all right, I guess."

"Well, you may be getting along, but he's far from being all right."

Kermit said nothing, his eyes on the flowing traffic on the street, but he could feel Peter's eyes on him.

"The guy has been through a lot," Peter said softly.

"More than you realize," Kermit mumbled under his breath.

"What?" Peter asked.

"I said, we're here," Kermit stated in a louder voice as he pulled into the hospital parking lot. He pointedly ignored the look Peter gave him as they walked into the medical center.

After talking to the nurse at the desk, Kermit and Peter found out that Vickie Jackson had been transferred from the ICU unit to the step-down unit. Knocking softly on the closed door, Peter was surprised to hear Ariel as the one to answer.

"Come in," she called out.

When they got into the room, Peter saw Ariel sitting in a chair next to a dark haired woman whose head was bandaged, and whose face was completely covered with bruises. She had various wires hooked to monitors attached to her and had a suction tube taped to her nose. Ariel was holding her hand that was connected to a portable I.V pole.

"Vickie, this is Peter Caine, the cop I told you about," Ariel said softly.

"Hi, Detective Caine," Vickie greeted.

Peter tried not to wince at how gravely and hoarse the woman sounded, knowing that the tissue of her throat and windpipe had to be swollen from the near-strangulation she'd been through.

"Hi, Ms. Jackson, this is Detective Kermit Griffin," Peter introduced. "I hope you don't mind if we ask you a couple of questions."

"No, Detective, I'll answer anything you're wanting to ask if it's going to help catch the bastards that put me in here." Vickie turned to look at Ariel, her hand weakly squeezing the younger woman's fingers. "Why don't you go get some breakfast? I think I'm going to take a nap after they leave."

"Okay," Ariel agreed. Getting up, she stopped before passing Peter. "Go easy on her, all right?" she warned before leaving.

Kermit stood at the end of the bed while Peter took a seat next to the woman.

"We'll try to keep this as brief as possible," he assured her. "Can you tell me how much you remember about the attack?"

Vickie's eyes seemed to dim as she looked up into the ceiling. "I was on the street...working...when a couple of Johns picked me up. I let them take me back to their hotel room when it happened."

"Had you ever seen any of the men before?" Kermit asked.

"No, Detective. I'd never seen the Johns before. That's why I believed them when they said they were from out of town," Vickie stated.

"Do you remember what any of them looked like?" Peter asked.

Dark eyes, barren of emotion, pinned Peter. "Officer, their faces are going to haunt me for the rest of my life."

"Think if we brought an artist in, you could describe what they looked like?" Kermit asked.

"Down to the last eyelash, Detective Griffin," Vickie said with certainty.

"Good, then that's what we're going to do," Kermit stated, his gaze locking with Peter's. The fatigue in the woman's features told them it was time to be going.

"Thank you, Ms. Jackson, our sketch artist will be here shortly to visit you. In the meantime, try to get some rest," Peter said and started to get up.

Vickie caught Peter by the wrist, bringing the man's attention back to her. "Thank you, Detective Caine, for wanting to help me. Not many cops would take the time to help out a hooker like me." She glanced away from him. "Some would even say I got what was coming to me."

Peter looked her solemnly in the face. "No one deserves what happened to you."

She turned her head away, unable to meet his gaze. "Thanks."

Once back in the Corvair, Peter once again faced his grim looking partner.

"Back to the station?" Peter asked, slamming the door as he got in.

"Not yet," Kermit said. "I've got a few people I want to shake up first," he stated as he pulled out of the parking lot. "I know there's a connection between Haun and the murdered girls and I 'am' going to find it. The tape is a good start, but the D.A is going to want an airtight case. I plan on handing it to him."

"Personally, I want to find out just who Haun is working for," Peter commented.

"I want them both," Kermit mumbled without glancing at Peter.

"Think it could be Bon Bon expanding his interests?" Peter mused aloud.

The ex-mercenary shook his head. "No, it doesn't feel right for Bon Bon. This is more high profile and high risk than even he'd get involved with, I think," Kermit responded. "Besides, I've got it from personal sources that he's not even in the states at the moment."

It wasn't long before they reached "Rocky's", a place that was half pool-hall, half tavern. Kermit knew that in back of the place, there was a gambling game going on that the ex-mercenary was certain Jack Wong was attending.

Following Kermit into the bar, Peter flashed his badge at the bartender, who let them pass into the back room without a word spoken.

The smoke-filled room was dimly lit and hazy, but Peter and Kermit had no problems feeling all eyes immediately turn onto them or picking out Jack Wong at the head of the table filled with cards and beer.

"Well, well, well, Peter, looks like they started the party and forgot to invite us," Kermit sneered.

Narrowed dark eyes regarded him with disdain. "What do you think you're doing here, Griffin?" Wong asked, starting to stand.

Kermit struck out with his foot, thrust Wong back into his wooden chair and the chair against the wall behind him.

"Oh, just relax, Wong, I've just got a few friendly questions to ask you, all right?" Kermit jeered.

A couple of the other men jumped up, one drawing a Berreta. Peter was quick enough to launch a round-house, knocking the weapon clean from the man's grasp as Peter drew his own nine millimeter and pointed it to each of the men who started to get up.

"Boys, don't do anything you're going to end up regretting, doing the paperwork on it would make me very grumpy."

Peter watched as the three other men looked at each other and sat back down in their chairs again.

"Wise choice."

The Asian glared up angrily at Kermit, a glib smile breaking out on his face as he tried to look unruffled. "What makes you think I've got anything to talk to you about, Detective?"

Kermit grabbed the other man's jaw and snapped his head up. "Because I don't happen to like it when my friends and I get used for target practice, okay?" Kermit growled. "Yesterday Peter and I got shot at by a sniper, what do you know about it?"

"Aw, someone shot at you?" Wong tsked and shook his head. "I'm so sorry to hear that...sorry they missed anyway."

Kermit yanked the younger man out of his seat, threw him against the wall, and wrenched Wong's arm up until it was between his shoulder blades.

The ex-mercenary leaned in close to the Asian's ear. "Wong, I could snap your arm like it was a twig. Now really isn't the time for playing cute. I'm in no mood."

Wong squirmed against the detective, but Kermit's grasp was firm and unyielding. Wong's nose was crushed against the brick wall.

"Hey, I don't know anything, all right?" Wong stated finally once Kermit increased the pressure.

"I find that hard to believe, Jackie-boy," Kermit said. "Anytime there's something that stinks in this city, the stench usually ends up leading to you." Kermit's grip squeezed tighter as he jerked the arm up further.

"Ow, ow...okay, okay, I mighta heard something on the streets, just cool it, will you?" Wong implored.

Kermit released his hold a little. "Start talking."

Jack sighed with relief at the reprieve. "All right, the word is...there's someone by the name of Deke, Michael Deke. I've heard he can be hired out for jobs like the one your talking about."

"Deke, huh? Where can we find him?" Kermit snarled.

"I don't know," Wong responded, wincing visibly when Kermit tightened his grip again. "Really, that's all I know!"

Kermit waited a few seconds, then believing Wong was telling him the truth, he threw the other man back into his chair.


Wong rubbed hard against his arm, getting the circulation going again. "Hey man, that's police brutality. I'm going to make out a report!"

Peter snorted. "Think that's brutality, Wong? You ought to see him when he's actually in a bad mood."

Back in the car, Kermit slammed the door shut and readjusted his shades while Peter climbed in.

"He was right, you know," Peter commented, carefully looking at the other man out of the corner of his eye. "Wong could press charges if he wanted to...he had witnesses."

Kermit peered over at him. "I don't remember asking you."

"No, but you sure expected me to cover your ass," Peter grumbled back. "Are you going to talk about it or not?"

"There's nothing to talk about," Kermit mumbled.

"Right," Peter threw back. Fine, let Kermit sit and simmer. Why the hell should he care anyway if it had to be like pulling teeth to get the ex-mercenary to open up? Who the hell cared if they'd been friends for years now and Peter 'still' didn't feel like Kermit trusted him completely? He wasn't going to let it bother him.

"Does it have anything to do with Simms and Stratton?"

Kermit glowered at the other detective. "What makes you think that?"

Peter shrugged. "I don't know, it's just I know it's got to be tough seeing her with Stratton, that's all. And I thought if you needed to talk about it...."

"Well, I don't," Kermit cut in. "Things between me and Simms are...resolved. We came to an understanding and we're both moving on, so don't worry about it, okay?"

Kermit maneuvered through the traffic, and looked at Peter out of the corner of his eye. The concern on the kid's face struck a chord of guilt in the ex-mercenary. He just wasn't used to anyone questioning what was going on in his head...caring enough to wonder. It was hard not to be affected by those soft, hazel eyes sneaking looks at him, knowing Peter was preoccupied because of him. Damnit, those eyes still had the same effect on him as they did when Peter was a teenager.

"Look, Pete," Kermit said, intentionally softening his voice, "Jack told me something last night that's really been bothering me and I'm trying to figure out what to do about this information."

"What did he say?" Peter asked just as softly.

Kermit was quiet for a moment. "Sorry, I can't tell you about it, it's not my place to say. If he wants you to know about it, he'll tell you himself when he's ready."

"It sounds serious," Peter responded.

Kermit just looked Peter in the eyes, the expression masked on his face said more than words would. The rest of the trip to the station was made in silence.

The 101st was buzzing when they got back and Jody immediately cornered them.

"Hey guys, Callaway wants to talk to you stat," the blonde detective told them as she carried a glass of ice water over to Mary Margaret.

Peter nodded. David Callaway was the station's artist. He must have finished with interviewing Victoria Jackson.

"What do you have, David?" Peter asked after approaching the middle-aged red-haired officer.

The portly detective turned the computer monitor around to face them. "I got this, which you might find interesting."

Both Kermit and Peter looked at the computerized image of stocky male Caucasian with cropped bleached-blond hair. Nothing about the man was particularly noticeable, but Peter couldn't shake the feeling that had crept up his spine that the guy was eerily familiar.

"Where have I seen him before?" Kermit asked, his eyes squinting at the screen.

"Maybe at the last police ball?" Callaway remarked.

"What?" Peter asked.

"When I ran the image through the system for a match, you'll never believe what I found out," David said with a self-satisfied smile breaking on his face. "The guy is Jake Brewster."

"Hey, isn't he a vice cop out of the ninety-six?" Peter commented.

"One and the same," Callaway answered, hazel eyes sparkling with pride.

"Good job," Kermit offered.

"What do you want to do now?" Peter asked, turning towards Kermit.

"First, I want to follow up on Deke and then we bring both him and Brewster in."

"You gotta plan, don't you?" Peter asked, recognizing the look in Kermit's eyes.

"Oh yeah."

Broderick spoke up. "I'll get an A.P.B out on Brewster and Deke."

"All right, I'm going to go see if Donny Double D might have heard anything about Deke and where he might be holing up," Peter suggested. "What about you?"

"I'm going to do what I do best," Kermit responded, pushing his shades up on his nose. With a nod of understanding, Peter took off to set up another meeting with his snitch-of-choice.

In his office, Kermit plopped down in his leather chair and flipped on the monitor. The familiar humming and whirling of the computer was a soothing mechanical sonata to the computer expert.

"Come on, baby, a lot of people are counting on you," Kermit murmured, fondly running a fingertip as gently as a lover's caress across the keyboard before settling down to business.


Kwai Chang Caine entered the hotel much as he had left it, completely unnoticed. He knew he had promised Peter that he would help the other officers look after Jack while he and Kermit were away, but Pop had to check in on a couple of patients and pick something up from his and Peter's apartment. He had felt certain Jack would be in safe hands for the several hours he had been away.

Laying his satchel on an end table, he walked over and softly knocked on the door that adjoined their suites.

"Yeah, Caine, come on in," a voice Caine had heard from the precinct called to him. It was Roger Chin.

Entering the room, Caine found Officer Chin, Jack, Tate and Benson seated around a large table and in the middle of a card game.

"Officer Chin, how nice to see you. I did not expect to see you here," Caine greeted the younger Asian officer.

Chin smiled. "Well, I came down to see if these two needed anything," he said nodding towards the other pair of officers, "and I got sucked into a poker game."

"Hey, it was your idea," Benson chimed in, throwing some more chips into the growing pile.

"Yeah, and that was before I knew how good Jack was," Chin stated. "If I knew what I was getting into, I'd never have offered. See your bid, raise you ten." He too threw some chips onto the pile.

"If we were playing for real money, he'd already have my paycheck for the next two months," grumbled Tate. "I fold," he said and laid his cards down.

"Just some education from college that I didn't have to pay for," Jack responded, eyes studying his cards. "I see you, raise you twenty."

"Damn, I'm out, too," Benson mumbled, tossing his cards down.

"Okay, Jack, I think you're bluffing," Chin stated. "I see your twenty and raise you another ten."

Jack's face was completely unreadable. "And I see your twenty, raise you another twenty."

Caine saw the slightest flinch flash across Chin's features. The younger man studied his hand and scrutinized each card, then stared at Jack. Finally after a pause, Chin tossed his cards down. "All right, I fold, let me see 'em."

Chin turned over his cards and revealed a four-of-a-kind. He and the other officers groaned when Jack laid down his hand so everyone could see...he had a straight flush.

"I think that's my cue to get back to the office," Chin stated good-naturedly. "Caine, do you want to take my place? Give Jack a run for his money?"

Pop folded his hands in front of him. "I must decline. I try not to make a habit out of gambling."

"Lucky for the rest of us," Chin said with a chuckle. "Okay, guys, I guess that means it's back to work with you." Chin leaned across the table and shook hands with the architect. "Jack, nice meeting you." The Asian officer stopped in front of Caine and spoke in a low voice. "Caine, I don't know exactly what it is you've been giving to my dad, but it's working. He went for a check up yesterday and the doctor was amazed at how low his blood pressure is now. Thanks."

Pop shrugged. "I am pleased that the remedy has proven successful for him."

"Hey, don't forget you owe us a drink at Delancy's," Tate called out as Chin started out the door.

"Don't worry, someone has to buy for you losers," Chin said, leaving a grin.

In minutes, Benson and Tate had the table cleared and the cards put away.

"Better watch that one, Caine," Benson said with a nod of his head towards Jack. "He's not as innocent as he looks."


The two officers left and closed the door behind them, leaving the apothecary and architect alone.

"Have you heard from Peter or Kermit yet?" Jack asked. His stomach had been in knots since they'd left earlier and even the friendly card game couldn't take his mind off of it for long. Every time he turned around, he found himself replaying the previous night in his mind, then seeing the look in Kermit's eyes before he'd left.

"I have not," Pop replied, "but it I am sure they would have let us know if something had arisen."

Jack walked a path across to the window to peer out and back again, his arms hugging himself. "I hope they let us know something soon. I hate all this waiting around, the not knowing."

Pop placed a hand on the younger man's shoulder. "You do not need to pass the time alone," he offered.

Jack gave him a small smile of appreciation. "Thanks." The blond man turned around to look Caine in the eyes. "Do you think...nah, forget it."

"What do you wish to ask?" Pop encouraged.

"Well, would you...consider showing me a few Kung Fu moves?" Jack asked. "I mean, I guess I did all right yesterday, but I'm really rusty."

A smile bloomed on Pop's face. "I would be honored." Caine thought that the physical exertion might be enough to calm the restlessness he felt growing inside of the younger man, giving him an outlet for the mounting energy.

Together, both men moved the furniture back and cleared a space on the floor until they had a large circle formed that gave them plenty of room.

"Now what?" Jack asked.

Pop merely motioned with a wave of his hand for Jack to come at him.

"Attack me."

Jack hesitated for a moment, then came at Caine with a left hook. With the quickness of lighting, Caine blocked the punch, grabbed Jack's wrist, gave it a twist, and shoved back while swiping out with his foot. Caine's other arm shot out just in time to catch the small of Jack's back and kept him from ending up hitting the ground hard.

"Wow," Jack said a little breathlessly. "I can tell this is going to take longer than I thought."

Caine smiled enigmatically.