Kermit's fingers danced over the computer keyboard, screens of information dancing in front of his eyes. Rows of numbers flashed and scrolled as he searched for the vital piece of info he was certain was held within the cyber world. He smiled as his suspicions started to pan out. A knock on his office door broke his concentration.

"Yeah, it's open," he called out, not taking his eyes off the computer's screen.

"Hello, Detective," a soft, familiar voice called to him. "Making much progress?"

Kermit turned to face the lovely blue eyes of his captain. "You could say that. Still have a ways to go yet. What can I do for you, Captain?"

Karen Simms perched herself on the corner of his desk. "I have some good news for you, Kermit. The head of the ATF called me today. It seems one of their agents has been undercover with a group of arms dealers they've had under investigation for the last six months. Recently this agent got a hold of a computer file he thinks contains the names of suppliers, buyers, and their shipping route."

"But..." Kermit knew there was more to come.

"But, it was encrypted with a very advanced code that they haven't been able to break yet," Karen told him. "They asked me if I had any ideas on who they could get to crack it. I can have you on a plane and in the air within the hour..."

"I'm not going," Kermit said in a low voice.

Simms' eyebrow shot up. "Excuse me?"

"I said I'm not going," Kermit repeated. "You assigned me to protect Jack Greyson and that assignment isn't finished yet."

"I'm well aware of that, Kermit, but I can assign someone else to watch Jack. Not everyone has the experience you do when it comes to computers," Karen explained.

"I don't want to be reassigned, Captain. I want to remain on this case until it's completed," Kermit persisted.

Karen was silent for a moment, but eventually spoke. "I must say I'm surprised by this. I could order the reassignment, but I won't. I'll let the decision rest with you."

"Thank you, Captain," Kermit said, "and my decision is to stay with my current assignment."

Karen nodded and walked out with Kermit ignoring the perplexed look on his blonde Captain's face. He was about ready to turn back to his computer when Peter came in.

"I'm surprised, too," the other detective said.

"Taken up eavesdropping, Pete?" Kermit asked glibly.

"Couldn't help it," Peter responded. "So why don't you want to take the assignment for the ATF? I mean it sounds like something you'd normally jump at."

"I didn't want to leave a job undone, all right?" Kermit snapped.

"You usually hate protective custody duty, so why not get reassigned?" Peter challenged.

"This case is different, okay?" Kermit granted, turning back to the computer console and sipping on his cold coffee.


Kermit slammed the ceramic cup down on his desk. "It just is! Why does there have to be some reason behind it? And even if there was, what in the hell makes you think your entitled to pry into my business anyway?"

"Because I'm your friend," Peter returned calmly.

Kermit glared at the younger man. The placid, cool hazel eyes seemed to immediately douse the fire of his anger. Why was it the kid always knew exactly what to say to cut him to the quick? And where the hell was all the rage he was feeling coming from?

Maybe he'd just had too much time to think. For the last couple of hours he had sat in front of the computer, accessing endless streams of data while his mind had drifted off to the previous night and what Jack had told him. It didn't take long for his thoughts to drift to thinking about exactly what they had done to Jack, all the possible scenarios dancing through his mind. The thought of those men touching Jack, using him, hurting him...somehow it had hit on the seek-and-destroy instinct in Kermit. It was an instinct that he found both exhilarating and frightening and hard to shut out.

"Kermit, I don't know what Jack told you, but it's obviously something serious and if you need to talk about it, just remember I'm here if you want to talk."

Kermit took a deep breath. "Thanks, Pete, I'll remember that," he said more softly. "In the meantime, we've got a job to do. What did you find out from Donny Double D about Deke?"

"Donny helped us get a last know address on the guy. We've got the place, along with Brewster's, under surveillance now just in case either one of them shows up there."

"So there's not much more we can do right now other than wait, is there?" Kermit pointed out with a sigh.

"Nope," Peter agreed.

"Which is why you two need to get back to the hotel," Strenlich added from the open doorway. "We have things under control here. Deke and Brewster both have their places under watch and have the A.P.B's out on them so now you just have to wait until they get brought in and you can do that from the hotel. So get out of here, that's an order."


Time slipped by quickly as Pop worked with Jack on some basic blocks, kicks, and punches. Jack was an avid student and was determined to keep practicing a move until he did it correctly, but still Caine felt something hindering the lesson. After flipping Jack to the ground, the young man rolled and came up in the horse stance, but Caine just folded his hands in front of him, frowning.

"We are through," Caine said abruptly.

"What, why?" Jack said, sweat clinging to his hair, his breathing in heavy pants. "What's wrong? I thought I was getting it."

Caine shook his head. "No, you are learning the mechanics of it, yes, but you are not truly learning the moves."

"What, why not?" Jack asked, wrapping a towel around his neck.

"Because," Caine said, moving closer to the younger man, "to learn Kung Fu, it requires the use of not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well. If any element is missing, the lesson is ineffective." Caine reached out a hand and gently cupped the young man's cheek. "But your mind is not on the lesson," Caine said, then moved his hand to rest on Jack's chest near his heart, "and your spirit is unsettled."

"I'm sorry," Jack murmured softly.

Caine shook his head. "There is no need to apologize, but if you would like to talk..."

"No," Jack interrupted. "That's the problem."

"What is?" Caine coaxed.

"Me opening my damn mouth instead of keeping it shut," Jack grumbled, the tension starting to flare again.

"I do not understand."

Jack sighed and sat down on the couch. "Last night I told Kermit something I shouldn't have. Something about my past."

Caine sat down beside him. "Why do you feel as though it was mistake to tell him?"

"Because it's changed the way he's going to think of me from now on," Jack said.

"You must have felt Kermit could be trusted order to open up to him in the first, did you not?" Caine asked gently.

"Yeah, I guess, but I didn't think ahead to how he'd react," Jack groused. "Now it's too late, the damage has been done."

"Words, once spoken, can not be taken back, but that does not mean that you can not talk further into the situation and try to resolve it," Caine suggested. "If you trusted Kermit enough to share with him to begin with, you must trust your own instincts that it was right to do so."

"At the time it felt right, but now I don't know," Jack sighed. "I...I guess I wanted Kermit to know me a little better, know where I was coming from, but damn it, now I feel like it's changed his whole attitude to me." Jack turned more towards Caine. "I mean, I'm getting all these mixed signals coming from him and I can't make heads or tails out of any of them because he's so hard to figure out. Just when I think I've got a handle on him, he pulls a complete one-eighty."

Caine shrugged. "Do not let Kermit's...esoteric personality...disturb you. It is simply his nature," Caine said and paused for a moment. "But I believe you are already aware of that." Caine's eyes steadily head Jack's. "What you must remember about Kermit is that a wall of self-protection works both ways. It may allow the person that constructed the wall within himself to be protected from being vulnerable to others, but it also keeps those who care out."

Jack wasn't at all sure just whom Caine was referring to, Kermit or Jack himself, but he knew the older apothecary was right. "So what do you suggest?"

Caine took Jack's hand in both of his own and held it tightly. "The mightiest walls can be reduced to rubble from the tiniest cracks." Caine squeezed Jack's hand. "Perhaps you should start by asking yourself why you find Kermit's opinion of you so important."

Jack couldn't think of a thing to say to that, he simply sat there looking without seeing into world-wise hazel eyes until the door to the hotel room opened up.

"Hey Pop, there you are."

Caine turned to be greeted with the warm smile of his beloved, the detective they had just been discussing standing right behind him.

"Did you think I would be elsewhere?" Caine said with a matching smile. He longed to greet his lover with their usual hug, but refrained himself. "Jack and I were keeping one another company. Now that you have returned, come and tell me of what you have learned."

Caine took his love by the arm, and with a glance over his shoulder, he held Jack's gaze for a moment until they left for their own suite.

Once the door was shut, Peter pulled Pop in for tender kiss. Caine pulled his boy to him and held him close.

"So are you going to tell me what that was about?" Peter asked finally, dragging his dad with him over to the sofa.

Pop found himself leaning back as Peter pulled his legs up on his lap. His son pulled off each of Caine's sandals and began rubbing his feet. Pop rumbled contently and moved to lean back even further. "About what, my love?"

Peter worked on massaging the joints in his dad's toes. "You were in a hurry to get out of there as soon as Kermit and I got there. Gotta case of a guilty conscience? Just what were you and Jack doing before we got here?" Peter asked with a teasing smile.

Pop chuckled softly. "Actually, I was working with him on a few moves to help protect himself and increase his self-confidence. I wished to leave, because I felt Kermit and he needed time to talk and they could not do so with us present."

"Yeah, I think you're right, they do need to talk. Something about this case is really getting to Kermit." Peter pressed his thumbs into the arch of Pop's foot, working tiny circles.

"You believe so?" Pop asked, his eyes drifting shut.

"You tell me," Peter said, "Kermit actually turned down the opportunity to crack a code for the ATF to stay on this case."

Pop opened his eyes and lifted an eyebrow. "That is unusual."

"You could say that." Could it be possible that...nah, Kermit couldn't be...Peter pushed the thought out of his head. "Why do you think he turned it down?" Peter's hands moved up to begin massaging Pop's calf.

Pop shrugged. "It is hard to know what motivates Kermit at times." He had his own suspicions, as did his son he believed, but he chose to keep them to himself for the time being. "I brought something for you today."

"You did?" Peter asked, his face lighting up. "What is it?"

Pop reached behind him for his satchel sitting on the end table and tossed it over to Peter, who caught it reflexively.

"Look for yourself."

Peter opened the flap of leather and dug inside until he pulled out a packet of papers. "Is this it?"

Pop nodded. He watched his son as Peter pulled out one of the papers and began to read.

"Hey, this is...."

"The letters from your uncle Peter," Pop responded. "You said you wished to read them and I thought the time was right for you to find out more."

Peter dug a little further into the satchel and pulled out an old, faded picture. It was a photograph of a beautiful auburn woman he knew was his mother. Standing next to her on her left was a much younger version of his Pop. He was so handsome. His hair was about the same length, only a rich ebony black color. His skin looked smooth and flawless with full lips, and eyes that looked dark and smoky...Peter sighed. He could so very easily see what his mother saw in him. On the other side of Laura stood another man who was slightly taller than his Pop. He had dark brown eyes and brown hair. His features were cut and sleek and were brightened up with a warm, vibrant smile.

"Is this Peter?"

Pop nodded. "Yes. Your mother often said she thought you resembled him when he was a baby. I would have to agree with her, as I also think you share some of his features."

"Oh, I dunno, I think I look more like this other sexy stud in the picture. You know, the one with the dark hair," Peter teased, coaxing a smile from his Pop. Leaning over, he caught his dad's mouth for a quick kiss. "So tell me more about him."

"Read the letters for yourself," Pop suggested. "There is one in there that he wrote to you on the day you were born." Pop reached out and stroked Peter's cheek, letting his thumb caress Peter's jaw. "He loved you so very much. He was so happy for Laura and myself when you were born."

Pop took Peter into his arms and held his sweet one close as Peter began reading.


"So what happened today?" Jack asked, his back turned to Kermit as he poured some iced tea.

Kermit took his dress jacket off and threw it onto the sofa. He set the laptop computer he'd brought back with him on the coffee table. "We managed to get a name on the sniper that took pot shots at us yesterday. His place is under surveillance right now. We also found out that a cop in vice is involved in the film ring. We've got an A.P.B out on him," Kermit answered, pouring himself some iced tea as well.

"Think you're going to get them?"

"I know we will," Kermit responded. "They're bound to go home sometime or do something else to slip and when they do, we got them."

"I hope so," Jack murmured, "but when are you going to go after Adam?" Jack paced back and forth along the carpet. "I just don't like the thought of having to hole up here while he's out there on the loose," Jack muttered. "I feel like I'm a sitting duck not able to do anything but sit around here until he makes his next move.

"Hey." Kermit waited until he held Jack's gaze. "Didn't I promise we were going to get him?"

"Yeah," Jack granted.

"And we are. We just have to be patient. We need to make sure the case we have against him is air tight," Kermit assured him. "You wouldn't want him getting out on a technicality, would you?"

"No," Jack responded.

"Then just hang in there for a little longer."

Jack watched Kermit as the detective plugged in the power supply and sat down with the computer.

"What are you doing?" he asked causally.

"I was on the trail of something at the office, I want to follow it up," Kermit responded, already turning his attention to the computer screen.

'Fine, if you want to go on ignoring me, see if it bothers me any,' Jack thought to himself. "I'm going to check my answering machine," he commented and used the phone to connect to his machine. Pressing in a digit code, he waited for the machine to play his messages.

'Jack, this is your Uncle Joe, give me a call, will you boy? I'm worried about you. Let me know what's going on.'

"Kermit, think it's all right if I call my uncle?" Jack asked.

Kermit looked up from the monitor. "Yeah, it should be. The phone was checked yesterday before we got here and it was clean then. It should still be clean if no one else came in today."

"Just a couple of the officers and Caine."

Kermit nodded. "It should be okay then, just don't say too much, you know."

"Yeah, I know," Jack said, already dialing.

The phone rang on the other end several times before it was picked up.


"Uncle Joe, it's me, Jack," the architect said.

"Boy, are you all right? Do you know what you put me through with that last phone call?" the elder Greyson stated. "You about gave me a heart attack, kid, and at my age I don't need the additional help. The last thing I hear is a bunch of shooting and yelling, and then the phone goes dead."

"I'm sorry I had you worried," Jack said, wrapping and unwrapping the cord around his fingers. "I know I should have called before now, but I just wanted to make sure it was okay."

"What the hell have you got yourself involved in, boy?"

"I can't tell you that, Uncle Joe, at least not yet, but I will just as soon as I can," Jack told him softly.

"Jack, I know I don't say this often, but I love you, kid, and when I promised your daddy that'd I'd look after you and your momma, I tried my best to do just that," the older man said.

"I know you did, Uncle Joe," Jack said numbly.

"Can you at least tell me if you're safe?"

"Yeah, I'm safe, Uncle Joe. I've got a couple of friends looking out for me until this is over," Jack said, looking at the back of Kermit's head.

"All right, just let me know if there's anything I can do to help, okay, Boy?"

"Sure, Joe, I'll do that. Right now though, the thing you can do that'll help me out the most is not to worry and just let this ride itself out," Jack told him.

"All right, you just be careful, okay?"

"I'll do my best. Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Boy."

The phone clicked as they disconnected and Jack returned the handle to the hook.

"Sounds like he worries about you," Kermit commented, his eyes still focused on the console.

Jack snorted. "Yeah, I suppose. It's more of a case of trying to ease a guilty conscience more than anything else."

Kermit's eyes narrowed behind his green shades. "What are you talking about?

Jack sat down on the sofa and rested his elbows on his knees. "When I was a kid, after my dad died, his brother, Uncle Joe tried to take care of me and my mother. Let's just say he failed on both accounts."

"Why, what happened?" Kermit asked, turning away from the computer.

"It's kinda hard to try and take care of anybody when the only thing you care about is where your next drink is coming from," Jack said bitterly.

"He was a drunk?"

Jack's eyes hardened. "He used to start out his morning drinking bourbon like I do coffee. It didn't slow up any as the day went on." Jack felt his hands clenching in his lap as he talked. "For years I wouldn't even talk to him, refused to have anything to do with him."

"Why was that?" Kermit asked softly.

"Because of the way he failed mom...and me," Jack responded.

"You talk to him now," Kermit pointed out.

"Yeah, just recently. A year ago he came to see me, told me he had cleaned up his act. Said he went to rehab and had been sober for the last five years," Jack said. 'Why do you even care? Why don't you just stop acting like you give a damn when I know you really don't.'

Jack got up and moved his neck around in a circle, feeling the muscles in it cramp and pull. They were tight and hot and hurt. Rotating his shoulder, he felt it pop and pull too, the pain shooting through his arm and across his shoulder blades. Groaning a little, he decided he needed to get something on the muscles or they were going to be too sore to move tomorrow.

In the bathroom, he found a bottle of white liniment in the cabinet. Stripping off his shirt, leaving him only in the shorts he had been sparing in, Jack rubbed some of the creamy liquid into his skin, the best he could anyway.

"What's the matter with you?" Kermit asked, watching as Jack winced while rotating his arm.

The ex-mercenary watched while Jack attempted to rub the liniment into his shoulder and neck.

"It's nothing," Jack said, trying not to grimace. "Kwai Chang and I were sparing today. He was showing me some new moves and I think I pulled a muscle. No big deal."

"Come over here and sit down," Kermit said with a sigh.

"What? Why?" Jack asked guardedly.

"Because you're not going to be able to get that lotion rubbed in that way."

Jack sat down in front of Kermit, as the bottle of liniment was snatched out of his hand. Jack held his breath and waited until he felt the searing heat of Kermit's hands against his skin. He chewed his bottom lip to bite back a moan as the older man's fingers worked the muscles of his shoulder and up the leader of his neck. Kermit's touch was firm and sure, yet gentle as he worked out the knots. The touch seemed to jolt through Jack's body, causing a delicious aching tingling to spread through him.

"So, tell me more about your uncle," Kermit murmured, his fingers kneading the flesh under them. Jack's skin was so soft over firm muscles. "You said he failed you and your mom, how?"

Jack wanted to get angry, tell Kermit to just mind his own business, but he couldn't seem to. Kermit was too near and it was distracting him. He could feel Kermit's breath against the nape of his neck, could smell the spicy scent of the other man's after-shave. Jack closed his eyes and remembered the taste of the ex-mercenary's mouth against his, the heat of his tongue sliding against his own. Kermit's firm hands moved to his other shoulder and began the same gentle massage, and Jack fought the urge to lean back into the touch.

"He didn't protect us from my mom's older brother," Jack whispered, his eyes still shut tightly. "My mom came from a very wealthy family, but she gave all that up when she married my dad." Jack paused, but Kermit's hypnotic caresses reassured him enough to go on. "When Dad died, mom didn't have anything. She tried to work, but what she brought in was never enough, so that's when she turned to her brother, Maxwell Sutter." Jack's throat began tightening up, threatening to close up on him.

"Go on," Kermit whispered. Without being aware of it, his caresses became broadened and softer as he moved all across Jack's back.

"Let's just say Adam wasn't the first man in my life who liked to hit me," Jack murmured. He felt Kermit's hands pause over his skin for a moment, then start back up again.

"Did he hit you a lot?" Kermit asked softly.

"It never took much to get him angry," Jack responded.


Jack laid on his bed, curled up into a fetal position and cried. He ran a finger across the bruised and swollen lip. Blood smeared across the pillow. The eight-year-old grabbed his worn teddy bear that was missing a button eye and clutched it to his chest while he sobbed.
The door to his bedroom creaked open, but the little boy didn't look up, his face still buried in the fuzzy brown chest of his bear.
"Jack," a masculine voice called to him, a voice that raised the hair on the back of his neck.
The little boy felt the twin sized bed creak and groan under the weight of his uncle Max. A big hand ran up and down his back as he sniffled.
"Jack, look at me," his uncle ordered. When Jack didn't respond, Maxwell yanked the bear out from under him and forced his face up to meet his. The big man's thumb brushed across Jack's swollen lip.
Maxwell sighed. "Oh Jack, why do you have to get me so angry all time?" His fingers brushed through blond hair. "I don't like getting mad at you, do you know that?"
Jack didn't answer, but gasped when his uncle jerked him up and on his lap.
"There we go, that's better," Max said, turning Jack around on his lap to face him. "Don't you know I love you, Jack?" Max kissed his forehead. "I hurt you, didn't I, my little golden boy?" Max's kisses started progressing down Jack's neck. "But I can make that go away, make you feel so good."
Terror filled Jack as Max's hands started touching him all over, even in the secret place his mom used to help him wash at bedtime.
"Stop, Uncle Max, please," Jack begged, trying to pull away from him.
"Shhh, it'll be okay. I'll make you feel good, you'll see, and it will be our special secret."
"No," Jack cried, before his sore lips were smothered in a kiss.


Jack stirred himself from the memories when he heard Kermit's voice. "What?"

"I asked you if your mother knew about it," Kermit whispered again.

Jack shivered hard, and again Kermit's hands paused for a brief moment. "Yeah, she knew about it. Uncle Joe knew, too."

"They didn't do anything to stop it?"

Jack laughed bitterly. "Why should they when that bastard was paying them to keep quiet?"

"What?" Kermit's touches of Jack's back started up again, unable to stop his growing need to comfort the other man.

"They wouldn't have any anything if it hadn't been for Maxwell and his inheritance of Sutter money. He dangled it over them, used it with them to get what he wanted just like he did with everyone else in that town."

Kermit found himself thinking about Jack's childhood. Suddenly Jack being drawn to someone like Adam made much more sense to him. Kermit had done some research into child abuse some time ago and knew enough to realize that children who had been abused as kids found themselves in a pattern when they became adults, almost as if they sought out those who abuse them.

'There's nothing you can do to me that I haven't already put up with anyway.'...Jack's words replayed themselves in Kermit's mind. Last night Kermit had assumed Jack had been referring to Adam, now he realized just how much deeper it went.

"What did he do besides hit you?" Kermit found himself asking.

Jack stood up and started pacing the floor, his arms wrapped tightly around himself, hugging himself. "You know, he always got a thrill out of telling me how weak I was, how worthless I was. I wasn't good enough to be my mother's son, have the Sutton blood in me." Jack paused to stare out into the dark inky black of night. "He was right, Kermit, do you know that? All these years, and I find out he's right."

Kermit was up off the couch, his hands on Jack's shoulders. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Jack glared at him. "Oh, come on, Kermit, I was 'raped' for Christ sakes! How else would that have happened if it wasn't my fault, if I hadn't been asking for it?" Jack jerked away, sapphire flames dancing in his eyes. "And don't tell me that's not exactly what you think too, I can see it when you look at me."

"No!" Kermit growled out, pulling off his shades and tossing them onto the coffee table. "That is 'not' true!" His fingers gripped Jack's arms and forced the other man closer. "It was not your fault. You were drugged, you were taken advantage of, you 'did not' ask for it." Kermit raised his hands and cupped Jack's face, his thumbs brushing against Jack's throat in a weightless touch. "What your uncle told you was bullshit, do you hear me? In my past career, I've met a lot of different men with a lot of different personalities. I got used to figuring out who was weak and who wasn't, because trust me, you did 'not' want to risk your life with someone you didn't think would back you up when the time came." Kermit's voice was as hard as steel while his touch was like velvet. "And you are 'not' weak in any sense of the word." His thumb skimmed across Jack's lower lip. "And as for what I think and feel, don't try second guessing me, because you've got no idea what I think...or feel," he said softly.

Jack's eyes bored into Kermit's, his breathing was hitched and his pulse was bounding. "Then tell me."

Before the words were fully out of his mouth, Jack felt Kermit's lips on his. The kiss was much softer than their first one had been and Jack found himself instantly molding against the older detective when Kermit pulled him forward and into his arms.

Kermit suckled the younger man's moist lips, his tongue darting out to brush across them, wetting them as his teeth gently tugged on the skin. One hand cradled the nape of Jack's neck while the other rested on the small of the younger man's back, pressing his body more fully into Kermit's.

The blond man moaned softly, his hands sliding up Kermit's chest, his fingers gripping the white fabric of Kermit's shirt. His mouth parted when Kermit moved to deepen the kiss. Kermit's hands moved up Jack's muscular torso, grazing past a nipple and then back down again as his tongue assailed the recesses of Jack's mouth. His hunger growing steadily as the heat between them escalated. He might have never been with another man before, but it didn't dampen the craving he had for Jack. He wanted to kiss, touch, the younger man and leave no inch unexplored. It was a craving as strong as any he'd ever known and he felt it clear through.

Jack moved against Kermit, pressing into him and feeling the beginning firmness of arousal underneath the fabric of the detective's pants, it mimicked his own. Feeling the desire sent the tiniest threads of fear shooting through Jack, but the feel of Kermit's tender lips against him, kissing him so gently and passionately smothered the budding fear. He knew, sensed that Kermit was only willing to go as far as fast as he was ready for. His fingers threaded through Kermit's dark curls and captured the moan Kermit let out.

Kermit pulled them over to the sofa where he sat down, urging Jack to follow. Their lips still fused together as Jack straddled Kermit's hips. Kermit moaned as they kissed with more fervor, his hands stroking Jack's back, down a slender waist, cupping his firm cheeks as Jack leaned into him. Even through his shirt, Kermit could still feel the scalding heat of Jack's bare chest against his own.

Jack sighed softly as Kermit began suckling the length of his neck, the older man's hands curved behind him and clutching his shoulders as his head fell back. His own body was aching with building need, the familiar throbbing and pulsing that came with desire. Kermit licked a wet trail from his neck to his shoulder and he shivered. Goosebumps rose in waves all long his quickly overheating skin. Looking into to smoldering, fathomless, dark eyes that raked over him were filled with so much desire and want, he had a longing to feel Kermit's skin against his own, to hold the older man's heated body against his own.

Their eyes held as Jack reached down and loosened the tie from around Kermit's throat and pulled it free from Kermit's neck. One by one, the buttons came undone under his fingers as he slowly revealed the ex-mercenary's broad chest. Pulling it down Kermit's shoulders, Jack pushed it the rest of the way off.

Agile fingers sprawled open against the mat of fine, dark curled hairs of Kermit's chest. Jack smiled at the quick rush of air Kermit sucked in as his fingers raked across sensitive nipples. Gently his thumbs teased both nubbins to stiff peaks.

As Jack's lips moved across Kermit's Adam's apple that bobbed with a silent gulp, Kermit's fingers scraped along his backbone and down to hold his hips. Jack could feel Kermit's erratic pulse throbbing against the vein as his lips brushed across the older man's jugular.

Kermit's hands slid along Jack's legs, the fingertips barely moving underneath the hem of his shorts, then back to cup the rounded curves of Jack's bottom and squeezed. He kissed the younger man ardently, his tongue swooping in to steal the younger man's breath, curling around it and drawing it in to suckle. Kermit's skin felt like it was on fire, the intense heat building up and pouring off from need enkindled.

The growing longing, the gnawing hunger, rolled in waves and pooled with a liquid aching in Kermit's groin, a relentless, pulsating rhythm that thrummed through every muscle with acute intensity. When Kermit pulled back, he saw Jack's blue-green eyes turning darker and storming with emotions. He tried to rein in his need, but it showed when he glanced towards the bedroom.

Jack read the look in Kermit's eyes, knew what the detective wanted, knew what 'he' wanted, their needs one and the same.

Standing up, Jack took Kermit's hand and urged him up. Together they moved into the bedroom, a soft light of a lamp illuminated the way. Shadows of dark and light danced across the walls as their mouths merged. The interplay of demanding, questing tongues drove the swelling heat between them even higher.

Jack reached for Kermit's belt buckle, and slowly opened it up. Kermit's hands cupped his face and the detective nibbled his lips while he slid the zipper of the older man's dress pants down. Kermit pushed them the rest of the way off, taking his boxers off with them. The extent of the older man's arousal stood proud and firm from a thatch of dark, crisp hair, attesting its state of need and pointing directly at the object of the need.

Kermit reached for the band of Jack's shorts and gently shoved them down lean hips, finding Jack's burgeoning erection as hard as his own, the steeled length emerging from sandy curls. The curved tip already glistened with moisture, beading on the rounded head.

Jack moved onto the bed first, anxiously waiting for Kermit's reactions. It still wasn't too late for either of them to back off if they decided they wanted to. Jack's heart thundered against his ribcage, the pulsing amplified by the breath he held onto.

Kermit slid onto the bed until he was beside Jack. He was raised up on one elbow and his face hovered above Jack's.

"I don't want to do anything you're not comfortable with," Kermit whispered huskily, his lips a hair's breadth away from Jack's. "Promise me you'll tell me to stop if it's getting to be too much, okay?"

Jack smiled at the deep concern etched in Kermit's dark eyes. "Only if you promise me the same thing," he whispered back.

Kermit leaned down and his lips crushed Jack's as Jack pulled him down closer. Kermit's fingers started a journey of discovery, as he first traced over Jack's slightly stubbled cheek and angled jaw. His lips followed the smooth lines of the younger man's neck, liking and kissing in the hollow at the base and lingering the defined collar bone.

Jack's fingers carded through Kermit's hair, rubbed at the back of his neck, urging him on. Kermit's touches were sending shock-waves of pleasure jolting through Jack's body, a current of want and desire coalescing in a warmth that spread over Jack and curled up into a tight ball deep within his gut. His hands stroked through the crisp hair of Kermit's chest, silken curls almost hiding the nipples his fingers sought out. The hard peaks pressed against his thumbs and he stroked them, rubbed them, until Kermit moaned out with pleasure.

Kermit's hand swept over Jack's torso and hip, across the rise of his bottom. Solid muscles shivered at the tender investigation and Jack moaned softly. Knowing that Jack's sense of urgency was rising with his own gave Kermit the needed encouragement to let his mouth follow his hands.

Jack's legs moved restlessly on the spread as velvet lips trailed a ring of fire down his chest, a teasing tip darting across one nipple, then the other. Before the teasing reached a painful level, Kermit moved to Jack's ribs.

The architect ran his palms, flat and open, against Kermit's back, down the curve of his tailbone and squeezed the firm half-spheres, digging in with his nails. His sex throbbed in arousal and anticipation. The aching was made worse as capable fingers stroking over his legs, working their way nearer and nearer up his inner-thighs, caused a prickling, tingling tremor to crawl from his abdomen and work it's way along to his limbs. His sex, swollen and flushed, twitched with the need to be touched, begging to be touched. 'Touch me, God, just touch me!'

Whether he actually said it aloud or just cried it in his mind, Jack didn't know, but his pleas were answered as the older man's strong hand encircled his length and began slowly pumping. His body arched into the touch, his hips pressing into the palm that moved from the base of his length to the tip and down again.

"Oh, god, yes, that feels so good," Jack moaned.

Kermit couldn't draw his eyes away from his hand. His fingers slid up and down the younger man's silken shaft, catching the leaking arousal when he reached the tip and trailing it back down when he reached the base. It suddenly hit him that he was actually stroking another man, bringing another man pleasure. He vaguely thought that it should feel unnatural, but as he looked down into Jack's flushed face, into the bottomless depths of blue-green eyes darkened like a stormy ocean with carnal need, it felt like the most natural thing he'd ever done.

Kermit's thoughts abruptly came to a flying halt when he felt Jack reach out to touch him. Jack's hand cupped and fondled the heavy sac between his legs, rolling the hardened spheres tenderly as Kermit felt them travel up and tighten. The ex- mercenary then couldn't help shutting his eyes as Jack's thumb drew up the underside of his sex, the pad gently stroking along the throbbing veins, until he reached the capped head. Kermit's groan rumbled low in his chest as Jack's fingers wrapped around his rampant erection and began pumping in a rhythm that matched his own.

Their bodies moved together, each rocking into the other's hand. The waves of pleasure mounted like a riptide as their hands moved faster and faster, their fists working the other's hard shaft.

Jack's free hand reached out pulled Kermit's head to him for a yearning kiss. His body was humming like live-wire, thrumming with the pleasure that was building and rippling. Jack panted as their lips slid together, merging, driven with their growing fire.

They moved closer, Kermit's leg working its way in between Jack's. Kermit's thigh was hot against his own, and Jack's body pleaded for more. Looking into Kermit's eyes, he read the same growing need for more contact, the need for release bordering on painful. Jack let go of fiery flesh searing his hand and pulled Kermit all the way on top of him. Kermit's body blanketed his, blending together as though they were made to fit one another. Jack's moan was smothered in a branding kiss.

Kermit's nimble fingers stole up Jack's hips, up his ribs, and over solid arms until their fingers linked and Kermit held onto Jack's hands, resting with his elbows above Jack's shoulders, propping him up as their bodies began rubbing against each other with wild need.

"So good," Kermit murmured, his tongue licking at Jack's lips before plunging inside.

Their hips ground against each other, their lengths jerking and pulsing as the friction grew. Sweat and precum clung like dew against their skins as their bodies heaved and fell, swaying together as each drove the other higher, closer and closer to the ever looming edge. They were poised over its fine-razor edge and hung on to each other to keep from falling over.

Faster and faster, the abrading friction banked the raging desire sweeping through them. Their moans were loud, but were overshadowed by their racing heartbeats. Jack's fingers dug into Kermit's bottom, pulling him down hard and holding their sexes trapped between their stomachs. Their trapped flesh felt like columns of fire, the heat pouring between them.

Kermit felt the tautness shortening his muscles, felt the ball of liquid heat spinning in his stomach, knew it wouldn't be long. Inarticulate cries peeled from his throat as he thrust down hard, the feel of his hot, scorching seed erupting in a hard burst between them. Ecstasy ripped at him from behind closed eyelids, a psychedelic parade of colors splashed and painted themselves across the canvas of a blinding white light of pleasure.

On the wispy trail of a surreal numbness, Kermit heard the far off cry of Jack over the ringing in his ears and clutched him furiously, grinding against him as he felt a tremor tearing through Jack's body. Seconds later, he felt the molten heat of Jack's essence jetting in a thick stream to mingle with his own spent juices.

Sweaty and drained, Kermit all but collapsed next to Jack. Still trying to catch his breath, he rolled Jack on top of him, his broad hands making sweeping caresses across Jack's back as the younger man snuggled down against him. He filled both hands with Jack's taut rear. A finger trailed back and forth against the dividing cleft.

Jack kissed him so softly and tenderly that it made Kermit's chest ache. The ex-mercenary thought he should say something, but he found himself at a loss for words. The experience, while so incredibly different from being with a woman, had been completely, unbelievably surreal. It was nothing he'd ever experienced before and it defied description.

He felt Jack's bounding heartbeat against his own as he stroked over shivering skin, holding the younger man close, not wanting to let go and not knowing really why. Absently he stroked through damp golden hair, laying kisses against Jack's forehead and temple as their bodies tangled together. He reached down blindly and pulled blanket up and over them as his eyes drifted shut from overwhelming tiredness. He still saw Jack's face, captured in the moment, as his mind drifted off and gave itself over to sleep.


Peter's eyes moved across the page he was reading. In the hours that passed since he'd started going over the letters his dad had given him, he had learned so much about his uncle. He had discovered that his uncle had driven the midwife over to his mom and dad's house the day he was born. Peter had also almost stopped talking to his parents when they'd shunned his sister, and that he'd been so happy being Caine's best man on the day he and Laura married. He also found other similarities between himself and his uncle. One of his uncle's favorite hobbies had been fishing, and his uncle had even been a military police officer who wanted to go into police work when he got out of the service. He even read some of the letters his uncle wrote to Caine after Laura had died.

Kwai Chang,
How have you been today? The reason I ask is because I've not been doing well at all. You know that today is Laura's birthday and I can't get over how much I'm missing her. Even in this God forsaken hellhole of Nam, I still feel like she's with me. Do you ever get that feeling Kwai?
I feel like I let her down, Caine, that I failed her somehow and that she'd still be alive if I had been able to do something for her. I know it's ridiculous to be feeling this way, I know she died of a blood disorder, something I had no control over. I know this, but damn it, I'm her big brother. I'm supposed to protect her like I always did when she was little. She was always my little princess but this time I couldn't do a thing to protect her when she needed me the most.
At least I know she had you there with her during her last moments and you don't know what that means to me, Kwai. I know you did your best to save her because you loved her as much as I did. She loved you too, never forget that. You and little Peter were her whole life and she adored both of you so much. Regardless of what Mom and Dad say, I don't think Laura was any happier than when she found you and had Peter. I've never said this to them, but I think Mom and Dad were jealous of you and Laura because you shared a love they never could even fathom.
Give little Peter a big hug and kiss for me. I know it must tear him up, not knowing why his mommy is gone, but at least he still has you to love him. At least I know that no matter what, Laura's spirit will still live on in her little hellion.
When this tour is over, I can't wait to spend a couple of months with you and little Peter at the temple. With what I've seen, I feel like I could use some time in a place like the temple. I think I've strayed off the path you always talk about and I need to find my way back.


Peter felt such sadness falling over his heart. He knew his uncle never made it to see him and Pop at the temple, because he hadn't survived his tour. One night while on patrol, his uncle had found a little Vietnamese baby in a basket on a footpath. When he went to pick the child up, he hadn't realized the baby had been rigged with explosives until it was too late.

Peter swallowed the lump forming in his throat. He put the letters aside and looked down at his hand. He hadn't realized he had been clutching the dog tags he'd found so hard in his palm that his uncle's name, rank, and number, was imprinted into the flesh.

Peter looked around for his dad, then realized his lover had told him some time ago that he was going bed and had left Peter alone with the letters with a soft kiss. Peter put the letters, the dog tags, and the photo back into Pop's satchel and set it to the side.

Walking into the bedroom, Peter pulled off his shirt and peeled off his jeans as he went. In bed, Pop was resting soundly. His eyes were closed and his breathing was regular and shallow. Peter knew that didn't necessarily mean anything.

Climbing into the bed, Peter moved to lie down in front of his dad. Seeming to sense him, Pop reached out, searching for Peter and pulling him tightly against his chest. Peter smiled as he snuggled against his lover, resting his head under the crook of Pop's chin. He delivered a light kiss to Pop's throat and closed his eyes. Peter enjoyed the smell of his dad's skin; it was lightly tinged with incense, faint with a mixture of herbs and soap, and it just added to Caine's overall masculine smell Peter was so used to and loved.

Peter burrowed closer still, until his entire length was flattened against Caine's, every inch of Peter's skin warmed by the contact of his father's. It was beyond a nice feeling, and it was something he needed, craved. Peter didn't want to think about it much, but he found himself always feeling a little lost if he and Pop weren't always touching in some way. A hand to hold, a brush of fingers across his cheek...his body always hummed like a well-tuned instrument with the slightest caress from his father, and when they made love, his dad always knew how to play him so well.

Peter rubbed his cheek against Pop's chest. He remembered a time when it hadn't been that easy at all for them touch. When he'd first been reunited with his dad, it'd been so hard for him to reach out like he really longed to. What had been so easy when he was a kid in the temple had turned so much more complex when they'd found each other again. He never knew if his simple touch was even going to be tolerated or if he was intruding on his dad's personal space. It didn't help that occasionally when he tried to initiate the touching, his father looked wary and uncomfortable.

That never stopped Pop from doing the touching though. Patting his cheek, rubbing his shoulders, touching his chest when Pop was warning him of impending danger, the touches came so easy then. Peter always figured that it was Pop's way of maintaining a little control when he was working just as hard to get a grasp on their new relationship, dealing with a grown son. Pop hadn't known what to expect from Peter anymore than Peter had known what to expect from having his dad suddenly back in his life again.

Over time though, after they each got comfortable with each other, Pop accepted his touch and hugs willingly and happily. Like their love for each other, Peter couldn't pin down just when that had changed either, but he'd been happy when it did.

Peter's hand stroked a soft trail over the smooth skin of his dad's back, down along his spine. He wanted to behave himself, let his lover get much needed rest, but the feel of his own manhood nestled in between Pop's warm thigh and flaccid sex sent his body along another line of thought.

'You are totally infatuated with him, do you know that?' Peter asked himself, his smile broadening all the more. Yep, he knew it and had no qualms 'fessing up to it. The lust he had for Pop was strong, but it only made up the smallest part of who they were, what they were together. His hand slid lower on Pop's back to rest on the high curve of his rear.

Peter moved his hips to get more comfortable and sighed with contentment as their bodies rubbed together. Pop's sex twitched and stirred against Peter's thigh. Peter's smile of contentment turned to one of pure mischief. Was it possible his father was only feigning sleep? Peter decided to put the thought to the test and moved his hips with more pressure. He immediately heard the catch and pause in Pop's breathing. 'Oh yeah, he's awake all right,' he confirmed. 'Let's just see how far he's going to carry this,' he thought wickedly.

Peter's groin rocked gently against Pop's, his incipient erection stirring against Pop's half-hard arousal. Peter's hand moved further on his dad's behind to tease the warm cleft. Pop, with eyes still closed, shifted his leg over Peter's thigh. This not only brought their groins tighter together, but also allowed access to Peter's playful fingers.

The cop's arms tightened around his father, his breathing coming a little quicker against his dad's throat. Peter could feel himself starting to grow and fill against his lover as he rocked a little harder and with more purpose. Spreading Caine's cheeks open slightly, he let his thumb brush back and forth against the guarded ring of muscle to his dad's body. He smiled against Caine's throat when he felt Pop shiver hard and his sex stir even more against his own. His other hand slid down Pop's hip to fondle the hard sac of his testicles, palming them and stroking them, feeling the crisp hairs against the skin of his palm. He swore he could hear the faintest moan murmured from Caine's lips.

"You can't fool me, Qi'na'ide," Peter whispered. "Open your eyes and look at me."

Caine's eyes snapped open and were inflamed with need. Peter captured his lips in a tender kiss, their tongues meeting each other half way to encourage the other for a deeper, more probing kiss. Their tongues lazily wrestled, probing gently, exploring the familiar and arousing terrain of one another's mouths. Pop suckled and teasingly bit at Peter's tongue, making his son moan his pleasure.

Caine moved his hand until it was wedged between them, his fingers finding Peter's hard length and wrapping his fingers around it. Copious fluid wept from the slit of Peter's sex and onto Caine's fingers. Caine gently massaged it into his son's silken skin, teasing the ridges and the capped head as he stroked the shaft.

Peter's erection twitched hard under his dad's skillful hand. His mouth sough out Caine's, taking it in a hard kiss, sucking on his father's lips. Peter's hips bucked against his dad's palm, the firm grasp and deft movements flooding him in waves of building pleasure.

"Oh, Pop, feels so good," Peter groaned, squeezing and kneading Caine's hard rear, his probing fingers rubbing harder with intent. He muffed any response of his Pop's with his kisses.

With single-minded determination, Peter caught Pop's wrist with his hand and pulled it away from the throbbing shaft straining in protest at the loss. Purposefully, he pushed Caine onto his back with the weight of his own body. Eyes meeting in the shadows of darkness, Peter could still see how much longing there was in his dad's even gaze, could feel in the burning fingertips that fluttered a trail up and down his back with all the softness of a dove's wing.

"God, I love the way you want me," Peter murmured.

Pop shivered as the breath the words were carried on tickled hotly against his flesh. "And I want you so badly, Sweet One," he whispered back.

The apothecary felt the snub of Peter's nose against the crook of his neck, mouthing the bounding pulse-point. Another move brought Peter to the crisp, gray curls of his chest. Peter's tongue left a scalded path down his body, leaving the coolness of air to follow. Silky wetness met his skin with each exhalation, lower and lower while his son's tongue lovingly explored the familiar slopes and dips.

Lapping, biting, licking...Peter indulged himself in the sounds of his lover's pleased groans and the quivers that his mouth was able to drive from his father. It heated his blood like little else ever could. He continued on his path, hands soothing and touching, pinching and caressing, as he went.

As Peter's lips descended, Caine's legs opened up under his son's strong, loving hands. His body twisted and moved plaintively with both frustration and searing urgency. Soft lips flittered across his stomach, the warm rush of Peter's breath causing his muscles to tighten with anticipation. Those lips brushed against his thighs as Peter rubbed his head against them.

Peter was a hair's breadth away from his dad's hot, livid manhood; it bobbed towards his lips as though clamoring for attention. Looking up into his dad's eyes and opening his mouth wide, his tongue flickered out and across the flared head, dipping into the slit for a taste of the salty offering that pulsed from it.

Caine groaned ferociously deep in his chest and thrust up into the warm, moist haven of Peter's mouth.

Peter felt his dad's hands instantly in his hair, fingers carding through it until they gripped the sides of his head in a iron grasp. Peter enjoyed the feel of his lover's strong hands tangling in his hair, holding him immobile out of the need he had for him. He lets those hands guide his head down on the shaft, inhaling deeply as he drew as much of the man he loved into his mouth as he could.

"Oh, Peter, Peter, xi'na'ider'en (darling) Peter," Caine moaned out, his fingers twining tightly in Peter's hair as his hips writhed.

Peter's lips sucked with pressure, tongue swept licks around the stocky shaft. It was incredible to feel his mouth so full with his dad's needy flesh, his jaws opening as much as they could to take even more of it's thickness in. Sucking wetly, Peter worked his cheeks, oblivious to the ache they were starting to feel, as his head bobbed up and down along his father's sex while his dad plunged into his eager mouth.

Laying his tongue flat against the underside of his lover's length, Peter drew his mouth back up as his dad moaned deeply. His hands moved under his dad's hips to fill his hands with his lover's rear and massaged it while his own groin found some comfort in the friction of the sheets they were laying on. He groaned around his mouthful as he ground his groin against the mattress.

"Peter, Darling, stop Sweet One, stop," Pop managed to get out, his hold on Peter's head even tighter, causing him to stop.

"What, Ba'ba?" Peter asked with a ragged voice, lips tingling and nearly numb. He longed to keep feeling that slide of silken skin against his tongue and cheeks. "What's wrong, Lover?"

Caine reached out and gently brushed his fingers over Peter's cheek, tracing over Peter's brow. "Nothing is wrong, Beloved, it is just I desire more...need more...from you."

Caine watched as Peter's tongue darted out to wet his swollen lips.

Peter's voice was a little scratchy from his abraded throat. "Are you saying that...."

Pop's eyes glittered, vulnerable with desire. "Yes, I want you in me."

The hungry growl of Caine's request shot straight to Peter's groin. His own sex throbbed and ached for relief and it was an effort on his part not to touch himself to relieve it just a little. The thought of what his dad was requesting brought the throbbing cresting sharply.

Peter knew there was no need to ask if his lover was certain, he could see it in his Pop's eyes. Sitting up on the bed, he leaned and reached over to the nightstand and fumbled around until he found the oil they'd left there from the night before.

Opening it, Peter upturned the contents until it rolled out and onto his fingers. The slick substance felt almost cold against his heated erection as he slid his palm up and down his hard, flushed shaft. He hummed at the sensation of his own hand as he covered his length and sac with the gleaming oil. Opening his eyes, which had shut in pleasure, he watched his dad's eyes burning into him with expectancy and wanton desire.

Lightly, Peter reached for his lover, teasing him with gently touches as Pop pulled his legs up to his chest and held them there. Peter pushed the pad of his thumb against Pop's opening, rubbing against it in slow, circular motions that pulled low groans from Caine's throat. Peter watched the tense muscle clench and grab under the pressure.

Leaning down, Peter pressed soft kisses to Caine's inner thighs as one finger pushed past the resistant ring and into the unbearable heat of his father's body. In and out he worked the tight passage, feeling the inner-walls of muscles closing around his finger and pulling him in. Kissing the sensitive skin behind Caine's knee, whirling his tongue around it, Peter slipped a second finger in and scissored it with the first until he felt the tension give.

Pop's moans coalesced to form words. "Please Peter, now, don't tease me! I need you so much."

'Did Pop just say 'don't'? Man, he is worked up,' Peter thought with mischievous delight.

Pop's chest was rising and falling with quick, shallow breaths, much like Peter's own as he freed his hand and moved into position in front of his dad. Lining up the plump head of his sex, Peter hissed as he pressed forward and it disappeared into the depths of his dad's body.

Caine reached back to grab the rails of the headboard as Peter's arms took the weight of his legs while sliding into him to the hilt. His head was pressed deeply into the pillow as his son's throbbing sex swelled and filled every inch of him. The wondrous feeling of the connection was enough to steal his very breath. The feel of his sweet son's power and strength so gently tamed while bringing him such intense pleasure was almost too much to bare.

Peter leaned in, his chest lying heavily against his father's, as the length of his manhood sunk into his dad, the convulsing muscles grabbing at him as he worked completely in until his sac rested against the curve of his lover's rear. The heat of his dad surrounded him and flooded into Peter, mixing with the own heat of his desire balling in the pit of his stomach.

The apothecary rose up, encouraging the joining, only to moan out when Peter withdrew and thrust back into him. Their bodies tottered back and forth, Peter filling him over and over again, pushing him closer and close to the ever-looming edge.

Caine indulged in the feelings that stirred from being completely possessed, knowing fully that to be possessed was in turn possessing. They were one in body, and spirit, and it lifted him up to furthest reaches of bliss as he'd ever known it to be so joined. It was the sweetest treasure he'd ever experienced.

Peter's lips sought his out in a hard kiss, Peter's mouth grinding against his as Peter ground his sex into him. Peter's strained voice kept murmuring soft words of love in between the hot kisses. The iron length filling him, his son's pulsing body on top of his own, the supple lips playing with made Caine's nerves sing with desire and need.

"Oh, Pop, love you so much. Feels so good inside you," Peter groaned, his hips pistoning faster and faster.

Peter kissed his lover's shoulders, throat, biceps, anything within reach. He moved his hips around, changing angles and depth in order to give the most pleasure he could to his dad and was rewarded with a loud groan and the feel of steeled fingers grasping at his hips.

The longing to have it last battled with the need that drove Peter on to thrust faster and harder, gripped with an urgency that burned in his blood. He felt the searing, hard flesh of his dad's engorged erection burning against his stomach as his thrusts caused it to rub against him, seeking the stimulation. Sweat stung Peter's eyes, dripped his hair and forehead and rolled down his back as his lover writhed under him.

Peter felt his muscles start to tighten, the rolling flames in his stomach exploding along his system, and knew he was helpless to surrender the battle with his control. He cried out as he felt his seed bursting out in a hot jet, filling the chasm of his lover. He trust hard a couple of more times, his sex shuddering inside Caine's body.

Caine held on to his control as long as he could, but Peter's body against his sex, the feel of Peter's completion pulsing into him and the twitching of Peter's own sex inside him was his complete undoing. His cries joined his son's a heartbeat after, his own release rushing out over their stomachs and chests as his body was racked with waves of ecstasy creating an explosion of colors behind his eyes.

Peter collapsed limply against Caine, whose arms instantly caught him and hugged him close. Neither of them said anything, neither of them able to catch their breath for words even if they possessed the strength it'd take to speak. Caine kissed Peter's brow, and smoothed his hair with gentle strokes. The apothecary's legs slid down Peter's and wove in between his son's.

They clung to each other, sweaty bodies molded together as they worked to regain their energy and settle their breathing. Peter's now quiescent sex slipped from him, and Caine felt a loss from it, but just tightened his embrace.

Peter let out a tired yawn as his lover's fingers massaged his scalp lazily. "I love you, Qi'na'ide," he managed to murmur.

"My sweet darling," Caine whispered, "I love you so much, too."

With a faint smile on his lips, Peter gave in to the beckoning siren's call of sleep as Caine covered them both with the blanket.