.. | exit running | chapter 2
Bastian strode at a brisk walk down the sterile white hallway with a thick roll of blueprints in his clenched fist. Where the hell had his partner gone? He couldn't leave that ghost of a man for one damn minute before-
Ramsey stood at the window of his office staring out into the mid-morning sun. It shone in a hue of gold, lighting up the light blue of his eyes to an almost eerie clear gray color. His hair, always too long for the Cap's taste, hung in slight strands over his eyes, while the rest was tucked behind his ears. He was chewing on a sour candy stick he'd snatched from Bastian's desk.
"Ah there you are. Look what I got from the city." He knocked off several binders and sheets of paper before unfurling the stiff documents on the desk. The blond cop moved to lean over the desk, chewing his candy in earnest.
Bastian nodded. "It's what's planned for that old apartment building. Check it out- this thing is a multi-million dollar deal. The records say that the owner is one Mr. Larouche." He crossed his arms.
"Never heard of him," Ramsey said softy, studying the blue-printed plans laid out before him. "Anyone rich enough to afford a place like this has got to have been in the news somewhere." He squinted at the documents.
"What's the zoning on it? What license has he applied for?"
"He's evidently a big stock dealer who wants to own an even bigger piece of this city," his partner said off-handedly. "Gambling and liquor sales. The rep wouldn't say, but it sure as hell sounds like he's putting up a casino."
"It would be the first one up since the Strip burned down," Ramsey commented. Ever since that disaster, zoning requirements had been so strict and sin taxes so incredibly unaffordable that no one had gone into that line of business anymore. Not when there were lounges right outside the city limit that lacked such ordinances.
But this would attract attention. Did it make sense that a chameleon like Reika would do something so much in the public eye and suspicion of the law?
Or is that what he wanted?
Bastian watched his face for a hint of what was going on his partner's mind. He leaned down and watched where his partner's finger traced a line that represented an 8' by 8' concrete pier.
"You want to go talk to him?"
Ramsey looked up at him and smiled, blowing a stray strand of hair from his eyes.
Duchy sat on the bed and stared at the wall. He couldn't hear Marlow moving about in the main rooms anymore and he found that he missed the distraction. The silence was suffocating him. He shifted his cramped hands that were clasped between his knees.
Fuck. He didn't want to do this. He was tired of moving around. He wanted to stay in one place for a while at least, just long enough to be able to call it home for once. He fell back on the bed, laughing and cursing at himself for whining like a neglected housewife. He wasn’t some woman that needed to be taken care of. Besides... Hadn't he left his own home because it never changed?
No, he'd moved on because he'd been the only one left.
Grudgingly, he knew that it was partly for his safety that Marlow kept moving him around. If it weren't for his lover, he would be street meat for sure under someone's watchful eye. Or dead if Reika ever got to them. But with Marlow's connections he knew they had to stay a mystery to the cops, no matter how much they liked to play with them. Even Ramsey, as he had surmised before, would eventually get too close.
His mind lingered on the cop once more. Duchy had often wondered what lay on the inside of the man, since he seemed so together on the outside. Did he have a wife? Children? He shuddered at the thought of it. What a waste. But a man like that, tall, handsome, those brooding eyes... how could he not have attracted someone's attention?
It was jest as well. He had his own blondie to do with what he pleased.
He could remember his life before Marlow. He liked to remember it actually, especially in times like these when he was so angry and frustrated. He'd given it up because of that brat blond and his boss. He'd thought he could shut the need off just as easily- this want, this desire to go back and do his work. He’d had a reputation back then. He had been known.
"A timid voice like that doesn't suit you, Liefje."
"All right, what are you pissed about then?"
Ah, he always knew how to redeem himself. Weakness didn't belong in his lover. When Marlow had a gun to someone's forehead with that sexy sneer on his face was when Duchy thought he loved him the most, in fact.
The bed shifted as Marlow climbed onto it. "Are you afraid?"
He snorted a laugh. "I'm not scared of your boss or his evil little minions."
Duchy turned around to look at him. "Idiot. Why would I be afraid?" he whispered, turning back to look at the wall. He hugged himself again involuntarily.
Marlow moved foreword so that he was on his hands and knees with his chin on Duchy's shoulder. "Does this have anything to do with the cop?"
"Ramsey. I know you're sweet on him."
Duchy sighed. His dark mood had passed, he could come out of his shell again. Marlow was here teasing him like he always did and if he could play it right, he may even be able to lure the blond into a little horseplay.
"Are you jealous?" Duchy asked. "He is quite handsome you know. And blond like you."
"Mmm," came Marlow's noncommittal answer.
Duchy turned around to face him. "Would you screw him?"
Marlow's brown eyes flew wide. "What?"
His lover walked his fingers up Marlow's chest and into his hair to pull him close. "Fuck him. Would you?"
Ramsey sneezed as he stood thrumming his fingers on the wall out of boredom.
"Someone must be talking about you, Val," Bastian said as he emerged from their captain's office, victoriously dangling car keys from his finger. With a smile he slapped them into Ramsey's hand as they made for the door.
"I told him I was driving. Be glad I'm at least still on his good side," his partner felt obliged to comment, pushing the door open and then following Ramsey through it.
"You won't be the pretty-boy favorite for long," Ramsey grunted.
They walked though the parking garage, devoid of life but for the noise of their shoes on the pavement echoing from floor to ceiling and back again. This place was creepy; he always felt compelled to draw his gun on his way through.
Bastian tapped the hood of the car when they reached it. "So? Got a plan?"
"Do I ever?"
Duchy was breathing delicate feathery sighs into his ear. Christ, he could be so fucking hot when he wanted to. His body was tensed up; Marlow could feel him quivering against him just barely in his excitement. God.
"So would you?" the boy whispered into his ear, his breath hot, short. He nibbled Marlow's ear, toying with the small silver earrings with his tongue. His mouth clamped down on the flesh right behind Marlow's jaw and he began to suck. Hard.
"Dutch..." the blond groaned, lifting the other's hips again in time with his own movements. His lover was playing benevolent vampire today, insisting on leaving a mark on every region of Marlow's body. There were two on his neck already. At least this one would be somewhat hidden in his hair.
"Would you, blondie?" The black-haired boy asked again, relenting on his markings and wrapping Marlow's head in his arms, kissing and biting at his hair as he shifted himself again. Slow was always the best way. And his and Marlow's combined talents could drag it out for hours.
Unfortunately, they didn't have quite that long. They would have to get out of here soon before anyone else decided to visit.
"Yes!" the blond growled, catching his lover's mouth.
Duchy bit his lower lip playfully and moved to nip at his chin. "Yes what, Liefje?" he cooed. He obviously was enjoying being the seductress this time. Not his preferred mock-struggle and ravish routine. Duchy liked it rough and dirty, but he had his lesser moments like these too, despite what he claimed as aversion to the 'romantic crap'.
He chewed a lock of Marlow's damp hair again as was a love-making fetish of his, while his hands traveled down the blond's back to his hips, sliding easily on moist skin.
"Yes I'd fuck him!" Marlow hissed in frustration, rolling back and flipping over, putting the black-haired boy beneath him. "Fuck him till I died of exhaustion dammit!"
Duchy laughed, grabbing handfuls of his hair and pulling him down for another long kiss as his body rocked the bed.
"Ah, but you have it backwards," he gasped, his hands moving behind his head to grasp the pillows and his breathing became rougher.
"...I think he'd be the one fucking you... Mmm, Liefje, right there-" He threw his head back at the first wave of pleasure and moaned. Recovering a bit, he laughed breathlessly.
"What a sexy picture that would be..."
Ramsey was looking about the formal office, taking in every little detail. God, he already didn't like this man, just by the decor he'd selected-- dark and modern, black and forest green.
"Honestly, gentlemen. I'd like to know your true purpose for this visit," Laroche was saying, waving a hand at the idea.
Bastian seemed less effected by the fashionably severe atmosphere.
"We'd just like to ask you a few questions about your business deal, that's all. It's strange that someone would go in on one like this."
Laroche smiled. "You take risks in any deal you make. Besides, how can I miss such an opportunity? The money that awaits in this market is incalculable."
"New in town then?" Ramsey said, picking up and studying the little onyx statue of a woman that served as a paperweight. "It's a broke deal around here-"
"I believe that the market is worth the risks," the man returned, taking the figurine from Ramsey's hand and setting it back down on the desk. The cop glared at him and opened his mouth to speak but Bastian saw the inclination of his temper and stepped in.
"I'm interested, Mr. Laroche, to know how you made your fortune. Care to share the secret? I mean, a wealthy man like you surely has better places to invest his money than a dark city with a bad reputation, right?"
Laroche didn't answer. Instead, he smiled in a degrading sort of way, as if he were speaking a more sophisticated language that they couldn't seem to understand.
"I make my money in gambles like this. I have an eye for that sort of thing, you see. Now I really have some meetings to get to, so I'm sure you can find your way out." He was watching Ramsey, who in turn watched him right back. The tension in the air between them could be cut with a knife.
Bastian nudged Ramsey's arm to get him moving. It wasn't smart to make an enemy the very day you meet him. Unfortunately, by the way Ramsey was slow to move and by the smart smirk on Laroche's lips, this relationship was already set.
"Let's go, Val," he whispered, resorting to pushing his partner towards the door.
"What an asshole."
Bastian sipped his coffee and remained silent.
His partner, in the other hand, was pacing in front of the desk, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. "I don't like him," he said.
"And he's hiding something," Ramsey said, pointing at his partner.
"That's obvious too, I think," Bastian replied, nodding. "But is he's set up by you know who? Jesus, what goes on in this city that isn't his doing?"
"It would be pretty damn boring around here without him, I'll just put it that way," Ramsey answered dryly.
His partner cocked his head. "Speaking of which, what about your little ruffian and his boyfriend? Duchy seems pretty loose-lipped about everything. Maybe we could get something out of him?"
Ramsey waved his hand dismissively. "Who knows how much he really knows? Besides, Marlow would never let me get close enough to ask him. Even if he leaves a room, he's got the ears of a bat."
"Maybe Duchy's just playing dumb? In any case, you'd have have to get Marlow out of the apartment. I wonder-" Bastian mused.
"Well, he is sweet on you. I mean, if you could get Marlow out for only a minute-"
Ramsey shook his head. "You're asking me to seduce the kid?"
His partner smiled. "Well, it would hardly be 'seducing'."
Ramsey just turned around at the absurd idea, mumbling to himself.
Bastian shrugged and added, "Just a suggestion. I just get the feeling that he'd be invaluable if you could really get on his good side."
Duchy pulled his mirrored sunglasses over his eyes against the afternoon sun. He was on his own today, since Marlow had been called in on 'business'. He wondered if his blondie would tell the Boss about how close Ramsey was. He'd found them yet again; that made Marlow angry and dare he say, almost nervous. Marlow wasn't scared of anything except perhaps Duchy himself, something that delighted the raven-haired boy to no end.
He leaned sweetly over a young woman waiting at a bus stop until, blushing, she'd given him a cigarette and a light. Drawing on it, he gave her a last smile and a wink and went on his way. It was almost too easy to charm some people.
With hands thrust in the pockets of a somewhat loose pair of khakis, he strolled down the bustling street near his old hangouts. It had grown up a bit since he was last here in the streets- shop windows gaped to the streetwalker, advertising expensive clothes, jewelry, small cafes and coffee shops. He'd liked these corners at night; they'd always been clean and full of upper-class folks with an eye out for a pretty face.
His pretty face. He dropped the cigarette and idly crushed it with the toe of his hiking boot as he looked up at the tall bank building. He'd been in it once, setting up an account for Marlow, who for some reason couldn't be seen there by certain people. Playing a wealthy, spoiled son of some oil monger, he'd gotten new clothes for it and enjoyed ordering the account people around with the stuck-up power that money gave him.
Those had been the carefree days, the easy days. When he and Marlow were still new and didn't know how dangerous it'd been to be in the open like that. He was surprised that Reika hadn't found out on that one. They'd been so careless back then.
He sighed and looked down the street over the top of his sunglasses. There were several young men and a girl standing on the corner by the light, evidently waiting for it to change. They were nicely dressed- almost looking too successful. He knew the rounds they were making- he'd made them himself, but never in such a big group. He'd preferred to work alone.
Curious, and having nothing better to do, he calmly walked up to them, picking out the eldest looking of the young men. He circled around him twice with an appraising look on his face. The other boy stood there, watching Duchy with calm eyes as his companions left him to continue their rounds.
"Can I help you?" the young man asked softly.
Duchy looked up from his inspection and smiled over his sunglasses. "Oh no, no. You can't start out with a line like that," he said. "That's all wrong."
"Oh?" the other asked, crossing his arms and regarding him with a calculating look.
Duchy inspected his clothes, pulling at the lapels of his jacket and feeling the cotton of the shirt beneath.
"Cute outfit," he commented, plucking at the other's slacks. "Caught my attention at least.
"And you would be..?"
Duchy shook his head with a wink. "How much?" he asked discreetly as a group of people passed them.
The other looked surprised but his lips curved in a slight lop-sided smile.
"Depends on what you want," he answered.
Duchy rolled his eyes. "The basics, he specified. "Nothing fancy."
"That much? Wow," Duchy said with mockingly widened his eyes.
Money like that had been pocket change for him when he was still working. Four was as low as he would go, even if it was just a blow job in the car. But then again, he had been an independent.
"Who's your man?"
"Does it matter? Doesn't change the service," the young man answered with the lift of his dark eyebrow. He cocked his head at Duchy as if getting a second thought.
"You know, you look familiar-"
Duchy laughed. "Well, you don't," he answered good-naturedly. Leaving the other with a blank look on his face, he shoved his hands in his pockets and set down the street at a brisk walk.
He hadn't expected to be recognized; Marlow would kill him. It'd been at least a year since he'd showed his face around this area so he'd thought himself safe. An unpleasant feeling settled in the pit of his stomach as he tried to spot someone out who he could bum another cigarette off.
Marlow wasn't home when Duchy returned to their new apartment building. This one, while not as fancy as the previous, was comfortable enough for one who'd been born into a dirty, crowded little house.
He had hoped that Marlow would be there, finding that he could use the comforting presence of his friend and lover right about now. This was old fear he was feeling, the fear that had drawn him to Marlow in the first place so long ago.
Duchy tossed his sunglasses on the counter and flopped down on the couch with a foot over the arm of it. He stared up at the ceiling as he unconsciously rubbed his belly.
Marlow burst in the door just as he was dozing off. Duchy struggled to sit up in alarm, but his lover was smiling.
"Gotcha," Marlow said, coming with a small shiny black suitcase to sit on the couch next to him.
"Prick," Duchy snapped, watching with mild interest as Marlow set the thing on the coffee table and flipped the locks open. "What is that?"
"I told you it was nothing," the blond answered, speaking of his boss. "See? He's already got a job for me." He'd opened the case and was perusing the folder of papers that lay on top of an automatic handgun, two extra cartridges and another folder of photographs.
"Seems we have an inside job..." he muttered, sounding a little wary. He rummaged through the pockets in search of anything more, then picked up the stack of photos. He held them out to Duchy.
"This guy was caught where he shouldn't have been, doing what he shouldn't have been doing. Check these out."
Duchy skimmed the photos of Marlow's target, an older man in a business suit, doing the nasty with a dark-skinned woman in some unrecognizable office.
"Who's the woman?"
"Works for Reika," Marlow replied, inspecting the gun. "She got the info for us. See, this guy's been dealing outside the company, trying to get out on his own using Reika's contacts- what's wrong?"
Duchy snapped his head up. "Nothing. I'm fine." He pretended to be interested in the pictures to avoid Marlow's eyes, berating himself. He never could face his lover like this. He didn't like how weak and pathetic it made him feel to be afraid when Marlow went onto an assignment like this. He was used to having the power when it came to the two of them- the blond was wrapped around his fingers and he knew it, but sometimes he just wished he could surrender the responsibility for once and just-
"Duchy?" Marlow was looking intently at him, a soft but serious set to his large brown eyes. Duchy shook his head, but reluctantly met his gaze.
Marlow had always had an intelligent, calculating look to him, with some blue blood mixed into his lineage somewhere. His nose was too straight and narrow, his mouth too supple, and his skin too pretty to come from some hard line of street poverty that he had originally claimed to be from. Those chocolate brown eyes gave the impression of his capacity for compassion, despite the aloof, indifferent look he usually had on his face.
Upon his silence, the blond raised a fine eyebrow. His eyebrows were shades darker than his hair; they were almost black. Duchy was just thinking that when Marlow poked him in the ribs.
Marlow still looked skeptical. He wasn't put off very easily, but he knew when to let it go. Instead, he straightened the stack of papers and photos.
"If you're so worried, why don't you go with me? I'm solo on this one anyway."
Duchy shrugged, his mood strangely darkened. He looked at Marlow, knowing what would lessen his own tension and perhaps lighten his mood. He wanted a good fuck. A good, long fuck that would occupy them for hours. His body began to sing with the idea but he kept his face stone cold as it had been before.
Marlow's phone rang. He dug it out of his pocket. "What?" he answered into it brusquely.
Duchy reached out and played with the wild locks of Marlow's bangs. He'd always had his hair in the same style- a long forelock with the back cropped shorter. Duchy had decided that it gave him an impish, new-age look.
"Mmm. Yeah, I got it. I was just looking at it," Marlow was saying.
Meanwhile his lover was using his whole hand to push back Marlow's bangs but they shifted back into place over his lover's eyes. Marlow tolerated his hair being messed with without batting an eye; he was more concerned with whatever was being said to him over the phone.
Fuck the job, there are more important things that come first, Duchy thought, leaning over and kissing the junction of Marlow's neck and shoulder. Like my sanity.
Without caring what his lover was saying now, he pulled Marlow's shirt open and ran his hands under it, continuing with his kisses up his neck.
"I don't care," Marlow said into the phone. "That wasn't my fault."
Duchy ran his tongue along the underside of Marlow's jaw and pushed him to lean back against the couch, climbing up to straddle his lap and giving a sly grin. Marlow was helpless to say anything to him while his boss was on the phone, so he just scowled up at him.
"I'll do it, fine. I just got settled here, but I'll go tom- shit!" He glared up at his lover, who'd shoved a hand down the front of his pants.
"No, nothing, I'm all right. I'll be there tomorrow. I am not working tonight. I have things to do."
Duchy took a moment to strip himself of his tanktop and khakis and sat quite nude on Marlow's lap but for his rings and earrings.
"Damn right you have things to do," he whispered. "You have to do me."
The blond gave him a silencing look, but Duchy just returned it with a smile and shoved his hand down Marlow's pants again.
Soon, the blond consciously had to control the volume of his breathing as Duchy slid off his lap to lay an onslaught to his lower body.
"Yeah..." he breathed into the phone. "Yeah, I know. It'll be... it'll be this weekend." He pushed his head back against the cushions, his mouth open.
Duchy licked his lips and climbed back onto Marlow's lap, leaning up against him and nuzzling his hair right next to where Marlow held the phone to his ear. He gave a little moan.
"I gotta go," Marlow breathed, making a last attempt. He pressed random buttons to end the call and tossed the phone behind his head.
"You're such a bitch," the blond sighed. "It's your ass and mine if he finds out about you. Don't count on me to save you again."
His lover sucked on the base of his neck where it met the collarbone, replacing a fading mark. "You would and you know it."
"Mmm..." Marlow leaned up for a kiss. "A thousand times over," he conceded.
Duchy held his lover's face in his hands and looked down into his eyes. "You'd do anything for me, right Liefje?" he whispered.
part 3 | back to part 1 | back to main